Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Excommunication

My comments on this post,, are what lead to my excommunication from the Porch. Abortion is such a ticklish issue. I guess I knew that making too much noise might lead the proprietors to decide that the Porch was more enjoyable without me. You can't actually read my comments on this essay as they were deleted.

Excommunicated is probably not the right word, but it conveys the right feeling, I think. I held a heretical position, argued for it forcibly, and would not recant. Of course, not being Catholic, or even Christian, it isn't actually that far a fall.

In essence, James put up a picture of his future son. I said the picture didn't so much speak to humanity as it did to a certain great apishness. It was all down hill from there.  James started it in his essay, calling all abortionists murderers. A strong word, dontcha think?

I have 8 arguments I employ in conversations with anti-abortionists. Here they are, in no particular order,:

1) The invader argument

2) The clump of cells and the cloning argument

3) The natural evil argument

4) The freezer argument

5) The equal application of the law argument

6) The Brother O Brother Where Art Thou argument

7) The seat of being argument

8) The woman is a free being argument

Following are synopses of each argument.

1) A woman's body is home to her being. Just as in her physical home, she is free to invite and uninvite. Once uninvited, the guest must leave. If the guest does not leave, the woman is free to call the state and ask them to forceably remove the guest. If the guest refuses to leave, and in fact attempts to change status from uninvited guest to home invader, the woman may kill the invader in self defense without legal repercussions associated with murder. A unwanted pregnancy is the equivalent of an armed home invasion.

2) All pregnancies begin with the creation of a clump of cells. At around 70 to 100 cells, the clump is known as a blastocyst.  At this level of undifferentiation, the clump of cells is readily compared to any other human clump of cells. Such as skin cells being grown for a graft, or the stem cell lines obtained from embryonic tissues. Science is at the stage where, if not now, then soon, human beings will be cloned from somatic cells - skin cells, for example. There is no creation by God or chance, just human tinkering with mammalian reproduction. Did man create the being that is the clone? No. Man created the possibility for that being. If any clump of cells can be the source for cloning a being (simply the physical part - everything else comes later), must we treat all our discarded bits and pieces as beings, and be considered murderers for discarding them if we no longer need or what those particular clumps of cells? No. They are simply clumps of cells.  Like algae. Alive, but not a human being.

3) Anti-abortionists have created the near perfect dodge - if something bad happens to this clump of cells, a spontaneous abortion for example, that is Natural Evil and God's will and there is nothing to be done about it and no conclusions to be drawn. So the 20% of all fertilizations, the 5% of all implantations, and the 1% (all numbers are approximate) of postimplantation pregnancies that fail are simply God's will.  I ask myself, is not polio God's will? Before we had a vaccine there was little to be done to prevent polio, but now we have vaccines, and suddenly, it is no longer a Natural Evil to be harmed by polio, it is a completely avoidable evil. In the same vein, we haven't looked at all the reasons for those losses in the process of creating a human being - and this is the dodge.  By not looking at them, we prevent ourselves from having to do something about them, and therefore we (we anti-abortionists) can maintain the fiction of Natural Evil. I say, if the anti-abortionists were really all about blastocysts being human, they would seek to make the chance of blastocyst death much smaller.  They don't seek that reduction, ergo that don't actually care.

4) What about all those fertilized eggs laying around in little freezers in fertility clinics? Definitely alive, if in suspended animation, definitely capable of becoming a human being, given the chance. Why do the anti-abortionists not insist those eggs be given a chance? Or, at the very least, try to shut down the fertility clinics? Most fertilized eggs are destroyed. On purpose. Isn't  that murder in the eyes of the anti-abortinist? Where is the outcry? It isn't there. They don't care. Apparently only some human beings in the clump of cells stage of life are worth worrying about. Like, those already inside a woman.

5) Anyone ever heard an anti-abortionist call for the death penalty, or even life in prison, to be applied to their daughters should they have an abortion? Neither have I. 'Nuff said.

6) Think of it this way. Two brothers, Cain and Abel.  Abel's last kidney is failing rapidly.  If Cain donates a kidney, Abel lives.  If Cain doesn't, Abel dies.  Does Cain have a choice? Is he a murderer if chooses to keep both his kidneys? We might think much less of him,  but his kidneys are his.  The parallel to a woman and an embryo is all too obvious. Let the anti-abortionists seek to pass laws that penalize not donating the kidney as murder, and they will be at leas consistent, if still wrong.

7) The clump of cells that will one day, perhaps, be a human being is best compared to the code and tools to build the body of a human being. The code is the dna, and the tools the processes the code enables.  Of course a womb is required to enable the processes, but we can imagine that it does not have to be a human womb, simply a womb constructed to meet the dictates of the code in the cells. A code and a process do not a human being make - what they make is a construct, as seat for a being to occupy. The being comes fairly late in the process.  It is entirely possible that the actual being doesn't occupy that seat until well after birth. In any case, the seat for a human being requires a functional brain, and that doesn't happen until very late in the pregnancy. The law does not consider it murder to turn off the life support for a being that has irreparble brain damage.  The seat of being has been destroyed and no being remains in residence. At the very least, there is no being resident in the early stages of development.

8) And finally, the only argument actually required.  The body and the womb it contains is the woman's body. She chooses who she allows in, and who and what she does not. The rights of the embryo do not supercede the rights of the woman, irrespective of whether the embryo is a human being, or not, and irrespective of whether or not the woman's choice dooms the embryo.

I said some or all of these things on the thread on FPR. I think I have stated them as concisely as possible here (or nearly so). Feel free to argue with me.


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