Monday, July 28, 2008

One Question

"It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish." ~ Mother Teresa

There is a popular game (more of a diversion, really) called "Twenty questions". My siblings, parents, and I played it often on long road trips when I was a child. The object of the game, for those readers who have never heard of it, is this:

One person in the group thinks of a person, place, or thing, and the other players ask yes or no questions about it until they determine what it is, or until twenty questions have been exhausted.

Usually,the first questions are asked to determine if the the object or substance etc, in question is animal, mineral, or vegetable. If, by answering these questions, one has determined the answer will be a person, another question is usually asked to determine if the person in question is living or dead. This line of questioning will narrow the possibilities down quite a bit, allowing the questioners to more quickly draw a conclusion. If the questioners can determine the answer within twenty questions the questioner who gets the right answer wins. If the questioners don't determine the right answer within the allotted twenty questions, the answerer wins.

This has since become a popular internet game and a rather ingenious electronic game that can be purchased at various stores. One can find and play it online by simply going here.

Recently Marshall Art posted an entry on his blog expressing no small amount of outrage at Planned Parenthood for requesting government funding. His entry has generated about 79 comments to date.

I've written about this before. I am very passionate about this subject.

Once again, I allowed myself to be drawn into an insult trading contest with a certain commenter whose name I won't mention as it is not an integral part of the discussion. I don't wish to go into that at this time. Or ever, for that matter. So, if you follow the link to his post, please disregard the mud slinging by myself and a couple of others and focus, if you will, on the subject matter.

I would instead focus on the subject brought up by a couple of otherwise seemingly intelligent commenters on the "personhood" of a fetus.

I had thought this particular argument moot, due to the determination of just about every non-biased scientist (with the exception of those who graduated from the Josef Mengele school of medicine) on the planet that the fetus is a living human entity at the instant of conception, but apparently, there are still a few dinosaurs left who cling to the unscientific belief that somewhere during gestation the human fetus becomes a person, but starts out dead. Or, as they prefer to put it, "non-living". However, these same people can't seem to come up with a precise moment when the lifeless lump of tissue becomes a living human being.

One commenter actually said, "They do not kill babies. They perform abortions. There IS a difference."


This is a 3-D ultra-sound picture of my grandson. Some people say he isn't a living human being, and can be put to death. Say that to my face.


As far as I'm concerned, there is no difference between abortion and killing babies. It is my contention that a human conceived embryo is a human being from the exact instant of conception.

After that, the discussion degenerated into a discussion on when a fetus becomes a viable human being.

I will now present my side of the argument:

There is, and never has been, any time in the history of mankind wherein anything but two humans came together to create life naturally, biologically, in the womb, without aid of test tubes or other medical equipment.

Actually, even with test tubes and up-to-the-minute advances in medical science, the human egg still requires human fertilization in order to advance through the stages of development and become a living, breathing human baby. There has never been any human pregnancy that resulted from two different species, such as a Rhinoceros and a Hibiscus. Or even a human being and an animal. Human pregnancies always are a result of a human sperm fertilizing a human egg.

It will never be any different.

Thus, to suggest that at any time during the stages of human development the embryo is anything other than human, one must ask oneself, "If not human, what?"

It takes, as I mentioned, a human cell called a sperm cell from the male human being to fertilize a human cell called an egg which issues from a woman human being's fallopian tubes to create a human cell called a zygote. This zygote becomes a human embryo, which, in turn becomes a human fetus.

At no point during these stages of development does the zygote, embryo, or fetus ever become anything other than human.

The question with which these abortion rights advocates would attempt to cloud the issue is, "At what point during the developing stages does the fetus become a human being?"

They would argue that somewhere during the development cycle a non-living fetus becomes a living human being, but they cannot decide at what point. It would seem to me that if they don't know when it becomes a human then they can't say it isn't a human being.

To put it more simply, A human man impregnates a human woman, and within 9 months, give or take a few days, the result is a human baby. If it takes two humans to conceive, how could the resulting baby ever, during any stage of it's development, become anything other than human? And if it can, what does it become? And when does it change to whatever it becomes? And at what point does it change back to human?

These questions will be argued by abortion rights advocates as a question of semantics. They will no doubt say something like, "We aren't saying it isn't human. We are saying it isn't living!" They will offer variations of this same statement, but it makes the same point. And it means basically the same thing. Their point will be, unless it breathes, or can exist outside the woman's body, or it's heart is beating, etc, it isn't a living being.

But that is flawed logic , to wit:

At the very instant of conception, the female human egg cell begins to divide and grow. It is microscopic, and although it starts with only one cell, as soon as the male human sperm cell binds with the egg, it becomes two cells, and from there, it continues to grow, unless impeded, until it becomes a fully developed human being.

If it grows, it must be alive.

What, if anything on this planet, has grown while dead? What living entity on this planet does not continue to grow until death? Point being, if it grows it is alive. At what point in development does the human embryo not grow?

So, I will submit that the question is not, "When does a zygote, embryo, fetus, et al, become a living human being?", but rather,

"When is it not a living human being?"

29 comments:

Trader Rick said...

These bizarre arguments and distinctions by the baby killers leave me cold.

There are two central core issues in America today that should not even be in contention, because they are really so simple. So simple.

"The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed" What is so hard to understand about that simple sentence?

Thou shalt not kill.

What's so hard to understand about that simple sentence?

Killing babies is Homicide. Unjustified homicide is Murder. Murder is against the law in nearly every civilized social community and every civilized religion ('civilized' allows muslims to opt out) on this planet.

I wonder if the baby killers will reside in the deepest part of hell for eternity?

4simpsons said...

Good post, Mark. It is amazing how the pro-legalized abortionists will be so legalistic in describing the unborn. Yes, technically, it is a fetus, not a baby. But if they want to be so scientific, then they should note that it is a human baby - alive at conception.

tugboatcapn said...

When is it not a human being?

When it grows up and becomes a Liberal and supports things like Abortion and other inhuman practices that Liberals support.

You might also point out to anyone who tries the "zygote/blastocyst" argument that in that stage of the pregnancy, no one knows anyone is pregnant.

So even if they are right about Zygotes not being "alive", that stage is long past by the time that mother lays down on the table to sacrifice her baby to the god of convenience and irresponsibility.

But in order for a proponent?, supporter?, defender (there we go...) of Abortion to change their mind, or concede a point in an argument to someone who opposes Abortion, they have to admit that they have been a party to the murder of 45,000,000 (and counting) of the most innocent form of life on Earth.

To admit that they have been wrong about this is to admit that they are a MONSTER.

That's why I don't argue with them and that's why I don't write about this subject at my place.

It's a fight that nobody can win or lose in the first place because the issue has been snatch from the public by the Supreme Court.

Great post, Mark.

Mark said...

Just re-reading my post, I guess I left out the analogy between the game 20 questions and my point. In the game, it takes as many as 20 questions to determine the answer. In an abortion argument, it takes only one.

Oh sure, Tug...NOW you show up. Did you read the previous post at all?

Marshall Art said...

Tug,

Good point about when one knows they're pregnant. However, the argument about most birth control pills is that it is believed, if not scientifically proven, which I think it is, that the chemicals will cause a miscarriage of the zygote/blastocyst if the pill is taken after conception occurs. Not every time, I suppose, but that it does at all shows a consistency in the concern about the morality of using the pill.

ELAshley said...

""At what point during the developing stages does the fetus become a human being?""

That depends on how desperate a mother is to be rid of her amorphous blob of unliving tissue. For some that's as late as said blob is three-quarters delivered, where its unthinking, unfeeling brain is promptly sucked out of its unliving, unfeeling skull.

ELAshley said...

"...that stage is long past by the time that mother lays down on the table to sacrifice her baby to the god of convenience and irresponsibility."

GAH!!! What imagery, Tug! Wish I had thought of it. Kinda like passing their children through the fires of Molech... Creepy, and evil.

tugboatcapn said...

I did read the previous post, but at the time, I didn't have the time to comment.

(My internet time is somewhat limited lately. Long story...)

You were doing fine without me...

tugboatcapn said...

Eric?!?

Talk about disturbing imagery! Gak!!

Jim said...

This is all moot. There is little argument that the product of conception is human, that it is life.

Is it a baby? Not in my opinion. And that is an important distinction as I quote Mark:

"I will now present my side of the argument". See he admits that there is an argument. He doesn't even claim, "Here is the truth because whatever I say is the truth."

I will leave it to the man who more that any jurist believes Roe is anathema to the Constitution.

I give you your hero, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia:

"My job is to interpret the Constitution accurately, and indeed there are anti-abortion people who think that the Constitution requires a state to prohibit abortion. They say that the equal protection clause requires that you treat a helpless human being that’s still in the womb the way you treat other human beings.

"I think that’s wrong. I think when the Constitution says that “persons are entitled to equal protection of the laws” I think it clearly means walking-around persons. You don’t count pregnant women twice." [emphasis added]

There you go. Scalia, never wrong, clearly says that an unborn fetus is not a person. Case closed.

Mark said...

Jim, why must you always reference someone else to state your opinion? Can you not think on your own? Do you have your own opinion or do you just want to live vicariously through others?

Abouna said...

"I think that’s wrong. I think when the Constitution says that “persons are entitled to equal protection of the laws” I think it clearly means walking-around persons. You don’t count pregnant women twice." [emphasis added]

There you go. Scalia, never wrong, clearly says that an unborn fetus is not a person. Case closed."

Then how come the courts allow a man to be charged with two counts of homicide if he kills a pregnant woman and it results in the death of the unborn child, yet if a woman murders her unborn child, she is just exercising her RIGHT? Seems like something is wrong with that picture.

Jim said...

Mark, nice attempt to sidestep my point. I have stated my opinion many times. Many times. But here it is again:

I think abortion is regretable. I wish it didn't happen, but it does and when it does, it should be safe where the pregnant woman is concerned.

I don't believe that an abortion kills a baby. It kills a fetus. To me it is a difference that matters. I don't believe that contraceptives kill babies. Some of you apparently do.

Rick said, "There are two central core issues in America today that should not even be in contention, because they are really so simple." Well, "thou shalt not kill" is not one of them. It appears nowhere in the Constitution. People are killed in the name of America everyday. The Bible says "Thou shalt not kill" but I don't recall reading any qualifying statements on the tablets.

You are all entitled to your opinion as I am to mine.

tugboatcapn said...

Well, Jim, since you seem to be the lone voice crying in the wilderness here for the right of a woman to kill what you admit is alive, and human, as long as she times it correctly...

Since the all-powerful Supreme Court has snatched my Right to vote my conscience on the matter from me, and since women are going to murder their children no matter what I think, and since some on the other side of the issue refuse to acknowledge that what is a being, and is human is actually a human being...

Conservatives don't abort their children. (Not in large numbers, anyway.)

And if my political adversaries want to self-eliminate, then who am I to stand in their way?

If not for Row V. Wade, do you think that there might have been 400,000 more Democrat Voters in Florida in 2000? Voters raised in good Liberal households and brought up with good Liberal values who would have voted for the Democrat that year?

What do you think that the Nationwide effect of all of those children who would have been raised in households with Liberal values going to the polls in 2000 to vote for AlGore would have been?

So Congratulations! You guys won! Open Season on un-born human living tissue masses which would, if left alone, one day become taxpaying Citizens.

If not for Row v. Wade, there would have been no President George W. Bush, no war in Iraq, and Global Warming? Climate Change? (What are we calling the Enviro-scam these days?) would simply be a footnote in History, a near miss, cleverly averted by an intelligent, progressive, and forward thinking American Electorate...

...Who were unfortunate enough to be "un-born" when Row v. Wade became the Law of the Land by Judicial fiat.

Keep killing your children, Libs.

We'll keep raising ours.

Until we out-number you seven to one, and your stupidity can be eliminated once and for all from Public Policy.

Marshall Art said...

Jim,

It seems you suffer from the common malady amongst the left, which is the strange belief that we hold certain people as infallible. This is not the case, unless we're talking about Jesus Christ. Scalia is not Jesus, so he's entitled to be wrong now and again. That I've never seen him wrong until your quote is mere coincidence.

He believes the Constitution talks about walking around people. I'd like to see him expound upon that to see how he arrived at it. I would agree that at the time it was written, they had "born" people in mind, but not as a conscious thing, but as more of a routine thing. I doubt anyone would consider the unborn except in a discussion or debate about the unborn. But that doesn't mean that they are not a part of mankind with equal worth. It simply isn't natural to think of them in each and every discussion regarding mankind or humanity.

The facts are plain. We are each of us created with the equipment to reproduce. The act of intercourse is designed for procreation. The pleasure we experience is designed both to insure that we do it at all, and that we know when we've executed the process to it's completion. Whatever results from our coupling is also by design and the whole process is to produce another human being. It can't be anything else no matter how microscopic it is initially. There's no other way to produce another human being, and one can't be bigger at that stage of development. Despite Mark's choice of words and phrases, there is no argument! It is a person.

Mark said...

Jim, you say, "There is little argument that the product of conception is human, that it is life."

If you agree, why do you revert to the argument that it's a fetus, not a baby?

Again, the question is:

When is it not a living human being?

You failed to answer that question, and there is a good reason for that:

YOU CAN'T.

Hmmm...you say you are a devout Christian yet you believe the ridiculous theory of evolution is fact, and you believe God would want us to kill babies in the womb, effectively taking the job of God out of His hands. How do you reconcile this humanistic idea of God with your Christian beliefs?

Lone Ranger said...

Whether it be Dredd Scott or Roe v Wade, the Democrats are notorious for classifying certain people as non-human. Every time there is a moral decision to be made in this country, the left comes down on exactly the wrong side of the fence.

Cameron said...

I have not heard any serious pro-choicer assert a fetus is not a human. Rather, the argument is that a fetus-human is not the same as a person-human, and therefore must subjugate its right to life to the decisions of the person-human who cares for it.

In other words, a fetus might be human, but it's not a person.

But that assertion requires one to define what makes a person a person. And that's where the difficulty arises. Every single definition I have heard which excludes a fetus also excludes living, breathing, obviously-a-person, people.

Honest pro-choicers, like Peter Singer, understand this and accept the fact that their definition makes it ok to kill infants, toddlers, the handicapped, and the elderly. Most people see this is the end result of pro-choice ideology and recoil at it's baseness. But some don't.

And these I think fall into one or more of the following groups:

-Too loyal to their political party

-Too married to old-school feminism

-Too anti-religious

-Too welfare state oriented, and don't know the real facts about who is getting abortions.

Lone Ranger said...

You notice how the usual suspects haven't been active in this thread?

Jim said...

I answered the question, but it's moot. I believe a fetus is not a baby. A baby is a person. A fetus is not a person. To Antonin Scalia, a fetus is not a person.

There will ALWAYS be abortions. There always have been and there always will be. The question in my mind is will they be safe? If they are legal, they will be safe. If they are not legal they will not be safe. People who would force women to have unsafe abortions are mother killers.

Mark I have no problem with my Christian beliefs. I've never said it's just fine to abort fetuses. But it's not just fine to allow pregnant women to die from unsafe abortions either.

The entire scientific community recognizes that evolution has and does occur. It is fact. You obviously are hung up on the word "theory" because you don't know the meaning of the word. I've provided that meaning in an earlier post.

You think it's a ridiculous "theory"? You can't argue with fact unless your world view simply will not allow you to recognize fact.

Marshall said, "I would agree that at the time it was written, they had "born" people in mind, but not as a conscious thing, but as more of a routine thing."

Then under "original intent" a person is a born person. End of argument.

Mark said...

Jim, (sigh) You say, "I believe a fetus is not a baby. A baby is a person. A fetus is not a person."

I say you are wrong, and my post provides evidence that supports my view. Where's yours?

Man, if you're really almost 60 years old, you surely haven't learned much in your years. Most Liberals have outgrown Liberalism by that age.

Ok, so there will always be abortions. Maybe. But is that, in your mind, really an acceptable reason to kill as many babies for the sake of convienince as you want to?

That's like saying there will always be murder so we might as well legalize it. That is STUPID logic. In fact, that is exactly what the pro-abortionists are saying. Only instead of using the word "murder" they are using the word "abortion". There really is no difference between murder and abortion, except in murder, sometimes the victim is a despicable less than human. The unborn innocent baby is ALWAYS innocent. If anything, abortion is worse than murder.

I will never accept the argument that you can hate the abortion but support a woman's choice. That is playing semantics. If you think it's ok for a woman to decide to kill her baby, then you support the killing of the baby.

And then, I just gave you proof from the horse's mouth that even evolutionists don't believe their own theories, but you chose to ignore that.

So, from now on, I choose to ignore you. I don't tolerate stupidity in my comments for very long. You have outlasted your welcome.

Trader Rick said...

Amen to that.

Daffy76 said...

I have real problems with the "well, we don't know when it becomes a person" argument. If you don't know when it becomes a baby (as if this is a magical transformation) don't you think we should stop killing them at least until we do. If there is even the slightest chance that an abortion is murder, it should be stopped immediately. And it is murder, but those who cling so stringently to the idea that it's not really a person would have us believe that because we don't know when life begins, it is okay to take it at any stage. I say, when in doubt, don't.

Tonto said...

But Mark you can NOT possibly believe that there is no reason ever to have an abortion under any circumstances legally?? That would make no sense either since we know there are times when we think it is ok to kill/murder a walking around person.

Also I think the consensus is s fetus is not "person" with rights until it is "viable" and that up to now with technology is not able to happen until 25 weeks gestation. I know because I had one around then.

So you kill a pregnant lady at 8 months it is two murders because the baby has rights because the fetus/baby is viable and would be able to live and breathe on its own if it were born at the moment. However you still cannot use the carpool lane if you are 8 months pregnant!! :)

I don't have a problem with abortion under certain cirucmstnaces...I think that is what Jim is saying too...I DO have a problem with an "unfettered right" to abortion and what freaks out liberals is that conservatives WANT NO ABORTIONS AT ALL and we know that is unsafe...and what freaks me out about liberals is that they want UNLIMITED abortions under any cirucmstances and that is just sick.

Mark said...

Tonto, out of my respect for you, I will offer one concession. I would approve of abortion only to save the physical life of the mother.

However, that necessity is so rare it is nearly non-existent.

I believe former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop said, There is never a medical reason for abortion." I may have either the quotation or the quoter wrong, but I know some expert said something very close to that, though he may have been referring to partial birth abortion.

Be that as it may, Abortions performed to save the physical life of the mother would be my only exception to my conviction that abortion is morally wrong.

My ex-wife claimed she had a tubal pregnancy once. She said she had to have an abortion to save her life then, but I don't know how much of her story is true, and how much is exxageration.

Tonto said...

Yeah those are real. I have had a friend and a sister in law both rushed to the emergency for a tubal pregnancy which ended in an abortion. One knew she was pregnant and wanted the baby. It would have been their second kid together. The other had no idea. She was using an IUD which can cause a tubal pregnancy.

So in the old days say 70 years ago I guess those women would have just died unnecessarily leaving behind their other young children without a mother.

And I also had a frined which made me really see that abortion under certain circumstances should be left to the doctor and her and her husband. My friend went at 5 months to find out the sex of her baby and check the organs. They told her it was a girl and her husband and her were crying and then they looked again and the baby had not developed a brain.

Her only choices were to carry the baby another 20 WEEKS and then let her die slowly over a day or so I guess or terminate now. She thought about it over the weekend and their grief was so bad she went ahead and ended the pregnancy. She couldn't handle it. It was her first pregnancy as a newly married couple. I couldn't judge her for what she did. There was no good solution to this horrible predicament.

What is the right thing to do?

A client recently told me a story about a coworker he hates because she let her baby suffer. He said she was told her baby woud die at birth and she could terminate at 6 months. She didn't and carried her baby to term and took her regular maternity leave. But told everyone. The baby took two weeks to die. Basically it was really horrible from what he described and then the baby died and she wanted sympathy and he had none for her because he thought it was horrible she DIDN't have the abortion before the baby was born.

I understood why she didn't but I also understood why my friend chose to abort and I don't think anyone is more right than the other in this situation so they should be able to choose.

Good grief we shoot a wounded cow or horse rather than watch it suffer!

Having said that these instances are so rare I am sure if abortion only occurred in these cases we would go from the millions each year down to a few hundred thousand if that.

Like with the death penalty or justifiable homicide it needs its limitations.

I don't think anyone could think this is a form of birth control although the numbers of abortions suggest otherwise sadly.

Marshall Art said...

Tonto,

Abortion is indeed used as birth control. Planned Parenthood is all about abortion as birth control. Even with your examples, we're still talking about a percentage likely around 95% or better that are simply birth control. This is what conservatives are talking about, not total ban with no abortion ever no matter what. It's never been so.

Typically, liberals always bring up rape and incest, along with death of the mother as reasons to keep abortion in place. But when those areas are conceded, they still won't go along with a ban on all others. (Plus they ususally go with the ambiguous "health of the mother" rather than life of the mother) Birth control is a major desire of those who wish to keep it legal.

Marshall Art said...

Should Jim still be reading,

"Then under "original intent" a person is a born person. End of argument."

Bad conclusion. The point is that simply because they had "adults" in mind, and likely adult men, it didn't mean that they did not believe any other woman or child was not endowed with the right, and it's doubtful that these men of honor and character would have considered the unborn as less than worthy and not endowed by their Creator with the same rights. It's ludicrous to think otherwise.

I also believe that if you were to research the issue, you'd find that those "back alley" abortions were extremely rare. But to pretend it was common helps with the feminist pro-abortion argument. Generally the reason any woman subjected herself to such risks was to prevent family, friends and neighbors from knowing what a slut she was.

Lone Ranger said...

A few stories doesn't justify the abortion of 1.5 million babies a year. The health of the mother is in danger less than 2% of the time. I don't know about the health of the baby. But I do know that Mongoloid children are quickly disappearing in our society. Brings back memories of the Master Race. Also, black babies are aborted at three times the rate of white babies. Something suspicious there.