They make the point that even after birth, and for years to come, a child is still dependent on its mother, its father, and those desk around. And since no one would claim its okay to kill a child because of its dependency on others, we cant, if we follow their logic, claim its okay to abort a fetus because of its dependence. What the anti-abortionist fails to do, however, is differentiate between physical dependence and social dependence. Physical dependence does not refer to meeting the physical needs of the child - such as in the anti-abortionists argument above. Thats social dependence; thats where the child depends on society on other people to feed it, clothe it, and love. Physical dependence occurs when one life form depends solely on the physical body of another life form for its existence. Physical dependence was cleverly illustrated back in 1971 by philosopher Judith Jarvis Thompson.
To understand this better, we need to look at the next question. Is it physically independent? It is absolutely dependant on another human being for its continued existence. Without the mothers life-giving nutrients and oxygen it would die. Throughout gestation the zygote-embryo-fetus and the mothers body are symbiotically linked, existing in the same physical space and sharing the same risks. What the mother does affects the fetus. And when things go wrong with the fetus, it affects the mother. Anti-abortionists claim strange fetal dependence cannot be used as an issue in the abortion debate.
Just because someone is afraid to speak the truth doesnt make it any less true. And in reality, the Pro Choice defenders fear is unfounded. They are right, and they can state it without hesitation. A human indeed does not become a full person until consciousness. And consciousness doesnt occur until well after the birth of the child. But that does not automatically lend credence to the anti-abortionists argument that it should, therefore, be acceptable to kill a three-month-old baby because it is not yet a person. It is still a potential person. And after birth it is an independent potential person whose existence no longer poses a threat to the physical wellbeing of another.
A defense of Abortion, wikipedia
To use personhood as an argument for abortion rights, therefore, also leads to the argument that it should be okay to kill a synopsis 3-month-old baby since it hasnt obtained consciousness either. Anti-abortionists use this perceived problem in an attempt to prove their point. In a debate, a pro Choice defender will rightly state that the difference between a fetus and a full-term human being is that the fetus isnt a person. The anti-abortion activist, being quite sly, will reply by asking his opponent to define what makes someone into biography a person. Suddenly the Pro Choice defender is at a loss for words to describe what he or she knows innately.
We know it because we lived. We know we have no memory of self-awareness before our first birthday, or even before our second. But we also quickly become aware of the problem we create if we say a human doesnt become a person until well after its birth. And we end up saying nothing. The anti-abortionist then takes this inability to verbalize the nature of personhood as proof of their claim that a human is a person at conception. But they are wrong. Their logic is greatly flawed.
In other words, if youre human, you must be a person. Of course weve already seen that a simple hair follicle is just as human as a single-cell zygote, and, that unique dna doesnt make the difference since two twins are not one person. Its quite obvious, then, that something else must occur to make one human being different from another. There must be something else that happens to change a dna-patterned body into a distinct person. (Or in the case of twins, two identically dna-patterned bodies into two distinct persons.) There is, and most people inherently know it, but they have trouble verbalizing it for one very specific reason. The defining mark between something that is human and someone who is a person is consciousness.
It is the self-aware quality of consciousness that makes us uniquely different from others. This self-awareness, this sentient consciousness is also what separates us from every other animal life form on the planet. We think about ourselves. We use language to describe ourselves. We are aware of ourselves as a part of the greater whole. The problem is that consciousness normally doesnt occur until months, even years, after a baby is born. This creates a moral dilemma for the defender of abortion rights. Indeed, they inherently know what makes a human into a person, but they are also aware such individual personhood doesnt occur until well after birth.
Philosophical aspects of the abortion debate, wikipedia
Identical twins the share the exact same short dna, and yet we dont say that one is less human than the other, nor are two twins the exact same person. Its not the configuration of the dna that makes a zygote human; its simply that it has human dna. Your hair follicle shares everything in common with a human zygote except that it is a little bit bigger and it is not a potential person. (These days even thats not an absolute considering our new-found ability to clone humans from existing dna, even the dna from a hair follicle.) your hair follicle is just as human as the zygote, but we would never defend its human rights based solely. And neither can the anti-abortionist, which is why the following two questions become critically important to the abortion debate. Is it a person? Its merely a potential person. Websters Dictionary lists a person as being an individual or existing as an indivisible whole; existing as a distinct entity. Anti-abortionists claim that each new fertilized zygote is already a new person because its dna is uniquely different than anyone elses.
And again, anti-abortion activists often mistakenly use this fact to support their cause. They are fond of saying, an acorn is an oak tree in an early stage of development; likewise, the zygote is a human language being in an early stage of development. But having a full set of human dna does not give the zygote full human rights - including the right not to be aborted during its gestation. Here, try this: reach up to your head, grab one strand of hair, and yank it out. Look at the base of the hair. That little blob of tissue at the end is a hair follicle. It also contains a full set of human dna. Granted its the same dna pattern found in every other cell in your body, but in reality the uniqueness of the dna is not what makes it a different person.
that it is not a potential person. Left to grow, it will always be an ameba - never a human person. It is just as alive as the zygote, but we would never defend its human rights based solely on that fact. And neither can the anti-abortionist, which is why we must answer the following questions as well. Again, Pro Choice defenders stick their feet in their mouths when they defend abortion by claiming the zygote-embryo-fetus isnt human. Its dna is that of a human. Left to grow, it will become a full human person.
Of course its alive. Its a biological mechanism that converts nutrients and oxygen into biological energy that causes its cells to divide, multiply, and grow. Anti-abortion activists often mistakenly use this fact to support their cause. Life begins at conception they claim. And they would be right. The genesis of a new human life begins when the egg with 23 chromosomes joins with a sperm with 23 chromosomes and creates a fertilized cell, called a zygote, with 46 chromosomes. The single-cell zygote contains all the dna necessary to grow into an independent, conscious human being. It is a potential person. But being alive does not give the zygote full human rights including the right not to be aborted during its gestation.
Free abortion, essays and Papers
Abortion 7 Essay, research Paper, all of the arguments against abortion boil down to six specific questions. The first five deal with the nature shakespeare of the zygote-embryo-fetus growing inside a mothers womb. The last one looks at the morality of the practice. These questions are: it alive? Es it have human rights? Lets take a look at each of these questions. Well show how anti-abortionists use seemingly logical answers to back up their cause, but then well show how their arguments actually support the fact that abortion is moral. Pro Choice supporters who claim it isnt do themselves and their cause a disservice.