Friday, September 30, 2011

Thoughts On... Abortion

I know this is a hot button topic for people, and normally I don't discuss it. But I recently read a blog post discussing the topic and I can't really stop thinking about it. My opinion on abortion is.... unusual. I'm good with intellectual analysis, so let's take this from an intellectual perspective. The issue of abortion seemingly revolves around two key issues: the definition of life and when life starts. But for me, there are two more factors: the definition of murder and human nature.

Normally, when the battle between pro-lifer & the pro-choice movement starts it's about where life begins. Pro-life says life begins at conception, pro-choice says it begins at birth. And this then leads to the battle on how to define life. But let's stick to where life starts. On this part, I have to go with the pro-lifers. Life starts at conception. Before you get all bent out of shape, hear me out. Science believes that life on this planet started when certain amino acids got together and created the first living cells. And that's the key. Even today, modern science recognized that there are LIVING SINGLE CELL ORGANISMS. (For example, the amoeba. If you do some research, I'm sure you can find more.) So, if a single cell can be alive, then a fertilized egg is alive. Period.

The question is what does "alive" mean? Enter the definition of life. In my experience with science, there are 2 types of life: sentient (self-aware, conscious, like human life), non-sentient (not self-aware, like an amoeba). Pro-lifers believe that a fetus is a person, where pro-choicers tend not to agree. And then the fighting begins which pretty much kills any further debate. Personally, I agree with the pro-choicers on this. A fetus is not a person. There is no question that a fetus is alive, since life begins at fertilization. However, to be a person it must SENTIENT life. A single cell is alive, like an egg or a neuron. But a single cell can't process feeling or emotion, but billions of them together, like with a brain (billions of neurons) or a baby (trillions of cells, including those neurons) CAN! For me, that is what makes a person.

Here's where my THIRD factor, the definition of murder, kicks in. Now, most people agree that murder is when one person kills another person. I don't subscribe to that theory. It's too messy because it has too many variables, the biggest of which is the definition of a person. My definition of a person works for me, but not for everyone. For example, if an alien kills a human (Greedo kills Han Solo) is that murder? Technically, if the alien isn't a person then it isn't murder is it? Under my definition the alien is a PERSON, just not a human one. For others, it may not. Think about it.

The one single universal quality of all life that humanity has encountered so far is that it's all mortal. In other words, EVERYTHING DIES. The key to my theory of murder is WHEN that death takes place. My definition of murder is the unnatural stoppage of life. I don't care who did it, just that a life was ended before it was supposed to. You pick a rose, that's murder. You stab a girl, that's murder. You abort a fertilized egg, that's murder. And for me, murder is wrong. 

Now the whole point of this debate is whether or not abortion should remain legal. This is where my fourth criteria, human nature, comes in. Let's say that abortion is re-classified as illegal. That won't stop people from having unwanted pregnancies. It's in human nature to have unprotected sex, that won't EVER stop. What will stop if abortion is illegal is the capability of reputable doctors to perform abortions. Reputable medical schools would have to stop TEACHING how to do it in fact, so there would be an entire generation of doctors who won't know how to do it at all. So to get an abortion, a woman would have to go to a non-reputable doctor. Which would lead to the very real possibility of her death. Now, I believe that one murder is bad, TWO murders is even worse. So, I support abortion being legal.

However, I can't personally support abortion. I just don't think it's the right thing to do. After all, I consider it murder! But with this last bit, my own personal code of ethics comes in. I've stated in previous posts, that I can't expect the rest of the world to live by my rules. The rest of the world, by definition, would include the hypothetical pregnant woman who I'm in the relationship with. According to my ethics, my rules do not override her decisions. So, while I can't support abortion personally (and I never will), in the end the choice must rest solely on her shoulders. Experience has taught me that lesson all too well.

And that's my stance on the subject. I don't really fall in either camp, but reside in the small overlap of both theories. I don't ask that you agree with me, dear readers, as I said this is a very hot button topic that leads to intense debate and serious fights. But, I hope that after reading this post, you'll at least understand my point of view. Share your point of view in the comments section!

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