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Jack Sisson's Life Ethics Blog

We must find new ways through many ethical issues, especially regarding bioethics, medical ethics, and criminal justice. Jack Sisson's 'Life Ethics' blog focuses on numerous areas of concern, including the philosophical and ethical dilemmas surrounding stem-cell research, abortion, medical research, and health care.

At the risk of coming across as existantial, can you prove I exist? Conversely, can I prove you exist? At the heart of the beginning of life issue exists a single fundamental question: What is real? Are we capable of defining what a soul is and when the human body begins to posses it?

Soul: (the immaterial part of a person; the actuating cause of an individual life)
via: Princeton

It seems to me the same people that want the government keeping their hands out of the private individual's personal lives are the same people that are adamant about having the government protect their right to kill a living being. These same people do not take into consideration that they do not know when human life begins. Scientific studies have speculated an exact date but can you really say that at 13:42:05 on the Nth day that you now have a human life? Puberty doesn't start at midnight when you turn 13. (Believe me--I was 5'3" until I was 17). As a country, we deem you to be an adult when you turn 18. You can vote...smoke...legally get it on with significant other but are you an adult? Think back to your 18th birthday. Sure, some of your friends were adults--you might have been too. But we all developed differently and we were all at different points--mentally, physically and emotionally. Why is it that when we're only an inch long and backstroking in the womb we all are identical in every way? More importantly, who are we to be deciding this. Until we can quantify what a soul is and when it appears/develops, we have no business deciding what is a human life and what is not.

I think it’s important to consider the language we use when discussing this topic. Inflammatory word choices like “right to kill a living being” only serve to intensify the extreme emotions found at both ends of the spectrum. Unfortunately, the “right to life” group loves this tactic -- baby killers, murder, or, my recent fave, “the dismemberment of living, distinct human beings.” That the Catholic Church supports its rigid stance with statements like “two deaths are better than one murder” shows not only to what depths the level of discourse has sunk, but it also shows a frighteningly callous disregard for women.

I find it ironic that people who embrace terminology like “right to life” have no problem at all with limiting a woman’s right to live her own life. They instead seek to dehumanize her, to restrict her control over her own body. I earlier mentioned the importance of “word choices.” If the “right to life” contingent were honest, they’d stop referring to women as women and call them what they really seem to think of them – breeders.
You raise a lot of very valid points and you're absolutely right that the level of discourse has sunk. I do, however, defend my use of right to kill a lving being because in the most basic terms that's what it is.

There is a living "thing" (call it what you want) and the law in question deals with its termination. I don't think it's murder and I certainly don't think it's dismemberment. I would never call pro-choice pro-death.

I realize that by not being a woman anything I say past this point will only be taken at half-value and that's fine--seriously, it's fine because I'll never know what it's really like so I have no choice but to speculate. I think "breeders" is a going a little too far. No one is strapping women down in little pods (in a literal sense anyway) and forcing them to churn out babies. I think the point the Conservatives attempt (poorly most of the time) is that if you're to "get it on" you'd better be prepared to deal with what is a very real result: a baby.
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You said that because you're not a woman, I'll never know what it's really like so I have no choice but to speculate. That's fine. You should have stopped there. But then you go on to say if you're to "get it on" you'd better be prepared to deal with what is a very real result: a baby.

Whoa. Let's repeat that with emphasis added: if you're to "get it on" you'd better be prepared to deal with what is a very real result: a baby. Notice anything troubling about it now?

I'd like to meet the man who's dealt with that very real result in any way that comes close to how a woman must deal with it. You were right the first time. You'll never know what it's really like.
For cripe's sake. Listen to the two of you: "I'm a man but I think women need to be responsible for [fill in the blank]" vs. "You, are, a, MAN and thus have no right to assert anything you're asserting!"

Maybe there's some kind of, how would you put it?, devil's advocacy going on here. But neither of those extreme positions makes any sense (except, of course, to those who hold them :).

The issue is the issue, irrespective of the speaker's gender. Calm down, both of you. You're both saying things that the other one needs to listen to. Take a Zoloft or something.
fljerseyboy, you're right. I brought it off course.

maxie, regardless of my personal feelings I will be the first to admit that you bring up serious issues that need to be addressed. I'd like to encourage you to write a separate post on the main page regarding specifically Womens' Rights Issues in this subject. Just let me know and I'll grant you the necessary permissions to post.
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