Monday, April 04, 2016

Equal Rights, Unequal Wrongs

Christopher Kaczor, the author of The Ethics of Abortion, writes the following in the subject piece:

The common intuition "shared, in general, by advocates and opponents of abortion alike” that late abortion is worse than early abortion seems to undermine the basic equality of all human beings and to help justify early abortion. In fact, it implies no such thing. Circumstantially, no two cases of intentional killing of the innocent are exactly alike. Intrinsically, however, every case is identical, as an act that unjustly deprives the victim of life. That it is worse to kill a human adult than to kill a human being in utero, and worse to kill a child already born than to kill one at the embryonic stage, does not in any way justify the killing of the latter. 

You can read Kaczor's piece in its entirety here.

Stand firm in Christ and stand firm for the reborn,
Chase 

2 comments:

Stardusty Psyche said...

"That it is worse to kill a human adult than to kill a human being in utero, and worse to kill a child already born than to kill one at the embryonic stage, does not in any way justify the killing of the latter."

The author fails to establish that abortion of an embryo is the taking of a human life.

Ted Turner once said he could prove abortion is not murder because we do not have funerals for miscarriages. While not a rigorous scientific argument, I think it does fairly raise the point that we intuitively do not ascribe human life to a miscarried embryo or fetus because we do not practice the rituals typically associated with the death of a live human being.

I would say, more specifically, that living human tissue is not necessarily a human life. Simply because the cells are alive, and the cells are human cells, and these human cells contain complete DNA, does not make that collection of cells a human life. This is demonstrated every time a human organ is removed and disposed of as medical waste.

A human being must have a functioning human brain. At the end of life when the brain ceases to function then that life has ended, even if, as is sometimes the case, the rest of the body continues to function.

An embryo without a functioning brain is not a human life.

Chase said...

Hello again Stardusty Psyche,

The author fails to establish that abortion of an embryo is the taking of a human life.

My understanding is that this is because the intent of the author was to address the claim that because we intuitively think a late term abortion is worse than an early term abortion the equality of all human beings is undermined. The intent was not to make a case for the humanity of the preborn.

Regarding whether or not an abortion takes a human life see the end of my comment.

Ted Turner once said he could prove abortion is not murder because we do not have funerals for miscarriages…

First, because we grieve the death of a preborn human differently than the death of a born human says nothing about whether the preborn are human or not or that they are less valuable. It only says something about the psychological state of born humans; nothing more.

Second, I think you will be hard pressed to establish that no one has ever had a funeral of some kind for a miscarried child.

I would say, more specifically, that living human tissue is not necessarily a human life…

Agreed, a collection of human cells does not a human being make. However, unlike an organ, the cells of the human zygote work together in a coordinated manner for the well being of the zygote. This is a trait typical of beings. And since it is a human zygote this being is a human being.

A human being must have a functioning human brain. At the end of life when the brain ceases to function then that life has ended, even if, as is sometimes the case, the rest of the body continues to function.

An embryo without a functioning brain is not a human life.


Regarding brain function see here.

Finally, does abortion take a human life? Here is what the scientific community says:

“All organisms, however large and complex they may be when full grown, begin life as but a single cell. This is true of the human being, for instance, who begins life as a fertilized ovum.”

Dr. M. Krieger, The Human Reproductive System, 88 (1969)

“The formation, maturation and meeting of a male and female sex cell are all preliminary to their actual union into a combined cell, or zygote, which definitely marks the beginning of a new individual.”

Dr. B. Patten, Human Embryology, 43 (3rd ed. 1968)

“So, therefore, it is scientifically correct to say that an individual human life begins at conception, when egg and sperm join to form the zygote, and this developing human always is a member of our species in all stages of its life.”

Dr. Micheline Matthews-Roth

“It needs to be emphasized that life is continuous, as is also human life, so that the question ‘When does (human) life begin?’ is meaningless in terms of ontogeny. Although life is a continuous process, fertilization is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new, genetically distinct human organism is thereby formed.”

Dr. Ronan O’ Racily and Dr. Fabiola Muller, Human Embryology and Teratology, 2nd ed. (1996)

For more see here.

It seems that you are saying that prior to brain function, the embryo is not human and dead. If so, you are standing in contrast to what we know of biology and embryology. Please clarify.

Respectfully.