Abortion And
Defining 'Human Being'
Gil Gaudia

Graphic Rule

From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Gil Gaudia"
Subject: Re: Positive_Atheism_Letters_Section
Date: Sunday, June 03, 2001 11:44 PM

This "higher mental functions" definition for human might sound formidable when arguing against anti-choice forces (since a fetus lacks these things). But it would open the door to slippery-slope charges that you're now suggesting it's okay to euthanize retarded people, people with Alzheimer's, victims of stroke, or people who otherwise lack the full capacity for human thought and behavior (just as the fetus lacks this capacity). It could also open you up to a very bizarre inversion of logic which would say that since we've been executing criminals since the stone age, we've thus been saying all along that a criminal is mentally deficient or not fully human.

The fact that the fetus is not viable, and the fact that the fetus lives inside the body of another human, nudges me over to support allowing abortion as a medical procedure -- unconditionally during certain times (first trimester in the U.S.) and at any time when certain conditions prevail (such as: partial birth when it looks like the newborn won't be viable; when the mother's life is clearly in danger). This argument is not subject to nearly as many problem as the others I've heard, and is, in my opinion, the main ethical reason we must permit abortion. The practical reason, of course, is to keep the practice under control, to keep it from going back underground and needlessly maiming or killing (once again) thousands of women per year.

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine
Five years of service to
     people with no reason to believe

Graphic Rule

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