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3 years ago  ::  Mar 29, 2011 - 4:21PM #1
Bezant
Posts: 1,338
Starting simple

If 'pro-choice' (any other term you prefer as more or less equivalent) supporters could tell me

1) what is personhood

2) Why should personhood determine the legality of abortion at [period of time] of pregancy?

Feel free to correct my statements or add to them.
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3 years ago  ::  Mar 30, 2011 - 7:26PM #2
Mmichael
Posts: 157

Mar 29, 2011 -- 4:21PM, Bezant wrote:

Starting simple

If 'pro-choice' (any other term you prefer as more or less equivalent) supporters could tell me

1) what is personhood

2) Why should personhood determine the legality of abortion at [period of time] of pregancy?

Feel free to correct my statements or add to them.


1)


If it's my personal definition of "personhood" that you want, I have to be perfectly honest and say that I don't really have one. When I read the many, many various definitions of "personhood" at Wikipedia (religious, philosophical, political, and legal definitions that go back more than 2000 years), I don't find myself thinking, "That's the one! I'll go with that one!". Instead, I'm left with more questions about what "personhood" means. I certainly would not automatically reject a definition of "personhood" that includes a fetus, embryo, or even a zygote in the womb. But, to be honest, I do not tend to think of a fetus, an embryo, or a zygote as a "person". And, even if I don't think of a fetus after the point of viability as a "person", I do not oppose laws prohibiting abortion after viability as along as there are exceptions for the woman's health and life. So, it's possible I could think, "A viable fetus is not a person in my mind, nevertheless I support laws that protect the life of a viable fetus".


2)


I don't know that "personhood" should determine the legality of abortion. We execute criminals who almost everyone would call "persons". We don't first "strip them of their legal personhood" in order to be able to execute them. We legally kill "persons" in war, in self-defense, and in some states to protect our television sets. We don't first "strip them of their legal personhood" in order to be able to kill them. Some Pro-Lifers want the courts and/or the legislatures to grant "personhood" to the fetus, the embryo, the zygote, and the fertilized egg in the womb so they can say, "Aha! This is a 'person' now, so you can't terminate it's life". But, that would not change the fact that the fetus, embryo, zygote, or fertilized egg is Inside The Woman's Body. And, this is a "sticking point" for many Pro-Choicers. That's why some PCers oppose laws banning abortion even AFTER viability. Some Pro-Lifers posting here have told me that I'm being irrational for supporting laws banning most abortions after viability and that my views are contradictory. They may be right. But, aren't Pro-Lifers who support the right to abortion in cases of rape and incest being "contradictory", too? If I had to choose between "All abortions are banned, period", or "All abortions are legal, period", I would choose "Legal". But, that's not reality. I don't have to choose between the two. The vast majority of Americans don't want to or feel the need to choose between those two. And, we hope it never comes to that.


I probably said more that you were asking for, and I'm sorry that I didn't even really answer the questions you asked. But, thanks for asking anyway!


 

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3 years ago  ::  Mar 31, 2011 - 6:38PM #3
JRT
Posts: 340

 


It is obvious that both the female egg and the male sperm have a form of life but no one would call either a “person”. When they unite to form a zygote we certainly have a form of life. There is a potential person there and a great many people would claim that it actually is a person. Let us grant for a moment that the zygote is a person and let us call that person Mary. I chose a female name since all embryos are female until about the sixth or seventh week.


 


Now, we all know that a zygote develops into an embryo through the process of cell division. Every now and again the first cell division does not produce a two celled embryo but rather a second zygote --- twins. Did Mary suddenly become two persons? Was Mary two persons to begin with? Was Mary even a person to begin with? Let us set those questions aside for the moment and grant that the second zygote is also a person whom we shall call Margaret. It is entirely possible that one or both of these zygotes could divide again to result in triplets, quadruplets, quintuplets etc. The same question applies as to whether one person can became two, three or more persons. When does a person become a person?


 


These questions might be difficult enough but now it becomes even more complex. Rarely the two zygotes (Mary and Margaret) merge together again to form a two celled embryo. This is called a “chimera”. Who is this new embryo? Is it Mary or is it Margaret? This new embryo, this chimera, let us call it Mary, develops to term and is born. There is now no question at all that Mary is indeed a person. But here is the odd thing, some of the organs of Mary carry her genes but other organs carry the genes of her twin sister Margaret. So Margaret continues to exist within Mary or perhaps it is Mary within Margaret. Do we have two persons within a single body?


 


These very serious questions of personhood arise only if we assume that the soul is infused at conception and that the brand new zygote is fully a person. Is there a more reasonable understanding? I believe there is. Personally I believe that the developing fetus becomes a person only when it is able to survive outside the womb. Sentience occurs at about the same point in the pregnancy very late in the second trimester. For this reason I am against abortion beyond the twentieth week. Otherwise I believe that abortion should be legal, it should be safe, it should be available and it should be the woman’s informed choice but most important of all --- it should be rare.


 

the floggings will continue until morale improves
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3 years ago  ::  Apr 22, 2011 - 12:24PM #4
faith713
Posts: 3,892

All pre-born human beings are people. Until we as a society accept that fact, abortion will continue to be falsely justified.

"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."--John14:6

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.-- John 3:16

"We love Him because He first loved us."--1 John 4:9-10

"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear ... "
1 John 4:18
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3 years ago  ::  Apr 26, 2011 - 12:50AM #5
MysticWanderer
Posts: 1,328

Apr 22, 2011 -- 12:24PM, faith713 wrote:


All pre-born human beings are people. Until we as a society accept that fact, abortion will continue to be falsely justified.





Society still allows people to be killed so recognizing the fetus as a person changes mot one part of Roe v Wade.

"Not all who wander are lost" J.R.R.Tolkein
You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do. ~Anne Lamott
"Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain."
Friedrich von Schiller
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3 years ago  ::  Apr 30, 2011 - 2:20PM #6
newsjunkie
Posts: 5,744

Mar 29, 2011 -- 4:21PM, Bezant wrote:

Starting simple

If 'pro-choice' (any other term you prefer as more or less equivalent) supporters could tell me

1) what is personhood

2) Why should personhood determine the legality of abortion at [period of time] of pregancy?

Feel free to correct my statements or add to them.




1. I don't have a definition of "personhood." If one wants a definition, it's likely that criteria would be specified that could be measured in order to determine whether or not an entity is a person. It's difficult to measure the characteristics of an individual fetus that is inside another person if the person carrying the fetus objects to such measurement, unless of course you want to take away the right of a person to refuse to subject to examination of their insides. I have seen arguments that dolphins should be considered "non-human persons," because of their intelligence, self-awareness, and other parameters. So it is clear that there is not widespread agreement on what "personhood" means. That's why the legality of abortion in the US isn't dependent on a definition of "personhood."


2. The legality of abortion should not be determined by personhood, and it isn't based on that. 

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3 years ago  ::  Jun 26, 2011 - 8:47AM #7
anidominus
Posts: 105

Mar 29, 2011 -- 4:21PM, Bezant wrote:

Starting simple

If 'pro-choice' (any other term you prefer as more or less equivalent) supporters could tell me

1) what is personhood

2) Why should personhood determine the legality of abortion at [period of time] of pregancy?

Feel free to correct my statements or add to them.



Morality in its simpliest most natural form is self defining.  Meaning, any person or society can come up with any kind of morality they wish.  They can come up with a morality to kill 40 year old adults if they wish; everything is fair game.  This explains why we have so many diffrent definitions of personhood. 


However, in the USA, we stake our freedoms on the fact that our "Creator" gives us our rights (not the consitution).  So, we must understand 1st and formost who this creator is.  Using logical analysis one can conclude this creator to be the creator of the Christian/Jewish Bible/Torah therefore, we must obtain our definition of personhood from this book.


Man was created in God's image so anything that has that image is protected under the "Do Not Murder" clause of the 10 commandments.  God's image is transfered from parent to offspring.  God has never told us what specific cell count this transference takes place.  The reason for this omission is probably because like then, when the bible was written, we do not have the technical know how to properly deal with such a "moment" as when God's image is transfered to the newly created organism.  Therefore, in order to insure we do not violate God's law, we must assume personhood begins at conception until otherwise noted by God.


1)  An organism has personhood when it is made in God's image.


2)  Because nothing made in God's image can be murdered.


 


 




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3 years ago  ::  Jun 26, 2011 - 9:27AM #8
Iwantamotto
Posts: 8,202

anidominus:  However, in the USA, we stake our freedoms on the fact that our "Creator" gives us our rights (not the consitution).



And it's absolute bull.  People of the government decide rights.  Been that way since government started.  And which rights?  The good ol' USA only wanted to hear from the Rich White Playboy Club and didn't even consider anyone else real people (despite the fact it's obvious that we are dealing with "real" people ... and, no, slavery and sexism is NOT the same thing as calling a group of undifferentiated cells "not a person").  You were told states would have autonomy until they finally realized states are selfish assholes who only care about themselves and to hell with the country.  In fact, our country was so stupid this lesson had to be learned at least TWICE.  There are laws against eating ice cream on the sidewalk!  Bribing officials is called "political free speech".


Using logical analysis one can conclude this creator to be the creator of the Christian/Jewish Bible/Torah therefore, we must obtain our definition of personhood from this book.



Yeah, but you won't like the answer!  A fetus killed accidentally in a fight is worth about 50 bucks (I admit I don't know the true financial conversion), while killing the MOTHER ... you know, the one who CAN be productive in society and can theoretically make MORE children ... warrants DEATH.  John the Baptist said you can replaced with a rock.  God has no real issue with killing off men, women, children, animals, etc.  He tells us He thinks we're special, but I'm sometimes under the impression by the way He acts that He REALLY thinks us as "special" in another way.  In the Bible, you are expendable unless it amuses God to be otherwise.  For all the IMPORTANT characters in the Bible, there are countless "cannon fodder" characters.  They are merely red-shirts destined to crash and burn simply because SOMEONE had to.


God's image is transfered from parent to offspring.



Christianity likes to imagine A&E were "born" fully formed as adults.  "MAN" is made in God's image.  "EMBRYOS" are not even mentioned.


we must assume personhood begins at conception until otherwise noted by God.



God told you at length.  You have to be BORN to "count".

Knock and the door shall open.  It's not my fault if you don't like the decor.
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3 years ago  ::  Jun 26, 2011 - 1:59PM #9
anidominus
Posts: 105

Jun 26, 2011 -- 9:27AM, Iwantamotto wrote:


anidominus:  However, in the USA, we stake our freedoms on the fact that our "Creator" gives us our rights (not the consitution).



And it's absolute bull.  People of the government decide rights.  Been that way since government started.  And which rights?  The good ol' USA only wanted to hear from the Rich White Playboy Club and didn't even consider anyone else real people (despite the fact it's obvious that we are dealing with "real" people ... and, no, slavery and sexism is NOT the same thing as calling a group of undifferentiated cells "not a person").  You were told states would have autonomy until they finally realized states are selfish assholes who only care about themselves and to hell with the country.  In fact, our country was so stupid this lesson had to be learned at least TWICE.  There are laws against eating ice cream on the sidewalk!  Bribing officials is called "political free speech".


Using logical analysis one can conclude this creator to be the creator of the Christian/Jewish Bible/Torah therefore, we must obtain our definition of personhood from this book.



Yeah, but you won't like the answer!  A fetus killed accidentally in a fight is worth about 50 bucks (I admit I don't know the true financial conversion), while killing the MOTHER ... you know, the one who CAN be productive in society and can theoretically make MORE children ... warrants DEATH.  John the Baptist said you can replaced with a rock.  God has no real issue with killing off men, women, children, animals, etc.  He tells us He thinks we're special, but I'm sometimes under the impression by the way He acts that He REALLY thinks us as "special" in another way.  In the Bible, you are expendable unless it amuses God to be otherwise.  For all the IMPORTANT characters in the Bible, there are countless "cannon fodder" characters.  They are merely red-shirts destined to crash and burn simply because SOMEONE had to.


God's image is transfered from parent to offspring.



Christianity likes to imagine A&E were "born" fully formed as adults.  "MAN" is made in God's image.  "EMBRYOS" are not even mentioned.


we must assume personhood begins at conception until otherwise noted by God.



God told you at length.  You have to be BORN to "count".





In order to keep this disscustion about abortion I will simply agree to disagree with you regarding what you have said.  It's quite obvious we have an entirely diffrent understanding of scripture.  If you're intrested in continuing this conversation please make the appropriate thread in the appropriate forum and I'll be happy to discuss it with you.

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3 years ago  ::  Jun 27, 2011 - 11:22AM #10
watcher59
Posts: 1,606

Mar 31, 2011 -- 6:38PM, JRT wrote:


 It is obvious that both the female egg and the male sperm have a form of life but no one would call either a “person”. When they unite to form a zygote we certainly have a form of life. There is a potential person there and a great many people would claim that it actually is a person. Let us grant for a moment that the zygote is a person and let us call that person Mary. I chose a female name since all embryos are female until about the sixth or seventh week.


Now, we all know that a zygote develops into an embryo through the process of cell division. Every now and again the first cell division does not produce a two celled embryo but rather a second zygote --- twins. Did Mary suddenly become two persons? Was Mary two persons to begin with? Was Mary even a person to begin with? Let us set those questions aside for the moment and grant that the second zygote is also a person whom we shall call Margaret. It is entirely possible that one or both of these zygotes could divide again to result in triplets, quadruplets, quintuplets etc. The same question applies as to whether one person can became two, three or more persons. When does a person become a person?


These questions might be difficult enough but now it becomes even more complex. Rarely the two zygotes (Mary and Margaret) merge together again to form a two celled embryo. This is called a “chimera”. Who is this new embryo? Is it Mary or is it Margaret? This new embryo, this chimera, let us call it Mary, develops to term and is born. There is now no question at all that Mary is indeed a person. But here is the odd thing, some of the organs of Mary carry her genes but other organs carry the genes of her twin sister Margaret. So Margaret continues to exist within Mary or perhaps it is Mary within Margaret. Do we have two persons within a single body?


These very serious questions of personhood arise only if we assume that the soul is infused at conception and that the brand new zygote is fully a person. Is there a more reasonable understanding? I believe there is. Personally I believe that the developing fetus becomes a person only when it is able to survive outside the womb. Sentience occurs at about the same point in the pregnancy very late in the second trimester. For this reason I am against abortion beyond the twentieth week. Otherwise I believe that abortion should be legal, it should be safe, it should be available and it should be the woman’s informed choice but most important of all --- it should be rare.


 





The arrogance and irresponsibility demonstrated in this post is both mind boggling and frightening. Mind boggling because any human being thinks they have the wisdom, authority and judgement to make these kinds of decisions. Frightening because those who advocate such authority lose any sense of boundaries. The inconsistency of the line of thought renders it impossible to be taken seriously.


"Personally I believe that the developing fetus becomes a person only when it is able to survive outside the womb."


By this criteria it would be ok to kill kids until age sixteen or more. Anyone who has any significant contact with children knows it takes years to reach a level of development that would allow survival. Ten year olds certainly don't have the physical or mental capacities to survive autonomously. It is arguable that anyone under the age of fifteen can. This viability outside the womb argument is a strawman. To reach adulthood and complete autonomy people go through a developmental process. That process begins at conception. Assigning an arbitrary point in that process to establish "personhood" demonstrates a total lack of reasoned, thoughtful consideration or compassion. It also demonstrates a disturbing resemblance to the policies of some of the most sociopathic tyrants in history.


A society that kills it's children dooms itself to extinction. There's an ugly truth.

How strangely will the Tools of a Tyrant pervert the plain Meaning of Words!
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