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Why arguments against abortion always fail, part I.


One of the first things the new Republican majority has done in Congress is to escalate the battle against legal abortion.  Republicans have long been seeking the world’s most restrictive law on abortion. Today, in the midst of what most people would regard as far more pressing issues, Republican leadership is seeking to further restrict women’s access in ways that ultimately alienated even many Republican women members of Congress  The reasons for their fanaticism go deeper than the reasons anti-women’s rights groups give for opposing abortion.  They go to the root of who they are.

My book Faultlines  argues the American culture war, in which the abortion issue plays such a central role, reflects a conflict between an ancient deeply hierarchical agricultural rural civilization and a new industrial urban civilization incorporating far more egalitarian values.  This new world began arising in Western Europe and the US, beginning in the 1700s. It is neatly symbolized by the year 1776, when the American Revolution and Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations both appeared.  Every modern culture carries a deep division between these two different ways of life, and in the US it was first exemplified by the Civil War, and now by the culture war.

Central to this culture war are how women, the feminine, and nature are treated.  This is why issues involving women’s rights or a sustainable world are so often linked on both sides. Those hostile to women’s rights are often also hostile to respecting nature.  The reverse is true for those of us supporting women’s freedom. Yes, there are exceptions, but the broad pattern is clear.

This and some columns to follow explore why this is so. To make my case I must show why arguments against legal abortion fail, why we modern Pagans mostly line up on one side of these issues, and illuminate the core reasons why opponents of women’s freedom are so implacable. These reasons have nothing to do with the supposed rights of a fetus.

To begin, I need to show why no argument succeeds in making a rational case for outlawing abortion.  Here I will discuss what I believe to be the strongest argument against it. In one form it shares an insight with those of us who love the other-than-human as well:  “Life is beautiful and sacred, and at its core full of love. Therefore abortion is wrong because it is anti-life.” More generally, many anti-choice people argue that since it is wrong to kill peaceful people and since a fetus is human, it is wrong to kill a fetus.

Life and Death

Let ‘s begin with the issue of life and death, for abortion involves killing a fetus or a fertilized egg.  If life is sacred what are we to make of causing death?

Life’s abundance is intimately connected to the presence of physical death.  Without carnivores initiating a co-evolution of predators and prey into increasingly competent organisms, we would have not evolved beyond the level of blue green algae. From the coming into being of the first multi-celled beings, death has been an inevitable outcome for each, even if we escape predation.  Life is a process of beings going through cycles of birth, growth, maturity, decline, and death, as we recognize and honor through the Sabbats of the Wiccan Wheel of the Year or similar other Pagan practices.

Imagine a world where beings could reproduce but never died. Most beings reproduce far more individuals than are needed or desirable to carry on the species.  In time, and not much time, such a world would become a hell of suffering from starving overpopulation. Most young plants and animals are eaten, but their being eaten enables other beings to flourish. Universal immortality would be no blessing to beings that reproduced.

In this respect I have always liked Gary Snyder’s observation: “‘What a big potlatch we are all members of!’  To acknowledge that each of us at the table will eventually be part of the meal is not just being ‘realistic’  It is allowing the sacred to enter and accepting the sacramental aspect of our shaky temporal personal being.” (p. 19) 

Physical death is a part of life, not an assault on it. Its presence has enriched the forms and beauty life takes.  As such, in its own way death is sacred. What lies beyond is mystery, but those who love life have no reason to regard death as something amiss with the world, something that needs ‘fixing.’

This point sets the broader context for discussing abortion.

Human Life

Anti-choice advocates argue abortion ends a human life. Does it?

We need to be clear about what we mean by “human,” and the anti-choice crowd combines two different aspects of being human in arbitrary and confused ways.

Biologically at least 25 to over 30% of fertilized eggs become natural miscarriages.  But if it survives to birth and after, the embryo will become a caring human being. The embryo is indisputably biologically human. And we agree that killing human beings of no threat to other human beings is wrong. But does biological humanness provide the qualities giving people the moral standing appropriate to human beings?

It does not.

To see why, let’s start with mice. 

Why does a mouse lack human moral standing? Killing a mouse is not murder. When we prepare land for building a home we strive to make sure no human is injured in the process.  We feel no equivalent duty to mice. Why?  Is this difference in attitude simply an unexamined habit?  No.

We cannot enter into human style relationships with mice. So far as we know, mice do not know what it means to promise, they do not dream of their futures and the futures of their young, love others of no utility to themselves, or take responsibility for their actions.  Occasionally, under stress, mice will eat their young. I know of no human equivalent, and a great many human mothers certainly live under stress.

I am not saying mice have no moral standing. They do. But they do not have the same kind as human beings. A good person will not go out of his or her way to injure a mouse, and indeed will go out of their way not to do so.  Up to a point. In my view we have a responsibility to treat other beings with respect

  But this is not the same as treating them as equals.  

If we were to learn mice had the above human qualities, our relationships with them would become very different. We would recognize they were more like us than we have any current reason for thinking.  We could enter into complex meaningful relationships with them. They could arguably become moral equals.

            Now consider a hypothetical intelligent alien. Let us grant that such an alien can make promises, dream of its future and the futures of its offspring, love others for themselves, and take responsibility for its actions. Science fiction is filled with examples of such beings, and perhaps the universe is as well. Such an alien will not have our biology. We are more related biologically to mice, or even to an earthworm, mushroom,  or algae, than to the alien.

If such an alien was able to enter into friendly relations with us it would demonstrate a capacity for human style mental qualities far in excess of a mouse. We could relate to it as a peer.   Such an alien would arguably have ethical standing equal to a human being. Killing a peaceful alien of this sort would be committing murder in a way that killing a peaceful mouse is not.

If you can follow me this far then I think it is clear it is the relative capacity to enter into ethical relationships that determines moral standing. The issue is relationships and not biology.

The moral standing of a fetus

A fetus gains in moral standing the more it possesses human capacities, not human biology. It seems obvious a fertilized egg cannot promise, cannot make plans, and has no self awareness. If a fertilized egg fails to implant itself in the womb we do not bewail the death of a human being. We do not even know it happened.

Early term fetuses have these human relational qualities only as distant potentials. Future mothers care for their fetuses because of what they might become, not for what they are.  A fetus is no more a human being than an acorn is an oak tree. In both cases the value here lies in their potentials.

Most of us who love babies, and I am one, love them because of what they are as well as for what they might become. Babies can enter into relationships with us, relationships that deepen daily before our eyes, until they become relationships between equals. But from the very beginning, babies relate. A mother who abandons her baby to die is not analogous to a pregnant woman who has an abortion.

From the fertilized egg to a baby we observe a developing capacity to move from potential human moral characteristics to actual ones. Newborn babies still cannot enter into as many complex mutual relationships as can adults, but they interact with us in ways a fertilized egg never can. We are observing a continuum. There are legitimate grounds for arguing over how the moral standing of a fetus changes as it develops.  But there is no reasonable argument that at least at most stages it enjoys anything approaching moral equality with a human being.

Given this simple fact, it seems to me that over most of the process leading towards giving birth it should be entirely the woman’s choice whether or not to carry a fetus to term.

My argument transforms how we should regard women desiring to give birth.  She should be honored for doing so, and not considered simply a container whose life must now be subordinated to another’s. In other words, treated as a slave.  Rather, a mother should receive credit and honor for one of the most powerful actions a human being is capable: bringing another into the world and taking responsibility for seeing that it is raised to adulthood, either by herself and her family, or by giving it up for adoption.

But the fetus-is-human argument is more than logically incoherent.  It also has a very dark side.

Moral nihilism

Making biological qualities the standard for moral standing ultimately destroys morality. Those using it unwittingly undermine the case for any morality at all.  They begin by turning the mother into a means to achieving “life’s” ends. The well-being of the fetus, an organism far removed from the morally human, has priority over the woman. A pregnant woman is essentially a slave of the fetus.  Her freedom ends when it conflicts with serving it. A woman having a miscarriage can be, and in strongly anti-choice countries, is deemed a murderer and can be incarcerated for decades. [It turns out women have also been jailed in this country, only not yet for so long. added 1/25/15]

 This argument destroys the only powerful case for ethics: that beings such as humans are never properly simply means to others’ ends. They possess intrinsic qualities that forever separate them from objects. Now the mother’s qualities do not matter over simply serving reproduction, and so serving entities that do not come close to any human ethical capacities at all.

The implications arising from this reasoning are as dark as they can be. As my opening comments explained, human life emerged from a long evolutionary process in which successful life forms consumed less successful ones. In purely biological terms a species’ success is defined by the fitness to survive physically over time. Therefore any weakness within a species undermines its long-term viability in a competitive world. From this perspective a successful moral system is much like animal husbandry: it is good for humanity when it does not preserve such weaknesses.

Historically this view led directly to eugenics: the plan to eliminate ‘less fit’ humans to ‘improve the race’.  The US was one of its major centers, and its support here came from across the political spectrum. Some but not all conservatives, liberals, and progressives considered themselves its backers.. They accepted the logic of subordinating morality to biology. America’s eugenics programs were admired by the Nazisbut here gas chambers for eliminating the unfit were only discussed whereas in Germany they were ultimately built and used.

Anti-choice advocates arguing “the fetus is biologically human and so has human rights” thereby turn women into means for ends separate from their well-being denying the reality of human rights.  They legitimize a style of reasoning that works better for eliminating the unfit than for protecting zygotes, thereby incorporating amoral nihilism into the core of Western ethics under the misleading claim of being “pro-life.”

Honoring mothers

Life is sacred and its core is love, but love is relationship and a fully human life is a life deeply embedded in caring relationships.  The love at its core emerges into our world through relationships. We become fully human only through our relations with the world and with other human beings. Even the most advanced fetuses have taken only the first steps along this path. They are not fully human in any way that counts morally.

It is the mother who carries a fetus to term, risking her life and usually committing to many years of service in raising the child to adulthood who merits praise.  Far from being a vehicle or slave, she should be honored. But is it no accident that the most anti-choice people and cultures are also the most dismissive of women’s value beyond being mobile wombs.  As to why this is so, a full explanation requires a few more essays, but this is the beginning. And by eliminating what I think is the strongest argument against abortion, it stands alone as worthwhile as well. 

There is no tension between honoring life and regarding it as sacred and fervently supporting a woman’s decision as to whether or not to participate so intimately in bringing another life into the world.


On Saturday I corrected some minor errors in biology that reflected a man's ignorance of the birth process. I appreciate that error being brought to my attention.

Last modified on
Gus diZerega DiZerega combines a formal academic training in Political Science with decades of work in Wicca and shamanic healing. He is a Third Degree Elder in Gardnerian Wicca, studied closely with Timothy White who later founded Shaman’s Drum magazine, and also studied Brazilian Umbanda  for six years under Antonio Costa e Silva.

DiZerega holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from UC Berkeley, has taught and lectured in the US and internationally, and has organized international academic meetings.

His newest book is "Faultlines: the Sixties, the Culture Wars, and the Return of the Divine Feminine (Quest, 2013) received a 'silver' award by the Association of Independent Publishers for 2014. It puts both modern Pagan religion and the current cultural and political crisis in the US into historical context, and shows how they are connected.

His first book on Pagan subjects, "Pagans and Christians: The Personal Spiritual Experience," won the Best Nonfiction of 2001 award from  The Coalition of Visionary Resources. 

His second,"Beyond the Burning Times: A Pagan and a Christian in Dialogue" is what it sounds like. He coauthored it with Philip Johnson. DiZerega particularly like his discussion of polytheism in Burning Times, which in his view is an advance over the discussion in Pagans and Christians.

His third volume, "Faultlines: The Sixties, the Culture War, and the Return of the Divine Feminine," was published in 2013 and won a Silver award from the Association of Independent Publishers in 2014. The subject is obvious, and places it, and the rise of goddess oriented spiritual movements and our "cold civil war" in historical context.

His pen and ink artwork supported his academic research in graduate school and frequently appeared in Shaman’s Drum, and the ecological journals Wild Earth, and The Trumpeter. It now occasionally appears in this blog.


  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ Saturday, 24 January 2015

    I too support a woman's right to choose when and if she will become a mother. I also agree with your argument that a fetus does not have the same moral standing as a human being. However, I think the dividing line is not the enlightenment, but patriarchy. It is patriarchy not agriculture that decreed that a man must pass his essence and his property on to male children he can be certain are his--which in turn means that no woman can be free to control her own body. I think the Republicans rightly sense that the right to choose undermines the patriarchal control of women.

  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega Saturday, 24 January 2015

    I think we are talking a little past one another. The Enlightenment was itself pretty patriarchal, but initiated a style of reasoning that generated a civilization that began undermining patriarchy. I think patriarchy is a natural development within agricultural societies, and I think we probably agree on that. It was far less evident, maybe absent, in hunting gathering ones where there usually were strong gender differences but the boundaries were fluid and both were respected. It was the rise of far more egalitarian ethos of the modern world that began undermining it. Think of what happened to marriage when love became a completely adequate reason for it, rather than it being entirely or largely an economic, political or family oriented institution. I think the logic of marriage for love led to ease of divorce for both parties, women's owning their property, and even to gay marriage.

  • Jamie
    Jamie Saturday, 24 January 2015

    Mr. diZerega,

    I got your book for Christmas...looking forward to reading it!

    Great post.

  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega Saturday, 24 January 2015

    Thank you Jamie. I hope you like it.

  • Bill Bittner
    Bill Bittner Sunday, 25 January 2015

    Very thoughtful, reasoned and logical. Great post.

  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega Sunday, 25 January 2015

    Thank you. There will be one more, a shorter piece about spirits that want to be born and are stymied by an abortion. This is an issue some Pagans have encountered. Then I will look at the broader meaning of the so-called 'pro-life' movement.

  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega Tuesday, 27 January 2015

    I guess rather than reading my article you have a stock post you spread around to muddy the discussions, obscure arguments, and puff yourself up with an entirely undeserved self-righteousness.

  • Wayne
    Wayne Tuesday, 27 January 2015

    Muddy the discussion and obscure arguments? No, I am presenting clear and present logic and science. You were addressing the present Republican pro-life legislation, were you not? Well, the legislation places bans on 20 week abortions, which I addressed in my comment in a large section. I am not a Republican, and I mostly don't agree with them on anything. But one thing I do agree on is that abortion should be rare and have standards. Self-righteousness? I simply believe life should have value and not be disposable. Stock post? Do you mean to say I have a set of established arguments I use regularly? Well, I might somewhat, and you have the same pro-abortion talking points that people spread around as well. Good day.

  • Wayne
    Wayne Tuesday, 27 January 2015

    I mean, you're Wiccan, aren't you? What does your rede say? Harm none, do as ye will. In other words, as long as you're not doing harm, you can do what you want. It doesn't say, harm none who are outside the womb, or even who are human. It says do no harm. Are you not doing harm to a developing baby in the womb when you rip it out and throw it in the trash or burn it? You are interfering with a Natural course of life by using a form of violence to bring it to an end. That's harm. Not that religion should rule the government, but this is, after all, a religious forum and could therefore be relevant to the discussion.

  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega Tuesday, 27 January 2015

    I gave arguments and you ignore them. I also wrote a book that in part discusses the rede and you obviously haven't read it. To my mind you are spouting off and ignoring the points I made, presumably because you cannot deal with them.

    I suggest writing your arguments on your own blog and see whether anyone wishes to engage you. While here, address my arguments or you are simply trying to hijack the discussion. And I won't waste my time.

  • Wayne
    Wayne Tuesday, 27 January 2015

    You accuse me of ignoring your arguments because "I can't deal with them." When have you addressed a single piece of factual information I have presented in my comments? You haven't. You simply ranted about how I was basically stupid and didn't know what I was talking about. Exactly which arguments are you claiming that I ignored? I stated my stance on abortion, and why I held that stance, nothing more. Sorry if I didn't try to pick your article apart and respond to everything, but I just don't have time for that.

  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega Tuesday, 27 January 2015

    Wayne- This is my last response to you unless you demonstrate the capacity to engage in reasoned discussion. I have carefully laid out an argument that explicitly covers several of your points. If you lack the capacity to follow it, it is not I who call you stupid, (which I have not), it is you who demonstrate to any attentive reader that you cannot follow an argument other readers have.
    I am through with you until you prove willing to engage in careful reasoning.

  • Wayne
    Wayne Wednesday, 28 January 2015

    Alright, I'll go through in detail this afternoon and see exactly how you have "addressed" my arguments already.

  • Wayne
    Wayne Wednesday, 28 January 2015

    "This new world began arising in Western Europe and the US, beginning in the 1700s

    I'm not sure exactly what you're suggesting here, but if it is that the ancients always supported abortion and that anti-abortion is a modern idea, you are deeply wrong. The Ancient Greek Hippocratic Oath clearly states to NOT provide an abortion, because the purpose of the doctor is not to harm.

    You also talk link anti-abortionists to a war against women's rights, and what you fail to understand is that we don't see it as a woman's right, because we don't believe a parent has the right to take their child's life. That's not a right to us, and we can fully support mothers and children, and a woman's right to equal existence, without supporting the extermination of their young.

    "These reasons have nothing to do with the supposed rights of a fetus."

    Actually, the baby should be at the core of the debate because, after all, the argument in large part is whether or not it is a life.

    "Physical death is a part of life, not an assault on it."

    So what gives you the right to make the call as to who should live or die? Why do you get that privilege? And I would certainly very much argue that forcing death upon someone or something IS of course an assault on the existence of life.

    "The embryo is indisputably biologically human."

    Which is the development stage when many abortions take place. So, by your own admission, a human being is losing their life. And the present pro-life legislation you are complaining about does not even include this. It stops abortion at the obvious viable stage of 20 weeks and beyond, although I am sure there are reasonable exceptions, like the life of the mother.

    Your mice analogy is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard, so I'm going to skip that section.

    "A fetus gains in moral standing the more it possesses human capacities, not human biology. It seems obvious a fertilized egg cannot promise, cannot make plans, and has no self awareness. If a fertilized egg fails to implant itself in the womb we do not bewail the death of a human being. We do not even know it happened."

    The very definition of the word fetus is "little one." You also go from talking about a fetus to a fertilized egg. A fertilized egg is more of a zygote. A fetus is actually a developing baby in the womb. Even a baby near delivery is called a fetus by scientific standards. And I assure you, human rights are certainly based on biology. If you are not human because you cannot make plans or promises, then a newborn, by that definition, is not human. And if you are not human because you are not self aware, then I suppose mentally ill or disabled people who lack that capacity are not human either. And I honestly question the argument of self awareness with an unborn child. By around 20 days, its heart starts beating. Even in early stages of development, it can respond to stimuli. And around 20 weeks, loads more has started to set in to constitute self awareness, such as pain reception.

    "Newborn babies still cannot enter into as many complex mutual relationships as can adults, but they interact with us in ways a fertilized egg never can."

    Again, you are confusing a fetus with more of a zygote. And babies can very much respond to their parents inside the womb. You can knock and they'll knock back at certain stages. If they can kick and move, then they can respond to and interact with us. You can even sing to your baby and the baby can recognize the mom's voice while inside the womb. Yet, somehow, they just don't interact with us. Right.

    "My argument transforms how we should regard women desiring to give birth. She should be honored for doing so, and not considered simply a container whose life must now be subordinated to another's. In other words, treated as a slave. Rather, a mother should receive credit and honor for one of the most powerful actions a human being is capable: bringing another into the world and taking responsibility for seeing that it is raised to adulthood, either by herself and her family, or by giving it up for adoption.

    I agree, by creating a child, the parents now have a responsibility to it. It's not called being a slave, it's called being responsible. Let me ask you this, why is it alright for the law to force men to take parental responsibilities from the time of conception but not the woman? Think about this for a second. From the time of conception, he has NO say whatsoever. It doesn't matter if he can't afford it or doesn't think he's ready. He is still at the mercy of someone else, subordinate as you would say, and once that child is born, the law obligates him to take care of it. Why do women get a bail out option from parental responsibility and men don't?

    "The implications arising from this reasoning are as dark as they can be. As my opening comments explained, human life emerged from a long evolutionary process in which successful life forms consumed less successful ones."

    We are beyond such barbaric times. If we are going to be reduced to such decrepitude, that means that anyone can take the life of someone who is less successful than them, or who they see as inferior or less than human. At this point, I have realized the core of your argument, which is to move away from the scientific material that a fetus is a human being, and define it yourself as not being based on human biology, but being based on what you personally consider to be worthy human qualities. That was called the Holocaust, sir, determining humanity based on worth and not biology.

    Your article really just talks in circles. It talks about how an unborn baby is human while not being human.

  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega Wednesday, 11 February 2015

    An additional point or two because I got very frustrated with the first part of your answer and didn't read the rest as carefully. You say a fetus can interact with its mother. I thought I made it clear that the case for abortion was not strong late in the term. For that reason.

    The anti-abortion crowd does not make a distinction between a zygote and a fetus. You do. But at what point does it shift? It's a continuum.

    I did not base rights on being able to make plans and rather explicitly said that babies begin entering into progressively deeper relationships culminating in fully human in the moral sense. You admit that when you say even late term fetuses can interact.

    What I believe to be 'worthy human qualities' as more important morally than biology is why I, and I imagine you, distinguish morally between human beings and other mammals. It is not just biology.

  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega Wednesday, 28 January 2015

    Thank you for doing the best you can. But your reply indicates you did not understand the column.

    The opening statement of mine you describe discusses historical context. It makes no claims one way or the other about abortion. Different cultures had different practices, and you would be appalled at some Greek practices, (Hippocrates was Greek) if you knew anything about them.

    You take my statement about life and death in the most universal sense, one applying to all life, and twist it into a defense of abortion. It is not. It is a statement of fact. The defense of a woman’s right to make choices regarding birth come later.

    I do not care whether you see your position as anti-women’s rights. Southern slavers saw their position as moral and in favor of freedom. They were also wrong.

    You dismiss the mice issue without ever saying why it is wrong- because you did not understand it. I explained very clearly why I was making it- and then compared the example to a hypothetical alien to drive the point home. By ignoring my entire argument about the personhood or lack thereof of the fetus and simply repeating what you have already incessantly said, you demonstrate you did not comprehend an argument many of my readers found pretty straightforward.

    Nothing you write afterwards deviates from this basic refusal to engage. At this point I think there really is no reason to continue the discussion.

  • Wayne
    Wayne Wednesday, 11 February 2015

    Anti-women's rights? Yes, that's the typical propaganda that people like you spread against those who dare to say that it's not right for a mother to kill her child. It's a good smokescreen. But in reality, it's not about "rights." I don't consider killing your child to be a right. Unless a woman's body has 2 heads, 4 arms, 4 legs, and 2 sets of DNA, I'd say that it's not just her body that's present. The body of another is subjected to her choices, and therefore it's not just about "her rights." For example, a woman who smokes and drinks during pregnancy can severely harm the child she is carrying, so obviously, it's not just her body she is impacting with her actions. And for some reason, mostly all people have a huge problem with mothers who drink and smoke during pregnancy but don't give a flip if she actually kills the child with abortion. Harming others is not within your protected rights. No, slave owners did not defend slavery on the basis of freedom, they defended it on the basis that black people were not as human as whites, not as worthy, not as important, inferior. Much like the way you have presented the state of unborn children. And I was mistaken about the 20 week comment. To be more specific, the earliest a child has been born and lived was 21 weeks and 6 days I believe. Nevertheless, throughout the stages of pregnancy, the child shows clear and present signs of brain function, response and interaction. It's clearly alive.

  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega Wednesday, 11 February 2015

    You are going round and round. In your previous comment you in many ways granted my point that what made something morally worthwhile in human terms was their capacity to enter into relationships. You imply you do not object to aborting a zygote, which is biologically human, but you oppose aborting a fetus because some fetuses can respond to people in their environment. That was my argument and is why I think the case for abortions in later term pregnancies is val;id in very narrow cases, such as the life or serious health risk to the mother.
    You your self have admitted the distinction I am drawing.
    I developed the mouse/alien example to make my point clear, but you failed to comprehend it. And still don't.
    Now you are falling back into the all fetuses are children malarkey. And it is malarkey. A fertilized egg slowly grows from a zygote into a fetus. At some point it very slowly begins to acquire a wider repertoire of responses. At the end it is able to live outside the mother, and be a baby. At the beginning you imply it is not morally considerable and at the end you say it is. Just like me. Roe vs. Wade seems to me a pretty good practical demarcation line as to where the distinction should be drawn. You have admitted the principle but seem intent on denying it has any practical value. So you call names.
    And you are wrong about slavery by the way. Southerners defended slavery as essential for others' freedom. They fancied themselves like the ancient Greeks. Hence such towns as Athens, Georgia. Slaves were considered inferior, but they were still considered fully human. That is why if your horse kicked me, you are liable under all laws regarding slavery, and if your slave kicked me, the slave was liable.

  • Wayne
    Wayne Thursday, 12 February 2015

    No, what I pointed out was how your arguments talk in circles, and how they were purely philosophical. You talk about how a child is a child, but it's not a child, because it doesn't meet your philosophical definitions of what is a worthy human being. You consent to it being biologically human, but your personal view of what human worth entails, does not meet the requirements of being human. How many others have made that decision for people throughout history and how has it looked? Ask Germany.

    "Now you are falling back into the all fetuses are children malarkey. And it is malarkey. A fertilized egg slowly grows from a zygote into a fetus. At some point it very slowly begins to acquire a wider repertoire of responses. At the end it is able to live outside the mother, and be a baby. At the beginning you imply it is not morally considerable and at the end you say it is. Just like me. "

    I'm not sure whose posts you are reading, but I highly doubt it's mine. You and I are NOTHING alike in this. Even a baby near the time of delivery is called a fetus. It does not lose its status as a baby, nor its protection under law past a certain point, because of that label. I am against abortion at ANY stage unless necessity applies. Necessity means things like the life of the mother. Being inconvenienced is not necessity. However, even in conditions when the woman's health is threatened, they may be able to deliver the baby and save it as well. Babies are being delivered and saved these days without finishing their time in the womb.

    And the argument central to the acceptability of slavery was that blacks were inferior to whites. That's just common sense for anyone who has actually studied the history.

  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega Thursday, 12 February 2015

    Are you able to understand English? I have always said the case for not allowing abortions for late term fetuses except for the woman's health is a strong one. Your certainty as to knowing my argument gets in the way of your actually understanding it.

    'My 'personal view' of what is human is the nearly universal view of why we regard humans as morally different from mice. That you fail to grasp this point is another reason I am becoming convinced you are entirely irrational on this issue.

    And now you are backtracking on the zygote, making it the moral equivalent of a late term fetus. This demonstrates to me the intellectual and moral emptiness of your position . Your equation of my argument with Nazi Germany or eugenics demonstrates for any rational reader who has followed this thread that you lack the honesty or capacity to understand an argument that clearly rejects that interpretation.

    Your willingness to sacrifice the woman's health in favor of a fetus convinces me I am, again, wasting my time with a heartless ideologue. Let's call it quits because I am uninterested in anything you have to say further on this issue. If someone thinks in the muddle of your passions there is a rational thread of thought or openness of heart worth pursuing, let them try and show what it is.

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