Full Abortion Debate Argument
February 5, 2016
While this document originated at the wordpress “fightforsense” blog, and the most-recent version of it should always be findable there, all versions are declared by its author to be Public Domain, and may be copied/posted anywhere. It is an attempt to present the pro-choice side of the Overall Abortion Debate in a thorough way, such that all major “argument points” raised by abortion opponents are invalidated, while irrefutable pro-choice arguments are also presented. On-line discussions have revealed that when this is done, the abortion opponents are generally reduced to name-calling (which automatically proves they have LOST the Debate!).
First, the biggest problem with all anti-abortion arguments is that none of them are based on complete data. Many are actually based on nonsensical premises, such as the claim that “intrinsic value exists”. When asked to provide evidence supporting that “positive” claim, in alignment with Standard Debate Rules regarding the “burden of proof“, abortion opponents always fail to provide valid data. So why should the claim be believed, when it can’t even be supported with evidence, much less proved? And why should anyone accept an argument based on an unproved claim?
It is important to keep in mind that with respect to human Laws in a democratic system, the topic of abortion is as much a political issue as any other category of issue. The more people who support abortion rights, the more likely abortion will stay legal –and the more people who oppose abortion, the more likely a Constitutional Amendment might get passed to ban it. New people are constantly gaining a political voice, whether they be immigrants acquiring citizenship, or children reaching adulthood. They do not automatically always come with a fixed opinion regarding the Overall Abortion Debate, while old folks with strong opinions eventually stop voting. Well, the more that the arguments of today’s abortion opponents can be shown to depend on cherry-picked data, and that propagating their arguments depends on such fundamentally nonsensical statements as “This must be true because I believe it is true!”, the fewer converts there will be to their cause, in the long run. And so if documents like this one have a formal goal, it would be that of attempting to minimize the number of future converts to the anti-abortion cause, and maximize the number of future pro-choicers
A significant group of of anti-abortion arguments is based on the claim that morals are essential for a culture. That claim is incorrect two different ways. One is simply that existing sets of morals are provably arbitrary (go to enough different cultures, and ask whether or not it is moral to eat pork or drink alcohol, and see for yourself). In other words, general agreement upon what actually is or isn’t “moral” is lacking. Also, cultures like the Vikings thought rape and pillage and murder were OK when done outside those cultures; many cultures have less-blatant double standards, and manage to survive. It appears that so long as people inside a culture are willing to follow some set of rules, and if that culture survives, then the rules, however arbitrary, eventually get claimed to be “moral”. Do you think that any tribe of cannibals ever considered itself to be immoral? Hah!
The other way the claim is incorrect is that “ethics” can successfully replace cultural morals and be non-arbitrary (and even avoid double standards). While the historical data indicates morals and their arbitrariness came into existence “by fiat“, ethics can have a provably-verifiable foundation, such as the observation that “Persons need to get-along with each other, for best mutual benefits.” Rules of ethics merely need to be consistent with the foundation-observation, and in many cases they will tend to be equivalent to rules called “moral”. The most significant differences between the two sets of rules will likely revolve around the definition of “person”, about which more will be presented in this document later.
This document will be somewhat lengthy, simply because it is important to avoid problems associated with “cherry-picked data“. When abortion opponents present their so-called “arguments”, they always ignore the verifiable data that destroys their arguments. See above about morals and ethics for one example of that; another example concerns the Bible. It is known that human religious leaders wrote most of the Old Testament portion of the Bible (and decided what books to include/exlude, when constructing the New Testament). It is known that humans often lie to benefit themselves. It is known that the Bible promotes what could be called “a government of the People, by the religious leaders, for the religious leaders“. It is known that the bigger a population, the more tithes that religious leaders receive. So, how is it not obvious that any/all Biblical (or even Bible-inspired) injunctions against birth control exist simply to enhance the tithes that greedy religious leaders would eventually receive from an ever-growing population?
There is an entirely different issue associated with Biblical claims, one that doesn’t directly involve the concept of morals. That issue is the particular claim that humans are somehow inherently “special”. In terms of Debate, that claim is more equivalent to a “postulate” or “axiom” than to an “argument”. Postulates don’t have to be proved, but they don’t have to be automatically accepted, either. By claiming the axiom of human specialness is valid, some abortion opponents need no other rationale for their stand –if it is biologically human, it is too special to be aborted, see? Pro-choicers routinely deny the postulate’s validity with respect to human biology, of course –and at least one of the reasons why was described in the previous paragraph (the authors of the Bible were able to lie). Other reasons will be presented later in this document. It should be noted, though, that the acceptance of an axiom is usually/mostly a matter of “faith”; evidence is not required to have faith that some claimed postulate is true. That in turn means that should any evidence turn up against the claim, that data tends to be entirely ignored by the faithful –their claim is in-essence a cherry-picked data item!
Another problem with anti-abortion arguments is a failure to “think things through”. Religion-based arguments are particulaly susceptible to that problem, because they made many claims of the “this is the way the world works” category, which turned out to be totally false. The Earth is not at the center of Creation, for example. It should be obvious, therefore, that if some religion-based claim is proved to be false, any other claims that depend on the false claim are rendered invalid.
Which leads us to the topic of “souls”, and the fact that for many thousands of years, living flesh was considered to be so different from ordinary inorganic matter (like rocks) that it was associated with “life force”, part of a notion called “vitalism“. People didn’t want to believe that vitality vanished when some living thing died, but the cold hard fact is, living things have no more “life force” than battery-powered toys. –Which brings us to a more modern claim regarding souls, that they can exist entirely independently of the physical realm.
That claim, when “thought through”, means that many living things, like bacteria, can be claimed to not be associated with souls, while other living things, like humans, can be claimed to be associated with souls. Physical science has no way (at the time of this writing) to prove or disprove the claims. That’s a major reason why, in a nation like the United States, where “separation of Church and State” is important –essential, even– to prevent religious wars, many religious claims are simply ignored, when Laws are crafted.
Nevertheless, religious claims tend to exist in a non-vacuum, and for any one of them to have some chance of being Objectively Valid, it must not conflict with known scientific data, and it must not conflict with any other religious claims. But this is exactly how religion-based anti-abortion arguments fail to be valid!
It is a most-basic observation of the physical world that anything that can be created by some purely physical process can be destroyed by some other purely physical process. Thus, it is impossible for the purely physical set of biochemical reactions associated with egg-fertilization to produce an immortal soul, immunue to such things as falling into a black hole, or passing through a “quasar beam“, the energy jet sometimes associated with an Active Galactic Nucleus. For it to be possible that a newly-produced human zygote is associated with a non-physical soul, the soul must begin the association by some means independent of the fertilization-event –such as an Act of God. (There is a competing hypothesis, “reincarnation“, but since it has a relatively small following in the USA, this document will mostly ignore it, and focus on the Act-of-God hypothesis. Besides, most reincarnationists claim the event happens at birth or just after birth, which lets us avoid any direct concern about their hypothesis being relevant to the Overall Abortion Debate. That is, keep in mind that if souls do reincarnate, their immortality means they can afford to wait for babies to get born into families that want them!)
With that data and logic in the background, we can now acknowledge that some folks call abortion “murder”, using as a definition something like this: “It is murder to kill any entity that has an associated soul.” Well, if we assumed the definition was valid, how do we prove whether or not some entity has an associated soul? Why should mere claims be believed, such as the claim that multi-cellular organisms like rats and sheep and trees don’t have souls (so killing them is never murder), or the claim that single-celled human zygotes do have souls (and therefore abortion is murder)?
As previously indicated, though, the claim that human zygotes have souls is a claim that runs afoul of other facts and claims. Let’s start with one of the facts about “twins”, for example. It is known that several days after an ovum is fertilized, and several stages of cell-division have happened, an event occurs that can yield identical twins (or identical triplets, quads, …). QUESTION: If a zygote has an immune-to-physical-events soul that began its association with the complex biochemistry of a conception event, then where do the other souls come from, when each identical sibling begins to exist by a much simpler and entirely non-chemical process?
Here’s another fact about twins. The “fraternal” type always begins with at least two separate egg-fertilizations, each with its own complete and unique set of DNA. It is known, however, that two developing organisms don’t always stay separate. One fairly normal-seeming human body can be the result of two separate conceptions that joined forces —neither unborn human organism dies as a single overall body is jointly constructed. QUESTION: If each separately-formed zygote was associated with a soul, then does a human chimera have two souls? Do keep in mind that while human chimerism has only been identified within the last century, the mammalian reproductive process has allowed chimeras to get born during many millions of years —they might be as common as one-in-eight— and the standard religious claim has always been that a single human body only has one associated soul. REITERATING THE QUESTION: If it is insisted that every human zygote has an associated soul, then where does one soul go, whenever non-fatal joint-construction chimerism happens, resulting in just one overall human body?
Now let’s look at some other standard religious claims, which result in conflict with the claim that unborn humans have souls. Keep in mind the previous observation that a purely physical event can’t cause soul-association, that a physical entity’s association with a non-physical soul requires some type of non-physical event like an Act of God. So, consider the standard claims that God is knowledgeable and smart and loving….
A knowledgeable God will know that more than 60% of all human conceptions Naturally fail to result in live births, that DNA is entirely able to “form bodies in the womb” without assistance (look up “homeobox” or “hox” genes), that Life is basically a complex set of chemical reactions among molecular machinery, such that organic molecules are no more “special” or “vital” than inorganic molecules (see again the disproof of “vitalism”). Even such events as “kicking” in the womb can be completely explained in terms of biological processes (not to mention something that NASA discovered long after Evolution linked exercise to bone strength in a reduced-gravity environment). Thus there is no rationale by which an unborn human needs to have an associated soul, at any stage during pregnancy. Furthermore, it happens that for any given woman there is a particular probability that she might choose to abort a pregnancy, and God will know that exact probability, no matter how small.
Next, a smart God would know that the Natural failure rate alone is a good reason to avoid wasting the effort of giving them souls before birth. Also, a smart God would know at least two logical consequences associated with the previous data and abortion. (1) TWO choices are involved in making abortion murder. (1a) God chose to give the unborn a soul when it didn’t need to have one! (1b) Someone chose to abort. (2) “Entrapment” is an action that reflects poorly on the character of the one who entraps.
A loving God will not have entrapment-character. When a woman, who is claimed to be a fully-ensouled and fully-loved entity, becomes pregnant, that new unborn entity is initially soul-less (per most-basic observation previously mentioned). To claim that God loves a soul-less brand-new zygote as much as the ensouled woman is equivalent to saying that God loves an amoeba as much as the woman (both zygote and amoeba are single-celled eukayote-type organisms). Thus only if the zygote or amoeba acquires an associated soul could we say that God loves it and the woman equally (because in the end the claim is that only souls matter, and bodies are irrelevant). THEREFORE, on what basis would a knowledgeable, smart, and loving God give an unborn human a soul it doesn’t need, just so that a woman could be condemned, if the probabilities fall such that she chooses to abort?
The preceding means that when abortion opponents claim that unborn humans have souls, they are by-default also claiming-without-realizing-it (without thinking things through!) that God is ignorant and/or stupid and/or spiteful, instead of being knowledgeable, smart, and loving. OR, their initial claim is as nonsensical as it is inconsistent with standard claims about God! And a second argument will be presented later, leading to the same conclusion, that God would give souls to unborn humans only by acting differently from the standard claims about God.
A key point regarding this “full argument” is that the more data is presented, the more that the pro-choice side of the Debate is supported. There is NO verifiable data that automatically makes abortion a bad thing in this day-and-age! If it was associated with a high maternal death rate, that could be an automatic disqualifier –but abortion isn’t associated with a high maternal death rate, so long as modern medical facilities and well-trained practitioners are available. Every objection ever raised by abortion opponents has a fundamental flaw of one sort or another, usually related to cherry-picked data. For example, the claim that abortion increases the chance of breast cancer fails to include the data linking alcohol consumption by teenage girls to breast cancer –just how many women got drunk how often before they got pregnant, and later got abortions and breast cancer? Meanwhile, there are arguments for allowing abortion, such as when rape or incest occurs, or if the pregnancy is “ectopic”/life-threatening, which most abortion opponents are willing to accept. And there are also other arguments for allowing abortion, which no abortion opponent can refute, despite any lack of accepting those arguments.
One such (irrefutable) argument for allowing abortion is this (and several others will be presented later): Our human global population explosion is very real, involving an increase of extra human mouths-to-feed at a rate of approximately 80 million per year, and that population explosion has several measurable and detrimental consequences. Many abortion opponents claim that overpopulation is not a problem, but again they are cherry-picking data, focusing only on global food supplies, and completely ignoring other things, such as Global Warming, Deforestation, Overfishing, Aquifer Depletion, Hourly Species Extinctions, Farmland Encroachment by Cities, Poverty, Topsoil Losses, Algae Blooms, and vast amounts of Toxic Waste being dumped into the environment as a side-effect of all the Mass Production that is essential for supporting a massive population. It should be obvious that the more that abortions are allowed, and the less they are socially stigmatized by abortion opponents, the more that pregnant women might choose to abort, and the less the world becomes even-more overpopulated and even-more afflicted by the consequences of overpopulation. Indeed, if so many voluntary abortions happened that the global human population actually declined, then some of those problems could be stopped (like species-extinctions associated with human encroachment into wild places).
The preceding paragraph mentions something that deserves a bit more attention. There are women who strongly want to be pregnant; there are women who strongly don’t want to be pregnant, and there are women whose preferences regarding pregnancy can be any degree between those extremes. Abortions are most often sought by those who don’t want to be pregnant –but the the less strongly they feel about it, the more likely they can be affected by propaganda and denunciations spouted by abortion opponents. It is a fact that after an abortion is done, a woman might feel bad, but it is also a fact that abortion opponents want those women to feel bad, and do everything they can to encourage it. Therefore it is worth noting that in the former Soviet Union, where abortions were both legal and not stigmatized, relatively few women became more emotionally upset after getting an abortion, than could be explained in terms of “post-partum depression” (more about this later). Therefore humanity needs the pro-choice side to prevail in the Overall Abortion Debate, just to end the inflicting of horrid psychological damage, by abortion opponents, onto women who would prefer not to be pregnant!
We can note that one anti-abortion argument is about the number of couples wanting to adopt –but again abortion opponents are cherry-picking data, and completely ignoring all the starving babies in the world that could be helped by getting adopted. What rationale could there possibly be to insist that more get born for would-be adopters, so long as even one unadopted baby already in this world is starving?
For anyone who objects to the inclusion of “Poverty” on the above list of things caused by overpopulation, not only do we know that overpopulation does cause poverty, we also know that underpopulation generally increases individual wealth (the opposite of poverty). The Law of Supply and Demand is at the heart of both phenomena, and the Soviet Union went bankrupt at least partly because it wrongly believed the Law of Supply and Demand was erroneous. In actuality, the evidence makes it quite clear that whenever population rises faster than the production of resources, poverty increases. (And the rich get richer, because they, extremely often associated with business ownership, can pay lower wages when increased numbers of workers compete for jobs, and can also raise prices of goods as Demand goes up, which increases their profits two different ways at the same time.) Recently global population growth has been fairly steady at about 80 million per year. If we think of New York City as having 8 million people, are we building 10 such cities each year, to accommodate that population growth? Not hardly! Oppositely, the general wealth increases when resource-production rises faster than population (and almost everything qualifies as a “resource”).
With respect to data that supports the preceding, this statement is relevant: “The more that available disposable income shrinks, the more impoverished one feels.” It should be obvious that if available disposable income stops existing, if all of one’s income must be devoted to survival necessities, then actual poverty is near. Now compare the rates of petroleum production over the last few decades, to population growth, and the consequent effect on disposable income. In the last couple years –per when this document was originally written– petroleum production shot upward, prices fell, and available disposable income increased. Next, compare the jerky but ever-rising cost of “land”, which is basically a fixed supply resource, to population growth. The only reason the link between population growth and poverty can seem obscure is, a great many types of resources need to be taken into account, and some (like electronic products, but mostly because of size-shrinkage) have had a greater rate-of-increase in production than others (like copper).
There is an anti-abortion argument to the effect that its legality is “pushed” by those who would most profit from it (like abortion doctors), and while there may be some truth to it, the argument is based on cherry-picked data, ignoring the data in the the preceding paragraphs, which show that by opposing abortion, others can profit even more, via the Law of Supply and Demand. (And what of the greedy religious leaders mentioned near the start of this document?) Is it only a coincidence that so many business owners, well-versed in the Law of Supply and Demand, oppose abortion? Overall, we may have a situation where the data cancels out, and the argument is invalid for either side of the Overall Abortion Debate.
Another anti-abortion argument that cancels out involves the word “selfish” –as if no selfishness is exhibited by anyone hoping to profit from an abortion ban, as just noted. But now there are some more ways for abortion opponents to exhibit selfishness. Remember, reproduction typically involves passing one’s own genes on to the next generation and that is an inherently selfish act. Everyone wanting offspring should try answering this simple Question: Why YOUR genes, instead of genes belonging to someone else, who might be more worthy? (Regardless of “who decides?” and “what criteria?” for worthiness.) Someone who aborts is not selfishly passing genes on to the next generation, and is not going to be needing right-away extra resources for offspring –which means someone who aborts is giving someone else the chance to use those resources for offspring. But as usual, abortion opponents cherry-pick data, and conclude most abortion-seekers are “selfish”.
We can now look again at something mentioned near the start of this document, the fact that there is no such thing as “intrinsic value”. By Definition, such a value cannot change. And therefore the reason it doesn’t actually exist should be obvious: ALL valuations are Subjective, Relative, and Arbitrary. And all of them can and do change as circumstances change. For example, after abortion opponents falsely claim that “human life is intrinsically valuable”, they mysteriously become unable to explain where that value for adult men goes, whenever some emergency happens such that this announcement gets made: “Save the women and children first!” Think it through! If all human life is claimed to be intrinsically valuable, then why are women and children actually valued differently/more than men, in emergencies? And if highly-valued male children can grow up to become less-valued men, then that also violates the definition of “intrinsic”. The claim is thus provably false! (Which renders moot any need to prove that intrinsic value exists somehow, somewhere –since even if it did, human life doesn’t actually have it.)
It should be obvious that the postulated claim “humans are inherently special” is directly associated with the preceding (and following) provably-false claim that humans have intrinsic value. While falsifying that particular claim doesn’t falsify the postulate, simply because “valuation” and “specialness” can be two different things, anyone who is undecided with respect to the Overall Abortion Debate might begin to have reason to doubt the accuracy of the postulate. Especially when we look at various data-items, such as the fact that the octopus has an eyeball that is better-engineered than the human eyeball (does not have a blind spot and is immune to retinal detachment). And the fact that an orangutan weighing half as much as a sumo wrestler can easily win a tug-of-war. And the fact that a starfish can regenerate most of a destroyed body, while human bodies can’t do any such thing. And the fact that the vocal system of many birds is superior in terms of range of sounds produce-able, to the human vocal system. (And more later!)
To reveal other ways in which the claim of intrinsic value is provably false, we can begin by examining “human life” in greater detail…. A newly-conceived zygote doesn’t instantly begin dividing. If it has defective DNA it might die before ever dividing. It generally takes a bit of time, after the fertilization event, for a zygote to get its act together, for the events that often follow. During this bit of time a zygote is an organism that in some ways is similar to an amoeba or a paramecium –it is a single “eukaryote” type of living cell/organism. It is also hugely stuffed with food, supplied via the ovum, so that it need not seek any external nutrients for several stages of cell-division. Nor can it seek external nutrients, because the ovum also came with a kind of “shell” called the “zona pallucida”.
Fertilization usually takes place in a Fallopian Tube, which contains cilia that act to push the new human entity toward the uterus. Two important things are worth noting. First, there is no way that new human entity can reach the uterus all by itself. Second, it doesn’t care if it reaches the womb or not; it is quite capable of attaching to the wall of the Fallopian Tube and starting major growth in there. It also doesn’t care that in the process it will eventually kill its hostess and then die in turn. It is human life that is literally incapable of valuing human life to any degree whatsoever, not even to save either its hostess or itself.
We can now take a quick time-out to present another pro-choice argument that abortion opponents cannot refute. Here the key fact is, abortion is a tool, and humans and their ancestors have been tool-using organisms for so long that it is almost part of our essence-of-human-ness. In general, it is MUCH better to have a tool, and not need it, than to need a tool, and not have it. For an example of why, consider the topic of “nuclear explosives”. Some folks want them banned, because they are often designated as “weapons”. So, suppose they did get banned, and all the world’s stockpiles were dismantled and destroyed. Now imagine astronomers discovering a large asteroid on a collision course with Earth. It could literally be fatal for the human species to need the tool of nuclear explosives, and not have it available! Abortion-as-a-tool is not quite in the same category (there will be more about human extinction prevention later) –but it is still a tool that needs to be used on occasion (and remember, the more that contraception is used, the rarer ordinary pregnancies will be), to save a woman’s life. Well, if abortion was mostly illegal, then what doctors are getting necessary practice at doing it correctly? It would be essentially useless to be allowed only on rare occasions, if too few doctors were competent enough to do it reliably/safely! A woman might be anywhere in the world with a just-discovered ectopic pregnancy, and she could die before she and a properly trained doctor could be brought together in an appropriately-prepared surgery. On the other hand, if abortions are always legal, we have plenty of evidence that they would be done frequently enough so that whenever an abortion is actually essential to save a woman’s life, a competent doctor and an already-prepared facility can be easily and quickly found.
Getting back to the zygote, the new human entity might have a great deal of potential (“might” because it has a strong probability of Naturally dying before birth). Abortion opponents act as if they think any possible Potential for success must be fulfilled! They are wrong about that, too, of course, and it is easy to prove they are wrong. All they need do is stand at the edge of a high cliff, where the potential for a successful deadly fall exists, while saying, “Potential must be fulfilled!”…. Even if they modify their blather to something like, “Human potential must be fulfilled!”, they forget that human potential always includes successfully dying…and more than 60% of all zygotes are Naturally going to do exactly that, sometime between ovum-fertilization and birth.
We can note that one variant anti-abortion argument on the theme of “potential” involves the claim that another Einstein might get killed. As usual, though, the cherry-picking of data by abortion opponents fails to acknowledge that another Hitler might get killed by abortion, instead (or even also). In terms of potential benefit for humanity, the two possibilities cancel each other out! (It means that arguing about that aspect of “potential” is invalid for either side of the Overall Abortion Debate.)
It is extremely important to keep in mind that external help is required for a new human entity to have a chance of fulfilling its potential (first of all by getting pushed along a Fallopian Tube toward a uterus). That fact is one of the keys to realizing that human life does not actually have intrinsic value! For one thing, if it fails to reach the womb an ectopic pregnancy can result, which will result in death, either for both mother and offspring, or for the offspring only –so long as help is provided to save the mother by killing the offspring. Where exactly is the “intrinsic value” of the alive-and-human offspring in that situation?
There is a particular anti-abortion argument that specifically mixes up the two concepts of “potential” and “value” –the argument claims that abortion causes the loss of a “future of value“. Here the cherry-picking of data involves (first) ignoring the fact that just because potential exists, that doesn’t mean it will be a positive sort of potential, and (second) ignoring the probabilities regarding the fulfillment of potential. Remember that more than 60% of conceptions have no greater future than to Naturally die before birth. Third, the argument also ignores the fact that all valuations are Subjective, Relative, and Arbitrary. So, just because abortion opponents insist that unwanted unborn humans are associated with futures of high value, that doesn’t make them right, not in the slightest.
Getting back to biology, after a zygote’s first cell-division, the new human entity is now called a “morula”. Each cell divides in turn, and after about 5 stages of cells dividing (1 becomes 2 becomes 4 … becomes 32), the morula cracks open the shell and escapes. The entity is now called a “blastocyst”. Identical siblings can result if the morula breaks apart into more than one blastocyst, as it escapes through the cracked-open zona pallucida. Older women tend to have thicker ovum-shells that crack open to lesser degree, making it more difficult for the morula to escape, and those women tend to give birth to more sets of identical offspring, than younger women.
Another digression is now in order. An ordinary animal body typically has many types of specialized cells, which all descended from a single zygote cell. The zygote is thus known as a “totipotent stem cell”. Researchers know that all the descendant-cells have the full set of DNA that the zygote possessed. We can thus note that a muscle cell processes a specific section of the overall DNA code, telling the cell how to be a muscle cell. A nerve cell processes a different section of the overall DNA code. A lung cell processes yet another different section of the overall DNA code. And so on. But all those cells have all of the DNA code.
That means they also have the code that could tell them to behave like a zygote, and stem-cell researchers are specifically looking to discover how to tell an ordinary cell to stop processing its normal section of special-purpose DNA code, and start processing zygote code. We know it can be done, because cloning researchers have been able to do it, in a rather non-elegant way (extract DNA from a muscle cell and replace the DNA of an ovum, and the zygote code in that extracted DNA will get processed). We also know that a typical virus can tell a cell to stop processing its normal DNA code, and start processing virus-DNA code. Perhaps a specially-crafted pseudo-virus could make a cell start processing the cell’s own zygote code….
The preceding digression reveals that any ordinary cell that has full DNA is, potentially, equivalent to a zygote (except for being stuffed with food). We also happen to know that, without a zona pallucida, a single extracted cell can acquire externally available nutrients (see “growing meat in a Petri dish“). There is NO theoretical barrier to taking a cuticle cell, such as is routinely killed by the hundred during ordinary manicures and pedicures, and putting it in a suitable resource-rich container, and triggering it to start doing what a zygote does, eventually yielding an entire human body.
THAT just-described thing would qualify for the category of “external help provided, so that the potential for successfully building a whole human body could become fulfilled”. Well, since a cuticle cell is human and alive and has the potential to yield a complete human body, and abortion opponents insist that the potential of human life must be fulfilled whenever help can possibly be provided, why shouldn’t the cuticle cell be triggered to do that thing? In other words, if both a zygote and a cuticle cell merely need some external help to fulfill its potential, on what basis is a single human zygote so important, so “intrinsically valuable” to abortion opponents –while many of those same abortion opponents routinely go to beauty salons to get manicures and/or pedicures, during which equally-human and equally-alive cuticle cells are routinely killed by the hundred?
Basically, abortion opponents are so thoroughly wrong about the “human life has intrinsic value” notion, they don’t even understand what they are talking about! The zygote is NOT as special as abortion opponents want people to think! –Not when the average adult human body has more than 30 trillion cells with full DNA, each of which could be reprogrammed to do what a zygote can do, with just a little external help! All those living human cells just happen to right-now not be processing zygote code. That such a trivial difference leads to so much arguing about the “value” of a zygote merely reveals the ignorance, the lacking-in-data, of most abortion opponents –and the utter worthlessness of their arguments.
As a side-effect of the preceding, all “ethical dilemmas” that have been raised with respect to stem-cell research simply disappear. Human biology is just as much “machinery” as amoeba biology. The word “human” is simply associated with Prejudice, as will be explained in detail later. (Also, please keep in mind that simple ignorance, the not-knowing of something, is not a sin. However, the deliberate ignoring of data is a completely different type of ignorance, of which many abortion opponents are entirely guilty.)
It could now be noted that some pro-choicers call the unborn human entity a “clump of cells”. When referencing only a morula or a blastocyst, they are exactly correct. But a zygote does not qualify, simply because it is just a single cell, and an embryo, what a blastocyst can become after womb-implantation, is an organized group of cells, not a mere “clump”. Correct descriptions are important! –and abortion opponents aren’t the only ones able to make mistakes there. ALSO, the word “organism” can be bandied-about a little too freely. A zygote qualifies, but the morula and blastocyst actually don’t, because they have no overall organization (they are truly clumps of cells!). An implanted embryo (and later the fetus) is an organism because its cells are organized. If you see the word “organism” used imperfectly in this document, be assured it is mostly a consequence of the need to refer to all the major stages of growth by a single word (and so “entity” has been frequently used in this document instead of “organism”, but possibly not in every place where it should have been used).
It was previously pointed out that the womb is not essential for a blastocyst, because it can implant into a Fallopian Tube, or some other place, and manage to acquire resources for staying alive. If it really required a natural womb, then research into building artificial wombs, or even studies into the feasibility of male pregnancies, would be pointless –but the research continues. What the womb really is, is a thing that helps protect the mother from having her guts destroyed as the offspring grows, or when birth happens. The womb provides a detachable interface for an unborn mammal. When it works, the mother can have additional offspring. When it doesn’t, she tends to hemorrhage to death (unless advanced medical care is available –more on the logical consequences of that later). A male pregnancy is going to be far more dangerous for the male, than for the offspring.
The preceding facts destroy yet another anti-abortion argument, which claims that the womb is some sort of “ideal environment” for an unborn human, and thus it deserves to keep occupying a womb. NOPE! Menstruation possibly exists to protect a woman from invading microbes –and as far as her body is concerned, if a new human entity is unable to produce the “key” hormones needed to prevent menstruation, then that new human is as dispose-able as any invading microbe. There is another hurdle, in that a new human must produce key hormones to overcome (not always successfully) the woman’s immune system. Furthermore, a phenomenon known as “fetal resorption” is quite capable of utterly destroying a recently-implanted new human entity. If the womb was really an “ideal” environment for an unborn human, none of those challenges would exist for it!
As previously mentioned, ignorant abortion opponents think that just because some human cell happens to be processing zygote DNA code instead of, say, cuticle DNA code, the zygote is somehow more worthy of respect, or more valuable, than a cuticle cell. They blather about “unique DNA” without acknowledging the fact that, more than 60% of the time, a newly-constructed zygote has defective DNA and will Naturally fail to survive to yield a normal human birth. Meanwhile, the cuticle cell is descended from a successful zygote, and has DNA that was proved to work. Furthermore, their “unique DNA” blather is provably ridiculous another way, since whenever identical siblings begin to exist, none has unique DNA so long as any sibling survives (and abortion opponents will always want all the siblings to survive, of course). If a cuticle cell is stimulated to process zygote code, it can yield a body that is as much a twin of the adult from which the cuticle cell was extracted, as if both bodies had been born together.
The middle part of the previous paragraph means that a human cuticle cell actually has more potential than an average human zygote, to successfully yield a complete human body. But since cuticle cells are routinely killed, and a large percentage of the human population is quite willing to let that particular killing continue (by offering no objection to ordinary manicures and pedicures), it logically follows that “human life” does not actually have the “intrinsic value” that abortion opponents claim it has. Which was to be proved!
Next topic…one of the favorite words used by abortion opponents, in describing unborn humans, is “innocent”. But what is the actual truth of the matter? Consider a new puppy that has not yet been housebroken. When it dumps toxic biowastes on the carpeting, it is certainly guilty of doing that act –but it is also innocent in terms of understanding why that act cannot be tolerated. Which status carries more weight, the guilt or the innocence? The answer should be as obvious as the properly timed chastising given to the puppy, to discourage toxic-biowaste dumping in the house –it eventually prefers to dump its toxic biowastes outside, partly to avoid the chastisement. Other techniques described in the link, including appropriate praise, help the process. (Think “carrot and stick approach“.)
Now let’s consider a different organism, one that can more directly affect a human, like a guinea worm. It can live inside a human body, and while it does so, it steals nutrients for itself from the human body, and it dumps its toxic biowastes into the human body. The guinea worm is certainly guilty of those acts, while simultaneously is innocent of understanding why those acts are intolerable. Which status carries more weight, the guilt or the innocence? The answer should be as obvious as the focused and very deliberate effort to entirely eradicate that particular species, and make it extinct.
So now let’s consider an unborn human, after it implants into a womb. In addition to the hurdles mentioned several paragraphs ago, which it generates hormones to overcome, it also generates hormones to command the hosting human body to help it construct a placenta. The overall unborn human organism includes the placenta as a vital organ, as important as the heart. (Many abortion opponents overlook or ignore that fact about the overall organism, which leads them to flawed conclusions, and so more will be presented about it later.) The placenta allows the unborn human to steal nutrients from, and dump toxic biowastes into, the hosting human body. More, it also infuses addictive and mind-altering substances into the hosting human body! One addictive substance is “progesterone“, and the cessation of its production, when pregnancy ends (regardless by normal birth, or miscarriage, or abortion), has as its main “withdrawal symptom” a significant chunk of the psychological problem known as post-partum depression. Some women seek to get pregnant again just so they can feel good again! And the mind-altering substance is “oxytocin” –whenever a pregnant woman first agrees to adopt-out her offspring, but later alters her mind and decides to keep it, oxytocin is a major reason why. The unborn human organism is certainly guilty of all four of those actions, making it worse than a parasite like a guinea worm –while simultaneously it is innocent of understanding how intolerable those actions would be, if a human adult inflicted any one of them upon another human adult. So, which status carries more weight, the guilt or the innocence?
As a short aside, there is an anti-abortion argument that claims abortion increases the chance of a miscarriage –but again the data is cherry-picked, because miscarriages and normal births also increase the chance of miscarriage. A placenta leaves some scar tissue in the mammalian womb, which is a place that cannot accommodate another placenta (and can cause detachment/miscarriage). It doesn’t matter how the previous pregnancy ended. (Aside finished.)
Beginning a more extensive digression, we note that Nature includes Evolution, which leads to differentiation of species. It is known that if some population of one species is divided into two groups and separated for a long-enough time, random mutations and differences in the separate environments and individual preferences regarding finding mates will gradually cause the physical characteristics of the two groups to diverge, eventually producing two separate species that cannot interbreed with each other —although before reaching that final separation, there is a window of opportunity during which cross-group matings could yield sterile offspring. The most relevant fact about that, in this document, is “individual preferences“.
Next, it is known that when two animals compete for the same resources in a particular territory, they tend to fight to the death when they are different species, but usually don’t do that when they are the same species. The latter is a thing that helps the overall survival of a species, when its members fight each other –it should be obvious that fewer deaths equals a greater survival rate. Note that for the distinction in fight-outcomes to exist, a member of a species needs to be able to recognize other members of its own species, and recognize other animals as belonging to other species. This is a variation on the theme of the thing pointed out in the previous paragraph, regarding “individual preferences”. Here, the preference is for a member of the same species, over a member of another species.
The preceding data basically reveals the origin of Prejudice, as a biological consequence of the evolution of species. Therefore it is perfectly understandable why abortion opponents feel that human life is important and valuable, compared to other species —they are actually succumbing to biological impulses, and exhibiting Prejudice! They are not using their minds to overcome biological impulses and to think things through!
Finally, it is well-known that anything that can be done can also be over-done, and when the overdone thing happens to be human Prejudice, the result always leads to intolerable conflicts among humans. Thus it is possible to rationally state, “There is no such thing as ‘intelligent prejudice’, there is only Stupid Prejudice.” Stupid because Biology always acts without thinking, even if Evolution has guided it to often act in a way that makes sense. But “making sense” and “being smart” can be wildly different things! (Also, note that hypocrisy is always Stupid, too.)
So here is another pro-choice argument that cannot be refuted by abortion opponents.
It was previously pointed out that human overpopulation, and expansion into wild areas, is driving thousands of other species to extinction every year. But there is significantly more data to present, about that. It is known that human psychological health can benefit from interactions with Nature. Therefore it logically follows that the more diverse is the global ecosystem, the more it can benefit humanity. So, we have a conundrum in which the more humans exist, the more we need greater amounts of wilderness, not less –simply because the less there is, the more it must be shared –a “wilderness” simply cannot be any such thing if it is jammed full of visiting humans 24/7. So, for our own psychological health, we need to be able to say that other species are as important as our own! Since allowing abortion can help reduce the rate of human population growth, it logically follows that it is a useful tool in our repertoire, which we have available for saving other species from our onslaught.
Nevertheless, abortion opponents don’t seem to care. As far as they are concerned, humans are the Master Race, and all other species can die, if that is what it takes to allow humans to stay alive, after getting forced to be born, even when pregnancies were unwanted.
Which attitude is, basically, Idiocy. Logically, after we eat all the edible animals (and drive the rest to extinction), then we can ramp-up the killing of all the plants –how dare they occupy land needed for human habitation! Not to mention, an an all-plant diet can feed more humans. Except that plants make the oxygen we breathe! We can’t let ourselves kill all of them! Thus plants are (or should be), to humans, at least as important as humans! Stupidly Prejudiced Master Race Idiocy, promoted by biology-influenced unthinking abortion opponents, is nothing less then a one-way ticket to racial suicide —genocidal to itself!
So, with the digression done, having revealed the necessity to remove every iota of Stupidly Prejudiced Master Race Idiocy from the Overall Abortion Debate, we can compare that last highlighted question to the other two, regarding whether or not the guilt or innocence status of some entity carries more weight. Simple consistency lets us answer that “guilt” carries more weight, with respect to some entity committing awful actions while not understanding the awfulness of those actions.
As mentioned, if one adult did to another even one of the things that an unborn human does to its hostess, the actions would not be tolerated; the adult could be arrested and convicted of “assault”. It is well-known, however, that when someone is a victim of assault, the victim has the option to either insist the assailant be penalized, or to forgive the assailant (and not “press charges” —although the Legal System might press charges, anyway). With respect to legal abortion, it is also optional, such that the unborn assailant might be penalized, or might be forgiven. Abortion opponents, meanwhile, insist that the assailant must be forgiven, that the victim must have biological resources stolen from her body, that the victim must have toxic biowastes dumped into her body, that the victim must be dosed with addictive and mind-altering substances. Stupidly Prejudiced Master Race Idiocy is a very significant factor in many anti-abortion arguments! Meanwhile, it is irrefutable that abortion is the only way we have to make those actions, which don’t have to be tolerated, stop right now.
Stupidly Prejudiced Master Race Idiocy isn’t the only reason why many oppose abortion; there are at least three other reasons. First, many abortion opponents claim that the primary purpose of sex is reproduction, and therefore whenever sex leads to pregnancy, abortion is a violation of the Natural Biological Order of Things. Unfortunately for abortion opponents, they are not only exhibiting Hypocrisy, they are actually wrong with respect to human sex. Regarding Hypocrisy and the Natural Biological Order of Things, it is Natural for a human liver to be destroyed, resulting in death, if someone drinks too much alcohol for too many years. Do abortion opponents routinely object to that person getting a liver transplant? What about someone whose heart or kidney Naturally fails, getting a heart or kidney transplant? What about lost or decayed teeth getting replaced by dentures or artificial tooth implants? What about medical techniques that can save someone from getting gored by a bull, or stop fatal hemorrhaging at birth? And what about vaccination? A great many medical procedures exist in denial of human subservience to the Natural Biological Order of Things, and abortion is just one more! But abortion opponents claim humans must be subservient to the Natural Biological process of reproduction, exactly as if humans were just another species of mindless animals!
Well, to the extent that we claim superiority over Mindless Natural Biology, that is irrefutably a degree to which abortion should be allowed! –And any abortion opponent who claims that submission to the Natural Biological Drive to have sex makes us mere-animal organisms, anyway, …well, that abortion opponent is again cherry-picking data, by failing to include facts about all the times and places humans could indulge in sex, but choose not to do so. Most ordinary animals find the sex drive completely irresistible, whenever Mindless Natural Biology triggers it.
The main thing about human sex, though, is that while for many species the primary purpose of sex is indeed reproduction, the fact is, for humans the primary purpose of sex is “pair bonding“, so as to ensure that when children are born, maximum parental help might be available for raising those hugely helpless offspring (compared to other species –and again we can poke a hole in the claimed axiom of “human specialness” by asking, “Exactly how does such biological helplessness make us more special than other species?”). For humans, offspring are basically a side-effect of all the sex associated with pair-bond formation and maintenance. They are not automatically always wanted!
Second, abortion opponents frequently invoke the word “responsibility”. They are quite correct in claiming that when A causes B, A is responsible for B. But they make a subtle error in claiming that sex causes pregnancy! Think it through! If a pregnant woman indulges in sex, can she get pregnant again? If it was entirely true that “sex causes pregnancy”, she must! What about a woman who indulges in sex after having had a complete hysterectomy? If it was entirely true that “sex causes pregnancy”, she must become pregnant! And what about artificial insemination? If it was entirely true that “sex causes pregnancy”, artificial insemination (to say nothing of “in vitro fertililzation“) would never work!
Therefore the actual truth of the matter, based on non-cherry-picked data, is more subtle. Sex (among other uncertain things) actually/only sets a possible chain of events in motion. Those events involve a variety of independently-acting entities –in more detail, does the sex act force a sperm to fertilize an egg? No, a sperm acts independently of sex, else in-vitro fertilization would not be possible. More, the ovum itself has a say in the matter, of whether or not some sperm will fertilize it –and an ovum might reject all its suitors. Then there is the zygote, which is also an independently-acting entity. The sex act does not force it to begin dividing, becoming a morula. The morula itself is another independently acting entity, the sex act does not force it to crack open the zona pallucida and escape. And next is any blastocyst –the sex act does not force it to implant into a womb, and thereby begin an actually-detectable pregnancy. Last but not least is the embryo, which the sex act does not force to manufacture hormones that can, among other things, order a woman’s body to pause the next menstruation and help it construct a placenta. Many pregnancies simply don’t happen –or don’t finish– because the preceding events are only possibilities, not certainties.
So, if Person A tells Person B to kill Person C, Person A has some responsibility in the outcome, but not all of it, simply because Person B is an independently-acting entity. The previous paragraph listed no less than six important independently-acting entities, in-between the sex-participants and a detectable/continuing pregnancy. So now think about this: Whenever a woman wants to become pregnant, and it doesn’t happen, all the blame can often be assigned to just one of those intermediate independently acting entities. On what basis of fairness, therefore, can all the blame be assigned to the sex-participants, when an unwanted pregnancy happens? Logically, to the extent some of the blame can be placed elsewhere, not entirely faulting the sex-participants, that is an extent to which abortion should be, irrefutably, allowable!
Which leads us to a totally different point, regarding “cause”. Consider an artist who creates a painting –if it was not done “on commission” the artist has the full right to destroy that painting. A composer who likewise (not on commission) creates a piece of music likewise has the full right to destroy it. A sculptor who likewise creates a sculpture likewise has the full right to destroy it. A writer who likewise creates a novel likewise has the full right to destroy it. In fiction, an unencumbered mad scientist creating life in the laboratory has the complete right to destroy it. And so on. Well, to cause a pregnancy is equivalent to creating that pregnancy. Therefore, per the previous paragraph, to the extent the sex-participants can be legitimately blamed for a pregnancy (and were not commissioned to do it), they have exactly that much right to destroy it. Which can be combined with the right associated with the not-their-fault portion, and lead to the full and irrefutable right to abort. (And if the phrase “mad scientist” is replaced with “stem cell researcher”, an earlier conclusion can be reiterated, regarding the non-existent intrinsic value of stem cells. It is only because the researchers are messing with human cells, that Stupidly Prejudiced Master Race Idiocy makes the topic controversial.)
The preceding now leads to yet another provably worthless argument raised by abortion opponents, regarding the “say” a father might have, with respect to carrying a pregnancy to term. Part of that worthlessness can be exposed by simply pointing out the fact that the man gave his sperm to the woman. On what basis can he still claim ownership of it, to say nothing of claiming partial ownership of a possible consequence of its independent action? MORE, even if he could have some valid ownership claim of his gift, that actually only translates as ownership of 1/2 of the nucleus of one single cell, of the overall unborn human entity! The DNA in 1/2 a nucleus IS all the materiel provided by one single sperm, after all! All other cells merely have copies of the DNA in the half-owned cell –and copyright law is quite clear, regarding the making of copies. (One who legitimately obtains something can make copies of it, and the copyright holder won’t own those copies –but the one who made the copies is forbidden from selling or giving away the copies, unless all of them accompany the originally-obtained item.) In an unborn human, it did all the copying, and ALL the materiel for copying its DNA came from the mother’s body, starting with the food-supply in the ovum, but the vast majority gets stolen via the placenta. Even if abortion opponents claim the mother gave her ovum to the unborn human entity, less than a hundred cells could grow from that –all the rest grew from stolen materiel– and there will be many millions of cells by the time a typical abortion gets done. If you steal some wood to make a table, the owner of the wood is allowed to arbitrarily destroy the table.
A short digression away from the Overall Abortion Debate, into a not-entirely-unrelated social issue, may now be appropriate. If the woman can decide alone regarding abortion, why can the man be required to pay child-support if she decides to carry a pregnancy to term? The simplest answer once again involves non-cherry-picked data, such as our knowledge about the Natural and selfish drive to reproduce, to perpetuate one’s genes, our knowledge that success generally must be earned, our knowledge about the pair-bond and how helpless are infant humans, and our knowledge that all through Nature, it is generally the female that decides which male(s) will father her offspring. If a man is going to want a pregnancy aborted, why does he get involved with a woman who might decide to carry to term? Stupidity always comes with a price! (Digression ends.)
As mentioned numerous times in this document, abortion opponents cherry-pick data, instead of paying attention to all the facts. One more consequence is that they wrongly assume that there is only one way to be responsible, regarding an unwanted pregnancy (by carrying it to term). But consider a woman who knows all about how human overpopulation is driving thousands of other species to extinction every year –if she isn’t suffering from Stupidly Prejudiced Master Race Idiocy, she might think that abortion is absolutely the most responsible way to deal with an unwanted pregnancy!
The third main reason that drives a great many abortion opponents (besides Hypocrisy Concerning Natural Biology, Ignorance Regarding Responsibility, and Stupidly Prejudiced Master Race Idiocy), can be simplified into an argument over the definition of the word “person”. Whenever abortion opponents blather about the zygote qualifying as “an individual” or “a human life” or “a human being”, what they are really saying is, “just because some entity is human, it qualifies as a person”. Unfortunately for them, both ancient cultural data and modern scientific data reveal that almost all of them are lying. Nearly all of them actually do know what a person truly is; they just refuse to admit it, because such admission would be tantamount to acknowledging defeat in the Overall Abortion Debate.
First, ancient cultural data includes many tales of humans interacting with nonhuman intelligent beings in a peaceful way. It doesn’t matter if the tales are mythological (Arabian djinns), or legendary (Chinese dragons, European elves), or derived from religion (angels), or even if they are outright fiction (like the talking animals in Aesop’s fables). What matters is, cultures have LONG known that entities don’t have to be human to be equivalent to human persons. Therefore it would be quite rational to ask a simple question, “What do all such entities have in common, which makes them as superior to ordinary animals as humans claim to be, in terms of qualifying as persons?” After which another question should be obvious, “Do unborn humans, at ANY stage of a pregnancy, have that ‘in common’ thing?“
Second, modern scientists have proved that “personhood” and “human-ness” are two different and distinct concepts. The fact that the proof came about accidentally, as a consequence of modern medical advancements, is irrelevant. The source of that proof is embodied by any brain-dead human on full life-support. (Do not confuse that with the more difficult-to-diagnose “persistent vegetative state“.) The Law protects persons, but in the case of brain-death the life-support “plug” is allowed to be pulled. Why? Because a living human body is NOT automatically also a person! The person dies when the brain dies, and the living human body is, therefore and presumably obviously, irrelevant to personhood. And once again we can question the postulate of human biological specialness, because we have proof that human biology is unrelated to the concept of personhood!
PLUS, we have some data indicating that even with a normal living human brain, its biology is less-special than other brains, like dolphin brains. That data relates to the fact that many sounds dolphins make are ultrasonic, beyond the frequency-range of human hearing. That simple fact is nowhere near as important as the facts that higher frequencies allow greater communications speed —and that just about anything possible to happen in Nature tends to happen. (Sometimes it is even required to happen). Well, we know that dolphins have language. Our difficulty in understanding what they say to each other partly arises from not being able to hear everything they say, but likely also because their brain-biology, evolved for processing high-rate ultrasonic data, could very well let them talk several times as fast our brain-biology lets us talk!
Then there is modern research into “head transplants” —the medical technology for accomplishing that is just starting to exist –researchers wouldn’t even be considering it if there was no technology to keep a severed head alive, like we can keep a brain-dead body alive. SO, here is a Question that abortion opponents, whenever it is asked of them, try very hard to avoid answering. Because they know that admitting they know the answer, as mentioned above, is tantamount to acknowledging defeat in the Overall Abortion Debate. “If you were visiting a modern medical lab, and some madman with a machete cut your head off in an attempt to murder you, but rescuers arrived in time, do you want them to save your human body, or save your head, to save you-the-person?”
MORE, there are modern researchers studying the degree-of-personhood of dolphins. Why would they bother, if personhood and human-ness were inextricably linked? Like I said, it has been proved that the two concepts are independent of each other, and therefore it is perfectly reasonable for scientists to look for examples of non-human persons –and for dolphins, the more they are studied, the more they appear to qualify.
AND THEN there are researchers working on Artificial Intelligence. Very few claim a True Artificial Intelligence, equivalent to a human person, can never, ever be constructed; far more worry about whether or not such an entity would be inimical to our species. Relative to this document, though, the key fact is that a True Artificial Intelligence would consist of a very complex software program getting processed by advanced hardware –it would not qualify as a person if only its hardware –its body— existed. Not to mention, its hardware would be electronic, not biological, and certainly not human. A True Artificial Intelligence would absolutely be a non-human person.
SO: A person is a MIND, not a body! It is our minds that make us special, not our irrelevant human biology! So now consider that, measurably, the mind of an adult pig is far superior to the mind of an unborn human, at ANY stage of pregnancy, including just before birth. So, if an adult pig is just an animal organism, it logically follows that an unborn human is just an animal organism, too. At ANY stage of pregnancy! (It has been argued that if the unborn human deserves rights of persons, then the pig should qualify for those rights, too!) Arguments about “size” don’t matter in the slightest; only the presence or lack of a person-class mind matters. In NO way can an unborn human qualify as a person, to the extent that a dolphin or a True Artificial Intelligence might qualify. And so there is no chance that abortion opponents have of ever winning the Debate, when verifiable facts can so easily prevail over Stupidly Prejudiced Master Race Idiocy, can dispute an axiom to the extent it is a mistake to put faith in it, and can prove it is wrong to claim human-ness equates with personhood. Period.
In all fairness we must note one way in which abortion opponents are not lying about humans and personhood. The phrase “human being” has two major definitions, one of which refers to a human entity as a member of a particular biological species, and the other of which refers to personhood. So, By Definition, a brain-dead human on full life-support could be called a “person”, even though the scientists and the doctors and even the Law know otherwise. The dictionary definition is wrong, obviously! The problem here is that very old dictionary definitions don’t always stay up-to-date with scientific developments, and it was only proved in recent decades that personhood and human-ness were two different things. Since the basis of dictionary definitions is “public usage“, the real problem is twofold: Many humans simply don’t know that the two concepts have been proved to be distinct, and even those who do know tend to suffer from the phenomenon known as “old habits die hard”.
Nevertheless, eventually we will need new definitions, and fortunately there exists an extremely simple solution to the problem, which relates to usage of the word “being”. See, it is known that sometimes while conversing, human persons use phrases such as “intelligent being”, “alien being”, and “extraterrestrial being” –and in those cases persons (no matter how hypothetical) are usually getting talked-about. Logically, in each phrase the word “being” references a person, while the other word specifies the type of person. Therefore a “human being” would simply be a “human person” –and the word “human” all by itself can refer to a biological entity, a member of a particular species, which sometimes is not a person, like a brain-dead adult on life support, or any of the unborn.
The preceding immediately leads us to noting how abortion opponents frequently cite historical mis-usages of the word “person”, leading to such horrible things as slavery. But as usual, there are some facts that cherry-picking abortion opponents ignore. First is the fact that none of those historical definitions of “person” were based on Objectively Verifiable scientific data –they were all basically variations on the theme of Stupidly Prejudiced Master Race Idiocy, dating back to Stone Age Tribalism, such as “Our group consists of persons, superior to all other groups.” Because that single word “superior” could not be Objectively Verified, the overall claim fell apart every time, after enough History passed.
Second, there is the fact that cultures do sometimes learn from past mistakes; the USA has a doctrine of “separation of Church and State” specifically to prevent a repeat of the horrors committed by politically powerful religions fighting each other in various European wars. (Note that in the Middle East, cultures failed to learn that lesson, and so political powerful religions are still fighting each other, even after thousands of years have gone by.) Why do abortion opponents think that slavery will be revived, just because some humans might not qualify as persons, in terms of Verifiable Objective Scientific Data? If they bothered to think things through, the next fact will reveal just how idiotic is the notion!
Third, there is the fact that modern definitions of personhood are all about measurements regarding how most humans are mentally superior to ordinary non-human animals like, say, pigs. And measurements can be Objectively Verified. Thus brain-dead adult humans fail to qualify as persons, unborn humans fail to qualify as persons, and some others (like, say, a newborn anencephalic human) will probably fail to qualify. HOW do abortion opponents think those groups of humans can be enslaved??? Enslaving ordinary animals like plow-horses is vastly easier!
We can now present another pro-choice argument, which abortion opponents cannot refute. Consider the placenta in detail. The overall unborn human animal organism includes the placenta as a vital organ (as important as the heart). The placenta is unique in that this particular body-organ was jointly constructed by both the mother and the unborn human animal organism. As previously noted the unborn human animal organism creates hormones that command the mother’s body to help construct the placenta. When the hormones are flawed, or the mother’s body ignores them, the unborn human animal organism will die, and stop creating other hormones –like the one that prevents the next menstrual flow– and will be flushed out of the womb with the next menstrual flow. For the mother, the placenta is not a vital organ! (It gets entirely discarded after birth, and is even called “the afterbirth”.) Much of the placenta has the same DNA as the fetus (repeat: the placenta is part of the overall unborn human animal organism!), but some of it (like the part that shields the unborn human animal organism from the mother’s immune system) has the mother’s DNA –and therefore that part of the placenta is part of the mother’s body. Logically, if part of the placenta consists of the mother’s own cells with her own DNA, she most certainly owns that part of the placenta, regardless of any issues over ownership of the overall unborn human animal organism. It should be obvious that since NO part of the placenta is a vital organ for her, AND because she fully owns that part of the placenta, AND because she doesn’t have to submit her body to getting ordered-about by the unborn human animal organism, the mother should be allowed to have her fully-owned part of the placenta removed from her body, as freely as she might have her appendix or tonsils removed. If the unborn human animal organism dies as a side-effect, so what? Commanding the placenta’s construction for its own selfish purposes did not give the unborn human animal organism ownership of the mother’s portion of the placenta!
Abortion opponents, however, seem to think that an unborn human animal organism does have some sort of right to command its mother, as if she was a slave. They make that claim even while arguing that the unborn human animal organism is “dependent” on its mother! –which actually is only as true as saying a typical parasite like a guinea worm is dependent on its host (and there will be more about this later). Also see previously-presented insistings, like “must have biological resources stolen from her body …”. All the while they denounce historical slavery, abortion opponents exhibit Stupid Hypocrisy by seeking to enslave women who don’t want to be pregnant! Even though those women almost always qualify as fully person-class entities that are Objectively Verifiable as mentally superior to ordinary animals like pigs! (One type of exception is a brain-dead pregnant woman on full life-support. No person is enslaved if that body is kept alive solely to allow an unborn human animal organism the opportunity to develop enough to eventually get born.)
We can now address another worthless anti-abortion argument, regarding comparisons of an unborn human animal organism to a person who is experiencing such inconveniences as sleep or coma. The comparison is utterly false, because there is a huge difference between having abilities associated with personhood, and using them. The sleeping or comatose person is simply not using certain existing abilities, while the unborn human animal organism doesn’t have those abilities in the first place. The worthlessness of that anti-abortion argument is further revealed by comparing it to, say, owning a pocket-knife. Just because it might be in another pair of pants, that doesn’t mean you don’t own the knife! Persons have certain abilities; brain-dead humans are no longer persons because the abilities got destroyed when the brain died. And unborn humans simply don’t yet have the abilities associated with personhood.
Next topic…in addition to calling an unborn human animal organism a “human being”, simply because the dictionary currently allows it, however erroneously, abortion opponents also tend to call an unborn human animal organism a “baby” or “child”. We will now examine both the rationale by which this is allowed, and some rationales by which it an unwise thing to do.
The simple fact is, there are two significantly different definitions for both “baby” and “child”. For each, one definition is age-specific. A “baby” is generally an “infant” or “rug-rat” (but possibly better-defined in terms of “wearing diapers because hasn’t been potty-trained yet”), while “child” generally refers to a young human roughly in the age range of 4 to 9 (after the “toddler” range and before the “pre-teen” range).
The other definition for each word can apply to a human of any age; “baby” is a “term of endearment”, and every human is most certainly always the child of his or her parents. If you are an abortion opponent, it is therefore quite within the boundaries of English-language usage for you, baby/child, to call a zygote a “baby” or a “child”, just as you yourself can be called either of those things. So, what do you, baby/child, think of that? Would you, baby/child, say that arbitrarily calling you a “baby” or “child”, just because it can be done, is “an unwise thing to do”? Well, then, where is the wisdom in you, baby/child, calling an unborn human animal organism a “baby” or “child”? Because there are at least four reasons why it shouldn’t be done (that is, each is a reason why it is an unwise thing to do).
Before getting to the details, though, there are a couple of historical things to keep in mind. First, we are not responsible for dictionary definitions that were created centuries ago, by people who didn’t know as much as we know today. The manner by which words and their definitions enter dictionaries has not changed significantly, since the first dictionary was assembled. This means that something considered “common knowledge” centuries ago, and entered a dictionary via “common usage”, could very well be wrong today –like the previously-exposed definition of “human being”– while still existing in the dictionary, simply because people are still commonly using the old wrong definition.
We are responsible for how we use words today, when we do know that old definitions have become obsolete. In this case, since it is provably unwise to use the words”baby” or “child” to talk about an overall unborn human animal organism, it logically follows that that definition of each of those words is obsolete! Which is why words such as “embryo” and “fetus” are both more accurate and more appropriate. Abortion opponents claiming those terms are “dehumanizing” are actually suffering from Stupidly Prejudiced Master Race Idiocy, in the form of erroneously thinking that “human” automatically also equals “person”. The human-ness of the unborn is not in the least in doubt –while their personhood simply doesn’t exist, as thoroughly explained earlier. (There are numerous other arguments that are rendered invalid by confusing human-ness with personhood, such as “Because it is not permissible to refuse temporary accommodation for a guest, as protection from, say, an ice storm, the temporary accommodation of a womb must be tolerated.” Not when the womb-occupant is no more a person than a rat that sneaks into a house to escape an ice storm! Even the well-known pro-choice “violinist” argument is flawed that way!) Now for the details of why it is unwise to call an unborn human animal entity a “baby” or “child”:
First, to call an unborn human either of those things is to ignore the perfectly Natural miscarriage rate –and, worse, to encourage the ignoring of the perfectly Natural miscarriage rate. The age-specific baby or child is immune from the phenomenon of miscarriage, since miscarriage is a pre-birth thing, and the age-specific baby or child has already been born. An unborn human is in actual fact a “baby under construction” or a “child under construction” –and that very complex biological construction process is subject to “Murphy’s Law: If anything can go wrong, it will” (thereby often resulting in a miscarriage). To only call an unborn human a “baby” or “child”, without mentioning the rest of the facts, is to do cherry-picking, and to pretend that the rest of the facts are irrelevant and can be ignored –to essentially claim that a successful birth is a 100% probability. It is to tell a lie, because nothing any abortion opponent can say will change the fact that about 15% (more than 1/7) of all confirmed pregnancies Naturally miscarry. So think about that in terms of a pregnant woman who has “swallowed” the lie, and thinks “I’m going to have a baby!”, while a different pregnant woman more-accurately thinks “I’m hosting a complex biological construction project that often succeeds, but sometimes fails.” Which woman will be more psychologically devastated if both pregnancies miscarry? The first has had hopes raised, which turned out to be false hopes, while the second didn’t. Thus, exactly how wise is it for abortion opponents to raise false hopes in others (something that normally only con-artists do)?
Second, the existence of the placenta makes for a significant difference that was only recognized in recent decades, when modern DNA tests were developed. Historically, when talking about an unborn human, only the “fetus” was referenced. Today, though, it is more accurate to use a phrase like “overall unborn human organism”, which includes the placenta –because those DNA tests have proved that much of the placenta is indeed part of the overall unborn human organism. More, the placenta is actually a “vital organ”, equivalent to the heart in importance. The net effect is that, today, focusing only on the “fetus” part of the overall organism does not yield an accurate picture of that overall organism (much like focusing on the tail of an elephant doesn’t give one the whole picture of an elephant). Meanwhile, the age-specific baby or child has no association whatsoever with a placenta. Therefore, once again, for an abortion opponent to call an unborn human a “baby” or “child” is to cherry-pick the data, and fail to be complete about all the facts. It is as if they have deluded themselves into thinking that since a mere portion of an overall organism might resemble some other organism (like an elephant’s trunk might resemble a large snake), the first organism must therefore be equivalent to the second. If abortion opponents are unwise enough to be deluded that way, then perhaps the label “baby/child” is quite appropriately applicable to each one of them!
Third, it can be noted that the English language includes many terms which are very often used in ordinary conversations, and which reference physical differences between different humans. While some are considered derisive (such as “redskin”), many are not –such as “black”, “white”, “chubby”, “skinny”, “tall”, “short”, “beautiful”, “plain”, and more. Well, because an unborn human is generally associated with a placenta (starting a week or so after conception), and the age-specific baby or child has no such association, it logically follows that different words should be used to talk about those physically different humans. To insist on calling an unborn human a “baby” or “child” is equivalent to insisting on calling any human “fat”, no matter how skinny –it is to lie about the actual physical nature of an overall unborn human organism, which usually includes a placenta. More, anyone who does such insisting, while ordinarily/casually using those other physically descriptive words properly when talking about other humans, would be exhibiting “hypocrisy”. Are abortion opponents generally unwise enough to be lying hypocrites? It certainly seems so!
Fourth, think about the “modus operandi” of survival. The purpose of the placenta, that vital organ, includes taking nutrients from another human’s body without asking, dumping toxic biowastes into that other human’s body, also without asking, and infusing addictive and mind-altering substances into the other human’s body, again without asking, and only in order to survive. Meanwhile, no age-specific baby or child does any such thing! Their behaviors are so different that to call the unborn human a “baby” or “child” is to insult the age-specific baby or child! Does the average abortion opponent want to be lumped-together, by getting called “baby/child”, with the group of mindless human animal organisms that so detrimentally/horribly affect other human bodies? If not, then how wise is it for that abortion opponent to do exactly such lumping-together by calling an unborn human a “baby” or “child”?
Fifth, something that applies more to “child” than “baby”, is a difference that isn’t particularly visible or obvious (the toxic-biowaste dumping is the cause of “morning sickness”), like the others mentioned above. The womb, and especially the insides of an amniotic sac, happens to be a very “clean” environment in terms of bacteria. Just about all the cells of the unborn human organism are 100% human. After birth, though, exposure to the Real World begins the training and testing of a human body’s immune system; by the time the average human reaches the age-range normally associated with “child”, 90% of the cells of the body are bacterial, NOT human. They are also mostly “symbiotic”, such that the human child cannot survive well without those bacterial partner-cells (some are actually PART of the overall immune system). Therefore, once again, to call an unborn human a “child” is to cherry-pick the data, and fail to be accurate about the true physical nature of an unborn human. Do abortion opponents think it is wise to be deliberately inaccurate in their descriptions of something? Apparently so, given the actual lies they spout! (–such as the very first one mentioned in this document, regarding the notion that humans have “intrinsic value”.)
In the end, current dictionary definitions allow anyone the freedom to use the wider meanings of the words “baby” and “child” to reference any human, including the unborn. But the generic problem is “definition conflation”, in which the allowed use of the non-age-specific definition brings to mind the age-specific definition. Any pro-choicer could do that sort of definition-conflation all day long, calling each abortion opponent a “baby/child”, until it is understood by all just how Propagandistic is definition-conflation –and it would be yet another Stupid Hypocrisy for abortion opponents to think they should not be on the receiving end of such Propaganda, while staying free to dish it out toward unborn human animal organisms!
Next … a significant number of abortion opponents talk about “continuity“, claiming something to the effect that simply because an unborn human animal organism has the potential to eventually exhibit all the characteristics that can distinguish persons from ordinary animals, they should be treated like persons instead of ordinary animals. There are several versions of the argument, using phrases like “kind of organism“, “level of development“, “species characteristic“, “innate capacity“, and even “When did you begin to exist?” –but there are also several things wrong with the overall argument.
First is the simple fact that about 15% of confirmed pregnancies Naturally miscarry. This means that for those unborn humans, they only had the potential to die instead of eventually exhibit personhood characteristics. And there is another (but smallish) fraction of pregnancies that are associated with “hydatidiform moles“, instead of normal pregnancies. Those abnormal pregnancies can lead to something called “trophoblastic disease” and must be terminated. At this time we have no way of predicting which unborn human entities will or won’t lead to normal births, but abortion opponents don’t care; they want all unborn human entities treated like persons, regardless of whether or not they are fatally defective. That is in direct violation of an ancient, ancient generic dictum, “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch!”
In that vein we can now note the US Constitution, which requires a Census of all persons every ten years. The Founding Fathers, who considered themselves to be “gentlemen farmers” and thus were very aware of that ancient adage, were right there in 1790 to write the rules –which in later decades were mostly expanded, not replaced– for conducting the very first Census. In NO US Census has any unborn human ever been counted as a person! Think it through! If even one unborn human qualified as a person, in the minds of the highly Religious Founding Fathers, the Constituion required that that human be included during Census-taking, regardless of the Natural miscarriage rate. Therefore none of the unborn qualified as persons, in the minds of the Founding Fathers. And that conclusion means there was a valid/irrefutable Constitutional argument for legalizing abortion long before the Roe vs Wade court case.
Second, the argument essentially insists that “potential” must be treated like “actual”. In no other field of human interaction is such a claim made. For example, an abortion opponent might potentially be a multi-million-dollar lottery winner (depending on a ticket purchase). Does that mean the abortion opponent should be taxed right now as if the lottery had been won? If the abortion opponent owns a piece of land upon which a hundred-story skyscraper might be built, should the property tax be assessed as if the skyscraper actually existed? And what about the potential for an abortion opponent to eventually die (even if it takes centuries) –should the abortion opponent be embalmed and buried today? The potential is never equal to the actual, and should never be treated like the actual! Including during any discussions of unborn human animal organisms!
Third, the argument falls flat whenever one considers the possibility of a higher Natural birth rate. Remember the Octomom? What if every human birth normally yielded quadruplets or more? What if we someday encounter some intelligent alien species where reproduction typically yields a hundred offspring at a time? What we think to call a “population explosion“, associated with problems previously listed, would be laughably puny in comparison to the consequences of those two “what ifs”! Yet the argument insists that all those undeveloped offspring must be treated like persons, even though it would be physically impossible to support them all! In Nature it is normal for most offspring of any species to die –this is true even for humans, when you consider that greater-than-60% fail to survive between conception and birth. (And until a couple centuries ago the overall average failure rate used to be even higher, with about 50% of all born babies dying by about age three.) On Earth the octopus is one of the smartest animals in the ocean, likely needing only a modest amount of extra brainpower to qualify for personhood –and it typically has 20,000-100,000 offspring when it breeds. Yet just like most other sexually-reproducing species, on the average only about 2.1 offspring per female need to survive, for the species to survive. The rest of the offspring are basically irrelevant for anything but overall population growth (and usually get eaten by other organisms). For any truly intelligent person-class species that has lots of offspring at a time, its members are going to know that most of their offspring must die! –and that therefore the above anti-abortion argument (which is generic Universe-wide when you consider phrases like “kind of organism”) is so ludicrous as to be nonsensical.
Fourth, a foundational premise of the argument is just plain wrong. The argument assumes (without explicitly saying so) that human mental development toward personhood, when not detrimentally affected by such things as defective DNA or disease, is an inevitable consequence of purely biological human growth. WRONG! Here we need to pay attention to a new set of scientific data, entirely ignored by cherry-picking abortion opponents, regarding “feral children“. The existence of feral children proves that human mental development, the thing that distinguishes us from ordinary animals, happens AFTER birth as a result of Nurture, not Nature (biology). Without Nurture, ANY human would never become more than a clever animal, “feral”.
The explanation relates to computer software development. One of the facts about many complex life-forms is that they have brains capable of writing software for themselves. What we might call “the Operating System” is something that Evolution created; the Natural process of brain-construction, from instructions in the DNA, yields brains that usually either work, or die. When they work, they often allow individual animals to develop “habits” –which, technically, are basically computer programs. The brain’s Operating System is robust enough to include testing and debugging features, and protections such that a getting-developed habit-program won’t crash the Operating System. (There is no doubt that Artificial Intelligence researchers will need to build a computer that can write software for itself, in order for their goal to be reached. And remember, without the software, no amount of advanced hardware can qualify as a person! A person is a mind, not a body.)
At birth a human brain has the Operating System, but it can’t have yet started writing what we could call “personhood software”. Because of the existence of feral children, we know that such software only gets written during the experiencing of a large magnitude of Nurturing stimuli –which simply doesn’t exist prior to birth. The magnitude of stimuli needs to be so great that the brain actually grows extra brainpower, in order to handle it. That brain-growth simply doesn’t happen, for the most-feral of children, because they never received the necessary Nurturing.
Without that extra brain-power, the brains of the most-feral of children simply can’t write personhood software for themselves. The specific cases of feral children mentioned in one of the above links reveals that if a child receives adequate Nurturing in the first years after birth, and then goes wild, it is much more possible for that human to re-enter society, than if adequate Nurturing had never been experienced. The brain’s “plasticity” in the very young is critically important. After roughly seven or eight years, the brain no longer has the ability to grow the essential processing power needed for developing normal personhood software.
So, while abortion opponents like to blather about how the life of a body (as different from personhood as pure computer hardware) begins at conception, the scientific facts reveal that the life of the mind, the person begins some time after birth, in response to a large magnitude of Nurturing stimuli.
Once it is solidly established that unborn humans cannot possibly qualify as persons, irrefutable pro-choice arguments like this one can be presented: Start with the knowledge that predators exist by killing other organisms; the killing they do is necessary for the health of ANY ecosystem. So, imagine that we humans were NOT at the top of the food pyramid, that there were predators accustomed to hunting us down and eating us. Actually, we know that was exactly the Natural situation back in Africa before hominins or pre-hominins invented the first “distance” weapon (see “The Calvin Throwing Hypothesis“).
Since those long-ago days, the predators were mostly killed, with many going extinct (like giant cave bears) and others becoming seriously endangered (tigers), as our use of distance weapons improved. In one sense, the human species is in the same situation as wild deer in a forest that has no wolves –massive overpopulation results, and the whole ecosystem suffers. THAT’S why natural predation is necessary!
Since humans have become the top predators on the planet, we can and do replace wolves with respect to deer. And we have wars, basically describe-able as humans preying on other humans. That sort-of worked to keep human population from exploding, until the A-bomb was invented. Then large-scale war became too dangerous, with the result that we have since only had “brush fire” wars, relatively trivial with respect to population growth.
Do you see the Modern Conundrum? The global ecosystem NEEDS fewer humans in the world, in order to stabilize, but humans claim to have “right to life” –and the more they get-along with each other, the more such a claim is actualized –while population continues to skyrocket, damaging the ecosystem even more!
Well, how can the Conundrum be resolved? FIRST, by recognizing that we are part of Nature. SECOND, by acknowledging that we need personal interactions with the natural ecology for our own psychological health. THIRD, by recognizing that all species need to avoid having excessive numbers, if an ecosystem is to remain stable. FOURTH, by accepting the fact that there is no such thing as a “right to breed” (it is actually a privilege that must be earned, and all through Nature, when it is not earned, offspring die). FIFTH, by acknowledging that we are the top predators on Earth. SIXTH, by accepting that that position gives us Responsibilities, and among those responsibilities is the importance of recognizing that the only predators that can “take us on” are ourselves. SEVENTH, by acknowledging the facts that unborn humans are mere animal organisms, not persons with right-to-life. EIGHTH, by noticing that abortion qualifies as a legitimate way that humans can prey on humans, since it is about persons versus animals, instead of, as in war, persons versus persons.
It is now now time to step back from all that Secular scientific stuff, and look again at the situation with respect to God and souls. It was explained earlier why it would be irrational to claim that souls begin their association with human bodies at conception –but there are often nine long months before birth, so what if the association begins in the middle of a pregnancy? Is there a rationale for or against the notion? YES!…
We start with the Standard Religious Claims that souls are responsible for Free Will, and they experience Judgment after the deaths of their bodies, related to how they exercised their Free Wills. Note that this must mean that souls must have minds able to understand possible choices and consequences. For any place in this document where it is stated that “persons are minds not bodies”, that statement does not get changed just because souls might exist. Only the location of the mind changes, from the brain to the soul. (Also note some psychological terms such as “superconscious”, equivalent to the soul’s mind, “subconscious”, roughly equivalent to the body’s Operating System, and the “consciousness” or “ego”, a self-centered and often conflicted mixture of the other two things. Per other stuff in this paragraph, we might conclude only the superconscious survives physical death, and the ego doesn’t like that idea at all.) Things in previous paragraphs about brain-growth remain valid in a different way, because feral children exist regardless of whether or not souls exist. If feral children have souls, then those souls are simply living inside mentally handicapped human bodies –with brains that didn’t need to have been deprived of growing extra capabilities, if only proper Nurturing had been experienced.
We now note that God must be knowledgeable of all relevant facts about unborn humans, such as each exists after womb-implantation by stealing biological resources from its mother (Thou shalt not steal!), dumps toxic biowastes into the body of its mother, AND infuses addictive and mind-altering substances into the body of its mother (Thou shalt honor thy parents!). Any implanted unborn human that has a soul will immediately be guilty-by-association of violating at least two Commandments, and can be Judged accordingly!
Well, not quite. After all, a knowledgeable God will know that the unborn human animal organism is going to do those awful things regardless of whether or not a soul is present; Free Will is not a factor here. Which brings us directly back to a question asked earlier —“What does an unborn human need a soul for?“ Abortion opponents might claim that it needs a soul just so abortion becomes murder –but it also makes Natural miscarriages and still-births murder, with God as the murderer (for knowingly giving them souls they didn’t need to have, while also knowing the souls were doomed-without-choice to experience the deaths of their bodies via miscarriages or still-births or the probability of abortion). A smart God is not going to be that stupid! And so once again only by insulting God can one imagine that unborn humans have souls.
If there was a Religion-based reason to allow abortion, this might be it. (No claim will be made that this rationale is “irrefutable”, simply because it is often said that the Bible can be used to prove any side of an argument. But the mere fact that the Bible could promote the allowing of abortion might open some eyes.) First, there is this Bible verse, Genesis 1:26 (KJV) “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” Second, there is Genesis 2:15 (KJV) “And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” And third is Genesis 2:19 (KJV) “And out of the ground the LORD formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them; and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.”
In simpler words, God apparently wanted mankind to tend the earth and all its nonhuman inhabitants. But what have we actually done? The evidence suggests we have become the equivalent of a cancer in the planetary biosphere. We take thousands of species, each one a creation of God according to Religions, and make them go extinct every year –how can that possibly be called “tending” them? Why should they have been lined up to receive names, if their only purpose was to be destroyed?
This document has explained how it would be irrational to think unborn humans had souls. Therefore, if God is not Prejudiced, then the killing of an unwanted unborn soul-less human animal organism is of no greater concern to God than the killing of a soul-less rat animal organism. (Note Exodus 21:22, in which it seems that if a miscarriage is caused, an arbitrary penalty can be assessed –including Zero. So much for “intrinsic value”!) To take the next step, and think that God could actually favor allowing abortion, all we need do is recall the story of the Biblical Flood, which if nothing else indicates that God was once in favor of the death of most of humanity –including vast numbers of fully-ensouled adults. The promise by God to never send another Flood does not exclude God causing mass human death by fire or by some other means. How many of God’s creations on Earth might we be allowed to destroy, before invoking Biblical-scale wrath again? If allowing the abortion of unwanted members of just one overpopulated species could help stop the extinctions of thousands of other species every year, why would God have a problem with that?
Returning to Secular scientific stuff, we can note that it has been discovered that souls are not actually needed for Free Will to exist. The full details are outside the scope of this document, but here it suffices to note that utter Randomness, not Cause and Effect, is known to exist at the foundations of Quantum Mechanics, that neurons have structures fine enough to be influenced by Quantum Randomness –and that Evolution is known to use everything that offers affected entities an advantage. (And so dolphins are likely to talk much faster than us, as previously mentioned.) For example, a rabbit that can make truly random jumps has a better chance of escaping predator, than a rabbit that makes predictable jumps. With a great deal more brainpower than rabbits, humans can do more things with Randomness….
Moving on, many abortion opponents point out that even if an unborn human qualifies only as a mere-animal organism, the abortion process –hacking the living organism into chunks– is something that we would never inflict upon any ordinary animal –we strive to kill them as quickly and painlessly as possible. While the abortion opponents are quite correct in that observation, it is not necessary to conclude that abortion should be banned –all we need is a painless-as-possible abortion technique. Which can be done! Since the umbilical cord has no nerves, it can be cut inside the womb quite painlessly (with an appropriate endoscope-guided tool). This will cut off the flow of oxygenated blood to the brain of the unborn human animal organism, which will then shut down all higher-order activities (including pain-sensing) in about half-a-minute –and the brain will just plain die in less than ten minutes. After that, there need be no concern about chopping the corpse of the unborn human animal entity into chunks, and removing it.
Let’s take a time-out, to present another pro-choice argument that abortion opponents cannot refute. It is well-known that Natural mutations tend to cause at least 50% of conceptions to fail to lead to confirmed pregnancies, and that about 15% of confirmed pregnancies fail to lead to successful births. It is also known that less-fatal mutations occasionally accompany successful births; newborns are sometimes blind and/or deaf and/or limbless and/or “mis-wired” (severely mentally handicapped) and/or sexless and/or otherwise flawed, when compared to average healthy humans. In ancient times many cultures experienced a Natural death rate of about 50% of all otherwise-healthy young humans (from diseases) before age 3; for them, allowing infanticide of the severely handicapped amounted to a relatively trivial additional loss. Nowadays, while infanticide is forbidden, we have significant data that was unknown long ago. Our ability to analyze the genetics of the unborn is ever-improving; significant genetic defects can be identified long before birth (and ultrasound can reveal certain physical defects fairly early, too). Our studies of evolution reveal that when a defective or missing gene is not fatal, it can be propagated until the entire population of a species eventually suffers from that defect or loss.
Let’s examine “preemies” as an example of the preceding. The more that preemies survive to reproduce, thanks to modern medical technologies like incubators, the more that genes associated with premature birth get spread across the population. So, imagine a distant future in which every human is born prematurely, and needs an incubator to survive. Now imagine civilization collapsing (no physical thing lasts forever), and the incubators stop working. The whole species becomes doomed to extinction! If we don’t want to risk that, then either we need to fix the genes responsible (a task for future genetic engineers), or we need to prevent those genes from spreading, perhaps by not putting preemies in incubators. Since the first choice is called “playing God” and the second choice is called “infanticide”, it appears that there is a dilemma that must get resolved before the species becomes extinct. Good luck! –But we actually don’t need luck; if we can identify the relevant bad genes before an unborn human animal organism becomes a preemie, it can be aborted; both infanticide and bad-gene-propagation are thereby prevented. Of course, abortion needs to be legal, in order to save the human species in that way from that path to extinction….
But there is more to this particular rationale for allowing abortion, and the relevant data is the fact that human minds don’t become person-class entities until after birth (as recently explained in detail). Preemies often have significant health issues (usually lung-related, such as “asthma”), even after developing enough to leave an incubator. If we were talking about automobiles, we would call a new vehicle with major problems a “lemon”. Well, infant human bodies are usually vehicles for future person-class minds (excluding the severely mentally handicapped). If those infant human bodies have major problems (like blindness and other things previously mentioned), we could call them “lemons”, too! –but only as a reference to defectiveness, not as a denunciation of their human-ness. Abortion opponents seem to think that those defective/lemon bodies must be allowed to eventually become occupied by person-class minds, and that those minds must suffer the problems built into their bodies (if they can’t be fixed by advanced biomedical or biomechanical technology —which the abortion opponents certainly don’t choose to pay for!). In terms of computer analogies previously presented, abortion is equivalent to scrapping the machine before the Operating System has a chance to write personhood software. Any abortion opponent who thinks it is OK to scrap a mindless machine, but not OK to scrap an equally-mindless human animal body, is exhibiting Stupidly Prejudiced Master Race Idiocy. The anti-abortion argument is like a car-manufacturer saying a lemon car must get purchased by the first new-car buyer that happens to come along –and the buyer must keep it for life (and the manufacturer doesn’t have to pay for fixing it). Abortion opponents call this “being compassionate”, but their compassion is totally misplaced because they cherry-picked their data, and ignored the relevant facts about the major differences between “human” and “person”. So long as Stupidly Prejudiced Master Race Idiocy is excluded, the human animal body will never be any part of any Universal/Generic definition of “person”! Being compassionate toward a mindless body is nothing more than wasted effort (and most folks know this when the body is brain-dead-on-full-life-support)! If an unborn human body is defective, it most certainly does NOT need to survive until it becomes occupied by a person-class mind! PREVENTING huge amounts of human suffering, of minds trapped in lemon bodies, is a most excellent reason to allow the abortion –even late-term– of those lemon bodies!
We now can go into a little more detail about something previously mentioned, “dependency”. Abortion opponents often make a big deal about the birth event –why is a human minutes before birth different from one minutes after birth? The Answer Is…: –but first, let us note that the birth event is another thing in which External Help is given to an unborn human. It does not claw its way out of a womb; it cannot get born, much less fulfill other potential, without External Help. In terms of Dependency, the unborn human historically depended on its mother’s musculature for that help, but along the way humans have added extra types of assistance, such as midwives and, on occasion, actual surgery (“Cesarean section“). As a result we can see how the anti-abortion question at the start of this paragraph is one version of the statement, “Help must be given, so human life can fulfill its potential.” That brings us back to the trivial difference between a zygote and a cuticle cell –according to the Stupidly Prejudiced Master Race Idiocy of abortion opponents, the living human cuticle cell must be helped to fulfill its potential, see? Abortion opponents should be demanding that cuticle cells removed during manicures and pedicures must be kept alive, and treated so they start growing into whole human bodies!
Yet the “must be helped” argument is provably flawed, whenever a situation occurs when “triage” is necessary –and once again the notion that human life has “intrinsic value” is disproved. It is not always possible to help every human life. That fact is also true when the world is overpopulated! It is even one possible way to define overpopulation, as a non-emergency situation in which not everyone can be helped to fulfill potential. So, after we recognize that help doesn’t always have to be provided, just because something is alive and human (see again why a brain-dead adult can have the life-support plug pulled), then one way to do a very-late-term abortion is to let the pregnant woman take some muscle-relaxant drugs, such that she is in-essence refusing to help birth happen. Eventually the placenta will detach from her womb and the unborn human animal organism will die from lack of oxygen. After that, the corpse can be removed in any manner chosen.
And now for The Difference That Birth Makes. The key fact is very simple: After birth a human generally no longer needs its placenta to survive. Any exceptions to that simple statement (perhaps it has a non-functioning liver, and the anencephalic have previously been mentioned) will probably lead to the quick death of the infant –but such exceptions are very rare. So, remember the awful actions of which an unborn human animal organism is guilty, using its placenta? Those actions stop after birth! NOW the infant human truly is acting innocently! (It appears to be an ideal time for soul-association to begin.) As one result, the anti-abortion argument about “environment” is fatally flawed, because of the huge difference in how a human organism acts, when the womb environment is compared to the outside world. That anti-abortion argument basically exists because, as usual, abortion opponents have cherry-picked data, and ignored the facts regarding the way that much of the placenta is part of an unborn human animal organism.
Next, the scientific data is such that, after birth, a human is still just a mere-animal organism. It is the Law that arbitrarily declares humans to have person status at birth, not the science. The explanation for that situation is extremely simple: The Law existed long before the scientific data was gathered, regarding how generic persons can be distinguished from average mere-animal organisms. Abortion opponents are extremely fond of immediately taking the scientific data and claiming it means infanticide could be legalized. When they do that, though, abortion opponents are no longer participating in the Overall Abortion Debate! A Debate over infanticide is an entirely different thing, than the Debate over abortion! (There is also the matter of soul-association, because if it begins after birth, and a “person” is an entity with an associated soul, then the Law is quite correct right where it is.) In a way, to start blathering about infanticide just reveals how desperate abortion opponents are becoming, as they begin to realize they have no chance of winning the Overall Abortion Debate using only cherry-picked scientific data. YES, the full set of purely-Secular data indicates that infanticide could be legalized, but how many folks are actually seeking to change the Law in that direction, to make the Law more synchronized with the science? FAR fewer than the abortion opponents, who seek to change the Law’s arbitrary assignment of personhood, to make the Law even more out-of-sync with the scientific data! They should BEWARE! Because once they start the process of getting the Law changed, all the existing scientific data can be introduced, and the result might be a backfire upon them (legalization of infanticide). The smart thing for abortion opponents to do is to “let sleeping dogs lie” –but time and time again, mostly by ignoring facts, abortion opponents seem to refuse to exercize the sort of intelligence that can distinguish persons from ordinary animals…if they are going claim that the scientific data can be used to promote the killing of non-person humans after birth, they had better look out!
As we approach the close of this document, here is another pro-choice argument that cannot be refuted by abortion opponents. It starts by observing that unlimited population growth requires unlimited resources for supporting that population. But the Earth is a finite object. It has limited resources –no matter how large, every resource one might care to specify, like land surface area (or oil), is not unlimited! Well, it is Mathematically Impossible for finite resources to support unlimited population growth.
Therefore population growth must and will stop at some as-yet-unknown point. And there are only two ways for that to happen. Either the birth rate must go down, or the death rate must go up. If we assume the former is preferable to the latter, then we can recognize that contraceptives are generally pretty good for birth control, but none are perfect –not to mention always being associated with simple human error. Thus there will always be unwanted pregnancies, which means that contraceptives require a back-up plan. And abortion is exactly a back-up plan, effective birth control when contraceptives fail. Even though it qualifies as “increasing the death rate”, at least it involves the deaths of mere-animal organisms, not persons.
The likeliest (and yet doomed-to-fail) attempt at refuting the preceding involves promoting abstinence. That, however, again depends on cherry-picked data, and ignores the health benefits associated with sex. The abortion opponents would be basically saying, “We must sacrifice quality-of-life to achieve controlled quantity-of-life.” There is nothing smart in that! –especially when a major reason, in the first place, to stop the population explosion, is to increase the quality of human life! So once again abortion opponents exhibit skewed/ineffective “intelligence”….
As indicated near the beginning of this document, when all the data is presented, it simply overlaps in supporting a particular conclusion. In this case, the conclusion is that unborn humans are mere-animal organisms, and in this day-and-age they need not be granted any more rights and protections that we grant other very-common mere-animal organisms, like rats. Since no one seems concerned about increasing the death rate for rats, it logically follows, at least when Stupidly Prejudiced Master Race Idiocy is excluded, that an increase in the death rate of another common and unwanted animal, the unborn human inside any pregnant woman who chooses to refuse to give birth, is also nothing deserving concern. While there are still-other irrefutable pro-choice arguments that could have been presented in this document, let us close with the simplest of all: “Abortion should be legal because there is no valid rationale for it to be illegal in this day-and-age.” On what basis do pro-choicers really need to present more irrefutable arguments, than that one?