That is the age-old question. The decision that legalized the right to an abortion in all 50 states and sparked a political debate that remains charged to this day. Topic: Many questions surround abortion. What really makes someone human? Sub Topics: a) Some suggest life begins when the soul is created. b) Others advocate it is when the child is capable of giving and receiving love. c) Some suggest that life begins at conception. In this paper I will argue the validity of each of these issues. Topic A: Some have tried to find an answer in a religious belief, such as suggesting that human life begins when the soul is created. Others object that such answers cannot be used as a basis for law, because that would be a violation of separation of church and state. .
There is a far bigger problem with such a definition of life. In the essay, When Does Life Begin?, Jay Johansen says, the soul definition, this one may be philosophically interesting but is of little practical use, as it is not at all clear how we could determine when someone first becomes conscious. The author means that no one knows when the soul is created, and it is difficult to see how we could find out. If someday, someone invented some kind of machine that could detect and measure a soul, this might become a useful definition. Until then, it can only be a subject for speculation.
Topic B: Or consider human life begins when one is capable of giving and receiving love. Dr Schwarz argues, Imagine a case of two children. One is born comatose and he will remain so until the age of nine. The other is healthy at birth, but as soon as she achieves the concept of a continuing self for a brief time, she too lapses into a coma from which she will not emerge until she is nine.
Can anyone seriously hold that the second child is a person with a right to life, while the first child is not? The argument gives support to the fact that because the first child cannot perform the act of love that does not make him inhuman. There are many unloved people in the world: refugees, the homeless, and minorities. Would you say that because these people have suffered misfortune or oppression, that that makes them no longer human, and no longer entitled to human rights? Suppose a man was accused of murdering his wife, and in court he admitted that he had done it. He explained that he didn’t love her anymore. He figured that as she was unloved, she was useless and had no right to live.
If you were the judge, would you accept such a defense? It is surely a tragedy if a person is unloved and unwanted, but that does not make them any less human. Topic C: Can we point to one event as being truly unique? Is there one magic moment? Some time when we can really say that before that point, you did not exist, but after that point, you did? No discussion of a person’s state of mind, or how others feel about them, has anything to do with that person’s essential humanness. It seems, then, that the question of when human life begins is not really a religious, moral, or philosophical question at all, but a scientific one. Medical science has given us that answer. The magic moment is conception.
It is at that moment that the unique combination of chromosomes that define you first came into existence. Before conception that blueprint did not exist anywhere, after conception it did. From that point on your body grew and developed, but unless you get an organ transplant or some such artificial addition nothing new is added except food, fluids, and oxygen. The issue is not when does human life begin, but rather when does the life of every human being begin, according to Dr.
Dianne Irving, author of When Do Human Beings Being? The author is saying that fertilization of the egg by the sperm creates a human being. Scientifically, biologically, and medically, life begins at conception. It is past time for the nation to develop policies that make abortions less necessary and improve reproductive health. Our nation must commit resources to prevent unintended pregnancy by promoting sexuality education, family planning and healthy childbearing. Along with better education, women need to learn to say no. It could be that simple to end the need for a paper on this topic. If a person, adult or not, performs an adult role, that person should have to live with the consequences. I cannot think of any other adult situation that provides a way to erase it. Can you?
- Eggebroten, Anne, ed. Abortion: My Choice, God’s Grace: Christian Women Tell Their Stories.
- Pasedena: Hope Publishing House, 1994. Hadley, Janet. Abortion: Between Freedom and Necessity. Temple: Temple UP 1998. Irving, Dianne.
- When Do Human Beings Begin? American Bioethics Advisory Commission. 1999. (27 April 2000). Jasper, William F.
- The Survivors. The New American. 17 Jan 2000 (2 May 2000). Johansen, Jay.
- “When Does Human Life Begin?” Rev 2/1997. (25 April 2000). Leo, John. Litmus Test, Slippery Slopes.
- US News & World Report. 26 Jan 1998 (2 May 2000). McDonagh, Eileen L., Breaking the Abortion Deadlock: From Choice to Consent. New York: Oxford UP, 1996. Schwarz, Stephen. Is Being in the Womb Being a Person? The Moral Question of Abortion.
- 1990. (23 April 2000). Work Cited Eggebroten, Anne, ed. Abortion: My Choice, God’s Grace: Christian Women Tell Their Stories. Pasedena: Hope Publishing House, 1994.
- Hadley, Janet. Abortion: Between Freedom and Necessity. Temple: Temple UP 1998. Irving, Dianne. When Do Human Beings Begin? American Bioethics Advisory Commission.
- 1999. (27 April 2000). Jasper, William F. The Survivors. The New American. 17 Jan 2000 (2 May 2000).
- Johansen, Jay. “When Does Human Life Begin?” Rev 2/1997. (25 April 2000). Leo, John.
- Litmus Test, Slippery Slopes. US News ; World Report. 26 Jan 1998 (2 May 2000). McDonagh, Eileen L., Breaking the Abortion Deadlock: From Choice to Consent. New York: Oxford UP, 1996. Schwarz, Stephen.
- Is Being in the Womb Being a Person? The Moral Question of Abortion. 1990. (23 April 2000).