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  1. #22
    ODN Community Regular

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    Aug 2004
    Southern California
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    Re: Terms in the abortion debate

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    Fetus: A medical term referring to an unborn individual of a given species.

    Child: A social term indicating that one individual is the ward or offspring of another.

    Baby: A common term for an individual of a pre-adolescent or younger age. Typically largely helpless without its parents.

    Baby is arguably the most humanizing and endearing term. We use it with a lot of emotional impact. Child is a social definition, it has meaning and significance but less specific endearment. Fetus is clinical and de-humanizing to some degree.

    If you are trying to make an argument with a strong emotional impact against abortion, use the world Baby. If you are trying to minimize emotional impact as a pro-choice advocate, use Fetus. If you want some middle ground "unborn child" is probably the best middle ground.

    For me, personhood is a pretty squishy concept but a real one. I can't look at a very early fetus and say, "that's a person." I don't identify people in my society by their DNA. I do so far more by my senses and by their social impact. But as a fetus develops, I definatley begin to think of it as a person, specifically a child. The further it gets along, the stronger that association. The earlier an abortion is performed, the less qualms I have about it. I have none for mechanisms like the morning after pill. The later an abortion is performed, the more revolted and morally outraged I am by it.

    I don't find arguments based on (Human + Unique + Alive = person as persuasive) on this matter. Nor do I find those that say that until it is born, it is not a person. My heart, my head, and my common sense rejects both of these extremes.
    Here, I think, you and I are the moderates in this debate and probably the most reasonable. It is not black and white as pro-life and pro-choice folks will protest. It is simply not simple. At some point, as a society, we simply need to draw an arbitrary line and proclaim this is where life begins. This is where it is no longer ok to have an abortion. I think it is somewhere between conception and birth. The problem is that short of absolute victory neither of the extremists will settle. For pro-life people it is an issue of moral faith and murder. For people on the pro-choice side it is basically a religious belief and person identity. So, at some point, us reasonable folks need to ignore the squeaky wheels and just make a decision. There are a host of political reasons why this won't happen in my lifetime, but dare to dream. And I do dream, as the abortion debate has been one of the most draining and insufferable public discourses held during my lifetime. Basically, two sets of people whom I can rarely tolerate yelling at each other about how evil the other one is. Feminazis and Evangelicals.... Oye vay!
    The U.S. is currently enduring a zombie apocalypse. However, in a strange twist, the zombie's are starving.



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