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SOMETIME IN PREGNANCY "PERSONHOOD" BEGINS!

Key terms to pay attention to: conception, complete implantation of zygote, fetus, distinct human form, "quickening," viability of fetus, birth.


COHORT 8 RESPONDS

Tyler C.
I can’t really say that I “value life at all stages” because I really do value some life more than others. I will do more for my family than I will for a stranger and more for my country than I would for a foreign nation. Therefore I would certainly protect the life of an infant that has obtained consciousness than for a fetus that has not reached that stage of development. In some peoples view this makes me immoral but I feel I can still be perfectly moral without being religious.

There are many large landmarks in the development of our lives such as viability, the moment we have a heartbeat, when our nervous system forms, when we gain consciousness at around age two all the way up to when we are liberated at age eighteen! All such land marks are points in which people attempt to make a general case for when abortion is to be permissible if at all. But this is an attempt to be a set standard of rules for something is on a very personal basis. There are of course the cases in which the mother aborts her child has brown eyes when she specifically requested blue. Yet this does not include the more common cases of rape, incest and of course most common teen or simply unplanned pregnancy. These are the cases that centers such as Planned Parenthood cater too and these are the cases that get the hotly debated because they are areas of gray. A seventeen year old girl is pregnant, she has just been accepted to UCLA and plans to major in early childhood development and not keeping the baby will go against everything she stands for, but keeping the baby means a very hard and most likely less privileged life for not only her but her unborn child as well. Now this brings me to the section where I must explain my own opinion and it is this. This young women should have the right to a legal, safe abortion should she so choose. Now for specifics though I say we give her about five and a half months to choose which is the point in which the fetus would be viable outside of the mother. The only issue that I have with the limit on viability for abortion is that it’s ever-changing with technology. This worries me in that eventually a women could have a meager five weeks to choose to keep her child or not, this time could be shortened even more if she does not find out she’s pregnant until she misses her first period after four weeks leaving her with a daunting seven days to make a life altering decision.

An issue also lies in the complicated task of regulating late third term abortions and this is the time where lines truly start to blur on what is to be done. What if there is a complication and the mother’s life is endangered should she carry the baby to term. This is where I firmly believe that we as a society should protect the mother at all costs. I also believe we should give the mother the option of third trimester abortion even if the baby threatens a mother’s health but not her life. It is this women’s choice if she would like to save her or her unborn child and it should be held by her alone. The death of a mother from child birth will not only leave and infant motherless but a spouse without a partner and a family without their daughter. A simple fact Also leads me to this decision and it is that she can always have another baby or if unable then to adopt. It is not a doctor’s choice to decide who lives in that situation.

Now I would like to address the view that is contrasting mine. Most of us here are young bright people who will most likely have a beautiful future ahead of them and I ask you what would you do? What would you do if you or your girlfriend got pregnant and I wonder how you would react to your own views being tested in such a real and life altering way? Would you still be prolife if it meant that you couldn’t attend UCLA next year? I am of course directing this to the ladies in the room because boys we really have no say in the matter. On that note our opinions truly don’t matter for much either because this natural phenomenon accrues in women exclusively or we luckily will never be the host body for another for nine months. So all the men in the room our posts are really just speculation, girls you have the floor.
Paige S.

Abortion –“the deliberate termination of a human pregnancy”, I find very cruel but necessary in some circumstances. An abortion is a last resort case, but many misuse this procedure and lean on it for ‘just in case’ situations. I am all for pro-choice because, I believe that my body is my own and I shall have the freedom to take care of it how I want to and that applies to all women. I probably will never comprehend why one could be anti-abortion although it is technically taking a life; a baby is huge responsibility to uphold for the rest of your life and every situation of a women’s pregnancy is different, nobody so judge ones choice of abortion.

I have no idea when life begins, it could be at contraception or it could be at the age of 18 when you can legally make your own decisions. I don’t think anyone can really put worth on a humans life, it’s all the same thing. It all falls down to if you could handle killing a kicking little fetus inside of you at week 7 of development. A fetus or even baby won’t remember anything until around 3 years of age, so technically no harm could be done with abortion because they will have no resentment towards you.

I fear like every other woman that I could be in this kind of situation one day, but I hope that I will never have to deal with a life changing decision such as abortion. If I was presented with this decision at a young age I know my exact response, I would abort because how could I possibly support a child if I have my whole life to try and figure out to support myself. This would be a very selfish decision but it would be the more mature answer to think of how the hypothetical baby’s life would turn our as. I’d want to give the baby the best life I could for example if it was at time in my life that I wasn’t stable financially and mentally then without a doubt I would choose abortion, the baby should not have to deal with my problems. Although I don’t know if I could mentally handle taking life from a baby that I created with my own intentions of having sex and resulting in creating a human.

My cousin had gotten pregnant when she was 22, then decided to get an abortion because she had not yet figured out what she wanted to with her life. She had a part time job as a photographer who traveled the world but could not yet she herself with a child. So after the abortion she slumped down intro a severe case of depression which caused a huge chemical imbalance in her brain. The depression caused her to get fired from her job and stay in her apartment for weeks at a time. When she would come over and cry hysterically to mother, I didn’t get why she was so worked up over something that she put upon herself, from her actions she did this to herself and now she needed to live with decision. Later my mom had to explain to me she wanted to have the baby but the influence of her now ex-boyfriend caused this abortion to happen.

All abortion comes down to is the responsibility of sex. I strongly believe that sex should be between two people that love each other and are planning for a future a family. I can understand that sex many be an act of passion and way of showing and sharing your love to a partner but now it has become an act of foolish young adults goofing around. Sex is not at all what it used to be, it used to be you get married then you create a family. Sex is an expression of love that should be with someone that you trust because they could consequently become a life partner. Also it is very crucial for young people to get educated about sex about the option they have if they want to be active. There are many contraceptive to avoid abortion, but I know many kids don’t know how serious sex is.

Ultimately I think every controversial topic comes down to people’s personal beliefs and what kind of decisions you want to live with for the rest of your life. I just don’t think that taking away rights from women is moral. Every situation is different and abortion should always be legal for women to turn to for the last result.

Celeste C.
I do not believe in forcing a human being to do anything, especially when it comes to giving up 9 months of your life to grow a human being, which leads to repercussions for the next eighteen years. Forcing a woman to carry a child to term is a recipe for disaster as history has proven. Before abortions were legalized, drastic measures were taken to end pregnancies that ultimately ended life for both the fetus and the mother. Coat hangers, bleach, and physical abuse are crude practices of the past that should stay there, and if abortion were to be made illegal, society would once again have red stained in their ledger. It is my opinion that abortion should be legalized until the second trimester, and third term abortions should only occur in a matter of life and death; if killing the child would save the mother. This is because the mother has already placed roots in society and her community; she has more to contribute at that point in time than a being who needs someone to feed it and change its little diapers. Thanks to recent technological advancements in medicine, in most cases, a child is viable after twenty-two to twenty-four weeks, which means that third term trimesters are unnecessary,and even if the mother decided she did not want the baby, it could be taken out and put on machines to help it grow. The downside of taking care of a neonatal baby is that it costs $3,000 each day according to a special on BBC called “The Price of Life.” In my opinion, the cost of keeping a helpless child alive is well worth the hefty bill. You may have noticed that I began using the word “child” to describe the little human after twenty-two weeks, where began I used the word fetus. This is because I believe that human life starts not at the point of conception or when the baby slides out of the uterus, but when it is viable. When doctors have the technology to keep a child alive, this is the cutoff point for me. After this point as I stated before, the baby should not be aborted simply because the mother does not want it; by this time, she has had almost five and a half months to decide whether or not she wants the baby. Of course there are the exceptions, such as when the baby will not have any hope of surviving because it is so severely deformed, or if it unfortunately died in the womb. My mother had a miscarriage a few years ago, which is expected because she was older than forty at the time. She did not even know she was pregnant and only was alerted that she was pregnant when she experienced excessive bleeding,and sought medical attention. At the doctor she was informed that she had had a miscarriage, but that she was only a few weeks pregnant, and because of her age, there was no way the fetus could have survived. The news shocked my mother, but did not make her sad, or send her spiraling into depression, because she did not believe that she had lost a baby. Her view was that potential life had been lost, but as the doctors had said, because of her condition, the fetus would not have survived anyway. She believes, as I do, that life begins at the point of viability, which is interesting because she was brought up Catholic and attended Catholic school through college. The strict upbringing and rules of the church were too much for her, which is why she has abandoned the lifestyle. While watching the show by Morgan Spurlock “30 Days,” I could not help that feel the pro-life activists were trying to shove their beliefs down people’s throats. They also did not seem to respect other’s viewpoints on the topic of abortion, and because of this, an educational, mature conversation could not be held. The other day I was getting my haircut and was talking to my hairdresser, a youth pastor, about Bioethics class and how we were discussing abortion. I found that as long as we both kept our cool and listened to each other without interrupting, we were able to have a pleasant, adult conversation on the matter. Neither of us were going to change our opinions, but talking about it opens up conversation, which is what this subject needs. Nothing is ever solved by two sides shouting down at each other and calling each other names. Both sides need to put down their guns so to speak and simply listen to the other’s point of view. The ultimate goal on both sides is to prevent less abortions, which can only be done if people swallow their pride and big egos and try to consider the other side’s beliefs.

Mariah S.
Considering this is one of the most controversial topics and tends to stir up emotions I'm not sure where to begin. I consider myself to be pro-choice. This does not mean pro-abortion, but rather providing the choice to expecting mothers on whether they want to terminate, give the baby up for adoption, or keep their baby.

If somebody wants an abortion, something one does not simply decide on a whim but this is rather a hard difficult decision, they will find a way to get one. I think it is more important to allow safe abortions than going back to illegal back alley abortions. It would be more detrimental to eliminate the choice, which if eliminated could potentially result in deaths and diseases. A fetus is not a human being. It has no thoughts or aspirations; the only way it is living is through its mother. Terminating a pregnancy is not murder, if it cannot survive on its own. Yes it is a “potential” life that would exist and with any circumstance an abortion would be sad and not ideal, but a baby is a commitment you have to be ready for, from conception to at least 18. If you are not ready then what is the responsible thing to do in this situation?

I'm not really sure when personhood begins. If it is at 15 weeks when the embryo has developed, or 20 weeks when the baby can recognize its mothers voice. This falls under the choice aspect. I personally think once the baby is able to survive outside of its mother, around 22/23 weeks, even though it is a preemie, marks more of a personal moment, where it is too late to make that choice.

Though, medically when things are not how they should be I think the doctor has to do what is necessary to keep the mom first and second the baby healthy.

Rather than eliminating the right to choose or focusing on the rather large amount of abortions preformed each year we should take a preventative approach on this topic. Birth control and condoms should be accessible for anyone. I once was making packed lunches at a homeless shelter where I was told to put condoms in the lunch bags. Well, I think that’s truly how things should be!
If I ever was in this awful situation I would want the right to choose.

Emily G.

I understand why some people are against abortion. I can grasp the fact that abortion will always be a controversial topic. I’ve got that abortion, to some people, is the equivalent of killing a fully matured and grown human. It’s hard to fathom though, that some want to take this right away from everyone.

I am a young lady and my body is mine. I shouldn’t be forced to go through many mornings with my face in the toilet puking, swollen feet after a few hours of walking, stretch marks that never leave, nine months of feeling fat, unending sleepless nights, the grueling pain of labor, and the 18 years of financial stress if I know I don’t want or can’t care for a child from the beginning. Yes, nine months after conception, a human is born and maybe even after five months, terminating the pregnancy should be considered murder but anywhere up until week 20 a fetus is nothing. It’s barely half a pound, not even 10 inches in length. At week 20 however, there are cases where, with extensive medical care, the baby can live outside the womb; I mean, it can understand and recognize its mother’s voice, it’s alive enough to be considered human. Of course, there are always exceptions; I’m okay allowing late second trimester and third trimester abortions for cases involving incest, rape, a severely deformed baby or if the mother’s life is in serious danger. A cleft lip is not a severe deformity, pain from giving birth with no medication is not life threatening (unless the mother is going to bleed out), there needs to be a fine line between what is accepted. Other than that, I’m fully willing to strap a woman down at 33 weeks along and induce labor all while calling her an idiot for wanting to wait that long for an abortion she knew she wanted at week six. It is these uninformed, unintelligent, incompetent women that give abortions a bad reputation, (for the most part).

If ever put in a situation where I might need an abortion, I sure hope that it’ll be openly available at a place where I won’t be judged or shunned for making such a decision. Some tend to forget that once a woman is in the clinic ready to sign papers and go throw such pain, there’s probably a good reason. Although possible and probably used on some occasions as such, many women do not use abortions as a form of birth control. “Whoops, had unprotected sex again and now I’m pregnant again, I’ll just go get me another abortion because I like it.” No. That’s not how it works. Even when we watched an abortion in class, the lady had already had two or three before and she still wasn’t taking it lightly. She was nervous before, she was in pain during, she cried after and probably talked to a therapist or something because it’s hard, even when you’re not the baby being terminated. Abortion is not something anyone necessarily agrees with or promotes but it’s hard to deny that it’s much needed and is a valuable option. Although times have changed and I’d like to think that everyone on Earth, no matter their schooling, is smarter than 200 years ago, without readily available abortion clinics, I am positive that women would resort to other methods. Methods that are much more gruesome, methods that are performed in back alleys or in personal houses, methods that will kill both the baby and the mother. It’s just not worth it to go back to that. Keeping abortion legal means 1.3 million fetuses are terminated each year but it also means that 1.3 million potential mothers don’t kill themselves while trying to rid their bodies of the “thing” they cannot properly care for.

Opinion on abortion is not something that is specifically correlated to political party choice. Traditionally, Conservatives reserve life at all costs while Liberals are open to change and open to abortion (typically); I however, am a registered member of the Republican party yet fully support the right to have abortion easily accessible. Some people are radical in their beliefs while others are happily moderate but it’s opinions on this subject particularly that are hard to change which is why I believe Roe v. Wade will never be overturned. I’d hope that our government and our Supreme Court Justices have the common sense, even if they’re pro-life, to realize that overturning it would be much more detrimental than leaving it in place.

Finally, in all honesty, if I were to get pregnant now or in the near future, I would get an abortion and be back before anyone knew I left or where I had gone. When it comes down to it I would also save an infant or toddler trapped in the middle of oncoming traffic before I saved a fetus or fertilized egg because “potential” life is not the same as life, as developed life, as matured life. I am in control of my body and what’s inside. I do respect a woman’s right to choose but at the same time, third trimester abortions are not okay (except in rare circumstances which need to be formally decided). Choosing to terminate a pregnancy one week before the due date just because a woman changes her mind should definitely be illegal. No ifs, ands, or buts. If the government/people wants to make a change to reduce the amount of abortions in the U.S. each year, maybe they should start by not promoting only abstinence and maybe they should actually educate everyone (even the poor, crime ridden cities) on how a woman becomes pregnant, what to use for safe sex, and how to use each contraceptive.Many women get pregnant because they take the pill incorrectly, they forget, they double up thinking it’ll be twice as effective. And maybe, just maybe, sex shouldn’t be a shunned conversation, maybe condoms should be free, maybe you should get a pat on the back when buying them instead of a judgmental glance, maybe people should just be more responsible.

Melissa F

Abortion. Even the connotation of the word is depressing. My views on this subject is all over the place, but primarily I lean towards the pro-life side with some exceptions.

1. If a girl is raped and baby came from the awful tragedy, then I believe it is understandable to have an abortion.

2. Using abortion as a method of birth control is shameful. A woman should not be able to have more than two abortions in their life time. If hear your baby being sucked out by a vacuum cleaner and it does not remind you to use some method of birth control, you must have some mental issues. You can’t be a gambler with life, you need to be responsible. When you have unprotected sex, the life that you may create is precious. That baby doesn't ask to be created.

3. If the abortion is before the first trimester (12 weeks), I am okay with the procedure. But, anything after the first trimester, is wrong. Completely wrong. By this time, the baby is sucking their thumb, breathing and looks like an extra extra small human being with fingers and toes! I just can’t imagine how someone in their third trimester or even second can decide that they don't want their baby anymore. It’s a human being, not a doll that we used to play with when we were 5.

Day 22. The heart begins to beat. How do you know if someone is alive or not? By feeling their heartbeat. The first thing to do for a person in a crucial emergency is check their heartbeat to see if they are alive. A heartbeat determines life. When you don't have an heartbeat, you are dead. Plain and simple. My Mom tells me, the first most exciting thing when a couple is waiting for their pregnancy, is to hear their baby’s heartbeat. It means its real, its a baby and that you are now a parent. This is the moment you become a parent, you put their life and welfare ahead of yours.

People keep stating the fact that they don't understand how someone can be pro-life when they believe in capital punishment. Well if you haven’t notice, I am all for Capital Punishment. If I could kill the ruthless prisoners myself with a gun, I would in a heartbeat; but, thats a different topic. The difference between an innocent baby in the stomach of a Woman and a disgusting criminal is a chance at life, the knowledge between right and wrong and the evil chosen. The baby never killed or raped anyone, so why should they get punished?

Overall, keep the baby. There are some couples in this world that wish they can get pregnant. And seeing people, in their eyes, throwing away their babies is heartbreaking. How is it that we have no-kill shelters for animals but still have second and third trimester abortions?

Finally, STOP HAVING SEX UNTIL YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE ENOUGH TO AT LEAST USE A CONDOM. There are many different types of safe birth control you can use to prevent the pregnancy, 21 different safe ways to be exact. http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/birth-control-4211.htm


Brianna H.
I'm going to preface this by saying I really don't like talking about this. I think that most of the time, the only thing that comes from talking about it is satisfying your own curiosity of what other people's views are on the topic. And if that is the case, then yu or someone else is likely to end up offended. So I really, really don't like talking about it, because I don't believe it has a practical purpose for the most part, and I don't like offending people. So, I'm not trying to offend anyone by saying this.


I am not pro-abortion, I am pro-choice. I think it would be great if their were no unintended pregnancies or dangers to the mother or fetus during pregnancy, but unfortunately, I don't think that's ever going to happen. So no, I am not advocating that we kill babies. I am advocating for women to be able to make their own choices in their own lives. I don't think I should be telling other women what they can or can't do with their bodies.


But I do believe that abortions should not be legal after a certain point, except in cases of rape, incest, or life-threatening circumstances for the mother or child. I believe that life begins at the point of viability (about 22-26 weeks). Up until that point, the fetus cannot survive without the mother, and so I don't think that the fetus has any right to "personhood", and I think the mother should be able to choose what is best for herself.


I don't think it's fair to force a woman to carry a baby to term, whether or not she had protected sex (because, you know, contraception is never 100% effective as we learned in sex ed). I know that unexpected pregnancy after protected sex still only accounts for a small percentage of people going in for abortions, but honestly, if abortions weren't legal, society would see a rise in the number of illegal abortions being performed. And I would much rather have hundreds of thousands of legal abortions than a few dead women from botched illegal abortions.


As far as comparing abortion with euthanasia and the death penalty, that's just ridiculous. All three are completely things. Yes they all have to do with death, but that's pretty much the only thing they have in common. Euthanasia is when someone decides that they are done with life, and would rather plan their death, than wait for it to happen to them. It is completely voluntary. Capital punishment is when the state decides that someone is too horrible to live anymore, that there is no chance of rehabilitation, and that the act will serve as an example for other potential criminals. It is completely involuntary (on the behalf the person killed). And then there is abortion. Abortion is when the mother, for personal reasons, feels that she should abort her pregnancy. Well, up until the point of viability (which I believe should be the cutoff), the fetus has no "personhood", and so the act of abortion is neither voluntary nor involuntary. It is simply an act.


So there you go. I think that women should have the right to an abortion for any reason up until the point of life, which I believe is at the point of viability of the fetus. I think that ultimately the mother (or would-be mother) has to decide what is best for herself. After the point of viability, I think that an abortion would be cruel and terrible, except in special circumstances such as rape, incest, or a life-threatening issue for the mother or child.

Alana H.
Though I am certainly pro-choice, I had difficulties deciding where to place myself. If a fetus isn’t alive, but merely “potential life”, that cannot be killed. If a fetus is alive, then the case turns into the right to personal autonomy versus the right to life. And are people legally forced to donate blood and organs just because they are a match? And, can doctors use organs from people who recently died if they didn’t consent to it during life? NO. Treating abortion and pregnancy any differently than other personal autonomy vs life issues doesn’t make sense.
As for when life begins, (though I do find it a little irrelevant due to the previous statements), the moment of viability seems most life-like. One of the primary aspects of living is autonomy. By this, I don’t mean that someone who relies on machines, devices, or other people for living is not autonomous, I mean someone who physiologically requires another person to be alive and cannot survive if said person ceases breathing (aka a fetus) is not autonomous. But at the moment of viability, it is possible, though potentially damaging, for a fetus to live outside the mother. At this point, life begins. Abortion should still be legal because of personal autonomy, but the mother, up until the point she when has, if she chooses to, an abortion, can be considered to be consenting to this pregnancy, and the fetus should, in all other aspects be considered legally alive. Therefore any actions that would kill fetus that the mother does no consent to (ie: car crash, attacks, murder of the mother, etc.) would and should be considered murder of the fetus.
Now personally, if I were to end up having an unplanned pregnancy, I would most likely not have an abortion. But that’s just me. I am part of the middle class and fairly well off; I have very supportive friends and families that I know will take me in and help me. To be perfectly frank, if I were to get pregnant right now and decided to put the baby up for adoption, after nine, ten, eleven months, my life would probably be able to return to (or at least appear) normal. Yeah, I’d be behind “schedule”, I probably couldn’t go to the college I am planning on going to right now (UCSC), but beyond that, due to my family and socio-economic status, it wouldn’t be that devastating or detrimental to my life.
But my situation is not the same as everyone else, and I cannot make choices for other people. If we are going to judge whether or not women would have the right to abortions, we have to ask why they would want them. Though obviously these are not all the encompassing reasons for every abortion ever, I think we should be talking about these three: financial burden of being pregnant, the social stigma of being an unwed mother, and the fact that some women just don’t want to be pregnant.
Yes, with the changing health insurance world, there may be more access to and cheaper pre and post natal care, but the mother is still stuck with the bill for anything their insurance doesn’t cover, which, depending on their insurance plan, can still be a lot. I know Planned Parenthood and other clinics offer care at reduced rates or free, but this care is not available everywhere. Also, if the mother decides to keep the baby, that can also add up to a lot (for estimates, check this out: http://pregnant.thebump.com/pregnancy/first-trimester/articles/advice-for-saving-up-for-a-baby.aspx). If she goes on maternity, that’s income lost. If she hires some sort of sitter, nanny, daycare etc., that’s also a lot of money.
Though it is becoming more common, unwed mothers face a lot of social stigma, especially teenagers or women that look very young. This can be especially devastating to young women. When all eyes are on you because of the baby bump already, hurtful comments before and after pregnancy can be hard. My mom got pregnant in college. This basically put her entire college career on hold, and she ended up going to VC and. One of the prerequisites she had to take at VC was a statistics class with a professor that strangely enough, asked everyone to talk about themselves for a bit, stressing the point that they should only share what they are comfortable with. My mom mentioned having a kid (me) to which the professor exclaimed “Wait! Do you have a husband?” When she answered no, the professor went on a long tangent in front of the entire class, basically saying that due to not having a father figure in my life, I would be doomed to a life of irresponsibility and academic failure and behavioral problems and probably drug use and prostitution too. My mom said that this was probably one of the most embarrassing experiences in her life, especially because she was so young at the time and already felt very unsure and unconfident about a lot of things going on with her at the time. Being young and pregnant is already hard enough without assholes that feel that they have the right to say well, asshole-ish things.
Some women just don’t want to be pregnant and don’t want to be mothers. There shouldn’t be anything wrong with this. I am definitely with the crowd that wants access to condoms, The Pill, and Plan B, and even access to permanent sterilization treatments to those women (and men!) who know, for fact, that they do not and never will want kids, at all times with no difficulties. But it is very difficult to get proper birth control in some areas. Young women have difficulties finding doctors so that they can “get their tubes tied” (http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2012/07/getting_your_tubes_tied_why_do_young_women_have_a_hard_time_getting_sterilized_.html) because doctors fear they will “regret it later” (which is a. very condescending that these doctors doubt the ability of grown women to make their own decisions and b. even if they do “regret it later”, that should not be a concern of the doctor and grounds to refuse to do a treatment (it should, however, be a job of the doctor to make sure the patient is well informed, but any uncalled for hypotheticals and opinions are not)). Even (in more rare cases) crazy boyfriends and husbands steal birth control and take actions to make it ineffective (ie: poking holes in condoms).
One of the biggest ideas I don’t understand with some of the more moderate pro-life people, are the people who believe that abortions should only be allowed in cases of incest and rape. Doesn’t this contradict everything they say about the “right to life” and such? According to their logic, wouldn’t a fetus where the mother was raped and a fetus where the mother had consensual sex be worth the same? But there are all these moderately pro-lifers that keep saying “No abortion except in cases of rape and incest!”, which is why I really don’t think a lot of the pro-life movement is about “saving babies”- it’s about punishing women for having premarital sex. Not only is this an attempt to instill a moral code and religious beliefs on others through law, it makes the child, the act of child bearing, and child birth a punishment. These are supposed to be wonderful, natural things and making them into a way of punishing women who don’t believe the same things as you do is a horrid perversion of what should be a cause of joy. Also making another being know that their existence is just a punishment for another’s actions is really screwed up. Though my mother always assured me that she wouldn’t change anything if she could, and that she chose to keep me, the undeniable fact that my existence essentially destroyed her life, denied her the possibility of doing any of the things she wanted and dreamed of do is difficult to live with at times. For a child living with the fact, or even the possibility that their mother was quite simply forced to carry and give birth to them would have to be worse.

Natalie Sm.


My goal while writing this was to not procrastinate whatsoever and finish it first thing over the weekend. That didn’t happen. I decided to read “The Fault in Our Stars” instead (such an amazing book, don’t even get me started), but strangely enough, I think the - completely unrelated to abortion – book helped me gain new perspective, solidify my ideas, and write this. So, without much further ado, my opinion on all things abortion and fetus like!
I think that abortion should be legal at all times and under all circumstances. Although, to me, getting a late third trimester abortion isn’t necessarily always right, I think that women should have that option regardless of the perceived “morality” of it. I think that it should always be the woman's choice when regarding abortion, whatever reason seems fit to her is reason enough to get one. Abortion has turned into this widespread concern that involves far more people and institutions than it ever should. Abortion is a private matter between a woman and her body and no one else; no other institution or person should be involved in her decision (unless she wishes), or should try infringe on her right to get an abortion.


One of the main arguments against getting an abortion is the “potential” the fetus has if it were given the chance to be carried to full term and live. However, I don’t think this is a fair or just arguement. If people are going to consider the potential of the fetus, they need to consider the potential of the woman as well. Perhaps having a child would force her to take time off from her career, which would impact her income, which would in turn impact her life as a whole. However, as of now, the fetus has no life, and therefore, in my eyes, it has no potential. Also, there is no way to predict whether or not there will be complications during the pregnancy and or childbirth. The woman is alive and present, her potential can be measured much more logically than that of an unborn fetus that has several years to go until its “potential” can even be considered. People focus too much on things that might happen in the future (the potential of the fetus) as opposed to what is happening in the now (the woman who is struggling with the difficult decision of getting an abortion). This is why I think the argument of the “potential of the fetus” is inane and is unreasonable.


People claim that there are many options available for women and their children if they choose to carry their pregnancy to full term, but I personally think many of these options are flawed and simply aren’t the best choice for everyone. Pro-lifers often state the adoption is a great option for your unwanted child. According to adoptuskids.org, 20,000 children age out of foster care every year, while 104,000 are still waiting to be adopted, and that is only in the United States. This is why I don’t think adoption is a good choice. Although there are couples that really want to adopt a newborn baby, and maybe this unwanted baby can go to them, I still don’t think that’s right. Why have another unwanted child born - as opposed to aborted - to become adopted when there are hundreds of thousands of children already waiting to be adopted. Perhaps when the other hundreds of thousands of children are adopted, and there are still families available that want children and are looking to adopt them, maybe then I’ll consider adoption as a good option instead of abortion.


There is such a huge stigma related to abortion, it’s often equated with murder, which I personally think is ridiculous. People think of abortion as murder because they feel that the fetus is a child and has already gained “personhood”. However, I do not think abortion is anywhere close to murder if the fetus isn’t viable outside of the womb. For further clarification, by viable, I mean able to live on its own- not attached to a bunch of wires and plugged into various machines in a nicu. The advancements in technology have made it harder for me to decide when I think life begins. I’d like to say viability, but that’s becoming earlier and earlier because of advancements in medicine and technology. These advancements are amazing and will save so many lives, but they also complicate things when regarding abortions. In a few years or a decade, viability could be at less than 20 weeks if technology continues to advance, and I think this is early in a pregnancy, and that a woman deserves much more time to weigh her options. The point is that viability is subject to change, and that worries me.


I do think that life begins when a fetus is truly viable outside the womb, however, I still think that abortions should be legal at this point. I don’t agree with getting a late third trimester abortion, but it’s not my place to agree or disagree. There are so many different circumstances and things that complicate this difficult decision, that I feel it’s unfair to outlaw abortion at a certain stage in a pregnancy. I don’t want to be the judge who determines every womans actions regarding late third trimester abortions, and I don’t think that there should be a judge or a law regarding them whatsoever. It’s her body and she has the right to do with it as she pleases; if other people don’t like her decision then they should not make that decision for themselves. People don’t have the right to force their opinions and beliefs down others throats, especially with such a sensitive and important topic as bringing a child into the world.


Paul S

It is difficult to guess where life actually begins. To me, life at conception is not of the same quality as life at birth. At birth, the life of a child should obviously be protected. Since most of us would agree that life at birth is something to be protected, it is difficult to make the argument that life right before birth is less important than life at birth. No one can know for sure the stage at which life begins. It is impossible to know the exact instant a fetus becomes more intelligent than the animals we do not think twice about killing such as pigs or cows. I do not think you can make the argument that life begins in the first month of pregnancy unless you make these same merciful decisions towards equally intelligent life. At the early stages in a fetus’s development, it has the same level of awareness or less of the animals which we consume regularly.

The ambiguity about when a fetus’s life becomes intelligent enough to be protected makes it difficult to make laws that define a hard cutoff for when an abortion can be performed. In the first trimester, when a fetus has little to no self awareness, an abortion is not as cruel as a month before birth. But I do not know at which point in between these times a fetus becomes valuable and worth saving. babies are semi intelligent even at birth, and therefore are intelligent in the last months leading up to it as well. Because details of a fetus’s awareness are so unclear, I would err on the side of caution and argue that second third trimester abortions should be avoided at all times.

I think that abortion is almost always a poor choice, however I do not think it can be made illegal because it would not stop people from getting abortions. The only difference a law against abortion would make would be a downgrade in the cleanliness of the instruments and of the experience of the people performing the abortions. When a baby gets closer to being born however, during the late second trimester and throughout the third trimester, I believe abortion is wrong (with the obvious exceptions of danger to the mother). I do not think the argument can be made that life begins at birth because there is a massive difference in mental and physical state of the child between the moment of birth and the final months of pregnancy leading up to it. A first and third trimester abortion are not the same thing at all. The baby is practically fully formed at this point, can live independent of its mothers womb, and is at roughly the same level of awareness it would be at during the moment of birth. Unless there is a serious risk involved with the abortion late into the pregnancy, mothers should be encouraged not to abort.

That being said, I disagree with the argument that because a fertilized egg has potential to become a fully grown human, it therefore has the same rights as one. If you believe in a soul, and believe that a soul is forged at the moment of conception, then you would naturally be against all abortions which is reasonable. What I hope both sides can agree on, is that the “safe legal and rare” philosophy is the best choice pertaining to abortions. Legal or not, abortions will happen, and while we should not encourage people to have them, we should not also not prevent people from having them.


*Natalee*

You want to know the best way to ruin a party or dinner? Bring up abortion in mixed company. Abortion is one of those few topics on which everyone has an opinion. Keeping that in mind, I apologize in advance if I offend anyone(It’s probably not smart to offend half the class 3 weeks before graduation, but oh well. Forgive me).

With that said, I need to preface this by saying that I am NOT Pro - Abortion. I don’t like abortion, but what I dislike even more is desperate women facing unwanted pregnancies, with limited options. To me Pro Choice means being open to any and all of the solutions and options a woman has when she becomes pregnant, rather than putting limits on the options available to her. “It comes down to who is the patient. Is the woman the patient, or is the fetus the patient? One or other is the patient. I’ve never heard a fetus talk to me. I’ve heard thousands and thousands of women share their pain, their desperation, and their hopelessness.” - Dr. George Tiller, an abortion provider from Wichita, Kansas, who was murdered on May 31, 2009. In my opinion, women who don’t want to carry babies to term shouldn’t have to. A woman’s body is her business, not a political statement. Every situation in different and the options need to be kept open to accommodate for all of the different and unique situations women are put in when they become pregnant.

Which now brings me to the crux of the issue. Pro - Lifers are generally pro-life because they see abortion as murder, from conception to birth. Honestly, although viability is around 21-22 weeks, I personally do not see a fetus as a person until it is capable of living outside the mother’s womb, WITHOUT having to be hooked up to a bunch of machinery.

Until a fetus is living on its own, apart from the mother, she holds the exclusive right to make medical decisions about her body. Allowing women to make their own medical decisions regarding their own bodies prevents women from searching for dangerous alternatives. As Victoria said, I’d rather lose one potential life than two lives. That being said, I strongly believe that birth control should be very easily attainable and inexpensive. The more accidental pregnancies prevented, the better.

Ami
Unless you're a vegan that only eats fruit that has naturally fallen from a plant (yes, that's a thing), then you think its okay to kill a living thing for your own personal benefit. Pretty much everyone thinks its okay to kill plants, and the large majority of us will gladly consume an In and Out burger. So basically, we're okay with killing a lot of things. When we look at what we do kill, it makes clear why killing certain other things are immoral. Plants don't have the same sense of self awareness of other creatures, they can't feel pain or feel fear that they're going to die. Animals even have some of that awareness, but we're still fine with killing them because we assume humans have some still higher awareness. Killing isn't inherently bad, its only viewed as bad when someone suffers from it.

So lets look at what happens when you kill a fetus. In the first few months of pregnancy (when the largest amount of abortions take place), a fetus has no sense of self. It doesn't have hopes or dreams, it hasn't changed the world, its has no sense of self, it isn't even conscience and its brain isn't developed enough to process pain. For all the bumper stickers with a fetus thinking "I hope mommy doesn't abort me", fetuses aren't even aware they exist, let alone can know that they want to keep living. In this way, a fetus is no different from an organ or a carrot. Alive? Sure. Someone with moral rights? No. When that fetus is aborted, it won't register that it existed in the first place, let alone be sad that it died. So if killing is wrong because someone suffers from it, than abortion is the same type of "okay killing" as eating a carrot because the fetus suffers as little as the carrot you had for lunch did.

So even though aborting a fetus is as harmless as eating lunch, people are still against it. From our discussions is class, the reasons seem to boil down to "potential" and "souls".

First to address the "potential" argument: sure, a fetus could grow into an adorable baby. The important thing to note is that potential doesn't dictate action. Someone with the potential to be a doctor isn't forced into medical school and someone with the potential to commit a crime isn't sent to jail. Any woman who is ovulating has potential life by having unprotected sex, but if she abstains, no one calls her a murderer. Potential for life exists in every sperm and every egg, but no one cries for the billions of wasted gametes. What makes the second before fertilization different than the second after? Nothing at all. There was potential for life before and there was potential for life after, but potential doesn't rule actions, reality does.

The second reason is this vague notion that humans are somehow special, that we have something innate within us from conception that makes us human. Religion often calls it a "soul". But when you think of someone's soul, you think of their spirit, their personality, their laughter. You think of all the things that make them them, all their quirks and flaws, their hopes and dreams. A fetus lacks all of these things. Though their genetic code is unique, that unique person is still in that "potential" phase and those differences have yet to materialize. In the first trimester or two they are no different from any other human embryo, a simple collection of basic anatomic parts. Even the"human" things they seem to do like kick or hiccup are not part of a personality but simple things to do that aid in muscle development or lung formation, the same things that are encoded into the DNA of every embryo. While the potential for uniqueness exists, in the early stages of pregnancy they are as bland and undifferentiated as the preset Facebook photo.

When abortion becomes murder is when the fetus gains the self awareness that other humans have. True self awareness doesn't develop until a few years after birth, but the current scientific consensus is that the brain is developed enough to feel pain at around 29 weeks. So when does person-hood begin? No one can really say. Its certainly isn't conception, when animals have far more self awareness, but it certainly isn't birth for the baby is born conscience and had to develop that sometime pre-birth. In the absence of true knowledge of when conscienceness arises, it seems like pain, certainly one of the most primitive parts of our brain, is the best benchmark we have.

(P.S. LET THE CONDOMS RAIN DOWN LIKE MANNA FROM HEAVEN)

CARLY

Abortion is something in which no one really wants to talk about. It makes people uncomfortable and possibly angry because no one will ever come to a true and final agreement. That being said I wish to not offend anyone that may read my post.

Abortion is compared the death penalty or euthanasia. I think it more directly relates to euthanasia rather than the death penalty. The death penalty is the state taking the life away from a criminal that probably would still want to be living. Euthanasia is taking a life for the sake of the betterment of the person who is suffering. This connects with abortion because you are taking away the life a fetus, before viability, in order to make the woman’s life better for the future. Now that sounds like a terrible and selfish thing to say but let me tell you a story. When my Grandmother was young and had already had my mother, my grandmother was given the option of keeping another baby or getting an abortion in the mid to late 60’s. She was young, married, and already had a daughter so you would think that she would want to continue expanding her family. This was not the case because her husband was abusive and cruel to both my grandmother and my mom. As an example of how careless and cruel this man was I will say that once when my mom was young, around the age of 5, she was playing in front of the TV. Instead of her father asking her to move away from the TV he pulled out his gun and shot the corner of the TV to scare her away. Needless to say, he was a terrible father. Anyways, my grandmother became pregnant with this terrible man’s child. Years later my grandmother told my sister and I that if she had brought the baby to term she felt for sure that she and my mom would not have survived. He would have ended up killing them one way or another. So in the 60’s, my grandmother decided that she was not going to put two people’s immediate lives at risk and went to Mexico to have the abortion done. Since my grandmother got the abortion, she saved her life, her daughter’s life and all the grandchildren’s lives including me. If my grandmother had not gotten the abortion I would not be here at this school or in this class. One life was sacrificed for many lives to come. Now I don’t know for sure, but I believe that if that child were to have been brought into this world, that it would have a lifetime of struggles. My grandmother left my biological grandfather sometime after this because the experience gave her the strength to do so. My biological grandfather had more children which he abused sexually and mentally to the point where they had to be locked up in a mental hospital for all the trauma he caused. I know this because my mom met one of her half sisters through her work as a pharmacist. This woman spoke to her about all the horrible things that my biological grandfather did. If my grandmother had not gotten the abortion, she would not have and the strength to leave my grandfather, and that mentally unstable woman could have been my mom, my mom would not have the life she has now, she would have not met my dad at pharmacy school, and finally me and my two siblings would not be in this world. So yes I believe in the woman’s right to choose especially if it will make her life so much better. So after saying this, I am pro-choice. I have always been pro-choice even after going through a pretty strict catholic school. I believe that the women should be the main person to make the decision about what is in her body as long as it is not past a certain point.

Now the real question is, is when does the choice to abort the fetus come too late? Or in other words where does “personhood” begin. Now morally speaking, having an abortion after 22-26 weeks is a little bit of a problem only because at 22-26 weeks a fetus can be born and live on extensive care in a NICU. This means that the baby has viability at around this age so it could in fact live on its own without the mother. This is a long time to think about whether or not the woman wants an abortion. In my opinion if the woman decides after that almost 6 month period, that she wants to have the abortion that it should not be allowed of course unless there is a serious birth defect such as Tay-Sachs or spina bifida. After 6 months I think you could at least carry the baby to term and give it up for adoption. You have suffered the little parasite for that long, might as well bring it to term and give it a good chance at life. Your body may not ever be the same way again but let’s face it after 6 months of already being pregnant, I am pretty sure your body won’t ever be the same way again anyways. At the point of conception, the fetus has no true knowledge of itself or it's surroundings. Just because it has fingernail and a nervous system does not mean that it knows what is happening to it but around the 22 week period, the baby can live outside the womb with some help and it also has a distinct human form. I am not saying that because the baby looks like a freaking alien before this point that it does not have the say quality of life or that it isn't human but some people feel that way. Let me be clear, I don't feel that way. I just know that before the 22 weeks the fetus is not able to live on its own and that could be due to the lack of skeletal, muscle, and organ development. That's why its viability is at 22 weeks in my mind. Life begins when it can successfully live outside of the womb with or without the help of other human beings and technology.

Now as far as contraception goes, I believe that it should be readily available for those that need and want it. I am sure a majority of people believe this unless you are a hard core catholic (I have met few of those in my life and I went to catholic school for 9 years). If people do not want to get pregnant or know that they should not become pregnant, then birth control and condoms should be easily accessible. If these were readily available and accepted by all, there would be fewer abortions. In the off chance that the birth control or condom do not work though, there should still be the option of abortion. If abortion were illegal because these things were completely available then there may be more coat hanger incidence which no one wants to have happen.

Norint

The thought of abortion makes people cringe and boil up. The talk of it makes most explode. I for one am not a radical when it comes to this controversy. Which is why I am in the middle of it.

As a fetus the potential child does not feel pain, possess any organs, or a brain to feel the shocks that it’s electric signals might produce throughout the body that would produce pain. So the ability to feel pain should be one of the most important aspects to determining the limit to when a baby can finally be aborted. At weeks nine and ten the fetus can hiccup, turn its head and frown! When it’s frowning the baby probably feels pain or a sadness! The horridness of killing a living organism comes from the sight of pain that is presented. As for a person being executed on death row; it seems as if the individual is dying a painless death due to all the chemicals and therefore the viewers are to believe that the individual being put to sleep is dying a peaceful death. They would think that it was okay to kill him/her in that way because the presentation was so serene. So a fetus being murdered that appears to not have felt pain actually might be. But because we are well aware that the child can function properly as any other human being by weeks ten and eleven, the child can “breathe” amniotic fluid and urinate! So if it was a boy it should have a penis! Think about that. The fetus has every organ functioning at this point along with nerves and a circulatory system. During these stages the baby is pretty much a human being with almost all the characteristics and attributes that we possess. Killing this baby is like killing any other of our brothers and sisters.

At week twelve, “the embryo has all of the parts necessary to experience pain, including nerves, spinal cord, and thalamus. Vocal cords are complete. The baby can suck its thumb”. This has to be the point at which the fetus cannot be aborted with any circumstances. This is the hard deadline, the fetus can feel pain and this is what I believe is the most treacherous part about abortion. I believe that any form of pain to another individual is the most horrible act one can do to another. As soon as a fetus has the capability to experience excruciating pain then that would be the definite stage for forbiddance of abortion. I had been hit in the head, shaft and testicles with a direct interaction with a ball. That was the most pain I had felt for a while since conditioning season for basketball. The “pain is caused by nociceptors, a sensory neuron that responds to potentially damaging stimuli by sending nerve signals to the spinal cord and brain.These neurons only fire pain once a certain threshold has been passed”. Testicles are covered in nociceptors and getting hit in the grapes definitely passes the threshold. For not only after getting hit down low, a pain slightly above ( in the stomach) an aftershock occurs with unbearable affliction as I clenched my stomach. The thought and experience of pain is horrible. So think about getting hit in the nuts, it is a pain only a woman could feel a quarter of at child birth. Captain said herself that getting kicked in the balls hurts way more than giving child birth, and I would agree.

Some people would think that life is everywhere even in sperm because it is a potential life. However a man ejaculates at least three to four times a week. And people don’t criticize him for whacking off almost daily. As for a woman they release their eggs from their basket monthly and once again there should definitely be no criticism there. These potential lives as people view them are being killed at each of those instances. So the fetus should not be aborted once it is capable of pain, a woman that has been implanted with sperm (hopefully a woman) should know before week ten and eleven and explicitly before week twelve that they would need an abortion. The murder of a fetus that can experience pain is never justified, so remember something painful such as a shot straight to the pendulum.


Amy B.

This topic is just so touchy. I feel like anything you say about abortion can be offensive in one way or another. Either you are some coldblooded murderer or you an oppressor of females. But honestly, I’m confused as to where I stand. I am completely appalled when I hear that someone has had more than one abortion because they didn’t use protection. I mean come on. If you’re not responsible enough to use protection than you should not be having sex. If you’re not ready to handle the possible consequences of having sex, than you shouldn’t be having sex. I know that sounds harsh but that’s the truth. With that being said, I don’t necessary think life begins at conception. At that point all it is, is a small embryo. It’s what you’d find in a Petri dish, without much of a second thought given to it. I do think abortions are okay to have at this point (or you would actually be taking the day after pill or something similar which I think is completely fine to a certain limit).

Life doesn’t begin until around week six. This isn’t far from the time of conception, but the baby has grown significantly in that short time period. At this point, brain waves become detectable and by having those brain waves, it shows that the thing that keeps your body functioning is beginning to form, which, for me, is the sign of life. After this point, I believe doctors should have the right to chose whether they perform an abortion or not, as long as the mother is not in harm. If the doctors don’t feel comfortable performing an abortion on a baby so be it. It was the mother and father’s choice to have sex and therefore it’s the doctor’s choice to perform an abortion if they want to or not.

Just to clarify though, in cases of rape, incest, or harm to the mother, I am completely fine with people having an abortion. That’s a completely different scenario.

If someone does decide to have an abortion, they need to have one as soon as possible. They shouldn’t be having one the third trimester on a completely healthy baby. The second trimester is even pushing it. The ideal option is to go through with the pregnancy (which sucks) but give the child up for adoption or to have the abortion early on in the pregnancy.

Way too many abortions happen every year. I am happy that most abortions that take place are now safe and don’t cause the mother harm, but that doesn’t mean the abortions should be a regular occurrence. People need to learn and understand what the consequences are for having sex and how to get contraceptives. It doesn’t matter how much or how little you have sex, as long as you aren’t stupid about it.

However, after saying all of this, I have to acknowledge something. I am a total hypocrite. Honestly, if I got pregnant right now, I would get an abortion. I want to live my life to the fullest and at this moment, I am not ready for a child, and I want to be able to go to college without having the stress of a child. I could always have my parents watch my kid, but I also don’t want my kid to be raised by anyone other than me. I just don’t think I could handle being pregnant.
So yes, in my ideal world, abortion wouldn’t exist. Not because they’re against the law, but because they wouldn’t be needed. People would be smart and have safe sex, there wouldn’t be any rape or incest, and there would be no problems with the fetus or the mother. Unfortunately, that isn’t the world we live in, and that will probably never be the world we live in. For today though, abortions need to be legal and available, I don’t want to see things fall back into how they use to be with back alley abortions, I want there to be a safe place women can go if they really need to.

Paige T-B**

From a biological standpoint, life begins at conception. All the decisions made by the future child’s mother affect its development from the time it is made. But this life is “life”; it is nothing more than dividing cells. It is not differentiable from any other kind of life at this point. But cells are, after all, the smallest living unit of matter. The question is, does this mean anything? After three weeks the heart begins to beat. After three months it can experience pain. But does this make it a person? It can’t live without assistance outside the mother’s womb. (Except modern technology in NICUs have helped to shorten the amount of time until point of viability)

The point of life has little to do with whether or not I think abortions should be legal. Whether you think it begins at conception or birth, it is a part of the mother, a parasite. Therefore, as the mothers are the ones who have to carry this baby, it should be their choice if they want to keep it or not. I agree with Victoria’s suggestion, when she says that a mother should be given 3 months to decide if she wants to keep the baby or not, before it can develop the necessary parts to feel pain.

People say that putting up a child for adoption is a respectable way to avoid abortion. However, there are already thousands of parentless children. I remember reading an article about an orphanage in Montenegro, or some eastern European country. The children there had little to no chance of being adopted. They had to leave the orphanage when they turned 16, and more often than not join a gang. They have very low life expectancies. This leads to the “happy to be alive under any circumstance” point Homer made. Is a poor quality of life better than none at all? In my opinion, saving a child from a life of hunger, poverty, and drug use is more honorable than making them live through it. I know I have no right to say this because I do not have experience in that lifestyle; I don’t want to attempt to place value on someone’s life. But I know I would rather be an abortion statistic than a crime statistic.

I believe lawmakers should stop focusing on the prolife/choice debate, and should help make some real change by investing in educating youths about sex and its consequences. If people are aware of what their actions will lead to, they will be more likely to use protection or take birth control, and the issue of abortion will sort itself out. People don’t take the sexual act seriously, partially due to the fact that it is romanticized in popular culture. The ease of access that women have to abortions leads to a lack of responsibility, but taking away that ease would create havoc, as women would resort to poorly performed procedures just to get the job done. It would be far more dangerous to make abortion illegal than to not. However, women who abuse this right should not be allowed to, after a certain point.

When a woman is faced with this situation, either choice is difficult. We should try to be as respectful as we can to those dealing with this trying choice.

Lauren D


Please remember that this is a controversial issue and should be treated as such. My ideas may not align themselves with yours, but that just means we should chat sometime. I would love to hear new things.

With that said, let me get this out of the way first. Rape is not ok. Ever. There is no doubt in my mind that abortion needs to be open to each and every rape victim if they feel like they will have to forgo something just because they were abused or will gain more mental trauma from carrying that baby to term.

This is a rather passionate argument, yes, so please don’t get me wrong. Abortion is an ugly matter. Taking a growing human out of incubation before they are physically viable and tossing the remains is not exactly the solution I would want people to flock to. This is however, AN option.

A better option is education and cheap contraceptive. I am aware that strongly religious groups such as Catholics are opposed to contraceptives such as birth control, the morning after pill, the female condom, the male condom, the patch, the shot, and the implant just to name a few. This is because they believe that people should accept life at every stage and in every way even if it tampers with the wellbeing of the mother. Those options are just a few of the 20 different forms of birth control suggested by plannedparenthood.org. Honestly, looking at all the options, I wasn’t aware of many of them and I was even less aware of how effective they were (most are beyond very effective). There are quite a few expensive options, the most effective of which being an IUD with a <1 in 100 chance lasting for 12 years at anywhere from $500-$1000, but these are not necessarily the only option. Condoms are reasonably cheap and have a 2 in 100 chance if used correctly. However, things don’t always go as planned, and however unlikely, birth control can fail.

When a woman is forced into this situation, I strongly believe that every woman should have the right to choose to get an abortion or not. Not every woman has the capability to care for a spawn of their own species, but every woman has the capability to decide. If they are able to be voluntarily sexually active, they should be able and prepared to make this decision. Most people aren’t able to take care of themselves properly until they are able to live on their own for a bit which most often happens around college. Teenagers are simply not mature enough to take care of themselves properly during pregnancy (eating right and exercising properly) let alone a screaming, pooping drooling thing known as a bundle of joy. There was a girl who was pregnant at the age of 12. I know that when I was 12 I could barely take care of a hamster. There is no way that someone that young is ready to take care of a tiny human and give them a safe nurturing environment.

However, their right to choose will cease when the parasite growing inside them has gained the ability to grow outside the womb. I am not saying when the baby exits the mother’s womb via normal birth (i.e. 9 months), but rather when there is a capacity to keep them alive through modern medicine. Wikipedia defines fetal viability as “The potential of the fetus to survive outside the uterus after birth, natural or induced”. This point is legally after 28 weeks of gestation. Although according to Wikipedia, there is a 50% chance that a baby born or removed at 24 weeks could survive. That’s two weeks before the third trimester begins (26 weeks). However anything before 21 weeks has a 0% chance of survival, which I would argue puts the viability of those cells somewhere around 0%.

Abortion is a sticky business and no one wants to use that option, but if push comes to shove it is better to keep it legal and safe. Desperate people will still look for abortions, which could cause them to lose their life if they go to the wrong place. Instead, it seems more prudent to help a desperate woman make her own choice with her body and save her life so she could create a new one when she is ready.

If her choice is to bring that baby to term and give it up for adoption, that is wonderful! However that child joins one of the 123,000 kids orphaned by neglect, drug abuse, and abandonment. (for more info look here: http://www.orphancoalition.org/new/foster-care.php) there are also a range of things that happen on the inside when you bring a baby to term ( for more http://adoption.com/unplanned-pregnancy-options/ ) this includes grief. On the outside there are places to go if a woman is in an unsafe environment where wither the baby or the mother could be hurt.

However you look at it, I believe wholeheartedly in a person’s ability to be in control of their own future and make a decision they are comfortable with. (However if they are pressured one way or the other it’s harder to make a decision that will make her happy and keep her wellbeing intact.) Both choices are difficult, but the decision is theirs.


Claire J.

I believe that abortion should be legal and easily accessible for women at all points in their pregnancy. While I acknowledge that the potential for a future human begins at conception, I don’t think that’s when “personhood” begins. The qualities I associate with being a person aren’t just the qualities of being alive, but the connections someone makes, the relationships they form, the personality they develop, and the people and community they affect. A fetus doesn’t have these qualities, and so even though they are viable in the womb at a certain point, I don’t really consider them “people”, just future humans developing inside their mothers (I know that sounds really weird, don’t judge). Despite the fact that I give more weight to the life of a newborn child than a developing fetus, I don’t think I personally would choose to have an abortion past the point of viability. However, I would never interfere with another woman’s choice in that regard, because the decision is entirely theirs and shouldn’t be influenced by anyone else that doesn’t understand their circumstances.

So like I said, I believe in a woman’s right to choose, to choose what happens to her body and to her future. I think that if a woman doesn’t feel financially or emotionally prepared to have a child at a certain point in her life, she shouldn’t be forced to pick between the struggle of a pregnancy to give birth to a child they can't take care of and the possibility of death and serious harm to the mother if they try to self-abort due to laws restricting her choice. It’s unfair to the child to be born into a situation where it is unwanted or will potentially not be cared for properly. Having a child obviously isn’t a simple undertaking; in an ideal situation, the future well-being of both the mother and child need to be weighed heavily before becoming pregnant. After that, though, there need to be options for a woman who knows her child will be born into a bad situation. Legalizing abortion allows women the choice to bring children into the world only when they are sure they will receive the attention, care and support they need.

Making abortion illegal, on the other hand, will have drastic negative side effects. Its illegalization won’t decrease abortions, because women in desperate situations will find ways to abort regardless of the law. However, the abortions they receive are incredibly likely to result in physical harm and even death because of rampant ignorance of abortion procedures, botched self-abortion attempts, and poor medical treatment when receiving illegal and unsafe abortions from back-alley “doctors”. There have been countless avoidable deaths due to failed, unsafe abortion attempts, while the fatality rate for legal and medically sound abortions is actually one-fourteenth of the fatality rate of child birth. Safe, legal abortion should always be available to women in need, especially when they are the victims of dangerous situations.

There are a lot of scare tactics, in my opinion, that try to misrepresent the actualities of abortion. Medical abortions are sometimes presented as dangerous and even fatal, when in reality, legal medical abortions are “one of the safest medical procedures performed in the United States,” according to the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Another misconception is when and how fetuses can feel pain; a main argument used against abortion is that it causes the fetus pain, when actually almost all abortions are performed before the point at which a fetus has the physical and mental capacity to feel pain, 26 weeks. After 26 weeks, the cortex, the part of the brain necessary to understand and feel pain according to Britain's Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, has developed. Another misconception is that all abortion results in the mother’s deep regret and depression. In reality, research has showed again and again that most women feel relieved post-abortion.

So after that long rant, I just wanted to emphasize that I am not advocating for abortion only. There is always adoption, but some women don’t have the environment or resources to carry a child for those nine months. There need to be other options available for women to preserve their health and their personal autonomy. And, of course, comprehensive sex education and contraception should be available to everyone so they can avoid unintended pregnancies in the first place.


COHORT 7 RESPONDS


Jennifer L
To be honest before this unit I never felt strongly about abortion. I believed it should be legal. I believed that each individual should be allowed to choose. I did not understand why people were driven to murder doctors in order to prove their point that killing is wrong. After this last unit I find that my same views have only been strengthened.

Seeing those who oppose the right to an abortion even in cases of rape makes me feel sick. To say that they should go through with their pregnancy since they may eventually come to love the baby may not be the best option for every woman. Even with the option of adoption, which in many cases the system is so poor that it shouldn't be considered an option, the psychological toll that is placed on the mother to have the child and then give it up may, understandably, be too much. I know someone close to me who had been sexually abused. To imagine that if they got pregnant from such abuse and had to carry the baby that resulted to term brings me to tears. Their emotional state was unstable and they struggled with anxiety, depression, anorexia and bulimia as a result of the abuse inflicted on them. To then be told that they have no choice but to go through the additional emotional toll of an unwanted pregnancy seems inhumane.

And to those who wondered about the possible good that the potential lives of aborted babies could have brought I would like to offer the counter side of that. If we did not have legal abortion what would have become of the women who felt abortion was the only option? Now please do not mistake my view as a death sentence to all unborn fetuses. I believe abortion must remain legal in order to provide women as many options as possible so that they can chose what is right for them. I strongly believe that no one can give absolutes on what is right for another person’s life. You have not shared their experiences. You do not know how they process their emotions. You do not know how they will react. And you have no right to discriminate what they chose as right for their life. If we want fewer abortions we need to focus efforts on providing better alternative options such as adoption as well as a better form of sexual education. Limiting the options available may create a feeling of entrapment for many, driving them to drastic measures.

Even though I am pro-choice I do believe that there should be a few regulations to ensure some rights to the baby while not forcing women to go through unwanted pregnancies. These regulations would be to protect the life of the baby once it reaches person-hood, which I define as once it reaches the point of viability, around 22 weeks. I chose this as the moment that the fetus gains person-hood not because it was not alive before; it was absolutely a form of life in the scientific sense, but because at this point it can survive outside of the woman’s womb giving it its own right to person-hood. Before viability it was part of the woman and still developing physical attributes. After viability the baby has begun to develop in a more emotional sense. It will begin to recognize its mothers voice, has developed four of its five senses (vision, hearing, taste, and touch), and most of all, the baby will begin to relate to its mothers moods by months eight and nine. Before the fetus is just the potential for a human but once it starts to feel in more than just a physical sense is when it truly gains person-hood.

Jongseung B (might as well as write my last name)

I thought this prompt would be very easy to answer, after all I believe in women’s choice to decide what happens inside of their body. However, after hours of staring at the blank hours, I found out that I really do not know how I can define the beginning of the humanhood.


I do not think having around 46 chromosomes makes an organism qualified to be called human. I don’t think being human is not all about having 46 or so chromosomes. I think being human is nobler than happening to have around 46 chromosomes. I think having senses, feelings, empathy, logic, decision making makes human (So sorry, Daisy. Psychopathic killers, to me, do not have what it takes to be human). Well… In my current definition, I am neglecting little kids, but I am not putting psychopathic killers and little kids in the same categories. So that’s why I would put different categories of humanhood as a potential humanhood. That’s because I think, like most people, that the kids need to be protected from awful parents and/or environments, such as Walmart or McDonald’s, places where the humanities are forever lost. I think government has every right to intervene to protect our so-called-future. Or at the least, the government has every right and obligation to protect those who will pay my welfare to be better in shape. Or at the very least, the government has every right and obligation to prevent little kids to growing up to mug my smartphone.

Logically speaking, that should not stop me from thinking the same to the fetuses after 12 weeks or so, when they can “feel” and are our “future.” However, I have hard time trying to define fetuses as full potential human. What can government or I can possibly do to protect that life? Lock women up until doctors can carry the babies to their terms? I highly doubt that not any doctor, those who swore that they would DO NO HARM would agree locking up perfectly sane person, against their will to protect the “potential.” If I am the doctor, I would not participate in any way to do that. Well how about around week 20? Would any doctors will be able to risk both the mother’s and baby’s life to deliver the baby and cause harm to the “mother” (more like fetus-carrier)? I doubt it. Well, let’s deliver the baby, you say, at the full term. Now what do we created from my earlier definition of humanhood? We saved my definition of potential humanhood, but at what costs? We destroyed the part of what it takes to be human, making decision.
So I think there is no viable (bad pun) way to protect the fetus from being born. The doctors or government could define the fetus-carriers as mentally instable and do the procedure against the will, but I know women do not make the decision to abort the fetuses easy. Only thing I can think of to protect the baby is when the baby has to be delivered and aborted. At that point, I think at the net benefit allow me to save the baby.

Amanda T.

Last week’s overwhelming events brought me to a foam bed on a stretcher at Costal View Assisted Living. I was sitting there on the empty bed waiting for my grandma to come back from either a shower or a short walk; the nurse wasn’t sure where she was. Monday was a beautiful day, the sun lit up the linoleum floor and the three beds. It almost seemed like a hopeful place. “So, here I am.” I thought to myself “Here I am at the end of life.” This, overcrowded and slightly run down facility was where families left their aging mothers and fathers, once active professionals, capable athletes, long ago lovers, the crooks and the saintly, all together, ignored, and left to deteriorate. Where did it all begin? When does life begin? Thinking about it now, I should have asked a few of them as they sat in their wheelchairs, slowly slurping soup. As I was ambushed with questions from the OT, the nurse, the receptionist, and the nutritionist I made a small note that I was no longer at the clear beginning of my life. It may not be at the age of 18 for everyone, but I’d like to believe that I have now merged in to the gray and blurred world of adulthood.

Life, defined by the Encyclopedia Britannica, is, “a material complex or individual characterized by the capacity to perform certain functional activities, including metabolism, growth, reproduction, and some form of responsiveness and adaptation” The Humble Libertarian). After conception, human embryos exhibit all of these features. The cluster of cells inside of the woman is alive, it’s human life. It’s not plant life. It’s not a chicken embryo, but a human embryo. I believe life begins at conception. I came found this website after googling “rational pro-life arguments” I found myself agreeing with most of it. Especially this next portion:

“As well as being separate and unique, a fertilized embryo is ontologically no different than a human toddler, adolescent, or adult. Nothing is added to or taken from the embryo except food and waste products (which is no different than for any human being). At no point does the embryo undergo any fundamental, ontological change after conception; it simply grows and develops just like a toddler grows and develops, or a thirteen year old girl. Thus, it is an error to claim, "It's not a human, it's a fetus." That would be like saying, "It's not a human, it's an infant," or, "It's not a human, it's an adolescent." These are category fallacies. The proper answer to these assertions would be, "Sure it's a fetus, sure it's an infant, and sure it's an adolescent. It's a human fetus, human infant, and a human adolescent." These are simply stages of development in the human life cycle.”

In my opinion aborting a fetus, a human fetus, sorry, is killing a human being. The main assertion the site was trying to prove was that: IF: 1. Every human being has the right to live, which should be protected by law, AND: 2. From the moment of conception, the unborn are human beings, THEN: 3. The unborn have the right to live, which should be protected by law. It’s a very logical syllogism, it makes sense. But, it’s also very concrete. And yes, I do agree that it’s useful to have such adamant and unwavering rules, but I’ve never met one person who was equally as adamant or unwavering in their own morals.

I’m really torn about whether or not abortions should be made available for pregnant women. I believe in the women’s right to choose, but at the same time my whole body cringes because I know that every abortion kills a potential human being. I guess that’s just something we will have to live with. There will always be “What if’s?” in life. What if my child would have taken care of me in my old age? What if they started their own family? What if I didn’t get an abortion? What if we used a condom? What if we never had sex? What if we never met? These questions will always be there, floating around in the corners of our thoughts. And we can either choose to pull them up front and center and ruminate about all of them, or face the choices that we have made and accept them.

I believe a woman should have the right to choose to get an abortion. Not every woman is ready to take care of another human being. Not every woman should have to set aside her future to take care of another human being. Women should have the right to choose to get an abortion or not with obvious restrictions/limitations/guidelines, etc. More importantly though, I find it incredibly necessary that woman and men be informed and taught about abortions, birth control, other contraceptives, and sexual health. There would probably be less abortions if as a society we talked about sex more openly and responsibly. As much as abstinence needs to be taught, so does safe sex. It’s crucial. Teachers, parents, aunts, uncles, school nurses, I don’t know, but someone needs to teach about safe sex, lasting relationships, and love.

Seychelle K
Sitting down to write this essay I am starting to wish that I had a recording of the Socratic we had in class because that was exactly what I think on abortion, but sadly I do not so I will try and replicate that speech as best I can.
I agree with Anthony when he said there is a difference between laws and morals. Laws restrict your ability to do certain activities where morals are whether you chose to participate in those activities. Abortion is one of those activities.
Everyone’s story is different, everyone’s reasons are different therefore there can be no black and white law for this a gray subject. There will always be exceptions and black and white laws against abortion will make those many shades of gray exceptions unable to get an abortion.
Like I said in class there are those who are totally against abortion, so don’t have one carry your baby to term. There are those who can carry it to term but are unable to keep it, okay then give it up for adoption. Then there are those who cannot carry that baby, whether it be life threating for the mother, rape, or other problems that are none of our business and abortion is the only option, abortions need to be available.
I do not like the thought of abortions and I do believe that we need to reduce the amount of abortions through sex education and more availability of condoms and birth control, but I do believe they are a necessary evil. Like I said in the Socratic if I found out right now that I was pregnant I would get an abortion, if it was in the first trimester. I think most people agree that a third trimester abortion, unless life threating to the mother, is a horrible thing especially if the baby is viable outside of the womb. I believe that the cut off should be the first couple weeks of the second trimester somewhere between 12 and 14 weeks where the baby can has all of the parts necessary to experience pain including nerves and spinal cord, and the heart is able to pump several quarts of blood through the body every day. When the baby can feel pain and pump its own blood is the cut off for me, but that line varies for every person depending on their beliefs and that’s why it cannot be a law. The fact that an abortion can take place in the first trimester by only a pill justifies it in my mind. A pill is for microscopic virus and that makes me think of the embryo as the same thing. I could take that pill I do not think I could go through the vacuum procedure unless absolutely had no other option and that is what these women feel. They feel like they have no other option, but at least with Roe vs. Wade they have some kind of relief knowing they have at least one safe option instead of back alley abortions that can lead to serious complications later like the girl who get a botched abortion in The Cider House Rules.
So to make my final stance I personally believe an abortion , if it must happen, should happen before the 12 to 14 week, the first 2 weeks of the second trimester because if you don’t know your pregnant by that time you’re just be ignorant and not listening to your body. Abortions need to be legal so that women do not feel like they need to go to drastic unsafe measures when in such a life altering decision as having a child. The number of abortions needs to be reduced, but the service still needs to be available because no woman makes a decision like aborting a baby lightly no matter how nonchalant they sound.
Nikhel P

The start of human life sparks the tremendous feud among pro-life and pro-choice advocates. Anti-abortion supporters believe that life begins at the point of conception; therefore they believe abortions are equal to murder. However, there are many common misconceptions about abortion. There is no scientific consensus as to when human life begins. Because there is not a way to declare what marks the beginning of life, it all is a matter of philosophic opinion or religious beliefs, thus not a provable biological fact. Furthermore, in the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court case, the Court ruled that a fetus was not a person under the Fourteenth Amendment, and the amendment itself refers to “all persons born,” and legal rights have traditionally been birth . Because the constitution does not protect unborn babies under the Fourteenth Amendment, it would be constitutionally immoral to take away the rights of a legal recognized citizen, to give to a fetus that is not recognized scientifically as human life.

Another misconception about abortion is that fetuses can feel pain and are conscious as soon as eight weeks into the first trimester of the pregnancy. Nevertheless, this appears to be completely invalid. In the first weeks of the pregnancy the fetuses begin to develop a minimal brain stem, but are not capable of consciousness. Although the fetal nerve cells are able to react to trauma, they are not able to feel pain without the development of the neocortex, which is not formed until the early third trimester (Head). Evidence indicates that fetuses do not feel pain until the start of the third trimester. Although, it remains uncertain it is not possible to know for sure that fetuses consciously feel pain at all. Regardless, very few abortions occur during the third trimester and can be outright banned by state rights granted in the tenth amendment (Ferris). This leaves the unborn child free from pain and the mother of the child with her constitutional rights still intact.

I believe that life begins “somewhere in the middle.”

It is important to not be naïve about the effects illegalization of abortions will have on people everywhere. If abortions were illegal, the already outrageously high number of deaths would increase drastically, women who had natural miscarriages would be viewed with suspicion and could possibly further be charged with murder, and women who are unfit mothers would be left to care for children. Even if people disagree on the issue of abortion, it should be agreed on that these are private personal decisions based on individual circumstances and there are too many different circumstances, that outright banning abortion would be morally wrong. Odds are that one in every five women will be a victim of sexual violence at some point in her life. Does that mean that 20 percent of all women should be required by law to carry out a pregnancy only reminding them of the violation that tore their world apart? The fact is that there is not one victim that wants the man who raped her to be the father of her unborn child. Any laws or restrictions against abortion that would restrict her from terminating the pregnancy would be unethical. If a child grows up in a home where the parent may not necessarily be ready to raise a child and may not have the income to raise a child, experience or support often leads that people who end up in deprived states mentally are people who have had bad upbringings caused by parents who were unprepared and this is a very common circumstance. Some may even look at having an abortion as being responsible, because supporting and caring for a child is arguably the biggest responsibility that anyone could ever be given and plenty of the time women would love more than anything to give their child everything they deserve in life, but sometimes its just not feasible.

In conclusion, every woman has the right to make any decision that involves her body. Our government has always respected the individual's right to privacy and the government should not put regulations on a woman’s reproductive system. The Supreme Court ruled abortion a fundamental right in 1973 for virtuous reasons. There are endless circumstances where abortion might seem like the right answer for women. Whether it is that they want to postpone childbearing, they are financially unstable, encounter health complications, or there are incidents of rape or incest, women have the right to decide whether or not going through with a pregnancy is the right thing to do for their life. Women are granted the constitutional rights to privacy, religious freedoms, and equal protection under the law. Laws against abortions kill women. Until every woman is on contraceptives, there are no more rapes, or there are no more incidents of incest, there will always be unwanted pregnancies that exist and women should always have a right to choose.


Sarah A

Killing a baby that was sharing the same physical space as me is something that I would never do. But I would not deny a women her right to make that decision for herself and therefore do not believe a fetus achieves personhood until the moment of viability. I wish things could be so simple that I would believe that personhood begins at conception. That would be fantastic! Every fetus would have a right to life and things would be wonderfully simple.

But that's the thing, anyone could agree with me that life is far from simple. To put it bluntly, people fuck up, excuse my language, however, I honestly can think of no better way to express the general tendency of people to make mistakes. Everyone except perhaps the unborn have screwed up in some way, maybe they did drugs, maybe they flunked a class, maybe they said something hurtful, but, my point is, everyone has something they regret.

What I want to ask you is, should a kid be raised knowing they are one of those regrets? One of those "if only I'd done this differently" situations? Should a kid be raised knowing that some part of their mom and dad really didn't want them? Because usually if a woman has an unwanted pregnancy and feels as if her only option is to raise the kid (like if she lived in a place where abortion is illegal), then she's going to have that baby, but some part of her will resent it, even if it's just a small part of her.

I know that there are other options out there like adoption, but that kid will still know that someone somewhere didn't want them. Also, it's not like adoption is a super easy option. I personally don't think I could bring myself to give a baby that had been sitting inside of my belly for forty weeks up for adoption. It's one of those things that you might really come to regret. Because you can either have a closed adoption where you completely break ties with the baby and can always wonder what happened to it, or you can have an open adoption where I imagine the birth mother would want to have some sort of parenting role. No matter what, things are going to get complicated.

Now before I say what I'm about to say, let me be clear that I do not think any child that is currently alive should have been aborted before they were born. The thing is, my mom works at a title one school, which means the average student there is really poor. So many unwanted children that resulted from teenage pregnancies and children that grew up in group homes attend the school. She has seen a lot of pain and told me about a lot of it (leaving out names of course). Some of these kids, I'm sad to say, have no chance. Some of them are smoking, others are already delinquents, and a lot of them have a really tough life ahead of them.

In a world like this... We need an option like abortion. Sure people need to grow up and learn how to put on a condom or take a little pill once a day, but I already established that we all screw up, some people just screw up in a more serious way than others. I would take an F any day over being pregnant at seventeen. Honestly, in my opinion, those who are pro-life can't talk until the government provides a fail-safe way to prevent pregnancy in a teenagers. I respect your opinions, but not a whole lot. I'm not trying to be rude or condescending but it's a really simplified view of the world and I feel like some need to open their eyes to the crap people go through and be more understanding. Including rape and incest. What kind of life would a baby born as a result if those conditions have? Don't you think it would be ostracized and judged for the stupid actions of other people? I just can't live in a world where this is an option.

To make my view in this subject clear, I think life begins at the point of viability. It's no like it's impossible for a woman to tell if she's pregnant. And it is her responsibility at least to make a decision and act on it before then. Anyone that just denies it and ignores the symptoms is taking away an opportunity that the country is providing them to make sure that they can grow up a bit and wait until they are ready. I'm a believer in second chances and, unfortunately, abortion is a second chance for these women and girls.


Lia M

The question of whether abortion should be a legal procedure that is readily available to women and the question of when I personally think a fetus reaches "personhood" are two entirely separate things. Therefore, I will explain my views on them separately… (even though technically, Mr. Geib only asked for the latter, think of the beginning as a very long introduction).

Before I start to rant, please know that I not trying to offend anyone, I am only trying to state my true opinions on the issue. I also apologize in advance for the spriety of this blog…I digress.

Abortion is, and always will be, the woman's sole choice to make. It is the woman's sole choice, not necessarily to conceive the child, as men and women alike have sexual urges and birth control is not always 100% foolproof, but to choose to carry it to term. It is the woman's body that begins to change, from week one, to the moment before birth, drastically being strained, pulled, stretched, and dare I say it "ruined" from the inside out. The chemicals in her brain signaling for her to protect and nurture this "parasite" are the only factors that would make a sane human being go through nine months of discomfort and then hours of agony, only to be left tired, drained and in utter exhaustion for months for a selfish, weak, and ungrateful miniature version of themselves. Legally, every single woman should have the right to forego this process, a LIFE changing process that, will always stay with her mentally and physically. Those who are adement about making abortion illegal and promote "adoption" as a valid substitute for the "murder" of a fetus never, ever keep in mind the health or welfare of the woman who must bear the emotional and physical trauma of motherhood. Once being forced to give birth to a baby that was connected to the mother for nine long months and then possibly hearing that baby cry for the first time is not something that should be labeled "humane". Women's brains are wired to respond to the sound of a crying child- especially their crying child- by releasing large amounts of chemicals that leaves the mother with a "need" to nurture that baby. Being subjected to this exposure is cruel, and yet women who are unable to have abortions and do end up carrying their baby to term only to have to give it up go through it every day. Motherhood is choosing to share your life and give it to your child. Abortion being illegal, is like making every woman who wants to possibly achieve orgasm sign a virtual contract saying "I know that with my pleasure, I am also potentially giving up my life's dreams and goals". Do men have this "option"? Well of course not. Male politicians religiously condemning abortion clinics and reproductive health centers like Planned Parenthood as "satanist murder factories" have absolutely no idea what a woman goes through during and after her pregnancy because, well, they will never be a woman. They have no idea what it would be like to realize that instead of going off to college at the ripe age of 17, their stomach is going to swell up, displaying their shame for the world to see, their plans to leave will be ruined and they will most likely end up staying with their parents caring for this baby instead of furthering their education and starting a new chapter in their life. They have no idea what it would be like to realize that being 44, a single parent with 3 kids already, they cannot afford to have a child without depriving their other existing children of food and in some cases, shelter. Instead of comparing places that desperate women seek help to "Holocaust death camps" (which is absolutely sick and utterly, utterly offensive and revolting), they should be pouring the money used for protesting healthcare centers into education programs for unwanted children in adoption and other government centers and agencies who can actually FEEL unwanted... And this is where I will transition into my next topic. Oh boy.

A fetus cannot feel pain until they reach 28 weeks of gestation. This is because they haven't formed the necessary nerve pathways to allow the brain to register the pain. Arguments against abortions state that a fetus can feel pain in their arms and legs at a mere 8 weeks, but fail to leave out the fact that although they have the developed nerves, they cannot be aware of any painful stimulus. Until the moment this life form can feel pain, I believe personally, that is just another part of a woman's body. Until this being can register an emotional pain that is different from the life source it is attached to, it is a part of the mother. After 28 weeks, and once doctors begin to prescribe anesthesia to fetuses before aborting them, I become uneasy. Emotionally, I shouldn't see a difference between an unwanted animal being put down and an unwanted child being aborted. Emotionally, it should not matter if the fetus has all the right nerve endings and pathways to feel any such pain of being dismembered and aborted, as long as they are sedated. But, as fanatically liberal as I may seem, I do believe that after 28 weeks of belonging to the mother as a part of her flesh, the fetus reaches it's moment of viability. At this point, my morals begin to cloud my "women's rights" mindset and focus on the developing life. It is at this point that I believe a fetus becomes a "baby". By four months of pregnancy, a woman should have had enough time to decide if she is ready to bear a child, in my own personal opinion. After 28 weeks, even to the day, this mass of flesh growing heavier in a woman's uterus begins to have fundamental rights that should not be invoked.

You see, BioEthics to me, brings up a good question of when suffering is and should not be tolerated. Through euthanasia, the death penalty, animal rights and abortion, I have kept an unwavering stance in the option that does the least about of harm and brings about the least amount of suffering. I am completely behind euthanasia, I believe the death penalty should be administered (because of the fact that it is painless and justified), I am strongly against testing on animals who suffer their entire lives in cages and I lean towards supporting abortion full heartedly because it relieves the surfing of the woman and in a lot of cases, the potential baby.

And that brings up another argument that Pro-Life (don't get me started on that name) rs don't seem to realize. When talking about billions of aborted "children", they fail to add in that these are potential children. "Potential" is what makes the life we live today not just a fifty's sitcom, repeating a different scenario over and over, but ending up back in the same place as the characters started. We all have the "potential" to murder another human being and we all have the "potential" to work as hard as we can every single day, but does that mean these "potential" situations are destined to become fate? It's hard to believe.

I'll end my all-over-the-place blog post with a quote. This quote has already been used in the genetic testing portion of this class, but I feel it also relates to having children. "Just because you can, doesn't mean you should".

Camden M

Although I am liberal in many areas, this is one that I am not absolute on. Although I am pro-choice, I do not simply believe the argument of pro-life is completely wrong. I understand where they are coming from.

As has been said in class many times, nobody is really pro abortion, I wish no abortions ever took place and that every single baby was born into a loving home. Unfortunately, this is not the world we live in. In our civilization, 50% of pregnancies are unplanned. And many of these children are born to parents who are married and the baby has a very loving home, or even if there is an absent father, many babies have extremely hard working and loving single mothers, and unfortunately, many of them are born to those who don’t want them, and of those, some are lucky enough to be adopted, others are put into foster care, being moved around from home to home, developing social problems because of a lack of a caring home. Despite all of this, I am sure that of even those children who are kicked around the foster care system, or who are born to abusive parents, the vast majority of them prefer being alive to being dead, to quote the Cider House Rules, “happy to be alive under any circumstances” For this reason, I believe it is incredibly noble for those mothers who are courageous enough to carry their baby to term, and even braver, those who keep and care for their child afterwards. But unfortunately, there are people in our society who are not that brave. There are people who will do anything to get rid of the potential life growing inside of them, who are so desperate that they will get an abortion whether it’s legal or not. As much as we would like to judge someone in that position, and call them a horrible person, we have no idea what it would be like to be in their position, we can imagine it, but there is no way to simulate a college student who sees their entire bright future potential fading away because of one ill planned night of passion. We cannot put ourselves in the shoes of a teenage girl with ultra conservative parents who she knows would disown her if they found out that she was pregnant. It’s people like these who will seek abortion under any circumstances, regardless of the legality or the danger involved. This is why I believe abortion should be legal. If these abortions are going to be happening anyway, they might as well be happening in a safe environment, by professionals who know what they’re doing, instead of back alley abortionists or by the woman herself.

As for when I believe life begins, I think it is somewhere in the middle because I simply cannot see a zygote as a human being, and I have to draw the line somewhere. I completely respect the view of those that believe life begins at conception because I see the legitimacy of saying that a zygote will become a human being from that point on if nothing is done to it. And also that at any point leading up to the union of the sperm and the egg, people’s actions will not result in a human being, but after that point, only by killing those cells would the potential human being cease to be. I will not use the argument that it is simply a ball of cells, or a parasite, I realize that this organism is simply an early stage of human life. However, I do not believe that an organism in that state is fully a human being, or that it is entitled to the same rights as all other human beings. Which is why I believe that abortion up until the point of viability is not murder of a human being. But after that point, because the fetus has developed human structures, is able to survive independently, think to a certain extent, and feel pain, then it has the rights of another human being, and should be protected as such. So to directly answer the question, I believe that the point of viability is the moment where “personhood” begins. After this point if a woman still desires an abortion, I believe it should not be legal except in the case of rape or incest, or if the mother’s life is in danger. Although there will be some women who are desperate enough to try to abort their pregnancy on their own anyway, this is something we simply would have to accept, since the baby after that point has it’s own rights that cannot be violated.

I know that one argument for outlawing abortions are the millions of potential human beings which are aborted every year, and that some wonderful or even ingenious people could have been prevented from existing. But we simply cannot live in a world of what if’s, we must live in a world of what is. What if a woman had not gotten an abortion and given birth to a Nobel Prize winner? Well what if that woman had never gotten pregnant? Or gotten pregnant by another man? Or had died in a car crash as a girl. The what if’s are endless. We cannot predict whether aborted pregnancies would have become great human beings, but we can predict that if abortion were not legal, many women would take drastic measures, and in the process, kill both themselves and their baby.

Despite wanting abortion to remain legal I do not recommend for any woman to take that course of action. I know that many women who had their children under less than ideal circumstances have received so much joy and happiness from motherhood, and love their child immensely. This is why I believe we should try to bring down the number of abortions by providing people with adequate information on all the options they have for giving away or taking care of their child. And provide them with assistance so that they are able to care for their child and have a successful life, through free or reduced day care, nutrition information and assistance, and parenting classes. In the words of President Clinton, we should make abortion “Safe, legal, and rare”

Daisy A

I think having a child will be one of the most profound and joyous moments of my life. The second I see a little pink plus sign on what will probably be the fourth stick I’ve peed on will be the most remarkable notification I will ever receive. I, however, will not say, “I can’t wait for this new experience,” because frankly, I could wait a looooong time before discovering I was pregnant. I hope to God I don’t do something as foolish as forget to take my pill or not use a condom. Having a child in high school or even college just would not fit in my 10-year plan right now. That being said, if I do make that idiot mistake some time in the future, I feel that I deserve to have options and information allotted to me so that I can make the best decision for my life and body at that time, whether it means keep the child, give it up for adoption, or have an abortion.

To me, personhood of a fetus starts at the moment of viability, around 22-26 weeks of development. It is the moment that a fetus could live and continue developing in a neonatal intensive care unit, and has a right to life. From this point on, I feel it is immoral to perform an abortion on a fetus in this stage of development and later (unless the woman/fetus’ life is in danger). If a woman no longer desires to keep her child or some sort of circumstance rises where she will be no longer able to take care of her child as she thought she could past the point of viability, she should be enrolled in a program which helps women in these situations find an adoptive family quickly. In my honest opinion, by 22 weeks of pregnancy, a pregnant woman could/should have decided what to do with her fetus by then. But like I said, if something comes up, there should be an adoptive program readily available for her to use.

I am pro-choice, not pro-abortion. I want women to have as many options and as much information available to them as humanly possible to ensure the fetus and the woman are as happy and healthy as possible. If a woman wants to keep her child, here are a billion and a half sources for her on pregnancy and childcare. If a woman wants to have her child adopted out, here are a billion adoption agencies, laws and potential adoptive families for you to look through. If a woman wants an abortion, here is all the factual information you could ever want about the procedure and places to go for support and therapy after. Being pro-choice means OPTIONS. Every woman’s situation is different, and they have the right to do whatever they feel is best for their body and life, and if that means they want an abortion, so be it.

However, I do think that fetus’ past the point of viability outside the womb have the same rights as we do and those rights must be protected. Adoption is always available. Unless the woman or fetus’ life is in danger, at that point I feel a woman should carry her fetus to term, only another three months, so it can be adopted out.

I really don’t think men get that much of a say in what women choose to do with their bodies, because a) men can’t become pregnant and carry a fetus for 36 weeks and then give birth, and b) men are not the primary caregiver to an infant, which yes, is a huge generalization, but children are linked with mothers more than fathers and that’s just the way it is. If a woman doesn’t feel she is ready to be a parent, then I’m sorry, but there is no way the man is ready to be one either. Sure men deserve a say in their child’s potential life or not, but it is about 90% the woman’s choice in the end, because she is the one who must endure.

The biggest point I want to make here is that I don’t want any of this to happen in the first place. Women shouldn’t have to deal with the burden of unexpected pregnancies ruining their lives. No more unwanted children! Contraception needs to be available to all people engaging in sexual activities, so unwanted children become a thing of the past. Children should be something desired and planned, so a family can provide the best possible start to their life. I do honestly have friends who have no clue where to get birth control, free birth control, or birth control without telling their parents, and that worries me greatly, because this ignorance leads to unwanted burdens instead of pleasant surprises. Schools need to teach students a more through and broad sex education program. My mom has given ultrasounds to teens that don’t even know what “menstruation” is, and you can’t blame someone if they never learned it! Condoms for all!

In conclusion, the moment a fetus becomes a person and deserves the rights all of us have, is at the moment of viability, about 22-26 weeks of development, and a woman should be able to have an abortion up until this time. Adoption and contraceptives should be more readily available for pregnant woman, and anyone having sex in general. Pro-choice doesn’t mean pro-abortion, it means you have options, and aren’t forced into a situation that isn’t ideal. No more unwanted children!

Lee B

After reviewing the different stages of human development while in the womb, it was difficult, to say the least, at where I, in fact pinpointed where I believed “personhood” began. Taking into consideration all of the different perspectives including that of the mothers, the (potential) child (if it even has a perspective), and the different circumstances that could be surrounding the decision to have an abortion, I believe that “personhood” begins after the first trimester of pregnancy. At eleven weeks into the pregnancy, there are many reasons that play into the fact that “personhood” has begun. First of all, at eleven weeks, the fetus no longer looks like a sea monkey. The fetus actually starts to resemble a person and no longer a Klingon; therefore, I believe that is one reason “personhood” has begun. Second of all, according to the blog page, “The embryo develops its respiratory system and can ‘breathe’ amniotic fluid and urinate. Week eleven the embryo can grasp objects placed in its hand; all organ systems are functioning. The embryo has a skeletal structure, nerves, and circulation.” To me, these are the basic functions of a human being. It can “breathe”, grasp, and just like all humans, the world is its toilet. Plus, it has all its major organ systems necessary for life. And wa-la, we have a “person”.

However, this is also the stage right before the fetus can experience pain (which occurs at week 12). I say it as if the emotional pain isn’t already enough, but knowing that the fetus wouldn’t experience the pain of being terminated makes me feel better about my opinion. Although, I believe that “personhood” technically begins at twelve weeks (the official end of the first trimester). Nonetheless, I believe that although “personhood” begins at twelve weeks and that abortions should be available until then, I would not be inclined to the option of abortion after eleven weeks due to the pain factor. I am still not sure why exactly this is such a big deal to me, but knowing that the infant can feel the pain of it bothers me. This is also a vital stage in the pregnancy, as it is a moment when a woman is certain that she is pregnant (for the majority of the time). I cannot imagine a woman ignoring the obvious signs that she is pregnant for twelve weeks; however, there are those times when women truly are not aware of the fact that they are pregnant.

When I was growing up, I used to believe that abortion was an act of evil. This is probably due to the fact that I have a mother who shoved religion down her children’s throats. Nonetheless, as I grew up and gained more favor towards left winged politics, while also realized that both sides of the issue want to lower the number of abortions, I quickly changed my views. From growing up and from our abortion unit, I have learned that perception is everything. I have learned that no matter what some talking head has to say about the issue, it all comes down to the mother’s situation. I have learned that this is a decision that no mother will take lightly, no matter how many previous abortions she has undergone before. In the end, no one has lived through exactly the same life that she has and I, nor anyone else for that matter, have the right or privilege to condemn, judge, nor attempt to persuade her otherwise. To me, this is true under any circumstances, whether the mother was raped, a victim of incest, endangered by the pregnancy, or just made a careless decision. We cannot flaunt religious ideals in their face and act as though we are superior because our religion entitles us to be, nor use cowardly “scare tactics” by bombarding them with grotesque and fake pictures of aborted fetuses in order to avert their option for choice. In the end, we as a society should respect the choice of the mother as supreme and refrain from personal opinion because we lack the perception that they do. We perceive their situation through our own eyes and by our innate sense to judge, we are quick to condemn someone for a choice that we should have no say in. We should not hide behind religion as a means to justify being a total asshole, nor should we practice bigotry when in fact at least half of us lack the sexual organs to even carry a baby to term nor raise for that matter.

With this in mind, even though I do have my own opinion on the matter of abortion, do I think that a mother who aborts a fetus at six months is making the wrong decision? No. I do not because in the end, that is in no way my place to even have an opinion. I believe that I have the opinion that I do because that is how I, alone, feel. Will I ever need to utilize this opinion? Not in the near future. I do not have a vagina, nor do I plan on getting neither myself, nor anyone else pregnant in the near future, so until then, I will refrain from expressing my own opinion as it is not necessary in any situation.

Amelia G

I've been around babies for most of my life. Whether I was looking after other people’s or spending time with my own siblings, I was surrounded. And it’s needless to say that the small feet and sticky hands and runny noses are all life, viable, independent life.


If I was asked this prompt 3 years ago, I would have stated firmly that life begins at conception, no ifs ands or buts about it. But 3 years ago I was a narrow minded 14 year old who couldn't think for herself. I would hold firm in saying that abortion is wrong, it’s heartless murder. It’s unforgivable and inconceivable. This bigotry on my behalf has tainted many relationships with others. I used it to alienate those who were “pro-abortion” in my young eyes. It wasn't until my junior year that my opinions really began to change. I realized that life is precious and that it should be handled with the utmost care. I think it must be made very clear that women don’t just walk into abortion clinics as if they’re walking into hair salons, hoping to get it done as soon as possible and still be able to meet their girlfriends for lunch. I believe that their decision to terminate a pregnancy is very hard because they understand that this life has already begun.


The dividing line between what is “right” and what is “wrong” is actually very blurred. I now believe that the potential for human life is what begins at conception, not the actual life itself. Personally, I believe that life begins at around 6 weeks, when not only does the heart begin beating, but brain waves are formed. I believe that this is the seedling of what we all are now. It’s a living sprout I guess. That’s when I think life begins. But I also believe that the termination of pregnancy should be legal until the first trimester.


Like Daisy, I am not "pro abortion", but pro choice. I don't think I'd ever personally be able to go through with the procedure, but I would never want my own personal beliefs to hinder the life and future of someone else. I now believe that there are several cases in which abortion is one of the most reasonable solutions. I understand now why certain circumstances can lend themselves to only one solution. I don’t understand the logic of some who say that abortion should not be legal at all. I mean, I do understand where people are coming from; they have religion to respect and consensus beliefs to uphold. But what would happen if it suddenly became illegal to have abortions? Not only would woman begin to take part in back alley abortions, but more and more children would be brought into lives of poverty, where their uneducated parents must settle for the rest of their lives. I can only hope that we as a society can remove our focus from abortion to the concern of proper education about contraception, which is the root of the problem. I agree with Clinton and Camden that abortion should be “Safe, Legal, and Rare”.

Elizabeth R.
How do I say this? I know I’m going to have an opinion that just might irritate people however, let me start by asking a simple question. If a spider were walking across your bathroom floor or on your kitchen counter, would you think twice about killing it? Probably not. You probably would view it as some sort of nuisance that is easily disposable, of no consequence. But hold on a second! Isn’t that quintessential chant of pro-lifers something along the lines of “All life is sacred”?

As we were watching the movie Lake of Fire there was a comment made by the contemporary logician Noam Chomsky about the hypocrisy of the pro-life argument. For one thing it fascinated me and it greatly influenced the opinion that I have…as of now.

You are going to kill that spider climbing along the kitchen or the bathroom floor because in your eyes it’s worthless. The life of something so small is inconsequential and it’s because of that which shows how our morals are comprised. That’s what no one seems willing to bring up- how utterly inconsistent and disastrous our moral compasses are and how we find ourselves to be something so special. I think is that part which might upset people but I think I need to say it: people are not as great as we seem to think we are. The human race, despite the many innovations we have made and complexities that exist in human life we are simply not meant to be held up on that pedestal that we place ourselves on.

It may seem strange and tangent to the discussion at hand but I only bring this up because it helps me clear up my point about our own moral inconsistences. When I saw some of the people in the Socratic praise the sanctity of life and express in only so many words that life in general, no matter the circumstances, is better than no life at all, that’s when I realized the melancholic truth about humanity and of our complete inferiority. These words spat out about “life” being so precious end up being stepped upon when one begins to realize that the same people who hold these convictions couldn’t give a shit about real suffering that goes almost completely unnoticed. These people couldn’t stop crying if they decided to fully realize all the suffering in the world that escapes our notice. How often do these people think about the issue of the 31 billion illegal industry that is human sex trafficking? Or the millions of children overseas who die every year because of preventable illnesses? Or an issue I personally hold very dear which is the injustice the LGBTQ community faces worldwide?

Personally, I think that life is full of unexpected events and when faced with those unexpected events we need options, abortion unfortunately being one of those options. Until that day when every child born is one that is wanted and can be adequately cared for abortion needs to be something that at least a possibility. It’s just strange to me that there are some who so fervently believe in outlawing abortion and claim all life is so sacred but generally ignore the terrors of world that I have already mentioned.

If you want to sit here with me and argue that you are killing life when an abortion is performed I can’t disagree with you. The biological definition of life states that this “thing” must maintain homeostasis, reproduce, respond to stimuli, undergo metabolism, and adapt to the environment. I think we can all agree that a fetus does all these things. However does that mean that this is a person? Well, personally, I don’t think so. Without that which makes someone who they are (their brain) we can’t really call them a person because there is nothing there. They are human for sure, but a unique individual person? No, at least not until there is the development of the brain and until then, there is no crime to get rid of it. You can’t kill that which never existed.

Eric M.
The matter of abortion and when personhood is actually gained can be two debates completely separate of each other.

I will begin with where I believe personhood actually begins as it relates to my opinion of when abortions should be legal. I can see the argument that many say when they state “Life begins at conception. Any clump of cells is living.” And I would mainly have to agree with that. However, where I disagree would be when the same proponents state abortion should not be done because the cells are life. As humans, we kill life every day. From the millions of animals that go into our food supply to killing insects without even thinking about it, killing life is ever present in our society. What is more important is the idea of when a fetus turns into a human life. That is when it is sacred, that is when it should be protected.

At the beginning of this unit, I felt that I would adamantly stick to a more scientific idea that personhood begins at the moment of viability. However, after much careful thought, a different date has crystallized in my mind. Now many say that personhood begins at conception because the embryo is uniquely human and contains the same DNA it will for its whole life. However, I believe that being human, being a person, is much more deeper than that. Honestly, I believe that being a person is much more meaningful than simply having life. I believe that the sense of conscious, morality, empathy, virtue, rationality, etc. is much more important to what it is to be human than pain or 46 chromosomes. This idea even surprised me. I thought I would be the typical scientist. I thought I would stick with a more concrete date or guideline. However, here I found myself middle of the road with a muddy concept of when personhood begins. I’m not sure when the actual date would be for a fetus to be a human because although brain waves begin at week 6 on Mr. Geib’s timeline, I’m sure the more complex thought begins at a later date. And to this end I am extremely ambivalent. Yet, I cherish this ambivalence because it is just this that makes us human. It is that we reason through complex ideas until we have an opinion. It is that we can formulate our ideas and communicate them. This is what personhood, being a human is all about: these morals that we all carry and the values that hold us true.

Now, to the issue of abortion. I am honestly extremely liberal in my opinion of abortion and even my own morals waiver and confuse me. Although I believe that it would be a terrible thing to end a life after it has achieved personhood, in some cases it is necessary. To put it plainly, the world sucks; people screw up; and many times the less than optimal path is taken. Of course I would hope that no-one would ever have to have an abortion. But I still think that in many cases it is the best option. I would hope that fetuses would never be aborted past even the moment of conception. However, the choice should be, in the end, with the mother because she will be raising it and it is her body. It would not be fair to the mother, or the child to force a life into this world in poor conditions, not to mention unsafe abortions that would be performed if it was illegal.

Although it is very difficult to identify when personhood begins, I believe when those most important qualities of reason, morality, and conscience are present there is human life. As for abortion, it should be the choice of the women, but as Bill Clinton said “Abortion should not only be safe and legal, it should be rare.”


COHORT 6 RESPONDS
Christian G
I am somewhere in the middle on this issue. I agree that abortion is wrong and that we shouldn’t allow it in most cases but what happens when someone is raped. Then I believe it is up to the woman. She didn’t make the choice to procreate and have the baby and it would be wrong to force them to have the baby. Plus it could be just an added reminder everyday of what happened to her and psychologically it could mess her up.
Many pro-choice people make the case that it is the woman’s body and that it is just a cluster of cells, not even life. As a man I am often told that we will never have to carry a baby and that it doesn’t have anything to do with us. But if I was a father and I didn’t have a choice in my unborn child’s future I would be thoroughly angered. Just think of how many fathers have seen their future kids die just because they didn’t have a say. How horrible is that?
While I agree that women have the right to their own bodies I also believe that we should have a respect for the life inside of them. They ultimately made the choice to have sex and with that choice comes responsibility. Even though in today’s society many people view sex as a carefree thing it is in fact a thing of great weight and should not be taken on unless you are ready for the responsibilities that come with it. So when people make the mistake of having sex and end up pregnant because they were irresponsible there should be no easy cope out such as abortion. They should have to deal with their actions and have the baby. They don’t have to keep the baby though. They can give it up for adoption or something along those lines so as to ease their burden but at least give the child a chance at life. To give up 9 months of your life to give a baby a chance to live is a small price to pay. Now what woman would say here is what about the man? Why does he get off scotch free? Well in my opinion I don’t believe that he should. I think that he should also take responsibility and help the girl out as much as he can because it’s his fault also. Now I know that this is not always likely but that’s my opinion.

Brianna M
So, I thought about posting my opinion somewhere in the middle of the bioethics abortion blog until, one I realized I was not allowed to post, and two my parents decided to show their Nazi tyrant side. I have decided that I believe life does not truly start until the magical number 18. In reality, parents own their children until they are legal adults and can make all of their decisions for them without any second thought from anyone else. How does that constitute freedom as it is depicted in our Constitution? There are a few times I thought my parents were trying to kill me anyways as I grew up, like when they forced me to eat old burnt brussel sprouts that made me gag and nearly choke to death. Not to mention the times they have enforced extremely unwanted and unfair rules, opinions, and the like onto my defenseless child self. Parents, in reality, have complete possession of their children until they are 18, and since slavery, or the owning of another human being is illegal here in the United States, one can only assume that until the age of 18, children are not human beings.
There are people that abandon their children, give them away, put them in freezers, and otherwise brutalize their spawn. Forcibly impressing sometimes constitutionally unlawful rules on children is a common problem in family life. Technically no one has any real rights until they are 18 anyways, so what would be the big deal of making abortion legal until age 18. We are all indentured servants waiting for the day we can move out and start our lives up until that wonderful age. The people who believe the world is going to end in December of 2012 have disappointed millions of underage non-people who were hoping to at least have had a life before the apocalypse. Before adulthood, one can only beg and manipulate their parents into giving them what they want and have no defense against the throes of angry parents in the mad sport of punishment.
The fruits of life are only in reach to the over 18 person and I believe abortion is a viable option until then because parents do not ask the permission of their minor to do anything else they deem appropriate. Maybe if you got a bit too mouthy with them one time too many they would decide it was time. “Offspring, we are taking you to the clinic. It has become too much.” Maybe you were taking up too much space, time, and money. No matter what it is, parents should have the legal right to inflict whatever means of cruelty they desire because that’s what they do anyways.
18 is the number. It encompasses the beginning of freedom, rights, happiness, and most importantly life. Don’t let anyone try to convince you that life begins at any other age because that means they are condoning slavery, something which would turn our entire country topsy turvy. Vote for abortion to 18.
But really, just so you know I think abortion should be legal for all first trimester women and doctors can choose if they want to do abortions after that. Life begins when the baby can feel things and survive on its own outside the womb.

Kieran G

When does someone become a person? When does life begin? In the attempt to try to find an opinion on this issue, I found that I considered these very different questions. You would call a dead person a person still, however they do not still have life. My view towards fetuses are the same. Until a fetus is born it is not alive, however it is a human. Let me explain. A human fetus has the same set of 46 chromosomes as everyone else alive, making it a person. However, this does not mean that the fetus is alive. It requires the mother’s help to develop and it is not breathing on its own, which in my book means its dead. Just like a sperm is a potential life, a fetus is a potential life because it hasn’t yet entered the world. Even when it’s viable to survive past birth its still not a person until it is out of the woman’s womb. Whether the baby is born at 22 weeks or if the fetus stays inside the mother full term, once the baby enters the world it is alive, but not until that moment. We don’t start counting how many years we’ve been alive the moment that we leave our mother’s womb, not the moment of conception. We say “I’m 18 years old,” not “I’m 18 years and 10 months old” if we just turned 18. Comparing fetuses to live humans is like comparing apples to oranges. Yes they’re both fruits, but they’re significantly different as well. One breathes for itself, one doesn’t. Now many people will disagree with me, saying that “but the baby can kick!” This doesn’t matter because the baby has yet to do a single thing for itself, as it sucks the mom dry of her nutrients, bones, and youth. Once it can support itself in at least one way, aka breathing, it is a life.

On that note, the woman should have the right to abort this fetus until the fetus can survive with care, because at that point it is a viable human life, even though it isn’t a life yet. This usually means 22 weeks and after that point I believe that the woman should do her best to try to have the baby unless in cases of emergency, cancer, or rape. A woman that got raped has enough emotional problems to deal with that adding a baby to the things that she has to deal with isn’t justifiable, especially a baby from someone who raped her. Before the 22 weeks, however, abortion is the woman’s choice. Many of you remember me giving a speech last year about how abortion is wrong. While what I would do when faced with this decision didn’t change, I am willing to let people decide for themselves. A lot of what I learned this year in Bioethics is that regardless of what I would do when presented with a situation, I must think of what others would think when faced with the same decision. I realized that many people don’t agree with me, and that’s okay. After all who am I to make decisions for someone else? This led me to the belief that people need to keep their personal morals to themselves and let each person make their own decision, whether it is abortion or euthanasia. Anything less is outright discrimination.
ISABELLE M.

Even after the discussions, video clips, and articles, I still do not know what to think. I am one of those people that have to be in the situation and then decide; I cannot merely form an opinion based on the resources provided in class. Being seventeen and never pregnant, I have trouble deciding what to think when it comes to personhood. But do not worry Geib, your educational efforts were not in vain because I have somewhat of a view.

Through my eyes, personhood begins somewhere between conception and birth, specifically Day 22, when the heart begins to beat and the embryo begins circulating its own blood. I would hope that at this point in a pregnancy, the woman will have decided whether or not to continue. I understand how cold, factual science determines personhood at birth, when the baby can breathe on its own. But how can you deny that hands, feet, and above all a heartbeat do not matter? These distinct characteristics of the fetus parallel that of a human. We determine death based on the loss of a heartbeat; so how can people justify abortion?

Abortion is wrong; the thought of killing the potential of a baby, or terminating the pregnancy at a much later date, sickens me. I understand this choice is not taken lightly, that things happen, whether by carelessness and irresponsibility or the situation was out of the woman’s control. No matter the case, the legalization of abortions must remain, not just because of the moral aspects of a woman’s right to privacy, but also because of the risks woman would have to take if it was prohibited. The videos and pictures portraying the horrors of self-inflicted mutilation in order for women to maintain control over their own bodies was enough to make me pro-choice.

We celebrate our life on our birthdays, not the moment in which we were conceived. The result of conception, a clump of cells, can only be considered potential of life; but for some people, that is just enough. We are so quick to judge; whether it is criticizing how a person dresses to how they eat. It is not our fault, it is just human nature. The choices that people make, especially choices concerning abortion, are easy to disapprove of. But we must learn to accept people for their faults and their actions based on those faults. Deciding on personhood is dependent on an individual’s life experiences and background; no one should influence another’s perspective, whether by throwing brochures about adoption or using violence.

Believing personhood begins at conception is naïve. Sometimes there are certain situations where it is impossible to bring a child into the world, whether it is economic status, a serious illness, or unsatisfying relationship influencing the decision. It is for these reasons that abortion provides a solution to the problems that may complicate a pregnancy. For some women, it is the only solution.

I agree with Conner when he says life is merely an idea in the minds of the parents. Of course everyone is going to have a different view, but in reality, the parents choose. No amount of violence or pro-life brochures is going to change that. Personhood is dependent how the parents choose to view the fetus, not on cold, factual science, although it does help ease the guilt. I would like to believe the point of view science has provided: that life begins at viability. But to me, it is not that easy.

Shaena S


Let's face it, no matter how much we argue or discuss or try to wrap our minds around it, there is no clear cut answer to when life begins. It's all completely relative and varies from person to person. Just incase I didn't make it clear enough in class, I am pro choice. Just because I'm pro choice doesn't mean that I think women should seek abortions as a first step in dealing with a pregnancy of any sort. I think abortion is something which requires a lot of thought and consideration prior to making the final decision, and even then it is still not an easy thing to deal with emotionally and physically.


As to the main question which was posed, I don't have a clear-cut answer. Like many of my fellow classmates I seem to be caught somewhere in the middle. If I were to go with what my Jewish religion says, I would say that life begins at birth, or more specifically, when the baby's head crowns. However, thanks to science and technology, I think the issue of when personhood begins is not so simple.


I think that a person becomes a person at the point in time when they are viable outside of the womb. I don't think that there is any specific numerical value which can be given to this point in time because it varies from fetus to fetus. There are always those "miracle babies" who defy all odds and scientific explanation as well as those who have something go terribly wrong. That being said, I believe that until the fetus is viable outside of the mother's womb, it is not a person. Until that point in time, the fetus is still a potential life and although it is valuable, I don't think that it is as valuable as a pre-existing life. As I said in the beginning, abortions are tough things to go through, but I don't think that they should be eliminated completely or strictly regulated during the first trimester. During the first trimester, although potential life, the fetus is not viable outside of the womb and thus should be permitted to be aborted if necessary.


As the pregnancy progresses, where to draw the line with abortions becomes fuzzier and fuzzier. I do think that second and third term abortions should be legal in cases where the health and well-being of the mother is threatened, or if the fetus's health does not have a positive outlook either during the pregnancy or shortly after birth. In these such instances, I think that there needs to be medical consultation prior to the procedure and there needs to be clear evidence of the reasoning behind the abortion. While third term abortions should for sure have more strict restrictions, I think that second trimester abortions should have fewer simply because the fetus has still not reached the point of viability in the beginning of the second trimester.


Although, in my opinion, there is no obvious answer to this question, I think that personhood begins the moment the fetus is viable outside of the womb.


Aron E

I’m writing in the indecisive section for a myriad of reasons, the first of which is that in terms of whether or not abortion should be legal and easily accessed, when life begins is ultimately irrelevant. Woman are going to get abortions regardless of any other factors, and therefore in terms of protecting life, legal, on demand abortion is a necessity. I don’t mean only in certain circumstances, such as rape or incest, because really it seems difficult to decide to draw the line there. Why in cases of rape? Because it would be exceedingly hard on the mother? So would having a baby she doesn’t want. Incest also isn’t a guarantee of medical problems in any way, so people who believe that abortion is acceptable for rape and incest are conceding that the fetus’ life isn’t always more important, that there aren’t moral absolutes here, and if there aren’t, it seems pretty presumptive to draw the line anywhere. Saying abortion should only be acceptable in certain cases frankly I think is a way to use convenient, artificial distinctions to avoid the issue.

The inability to draw the line is ultimately the reason I’m writing on this page. Life, as crass as it may sound, seems to be a pretty morally insignificant. The “definitions” of what qualifies as life are literally the same for every living being, meaning I am as alive as a bacterium is, which I think rids the mere fact of being alive of any relevance. If the sheer fact of being alive were the important part, then I would weep when I used antibiotics. In fact, if life is all that matters, using medicine is pretty selfish when we think of how many more living organisms are helped if we don’t.

Therefore “personhood” must be the significant factor, but how the hell does one decide where that starts? The moment of viability? When the heart beats? When the nervous system forms? How about the first fingernail? The chronology kritik I’ve been saying for a while now puts these in question (and if you don’t buy my whole “life is morally insignificant” thing, then maybe this will convince you). How can we say at any one moment there is personhood and at another there isn’t? The idea that one moment a cluster of cells suddenly gains infinitely more moral standing than it had the infinitesimally small period of time beforehand. The moment a sperm enters an egg it’s a person but the nanosecond before it means nothing? How can all of the people who talk about potential life, etc. honestly believe this chain of logic. If we have to define life somewhere, and if potential life matters, than as was said during the Socratic, stopping people from having sex “is the new abortion.”

Essentially what I’m trying to say, in the least pretentious way possible, is that I reject the premise of this blog. People talked about the problems that happed (such as genocide) when we define personhood a certain way, and therefore the only real solution is to never try and define its beginnings, but assume that at some point it happens

Matt Z

I don’t know when personhood begins. And it isn’t a question that anyone can find the answer too either. A blastocyst is not a person. It does not feel, it does not think, it is a grouping of cells that, if allowed, will grow into a baby. This clump, if you will, is certainly alive but it lacks all the other qualities that make it specifically a person. At the earliest stages of pregnancy the clump of cell logged in a women’s vagina is no different from her earlobe. But when this clump develops fingers, and eyes, a beating heart, and a nervous system the lines between person and earlobe begin to blur.

I know that abortion is a necessary service that must be provided in a stable democratic society. The higher moral value resides in the women’s freedom to control her body. That much is clear. It is important and essential to keep women safe from unsanitary and dangerous “back-ally” abortions. But at what point is abortion no longer a justice thing to do? When should the state step in and protect the rights of the baby as well? Sandra Day O'Connor tells us it is at the point of viability that an unborn baby can no longer be aborted. At this point the child assumes all the rights that an American citizen has and its termination will lead to criminal charges.

I suppose this is a good enough answer…but I am still ambivalent. Just because a fetus isn’t viable outside of the womb that automatically means it is not a person? Many mothers and fathers name their babies, build nurseries for them, and send the ultrasounds to relatives, I believe they would disagree. That growing child is certainly a person by their standards.

And furthermore, at the point of conception when the sperm and the egg do their little dance, and intertwine their chromosomes, a unique human life has been created. One cannot deny that this clump has all the necessary genes to make it no different from you and me. It will not grow into a dog, or a bird, or a fish, but a boy or a girl. Shouldn’t that unique difference, the very fact that it has human DNA, mean it is a person? But it is still just a clump. It does not feel, it does not think, it is a grouping of cells that, if allowed, will grow into a baby. That potential does not automatically deem personhood.

I guess the question comes down to what qualities make us people and when do those qualities form in the womb? And the answer lies somewhere in between. But I do not know the answer; I can never know the answer. But what I do know is when a fetus changes from a clump of cells to a person, a person that smiles, weeps, dreams, and loves, is specific for every mother and father. I do not believe any law can make the choice, never.

Taylor K

To be perfectly honest, I don’t like people telling me what to do. I’m the sort of ‘cut-off-my-nose-to-spite-my-face’kind of person. So naturally, I am pro-choice, but that doesn’t mean that I’m pro-abortion.

As a Buddhist, or even just as a person who values life at all levels, I find abortion to be a difficult subject for me to articulate upon. When is a fetus a baby? Is eliminating potential life the same as murder? Would I ever get an abortion myself? Is scratching my nose genocide? All of these are rather tricky to navigate while retaining empathy and composure.

But I suppose the thing that challenges these qualities in me the most is the tendency for people to confuse personal responsibility and responsibility for one’s actions. By this I mean that everyone in this world is responsible for their own actions, but not everyone in this world is someone who takes responsibility for their actions. These two things are ideal to maintain, but they are not mutually inclusive or exclusive, and do not necessarily signal a person’s maturity or good nature on their own.

For example, let’s take a look at your average everyday serial killer on loose. He’s obviously responsible, cleaning up after his victims and such- he hasn’t been caught and certainly no one coerced him into this murder spree or operated his strings like a puppet master in the clouds. What he hasn’t done is taken responsibility for his action, meaning no jail time or repercussion accepted. See, different things.

On the opposite side of the coin, a woman who has accidentally gotten pregnant does not have the opportunity to choose to take responsibility for her actions. Even if she was forced into intercourse, she is carrying the reminder of the act with her in her abdomen- she has to deal with the situation. What she does have the choice about is whether or not to be responsible. And this is where the fetus comes in.

For me, the point of viability is where a fetus becomes a baby. Scientifically speaking, the potential for life starts at conception, but to say that the life has been officially started is ignorant. Yes, the cluster of cells is alive. Yes, they are human cells. But to abort these cells and to call this equivalent to murder would be not only insensitive but also incorrect.

Hear me out. Picture this cell cluster as a pile of Legos. You just dumped them out of the Star Wars Lego kit, so you know what you’re going to build. You would not however call this pile of unassembled Legos a Starship, and certainly not the Deathstar depicted on the box, because it is not yet built. These free-floating Legos put together are something magnificent and are a separate ship, but when they are alone or mostly so, they are indeed something by themselves, but nothing but a bunch of lone square blocks and those weird cylinders that are hard to get to stay on.

In the same way this is a pre-baby fetus. The cells that are to make up the new human are loosely held together and haven’t yet developed into the person. The cells are technically alive but the person isn’t. The cells may have even arranged themselves into various bones and organs, but until the various parts spark to life of their own accord, not through the artificial animation by the mother’s heartbeat, or can sustain themselves independently of the mother’s body, the would be human is still nothing but a bunch of neatly arranged cells. To put it in AP U.S. History terms, the colonies are there, but they don’t yet function as a country, or even as a state for that matter, and so aren’t yet the United States. We had the potential to be a country, but didn’t detach ourselves from England until 1776 until we could be independent.

At conception, the mother is held responsible for her actions, but after that, she has the choice to be responsible or not. I believe that any time before the point of viability, the mother should be able to have an abortion no harm, no foul. She can also choose to have the child and care for it, or put it up for adoption. She can have a third term abortion, legally or illegally.

But to be responsible in this situation one must consider not only what’s best for one’s own life but for the possibility of another.

Though I do not like abortion, I don’t necessarily believe that carrying out the pregnancy is the most responsible choice. You have to consider the ramifications. Are you able to raise a child? No? Then it’s safe to say abortion or adoptions are the responsible options. Will the child be adopted- and if so, will they be adopted into a non-abusive and safe household? Yes- Then did you rob a child who was already born of their chance to have that loving family? No- Then was it better for them to live a life of suffering over simply not being born?

After the point of viability, abortion really shouldn’t be an option, so you’re left with adoption or raising the thing by yourself. Unless the case is of life or death proportions for the mother, or for the child that will live only shortly after being born, a third term abortion is snuffing out a life and the end of any life is a small tragedy. It was your fault you waited x-amount of months, letting this situation get this bad, so don’t make the baby pay for your lack of action, too.

In conclusion, I am staunchly in favor of every person’s right to control their own body, especially if there’s something growing and sucking the life out of you through your uterine walls. I don’t give a damn what you do with that fetus before the 3rd trimester, but after that, instead of ending that new life, if you don’t want the child, the second that baby can live outside of you rip it the f*ck out of your body, plop it in a stroller and roll it on down to the orphanage.

Dana B

First and foremost I am not pro-abortion, I am pro-choice. I am what most people would consider a liberal, but I never understood the need for titles. I believe in human rights, and human choices, and human experiences. Everything we do in life is centered around the choices we make and this crazy push and pull, cause and effect journey. Abortion is unfortunately one of those life changing choices and experiences that many women have faced. And I firmly believe that they did not take that choice lightly.


I feel it is a common misconception that these women skip into abortion clinics, have the operation, and leave feeling burden-free, happy and ready to take on the world. They might be fetus-free, but forever left with countless “what if” questions and guilt gnawing away at their conscious’. Watching that woman in one of the many depressing videos through out the year after her abortion attempt to make a joke about a need for a cigarette was honestly heart breaking. And sure enough within seconds she broke down and sobbed. She did not regret her decision, and I did not feel sorrow for the potential life that was taken away. I felt sorrow merely for her. No woman should be forced into motherhood if they do not desire so, especially if they know they cannot properly care for a child, yet alone herself. And to the people in my class that say “well then don’t have sex until you’re married”, I have very low tolerance for you. That is not a solution because despite what you believe, people are going to do what they want and you may never stop them. Pre-marital sex and accidents are not sins. A true sin is imposing your beliefs upon others and in consequence taking away their rights. Stay true to your beliefs, but not at the expense of making a guilt-ridden woman feel of any lesser value. That is just wrong.

Any pregnancy is unarguably a potential life. Not even the extreme leftists can deny that. However, I believe it is not a human being until viable outside the woman’s womb. Because we are told to put a number on it I will say the fetus is truly human between 23-25 weeks. Before 23 weeks, the fetus is a part of the woman’s body and unable to survive without her blood, her nutrition, her oxygen, her tissue or any other part of her body. I admit I am wishy washy with regards to my 23-week rule because there are some cases in which partial-birth abortions are acceptable. What if the fetus is being carried at the expense of the woman’s life and is not even viable? Why should a woman be forced to risk her life if the offspring is going to die immediately after birth and will never and could never be viable? With that in mind, I do think some third trimester abortions are necessary.


I am pro-choice. Taking away a woman’s choice to “save the unborn” is quite honestly something I will never understand. I try my hardest to, I really do, but most of the time it just ends up with me growing increasingly more frustrated with those who consider it murder. I grew up in a household in which I have been taught that I was born a clean slate, a tabula rasa. My experiences, my day-to-day actions, the people I encounter, and the choices I make, construct the being I am and will continue to become. Emphasis on the choice part particularly. A woman has the choice to do what she wants with her body, and to take away that choice I believe is a true evil. To each his own. Or in this case, her own.


Averi J

Abortion is icky. I don’t like it. Oh and by the way, I’m pro-choice.

So, why is abortion icky? Well, because a fetus, even a zygote, is “potential life,” and as much as I would like to deny this, and subsequently feel less confused and write a shorter blog, I cannot. This being said, I don’t believe that the protection of “potential life” should take precedent over the protection of a woman’s right to choose, and I recognize that there are potential situations in which I would exercise this right, and perhaps more situations in which I would want women in general to at least have the option of doing so.

While I recognize that a fertilized egg is technically alive I really have no qualms with abortion in the first few days or weeks, at this points those cells could pretty much become anything short of a cucumber… okay a cucumber isn’t human at all but you get the point, it’s a tiny mass of cells. After this it gets a little more complicated, the heart starts beating at 22 days and while this for me is not necessarily where life begins, this is definitely a milestone. Last year I did a job shadow in the family-care unit at CMH and I had the opportunity to hear an in-utero heart beat; surprise, surprise I thought it was pretty magical… imagine, me getting sentimental! Despite this darn-you-girl-hormones response, life does not, in my opinion, begin at this point because at this point it still can’t truly “experience” anything. This point does not come until the fetus is around 12 weeks old, has a fully functioning nervous system, and can therefore feel pain. I personally would not be able to justify having an abortion past this point, however, my view of where life begins does not necessarily coincide with that of others so it is difficult for me to say legally where this line should be drawn.

There is no one clear right or wrong because we cannot definitively say where life begins in terms of “being human,” and the decision is very personal. There are many potential motivations for making such a choice. It may be because of some horrific event of rape or simply because one is not emotionally or financially ready to have a child, and I don’t think one of these reasons is more valid than another. While in an ideal world contraception would be 100% effective and everyone would make responsible choices about their bodies and sex lives, mistakes happen. Hormones happen, urges happen, sex happens. Some people simply may be more equipped to control/take responsibility for these actions. Frankly, the people not responsible enough to use contraception are probably not responsible enough to raise children.

Yet while it is easy to say this, the topic of abortion remains difficult because no one wins. While in the long term, abortion may absolutely be the correct choice for someone to have made, making the choice could never really be easy. There would always be questions about what could have been, whether or not they made the right decision, or why it was them who had to end up in such a situation. It is no doubt a traumatic experience and choice to make, but I have no doubt that it is a decision women should be allowed to make.

No one should be forced to be a parent before they are ready, and unfortunately we as a society have neither the resources nor the determination to take care of all the world’s unwanted children. So, abortion is icky, because it is sad, and difficult, and painful, but it must remain legal because we all deserve the right to choose what is right for our lives, our bodies, and our futures.

Addison J

Walking out of the Socratic Friday I was sure when personhood begins. It's that light bulb moment when the mom all of a sudden realizes "oh shit! There's a person inside me!" (and I'm not talking about the moment of conception). I was thinking of how my mom could tell Ave and I apart based on our movements, how I kicked and Ave rolled. To me, that means personhood, when the fetus starts to show some sort of movement or behavior that they will have after they're born. It was our different movements inside the womb that distinguished Ave and I once we were outside the womb, as I still kick in my sleep while Averi is the one who remains somewhat motionless. To me that's personhood.

However, as far as abortion is concerned I think personhood begins once the fetus develops a nervous system or is capable of feeling pain. I think third trimester abortions are way too late and should be very regulated, only allowed if the birth or pregnancy becomes a threat to the mother or the fetus. Women should have access to safe and legal abortions during the first trimester of pregnancy as to me, in the first trimester the fetus is really not much more than a mass of cells. It’s really during the very beginning of the second trimester, when things start to get a little fuzzy, that makes me want to alter my views of when personhood is established. My earlier definition of personhood relies on the mother’s realization that one day, the fetus will have a personality and will viable outside the womb. But what if the mom never has that light bulb moment while she's pregnant but does once she hears the baby crying or first holds it? Clearly that is way too late for an abortion. If I had to establish a definite time on personhood, for the sake of establishing when it should be legal to get an abortion, I would have to say that personhood is established about the time the fetus is capable of feeling pain, sometime around week 12.

Overall I’d say personhood begins when the mother has the sudden realization that the fetus is eventually going to be a person, or when the fetus starts to show some sort of movement or behavior that they will have after they're born. However, as far as abortion is concerned, personhood begins once the fetus is capable of feeling pain or when the nervous system develops, around week 12. I strongly believe third trimester abortions are simply too far along into a pregnancy to be acceptable unless there is a medical reason for such a procedure and that such actions should be highly regulated. Overall I’m pro-choice, but not 100 % pro-abortion.

Luke B


Life is completely different from sentience and warrants different considerations.

Any person has been alive since the first cell existed. That cell would divide and change and eventually one small strand would make it’s way to be human and eventually one of those cells became a fertilized egg and that egg became you. So you were alive at the beginning of life. But sentience is where all the important stuff happens.

I believe sentience comes with two things first is the ability to learn how to verbalize or otherwise express yourself to other members of your species. For us this is language, once you can speak you are sentient. Second is the ability conceptualize and implement abstract ideas and complex problems.

Now that I have set up my definitions I move to the abortion subject:

To kill a sentient being is almost always wrong. To end a life is an entirely separate matter. It is impossible to completely practice the idea that all life is sacred (warning cheep shot incoming) because our life is dependent upon the death of others. Our immune system kills many microbes every day, our feet will inevitable crush some insect despite our efforts, we will eat plants, and all of us do drive cars and are guaranteed to hit some living thing in our lifetime. Moreover many of us are incredibly hypocritical about our values of life, typically a person would subscribe a higher value of life to a dog than a possum, and all this while arguing that life is equal. I find the concept cute but unsound when put into practice. Having said that I must say that I have extreme respect for those who try to live this life (see last years amex speech). So our argument should move away from are we ending or is it even life, but to are we ending sentience.

Now if I were a dogmatic person subscribing to this belief I would arguer that anyone who cannot speak is an abortion candidate. This is extremely repulsive to me in two respects, first is that I am genetically wired to want to protect babies, and second is that while the dog in the earlier example will never really grasp language or abstract concepts a baby can and eventually will understand and master these feats. But potential sentience is nowhere near the same as sentience. So for myself the current laws provide a convenient point to draw the line.

But unfortunately we don’t live in this idealized world and there are factors such as public opinion, religion, and politics. Since Americans as a whole cannot decide where the line should be drawn I would encourage government to make no laws about it… what so ever. I might not like it but if the people can’t decide as a relative whole then the government has no right or responsibility to support either side. Pro life? Fine don’t do it, also might want to buy condoms and spermicidal lube follow your own dogma. Pro Choice? Whatever, also might want to buy condoms and spermicidal lube, but don’t expect subsidies.

I don’t find abortion that troubling, it’s simply the side effect of something else. It’s the side effect of immaturity, irresponsibility, lack of control, and tons of broken condoms.

Nicole T


Ethical questions suck. There is no right or wrong answer, not even to something as clearly different as life and death. While in the movie world the journey for truth is simplified in to one statement “Just off dealing with issues way beyond my maturity level”, I am left here internally moving like an electrocuted spider, with the maturity of one of the countless mistakes that I take care off, they’re usually around the age of seven. Safe to say dealing with this would be way to emotionally straining on me too, the line between life and death is too narrow and the sides to small for my feet to not fall on different sides.

Sitting here listening to spotify, I hear one statement from a commercial for a party playlist. The DJ says “I’m here to do the work, so you don’t have to.” I don’t know if any of you have heard this commercial, but I can tell you it is exceptionally annoying. Regardless of what spotify thinks I never want to have Pitbull be in the soundtrack of my life. Why would I ever want that kind of party, why would I ever want that kind of party in my pants. I am never going to tell someone what they can and can’t do especially when it comes to abortion, I can’t do that work for them.To each their own, but I don’t think there are many owns in this Bioethics class, as heard in the Socratic. Few people felt that they would, but who knows until it happens, Matt.

I think that each woman is given the choice to have a child every time they go for a spin between the sheets. All I can say is be safe and be ready. I don’t think that people should be having intercourse unless they are mentally ready to take care of a child. Just as well, I don’t think that people should fear having a baby; there is always someone who wants a newborn, but there should always be someone who is willing to suck it out. Cells are the building blocks to life, but when those finger nails form and the transformation between lizard monster to adorable little baby I don’t think I can terminate those cells, someone else I am sure would love them, even if I couldn’t. I know that I am going to use protection. STD’s are bad and so are unwanted children. Sex is not a bad thing, and abortions are not a bad thing. People should be allowed to use and abuse their bodies. I cannot do their work for them, they have to make up their own mind.

Eric B

When does personhood begin? When our class began this topic in our Bioethics class, I was unsure of the answer. After several weeks of discussion and having been further educated on the implications of a society in which abortion were illegal, and having heard the impassioned arguments of my classmates, I have decided that personhood, and therefore the end to a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy, occurs at some point in between conception and birth.

I have been raised in a household which believes that the government should stay out of a person’s personal life. Although the general premise in my family has been that abortion is wrong, none of us would ever seek to enforce that judgement on another person. I feel that this quote by John Kerry sums up my view quite well.

“Too many people in America believe that if you are pro-choice that means pro-abortion. It doesn't. I don't want abortion. Abortion should be the rarest thing in the world. I am actually personally opposed to abortion. But I don't believe that I have a right to take what is an article of faith to me and legislate it to other people. That's not how it works in America.”

This seems to the mos popular view on the subject. It incorporates the freedom implied by residing in America with a woman’s right to privacy. Americans generally support a woman’s right to an abortion two to one.

I believe that personhood begins, primarily as a matter of pragmatic necessity, somewhere between conception and birth. Foremost, I understand that banning abortions in the United States would place undue hardship on the pregnant women responsible for over one million abortions performed each year. A defining moment in class was when we watched a video detailing the thousands of women who attempted to perform abortions on themselves (pre-Roe vs. Wade), often dying in the process. Immediately I saw the impossibility of a world where abortion was illegal. The termination of a potential human life is one thing, but I consider the self-inflicted destruction of a young woman to be a graver ill.

In the Supreme Court, a justice may issue a concurring opinion which they agree with the majority but for different stated reasons. I hold a concurring opinion on abortion. I will not use the concept of rape as a justifiable excuse for allowing abortions to be legalized. 0.3% of all abortions are performed as a result of a rape, and the majority of procedures are performed at the woman’s request due to a variety of factors. Therefore rape is not a motivating factor in the argument for abortion.

I also dismiss the pro-choice notion that “pro-life people are crazy to inflict their views on someone else” as Matt Zinik put it. Persons opposed to abortion do not do so as an insidious means to exercise control over another human being. Rather, they believe that it is morally wrong to kill any developing person and that it is not just a personal decision that one makes on one’s own. For example, a parallel could be drawn between a murderer who claims that society is inflicting a pro-sanctity of life view on him. One might say that abortion is not nearly on the same level as murder, but they must understand the gravity with which persons who are against abortion approach the situation. I believe I have proven that I have rationally considered both arguments, dismissing two of the more uneducated forms of arguing for abortion. I will focus on the third, which falls into concurrence with my own opinion.

As I previously mentioned, banning abortion can result in unspeakable horrors and incredible hardship for pregnant women. Ergo, it should be kept legalized. In addition, I would be hard-pressed to say that the moment after conception, a cluster of cells holds more weight as a potential for human life than before. In The Cider House Rules, Dr. Larch says, “Is it a democratic society that condemns people to the accident of conception? What are we - monkeys? If you expect people to be responsible for their children, you have to give them the right to choose whether or not to have children.” I cannot bring myself, like Greg O does, to tell people to be responsible for their own decisions when fifty percent of the time, pregnancy is not a decision that one makes. It just happens. Therefore, abortion should be legal until the point of viability. I expect people to be responsible for their own children, and by supporting a woman’s right to an abortion, I hope and expect that children who are born are given a happy upbringing.

Scott H

In this unit’s Socratic I was very quiet, unlike all of the other Socratics. There was just something about the huge controversy surrounding abortion that made me not want to touch it. Each side has very valid points, and it makes it hard to formulate a conclusion to specify my beliefs. So I guess now is the time to just start writing how I feel and see how it goes…

Reading through other peoples posts I came across the legendary Matt A. Matt stated, “Life begins at conception, no ifs, ands or buts. The union of an egg and sperm brings about not just a "cluster" of cells but also a fingerprint - a unique identity - the dogma and genetic "soul" of a living organism from which it derives its physical form and characteristics. Life, or the condition of living, is the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity and continual change preceding death. It is by this definition that defines the blastocyst as the beginning of life - for what brings about the "capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, change and death" is contained in none other than the blastocyst itself. Although the viability of life - the viability of a blastocyst - is impossible without the nurturing womb of the mother, the fact of the matter is that the destruction of potential invariably leads to the destruction of reality; the reality, the life, of a potential individual.” This is truly where I stand. I could not have said it any better myself. He is a 100% right, to me the moment those first cells are formed that is life. Those few cells are living, just like me, u, or anyone else. All those cells have the potential to be something great; having potential though does not discount the fact that they are still alive.

So yes when an abortion is performed life is killed; plain as that. But the fact is not all life is equal. That is the sad truth to life. Some will say all life is equal to them, but I know most people if forced to would rather kill an ant than their own mother. Knowing that this is true to all competent human beings, life is obviously not equal at all.

So although I do not agree with abortion, in some cases it is defiantly needed. In pregnancies in which the mother’s life is in danger, abortion is defiantly justifiable. Same goes with rape cases. Abortion is a terrible but needed thing, much like war and school (joking). Anytime a life is lost, is a sad thing, but regardless justifiable.

I’m very in the middle when it comes to the whole Pro-choice and Pro-life thing, so I guess ill just state that I don’t agree with abortion, only in special justifiable cases.

Evan S

A sperm is just as much alive as is the egg, as are the cells of our body. The clump of cells growing in a woman’s uterus is alive, that is a simple fact, not necessarily human life, but they are alive in a sense. They are multiplying, adapting, evolving. I believe that life begins at conception and human life begins when the heart begins to beat. Maybe I have seen too many Disney movies, but I believe the heart, metaphorically, is the core of life and a beating heart, to me, means a person, a life, a hope to be protected.

If you ask me, abortion should be a last option decision only if the woman’s life is in danger, if the baby is going to come out horribly deformed physically or severally affected mentally, or if she was raped. Then it is the mother’s issue. But for me personally, the excuse “I’m not ready to have a baby” or “I have a job” or “my boyfriend / baby daddy / husband doesn’t want me to have it” just doesn’t quite cut it. And I am physically sickened by the small amount of women who use it as birth control. If you are not ready to have a baby than you probably aren’t ready to be having sex, not full on vaginal sex at least. In my perfect world, no one would need abortion other than the three former mentioned reasons and this would be a non-issue.

Now, having said all of that, I think abortion should be legal. It is not a failure of morality that we have so many abortions a year; it is a failure of society. One part of our society promotes sex everywhere it can and why wouldn’t it? It works. But at the same time the other part of our society is demonizing sex and sexuality and nudity. All of these contrasting ideas are confusing kids telling them that sex will kill them while some hot girl is trying to sell them a pair of jeans. Instead of making pamphlets to scare kids into celibacy, why not inform them of how to have sex safely, where to get what you need, and places to go for when something goes wrong?

Like we read in the booklet Mr. Geib gave us, many people don’t even know how women get pregnant. The first step to reducing the number of needless abortions is education. I was never really taught as a kid about sex and how a woman got pregnant. My parents told me that when a woman and a man love each other they have a baby, but everything in between (you know, the actual sex), was left out. I learned everything I knew from the videos they showed us in fifth grade and again in seventh grade. This is why sexual education needs to increase and improve in schools, private or public. There are kids out there who have no idea about sex, and they need to be taught about safety and the dangers of unprotected sex, not celibacy. With greater awareness of safe sex, I believe we can cut down the number of useless abortions by a great deal.

However, abortions cannot go unregulated. Once the fetus hits the moment of viability outside of the womb, that fetus is now legally a baby and has a right to be born. What have they been doing for the past twenty-two weeks that prevented them from getting an abortion? Once the baby reaches viability, unless it is going to be deformed or severely mentally handicapped or the woman’s life is in danger, we must relieve the option of abortion. It is not a great rule, but then again nothing is really great about an abortion. Anytime before the moment of viability should be open for a legal abortion, plain and simple.

I guess I would say, for myself, I am pro-life. If by some awful mix-up I end up getting a woman pregnant and she wanted an abortion, I couldn’t find it in myself to side with her. In the end, though, it would be her decision and I would have to support her right to an abortion because I don’t believe my personal insecurities should be able to deny her or any woman the right to a safe abortion.

Emily R
I don’t know. That’s my cop-out answer. I just don’t know. I’m 18, never been pregnant, and besides my sister’s pregnancy I’ve never really been exposed to the process or really even been around a newborn before. I’m sure if I had experienced pregnancy or was currently experiencing it my answer would be completely different, but that’s not the case (nor do I really plan on it being the case… at least not for a really really really really long time). So really I feel like my opinion on ‘where life begins’ is really just invalid right from the start. But Mr. Geib, you love to force us to think about things that are way beyond our years and stretch our minds, and assign 100 point blogs due on the last week of our entire high school career, so I’ll try my best.

I can tell you that I don’t believe that life starts at conception. I mean, if you want a super biotech-y answer, technically a human life begins to form and grow at conception because when the chosen sperm hits the egg pregnancy begins. However, I don’t really define life in the technical biotech-y way. And maybe the reason why this is such a grey subject is because we’re trying to define when life is, and not what life is. I feel one must define the ‘what’ before the ‘when’. To me, life is the ability to respond and feel, but above all to be able to survive on one’s own. Because that autonomy and independence is what life is ultimately. Relationships come and go, feelings change, our surroundings change, and through it all, we are left with just ourselves. We are the only ones who has our backs entirely, and that is life.

So I guess my answer to this blog is that life begins at the point of fetal viability. This is where I also believe that the right to have an abortion should be cut off in most circumstances (rather than solely first trimester). I feel like standing a middle ground is also a cop-out answer, but it’s the answer which makes the most sense to me. I’m very blatant with my pro-choice stance, but there has to be a cut off so abortion is not used as a form of birth control. To control that extremity, there must be regulations, and saying that life begins at the point of viability protects the woman’s right to choose up until that point, as well as the child’s right once it is physically able to survive outside the womb. It’s the most win-win situation within such a gloomy topic.

For those who say that life begins at conception, and that also believe that abortion should be illegal because it is murder… I say open your eyes. There are situations where a baby is just not possible or probable to bring into the world. The argument against this is ‘well you never know… it could end up being a really great thing… you could end up loving the child… blah blah’, but you also never know if it could turn out really horrible, and ruin not just the mother’s life, but lead the child into a horrible situation. Not everyone is meant to be a parent. I know this goes against evolution and societal norms, but not everyone is equipped for that type of responsibility and commitment. There is so much pressure to have kids, but just because you have a kid doesn’t mean you’ll be good at it. What if an abortion saved a child from living in a terrible living situation where it was abused or neglected, and then that child continued the chain of abuse and neglect and it never stopped?

I’m starting to rant to I’ll wrap this up by saying that I think life begins at the point of fetal viability. Thanks for listening.

Connor F

This unit we have spent a lot of time speaking about the “true birth of the human soul”, where does it begin? When is something truly human, and not merely and idea or a cluster of cells? Now of course while their can never is a true answer that will be accepted as dogma, I found something that works for me. I believe that life begins when the mother and father of that child decide to themselves one day that what they are having is a child of their own. Now I know what I just said doesn’t make to much sense so please, allow me to explain.
There are people who say that a child is made as soon as the man’s sperm and the woman’s egg comes together. Now while there are those who might find backing that a zygote could be considered a “growing human life”, I do not believe that that IS, the case but it CAN be the case. I believe that something has life when it has it in the eyes of the parents. If a woman identifies with a child two days after conception than that is a child, a human life because in here eyes she is carrying her child. However is a woman is raped, or gets pregnant by accident and she doesn’t identify with the “child” she is carrying inside her, than in her case she wouldn’t be carrying a human life! So life begins when those who are going to have to live with the child choose to identify with is and really think of it as their child
Now onto the issue of abortion and its legality…. Let me start off by saying that I do not like abortion. I do not believe that any person who labels himself or herself as pro choice likes abortion. What I like is the concept behind pro choice that is that the woman has the fundamental right to choose whether or not she is ready or wants to have a child. There are some people in our class who believe that abortions are miss used and if they continue to stay legal that people will just use abortion as merely a way of contraception. That abortion will be merely an easy way for women to “opt-out” of a bad mistake that they do not want to have to deal with. This is possibly the stupidest thing I have ever heard. No woman wants to get an abortion! Even if a woman becomes pregnant and is one hundred percent sure about her decision to not carry the child to term, of course her decision to not have the child would weigh heavily on her conciousesnce.... (I have no idea how to spell consciousness. and I did it so badly not even spell check knew what I was trying to say) Abortions need to stay legal because all women deserve the right to choose if they want to have a child! Besides if a woman isn’t ready to have a child, doesn’t want it or is not responsible yet enough for it, do we really want that woman raising a child? I believe that the motto of Planned Parenthood sums it up perfectly “ every child, a wanted child”.
For a while I was in between on my decision of when human life begins. When Mr. Geib said that many people considered that the point of viability was this point, I was convinced for a while. It makes sense right? At this point the baby if taken out of the womb could survive on its own, and then I realized that that’s not true at all. If you a baby after the point of viability out of the womb would it survive? Yes… for probably a day and a half. All this time I had assumed that a baby was viable with out a mothers care. So that’s where I finally found my decision that I believed that the concept of “life’s beginnings” is really one that’s intangible and there fore life’s true beginnings is merely an idea in the minds of the parents who are going to bring the child into the world.
While I support a woman’s right to choose, I don’t believe that abortion is always the best option. I think that adoption should always be considered, and of course use condoms and birth control is a no brainier. But if a woman has no other options than an abortion is perfectly acceptable. As for restrictions on the time periods when women can receive abortions, I do not believe women should get third term abortions three days before the child is due. But I think they should be fine from the first to the second term. As for reasons why people should be allowed to have abortions. I don’t care what the reasons are; it’s not my place to judge a woman on her decision if she wants to have a child! If a young girl in college wants an abortion simply because she feels that she isn’t ready for a child, then that’s a good enough reason not to have a child. Now i'm very passionate about this topic, not necessarily because I am a hard core pro choicer, but rather because I think that the pro-life decision is morally wrong. This is because the pro-life label to me is a façade. While the pro-life movements say that all life must be protected, they intend to take away a woman’s fundamental right to choose in the process.
Now I don’t like this topic all too much, not only because of its sensitive subject, but also b because there am no way I can be my normal wise cracking, gramer failing self. (Get it??) I mean there is no way to make abortion funny! But all jokes aside, I believe in pro choice, I believe in a woman’s right to choose. There is no way that life begins at conception. Life is merely an idea in the minds of the parents. Life, hell no one knows when it begins; life begins when the parents choose that what they are carrying is there child, and not a mistake.
EL Fin... Homie
Nico Teitel
Ethical questions suck. There is no right or wrong answer, not even to something as clearly different as life and death. While in the movie world the journey for truth is simplified in to one statement “Just off dealing with issues way beyond my maturity level”, I am left here internally moving like an electrocuted spider, with the maturity of one of the countless mistakes that I take care off, they’re usually around the age of seven. Safe to say dealing with this would be way to emotionally straining on me too, the line between life and death is too narrow and the sides to small for my feet to not fall on different sides.

Sitting here listening to spotify, I hear one statement from a commercial for a party playlist. The DJ says “I’m here to do the work, so you don’t have to.” I don’t know if any of you have heard this commercial, but I can tell you it is exceptionally annoying. Regardless of what spotify thinks I never want to have Pitbull be in the soundtrack of my life. Why would I ever want that kind of party, why would I ever want that kind of party in my pants. I am never going to tell someone what they can and can’t do especially when it comes to abortion, I can’t do that work for them.To each their own, but I don’t think there are many owns in this Bioethics class, as heard in the Socratic. Few people felt that they would, but who knows until it happens, Matt.

I think that each woman is given the choice to have a child every time they go for a spin between the sheets. All I can say is be safe and be ready. I don’t think that people should be having intercourse unless they are mentally ready to take care of a child. Just as well, I don’t think that people should fear having a baby; there is always someone who wants a newborn, but there should always be someone who is willing to suck it out. Cells are the building blocks to life, but when those finger nails form and the transformation between lizard monster to adorable little baby I don’t think I can terminate those cells, someone else I am sure would love them, even if I couldn’t. I know that I am going to use protection. STD’s are bad and so are unwanted children. Sex is not a bad thing, and abortions are not a bad thing. People should be allowed to use and abuse their bodies. I cannot do their work for them, they have to make up their own mind.

Shane A


At the beginning of our grand abortion debate I held the position (admittedly without much thought) that personhood began upon the complete development of the central nervous system; since all that we are personally is contained within our brain, I found it reasonable that the development of this organ should be the point at which we should consider a fetus a person. In defense of myself, I didn’t hold this position very firmly, and I didn’t give much thought or judgment to women who would undergo late-stage abortions, and I generally agreed with the law as it stood. But since then I have changed my mind. No don’t get excited, I have not ceded ground to you pro-lifers, it is the ultra-feminists and ancient Sparta that deserve the credit on this one, and don’t worry I’ll explain the Sparta thing later.
While engaging in the abortion debate, whether we know it or not, we commonly try to answer two questions. There is the boring practicality of when an abortion can be legally performed, and then there are the more interesting philosophical implications. Although I was not readily aware if this distinction going into the debate, I do believe that I had in practice segregated my personal view that personhood hood begins at brain from my views on abortion law. My views have evolved extremely in the philosophical realm, but have stayed relatively the same when dealing with abortion as a practicality. Curiously, the issue of abortion is the only place where my philosophical views have no practical application whatsoever.
So after hearing all the opinions and watching all the horrifying video, I have come to the conclusion that “personhood” begins sometime after birth. Many of my peers, and me previously, have vied for many different cut-off dates for the arrival of person-hood; conception, development of the CNS, viability, birth, or at the ripe old age of 18. It makes sense that we have had so much trouble discovering the point at which personhood hood begins, because there is no point at which personhood begins. Humanity is developed as an infant grows; it is never bestowed punctually, if at all.
I was first exposed to this idea after I was informed that in ancient Sparta and other various parts of Greece infants were not looked upon as having worth when compared to an older, more developed Greek. Unfortunately this would often manifest with the killing of infants who appeared to possess any negative physical qualities; a very brutal and primitive form of eugenics. I think they were on to something. No, not the infanticide, but the idea that a newborn doesn’t possess the “personable” qualities that a human does. They are tiny, annoying, albeit cute, balls of consumption. Sadie purposed that a fetus was a parasite, I concur, but I would also suggest adding infants into that category, as they possess all the same qualities but with the added bonus of being louder and dirtier.
Generally people have some qualities that differentiate them from others. In other words, we are all like snowflakes. If one of your long-time friends dies, or even a brief acquaintance, chances are you will be able to conjure some recollection of that person as an individual. This is the nature of “personhood”, and it is precisely the thing that many newborns lack. I’d wager that even a mother would have a hard time discerning their newborn from a crowd of newborns of the same race, gender, and weight. It could be days, weeks, or months before an infant develops any discernible individuality, and when they do it will most likely be sometime before it is recognized.
This idea of discernible personhood, I think, is necessarily accompanied by sentience and cognition as definitions for life. At some point infants begin to perceive and understand the world around them, including, most importantly, other humans. This is status is reached in much the same may that humanity as a species was reached along the evolutionary scale. Simply put, there was no point when animal became man; we are the result of a very gradual and indefinite process that eventually produced many species that cannot interbreed. In the same way, it is eventually blatantly obvious that someone is a conscious and sentient being, but we have no way of identifying the point at which he attained that status.
So with these definitions in mind, I must clarify that there is no practical way to apply any of what I am saying. This is why I believe the moment of viability is the most practical way to deal with this information; it is, of course, an arbitrary cut-off date but it ensures that no person could ever be lawfully terminated when they in fact have a discernible personhood. This is perhaps the only the case where it is favorable to act as if we are ignoring the truth of the matter, but I would remind you that the truth does not need utility. Although it is maddeningly counter-intuitive, I find it humbling that we have been able to discuss a topic so extreme in its philosophical implications but so relatively simple in its application.

Brian P

When we first started into the subject of abortion, I was pro-choice. Now that we are coming to an end of our discussions, my views on abortion have been cemented. We cannot simply make abortion illegal. There are too many consequences of this. Although abortion is undoubtedly a terrible thing and I never want to be in a position where I am the decision maker for someone getting an abortion or not, I believe it is justified because life does not begin at conception. I am not pro-choice because I hate babies, and life, if that is something that anyone believes. But is the thing inside a pregnant woman, life?

external image spacer.gif Adamant pro-life supporters would say that life begins at the very beginning, conception. But does it really? What is the potential life at conception? A ball. The zygote is nothing more than a cell, and hardly more exciting than a skin cell, or amoeba. Of course, if given the chance, this ball will become a human in the right circumstances. But at that moment, it is not “life” like a human is. It doesn’t have a heart, or a brain, or feelings. It is not life at that moment and not for many moments later either. After conception, the clump of cells does not have feelings, or thoughts for quite a while, about 12 weeks. For those 12 weeks, nothing matters to that clump of cells, which is really all it is at that point, quite frankly. Nothing matters. It does not see, it does not hear, it does not smell, and it does not feel. It does not think.

external image spacer.gif Why do we set humans apart from any other animal? A pro-life activist may very well be okay with eating meat. Before it was slaughtered, that was life too wasn’t it? More so than a zygote, at least. The reason that humans are so special compared to other animals, is our heightened capacity to think, to remember, and to feel. In the early stages of pregnancy, the fetus can do none of these things, and should not be considered life, at least not in the way that a fully matured human is considered life. No one can honestly disagree when I say that it does not matter what you to do a fetus during the first trimester, or more specifically, before it develops a nervous system. It will not care. It does not think. It will not remember. A non-thinking, non-feeling external image spacer.gif​thing is not life which deserves the right of a grown human being.

external image spacer.gif During the first twelve weeks of pregnancy, the fetus is not full-fledged “life”. That means, before this point, a fetus is not protected by the constitution. In other words, it should be okay to abort it. After this point though, things get a little hazy. The two main factors in life for me are thinking, and feeling. It is after twelve weeks that the fetus starts to feel. This is when I think life begins.

external image spacer.gif In the early days of the second trimester is when the fetus is conscious of its nervous system and can feel pain. This is life. We should not hurt the fetus now. In the world, we are not allowed to assault someone with a stick. Why? Because it hurts. If getting attacked did not hurt and was not annoying, we probably wouldn’t have laws about attacking people. You could just do it whenever you want, because no one would care, just as a first trimester fetus would not and does not care. Once the nervous system is developed though, the fetus does care, and it should not be attacked. It is life.

external image spacer.gif I’ll just add more of my thoughts on abortion here. I’d like to clarify, that although I do not like abortion I believe I can condone it during the first trimester. I do not want abortion to be legal throughout a pregnancy, but I would rather have it legal completely, rather than all out illegal.

external image spacer.gif In a perfect world, there would not be any abortions, and all accidental children would have a kind and loving family to be raised by. But this world is far from perfect. Unfortunately, we do not need a million more children in adoption centers every year. And forcing birth mothers to raise the children they didn’t want to have will prove to be a bad decision. Especially if the reason they didn’t want children in the first place was because they weren’t stable and ready for one. These children may end up going through terrible childhoods, hardly being external image spacer.gif​raised by their parents, or parent. What could be argued is worse, is that women will seek abortion, no matter what. Abortion was illegal once before, but that doesn’t mean abortion didn’t happen. It did, in terrible and sometimesunsuccessful ways. Abortion cannot be made illegal. For people to “stop being stupid” is not an option either. People are stupid, and having strong sexual emotions does not help our lack of intelligence. People will make mistakes, and seek abortion, and they should be given that option.

external image spacer.gif To conclude, life begins early in the second trimester, when the fetus is beginning to think and feel. These are two of the key elements to being human and being “alive”.

Hannah A.
Week 12. Three Months. The fetus’ organs systems are mostly formed and chances of miscarriage drop drastically. Most critical development has occurred, including the fetus’ nervous system. It is during this week that a fetus reaches personhood because what is left during the pregnancy is for the fetus to mature and grow. All major development has happened by this stage. While things happen that warrant an abortion and they are sometime necessary, not everyone should be parents, and not everyone should get an abortion.

Legally, governments should not have the power to make abortion illegal. Ultimately the decision should be up to the woman because she is the one who will have to live with the consequences either way, a baby or even the regret of the absence of one.

Although the viability of a fetus at this point in the pregnancy is non-existent at this point, it is still alive and the potential be an alive human in every sense of the word. This is not something to be taken lightly and anyone who believes that women do is an idiot. Protestors who try to guilt women into keeping the fetus are just making a sad situation worse. These women need kindness and compassion; they aren’t there because they want to be and because of protestors acting like the women are, some could bear psychological scars for a long time.

The money and energy spent towards making signs, compiling baby dolls and organizing rallies should go towards educating women about the consequences of unprotected sex, how to get a hold of birth control and condoms so women don’t become pregnant in the first place. This money could go towards sex education in schools and workshops so parents know how to talk to their kids about sex. In this highly sexualized society, it is ridiculous to believe that children grow up with an accurate picture of sex and parents and teachers need to be there to teach them to take the necessary precautions because if someone wants to have sex, in many cases they are going to have it whether or not they have protection. Money should also go into developing cheaper pregnancy tests so that all women can have access to them and know earlier on whether or not they are pregnant. This will allow them, one more time to consider abortion if it is an option and two if they decide on having an abortion, the fetus will be less developed which could be easier on their conscience during this difficult time.

The abortion debate has always been interesting to me, not the least because I wonder, if some of the old men who are so hotly against abortion, had been in the position of some of these young ladies, if they would still believe that it is such an evil. Perhaps they could say that now they are older and wiser, however if this is the case, it is unfair for them to expect young women to have this wisdom. Some things can only be learned through living.

Abortion after 12 weeks should be only used in extreme circumstances because this is when the fetus can feel pain and has basically only left to grow. If science progresses to the point where a fetus can survive outside the womb younger than 21 weeks, I think the stopping point will be 12 weeks. Before this, development is still occurring so there is a much lower probability that the fetus could survive in any case.

Ben G

I’m an atheist, so for me, the abortion debate doesn’t center on the notion of a soul or any other belief founded upon religious beliefs. For me, the question of when life begins lies in whether or not a child can survive outside the womb and eventually go on to lead a “normal life.”

And since incredible advances in modern medicine seem to make the viability of human life outside of the womb earlier and earlier with each passing year, this point in human development changes constantly. I believe that once a child has the potential to lead a healthy life they shouldn’t be denied that right. When a fetus reaches this point in its development, in my opinion, the mother ought to give the child up for adoption. Even though this point moves ever forward with the developments in medical science, there will always be a point at which a fetus or embryo can’t survive outside its mother.

Before that aforementioned point, I believe it is fully within the mother’s rights to choose whether or not to terminate the potential child that is developing within her. Even after that point, however, I do feel that it is up to the mother whether or not to abort her pregnancy. While I have a number of serious moral issues with a mother choosing to end the life of her developing child when it has the potential to live, I don’t think it’s the right of any government, entity, or person to deny that woman the right to choose whether or not to give birth.

If a woman feels that she would rather have a late-stage abortion, it’s not my place to judge or label her in any way, shape, or form. Pregnancy is one of the most deeply personal experiences humans can undergo, and as such I believe it’s highly inappropriate to persecute a woman because of a choice she makes. Whether or not the decision of a woman goes against our own beliefs and sense of morality, we shouldn’t air those opinions in public. Campaigning against abortion is one thing, but publically defaming a woman for a choice she made regarding her pregnancy is another thing entirely.

However, I digress; the central question at issue here is when life begins. To be honest, I have absolutely no idea when that is. It could be when brain waves appear, it could be when the heart starts beating, or when a fetus begins breathing. It could be at birth, or at conception. Hell, it could even be when you’re 18. The bottom line is that I have no earthly idea when life, as most of us define it, begins.

For me, the real question on the issue of abortion is whether a developing child can live outside of the womb, and as soon as that point is reached I think it should be given the chance to do so.

Elena S.

I believe, above all, in the right to choose. It is a fundamental difference between us and animals. We have the capacity to consciously make choices and understand the repercussions from them. I think the right to choose is a fundamental right that should not be violated. It is for this reason I support euthanasia and abortion, and ironically, the death penalty. I support voluntary euthanasia because I believe that we should all have the right to decide what is a life worth living and what is not. I support abortion because I think a women should be able to control her own body. And I believe in the death penalty because if someone has done something truly evil, they deserve to lose their right to choose.

Now back to abortion. As I’m sure everyone knows by now, it is an issue that is excruciatingly personal. And one that in my experience, has no happy ending. I find it very frightening when I see protestors in front of Planned Parenthood with pictures of dead fetuses plastered onto the back of their, living, breathing, and now scarred for life, children. It terrifies me because it makes me wonder if people have forgotten how to be human. You shouldn’t be using your children as a billboard for something they don’t understand, and you shouldn’t be hassling women who really just need reassurance.

It seems that these extremists have forgotten that the woman is a life too. A person too. But is that fetus a person?

For me, I don’t see that much of a difference between a newly fertilized egg, a skin cell, or even a bacterium. None of them can feel pain. None of them can think, feel, love or believe. Yes, all of them are alive, sure, but none of them have a life.

So when does life begin?

Since I have to draw the line, I would say as soon as the embryo can feel pain should be the suggested cutoff date for abortions, and the moment of viability be the enforced cutoff date for all abortions. And if the mother still wants an abortion past then, she should have a c-section, and the baby should be brought into a hospital.

I cannot understand partial birth abortions or the need for them. I have not yet heard of a medical condition where a baby had to be killed that far into the pregnancy to save the mother’s life. At that point I consider the baby to be a human, and a life, because it can feel pain, and it can live if given the proper care. And I see no reason to end a life when there is no NEED to.

I’m sure some of you may argue that there is never a need. But I would argue that a mother’s happiness and her life are needs worth noting.

I don’t like the idea of abortion. I find it sad, even when preformed in the earliest stages. But I think it is often forgotten that the woman is suffering too. I don’t believe that any woman arrives at this conclusion easily. I am not pro-abortion. I wish it was never necessary, that bad things and mistakes didn’t happen. But they do, and I believe that women deserve the choice of abortion, regardless if they choose it or not. I’m pro-choice. But I would argue I am also pro-life. It’s just that for me I consider the mother’s life first.

Isabel A

To be completely honest, I have no clue when “life” begins. No one knows. If someone knew precisely when “life” began, we wouldn’t be debating on the morality of an abortion or when it should become illegal. But of course, knowing the exact millisecond of the beginning of “life” is impossible. What we say are merely opinions. Some people take their moral opinions and try to force it upon others as if their opinion is the factual truth. Like the radical anti-abortionists who harass mothers or bomb abortion clinics.

I was going to mention this in our last socratic but felt too timid to blurt it out: what women do with their bodies is none of our business. What we hold against them are our weightless opinions. We might disagree with whatever action they take, but that is all we can do. We can’t force them to subside to our opinions, we have no right to. Every woman has their freedoms and we have absolutely no right to try to limit them by enforcing our anti-abortionistic opinions onto them through laws. Therefore, I believe we shouldn’t even try to pinpoint when “life” begins because it just a moral opinion that complicates the issue even more. We are dealing with the battle between morals and logic. But I believe when the issue is about a person’s freedoms, we should be concentrating on only the logics so that fairness is fully given. After all, one’s morals differ from person to person so we shouldn’t base laws on one’s views of morality.

I believe, through logic only and no morals attached, an abortion is an abortion at any stage. If you think of it logically, an abortion at week two is the same as an abortion a week before the delivery. Whether it is a baby being formed or a baby already formed, it is still an abortion. The only thing that is different is the development of the baby. But ultimately, it is the same baby that is being aborted. If people are going to be in favor of an abortion at week two, they should be also be in favor of an abortion a week before delivery. But people become squeamish at an abortion a week before delivery because they let their moral opinions cloud over their logic when it shouldn’t.

Now, that is just my pure logical opinion. My morals scream that an abortion is wrong after the baby becomes viable outside of the mothers womb (after week 23). If the baby can live without the mother’s assistance, then my morals tell me that it should be allowed to live. I feel as though aborting a baby that is now viable is equivalent to murder. I feel as though it should be illegal to abort a baby that late. I, just like most people, become squeamish at the thought of an abortion in the third trimester. That would be because my morals tell me to believe that “life” begins at the moment of viability. But then again, my morals might be completely different than the morals of someone else. Someone might believe “life” began at conception, or at birth. We all have our different moral beliefs of when “life” begins.

Because there are so many moral opinions about when abortion should become illegal, the law that actually states when it is illegal should not be based off of any of these differing morals. Enforcing a law that makes abortion illegal after the 23rd week might follow my beliefs, but it won’t follow everyone’s. So in order to provide the fairest solution, morals shouldn’t be considered at all. Letting morals have such a heavy weight on the solution would be unfair to those who have different morals.

Let’s analyze this situation as an example: my morals are enforced as law and it is illegal to have an abortion after week 23 but a pregnant woman who is just hit week 24 now decided that, after her husband left her and her life is no longer financially steady, an abortion would be best for her and the baby who would have been forced to live in hardship. This woman does not have the same morals as I do and she believes that “life” begins at birth. She also believes that she has control over her body and if she thinks this action would be best for her, she should be able to do it. Why should my moral opinion overrule her opinion? Why should the law that was enforced by my morals of when “life” begins, force a limitation upon her ability to control her body? Although I would still disagree with her actions, I don’t have any right to make my opinion any more valuable than hers. I can disagree all I want, but it is her body and what she wants to do should be none of my concern. I would become sad, and disappointed, but that’s all I could ever do. Her body is her own and no law should limit her from doing what she wanted.

Therefore, all emotions and morals aside, I believe abortion should be legal no matter what because, without considering morals or when “life” begins, an abortion is an abortion at any moment. If the baby is inside the mother’s womb, it belongs to the mother. It is the mother’s decision on what to do with her baby, not the government.

I hope I made sense. :)

COHORT 5 RESPONDS

Noelie L


I am not unique in the fact that I am in the middle and a bit unsure in regards to my opinion about abortion and to what extent it should be legal. I went into the unit on abortion with a very liberal stance, but what did I know? I had experienced a narrow exposure to the ethical dilemma and the complexity behind it. As you might imagine, this unit revealed to me the various levels of depth in dealing with the issue. Prior to entering the conversation regarding abortion, I had been deeply misinformed about the different aspects of the debate behind it. <br>

I would have to consider the most politically active influence I have had in my life to be my step-mom. She has taken part as a political activist both at the local level, within the community of Oxnard, as well as state-wide and nationally as she held a position in the National Women’s Political Caucus. The reason I am explaining this relationship is due to the fact that she has influenced me most profoundly in regards to my political beliefs, more specifically in my opinion on social issues. She was a college student during the 70s, a time period that certainly influenced her political values seeing as this was the time when women were fighting for the right to their bodies and seeking rights to abortion. It was also a time period when “free love” was the norm and became accepted among the younger demographic; the result: a more widespread use of birth control and a more open approach to the topic of sex. Consequently, my step-mom is considerably liberal in her view of a woman’s right to her own body, the distribution of birth control, and issues of a similar nature and she certainly projected these views on to me being a young woman in her life.<br>

I was much younger when the concept of abortion was introduced to me, however, as I stated before, it was a very disillusioned view of the issue. My step-mom had addressed it as a right of a woman, nothing less, but nothing more either. I was shallow and close-minded to think this to be true. Regardless of your religious affiliation, culture, sex, and personal beliefs, it should be considered a blessing that women have the ability to carry a child and to make life out of their being and that of a man. The child you create, whether you have planned for it or not, and regardless of your want for it, has been produced from you, by you, and for you. Consequently, we have an emotional attachment to this being. I do not think that very many women make the decision to get an abortion without much thought and heartache, unfortunately a concept I was exposed to more so in Bioethics than any place else. Abortion was presented to me as a “fall back”; the obvious answer if I were to get pregnant at the wrong time or with the wrong person. I consider this to be a crime against my value of life and a corruption of my morals. Abortion needs to be taken more seriously by young women like me, who spend little time considering the emotional impact and moral implications such a procedure would have. Abortion is not something to be abused.<br>

I will put it out there plainly and simply, I am pro-choice. I do not believe that I should impose my personal beliefs on this issue particularly on every woman, nor do I wish to rid myself of a right I never wish to take advantage of, however, wish to protect. I can stand here self-righteous and sure of the fact that I do not support abortion, and sure that will take every precaution possible to prevent myself from having to experience one, but who am I to take such a right away from others. Not to mention that fact that I want access to an abortion. If ever placed in a situation where I was considering it, I want to have the right to a safe place in America where I may get it performed. This may be surprising, but I do not support abortion at this point in my life except in cases where the life of the mother is in danger, the health of the is in grave state child, or in situations portrayed in the Cider House. However, I will not limit myself or fellow women in regards this right particularly. I plan to consider the rest of the nation and state when voting about such an issue. However, regardless of your moral standards, the state should draw the line at a three-month pregnancy, a time at which the parents have access to nearly all relevant information regarding the child they have conceived. No abortion should be performed any later than this point. I beg people to not put themselves at risk of a situation where they would need an abortion in the first place by taking complete advantage of the resources generations before us fought so hard to give us such as access to organizations like Planned Parenthood. Sometimes considering Planned Parenthood a little late, an it is because of situations like these that I will not limit women’s access to the right of an abortion. <br>


Charlotte W.


I seriously thought all week as to how I would answer this. This blog comes due in approximately 20 minutes and I still don't have an answer. That being said, since 100 points is a lot, I will answer this to the best of my capabilities.

My first thought is that people need to be responsible. Seriously. Either don't have sex at all, or protect yourself as much as possible. If you're too embarassed to go to the store and buy condoms, you're probably not mature enough to be having sex. If you think asking your partner to wear a condom, or taking a few seconds to put a condom on yourself is going to "kill the moment", keep in mind that an unplanned pregnancy is going to kill a lot of moments in your future. I'm not going to advocate abstinence because I would be hypocritical in doing so, however, one should be able to accept full responsibility of potentially having a child if they do have sex.

And then, I look at the other side of the issue. I feel that abortion is okay if it is to protect the life of the mother. And, as terrible as it is, rape happens, and pregnancies can result from them. I personally would be disgusted with a government who would force a woman to carry that terrible experience to term, even for the nine month duration of pregnancy, not to mention eighteen years of life. I do also agree with some of what Madi has to say- some people make mistakes. Being forced to have a baby is not an appropriate punishment for these mistakes. Abortion should be available to these people, however, they should know more information about the procedure of abortion and be informed of adoption processes.

I do feel it is wrong to abort a child with disabilities, unless it is life threatening to the mother, or if it presents a tragic death for the infant (i.e. trisonomy 18). Aborting a fetus with Down's Syndrome or a Cleft Pallate, for example, seems so wrong to me.

My thoughts on abortion is that I dislike it a lot and I don't agree with it for the most part. I say this as someone who does not consider myself religious, or even moral for that matter- just as someone who feels that everyone should have the opportunity that is life. I really do think that is necessary to first and foremost focus on pregnancy prevention- comprehensive sex education in schools, condoms more accessible, and anything that goes along with that. Those under 18 in all states should be able to have more of a right to privacy when choosing to go on birth control pills and have access to Plan B. In the case of an unplanned pregnancy actually happening, I do feel that adoption should be more available and publicized. However, I do feel that abortion should remain legal for those who do need it, however, just not enouraged and people should know what happens when they do choose to get an abortion.

Yeah, so... That's my opinion.

Catee B.

I can’t declare myself to be pro-choice nor pro-life because I feel like the issues and circumstances surrounding abortion are so incredibly complex and can only be looked at on an individual basis.<br>

I do believe that a fetus gains personhood when it is viable, that is, when it can survive outside the mother’s womb as an individual life. Up until this point the fetus is still a part of the mother’s body and therefore the woman should be able to choose what she can or cannot handle.
That being said, I absolutely do not take abortion lightly. I feel like young girls who use abortion as a form of birth control are not only immature, but completely immoral in their choices both to have unprotected sex and to then have an abortion in order to escape the consequences of that first mistake. Using abortion as birth control is so far beyond unethical, it is thoughtless murder, because a person who can have countless abortions obviously has no regard for life, especially their own.<br>

On the other hand there are some circumstances that I feel abortion is not only justified but absolutely necessary . Women who were raped should not feel obligated to keep a child that was conceived against their will. I feel like in some sense it would be further torture for a woman to carry a baby to term and relive their rape in a physical sense for nine months, and then have a child as a result of something so traumatic. Women who were raped are probably not emotionally ready for a child in light of their circumstance and therefore should not receive criticism for ridding themselves of a burden that they do not deserve. I can’t imagine the shame of a woman who was raped going in for an abortion and being harassed by pro-life activists at the front door. After all this woman has been through she doesn’t deserve to be further traumatized. I also believe that when the life of the mother is at stake, or the child has a life-threatening or debilitating illness that was caught early-on, abortion should be an option to save the mother’s life or the child from a life of pain.<br>

But these are the extremes. It is easy to say whether or not abortion is right or wrong when the circumstances are on such polar ends of the spectrum, but what about the middle, the gray area surrounding this controversy? Is abortion okay for the young couple who used protection but something went wrong? For the mother of four who isn’t ready for another child? For the single college student who has a bright future ahead of her and simply made one drunken mistake? I feel like this issue completely comes down to the individual.<br>

I pray that I will never be put in a situation that forces me to make the heart wrenching decision of whether or not to have an abortion because I feel that it is something no one should take lightly. Who am I to say what is right or wrong for someone else in regards to abortion? I feel that I can only look at this issue on a personal, individual level. I cannot possibly imagine the complexities surrounding each case and I feel like every woman who is faced with this choice has their own story, their own struggles, and their own justification for whatever decision they make.<br><br>

Madi T.

Although this will probably be the majority of the class' opinion I believe I am somewhere in the middle with this debate. It can honestly go both ways. If we keep abortion legal then many people will abuse it and use it as a sort of "birth control" to get rid of a stupid mistake. But if we make it illegal then yes, it is saving babies but people will still have abortions-they just won't be safe and could possibly kill the mother. So the answers simple; obviously keep abortion legal. But how is that morally right to kill a baby? To kill something living? I believe that abortion should be legal with certain standards. After the 1st trimester it should be illegal. Unless the baby is diagnosed with a serious disease or the baby could put the mother at risk. My reasoning for this is because at week 12 the baby is not only breathing but this baby can feel pain. The baby is now sucking his/her thumb and has many developments. This fetus is almost a live human being. How could it be legal for us to kill something that feels pain? If the Mom that is carrying this baby isn't responsible enough to get it taken care of by 3 months then the baby shouldn't have to suffer. It is not only irresponsible but also simply immoral. By 12 weeks she should know what she wants to do. After that I can' t agree with abortion-unless there is something wrong. I find it hard to believe that a woman would have a full term abortion when there is absolutely nothing wrong-or a simply fixable cleft pallet. Its hard to put into words that killing a baby at any stage is "okay" but the fact of the matter is abortions are going to be done whether the Government says its legal or not. I also don't like the thought of the Government having control over a woman's body. They have no business there. A woman should have authority over her own body…but once that other body feels pain then it’s just not fair for that baby.<br>

Another big factor in this is "why not just put the un-wanted child in a foster home?" So say a teenage girl is raped. She has the child. She gives the child up for adoption. Years down the road she finds out she is here on this earth because her mom was raped. Don't you think that child will be scarred for life? BUT then again would they rather be alive then dead? I had a friend whose mother was raped at age 16. She took time off school and had the baby. She gave the baby up for adoption. Years later she told my Mom the story. Once my Mom heard she bought a ring for my friend’s mom "Julie" she said when you find your daughter take the ring off. Years had passed and one day before Church Julie came running up to us with a "ringless" finger. She found her. That daughter is so happy living an amazing life. But this obviously can't be the case for all. Another circumstance for a possible abortion would be…say a teenager is on her way to college. She goes out partying one night. Made a mistake and is now pregnant. Is that teenage girl going to give the rest of her life nurturing this baby? Or even carry on the responsibilities of being pregnant for 9 months during college? I’m not saying in any way girls should use this as birth control. But we all make mistakes. We’re humans. Another thought is would we even want a woman to have a baby who thinks abut having an abortion? She is obviously in no way a fit mother. And may be better for the mother as well as baby to have an abortion.<br>

There are so many things to take in consideration when debating this topic. No one is right. Quite frankly we're all right. Being humans we'll all have our different opinions. There will be the drastic religious people who will go as far as to kill an abortion doctor and on the other side woman who are so pro-choice they have an abortion with a full term baby.And as for me right now I am definitely somewhere in the middle. I can't say I would ever get an abortion but as for now I am pro-choice with restrictions.

Jongin B.

It is true that I have thought about what my stance would be on abortion if I had to choose between pro-choice and pro-life, but I have never drawn a narrow line at what point life begins, and at what point life is allowed to be aborted/ terminated under the mother's wishes like this before. Abortion is such a complicated issue, and it seems there is no right or wrong answer. Everyone is different, and I want to make clear that I have no wishes to force my belief/ thought upon others.

To begin with, I am 100% pro-choice within the first trimester. A blastocyst is surely a potential life. Yet, a blastocyst, a clump of cells, can't be compared to a full viable fetus inside the mother's womb. I believe the persoonhood begins in 21-22 weeks when the baby is viable outside his or her mother's womb. Then, the baby has the full "right" as a living, feeling, thinking human being. If the baby can survive on his/her own, then he/she should be given the right to live and pursue happiness. The decision to carry or abort the baby past 21-22 weeks slips away from the hands of his/her mother, except some certain limited circumstances.

Everyone makes a mistake, and thus I firmly believe in a second chance. If a woman got pregnant despite her use of contraception, and she is not yet ready to give a birth to a baby and raise him/her, then she must not be forced to go through both physical and emotional changes during her pregnancy, especially during her first trimester. As there is an always an exception to any idea/ opinion, there is a few, limited occasions in which the mothers can abort the babies after the first trimester (which is the legal boundary of abortion). If babies have some genetic abnormalities, such as Down's syndromes or Tay Sach's diseases, I believe it's up to the mothers's choice whether she wants to carry and give a birth to a child. If she is not prepared to or willing to raise her baby with a genetic disorder, then she shouldn't be forced upon to do so. She must be left to choose what to do with her baby. In addition, if it's dangerous for the mother to give a birth to her child, then she should be fully allowed to abort the baby, no matter what weeks she is in her pregnancy.

However, I believe that there should be a certain limitation on those who use abortion as a birth control. The mere idea of aborting a baby because the mother didn't bother to control or prevent her pregnancy, sickens me so much. Or when the mother tries to abort the baby based on gender, or minor abnormalities such as cleft lips disgusts me. There are so many different contraceptive measures out there that people can choose, but why would they NOT be responsible and thoughtful enough to prevent their pregnancy? Giving a birth to another human being is an enormous commitment, and I wish everyone to be responsible when in relationship.

Another factor to consider on the issue of abortion is whether the mother should give a birth to her unwanted baby and give him/her to an orphanage. I personally don't like the idea of the government or states restraining/ forcing the mother to deliver the baby, when she doesn't want to do so. The woman goes through a tons of mental, emotional, and physical changes during her pregnancy, and often loses her own balance of life. I believe that it's the mother's choice, the person who must embrace all of these changes in both her body and life, to make a final say on what she wants to do with her baby. If the mother wished to abort the child, but forced to give a birth to him/her, either by states or the government, will she be a good/ right mother for the child? If the baby later finds out he/she wasn't wanted by his/ her own mother in the first place, how it will affect him/ her?

I'm not sure where I stand on this issue, because I believe it's not up to me. I respect others' views and I firmly believe that we should not force our views on what others do in their body and life. I want an abortion to be remained legal so that women who made a careful decision to not carry a child into the world, has a safe medical procedure to do so.

Ariana J

I had honestly never looked at abortion like this before, and I thought I was someone who had a pretty firm view on what I thought should be right and should be wrong. It wasn’t until I heard Noelie say, “abortion isn’t birth control” that it really hit me. It hit me because I realized that I was truly disgusted by the idea of anyone using abortion as birth control and taking pregnancy as no big deal. While I know this is not the case all the time, it scares me to hear there are such high numbers of abortions. I don’t know what to do because I am also one who believes it can never go back to times where women used coat hangers to make themselves bleed internally. For this I am torn.

It is hard for me to hear about partial birth abortions, and using poison injected into a third trimester pregnancy, because it is hard for me to understand why you would in the third trimester of a pregnancy all of a sudden choose to abort your child if there is not something wrong with the child or there is no harm to the mother. I believe that after the fetus is viable outside of the body it is not simply a grouping of often unwanted cells it is something much more. I believe that after 3 months there is no way of not knowing you are pregnant and therefore no need to wait until the fetus has developed into something more.

It is hard for me to make absolute statements, because I know there are always exceptions, for example rape cases and babies who are going to have any incredibly serious health problems. That being said, I know I believe that there is a point where the fetus becomes something more than just a mistake, it becomes more of potential and is it now able to experience pain, it is at this point having to live with the choice the mother makes and is being placed in pain for it.

I don’t think that abortion should be outlawed, but I also do not think third trimester abortions are okay unless the situation is dangerous to either the mother or the child. I honestly haven’t been able to wrap my head around everything, because I also know that something does happen at the moment of conception. It may not be a child, but it is potential life, that will become a child. Believing all these things really confuses me. I want people to be safe, and not die of illegally getting abortions, but I also really want to stop abortion being used as birth control. I may sound dumb and hopeful, but really I am an optimist pushing for safe sex, and smarter individuals having sex.

In the end I don’t want to have to have abortion, but I don’t want to take away abortion from those who would hurt themselves. So I am just SUPER confused!!!! AHHHHH!!! PLEASE JUST DO NOT HAVE UNPROTECTED SEX UNLESS YOU WANT A BABY OR ARE WILLING TO FACE THE EXTREME PSYCHOLOGICAL HARM FROM AN ABORTION!

Rachael G.

Being raised in a liberal household, I have always viewed social dilemmas in a leftist fashion. Abortion follows those same guide lines. My opinion is simply this: the expecting mother should have their own say in what they choose to do with their bodies and their futures. Whether two weeks or twenty weeks, I feel the women deserves every right to an abortion. Although my opinion is with the mother, I firmly believe she has the right for an abortion but not the right to be an idiot. When the genetic counselor spoke to our class, I realized exactly why so many are against abortion. To get an abortion due to a cleft pallet or the sex of the expecting child absolutely blows my mind. But to get an abortion before the child is viable outside the womb should be socially acceptable, with conditions.
<br><br>
This latest topic could not have come at a more coincidental time. A family friend of mine recently introduced us to his latest girlfriend; she's nice, sassy, and intelligent, and she is just what he needs. I felt honored to meet her, as his girlfriend's opinion of us meant more to him than his own parents. However, the next day when he comes over without her and asks to talk to my mom in private is what made this topic real to me. Although I could hear bits and pieces, I soon found out about the life within his girlfriend of only two months, and that they wish to abort the fetus as soon as possible. At first I was shocked. It seems big life drama shouldn't hit until you pass adulthood. It didn't occur to me until later in the evening how much a child would hurt our friend's future. He's in community college right now, soon to transfer to northern California, while his girlfriend leaves in three weeks for Oregon on a full-ride volleyball scholarship. By keeping this fetus, the two would have to settle down and take care of this newborn for the remainder of their lives, giving up their dreams in the process. I consulted my mom as to what they would do. Being a midwife of over twenty years, she recommended a clinic out in Oxnard for our friends to visit. I asked her opinion of what happened and after a long sex ed talk she told me that she believes in giving the child a chance at life and supplying all girls with birth control.
Although some parents choose to hum and cover their ears at the thought of their sweet baby having sex, not educating their children could lend them with a worse fate.
<br><br>
To think about my friend and the struggle his relationship will face saddens me. They used a condom and tried being safe. They are young, and having to deal with this test will be the hardest thing they have ahead. During the talk with my mom, she mentioned consulting a women who wished desperately for an abortion. It was the wrong time, she can't give up her life for a child, everything was wrong. A year later, the same women comes back into the office and regrets the decision she once made. Getting the abortion was overall her worst choice. Much like the women in Cider House Rules, this women was young and irresponsible and wanted a reason to keep living their lives normally. The main character Homer believes that abortion should never be used as a fix in a mistake. Only in extreme cases should it be acceptable. I on the other hand, allow more acceptations to the list. I know if I were in such a dreadful case, I would take the abortion, as this bundle of cells does not represent a person quite yet.
<br><br>
Here's where it gets tricky. When does “personhood” begin? Does it start at conception, birth, or eighteen years of age when they are no longer a parent's responsibility? I am in the middle, with the feeling that a person is not a person if they depend on another life form. Around twenty weeks when the fetus becomes viable outside of the mother, do I consider it a life with natural born rights that should be respected, if not protected. I can see no possible valid reason for a women carrying a bowling ball in their womb to want to abort that only a few weeks before it is born. Even if that child has a mental disability. The only exception I could bring myself to see acceptable in the third trimester would be if giving birth would harm the mother. Another fact determining my opinion deals with when the fetus gains senses, such as pain. Even before the twenty week mark does the fetus gain it's nervous system. To abort such fetus at anything further than this level in growth would involve crushing the skull and having a partial birth abortion. It is beyond me to know that someone would kill this life when it feels pain and suffering (other than saving the mother's health).
<br><br>
If you are involved in a religious practice where the choice is Pro-Life or bust, then one source of guidance I can give would be in Leviticus in the Bible. “The life of every creature is in its blood. That is why I have said to the people of Israel, 'You must never eat or drink blood, for the life of any creature is in its blood.' So whoever consumes blood will be cut off from the community.” If blood is the life of any of God's creatures, then one could say a fetus is not yet human until blood flows through newly developed veins. Not until the ninth week does the heart begin to beat and blood flows to the brain. By religious standards, could this be where true life begins?
<br><br>
Whether I sound Pro-Choice or Pro-Abortion, I have thoroughly thought out my opinion on the matter. Abortion should never be a back up for failed birth control, condoms, or the day after pill. When irresponsible people make irresponsible choices, it leads to bad reprocussions. In the wise words of the gym teacher in Means Girls, “if you have sex, you will get pregnant, then die!”

Michael L.



Where does life begin? This is a question that NOBODY has been able to answer with our right certainty so it simply goes to opinion. Being a student in high school I will not be able to answer this question with facts and research from experience but I can state my opinion and try to convince you with the way my mind works, making points hopefully other people can make a connection with.

I feel the main consideration for feeling when life begins is your opinion on when abortion is wrong. Once you have your answer then that is when life begins in your mind. For me, I feel it is wrong for a birth to be aborted past 3rd trimester, so I feel life begins at the third trimester. The only time I am for abortions in the third trimester is for the obvious reasons of things such as the mothers life is threatened or the baby is going to be severely deformed and their wasn’t any other way of finding out earlier. Even when this does happen its terrible, having to kill a developing baby but it is something that needs to be done.

I feel once the baby is able to experience the five senses, but most of all pain, that is when abortion should be extremely limited. I am more pro choice because I do feel women have control over there own body but at the same time I realize that a baby is a living thing and unfortunately the mothers decisions affect the baby.

It’s hard to say I am totally pro choice or pro life because each side has its own flaws that I don’t agree with. Catholics are the strongest supporters of pro life and to do anything possible to make sure life is preserved. When they preach this, they don’t understand all of the situations that people have to deal with. I know many Catholics who leave the church when the priest talks about how birth control is bad and shouldn’t be used and when I have asked these people why they left the response is the same, “They don’t have to raise that kid…” But being completely pro choice and allowing for abortion at any point when the baby is in the womb. IS there really any difference between a baby an hour before birth and an hour after? There isn’t yet state laws don’t protect the baby until it is outside of the womb. Abortion right before is murder and totally wrong, making both extremist seem unreasonable and the reason why many people can’t come together on even terms.

In the end, I feel around the beginning of the third trimester is when a fetus can be considered life and when the government should grant them rights just like any other human being that is outside of the womb. Special cases can get around it but I feel they are living and just because they are inside the womb of the mother makes them less of a living being.

Jonathan D.


I believe that life begins when the child can live outside of the mother’s womb without any mechanical devices to help it. How long it takes to reach that point is different for every person but I think that every person is different and no one is equal. I do not think that everyone should be allowed to have an abortion but I also do not think that every baby that is conceived should be born.

Abortion should be reserved to those fetuses that pose a threat to their mother’s life or that will have a terminal disease that will cause them to die within a year or so. An example of a terminal disease would be Tay sachs. In other words, an abortion should not be performed on a fetus past the day that it is viable outside of the womb unless these circumstances arise. Anytime before that, which would be about half way through the second trimester would be okay to perform an abortion.

The reason I think it is okay to do it before it is viable outside of the womb is because if it cant survive on its own then it depends on its mother and therefore she gets to chose what happens to it. The minute it can separate from its mother and somebody else can take care of it then she should not be able to perform an abortion just because her baby will have a cleft pallet.

A person that believes that life begins at conception may say that there is potential life and therefore you are killing a full human being, but I do not think potential translate into definite personhood. I am a natural at playing sports, so I may have the potential to be a player in the major leagues, but that does not mean I will, that just means I could if I wanted to.

I think that abortion should be legal and allowed in the world for the sake of a woman’s safety and to control the population. This world is becoming over populated with people and if every baby was born that was conceived we would be running out of room to live in.
People will always give into their emotions at one point or another and will have unprotected sex because they are “in the heat of the moment” and so the woman will become impregnated. I think that is only right that society gives her all the choices that are possible. That’s what kids go to college for, to get a degree and expand their job options. So why not have abortion as an option for the woman?


John L.


I hate to open up a writing assignment with the backpedaling phrase so common for this class: “I don’t believe that there is a wrong or right answer here”. I’m usually a pretty headstrong guy, confident in the inherent rightness of my opinions. But indeed, even a cursory glance at the development of a fetus makes it very clear that determining an absolute beginning of a human life is extremely hard to accomplish. When you get down to it, life began some 3 billion years ago and has continued ever since, so I feel foolish assigning some arbitrary point in a 9 month as a be-all end-all determinant.

In the end, I believe that true, human life begins after quickening is finished, once the baby can experience the five senses and grow in size. This point is reached at early to midway stages of the second trimester, before the fetus is viable outside of the womb but after it has a basic human makeup and can feel pain. At this point, although the fetus still depends on the mother for nutrients, it will have developed a functioning mind and became conscious. I believe this to be the necessary component to prenatal life. People with persistent vegetative states demonstrate that life is possible without a functioning brain, but a legitimate consciousness is what I believe determines actual human life before we are able to survive outside the womb.

For me, the determining factor is the ability to perceive, interpret and react to stimuli. Once this is achieved, the fetus can be genuinely considered having attained personhood. Although I believe that abortion should still be legal in certain situations after this point, here is when the mother should have an active interest in keeping/birthing her child. Within 17 weeks of pregnancy (at which point the fetus is able to experience REM sleep and dream) and 23 weeks are the window in which I find the last acceptable times for abortions to be performed. By this point, the fetus strongly resembles a miniature person, can react to stimuli (being able to grab objects and suck its thumb) and in essence, can “think” in the same manner of a child.

Additionally, I’d like to briefly rant against an argument commonly adopted by those who believe that life begins at conception. Oftentimes, people with this belief will describe a fetus or embryo as “potential life”, which it clearly is. However, I don’t know about the rest of my class, but I have no interest in protecting potential life. Potential life is all around us at every moment; it’s a crude comparison, but I find no difference in wasted ejaculate and the touted concept of a “potential” human being. Maybe deep down, I simply follow the philosophy that anything is possible, so to treat the termination of a developing fetus due to its “potential” is no different from being disappointed in me for not following my potential to be a trapeze artist. An embryo becomes a person certainly, but there’s no reason to try to protect it until it finally becomes one.

Colin C.

I’d like to skip the typical introduction concerning abortion, about how difficult and divisive it is as an issue, and instead move on to what I believe.<br>

Speaking factually, the life of a human begins at conception, because the zygote that forms as a result of fertilization is a fully functioning unicellular organism. Of course, humans don’t give the same rights to the bacteria and amoeba that surround us as they do to themselves, and though a blastocyst has the potential, and is even likely, to become a fully developed human, I still find it somewhat absurd to equate a bundle of cells the size of a period to a viable baby.<br>

As cold as it may seem to say this, there is a sliding scale concerning the value of a life. In our society, most people consider humans’ lives to be more valuable than any other species. In the same way, I would consider a human embryo’s life to have a much lesser value than that of an adult, and I wouldn’t consider them to have the same rights to life as an adult. <br>

So the question for me is the point at which I consider an embryo to reach the point of development in which they have the right to be delivered, even if it’s against the pregnant woman’s wishes. For me, it would be between the 3rd and 4th month, when the fetus has a fully developed nervous system, can experience pain, and has numerous fully functional organs. The fact that it’s gained the ability to think, along with feeling its own abortion taking place, in my opinion gives it a great enough right to life that, unless it turns our to have an extremely debilitating disorder or condition (more severe than Down’s Syndrome), it should be delivered, and put up for adoption if the mother does not want it. Any genetic disorders are likely to be detected via Amniocentesis after the 2nd month, so an abortion could follow after looking at the karyotype if necessary. <br>

I realize that the time that I consider a fetus as having the right to life is earlier than the current California law. However, while in an ideal society I would prefer fetuses to be protected at the time that I wish, in a society that has so many conflicting viewpoints, I’m fine with the current law, stating that 22 weeks is the latest time. I might personally disagree with a fetus being aborted at a later stage, but in such a difficult issue, I would be willing to compromise in order to allow women to have the right to their own bodies in the way that has been legally approved by the Supreme Court in both Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood. While I may think that women should lose their right to an abortion at an earlier time, it’s better to compromise than it is to revert back to coat-hanger abortions and millions of more unwanted children. Though my opinion may conflict with others, that doesn't mean I have the right to make decisions concerning other women's bodies. To the extent that California currently allows, which is 22 weeks, women should be able to abort their child if they consider it moral, because I'm not confident enought in my opinion to force my beliefs on millions of women in the United States.<br>

Kaval A.

Where does life begin? ‘Tis the same as the question, what came first the chicken or the egg? Life can begin anywhere depending on where you are looking from. This is probably why the debate about life is never-ending, too many perspectives and too many beliefs. At the beginning of this discussion, I was not completely pro-choice but I was pro-up-to-a-certain-point. My views have not changed since. Though my innocent (sarcasm) eyes were exposed to the horrors of abortion, the discussions only strengthened my views. For example, a few weeks ago the class was told about a story of a woman who had an abortion a few weeks prior to her due date because the baby had a problem. Now, I would be completely okay with this if it was before the 21 week stage because the unwanted fetus wouldn’t be viable outside the womb anyways. What bothered me the most was that the woman had carried the child for such a long time and could not bare to go a few more weeks to give birth and then give the child up for adoption. Instead the mother chose to abort the baby with a complicated process called partial birth- which is giving birth to the baby anyways! If a woman is going to go through the birthing process, why would she give up life so easily after how much time she has spent with it? Crazy people.


Life begins when it can breathe, live, feel… you get my point. If a fetus is viable outside of the womb (21weeks), then it is life. There is no question about it. When conception occurs, when sperm and egg meet, it is a simple creation of new cells that will grow to be something more but at that moment in time, it is not a human being with rights. Call me childist but in this case, the mother has more rights over the cells in her body. When the time comes that the cells can be considered a person in this world, then that is when life begins. Almost any abortion that occurs after the 21-24 weeks period in pregnancy should be considered murder for whatever reason the parents decided to do so.


Like Mr. Geib said in class, no woman wants to have an abortion. I completely agree with him, I would never want an abortion BUT if I HAD to, I would. Almost every little girl dreams of one day having her own children, and I admit to doing that still! Yet if the situation was not ideal for the child, I would do what I have to do. In a perfect world adoption would replace all abortions but this isn’t a perfect world. I agree that abortion is not ideal, but as long as it is done right then it can legally be permitted.

Danielle S.

I just spent an hour and a half typing out everything, my computer crashed and I forgot to save and bye bye blog. So I will attempt to start over but I must worn you I am running off thirty minutes of sleep.

So I walked in the door around 11am this morning, exahausted, sore and disoriented. I lept onto my bed and began to close my eyes when I remembered I still had homework. I eventually got up and right when I was about to start typing my blog my mom frantically ran into my room begging for my help. For what you ask? Well apparently we had guests coming over for dinner that I knew nothing about. So once again I pushed my work aside and did as she asked. So there I was sitting in the living room enjoying my homemade chocolate chip cookie when the thought of homework once again crossed my mind. I freaked out a bit seeing that it was already 8pm. I wanted to leave and go start my blog, but I couldnt just leave my guests, so I sat and waited patiently for them to leave. Out of the blue the discussion topic went from footsie pajamas to pregnancy and my ears perked listening for some opinions and guiidance that could possibly help me with my blog. All that time I spent listening to the heartfelt stories and emotions that come along with pregnancy really opened up my eyes. Anyways, here goes.

To be or not to be? That is the question, and always will be. Who are we to say what life is when each and every one of us live completly different lifestyles? What life is to me isnt the same as what life is to a homeless man living in a box in downtown L.A. Now I may not know exactly what life is, but I do know that things such as laughter, smiles, warmth, touch and that overall feeling of being loved are the things that get us through the day. These are the type of things we live for. But even more basic than that, we must breathe. Once a baby is able to breathe on its own (week 21-22), it is a human life. And just because its week 22 and the baby is still in its mother's stomach doesnt make it any less human than a newborn, just because a woman can unexpectedly go into labor at any moment. The fact that premature 21 week old baby can indeed live on its own thanks to our modern technology just proves that it is a human life. The baby doesnt absolutely have to be inside the mother for the full nine months, its just safer and better if it develops fully. Therefore I believe once a baby is able to life on its own around week 21-22 then it is a human life. In all honesty, a 22 week old and a new born aren't all that different anyways. The fact that at week 22 the baby has everything physically necessary needed to survive outside of the mother means that it is indeed a human life.

Now I am going to prove myself right by proving the other theories wrong. Life does NOT begin at conception. The mere thought of that makes me laugh. Saying that when sperm and egg first meet that a human life is formed is like saying when you add the hot water to the jello powder and it makes a liquid that its jello when it clearly isnt; it obviously needs three hours or so in the fridge to develop into jello. Those few hours in the fridge are equivalent to the few months needed to turn a lump of DNA and cells into a human life. I will not deny that at the moment of conception there is a possiblity for a human life, but a mesh of sperm and egg cells is far from being able top live on its own outside of the womb. Not to mention the possiblity of something going wrong during the development of the fetus. Hence, life does not begin at conception.

As for the other side, I am going to keep it short, sweet and to the point. A 21 week baby and a newborn arent that much different, they can (if given the chance) both live on their own outside of the mother. They both can think, move freely and conciously do things all on their own at both stages. Therefore I am right. Time to go to bed.

Cassandra G.


There are no right or wrong answers on the issue of when life begins. However, I will attempt to convey my opinions on this issue to the best of my ability.

When somebody asks me if I am pro-life or pro-choice, I will say that I am 100% pro-choice. However, I don’t think we should allow woman who are 37 weeks pregnant to have an abortion (I will go into depth on this later).

What is my answer to the question of when life begins? I don’t believe life begins at conception or when the baby is a few minutes before they’re born. However, I am in the middle of when life begins. I believe that life begins when a fetus is viable outside of the womb. This is exactly when I believe a fetus has “rights” as a human being. I am not denying that a blastocyst isn’t potential life, but I feel like this tiny clump of cells has no “rights” in the outside world and isn’t viable outside of the womb, so it’s not necessarily a baby yet.

With this answer to this tough question put out there, I think it is totally fine for woman to have abortion before the baby is viable outside of the womb, which is around 22 or 23 weeks. I believe in a woman’s right to her own body, like Roe v Wade determined as the supreme law of the land. She is the one who has to carry the baby and deal with the pain of the pregnancy, so I believe it is up to her to choose whether she wants to keep her baby or not.

After the fetus is viable outside of the womb, that is when my opinion on abortion after becomes a sliding slope. I think that a woman getting a partial birth abortion because of a cleft lip or gender is absolutely childish and selfish, and I think that the government has the right to step in and force this woman to have the baby and that these selfish woman shouldn't be mothers at all. I also believe after the baby is able to be born and can survive outside of the womb without dying (their chances of survival are grim at 23 weeks so I will say about 32 weeks), then the government can forcibly make the mother have the child. There are many parents who cannot get pregnant who would gladly adopt a child that is unwanted by their mother. However, when a baby has a severe genetic, physical, or physiological function then the mother should be able to have a partial birth abortion at any time up until birth. I also believe it is right for a mother to have a third trimester abortion if her baby has Down Syndrome. I am not trying to sound cynical by advocating murder, but if the baby is going to suffer or die shortly after birth, why should we put them through this suffering? I think the decision to have a partial birth abortion because of a malfunction or an endangerment to the life of the mother is acceptable and that mothers should have this capability to abort since a baby with Down Syndrome might be too much for them to handle. Once again, these late term abortions are on a slippery slope.

As I wrap up my opinion, I want to express that I don’t see abortion as birth control whatsoever. I think that it should be a last resort. We see abortion as such a light thing that women have done, but like we saw in the movie it is extremely emotional. An abortion is definitely easier said than done.

In a perfect world, there would be no abortions because everyone would be responsible because they would be absolutely ready to have a child or be on birth control and use condoms to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. This perfect world would please both “pro-life” and “pro-choice” people. However, we don’t live in a perfect world and we must give women the right to have an abortion. It is sad to see potential lives get killed, but we have no other choice but to offer this since people will continue to be idiots and have unprotected sex. Here is a quick summary of my opinion: I’m pro choice, believe that life begins when the fetus is viable outside of the womb, and that a woman has a right to choose, that is all.

Brent's Confusion


Throughout the several conversations we had in class pertaining to whatever topic Mr. Geib chose, none ever started off as quietly as the one on Abortion did last Wednesday. I believe this says a lot about the polarity of the topic at hand. With this in mind, I will try to weave my words carefully in order to not step over peoples toes. So here it goes:

The question: “when does life begin”, cannot be answered as simply as just a date which was crunched by statistical data. Inside this question lies a deeper one, when can this “new life” be taken away from the child? Personally, I do not believe that the creation of “life” exists until the baby reaches the point where it can survive outside of the womb which, I believe is at the end of the second trimester. But, even though the baby isn’t considered “living” until this point, I believe abortions should be illegal if practiced after the point where the baby begins to go through quickening at the end of the first trimester.

I have this stance for, primarily, a new mother should know definitively by the first few months if she wants this “parasitic lump of cells” for the rest of her life. It makes no sense for a mother to want a parasite, such as a leech, for nine months just to burn it at the end. Why wait? Issues with time and such are not good enough reasons to wait so long. It is with these mothers, the ones who practice partial-birth abortions at the very latest possible, that abortion is truly hurting. Yes, these mothers should not be care-takers of children, but the children have a right to life when the mother is slaying them. These children have the right to live in an adoption center or, dare I say, group home, to thrive rather than taking a fully viable baby and taking it to the incinerator.

Though I might have slightly radical views, I am utterly in the middle over the topic. I feel that all men should see the clip we saw in class depicting a real-life abortion just to see the truth behind the curtain in terms of an abortion. Too often have I head, “just have an abortion”. After seeing that clip, the word “just” does not give it enough credit. The immense psychological and emotional repercussions of having an abortion.

For this reason, screaming and ranting at people who have an abortion just adds significant strain on the mother because, having an abortion is similar to having a miscarriage in terms of the emotional response. Nobody ever wants to know that a baby died. That is why the most common question at an abortion clinic is: “Is this thing a baby yet?” Because, picturing them as a baby would be disastrous to them knowing that, per the mothers’ will, the baby was taken to its death.

I do believe abortion is a good in society for those mothers who cannot handle the “extra stress” of carrying a baby to term and caring for it from then on, out. But I do not enjoy how abortion has been manipulated into a form of birth-control. Mothers like that of the woman who carried five “potential babies” and practically knows the clinicians by name should have an internal bull horn buzzing telling them that obviously something is askew. It is people like this and those who have abortions days before delivering the baby that significantly regress all the steps abortionists have made for mothers who are in need.

Abortion is both a positive good and a negative bad. Either way, the mother and baby are both benefitted and hindered based on the overall outlook. The “mother” now doesn’t have to carry the responsibility for another baby (which is a good thing. Who wants a mother that wouldn’t care for them?) but also, the “mother” wont experience the bond a mother and child hold nor the pleasures involved with having and caring for a child. The baby, as well, faces good and bad in the decision. It may not be given the right to life, a significant “bad”, but it also is given a new possibility of life with another, more caring mother who will love him/her as they deserve.

There are several grey areas in terms of abortion and, however much we would like to state what color it is, that just cannot be done. Abortion is a battle of extremes and will never be resolved just as long as the left side shouts as loud as the right side. Ultimately, my opinion on this issue is utterly unimportant for we are just fighting on what side of a gun or grenade we are on; the side throwing them at abortion clinics or the one receiving them. Abortion is not, and never will be, fully covered because there are no rights and no wrongs; only opinions.

Dillon's Mind


First off, there are no right or wrong answers, just opinons. For the first time in human history, the answer to the infamous question of "When does life begin?" will finally be answered in this short essay.

Two radical viewpoints, Pro-Life or Pro-Choice but could they both right? And, they sure are. Pro-Life the notion and obligation of a women to keep whatever is in her tummy no matter how old or young till the day it is born; a definite Catholic ideal. Then there is Pro-Choice, in which the mother or women has right to privacy and has the right to abort the child no matter how old or young. Personally, I am Pro-Choice, because the depending on the women and her beliefs and circumstances, she should deicide on her biological fetus life. However, I do not promote or praise and absolutely do not believe to abort a fetus at say, 38 weeks.

But we have been asking for weeks now in class, when does life begin? And that answer is a "slippery slope." I do not think life beings when the wandering sperm cell is swimming looking for a egg to barricade. I think it occurs much later, not late like when the fetus is about to be born or weeks prior. But sort of in the middle. Approximately twenty-two to twenty-four weeks in the others tomb. Why? Because to recent research and data, scientists and physicians around the world have concluded that this stage in the pregnancy, is when the fetus is viable. Viable meaning that a fetus can live out side the tomb of the mother, with or without aid but in all, can live on its own.

A blastocyst a clump of around hundred of cells, is potential life but is no heaves way life. I feel as though this has no "rights" and is no where near the same magnitude of a viable fetus in a mother. But I do believe anything after the estimated twenty four weeks is murder because after that one is killing something that can and is alive on its own. If the mother want to abort the situation a little late say twenty six weeks then this is too bad. Should have done the homework necessary to be a mother. I believe the government should have no right to infuriate with the women's right to privacy. They, as in the government need to worry about the selfish twist of shit they created in the economy and debt. That being said, just cause a mother figures out that her child is a male or that it has a cleft lip, is rude and unnecessary. Mr. Geib has said repeatedly that within at most 10 weeks, people can find out abnormalities about their future babies, and that is when it is safe to abort the fetus, but anything after the viability point is murder and irresponsibility.

If one teenage girl gets pregnant because her stupid boyfriend does not use a condom, and it for sure will decimate her future plans of becoming a florist or any other profession, the girl should perform the abortion under the twenty four weeks. Any other circumstance or situation is fine, a rape case, cleft lip, or has four fingers, if it is up to the mother if she wants a baby with these abnormalities. But it should be performed before the viability point, and the mother/woman/girl should do a lot of homework and work on her fetus to see the conditions before, once again its past livable on its own stage.

However, when a baby has a severe genetic, physical, or physiological function then a mother has the right to perform the abortion, in the third trimester a couple weeks before the due date is okay by me. Also, I think it is right for a mother to have a abortion well into the third trimester if the baby has a illness that will cause it death within several years, or influences the mothers life at "its" mothers birth. Such as down syndrome or some other ugly disease that will save the mother and of course the child some pain in the long run.

I guess, I was wrong, I have no definite answer on this issue, everything I say contradicts with a previous paragraph, sorry. Mr. Geib it is too hard to discuss and form a solid opinion such the Catholic Church, though I despise them. Abortion is easier said than to argue/discuss or even perform. So I guess that both Pro-Life and Pro-Choice are both correct, they both have reasonable points in argument and I can only respect both sides. We will just leave it that, because well..... I do not know!

Kristen S.

Abortion. I feel as though I just typed a bad word and will be scolded for it. A word, or in this case, a concept that is better not discussed with the general public. I strongly feel that it is a woman’s right weather or not she wants to abort her fetus. However, there are some guidelines that should follow with this choice. The first guideline being that one should be educated on the fetus, emotional and physical problems, and abortions in general before making a final decision. Another, being that it cannot take place after the second trimester, and in some cases I feel that is even pushing it. As well, the woman getting the abortion should, well, be a woman- not a fifteen or sixteen year old. If a girl is going to get an abortion at this age than I think there should be a parent present. Not necessarily for fear of the young lady making a “bad” decision, but more so to make sure an important adult in her life is with her and aware or her difficult situation. Either woman, or young lady, one cannot go through an abortion alone, or without the love and support of someone close to them.

After week 12, the procedure seems to be a bit ethically wrong, that is if you ask me. At just 12 weeks, the embryo can experience pain, including nerves, the spinal cord, and the thalamus. By this pointing time, the fetus has also developed its respiratory system, and a functioning organ system. The fetus has also obtained its skeletal structure, nerves, and circulation.

When it gets to later on in the birth, such as week 21-22, I feel that an abortion is pushing it. One should discover whether or not they are going to keep an infant by this time. Today, babies are routinely saved at this stage in birth. Meaning, that the fetus is now a baby and can live outside the mother (with ventilation and medical technologies) at this point. Not to mention, a baby can recognizes its mother’s voice at 20 weeks. I do not understand how morally, someone would abort their potential child after hearing this fact.

I always try to ask myself what I would do if I was pregnant at this stage of my life. At first, I would completely freak out and not know what to do. I would have to deeply look into all options. With my current busy schedule and little time as there is, having a child would not be ideal. However, as a Catholic, the church would tell me to have the child, or that I would be murdering a life. Being torn between two sides on such a serious topic is both frightening and stressful. It is one thing when you’re discussing general ethics on controversial issues, and another when it involves another life (or the potential of life).

I personally can never see myself aborting a fetus at this point in time, yet I can’t see myself getting pregnant either so I have never had to think too deeply about it. There is no way on earth that I could properly raise a child at this point in time. I have enough difficulties taking care of myself. There is also the issue of financially being responsible enough to have a child. It would even be putting the child at a disadvantage in life, and that’s not something I would want to do. However, if I were to abort a child it would most likely take place by or before week 6. I would hate to be in the situation of discovering my child had a physical disability or a serious illness. In that case, I would highly consider an abortion for it wouldn’t feel right to make a human suffer their entire life.

Coming to a close, abortion is such a touchy and polemical issue and one that I prefer not to discuss on a daily basis. My views and opinions on it have changed over time, and I am sure they will continue to as I educate myself better on this topic.

Andrew S.

Ahhh where to start? Looking forward to the subject of abortion from day 1in Bio-ethics, I was hoping for some heated and tempered debate. Yet after reviewing the abortion debate, overall as usually in Bio-ethics I have become more convoluted in my opinions. My first thoughts of the subject always seeming as if the only two sides to exist are the fundamental Christians and the feminist liberals; both equally revolting, but after the several weeks of review and discussion that all changed.<br>
<br>Distancing ourselves from the debaters and focusing on the debate, I have even surprised myself in how much I view the right to abortions and the rights of a fetus have changed, comparative to a few months prior.<br>
<br>I find it hard for anyone to tell me, especially with abortion, that there is an absolute truth in the matter. On the issue of ‘where life begins’ pro-choice individuals argue at birth, while pro-life individuals argue at conception, to me, the issue of where exactly life begins is irrelevant. The beginning of life is a grey area in which no one can distinguish, and the abortion argument as whole should not revolve around the insignificance of such a detail that will change nothing, rather in my opinion, the scaling morality behind the curtain.<br>
<br>Truth be told, I, as most all others people simply hate the fact that abortions even take place, yet the necessity it holds is immense. I wish I could shut my eyes and be blind to reality of orphan children, irresponsible single parents, and poverty around the world, but to refuse what exists makes me unable to see the picture as a whole and although I think abortion is a horrible act, woman should be given the opportunity to correct their mistakes early on, as in, up to viability of the fetus. However once the fetus is viable outside the womb, the mother should be forced to carry the pregnancy to term, unless she is in serious risk of health, or the baby has a serious defect, otherwise an abortion past that point should be illegal.<br>
<br>Why? Because, the irresponsibility people portray in today’s society is unforgivable. The mere statistic of how many millions of potential human beings are killed each year is a testament to this, which is why I think overall abortion should be legal, but with numerous more restrictions and limitations to when a woman can get an abortion, how much it will cost, and where she can get one. This would prospectively cut down on the number of abortions every year, simply because the idea is better ‘impregnated’ into the minds of people about to have sex, causing them to think twice about the possible outcomes.<br>
<br>Back to my scale of morals though… When it comes to placing restrictions on one’s ability to get an abortion, I believe that depending upon far along the pregnancy actually is; then the cost, and the obstacles that have to be overcome, should become progressively more strenuous. This is based on the premise that no one can depict when scientifically the life of an individual begins, so as in my opinion depending upon how far along the pregnancy is, the ethical decision to terminate a pregnancy is substantially more heinous.<br>
<br>And here is my abrupt ending…

Loren H.

When it comes to abortion, I believe that there are two levels that exist regarding the viability of the fetus. One level is the level of how far the individual believes that life begins, the other is the level at which "The State" believes that life begins. After researching the issue of abortion myself, I have personally come to the conclusion that, since individual and original thought is something that exists exclusively in human beings, that a human being is considered a human being at the point where he/she has an original thought in the womb. This is sometime around the point where the fetus begins to dream, or the 17th week, in my opinion, since dreams often allow for some of the most grotesque and most beautiful thoughts to exist within one person's body.

Though I hold a romantic view that the 17th week should be the cutoff date, and believe that, beyond that, killing a fetus that can dream is murder, I realize it is impractical in the real world. Often, women can have health risks, including death, associated with not aborting a child after the 17th week, and taking away the right for a woman to do so seems criminal. Additionally, it frightens me to believe that the mob can vote in a group of socially conservative individuals into office that can define that abortion is murder from the formation of a blastocyst, or, and much more frightening to me, that life can be judged as worthless, and aborted for the good of the country, citing the "one child," policy in China. For this reason, I believe that the state should take no interest in the issue of abortion insofar that mandates should not be put in place to restrict or encourage abortion. The decision should be left between a women with a justifiable reason for the abortion, and a doctor that is trained to both counsel the woman on her decision before and after and perform the procedure. Though the word "counsel," is generally a vague word, it should be defined as "allowing the woman to know the pro's and cons of her decision AND, if necessary, form an opinion should the woman's life be at risk if the procedure could put the women at a risk." For this reason, the doctor and the women both get to be involved in the decision making process. Any other involvement (family, friends, significant other) seems like it depends on the situation.

The question "Are you pro-life or pro-choice?" oversimplifies the issue. Most living individuals believe to the extent that they are not hanging on a noose that life is worth living, and anyone short of an insanely devout Calvinist believes in choice as a positive good. It is abortion that people disagree on, and I wish people would be more honest in how they approach this debate. The two question, as I stated at the beginning, are "To what extent should the state accept abortion?" and "To what extent should an individual accept abortion?" Since I have already both these questions to the extent I am willing to answer them, I am leaving it to others to see if they think these questions are worthy enough to be answered.


Allany C.


Abortion is one of the most controversial issues, which plague the United States of America, in these times of conflict. The clashes between those who are pro-choice and pro-life center their arguments on the grounds of morality and constitutionality of the medical procedure. The choice for the future of the unborn child is the sole decision of the unready mother because is a woman’s right to choose an abortion and it should stay that way. It does not matter if the woman was raped, healthy or life threatened because that right for a woman to choose should apply at any given time. In addition to the notion of pro-choice, the practicality of legal abortions outweighs the speculative basis for the pro-life contention. I believe that abortion should be legal up to the point of vitality. Nothing should render a women’s decision for an abortion.

Ever since the ruling of Roe v Wade in 1973, the Supreme Court ruled that “This right of privacy, whether it be founded in the Fourteenth Amendment’s concept of personal liberty and restrictions upon state action, as we feel it is, or, as the district court determined, in the Ninth Amendment’s reservation of rights to the people, is broad enough to encompass a women’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy”. After Marbury v. Madison, the establishment of judicial review gave the third branch an unprecedented power. As declared in Roe v. Wade, we are obliged to follow the law, which legalized abortion.

The negating pro-life side upholds the belief that at the moment of conception, the new organism is defined as human with its own individual rights. According to the Merriam Webster online dictionary, an individual is defined as “existing as a distinct entity” and exist as “to have life or the functions of vitality.” Reality is, a fetus cannot live without the dependence of nutrients, protection, and stability in a mother’s womb. Therefore, a fetus does not fulfill the function of vitality. The grey area of life is considerable, but the backing of the religion for the consideration of life is also absent. Furthermore, 14th Amendment states, “all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the Unites States”. The diction of the amendment is vital to the interpretation from the courts. In the 14th Amendment, it specifically states that a citizen has to have been born in order to be granted rights. Since fetuses are not among the born and living, they are not qualified for their natural rights. Therefore, the decision of termination is solely given to the person with the rights, the unsure mother.

The safety of a government-run facility for abortions is needed for the safety of the masses of women seeking them. Abortion is not a new concept conceived in the 20th century. Between the 1880s and 1973, abortion was illegal in all or most U.S. states, and many women died or had serious medical problems as a result. Although illegal, women resorted to self induced or back alley abortions that, in due course, proved to be lethal. With the lack of sanitization and proper methods, women streamed into emergency rooms with serious complications: perforations of the uterus, retained placentas, severe bleeding, cervical wounds, rampant infections, poisoning, shock, and gangrene from “coat hanger” and “back alley abortions”. My sympathies for humanity lie within the living, not the group of cells that lack the ability to survive on its own. In countries where abortions are illegal, the women desperately seek the dangerous methods. According to the World Health Organization, complications due to unsafe abortion procedures account for an estimated 13% of maternal deaths worldwide, or 67,000 per year. In Africa, an estimated 650 unsafe abortions per 100,000 resulted in death. In order to cap a family to about two children (for economic reasons) a women, especially in Africa, will seek the abortion with the risk of death. Worldwide, approximately 220,000 children lose their mothers in abortion-related deaths.

In an attempt to increase the power of Romania, Nicolae Ceausescu suddenly declared abortion illegal with the thought that a bigger population equates to more power. In the following years, the birthrate doubled, but the desired effect of a more powerful nation was not achieved; “the cohort of children born after the abortion ban would do worse in every measurable way: they would test lower in school, they would have less success in the labor market, and they would also prove much more likely to become criminals”. Due to the increase of unwanted children, mothers would be forced to abandon their children in the streets or continue with their live of poverty. As ironic as it may be, the procedure that Ceausescu
outlawed, with the intention of increasing power, led to a never-ending cycle of poverty for the poor and the weak.

Another major argument a pro-life enthusiast would emphasize, is the possibility of adoption. Although in an ideal situation of an unwanted baby, adoption seems the most moral, the reality is, most people do not want to adopt; people want children of their own blood. Who would want to take in a crack baby? Or a baby who’s lineage is connected with alcoholism and drug abuse? What happens to those babies?

In the early 1990’s, a huge crime wave hit the United States. With the onset of panic in the early nineties, the projected homicide increase for the future was at least 15%. But within five years, the homicide rate fell by 50%. What caused these increases? Was it gun control? Or a stronger police force? According to the economist in Freakonomics, the legalization of abortion after Roe v. Wade decreased the number of criminally predicted children; “decades of studies have shown that a child born into an adverse family environment is far more likely than other children to become a criminal”. Moreover, this ultimately led to a decrease of poverty for many women or rather, a chance at breaking out. With the government provided abortion, the poor, unmarried and/or teenage mothers could continue their life without the premature responsibility. They could continue with their education, get a job and settle down when they are finally mature enough. Handling a child is hard work on its own, and so for a single young mother, it would hinder her possibilities of a career and other life goals.

As a female of modern society, I feel obliged to voice my opinion about the subject matter. I know that an abortion is not the ideal choice in life, but it should be a choice for those who want it. If a person deems an abortion is against their beliefs, then they can just not get one. Hindering another woman’s choice is a violation of her rights and respect. People should tolerate other people’s beliefs; it is not as if the ones who are in favor of abortion are trying to convince the other side that they need one. Although I’m in favor of this choice, I would not personally get an abortion. I feel that in this modern day and age, tolerance is the key to a functioning society. People come from various ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds. In order to keep that tolerance, respect of a decision should be retained. People should not hinder the choices of the vast majority. To suppress an ideology on another person to the point of restriction is injustice itself. So in order to avoid that suppressed policy, women should have the right to choice. In an ideal world, the pro-life ideals would be more desired, but for practicality and reality, pro-choice is the more ideal stance. So I believe that the option for an abortion should not be ignored. Even if people oppose it, the option for a safe medical procedure is necessary. It is not a factor of life for me. The fetus does not have the right bestowed to it; the mother is the sole decision maker for it. So after this whole rant about abortion, I will make this clear and simple. Abortions should be allowed up to the point of vitality. Only if the mothers wife is in danger, should a doctor perform an abortion beyond that point. In order to be living, the fetus must at least be potentially independent from the womb.

Paige W.


I don't think it's right for any person to put an exact date on "when life begins". I think every case and every parent's perception makes the idea of the beginning of life different. For a married couple who have been having trouble getting pregnant, forced to go through fertility testing and treatments, life probably beings the second they see that little plus sign on a pregnancy test. While a teenage girl who was having sex, using protection each time but still ends up finding out she's pregnant after a missed period or two may never really see her baby as a person. Abortion really changes whatever way you look at it; flip it one way and it's a mother who is young and poor, heading into college, no where near ready to have a baby. Flip it another and it's destroying the life of a person who may have grown up to write this very blog. Do all babies want to "get borned"? Whose right is it to decide? No two women, no two situations, no two lives are the same. In my opinion, it's impossible for anyone other than the mother of the child to decide if that baby should or should not be born.
In my personal opinion, once a fetus has reached a point where it can dream and live outside of the mother's womb, it's murder. However, I also believe that it's not for me to say this for each and every woman. I think the entire situation changes if the woman's life is at risk, and a number of other cases could come up in this same gray area. I don't, however, think it's okay for a woman to abort a child because of a genetic disease that they hadn't noticed before. It's true that not every woman can take care of, say, a child with Downs Syndrome or Tay Sachs, but it is a woman's job to do their research, no matter what. If a woman can't take care of a baby with a problem like this, she should know that and do every type of testing she needs to do to know before viability outside of the womb.
My mother wanted to abort me. She aborted one child before me and she only went through with giving birth to me because my father threatened to leave her. My birth is something that she has grown to hate me for, a fact she has never let me forget. My entire life I've been told that I was the biggest mistake of her life, that she should have gone through with it. She made my life a living hell for the entire time I lived in her house. Today, I'll tell you that I'm happy I was given the chance to live. But there were absolutely points in my life when I agreed with her, that I wished she had gone through with it, too. I think it's a parent's responsibility to give their child the best life they possibly can. If a mother knows that she will not be able to provide a child with the type of life it deserves, I think abortion is a good choice. I believe there is a huge difference between the words "unexpected" and "unwanted", in terms of abortion. If a child is unexpected, it can still work out in the end. If a pregnancy is unwanted, I believe that baby is being born with the world against it; the mother sealing it with the fate of a hard life. No one can tell a woman she is or is not fit to be a mother, I believe it's her choice and as long as the abortion happens before the baby is viable, it's her right to decide.
In a perfect world, everyone would always use protection and it would work 100% of the time, no one would have an unexpected or unwanted pregnancy. In a good world, every woman who wanted an abortion would give birth and put their baby up for adoption, with a happy family always waiting to give the baby a good home. In our world, neither of these options are possible. Adoption is an outstanding choice for some mothers, but every single baby that is aborted every year simply won't be able to find a loving home. If abortion was illegal, there would be skyrocketing numbers of orphans, women who died trying to give themselves abortions and even some women who will try to kill their babies once they give birth.
Abortion is, hands down, the most difficult issue to discuss. This is because it's always looked at in a black and white sense- "pro-choice" or "pro-life", when really the entire issue is gray. There are an infinite amount of "what ifs" in regards to abortion, making coming up with a definite answer nearly impossible. I believe that in nearly every case, aborting a child past the point of it being able to think and exist outside the womb, is murder. If a woman doesn't want a child or doesn't want a child with a certain genetic defect, it's her responsibility to figure out what she wants to do before this point. Past this point, I almost want to say that any unwanted baby should be protected by the state, forcing a woman to go through with adoption. I don't mean strapping the woman down and forcing her into labor, I mean any woman willing to go through with an abortion three weeks before giving birth to a child because it has a cleft lip should be looked at as a murderer in the eyes of the law. Yes, there will still be women who end up giving birth to their babies and dropping them out of windows if a law like this is in place, but there is really no winning answer to the question of abortion. I think it's stupid to tell women they can never, under any circumstances have an abortion, but there is a point where it's just cruel and senseless.

Kate B.

<br>The odd thing is that I developed a more firm stance on the topic of abortion than any other issue this year. While my stances are consistently moderate yet convoluted, this time I actually know what I believe. <br><br>
For me, life does not begin at conception, nor does it begin at birth. By the time the fetus has matured past that 22 or so week mark, it is entirely viable outside of the womb. Now, how can you tell me that isn’t a human life? However, before viability, it is merely the potential for life, and not a life itself. It may be living cell, or a collection of them, but it is not invariably a human life(not that that makes any sense). The subtle difference is imperative. The way I see it, a growing fetus without a heartbeat or nervous system, is not biologically a human life, thus the pregnancy may be terminated for any reason whatsoever. That is solely the choice of the mother during the first trimester, and part of the second (even though the heartbeat has certainly been present for a good while). To state it simply, I am pro-choice before viability, just as California law currently states. However, as we move farther along the pregnancy timeline, it gets more and more complicated. Every day, and every week, the development of the fetus extends farther and farther toward that of a living, breathing individual, and a choice of whether or not to keep the baby must be made as quickly as possible. I acknowledge that it isn’t an easy decision to make, and it never will be, but immense thought must be invested in the decision with as much haste as deemed possible, because with every day, it becomes less of a medical procedure and more like murder. The only case in which I believe it may be necessary to terminate the pregnancy after 22 weeks, is if either the mother’s health is at risk, or the baby has some sort of severe genetic anomaly such as Tay Sachs or maybe even Down's Syndrome (definitely not a cleft palate that’s for sure).<br><br>
Politically, I tend to lean more libertarian, meaning I prefer less government involvement in a lot of cases. This isn’t one of them. It needs to be regulated, before the situation gets out of hand. That’s not to say that the state should be able to condone one position or another; it should work to both preserve life (at the viability of the child) and protect the women’s right to choose, which is why I agree (for the most part) with the current law. Although I agree with the law to the extent that it protects the right to choose, I would prefer that people would terminate much earlier than viability. Honestly, you should be able to tell before the heart of your unborn child is beating, whether or not you should keep it. It isn’t a decision that can be put off, and if you acknowledge that you are not ready to bring a child into this world, then you should get the abortion as soon as possible if that is what you ultimately want. <br><br>
I detest partial-birth abortions. The process of crushing a baby’s skull and having a mother deliver a still birth, just seems like cruel and unusual punishment (okay maybe that’s a bit extreme, but you get the idea), and should not be allowed merely because the mother no long wishes to be pregnant. Come on, you should have been able to figure that out months ago. I think it’s also somewhat sad that so many individuals throw the adoption card out the window. Past the point of viability, if you decide that you aren’t ready to have a child (not considering a health risk of birth defect), than you should simply continue with the last few months of pregnancy, and give up the child for adoption. I honestly don’t understand how anyone would rather go through a partial birth abortion a week or even a month before the due date, than give the child up. At this point, it’s a life. Plain and simple. <br><br>
Personally though, I do not think that I could ever terminate a pregnancy. I can’t exactly explain why, but I feel as if I could never put myself through that, and I would go through with the pregnancy. But, I don’t know. That could change. The point is, while I don’t think I could ever get an abortion, I support a women’s right over her own body before a child is viable outside of the womb. Well, that is generally speaking of course, but every rule has an exception.




COHORT 4 RESPONDS


Aidan F.


Honestly I really have no idea where to begin with this topic. If you didn’t notice my odd silence (quipps included) during the debate, let me say that abortion is one of those topics that I just try and avoid like the plague. I feel that nothing good can come from most abortion debates as was evident when Ian stormed out of the room after Cory’s comment. Nothing is ever mutually taken away on either side in the end and that the most likely result is just a massive scream fest.

I have avoided the A word all my life and I guess I have really never given it much though. It is very easy to say without thought that I am pro-choice, but then when I pull an Atticus Finch and ask myself if I could ever allow my girlfriend to abort our baby (this is purely hypothetical…I behave myself) I am not sure I could ever bring myself to make that decision. Regardless of whether or not we were ready to raise a child, that unborn fetus would still be my child, I child I would forever be denying a chance to experience the most magnificent gift imaginable…life.

In the end I think I would want her to have an abortion because it would be cruel to her to shackle her potential greatness to a child she (we) do not necessarily want. I want her to experience her youth to the fullest, something that a child does not permit. Likewise I also want to make the most of the prime of my life. I would not be ready to be a parent and a child born to my girlfriend and me would be a child who would not get the fullest of what he/she deserves off the bat.

This being said, I would most likely be permanently scared from having to make such a difficult choice, and I’m sure it would even be worse for her. An abortion is not something anyone can be for or against, it is an option that simply exists and as with all options, sometimes it is the right choice and other times it should not even be considered…it all depends on the circumstances surrounding the pending birth.

I could honestly care less when life begins, If I had to abort a baby, it would make little different to me whether or not a scientist considered it a living organism or not, it is still a potential child to me and nothing can change that reality. Again though, in an already overpopulated world, not ever child is meant to be born. Essentially, to make this decision would literally kill me a little bit inside and I don’t think I could ever go back to being the goofy cheerful person I am after such a choice.

I guess I really don’t consider myself pro-choice or pro-life. I would much rather be pro-condom/pill-at the same time to ensure maximum safety and avoid something like this in my life all together. If forced to answer this blog on one side or another, I will have to side with Aria’s logic, I do not like abortion but I want a woman to have the option of a safe one if need be.


Jake G.


It is very difficult to establish when a fetus truly becomes a person without offending someone, but I believe a fetus is living when it has the possibility of surviving outside of the uterus, approximately around the 20 week mark. After this point I believe an abortion would begin to represent murder and carelessness, and third trimester abortions should be completely outlawed, unless the fetus poses a severe medical threat to the mother, or the fetus is already dead or will not survive shortly after birth. Although I am quite pro-choice, I believe that abortion and the potential for life that the procedure will inevitably end do need to be taken seriously, but the choice to keep the baby or abort it, lie in the hands of the woman and that choice should never be taken away.

Although I would loathe having to deal with the issue of my partner having an unintended pregnancy, I believe the latest point she should have an abortion would be around the 20 week mark. At around this point in gestation, the fetus has the possibility of surviving outside of the womb with massive help from ventilators and other costly medical devices. However, an abortion would require the doctor to actively break the cranium of the fetus so as to remove it from the womb. In fact, anyone in Ventura County would have to go to LA County in order to have a second trimester abortion. However, if the fetus is dead or it is clear that it will not survive outside of the womb (i.e. an ultrasound shows a tumor at the base of the brain), then it would be wrong to force the mother to bring that child to term against her will.

Some argue that life begins at conception, when the head of the sperm fuses with the egg thus forming a zygote. Basic science proves that conception is the instant when all the components to form a human being are present, but is this life? Well, it’s the potential for life, and I do suppose some diploid type of life begins here, but definitely not human life. Those cells, in my opinion, do not represent human life until a few weeks after the first trimester, around 20 weeks.
I could never imagine the difficulties of being a female, who conceived unintentionally, but I do believe that a woman should be responsible enough to realize whether or not she is pregnant before the second trimester and well before her fetus is human life. I understand that some forms of birth control cause women to have infrequent periods and it might be difficult for a woman to know if she was pregnant while on that contraceptive, but there are other obvious side effects caused by pregnancy in the first trimester such as tender breasts, fatigue and morning sickness, something that all women should take the responsibility of recognizing as signs of early pregnancy. As unfair and insensitive as this may sound, abortion is a heart wrenching decision that must be considered thoroughly and quickly.

Regardless of when I believe human life begins in the womb, a newly formed haploid, a blastocyst, an embryo and a fetus are all some form of life. With that in mind, it is necessary to prevent life from forming before conception, with some type of contraceptive. The woman in the documentary seen in class is someone who I would consider reckless and irresponsible when it comes to her body. After conceiving on five separate occasions, I would think that she might find some time to go pick up a cheap box of condoms or begin a birth control regimen. And if she was too immature to use contraceptives, you would think having hundreds of periods throughout her adolescence and young adulthood might have clued her in as to what her menstrual cycle looks like on the calendar. Even though she was less than 8 weeks pregnant, and the method of abortion was a small suction tube that removed the lining of the uterus, she is still ending the potential for life that is growing in her womb. That is a difficult decision for a woman to make once, let alone four times (assuming that she didn’t miscarry, but have abortions the previous three times).

Although I am pro-choice, I am glad that California has outlawed third trimester abortions because that fetus is alive and can survive outside of the womb and a woman might as well keep the baby for a couple more months before giving it up for adoption, if she decides she cannot care for it. Currently, 90% of abortions occur in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, well before human life begins (About.com). Although I would love to see the number of abortions fall in the United States, I would also feel satisfied if the percentage of abortions in the first trimester increased, while abortions in the second and third trimesters were far and few in between. No one is pro-abortion and no one is keen on eliminating the potential for life at any stage of pregnancy, so it is vital to educate women and men on the consequences of sex and how to prevent those consequences via contraceptives. If you are pro-choice, choose birth control.


Courtnie C.


Abortion has caused controversy and heated opinions all over the U.S, protests are common and at times can get violent and chaotic between pro-life or pro-choice citizens. I have found myself after all the videos, various arguments on both sides, readings, socratics, etc, that I am 100% pro-choice, I feel that a woman should have the choice to whether or not they want an abortion, it is their own body and nobody else should be allowed to tell you what you can and cannot do with it. It is not anyone else's business what any person does with their personal life, especially with pregnancy. I am still a bit unsure where I stand when it comes to when "personhood" begins in a pregnancy, but at this point I feel that it is somewhere in the middle. In many cases of unintended pregnancy woman are just not ready mentally, emotionally, or physically to have a baby and would struggle to support and care for the new child. Teenagers that get pregnant don't always have families that will support them and help them through it, which leads them into a bad path and more critical lifestyle. I do not feel it is murder if done within the first trimester. In this first trimester the embryo is less likely to be harmed since it cant feel it and is still not at the stage of personhood. Getting an abortion within the second and third trimester I do not think is right and should be illegal because the baby has developed a heart beat, can feel pain, and when being aborted has to have the their skull crushed (sad), unless the mother is in danger with her health. It frustrates me when those who are pro-life say it is murder when someone gets an abortion, but they feel it is okay to go and kill a doctor that gives abortions, isn't that murder also? Also I am shocked when people say that even when a woman is raped that they should have the baby, being in a situation like that is not easy and can change your life in a very negative way. I do accept and take into consideration the other sides opinion on the issue, but I just don't feel it is fair to force someone to have a child when they are not 100% ready or stable enough to have one. No body knows what circumstances or lifestyle someone else is living in, in some cases having the child could even be more dangerous.If the government forces a woman to keep the baby to term, they may not eat right, exercise properly, or give the fetus the proper care, it takes the mothers full love and compassion to keep the baby healthy. The baby cannot live on its own without her.

I personally feel that personhood begins when there is the first heartbeat in the fetus and it is able to pump blood through its small body, in which a baby has a heartbeat at 22 days and at 12 weeks the child can even feel pain or give the most simple kick. Before the 22 day the fetus is still dependent on its mother for nutrients and to stay healthy, without her he/she would not be able to survive. Which is why I feel when it has developed the organs, that is when life begins for that child. I agree and understand that at conception a fetus has potential for life and does have the DNA from both the sperm and egg of the parent, but that is not when personhood truly begins. At conception it is a cell, yes with DNA, but not physical or emotional characteristics and is not close to being human quite yet. A cell at such an early stage I feel should not be compared to or given the same rights as an 18 year old who has just entered adulthood. Scientifically personhood is seen to begin at conception which is what many religious people believe in and is why they are pro-life, i feel it is hard to agree with that because it is a cell with only "potential", no organs or brain waves are developed there yet. All in all I do not think our government should be able to say whether or not you can have an abortion, it should be the woman's choice not somebody else's. We wouldn't want our country to back to the 50's where woman did it illegally because abortions were despised and illegal, by using a wire hanger and then dying due to blood loss.

Shane C.


I believe that life begins somewhere in the middle of pregnancy. It defiantly doesn’t start at birth because it is able to live on its own before then and you can see it physically moving inside the mothers belly. I do not believe that human life begins at conception, I do believe the small group of cells is life but not human life. I believe life begins when the first brain waves are detected around week six. Without our brains we are just bags of bones which is why I believe that the brain is what separates simple life like at conception from human life.

When it comes to abortion I am pro choice, but I am not the average pro choicer. I believe in the choice of the male and female. I feel that in the topic of abortion what the male wants is completely ignored. I know it is the female’s body but the thing growing in the female got half of its chromosomes from the father and the father will raise it, and pay for it so it confuses me why the male’s opinion would be completely ignored. Although I am pro choice I believe that the choice should be 60% the females and 40% the males because its not just the female that has to deal with this kid. I never really thought about this whole issue till it was brought up in an argument between chrisman and alexis in class. Alexis believes that chrisman should have no say at all in the decision to kill chrismans baby and although the last thing we need is little chrismans running around the world I do believe if he wants the baby he should be able to have it.

I didn't say that!!! haha you suck shane -lexi

Jacqueline A.

I believe life begins at week 17, because the baby can now go into REM sleep which is something only a human can do. Let me explain, I believe that when a baby is given a soul and a spirit, is when it truly is a person with personable rights. When this happens, I am not sure, but looking at the chart it can be concluded that by 17 weeks the baby has a spirit and soul of its own because it is able to have dreams. A bunch of cells a few weeks after conception, is not a human being.
I would have a problem having an abortion period but sometime after 17 weeks I would not be able to do at all, but it not for me to decide for other people. I feel like God gave us technology for a reason, and that maybe we are saving these babies by them not being born. The chances of a baby being born on drugs, and then becoming a drug addict later in like is 80%. This does not make the baby a bad person, and there is always the 20% but really their are women who have babies without caring for their bodies. With over population I just feel like the best option for some woman is to give the baby up, especially when the mother has been drinking or drugging not knowing all along they are pregnant. It is not the babies fault that the mother decided to drink and do drugs during pregnancy, so why should the baby pay? Why not let the babies soul go to a different home when it does not have disadvantages.
Look, my best friend in Alcoholics Anonymous got pregnant. She was using the birth control shot and just happened to be that 3% where the shot did not work. Should she be punished because she took action to stop the baby from happening but it was ineffective? It was really scary for her, and I was sure she was going to have the baby, so we planned the baby shower, picked out names, looked at ultra sounds, and then she decided she could not keep it. Its not that she did not love the child, it was because she did love the child. She could not bring the child up where she had no job, no money, was in high school, and trying to get her shit together as it is. I was shocked when she told me, and was sad, and then thought about myself. Could I ever give up a baby? And honestly, I do not know, I would not know unless I was put into the position, but I do not have the right to tell another woman what she should do. Fortunately, my friend had a miscarriage, because she did not have the money to get an abortion in the first place. I think when God realized she was not going to have the baby he made less suffering for my friend.
I am not religious, I am spiritual. I have morals, and care about life just as much as the next person, but I just feel like God made us with flaws. Not the flaw of making the decision to have an abortion but the flaw of not using protection or that sort of thing. No one is perfect, and I believe in second chances. Having a baby, whether you give it up for adoption or not, its a long process that is extremely life altering. Some woman were not meant to be able to handle having a child, or were not put in a position to be able to do so, and yet they get pregnant. It is not the mothers fault that she does not have the resources to have a child, and its not the babies fault the mother does not have the resources either. I believe that the decision that is made, whether to have an abortion or not is the correct one, because thats how God planned that persons life out to be. Things happen for a reason.
As for teaching abstinence in school, I find that rediculous. Teens like to rebel, and do the opposite of whatever the authority says. I think that the facts should be provided always. Students should be taught what the race to teen pregnancy ratio is, so they can rise above it. They should be taught the percentages of babies adopted, and percentages of who has abortions. I feel like a mother who has had more than one child should come in to tell about what its like to the teenagers. Teens are way smarter than adults give them credit to be. If the facts were provided, I feel like that would impact teenagers more than telling them: DONT DO IT! Just do not do it! It is crazy for any adult to think that works after a certain age.

Ruby E.

I cannot give you a precise day number or hour, but I can tell you that I believe personhood starts somewhere in the middle of pregnancy. Upon conception, just because the ingredients are there doesn’t mean you necessarily have a human being. You have a potential human being. The best way I can wrap my head around it is imagining baking a cake. You need your flour, sugar, vanilla, baking powder, eggs, and oil. When you mix them all together, you don’t have a cake. You have batter that can potentially become one. It needs time to bake, to rise and thoroughly cook into a recognizable dessert. Though humans are undeniably nothing like cake or cake batter, I have a similar way of thinking when it comes to the beginning stages of life. <br>
When fertilization occurs and the sperm and egg meet, all chromosomes are present, but this clump of cells should not scientifically be considered a child. It has the potential, but has not yet developed into anything viable outside of the womb. It is simply the “batter” that if given enough time, could develop into a person. Though I would never make that decision for myself, I believe women have the right to chose to abort up until the first trimester. At that point, it is not murder, it is choice.<Br>
When the unborn baby can feel pain is where I draw the line. At week twelve the embryo has all of the parts necessary to experience pain, including nerves, spinal cord, and thalamus. Vocal cords are complete. The baby can suck its thumb. That is too recognizable and familiar to ever be diminished as a “parasite”. It is no longer mush, no longer batter. It is too far along to be a mistake.<br>
The constant battle over abortion will never really end because personal opinion, morals, and religion will always have their input. But in the end NONE of these should take precedence over every single woman. There are different situations and different lives at hand which is why I firmly believe choice is key.<Br>

Mia A.

I believe that personhood begins somewhere in the middle of the woman’s pregnancy. Although fetuses have all the same DNA and human chromosomes at the moment of conception as when they are 80, to me it is just the potential for human life. A bundle of 200 cells should not have the same rights as a 20 year old college student. A 3 day old fetus is ‘alive’ in a sense but they are ‘alive’ in the same way that sperm, an egg and killer T cells are ‘alive’. They are not alive in the human sense but they are alive in their own unique way. I believe that a fetus should receive the status of personhood when they are viable outside of the mother’s womb. Babies can be saved, with about $1 million dollars and a lot of time in a NICU, at around 21 weeks. At this point the baby can feel, hear and is alive in my eyes. They are no longer a potential for life, they are a life. A 21 week old fetus should be treated differently than a 3 day old fetus. It should be considered ‘alive’ when and only when it can live outside and independent from the mother. They should have more rights then a three day old fetus too. At 21 weeks, babies should have rights and it should be morally wrong and illegal to abort the baby at this stage. I think it should be considered murder to abort at this start. The baby, if it needs to be born, can live and be independent from the mother. If an abortion was to occur when the fetus was 8 weeks old, there is absolutely no way that they can live outside of the mother, so to me, it is not murder because there was no life to begin with. But if an abortion was to occur at 21 weeks it’s like killing a baby, to me. I cannot even fathom the idea of having a 2nd trimester abortion unless the mother’s life is in danger. It’s a baby! But then again, I would probably never have an abortion at all. But if I put myself in the situation and think “what would I do if I found out I was pregnant tomorrow?” and it gets me to think. But then again if a 3 day old fetus is technically the same as a 21 week old baby, why should it be legal to abort them? This whole issue of personhood and abortion is quite confusing to me and honestly it gives me a headache. But, my final thoughts are as follows. Although I think it is sad to abort any baby, weather they are 3 days old or 21 weeks old, i think it should be considered murder, and should be illegal to abort, once the baby is viable outside of the mothers womb. To me, at 21 weeks the baby should have personhood, but that is only my opinion. I respect the people that believe that a fetus has personhood from the moment of conception, just as much as i respect the people who think that it is the mothers choice up until the second before the baby is born. It is all a matter of opinion and I personally do not think that the controversy of the whole abortion issue will ever be resolved.

Cierra's Opinion


The huge controversy of abortion sends thousands of people every year into protests, riots and violence. Shouting at the top of their lungs and showing derogatory pictures of dead babies, pro-life protesters stand in front of abortion clinics, harassing expectant mothers with their difficult choices weighing on their shoulders. (Choices these women KNOW they’ll have to come to terms with sometime in the future; a future where, one day, they will decide to keep their baby.)

What right do these strangers have to judge these women based on the decisions they are making? Do these strangers ever take into consideration the possibilities of, why these women MUST abort their baby? For instance, rape, incest, life in jeopardy…just to name a few. After all, “No woman wants an abortion. Either she wants a child or she wishes to avoid pregnancy”~Unknown Author. Every woman in the world understands what it means to be pregnant; in fact there are many different terms to define it. “With Child”, “Bun in the Oven”, “Expecting”, “The Circle of Life”, “Junior”, “I’m not fat you idiot! I’m pregnant!”…etc; the list is infinite. They understand the possibility of life emerging nine months later through the warp gate which is their vaginal canal; we were placed on this earth having that “magical ability” that no male being could ever tolerate. That’s why I find it absolutely irritating, as well as shameful, that some men and woman can stand there and shout, “Murder!” or “You’re going to murder your baby for your own selfish comfort?” while showing horrific pictures of aborted second to third trimester babies. For these expectant mothers know just as well as the protesters, what it means to "drive-thru" pregnant, and come out "clean"; its no easy feat to keep at the back of your mind.

In all honesty, without stepping on anyone’s toes or sparking the all out battle of the Pro-Life/ Pro-Choice debate, I think men should but out (to a point) and women should, in polite terms, keep an open mind. Men, from my stand point, have no voice in this matter when it comes to the decisions of women that they have no relationship with; now when it is their wife or girlfriend, thats when their input on what should happen to the child is needed; but ultimatley it's the woman that has the final vote. I find it utterly infuriating when men have the audacity to stand outside of an abortion clinic, and scream and holler at women that they are murders, or that they are selfish in making this decision, without taking into consideration the life she is carrying. I hate to be rude but, first of all, go to hell, and second of all, men do not, and may never have, the ability to go through the process of a child growing in their bodies, and the pains of birthing that child into the world; so unless that happens, keep to yourself at the protests. Women, on the other hand, have something to protest about; for most of them know what it was like to carry a child, give birth, and bring that child into the world. I find it understandable why they would be protesting to prevent abortion. They don’t want to see second and third trimester babies aborted; especially if they believe that life begins at conception. However, even though they are entitled to their freedom of speech, they should know the difference between what’s helping to influence a mother’s decision in a positive way, and what’s making the first step down the road of harassment, violence and murder. After all, no one ever truly knows the reasons behind stranger’s choices or decisions; for all they know, the poor woman could have been raped. (And truthfully, I don’t even think I would be able to give birth to a child that would remind me of my rapist; let alone raise it.)

Although I am pro-choice, and firmly believe that a woman has the right to choose what she does with her own body, when it comes to the matter of abortion, I believe there should be a cut off; meaning only after so many weeks, will abortions still be administered to the expectant mothers that want them. One may think, “Well where is this cut off point you speak of?” The cut off point for abortions would be Day 22: “when the heart begins to beat with the embryos own blood”. Whether you agree with me or not, this is the way I view human life: we are considered alive when our hearts are beating, and dead when they are not. We are not considered alive or dead, when it comes to the sense of feel. Therefore, like all living creatures, the moment the fetus establishes a heart, and that heart begins to beat, aborting this fetus would be considered murder. But my opinion on this idea doesn’t just end there; it gets complicated. I firmly feel there should be very strict regulations in place when it comes to abortion. And it goes along the lines of something like this:

First: Day 22 is when the heart begins to beat in a fetus (now a baby); therefore no abortions would be allowed to take place from this point forward.

Second: Any abortion that takes place after this is considered murder on the mothers account and legal action should be taken place. (Although with this idea there would be many conflicting ideals due to the many different beliefs of when life begins; so results vary on this ideal.)

Third: The only acceptable exception, to the rule of aborting a baby after Day 22 of the pregnancy, would be if rape, incest and/or the mothers/babies life was in danger.
-At this point it would be the woman’s choice as to what actions should take place, whether aborting or giving birth and either keeping or putting the baby up for adoption.
-No legal action would take place against the mother, only to the person who harmed her

Noam K.


When does life begin? My religious tenets tell me that a baby is truly a person when it first breathes air into its lungs, inhaling its first touch of this world and gaining its soul. On the other hand, my scientific inclinations lead me to follow the physiologic and biologic pathways, in which life begins when the egg and sperm meet. Of course, there are plenty of other relative extrema that could represent the beginning of “true life”, or personhood. The baby has a heartbeat at 22 days; at 12 weeks the child can feel pain; at week 17 the baby is conscious, and at 20 weeks it has the capacity to recognize the voice of its mother.

However, none of these seem to distinguish from one day, one hour, one minute, to the next. It is nearly universally considered immoral to murder a birthed human being, so it is a question of what separates us lucky ones from our as-to-yet unborn kin. Many pro-choicers will make the argument that a fetus is not a person, for it cannot think or feel or act, yet it seems that they were all in that state of being at some point. Indeed, a baby that is 2 days old cannot think or feel or act any more than a fetus can; all that separates the two being a passage through the vaginal canal.

In fact, all that separates anyone of us from a fetus or even a blastocyst is the passage of time. Yes, it is said though that then it is only the potential for life, at least in the sense that it could miscarry, for it has not been born yet. Of course, when I was in preschool, I only had the potential to be successful, but no one knew for sure because I hadn’t grown up yet. Still, the only thing that truly separates the present me from the me back then is time, and I think everyone can agree that it would be plain stupid to rationalize educational budget cuts by saying that it isn’t important because the kids haven’t learnt anything yet.

It truly disgusts me how easy some people find it to devalue and demean life by comparing a fetus to hair or a tumor. If that is the case, simply because it has not yet developed into a complete person that can cry, then by that logic I know many a person who is simply a bigger tumor, and that could be “aborted” from society for the ease of the rest of us. Seriously though, why is it that is considered completely okay to abort a baby up until the point that it is born? At the most basic level, is there really any difference between abortion and infanticide?

It’s all a matter of time. But while time may judge, it does not differentiate. If you go back along everyone’s timeline, the one point where they are truly, inseparably their own person, is when they become an individual—when they are conceived. Here they are no longer a part of their mother’s ovum or their father’s sperm, but their own person. It is at conception that the quantum leap to personhood is made.

That said, I recognize that I speak from a broad, generalized point of view. Trust me, I know quite well that the choice is not mine to make. I ask only that people know what it is they do.


Alexis K.

It is a difficult decision to make, completely and one hundred percent, when life begins because the two opposing views are on the distinct opposite sides of the spectrum: Life begins at birth or life begins at conception; pro-choice or pro-life. Therefore I believe that life begins somewhere in the middle. This may seem as though I simply can’t choose so I say, “O, it’s in the middle somewhere,” but I truly believe that from day 22 of the pregnancy, when the heart begins to beat and the embryo has its own blood, and on is when a fetus’s life begins. This is because while it still depends upon the mother for nutrients, it has its own DNA, heartbeat, blood, and it will soon develop a nervous system and the ability to breathe. It may seem cowardly to not pick one of the controversial arguments, but I do not believe that there is life at conception and I believe that life starts way before birth; therefore I arrive at my decision that it is somewhere in the middle.

Scientifically, it is hard to deny that life begins at conception. While sperm does meet egg and all of the chromosomes are present upon fertilization, there is no life. The embryo may have its own “unique human characteristics”, but it is not life; it is potential for life.

On the other side of the polarized arguments, saying that life begins at birth does not seem right to me. I believe that it is hard to argue on that side when it is proven that the fetus can breathe, swim, and hear at different points of the pregnancy. This is obviously life, therefore at certain points in the pregnancy, namely day 22 and on there is undoubtedly life.

The two extreme arguments are way too polarized. While I do believe there is potential for life at conception, life does not truly begin until day 22. A heartbeat marks a fetus’s lifeline, how it can be determined if it is living. Also, from that day on the fetus develops, at a rapid rate, a backbone, nervous system, blood, eyes, legs, hands, organs, and much more. I do not believe this simply because it resembles a human more further along in the pregnancy, but because it has all of the characteristics that mark life: a heartbeat, DNA, and much more.

With this discussion about where life begins, it definitely ties in with abortion. To me it would make sense that if you believe that life begins at conception you are pro-life, seeing as if you were pro-choice you would think abortion is murder, and if you think that life begins at birth you are pro-life because you don’t consider it life at all throughout the pregnancy. Me, being somewhere in the middle, am pro-choice, but I believe there should be limits. I think a woman should always have the right to choose, and I believe it is ridiculous that people try to convince women otherwise with their disturbing pictures and religious views. Everyone is entitled to their beliefs and nobody can tell them otherwise unless they are in that persons shoes. Besides if the pro-lifers got their way, back alley abortions would come back and would result in the deaths of the baby and the woman. It is absolutely necessary for a woman to have the right to choose what happens to her body.

First term abortions, I believe, are acceptable because it is early enough in the pregnancy that the embryo cannot feel pain and it has not progressed into, what I believe as, life. Second term and third term abortions, honestly, make me sick. I think that if the fetus’s skull has to be crushed and it can breathe and feel it is undoubtedly taken too far. Therefore, I believe that second and third term abortions should be illegal. While a woman should have the right to choose, that right should only apply to the first term, regardless of any circumstances.

Gavin H. Opinion


The most disturbing aspect of the abortion debate is the debate itself, which has become so polarizing that it is obscuring the facts and preventing anyone from having a real discussion about the moral, societal, and medical repercussions of performing abortions in America.

Abortion is an issue that elicits strong opinions and beliefs, so strong that abortion has become a litmus test used to pigeonhole dynamic individuals into their respective political molds; how someone feels about abortion often says more about them than it does about the actual validity of the procedure. There is no other topic that causes individuals to form such strong opinions without knowledge of the facts because the idea upon which the legitimacy of abortion is based, personhood, is entirely subjective.

With that said, my personal belief is that personhood begins with a beating heart, which occurs in the fetus on Day 22 of pregnancy. Other than perhaps the moment when the baby can be kept alive outside the mother in a neonatal ICU, which is currently is at about 21 weeks but will fluctuate as medical technologies advance, the day when the fetus' heart starts beating is, in my opinion, the best point in time where a distinct line can be drawn and where an actual change in the developing human takes place.

A being with its own heartbeat and its own blood supply should be regarded as distinct and apart from its mother. I can anticipate the counter-argument to this statement, which is that regardless of heartbeat, the fetus by Day 22 is not sentient and has not aquired any of the experiences by which humans define our lives. This is arguably still the case even when the baby is born, however. I would argue that it takes months and perhaps years for a new human being to define him or herself, accumulate life experiences, and become fully aware of his or her surroundings. A newborn cannot talk, cannot walk, cannot express emotion except through crying, and is not able to fully assign meaning to his or her surroundings. Newborns are nurtured and protected due to a recognition of what they will eventually become.

At conception, a zygote is created, which is composed of a single cell. That cell may have the same potential to become a human being as does a fetus on Day 22, but in the end it is only a cell. It has no unique, defining characteristics except for its DNA. To me, a heartbeat is what distinguishes a clump of cells from a potential human being. I have no problem with abortions that take place before 22 days, because regardless of any personal belief of mine, scientifically it is clear that the mother is only destroying a clump of cells.

The 22 Day marker is arbitrary; there is not and never will be conclusive scientific evidence of personhood. That is why, despite my personal reservations, I believe that abortion should remain legal in the United States; I have no more evidence that my interpretation of personhood is valid than does anyone else. Personhood is defined by an individual, and because of varying beliefs, I do not believe that it would be just to create a law based on one school of thought when there are many.

Katie F.


As most of you know I have very liberal views. I am a vegetarian and I believe in a woman’s right to choose. Although I am pro-choice I believe that abortion does need its limitations. I do not think that abortion should be used as a contraception, I am entirely opposed to that idea. It isn't a get out of jail free card but it is an option for those who are not ready to bring another person into this world just yet. Life begins at so many different times. To me I feel that decision belongs to the mother, if she feels that the bundle of cells embedded in her uterine wall is a baby as soon as the sperm meets the egg then good on her and if she doesn't feel that it is fully a person until it is born and in her arms then that's just fine and dandy as well.
To me, at this point in my life I believe that the little bundle of cells starts to be a person somewhere in the last stages of the second trimester. I know that my views will change when and if I ever become pregnant.
A mother's view on the personhood of the fetus depends on so many different factors. One of the most powerful ones is if the pregnancy was intentional or not. If it is intensional then the most likely view would be that the life started at conception. If it was unintensional and the woman was not planning on keeping the child the later the personhood would take place, to help separate oneself from something that will cause so much pain and cause her to struggle because she is not ready.

I personally do not feel that abortions would be so controversial if men were able to get pregnant. Until you are able to experience the vulnerability of having another life feeding off of your body for nine months or even have the organs to be able to do so, you should not be able to prevent and oppress those who really are the subject of this debate. To say that anyone who receives an abortion should receive the same treatment themselves is both heartless and immature and their arguments become entirely invalid to me in this debate. I am not saying that the father of the child should have not say in the situation but only the mother should have the final word seeing as it is her body that is the focus.

People do not get abortions because they loathe children. It isn't because they get a sick pleasure at seeing the pregnancies terminated. It is a last resort for those who would not be fit for bringing a child into this world or to even be fit enough to carry a child for nine months. It is known that some doctors compare getting an abortion to getting your teeth cleaned or your tonsils removed and this certainly isn't the case. The woman who is considering getting the procedure is told this so she will hopefully be slightly comforted in the extremely difficult times. Choosing to abort a pregnancy is a very difficult decision for most people and to harass them about it is cruel and unusual. In the end it should be the mothers choice weither or not to have to procedure done. After all the egg that was fertilized has been a follicle in her ovary since she was born and to take away the right to her body is a civil injustice that should never be tolerated.

Melania A. Opinion

Life begins at the fetus’ first heart beat. When learning about CPR, you first check for signs of life; airway breathing and circulation. You cannot have anything else if you do not have a heartbeat. The first heart beat happens around day 22. Usually women do not know that they are pregnant until way after the first heart beat. <br/>
That is why I think it is right to give a woman the right to abort. I do not think it is right to not let women have abortions because of the back alley’s and people have to learn from their mistakes. When I said that people have to learn, I meant that it may be a mistake to get an abortion for some people and it may be what they need at that time. The women can’t have other people telling them what’s wrong because they have to find out for themselves.<br/>
I feel that if we Americans were to take away this right it would be unconstitutional with the establishment clause. Since this is a fight about when life begins I think that the people need to decide when life begins, for themselves. I also feel that some people are afraid to decide so they go with what their religion says and what their friends say. I think that this is causing American to be torn to the two sides. <br/>
I feel that they are used too much though. I hope that in the future we have contraceptives and abstinence equally taught. I feel that if the teachers could talk about love because I think that parents do not always do a good enough job of it. I hope that one day we can see this change and see the change in the abortion numbers. <br/>

Katie S. In the Middle Position Opinion

I have noticed people beginning their post with the attitude that ‘I am right and there is no other possible solution than mine.’ This bothers me because these postings are purely a matter of opinion. Our own opinion. And while we have the right to feel that our opinion is the best one for us, it is no way fair for us to state that our opinion is the only valid one. It is going against the entire point of this class. This is also the where the topic of abortion and the conversation about of when life begins, starts to hit a brick wall. Both sides ultimately are pushing for their opinion and viewpoint to be forced via legal laws, onto every other person in this country.
I will state now that I am Pro-Choice. Pro-Choice does not mean that I am Pro-Abortion, Pro-Death or Anti-Baby. It means that regardless of when I believe life starts, I feel that each woman who is faced with making the decision of having an abortion should be able to have the choice to decide for herself. One of the most aggravating qualities a person can have is that of trying to force what they believe onto other people. That being said, I am biased towards the side that favors that life really comes into play later on in pregnancy. However I am conflicted, similar to those who are religious and see the science they believe in contrasting to the faith they have. I see the science that states that when a sperm and egg meet, they create the exact DNA that the potential for life will have, if it becomes a baby without termination. I know that a zygote and blastocyst all have the potential to grow into little babies that will be born and then grow up. But I have a difficulty with the potential of life issue. Just as Professor Lee Silver said, the cluster of cells, or even two cells at the moment of conception, has a potential for life. They each could grow, if placed in the right environment. But that is what makes them different. You can take a sperm and an ovum and place them in a Petri dish. Combine them and right there, at a microscopically small size, do you really have a life? I don’t think so.

I feel that the only possible combination of my views is viability. When a fetus would be able to live outside the womb seems like a valid point when anything further would seem unfair. But that makes me sound hypocritical to say that simply one day it would be okay through my eyes to terminate the pregnancy, and the next suddenly it is not right. And that is not fair.
Somewhere in the middle a fetus becomes a person. They go from a clump of cells that does not even have a heartbeat or blood circulatory system, to at the time of birth a fully functional human being. So it must be at a point when the baby has all of the physiological parts that a child or anyone else has.

Maybe part of the reason that I am unable to find a stand point on this issue is that I believe it is not up to me. I strongly feel that people need to not force their views on what other people do in terms of their body and their futures. If a woman has made the careful decision that she would not be able to carry a child into this world, then that is her choice and she should make it. No Congressmen, Presidents, Senators, lawyers or anyone else besides her should make that choice.

Linda's Opinion

In my opinion, life begins when the heart starts beating and the fetus can feel pain. I believe that life begins when blood is pumped through the fetus. I think that this is only reasonable because before this the fetus is only a parasite which leeches off the mom. After it can feel pain and its heart beats its life begins. If my heart were to stop my life would end. So when the fetus' heart starts beating its "life" begins. It's only logical and that's what I believe in my head.
Now this is only me. Many people don't believe like I do. I can understand why people might think that life starts at conception because the cells have all the components to be a baby but if a a man puts on a lab coat does that make him a doctor? I just believe things are just what they are. Cells are cells, they're not human. Humans have beating hearts, cells don't. My opinion may not be right in many people's eyes but I think that if a fetus has a beating heart, it lives, if it doesn't it is not alive. It is not a baby. It is not human.



COHORT 3 RESPONDS


Anonymous Abortion Posting


I can’t remember what day it was exactly. I recall that it was overcast and the air smelled of the strawberries my mother was washing in the kitchen. I had just come home from school and exhausted, I plopped myself onto an open chair and began talking to my mom about the day. We had just had a debate on abortion and its ethicality, and eager to get a second opinion, I asked my mother what she thought. There was palpable silence (which I assumed was merely her gathering her thoughts) before she answered. She told me that she believed that a woman’s decision to abort a baby was something that no one could judge; no one could condemn or support it either. She paused. And then she told me something I will never forget. She then began to tell me about how she had had an abortion before I was born because my parents were young, poor, and unmarried and that they simply were not ready to raise a child. As she said this her visage was not that of the strong woman that I called my mother, but a mixture of weariness and relived pain. In my head I could picture her: young and scared to death. I asked her how she felt afterwards. She said that she nearly died. Not in the physical sense, but in the emotional, and that my father had taken the abortion ten times worse because he wanted to keep the child.

I felt as though someone had stolen the air out of my lungs, as I tried desperately to ignore the shaking of my hands. I couldn’t understand why I had taken my mother’s truth so badly. I was pro-choice and yet I couldn’t accept my own mother’s abortion. Looking back I suppose it was because it was so close to me. It forced me to realize that that baby had its life taken from it. I tried to imagine if it were me that were aborted. If I were to suddenly not exist. To not be. It was the scariest thought that I have ever forced myself to ponder. I still wonder sometimes about the brother or sister I would have had if she had kept the baby, but it is too painful to dwell on.

Now at this point you may think that I am against abortion due to my revelations, but I am still very much pro-choice. Although I do feel that life begins at conception, it is ultimately up to the family that will or will not raise the child to decide whether or not they will bring that child into the world. As the saying goes, “The mother is god in the eyes of a child”.

Sometimes I will catch glimpses of the weariness that came with her decision in my mother’s eyes. But then I remember that it was her decision to make, and that her life would have been ruined if she had the child at such a young age. I cannot condemn nor glorify nor rally behind, I can only accept.

Maddie's Opinion


Abortion. Mention this one word at a dinner party that you aren’t enjoying, and you will be guaranteed not to be asked to stay for cocktails. People take strong positions on both sides, pro-life, pro-choice. And, personally, I’m fine with this.

What I do have an issue with is the imposition of the value systems of a few onto the lives of the majority. Both sides have screamed themselves hoarse over this issue, and frankly, I’m sick of listening.

Yes, I am pro-choice. I am for letting people choose what they want, regardless of my personal opinion. Who am I to say what they can or cannot do with their own lives and bodies? Who is anyone to?

When people cite God, Jesus, the Bible in this argument, I have to stop them right there. Great for you. But keep your rosaries off my- and the other 50% of the population’s- ovaries. God holds no authority in a court of law, or over my reproductive system. If you have let Jesus into your life, wonderful! Celebrate your faith and go in peace. But, for the love of ALL that is holy, LEAVE ME ALONE.

The same goes for the radically pro-choice. No, I do not believe that life begins at birth. A child that has the ability to live outside the mother is alive, and she, at that point, has lost jurisdiction. Whether or not she is going to keep the child herself or put it up for adoption, it is viable at these late stages. Nor do I believe life begins at conception. A sperm is alive, and an egg is alive. A bundle of cells is alive. This bundle has the potential to become a human being. Does this mean that this potential is worth the same as a fully formed, feeling, human person? I really do not think so.

In the instances of rape and incest, I am emphatically pro-choice. Imagine having to carry the child of the criminal, the one who harmed you, for almost ten months. Physical effects of pregnancy aside, the emotional pain would be unbearable.

One of the primary anti-abortion arguments centers around responsibility. Why are we insisting that a woman who gets pregnant is automatically capable of seeking prenatal care, not harming the fetus as it is growing, and care for the child? Is a college partygirl really going to be the best at caring for an unborn- let alone born- child? If you cannot trust her with a choice, why trust her with a child? Responsibility is also cited as a reason for removing the programs facilitating underage mothers in public schools. The “issue” does not end when the child is “safely” born. Who’s going to care for the child, feed and clothe it? Adoption is also cited as a viable option, which, in some cases, is true. I only hope that pro-lifers are lining up at adoption centers to take all these children home. But what of the child that is dumped into the system, is shunted from foster home to foster home?

About two days ago, I was driving past the local Planned Parenthood. It is not uncommon to see a praying group or individual outside the premises, but I saw something that went too far. The sign outside the parking lot was vandalized, broken and shattered into bits. Whatever your views, this should upset you. Rational people are fine with dialogue and peaceful protest. But when a physical act of vandalism comes into play, a line has been crossed.

I firmly believe that no woman should be forced to carry a child, and that no woman should be pressured into an abortion. This is as private and personal a matter as is possible, and for this reason, I am pro choice.

Nick F. PoV


I think I deserve my own page on this one, mostly to stay away from the heat of everyone else's scathing remarks

Abortion is, and always will be, a sticky subject, no pun intended. On the topic of abortion especially, opinions are like ahes, everybody's got one. Hopefully mine doesn't offend anyone because this, of all subjects, is very sensitive.

As I sit here listening to depressing music, I truly do contemplate the ramifications of ending life, and it is life whether you think it is sentient, feeling, deserving of rights, worthy of life, or otherwise. If nothing else, this is life. A single cell is life. The sperm cell was life before it ever entered the egg. The egg was life before it fused with its partner and began to replicate. The embryo is life. There is no doubt, even Pro-Choice supporters will not deny this. But does all life deserve the same weight, the same value? Some state their opinions on both sides of the argument. The same people who scream for the removal of chickens from cramped cages, that wail for the cows to be set free and put out on free range, and that shed tears for the environment and how we are killing it, are often the same that endorse the wanton slaughter of millions of fetuses every year. On the flip side, the same people who argue in favor of nailing baby cows to the floor so our veal tastes better and who hang chickens by their ankles from a conveyor belt so it is easier to decapitate them, they are the strongest supporters of preserving what they deem to be life. The entire argument reeks of hypocrisy.

My opinion is, unlike most of my opinions that I share with you all, one of patient moderation. I do not like the subject of abortion. I personally feel that it is taking life and that it should not be performed unless the baby truly endangers the life of the mother or if she was a victim of rape or sexual assault. This being said, I do not believe it should become illegal or revert to being illegal. Although the number of women who died annually from self abortions in the pre-Roe v. Wade was over 5,000 a year, that is only a third of one percent of the number of aborted fetuses in the U.S. per year. Even though I personally am against abortion and feel like it is taking life, I do realize that it sometimes becomes necessary.

Imagine this, an 18 year old girl in high school our age). This girl is a good student, she succeeds in school and balances her homework with her social life. She is all set for graduation and has a partial scholarship that is supplemented with federal aid to go to a four year university. She has a boyfriend and has for almost a year and they, of course, have sex. They both use protection, but somehow a mistake occurs and she gets pregnant. She knows that this baby will change the life path she has set. She is not ready to be a mother, and when her boyfriend finds out, he leaves her. She will graduate in time and, more than likely, no one will ever know she is pregnant. But college, her future that she has planned, is gone. She has no money to support the child and neither do her parents, she is only going to school based on financial aid. If she wishes to have a successful life and pursue her dreams, an abortion is her only option, and I feel that is acceptable. It is a mistake she learned from and it will never happen, to her at least, again.

Exhibit B. This next exhibit lost her virginity when she was fourteen, she has never had a steady boyfriend and she parties and drinks every weekend. She becomes pregnant and heads over to Planned Parenthood to dispose of this latest nuisance. The people at PP already know her name, she has been in and out for the last three years. After scheduling her appointment, receiving the pills, and walking out the door, she is back to her normal life.

The first girl, while I still believe it is morally flawed, has, in my eyes, some ground to stand on. The second girl should be in jail for murder. Abortion as birth control is as vile as walking into your neighbor's house and killing their whole family.

Abortion is ending life, whether it is life with the same rights as a full fledged human being, that is up in the air. Some feel that it is, and some people feel that anything that wants rights should apply for U.S. citizenship on its own, even animals (Kyle and Ryan...).

I do not know who is right in this moral quagmire, but I believe what I believe regardless of which zealots scream on all sides of me. Media attention for this subject is, to me, inane. To put it bluntly, the women who argue fervently for the woman's right to choose look like a bunch of feminist lesbians who wouldn't be near a man for long enough to get pregnant, and the people who argue for preserving life are, quite prominently, a bunch of crotchety old men who lack the vaginas to even have babies.

Minh T. Proclamation of Utter Insanity


I have my own page because the Cyber-Hippies out there would probably get pissed off at me if I clogged the main page with my lengthy rant. By making my own page, I will also save people the trouble of having to scroll down the main page.

First and foremost, I am going to begin with a George Carlin quote, "Why do they call the two sides on the issue of Abortion Pro-Choice or Pro-Life? Do they want to imply that their opponents are against Freedom or supportive of Death?" Why can't the names be simple and straightforward such as "Pro-Abortion or Anti-Abortion?" I believe that it might be that just having the prefix "anti-" instantly lowers the popularity of any group. Interestingly enough, what Nick Franek said was true. Pro-Choicers who believe that they should have the right to choose just because they magically know what is best for themselves in spite of anything the Medical Personnel "think" are in fact, mostly undesirable feminists that have been beaten with the Ugly Tree. They believe that, IF they were to get pregnant, (emphasis on the IF!) then they can control the life of the unborn child because it is their body and they can push around or even get a head-start on child abuse if they wish to. Pro-Lifers, on the other hand, are conservative old white guys who, despite the fact that they will NEVER encounter the dilemma of pregnancy themselves (unless they had a sex change), insist that a Cancerous Mass of Stem Cells (a scientist's Wet Dream) somehow has more rights than the mother. Why the bloody hell would a group of MEN want to enforce policies that will not affect them? Perhaps it is a coincidence that these same men who are Pro-Life are also highly Conservative. Perhaps it is another coincidence that people as conservative as they are also opposed the Women's Rights Movement. Who knows? In the end, such men have Zero Ethos on the topic because it is physically impossible for them to get pregnant. However, if some of these men were doctors who have become disillusioned after performing countless abortions, then their ideology on this topic is understandable. Now then, enough about ranting about the topic itself, it's time to explain what I believe. Or rather, attempt to explain what I believe about Abortion.

I believe that abortion should be legal as long as certain people are allowed to go door-to-door preaching their beliefs/religion onto others (might as well be barfing bible excerpts onto people while they're at it). The sheer amount of Hot Air that comes from people trying to force their opinions down others' throats is the very cause of Global Warming itself. For a Free Country, we sure do like trying to restrict other people's choices to match our own beliefs. First came the whole "Hey, I believe in Creationism, you should too!" fiasco, then came the whole "animals have as much rights as humans" scandal (if so, then I am suing your dog for crapping on my lawn and your other dog for barking too much [damn chihuahuas]). Now, there is the"A group of cells has as many rights as a full grown human being!" argument. Let us begin by considering the stages of pregnancy. Pregnancy consists of three stages: Cancer, Parasite, and Leech. Following fertilization, a zygote becomes a rapidly growing mass of cells. By definition, this is cancer. Once the zygote embeds itself into the uterus (or ovarian tube in the event of an ectopic pregnancy), it begins sapping at the host's body, draining the host of nutrients to improve its own well being. By definition, it is now a parasite (not a symbiont Mr. Geib!). After a long and arduous journey out of its host, it begins making loud noises to prevent its parents from sleeping or otherwise enjoying their lives as they must now appease its every demand. In other words, it is now promoting its own well-being at the cost of others. By definition, it is now a leech (without any useful applications in Healthcare [ever heard of using babies for therapy? Exactly.]). Eventually, it grows up, learns altruism, and provides care for his/her parents. Then, this person produces children of their own and dies at some point. This is the process of life. So, according to the late George Carlin, "Where does the Sacred Part come in?" People are born, people have sex, people have children, people raise children, people die. The whole "Life is Sacred" belief has no place in this cycle. If we are going to weep for the "death" of a zygote, then why not hold funerals for the cancerous masses growing on people as well? By definition, they are the same thing.

Well then, legally speaking, when does a child have any rights if at all? Personally, my parents still refuse to grant me my Inalienable Rights laid out in the Bill of Rights. For example, my mom and dad believe that "being my parents, nobody can care for me anymore than them and therefore I should have absolute faith in all of their decisions." This is purely an excuse used by my dad to avoid talking to Ms. Butler, Ms. Anderson, Mr. Geib, and anyone else who agrees that I should go to UCSB instead of VC. Now that I've established my example about having no rights of my own, I am going to discuss the rights of children. When can a child be treated as a human being? First things first, notice how people celebrate the BIRTHday and not the date of conception. This is probably because then it wouldn't be known as a birthday and would probably be called something like "Orgasm Day" or something. A human's age is not counted until they are born. Why then should a fetus have any rights? What makes a fetus any different from Schrödinger's Cat? "Well, we can see it through an ultrasound and we can tell that it's going to be a normal infant upon birth." As a jinx, the mother is violently hit in the belly by a flying pig and now there is a miscarriage. Let us not forget that, like the area under or between two curves, it is impossible to know every intricate detail of your child before it is born. Heck, you can't even tell a child's skin color because the ultrasound is black and white. A white woman could deliver a black baby for all we know! The ultrasound can only describe the minor details of the baby before it is born. Between conception and childbirth, the baby's delivery depends on the Laws of Probability.

I believe that, after the fetus is able to survive outside of the womb on its own, it becomes a human and deserves human rights. Anytime before that, the fetus is not a true human-being. "But... you're aborting the potential for life!" Oh boo hoo, it's called Natural Selection, in this case, the fetus had the bad luck to be conceived by a woman who fell off a sidewalk and landed on her belly resulting in a miscarriage. Or maybe the fetus was conceived by rape and the woman, wanting to spite her rapist, decided to abort the bastard child that she refused to treat as her own child. Either way, the fetus is S.O.L. (Shit Outta Luck). A fetus may, however, lose their abortion immunity if its parents are unable to recognize their own child on a sonogram. That too, is a case of bad luck.

Lizzzo's Opinion


I Am Pro-Choice, Not Pro Abortion!

When asked where I stand on the abortion controversy, I say with confidence that I am pro-choice, not pro- abortion. No one is in favor of abortion, yet it seems that pro-choice advocates have been labeled as heartless murders advocating against the lives of unborn fetuses. I see myself, not as an advocate for murder, but as an advocate for the rights of women to choose what they do with their bodies. Pro-life advocates wish to place unfair restrictions on a woman’s body, forcing her to carry a child to term against her will. Through all of abortion’s ambiguity it seems that one thing needs to remain clear: the womb in which a fetus is growing belongs to the mother and is the property of no one else but her.


As far as when life begins, my feelings about this issue are slightly more skewed and a little less firm. I understand where Pro-life advocates are coming from when they explain that life begins at conception because essentially life does begin with the fusion of a sperm and an egg. At this point a viable human being begins to take form and if carried to term, it will eventually become a human baby. However, without the mother’s womb and the nutrition and care she provides her fetus, a fertilized egg cannot live and thrive. It is not until, at earliest, 24 weeks that a fetus will be able to sustain life outside the comfort and care of the womb. Until this point, I believe that no viable life has begun. Life begins when the fetus is able to thrive outside of the womb.

Placing unjust restrictions on what a woman does with her body would make way for millions of babies to be born into an unloving and destructive family. Think for one second: how would you feel if you found out your mother wanted to abort you but couldn’t because the American government would not allow it?

Personally, if ever faced with having to choose whether to carry a baby to term in my teen years or abort the fetus and go about my life the way I had originally planned, I can honestly say I do not know what I would do. The thought of killing my potential baby girl or boy sickens me to my core, yet thinking about trying to find a babysitter in my freshman year at UCSB seems unbearable. I am grateful for the fact however that if I ever were to choose abortion as the lesser of two evils (albeit the more selfish decision) I have the right to do so because it is my body and no one has the right to take that away from me.

Laura's short opinion


I'm sorry to be brief, but I really don't have much to say. I have my opinion and that's it.

Life begins when tissues begin to form, when the fetus's heart begins to pump blood through it's little body. At conception, it's a cell with chromosomes. It's nowhere near being human. It's biology. A zygote... a cluster of cells, still biology. Once it finally begins to function like a human with all of its developed organs (well, developed to an extent), that's when it life begins.

Of course, there's always going to be other opinions, and I respect that. But this is mine, and that's that.

Greg on the Abortion Issue


Preface my statement with Nick F.' post. If I could, I'd just have re-posted that.

Life doesn't begin at conception, it begins a long while before that. I think most people generally understand that. Pragmatically, the abortion argument is not a question of whether something is life, but how much value that life has. Separately, a sperm cell and an egg are worth less than an embryo because there is no conceivable way in which the individuality of every germ cell can be realized. I don't necessarily adhere myself to that argument but I understand the logic behind it. Additionally, a lot of people feel that the possibility of having a fertilized, developing, embryo become its own unique person is so great that it increases its value to become the equal or the superior of an independent person. I'm not resolved on how I feel about that, either, but my arguments against it revolve around the more developed person's impact on the outside world.

A individual who is born is conscious, so they love themselves and appreciate being alive and they have formed a bond with their mother, father, and others who will grieve their loss and the loss of their potential future life. Of course then I say to myself that all those traits can easily be attached to a baby who is still in the womb. There is no escalated period of development that seperates before and after birth quite like the difference post- and pre-conception.

So maybe it's whether or not that baby is valued by their parents. That defines better, for me, the question of when life starts: it's whenever the parent feels the child is alive. They are the ones who hold the connection, they are the ones who define its value. But then there is the counter-argument that the parent will love their child in the future, and it will perhaps be the single most fortunate event of their lives and that it is only selfish short-sightedness that is going to destroy that future.

I am not a strict pro-lifer because I don't find value in the blank existence of an individual. In my life, value is defined the existence of bonds to others and the personal ability to enjoy the world and impact it-- those things that tie us down to the existing world. There are millions of possible individuals that could exist that we could love if someone else had made the decision to create life, who didn't, even without abortions involved. In another dimension perhaps they do exist, but oddly enough I don't miss them. I've never missed anything that I wasn't aware that I didn't have. Precisely for that reason I can't comply with the argument of potential value: because value is defined by being a reality.

I'm not excited about either extreme of the argument on abortion. When it comes down to it, I'm just going to make sure that I don't ever have to deal with it in my life. While I'm not going to judge the lives and decisions of others with an unbending law in a very situational argument, it's an easy thing to avoid with a little self-control and so worth being smart about. This is your child who's life we are calling into question and whether its the same to use a condom as it is to take the day-after pill or not, people need to be more responsible with their lives and the lives of others.

Nick M.'s Rant/Realization that Propaganda Totally Sucks


I’d like to begin off by saying that I am not pro-abortion, but simply there are certain times when abortion is in fact the lesser of two evils.

This is one of those subjects that I am extremely fervent about, partially due to the fact that a bunch of religious zealots in class have been calling abortion a holocaust, which to me is entirely offensive. I would like to think that the millions of Jews that were systematically slaughtered and worked to death, who could feel pain and completely understand that they were be killed should never be compared to the destruction of potential life that is entirely not viable beyond the womb. Yet my opinion on abortion has been changed a bit during this class, I now entirely believe that abortion should rarely ever be pursued. I believe that life occurs according to that table, around 3-4 weeks of gestation, and that abortion should only occur before that point. The second that fetus has a heartbeat it has begun to become a baby and after that point abortion should be entirely illegal. However, to say that a woman could never have an abortion is against my beliefs entirely, there are seriously sometimes when not having the child is the lesser of two evils. I may not be too religious, I mean I’m a reform Jew which is similar to being someone who loves the culture that Judaism brings but doesn’t really partake in all of the religious aspects; that being said I am still quite religious in my own way, and I feel like we need the Jewish perspective on this subject after listening to the whole Catholic and Christian perspectives.

In the eyes of a reform Jew there are only a few times when abortion becomes an option, and even when it becomes an option it is stressed that the mother take the baby to term. Here are a few of those scenarios.

Scenario 1: The pregnant woman is a minor, she is not self-sufficient can hardly take care of herself and does not have the ability to take care of the potential child she is carrying. In the eyes of the Jewish community abortion can be a possibility, for if the mother did carry to term she would not only be possibly ruining her future, but the babies’ future as well.

Scenario 2: There is another pregnant woman, she is well off and has the ability to care of herself and her child; however, she despise children, never wants to have one in her life and would end up hating the child. Why put the child into a family where it is not going to be cared for properly? To do this would ruin the child’s life, and would be far more evil than the woman going to have an abortion.

So that’s a tidbit of the Jewish perspective but what do I think? I personal see abortion as a last resort that should not really even be thought of, but if I was put in the situation I might actually have one given the circumstances of ruining my college career (if I was a girl). However; I think of my opinion on abortion now and I can’t stop thinking of that video we were shown in class, of a baby being cut out of someone’s stomach, most likely before Casey v. Planned Parenthood; but I can’t deny that that was a child. I can actually see why someone who is uneducated about abortion would go out a literally kill someone after seeing that video, I used to believe that life began at birth now I don’t and its weird how propaganda can change your view of something.

Well now I’m just kind of speechless and exhausted so I’m going to bed, I wanted to really go somewhere with this blog, but now all I can really think about is that weird video that somewhat turned my opinion away from abortion being okay, to being barely ever okay. Also I have to agree with Franek about the whole lesbian crotchety old men thing, like seriously so true.

James talks


Abortion, no matter how you look at it is morally wrong. From conception it has all the potential to become life. The question remains however, when does the fertilized blastocyst become life? Well, to me it starts after conception.

So why am I somewhere in the middle, allow me to explain.

I do not like abortion at all, it’s taking away potential life and there is no way that anyone can say otherwise. But there are some times which it seems more acceptable. Rape for example would be a somewhat acceptable reason for a woman to purse an abortion. While it is true that the woman may find joy in the child, the psychological pain that the child would bring to her mind would be a trigger of emotional distress. But if the woman has to have an abortion, it should be in the first 6 days before the blastocyst finds its way into the womans uterus.


But apart from that there is no explanation to me that morally justifies an abortion. The statement that, “I can’t afford a child” or “I have goals” is no reason that justifies the taking of a human life. No parent will ever be financially “ready to support a child, but somehow they find a way. When my parents had me they were in no way in an ideal financial situation to have a baby. But they chose to have me instead of doing what would have been more “logical”. My parents were married at the time, but by no means were they ready to take on the financial burden of a child who acted basically as a machine that ate money and pooped. I have spoken at length with my parents about it and they told me that “in a perfect situation you’d be married and financially sound; but that is not always the case, and you just have to make the best of every situation and do your best to make it work.” Low and behold my parents found a way to make it work and here I am, a senior in high school with a bright future which I owe almost exclusively to the fact that my parents were willing to raise me and love me instead of aborting me.

Going on a tangent, instead of abortions, put the child up for adoption. The waiting list for adoption of an American born child is astronomical. Instead of killing the child on the basis that “I don’t want a child” give the child to someone who wants one. It seems to me a cruel irony that some couples who want to have a child cannot and those who can have a child do not want to.

Basically for me it comes down to this, if you are having sex, you should be ready to accept what comes along with it. People may bitch and complain about how hard it is to raise a child, but how many things in life worth having are easy to have?

Kim's Opinion


I believe that there is never any excuse to take away someone’s rights, and the choice on whether or not to have an abortion is a right. I believe that in certain circumstances that abortion is okay and even necessary, but I personally would never get one. I attended Christian school for 8 years of my life, which means I wore a long skirt and sat in Bible class learning about all of the things that God rejects or says is evil. After 8 years all of those things have been burned into my brain, but religion has nothing to do with my stance on abortion. I believe that in certain cases an abortion could be necessary or even good. These cases are when the mother's health is in trouble, in the case of a rape (read below on why), or Nick's hypothetical situation.

I believe that personhood is as soon as a baby can survive outside of the womb, not when it is out of the womd but when it can survive. This doesn't mean that the baby isn't a person and that abortion isn't murder, this just means that the baby does not have any rights. The second the child can survive and live they get the same rights as every other person, but before that the mother's rights trump the babies.

I believe that abortions are acceptable after a rape for a number of reasons. The first reason is that you obviously won't know the "father's" medical history, and something could be seriously wrong with the baby. Secondly the child could be a constant reminder of what happened to the woman, and she could grow to resent the child and no child deserves that. Lastly, this wasn't the woman's choice or mistake. This was something that had been thrust upon her and if it was a teenager or even a young woman a baby could ruin the woman's future.

I am pro-choice not pro-abortion. In all honesty, I would never be able to get an abortion. It has nothing to do with religiong, how my boyfriend/fiance/husband would take it, or my parents. I would never be able to get an abortion because I just would not be able to live with myself after it. I believe that every woman has the right to make thise decision herself, and that she deserves this right just as we deserve the right to free speech. My choice has no hold over anyone else's and that is how it should stay. The churches need to butt the hell out! If your are religious and you don't want to get an abortion than fine don't. But just because it goes against your beliefs does not mean it goes against everyone else's. Also the people of the other extreme need to relax, this maybe a hot topic, but your protesting is aggravating everyone else's and it makes everyone who is pro-choice look like the belong in the loony bin. Baby's rock, there's a seperation between church and state, and everyone else needs to relax. If you're against abortion, than fine be against it. If you're pro-choice or even for abortion, than fine be pro-choice or pro-abortion. Stop killing, stop screaming, just relax.

Also Paul Hill and everyone else who believes killing abortion doctors and nurses is just is deeply disturbed. Just because they consider these doctors are committing first degree murder in no way makes it okay to kill them. As the old proverb says, "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind."

Pratik's Thoughts


I believe life begins at conception. The moment that the sperm meets the egg, the fetus has all the same features necessary to live life. Aborting a fetus is killing a human life. How could an unborn child not even be considered human? Watching the video on Wednesday, the disturbing images of dead and disfigured fetuses made me realize how wrong abortion can be. Why should a mother have the right to end the life of her own child who has never even had a chance to experience life on earth? Because it is her body, it is her choice.

I believe that people, regardless if they are pro-life or pro-choice, should not be able to limit what others are can or cannot do. For this reason, I am pro-choice but still believe that life begins at conception. Like my stand on euthanasia, I think that everyone should mind their own business and not limit what others can or cannot do. If you are against abortion, then don’t get one. Just don’t stop others from having one because you haven’t walked in their shoes and experienced what they have. When I see people holding up signs saying, “Stop Abortion Now,” and “Abortion is Murder,” I see people that are not even worried about abortion as much as they are worried about instilling their beliefs in others. Paul Hill’s case, even though it is a little more extreme, is a good example of this. If he valued human life so much, being an advocate for pro-life, why would he kill two people and injure a few others?

Abortion does kill babies, but it also saves them from a disastrous and possibly poverty-stricken life. If abortions were made illegal, woman would resort to self-aborting methods. This endangers the woman’s life greatly and could possibly lead to a slow, painful death. Being forced to have an unwanted baby is almost as painful as conducting a self-abortion. Over the course of the child’s life, it would feel neglected and/or not wanted. Why should a child be brought into this world if it has to suffer the pain of not being loved by his or her own parents? Well, there is always adoption right? There’s always the option of becoming an orphan and waiting for another pair of parents to come by and lovingly take him or her in. There is also the possibility of not getting adopted for years on end, which would only be worse. Therefore, abortion would be an acceptable practice if the parents would prove to not take good care of the child and/or the child would have suffer living in a poverty-stricken environment.

I am not saying that every woman who prefers not to have a child should be entitled to an abortion. If they have good enough reason, they should not be forced to give birth. Acceptable reasons would include circumstances involving rape, incest or a mistake (an acceptable reason if used only once). So, I believe that abortion should be legal so that women who feel severely threatened with having a child do not have to suffer and neither do their child, who may end up grow up feeling unwanted.

Peter's Opinion


Whenever the topic of abortion comes up, I never know what side of the spectrum I am on. Since I look at both sides, it is kind of hard for me to come up with an opinion along with the other issues that Americans disagree on today. The more I think about it, it becomes harder for me to decide but I think I have finally come to a conclusion.

It seems to me that I am pro-life. To simply kill a human being is a treacherous act and one that must not be committed. Life begins right when the sperm meets the egg therefore creating a baby in the process. A human being that is growing inside of a woman is simply life and should not be killed. A heart begins to beat, blood flowing then eyes, legs and hands begin to develop. How can an individual kill an innocent human being? It is not fair to just end its life right away when you have something beautiful growing inside of you.

Another reason that I am pro-life is that most women get carried away these days when it comes to getting an abortion. Women are just doing it because they do not care about the baby or just do not want one and I understand but why put yourself in that position then? It seems like they do not really understand the whole process of it all and what it does or they simply do not have any feelings toward it. Women should understand what happens to the baby when an abortion takes place. I have seen pictures and it is completely heartbreaking. When reaching puberty, teenagers will be sexually active and will want to experience. As they get older, they will keep doing it and end up being pregnant. They end up with many reasons with not wanting to have a baby so they get an abortion. Well, since they did not have the time to take care of the baby, why did they put themselves at risk? They must be smarter and that is why I think there needs to be restrictions upon getting an abortion. I am also pro-choice to a certain extent. If a woman is raped and got pregnant, I think she is allowed to have an abortion because it was unexpected. If a woman has plans and goals for herself and wants to complete them but can not because she got pregnant with her boyfriend of 2 years, I think it can be allowed.

Other than that, I do not think women should get an abortion just because they feel like it. I feel like if they are willing to take the chance of getting pregnant and it happens, they must deal with it. At the same time, it is a woman’s body and in the end it is her choice and people should respect that. That is where it really becomes harder for me to make my opinion stay intact.

Kailey Speaks Here!


Hey hey hey!!! :D

I am pro-choice!!!

Reading back on John Kerry’s quote I totally agree with him, “Too many people in America believe if you are pro-choice that means you are pro-abortion” This is absolutely not correct. I personally am not for abortion except in rare situations, which doesn’t make me pro-abortion. But I also believe each person should have the choice to make that decision on their own, which makes me pro-choice. The decision of what happens to their bodies or the fetus in their bodies is not may decision to be made. I do not believe the fetus should have any legal rights until it is actually born into this world. Abortion should be legal, in the first trimester, but hopefully not abused or used as a birth control. It should only be performed in certain situations like rape, molestation or when the mother’s life is in danger. Abortion needs to stay legal.

If abortion was not legal they would still be performed in hidden unsanitary places where the risk of something bad happening to the mom would be very high. Emergency help would not be there in case of a real emergency. Women who really don’t want that baby whether abortion being legal or illegal would find a way to abort that fetus.

Also if we don’t allow abortion to be legal, a woman who really can’t afford to raise that child and doesn’t want that child will be putting that child more at risk. Why bring a child in to this world when you can afford to raise it? You will end up living off the tax payers through all the free government assistants. Why bring a child in to this world when you have no desire to have a child? That child might end up abuse, neglected and maybe no hope of a decent life. That child wasn’t asked to be brought in to this world. The decision was the mother’s decision. When that decision is made, it should be made with the goal to offer the best life the mother is compatible of giving that child. If the mother can’t offer that and is against abortion then give up the child for adoption to a family who can’t have a child of their own. That family could offer the child a life they deserve.

Although I would like to see abortion granted to mothers on a case by case basis, we all know that is not realistic. How are we to know the true story of the pregnancy or whether to believe what we are told is the true story. Why should we be allowed to decide who gets to have an abortion and who doesn’t. Who’s case is morally acceptable and who’s is not. This again would put us in the position of judging others. This is not our decision to make for others. It is the decision of the pregnant mother and her decision alone.

Again abortion should not be used as birth control. Humans who don’t want to be pregnant need to be more responsible in preventing pregnancy and practicing safe sex. There are many other choices for birth control. Planned Parenthood only offers some choices. Teens need to continue to be educated in different options for birth control and constantly be reminded that abortion is not one of them.

Thao


As we’ve been discussing the topic of when we thought life began I never knew when I personally thought “personhood” began. I always thought, “Well, duh, when I see a person and they’re living their life, that’s personhood…but when does it start?” Then I thought about the question in a different way. I thought of it from a mother’s perspective. If I were pregnant, when would I consider my baby a person? It’s hard to imagine what it would be like but I thought that once I could feel the baby inside me and saw it in an ultrasound for the first time, that baby would be real. It would validate that there was a person growing inside of me. I guess that’s when I think personhood begins, but I’m not 100% sure.

Now that I kind of have that figured out, I can answer the abortion question. I am pro-choice, not because I am pro-abortion but because each and every woman is different and is in a different situation. You can’t make judgments on people and their decision when you haven’t experience what they have been through. True, many people are having abortions because they had fun for a night and ended up pregnant and now don’t want the baby but what about rape and sexual assaults. Those are entirely different. I don’t think it’s acceptable to erase your mistakes by having an abortion. You had fun, you didn’t use contraceptives, you didn’t think and now you’re pregnant. It’s wrong to have an abortion and pretend like nothing happened. That should have made you more aware of what you’re doing. It’s not acceptable to erase mistakes like that. On the other hand, abortions may be acceptable in rape and sexual assault cases. A rape is already mentally scarring but if it results in a pregnancy, the victim may never be able to recover mentally and emotionally. That’s not always the case; many women have been able to lovingly raise a child who was the result of a rape. But as I said, each case is different. A child should not be brought into a world full of hatred and regret. Abortions seem to be taken too lightly among some, and it shouldn’t. It should be a serious matter where the woman takes a detailed look at her situation and evaluates it, not a quick one-second decision. I am pro-choice, but not pro-abortion.

Diana in the middle..It just takes some time...


For me, life is never ending. So when people say pro-life, they are just stating the obvious.

I am not talking about the the things around us or the living body cells. I am talking about life that is potentially existing right here right now. As we sit in class, the eggs and sperms accumulated in the classroom is overwhelming, the possible combination is almost to infinity. I know we are obviously not mating, but if you just stand outside of our bodies, and look at the possibilities, it is quite mind-blowing. We are all capable of bringing a life into the world right now - who will that child be? what life will he/she have?

I bet nobody is understanding what I am trying to explain here because I am confused as well. It's like trying to illustrate the 10th dimension or something. I guess one of my existentialistic moment is when I realized that all of us could have been someone completely different if that darn sperm just wasn't so stubborn. Think back when our creation began, when the millions of sperm soldiers marched toward the golden globe of LIFE - you can't, can you? I am not trying to devalue our lives just because we are the product of when the sperm met the egg. We are amazing people because of the things we've done, the people we have become. I believe the value of our lives can only be measure at the end of our lives. That is to say, we'll never know because who is to judge? Being a Godless child, I know I won't get my report card.

When we were a clump of cells, we were still potentials. A lot of things can ruin the growth of a fetus. When we had our fingers and heart beat, we were still weak. We had the potential to become who we are now today, but we also had the potential to grown terribly wrong. Who knows, it was all the mystery, until about now. Potential life is life, just as life is potential life - because in one minute you may die of a heart attack and nobody would ever know that was coming.

Maybe I should talk about less confusing things. The reason why I have such a wacky perception of life is because of my background. First of all, I came from China, where modern women are basically required to abort their second child if they want to keep their jobs (as much as I understood). Abortion is a normal thing, and nobody frowns upon it. But then maybe you'll say Chinese people are uncivilized and don't' care about freedom and rights, which I would say that, it is all just an illusion. Secondly, I was born because my brother died the womb. I would not have ever existed if he had not died. It's a terrible thought. This background makes me want to tell everyone who fights for the rights of unborn babies to fight for those who are already alive instead.

I also hate the bumper stickers that say "Thank your mom because she chose life" or something about pro-child pro-life. Of course my mom chose life, she wanted to have a child! Have they met depressed people who wish they had never been born? Are they thankful now? What if you simply can't afford a child and bring the child into a world without proper nurturing? When people bring children into the world when they cannot support them, the poverty level goes high, and the children are more likely to be criminals and live in undesirable environments. It's easy to live in your comfy house that overlooks the ocean and think how ridiculous one must be to want an abortion, but that's somebody else's story. I think it's so selfish for anti-abortion people to look at it as a life and death issues when it concerns the quality of life that comes with a child.

I believe that in an ideal world, there will be no abortions. The images of aborted fetuses make me sick down to my stomach, and I want to cry. I wish it wouldn't be happening. But in this imperfect world, shift happen, and a pregnancy can be the least ideal. The problem lies deeper than just abortion. It lies in the perception of sex, life, family, and the society as a whole. While I hope that I will never get an abortion, I cannot hold my standards to other people's faces.

Life can begin anywhere and anytime. We should stop worrying too much about the technicality. There are more orphans out there than you will ever have sex (or provide for the sperm's journey), so instead of crying for dead babies whose lives you can never change, make a difference in the lives that you can make. ADOPT! don't breed.


  • Aren't you sad that your sperm can't get a taste of all the eggs in here?*

Steven is on the fence


How can I say this, I feel I am on a fence floating out at sea, not a very big fence. I am sitting on it with my legs in the water and the pro life shark has my left foot in his mouth while pro choice shark to the right has my other leg in his mouth. They are pulling incredibly hard and soon enough ill be a man with no legs, on a floating broken fence with no real answer. Anyway what do I think? I think it is really confusing. From science I believe life starts from conception, even though it is just a bunch of cells it later grows to become a fetus which has the physical and later on the mental trait of a baby. Not really thinking about it before I really thought it was all based on the mother who was having the child. Really depending on the circumstance it was her choice to either abort or to keep this life. Because at an early stage, it is just cells, and cells are alive, but it hasn’t formed human abilities which makes the process harmless? But many people would argue with me and truthfully I suck at debating. So take some examples of this all.

When I think of pregnancies, I think of the mother who is having the child. It was her responsibility to have this child and she is the one that controls how the baby will be born. Truthfully I think the woman should have the choice on this life. Because this life is dependent on her body, the life itself doesn’t seem like one without her. In my mind it seems more of the extension of the mom. The mom has the grasp of this life, and if she herself does not want it (that sounds really bad) then she should be able to decide to abort it for her choice. I feel as a hypocrite though, I indeed agree with the death penalty but want to keep a life of a child. We did have this discussion in class, and the situation is different, but a life is a life.

In many situations Abortion would fit well. As Nick F had some examples on how abortion would work and would not, I agree with them. Some women should have the choice, and some should not. I still debate what would be worse, having the child never born, or having a child living in an abusive family, neglected as if it was never alive. It always seems so difficult to think about it. Some people are just complete morons and if they are producing children do we really want them on this earth. It scares me to see teenagers (as in 17 and earlier I guess 18 is still young but its not as bad the younger just creeps me out) wanting to have children as a trend, and I feel bad for the child that will come out one day and learn that his/her mother is a pathetic excuse for a human.

In the end I am again in the ocean on a fence with no legs. In a way I know life begins at conception, but I do believe that there should be a choice. There is potential for the child to become something, to have dreams motivation, but what if they don’t get the chance to (for say the mother is a 15 year old student in poverty) to grasp the so called dreams, and motivation and live it’s life in misery. What would be better?

Kaylen


In no way do I consider myself to be pro abortion. I really hate the thought of it, however I do consider myself to be pro choice. I hate the thought that I could ever be trapped in a pregnancy. I would never want to get an abortion, but I can also say that if I got pregnant right now-ish that it would most likely be the path I would choose.

When I think about abortion though, I really don’t think much about the baby’s life (maybe this sounds terrible). I guess this is what makes me believe that life begins at birth. I mean, I am not completely heartless and uncaring about the life of the fetus, but since it cannot make decisions, live freely of it’s mother,or otherwise, I just think of the mother when considering these things.

As far as my "in between" stance does, I do believe in a woman's right to choose. However, I do not think that right should be abused by getting multiple abortions as a for of birth control.

Alan defines the value of life


Wait Hailey (from a different Cohort i believe, so no worries); did you just try to attack George Carlin by using his quote? For shame… George is not afraid and though he be dead, his words fight on.

This is just an excerpt from a previous essay, but to my great pleasure, I have found that I have no real need to edit it. It (conveniently) stands as both effectively thorough and relevant to my currently held beliefs.

One may argue that to kill, or destroy a human, embryo or not, is murder. To which I would be inclined to agree, if it weren’t for my decidedly differing views on the definition of humanity. For me, genetic/biological identity is neither a necessity, nor a factor for automatic association; far more important is the presence of self awareness. Cell development may begin at conception, but it is not until many months later that an embryo develops even the most rudimentary comprehension and ability to respond to its surroundings. (One may even go so far as to say that the fetus does not obtain “life” as a separate entity from the mother until birth, but I do not yet feel fully capable to make this argument myself. Better leave it for awhile, or just leave it to others altogether.) I would assert that as some degree cognitive understanding is the quintessential element of a human creature, the embryo at these earlier stages is, by this logic, in fact not human, or even fully “alive.” The most that can be said of such beings is that they possess the “potential to live.” Truly, I must shudder at the vague nature of such terms, for one may, by the same logic, assert that acts of birth control or pregnancy prevention, are also acts of preventing, or destroying the “potential of life.” Even setting this aside, I may find other errors in using the term “potential life” to oppose abortions; primarily that the “potential for life,” is by no means invariably equivalent to that of existing life, rather, due to the fetus’s lack of awareness, its sole value must be denoted upon itself by those around it. Remember, a child does not ask to be born. It is brought into the world through members of the presently living beckoning it forth. Should situations arise that it, for certain reasons, is no longer desired, then it would be a disservice to the child itself to bring it into the world regardless. (Note that I would leave these types of decisions up to my wife and support any one of her choosing, for it is also my opinion that while in the womb and therefore, in her possession, it is the woman who has authority over the fetus and no one else.)

It is also my belief that embryo’s that are not used in artificial insemination, or are aborted should be used in stem cell research. I would prefer that they be put towards a useful purpose and help save lives, rather than merely be destroyed. (I would give my own corps the same consideration, wouldn’t you?)

Well, it’s not exactly summative and I’m afraid that much of my argument relies on previous writings and consideration, but this will do for now, since after-all, high school isn’t college. I could quote people, but that would not accurately represent my methods, for I have not consulted any persons or materials here, only loaned from various far reaching philosophies, including Descartes (some others, but none as major) and ONE of the writers in the animal rights unit. (I only liked one of them. Though I can’t remember the fellow’s name, he is the only guy who actually made a logical argument.) Some of my papers, such as the said animal rights essay, contributed greatly to the thoughts presented, giving crucial clues as to the meanings and differences inherent to various examples of life.

The following is a sort of continuation or attempt at clarification… its less formal.

“Cogito, ergo sum”. What is a life without the mind? It is a beating heart, possessing all the humanity of a simple pump or engine. Where is your murder now? It lies only in the hopes and considerations of those in possession of the object. Any given computer, or program has the beginnings of a thinking, reasoning and yes, human mind and though we may never be sure, it has the potential, certainly, for perceivable life. All this and yet we do not weep as we scrap a bit of machinery, or exchange our software. Why should we? It places no value on its own existence and when we choose to refuse what we once lent, it no longer has meaning and rests, quite contentedly, on the shelf, or in the trash. Nothing possesses any concept of loss within such early stages of development. The unthinking body is devoid of “soul” and lacks individuality in any sense other than a mere coded sequence of data and some vain physical attributes. Again, in what way is this action “murder?” Please, if you would, try to define the “disservice” that this action renders upon one who could care less?

You are probably thankful for life, but if you never came into existence, would it matter? Happiness and satisfaction are purely perceptual matters and any being may be presented with such depending on the unique perspective lent to them. Why should one without life see any need of it? They would not have the capacity to comprehend our pleasures or desires and if your argument is only that we need to bring a being into the world that they should experience these things, then one may wonder why we ever restrain ourselves from the act of childbearing at all. Teen mother all around, do your part to bring the pains and joys of humanity to as many as you possibly can. We’ve heard from some Catholic persons who seem to be of this opinion and I can respect that. At least it’s fairly consistent. They define life through a chosen perception of a heavenly figures will. That’s not my cup of tea, not my taste at all and I can find all sorts of errors for the basis of their faith (not necessarily the belief in God, or even Christ, but in the interpretation of their will.), but nobody’s perfect, of that I may agree and when living in a system inherent to flaws, then it may seem unreasonable to find any one interpretation of the universe to be more erroneous than another. That’s why there is a separation between church and state. In America, we respect the choice of individuals to choose their own path, so long as it doesn’t interfere with another’s. In the matter of abortion, I can only say that a fetus does not yet possess human capacity for the recognition of the universe and as such, places no stakes in any system of beliefs, leaving it, along with so many things, to the care of its mother and rest thus, in her sole possession, herein may we find the foundations of an argument for choice, one guaranteed not by any right to privacy, but by the first amendment, that we have the federal government’s protection from the imposition of any foreign beliefs, or religious ideals.

Beginning of life matters are strictly personal and cannot be otherwise defined so shut your mouth, “let it be” and if you’re so inclined “live and let die.”

Aditya speaks digitally


Alrighty. It’s been a long time since we directly confronted a very controversial issue face-to-face. For the majority of this semester, we’ve been skirting around with satellite controversies, and the last time we aimed for the bull’s eye was with our end of life unit. I intend these words as a preface: my opinions are my own. I do not proselytize. I do not preach. If I have offended you, deal with it.

Now, to the heart of the matter. Abortion is an extremely controversial subject, with many opinions, distinctions, and much profanity colouring these. When I am asked what my stance on abortion is, I am almost always scoffed at, or given an exasperated sigh. This is because if you ask me what my stance on abortion is, I will tell you that I cannot make a blanket decision. But first, I want to express my derision for this debate. Not for the issue, but for the debate. Both sides of this debate are equally imbecilic. On one hand, we have “pro-lifers,” the majority of whom are the leaders of the religious right. They mostly believe that all life is sacred. As such, they believe that a clump of cells is a human being. The rhetoric they use is mostly moral, and their objective is to make anyone who does not agree with them feel as though they are condoning murder. “Pro-life???” Thanks for calling me a killer. That’s the way to get me on your side. Just because I am not “pro-life” does not mean I am “pro-death.” And just because I am not “pro-choice,” it doesn’t mean I am against personal liberties. The rhetoric of this debate has gotten so complicated that most people argue about the words instead of the issue they represent. I also love the point that many before me have raised: that the majority of these self-styled pro-life activists are stuffy, old, white men. They have no concept of what it takes to push a baby out of their bodies. I have nothing but utter respect for their opinions and utter contempt for their practises. The same goes for the pro-choice feminists who are incapable of budging a centimetre to the right so they can see that a 10 week old unborn child is still a living being.

Now, to the centre of this rotten avocado. My beliefs on life and abortion are complicated: as I said before, I cannot make a blanket decision. However, to humour Mr. Geib, I will generalise as much as possible. I believe that life itself begins at conception, even before conception. Some might criticise my views as too heavily based on science, but after all, science is the only reliable compass. Ethics, morals, opinions are all interchangeable and most of all, they are subjective. Science is not. Life begins at conception; it is a fact that anybody will admit. Is that cluster of cells a person? I do not believe so. I believe that personhood truly begins when a foetus (spelled “fetus” by you Yanks) is viable outside the womb. Now many might criticise this as an overly changing view of personhood due to advances in medical science, and I would agree. I would however, like to point out to those critics of my viewpoint, that until the 1860s, black people did not fit the category of personhood. Now they even have the right to vote! Either way, however, I believe that true personhood begins at the point when a foetus is viable. Others may say that it has the potential to become Albert Einstein, and I would congratulate them on that conclusion, but they fail to realise that if it is unviable, human or not, it cannot survive in the event of an emergency, and the theory of relativity will die before it is born.

Now to the other part of this question: when is it acceptable to abort a foetus? I believe that this issue has neither a straightforward answer, nor a right answer. If for example, some bimbo who got her rocks off with the high school jock realised she was pregnant and wanted to abort, I would certainly say that she had a disease of the brain. Although a pregnancy would cause a certain amount of distress in her life, she should realise that it would be unfair to ruin this innocent baby’s chance at life. Like Nick Franek, I think that anybody who aborts a baby simply so they can go back to the irresponsible lifestyle that resulted in their pregnancy to begin with ought to be jailed under the charge of murder in the first degree. Also like him and many others, I think that it is acceptable to abort a baby in rape and incest cases, or in situations when the mother’s life is at risk. This next position might be more controversial than others, but I also think that abortion should be considered as an option if the mother is living in conditions of extreme poverty. I mean this of course, only as a last resort: I would much prefer that such a baby be carried to term and put up for adoption, or even that people had the common sense not to have such an unplanned pregnancy when they clearly cannot support it. It is true however, that in many countries that adoption agencies are either stressed beyond capacity or nonexistent. In such cases, when the lifestyle afforded to this child would be an unhygienic one, without clean water or clean air, I believe the only humane thing to do is to consider this last resort.

Now that I have forsaken the safe ground of neutrality, I would like to say that I have read some of the responses in the “Somewhere In The Middle” section, and I have a couple things to say.

First of all, Minh: SPELL CHECK!!

Secondly, Nick: well said!

Sexor Mudkipz (Erik S.'s) Point of View


Let me start of with a quote from my stem cell research essay:

"Stem cell research requires the exhaustion of a fertilized embryo: seen by Christians, Catholics, and many others as a human life. These religions believe that life begins at the moment of conception. Judaism, on the other hand, believes that life begins when the child leaves the mother. So which is right? To have a completely unbiased view on what dictates life, we must do the impossible: remove religion from the equation. Looking at it from a purely scientific viewpoint, life begins when the embryo develops consciousness: the ability to think. According to research done by Rhawn Joseph, Ph.D, "Hence, by the 9th gestational week, the fetus will display spontaneous movements, one week later takes its first breath, and by the 25th week demonstrates stimulus induced heart rate accelerations." Taking this into consideration, fetal "consciousness" does not begin until the ninth week at the earliest. Despite the "stimulus induced heart rate acceleration" stage being the most likely to indicate fetal consciousness, we shall be lenient in this discussion. The ninth week shall be the point where a fetus becomes a human life: sixty-three days after conception. Again, this is from a purely scientific standpoint. Fertilized eggs used in stem cell research never come close to being sixty-three days old. In all honesty, the numerous animals slaughtered every day have more of a right to life than these fertilized eggs. The difference? The animals can breathe, react to stimuli, and live outside of their mothers' wombs. So why the large amount of opposition? Simple: religion and ignorance. The two make a combination lethal to the potential of mankind. Religion, when presented to an ignorant person, will often consume that person's belief system and take its place. If religious activists were to research these issues and make a logical decision based on science rather than an ancient text and their interpretation of it (which often differs from person to person), many of them, if not all, would realize that a fertilized egg should not be considered life, as a fertilized cannot support itself outside of the womb or an environment created to simulate the womb, an incubator if you will. Thus, if this egg, fertilized or not, has as much right to life as the chair I sit upon, why should the enormous amount of knowledge that can be gained from it be kept under lock and key? There is only one answer: it shouldn't."

All stem cell research information aside, the issue is very similar: the consumption, or in the case of abortion, destruction, of a fertilized egg or embryo. I do not believe that life begins at conception, as I have clearly stated in the paragraph above. However, I don't believe that life begins at birth, either. There is a point in pregnancy where it becomes obvious that a living human being is inside the mother and it had the same or similar rights as people that have already been born have. I do not know the exact time at which an embryo becomes "human", and I do not believe that anyone truly does. Abortion, however, is a necessary right that must be protected, up to a certain point. Third trimester abortions are absolutely appalling, to be honest, and should never be committed unless it is for the safety of the mother. Second trimester abortions can even be crossing the line, to a point. I believe that abortion should only be acceptable up until around week six or so, as that is when brain waves can finally be detected.

So why the point when brain waves are detectable? What makes it so that once something can think, it is alive? In my opinion, a being that has no brain function is not really alive. I hate to use this example, but take human "vegetables" into consideration. They have little to no brain function, thus giving them the title of "vegetable". Why? Because they cannot think, similar to vegetables. A blastocyst is similar to a vegetable in that it has no brain function whatsoever, let alone a conventional brain. Without a brain, one cannot think. Without thought, one cannot truly live. One cannot comprehend what is occurring around him/her or react. An embryo inside the mother that is less than six weeks cannot think, and cannot live outside it's mother or a simulated environment. The only impact the embryo has had is upon the mother, family, and family friends. However, a full grown human has affected more than just those people: it has affected the people it meets, sees, ect. The death of a grown human is much more impacting than the death of a fetus, that much is undeniable. Abortion should never be the first option, but the choice must remain for the mothers' as it is their bodies, and we have no right to tell them that what they are doing is wron.

Katelyn


John Kerry once said “too many people in America believe that if you are pro-choice that means pro-abortion. It doesn’t. I don’t want abortion. Abortion should be the rarest thing in the world…but I don’t believe that I have a right to take what is an article of faith to me and legislate it to other people. That’s not how it works in America.”

This quote almost completely explains my gray area beliefs about abortion. To me abortion is killing. It is not as severe as when someone our age is killed, but in my eyes a human is still dying at the benefit of another.

However, I am pro-choice, and as John Kerry said, not pro-abortion, but pro-choice. I believe that the mother does have a right to choose whether or not she carries the baby to term. It is their right.

Where does “Personhood” fit into this though? When does the fetus become a person? To be honest, I can’t say. I just have this one scene running through my head. In the movie Juno, before she decides to put the baby up for adoption, she considers abortion. In the scene there are protestors outside the clinic that inform Juno, that her baby even in its very young stage of life has fingernails. While in the clinic, filing out paper work she cannot focus because all she hears are fingernails tapping. So maybe we become people really early on during gestation. I do not believe that we are people at conception, but merely a clump of cells. But I also do not believe that “personhood” begins at birth, but somewhere between conception and birth. I believe this mainly because I know that 1 main feature of being a person is developing relationships with friends and family. The mother of the child does not know they are pregnant right at conception, but between conception and birth. Through that gestation period (if the mother chooses to keep the child) the mother and child develop a strong bond. Secondly I believe that “personhood” begins between conception and birth, because I believe that “personhood” dos NOT occur at conception NOR birth.



COHORT 2 RESPONDS


Jeff States His Frank So-Called Mind


Once again, I have a funky point of view. But you knew that. Prepare yourself.

I think there's a big distinction between life and human life. I look at little sperm wiggling around and how they can move independently of everyone else, and I think even they're alive. They may only have 23 chromosomes, and they aren't humans by any means, but they're alive in their own way. Awkward as it may sound, I think the factory of it is would technically be the start of birth. But that's just my insight.

Human birth, on the other hand, is different. It's one of those questions that begs you to say, "Mr. Geib, once again, I don't know." I think future fathers of any mindset look down at their kicking son or daughter inside their exhausted wife, and suddenly realize this thing's not just a thing; it's alive! I think those sorts of first-hand experiences help each human being to define themselves. But just like a poverty victim hates big business and C.E.O.s hate "bums," we all move to the beat of a different drum.

Part of me wants to define a human life as one which can provide for itself, but then I started thinking, "Can <i>I</i> really provide for myself?" If the system of currency and business weren't in effect, and time itself reverted back to the days when mankind had to work for its food, who's really alive them? Self-sustinence is a product of a convenient society; it's no fundamental scale.

The transition from micro-life to macro has this emotional build-up that can't be ignored. People with trouble conceiving (somehow...teens seem to do it pretty well) simply "try over and over" without any more than minute traces of personal bonds to the life they're denying. However, as the pregnancy progresses, the thought of killing the life inside the woman seems less and less human. For example, the movie Juno shows a 16 year old girl's struggle with her pregnancy, and one of the most profounding scenes involved her realization in the abortion clinic that her fetus is alive, and that killing it is suddenly a less viable option. One of her classmates even convinces her that her baby has fingernails, which develop in the first few weeks. Most people, like my dad, are very conscious of the baby's ability to feel. The central nervous system develops by the 7th week as well, making the first trimester the limit for them. Frankly, I focus much less on exactly when definitively, and focus more on your personal reflection. Horton Hears a Who tells us, "let this be a less onto all, a person's a person no matter how small." The "personhood" is a matter of your religious affiliations and so forth.

I think the very moment a fetus "clicks" from a heap of fluids and codes into a future Sir or Ma'am is fuzzy, but those kicks don't come from nowhere. A developed fetus is, most definitely, alive. This poses such an awkward stance for me, though, because I'm very for the protection of the choice of abortion. What I am telling you is, essentially, "I think it's alive, but I fight ardently for the right to kill it." The life isn't the issue; it's the rights to the life between the mother and the future infant that leads to fights over abortion. That, however, is time for another question. The next one, perhaps?

Megan is really blah


Personally, I believe abortion should be safe, legal, and rare. There is a problem when people think of abortion as a commonplace solution but there is also a problem when a cluster of cells with the potential to be a human being are valued over a woman in a situation with an even greater potential to ruin both the life of the mother and the baby-to-be. The line between abortion being a viable option and murder is thin and this is because the line between human and not is likewise difficult to distinguish during development in the womb.

I do not deny that a fertilized egg lacks life. In fact eggs and sperms in their respective persons are alive. They are living cells with the potential to grow into a human being. I feel that a newly fertilized egg, barely in its first stages of division during the first days of development in the womb are no different. They only hold the potential to develop into a beating heart and a conscious brain.

...Tune in later for the exciting conclusion!

Caitlin expands upon the fine line

I believe that life begins once a baby is able to live on its own, which occurs around twenty-something weeks...depending upon the baby and its growth until that point. Life—actual human life, or personhood—is something that doesn’t occur simply with a heartbeat or the first kick; those occurrences are nothing more than actions that instinctively occur according to instructions from their DNA, which is present in all life forms. These actions are not premeditated nor do they require any higher level brain function. It seems to me that once a baby can live independent of its mother, it's alive, and worthy of being called a person with a consciousness. While I am staunchly for the right of a woman to have an abortion, I believe that the fetus stops being a fetus and begins to be a baby the moment it will survive outside of its mother without the aid of respirators or any other extensive life sustaining device, whether or not that conflicts with a woman's decision to abort (though that debate is soon to come I suspect).

To me, it seems the problem with saying that life begins at birth is that the baby is in pretty much the exact same conditions a few minutes, or hours before birth. It can live on its own...there's nothing except for the fact that the baby is breathing on its own to separate it from its prior state. Simply a breath cannot contistitute life and separate the living from the non-living; it seems silly to draw the line at birth because the baby's body is not substantially different the moment right before birth than from the moment after. There’s nothing so magical that occurs at birth to miraculously transform the unborn baby into a person deserving rights and the protection of law. Even when a pregnant woman is murdered, it is tried as a double murder (though this is a conflicting thought with abortion, but that’s for later…), and according to this line of thought, the baby deserves rights before then, whether or not they are granted them, and depending upon how far along the pregnancy is.

To say that life begins at conception seems to hold more religious value than actual scientific reason, which is fine for someone's opinion, I just disagree with that purely religious thought process—you need a little soul and a little science. After conception, the fetus is not even a fetus; it is nothing more than a blastocyst implanted in the endometrium—a small clump of cells with no higher brain functions, nor an extensively developed nervous system. While that clump of cells may one day become a human, it is not human yet, and nor is it alive. Only potential exists in those cells, and personally I don’t believe human potential is something worth being deemed alive. Even once the fetus begins to take on a remotely human form it is still underdeveloped and unable to sustain life on its own. Just cells working in unison, with no collective consciousness to control deliberate movements.

Once the baby’s life is not intertwined with its mothers, then it can be considered to enter personhood in my opinion; the moment it can sustain itself away from its mother, it can be deemed truly alive. For while a fetus is nearly a human, it lacks that fundamental element of consciousness and the ability to exist on its own—the hallmarks of human life.

Sara G Attempts to Distinguish


As life develops from two cells into a functional organism, several stages define the development and differentiation of the fetus into life. At first two gametes must join together to form a zygote. This is followed by the development of the blastocyst, implantation into the uterus wall, blastopore formation and gastrulation. Following this cells continue to divide and begin to differentiate into the necessary bodily cells, tissues, organs and finally into an organ system. As these components develop the fetus is reliant upon the mother. Nutrients, warmth, protection, etc. are all provided by the mother. Neural function is fully developed by the seventh month of pregnancy and the embryo can sense and respond to changes with a fully functional cerebrum. Before the embryo can sense and respond to its own environment with specialized responses it is not life.

In my opinion the major distinguishing factor of human-hood is its mental/neural function and consciousness. When a thought process can occur then the organism performing that function is alive. At this point it is more than just a conglomeration of cells and is now capable of mental function characteristic of human beings. Although this phase is readily debated by many individuals, I believe that neural function is more distinctive and important than the function of other organs or systems that may develop sooner. The nervous system is what holds an organism together. Without this fabric of nerves the existence of a human is futile and all the coordination that empowers a human being is lost. Until the development of a viable nervous system an embryo can be placed on a level playing field with person in a vegetative state.

In another way, all cells are alive and functioning to achieve a certain task. Cells within sebaceous glands constantly produce sebum and cells within an embryo continue to differentiate into necessary bodily cells. Work is being done, organic matter is being produced by ribosome’s under the dictation of nucleic acids. This is all life, yet it is surely not human. It may have human potential, but that does not make it human. A rock on top of a hill may have potential energy, yet it is not energy until someone gives it a push. It is there, waiting for action, and could go on with or without every producing energy. There is a distinction between what is human and what is not. Plants, protists, fungi and animals are all different. They are defined by their physical and molecular similarities. All are able to perform functions, grow and even move in response to their environments. Although a fetus can perform some of the functions that humans are capable of does not make them human. They have human characteristics, they are part human. Maybe we should judge their human-ness on a basis of how long the fetus has been incubating within the womb. For a one month old fetus it can be considered a 1/9 human…and so forth.

I will not deny the potential of an embryo nor its similarities to humans; however I believe that it is not fully human until it has complete nervous function. Human beings can be without the function of certain organs or without the ability to walk however they are still human. Once an embryo has developed its CNS and PNS, it is a human which can think, feel and act. Once this consciousness has been created, the other elements are much less significant. An embryo is living in the biological sense, ticking away time to its own clock and building itself up with the molecular tools it is given. Despite this, it is not a human being until it has incubated for seven months.

Ariana


Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 case legalizing abortion, made fetal viability an important legal concept. The Supreme Court ruled that states cannot put the interests of a fetus ahead of the interests of the pregnant woman until the fetus is "viable." Viable is defined as being capable of prolonged life outside the mother's womb. A fetus becomes viable sometime between the 24th and 28th week. After that time, I do not believe a baby should be aborted. But it seems reasonable to me that a fetus/ baby are considered life when it is capable to survive outside
it's mother's womb. At the least, it must be considered life when there are neurological impulses, thought, and dreams. The brain activity is more important than blood being pumped throughout the body. Yes, you do need the heart to survive, but you do need the brain to function. The child would be nothing more than in a vegetative state. Have we learned nothing of Terri Schiavo? Without thought intact there cannot be a way of life.

Our constitution does state, that “all persons born…be deprived life, liberty, or property”. Born being the keyword there, a fetus does not have the same rights as I do. They have not experienced anything of life at 6 days past conception. There is no thought process, no breathing, eyes, organs, or blood pumping throughout the body. Sure there is a potential for life, but if that life was threatened, that fetus would not survive. Being alive, defines the will or instinct to fight for life. The mass of cells may have a human genome but nothing more.

At the moment the baby is born, was it not in the same state several minutes ago awaiting birth? The child was capable of everything it was almost 15 weeks prior to birth, except self sustained breathing. But if there was an accident to occur at 24 weeks, the child could and would survive. There is nothing that makes the child less capable of life between 24 and 36 weeks.

Sally


I believe that life begins in between eleven and twelve weeks once the fetus can feel pain. The scientific part of me would choose to believe that life doesn’t begin until the child can think and function on its own, but yet I do not like to think of an abortion causing the child pain. Knowing that the fetus can feel pain makes the abortion seem more like a murder rather than a mother’s choice. On a side note, although I am completely against an abortion in the third trimester, I do think that the government should be allowed to tell a woman that she cannot choose what to do with her body.

Ok back on topic. Before the nervous system and neurons that can feel pain even before a heartbeat the cells clumped together cannot be considered a person. There is no soul it is like a growth. Once there is that heartbeat and the ability to feel pain then the ball of cells is a person to me. It does not have the same sort of person hood like you or me, as it doesn’t have a thought process and is not affected by the same things that we are and does not have creativity yet. It still has a soul. Once that brain function begins I believe that the soul is awakened in the body.

Today's Socratic really actually made me focus on actually thinking about this topic. I have definitely decided though that a fetus only becomes a person and has the right to protection from the state at 20-22 weeks when it develops that spinal cord and has the ability to live outside the mother's body if it had to. One cannot base life off of a heart beat as we ourselves have made that electric pulse a symbol of life. The heart is an organ just like the lungs and kidneys and liver. You can't base person hood off of the heart beat unless you're willing to base it off of the function of the lungs and kidney's and other organs. The brain and spinal cord signify the beginning of person hood as they allow the fetus to feel and control. Sure you can argue that stopping a heart ends life...duh...but see does destroying ones kidneys and liver. Also someone, I think Sara, brought up the issue that the heart and liver among other organs can be replaced, the brain cannot...so far.

Heather


In order to form an answer to this question, one must first be able to differentiate between the two different kinds of “life” in this world. There is certainly “life” in plants, bacteria, and individual cells, yet an entirely different kind of “life” resides within animals, including humans. What differentiates animal “life” from simpler forms of life is the ability to think. I therefore feel that, while a sperm cell, an egg cell, and a few-week-old embryo are certainly “alive” in a sense, a fetus is not “alive” in the human sense of the word until cognitive function is present.

Some feel that an embryo is alive as soon as its heart begins to beat; however, this mind frame awards this embryo the same definition of life as that awarded to Terri Schaivo. Once Terri’s brain and cognitive abilities stopped working, she was merely a mass of cells that, yes, were alive, but only alive in the way that plants and bacteria are alive. The characteristic that defined Terri as a “living being,” her cognitive functions, were gone; the situation is the same with an embryo whose heart has just started beating.

Others feel that life begins right at conception. However, with this definition of life, one might as well award plants, bacteria, and tissue cells the same rights as a human being. This means that picking a flower, scratching off old skin cells, and fighting a disease would all be considered murder.

Human “life” begins when the embryo is capable of thought and other cognitive functions. Giving “life” any other definition just does not make any sense.

Brian

The place where something goes from being life to being human life is a vary fuzzy prospect. It seems like defining where white becomes black on a gray scale there is no one defined point. Maybe we need to first need to define what differentiate us from other forms of life. What makes us different from a tree or an animal? And at what stage of development do these changes occur? I saw on the discovery channel that at a certain stage there is no real difference between a human fetus and another mammal fetus they both look the same, if I remember it correctly.

Overall I will have to side with Sara on this one. I believe that what differentiates us from other forms of life is our ability to reason and think beyond what is physically possible to dream and imagine. That seems to be something that is uniquely human. So I will put a stake in the gray area and say that once brain waves are detectable it goes from being a it to being human. When a fetus develops consciences it goes from being just another form of life serving its purpose in nature to being some one who can think up thing that have no use in terms of survival, like music and art. Until that is developed there is no difference between human and regular life.

Sam


Life begins when I say so!!! Just kidding.
In my opinion, life begins somewhere between the 6th and 8th week of pregnancy. Somewhere during the time when brain waves are detected, and every organ is in place. Now, I haven't really thought about this topic until it was given, but before, I most likely believed that life starts at the moment of birth, i.e., your birthday/minute/second...however you look at it. I mean, in reality, we celebrate our life on that certain day that we were born, not the moment of conception. Though by Day 22 the heart begins to beat, and at the moment our heart stops, we are declared dead, it is easy to represent life by Day 22 in order to construct a sense of symmetry in life. However, life does not revolve around symmetry, hence having premature and late babies.

On the other hand, when does personhood begin? I believe this does not correlate with the institution of life. Personhood, in my opinion, begins at birth, the first time the newborn is seen by the outside world. Though the parents and doctor are able to see the baby on the ultrasound machine, this does not prove the beginning of parenthood. However, for a scientific point of view, through months 7 and 9, the baby is able to use several senses, and is even able to distinguish between waking and sleeping. Getting ready for birth, the baby begins to pump 300 gallons of blood per day, while dropping head first into the pelvic cavity. It is extremely difficult to take a side on personhood since in reality, the baby is alive in the womb before the actual birth, but then again still directly connected to the mother through the umbilical cord.

Gene

At what point is a baby alive? When I see myself, I have a brain, blood, organ system, nerves, and a heart. I think I am alive. I think I have a soul, so does a baby need these characteristics to be alive? I believe at the point a sperm penetrates the wall of a female egg is not when it is called a cell. On day 22 when the embryo develops a heart and its first heart beat is when I believe it is alive. At this state the embryo has hands, feet, but most of all a heart beat. The heart beat is clearly visible with the help of an ultra-sound, but it is still there. How can anyone unreasonably destroy something is technically living with a heart and blood? When we die it is declared when are heart stops beating. Isn’t this true then when an unborn baby’s heart ends by the hands of abortion? If you are dead, you were alive. That is my belief.

Any abortion after Day 22 is total murder and completely cruel. Day 22 is when the embryo reaches the point of parallelism with other people. We all have hearts and we need them to live. So why can’t this be the point for an embryo to be alive?

When you look at a baby on Day 22, you can see the frame of the human body also being develops. It is at this point when everything is starting to become lifelike. Blood is being pump all the time in the body, motor skills are being developed, and a brain is growing. If you see a baby in the mother’s womb, you can see the baby moving its fingers, kicking, making any form of movements and yet abortions can legally happen to the baby. If you were a mother or father and was just holding your newly born baby, how would you feel if someone killed it right there and then? It shakes its hands, kicks, moves, so what is the difference. I just believe that at Day 22 when the embryo has a heart and starts to develop characteristics a newly born baby has is actually alive and nothing should be able to prevent it from being born.

Laura is Conflicted


Where does life begin? When do people get the rights of a human being? When are babies officially protected by the laws of a country? I want to say that life begins when the fetus can survive outside of the mother. I researched a bit and I found that at around week 26, the baby has a 50% chance of living outside of the mother. If that isn’t a grey area, I don’t know what else could be. But figuring out exactly which week a fetus becomes a baby is rather technical and nit-picky. This issue is too personal to be looked at and dissected with pure cold hard science. There is no factual distinction between when a fetus becomes a person, and when set into the context of that cringe-inducing word that can turn any conversation sour, it turns into a grey and sticky mess.

The answer for when life begins is at a different stage for each and every person. For me, it begins when the baby is able to survive outside of the mother’s womb with nurture and care. It becomes a separate entity at that point – even if that line is blurry in itself – and is thus a person with legal rights. It is my opinion that up until that stage, the baby is a part of the mother, even if the fetus has its own thoughts and actions.

(Note to self for continued writing: find movie quote: “A woman becomes a mother when she gets pregnant, a man becomes a father when he sees his child.” From Juno.)

Daniel


Today I am taking a slightly different point than my religious background. I’ve grown up in a Christian family and still continue to go to church every Sunday. The church believes that life begins when the sperm meets the egg and a single cell forms (conception). I first thought about this concept but I don’t really consider a cell alive. I think life, an embryo is alive when the human features are formed and you can clearly make out a human figurine. So, I am going with Day 22 when the heat begins to beat and the embryo has developed its own blood. This is where life begins in my eyes.

Abortion for me is killing a potential for life. Society sees life or begins to count it when a child leaves the women’s body.

When a women makes the choice to be sexually active and not take the precautions. She is the one that will pay the consequences. I think if she gets pregnant it is not fair to abort the baby. If she can’t take care of it, then she shouldn’t be irresponsible. Also she should just go through with the baby and adopt out. It’s not right to start a life and then kill it. I see this as murdering your baby. Even a baby inside of the womb still has a beating heart and an opportunity to live in the real world. You can always ask yourself, what if? I don’t like the opportunity for that question. Let the child live and don’t kill your baby that you created.

If you choose to get pregnant, deal with the consequences.

Chris doesn't hurt puppies


I have been trying to think of ways to imagine a fetus so that I can make a decision on its personhood. I think I have finally succeeded.

I have a very hard time imagining a clump of cells as a person, After all, people kill molds and other complex clumps of cells without care right? However, when it takes on that classic “fetus” shape and looks a bit like a mix between a really slimy seahorse and a shrimp; I could not bring myself to kill it. I will classify it as a person when it ceases looking like the stuff on the bottom of a stagnant pool, and begins to look like a strange sort of animal.

After all, animals are people too… right?

I argued this over and over in my head and finally reached this conclusion when I compared a fetus to a puppy. Could I kill a cute adorable puppy just because it was inconveniencing me? Of course I couldn’t. As much as I agree that women should have the right to choose, and as much as I tell myself that freedom should come above almost all else, I would not let someone kill a small defenseless kitten/puppy/chinchilla.

For the sake of sounding scientific I’ll say approximately the week 3-4ish area because that is when it gets a heartbeat and develops organs and tiny limbs and such.


Ming Jun

At 22 days, the heart of the embryo starts beating. At that point life begins. Without our heart beat, we would not be living and if someone were to take out heart beat away from us, that would be considered murder. The heart beat, if you think about it, can either give you life or take life away from you. And with that thought, I now believe that at 22 days, life does begin. I also believe that “God” places a soul within our body at that time which then allows the rest of our body to continue to grow into a fetus and then we are born into the world. The “soul” is hard to define because it can be interpreted in different ways.

However, I also think that life begins when the brain waves are first detected at week 6 because our brain allows us to discover, create, imagine. But all at the same time, I have no idea how the brain, I piece of meat, creates dreams, philosophies, our morals, and all the technology we have discovered. I am conflicted between whether or not the heartbeat, brain waves and when the soul enters our body is exactly when life begins. I know that the idea of a soul is different for everyone but when I think of a soul, I think it is a higher power that “God” breathes into out body that allows us to be. I cannot contemplate how our body, nothing but meat and muscle, can create so many wonderful things and do so many wonderful things without the help of a higher power guiding us. This might sound a bit religious but I think it is true.

Angelica


I believe life doesn’t really begin at conception, I mean technically it might, but I don’t think it does. Then again, I believe life has begun way before birth. But when is it considered “life” exactly? Well, I believe that if a pregnant woman and her child were killed then it should be considered double murder, but how can a little egg be on the same level as a fully developed human? Two weekends ago I went to go see “Horton Hears a Who” (it’s an ok movie by the way), and I still remember the ending quote “A person’s a person no matter how small”. But I still cannot get my mind around the fact that a little fetus without a full developed brain or nervous system can be considered a life. My understanding of it is that, although it may have a beating heart, it is mere stimuli, the heart is hardly beating because of brain waves that command it. I believe that if a woman were to have an abortion, she should have it [long] before the fetus grows its nervous system (which I believe are the most valued organs (not that the heart isn’t!)). I believe that this time is “appropriate” seeing as how the child will not feel pain as it dies.

I do not believe women should resort to abortions, however I believe the government has NO right to tell women what to do with their bodies. I believe that abortion should be “safe, legal and rare” (emphasis on that last one). I think woman should stop being so selfish! I [may] understand their reason for their first abortion (then again I may not), but I see no excuse for a second or dare I say…. third???

Woman [and men] should be more responsible than that!

Mark


When I was 7, my dad called me over and told me “Mark… I have something important to tell you.”

“What’s that?” I answered, with a vague idea of the awkwardness that was yet to come. His breath smelt of tequila and his bloodshot eyes seemed to contain centuries upon centuries of disdain for abortion.
“Mark,” he said, “life begins at conception.”
I stared with bewilderment… attempting to discern the implications of his statement. Hours seemed to pass and the candles eventually dimmed, leaving only the silhouette of his burly figure in front of the moon-lit window.
“A fetus is a human life, and you are in no position to take it.”
I watched in awe as he slowly approached me, his heavy, leather boots like meteors upon the brittle, wooden floorboards.
“Mark,” he said.
“Yes?” I asked.
I’m going to go chop some firewood.

My father and I have never come to agree on the subject of abortion. I believe that a human life is characterized by its ingenuity, its independence, its sustainability, and most importantly, its consciousness. I am not fully inclined to believe that a 2 month old fetus has the capability to ponder, enjoy, or feel.

To be continued


Gema's Opinion


When does personhood begin? Any cell I consider to have life. When the sperm enters the egg life begins its long process to personhood. Although, I believe personhood is more than having life, it means having thought and consciousness. It is after seventeen weeks when the baby can have dreams in the REM stage. When we dream there is thoughts in our brains and although the baby is not interacting with the outside world it is beginning its thought process. The brain and mind are critical for the beginning of personhood and although the baby has not been exposed to the world yet it is beginning the complex process of developing its brain.

More than a functioning brain and a pumping heart a humans need a soul. Like we discussed in class I think it is the arrival to the world when the newborn makes that connection with the outside form – with the mother, father, and the environment. This is the next stage when the offspring can begin to shape their personhood.

When an animal is killed we do no say that a person has been killed, but I consider it valuable because it is a living creature. Anything that is living and by living I mean moving, thinking, and reacting to the outside world. When an embryo is removed from the uterus it is killing a living thing.

Alyssa's Opinion


I believe that actual life, the spark that will eventually lead to an infant, begins when the zygote implants into the uterus. This is an important distinction from conception because, well, conception to me is simply the joining of two haploid cells. The implantation into the uterus is when these joined cells begin to actually grow into a living organism. Also, if conception was the point where life began, then all the extra test tube cells from in vitro operations would be considered alive. I consider them more human possibilities.

Now, here’s where the fuzziness comes in. I believe that life begins at implantation, but that actual personhood begins when they have a developed nervous system. To be honest, when I first sat down to write this, I was ready to argue that personhood began in viable offspring. I mean, it makes sense to define a human by when they can survive separate from their mother. But, as I looked at the timeline for birth, I had a hard time not recognizing week 15 and 18 babies as “non-humans”, or different from any other infant for that matter. I also can’t help seeing the horrible atrocity it would be to murder a baby that can recognize its own mother’s voice, feel pain, and looks just like any one of us when we were infants.

So, I have changed my opinion. I will save my abortion opinion for Mr. Geib’s later blog, but I have changed my opinion for the beginning of life. I can’t just blatantly say a viable offspring. No, its much earlier, once a nervous system develops, a nervous system that individualizes a being to a human, that is when true personhood begins.

Marc B.


I moved my posting to the "Life Begins at Birth" section. If a baby can survive outside its mother's womb then it should be considered born. You'll understand when you read my opinion.

P.S. Way more insightful than Angelica's.

Let us see if Marc, at home, can write something powerful and insightful which moves forward his opinion and is worthy of reading out loud on Monday.... --Mr. Geib 17:24, 11 April 2008 (CDT)

-not nearly as insightful as mine!
angelica

When Does Life Begin?

Helen says, "That baby has fingernails."===
I absolutely do not support abortion. In fact, I abhor it. Can’t people just freaking make good choices??

Anyhow, fetuses have the potential for life, and I fully believe that they should be given that opportunity to pursue his or her attempt to become a human being. However, I do also believe that it is a woman’s choice. I know this blog is about when life begins, but really, don’t you think that after the woman has thoughtfully considered all aspects and consequences of an abortion that it should be her choice? Honestly, women don’t just go through abortions as if they were trivial everyday events (or at least I hope); they consider that that fetus they are sacrificing their body to nurture has the potential to become a child, her child. I still find it hard to simply say that simply because they have no neural function until the second trimester, that they are worthy of abortion. I mean....it has fingernails and a heartbeat!!

Anyhow, personally, I find it rather surprising that I believe that life indeed begins after it develops a heartbeat. It seems easy to believe that they feel no pain until they develop neural function; however, I just can’t persuade myself that it means they’re not really a life form. It’s a freaking fetus! It has a heartbeat! It’s alive! Right..? It’s true that they don’t have “brains” yet, but human life has much more worth than a brain; I do believe humans have a soul, somewhere in some organ—I choose to believe that it’s in the oh-so-symbolic heart.

I guess I’m pretty fuzzy about when life begins. But as of now, I believe it begins once it develops a heartbeat. I have no scientific evidence to back this up, no facts, no solid data, but I do have a conscience—you might call it a soul—that believes that life begins at the heartbeat.