LIFE BEGINS AT CONCEPTION


Conception.jpg
CONCEPTION: LIFE EXISTS!

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

Noah,Tara Y.,Elias,Emilia,Otto,Kirsten G., and Allison.



COHORT 8 RESPONDS





Mariya P

Before we descend into the armpit that is abortion discussion, I feel it is important to digress slightly on the matter of male opinion on abortion. I firmly believe that anyone can have an opinion on anything they want, but I think that any man who would deny the right for a woman to choose invalidates his argument by being a man. No man is going to be pregnant, or will become pregnant because of one little oops. Perhaps this is why society accepts male promiscuity, because it is hidden and men never had to parade around their shame (throughout history, and today, of course). Women, on the other hand, cannot make any mistakes. So ultimately, men shouldn’t be able to choose; they want to be a part of a “solution” with regard to abortion despite the fact that they carry the problem around in their pants.
We seem to like to dance around the topic of abortion, do some jazz hands, click our heels, done, I don’t know if abortion is right, I don’t know if abortion is wrong, but what about personhood, this is such a gray area, etc. Killing is wrong, therefore, abortion is wrong. Does that stop anyone, or is going to? Obviously not. The problem with my earlier statement is that nothing is ever as simple as right or wrong. We are far too complex as human beings to submit to such a simple way of reasoning. Abortion will always be wrong, but sometimes the lives that we lead force us to commit a lesser wrong to prevent a greater one.
Allow me to break it down. Fertilization usually occurs within one day of intercourse, but can occur up to six days later. The genetic composition has been determined once fertilization occurs; this is hair color, eye color, gender, and facial features. This pinhead of a thing, this miracle of science and life, how is it different from what you or I once started from? Genetically speaking, once a woman conceives a preborn human, the odds against her conceiving the same one again are 10^600. In comparison, there are 10^80 atoms in the known universe.
Despite my belief about personhood, and my disapproval of abortion, I believe that it should be a choice for women. Just because I wouldn’t be able to get an abortion because of my moral and ethical values doesn’t mean that I have the right to make that choice for someone else. And I know that if I was the unfortunate victim of rape, I would want the option. How can a victim of rape be forced to live with a living memory of her assault?
I am sure that many of the people who have abortions do so for the right reasons; economic/emotional instability, illness, substance abuse, or maybe just some girl who didn’t even know where babies come from. I would much rather these people have abortions than have children who will be abused, who will starve, and who will pay for their parents’ inability to provide for them. Of course, there are also those select individuals who take abortions lightly; just keep havin em like ain’t nothin wrong. This kind of behaviour is grotesque, careless, and one of the reasons that talk of abortion makes some people visibly bristle.
Personhood begins at fertilization, the start of a life. And it should be the personal choice of every mother-to-be whether she is capable, whether she will be able to give her child the best of what she is and has.


Liam E
I think it’s very silly to say life doesn’t begin at conception - of course it does. The DNA is there, the cells start reproducing, and presumably other things inside the uterus happen that I don’t entirely understand. That is life, in the biological sense of the term, and that’s very difficult to dispute.
What is difficult to dispute, however, is whether or not the word “life” actually matters. Yes, it’s the preferred nomenclature, but isn’t it terribly absolute in a debate where are is no black and white, only shades of grey? Life can begin at conception, but I’m not convinced that this actually matters. I killed a fly yesterday. Is a fly more advanced than a day old baby? Certainly. It’s probably more advanced than a month old baby. But plenty of pro-lifers have killed a fly. What I’m getting at is that we place a certain value on life. Not “value” in the Tyler Bransfield sense, where life isn’t valuable unless you get a job you damn hippie! (Tyler, your philosophy of utility is a silly one), but value in the sense that when presented with a situation where we can take life or give life, like getting an abortion, we will evaluate the consequences of both. In doing so, we reason out how much a life is “worth.” And I don’t think a great deal of pure logic goes into that decision, because no matter how much we think about the viability, age, and consciousness of that fetus, the woman will choose to kill it or keep it either because she either fails to consider it a valuable form of life (like a fly), or she considers it the most valuable form of life (a human being), and thus sanctified and holy.

Here’s my problem: I don’t think that getting an abortion is all that different than killing a newborn. This view is somewhat taboo, and found in that shady “life begins at birth” crowd, despite there being little difference between a baby in the womb one minute and in the open air the next. God suddenly gives the baby a life force the second the baby leaves the womb? Why wait till then? Can God not penetrate a vagina? No, that fetus is very much alive in there, just as it’s very much alive when it comes out. The perceived difference between killing a fetus and killing a newborn is very troubling to me, because I don’t see an enormous physical and (logically) moral difference. But I’m still pro-choice (not that I like the terminology), for two main reasons. First, there’s the autonomy question: I do believe that a woman should have autonomy over her own body, to an extent. But mainly, I’m not sold on potential personhood. I don’t think a newborn is a person, in the traditional sense, but it’s certainly alive, and to kill it crosses a great moral boundary. An abortion usually will not cross this moral boundary, a boundary that we as humans have very much set up, perhaps because we don’t have to look at a baby in the face and still say “the ends justify the means.”
Human life as we think of it is just a concept, and I don’t think my life really began until I was at least a few months old, perhaps a few years. Technically though, I think I became life when I was conceived. And while I’d rather you didn’t murder me now, if you had chosen to within a certain time frame at the beginning there, I would say “more power to ya!” I think that time frame is somewhat arbitrary, because I don’t think a fetus suddenly becomes a person at the age of viability. But it has to be set, and I think abortion is a very important option for a lot of women, and I think it ultimately does society good. I just feel there’s this certain “out of sight, out of mind” mentality when it comes to abortion: because we don’t perceive a fetus as being a human, it’s ok to have an abortion. But when we perceive this, suddenly it’s forbidden. There is no single point at which "life" turns into "living." I wish people would accept that.

David B.
Any noteworthy and polemical issue broken down to it's most essential form and freed from any and all subjectivity becomes inexplicable. After being released from the bonds of one's own nurture and the opinion-effecting factors of one's environment, one cannot really have an opinion about anything. Any views of an issue are correct and any views are incorrect; it is entirely dependent on the specific human inspecting and placing judgement on said views. Each human experiences life in a similar but entirely unique way to every other human and therefore any decision made by the person comes from a summation of that person's environment and genetics. Universal morality is nonexistent. Universal anything is nonexistent.
Personally, the struggle comes as I find myself being a person who tends to be strongly opinionated when given the opportunity, but once I indulge as fully as is possible into perfect objectivity, there are no opportunities for opinions. Now, I'm using the word "opinion" incorrectly. An opinion is a belief, judgment, or way of thinking about something. I do have those. And really, any situation allows for this type of opinion. But an opinion as an expressed statement that this belief, judgement or way of thinking about something is a substantive, universal truth, does not find itself in existence.
On the topic of abortion. I personally see validity in most every argument I have come across. As life is the only thing a person can truly own in life, it seems to be the most cruel and ultimately unfair act to obstruct a person from experiencing life. However, before the consciousness of that person begins, he or she has no awareness of life or of the possibility of living or not living it. Basically, you can't miss what you don't know. But then what about post-human existence? What about souls? Just because we can't see or quantify them doesn't mean they cannot exist. Perhaps they do. In my musing over the possibility of a soul my pen took to paper and words in what some might possibly call poetry or something of the sort took shape. It's not my proudest work or even close but the last four lines get my point across.
Free it
Unlock
Off the clothes
Take off the skin
Piece by piece
Take out my heart, my lungs
Now one at a time,
Femur, tibia, spine
No more bones
What's left
No more body
Not a body with a soul
A soul with a body
Just a soul
A soul
So if each one of us is a soul traveling through existence (existence, I think, is the closest word we have to fathom whatever a soul does) and a body is just a single manifestation of that soul, then to what is an aborted fetus condemned? Does it just move on to another stage? Does an abortion damn a soul? Or once again, do souls even really exist? I would like to believe so, and since neither I not anyone else can really know, I think I'll believe in souls. I suppose blogs are meant more for answers and assertions than questions. But at a philosophical echelon, everything is questions, and nothing is answers.
Ok, back to abortion. When I'm thinking about it in metaphysical terms, legality seems negligible. But I suppose it's not. As much as each human has his or her own experience, we do live and breathe together, and I don't think anarchy is a functional system so we need some amount of practical thought and action in law. I think every woman should decide for herself whether it's her choice to deny the possibility of life or to allow it. If she decides that it should be her choice, then she should have the legal right to choose. At the point of conception, the probability that a human will be birthed into the world rises more than at any other point. I believe personhood begins at conception. But up until the point at which a child is viable outside of the mother, legal right should be given to the mother to end that personhood, however much I may personally disagree with the reason or reasons for the abortion.

Bridget C.

“Life begins at conception.” Those of you visiting this page are probably expecting a pro-life argument, preaching about how from the moment of conception, abortion is immoral and for the most part, should be illegal. But the question we were asked was when life began, not when abortion should be legal. The definition of life states “the condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death.” A fertilized egg has all of these conditions, except for the ability to reproduce. It definitely grows, it has functional activity, and from the moment of conception it begins to change. For all intents and purposes, a fertilized egg is life.


However, there is a difference between the point at which life begins and the point at which personhood begins. Life can be scientifically evaluated, whereas personhood can only be inconclusively debated.So I might only be adding to the fray, but personhood to me is when a fetus has a sense of self and is capable of having thoughts. The part of the brain responsible for consciousness is fully developed around 24 and 28 weeks in the womb. At this point in the pregnancy, the fetus is responding to noise and can even distinguish the mother’s voice from other sounds. He can also open his eyes. Combine that with the fact that at 24 weeks, the fetus has a 40-70 percent chance of living outside of the mother, and you get the point at which abortions become immoral. If people want to equate that condition to “personhood” status, that’s fine with me. But I don’t think someone become a true “person” in the sense of the word until they are born. At no point during the pregnancy does the fetus have more rights than the mother.

And that is my cue to go all “hippie-liberal-feminist” on you guys. A woman should never be forced to carry a fetus to term, plain and simple. It does of course make me extremely uncomfortable to think about third-trimester abortions, just because at that fetus looks so much like a baby and is almost fully developed. In my opinion, 8 months is more than enough time to decide if you want to keep the baby or not. For that reason, abortions should be illegal after 28 weeks. But the mother has the right to choose before that point in the pregnancy. There should not be a law regulating what a woman can and can’t do with her body.

Noah D.
I am almost confused as to why there is so much contention over the issue of where life begins. The answer can be found with simple science and reasoning skills: when a sperm unites with an egg they fuse to form a new, unique entity, that albeit will parasitically feed off of its host for the next nine months, but, a majority of us will continue to feed off of our parents until we are well past twenty. This point of convergence clearly marks the point at which life begins, to argue otherwise is ludicrous. This cell has a distinct set of genes contained within its genetic code that already differentiate it from either of its parents, and, as all life, this child has unquantifiable value.

To condone or accept abortion is to agree that either the child has no value or that its value is that to be determined by the mother, which in the case of abortion is none. To place the value of the human life below that of one’s convenience or other selfish ambition is to allow the brand of hypocrisy and savagery to be burned onto the side of humanity. Now do not be mistaken, I am not proclaiming the value of a fetus to be greater than all other things, I am simply stating the value that they posses; i.e. I would jump in front of a truck to save a baby in a stroller rolling into the road long before I would a handful of Petri dishes (but this bring up the issue of in vitro fertilization which is for a different day and a different discussion).

There is an argument in support of abortion that goes something along the lines of: if a fetus is really only the potential for a human being than it is okay to obliterate it because it doesn’t have feeling yet, and it hasn’t made any world-changing discoveries yet, or broken and world records yet. This argument, as well, is ludicrous. If this logic stands then it is okay to end anything and anyone that doesn’t feeling or some other quality or great human achievement, so, how about a newborn? I mean they’re all kinda born and they all cry, they really aren’t that different from one another. Or undergraduate college students? They have emotion and some of them might be pretty smart, maybe even capable of a Nobel Prize or something someday, but right now it’s just potential. Or that kid that just picked up guitar, he sucks now but he could be the next Doc Watson. Nah, just potential. And after we do what great things we have done with our short lives we really aren’t very valuable because we already did what we could do. See the problem with the ‘potential’ argument is that all we are and ever have been is potential. Potential for greatness, success, love, hate, victory, strength, honor, courage; and yet we dismiss the greatest potential -that for the possibility of all these things, the potential for life- as unimportant. When you dismiss potential you dismiss yourself and what it means to be human.

So, you might have been able to figure it out, but, I am pro-life and I hate abortions. Any taking of life should not be taken lightly and that is especially true of children, born or not. Then what do we do with abortion? I would like the number to drop- actually I would like it to be zero. Do we illegalize it and try mothers who have abortion as murderers? No, that would be a complete disaster. To be completely honest, I have no idea, but expanding access to them will not decrease their occurrence. You really don’t want a kid- here it comes- don’t have sex, son. You get pregnant? Tough, life sucks. Man up and take responsibility for yourself.

As for the point of viability rule, it’s a bunch of crap. Nobody is actually viable outside the womb without assistance until four, maybe five. But if by viability we mean being kept alive by the latest scientific equipment and technology- that point is ever-changing and is constantly being moved back towards the only hard and fast point of the beginning stages of life: conception. Which is why it is, and can only be the point at which life begins and is defined at.


Cassandra
For those of you who disagree with this option of “Where does life begin?” take a deep breath…..and hear me out.

I believe that life begins at conception. The moment the sperm touches the egg is the moment of a new life forming. No, there are no fingernails or organs and there is no brain or skin. YET. The whole point of “life beginning at contraception” is that this cell will eventually become a baby inside a womb. The cell WILL be a full grown baby just like a baby WILL be a full grown adult. Although we have never been a patient species, so waiting for an actual figure to grow doesn’t seem to be a priority to some people.

We live in a world that is a struggle. We are accustomed to fast paces, less free time, and constant movement besides sleeping (and even THEN some of us only spend 3 hours doing that). So it is plausible that some women do not see nor want to attempt fitting a child into their hustle and bustle lives; they choose to abort it. Some look at this as a selfless factor as the mother is thinking about what she thinks is best for the child. Others look at this as selfishness because the mother is making the decision for something voiceless and is only thinking about how HER life would be affected. The truth? It’s both. But something that would eliminate the selfishness is if the mother would take the child to term and give it up for adoption.

With either adoption or abortion, the mother is choosing not to keep the child. So why would they not want to give the child the gift of life rather than strip it of its future? If the reason is because they do not want to go through the difficult processes of pregnancy, than they are just as selfish as someone killing an innocent individual. Think about it. The child did nothing wrong. So why is it okay to get rid of it?

I do believe, however, that pregnancies due to incest or rape allow the mother the right to terminate the pregnancy. She did nothing wrong and the child is something of a reminder of a horrible incident, and I believe that if the child (when mature enough) looked at the mother’s situation, they would not judge. But any other form of getting pregnant, by either “forgetting” to use a condom or taking the pill, that is the mother’s and father’s fault. Irresponsibility is what gets people in trouble, but it is not because of irresponsibility that a baby should be aborted. I also believe that pregnancies threatening the mother’s or the baby’s life can also be terminated. Pregnancies should be a pleasant enough experience; it should not be the cause of death.
So yes, I do not believe abortion is justifiable (aside from the reasons previously stated), but I also believe that the government should not force a woman to take a baby to term. In my eyes, that is more unjustifiable than abortion itself (and that is saying something). Abortion should be a medical procedure done by someone who is licensed to practice medicine, not by some rinky-dink weirdo who calls themselves a “doctor” and uses a clothes-hanger to do the job. The Declaration of friken Independence states that we must protect our civilians for Pete’s sake, and illegalizing abortion is not doing that. That is to say for women anyway. What about the babies? Aren’t they civilians too (or potential civilians)?

This is why I believe doctors should have the right to deny giving abortions. Make it a personal decision. Yes they swore under the Hippocratic Oath to care for all beings, but the oath specifically states, “it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty” (Johns Hopkins Sheridan Libraries). This gives the doctor the right to deny giving abortions if they so wish, as it may be in violation of their moral standards effecting their “own frailty”. In addition, there is bound to be one doctor in a hospital who will complete abortions, so having trouble finding the right doctor shouldn’t be a problem.

There would be fewer conflicts if abortion was legitimate, fewer conflicts meaning there would be no dangerous methods of giving abortions (there will always be conflicts of opinion). The point here is that since the mother is already living and the baby is not, the mother should have legal options as a civilian (first come first serve). Threatening a women’s safety is not ideal obviously, so legalizing abortion would eliminate that threat.

Life begins at conception. Abortion is not right. BUT women should have options. In the end, I believe that once it happens it happens; once you’re pregnant, whether it be 9 days or 9 months, you’re pregnant. The only difference between those two time slots is the physical appearance of the baby. That is it. Aborting the child is not the solution to a pregnancy. At least give the child a chance at life. After all, that’s the purpose of a pregnancy.

Quinlan
Abortion is the termination of an unwanted pregnancy by loss of or destruction of an egg, embryo or fetus before birth. The term of abortion is used to define the termination of a pregnancy before the fetus attains capacity for life outside the uterus. In all societies, women have for many reasons, sought to terminate pregnancies. When a woman tries to self-induce an abortion it can cause serious physical risk to a woman. Today, abortions in the early weeks of a pregnancy, by a trained practitioner and under proper conditions, can be safe medical procedure. In no society, either in the present or the past has there been a single dominant attitude toward abortions. The Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle discussed abortion as a useful means of population control. Also under Roman law, abortion primarily reflected family rule by the husband, who on the one hand could order an abortion and on the other hand could punish or divorce his wife if she ended a pregnancy without his consent.

Personally I believe that life starts at the point of conception, as soon as the sperm and egg commingle you officially have a life. Mitosis starts to occur, cells start splitting and replicating. Without any intervention you will have a baby in 9 months. This is my personal opinion, If I had it my way there would be no abortions and no life would be ended prematurely. What ever supreme being that created us, also made the point of conception the start of life and wether or not people choose to define that as life, it is. If it can die, it can live whether it is conscious or unconscious. It has the capacity to grow and reproduce. To declare a beginning of life at any point after the fusing of a women’s egg and a man’s sperm is irrational. Only machines such as clocks and cars come into existence part by part. Living beings come into existence all at once and gradually unfold their world of potential. A living human begins to exist at the moment of conception, even though only as a cell. The unborn baby has a distinct, unchanging and unrepeatable genetic code, unique in all of history, from the moment of conception till death. Nothing is added except nutrition and oxygen.

No matter how hard anyone tries, they can never erase what abortion does. Abortion takes, it kills an innocent human being. Time does not erase it or ease the reality of what it is. Abortion is a cruel tragedy, but it is also a choice that should never be made. Such a choice stays with a women forever.

A child is a human being regardless of how small or how young, whether inside or outside the mother and therefore has the right to choose to live. Since young children are unable to express their desire to live, at least until they learn to talk; it is reasonably certain that, like most of the population they would prefer to live rather than be killed. They should be protected by the law and adult population until they become a legal adult at 18.

Anneke

I don't necessarily feel that I really have the right to make any judgment on this subject as I've never been pregnant and have never had to face the possibility of having a child but as of now this is my opinion.
I'm writing this on the "life begins at conception" page because I do believe that technically that's when life begins. However, just because I believe that this is when life begins does not mean I'm against abortion. In fact I believe that women have the right to choose to carry a child until the moment of birth. It's a living human being but not a conscious one, it hasn't developed a personality and has no memories. There's the potential for that but it does not yet exist. Until the child is born it is part of the woman, completely reliant on the mother for survival and if she doesn't want this fetus feeding off of her body she shouldn't have to support it. It is physically a human but I can't believe that their life is equivalent to ours.
I can't even image what it would feel like to realize that you're no longer responsible only for yourself and I know that at this point in my life I couldn't handle it. That's why I empathize with the women that decide not to have their child. Humans are weak and people have sex long before they're ready to have a child. Mistakes are made in the heat of the moment, and people mess up. Having a child changes your life; not necessarily for better or worse but either way it will be completely different than before. Abortions obviously should not be taken lightly but neither should giving birth to a child. I believe that some people genuinely shouldn't be having children and if abortion isn't an option open to them they'll either try to self-abort or be an incompetent parent. Neither of these options is even remotely okay.
Self or back-alley abortions are extremely dangerous, often ending in both the mother and child's death and if they carry the child to term chances are this unplanned child will be neglected or abused. More often than not children treated this way fall into the same cycle and the story repeats itself for generations. Personally I'd rather have one less human being in the world than one who will cause people pain. Of course I know that adoption is an option, but a lot of people probably don't think about it or don't know how to give up their child. Instead of bringing their babies to a place where they can safely surrender them they might just abandon them on the side of the road, or throw them in the garbage. In the end the baby would end up dead either way but abortion is definitely the more humane option in that scenario. Part of me sees an abortion as a way to save a child from the possibility of having a miserable life.
Honestly I believe that someone willing to even consider an abortion should not be a parent. If you're okay with snuffing out a potential life that you've created, you're obviously not ready for the responsibility of raising a child.


Kevin
Now I know a lot of you are going to disagree with me on this, but I firmly believe that life begins as soon as that one lucky sperm fertilizes the egg. In other words, life begins at conception! Even though the fetus may not have a heart or a brain at the time of conception, it is still a life. It will eventually become another human being, and it should be given the right to live.

I have never understood why so many pregnant women even consider abortion when there is absolutely no threat to their own lives. The sheer thought that over 1.3 million abortions occur in the United States every year makes me sick. Surely, not all of these abortions happened because the woman was raped or was in danger of losing their own life should the baby be carried to term. The fact that people lose sleep while caring for their children or think that having a child will affect their lives in a way that will prevent them from keeping a good career is certainly a factor in making these rash decisions. This just shows how selfish many women are, and it just takes away the right of a child to live a potentially happy life. If someone can’t afford to have a baby, well, there is always adoption. Any woman has the right to surrender a baby to an adoption agency and at least give the child the gift of life it deserves. Aborting a fetus for any reason other than rape or life endangerment is just like shooting someone on the street. It takes away an innocent life because of the selfishness of the woman.

The only reason to abort a pregnancy would be due to rape or the possibility of the mother losing her life after carrying the baby to term. In both of these cases, the mother does nothing wrong. She either never wanted to be pregnant or had no idea that carrying the baby to term would endanger their own lives. However, abortion because of teen pregnancy or any other unplanned pregnancy like not using a condom or refusing to take a birth control pill is not okay. If you’re a 17 year-old girl in your senior year of high school and you get pregnant and now you can’t graduate because of it, that’s your own problem. You should have been responsible and learned not to make the dumb decision to have unprotected sex in the first place. You should have told your boyfriend to use a condom or just never even try it at all. It’s your own fault for becoming pregnant in the first place. Parents need to learn to be more responsible for these actions.

If there is such a case where an abortion is absolutely necessary (for the reasons above), they also need to be performed by someone who actually KNOWS what they are doing. Coat hangers and any other tool that might be used for self-abortion are not the way to do it. These methods will only further endanger the woman’s life. Women still have their rights even if they are performing an abortion. However, abortion should not be one of those rights unless absolutely necessary. It just makes me cringe to know that hundreds of thousands of innocent lives are being taken every year because of a woman’s irresponsibility.

Overall, I don’t think abortion is ever going to be outlawed; nor do I think it should be outlawed. Illegalizing it will only cause conflict within our country. But any doctor who doesn’t receive proof that a pregnancy was caused by rape should deny abortion, or if a doctor cannot prove that a pregnancy will endanger the woman’s life, then he should deny abortion. If the doctor gives you a 95% chance of dying of childbirth, do whatever you think is best, but if you’re pregnant because you didn’t wear that darn condom like everybody TOLD you to, that’s your problem and nobody else’s. Carry the darn baby to term and put it up for adoption if you want. You don’t think you can stand childbirth and you know you won’t die? Too bad. Sucks to be you. Just take it like it’s nothing and get over the fact that you made a stupid decision! Don’t come crying to the doctor’s office for an abortion after you screwed yourself over in the first place (if you haven’t figured it out by now, I am super conservative and am a pro-life believer).

I understand that life is harsh, but I know that we all have the power to take it like a man and just roll with the punches. Everyone deserves a chance at life. Why not give it to them?


Jordan
With at least a limited perception, I was able to, the second I clicked on the link to this section of posts, sense that my argument here would have significantly less weight due to my gender. I am not a woman, and therefore will never experience the fullest grasp of the mind-bending agony that only they go through during pregnancy and birth. How then will I justify inflicting upon them such burden?

I’ve too often noticed this developing life referred to as “potential life”. However, I’m unable to come to terms with such a label. Sure, merely a cluster of cells, yet one that actively pursues life. This is not a dormant seed found buried under the earth, but rather a one-time sprint toward birth; one that can only succeed or fail. I find a difference between not providing the means to induce life and destroying a creation that is itself reaching for it. When you “brush off some skin cells”, sure, they too are life. They do carry your genetic code, are a portion of your very being, and are a beautiful creation of Mother Nature. However, they do not grow. They merely exhaust their energy and die. They do not evolve to their environment, grow organs, nor develop brain patterns. In seeking the identity of the “potential”, we begin to connote this with a dormant being that “can” be, rather than an actively developing one that is “going” to be.

In the act of killing, there are many different justifications. We humans are carnivores: we destroy the life of animals to promote our own growth. We too are herbivores, consuming the essence of plant lives to add its elements and energy to our own. Each step, breath, hot shower, and washing of our hands -our slightest acts destroy countless microorganisms. The spider in the corner appeared threatening – what if its intentions were murderous? We dispose of its life just as we dispose of the napkin we used to do so. So what makes the taking of a life of our species so very different from all else? Is it simply that we are as a species so superior to all other forms of life? Well, this seems to be the case with us so far. That is to say, there is a thing called “personhood” that has defended us from ourselves for so long. This is where the apparent issue has come down to, the “point” of personhood; the point of no return. However, I think that we’re simply avoiding the questions at hand in this: How can we define personhood as a turning point within development? If we’re already trying to distinguish self-awareness before actual birth, how then can we say when one wouldn’t be far along enough to not consider their life valuable?

We cannot simply make a rigid cutoff date for when life is important – this is impossible to qualify, improbable to be able to regulate, and difficult to morally justify. How have we thus far tried to do this? Counting the number of senses fully or partially operational within the fetus? Distinguishing pain as the sole artifact of thought and feeling? Looking for fingernails? Away with all this I say!

I don’t find memory to be placed suitably here either. Unconscious memory begins before the birth itself does, the kind of memory that protects our actions by taking into account past experiences. Conscious memory doesn’t even begin until several years after the birth, a time in which it is generally acceptable that abortions should not be performed in.

In the matter of dealing with abortions, I don’t feel as though granting doctors with qualms against abortion (a large amount of them being religious) the right to refuse to perform abortion services would do anything good for the cause. They’d simply be replaced by other willing doctors, doing little to reduce the amount of abortions undergone. Worse than this, I could see these doctors even having their views taken into account upon their hiring. As the director of a hospital, would it not be preferable to hire a qualified doctor who can conduct abortions rather than one who could not?

My personal view is that they should be outlawed, though even I can see many difficulties both in doing so and in the actual end result in terms of its consequences. Will the amount of unskilled abortions performed increase due to their lawlessness? They absolutely would, unfortunately. However, that is not to say that they are not already being performed. Many can’t afford them where free access to them is not given, whilst others do not have access to doctors who can perform them for miles. Some simply do not wish to be placed in the maw of the stigma of going to the clinic, and wish to undergo the abortion cloaked under darkness and secrecy. It is also true that vastly more pregnancies would be carried to term than would be destroyed by these dangerously uninformed means. When Prohibition came about, did not a large amount of the population relinquish the bottle?

According to a report put together by the health and statistic agencies of seven states (Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Utah) [http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/policy/abortion/abreasons.html#3], cases of rape make up merely 0.54% of all abortions, and cases of incest even less so (under 0.3%). As coldhearted as this may sound, I see no reasonable cause to allow for abortions of these, either. Aside from the moral arguments that the child had no part in the wrongdoing, and would regardless most likely be satisfied to be alive, cases like these would be nearly impossible to regulate. Anyone wanting an abortion could make the case that intercourse which may have been consensual at the time was forced, allowing for the abortion, though this would be very difficult to impossible to actually prove. It simply provides too slippery of a slope. Such a small demographic of abortions, I believe, should not have more weight than the rest of them.

In this same study, I’ve found that the majority of abortions are performed because of either socio-economic reasons, or an unreadiness of the parent, both, I believe, could be readily solved by adoption. Granted, the children may not have the best homes, and some may not ever even get adopted, but they would at least have for themselves the one thing that wasn’t taken from them at their most vulnerable, something no one would then have the right to take from them. The only thing that they truly own.

I end off with quite a risky summation of my own personal views, views that tell me that abortion is simply an unacceptable shortcut through unwanted pregnancy that we’ve grown to accept.


Tara Y.
So I guess I’ll start off by saying that I believe that life begins at conception (if you didn’t infer that from where I am posting it). I know that this may seem silly to some of you, but I think that once there is the formation of individual DNA there is a life, or potential life if we are getting technical. This leads into my next point of my personal belief that abortion at any stage is immoral and wrong. I could not personally get an abortion, even if I was 18 and pregnant, and I would not recommend it to any of my peers. This being said, ironically, I don’t believe that outlawing abortion would in any way be effective or of benefit to society.

Due to my Christian faith and upbringing, I have been raised with certain ideals about the sanctity of life. I don’t advocate for being pro-life and also not believe in birth control, because to me that’s a little ludicrous. I advocate for life, that’s who I am (which, for those who know, could probably infer that.) If a mothers’ life is in danger, an abortion is acceptable. When the life is not in danger, I don’t really see it as anything except selfishness. I really don’t mean to be offensive with that view, I just think that if you believe yourself to be mature enough to partake in sexual activities, you should be mature enough to not forget the pill, be prepared with a condom, etc. Those things are irresponsible and show a disregard for human life. It takes what, two minutes of pleasure to begin that process of life? Two minutes of not caring enough to be protected to engage in one of the most selfish acts possible? That isn’t acceptable. For the less than 1% of women who have a legitimate reason to get an abortion (life-threatening pregnancy, incest, rape), then okay, I have a little more empathy and understanding for those women and their circumstances.

People seem to treat pregnancy as something that is expendable (“considered to be not worth keeping or maintaining” “ not worth preserving”). Or as some sort of backup. Something in case of being caught up in a moment of passion. An excuse for being irresponsible. But, as selfish as I believe it to be, it isn’t up to me. It isn’t my body, and it isn’t my choice. I can’t force my fundamental beliefs and my morals on someone who has been raised differently and might not see where I am coming from. It is essential, in a place where freedom is emphasized and highly regarded, that we keep those freedoms open and as unrestricted as possible. It is important that I, as a person who believes in loving people despite how fallible they are, show acceptance and compassion, even when I might not understand.

In a perfect world there would be no need for abortion, but our reality is far from that. People get raped or their lives are endangered and less than ideal things happen. This imperfect world is full of things that shouldn’t happen, and abortion is probably one of the top things on that list (in my opinion). This is why I believe that, like Ami and Anna said, we should focus on accessible contraception and bring more sex education to young adults and teens. We should stop fixating on abortion as the sole issue in this equation. If people are educated and prepared, maybe the abortion rate wouldn’t be so alarming.



Sarah S
I have gone back and forth on this issue numerous of times, despite my core beliefs remaining the same: you could definitely say that I am in the ‘all life is sacred’ camp, with a strong interest for the coming life that lacks a voice. I go back and forth because the issue is so far from reaching any vague form of a ‘right’ answer. It starts to form circles: conception marks life, therefore abortion kills life; that is an action which is morally wrong, therefore it should be illegal; God gave us choice, so we cannot force judgment on women whose situations vary greatly, it should remain their right to choose; rights are restricted when it endangers another life, and if conception marks life, the right to choose should be withheld; things are more complicated than that, the financial situation and the safety of the both the child and the mother should be taken into account, might it be better if the child were—; no one is in the position to judge the outcome of a situation or choice since there is no way to determine it, everyone deserves that chance, hardship is unavoidable (and the arguments with myself continues).
What hangs over my head is the acknowledgement that abortion terminates a life before it begins, but there are also situations where it suddenly becomes ‘ideal’. I can’t say that I am comfortable with forcing anyone to choose by making abortion illegal, but there is also a moral issue here that cannot be ignored. There are also a lot of consequences in terms of the legality of the issue. Making it illegal seems to have the potential harm of women seeking out the procedure anyway, and the effects of forcing a woman to bring a baby to term has a giant, unknowable impact on the woman’s life. Making it legal continues to snuff out life before it can even have a voice, and I fully believe in the right of that voice eventually being heard. We start splitting weeks, and times, where the only difference is the growth of the baby in the pregnancy with added time, but the mother’s situation stays the same. If we want to keep her happiness and well-being into the picture as well as the environment the baby will grow up in, in mind, then these factors can’t be thrown out of the picture with the passage of a single day, all because of a hard deadline. In all honesty, I get frustrated and start fuming when those trying to argue for choice, step into the camp of ‘abortion is not a big deal’. It is a big deal. I’ve met those ‘potentials’ before, who are very happy at the fact that they are alive—even someone who was the child of a rape case. These may sound like rare success stories, and they might be, but the idea chills me to think that we could be losing anyone by being unnerved by the situation or aftermath that might unfold with the presence of a child. There is a second right to life being considered here and judging the quality of life of someone before it has even begun to take shape, or considered a mere ‘possibility’, feels wrong. I understand that I can be idealistic. You might be thinking about how crazy I am and that I have no clue about the hardships that are involved in these situations, of being put into a foster care system, being brought up in an unstable environment, or having to carry a rapists’ child to term. That’s where you’re right, I have no clue. Every situation presents different issues, and I cannot determine the ‘right’ choice by saying abortion should be illegal. This is a decision of possibilities for the mother to make, since she knows what her situation looks like. That’s where I lean towards choice: the undeniable fact that the real world is messy, and sometimes incomprehensible. There are going to be instances that arise where abortion seems like ‘the best option’, as much as I hate to even fathom it. If I were ever to consent to something that I strongly believe to be a moral injustice, is for the action to keep the weight and all seriousness that it should. Despite the arguments we could have about the right ‘justifications’ for abortion, we cannot deny that it is the termination of a pregnancy.
A baby before it is born is considered potential. I say that it is already fulfilling a possibility.

COHORT 7 RESPONDS


Chase
I believe that life begins at conception. For the longest time, or since I learned about what abortion was, I have always thought it was wrong. My Christian roots got the best of me on this one. Going into this unit I expected people to be really passionate in either direction, but that wasn’t really the case. Many people seemed passive on the subject, not speaking their opinion very loud or proud. I believe the reason for this is because the topic of abortion is so complicated and there’s so many elements people don’t consider when first forming an opinion. Take me for example, before I was educated on the topic more, I never knew people performed abortions on themselves prior to Roe V. Wade. It made me ponder what the repercussions would be if abortion was still illegal. Back alley abortion clinics, girls injuring themselves by trying to perform their own abortions, and the unnecessary deaths of a lot of people. There’s so many different reasons why a girl would seek an abortion, such as in the cases of rape or incest. This is why so many people don’t have a clear opinion on abortion. It’s not a black and white subject, it’s intricate and people need to treat it as such.

Many feminists always preach about a woman’s right to choose. “It’s our body, we should be able to do what we want with it.” Now I’m not here to argue with that statement, women should be able to choose what happens with their body, just as men should, but abortion is a big decision. Just as women have the right to “choose” to have an abortion, they have the right to “choose” to have unprotected sex. They made the choice to have sex, and should have to live with it. Women want the responsibility to be able to choose to have an abortion, but don’t want to be responsible for having safe sex. This baffles me. Choosing whether or not to have an abortion is a monumental decision, but the decision a man and a woman make to have unprotected sex never gets a second thought. I think we can all agree that contraceptives are the best for both parties, the less the need for abortion, the better for both sides.

Women like the one we watched in the video, who was on her fifth abortion I believe, sicken me. She’s essentially taking no responsibility for her actions and using abortion as birth control. I don’t believe that’s what the legalization of abortion was intended for. I understand the use of abortion in cases of rape or incest, and have no moral conflict with women receiving them for that reason. I would also like to add that I think the violent protests of abortion clinics/doctors who preform abortions are absolutely unnecessary. Women are making a very hard decision, and already have to live with themselves, they don’t need someone on the outside making them feel worse.

After hearing the statistics that Otto spoke about in his piece, I was stunned. That many people were denied the chance to live. Denied the chance to be born, denied the chance to grow up, denied the chance to get married, denied the right to have kids of their own. It’s just a shame that they didn’t even get to try.

As much as I think abortion is a complex subject with many intricate parts and touchy situations, I just can’t bring myself to believe that the termination of pregnancies is morally okay.

Lindaluz
An egg has potential to be human once it’s fertilized. You can’t fertilize a skin cell. It’s impossible. Theoretically, because of stem cells, skin cells have the ability to develop into a possible egg. But it’s unnatural. A skin cell itself doesn’t have the potential to be human.

This is the reason I believe life begins at conception. One a spermatozoid has transferred its DNA to this egg, life is created. Well, depends how you define life. I believe that once an egg is fertilized, it’s capacity to respond to stimuli, reproduce, adapt, and grow begins. Does this mean it already has a life? Meaning, can it think, breath on its own, communicate its desires and aversions? No, it has the potential TO life through natural means. Not because it had to be modified through stem cells.

But this potential could be interfering with someone else’s potential. Someone’s potential to get their master’s degree to become a teacher, or to become a doctor, or just go through college and become someone in life. She might be about to go on a missionary trip to a third world to help thousands in need, but she might not be able to because she found out she’s pregnant. This is where I believe women should have the choice; the choice to decide what’s best for them and their bodies. No one can possibly understand what women have to go through, especially men. No one will ever understand another woman’s situation, her hardships, fears or constrains.

Although, personally, I’d like to save a life. I’d like to save as many babies as possible from being terminated. But it’s not up to me and I won’t judge anyone who makes the decision to have an abortion. My aunt has had two abortions already. Actually three, but the first one was because her body rejected the baby. It was a miscarriage. Now I bet you’re judging her right now. You’re probably wondering why she had these abortions and probably assuming that she kept having unprotected sex. Well you’re right. She was having unprotected sex, but that’s because she wanted to get pregnant. She wants a baby. But the fertilized egg was stubborn. It attached itself to her tubes rather than her uterus and began to grow there. Twice. If she would have carried the baby to means, none of them would have survived. She would die because the tube would eventually burst, and the baby would obviously die right after. To all those hard-core pro-life members…. What would you have done? I love my aunt so much and I’m glad she had the abortion, I really am. A woman should have the right to choose, period.

Jackson T.

Life begins at conception. This is my belief, and well I think it is correct. I actually came across this belief recently. Though my girlfriend, Anna C, is a VERY strong believer in life, and my best friend, Stephen M is a VERY strong believer in a woman's right to choose; I never seemed to have a solid opinion on way or the other. But recently in class, my mind has been made, well made a little more. I morally disagree with the act of abortion. I believe the medical procedure is, to be stated bluntly, murder.

Okay, I'm really beyond the point of making this blog sound good, and well I think the rest will just turn in the the first scene of the Social Network, hopefully ending with some sort of opinion. Like I said, I don't think abortion is morally right. In most cases doctors have to do the sucking method, like the video a few brave souls watched the other day in class. This just disgusts me. I don't think abortion should have ever been a thought in someones mind. Life begins at conception, and and abortion is terminating a life. I know I will never understand the complexity of life, nor will I discover how the first life form came to be, but I do know that life is a gift. No not from above, I'm not a believer and certainly don't care what the grand old book of stories or the Church has to say about the matter, but a life is sacred. (I hope I don't offend anyone, and I really hope non of my professors read this...CUA!!) Life is sacred. Everyone will do amazing things and everyone has so much potential, which the world needs. Yet in our fifty states, you can kill that possibility of a life. And I am never in favor in killing. I don't believe in the death penalty and think war is not always the answer, but I know that abortion never the answer. That baby deserves life.

Now when I spoke in the socratic, I was conflicted. I actually received the name "Flip Flopper" from Otto and Chris Hanna. But my conflicted opinion was over the legal matter. I sad that I was a strong believer in our legal system, and I am. Now Adam and Kent can go make their immature and uneducated snickers about law, or their false understanding of that, but I think it's something that needs to be looked at an examined very closely. At this point, over turning Roe V Wade would be nearly impossible, but I think it should done.

I'm all in favor of freedoms. I think the law is in place as the base, and the citizens decide whether it right or wrong in their household. For example gay marriage or physician assisted suicide. Both should be completely legal across the board, and then you decide if you're morally okay with the issue. If a doctor didn't agree with physician assisted suicide, then he wouldn't perform the procedure, and if the family of a homosexual couple doesn't agree with gay marriage, then they wont condone the marriage. However all of this means nothing in the case of abortion, due to the simple fact that you are killing a pre-born child. I agree with freedoms! But not the freedom to murder.

Joe V.

“I’ll just put it plain and simple: I wholeheartedly believe that life begins at conception. When that sperm enters that egg, a path is laid forth along which that developing human shall travel, and yes, a developing human. This whole question centers around how we, or I rather, define personhood and at what point that new individual should be protected from a legal standpoint. Well I’d like to differentiate the two. I find the whole concept of the “moment of viability” to be quite unfounded, frankly, because it’s a moveable date. The point at which the baby could survive outside of the womb? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m guessing that 100 years ago, verses now, there would be a pretty big difference in what people would define as the moment of viability. Viability is almost entirely contingent upon the medical technologies of the time, and as time goes on, those who set viability as the point of legal intervention will find themselves moving closer and closer towards initial conception.

So the question then is posed: what difference is there between a child who is about to start fighting his way out through labor, and a child who just finished exiting the birth canal? The only notable difference I can find, physiologically speaking, is that the child still in utero isn’t breathing air yet, whereas the child who was just born is crying away in the doctor’s arms. Yet I find it fairly hard to believe that the ability to breathe air would be the sole determining factor in defining personhood. And it’s not even that they can’t breathe air, but rather that the child in utero doesn’t want to drown on amniotic fluid, so it chooses not to. So what defines you as human? Rather, what separates us from animals? We both eat, breathe, feel, taste, reproduce, excrete, etc… But what about consciousness?

We have two types of memory as functioning young adults: explicit and implicit. Implicit memory is what most animals share – it’s essential for survival, and falls below the level of consciousness. Explicit memory, though, is where things get tricky. It is understood that explicit memory is the foundation for consciousness – your ability to recognize self and past selves is a result of explicit memory. Thinking back to what you did the previous day is facilitated by explicit memory. Even some animals have expressed certain elements of explicit memory, which may even allude to the presence of consciousness in them. So big deal – we have it, so what? Except that we didn’t use to. You don’t develop explicit memory, in other words, consciousness, until about age 2. For some, (i.e. the right-to-life at 18 crowd), this may come as a blessed excuse to end it before the “terrible two’s”. But think of the flipside:

Your implicit memory includes behavioral, emotional, and somatosensory types of memory, among many others, and what makes it unique, is that it’s formed while you’re still in the womb. Your memory is founded biologically, in both your brain and the extending nervous system. Both of those work at one point in the womb, and who you are today is, in part, because of what you, or rather your mom, experienced those last few months. Your thoughts and your identity are, to some extent, shaped by the time you spent floating around in there. In fact, there have been studies which have found that women who were pregnant during 9/11, who were later diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, had children who themselves were diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, even though they didn’t see the towers fall, smell the dust clouds, or even consciously know what was going on. My point is that they still react in many ways the same way that we as adults do, though they may not have consciousness. A 1 year old has the same reactionary capability as a child in utero, as it’s functioning off of implicit memory. But I don’t think you see 50 million unwanted 1 year olds killed in, sometimes, the most grotesque of ways. Now just think for a moment: there are roughly 3,300 abortions performed per day. That’s one developing child killed every 26 seconds. It’s entirely legal. And even given all that, I think it should stay legal.

Granted, yes, I wish there could never be another abortion again, but a problem exists now that wasn’t present 40 years ago when it first became legal. Most people who will be wanting an abortion have lived their entire lives with access to one. So why is that such a big deal? Think of what happened with prohibition – you take away something which everyone has come to expect as a part of life, and, well, all hell breaks loose. My concern would be that the number of women who tried to perform abortions pre-legalization would be dwarfed by those who would attempt it if it ever were made illegal again. On top of that, with the profusion of the internet, a simple google search for “how to perform an abortion on yourself” yields plenty of wikihow and yahoo answers results, with everything from coat-hanger methods to chemical treatments. If you don’t believe me, look it up yourself. While I believe that the growing thing inside a mother’s womb is a human being, I don’t deny that it is, for most of its time in there, entirely dependent on the mother for life, as Maggie from a Million Dollar Baby was on her breathing tube. If the woman dies attempting to perform an abortion, following instructions she found online, the child dies too.

I think the most important thing in this whole debate, that perhaps is overlooked somewhat, is the psychological and emotional care needed by the woman pre and post-birth/abortion. Wrestling with the decision to abort or to keep the baby is something I would never, ever want to have to do, and I think that judging someone for their decision, for the most part, puts you in worse moral standing than them even. You don’t know their situation – you haven’t walked in their shoes, and never will, nor, for all the guys out there, will you (ideally) ever carry a child. So I don’t feel it’s my place to dictate what a woman should or shouldn’t do. Heck, I’m the oldest of my three siblings, but I wasn’t my mom’s first child. Granted, it implanted in the fallopian tube so both would have died, but regardless, she had to make that decision for herself. For those who think that think that pro-life people should be anti-capital punishment, and vice versa, there is a flaw with that thinking: The person on death-row most likely killed someone – he took an (innocent) life and is receiving like punishment. The child in utero doesn’t even have the capacity to perform an evil act, yet he is sentenced to death as well.

So do I think that life begins at conception? Yes. Do I think that abortion should be legal? Yes as well. However, there needs to be a more scientifically backed point at which it should become illegal, because I find the argument that it’s murder to kill a child when it’s in the doctor’s arms, but perfectly legal the few hours prior when it was in the mother’s womb, to be a bit screwy. I know some may say that is should be illegal once the heart starts beating, but that happens only six weeks into the pregnancy, just a couple of weeks after the woman starts to notice she missed her period. Sometime between the beating of the heart and the development of implicit memory should be where legal intervention steps in, but I’m not the one to write the laws or enact them, so who knows if it’ll ever change. The way the system is now, though, with hypocritical things like “double homicides”, needs to change – but not in the way the radicals in both the Pro-Life and Pro-Choice would like to. I’m just glad that I don’t have to be the person to do it.”

Niki F


At the beginning of this unit, I wasn't exactly sure how I felt about abortion. I love babies, so it was difficult for me to be able to say that women should have the choice, but I did and still do realize that there are circumstances where people feel the need to abort their baby. However, it's inhumane. Since watching videos and learning about abortion, I have looked around and seen the cutest, most innocent babies. What if their mother had decided to abort them? They wouldn't exist; they wouldn't have their whole life to decide whether or not they even wanted to exist. At least give them the chance at life before taking it away.

Every egg, when fertilized, has the potential to become a healthy child. From the moment of conception, that "small cluster of cells" grows, which turns into a zygote, which turns into a fetus, which then turns into a baby. It grows in its mother's uterus, and will continue to grow once born. It is life, and just because it cannot breathe on its own yet, does not mean it doesn't have the right to life. And although the mother is responsible for the welfare of her unborn child, she should not be able to have the right to get rid of it only because it is an inconvenience in her life.

When first introduced to this unit, we learned about the numbers and statistics of women getting abortions each year, which was alarming, to say the least. Sitting there with a horror-stricken look on my face, I thought, "Why would people be so stupid where they would get themselves into an unwanted pregnancy?" It is not the child's fault, it is the mother's, so why punish the baby? There are many other options available to people to prevent pregnancy, such as birth control, condoms, and the morning after pill (other known as Plan B), so why not use these? And, if these fail, you can always put the child up for adoption, and there are many different support programs.

Abortion should be illegal, but if it is going to keep being legal, they should limit the amount you can have. During the socratic, Jackson joked about this, but I don't think anyone should be allowed to get five abortions, like the woman did in the video we watched. Those are five potential lives she ended, wouldn't she have learned to take precautions after the first one? The nurse said that not one treated an abortion light-heartedly, but it doesn't seem to have a serious affect on women if they're coming back for their second, third, or even fifth abortion.

Life begins at conception, and we should protect that life through pregnancy and after he or she is born. There are many other options a woman can take, and abortion shouldn't be one of them.


(When Niki posted her blog, she deleted all the blogs from George to Lauren, so I copied & pasted from the previous version. Sorry if there are any formatting errors. - Karl Z.)


Lauren H.


A single cell is the basic component of life, so why shouldn’t a clump of cells be considered living, too? I don’t think a zygote or an embryo should be considered as “a potential life”—I mean, the cells are already considered alive by the majority of the science community. In fact, if there was an option to say that life begins before conception, I think I’d submit this post under that opinion.


A single ovum is a cellular structure that contains the smallest unit of life (which seems obvious if you acknowledge basic biological principles). When this ovum isn’t fertilized, however, it is released during a woman’s menstrual cycle—but I don’t see anyone picketing against feminine hygiene products (I hate that term…it makes basic female biology seem like a taboo) in front of grocery stores. But why not? I mean… this ovum could have been fertilized…it had the potential to be a human life…but people against abortion decide to ignore this potential life. But what if that unfertilized egg could have cured cancer? What if it could have conquered world hunger? What if that haploid could have potentially been fertilized with a sperm cell and what if this combination would have created a diploid that could have become a zygote that could have become an embryo that could have developed into a fetus that could have been born into this world that could have grown up to be a great scientist that could have cured AIDS. To this reasoning, I say screw you. How about you focus your energy on the kids living in poverty, in horrible conditions, in the orphanages, etc., who don’t have the opportunities or the resources that could allow them to display their fullest potential and oh, I don’t know, become an economist that comes up with the perfect solution for financial global progress.


Anyways, I’ll stop being cynically satirical and get to my actual opinion. Yes, I believe that life begins at conception, and that a little clump of cells is life. However, I do not believe that this clump of cells has the “potential to become life” because IT ALREADY IS LIFE. However, I don’t see that clump of cells as equivalent to a human baby. A clump of cells can be seen anywhere in nature. It is the ability to comprehend, reason, create, etc. that makes the complex cellular structure of the human body, well, human. And I believe this gift of “humanhood” is received at birth. We can eat bacon from a slaughtered pig without giving it a second thought (even though pigs are extremely intelligent animals, fyi) but when it comes to terminating a pregnancy with an embryo that doesn’t even have a nervous system complex enough to feel pain or even taking Plan B as a precaution if you think your birth control method(s) failed, people begin to start preaching their beliefs of how God thinks abortion is wrong and how abortion should be illegal.


If you haven’t already figured it out, I support a woman’s right to choose, up to a certain point in their pregnancy of course. Once a fetus can feel pain, around week 12 according to Mr. Geib’s handy dandy timeline, I start feeling uncomfortable with the idea of aborting the fetus. It’s extremely hard for me to make judgments about when the cut off abortion date should be. I don’t want to limit a woman’s right to choose, and I certainly don’t want women to feel like they need to take drastic measures (i.e. wire coat hanger), but knowing that an abortion could potentially inflict pain makes me squirm. I don’t think anyone has the perfect answer as to how far along in the pregnancy should an abortion be illegal. Hopefully I won’t ever be in the situation of an unwanted pregnancy, but if I ever were, I would only know what’s right for me and me alone. I couldn’t imagine imposing my opinion onto a decision that is so personal, heavy, and devastating.

Christina D

All year I have struggled with the topics we have discussed in class. Usually my opinion goes back and forth because I can see both sides to an argument, and because of that, I could never really form an opinion that wasn’t right in between both sides. This time was different however, to my surprise. I firmly believe that life begins at conception. From day one, the fetus has a full set of human chromosomes that it will have for the rest of its life. From day one, it is a human life. I like to think of it this way: most people would agree that there are stages to human life – newborn, toddler, child, adolescent, teenager, etc. Why is it that the 9 months spent in the womb is discounted as a stage of life? It grows and develops just as a human would at any other stage in life. It may be a woman’s body, but her rights do not extend to the point of destroying and forcibly taking another being’s life.

I think the standard argument for abortions is that a woman should have a right to choose what happens in her own body. To that I say that a woman had her choice 9 months ago. That may sound a bit harsh, but I believe that people should be responsible for their own actions. People, to me at least, don’t seem to make the connection between sex and pregnancy (I once watched this terrible show called I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant , where one woman actually said “We had unprotected sex, but I didn’t know I would get pregnant. ” Really?). They don’t acknowledge the fact that, even with birth control, there is a chance they can get pregnant, and they don’t prepare themselves in case that actually happens. If you’re not mature enough to handle a baby, then maybe you’re not mature enough to be having sex. If you know you don’t want a baby, then maybe you should resolve to not have sex now rather than take an innocent, developing life later. It’s not the baby’s fault that it was conceived, so why should it be the one to pay with its life? Adoption is a perfectly acceptable option.

Under normal circumstances, I had decided on what I stated above. What about in abnormal circumstances though? What about rape? At the beginning of the unit, I thought that this, along with incest and undue burden, would be the exception. I started to think differently, though, after we watched the clip about Bosnian women who were raped. I know why a woman wouldn’t want a baby that came about by rape, but I also know that the one Bosnian woman came to love her daughter who was the product of forced rape anyway, despite the circumstances. How can you guarantee that there won’t be other women like that, women who will actually love the child anyway? It is a possibility, and if the woman still doesn’t want it – adopt. It’s the option that people seem to forget, but it’s a good one. Again, it’s not the child’s fault that it came to be. A baby is a baby, and life is life

The only exception I really see is if the pregnancy endangers both the baby and the mother. Yes, it is sad, but you can either save one life or neither. There is something that I considered that we didn’t really discuss though, and that is the life of the baby. There are those tragic births in which the baby cannot survive very long, or at least are not predicted to, and I’m not sure where I stand on that issue. If a baby doesn’t have a very good chance at life, should you be able to abort it? On one hand, if it weren’t aborted, I wouldn’t want the child to have to suffer so much as it dies outside of the womb. On the other hand, you can’t always predict what may happen in life. The writer Alison Davis, whose article we read about euthanasia, had spina bifida. Her parents were told that she would never survive; that doctor was wrong. What if her parents had heard this before she was born and decided to abort her? We know what kind of life would have been extinguished if they had. You can’t always guarantee that things will work out the way you think you will, which is why I’m not sure about this one. You can never know if you’re ending a potentially great human life if you opt for abortion, or if you are extending pain on the off chance that it will survive.

On the legality of abortions, I am still unsure. Though I may believe what I’ve stated above, I also agree with Joe on the fact that women will just opt for dangerous abortions by unqualified “specialists” or themselves if the option is not there for them.

I may have gone a bit off topic, but I just wanted to share my views. When it comes down to it, I believe that personhood begins at conception. It is a human baby, just starting out and developing, as we do throughout our entire lives. To me, it is another stage of life, as we all go through (and as we all have gone through, because we all started out that way) just one in which the baby can’t survive on its own quite yet. That is when you start growing. It has the same genes from day one that it will have on its final day. It is human life, and it has such great potential for great things. I’m not sure how the following sentence will be received, but I’ll go ahead and write it anyway. During our Abortion Socratic, I had one saddening thought that has stuck with me ever since it popped into my mind. If we did not have abortion, if women had let their babies live, would there be extra chairs in our circle? Who else might have been with us in the Bioethics classroom?

Katie T.

Throughout the year, I have taken a pretty neutral stance on almost every subject of debate. My opinions are not extreme by any means, and I would like think that my opinion on abortion goes along the same lines.

When I hear about abortion, all I really think of is that it is something that I would never do. Although I really feel uncomfortable around babies and I know that I won't be ready to have a child of my own for a long while, I would never abort one if I did become pregnant. The cluster of cells that would be growing inside of me, even though that is like a really terrifying thought to me, would still be a person. A unique, one of a kind individual with it's (I'm calling it an it because I wouldn't know what gender it was at the clump stage, not because of anything else) own special DNA. I could never live with myself knowing that I threw away so much potential, even if it made my life much harder.

However, I am not against others having an abortion. I completely understand why women decide to have an abortion performed on them. I do not look down on them or think less of them in any way. It's their body and they should be able to decide what happens to it. But perhaps they should have considered the consequences of their actions more seriously before they got pregnant. I don't think that it's fair that women are berated as they walk into abortion clinics. They're already having a tough time and they truly don't deserve that type of treatment. There are other ways to get your point across.

If I haven't already made it clear, I am Pro-Choice. Although I would never have an abortion done on myself, I don't think that my approach would ever work for everyone else. An absolute ban on abortion wouldn't help anyone. Abortions wouldn't cease, but they would become much more expensive, not to mention dangerous. Forcing people into a one-option choice is not only unfair, but also unethical.

Life and personhood begin at conception. A removal of an unplanned or unwanted life should not be illegal. It might not be fair to the clump of cells, but that's what happens. Life for people isn't fair in the later years, why would you expect it to be at the beginning?

Shawn J

I believe no matter what god you do or don’t believe in or which one you did or didn’t come from that all life is born sacred.
I have never been one to like or get along with other people, I don’t believe in humanity as a whole, but I do believe that an individual person can make a difference. My beliefs are very hypocritical. I would like to think myself as an optimist and always looking for the bright side but it seems like lately all I can see is the bad. Is say this because I believe that almost every child that had been aborted had a chance to live their life with a chance to fulfill it with greatness, pride, and glory, but were never given the chance to do this. Maybe their impact would not have been that great but just their presence could have changed everything in some one’s life. Do I think abortion is evil, no. do I think the person who wants to have one is bad, no. I will never be the person out on the streets protesting against it quoting the bible, mainly because there are many better things I could be doing with my time, also I won’t be paraphrasing random quotes from bible verses witch lessons have nothing to do with what they pulled them from. I don’t believe people should interpret the bible directly like that rather than they should learn lessons from the stories so they can act with righteousness and kindness to help others. The men going off and killing abortionist because “god told them to” are idiots who should stop taking acid.

Sorry I went off on a rant there. I believe that human life should be protected at conception. We were all at this stage once and all could have been aborted. When I was looking around the room during our debate one thing I thought was what if one person in this room was aborted or never born. Even if I had never met them this class or someone’s life in this class could be dramatically different because someone else was never there to affect it I the way they have done today. I did not talk much during the Socratic but my opinion was pretty simple. I don’t like abortion and don’t see many reasons on why it someone should get one. If your are old enough to have sex you are old enough to raise a child. Some people may say my view are one sided and ignorant because I will never have to deliver or carry the child but to that all I can say is this is my opinion and I'm not going to try to change yours or say you’re wrong.
What also has come up a lot through this unit is the woman’s right to choose, but honestly you chose to have sex in the first place and that result ended with a child and even though you have your right to privacy and to control what is going on with your body you don’t have the right to dictate another life, even if that life is within you. Whether you want to believe it or not there is life inside of you. Life is sacred, life is hope. I know that it may not be the best time for you or that this child may not have the greatest statistics for the best life possible, but you now have the chance to make something great or give something great to another person.

Adam B

All life begins at the time when the sperm fertilizes the egg, and a zygote appears. That's a biological fact that honestly I see no point in debating. A zygote may not have a definite conscious, sure, but it is a singular-celled organism that contains a nucleus, and thus should be defined as none other than the basic form of life.

But that's honestly not what I see as the major obstacle in this abortion debate. The true debate lies with whether abortion should be legal or it shouldn't be. It's a very slippery slope sort of debate that can leave often leave people more frustrated over it than with any other single topic.

Personally, I hate the idea of abortion. To me, no matter which stage the baby is in, it is still a baby: it is still life. All of us, who presently carry emotions, thoughts, and feelings, were there at one point too, cradled inside our mother's womb. We literally destroy life when we commit abortions, something I have personally always found appalling.

Ironically enough however, I now actually find myself on the side of the pro-choice activists. This occurred only recently, too. I have usually been liberal with subjects, but abortion was always one where I drew a fine line. But recently in one of our socratic seminars, Joe V, a conservative himself, stated that although he disliked the idea of abortion, he would support it to represent women's freedom of choice and prevent illegal and dangerous abortions from happening in the future.

I honestly never thought of it from that perspective. And that's why I now find myself on the side of pro-choice. Abortion is wrong, as it serves as killing another human life. But as much a people may dislike them, they will never stop. Humans like to have sex, and that includes unprepared, unprotected sex. Thus, illegal abortions would happen anyways, and they can be significantly dangerous to the mother's life. It's important to recognize this, and this factor alone should mean that although unfavorable, abortions should be clean and well-regulated.

George M

Day 1: fertilization: all human chromosomes are present; unique human life begins.

This is the Beginning segment/introduction that Mr. Geib laid out for us Bioethics kids on the homepage of this wiki spaces. In it lies the fundamental principle for my argument on why life begins at conception.

If this is read in class look at me, look at your seat partner(s) and look at Mr. Geib, what do you see? You see the highly intelligent conglomeration of cells we civilized folk have come to know as human beings. You see a healthy, walking, living, breathing bundle of trillions of cells with basic building blocks known as DNA. The DNA is real, the chromosomes are legitimate, the people you see are alive and human. Mankind is composed of 23 pairs of chromosomes that make us unique and separate us from the other species our world has to offer. A zygote, the single celled joining of a sperm and egg, by anatomical definition has all the same chromosomes as a fully grown human, how then are we different? We have the same genetic makeup, so are people saying that it’s a matter of size of the being that makes it human or not? In that case, are 18s and over “more human” than toddlers?

From the moment of conception life is made and deserves equal protection that we that walk and talk now do. The lack of a “distinct human form” in a fetus or blastocyst does not dismiss humanity, humanity is interchangeable for al these phases for they are just different stages along the evolutionary cycle all humans go through; it is not sensibly possible to be less human at any given point along said cycle. Because a fetus or embryo at any point during its development is by natural law human, it deserves as much respect and the right to life that we already born humans do.

I give pity to the cases of rape or incest in which undue burden is placed on a woman, and in these cases or if the birthing endangers one or two lives in the process I can understand considering abortion as a solid medical option. However those who use it oh so willingly and with no remorse and justify it with saying “its my body I can do what I want with it” or who make the argument that the embryo is not human I find immense quarrel with. If one stoops so low as to dehumanize life at any age in any manner of any ethnic, religious or racial background are no better than Nazis. The brevity of this posting is because my words sound true, those in this category of posting are correct, and everyone who believes abortion is okay in any instance are selfish and ignorant attention whores that relish the lime light. This shouldn’t be a debate, how can we argue about destroying life, does human depravity know no bounds?




Elias O

I’d like to think that I’m an existentialist. I like assigning meaning to things, all connected by the underlying theme of “everything happens for a reason”. However, another part of me knows what ultimately must be done despite what my heart tells me; even though I’m an existentialist doesn’t mean I’m blind to reason; in other words, sometimes there’s a difference between what I believe in and what I’d actually do. Therefore, even though I believe that life begins at conception, my application and reasoning takes me elsewhere.

When the two necessary components of reproduction come together to form a fertilized egg, that’s the beginning of a human life; from this point forward, this bundle of replicating cells will be on its way to getting a heart and a brain amongst countless other things that aren’t explicitly included on the packaging list like hazel eyes or a peculiar interest in trains. It really bugs me when people rationalize abortions at this early stage of pregnancy as being a procedure no different than removing a tumor or any other minor physical burden, that because it doesn’t have consciousness, it’s not alive, but to that I say “a person’s a person, no matter how small.” But it angers me even more so when others will caustically add that we all perform “abortions” when we scratch at dead skin or get a haircut, poking fun at the idea of the “potential” of life. I can somewhat see how pro-life arguments for “what could have been” can be a little far-fetched, but they still have some sense of truth; these children did have decisions to make, promises to break, lives to live, and destinies to fulfill and the fact that abortions deprive them from venturing on their journeys is incredibly heartbreaking. If the world worked the way I hoped it would, no one would need abortions, but in reality, that is not the case. Under the realistic circumstances, I believe that abortions should only be used in cases of incest, rape, mercy for fatally misdeveloped children, or when the mother’s life is in danger (which happens very rarely, but I will include for good measure). (A side note about pregnancies due to rape: I understand how one wouldn’t want a child bred this way but I don’t think they should abort the baby unless it can’t be helped. It’s not the child’s fault that they were born under these undesirable circumstances, they didn’t have a choice of being brought into the world this way, and they have as much of a right as any to have a life.) I really wish that none of these kids would have to die; I wish that I can I could just take them all home and we’d all play Pokemon and build Legos and tell scary stories, but this isn’t Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, this is the real world, and not everybody is so fortunate to have the chance to live.
But even so, everything I say is completely irrelevant. I’m a dude. I don’t have the biological qualifications to bear a child nor will I ever have the credibility of understanding the creation of a life. As a male, there’s little to nothing I can do in the whole pregnancy process and, therefore, I have absolutely no say in the matter what a woman decides to do with herself. It’s completely easy for us men to be so fervently “pro-life” when we aren’t the ones actually having the children, how could we ever tell a woman what to do when we don’t know a thing about them? We men can hoot and holler all we want but it doesn’t change a damn thing, women have total control over their own bodies and that’s that.

I believe life begins at conception. I believe that life exists in that itty-bitty zygote and should be respected as such. Even though I also believe that abortion can be justified under very rare circumstances, my opinions mean nothing because it’s the ultimate decision of the woman to do whatever she wants with herself; I truly wish everyone could keep their children safe and sound, but if an abortion has to take place, I’ll have to look the other way; but even if I’m a man and don’t even have the slightest bit of credibility whatsoever, I will offer a quote from Gandalf the Grey: “True courage is about knowing not when to take a life, but when to spare one.”


Emilia C
My mother always told me never to name the wild baby birds that periodically fall from trees into our yards because either the cats will eat them or they will die due to malnutrition after a few days of abandonment. So a few days ago when a baby blue jay fell in our yard, I refrained from naming it. But since it was still alive in the backyard today, I took the liberty of naming him Pierce Brosnan. Soon I was to learn that I shouldn’t have named the bird. This afternoon, my mom and I tried to make the baby bird more accessible to its parents (who had been patrolling the house for days making sure our cats didn’t eat it) with no luck, so we decided to leave him be and let his parents find him. A few minutes later we heard horrible screeching in the yard. I ran out and was the only one to see a hawk grab the baby bird and fly away, and I was the only one to see the look of pure terror on the bird’s face as its parents flew after it, desperate to save it. The parents came back to look for him in our backyard a few minutes later. They looked for a half hour, but I knew they would never find him.

In my life thus far, I have been lucky enough to not see anything horrific firsthand. I have had a lot of relatives die, but I’ve never been there as it happened or been permitted to see them as they slowly faded from this world. No disasters have happened in my house or in my neighborhood and I have never been in a traumatic situation caused by outside forces, and I consider myself extremely lucky. Pierce Brosnan being taken away by a hawk and his parents mourning his loss was the most horrible thing I have ever seen firsthand (it sounds ridiculous, but you all know I love animals). All I could think of after I saw that was that the bird was a baby and it isn’t fair because he never got a chance to be a bird and have a bird life with his own bird family. He was JUST a baby.

Then I thought about human babies. Human babies being aborted before they ever had a chance to be humans and have human lives and their own human families. They’re JUST babies. So, why did I feel so heartbroken at the thought of this bird being killed, but not a cluster of human cells being being killed?

I believe that life begins at conception because that seems to be the most scientific and logical answer. Life is life. A bird embryo is life. A cat embryo is life. Therefore, a human embryo is also life. It is most definitely the potential for life, and that is important enough to me to constitute as life that needs to be protected. There is no such thing as an ordinary human being and there is no such thing as a human being who doesn’t have potential and worth. Every human being matters. Every life matters. Every potential life matters.

That, however, is my opinion and my values that should not necessarily be incorporated into law. Nobody is pro-abortion. Nobody really wants it to happen as often as it does, they just want people to be able to have that choice should they need to utilize it. Women whose lives are in danger due to their pregnancy should have the right to abort the fetus because if she does not, they will probably both die. At least this way, she can still live and that really seems like the better option to me. It is a tragedy that the fetus had to be aborted, but for the mother’s safety I think it’s acceptable. It’s important to protect the potential human being’s right to life, but it is also important to protect the woman’s right to life.

Otto mentioned all of the aborted babies who could have been and the contributions they could have made to society and how it is sad that they weren’t able to, which I completely agree with. However, what about the women who could have been that couldn’t because they had to support a child they didn’t want to have? Maybe a woman would have gone to college and found the cure to HIV/AIDS, but she didn’t because she had to support a child she wasn’t ready to have in the first place. The worth of what that woman could have been is no more and no less than the worth of what the aborted fetus could have been. Every potential life matters, even the potential life of a woman who can’t support a child and a woman should have the choice to continue with her life without a child if that is what is best for her.

Back to the question I presented myself with earlier, why did I feel so heartbroken at the sight of a baby bird being killed, but not so upset at the idea of a cluster of human cells being terminated? And then I realized that the most traumatic part of Pierce’s death was his parents searching for him, and me knowing they would never find him. They wanted him. They wanted him to live and they wanted to take care of him because they had the means and the abilities to do so. A teenage girl who is pregnant because she got raped may not have the same means and abilities.


Otto T
My nephew and niece are my life. They bring me no greater joy, no greater honor, and no greater fulfillment than to see them and cherish in the fact that they are part of my life. And while there is the occasional whining fest and grabbing of the hair, the mere fact that they are part of my life rejoices me. And to think that they wouldn’t have been in my life had their mothers decided to abort them fills me with pain. Neither child was born under the best of circumstances. My nephew Ronny Jr. was born when my brother was 18. My niece Emma was born when my brother was 24 and, unfortunately, living at home (he has since moved out). Yet, even in the face of tribulation my brother and his wife decided to take up the challenge of preserving and raising a pure, innocent life.

As such I stand at the far end of the spectrum, fervently believing that every individual should have the freedom and opportunity to be born. Abortions, in my mind, should be completely illegal due to the fact that life begins at the moment of conception. It is at this moment, when a sperm and egg becomes one, that life has been created. It is at this moment that an individual has been born. This fertilized egg is not simply a composition of 100 cells, but rather a complete person with all the ingredients necessary to develop into a functioning human being.


Unlike Anthony who said something along the lines that this developing human being is like a piece of corn, I believe that this Divine Gift is the beginning of a beautiful process. Why? Because at one point we all started off as a collection of cells.


Now, I’m not against abortions because I want to deprive woman of their rights. Neither am I against abortions because I want to cast shackles among woman and enslave them. I am against abortions because I believe that every human being has the right to life and to do otherwise would be an abomination to the human race.
Has it ever occurred to us how many people have truly been killed by abortions? As it stands, the number of legal abortions performed since the Roe v. Wade decision is over 53 million people. That’s 88 times the population of Wyoming, 53 times the population of Montana, 6 times the population of New York, and 1 ½ times the population of Florida. On the whole we have surpassed the number of people that Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and Mussolini killed.


The saddest part of it all is that we don’t even know the contributions that these people, if born, would have made. We will never know if an aborted child would have ever grown up to be a Nobel Peace Prize winner, or the scientist that discovers a cure for HIV/AIDS, or an economists that comes up to the perfect solution for financial global progress. Just because a child wasn’t wanted doesn’t mean that they couldn’t achieve greatness.


And while I’m on this rant can I just say that I find it to be extremely shocking that a 12 or 13 year old can simply walk into a clinic and receive an abortion without parental consent. Yet, if I walk into class a minute late both my parents are bombarded with phone calls letting them know that I was tardy. Where is the logic in that?
As a result, I believe that life begins at the moment of conception and as such should be preserved at all costs. Abortions should be completely illegal not simply because they are inhumane, but also because they rob individuals from their right to having a life. To those who say this all comes down to a woman “choice” my response is that while everyone should be allowed to the right to control their own body, some “choices” simply shouldn't be left up to people. We have already taken enough innocent lives, it’s time we gain regain our conscious and make an effort to save these innocent lives as well as aiding woman through their pregnancies.

Kent M
I believe that life starts at the point of conception, regardless if at that point and for the next few days it is only a clump of a few cells, what most of you see only as a clump of cells I see as the greatest of mysteries and highest form of magic. The wonder of what that future child could become, a doctor, a lawyer, a soldier, a police officer, shit a damn used car sales man. Whatever that kid grows up to be, the mother has blessed that baby with the gift of life, which I find some what funny how pro-choice is all about depriving the baby of the right to choose if it indeed wants its life.

In the Socratic I presented Anthony with the logic of our law, the logic that states abortion is fine, but if a man shoots a pregnant woman he is charged on multiple accounts of murder. He replied with “Well when the abortion occurs its cause the mom doesn’t want that life” Before I could reply Geib shushed me and we moved on, however my reply is that must be the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. Going by that logic if I don’t want someone on the face of the earth because they annoy me or make my life difficult I could “get rid of the problem” by the same logic abortion is performed.

Alright enough of my rant, for a few years I sounded as ridiculous as some of the crazies we have seen in the videos we have been watching (and perhaps to some of you I still do). But I can see the logic behind abortion in some cases, rape and incest are the obvious two (even though I still think adoption would be a better choice), but one that I was recently exposed too was more of what Geib gave us about the woman whose fetus had sever spinal-bifida and chose to abort in late second trimester. What if the baby is horribly malformed, and after birth they will fight in agony screaming in searing pain for their few brief moments of life.

To this question I don’t know, I love kids; personally I think that babies especially represent the best of the world. Innocence, trust, hope, happiness they emit all of these things in waves of happy goo goo gas and other such ramblings. And to have that child suffer and live for those few hours would it be better if that child and that child’s parents never had to experience such searing anguish. And to this I answer I do not know, and I have a feeling I never will unless god forbid I end up in that impossible situation.

In five years I plan to be a commanding officer of an elite Ranger platoon, men who are dedicated to protecting life. One of the missions Rangers were recently involved in was protecting an orphanage as terrorists assaulted it to get to the food and supplies the Rangers had been dropping off. For 25 long hours these Rangers battled, bled, and died for those children, until eventually driving the terrorists off. To me this is how I feel about abortion; I will never stand outside a clinic and scream at women that they are whores or murders, which is not only offensive in the highest degree but never the way to approach someone about anything.

Rather if asked for my opinion I would advocate adoption, but not by using the tactics of gruesome pictures or by preaching at them from atop my o holy soap box. I will fight and bleed for orphans overseas, and do my damnedest to never let a child die or be deprived of their chance at life in the country that I will be representing while in the uniform of an officer.

Since abortion is not going to be made illegal anytime soon or ever I would suggest that abortions start being treated as serious as heart transplants, a team of doctors and psychologists look at the people on the list and find the best match, who they think the heart will most likely aid in having a longer and more fruitful life. They decide who lives and who dies, if abortion is to continue these types of panels should be put into effect.

Recently on CNN the case of Doctor Gosnell came up, long story short what he was doing in his clinic looked like nothing short of a B- Horror movie. (If you don’t want to take my word for it don’t, here’s the link http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/13/justice/pennsylvania-abortion-doctor-trial/index.html?iref=allsearch) but if this country is going to continue the practice of abortion, it needs to be regulated to keep shit like this from happening, and it needs to be taken much more seriously than it is now. It is not a simple operation to remove a parasitic tumor, or clump of cancer cells, regardless of if you are pro-choice or pro-life abortion is the deprivation/ending of a life potential life and should be treated as seriously as such, not as getting rid of an inconvenience.

Zack H.
Since I was old enough to understand the concept of abortion, I had taken my parents stance on the topic, and I'm sure that I'm not alone in that. I believe this is expected, because where else would I get an opinion on topics like this when I was younger then my parents? My parents are very religious and thus believed that in all situations, abortion was morally wrong and shouldn't be committed So for the past 8-9 years of my life, I have believed that abortion is wrong and that life begins at conception. Currently, after forming my own opinions, I still hold true to half of that statement.

Mr. Geib, I will say that I don't like the topic of this discussion very much. The question is when we believe life begins, rather then any actual stance on abortion. As for myself, I believe that from the earliest points of conception, that little group of cells has the potential to not only be a human being, but possibly the one human to cure cancer or a myriad of other advancements or discoveries. Conception is the point at which all the components to create a human being are brought together and the process begins. Although complications and the like can induce a miscarriage, in our current society and all its technologies, there is a decent chance that that blastocyst will turn into a fully functioning human being. So although I believe that the potential for life begins at conception, I also have no place to say that abortion is morally wrong.

Hopefully, I am not incorrect in the statement that most if not all of my peers are more in favor of contraception and other alternatives rather than actual abortion. However, I personally am in no place to judge those who believe for themselves that abortion is a better alternative to either adoption or actually having a child. I find it kind of ridiculous when 60 year old catholic men fight strongly against abortion. They can't see it from a 17 year old girls point of view, where a new child would not only cause a lot of embarrassment but could irreparably damage their possible future opportunities. It is not only very difficult to raise a child at such a young age, but also very expensive. Although I could be wrong and haven't looked up any sort of statistics, I would believe that the majority of those who are against abortion are either religious, unable to have children due to age or are in a stable environment where a having a child wouldn't negatively effect those involved. Abortion is that last chance step to end a situation which could lead to a lot of hardships in the lives of not only that child, but its parents as well.

Not only would putting an end to abortions in general lead to the possibilities of back alley abortions which are very dangerous, but it would also lead to an increase in crime. In one report that I found, there was a significant decline in crime after the induction of Rowe V. Wade. According to that report, this was because poor women in bad communities and situations were able to end unwanted pregnancies, rather than raising children they aren't prepared for in poor environments. These kids would then go on to lives of crime and other such situations. Abortion helped to lower the crime rate by helping to limit the amount of children who were placed in bad communities.

So in conclusion, although I believe that the basics of life begin at conception, I also believe that abortion shouldn't be limited by those who aren't undergoing the procedure. If a 16 year old girl accidentally gets pregnant and wants to keep her life on track, she shouldn't be stopped by people whose lives aren't directly effected. Although abortion isn't a favorable situation, it is an option that should be kept open to those that wish it.


COHORT 6 RESPONDS


Patrick L.
During the socratic, many of us debated on when abortion should be legal and illegal, based on when the fetus takes on human life. This question then is almost an ideal question to respond to following that socratic. We all had are varied responses and agreed to disagree, because there is no clear answer. I have been a Christian my whole life, so my opinions are my own and I am speaking on behalf of what I know and believe. When does life begin? I believe that life begins at conception.

First, life begins when sperm and egg unite. When the zygote is formed, that is when human life is initiated. Genetic makeup, formation of DNA, and the coming together of the chromosomes that begin this human life take place within the zygote. This stage is the most pivotal in starting life, so it is naïve for those to refute that life takes place at this stage. Similar to what Joe said below, life begins at conception and not before. To say that every sperm is so valuable that it cannot be wasted is an illogical argument, as it cannot start life on its own.

Second, there is no time between conception and birth where the “cluster of cells” inside the woman are dead. They are constantly alive and active in forming the fetus which will then develop into a baby. An argument brought up in the socratic was that those “clusters of cells” and the fetus was not a human yet because it was developing into a human. That is a very weak excuse to give because even after we are born, we are still developing and growing, and we continue to do so through puberty until we become fully grown adults. No one would question the immorality of killing a newborn, toddler, or pre-teen that is still developing.

Finally, life is created at conception. By aborting the fetus following this stage, you are ending the life of the baby by stopping the fetus from developing. Regardless of when you think life begins, you are ending the future existence of a person. No questions asked.

In closing, life is precious and must be protected at all levels. I am not stating that abortion should be legal or illegal, as there are many sides to the issue and complications that go with it. What I will say is this, abortion should not be used as a form of birth control. These days, abortion has become an abuse of science. Abortion is wrong, but I don’t think making it illegal will solve the problem. What we need, are good people with high moral standing that respect life and honor it.


Joseph M.
Life begins at conception.

Through the past few weeks our class has been struggling to find a line that draws the righteousness or pure evil in regards to the touchy subject of abortion. It is apparent that no one person can draw an exact line that applies to this topic in each and every situation and that it is hard to find where exactly you stand, whether you are Democrat or Republican, atheist or Christian. Yet, debate has not been about when life begins, it has been about if it is right to destroy life in different stages of it. Before you read, none of my arguments for the immorality of abortion spawn from my belief in a higher figure and do not take it as a religious argument.

Life does in fact begin at conception. It does not begin before conception. Any use of people that believe that sperm is so valuable that none can be wasted is beyond fallacy considering there are only a handful of people that naïve in the world that would believe such a thing. Yet, what makes a one day old embryo a life. Well, to be quite honest, it is life in the same way a virus is life, yet, is life none the less. Now, this can be used for the argument that ridding the body of it would be like ridding the body of a virus, but what distinguishes this clump of cells from a living viral cell is the fact that it is a potential human. Now, there is a very definite difference between a life and a living thing. Life pertains to the biological qualities that make up an organism whereas living pertains to the non-biological, conscious part of an organism. Now, it is impossible to argue that an embryo is living, yet, does that make it acceptable to destroy.

What makes the difference between the egg and sperm and the two combined is the fact that the egg and sperm individually do not contain the genetic makeup to makeup a human, because human life is a group effort, yet, an embryo consists of the complete developmental tools it takes to create a genuine and unique human being that has the potential to live. Now, some people may say that it is just as much of a loss of this embryo as it is a cow, yet, what makes it different is the fact that it is human. Some may have an argument with this human dominance complex, yet, I am pretty sure that no lion or a tree would argue on behalf of the humans if the roles were switched. There is genuinely something unique about every human, not in the way that our personalities are or how we deal with things but in our different networks of interactions. To take away a potential human life is to take away somebody that will have certainly made a profound difference in, if not everyone’s’ life, than someone’s life. There is a strange sense of pessimism about abortion that since a mother only believes she is unfit to have a child that she inherently is. Even Mr. Geib said that children bring about great change, and it is not only agreeable to believe, but is also realistic to believe that a child can influence those that have had a negative lifestyle to change, and though this adaptation may not occur, it does not eliminate the possibility. There is also a disturbance in the way that people use abortion as a way out of consequences. Though a woman who aborts a child is not as morally deterred as a mass murderer, it seems as though people have a feeling only towards abortion that consequences are not what should be allowed. This is what justifies my belief that medical and rape abortions are perfectly legal considering this was not of the mother’s doing nor should she be punished for consequences of things not in her hand. Yet, if someone thinks they are mature enough to have sex, then it should not be encouraged that they have a way out of the consequences and should be mature enough to face them.

Obviously it is irrational to believe that even with this set of consequences that people will refrain from irrational behavior and not want to deal with the inevitable consequences and it is irrational to believe that abortion every should and can be banned, yet, it requires much further

examination than what has been placed in many establishments of this nation. It should require steady monitoring and supervision so that it may not get out of hand to a point where it does become a form of birth control. For, if human life is not sacred, then what is?


Eileen M

Personhood and Abortion is something that no one will ever agree on. As much as I am pro-choice, and think abortion is always wrong, I also know that whether it's legal or not, it's not possible for it to go away. Women will have them regardless of what legislation passes. It's a sad idea, but in unfortunately is a reality. However I'm still against abortion. Why? Because its murder. In my opinion life begins at conception because it makes sense. Once a man's baby gravy and women's egg intertwine and do the tango; walla! You have baby!

Here's an example I have come up with. If your making cookies, before they're fully baked, they're still cookies. If the girl is eggs, oil, water and the boy is flour, and chocolate chips; you make COOKIE dough. Unbaked cookies. Same with babies. There not fully ready, but they are still babies, so they are still people.

Now, as much as I'd like to say there should be exceptions to rape and incest, I'm not sure I can. Because no one, ever, should have the right to take someone's life away. That goes for war, and capital punishment as well. I like to think that that beautiful things come from brokenness.

Life goes on. And I know I probably sound like an awful person, but believe me, I'm not trying to offended anyone. I just think we often try to find the easy way out of things. I don't think killing a baby is something that should be taken lightly. Because it is a life, something more precious. And it's something that begins at conception. Life is something we're given only once, and if we let it go, we can never get it back. Whether I was not of Faith, I think life is always a gift.

There are so many people that would like to bring a child into this world but can't. Life is something that not everyone can bring, and it's wrong that we take life for granted. I can't say that exactly at conception is baby viable. Because it's not. But neither is a newborn baby. We all had the stages in life where we needed to be supported. And I think once we are old enough to realize we have morality, we need to support the babies who aren't fully developed, and give them the voice they will eventually have!

Luke H.
Before I share my opinion on the topic of abortion, I am going to share my background on the issue. I was baptized into the Catholic Church around the age of two years old. I have been going to church my whole life, and go to church most Sundays. My grandparents, who in my opinion are the best people on earth, and who I idolize reinforce my religious beliefs. To say that I am a devout Catholic would be taking it too far. For me abortion is a very difficult subject. If I was flat out asked in public I would most likely shy away from answering. My first instinct is to say that is between the person and God. But isn’t legalizing abortion encouraging it as well? If it’s not legal then it must be illegal, and if it is illegal women will seek sketchy back-alley abortions that can endanger them as well as their unborn child.

In an ideal situation before the thought of abortion could even be brought up, a young couple would get married young then start a family. That may have worked five hundred years ago, but in today’s day and age it is nearly impossible to start and adequately support a family at a young age. You need time to get a degree and specialize in your field of work. So premarital sex has become a standard in our society, rightfully so. But unprotected sex can lead to unwanted pregnancies. Maybe the woman is still in high school, maybe she is half way through college, or maybe she just isn’t ready to have a child. In my opinion there are very few people who have sex not knowing that there is a chance that they may become pregnant regardless of birth control. If you are not ready to have and supports a child, then don’t have sex would be the easiest answer. Having sex regardless of birth control is a gamble.

I believe that life begins when an egg is fertilized by a sperm. That is the moment that a new code of DNA is formed that will only ever be the person that is growing inside a woman’s womb. The second the blueprint for that person is made it is murder to kill them regardless of whether or not they have passed the vagina. I think it is ignorant to try to say that a fetus does not become a person until the third trimester, or when the heart starts beating, or when it can physically feel pain. Also I think it is dull minded to categorize the potential life of a fertilized egg to an unfertilized egg. Some people go as far as saying that killing a fetus is no more wrong then scratching your nose. Others claim that the fetus would grow into an unhappy home and would be better off dead. I don’t understand how someone can choose whether or not a child would want to live. Isn’t that a right we as humans have? Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? When a baby id aborted they are stripped of all three of those things.

In my opinion I think that abortion is wrong, but if I ever got a woman pregnant as young as I am, I do not truly know if I would be able to go through with having the child. I can only hope that I won’t ever found myself in that position


Anna S

After a month's worth of debate over the ethics of abortion, I'm frankly surprised that the original question was indeed “when does life begin?” We had been arguing about when life can be terminated, when life becomes precious, and when life has the right to continue on, NOT searching for the moment life starts. Personally, I think that question is a cop out next to the other significantly more ambiguous ones. I believe life begins at conception because science says so, and as an agnostic sometimes atheist person, it makes complete sense to me.

On the other hand, life might begin immediately after fertilization but that doesn't mean it should not end very soon afterwards. The term “lifetime” seems like a joke; there are lives that have ended, whether in the hands of human beings or of natural causes, at all stages of growth and lengths of time. Different people can live the same amount of time and have experienced vastly varied amounts of worthwhile, yet incomparable, moments. Abortions have always made sense to me, and while putting that in writing seems almost vulgar, I see it as a necessary procedure in this society.

Have you ever read something you weren't suppose to read, or saw something you weren't meant to see? I'm sure you have. It sends a chill down your spine, whether positively or not so positively. What I'm trying to explain is that developed human beings have a consciousness that allows them to experience and contemplate situations that they weren't actually supposed to encounter. But microscopic little embryos, that are barely fertilized and just beginning to grow in cell count, do not have this innate ability to think about what ifs. They don't possess the ability to have emotions or hold a grudge or experience love. They're just living cells, so I don't believe it counts to abort a fetus in the first trimester. Abortion is never a compulsive first choice, and if it is for anyone, then they're lower than a piece of shit. Abortion will also never be something that anyone can be proud about, no matter how dire the original situation was. But that gives no one, no one at all, the power to take away a woman's right to do whatever is best for her own body. But despite it all, the young woman who's come so far to achieving her PhD will always remember, the boyfriend who's already struggling to make ends meet mourns, and they will think about this life they are terminating long after the act has been done. The scars of such a tragic incident are never physical and cannot be anticipated by scientific data.

The scars are etched onto the very core of their consciousness and a burden that will forever affect their own existence from the moment they made the decision.


Mason G

In my opinion life begins at conception but as a small cluster of cells it's hard for me to see it as human yet. Despite that I don't really see the cluster of cells in the first week of pregnancy as a human yet I still believe that abortion in general is wrong because no matter what stage of life the fetus is in aborting that fetus or even that clump of cells takes away another beings chance at life. I feel that abortion is wrong in most scenarios because of the fact that a women who is pregnant can always give her baby up for adoption. Saying that "I'm just not ready to have a kid right now" does not apply if you are going to give the child up for adoption so to me it's hard to see any good reason to have an abortion unless the mother of the child has an extreme reason she should not give birth to the child. One of these reasons would be if the child was born of incest or rape. The reason that this makes the abortion acceptable is because the mother in the case of rape had no intention of engaging in an act that would produce that fetus and therefore if she were to choose to have an abortion I would think little of it. With incest I feel as though if the women realizes what a vile act she has partaken and decides to get the fetus removed then I would be alright with that because of morality behind giving birth to a child consummated by such a method. Abortion is also acceptable in my eyes if the fetuses health is not up to par and may lead a life that would not be enjoyable, in this case I believe that the parents can decide that for the sake of their child death would be sweeter. I also believe that that if the fetus is threatening the mother's life than the mother's life takes priority and she can decide to have an abortion and I would not judge her. My stance on abortion comes from largely my grandmas pregnancy with my dad. When my grandma was eighteen years old she got pregnant and decided to keep the child. Today abortion has become far more acceptable than in 1960 and if it had seemed socially acceptable to have an abortion my dad and by default I would have never existed. I also had a cousin who got pregnant at seventeen but because she wanted her child to have a chance at life she carried it to term initially planning on putting the child up for adoption but upon seeing her child decided to keep her. For these reasons I feel as though abortion simply should not be done for any reason other than those listed above. If you make the adult decision to have sex with another person then you should be able to make the adult decision of facing the consequences of your actions which means not taking the easy way out with abortion and taking away this new life's chances at experiencing what it truly means to be alive.

Greg O

Day One: fertilization: all human chromosomes are present; unique human life begins.” Right there you have it; embryos are people, just as much as you and I, except they’re in a form of personhood that makes them unable to perform actions equivalent to that of a already born human being. Some people may argue that a fetus has to be able to live on its own, independent of its mother in order to be, “human.” But I don’t buy it. A quadriplegic would die without external aide. Most mentally ill and handicapped people would die without someone or something taking care of them. That said, how can someone say for certain that an embryo or a fetus isn’t a human? It is alive, that’s for sure. Maybe life truly begins when the heart stops beating, but the fact that there is potential is what sells me that conception is the start of it all. Normally, if conditions aren’t altered and no serious complications occur, an embryo from day one will be born approximately 10 months later. That said, how is the combination of two zygotes with its own unique DNA profile not a human? It is, it’s just very very young.

I think that in some situations abortion is a viable option, possibly necessary, but always a tragedy. The morning after pill is essentially an abortion, but I’d almost rather a woman take it if she is not ready to properly raise a child or children in a nurturing environment. The stresses of modern day life can be taxing on women, especially in a society that has millions of single-mother homes. If a woman cannot handle a child with a work load and full schedule, then she should not have a kid. As sad as it is, maybe it would be better for her to take the pill and make sure she doesn’t get pregnant. Although I don’t support abortion at all, I think it’s better for a kid to have the best life possible, than for a mother and a child to live less than ideal lives because of a woman’s decision to not take the pill.

Third trimester abortions are absolutely detestable. If the fetus could live outside the mother, has a heartbeat, and can feel, hear, see, and cry if it’s given the chance to, then some doctor sure as heck shouldn’t stick a suction tube in a mom and tear apart the baby’s body. That is murder. That isn’t just an abortion, that is basically first degree murder. I think second trimester abortions are possibly justifiable if the mother’s health is in jeopardy, or if other serious complications arise. Other than that, abortion is not at all preferable or acceptable since conception is the start of life.

Now, on one hand, stupidity is rampant in our society and if two people would just be responsible, then unwanted pregnancies wouldn’t happen. If a woman just takes her pills and a guy, “put a vest on your jimmy in the city of sex,” then the metaphorical bullets of life won’t kill you like the fool you are if a girl gets pregnant. However, I recognize that life is life, and sometimes people are looking pretty fine and you just can’t resist. That’s ok I guess if that’s the decision you make, just be responsible and take the necessary precautions to try to prevent any unwanted surprises. Now, if indeed something unplanned and unwanted does happen, I think I’d encourage people to give it up to some sort of adoption agency. Yet, being pregnant for close to a year for a baby you won’t even keep would not be fun. But hey, you’re 50% to blame if you didn’t take the morning after pill or the guy didn’t wear a condom.

Moreover, life begins when two zygotes meet. I think that the issue of abortion is more complicated than simply saying it’s just right or just wrong, and it has a more situational basis. However, I think in all cases it is not a practice that should be supported. I find that abortion could possibly lead to the devaluation of precious life, and I think that in some cases people aren’t as smart and wise as they could be when it comes to sexual responsibility. I can’t make decisions for people though, so I end with this. Life begins at conception, so unless you want to undergo an undesirable practice, then make sure not to conceive. If you do conceive though, then try to treat the life of that embryo as equivalent to that of any other human being, possibly more so because it could potentially be the most important aspect of your life, your child. Just ask Mr. Geib about that.

Patrick B

Abortion, in the simplest matter that I can put it, is killing. At the moment of conception, life, even in a potential state, is created. Unless something terrible were to happen, that fertilized egg WILL become a viable human being that someone WILL love. And hopefully, that baby will live the life of its dreams. We won’t know until he/she lives and he/she can’t live if it’s aborted.
So yes, I’m against abortion. I guess you could say that I am pro-life, but it’s much more complicated than that. I believe in preserving life, as it is our most precious gift. Normally, that is protecting and saving the baby who will be aborted otherwise. However, there are some other circumstances.

The first condition is rape. For that one in a million jackass who decides he feels awesome by ambushing some helpless woman and forcing her into intercourse, the woman should not be burdened with a reminder of that instance, and have to care for a baby when she may not be ready. This baby would also undoubtedly be affected by the mother's memories of the incident. The mother could in fact see that baby as a souvenir from the most tragic event in her life, and may mistreat or even abuse the child because of it. That is something that the child should have to be brought into.

Second, cases of incest. There are places, not to be specific *cough, Hicktown USA* that people think it’s okay or are forced into having sex with their kin. This is a terrible idea and is completely idiotic. In cases of this where the woman gets pregnant, you mostly end up with a baby that is very malformed or underdeveloped, and should be able to be saved from its suffering.

So my opinion on abortion, although I feel that it is killing, is that it is stupid to make it illegal. It HAS to be legal for a few reasons. One, whenever the mother or child is endangered by the pregnancy in the ways I mentioned before, plus the physiological complications that may occur. Second, people panic when something big happens, and women will try to abort if they aren’t expecting a pregnancy, usually through dangerous back alley methods, that can more often than not result in death.

With that said, I think that abortion must be HIGHLY regulated. I don’t want abortion to be used as a normal form of birth control. There are much easier and cost effective ways of preventing pregnancy that don’t involve killing babies. Condoms, birth control, etc. are a few. If you’re going to be dumb and stop your pill for a day, or not buy condoms because you’re too lazy, you don’t have the right to kill a baby because of it.

In terms of an accident, such as a condom breaking or a girl missing a pill or something, then this is the only time I condone the morning after pill. It is, essentially, an abortion, but if you took the precautions and know you're not ready for this child, then you shouldn't be forced to carry it and most likely neglect it one day because you didn't even want it. With this, in the first couple days, the pill can be taken to end any potential pregnancy, even if one might not be there, as a last ditch precaution.

Now, I say that it should be highly regulated, but that is sadly just a hope. People will continue to be stupid and unfortunately there will still be people who will use it as a form of birth control. At this point, all I can do is hope and pray for the best and hope that one day people will come to their senses. Until then, these children, created at conception, will continue to die, as humans continue to be careless and idiotic.

Myha N.

In traditional Asian cultures such as China, Korea, and Vietnam, a newborn is actually considered one year old when he or she enters the world.

This isn’t a bad thought. From a logical and scientific standpoint, a baby who spends ten months in its mother’s womb is considered alive. The moment after conception, when the sperm meets the egg and there is new DNA, the code of life, being created, is when life begins. A clump of cells may not seem very lively and many try to argue that it’s not, but out of its three options: being alive, dead, or inanimate, the cells are most closely to being alive. Cells may be extremely different from you or me, but at some point or another, you and I were those cells, and in fact, right now I’m just a human being made from cells and water, too. Not much has changed. Whether a few cells or a few trillion cells, we all maintain homeostasis, metabolize, grow, adapt, and respond to stimuli, all of which are characteristics of life. A clump of cells may not have consciousness or be viable outside its mother’s womb or hold the same value of life as you or I do, but I assure you, it is very much alive.

That being said, does that make abortions right or wrong? As clarified, fetuses are life, but the question should be, do fetuses hold the same value of life as a human being? Plants, insects, and animals are lives too, composed of the same cells that we are all made of. But, when we pick a flower or step on a spider, it’s not called murder. So, is abortion murder?

I believe yes. As terrible as this may sound, on the sliding scale of life, fetuses aren’t up there with humans, but nor are they down there with plants and insects. They are somewhere in between, much closer to humans than to plants. A fetus’ ability to grow inside its mother’s womb, listen to its parents’ voices and begin to make brain connections, sensibility to pain and other stimuli, and probably most important of all, the emotional connected being formed between the baby and the mother, is why I regard fetuses (even if just a few weeks old) with such a high value of life. To me, abortion is very much similar to murder.

Throughout this unit, I have battled with myself whether abortion was right or wrong. The emotional side, my heart, told me that abortion was wrong; however, the logical part of me, my head, told me it was a necessary evil. I don’t believe all abortions are justifiable, and using the “it’s a woman’s choice” excuse for every abortion doesn’t quite cut it. Quite frankly, there are people out there who need to learn how to be adults and how to be responsible. Looking at the statistic of more than a million abortions performed in the United States each year, I was shocked. I had no idea of the magnitude and scale that abortions were performed in this country. Due to the ease and convenience of getting an abortion, I don’t see that statistic decreasing anytime soon.

However, some abortions are justifiable, and this is why abortion should be kept as an option. There are rare cases when the baby may be a threat to its mother or may miscarry, and an abortion may be necessary. There are cases where the baby’s parents are much too young, doesn’t have enough money, or some other factor that would not allow the baby to grow up in a stable, nurturing environment. I think I would rather a baby not make it to birth than to take a chance, have the baby, and allow it to grow up with a difficult and perhaps miserable life. In a relationship where the parent is struggling to raise the child and the child may not receive all the nurturing it deserves, no one benefits from that. It creates a harmful situation, and one that should be avoided. If a mother feels she does not want to have a child in a world ridden with problems, and furthermore she cannot provide that motherly love and care that all babies deserve, than here, I can understand the female’s choice.

Although abortion is technically the taking away of a life and morally wrong, it is a necessary evil that should be kept as an option for females seeking it, depending on the situation she is in. Although we cannot and should not regulate abortions to prevent people from using it as a means of birth control, the option should still be available to women because the severity of cases needing one outweighs the unintelligence of cases who simply want one. Unfortunately, millions of fetuses will continue to be aborted until people learn the intrinsic value of personal responsibility.

Sarah L.
Two zygotes meet. Conception. A unique genetic code. Life. Personhood.
One aspect of the great abortion debate that I think is very much flawed is this very vague definition of “life.” Scientifically speaking, cells are the smallest unit of life; so, all cells are technically alive. However, it is impossible to compare scratching one’s nose, thereby committing murder against thousands of living skin cells, to having an abortion within the first few weeks of conception, thereby ridding the body of a living cluster of cells. There is a distinct difference between clinically-defined life and human life, just as being able to maintain homeostasis, reproduce, respond to stimuli, grow, and adapt is separated entirely from having a human soul. We essentially kill life every moment of the day. Whether eating a salad or a hamburger, scratching our skin, or washing our hands, living organisms die. Contrary to some opinions, having an early-stage abortion is not the same thing as any of these. Why? Because although we see a group of cells or a parasite, I believe a human soul and personhood is established upon conception, making the fetus a uniquely valuable human life.

I am not so overzealous in saying birth control, condoms, or letting a menstrual cycle pass without trying for a child is equivalent to killing potential life. That is completely ridiculous and a viewpoint for ideological old men without a grasp on reality. But the moment an egg is fertilized, it has its own unique genetic code. Furthermore, I believe every person is created for a reason and a purpose by God, and thus is given a soul at the moment of creation.

COHORT 5 RESPONDS

Mathew A's Philosophical Contortions


Abortion is murder.

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.

Sentience begins at the potential of sentience: it is for this reason that abortion is murder.

However, life itself is far from the absolute morality and absolute logic which polarizes both sides of the abortion issue. Life is unique, but it is also common. Life is precious, but it also a commodity. Life is a right, but it can also be a privilege. It is for this reason that abortion is not and should not be the battleground for the absolutes - life is not just left or right, right or wrong: life just ''is''. The aspect of living is the embodiment of uniqueness, collectivity, differing situations and perspectives: this is why abortion exemplifies this mixing of white and black, the perfect gray, and this is why society as a whole should not and must not decide upon abortion through the convex lenses of the absolutes, but rather through the circumspect determination of the various aspects of abortion and, more importantly, life.

I am morally opposed to killing, yet I support and glorify the army. I am morally opposed to cold logic, yet I see the reason for amorality. Does that make me a hypocrite? Maybe so. And maybe it's why I legally support abortion. We don't live in a perfect world with perfect people and that is why we need imperfect practices. In a perfect world we wouldn't need an army. But it's not a perfect world; we need men and women trained for the trials of war and the art of killing to retain and protect some semblance of our perceived "perfect" lives from those who would otherwise threaten it. In a perfect world we wouldn't need to justify the means with an end, for the ends (whatever they may be) are perfectly in place. But it's not a perfect world; sometimes we need to have things done, pervert our logic and bloody our hands with bloody means in order to bring about a better end. In a perfect world we wouldn't need the practice of abortion.

But it's not a perfect world.

The reality is that some women are not yet or never will be fit to be mothers. The reality is that crime rates might have fallen because approximately 1 million children each year who would've otherwise grown up to be unwanted and unscrupulous have simply ceased to ''exist''. (The reality is that I don't know whether or not we should take the "risky" route of illegalizing abortion for those 1 million potential lives extinguished every year in exchange for the "safer," comfortable, reduced crime life I and future generations I lead as well as the 5,000 women who lose their lives in back alley abortions). The reality is that even the most staunch opposer of abortion may find themselves in a position where abortion may be the desired alternative. The reality is that we're infallible and we will continue to be irresponsible and make mistakes - abortions will happen legal or illegal, so why don't we provide a means, however bloody, that is safe and regulated.

The reality is that until we find a better, more ''practical'' and pleasing alternative, abortion is what we have. And abortion is what we get. But until that reality (whether we find another solution or men rise above their biological shortcomings), all we can do is to contemplate, debate and refine our decisions.

Madeline B's Perspective


I remember, back in fifth grade, my mom chose to teach me about sex by giving me an educational book geared toward pre-teens. Since my younger brother and sister would often decide to barge into my room unannounced, I would read through the book in whatever time I had to be alone with my door locked. I was pretty embarrassed by the fact that I was reading such a book, but looking back, I’m really glad that my parents would give me something like it to learn the facts about sexuality. The entire book was constructed in a secular manner and approached the issues through an objective, often scientific perspective. All of the diagrams were anatomically precise and there was no discernible religious influence. I remember that after reading the chapter on birth control (which I would begin taking about a year later for medical reasons) I saw absolutely nothing wrong with the practice. It was completely rational. Why would anyone ever have sex without protection unless they were explicitly trying to have a child? In the beginning, I felt the same way about the chapter on abortion. The scenario set up in the book is still vivid in my mind. The title of the section was “What happens if I get pregnant?” The situation that it described was my worst nightmare: two 15 year olds stuck in the terrifying position of an accidental pregnancy. When it described abortion as an alternative to going through with having the child, I was relieved. As a pre-teen, I was appalled at the fact that a woman could ever have been denied the right to control what was happening to her body. It was nice to know that there was something that could be done if I ever somehow found myself in that situation.

It’s strange that, although I had been in a Catholic school since 1st grade, I had never really heard about the Catholic position on abortion until I was in middle school. By that point, my pro-choice opinion on abortion had already been partially formed through influences such as that book on sexuality that I had read in the 5th grade. To me, abortion was a practice meant to protect women from abuse and oppression. When I learned that the Catholic Church was so vehemently against the practice, I was somewhat surprised. Knowing the church’s position on the matter did not sway me much in terms of my beliefs. I have known for a long time that the church is not the most practical or accepting of entities, and I have taken my Catholic heritage and augmented it with my own observations and viewpoints.

Regardless of this, I have come to accept the fact that life DOES begin at conception. The zygote formed by the joining of sperm and egg fits the parameters needed for an object to be considered “alive”: the “capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death”. It is not just merely the potential for life; it is life. It is a human life beginning to develop. I really don’t see how, at a certain point, the creature could suddenly “become” a life by some arbitrary difference in its developmental stage. It is life from the beginning, regardless of its level of legal protection.

However, the fact that human life begins at conception does not necessarily mean that the life form has the same level of rights that a fully formed human does. In fact, humans do not gain full rights in this country until they reach 18 years of age. In some places, certain castes of people (either based on sex, social status, or other parameters) never obtain all of the rights that are normally associated with an adult human being in the modern world. Should a few-days-old zygote be given more rights than say, a fully grown sheep, just because it has human DNA? People clearly don’t see any issue with destroying an entire civilization of ants, but a clump of humanoid cells is something worth crusading over. What determines our relative value of life? Why is the issue so hot over “potential” human life while people slaughter other forms of life by the millions, and even ignore the apparently inalienable “value of human life” in people living in other parts of the world such as Africa and South America? All of the hypocrisy surrounding the situation just makes it all the more complicated for me to form a solid opinion.

All I can say with confidence is what I would do if I found myself in a situation seeking abortion. I would probably not be able to do it after day 22: when the heart starts beating. This is before a person can even know that they are pregnant- basically, I would never be comfortable with getting an abortion unless it was an absolute necessity. My fixed cutoff point would be at about 6 weeks, when the brain waves become detectable.

However, although I personally feel that I would never be able to take a life that I had helped to create, I cannot impose this mode of thinking upon every member of society. Nobody knows who has the right answer for sure, and I don’t think that the law should restrict the rights of others due to the beliefs of any one group of people. For this reason, I don’t think that the government should be able to step in on the issue of abortion until the baby is viable outside of the mother. This threshold will undergo a continuous change in the upcoming years as technology improves. I think that women should be allowed to at least make the decision whether or not to have an abortion as long as the baby is still completely dependent on her for sustenance. If they choose to keep the baby, that is great. If they do not, I can respect their decision if it was made seriously and with enough legitimate forethought. I can never completely remove myself from the belief that women should be able to have at least some control over what happens to them. Just because we are equipped with the physiological tools to bear a child does not mean that we should be forced to give up our own existence for the benefit of the future generation. It is cynical, but what would the world be like if the earth were forced to accommodate an additional 45 million people (the estimate number of worldwide abortions) per year? The world’s human population is already increasing exponentially and even developed countries are overcrowded with people living in poverty-ridden slums. Is that something that we would want to bring more, often unwanted, children into? I’m not sure.

People should realize that abortion technically is murder. But so is eating animal meat. And so is war, and so is ignoring the plights of people in other countries, and so is denying health insurance to needy people. Until all of these hypocritical actions cease to exist, I don’t see any clear-cut end to the abortion debate. All I hope for is that women will at least be given the chance to decide for themselves, rather than being imprisoned by the constraints of society that provides no options.

Bryan F.

I have differing viewpoints on what I believe about life and the topic of abortion. There is what I personally believe and would hope to be true for my future family, but there is also the practical and realistic viewpoint, and finally there is the unattainable ideal.

Let me begin by stating life begins at conception. It is at that moment where all of the natural elements of developing a child come together and the process begins. Humans, including those cells, are in a constant state of development. We grow and change over time, and I do not believe time is the ultimate factor in determining personhood in the womb.

Just look at the differences before and during pregnancy. Before, life is as usual. After you find out, everything changes. The mother has to care for herself and her child, and preparations have to be made. This is a major change, and shouldn’t be trivialized as some middle ground where the child is reduced to some sort of insignificant lifeless growth.

Someone who is considered brain-dead is still considered alive. Death is when the heart stops beating and the blood stops circulating. The heart starts beating 3 weeks after conception. Now look at it this way, a woman can typically learn that she is pregnant after 2-3 weeks.

The decision to have an abortion should be known before pregnancy. I understand how a pregnancy can be unplanned, but that doesn’t mean that a woman should only begin thinking about her options afterwards. Almost like an advanced directive, a woman who is simply not ready should be able to go into pregnancy and know that she will abort the baby. It’s important for that decision to be made before that heartbeat, and other vital life functions develop. It’s just sickening to me that someone can dance around that decision until days before giving birth, when the child can feel the pain and could have gone on living.

As a guy, I could never understand what being pregnant is like. I could never understand the difficult decision of going through child birth, or having an abortion. From my point of view I look at the decision and wonder, if a mother and a father are needed for a child, then why doesn’t the father have any say? What it comes down to is protection. Abortion is meant to protect women. In that respect, it should be legal.

But it’s a system that I believe is being abused. I believe in a woman’s right to choose, but perhaps I will never understand some women’s reasoning. Aborting a child simply due to a cleft lip or even gender? I would ask myself how it’s even possible that someone could be so irresponsible, but then again there is a reason they were put in that situation.

Morally, I find abortion wrong. It goes against natural principals. I think an abortion at any stage is the death of a child, a baby, a life. I believe in the woman’s right to her own body, but it’s just not fair that this child be punished simply due to being conceived in an unwilling mother. It’s not right.

As Mat Aguilar said in class, in the ideal world there would be no abortion, but just as there are wars and criminals sent to death, perhaps abortion should uneasily be accepted as well. It’s simply not practical or realistic to believe that our country could sustain the lives of these millions of children being aborted; many of which would live in poor, neglected families.

For that reason I have to tolerate abortion. It’s not ok, and I’m not quite ok quite ok with it, but millions of babies being put up for adoption isn’t exactly the answer. I’m wary of calling it a necessary evil, but as of now that almost seems the best description. To change this, there needs to be some sort of change in how abortion is perceived. When we began abortion, it was still very vague in terms of how it was performed and its effects. It shouldn’t be grey, people need to be aware of the realities of the situation.

I’m not alright without outright accepting all abortions. I believe there has to be a limit that is more properly enforced. Late term abortions, while not legal, are still occurring. Effort has to go into reducing the number of abortions by reducing the number of pregnancies. Instead of all of this money going towards abstinence only teachings or towards fighting to cut funding for planned parenthood, it should be used to properly educate and protect people from ever having to even be faced with coming to this difficult decision. To keep that option open to women, I believe that is what we have to do.

Michael F. Tries to Clarify his Thoughts


If I'm totally honest, when I was at the Socratic, I didn't know what I really thought. There were a few different parts of my character that conflicted with each other, leaving me, on the whole, confused. However, I hope that through this essay that I can explain my thought process a bit better.

First, as to the official topic of this essay, I can scientifically say that life begins at conception. The cell is the basic unit of life, and there can be no denying that a zygote, from the moment of conception, is a cell. The zygote grows and divides, responds to its surroundings, and undergoes changes that lead to an eventual organism. All of these properties fall under the category of a living being, so the zygote is therefore, alive. This is as simple as it gets.

However, the more complicated question, which begins to pit different parts of myself against each other, is: When is that life "human" as society defines it? One side logically argues that it is human at conception, since that at conception we have all of our chromosomes and therefore all our DNA. However, the idealist in me sees that argument as pessimistic. If you handed me a set of human DNA and a set of chimp DNA, I would not be able to tell the difference. You could even give me the amino acid sequence of the proteins that differ in humans and chimps, and I still would not be able to tell you which sheet was human. The DNA sequence is just the instructions used to make a human from the initial stem cells. The physical DNA sequence does not make us human. Rather, it is the actions of other proteins and organelles on specific sections of that DNA that make us human. On the other end of the spectrum, those who say human life begins at birth are just as flawed. The day where the fetus reaches maturity and can survive outside the womb without extensive medical care is not the day when the mother goes into labor. There is brief period where the baby is fully viable without the need for medical care and still in the womb. This also brings up the argument that a fetus is "human" when the baby is viable. Modern technology ruins this theory. The current state of viability is 22 weeks, but stories are coming up where the babies are surviving after being born earlier than this. With the medical advancements we will receive in the future, it is not unlikely that we could take a zygote at Day 1 and allow it to survive the full term (in vitro without inserting it back in the woman). By that standard, the baby would be viable at conception, equating the argument against aborting viable fetuses to aborting ALL fetuses. What this ultimately means is that using a babies viability as a standard for life will not apply within the next century.

My opinion on this issue (since none of the arguments presented explain it successfully to me) is somewhere between conception and viability. The time I selected is about 8 weeks, near the end of the first trimester. At this point, the period of organogenesis, the blastula period of development, is complete. All adult organs are present in their rudimentary form. The fetus will grow up to become a human, and not some malformed being where body parts are in the wrong place. To be honest, I would not look at a blastocyst and lose sleep over destroying it. Those cells are still stem cells. For all I know, I could find something similar to that in my bone marrow. However, after that, it would be impossible for me to deny that a fetus is a human being. It could exist in no place in my body, and only in the uterus of a female.

This is where I would personally draw the line for abortions. If I thought the state had a responsibility to completely control this issue, then this is where the law would stand: 8 weeks. Pregnancy tests work early enough (some can tell as early as 7 days, or 1 week) where a person should be responsible enough to find out if there is a baby and then take appropriate action before the period expires. I realize that we are human and we do make mistakes. The state should not punish people for having unprotected sex, which outlawing abortion completely would do. At the same time, everyone should have enough responsibility to either utilize contraceptives or get the abortion quickly. If they miss the 8 week deadline, then its their own fault. If they know when they have sex, they know when their 8 week grace period expires. Of course, there are cases, such as rape or when the mother's life is in jeopardy, where abortion should be legal at all times, but this can be agreed upon by a large portion of the population.

One last thought on this issue is: what about people who use the promise of an abortion as an excuse to have unprotected sex? The Christian side of me will not stand for people using man-made technology as an excuse to commit immorality. Just so you know, I am, in general, consistent with "murder" as Mr. Geib puts it. I am against the death penalty, against war, and against abortion. It's simply the question of how much of each I will be willing to tolerate. However, I will not tolerate people coming in for five or six abortions a year because they want to have unprotected sex with everyone they meet. An extreme example, I know, but there still needs to be a limit. Unfortunately, I am still too young to accurately determine how many abortions women should be allowed to have within a set period of time. So for argument's sake, I will throw a random set of numbers out; say, three abortions per ten years.

I do not expect people to be responsible all the time. We are human, we make mistakes. However, at a certain point, we should have enough responsibility to fix a mistake before it gets out of hand, and learn from that mistake so it will not be committed again. Life begins at conception, so the topic of abortion cannot taken lightly. For that reason, I would suggest lawmakers to allow women three abortions per ten years, and only if the fetus is 8 weeks or less, or if there are extreme medical circumstances.

Sukhpreet B.

Prior to the discussion of abortion, I was completely Pro-Choice. Women should have the full and complete choice, whether they want to carry the baby or not. Because logically, she is the one who has to bear all the pain, so doesn’t that make perfect sense? No. The morality and sensitivity of the issue, combined with acknowledging opinions on both sides changed my mind. Potential life begins at conception; everyone can agree on that. The decision to have the baby shouldn’t be made after because responsibility begins prior to conception. Some parents to-be argue that they aren’t “ready” to accept the child because it interferes with their career goals, or they cannot accept responsibility for another human being, but that thought should have entered their mind, prior to having sex.

I don’t consider a blastocyst a human being, but I consider it life. It’s potential life, someone who could change the world, someone who could discover the cure to cancer, and someone who could change lives forever. However, I do understand that we should not force a couple who are probably not fit to be parents, to accept parenthood. We shouldn’t force children to be born, due to rape. There are exceptions.

If abortion MUST be completed, then it must be before week three, when the nervous system, spinal column, kidneys and liver are formed. I am completely, 110%, against partial birth abortion, abortion when the baby can feel pain, when incredible damage has to be done to the baby, in order to kill it. That is murder and should not be accepted by any city, state, or country.

No one is pro-abortion. It’s whether they are pro-life, favoring the baby under all costs, or pro-choice, allowing the mother to choose for herself. But can someone truly be one side or another? Religion blinds the people on the extreme pro-life side and lack of morality blinds those who are on the extreme pro-choice side. Outlawing abortion will not eliminate abortion. It will, in fact, increase harmful ways that mothers try to eliminate their babies. So what’s the solution? There really isn’t one because like I mentioned earlier, no one is pro-abortion and people aren’t going to stop having unprotected sex either. My view on abortion isn’t as crystal clear as my views have been on other issues, and unfortunately, that’s all I have.

Sam O Tries Not to Sound Like a Jerk


Here’s my cop-out answer to the abortion question: life begins at conception, since a blastocyst is technically life. We all know this, and I shouldn’t really have to say this. But what I will be arguing here is not where life begins, but rather that abortion is wrong at any stage.

Being a man, I have no way of empathizing with the plight of womankind and therefore none of my opinions are valid on any matter, simply because I do not understand anything. Be that as it may, I think I, as well as most men, can see this matter from a different perspective than women since I have neither the experiential or hormonal background to actually know what pregnancy and childbirth are like. Perhaps what I can see is slightly more down to earth than what woman can see. My opinions aren’t any better than a woman’s, but they are likely more grounded.

Life is sacred. That's an interesting notion, and it's hard for me to elaborate on what that means, since it's something I feel in such a visceral way. I believe that all sentient beings, whether human or animal, have the right to life and the right to be free of pain. I am against the slaughter of animals for food and the confinement of animals for their resources. I am against senseless violence and war (which is most of it). I am against capital punishment and any policy that glorifies death as retribution or purification. Therefore, I have to be against abortion; otherwise, I would be going against my beliefs. I bask in the glory that is consistency, for I know that my morals are secure. Since a blastocyst is life, and since a blastocyst will likely become an independent organism in the future, vacuuming this clump of cells out from its home is the very definition of murder (or at least my definition).

However, what I belief about the sanctity of life does not necessarily determine my position on the legality of abortion. It is not my position to judge what is right or wrong for any particular case. Granted, there are likely cases in which the death of a fetus is he best thing for everyone involved (I wouldn't want to live with Fragile X Syndrome). There are also cases, however, where death does not ensure the best outcome for he child. Who's to say that a child born to a single mother will have a bad life? Who's to say that adoption won't provide a better outcome for both the woman and the baby? Who’s to say what will create the most good out of any given scenario?

A more important question is this: Who should we be protecting here? Who should we have in mind when making these tough decisions? The answer is clear. We must protect the child. As a potential human being, we must do what is in the child’s best interest. It must be assumed that any being would want to live if given the chance, whether or not the being’s biological parents actually want it to live. It can also safely be assumed that a being would not want to live if life were to present some sort of horrible obstacle, whether or not the parents wanted to raise the child through its difficulties. Other reasons for abortion are selfish and immoral. Abortion is abortion, and murder is murder; however, murder is acceptable in cases where an adult is making a rational decision for a being that cannot do so. This is remarkably similar to euthanasia, where if a person is being kept alive only with the help of myriad machines, it is often in that person’s best interest for loved ones to “pull the plug.” Autonomy must be preserved whenever possible, otherwise guardians must make rational decisions, keeping in mind the interest of the one whose life is at stake.

Abortion is wrong, but it is not necessarily bad. I would never abort a child (were I a woman), nor would I do anything to directly harm another living being. Causing harm to any living thing, whether tangible physical harm or merely the unfelt extinguishing of life that abortionists carry out every day, is wrong. But I have grave reservations about whether denying abortion in all cases would lead to the greatest net benefit. In this respect, I think like a debater. Any action is inherently non-ideal, since anything we do will have unintended negative consequences. Therefore, we must do things such that our actions, in aggregate, cause the greatest possible amount of good. Sometimes this means letting morality go.

The myriad “pro-choice” policies suggested by well-intentioned feminists, population theorists, and rogue economists endow women with the wrong mindset. By saying that women should have the right to choose whether or not to have a child, we are in essence admitting that the life of a child, in utero, can end at the whim of the person carrying it. We are giving women the ability to eliminate the possibility of life for their babies for any reason whatsoever. Pro-choice individuals take it for granted that a woman has complete and utter control over her body, and that a woman’s body includes the body of a fetus dependent on its mother. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Biologically, a fetus is part of its mother, but this does not mean that a woman has the right to destroy a fetus sucking away her vital nutrients. Like it or not, a fetus is a separate, though potential, person that has the right to decide for itself whether it wants to live. If a capricious mother decides that she wants to abort her baby simply because she “isn’t ready,” this is unfair for the child who has no chance at all.

At the end, it’s about fairness. A fetus is helpless and fragile, dragged into the middle of an inflammatory and dangerous situation. A pregnant woman must have gotten pregnant through her own volition (rape cases are a different story) and therefore has some degree of responsibility for her actions. It makes little sense to punish something, someone, who cannot help that it came into existence and has no power to control its destiny.

Kirsten G.

Life begins at conception. The moment that all of the DNA code to create a new living being is present, life exists. I find it rather ironic that we marvel at the complexity of single-celled organisms, but are unwilling to consider an eight-celled blastocyst life simply because of that fact it looks nothing like the human it has the potential to become. A zygote may not be able to breathe or think, but it has as much DNA as anyone in our class does.

I think that life is precious. I believe that no matter a person’s circumstance is they have the right to a happy and healthy life. It may seem like I would apply this to all life, even a fetus. When I say happy and healthy, I in no way apply this to something that has little or no potential to being offered the possibility of it. A woman who is not ready for a baby probably will not make a great mother. And as Paige so bravely shared with us, it’s hard growing up knowing that you were unwanted. Not everyone has the capability to overcome the adversity your mother not wanting you. I would be amazed to see more than a handful of people that are as well-rounded and amazing as Paige.

Last year a lucky few of us were able to go to CMH’s Neonatal department. It is amazing to me what modern medicine is capable of achieving. There were babies 23 and 24 weeks old lying swaddled up in blankets that seemed way too big for them. I saw mothers coming in on their lunch break to come and hold their tiny babies, wishing that they could take them home. Even though those babies were absolutely tiny, had an increased risk of developing mental disabilities and were in no way out of the hardest part of their journey there moms were incredibly happy to have them there.

Every baby, every human deserves to be as wanted as those babies were by their mothers. Abortion, as horrible as it is that there are 1.2 million every year, should be legal. I know that I would never be able to have an abortion, but I would never want to restrict anyone to my beliefs. I would never look down on a woman for having an abortion. In the end, they have the right to choose. No one makes the decision lightly. Every woman has a different opinion on when their baby, well, becomes their baby. For me, that’s the moment they are conceived. And for me, abortion would never be an option. I respect those women who know that they would not be able to handle having a child and I believe that forcing them to have that responsibility would be immoral. A baby’s life is more often than not defined by their situation. Every potential human being deserves the best
possible option.

Josh W.

Life, hell even human life, begins at conception. All the pieces needed for a human being to form are present at that early stage. Unless due to some unforeseen incident, that mesh of cells will become a human life. However, accidents happen, bad things will happen to good people, and sometimes things will occur at the wrong time. Mistakes can be made or nature can be a bitch, either way it begs the question, when such things occur, to what degree is it permissible to end one life, due to the mistakes or bad luck of another? My answer is quite clear up until the end of the first trimester.

After the first trimester the baby begins to develop it's nervous system, which means it can feel pain, and eventually even begins to dream. It's heart begins to beat heartier (haha) and the child can even react to it's mother's voice. To see an image of such a being, it has arms, legs, it sleeps, it dreams, it reacts to the world around it, it is human. To destroy such a thing would be murder, it is too human like to consider it anything else. Life is a precious commodity and we must always tread with caution whenever we gain the power to end or begin it, it is extremely valuable and looking out into our universe... rare.

Things happen, I understand, a child is diagnosed with Tay Sachs, a mother is told she will die if she gives birth, a women gets raped, these things happen and sometimes they require a sacrifice to remedy. However, I do not believe such circumstances sanction others with minor issues, such as a child with a cleft palette or the possibility of a son who is a Chinese little person, to end another's life due to insignificant factors. Abortion needs to be an option available to women in crisis, but it's seriousness should not be degraded to the point that it is just another form of birth control.

All things considered life is not fair. It would be amazing to live in a world were we could all live in our own ways, owing others nothing, relying on no one, creating laws that we all believe to be just. Tragically, humans are societal creatures and since we are compelled to join together, we must regulate one another to make all situations fairer for as many as possible. Winston Churchill said it best, democracy is not a perfect system, but it is the best we have. Therefore, living in a democracy, we must accept the will of the majority, even if we feel it to be wrong, fight it till the end, but things needed to be decided by someone. So on the issue of abortion it would be great to say, well in this case abortion would be necessary, in this other case it would not, but not only would that take forever, but legally would be impossible to legislate, so we must create a clear rule that all can understand and that most can agree upon. This in my opinion is, no abortions can be performed past the first trimester, unless the mother or the child are at risk of death.

Abortion is a confounding subject, I don't believe we'll truly ever have a definite, I know I still don't.



COHORT 4 RESPONDS


Dallas L.

So, there is this thing called a zygote.
It has a diploid number of chromosomes.
It has all the DNA needed to become a human.
It has the potential to rapidly grow into a new being.
There is no other clear cut line in all of embryonic development than this.
There is no grey area: the moment a haploid sperm and a haploid egg fuse to make a diploid cell – a new genetic code is created – the essence of a new individual.
Whats up: I took AP BIO.

To say that a fetus is a person after the first trimester is ignorant.
Just because it is beginning to take shape and look like something does not make it anymore or less of a person than a zygote of blastocyst. Scientifically, they both contain the same material, the same code, the same being.

To coin “when” a fetus is a human, is DUMB. It is a human from the moment of conception, and even science backs up that logic.

So what now, what is the value of life at what stage?
To me, its all the same, and always will be.
A zygote, is a blastocyst, is two weeks along, is six months along, is born, is me.
The next question that intrigues me though, is when does it have a soul (again if you believe in that whole “soul” thing).
This too, I believe is at the moment of conception.

For me, there is not sliding scale, and to put it bluntly, I am not viable. If my parents kicked me out, I probably would just like….mob it to a friend’s house, or end up the grandparents krib. I don’t have a job that could sustain a food source, a house, a pet, clothes, medical bills, insurance, electricity, etc. Therefore, I believe we all have the same value of human life, and that life truly does start at conception.
For those who take the stance of “at 21 weeks it can live outside the womb…that’s when it has human rights,” I am sorry, but I think that statement is idiotic. If someone in out class plopped out an infant, set it on the floor and said, “whattup kid: aren’t you supposed to be viable…get your own damn food…open your eyes…conehead” I am pretty sure…the poor thing would not make it:/ phahahahaha.
In all honesty, it is for this reason that I believe that life begins at the moment of conception, and so do human rights, for it’s the only starting point WITH NO GREY AREA…really, it just makes things easier…even science, sometimes the worst enemy of religion, bluntly agrees with this one. So how can you have any other opinion?

Boom.

Chrisman P.

From the second that that little fish-looking sperm cell embeds itself into a woman’s egg, life begins. There’s no denying that the body of cells to be implanted within the woman’s uterus is alive. It may be dependent on its mother. It may be fragile. It may not even have a thought process. But, sure enough, in all its microscopic glory, that fertilized egg is alive.

When we take a biology course for the first time, we are taught that life is defined as present in an organism if the organism demonstrates and maintains:

1. Homeostasis: Regulation of the internal environment to maintain a constant state; for example, electrolyte concentration or sweating to reduce temperature.

2. Organization: Being structurally composed of one or more cells, which are the basic units of life.

3. Metabolism: Transformation of energy by converting chemicals and energy into cellular components (anabolism) and decomposing organic matter (catabolism). Living things require energy to maintain internal organization (homeostasis) and to produce the other phenomena associated with life.

4. Growth: Maintenance of a higher rate of anabolism than catabolism. A growing organism increases in size in all of its parts, rather than simply accumulating matter.

5. Adaptation: The ability to change over a period of time in response to the environment. This ability is fundamental to the process of evolution and is determined by the organism's heredity as well as the composition of metabolized substances, and external factors present.

6. Response to stimuli: A response can take many forms, from the contraction of a unicellular organism to external chemicals, to complex reactions involving all the senses of multicellular organisms. A response is often expressed by motion, for example, the leaves of a plant turning toward the sun (phototropism) and by chemotaxis.

7. Reproduction: The ability to produce new individual organisms, either asexually from a single parent organism, or sexually from two parent organisms.

Undeniably, a zygote performs homeostasis—otherwise it would not survive. Within the first few days, a zygote begins to organize itself into polypotent cells that will become the cells of different systems. After fertilization, a zygote maintains a metabolism because, otherwise, it would not be able to grow so rapidly. A zygote adapts to the uterine environment, based on genetic material, and responds to hormonal changes within the mothers body until it finally develops the tangible human senses. As for reproduction, the cells reproduce asexually until maturation, when a human being is given the chance to sexually reproduce and father, or mother, a child.

The principal argument that is utilized within the scientific field is that a fertilized egg is not truly alive. Thus, it is staggering to me that such self-declared educated people do not recognize their own irony. In biology, life is taught to exist when the before-listed functions are performed. Therefore to argue, from a scientific perspective, that life does not exist at conception is pure hypocrisy.

Perhaps the humanity of a human zygote is developed over time. But then, so is the humanity of a newborn child. Would you kill a newborn child? I sure wouldn’t…murderer.

I’m pro-choice because I don’t know that I could ever support my partner’s abortion, but I know that I would not want to take the options away from someone who would. Of course, we never know how we will act until we arrive at the defining moment of a situation. Whether or not I would ever support abortion on a personal level, however, is not the question of this blog. But my answer is that life begins at conception, plain and simple.

Cory H.

Life begins at the point of conception whether or not people want to believe it that is a capable life. For example, it has all the D.N.A. it ever will along the process of development. Just like us it is constantly growing and aging. It is the exact same genetic makeup as us even. How could this not be seen as a life?

What if one of your parents or even you had been aborted? You would not exist, every single generation after you would be nonexistent. You and your blood line would be ended right their with that abortion. What a waste of life, abortion is for simple lazy fools that take the easy way out of their mistakes and commit murder.

The joke in the video shown in class said, “If you have two bullets and your locked in a room with Hitler, an abortionist, and some other bad person what do you do? You shoot the abortionist twice.” I’m not entirely sure why people act out against abortion with violence, except for frustration, because this does hurt the pro-life struggle and what it stands for. With the joke told above though I think its funny and even slightly true under the situation Hitler is already dead so why not go ahead and stop the mass genocide of over 1.5 million people a year just inside the U.S. alone. When people look back on this at some time, assuming that we even make it with the terrible road humanity is headed down, were going to realize the huge mistake we made legalizing abortion.

If history is forgotten then it repeats itself. People already deny genocides like the holocaust that has happened. People believe despite the true backed up facts that it never happened, but it did. And worst of all is it’s happening again and people deny it right now and are blinded by their liberal stupidity.

Religion, morals, peer pressure, politics, ethics, and everything aside just as a human being I cannot see how abortion is acceptable. It is terrible! I just know it’s wrong all based on personal choices and everyone somewhere in themselves knows it is wrong whether they want to admit it or not therefore abortion should be illegal and punishable by death. Point being if you support abortion, then you yourself deserve nothing better than that!


Ryan T.

It doesn't matter what people say, life begins at conception. Life might be basic and non-sentient, but it is still life none the less. The small embryo contains everything necessary for a separate life than from its parent, however it does take a lengthy incubation time. This is a new life and should be treated as such. One would not consider a child the same as their parent, this is the same. A parasite is a different organism and yet it cannot survive without the help of their host, how should this be the same.

I am pro-choice, and feel that even though this is a separate organism the mother still has a choice to abort or not. A woman should be able to abort a fetus based on her own decision, however after a certain point this option should be taken away. This is a decision that should not be made lightly nor should it be the decision of a single party, however this must be an open option. There are several circumstances that should make this an okay decision. For example, a teen pregnancy where a teen couple do not have the means to support a child, or a victim of rape or incest. These are just a few situations that people should be allowed to abort a pregnancy.

This is a perspective that should not be tainted by the ideas of others, it is one's own decision that will allow this to go without regret. Also another human being should not be allowed to change the decisions of others. Like I said I am pro-choice, and people should be given the choice. It should be illegal to influence others based on moral or religious beliefs, people have different ideas and they are allowed to express them, sure. However when these ideas get pushed on to those that are vulnerable, is when others begin to violate others constitutional rights.

Kyle L.

To quote Stephen Frambach, former BioScience member, “The subconscious recognition of humanity is the human appearance, but the reality is, from the point of fertilization, that egg IS A HUMAN, DESPITE WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE.” This quote brings to light exactly how fragile this initial stage of life is. Although that fertilized egg would be unable to survive outside of the mother’s womb, it is developing into something which will be able to one day survive on its own. This disproves the argument that scraping a cheek cell off of your face is committing murder because of the sheer fact that that cell does not have the potential to become a human life. The same goes for a sperm and egg…without the other, they are nothing more than sperm and egg.<br>

With that said, I think abortion is completely wrong and immoral unless under one particular circumstance: the endangerment of the mother’s life. It would be wrong to force a woman to have a baby at the cost of her own life. If she has kids of her own, it would be selfish to make her have the baby and leave her already living children motherless. To reiterate myself, I think that this is the ONLY circumstance. In all other cases, I think that the child should be given the right to live. It seems that often times many people bring up the idea that a woman may not be ready or prepared to raise the child on her own. Well, she doesn’t have to. There will be a family more than willing to take that baby in. Many people are unable to conceive a child on their own and would be elated to have the opportunity to raise someone else’s.<br>

Even though I am personally pro-life and feel that it is wrong to take the life away from an unborn child, I’m caught in between two conflicting sides: we live in a country which has an “establishment clause” which means that I may not inflict my religious beliefs on others while at the same time I feel that I am obligated to defend human life at all costs. However, with my religious views set aside, for they are meaningless to some people, I still feel that that baby has the right to life. Yes, the woman’s body must be respected, but so should the child’s body. Women advocate for the protection of their own bodies, but someone must advocate for the protection of the bodies of their unborn children.<br>

Even though I detest abortion, I still feel that it will be impossible to eradicate. No matter how much I support the pro-life movement, there will always be those who strive to keep abortion legal. In addition, the technology for abortions has been developed and is available, it is impossible to make it go away. I guess I also prefer women seeking safe abortions rather than deadly illegal ones. But, in my perfect world, ALL human life would be respected and be given a chance to live it out to the fullest.<br>

And, just for the record, I in no way condone the violence used to protest abortion. It is incredibly hypocritical—killing doctors who perform abortions is just as vile an act as the abortion itself. This also ties in with the death penalty. I don’t think that murderers should be punished by being executed. I support no form of killing whatsoever. So, I think that I can now, with confidence, say that I am adamantly pro-life and support the protection of all human life. Although microscopic, a human life is a human life and should be protected and be given the opportunity to live that life. If people aren’t ready for the responsibility of parenthood, they either shouldn’t be having sex or should be having protected sex. If protected sex fails, they must consider their options: to keep the baby (if they are up for the challenge) or to give the baby to people who can provide a loving environment for the child. A sliding scale on the value of human life cannot be placed on anyone, especially the lives of those who are concealed from our view inside a mother’s womb.

Ian M.


There can be no other answer other that life begins at conception. It is impossible to point to any other day of the cycle of the reproduction as the definitive point of supposed no return. It is impossible to point to a ball of cells (as we all are and will be until the day we die) one day and say that it is nothing more than the equal of dead skin being cleaned off with washing your hands and then on the next day protect it from harm because it has somehow undergone the transformation to make it human. To me, there are only two moments where a change happens instantaneously. Your conception and your death. Nothing else is life happens instantaneously.

I oppose abortion, just as I oppose murder, violence, and the destruction of human life. But I reject the idea that life carried to term will always be a better solution than the early termination of that pregnancy. Two lives are just as easily endangered with the carrying of the baby to term, not just medically with the risky birth of a child, but in the long term well being of the mother and the child, constantly eroded by the burden that is child rearing.

I think I, along with some other I know, try to distance themselves from those who use God and their religion as their reasoning for their protection of life. To me, that alienates and discourages people from sympathizing with the pro life movement. Listen up pro-life zealots, you will never succeed if you continue to use your self-righteous religious rhetoric. And to those who resort to violence, I’ll say this: “Yes the violence has worked, but it does not mean people will stop wanting and having abortions.” My aunt almost died in a side alley trying to give herself an abortion because she was in the position where she believed she needed one. And this was before it was even legal, so obviously it’s not a matter of it being socially acceptable or legal. Abortions will happen, and that is a fact you have to live with unfortunately.

This debate is a hard one for me to see through to an answer. On one side, I would never want to deny someone who really is in the situation where an abortion is in the best interests. But on the other side, when I see the videos of ultrasounds and newborns, it is hard to not be pro-life. In fact, I think anyone who has ever been a parent, for no matter how long, has a hard time condoning abortion because childbirth is no longer an abstract idea. But for me, even after having this abstract idea stripped from me, I have to remind myself that while I may be prolife in my life, which means that I will always use a clear head and birth control to prevent myself from ever having to help make the decision again (because if the boy is committed to staying, he should be allowed to be a part of the decision), I have to remember that there other people who need to have abortion as a LAST RESORT. Nobody is pro abortion. And not every decision to have an abortion is a selfish decision. I’m serious about that, the decision is much more complicated than “I just can’t have a kid right now, I want my life.” But one thing is for sure, abortion is not an issue where there is straight black and white, and anyone who refuses to acknowledge that the other side has a legitimate point is being way too close minded to be participating in the debate.
Sorry guys, I can’t have a straight answer here.


Melodie G.


There is no denying that life begins at conception. It would be like denying that when a sperm and an egg fuse DNA isn’t present yet. From the moment of conception, that is a human being. Not yet fully developed human being, but it is a person in the making. It really bugs me when people call a fertilized egg a parasite, it frustrates me because I once was just an embryo, and so was everyone else around me. It’s an insult; an embryo is such a complex organism, after nine months it transforms into a baby. That is not some sort of simple organism, it’s very complex, in the way the brain is formed which allows us to function. And it seems that people take it so lightly that they have an abortion when they learn that they are pregnant. Yes I understand a lot of thinking goes into that decision, but I guess not enough, because they chose to abort it. Something so amazing, something so complex, and they rather destroy it.

What I really don’t understand is how come when someone whose gun accidently goes off, and kills someone, they are considered a murderer, but a doctor who performs abortions isn’t, better yet why isn’t the mother considered a murderer? That makes absolutely no sense to me. Someone dies accidently and someone gets put to jail, while someone gets paid to murder babies? And well, who are we to merely decide that this baby gets to die. Every child is a blessing, sure they are tough to handle, but they are a blessing, and who are we to decide if it is ok to kill them? If you can’t handle the consequence don’t even go there in the beginning! Everyone wants pleasure, but they don’t want to consequences. There is not one action that does not result in some sort of good or bad consequence. That is just how life is, it is foolish that people go have unprotected sex or protected sex, end up pregnant and find an easy fix to that horrible event in their opinion.

That is why I strongly believe that people should wait until marriage to have sex, if someone really loves, than they will wait, the world is not going to end tomorrow. Now to the hot topic of the year, abortion. Obviously I am prolife, I do not agree with abortion at all, unless the mother’s life is in danger. I personally believe that a woman has all the rights that she wants up until she gets pregnant. It is not longer about her any more; it’s about the baby who needs the support and nutrition of the mother. No matter at what stage of pregnancy the mother is, the baby deserves rights. Who cares if it doesn’t have senses or feelings, it most defiantly has the potential.

While I am prolife, I however feel that violence in no way is necessary. Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, and I honor that. The man who felt that “God told me to shoot the abortionist” may have heard a message from the devil. Violence is and never has been a solution for anything. He didn’t prove much of a point by murdering someone; he proved that no better than what he thought the abortionist was. He proved that he can land himself some jail time. Taking it up one step and physically hurting people because they think they are right only makes us look bad (prolife peeps). And harassing people in front of the abortion clinics in my opinion is pretty low, spreading the word about adoptions is a wonderful idea, but not in that form. People are having a pretty rough day; they don’t need someone shoving pictures in their faces. There are other ways of helping people make the best decision for themselves.

Shannnon G.


Well, I guess it is undeniable that life begins at fertilization. That is when all of the chromosomes are present and that tiny little cell has some sort life. But is it life in the same sense as human life? If it’s not then when is it the same? To be honest, I don’t know the answer to either of these questions.

No, there is no brain, no muscles, no bones and no organs at conception. But does it have a soul? Do we even have souls? Well, I believe we do. But I have absolutely no clue when we get a soul. I do not know if we get a soul at conception. I do not know if we get a soul somewhere in the middle. Nor do I know if get a soul at birth. I do know however, that we do get a soul before we’re 18, and in my opinion at least when we are born (assume that my belief in souls is correct).

If that newly made cell does have a soul though and I knew it for sure, I would be much more uncomfortable with abortion then I already am. Some part of me says that it does have a soul, and another part of says that I honestly just have no clue. If there is a soul, then I believe that it has a goal. I was once told that “the meaning of life is to find acceptance in death,” for some that is finding God and carrying out His will, and for others, it is something else. What right would we have to destroy that cells’ chance to find acceptance? None, is what I’d like to say, but everything is just too complicated.

Some say abortion is a person’s right to their own body. I believe that everybody should have the right to control their own body, but things like abortion and euthanasia just need to be highly regulated. Then again it’s also part of that embryo’s/ child’s body now. It’s different from a parasite, at least in normal cases, it won’t usually kill the parent’s body and has a set of human chromosomes.

Furthermore, in abortion I have to choose between the right for a person to control their own body and the right for that human life to live. I strongly believe in both, so which do I choose? Then again, why should I be able to choose for somebody else?

Some part of me wants abortion to be illegal with the exception of life or death situations, another part says it should also be legal in rape, but then why should that embryo/child deserve less than another. At the same time, I believe it should be legal for those who protect themselves but have a condom break, or the shot or birth control doesn’t work, while another part says it should just be legal for all who choose that route.

There has to be reason we have the power to have abortions, and I’m sure it’s not just a black and white one, people just need to take the time and really ask if it’s right for them. If they know that it’s the right path and have fully heard both sides of the argument and know what they will do with/to the embryo/baby then I believe that they are probably correct. Maybe that soul, if it has a soul has already done what it needed to do by changing someone else’s life or future? To be honest, I just wish that everyone got to have the same time of education on abortion that we have been able to have over the past few weeks, that would make me more comfortable with this issue, but they don’t. America is too conservative, scared, and closed up. So people don’t get to have such a through education.

I personally do not think I could tell someone they couldn’t get an abortion if they were raped. Then again, I don’t know when people get souls. They have gone through so much, what right do I have to remind them of that for nine months straight and possibly the rest of their life. I will say though, that if they chose to have the baby they are one of if not the strongest and bravest person that I have ever, and probably will ever meet.

For the most part, I think many of us would like them to choose life no matter what situation they’re in unless it’s life for one and death for the other or both. That baby can live a happy life, even if it wasn’t conceived that way. I know someone, and they’ve changed many people’s lives. There are so many different options and so long as they take the responsibility they can make sure that their child will know what happened, have good parents adopt them, or find help to raise them themselves. We just need to make these options better known. For example, pre adoption can be a very good option, you can meet the parents, get to know them and help someone who would like to take care of a child.

I definitely think there needs to be more protection as well. I am constantly hearing about people having abortions because they can’t tell their parents, or their parents are using scare tactics or blackmailing them. The first time I heard about abortion, this was the case. In fourth grade my friend came to school crying because here older step sister was being threatened by her father into having an abortion (in kid language, killing her baby). It’s not right, people need to know that there are people who will protect them and help them take care of that child.

I also know that if we make abortion illegal, people will do it themselves. They know there are ways to have abortions now it is technologically safe and possible, if we make them illegal they will just do it anyways and most likely kill themselves in the process as well.

However, unless it is life or death, I do not think that abortions should be allowed once the baby is viable. No matter what there will need to be a surgery unless there have a natural birth. I don’t see why they should be able to have a surgery to kill a child that could live if they had a different surgery, and they would no longer have be pregnant either way.

I guess that in the end, I am probably pro-choice. People have to decide which is the right option for them. I just wish they got to have a thorough education like this one, because I know that many do not. I get upset when people have four or five abortions which aren’t because of rape or life and death situations like that. I always wonder, if this isn’t the time yet then when is? Then again, maybe the time will come. I do look down on people who have abortions, I can’t, it’s too hard of a decision. I can however, often times look up to those who choose life, and to just about all who have to go through such a complicated decision.

Yes, I get annoyed that people have their fun and don’t face the consequences when they are extremely common. But I don’t think I could choose for someone. It’s their life, their journey, I don’t even know what I would choose, I’ve never faced that situation and would probably only have to in a case of rape, but I wouldn’t know what I’d choose until then.

I am alive, I believe I have a soul, but I do not have anywhere near all my rights, I am not 18. I thinks rights should go by a case by case basis, people need more rights at a younger age now. So when should that baby have a right to live? I think it should always, but it also contradicts other rights of others. So the best way for now is probably case by case, individual by individual, let them choose. Will it happen, no not for a while at least, should it be that way? I don’t know, no way is seems to work. I want everybody to have their rights at a younger age, most of them anyways, but with technology the way it is now it is impossible for the issue of abortion, maybe the future but not now. So choice is probably our best option, but choice with unbiased education.



COHORT 3 RESPONDS


Kyle B.


I’m assuming for the purposes of this argument that what is being asked of us is strictly our personal opinion on the subject of abortion and not our opinion on what government should do about it. Quite frankly I think that anyone who would support the federal government taking a stance on abortion, either in support of it or against it, isn’t thinking hard enough about what it means for the government to do such and the implications it would have for the liberty of Americans everywhere. But I digress and I do not get credit for that so let’s get back to the point here.

I believe personally that life begins at conception, that at the very moment at which egg and sperm unite a unique being is created which is in every way that matters “alive” and is thus due the respect with which we treat all of humanity. As to why I believe this, I’m just going to quote from the article I wrote a little while back about stem cell research as it follows roughly the same line. “Where does one wish to draw the line between a group of cells and life? The definitive moment, and the only logical one to assert, is conception. With the union of egg and sperm a baby receives all that it needs to grow and progress throughout the rest of its life and to stop that is the very definition of murder: the forceful end of a life in progress. No, an embryo has not yet become all it could one day be, but the same could be said for any person. We are all growing, all maturing, always. It is a crime to rob a person of the chance to do such, and it is a tragedy to commit such a crime on a life as innocent and pure as that of an unborn baby.”

There is no doubt in my mind that abortion is wrong. As birth control it is an abhorrent procedure that rewards the very characteristics that are so destructive to our society: disregard for the rights of others, complete and total focus on instantaneous gratification, an unwillingness to accept the consequences of one’s actions, and an all around lack of personal responsibility. Many, even the more moderate pro-choice proponents, agree with this point of view. After all the motto of the Democratic Party on this very issue reads: “Safe, legal, and ''rare'' [emphasis added].”

What puzzles me however is how this view-point breaks down when the issue of rape or incest is brought up. Yes, it is, beyond a shadow of a doubt, fact that women forcefully placed in such a horrible position by the evil of others must confront demons the likes of which most people cannot imagine. It is not strange to wonder why these women would want to rid themselves of their baby, who is after all, a constant reminder of the cruelty and abuse which they were subjected to. It seems almost cruel to deprive them of the ability to have this procedure.

This line of reasoning however, despite how compelling an emotional appeal it may be, is not a valid excuse for an abortion, once we accept the reality that a fetus is a living being. It is possible in this matter that the mother may be irreparably scared emotionally by having to carry the pregnancy to term (I say possible here only because there are documented cases in which the baby instead participates in the mother’s healing process), but if she does not the baby will be killed. It is in many ways an impossible thing to ask of a mother, but the fact of the matter is that despite what its father may have done, the baby is not its father. The baby is an innocent. It has done nothing wrong and deserves a chance to live.

There are two cases however in which even I must acknowledge that there must be leniency, even if that leniency does result in a murder. If a pregnancy occurs which presents an immediate and irreparable threat to the mother’s life, or if the baby is to be born with a fatal disease the likes of which would let it live only little and while alive have it suffer excruciating pain, then abortion must be allowed as a sad choice to consider. The only reason I am willing to even consider such in this matter is because what is directly at stake here is life and if a pregnancy can only result in death then compassion would suggest that medicine should do what it can to make the matter as painless as possible. I do not see the morality of forcing a baby to be born only so that it can suffer for a few hours and then die. And I do not see the morality behind telling a mother that her life must be forfeited (though the death of the baby in this matter kills me inside). In either case though counseling by trained medical professionals is greatly necessary and what is even more vital is for the final choice in the matter to be left up to the parents. If a mother decides, in a clear and lucid frame of mind, that she is willing to risk her life for her baby, then the doctor should respect that, should honor that, and say nothing more.

That is what I think.


Jaclyn C. is Pro-Babies


At the point which we exist right now, we do not have the scientific knowledge to definitively say "when life begins", thus leaving it open to multiple interpretations. In my opinion, all of the defining characteristics of life begin at the moment of conception. Once the sperm and egg join, a reaction begins that involves the growth and development of a cell, to a blastocys, to a fully formed embryo. The key factor is that, at all of these stages, the growth and development that occur are key characteristics of life. Therefore, I believe that at the exact moment of conception, life begins.

Because of this, I believe that all forms of abortion are murder. I don't, however, believe abortion should be illegal. There are obviously certain circumstances that warrant a legal abortion, such as rape and incest. The problem with this, however, is that a surprisingly small number of abortions are performed for these reasons. The majority are actually women who feel they are not ready for a(nother) child or who feel they couldn't support one. Personally, I could not imagine the thoughts and emotions a women must feel when contemplating abortion, but I think that it's very important that they are tormenting thoughts. While I believe that abortion is murder, I understand and respect the fact that some women are going to need one for reasons that are either very personal or very important or both. If you and your spouse are passing through very difficult times and you are struggling to support yourselves, let alone a tiny baby, I understand. I, personally, would encourage adoption, but I understand that this method does not come without emotional and fiscal hardship, and thus a woman may turn to abortion. In the end, while I still consider this act a form of murder, I believe that certain circustances warrant an acceptable abortion.

What I happen to have a strong issue with is women who have multiple abortions. It's similar to Example B Girl in his posting. This girl is young, has had multiple partners, is familiar with the nurses at the abortion clinic and has little regard for what she is doing as anything more than routine. To me, this is a grotesque disrespect for life. It's no longer to protect her health, or because she was part of a horrific accident, or because she honestly cannot care for the child. It's not a one-time-I'm-definitely-learning-from-this thing and is now a disgusting form of birth control. I'm not saying that she deserves consequences for promiscuity or anything of the sort. I'm saying that if you're going to live a life this way, do so intelligently and with a respect for life. Abortion is NOT a light topic and it should never be treated as such.

So my stance on abortion may place me as "somewhere in the middle", but I firmly believe that life begins at conception. A miscarriage is a death and an abortion is murder. That is what I believe. But I also believe that there are instances and circumstances that warrant a legal and ethical abortion. However, they need to be treated with the weight that they deserve: the weight of human life. While I, personally, cannot endorse abortion, I respect the fact that others believe differently from me. Just be sure to treat the matter with respect and great thought.


Steven B. thinks stuff


I believe life begins at conception when the embryo is inside the uterus. For me, it is the only logical way to define the beginning of life. The beginning of development is the start of a new life, and not even the Planned Parenthood people deny that. However, I believe that it comes into question when we define "personhood". When is this life human, and when should it have rights? That to me is essential in this debate. But to me, this also comes at conception inside the uterus. There is no point that the embryo is anything other than a developing human. It isn't a cow, a rooster, or even just a cluster of specialized cells. It is always human life, and therefore it should be protected.

Abortion, to me, means you aren't even giving this developing human a chance to live. When I saw how many abortions were performed in 2004, over 1,000,000, I was pretty shocked. It was that many kids didn't even have a chance to be brought into the world and weren't able to fulfill anything.

Allison supports life


One of the most disrespectable things anyone woman could EVER do, is to have sex irresponsibly, knowing the consequences, get pregnant, and get an abortion. A woman who does not take advantage of birth control but proceeds to have sex anyway should be fully aware of what can happen, and needs to be prepared for a baby if that is what it comes down to. To have sex for your own pleasure and kill the baby that results from a consequential pregnancy really outrages me, because those who are mature enough to have sex should be adequately protected against pregnancy if that is not a desired result.

I believe that once sperm and egg meet, a human is present. It is alive and growing. It is unique and unlike any other human being that has been and ever will be, and it deserves a chance at life. I really don’t know what other reasoning I can put behind that, because my feelings are strong and concise on the matter.

Back to the “with rights come responsibilities.” If you are a woman, you have the responsibility to ensure that you do not get pregnant without wanting a baby. There are many ways to do this through abstinece and birth control. If you get pregnant while you are on birth control, than you should be prepared to carry the baby full term and give it up for adoption. This should all be though out before you even begin to have sex. The right to control your body comes with the responsibility to not get pregnant at an unwanted time. So to the women who say “this is my body I can do what I want, men don’t even have vaginas BLAH BLAH BLAH,” I say, yes, you have the right and choice to control your body’s ability to get pregnant, but you do not have the right to end the life that you created through your actions. DEAL WITH IT.

As for women who get pregnant through rape. I have not walked in their shoes and could not even begin to feel what they must be going through, but I have to stick to my fervent pro-life choice and say that even though that baby is unwanted and thrust upon you, I feel that two wrongs to not make a right. It is not the baby’s fault that it came into the world in such an unfortunate way. I am not telling them that they should raise the baby as their own, but giving birth and putting it up for adoption is at least offering it life, instead of ending it prematurely.

My views on abortion are still forming and not perfect, but deep down, I cannot support the killing of a fetus under any circumstances.


Cee-Cee T's Thoughts


This is a question that will never have an answer that satisfies everyone. But I don’t think it’s a matter of choosing an answer that pleases the most people – it’s a fundamental moral question. It is a question concerning the nature of pregnancy, the role of mothers, the implications of development, the value of life, and the nature of death.

At any point of development, I believe the mother has the duty to care for her unborn ‘’child.’’ Whether you call it a fetus or baby doesn’t change what it really is. On day 1 when fertilization occurs, a completely unique set of human chromosomes exist to begin a completely new life. ‘’But’’, the embryo must make it to the uterus wall before it can begin development. Is there a distinct difference between being a newly fertilized zygote and a 6-day old zygote anchored in the uterus wall? Or an embryo with a heartbeat and an embryo with a nervous system? Physically, of course. Is it deserving to be called human life?

Planned Parenthood said so, according to Diane Dew. Before abortion was legalized, McGraw-Hill was publishing a textbook titled ‘’Conception, Birth and Contraception.’’ It needed input from an authority on the subject, and one organization it turned to was Planned Parenthood. “The book clearly pushes contraception…but the personhood of the unborn is fully supported throughout the text” (http://www.dianedew.com/conceptn.htm). Some excerpts include:

"... at least one [sperm] will reach the egg, fertilize it, and conception will take place. A new life will begin." (page 15)

"From fertilization to delivery, mother and child are as one for approximately 266 days. At the end of the period the mother delivers the infant into the world ..." (page 3)

"The inherited characteristics of the baby to be born ... are determined by material within the egg and sperm ...” (page 50).

In the question of the when human life begins, and at what point does it have value – that’s not the biggest issue to me.

What matters is the issue of ‘’responsibility’’. Mothers have a duty to not only take care of their own bodies, but also the life – yes, life – they are responsible for inside of them. Whether or not the pregnancy was expected or desired doesn’t change the fact that a little baby is living inside and dependent on the woman who conceived. The embryo, fetus, child should have a chance at life as did the woman who carries it.

The physical union between a man and a woman is a wonderful thing that has the potential to create something so completely unique, something that has its own set of chromosomes, organs, possibilities, opportunities, and life. I didn’t take “family life education” in high school, so I don’t know a whole lot about the stats and technicalities of when a woman can get pregnant, etc. But I do know and wholeheartedly believe that sex should take place between a married man and woman. Sex is like a gift meant for that one person. Sadly, that gift is often taken for granted or abused. It seems like more and more people, younger people as well, are having that physical relationship: In the hypothetical situation Nick F. wrote about in his blog, the boyfriend and girlfriend of one year, “of course, have sex.” Of course? That’s not the way it used to be, and I don’t believe that’s the way it should be.

Sex comes with responsibility. Responsibility to wait, and responsibility to take whatever consequences come out of it – be they good or not necessarily desired. When people have an unwanted or unexpected pregnancy and want to abort, why should that baby be murdered because of something it had no control over? I know there are instances of rape or sexual abuse. That, no doubt, is a traumatic and horrible experience to the mother. But when it results in pregnancy, I still believe the mother has the responsibility to carry the baby to term. The baby can be a joy, a sort of light that comes through the horrible dark. The child had nothing to do with the abuse. Should he/she die because of it?

Every person sitting in this room was once a zygote, and embryo, a fetus, a baby. Each unborn child has a future set before them, a myriad of possibilities, dreams, and potential. Should anyone take that away?

Ryan is Pro-life with exceptions


TIf I were shot in the head, it would be the same as a fetus being aborted. I am no longer around or conscience and neither is the baby. What I have accomplished in my life still stands. My being murdered does not change what I have done – what changes are the opportunities that I have lost. The same stands for the unborn child. Why is there such a big difference between us then? The difference is that others are around to the feel pain of my death. But laws of murder were not created to protect the survivors from mourning. The laws are there to defend the future of the victims. The future of every child has been denied and stripped from them; thus, it is murder.

The issue is between the baby's (fetus, whatever you want to call it) and women's rights... obviously. Now the funny thing is that if I had never heard this issue before I would have thought that there would have been unanity amongst women that this would be something wrong. In fact, I would have thought that men would be pro-choice. My mom, as I am sure almost all mothers would agree with, said, and stands by the fact that, there is a sacred bond between a mother and a child. The love there is infinite and everlasting. And yet, for some reason, so many women are pro-choice – fighting for the right to destroy what they would love without boundaries only a few months later.

There is a two part test that I use whenever I am going to make a hard a decision. They are: will I regret this on my death bed and what would my five-year-old-self had said? And, for all my decisions that passed both, I have not regretted it. In this case, abortion passes neither. If I ever did ask my girlfriend or wife to get such a procedure done, I could never move on and live in clear conscience. It would always be there, and there would be nothing that could remove it or drive it from my memory. It would remain with me until my last breaths. Secondly, I think if the mechanics of abortion were explained to a five-year-old, he or she would be appalled. Even freshman year, when we did “This I Believe” essays, the amount of pro-life essays was incredible; and all my classes almost unanimously agreed that it was wrong and murder. But over time, as this “right” was drilled harder and harder and harder into our heads, people began to believe it. As Joseph Goebbels, one of Hitler’s chief advisors, said, if you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it.

The amount of times I have heard, “It’s not for me, but who am I to judge?” is remarkable. This is what I have to say to that question. Why not you? If there is nothing wrong with getting an abortion, and it should be legal, then why wouldn’t you? And the reason is that, in the pit of everyone’s stomach, they know they should not be getting an abortion. With this said, I give the pro-choice crusaders credit; they were able to take something that almost everyone is born knowing is innately wrong, and turn it into a surgery that most people still believe is wrong, but permissible. They turned it into a “separation of church and state” ordeal, even though it is clearly an argument over when life begins, not whether you believe in God. They turned it into “freedom!” and “oppression against women!” In government, I believe it was Scalia who said that when you give one person a right, you take away somebody else’s. Well, someone got the short end of the stick – many people actually. Because of this “right,” which is part of our “freedom,” freeing us from “oppression,” 50,000,000 million people have never gotten to see the light of day.

I have one final grievance for the ardent pro-choicers. How do you judge one individual’s development off another’s development? How does a baby become a baby at birth? Based on the symptoms of the mother, you are deciding when the baby is truly human. If you want to say a fetus is not a child, fine. But tell me at what point he or she becomes one; and do not define life based on the condition of a different person. It should not be the development of the women’s pregnancy but the development of the child that defines the beginning of life. If it is hardship and convenience, rather than hard, scientific facts that motivate your stance – then you have absolutely no ground in this argument, and should go back to using a skewer.

It is easy to see hardship in having a child while young, or old, or with the stigma or financial loss. There is no doubt. It may not be easy, it may not be fun. But just about every parent is willing to sacrifice everything for their children. And of all the sacrifices that mothers make, bringing their child into the world is the most importance. Pregnancy can be scary (I would imagine) and a mother, a young one in particular, might not know what to do or how to act. By keeping abortion legal and easily accessible, we are saying it is a perfectly acceptable action to take. If every mother who has aborted had chosen not too, not one (or at least I hope) would say they regret that decision. People have a nasty habit of taking the easy way out despite its consequences. That kind of pressure is immense, and for someone young, would lead to the most stress they have ever been under. How can we let a fourteen-year-old make a decision they will most likely regret – especially without even notifying the parents. Not one mother I know, and probably few anywhere, after their child has grown and is learning their ABCs, or is getting excited about their VYBA game, that they wish they had aborted.

The biggest argument people use in favor of abortion is the “potential life” argument. So, I would like to address that quickly. Our entire life is a development – from the blastocyst to infancy, from childhood to adulthood. At the moment of conception, cells are reproducing and constantly creating the organ systems, bones and tissues that make us human. The same reason that people want stem cells for science is the same reason they are so special. They can be anything! They are the makeup and origin of every cell in our body. It has begun. It is the start. We cannot base personhood on independence or reasoning. Under those definitions mentally handicapped, physically handicapped, and all children, would be considered inhuman.

Katie Believes Life Begins at Conception


At the beginning of this unit, my mind was pretty much already made up: Life begins at conception. And today, I still believe that life begins at the moment of conception; however, the ongoing class discussion made me question the beginning of “personhood.” To be honest, I don’t really know when personhood begins, which leads me to wonder when is an unborn child alive? I understand that on day 1, fertilization, all the human chromosomes are present and that each of our individual instructions for life are present. On that day and with the union of the sperm and the egg, there is the entire genetic makeup of what will grow into a human being if provided the proper time. On day 22, the heart begins to pump its own blood. By the end of week 3 the backbone, spinal cord, nervous system, kidneys, liver and intestines begin start forming. And by week 12, the embryo has all of the parts necessary to experience pain, including nerves, spinal cord, and thalamus. This all happens during the first trimester! Correct me if I’m wrong, but to put it simply beyond the 12 week point the baby has all the necessary parts and just needs “more time in the oven, to bake.” For me, each of these developments reaffirms that I believe life begins at conception.

Millions of lives have been killed through abortions. It is a lost generation of people that you and I will never have the opportunity to meet. Who knows how our lives could have differed with their presence? This maybe highly ideological but there is some truth to having miss out on what we never had the chance to experience.

Since I believe that life begins at conception, I also believe that abortion is murder. It is the conscious taking of human life. It is wrong. I understand that women do not approach the decisions of abortions lightly. I do not understand how they could possibly follow through with the process. And frankly, the sear number of abortions in this country is disgusting and shameful. Abortion is being used as the easy way out of a bad situation and not truly dealing with the consequences of one’s actions. People say well what about rape victims or if the mother’s live is in danger; what about them? Statistics show that of all the abortions in this country, cases of rape and endangerment to the mother make around 1%. Some in class wrote early, that there is a cruel irony in life that there are some couples so desperate for a baby and cannot have one for whatever reason; and other couples who don’t want or aren’t ready for children and get pregnant very easily.



COHORT 2 RESPONDS


Halie Says Life Begins at Conception


Haley, put your conclusions here and please remember to cite your sources! --Mr. Geib 13:56, 19 March 2008 (CDT)

If you hit a pregnant woman (no matter how far into the pregnancy they are from 1 hour till 9 months) it is counted as double murder! How then, without contradicting ourselves, can abortion not be murder???

Everyone knows women require choices. In terms of pregnancy women are given the choice. They have one choice! If a woman CHOOSES to have sex, that is her choice, no matter what the consequences. If she doesn't CHOSE to have sex (rape), then she is given the choice of abortion.

Yes teenage girls will find sources to have an abortion even if it isn't legal, but the illegal damage caused to their body is their own problem. Not allowing legal abortions will dramatically decrese the number of murders in a year. It sickens me that 75% of girls that have abortions are repeat offenders and often have 3 or more. Honestly, you'd think that dumb bitches would learn.

Basically, sex for those who want it is inevitable. Parents are supposed to teach their children morals, standards, religion, and quality, but many fail to speak because of embarassment or lack of caring. People should be open about sex, but not press their personal opinion on others. Sex should be taught in schools due to the lack of education through parents, but the educators opinions should never be shared. Confused teenagers can be persuaded by anyone! Only 15% of people are going to graduate from high school with there Vcard. Obviously... if teenagers are going to have sex, protection should be convenient and available at schools. The only people that are going to get through high school with their virginity are set against having sex, and the convenience of birth control will not change their mind.

'''Quotes'''

Republicans are against abortion until their daughters need one, Democrats are for abortion until their daughter wants one. ~Grace McGarvie

If it isn't a baby, then you aren't pregnant, so what are you aborting? ~Author Unknown

I've noticed that everybody that is for abortion has already been born. ~Ronald Reagan, quoted in New York Times, 22 September 1980

Only half the patients who go into an abortion clinic come out alive. ~Author Unknown

With humans it's abortion, but with chickens it's an omelet. ~Attributed to George Carlin

http://www.quotegarden.com/abortion.html

'''Physical/ Emotional Damage'''

Death: hemorrhage, infection, embolism, anesthesia, and undiagnosed ectopic pregnancies. Legal abortion is reported as the fifth leading cause of maternal death in the United States, though in fact it is recognized that most abortion related deaths are not officially reported as such

Breast Cancer

Ovarian, Liver, and Cervical Cancer

Uterine Perforation

Cervical Lacerations

Placenta Previa: life threatening condition in future pregnancies

Handicapped Newborns in Later Pregnancies

Ectopic Pregnancy

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Endometritis

Immediate Complications (10% of all women, 2% fatal): The nine most common major complications which can occur at the time of an abortion are: infection, excessive bleeding, embolism, ripping or perforation of the uterus, anesthesia complications, convulsions, hemorrhage, cervical injury, and endotoxic shock. The most common "minor" complications include: infection, bleeding, fever, second degree burns, chronic abdominal pain, vomiting, gastro-intestinal disturbances, and Rh sensitization

Increased risk to seek multiple abortions: This point is especially noteworthy since approximately 45% of all abortions are for repeat aborters. (GET THE HINT, USE BIRTH CONTROL AND CONDOMS!!!)

Increased risk for teenagers: 30% of all abortions, at higher risk for immediate complications and long term reproductive damage

Lower General Health: These findings support previous research which reported that during the year following an abortion women visited their family doctors 80% more for all reasons and 180% more for psychosocial reasons. The authors also found that "if a partner is present and not supportive, the miscarriage rate is more than double and the abortion rate is four times greater than if he is present and supportive. If the partner is absent the abortion rate is six times greater."

Increased Risk for Contributing Health Risk Factors: Abortion is significantly linked to behavioral changes such as promiscuity, smoking, drug abuse, and eating disorders which all contribute to increased risks of health problems. For example, promiscuity and abortion are each linked to increased rates of PID and ectopic pregnancies.

http://www.abortionfacts.com/reardon/effect_of_abortion.asp

'''Religion'''

The Bible consistently uses the same word for a "born" or "unborn" baby.1 This is because the divine Author of the Bible did not recognize a material difference between the two. In Scripture, there is not some special event when a "human being" becomes a "person". Rather, he or she is a person from the beginning who goes through growth and development both inside and outside of the womb.

Genesis 9:6 - Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man.

Exodus 20:13 - You shall not murder.

Deuteronomy 27:25a - Cursed is he who accepts a bribe to strike down an innocent person.

Proverbs 6:16-19 - There are six things which the LORD hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood...

Psalm 139:13-16. For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.

Luke 1:15. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb.

Jeremiah. 1:5. Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.

"Now we allow that life begins with conception because we contend that the soul also begins from conception; life taking its commencement at the same moment and place that the soul does" (Tertullian, Apology 27 from 210 AD).

"There are some women among you who by drinking special potions extinguish the life of the future human in their very bowels, thus committing murder before they even give birth." (Mark Felix, Christian Lawyer, Octavius chap. 30 from 170 AD).

"Thou shalt not slay the child by procuring abortion; nor, again, shalt thou destroy it after it is born" (Letter of Barnabas 19 from 74 AD).

http://www.abortionfacts.com/literature/literature_9410CV.asp

'''Past Studies'''

A later attempt to link three deaths as "abortion funding related" was shown not to be related to the funding cut off at all. Total maternal abortion deaths were actually lower than before the cutoff in 1976. Further, when welfare funds for elective abortion are cut off, there is a reduction in the total number of abor-tions, but also of live births. Apparently, conceptions decreased when the welfare state eliminated free abortions as a birth control measure.

From a strictly economic standpoint, isn’t it cheaper to abort than to have another person on welfare?

Planned Parenthood did one of the definitive studies on this which showed that at the time of the study there were welfare costs of $13,900 for each first birth to a teenager (married and unmarried), and $8,400 for each first birth to her if she was 20 years or older. Compare this with the average of nearly $50,000 each will ultimately pay in taxes as an adult. M. Burt, "Public Cost of Teen Childbearing," Family Planning Perspective, vol. 18, no. 5, Sept. 1986

The average time a family stays on welfare in the U.S. is 27 months, not 18 years. When we peel away the outer layer of the rhetoric, what we find is a callous cost-benefit analysis of solving poverty by killing the unborn children of the poor.

This continues to happen. In 1982, Michigan for instance, only 14.7% of pregnancies of non-welfare mothers were aborted. This clearly suggests coercion when we realize that the minority classes who make up a large share of the welfare people are more against abortion than are the while middle and upper classes. Ibid

http://www.abortionfacts.com/online_books/love_them_both/why_cant_we_love_them_both_43.asp#TAX%20FUNDED%20ABORTIONS

Planned Parenthood: It's all about: Abortion, Money, Sex, Politics, Not Telling Your Parents, and Deception

This non profit organization makes millions a year, and is funded by the government, private donors, and taxpayers (you and me)--- in other words I'm paying for something I'm completely against!!!

Retrieved from "http://fthswiki.org/index.php?title=Halie_Says_Life_Begins_at_Conception"

Sara Says Life Begins at Conception


Day 1: fertilization: all human chromosomes are present; unique human life begins.
When a male and female sex cell come together to produce a new single cell called zygote, that is the moment life begins.The moment of fertilization is the moment life begins. It does not matter how old the fetus is, the fact is that the baby has been created, it has been fertalized. It is a person. Yes it is very young and as of the second it is created it does not have the ability to think quite yet, however it is still a baby, a child, a person.The baby should have the same rights as any other human being. After a eight weeks, the baby has fingerprints, every organ is being developed, and bones are beginning to develop. Who is to say that this child does not have the same rights as anyone else? It is a human. It is a human at the moment of fertilization. It is a human at one month, two months, three months, all the way to the day of it's birth.

Anne Says Life Begins at Conception


The minute the male and female sex cell joins and form a zygote life begins. I believe that the baby is alive no matter if it is one day after conception. It is a person. The change begins when the separate sperm and egg meet, because alone neither of those is itself a person but the minute they join together life begins. It is a child, a person and deserves the right to life just as every other person. Children are born with a personality and a soul of its own; this does not just begin the minute it is born it begins before that. The baby has a heartbeat at day twenty two, how can it have a heartbeat and not be alive? After only twenty two days it has a heartbeat, so before that it is growing and developing like any other growing, developing, changing human being. The baby has brain waves by week six, if it has brain waves it is a human, a life. Also after six weeks, the baby will have developed fingerprints. Each individual has their own fingerprint, their own unique print and it just does not make sense that this baby could not be a human, yet have fingerprints, or a heartbeat, or brain waves or any other basic things that make you alive, not to mention the soul or other things like personality. The potential for life is there from the very second of conception and it should be protected.

Destiny says life begins at fertilization

An egg holds genetic information to create a child. The egg travels down the Fallopian tubes in hopes of finding a sperm with its own genetic information to fertilize it. Once the sperm successfully fertilizes the egg cell they form to create a zygote. This zygote is merely a fusion of cells and is in my opinion, not yet a person. Once the zygote implants to the uterus wall I believe the embryo has now began its journey to life. It is now attached to the mother and becomes dependant on her nurturing and food supply. This embryo now has a shot at life, at birth and living. We all started out as microscopic cells implanting in our mother’s uterus and we all completed our development and were given the gift of life. By 22 days the embryo develops a heartbeat. A HEARTBEAT. If you are reading this right now, you have a beating heart. I would call you alive. Because you are living and had a heartbeat. So, if I stopped that from happening, you would die. And if I stopped your heart, I would be sent to jail for murder. Because killing someone and making their heart stop is called murder. Murder rhymes with a abortion. Ok maybe it doesn't rhyme but it's one in the same. What do you call that? A synonym? Yes, my dictionary says synonyms “are different words with identical or at least similar meanings.”

It seems interesting to me that we are able to stop babies’ hearts in their mother’s womb and get away with it by saying that she has the right to choose. So did Scott Peterson have the right to choose to kill his wife? Was he just exercising his right in terminating another life? Why is he in jail when we have millions of others who murder just the same? And why are we giving them this choice? Murder is murder. No matter how old, how young, how inconvenient or unplanned. If you are adult enough to have sex you should be adult enough to face the consequences. If you can’t raise your child you take it to a Fire Station or a Hospital where someone would be blessed to have it. Am I really that out of line for wanting to protect life? These embryos have the potential for life: to breathe, eat, walk, talk, learn, teach, and reproduce. By removing their heartbeat we are taking away years and years of precious life.

I may be going out on a limb here, but I love my life. I look back on the past 18 years and I have countless memories from those who have influenced me and others who I may have influenced. If my mom decided to end her pregnancy because she felt unprepared to have her first child I would have never had the opportunity for life. I would have never met my friends, Taylor would have a little sister, my boyfriend would be dating other girls, somebody else would be driving my car, my mom wouldn’t have a shopping buddy, my dad wouldn’t have his princess. I could go on, and that’s just the first 18 years of my life. With every pregnancy we terminate we steal someone’s best friend, someone’s older sister, someone’s true love, someone’s role model, someone’s world. It doesn’t seem fair to me that we can take life from someone who hasn’t even lived it yet. Who are we to take life? I’m not arguing in the case of religion, but in the case of being decent human beings. If we take the lives of each other where will we stop? I worry for a society that looks upon abortion with the philosophy of “safe, legal and rare.” As long as it’s legal, 1,000,000 abortions happen in a year. Is it just me or does 1,000,000 abortions not sound rare at all? How can we look at abortion and say that’s ok, but Andrea Yates killed her 5 young children and now she’s in jail. Isn’t that the same extact thing? A mother getting an abortion is murdering the child. A mother drowning her son is murdering him. Again I ask, why is Andrea Yates in jail when abortion is murder too?

Cheryl Agrees

I don’t know how to start this blog, so I will just be blunt; Life begins at conception. Biologically, philosophically and spiritually speaking a new person has been created. When the sperm and the ova join, a new life is created.

I am a Christian and I do believe that God made us all. In Jeremiah. 1:5 is written “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.” Later, in 29: 11 it is written, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the LORD. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” When we were still a group of cells, God had a plan for us. With this belief, how can I not do anything but oppose abortion? All life is sacred, and the small group of cells are alive.

Purely biologically speaking, the cell group is also alive. How can we sit around and argue when they become a person when there is still no universally accepted scientific definition for what makes a person. Some may compare the small baby to a person in a vegetative state, but don’t these people still have rights? If Terri Schiavo had written a clear will saying that she did not want to be taken off of life support and then her husband had her removed from life support, wouldn’t he be charged murder? The human soul is not something that can be pinned down by science.

I am still confused on how people can argue for the protection of human life (ie, no death penalty) but then turn around and say that it is completely alright to murder a baby. The fetus in the womb is a person, albeit a very small one. Also, could someone explain to me why it is that Scott Peterson was charged with double murder (and a pregnant mother killed in a bank robbery is also considered a double murder) but abortion is not.

Steven Believes that Life is Present at Conception

Being a human being I feel that we only have a limited knowledge of the extent of life and what it entails. Thinking about all the religious and moral lessons I have experienced over the course of my lifetime, I feel that there just has to be something more than physical characteristics that defines life. I feel that life entails having a soul that is bestowed to us by God, and God alone. With my belief that there is an aspect of life that is beyond our control or scope of knowledge, I feel that as humans we have no right to dictate when an abortion is acceptable. I feel that as morally-bound citizens who must follow the dictate that we should not kill others, should consider a fertilized eggs cell a human life and respect it as we would a full grown adult.

I believe that after fertilization, an egg cell becomes fully human. I, nor can any other human back up with quantitative evidence the exact moment when God breathes life into a embryo, but I believe that this process does happen a the moment of conception and no one can change that fact. I feel that in order for a cellular creature to be truly human, it does not need a nervous system, fully grown organs, the ability to take in a analyze information, or even the ability to be viable. All a cell need is to have a full set of chromosomes...well not even that since I believe that no matter what chromosomal number a embryo has, it is still life. An embryo, a blastocyst, a single egg- all of these have a soul and a life that is sacred and should be protected at all costs.

When this growing child is in a mother's womb, the mother has a duty to protect it and see to it that the child receives the best care possible for a long and prosperous life. It is saddening that over 1 million small children are discarded as if they meant nothing. As Sara said, "embryo can be placed on a level playing field with person in a vegetative state" and I believe that in both cases, life is readily present.

Kim is so confused!


To me this question seems simple yet complex at the same time, which is how my answer is going to be. When does life begin? The moment when the sperm has fertilized a woman’s egg a human life is formed and the process has begun. However can it really be that simple? Does life really begin at conception or is it just a cell with a potential for life? Does life begin when the nervous system is intact and the fetus can feel pain or when the heart starts beating? This topic has a very giant gray area and I feel like I am right in the middle of it.

I feel as if my opinion is going to change when I become a mother. I might be able to say now that a fetus isn’t a “person” until the sixth week when the brain starts to function and a distinct human form can be seen. However I honestly wouldn’t be able to say to a woman who is two weeks pregnant that the fetus she is carrying for inside of her does not qualify as a person. I know that if and when I get pregnant I am going to think that the fetus inside of me is a person, a child that if I were to lose because of someone else I would want him/her to be put on trial for murder. Now my heart and brain say that a fetus isn’t a person with human rights until the sixth week but when I am pregnant I know that is going to change. Is that hypocritical of me? Obviously, but that is what my heart and brain think and I can’t change that.

You would think that the science part of my brain and the religious part of my brain would be odds but strangely that is not the case – the science part of brain is fighting an internal battle with itself. I want to say scientifically that life begins at conception when the sperm fertilizes the egg and a zygote is made. I also want to say scientifically that a fetus isn’t a person until it can feel pain and the nervous system is functioning. Do you see my dilemma here? My brain cannot form a complete opinion. Religiously and scientifically I want to say that life begins at conception, but another side of my brain is asking: how can a group of cells and DNA be considered a life? They are just a sperm and an egg cell that came together to form a zygote. The cell can’t breathe, pump blood, or feel pain. How is that a life?

Something just popped into my head. I said the opposite in my blog about machines. I wrote that just because a machine can’t breathe doesn’t mean that it isn’t alive. I used a quote by Gandhi – “where there is love there is life” – to reinforce my point that through loving someone you give them life, a reason to live essentially. A mother, even when her child is just a zygote, loves her child nonetheless. A mother’s love for her child, even at the earliest stage, means that even a cell has life. But what about the women who get pregnant and want to abort the baby; they obviously don’t love their child. Is that cell inside the womb still considered life even though no love is shared?

So many opinions and so many questions are running through my brain. The one constant in my life though is my faith. When I don’t know the answers to hard questions I look towards the Bible. However, I have been known to go against the opinions of the Church. Luke 1:15 says “he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb”. If the Holy Spirit is inside a person when they are inside their mother’s womb then shouldn’t that person be considered alive, even in the earliest stage of their conception? It satisfies me to know that my opinion (or lack thereof) doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. It doesn’t matter whether I believe life begins at conception, six weeks, or until the baby is born; God knows everything and He knows when life begins.

All the arrows of my brain point to the fact that I believe life begins at conception. However I am very unsure of my answer. I usually always have a definite opinion on most things – death penalty, gun laws, which couples belong together on my television shows – but this is one of those times where I have thoroughly thought about all the aspects of the issue and still don’t have an answer. It is rare, but it does happen. When does life begin? Ask me again in approximately 10-15 years.

Dylan is is a fruity mcfruit pebble


When life begins is NOT the most important question in the universe, but some people view it that way. Its hard to for me put real thought into the question because human life is an insignificantly small part of the universe. Maybe I should put more emphasis on this question, after all its highly likely that my entire existence will be spent right here on earth, and I will never know what else exists.

I believe life begins at conception, because that is the point at which unique human life can begin to develop. The way I see it life is destroyed all the time and to me, this seems that it is more a question of “when do I value this life as much as my own,” and “when does it get the same rights that I have.”

Does human life have more value then, say a shrimp. I would have to say NO, they are equal. At the same, my reality is that I live on earth, and I get much joy out of my friends, music and natures pleasures. I am not strong enough to put the life of a shrimp over my friend. The point I am trying to make is that its all insignificant, we choose to make it a big deal because our minds have evolved that way to help us survive. Humans did not become the top species because laid back in bean bags and talked about philosophy all day.

So your on the forth paragraph of this lost 18 year olds life begins at conception blog, is there even a point? Does this kid have an opinion or not? I have no control over anyone’s morals, I can imprison your body, and I can prevent you from committing some unmoral acts, that is it. I only consider something morally unjust if it involves hatred or disrespect towards something else. This is a very fine line because its pretty obvious that various forms of life lead to the destruction of other life, a shark eating a fish, Mr. Gieb skinning Nick. Life on earth needs to destroy more life to survive, this is directly related to abortion. aborting a baby a blatant destruction of life, yes. Having that child would lead to the destruction of much more living organisms over the course of his or her lifetime.

The last reason why it’s ok for a mom to get rid of that annoying potential human life floating around inside her is that, she is the host. I’m in no position to force someone to take care of a parasite, something I will never have to experience. It’s not my body to decide. It doesn’t matter if she’s promiscuous, catholic, Jewish, black, 64, fat, ugly, or gay. I can no tell that woman not to do. I cant pass some legislation telling other people what they can do to there bodies.

Lastly, my two cents on abortion and beginning of life issues. I don’t want to have a kid, and I don’t know what my partner would think if I got her pregnant. I would not want my baby’s momma to have an abortion, because that little ball of cells is unique. That “babies” DNA is one a kind, and I certainly would not want to throw that away. Who knows what might have been? There is something mystical about creating something that is half of your DNA and half your lovers. My answer is simple, do what you want.

Trey A

Human life begins at conception, this is fact. So logically everyone in the class should be on this page, since as intelligent beings we support facts and reject superstition. There is no debate about life begging at conception; however, the heated abortion debate is rooted in the beginnings of personhood, or individual identity.

Suppose I define personhood as self-awareness, or the possession of consciousness, which seems the most solid argument for the mysterious and intangible subject we call life. The problem is then that science can not yet tell when and to what degree consciousness is present in human life. If consciousness is truly a product of the brain and nervous system, then somewhere around three weeks should be the beginnings of personhood.

But is there not many a grown man who has a comparable level of self-awareness to a four year old? (Take mental retardation for example) So personhood is now very limited under the definition purely based on a certain level of consciousness. The second problem is thus presented by the level of consciousness to which makes a personhood, and who determines this degree. For does not an amoeba have a degree of awareness, incomparably small to a grown adult, yet still there is a form a consciousness? And further, why does a certain individual get to set a level of consciousness for all of the species to possess?

Therefore, it is clear that life can hardly be defined under the single term of consciousness. Personhood is left as confused and unattainable as the abortion consensus, even perhaps nonexistent.

The question remains, what is it to be a person, an individual, a living soul? (Well I don’t know maybe there are no souls)

Because no matter which road of logic or clean analysis one takes, there is no room for the soul.
It almost seems that the shock and upset caused by the murder of another human is simply irrational cultural tradition. I watched a film by Hitchcock call The Rope where the characters live under Nietzsche’s moral guidelines of the uberman, so that morality and traditional human law is below them. Basically the idea is that murder is something of an art form enjoyed by an elite group of post human intellectuals who have no need to abide by the moral code accepted by the masses. I recall this film because I wonder why people are upset by murder, or the deliberate killing of another, in attempt to understand the problem with abortion.

Then, I do acknowledge that a woman suffers at the loss of an aborted fetus. No matter the amount of reckless animals who managed to be born with human parts that deny the pain of killing a potential child, I cannot accept the idea that abortion is not the killing of human life, or even life at all, as the “life begins at birth” argument goes. Even if human life, personhood in other words, does not begin until birth, or 19 or after college, or 65 as most people look back on their pointless lives and throw up the amount of buried suffering they have accumulated through years of their sleep walk on planet earth, even if human life never is achieved by an individual physical body, it is still a fact that abortion is the killing of biological life. Biology also tells us that life feels pain through a nervous system.

With the stated facts, we can almost make the statement that pain is suffering, or as I have often heard, pain is life. The seemingly universal acknowledgement of suffering as a part of the human condition leads me to believe the humans have the capacity to understand each other, and even live for the fleeting moments of empathy between two strangers, flabbergasted to be in each other’s presence. We literally live for each other!

What I want to conclude with is that humans are complex beings with immense potential to feel and express the infinite potentials of life present in every moment. Abortion is wrong, is immoral, because not only is the killing of a fetus denying that individual an opportunity to fulfill and take shape to a conscious manifestation of a growing universe, but the act of abortion is spreading suffering throughout the entire field of conscious life. I don’t see the right of a woman to choose her child’s fate as valid because every decision affects everybody, this is not merely an act between the doctor and the woman, or the woman and her mate, or the woman and her child, but rather this is a deliberate attack on the love and oneness of the entire universe.

Maybe I sound too religious or something.