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The Evolution of Senator Kerry on Abortion: 1972-2004 Okay, I try not to antagonize people with my politics, but reviewing John Kerry's position on abortion has me really terrified.

My position is that we really don't know the status of the fetus -- whether it's an individual human life, has a soul, etc. Therefore, we ought to err on the side of caution and not kill it.

That's in no way a religious position; it's thoroughly scientific, and many atheists share that view. As far as we know, from a medical standpoint, a fetus is as much of a "person" as you can get. From a secular, scientific standpoint, there isn't some spooky "soul" that flies into the kid on some special day. So, at conception, you're as human as you get, with all the rights that come with "humanity."

The most coherent pro-choice position, which very few pro-choice advocates actually use, is that we don’t know whether the fetus is a human being so we should err on the side of protecting the rights of known rights-holders (i.e. the mother). Scientifically, this works immediately after conception (before the sperm and egg have completely fused). Beyond that, you need to return to some sort of religious-based “soul” concept that says, “Even though it has human DNA, it’s not really a human until it gets its personhood at some later time” or such. If you want, you can take it on faith that such a scenario is true.

With me so far?

If you read John Kerry’s statements, he declares that “life begins at conception”. And yet… well, I can’t even describe it. Read the quotes I linked to above for more context. It makes things worse, not better. Read just this one for starters:

“My personal belief about what happens in the fertilization process is a human being is first formed and created, and that's when life begins. Something begins to happen. There's a transformation. There's an evolution. Within weeks, you look and see the development of it, but that's not a person yet.”

Okay. Let me get this straight. We evolve into personhood. You can be a human being, no doubt about it, but you’re not a “person” and, therefore, don’t have any rights.

So, rights are attached to “personhood” and not to “humanity”.

I suspect that most of my pro-life friends will read this and say, “Yeah! Right on! That’s huge!” And most of my pro-choice friends will say, “Huh? So what? What’s the point?”

And I honestly don’t know how to bridge that gap. A degree in philosophy might help well-intentioned pro-choice proponents understand the horrendous philosophical problems that their leaders are creating. But, even then, that knowledge won’t help without a change of heart about what we’re truly talking about.

If you’re hell-bent on supporting the wholesale slaughter of innocent human life (“innocent” by definition and you’ve granted that it’s human life!) my words probably won’t affect your conscience. But I hope they do, not for my sake or John Kerry’s or even the for sake of millions of dead humans, but for yours.


At October 26, 2004 at 3:08 PM, Blogger Rob said...

Good post. I am often confused by the positions that John Kerry takes and abortion is one of them. His answer in the second debate (Full Transcript) when asked about using tax dollars to fund abortations he answer danced around the question until he made this statement:

"Now, I believe that you can take that position and not be pro- abortion, but you have to afford people their constitutional rights. And that means being smart about allowing people to be fully educated, to know what their options are in life, and making certain that you don‘t deny a poor person the right to be able to have whatever the constitution affords them if they can‘t afford it otherwise." - John Kerry

After typing that it seems a bit off topic to what I thought of writting. My other point was...

Some in academia have put fourth the concept of personhood and indicated that it is acceptable to abort a life (pre-birth or otherwise) if personhood is not achieved or lost. This article explains the concept further (Ethics and Personhood:
Some Issues in Contemporary Neurological Science and Technology
) and a Peter B. Lloyd in Philosophy Today writes (Which Beings should be Given Rights?, and finally Peter Singer proclaims this even stronger (this article contains an argument against Singer's views Death with a Happy Face:
Peter Singer’s Bold Defense of Infanticide

Defining rights, even the right to life, to 'Personhood' is a dangerous concept since we can see that the defination slides quickly into euthanasia and as far as infanticide.


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