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Heavyweight Philosophers Clash at Abortion Conference » Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute

Here's a debate about whether an unborn child is entitled to the rights of personhood. The counter argument scares me as it is based upon a utility of personhood: if a human is not 'self aware', are they really a 'person' entitled to all the rights, privileges and obligations that are attached to such a designation? For me the answer is clearly 'YES'. To deny the status as a person based on their actualized capacities would logically lead to the right to terminate infant children and demented elders.


As I've said many times here before... this path that pro-choice people are walking is a dangerous route for the weakest among us.


Heavyweight Philosophers Clash at Abortion Conference » Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute

Comments

  1. Scary stuff indeed. One wonders what the pro-choice side will stop at? Certainly it looks like there is no limit to the lengths they will take to re-define what a human life is, and their rights.

    Francis Kisslings comment about “getting rid of the notion of evil” sends shivers down the spine of anyone who values life, and respects Christian teaching. The slippery slope is getting mighty slippery. Be on guard!

    Cliff

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  2. Tim, when did you begin to think that those of us who are pro choice are making choices for anyone but our own selves? I'm not interested in making your choices for you -- that's up to you, and only you. But I won't let you or anyone else make my choices for me, either.

    And as far as "personhood" goes, legally, a corporation can be a person. Someone needs to define that word a lot more acutely before we go waving it around like a gonfalon, doncha think?

    I do not use being self-aware as a guideline. I don't know whether or not a fetus can be self-aware, but I do think that someone in a temporary coma probably is not. I've known three people who were in comas, and none of them can remember anything from being there (which is not to say that they might not have been aware at the time, and their brain simply hides it from them out of a need for protection). But I have given it some thought, and I think possibly having a working respiration system is a good definition for "having life." Then I would define the more specific details of that life by the DNA it possesses.

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  3. Lady Janus: If we were to adopt any milestone in development into personhood, it should be the same marker we use to tell us of our end... 'brain activity'. If the neurons are firing, a person most certainly is entitled to the full panoply of human rights.

    I think that 'human' is the needed qualifier to 'person' to carry the meaning we both are talking about.

    Fr. Tim

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  4. Would "brain activity" then indicate that you think it's okay to disconnect someone from life support if they're brain dead? 'Cause there are a whole passel of folks out there who think that is tantamount to murder, and a lot of them are Catholic...

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  5. "Tim, when did you begin to think that those of us who are pro choice are making choices for anyone but our own selves? I'm not interested in making your choices for you -- that's up to you, and only you. But I won't let you or anyone else make my choices for me, either."

    If a developing baby is indeed a human being, which is pretty much a given, this argument makes about as much sense as someone saying, if you don't like beating your wife don't beat her, but don't tell me I can't beat mine.

    Cheers
    Paul

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  6. Brain death is accepted by Catholics as the point of finality. The problem with the cases you reference is that they are mostly all brain 'damaged', not dead. Autonomic functioning continues apace thanks to neuron activity in the brain.

    Brain dead is dead. Finito! The end! Fin!

    Fr. Tim

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  7. "If a developing baby is indeed a human being, which is pretty much a given..."

    Well, see, that's the problem, Paul -- it's not a given. It's an opinion...shared by some, but by no means all. Or even most. It is a human being after it's born, and not before. My definition of a working resperitory system fits right in there.

    Tim, that may be an official stance, but I know for a fact that it's not universally shared among Catholics. And it sure isn't shared by most born-agains, either. Most hospitals try to leave it up to the immediate family members (or a living will), but you really hear about it when there's a need for the bed space for someone else, and the hospital wants to discontinue life support using that guideline! There was a major flap in Winnipeg not too long ago, remember?

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  8. So with babies born and breathing on their own as early as 25 weeks, does that mean you draw a line in the sand on killing them at that stage of development? Of course not.

    So if I have your thinking straight, a baby born a couple months early is considered a human for the simple fact its been born but a baby further developed still in the womb is not human? Your criteria for killing babies has nothing to do with development but everything to do with location.

    Cheers
    Paul

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  9. Lady Janus: "There was a major flap in Winnipeg not too long ago, remember?"

    Sorry, I don't. Could you give me a hint to jog my old 'hard drive'?

    Fr. Tim

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  10. Paul,

    "if you don't like beating your wife don't beat her, but don't tell me I can't beat mine."

    Paul, I'm suprised! I never thought you would do that. (:

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  11. "So if I have your thinking straight, a baby born a couple months early is considered a human for the simple fact its been born but a baby further developed still in the womb is not human? Your criteria for killing babies has nothing to do with development but everything to do with location."

    Y'know, Paul, such displays of wilfull ignorance will serve only to earn you my scorn. If you want to show how much of a smartass you can be, go do it with somebody else, eh?

    Once birth has taken place, it is a baby, and not before. I do not advocate "killing babies," and one more stupid inference in that direction will get you a smack on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper.

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  12. "Could you give me a hint to jog my old 'hard drive'?"

    I think I can, but I'll need a little time to track it down. Stay tuned...

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  13. Tim: Success! http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/TopStories/20071217/Golubchuk_alive_071217/

    Sam Golubchuk wasn't Catholic, his family said they were orthodox Jews, and that discontinuing life support was "euthanasia" and that was against their religion. Three doctors actually resigned over the case, rather than continue to "treat" what they considered to be a corpse. Even LifeSite got inot the act: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/feb/08021108.html

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