I have dealt before with the concept of personhood and how it relates to abortion (if fetus=person, abortion=murder), but after reading more materials I wanted to get a little deeper and a little more organized in discussing personhood.
Before you can decide if a fetus is a person or not, you have define "person".
Everybody (except perhaps weirdly twisted philosophy students) would call this a person.
|Smart, Pretty, Successful |
1. a human being, whether man, woman, or child: The table seats four persons.If we relied on the first three definitions, there would be no argument. Human being = person. But we've become too smart to be satisfied with such a simplistic definition, and thus we must get into the abstract (and often arbitrary). I say "abstract", because there are multiple definitions of "person", both current and past definitions, that don't just stop at "human being". In other words, person = human being, but human being =/= person.
2. a human being as distinguished from an animal or a thing.3. Sociology: an individual human being, especially with reference to his or her social relationships and behavioral patterns as conditioned by the culture.4. Philosophy: a self-conscious or rational being.
There are many, many different definitions of "person" other than "human being", which, frankly, gets into the realm of the ridiculous. But I will be covering many of them, starting with the simplistic, then going into the more convincing, and then into the ridiculous.
What's the difference between this human being
|Smart, Pretty, Successful|
|3-Day Old Embryo|
|Lady Cassandra (Doctor Who)|
|Horta (Star Trek)|
|Pretty, Smart, Successful|
Another difference is their environment. A fetus is in her mother's womb. A businesswoman moves all around, going into many different environments and doing many different things. Our current laws, illogically, follow this mindset. A 23-week-old premature, but otherwise healthy, baby can be born and immediately taken into intensive care and everything done to save her life. A 23-week-old "unwanted", but perfectly healthy, fetus (notice the difference in the terminology) that poses no danger to the mother, can be aborted.
It gets even more confusing. Sometimes, if a 23-week-old fetus survives the abortion, attempts are made to save her life...and succeed. Why? All that changed was the fetus's location. At least be consistent, abortion advocates. If there's nothing morally wrong with aborting a 23-week-old "unwanted" fetus, logically, there's nothing morally wrong with killing a 23-week-old "unwanted" fetus. The fetus did not change. The mother did not change. The staff did not change. The only thing that changed was that the fetus is now one foot away from where she was five minutes ago.
In my next post I will get into deeper definitions of personhood that branch off of the two addressed here: namely, level of development and dependency.
(I have also decided to, for now, go to one written post per week, on Fridays. Tuesdays may feature videos, suggested articles, or short news updates. This will allow me to organize my time better and have higher-quality posts.)
All images found via Google Images. No copyright infringement intended.