An interesting (albeit off-topic) idea has emerged in the comments of this Michael Shermer post at Amused Muse. Fundy ChristoFascist Apologetics aside, I’d like to explore the issue of when a fetus becomes a human being.
Some nutjob going by the handle “ConcernedEngineer” is doing the standard fundy conflation dance concerning abortion and infanticide to support his ChristoGestapo opinion that he should be able to make decisions for the rest of us. Nothing new.
But what about the underlying issue of “at what point does a fetus become a human being” with all the rights, privileges, and responsibility thereof? When do we say that yes, this is no longer a growth in a human, but a human in its own right?
Obviously, conception is a stupid conclusion. Otherwise carcinomas would qualify. (ok, that was a snark) But 12 years after birth is equally stupid. Science can’t say anything about an immortal soul, whether it exists, when such a thing might enter a body, etc. etc. There’s never been a single bit of physical evidence for such a thing, and I see no real reason to invoke invisible beings, omnipotent or otherwise.
So. At birth? What’s so special about that moment?
When it’s viable outside the womb? Define viable. With or without doctors and machines? With or without someone to feed it?
What about when it has discernable brain waves? Is it a human once it thinks? Once it dreams? Or when it’s self-aware? Hell, I know retirees that aren’t self-aware, are they not humans anymore?
I’m no expert, but I like the brainwaves idea. Kate agrees, for lack of any better ideas.