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On Pregnancy and the Sanctity of Human Life

In my previous article, I took the time to dispel some myths about the sanctity of human life and how Conservatives are wont to see it. I consider that to have been important to do, but not as important as what I feel the need to address in this article.

Though the prior article made clear that folks assumed to hold certain things to be true, do not do so (at least, not “to a man,” to use the old expression, and would venture that the majority of said persons do not do so), the point of this article is to logically think through the sanctity of human life most particularly when applied to the concept of pregnancy.

To begin with, I must talk about something that I would not normally “air” in public as it is an “adult topic” (I.e., most children are not prepared to discuss it, as a result of the idea that maturity is something that takes time to achieve). The idea is that of male and female reproductive components (in particular, sperm and ova).

The thing that makes the discussion a little less palatable to me, is the idea that—entirely ignoring convictions based on non-scientific beliefs—what I’m about to say ought to be patently obvious.

So what am I going to say that most folks seem to have missed? Well, there are a couple of things.

  1. Assuming the “standard” act associated with reproduction, human males produce multiple sperm and human females produce multiple ova that are essentially “used in” each conceptive “attempt.” This means that the idea that an individual sperm or ovum is a “baby” or a living human being is obviously not valid. I could make arguments to the contrary, but see no reason to do so based on the second point.
  2. If not used in the act of conception, sperm and ova are naturally disposed of by the body (I.e., both have a “shelf life” and when they are no longer potentially viable, the body rids itself of them).

The result of the above points? The assumption that a given unfertilized ovum or a given sperm cell not “used” to fertilize an ovum is a “human being” seems to be just a bit of a stretch for anybody.

I say all of this to make it clear that I don’t think any sensible individual ought to be trying to say otherwise (unless they can give justification so to do).

Now, once a sperm fertilizes an ovum (and I know this process is not necessarily “that simple,” but what I’m about to say is generally true for the majority of circumstances, I’m just using this as a simplification for the sake of brevity), a question must be asked. The question would be, “At what point does this combination become a human?”

Many make the (in my view errant) argument of “viability.” I should point out that there are many folks out there who would not be able to survive without constant care and monitoring by others. In my mind, that pretty much does away with any argument that viability is a requirement for life or personhood. And considering that more and more, “premature” babies are being born, and living into adulthood, it seems the argument that there is some “natural age of viability” for a baby in the womb is highly suspect at best.

I am personally aware of the idea that children “born” in the “second trimester of pregnancy” can and do survive, given proper care (not that all do, but even if some do, that is enough to convince me against a definite “time of viability”).

So what about miscarriage, “spontaneous abortion,” accidents and the like? That’s a fine question, let’s now examine it.

Once upon a time in my distant past, I was foolish enough to leave a hose attached to an outside faucet, which caused a pipe in a wall to freeze and break. I argued that I didn’t know doing such a thing would potentially result in a busted pipe in the wall of the residence in question.

My argument was reasonably good. I stated that I had grown up in places where freezing was not an issue and, as such, was entirely unaware how things of that sort worked. Where I may not agree with the choice to charge me for the repair bill (the residence was somewhat like a duplex rental), I do understand why they did.

The person responsible for making the decision used a word that is today, derided and counted as almost evil. That word was (and is) prudence. He went on to define the term. The definition used was something like, “Failing to act in a manner that a person with normal knowledge would have in similar circumstances.”

I bring this up because folks who are pregnant should, it seems to me, act prudently when dealing with their bodies. That’s little different in my view, than doing things to lessen the likelihood of being hit by a car. The primary difference being that, failing causes a second person’s life to potentially be jeopardized.

So simply accepting that a baby is a baby—inside the womb or not—pretty much answers the question about a “woman’s right to choose.”

Is that an issue for you? Allow me to clarify. If I am a single father, charged (for whatever reason) with the well being of a child, and I decide that the child is “inconvenient,” is it reasonable for me to dispatch the child? That is, may I decide my life would be better or easier without that child around, and take the child’s life?

I would venture to say that very few people would answer that question with a, “Yes.” And to be clear, though the mother of a child she is carrying must deal with issues the father in question doesn’t have to deal with, the father (unless he puts the child up for adoption) will likely deal with the issues for a great deal longer than the mother must deal with a child in the womb. Granted, if she doesn’t give the child up, she will have to deal with that child as well, but frankly, at that point, it is a choice on her part.

One more point, then I must be moving on to other things. The argument that the mother will be harmed by carrying a baby is an interesting one; unfortunately for most people making that argument, the number of children killed for such “reasons” is a very small percentage of all terminated.

On top of that, I personally (albeit anecdotally) know of women who were told that either they or the baby “had to go” or both were likely to die, the problem is, that’s not how things worked out in any case where they chose to have the baby regardless the warnings.

Okay, I know I promised, but one more thought. Doctors and other medical professionals are fond of telling parents-to-be (among others), that their child will live a “substandard life” for one reason or another, if the pregnancy is not terminated.

Sometimes they’re correct, but far too often, this turns out to be not at all the case. As such, I have a hard time making the case the killing a baby for this cause is reasonable. To go a step further, yet again, overall, the number of times this happens by comparison to the number of abortions that occur in most of the world, is so small as to almost be negligible.

Okay, as usual, thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day.

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