March 4th, 2004


(no subject)

You know what I hate? I hate arguments that rage on for years without the parties involved actually knowing what they're arguing about.

Everyone on both sides of the whole abortion thing seems to be dedicated to arguing without actually coming up with a solution to the problem. The real question is "when is a fetus a person?" Nothing more. Nothing less. Here, take a few statements that I think 99.99% of humanity would agree on (unless they're a troll):

A 5-year-old kid is a person. If a mother decides she doesn't want the kid at that point, and kills him, that is murder.

An unfertilized egg is not a person. A mother is under no obligation to preserve the potential life represented by every single unfertilized egg. This is not murder.

So clearly the truth - the actual pivot point - lies somewhere between these. But practically nobody actually cares enough to, you know, discuss this - they're all wrapped up in "ABORTION IS MURDER" (leaving unspoken their belief that an embryo is a person) and "A WOMAN'S RIGHT TO CHOOSE" (leaving equally unspoken their belief that an embryo is not a person). And then they get into these insane battles over "well, you don't respect the mother and/or child" - when really, the only thing they disagree on is when a person actually becomes a person. It's like watching two mathematicians screaming about a geometry problem, not realizing that one of them is working in Euclidean space and one of them is working in non-Euclidean space.

So if you're going to fight about this, please identify the exact moment a person becomes a person in your mind, and explain why? Because that, right there, describes a great deal of your stance on abortion. And if there's anything in your mind beyond that particular cutoff point, figure that out too.

(No, the cutoff isn't necessarily everything - I can see arguments for abortion being legal for different reasons at different points. But it's most of it, and if you think abortion should be legal based on a conditional, then it seems reasonable that you believe in a sort of hazy proto-person at that point.)

(no subject)

Here's an idea: put abortion up to a vote.

Give everyone a timeline with important dates marked on it. The beginning of a timeline is, say, "the date of conception". The end is "the date of birth". Mark other important times also, of course - the trimesters, the first neural activity, the first point where reactions are measurable, and so forth.

Have everyone mark down what they consider to be the last valid point of abortion.

Now you can generate a few interesting points - a point before which 99.99% of America is fine with abortions, and a point after which 99.99% of America thinks they're wrong. Or you can use other percentages if you want. Make it so that before-that-point it's legal, and after-that-other-point it's illegal, then require case-by-case checks for anybody between those points. Guaranteed to come up with a result in a small amount of time, of course.

This is obviously a ghastly idea because it's very democratic and we've already established democracy doesn't work. I can also think of half a dozen ways to screw up the voting without even trying hard. Not only that, but we all know the government is great about handling case-by-case things quickly.

Still it's an interesting thought. ;)