Straw Men Make For Poor Arguments

[Today’s guest post by Nate Sheets in the second of a series. The next post in the series will arrive sometime next week.]


The Straw Man


One of the more commonly-known logical fallacies is the Straw Man Fallacy. This fallacy occurs when we set up an argument in a negative or exaggerated way, in order for us to easily take it down. (This should not be confused with the ad hominem logical fallacy, which we will cover next week.)


From Dinosaur Comics

Straw Men are Easy, Good Arguments Are Hard


It makes sense that mostly everyone engages in Straw-Man-thinking, even if we know intellectually that such reasoning doesn’t stand up. Our brains evolved to sort what we encounter into categories for survival–these stereotypes often stick around and impact our thinking as we go throughout our lives. If we utilize Straw-Man-thinking innocently, I believe this is because of our stereotypes toward an opposing viewpoint. Of course, in the course of arguments, people tend to Straw Man intentionally or lazily, because they do not want to invest time investigating the reasoning of their opponents further. 


Buzz shows Woody a typical Youtube comment thread.

How Straw Men Play Out


If I set up an argument in my favor–for example, “The pro-choice side wants to make contraception available because they want to promote a culture of promiscuity”–then I do not need to do much to make my case. If such a thing were the real reason why many pro-choicers favor contraception access, then it would be apparent to the average listener that such reasoning was foolish. But, as any reader of this blog will know, “promoting a culture of promiscuity” is not the reason pro-choicers (or pro-lifers who also favor contraception) want contraception available. 


I sometimes experience Straw Men on my own opinion on abortion (on the rare occasions I bring it forth) from both sides of the debate. If I say “I’m against abortion”, pro-choicers may respond with, “Making abortion illegal will kill women through back-alley abortions!” That is a straw man because I said I was anti-abortion, not that I wanted to make abortion illegal. 


Additionally, when we talk about making the pro-life movement secular-friendly, many pro-lifers defensively react with statements such as, “We have a right to our religion! Without the religious, the pro-life movement would be nothing!”  That is a straw man because SPL never said we should take away the rights of the religious, nor have we said we should remove religion from the abortion debate entirely


Examples

Pro-Choice Examples
Fallacy Why It’s A Fallacy
“Pro-lifers are against equal rights for women.” This misrepresents the pro-life stance. Generally, pro-lifers are in favor of equal rights, however the specific issue of abortion brings up unusual circumstances not covered in other areas of feminism.
“Forced gestationers tend to engage in all sorts of complex arguments, when occam’s razor dicates that all their positions (until fairly recently) are far better and more simply explained by wanting to punish people for sex.” The term “forced gestationers” misrepresents the pro-life position and forces the reader to imply a variety of false assumptions about what the movement stands for. Additionally, the pro-life movement does not promote punishment for sex directly, so evidence would be required that it promotes it indirectly.

Pro-Life Examples
Fallacy Why It’s A Fallacy
“Pro-choicers think that the unborn baby isn’t alive. They obviously don’t know about science.” Unless specifically stated, pro-choicers understand that the fetus is alive.
“Pro-choicers are against clinic regulations because they do not care about women’s health and safety.” Pro-choicers are against pro-life bills relating to clinic regulations, not all clinic regulations.
“Abortion is murder, and pro-choicers support murder.” Abortion is not, legally, murder. Pro-choicers obviously disagree that it is murder, so it misrepresents their position to say that they are “for” it.





So What Should We Do?
Again, it is much easier to disprove our opponent’s argument if we take it upon ourselves to frame it. If we took the time to take their arguments at face value, we might actually find that we agree on several points, and can work together to create some solutions that benefit all. 


In the end, in order to maintain a fruitful and honest discussion, we should aspire to describe our opponents position in such a way where they would say, “Yes, that is what I believe.”

474 thoughts on “Straw Men Make For Poor Arguments”

  1. "If I say "I'm against abortion", pro-choicers may respond with, 'Making
    abortion illegal will kill women through back-alley abortions!' That is
    a straw man because I said I was anti-abortion, not that I wanted to
    make abortion illegal."

    That's a poor example as the vast majority of abortion opponents want to ban legal abortion or at least overturn Roe and let states criminalize the procedure. So, absent some kind of statement to the contrary, it's reasonable to assume that someone who says "I'm against abortion" shares that view. After all, the debate centers around legal access. Abortions will take place regardless of the law — they always have. And many people who are pro-choice could also be described as anti-abortion in the sense that they advocate policies that would reduce the number of abortions — the "rare" part of "safe, legal and rare."

    Reply
  2. Pro lifers are not in favour of equal rights should a woman find herself with an unwanted pregnancy. Subjugating women to the fetus is in effect denying her equal, individual rights before the law.

    Reply
  3. "Unless specifically stated, pro-choicers understand that the fetus is alive."

    Still, it's kind of amazing how often the contrary is specifically stated.

    Reply
  4. Actually, you want to give it extra special rights under the law.

    I am genetically distinct and human, therefore, I have the right to use your body for my own benefit, without your consent, yes?

    Reply
  5. Can you please quote where the term "extra-special rights" appeared in my post? Thanks.

    If you are my child, implanted in my uterus and currently residing there as part of your normal developmental process, then yes, you do have the right to use my body for your own benefit, without my consent (since my consent was implicit when I freely engaged in sex with my husband).

    Reply
  6. I said equal rights, and I mean equal rights.

    Then please list those rights.

    I also didn't say anything about nature.

    Actually, you did.

    You wrote: "'If you are my child, implanted in my uterus and currently residing there
    as part of your normal developmental process, then yes, you do have the
    right to use my body for your own benefit""

    Which means, the prenate is entitled to the woman's body because gestation = natural.

    You are doing such a terrific job of illustrating the concepts detailed
    in the original article! I'm really quite impressed. Keep it up!

    Then prove it. So far all I see is an assertion without evidence.

    Reply
  7. Your view that a 2-inch, 1/2 ounce, non-sentient fetus — the size at 12 weeks, at or before which 90% of abortions occur — is a "distinct human being" — is a religious belief.

    I'm not sure I get the whole "secular pro-life" thing.

    Reply
  8. Joanna is a catholic.

    About half of the commenters and writers here are religious. They claim, however, that their arguments are purely secular.

    Reply
  9. Abortion is not a religious issue. It's a human rights issue.

    Yes, the fetus you describe is an organism of the species homo sapiens – aka, a human being. That is a fact of science, not a religious belief.

    Reply
  10. No, they are not.

    "Zygotes are rational"

    "The uterus was made for the unborn child"

    "The unborn child is a genetically distinct organism"

    Are all religious in nature, it's just that 'soul' has been replaced with 'genetically distinct' and so on.

    Reply
  11. The right to life.

    You severely misunderstand the naturalistic fallacy. princeton.edu/~achaney/tmve/wiki100k/docs/Naturalistic_fallacy.html

    Reply
  12. "Zygotes are rational"? Can you provide a link where I allegedly said that?

    Yes, the uterus is the biological receptacle for the nurturing of unborn children. That is called "scientific fact."

    "The unborn child is a genetically distinct organism." Also scientific fact.

    You quite obviously have no idea what a soul is if you think that "genetically distinct" is a euphemism for soul. Furthermore, there are many atheists who agree with the scientific facts as stated above.

    Reply
  13. Obviously, secular people can be personally opposed to abortion, but I can't even imagine a secular argument for restricting others' access to legal abortion.

    Reply
  14. The right to life.

    That is the ONLY right here? You sure about that?

    So, my right to life includes the right to use your body without consent, since bodily autonomy is not an actual right?

    You severely misunderstand the naturalistic fallacy.

    I am quite familiar with it, and you are using a version of it – that is, because pregnancy = natural, the prenate is entitled to the woman's body.

    The 'goodness' is implied, because clearly, cancer and parasites are natural, but I don't see you defending their use of the human body. (And you have also argued that cancer is not natural because it is not healthy).

    So, you are in essence saying that the prenate is entitled to the woman's body because pregnancy is natural and natural = good.

    BTW, you have still failed to demonstrate how I am guilty of committing fallacies here.

    Reply
  15. No, it's only a human rights issue if you embrace the religious belief that a non-sentient cluster of developing cells can be subject to human rights abuses.

    But controlling one's own reproduction — pacing childbirths, which diminishes all sorts of health problems — is a human right.

    Reply
  16. It's not the only right, but it is the right from which all other rights derive — because you can't have any other rights if you're dead.

    Please read the link I posted, because what you describe as the "naturalistic fallacy" does not remotely match what it actually is.

    Reply
  17. "The fetus is entitled to the woman's body because the uterus was made for the fetus"

    "The woman spread her legs so she consented to pregnancy"

    "Zygotes are genetically distinct and therefore they are people which gives them a right to women's bodies"

    Reply
  18. It's a religious belief thata fetus is infused with a human soul. Science tells us that in the early stages of fetal development a mouse is far more similar to a human being. Their primitive brains feel fear and pain and they instinctively struggle to avoid death. Very few people have moral qualms about mousetraps, so it's not a mater of being universally "pro-life."

    Reply
  19. Can you provide a link where I allegedly said that?

    You didn't. I said it's a common argument around here. Try to keep up.

    Yes, the uterus is the biological receptacle for the nurturing of unborn children. That is called "scientific fact."

    So? That doesn't give the prenate a *right* to use that organ without consent. The vagina is the biological receptacle for the penis. That is called "scientific fact."

    So Joanna, because your vagina is the receptable for the penis, this automatically means that penises are in fact entitled to your vagina, whether your like it or not.

    Congratulations, but you just have made an argument in support of rape.

    You quite obviously have no idea what a soul is if you think that "genetically distinct" is a euphemism for soul

    Genetically distinct = meaningless. Lots of things are genetically distinct. So what? That doesn't give them a right to your body. The ONLY reason this 'genetically distinct' argument is used to is to make the prenate sound more special than it actually is – ie, a soul.

    Reply
  20. Here is an example:

    patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2014/03/11/yes-there-are-pro-life-atheists-out-there-heres-why-im-one-of-them/

    Reply
  21. How can you say it is "equal" rights when you are denying the woman of any rights to control her own body and life. Her life no longer matters as long as she carries the fetus to term.

    Reply
  22. We're not discussing consent, we're discussion biology. Try to keep up.

    But thanks for – once again – illustrating the concepts outlined in the article! It's really quite fascinating to watch it play out. You claimed that the statement "The uterus was made for the unborn child" is religious in nature. I countered by explaining it was scientific fact, not a religious statement. Then you jumped from there to an argument about consent and are somehow trying to frame my assertion that "The uterus is the biological receptacle designed for the nurturing of an unborn child" as "Rape is okay!" Astounding straw man. Really quite amazing. My compliments.

    Reply
  23. Except that human being is used as a synonym for person since I don't see you referring to cats, dogs, and nematode worms as cat beings, dog beings, or worm beings.

    Reply
  24. Actually, you are incorrect. "The blastocyst form is not to be thought of solely in terms of the next succeeding stage in development. It is to be remembered that at all stages the embryo is a living organism, that is, it is a going concern with adequate mechanisms for its maintenance as of that time." Source: ehd.org/developmental-stages/stage3.php

    Reply
  25. Whether or not unborn children have souls is irrelevant, because, as I said, abortion is a human rights issue, not a religious issue.

    To quote from another SecularProLife article: "a commitment to the dignity of all human beings does not involve a denial of dignity to any other class of non-human beings simply because they are not human." blog.secularprolife.org/2013/02/arguments-against-fetal-personhood.html

    Reply
  26. Yes, I think that human beings can be subject to human rights abuses.

    Can you provide some scientific evidence in support of your assertion that unborn children are not organisms of the species homo sapiens?

    Reply
  27. A cat is an organism of the species felis catus.

    A dog is an organism of the species canis lupis familiaris.

    A nematode worm is an organism of the species Caenorhabditis elegans.

    You could definitely refer to them as "cat beings" (or feline beings), "dog beings, and "nematode worm beings," if that's your preference, although it's not colloquial.

    Reply
  28. We're not discussing consent, we're discussion biology.

    We are discussing rights actually – and you have claimed that there is no right to bodily autonomy, only the right to life, since all rights extend from life, therefore, forcing a woman to remain pregnant against her will is not a violation of her rights, correct?

    You claimed that the statement "The uterus was made for the unborn child" is religious in nature.

    No, I didn't. Learn to keep up. I said that was an example of the naturalistic fallacy. *Though*, it also qualifies as a religious argument of sorts, due to the *gender essentialism* – women were made for pregnancy, therefore, women should not have a choice in the matter. (And we all know who made women right…your Christian god)

    I countered by explaining it was scientific fact, not a religious statement.

    Actually, you countered by saying this: ""If you are my child, implanted in my uterus and currently residing there as part of your normal developmental process, then yes, you do have the right to use my body for your own benefit, without my consent (since my consent was implicit when I freely engaged in sex with my husband).""

    Which means that abortion is wrong because the prenate is *entitled* by *nature* to use the woman's body without explicit and ongoing consent.

    You then made some other claims, namely this one : "Yes, the uterus is the biological receptacle for the nurturing of unborn children. That is called "scientific fact.""

    Which is mean to mean, once again, that the prenate is entitled to the woman's body, whether she wants it there or not (you believe in denying abortion to rape victims too, don't you) because the uterus is used by it. Well, rapists are entitled to your vagina, because your vagina is the receptacle for penises – that's it's role. I am so sorry that you are too thick to see the logical conclusion of your own arguments.

    BTW, you should have taken a closer look at that page you linked. Especially this part:

    The naturalistic fallacy is related to (and even confused with) the is-ought problem, which comes from Hume's Treatise. The term is sometimes used loosely to describe arguments that claim to draw ethical conclusions from natural facts.

    It's a form of naturalistic fallacy, stating that since pregnancy is 'natural', that since prenates need to use woman's bodies as life support, that prenates are then automatically *entitled* to women's bodies because 'it's natural'.

    Reply
  29. An unborn human being as the right to life. An adult human woman has a right to bodily autonomy (although not absolute, see here: prolifetraining.com/resources/five-minute-12/)

    When these two rights conflict, as they do in the case of an unwanted pregnancy, then precedence should be given to the entity that has the most liberty to lose. Given that death is permanent and pregnancy is temporary, precedence goes to the unborn human being.

    Reply
  30. We could refer to them as 'cat beings' but we don't.

    We only refer to humans as 'human beings' or sci-fi aliens as 'alien beings' or 'intelligent alien beings'

    Wonder why? Being is ONLY used to indicate personhood, to indicate a rational mind, which is why it is NEVER applied to other things that simply exist.

    Reply
  31. There is no conflict of rights, because there is no right to use the body of another without explicit and ongoing consent.

    By your logic, if I am dying and you refuse to give me a kidney, you are denying me my right to life, since my right to your kidney overrides your right to bodily autonomy. Except, there is no conflict, because there is no right to the body of another – not even if I need your body for my very survival. It doesn't matter.

    Reply
  32. We could also refer to cats thusly:

    "Felis catus is your taxonomic nomenclature,
    An endothermic quadruped, carnivorous by nature;"

    But that's a bit cumbersome, don't you think?

    And also, the dictionary disagrees with you: merriam-webster.com/dictionary/being

    Reply
  33. "There is no conflict of rights, because there is no right to use the body of another without explicit and ongoing consent."

    But parents have an obligation to provide basic necessities for their children, even if it involves using their bodies to do so.

    To counter your second point, read this: str.org/articles/unstringing-the-violinist#.VCWtrWddV8E

    Reply
  34. But parents have an obligation to provide basic necessities for their children, even if it involves using their bodies to do so.

    So why aren't parents legally obligated to donate their body parts to their children?

    I am not reading your links. I expect you to debate this in your own words, tyvm.

    Reply
  35. The dictionary meaning of being = to exist.

    Ok, so why don't we refer to plants animals and rocks as 'beings?' Why do we ONLY use the term when referring to intelligent life? Because we use 'being' as a synonym for 'person.'

    Reply
  36. If a child needs a a donated organ to survive outside the womb, it is an extreme necessity, not a basic necessity. Basic necessities are: adequate nutrition, adequate shelter, and adequate clothing.

    I understand that you don't want your beliefs challenged by a philosophical examination and refutation of your argument that is too long to fit into a combox.

    Reply
  37. Pregnancy involves the literal use of the woman's organs. Pregnancy is a supererogatory burden, as would being forced to donate a kidney to a born child. Both are *extreme* burdens. Pregnancy goes far beyond mere food, shelter and 'clothing'.

    Reply
  38. Actually, it doesn't. That's the purpose of pregnancy in all placental mammals: to provide adequate nutrition and shelter for unborn offspring until such time as they capable of surviving outside the womb.

    Reply
  39. a : the quality or state of having existence
    b (1) : something conceivable as existing (2) : something that actually exists (3) : the totality of existing things
    c : conscious existence : life
    2
    : the qualities that constitute an existent thing : essence; especially : personality
    3
    : a living thing; especially : person

    ———————

    1) existing

    2) living

    3) synonym for person

    Yeah…so the fact that we only use 'being' to refer to 'intelligent beings' proves my point that it is indeed a synonym for 'person'. We would consider intelligent aliens to be 'beings' / persons, precisely because they are rational. We would never use 'being' to refer to a rock (it exists) or to a tree (it exists and is alive) because we only associate 'being' with having a rational mind.

    Reply
  40. An organism is "an individual animal, plant, or single-celled life form." Before viability, a fetus cannot live outside the womb — it is not an individual life form.

    But there's really no point arguing about a religious belief anyway.

    Joshua Holland
    Senior Digital Producer, BillMoyers.com

    Reply
  41. An organism is "an individual animal, plant, or single-celled life form." Before viability, a fetus cannot live outside the womb — it is not an individual life form.

    But there's really no point arguing about a religious belief anyway.

    Reply
  42. They claim to be making a secular argument, but it's still based on a quasi-religious belief that an undeveloped fetus is imbued with something important that science can't identify but that gives it moral agency.

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  43. No a zygote, embryo, or fetus (ZEF) doesn't have an absolute right to life. A woman has to agree to nurture and gestate a fetus. This is not a right of a ZEF. A woman who is a sentient individual autonomous person who has rights of a born person. A fetus does not share these rights.

    Reply
  44. "a living thing; especially: person"

    especially =/= exclusively

    An unborn child is also a living thing (and in a philosophical sense, unborn children are persons, but we're talking a strictly scientific definition).

    Reply
  45. I'm sorry to interrupt here…but I'm just wondering if you are not also assuming that the woman is imbued with something important that science can't identify? It seems to me that if we are looking for science to identify human beings as important, we shall fail both with those born and those unborn.

    Reply
  46. Funny. I didn't realize science was a religious belief (though you do have Christians to thank for modern science). The reality of the situation is that fertilization was the beginning of all of us as a unique individual. You can read this in any embryology textbook.

    Reply
  47. Ironically you're erecting a strawman here. No one here has written that zygotes are rational. They are *inherently* rational, which is an important difference. They are not rational now, but if prevented from doing so will develop the hardware with which to develop the present capacity for rationality.

    Reply
  48. Yes, you write that they are 'inherently rational' and then go on to say that they must be treated as if they are *currently* rational, as they only need to 'express' this inherent rationality.

    IE, they have a soul.

    Reply
  49. So? Doesn't change the fact that it is used as a synonym for person. No one even refers to fetuses, embryos or zygotes as 'fetus beings' 'zygote beings' or 'embryo beings'…wonder why?

    Reply
  50. You're being unnecessary pedantic. Plants and animals are beings, even though we do refer to them as such. Rocks are not beings because they do not exist in the same sense that living creatures do.

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  51. Discussion of a soul is beyond the scope of this blog. But you don't have to have belief in a soul to oppose abortion, or to oppose the killing of any human being. You don't lose your personhood when you fall asleep, even though you are not currently rational or conscious. You have inherent rationality which grounds your existence even when you are not currently engaging in that function. This is because you are not "you" based on what you can do, but based on what you are.

    Reply
  52. Yes, and we do not refer to them as such because we *only* use being to refer to people, because 'human being' is a synonym for person.

    Reply
  53. Why are you anti-science, Joshua?

    It is scientific fact. A fetus is an individual life form. The biological definition of organism does NOT include "ability to exist independently at every stage of development."

    Here's another excerpt from the (secular) site I quoted from earlier: "In the words of Ross G. Harrison (Wilens, 1969), “the need for standardized stages in the embryonic development of various organisms for the purpose of accurate description of normal development and for utilization in experimental work has long been recognized.” Because “development is a continuous process with an indefinite number of stages” (ibid.),a certain number have to be chosen. Thus each stage “is merely an arbitrarily cut section through the time-axis of the life of an organism” (deBeer, 1958)."

    ehd.org/developmental-stages/stage0.php

    Reply
  54. When you fall asleep you do not lose your capacity for consciousness – you still have a thalamus, and a cortex. A zygote has none of the necessary 'hardware' as you put it, to give rise to sentience, and may *never* have it.

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  55. WOW.

    Just what I thought your straw men arguments couldn't get any better. That is so great, thank you.

    Is a tree an organism of the species homo sapiens?

    Reply
  56. " The reality of the situation is that fertilization was the beginning of all of us…"

    There's really no debate about that. Not sure of the relevance.

    And most certainly isn't a religion.

    Reply
  57. BTW,you have still completely failed to explain WHY no one refers to plants animals or rocks – anything that exists – as a 'being'. We only ever use the term 'being' to refer to intelligent life – human and alien. Now, you keep saying that we *can* use 'being' to refer to a tree or a cat, which is fine and all, except we do NOT. So, why do you, and why does everyone, *exclusively* refer to humans and in sci-fi, intelligent life forms as -beings? Why?

    Reply
  58. Probably because it's cumbersome, colloquially speaking. A cat is a feline being. But feline being is cumbersome, so we say cat. It's probably why most people say "a human" when they mean "human being" and "an alien" when they mean "alien being," and so on.

    Reply
  59. Because if I just said "human," you would respond with "But SKIN CELLS ARE HUMAN! WHY AREN'T THEY PEOPLE????" Human is a descriptor. A human being = a human organism. A feline being = a cat. Etc.

    Reply
  60. Well then why do you keep saying that zygotes, embryos and fetuses are 'human beings?' Why not just stick with human then? Why do you keep saying 'human being' when you could just say 'human?'

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  61. I already answered this, but once again: you (and others) apparently have difficulty with inferring "human being" from "human," because if I simply said "human," your response would be: "BUT MY SKIN CELLS ARE HUMAN TOO. WHY AREN'T THEY PEOPLE????" So I say "human being" to make my meaning absolutely clear.

    Reply
  62. And by your definition, a human skin cell is ALSO a human being, since it 1) exists 2) is alive

    So clearly, you are not actually using 'human being' simply to say that a life form with human DNA exists, you are using it as a synonym for person.

    So I say "human being" to make my meaning absolutely clear.

    Yep, that applies to the skin cell. If an oak is an oak being because it exists, is alive, and composed of tree DNA, then so is a skin cell – exists, alive, human DNA.

    So once again, I can *only* conclude that you are using -being to refer to something else…something special…as a synonym for personhood!

    Reply
  63. Can someone here point me to anything that is helpful in this regard? That is: I've never seen a good response (from the pro-life side) as to why a woman who knowingly takes 4 birth control pills at once in order to abort her 6-week old baby, is successful in aborting it, should NOT go to jail as a first degree murderer?

    If there is a post about this, I'd be curious to read it. Or if there is a long comment thread (that is reasonably intelligent), I'd read that too.

    Reply
  64. I'm not interested in a semantic argument about your religious beliefs.

    The bottom line is that life may "begin at conception" insofar as two cells fused together may or may not be implanted in the womb — and may or may not stay implanted through a lengthy development process that results in a human being. But it's clear that two cells fused together are not a human being — you can tell by looking at them under a microscope and then checking a mirror — and the belief that it is human at that point is informed by religious belief.

    Reply
  65. Birth control pills and Plan B prevent ovulation, they wont' cause an abortion. Only ru-486 will act as an abortion pill by inducing a miscarriage.

    And the answer I hear most often around here is that it is politically expedient not to jail women for abortion, or at least, not to talk about it.

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  66. Yeah. That's what I hear too. It seems like a dishonest answer, frankly. A way to not answer the question.

    (Because they know their real answer, IMHO, concedes that they don't really believe a fetus is a "human being" in the same way a 5-year old is.)

    Reply
  67. I didn't read this closely at all, but it looks like they might prevent implantation after fertilization?

    ec.princeton.edu/questions/dose.html

    Reply
  68. Here is a detailed discussion regarding your question, Purple Slurpy and ockraz:

    blog.secularprolife.org/2014/09/how-does-pro-life-movement-look-to-lgbt.html#comment-1597406507

    Just read up from the comment I linked to.

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  69. No, that's just a bunch of bullshit. I talked to a scientist on Patheos about the subject, and she had this to say:

    Levonorgestrel, or Plan B:

    There is zero evidence that LNG can cause a fertilized egg not to implant.

    1. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20933113

    "LNG had no effect on blastocyst viability or hatching and did not prevent blastocyst attachment and early implantation."

    This same study, incidentally, discussed a clinical trial of LNG and describes it as "ineffective to prevent pregnancy" when taking at the time of ovulation.

    2. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23114735

    This is a systematic review. It also discusses the Copper IUD (below) and UPA (below). A discussion of in vivo studies of LNG in other mammals notes that "Treatment with LNG in the rat and monkey does not affect fertilization or implantation."

    Ella (Ulipristal Acetate)

    Many major scientific agencies-the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics, the International Consortium for Emergency Contraception-have concluded that the answer to the question "could UPA possibly cause a fertilized egg not to implant?" is 'no'-it just doesn't have a significant enough effect on the lining of the uterus, but while you can call the LNG question settled the answer to this one is more like "probably not." You can read a contrasting view here: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24440997

    1. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2971744/..

    The main mechanism of ulipristal acetate is to inhibit follicular rupture. In other words, it prevents eggs from leaving the ovaries.

    2. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22770536

    This discusses the role of drugs in UPA's class in general, including LNG and mifeprestone (RU-486). It notes that UPA causes a very slight effect on endometrial thickening if taken at a certain point in the menstrual cycle.

    And finally, the IUDs, which HL objects to as well: Copper IUDs work because copper is toxic to sperm.

    1. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8972502

    "The current data do not indicate that embryos are formed in IUD users at a rate comparable to that of nonusers. The common belief that the usual mechanism of action of IUDs in women is destruction of embryos in the uterus is not suppor ted by empirical evidence."

    They also looked for spermatozoa in the uteri of women with IUDs and found that this confirmed the proposed anti-sperm mechanism of the copper IUD.

    "Early signs of implantation have been investigated by measuring biochemical markers in serum during a menstrual cycle, comparing women with medicated IUDs, such as a Cu-IUD, and those with an inert IUD as well as controls. The results showed a strongly reduced incidence of implantation signs in women with the Cu-IUD, indicating its prevention rather than interruption of implantation." In other words, there aren't embryos there to implant.

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  70. They claim that:

    1) zygotes are people

    2) abortion is murder (women who abort are heartless babykillers etc)

    Yet…they don't think that these 'murderers' should spend a day in jail…or that even, once abortion is illegal, miscarriages should be investigated as possible crime scenes. Don't you think that if abortion has been banned, that women will try to end their pregnancies by any means possible? Buy a blackmarket abortion pill, take it, kill your unborn baby! Of course miscarriages will have to be investigated as possible crime scenes!

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  71. Oh, and that's from the pro-life contingent at Princeton. Pay it no mind. Princeton also has employees who argue against gay marriage, because it isn't 'natural'.

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  72. There's some evidence that religious conservatives eschew "consequentialist ethics" — that is, they tend to have fixed beliefs about right and wrong and don't consider what the real-world consequences of those beliefs may be.

    "…we found that it is a particular sub-class of religious individuals that
    are strongly opposed to consequentialist thinking. Specifically, it was
    religious individuals who believe that morality is founded upon divine
    authority or divine commands, and that moral truths are not obtained via
    human intuition or reason, who were strong deontologists…"

    psypost.org/2013/06/liberals-and-conservatives-approach-moral-judgments-in-fundamentally-different-ways-18596

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  73. Yep. This too:

    freethoughtblogs.com/reasonabledoubts/2014/04/07/rd-extra-does-religion-make-us-better-people-galens-bulldog-edition/

    Moral purity – consequences be damned, as long as moral purity can be maintained. For example, even though birth control and sex education will lower the abortion rate, many socons do not support it, because telling people 'it's ok to have sex, just do it safely' is an affront to their ideas about what is morally good and right.

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  74. No. My definition of a human being is "an organism of the species homo sapiens." A skin cell is not an organism.

    An oak tree is also not an organism of the species homo sapiens.

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  75. Joshua, you are incorrect. This isn't my opinion, it's scientific fact. (But please, if you have any scientific sources that state the contrary, do provide them.) Again, from ehd.org, a completely secular site with no religious agenda: "Embryonic life commences with fertilization, and hence the beginning of that process may be taken as the point de depart of stage 1. Despite the small size (ca. 0.1 mm) and weight (ca. 0.004 mg) of the organism at fertilization, the embryo is "schon ein individual-spezifischer Mensch" (Blechschmidt, 1972)." ehd.org/developmental-stages/stage1.php

    I have only given you secular resources and have spoken in only secular, biological, scientific terms. Why do you persist in saying this is a religious issue? It's not. You are the one who keeps harping on religion, not I.

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  76. Oh. *Your* definition. So then why did you even bother referring to the dictionary definition merriam-webster.com/dictionary/being (which does not agree with your definition, I see no mention of organism) if you were just going to make shit up?

    I mean, we could have avoided this entire discussion if you had been honest from the start, and told me that you were making it up as you went along!

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  77. So now you are shifting the goalposts, once it was pointed out that you were making shit up.

    tsk tsk

    skepticsfieldguide.net/2012/04/moving-goalposts.html

    The advocate changes the nature of the discussion by seeking to make the opponent tackle a more difficult version of the topic. The topic that was originally under discussion is recast and the new version favours the advocate. This tactic is often used when the backpedalling advocate feels that he or she is about to lose the argument. With the "goalposts" in their original position, the opponent would "score". But with the posts moved, the opponent's "shot" is now "off target".

    ——————————

    And your little biology online link proves nothing – skin cells are *still* human, what else could they be?

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  78. Huh? I've shifted nothing. As I've stated from the first, a human being is an organism of the species homo sapiens, and the definition from Biology Online concurs.

    A skin cell is not a human being, because it is not an organism.

    An oak tree is not a human being because it is not of the species homo sapiens.

    A cat is not a human being because it is not of the species homo sapiens.

    This really isn't a difficult concept, and I wonder why you are having such trouble with it.

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  79. Yes, you moved on to 'human' after it was shown that 'being' did not support your original argument. There is no use denying it.

    Oh, and your biology-online link only appears to refer to walking talking *thinking* humans, not clumps of human DNA.

    ""Definition

    noun, plural: humans

    A bipedal primate belonging to the genus Homo, especially Homo sapiens.

    adjective

    Of, pertaining to, having the attributes of, a being belonging to the species of the Homo sapiens.

    Supplement

    In taxonomy, humans belong to the family Hominidae, of the Primates, under class Mammalia of phylum Chordata. They are identified by the highly developed brain that confers advanced skills in abstract reasoning, articulate language, self-awareness, problem solving, and sapience. They are bipedal primates in having an erect carriage. They are skillful in handling objects with their hands.

    Humans may also be described as social animals capable of showing sympathy with other beings, and living life with (inherent) values and ethics.""

    ————–

    None of that describes mindless brainless zygotes, so sorry. They lack the *attributes* that are listed.

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  80. No, it's because if you type "human being" into the search engine, it says, "see 'Human.'" Sane, rational people are able to derive that human = human being when the context demands.

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  81. The actual person has the most to lose since the potential person does not yet have self awareness. The actual person understands the misery they will have to suffer.

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  82. they can claim it's a religious issue all they want. But I'd like to see them take an embryology class and get the scientific facts, like I did, of human development and then tell the professor, the authors of the embryology textbooks, and ob/gyns and tell them that it's not science, it's religious ideology. Pretty sure they don't teach religious belief as part of college science classes.

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  83. Embryologists don't state that zygotes are inherently rational due to species membership. In fact, there is no consensus whatsoever about whether or not zygotes are 'people' or not. The only consensus is that the zygote is the beginning of human development.

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  84. So now you've moved onto 'definition by search engine'

    Excuse me please…

    i1.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/facebook/000/001/582/picard-facepalm.jpg

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  85. My apologies. To clarify, it should say, "the search engine of Biology Online." I thought that was evident from context but apparently not.

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  86. I did not say women are not human beings. I said you are attributing worth and value to born human beings. Science does not attribute worth and value to anything. Science simply says what is and what might be. So when you assume that we are attributing worth and value to an unborn human being because we suggest it has rights, I would say that you are attributing worth and value to a born being because you suggest it has rights. But the worth and value you attribute to human beings is no more scientific than the worth and value I attribute to the unborn.

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  87. They are POTENTIAL humans but they have to finish development and the woman has the right to decide if that happens since it is her body.

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  88. BC pills will not cause an abortion. If a woman is six weeks along she will have to take RU486. If it was as easy as taking BC pills I think that there would be a lot more self induced miscarriages.

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  89. No because they have been born and no longer require the body of a host. Once born they are humans.

    But yes there is no guarantee they will make it to adult hood which is why they aren't called adults until they actually make it there.

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  90. I don't believe that "wantedness" is a criteria for determining if a human being deserved rights. Even human beings who are unwanted by anyone should not be killed. Otherwise it's be open season on the homeless (for example).

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  91. I disagree… All your posts are full of so much of it and it is sad that you can't see it.

    That is fine though you live your life how you want. All I ask is you give me the freedom to do the same.

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  92. Uh huh.

    Absolutely! Live your life however you choose as long as it doesn't involve robbing other human beings of their right to life. But like abolitionists who were committed to ending slavery, I'm committed to ending the killing of innocent human beings.

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  93. Well a ZEF is only a potential human being. What gives the woman the right to an abortion is the fact that no one under any circumstance has the right to force anyone to use their body in a way that will harm them against their will.

    If it is wanted is what might determine if the woman has an abortion or not though.

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  94. Do you know how rarely that happens? Also even when it does happen it is almost always for the health of the woman or a fetal defect. In those two circumstances I support abortion at any point. It is disgusting to force a woman to risk death just to carry to term.

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  95. Well since abortion doesn't rob an actual human being of anything I guess you feel it is OK.

    Also it is so funny how you bring up slavery when you are fighting so hard to being it back in the form of gestational slavery.

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  96. It doesn't actually answer my question. Are you in favor of post-viability abortion for any reason?
    If the child is past viability and the mother's life is threatened, doesn't it make more sense to deliver the baby and instead of aborting him or her?

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  97. Funny how you seem to think that an unborn human being is the property of the mother to dispose of as she wishes. That has way more parallels to slavery than my (alleged) stance.

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  98. No precedence doesn't go to the fetus. A fetus is not a born person with rights, not a separate person. A ZEF is there at the will of a woman gestating it. It is up to her and her alone to make to decision to gestate a fetus or not. A woman's uterus is not public property. This is a civil and constitutional right to privacy.

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  99. It's amazing how they give a ZEF magical powers that it exists on it's own as a seperate person. *head desk again* and a WTF.

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  100. A fetus is a human being with the right to life whether you want to recognize it or not. The birth canal does not magically bestow humanity or personhood upon a child. S/he is a human person with rights from the time s/he comes into existence until his/her natural death.

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  101. Someone who uses a wheelchair is not bipedal. Are they a human being? They lack one of the attributes that are listed. Same with disabled people who cannot speak or use their hands.

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  102. I wonder if insulting the religious motivation for being pro life might be a poor reason to belittle the movement. After all, a large part of the impetus for radical abolitionism and early feminism came from broad evangelical religious movements in the 1820s. Now we would all agree that slavery and women's rights are moral necessities, but that belief was born out of "fixed beliefs about right and wrong," and these people were often blamed for not being aware of real life consequences.

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  103. An acorn is analogous to an ovum, not an embryo. Same with an (unfertilized) robin's egg.
    A sapling is a tree (albeit a very young one). A robin embryo is a bird (albeit a very young one). A human embryo is a human being (albeit a very young one).

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  104. Yep… they give it rights that no actual person has. The right to use a person's body against their will. You can't even use a dead person's organs without their prior consent but yet an actual living woman has no say about what happens in her body.

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  105. If the woman's life is threatened I say it is up to her to decide. Also for myself I would never wait 20+ weeks since I would know from day one I wanted an abortion. However I am not going to tell other women what to do.

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  106. Actually, a viable seed such as an acorn does contain a plant embryo. It is not a tree because it is not mature, but it is an individual of the oak species.

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  107. Obviously, you can tell the difference between a zygote and an adult. You can "spot the difference" between a newborn and an adult too. Doesn't mean that one is less human than the other. They are all stages of human development.

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  108. They are all different in many ways. If you really don't understand the differences I suggest that you take a refresher course in biology.

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  109. I am asking you to list those differences. I already know the difference between a microscopic snippet of DNA and a fully formed, sentient sapient adult.

    Do you? Or is the question too difficult?

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  110. I didn't "insult" anyone's religious motivation for opposing abortion. I've said that I don't buy the idea that there's a legitimate secular argument.

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  111. The comments on this blog remind me of a poem I read once:

    Those who write on bathroom walls
    Roll their shit in little balls.

    But those who read those words of wit
    Eat those little balls of shit.

    Reply
  112. Can you list all of the differences between a newborn and an adult? Or between a zygote and a newborn? Since humans have between 20,000 and 25,000 protein-coding genes and they are expressed at different times during development such a "list" would run to many volumes. If someone could compile such a list, what would it prove? Do you think it would prove that zygotes are not human beings?
    You would say that zygotes "don't belong" with newborns or adults because they need to gestate inside a woman's body. Someone with different criteria for personhood such as Peter Singer would say that the adult is the one that does not belong with the others because adults are rational and self-aware whereas zygotes and newborns are not.

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  113. I am asking you, what do those differences prove? Do they prove that a human zygote is not a member of the species Homo sapiens? If it is not, then what species does it belong to?

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  114. All right. Size, lack of differentiation, inability to survive outside a woman's body, to name a few. Does this prove that they are not members of the species Homo sapiens?

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  115. I have not really seen this assertion from pro-choicers either. I think it's a conclusion that pro-lifers make about their position, rather than what their actual position is. Of course, there are always exceptions!

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  116. There is some disagreement on whether or not zygotes even count as members of the species (being just DNA after all), but it is clear from that biology definition that none, not a one, of the attributes that we associate with humans/persons is present in a zygote, which is merely a genetic blueprint.

    The biology online definition that Joanna linked to was merely a description of the traits that are associated with h.sapiens – just like 'small, furry, has claws' are traits that are associated with felis catus. That doesn't mean that felis catus DNA = a cat, any more than human DNA = a human.

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  117. I have seen it used by some pro-choicers, which means that you have to do some translating, and realise that what they really mean is that it isn't 'alive' in the independent sense.

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  118. I understand what you're saying, absolutely. It makes sense that one *would* assume that I want to make abortion illegal. All the more important during discussions to clarify each other's positions with each other, find common ground, and then begin the discussion from there! 🙂

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  119. I think that the issue here is cognitive dissonance on the part of pro-lifers. Those who take the view that early pregnancies are equal to 4 month fetuses, 8 month fetuses, and 8 month-olds also want to be supportive of mothers who are in the situation and know that imprisoning mothers would either 1) be an actual over-reaction or 2) would turn the general public away from the pro-life position. I think it's actually a good sign, because that is an example of "gray" that is prevalent in the abortion debate (which I mentioned at the beginning on my last post, and which many people had something to say about it without actually reading the blog post), and yet which so many people (on both sides, but especially on the pro-life side) seem to deny.

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  120. So you are saying that the unborn child is the property his/her mother? How is that not slavery, exactly?
    If a mother was mentally ill and sadistic and wanted to torture her unborn child, would that be ok with you?@

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  121. You still haven't answered my question. Do you think a woman should be able to abort her child after viability, for *any* reason? Yes, or no? If not, why not?

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  122. A zygote is not "just DNA", it is a specialized totipotent cell. Can you provide a citation from a reliable scientific source that states that human zygotes are not members of the human species, or that there is some dispute about this matter? A zygote is not a blueprint for a human being. A blueprint does not become a house the way a zygote becomes an adult. A blueprint and a house are two separate things. Once the house is built the blueprint can be thrown away.
    At what stage of development do you think a human organism acquires the attributes of a human being/person?

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  123. None of that changes the fact that it is a genetic blueprint.

    Can you provide a citation from a reliable scientific source that
    states that human zygotes are not members of the human species

    askabiologist.org.uk/answers/viewtopic.php?id=5399

    A zygote is not a blueprint for a human being. A blueprint does not become a house the way a zygote becomes an adult.

    The house blueprint needs to be read, interpreted and expressed, just like the zygote. And the house doesn't build itself without help, and neither does a zygote. Leave a blastocyst in a petri dish and see how far it gets.

    At what stage of development do you think a human organism acquires the attributes of a human being/person?

    At least when it is capable of sentience, around viability – 24 weeks and up. However, I still do not consider fetuses to be persons until born.

    Reply
  124. What? I'm illogical? I'm not the one who thinks ZEFs are persons. No not an individual person till it comes out of the as you say "birth canal."

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  125. Oh right, in addition to saying that cancer isn't 'natural' because it's unhealthy, Joanna also said that people who are pregnant a lot are experts on gestation, just like people who eat a lot are experts on digestion.

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  126. If there is a Robin's nest and there are three fertilized eggs in it and a Robin sitting on the nest, you don't say there are four birds in the nest. If a Cowbird removes eggs from a Chipping sparrow's nest the Cowbird didn't kill the birds but destroyed the eggs to lays it's own eggs in the nest. Eggs are potential birds, like ZEFs potential.

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  127. Then I'm an expert on wine consumption. I'm having a little "hair of the dog" nursing a hangover. Every time I read her posts it makes my head hurt more.

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  128. People who are homeless are people they are not ZEFs big difference. Also for you to say homeless people are "unwanted" is insulting. I know people who have been homeless and down on their luck they are still people with human rights. If a woman who is homeless and poor is pregnant and doesn't want to be I wouldn't force her to gestate a pregnancy, or anyone else. I've met some pretty incredible homeless people that unfortunately have mental health and drug issues, but they are still people don't deserve to get treated like shit.

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  129. What about all if the fertilized eggs that don't implant into the uterus and are expelled in a woman's monthly cycle? Should we hold tampon and pad funerals if they are persons as you say?

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  130. Yes, it is illogical to believe, as you do, that the birth canal has magical properties that somehow confer personhood upon an unborn child.

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  131. If a robin is sitting on three fertilized eggs, then there is a robin plus 3 unhatched robins in the nest. It's not a difficult concept. I'm surprised you have difficulty with it.

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  132. So it's irrelevant, to you, whether or not a child can live independently outside the womb. You believe the child is the property of his/her mother to dispose of as she wishes. Correct?

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  133. Oh, I absolutely agree with you re: the homeless. It's interesting, though, you seem to be saying that the homeless have intrinsic value and dignity as human beings despite the fact that they aren't "wanted." Yet you think unborn children are worthless and valueless if they're not "wanted." Seems illogical.

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  134. By your logic, it's completely moral to murder senior citizens, since they die of natural causes frequently. Is that what you believe?

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  135. I don't think the "birth canal" or vagina has magical powers. There's a uterus connected to a "birth canal" a ZEF is part of a woman's body until she had an abortion or gives birth. Nothing magical about biology.

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  136. No, I'm a birdwatcher and fully understand this concept. If a nesting bird abandones a nest the eggs will not survive. Like a ZEF without a host it's not going to live. Simple biology.

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  137. Yes, and infants abandoned by their mothers and left exposed to the elements will likely die as well. Does that mean infants aren't human beings?

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  138. Uh, no. It's called "logic." You say that since unborn children die of natural causes (miscarriage), then it's okay to intentional kill them (abortion). So by that logic, if senior citizens die of natural causes (old age) it's therefore okay to intentionally murder them. Is that your position? If not, then your view is not logically consistent.

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  139. You missed the point. If a fertilized egg fails to implant there is no pregnancy, hence no miscarriage. This happens to 30% plus fertilized eggs that you call persons. So if these fertilized eggs that don't implant are sloughed off in a woman's cycle are persons as you say then why aren't their funerals for them? Keep in mind that these are not pregnancies but fertilized eggs.

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  140. Yes because it is her life and her body and if I tried to control her choices I would be doing what I hate about anti-choicers. Women don't ever do that though and we both know that…

    Reply
  141. How is is not slavery to force a woman to gestate against her will when all she will get out of it is misery?

    It is impossible to torture an unborn child since there is no such thing.

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  142. There are scientific laws that control the impact of abortion. For example pro lifers have a choice, they may choose to save innocent born babies, children and adults or they may choose to let them die and save a fetus instead. It is impossible for any person to save both born life and unborn life without causing the death of born life.
    For example there are 1.8 born humans, 1.4 induced abortions and 10 natural abortions that die each second. No person can save them all. In fact if one spends 1 second forcing the birth of an unwanted fetus, then in that second, 1.8 born persons and 10 natural wanted fetuses will die. For that reason pro lifers do not save life, they simply trade the life of fetuses for the life of born humans.

    The scientific laws that control the impact of abortion make it clear that anti abortion laws do not work. scientificabortionlaws.com — read the about page.

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  143. The fetus "may or may not be alive or have enough human DNA to live as a human. The fetus cannot be proved to produce a born human until in fact it is born.

    Until the DNA of the genotype expresses the correct phenotype at birth, one cannot tell if the product of conception is alive or human.

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  144. It is a scientific fact that one cannot prove the fetus is alive, will be born alive or that it has enough human DNA live as a human, until it is born. Why, because 70 percent of conceptions die before the end of the first trimester and of those that die, 60 percent die from genetic flaw.

    I challenge you to prove any fetus will be born alive and human before it is actually born.

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  145. You cannot prove the fetus is alive, will be born alive or that it is human enough to live as a human. But you know that a real born human is alive and human. You have a choice to save a born human or to let it die and save a fetus. Most pro lifers choose to let the born babies die. What is your choice?

    Reply
  146. Your claim that fertilization is the beginning of "all of us" is a fallacy if you consider the zygote one of "us." Your claim is based upon the idea that all zygotes are human and alive and contain only DNA that is human. While retrospectively speaking all born humans were human zefs not all zefs will become humans.

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  147. Not only is there debate that the zygote is not a baby, the scientific fact is that the zygote cannot be proved to be human or alive. Until the DNA of the genotype expresses the correct phenotype at birth, there is no human life. Why, because at birth the fetal heart must transform into a human heart and the fetal respiratory, digestive systems and brain must transform from fetal organs into human organs. That only occurs at birth.

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  148. Born human life is clearly born human life. Born non human life is clearly not human life. What is the point you are trying to make?

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  149. For the simple fact that it's impossible to know if a new child exists prior 8 days after conception (minimum). I did have simple memorial services for both children that I miscarried, by the way. But one miscarriage was at twelve weeks (and I had a D&C, so we had remains to bury) and one was at 5 weeks, 5 days, about one week after my positive pregnancy test.

    If people could know, with certainty, that a child existed at the time they conceived, I'm sure you would see funerals for the children who die prior to implantation. Some couples who have done IVF often do mourn the loss of the embryos that didn't implant.

    But if we lived in a society that did not do funerals at all, of if a homeless person (for example) doesn't get a funeral after they die, that wouldn't mean that the people who died were therefore worthless and valueless as a result. A funeral is just a societal custom to help survivors deal with death, not an acknowledgement of personhood or humanity.

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  150. A baby and a fetus cannot be compared. A fetus may or may not be alive or human enough to live to birth. A baby is in fact alive and human. A fetus is not entitled to anything unless it can be proved to be capable of becoming a born baby. And that is impossible until birth.

    Reply
  151. It is not the birth canal that transforms a fetus into a human. The fetal heart, respiratory, digestive systems and brain must transform into human organs before birth. It those transforms do not occur, there is no human life.

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  152. Until the DNA of the genotype expresses the correct phenotype at birth, there is no human life. And one must choose which life to save, born or unborn life. If one chooses to force the birth of a fetus, then they have chosen not to save a born life, and that life dies. So the choice is to save a born life or a fetus. One or the other will die.

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  153. A fetus cannot be proved to be a human being until the DNA expresses the correct phenotype at birth. You must murder a real baby to force the birth of a fetus.

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  154. Your belief that a fetus is a baby causes you to murder innocent babies in an effort to save a fake baby.
    Women are in fact human and alive, zefs have only a 30 percent chance of becoming human life. It is foolish to let born life die to save zefs.

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  155. "Why are you anti-science, Joshua?"

    Scientific facts prove that your beliefs stated below are based upon a fallacy.

    {"It is scientific fact. A fetus is an individual life form.}

    You cannot prove it is alive or will be born alive and human, much less whether it is an individual life from.

    { The biological definition of organism does NOT include "ability to exist independently at every stage of development."}

    Your definition is a fallacy. It assumes that a zef is human and alive and that is not capable of being established scientifically.

    {{{"Here's another excerpt from the (secular) site I quoted from earlier: "In the words of Ross G. Harrison (Wilens, 1969), “the need for standardized stages in the embryonic development of various organisms for the purpose of accurate description of normal development and for utilization in experimental work has long been recognized.” Because “development is a continuous process with an indefinite number of stages” (ibid.),a certain number have to be chosen. Thus each stage “is merely an arbitrarily cut section through the time-axis of the life of an organism” (deBeer, 1958)."}}

    That is a circular argument fallacy. You start out assuming the zef is human and alive and then, based upon that assumption, discusses information about the stages of life.

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  156. Because 70 percent of conceptions die in the first trimester, any consent to sex is consent to abortion.

    You have a choice, you may save innocent born babies or you may kill them and attempt to force the birth of a fetus when you consented to abortion for yourself.
    Most pro lifers choose to let innocent born babies die. What is your choice?

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  157. Likewise while all human adults were human children, not all human children will become human adults. Am I understanding that this is your point?

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  158. I hope you are not a woman. Calling a pregnant woman a "host" could not be more insulting or degrading to women, whose rights you say you proclaim. You've done it several times. Please come up with something more respectful.

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  159. That link makes no sense in relation to what I just posted.

    It's obvious you can't dispute the science involved. What's your story, Russell? Why are you so intent on dehumanizing unborn children? Are you trying to assuage a guilty conscience?

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  160. **" The reality of the situation is that fertilization was the beginning of all of us…"

    There's really no debate about that. Not sure of the relevance.**

    So you are trying to claim the the unfertilized egg didn't exist before conception and just popped into existence out of nowhere, just in time to be fertilized?

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  161. ** It seems to me that if we are looking for science to identify human beings as important, we shall fail both with those born and those unborn.**

    In other words, you're playing the usual forced birther game of pretending that neither the brain nor the electrical activity in the brain can be detected.

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  162. If the main important thing about the zygote is that it is 'genetically distinct', then can I assume that it would be ok with you for me to murder one of a pair of twin newborn babies, so long as the other one, and it's 'genetically distinct' DNA survive?

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  163. **Yes, the fetus you describe is an organism of the species homo sapiens – aka, a human being. That is a fact of science, not a religious belief.**

    A catterpillar may be of the species Monarch Butterfly. That is scientific fact. It's ALSO a fact that it can't fly. Guess what, not all 'developmental stages' are inherently equal in abilities or rights. Grow up and deal with it.

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  164. You are still deliberately avoiding my question as to how all abilities and rights descend from heaven in a golden light onto the fertilized egg, when this is obviously not the case with butterflies. The ability to fly does not somehow magically appear in a catterpillar, despite being an 'organism' that has butterfly DNA.

    What exactly is it about 'humans' that you think gives them human rights. And no circular arguments, such as they have 'human rights because they are human' or nonsense about them being 'special' without defining what the 'specialness' is

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  165. I reject your whiny examples of the fact that drugs and prostitution are illegal as 'proof' that bodily autonomy is not absolute. I'm a Libertarian. I don't think those things should be illegal.

    ** then precedence should be given to the entity that has the most liberty to lose.**

    Which would appear to justify forcibly removing one of your kidneys and one of your lungs, since the discomfort of surgery is only temporary, and the death of someone in need of an organ transplant is permanent.

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  166. You wrote first: **But parents have an obligation to provide basic necessities for their children, even if it involves using their bodies to do so.**

    **If a child needs a a donated organ to survive outside the womb, it is an extreme necessity, not a basic necessity**

    Sorry, no. You can't have it both ways. Either the child has a right to the parent's body, without their consent, or they don't. You don't get to have it both ways.

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  167. **The birth canal does not magically bestow humanity or personhood upon a child.**

    DNA doesn't magically bestow rights or personhood, either.

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  168. If you can't get a 5 inch wide sphere through a 4 inch wide hole without tearing the hole so badly that it kills the mother, then yes. Stop handwaving away the facts of birth.

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  169. No, that is a false dilemma fallacy.

    However your choice to let innocent babies die is not a false dilemma fallacy. Two important differences: 1) You claim to save babies and instead you save fetuses. 2) 1.8 born humans, 1.4 unwanted fetuses and 10 wanted fetuses are dying each second. If you choose to save none, born babies die, if you choose to save unwanted fetuses, born babies die, if you choose to save wanted fetuses, born humans die. Only when you choose to save born humans do born humans become saved.

    There are no other choices. If you choose to save a fetus then you have chosen not to save a born baby, child or adult. And because you "claim" to save babies, you must save born babies otherwise you are not saving life, you are trading born life for unborn life.

    Because you claim to have a duty to save babies and do not save babies, you are committing "murder by omission." You might want to look that up.

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  170. Your reply was based upon the precept that the fetus is always a baby. The site you are using does not claim that all zygotes produce human babies. So no you just don't know what you are reading. Most zygotes cannot be proved to produce human life and it is impossible to know which will produce life because it is impossible to know what will be "expressed."

    You might want to look up DNA expression. What you will find is that there is no way to know what the DNA will express until it in fact has expressed. For example the entire code for a human is in the zygote, but we cannot read that code before it is ready to be read.

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  171. You can't prove that. Until the zygote "expresses" the correct phenotype, you cannot prove it is human. Your statement is a fallacy. Approximately 30 percent of zygotes will produce human life. The rest will not produce a human life that can be proved to be capable of living as a human. Your claim is a "fallacy of division".

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  172. I am stating scientific fact. About 30 percent of conceptions will produce human life. The others will not.

    I am not disputing the science involved, I am proving it is correct. humupd.oxfordjournals.org/content/8/4/333.full.pdf+html
    You are making fallacious claims about the science involved. It is impossible to know if a zygote will produce a born human life until it in fact "expresses" the correct phenotype at birth.

    Basically you are using an "affirming the consequent" fallacy. You assume that all zygotes are humans and use as proof the fact that 30 percent of zygotes will produce born life. Your argument is invalid.

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  173. The whole page is based on multiple fallacies. The scientific facts are clear. Most zygotes do not produce human life. That is a scientific fact. So your source page is an "affirming the consequent" fallacy. The page you cite does not even internally support itself. It states as fact terms that have been disproved scientifically. For example it starts with the unsupported claim that life starts with "new human embryo, the starting point for a human life, comes into existence with the formation of the one-celled zygote" and then states that the zygote is formed from living human haploid life. Something cannot start when there are preceding events. The" start" is the "beginning". And human life is a continuum. It began 3.5 billion years ago and became human about 250 million years ago. I think what you are implying is that the life of a human has a point at which a zygote is created. But that is not the start of life. Life is continuous. The gametes were produced by a diploid human that produced a haploid human life form. Without he haploid there is no diploid. And the haploid life was a division of a diploid cell.
    So your source is internally conflicting and based on a series of fallacies.

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  174. They occur at birth. Each event is part of the "expression" of the human phenotype. As such, becaue we cannot know the terms of "expression", we cannot know when the event begins or finishes. All we know for certain is that the phenotype of a fetus is different from the phenotype of a human. They are structurally different until birth.

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  175. "What? Is this a joke?"
    Any claim that a zygote is a baby is a joke.
    " Are you meaning specifically that this "transformation into a human heart and human organs" happens after 40 weeks gestation, or can this happen at 32 weeks or 24 weeks (as two of my friends experienced with the births of their babies recently)?"

    The changes must occur or be possible of development at birth or there is no human life possible. A fetus becomes a baby when the processes have occurred. That can be at any time period that supports human life. If a product of conception can live as a born human, then it is a human life. There is no way to determine at which point the product of conceptions can be proved to be fully human. Some humans are in fact born and human and live with genetic flaws. (I live with genetic flaws) The fact that there are flaws do not make a life form non human.

    " Or does it happen to any baby that passes through the birth canal? Does it require the birth canal or can it happen during a c-section?"

    No, it happens when the phenotype is fully expressed to the point where human life is proved to be human.

    "Are you classifying the fetus as an organism completely different from a human?"

    I am defining the point at which it can be human life as opposed to a potential human life. One cannot prove what it is until birth. Why, the expression of the code is hidden.

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  176. The difference is the person in a coma

    1. Has people that love them and would not want that to happen.
    2. Could easily come out of the coma and would be self aware.
    3. Is not inside the body of an actual person

    The actual person has the most to lose since she already has a life and feelings and a job and/or school and can easily lose everything by the misery of pregnancy.

    Are you implying that young people have more value than older people since a child that is 10 probably has more years to live than someone in their 30s….

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  177. While that is true, it is not the same. A fetus cannot even be proved to be capable of becoming a human until it is born. It is potentially human at best. At worst it is simply a product of conception. The zygote has a 30 percent chance of being a human life and the fetus at birth has a 99 percent chance of being human enough to live as a human.

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  178. So…what kind of proof are you looking for? What do you mean, the expression of the code is hidden? Amniocentesis and ultrasound reveal nothing?

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  179. Actually it's precisely because prolifers understand the continual process of life that we don't believe artificially interrupting it is morally acceptable.

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  180. Of course interrupting life at all points accomplishes the same end. Stopping a sperm from producing a child has the same effect as stopping a fetus. And the fact is that life of the gametes and zef are potential lives, not real born life, is important to consider. For example by focusing on the potential life one is guaranteed to allow real life to perish. Why because spending 1 second attempting to save an unwanted fetus is one second when real life is allowed to die along with wanted fetuses. There are 1.8 born babies, 1.4 unwanted fetuses and 10 wanted fetuses dying each second. If one spends one second saving an unwanted fetus then they have chosen to let 10 wanted fetuses and 1.8 real live humans die. So being pro life does not save life, it causes death.
    If pro lifers were really wanting to save life, they would save the born life and the wanted fetuses, not the unwanted fetuses.

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  181. It doesn't then follow that it is acceptable to kill a member of our species simply because they are in an earlier stage of development. Your logic could be used to justify killing newborns (see, for example, Peter Singer's beliefs).

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  182. The proof that life does not begin at conception is overwhelming and indisputable. For example pro lifers "believe" that life begins with the fusion of the egg and sperm. However, the word begins is pretty simple to understand.
    The gametes (egg and sperm) have their own unique DNA that is different from the DNA of the parents. That DNA controls the actions of the gametes. For example it controls the mobility of the sperm and egg, the positive actions of the sperm in penetrating the egg, and the actions of the egg before fusion and finally the processes of development of the that lead up to fusion and the process of fusion itself. All of that occurs before the "functional" establishment of the zygote. Every bit of the information that leads the gametes to establish the zygote is contained in the DNA of the gametes and leads to the expression of the correct phenotype for a zygote. The zygote cannot create itself. Why, because it does not exist. So "life" must start before the establishment of the zygote, because the zygote cannot create itself.

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  183. Life is continuous, so all life, cells in mitosis, cells in meiosis, gametes, zygotes, embryos and fetuses would all be "persons" as they are all parts of a continuous human organism either in the diploid phase or the haploid phase or somewhere in between.

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  184. If a child is halfway outside the birth canal, then his/her shoulders have already been delivered. Since the shoulders are the widest part of the newborn, then the rest of the baby's body will fit through the birth canal. No need to kill anyone.

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  185. Yes, Russell, you are presenting a false dilemma fallacy. in terms of your question, it's not either/or, it's both/and.
    Why are you so eager to see unborn children die, Russell? Are you trying to assuage a guilty conscience?

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  186. You are incorrect, Russell. If an embryologist were to sample the DNA of a human zygote, they would determine that it is an organism of the species Homo sapiens. It is a biological fact that two organisms of the same species cannot reproduce a different species entirely. So if a zygote is conceived, biologically that zygote must be an organism of the species homo sapiens.

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  187. No, that is not the whole of what the author states. The "assumption" by you is that you are speaking of human zygotes that are proved to be human. A zygote that does not have the correct genotype to produce human life was never a human and could never become a human. No scientist would ever claim that a non human genotype is human.

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  188. So? Just because a human being dies in an early stage of development does not mean that it was never a human being. By your logic, I could go ahead and kill newborns since there is not guarantee that they will live to adulthood.

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  189. Quotes from *multiple embryology textbooks* are based on "fallacies"?

    Why should I believe you, Russell? What are your credentials? Are you a recognized authority in the field of embryology?

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  190. Sperm and ova, as well as other human cells (e.g. skin cells) are not organisms, Russell. A human being is an *organism* of the species Homo sapiens.

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  191. Russell, you are wrong. If a zygote was not a human being, it would be biologically impossible for him/her to be the offspring of two adult human beings.

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  192. No, the scientific fact is that there is more life dying than can be saved. So you must choose which life to save. If you ever choose to save a fetus, either wanted or unwanted, it will be at the expense of a real life born human. Why, because all life cannot be saved. So you must choose to save one of two types of life. You may save either real life or potential life. You cannot save potential life without causing the death of real life. Why, because real life is steadily dying and at any point where you stop saving real life, then it dies.
    Because there are only two types of life that may be saved, real life and potential life, you must chose to save one or the other or none. Any choice to save none or a potential life will lead to the death of a born life.

    Pro lifers are simply murderers of born babies, children and adults. I am saving babies. So no, I have no guilty conscience. You should stop murdering innocent babies and join me in saving life.

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  193. By your logic, we should just drop a bomb on all the third world countries with starving children. We can't save them all, right? Might as well kill the ones we can't save.
    That's horrible logic, Russell.

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  194. That is a straw man fallacy based on false precepts. I am for saving the life of starving children. When given the opportunity to save life at poverty.com you make the intentional choice to let it die. You don't need to drop a bomb, you are killing life by choosing to let it starve to death.
    You have a choice, you may choose to save innocent babies or you may choose to let them die and save a fetus instead. Your choice is to let babies —-die—-.

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  195. "It is a biological fact that two organisms of the same species cannot reproduce a different species entirely."

    It is a fact that most zygotes do not produce a different species, they produce no known species. In fact 42 percent of zygotes produce no known species. DNA requires the stage of "replication" and if there is and error in replication then the species will be lost. Generally DNA—>RNA—Protein and in any of those changes, errors can be made. Sometimes, the changes due to error will produce an alteration to the species that is good for the species. In such a situation, the error may be adopted in breeding and become a change in the human species. The theory of evolution posits that all life began 3.5 billion years ago and that it adopted changes in DNA that lead to various types of life. Those changes lead to the Human species about 250k years ago. So the evolutionary theory supports changes in DNA that lead to higher life forms, such a humans.
    If you go to Google images and search "product of conception" you will find pictures of some human life forms that are not capable of living as humans.

    So if a zygote is conceived, biologically that zygote must be an organism of the species homo sapiens.

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  196. It's both/and, not either/or. Why are you so eager for unborn babies to die, Russell? Are you trying to assuage a guilty conscience?

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  197. A human being is an organism of the species Homo sapiens. A zygote is an organism of the species Homo sapiens. Ergo, a zygote is a human being. Why are you anti-science, Russell?

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  198. So, boys aren't human until puberty? By your logic, women without ovaries and men without testicles are not human beings. Is that what you believe? That ovarian or testicular cancer survivors cease to be human? That's bizarre.

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  199. Your statements are utterly false, as proved by my sources. What are your embryology credentials, Russell? Why should I believe you instead of multiple embryology textbooks?

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  200. Taking your beliefs to their logical conclusions is not "putting words in your mouth," Russell. Human zygotes are always human. They have to be, as it is biologically impossible for them to be anything else. This is scientific fact.

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  201. "A human being is an organism of the species Homo sapiens."

    A human being is born and alive and is of the species Homo sapiens.

    "A zygote is an organism of the species Homo sapiens. "

    A zygote cannot be proved to be of the species Homo sapiens.

    "Ergo, a zygote is a human being."

    Until the DNA of the genotype expresses the correct phenotype, at birth, it is not human.

    " Why are you anti-science, Russell?"

    I am using science, you are using fallacies.
    You are using several fallacies. You are using a straw man fallacies based upon an affirming the consequent fallacy.
    You must prove the zygote has human DNA capable of "expressing" a human phenotype.

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  202. Actual scientists disagree with you, Russell. And given that some genes are not expressed until adolescence or adulthood, your logic dictates that anyone below puberty is not a human being.
    – JoAnna

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  203. Zygotes are too young, developmentally, to reproduce offspring, Russell. Perhaps you should take a biology class? You seem to have a number of false beliefs regarding human reproduction.

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  204. It is impossible for you to save both without causing the needless death of babies. If you spend 1 second saving an unwanted fetus, 1.8 born humans and 10 wanted fetuses die. If you think you can save all life, then simply do so, and then start saving fetuses and I will help.

    That is called "calling your bluff". Now do as you claim or be labeled a liar.

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  205. Russell, can you provide a link to any scientist, anywhere, who claims that a child is not a biological human being until birth? And if they aren't human, then what species are they?

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  206. I didn't say they reproduce offspring at this point in the life cycle. All life goes through the stages born human, splitting of the cells in mitosis, development of the gametes, development of the zygotes, embryos and fetuses and then to birth an life as a born human again. There is no point at which life "stops". If you think there is, now would be a good time to offer some proof.

    What I am saying is clear. You have a choice JoAnna, you may choose to save innocent babies or you can let them die and save a fetus instead. What is your choice? Why do you choose to let innocent babies die?

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  207. If the human is born and living as a human, then it is a living human. In order to force the birth of an unwanted zygote one must kill 10 wanted zygotes and 1.8 born living humans each second. You are responsible for those deaths.

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  208. Human zygotes are always human and non human zygotes are never human. 42 percent of zygotes will not have the correct genetic qualities to build human life and only 30 percent will have the correct human DNA and become human life. The rest will die.
    It is a fact that more human zygotes do not become human life than become human life. humupd.oxfordjournals.org/content/8/4/333.full.pdf+html

    So your interpretation of your sources if wrong. I am sorry, but you must accept that as fact or continue to look like a fool.

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  209. I'm confused about why you'd identify with a movement whose stated goals are to either ban abortion, or at least overturn Roe and let states criminalize the procedure. It seems to me that if that's not your position, then you're one of many pro-choice people who are personally opposed to abortion but believe it should be legal and available for those who don't share your beliefs.

    And, again, pro-choicers are far more likely than opponents of abortion to favor policies that demonstrably reduce the incidence of abortion — most favor comprehensive sex education and expanded access to contraception. One of the ironies of the anti-abortion movement is that because many of its adherents favor "abstinence-only" education and freak out when schools give out condoms, it actually promotes abortion.

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  210. Your skin cells likely have the right DNA, though some of mine don't. But any zygote you produce has a 42 percent chance of having the wrong DNA. More have the wrong DNA than live to be humans. Most zygotes are simply human products of conception.

    It is impossible to tell if the zygote has the correct DNA until it is born.

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  211. Every scientist agrees that a child is a biological human being from its parents DNA to it death. The claims you make are not connected. A proved life that produces a zygote that becomes a born baby will have always been a human. A life that has not been proved by birth may or may not be human or capable of life.

    Most zygotes are not proved to be any particular species at all. Look at the photos in Google images that show "products of conception." 42 percent of zygotes have genetic flaws that cause them to not produce human life. 30 percent will produce human life. The rest will die without proof they had correct DNA capable of "expressing" human life.

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  212. Again, can you cite any scientific evidence to support your assertion that unborn children are a species other than Homo sapiens? Anything at all?

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  213. It is biologically impossible for a non-human zygote to be conceived within the Fallopian tube of a human woman, Russell. This is basic biology.

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  214. Of course you can refrain from killing born human and unborn life. But if you force the birth of a born fetus, you do so by causing the death of a born human. This is a debate about force birth, not a debate about killing wanted fetuses. No one is being forced to abort a zef.

    There is a continuous, nonstop, dying of born human life at the rate of 1.8 per second. If you claim to save human life, then those lives are available to save.
    There is continuous death of unwanted fetuses at the rate of 1.4 per second. And there is the continuous death of wanted fetuses at the rate of 10 per second. If you claim to save life, you may choose to save a wanted or unwanted fetus.

    If you spend one second saving a fetus, then in that second 1.8 born humans die. You had a choice to save born life or unborn life and choose to save unborn life, as a result 1.8 born babies died each second you spent saving fetuses. If you could suspend the dying of the born while you saved the unborn you would be able to save both, but you cannot suspend the dying of the born. So your choice to save a fetus leads to the death of born life.

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  215. The definition of a human being is "an organism of the species Homo sapiens." A hydatidiform mole is not an organism of the species Homo sapiens.

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  216. All scientific evidence supports my claims. I have several hundred links you can read if you have time. Just let me know where you are confused. If you read a link, and learn what it says, I will post another. If you are incapable of understanding the science involved I will not post another link. So what has you confused?

    Your fallacious reading of science is what is causing you to murder innocent babies in an attempt to save fetuses. Why not stop murdering babies and join me in saving life?

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  217. It is a product of conception, and contains h.sapiens DNA. You keep telling Rusell that human zygotes = human beings.

    You can't say that human zygotes are all human beings, and then say that a zygote that will develop into a mole is not a human being. You are trying to have your cake and eat it too.

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  218. Most zygotes are not human enough to produce human life. Read this source, then I will ask you a few questions. If you understand the source, then we can continue. But if you are incapable of understanding, I will simply have a hoot. Please don't make me laugh, I don't need a hoot, learn what is in the source before coming back.
    humupd.oxfordjournals.org/content/8/4/333.full.pdf+html

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  219. humupd.oxfordjournals.org/content/8/4/333.full.pdf+html
    Like I have told you a hundred times the products of conception are not any species at all.

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  220. In the end, in order to maintain a fruitful and honest discussion, we should aspire to describe our opponents position in such a way where they would say, "Yes, that is what I believe."

    I don't think prolifers can do that, though. At least, I have never met one who was even willing to try.

    But I have frequently met prolifers who argue strongly that girls and women should not be allowed or encouraged to have free access to contraception, that employers should be legally allowed to fire women for getting pregnant and not having an abortion, and that welfare aid which ensures mothers and children can live safely and comfortably is immoral. When prolifers express those views – and many, many prolifers do – it's impossible not to draw the conclusion that what they really believe is that girls/women should be punished for having sex by forced pregnancy.

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  221. I call your bluff. Prove you can save 1.8 born humans dying each second while saving unwanted fetuses. If you stop saving born life it will die, right?

    My proof is that you can't because you as a person cannot save all human life. So prove you can save all human life and you will be right.

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  222. Saying false dilemma without proving a false dilemma is useless. I am calling your bluff. Prove you can save 1.8 born babies, children and adults without a pause and save 11.4 fetuses that die each second as well. Where is your proof?
    If you pause saving babies for one second, they will die. So prove your false dilemma claim.

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  223. Yes I am a woman. Maybe "host" is the wrong word but a ZEF can't survive outside a woman's body. And how can my word choice be more offensive than telling all pregnant women they must gestate a pregnancy and be treated like brood mares or chattel? I think forced gestation is very oppressive. I support women that want to be pregnant and I also support women who do not want to be pregnant and have an abortion. I don't get to make decisions for anyone else.

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  224. I am a woman and I call a pregnant woman with an unwanted pregnancy a host. I think it is degrading to women to force her to undergo gestational slavery.

    If you want to respect women let them decide if they allow the unwanted ZEF to come to term or not.

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  225. I read this paper and I didn't see any statement that unborn children are not organisms of the species Homo sapiens. Please quote the portion that you believe supports your assertion that they are not?

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  226. I'm not the one making the assertion that that's possible. You are. Please show me how to save every single child on the earth who is in danger of dying of starvation by means of killing unborn children. I am eager to see how it is possible.

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  227. If you believe you have the capability, please do so. I look forward to reading in the paper tomorrow that there are no longer any starving children on earth, thanks to you.

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  228. Let's look at what you wrote earlier:

    ""A human being is an organism of the species Homo sapiens. A zygote is an
    organism of the species Homo sapiens. Ergo, a zygote is a human being""'

    A hydatidiform mole forms a zygote, and that zygote has h.sapiens DNA.

    Your own words. By your logic, a hydatidiform mole = a human being, because it = a zygote, and according to you, zygotes are all h.sapiens, and h.sapiens = human being.

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  229. But by your logic, what Gosnell did was entirely acceptable. He enjoyed the favor of the law for many years. Why do you think what he did was bad?

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  230. I save born life by exposing pro life murderers. Pro lifers have a choice to murder innocent babies or to save them. They choose to murder babies. I drag them into the light of truth and expose them for what they are.

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  231. And, how is this relevant? I am well aware that if an unborn child dies naturally, the pregnancy does not progress. I have had two miscarriages. The fact that two of my children have died of natural causes does not give me license to intentionally kill the other five.

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  232. "I'm not the one making the assertion that that's possible. "

    You claimed you could save both fetuses and babies without causing the death of babies. So explain what you meant? Show me how you can save fetuses without spending time that could be used to save babies.
    My point is that it is impossible to save all life. One must choose which life they will save.

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  233. No. Gosnell was a criminal. He performed illegal abortions and sold drugs illegally. No pro choice agrees with what Gosnell did. He is exactly what we don't want. He didn't provide safe and legal abortions. The opposite. Glad he's in prison.

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  234. A partial molar pregnancy does in fact qualify as a human organism, only a disabled one.

    At any rate, that is completely irrelevant, as you are the one who stated that zygotes = h.sapiens = human beings. Hydatidiform moles start out as zygotes – Russell is absolutely correct.

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  235. Scientifically there is no such thing as "unborn children". There are zygotes with enough human DNA to become human babies and zygotes without enough human DNA. The paper makes it clear that more than 50 percent of conceptions do not have enough human genetic materials to become human life.

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  236. askabiologist.org.uk/answers/viewtopic.php?id=5399
    So, according to the biological species concept a human zygote is not a member of the species Homo sapiens because it is incapable of reproducing. Neither are children, adults who are not fertile or post-menopausal women. The biological species concept is meant to apply to populations, not individuals. Two populations are considered to belong to the same species if typical adult members of the populations are able to interbreed and produce fertile offspring. Applying the BSC that narrowly to individuals leads to absurd conclusions such as humans who have not reproduced do not belong to any biological species, or that neutered cats are not really cats. No biologist applies the species concept that way in practice. Biologists classify juvenile organisms, preserved organisms and fossil organisms as to species all the time. If you had a population of human zygotes you could determine that they are human by DNA testing. If they were gestated, born and grew up they would be capable of interbreeding with other humans and so are members of the species Homo sapiens.
    The DNA in the zygote needs to be read, interpreted and expressed for life to occur. The same is true of your DNA and mine. A blueprint does not direct its own development into a house. A blastocyst, like any other living thing needs the proper environment to develop. A seed will not germinate if it is left in a package, and some seeds have very exacting germination requirements, including forming symbiotic relationships with other organisms such as soil fungi.

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  237. The source I just posted makes that claim. A zygote that does not have enough human DNA to produce a human life cannot produce a human life. The source is also pretty clear that only 30 percent of conceptions produce human life. You know you can argue that non human life is human life, that is fine. It would make more sense than your vacillations.

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  238. You haven't understood half of what has been said to you, so this error on you part does not surprise me. Murdering unborn children will not save born children. No one has ever said it would. So get that foolishness out of your mind.

    What I have said is that born babies, children and adults are dying, unwanted fetuses are dying and wanted fetuses are dying. They are all dying. So one does not choose which to murder, one chooses which to save. As you admit, there are more babies dying than can be saved. So if you choose to save babies every day, then you will constantly be saving innocent born life. If you stop saving babies for even one second, so you can save a fetus, then 1.8 born babies will die. If you spend a second saving unwanted fetuses, not only do born babies die but wanted fetuses die as well. So if you spend 1 second saving unwanted fetuses, then 10 wanted fetuses will die.
    In no instance have you ever killed a fetus to save a baby. You have simply chosen to save babies, children and adults. If you don't save them they will die.

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  239. A blastocyst, like any other living thing needs the proper environment to develop

    Without specific signals from the woman's body, it won't develop at all.

    Point being, the whole 'blueprint that directs it's own growth' thing is irrelevant – it is still an unborn human organism that is *under construction* and it will not exist as a complete, fully formed, autonomous individual until it is born. Until then it's just a roll of the dice. A crap shoot.

    Even if a skyscraper could build itself from the blueprint, you don't look at a partially built skyscraper and say 'yep, that's a skyscraper'. No, it isn't, it's a partially constructed one that may or may not become a skyscraper in a few years.

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  240. You haven't understood half of what has been said to you, so this error on you part does not surprise me. Murdering unborn children will not save born children. No one has ever said it would. So get that foolishness out of your mind.

    What I have said is that born babies, children and adults are dying, unwanted fetuses are dying and wanted fetuses are dying. They are all dying. So one does not choose which to murder, one chooses which to save. As you admit, there are more babies dying than can be saved. So if you choose to save babies every day, then you will constantly be saving innocent born life. If you stop saving babies for even one second, so you can save a fetus, then 1.8 born babies will die. If you spend a second saving unwanted fetuses, not only do born babies die but wanted fetuses die as well. So if you spend 1 second saving unwanted fetuses, then 10 wanted fetuses will die.
    In no instance have you ever killed a fetus to save a baby. You have simply chosen to save babies, children and adults. If you don't save them they will die.

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  241. It is not a false dilemma because there are only to types of life that can be saved. Born life and unborn life. So the choice is not false.
    And one cannot choose to save both because any attempt to save a fetus will mean that you must suspend saving babies. So it is not a false dilemma in that sense either.

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  242. Uh, the same way it's possible to also care about issues such as immigration, human trafficking, homelessness, etc simultaneously.

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  243. No, by the time the mole forms, any human being who may have started to develop is already dead. The mole itself is not an organism, as the link I provided clearly shows.

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  244. Can your save all born life or not? If you can save all born life then you have point. Or if you can come up with a scheme where you can save 1.8 born babies, 10 wanted fetuses and 1.4 unwanted fetuses each second. So explain how you will save all life.

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  245. Difference being that Catholics for Choice are heretical. Libertarians for Life adhere to the basic tenets of libertarianism, and their pro-life views are logically consistent with their beliefs.

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  246. Yes, zygotes are human beings. But by the time a partial mole forms, the zygote has been essentially starved to death due to the abnormal growth of the placenta (and in a full molar pregnancy, a zygote never forms).

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  247. Nope. It still starts out as a zygote. Sperm and egg fuse. The DNA is human. It is just as much a product of conception as anything else, only the disability is quite severe.

    You can't talk your way out of this. If a zygote is a human being, and moles start out as zygotes, then moles = human beings. A full mole has 46 chromosomes, and a partial has 69 or 92.

    Would you say that a tay Sachs baby isn't a person because its DNA has doomed it to death shortly after birth? How about the 80% of zygotes that never make it? Are they not people according to you? All because of a genetic defect. Your view is very ableist. Just because the life of some zygotes is shorter than others doesn't make their lives less valuable, does it?

    You are dismissing some human life as inherently worthless based on genetic defects. Is a DS also worthless to you, because the # of chromosomes is wrong? How about anencephalic babies? They also worthless to you?

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  248. Nobody said anything ABOUT 40 weeks. This is a straw man. He said AT BIRTH, and he is correct. The fetal organs, including the heart, do not work as the newborn human's organs work. It's true that at birth, profound changes must occur in order to transition from fetus to human being. You are really asking some foolish questions in order to somehow "get around" the changes that occur at first breath. YOU KNOW DARN WELL that no "birth canal" is required. A C-section birth is still a birth. The mode of birth matters not one iota. What matters in what happens at the time of birth. The first breath.

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  249. The zygote may or may not develop the structures that will permit rational thought. There is no such thing as "inherent rationality, cause DNA." Sometimes that phenotype is never expressed due to faulty development.

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  250. The uterus has more than one function. It doesn't exist solely to gestate. That's like saying your tongue exists to move food around in your mouth, and your teeth exist to chew your food. Most people also use these structures for speech.

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  251. But the uterus wasn't made solely for "the unborn child" and no "unborn child" can assert a claim to it. The uterus is exclusive property of the woman in which it's located, and she can do anything she wants with it.

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  252. Yeah… no. There is no "human right" to occupy my body. Find me the person who makes such a claim. If that person attempts, without my consent, to help themselves to what belongs to me, I have the right to use violence to resist, up to and including killing that person.

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  253. I'm an ex-Catholic but I think Catholic for Choice do great work. Luckily I was raised by parents that are pro-choice and pro-woman.

    From CFC: At CFC, we strive to be an expression of Catholicism as it is lived by ordinary people. We are part of the great majority of the faithful in the Catholic church who disagrees with the dictates of the Vatican on matters related to sex, marriage, family life and motherhood. We are part of the great majority who believes that Catholic teachings on conscience mean that every individual must follow his or her own conscience ― and respect others' right to do the same. At Catholics for Choice, we believe that this is the world where the meaning of choice can truly be realized. View our organizational brochure.

    We believe that change happens through dialogue and an exchange of information, through communicating ideas and values.

    We believe that change happens when we take courageous and strategic risks.

    We know that change happens when we challenge well-established and unquestioned authority and enable people to hear new ideas and embrace new ways of thinking.

    What We Do

    Called upon time and time again for information, advice and skills building, Catholics for Choice helps people and organizations confidently challenge the power of the Catholic hierarchy which uses every means at its disposal to punish and publicly shame Catholics who don't unquestioningly follow its edicts. The hierarchy also seeks to impose its narrow view of morality ― and dangerous positions on public health issues ― on Catholics and non-Catholics around the world.

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  254. No, I understood what Russell said. He is talking about the continuous spectrum of life starting with sperm and ova. He didn't say that women without ovaries and men without testicles are not human beings.

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  255. It's pro-woman to believe it's okay to kill unborn females simply due to their sex? Do tell.

    Catholics for Choice = Vegans for Meat.

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  256. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen are fraternal twins. They did not share the same sperm or ovum. So fertilization was the beginning for both of them.

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  257. We don't say that a partially built skyscraper is a building because buildings are constructed rather than developing as living things do. It would make no sense to say that a building is present when only the foundation has been laid, but it does make sense to say that a living organism is present at the earliest stages of development. You say that an unborn human organism is "under construction" and will not be "complete" until birth. So a fetus is still "under construction" a day before it is born. What part or parts have to be added to it to make it "complete"?

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  258. We don't say that a partially built skyscraper is a building because
    buildings are constructed rather than developing as living things do

    A prenate is a human that is under construction. It constructs itself, but the woman's body also assists in this. For example, if the woman does not get enough folic acid, it is likely that the fetus will develop spina bifida. It is literally constructed using materials taken from the woman's body. Sometimes this construction doesn't work out, which is why some babies are born without brains, or other body parts. You can't pretend that a zygote already has a functional brain until it can develop that brain.

    If the skyscraper was able to build itself the way a prenate does, that would still not change the fact that it is a skyscraper under construction.

    So a fetus is still "under construction" a day before it is born. What
    part or parts have to be added to it to make it "complete"?

    nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002395.htm

    embryology.ch/anglais/pcardio/umstellung02.html

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  259. It is in no way like that. If you suffocate someone you kill an actual person. An abortion only stops the development of a potential person.

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  260. If you kill an unborn child, you kill an actual human being as well. An abortion stops the development of an actual person by killing them.

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  261. Children who are born need proper nutrition and a proper environment to develop normally, too. Why do you consider a human to be "complete" at birth? There are still many developmental milestones to pass before adulthood. If you apply the biological species concept to individuals, then a human is not a "complete" member of the species until puberty when mature ova or sperm are produced, and you have no way of knowing that an individual is capable of procreation until he/she reproduces.
    The links you give describe the functional changes that occur in the body at birth. They are not analogous to the construction of a building or a car because there are no new parts that are added to the body during birth to make it complete. The body is not like a car which is incomplete while it is being assembled but complete once it rolls off the assembly line. There will be many more functional changes in the body as it matures.

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  262. What don't you understand about "actual"? An unborn child is a living, growing, developing, actual human being. It is an organism of the species homo sapiens. This is biological fact. For example:

    "The development of a human begins with fertilization, a process by which the spermatozoon from the male and the oocyte from the female unite to give rise to a new organism, the zygote."
    [Sadler, T.W. Langman's Medical Embryology. 7th edition. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins 1995, p. 3]

    Are you seriously trying to argue, in the face of biological evidence to the contrary, that an unborn child is a potential organism, and not an actual organism?

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  263. Amniocentesis reveals genetic makeup (genotype) and ultrasound reveals physical expression (phenotype) to some degree, depending on how developed the embryo or fetus is. The proto-cardiac tube present at the early stages, and visible on ultrasound is no guarantee that a properly constructed human heart will result in any given gestation, and there is no guarantee that the properly developed fetal heart will undergo the necessary changes at birth to enable life as a human. The condition of the fully developed fetal heart as it stands during gestation is unfit for life outside the uterus. There are holes in it. Normally, at first breath, the holes close up, allowing the lungs to oxygenate blood, rather than shunting blood away from the lungs, as occurs in fetal life. Ultrasound can only reveal what has already been expressed by development. It cannot, for example, detect anencephaly prior to the time the corresponding brain structures can be expected to have developed. Ultrasound and amniocentesis are only tools. There are limits.

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  264. That's the point. You can identify the humanity of the woman scientifically. Not so with a single cell that could become a baby if it is fit to develop into one. Or it could become a molar pregnancy, and ultimately a malignancy.

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  265. You're using an ad-hominem fallacy (insulting the author) in order to avoid answering the question. And whether or not it's 'out of context' is irrelevent to your refusal to answer, particular since you have gone on at length about the precious 'genetically distinct human DNA before'.

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  266. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

    Please explain how my comment that his *premise* is shoddy and incorrect is in any way an attack on him as a person.

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  267. Ah. Sorry, I'd missed that. My larger point still stands: identical twins do exist, and fertilization was not the beginning of their existence as unique individuals.

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  268. Can you cite some scientific evidence to prove your assertion? Biologically speaking, an organism does not require independence from a "host" (or, in the context of pregnancy, a mother) to be classified as an organism.

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  269. You want scientific evidence that a new organism of the species homo sapiens exists after conception? Sure. See here: princeton.edu/~prolife/articles/embryoquotes2.html and here: ehd.org/developmental-stages/stage0.php just for starters.
    The "ZEF" is an organism of the species homo sapiens, aka a human being. An actual human being.

    Once again, can you site some scientific evidence to support YOUR assertion that one of the criteria for the biological classification of an organism is "non-dependence on a host"? I would really like to see it.

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  270. Actually, at the end of the embryonic period over 90% of the 4500 designated structures of the adult body are present and can be distinguished. The changes that occur during the fetal period are largely growth and differentiation of those organs. There are no organs that are present in a newborn baby and absent in a late term fetus.

    embryology.ch/anglais/jfetalperiod/entwicklung01.html

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  271. Except they are actually functional in an infant, which is why a pre-viability unborn human will die upon separation from the woman's body.

    Post-viability, there is no need for an abortion unless medically necessary, and labour can be induced, and a live neonate can be produced – which is the method of choice when possible.

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  272. If an egg or a sperm were not a human being, then by your premise, it would be impossible for people to have babies.

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  273. Hint- cherry picking the one definition out of several that happens to support your position is generally an equivocation fallacy. For instance:

    Female= woman
    Woman= human being
    Human being = man
    Man = a person of the male gender

    Therefore – Female = male.

    Sorry, not true. Neither is your little game along the same lines.

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  274. So by that standard, doctors who harvest organs from brain dead motorcycle accident victims are committing murder, according to you? And why Homo Sapiens and not any other species? Does magic powder fall from the sky on us for no discernable reason and give us magical rights?

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  275. Permit me to introduce to you a concept with which you may, perhaps, be unfamiliar. It's known as a 'breech' birth.

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  276. If they are getting their air supply from my lungs, without my consent, then I will go for it. If you are claiming that the embryo isn't getting it's air, blood, and other necessities from the mother, than you should have no problem with having it removed and getting those things on it's own the way you imply it is.

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  277. It is of the human species but it is only a potential human. I want proof that it is insta kid the way you guys claim.

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  278. Sperm/ova are human cells, but they are not human *organisms.* A zygote is a human organism. This is basic biology and scientific fact.

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  279. Actually, I was born breech. 🙂 however, permit me to introduce you to the concept known as a "hypothetical situation," which is not meant to cover all variations of a given event.

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  280. I agree. Yet some abortion advocates make the claim that zygotes/embryos are not human because they don't look human. I'm glad we both agree on the illogic of that particular argument.

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  281. Hi Joshua, sorry it took so long to get back to you.

    Honestly, sometimes I'm confused as to why I identify with the pro-life movement as well. 🙂 You can read my perspective on the recent post on LGBT pro-lifers that SPL published, though it isn't exhaustive. And my opinion on abortion tends to sway back and forth in many different areas. I am hoping these posts will help me just as much as SPL's readership in clarifying my position in an honest way. I am sure that wherever I "end up" will put me somewhere in the middle, not on one side or the other.

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  282. I like you Nate. You are intellectually honest.

    BTW, I also think that people – on both sides – will use certain fallacies because people tend to respond better to emotion than to logic. Appeal to emotion fallacies seem to work the best. Now, they won't convince anyone who is really invested in the subject, or anyone who has studied science or philosophy, but such fallacies tend to work on the average person, to great effect.

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  283. You have not provided me any proof that spem and egg make insta kid. Otherwise why is pregnancy nine months of misery if it is insta kid?

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  284. Yes, I did provide you proof in the form of two separate links, it was a few posts back.
    I'm afraid I don't understand what you're trying to say in your question. Are you asking why unborn children develop within the womb?

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  285. I agree! But that choice needs to be made prior to pregnancy. Once an innocent child comes into existence, s/he has a right to life.

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  286. And yet despite being born breech, so being aware of the possibility, you deliberately handwaved away that possibility in your little whimpers about how if the shoulders were out, then the head was necessarily also out.

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  287. Sorry, you want to have your definitions of what is a 'human organism' change from moment to moment, so you can have your cake and eat it too. Some points here:

    1. If people with Down's syndrome are consider 'human' despite having a different number of chromosomes, then you can't handwave away the 'human' status of a sperm and egg based on their number of chromosomes. You can't have it both ways.

    2. If having certain organs and a brain is necessary to be a 'human organism', then an embryo doesn't qualify. If it's NOT necessary, then a molar pregnancy DOES qualify. You can't have THAT both ways, either.

    3. If a 'child' has a right to the mother's organs without her consent for it's 'very life', then it has a right to either the mother's or the father's kidney for their 'very life'. You can't have it both ways and claim a right exists only when it's convenient to your anti-sex agenda for it to exist.

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  288. Sorry, no. You specifically stated, and I cut and paste here:

    **If a child is halfway outside the birth canal, then his/her shoulders have already been delivered.**

    Not true in a breech birth. Since you claim you are familiar with that concept, then I can only assume you were lying and handwaving away the possibility on purpose.

    Better luck next time with your handwaving.

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  289. 1.**Sperm and are human cells, not human organisms.**

    And how does the number of chromosomes magically change a 'non-organism'
    but living cell, into an 'organism'. Other than your wanting it to magically be so?

    2. ** Having a brain and specific organs are not criteria for what constitutes an organism**

    Then you exclude molar pregnancies on what basis? They have your magic number of 46 chromosomes, and you've specifically stated that the brain and organs aren't necessary for what constitutes a 'human organism'.

    3. **Organ donation is an extraordinary means of survival, not basic.**

    Sorry, epic fail due to naturalistic fallacy. Either a right exists or it doesn't exist. If a child has a 'right' to the parent's organs without their consent, then it doesn't matter if the means of carrying out that right are 'extraordinary' or not. And, btw, if you want to stick to your 'extraordinary' whining, then this would arguably exclude all the frozen ZEFS in IVF facilities from having any 'human rights' on the grounds that they were created in an 'extraordinary' manner. Or do you get to play the 'heads I win-tails you lose' game of determining when being 'extraordinary' does or doesn't apply?

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  290. 1. A human being is an organism of the species Homo sapiens. Please note that the word "chromosomes" does not appear in that definition.
    2. I exclude molar pregnancies because a molar pregnancy is not an organism. At the beginning of such pregnancies, a new human organism may exist (partial molar pregnancy as opposed to full), but by the time the abnormal cells take over, he or she is already dead.
    3. No. The naturalistic fallacy points out that the argument that "if it occurs in nature, then it is moral" is fallacious, which of course it is and which I am not making, above. For the above does not claim that something is moral because it is found in nature, but rather that it is moral to act in accord with something's nature. That is not the same as "found in nature."
    The purpose of the uterus is to gestate human offspring. When a woman is pregnant, she is using that organ in accord with its nature, and for its intended purpose, biologically speaking. But organs are not meant to be interchangeable parts between different human beings, which is why the recipients of organ donation need to take antirejection medications for the rest of their lives.

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  291. I know that you're desperately handwaving in order to avoid having to admit that your original statement was wrong. Let's try a yes or no answer, and some honesty on your part, instead of handwaving.

    You wrote: **If a child is halfway outside the birth canal, then his/her shoulders have already been delivered.**

    Is this true in a breech birth?

    Yes or no?

    If yes, explain how.

    If no, then admit your original statement was wrong.

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  292. Obviously you didn't read the definition. Since you are apparently unaware of how to click links, let me make it easier for you. An example is "one thing of many." One method of abortion is to stab the baby's neck with scissors when it's halfway out of the birth canal. (and my original point in bringing up that example was to ask if that method of abortion is right or wrong, since technically the baby has not yet fully emerged from the birth canal, which, by the original commenters assertion, means that the baby is not yet a person.)
    In the event of a breech birth, another method of abortion would likely be to dismember the child piece by piece, and pull each body part out of its mother's womb.
    In my original comment I was using an "example" of abortion. That means I was describing one method of abortion, out of many different types.
    Do you understand now? I'm really not sure how I can make this any simpler.

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  293. And you are still handwaving in order to avoid admitting that your original statement that if the 'baby' is 'halfway out' that means the shoulders have been delivered is incorrect.

    Also, exactly why should the method of abortion matter to you? Is it your contention that a barely viable infant should be delivered intact, thereby causing more injury to the mother than would occur otherwise, and kept alive by machines? If so, who is to pay for these machines, and exactly why is the fetus entitled to such 'extraordinary measures' to keep it alive, when you claimed earlier that a child was NOT entitled to 'extraordinary measures'.

    Also, I note that you are evading my question as to why frozen ZEFS are entitled to 'extraordinary measures' for their 'very lives', when a child who needs a kidney is NOT entitled to 'extraordinary measures', according to you.

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  294. I agree a woman should use birth control if she doesn't want to be pregnant. However I disagree when it comes to punishing her if it fails.

    I also agree once there is a child (after it is born) it had a right to life. Again though where I disagree is that it is an innocent child the second the sperm and egg touch.

    Question for you… How do you feel about abortion in the case of rape? The woman made no choice about that so do you think she should have to suffer the misery of pregnancy?

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  295. Whatever you anti-choicers think a sperm and egg make. You people act like it is a 100% viable human being that deserves some type of special right that no actual living person on earth has. (the forced right to use someones body against their will)

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  296. I'm not sure how telling a woman "I'm very sorry, but an unborn child has the right to life so you can't take away another's rights" is "punishment."
    Where are you getting your definition that "child" only constituents someone who is born? The dictionary doesn't say that. You may find this helpful: liveactionnews.org/decode-pro-abortion-talking-points-with-the-choicespeak-to-english-dictionary-part-1/
    I've talked ad nauseum on my comments in this thread about abortion after rape, so you can see them for a full explanation of my beliefs. Nutshell is that no, it's not just to execute the child for the crimes of his/her biological father. The child is an innocent victim of the rape too, along with his/her mother.

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  297. Um, everyone has the right to life. It's not an "extra-special" right, it's a basic right and one from which all other rights derive. You don't have the right of bodily autonomy, for example, if you're dead.

    I absolutely agree that men and women have the right to bodily autonomy. But even those rights are limited — otherwise I would have the right to ingest heroin or engage in prostitution if I so desired. In the case of an unwanted pregnancy, there are two conflicting rights — the right to life and the right to bodily autonomy. Since pregnancy is a temporary condition, but death is a permanent condition, the right to life logically trumps the right to bodily autonomy.

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  298. Forcing a woman to suffer the misery of pregnancy IS a punishment. I would rather die then suffer the misery of pregnancy…

    So you do basically just hate women. You want to punish even a women who was raped. THAT is sad.

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  299. Except in the context of human reproduction. A parent has the obligation to provide basic needs for their child, even if they have to use their body to do it.

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  300. First of all, I note that you are still attempting to play the equivocation game, in which you first get someone to agree that the 'zygote' is human in a *biological* sense, then try to claim that that also proves it is 'human' in a moral sense, and not only entitled to 'human rights' but to special rights, such as the right to someone else's body, which nobody else is entitled to.

    But leaving your latest attempt at the equivocation game aside for the moment, I have NEVER seen anyone argue that the *reason*, or that the ONLY reason that the zygote/embryo does not qualify for human rights (I'm not going to fall into your equivocation game so why don't you give it up) is merely because it doesn't 'look human'.

    The fact is, it doesn't 'look human', but that fact is incidental, and merely a result of the other, actual conditions, that cause it not to be entitled to human rights. Chiefly, among which, it does not have a functional brain, and is violating someone else's bodily autonomy, which there is no 'right' to.

    If you can show me something that LOOKS exactly like an embryo or zygote, but which has a functioning brain, and is able to survive without occupying someone else's body (or other property without their consent) I would never deny that such a thing would be fully entitled to human rights.

    And, btw, if it's brain were functioning on the level of a human being, it would be entitled to human rights even if it were an alien creature that 'looked' like a human embryo and had no human DNA whatsoever, because DNA qua DNA without the phenotypical expression of the brain coded for by that DNA is completely irrelevent to rights.

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  301. Usually "it doesn't look like a human" is one of the first objections I see when discussing this topic. Maybe that's not your experience, but it is for me.
    There's no false equivocation going on. I believe all human beings are persons. I don't think there is a difference between a human being and a person, I think they are one and the same. You and others apparently believe that not all human beings are persons. Or you believe that neither zygotes nor embryos are human beings, that they are some sort of "potential human," despite the fact that they very clearly meet the criteria for what constitutes an organism.
    Personally I think it's a dangerous proposition to assign personhood to some humans but not others. That has happened before in our history, and it has never been for benevolent purposes.

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  302. I don't think you can make that claim for every single pregnant woman who has experienced an unwanted pregnancy. Regardless, no amount of misery justifies killing an innocent human being. I can't kill my born children if they are causing me misery.

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  303. The dictionary disagrees with you. "Parent" is defined as "a father or mother." I really hope you're not going to try and argue that the child conceived within the womb of a woman is not her biological child.

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  304. **I believe all human beings are persons.**

    You're belief is irrelevent to the facts. You cannot be a person without a functioning brain, regardless of your species.

    **Or you believe that neither zygotes nor embryos are human beings, that they are some sort of "potential human," despite the fact that they very clearly meet the criteria for what constitutes an organism.**

    Being an organism is not some sort of magic state, if the organism in question does not have a functioning brain.

    **Personally I think it's a dangerous proposition to assign personhood to some humans but not others.**

    The fact that it was erroneous to claim that certain racial groups, which DO have a brain, were not 'persons', does not prove that embryoes without a brain, are 'persons', any more than it proves that snails are 'persons'.

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  305. The biological fact that an unborn child is an organism of the species Homo sapiens. Are or not the child is also a person is a philosophical question, not a scientific one.
    Look up the biological definition of an organism. "Having a brain" is not one of the criteria.
    A snail is not a person because a snail is not an organism of the species Homo sapiens.
    You know, debates are fun, but my worldview is so wildly different from yours that this is just a waste of time. I'm going to respectfully bow out of this discussion.

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  306. No, you don't get to 'bow out' in order to avoid answering questions.

    You claim that a snail isn't a person, because it's not a member of the species homo-sapiens. Why is that? You are trying to define 'person' and 'homo-sapiens' in a circular, or magical way.

    Why SHOULD 'homo sapiens' be 'persons' but not snails? They are both organisms, aren't they? What's the difference between them? Did God just 'happen' to sprinkle magic powder on our species, at random, for no reason at all?

    What is the reason? WHY are 'homo sapiens' considered 'persons'? Why not snails? What difference exists between our two species?

    Your world view is not different, you just like to be deliberately obtuse and avoid answering questions.

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  307. I notice you are carefully avoiding mention of the presence or absence of a functioning brain. Usual forced gestationer games, in other words.

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  308. No, they don't. You are either being deliberately obtuse (as usual) or flat out don't know what constitutes being a Libertarian.

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  309. Really? Ultrasounds showing moving entities — maybe it's aliens! Or tests performed to screen for genetic anomalies… I mean come on, it's like pre-natal care just *isn't a thing*?

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  310. Ultrasounds often show fetuses that are incapable of birth or are using the mother as life support. No test can prove that a fetus is alive one billionth of a second after the test ends.

    The scientific fact is that until the DNA of the genotype expresses the correct phenotype, there is no human life. That is a fact, deal with it.

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  311. Until the DNA of the genotype expresses the correct phenotype there is no proof that there is a human life that will live to birth.

    Any test you make is of no use one billionth of a second after the test is complete. And prior to birth the human fetal heart must transform into a human heart, the fetal respiratory system and digestive systems must transform into human systems and the fetal brain must transform into the human brain. If any of those changes from human fetus to human baby do not occur, there may not be a live human birth.

    Most non human life consists of "products of conception", not a different, identifiable species.

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  312. **I believe all human beings are persons. I don't think there is a difference between a human being and a person**

    Then why not simply EXPLAIN exactly what reason you have for regarding homo sapiens – but not any other species (such as snails), as 'persons'. Is there a reason, or isn't there? If there is a reason, what is it? Why not just TELL me what it is, instead of handwaving and refusing to answer.

    **Maybe that's not your experience, but it is for me.**

    Ok, I'll bite. Give me quotations and links to these huge numbers of people (whom you claim) whose first and ONLY reason for not regarding the embryo as a person is it's looks, and nothing else. Because I'd regard the position that something is NOT a person ONLY because of it's looks – and no other reason, as stupid as the position that it IS human only because of it's DNA – and no other reason.

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  313. So what I'm getting from this is that you don't know the definition of the word "human," "alive," or "species." /slow clap

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  314. It is a living human if it has the human genotype and phenotype and is alive. Pro lifers believe non humans are human life.

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  315. Your logic does not follow. "No test can prove that a fetus is alive one billionth of a second after the test ends."
    It's like saying to the person standing right in front of me "well since light and sound take time to travel from you to me, I have no way of knowing definitively whether you are still alive or even still standing there for that matter. So, I am just going to shoot this gun towards the place were your head "was", but since I can't say for sure if it will kill you, it's ok." Huh? Are you out of your mind? Also, the statement
    "Most non human life consists of "products of conception", not a different, identifiable species." has absolutely no bearing on whether or not it is ok to have an abortion. It is a completely arbitrary statement, and has nothing to do with what is moral or not moral. This is what happens when a biologist tries to practice philosophy. You end up with absurdities.

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  316. "A zygote may not be human and 70 percent will not be alive at the end of the first trimester. That is a massive difference."

    First of all I think it is safe to say that no one should be basing an abortion on a maybe or on the projection of a lifespan. Just as one, about to demolish a building with explosives, wouldn't blow it up if there was even the slightest chance that there was someone in it.

    "I don't suggest that the fetus be killed, I suggest the zygote is not human and may not live to birth. The odds of it not living to birth is 70 percent and the odds for it not being human is 42 percent."

    I think it is best to isolate these two assertions from one another. Regarding the 70% not living to birth. Does a "born" human being medically diagnosed with a 70% chance of dying in the next 9 months lose their right to live? Is it ok to treat them in the same manner as a zygote? And the 42% chance of it not being human: Would it be ok to perform an activity that had a 58% chance of killing someone?

    "Sorry, I am just a person, not a biologist. But the facts are still the facts."

    Don't worry even biologists are persons, I wouldn't advocate for their extermination lol. On a more serious note, the reason I mention philosophy is because it is a field that is actually equipped explore morality, unlike biology which tells us what something is or is not and not whether or not it has value. Biology has no bearing on whether or not an action is or isn't morally licit. Regardless of how scientists decide to classify certain stages of life, the fact of the matter is this: the nature of the being is the same all the way from conception through adulthood. This means that a zygote has the same human nature as an adult. Only it's form changes, but the form of a being is in a process of change all the time anyways. It is our human nature that gives us value and rights, not the state of our form in any given time or place.

    "And keep in mind, in order to force the birth of a fetus, you must let a baby die.and I save life and pro lifers murder life. It is absurd to murder babies to save fetuses." Am I missing something that was mentioned earlier in the thread, because I don't know of any pro-lifers that actively kill babies.

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