We all understand "being human" to mean something more than being a eukaryote with a certain assortment of genes: there are "fully human" cells that I will unconcernedly dump into the toilet and flush away every morning, and there are fully developed individuals in my life who I will revere and honor, and everything in between. The dehumanizing aspect of the so-called pro-life position is the flattening of the complexity of humanity and personhood, and its reduction to nothing more than possession of a specific set of chromosomes. To regard a freshly fertilized zygote as the full legal, ethical, and social equivalent of a young woman diminishes the woman; it does not elevate the zygote, which is still just a single cell. It is that fundamentalist Christian view, shallow and ignorant as it is, that is ultimately the corrosive agent in our culture, since it demands unthinking obedience to a rigid dogma rather than an honest evaluation of reality, and it harms the conscious agents who actually create and maintain our culture.
My position is one that demands we respect an organism for what it is, not what it isn't. It recognizes that an epithelial cell shed from the lining of my colon is less valuable than a gamete is less valuable than a zygote is less valuable than a fetus is less valuable than a newborn. It does not imply that one must still adhere to the black & and white thinking of the IDiots and draw a line, and say that on one side of the line, everything is garbage that can be destroyed without concern, and on the other side, everything is sacred and must be preserved at all costs.
A seed is not a tree. That doesn't imply that I'm on a crusade to destroy seeds. - PZ Myers
Warnings - Take a moment to read this column by David Ignatius in the Post. Ignatius’s column in early 2017, first revealing...
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