Defining life and death (an abortion thread)


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Dec 12, 2013
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Seems to me the simplest way to define whether you can abort (kill) your own child should be the same way we define death. That is when ever brain activity stops or is so faint it can't be detected. Braind eath means you stop trying to save the person and record the minute of death. So if that's how we define death, why isn't the beginning of brain activity how we define whether it's ok to kill your own baby?

Fetal development MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia

By week development of babies. While not an abortion related issues site, it's revealing to see when things happen like

"Weeks 19 - 21

* Your baby can hear."

If you can hear, your brain's working. As with our other senses, there's no sensory reception without the brain. Going back from here then,

"Baby's face is well-formed" at Weeks 11 - 14

If you had to see your baby's face, would you still be able to kill it?
Fetal development MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia

More precisely addressing the 'brain activity marks the beginning of life' here,
Medical Controversy 8211 When Does Life Begin Brain Blogger

"Week 8

The eighth week of pregnancy is a special one, because at this point the precursors to all organs have been formed. Philosophers therefore argue that with the beginnings of a brain, the fetus now has the ability to think and react, and that marks the onset of life. Opponents argue that the rudimentary nervous system is not functional at 8 weeks, and the fetus cannot process information or move in response to a stimulus, therefore not making the fetus alive.


Those same groups which argue against the week 8 model suggest that life begins with the “quickening,” which is when the fetus begins to exhibit voluntary movement inside the womb, usually around 14-16 weeks. At this point the fetus is able to react to external stimuli, which is held as the standard for life.

Week 20

Although the fetus can move at week 14, the movements are little more than jerky reflexes. They are not driven by higher cortical functioning. Therefore, another school of thought is that life begins at week 20, when the thalamus is completely formed. The thalamus is the relay center of the brain, and helps to connect the cerebral cortex to the spinal cord and peripheral nerves."

Many very much living, alive, human beings are born with profound impairments where they may not have the same functionality as a fetus at different points of development. So I"d raise the issue whether lacking some kind of psyiological cpaability means you're not "alive" yet if those no one would dispute is alive would be simply lacking such abilities.

I'm against abortion in all but instances of rape and health/life of the mother. Should never force victims to go through pregnancy and all that. Similarly, forcing a woman who'll die or suffer serious problems carrying to term is similarly unjust.

But making the killing of human beings into an issue of privacy, or women's rights, or anything else but killing your own baby is what's being done. That's wrong and totally immoral imo.

If we say killing a baby is ok because it's not a baby yet, then a lot of things should be legal we currently have as illegal. Pirating of intellectual property comes to mind. When you download unauthorized media the law says that's stealing. But in reality all you're doing is making a copy of a copy. The rightful owner still owns the property, still has it in their posession, and can still do with it as they please. Nothing was removed from the rightful owner. All that happened was a copy was made. Is a poster print of the Mona Lisa stealing the Mona Lisa? Why not but at some point someone bought the right to make copies of it. But the original owner/artist is dead so couldn't have consented to this transaction, and knowing some artists, doubt he woulda. :) So isn't the very concept of IP Theft really a nonsensical issue like the rationality being used to justify killing your own children?

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