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Debate Info

77
79
TRUE: It is what it is FALSE: Screw the facts!
Debate Score:156
Arguments:147
Total Votes:185
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Argument Ratio

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 TRUE: It is what it is (43)
 
 FALSE: Screw the facts! (53)

Debate Creator

Chuz-Life(497) pic



A human being in the fetal stage of their life is a "human" being.

A question inspired by the denials of so many pro-aborts in these debates....

"A human being in the fetal stage of their life is a "HUMAN being."

TRUE or FALSE

Wind them up and watch them go!

TRUE: It is what it is

Side Score: 77
VS.

FALSE: Screw the facts!

Side Score: 79
6 points

Absolutely it may not look like a human being just yet but that's what it is and what it will eventually look like.

Side: TRUE: It is what it is
tolios(8) Banned
4 points
Side: TRUE: It is what it is
3 points

That's right. We may not agree on much else but it is what it is.

A human being. (organism)

Side: TRUE: It is what it is
4 points

I am not proabortion but prochoice, and I agree. .

Side: TRUE: It is what it is
3 points

That is Priceless!

=)

Side: TRUE: It is what it is
Sitara(11100) Clarified
3 points

Science is science. I do not deny that. :)

Side: TRUE: It is what it is
2 points

I was just abut to say this should be a no brainer and look who showed up.

Side: TRUE: It is what it is
Centifolia(1321) Clarified
4 points

As a friend, I cant help it but suggest you to stop banning people. Debates are meant for equal rights to speak. No matter how stupid their reasons are.

(Except for Trolls and Spammers like Prodigee.)

Side: TRUE: It is what it is
2 points

Okay... as an experiment, I promise. My next debate will have no bans at alland it will be no less controversial than this one.

Side: TRUE: It is what it is
iamdavidh(4869) Disputed Banned
1 point

If you believe this is a logical argument against abortion, then you have to by definition agree that a human being in the sperm state is a human being, or for females, a human being in the egg state is still a human being,

And then you must logically stop petitioning humans to follow your odd dogma, and spend that time demanding god do so, since in these states god, via nature, aborts far more humans than have ever even been in the fetal state, in all of human history.

Or if you are a reasonable being you could realize that the determining factor is self-awareness and not what that thing will someday perhaps become,

And accept that if one decides to have an abortion prior to the third trimester, nothing in fact is lost at all, not a human, nothing. Nothing more than all of the zillions of sperm and eggs who were never turned into people.

Side: FALSE: Screw the facts!
Firnen(1) Banned
2 points

shame the best pro-choice debater is going to get banned.

Side: FALSE: Screw the facts!
Chuz-Life(497) Disputed
2 points

While this debate was inspired by the incessant whining and denials of pro-aborts, the question itself has nothing to do with abortion.

It's a question of biology.

Side: TRUE: It is what it is
Chuz-Life(497) Disputed
1 point

This question does not necessarily have anything to do with abortion.

Side: TRUE: It is what it is
tolios(8) Banned
1 point
Side: FALSE: Screw the facts!
2 points

You said it, it is what it is damn it! I'm not going to vote for anything that says SCREW THE FACTS lol!

Side: TRUE: It is what it is
1 point

This poll makes its point with the questions. The results are going to be skewed by the pro-aborts regardless... But intellectually honest people will know the real score.

Side: TRUE: It is what it is
vehla(2) Disputed Banned
0 points

The results are going to be skewed by the pro-aborts regardless.

Yep that's because they post arguments you can't refute and you ban them for it.

But intellectually honest people will know the real score.

Yep so you won't know.

Side: FALSE: Screw the facts!
Chuz-Life(497) Disputed
2 points

yeah... derp.

Side: TRUE: It is what it is
Firnen(1) Banned
3 points

Historically, a fetus has never (or very rarely) been considered a human being, at least not before "quickening", an old-fashioned term indicating noticeable movement of the fetus. The Catholic Church even allowed abortion until quickening, up until 1869. Further, the wide variety of laws throughout the world were written specifically to protect born human beings and their property. There is virtually no legal precedent for applying such laws to fetuses. Even when abortion was illegal, it had a lesser punishment than for murder, and was often just a misdemeanor. The anti-choice view of fetuses as human beings is therefore a novel and peculiar one, with little historical or legal precedent to back it up.

Fetuses are uniquely different from born human beings in major ways, which casts doubt on the claim that they can be classified as human beings. The most fundamental difference is that a fetus is totally dependent on a woman's body to survive. Anti-choicers might argue that born human beings can be entirely dependent on other people too, but the crucial difference is that they are not dependent on one, specific person to the exclusion of all others. Anybody can take care of a newborn infant (or disabled person), but only that pregnant woman can nurture her fetus. She can’t hire someone else to do it.

Another key difference is that a fetus doesn't just depend on a woman's body for survival, it actually resides inside her body. Human beings must, by definition, be separate individuals. They do not gain the status of human being by virtue of living inside the body of another human being—the very thought is inherently ridiculous, even offensive.

Side: FALSE: Screw the facts!
Chuz-Life(497) Disputed
2 points

If a "human being" in the fetal stage of their life is not a human being.... please tell me what kind of being they are.

Side: TRUE: It is what it is
Firnen(1) Banned
1 point

wow not banned yet I am amazed!

Side: FALSE: Screw the facts!
iamdavidh(4869) Disputed Banned
0 points

Are your fingernails then human too?

After all, they are "human fingernails."

The semantics of a language are not a valid subject to base an entire argument on...

though I understand that it is your only argument and your self-identification dictates you must defend the ridiculous idea, no matter how ridiculous your argument may be.

Side: FALSE: Screw the facts!
Firnen(1) Banned
2 points

The normal meaning of human being implies a physical body of a certain size and shape with common attributes (excepting disabilities). Early embryonic forms do not share basic commonalities that define us as human beings. For example, zygotes and blastocysts are barely visible to the naked eye and have no bodies, brains, skeleton, or internal organs. Are they materially substantial enough to count as human beings? Fetuses cannot breath or make sounds, and they cannot see or be seen (except by shadowy ultrasound). They absorb nourishment and expel waste via an umbilical cord and placenta, not via a mouth and anus as do all other human beings. Further, fetuses are not just miniature babies. At various stages, fetuses have eyes on stalks, notochords (instead of spines), fish-like gills, tails, downy fur, distorted torsos, spindly legs, giant heads, and alien-looking faces. In fact, an early human fetus is practically indistinguishable in appearance from a dog or pig fetus. Finally, the fetal brain is not yet capable of conscious thought and memory (which aren't fully actualized until two or three years after birth). But our complex brains are what set us apart from animals and define us as human beings. The brain is the seat of personhood.

Considering that the early fetus does not even look recognizably human, cannot engage in normal human perception or thought, and does not have the most basic human body functions, can we call it a human being?

Of course, there are striking physical similarities between a fetus and a newborn, such as well-developed hands and feet at a relatively early stage, and the overall structural form. As birth approaches, a fetus looks more and more like a newborn, until there is no significant difference by about 30 weeks gestation. But anti-choicers focus exclusively on these similarities, while ignoring the differences. For example, a hugely popular anti-choice photograph shows the perfectly formed, tiny feet of a 10-week old fetus held gently between someone's thumb and forefinger. There is no sign of the rest of the early fetus, which barely looks human at all. Anti-choicers try not to use pictures of embryos and early fetuses precisely because they look far less human than later ones (when they do, they usually enlarge them to make the embryo or fetus look the same size as a baby). Even the more commonly-used photos of later-term fetuses tend to deliberately shield from view anything that detracts from human-like qualities, such as the placenta or the oddly-shaped torso. (Also, women and their uteruses are completely erased from all such pictures.)

Side: FALSE: Screw the facts!
Chuz-Life(497) Disputed
0 points

Despite not having the attributes of an adult human being- ALL of the attributes that a human in the first days of thei life are consistant with any other human* being of that age.

Organisms are not defined by the attributes that they lack.

Organisms are defined by the attributes they have.

Side: TRUE: It is what it is
iamdavidh(4869) Disputed Banned
1 point

In which case stop eating pork.

Pigs have more in common with adult humans than "human" fetuses.

Side: FALSE: Screw the facts!
Del1176(4972) Banned
1 point

THIS IS ALL SO WRONG! OH MY GOSH!

Side: FALSE: Screw the facts!
tolios(8) Banned
1 point
Side: FALSE: Screw the facts!
Chuz-Life(497) Disputed
0 points

Herp derp.

Side: TRUE: It is what it is
Firnen(1) Banned
1 point

Personhood: Is a Fetus a Human Being?

by Joyce Arthur

Copyright © August 2001

The main argument of the anti-choice movement boils down to this: a human zygote, blastocyst, embryo, or fetus is a human being with a right to life, and abortion is therefore murder and should be illegal. This assumption is deeply flawed.

At the outset, let me say that from a pro-choice point of view, the status of the fetus is a peripheral issue. Regardless of whether a fetus is a human being or has rights, women will have abortions anyway, even if it means breaking the law or risking their lives. Even women who believe that abortion is murder have chosen to get abortions, and will continue to do so1. That's why we should leave the decision up to women’s moral conscience, and make sure that they are provided with safe, legal, accessible abortions. Because ultimately, the status of a fetus is a matter of subjective opinion, and the only opinion that counts is that of the pregnant woman. For example, a happily pregnant woman may feel love for her fetus as a special and unique human being, a welcome and highly anticipated member of her family. She names her fetus, refers to it as a baby, talks to it, and so on. But an unhappily pregnant woman may view her fetus with utter dismay, bordering on revulsion. She cannot bring herself to refer to it as anything other than "it," much less a human being. She is desperate to get rid of this unwelcome invader, and when she does, she feels tremendous relief. Both of these reactions to a fetus, and all reactions in between, are perfectly valid and natural. Both may even occur in the same woman, years apart.

However, anti-choicers insist not only that a fetus is a human being, but that this status is an objective scientific fact. Unfortunately, they are assuming the very thing that requires proving, thereby committing the logical fallacy of "begging the question." Biology, medicine, law, philosophy, and theology have no consensus on the issue, and neither does society as a whole. There will never be a consensus because of the subjective and unscientific nature of the claim, so we must give the benefit of the doubt to women, who are indisputable human beings with rights.

Anti-choicers must claim that fetuses are human beings, of course, or they really have no case against abortion. Since this claim is the cornerstone of their position, it should be critiqued in detail, from philosophical, legal, social, and biological perspectives2. Even though it has little relevance for the actual practice of abortion, the assertion that fetuses are human beings has a potentially great impact on the rights of women.

Deconstructing Anti-Choice Language

Before going further, we need to clarify and interpret some anti-choice language. First, anti-choicers often confuse the adjective "human" and the noun "human being," giving them the same meaning. I am struck by the question they often put to pro-choicers: "But isn't it human?" —as if we secretly think a fetus is really a creature from outer space. If you point out that a fetus consists of human tissue and DNA, anti-choicers triumphantly claim you just conceded it's a human being. Now, a flake of dandruff from my head is human, but it is not a human being, and in this sense, neither is a zygote3. Anti-choicers will respond that a fertilized egg is not like dandruff, because the fertilized egg consists of a unique set of chromosomes that makes it a separate human being. But with cloning, a cell from my dandruff is enough to create a new human being. Although it would have my identical genetic make-up, it would still be a unique individual, because human beings are much more than our genes (I'll expand on this point later). Also, both a fertilized egg and a cloned cell represent a potential, not an actual human being. It’s a worn cliché, but it bears repeating—an acorn isn’t an oak tree and the egg you had for breakfast isn’t a chicken.

Anti-choicers also use the phrase "humanity of the fetus," by which they may mean its physical human qualities, but it’s ambiguous, maybe purposely so. In this context, the word "humanity" implies compassionate human feelings and virtues, such as pathos or love. The term seems cleverly designed to elicit sympathy for a fetus, and assign it human-like qualities it simply does not have. The ability to feel joy, sadness, anger, and hatred are an integral part of our "human beingness," and we do not learn to develop such sophisticated emotions until we start socially interacting with others.

An alternate phrase heard by anti-choicers is: "It's a life"—another ambiguous and vague term. A fetus is certainly alive, and it might fairly be argued that a fetus is a distinct living entity (a debatable point though, because of fetal dependence on a woman's body), but this reasoning can apply to any living thing, including worms and germs. Simply calling a fetus "a life" says nothing, unless the term is meant as another way of saying "a human being," which means anti-choicers are just begging the question again.

The same problem afflicts the anti-choice phrase: "Life begins at conception." Biologically speaking, this is a nonsensical statement since life began only once on this planet, over three and a half billion years ago, and hasn't stopped since. A fertilized egg is simply life continuing in a modified form—only one small step removed from the separate sperm and ovum, both alive before joining together, and both representing the unique genetic potential of a human being. In an anti-choice context, the term "Life begins at conception" can only be translated as: "A human being starts at conception." Once again, this is begging the question. Perhaps a potential human being gets its start at conception, but the fact that life is a continuum makes even this equivocal.

Is a Fetus a Human Being?

Historically, a fetus has never (or very rarely) been considered a human being, at least not before "quickening", an old-fashioned term indicating noticeable movement of the fetus. The Catholic Church even allowed abortion until quickening, up until 18694. Further, the wide variety of laws throughout the world were written specifically to protect born human beings and their property. There is virtually no legal precedent for applying such laws to fetuses5. Even when abortion was illegal, it had a lesser punishment than for murder, and was often just a misdemeanor6. The anti-choice view of fetuses as human beings is therefore a novel and peculiar one, with little historical or legal precedent to back it up.

Fetuses are uniquely different from born human beings in major ways, which casts doubt on the claim that they can be classified as human beings. The most fundamental difference is that a fetus is totally dependent on a woman's body to survive. Anti-choicers might argue that born human beings can be entirely dependent on other people too, but the crucial difference is that they are not dependent on one, specific person to the exclusion of all others. Anybody can take care of a newborn infant (or disabled person), but only that pregnant woman can nurture her fetus. She can’t hire someone else to do it.

Another key difference is that a fetus doesn't just depend on a woman's body for survival, it actually resides inside her body. Human beings must, by definition, be separate individuals. They do not gain the status of human being by virtue of living inside the body of another human being—the very thought is inherently ridiculous, even offensive.

Does a Fetus Have a "Right to Life"?

Anti-choicers say that a fetus has an inherent "right to life." But many of them support exceptions to a ban on abortion in cases of rape, incest, or a threat to the woman's life, or even health. This clearly indicates that they believe the right to life of a fetus is negotiable, certainly not absolute or paramount. By compromising their "right to life" definition in order to accommodate a woman's rights, they inadvertently acknowledge that women's rights are more important than the "right to life" of fetuses.

Even if a fetus can be said to have a right to life, this does not include the right to use the body of another human being. For example, the state cannot force people to donate organs or blood, even to save someone's life. We are not obligated by law to risk our lives jumping into a river to save a drowning victim, noble as that might be. Therefore, even if a fetus has a right to life, a pregnant woman is not required to save it by loaning out her body for nine months against her will7. (In response, anti-choicers say that being pregnant is not the same as being a Good Samaritan, because the woman chose to have sex, voluntarily accepting the risk of pregnancy8. But sex is not a contract for pregnancy—people have a right to non-procreative sex9. Their argument is also sexist and puritanical because it punishes women, not men, for their sexual behaviour.)

Even if a fetus were a human being with a right to life, this right doesn't automatically overrule a woman's right to choose, which can be argued to have a higher moral value under the circumstances. The free exercise of one's moral conscience is a fundamental right in our society. And since pregnancy entails profound physical, psychological, and long-lasting consequences for a woman (it is not a mere "inconvenience"), her freedoms are significantly restricted if she is forced to carry to term.

If fetuses did have a right to live, one could make an equal case for the right of unwanted fetuses not to live. This is alien to the anti-choice assumption that all life is precious and should be encouraged and preserved at any cost. In the real world, however, some people commit suicide because they no longer want to live, and others wish they’d never been born. Life is not a picnic for all, especially unwanted children who are at high risk for leading dysfunctional lives10. Many people believe that being forced to live is a violation of human dignity and conscience. To be truly meaningful, the right to live must include the flip side, the right to die.

Ultimately though, to have a "right to life" requires that one be an individual capable of living an independent existence. One must "get a life" before one has a "right to life." A fetus is not a separate individual—it lives inside a pregnant woman and depends on her for its growth. In fact, the biological definition of "parasite" fits the fetal mode of growth precisely, especially since pregnancy causes a major upset to a woman's body, just like a parasite does to its host. I'm not trying to disparage fetuses with the negative connotations of the word parasite; in fact, parasites and their hosts often enjoy mutually supportive relationships, and this obviously includes most pregnancies. However, the parasitic relationship of a fetus to a woman means that its continued existence requires her consent11—if she continues the pregnancy unwillingly, her rights and bodily integrity are violated.

Can a Fetus Be a Legal Person with Rights?

Anti-choicers like to demand legal rights for fetuses. Significantly, there is no support for fetuses as legal persons in international human rights codes. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights says that "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights." Virtually all national constitutions do not treat fetuses as persons or citizens. American citizenship is limited to those "born or naturalized in the United States" (as per the 14th Amendment) and the word "Everyone" in the Canadian constitution has been deemed by the courts not to include fetuses12.

Declaring fetuses to be legal persons with rights would generate countless legal and social dilemmas. Fetuses would have to become dependents for tax and estate purposes, be counted in official census-taking, and be subject to many other laws affecting persons. Wouldn't every zygote have to have a Social Security Number, as well as a Certificate of Conception? The sheer absurdity of this proposal reveals that society does not think of fetuses as persons in the normal sense at all, and would have great difficulty trying to treat them as such.

Anti-choicers might argue that special laws or legal exceptions could be written for fetuses to accommodate their unique characteristics, but the very fact that exceptional laws for fetuses would have to be created proves that they are incapable of having the same legal status as real persons.

If anti-choicers want fetuses to share the same human rights as the rest of us, this means they should enjoy the constitutional freedoms of religion, speech, assembly, and other basic freedoms. Since fetuses are physically incapable of believing, speaking, or assembling, they cannot have or exercise any constitutional rights. This puts them in a totally different category than regular human beings. To give another example, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms says that "Every citizen of Canada has the right to enter, remain in and leave Canada." Fetuses obviously cannot qualify for such a right on their own. Ironically, the Charter also says "Everyone has the right not to be arbitrarily detained or imprisoned"— if fetuses did have rights, this would outlaw forced pregnancy!

The biggest challenge in giving legal rights to embryos arises when trying to decide whose rights would take precedence when they conflict—the woman's or her zygote's. The idea that a grown woman's value and status can be equated with, or overridden by, a cluster of undifferentiated cells the size of the period at the end of this sentence is not only bizarre, it's insulting. We are treading on dangerous moral and legal grounds when we exchange a woman’s actual rights in favour of an embryo's theoretical rights.

The 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion, Roe v. Wade, tried to balance the rights of women and fetuses by allowing states to restrict abortion in the third trimester, except to protect the life or health of the woman. But this balancing act was a sham—women's right to choose would not be infringed in practice, because Roe v. Wade only prohibited the mythical "casual" late-term abortion invented by anti-choicers. In the real world, healthy pregnant women with healthy 8½ month fetuses do not casually demand abortions, and doctors do not casually agree to do them. To suggest otherwise is an insult to both women and doctors. Unfortunately, because of its faulty assumption that fetuses need to be protected from women's irresponsible decision-making, Roe v. Wade opened the door to the passage of many laws making it harder to access abortions, as well as a weakening of the decision itself by later Supreme Court rulings. Women’s liberty and bodily integrity have been violated accordingly.

I agree with the U.S. Supreme Court that the state has an interest in protecting fetal life, but this should be done through guaranteed access to pre-natal care, health care, and education for pregnant women, not by restricting abortion. Pitting the rights of women against their fetuses harms them both—for example, women will avoid pre-natal care entirely if they fear being arrested for endangering their fetus by drug abuse. Canadian courts have wisely backed away from trying to give any protections to fetuses in such circumstances, because they realize it might infringe on women's established human rights. As a result, pregnant women in Canada enjoy exclusive rights over their bodies. To turn the tables and demand legal rights for fetuses is a direct call for the legalized oppression of women, by stripping them of their constitutional rights and personhood. This loss of rights and identity would occur not just during a nine-month pregnancy, but would, by logical necessity, reach to some extent into women's lifelong role as mothers and mothers-to-be.

Ironically, anti-choicers are trapped in a fatal contradiction here—women are undeniably human beings; yet anti-choicers are quite willing to sacrifice the human rights of women in favour of fetuses, whose status as human beings is highly questionable. If they can’t even respect the lives and rights of born human beings, why should we trust their alleged concern for fetuses as human beings?

Side: FALSE: Screw the facts!
Firnen(1) Banned
1 point

Does a Fetus Have a Social Identity?

A big part of what makes us human beings is our ability to participate in society, or at least be recognized as a member of society. Fetuses are excluded both by necessity and custom. There can be no meaningful social participation for someone cocooned inside another's body. Fetuses do not even have a social identity, since names are not officially bestowed until after birth. In fact, a birth certificate marks the first legal recognition of a person's existence. And fetuses are generally not given ritualized burials when miscarried or aborted. It is quite telling that the death of a newborn infant is much more of a crushing blow to parents than an early miscarriage. People simply place a higher social value on infants than fetuses, and this convention is ingrained in our culture and history.

In earlier times, even infants may not have been valued members of the society yet. Infanticide has been a common practice throughout history as a way to select for healthy, wanted babies, and conserve scarce resources for the rest of the tribe. The human species is estimated to have killed 10 to 15 percent of its born children13. Plus, infant mortality rates from natural causes were so high that babies were often not officially welcomed into the community until months or even years after birth, when their survival was more assured14. Of course, this is not an advocacy of infanticide. I'm simply saying that personhood, or the point at which one becomes an "official" human being, is a value judgment made by society according to social custom and necessity. It is a social construction incapable of empirical proof. Generally, modern industrialized societies find birth to be the most convenient and logical place to assign personhood, because that's where a person starts an independent existence, but perhaps also because of our low infant mortality rates. Even so, babies do not have an established social identity to the same degree as older children or adults, probably because of their still-undeveloped human abilities and potential.

Is a Fetus a Human Being Physically?

The normal meaning of human being implies a physical body of a certain size and shape with common attributes (excepting disabilities). Early embryonic forms do not share basic commonalities that define us as human beings. For example, zygotes and blastocysts are barely visible to the naked eye and have no bodies, brains, skeleton, or internal organs. Are they materially substantial enough to count as human beings? Fetuses cannot breath or make sounds, and they cannot see or be seen (except by shadowy ultrasound). They absorb nourishment and expel waste via an umbilical cord and placenta, not via a mouth and anus as do all other human beings. Further, fetuses are not just miniature babies. At various stages, fetuses have eyes on stalks, notochords (instead of spines), fish-like gills, tails, downy fur, distorted torsos, spindly legs, giant heads, and alien-looking faces. In fact, an early human fetus is practically indistinguishable in appearance from a dog or pig fetus. Finally, the fetal brain is not yet capable of conscious thought and memory (which aren't fully actualized until two or three years after birth). But our complex brains are what set us apart from animals and define us as human beings. The brain is the seat of personhood15.

Considering that the early fetus does not even look recognizably human, cannot engage in normal human perception or thought, and does not have the most basic human body functions, can we call it a human being?

Of course, there are striking physical similarities between a fetus and a newborn, such as well-developed hands and feet at a relatively early stage, and the overall structural form. As birth approaches, a fetus looks more and more like a newborn, until there is no significant difference by about 30 weeks gestation. But anti-choicers focus exclusively on these similarities, while ignoring the differences. For example, a hugely popular anti-choice photograph shows the perfectly formed, tiny feet of a 10-week old fetus held gently between someone's thumb and forefinger. There is no sign of the rest of the early fetus, which barely looks human at all. Anti-choicers try not to use pictures of embryos and early fetuses precisely because they look far less human than later ones (when they do, they usually enlarge them to make the embryo or fetus look the same size as a baby). Even the more commonly-used photos of later-term fetuses tend to deliberately shield from view anything that detracts from human-like qualities, such as the placenta or the oddly-shaped torso. (Also, women and their uteruses are completely erased from all such pictures.)16

Are Eggs and Embryos Stable Individuals?

Embryonic existence is very precarious. Zygotes, blastocysts, and embryos have a high failure rate, which throws cold water on the anti-choice claim that every fertilized egg is sacred. Scientists estimate that 55 to 65% of all conceptions are spontaneously aborted in the first few days or weeks of a pregnancy, usually without the woman ever knowing she was pregnant17. It's called "fetal wastage." Another 10 to 15% of pregnancies are miscarried in the months to come. Fetal wastage occurs because early embryonic forms have a high defect rate—most early miscarriages are caused by genetic defects in the fertilized egg. This shows that eggs and embryos do not yet qualify as human beings according to Nature herself—at best, they represent tryouts for the human race.

Embryos are capable of splitting into two, to form twins, and may even recombine later18. This does serious damage to the idea of unique personhood, and the common anti-abortion belief that a "soul" is infused into a zygote at conception. Do twins share the single soul they got at conception, or is the second twin belatedly given its own soul after cell division? If the latter, which soul is lost if the embryos recombine? These questions are unintelligible if embryos are human beings, but simply moot if they are not.

As mentioned before, we are more than our genes, so the fertilized egg cannot represent a "complete" human being as anti-choicers would have it. We are not yet ourselves at conception. Whatever a pregnant woman eats, drinks, inhales, and does, has a huge impact on the specific human being a fetus will turn out to be. Our brains, personalities, abilities, and physical traits are shaped by our environment as well as by genetics. Further, anti-choicers claim that nothing is added to the fertilized egg except nutrition, but this is a misunderstanding of how embryos develop. The dramatic development that turns a zygote into a newborn is not simply growth—it is a radical, turbulent, and constant metamorphosis, with individual cells reproducing, migrating, and evolving specific functions at specific times. The end result is like a complex symphony by a billion musicians that began with a single, one-note instrument.

Can such a contingent and changeable entity really be identified as the same full and unique human being at every stage?

Life Is a Crap Shoot

Anti-choicers would not be convinced by the evidence in this article, because it doesn't refute their emotional conviction that a fertilized egg represents a real and unique human being, just like themselves. They identify with a fertilized egg (it's where we all came from, after all) and feel horror and anxiety at the thought that they themselves might have been aborted. But life is a crap shoot. If your parents had decided not to have sex the night you were conceived, you wouldn't have existed. If your father had worn a condom, you wouldn’t have existed. Or, you could have been conceived, then miscarried. If you had been aborted, your mother may have had a later sibling who wouldn't have existed without your abortion. And so on. Ultimately, if you hadn't been born, it wouldn't matter to you, the same way it can’t matter to aborted fetuses that they weren't born. The non-existent don’t regret their non-existence, and when the living start worrying about the non-existent, they descend into irrational nonsense.

Moreover, the difference between a fertilized egg, and a sperm and an unfertilized egg, is relatively minor. The sperm and ovum each represent the potential for a human being. But men release billions of doomed sperm over a lifetime, and virtually all of women's thousands of eggs go to waste. The number of potential, unique human beings forever lost to the world is astronomical, and although our sheer luck at being alive seems miraculous, it is pointless to lose sleep over such matters—and even more pointless to oppress half the world's population just so a few more of these gazillion potential human beings can exist.

This is not to say that human life doesn't have value. Of course it does, but only the value that we ourselves bestow on it—in biology, life is cheap, life is wasteful, and death is vital. Nature does not value humans any more than worms, and in all species, vast numbers of eggs and seeds don’t stand a chance of reaching maturity19. Life has been cheap throughout human history too—it's only modern medicine that has allowed us to keep most of our babies alive for the first time. Why shed futile tears over spilt milk and the biological facts of life? Instead, let's focus on protecting the rights and improving the quality of life of born human beings.

Conclusion

Despite the potential that a fetus has for becoming a human being, and its similarities to a human being, we cannot say that a fetus is a human being. A fetus resides in a legal and social no-man's land, where rights and personhood can have no force or meaning, unless women are kept thoroughly oppressed. Plus, there are many significant differences between a born human being and a fetus, which creates reasonable doubt as to its status. Because there can be no consensus on the matter, the value accorded to a fetus is a subjective, personal matter. Individuals, not society as a whole, must choose what the status of a fetus should be, based on their personal beliefs, morality, and circumstances. And ultimately, this choice belongs only to pregnant women.

Side: FALSE: Screw the facts!
Chuz-Life(497) Disputed
1 point

Banned for spamming and for flooding.

Side: TRUE: It is what it is
iamdavidh(4869) Disputed Banned
2 points

I don't see spam. This seems to be supporting evidence.

That there is a lot of supporting evidence I also do not see as flooding.

While I realize the theistic proclivity is to shun knowledge at all costs less it begin corroding superstition, in the spirit of a debate site perhaps at least pretend to care to debate as opposed to preach.

Otherwise the net is flooded with christian chat rooms where you can all happily mimic one another and try to out-love-jesus one another for an extra cookie in heaven.

Side: FALSE: Screw the facts!
zephyr20x6(2386) Disputed
2 points

Are you kidding me... These are arguments, not spam, I was willing to start thinking that my judgement of you was a bit harsh, but this guy put time and effort into an articulate argument and you just banned him? You sir are a troll, you have lost all benefit of doubt from me, your over-opinionated ego over abortion is despicable. You will not listen to what other people have to say obviously cause you just banned this guy for seemingly no good reason... Wow... Just wow.

Side: FALSE: Screw the facts!
agaravel Clarified Banned
0 points

don't you mean banned for providing a logical argument you can't refute? Troll harder kid.

Side: TRUE: It is what it is
1 point

Who the frick cares if it is a human being or not? It's a mother's own choice if she wants to kill it or not. Besides, people die everyday, I don't see anybody whining over that. "Oh your killing an innocent little baby! you brute!", oh please, did you know that child could grow up to be a rapist or a mass murderer? The way I see it, it's just one less person who may have never met or even interacted with. People get raped, people get murdered, as long as it doesn't affect me, I don't care.

Side: FALSE: Screw the facts!
tolios(8) Banned
2 points
Side: FALSE: Screw the facts!
Chuz-Life(497) Disputed
1 point

I care.

You're banned.

(abuse)

Side: TRUE: It is what it is
Hellno(17618) Disputed
1 point

There was no abuse there so I return his up-vote. :D

Also I think you forgot to ban him... and me too.

Side: FALSE: Screw the facts!

No, because with that kind of "logic" you could go eve further, that every unused egg or sperm is a hypothetical human being. So, lets ban fucking and masturbation.

What about going even further? Every little food you throw away could be utilized by your body to build an egg/sperm...?

Until you are born you are not recognized as a human being, this is common in all countries around the world and it will stay that way no matter how much you will cry for some irrational change.

Side: FALSE: Screw the facts!
tolios(8) Banned
2 points
Side: FALSE: Screw the facts!
Chuz-Life(497) Disputed
1 point

If you want to claim that sperm and egg cells are human beings? Go right ahead.

It only supports our claims that an embryo or fetus is even more.

Side: TRUE: It is what it is
Banana_Slug(845) Disputed
1 point

You did not understand my point. If egg is a human than every single menstruation is a murder... I just tried to point out how ridiculous is your point of view.

Think...

What actually makes us so special... what makes human?

Is it our body? We aren't the fastest ones, we aren't the strongest ones, we cannot fly. We share 97% of our DNA with chimps...

What makes us special is the consciousness, human minds and that is not present in fetus.

Side: FALSE: Screw the facts!
1 point

Wait? Why did you use Dingle-Barry as you debate avatar? Are you saying even Obama is a human being?

Side: FALSE: Screw the facts!
tolios(8) Banned
2 points
Side: FALSE: Screw the facts!
1 point

No trolls? Well now that doesn't sound fun at all.

Side: FALSE: Screw the facts!
Chuz-Life(497) Disputed
1 point

He's an example of a herp derp.

Duh!

Side: TRUE: It is what it is
Hellno(17618) Disputed
2 points

I think I like you....

Side: FALSE: Screw the facts!
tolios(8) Banned
1 point
Side: FALSE: Screw the facts!
Chuz-Life(497) Disputed
1 point

We got it....

be gone.

Side: TRUE: It is what it is
1 point

So if I'm banned from a debate, can I still post? This should be an interesting outcome.

Side: FALSE: Screw the facts!
1 point

False, they have yet to gain any stream of measurable consciousness and thus do not qualify as a 'human' being–maybe a being but not anything resembling a human (homo erectus). Therefor any human rights that infringe on the mother's own rights are non-existant on the part of a fetus.

Side: FALSE: Screw the facts!
Chuz-Life(497) Disputed
1 point

Same question I had for slug.

Do you have a biological reference that says a human being in that stage of their life has to have those attributes to be recognized as a human being?

Side: TRUE: It is what it is
YouDontKnow(79) Clarified
0 points

I have no biological reference to this other than that of common sense

Side: TRUE: It is what it is
1 point

No one is pro abortionist. I mean accept for Prodigee. No one just thinks they want to kill all the babies!

They are pro choice

Side: FALSE: Screw the facts!
Chuz-Life(497) Clarified
1 point

That's a topic for another debate and for some other time.

If a person is a proponent for the right to keep and bear arms? We call them pro-Gun

If a person is a proponent for gay marriage? They call themselves pro gay marriage

If a person wants recreational drugs legalized... They are pro drug.

Proponents of Abortion are not exempt from this.

Side: TRUE: It is what it is
Sitara(11100) Disputed
2 points

Prochoice is not proabortion anymore than it is proadoption or proparenting. It is proCHOICE!

Side: TRUE: It is what it is
1 point

Lol I know, it's just funny to think a person could be PRO abortion but not pro choice.

and how do you bold some letters?

Side: FALSE: Screw the facts!
1 point

"A man, woman, or child of the species Homo sapiens, distinguished from other animals by superior mental development, power of articulate..."

"Biologically, a child (plural: children) is a human between the stages of birth and puberty."

Side: FALSE: Screw the facts!
Chuz-Life(497) Disputed
2 points

Definitions?

We have to take them all into consideration and resist the temptation to cherry pick them. Don't we?

"In this section, the term `unborn child' means a child in utero, and the term `child in utero' or `child, who is in utero' means a member of the species homo sapiens, at ANY stage of development , who is carried in the womb.'."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laci_and_Conner's_Law

Side: TRUE: It is what it is
Elvira(3446) Clarified
1 point

Who cares about humans anyway? We're nothing special.

Side: TRUE: It is what it is
Atrag(5127) Disputed
1 point

There are many many instances in law and in every day life in which the definition of a child doesn´t include a feotus.

Side: FALSE: Screw the facts!
1 point

I think part o f the problem is viewing the whole event from conception to birth as one phase is the problem. I wouldn't consider a tumor to be human and it is really similar to the start of human creation of creation with the fact that it's a lump of cells. But at a later stage in pregnancy, when a brain is formed and such, I would never say it's the same. It's all in stages, sort of like from egg and sperm to human, except more complex.

Side: FALSE: Screw the facts!
Chuz-Life(497) Clarified
1 point

"I think part o f the problem is viewing the whole event from conception to birth as one phase is the problem. I wouldn't consider a tumor to be human and it is really similar to the start of human creation of creation with the fact that it's a lump of cells. But at a later stage in pregnancy, when a brain is formed and such, I would never say it's the same. It's all in stages, sort of like from egg and sperm to human, except more complex."

Would it be fair for me to sum up that view like this? "A human being is not a human being (child) unless or until it lives past a certain point and develops past a certain point and can't be denied anymore. Then and only then is it a human being (child)"

Side: TRUE: It is what it is
Saurbaby(5577) Clarified
1 point

Of course it "couldn't be denied anymore", that's when it changes. It's no different than a sperm and egg in my opinion. It's just potential.

Side: TRUE: It is what it is
1 point

A dictionary isn´t the holder of all truth. All your arguments suggest that you just don´t get that - although others have tried to explain it to you. You seem to treat it like Christians treat to bible.

Of course a human being in the fetal stage of life is a human being. The dictionary says so but yet that statement is nothing more than a commentary on the use of language. It doesn´t mean that feotuses are the same as those that are born or that they should be given the same rights. It may well be the case that they should be given the same rights. However, to make a case for this you would need to do much more than look in the dictionary and tell us what a child or a human being is according to it!

Side: FALSE: Screw the facts!
1 point

SCREW THE FACTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Side: FALSE: Screw the facts!
1 point

In my opinion, not until "it" has taken the breath of life. Funny thing, after that, most abortion deniers consider them "on their own"...no health care? not enough food? No job....too bad, you ain't gittn' none of mine!

The last info I had was (before the ACA), America was 173rd out of 193 countries in "Infant death after live birth". (Disgusting!) This mostly due to the inability to pay for health care before AND after birth. So, save the embryo....if the baby dies later...that's a shame....oh, well.

Side: FALSE: Screw the facts!