A Small Step Forward

The proposed abortion legislation has many flaws and even once it’s passed, Ireland will still have one of the most restrictive regimes in the world. It is probably the most limited bill that could have been passed and includes many hurdles for suicidal women. It says nothing about pregnancy through rape and will do little to stem the tide of women forced to head to England to get abortions. However, all this considered, it is still a step in the right direction. It will protect the life of the mother and hopefully ensure that a tragic death like that of Savita Halappanavar never happens again. Most important of all, it has broken the taboo on abortion and shown that the anti-abortion extremists no longer dominate the debate.

The abortion bill (The Protection Of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013) is probably the strictest interpretation of the X case possible. Despite the anti-abortionists fear mongering, Ireland will still have extremely restrictive abortion laws. Abortion will only be legal if there is a threat to the mother’s life, not her health. So even if continuing the pregnancy will cause severe damage to the women, she will be forced to continue it. Threat of suicide will be considered a risk to the mother’s life, which has been the most controversial aspect of the bill. This has led to fears that women will fake being suicidal in order to get an abortion, despite the fact that suicidality is not something that’s easy to fake on a whim. As a result any women who claims she is suicidal must appear before a tribunal of three (two psychiatrists and a doctor) who must unanimously agree. This is an incredibly restrictive and traumatic experience to put any vulnerable women through and there are dangerous consequences. The last thing you want to ask a suicidal woman to do is prove it. The bill doesn’t contain a time limit on when the abortion can take place so as to allow flexibility in case of emergency (and delivery will be attempted if pregnancy is in late stage).

What is strange about the bill is that it says nothing about rape. If a woman is raped, she will still be legally obliged to give birth to that child. I want you to take a moment to ponder that horrifying thought. As though rape was not terrible enough, the victim must be forced to undergo a pregnancy as well. Why anyone would want to force this onto the poor woman is a cruelty I don’t understand. Rick Santorum was rightly torn apart for suggesting that rape victims should be forced to keep the child, yet that is the situation in Ireland. We pride ourselves on being more advanced and less extreme than America yet our abortion laws look like Santorum designed them himself. There is likewise no provision for abortion in the case of incest or abnormal foetal conditions as in the D case where the foetus would not survive outside the womb.

The bill will do little to stem the tide of women forced to go to England to have abortions. Officially 4,000 women did this last year (and 150,000 since 1980), though like all illegal activities, this is a gross underestimate and the true number is probably double or treble it. Few of these women are suffering direct threat to their life or are suicidal, so their situation will not change. As a result they will not be able to receive counselling, guidance or treatment. Instead they will be forced to bear a stigma of shame and suffer in silence. Official Ireland will sweep this problem back under the carpet.

However, it is still a great improvement on what we currently have. It is a victory in a sense that the suicide clause was not removed despite the pressure and that women will not be forced in front of six doctors (though that probably was kite flying by the government). No longer will suicidal women be forced to have a child they would rather kill themselves than raise. For the first time, proper help can be given to these vulnerable women and their cries for help won’t be ignored. Hopefully, we will have no repeats of the Savita tragedy where women die because rigid ideology takes precedent over their life. Crucially, it provides much needed clarity so women have some ideas where they stand. The bill also repeals the 1861 law which punished abortion with life imprisonment (the fact that the law was 150 years old shows how outdated and backward Ireland’s abortion stance was), though it does contain a 14 year jail sentence for illegal abortions.

The bill has been very controversial in Fine Gael with roughly a dozen (we might as well call them the Twelve Disciples) TDs expressing concern. Interestingly my constituency of Galway West has proven to be a strong source of opposition to the bill (I would have also thought of Galway East as being more conservative). Both Senator Fidelma Healy-Eames (from my hometown of Oranmore) and TD Brian Walsh have been two of the most vocal opposition voices in Fine Gael. This is somewhat strange as both are relatively young and would be presumably part of the more modern wing of the party. Neither represents the rural sections of the constituency nor would there be a particularly strong religious element in Oranmore or Galway City. This is also strange as it was in Galway City than Savita died. Now Healy-Eames is pretty clueless so her opposition means little, but Walsh has been the strongest opponent of the bill within Fine Gael. Interestingly the other Fine Gael TD Sean Kyne has not spoken out despite representing the more conservative Connemara section of the constituency. Walsh doesn’t fit in easily with the other TDs opposing the bill like the daft Peter Matthews (“But sure we’re all going to end up dead anyway”) or the creeping Jesus Michelle Mulherin (“Fornication is the most likely cause of unwanted pregnancies”).

The most important effect from this bill is that it has opened the debate on abortion and changed the way we view it. Before abortion was taboo which only hardcore activists were interested in and politicians avoided. Now it is an issue on the table and open for debate. People who would have never given abortion much thought are now grilling their TDs on their stance. The idea that women should be allowed to make decisions that affect their lives is an idea that has gained rapid prominence. Previously abortion debates have been dominated by anti-abortion groups while pro-choice groups were pushed to the side. Now the balance has changed and large numbers of otherwise unaffiliated people are joining the pro-choice cause. I still don’t think Ireland is ready for widespread abortion but the fact that such a thing can be considered shows how far we have come.

In particular the pro-life campaign has been badly damaged. They have been shown to be rigid ideologues who place greater priority on their dogma than women’s lives. They have been exposed as heartless extremists reliant on scare tactics. Most people presumed that Ireland was more conservative than it really was and that the Church and anti-abortion groups were still dominant. Instead they have been exposed as a small number of people with little support. It is interesting to note the almost complete silence of the Church. No one is listening to it anymore and its opinion no longer holds much sway. Its power has been broken and it is reduced to a shadow.

In conclusion this bill is a small step forward. It will undoubtedly save many women’s lives and prevent suicides from happening. It breaks the blanket ban on abortion and finally begins to give women a choice over their life. It denies the anti-abortion extremists their veto over abortion laws. This bill is a victory for women and for the right to choose. Ireland is finally facing up to the issue of abortion and no longer pretending it doesn’t exist. It is still a very restrictive bill and there is still some distance to go, but this is a start.

49 thoughts on “A Small Step Forward”

                1. We are going around because there is no, on naturalism, ontological ground to claim that the shift is to the right direction. There are philosophical argument against abortion that does not depend on personhood of unborn. Example Future-like-mine argument I presented below.

  1. It is awesome that people have start thinking hard on this issue. I think they are good philosophical reasons why abortion should be granted only if it threats the mother’s life. Argumentum ad baculum, that abortion should be granted to prevent suicide is simply folly. Should we grant a being A who threat to commit suicide if we do not grant his wish to end the life of being B?

    This bill is a victory for women to choice to end the life of unborns. Women already have choices over much of their life, but they do not have a right to end their young born children life nor steal, e.t.c. I do not see why they should have that right to end life of young unborn. Addressing the shooting and killing of young children in Connecticut, Obama absurdly said,

    “The majority of those who died today were children — beautiful, little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old. They had their entire lives ahead of them — birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own.(Obama, Barak (2012). Obama’s speech on December 14th 2012. Transcript: President Obama’s Remarks On Conn. School Shootings. White House)

    What Obama did not see is that unborns also have their entire lives ahead of them — birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own, to which like the shooter,Adam Lanza, did, women simply rob this beings all that.

    Let me know your thoughts.

    1. Absolute bollocks. I would strongly caution you against playing the Christian personhood card. There is NO room for religious interference and meddling in secular societies. As defined quite clearly in my post, “life” can only be defined once its twin, “death” is also in the equation.

              1. Because life, as astrobiologist Sohan Jheeta rightly defined, “is a thermodynamically open chemical system with a semi-permeable boundary. It contains an information-based complex system with emergent properties, part of which drives a metabolism based on a proton gradient. The said gradient generates the necessary potential difference across the semi-permeable boundary. The information is heritable and coded in such a way as to allow variation and thus evolution.”

                  1. You asked for definition of life. Complexity arises as a being evolves. I belief you accused me of playing Christian personhood card above. Could you point out where I did that?

                    1. Certainly… you repeated the rather emotive sentence, “women to (choose) choice to end the life of unborn.” That language smacks of fundamentalist right wing Christian thought.

                      Now, you say, “end the life,” correct? By that statement you are implying “death,” correct? Tell me, Prayson, how can something be considered “alive” if it cannot “die”? As my post quite clearly states:
                      “One cannot have a defined ‘life’ without that life being able to ‘die.’ Without death there is no life. The former begets the latter. The latter assigns meaning to the former. One delineates the other, and fortunately the definition of death is not in dispute. Death is when electroencephalography (EEG) activity ceases. That’s it. That’s (the legal definition of) death. It follows quite naturally therefore that the onset of life is when foetal brain activity begins to exhibit regular and sustained wave patterns, and that occurs consistently around week 25 of pregnancy. Only after something can die can it be considered alive, and to argue anything to the contrary is patently absurd.”

                      So, what we have here is the legal grounds for defining life, and that is the definition which shapes most abortion laws. If you want to argue something else, perhaps something religious, you will have to present hard, testable, measurable evidence for the existence of the human soul. Can you present such evidence, Prayson? If not, I’d suggest you keep your religiously inspired emotions out of other people’s business.

                    2. Hold your horses John! How is women right to choose to end the life of their unborn a rather smacks of fundamentalist right wing emotive Christian thought’s language? What will you say to Atheist and Agnostic who are against abortion (http://www.godlessprolifers.org/home.html)? Are they also having smacks of fundamentalist right win emotive atheistic thought’s language?

                    3. John it seem every time I ask you a question, you ignore by firing another question. Can we take the first part first, then I will answer your questions?

                      You accused me of playing a Christian personhood card. Show me where? You accuse me of using emotive Christian fundamentalist right wing language. How so, if atheists and agnostics who are against abortion use the same terms?

  2. Ok the argument seems to have gotten a bit bogged down, so let’s start again. Prayson, you refer to the killing of the unborn. Now this depends entirely on when life begins. I think we can all agree that at the moment of conception when there is only 2 cells, that is not a human life or a child. Whereas the day before birth, the foetus has developed into a baby and can self-sustain life (after many babies are born “early” and survive. So the question is at what point between then and birth does life begin?

    I honestly think that deserves a post in itself and I might do one over the weekend on it. I think John makes a very strong case based on brain activity and most countries view life as beginning around 24-8 weeks (though I need to do more research before I can draw my own conclusion).

    I would be interested to hear more about your thoughts on the suicide clause of the Irish law Prayson and why you don’t think its a good idea.

    And John, though I agree with you and we all know Prayson is religious, you did jump the gun a bit. His argument was not specifically Christian (though of course he’ll probably agree that his religion does influence it).

    1. Apologies, Robert, but Prayson and i have danced before. He’s a good enough bloke, i have no problems with him as a person, but by jumping straight into an “ontological” question he pretty much painted the path he was going to take.

      That said, i would truly like to hear upon what Prayson bases his objection to Women’s Rights.

    2. Robert I think the scientific evidence supports the conclusion that a zygote is a human organism and that the life of a new human being begin at the moment of conception. Would you like me to assemble leading scientists on this fied to show you that that is the case?

      I do think granting abortion on demand to reduce suicide is a good idea because if abortion is morally wrong, then accepting one morally wrong to avoide another morally wrong is like fixing one flat tyre by puncturing the another.

      The question is, are there good philosophical arguments against abortion?I think yes, there are,and I am will to share two of them. Are there good arguments for abortion? I do not think so, atleast from those I came across as I read the literature in favor of abortion.

      I do not object women’s rights John, but I question if abortion, women’s right to end their unborns lives on demand should be considered women’s rights. I don’t see any good reason for that.

      1. I do believe we’ve been through this: not until something can “die” can it be considered “alive.” That is week 25, which is the legal limit set in most countries. Are you disputing the recognised, legal, scientific definition of death?

        Now, as i stated, unless you can present hard, verifiable, testable evidence for a soul then this definition stands as Law. Do you have such evidence, Prayson? Yes or no?

        1. Just because something legally right does not mean it is morally right. Example John Doe cheating his wife is legally right but morally wrong.

          Let say I agree with you until something can die it be considered alive does it follow then that since death is tested by brain wave, then until unborn has brain wave it is not considered alive. This is simply scientifically false. Could you backup this claim with scientific literature because I can back the opposite up that life begin at conception. The legally limits are base on when unborn feel pain not when it’s alive.

          I do not have to believe in soul nor personhood to defend the moral and ethical wrongness of ending unborn human being’s.

          1. Prayson, zero EEG reading is the scientific, medical, legal definition of human death. The opposite of death is life, therefore meaning regular EEG patterns. The fetus does NOT exhibit regular EEG patterns until at least week 25…. Long, long, long after most abortions are performed. The 25 week mark is however an appropriate line for legal purposes. Arguing anything to the contrary is directly objecting to a woman’s right to choose. Why are you against Women’s Rights, Prayson? Do you think women are inferior? Do you not think they can make decisions about their own body?

          2. I do not oppose the medical definition of death and when is a person considered dead. I oppose to your assumption that since life is measure by EEG, then life begins with EEG reading. That is simply false.

            Atheist philosopher Peter Singer, who is for abortion, correctly contended that:

            “It is possible to give ‘human being’ a precise meaning. We can use it as equivalent to ‘member of the species Homo sapiens’. Whether a being is a member of a given species is something that can be determined scientifically, by an examination of the nature of the chromosomes in the cells of living organisms. In this sense there is no doubt that from the first moments of its existence an embryo conceived from human sperm and eggs is a human being; and the same is true of the most profoundly and irreparably intellectually disabled human being, even of an infant who is born anencephalic – literally, without a brain.”(Practical Ethics, 2nd ed, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 85-86.)

            I am not against Women’s Rights, I am against women’s right to end a life of unborn human beings. I think women can make decisions about their own body, but not the body of the being inside them. Moreover this argument that women should have the right to their own body is simply folly.

            Think if Jane and her 0.1 plus second born being are in an island without food, no help and the only way a 0.1 plus second born being could live is through drinking of it’s mother’s milk. Imagine Jane refuses to feed this child because she say, I have the right to my own body, and the born being dies. Should Jane be charged for her moral choice? I will let you decide.

            1. Your appeals to authority are pathetic. I could simply quote mine too and present counter arguments all day long. I’m not going to do that because this debate only exists is in the minds of the fundamentalist Christian right wing. The civilized world is another, more rational space.

              Now, I’d be interested in hearing what you’re basing your moral objections to women’s rights on? You say it’s not your religion so that must mean the fetus’s ability to feel pain, correct? That’s fair, and it’s a logical position to hold. Well, that would require a fully functioning central nervous system hooked up to a brain that is always “On.” You see, week 25.

              1. I am a layperson when it comes to embryology that is why I cite authorities that deals on this field. Could you be kind to assemble leading scientists on this field that denies that life begin at conception?

                You seem to keep using a loaded language as you ask what I repeatedly tell you that I am not against women’s rights but the right to end unborn human begins life, just as I am against women’s right to steal, or abuse their children etc.

                My argument is that:

                1. It is prima facie morally wrong to end a possible future of a human begin
                2. Abortion ends a possible future of a human being.
                3. Therefore it’s prima facie morally wrong to abort

                My case does not depend on if one believes or not in soul, personhood or for that matter when life begins. All it matter is is unborn a member of human begin and does it have a possible future.

                1. You are simply copy and pasting arguments that agree with your position.

                  My language is only based on your answers given, and those answers directly contravene a woman’s rights to make decisions concerning her own body in accordance to modern law. I have explained the legal, scientific, moral position of all civilized countries. You are disagreeing with those universal positions so I can only assume your objections are religiously inspired… and religion does NOT shape the laws in modern secular nations.

                  The definition of human life is central to this argument, and that definition is intimately tied to when death becomes a reality. Without death there is no recognized life. It’s really very simple. Before that moment there is only potential. My sperm is also potential… do you want to regulate my sperm, too?

                  1. John you keep accusing and accusing. Funny enough I do not know of anyone who have defended against abortion as I did above. The idea of possible future, namely future-like-me has been defended before but not as I present them. So I do not see why you think I simply copy and pasted arguments John. You should deal with my case not my character nor way I present my case.

                    You have explained, if correct, the legal, scientific, moral position of zero EEG reading of the brain to determine the death. I do not oppose that John. I do not know how to make it clearer. I oppose that life begins when life can be determine with EEG reading. Scientists on this field agree with me that “[a]lthough human life is a continuous process, fertilization is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new, genetically distinct human organism is thereby formed.”(O’Rahilly & Müller 1998, 8) in Human Embryology and Teratology, 2nd edition. New York: Wiley-Liss.

                    The modern scientific data leads to a conclusion that Moore and Persaud wrote: “”Zygote. This cell, formed by the union of an ovum and a sperm represents the beginning of a human being.”(Moore & Persaud 1993, 1) in Before We Are Born: Essentials of Embryology and Birth Defects. 4th edition. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Company.

                    This is so clear that even defenders of abortion admit. David Boonin-vail in the most well presented case for abortion, wrote: “Perhaps the most straightforward relation between you and me on the one hand and every human fetus from conception onward on the other is this: All are living members of the same species, homo sapiens. A human fetus, after all, is simply a human being at a very early stage in his or her development.”(Boonin 2003, 20) in A Defense of Abortion, Cambridge University Press: New York.

                    It seems you are not familiar with this case John. Your sperm nor woman egg is potential. So I do not want to regulate your sperm but when your sperm fertilize the woman’s egg forming a distinct human organism.

                    1. “Scientists on this field agree with me…”

                      Again, an appeal to authority using ONLY those who support your unrecognised position. Arbourist deals with your claims quite nicely below.

                    2. I do not think John. I did not claim that all scientists agree. But if you do wish we could line up scientists who are for and thus who are not sure[notice that very few would claim that it does not being at conception]. One who is against abortion could concur with Alan R. Templeton presentation.

                      Funny Peter Singer and David Boonin-vail agree with me though they do not support my “unrecognised” position.

      2. Robert I think the scientific evidence supports the conclusion that a zygote is a human organism and that the life of a new human being begin at the moment of conception.

        And that would be your first mistake. What you think about scientific evidence is irrelevant. The evidence is inconclusive about when life begins as it has been and continues to be transitory process.

        So that assertion is faulty, or at least in contention and thus cannot be used to make a valid argument.

        Are there good arguments for abortion?

        Start with Judith Jarvis Thospson and go from there. The preservation of women’s bodily autonomy is paramount in this debate.

        I do not object women’s rights […]

        The frak you don’t.

        You have the nerve to spew your forced-birth ideals – of the same variety that murdered Savita Halappanavar – and then have the audacity to say you support women’s rights.

        Let me assure you that by your inane fetus worship, you in no way support women’s rights.

        1. My case against abortion does not depend on person-hood thus Judith Jarvis Thomson’s critiques, if true, does not affect the case I presented..

          I will post a blog post showing how weak Thomson’s argument is and why I find it not good philosophical argument for abortion.

          See a secular pro-lifer response (http://blog.secularprolife.org/2013/03/a-critique-of-judith-jarvis-thomsons.html)

          Could we focus on the case presented and not my character. I might be “inane fetus worship” but even true, does not have to do with the case I presented. Bruce N. Waller correctly say: “Difficult as it may be, it is vitally important to separate argument sources and styles from argument content. In argument the medium is not the message”

          1. Ok I’m just going to jump in here to point out 2 quick points. Prayson, you mentioned abortion on demand (a term I find redundant) and let me tell you that the government is doing everything to ensure that is not the case in Ireland and that only a tiny number of women will be able to avail of abortion.

            Second of all, you regularly quote people you claim support abortion in order to make the case that abortion is the killing of a human life. Somehow, I doubt the people you quote would agree with that. Are you quoting in the right context and in what circumstances do the people you quote support abortion?

            While it is true that some Atheists and secularists are anti-abortion, they are in the minority and the website you linked hasn’t been updated in 6 years. While you may not like the accusations of John, I’m sure you will admit your Christianity does influence your views on abortion.

            I have a lot of problems with your island analogy, particularly how you end with the question whether the woman should be charged. Are you suggesting that woman who terminate their pregnancies should be charged with murder?

            1. Robert I was responding to the argument that women should have the right to their body. The woman in Island analogy was meant to show how folly that argument was.

              Would you like uptodate blogs of atheists and agnostics against abortion?

              Yes, Christianity plays a great role in my position because I hold that each being is made in God’s image. But that is not what I set on the table because I know we do share that presupposition and moreover most liberal Christians are for abortion.

              I quoted the authorities not to show that they agree abortion is wrong, most are for abortion, but when life if a human being begins. I gave page numbers so that you can read them in their own context.

              Robert I would love to know your thoughts on my case:

              My argument is that

              1. it is prima facie morally wrong to end a possible future of a human begin
              2. Abortion ends a possible future of a human being.
              3. Therefore it’s prima facie morally wrong to abort.

              1. “Would you like uptodate blogs of atheists and agnostics against abortion?”
                My point was that as the page is now dominant it mustn’t be an active group and there mustn’t be that many Atheists against abortion.

                As you probably would have guesses, my problem is with the first point of your argument, that it is wrong to end the possible future of a human being. Under this logic, using contraceptives is wrong. Do you oppose condoms because they “end a possible future of a human being”?

                Of course the problem with viewing things are unborn or possible potential, is that anything is possible and everything has potential. If I decide to be celibate, I am denying unborn children a chance to be born. In fact, any time I am not having sex potential future children are not being born.

                The question at heart is when does life begin. I think it is instructive that in medical terms, before 24 weeks of pregnancy, the ending of the pregnancy is considered a miscarriage. It is only after 24 weeks that it is considered a still birth.

                1. I thought you would dispute the second point since the first seems true. Your problem arose from misunderstanding my premise 1. When Obama lamented the death of children after the shooting he point out that Adam Lanza robbed those children their future. When John kill Jane, he robs her future. It is prima facie, granting just war, death sentences and unborn threatening the life of the pregnant woman, morally wrong to rob a human being’s life.

                  I did not argue for potentiality. Your sperms has a potential of forming a new human being when it fertilize a woman’s egg. Your sperms by themselves dó have potential but not possibility of becoming a new human being thus I do not oppose condom or contraception that do not destroy the life of new human begin.

                  If you think it is prima facie morally wrong to end a human being future then it is wrong to end a fertilized egg, which is, following the majority of experts in this field, the beginning of a new human begin.

                  Size, development, position, location, personhood and status of this new begin does not matter, if it is human begin, then it is prima facie morally wrong to end it’s possible future.

                  1. @Prayson Daniel

                    My argument is that
                    1. it is prima facie morally wrong to end a possible future of a human begin
                    2. Abortion ends a possible future of a human being.
                    3. Therefore it’s prima facie morally wrong to abort.

                    The first premise smacks of a objective morality that does not dovetail with reality. This syllogism gives no credence to the consequences of what a forced birth morality would do to women in the non platonic realm of the real world.

                    Both these syllogisms are consequential in nature, but I think more accurately reflect the real world effects of access/non-access to abortion.

                    1. Slavery is morally wrong.
                    2. Forcing a woman to give birth is slavery.
                    C. Forced Birth is morally wrong.

                    1. Bodily autonomy is a human right.
                    2. Women being human, possess bodily autonomy.
                    C. Therefore, women can decide how their body is used.

                    Note that is the woman’s body being used, her energy, her food, her oxygen. These are her resources and can do with them as she sees fit.

                    Consent to use her body does not change with intercourse and/or fertilization and being an autonomous human being, consent can be withdrawn at any time.

                    1. Thank you for showing civility as you dealt with my case and not my character.

                      Logical reasoning (in syllogism) is a way I can carefully argue my case and in the say way show that your two arguments are not sound.

                      1. Slavery is morally wrong.(True)
                      2. Forcing a woman to give birth is slavery.(?)
                      C. Forced Birth is morally wrong.

                      Your first argument seem to commit the error of equivocation. According to dictionary, Slavery is:

                      1 the practice or system of owning slaves
                      2. a condition of having to work very hard without proper remuneration or appreciation
                      3. excessive dependence on or devotion to something
                      4. a state of being a slave.

                      Before I address it, could you help me know which definition you have used?

                      1. Bodily autonomy is a human right.
                      2. Women being human, possess bodily autonomy.
                      C. Therefore, women can decide how their body is used

                      This argument is weak because if the body belong to the woman and she can decide how to use her body then it would follow that she can end the life of the unborn 1 second before it is born(9 months or 8 months or 7 months which not all for abortion are will to accept).

                      Moreover, what if the unborn is a female. Does unborn woman also have right to decide how her body ought to be use.

                      Moreover, this argument work in favor of those against abortion. 😉

                      1. Bodily autonomy is a human right
                      2a. Unborn being human, posses bodily autonomy
                      Ca. Therefore, unborn has the right to their own body

                      Let me know your thought.

  3. Here are facts from scientific literature:

    From Subcommittee on Separation of Powers to Senate Judiciary Committee S-158, Report, 97th Congress, 1st Session, 1981, Dr. Watson A. Bowes reported “”The beginning of a single human life is from a biological point of view a simple and straightforward matter – the beginning is conception.” and thus U.S. Senate report states:

    “Physicians, biologists, and other scientists agree that conception marks the beginning of the life of a human being – a being that is alive and is a member of the human species. There is overwhelming agreement on this point in countless medical, biological, and scientific writings.”(ibid)

    E. L. Potter and J. M. Craig, leading figures embryology,

    “Every time a sperm cell and ovum unite a new being is created which is alive and will continue to live unless its death is brought about by some specific condition.” ( Pathology of the Fetus and the Infant, 3rd ed., Chicago: Year Book Medical Publishers, 1975, page vii.)

    Also Bradley M. Patten

    “It is the penetration of the ovum by a spermatozoan and resultant mingling of the nuclear material that each brings to the union that constitutes the culmination of the process of fertilization and marks the initiation of the life of a new individual.” (Human Embryology, 3rd ed., New York: McGraw Hill, 1968, page 43.)

    Maureen L. Condic wrote,

    “Modern science indicates that the beginning of life occurs sometime after the fertilization of an ovum by a sperm cell, yet fertilization itself is surprisingly difficult to define.”(When Does Human Life Begin? A Scientific Perspective White Paper Vol, 1 No.1 October 2008)

    Moore, K. and T.V.N. Persaud:

    “Zygote: this cell results from the union of an oocyte and a sperm. A zygote is the beginning of a new human being (i.e., an embryo). Human development begins at fertilization, the process during which a male gamete or sperm”(The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology (1998) p.2)

    More evidence it is at it is before the first cell division that zygotic genome is active of human[and most mammals] embryos.

    Christine Bouniol, Eric Nguyen, and Pascale Debey, “Endogenous Transcription Occurs at the 1-cell Stage in the Mouse Embryo,” Experimental Cell Research 218, no. 2 (May 1995): 57-62

    Anthony T. Dob- son et al., “The Unique Transcriptome Through Day 3 of Human Preimplantation Development,” Human Molecular Genetics 13, no. 14 (July 2004):1461-70.

    Luke Martin-McCaffrey et al., “RGS14 is a Mitotic Spindle Protein Essential from the First Division of the Mammalian Zygote,” Developmental Cell 7, no. 5 (November 2004): 763-9

    Asangla Ao et al., “Transcription of Paternal Y-linked Genes in the Human Zygote as Early as the Pronucleate Stage,” Zygote 2,
    no. 4 (November 1994): 281-7; Robert Daniels et al., “XIST Expression in Human Oocytes and Preimplantation Embryos” American Journal of Human Genetics 61, no.1 (July 1997): 33-9.

    Richard M. Schultz, “Regulation of Zygotic Gene Activation in the Mouse,” Bioessays 15, no. 8 (August 1993): 531-8

    The conclusion is solid as Dr. Hymie Gordon, Chairman, Department of Genetics at the Mayo Clinic put it ” “By all the criteria of modern molecular biology, life is present from the moment of conception.” (Life or Death by EEG, JAMA, Oct.12, 1964, p.113)

    If you would like more I could keep directing you to what scientists on this field say.

  4. As usual, I am a few days late to these debates.

    The posters here may find this to be an interesting read, however:


    “I. The basic argument
    The Thirteenth Amendment
    reads as follows:
    1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a
    punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been
    duly convicted,
    shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their
    2. Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by
    appropriate legislation.
    My claim is that the amendment
    violated by laws that prohibit abortion.
    Whenwomen are compelled to carry and bear children, they are subjected to “involuntary servitude” in violation of the amendment. Abortion prohibitions violate the Amendment’s guarantee of personal liberty, because forced pregnancy and childbirth, by compelling the woman to serve the fetus, creates “that control by which the personal
    service of one man [sic] is disposed of or coerced for another’s benefit which is the essence of involuntary servitude.”
    Such laws violate the amendment’s guarantee of equality, because forcing women to be mothers makes them into a servant caste, a group
    which, by virtue of a status of birth, is held subject to a special duty to serve others and not themselves.This argument makes available two responses to the standard defense of such prohibitions, the claim
    that the fetus is a person. The first is that even if this is so, its
    right to the continued aid of the woman does not follow. As
    Judith Jarvis Thomsonobserves, “having a right to life does not guarantee having either a right to be given the use of or a right to be allowed continued use of another person’s body even if one needs it for life itself.”
    Giving fetuses a legal right to the continued use of their mothers’
    bodies would be precisely what the Thirteenth Amendment forbids. The second response is that since abortion prohibitions infringe on the fundamental right to be free of involuntary servitude, the burden is on the state to show that the violation of this right is justified. Since the thesis that the fetus is, or should at least be considered, a person
    seems impossible to prove (or to refute), this is a burden that the state cannot carry. If we are not certain that the fetus is a person, then the mere possibility that it might be is not enough to justify violating women’s Thirteenth Amendment rights by forcing them to be

  5. Hi Roberty – I was just in Ireland a few weeks ago. It is a very catholic nation and probably one of the most religious in Europe. When you consider their recent problems with the economy and civil war it is a wonder they have time to even consider social issues like abortion. The fact that they are discussing it at all is a very interesting indicator of the social consciousness there.

    1. Well Ireland is probably one of the most religious countries in Europe, but this is changing fast. There has been a very rapid decline in religiousoity in the last 2 decades. There is also a large generational divide with few young people considered religious.

      I think you might have gotten a bit mixed up with about the Irish Civil War, it ended in 1923. We have been talking about little expect the economy since 2008 so this is first real change of topic. It was the death of Savita Halappanavar that put abortion into the spotlight and meant we could longer avoid it.

      1. I mis-spoke when I said “Irish Civil War”. I think what I meant was the issues with the IRA and related events.

        As far as the religious decrease in Ireland – I think that general trend is world-wide (at least that’s what I’m seeing.)

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