When Is A Life A Life?
One of my friends on facebook posted this graphic.
A number of her friends have either 'liked' or commented on the photo in support of this idea. I, on the other hand, along with one of her other friends, commented about the inherent contradiction evident in the graphic.
Seems she didn't like the fact that we commented, since she basically said to shut up, ignore her posts, or delete her. So much for a civil discussion.
So I'm moving the discussion here, because I think it is a valid one. Why? Because states across the US are trying to introduce 'personhood' amendments to their constitutions, defining life from the moment of conception. Now, I may be far out there, but I see this graphic as supporting that argument, and so I think it is a natural progression of the discussion to talk about what it would mean if laws (beyond morals) followed this idea.
My friend's argument (via the graphic) is basically that a single cell is considered life. Which is a silly argument, because I don't think anyone would disagree. But the argument that most people who agree with her see is that a fertilized egg is considered life, and thus is a person, which is where things get sticky.
See, my main problem was that the graphic didn't address the difference between a 'life' and a 'person'. After all, it states that a single celled creature on another planet is a life. Therefore, the single celled creatures living in my intestines, on my skin, on every surface, etc, are also life. And if you truly believed that all life was equal (one person commented "A life is a life, PERIOD!!!!"), you're a living contradiction, because you kill 'lives' by washing your hands, by eating (whether or not you're a vegetarian), by driving your car, by simply living.
My friend then brought into the debate the idea of abortion. Up until that point, I was busy pointing out that all lives are not equal. She stated:
I think it's one of those things that you are either in the stance of a child being a life worth living from the moment of conception or you aren't. There isn't really a reconciliation involved because people have every right to believe on either side. For me, a child is a life worth living from the moment of conception, regardless of circumstance. I respect those who feel differently but I don't agree. Other's can feel free to respect me and disagree with my opinion on it. I find it hard to reconcile when someone says that 3 or 4 or 5 months along in a pregnancy is still NOT a person. But that's my opinion.
Which, of course, brought me into the whole debate about why fertilized eggs should NOT be considered persons. My reasons are as follows:
1. I should not be put at risk for murder for destroying something that half the time doesn't survive on its own (re: miscarriages).
2. Until at least 8 days post-conception, a woman doesn't know she's pregnant. She often doesn't find out until 2-3 weeks post-conception. If she's unfortunate enough not to have regular, monthly periods, it could be much longer, well into the first trimester, when she finds out. Should she be held accountable for actions that might put the baby's life at risk if she doesn't even know it exists? I don't think so.
3. Pregnancy is inherently a dangerous condition. No, it's not a disease, but that doesn't mean it's not dangerous. Women can have irreversible damage done to their body when pregnant, everything from strokes to liver failure to losing feeling in your hands and feet. I don't feel that a woman should be forced to accept that risk.
If laws were enacted to define all human lives as equal from the moment of conception, then women could be charged with manslaughter (or murder) for miscarrying. Or for requiring an abortion in the case of a tubal pregnancy (which is a threat to the mother's life). Or child abuse for not stopping smoking during pregnancy, even if they weren't aware that they were pregnant.
Don't think it could happen? It already has.
Granted, those are based on fetal homicide laws. But what would happen if all human life, from the moment of conception, was considered equal? I shudder to think.