Yesterday, Tim posted thoughts by Justin Taylor on the JAMA fetal pain controversy.
As you know, I also wrote of the fetal pain controversy in my WorldNetDaily.com column today.
I have additional thoughts on John’s commentary, specifically on his following points:
I have a hard time getting emotionally invested in the issue of fetal pain…. It seems clear to me that the goal behind the proposed legislation is not really about alleviating pain from fetuses. (After all, the fetuses get killed anyway!) The hope is that once a mother is informed about the reality of fetal pain by her physician, she will change her mind and pursue other options besides abortion.
I have mixed feelings about this approach. On the one hand, I embrace forms of pragmatism and incrementalism in the fight for life. If it’s true that unborn babies feel pain at 20 weeks, and if informing a mother of this fact causes her not to murder her baby, then I support such legislation.
All the while, I believe we should be making passionate, persuasive arguments against a functional view of personhood (roughly, that a “person” is defined by his functions)….
Nonetheless, I wonder if some of our language as Christians can unwittingly reflect or reinforce a functional view of personhood….
Dear blogger host Tim further added:
I note that the use of pain or the developmental status of an unborn baby as the basis for an ethical argument opposing abortion is prone to difficulty because, as Justin articulates, it can be used to demean the personhood of the child….
I’m not writing in opposition to the incremental approaches mentioned by Justin, nor backing down from criticism of the JAMA article. I simply agree with Justin that the argument must ultimately be brought back to its metaphysical basis.
I do not want to discount anything John and Tim say. I understand their logic.
I will simply add this point.
Sometimes discussion of logic, functions, and metaphysics does take us away from the actual.
The actuality is that second trimester fetuses beyond 20 weeks assuredly feel intense, prolonged pain while being drawn and quartered via abortion.
If we cannot stop abortion yet, we can at least try to ensure these babies are humanely murdered. I can barely sit here imagining the torture these babies endure while being killed. I can’t stop the killing, but perhaps I can alleviate their suffering.
Even the Roman soldiers offered Jesus vinegar water while killing Him.
And if, along the way, this discussion helps people understand these are humans being killed, all the better.