Obama and conception

Where was Barack Obama when we needed him? While legislatures around the country have been debating when human life begins and the morality of experimenting on human embryos, who knew liberal luminary Obama would provide the answer Sunday in Selma?  From Obama's speech:

We have too many children in poverty in this country, and everybody should be ashamed, but don't tell me it doesn't have a little to do with the fact that we've got too many daddies not acting like daddies. Don't think that fatherhood ends at conception.

Belushi Actually, that last line makes no sense.  But I am reminded of John Belushi in Animal House when he shouted, "Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!" and will just go with it.

Obama was trying to say a man becomes a father at conception, which is fascinating.  You can't be a father to a newly created subhuman or nonhuman. 

Liberal blogger Archpundit dared to contradict Obama by saying...

... "A blastocyst is a clump of 50-150 undifferentiated cells. That is not a human being."

Shockingly, Archpundit insulted Obama even further! Responding to someone's assertion that "blastocysts are humans," Archpundit said that was "factually incorrect"! Horrors!  Did Archpundit call Obama a liar?

I asked Archie what then was factually correct? He said, "Where one specifically draws the line is debatable, but a blastocyst is not a human being. 150 undifferentiated cells does not make a human being."

It is fascinating that proponents of human embryo experimentation like Archie are so sure human life does not begin at conception but not so sure when it does.

It is equally fascinating that proponents of human embryo experimentation (and abortion) like Barack Obama appear to understand when human life begins (who also said during the Selma speech, "Thank God, He's made us in His image.") but don't mind condemning them to death.


Comments:

So maybe now you see how saying, "Life begins at conception, so abortion is wrong," is inneffective? You have to be simply retarded not to know that. But it is not an argument against abortion. It is simply biological fact.

Now, our current President claims to be pro-life. However, he has no problem sending the same people who were once the fetuses he wants to protect away to war and death. Explain this contradiction to me. If life really begins at conception, why would our President do anything to jeopardize the life of his citizens by sending them to war?

Posted by: Ilana at March 10, 2007 11:27 AM


Maybe Senator Obama realizes the issue is not as cut and dry as Pro-Lifers would like to think.

Posted by: Lando the Great at March 10, 2007 12:55 PM


Mr. Obama seems to realize there are other aspects to this subject then only religion.

And I may state that it's not true that we're not sure "where human life beginns". As a matter of fact, there a different views on this topic.
To me, human life beginns when a baby is does not depend on his mother for nutrition anymore. But that's just my opinion.

Posted by: Ingrid at March 10, 2007 1:25 PM


Ingrid, all medical textbooks state that life begins at conception. They are not religious in nature but simply describe natural law. If human life only begins when a baby is not dependent on his mother for nutrition - he/she is dependent until he can wield a spoon for himself (and even then can't open a jar or buy food at the grocery store). Are you saying babies up to two years old are not humans? Is a quadriplegic who cannot feed herself not human? Ilana, the war on terror is a completely different subject than abortion.

Posted by: Lynn at March 10, 2007 2:33 PM


What I mean, is, life begins at birth for me. Dependant on the mother means, it depends on the mother for nutrition, which the baby doesn't anymore the moment it's born.

Posted by: Ingrid at March 10, 2007 3:11 PM


Ingrid, babies can survive outside the womb at 22 weeks of gestation - so when you say birth don't you really mean viability? Why wait until birth? Your distinction is without a difference, since you only apply it to pre-born humans and not post-born humans. That seems pretty arbitrary. I would also argue there is an absolute value to human life that is irrelevant to your opinion. There is a reality that exists outside of what you sense. You may personally think my life is totally worthless, for example, but that doesn't give you the right to kill me.

Posted by: Lynn at March 10, 2007 3:44 PM


I never said human life doesn't have a value. I simply stated that to me, life begins the moment a baby is born and not dependent on the woman.

And to be honest, I don't care what textbooks state. Existence may begin at conception, but I think that's a philosophical question.

Posted by: Ingrid at March 10, 2007 4:09 PM


But if you argue that dependence is the sole condition you base your opinion of what is a human life upon, then it is a condition that must be applied to all stages of life, not just pre-borns, in determining whether or not it is a human life. Your opinion breaks down when that standard is applied. You're right, the discussion of if there is an absolute reality independent of a human's senses is a philosophical question. I would encourage you to further examine the independent philosophical evidence of an absolute reality and medical evidence of when life begins. The reasoning in those lines of discipline have nothing to do with religion but do prove abortion is wrong as it is the taking of an innocent human life, which is contrary to natural law. A mother's innate nature is to protect, not kill her children.

Posted by: Lynn at March 10, 2007 4:34 PM


"The reasoning in those lines of discipline have nothing to do with religion but do prove abortion is wrong as it is the taking of an innocent human life, which is contrary to natural law."

Lynn, I must disagree, at least with respect to philosophy. (I'm not in the medical field, so I can't say about that, but philosophy is something I do know about). Many bioethicists believe either 1) that personhood does not begin until a point that makes abortion during certain stages of pregnancy a morally permissible act (where exactly where the point is is itself contentious) or 2) That even if a fetus is a person with all the rights that go along with that, it still does not have the right to use a woman's body without her consent, since this is not a right that anyone has, person or no.

Of course, there are philosophers who argue the pro-life side of things, and argue their case well. Many, however, argue on the basis of religion, or a religiously funded notion of what the natural law is. The point, though, is that it is incorrect to state that philosophy has settled on this at all, much less that they have settled it for the pro-life side.

Posted by: Diana at March 10, 2007 6:53 PM


"Ingrid, all medical textbooks state that life begins at conception"

Medical text books may say that, but not all sciences believe that to be the case, different branches see life beginning at different points.

http://8e.devbio.com/article.php?id=162

bout half way down they share some of the different views, so when life begins is debatable

Posted by: Dan at March 11, 2007 12:35 AM


for some reason the preview/post options don't appear at the bottom of the comments box on the "abortion awards" post, so I will continue to comment here until it returns.

Hope you guys find this and realize I am here now...

MK

Posted by: mary kay at March 11, 2007 12:28 PM


There's something I want cleared up.
Fetuses are human beings correct? So the pro-life message tries to guarantee them the same rights and obligations as other humans, correct? So answer me this:
I need bone marrow from person X. I will die without it. They are under no legal obligation to give it to me. They have complete authority over their marrow. They can deny it to me at any time.
Why should a fetus be so much more special than any other human? How can a fetus claim rights over another persons uterus but I can't claim rights over someone's bone marrow? I thought we were all equal humans?
If we want to maintain a standard of equality, then either we allow abortion, or we allow people to sue other people for organs that are needed to save their lives.
If a fetus can do it, why can't we?

Posted by: Jen at March 11, 2007 1:14 PM


Dan, I checked your link, which provided a thorough thesis - almost 9,500 words - to say opinions vary on when life begins, from conception to 2-3 years after birth.

(In its analysis of the Bible, it did not include Jeremiah 1:5, which states, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart," or Ephesians 2:10, which states, "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." If we consider those, we can add to the debate that every conception is preplanned.)

An honest question: Since no one agrees when human life begins, wouldn't the most cautious decision be to protect life - be it potential or actual - from its earliest possible time?

As it is, our laws are a confused mess, thanks to the legalization of abortion. We call the killing of innocent life murder from birth on. We even call the killing of innocent preborn life murder if it is not the mother doing the killing. And certain states like mine, IL, have laws protecting embryos from the moment of conception and laws authorizing their killing for experimentation at the same time.

Wouldn't it be best, and wouldn't it equally ensure we're following the precept of the Declaration of Indepdence to provide the right to life to all, if we simply said all human life was protected from the moment of conception?

Posted by: Jill Stanek at March 11, 2007 2:30 PM


Um, I don't think Obama was talking about abortion. I think he meant that fathers shouldn't just abandon girls after knocking them up - that there is more to fatherhood than getting a girl pregnant.

Maybe if there were fewer deadbeat fathers, there would be less call for abortion.

Posted by: Peg at March 11, 2007 2:41 PM


"Since no one agrees when human life begins, wouldn't the most cautious decision be to protect life - be it potential or actual - from its earliest possible time?"

Perhaps, Jill. At least until we had a solid understanding of when life begins. But for some pro-choicers (myself among them), whether or not the embryo/fetus is a potential life, a human life, a person, whatever, is irrelevant to the abortion issue. An thinking, feeling, reasoning individual who is obviously a person does not have a right to use your body without your consent, even for his survival. You have no obligation to allow this person to use your body. Hence the fetus, even if it is a person, has no right to use a woman's body without her consent, even for survival. This was the point of Jen's post above. I myself have also presented philosophical cases on this blog that purport to demostrate this.

Before pro-lifers can make the argument you are making here, they must first demonstrate that the fetus, if a person, does have the right to use a woman's body without her consent. Without establishing that, the issue of personhood is irrelevant to whether abortion is morally permissible or not.

Posted by: Diana at March 11, 2007 3:01 PM


Jill, we do not call the killing of fetuses "murder." That is a state-legislated title. If a pregnant woman is assaulted, and the fetus is killed but the woman is not, the attacker is charged for aggravated assault, and most likely manslaughter or homicide, but certainly not murder. And if you're going to attempt to bring up the Lacy Peterson case, you would do well to remember that the fetus was found OUTSIDE of Lacy's body, and bore signs of physical attack from Scott Peterson.

Posted by: Ilana at March 11, 2007 3:02 PM


Diana, 3:01p: Many people on this blog have persuasively argued against this sticking point of yours that you continue to repeat. It is the foundational issue upon which you base your support of abortion, so ok, we will simply have to agree to disagree.

Ilana, ok, I'll agree to your terms to call the killing of preborn babies by any other than their mothers manslaughter or homicide, and not murder.

I'm not sure how you thought I might bring Laci and Connor Peterson into this discussion, but you unintentionally stumbled on a case in point. Congress passed the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, aka Laci and Connor's Law, in 2004, which states anyone like Scott who knowingly kills a pregnant mother will be charged with two m-words. (news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/abortion/unbornbill32504.html

Posted by: Jill Stanek at March 11, 2007 3:26 PM


Jill,

why won't the preview/post prompt show up for me on the "abortion awards" blog? I'm so frustrated. I had really worked at building a ground floor and now can't respond to everyones replies. I can't even tell them why I'm not responding...

HELP!!!!!!!

mary kay

Posted by: mary kay at March 11, 2007 3:47 PM


"Diana, 3:01p: Many people on this blog have persuasively argued against this sticking point of yours that you continue to repeat. It is the foundational issue upon which you base your support of abortion, so ok, we will simply have to agree to disagree."

Jill,

I'm afraid I've not seen any of those replies. John had directed me to a post on the Michael C. thread, but I couldn't seem to find a post from him that dealt with this argument. I would love to see some of the posts challenging this particular argument, since I'm always up for debate, but I don't know where they are.

Posted by: Diana at March 11, 2007 3:53 PM


"I need bone marrow from person X. I will die without it. They are under no legal obligation to give it to me. They have complete authority over their marrow. They can deny it to me at any time.
Why should a fetus be so much more special than any other human? How can a fetus claim rights over another persons uterus but I can't claim rights over someone's bone marrow? I thought we were all equal humans?
If we want to maintain a standard of equality, then either we allow abortion, or we allow people to sue other people for organs that are needed to save their lives.
If a fetus can do it, why can't we?"

Because a parent is expected to provide care for its progeny.

As in:

I have to drag my BODY out of bed at 4AM to work a double shift to provide for my kids.

Maybe even kids I took measures to prevent conceiving.

Posted by: Papa Squash at March 11, 2007 4:01 PM


Mary Kay, I think what was happening was there were so many comments your computer might have had trouble uploading them all to get to the point where you could post.

So I've started a Part II here, which will make it easier for everybody.

Posted by: Jill Stanek at March 11, 2007 5:14 PM


"Because a parent is expected to provide care for its progeny.
As in:
I have to drag my BODY out of bed at 4AM to work a double shift to provide for my kids.
Maybe even kids I took measures to prevent conceiving."

But, Papa, despite your emphasis on the word "body" there is a big difference between claiming that they have a right to your time and effort and claiming that they have a right to use your actual body. Even if it were your child, you have no obligation to give them a bone marrow transplant, and they have no right to demand it. Would it be decent of you and appropriate, given that you are a parent? Sure, but that doesn't make it an obligation.

Posted by: Diana at March 11, 2007 5:23 PM


Diana, all I can suggest is that you go back to the places you've made that statement and look for responses. Or perhaps those who responded, like John, can restate.

Or how about this. You've raised a point I've not ever heard put quite the way you have. It is worth fleshing out (pardon the pun... :). Why not restate it succinctly and cleanly, perhaps email me with it (jillstanek@comcast.net), and I'll make it a new blog topic.

Posted by: Jill Stanek at March 11, 2007 5:27 PM


Jill, that is something that I might be willing to do. Although I have to admit I'm a bit worried about being misunderstood/misconstrued. So, you'd have to give me a little time to get the full argument together in clean, clear condition, since I would want to make sure that the format, word choice, etc, were suitable for good philosophical debate (and, sadly, Spring Break is ending and the weighty duties of grad school are calling).

In the meantime, if you're interested, the main idea is actually Judith Thomson's. You can find the paper from which most of these ideas are drawn here: http://spot.colorado.edu/~heathwoo/Phil160,Fall02/thomson.htm
(It's also on JSTOR)

Blogging on her paper might actually be a better idea, since she's the respected bioethicist, and I'm just a grad student in philosophy of language and cognitive science who dabbles in bioethics. But I'd be willing to send an email with her ideas condensed, if you like.

Posted by: Diana at March 11, 2007 6:00 PM


Perhaps the JSTOR version would be better, as I look over the site I sent you, there are errors (probably typographical, etc) that were not in the original. I guess that's what you get with a site for a class. The argument is the same, but errors are annoying when reading.

Posted by: Diana at March 11, 2007 6:08 PM


Diana, I'm interested in pursuing this discussion, not in "gotcha." I'm interested in winning people over, including you, not winning a debate. I'm also interested in pro-lifers developing their thought processes and discussion skills.

Re: your concerns of being "misunderstood/misconstrued," well, join the club, my dear. It comes with this territory. But I'll try to monitor the discussion on the pro-life end if you monitor it on your end to make sure purposeful word twisting doesn't happen.

I am confident in our position, no matter from what angle we examine it and am interested to see how pro-lifers respond.

Yes, condense the ideas very tightly.

Who knows? This may end up to be a thesis paper for you.

Posted by: Jill Stanek at March 11, 2007 6:32 PM


Thank you for reponding to the "can't post" problem. I was getting soooooo frustrated.

And yes Diana and Jill, a calm, rational, discussion on this topic would be most welcome...

Kudos to you both. Even if we can't agree, maybe we could argue like adults. While I think both of you are out of my league, (no college as I have said before), when it comes to using the "lingo" in a debate, I do nevertheless believe I can hold my own on the idea end. Just be patient with me in terms of using words that come from Philosphy classes. I spend more time looking these up than I care to...Feel free to use them, just define them when you do...lol.

I too, enjoy a good debate, and I can't think of a more deserving topic than human life and dignity.

MK

Posted by: mary kay at March 12, 2007 6:25 AM