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Abortion vs Your Religious Beliefs


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In addition to Mooey's post, I would like to point out that this is in no way an argument based on logic, but a huge assumption on your part mixed with a seemingly limited knowledge of how pregnancy w

I'm not sure what you mean by "soul," but if you're talking about a supernatural entity, then what does that have to do with anything? Would not a soul also be a product of what it is "to begin with,"

I don't think anyone would argue that a raped woman should not be allowed to have an abortion. It seems clear to me that the emotional trauma is damaging enough to be worth the loss of the feotus. Of

It seems like implicit in your "perhaps" is that there is an objectively correct answer that we just aren't aware of. Blindly firing a gun into a darkened room is "perhaps" murder, depending on whether or not there is someone there for me to hit. But abortion is a different situation. We know what will happen. We just have to decide whether what will happen is acceptable. "Person" is human-defined. A bullet hitting or not hitting someone is objective reality.

 

The statement 'abortion ends a human life' (as opposed to 'prevents the creation of human life' or anything closer to that) already assumes that human life starts from conception. Not only is the bunch of cells in a zygote *life*, they're already *human* life.

 

It would be nice if it was anywhere at all supported by reason, though. If you consider the zygote life, then you have a problem with twins. And with about a billion different things that might happen to the pack of cells before they might turn into a fetus, and then into a human life.

 

You can't just assume that it's life without supporting this assumption and making sure the logic sticks to other definitions as well.

 

~moo

 

Sisyphus, is “person” really human defined? What if the deciding person is wrong? My question in part asks how bad is murder? How strongly should it be avoided? Should people be compelled not to commit murder? It is against the law to fire a gun into a darkened room.

 

Mooeypoo, I did say the woman was pregnant. Perhaps I am wrong, but I do believe that pregnancy happens sometime after conception. Also I intentionally left the gestation period ambiguous. So does abortion start out morally neutral and increase in its immorality with gestation? Or is it morally neutral up to “personhood” and then its morally very bad (murder)? Can such act really just be a little bit murder? Finally I don’t get the twins comment. Why wouldn’t double murder be worse?

 

I'd say that performing invasive medical procedures on people against their will is immoral, as a rule of thumb. I would also think the moral ramifications depend further on whether the person doing the terminating thinks of it as a person. If you destroy what you think is a person but isn't, are you a murderer? Not in the eyes of the law, but perhaps morally.

 

Morally? Good question. Would you want to have such a person as a friend?

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But conception obviously can't be the starting point, because of identical twins.

 

Why not? The possibility of twins only means you are potentially ending two lives rather then definitely ending one... how does that hurt the life-at-conception argument?


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Identical twins form from a single zygote that divides. So if the human life is created at conception, then twins have to share one life.


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No, it means both of their lives started at the same point.


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I'd say birth would be far more obvious than fertilization. I wouldn't pick it, though, because a newborn is "obviously" a person, and a just-about-to-be-born has so much in common with a newborn in terms of their physical attributes if not their circumstances. Some cultures would disagree. In fact, some don't even consider newborns to be "people."

 

Well you pretty much make my point there, don't you? The change from in-utero to post natal is not as drastic a change and has all the same gray areas that you have already stated. It is not as clear cut as the change from not-a-definable-life to a life.

 

Similarly, I wouldn't pick fertilization, either, because sperm/egg and zygote both "obviously" don't possess personhood. If what you value about human life can include a single-celled organism, you're doing it wrong. (But hey, that's just my opinion.)

 

You are oversimplifying by equating a developing human with an actual single celled animal that will never be a human being in it's whole lifetime. See my dehumanization argument.

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Why not? The possibility of twins only means you are potentially ending two lives rather then definitely ending one... how does that hurt the life-at-conception argument?


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No, it means both of their lives started at the same point.

 

Twins are a problem because you don't know how many lives start at conception. At conception there is only one single fertilized egg -- can you tell whether this is 1 life, 2 lives, 3 lives, or 4 lives? It's just one cell!

 

Also, we can choose to split the zygote into more than one once it has had a few cell divisions, so that we can choose how many identical twins to make. Can we create human life in the lab?

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Twins are a problem because you don't know how many lives start at conception. At conception there is only one single fertilized egg -- can you tell whether this is 1 life, 2 lives, 3 lives, or 4 lives? It's just one cell!

 

Also, we can choose to split the zygote into more than one once it has had a few cell divisions, so that we can choose how many identical twins to make. Can we create human life in the lab?

 

I don't doubt that that is an interesting question. I just don't think it's a question that is pertinent to the morality of abortion. All you are doing is adding the potential for more dead, which does nothing to lessen the negative impact of abortion.

 

I'm still a bit confused by your position, anyway... are you arguing that there is no such thing as a soul, or just no soul in a fertilized egg?

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Doesn't pro-choice necessarily extend the right of the mother over their child's life even past birth? I haven't seen this addressed yet.

 

Why would that be the case? At some point, society has to establish a general rule. "Pro-choice" simply means delaying that point in acknowledgement of moral grey areas.


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Sisyphus, is “person” really human defined?

 

Yes.

 

What if the deciding person is wrong?

 

Wrong about what?

 

My question in part asks how bad is murder? How strongly should it be avoided? Should people be compelled not to commit murder?

 

None of those questions are relevant to abortion, unless you have already decided that what you're destroying is a person.

 

It is against the law to fire a gun into a darkened room.

 

Yes, and I specifically used that as a counterexample.

 

What is your favorite color? I haven't decided.

What is his favorite color? I don't know.

 

See the difference?

 

Morally? Good question. Would you want to have such a person as a friend?

 

Would I want to have an attempted murderer as a friend? No, probably not. What's your point?

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Doesn't pro-choice necessarily extend the right of the mother over their child's life even past birth? I haven't seen this addressed yet.
Are you saying this because the child is still dependent upon the mother for care after birth, that a newborn human can't survive on it's own? The child could be cared for by many means if the mother wasn't around. As far as I can see, pro-choice only concerns itself with what is happening inside a woman's body during pregnancy. Morally, how can you have a free person if that person isn't allowed to make decisions concerning their own body?
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I don't doubt that that is an interesting question. I just don't think it's a question that is pertinent to the morality of abortion. All you are doing is adding the potential for more dead, which does nothing to lessen the negative impact of abortion.

 

But who dies? Are we committing mass murder by not turning every egg into identical twins (or triplets or quadruplets)? Are you committing mass murder when you tell your daughter to abstain and/or use birth control? The non-existence of potential persons, is in no way comparable to the potential death of real persons.

 

I'm still a bit confused by your position, anyway... are you arguing that there is no such thing as a soul, or just no soul in a fertilized egg?

 

I don't believe in a soul... but if I had to say, I would say that only a person can have a soul and a soul only can be on a person; whatever is a person has the same rights as whatever has a soul. Whether the soul can wander around having no material effect on the world afterwards is an interesting question, but irrelevant to this world.

 

A fertilized egg can't be a person, therefore it can't have a soul.

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Well you pretty much make my point there, don't you? The change from in-utero to post natal is not as drastic a change and has all the same gray areas that you have already stated. It is not as clear cut as the change from not-a-definable-life to a life.

 

Your point is that abortion is a moral grey area?

 

You are oversimplifying by equating a developing human with an actual single celled animal that will never be a human being in it's whole lifetime.

 

And what difference does that make? Bearing in mind that the difference has to apply to all "potential persons..."

 

See my dehumanization argument.

 

And see my response to it:

 

I wiped out a group of roaches living in my apartment recently. It is true that I didn't think of them as people, and that it would have made it unacceptable for me to kill them if I did. I guess in that sense I'm similar to those dehumanizing genocide perpetrators, though associating me with them on those grounds seems like a fallacious emotional appeal.

 

In case that wasn't clear, my point is that it's only "dehumanizing" if it was a person to begin with. You can come up with as many absurd comparisons as necessary. "Sitting on a chair, huh? Kind of dehumanizing to the chair, isn't it? You know, the Nazis dehumanized people too, before they gassed them."

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Go further. Suppose I perfect an amazing technology that lets me extract a cell from an adult, turn it into a stem cell, then an egg cell, all while preserving the original DNA and encouraging it to grow. It doesn't even have to be fertilized, since it keeps the original DNA. It's a clone, basically.

 

At what point in the procedure is destroying my miracle cell murder?

 

If you are on the anti-choice from the time of conception side of the debate, it seems to me that destroying any human cell should be considered "murder" since technology might one day make any cell into a person. What happens when biologists discover how to convert say a grasshopper cell into a human one? Does that then mean that squashing a grasshopper underfoot becomes murder? Or what if they discover how to turn inert materials into cells etc., etc.

That is why at birth seems to be a more objective criteria.

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It seems to me that there is a bit of a shift of the goal post here.

 

On one hand, whenever a fertilized cell is extracted from a woman's womb it's concidered murder because it destroyed the "potential" to become human life. This, of course, ignores the fact that in early stages of the pregnancy about a million different things can happen to make this cell either not develop into a person, develop into more than one person, or develop into a badly-formed person. The only reason we see less and less of the latter is because of modern medicine and our ability o know what might harm pregnancies.

 

So we're actively changing the "potential" of creating a malformed life (that nature intends, or, if you wish, God) by preventing the woman from doing some things during pregnancy, taking certain prenatal vitamins and care, etc. With that, there seems to be no "moral" problem.

 

But when we start talking about removing that cell -- which has yet to develop to a person and only has a potential, one out of a few, to be a person (or not, or two persons or more, or malformed, etc) -- then it's immoral. Then the goalpost is suddenly about not changing the potential?

 

A lump of cells is not a human being. Dolly the sheep was cloned from a lump of cells that were unfertilized. As a few already said in the thread, if you want to talk "potential" then we should oppose having our blood drawn, we should make sure our hair follicles are not forcefully extracted, we should be extremely careful not to spit anywhere and watch out from cuts and bruises, because with todays technology, *ALL* of our cells (live ones at least) have a potential to create life.

 

In the above case, however, the goal post shifts to having almost no moral question, because..... what? because the statistics aren't high enough? because we're not used ot it? because it's not natural?

 

If the argument stems out of cloning being not natural, then the problem is not just abortion, it's hospitalization and medicine in general, contraception is not "natural", abstinence is not "natural", and quite a lot of other things we do that *CAUSES* a baby to be born healthy.

 

The goal post keeps shifting in this argument about morality. I think we should set it on one place, not let it move, and see if the arguments are consistent.

 

~moo

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I agree about the moving goal posts. Here are my suggestions.

 

1) Not all human life represents a person. This is often argued at both the beginning and the end of life.

 

2) Abortion deals with the morality of a situation in which an actual existing human life is either intentionally prevented from becoming a person or stopped from continuing as a person. In this particular situation, the human life in question is at the beginning of its existence.

 

3) The human life terminated in an abortion would likely continue to live and properly develop without an act of will by other persons.

 

So if you can accept the above, and I know many of you cannot, the questions become simple.

 

If the human life is a person, are there moral instances in which it can be terminated? I think in some cases one could make compelling arguments for yes. The life of the pregnant woman for example. The will of the woman to become pregnant is another. These examples coupled with an individual’s right to privacy are the primarily reasons why abortion is legal.

 

If the human life is not yet a person, and simply represents a life that will likely become a person, is it morally neutral for the pregnant woman to terminate it under all circumstances? This second question, in my opinion, is the more difficult of the two. I don’t see how one could answer yes. If the answer is most often no, this is why abortion is most often immoral.

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I agree about the moving goal posts. Here are my suggestions.

 

1) Not all human life represents a person. This is often argued at both the beginning and the end of life.

 

2) Abortion deals with the morality of a situation in which an actual existing human life is either intentionally prevented from becoming a person or stopped from continuing as a person. In this particular situation, the human life in question is at the beginning of its existence.

There's no meaning to this, waitforufo.

 

I prevent a human life from becoming a person every time I take contraception or have my period, and a man prevents a human life form becoming a person every time he ejaculates, either intentionally for pleasure or unintentionally as a teenager.

 

This is a goal post that might be stationary, but it's inconsistent. This type of goal post is, then, REQUIRED to be moved in order to preserve the consistency, which makes it either a very bad goal post, or makes you in need of explaining how it remains consistent.

 

3) The human life terminated in an abortion would likely continue to live and properly develop without an act of will by other persons.

How do you know that? Are you sure?

 

We intervene in pregnancies all the time with modern medicine, which is why in our current day and age most pregnancies actually do result in healthy babies. Count only 150 years backwards, when medicine was much less advanced, and the statistics are different. Count 500 years and it's even worse.

 

"No intervention" goalpost will only be consistent (without being moved!) if there's REALLY no intervention. Not if you support just the intervention you like.

So if you can accept the above, and I know many of you cannot, the questions become simple.

Heh, of course it would, you are using inconsistent goal posts again, which results in moving them throughout the debate ;) Simple, yes. Consistent? no. Valid? not so much.

 

If the human life is a person, are there moral instances in which it can be terminated? I think in some cases one could make compelling arguments for yes. The life of the pregnant woman for example. The will of the woman to become pregnant is another. These examples coupled with an individual’s right to privacy are the primarily reasons why abortion is legal.

 

If the human life is not yet a person, and simply represents a life that will likely become a person, is it morally neutral for the pregnant woman to terminate it under all circumstances? This second question, in my opinion, is the more difficult of the two. I don’t see how one could answer yes. If the answer is most often no, this is why abortion is most often immoral.

Let me ask you this, then: At which point does the pack of cells become "human life"? "Potential life" is inconsistent claim for reasons I explained in this post and others explained in other posts throughout this thread.

 

And if you claim that it's human life from conception, you have a problem with twins, among other things.

 

 

In short, you might have agreed with my statement about moving the goal post, but you just set it up to do it again. Twice.

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If you are on the anti-choice from the time of conception side of the debate, it seems to me that destroying any human cell should be considered "murder" since technology might one day make any cell into a person. What happens when biologists discover how to convert say a grasshopper cell into a human one? Does that then mean that squashing a grasshopper underfoot becomes murder? Or what if they discover how to turn inert materials into cells etc. etc.

That is why at birth seems to be a more objective criteria.

 

Well that might work if you didn't flush billions of cells out of your body everyday. If hundreds of thousands didn't just fall off of your skin to become dust.

 

In no way is that humanly practical, nor is it possible to "save" every single human cell. I do not believe that this is murder though. IMO abortion is murder for the simple fact that we go thru a complex, sterilized process in order to eradicate a mass of human cells that will in due time become a human being, it is already a "human life." This is all a matter of opinion and subjective observation though. I know most of you would contend otherwise.


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So I have a question for you all. It has to do with one of my earlier posts. Unfortunately no one was able to understand what I was trying to relate.

 

If I by some chance had a time machine. I might decide to travel back to 1888 to Austria- Hungary, the birthplace of Adolf Hitler. Now this would be a few months before the actual birth of the little demon. I might decide to pose as a practicing physician in the little town of Gasthof Pommer. I might call his mother in and have a discussion with her. I might spend several hours relating to her who I was. I might tell her about all the strange atrocities her son would perform, all the horrible things that would be enacted on Germany in the future.

 

Now, at this point she would probably being crying. I would present her with two choices. She could either ignore what I had just told her and leave, then forget about everything I had just told her. Or, I could show her the means by which to prevent mass genocide and war.

 

Let's say she did allow the abortion. Now I decide to travel back to the current time. I find the first encyclopedia I can. I find that there is no mention of a man named Adolf Hitler. There is brief mention of a Worker's party of Germany but only for it's relation to some obscure politicians in early 20th century Germany.

 

Who would not agree what I had just performed was the greatest assassination in History? Have I not just ended a life to save others?

 

Do you see the dilemma I face when I attempt to sympathize with the pro-choice ideology? I'm sure I can conjure up even more of these "stories" if you'd like.

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One way to answer this question, is to first consider the definition of death and use the opposite definition for when life begins. When the heart stops one is considered dead. Therefore when the little heart of the unborn begins to beat it is alive. Death is not defined as when all the cells of the body finally die, since fingernails and hair continues to grow after we are buried. Before the little heart beats in the unborn, it would be analogous to the fingernails and hair of a dead person. which no religion defines as still being alive.

 

Since life and death are opposites, if we define life a given way, we should use that to define death; opposite. If only biological life is important for life, do we commit murder when we throw a legally dead person in the grave while their hair is still growing? No, because we will use a dual standard.

 

On the other hand, if we define life as birth where there is no need for extra medical assistance, premature babies, then all medical assistance that sustains other phases of life would come under abortion. If we were to cut that off, that is no different than abortion and would be a woman's right to choose. But we would not define it this way due to a dual standard.

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Who would not agree what I had just performed was the greatest assassination in History? Have I not just ended a life to save others?

 

Assassinate who? As you said, he would no longer have existed; you wouldn't kill him, you'd prevent him. You are trying to have both the grown person and the abortion, but without one you don't get the other. Any number of things that could be done in the past would have prevented the Holocaust. How about convincing Hitler's mom to become a Jew, before Hitler was born? Now would it still be the best assassination in history? Not only did you eliminate the leader of the Holocaust, but you didn't kill anyone!

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Or just interrupt Hitler's parents the night he was conceived. They might still conceive a child - maybe even that same night. But it would be a different sperm cell, and hence a different person. You wouldn't have "killed" Hitler, and alterna-Adolf is not "dead" in our timeline. He just never existed.

 

Or you could do the same thing with any of his ancestors. Or just cause some significant change in any of their lives. The likelihood of any particular "potential person" coming into being is ridiculously small, so pretty much any change would prevent history as we know it.

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One way to answer this question, is to first consider the definition of death and use the opposite definition for when life begins. When the heart stops one is considered dead. Therefore when the little heart of the unborn begins to beat it is alive. Death is not defined as when all the cells of the body finally die, since fingernails and hair continues to grow after we are buried. Before the little heart beats in the unborn, it would be analogous to the fingernails and hair of a dead person. which no religion defines as still being alive.

 

I disagree, and that's actually a myth. About the hair and fingernails continuing to grow. Lack of moisture causes the flesh to shrivel up around hair and nail.

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Or just interrupt Hitler's parents the night he was conceived. They might still conceive a child - maybe even that same night. But it would be a different sperm cell, and hence a different person. You wouldn't have "killed" Hitler, and alterna-Adolf is not "dead" in our timeline. He just never existed.

 

Or you could do the same thing with any of his ancestors. Or just cause some significant change in any of their lives. The likelihood of any particular "potential person" coming into being is ridiculously small, so pretty much any change would prevent history as we know it.

 

Kindav reminds me of the Grandfather paradox...

 

Okay now think about this. What if I decided to go back in time to the big bang. Let's pretend that I could gather up all the matter that was created at this exact instance in time. Let us also pretend that I could somehow fit this into a box. Then I decide to travel forward in time and throw this box into a black hole. Now I'd probably have to rely on inter-universal travel to achieve this.

 

Does this mean that I've destroyed something completely? Or that it never existed in the first place and is therefore impossible to destroy?

 

I'm still failing to understand how voluntary abortion is not murder.

 

You ever make a smoothie with cornflakes and strawberries? I wouldn't recommend it...

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I'm still failing to understand how voluntary abortion is not murder.

I'm not sure I understand your questions. If the pack of cells is not alive, and it's not sentient, then it's not human.

 

It might be killing a "potential", but it's not killing a life, and it's not killing a human. It's not murder. When you kill off bacteria, you don't commit murder, do you? And bacteria *ARE* alive.

 

Now, about "potential" for life:

  1. Are you supporting contraception? If you are, then by your own definition you are preventing the potential of life and are committing "murder".
  2. Did you ever, in your life, ejaculate not while having coitus? Then by your own logic, you destroyed potential life, and are responsible of murder.
  3. Did you ever use detergent? You actively kill life when you do.
  4. Did you ever step on an ant? did you ever kill a roach? Murder murder murder.

 

 

 

 

So, unless you're willing to explain the difference between the above (specifically the first two) and a pack of divided cells that aren't *YET* alive, there seems to be no difference. If one's murder, the other one's murder too. Is that what you support? I'm not sure I understand your position on these issues, and i don't see how this logic holds in being consistent.

 

~moo

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I'm still failing to understand how voluntary abortion is not murder.

 

Because you can't murder a non-person. You are assuming that the embryo is a person -- without explaining why, nor defining person. Anyone who does not hold that *baseless assumption will not consider abortion murder.

 

*I've yet to see any reasonable definition that has zygotes or embryos as a person but does not include or exclude the wrong things.

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Okay now think about this. What if I decided to go back in time to the big bang. Let's pretend that I could gather up all the matter that was created at this exact instance in time. Let us also pretend that I could somehow fit this into a box. Then I decide to travel forward in time and throw this box into a black hole. Now I'd probably have to rely on inter-universal travel to achieve this.

 

Does this mean that I've destroyed something completely? Or that it never existed in the first place and is therefore impossible to destroy?

 

I don't understand this analogy. You destroy what you destroy. You prevent everything that might have happened after that.

 

You ever make a smoothie with cornflakes and strawberries? I wouldn't recommend it...

 

What?

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I'm not sure I understand your questions. If the pack of cells is not alive, and it's not sentient, then it's not human.

 

It might be killing a "potential", but it's not killing a life, and it's not killing a human. It's not murder. When you kill off bacteria, you don't commit murder, do you? And bacteria *ARE* alive.

 

Now, about "potential" for life:

  1. Are you supporting contraception? If you are, then by your own definition you are preventing the potential of life and are committing "murder".
  2. Did you ever, in your life, ejaculate not while having coitus? Then by your own logic, you destroyed potential life, and are responsible of murder.
  3. Did you ever use detergent? You actively kill life when you do.
  4. Did you ever step on an ant? did you ever kill a roach? Murder murder murder.

 

 

 

 

So, unless you're willing to explain the difference between the above (specifically the first two) and a pack of divided cells that aren't *YET* alive, there seems to be no difference. If one's murder, the other one's murder too. Is that what you support? I'm not sure I understand your position on these issues, and i don't see how this logic holds in being consistent.

 

~moo

 

Are we all not just "packs" of living cells?

 

Why are people convicted of a crime for harming one's own pet? If I starve a bunch of puppies to death I will probably go to jail and get a massive fine.

 

On the other hand. If I decide to get my big ol magnifying glass out. Go outside and cook some ants I will not go to jail..Will I? Even if I killed millions of ants. Maybe I'll burn six million ants. Have a nice little ant genocide.

 

On the other other hand. If I decide to try this with some bald eagles I would probably be:

 

A. Attacked by said eagles.

 

B. Be convicted of a felony.

 

Whether you want it to be or not, this is a matter of morality. This whole thing keeps going back to what is right, and what is wrong.

 

It's whatever society deems to be wrong/right.

 

Seems to me you guy's are arguing as if there were some absolute morality (which is ironic). Would you say it would be wrong for me to prevent a woman from having an abortion if she wanted one? I'm assuming yes..

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Okay now think about this. What if I decided to go back in time to the big bang. Let's pretend that I could gather up all the matter that was created at this exact instance in time. Let us also pretend that I could somehow fit this into a box. Then I decide to travel forward in time and throw this box into a black hole. Now I'd probably have to rely on inter-universal travel to achieve this.

 

Does this mean that I've destroyed something completely? Or that it never existed in the first place and is therefore impossible to destroy?

 

I'm still failing to understand how voluntary abortion is not murder.

This makes no sense. If you removed all matter, what are you coming back to in the present? And what does this have to do with defining life in terms of abortion? It's really simple: if you define life too early, you have to include too many things we kill all the time. If you define human life as being different, special, then again if you define it as living at an early stage, then every instance of miscarriage is potentially a murder, not just abortions.
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