Context is a useful tool. In this case, my question was specifically in reference to humans. Since we don't treat humans the same as plants or animals, there is no slippery slope argument that you can provide to legitimately counter my notion.
Except that your own argument *was* a slippery slope. You were arguing "If you hold this position on X, then why not also hold it on Y?". You've already stepped from the issue we're talking about at hand, to another semi-related one. I think it's a perfectly fair counter to observe that you could also continue to move on to some other issue as well? The same base logic applies. If "pro-life" is about protecting life when it's in the form of an unborn child, why isn't it also about protecting life when it's a convicted criminal (that was your argument, right?). But if it's those things, why isn't it also about protecting life when it's in the form of a cow, or a chicken, or a bug?
Silly? Sure. But that's the point of my response.
*I'm not* advocating that being "pro-life" beyond the womb means no death for anyone. The scenario in question is that once the mother has the child, all attention and vigor to ensure that child has a good life decimates.
You were asking how one might be pro-life when it comes to protecting the life of an unborn child, but not when it comes to protecting the life of a convicted criminal. My answer is that "pro-life" as a position isn't the blind protection of life, but the idea that human life begins at conception and therefore an unborn embryo/fetus should be afforded the same right to life as any of the rest of us. Support for the death penalty isn't about denying that human life is important and people have a right to not have it taken away. It's about the fact that all rights have limits, and sometimes, in the case of the most heinous crimes, that includes the right to life.
The argument you made is weak because the fetus didn't commit a crime for which the penalty would be death in our system of government.
Oh. And to address the point you just made: Because it's about rights, not outcomes. Once you start legislating for the outcomes you want, and not for people to have greater rights, you're really on a slippery slope. Let people have as much freedom as you can, and then let them determine their own outcomes. That's the position of conservatives. And yes, part of that is that rights and responsibility come hand in hand. You're free to take actions as you will, and reap the rewards of good choices, and suffer the penalties of bad ones. That's part of freedom. You can't take one half of that away and think you can keep the other. It just doesn't work.
Once abortion has become legal, continuing to fight to limit abortion transitions the fight against the choice of the woman. To make it incredibly difficult for women in Texas to have abortions, but not in California because you are unable to reverse the ruling, is attacking a woman's choice. Granted, attempting to reverse the ruling would equally be seen as an attack on choice, but that's the divisive political world that we live in.
Driving is legal, but we still place limits on doing things like driving while intoxicated, or driving on sidewalks, or speeding, etc, etc. And I think that the key point here is that the Roe v. Wade decision did not make abortion legal, all the time. It specifically set limits on when abortion must be allowed, when it can be allowed, and when it must not be allowed. The problem I'm trying to point out is that over time, the pro-choice movement has just kinda forgotten that last part and seems to just keep pushing the issue well past that which the court established back then.
We have people pushing back against attempts, not to make abortion illegal, but to merely ensure that abortions only occur within the guidelines established in the Roe v. Wade decision itself. Hence my comment that it's become more about "pro-abortion", than pro choice. The ruling was specifically about women having a choice to abort within a specific time frame of a pregnancy (determined by medical science of the day, and actually intended to be able to change over time as medical science changed). It was never about an absolute right.
At the risk of pulling out my stock conservative vs liberal canard, I think that some of this has to do with a fundamental difference in how liberals and conservatives view social issues. While both sides engage in adversarial politics (which arguably is necessary in our system), conservatives tend to pick a position on an issue and attempt to keep the law at that position. Liberals, on the other hand, tend to think in terms of a "direction" on an issue, and continue to push in their direction. As a result, we often define ourselves in these issues as pro this, or pro that, but in many cases that's not really accurate. Liberals tend to be more about pro/anti, while conservatives tend to be "this is where I think the law should be". A symptom of this difference in mindset occurs, for example, when a liberal will question a pro-life position and say something like "if you're pro life, then why don't you support mandated pregnancy?". Because the liberal is assuming that the conservative uses the same directional approach that he does, and thus being "pro-life" means to continue to push for more living babies. But the conservative doesn't view it that way at all. His position "stops" at a specific point.
Um... Liberals, on the other hand, often have a very hard time defining the end point of their positions. Conservatives have no trouble at all doing this. A conservative might say something like "I believe we should have enough taxes to pay for necessary government functions, but not <list of things he views as not necessary functions>". Ask a liberal at what point he thinks we've spent enough on even just one social program, and he has a hard time giving an answer. And that's before asking him where the limits on the number of different programs the government should be spending money on should lie. I guess I've just observed this behavior enough times in enough different political topics to believe that the same applies to the abortion issue as well.
Pro-life people are equally stuck in the "us vs them" mentality that they are willing to shutdown the government over distorted videos. To reiterate, I'm not a fan of abortion, but if it's legal, then why close the government over using cell tissue to further science in a positive way when the alternative is simply disposing them?
Because that really isn't (or should not) be about pro-life, but pro-sensible regulation of an entire portion of health care. While the pro-life opposition surely comes about because they oppose abortion itself, this issue should cross that boundary into the sensible pro-choice area as well. As I pointed out earlier, the issue for those of us who are not pro-life is that the woman's health should come first. That is, in fact, the entire right foundation behind the pro-choice position itself. That a woman has the right to make choices about her own health, and specifically that this can include making a choice to abort. Additionally, the strong argument for legalized abortion was about the dangers of abortions which were being performed at the time (illegally). While the numbers surrounding back alley abortions were grossly exaggerated, the basic argument about women's health is still valid. The point here being that we legalized abortion, at least in part, specifically to ensure that women could obtain them in the safest manner possible. Similarly, the rules regarding tissue recovery from abortions (and other procedures) are designed to ensure that the doctors are putting the woman's health first in all cases. Health guidelines (admittedly not actual law, but specifically designed to help doctors comply with it) say that doctors should not even be aware that tissues will be donated from the procedure, much less which parts of the fetus will be donated, specifically so that they can't possibly be making decisions about the procedure which may put the desire to obtain tissue ahead of the health of the woman on their table.
That's what this issue is about for many of us. It should not be about pro-life versus pro-choice. We should all agree that a doctor performing these procedures should not even be placed in the position of having a conflict of interest. Period. This should be common sense. We should all support regulations that place a wall of separation between the donation of tissues resulting from an abortion, and the doctors performing them. Period. This should be a complete no brainer that every woman's rights group should be shouting for. Yet, oddly, they are not. One can only conclude that they are putting the issue of abortion and by extension the organization's that perform them, ahead of the very group of people they are supposedly there to fight for.
I'll also point out that it should not ever be about what the tissues are used for. That's also a dangerous line of thinking, since it leads one to accept different levels of care based on a vague, often rhetoric driven, argument about some end result (in this case, stem cell research). It creates an emotional argument instead of a rational one. Your basically saying "it's ok to put this woman in greater danger during a procedure because the end result will be more tissue, which may result in some medical breakthroughs, and that end justifies the means". The problem with this, as I've pointed out many times before in stem cell discussions, is; If you're ok with that (admittedly small) increase in risk to women for this today, what will you accept tomorrow if we do find a super cure using embryos or fetus stem cells? You've already set a precedent that our medical profession can increase risk of harm to their patients if the end result to society as a whole is great (or even just hypothetically great). But what if it's really great? What if we develop an immortality serum that requires harvesting cells from 8.5 month old fetuses? What if the only way to keep up with the demand for this serum requires running pregnancy mills?
Distopian? You bet! But it's a hypothetical moral question for you. Where is your "end point" on this? At what point do you stop and say "Hey. The ends really don't justify the means". Do you have one? I suppose a side issue for me is the observation about human nature, that once that choice is upon us, if we haven't already established firm rules about this sort of thing, we're going to make the wrong choice. Every single time. Call us conservatives cautious if you want, but this is why we tend to have issues with this sort of thing. We need to be really clear on what right we're protecting with every action we take, and constantly assess when or if we may be doing more harm than good. And, at the risk of coming full circle on this, that's why it's critically important to make a distinction between the right of a woman to make decisions about her health, and the "right to abort". Because in the pursuit of protecting the latter, we're actually seeing an infringement of the former.
Let's not forget that this whole thing is supposed to be about women's rights with regard to their own health. Not the right of a doctor to perform an abortion and obtain tissues for research. That's the part that some people seem to be losing sight of. Edited, Sep 28th 2015 7:40pm by gbaji