Night Owl Mk. II

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Boldfaced statements are parts of the original essay (or a subsequent reply) to which the respondent has directed his comments.

Italicized/emphasized comments prefaced by (R) are those of the respondent and are presented unedited.

My replies appear under the respondent's comments in blue text and are prefaced by my initials (MB).

(R) This is in response to your quote, that a fetus becomes a person at the moment of birth. We can't ignore the medical issues involved. Why should a fetus become a person, only when they have taken their first breath? Their hearts are beating, they thrive on oxygen, and they feel pain. They get the hiccups, they suck their thumbs. Why should a technicality such as environment determine their fate?
(MB) The issue of when the transition from "fetus" to "person" occurs is one of law, not of medicine. It is nothing more than an arbitrary definition that requires that some defined line be drawn. In truth, it's little different from the lines we draw to define when somebody becomes an "adult". Certainly, there are no physical or mental differences that magically occur between the ages of 17 years, 364 days and 18 years, yet once that line is crossed, the individual gains numerous new legal rights (and responsibilities).
    Similarly, there are no real differences between a fetus immediately prior to its birth and one that has just been born. Yet, there is a definite line that has been crossed. This is the line that our legal system uses to specify when certain rights are gained. There is no other line that can be defined so precisely or which wouldn't lead to numerous troublesome problems.

(R) We have laws to protect children, who cannot maturely make their own decisions; why should we not have laws to protect a fetus? A fetus that cannot possibly voice it's own opinion in defense of it's own life and future possibilities? Regardless of the circumstances, whether they came into the world by an act of love by a man and woman wanting to create a life; or by a brutal act of rape or incest, the fetus should have the opportunity to live.
(MB) This is the essence of the emotional argument against abortion. However, like most arguments based primarily upon emotion, it provides nothing concrete upon which to base laws and can invite a host of counter-arguments. A question that must be answered is: Why should the fetus have the opportunity to live? In other words, what is irretrievably lost if the fetus does not live?

(R) We spend too much time emphasizing the "choice" women should have; and are ignoring the choices denied a fetus.
(MB) The rights of the mother are the most meaningful and clearly definable issue here. That's why they must be given the primary concern.

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