Originally Posted by Still Growing
So we are discussing when a baby has a right to life and should not be aborted. I threw out that in the future it might be when the heart starts beating, someone else said maybe its when the lungs are developed. You are saying when the fetus has thoughts; is this correct?
How many weeks do you propose?
There is no concrete right or wrong in this, but there are "benchmarks" that are more reasonable than others. I would say that the fetus can be considered to be a human when it starts to develop cognition, as this is what makes us more than a cluster of cells. It is what makes our personality and it is reasonable to assume that this is a likely point at which awareness springs forth. At least it seems more likely than that consciousness is linked to bodily functions like breathing and heartbeat. I am not sure of this, but I think that cognition precedes the ability to independently breath (developed lungs).
Though the point at which cognitive abilities are developed seems like a reasonable benchmark to me, i won't say that this makes it a human in the full sense, in that it has all the rights of a human outside of the womb. There are also the womans rights one must consider. It seems logical that the rights of the fetus grows as it becomes more developed. So the rights of the fetus vs. the rights of the woman could be a tipping scale, and their rights would at some point be very close to each other. Though the woman will probably have more rights, since a pregnancy should be able to be terminated if it becomes a danger to the woman, though I'm moving into the gray areas of ethics now...
I won't propose any set week, since I haven't been able to find out when this development happens. But I do not think it happens before it becomes a fetus.
I have read some of your posts on the possibility that science might make it possible to take a fetus out at a certain stage and develop it fully outside of the mothers womb. I don't know how or if that would be possible for a fetus to be taken out when it starts to develop the nervous system or whatever in the foreseable future, and I won't try to discuss it since I'm not well versed in the technology nor the biology of this subject. But something that might put the idea of being able to take out "pre-babies" prematurly might be the predictions of yesteryear. Or more specifically, 20-30 years ago. On an episode of That 70's Show, Eric Forman in some context mused over the impracticallity of food-consumption and nonchalantly stated that in 20 or so years, food could just be consumed through pills, anyway. And though this was a sitcom created in our time, I am sure there were people that were thinking about similar possibilities.
There doesn't seem to be much of that going around now, 30 years later, nor have I heard of any advance in that department. One of the more obvious reasons being the fact that people like food. And obviously there are many practical reasons. But one of those reasons that are interesting in this context is the fact that it is very hard to create an artificial food that is as healthy as a real food. There are so many benefitial layers to real food: enzymes, minerals, fiber, complex carbohydrates, di-carbohydrates, specific fats: colestrol... the biology and chemistry is too complex to go into, and probably too cumbersome to reproduce satisfactory outside of nature, atleast fora very long time to come. Plus you had to compress all of that into a pill, and even if you did, it would than take a very long time to digest it fully (because of the small surface).
Similary, maybe the ability to develop a fetus outside a womb is too difficult, too expensive or too cumbersome compared to what you get out of it. It is likely a combination of the three, and if so, it will not be an option for the masses, since child-bearing in most cases is something that one can endure and come out of relatively unscathed.