01-09-2011, 11:45 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Do Human Rights start at conception? Do Human Rights start at conception?
Originally Posted by Elrond
We can ponder our whole lives when an zygote/embryo/fetus develops an awareness/consciousness, or when a spirit possesses it.
However, there is one thing that gives the platform for your personality, your abilities, and indeed everything that makes you more than a mere cluster of cells: cognitive ability. It can also be fair to guess that consciousness springs forth from cognitive brain functions, moreso than any other part of a human. "I think, therefor I am." It can be argued that before the fetus/embyro/whatever has developed cognitive functions, it is just an organ that is dependent on the womans body, and therefor a part of the womans body, not a separate entity.
If a person becomes braindead, "it" doesn't have the rights of a cognitive person. The rights to take medical decisision on behalf of the cognitively deceased person is passed on and those with that responsibility can pull the plug if they so decide. You could say that it is because it is impossible for the braindead person to have any further say in the matter, but I would challenge you to find someone that thinks that ending the life of that person isn't the most reasonable decision to make. The person is gone.
Originally Posted by Elrond
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.
Cognitio, ergo sum, there you have it. Unless there are any objections or anyone who writes more pretentiously than me, I will consider this matter solved ones and for all and to be used for any future reference on this subject, kthnx goodnight. Period.