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BioSLED – Handling Non-personhood Abortion Arguments

How to handle personhood arguments using BioSLED – the best argument against abortion-choice.


In abortion debates, one often hears:

“Abortion is okay because the fetus is not a person.”

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Non-personhood arguments play on Level of Development. They deny the intrinsic nature of human beings by falsely assuming (“begging the question” -petitio principii) two components (body and person), instead of one. They justify abortion by asserting a “person” is not present at the time of an abortion by defining what it means to be a person.

BioSLED Response: “Can you prove to me you are a person without using your physical body in any way?” The other person won’t be able to.

Reasoning: Self-awareness doesn’t require communicating your own awareness to others. Yet body presence indicates you exist – your body is your means of communication. A test for intangible personhood which ignores the human body is an invalid test, because no natural human being can pass it.

Science tells us the pre-born are human beings, based on numerous established facts, such as embryological development, uniqueness of DNA and that life comes from life – the Law of Biogenesis. After amphimixis humans exist – they have human flesh and blood. Given a proper environment and nourishment they thrive.

Demanding the pre-born communicate at an advanced level of development is unfair because it smuggles in the idea that communication only occurs according to a presumed definition provided by the abortion-choicer.

The abortion-choicer imposes a conditional test of self-awareness they cannot pass, and assumes their own level of development is sufficient. So abortion-choicers discriminate against the pre-born due to their level of development, but use their own level of development as a definition of their humanity.

Placing the abortion-choicer back at the same level of development as the pre-born should alter their perspective, if they are intellectually honest, on what it means to be a human person.

For the Philosophers: Ontological vs Epistemilogical Statements
Ontological thoughts have to do with the metaphysical – existence/being/nature. Epistemological has to do with knowing – beliefs, opinions etc. We shouldn’t confuse these terms or switch their meanings. Descartes, no matter how much thinking he did, did not exist due to his thinking. He existed prior to his conscious thoughts and that existence was a pre-requisite for his ability to communicate his beliefs. “I think, therefore I am” is putting Decartes before the horse.

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5 Comments

  1. Interestingly, most would NOT argue that one ceases to be a person when they cease to be self-aware (in a coma, under anesthesia, or even sleeping.)

  2. In numerous on-line debates, others say that since a fetus (embryo actually) doesn’t have sentience they aren’t a person. One guy actually tried using the Uniform Determination of Death Act to declare the pre-born weren’t persons. The usual argument is that they will become persons (Level of Development) but aren’t persons yet.

    Do you think I need more examples to make that clear?

  3. @Milehimama
    Except that Human Abstract did just this on Jill’s blog!

  4. Okay – checking out a new spam filter plugin here.

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