Is a Fetus Human?

I usually don’t engage in abortion debates because I find them to be horribly overly-emotional affairs, with people on both sides wailing and gnashing their teeth and nothing ever getting intellectually resolved.  Debating abortion with theists is usually about as pointless as debating religion because they are psychologically incapable of changing their minds, or even considering any arguments presented. Unfortunately, the same is often true of the opposing side, who hold what can only be described as a quasi-religious belief in the sanctity of the mother and her right to do whatever the hell she wants with her body.  Again, you can’t win, so there’s no reason to even fight.

But this question comes up time and time again, like it’s some kind of magic bullet from the anti-abortion side.  The fetus is genetically human, thus somehow special!

Okay, the fetus is genetically human.  So the hell what?  Your fingernails are genetically human, does that mean you can’t cut them?  Your appendix is genetically human, does that mean we can’t remove it?  Being genetically human isn’t special.  It doesn’t magically confer rights, nor should it.  It doesn’t even make any sense to say “because you have this particular genetic makeup, you’re better than things that don’t.”

Besides, that’s not how rights work.  Rights are granted by society.  Now you’re welcome to think that something ought to have rights, that’s certainly your prerogative, but unless the society in which you live has actually decided that a particular right exists, it doesn’t exist and no amount of philosophizing can make that right spring into existence.  In America, you’d have to convince the majority of Americans to grant said rights and guess what?  That’s not what a majority of Americans want.  I mean, we don’t even apply that standard to living humans.  Those in a persistent vegetative state can be taken off of life support by their families, we don’t declare “but they’re human!” and force their bodies to go on and on indefinitely, do we?

I still find it funny that the very same people who whine about abortion are the same people who don’t want to actually help those fetuses once they’re born.  They don’t want to fund programs that would help the poor, the people actually having the majority of abortions, to pay for these children.  But these anti-abortion nuts don’t even want to talk about the poor, they want to talk about some boogieman that has abortions for fun, or because being pregnant is inconvenient.  While those cases certainly happen, it’s a tiny minority, and I’ll be honest, those are people I simply do not want being parents to begin with. They are too irresponsible to ever be trusted to care for children and raise them to be productive members of society.

Ultimately, these are not rational arguments but emotional ones, proposed by people who have never bothered to logically think through the potential consequences of their desires.  They want what they want and don’t care what they have to say or do to get it.  They are unwilling to acknowledge that society has taken a contrary view, or even recognize that society has the right to do so.  It doesn’t matter if a fetus is human.  It matters if it is a protected human and currently, that isn’t the case.  Anti-abortionists are welcome to campaign for society to change, but until it does, and certainly it doesn’t look like that will be the case any time soon, they have to accept that they are on the losing side.  I know they won’t because they can’t, but that’s how rational, intellectual human beings would act.  Too bad there aren’t very many of them on that side.

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