I like things that make sense. I’m definitely a pragmatist. Regardless of the principles behind the abortion debate, I’ve always had a problem with the inconsistent definitions of life and death. So I put this question to a friend (and fellow musician) who happens to work for Central California Right To Life.
An important issue in the abortion debate is the argument over when life begins; at conception, at birth, or somewhere in between? I’ve heard many opinions over the years, but one (from a fellow engineer) has always struck me as a possible solution. The logic of the argument goes like this: ‘life’ and ‘death’ are inverse states of existence. Therefore, the set of criteria that define ‘life’ and ‘death’ should also be inverse quantities. Thus, we should define ‘life’ by the inverse of the criteria we use for ‘death’, since those criteria are pretty well accepted both legally and morally (of course there are always edge-cases). For example: if someone is pronounced dead when their heart and brain consciousness stop, then life is defined as conscious brain function and a heart beat (over-simplified of course).
This is a very pragmatic argument. It view’s the woman’s body as analogous to a life-support system, thus rendering null the argument that life begins when the baby can exist outside the mother’s womb. This is an important step, because technology renders this a moving target… at some point, an artificial womb may be able to carry an embryo to full term. I’d be interested to get your thoughts on this.
Josh responded to my question on his video podcast LifeReport.
Thanks Josh for the response, but you are too gracious with the praise!