Originally Posted by MJ1970
Wow. This is novel. Let's go with it.
Really? Anything? Like what? A cat? A fish? A flower? What can it become? Is there any evidence that a human fetus has ever matured into anything but a human-being?
Oh God the irony.
You're not any better. You make statements but then are afraid to let anyone know where you stand. Come on tell me logically what you believe ( without all the obfuscation ) on this subject.......if you can.http://www.spuc.org.uk/education/abo...an-development
"foetus has started to acquire a sentient capacity perhaps as early as six weeks, certainly by nine to ten weeks of gestation. Anatomical examination of such foetuses indicates the probability that differentiation sufficient for reception, transmission and perception of primitive pain sensation has already occurred."11
That sounds like it doesn't have sentient capabilty before that. Before that it's just tissue with potential.
Does a Fetus Have a Social Identity?
A big part of what makes us human beings is our ability to participate in society, or at least be recognized as a member of society. Fetuses are excluded both by necessity and custom. There can be no meaningful social participation for someone cocooned inside another's body. Fetuses do not even have a social identity, since names are not officially bestowed until after birth. In fact, a birth certificate marks the first legal recognition of a person's existence. And fetuses are generally not given ritualized burials when miscarried or aborted. It is quite telling that the death of a newborn infant is much more of a crushing blow to parents than an early miscarriage. People simply place a higher social value on infants than fetuses, and this convention is ingrained in our culture and history.
In earlier times, even infants may not have been valued members of the society yet. Infanticide has been a common practice throughout history as a way to select for healthy, wanted babies, and conserve scarce resources for the rest of the tribe. The human species is estimated to have killed 10 to 15 percent of its born children13. Plus, infant mortality rates from natural causes were so high that babies were often not officially welcomed into the community until months or even years after birth, when their survival was more assured14. Of course, this is not an advocacy of infanticide. I'm simply saying that personhood, or the point at which one becomes an "official" human being, is a value judgment made by society according to social custom and necessity. It is a social construction incapable of empirical proof. Generally, modern industrialized societies find birth to be the most convenient and logical place to assign personhood, because that's where a person starts an independent existence, but perhaps also because of our low infant mortality rates. Even so, babies do not have an established social identity to the same degree as older children or adults, probably because of their still-undeveloped human abilities and potential.
Is a Fetus a Human Being Physically?
The normal meaning of human being implies a physical body of a certain size and shape with common attributes (excepting disabilities). Early embryonic forms do not share basic commonalities that define us as human beings. For example, zygotes and blastocysts are barely visible to the naked eye and have no bodies, brains, skeleton, or internal organs. Are they materially substantial enough to count as human beings? Fetuses cannot breath or make sounds, and they cannot see or be seen (except by shadowy ultrasound). They absorb nourishment and expel waste via an umbilical cord and placenta, not via a mouth and anus as do all other human beings. Further, fetuses are not just miniature babies. At various stages, fetuses have eyes on stalks, notochords (instead of spines), fish-like gills, tails, downy fur, distorted torsos, spindly legs, giant heads, and alien-looking faces. In fact, an early human fetus is practically indistinguishable in appearance from a dog or pig fetus. Finally, the fetal brain is not yet capable of conscious thought and memory (which aren't fully actualized until two or three years after birth). But our complex brains are what set us apart from animals and define us as human beings. The brain is the seat of personhood15.
Considering that the early fetus does not even look recognizably human, cannot engage in normal human perception or thought, and does not have the most basic human body functions, can we call it a human being?
Of course, there are striking physical similarities between a fetus and a newborn, such as well-developed hands and feet at a relatively early stage, and the overall structural form. As birth approaches, a fetus looks more and more like a newborn, until there is no significant difference by about 30 weeks gestation. But anti-choicers focus exclusively on these similarities, while ignoring the differences. For example, a hugely popular anti-choice photograph shows the perfectly formed, tiny feet of a 10-week old fetus held gently between someone's thumb and forefinger. There is no sign of the rest of the early fetus, which barely looks human at all. Anti-choicers try not to use pictures of embryos and early fetuses precisely because they look far less human than later ones (when they do, they usually enlarge them to make the embryo or fetus look the same size as a baby). Even the more commonly-used photos of later-term fetuses tend to deliberately shield from view anything that detracts from human-like qualities, such as the placenta or the oddly-shaped torso. (Also, women and their uteruses are completely erased from all such pictures.)16
Tell me something different logically if you can.