Friday, March 23, 2007

Refuting the notion that fetuses aren't people

This is an article from the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform, published in 2003.

Joyce Arthur of the Pro-Choice Action Network has made a name for herself debating abortion.

Well, sort of. While hardly a month goes by without Arthur publishing a new challenge to pro-life advocates on her website or in publications like The Humanist, the one thing Ms. Arthur will not do is publicly defend her views in the presence of critics. When asked to debate pro-life apologist Scott Klusendorf in Vancouver, BC in 1999, Arthur declined. She wrote in a subsequent editorial that, “Simply having a debate with the anti-choice lends legitimacy and credibility to the so-called ‘pro-life’ position. And it provides a platform for dangerous anti-choice propaganda…Would a Jew debate a Nazi?” Besides, Ms. Arthur continued, “the ‘debate’ over abortion happened decades ago in our courtrooms, and the anti-choice movement lost.” [1]
If the abortion debate is over and pro-lifers have truly lost, why is Ms. Arthur still spilling ink on the subject?

In her latest article, “Personhood: Is a Fetus a Human Being?” Arthur emphatically says no, but then concludes with the bizarre claim that the status of the fetus “is a matter of subjective opinion.”[2] Since Ms. Arthur claims the unborn are not human beings and believes strongly in the right to abortion, this resort to relativism is most curious. After all, what realm of influence can she hope to gain by claiming her diatribe is subjective opinion rather than objective fact? Nonetheless, I will refute her claims as they are greatly flawed. In an attempt to make her point that the unborn are not human beings, Ms. Arthur refers to functionalism, appearance/biology, dependency, legal declarations, and social standards. Ms. Arthur’s essay—which insufficiently refutes the pro-life case that the unborn are human beings—is flawed because it is built on feelings instead of fact, illogical and unsubstantiated claims, and an elitist definition of personhood.


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