The thoughts, ideas, findings, and fancies of a Catholic student at Our Lady's University.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Some Observations on Laws & Definitions

Take a look at the following quote.
"Just because its in the womb its still vulnerable, in fact its most vulnerable, I think its appropriate to send a message and protect the unborn."
Given that last week saw the 33rd annual March for Life in Washington D.C., could it be from an article about the march or pro-life legislation? Sadly, no. It's from this news story about a domestic dispute that resulted in the death of an unborn baby. The story goes on to state that "34 states across the nation, including Minnesota and Wisconsin have some sort of homicide law that recognizes unborn victims." And yet, if the baby's mother had decided to have an abortion, we wouldn't be reading sentences like "The case stunned police" or seeing quotes like "I can't imagine what goes through a person's mind."
In my Philosophy of the Human Person course last semester, we discussed briefly when a person becomes a person. Clearly, we missed what seems to be the accepted view, that a person becomes a person only when they are wanted. How else could we have laws to punish those who murder unborn children, and also have laws that allow for the murder of unborn children? The only way to determine which laws we are governed by with regard to the treatment of unborn children is that the former laws protect wanted children, while the latter laws expose unwanted unborn children.

The following questions then present themselves:
~If a pregnant woman keeps changing her mind about whether she wants to keep her unborn child, does said child vacillate between personhood and non-personhood?
~If a mother gives birth to a child and then decides she doesn't want the baby, does it cease to be a person?

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