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A discussion on abortion

author: robert james | contributor

Credit: Tony Wu via Flickr

Did you start at the moment of partition? At the moment of conception? Or when you were an evil gleam in your father’s eye? It’s arbitrary.” – Alan Watts (American Philosopher)

Today I attended mass for the first time in years. I am by no means a Catholic. I do not subscribe to the Abrahamic tradition (Judaism, Christianity, Islam). However, in my opinion – as someone raised in a Christian culture – Jesus is probably the greatest ethicist ever written about. Whether or not the stories of his life are actually true is entirely beside the point.

Christian ethics taught by the modern Church proscribes pro-life. And as a ginger Liberal, I am supposed to be pro-choice to be consistent. I have a five year-old daughter. I am a 25 year-old single father. I have only told my closest friends that upon confirmation of her mother’s pregnancy I wanted her to undergo an abortion.

In my opinion, both sides of the abortion debate miss the point. The Christian ethicist’s view that the unborn child is an unborn child assumes what it is trying to prove. Namely, that there is a human consciousness inside the womb at conception. Conversely, the NDP/Liberal argument that the fetus is mere organic matter akin to a plant or non-human animal also assumes what it is trying to argue; that being, that the fetus is non-human.

Evidently, both sides use rhetorical circular reasoning. The conclusions are presented as evidence. They both skip the real issue. The real issue is whether human consciousness is present at the time of abortion.

Unfortunately, we do not yet have a scientific experiment to determine when human consciousness arises out of organic matter. Although surely it arises in the womb and not at the second the baby exits the birth canal.

Yes, Christians, the cells will eventually give rise to consciousness (unless there is a miscarriage, etc.). And yes leftists, up to a certain point there are cells without human consciousness. I do not dispute these claims. But to pretend that anyone knows at what point the miracle of human consciousness arises is completely ludicrous. We do not know.

Thus I propose nothing. I must remain agnostic about abortion – until science can test for consciousness in the womb. Then, abortion prior to that moment is as permissible as masturbating into a towel; and abortion after that moment is first degree murder.

With that said, Canada’s laws permit third trimester abortions. Surely those are acts of murder as consciousness must arise before birth in almost all cases. Surely the child does not magically gain consciousness the moment it exits the birth canal, or is removed via cesarean section – but has no consciousness the second before.

And to the leftist objection that a woman can do as she wishes with her body, I agree with that statement. That is, until the moment that the organic matter develops human consciousness; at that point – one science cannot presently determine – the little human ought to have all rights all Canadians have under the Charter.

This is because a third party now exists beside the two conceivers. The woman can of course do as she wishes with her body before that moment, but at that indefinable moment it’s no longer just her body in question, but that of a third consciousness.

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