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Your thoughts on this argument against abortion?

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All,

I was discussing abortion with someone who apposes it. Essentially, he agrees with a person having a right to do what whatever they choose with their own body.

The hang nail in the discussion had to do with a fetus being a potential and not an actual human being. He replied with, "Not all squares are rectangles, but all rectangles are squares," which translates to not all humans are fetuses, but all fetuses are human. Huh???

At that point I short circuited and ended the discussion.

I know that what he said wasn't correct, but I'm having difficulty explaining why.

I'm interested in your response to such a statement.

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All,

I was discussing abortion with someone who apposes it.  Essentially, he agrees with a person having a right to do what whatever they choose with their own body. 

The hang nail in the discussion had to do with a fetus being a potential and not an actual human being.  He replied with, "Not all squares are rectangles, but all rectangles are squares," which translates to not all humans are fetuses, but all fetuses are human.  Huh???

At that point I short circuited and ended the discussion. 

I know that what he said wasn't correct, but I'm having difficulty explaining why.

I'm interested in your response to such a statement.

First off, I'd tell him he needs a geometry lesson.

Second, the attempt to draw a parallel (pun intended) between geometrically related shapes and biological entities is so far removed from reality it barely warrants consideration.

And lastly, you have already hit on the major point: that a fetus is not yet a human being. He is suggesting violating the rights of the woman for the sake of what may become a person one day. Rights only apply to humans, and a fetus is not a human. There was a thread on abortion in the Ethics forum, in which some great arguments were made. Check that one out for details on both sides of the issue.

d_s

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The hang nail in the discussion had to do with a fetus being a potential and not an actual human being.  He replied with, "Not all squares are rectangles, but all rectangles are squares," which translates to not all humans are fetuses, but all fetuses are human.  Huh???

Well, you could play word games as to what "human" does and does not include, but it doesn't change one key fact: human or not, a fetus doesn't have rights because it is biologically intertwined with a living adult human, who does have rights. Saying a fetus has rights leads to logical absurdities. I think Betsy put it best:

Not only that, but if the fetus really has rights, what about its right to liberty? It is being imprisoned in the mother's body and we should "liberate" it by getting it out of there regardless of what the mother wants.

(By the way, thanks for that point, Betsy--it was invaluable for cementing my understanding of how a fetus simply does not have rights.)

The nature of a fetus is a dependent organism, which is why "fetus liberation" will never go anywhere as a movement: even the most die-hard Christians realize that a fetus is completely dependent on a host and thus have no problem "imprisoning" it against its will for nine months.

Of course, this has been debated extensively here already....

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The example of geometry to humans is not accurate and here's why: obviously the definition of a rectangle and square are concretely defined, both definitions are governed by principles that by omission and abstraction creates a concept of what a square is, and what a rectangle is. Thus a geometric principle is at work. The definition of human however, is incorrect. Aristotle defines man as "The rational animal." Fetises have not develpoed cognition, and because they're senses are not at all developed within the time an abortion is availible they are neither capable of perception. If you like Kant believe that reason is a priori then the principle of human-ness would mean that all fetuses are human. But seeing fetuses are incapable of reason at that level the principle rules them out. Thus no humans are fetuses and no fetuses are human.

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