North Dakota's House of Representatives voted 51-41 yesterday afternoon to declare that a fertilized egg has full human rights.

This is a step towards banning abortion: to ban abortion, first you have to define where life begins, and this is what they've just done.

Observe that in order to define life, they've taken the broadest possible set of values - a maximally-inclusive definition. From one perspective, that's fair enough; I can see that one might prefer it over a time period or a hard-to-define growth stage. From a practical perspective, though, it's rather silly, starting with the problem that a fertilised egg is pretty damn hard to detect, and going from there. Working with extremes of scales can give you rather ludicrous results, and that'll happen here. (ETA: look, people are giving examples in the comments! Ludicrosities.)

Bearing in mind that it is just the extreme end of a scale, it plumbs straight into the broader debate of whether you can kill a foetus, so in that sense it's not a particularly significant ruling, just a significantly extreme one. To that debate I will say two things only:

Women have always had abortions and they always will. Making abortion illegal means women will die from botched abortion jobs. This is not civilised. I happen to think it's not civilised to force people to be pregnant, either, but since that's basically the underlying debate we can leave that aside just now.

Second, for the biblical morality crew: Exodus 22:1. If a thief is breaking into your house in the dark, you are allowed to kill him. Period. If it's daytime, so you could have investigated further, you may not, but if it is night, when they are simply an unknown quantity in your space, you can kill them without penalty, no matter what the situation turns out to have been. Think about that.
hatam_soferet: (Default)
( Jun. 11th, 2006 06:20 pm)
Saturday: walked over to Forest Hills from Flushing (that's about an hour's trot) to attend MJNH's son's bris (circumcision ceremony, that is). I got to read the bit where he gets his name along with a lot of good wishes (rather fairy godmothery, when you think about it), for which I am grateful to MJNH and Mr MJNH.

MJNH and Mr MJNH and Baby Seth MJNH are very lovely together.


hatam_soferet: (Default)

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