Coyne quotes CNN news:
From CNN News comes this bizarre event: Mississippi will hold a referendum to determine whether voters think that “personhood” begins with conception.
Mississippians vote on whether a zygote is a person
Voters in Mississippi will be given a chance to decide whether life begins at conception, a controversial abortion-related ballot initiative that the state’s highest court has refused to block.
The Mississippi Supreme Court late Thursday allowed Measure 26, also known as the Personhood Amendment, to appear on the state ballot November 8. The decision was a rejection of a lawsuit filed by the ACLU and abortion-rights groups.
The 7-2 ruling said those groups had not met the legal burden required to restrict the right of citizens to amend the state constitution. . .
. . . Anti-abortion forces hope the amendment, if passed, would ultimately be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, providing another opportunity for the justices to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.
...I recognize that for many abortion is not a clear-cut issue, and there is controversy about the stage at which aborting a fetus should be considered illegal or immoral. Some, like Peter Singer, even think that some euthanasia of severely afflicted or doomed newborns might be permitted, and I can see the validity of that view as well.Medical killing of handicapped children has quite a history in the 20th century. In Groningen Holland neonatologists have been killing handicapped newborns for a decade. They even published a paper describing their technique (legal technique, not just the medial technique) in the New England Journal of Medicine.
In Germany in the 1930's, the T4 program
Hint to Coyne: your opinion is on thin ethical ice if it was used by defense counsel at Nuremberg.
At any rate, according to a 2006 survey by the Guttmacher Institute, only 1.5% of abortions in America involve fetuses older than 21 weeks, the age at which the fetus is usually considered viable,...There were over a million abortions in the U.S. last year. So 15,000 "viable" babies were aborted last year. Actually, most of the million kids were viable, if they hadn't been killed and had been allowed to continue to grow in their mother's womb.
There are 3700 undergraduates at the University of Chicago, which is the institution at which Coyne teaches. The fact that the number of viable babies (babies who could live outside of the womb at the time they were aborted) killed by abortionists each year is four times the number of undergraduates at Coyne's university seems not to bother him. His term for that number of viable aborted babies is "only..."
I know that women don’t take the procedure lightly, and hardly regard it (as many religious people seem to do) as a form of birth control.Abortion is the most common surgical procedure performed on women in the U.S.-- about 1.2 million per year. That's more than all breast augmentations (296,203), nose reshapings (188,676), liposuctions (179,207), eyelid surgeries (177,288), and tummy tucks (111, 642) combined.
Women don't take abortions lightly.
Clearly, an 100-cell blastocyst does not have any feelings or thoughts...Coyne uses his scientific training here.
(much less a soul),
The soul the form of a living thing. A human being has a soul from conception to natural death.
Coyne has a soul too. He had one when he was a 100 cell blastocyst, and he'll have one when he's very elderly. All human beings have souls.
and to deem that ball of cells equivalent to an adult human being elides some very serious differences involving sentience.To deem a human being at the blastocyst stage the intellectual equivalent of an human being at the adult stage would be mistaken. To deem a very young human being devoid of the right to life is another matter entirely.
Coyne's implicit assertion is that intelligence or sentience is the criterion on which to base human rights. This is an assertion that most people would challenge, which is why it is usually stated vaguely.
Do notice that pro-abortion pro-infanticide folks always assert that their own qualities (adulthood, intelligence,...) are the criteria that confer human rights. Coyne does not assert, for instance, that non-interference with the rights of defenseless humans should be a criterion for conferral of human rights.
Coyne's criteria for human rights seems to boil down, in the important respects, to being like Coyne. Hmmm...
A blastocyst is no more what we think of as a “person” than an acorn is the same thing as an oak tree.A member of a species remains a member of that species throughout its life. An acorn is a very young oak tree. A blastocyst is a very young human being. Species and individuation remain the same throughout life. Accidents (size, leafiness, sentience) change.
Does Coyne, a professor of biology, believe that the unborn child changes species during development? If it does not, then the child is as much a homo sapiens (human being) at conception as he is when he gets tenure at the University of Chicago. People look different, and have different capabilities, at different ages. They're still human beings, from conception to natural death. Basic biology, Jerry. Do you actually teach your students that human beings change species in the womb?
And this doesn’t even take into consideration the widespread view that abortion is a private matter involving the wishes of the parents, the fact that women will seek out abortions whether or not they’re illegal (thousands of Irish women, for example, fly to England every year for abortions), and the possibility that the production of unwanted children may be bad for both those children and society.Uwanted children are not "produced". They're born. They need to loved, nourished, and cherished. Ever heard of adoption, Jerry?
Further, if a fetus at any state is deemed a “person,” then abortion becomes equivalent to murder.Abortion is homicide, as a matter of definition. Murder is the just most serious form of homicide. Pro-abortion activists try to scare the public into assuming that legal restriction on abortion would involve charging the mother with murder. That is not part of the pro-life view. Abortionists-- the people who profit from killing babies-- should and would be the target of legal sanction.
Now there are nonreligious objections to abortion, but clearly much of this “personhood” kerfuffle derives from religion and its attendant concept of a soul...The "concept" is respect for human life. Christians (which is what Coyne means by "religion") believe that all human beings have the right to life at all ages. The most fundamental right of personhood is the right to life. It is the right on which all other rights depend.
It seems to me that although America is a democracy, it’s dicey to leave the definition of “personhood” up to the voters rather than the judiciary (but please, not this Supreme Court!).Jerry Coyne finds this "We the People..." stuff so... so... frustrating. Why should the people of Mississippi get to write the laws for the people of Mississippi? Shouldn't the (unelected and unaccountable) judiciary get to make the laws? And shouldn't Jerry Coyne get to pick which courts get to make the law? They're elites like Coyne, and they know best.
The sheer depravity of Coyne's worldview in on display here. Support for abortion, including the annual killing of 15,000 babies capable of living outside of the womb, killing of handicapped children, idiotic assertions about the biology of human development to justify killing the young, and startlingly casual dismissal of democracy are part and parcel of atheist/materialist ethics.
This is why we fight.