Wednesday, January 31, 2007

THE FETUS #4and #5

Twins in the womb
4. Does the fetus become a person at viability?

* According to US Supreme Court, viability is when a child is "potentially able to live outside the Mother's womb [that is, can survive], albeit with artificial help" [R v. W at 45]. The State has interest in the 'potential life' of the unborn at the 'compelling' point of viability, because "the fetus then presumable has the capacity of meaningful life outside the mother's womb" [R v. W at 163]. What is "meaningful life"?

* At that time (1973) the age of viability was 30 weeks. Today it is 20 weeks. Who changed? Not the baby, but the technology. Viability is a measure of the sophistication of the life support system around the baby -- not the humanness of the baby.

* It is philosophically and legally bankrupt to determine personhood in a legal sense based on a relative standard which is dependent upon technology.

5. Does the fetus become a person at birth?

* This is the present view of the US Supreme Court. Something about birth moves the unborn child from "potential life" to real life and personhood. What is it?

* The only change that occurs at birth is a change in the external life support system of the child. The child is materially no different before birth than after, except that she has changed her method of feeding and obtaining oxygen.

* The only position consistent with legal precedent and historic medical opinion is to recognize the legal personhood of all human life, and afford to each person the rights which are his or her due, and most fundamentally, the RIGHT TO LIFE!
[From 'A Resource Manual' pages 33 to 35, article by Dan Davis, Christian Research Associates, Denver Colorado]

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