WARNING as this is a major FRAT.
I will also say that I probably won't respond to most of the comments as so far every single one I've seen falls into the categories already covered here.
I've decided to write all of this down more or less to clear my own head on this particular issue, AND to address some common misunderstandings and arguments that occur.
First – I think some things need to be clarified so that the abortion debate can be correctly framed. The reason I say this is that if you're going to argue in favor of one position, then your arguments need to be from that ACTUAL position. Abortion is a bit slippery and I see all to often that to deal with one logical or emotional difficulty – they can simply gloss over or ignore a feature and with the simple use of language negate it's value.
The definition of the problem: The debate about abortions is about whether or not the individual life that is started after conception has value and is deserving of protection – and at what time this life obtains this value. For example – very few people who are pro-abortion would say that terminating an 8 month old fetus is OK, so they DO accord a value to an unborn child, just at a later stage than a person who is against abortion.
I also use the terms "Pro-abortion" and "Anti-Abortion" because Pro life and Pro Choice are pure emotional and political terms. Everyone values human life (more or less) and everyone believes in the freedom to choose. This debate in reality isn't about either.
If abortion can be shown to be murder (for arguments sake) then there is no "right to choose" because the life would be considered valuable outside of what the mother wants. Therefore it's not about her choice. Likewise, if abortion can be shown NOT to be murder or at least the killing of something with little individual value – than it's not about choice either. We don't get angry when people choose to remove a cyst – so why would it be such a big deal if we determine that a fetus is morally no different?
1) It is an individual human life. This statement cannot be argued. The cells exist ALL of the recognized criteria that biology tells us life must exist. The cells are most definitely human. The cells are most definitely a unique genetic identity. They are not sentient – but sentience is a JUDGEMENT call – not a categorization. So you may argue that the individual human life is not worth protecting because for it to be worth protecting it needs to be sentient, but there is just no way you can say "It's not an individual human life". By all of the unambiguous scientific parameters, it most certainly is.
2) A common response to the above usually is a poor attempt at reduction ad absurdum involving the value of individual sperm or egg. However – as I've mentioned a million times before; there is a chasm of difference between stopping something that you have already started, and deciding not to start in the first place. Besides this fundamental and logical difference, there is also the fact that an individual sperm is NOT an individual human life. I was never a sperm, I was never an egg. A split seconds difference here or there and I wouldn't exist. That sperm that became part of me could've died or become part of a million other possible other combinations. However I – Me – You – Us – The possibility of our own existence coming to fruition was narrowed down dramatically once conception occurred. This is because our unique, individual genetic identity was formed THEN. Not later, Not before.
Just to be sure we're clear on this point and it's not continually revisited. Think of the qualitative differences between removing a cake from the oven before it's finished cooking and throwing it out – and deciding not to make the cake in the first place. In the first case it's clear that something is lost – in the second something hasn't been started yet. The bag of flour is not a cake – it possesses none of the characteristics of a cake. It could be involved one day in the making of a cake – but for now – it's just a bag of flour.
A sperm on it's own is just that – a sperm. It is NOT a complete and unique human identity – it is the sex cell that is produced by a unique human identity. It is a part of a human, but it possesses none of the above aforementioned characteristics until it fertilizes an egg. A very clear and distinct, logical boundary.
3) It's not my place to tell mothers what to do with their bodies – Totally irrelevant. If abortion is shown to be murder – then yes, you tell the mothers what to do because they're committing a crime. An immoral act doesn't cease to be so when someone else is doing it. Likewise – if abortion is shown to be morally no different than removing a cyst, then telling the mother (or not telling her) what to do makes no sense because it just wouldn't be an issue.
4) People who are anti-abortion are NOT pro "creation of life for the sake of creating it". This is highly related to point number two. They are for the protection of that individual human life the moment after conception. Before conception – if you never want to have kids that's fine. Wear condoms – it's really, REALLY easy to wear condoms. You're not killing anything, you're simply preventing something from being created in the first place. Again – VERY different things.
5) "Oh the force of pain and suffering... why let these unwanted children to be born" – I'm surprised I've heard this one, but it's common. However – again totally irrelevant and logically quite skewed. If abortion is shown to be morally equivalent to murder then it's not up to you to decide about the future of this childs life. Many children born in dire circumstances go on to leave wonderful fulfilling lives, and many others born to privileged circumstances go on to be miserable. If reducing suffering was supposed to be a vaunted goal and a perfect justification to end human life, then dropping nuclear bombs on Africa would be morally OK. And again – if abortion is morally no different than getting rid of a cyst, this argument makes no sense.
So hopefully I've made it clear that at this point the debate is not about any of the above, but about when the unborn child takes on a value worth protecting.