contest entry to why/why not contest March 2020
|When does human life begin? That is a very good question but in order to answer this we must define what we consider a beginning in this context. If life ends with the absence of breath, bodily functions, senses and response it would be logical to assume it also starts with the commencement of the above criteria.
However the definition of “Human Life” is more controversial. We disassociate foetuses from babies and give prominence to the latter, in doing so this tends to suggest that foetuses are not strictly speaking, humans. To terminate a foetus is okay by our present laws, but if you were to kill a baby three seconds after it was born you would possibly be arrested for murder.
My intention in this essay is not to argue the pros and cons of Roe verses Wade but instead examine whether or not life exists within the womb. There is no evidence that babies are not aware of their surroundings, think or even dream before birth. In fact often scans show a foetuses responding to certain stimulations within their ever changing environment. Therefore life must begin sometime before they are extracted into the world to begin their life’s journey.
Let’s look at this from a completely different angle. Imagine you are on an interstellar spaceship and during your journey through space you somehow crash land or land on an alien planet. The inhabitants have never seen or met a human before so are naturally suspicious and cautious of allowing you access on their planet. They think it best you are quarantined for nine months first.
For the next nine months you are confined to an underground chamber. At last, after multiple remote tests they are happy you no longer pose a risk to their society and you are allowed to explore the planet and live among the aliens. You like the place and decide to stay there for a year.
The question now is “how long were you on the planet for; 12 months or 21 months?” If you apply the same logic that we do for babies then if would be 12 months, if not then 21 months.
You would argue that you were alive during that time within the chamber, but if life does not exist until you are released onto the planet and the aliens could say you were never there in the first place.
That’s just an example and I’m sure there are lots people that will contend it to be nothing more than a pair of fetid dingoes’ kidneys. However it demonstrates that life does not need to be within the physical world to exist. If that was the case then those in solitary confinement don’t exist either and their executions would be of no real consequence.
Here’s something else to consider. If a baby is born premature is the baby considered to be a human being? Yes. But if that same baby was still in his/her mother’s womb, thus it would be a foetus and therefore theoretically not be alive, despite it breathing, growing and possibly aware of its surroundings.
This is of course all assumption. I could be wrong.