The issue is framed in moral extremes for a reason - because it gets really muddy any other way. Here are the extremes: 1. Life begins at conception 2. Life begins at birth These positions are defensible and allow one to make reasonable decisions on a host of other issues and specific cases of abortion. For example, partial-birth abortion, fetus-rights (is it double homicide to kill a pregnant woman), embryonic research, rape & incest, etc. But science is going to blow this whole issue into an entirely new dimension. Cloning will happen as will, gene selection, screening, splicing, etc. And these new technologies will result in questions like, do clones have a soul? how did it get there? and what does it mean to be human? I think a temporary practical solution is to use the earliest saved premature baby as a benchmark for life ... this results in a moving time as technologies improve, but prevents the slaughter of viable premature lives. The pro-life position takes the side that saving the new life is weighted higher than the decision making convenience of the mother. By using the earliest survivable date - the mother would have some time to decide, but not an excessive amount, 8th month. Compromises like this are also difficult because there is a practical privacy aspect to the issue - the interweaves the privacy of the mother with the right-to-life of the unborn. These are at odds and at the heart of Roe v. Wade from my limited understanding of the case. So, there is an enforcement issue rarely discussed, and a practical matter of "it's been happening for hundreds of years - a law will just push it to the back alleys." These are difficult questions and it's a shame that these issues are given so much weight over more solvable issues such as eliminating the death penalty, another pro-life position. I am pro-life, but the practically of the issue prevents it from influencing my voting habits.
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