Is an unborn child a human life? This is the question that radicalizes the abortion debate in America. Steve Waldman thinks that the question forces us into a false dichotomy. He suggests that human life is a progressive continuum between less human and more human:
Open minded pro-lifers would take note of these concessions from their "enemies," viewing them as a sign that these pro-choicers--far from being hideous baby killers--fully embrace a moral dimension to the abortion decision.
Meanwhile, any pro-lifers who accept this framework would be making a concession, too. They'd be saying, in effect, that if the other side can concede that something precious is alive - and becoming more alive with each day - then they could, in turn, acknowledge that reasonable people, of different faiths, can disagree about when exactly that baby becomes alive enough to have legal rights.
1. Waldman seems very focused on getting pro-choice and pro-life sides to be nice to each other. I'm more concerned with not killing babies than sparing the feelings of people on the other side of the debate.
2. Human life a continuum of becoming? Interesting idea. But when in doubt, I err in favor of not killing babies.
3. Would a developmentally disabled person be considered less of a human being in this new understanding of human life as a continuum?
4. Should murdering a developmentally disabled person be considered a less serious crime, perhaps on par with cruelty to animals?