When Life Begins

There is a push to give a fetus full rights as a human being from the instant of conception. This sounds simple and logical. I submit that a little discussion will show that it is not simple at all.

There is an experiment whereby a fish egg, in the early stages of division, is cut by a fine thread into two eggs. If done correctly, two normal fish result.

Now suppose that were a human being (instead of a fish), and it were possible to change one potential person into two potential persons. At what point would it be murder to stop the experiment? Just before the division was complete? Knowing how, would it be murder not to start?

This can be made even more complicated. For those interested in the sin of Onan, I have attached a pointer to the Wikipedia article here. I believe interpreting this Biblical passage as being anti-masturbation is incorrect. Onan committed coitus interruptus, when he was supposed to be impregnating his (deceased) brother’s wife.

Supposing this copulation had been (somehow) known as certain to result in pregnancy, did Onan commit a form of murder-in-the-future?

Does this make all forms of contraception potential murder? (The Catholics might be nodding their heads here, but my next two questions are going to stop them, perhaps.)

Suppose instead Onan had been committing a rape. Was it murder to stop as he did?

Suppose a rapist is interrupted by a bystander, resulting in coitus interruptus. Is that murder, done by the bystander?

I submit that these are only the easy hard questions to ask. The subject is treacherous. I submit that any politician wading into these waters had better have a very strong lobby behind him, able to create monstrous publicity in favour of its position, and monstrous attack ads against any opponents. It does not matter what position is taken, the ground under one’s feet turns to quicksand at the first question like those above.

Anyone brave enough to venture an opinion here?

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