It's incredible how one discussion can digress into an entirely different discussion. The Michael Vick case has morphed into an abortion debate. At least it has in my local newspaper, as readers have sent in their opinions on the subject and began making comparisons between the two topics. That is to say, that some have misgivings that their fellow man can be so outraged at what Vick has done with animals, while so many millions of unborn have been put to death without the massive outcry. Of course proponents of the practice will argue that the pro-lifers have expressed quite enough outrage.
The arguments surround the difference between "legal" and "moral". Neil's blog has recently touched on this. In the letter-to-the-editor to which I refer, the writer submits an article from the May 2004 issue of Discover magazine as the most readable summary of scientific data that she's found. So I Googled it and read it. The article speaks of the woman's egg cell and the complexity therein and how it can be a few months before fertilization when it's destiny, whether it will result in a full term pregnancy or not, is determined. Everything must be just so within the cell in order for everything to work out and a large percentage, as high as 80% apparently, will not even attach to the uterine wall after fertilization. So it's being prepared for the possibility of life, or rather, a successful period of gestation. In addition, the article speaks of the first three days from fertilization as a continuation of this process as the DNA from the sperm is added to the process. It's in these areas that the article seeks to submit that a rethinking of the beginning of life begins.
Poppycock. None of this very interesting and fascinating article supports that rethinking at all. All cells have purpose. Some have a more complex purpose. The purpose of the egg is to be prepared to join with the sperm in order to begin the process of procreating a new human being. That the egg may fail in it's purpose, that it may not attach to the uterine wall, that it may be flushed or morphed or in any way prevented through the natural means by which all such unfortunate cells are judged from continuing the process in no way creates an argument that the unnatural taking of this cell and destroying it is justified. Not in the least.
The fetus, which here means any stage of development in the womb, that fails anywhere along the way is no different than a college star athelete dropping dead of an up to that point unknown heart ailment right after the Celtics select him as their first round pick. It just happens. Was Len Bias(?) unworthy for having such a defect? I think not. I also don't think that the knowledge of which egg is viable and which isn't (were it possible to know for sure) gives anyone the right to make the ultimate decision. At this stage of the game, we're way to far from knowing with any degree of certainty, thus, all pregnancies must be treated as the development of a separate, unique and worthy human being who's life must be protected.
By the way, the main scientist interviewed for the article was on his way to inspect some eggs that he was involved with in an assisted fertility. At the start of the article, this leading expert in the field held out almost no hope that the eggs were good enough to survive the first few days of pregancy. He'd seen enough to know. The article ends with him saying, "Good news. She's pregnant!" Yeah, that's good news, alright. But the real news is that even the best still aren't good enough to judge who will live and who will not. Why should anyone else think they are?
One more thing: check out the Discovery article. It's way cool.