Wednesday, January 23, 2008

pregnancy as construction vs. creation

From Richard Stith in Touchstone...

Stith explains that some people devalue human embryos because they assume a "construction metaphor" to imagine life in the womb. In particular, he points to a car-- which isn't (really) a car until it reaches a certain point of development.

...a thing under construction does not have its form because the persons or forces constructing it haven't yet shaped the raw material into what it will be.

But Stith argues that this metaphor is not appropriate for gestation:

It is not true that living beings are constructed, by God or by anyone else. Life is not constructed. Life develops.

Life is not formed or defined from the outside. Life defines and forms itself. Its form or nature is there, in its activated genes, and begins to manifest itself from the very first moment of its existence. The only things embryos need are food, oxygen, and protection from external hazards, not form. The don't need to be molded into a type of being. They already are a definite kind of being.

This idea of development -- as the continual presence but gradual appearance of a being -- lies deep within us. Look at the word "development" itself. To "de-velop" is to unwrap, to unveil. It is the opposite of "en-velop." In development, we unwrap or unroll or unfold, we make manifest, that which was previously rolled or wrapped or folded up and thus veiled from sight.

Why does this matter?

This does not mean our "constructivist" friends are anti-life. They may believe that a baby should have absolute protection once it's been fully fabricated. But until that point, for them, abortion just isn't murder."

I think Stith is correct about a significant subset of "pro-choicers". This would also explain why abortion after viability and especially partial-birth abortion would be viewed by more people as a profound evil.


At February 22, 2021 at 5:05 AM , Blogger ramesh said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home