After reading an Op-Ed piece in the NY Times — in which University of Richmond law professor Shari Motro argues that perhaps state laws for child support should extend to the child in utero, which she quips "preglimony" — NYU journalism professor Katie Roiphe asks if it's time to bite the bullet and call an unborn baby-in-progress (her words) "a life."
She claims that the pro-choice movement doesn't need to cling to ambiguous language regarding the unborn — technological advances have made it clear that those tiny hands and feet on the ultrasound no doubt point to "life."
As we teach at LTI, science has already answered the question, "What is the unborn?" — human, from the outset. It seems we still spend a lot of time pointing this out to folks. [Roiphe's piece contains a link to her fellow Slate writer who questions the trend of photoshopping sonogram images onto pregnant bellies. Roiphe's colleague is worried about "assigning attributes" to "not-yet-human embryos." Which begs the question: "What kind of embryos are they?"]
But Motro and Roiphe make it clear that the argument is shifting more and more to the philosophical question of "What makes human beings valuable?". A conversation with Roiphe might be much more focused on the alleged differences between a "life" and a person with rights. Still, note that she carefully avoids calling what she terms "some form of 'life'" "human."
The pieces are interesting, if you have a minute to give them a read.
HT: Jivin J