A question of ethics and valuesby Don Lacey on Mar. 31, 2012, under Abortion, Christian Self-Righteous Arrogance, Critical Thinking, Ethics, Faith, Logic, Question of the Day!, Reason, Sanity, That's Life!, Willful Ignorance
Here is one more from Jim Wilson.
Fridge full of Embryos: A question for pro-lifers…
Here is a hypothetical situation presented to me a while back that I figured I share with everyone. This goes out to the pro-lifers out there, especially anti-choice, pro-lifers (I figure a distinction should be made, it’s one thing to oppose abortion [pro-life], it is another to thing to want the government to impose your opposition to abortion on everyone else [anti-choice]), especially anti-choice pro-lifers who would argue that a human embryo is morally equal to a fully developed person.
An embryo is a multi-cellular diploid eukaryote in its earliest stage of development, from the time of first cell division until birth, hatching, or germination. In other words the term is embryo is used to describe the phase in human development, ranging from the time in which one is nothing more than a cluster of cells to the time in which the internal organs have begun to develop (Essentially the first 2 months of pregnancy). I know there are more ardent anti-choicers who argue that a Zygote, or the single fertilized egg cell, is also morally equal to and deserving of all the rights of a fully developed person, but for this exercise, I think going with the embryo stage is more sensible. Something about assigning rights to a single cell seems a little absurd, especially when considering the millions of individual cells that die when I scratch an itch or roll over in bed.
So, anyway the hypothetical situation is this:
You are in a burning building and you are stuck with the choice (how ironic) of saving either a 3 year old girl, or a refrigerator, full of hundreds of human embryos. You only have time to save one, so which do you save??
It seems to me that one who holds a human embryo to be the moral equivalent to a fully developed person, would have to choose the hundreds of embryos in the refrigerator, and yet I cannot imagine that any sane person would choose this option. In fact, I would say only a monster that has had his humanity and his morality warped, twisted and destroyed by religion and political dogmatism would save the embryos and let the little girl die. Something about this just strikes me as common sense, but I would like to see if any of you out there disagree, and learn what reasons you disagree. Perhaps there is some flaw in my dilemma, making it a poor analogy, if so let me know.
Also, does this change for you if it is a refrigerator full of fetuses (a more advanced stage in prenatal development)? Is there a certain number of fetuses or embryos that the fridge must contain to before you can justify saving it over the little girl?