American Fetal Talk

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According to this study (thanks to McConchie for the link), Americans commonly talk to their fetal children, while people in other countries tend not to do so. This really surprises me, given that Americans also tend to put in the strongest showing for killing their fetal children for reasons of convenience. (That's even illegal in Norway, for instance. Relaxed attitudes toward the permissibility of abortion are common in Europe, but the number of abortions for incredibly selfish reasons is much, much lower.) The researcher quoted in the article even sees this as evidence that people "start to think of their unborn children as persons who are part of their family". Are these two Americas, along the political lines evidences in the political maps and book-buying maps that I've linked before but won't bother to try to find again? Or are these products of the same communities and values? I have a hard time believing it's the second option, but I can't think this sort of thing runs along political lines either, which makes me hesitatnt to accept the first. So I'm baffled. Are we just contradictory in this?

3 Comments

Just a maybe thought here:

perhaps it is within both communities, and could derive from the ideas that are embedded in pro-abortion arguments- that a fetus is somehow not human, but a wanted child is(becomes) human.

I think there would be conflict within those who made their decision to abort, there would need to be self-protection from guilt. But in those who intend to have their babies, even though adhering to pro-abortion ideas, they would allow themselves to attach to their 'fetus-becoming babies-becoming children in their households'.

People allow themselves tremendous amounts of denial and paradoxical thought when they decide to.

The problem with your proposal is that even my fingernail is human. If it's got human DNA, it's human. A fetus is even its own organism with its own DNA, so you can't even deny that it's a human organism. Whether it's wanted has nothing to do with it.

The issue is over whether a fetus is a person, and pro-choice philosophers have defined 'person' so as not to have to included fetuses in their definition. I think it's a completely ad hoc definition, designed only to deny fetuses and other unwanteds the property of personhood, but most philosophers think it really does capture our concept of personhood.

Definately sounds like you have not read Hauerwas' article on this point, "Must a patient be a person to be a patient? Or, my uncle Charlie is not much of a person but he is still my uncle Charlie." It can be found in _Truthfulness and Tragedy_, and also, I believe, in _The Hauerwas Reader_.

A brief quote: "In the literature of past medical ethics the notion of "person" does not seem to have played a prominent role in deciding how medicine should or should not be used vis-a-vis a particular patient. Why is it then that we suddenly seem so concerned wit the question of whether someone is a person? It is my hunch we have much to learn from this phenomenon as it is n indicatoin, not that our philosophy of medicine or medical ethics is in good shape, but rather that it is in deep trouble."

You'll have to read the rest on your own.

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