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Philosophy > General AR Philosophy


Vegetarianism and Abortion

This is a very touchy issue. If you don't think that a male has any right to voice any opinion on abortion, stop reading right here. I figure I can at least look at the philosophy regarding abortion, because many people figure that vegetarians must naturally and logically be opposed to abortion. The argument is simple: if someone is pro-life, they would extend that to animals; if someone is pro-choice, they would not want to make decisions about the fate of the body of a still-alive animal.
The pro-life argument examined from the sentience angle:
(Sentience: ability to feel pain and respond to stimuli.)

At conception, a fetus is without consciousness and is not sentient, as it has not yet developed any nerves or brain. At birth, and for at least a month or two before birth, the fetus is sentient. That question that I am unable to answer is: at what point does the fetus become sentient? If one takes the animal rights point of view of sentience, then the fetus is sentient as soon as it has developed a central bundle of nerves -- probably somewhere in the first six weeks, I'd guess. Such a fetus is essentially as sentient as a pig fetus in a similar state of development. Any factory-farmed animal is a heck of a lot more sentient than the pig fetus, and yet pro-life people still eat animals! Not only that, but they eat female pigs whose fetuses were aborted during slaughter.

Respect for life.

Vegetarians usually have a respect for life that extends to animals such as clams or flies. I save earthworms I see that are close to drowning on the sidewalk, or wasps that are trapped on the wrong side of a window. In the same way, a vegetarian woman might apply the same respect for life to her fetus.
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