August 09, 2005

Abortion and Brain Life, Redux

I note with some pleasure that John Hood, a contributor to National Review Online's Corner expressed exactly the idea I framed last week about "brain life" being a way to start to untangle the emotional mess around abortion.

Not surprisingly, the dynamic half of the dogmatic duo, Ramesh Ponnuru (the other half being the grammaticaly-challenged but equally dogmatic Katherine Jean Lopez) leapt into the fray to defend the life-begins-at-conception idea. He did acknowledge the possibility that there is a distinction between human "life" and human "personhood" and even gave a nod to the idea that the key issue in Hood's (and my) proposal is a functioning cortex, though he wouldn't want to go too far down that road.

An emailer to "K-Lo" then criticized the whole concept of "brain birth" as fetishization of the brain. The same mailer later stated through Lopez that (paraphrasing) defining humanity based on brain function would lead to harvesting organs from people in comas. This is typical emotionally-charged sentimentalism that the mystics use to oppose human cloning and embryonic stem cell research (e.g., likening the harvesting of stem cells from a blastocyst to carving up people for spare parts).

In any case, National Review's pundits have taken up the issue and there is a good deal of civil, well-stated discourse. Just click to Hood's original post and scroll up.

Posted by JohnL at August 9, 2005 11:01 PM | TrackBack

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