Saltar para: Posts [1], Pesquisa e Arquivos [2]

O Bico de Gás



Sábado, 14.10.06

Pró-Vida e Pró-Escolha

“Abortion: Is it Possible to be both “Pro-life” and “Pro-Choice”?” [excerto]
by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan


So, if only a person can be murdered, when does the fetus attain personhood? When its face becomes distinctly human, near the end of the first trimester? When the fetus becomes responsive to stimuli--again, at the end of the first trimester? When it becomes active enough to be felt as quickening, typically in the middle of the second trimester? When the lungs have reached a stage of development sufficient that the fetus might, just conceivably, be able to breathe on its own in the outside air?


The trouble with these particular developmental milestones is not just that they're arbitrary. More troubling is the fact that none of them involves uniquely human characteristics--apart from the superficial matter of facial appearance. All animals respond to stimuli and move of their own volition. Large numbers are able to breathe. But that doesn't stop us from slaughtering them by the billions. Reflexes and motion are not what make us human.


Other animals have advantages over us--in speed, strength, endurance, climbing or burrowing skills, camouflage, sight or smell or hearing, mastery of the air or water. Our one great advantage, the secret of our success, is thought--characteristically human thought. We are able to think things through, imagine events yet to occur, figure things out. That's how we invented agriculture and civilization. Thought is our blessing and our curse, and it makes us who we are.


Thinking occurs, of course, in the brain--principally in the top layers of the convoluted "gray matter" called the cerebral cortex. The roughly 100 billion neurons in the brain constitute the material basis of thought. The neurons are connected to each other, and their linkups play a major role in what we experience as thinking. But large-scale linking up of neurons doesn't begin until the 24th to 27th week of pregnancy--the sixth month.


By placing harmless electrodes on a subject's head, scientists can measure the electrical activity produced by the network of neurons inside the skull. Different kinds of mental activity show different kinds of brain waves. But brain waves with regular patterns typical of adult human brains do not appear in the fetus until about the 30th week of pregnancy--near the beginning of the third trimester. Fetuses younger than this--however alive and active they may be--lack the necessary brain architecture. They cannot yet think.


Acquiescing in the killing of any living creature, especially one that might later become a baby, is troublesome and painful. But we've rejected the extremes of "always" and "never," and this puts us--like it or not--on the slippery slope. If we are forced to choose a developmental criterion, then this is where we draw the line: when the beginning of characteristically human thinking becomes barely possible.

_______________________________________________

Originalmente publicado na revista
Parade, sob o título “The Question of Abortion: A Search for Answers”, em 22 de Abril de 1990.
ASENSIO

Autoria e outros dados (tags, etc)

às 02:04


Pesquisar

Pesquisar no Blog  


calendário

Outubro 2006

D S T Q Q S S
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031