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Philosophies of the Womb

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February 13, 2013

Do we base our politics on our philosophy, or are our philosophies based on our politics?

This is a question that I will begin to explore this semester in my Ethics of Dying course that I’m taking at the University. I find myself continually thinking about politics without really understanding the meaning of why I hold these personal beliefs, too often I think. What does it really mean to be progressive of thought, pro-choice, and accepting of unique identities? How do our experiences of self shape the way we think about others?

Being prompted to really examine my belief system is mostly distressing at the beginning stages, but for me that stems from the desire to justify my feelings, which in the world of philosophy, isn’t completely necessary.

For further examination of one’s reasoning for desiring the right to choice for all it is necessary to start at the beginning. At what point, in your mind, does a human being truly begin to exist? For me it’s not always black and white, but generally I fall along the lines of when the fetus can survive outside of the womb without heroic interventions. It’s not something, however I would be willing to advocate for a law on the cut off point for a legal abortion. There’s the possibility of a fetus dying within the womb past this point of viability, and also the possibility of maternal death if serious complications were to arise in the last trimester. For these reasons, my philosophy influences my politics for this to not be a regulatory factor. It would marginalize those who encounter unfortunate circumstances.

If at some point during your pregnancy you were informed that your child would have a disability such as Down’s or a congenital heart defect, would you chose to abort? If yes, is that because your philosophy of life says that a life with disabilities is not worth living? Is that such a terrible way of thinking? I would guess that this would be a fairly difficult topic to broach with anyone you should ask, but I believe it’s worth it.

How do these things intersect with our personal politics and the current grand-scale regulation of morals we seem to be experiencing in our country? Is it feasible for our government to regulate our actions that stem from the core of our being? Why are we not more introspective about these issues? Do the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness ensure that we as Americans can reasonably practice our philosophies?

These things I cannot answer for you, but instead hope that you take a “dark-room moment” as my textbook says, and start to really think about the basis of your political, moral, and philosophical beliefs and how differing opinions can exist in a democracy.

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