The following is a conversation between Socrates, who has mysteriously appeared in Philadelphia on November 9th, 2016, and Vivian Beck, a pro-choice woman among the crowd. The crowd chants outside to protest the election of Donald Trump, a republican candidate, as the President of the United States. Trump’s policies on defunding Planned Parenthood, overturning Roe v, Wade, and returning abortion laws to the state, has caused outrage from both pro-choice men and women. Tonight, they are protesting his impending policies.
Women: My body, my choice. Men: Her body, her choice. Women: My body, my choice. Men: Her body, her choice. Socrates: Excuse me Miss, but what is going on here? Vivian: You haven’t heard? That orange S.O.B. was elected as President tonight. Socrates: But what does this have to do with bodies and choices? Vivian: Now that he is elected, he will implement his policies and use this as chokehold to oppress and control women. You see, he is pro-life and anti-women. The people gathered here tonight are protesting what he stands for in regards to abortion and women’s rights.
Socrates: Oh I see. But I have a question miss …… Vivian: You can call me Vivian. Socrates: Hello Vivian, I am Socrates of Alopece. Vivian: Alopece? As in the city outside the walls of the Athens in ancient Greece?? Socrates: Why yes! That is where I have been born. But let’s not duel too much on my birthplace, but instead focus on what you said.
Vivian: Um okayyyy… Socrates: You said that the orange S.O.B. was pro-life and anti-women. Vivian: Yes, Trump is pro-life so therefore he is anti-women. Socrates: How is being pro-life anti-women? If we cannot agree upon the meaning of these two words, then we cannot see a direct correlation between the terms. Vivian: Their definitions are quite simple. Pro-life is the belief that it is immoral for a pregnant woman to have the freedom to choose to have an abortion if she does not want the baby. The definition of the term anti-women is depriving women of choices and forcing them into a specific gender role regardless of their wishes.
Socrates: You are saying that not allowing a woman to abort a baby is a violation of their human rights, am I correct? Vivian: Her baby, yes. Socrates: You said that being anti-women meant depriving women of choices and freedoms. Would an abortion not take away the choices and freedoms of a baby, or as you said, her baby? Vivian: No, because the baby has not reached an intellectual capacity to decide what they want or what it best for their mother. A mother, however, has the intellectual capacity to decide what is best for their unborn child.
Socrates: Can you please define intellectual capacity for me so that I can understand the point you are trying to establish? Vivian: Sure. Intellectual capacity means the brain’s ability to understand or take in huge amounts of information. This intellectual capacity can come from both education and maturity, both things that the unborn does not have. Socrates: You see, you beg the question in your answer. You are assuming that because the mother has the intellectual capacity she can therefore make wise decisions. However, that is not the case. We have seen hundreds of mother who did not make wise decisions and they had a standard intellectual capacity.
Vivian: Yes, I see what you mean. But, I meant that in most cases mothers make the right choice because they are adults. Socrates: Agreed, adults have been proven to have better judgement. But you still have not answered my question. Is abortion not a violation of the right of the baby growing inside a mother? Vivian: No it is not a violation, because the unborn fetus is a mass of cells that grows inside of the mother, it has no rights because it is not yet a human being. Once the baby is born, then they receive rights and are considered human beings.
Socrates: All right, let us consider what you have said. You said that the unborn fetus is not yet a human being, but it will be legally considered as a human being once they are born, so in other words, it is not yet a human being but it does have the potential to become a human being, correct? Vivian: Yes, that is what I said. Socrates: Can you tell me what a human being is? Vivian: Well we all know it is the rational animal. This rationality can be expressed through thoughts and decisions made by an individual. An unborn fetus is unable to show the characteristics I have listed above, because it is not yet fully developed.
Socrates: You are correct in defining a human being as the rational animal. Kudos to you. Let us take another route. How are babies made? Vivian: You must be joking, Socrates! Socrates: On the contrary, I have asked a serious question. Vivian: Babies come from two haploid cells, the egg and sperm from the respective mother and father. These haploid cells form a fertilized egg, and that produces cells that grow at an unbelievable rate. These cells then become a blastocyst, which will be stick to the wall of the uterus and continue to grow into a fetus. Socrates: Correct. When the mother’s egg is fertilized by the father’s sperm, can this process be reversed? Vivian: No, that is impossible.
Socrates: Okay, then what are the natural possible outcomes of a fertilized egg? Vivian: Either a successful birth or a miscarriage. Socrates: So you are saying that the process of an egg becoming fertilized, a fertilized egg become a blastocyst, and a blastocyst becoming a fetus is irreversible? Vivian: Yes, I am saying just that. It is impossible to reverse this process, the only outcomes are the fetus is born or miscarried. Socrates: And the fetus growing inside of a human mother is a human? Vivian: Once it is born it is considered a human being with legal rights. Socrates: You seem to have misunderstood my question. Will this pregnancy result in the birth of a human child?
Vivian: Of course! It has human parents and it is made from a human egg and a human sperm. Socrates: So once this human fetus is born, it is granted with rights. Both legal and natural, correct? Vivian: The newborn will be granted both, as it is human. Socrates: Can you please define natural rights for me, since I am not able to recall the exact definition as of right now. Vivian: The Declaration of Independence says, that all men are given unalienable rights, such as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Socrates: Thank you, Vivian. Your own Constitution states that the right to life is an inalienable natural right. Vivian: I can see what your next point will be, and let me tell you that the Courts have determined that during the earliest stages of a pregnancy, there is a lack of fetal viability, so no right to life can be assumed. Socrates: We will come back to the viability of fetus in just a second. Isn’t a human fetus a future human child? Vivian: Yes. Socrates: And isn’t a human blastocyst a future human fetus? Vivian: Yes. Socrates: And finally isn’t a human fertilized egg a future human blastocyst?
Vivian: Yes again. Socrates: With your agreement to my claims, we can say that if A (human fertilized egg) = B (a future human blastocyst) and B (human blastocyst) = C (a future human child), then A (human fertilized egg) = C (a future human child). Vivian: Yes, I cannot disagree with that. Socrates: Is a fertilized human egg guaranteed to be a human being by the fact that it is involved in an irreversible process? Vivian: Yes, anything contrary is biologically impossible. Yet, a miscarriage would interrupt this irreversible process. Socrates: A miscarriage would not change the potentiality of the human fertilized egg into becoming a human child.