I was reading The Local Newspaper, and apparently there is a group of legislators in my area who would like to not only ban all abortion procedures in the state of Florida, but to make performing or “inducing”— a worrisomely vague term— the termination of a pregnancy punishable by life in prison.
Life. In. Prison.
This induced me to say something I’ve been meaning to rant about for a while.
For the most part, at least here in the southeastern United States, the often highly emotionally charged opposition to the intentional termination of a pregnancy seems to be rooted in the belief, held by many Christians, that the soul of a human being enters the body at conception. Now, perhaps I am mistaken in this opinion, but I cannot help but view any assertion regarding the existence and nature of souls, as fundamentally unfalsifiable. I have, for my own reasons, come to the conclusion that there is indeed an immortal “essence” of a person, or a person’s consciousness if you would prefer, which constitutes what one might term a “soul”. However, the fact remains that no one has ever been able to empirically demonstrate, beyond reasonable doubt, even the very existence of such an entity as a soul—- let alone when, in the process of fetal development, such a thing as a soul might enter or arise within a human body.
If you believe that the soul enters the body at the moment of conception, that is fine, and that is your business. If, for example, the Catholic Church wants to include such an idea in its teachings and discourage its members from terminating a pregnancy on the basis of this, that is fine.
But at least in my opinion, no one, anywhere, ever, should be passing legislation, let alone legislation so drastic as designating an abortion as a first-degree felony, on the basis of what essentially comes down to metaphysical speculation. The claim that the soul enters the body at conception is, by its very nature, fundamentally unfalsifiable. No one to date has discovered any way to definitively prove or disprove any such claim.
So why are we legislating based on this?