Monday, April 14, 2008

Barack Obama on the Beginning of Human Life

On Sunday Barack Obama was asked, "do you personally believe that life begins at conception? And if not, when does it begin?" Here is his response.

"This is something that I have not, I think, come to a firm resolution on. I think it's very hard to know what that means, when life begins. Is it when a cell separates? Is it when the soul stirs? So I don't presume to know the answer to that question. What I know, as I've said before, is that there is something extraordinarily powerful about potential life and that that has a moral weight to it that we take into consideration when we're having these debates." (For the full text of Obama's faith-responses go here.)

But surely it is not hard to know when human life begins, or when "life" begins. A fertilized egg is not non-life, but life. A rock, e.g., is a non-living thing. A fertilized egg is a living thing. Even the atheist can affirm this. But for the atheist, such as a Peter Singer, there's nothing special about human life over other animal life. To claim such would be to be guilty of speciesism.

Obama, like Clinton, opts for the conceptus being "potential life" rather than actual human life. On this see my remarks on Clinton below.

For some fuller remarks search my blog using "personhood" and "abortion."