This is just a comment that I left in response to a person posting as "Anonymous" on someone else's blog. I wanted to share it on my own blog in order to get my message out to more people than just this one person~
I, too, am glad that you have reasonable moral limits, and I do believe that people in all areas of the spectrum can agree that late term abortions and infanticide are hideous and must be fought. However.. Some things that I was thinking as I read through your post:
Your argument is a very classic one for someone in our modern age of desensitized conscience. It poses a lot of problems to society at large. Even if you don't believe in quote "a magic soul," it is in the best interest of humanity to base our actions on the presupposition that there is intangible worth in any human being at any age or stage of development, regardless of "practical" or "scientific" value, function, or likeness. Why? Because what you're essentially saying is that human value and worth is determined by some exterior action or nature that 1) must be 'observed' in order to be 'recognized' by other human beings, and 2) completely denies any intrinsic value in the human being. Now, this order of thinking may not show its bad consequences for humanity at large right away, but all you have to do is contemplate the consequences for humanity and you begin to see how problematic it is. Once you fail to recognize intrinsic worth of the human being as a person interiorly, without recourse to "scientific observation," any human person of any age can be judged to be a "potential person" simply due to disability, mental illness, or any other real or contrived outward justification of observable humanity. This is 1) where the rubber meets the road, the sacred meets the scientific, and where the God concept (ie Supreme Value) meets man, 2) is a radical departure from the most noble and necessary basic spiritual moors of all cultures and all human beings regardless of religion, and 3) represents a callousness of conscience that could be the very ruin of humanity.
Think this through for a moment. Humanity is continually moving into more and more knowledge and more and more technological capability. The Scientific revolution has, in about three or four hundred years, completely revolutionized how human beings interact with the physical world. These things like recognition of inherent humanity are absolutely vital to all human society because they set the precedent of whether mankind is going to preserve his sanity, his view of inherent spiritual dignity not based on any outside observance or approval, and his understanding of himself. I completely agree with Chris B in what he said about erring on the side of caution- to be so callous regarding inherent and intrinsic worth in humanity so as to support the destruction of fetuses because 'we know better now, we're scientific, educated, advanced, progressive people living in a progressive age, we observe that there is no physical worth about this genetic tissue and equate it to a frog embryo,' is in my opinion an inexcusable and dangerous playing of God; it's the sort of lack of conscience that will lead humanity, with all of its vast array of tools and technological abilities, into a very dark place where we will no longer recognize ourselves five hundred or a thousand years hence. It is basically saying that just because we have the ability to scientifically understand the physical plane of existence of the mystery of human conception, therefore that means we have the right and privilege to assign the inherent and intrinsic worth of that developing human being.
I don't consider it a religiously exclusive thing to see this development and attitude as bad, I think that any rational man or woman who takes the time to meditate on what this callous, conscience-free, "modern, scientific, and progressive" attitude of spurning every sacred thing until it is reduced to mere physicality, and of implicitly declaring that human value is something agreed on by other humans (a concept that I think most reasonable and moral people will abhor if they think it through) and not recognized as an intrinsic dignity that is transcendent and inherent, will come to realize that the consequences of those beliefs endanger all humanity, and our own societal and cultural development, into the future of the Earth. I think that free exercise of religion and spirituality simply cannot be used to justify this, at some point human civilization is going to have to make a stand as to whether or not it is going to accept the consequences of this radical freedom, or whether it will act in the best interests of humanity and "provide new guard for our future security" as mankind.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God... That was the True Light, which enlighteneth every man that cometh into this world. He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not."- Gospel According to St. John, chapter one
May the Mind of God, Eternal Reason Himself, continue to guide and enlighten every man that is born into the world, so that we may work together in a common knowledge of the Truth that sets men free. This Way, this Truth, this Life, the Only-Begotten of the Father, He who so loved humanity that He assumed humanity into Himself in the person of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Jesus Christ our Lord, is the Prince of Peace and Reason Himself. May we all follow Reason and obey His precepts on our conscience, that we as humanity may come to experience His peace. To the Lord Jesus Christ be all glory in the Church in all ages, world without end. Amen.