The problem I see arising now is one of the opposite however. A woman's written will states that she wishes to be taken off life support. However, she didn't know she was pregnant (or didn't have time to change it before her accident/whatever caused her to be in that state.) Following her will would be in direct violation of her wishes, though there would be no way to know that, other than the word of the husband or family. Would the doctors follow the written will or the word of the family?
I think I see what you're saying, and I think ethically there is something wrong with terminating life support (and the fetus) in that case, but legally they'd be on much firmer ground. Since there's an explicit statement of will one way and only hearsay in the other, it seems to me that the issue is no longer the fetus, but of upholding the greater standard of jurisprudence in support of the written will.
So to my mind, it's only because there is no other explicit standard of the (soon-to-be) deceased's will to which we can apply that the fetus becomes a factor. I would still morally disapprove of the termination of the pregnancy, but be firmly in favor of terminating life support for more practical implications.
The dead mother.
Let me ask this. Say you want to become a parent but, alas, something happens that ends your life (for, sorry to say, but no brain activity = death no matter how you want to argue it. Dead, not coming back, worm food.) before you and your wife/girlfriend/whatever have a chance to conceive. Now, you have made it quite clear to your family that you, under no circumstances, wish to be kept alive on a machine should it be proven that there is no chance you will recover.
Now, you are, for all intents and purposes a body on a machine that is pumping air into your lungs and forcing your heart to continue beating. You - the part of you that makes you who you are - has check out. Gone. Now, under your argument of potential for life - you've got millions upon millions of chances for life in your body. Does that give the state the right to deny you your wishes for end of life? If so, your body just became a sperm bank to be kept on life support so long as the law sees fit. I mean, after all, every little sperm represents a new life yes? The same can be applied to a woman simply because she has thousands of eggs that represent the chance for life.
You are arguing on a slippery slope here. The "chance for life" is not a good argument cause it can be made in such an extreme fashion as to make all those times you've masturbated murder.
Simply fact. It is not a person. The mother made clear what she wanted done with her body to her family. The state has put itself into a bad situation by sticking it's nose into end of life decisions. They are trying to force the issue of personhood. No one deserves to be turned into a housing unit for the "potential of life" And quite frankly, I resent the fact that this hospital and state are turning this woman's body into a breeding cow. It is, without a doubt, disgusting.
Ah, I see where what you're saying and you've misunderstood what I mean by 'potential life'. I did not mean the potential to 'be' a life, but the potential to have a 'life'. Individual spermatoza and eggs do not fall under the moral absolute I am upholding because there exists at best only half the potential for them to be alive. I mean, physically speaking, sperm don't become people, eggs don't become people; sperm + egg becomes fetus is what becomes a person.
I'm not arguing that anything that has a chance at life deserves the chance to become a person, I'm arguing that anything which has the potential to live be given it. The fetus has the potential to grow into a human being. Individual sperm and eggs are a step removed and their existence is essentially at an end when the fetus is formed, so they do not in and of themselves have that potential. A sperm is a cell, an egg is a cell, just like every other cell in your body. A fetus is a collection of cells that has a function and purpose beyond simply the maintenance of your own body (which is why I think you consider it, not wrongly, to be akin to a parasite).
Hope I cleared that up, but now moving on to your other arguments.
Legally speaking, a person is not dead until there has been a declaration of death. There hasn't been one, so stop trying to say this is black and white in anything resembling a legal sense of it.
If you're not appealing to a legal basis, I can make all sorts of arguments on metaphysical grounds establishing either the fetus or the brain-dead Mrs. Munoz as alive.
I must also reiterate: We do not know she is brain-dead. That is hearsay based on the testimony of the family. I am willing for the sake of argument at times to consider her as such, but until you produce an official statement, press release, or confirmed news source to the effect that she is in fact brain-dead, I suggest you take a step back from that particular issue.
You kind of missed my point. I do not speak from the perspective of the laws and reasoning of society, but from the perspective of nature. What the hospital is doing defies the will of the family and the individual at question as well, so aside from the fact that this whole thing is unnatural, I personally see it as a separate will of the system itself that should have no will of its own. I personally think this is wrong, also, I also.consider this a case of "over humanism" as I call it. But then again, this is just me.
My apologies on that count, but please, don't make this just about your opinion. You have claims, you have reasons for making them do endeavor to explain them as I assure you I am open to the idea I might be wrong, as at the start of this debate I was very much firmly on the side of the family.
Sperm and egg have the "potential" for life. Keep a dead male body on machines in order to harvest the sperm. Aka - make the body a sperm back. Keep a dead female body on machines to harvest the eggs. Aka - make the body an egg bank. Keep a dead woman who has an non viable fetus inside of her on machines to harvest a viable fetus - aka make the body a brood mare.
It's all the same and it is disgusting.
It's not all the same. No one is suggesting we keep her on life support indefinitely, and sperm and eggs are as Oniya and I have both pointed out, not viable in their own right as potential human beings. There existence ends as the fetus's existence begins and only the fetus has that potential.
Besides, just because you find it disgusting doesn't mean it isn't potentially moral tenable. I find incest disgusting but have no ethical grounds on which to deem it immoral.