Wednesday, August 20, 2014

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Save the Tick, Abort the Baby: A ‘Fetus Cannot Itself Have an Interest in Continued Existence’

DePaul University recently hosted a lecture by a radical animal rights activist who once compared raising animals for food to “concentration camps,” yet ironically is also an outspoken advocate for abortion.

The daylong symposium hosted by the Center for Animal Law at DePaul University’s College of Law had Gary Francione, professor of law at Rutgers University School of Law, delivering the keynote address, according to the university’s website.

Francione is the author of “Animals as Persons,” as well as “An Introduction to Animal Rights: Your Child or the Dog?

Despite his support for animals being granted the rights of “persons,” Francione vigorously defends abortion by comparing the unborn to a plant that may or may not be watered. “To the extent that we might say, for instance, that it is in the ‘interest’ of the fetus that the pregnant woman not smoke cigarettes during pregnancy, such an assertion is no different from saying that it is in the ‘interest’ of an engine to be properly lubricated or of a plant to be watered,” he wrote on his own website. “In the absence of a religious belief about the ensoulment of fetuses, it is difficult to understand why the abortion of an early-term fetus is morally objectionable or how abortion can be considered a harm to a nonsentient fetus.”

In an interview with radio host Michael Smerconish, Francione explained that if his dog had a tick, “I take the tick off; if the tick is still alive, I put the tick outside.”

He added that he does this because, “I don't know whether insects feel pain. I err in favor of not killing them.”

That caution doesn’t include unborn humans. He wrote on his own website, “Although it is not certain that any fetuses are sentient, it is clear that early-term fetuses are not, and therefore they do not have interests in not suffering—they cannot suffer. Moreover, it is not clear how nonsentient fetuses can have an interest in continued existence. Although a normal fetus will continue to term and result in the birth of a human person, the nonsentient fetus cannot itself have an interest in continued existence.”

Francione is also a public advocate of same-sex marriage and has said, “Heterosexism is a form of violence.”

In fact, when Pope Benedict XVI said that same-sex marriage is a threat to civilization, Francione countered on his Facebook page by saying, “The Pope is totally wrong.  Most institutional religions get just about everything wrong.  But, don't confuse being religious with being spiritual.  They're really different concepts.”

He later added, “If the Pope were more spiritual, he's [sic] never say anything like that!”

Francione’s keynote address was called, "Animals as Property: The Challenges of Animal Law."

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