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Squirrels Are Sentient
Josh Brahm calls thisthe most undervalued argument in the prolife movement. It’s called the Equal Rights Argument. On all sides of the abortion debate, most people agree that those of us outside the womb have equal value. Ask what we have in common that makes us equal, and listen carefully to the answer.
In this example, the proposed answer is that sentience is what makes us equal. People disagree about what counts as sentience, but it seems like if a newborn infant is sentient, then a squirrel should be too. This is important, because most people agree that squirrels and infants are not equal; we should grant more rights to an infant than to a squirrel. (Animal abuse is not okay, but for example, it’s a good idea to test medical products on animals before humans.) So sentience can’t be what makes us equal.
We think what makes us equal is simply that we’re all members of the human species. The human fetus is also a member of the human species, so if we’re correct, then the fetus is a person with the same value as you and me.