Thursday, 12 May 2016

"I'm In My 80th Year !!"

My friends were quite astounded when I came out with this declaration over coffee yesterday afternoon. "But you were only 78 in January last" said Rosie - quite accurately. I replied that by my calculations I must have been conceived in early April 1937 and, therefore I have existed as an individual from then until now, early May 2016; which is 79 years and one month. Hence I'm now in the 80th year of my existence. Silence.

Finally Rachel nodded wisely and pointed out that this line of thought had implications for the ethics of abortion. Quite the intellectual is our Rach. We had evidently traversed from the rhetorical nursery slopes of calculating the implications of my age to the controversial black run of abortion ethics. Oh my!

Although the estimated date of conception is relevant to estimating the duration of my existence, if you discount a purely religious argument - which I do - it isn't relevant to the issue of abortion ethics. The relevant concept from a purely humanitarian view is the estimated date of sentience. That is the estimated date from which the fetus has some sense of self and can feel pain. Since there is no way of estimating this with any accuracy, the relevant experts have to come up with a consensual  arbitrary estimate based on their knowledge and experience. In the UK, except in very exceptional circumstances, the legality of abortion can only be considered prior to 24 weeks from estimated conception.

But, re-traversing to the nursery slopes folks; I really am in my 80th year of existence.  Ain't I bloody ancient?!

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