This post is a response to this post on "The Language Guy" blog and it's comments. I've only read the one post so far, but I like the way the guy thinks... Perhaps read the entire post/comments before you get stuck into this, or it mightn't make sense!
Language Guy - Interesting post! I've always been intrigued by the difference that use of language makes to the way people think. Not that this at all indicates agreement with you on this topic - I agree with some others who've pointed out that your use of language (eg: "small cellular mass") is just as pointed as those who oppose that p.o.v. by insisting that 8 cells is a baby. I really don't think that you will find an "objective" viewpoint on this issue - it just doesn't lend itself to objectivity.
Sorry, but I'm going to spiel on the whole abortion issue for a minute. I rant - it's what I do.
I notice constant links drawn between Christianity and ignorance/nievity/etc. on this issue and I don't really like it being applied to all Christians. See, I'm a Christian, and I don't believe that abortion is a good thing. But nor can I label it as an abominable sin. For me, it's all about potential you see. A small cellular mass attached to the inside of a woman's uterus that has the potential to become a human being is vastly different to a small cellular mass that doesn't - like a cancer. However on the flip-side, for much of a pregnancy the baby is effectivley an organ of the mother - without the mother, the embrio/fetus/baby will die. How many would argue that removing a cancerous kidney is morally ambiguous? What about a pregnancy that has the potential for harm to the mother? Does "harm" have to be defined as physical? If a child is concieved through a rape, should the mother and child be forced to endure a life of mental torment? (this isn't necessrily a given, but is a likely possibility)
Many pregnancies terminate naturally - miscarriage and the like. When my wife was first pregnant with our son, we were advised in the early stages that due to some medical not-goodness it'd probably end within the first few weeks without us even knowing. (it didn't, but not relevant to the point really...) So is the difference the mother contributing to the pregnancy ending? If so, most mothers are guilty. Bad diet, poor exercise, too much exercise, too much stress - all things that end pregnancies prematurely. Where's the line? Who gives anyone the right to draw it for someone else?
It makes me angry when I hear people doing things like saying "I believe that God says abortion is wrong, so I'm going to go torch a clinic!" Like that's any better. The assignment of weight to sin is an interesting thing Christians do. For example, coverting your next-door-neighbour's new SUV is a small-time sin, but aborting pregnancies deserves near damnation! They should probably note that if they believe the Bible, it says God doesn't do this. A sin is a sin is a sin in His view. Torching a clinic holds as much weight as any other sin - including murder.
OK I'm done. I just don't like seeing all Christians labeled as being nutjobs because a few think that difficult disagreement on this issue warrants violent response with little thought. Thinking is good - God gave us brains for a reason. I'm not saying abortion is "right" - far from it. However, I believe being a Christian is about an individual choosing to follow in Jesus's footsteps, and not about trying to enforce moral standpoints onto others. I think Jesus's ministry and teaching highlights this.
Trying to legislate morality will most likely fail, as people rebel against what they see as limiting their freedoms. Perhaps people who feel strongly about this issue should instead focus on taking action to ensure potential mothers don't find themselves in a situation where they feel termination is a better option. Support, encouragement, etc. All important stuff.
STATIC DISCLAIMER: All the stuff in here is purely my opinions, and they tend to change depending on what mood I'm in. If you're going to get bitter if I say something about you that you don't like, then maybe don't read. I avoid using names as much as possible, and would request that people who know me do the same in their comments. Basically, I often vent my frustrations on here, so if you happen to be someone who frustrates me, expect to read a description of someone very much like you in here!