In the Service of Human Life
Tree on a hill on a starry night
Applied Bioethics in stylized text
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In the Service of Human Life

Tie Goes to the Runner

Baseball players on the field

Baseball is an American tradition. There’s a great rule in baseball that helps umpires make the most difficult calls: tie goes to the runner.

Diversity of thought strengthens our culture. Though at times it seems like we’re drifting towards an intellectual ghetto, we still have the ability to bring together a confluence of opinions on the same topic.

Life begins at conception. It’s easy to see and accept that there are many intelligent people and organizations that do not agree with that statement. There is a thought process there that withholds the protection and respect due to human persons until a later stage of maturation. The logic appears to be weak, but it’s an understandable conclusion. Each person approaches these questions from the viewpoint of our own backgrounds and moral codes.

The worldview offered on these pages gives the widest possible latitude to the human person. Even in grey areas, it errs on the side of granting legal protections and respect to the human person. In other words, when a question is murky, the tie goes to the runner. When the conclusion is not black and white, it holds that the individual is indeed a human person, with innate dignity worthy of love and respect.

Why not grant this same generous degree of latitude? If there is disagreement as to when life starts, whether at conception or live birth, what do we lose by granting the newly conceived protections and dignity? A temporary inconvenience to the mother? If we disagree as to whether physician-assisted suicide is homicide or compassion, what do we lose by walking with the terminally ill in their final days? Said another way, what do we risk losing by telling someone that their life is not worth living? We risk losing humanity itself.

Bioethics deals in the realm of the meta, but at the same time, interacts specifically and individually. If we want a more just and humane society, we can prove our desire by strengthening the basic tenants of respect. Bioethical questions are challenging, and there is always the distortion of bias and the tenancy towards expediency. In the final analysis, a human person is worth so much more than simple convenience.