The WSJ ran an article today describing how the Swiss government is requiring agricultural researchers to demonstrate how their protocols assure the dignity of plants are safeguarded. The law maintains that It's wrong to genetically alter a plant and render it sterile. Some members of the Swiss panel confided that they believe plants may be sentient while all members agreed that mammals were certainly sentient. I mention this because sentience is the criteria which the panel used to justify their decision. Sentience implies purpose and purpose implies meaning. Based on this the panel concluded that plants “attempt in their own way to maintain or even increase their own good”
The statement on animals is more definite. Using Albert Schweitzer’s “Veneration of life” argument the panel concludes that every living thing that exists is accorded a moral value.
Last month Ecuador amended their constitution to “recognize ecosystem rights enforceable in a court of law. Thus, the nation's rivers, forests and air are no longer mere property, but right-bearing entities with "the right to exist, persist and...regenerate."
I find both these arguments compelling because both the Swiss and the Ecuadorian policies are secular as far as I can tell. This is an important consideration because it seems as though a paradigm has been created that if taken to its logical end would force the end of both abortion and contraception as unethical and a gross violation of the living being inside the womb; one which interferes with that beings attempt to increase their own good. What should be compelling is that this position has been arrived at through reason alone.