Abortion and Women's Rights

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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Mar 14, 2011 6:42 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote: I'll point out an interesting statistic. Minorities are much more likely than white women to use abortion services.

It could mean any number of things, including but certainly not limited to the notion that minorities maybe have less access to birth control or birth control education, or possibly that minorities are more likely to decide that they are not economically secure enough to raise a child. I dunno what it means, but I don't think it's a statistic that proves any point one way or the other. What do YOU think it means, since you're trying to get at something by mentioning it.
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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby Роберт » Mon Mar 14, 2011 6:48 pm UTC

I think this thread proved a point: many people who believe abortion is a women's rights issue believe it is ridiculous to think of a fetus as a human life with rights, and many who believe in regulating abortion believe a fetus (at some point) has rights similar to an infant.

Clearly, if everyone believed that a fetus had rights similar to an infant, not very many people would feel that a woman's right to bodily autonomy would trump the right the fetus would have to life. Also, if no one believed a fetus had any more rights than an appendix, not many would argue that abortion should be illegal. So in general, it's not a women's right's issue to those trying to regulate it, but it is a women's rights issue to those trying to keep the choice available to women.
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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby FireZs » Mon Mar 14, 2011 6:53 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote: I'll point out an interesting statistic. Minorities are much more likely than white women to use abortion services.


What's also interesting is that the majority of abortions are performed on white women.


But here's another potential "solution": What if we just drew the line at "if you can deliver it and have it survive, it counts as a person?" So instead of "abortions", we'll just have "artificially premature deliveries." Embryo? Obviously won't survive if delivered. 9 month fetus? Very likely. 8 month fetus? Iffy, but if it survives it survives. If it doesn't, you got your abortion anyway. Thoughts?

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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby morriswalters » Mon Mar 14, 2011 6:55 pm UTC

Here is one position that is of interest to me. If viability is the accepted criteria, and you make the reasonable assumption that technology will push that point closer to conception, does that mean technology will be the limiting factor? It is not unreasonable to presume that at some point that technology will be able to make an artificial womb and that the whole process may occur outside the body at will. Would abortion become unethical at that point? So if viability were removed as a metric what could take it's place? Of course one counter position is that as long as the baby is in the womb the mother controls. Does this imply late term abortions would be okay, irregardless of viability?

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I suspect that any of the things you have cited could be the case. Certainly it suggests that the lingering effects of racial bias have not disappeared. It also suggests that if you believe abortion is not a good thing that an efficient use of resources would be to make sure that minorities had access to the same resources and education as white women.

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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby Роберт » Mon Mar 14, 2011 7:03 pm UTC

FireZs wrote:But here's another potential "solution": What if we just drew the line at "if you can deliver it and have it survive, it counts as a person?" So instead of "abortions", we'll just have "artificially premature deliveries." Embryo? Obviously won't survive if delivered. 9 month fetus? Very likely. 8 month fetus? Iffy, but if it survives it survives. If it doesn't, you got your abortion anyway. Thoughts?

If you're saying what I think you're saying...
I think that is an incredibly ignorant idea.

Seriously. For one thing, a 36 week fetus doesn't have an "iffy" viability. It will most likely survive. For another thing, do you really think that potential live delivery is no more invasive than abortion? For another, do you realize the health issues that premature infants face? I could go on.
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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby FireZs » Mon Mar 14, 2011 7:35 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:
FireZs wrote:But here's another potential "solution": What if we just drew the line at "if you can deliver it and have it survive, it counts as a person?" So instead of "abortions", we'll just have "artificially premature deliveries." Embryo? Obviously won't survive if delivered. 9 month fetus? Very likely. 8 month fetus? Iffy, but if it survives it survives. If it doesn't, you got your abortion anyway. Thoughts?

If you're saying what I think you're saying...
I think that is an incredibly ignorant idea.

Seriously. For one thing, a 36 week fetus doesn't have an "iffy" viability. It will most likely survive. For another thing, do you really think that potential live delivery is no more invasive than abortion? For another, do you realize the health issues that premature infants face? I could go on.



Pre-37 week is premature. So yes, I stand by "iffy."

So what you're saying is that premature babies are better off dead? Or just the ones still undelivered? It's one thing to debate the "humanness" of fetuses at various stages of pregnancy, but we're talking about a fetus at the exact same point in the pregnancy. Outside it's human, inside it's not? Is it justifiable to kill the fetus if it's deliverable and the risk to the mother is very low just because it's more invasive? And if so, shouldn't we be advocating for legal euthanasia of premature babies up to the "would have been 42 weeks" point? Cause, you know, the premature baby is really disruptive to the mother's life, and it's going to have a bunch of problems anyway?

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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby Indon » Mon Mar 14, 2011 7:38 pm UTC

Meaux_Pas wrote:@indon you have an interesting idea. What I consider an appropriate wage for bearing and raising a child would be pretty large! How about the equivalent to the CEO of Goldmann Sachs?


I'm pretty sure that eminent domain draws upon market value for the goods and services provided - so I'd posit something along the lines of:

  • A full-time caretaker salary, paying for the woman's time,
  • Plus expenses, as part of paying for the goods and services,
  • Plus lost wages, similar to alimony, paying for the opportunity cost of childbirth and childrearing.

A CEO who gets pregnant and is prevented from having an abortion due to eminent domain would probably have a good argument for being paid a very great deal indeed, but I imagine the average would be somewhat lower.

morriswalters wrote:Minorities are much more likely than white women to use abortion services. What does that imply?


It implies that minority populations aren't as wealthy as white populations, and that poor people get abortions because they get pregnant more often (note that poor people also have more children in general).

So unless you can show this statistic accounts for socioeconomic status, it's not an interesting statistic, and it does not remotely imply the 'abortion is a racial war' argument that I've seen pro-lifers make, and that I suspect you're implying with your 'interesting' claim.

Роберт wrote:I think this thread proved a point: many people who believe abortion is a women's rights issue believe it is ridiculous to think of a fetus as a human life with rights, and many who believe in regulating abortion believe a fetus (at some point) has rights similar to an infant.

No, I don't think it does that. Much of the thread has noted that even if a fetus had personhood, women would still not be obliged to use their bodies to keep them alive - because people aren't obliged to use their resources to save/maintain the lives of strangers.

Did you read those posts?
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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Mar 14, 2011 7:40 pm UTC

It's an interesting point because if our metric for 'viability' keeps shifting, we place increasingly higher value on a fetus, and in the parlance of those who wish it, increasingly less rights on the woman. Whereas maybe it was once assumed that because infant mortality was so high, that leaving a sick infant in the wilderness to die was a reasonable course of action. Now, it may be assumed that because neonatal incubators are so sophisticated that people can make the argument that a single division post sperm and ovum fusion is a viable human being with rights.

That's why I hate benchmarks. Because as I stated, they aren't about protecting a fetus, they're about limiting the choices of a woman. I'm only mildly willing to accept that once it's out of the mother, any acts upon it's life are considered infanticide, because of the fact that people with no other resources have been known to hide a pregnancy, deliver, and dump the baby out of panic. What kind of society do we live in that you would aim to prosecute these girls in addition to saddle them with taking care of an unwanted child, instead of simply offering them to tools to not have to undergo such an awful experience?
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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby FireZs » Mon Mar 14, 2011 7:45 pm UTC

Indon wrote:No, I don't think it does that. Much of the thread has noted that even if a fetus had personhood, women would still not be obliged to use their bodies to keep them alive - because people aren't obliged to use their resources to save/maintain the lives of strangers.


So there was an analogy to hooking yourself up to another adult to keep them alive. Let's say at a certain point after you've been hooked up long enough, you could unhook yourself from that person in such a way that would be invasive and uncomfortable, but may leave the other person alive. In a weakened state and not sure to survive, but still alive with a chance. Or you can shoot him in the head and unhook yourself with minimal effort. Doesn't the moral calculus change somewhat then?

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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Mar 14, 2011 7:48 pm UTC

No, the point isn't 'What would you do', but 'Should we make a law demanding you do one thing or the other'. The CHOICE should always be yours. Whether or not you want to save that person at your risk or wouldn't think twice about unhooking yourself is YOUR DECISION, not the laws.
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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby FireZs » Mon Mar 14, 2011 7:55 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:No, the point isn't 'What would you do', but 'Should we make a law demanding you do one thing or the other'. The CHOICE should always be yours. Whether or not you want to save that person at your risk or wouldn't think twice about unhooking yourself is YOUR DECISION, not the laws.


Well, if it's not risky, but just invasive... Isn't that actually not justifiable? Shooting him in the head isn't a choice about continued use of your body (after all, he's getting unhooked one way or the other), it's about the manner in which he will be unhooked. Why is shooting him in the head a justifiable choice then?

Izawwlgood wrote:It's an interesting point because if our metric for 'viability' keeps shifting, we place increasingly higher value on a fetus, and in the parlance of those who wish it, increasingly less rights on the woman. Whereas maybe it was once assumed that because infant mortality was so high, that leaving a sick infant in the wilderness to die was a reasonable course of action. Now, it may be assumed that because neonatal incubators are so sophisticated that people can make the argument that a single division post sperm and ovum fusion is a viable human being with rights.

That's why I hate benchmarks. Because as I stated, they aren't about protecting a fetus, they're about limiting the choices of a woman. I'm only mildly willing to accept that once it's out of the mother, any acts upon it's life are considered infanticide, because of the fact that people with no other resources have been known to hide a pregnancy, deliver, and dump the baby out of panic. What kind of society do we live in that you would aim to prosecute these girls in addition to saddle them with taking care of an unwanted child, instead of simply offering them to tools to not have to undergo such an awful experience?


So your position is basically "the choices for women must never be reduced, only increased." And I see that you're actually open to the idea of legalizing post-birth abortions. So here's an interesting idea for you: Roe v. Wade has its basis in an implied right to privacy in the 14th amendment. What if we had a procedure by which a mother's skin is temporarily cut surgically to form a pouch, the baby is inserted into the skin pouch (basically just under the skin), then the skin pouch is sealed up, effectively causing the baby to be "inside" the mother, and thus part of the mother's body where the mother has a reasonable expectation of privacy. The mother is then woken up, consents to the "abortion," and the doctor kills the baby with a lethal injection. Technically that should be legal under Roe v Wade. Would you be for that? It would be an additional choice available to women, after all.
Last edited by FireZs on Mon Mar 14, 2011 8:17 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby Indon » Mon Mar 14, 2011 8:06 pm UTC

FireZs wrote:So there was an analogy to hooking yourself up to another adult to keep them alive. Let's say at a certain point after you've been hooked up long enough, you could unhook yourself from that person in such a way that would be invasive and uncomfortable, but may leave the other person alive. In a weakened state and not sure to survive, but still alive with a chance. Or you can shoot him in the head and unhook yourself with minimal effort. Doesn't the moral calculus change somewhat then?


It's clear you don't like the analogy, because you don't shoot him. You just unhook yourself, which kills him. The shooting part is pretty clearly a pro-life twist which at no point ever happens except in the imagination of people who want abortion to be made illegal.

The analogy isn't theoretical either. Such procedures can happen, and the donor can stop the procedure any time they're conscious, effectively killing the person they would have saved, and it's not murder. Nobody is shot, even though someone dies.

The fact is that people are not obligated to save the lives of strangers. It's not murder not to do so.
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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby FireZs » Mon Mar 14, 2011 8:12 pm UTC

Indon wrote:
FireZs wrote:So there was an analogy to hooking yourself up to another adult to keep them alive. Let's say at a certain point after you've been hooked up long enough, you could unhook yourself from that person in such a way that would be invasive and uncomfortable, but may leave the other person alive. In a weakened state and not sure to survive, but still alive with a chance. Or you can shoot him in the head and unhook yourself with minimal effort. Doesn't the moral calculus change somewhat then?


It's clear you don't like the analogy, because you don't shoot him. You just unhook yourself, which kills him. The shooting part is pretty clearly a pro-life twist which at no point ever happens except in the imagination of people who want abortion to be made illegal.

The analogy isn't theoretical either. Such procedures can happen, and the donor can stop the procedure any time they're conscious, effectively killing the person they would have saved, and it's not murder. Nobody is shot, even though someone dies.

The fact is that people are not obligated to save the lives of strangers. It's not murder not to do so.


We were talking about the case of a premature baby. In the abortion case, there absolutely is active killing going on. They make sure the fetus is dead before they remove it. Simply unhooking yourself would be closer to actually just having the baby.

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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby Indon » Mon Mar 14, 2011 8:17 pm UTC

FireZs wrote:We were talking about the case of a premature baby. In the abortion case, there absolutely is active killing going on. They make sure the fetus is dead before they remove it. Simply unhooking yourself would be closer to actually just having the baby.


Unless the baby is late-term (See Azrael's post), abortion is premature birth that is guaranteed to kill the baby. There is no active killing, save perhaps mercy killing.

So no, you're wrong.
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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby LaserGuy » Mon Mar 14, 2011 8:22 pm UTC

FireZs wrote:
Izawwlgood wrote:No, the point isn't 'What would you do', but 'Should we make a law demanding you do one thing or the other'. The CHOICE should always be yours. Whether or not you want to save that person at your risk or wouldn't think twice about unhooking yourself is YOUR DECISION, not the laws.


Well, if it's not risky, but just invasive... Isn't that actually not justifiable? Shooting him in the head isn't a choice about continued use of your body (after all, he's getting unhooked one way or the other), it's about the manner in which he will be unhooked. Why is shooting him in the head a justifiable choice then?


My personal opinion on this matter: if the procedure is virtually indistinguishable from an abortion in terms of risks and complications, and there is a caregiver willing to support the fetus/zygote/whatever, then I see no problem with making the "live abortion" method the standard practice. If the first condition doesn't hold, I don't think you can prevent the mother from choosing a standard abortion; if the second condition doesn't hold, what's the point?

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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby FireZs » Mon Mar 14, 2011 8:23 pm UTC

Indon wrote:Unless the baby is late-term (See Azrael's post), abortion is premature birth that is guaranteed to kill the baby. There is no active killing, save perhaps mercy killing.

So no, you're wrong.


Well, as I said, and as you have failed to read yet again, late-term is exactly what we're talking about (where if you deliver the fetus it actually has a chance of survival). Premature birth that is guaranteed to kill the baby vs premature birth that may or may not kill the baby is a real moral choice that significantly lowers the part that the woman's body plays in the argument, because the fetus's use of the woman's body has come to an end either way.

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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby morriswalters » Mon Mar 14, 2011 8:58 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:It's an interesting point because if our metric for 'viability' keeps shifting, we place increasingly higher value on a fetus, and in the parlance of those who wish it, increasingly less rights on the woman. Whereas maybe it was once assumed that because infant mortality was so high, that leaving a sick infant in the wilderness to die was a reasonable course of action. Now, it may be assumed that because neonatal incubators are so sophisticated that people can make the argument that a single division post sperm and ovum fusion is a viable human being with rights.

That's why I hate benchmarks. Because as I stated, they aren't about protecting a fetus, they're about limiting the choices of a woman. I'm only mildly willing to accept that once it's out of the mother, any acts upon it's life are considered infanticide, because of the fact that people with no other resources have been known to hide a pregnancy, deliver, and dump the baby out of panic. What kind of society do we live in that you would aim to prosecute these girls in addition to saddle them with taking care of an unwanted child, instead of simply offering them to tools to not have to undergo such an awful experience?
We ask these questions because they are important. The general question is always the same, whether your happy with it or not. When is life important and when is it not? Why is a 7 month potential child less valuable then a month old baby. If you choose abortion you say that it is less valuable. Why is that true? Should a mother be allowed to kill a 1 month old? Almost certainly the response will be no. To have that make sense means you have to be able to point out the difference between the two. I have no wish for anyone to have a baby they don't want to have. Neither am I willing to accept the possibility that the line could be pushed forward instead of back.

If you accept the the mothers life is more important than the potential child, at what time is that no longer true and why. Why is the same thing not true for a one month old? I don't want to make the decision. Because I don't know the answer. If you can kill a child because they can because you don't want to saddle them with a child where does it stop? Quite a few people have caused me pain and suffering, can I shoot them?

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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby FireZs » Mon Mar 14, 2011 9:01 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:My personal opinion on this matter: if the procedure is virtually indistinguishable from an abortion in terms of risks and complications, and there is a caregiver willing to support the fetus/zygote/whatever, then I see no problem with making the "live abortion" method the standard practice. If the first condition doesn't hold, I don't think you can prevent the mother from choosing a standard abortion; if the second condition doesn't hold, what's the point?


After the 21st week the risk of an abortion goes up dramatically to where it's about the same as natural birth (~1 in 10000 have complications, I think). So that's your first condition.

If the second point doesn't hold. Well, there is still the point of, you know, making a choice that will allow someone to live, especially if the risks are equivalent. That their lives will be crappy in foster care is not a reason to kill them.


morriswalters wrote:
Should a mother be allowed to kill a 1 month old? Almost certainly the response will be no.

Izawwlgood wrote:I'm only mildly willing to accept that once it's out of the mother, any acts upon it's life are considered infanticide



I think there's your answer right there.

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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby Angua » Mon Mar 14, 2011 9:09 pm UTC

FireZs wrote:But here's another potential "solution": What if we just drew the line at "if you can deliver it and have it survive, it counts as a person?" So instead of "abortions", we'll just have "artificially premature deliveries." Embryo? Obviously won't survive if delivered. 9 month fetus? Very likely. 8 month fetus? Iffy, but if it survives it survives. If it doesn't, you got your abortion anyway. Thoughts?
Who's going to pay for the NICU incubator and hospital treatment that the premie needs - keeping them alive is not cheap.

This is a BBC article about the chances of a baby born at 23 weeks, which so far is the earliest they can be delivered and survive (9/100 odds, but there you go), though they're generally disabled for life. In the UK they are kept in incubators, in the Netherlands they are generally considered miscarriages until 24 weeks (in the UK the limit for abortion is 24 weeks interestingly). Babies born progressively later are still less likely to be disabled, and more likely to live, but they'd still require extra looking after. I'm trying to point out that viability is not a clear-cut issue either, and even if viable, you might be subjecting this already unwanted child to a life of disability.

Finally, I'd once again like to reinforce the fact that late-term abortions are not carried out liightly - they are generally the ones where either the baby is deformed, the pregnancy is doing harm to the mother, or in the more rare cases, she wasn't able to get to an abortion clinic in the first trimester (which can occur when you consider the fact that it can take women a while to find out they're pregnant - sometimes people find out when they're giving birth - and also that in some places (say northern ireland or states like South Dakota) women have to go quite far afield in order to get an abortion, and that can take a while, especially if their are rules where you have to have counselling or think about it for 24hrs beforehand). I personally think that legalising abortion will make late-term abortions rarer rather than more common (especially as having an abortion later on in pregnancy is more risky anyway) as women who know they don't want children will have better access earlier on, and I imagine that the actual decision to have an abortion would get harder later on anyway, even if you do leave it up to the women.
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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Mar 14, 2011 9:16 pm UTC

FireZs wrote:mother's skin is temporarily cut surgically to form a pouch

I honestly have no idea what this hypothetical is trying to convey; can you reexplain it?

FireZs wrote:Well, if it's not risky, but just invasive... Isn't that actually not justifiable? Shooting him in the head isn't a choice about continued use of your body (after all, he's getting unhooked one way or the other), it's about the manner in which he will be unhooked. Why is shooting him in the head a justifiable choice then?

For the bolded, I presume you're talking about the hypothetical wherein a human being is attached to me, and I am made 'uncomfortable'. According to your hypothetical, I can remain 'uncomfortable' and he lives, or I can unhook the machinery and become 'comfortable' and he dies. Right? This is the analogy?
In such a circumstance I would probably endeavor to keep the person alive. The difference is once the person is 'safe', he/she no longer requires my continued assistance/sustenance. That the person is already a human being, not a 'potential human being'. That the person maybe wants to live, consciously, due to life experiences, fears, etc.

This is why the analogy is sort of useless; a pregnancy/delivery is not just 'invasive', and it's certainly potentially more than just 'uncomfortable'. The reliant 'person' is not truly independent, often, barely even biologically so. The 'person' also has no memories, desires, wants.

The comparison isn't even remotely apples to apples. It's apples to Monday.

FireZs wrote:And I see that you're actually open to the idea of legalizing post-birth abortions.

I'm not sure I am at all actually, but I'm also extremely hesitant to draw lines through the matter and legislate things. I can totally understand circumstances where it is justified for a woman to kill her infant and is wholly legitimate, and I am also horrified at the idea of killing an infant. I think you really need to read a little more about things women do or are forced to do when you make getting an abortion difficult, or impossible; it makes me, more than anything, want to abolish any rules that make it harder for women to do what they need.

Morriswalters wrote:If you choose abortion you say that it is less valuable. Why is that true?

The thing I think you still don't understand, and I'm not sure if you're doing it deliberately or not, is that this is less a debate of whether or not a 1, 5, 9 month old fetus is worth more or less than a 1 month, two year, or college bound child, but a debate of whether or not a mothers right to choose what happens to her fetus/newborn supercedes the fetus' right to live. You keep looking at this in terms of value of life, and hoping to corner us pro-choicers with an uncomfortable moral calculus question, when you're missing the point. Allowing a woman to choose is not saying that one fetus is worth more than another, it's saying that we're allowing a woman to choose if her fetus is worth it to her or not.

This issue is less about deciding what whose worth more or less, and more about who we allow to choose what is worth more or less. Personally, I find the issue complex, and I don't even have a uterus. How can some law tell someone whose uterus is currently occupied by a child what the best outcome is for her life situation? But...

morriswalters wrote:If you can kill a child because they can because you don't want to saddle them with a child where does it stop? Quite a few people have caused me pain and suffering, can I shoot them?

You fail at analogies.
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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby FireZs » Mon Mar 14, 2011 9:25 pm UTC

Angua wrote:
FireZs wrote:But here's another potential "solution": What if we just drew the line at "if you can deliver it and have it survive, it counts as a person?" So instead of "abortions", we'll just have "artificially premature deliveries." Embryo? Obviously won't survive if delivered. 9 month fetus? Very likely. 8 month fetus? Iffy, but if it survives it survives. If it doesn't, you got your abortion anyway. Thoughts?


Who's going to pay for the NICU incubator and hospital treatment that the premie needs - keeping them alive is not cheap.


The break-even point for saving a life is approximately 10 million dollars (In 2000 dollars) per life. I know medical costs are high, but I don't think it's quite that expensive. If it is I'll concede the point and say let the ones for which the cost exceeds the break-even point to die (I suspect such cases are very rare, seeing as they're a small percentage of an already small percentage of late-term abortions).

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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby Angua » Mon Mar 14, 2011 9:30 pm UTC

Yeah, but it's not just the immediate life-saving is it? You then have a disabled child (in some cases severely so - if you read the article there was a child born at 26 weeks who is quadriplegic), and they require a lot of special care to make sure that they have happy lives, as well as higher medical costs throughout their lives. Having a healthy child is a large enough financial commitment in itself, having a disabled child is drastically more so.
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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby greengiant » Mon Mar 14, 2011 9:30 pm UTC

Angua wrote:in the UK the limit for abortion is 24 weeks interestingly ..... Finally, I'd once again like to reinforce the fact that late-term abortions are not carried out liightly - they are generally the ones where either the baby is deformed, the pregnancy is doing harm to the mother


Just wanted to clarify that current UK law already allows for abortions after the 24 week limit to prevent injury to the mother or "if there is substantial risk that if the child were born, it would suffer from physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped". So certainly here, those particular situations are covered by law.

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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby FireZs » Mon Mar 14, 2011 9:54 pm UTC

Angua wrote:Yeah, but it's not just the immediate life-saving is it? You then have a disabled child (in some cases severely so - if you read the article there was a child born at 26 weeks who is quadriplegic), and they require a lot of special care to make sure that they have happy lives, as well as higher medical costs throughout their lives. Having a healthy child is a large enough financial commitment in itself, having a disabled child is drastically more so.


Well, as I said, I don't think "having a shitty life" is a reason to kill them. If they want to kill themselves later on, they can (well, technically that's illegal too), but it should be their choice. "It's too expensive" is frankly even less of a reason to kill them, suffice it to say that I think This is Madness.

Izawwlgood wrote:
FireZs wrote:mother's skin is temporarily cut surgically to form a pouch

I honestly have no idea what this hypothetical is trying to convey; can you reexplain it?


It's an idea to make a woman killing her baby legal and safe(?) by allowing a doctor to stuff the baby inside the woman and killing it while it's inside. Inside the woman -> right to privacy -> covered by Roe v Wade.

Izawwlgood wrote:For the bolded, I presume you're talking about the hypothetical wherein a human being is attached to me, and I am made 'uncomfortable'. According to your hypothetical, I can remain 'uncomfortable' and he lives, or I can unhook the machinery and become 'comfortable' and he dies. Right? This is the analogy?
In such a circumstance I would probably endeavor to keep the person alive. The difference is once the person is 'safe', he/she no longer requires my continued assistance/sustenance. That the person is already a human being, not a 'potential human being'. That the person maybe wants to live, consciously, due to life experiences, fears, etc.

This is why the analogy is sort of useless; a pregnancy/delivery is not just 'invasive', and it's certainly potentially more than just 'uncomfortable'. The reliant 'person' is not truly independent, often, barely even biologically so. The 'person' also has no memories, desires, wants.

The comparison isn't even remotely apples to apples. It's apples to Monday.


Actually, no. What I was trying to say is that he gets unhooked either way (abortion or birth). One way is more uncomfortable than the other (even though the risk is comparable for late-term abortions), and if you choose comfort, the fetus dies.

You're right that the analogy isn't that good, but it's not my analogy, and I'm all for discarding it.

Izawwlgood wrote:
FireZs wrote:And I see that you're actually open to the idea of legalizing post-birth abortions.

I'm not sure I am at all actually, but I'm also extremely hesitant to draw lines through the matter and legislate things. I can totally understand circumstances where it is justified for a woman to kill her infant and is wholly legitimate, and I am also horrified at the idea of killing an infant. I think you really need to read a little more about things women do or are forced to do when you make getting an abortion difficult, or impossible; it makes me, more than anything, want to abolish any rules that make it harder for women to do what they need.


Well, as I said, you might want to look into pushing in the other direction then, and try to move the line for abortions past the birth point, because as it stands, killing a born baby is very much illegal.

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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:01 pm UTC

FireZs wrote:Well, as I said, I don't think "having a shitty life" is a reason to kill them. If they want to kill themselves later on, they can (well, technically that's illegal too), but it should be their choice. "It's too expensive" is frankly even less of a reason to kill them, suffice it to say that I think This is Madness.

I don't think you're being realistic here. Who do you think pays for the child? Why do you think cost isn't an issue? If a woman decides she doesn't want the emotional or financial trauma of dealing with a severely handicapped child, that's her prerogative, not the states. "It's too expensive" is how the world works, and if the mother decides she can't provide for her potential child, it's her choice to not have that child.

I simply don't understand how you can say it's fine to raise a child in horrible unwanted conditions and let them decide to kill themselves later, but it's not fine to simply let the mother abort a fetus.

FireZs wrote:It's a idea to make a woman killing her baby legal and safe(?) by allowing a doctor to stuff the baby inside the woman and killing it while it's inside. Inside the woman -> right to privacy -> covered by Roe v Wade.

Er, der, huh? You mean a sort of 'out of sight out of mind' thing? I don't think it applies at all.

FireZs wrote:Well, as I said, you might want to look into pushing in the other direction then, and try to move the line for abortions past the birth point, because as it stands, killing a born baby is very much illegal.

Or you could take note of the fact that I said killing an infant horrifies me... But that it isn't my decision to make.
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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby Angua » Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:07 pm UTC

If you think condemning an unborn child to a life of disability where no one wants them is justifiable, then I don't really see how we're going to agree. Considering the costs is actually quite important as it would have to be the responsibility of the state so from my point of view abortion is both the most ethical and economical action. It also has the bonus effect of not treating women like incubators.
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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby ProverbialNoose » Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:27 pm UTC

To all of you people dismissing morriswalter's comments and making assumptions about his stance on the matter:

He is, regardless of your opinion on the matter and regardless of his (which, I'd like to point out, he hasn't made explicitly clear in anything that he's said), carrying about this discussion in a much more intelligent way than most of you are. Rather than starting with his opinion and providing emotionally-colored reasons for why he's right, he's framing the discussion and throwing out food for thought, mostly in question form, as a way of getting at different issues that are related to the larger issue of abortion, since, as he's said, it's impractical and pretty much useless to try to tackle the whole issue at once.

Regardless of your personal opinion on the matter, I think most of you could take a page out of his book and try to have an actual discussion instead of just writing off any dissenting views (or even views that you think could differ from your own), while ironically denouncing others for doing the same.

And to preempt anyone trying to say Oh me yarm HE SO OBVIOUSLY IS TEH PRO-LIFERZZ LOLOLOL, he has not once stated which side he is on, so anything you draw about his opinion, one way or the other, is an assumption, any way you look at it. Even questions that challenge your stance don't always mean that the asker is of a different opinion, especially given the neutral tone with which he's been posing his questions.


This isn't an attempt to derail the topic or anything ... yeah. That didn't work.

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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby Роберт » Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:29 pm UTC

FireZs wrote:So what you're saying is that premature babies are better off dead? Or just the ones still undelivered? It's one thing to debate the "humanness" of fetuses at various stages of pregnancy, but we're talking about a fetus at the exact same point in the pregnancy. Outside it's human, inside it's not? Is it justifiable to kill the fetus if it's deliverable and the risk to the mother is very low just because it's more invasive? And if so, shouldn't we be advocating for legal euthanasia of premature babies up to the "would have been 42 weeks" point? Cause, you know, the premature baby is really disruptive to the mother's life, and it's going to have a bunch of problems anyway?

I'm saying that it doesn't really make sense as a compromise - you'll instead of infringing on the woman's rights and having a healthy baby, or infringing on the rights of the fetus and killing it outright, your taking out a the fetus so you have a living baby that is WAY underdeveloped and will run up huge medical costs and might die, might live with disabilities, or might live with normal health, but...as an orphan-ish thing since the mother choose to reject the baby? And now the mother has a biological child that she didn't choose to have, but should probably keep track of so that you won't have the child marrying a sibling accidentally later on?

You should either recognize the rights of the fetus as stronger than the woman's choice and say that forced premature delivery is similar to negligance in starving a born child, or recognize the rights of the mother and let her choose to abort the baby or try to let it leave. Instead some dumb middle ground that wastes resources and still lets fetuses be killed and still limits the mother's choice. Nobody would be happy with that.
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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby Роберт » Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:33 pm UTC

Indon wrote:
Роберт wrote:I think this thread proved a point: many people who believe abortion is a women's rights issue believe it is ridiculous to think of a fetus as a human life with rights, and many who believe in regulating abortion believe a fetus (at some point) has rights similar to an infant.

No, I don't think it does that. Much of the thread has noted that even if a fetus had personhood, women would still not be obliged to use their bodies to keep them alive - because people aren't obliged to use their resources to save/maintain the lives of strangers.
How does that disagree with my quote?

Very few are saying infanticide should be the mothers choice, or that a conjoined twin should be allowed to force separation on an unwilling sibling.
I think the only pro-infanticide at the mother's discretion voice in here is Izawwlgood, who I am assuming is unaware of "baby Moses" sites.
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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:29 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:When is life important and when is it not? Why is a 7 month potential child less valuable then a month old baby. If you choose abortion you say that it is less valuable. Why is that true? Should a mother be allowed to kill a 1 month old? Almost certainly the response will be no. To have that make sense means you have to be able to point out the difference between the two.
Easy: one is inside a woman's body and intrinsically dependent on her *alone* for its existence. The other is not inside anyone's body and merely depends on *someone* taking care of it.

ProverbialNoose wrote: he has not once stated which side he is on, so anything you draw about his opinion, one way or the other, is an assumption, any way you look at it.
Um, no. Any conclusions we draw about his opinion, which are necessarily going to be based on the things he's said in this thread, are going to be just that: conclusions. This is not the same thing as assumptions, even if it doesn't happen to be based on an *explicit* labeling of his own position. After all, I don't recall ever stating my position in this thread, either, but I think it's fairly obvious to anyone who's paying attention. Similarly, when morriswalters *explicitly* says he can see pushing the cutoff in one direction but not the other, and asks "rhetorical" questions that have already been answered countless times, but evidently just not in a way he agrees with, it becomes quite clear roughly where his own position lies.

So please, both of you: stop pretending he's in this purely for the philosophical discussion, and stop pretending that it makes any sense for the rest of us to ignore all the evidence in all his posts that suggest things about his own personal views on the matter.
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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby ProverbialNoose » Tue Mar 15, 2011 12:02 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
ProverbialNoose wrote: he has not once stated which side he is on, so anything you draw about his opinion, one way or the other, is an assumption, any way you look at it.
Um, no. Any conclusions we draw about his opinion, which are necessarily going to be based on the things he's said in this thread, are going to be just that: conclusions. This is not the same thing as assumptions, even if it doesn't happen to be based on an *explicit* labeling of his own position. After all, I don't recall ever stating my position in this thread, either, but I think it's fairly obvious to anyone who's paying attention. Similarly, when morriswalters *explicitly* says he can see pushing the cutoff in one direction but not the other, and asks "rhetorical" questions that have already been answered countless times, but evidently just not in a way he agrees with, it becomes quite clear roughly where his own position lies.

So please, both of you: stop pretending he's in this purely for the philosophical discussion, and stop pretending that it makes any sense for the rest of us to ignore all the evidence in all his posts that suggest things about his own personal views on the matter.


Actually, nothing in any of what he's said suggests that him being pro-life is a more reasonable conclusion than him simply spurring conversation. Everything that he's said could just as easily point toward either. The manner he's taking is EXACTLY the way that every philosophy professor I've ever had leads a discussion. They ask questions, especially those that question the opinions of the majority. He has maintained a pretty neutral tone throughout (at least a hell of a lot more neutral than the one you've maintained).

Unless I misread, I don't see anywhere that he said that he wants the benchmark pushed in one direction, only that the controversy doesn't exist in one direction, so it's only worth considering it in the other direction. Again, this isn't a reflection of personal opinions, simply what appears to be an attempt at FRAMING THE CONVERSATION. That's what he said was doing, and everything he's said can be justified in that context.

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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Mar 15, 2011 12:19 am UTC

EDIT:
Роберт: I am aware of Safe Haven drop offs, and think they're a great idea. However, in the same vein that I think legalizing abortions only for women in their first trimester just means women who can't get to a clinic for any reason will simply be forced to do something dangerous, I think Safe Haven drop offs aren't a silver bullet for the problem of women who find themselves in labor, and don't know what to do with the child.

I'm also aware that the world has hungry people, and wouldn't fault a mother for taking her child's life if she was unable to provide for it. It'd be sad, to me, and maybe to her, but what do you suggest society does? Punish her?

I can't imagine having to make the decision, and frankly, I don't think the law can really tell you how to respond to someone who has.
Last edited by Izawwlgood on Tue Mar 15, 2011 12:27 am UTC, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby Azrael » Tue Mar 15, 2011 12:21 am UTC

ProverbialNoose:

If you're not going to discuss the topic (abortion) and instead want to continue complaining that other people are discussing the topic in the wrong fashion, feel free to refrain from posting here entirely.

And while we're at it, let's allow people to speak for themselves?

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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby Роберт » Tue Mar 15, 2011 12:38 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:EDIT:
Роберт: I am aware of Safe Haven drop offs, and think they're a great idea. However, in the same vein that I think legalizing abortions only for women in their first trimester just means women who can't get to a clinic for any reason will simply be forced to do something dangerous, I think Safe Haven drop offs aren't a silver bullet for the problem of women who find themselves in labor, and don't know what to do with the child.

I'm also aware that the world has hungry people, and wouldn't fault a mother for taking her child's life if she was unable to provide for it. It'd be sad, to me, and maybe to her, but what do you suggest society does? Punish her?

I can't imagine having to make the decision, and frankly, I don't think the law can really tell you how to respond to someone who has.

...
What about if woman is really poor, and her family is starving, so she burgles houses to get food. She accidentally kills a homeowner in the process of the burglary. Should the government punish her? Seriously, I just don't know what to say if you think it's not the governments job to punish murder, regardless of the reason for the murder.
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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby morriswalters » Tue Mar 15, 2011 12:40 am UTC

Ok, rather than continue to listen to you gmalivuk I'll move on. However for what it's worth, I am pro choice. Having said that I also believe in taking responsibility for your actions even if it causes you pain. I also accept that when your have an abortion your killing a child. But I don't want government to be involved any more than required. They don't do this type of thing well. Better birth control would produce better outcomes, reducing the need for abortions in the first place. But I can live with 24 weeks. More thought and better access to education will eventually reduce the need to a lower level that it is now. If I was going to hate Christians then this is the thing that would make me do it. Their refusal, in some cases, to increase the level of sexual education for children makes the problem worse. If you sit at home tonight and convince yourself that there is no question of what the ethics of this particular debate mean than more power to you. Roe v Wade drew a line in the sand and answered just the kind of moral question I asked. Only one country in the world that I have found so far allows unlimited abortions to term, Canada. Canada has no abortion law period, but abortions are declining there. Everybody else that I looked at was at somewhere around 24 weeks. Here's a factoid about Russia, from the Wikipedia. After this I have nothing further to say about this topic.

Despite a significant reduction in the abortion to birth ratio since the mid-1990s, the countries of the former Soviet Union maintain the highest rate of abortions in the world. In 2001, 1,320,000 children were born in Russia, while 1,800,000 abortions were performed. [6] In 2005, 1,600,000 abortions were registered in Russia; 20% of these involved young women under the age of majority.[7]

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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby mmmcannibalism » Tue Mar 15, 2011 12:41 am UTC

She accidentally kills a homeowner in the process of the burglary.


Um wait, how do you accidentally kill someone while stealing with "good intentions"?
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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby Diadem » Tue Mar 15, 2011 12:52 am UTC

Just because I occasionally like to let the lightning lick me with its tongue, and because it should be possible to derail this trainwreck of a thread just a little bit more, I'm going to post some thoughts here.

First of all. I've always thought the notion that fetuses are not human beings slightly absurd. They are clearly alive by any reasonable definition of what it means to be alive. That makes them 'beings'. And what else could they be but human? Chimpansees? Llamas? No, they are clearly human. I just don't see why it matters. It's not being human that gives us moral worth. It's our ability to reason, and (if you're a utilitarianist) to feel pleasure and pain.

The above is only true for non-religious people of course. A religious person might claim that what makes us human is the soul. So the question becomes, do fetuses have souls? Interestingly enough, within catholicism at least, the answer is no. Official church dogma, adopted at the council of Vienne in 1312, is that to have a soul, you must have human form. Fetuses do not have human form, ergo they do not have a soul. And indeed for most of its existance the Catholic church has endorsed abortion for precisely that reason. Then somewhere in the 18th century for a brief period some scientists thought fetuses looked like tiny fully formed humans, the church adopted this view and became against abortion because of it. But this view is simple wrong, and even the church has long since abandoned it. For some reason they never reversed their stance on abortion again though. But to cut a long story short. Saying abortion is murder is, at least for catholics, heresy. Any catholic who takes his faith seriously must endorse abortion. Other religious groups will have to do some serious soul searching about the nature of the soul before they form an opinion.

I'm going to take this whole abortion debate one step further. In my opinion abortion is not just a right, it may in fact under some circumstances be a moral obligation. A pregnancy does not merely involve the mother, it involves the fetus as well. Now, I agree that fetuses lack the relevant attributes to have a moral status, so that what happens to them does not count, morally. But in our actions we are not just responsible for the effect they have now, but also the effect they have in the future. If we abort a fetus, it has no future, so this is not relevant. But if we chose to carry a pregnancy to term, what happens to the child after it is born is a direct consequence of our actions, and we are morally responsible for it.

Imagine a fetus with severe defects, genetic or otherwise, so that if it were to be born, its life would consist of nothing but misery. Getting pregnant is not a choice (certainly not getting pregnant with a defective fetus), but carrying a pregnancy to term certainly is. So if we allow this child to be born, we make a conscious choice to create a human being that would only suffer. Causing harm to another person is immoral. From this it logically fllows that if the act of creating a person is what causes the harm, then creating that person is immoral. Against this might be argued that an abortion is an invasive medical procedure, and a woman can not be expected to sacrifice herself to save another from harm. But the problem is that the woman is the one who is causing the harm in the first place. If I hurt someone, can I be required to make reparations, even at a cost to myself? Of course. But this is even the case if the hurt I caused was unintentional. Creating a baby in your womb may not be a conscious act, but it's still something that your body is doing. It still falls under your responsibility.

Not getting an abortion if the fetus has severe defects (and you are aware of this) is immoral.

I'm not saying we should make legislation against it. Not everything that is immoral should be illegal (lying and cheating are certainly both legal and immoral), and I don't see how any good can come of it in this case. Legally speaking, the rights of the woman should be paramount. But ethically speaking, abortion in such cases is a moral imperative.
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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby LaserGuy » Tue Mar 15, 2011 1:06 am UTC

Diadem wrote:Just because I occasionally like to let the lightning lick me with its tongue, and because it should be possible to derail this trainwreck of a thread just a little bit more, I'm going to post some thoughts here.

First of all. I've always thought the notion that fetuses are not human beings slightly absurd. They are clearly alive by any reasonable definition of what it means to be alive. That makes them 'beings'. And what else could they be but human? Chimpansees? Llamas? No, they are clearly human. I just don't see why it matters. It's not being human that gives us moral worth. It's our ability to reason, and (if you're a utilitarianist) to feel pleasure and pain.


Okay, what is a reasonable definition of "alive"?

Diadem wrote:Any catholic who takes his faith seriously must endorse abortion. Other religious groups will have to do some serious soul searching about the nature of the soul before they form an opinion.


I think a number of Popes, Mother Teresa, and half a billion catholics would probably be surprised to learn this.

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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby omgryebread » Tue Mar 15, 2011 1:16 am UTC

Diadem wrote:The above is only true for non-religious people of course. A religious person might claim that what makes us human is the soul. So the question becomes, do fetuses have souls? Interestingly enough, within catholicism at least, the answer is no. Official church dogma, adopted at the council of Vienne in 1312, is that to have a soul, you must have human form. Fetuses do not have human form, ergo they do not have a soul. And indeed for most of its existance the Catholic church has endorsed abortion for precisely that reason. Then somewhere in the 18th century for a brief period some scientists thought fetuses looked like tiny fully formed humans, the church adopted this view and became against abortion because of it. But this view is simple wrong, and even the church has long since abandoned it. For some reason they never reversed their stance on abortion again though. But to cut a long story short. Saying abortion is murder is, at least for catholics, heresy. Any catholic who takes his faith seriously must endorse abortion. Other religious groups will have to do some serious soul searching about the nature of the soul before they form an opinion.
That's just not true. The Didache, written in the second century AD, forbade all abortions. It sounds like you are thinking of the Apostolic Constitutions, around 380, which banned abortion if the fetus was human shaped or contained a soul, but allowed early abortions. This was supported by others, including Augustine. Innocent III in the 13th century said it was sinful only past "quickening" when the woman felt the fetus move. Pius IX banned all abortions in 1869, saying that the soul entered the pre-embryo at conception. Any Catholic who takes his faith seriously respects the authority of papal bulls, and so must condemn any and all abortions (even ones for the health of the mother.)

Imagine a fetus with severe defects, genetic or otherwise, so that if it were to be born, its life would consist of nothing but misery. Getting pregnant is not a choice (certainly not getting pregnant with a defective fetus), but carrying a pregnancy to term certainly is. So if we allow this child to be born, we make a conscious choice to create a human being that would only suffer. Causing harm to another person is immoral. From this it logically fllows that if the act of creating a person is what causes the harm, then creating that person is immoral. Against this might be argued that an abortion is an invasive medical procedure, and a woman can not be expected to sacrifice herself to save another from harm. But the problem is that the woman is the one who is causing the harm in the first place. If I hurt someone, can I be required to make reparations, even at a cost to myself? Of course. But this is even the case if the hurt I caused was unintentional. Creating a baby in your womb may not be a conscious act, but it's still something that your body is doing. It still falls under your responsibility.
Am I also morally responsible for getting someone sick if I sneeze near them? And how deformed does the fetus have to be? Some of my medical problems are probably related to being born at 28 weeks. I suffer from these. On the whole though, medical problems and all, I'm pretty glad I was born. Was my birth immoral? What about someone with more severe ADHD? I know a very happy mentally retarded girl. I don't think it's possible to objectively judge whether a life is worth living or not.

Not getting an abortion if the fetus has severe defects (and you are aware of this) is immoral.
Add to my anecdotal argument above that I don't believe in moral obligations, I guess.
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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby Diadem » Tue Mar 15, 2011 1:24 am UTC

LaserGuy wrote:Okay, what is a reasonable definition of "alive"?

Well 'life' has several possible definitions. These disagree on minor points, but they all agree on the main ideas. Biologists often use a list of 7 characteristics of living things: Homeostasis, organization, metabolism, growth, adaptation, reponse to stimuli and reproduction. A fetus clearly satisfies all of them.

Diadem wrote:Any catholic who takes his faith seriously must endorse abortion. Other religious groups will have to do some serious soul searching about the nature of the soul before they form an opinion.

I think a number of Popes, Mother Teresa, and half a billion catholics would probably be surprised to learn this.

I agree. But it's not my fault they don't even know their own dogmas. The current stance of the catholic church on abortion is clearly logically inconsistant. They can fix this either by changing their stance or abortion, or their dogma about the nature of the soul. Instead their solution is to put their fingers in their ears, go 'nananana' and ignore the glaring contradiction.
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