Abortion and Women's Rights

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The Great Hippo
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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Mar 15, 2011 8:04 pm UTC

ProverbialNoose wrote:The whole point I was making was that there are differences between the rights of an embryo and the rights of a child, and as those differences are unclear, that is at the heart of the entire debate over abortion. It is not, as people try to claim, exclusively a women's rights issue.
Actually, a lot of the discussion is over whether or not an embryo has any rights--or at least, more rights than we assign to anything lacking a human intelligence. You're framing this as a discussion about the embryo having a separate set of rights that differ from humans, but also differ from any form of life that doesn't possess significant intelligence (maybe we could argue a cockroach has some rights, but none of those rights interfere with me squashing them).

That is to say, the important point isn't "What are an embryo's rights", but "Does an embryo have any rights", or "When does an embryo acquire the rights of a human being". I'm fond of the answer "When it can exist independent of the mother's womb" for its appearance of elegance, but that's actually very tricky, medically (and I'm not comfortable with some of the deeper ramifications).

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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby Iulus Cofield » Tue Mar 15, 2011 8:15 pm UTC

Last edited by Iulus Cofield on Tue Mar 15, 2011 8:31 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby Роберт » Tue Mar 15, 2011 8:15 pm UTC

sophyturtle wrote:
ProverbialNoose wrote:Taking your scenario, only with a mother who had the kid and put him up for adoption, would it be permissible for the mother to at a later time have the child killed, for the exact reasons you listed?
If you don't feel that this is permissible, then you admit that abortion is more than just a matter of privacy, and that no conclusion can be reached without deciding explicitly what the rights (or lack thereof) of the embryo/fetus/child are, and at what points different rights are conferred.
Right here you connect killing children and abortion. They are different. B does not follow A in this case. You have not shown me why in the world they would be connected, except that a embryo might one day become a fetus might one day become a child. If you have difficulty with crush videos involving chickens are you also offended to see someone throw an egg?
Well, you do need to decide whether or not a fertile egg has any rights. Since animals that very clearly feel pain have low legal rights (basically, no torture or rape by humans), something like an egg probably wouldn't have rights. But that is something we would need to decide, and I do feel slightly differently about fertilized eggs than unfertilized ones.

For humans, though, the set of rights we respect is much larger, so it makes sense that some people might think that human embryo rights are different than animal embryo rights, and perhaps even greater than the rights of an adult mammal. The OP was just saying "isn't abortion an issue on deciding when the growing human tissue has rights, and not really related to women's rights?" Of course, the answer is that if you think the entity has rights comparable to those recognized in normal adult humans, most people wouldn't really think of "women's rights" entering into it. But if you think the entity's rights are similar to those of an appendix or a fertile chicken epp, it would really only seem like a women's rights issue.
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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby ProverbialNoose » Tue Mar 15, 2011 8:16 pm UTC

sophyturtle wrote:
ProverbialNoose wrote:Taking your scenario, only with a mother who had the kid and put him up for adoption, would it be permissible for the mother to at a later time have the child killed, for the exact reasons you listed?
If you don't feel that this is permissible, then you admit that abortion is more than just a matter of privacy, and that no conclusion can be reached without deciding explicitly what the rights (or lack thereof) of the embryo/fetus/child are, and at what points different rights are conferred.
Right here you connect killing children and abortion. They are different. B does not follow A in this case. You have not shown me why in the world they would be connected, except that a embryo might one day become a fetus might one day become a child. If you have difficulty with crush videos involving chickens are you also offended to see someone throw an egg?

I draw that connection merely to point out that the difference between the two is what sets them apart. That's what I meant by "no conclusion can be reached without deciding explicitly what the rights (or lack thereof) of the embryo/fetus/child are, and at what points different rights are conferred." I thought that my meaning was pretty clear there, but apparently not. Claiming that I was arguing about viability is putting words in my mouth.

There is obviously a difference between the rights of a child and those of an embryo, as I said, and because those differences are uncertain (some say the embryo has no rights, some say it has the same rights as a child, most are in between), you can't say that the question of the embryo's rights is not part of the issue. Therefore, to say that abortion is purely an issue of women's rights is wrong.

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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby Azrael » Tue Mar 15, 2011 8:18 pm UTC

I will kick all three of you out next time.


... 'you' being the three of you who notice missing, edited or locked posts.

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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby morriswalters » Tue Mar 15, 2011 8:29 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:You know how saying "Abortions are available!" to a woman doesn't really mean that no matter what, a woman can always without zero interference or issue, get to a clinic and receive an abortion? That some states have parental consent/inform laws that could effectively fillibuster someone from getting an abortion? That some small towns likely have constant protest vigils around clinics, and that a girl finding herself pregnant, may not be able to face public outing, and thus, have no real options but to wait and wait an wait...?

Does pre-awareness of these issues and a decision to voluntarily participate in an act that could lead to pregnancy have any bearing on this? Is there an ethical basis for an expectation that she should have known that this was a possibility. I would say yes.
1. If she is sufficiently rational to have sex.
2. And If she is sufficiently rational to conceal the pregnancy and to kill the child.
3. Then does it not follow that she was sufficiently rational to avoid the dilemma in the first place.

I can sympathize for someone in this position, but I don't find any ethical basis for excusing it although it would seem to be moral to allow for mitigation of some type. I would point out that this is why we shield children from adult liability.

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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby greengiant » Tue Mar 15, 2011 8:30 pm UTC

sophyturtle wrote:There are women who not only do not want to be mothers, but who do not want offspring running round with their own genetic material. You say 'they don't want to be a mom so they can just give it up for adoption' but that still makes them a mother. In 18 years they might still get a phone call from a scared confused person who wants to know them, and this is a terrifying possibility. They might worry about overpopulation and think they will go to an equivalent of hell for adding another person to the planet. They might have hereditary disease(s) and feel horribly guilty putting not only a child through that but leaving some other person to try to figure out how to be a parent through it.

There are lots and lots of personal reasons behind this personal decision. It is none of your or my business. We should leave it to them to take care of.


I'm not sure what you're implying here. If the list is just supposed to explain why someone might choose to have an abortion, fair enough.

But if you're saying the reason abortion is wrong is that people have some form of right to control the creation of their genetic offspring, I'd strongly disagree. All of the reasons you gave (future contact/overpopulation/genetic condition) apply equally to a male/female parent. And I hope nobody would say that a father has the right to end a pregnancy.

As I said, I'm genuinely not sure what you meant to imply. I just hope it wasn't that a woman's right to abortion stems from a right to control whether her genetic material is propagated.

Having written this, it just occurred to me that you might believe in some sort of hierarchy where 'right to bodily autonomy' outweighed 'right to control genetic material', in which case the father couldn't violate a woman's bodily autonomy to take control of his genetic material. This would make a lot of sense. If so I apologise for the misunderstanding.

PS Wow, six more posts in the 15 minutes I spent making my post.

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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby pizzazz » Tue Mar 15, 2011 8:32 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
pizzazz wrote:You can punch the air all day long, and no one can stop you, but if you do that where someone else is in the way, now it's a public issue.

Yes, a few times now in this very thread this issue has come up, and you claim that I am making unbiased claims. In light of the fact that we're now on page four of this debate, and have yet to raise an actual disagreement aside from generally being contrary, I'm simply going to ask you what about a woman's pregnancy makes it public. Just so we don't have any further confusion as to what you're trying to get at here. Because;
pizzazz wrote:You keep asserting this like it's an accidental fact of the universe that's long since settled, when in fact the rights of the unborn, and thus whether it is society's business--is the entire reason for the debate.

Is indeed sort of part of the debate. And I'm curious why you think it's settled that a woman's pregnancy is a public matter as opposed to a private one. Particularly, why your assumption is any more valid than my opinion.

What part of what I have said indicates that I think anything about abortion is settled? In fact, I'd like you to find where I've stated my beliefs about abortionat all. Go ahead, I'll wait.
...
That's right, I haven't, and you're making ridiculous assumptions about what I actually think. What I do think is that unborn should gain rights at the very least at some point before the end of the birthing process, and that saying the fetus is dependent on the mother is no more of an argument for abortion than it is for a born dependent, like children. I recognize that perhaps not everyone has the same idea of when life begins, and as such am certainly willing to compromise on when abortion would be legal, but as I said declaring that a fetus goes from "worthless" to "human" at birth is just as arbitrary as saying life begins at conception. Also note that I would be for legal abortion in the cases of rape and danger to the mother (just as murder is sometimes legal).

Izawwlgood wrote:
Iulus Cofield wrote:
Iulus Cofield wrote:We can't phenomenologically say someone else's life is worth or not worth living.

Yes, and it works both ways. Who are we to tell a mother that her fetus/childs life is worth living, and thus deprive her of the right to choose whether or not to raise it?

Would you like to re-read what you just wrote, and perhaps explain how you meant something else? Otherwise I'm going to be convinved you're just trolling.

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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby podbaydoor » Tue Mar 15, 2011 8:34 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:
Izawwlgood wrote:You know how saying "Abortions are available!" to a woman doesn't really mean that no matter what, a woman can always without zero interference or issue, get to a clinic and receive an abortion? That some states have parental consent/inform laws that could effectively fillibuster someone from getting an abortion? That some small towns likely have constant protest vigils around clinics, and that a girl finding herself pregnant, may not be able to face public outing, and thus, have no real options but to wait and wait an wait...?

Does pre-awareness of these issues and a decision to voluntarily participate in an act that could lead to pregnancy have any bearing on this? Is there an ethical basis for an expectation that she should have known that this was a possibility. I would say yes.
1. If she is sufficiently rational to have sex.
2. And If she is sufficiently rational to conceal the pregnancy and to kill the child.
3. Then does it not follow that she was sufficiently rational to avoid the dilemma in the first place.

I can sympathize for someone in this position, but I don't find any ethical basis for excusing it although it would seem to be moral to allow for mitigation of some type. I would point out that this is why we shield children from adult liability.

Are you implying that, say, women who use contraceptives or whatever other preventative measures, who still get pregnant thanks to an accident or deception, are not sufficiently rational to avoid the dilemma in the first place...?
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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby ProverbialNoose » Tue Mar 15, 2011 8:37 pm UTC

I believe his point is that, since they are aware that there is a risk of pregnancy even using contraception, there is still some level of accountability based on the decision to have sex in the first place, knowing that risk.
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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby podbaydoor » Tue Mar 15, 2011 8:38 pm UTC

"Level of accountability" does not translate directly to "is not rational." And I specified deception as a possible factor in the scenario.
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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Mar 15, 2011 8:39 pm UTC

pizzazz wrote:I recognize that perhaps not everyone has the same idea of when life human life begins, and as such am certainly willing to compromise on when abortion would be legal, but as I said declaring that a fetus goes from "worthless" to "human" at birth is just as arbitrary as saying life begins at conception.
Important distinction; a wrinkle your position is missing--I don't think anyone perceives a fetus as worthless, but rather possessing some value--the value it has increases as it acquires intelligence and the ability to suffer. That value never exceeds the value of the mother, however.

One of the reasons I'm fine with birth being the point where the mother loses the right to decide whether or not the fetus dies is because the point of birth is when the mother's biological contribution to the fetus ends; where we to imagine a scenario where the baby, shortly after birth, still posed a very significant threat to mother's life, I would feel comfortable killing the baby--because the baby's value is still significantly less than the mother's. That is to say, a fetus doesn't magically increase in value upon birth--birth is simply the point where the majority of the mother's concerns can be dealt with via alternative solutions (such as adoption).

EDIT: Though in retrospect, my position might be a little radical, and I'm speaking from a completely medically uninformed position (so keep that in mind).
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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby ProverbialNoose » Tue Mar 15, 2011 8:39 pm UTC

I don't see where he assumed that the mother wasn't rational. In fact, I see him say just the opposite of that.

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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby sophyturtle » Tue Mar 15, 2011 8:40 pm UTC

greengiant wrote:I'm not sure what you're implying here. If the list is just supposed to explain why someone might choose to have an abortion, fair enough.
Basically this. These are all reasons someone might choose abortion.
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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby greengiant » Tue Mar 15, 2011 8:50 pm UTC

sophyturtle wrote:
greengiant wrote:I'm not sure what you're implying here. If the list is just supposed to explain why someone might choose to have an abortion, fair enough.
Basically this. These are all reasons someone might choose abortion.


Sorry then. Wasn't quite sure, but was a bit worried if you meant the other thing.

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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby FireZs » Tue Mar 15, 2011 8:51 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Yes, I'm, in a sense, backing out of this facet of the argument.


Fair enough.

Izawwlgood wrote:
FireZs wrote:That makes no sense. She can't want to raise the child and then decide it needs to die. Society is already telling her she doesn't have to raise it if she doesn't want to. She's chosen to sever herself from the child in all ways, so why does she get to decide if it lives or dies?

I've stated this before, so maybe I wasn't clear enough, and I'll state it again;
You know how saying "Abortions are available!" to a woman doesn't really mean that no matter what, a woman can always without zero interference or issue, get to a clinic and receive an abortion? That some states have parental consent/inform laws that could effectively fillibuster someone from getting an abortion? That some small towns likely have constant protest vigils around clinics, and that a girl finding herself pregnant, may not be able to face public outing, and thus, have no real options but to wait and wait an wait...?
Yeah, safe havens are, in my opinion, a similar issue. They are an option, to be certain, and a really good step that society had the foresight to produce, but they aren't an end all be all solution to the problem. Saying "Well you've had the kid now, and there's a safe haven over there, you should have hopped a bus [from the only bus station in town] or taken a cab [maybe your parents carefully monitor your spending] or gotten a ride from your bestfriend [maybe they want you to keep the kid, or maybe you can't tell them, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc] and there's no excuse for what you did" is really sort of missing the point.


I'm absolutely not saying "you should've gotten an abortion earlier." I'm saying "the result is the same to you for the same level of risk: you'll never have to deal with this fetus again, so we're going to just deliver it living and take it away where you don't have to worry about it anymore." And you're basically saying that the woman should be able to object and insist that the baby be delivered dead? Because it was hard to get an abortion earlier? Is this some kind of "clawback" on the part of the mother where she's trying to get back the use of her body that she regretted? I don't see how that's justifiable.

Izawwlgood wrote:
FireZs wrote:Remember, it's "her body, her choice," and when her body is taken out of the picture, it's not her choice anymore.

Can you not envision a scenario where a woman simply cannot in good faith give her child to a stranger, or the state, and instead must make the decision to end it's life?


The point is that that's not really an argument based on a woman's right to choose what happens to her body. A woman should legally have the right to cease supporting a fetus with her body, but she shouldn't legally have the right to kill her child if it could otherwise live. Could I envision a scenario where I would be compelled to kill my own child in general? Sure. But I still fully expect to go on trial for doing it. The jury may acquit, but we shouldn't make it legal.

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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby morriswalters » Tue Mar 15, 2011 9:03 pm UTC

podbaydoor wrote:Are you implying that, say, women who use contraceptives or whatever other preventative measures, who still get pregnant thanks to an accident or deception, are not sufficiently rational to avoid the dilemma in the first place...?

No. That argument applies only to killing a baby who is delivered alive. I have some personal ethical qualms about personal responsibility, but since I am not in the position to know each and every condition that might exist, I would not place a value judgment on those situations. I would support the right to the limits of Roe v Wade. I would support the right even if contraception was not used, but if I was aware I might consider them in breach of my personal position, which might cause me to reevaluate any relationship I might have with them.

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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby pizzazz » Tue Mar 15, 2011 9:08 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
pizzazz wrote:I recognize that perhaps not everyone has the same idea of when life human life begins, and as such am certainly willing to compromise on when abortion would be legal, but as I said declaring that a fetus goes from "worthless" to "human" at birth is just as arbitrary as saying life begins at conception.
Important distinction; a wrinkle your position is missing--I don't think anyone perceives a fetus as worthless, but rather possessing some value--the value it has increases as it acquires intelligence and the ability to suffer. That value never exceeds the value of the mother, however.

What exactly do you mean, "the value of the mother?" The mother's right to save her own life is of very different standing than the mother's right not to go through, say, pain, especially when that pain is the known outcome of a voluntary act (non-rape sex) and another *life* is in opposition.
One of the reasons I'm fine with birth being the point where the mother loses the right to decide whether or not the fetus dies is because the point of birth is when the mother's biological contribution to the fetus ends; where we to imagine a scenario where the baby, shortly after birth, still posed a very significant threat to mother's life, I would feel comfortable killing the baby--because the baby's value is still significantly less than the mother's. That is to say, a fetus doesn't magically increase in value upon birth--birth is simply the point where the majority of the mother's concerns can be dealt with via alternative solutions (such as adoption).

If any other human, or anything for that matter, poses a threat to your life, you already have a right to kill it--it's called self defense (well, in most places that I know of), and that is not dependent on age, rationality, ability to feel, or anything else (ok, technically that's not quite accurate, as you can't legally try to murder your way out of death penalty, nor do you gain right to murder someone who is trying to protect themself if you iniated the violence. But you get the gist). However, this isn't because you are necessarily worth more than the other, it's because you're equal, and so you get to choose whether you want to let yourself die or kill the attacker. I'm not really sure how you can say that the baby's life is worth less than the mothers.

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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby Iulus Cofield » Tue Mar 15, 2011 9:12 pm UTC

Well, there is the well established fact that babies seem to lack self awareness and thus lack sentience (in the non-technical sense) until about 15 months after birth. It's hard to say we should value something that isn't sentient as equal to someone who is. This is why I think the ethical arguments for abortion are equally applicable to infanticide. It's arbitrary to say a baby has the right to live because it will be sentient in a number of months but a zygote doesn't because it doesn't have a brain yet

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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Mar 15, 2011 9:17 pm UTC

pizzazz wrote:What exactly do you mean, "the value of the mother?" The mother's right to save her own life is of very different standing than the mother's right not to go through, say, pain, especially when that pain is the known outcome of a voluntary act (non-rape sex) and another *life* is in opposition.
The mother's life as a human being; that is, upon birth, does the fetus automatically qualify as a human being with all the rights we afford humans? I mean, we already accept that babies don't have any right to self-determination (if an adult makes it clear to you that they don't want you to stick them with a needle, outside of certain extenuating circumstances, you're not allowed; if a baby makes the same thing clear to you, we really don't care). I realize this is a somewhat extreme view to take, but--what compelling reason is there to assume that a baby, upon exiting the womb, should have all the rights of a human being?
pizzazz wrote:If any other human, or anything for that matter, poses a threat to your life, you already have a right to kill it--it's called self defense (well, in most places that I know of), and that is not dependent on age, rationality, ability to feel, or anything else (ok, technically that's not quite accurate, as you can't legally try to murder your way out of death penalty, nor do you gain right to murder someone who is trying to protect themself if you iniated the violence. But you get the gist). However, this isn't because you are necessarily worth more than the other, it's because you're equal, and so you get to choose whether you want to let yourself die or kill the attacker. I'm not really sure how you can say that the baby's life is worth less than the mothers.
See above. But also, I said significant risk to the mother's life--not an immediate risk. That is, if a mother lived in a culture where having a baby outside of wedlock would get you executed, and this was the case with the mother's child, I could see a reasonable case being made for the mother killing the child after birth (assuming abortions weren't available for whatever reason) to avoid discovery (particularly if our hypothetical oppressors had access to DNA kits to verify parentage, and all it would take to get her killed would be one accusation, followed by one quick test). This would be a complex dilemma if we consider a baby to be a human being with all the afforded rights of a human being, but not so if we don't.

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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Mar 15, 2011 9:53 pm UTC

pizzazz wrote:I'd like you to find where I've stated my beliefs about abortion at all. Go ahead, I'll wait.
As established when it was morriswalters's beliefs being discussed: not stating them explicitly in no way implies that your beliefs aren't abundantly clear to anyone who's been paying any attention. Of course, since you go on to state them explicitly in this very post I'm quoting, that's rather moot.

saying the fetus is dependent on the mother is no more of an argument for abortion than it is for a born dependent, like children.
Yes, it really really is. Born dependents are not intrinsically dependent exclusively on the mother. A fetus is. Therein lies the really rather simple difference.

declaring that a fetus goes from "worthless" to "human" at birth is just as arbitrary as saying life begins at conception.
I agree. But that's also irrelevant as most people don't say anything like that. Rather, we believe that the right of a woman to terminate a life inside her own body supersedes the right of a fetus to continue living, while the right of a woman to terminate a life outside her body does not supersede the right of a born baby to continue living. The fetus and the baby could very well have *identical* value, and it would be irrelevant to this distinction.
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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby morriswalters » Tue Mar 15, 2011 10:15 pm UTC

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?
This seems to foreshadow this argument. So I'll take a shot. In China it was not unknown under the One Child policy to kill girls so they could have a boy. Abortions are currently used to select for sex. Is there a difference between the two? If you want a boy but don't get on and have limited yourself to one child can you kill the girl if you become pregnant with a boy? Here's my answer. There is no good answer. So the answer that is acceptable, will depend on whatever society you live in. Because it is a difficult concept some party will have to make a choice. In most cases it will be a public body of some type which will make the decision. They will set the minimum standard and require people to comply. This decision will be arbitrary, since no one can answer the only question that matters in a fashion that will make everybody happy. That question is, when is life important? It is a public matter rather than a private matter because you cannot let everyone do whatever they wish, because everyone will make a different decision. And some will make judgments about others based on their choices.

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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Tue Mar 15, 2011 10:22 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:In China it was not unknown under the One Child policy to kill girls so they could have a boy. Abortions are currently used to select for sex. Is there a difference between the two?

gmalivuk wrote:Rather, we believe that the right of a woman to terminate a life inside her own body supersedes the right of a fetus to continue living, while the right of a woman to terminate a life outside her body does not supersede the right of a born baby to continue living.

Of course there's a difference; it's the same difference that exists between all cases of abortion and infanticide.
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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby omgryebread » Tue Mar 15, 2011 10:25 pm UTC

I'll just add that selective sex abortions are bad in China, not because of the abortion, or wanting to have a boy, but because they contribute to a serious problem that China, and other Asian countries (less so Korea, but it's still an issue) have in male/female ratios. That being said, the problem should be solved on the level of promoting women's rights so that they can provide for their parents as easily as a man can.
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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby drkslvr » Tue Mar 15, 2011 10:52 pm UTC

So, in reading this thread, I've seen a lot of people talk about who has what rights and which right trumps what other right. But in all this discussion, we've been talking about rights as immutable. I think that's a major failing in this debate. Rights change.

I have the right to carry a gun. I could buy a huge f***ing rifle, store it at my house, strap it on my back, and walk down the street with it. But if I walk much further than a half mile, I walk onto my University campus. And the second I do, I lose the right to be carrying a gun. When I get to that point, I have two choices. I can continue on, forfeiting my right to carry a weapon in order to gain the benefits of a university education. Or, I can decide to preserve my right to carry a weapon by passing on my trip to the university. Both are good to have, but I can't have both at the same time. I have to decide which I want more.
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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby Mavketl » Tue Mar 15, 2011 10:55 pm UTC

That sounds a lot like you are implying that women forfeit their right to bodily autonomy when they choose to have sex.

Assuming you don't actually want to make that point, what is the point of that analogy? What is the choice? Which rights are forfeited?
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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby Antimony-120 » Tue Mar 15, 2011 10:56 pm UTC

drkslvr wrote:So, in reading this thread, I've seen a lot of people talk about who has what rights and which right trumps what other right. But in all this discussion, we've been talking about rights as immutable. I think that's a major failing in this debate. Rights change.

I have the right to carry a gun. I could buy a huge f***ing rifle, store it at my house, strap it on my back, and walk down the street with it. But if I walk much further than a half mile, I walk onto my University campus. And the second I do, I lose the right to be carrying a gun. When I get to that point, I have two choices. I can continue on, forfeiting my right to carry a weapon in order to gain the benefits of a university education. Or, I can decide to preserve my right to carry a weapon by passing on my trip to the university. Both are good to have, but I can't have both at the same time. I have to decide which I want more.


In that example you can retain your ability to, at a later date, walk onto the university sans gun. You can also leave the gun, walk onto the campus, and at a later tie, walk around with a gun elesewhere. That you can't do both at the same time is true, but the subtle distincion w.r.t. abortion is that a woman can't have 9 months of her life back later, and the fetus can't be born later. it isn't a matter of postponing choice, it's a matter of one choice with no rematch.
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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby morriswalters » Wed Mar 16, 2011 12:16 am UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:
morriswalters wrote:In China it was not unknown under the One Child policy to kill girls so they could have a boy. Abortions are currently used to select for sex. Is there a difference between the two?

gmalivuk wrote:Rather, we believe that the right of a woman to terminate a life inside her own body supersedes the right of a fetus to continue living, while the right of a woman to terminate a life outside her body does not supersede the right of a born baby to continue living.

Of course there's a difference; it's the same difference that exists between all cases of abortion and infanticide.


OK, why is it different. Is it only different because the, Whatever you wish to call it, it is out of the body? Lets work with gmalivuk's definition. Would it be legal to contract to sell fetal tissue? You are certainly allowed to to sell blood plasma. However a quick search tells me it's not legal to sell organs, but by the argument we are discussing shouldn't it be? I'm sure that there would be a market, if it was allowed. If a fetus is no more than tissue shouldn't I have the right to sell it, or a kidney, as I wish. Aren't I guaranteed this due to Roe v Wade? It is a private transaction between adults. Why is there a need for legislation on this?

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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby Xeio » Wed Mar 16, 2011 12:17 am UTC

drkslvr wrote:I have the right to carry a gun. I could buy a huge f***ing rifle, store it at my house, strap it on my back, and walk down the street with it. But if I walk much further than a half mile, I walk onto my University campus. And the second I do, I lose the right to be carrying a gun. When I get to that point, I have two choices. I can continue on, forfeiting my right to carry a weapon in order to gain the benefits of a university education. Or, I can decide to preserve my right to carry a weapon by passing on my trip to the university. Both are good to have, but I can't have both at the same time. I have to decide which I want more.
So a woman can choose not to have a baby, and instead get an abortion (like deciding to walk back off campus and pick up the gun)?

And this is why bad analogies are bad (incidentally, if you think you have a good analogy, stop, then think "wait, this is actually pretty terrible"). We have plenty of real life situations with real people, we don't need contrived analogies here.

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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Wed Mar 16, 2011 12:26 am UTC

morriswalters wrote:OK, why is it different.

Because, as has been consistently maintained by pro-choice individuals in this thread, living humans do not have the right to live off the bodies of other living humans.
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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby drkslvr » Wed Mar 16, 2011 12:53 am UTC

Mavketl wrote:That sounds a lot like you are implying that women forfeit their right to bodily autonomy when they choose to have sex.
Assuming you don't actually want to make that point, what is the point of that analogy? What is the choice? Which rights are forfeited?

It's not an analogy. It's proof that rights can be forfeit. So far we've talked about rights as unchangeable. While there may be some rights that are inalienable, there are others that aren't. The point is that we need to have some discussion here on whether or not the rights we're discussing are able to be forfeit or not, and if so, under what conditions. You tell me what the choice is. You tell me what rights are forfeit. And more importantly, tell me why.

Xeio wrote:And this is why bad analogies are bad... We have plenty of real life situations with real people, we don't need contrived analogies here.

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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Mar 16, 2011 1:42 am UTC

morriswalters wrote:It is a private transaction between adults. Why is there a need for legislation on this?
Presumably it's at least in part because having your vital organs removed is far, far riskier than having an abortion. So the government restricts your right to do so in an effort to protect you from yourself.

I don't have any serious problems with the idea of selling fetal tissue after an abortion, though I'm not sure why anyone would buy it.

drkslvr wrote:The point is that we need to have some discussion here on whether or not the rights we're discussing are able to be forfeit or not, and if so, under what conditions.
Why? A logically consistent justification for abortion on demand can be made without having to posit that any of the rights in question are forfeitable. So if you disagree, and you think this disagreement hinges on the fact that some rights are, then it's up to you to explain which ones and why.
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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby pizzazz » Wed Mar 16, 2011 2:03 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
pizzazz wrote:What exactly do you mean, "the value of the mother?" The mother's right to save her own life is of very different standing than the mother's right not to go through, say, pain, especially when that pain is the known outcome of a voluntary act (non-rape sex) and another *life* is in opposition.
The mother's life as a human being; that is, upon birth, does the fetus automatically qualify as a human being with all the rights we afford humans? I mean, we already accept that babies don't have any right to self-determination (if an adult makes it clear to you that they don't want you to stick them with a needle, outside of certain extenuating circumstances, you're not allowed; if a baby makes the same thing clear to you, we really don't care). I realize this is a somewhat extreme view to take, but--what compelling reason is there to assume that a baby, upon exiting the womb, should have all the rights of a human being?

We don't give babies complete self-determination because they are not considered capable of rational self-determination. However, they are still living humans, and thus gain protection of life under the law.
...
What compelling reason is there to assume that any person, upon doing anything, should have any rights at all, even living?
pizzazz wrote:If any other human, or anything for that matter, poses a threat to your life, you already have a right to kill it--it's called self defense (well, in most places that I know of), and that is not dependent on age, rationality, ability to feel, or anything else (ok, technically that's not quite accurate, as you can't legally try to murder your way out of death penalty, nor do you gain right to murder someone who is trying to protect themself if you iniated the violence. But you get the gist). However, this isn't because you are necessarily worth more than the other, it's because you're equal, and so you get to choose whether you want to let yourself die or kill the attacker. I'm not really sure how you can say that the baby's life is worth less than the mothers.
See above. But also, I said significant risk to the mother's life--not an immediate risk. That is, if a mother lived in a culture where having a baby outside of wedlock would get you executed, and this was the case with the mother's child, I could see a reasonable case being made for the mother killing the child after birth (assuming abortions weren't available for whatever reason) to avoid discovery (particularly if our hypothetical oppressors had access to DNA kits to verify parentage, and all it would take to get her killed would be one accusation, followed by one quick test). This would be a complex dilemma if we consider a baby to be a human being with all the afforded rights of a human being, but not so if we don't.

Are you talking about the mother killing the child in that case being legal or being moral? Because it certainly isn't the first, and it doesn't seems like anyone who thinks abortion is wrong, plus lots of other people, are going to think its the second. Especially if getting pregnant--and therefore all related legal and natural consequences--is a known possibility of having sex (even with contraception, which does fail), and the woman chooses to have sex (this is key) anyway, then she is taking responsibility for the consequences of having sex. She suffers the consequences, instead of the baby (who is innocent).

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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby The Great Hippo » Wed Mar 16, 2011 2:13 am UTC

pizzazz wrote:We don't give babies complete self-determination because they are not considered capable of rational self-determination. However, they are still living humans, and thus gain protection of life under the law.
...
What compelling reason is there to assume that any person, upon doing anything, should have any rights at all, even living?
Well, we need to have some vague criteria as to what point something counts as human; what should that criteria be? My instinct is toward anything involving cognizance or sapience, but there are some deep problems there, I admit.
pizzazz wrote:Are you talking about the mother killing the child in that case being legal or being moral? Because it certainly isn't the first, and it doesn't seems like anyone who thinks abortion is wrong, plus lots of other people, are going to think its the second. Especially if getting pregnant--and therefore all related legal and natural consequences--is a known possibility of having sex (even with contraception, which does fail), and the woman chooses to have sex (this is key) anyway, then she is taking responsibility for the consequences of having sex. She suffers the consequences, instead of the baby (who is innocent).
Moral. I also don't think choosing to have sex is key to the moral argument at all; I accept that pregnancy may be a potential consequence of sex, but not that it implies any degree of moral obligation--walking down an alleyway implies a potential consequence of getting mugged, but that doesn't in any way imply that the mugging is my fault, or that I should take responsibility for what happened.

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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Mar 16, 2011 2:22 am UTC

pizzazz wrote:Especially if getting pregnant--and therefore all related legal and natural consequences--is a known possibility of having sex (even with contraception, which does fail), and the woman chooses to have sex (this is key) anyway, then she is taking responsibility for the consequences of having sex.
Yes. Taking responsibility by having an abortion instead of bringing an unwanted child into the world.

And whatever choice you make, you're still making a major life decision for the "baby" without its knowledge or consent.
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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby morriswalters » Wed Mar 16, 2011 2:31 am UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:
morriswalters wrote:OK, why is it different.

Because, as has been consistently maintained by pro-choice individuals in this thread, living humans do not have the right to live off the bodies of other living humans.

I understand that, but why do they have that right. Let's see if I can help you to understand what I mean. I understand that the whatever you call it(wyci) is in the mother. I understand that the mother is the superior organism in terms of rights. If the right exists why does the right terminate at live birth? The mother will still feed the baby, clean the baby, care for it, in fact all the same things that she did through the placenta when she carried the baby internally. And she now has to do it under much more difficult conditions until the child is reasonably independent, and in many cultures breast feeding the whole time. Say two years old, maybe three. I'm a optimist.

If the mother has to exclusive right to the tissue of her body, why would it not be permissible to farm the fetuses for tissue, stem cells or whatever? Or sell organs(her organs not the wyci)? Certainly hospitals and private groups have bought human tissue at one time or another. See this and read the column to the left then this.
Edit I almost missed this.
The Great Hippo wrote:Moral. I also don't think choosing to have sex is key to the moral argument at all; I accept that pregnancy may be a potential consequence of sex, but not that it implies any degree of moral obligation--walking down an alleyway implies a potential consequence of getting mugged, but that doesn't in any way imply that the mugging is my fault, or that I should take responsibility for what happened.

Perhaps I'm being picky but you could be a mite more careful with this type of analogy. Wouldn't the analogy be more fitting for the muggers POV, with the baby as the muggee?

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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby Xeio » Wed Mar 16, 2011 2:47 am UTC

morriswalters wrote:I understand that, but why do they have that right. Let's see if I can help you to understand what I mean. I understand that the whatever you call it(wyci) is in the mother. I understand that the mother is the superior organism in terms of rights. If the right exists why does the right terminate at live birth? The mother will still feed the baby, clean the baby, care for it, in fact all the same things that she did through the placenta when she carried the baby internally. And she now has to do it under much more difficult conditions until the child is reasonably independent, and in many cultures breast feeding the whole time. Say two years old, maybe three. I'm a optimist.
Because at that point we can step in as a society and someone else can take responsibility for the child. You can't do that with a placenta/fetus.
morriswalters wrote:If the mother has to exclusive right to the tissue of her body, why would it not be permissible to farm the fetuses for tissue, stem cells or whatever? Or sell organs(her organs not the wyci)? Certainly hospitals and private groups have bought human tissue at one time or another. See this and read the column to the left then this.
I think organ sale is a debate for another thread, but as is, we don't allow it. But then we allow blood plasma, so it's pretty contradictory. In any case, I don't see anything wrong with selling the tissue, should there be?
pizzazz wrote: Especially if getting pregnant--and therefore all related legal and natural consequences--is a known possibility of having sex (even with contraception, which does fail), and the woman chooses to have sex (this is key) anyway, then she is taking responsibility for the consequences of having sex. She suffers the consequences, instead of the baby (who is innocent).
I see, so women are incubators with no will of their own. Also, we avert "consequences" every day, what is medicine but averting the "consequence" of death? How is this any different from any other medical procedure to alter some bodily function/feature?

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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Mar 16, 2011 2:56 am UTC

morriswalters wrote:If the right exists why does the right terminate at live birth?
Because it's a right to terminate another life inside your body. Have you seriously missed that every time I or someone else has said it in this thread, or are you just trolling? The only thing that necessarily changes at the moment of birth is how the wyci and the woman are situated with respect to each other. But even just this one change is sufficient to determine that she no longer has a right to terminate its life.

The mother or anyone else who wants to will still feed the baby, clean the baby, care for it, in fact all the same things
Fixed to reflect how reality actually works.

If the mother has to exclusive right to the tissue of her body, why would it not be permissible to farm the fetuses for tissue, stem cells or whatever?
I still don't get what your point is with this. Do you expect us to say it's not permissible to do this? Whatever the law may say on the issue (does the law say anything about selling fetal tissue?), it's irrelevant to our judgment of moral permissibility. And as such, again: what's your point?

Perhaps I'm being picky but you could be a mite more careful with this type of analogy. Wouldn't the analogy be more fitting for the muggers POV, with the baby as the muggee?
No, because the woman is the one who's allegedly assuming full responsibility for all the possible consequences of her actions. Therefore, it's akin to saying I assume full responsibility for getting mugged just because I chose to be in a place where I know people are occasionally mugged. (Say, one in fifty thousand, as that's the approximate likelihood of getting pregnant while correctly using the more effective forms of birth control.)
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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby pizzazz » Wed Mar 16, 2011 3:00 am UTC

Xeio wrote:
pizzazz wrote: Especially if getting pregnant--and therefore all related legal and natural consequences--is a known possibility of having sex (even with contraception, which does fail), and the woman chooses to have sex (this is key) anyway, then she is taking responsibility for the consequences of having sex. She suffers the consequences, instead of the baby (who is innocent).
I see, so women are incubators with no will of their own. Also, we avert "consequences" every day, what is medicine but averting the "consequence" of death? How is this any different from any other medical procedure to alter some bodily function/feature?

What are you talking about? On the contrary, my entire argument is founded on the basis of the woman having free will and thus the ability to decide whether to get pregnant or not. How is it different? Well, most medical procedures are for the health of the person getting them, for one, and you'll note I already said I would let abortion be legal in the case of danger to the mother. Secondly (this is the real big one), most medical procedures also do not affect anyone else--you kill off bacteria or other non-human infectious agents, remove toxins, adjust your own body's physical, chemical, or electrical makeup, etc. Obviously some people would not consider the fetus as someone else, but that part is not obvious (I suppose I'll add that people tend not to choose to get sick, but as humans trump bacteria, this only becomes relevant in the pregnancy case).
So, give me an example of a medical procedure that affects another human and is not for the health of the patient. The closest I can think of might be separation of conjoined twins, but that would probably still have both consent of the two involved and health reasons.
The Great Hippo wrote:
pizzazz wrote:We don't give babies complete self-determination because they are not considered capable of rational self-determination. However, they are still living humans, and thus gain protection of life under the law.
...
What compelling reason is there to assume that any person, upon doing anything, should have any rights at all, even living?
Well, we need to have some vague criteria as to what point something counts as human; what should that criteria be? My instinct is toward anything involving cognizance or sapience, but there are some deep problems there, I admit.

That's certainly true, and it's very important to the debate, though there is not just one differentiation (human v. non-human). Animals have some protection under the law, though their lives are considered of lesser value than those of humans. Even plants can be protected by the law if they are thought to be too low in population.
pizzazz wrote:Are you talking about the mother killing the child in that case being legal or being moral? Because it certainly isn't the first, and it doesn't seems like anyone who thinks abortion is wrong, plus lots of other people, are going to think its the second. Especially if getting pregnant--and therefore all related legal and natural consequences--is a known possibility of having sex (even with contraception, which does fail), and the woman chooses to have sex (this is key) anyway, then she is taking responsibility for the consequences of having sex. She suffers the consequences, instead of the baby (who is innocent).
Moral. I also don't think choosing to have sex is key to the moral argument at all; I accept that pregnancy may be a potential consequence of sex, but not that it implies any degree of moral obligation--walking down an alleyway implies a potential consequence of getting mugged, but that doesn't in any way imply that the mugging is my fault, or that I should take responsibility for what happened.[/quote]
I don't think the mugging analogy is very good. First of all, the government's primary job, its raison d'etre in many countries, is to protect its citizens on public property, not to shelter them from inconvenience. You have a right to be on public property, but not hurt others on it. Secondly, if you choose to walk down an alley, you are only putting yourself at risk; in getting pregnant, you make the choice to bring someone else into existence.

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Re: Abortion and Women's Rights

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Mar 16, 2011 3:04 am UTC

So I guess people should probably stop having sex entirely then, right? After all, it hardly seems fair to bring someone else into existence without their knowledge or consent, does it?
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