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Dunderman
01-07-2004, 06:46 AM
I'm sort of split on whether to start this in Great Debates or IMHO, but to save those hardworking mods Czarcasm and TVeblen some effort I'll just put it here and be done with. I'm not really looking for a debate, more of a collection of opinions.

Nonreligious prolifers: why are you opposed to abortion? If your case against abortion is in any way based on religion, please do not respond, I know your arguments already. I'm interested in the people who are not religious at all, or at the very least do not consciously base their prolife opinions on religion.

El Zagna
01-07-2004, 08:20 AM
I'm not pro-life, but it seems to me that the notion that life begins at conception does not have to be based on religion.

Weird_AL_Einstein
01-07-2004, 08:43 AM
By saying "prolifer", do you mean to include people who have some measure of moral opposition to abortion, or only those who want to make it illegal?

Dunderman
01-07-2004, 08:48 AM
Of course not (depending on your definition of "life"), but resistance to abortion doesn't automatically follow from that.

Dunderman
01-07-2004, 08:51 AM
Originally posted by Weird_AL_Einstein
By saying "prolifer", do you mean to include people who have some measure of moral opposition to abortion, or only those who want to make it illegal?
Good question. Let's include everyone who has a moral opposition to abortion.

CurtC
01-07-2004, 10:24 AM
I'm definitely against killing a one-week old infant. Two weeks earlier, one week before birth, that infant is virtually the same being, so I'm also opposed to that. On the other hand, the loss of a fertilized egg doesn't bother me a bit. The hard part gets to be in drawing a line between conception, where the immorality factor is zero (IMHO), and birth minus epsilon, when it's full-scale. My own feeling is that in the first three months, abortion is fine. After that, it really starts to bother me.

Palo Verde
01-07-2004, 11:07 AM
I'm not religious. I'm pro-life (although I have a lot of question as to how it could be realistically implimented to outlaw abortion).

Objections? It's a baby. It's murder. It's wrong.

All the usual objections.

Dunderman
01-07-2004, 11:23 AM
Originally posted by autz
Objections? It's a baby. It's murder. It's wrong.
Why is it wrong? Not trying to be belligerent, just trying to understand.

Palo Verde
01-07-2004, 11:54 AM
Because it's a baby and you are killing it.

Not trying to be belligerent, just don't see what isn't wrong about it.

jayjay
01-07-2004, 12:17 PM
Actually, I think you should limit it to those who are actually willing to see the banning of abortion pursued. There are more than a few people on the pro-choice side who have moral objections to abortion but simply don't think it's their choice to make.

jayjay
01-07-2004, 12:18 PM
Oh, and autz, saying it doesn't make it so. Can you give any evidence that supports your contention that it's "a baby", especially in the period of pregnancy when most abortions are performed?

John Mace
01-07-2004, 12:28 PM
Originally posted by CurtC
I'm definitely against killing a one-week old infant. Two weeks earlier, one week before birth, that infant is virtually the same being, so I'm also opposed to that. On the other hand, the loss of a fertilized egg doesn't bother me a bit. The hard part gets to be in drawing a line between conception, where the immorality factor is zero (IMHO), and birth minus epsilon, when it's full-scale. My own feeling is that in the first three months, abortion is fine. After that, it really starts to bother me.
I agree, except with the 3 month part. I'd look at when a fetus becomes viable, and then back up a bit on the assumption that one should err on the side of caution. That probably puts it at about 5 months. Assuming there is no risk to the mother (other than what is normal during pregnancy), it seems a relatively minor inconvenience to require the mother to carry the baby to term when weighed against the risk of killing a human being.

Palo Verde
01-07-2004, 12:30 PM
I'll elaborate a little to let you know where I'm coming from.

I grew up in an extremely pro-choice household. My mother was a clinic escort for Planned Parenthood all my childhood. I heard the "my body my choice' stuff all my life, and never questioned it.

In college I marched in pro-choice demonstrations and really couldn't understand the other side's point of view.

Then I became one of those young women the whole argument is about. Young, unmarried, broke, scared and pregnant. I've been in exactly that position.

Really I'm the 100% recipe for a pro-choice gal.

But in thinking hard about the whole issue, I must say I think the pro-life one makes a lot more sense to me. It feels right.

No one else in my close-knit family agrees, but it doesn't matter. That thing inside the belly is a baby, and it's wrong to kill it.

My bigger concern in about the logistics of doing anything about it. I don't see how it can practically be made illegal, but I think if someone could some up with a law that worked, I'd certainly vote for it.

PigArcher
01-07-2004, 01:00 PM
Originally posted by jayjay
Oh, and autz, saying it doesn't make it so. Can you give any evidence that supports your contention that it's "a baby", especially in the period of pregnancy when most abortions are performed? Saying it isn't so doesn't make it true either.

The rational, scientific view is that life begins at conception. If it doesn't, then when does it begin? The whole viability argument seems like a rationalization to me. An abortion is the taking of a life. Does that make abortion morally wrong? I don't know.

Having said that, I don't want to see abortion made illegal. Like drugs or prostitution, making it illegal doesn't make it go away. It just drives it underground, making it more dangerous for those who choose to participate.

In a perfect world, there would be no unwanted pregnancies and therefore no need for abortions. Unfortunately, this is not a perfect world.

To address the OP, I am an athiest, and don't consider myself to me either pro-life (in the sense that I don't want to ban abortions) or pro-choice (in the sense that I don't believe that a woman has an inherent "right to choose (to have an abortion)" (how come pro-choicers never finish that sentence?)). Also, I believe that the father should have some say in the matter.

Palo Verde
01-07-2004, 01:16 PM
Originally posted by jayjay
Oh, and autz, saying it doesn't make it so. Can you give any evidence that supports your contention that it's "a baby", especially in the period of pregnancy when most abortions are performed?

The point of this thread is not to get into a debate about abortion (that's been done a time or two around here). The question is why a non-religious person like myself is pro-life.

He asked, I answered.

So, no, I have no intention of giving evidence that it's a baby.

jayjay
01-07-2004, 02:02 PM
Ah. My mistake. I had thought that non-religious pro-lifers might actually have a rational reason for their opinion.

My bad.

robertliguori
01-07-2004, 02:02 PM
Really I'm the 100% recipe for a pro-choice gal.
...I don't see how it can practically be made illegal, but I think if someone could some up with a law that worked, I'd certainly vote for it.


Perhaps you should have listened to less rhetoric. You still support the belief that it is your choice whether or not to keep your child, yes? You are actually allowed to hate abortion with every fiber of your being, believe that it's your choice to make, and still be pro-choice. That's why it's -choice.

robertliguori
01-07-2004, 02:08 PM
Ah. My mistake. I had thought that non-religious pro-lifers might actually have a rational reason for their opinion.

My bad.


Why must this debate turn everyone into mushheads? Let me be simple: Some people believe that a fetus is a person, with all the associated rights and wossnames thereby conferred, including the right not to be killed for others' convinence. Some people believe that it's not, and that it's wrong to screw over mothers over something that isn't, by their definition, a person. Since we have no consensus as to what makes people people, trying to show that a fetus is like a child (or isn't) is an exercise in futility. Not that it stops people.

Palo Verde
01-07-2004, 02:09 PM
Originally posted by jayjay
Ah. My mistake. I had thought that non-religious pro-lifers might actually have a rational reason for their opinion.

My bad.

I have perfectly rational reasons for my beliefs.

Start a thread called, "Why do you think it's a baby?" and I'll be happy to participte.

But that question is not what this thread is about.

Palo Verde
01-07-2004, 02:17 PM
Originally posted by robertliguori
Perhaps you should have listened to less rhetoric. You still support the belief that it is your choice whether or not to keep your child, yes? You are actually allowed to hate abortion with every fiber of your being, believe that it's your choice to make, and still be pro-choice. That's why it's -choice.

I can't imagine believing it's really murder and still allowing it to be a choice.

CurtC
01-07-2004, 02:56 PM
John Mace wrote:
I'd look at when a fetus becomes viable, and then back up a bit on the assumption that one should err on the side of caution. That probably puts it at about 5 months.Yeah, except my wife miscarried around the four-month point in her first pregnancy. We had heard (and seen) its heartbeat. We knew that it was a little thing that looked like a baby, with a brain developing in its little head. The fact that it couldn't live unassisted by a placenta didn't mean that we felt no loss. That's why I'm uncomfortable with the viability threshold.

PigArcher
01-07-2004, 04:14 PM
Originally posted by jayjay
Ah. My mistake. I had thought that non-religious pro-lifers might actually have a rational reason for their opinion.

My bad. I guess you didn't read my post, then.

I could ask for a rational reason why a fetus isn't as human as you or I, but as others have pointed out, that's not what we're discussing here.

Mtgman
01-07-2004, 05:00 PM
Forty-six human chromosomes in a unique arrangement. Sounds like an individual human being to me. That's where I draw the line. Very biologically based.

Talking about viability or dependance on others for support raises all sorts of questions about the handicapped or those on life support. If we're going to say that unique being, self-contained and temporarially located inside another being as a result of the human reproductive process isn't worthy of protection as a person then what does that mean for the handicapped or otherwise dependent individuals? A one week old baby wouldn't survive on its own any more than an 12 week foetus. Does that mean it is ok to withdraw support from the one week old if the caregiver decides to?

When I boil it all down, there is only one place I can draw the line which I can personally live with. Any other set of rules means I start splitting the group known as human beings(biological definition) into groups of those it is ok to kill because they aren't "persons" and those that we shouldn't kill because they are "persons." I haven't found a line for this distinction which doesn't do injustice to some clearly human being somewhere on the scale. Viability? Doesn't work for me, there goes Christopher Reeves and Stephen Hawking. Who am I to tell them that because they couldn't survive without their caretakers that they should live or die at the convenience of those caretakers? Brain activity? Given how little we know about the mechanisms of consciousness, I'm simply not comfortable drawing the line on the shaky knowledge we currently have. Every other arguement for abortions of convenience that I've ever heard has faced similar difficulties. They find some way to make the foetus "not a person" and I just can't see why that shouldn't apply to the elderly, or handicapped, or developmentally challenged, crippled, etc.

I agree with Max_Castle on most points. I think our major difference is that as soon as it becomes medically viable to transplant unwanted pregnancies instead of terminating them I'd support a law to end terminations of convenience if a suitable transplant recipient(or vat, depending on how the technology works) is available. Then adoption or giving custody to the father. In the meantime I rank adoption over abortion, but I'm not willing to force unwilling mothers into a situation which will probably do both them and the child no good in the long run.

Enjoy,
Steven

IWLN
01-07-2004, 06:42 PM
Being pro-life for me has nothing to do with religion or G-d. It has to do with my own unwanted pregnancy. It was inconvenient, financially devastating and meant the end of my dreams. Then he was born, I fell in love and got new dreams. Having a baby made me pro-life. I believe from a humanistic point of view that it's wrong to deny an existing life it potential, whether it is 3 months in utero or a one year old. It's the same thing to me. From a religious standpoint, knowing life is eternal or at least the baby's soul is; it's almost hypocritical to focus an agenda on the baby and deny compassion to the mom.

John Mace
01-07-2004, 06:58 PM
Originally posted by CurtC
Yeah, except my wife miscarried around the four-month point in her first pregnancy. We had heard (and seen) its heartbeat. We knew that it was a little thing that looked like a baby, with a brain developing in its little head. The fact that it couldn't live unassisted by a placenta didn't mean that we felt no loss. That's why I'm uncomfortable with the viability threshold.
I'm sorry to hear about your loss.

But the truth is, the fetal heart begins beating long before the 3rd month. (http://www.pregnantpause.org/develop/doh.htm)

Eindal
01-07-2004, 09:35 PM
First, an attempt on logic reasoning:

Premise 1: Killing a human being of any age I was, am or going to be is wrong (meaning don't kill me [as long as I am alive]; That is a logical conclusion, but I don't think we need to prove it here).
Premise 2: I was once of the age of a child. (Being fact)
Conclusion: Therefore killing a child is wrong (because I was once a child and it's defined above that it's wrong to kill me).

And this is a reason why I am against abortion:

Premise 1: Killing a human being of any age I was, am or going to be is wrong.
Premise 2: I was once an embryo. (Being also fact)
Conclusion: Therefore killing an embryo is wrong.

Still, there is a problem giving me a hard time: How to treat embryos made outside the body?:confused:
And why not going back even further and protect single atoms of carbon and oxygen etc.?;)

I have some other rational reasons to oppose abortion, but none is of an importance somewhere near the given one. (From the emotional POV, abortion just feels wrong. Hardly possible to argue about that, but a reason to me, too)

But I don't think it should be made illegal, too. They should be told about what lies ahead of them and being required to talk to women who did it and give good reasons for doing it. And after all, they usually can also give away the child after birth without killing it.

An (at least here famous) argument for abortion I dislike especially is the claim of women that their body is their property. Of course, they own their body but the child is an individual of it's own, not belonging to the mother. Even biologically this is demonstrated, at least because the baby is seperated from the mother's blood system. It just gets nutrients from the system but we are dependant on feeding on plants and animals, too, without that someone says that we were their property.

Apos
01-07-2004, 10:07 PM
Forty-six human chromosomes in a unique arrangement. Sounds like an individual human being to me. That's where I draw the line. Very biologically based.

Biology doesn't (or shouldn't) make philosophical distinctions.

Even if those chromosomes are not in a cell and not able to divide? What exactly gets you from chromosomes to thinking that something has moral interests? Chromosomes don't have feelings. They don't fear destruction. They can't even grow into a baby unless they in the correct cell and are bombarded with the right chemicals from outside.

We obviously don't consider uniqueness to have any real relevance, since twins are just as human as the rest of us. Given that it may someday be possible to cause ANY cell to start developing into a new human being (say, for instance, that we develop a treatment that will cause a skin cell from your to arm to start developing into a zygote), how is any cell in the body any fundamentally different from a fertilized egg? In both the case of the fertilized egg and the skin cell, more steps are necessary before they will develop into a human being, but both contain the "code" necessary to produce one in the same way. So how are they different?

Also, DNA is not like a complete blueprint for a new human being, or a tiny homunculus. It is a set of instructions for how to go about constructing a human being. Given that it's basically just like a recipe, what makes it different from the same information sitting on a computer. If I create a unique DNA sequence on a computer, is it wrong for me to hit delete and erase it?

Apos
01-07-2004, 10:13 PM
I believe from a humanistic point of view that it's wrong to deny an existing life it potential, whether it is 3 months in utero or a one year old.

Do you mean: only human life?

What if it becomes possible, via a chemical treatment that promotes neuron growth, to make pigs as smart as human beings? Would it then be wrong to kill an as-yet untreated pig since it has just as much potential to become a fully sentient being as does a fertilized egg?

"Potential" is a pretty odd concept, because when you start thinking philosophically, anything has potential for almost anything.

IWLN
01-07-2004, 11:22 PM
Originally posted by Apos
Do you mean: only human life?

What if it becomes possible, via a chemical treatment that promotes neuron growth, to make pigs as smart as human beings? Would it then be wrong to kill an as-yet untreated pig since it has just as much potential to become a fully sentient being as does a fertilized egg?

"Potential" is a pretty odd concept, because when you start thinking philosophically, anything has potential for almost anything. Pigs are already smarter than some human beings. ;) Yes I mean only human life. That's the point, it is human life. Under normal circumstances, a human embryo can only die or become viable. In an abortion, you are removing the cells of a partially formed human life and preventing it from it's future. I don't think this should be made illegal, but I do think we should attempt to be more honest about it. It's fine to argue about why you shouldn't be required to carry a pregnancy to term. That's the only valid argument there is when it comes to abortion.

Apos
01-08-2004, 01:46 AM
Yes I mean only human life. That's the point, it is human life.

But how IS that the point, exactly? That's what I think I'd like to see clarified. I need to hear exactly why you think killing is wrong, so I can understand how you extend that account to zygotes, but not inteligent animals.

Would you really be okay with killing something simply because it is not genetically human, even if it had the same intelligence, feelings, and personality as a human?

In an abortion, you are removing the cells of a partially formed human life and preventing it from it's future.

Sure, but these terms like "partially formed human life" are all ambiguous. What is it about the thing ITSELF (talking about it via it's actual key characteristics rather than using the shortcut of a name which may have many different meanings to different people) that makes it morally worrisome? Can you explain from the ground up without using special terminology?

It's fine to argue about why you shouldn't be required to carry a pregnancy to term. That's the only valid argument there is when it comes to abortion.

Personally, I think that it's a pretty invalid argument when it's used as broadly as it is arguments like "it's my body!" and so forth.

NaSultainne
01-08-2004, 02:15 AM
Originally posted by Apos
If I create a unique DNA sequence on a computer, is it wrong for me to hit delete and erase it?

Puhleeze, enough with the absurdity of such arguments. When, and only when your precious little computer image can then progress to fully functioning human will I consider a pixelated construct to be life.

This just makes me want to...

Is a Polaroid picture a person?

Is a lock of hair a person?

Is that cute crayon scrawl taped to my fridge a person?


NO, no, a thousand times, NO!


As for the arguments as posted: Mtgman is spot on. A separate biological entity at conception, in half the cases the opposite gender from the mother, deserving of the legal protections of society. If that's not good enough as a marker, then all we're doing is defining humanity for our own convenience. A process I find thoroughly abhorrent.

IWLN
01-08-2004, 02:49 AM
Originally posted by Apos
But how IS that the point, exactly? That's what I think I'd like to see clarified. I need to hear exactly why you think killing is wrong, so I can understand how you extend that account to zygotes, but not inteligent animals.Except for spontaneous abortion, the default status or predicted outcome for a zygote is a fully viable human. An animal doesn't have that potential. I don't think an animal's life is unimportant or should be killed without cause either. I hope you're not going to get into the whole animal comparison thing, but if you do; I seldom eat meat, I don't have any leather shoes or purses and I'm not a big fan of animal testing, but can see the need. Let's not go there. I said I don't think that killing a 3 month fetus is different than killing a one year old. I did not say that they were the same as far as their intelligence, feelings and personality, but they will be, if uninterupted.Would you really be okay with killing something simply because it is not genetically human, even if it had the same intelligence, feelings, and personality as a human?No. As soon as you show me a creature that has the same intelligence, feelings and personality as a human, I will extend the same beliefs to include them.Sure, but these terms like "partially formed human life" are all ambiguous. What is it about the thing ITSELF (talking about it via it's actual key characteristics rather than using the shortcut of a name which may have many different meanings to different people) that makes it morally worrisome? Can you explain from the ground up without using special terminology?This, I believe is the lamest part of the pro-choice argument. I don't think a "partially formed human life" is ambiguous at all. You can do all of the rationalizing gymnastics you want and it doesn't change the fact that there is a baby growing to maturity unless someone decides they want to stop it. It is only in this area that something not yet completed takes on a contrived and self-interested meaning. If a famous artist almost had a painting complete and someone destroyed it, it would be an outrage, not the loss of a canvas and a some paint. If you kill a tree just as it starts to come up out of the ground, a seedling; did you kill a tree or would you rationalize that it wasn't really a tree yet. My house is half built and someone burns it down. Did they burn down my house or should we call it a lumber yard or hardware store, since it's not a completed house yet. Pleeese!!! At four weeks the embryo has a head and at six weeks there is the beginning of electrical activity in the developing brain. I can't define when the level of brain and nervous system response becomes important enough to pass your standards of worthiness. From the beginning the zygote is dependent on the mother for viability. Somehow that only becomes a considered factor when the need for that care is no longer necessary. If you like to comfort yourself with an embryo not being aware it is being terminated, go ahead. Neither is a sleeping newborn. A pillow would do the trick without even waking it. If killing is only wrong when there is awareness, then that opens the door to a lot more options for disposal of human life.Personally, I think that it's a pretty invalid argument when it's used as broadly as it is arguments like "it's my body!" and so forth.I still believe this is the only valid argument. If someone doesn't want to have a baby, doesn't agree it's really a baby or doesn't care that it's really a baby; I can't stop her from doing what she believes is right for her. Laws don't stop abortion. There's no point in putting the woman at more risk, when it's going to happen anyway. I don't have to like it, to accept that the choice is theirs to make.

Dunderman
01-08-2004, 05:11 AM
Originally posted by Eindal
Premise 1: Killing a human being of any age I was, am or going to be is wrong (meaning don't kill me [as long as I am alive]; That is a logical conclusion, but I don't think we need to prove it here).
Yes we do, actually. I see the arguments here depending on two premises:

1. Killing is wrong, regardless of the consequences.
2. Humans are special in a way that makes it more important to keep them alive.

What are these two premises based on?

Aeschines
01-08-2004, 06:13 AM
Japan is about as agnostic a country as it gets, but abortion is pretty much illegal (with exceptions for the life of the mother, I should suppose, etc.) after 3 months.

Sometimes things are made illegal not because they are morally wrong, but because they undermine certain values that support the survival and continuance of society. By any standard, I think unrestricted abortion is a danger to society, and I think even an atheist should agree.

For example, in China, you now have 40 milllion men who can't get wives because abortion was used for sex selection. You can blab all you want about "it's my body and my right," but do women have the right to deep six social order in the process, as with abortion for sex selection? No.

A healthy woman destroying a healthy fetus is a crass, unnatural, artificial and ugly act--I don't think you even need to believe in God to find it repulsive.

I'm not a religious person, but I consider myself spiritual. Abortion is bad karma, plain and simple. It is not an act of love; it is a selfish and destructful act.

I recognize that there are hard cases, where disease comes in to play. Fine. I also don't get a kick out of telling people what to do, but I do think that society has needs that trump those of the individual. Abortion for sex selection should be illegal. Abortion should not occur after three months.

robertliguori
01-08-2004, 07:13 AM
Except for spontaneous abortion, the default status or predicted outcome for a zygote is a fully viable human.

You have an interesting definition of default. Given a willing (or coerced) women with a functioning uterus, you can usually get to baby. Why assume that this is a given?


You can do all of the rationalizing gymnastics you want and it doesn't change the fact that there is a baby growing to maturity unless someone decides they want to stop it.

One can say the exact same thing about an egg cell. Heck, all it needs is a sperm cell in addition to the woman mentioned above. If you're willing to posit a whole woman as the default state, what's wrong with adding one extra cell?

TonyJ
01-08-2004, 12:38 PM
I'm non-religious, pro-choice, anti-abortion.

Why I'm against abortion?

It's gross!

belladonna
01-08-2004, 01:08 PM
Originally posted by IWLN
If a famous artist almost had a painting complete and someone destroyed it, it would be an outrage, not the loss of a canvas and a some paint.
What if the artist had only added one or two brushstrokes to the canvas? Not nearly so outrageous now, is it? A one or two month old fetus is nowhere near "almost complete" and it seems disingenuous to suggest otherwise.


Me--I'm pro-choice (in the first trimester) for others, but pro-life for myself. Put me in a world with free, readily available birth control, healthcare, and child-support systems for all women and then and only then would I feel justified in changing my tune.

LibrarySpy
01-08-2004, 01:22 PM
I'm an atheist, believe that the fetus is human, and pro-choice. I think Mtgman summarized my beliefs brilliantly.

Absolutely, it's killing a life form (I don't even like to kill bugs). But in my mind, there are equally bad things.

1. Not allowing abortion would mean enslaving a woman against her will. Presumably by the government, for up to nine months, with risks to her health, her career, her future. That is an unacceptable human rights violation to me. I believe in "Her body, her decision," even the idea of letting the father become involved is a terrifying, because it means the woman does not have rights to her own personhood even when it involves her rights as a mother.

If you see jailtime and the trauma of childbirth as the punishment for having unprotected sex, then I make the argument that we should fix unprotected sex first (the 24-hour pills are a very good start), and remove the need for abortions.

2. There are too many unwanted children in the world. Including unwanted children living with biological parents. The world is grossly overpopulated. Fix these problems first, and then abortion won't be a problem.

I guess I think tactically, rather than morally. I don't like abortion, but outlawing does not end the problem, it only makes it less safe, and contributes to 2.

sibyl
01-08-2004, 07:02 PM
I don't believe its the government's place to settle this argument one way or another. Much in the same way religion is, I believe this is something that must be settled within yourself and not imposed upon you by external forces.

So I personally believe that killing a fetus when its not a threat to your own health is wrong but I don't expect my moral standard to be applied to everyone. I guess that makes me pro-choice, but not pro-abortion.

Apos
01-08-2004, 08:19 PM
Except for spontaneous abortion, the default status or predicted outcome for a zygote is a fully viable human.

But why do you see this "predicted outcome" as having any moral relevance? It's all just contingent causality: our idea of "natural" exists purely because of habit and convention, not any universal mandate. That seems to be a species of naturalistic fatalism, as if there is some inherent moral meaning in whatever you happen to expect to happen that shouldn't, purely for its own sake, be disturbed. But why not? And doesn't that ignore the fact that we have to have moral principles that apply not just to conventional cases, but all cases, even those that don't follow the "natural" expectation?

Furthermore, the predicted outcome for a child is to be an adult, but that doesn't mean we allow kids the right to vote. A predicted future doesn't normally grant rights NOW just because they make sense in the future. So why do you think this situation is different?

I hope you're not going to get into the whole animal comparison thing, but if you do;

The point of the animal thing is to ferret out exactly what it is you think is wrong about killing. Like I said: once we have a clear picture of why killing something could be wrong, only then can we really come to understand whether that applies to specific somethings and not others.

No. As soon as you show me a creature that has the same intelligence, feelings and personality as a human, I will extend the same beliefs to include them.

So I ask again: if there exists a chemical that makes pigs have the same emotional and intellectual capacities as human beings, doesn't your argument then imply that we should not kill even the UNTREATED pigs, since they have the potential to become such beings? Dont' sperm and eggs have just as much potential to become human beings? Sure, they are incomplete (well, the egg isn't to the same degree as the sperm is), but then, so is a fertilized zygote (it won't become an adult without a lot of intervening steps by external forces).

This, I believe is the lamest part of the pro-choice argument.

This isn't really part of any argument per se. It's very important that language not be a barrier to communication. If you and I mean something different by "human being" neither of us is WRONG about any substantive issue. We are just confusing each other. My suggestion to avoid special terminology is not an invitation to ignore what is being talked about. In fact it is PRECISELY the opposite: a practice that changes NOTHING of substantive meaning, but that ensures that neither of us plays tricks on the other with semantics.

At four weeks the embryo has a head and at six weeks there is the beginning of electrical activity in the developing brain.

Yes, that's what I'm getting at. Whatever you call it, this is an accurate description of what we are actually talking about, rather than a term like "genetically human" which encompasses beings that may be radically different from each other in relevant ways. Why is it wrong to kill this _particular_ being?

Weird_AL_Einstein
01-08-2004, 10:43 PM
Originally posted by Priceguy
Yes we do, actually. I see the arguments here depending on two premises:

1. Killing is wrong, regardless of the consequences.
2. Humans are special in a way that makes it more important to keep them alive.

What are these two premises based on?

Priceguy, you asked a specific question in the OP. When people answer you, and you respond like this, you're extending the terms of the debate beyond what we thought it would be. Perhaps you should start another thread.

Speaking for myself, my moral objections to abortion stem from the fact that I can't see how a fetus can be considered anything other than a human being. And I want to live in a society in which it is, broadly speaking, considered morally wrong to kill a human being. Never mind the "rational reason" why, it's just what I want.

jadagul
01-08-2004, 10:44 PM
Morally:
I think we probably all agree that it's just wrong to kill a certain type of being--generally described as a competent, innocent being. The question is why, and the answer comes from the riders put on the phrase 'being.' 'Innocent' means that the being in question is relatively guiltless; we reserve the right to use violence in self-defense, for instance, or often in retribution--but only against someone who started the violence himself. 'Competent' means the adult has some ability to make decisions; some people say it's okay to kill someone who's totally brain-dead (I'm one of them) or even partially braindead or retarded, but we're all going to agree that a fully functional adult who can make decisions for himself is off-limits. This also explains why human beings are traditionally accorded a special place in morality: they're distinct from other animals in the ability to be competent decision-makers. Thus, even if this thread explodes and causes havoc, no matter how mad we get we still can't kill Priceguy for getting us into this mess; he's not started violence, and he has the ability to make decisions. Even if it turns out Priceguy's an alien from another planet (not entirely unlikely, considering the fact that his question suggests some willingness to approach this issue rationally and uncombatively), his demonstration of the ability to make decisions and his lack of moral guilt (assuming he didn't actually intend to set off the brawl) still puts him off-limits.

The second idea--making decisions--is curious. The purpose of the first limit is obvious; the purpose of the second is less so. The reasoning, I believe, is that people should be allowed to make decisions for themselves. In brief, people disagree on things. In theory, reason should reveal which person is right, except both believe that reason proves them right. For one person to decide unilaterally that he is right and impose his belief on another is in effect, then, a claim to special knowledge of revealed truth--whether an explicit religious claim is made or not. It's claiming that my belief is somehow superior to yours, and thus I can force mine on you. We work from the assumption that this kind of forcing is bad, and thus people capable of thinking forming opinions should not have opinions forced on them. The criterion for the right to be free from force, then, is rationality.

But how does this cover senile/retarded people? Well, for the completely brain-dead, I'd say it doesn't (completely brain-dead meaning exactly that--no brain activity at all. You can keep the heart beating almost indefinitely--for that matter, I bet you could take a week-dead corpse and make the heart beat again hooked up to the right machine. If the brain is totally gone--in a total lobotomy, for instance--there's no one there. The person is dead already). But for the others, I'd say there's still some sort of mental functioning. Senile/retarded people may not be as competent or in control as you or I, but they're still capable of some thought processes and some level of thought. Now, some will object that animals have 'some level of thought'; but this isn't on the same level (at least, if the people I've talked to are right. I don't interact with animals much myself, but from my mother's stories, cows are just...well...stupid). Animals have instinctual reactions to stimuli; people have language and the ability to learn. Even if someone is so crippled he has the mental age of a three-year-old, he's still set ahead of the cow and chicken by language, curiosity, ability to associate in the abstract...

And this brings me to the next group--children. Children are specifically excluded from the original premise group (competent, innocent adults) by the word competent. But children, once again, display traits unknown to most animals. Even babies have a limited ability to associate and learn; they show curiosity and seek to learn about their environment. Of course, you can say the same of some monkeys and dolphins; but that would rather make me uneasy eating dolphin meat than comfortably killing infants. It's entirely possible that other animals have at least enough limited rational capacity that they should be guaranteed the life free-from-force; I can't prove that dolphins do, but the fact that I can't prove they don't means I'd be inclined not to assault them.

So if we say infants have the right to life, where do we draw the line between unkillable infants and rightless cell clusters? Presumably somewhere between (inclusive between) conception and birth. Now, I don't see a real argument that the eight-cell clump has the ability to think. On the other hand, I don't see a substantive difference between the baby two days after birth and the baby two days before birth. So I'd put the line somewhere between those two. In fact, I think the line would have to be sometime after the baby's brain begins firing (someone cited a figure of six weeks, I think?), because before then it's obviously not engaging in thought. On the other hand, the line has to come before the baby is viable (I think) because even premature babies display the curiosity/intellectual abilities of newborns (I think? If someone can prove me wrong, tell me?). Some people are going to say that abortion is wrong as soon as the brain starts firing. But animals (that we think it's okay to kill) have brains with firing neurons; so it's probably not rationality-enabled right then. But I'd tend to be conservative (if I put two bags in front of you, said one of them contained a living person, and told you I'd pay you a thousand dollars to destroy one bag without knowing whether it contained the person, would you do it? Do you want to risk killing a living, righted being?), so I'd put the line somewhere closer to brain-start than viability. Since we already define stuff by the trimesters, let's put the line at the first-trimester mark (give or take a few weeks; if anyone has better data on fetal development, feel free to pitch in).

But what of the second condition--innocence? Perhaps the fetus is invading the mother's body, or otherwise forcing itself on her (this occurred to me as an interesting idea as I wrote this post)? I would respond that the woman (assuming she wasn't raped) chose the action that created the fetus; thus, she has chosen the risk of its creation. On the other hand, this would be an interesting argument for allowing abortions for rape victims.

But politics is a whole different animal. The same argument I used to say people should be free from coercion comes around to bite me when I want to enforce my will through government: we disagree, so the government shouldn't force my ideas on you. I thus have a strong bias against government action under any circumstances. On the other hand, it seems the explicit purpose of government is to protect innocents from use of force against them; we don't let the thief claim that his conception of morality is different, so you can't force yours on him. We allow all to practice their own ethical codes in peace, as long as they allow others the same right. Thus, the government should protect the innocent (in this case, the fetus) from harm. But the argument about conservatively placing the line cuts the other way now: now the user of force is the one trying to stop an abortion. So, taking advantage of the trimester system again, we place the legal line at the second trimester (at which point the fetus is pretty much viable, has a well-developed if not exercised brain).

Some say the woman has a countervailing right to privacy, to own her body. While I agree she has rights over her own body, that doesn't mean she has rights over other beings within her body (the fact that the fetus has separate rights was the purpose of the bulk of this post. If you disagree now, we basically just disagree). I can't kill an innocent person just because he's in my house: if we were to decide Priceguy's guilt for starting this thread, I can't invite him to my house, wait for him to come in, then kill him. Similarly, once the woman's chosen the fetus's existence (or at least the risk), she can't kill it just because it's in her body.

I well understand the problem of implementing an abortion ban, though limiting the ban to the third trimester should limit these: anyone who wants an abortion should be able to manage within six months. I see the practical difficulties; but there are practical difficulties in trying to prevent murder, too. We'll never stop rape or murder completely, but we can try to make them so unsafe that they happen rarely. If abortion is the same crime, should we not do the same?

IWLN
01-09-2004, 01:14 AM
Originally posted by Apos
But why do you see this "predicted outcome" as having any moral relevance? It's all just contingent causality: our idea of "natural" exists purely because of habit and convention, not any universal mandate. That seems to be a species of naturalistic fatalism, as if there is some inherent moral meaning in whatever you happen to expect to happen that shouldn't, purely for its own sake, be disturbed. But why not? And doesn't that ignore the fact that we have to have moral principles that apply not just to conventional cases, but all cases, even those that don't follow the "natural" expectation?I'm really trying to follow your reasoning here, but I'm just not. How can life, versus destroying life not have moral relevance? Our idea of natural, well mine, not yours; comes from our process of procreation, propagation of the species, whatever you want to call it. Habit or convention hardly fit with what has always been a natural and necessary process. I think there is a perceived universal mandate against humans killing other humans. Do you not think there is a such thing as morals or a standard that humans should adhere to? Naturalistic fatalism has nothing to do with this. If I'm understanding you right, that would be more of an adherence to something because it has always been and not for other reasons. Is killing without provocation or regard for another's life wrong? If not, explain.

Furthermore, the predicted outcome for a child is to be an adult, but that doesn't mean we allow kids the right to vote. A predicted future doesn't normally grant rights NOW just because they make sense in the future. So why do you think this situation is different?I'm not talking about rights that are inappropriate to to a certain age. You don't allow kids to vote, but you allow them to live. You are irrevocably DENYING the right to live. You are somehow more concerned with granting rights too soon? It isn't as much a predicted future as it is almost a certain future, statistically. Unless you decide to end it.



The point of the animal thing is to ferret out exactly what it is you think is wrong about killing. Like I said: once we have a clear picture of why killing something could be wrong, only then can we really come to understand whether that applies to specific somethings and not others.All life is special. My favorite species is human though.;)



So I ask again: if there exists a chemical that makes pigs have the same emotional and intellectual capacities as human beings, doesn't your argument then imply that we should not kill even the UNTREATED pigs, since they have the potential to become such beings? Dont' sperm and eggs have just as much potential to become human beings? Sure, they are incomplete (well, the egg isn't to the same degree as the sperm is), but then, so is a fertilized zygote (it won't become an adult without a lot of intervening steps by external forces).No. We should not chemically alter a different species at all. I realize you're trying to make me see that potential doesn't deserve rights. I get that. What I can't see is why human life at whatever stage isn't still considered human life and worthy of our protection. A certain age, whether it's 6 months in utero or whatever you want to pick is too arbitrary of a standard to use on human life. What if tomorrow, it is possible to remove and bring a zygote to term? This new technology has made viability a moot issue. Doesn't inconvenience the biological mother at all. Would this change things or should the mother still have the right to end her baby's life? An egg and a sperm have no long term viability unless they are united. No potential there, as separate entities. This is where it is reasonable to prevent a life from starting, if it is inconvenient or horrifying. A fertilized zygote is complete. Granted, it needs nourishment and care, but all children do. Can you try to explain to me why it is different in your opinion to kill a fetus as opposed to a newborn? How does not killing a newborn fit with your explanations on naturalistic fatalism, morals, universal mandates, etc. Why does a few months change all the rules?



This isn't really part of any argument per se. It's very important that language not be a barrier to communication. If you and I mean something different by "human being" neither of us is WRONG about any substantive issue. We are just confusing each other. My suggestion to avoid special terminology is not an invitation to ignore what is being talked about. In fact it is PRECISELY the opposite: a practice that changes NOTHING of substantive meaning, but that ensures that neither of us plays tricks on the other with semantics.I'm not sure how this could not be a part of the argument, since that's what has given woman the excuse to end life, but okay, I'll skip it.



Yes, that's what I'm getting at. Whatever you call it, this is an accurate description of what we are actually talking about, rather than a term like "genetically human" which encompasses beings that may be radically different from each other in relevant ways. Why is it wrong to kill this _particular_ being? First, again, could you tell me why it is right to kill this particular being.? I'm sorry I can't be all technical and analytical about this. The very first reason not to kill this being is, there is no justifiable reason to take a baby's life. No reason that is more important than this baby's life. If you could stand back and watch, you would see an amazing driving force, this process of developing and maturing. From the first day, it was never anything but a human life. I know life has become an overabundant quantity and so has lost some of it's value. It shouldn't have, but realistically it has. If tomorrow, most of our population was gone, the value would be somehow re-instated. To me, that is like saying because I have 6 children(I don't), that they are somehow not as valuable because there are more than enough. I fully admit this is an emotional issue for me, but not just emotional. Rationally I can't see why we humans wouldn't protect and value each other, even though I know we don't. Don't worry I'm not going to start singing "We Are The World" or anything, but I think when we turn life into just a lump of tissue, we become a little less human. A little less evolved.

Dunderman
01-09-2004, 05:03 AM
Originally posted by Weird_AL_Einstein
Priceguy, you asked a specific question in the OP. When people answer you, and you respond like this, you're extending the terms of the debate beyond what we thought it would be. Perhaps you should start another thread.
I disagree. If the thread turns into something other than you expected and this makes you uncomfortable, you're free to leave, but we're still firmly within its boundaries. If abortion is only wrong because killing is wrong, then it is relevant whether and why killing is wrong.

Apos said it better than I: "once we have a clear picture of why killing something could be wrong, only then can we really come to understand whether that applies to specific somethings and not others".
Speaking for myself, my moral objections to abortion stem from the fact that I can't see how a fetus can be considered anything other than a human being. And I want to live in a society in which it is, broadly speaking, considered morally wrong to kill a human being. Never mind the "rational reason" why, it's just what I want.
You're apparently much more rational than you think. This is precisely the kind of answer I was looking for. I believe you want that because you realise that such a society would be a more pleasant one to live in than one in which killing humans is considered morally right or neutral. That is perfectly rational reasoning.

The reason I'm pro-choice is that I don't believe that allowing (or considering morally right/neutral) abortion will cause a change in morals regarding killing born humans.

JThunder
01-10-2004, 12:49 AM
I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned Dr. Bernard Nathanson (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0895264633/o/qid%3D970494931/sr%3D2-1/102-3419135-8286500), one of the founders of NARAL and an outspoken pro-choicer. He converted to the pro-life side based on scientific evidence, rather than religous conviction. In fact, he was an atheist at the time of his conversion.

Apos
01-10-2004, 01:56 AM
Our idea of natural, well mine, not yours; comes from our process of procreation, propagation of the species, whatever you want to call it. Habit or convention hardly fit with what has always been a natural and necessary process.

"Natural" is just a word for whatever happens to happen. But lots of natural things, we rightly oppose. So it is not clear that just because something is "natural" that it is right or that there is something wrong in preventing a "natural" course from occuring as we might expect it to. Many natural things are morally neutral, and its neither wrong nor right to frustrate their progression.

think there is a perceived universal mandate against humans killing other humans.

Yes, but this mandate wasn't developed in a vacuum, and it isn't just a inexplicable slogan or order for which further explanation or justification is unecessary. It was developed for specific reasons, many threads of which came directly out of experience with what "human" used to mean: i.e. those weird lookin bipeds that scream out in pain when I bash their head with a rock. In other words, those moral codes were developed before anyone knew there was any such thing as a zygote, or thought to call it human. So it's quite relevant to ask whether those moral reasons also extend to embryos/zygotes, given that our definition of "human" has changed from when we first formulated our ideas of why killing "humans" was wrong.

Let's say that you decided that it was wrong to stick a needle into a balloons because they made a loud POP that hurt peoples ears. And let's say that you had never seen a deflated balloon: when someone said "balloon" you thought only of the inflated kind. Then one day someone points out that deflated balloons exist, and says that it is wrong to stick needles in them too. Do you see the problem with this?

Zygotes are similar to babies in many ways. They are also different in many ways. We can lump them together as "genetically human" (a term which encompasses some RADICALLY different sorts of beings: a zygote is much more different from a baby than a baby human is different from a baby chimp) and we can differentiate them by calling them a zygote vs. baby. All of this is a matter or arbitrary definition: and we should never think that we can prove anything simly by fooling around with definitions.

The moral question is: what sorts of beings is it wrong to kill?

Another imaginary example: what if we once called ourselves "monkeys" and then decided over the course of human experience that killing monkeys was wrong. The next day, along comes a scientist with DNA evidence that chimps are actually monkeys too. Does that mean that it's now suddenly wrong to eat monkey brain soup? Or does it really mean that the term "monkey" has expanded to include beings that the original formulators of the slogan never intended to cover?

I'm not talking about rights that are inappropriate to to a certain age. You don't allow kids to vote, but you allow them to live. You are irrevocably DENYING the right to live. You are somehow more concerned with granting rights too soon? It isn't as much a predicted future as it is almost a certain future, statistically. Unless you decide to end it.

I think you missed the point of my example, which was to illustrate a _principle_ that we don't necessarily give something a right NOW just because what it will one day be such that it needs that right. We don't give children the right to drive because they are not capable of being good drivers. And we may not regard zygotes as being of moral worth because of some capacity they lack (for instance, the same capacities that we say animals lack, thus making it okay to kill them) that makes them different from other humans.

isn't as much a predicted future as it is almost a certain future, statistically.

When a third of fertilized eggs fail to implant, and even more miscarry, it's not really "almost certain" at all.

But again, I don't see why you think the expected future of something is relevant to how we should treat it now. I might expect that John will commit a crime when he grows up. That doesn't mean I can throw him in jail today, no matter how likely it might be.

What if tomorrow, it is possible to remove and bring a zygote to term?

It's possible right now, as far as I know. It would certainly be hard to find a zygote in a uterus before it irreprebably implanted, but it wouldn't be impossible, and we do this sort of thing in test tubes all the time (killing thousands of fertilized eggs in the process)

Would this change things or should the mother still have the right to end her baby's life?

I don't see why it would change anything, but then I don't consider viability to be an important issue. To me, it would still be a matter of indifference.

An egg and a sperm have no long term viability unless they are united. No potential there, as separate entities.

Seeing them as separate entities is a conceptual line, and not the only one we can draw. The fertilized egg and the uterine wall are also separate entities, and without the uterine wall, the fert egg has no long term viability. But many still call drugs that prevent implantation "abortion" and indeed they DO make it near inevitable that the fertilized egg will die.

The very first reason not to kill this being is, there is no justifiable reason to take a baby's life.

That's circular reasoning. What we are trying to discuss is why it's wrong to kill various beings: zygotes, embryos, fetuses at two weeks, at two months, etc. You can't start justifying the position that it's wrong to kill them by starting out with exactly what you are arguing for. The very first reason for view X is view X.

Is there any reason one SHOULD have to justify killing a zygote, as opposed to killing a few bacteria, or ones own skin cells? If so, what is that reason?

IWLN
01-10-2004, 05:07 AM
Originally posted by Apos
"Natural" is just a word for whatever happens to happen. But lots of natural things, we rightly oppose. So it is not clear that just because something is "natural" that it is right or that there is something wrong in preventing a "natural" course from occuring as we might expect it to. Many natural things are morally neutral, and its neither wrong nor right to frustrate their progression.Well you can brush aside my definition. But you can't get much more natural than what makes man continue to be. I can't see anything about this topic that could possibly be morally neutral. I find that somewhat cold.
Yes, but this mandate wasn't developed in a vacuum, and it isn't just a inexplicable slogan or order for which further explanation or justification is unecessary. It was developed for specific reasons, many threads of which came directly out of experience with what "human" used to mean: i.e. those weird lookin bipeds that scream out in pain when I bash their head with a rock. In other words, those moral codes were developed before anyone knew there was any such thing as a zygote, or thought to call it human. So it's quite relevant to ask whether those moral reasons also extend to embryos/zygotes, given that our definition of "human" has changed from when we first formulated our ideas of why killing "humans" was wrong.I can't agree that the definition of human has changed. Only that we are now able to define the stages of human-ness.
Let's say that you decided that it was wrong to stick a needle into a balloons because they made a loud POP that hurt peoples ears. And let's say that you had never seen a deflated balloon: when someone said "balloon" you thought only of the inflated kind. Then one day someone points out that deflated balloons exist, and says that it is wrong to stick needles in them too. Do you see the problem with this?I can agree to a need for a re-definition of balloon mandate, but can't keep a straight face when I type this.
Zygotes are similar to babies in many ways. They are also different in many ways. We can lump them together as "genetically human" (a term which encompasses some RADICALLY different sorts of beings: a zygote is much more different from a baby than a baby human is different from a baby chimp) and we can differentiate them by calling them a zygote vs. baby. All of this is a matter or arbitrary definition: and we should never think that we can prove anything simly by fooling around with definitions.I think you are fooling around with definitions, but that is all part of the gymnastics program. Never has a baby not been a zygote. Everything the zygote was, the baby is. Every single ingredient of the baby was in the zygote. I am not getting different, except for possibly the difference between a baby and a man. Different stages, not different being. How arbitrary can that be.
The moral question is: what sorts of beings is it wrong to kill?Anything with all of the components necessary to become a viable human, that have already commenced to become one.
Another imaginary example: what if we once called ourselves "monkeys" and then decided over the course of human experience that killing monkeys was wrong. The next day, along comes a scientist with DNA evidence that chimps are actually monkeys too. Does that mean that it's now suddenly wrong to eat monkey brain soup? Or does it really mean that the term "monkey" has expanded to include beings that the original formulators of the slogan never intended to cover?If DNA evidence showed me I was eating my step-brother or step-cousin, I would put the spoon down. If I was pro-choice on monkey killing, I would go through all sorts of rationalization to explain that yes it was a monkey, but not really that kind of a monkey. My reasoning would be about as circular as the pro-choice argument is now.
I think you missed the point of my example, which was to illustrate a _principle_ that we don't necessarily give something a right NOW just because what it will one day be such that it needs that right. We don't give children the right to drive because they are not capable of being good drivers. And we may not regard zygotes as being of moral worth because of some capacity they lack (for instance, the same capacities that we say animals lack, thus making it okay to kill them) that makes them different from other humans.I understood it. It seems circular. Hey, they're human zygotes, but they're not really human.
When a third of fertilized eggs fail to implant, and even more miscarry, it's not really "almost certain" at all.Okay, that's why I used almost. I thought we were talking about abortion, which means by necessity the zygote is implanted. So "almost" leaves room for miscarriage. If you'd like I can change it to mostly, good chance, kinda, sorta maybe. Whatever pleases you. It's not really the issue.
But again, I don't see why you think the expected future of something is relevant to how we should treat it now. I might expect that John will commit a crime when he grows up. That doesn't mean I can throw him in jail today, no matter how likely it might be.But you do expect him to grow up. You're analogy makes it sound like it is unreasonable to exspect watermelon seeds to grow watermelon. They need lots of water before they sprout, but a rational person wouldn't water them until they proved they were watermelon. The expected future of something would still be expected to be similar to what history has shown us it usually is. Whether it's watermelon seeds or zygotes. Their "typical" outcome is certain.
It's possible right now, as far as I know. It would certainly be hard to find a zygote in a uterus before it irreprebably implanted, but it wouldn't be impossible, and we do this sort of thing in test tubes all the time (killing thousands of fertilized eggs in the process)A test tube won't sustain a pregnancy to term, so I do have to draw the line at what is practical and moral.
I don't see why it would change anything, but then I don't consider viability to be an important issue. To me, it would still be a matter of indifference.
Ouch. So an unwanted newborn would fall into logical grounds for termination too?
Seeing them as separate entities is a conceptual line, and not the only one we can draw. The fertilized egg and the uterine wall are also separate entities, and without the uterine wall, the fert egg has no long term viability. But many still call drugs that prevent implantation "abortion" and indeed they DO make it near inevitable that the fertilized egg will die.I can and do draw that "conceptual" line. Most sperm and eggs never become anything else. They exist only to increase the odds of fertility. I am not so unrealistic that I can't differentiate between viable new life safely growing, being nurtured by the mother's body and all those that don't make it. I don't feel that drugs that prevent implantation are morally right either, but can concede that in comparison to later alternatives, they are at least a valid compromise. That's somewhat hypocritical on my part, I realize that.
That's circular reasoning. What we are trying to discuss is why it's wrong to kill various beings: zygotes, embryos, fetuses at two weeks, at two months, etc. You can't start justifying the position that it's wrong to kill them by starting out with exactly what you are arguing for. The very first reason for view X is view X."This step by step analysis is brought to you by APOS." We'll call it "BabySteps." Sorry. You do get an "A" for controlling the debate. I don't expect to change my mind here, but I usually learn something, in spite of myself.
Is there any reason one SHOULD have to justify killing a zygote, as opposed to killing a few bacteria, or ones own skin cells? If so, what is that reason? Nice wording on this question, btw. Why you should have to justify it feels different than why it's wrong. You do have my respect. Well, it's not, say bacteria. "Z" contains everything necessary to produce a human and is using all it's resources to get a good start, so one should try explaining to little Z why this just isn't going to happen. Make it good, cause although he doesn't have ears yet, he's got a heart. Z is human. You're killing part of yourself, which I have to point out now before it comes up is different than say, liposuction. So you have to justify to yourself why your needs take precidence over little Z's. I'm trying to stay strictly in the zygote range here. For many there is an emotional cost, so you have to ask yourself if Z's death will ever cause you to feel regret or loss? Ah, dad; does papa Z have any right to have little Z. Can you destroy a part of someone else without their support. How do you justify that to the point that one person doesn't "win" and one "lose". You are destroying a neice, nephew, grandchild and I know it's a stretch to weigh you other immediate family members against your wishes, but it should still be considered. You should justify it to everyone you're tempted to hide it from, just to learn whether you really think it's a blamesless decision. Justify and test how you would feel if this turned out to be your only chance for a child. A lot of the justification is just for yourself, but in our society, abortion is not morally neutral, at least not yet.

IWLN
01-10-2004, 05:40 AM
Okay, it occurred to me after the post that I didn't know when a zygote becomes an embryo. These questions were answered with an embryo in mind. I would think that there would not be much chance to consider or terminate a zygote, unless you're talking about the morning after pill or having an IUD and in either case, you would not actually know for sure? I think I need your definition of a zygote. I either missed it or we haven't defined it.

Dunderman
01-10-2004, 06:36 AM
Originally posted by IWLN
Anything with all of the components necessary to become a viable human, that have already commenced to become one.
Fine, but why?

beagledave
01-10-2004, 10:37 AM
Originally posted by Priceguy

Nonreligious prolifers: why are you opposed to abortion? If your case against abortion is in any way based on religion, please do not respond, I know your arguments already. I'm interested in the people who are not religious at all, or at the very least do not consciously base their prolife opinions on religion.

I honestly don't see the need for this thread. If you want to know the non-religious arguments that pro life dopers on the boards have against abortion..read any of a bazillion threads in GD that contain those exact aruments.

JThunder, Stratocaster/Bob Cos, myself and other pro life folks have primarily based our arguments on "non-religious" reasons. As a matter of fact, I have a had time thinking of ANY prolific pro life poster on these boards who has appealed to religion for his/her arguments. The suggestion that pro life arguments (at least on these boards) has been mostly rooted in religion..is a bit of a strawman.

If all you want to know if our reasonings..do a GD search on abortion.

I've spent plenty of posts arguing from a biological/genetics position for example (http://www.terravista.pt/enseada/1881/lifebegi.html).

iampunha
01-10-2004, 10:52 AM
I take the somewhat-weaseling position that government officials who are not medical personnel should not be making medical decisions for those who are not under their care. It seems as straightforward to me as it seems ignorant to others, from what I can tell.

Basically I am holding out for the day when it is possible to "transplant" a fetus. Until then, my most useful answer is that I do not know. I have my personal convictions, but there are so many different (and very plausible) situations and it is such an intensely personal issue that to debate about it in any but a purely hypothetical light can raise ire as quickly as any other topic. And to debate about it in a purely hypothetical light strips it of what I consider to be one of the most important facets of it: that it is such an intensely personal issue. So with that Catch-22 in place ... I don't know. As I said, I'm waiting for fetal transplantation to be viable.

IWLN
01-10-2004, 07:02 PM
Originally posted by Priceguy
Fine, but why? I have lots of answers that are emotional and not useful for this debate. I'm not sure I can come up with anything that you would consider rational. Here goes, anyway.

If I don't do anything, if I don't speak and act for the weakest in our society who don't yet have a voice, I am giving tacit approval to this. If I don't try to protect those who can't yet protect themselves, I lack human compassion. If I was considering doing this myself and I did not feel the deepest of primal rage at any threat to my own family, then I am a monster. If I do nothing, I lose a vital aspect of my own human-ness. If we don't respect the gift of continuing life, we don't deserve for life to continue. Of course, this all sounds better accompanied by some pretty song. I do not have one scientific, factual type reason to be against abortion, at least in the early stages. I don't believe an early abortion causes the baby any physical sensation resembling pain. The only harm I can see is to the people who allow it to happen and to others who care that it happens.

ZebraShaSha
01-10-2004, 09:32 PM
If it does not make a good choice cuts than why kill it?

Apos
01-10-2004, 11:08 PM
Well you can brush aside my definition. But you can't get much more natural than what makes man continue to be. I can't see anything about this topic that could possibly be morally neutral. I find that somewhat cold.

What definition? All I said is that just because something is a common progression does not in ITSELF mean that stopping it is wrong. Naturalness is not a synonym for "right."

Your comments about it being cold rely on assuming the very thing under dispute!

I think you are fooling around with definitions, but that is all part of the gymnastics program. Never has a baby not been a zygote. Everything the zygote was, the baby is. Every single ingredient of the baby was in the zygote. I am not getting different, except for possibly the difference between a baby and a man. Different stages, not different being. How arbitrary can that be.

It's not arbitrary, it's wrong. A zygote is not a baby. They aren't the same things.

I understood it. It seems circular. Hey, they're human zygotes, but they're not really human.

That's not what I said. The point of all these examples was to illustrate key principles, but it seems I've failed.



Ouch. So an unwanted newborn would fall into logical grounds for termination too?

Er, no. Viability is not relevent, IMO, because whether or not something can survive on its own is not a valid way to determine what its interests are. If a fetus has moral interests, they need to be protected regardless of whether it can survive on it's own.

Nice wording on this question, btw. Why you should have to justify it feels different than why it's wrong.

I don't understand what you mean here.

Apos
01-10-2004, 11:22 PM
I have lots of answers that are emotional and not useful for this debate. I'm not sure I can come up with anything that you would consider rational. Here goes, anyway.

If I don't do anything, if I don't speak and act for the weakest in our society who don't yet have a voice, I am giving tacit approval to this. If I don't try to protect those who can't yet protect themselves, I lack human compassion. If I was considering doing this myself and I did not feel the deepest of primal rage at any threat to my own family, then I am a monster. If I do nothing, I lose a vital aspect of my own human-ness. If we don't respect the gift of continuing life, we don't deserve for life to continue. Of course, this all sounds better accompanied by some pretty song.

Again, this isn't an explanation of a moral principle, its talking about what you think and feel once you already assume that the moral principle is true.

I'm not trying to trick you, I'm trying to clarify what's behind the premise of not killing for you. For me, what's morally important are interests of beings: the capacity to have or have had such interests. Beings that don't have the capacity to have interests and expectations, and have never had them, can't have moral interests. And, given that, that's what allows me to separate bacteria from babies, zygotes from fetuses when it comes to considering whether its wrong to kill this being or that being.

I don't expect you to agree with that view at all, but I do want to know what your particular views are, and how you get from a general non specific principle (i.e. one that doesn't itself specify particular beings, but rather characteristics OF beings that matter to you) to a specific application like "killing a fetus is wrong" when you use the principle to determine whether something is or is not okay to kill.

Dunderman
01-11-2004, 03:14 AM
Originally posted by IWLN
The only harm I can see is to the people who allow it to happen and to others who care that it happens.
You're interesting, IWLN, in that the most profound and groundbreaking statements you make seem to be the ones you throw in as an afterthought. This is the interesting part to me. What harm do you see happening to these people?

Stratocaster
01-11-2004, 08:01 AM
Originally posted by Apos
I'm not trying to trick you, I'm trying to clarify what's behind the premise of not killing for you. For me, what's morally important are interests of beings: the capacity to have or have had such interests. Beings that don't have the capacity to have interests and expectations, and have never had them, can't have moral interests. Why is never having had interests important? Do you hold that a brain-dead patient who will regain consciousness (these people do exist) has any current interest while he is brain dead? Can you kill this individual with the same sort of impunity that is associated with abortions, in your opinion?

It sounds as if you are saying that it is simply axiomatic to you that one who has no current conscious "interests" deserves no particular protection--i.e., there is nothing to protect. The fact that a fetus will likely have these conscious interests in the future is not relevant for you. So, in this sense, is the brain-dead patient morally equivalent?

I have raised this question before, and so far have received no really satisfying response (IMO, of course). If future sentience is valuable enough to deserve protection for a brain-dead patient, it is just as valuable for a fetus. "But I only assign future sentience value if the being once had sentience before," is a typical response. To me, this smacks of a qualification that serves only to keep abortion legal.

The person doesn't have it now.

He may have once been a world-class sprinter or a champion chess player. He may have once been married to a particular person. He may have once owned a particular property, which gave him a moral and legal right for said property. But so what? If right now he is not in any of those categories, he does not have any "right" or attribute specifically associated with his prior status right now. Isn't that the essence of your exclusion of rights for a fetus, or do I misunderstand? A fetus may have sentience some day, but not now.

IOW, I see no logical reason for this qualification, in the way I can understand the logical consistency in somone's opinion that neither a fetus nor a brain-dead person has the right to live. I may not agree with this, but I understand it. BTW, I'm not saying any of this is your belief; I'm just providing some background since this discussion has taken place previously.

So, also only in the interest if understanding what drives your beliefs, can you clarify the importance you assign to a being having a current capacity for human interests? Thanks.

Weird_AL_Einstein
01-11-2004, 08:03 AM
Originally posted by Priceguy
Originally posted by Weird_AL_Einstein
Speaking for myself, my moral objections to abortion stem from the fact that I can't see how a fetus can be considered anything other than a human being. And I want to live in a society in which it is, broadly speaking, considered morally wrong to kill a human being. Never mind the "rational reason" why, it's just what I want.


You're apparently much more rational than you think. This is precisely the kind of answer I was looking for. I believe you want that because you realise that such a society would be a more pleasant one to live in than one in which killing humans is considered morally right or neutral. That is perfectly rational reasoning.

The reasoning I made from the premise is rational, yes, but the premise itself, that I want to live, is necessarily non-rational.

Originally posted by Priceguy
The reason I'm pro-choice is that I don't believe that allowing (or considering morally right/neutral) abortion will cause a change in morals regarding killing born humans.

The reason I'm (more or less) pro-choice is that I think that the freedom of bodily autonomy is more important than preserving human life. I want to live, but I also (non-rationally again) want freedom.

I'm not sure I follow your reasoning as to why you are pro-choice. Are you talking about "slippery slopes"?

Dunderman
01-11-2004, 09:15 AM
Originally posted by Weird_AL_Einstein
The reasoning I made from the premise is rational, yes, but the premise itself, that I want to live, is necessarily non-rational.
Only if your personal will to live is the one and only premise, which I believe it's not. Wanting murder to be illegal is a matter of, for example, being able to walk relatively safe in the streets at night. It's not merely survival instinct.
I'm not sure I follow your reasoning as to why you are pro-choice. Are you talking about "slippery slopes"?
Kind of. I do want murder to be illegal, but I want abortion to be legal. That's because I do not believe that legal abortion brings about a change in the perceived value of life that will, in turn, change the societal moral stance on murder. Wanting murder to be illegal does therefore not comply me to want abortion to be illegal.

IWLN
01-11-2004, 09:02 PM
Originally posted by Apos
It's not arbitrary, it's wrong. A zygote is not a baby. They aren't the same things.No. They aren't the same thing. You're right. I had to excuse myself and go lock my emotions in a closet.:o

That's not what I said. The point of all these examples was to illustrate key principles, but it seems I've failed.I'm sorry. Again, you're right. I don't understand the idea in separating and defining each stage of development, but okay.

Er, no. Viability is not relevent, IMO, because whether or not something can survive on its own is not a valid way to determine what its interests are. If a fetus has moral interests, they need to be protected regardless of whether it can survive on it's own.Agreed. I believe it should be protected even before it's viable, so again you're right.

Again, this isn't an explanation of a moral principle, its talking about what you think and feel once you already assume that the moral principle is true.Wouldn't a moral principle be protecting the helpless? So, is the question, why protect the helpless?

I'm not trying to trick you, I'm trying to clarify what's behind the premise of not killing for you.Well, not killing would be the moral principle. If you're looking for why is killing wrong, I think every explanation would just create another question.

For me, what's morally important are interests of beings: the capacity to have or have had such interests. Beings that don't have the capacity to have interests and expectations, and have never had them, can't have moral interests. And, given that, that's what allows me to separate bacteria from babies, zygotes from fetuses when it comes to considering whether its wrong to kill this being or that being.This is really hard for me to understand. For you, the dividing line is whether or not they have ever had interests, and the fact that they will have interests if you let them has no bearing on whether they live or die. Future interests don't qualify them for life? Can you explain that differently or tell me why?

I don't expect you to agree with that view at all, but I do want to know what your particular views are, and how you get from a general non specific principle (i.e. one that doesn't itself specify particular beings, but rather characteristics OF beings that matter to you) to a specific application like "killing a fetus is wrong" when you use the principle to determine whether something is or is not okay to kill.I can do this. We can go through all the characteristics of a zygote, embryo, fetus, premie and newborn, but since I'm having a tough time determining how their interests could be different, maybe I'm missing what you're trying to do?

IWLN
01-11-2004, 09:34 PM
Originally posted by Priceguy
You're interesting, IWLN, in that the most profound and groundbreaking statements you make seem to be the ones you throw in as an afterthought. This is the interesting part to me. What harm do you see happening to these people? I think our human spirit, our feelings about ourselves and humanity as a whole are geared toward success, positiveness, worthiness. If I have an abortion, assuming that I have a conscience, a sense of responsibility and a love for life; then it will be a failure and even a loss of some part of me. I'm not talking about the physical loss, but more the loss of self-esteem or spirit. I don't believe that the average person honestly deep inside views abortion as a neutral event. They weigh their options and make a sometimes very painful choice. Even the fact that they are in that position before they make the choice can take it's toll. You have to tell yourself it doesn't matter, until it doesn't matter anymore. This creates a permanent change inside.


Those of us who really value each and every life have to live with the fact that 40 million have died and we haven't been able to help. This is similar to having a horrible war go on day after day and continuously hearing about the casualties. It is demoralizing, sad. The only choice I have is to try and not think about it, but then when it comes back up, it's like a shock all over again and more loss. I realize many would say it's none of my business and since it's leagal, they're right. But at what point would it become my business, 100 million, 200 million. Is there a point that it's bad for us, for our human spirit or should we still mind our own business? Even if I somehow make allowances for some circumstances, there has been so many needless abortions, only due to neglect, carelessness and just a lack of any value placed on life. It's really hard for it not to affect me and others who feel like I do. I'm expected to feel compassion for the women, but can't, not feel it for the babies too. I realize this is my problem, not anyone elses; but the solution of not caring anymore will make part of me different, less and I can't do that.

Dunderman
01-12-2004, 07:29 AM
IWLN, it sounds like you base your opposition on abortion on the fact that you feel bad when you hear about an abortion; that you emotionally dislike abortions, and so on. Am I correct? Am I close?

IWLN
01-12-2004, 09:15 AM
Originally posted by Priceguy
IWLN, it sounds like you base your opposition on abortion on the fact that you feel bad when you hear about an abortion; that you emotionally dislike abortions, and so on. Am I correct? Am I close? That's like me saying you base your support of abortion on the fact that you don't feel bad when you hear about it. Kind of trivializes any critical thought process or assesment, doesn't it? When I hear about the old lady who was murdered, I feel bad. It's not just some form of shallow sympathy. It has to do with what happened and why it's wrong. The "feeling bad" is a product of the assesment of the event, but has nothing to do with the facts. No. Not even close, Priceguy..

CrazyCatLady
01-13-2004, 01:10 PM
IWLN, to be honest, I'm not able to put together a coherent picture of why you're opposed to abortion either. First you're talking about the fetus being a seperate entity deserving of rights in and of itself, then you're talking about it being a part of you (generic you) and your family, then you're talking about how abortion affects society.

I can understand arguing from the standpoint of the fetus as an individual, but if it's individual enough to deserve rights in and of itself, it's not enough a part of someone else to deserve protection as part of her self-interest. So arguing both at the same time doesn't really make any sense to me. Can you clarify it for me?

And which of the arguments you've laid out is the real driving force behind your objection to abortion?

Also, how does one's family and their feelings really, truly factor into one's life decisions? If it would disappoint or upset your family for you to go into a certain line of work (it didn't pay enough, or they felt it was dangerous, or not prestigious enough), would you give up a career you found fulfilling to make them happy? What if they didn't want you to marry someone you loved (say they were a different race or religion or the same gender, rather than alcoholic or abusive or something of that nature), would you bow to their feelings? Where do you draw the line between family happiness and saying, "This is my life, and I have to live it for me, not you"?

(For the record, there are a lot of things I wouldn't tell my parents about my gynecological health and sex life, but that doesn't make those things inherently bad or wrong. It just makes them none of my parents' business.)

IWLN
01-13-2004, 03:19 PM
IWLN, to be honest, I'm not able to put together a coherent picture of why you're opposed to abortion either. First you're talking about the fetus being a seperate entity deserving of rights in and of itself, then you're talking about it being a part of you (generic you) and your family, then you're talking about how abortion affects society.That's fair. I don't have one reason. I believe there are many different things to consider. I didn't intend to do more than just answer the OP. I don't do this topic without emotion, which makes me unable to argue effectively.

I can understand arguing from the standpoint of the fetus as an individual, but if it's individual enough to deserve rights in and of itself, it's not enough a part of someone else to deserve protection as part of her self-interest. So arguing both at the same time doesn't really make any sense to me. Can you clarify it for me?I do think it is individual enough to deserve it's own rights, but do see where that can be at odds with the woman's self-interest. Here I would have to weigh who made the choice to be in this position.

And which of the arguments you've laid out is the real driving force behind your objection to abortion?The actual right of the unborn to survive. Survival/life takes precidence over inconvenience. Also very strong for me is not killing another human being. Not from a judgmental POV, but concern for the woman.

Also, how does one's family and their feelings really, truly factor into one's life decisions? If it would disappoint or upset your family for you to go into a certain line of work (it didn't pay enough, or they felt it was dangerous, or not prestigious enough), would you give up a career you found fulfilling to make them happy? What if they didn't want you to marry someone you loved (say they were a different race or religion or the same gender, rather than alcoholic or abusive or something of that nature), would you bow to their feelings? Where do you draw the line between family happiness and saying, "This is my life, and I have to live it for me, not you"?I wouldn't make a decision based solely on this factor. But I do think it deserves consideration and should have possibly a small amount of weight in my decision. I think it's important to remember that you are not just terminating your baby's life, but also someone's grandchild. I also didn't mean to imply that they would have any say in this. They don't.

Remember the OP asked for the reason people are pro-life that didn't have to do with G-d. For me there is not one good reason, but many. The number of abortions done makes it obvious that the things I believe are important, aren't shared by many people. Popular opinion or utilization doesn't convince me that this decision is right or moral. Over-utilization, which is what I believe is happening, convinces me that life is losing it's inherent value. I would rather see our priorities and morals change and not the law, necessarily. It is hypocritical of me, but I can honestly see some circumstances where the right to choose would be vital.

Dunderman
01-15-2004, 04:46 AM
That's like me saying you base your support of abortion on the fact that you don't feel bad when you hear about it.
Who said I don't?
When I hear about the old lady who was murdered, I feel bad. It's not just some form of shallow sympathy. It has to do with what happened and why it's wrong. The "feeling bad" is a product of the assesment of the event, but has nothing to do with the facts.
You said The only harm I can see is to the people who allow it to happen and to others who care that it happens.I asked what harm you could see happening to those people, and your answer was "loss of self-esteem or spirit", "have to live with the fact that 40 million have died and we haven't been able to help", "demoralizing, sad", "not caring anymore will make part of me different". To me, that sounds like an emotional reaction to abortion, ie you feeling bad about abortions.

What are the facts?

IWLN
01-15-2004, 02:27 PM
Who said I don't?Well since I do actually pay attention to what you write, I did pick up a few of the reasons you are pro-choice. You may not feel bad about abortion, but that's not what you're basing your opinion on. You don't believe that abortion will bring about a perceived change in the value of life. I believe it already has. You don't believe a fetus has any rights to claim itself a life. I do.

You said I asked what harm you could see happening to those people, and your answer was "loss of self-esteem or spirit", "have to live with the fact that 40 million have died and we haven't been able to help", "demoralizing, sad", "not caring anymore will make part of me different". To me, that sounds like an emotional reaction to abortion, ie you feeling bad about abortions.
What are the facts?I have agreed that as far as early term abortions, first trimester, from the POV of the unborn, there is no harm. Something not aware, will never be aware of having it's life taken away. So from the unborn's perspective, it is a non-event. But I can't agree that those facts make it okay to take that life away. This is not an emotional opinion. This is simply my evaluation of what constitutes a life. This, to me, seems completely logical. A 1 year old is different froma 10 year old, but no less valuable. A fetus is different than a 1 year old, but no less valuable as a human. You may consider putting a value on human life an emotional issue, but I do not. It is in our best interest to value life. I will admit I do a horrible job at keeping my emotional responses out of this, but it doesn't invalidate right and wrong. How we feel about ourselves and others(yep, stinkin' emotions) have everything to do with how our world is. My belief is that it does change our society and have a negative impact. Like it or not Priceguy, many of the most important decisions are made with some emotional input. Our emotional health is as vital to who we are as our physical health. I don't believe most abortions are done without emotional input and subsequent emotional impact. It can't be completely discounted. Personal experience with several friends gave me a compassionate perspective on this. Even abortion done for the most logical of reasons, can be emotionally expensive.

Dunderman
01-17-2004, 05:23 AM
I have agreed that as far as early term abortions, first trimester, from the POV of the unborn, there is no harm. Something not aware, will never be aware of having it's life taken away. So from the unborn's perspective, it is a non-event. But I can't agree that those facts make it okay to take that life away. This is not an emotional opinion. This is simply my evaluation of what constitutes a life. This, to me, seems completely logical. A 1 year old is different froma 10 year old, but no less valuable. A fetus is different than a 1 year old, but no less valuable as a human. You may consider putting a value on human life an emotional issue, but I do not. It is in our best interest to value life.
Yes it is. But that doesn't mean life itself has a value. It just means that, in general, it's better to act as if it did. When circumstances dictate otherwise, it may be better not to.
How we feel about ourselves and others(yep, stinkin' emotions) have everything to do with how our world is.
Absolutely.
My belief is that it does change our society and have a negative impact.
Could you be more specific? You've said it already has had changes, what are they?
Like it or not Priceguy, many of the most important decisions are made with some emotional input.
Yep. But that doesn't make it appropriate or right.
Our emotional health is as vital to who we are as our physical health.
Absolutely.
I don't believe most abortions are done without emotional input and subsequent emotional impact.
Me neither. But you would agree that an abortion performed on a woman to whom it means as much as cutting her fingernails is not "wrong", provided no-one else knows? Just testing the water.

By the way, excuse me for being lazy here, but I have a headache and would really like not having to read through the thread again, so please tell me if you want abortion to be legal or not.

IWLN
01-17-2004, 04:02 PM
Yes it is. But that doesn't mean life itself has a value. It just means that, in general, it's better to act as if it did. When circumstances dictate otherwise, it may be better not to.Circumstances like convenience, selfishness, economics? Life itself always has a value. It's just a matter of what degree.

Absolutely.I have nothing else to add to this. I was just enjoying the fact that you didn't disagree with this statement.:)

Could you be more specific? You've said it already has had changes, what are they?When enough people around you adopt a certain behaviour or do something often enough, even if you originally didn't think it was right; it takes on a kind of tacit acceptance, simply because it has become a common occurance. Even though I believe abortion is wrong, it has lost the ability to shock me, due to it's frequency. It's the same with different crimes. When you hear everyday about murder, there is a part that stops reacting in horror and becomes somewhat resigned to how bad things can be. There's even a part of you that rather than trying to do something about it, becomes somewhat resigned to it's inevitibility. We become non-reactive mentally and in action. I also think that when a person consistently puts their needs in front of other's, it affects our world profoundly. The mind-set that goes with abortion is my needs supercede any one else's including my unborn child. If in this most basic of ways you think you are more important than another life, it is inevitable that you will respond to the rest of your life events this way. When something bad or tragic happens, there are basically two different kinds of response to hearing the news. The first group of people feel compassion, sadness and see what they can do to help and the second group of people immediately assess how this is going to affect them. They may have some of the other responses, but "self" comes first. I think justifying abortion because of "self" makes it a lot more likely that future decisions are based on the same mindset. It becomes more important to somehow prove that "you" were worth making that decision for.

Yep. But that doesn't make it appropriate or right.I don't see how it cannot be right, when your mental/emotional health is so tied in to making the right decisions.

Me neither. But you would agree that an abortion performed on a woman to whom it means as much as cutting her fingernails is not "wrong", provided no-one else knows? Just testing the water.Does the doctor know? ;) I guess I'm chilled by the concept of taking a life being the same as nail clipping, but would have to agree that for her, it is a non-event; so can't be seen as wrong. It's wrong, but may be a lucky break for the baby.:rolleyes:
By the way, excuse me for being lazy here, but I have a headache and would really like not having to read through the thread again, so please tell me if you want abortion to be legal or not.No, I don't want it to be legal. I want it to go away or at the very least become a rare occurance. Will I try and do anything to make it illegal. Probably not. I have admitted to being somewhat of a hypocrite in this area. I don't think making it illegal would stop the practice. It would simply add more physical risk and inconvenience to what now exists. In spite of the fact that I really have no desire to be fair about abortion, if the majority of people think it is an acceptable thing to do, then, no matter what I believe; I have to respect that. Very reluctantly.

BraveNewSquirle
01-17-2004, 04:14 PM
As far as I'm concerned (and I know most here wil disagree and hate me for what I will say) life begins at one's first concious memory/thought.
I also don't think that anyone but the woman involved has the right to make the coice.

IWLN
01-17-2004, 04:30 PM
As far as I'm concerned (and I know most here wil disagree and hate me for what I will say) life begins at one's first concious memory/thought.
I also don't think that anyone but the woman involved has the right to make the coice.Any idea when that would be? I don't remember much before age 2 or 3, but the actual first thought would probably be sometime in the last four or five months of gestation, if you count brain wave activity. There's response to outside stimuli, noise, voices, etc. How do you measure when the first thought actually is?

Dunderman
01-18-2004, 06:43 AM
Circumstances like convenience, selfishness, economics?
For example.
Life itself always has a value. It's just a matter of what degree.
Where does this value come from? What basis does it have?
When enough people around you adopt a certain behaviour or do something often enough, even if you originally didn't think it was right; it takes on a kind of tacit acceptance, simply because it has become a common occurance.
I agree. This is becoming a habit.
Even though I believe abortion is wrong, it has lost the ability to shock me, due to it's frequency. It's the same with different crimes. When you hear everyday about murder, there is a part that stops reacting in horror and becomes somewhat resigned to how bad things can be. There's even a part of you that rather than trying to do something about it, becomes somewhat resigned to it's inevitibility. We become non-reactive mentally and in action. I also think that when a person consistently puts their needs in front of other's, it affects our world profoundly.
I'm not disputing that. I just strongly doubt that a woman having removed what is essentially an unwanted parasite will have a negative effect on society.
The mind-set that goes with abortion is my needs supercede any one else's including my unborn child.
But the unborn child doesn't even notice. It just dies.
If in this most basic of ways you think you are more important than another life, it is inevitable that you will respond to the rest of your life events this way.
I hate to say this, but... cite? It just seems as an unproven assertion to me.
I think justifying abortion because of "self" makes it a lot more likely that future decisions are based on the same mindset. It becomes more important to somehow prove that "you" were worth making that decision for.
You're apparently assuming that it is by definition better for the fetus to be born. It may very well not be the case. And even if it is, the situation remains a neutral one for the fetus (dies quickly) and a positive one for the woman (no unwanted pregnancy, no unwanted childbirth, no unwanted child etc). Net outcome: positive.
I don't see how it cannot be right, when your mental/emotional health is so tied in to making the right decisions.
That's not quite what I said. I did agree that our mental/emotional health is as important as our physical health. That does not mean that basing decisions and actions on emotions is a good thing.
I guess I'm chilled by the concept of taking a life being the same as nail clipping, but would have to agree that for her, it is a non-event; so can't be seen as wrong. It's wrong, but may be a lucky break for the baby.
Then why is it wrong?

Alan Owes Bess
01-18-2004, 07:42 AM
Excluding issues involving self defence, to kill someone, for profit, fun or convenience (same as profit, really) is abominable.

To kill a zygote one day after conception? No big deal. Probably zero significance.

To kill a near term child by sucking out his or her brains after inducing a breech birth?

That is an abomination.

However, despite some myths, the ďLawĒ has never treated infanticide with the same degree of severity as adult-to-adult murder. That was serious stuff and governments did all they could to discourage it.

In pre twentieth century societies, infanticide was generally treated lightly and ignored by officialdom whenever possible. Institutions like foundling homes were established in many countries, but they had a small impact on the uncounted death rate.

As for abortion, it is a killing of convenience. No more, no less.

Having said all that, there never has been, nor ever will be a way of putting a stop to abortion.

But, as long as itís not glorified, we should all be content.

IWLN
01-18-2004, 06:14 PM
For example.She's in school, will lose momentum in her career, doesn't have the money, doesn't want a baby with the man she conceived one with, doesn't want her parents to know, is afraid of childbirth, etc.

Where does this value come from? What basis does it have?I suppose where any of our values come from. From our own childhood and feeling valued, from later experiences. From our own survival instincts. From our religions. These are not only our own perceptions, but also fairly universally, there is an agreement that it's not right to take a life, which indicates that life has value. Killing would not be so unacceptable if we didn't feel like the victim had worth.

I agree. This is becoming a habit.:) Do you agree that wrong takes on a different definition if it is accepted by a majority of people?

I'm not disputing that. I just strongly doubt that a woman having removed what is essentially an unwanted parasite will have a negative effect on society.It doesn't seem like this method that we have to continue to survive can be selectively discarded. A wonderful thing for society or a parasite at the same time. You did forget to call it a human parasite, though. Not quite the same as a tapeworm.

But the unborn child doesn't even notice. It just dies.Abortion is legal up to the third trimester. A baby born not long before the "cut-off time, can actually survive. Say I get an abortion at 23 weeks and compare with a premature delivery. The premie feels discomfort, pain, etc. Why do you think the aborted baby feels nothing. Because it's quick? In the spirit of your request on the next point, I would have to see a cite that addresses an unborn's pain response at different stages of development.:)

I hate to say this, but... cite? It just seems as an unproven assertion to me.Rat's. I suppose I should feel lucky that "cite" hasn't came up all of the other times I deserved it. It is an opinion, an unprovable assertion. I could probably come up with plenty of examples of self-importance affecting our society adversely, but can't really prove the cause. The "self-importance" could be the cause of the millions of abortions, rather than the reverse. You're right.

You're apparently assuming that it is by definition better for the fetus to be born. It may very well not be the case. And even if it is, the situation remains a neutral one for the fetus (dies quickly) and a positive one for the woman (no unwanted pregnancy, no unwanted childbirth, no unwanted child etc). Net outcome: positive.I disagree that it is always a positive one for the woman. I found almost 30,000 hits using the words, "abortion and regret" and abortion and remorse". There are thousands of stories from women who didn't realize how sad and empty they would feel afterwards. The friends I have that have had an abortion felt the same way. I have only known one woman who said she didn't regret it, although I'm sure there are many. Abortion counseling is inadequate and abortion seems like a fairly simple thing, but for many it's not. A worman who regrets her abortion gets very little sympathy from most people. Since it's a voluntary act, many people feel like she deserves to feel bad. I don't.

That's not quite what I said. I did agree that our mental/emotional health is as important as our physical health. That does not mean that basing decisions and actions on emotions is a good thing.See above point. If you don't factor in your emotional response, it can cause permanent emotional damage.

Then why is it wrong?Maybe it's not, for her. If she can be that dispassionate about it, why not just give the little parasite to someone who wants it, after it's born? Never mind, that would be unselfish. Maybe it's not wrong for her, but I don't think that abortion is typically that devoid of any emotions.

Dunderman
01-20-2004, 01:42 AM
I suppose where any of our values come from. From our own childhood and feeling valued, from later experiences. From our own survival instincts. From our religions. These are not only our own perceptions, but also fairly universally, there is an agreement that it's not right to take a life, which indicates that life has value. Killing would not be so unacceptable if we didn't feel like the victim had worth.
But this is just our idea of the values, our perception that they exist. That doesn't mean they do. Whence the values themselves? Why should we act according to them?
Do you agree that wrong takes on a different definition if it is accepted by a majority of people?
Nope.
You did forget to call it a human parasite, though.
No, I didn't forget. I saw no reason to include it as it's irrelevant.
Why do you think the aborted baby feels nothing. Because it's quick?
Yep.
In the spirit of your request on the next point, I would have to see a cite that addresses an unborn's pain response at different stages of development.
You misunderstood me. I'm sure that a 3-month fetus can feel pain. I don't advocate torturing 3-month fetuses, for exactly that reason. Well, and the reason that it's totally pointless and a waste of time and resources, but also because they feel pain.
I disagree that it is always a positive one for the woman. I found almost 30,000 hits using the words, "abortion and regret" and abortion and remorse". There are thousands of stories from women who didn't realize how sad and empty they would feel afterwards. The friends I have that have had an abortion felt the same way.
I'm sure many women regret it. That's easy to say when you don't have to take care of a screaming baby you didn't want. This is a situation with two bad choices, so feeling bad after choosing should be par for the course.

I would imagine it'd be quite difficult to find women who'd acknowledge that they regret not having the abortion, because of the incredibly strong social taboos surrounding it.
If you don't factor in your emotional response, it can cause permanent emotional damage.
We're still missing each other. To take emotions into account when making a decision is perfectly rational; to base decisions on emotions is not. An example:

1. If I don't kill that man with a gun, he'll kill those five people and their families will suffer grief.
2. I don't like that guy's face, let's kill him!
If she can be that dispassionate about it, why not just give the little parasite to someone who wants it, after it's born? Never mind, that would be unselfish.
No, that would be stupid. There are enough little parasites in the world that desperately want homes and families. There's no reason to introduce another unwanted child. And no, there's no reason to go through the unpleasantness and discomfort of pregnanct and childbirth for that purpose.

IWLN
01-20-2004, 05:39 PM
But this is just our idea of the values, our perception that they exist. That doesn't mean they do. Whence the values themselves? Why should we act according to them?You're losing me here. I know you have values/morals. Some obviously are not appropriate for anyone but you. Some are shared by a majority of people. Our ideas, our perceptions, the majority's opinion of the common good. Those, we act accordingly to. If my country isn't run by some mix of common values and opinions, then it's not really a democracy.

Nope.Well then where does the concept of wrong come from, if not from what is deemed acceptable and unacceptable? Incest used to be acceptable because it was a common practice. Not perceived as wrong if you want to do something and your neighbors are already doing it.

No, I didn't forget. I saw no reason to include it as it's irrelevant.Human is only a relative factor later. :rolleyes:

Yep.Interesting perspective, but a babies frame of reference would be different. I'll bet you value your comfort more than that. Not many of us would consider even a quick minor surgery without something to block our pain response.

You misunderstood me. I'm sure that a 3-month fetus can feel pain. I don't advocate torturing 3-month fetuses, for exactly that reason. Well, and the reason that it's totally pointless and a waste of time and resources, but also because they feel pain.So then pain to the unborn is important, but becomes irrelevant because of inconvenience to the mother? About 45% of abortions are done after 8 weeks and another 12% after 12 weeks. Only 1% of abortion is reported to be for rape or incest. That means 99% of the women voluntarily choose a behaviour that will cause painful response in at least 12% of unborn babies? Remember at 9 weeks a baby reacts to loud noise, touch and pain stimuli. I realize that statistics vary, depending on who the information comes from, but according to the source I was just looking at 72% of women think second trimester abortion should be illegal (http://www.abortionlaw.org) . Why isn't it?

I'm sure many women regret it. That's easy to say when you don't have to take care of a screaming baby you didn't want. This is a situation with two bad choices, so feeling bad after choosing should be par for the course.This isn't just feeling bad. This is wishing they could change what they did. This feeling is forever.

I would imagine it'd be quite difficult to find women who'd acknowledge that they regret not having the abortion, because of the incredibly strong social taboos surrounding it.I don't believe it's that common. Maternal instincts seem to kick in when they first look into their baby's eyes.

We're still missing each other. To take emotions into account when making a decision is perfectly rational; to base decisions on emotions is not.I'm not missing what you're saying. I don't believe a decision based totally on emotion can be made correctly. Especially if another life is at stake. Of course practical matters have to come into it. But it is very emotionally charged, with emotional repercussions, either way you go.

No, that would be stupid. There are enough little parasites in the world that desperately want homes and families. There's no reason to introduce another unwanted child. And no, there's no reason to go through the unpleasantness and discomfort of pregnanct and childbirth for that purpose.Actually newborn "parasites" aren't that easy to come by. But you're right. Most people don't care enough about protecting a life that they're not going to get any benefit or pleasure from. Putting yourself out a little for a stranger's happiness is a foreign concept. It's is stupid.

Dunderman
01-22-2004, 02:05 AM
You're losing me here. I know you have values/morals. Some obviously are not appropriate for anyone but you.
Such as?
Some are shared by a majority of people. Our ideas, our perceptions, the majority's opinion of the common good. Those, we act accordingly to. If my country isn't run by some mix of common values and opinions, then it's not really a democracy.
Unfortunately, democracy in itself is not sacred to me, so this is no argument. I am heavily in favour of democracy because it's the worst system there is except all the others we've tried, not because it is somehow more right than any other system in itself.
Well then where does the concept of wrong come from, if not from what is deemed acceptable and unacceptable? Incest used to be acceptable because it was a common practice. Not perceived as wrong if you want to do something and your neighbors are already doing it.
The concept of wrong comes from pain/harm. With your incest example, you seem to prove my point. It was socially accepted, yet morally wrong, because even then, as far as we know, it caused harm.
Human is only a relative factor later.
Sorry, I lost you here. What's your point?
Interesting perspective, but a babies frame of reference would be different. I'll bet you value your comfort more than that. Not many of us would consider even a quick minor surgery without something to block our pain response.
Naturally it's easier to make rational decisions when I'm not personally involved. That doesn't make the rational decision any less valid.
So then pain to the unborn is important, but becomes irrelevant because of inconvenience to the mother?
Not irrelevant, but because, last I checked, abortion is very quick, a very minor factor.
About 45% of abortions are done after 8 weeks and another 12% after 12 weeks. Only 1% of abortion is reported to be for rape or incest. That means 99% of the women voluntarily choose a behaviour that will cause painful response in at least 12% of unborn babies? Remember at 9 weeks a baby reacts to loud noise, touch and pain stimuli.
Yep. A moment of pain for one individual. Better than the alternative.
I realize that statistics vary, depending on who the information comes from, but according to the source I was just looking at 72% of women think second trimester abortion should be illegal (http://www.abortionlaw.org) . Why isn't it?
It is in many countries. I disagree with those laws.
This isn't just feeling bad. This is wishing they could change what they did. This feeling is forever.

I don't believe it's that common. Maternal instincts seem to kick in when they first look into their baby's eyes.
Cites? I'm half-joshing, I know these things are close to unverifiable, but that also means they cannot be used as arguments.
Actually newborn "parasites" aren't that easy to come by.
Who said anything about newborn?
But you're right. Most people don't care enough about protecting a life that they're not going to get any benefit or pleasure from. Putting yourself out a little for a stranger's happiness is a foreign concept. It's is stupid.
Straw man. You know this is not what I'm saying. Feel free to read the "Hypothetical Ethical Dilemma" thread in Great Debates if you doubt that.

And you're still acting as if the fetus's life has a value in itself and as if the fetus is somehow automatically better off if born. None of this is true.

IWLN
01-22-2004, 06:14 AM
Such as?I didn't say your morals and values were good, I just said you had 'em.;) I can't say specifically about those that you have, that aren't appropriate for everyone. In general though, morals and values that reflect specific religious beliefs or that specifically require people to personally go against their religious beliefs aren't appropriate. Totally unrelated to religion, I believe we should give our time and money to help other people, but it should not be expected of everyone. The list is long. I morally expect a lot from myself that it would not be reasonable to expect universally. Many things that are morally right, aren't morally required.Unfortunately, democracy in itself is not sacred to me, so this is no argument. I am heavily in favour of democracy because it's the worst system there is except all the others we've tried, not because it is somehow more right than any other system in itself.I should have just left it at the common good or said in a free society. The point I made was obviously the wrong one. The values are an odd assortment of what we were taught, what we desire and what is practical and humane. We should follow them because life is more pleasant when we do and life runs smoother. These morals and values provide kind of an outline for how things should be, rather than starting over for each situationThe concept of wrong comes from pain/harm. With your incest example, you seem to prove my point. It was socially accepted, yet morally wrong, because even then, as far as we know, it caused harm.It kind of chokes me to disagree with you on this, but if incest was common practice, custom; there was probably not the mental and emotional trauma that is associated with it today. If I lived out in the hills and did it with daddy and had no concept that it was wrong; there would be no pain or harm and I might even enjoy the extra attention daddy gave me. Ugh. I'm okay if you want to drop the incest part of this.:(Sorry, I lost you here. What's your point?My point is that you haven't convinced me that a fetus being human isn't relevant. Although I'm sure it would suit your argument better if I only included that which you thought was relevant; I'm just not there yet.;)Naturally it's easier to make rational decisions when I'm not personally involved. That doesn't make the rational decision any less valid.Naturally. But what does that have to do with humane treatment. And are you sure a rational decision is always the right one? I'm equally sure it's not.
Not irrelevant, but because, last I checked, abortion is very quick, a very minor factor.I could cite real life situations, during abortion, where this is not always the truth. I won't because I have no idea if they are slanted or exagerated to fit a particular agenda. I think you are right in a majority of the cases, but not all.
Yep. A moment of pain for one individual. Better than the alternative.I'm sure you didn't mean to call the fetus an individual. That might somehow indicate it has interests, separate from the mother.:rolleyes: That alternative you're talking about is a chance for a life, with no guarantees of good or bad. Kind of like you and I have.It is in many countries. I disagree with those laws.Earlier you defined, "The concept of wrong comes from pain/harm. " Your words. Yet you advocate doing something like second trimester abortions, which are very likely to cause pain, as an acceptable thing. Does someone have to be able to verbalize their pain/harm or have someone else willing to do this, to make it valid? This seems like a Scotsman fallacy. P- It is wrong to cause pain. M-But unborn babies feel pain. P-Well, it's a quick pain.Cites? I'm half-joshing, I know these things are close to unverifiable, but that also means they cannot be used as arguments.Honestly, I think thousands of stories from women who had abortions and regretted them, should count for something. But since you're only looking for "pain/harm" as it fits with your argument, it holds no weight with you. Here, I'll give you a cite (http://www.artthatsnew.com/artwork/scripts/natures-scene/NSindividual.cfm?HTMLTitle=pino-maternal-instinct)
I kind of liked it, anyway.Who said anything about newborn?We were talking about adoption. Which I agree is not a viable solution in most cases. A fetus is seldom adopted, hince, my reference to newborn. Jeeze Priceguy, it's just a word. I know you object to labels that humanize the process, but all babies that are born are newborns and those that aren't born are put in a medical waste container.Straw man. You know this is not what I'm saying. Feel free to read the "Hypothetical Ethical Dilemma" thread in Great Debates if you doubt that.I agree, it was a strawman. But, I didn't say all people and particularly not you. Just 40 million or so, even if it didn't address the point well. And you're still acting as if the fetus's life has a value in itself and as if the fetus is somehow automatically better off if born. None of this is true.Neither of us knows if the fetus is better off born. Is it better to be dead or alive. Most people would say alive. I can't see anything that a fetus is lacking that you have, other than a little time. I am honestly still puzzled over the concept that it would not have value in itself. This is not stubborness or moral indignation; I don't understand?

Dunderman
01-22-2004, 11:20 AM
I morally expect a lot from myself that it would not be reasonable to expect universally. Many things that are morally right, aren't morally required.
Why not? It's better to do them than not do them. What excuse could there then be for not doing them?
We should follow them because life is more pleasant when we do and life runs smoother. These morals and values provide kind of an outline for how things should be, rather than starting over for each situation
It seems like we're finding a common ground. I'm entirely with you on the first sentence. As for the second sentence, that's how I want the laws to work, since they can impossibly "start over for each situation". But individual actions should be governed by a situation-oriented set of morals, because that works better for individuals.
It kind of chokes me to disagree with you on this, but if incest was common practice, custom; there was probably not the mental and emotional trauma that is associated with it today. If I lived out in the hills and did it with daddy and had no concept that it was wrong; there would be no pain or harm and I might even enjoy the extra attention daddy gave me.
I suppose there's a little nugget of truth in this. If both participants are consensual, then yes, it is the taboos of society that makes it harmful. But really, how often do you think that happened, even among people living out in the hills? You do realise that a dad raping his daughter does cause emotional (and in all probability physical) pain in her, no matter how socially acceptable incestuous rape is? Wife-beating was socially acceptable once, that didn't make it harmless. There are many other examples. Torture. Clitoridectomy is still socially acceptable (and even socially required) in some places, but I think we agree that it's harmful.
My point is that you haven't convinced me that a fetus being human isn't relevant.
Why would it be? What's so special about humans?
And are you sure a rational decision is always the right one?
Not always. There could be some unknown factor that, if known, would change the decision. But it's still a method light years ahead of the alternative, "cross your fingers and hope".
I could cite real life situations, during abortion, where this is not always the truth. I won't because I have no idea if they are slanted or exagerated to fit a particular agenda. I think you are right in a majority of the cases, but not all.
Shit does happen, no denying that. For example, some people remain awake while under anaesthetic during surgery (http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a990226.html), which causes nightmarish amounts of pain and dread. But I'd still go in for surgery, and I'd still have it done on my child or pet.
I'm sure you didn't mean to call the fetus an individual. That might somehow indicate it has interests, separate from the mother.
It certainly is an individual and it certainly has interests, but so what? So does a tapeworm.
Earlier you defined, "The concept of wrong comes from pain/harm. " Your words. Yet you advocate doing something like second trimester abortions, which are very likely to cause pain, as an acceptable thing. Does someone have to be able to verbalize their pain/harm or have someone else willing to do this, to make it valid? This seems like a Scotsman fallacy. P- It is wrong to cause pain. M-But unborn babies feel pain. P-Well, it's a quick pain.
It is wrong to cause pain, but it is wronger to cause more pain. A quick pain is better than prolonged pain. And so on. Bringing unwanted children into the world is worse than the quick pain that's a risk in abortion.
Honestly, I think thousands of stories from women who had abortions and regretted them, should count for something.
I understand that you do, but I don't. There's no way to evaluate the stories. There's no way to find out how many regretted not having an abortion.
Neither of us knows if the fetus is better off born. Is it better to be dead or alive. Most people would say alive. I can't see anything that a fetus is lacking that you have, other than a little time.
For me, rationally and personally, dead/alive is truly a neutral distinction. If I die, I don't suffer from it. I'm dead. Death in itself is neutral. It should be avoided only because of the grief it causes.
I am honestly still puzzled over the concept that it would not have value in itself.
And I cannot explain since non-existence is still the default assumption. You posit "life's value" as a self-sufficient existent entity. I don't see the evidence for it. What value is there in life itself?

IWLN
01-22-2004, 04:38 PM
Why not? It's better to do them than not do them. What excuse could there then be for not doing them?Different upbringing. Different perspective and priorities. Different value of other human beings and their needs. Not capable of feeling a full range of responsibility and emotion.

It seems like we're finding a common ground. I'm entirely with you on the first sentence. As for the second sentence, that's how I want the laws to work, since they can impossibly "start over for each situation". But individual actions should be governed by a situation-oriented set of morals, because that works better for individuals.We probably have more "common ground" than you think. "Logically", I don't disagree with a large part of what you say. I would like to see the laws a little more suited to each situation, although it seems to be going in the opposite direction.

I suppose there's a little nugget of truth in this. If both participants are consensual, then yes, it is the taboos of society that makes it harmful. But really, how often do you think that happened, even among people living out in the hills? You do realise that a dad raping his daughter does cause emotional (and in all probability physical) pain in her, no matter how socially acceptable incestuous rape is? Wife-beating was socially acceptable once, that didn't make it harmless. There are many other examples. Torture. Clitoridectomy is still socially acceptable (and even socially required) in some places, but I think we agree that it's harmful.Hmm...it didn't go away. I was talking about incest and you are mainly referring to rape. When it wasn't "taboo", there would not have been harm or pain as long as the child was old enough. The other things obviously do cause harm/pain. My argument is that there can be wrong without harm/pain, although there could be a potential for harm/pain, simply from a biological POV.

Why would it be? What's so special about humans?Our attachments to eachother. Eeeww, our emotions for one another. Our concern for each other. Our reliance on each other. We are different than other life. My dog was never concerned whether the other dogs in the world were getting enough food.;)

Not always. There could be some unknown factor that, if known, would change the decision. But it's still a method light years ahead of the alternative, "cross your fingers and hope".A decision that factors in practicalities and emotions is hardly a "cross you fingers and hope." If in spite of the weight of some of the practicalities, you chose to do something, because of the compelling nature of the emotions; it may not be a purely "rational" decision, based only on facts, but the most acceptable.

Shit does happen, no denying that. For example, some people remain awake while under anaesthetic during surgery (http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a990226.html), which causes nightmarish amounts of pain and dread. But I'd still go in for surgery, and I'd still have it done on my child or pet.So would I, but only for necessary surgery. Abortion is elective. I would not needlessly cause anyone pain.

It certainly is an individual and it certainly has interests, but so what? So does a tapeworm.But nine months later, you would actually consider sacrificing your life to save it, after weighing your moral obligation. Doesn't that strike you as odd?

It is wrong to cause pain, but it is wronger to cause more pain. A quick pain is better than prolonged pain. And so on. Bringing unwanted children into the world is worse than the quick pain that's a risk in abortion.So you're actually saying it is right to cause pain, to prevent the possibility of future pain, that is impossible to even predict? Kill the baby now, because it may not have a life quite as good as being dead????

I understand that you do, but I don't. There's no way to evaluate the stories. There's no way to find out how many regretted not having an abortion.Those stories are stating what impact abortion had on their lives. It far surpasses a laboratory experiment for providing the necessary factual information. As for not being able to find out how many regretted not having an abortion, I agree that social taboo would get in the way of public disclosure, but Priceguy, women tell all to each other privately and I'm damned old. I've never heard it from a mom. Shouldn't that lead me to believe it's rare, that our biological or learned nuturing responses do kick in and turn a problem into a much loved baby. I was literally horrified by my first pregnancy. If thoughts could have made it go away, my son wouldn't exist. I would have missed so much. I realize this isn't always the case, but I believe it is more frequent than the poor unwanted baby that has a horrible life.

For me, rationally and personally, dead/alive is truly a neutral distinction. If I die, I don't suffer from it. I'm dead. Death in itself is neutral. It should be avoided only because of the grief it causes.I agree that for myself, if I'm dead, it won't matter, to me. We are not from the moment of conception ever alone, though; so life and death are never neutral. If I cause the death of a man who lives his entire life on a deserted island, it would be a neutral event for him because he no longer has awareness, no one misses him. There's no impact on the world. There is still impact on myself, due to the choice I made to end his existence. Am I wrong, since it affects no one but me?

And I cannot explain since non-existence is still the default assumption. You posit "life's value" as a self-sufficient existent entity. I don't see the evidence for it. What value is there in life itself?I don't understand non-existence being the default assumption. Awareness/life is the default assumption. How could it be anything else, when life is all you know? There is no such thing as non-existence, because you would have to have existence or at least some perception of it, to cease to exist. You can't abort a non-existence. You can make existence end, but can never return to non-existence. Existence has value, although to varying degrees. Non-existence means that something never was, there is no something. That is neutral because there is no awareness of it. Life has value simply because we desire our continuing existence and generally see that as a positive circumstance. I want credit for resisting the urge to bring G-d into the non-abortion part of this debate. It is a relentless urge, I am successfully conquering.;)

Verick
01-23-2004, 01:20 AM
Ok, I think I have a very rational reason why I am pro-life. Not including any unforeseen circumstances which might lead to a miscarriage, once an egg is fertilized the process of the development of a new human life has begun. I donít know enough about fetal development to argue when Ďlifeí itself might truly begin, but itís very clear to me that once fertilized the process has been irrevocably set in motion. At any point, to interrupt that process is tantamount to the taking of a human life, itís simply circumventing the process by which that life is achieved.

Iím afraid Iím as a loss for a clever analogy to compare this viewpoint to, so I hope that my writing was clear enough to pass along my original meaning.

I do not include the use of preventative birth control as Ďcircumventing the process by which that life is achievedí my argument is based on the assumption that the egg is fertilized, and implanted in the uterine wall.

I concede the necessity of abortion in cases where it is clear that either the mother, or child, or both would die as a result of continuing the pregnancy.

Dunderman
01-23-2004, 08:23 AM
Different upbringing. Different perspective and priorities. Different value of other human beings and their needs. Not capable of feeling a full range of responsibility and emotion.
Apart from the last sentence, how does this affect one's moral obligations? Why is it better to let people have different moral obligations?
Hmm...it didn't go away. I was talking about incest and you are mainly referring to rape. When it wasn't "taboo", there would not have been harm or pain as long as the child was old enough.
Well, provided it was consensual.
The other things obviously do cause harm/pain. My argument is that there can be wrong without harm/pain
No there can't. Why is incest wrong? Because it causes harm. If it didn't cause harm at one point in time, then it wasn't wrong then. If it did, it was.
Our attachments to eachother. Eeeww, our emotions for one another. Our concern for each other. Our reliance on each other. We are different than other life. My dog was never concerned whether the other dogs in the world were getting enough food.
Only due to a lack of abstract thinking and a lack of knowledge. We are not as different as you think, IWLN, and even if we were, what does that have to do with our importance? Why is a human life, in itself, more important than another life, in itself, as you seem to think?
But nine months later, you would actually consider sacrificing your life to save it, after weighing your moral obligation. Doesn't that strike you as odd?
Nope. I'd happily sacrifice my life for a wanted fetus too, just not an unwanted one. There is nothing special about the passage through the birth canal. In the uterus or outside it, the only things that matter are pain and pleasure.
So you're actually saying it is right to cause pain, to prevent the possibility of future pain, that is impossible to even predict? Kill the baby now, because it may not have a life quite as good as being dead????
No, that's not what I'm saying. I'm saying that if the baby dies, it's over for the baby. There's nothing more. Void. Neutral. Killing someone for whom no-one grieves is a neutral act.
Those stories are stating what impact abortion had on their lives. It far surpasses a laboratory experiment for providing the necessary factual information.
Only because this is one area where you can't do a laboratory experiment. A bunch of women saying they regret their abortions is not evidence. It just isn't.
As for not being able to find out how many regretted not having an abortion, I agree that social taboo would get in the way of public disclosure, but Priceguy, women tell all to each other privately and I'm damned old. I've never heard it from a mom. Shouldn't that lead me to believe it's rare, that our biological or learned nuturing responses do kick in and turn a problem into a much loved baby.
Tell me, what would your reaction be if a mother did tell you "I wish I'd had the abortion"? What would a mother expect your reaction to be? No matter how much "women talk", there are immensely strong social taboos regarding this. A mother not loving her child is seen as such a horrible thing, that I'm not surprised you've never heard about it. That doesn't mean it doesn't happen.
I was literally horrified by my first pregnancy. If thoughts could have made it go away, my son wouldn't exist. I would have missed so much.
But you wouldn't know it. People opposing abortion have told me "What if your mother had had an abortion, you wouldn't have had a little brother, don't you love him?". Of course I do. But if he'd been terminated, I wouldn't have known him. Nothing to miss. No pain.
I agree that for myself, if I'm dead, it won't matter, to me. We are not from the moment of conception ever alone, though; so life and death are never neutral. If I cause the death of a man who lives his entire life on a deserted island, it would be a neutral event for him because he no longer has awareness, no one misses him. There's no impact on the world. There is still impact on myself, due to the choice I made to end his existence. Am I wrong, since it affects no one but me?
No, that's a perfectly neutral action. If it causes you pain, then don't do it or deal with it.
I don't understand non-existence being the default assumption. Awareness/life is the default assumption. How could it be anything else, when life is all you know?
You're missing me. Non-existence is the default assumption for everything. If we didn't see the sun, we would assume it didn't exist. If we weren't humans or didn't ever see humans, we would assume humans didn't exist. Only when contrary evidence were introduced would we change our minds. It's the same thing with this "value" of which you speak. If there's no evidence of it, we assume it doesn't exist.

Dunderman
01-23-2004, 08:31 AM
Ok, I think I have a very rational reason why I am pro-life. Not including any unforeseen circumstances which might lead to a miscarriage, once an egg is fertilized the process of the development of a new human life has begun. I donít know enough about fetal development to argue when Ďlifeí itself might truly begin, but itís very clear to me that once fertilized the process has been irrevocably set in motion. At any point, to interrupt that process is tantamount to the taking of a human life, itís simply circumventing the process by which that life is achieved.
And why is that a rational reason to be pro-life?

IWLN
01-24-2004, 08:39 PM
Apart from the last sentence, how does this affect one's moral obligations? Why is it better to let people have different moral obligations?How are you going to regulate that? You can't make people care. Moral obligations are completely tied into what makes life happy, free of pain, comfortable for our society as a whole, which also benefits you and I. Oddly, I think it's our moral obligation to meet the moral obligation that is neglected by other people. You can't compell moral obligation and it is counter-productive to keep score.
No there can't. Why is incest wrong? Because it causes harm. If it didn't cause harm at one point in time, then it wasn't wrong then. If it did, it was.It doesn't necessarily appear that it caused harm and they didn't consider it wrong, so okay, you're right. My example didn't prove anything.
Only due to a lack of abstract thinking and a lack of knowledge. We are not as different as you think, IWLN, and even if we were, what does that have to do with our importance? Why is a human life, in itself, more important than another life, in itself, as you seem to think?I don't think we're radically different than other life. I'm quite comfortable with the concept that I am an animal too. As far as our importance, I think because of our knowledge and abstract thought, it puts more responsibility on us to value and protect non-human life. It's our shame that we use our relatively recent developement of thought and reason to exploit other animals. Those beliefs only go to a certain point though. If you and the horse are drowning, you get pulled out first, even if I know the horse and you're a stranger.;) Humans are still my favorites. Human life counts for more because of our ability for abstract thought and reason. We feel emotional/mental pain at the loss of another human. I'm not saying some animals don't, but probably not to the same degree. I'm biased.
Nope. I'd happily sacrifice my life for a wanted fetus too, just not an unwanted one. There is nothing special about the passage through the birth canal. In the uterus or outside it, the only things that matter are pain and pleasure.Okay. The value of the baby's life is based solely on the desire for the baby?No, that's not what I'm saying. I'm saying that if the baby dies, it's over for the baby. There's nothing more. Void. Neutral. Killing someone for whom no-one grieves is a neutral act.I grieve. I know you believe I have no right to, but I do.Only because this is one area where you can't do a laboratory experiment. A bunch of women saying they regret their abortions is not evidence. It just isn't.So the fact that thousands feel this way is unimportant? Okay.Tell me, what would your reaction be if a mother did tell you "I wish I'd had the abortion"? What would a mother expect your reaction to be? No matter how much "women talk", there are immensely strong social taboos regarding this. A mother not loving her child is seen as such a horrible thing, that I'm not surprised you've never heard about it. That doesn't mean it doesn't happen.A mother not loving her child is not that unusual of an occurence. We hear about it everyday in some form of abuse or another. There is unfortunately no guarantee that a "wanted" child will have a good life either. If someone told me she wished she would have had an abortion, I would offer to help her, to lighter her load. I'm not a judgmental person and having not lived that person's life, have no way of really understanding. At least there is some help, some relief for the mom who regrets having her child. There's no help for the woman who regrets her abortion.But you wouldn't know it. People opposing abortion have told me "What if your mother had had an abortion, you wouldn't have had a little brother, don't you love him?". Of course I do. But if he'd been terminated, I wouldn't have known him. Nothing to miss. No pain.If my son had never been conceived, I wouldn't know it. Had I aborted him, I would always wonder who he would have been.
No, that's a perfectly neutral action. If it causes you pain, then don't do it or deal with it.Why would I have the moral right to take away his rights?
You're missing me. Non-existence is the default assumption for everything. If we didn't see the sun, we would assume it didn't exist. If we weren't humans or didn't ever see humans, we would assume humans didn't exist. Only when contrary evidence were introduced would we change our minds. It's the same thing with this "value" of which you speak. If there's no evidence of it, we assume it doesn't exist.I do understand now, what you're saying about non-existence being the default assumption. Takes me awhile sometimes. I still don't get how this applies to abortion. I can equate it to, say children I never conceived, people I never met, etc. They have no value to me. But even if I could tell myself that my pregnancy was currently just some cells and I got an abortion; there is no way to convince myself that it wasn't my child in the early stages of development. The other things that are non-existent by default, are not non-existent because I caused them to be.

MAV
01-25-2004, 11:42 PM
And why is that a rational reason to be pro-life?

Because there is simply no way to pinpoint the exact time that human "life" begins after conception. Thus, one can't be sure if abortion is killing a human being, and providence demands that we give the unknown entity the benefit of the doubt.

Dunderman
01-30-2004, 03:01 AM
How are you going to regulate that?
Who said anything about regulating?
As far as our importance, I think because of our knowledge and abstract thought, it puts more responsibility on us to value and protect non-human life. It's our shame that we use our relatively recent developement of thought and reason to exploit other animals.
Absolutely.
If you and the horse are drowning, you get pulled out first, even if I know the horse and you're a stranger.
Since fewer people will probably grieve the horse, that's morally right.
Human life counts for more because of our ability for abstract thought and reason. We feel emotional/mental pain at the loss of another human.
Yes. But this doesn't give human life some intrinsic value. It just means that it is likely that the right moral choice is to save a human instead of a nonhuman. It still has to be weighed on the circumstances.
The value of the baby's life is based solely on the desire for the baby?
No. It's based on how much grief will be felt for it.
I grieve. I know you believe I have no right to, but I do.
It's not about rights. It's just that you not grieving is a better solution than the alternative.
So the fact that thousands feel this way is unimportant? Okay.
No, but there's no way we can examine it.
If someone told me she wished she would have had an abortion, I would offer to help her, to lighter her load. I'm not a judgmental person and having not lived that person's life, have no way of really understanding.
You'll have to realize that no-one will expect this reaction from you, that it's a rare reaction, and that the reaction still might not help a woman overcome the social taboos. "I wish my kid were dead" is one of the most stigmatizing thoughts a parent, especially a mother, can have in our society.

Dunderman
01-30-2004, 03:03 AM
Because there is simply no way to pinpoint the exact time that human "life" begins after conception. Thus, one can't be sure if abortion is killing a human being, and providence demands that we give the unknown entity the benefit of the doubt.
Please read the thread. Why is the killing of a human automatically wrong, regardless of the consequences?

IWLN
01-30-2004, 06:16 AM
Who said anything about regulating?Are you trying to see if I'm paying attention? I'm arguing that these moral obligations, various one's that I previously listed do exist, are right, but not morally required and then I gave you reasons why they can't or shouldn't be, including why they can't practically be regulated. You aren't going to "cut and paste" abortion into this argument and thank me for proving your argument, are you? I'm not sure where this is going. :(


Absolutely.At this point I'll cherish any agreement.

Yes. But this doesn't give human life some intrinsic value. It just means that it is likely that the right moral choice is to save a human instead of a nonhuman. It still has to be weighed on the circumstances.Agreed.

No. It's based on how much grief will be felt for it.Still a tough concept for me. No value other than what's placed on it by other humans.

It's not about rights. It's just that you not grieving is a better solution than the alternative.You meant to say me grieving is a better solution...right? The "not" shouldn't be in there?

No, but there's no way we can examine it.Okay.

You'll have to realize that no-one will expect this reaction from you, that it's a rare reaction, and that the reaction still might not help a woman overcome the social taboos. "I wish my kid were dead" is one of the most stigmatizing thoughts a parent, especially a mother, can have in our society.Well she actually doesn't really wish he was dead, but that he hadn't been born, never existed, was never conceived. Even not believing in abortion, I can see a difference in that thought. I do agree though, many would be shocked and judgmental, rather than hearing a cry for help. I even agree that in that instance, it's probably sadder than abortion. I just "emotionally" don't believe it's that common to even think that. I don't get points for emotional belief though.

I have a comment, not a real argument; because I haven't researched it and I know for you ungrieved means a neutral event. I heard recently that there are 6,000,000 babies born in the U.S. each year. There are over 1,250,000 abortions done each year. Birth control is reliable I think about 97% of the time. That means after subtracting another 1% for rape, incest and the mother's health and even ignoring that part of the 3% of failed birth control falls into the live birth category; there really should only be 50,000 abortions per year. Give or take a few thousand. My numbers I'm sure are off, but no matter how you figure it, close to a million abortions are done due to carelessness, indifference, laziness, etc. I will never be okay with abortion, but it would be easier to swallow if it weren't so abused. I wouldn't even think it was right to allow my dog to keep getting pregnant and then aborting it. If it weren't legal, would people be more responsible? You don't need to respond, it's just part of the reason I'm so resistant to the whole concept.

PianoWow
01-30-2004, 12:49 PM
I am a prolifer with a nonreligious argument. It is based on human rights.

A zygote is not an embryo is not a baby. However, over time, there is a chance that the zygote will mature into an embryo, then into a baby. Once the baby matures, he will become a mature adult with human rights.

Denying the zygote/embryo/baby the opportunity to become an adult with all the rights is wrong. Killing a born baby is wrong because it has a chance at becoming an adult with rights, including the right to life. Killing an embryo is wrong because it has a chance to become a baby. Killing a zygote is wrong because it has a chance to become an embryo.

Dunderman
01-31-2004, 05:27 AM
Are you trying to see if I'm paying attention?
No. You do, however, have a tendency to pull regulation and laws into any discussion. We're discussing moral rights and wrongs. You've already said that you don't want abortion criminalized, so we're on the same team there.
Still a tough concept for me. No value other than what's placed on it by other humans.
By other creatures, including nonhumans. That's just rarely relevant in an abortion discussion. But what other values are there?
You meant to say me grieving is a better solution...right? The "not" shouldn't be in there?
No, the "not" should actually be in there. The point is that you learning not to grieve is a better solution. Wow, that sounded cold.
I am a prolifer with a nonreligious argument. It is based on human rights.
And human rights are based on what?

duffer
01-31-2004, 07:51 AM
Um, correct me if I'm wrong. Didn't all the pro-choice posters start out as zygotes? Please tell me the exact day you were safe after conception from being aborted.

My wife and I are trying to have a baby. Since I have the best hopes for a kid, we're having fun. But, what if? I've gone so far as looking into adopting out of country. I want to raise a child. I'm doing so with my nephews, but it just isn't the same. I want a son/daughter that we can raise if we can't get one going. Hell, we will probably adopt just to give a kid from a 3rd world country the opportunities of living in the USA, even if we can get pregnant.

As a side note to legitimize, my older brother was born with both Spina Bifida and Encephalitis. He was under "shunting" and was never given a chance to make it past a mental capacity of a 6 year old. My mom was given the option of aborting right before he was born via Ceasairin (sp?), and chose to give him a chance. Doctors don't always know the best things He gave smiles to us when he saw us. He loved the play we gave him. You could see it in his eyes. We lost him at age 2. This was almost 30 years ago. That little zygote was a wonderment.

What the hell is the point? Sometimes an insignificant person is allowed to live.

I'm not getting into a religious rant since the OP asked for it not to be done. Just giving a real-life scenario about the OP. (Getting to the point of rambling) I'll leave it at this and see what happens. :)

Dunderman
01-31-2004, 12:55 PM
Didn't all the pro-choice posters start out as zygotes?
As far as I know, yes.
Please tell me the exact day you were safe after conception from being aborted.
I don't understand the question. Legally, you mean? In that case it was in the middle of March 1977 for me, if I remember correctly. I'm a bit too tired to look up the fluctuations in Swedish abortion laws.
What the hell is the point?
Exactly my reaction after reading your post.

IWLN
01-31-2004, 03:29 PM
No. You do, however, have a tendency to pull regulation and laws into any discussion. We're discussing moral rights and wrongs. You've already said that you don't want abortion criminalized, so we're on the same team there.Yes, your're right, I don't want abortion criminalized. I think the mother's are it's moral victims too and don't really see the point. My "tendency" to pull regulation or some sort of control into the discussion has to do with my desire to fix problems, not merely define them.

By other creatures, including nonhumans. That's just rarely relevant in an abortion discussion. But what other values are there?Suppose my mother didn't want me. From the moment I was conceived, she was horrified and never could reconcile herself to even being a mother. Abortion wasn't legal, so she gave birth to me. We won't even give this a happy slant. Living was rough, not enough money, no love; but I survived. I grew up and starting helping and doing a significant amount of good. Okay, my point here isn't the typical "what if you aborted the person who would have found the cure for cancer soonest"(or Jesus ;)), so you can ignore that side of it. What I'm asking is, at what point did I start to have value? At what point does it cease to matter whether your mother wanted you or not? Does someone else have to value me before I truly have value. Let's give both scenarios. I grew up and I haven't done much, but hey I'm having a good time and I value myself. Do I have to contribute something significant or it remains true that I should never have been born?
No, the "not" should actually be in there. The point is that you learning not to grieve is a better solution. Wow, that sounded cold.Being able to grieve makes me more. I don't try to avoid it or discount it. Feeling sadness over loss is a vital part of our human-ness. It is the only real deterrent to crime and moral decay. I'm not sure I really realized it until just now, but that is the part of abortion that bothers me the most. It scares me and makes me sad. We've lost the ability to grieve and so events like terminating a life have become neutral. It is cold.

Dunderman
02-01-2004, 04:44 AM
What I'm asking is, at what point did I start to have value?
To be frank, you don't. Neither do I. Nor anyone else. That's not the way I look at this. I look at each action and see the amount of pain and pleasure caused by the action. Those are values that really exist.
At what point does it cease to matter whether your mother wanted you or not?
When someone else cares enough, for a good reason.
Does someone else have to value me before I truly have value.
Yep, although I'd never say anyone "truly has value".
I grew up and I haven't done much, but hey I'm having a good time and I value myself. Do I have to contribute something significant or it remains true that I should never have been born?
It's not about contributing. It's not about the value of a human. It's about the amount of pleasure or pain caused by an action. If killing you produces no pleasure or pain for anyone, it's a neutral action. The same goes for killing me or anyone else.

IWLN
02-01-2004, 10:14 AM
To be frank, you don't. Neither do I. Nor anyone else. That's not the way I look at this. I look at each action and see the amount of pain and pleasure caused by the action. Those are values that really exist.But they have to be considered collectively in some way, assessed. If I caused nation-wide pleasure yesterday(I like to think big), but today I didn't leave my house, I still believe I have value. I have a track-record for causing pleasure and not pain, so my potential for future contribution is excellent. And not just considering potential either. I have a heart, I care, I contribute. I have the ability and the willingness to cause pleasure. Even if right at that moment I'm not acting on it, how can that not be worth something. Take Mr. Evilsharp(;)). He never causes pleasure, only pain. He and I are the same, when no action is taking place?

When someone else cares enough, for a good reason.Why? I could still be causing pleasure, even though no one cares about me.

It's not about contributing. It's not about the value of a human. It's about the amount of pleasure or pain caused by an action. If killing you produces no pleasure or pain for anyone, it's a neutral action. The same goes for killing me or anyone else.Okay, dammit, I'm pulling the God card!! Or not. Sigh. Okay, I kind of brought this up before and you told me it would be better if I didn't feel pain. Abortion causes a lot of pain for the people who believe so strongly against it. So one abortion causes let's say hundreds of us to feel pain. This isn't about a woman's rights any more, it's about the most amount of pain. Not a "possible" pain of having an unwanted child, but a pain that is guaranteed to happen, if she aborts. By your way of measuring actions, this woman should suck it up and possibly feel pain, to save hundreds from feeling pain. Right?

PianoWow
02-03-2004, 05:55 PM
And human rights are based on what?

Human rights are based on the history of western thought since Aristotle and his great chain of being. Later philosophers decided that at least one of the rungs on the chain should be wider, including more of the population, so that all adults are the same. If we are the same, then we should all have rights. The Declaration of Independence (of the USA) states "all Men are created equal, ... they are endowed ... with certain unalienable Rights". So we see that the human rights idea is nothing new and has been a part of society for a long time. Someone may point out that my second elipsis contains the phrase "by their Creator". But this needs not to be a religous argument because Creator could ge interpreted as Evolution.

thegreyathena
02-03-2004, 09:25 PM
Put me in a world with free, readily available birth control, healthcare, and child-support systems for all women and then and only then would I feel justified in changing my tune.

I agree. I would love for no one to have any more abortions (except in certain circumstances), but in this world I don't feel we can ban them. We know what happened when abortion was illegal - it happened anyway, and often the mother died as well as the child/fetus/whatever. In good conscience I can't decide that those women's lives - women who might be raising other children, or doing good in society - don't have value.

I do think that logically speaking life begins at conception - the cells are alive, they're multiplying, if they all ceased to function that would accurately be described as cell "death," and it's not likely they'll turn into a rabbit. Ergo, alive and human in genetic makeup, from moment one.

However, I don't think aborting a one-day pregnancy is the same as aborting a four-month pregnancy. The cells aren't aware, don't respond to stimulus, there are no recognizable body parts. On the other hand, we do indeed have evidence that a nine-week fetus responds to pain and stimuli (and, some say, fear). I won't go into unnecessary graphic detail - you can find it all in the Court's opinion on so-called "partial-birth" abortion - but even at that early stage of pregnancy there are different methods of abortion. The next sentences aren't graphic, but might be sensitive for some; highlight to read:

Some procedures begin to remove the fetus without first terminating its life - obviously, it dies in the process. The "chemical" abortion methods essentially poison the fetus. In neither process is death quick. There has been testimony, from pro-choice abortion practitioners as well as former practitioners and nurses who have converted to the pro-life side, that fetuses (feti?) react to the pain and fear during these procedures and will in fact sometimes struggle. Since this testimony was delivered in court documents by current practitioners of these methods, and not by abortion opponents, I believe it.

I have a real moral problem with killing a human creature that knows it's being hurt. I wouldn't torture a newborn infant, and I don't see this as much different. That said, I acknowledge that in cases such as rape, incest, risk to the mother's health or life, etc., termination might be acceptable.

In all honesty, I think your viewpoint on abortion has something to do with how much you sentimentalize babies - baby humans, baby anythings. If you think of an unborn child as a cute fuzzy-haired baby, you're likely to see an unborn child that way at two months as well as nine. If you think of an unborn child in terms of a medical issue, something in the body, a problem, a choice, a partially-developed bundle of cells, etc., you're not going to see the issue in the same light. Me, I basically sentimentalize baby fish, so . . .

Dunderman
02-04-2004, 04:54 AM
But they have to be considered collectively in some way, assessed. If I caused nation-wide pleasure yesterday(I like to think big), but today I didn't leave my house, I still believe I have value. I have a track-record for causing pleasure and not pain, so my potential for future contribution is excellent. And not just considering potential either. I have a heart, I care, I contribute. I have the ability and the willingness to cause pleasure. Even if right at that moment I'm not acting on it, how can that not be worth something. Take Mr. Evilsharp(;)). He never causes pleasure, only pain. He and I are the same, when no action is taking place?
No. You're right on this point.
Why? I could still be causing pleasure, even though no one cares about me.
Well, then they care by proxy. I admit that was badly written by me.
Abortion causes a lot of pain for the people who believe so strongly against it. So one abortion causes let's say hundreds of us to feel pain. This isn't about a woman's rights any more, it's about the most amount of pain. Not a "possible" pain of having an unwanted child, but a pain that is guaranteed to happen, if she aborts. By your way of measuring actions, this woman should suck it up and possibly feel pain, to save hundreds from feeling pain. Right?
Not exactly. For starters, you simply do not feel pain from every abortion. You do not even find out about every abortion unless you scour the medical archives of the world daily, and if you do that... well, sucks to be you. If there are 35000 abortions instead of 40000 (numbers just pulled from thin air), that doesn't really matter to you. There's just no way a human mind can quantify the difference.

Besides, this is where I get into the "better solution" part. It's a better solution that you learn not to grieve the little parasite than to force all those women to have unwanted children.

PianoWow, argument from age is still a fallacy. To spell it out: Aristotle thinking something doesn't make it so. The American Declaration of Independence saying something doesn't make it so. That the concept of human rights has existed for a long time doesn't make human rights real.

MAV
02-04-2004, 09:00 PM
Please read the thread. Why is the killing of a human automatically wrong, regardless of the consequences?

Gee, I don't know. Maybe you could better answer that with a gun pointed at your head. :rolleyes:

IWLN
02-04-2004, 10:37 PM
Gee, I don't know. Maybe you could better answer that with a gun pointed at your head. :rolleyes:It might be better to answer the question logically, with a few facts to back you up. Perhaps attack the opinion rather than Priceguy. You uh....kinda make pro-lifer's look bad, when you wave guns around. :( We've pretty much debated at length on what point "unborn" human life has value. Everyone doesn't agree on this, which doesn't by default make your opinion or mine carry more weight than Priceguy's. Saying it, just doesn't make it so.

IWLN
02-04-2004, 11:11 PM
No. You're right on this point.Yipee!!! Hey, I have to cherish the little victories since I'm losing the war.:) I do realize that this only puts some sort of human value on those with a history, who have proved themselves. It can't by default be applied to the unborn, who may or may not make valuable contributions. (thought I'd say that so you didn't have to)

Well, then they care by proxy. I admit that was badly written by me.That's almost two in a row! So unwanted doesn't always mean no value?

Not exactly. For starters, you simply do not feel pain from every abortion. You do not even find out about every abortion unless you scour the medical archives of the world daily, and if you do that... well, sucks to be you. If there are 35000 abortions instead of 40000 (numbers just pulled from thin air), that doesn't really matter to you. There's just no way a human mind can quantify the difference.It's not each individual abortion. It's the horrifyingly huge numbers done each year.

Besides, this is where I get into the "better solution" part. It's a better solution that you learn not to grieve the little parasite than to force all those women to have unwanted children.Well Priceguy, since all of humanity was once a little parasite and many people were at one time unwanted, it kind of takes the sting out of that statement. I'm not trying to force all those women to have unwanted children, only to work toward a better solution in the majority of these situations. I'm not able to not grieve these babies anymore than I can not grieve any life that is hurt or destroyed. It doesn't seem like a choice to me, but I guess it is.

Dunderman
02-05-2004, 01:04 AM
Gee, I don't know. Maybe you could better answer that with a gun pointed at your head.
So the best answer you have to "what's a rational reason to be prolife?" is "you'll value human life too when you're in an emotionally very distressing situation where your ability to reason will be at least partly suspended"? And that's, like, your best shot?

Dunderman
02-05-2004, 01:13 AM
So unwanted doesn't always mean no value?
No it doesn't. I have a hard time seeing how an unwanted zygote/embryo/fetus could be shown to have value based on this, though.
It's not each individual abortion. It's the horrifyingly huge numbers done each year.
Well, that kind of takes the power out of that argument. Each individual woman does not cause pain to you, and I have a really hard time believing that your pain would be significantly different if there were 500, 5000, 50000 or 500000 abortions each year.
Well Priceguy, since all of humanity was once a little parasite and many people were at one time unwanted, it kind of takes the sting out of that statement. I'm not trying to force all those women to have unwanted children, only to work toward a better solution in the majority of these situations.
Don't get me wrong: I don't want or like abortions. I'm not actively in favour of abortions. I don't picket women's clinics demanding that women abort. An abortion is a sign something went wrong. Abortions are nobody's first choice. But having your life changed forever because you happen to be a woman and had sex at the wrong time, when we have the ability to fix the situation, is not a better solution as far as I can see.
I'm not able to not grieve these babies anymore than I can not grieve any life that is hurt or destroyed. It doesn't seem like a choice to me, but I guess it is.
It's not a choice per se. I didn't choose to be an atheist; I just evaluated the facts and came up with atheism. If you can reevaluate your grief and find where it's coming from, you may be able to change your stance on that. And since you don't want abortion criminalized, that would be a better solution for everyone, especially you.

IWLN
02-05-2004, 06:29 AM
No it doesn't. I have a hard time seeing how an unwanted zygote/embryo/fetus could be shown to have value based on this, though.My point here would be unwanted doesn't always stay unwanted and even if it did, but a child was born in spite of that, the child can and does go on to create pleasure and have worth. Putting no value on unplanned human life seems to be operating under an assumption that there is NEVER a good outcome for an unwanted pregnancy. Because there is no way to measure it, it becomes a rational choice to destroy all of them.

Well, that kind of takes the power out of that argument. Each individual woman does not cause pain to you, and I have a really hard time believing that your pain would be significantly different if there were 500, 5000, 50000 or 500000 abortions each year.Well believe it. It's true. I hate abortion, the whole concept of it. But I have never indicated that I am so hard-core that I don't have sympathy for the woman. I do, very much. I believe there are situations that make it the only choicel

Don't get me wrong: I don't want or like abortions. I'm not actively in favour of abortions. I don't picket women's clinics demanding that women abort. An abortion is a sign something went wrong. Abortions are nobody's first choice. But having your life changed forever because you happen to be a woman and had sex at the wrong time, when we have the ability to fix the situation, is not a better solution as far as I can see.Abortion is a sign that something went wrong, I agree. But this many abortions is a sign that although abortion is not the first choice, it is the second. Failed birth-control methods, rape and incest are NOT why there are so many abortions. It is that ever-growing attitude of only caring about your own pain and pleasure. Nobody really mentions it much, but I know men who are grieving to this day over a child lost to abortion, an abortion they were against. I understand why when two people don't agree on this that the woman has to be able to choose, but her choice has caused pain. Birth control is the best and most effective it's ever been, but not utilizing it, which is the first choice, is not as important because of the option of abortion, the second choice. There should be a moral obligation to never destroy life when it could have been avoided by prevention. There's not.

It's not a choice per se. I didn't choose to be an atheist; I just evaluated the facts and came up with atheism. If you can reevaluate your grief and find where it's coming from, you may be able to change your stance on that. And since you don't want abortion criminalized, that would be a better solution for everyone, especially you.I don't want to re-evaluate and somehow manage to diminish my grief. That's like saying I need to suck it up and stop caring that so many children are starving, rather than trying to help. I think our tendency, because we don't see how we can help, is to shrug and find a way not to feel. Then we can be just like all the other people who contribute to the problems, by not caring; instead of those who try to find solutions. Ugh...This last paragraph sounds better if you hum We Are The World, while you read it. :o

PianoWow
02-06-2004, 01:21 AM
PianoWow, argument from age is still a fallacy. To spell it out: Aristotle thinking something doesn't make it so. The American Declaration of Independence saying something doesn't make it so. That the concept of human rights has existed for a long time doesn't make human rights real.

okay, maybe more basically... I should say this: I think we agree that killing an adult is wrong.

I don't think any action can be justified that cannot be justified 6 months later.

Given the potential of a conceived zygote to eventually reach that stage, isn't it wrong to not let nature take it's course? I'm trying to think of positive occaisions where mankind has interrupted nature, without much success.

What's wrong with this argument?

Dunderman
02-07-2004, 04:37 AM
okay, maybe more basically... I should say this: I think we agree that killing an adult is wrong.
This is where it falls apart, because no, I do not agree with that a priori. If circumstances dictate, I'll happily kill an adult.

Dunderman
02-07-2004, 04:45 AM
My point here would be unwanted doesn't always stay unwanted and even if it did, but a child was born in spite of that, the child can and does go on to create pleasure and have worth. Putting no value on unplanned human life seems to be operating under an assumption that there is NEVER a good outcome for an unwanted pregnancy. Because there is no way to measure it, it becomes a rational choice to destroy all of them.
You're really close to what I'm thinking here. The kid could turn out to be a saint or an asshole, and there's no way of knowing.
Well believe it.
I'm afraid I don't. Are you telling me you go out of your way to find out about every single abortion in the world, just so you can feel pain for the fetus? Are you telling me that you'd feel exactly ten times as much pain if there were 5000 abortions instead of 500?
Abortion is a sign that something went wrong, I agree. But this many abortions is a sign that although abortion is not the first choice, it is the second. Failed birth-control methods, rape and incest are NOT why there are so many abortions. It is that ever-growing attitude of only caring about your own pain and pleasure.
I disagree. The fetus dies, and then it's over. No more pain.
There should be a moral obligation to never destroy life when it could have been avoided by prevention.
Why?
I don't want to re-evaluate and somehow manage to diminish my grief. That's like saying I need to suck it up and stop caring that so many children are starving, rather than trying to help.
Not really. Take gay marriage, for example. I know from past experience that we both are in favour of gay marriage. Now, gay marriage bothers a lot of people. In the past, homosexuality bothered even more. I still don't think that gay marriage shuld be forbidden or homosexuals prevented from living in the relationships they want, because it is a better solution, in the long run, that the anti-gay crowd learns to accept homosexuality. In the same way, it is a better solution that you learn not to grieve fetuses.

The starving children are different, because the best solution is not that you stop caring, but that the children stop starving.

IWLN
02-07-2004, 08:21 AM
You're really close to what I'm thinking here. The kid could turn out to be a saint or an asshole, and there's no way of knowing.No, there's not. I don't think we have any guarantees here, that I know of. The most loved, desired child in the world can and does become the asshole too. Not that personality type has any bearing on the decision to abort. My point is I disagree with that huge generalization of yours that assumes unwanted is by default valueless. It's not really a valid argument for you or I to use. There's no way to assess it, so it can't be your point by default. I'm pretty sure I brought it up, my mistake. Let's abort it.:)

I'm afraid I don't. Are you telling me you go out of your way to find out about every single abortion in the world, just so you can feel pain for the fetus? Are you telling me that you'd feel exactly ten times as much pain if there were 5000 abortions instead of 500?You should. No I don't track individual abortions. Math is not my strong suite, so I pretty much go with small, moderate and large numbers of abortions. You know Priceguy, it's not like I go out of my way to find out things that will make me sad. Some things I actually try not to know. Things that I can't possibly impact in any way, I try to find out as little as possible about. Something like abortion which is being so over-utilized is hard to ignore. I'm entitled to have an opinion on it and to try and impact it.

I disagree. The fetus dies, and then it's over. No more pain.You can claim that, but you can't really prove that. No way to measure it, so let's just assume it's true by default?? Abortion is a surgery, sometimes there's complications. Sometimes mom regrets the loss of the child. Sometimes she never is able to have another child. Sometimes the pregnancy is further along and it hurts the baby before it dies. It is NOT a neutral act!!! Abortion should be considered as the seventh option, not the second. Choice one is to have sex or abstain.
Choice two is to carefully use contraceptives.
Choice three, if choice two fails in some way, is to determine where the woman is in her cycle. It's not foolproof, but it is a logical way to assess possible risk. Knowing this if you're sexually active is a part of being responsible.
Choice four is the morning after pill. If choice two and three put you at a higher risk, this would be the next responsible step to take.
Choice five would be, you find you are pregnant and you assess whether or not you want and can support a baby.
Choice six is deciding whether or not you can carry a baby to term and give it up for adoption.
Choice seven, abortion is for when the other six choices have failed to provide a solution. It means that with the other six choices that you had, this was the only one you decided to utilize. The only reasonable excuse for coming to choice seven is being unaware of birth control failure, rape and incest. Only a very small percentage of women should ever even get to choice seven.

Why?It's part of being responsible. If you don't want life. Don't create it. Hell Priceguy, you shouldn't even fill your plate up with food, if you only want a few bites. You shouldn't kill a deer and leave it on the side of the road, just for sport. The deers dead, it's over kind of quick and it just feels a flash of horrendous pain, but then nothing. The point is, it is unnecessary and a waste.

Not really. Take gay marriage, for example. I know from past experience that we both are in favour of gay marriage. Now, gay marriage bothers a lot of people. In the past, homosexuality bothered even more. I still don't think that gay marriage shuld be forbidden or homosexuals prevented from living in the relationships they want, because it is a better solution, in the long run, that the anti-gay crowd learns to accept homosexuality. In the same way, it is a better solution that you learn not to grieve fetuses.Bothered is a lot different than harmed, but okay, I agree that anti-gays should just get over it. For abortion though, the optimal solution would not be to learn not to grieve, it would be to limit abortion to a necessity rather than a convenience. Not by limiting abortion, but by modifying behavior. The starving children are different, because the best solution is not that you stop caring, but that the children stop starving.Why? Does anyone want them?(sic)

PianoWow
02-07-2004, 12:51 PM
If circumstances dictate, I'll happily kill an adult.

I'm for the death penalty when the crime is serious enough; but this is only done if the adult has already gone down the wrong path - if he deserves it. In many cases the pregnancy is an "inconvenience" caused by the mother's choice to have sex. The fetus has done nothing wrong. Its existence is the fault of the man and woman's choice to copulate.

These circumstances you speak of? How can the same reasoning be applied to the conception? I still stand on the idea that time should not affect how we make our choices. If I wait six months, a year, whatever, and my action is clearly either right or wrong, the ambiguity of the moment's action should disappear. And of course I'm only talking about actions that are made by one individual.

MAV
02-10-2004, 08:37 AM
It might be better to answer the question logically, with a few facts to back you up.

I certainly enjoy a logical debate, but there comes a point when it just gets stupid--kinda like when someone asks a ridiculous question such as, "Why is the killing of a human automatically wrong?" Stupid questions beget stupid answers.

Perhaps attack the opinion rather than Priceguy.

I haven't attacked anything but the ludicrousness of the question.

You uh....kinda make pro-lifer's look bad, when you wave guns around.

Nobody's waving a gun around. Are you delusional?

We've pretty much debated at length on what point "unborn" human life has value. Everyone doesn't agree on this, which doesn't by default make your opinion or mine carry more weight than Priceguy's. Saying it, just doesn't make it so.

There are some things in life that aren't matters of opinion. Human life carries with it the utmost of value, and it is one of those issues that is a simple fact of life.

MAV
02-10-2004, 08:40 AM
So the best answer you have to "what's a rational reason to be prolife?" is "you'll value human life too when you're in an emotionally very distressing situation where your ability to reason will be at least partly suspended"? And that's, like, your best shot?

Not at all. The answer to the question "what's a rational reason to be prolife?" is simple: the most rational reason to be pro-life is that human life is the most valuable asset any of us have. If we do not have life, then we have nothing else.

IWLN
02-10-2004, 09:55 AM
I certainly enjoy a logical debate, but there comes a point when it just gets stupid--kinda like when someone asks a ridiculous question such as, "Why is the killing of a human automatically wrong?" Stupid questions beget stupid answers.Aww....So you came to contribute stupid answers. I see. :rolleyes:

I haven't attacked anything but the ludicrousness of the question.You're right. You made no real attempt to answer Priceguy's question. If he seriously sees it as a valid question, wouldn't it be better to at least attempt to answer it rationally.

Nobody's waving a gun around. Are you delusional?You're not. Then what was this:Gee, I don't know. Maybe you could better answer that with a gun pointed at your head.Are you delusional? Or just forgetful?

There are some things in life that aren't matters of opinion. Human life carries with it the utmost of value, and it is one of those issues that is a simple fact of life.Why? Have you not picked up on the fact that many don't agree than a fetus qualifies as human life yet. Including the Supreme Court? This is indeed a matter of opinion, until you can prove otherwise.

Dunderman
02-10-2004, 02:50 PM
I'm for the death penalty when the crime is serious enough; but this is only done if the adult has already gone down the wrong path - if he deserves it. In many cases the pregnancy is an "inconvenience" caused by the mother's choice to have sex. The fetus has done nothing wrong. Its existence is the fault of the man and woman's choice to copulate.
No, the fetus has done nothing wrong and doesn't "deserve" to die, whatever that means. I don't see what that has to do with anything, nor why you bring the death penalty into this discussion.
These circumstances you speak of? How can the same reasoning be applied to the conception? I still stand on the idea that time should not affect how we make our choices. If I wait six months, a year, whatever, and my action is clearly either right or wrong, the ambiguity of the moment's action should disappear.
Well, your action in six months or a year is not "clearly either right or wrong", so the ambiguity doesn't disappear.
There are some things in life that aren't matters of opinion. Human life carries with it the utmost of value, and it is one of those issues that is a simple fact of life.
Nope. Do you have any evidence or is this an unfounded assertion?
Not at all. The answer to the question "what's a rational reason to be prolife?" is simple: the most rational reason to be pro-life is that human life is the most valuable asset any of us have. If we do not have life, then we have nothing else.
Go on. Show me something.

IWLN, I am going to get around to responding to you, but while the others are throwing softballs, you're throwing hardballs. That's why it takes a while in my present condition. Take it as a compliment.

MAV
02-10-2004, 03:36 PM
Aww....So you came to contribute stupid answers. I see. :rolleyes:

Not really, but I certainly don't mind descending to the level of the ridiculous to point out the absurdity of the questions. In this case, that's about all there was left to offer.

If he seriously sees it as a valid question, wouldn't it be better to at least attempt to answer it rationally.

Do you really expect that irrational questions deserve rational answers? Asking absurd questions in the hopes that it will cause the opposing debator much dismay in attempting to rationally answer it is a weak debate tactic. Rather, I'd just prefer to point out the irrationality with more irrationality. It's much easier and garners much wailing and gnashing of teeth--kinda like what you're doing now.

You're not. Then what was this:

I suggested that Priceguy might think differently about whether human life was important if it was HIS life in jeopardy. I illustrated that with a description of a gun pointed at his head. You accused me of "waving guns around", to which I replied that nobody was waving guns around. It was simply a figure of speech.

Have you not picked up on the fact that many don't agree than a fetus qualifies as human life yet. Including the Supreme Court? This is indeed a matter of opinion, until you can prove otherwise.

I can prove that human life begins at conception. Can anyone prove that human life begins at any other time?

MAV
02-10-2004, 10:40 PM
Nope. Do you have any evidence or is this an unfounded assertion?

Yes, I have evidence, and it's called common sense. If a human being does not have life, then he is devoid of everything else. Why does this concept even need an explanation?

Go on. Show me something.

I'm not sure you can be shown anything if your precept is that human life doesn't automatically carry value with it.

IWLN
02-11-2004, 12:06 AM
Not really, but I certainly don't mind descending to the level of the ridiculous to point out the absurdity of the questions. In this case, that's about all there was left to offer.Then you are a success.;)
Do you really expect that irrational questions deserve rational answers?Absolutely. An irrational question is one that you see no relevance in. That doesn't mean there isn't. Only that you can't see it. It's better to explore it and see if you're missing something than immediately write it off as stupid.
Asking absurd questions in the hopes that it will cause the opposing debator much dismay in attempting to rationally answer it is a weak debate tactic. Rather, I'd just prefer to point out the irrationality with more irrationality. It's much easier and garners much wailing and gnashing of teeth--kinda like what you're doing now.You're arguing about the argument? You think that all questions about human life and it's value are simply to cause dismay? Well you wouldn't think that if the questions didn't bother you, emotionally. Because you feel emotional about these questions doesn't mean they're a diversionary tactic. It just means you're unable to view this topic rationally. The only wailing and gnashing of teeth I've seen is from you, in your emotional assertions about human life. Similar to mine, earlier in the thread. Your emotions about this are wasted when you're trying to make a point with someone who doesn't understand why it would be an emotional topic. And common sense as an answer is a lame response. It's your perception and apparently not as common as you would like to believe. The whole point of this argument is the value placed on human life in the earliest stages. If there were agreement on that, there wouldn't be an argument. Finding it offensive that others don't see your point, does nothing to prove your point. Btw, emotionally I do feel the same as you do, but after trying very hard to construct a valid argument out of it, realized there isn't one.I suggested that Priceguy might think differently about whether human life was important if it was HIS life in jeopardy. I illustrated that with a description of a gun pointed at his head. You accused me of "waving guns around", to which I replied that nobody was waving guns around. It was simply a figure of speech.So yours was an illustration and mine was an accusation? Cute. Since we're both relatively sure that you don't have a weapon in your hand, perhaps mine was an illustration too. I was trying to point out that emotional responses don't win arguments or even make a particular point for you. A gun at Priceguy's head would provoke a reaction that a scalpel just doesn't get from a fetus.
I can prove that human life begins at conception. Can anyone prove that human life begins at any other time?Okay, prove it. First you will have to define human life and go from there. Try and be specific. Something that will be a baby someday, doesn't quite do it. It's your job to prove that something that might be a viable human one day deserves the same considerations as a viable human. Nobody needs to prove to you that life begins at any other time. It's not their assertions that need to be validated. Prove it doesn't start at any other time, if you'd like. Don't forget that a huge percentage of conceptions don't attach to the uterine wall. So human life is continuously starting itself and ending all within that first week.

Dunderman
02-11-2004, 01:55 AM
Yes, I have evidence, and it's called common sense. If a human being does not have life, then he is devoid of everything else. Why does this concept even need an explanation?
I'll cheerfully admit that if a human being without life is without everything. What you need to explain is what this has to do with the discussion at hand.
I'm not sure you can be shown anything if your precept is that human life doesn't automatically carry value with it.
You're shifting the burden of proof. Your precept is that human life does automatically have value. This is a positive statement and thus one requiring proof. I'm saying I cannot see this value or whence it springs. If you cannot show me, then it would appear to me that it doesn't exist.
I suggested that Priceguy might think differently about whether human life was important if it was HIS life in jeopardy.
Exactly. As I said, you believe I would think differently if I were in an emotionally very distressing situation where my ability to reason will be at least partly suspended. I fail to see how that is an argument in favour of your view. "I think A when I'm rational, B when I'm irrational" is an argument in favour of A, not B.