Find the flaw in this logic - child neglect should be legal

I should start out by saying that I am not advocating the legalization of child neglect. I do not agree with it. However, I want to identify whether the flaw is with my argument in itself. If there is no flaw with my argument, then there are clearly flaws in my assumptions which is interesting as it may mean I have to consider being pro-life.

One major reason for being pro-choice is the belief that a woman should not be forced to keep something alive if she doesn’t want to. IE there is no duty of care to the foetus. So if for whatever reason she doesn’t want to keep supporting it, then she can get rid of it. No arguments from me there.

But why does this change when the baby is born? There is no real difference between a foetus a day before it was born to the resultanting baby a day after.

So morally, why does the mother now have a duty to the baby? Why can’t she neglect it (I differentiate that from intentional cruelty) by essentially ignoring it?

Of course you can make an ethical or legal argument that she should have to look after it because someone has to and she’s the obvious choice, it was her who decided to have it after all. But just relying on that makes me feel uncomfortable as you can easily extend that to the foetus and make abortion illegal.

Please tell me there’s something else.

Some things you are missing:

  1. Sperm + Egg does not equal fetus. If I was to take a chicken’s egg and (somehow) inject rooster sperm into it, the contents of the egg don’t suddenly become a chick. For X amount of time after, it’s still just going to be a slurry of goo that no one would feel the slightest bit of remorse to crack open and make an omelet out of. Granted, when discussing humans instead of chickens, some people feel that there is no difference between a slurry of semen and ovum cytoplasm and a walking, burping baby. But the point is that to some people, goo is goo, a fetus is a fetus, and a baby is a baby; they aren’t all the same thing. Since there’s no science to prove that goo has a soul, that goo feels pain, nor that goo has any sense of self, there’s no rational argument to be made that people who feel that goo is goo are in the wrong. They should have the choice to rid themselves of that particular set of “mixed” goo of they want. Whereas, there’s no argument that a healthy, self-conscious toddler is anything less than human.

  2. For the most part, one does not need to “tend” to a fetus to keep it alive. If the woman keeps herself alive and healthy, the fetus is going to do alright on its own. Once a baby is born, it requires care, because it can no longer survive without another human consciously extending care.

I don’t know you but I would be willing to bet this is a pro-life argument…because you are getting to the heart of the argument against abortion.

If a women has foetus killed inside her, she is just exercising her rights. If the foetus leaves her body at midnight and is born and kills it (say the supposed abortion would have taken place at 9pm), then she is a wicked monster (although 3hrs earlier she would have just been exercising her rights). Now lets say she doesn’t out right kill the baby and just leaves it crying and it dies from neglect before midnight the next night she would still be a monster.
You would need extremely black and white vision to make the distinction between a living entity in such small time frames.
If I am not mistaken, there are abortion philosophers that make a distinction between 3rd trimester abortions and at what point do they consider an abortion OK. I am not so well versed.

Doctors don’t abort full-term babies.

At one end of the gestation process you have something very different from a newborn. And the other end of the gestation process you have something almost exactly like a newborn. The path from the former to the latter is continuous and incremental. There’s no one magic point where – poof – the cluster of developing cells becomes a human being.

…she had babby formed.

Firstly, third trimester abortions are illegal throughout the US, so if you really wanted to make this argument, you would have to compare the time before the doctor announced the third trimester and after.

Secondly, the example isn’t new in law. If I shoot at a guy and miss him by one millimeter, my sentence is entirely different from if I shoot at him and kill him. If I have sex with a 17 year old girl one hour before her birthday, I go to jail. If I wait an hour to do it, I could tell my police buddies and get a slap on the back. And if you really want an arbitrary number in law, there’s always the 3/5ths compromise, in the Constitution.

Outside of law, there’s any number of arbitrary cut-off points. If I’m the world’s fastest 300m sprinter but sort of lame at the 200m and 400m, well too bad for me and my desires for Olympic gold. If I show up at work 15 minutes late every day, the results are far different than if I show up 15 minutes early every day. If I take a boating trip to Fukushima in March of 2010, all’s well for me. But if I’d waited a year, I wouldn’t be posting here today.

Life isn’t fair and some major cutoffs are largely arbitrary. It may suck, but I don’t believe that there’s a workaround for it.

Maybe they should just let the woman give birth, if she doesn’t like the baby let her kill it. Lets say she has 48 hours to make up her mind. I don’t believe their is anyway to tell when the fetus becomes human, if it is human from conception it should be protected under the same laws all citisens are protected under.

Because the child is no longer inside the mother’s body and we’ve recognized birth as the start of life for millennia. Other than that, no big difference.

And then they could offer the father the same choice, what do you say…

Since it’s all about the children

I’d bet you’d be wrong about recognizing the start of life (at least the millennia part)

Ya think ?

Most places (all places?) allow a mother to drop off a baby at a hospital with no questions asked, so in that sense, yes, she’s allowed to neglect it, by essentially giving up for adoption. So, the mother has the first and (part of) the second trimester (depending on where she lives) to make a decision. After that, the decision is out of her hands, except for stillbirths and real danger to her health. Once the baby is born, she can drop it off at a hospital with no repercussions. Does that answer your question?

I’m not going to get into the obvious difference between a zygote or fetus actually living off the mother inside her body and a baby living an external, much more independent existence. Obvious point is obvious, really.

It depends on the culture/religion. For some branches of Buddhism, there exists the concept that a reincarnated soul arrives at the moment of birth. This belief has been around for quite a while.

And even legal personhood doesn’t really begin until the moment of birth (though there’s now a bit of a fuzzy area in many states if somebody kills a pregnant woman). We’ve long marked birth as being a critical dividing line between person/non-person.

Granted, you specified the concept of “life” vs the concept of a “person”, but we’ve historically blurred the line between the two, at least for millennia.

Well, duh…Because she cannot hand a fetus over to anyone else for gestation. But she is not physically connected to a baby.

But she doesn’t have to look after it. She can simply leave the hospital without the baby. Much like you can legally leave a pet at a shelter, but you can’t keep it and neglect it.

Your arguments aren’t helping you. You are indeed pointing out the hypocrisy just as I was.
My point is things aren’t black and white and I don’t see them on those terms. I never have and never will. You pointing out more things that aren’t black and white doesn’t take away from that.
So what was your point?

Boy I feel like a real maroon after that comment. A real idiot :rolleyes:

That somewhat arbitrary cutoff points aren’t “hypocrisy”, but a necessity due to the practical limitations of human society.

My cutoff point is not arbitrary. If the baby can live outside of the womb, the mother should put it up for adoption. If it can’t, she still has the right to get rid of it. There is no point where the mother can’t kick her kids out of her house, whether it’s her apartment or her body. So long as, if they can survive, she makes arrangements so that they will.

I mean, letting homeless people starve in the streets is arguably as bad as abortion, but nobody on the pro-life side would make us offer up our couches and refrigerators to all comers. You have the choice to kick people out of your house even if they’ll die otherwise, because it’s your house. And you have the choice to kick people out of your womb even if they’ll die otherwise, because it’s your womb.

Agree with your other examples, but the one about outcomes varying based on showing up early vs. late to work every day seems completely rational (the opposite of arbitrary, really).