Which is worse: infanticide or having to bear an unwanted pregnancy to term?

In another thread, several abortion rights supporters indicated a casual disregard for the lives of already born children. A few examples:

  1. Blalron stated: “From a moral standpoint, I don’t think infanticide would be significantly different from killing a fetus…” I would normally expect to hear that from a pro-lifer (i.e., someone who thinks both are wrong), but Blalron is an abortion rights supporter.

  2. And, when I asked: “Set aside abortion for a second–Can we agree on just that: killing an innocent child is worse than having to bear an unwanted child?”

even sven said, “I won’t agree with that.” Bryon Ekers said, “I don’t agree with that.”

Mind you, I wasn’t asking about “terminating a fetus” or even, “killing an unborn human.” My question regarded “killing an innocent child” and that means an already born, living, child, free of the womb, perhaps gobbling up some Gerber.

I was dumbfounded, and at the time I said the following:

I then wondered:

Is that view about the expendability of children (not fetuses, but children) generally held throughout the pro-choice movement, or is it just a radical and unique view expressed by a few posters in this forum?

It has been expressed in that other thread that my second question above was misleading in that it should have read: “Set aside abortion for a second–Can we agree on just that: killing an innocent child is worse than having to bear an unwanted fetus to term” with the italicized words appearing in place of the word “child”. I admit that that is a clearer way to ask my intended question. If the second use of the term “child” was cause for confusion for even sven and Bryan Ekers, I must apologize and attempt to clear their good name. I am sorry.

Children are not expendable, in my view. I am pro-choice, and I have two children.

I believe that life (as I define and understand it) begins at birth, so killing a child would be murder. I do not believe that abortion is murder.

I am a kpretty conservative pro-choice person.

YMMV, as always.

I assumed you were refering to fetuses, as is a common trope with pro-life advocates. I do not think we should go knocking off random children.

Ideally, one should try both alternatives before making judgement.

I’ve never committed infanticide nor have I born an unwanted fetus to term. All of my speculations are theoretical.

As a man I am already capable of infanticide.
But barring some bizarre Frankenstein type of procedure, I’m incapable of bearing an unwated fetus to term.
Because I’m opposed to someone manipulating my body in such a way that I could bear a child, the only way it could happen would be against my will.
This is why I’d choose infanticide as the lesser evil.

There is a school of thought out there (who’s that guy at Princeton?) saying that infacticide is OK.

Putting that aside, I don’t see how one could equate the complete taking of a life with the requirement that a woman carry a child for 9 months. Forcing a woman to bear is child isn’t OK in my book, but at least at the end of it she’s still alive (more often than not).

I do remember that on an abortion thread I started several months ago, quite a few people posted that they tought infanticide was OK, although I don’t recall if anyone stated at what age for the child that it becomes not OK. That’s one of the real problems.

It’s OK to kill a an “x” month old baby, but not if it’s “x” months and a day?

Taking dispute with the OP, as someone who first looked at the thread you referenced just a few moments ago, I think your characterization of the responses by even sven and Bryan Ekers were extremely misleading.

Even sven’s response: "I won’t agree with that. I don’t care if it is my own mother stuck in my womb. " It is abundantly clear that he was not discussing infanticide.

Bryan Eker’s response: “I don’t agree with that, either, because I have to state again that Fetus <> Child.” Again, abundantly clear that he was not discussing infanticide.

This whole thread is a straw man.

That would be Peter Singer.

What is worse, argumentively-speaking, is the borish production of false dichotomies.

Yeah, I already apologized for misrepresenting even’s (and likely Bryan’s) responses. I assure you I didn’t do it to screw them. After hearing about Blalron’s belief that infanticide was permissible, I guess I was too quick to accept that others might think that as well. I thought my question was pretty clear (“set aside abortion for a minute…”), but now I can see how they might have misunderstood my question and were not actually answering what I intended to ask.

I thought they were, since I thought my question was crystal clear. I thought their answers were unclear when I made the OP. Now I see where they were coming from.

The only reason to continue the thread is, I suppose, to see if any other pro-choicers agree with Blalron. But now that it seems that he (or she) is a lonely voice for now, I am much less apt to think that this viewpoint is common among pro-choicers, which is a relief.

By the way, at no time did I intend to imply that the two moral choices were necessarily related or alternatives or some such. I was just going for some moral common ground between pro-choicers and pro-lifers (e.g., “We all love children, don’t we?”), so I was asking for a moral waiting in a utilitarian sense. I was trying to lay the groundwork to take the discussion further, and failed miserably.

Er, that would be “weighting.”

Not only that but it gave a wonderful opportunity for yet another pointless abortion thread/ritual moralising.

I happen to be in the camp (and it is a very lonely camp, not many people share my views) that abortion is, in the abstract, the moral equivalent to infantcide, but is justifiable.

I think that certain cercumstances provide a complete defense to a charge of murder. For example, if your only option is to kill or be killed (self defense) you are justified in taking your attacker’s life.

Other circumstances do not depend upon the culpability of the person you killed. For example, if you have conjoined twins who cannot survive together, it is legal to separate them even if you know for a certainty one will die.

In my opinion, abortion falls under the same category. Currently, there is no other medical way to prevent a women from undergoing 9 months of unwanted physical changes. The culpability of the infant/fetus is irrelevant. If some technology came along that allowed people to separate the infant from the mother, then I would say move abortion from the “justified murder” to the “unjustified murder” category.

I happen to like Roe v Wade’s analysis. While 9 months of unwanted physical changes is too much to force a woman to go through, 3 months of incremental changes is okay. Its as good a line as any and, once a woman has entered her third trimester, her loss of her own control for that 3 month period (as opposed to loss of control for 9 months) simply isn’t enough to justify murder.

They’re unrelated, but they provide common ground ? I’m confused with what sort of dilemma you are trying to set up here. Say for the sake of argument I agree that killing a child is worse, that doesn’t mean the other is acceptable, so I fial to see what the question is even about.

You then go on to say that you’re looking for common ground. While I’m confused about the initial question, the “We all love children, don’t we?” is easy to answer. No we don’t. Not everyone loves children. That also has nothing to do with killing them, so I still fail to see what you’re talking about. :confused:

il Topo it is clear that this OP mas a misstake, since you admit to missrepresenting the replys you posted, please ask a Mod to close this thread. Then perhapse start a new thread, avoiding those missrepresentations so that the question can be discussed.

Unless the mother’s life is in danger, then the two circumstances are simply not comparable.

In the case of the conjoined twins, separating them is necessary so that one of them can survive. It is far better for one to live than for both of them to die.

Unless the mother’s life is endangered, then abortion is nothing like that. Rather, it is the ending of one individual’s life so that the other individual’s desires can be fulfilled. Clearly, this is not a matter of letting one die, lest they both perish.

I agree. Moderators, can we do that? (I would have asked earlier if I knew that was possible.)

Since this thread doesn’t appear to be entirely dead yet, I might as well address the OP directly.

I don’t entirely agree with Blalron, but I am sympathetic to his position. I don’t think infanticide should normally be legal. However, on a moral level, I believe infanticide probably isn’t as bad as forcing a woman to bear an unwanted child.

The fundamental axiom on which I base my moral judgments is that the infliction of suffering is wrong. I suspect that being forced to give birth to a baby she does not want could cause a woman to suffer far more than a reasonably painless death would cause an unwanted infant to suffer.

It seems likely to me that a newborn baby does not suffer from death in the same sense as a more mature person would. Such a baby does not yet have the knowledge of the world to understand what death means, nor does it have hopes and dreams for the future that will be thwarted if it ceases to exist. A baby has little effort invested in its life and so loses little if life ends. This is all highly dependent on a baby being very young. Once a child gains the ability to speak, it has demonstrated an understanding of and involvement in the world that no animal is capable of. At that point I believe its life is worth nearly as much as an adult’s.

However, this does not mean I approve of infanticide. I must emphasize that killing a child against the will of its parents or others who love it is a truly monstrous crime, which will cause them to suffer grievously from its loss. Even if a child’s parents wish to be rid of it, by giving it up for adoption rather than killing it they could normally achieve this end with less suffering all around.