Why are you pro choice or pro life?

I think we are in complete agreement. When dealing with important moral issues, such as the potential killing of people, we ought to examine our motives and reasoning very carefully indeed. It is probably important to err on the side of mercy and kindness.

Excuse me, I have to go to work for a few hours.

Toward whom? You seem to want us to err toward one side at the cost of the other.

I think not, since you are pointing out the supposed problems with one side only.

Indeed. Lots of people have this whole thing about how women aren’t people and don’t get to have the kind of control over their bodies that we take for granted in every situation that sometimes involves men. As a parent, you can’t be compelled to donate organs, bone marrow, even a trivial pint of blood to save your child’s life, even if you’re the only one who’s a match. Because people have the right to deny others access to their bodies.

  1. I do not make a distinction between a fertilized and unfertilized ovum. The ovum is the living, raw material of an individual human. If the development of that individual is prevented, by any means, that beautiful individual will never live. There is no second chance. Most ova will never develop. Ova are shed by the millions daily. The number of births prevented by medical abortion is insignificant by comparison. Most abortions are a natural event. It is true that the darling children sometimes shown on TV were saved from abortion. It is also true that the women who saved those few children have aborted hundreds of beautiful children.

  2. An unfertilized ovum is differentiated. It has a top, bottom, right, left, front, back, head and tail. An embryo is simply and extension of those differentiated areas. Living embryos are not sentient beings. What we call ‘life’ is the conscious experience that occurs after birth.

  3. The state has an interest in promoting the general welfare. That extends to the health and care of the citizen/mother. Any benefit to the fetus is indirect, as it is to any organ within her body. (organs can survive outside the body as might a fetus)

  4. A female citizen is to be secure within her person and therefore in control of promoting the general welfare of her body. The state may impose measures like vaccinations but may not prevent procedures that the female citizen determines favor her welfare.

Medical abortion is a serious personal issue. It is not appropriate for the state or others to interfere or slander the procedure.

Some of the OP’s reasons strike me as ad hominem rather than legitimate reasons to take the “pro-choice” side.

If “pro-choice” means you believe that abortion should be legal, I am pro-choice because…

I do not believe that a fertilized egg, at the moment of conception, is a human being with a life entitled to legal or moral protection. At that point it may still split (identical twins) or fail to become viable and terminate naturally, without anyone caring or even knowing it existed, if it happened early enough.

I do believe that at some point it will become a human being, and then it should be both legally and morally forbidden to kill it. But I don’t know what point that is, so I don’t feel comfortable legislating it.

Functionally, there’s no difference between pro-life and pro-choice. It’s just quibbling over the specific demarcation point for when a new human has been created.

If you take a few hair cells from a person or two, turn them into pluripotent cells, turn one into an egg and another into sperm, introduce them to each other, implant into a real or artificial womb, and let the egg grow to maturity, then at the most extreme level you’re saying that you’re killing potential humans every time you let any of your hair cells, skin cells, or any other cell from your body go to waste without having had the chance to become a new human. You are doing less than is scientifically possible to be fruitful and multiply. Scratching an itch is murder.

If you want to say that humanity begins at the time that the sperm and egg are introduced to each other, then you still have to decide where that occurs. The instant some one of the sperms touches the outer wall? When the first sperm who will successfully get through the wall, touches the wall? When the sperm makes it inside? When the nuclei of the two cells first touch? When the nuclei fuse? When the egg first splits into two cells?

If our nuclei fuse and the egg begins to split, and we’ve declared this as a human, then we should expect all of the laws of humanity to apply to this person. For tax purposes, you have another dependent, while this child is still alive. The child should be granted a social security number, before ever being born since it is a human and US citizen. If, at this point, the human dies then it should be treated as the death of a US citizen. If someone caused that death, it should be treated as a murder. If that’s not the intention by most people who lean towards this end of things, then I’m somewhat skeptical that there’s a true belief by most people that this is where humanity begins.

But likewise, that would be true for later cutoff points as well (e.g. at some trimester).

Based on our laws, the universal agreement on humanity seems to come at birth. Most pro-choicers still opt to say that we’ve created a human before that point, so it’s arguable that there’s as much self-deceit in the pro-choice position as in the pro-life position, from how we’ve all voted and decided when the question has been asked in more indirect ways.

From humanity’s history, it seems to have been common to kill babies soon after birth or to let them die within the first year or two, if the family couldn’t afford to support them. Often, their corpses seem to have been tossed into pits and discarded of without much fanfare. Our primitive brain doesn’t seem to form a strong attachment to them until later than this. (Of course, our primitive brain also enjoyed war and cannibalistic raids on rival tribes, so we shouldn’t necessarily hold this up as a reasonable standard.)

From the standpoint of legal consistency, you could argue that the principal factor that makes a human into a human is our abilities of the mind that we have over all other animals. For those animals who lack those abilities, our laws allow us to dispose of them largely at will. Very young children still lack some of these abilities and, theoretically, artificial intelligence could come along that has the full talents of the human mind or even surpasses us and it would be murder to end those lives. A consistent legal framework for all lifeforms, natural and artificial, might make the division on this standard.

Ultimately, there’s probably no true logical argument for any demarcation point.

I’d probably vote that people should be free to have their own standard and that we should all a) be willing to live with that truth, and b) be free to move to another geographical region that shares our standards, if our beliefs require it. So long as people can move their place of residence freely, I don’t see that anyone is having their rights taken away. They chose to live there.

Maybe a bit of pedantry but I don’t think much is supported biologically with the belief that a fetus doesn’t “live” until birth. I think biology would recognize even a fertilized embryo as a form of life. Usually the term “person” is used because that’s really more what is being discussed most of the time when abortion ethics is the topic. Even the simplest of single-celled organisms and parasitic microscopic creatures are afforded the term “life”, so it’s kind of silly to say a fetus at 9 months that has not been delivered yet isn’t a form of life.

It seems to me there is a world of difference between a just-fertilized embryo and a full-term fetus. But that’s not a distinction that pro-life OR pro-choice activists are in the habit of making. So I can’t identify with either side.

WHat I am is for the right of the individual to decide for themselves what choice to make. My feelings/beliefs on the matter only apply to myself and anyone that asks me for advice. Whatever choice they make, they should be able to get the medical help/advice they need without judgement.

Of course you are correct. I was using ‘life’ as a term and failed in the task. I agree, it is all life. Avoiding the term ‘personhood’ I fell back on the tradition that a childs’ ‘life’ begins at birth. I believe that should be the legal position. The biological reality is another world.

Pro-Life but I don’t qualify as a flaming asshole of a pro-Lifer because I do believe in exceptions (rape. incest and mothers health for starters) and that people who choose to have an abortion should not be punished in anyway. Pro-Life should mean that you encourage and support (like emotionally AND financially) a system that is humane and leads to a better outcome for both mother and child. Not just force someone to have a baby and then force them to accept responsibilities they are not prepared for.

Pro-life should mean that you made a reasonable decision not to have an abortion and kept it to yourself because it is personal.

Might have a bumper sticker to show off in the church parking lot.

This has already been more or less addressed, but I’ll just add that it’s a terrible analogy because the reasoning is completely different. If it’s illegal to destroy a bald eagle egg (I’m not familiar with the details of the law) it’s not on some vague moral grounds. It would be because it’s a protected species that is rare and at potential risk of extinction. In actual fact, although bald eagles have suffered from a great deal of habitat destruction, they are not currently endangered, so any legal protections they enjoy are probably mostly to encourage further population growth because they’re a revered national symbol.

The simple and pragmatic consideration in abortions is that neither a human egg, a blastocyst, nor a fetus at any stage of development short of around the third trimester can be considered a sentient human being except in some delusional fiction. The physical and mental well-being of the mother – an actual sentient human – has to be the overwhelming consideration in any rational world. Beyond the beginning of the third trimester or thereabouts, the medical profession itself will typically have ethical constraints about abortion except in cases of medical necessity, so even there, there is no reason for religious fanatics and other meddlers to invoke legal duress; the mother and the medical community should be free to make decisions on a case-by-case basis. Earlier than that, there is no rationale for any prohibitions whatsoever.

When does a fetus make plans to go to Harvard?

There’s been some interesting reporting that actually shows when you talk to people in individualized surveys, very few hold the hardcore pro-choice / pro-life views that we’re forced into. I say I’m pro-choice because I generally favor abortion being legal, pre-viability, and that is a position that would exclude me from the pro-life camp. However I have other views that would make me unpopular among ardent pro-choices–for example as I mentioned I personally think abortion is immoral in most cases, do not believe it should generally be legal after viability, and I also am highly skeptical of the jurisprudence and actual wisdom of the Roe v. Wade decision, I think it arguably hurt the country far more than it helped. But because I do generally think abortion should be legal pre-viability, I have to say I’m pro-choice.

But a lot of people have more nuanced views about abortion if you actually talk to them about it.

I hope I was not pointing out any problems at all.

I hope I am pointing out the serious moral issues involved. One who makes such a serious decision is in a state of grave moral peril and ought to realize that. This is not to be taken lightly.

One could say the same as to a person who decides to carry an gun, or decides to use a gun to shoot someone. This is heavy stuff. In both cases someone might die.

I’m pro-choice. Although I believe that a fetus is a living thing, I think that it’s probably not ‘living’ enough to have the kinds of rights that can compete with those of the mother who’s hosting it.

If I felt that conservatives were really debating the issue of abortion in good faith, out of a genuine concern for the viability and welfare of the fetus, I might take their counterarguments and positions more seriously.

But in the United States at least, it’s hard to take someone’s “pro-life” positions seriously when the vast majority of those with this opinion are pro-death penalty, pro foreign war, but anti-mask, anti-vaccine, and anti- any kind of economic or social policy that might improve the welfare of poorer or disadvantaged children. More often than not, pro-life has nothing to do with the life of the child; it’s an attempt to assert power over other people

…which brings me to the biggest reason I am pro-choice: if an individual cannot decide who gets to use her body, then that is the first step on the way to having the American Taliban.

ISTM that the overwhelming majority of pro-choice activists are perfectly fine with recognizing different legal and ethical standards of personhood for a just-fertilized embryo and a full-term fetus.

I know of absolutely no abortion-rights organization that considers it wrong or unconstitutional for states to ban abortion of full-term fetuses (absent some serious threat to the life or health of the pregnant woman, that is).

So I don’t think your “bothsidesism” is at all justified here. The idea that fetal personhood develops gradually over the process of gestation, so it’s okay to balance the claims of fetal rights and of women’s autonomy differently at different stages of pregnancy, is very widely supported among pro-choice advocates, so you should feel right at home on the pro-choice side.

That’s assuming the arbitrary spiritual belief that an embryo or fetus at any stage of development is just as much a human person, just as much “someone”, as a shooting victim is.

If you don’t happen to hold that arbitrary belief, then there is not in fact any “grave moral peril” associated with an early-term abortion. If an early-term embryo/fetus isn’t assumed to be a fully human person with the same rights as actual born persons, then removing and killing it is really not at all comparable to shooting somebody with a gun.