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Bleda
11-17-2010, 06:39 PM
I don't mind changing the topic to abortion. The prostitution discussion's run its course, anyway. ;)


Abortion, at least the vast, vast majority of them, do no demonstrable harm and actually help people, in many circumstances. Many disagree with that because their theological beliefs tell them otherwise... but we can't be using those as justifications or basis for law - just like in the case of prostitution.

Do you mind elaborating on that? I have to say, it makes no sense to me.

Gingersnap
11-17-2010, 09:30 PM
I don't mind either but we need to start a new thread for it. Others may wish to pursue the original thread without this deviation. ;)

That said, have at it. Be respectful, cautious, and not kneejerk (to both sides).:)

PoliCon
11-17-2010, 10:04 PM
IMHO - given that most people who support abortion do so because of cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is at risk. Conservatives need to realize that fact and be flexible in those three cases. Reality is that less than 10% of all abortions that are performed each year are done for one of those three reasons. Why be inflexible? If we bend on those three cases 90% of abortions would be stopped. It doesn't make sense - to me at least - to stand on the idea of no abortions EVER when we could end the vast majority by allowing for those three cases.

Rockntractor
11-17-2010, 10:24 PM
IMHO - given that most people who support abortion do so because of cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is at risk. Conservatives need to realize that fact and be flexible in those three cases. Reality is that less than 10% of all abortions that are performed each year are done for one of those three reasons. Why be inflexible? If we bend on those three cases 90% of abortions would be stopped. It doesn't make sense - to me at least - to stand on the idea of no abortions EVER when we could end the vast majority by allowing for those three cases.

Those are interesting stats, where did you find them? I wouldn't have thought it would be as high as 10%.

Bleda
11-17-2010, 10:27 PM
I don't know about rape or incest; I don't consider those reasons to kill a human being. A compromise would be to allow abortion if it was a fact or there was a very high chance the mother's life would be in danger. At least the 'self-defense' argument would apply here.

But most 'pro-choice' people I've known, and I don't question their morality or anything, seem to be in favor of abortion for any reason (at least during the early stages), not just rape, incest or mother's health. Reasons range from “It's unwanted” to “It would interfere with the mother's education/career.”

NJCardFan
11-17-2010, 10:28 PM
IMHO - given that most people who support abortion do so because of cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is at risk. Conservatives need to realize that fact and be flexible in those three cases. Reality is that less than 10% of all abortions that are performed each year are done for one of those three reasons. Why be inflexible? If we bend on those three cases 90% of abortions would be stopped. It doesn't make sense - to me at least - to stand on the idea of no abortions EVER when we could end the vast majority by allowing for those three cases.

2 words: Bull Shit.

Most people who support abortion do so because it's an easy solution to irresponsible behavior. And conservatives are usually flexible in those 3 cases but I'd venture to say that less than 5% of abortions are performed for those reasons. What has conservatives like me all bent out of shape are those who support abortions for underage girls without parental consent. Christ, you can't give a kid a fucking aspirin without parental consent but you can have an abortion?

Gingersnap
11-17-2010, 10:28 PM
I think it can be difficult for pro-life people today to abide with the rape/incest argument. Back in the 60s, that made sense but today with what we know about fetal development, it's a harder case to make. Back then, a lot of people really didn't know "when life begins". Today we obviously do.

That said, I'm never a fan of the perfect compromising the good. We have to change the cultural attitude that a woman who gives a child into adoption is somehow a "worse" mother than one who keeps a child she can't care for well. :(

Bleda
11-17-2010, 10:29 PM
Those are interesting stats, where did you find them? I wouldn't have thought it would be as high as 10%.

I know, I thought it was too high too.

http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/policy/abortion/abreasons.html


Summary: This report reviews available statistics regarding reasons given for obtaining abortions in the United States, including surveys by the Alan Guttmacher Institute and data from seven state health/statistics agencies that report relevant statistics (Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Utah). The official data imply that AGI claims regarding "hard case" abortions are inflated by roughly a factor of three. Actual percentage of U.S. abortions in "hard cases" are estimated as follows: in cases of rape or incest, 0.3%; in cases of risk to maternal health or life, 1%; and in cases of fetal abnormality, 0.5%. About 98% of abortions in the United States are elective, including socio-economic reasons or for birth control. This includes perhaps 30% for primarily economic reasons.

PoliCon
11-17-2010, 10:33 PM
Those are interesting stats, where did you find them? I wouldn't have thought it would be as high as 10%.

from guttmacher.org. I did a research paper on it in college. 10% is being a bit generous to be frank but even so . . . .

NJCardFan
11-17-2010, 10:33 PM
Those are interesting stats, where did you find them? I wouldn't have thought it would be as high as 10%.

Of course, this is just one study but I'd guess it's as accurate today:

92% of Women Cite "Social" or "Other" Reasons (http://www.nrlc.org/news/2005/NRL10/NewStudy.html)

Rockntractor
11-17-2010, 10:35 PM
We have to change the cultural attitude that a woman who gives a child into adoption is somehow a "worse" mother than one who keeps a child she can't care for well. :(

Closing the door and making abortions illegal is most likely impossible but that doesn't mean we should stop trying, that said I think your approach will ultimately save the most lives, you are being realistic.

Rockntractor
11-17-2010, 10:38 PM
Of course, this is just one study but I'd guess it's as accurate today:

92% of Women Cite "Social" or "Other" Reasons (http://www.nrlc.org/news/2005/NRL10/NewStudy.html)

That is an interesting study, it shows you just how selfish and trivial people can be with human life!

PoliCon
11-17-2010, 10:44 PM
I don't know about rape or incest; I don't consider those reasons to kill a human being. A compromise would be to allow abortion if it was a fact or there was a very high chance the mother's life would be in danger. At least the 'self-defense' argument would apply here.

But most 'pro-choice' people I've known, and I don't question their morality or anything, seem to be in favor of abortion for any reason (at least during the early stages), not just rape, incest or mother's health. Reasons range from “It's unwanted” to “It would interfere with the mother's education/career.”

I'm willing to allow in cases of rape. I'm not saying it should be mandatory - but there it should be allowed. When you have been violated in that way it would be cruel beyond cruel to force someone to carry the baby to term. It's very hard to understand the psychological damage that rape or sexual abuse can inflict on someone without having experienced it. The feeling of uncleanness are traumatic in themselves. To force a woman to suffer that carrying the seed of that violation insider her . . .? I for one can't.

The hard core pro abortion people want it on demand - but there is a very sizable middle group that want it for rape, incest and to save the life of a mother - and sadly these people think that far more abortion are for these reasons that is actually the case.

Situation ....................................Should Be Legal.........................Should Be Illegal
All or Most Cases...............................57% ..............................................42
To Save Woman's Life........................88.................... ..............................10
To Save Woman's Health....................82...................... ............................14
In Cases of Rape/Incest......................81.................... ..............................17
Physically Impaired Baby...................54......................... .........................40
To End Unwanted Pregnancy .............42................................... ...............57
D&X/Partial-Birth Abortions.............23.......................... ........................69
Pregnancy is 6 Months+.....................11.................... ...............................86
http://abcnews.go.com/sections/us/dailynews/abortion_poll030122.html

PoliCon
11-17-2010, 10:46 PM
2 words: Bull Shit.

Most people who support abortion do so because it's an easy solution to irresponsible behavior. And conservatives are usually flexible in those 3 cases but I'd venture to say that less than 5% of abortions are performed for those reasons. What has conservatives like me all bent out of shape are those who support abortions for underage girls without parental consent. Christ, you can't give a kid a fucking aspirin without parental consent but you can have an abortion?

Check the polls. I'm not talking about your hard core talking heads and feminazi's. I'm talking about Average Joe American. Check the poll I just posted - if that's not enough I can get you others.

Bleda
11-17-2010, 10:49 PM
I'm willing to allow in cases of rape. I'm not saying it should be mandatory - but there it should be allowed. When you have been violated in that way it would be cruel beyond cruel to force someone to carry the baby to term. It's very hard to understand the psychological damage that rape or sexual abuse can inflict on someone without having experienced it. The feeling of uncleanness are traumatic in themselves. To force a woman to suffer that carrying the seed of that violation insider her . . .? I for one can't.

The hard core pro abortion people want it on demand - but there is a very sizable middle group that want it for rape, incest and to save the life of a mother - and sadly these people think that far more abortion are for these reasons that is actually the case.

Situation ....................................Should Be Legal.........................Should Be Illegal
All or Most Cases...............................57% ..............................................42
To Save Woman's Life........................88.................... ..............................10
To Save Woman's Health....................82...................... ............................14
In Cases of Rape/Incest......................81.................... ..............................17
Physically Impaired Baby...................54......................... .........................40
To End Unwanted Pregnancy .............42................................... ...............57
D&X/Partial-Birth Abortions.............23.......................... ........................69
Pregnancy is 6 Months+.....................11.................... ...............................86
http://abcnews.go.com/sections/us/dailynews/abortion_poll030122.html

I know, it breaks my heart. But if you believe the unborn baby is a living, innocent human being, why would the fact that its father raped the mother make it any less worthy of life? :(

But like you and Ginger said, we have to be realistic. We can't ban all abortion. It would be better to have abortion legal only if the mother's life/physical health was in danger or in cases of rape, than to keep the status quo.

PoliCon
11-17-2010, 10:52 PM
Closing the door and making abortions illegal is most likely impossible but that doesn't mean we should stop trying, that said I think your approach will ultimately save the most lives, you are being realistic.

I agree. And I always bring the discussion of the issue back to why it is that the person feels abortion should be legal. The response is almost always - rape, incest, save the life of the mother or something along those lines. Now are these people being honest? I don't know. They could well just be blowing a smoke screen - but at the very least I disarm them when I tell them quite honestly that I think abortion is always the taking of a human life -but that I am willing to bend and allow for rape, incest and to save the mothers life - and point out to them that these three reasons account for less than 10% of all abortions.

Gingersnap
11-17-2010, 10:54 PM
Closing the door and making abortions illegal is most likely impossible but that doesn't mean we should stop trying, that said I think your approach will ultimately save the most lives, you are being realistic.

Ultimately it comes down to what works now. Changing the face of adoption will at least save some.

PoliCon
11-17-2010, 10:57 PM
I know, it breaks my heart. But if you believe the unborn baby is a living, innocent human being, why would the fact that its father raped the mother make it any less worthy of life? :(

But like you and Ginger said, we have to be realistic. We can't ban all abortion. It would be better to have abortion legal only if the mother's life/physical health was in danger or in cases of rape, than to keep the status quo.

It doesn't. But at the same time I am not nearly as cruel as to force her into insanity in the process. I've experienced the degradation of rape. I know first hand how traumatic it can be and I cannot for a second justify forcing a woman to carry the child of rape to term. I would encourage her to carry the child - but I could not force her. LUCKILY from what I've read the chances of rape resulting in pregnancy are very slim and account for less than 1/2% of all abortions.

NJCardFan
11-17-2010, 10:59 PM
What about the wackadoodles who think a mother should be allowed to kill her child up to 2 years old?

Bleda
11-17-2010, 11:00 PM
It doesn't. But at the same time I am not nearly as cruel as to force her into insanity in the process. I've experienced the degradation of rape. I know first hand how traumatic it can be and I cannot for a second justify forcing a woman to carry the child of rape to term. I would encourage her to carry the child - but I could not force her. LUCKILY from what I've read the chances of rape resulting in pregnancy are very slim and account for less than 1/2% of all abortions.

There's no happy ending either way. I agree both options can be horrible. :(

PoliCon
11-17-2010, 11:00 PM
What about the wackadoodles who think a mother should be allowed to kill her child up to 2 years old?

we should kill them.

PoliCon
11-17-2010, 11:02 PM
There's no happy ending either way. I agree both options can be horrible. :(

I agree. There is no easy answer. I've thought and prayed about this for a long time. IMHO it's better allow in these cases and to drastically reduce the number than to stand firm and let the genocide continue.

Bleda
11-17-2010, 11:13 PM
I agree. There is no easy answer. I've thought and prayed about this for a long time. IMHO it's better allow in these cases and to drastically reduce the number than to stand firm and let the genocide continue.

That's probably the best way to go at it. Let society handle the rest; offer help to the women, tell them there are other options and it's better to keep the baby or give them up for adoption, etc.

Can someone explain the incest argument for me, by the way? :confused: I know Yahoo Answers (http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20081201192329AANSAXY) isn't the best source of information, but...


Over a billion people worldwide live in regions where 20%-50% of marriages are consanguineous -- that is where the partners are descended from the same grandparent. A study six years ago concluded that having a child with your close relatives increased the risk of a significant birth defect from about 3-to-4 percent overall to only about 4-to-7 percent maximum. Australian geneticist Alan Bittles, supposedly the top expert on this subject, has collated data on infant mortality in children born within incestuous relationships from around the world and found that the extra increased risk of death is 1.2%. In terms of birth defects, he says, the risks rise from about 2% in the general population to 4% when the parents are closely related. Women run a greater risk of having children with birth defects simply by waiting into their later thirties to get pregnant. Should it be illegal for women to wait to have children? of course not. Then how can you justify restrictions on incest? Birth defects are not caused by incest, they are the result of recessive genes present in both parents - related or not.
We can't stop people from doing what they want to do. We'll tell them what's generally dangerous. And if they can adequately reduce the medical risks, by wearing a condom or taking a genetic test or whatever, that is all we can do.

Is this true?

Bleda
11-17-2010, 11:15 PM
we should kill them.

The most extreme abortion advocate I've ever met was a man who believed life begins when you cut the umbilical cord. :confused:

Rockntractor
11-17-2010, 11:16 PM
Australian geneticist Alan Bittles, supposedly the top expert on this subject
Well the Aussies would know about this if anyone does!:D



Que Sonna.......runs.............

PoliCon
11-17-2010, 11:17 PM
That's probably the best way to go at it. Let society handle the rest; offer help to the women, tell them there are other options and it's better to keep the baby or give them up for adoption, etc.

Can someone explain the incest argument for me, by the way? :confused: I know Yahoo Answers (http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20081201192329AANSAXY) isn't the best source of information, but...



Is this true?

What the incest argument is overlooking is that when people who carry genes for profound defects inbreed - like the European monarchies several hundred years ago - continual breed only amongst themselves the risk for those defects coming to the surface increase drastically. Look at the problems that some pure breed dogs have as a result of continual inbreeding.

PoliCon
11-17-2010, 11:18 PM
Well the Aussies would know about this if anyone does!:D



Que Sonna.......runs.............

I don't know. I hear Arkansans and Oklahomans know TONS about it . . . :p

noonwitch
11-18-2010, 09:45 AM
My belief is that abortion should be legal. I don't think it's legally possible to allow it in some circumstances, like rape, incest and to protect the life of the mother and not allow it for others. The reality is that if it is legal for the rape victim, it is legal for the irresponsible woman who got pregnant because she chose to have unprotected sex.


I live a responsible life, and I love children. I live a fairly comfortable middle class existence. If I found myself pregnant and considering abortion to be my best option, the situation would be dire indeed. I have sound mental health and moral character-my judgment in the matter should not be questioned by the law, just because some other women are irresponsible.

But I do think that those who are opposed to abortion are not wrong to offer women better options, as long as they don't pretend to be something they aren't to get women in the door. I detest some of the tactics of the anti-abortion side-the harrassing of women who are seeking abortions in front of the clinics, the protests in front of the homes of ob/gyns who provide the services, the actual killing of several ob/gyn abortion providers by activists, the bombing/burning of abortion clinics, and so on. I don't have a problem with some of the groups and charities that offer honest alternatives, though. There are good ones out there, catholic groups and other church agencies that help women through their pregnancies, and they deserve support.

Gingersnap
11-18-2010, 10:23 AM
That's probably the best way to go at it. Let society handle the rest; offer help to the women, tell them there are other options and it's better to keep the baby or give them up for adoption, etc.

Can someone explain the incest argument for me, by the way? :confused: I know Yahoo Answers (http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20081201192329AANSAXY) isn't the best source of information, but...



Is this true?

Yes and no. Genetically, a one-off breeding between two closely related people will probably not result in a functionally defective offspring. However, the deck has just been stacked against future offspring from a similar or more distant (but still related) coupling.

This is a horrific problem among many Muslims who practice cousin marriage. 50 years ago it was no big deal but now the genetic problems have become so concentrated in many families that a lot of children are affected. They don't brag about this, naturally, but a surprising amount of genetic research goes on in Muslim countries where this is an issue.

The argument to abort children conceived in rape or unwanted incest is partly to spare the mother additional emotional agony but it also comes from a time when people were still discussing "when life begins". There was still a gray area in many people's minds about that. Today that question has been answered.

Also, this is not 1932. There is no social shame in being a victim of sexual assault. This doesn't ruin a woman's reputation or make her ineligible for marriage. The victim's family is not in the position of hiding the birth or passing the child off as the child of the victim's mother or aunt. A lot has changed.

What needs to change more is the idea that it's morally "better" to kill a child than to give that child away to responsible parents. Years and years ago it wasn't uncommon for poor parents to give children into adoption because they simply could not care for any more kids. At that time, this wasn't seen as as horrible parenting; it was seen as responsible parenting. We need to revisit that idea.

That said, for some women the sheer psychological horror of carrying a child to term when it is conceived this way may be too much for them bear. :(

linda22003
11-18-2010, 10:39 AM
I don't see the point in continuing to debate this. The question has long since been decided legally, and no one is doing anything seriously about trying to undo that. People who think it should be criminal show they have no stomach for it because most of them don't advocate any punishment for the woman, which is of course hypocritical.

We all know where we stand personally on abortion, and the recourse there is now is to not have one ourselves if we think they are wrong, or to attempt to influence or support those who are not happy about being pregnant. That's pretty much it.

Adam Wood
11-18-2010, 11:32 AM
2 words: Bull Shit.

Most people who support abortion do so because it's an easy solution to irresponsible behavior. And conservatives are usually flexible in those 3 cases but I'd venture to say that less than 5% of abortions are performed for those reasons. What has conservatives like me all bent out of shape are those who support abortions for underage girls without parental consent. Christ, you can't give a kid a fucking aspirin without parental consent but you can have an abortion?A-fucking-men!


I know, I thought it was too high too.

http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/policy/abortion/abreasons.htmlThat tracks much more with what I've used to slap pro-abortionists into reality over the years. Here's a simple test: take the number of abortions in the US in a year, and then go look up FBI crime statistics. You'll find that the number of rapes is something around about 5% of the number of abortions. So, if you assume that every rape resulted in pregnancy (which, of course, is preposterous, but this is giving a tremendous benefit to the pro-abortionists) then even at that, rape could only possibly account for about 5% of all abortions in the US.

I have, for quite some time, said that I would gladly accept rape, incest, and cases in which the genuine medical health of the mother can only be preserved by an abortion as good reasons for abortions. And the reason I say that is not because I genuinely believe any of these are actually good, moral reasons for murdering a baby. I say that for two reasons. First, because if that were the case, then as one can see from the numbers Bleda posted, it would eliminate about 97% of all abortions (really more than that, because there is no such thing as a case in which a mother's life can only be saved by an abortion; that whole claim is a complete myth). I'll gladly take a 97% reduction over a 0% any day of the week and twice on Sunday. Second, I say that because it disarms the pro-abortionists and leaves them without their argument. The "rape and incest" bit that they screech is a canard. They know that, but they hate like all get out to admit it, because they know that they lose all moral footing once they step off of that tiny stone. As NJ said, what it's really about is the desire to engage in irresponsible behavior with no consequences. But I go ahead and say "sure, you can have rape, incest, and genuine threats to the actual medical health of the mother" because it leaves them with no argument other than having to admit that this isn't really what they're after at all.

All of that having been said, what should happen with abortion in the US is that it should be returned to the states, where it belongs. I think it's a disgusting, barbaric, morally indefensible practice, but that's still something that states should decide and the feds should stay the hell out of it.

NJCardFan
11-18-2010, 12:31 PM
I just wish they would take the child into account. Most abortions are done out of selfishness. But there are a lot of couples out there who are willing to adopt but sometimes it's too damned expensive. My wife and I looked into a couple of agencies and it costs upwards of about $20K to adopt through one of them. So we're going through the state which is a crap shoot at best because you're choices are going to be severely limited.

wilbur
11-18-2010, 02:45 PM
I don't mind changing the topic to abortion. The prostitution discussion's run its course, anyway. ;)

Do you mind elaborating on that? I have to say, it makes no sense to me.

I'll keep it short a sweet to start with.

You can't cause harm to something in any ethically significant way if it has no mind. So until the fetus has a brain, you can't really harm it in an ethically significant way. After it has a brain, sure... its possible to harm it in an ethically significant way. But until then, the term is simply inapplicable.

wilbur
11-18-2010, 02:50 PM
(really more than that, because there is no such thing as a case in which a mother's life can only be saved by an abortion; that whole claim is a complete myth)


This is not true - there was a famous case not too long ago, where a 11 or 12 year old girl was the victim of a sexual abuse from her step-father, and she got pregnant with twins. They had to terminate the pregnancy because the girls was simple to small and fragile to deliver them or carry them to term, without an unacceptable risk to her life.

It was famous because it was in Brazil, and a Catholic bishop tried to get an injunction, stopping the termination of the pregnancy, despite the risk to the girls life.... we can look forward to all kinds of nasty situations like that here, in the future if abortion is ever outlawed.

Adam Wood
11-18-2010, 03:01 PM
This is not true - there was a famous case not too long ago, where a 11 or 12 year old girl was the victim of a sexual abuse from her step-father, and she got pregnant with twins. They had to terminate the pregnancy because the girls was simple to small and fragile to deliver them or carry them to term, without an unacceptable risk to her life.That was a justification used by an abortionist because that's the only way an abortion is legal in Brazil. The doctor claimed that, but the claim doesn't hold water. If some Amazon jungle tribe nine year old can give birth (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,202601,00.html), then that girl could, too.

I think what happened to that little girl was terrible, and I can certainly appreciate not wanting to put someone like that in the position of being a mother, especially at that age, but I reject out of hand the claim that the only way she could survive was to abort those babies. That's simply not true.

Wei Wu Wei
11-18-2010, 03:02 PM
The sticking point for this argument seems to be the definition of a Person.

This does not mean the definition of a Homo Sapian. but that of a Person (by Person I mean one who is a member in the moral social community with both rights and responsibilities, not simply the genetic markers in human cell tissue).

Most people who try to define a Person come up with problems when it comes to declaring if someone is legally dead or not (when their brain is dead but their body lives on for hours, or even several days if hooked to a respirator).


Some criteria that have come up for defining a person are:
Self-Awareness
Language
Sensory Pain
Certain other cues of cognitive functioning.


However, even when doing this we come up with tricky situations like newborns or those close to death.


This, I feel, is what's really unexamined and driving the difference between the two sids of this argument. Pro-lifers feel that abortion kills a Person, whereas pro-choicers feel that abortion kills a living thing, but not a Person.

Even with arguments such as "it is a proto-Person, or Pre-Person and will, in time, become a person" fall short because what you have in the present is a conflict of the rights (the rights of the Person mother and her body versus the rights of the fetus which may or may not be a Person. If it's not a person, then the rights of the person supercede the rights of the non-person, even the right to life.)

Wei Wu Wei
11-18-2010, 03:03 PM
That was a justification used by an abortionist because that's the only way an abortion is legal in Brazil. The doctor claimed that, but the claim doesn't hold water. If some Amazon jungle tribe nine year old can give birth (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,202601,00.html), then that girl could, too.

I think what happened to that little girl was terrible, and I can certainly appreciate not wanting to put someone like that in the position of being a mother, especially at that age, but I reject out of hand the claim that the only way she could survive was to abort those babies. That's simply not true.

I think these things work on a case-by-case basis. Childbirth is hardly uniform.

Gingersnap
11-18-2010, 03:14 PM
I'll keep it short a sweet to start with.

You can't cause harm to something in any ethically significant way if it has no mind. So until the fetus has a brain, you can't really harm it in an ethically significant way. After it has a brain, sure... its possible to harm it in an ethically significant way. But until then, the term is simply inapplicable.

I just don't accept this premise. All human beings have a moral significance regardless of their cognitive performance. That significance can vary based on the intentional behaviors of the human being in question but all human beings have a moral value of some kind.

wilbur
11-18-2010, 03:22 PM
I just don't accept this premise. All human beings have a moral significance regardless of their cognitive performance. That significance can vary based on the intentional behaviors of the human being in question but all human beings have a moral value of some kind.

I don't think we should rank people by moral significance, according to how efficiently their brains work either.

But its not so much about cognitive performance for me, as it is cognitive existence. Unless something has some form of cognitive existence, it is simply outside the realm of ethics, period.

A good way I've heard it put is that our life begins at our first thought, and ends at our last.

Wei Wu Wei
11-18-2010, 03:25 PM
I just don't accept this premise. All human beings have a moral significance regardless of their cognitive performance. That significance can vary based on the intentional behaviors of the human being in question but all human beings have a moral value of some kind.

How about a person in a persistent vegetative state?

How about a person who is braindead but who's heart still beats and who's organs still function if hooked to a ventilator? These patients are normally used as an "organ harvest" for other patients who need donors.

Wei Wu Wei
11-18-2010, 03:26 PM
I don't think we should rank people by moral significance, according to how efficiently their brains work either.

But its not so much about cognitive performance for me, as it is cognitive existence. Unless something has some form of cognitive existence, it is simply outside the realm of ethics, period.

A good way I've heard it put is that our life begins at our first thought, and ends at our last.

This is tricky too, what does it mean when you are in an unconscious, dreamless state?

What does it mean for infants who have yet to form a cohesive ego and thus a sense of "I think"?

wilbur
11-18-2010, 03:28 PM
This is tricky too, what does it mean when you are in an unconscious, dreamless state?

What does it mean for infants who have yet to form a cohesive ego and thus a sense of "I think"?


Well, there is still some form of cognitive existence there... or at the very least we can say its uncertain.

There is no such uncertainty with a fetus, however... until about 20-22 weeks in.

wilbur
11-18-2010, 03:49 PM
That was a justification used by an abortionist because that's the only way an abortion is legal in Brazil. The doctor claimed that, but the claim doesn't hold water. If some Amazon jungle tribe nine year old can give birth (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,202601,00.html), then that girl could, too.

I think what happened to that little girl was terrible, and I can certainly appreciate not wanting to put someone like that in the position of being a mother, especially at that age, but I reject out of hand the claim that the only way she could survive was to abort those babies. That's simply not true.

The girl in Brazil was pregnant with twins and was reported to be very small... that's a big difference.

And as WWW points out, just because one girl in the amazon gave birth without a hitch, doesn't mean all cases go like that, or don't come with unacceptable risks.

Speaking of which, its always a calculated risk - not an absolute. Sure, it *may* not have been a certainty that she could not survive.... but the risk was high, and that's what mattered.

In any case, its all kind of irrelevant to my view, I guess. I think a woman should be allowed to terminate her pregnancy for *any* reason.

Madisonian
11-18-2010, 07:12 PM
If there was a test that would indicate that a child was going to be born homosexual (as some claim that homosexuality in genetic, others disagree) would it change your mind?

I can see pro-choicers wanting to have the aborting of a fetus because of sexual orientation made a hate crime if the fetus was gay and I could see some pro-lifers (Think the Fred Phelps family but I would love the irony) being first in line at the clinic the next day.

Rockntractor
11-18-2010, 07:17 PM
The girl in Brazil was pregnant with twins and was reported to be very small... that's a big difference.

And as WWW points out, just because one girl in the amazon gave birth without a hitch, doesn't mean all cases go like that, or don't come with unacceptable risks.

Speaking of which, its always a calculated risk - not an absolute. Sure, it *may* not have been a certainty that she could not survive.... but the risk was high, and that's what mattered.

In any case, its all kind of irrelevant to my view, I guess. I think a woman should be allowed to terminate her pregnancy for *any* reason.

I thought you were a Darwin man, survival of the fittest?

Rockntractor
11-18-2010, 07:19 PM
What does it mean for infants who have yet to form a cohesive ego and thus a sense of "I think"?

You skipped this part when you were born!

Gingersnap
11-18-2010, 07:35 PM
I don't think we should rank people by moral significance, according to how efficiently their brains work either.

But its not so much about cognitive performance for me, as it is cognitive existence. Unless something has some form of cognitive existence, it is simply outside the realm of ethics, period.

A good way I've heard it put is that our life begins at our first thought, and ends at our last.

I can see why you buy that since you don't admit to any "humaness" outside the purely biological but I don't live in that world. I believe that all people have a soul but even if I didn't, I'd want to err on that side.

Every era has believed that they are inheritors of the next to last word in science (they will write the "last" word themselves, of course). Every era has seen previously uncontested scientific dogma shattered.

We can perceive only in a narrow slice of dimension (this is theoretical physics talking, not religion). We can't know what harm abortion inflicts on an infant at this point and we may be unable to perceive harms outside our limited sensorium. Given this, I'm unwilling to harm an innocent human being based on a temporary state.

If I'm completely wrong, the woman has to endure about a year of physical discomfort and she may have permanent disfigurement which can be remedied with plastic surgery. She isn't obligated to care for the child or provide for it or even to interact with the child on any level. She can recover and in legal sense, she can be made whole again.

A dead child can never be made whole again.

wilbur
11-18-2010, 07:45 PM
If there was a test that would indicate that a child was going to be born homosexual (as some claim that homosexuality in genetic, others disagree) would it change your mind?


No, I don't think it would.

PoliCon
11-18-2010, 10:27 PM
I'll keep it short a sweet to start with.

You can't cause harm to something in any ethically significant way if it has no mind. So until the fetus has a brain, you can't really harm it in an ethically significant way. After it has a brain, sure... its possible to harm it in an ethically significant way. But until then, the term is simply inapplicable.

Gee - based on what you said - there is nothing ethically wrong with strip mining or with stomping down a huge ass carbon footprint because the earth does not have a brain.

Adam Wood
11-18-2010, 10:28 PM
Gee - based on what you said - there is nothing ethically wrong with strip mining or with stomping down a huge ass carbon footprint because the earth does not have a brain.

Heh!

wilbur
11-18-2010, 10:36 PM
Gee - based on what you said - there is nothing ethically wrong with strip mining or with stomping down a huge ass carbon footprint because the earth does not have a brain.

As long as it doesn't harm things with brains, there's nothing ethically questionable about it. If it does harm things with brains..... well then its a question for ethics.

PoliCon
11-18-2010, 10:39 PM
As long as it doesn't harm things with brains, there's nothing ethically questionable about it. If it does harm things with brains..... well then its a question for ethics.

way to move the goal posts. :rolleyes:

PoliCon
11-18-2010, 10:40 PM
Well lets think if I make a certian plant extinct - there is no eithical issue there because it does not harm anything with a brain.

wilbur
11-18-2010, 10:48 PM
I can see why you buy that since you don't admit to any "humaness" outside the purely biological but I don't live in that world. I believe that all people have a soul but even if I didn't, I'd want to err on that side.


Ok, I'll consider this. Let's ask, what if it is true that there exists some part of our being which we could appropriately name "the soul"? What's that mean for the abortion debate?

Not much, I don't think. The characteristics of a soul are, so far, absolutely inscrutable. For all we know, the soul could infuse itself into the body at puberty - nobody can say. We can't reliably name any properties this soul has, what it does, or know anything about it, at all, in such a way as to count as genuine knowledge.



Every era has believed that they are inheritors of the next to last word in science (they will write the "last" word themselves, of course). Every era has seen previously uncontested scientific dogma shattered.

We can perceive only in a narrow slice of dimension (this is theoretical physics talking, not religion). We can't know what harm abortion inflicts on an infant at this point and we may be unable to perceive harms outside our limited sensorium. Given this, I'm unwilling to harm an innocent human being based on a temporary state.

If I'm completely wrong, the woman has to endure about a year of physical discomfort and she may have permanent disfigurement which can be remedied with plastic surgery. She isn't obligated to care for the child or provide for it or even to interact with the child on any level. She can recover and in legal sense, she can be made whole again.

A dead child can never be made whole again.

I view it differently. Yea, there is some probability that there is an as-of-yet undetectable dimension to human existence, in which people come into being and can be harmed during conception - but not only is it totally inscrutable right now, it just seems extremely unlikely and far-fetched. It could also be that once you die, you will reincarnate into another body immediately... but I don't think we need to be making moral decisions (or shaping public policy) as if this is a genuine possibility. If you want to make personal decisions in your life according to such a belief though.. more power to you.

We could be allowing great harm to come to many women who would otherwise terminate their pregnancies if we outlaw abortion. And this harm is tangible, real, and measurable. So how do we resolve this dilemma?

To me, the choice is clear - We let people decide for themselves.

wilbur
11-18-2010, 10:49 PM
way to move the goal posts. :rolleyes:

No goal posts were moved, that was my point from the first post in this thread.

wilbur
11-18-2010, 10:52 PM
Well lets think if I make a certian plant extinct - there is no eithical issue there because it does not harm anything with a brain.

Nope, there isnt.

It could be though, that this plant has properties which may be of tremendous benefit to things with brains (humans, even). Many plants do.

So its probably unwise to destroy it, for no good reason - for our sake (ie, we, things with brains).

If its totally useless to any creature with a brain, aesthetically un-pleasing, then by all means, destroy it with impunity.

Gingersnap
11-18-2010, 11:13 PM
Ok, I'll consider this. Let's ask, what if it is true that there exists some part of our being which we could appropriately name "the soul"? What's that mean for the abortion debate?

Not much, I don't think. The characteristics of a soul are, so far, absolutely inscrutable. For all we know, the soul could infuse itself into the body at puberty - nobody can say. We can't reliably name any properties this soul has, what it does, or know anything about it, at all, in such a way as to count as genuine knowledge.

I view it differently. Yea, there is some probability that there is an as-of-yet undetectable dimension to human existence, in which people come into being and can be harmed during conception - but not only is it totally inscrutable right now, it just seems extremely unlikely and far-fetched.

We could be allowing great harm to come to many women who would otherwise terminate their pregnancies if we outlaw abortion. And this harm is tangible, real, and measurable. So how do we resolve this dilemma?

To me, the choice is clear - We let people decide for themselves.

You are setting the the parameters of "genuine knowledge". I can't do that and I work doing science every day. I have degrees and everything.

Taking your argument out of the Third World where women are routinely used as sexual/reproductive slaves, how is a woman irreparably harmed by giving birth and giving the child away? Death is a complete irreparable harm.

In any pregnancy, there are two actors. One can rebuild and repair, one is wholly dependent on the good will of the first. Is the temporary harm to the first more important than the fatal harm to the second?

I don't believe that elective abortion will ever be overturned. I also expect to live long enough to see surgical abortion as we know it today to be shoved into the realm of horrible obstetric procedures done on wanted children who imperil the mother's life.

That knowledge doesn't change my attitude toward elective abortion.

m00
11-19-2010, 12:25 AM
I say that for two reasons. First, because if that were the case, then as one can see from the numbers Bleda posted, it would eliminate about 97% of all abortions (really more than that, because there is no such thing as a case in which a mother's life can only be saved by an abortion; that whole claim is a complete myth).

Ectopic Pregnancies?

Adam Wood
11-19-2010, 12:49 AM
Ectopic Pregnancies?Ectopic pregnancies result in death of the fetus long before they ever become a threat to the health of the mother.


ETA: even still, I would consider ectopic pregnancies as covered under my plan of "necessary" reasons for abortion, since the outcome is inevitable. And that would account for something on the order of one quarter of one percent of one percent (no, that's not a mistaken duplication) of all abortions in the United States.

MrsSmith
11-19-2010, 07:57 AM
As soon as medical science can absolutely determine that human women routinely conceive non-human "things," abortion of those "things" is fine.

So long as medical science continues to prove that every product of conception in a human woman is a human being, abortion for any reason except the mother's imminent death is not OK.

There is no legitimate excuse to kill a human based on location, development, size, visibility or any other issue except defense of another life.

PoliCon
11-19-2010, 08:41 AM
No goal posts were moved, that was my point from the first post in this thread.

You changed what you said. You said if there is no brain their in so ethical dilemma. You moved that to anything with a brain being affected. Well guess what - I'm the father. I'm affected. What now?

wilbur
11-19-2010, 09:01 AM
As soon as medical science can absolutely determine that human women routinely conceive non-human "things," abortion of those "things" is fine.

So long as medical science continues to prove that every product of conception in a human woman is a human being, abortion for any reason except the mother's imminent death is not OK.

There is no legitimate excuse to kill a human based on location, development, size, visibility or any other issue except defense of another life.

This doesn't cut it. The mere title of "human" just seems totally senseless and arbitrary as a delimiter in one's ethical sphere. The category "human" not only contains things which do not require ethical treatment, it also fails to include a huge variety of things which do require some ethical treatment, namely other animals.

So its insufficient to simply look at the arbitrary word "human" and the arbitrary set of things we've chosen for it to signify. We have to look at the actual, real, tangible features that things have... and we have to note which of those features seem to demand ethical treatment.

It would only be by sheer, unimaginable coincidence if the borders of the spheres of ethics just so happened to coincide with with the stuff we had chosen to represent with the term "human" - which was not decided with ethics in mind, at all.

Sure, using the term human as our ethical category can get us mostly good results, most of the time, but it gets totally out-of-whack on all the edge cases.

Adam Wood
11-19-2010, 09:28 AM
This doesn't cut it. The mere title of "human" just seems totally senseless and arbitrary as a delimiter in one's ethical sphere. The category "human" not only contains things which do not require ethical treatment, it also fails to include a huge variety of things which do require some ethical treatment, namely other animals.

So its insufficient to simply look at the arbitrary word "human" and the arbitrary set of things we've chosen for it to signify. We have to look at the actual, real, tangible features that things have... and we have to note which of those features seem to demand ethical treatment.

It would only be by sheer, unimaginable coincidence if the borders of the spheres of ethics just so happened to coincide with with the stuff we had chosen to represent with the term "human" - which was not decided with ethics in mind, at all.

Sure, using the term human as our ethical category can get us mostly good results, most of the time, but it gets totally out-of-whack on all the edge cases.So you're right back to the "clump of cells" argument.

You're a clump of cells. I assume then that it's OK with you if I kill you.

linda22003
11-19-2010, 09:58 AM
The old arguments are just swirling around in a circle. It's pointless. It's legal and it's staying that way. Let's move on to real problems that need to be fixed.

Wei Wu Wei
11-19-2010, 11:28 AM
So you're right back to the "clump of cells" argument.

You're a clump of cells. I assume then that it's OK with you if I kill you.

That's specifically the tricky thing.

You are a clump of cells. Physically speaking, everything that could legitimately be called you which exists are your cells. Even these will all replace themselves in time.

The question is, what are you, more than simply a clump of cells with homo sapian DNA? I'd imagine you'd recall your mental faculties, your awareness, your sense of self, your ability to feel pain and emotions and even angst.

What is a Person? What is it that gives a walking, talking person the rights and responsibilities of living in an ethical social space while a brain-dead with a beating heart person is used to harvest organs?

Rockntractor
11-19-2010, 11:43 AM
That's specifically the tricky thing.

You are a clump of cells. Physically speaking, everything that could legitimately be called you which exists are your cells. Even these will all replace themselves in time.

The question is, what are you, more than simply a clump of cells with homo sapian DNA? I'd imagine you'd recall your mental faculties, your awareness, your sense of self, your ability to feel pain and emotions and even angst.

What is a Person? What is it that gives a walking, talking person the rights and responsibilities of living in an ethical social space while a brain-dead with a beating heart person is used to harvest organs?

I think your organs could be legally harvested!

Adam Wood
11-19-2010, 11:55 AM
That's specifically the tricky thing.

You are a clump of cells. Physically speaking, everything that could legitimately be called you which exists are your cells. Even these will all replace themselves in time.

The question is, what are you, more than simply a clump of cells with homo sapian DNA? I'd imagine you'd recall your mental faculties, your awareness, your sense of self, your ability to feel pain and emotions and even angst.

What is a Person? What is it that gives a walking, talking person the rights and responsibilities of living in an ethical social space while a brain-dead with a beating heart person is used to harvest organs?Choice. People choose to donate organs, at least here in the US, anyway. I have yet to see a baby in the womb sign the back of their driver's license saying that it's OK to kill them if they become inconvenient.

wilbur
11-19-2010, 12:50 PM
So you're right back to the "clump of cells" argument.

You're a clump of cells. I assume then that it's OK with you if I kill you.

You're off by miles. I was never at that argument in the first place, nor have I veered anywhere close to it. Obviously, we are all clumps of cells.

My position has been that things with minds (or cognitive existence, as we started calling it) have ethical significance - mindless things do not. I don't know how to say it simpler than that.

wilbur
11-19-2010, 12:56 PM
The old arguments are just swirling around in a circle. It's pointless. It's legal and it's staying that way. Let's move on to real problems that need to be fixed.

If the pro-lifers would just give up and go home, we could stop worrying about it.

But they arent gonna... they'll continue to try to stack the courts, to admonish those who vote for pro-choice politicians, etc... and if they arent met with resistance, they'll win.

AmPat
11-19-2010, 12:57 PM
I heard a caller to a radio show today tell of a bumper sticker she saw;
"If it isn't a Baby, your'e not pregnant!"

wilbur
11-19-2010, 01:14 PM
You changed what you said. You said if there is no brain their in so ethical dilemma. You moved that to anything with a brain being affected. Well guess what - I'm the father. I'm affected. What now?

I haven't really changed anything - my position is, and still is, that ethical significance is reserved for those things with minds.

Now the destruction of some mindless things can actually harm things with minds... so we should usually act with ethical restraint towards those things. But we aren't infusing ethical significance into mindless things by acting with restraint towards them, we expressing our ethical commitment to the beings with minds, who might be harmed by our actions.

None of this is for the sake of the mindless thing, its always for the sake of a thing with a mind.

You do raise a good point about the father, it is a valid debate. However, notice how that debate won't be about the being in the womb, but about the possible harm a father might experience because of an abortion. At that point, I've already won on my major principle - which is that mindless things are not within the sphere of ethics.

linda22003
11-19-2010, 01:29 PM
Choice. People choose to donate organs, at least here in the US, anyway. I have yet to see a baby in the womb sign the back of their driver's license saying that it's OK to kill them if they become inconvenient.

Now you're just being silly. A fetus can't have a driver's license. Its stubby feet can't reach the pedals.

Adam Wood
11-19-2010, 02:25 PM
Now you're just being silly. A fetus can't have a driver's license. Its stubby feet can't reach the pedals.

LOL!

PoliCon
11-19-2010, 06:03 PM
The old arguments are just swirling around in a circle. It's pointless. It's legal and it's staying that way. Let's move on to real problems that need to be fixed.

No one is making you contribute or even care. :p

PoliCon
11-19-2010, 06:08 PM
I haven't really changed anything - my position is, and still is, that ethical significance is reserved for those things with minds. Fine - then we can destroy the earth with impunity. You can't have it both ways dude. Sorry.


Now the destruction of some mindless things can actually harm things with minds... so we should usually act with ethical restraint towards those things. But we aren't infusing ethical significance into mindless things by acting with restraint towards them, we expressing our ethical commitment to the beings with minds, who might be harmed by our actions. Goalposts relocation. Again.


None of this is for the sake of the mindless thing, its always for the sake of a thing with a mind.Interesting question for you - define mind. Is a 'brain' required for a mind? What is required for something to have a mind?


You do raise a good point about the father, it is a valid debate. However, notice how that debate won't be about the being in the womb, but about the possible harm a father might experience because of an abortion. At that point, I've already won on my major principle - which is that mindless things are not within the sphere of ethics. Dude - you act like I agree with your supposition. I do not. I'm content to simply poke holes in your arguments.

AmPat
11-19-2010, 06:11 PM
I can't help it:

"If it isn't a Baby, your'e not pregnant!"

wilbur
11-20-2010, 10:39 AM
Fine - then we can destroy the earth with impunity. You can't have it both ways dude. Sorry.

Goalposts relocation. Again.

Interesting question for you - define mind. Is a 'brain' required for a mind? What is required for something to have a mind?

Dude - you act like I agree with your supposition. I do not. I'm content to simply poke holes in your arguments.

Laws and ethics regarding property damage, theft, or the destruction of mindless things all are based upon the harm that could be inflicted upon a person (ie, a thing with a brain). They aren't for the sake of the mindless objects, and that's the key difference. Take the person out of the equation, and there's nothing unethical about destroying or harming mindless things. So far you've done nothing to demonstrate an inconsistency between this, and the principle that 'things with minds are the only things which demand ethical treatment'.

Now it appears you also want to claim that I'm being inconsistent with the principles I've defended in this thread, and my views on environmentalism. Well, my position is being misrepresented, because I DO believe we can destroy the earth with impunity. The only requirement is that, in so doing, we harm no creatures with brains, either directly or indirectly, as a result. It just so happens that its pretty much impossible to destroy the Earth, without harming creatures with brains. To reiterate, I don't care about the environment for the environment's sake. I care about it for our sake. So there's simply no inconsistency there (not that this matters for the topic at hand). Mars though... that's a different story. There's nothing there with a brain, so we can use it for all the target practice we want to, to our hearts content!

As far as minds are concerned, well so far it seems that brains are required for them. The only things we know of that can produce minds are brains, but there could be other physical structures that can produce minds that we don't know about. If we ever did run across non-human beings with minds (produced by a brain or not), they would demand some for of ethical treatment according to my principles. Those using the term "human" as their ethical category.. well... we don't know what they would do. For all we know, they'd feel it their right to enslave and torture these non-human things. That doesn't sound right at all, does it? What is a mind? Well, its at the very least, some sort of cognitive existence.

As far as your father "gotcha", it doesn't actually touch the basic principle I've been defending. I'll agree, harm to the father is a legitimate concern. I just think the woman wins the rights contest, handily. And still, the fetus doesn't matter, for its own sake.

So, no holes poked - try again.