Author Topic: Abortion: This Should Be Fun  (Read 6041 times)

ZeaLitY

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Re: The $%*! frustration thread
« Reply #120 on: March 10, 2010, 06:56:06 pm »
It's the entire crux of the anti-abortion argument in most cases. A fetus = a person, thus abortion = murder, heinous, immoral, and everything else. Utah just passed a bill to outlaw induced miscarriages and provide jail fines, based on the idea that it's "murdering" the unborn child. It's nasty territory.

FaustWolf

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Re: The $%*! frustration thread
« Reply #121 on: March 10, 2010, 07:24:47 pm »
Quote
@FaustWolf:  Help me make sense of the Scott Peterson case you referenced.  

Since Scott Peterson murdered both his wife and eight-month-old fetus, he was charged with double-homicide.  However, killing a fetus in the third trimester is the equivalent to an abortion (which, by the way, is killing a potential human being).  Seeing how abortion is legal in my homestate of California, shouldn't Peterson have been charged with just one homicide instead of two?  If that was murder, then any time a late-term fetus is aborted, they could call it murder.

Personally, I am rather shocked to find that the very liberal state of California considers the intentional killing of a fetus to be murder.  What says you?
The way I'm approaching this issue, the key distinguishing factor is the desire of the prospective mother. It's true that we don't know with 100% certainty whether Laci still intended to birth the child when she was murdered, but I'm taking the fact that she knowingly kept the fetus in her body up to the last moment anyone spoke to her as prima facie evidence that she did intend to do so. Because she imbued the fetus with an expectation of life, it was a human life and should have been fully valued, from the angle I'm taking this. Under this rationale I find it fair that Scott Peterson was found to have committed a double homicide.

Now I'll contrast the Peterson murders with the work of Dr. Tiller. Before Dr. Tiller began an abortion, presumably every patient from which he extracted a fetus wanted the fetus removed and its development halted. Because the prospective mothers who were Tiller's patients decided that they no longer wanted to lend their bodies to the development of the fetuses before undergoing the procedure, the fetuses did not possess humanity, and therefore their destruction did not constitute murder.

If we move backward in time a thousand years, the reasoning still holds: slip a pregnant woman an abortifacent herb without her knowing what it is, and one has committed murder; give a pregnant woman an abortifacent after she has requested it fully knowing what it is, and no crime has been committed.

At least, this is my way of thinking on the issue nowadays.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2010, 07:35:22 pm by FaustWolf »

Lord J Esq

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Re: The $%*! frustration thread
« Reply #122 on: March 10, 2010, 10:30:38 pm »
All replies from #5042 through #5069 (as well as this reply) should be merged into one of the dedicated abortion threads:

http://www.chronocompendium.com/Forums/index.php/topic,1725.0.html
http://www.chronocompendium.com/Forums/index.php/topic,7945.0.html

Mods or Admins, if you would please.

Delta Dragon

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Re: The $%*! frustration thread
« Reply #123 on: March 11, 2010, 03:31:58 am »
It's the entire crux of the anti-abortion argument in most cases. A fetus = a person, thus abortion = murder, heinous, immoral, and everything else. Utah just passed a bill to outlaw induced miscarriages and provide jail fines, based on the idea that it's "murdering" the unborn child. It's nasty territory.
Well whether or not it's a person is really what it does come down to.  Probably most people here would give the same answer of whether or not they would kill their newborn, and or Toddler just because they don't want them.  So it ultimately comes down to whether or not the fetus is a person or not.  Only problem is at least to my knowledge there isn't really a way to completely prove it either way.

Thought

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Re: Abortion: This Should Be Fun
« Reply #124 on: March 11, 2010, 11:34:08 am »
Genesis, unfortunately you have misidentified my stance. I did not claim that determining personhood is fallacious and pointless; rather that basing a pro-choice stance on personhood being conferred at birth is such. This is because pro-choice is still a perfectly valid stance to take even if personhood were granted at conception instead. While personhood is a useful and interesting debate, it actually doesn't relate.

How can personhood be granted to a biomass and yet abortion still be a valid option? Let me, for the third time, provide this link: http://spot.colorado.edu/~heathwoo/Phil160,Fall02/thomson.htm


If we grant that even at conception a fetus has a right to life, that right to life does not negate an individual's right of self determination. JJ Thomson, in that article, uses the analogy of waking up one morning and finding that you have been hooked up to a world famous violinist. His kidneys have failed and he is hooked up to you so that your kidneys can keep you both alive. This is not a permanent situation, it will only last nine months. Does the violinist's right to life mean that you have no choice in this matter? If you disconnect yourself, the violinist will die. While it can be agreed that it would be a very fine and noble thing if you decided to suffer through the next nine months, can you be legally required to?

Or let us take this a step further. The violinist isn't connected to you, but rather just needs to take one of your kidneys. Without it he will die, but this time you only need to undergo the discomfort of your kidneys being removed. Can you be forced, by law, to surrender your kidney? The violinist still has the right to life, but does that right to life come with a right to use your body as is necessary to support that right to life?

And let us take it even a step further. The violinist doesn't need your kidney, just your blood. It will be a fairly painless procedure, of minimal inconvenience to you. Without an infusion of your blood, the violinist will die. Can you be legally required to donate your blood against your will? Again, it is a very fine thing to do if you are willing to give your blood to him, but can you be so legally required?

Now let us consider this from a different perspective entirely; the violinist is starving and needs food. You have food. Can you be legally required to give the violinist your food? Again, without the food he will die, and again he has a right to life, but does his right to life trump your own rights? And again, we can say that it is a fine thing to do to give up what you have to help another creature live, but on what grounds can we say that this much be required, that the right of life of one individual conquers the rights of another individual?

Perhaps you now see why your objections don't apply? I am not claiming that abortion is acceptable because a biomass is not a person, rather I am claiming that abortion can be acceptable even if the biomass is a person. That is why I find the discussion of personhood pointless and fallacious; it is a variable that does not affect the outcome. It is sort of like debating if a "theater" provides a more cultured experience than a "theatre."

Defining personhood is indeed a cakewalk. A zygote is a person! Poof, I have done it with ease, and yet the above remains. Being a person does not give the fetus the rights to the mother's body.

If that was murder, then any time a late-term fetus is aborted, they could call it murder.

Not at all, under your own perceptions, that would be closer to manslaughter than murder (and even that isn't quite correct). After all, it is not like the abortion doctors out there are plotting, with a sinister twist of their handlebar mustache, how to kill fetuses ("feti"?). While I would still object to manslaughter, at least I can understand a perspective that would so label abortion. But labeling it murder? No, that has no basis and must be rejected by any sane, reasonable anti-abortionist.

Many couples, however, have to wait for years to adopt because abortion has drastically reduced the number of children available for adoption.

I will admit that I have no personal experience in this, but having talked to a good number of individuals who have adopted, the wait has to do with the adoption process and not the supply of children up for adoption. Indeed, this is confirmed by the children in the system currently. If it were a problem with supply, then there would never be a child in the foster care system for more than a month.

MsBlack

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Re: Abortion: This Should Be Fun
« Reply #125 on: March 11, 2010, 01:23:08 pm »
I should've insisted in the first place: The legal notion and treatment of personhood and the philosophical one are different. Try to indicate which y'all mean.

GenesisOne

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Re: Abortion: This Should Be Fun
« Reply #126 on: March 11, 2010, 06:30:29 pm »

Thought, I have read that article by JJ Thomson before for one of my philosophy classes.  I especially concentrated on the violinist scenario.  It sounds very reasonable, but it suffers from some critical flaws:

- The scenario turns the mother/child union into a host/predator relationship.
- The mother's womb is the baby's natural environment. S/he's not trespassing; it's where s/he belongs.
- Unlike the violinist scenario, abortion isn't "letting someone die". It's actively killing someone.
- Unlike the violinist, the biomass (as you call it) is not artificially attached to the mother.  S/he is being is being produced by the mother's own body by a natural process.
- The violinist bears responsibility for allowing himself to be hooked up to the stranger. The unborn child neither consents to being conceived nor to being aborted. This would be the equivalent of capturing someone, placing him on an airplane, and then shoving him out without a parachute in mid-flight.

Thompson's scenario suggests that a mother has no more responsibility for the welfare of her child than she has to a total stranger. Blood relationships are never based on choice, yet they entail moral obligations. If it is morally acceptable for a mother to deny her child the necessities of life (through abortion) before it is born, how can she be obligated to provide the same necessities after s/he's born? Thompson admits that the fetus is a person from the moment of conception. If her argument works to justify abortion, it works just as well to justify killing any dependent child. After all, a two-year-old makes a much greater demand on a woman than a developing unborn. Thompson is mistaken in presuming that pregnancy is the thing that sequesters a woman's liberty. Motherhood does that, and motherhood doesn't end with the birth of the child. Unlike the woman connected to the violinist, a mother is not released in nine months. Her burden has just begun.

Thompson is basically arguing that abortion, though it is deplorable, should nonetheless be lawful.  Even if Thompson's argument wasn't flawed, then by her definition, no child (inside or outside the womb) is safe from a mother who wants her liberty. 

Thought

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Re: Abortion: This Should Be Fun
« Reply #127 on: March 11, 2010, 07:03:59 pm »
- The mother's womb is the baby's natural environment. S/he's not trespassing; it's where s/he belongs.

S/he is indeed trespassing as it was not given permission to reside there, (often) reasonable precautions were taken to prevent it from entering, and the owner of that environment (the woman) does not want it there. How else might one define trespassing?

"Natural environment" is a nonsensical statement; a bear's "natural environment" is forest, yet if I happen to own property that is also a forest, I am within my rights to take reasonable precautions to keep a bear out and, if a bear gets in, I am within my rights to call animal control to remove it.

If the womb is the natural environment of a fetus, and by being the natural environment the fetus has a legal claim, then logically a woman could be captured and implanted with a fetus as need dictates. After all, she is nothing more than a plot of land when a fetus is part of the equation.

- Unlike the violinist scenario, abortion isn't "letting someone die". It's actively killing someone.

Ah, so if the fetus was just removed from the mother, but not specifically injured, you'd be fine with abortion. So it isn't the abortion that you oppose but the means in which it is conducted.

- Unlike the violinist, the biomass (as you call it) is not artificially attached to the mother.  S/he is being is being produced by the mother's own body by a natural process.

The biomass is being nourished by the mother, yes, but it is not being produced by the mother. The mother's main roll is to provide nourishment and waste processing.

But as for artificial v natural, let us assume that Faust's artificial wombs become a reality. Presumably since this is an artificial process, you would not be against a fetus being aborted from that? Also, are you then against invitro fertilization, as that is not natural, and would you be willing to allow abortion in these non-natural cases?

- The violinist bears responsibility for allowing himself to be hooked up to the stranger.

Not at all! No one ever said he was even aware of this or that he approved. Since you are so concerned, let us say that he was put into this situation against his will as well. Does that then obligate you to remain attached?

If it is morally acceptable for a mother to deny her child the necessities of life (through abortion) before it is born, how can she be obligated to provide the same necessities after s/he's born?

A mother can free herself from the obligation of caring for a child after it is born. She has recourse, both legal and moral. She can contact the state and the state will take the child. The moment she officially expresses an intent to be free of that responsibility, it becomes a problem of the state. But let us assume that this mother cannot support the child, contacts society to give up the child, but is denied. Again she contacts society, and again she is denied. When the child dies for want of care, can society then turn around and wage its finger at the woman, reprimanding her for something she had no choice in? NO! Responsibility can only come into play when one has choice. If one lacks choice, one lacks moral responsibility.

That is the state of the woman seeking an abortion. Usually reasonable steps have been taken to prevent this situation, and cruel fate, not society, has closed off all her options but one. Now you would close off that option as well. That is intolerable. You rid the woman of choice, and thus rid her of responsibility, but yet demand she still be punished if that responsibility is not fulfilled to your satisfaction.

Thompson admits that the fetus is a person from the moment of conception. If her argument works to justify abortion, it works just as well to justify killing any dependent child.

It does not justify killing but rather it justifies separation from, which is indeed socially, legally, and morally acceptable.

Lord J Esq

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Re: Abortion: This Should Be Fun
« Reply #128 on: April 28, 2010, 10:16:24 pm »
I've been following the Oklahoma actions on abortion the past few days, and of course ZeaLitY has had a few things to say about it too. This seems like a good opportunity to point out one of the essential fallacies in American right-wing rhetoric: Amid conservatism's call for small government in domestic affairs, there are these powerful demands for obscenely intrusive and oppressive government on specific social issues. In Oklahoma, doctors will now be able, with impunity, to withhold telling pregnant patients that their unborn children have developmental or "birth" defects. Birth defects are an important justification, to many people, for having an abortion. Conservatives have cloaked their sexist initiatives in the language of "informing" a person before she can have an abortion, which is revealed in its full dishonesty here.

Makes me sick. Oklahoma is a perfect example of why we can never allow the South to secede again, despite all the trouble they cause us. To do so would be to condone a human tragedy within the new Confederacy. All we can do is try to get people to care more about these issues, and then force our will on these savage places through the institution of democratic governance. Lucky for the Oklahoma conservatives they're not in the Joshalonian Empire; I wouldn't be so forgiving. I see these new laws, especially the one protecting doctors who lie, as crimes against humanity.

FaustWolf

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Re: Abortion: This Should Be Fun
« Reply #129 on: April 28, 2010, 10:52:42 pm »
At the very least, this story gives me great respect for Governor Brad Henry, who had the sense -- and more importantly, the bravery -- to veto this thing not once, but twice.

The Founders did a wise thing with checks and balances, I think. What we have here is one branch of government steadfastly opposed to another, and the matter is to be decided by the third. You guys think this'll make Supreme Court?
« Last Edit: April 28, 2010, 11:04:49 pm by FaustWolf »

GenesisOne

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Re: Abortion: This Should Be Fun
« Reply #130 on: April 29, 2010, 02:02:59 pm »

I agree with you, J, that not informing the patient of the fetus' birth defects is not only unethical, but goes against this part of the Hippocratic Oath, which reads (modern version, mind you):

Quote from: Hippocratic Oath (excerpt)
I will apply dietic measures for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgment; I will keep them from harm and injustice.

However, there is also this part of the same oath (original translation):

Quote from: Hippocratic Oath (excerpt)
I will not give a lethal drug to anyone if I am asked, nor will I advise such a plan; and similarly I will not give a woman a pessary to cause an abortion.

Since the legalization of abortion in many countries, the inclusion of this anti-abortion sentence of the Oath has been a source of contention. The question I have is, How do you think both parts of the Oath I've just displayed play into the whole Oklahoma bill fiasco?

Lord J Esq

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Re: Abortion: This Should Be Fun
« Reply #131 on: April 29, 2010, 08:34:53 pm »
To answer your question, I do not expect that the Hippocratic Oath or philosophy in general were foremost in the minds of the Oklahoma legislators who passed this abominable legislation. To the extent it might have been mentioned at all, which is doubtful but not implausible, it would have been in rhetoric only.

As for the provision against abortion in the original version of the Hippocratic Oath, which you brought up without precursor, I would say your respect for authority betrays you once again. The Hippocratic Oath is not inherently inviolable simply because it is "The Hippocratic Oath."

Lord J Esq

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Re: Abortion: This Should Be Fun
« Reply #132 on: July 16, 2010, 12:11:10 am »
This is the first good news I've read in months about the state of abortion care in America.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/18/magazine/18abortion-t.html?_r=1&hp=&pagewanted=all

Be warned, it's good news within the context of bad news. And it's a magazine-length article.

Crono666

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Re: Abortion: This Should Be Fun
« Reply #133 on: July 30, 2010, 03:29:41 pm »
I think that Abortion is one of those grey area issues that alot of people try to make it into a black and white area issue.
I myself am pro-choice, and think that a woman should the right to decide if she wants the baby.
A friend of mine knows a person who had a child, when they shouldn't have had one. This person has a history of mental illness, and can barely take care of herself, let alone take care of a child.
Some people just shouldn't have kids.

Lord J Esq

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Re: Abortion: This Should Be Fun
« Reply #134 on: July 30, 2010, 10:38:03 pm »
Abortion is not a "grey area" issue. It's pretty unambiguous. The anti camp says that abortion is murder and should be outlawed except in very narrow circumstances. The pro camp says that abortion is self-determination and should be fully accessible except in very narrow circumstances. Most of the people who try to stake out a compromise position end up betraying their own convictions and advocating an illogical policy.

You would be correct that abortion is a gray area rather than a binary if the pro camp were saying that abortions should be mandatory in nearly all cases. That's the true counterpart of the anti-choice camp. But the pro-choice camp doesn't advocate mandatory abortions. We advocate the right to abortion and the access to abortion care. There's your "grey area." It's called choice.