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ForumsWEPRJustify Abortion

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Ntech
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Ntech
258 posts
Shepherd

I am a staunch opponent of abortion, it being the murder of an unborn baby; so I challenge whoever supports it, to debate with me how it can possibly be right.

-A woman has the right to do whatever she wants with her own body, even when in her mother's womb.

-Abortion is discrimation in the worst form, because it murders a child who came "at an inconvenient time."

-Women regret abortions.

  • 138 Replies
FishPreferred
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FishPreferred
3,173 posts
Duke

This doesn't have much to do with our discussion, but rather, the proving to FishPreferred and HahiHa the personhood of the fetus.
Something you've utterly failed to do because it really has nothing to do with the discussion at all.

Yes. However, a person may decide to remove his tumor, and that is just and right.
On what grounds?

However, may a mother dispose of a fetus, without its consent? The fetus is not a part of her, it is constituent of a totally different person.
1 It's the combination of a part of her and a part of somebody else.
2 It has no autonomy and therefore no power of consent. Demanding its consent is therefore fantastically absurd.

a) Please don't put words in my mouth to avoid answering a question b) especially when those words have nothing to do with the present discussion.
Don't cry circular reasoning to dismiss a completely valid definition and I guarantee that I won't ever do that.

To claim that one who supports abortion is Pro-Life, or the absolute opposition to abortion in any form at any time, is absurd.
Indeed, it would be, and as you clearly did not take my advice, allow me to spell it out for you: Margaret Sanger was not in support of abortions.

Evil is the opposite of good. Good is fulfillment. A man is happy when he is fulfilled, it is his functions which are fulfilled; that which composes man functions.
What you are saying, then, is that murder is unfulfilling. Okay. Irrelevant and useless to your argument, but whatever.
Ntech
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Ntech
258 posts
Shepherd

@HahiHa

Notice the contradiction. You begin by agreeing that a tumor has a moral right to live only to imply the exact opposite in the very next sentence.

Thankyou for pointing out my "contradiction." A tumor is part of a person, and has a right to be fulfilled as part of that person, who may justly remove part of himself. A fetus is part of a person, and has the right to be fulfilled; the fetus is dependent upon his mother, who may not justly do away with the life of another.

A fetus is incapable of giving consent to anything, because it is incapable of reasoning.

A fetus is capable of reasoning. Whether it does or not is another matter. For example, you're capable of praying, whether you do or not does not take that capability away from you. Moreover, there is more than consent in this. Is it just to take the life of another, if they are currently unable to consent, for example, may I kill you in your sleep?

Yes, and both children and infants are humans that are born, and therefore not part of this debate.

By child is meant the offspring of the union of a man and a woman, and a fetus is as such a child.

@FishPreferred

Something you've utterly failed to do because it really has nothing to do with the discussion at all.

So it is still acceptable to kill a fetus, a person or not?

On what grounds?

A person has authority to deal with that which comprises his self, that is both proper and the order of things.

It's the combination of a part of her and a part of somebody else.

1 Do you seriously believe that you're a combination of a part of your mother and a part of your father? Or do you accept the fact that you're a new individual, a person? If you're not a person, why should I debate with you?

It has no autonomy...

All scients recognize the presence of an autonamous yet dependent organism the moment of conception. Period. A fetus is not a part of a woman's body, no matter how much the opposed-to-science-pro-choicers want to believe.

Don't cry circular reasoning to dismiss a completely valid definition and I guarantee that I won't ever do that.

By the fact that it is circular reasoning, it's invalid.

You put words in my mouth: "Happiness is the status of being happy, which is the quality of having happiness. Circular reasoning!" I've never said such a thing, nor have I given any reason for you to suppose that this is my express view; this is a rather petty point to bring up, especially since it doesn't deal with this debate.

Margaret Sanger was not in support of abortions.

"Abortion may be resorted to... it is a woman’s duty and right to have for herself the right to say when she shall and shall not have children" - Margaret Sanger, 1932.

Irrelevant and useless to your argument, but whatever.

This, sir, is the basis of Western morality, upon which our laws stand today; the same Western morality and thought which eradicated human sacrifice, abolished slavery in Europe, pushed for the overthrow of tyrants, and for the good for the good of the common people.
FishPreferred
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FishPreferred
3,173 posts
Duke

A tumor is part of a person, and has a right to be fulfilled as part of that person, who may justly remove part of himself. A fetus is part of a person, and has the right to be fulfilled; the fetus is dependent upon his mother, who may not justly do away with the life of another.
Special pleading. Once again, you're relying on the assumption that the two should be treated differently instead of giving us a reason to do so.

A fetus is capable of reasoning.
No, it isn't. That's just ridiculous.

Whether it does or not is another matter. For example, you're capable of praying, whether you do or not does not take that capability away from you.
False analogy. There are many things I am capable of doing, but not necessarily going to do. The simple fact that fetuses (or vegetables, furniture, cadavers, etc.) also aren't doing those things does not make them capable of doing them.

Moreover, there is more than consent in this. Is it just to take the life of another, if they are currently unable to consent, for example, may I kill you in your sleep?
1 Legally, no, but that's a consequence of my status as a legal person; something a fetus does not have.
2 Inability to express consent ≠ no power of consent.
3 A fetus is not "the life of another".

By child is meant the offspring of the union of a man and a woman, and a fetus is as such a child.
Enough with the ipse dixit. The rest of us are well aware of what a child is, and a fetus is not any such thing, as has already been explained to you.

So it is still acceptable to kill a fetus, [...]
Yes, if performed legally by a licensed professional.

[...] a person or not?
Not.

A person has authority to deal with that which comprises his self, that is both proper and the order of things.
Then a woman has the authority to deal with her uterus, just as with any other part that comprises herself. This logically includes the authority to have invasive bodies removed from this part of her. Even if I were to agree with your blatant equivocation of fetuses and people, that just means you'd have to find ethical grounds for allowing a person to stay inside a woman's body without her consent, which probably isn't something you want to argue for.

1 Do you seriously believe that you're a combination of a part of your mother and a part of your father?
No, nor is that in any way relevant. Here's where you seem to be a little bit confused: I am not the same as a fetus.
What I am is the variable state of a dynamic electrochemical system. The system consists of a part of each of my parents and also a bunch of other organic material that has been added through metabolic processes. To put it simply, I and my body are not the same thing, nor have the two always been in association.

All scients [sic.] recognize the presence of an autonamous yet dependent organism the moment of conception. Period.
No, in fact, they don't. Only a few scientists would be so ignorant of what autonomy means.

By the fact that it is circular reasoning, it's invalid.
It is not circular reasoning. You may as well declare the entire dictionary invalid, because each and every word is defined using words that are also defined using words. There is no word in existence that can be defined without the use of any words that can also be defined through it.

You put words in my mouth: "Happiness is the status of being happy, which is the quality of having happiness. Circular reasoning!"
No, I addressed the flaw in your rebuttal by providing an equally flawed example for comparison. In case you hadn't noticed, I tend to do that with a lot of your assertions.

"Abortion may be resorted to... it is a woman’s duty and right to have for herself the right to say when she shall and shall not have children" - Margaret Sanger, 1932.
Nice flagrant quotemine. Do you want the link again?

This, sir, is the basis of Western morality, [...]
No, it isn't. Western morality has a significantly more solid basis than what is and isn't fulfilling, so what you're telling me is that your definition of good (and, consequently evil) is not only irrelevant and useless to your argument, but also just plain wrong.
HahiHa
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HahiHa
8,212 posts
Regent

By child is meant the offspring of the union of a man and a woman, and a fetus is as such a child.

It can be used in that sense, yes. It is also commonly defined as a human between the stages of birth and puberty. Words can have different definitions depending on context.

In a debate it is important that we at least agree on the terminology. Words can have different definitions and can be used in different ways, but right now we are having a discussion that only concerns the period from conception to birth, never beyond. Biologically speaking, that period includes the stages 'embryo' and 'fetus', but excludes the 'child'. The "offspring" definition of child is, of course, implicit, so it doesn't need to be mentioned explicitly. Using "child" in the "offspring" way of meaning is disingenuous in this particular debate because it only adds confusion, since all of a sudden we don't use the same terminology any more. This is why we insist that we use the right words at the right place. Do you understand this?

A fetus is capable of reasoning.

No. While a fetus will at some time during development begin having neural activity, that activity is random at first and an artifact of the developing brain. Development, that of the brain and of the entire fetus (and beyond) is a continuous process, and the brain especially will continue to develop pretty much one's entire life. But it is important to realize that while neural activity can be measured in a fetus after a certain stage, that doesn't mean anything because the brain is still only building and arranging itself. Research has shown that the ability to reason logically only begins to manifest in children roughly at the age of six (edit: years. Six years. Just to be completely clear).
kalisenpai
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kalisenpai
1,870 posts
Countess

So, I've been reading this thread for quite a while now, but now I wanted to ask all of you a question I was asked some time ago, when discussing this same topic with my friends.
Imagine you're in an assisted reproduction clinic. There's a huge fire and you have to escape. In your way out, you come across a three-year-old child and a cart with 1000 embryos, ready to be implanted and developed in a womb (i.e. all of them are viable). You can only save ONE of them (child or cart) before the fire reaches the three of you. What do you choose and why?
(I don't know if this has already been posted, before I started reading. If so, my apologies).

FishPreferred
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FishPreferred
3,173 posts
Duke

Assuming you can't just put the kid on the cart, it'd have to be the child. Embryos have no capacity to suffer, so unless the survival of the species is at stake, they are irrelevant.

Moegreche
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Moegreche
3,822 posts
Duke

@kalisenpai

Cases like this are really important to discuss and I love this one you have. When I have the pleasure of teaching ethics to undergraduate students, I notice a very strong tendency to have oversimplified answers and miss out on some interesting nuance.

To quickly answer your question, I--like Fish--would save the child. And for the same reason: avoiding suffering. This touches on a vital aspect of this case that a lot of people might overlook. It's not just about saving lives or who to save. The presence of a living, breathing child who is capable of suffering when she burns to death adds an important extra factor into the case. As a result, we're moving away from the 'raw intuition' we might want to get at here. The fundamental question needs to hit on saving 1,000 embryos versus saving 1 child. The introduction of suffering shifts that focus away in a dramatic direction and muddies the water.

Now, we could alter the case and make it so that the resulting deaths would not involve suffering. But there's still a lot of nuance left. One thing that anyone who values human life might be uncomfortable with is aggregating lives. In other words, if you value human life, you tend to not be super thrilled about more lives having more value. Just because a human life is worth X amount, it doesn't automatically follow that 10 lives are worth 10 times that amount. Buying into the aggregation idea leads down a path of being okay with sacrificing one person to save others. Actually, 'okay' is too weak a word here. If human life has value for its own sake and we're aggregating that value, then you would be morally required (the story goes) to sacrifice one person to save others.

This ties into another tricky point here: moral obligation. Now, to be fair, you phrased the question as what we would do--not what we ought to do. I'm fine with that, as far as it goes. But it does overlook a lot of nuance (sorry, I can't think of a better word) in how that question comes down. There are at least 4 possibilities:

1) You are morally obligated to save the child. Failing to do so is wrong.
2) You are morally obligated to save the embryos. Failing to do so is wrong.
3) You are morally obligated to save either the child or the embryos. Either option is permissible, but failing to save both is wrong.
4) You have no moral obligation to save or not save anyone. You only need to save yourself.

These options do fall into the 'why' part of your question, but I think a lot of people overlook this (in my experience, at least). People will say, "I would do X because it's the right thing to do." But, for whatever reason, they don't consider whether failing to do X is wrong. I imagine that's because a lot of people think about this case in terms of (3) above--as long as you're doing your best to save one of them, either option is morally permissible. But why would that be? Surely, we should be able to say with clear conviction why doing X is not only morally correct--but morally obligatory.

Anyway, just some quick thoughts on the case. As an aside, even without the suffering, I would still save the child. I wonder how things would shift if it came down to saving a child or a pregnant woman?

HahiHa
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HahiHa
8,212 posts
Regent

1) You are morally obligated to save the child. Failing to do so is wrong.

î That is how I would see the case. I hadn't thought about the aspect of suffering, but I agree with that, too.
kalisenpai
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kalisenpai
1,870 posts
Countess

The point I wanted to convey is that I haven't seen anyone -not even those who are against abortion- choose the option of saving the cart, even though " pro-lifers" state that the life of an embryo = life a of a child.

I wonder how things would shift if it came down to saving a child or a pregnant woman?

Regarding this, I feel it would be more similar to other ethical questions, like "would you push an obese person to railtrack in order to save another person who is walking through that railtrack?", in the sense that the "life value" of those people is more similar to each other, rather than when comparing a child life value to an embryo's.

n1njachikin
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n1njachikin
12 posts
Nomad

@FIshPreffered

So you speak of consciousness. WOnderful. You say that since babies aren't conscious (Yes, a baby, not a fetus, not a cluster of cells, a BABY) we can kill them. Alright, let's go with that.

Can we kill brain dead people or people in a coma? They aren't fully conscious either, does that give their mother the right to end their life? Obviously not. What's the difference?

Doombreed
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Doombreed
7,024 posts
Templar

So you speak of consciousness. WOnderful. You say that since babies aren't conscious (Yes, a baby, not a fetus, not a cluster of cells, a BABY) we can kill them. Alright, let's go with that.

I am just gonna point out that this is a vicious strawman, the position you describe being wholly unrelated to what Fish said (who btw, has not made his opinion known on the subject anyway, merely argues against Ntech)

FishPreferred
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FishPreferred
3,173 posts
Duke

So you speak of consciousness. WOnderful.
No. You just pulled that out of literally nowhere. I was referring to the ability to suffer, which is possessed by the child and not the embryos. The consequence of rescuing the child is that 1000 living things will be destroyed without ever suffering. The consequence of saving the embryos is that a helpless child dies in horrible agony.

You say that since babies aren't conscious [...]
No, I don't. You probably shouldn't misattribute people like that.

Can we kill brain dead people or people in a coma? They aren't fully conscious either, does that give their mother the right to end their life? Obviously not.
It generally is up to close family members to make those decisions for such patients.
Ntech
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Ntech
258 posts
Shepherd

Special pleading. Once again, you're relying on the assumption that the two should be treated differently instead of giving us a reason to do so.

Treated differently? I don't understand what you're referring to.

No, [the fetus] isn't [capable of reasoning]. That's just ridiculous.

Merriam Webster:

Capability: a feature or faculty capable of development.

1 Legally, no, [you may not kill me in my sleep,] but that's a consequence of my status as a legal person; something a fetus does not have.

The law doesn't have a clause negating the right of a fetus, for example "The right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness excepting those of a fetus..."

2 Inability to express consent ≠ no power of consent.

A plant is unable to express consent, thus, does it have power of consent?

3 A fetus is not "the life of another".

I didn't say "A fetus is the life of another," but expressed the killing of the fetus as taking the life of another.

and a fetus is not any such thing,

You deny that a fetus is the result of veneral relations between a man and a woman?

without her consent,

It was by her consent that the fetus was produced there in the first place. May we take the life of someone whom we find in our house, who poses us no threat?

I am not the same as a fetus.

No, you are not. You are a somewhat developed fetus, now known as a human, possessing both intellectual facilities and knowledge, the whole of which is your person.

Only a few scientists would be so ignorant of what autonomy means.

A fetus has its own unique DNA, something unique to a separate life-form. If it were a part of its mother, its DNA would be hers.

There is no word in existence that can be defined without the use of any words that can also be defined through it.

I do not challenge the words involved in the definition of Happiness, but rather the redundancy. I do not cite words, but the ideas represented by said words.

@HahiHa

Do you understand this?

Yes, I do. But I shall reject the withholding of "child" from a fetus wherever it is applied.


While a fetus will at some time during development begin having neural activity, that activity is random at first and an artifact of the developing brain...

Merriam Webster:

Capability: a feature or faculty capable of development.

@Kalisenpai

What do you choose and why?

If both were equally capable of being saved, I would choose the embryos, for that's the way to save the most lives. While the child is more acutely capable of suffering, it possesses as much of a right to live as the embryos, and the embryos number greater than the child.

@FishPreferred

It generally is up to close family members to make those decisions [to kill a 'brain-dead' person] for such patients.

Yes, it generally is up to them. Yet because they can kill doesn't make it right to kill. The unjustified killing of a person is wrong.

HahiHa
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HahiHa
8,212 posts
Regent

It was by her consent that the fetus was produced there in the first place.

Only if she wanted the pregnancy, and those cases tend to be irrelevant when talking about abortion. For obvious reasons.

You are a somewhat developed fetus,

The term fetus explicitly defines the stage from the ninth week after fertilization until birth. Any born human is, by definition, not a fetus.

A fetus has its own unique DNA, something unique to a separate life-form. If it were a part of its mother, its DNA would be hers.

You confused the terms autonomy and identity (as in genetic identity). They are not the same (d'uh).

Yes, I do. But I shall reject the withholding of "child" from a fetus wherever it is applied.

So you refuse to use clear and appropriate terminology. ...

Remember when I said that pro-lifers tend to use appeals to emotion as well as straight-out false information? You were offended by that, and I said "OK, then prove me wrong". ... You effectively proved me right. Thanks.

Merriam Webster:
Capability: a feature or faculty capable of development.

1. I reject that suggestive definition. You're grasping at straws.

2. The fact remains that reasoning only develops years after birth, so during the entirety of gestation, the embryo and fetus do not possess the ability to reason, and consent is therefore not an option. The decision has to be made by someone else, and the mother is the obvious choice.

Obviously, during an abortion process, the mother will be counseled and accompanied by professionals and helpers, who may be able to better inform and reassure the patients. As a consequence many end up changing their mind. But in the end the decision is the mother's.
FishPreferred
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FishPreferred
3,173 posts
Duke

Treated differently? I don't understand what you're referring to.
Your argument does not demonstrate that tumors and fetuses should be treated according to different ethical standards; it only assumes that they should without any explanation. That's why it's special pleading.

Merriam Webster:
Capability: a feature or faculty capable of development.
Dictionary.com:
irrelevant adjective
1 not relevant; not applicable or pertinent
2 Law. (of evidence) having no probative value upon any issue in the case.

The law doesn't have a clause negating the right of a fetus, for example "The right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness excepting those of a fetus..."
Nor does it need one, because a fetus is not possessing of any such right.

A plant is unable to express consent, thus, does it have power of consent?
No, and while I don't believe you are actually having any difficulty understanding this, I will point out that you are affirming the consequent. Having the power of consent does not imply being unable to consent.

I didn't say "A fetus is the life of another," but expressed the killing of the fetus as taking the life of another.
Astonishingly, this has no effect on the incorrectness of your statement.

You deny that a fetus is the result of veneral relations between a man and a woman?
No, you're just making false attributions again. I will, however, point out that your statement is not true of all fetuses.

It was by her consent that the fetus was produced there in the first place.
Sometimes it is, but that consent does not extend to keeping the fetus there.

May we take the life of someone whom we find in our house, who poses us no threat?
In many cases, yes, but that's based on an entirely different set of legal minutia. The difference that you seem to be overlooking here is that a person's house is not, in fact, the same as a person's body.

You are a somewhat developed fetus, [...]
No. I am, as I told you, the state of a system. The origin of my body's cellular composition has no bearing upon my identity, not least because literally all of it was at some point or other harvested from various other organisms.

A fetus has its own unique DNA, something unique to a separate life-form. If it were a part of its mother, its DNA would be hers.
So? A tumor has its own unique DNA, something unique to a dysfunctional cellular reproductive mechanism. If it were a part of its host, its DNA would be his/hers.

Yes, it generally is up to them. Yet because they can kill doesn't make it right to kill. The unjustified killing of a person is wrong.
Yes, by sole virtue of being unjustified. Oh wow! Actions that are ethically wrong are ethically wrong actions! Astounding - but irrelevant, because this is not an example of unjustified killing.
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