Sane conversation about abortion

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I don't see how there can be a debate about defining life. Corporeal life is a binary state. You are either alive or you are not! Once an egg is fertilized, it is a life. Any attempt to define life by establishing an alternate time frame, e.g., the third trimester, is simply arbitrary! Why not define life as a person who is able to procreate? Why not define life as a person who is able to comprehend written and/or oral language? Why not define life as a person who meets specific criteria for anatomical beauty?

And to the scientists who are debating this issue, human life is in a constant state of motion guys! Every step in a person’s physical life is determined by the previous step. Therefore, a person cannot exist as a fully-grown adult unless he or she has once existed as a just-fertilized egg. If you are going to say that we can terminate a just-fertilized egg whenever we feel it is necessary or convenient than you must say the same about a fully-grown adult.

I've never heard a sound argument for supporting abortion (barring the whole rape/incest/mother's health scenarios) and I’m posting this in order to hear some sound, informed, respectful opinions from pro-choice people. So PLEASE, let us not allow this conversation to devolve into an expletive laden, name calling, waste of time. And for those who respond, please read my ENTIRE post.

Hope everyone is well in Thomland!

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PJProgressive
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Comments

The essential problem for this issue is that it resides in the realm of conscience and dogma, not in "science." Even if we come to a biological definition for "the beginning of life," we have no reason to transfer that concept to law. Life actually comes into being in a process of linked events covered by definitional ambiguity. Similar problems attend the definition of "death," and the moralists of logical positivism rebel against these facts of life and death.

Issues of conscience ought not to be made subjects of legislation because it amounts to theocracy and religious war. Respect for the rights of conscience can be established regarding private and personal behavior; but how one acts as a citizen in a democracy where religious freedom is established cannot be to abuse others to satisfy your "conscience." Your advocacy can only be directed toward persuading others to adopt your beliefs for their personal conduct, not to limit their civil rights and access to a choice you find immoral or distasteful but for which you cannot produce persuasive civil evidence and argumentation.

For example, the abolition of slavery may have been a religiously inspired moral idea against the common and accepted beliefs of secular culture. It was actually against the religion that justified slavery, not a truly secular realism. Slavery, by its nature, is repellent and contrary to our own sense of humanity. Religious intuition led to secular acceptance of the justice and authority of the moral insight. It made serious social, political, economic and cultural sense to abolish the right to buy and sell others. We need to extend that insight to our present economy, but the point is that the evidence of human life made slavery "peculiar' and unacceptable.

There is serious dispute about the right of a woman to control the choices relevant to her own body and health when pregnant with "another life." Paternalism, patriarchy and misogyny continue to infect the discussion where "an innocent fetus" is posed against "the health of the mother" and the latter is presumed to be a "sinner" violating the primary canons of Nature were she to choose to abort any particular fetus.

In the first place, there is no theological integrity to arguing that the fetus can be an "innocent person." Kerry, here is a great place to appreciate Original Sin. The idea that the fetus can make universal and unlimited demands upon the biological "owner" of the womb is morally flawed. Human relationships are mutual, and nowhere is the life at risk of socially sanctioned killing more cared for than by pregnant women facing the choice of abortion. Compared to soldiers or accountants, women give the fetus serious humanity even when abortion is the choice. Not being able to be a parent able to receive a child with joy is a serious human predicament which needs our respect and support.

Second, abortion tends to displace real issues of the abuse of power, killing and injustice in social and economic justice. Opposition to abortion has not been linked to opposition to war or to caring for the homeless and others left to die by the powers that be. The Catholic Bishops will excommunicate an advocate of choice or gay marriage while they drink with war profiteers and banksters. Agents of the Culture War ignore the abuses of institutional and structural power while they put the focus on personal issues of human sexuality. Back to the boardroom and out of the bedroom, NOW!

Third, when the opponents of abortion devote half the effort they use to disrupt and divide to actually making abortions rare, if we can keep the safe and legal, we could find some common ground in removing the obstacles to being a parent faced by a lot of women. At the same time, the opponents need to have some decent perspective on what constitutes "the Holocaust" and why their rhetoric has been so overwrought and offensive. In the Culture War Mythology, failing to follow their dogma makes God angry with America. What balderdash! Majoring in minors does offend the God of the Bible who really cared about the abuses of power while being very patient and graceful with our personal demons.

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DRC
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I don't deny that human life begins with the joining of egg and sperm. I don't think anyone can argue that. My problem with the abortion agenda amongst certain individuals is that they put the emphasis on punishing and very little emphasis on preventing. Blowing up an abortion clinic is a godly thing to do and providing condoms is an ungodly thing to do. Once an unwanted child is born they no longer care about that particular human life.

The same people (in general) that spend their Saturday mornings picketing with their signs of an unborn fetus are the same people that vote to cut food stamps and welfare that would help promote the good health of a newborn baby. The human race is one fucked up experiment gone wrong.

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Bush_Wacker
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Jun. 25, 2011 7:53 am

A zygote is alive but it is not a life...sorry. Calling a fertilized egg a life implies that there is some conciousness. Furthermore, when one life is parasitic upon another, the host is generally considered to be free to evict the life form that drains it, even if it costs the parasite its life. Unless, of course, that parasitic life form is a human fetus and not a tape worm and it feeds from its host in the United States or another equally theocratic country.

Also, as Bush Whacker pointed out, the "pro-life" movement is rife with hypocricy, as it's members are generally conservative and, thus, advocate other policies that have caused the deaths of many millions through neglect or overt violence.

I've tried to wrap my mind around the pro-life perspective but there are abundant problems were society to ever revert to a priority system that values four human cells over actual, completely formed, human beings, the least of which being the cost of millions of unwanted children the most of which being the loss of individual liberty to control who or what is allowed to occupy ones body. Criminalizing abortion is akin to legallizing the societal slavery of women.

Abortion IS birth control. It will happen with or without society's permission because even when men don't understand the consequences of unwanted children, women seem to grasp the idea. The question is not is a fetus alive but whether the mother's life and liberty is more valuable to us, as a nation. I think it's a no brainer.

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D_NATURED
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Oct. 20, 2010 8:47 pm

In brief, the "pro-life" advocate bases his or her opinion on the false notions that life is the ultimate value and that the life of a fetus is superior to that of a woman. We may not consider any other values in our discussion other than those which apply to the fetus. Left out of consideration, for the anti-choice advocate, must be any weighing of costs and benefits to all involved. Most glaringly left out of their view is the actual personhood of the woman —rationality, autonomy, and self-consciousness— compared to the potential, but not yet realized, personhood of a fetus. Instead, the anti-choice view equates the personhood of mother and fetus, which, in my opinion, wrongly states the reality, while fully undermining the equal status of women in society by denying them control over their reproductive destinies.

Denied control over her reproductive destiny, a woman suffers losses of freedom, autonomy, independence, equal opportunity with men to pursue education or career, and so on, that is, life. If you are not a woman, you might not fully comprehend the depth of despair such a denial represents. It is an injustice, plain and simple. And contraception fails too often to be a viable answer.

Abortion is a civil rights issue, not a moral issue. Having said that, my advocacy for abortion refers to unlimited access to abortion prior to viability; after that, the life and health of the woman must be considered first, while placing greater weight to the interests of the fetus than before viability. In my state, abortion after the first trimester is still regulated, as it should be. Prior to viability, the decision must be up to the woman, or we're in Naziland.

Zenzoe
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

The argument that life doesn't begin until some specific number of weeks after conception defined by various factors of development holds no water for me. Life does begin at conception.

That said, safe and legal abortions are acceptable because unsafe and illegal abortions are not. Until our society can adequately provide for not only the newborn baby and mother, but can provide for that child through adulthood until death, the argument to legally force births after conception holds no water.

I am personally opposed to abortion and do not see it as an option I would ever recommend to anyone with the rare exceptions of rape, incest and health. I also realize that other people have views that are not congruent with mine and are not necessarily of the same opinion of when life begins.

It seems to me that splitting hairs on the semantics of when life begins and the related theological aspects is a way to fit the acceptance of abortion into a justifiable moral framing. I don't require that to justify my acceptance. I also don't find it necessary to have my personal beliefs become the law of the land either.

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Laborisgood
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Reality check folks, the medical procedure called abortion will be available somewhere to people who want it and can afford it, regardless of what they believe. That is a fact of life. The only thing that any law regulating it does is make it harder and more expensive to do, it doesn't stop it. If government can force all women that get pregnant to carry that pregnancy to term, irregardless of any mitigating factors, why can't that same government force all men who father a child to have a vasectomy. Of even more insideous, require that all male children born alive who's parents are below a certain income have a vasectomy at the time of circumcision? For any so-called smaller government republican, conservative or libertarian to support the criminalization of any medical procedure is the height of hypocrisy. Convicted hypocrits in elected positions or running for public office should be made to stand in front of their offices with a sign around their neck indicating what they are hypocritical about and have a photograph taken and placed in the public media

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Fred Wilder
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Oct. 23, 2011 7:03 am
Quote PJProgressive:

Once an egg is fertilized, it is a life.

Well, if you actually read the oral arguments brought out in the Supreme Court decision of Roe vs. Wade, you will get that the basic problem in considering that was defining at what stage in pregnancy determined human life (I used to have a copy of May It Please The Court that had the recordings of the oral arguments of some of the more influential Supreme Court decisions in the past including Roe vs. Wade--I think I gave that away to my lawyer daughter). They tried to consider it in terms of 'science'--but couldn't actually agree on what 'science' offered as the definition of 'human life'. They did point out that, if 'human life' were defined to be 'at conception', then, they couldn't let states 'play nilly-willy with such rights to life' and they would have to knock down laws in states like California and New York that already allowed elective abortions all the way to term at the time.

What I think Roe vs. Wade was really addressing (although I don't remember them saying it exactly in those terms) was when did a human life with rights begin--which is more a legal--and, to me, moral (I'll try to say more about that in a minute)--definition than it is a 'scientific' definition, anyway--although, admittedly, trying to apply its 'scientific' definition did seem to try to make it more natural. But, the problem with 'nature' in defining 'rights of humans before birth' is that nature doesn't seem to grant humans 'right to life' from conception in many cases. I was taught that, despite all the 'advancements' in medicine, 20% of all pregnancies end up in miscarriages, anyway--and that's basically always been the case (no matter how advanced the society--and it's worse in underdeveloped countries--sometimes I call those 'God's abortions'). And, had these miscarriages been considered as 'human life from conception', no society has ever treated such miscarriages as such. They're not named. The funeral home isn't called. No death certificate is issued. No investigation with regards to their untoward death has been done. So, there's been no claim in any society (even Catholic ones) to hold that 'human life starts at conception' because there's been no society to treat such miscarried deaths of fetuses as if any other human death in such a society. Only the recent claim of the self-righteous seem to make it so--and that will get to a moral aspect I think (is 'self-righteousness' a 'moral aspect'?).

Roe vs. Wade noted another point in the oral arguments--self-induced abortions (the most dangerous abortions of them all) have never been illegal. Laws against abortions have always been against whoever is helping the pregnant woman abort. So, it's not like 'rights' were taken away from the fetus because, if that were the case, then, as the most fundamental of all rights (if you don't have 'the right to life', you don't have 'the right to anything else'), even self-induced abortions should have always been illegal--and they weren't. You see, at least in American political and legal history, some of this did get down to 'the sanctity of the individual' as to its primary moral and legal basis--in abortion's case, which 'individual', which 'right'--and when? If it could not be determined when 'human life with rights' did begin--and there was at least present laws (in California and New York even before Roe vs. Wade) that said that the fetus had NO right to life until birth (giving the mother the right to abort to term) and past historical legal history that didn't claim 'fetal rights over mother's rights' when it came to self-abortions ever--then, Roe vs. Wade had to consider the opposite position, was the mother with an unwanted pregnancy having her rights restrained in those states that prevented elective abortions to be done by medical personel (and, unlike today's Supreme Court, at least these Supreme Court proceedings acknowledged that real individual rights to real individuals preempted all state and federal authorities to restrain or restrict such rights as the primary basis for American natural law based on 'natural individual rights'--not 'corporate personhood rights' as the present Gilded Age Supreme Court dictates)?

In Roe vs. Wade, the Supreme Court ended up somewhat 'arbitrarily' splitting the decision. In the first trimester, the woman had the right to elective abortions in any state in the nation. After that, the states could start imposing restrictions in the interest of the fetus. Some states (like Utah) stopped any elective abortion rights right after the first trimester. Some states (like California and New York) continued to allow abortions all the way to term. Texas, I think, made a fairly rational decision and decided to have elective abortions up to the point in the gestation where there has been viability of the fetus outside the womb documented--which is around 20 weeks (or half-way through a normal gestational period for human pregnancies)--and, because of the natural issues involved in pregnancy with the uterus and the developing fetus (which is why you can't have a test-tube baby grown outside the uterus now), medical science is no where near making viability any less outside the womb in the near future.

What has recently happened is the issue of 'partial birth abortions' being something 'against Roe vs. Wade'--which, if you actually read the deliberations of Roe vs. Wade, was never the case. Roe vs. Wade had always left it up to the states to determine if each state wanted to intervene on the fetus's behalf against the will of the pregnant mother (if she desired an elective abortion) after the first trimester--so, every state had the ability to pass laws against 'partial birth abortions' if it saw fit. But, now, those against 'partial birth abortions' (those 'all the way to term'), who usually were the ones in line with the 'fundamentalist constitutionalist' that, otherwise, would claim 'state's rights over federal rights', were now going to use federal authority to remove any state's right to determine if 'all the way to term' abortions were to be legal or not and make the Congress pass a federal law declaring them illegal (thus, giving the fetus a 'right to life' near term--something that Roe vs. Wade left up to each state to decide since they couldn't decide against California and New York at the time who already allowed elective abortions all the way to term and they couldn't 'scientifically' determine when a 'human life with rights' was to begin). It seems somewhat hypocritical how those that usually claim 'states rights over federal rights' now use the federal authority to preempt state laws--and, then, continue to claim 'state's rights over federal authority'.....but, that may just be me....however, when it comes to individual rights, I believe that they do have one thing right--individual rights preempt any state or federal authority to restrain or restrict them--in this case, it's the 'fetal right to life near term'......but, realize that such an implementation has to impose on the mother's right to determine her pregnancy status near term (something that some states used to give her the right to do before the new federally-imposed law against it--but, that's NOT specifically against Roe vs. Wade like they seem to claim--Roe vs. Wade has always allowed states to prevent elective abortions after the first trimester--but, left that up to each state).....sometimes 'contentions between individual rights' happen--I just hope we realize what we are up against and what we are doing when we 'decide' on someone's behalf.....which I think always has (or, perhaps should have) some moral character to it....'granting individual rights as much as acquiring individual rights' for oneself is, to me, a moral imperative as well as a legal one....

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Kerry
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote DRC:

In the first place, there is no theological integrity to arguing that the fetus can be an "innocent person." Kerry, here is a great place to appreciate Original Sin. The idea that the fetus can make universal and unlimited demands upon the biological "owner" of the womb is morally flawed. Human relationships are mutual, and nowhere is the life at risk of socially sanctioned killing more cared for than by pregnant women facing the choice of abortion. Compared to soldiers or accountants, women give the fetus serious humanity even when abortion is the choice. Not being able to be a parent able to receive a child with joy is a serious human predicament which needs our respect and support.

I'm not sure how that fits into this predicament, DRC. And, as far as political implementations go, I'm not really sure you have to go to 'Original Sin' to find it--the only aspect of 'Original Sin' that I would adhere to is exactly what you have said in other areas, it's a 'call to grace'. Anything else using 'Original Sin' as the premise to politically implement is abusive, oppressive, and dogmatic as far as I'm concerned. Why bring 'Original Sin' in this to begin with? Unless you are using 'Original Sin' in St. Augustine's primary manner as described in his book, Confessions, which claimed that 'sexually activity without intent on procreativity is always "sinful"--and, in fact, the very proof that Jesus had to be born from a virgin, immaculately conceived, to claim the sinless perfection of God'--a claim more to impose the birth of all pregnancies against any will of the pregnant woman to have the child--something still done by those who want 'moral decisions' to be dictated to them more so than understood (and willed) by them (remember, I live near the Texas-Mexican border, I see how the influence of religion for 'sex to mean only having babies' up against the peer pressure to 'have sex for fun' has resulted in many pregnancies when the parents aren't ready to carry such responsibilities--and I see those results as immoral).

My 'individually moral' claim is fairly simple--perhaps too simple for some to believe its basis--and that being, if possible, can you imagine yourself in any position where you could have an unwanted pregnancy that you would want to electively abort. If you can imagine that possibility, then, I see it as hypocritically immoral to prevent such a choice in another person. Period. And, that's even before you describe it in issues of 'opposing rights' as Roe vs. Wade brings out.

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Kerry
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Zenzoe:

Abortion is a civil rights issue, not a moral issue.

Actually, I think all 'rights' have a moral basis to them as can be determined in natural law by any thinking person intent on determining the moral and ethical principles of such rights. In abortion's case, unless the person making such claims against elective abortions actually has a mechanism in place to take over that pregnancy from the mother, and unless that person making such claims against elective abortions has in place some social network to care for unwanted children potentially abused in such unwanted pregnancy situations, then the decision to 'prevent abortions' under such contexts is, to me, immoral--not just a 'civil rights' issue. It becomes 'part of the problem'--not 'part of the solution'....and, self-righteously, it offers no such solution unless these stipulations are met. Now, is 'self-righteousness' a 'moral aspect'--or a hypocritical aspect claiming to be 'moral'? I think you know my answer....

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Kerry
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Kerry, the simple answer to why the person must be a sinner is that you cannot have human relationships between innocent and sinner persons. Becoming a person includes entering the moral finitude and limitation of being. Nobody has an absolute right over anyone else. A baby may command a lot of maternal love, but there are limits in human reality to her obligation to the infant. For example, the fleeing refugees where a mother must smother a crying child to save everyone else.

The "innocent fetus" has a legal trump card to use against the obviously sexually active mother, to bring the moralistic fog to the debate. Misogyny begins when the contest is stacked against her and the "innocent fetus." If your theology is that sinning is some act done by those who have enough time to grow up and get to it, you miss the moral and ethical framework of relationships that make conscience so important.

I cannot help the fact that you insist on treating Original Sin as an issue of guilt rather than of grace. It might help to note that "free will choice" leads us to believe that we are the authors of our own salvation and have the know how to save others, if they will just do what we have done. Much as I like the idea that we are active moral and intellectual agents of moral responsibility, I think a touch of humility and wonder about salvation is more than healthy.

In the case of abortion, it helps us not to believe that we know the answer for any woman facing her own choice. We can only support her and her family and try to make the world more welcoming for children. We cannot be part of making her fetus her moral antagonist.

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DRC
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote DRC:

Kerry, the simple answer to why the person must be a sinner is that you cannot have human relationships between innocent and sinner persons.

You seem to be describing this as if the fetus were already a 'person'--which ignores much of what Roe vs. Wade contended with and appears to comply with the assertion that the fetus is a person complete with all 'inherent individual rights'. And, as the deliberation of Roe vs. Wade contended with, if that is the case, then, since 'right to life' is a necessary component for all other rights to exist, the Supreme Court needs to knock down all laws allowing any abortions--even self-induced ones. So, again, why introduce 'Original Sin' in this at all? Are we going to get to 'all sex without having babies in mind is sinful' and, therefore, despite the intent of the sexual act, all results of such 'deserve birth'? With that, I think that you are treading on a situation that appears to contradict your own position on this...

Quote DRC:

Nobody has an absolute right over anyone else.

Same point. Is that to mean that the pregnant mother with an unwanted child can't 'carry her right to end that pregnancy before birth' if she so desires? After all, the act is fairly 'absolute'....and, if the fetus has a 'right to life' at conception, that should be exactly what happens--no more elective abortions....

Quote DRC:

A baby may command a lot of maternal love, but there are limits in human reality to her obligation to the infant. For example, the fleeing refugees where a mother must smother a crying child to save everyone else.

I know how you like to speak in terms of 'communal spirit', but, again, that mother can also be seen to smother that child to save herself. Again, if you don't contend with every aspect of what you are proposing, you'll miss that point--and you'll miss the point that 'communal spirit' can sometimes be imposed oppressively in its political context. Now, what defines 'oppression'? And, does 'oppression' have a moral context?

Quote DRC:

If your theology is that sinning is some act done by those who have enough time to grow up and get to it, you miss the moral and ethical framework of relationships that make conscience so important.

Well, 'Original Sin theology' is not 'my theology'. The point that you are missing is that 'rights of conscience' also carry with it 'obligations of personal responsibility'--and the issue of unwanted pregnancies bring this out like no other issue in my opinion....

Quote DRC:

I cannot help the fact that you insist on treating Original Sin as an issue of guilt rather than of grace.

I grant the 'call to grace' it offers. I've said that. But, it is also implicit in the perspective 'Original Sin' to use guilt as a justification to impose. It's the matter of imposition and any such justification (especially in its political context) that I am speaking about. I'll leave the rest of your remarks in that paragraph to its theological ruminations--and it's not that I am 'absolutely against it' in its theological context. I am against its form of justification to impose politically....

Quote DRC:

In the case of abortion, it helps us not to believe that we know the answer for any woman facing her own choice. We can only support her and her family and try to make the world more welcoming for children. We cannot be part of making her fetus her moral antagonist.

I agree with that. And, unless and until the propositions you give in this above statement are met, I give the mother facing the responsibility in that pregnancy the right to decide it for herself. You seem to have a problem with 'that decision' on its own and in any moral context that you seem to want to proclaim. I don't....in fact, I claim any pretension against it is immoral unless the one stating it is offering such responsibility as to what the expectant mother is having to consider for the child she is expecting....

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Kerry
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I agree, a life has begun at the union of sperm and egg. I do not believe it is in fact a human being until it has reached the point of being able to survive out of the womb. Those are just my thoughts. One problem I have is what right the government has telling a woman what she can ad cannot do with her body. Then there is the fact that most of the right to lifers are the same bunch screaming "fry him" when a person is sent to the death chamber. I guess that is a different life form. Just my simple thoughte

ardubya
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Aug. 18, 2010 12:03 pm
Quote Kerry:
Quote Zenzoe:

Abortion is a civil rights issue, not a moral issue.

Actually, I think all 'rights' have a moral basis to them as can be determined in natural law by any thinking person intent on determining the moral and ethical principles of such rights. In abortion's case, unless the person making such claims against elective abortions actually has a mechanism in place to take over that pregnancy from the mother, and unless that person making such claims against elective abortions has in place some social network to care for unwanted children potentially abused in such unwanted pregnancy situations, then the decision to 'prevent abortions' under such contexts is, to me, immoral--not just a 'civil rights' issue. It becomes 'part of the problem'--not 'part of the solution'....and, self-righteously, it offers no such solution unless these stipulations are met. Now, is 'self-righteousness' a 'moral aspect'--or a hypocritical aspect claiming to be 'moral'? I think you know my answer....

I absolutely agree that rights have an ethical basis. When I used the word "moral," I meant it in the religious sense.

My thinking on this subject is based on the weighing of all the factors relevant to a pregnancy, that is, the effects of a decision to have an abortion or not to have an abortion, and the effects of bringing a pregnancy to term. I see huge ethical problems left out of the discussion, where the thinking involves an absolute, authoritarian approach, i.e., one that involves notions of "God's innocent child," and the rest of that crap. The main huge ethical issue, well-discussed by others here, involves the appropriation of that which rightly belongs to the woman —her interest in what happens to and within her own body and future life— by authorities and the law, as well as by men in particular who have no business making decisions about what women should do with their pregnancies, when men are incapable of getting pregnant themselves, and thus safe from the dangers, costs and responsibilities of such. In short, it isn't anyone's business but the women involved.

Right-wing authoritarians will always avoid a nuanced approach to solving ethical issues, in the service of hierarchy (mostly patriarchal) and whatever authority they subscribe to. The "baby killer" meme must overwhelm all other framing of the conversation, thus we get the issue of when "life" begins, so that they can come to the conclusion that abortion is murder. For me, the answer to that is to own it: "Try to imagine how little I care," and then refuse to discuss it from their framing. This is difficult, because there's nothing so rabid as a mind bent on "rescuing babies."

Btw, Kerry, I don't know why you keep insisting abortion is legal past the first trimester, all the way to term, in California. This is simply not the case: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_California_law_deadline_for_a_lega...

Zenzoe
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Zenzoe:

Btw, Kerry, I don't know why you keep insisting abortion is legal past the first trimester, all the way to term, in California. This is simply not the case: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_California_law_deadline_for_a_lega...

Maybe I wasn't being clear, Zenzoe--and, maybe I am wrong in that assessment, but the reason why Roe vs. Wade was considered as an issue worthy of Supreme Court review was the point that some states (and I do remember it as California and New York, specifically) already allowed elective abortions. Now, whose 'rights' were being trampled on in that positioning? I know at one point, California did allow abortion all the way to term because I remember discussing this very issue (a popular one for me) with a California lawyer who, also, was a Catholic that believed no elective abortions should be allowed--even believed that miscarried fetuses has souls that went to heaven that the parents would recognize when they got there. In that discussion (over 10 years ago), that lawyer pointed out to me that California was sort of schizophrenic when it came to the rights we were discussing (and generally agreed upon--just not the setting), California still allowed abortion all the way to term--but, at the same time, charged anyone with murder if an assault ended in a miscarriage of the fetus even if the mother was OK. I agreed that that didn't seem very 'rational'--even might have added that maybe Californians smoke too much dope to 'be rational'....8^)......California law has probably changed since then on when to allow elective abortions. That was about at the time the federal law preventing partial birth abortions nationally was being considered, anyway.....

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Kerry
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I do believe, Kerry, the law has been changed since your discussion with your lawyer friend. However, I have not been able to find the exact law, or laws...yet.

The fact of viability comes into play, I would think, where murder charges are brought against the perpetrator of an assault that results in a miscarriage, even though I see the unfortunate implications for the pro-choice movement of such. Viability does complicate the picture, don't you think? By the time a fetus reaches the point where it can feel pain, or the point where it can survive outside the womb, its interests must also be taken into consideration. Somehow it becomes just too difficult to ignore ethical considerations that involve a being that can feel and, separated from its mother, survive. You wouldn't advocate killing a baby outside the womb, would you? (The question of fleeing refugees notwithstanding.) Still, I insist a mother's interests must be paramount. So much can happen; so many different realities exist; things go wrong with pregnancies, and forcing a woman to endure a pregnancy can produce a nightmarish result. It's why we are pro-choice.

Zenzoe
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote ardubya:

I do not believe it is in fact a human being until it has reached the point of being able to survive out of the womb.

Take a closer look a your average 6 month old or 2 year old and you will see that left alone for any period of time they would not be able to survive very long.

If you take a look at the trust fund flea-baggers currently occupying most city centers at the moment, you will observe that not being able to survive without parental help can last well into the twenties!

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Calperson
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Dec. 11, 2010 10:21 am
Quote Zenzoe:

Viability does complicate the picture, don't you think?

Oh, I don't take life--nor the right to life (nor any individual rights)--lightly, Zenzoe. A Ron Paul supporter was on this board not too long ago that stated that Ron Paul, an Ob/Gyn doctor that had delivered thousands of babies, was all for 'the sanctity of life beginning at conception'--but, added that Ron Paul was all for states deciding how to handle that 'as the constitution meant it' (or something like that). I wrote a long response in that thread to point out two things. If Ron Paul had delivered thousands of babies, Ron Paul also must have taken part in hundreds of miscarriages--and to say that 'the sanctity of life begins at conception' misrepresents what really can happen in pregnancies naturally--and Ron Paul should know better. Also, if Ron Paul is such a big supporter of the 'sanctity of life at conception', and as Roe vs. Wade pointed out, Ron Paul should not allow the states to decide this--if Ron Paul really believes what he says about 'the sanctity of life beginning at conception', Ron Paul should be against any government altering such sanctity (state or federal) and, also, Ron Paul should know better. That post didn't last long on these boards. That supporter took that thread down after that--and appears to have left thomland. I didn't actually mean for that to happen (although I do love running off some of the people here)--some of what Ron Paul has said and written, I do agree with. This is not one of them....

The point of 'early gestational viability' gets more credit than it deserves. Most 20 week gestations do not survive--and many who do do not develope normally. The emotional and financial drain such issues can do to families is devastating--I've seen it happen. One I remember in residency quite well was of a family devoted to their child who was hydrocephalic, severely developmentally compromised, and literally, as the NICU called the child, a 'million dollar baby' who had been in there for months being tube-supported. The parents had already max'd out their insurance benefits and the insurance company subsequently dropped the coverage and both parents were working two jobs trying to pay for the medical bills--trying to find time just to visit their child. It was heartbreaking. It even made what I promote the most in the abortion issue ('rights of conscience' in line with 'obligations of personal responsibility') pale in comparison--and nature seems to have robbed these people of a normal family life. I realize the gravity of this situation. I don't think that some who claim 'right to life at all costs' do....

Quote Zenzoe:

You wouldn't advocate killing a baby outside the womb, would you?

In general, absolutely not. I have two grandsons that I would die for--but, I had a problem with how my middle daughter decided to bring them into this world (unmarried and without a job--I vehemently rejected her choice--but she took the choice, anyway--she's now married to one of the fathers and I try to help as I can). My lawyer daughter who has had a hard time getting pregnant and staying pregnant is four days overdue right now--and everyone is expectantly waiting...

But, in certain situations, do you see a difference between 'killing' and 'letting die'? The real moral and ethical issues in this can be of a very 'delicate nature'.....

Kerry's picture
Kerry
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Kerry:
Quote Zenzoe:

Viability does complicate the picture, don't you think?

Oh, I don't take life--nor the right to life (nor any individual rights)--lightly, Zenzoe. A Ron Paul supporter was on this board not too long ago that stated that Ron Paul, an Ob/Gyn doctor that had delivered thousands of babies, was all for 'the sanctity of life beginning at conception'--but, added that Ron Paul was all for states deciding how to handle that 'as the constitution meant it' (or something like that). I wrote a long response in that thread to point out two things. If Ron Paul had delivered thousands of babies, Ron Paul also must have taken part in hundreds of miscarriages--and to say that 'the sanctity of life begins at conception' misrepresents what really can happen in pregnancies naturally--and Ron Paul should know better. Also, if Ron Paul is such a big supporter of the 'sanctity of life at conception', and as Roe vs. Wade pointed out, Ron Paul should not allow the states to decide this--if Ron Paul really believes what he says about 'the sanctity of life beginning at conception', Ron Paul should be against any government altering such sanctity (state or federal) and, also, Ron Paul should know better. That post didn't last long on these boards. That supporter took that thread down after that--and appears to have left thomland. I didn't actually mean for that to happen (although I do love running off some of the people here)--some of what Ron Paul has said and written, I do agree with. This is not one of them....

The point of 'early gestational viability' gets more credit than it deserves. Most 20 week gestations do not survive--and many who do do not develope normally. The emotional and financial drain such issues can do to families is devastating--I've seen it happen. One I remember in residency quite well was of a family devoted to their child who was hydrocephalic, severely developmentally compromised, and literally, as the NICU called the child, a 'million dollar baby' who had been in there for months being tube-supported. The parents had already max'd out their insurance benefits and the insurance company subsequently dropped the coverage and both parents were working two jobs trying to pay for the medical bills--trying to find time just to visit their child. It was heartbreaking. It even made what I promote the most in the abortion issue ('rights of conscience' in line with 'obligations of personal responsibility') pale in comparison--and nature seems to have robbed these people of a normal family life. I realize the gravity of this situation. I don't think that some who claim 'right to life at all costs' do....

Quote Zenzoe:

You wouldn't advocate killing a baby outside the womb, would you?

In general, absolutely not. I have two grandsons that I would die for--but, I had a problem with how my middle daughter decided to bring them into this world (unmarried and without a job--I vehemently rejected her choice--but she took the choice, anyway--she's now married to one of the fathers and I try to help as I can). My lawyer daughter who has had a hard time getting pregnant and staying pregnant is four days overdue right now--and everyone is expectantly waiting...

But, in certain situations, do you see a difference between 'killing' and 'letting die'? The real moral and ethical issues in this can be of a very 'delicate nature'.....

Boy, what coincidences! He's a doctor when it lends him credibility in other threads, and now, in this one, where law and baby issues are concerned, he has a lawyer daughter and one who was an unwed mother. I'll just bet he's got a family member who can lend his arguments maximum background bona fides on any subject people's minds can conjure up...

Once again, I think he's a self-appointed plant with an overall Lib agenda who's only here to gratify his ego by stirring the pot.

Ulysses's picture
Ulysses
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I realize that there is no easy answer that everyone can agree on. Life is messy, and religion makes it messier. However to place the existence of a fertilized egg or fetus as a moral absolute above the value of the woman bearing it, appalls me. Pregnancy, is a risk to the life of the mother, that is fact, like it or not. Assigning personhood and rights to a fetus and granting it what amounts to veto power over the mother's life is the ultimate in slavery. There will be the occasional woman who may have an abortion as a matter of convenience, and all the laws of the land will not change that. To write a law that would arbitrarily define when the value of the fetus is greater than the value of the mother would only make the situation worse.

If the people who want to ban all abortions, and prosecute women for murder would instead devote their time, energy, and money to supporting women during pregnancy and the children after they were born, the world would be a better place. Besides what would be their punishment for a woman who aborts a fetus, execution?? What irony.

dulcimerbird
Joined:
Aug. 16, 2010 12:06 pm
Quote Ullysses:

Boy, what coincidences! He's a doctor when it lends him credibility in other threads, and now, in this one, where law and baby issues are concerned, he has a lawyer daughter and one who was an unwed mother.

Again, Ulysses, do you have something to say? Remember, no matter what you think of me or for me, I will never agree that statistics represent official facts in any way--as I note above, there are always exceptions to the rule that need personal consideration. Remember that. Dream about it. Pray about it.....and, also remember that I am a leftist libertarian--but, let's not quibble (did I spell that right, Ulysses) over semantics as the 'selfless liberal' you are NOT.....

Kerry's picture
Kerry
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote dulcimerbird:

I realize that there is no easy answer that everyone can agree on. Life is messy, and religion makes it messier. However to place the existence of a fertilized egg or fetus as a moral absolute above the value of the woman bearing it, appalls me. Pregnancy, is a risk to the life of the mother, that is fact, like it or not. Assigning personhood and rights to a fetus and granting it what amounts to veto power over the mother's life is the ultimate in slavery. There will be the occasional woman who may have an abortion as a matter of convenience, and all the laws of the land will not change that. To write a law that would arbitrarily define when the value of the fetus is greater than the value of the mother would only make the situation worse.

If the people who want to ban all abortions, and prosecute women for murder would instead devote their time, energy, and money to supporting women during pregnancy and the children after they were born, the world would be a better place. Besides what would be their punishment for a woman who aborts a fetus, execution?? What irony.

Excellent post Dulcimerbird. Especially the ironic punishment for the crime.

Although religion is capable of making life messier, it is also capable of simplifying life as well.

Laborisgood's picture
Laborisgood
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
...and, also remember that I am a leftist libertarian--

That statement confirms that you are a walking oxymoron, as well as a moron in general.

Ulysses's picture
Ulysses
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Kerry's examples regarding the complexities surrounding pregnancy illuminated the issue nicely, or so it seemed to me as I read his post #18. But then along came Ulysses, and I had to smile: We can always count on Ulysses for direct, unequivocal communication. Whatever, whoever sees the other correctly (both?), I would also like to know what Ulysses thinks on the subject of abortion.

I too liked dulcimerbird's strong denunciation of fetal "rights" of personhood above the rights of women. But have you ever been able to get a "pro-life" advocate to address that issue? Impossible. They're immune to the notion that banning abortion would reduce women to the status of slaves. In their world view, the purpose of woman is to subordinate her life to all those others around her. Her highest purpose is self-sacrifice. Period.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Zenzoe:

Kerry's examples regarding the complexities surrounding pregnancy illuminated the issue nicely, or so it seemed to me as I read his post #18. But then along came Ulysses, and I had to smile: We can always count on Ulysses for direct, unequivocal communication. Whatever, whoever sees the other correctly (both?), I would also like to know what Ulysses thinks on the subject of abortion.

My views on abortion and on women's rights are virtually the same as yours.

I too liked dulcimerbird's strong denunciation of fetal "rights" of personhood above the rights of women.

I concur.

But have you ever been able to get a "pro-life" advocate to address that issue? Impossible.

They won't seriously address any points or issues that they think have any possibilities of attenuating their arguments. I've long suspected that most people who respond to arguments which disturb them in that way are the same people who, when they're losing a debate and begin to realize it, start talking over their opponents in stentorian voices and walk away, proclaiming themselves victorious or muttering, "You just can't tell him/her anything." There's probably a doctorate in it for any enterprising psych student who cares to document that positive correlation and its psychological ramifications.

They're immune to the notion that banning abortion would reduce women to the status of slaves. In their world view, the purpose of woman is to subordinate her life to all those others around her. Her highest purpose is self-sacrifice. Period.

Apparently that even extends, in some cases, to women as American citizens exercising their right to vote. About five years ago, while doorbelling for politicians and various issues, a rather frail looking woman who answered her door told me that I should come back and speak with her husband, because he read the voters' pamphlets and made all the choices for both of them and that she then simply filled out her ballot per his instructions. She wasn't interested in discussing anything I had to say, you see, because theirs was a "Christian" home and that was his province. The house was nondescript and well-kept but worn, as were the grounds. They were obviously lower middle class or working class people. The yard bore a Bush/Cheney sign.

Go figure.

Ulysses's picture
Ulysses
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Zenzoe:
Quote Kerry:
Quote Zenzoe:

Abortion is a civil rights issue, not a moral issue.

Actually, I think all 'rights' have a moral basis to them as can be determined in natural law by any thinking person intent on determining the moral and ethical principles of such rights. In abortion's case, unless the person making such claims against elective abortions actually has a mechanism in place to take over that pregnancy from the mother, and unless that person making such claims against elective abortions has in place some social network to care for unwanted children potentially abused in such unwanted pregnancy situations, then the decision to 'prevent abortions' under such contexts is, to me, immoral--not just a 'civil rights' issue. It becomes 'part of the problem'--not 'part of the solution'....and, self-righteously, it offers no such solution unless these stipulations are met. Now, is 'self-righteousness' a 'moral aspect'--or a hypocritical aspect claiming to be 'moral'? I think you know my answer....

I absolutely agree that rights have an ethical basis. When I used the word "moral," I meant it in the religious sense.

The simple fact that abortion is seen as both a moral issue and/or a civil rights issue is why it is so contentious. Morality is not owned by religion and religion is not required for morality. Not just abortion, but atheism and homosexuality fall prey to this same phenomena. I personally find religion to be helpful in the guidance of my moral compass, but not mandatory.

It seems that the abortion argument essentially revolves around morality with either side staking out their turf around the moral high ground that they have defined. The definition of when life begins is just one of the many moral forks in the road as well as health, the ability to adequately support a life in our society, enslavement, etc.

Even if you truly see abortion as purely a civil rights issue which is devoid of any moral implications, you will be labeled as "immoral" by those who are on the other side of the argument. Morality gets forced into the argument regardless. Doesn't the justification of morality-free abortion require a definition of when life begins or prioritizing the lives of both mother and fetus?

Consensus on the morality of abortion will never be achieved, but an acceptable agreement as to it's legality can. I am personally opposed to abortion on moral grounds, but I am also morally opposed to the consequences of legally forced births of unintended pregnancies. Safe and legal abortions do not take away my choice to be pro-post-conception birth in my personal sphere, but the opposite is not true for people of a different mindset than me.

Abortion may not be considered moral within my church, but it can be considered moral within my society.

Laborisgood's picture
Laborisgood
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Since I started this thread, I might as well chime in after having read some thoughtful opinions relating to the issue of abortion.

I want to start off by saying that I am glad that most of us, except for the person that so smugly remarked, “if you actually bothered to read the oral arguments brought out in the Supreme Court decision of Roe vs. Wade” remained civil, non-judgmental, and didn’t make assumptions based on zero evidence. And by the way, to satisfy your arrogance, I went to school for constitutional law and American government, have read hundreds of oral arguments from the Supreme Court, Federal District Courts, and State Courts, including Roe, prepared briefs, etc., and I have to say, I have disagreed on the ruling(s) of the Court on many occasions. And while I do hold (most of) the Justices in high regard, they are not gods! I have my own opinion, which is based on education and experiences, just as they do. I can come to my own conclusions thank you very much! But I digress.

To call a fetus a parasite is, with all due respect to the individual who made this claim, wildly nonsensical. A fetus lives in a symbiotic relationship with its mother; it is not a parasite! Unlike a parasite, it is not feeding off of its host with the hopes of harming, weakening, or procreating, as most parasites do. Furthermore, no person knowingly engages in an activity where there is an overwhelming chance of contracting a parasite and takes little or no precaution yet still takes the risk anyway. And regardless of how we want to define the word parasite, to talk of a fetus as if it were a tapeworm, well, coming from a moral standpoint, a standpoint that in my case has absolutely NOTHING to do with religion, is quite sickening. I would think that any human being, no matter what he or she thinks about abortion, would have more respect for its own species than to view a fetus, a developing human being, as a mere parasite! I for one like to think of human beings as being somewhat more enlightened creatures then say tapeworms, hookworms, or whipworms, although from some of our thoughts, words, and actions, one can make an argument against this!

As to defining life, I still have not heard a viable alternative to what I originally posted. And I’m sorry; saying that one cannot define life is not a viable answer. If we cannot define life, death, reality, etc., then what is the point of any of this? Why care about who’s hungry and who’s not? Why care about who has healthcare and who does not? I’m sorry but I am not willing to submit to nihilism! Some of you agreed with me that life begins at conception but then said that you don’t think that a fetus, no matter how old, has the same rights as a person. Well then, please tell me, what is a person? Is a person simply a human being that can exist outside the womb? If that’s your argument, it seems quite hilarious that at one moment a nine-month-old fetus is not a person but then after a few-second-slide down the birth canal miraculously becomes a person. There should be a balloon drop and confetti and streamers in the hospital room just like when a person wins a prize for becoming the 100th customer!!! If you are not saying this, then please tell me, what is a person?

I also read that a fertilized egg does not have consciousness. How on earth can ANYONE make that claim? Is there any way to test the consciousness of a fertilized egg? I'm not a scientist so I may be stepping out of bounds here, but I'm almost positive that a fertilized egg responds to stimuli. I'm quite sure that a fetus, after a few months of development, displays a consistent sleep/wake cycle. From what I understand, these are both criteria for determining consciousness. I would be inclined to agree with this notion, but as a basis for a position that advocates, or at least sanctions, the destruction of human life, I find this to be a weak point from which to base an argument. And then what are we saying about those fully grown individuals who don’t seem to display consciousness? What about those in a coma? Are they fair game? Additionally, with regard to one of the points I originally made, “Every step in a person’s physical life is determined by the previous step. Therefore, a person cannot exist as a fully-grown adult unless he or she has once existed as a just-fertilized egg," I find it hard to gloss over the fact that every conscious human being was once a just-fertilized egg that may or may not have displayed consciousness.

And to the “a bunch of white men don’t have the right to tell me what to do with my body” argument that I so often hear and that was mentioned quite a few times: I know that this strikes a chord with a lot of women, and I do understand why this is a concern considering the centuries of male domination in societies across the globe. But with regard to this one particular area, I cannot agree. This is human life that we are talking about! For whatever reason, nature has chosen women to be the ones to carry the unborn child. Considering this, it is everyone’s concern, not just the concern of women, whether abortion is legal, illegal, partially illegal, etc. To say that all men, half of the entire species, are void from having a viable opinion on this matter simply because they are not the ones who carry the child, shows an arrogance on the part of women that I feel is simply a backlash to the aforementioned centuries of male domination. Men do not have the right to tell women what to do with their bodies, but when it comes to the continuation of our species, I think that men without question should have a say in the matter. And not that anyone said this in his or her post, but I recently heard a spokeswoman from a women’s rights group advocating the mandatory vaccination of young women with a drug that prevents HPV. Is that a violation of a woman’s rights or is that simply the government helping to protect the lives of young women (and apparently young men from what I’ve been reading)?

Where I am in agreement with everyone is with regard to the issue of the right preaching about the sanctity of life only to abandon those principles as soon as the fetus is born. All of the points mentioned, better health care (single payer if you ask me), expanding adoptive services (and yes, to “non-traditional” families as well), etc., are what we should strive for in a civil society.

Finally, thanks for the enlightening conversation everyone!!! This is a difficult subject to talk about and we should all be proud of the respect we have shown each other!!!

PJProgressive's picture
PJProgressive
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I would like to see "dogmatic" used to indicate a religious issue with morality retained for a much broader application to issues. "Moral" has tended to be lumped into the "individual" areas of human conduct, but not to the social. Even individual conduct in the social realms of institutional power and "fiduciary" responsibilities escapes the consideration of morality. Legality is sufficient here to pass, and even the enforcement of the law includes much winking and nodding.

When we consider the morality of the deficit, it is only the size of the debt left to our grandchildren that is cited as our collective guilt. Nothing is said about the way the debt came to be, where the money went or the responsibility of the lender to an honest deal. We are to pay our debts. It is the only moral choice. Wrong. The truly moral choice would be to save our neighbors from foreclosure and unemployment while telling the financial gambler banksters to take it in the shorts, not to short us as we go down.

Unlike the civil rights of gay and lesbian citizens or the right to conscience of a pregnant woman, the moral issues of debt, unemployment, healthcare access, etc., are debatable on secular evidence and social morality. No religious teaching can be made into law on theological or dogmatic terms. No doctrine can bind the conscience of anyone unwilling to follow it. Usury can be debated in terms of social morality, not because religion holds it to be allowed or not. We do not put prices on family members and enforcing a contract against a brother leads to soap operas and other stories of torn human context.

The responsibility of the rich for the poor in any society is much greater than we allow for. Projecting this failure to address the morality of power onto a sentimenalized concern for the fetus, the "innocent victim," and projecting macho bs homophobia with bad scriptural interpretations and repressed sexuality in the anti-gay "witch hunt redux" makes "morality" and "values voters" a parody of themselves. OWS is about the fundamental immoralities of our society, and they have nothing to do with "orgies" or drug parties even were that what was going on on the streets. They do have a lot to do with exploitative power and the acting out of dominators, including in porn and prostitution. But that goes on in the suites or in the homes of the Religious Right.

I want to get rid of the politics of conscience; but I want social morality and social reality to be the frame of our discussion of economics. Graeber opens the door and lets in the light about DEBT as in need of being forgiven when the choice is human beings or money. Contrary Dubya, "money does not trump peace" except in the world of Satan.

DRC's picture
DRC
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Ulysses:

Apparently that even extends, in some cases, to women as American citizens exercising their right to vote. About five years ago, while doorbelling for politicians and various issues, a rather frail looking woman who answered her door told me that I should come back and speak with her husband, because he read the voters' pamphlets and made all the choices for both of them and that she then simply filled out her ballot per his instructions. She wasn't interested in discussing anything I had to say, you see, because theirs was a "Christian" home and that was his province. The house was nondescript and well-kept but worn, as were the grounds. They were obviously lower middle class or working class people. The yard bore a Bush/Cheney sign.

Go figure.

Amazing, isn't it? "You haven't come a long way, Baby!" As you may have guessed, I could no more kowtow to a husband's views than I could genuflect before Donald Trump (which is basically what your "Christians" unknowingly do in that household).

PJ says, "As to defining life, I still have not heard a viable alternative to what I originally posted." A "viable alternative?" I don't suppose you'd like to translate that one into English? If you've been listening, really comprehending, you may have noticed the issue of when life begins is irrelevant, compared to the relevancy of a pregnant woman's reality. Let's say, sure, life begins at conception; or maybe life begins with the twinkles in the eyes of two lovers. What then? That's your cue to make abortion a capital crime, deserving of the death penalty? And how do you develop your logic for that? Is that really the world you wish to create, a world where women are sent away for life, or executed, for having a miscarriage?

PJ also doesn't understand why women —non-oppressed ones— bristle over the notion of men having an equal say in how they manage their reproductive destinies. Excuse me? Should anyone but you and your doctor have a say in whether or not you have a vasectomy? (...assuming you're male) Yes, a wife or lover might have some say in the matter, but it's really up to you, right? Should you be denied a vasectomy, in the interest of the continuation of the species?

And the "parasite" bit? One definition I saw has the word as, "an animal or plant that lives in or on a host (another animal or plant); the parasite obtains nourishment from the host without benefiting or killing the host. Thus, while I appreciate your tender feelings for human zygotes, I have to support D_Natured's use of the word. If it is at all possible, try to imagine what an unintended, unwanted pregnancy feels like, in every sense —physically, emotionally, even metaphorically— to a woman. Surely you can imagine how she might feel inhabited by an alien life. Or invaded by a parasite. Or occupied without her consent. Are you so without imagination you cannot empathize with what a woman would feel in such a circumstance? Are you so without respect for women as persons that you cannot see the superior relevance of her position to that of a zygote?

I think it's important to consider and balance relative harms —pain inflicted, pain felt— on all sides of the question. I don't consider a zygote to be a sentient being, not yet. And even if it is, its suffering upon being aborted is nothing compared to the suffering a forced pregnancy inflicts upon a woman. I shouldn't have to count the ways.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote PJProgressive:

To call a fetus a parasite is, with all due respect to the individual who made this claim, wildly nonsensical. A fetus lives in a symbiotic relationship with its mother; it is not a parasite! Unlike a parasite, it is not feeding off of its host with the hopes of harming, weakening, or procreating, as most parasites do.

Parasites, in general, do not "hope" to do anything except survive. Similarly, a human fetus will not spontaneously abort if it is doing harm to it's host (mother) and, in fact, will continue to feed until removed. What does that tell you about the fetus' hopes? No better than a tape worm's.

Furthermore, no person knowingly engages in an activity where there is an overwhelming chance of contracting a parasite and takes little or no precaution yet still takes the risk anyway.

Except sailors on leave...and others. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

And regardless of how we want to define the word parasite, to talk of a fetus as if it were a tapeworm, well, coming from a moral standpoint, a standpoint that in my case has absolutely NOTHING to do with religion, is quite sickening.

Tell me what sickens you about my comparison? How are you sickened by the mere idea I propose but not by the reality that your stance results in? Why on earth do you think there is a moral duty owed to a lump of cells over the living woman that hosts them? It sounds to me like your morality is just as dogmatic as any religion if you can't answer these questions.

I would think that any human being, no matter what he or she thinks about abortion, would have more respect for its own species than to view a fetus, a developing human being, as a mere parasite!

You said it there. A fetus is a "developing" human being, not a human being. We'll give them "developing rights".

Actually, though, you're dead wrong about me. It is because I DO have respect for my species that I choose to view the fetus as a parasite to be nurtured or not. This ridiculous religious devotion that so many humans have to the fetus is causing great harm to humanity. We are over populating, producing millions of unwanted children who go on to have millions more unwanted children all because we think these womb-bound tad poles are god's little gifts. The sooner we can get over our stupid, dogmatic, tad-pole fetish-as a species- the better off we'll be.

People who really value human life and spirituality value the parts that tad poles cannot enjoy. You can't hug a tad pole.

I for one like to think of human beings as being somewhat more enlightened creatures then say tapeworms, hookworms, or whipworms, although from some of our thoughts, words, and actions, one can make an argument against this!

Why are you more enlightened than myself because you choose to think warm fuzzy thoughts about these womb raiders? What a luxury it is for Westerners to sit around talking about protecting the lives of fetuses while every missed period in many African countries is a death certificate for children living and "developing". Those women don't fool themselves into thinking that god has given them a gift or that there is anything special about their tad poles. They know -as should you- that a parasite in the womb can mean untold suffering for the whole family when poverty is the pre-existing reality and when there is no honest debate about the subject of birth control, just empty emotional and religious laws. Tell those people how much you respect humanity.

As to defining life, I still have not heard a viable alternative to what I originally posted. And I’m sorry; saying that one cannot define life is not a viable answer. If we cannot define life, death, reality, etc., then what is the point of any of this? Why care about who’s hungry and who’s not? Why care about who has healthcare and who does not? I’m sorry but I am not willing to submit to nihilism! Some of you agreed with me that life begins at conception but then said that you don’t think that a fetus, no matter how old, has the same rights as a person. Well then, please tell me, what is a person? Is a person simply a human being that can exist outside the womb? If that’s your argument, it seems quite hilarious that at one moment a nine-month-old fetus is not a person but then after a few-second-slide down the birth canal miraculously becomes a person. There should be a balloon drop and confetti and streamers in the hospital room just like when a person wins a prize for becoming the 100th customer!!! If you are not saying this, then please tell me, what is a person?

Are you serious? You don't know what a person is? You're damned right something happens when the fetus comes down that birth canal. It gets seperated from it's host. At that point, anybody can care for it. It does not steal nutrition from, or risk the life of anyone else. I agree that there should be streamers and balloons but it's an imperfect baby delivery system. We must work with the system we have.

I also read that a fertilized egg does not have consciousness. How on earth can ANYONE make that claim? Is there any way to test the consciousness of a fertilized egg? I'm not a scientist so I may be stepping out of bounds here, but I'm almost positive that a fertilized egg responds to stimuli. I'm quite sure that a fetus, after a few months of development, displays a consistent sleep/wake cycle. From what I understand, these are both criteria for determining consciousness. I would be inclined to agree with this notion, but as a basis for a position that advocates, or at least sanctions, the destruction of human life, I find this to be a weak point from which to base an argument. And then what are we saying about those fully grown individuals who don’t seem to display consciousness? What about those in a coma? Are they fair game? Additionally, with regard to one of the points I originally made, “Every step in a person’s physical life is determined by the previous step. Therefore, a person cannot exist as a fully-grown adult unless he or she has once existed as a just-fertilized egg," I find it hard to gloss over the fact that every conscious human being was once a just-fertilized egg that may or may not have displayed consciousness.

When the body no longer displays any consciousness it is considered dead and rightfully so. We humans identify each other as animate beings. As for a fertilized egg being conscious... I think that responding to stimuli is not exactly the greatest standard for the expression of consciousness I've ever heard of.

Where I am in agreement with everyone is with regard to the issue of the right preaching about the sanctity of life only to abandon those principles as soon as the fetus is born. All of the points mentioned, better health care (single payer if you ask me), expanding adoptive services (and yes, to “non-traditional” families as well), etc., are what we should strive for in a civil society.

Finally, thanks for the enlightening conversation everyone!!! This is a difficult subject to talk about and we should all be proud of the respect we have shown each other!!!

Thanks to you too.

D_NATURED's picture
D_NATURED
Joined:
Oct. 20, 2010 8:47 pm
Quote PJProgressive:


I don't see how there can be a debate about defining life. Corporeal life is a binary state. You are either alive or you are not! Once an egg is fertilized, it is a life. Any attempt to define life by establishing an alternate time frame, e.g., the third trimester, is simply arbitrary! Why not define life as a person who is able to procreate? Why not define life as a person who is able to comprehend written and/or oral language? Why not define life as a person who meets specific criteria for anatomical beauty?

Then you should convert to Tibetan Buddhism and go study under the Dalai Lama, because inherent in your own definition lies the trap that you are grossly inconsistent if you don't give the same veneration to viral and bacterial disease organisms and malarial anopheles mosquitos, etc., that you give to human zygotes. You should also belong to all animal rights organizations and contribute to them, condemn animal research, and condermn hunting and fishing of all types. If you don't do these things, you are a hypocrite.

And to the scientists who are debating this issue, human life is in a constant state of motion guys! Every step in a person’s physical life is determined by the previous step. Therefore, a person cannot exist as a fully-grown adult unless he or she has once existed as a just-fertilized egg. If you are going to say that we can terminate a just-fertilized egg whenever we feel it is necessary or convenient than you must say the same about a fully-grown adult.

So is the process more important than dealing with the end result? We don't abort fully realized human beings (although in some cases, it may not be a bad idea), and fertilized eggs are NOT fully realized human beings -- they're eggs, fertile though they may be -- NOT people.

I've never heard a sound argument for supporting abortion (barring the whole rape/incest/mother's health scenarios)

Which it's not clear whether you do or don't approve of.

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Ulysses
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Bush_Wacker:

I don't deny that human life begins with the joining of egg and sperm. I don't think anyone can argue that. My problem with the abortion agenda amongst certain individuals is that they put the emphasis on punishing and very little emphasis on preventing. Blowing up an abortion clinic is a godly thing to do and providing condoms is an ungodly thing to do. Once an unwanted child is born they no longer care about that particular human life.

The same people (in general) that spend their Saturday mornings picketing with their signs of an unborn fetus are the same people that vote to cut food stamps and welfare that would help promote the good health of a newborn baby. The human race is one fucked up experiment gone wrong.

Absolutely on target!

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Ulysses
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote DRC:

The essential problem for this issue is that it resides in the realm of conscience and dogma, not in "science." Even if we come to a biological definition for "the beginning of life," we have no reason to transfer that concept to law. Life actually comes into being in a process of linked events covered by definitional ambiguity. Similar problems attend the definition of "death," and the moralists of logical positivism rebel against these facts of life and death.

Issues of conscience ought not to be made subjects of legislation because it amounts to theocracy and religious war. Respect for the rights of conscience can be established regarding private and personal behavior; but how one acts as a citizen in a democracy where religious freedom is established cannot be to abuse others to satisfy your "conscience." Your advocacy can only be directed toward persuading others to adopt your beliefs for their personal conduct, not to limit their civil rights and access to a choice you find immoral or distasteful but for which you cannot produce persuasive civil evidence and argumentation.

For example, the abolition of slavery may have been a religiously inspired moral idea against the common and accepted beliefs of secular culture. It was actually against the religion that justified slavery, not a truly secular realism. Slavery, by its nature, is repellent and contrary to our own sense of humanity. Religious intuition led to secular acceptance of the justice and authority of the moral insight. It made serious social, political, economic and cultural sense to abolish the right to buy and sell others. We need to extend that insight to our present economy, but the point is that the evidence of human life made slavery "peculiar' and unacceptable.

There is serious dispute about the right of a woman to control the choices relevant to her own body and health when pregnant with "another life." Paternalism, patriarchy and misogyny continue to infect the discussion where "an innocent fetus" is posed against "the health of the mother" and the latter is presumed to be a "sinner" violating the primary canons of Nature were she to choose to abort any particular fetus.

In the first place, there is no theological integrity to arguing that the fetus can be an "innocent person." Kerry, here is a great place to appreciate Original Sin. The idea that the fetus can make universal and unlimited demands upon the biological "owner" of the womb is morally flawed. Human relationships are mutual, and nowhere is the life at risk of socially sanctioned killing more cared for than by pregnant women facing the choice of abortion. Compared to soldiers or accountants, women give the fetus serious humanity even when abortion is the choice. Not being able to be a parent able to receive a child with joy is a serious human predicament which needs our respect and support.

Second, abortion tends to displace real issues of the abuse of power, killing and injustice in social and economic justice. Opposition to abortion has not been linked to opposition to war or to caring for the homeless and others left to die by the powers that be. The Catholic Bishops will excommunicate an advocate of choice or gay marriage while they drink with war profiteers and banksters. Agents of the Culture War ignore the abuses of institutional and structural power while they put the focus on personal issues of human sexuality. Back to the boardroom and out of the bedroom, NOW!

Third, when the opponents of abortion devote half the effort they use to disrupt and divide to actually making abortions rare, if we can keep the safe and legal, we could find some common ground in removing the obstacles to being a parent faced by a lot of women. At the same time, the opponents need to have some decent perspective on what constitutes "the Holocaust" and why their rhetoric has been so overwrought and offensive. In the Culture War Mythology, failing to follow their dogma makes God angry with America. What balderdash! Majoring in minors does offend the God of the Bible who really cared about the abuses of power while being very patient and graceful with our personal demons.

Closely reasoned, well-written, and accurate on all levels; an outstanding explication of below-the-surface issues.

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Ulysses
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I was unwilling to read this entire thread so if I am repeating information I apologize. I also apologize to all of you who have offerred insight which I will not be able to enjoy. Time is limited these days.

However, I thought I would chime in with a thought that I feel is often left out of the debates. I personally believe that life does begin at conception. I have never settled easily on a position in this debate but I do think there are some parts left out of them that need to be considered.

Part of the reason that pro-lifers' typical arguments are invalid is that they attempt to place the legal status of being a "life" only in this particular context. If you are going to call a fetus a "person" then you cannot have that legal status in regards to abortion and not in regards to something like Welfare. If you follow a pro-lifers arguments to their legal conclusion, then pregnant women should qualify for Welfare (Family assistance). I should legally be allowed to claim a fetus as a deduction on my taxes. Fetuses should be counted in the census. And so forth. In some ways, I don't mind all of this at all. For example, feeding a pregnant woman requires about 500-600 calries more a day than one who is not. Being able to claim a fetus as a deduction makes a lot of sense in some ways due to issues like this as does providing welfare assistance before birth.

BUT I garauntee you that no convservative is pro-life would ever be willing to concede any of that.

Second, is that pro-life legislation is often tied to anti-conctraception clauses. The contradictory nature of the conservative position on these issues just blows my mind.

1. Don't get pregnant if you can't afford or raise a baby. BUT we aren't going to give you access to contraception so you can make family planning decisions. We also are cutting planned parenthood.

2. Stay pregnant but you can't have health care or any monetary assistance to maintain the baby's health. We don't really give a crap about the health of the fetus just that it remains in your uterus.

3. Have the child but we don't give a crap if it goes hungry or has health care or education or anything for that matter. As long as it exists you are good. Screw you if you want paid maternity leave to make sure they get a good start in life and hells no to any childcare assistance. And by the way, you can only FLEX about 30-40% of what it actually costs to put them in day care.

We have the highest childhood poverty rate in the industrialized world - tied with China.

Personally, I would sign a pro-life bill tomorrow if it gave us universal health care to cover all medical expenses related to pregnancy, labor, and postpartum care. A year paid maternity leave. Ample funding for planned parenthood, youth sex education, and so many free condoms you can't even count. Etc. etc. etc.

Every time a conservative brings up "prolife" make sure you remind them of the unemployment rate and that our childhood poverty rate is 20%. That is 1 in 5 kids in the US in poverty. Fix that first. Then we'l talk about forcing people to birth children.

ah2
Joined:
Dec. 13, 2010 10:00 pm
Quote D_NATURED:

[quote]I've tried to wrap my mind around the pro-life perspective but there are abundant problems were society to ever revert to a priority system that values four human cells over actual, completely formed, human beings, the least of which being the cost of millions of unwanted children

The problems you describe are already here, not the least of which is that while the hypocrite bastards on the Right demand that zygotes be carried to term, they run like ants on a hot plate when it comes time for their GOP running dogs in Congress to enact humane legislation which would give those unwanted millions a hand up and a few crumbs. They want to force women to bring fully realized human beings into the world but as soon as they're born, they don't give a good goddam whether they live or die slow, agonizing deaths from want, disease, or neglect. Penultimate immorality based on an evil double standard.

Abortion IS birth control. It will happen with or without society's permission

Yes, it will, and many women will die from garage and back alley abortions wherein pregnancies are scraped out with coat hangers, as they were before Roe was decided. There's an economic twist to it, too. Before Roe, rich women and their pregnant out-of-wedlock daughters used to go abroad for abortions so they could keep them secret, and then lots of them, being Republicans, came right back home and began militating against the Roe decision from their bully pulpits in women's clubs and other high society forums. Their hypocrisy knows no bounds and embarrassment over that same hypocrisy is non-existent.

Ulysses's picture
Ulysses
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Kerry:
Quote DRC:

Kerry, the simple answer to why the person must be a sinner is that you cannot have human relationships between innocent and sinner persons.

You seem to be describing this as if the fetus were already a 'person'--which ignores much of what Roe vs. Wade contended with and appears to comply with the assertion that the fetus is a person complete with all 'inherent individual rights'. And, as the deliberation of Roe vs. Wade contended with, if that is the case, then, since 'right to life' is a necessary component for all other rights to exist, the Supreme Court needs to knock down all laws allowing any abortions--even self-induced ones. So, again, why introduce 'Original Sin' in this at all? Are we going to get to 'all sex without having babies in mind is sinful' and, therefore, despite the intent of the sexual act, all results of such 'deserve birth'? With that, I think that you are treading on a situation that appears to contradict your own position on this...

Quote DRC:

Nobody has an absolute right over anyone else.

Same point. Is that to mean that the pregnant mother with an unwanted child can't 'carry her right to end that pregnancy before birth' if she so desires? After all, the act is fairly 'absolute'....and, if the fetus has a 'right to life' at conception, that should be exactly what happens--no more elective abortions....

Quote DRC:

A baby may command a lot of maternal love, but there are limits in human reality to her obligation to the infant. For example, the fleeing refugees where a mother must smother a crying child to save everyone else.

I know how you like to speak in terms of 'communal spirit', but, again, that mother can also be seen to smother that child to save herself. Again, if you don't contend with every aspect of what you are proposing, you'll miss that point--and you'll miss the point that 'communal spirit' can sometimes be imposed oppressively in its political context. Now, what defines 'oppression'? And, does 'oppression' have a moral context?

Quote DRC:

If your theology is that sinning is some act done by those who have enough time to grow up and get to it, you miss the moral and ethical framework of relationships that make conscience so important.

Well, 'Original Sin theology' is not 'my theology'. The point that you are missing is that 'rights of conscience' also carry with it 'obligations of personal responsibility'--and the issue of unwanted pregnancies bring this out like no other issue in my opinion....

Quote DRC:

I cannot help the fact that you insist on treating Original Sin as an issue of guilt rather than of grace.

I grant the 'call to grace' it offers. I've said that. But, it is also implicit in the perspective 'Original Sin' to use guilt as a justification to impose. It's the matter of imposition and any such justification (especially in its political context) that I am speaking about. I'll leave the rest of your remarks in that paragraph to its theological ruminations--and it's not that I am 'absolutely against it' in its theological context. I am against its form of justification to impose politically....

Quote DRC:

In the case of abortion, it helps us not to believe that we know the answer for any woman facing her own choice. We can only support her and her family and try to make the world more welcoming for children. We cannot be part of making her fetus her moral antagonist.

I agree with that. And, unless and until the propositions you give in this above statement are met, I give the mother facing the responsibility in that pregnancy the right to decide it for herself. You seem to have a problem with 'that decision' on its own and in any moral context that you seem to want to proclaim. I don't....in fact, I claim any pretension against it is immoral unless the one stating it is offering such responsibility as to what the expectant mother is having to consider for the child she is expecting....

Why don't you go take some introductory courses in basic philosophy, ethics, and religion, so that people wouldn't have to first school you up in those areas just so you can argue with them in a half-intelligent manner?

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Ulysses
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote PJProgressive:As to defining life, I still have not heard a viable alternative to what I originally posted. And I’m sorry; saying that one cannot define life is not a viable answer. If we cannot define life, death, reality, etc., then what is the point of any of this? Why care about who’s hungry and who’s not? Why care about who has healthcare and who does not? I’m sorry but I am not willing to submit to nihilism!

The fact that something is technically or clinically alive does not make it a fully realized organism, with all of the latter's concomitant consciousness, moral obligations, and personal responsibilities. My views on this are akin to Zenzoe's. I would add that paramecia are technically and clinically alive, by the literal definition of life, but there are obvious differences in quality between fertilized zygotes (or paramecia) and fully birthed, fully realized organisms, such as babies. The fact that humans can produce living things that aren't fully realized fellow humans should not make those things sacrosanct. Are the non-parasitic microbes that commonly dwell upon and within people sacrosanct? Should they be? The only difference between some of them and a fertilized zygote is that the zygote has the potential (unrealized) to become a human, while the microbes do not possess the same potential.

Do you also oppose full realization of the vast beneficial potential of human stem cell research, conducted with discarded fetuses, as does George Bush?

Some of you agreed with me that life begins at conception but then said that you don’t think that a fetus, no matter how old, has the same rights as a person. Well then, please tell me, what is a person?

Does a fetus work, procreate, pay taxes, understand the laws, have familial obligations, have the capability, as a fetus, to be educated, or engage in recreation? Does a fetus have any sense of moral obligation or responsibility? If a fetus is not a full participant in society, with the responsibilities that go along with participation, should it have the same rights as a fully realized human who does have those responsibilities? There are fully realized people and people who are not fully realized. The fully realized must take priority over those not fully realized, per Zenzoe. Having stated that, though, I will also say that I, like Zenzoe, generally oppose third trimester abortions and agree that strict standards should be enforced in any such cases.

Demanding that the discussion revolve around people defining personhood for you is clever sophistry, but it's just that. Everything that's logical is not factually true, and everything that's true is not formally logical. The discussion should, rather, be about defining at what level or stage of life it's acceptable for a creator to terminate the existence of a creation. Endless debates about definitions obscure the path to a genuine discussion of that.

I also read that a fertilized egg does not have consciousness. How on earth can ANYONE make that claim?

How on earth can YOU claim that an egg DOES have consciousness? What empirical, universally verifiable proof of that can you offer? In asking anybody to prove that an egg is unconscious, you seek to win the argument by implication, via requiring that they prove a negative, rather than that you prove the positive, which would be that an egg DOES have consciousness. The fact that they can't prove that an egg DOESN'T have consciousness DOESN'T mean that you have proved that it DOES.

I'm not a scientist so I may be stepping out of bounds here, but I'm almost positive that a fertilized egg responds to stimuli.

So do paramecia, viruses, and bacteria. So what? The strongest instinct in anything that's independently alive is to survive, whether such an organism is mindless by human standards or not. The fact that an egg responds to stimuli proves just that, and nothing more.

And then what are we saying about those fully grown individuals who don’t seem to display consciousness?

Oh, do you mean Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Herman Cain, Rick Perry, Dan Quayle, and G.W. Bush?

What about those in a coma? Are they fair game?

No, because they were fully realized and are only in their current states via mishap, and, some of them have the potential to recover. In many cases, people have signed wills stating that they DO want to check out rather than be "vegetables." Are you indirectly suggesting that they should NOT be withdrawn from extraordinary life support even when they themselves have asked for that? Did you also oppose the activities of Dr. Kervorkian and consider him a murderer?

I find it hard to gloss over the fact that every conscious human being was once a just-fertilized egg that may or may not have displayed consciousness.

The operative clause is "...may or may not have..." You don't know, either way, yet you want to operate as if you do. So, what gives you the right to demand that others err on the side of a zygote having consciousness and denies others the right to demand that they have the right to err on the side of it not having consciousness? Since neither of you has indisputable, empirical proof, who are you to say that you are correct and that they are not? If you cannot indisputably prove that you are empirically and verifiably correct, what moral standing do you indeed possess that would allow you to make morality based demands of others solely on the strength of your own mere suppositions and a priori beliefs?

And to the “a bunch of white men don’t have the right to tell me what to do with my body” argument that I so often hear and that was mentioned quite a few times: I know that this strikes a chord with a lot of women, and I do understand why this is a concern considering the centuries of male domination in societies across the globe. But with regard to this one particular area, I cannot agree.

So, in what specific areas DO you agree that half of the earth's population should be free and equal partners, with the same franchises as we males? Please answer in detail.

Men do not have the right to tell women what to do with their bodies, but when it comes to the continuation of our species, I think that men without question should have a say in the matter.

First, with seven billion now on the planet, do you truly despair of "...continuation of our species?"

As a man, I have to say that your point would resonate better if it were at least partially contingent upon ALL the implications of the simple fact that it takes two to make a baby and that men should willingly assume their responsibilities in that arena; that with seven billion people in the world, ANY MAN WHO DOESN'T WANT A CHILD SHOULDN'T MAKE ONE; that guys who want to play shouldn't jump without a chute, and that if they simply never want kids, they should get snipped; and that every goddam deadbeat father who doesn't pay his child support should be put into public stocks until he learns the lesson that it's HIS responsibility.

Where are you on all of that?

And not that anyone said this in his or her post, but I recently heard a spokeswoman from a women’s rights group advocating the mandatory vaccination of young women with a drug that prevents HPV. Is that a violation of a woman’s rights or is that simply the government helping to protect the lives of young women (and apparently young men from what I’ve been reading)?

That intellectual giant, Rick Perry, has had much to say on this as of late; are you as well-versed on Perry's comments?

Where I am in agreement with everyone is with regard to the issue of the right preaching about the sanctity of life only to abandon those principles as soon as the fetus is born. All of the points mentioned, better health care (single payer if you ask me), expanding adoptive services (and yes, to “non-traditional” families as well), etc., are what we should strive for in a civil society.

So how do you feel about the fact that whenever anybody wants to teach responsible sex education and birth control to school kids who have reached puberty, some group of evangelical "Christian" bluenoses raises the roof because that's "encouraging immorality," and, sure enough, pretty soon they've scuttled the program and the particular school at hand hits the national average for unwanted teen pregnancy. That happens in endless cycles nationwide. Do you approve of it?

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Ulysses
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I bypass the question of life altogether. The only thing that matters is the suffering of sentient creatures. How you define life is irrelevant to me, though it is a legal problem how you define things.

There is neither sentience nor suffering in the abortion equation, so there is no problem.

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Dr Mario Kart
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

The egg is alive. The sperm is alive. Life started 3.8 billion years ago. Many (most?) fertilized eggs never attach to the uterine wall and thus are 'aborted' and die. Shall we place used feminine hygiene products in little caskets, just in case? Nature performs far more abortions than doctors. No one cries over it.

I would say we have a pretty sensible system to deal with this. The idea that 'life' begins at conception was a religio-political argument started by the Catholic Church and picked up on by Evangelical leaders for mostly political reasons. The arguments from a strictly religious point of view seem to stem from when a 'soul' enters into the equation. But 'soul' is only an idea and everyone has a different definition.

I believe the woman choosing to have a baby should have a lot to do with the legal status. So would abortion be murder? Up to a certain point, no. Would killing a pregnant woman be a double homicide, even if she didn't know she was pregnant? I say err on the side of the woman and say yes; if she never had the chance to say no, she didn't want a baby, assume she wanted to have the baby. So, up to a point, instead of letting the law decide, or a priest decide, let the woman who has to go through with it decide.

(Why do I get the feeling that everyone commenting in this thread is a man?)

planetxan's picture
planetxan
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Ulysses:

Why don't you go take some introductory courses in basic philosophy, ethics, and religion, so that people wouldn't have to first school you up in those areas just so you can argue with them in a half-intelligent manner?

Ulysses, I'm going to say this one more time and I want you to hear it. I have taken an ethics course with the very people that have to handle these situations (and, by the way, if it is anything to you, that was one of the few classes that I excelled in--I was given the compliment of being a 'doctor's doctor' from one of my classmates)--yes, in medical school. I have taken part in several (probably on the line of hundreds) of miscarriages in my career--mostly by people that wanted these children. I have also seen horrendous consequences in the cases of unwanted children. Your constant condescending ass remarks on my character are wrong. I know who I am. If you don't like it, go fuck yourself and, if you have some remarks to make, make them in line with the topic at hand (even if you disagree me)--however, you have no right nor capacity to judge who I am in a forum like this...

I'll make a few remarks to the rest of the crowd. The issue of morality in abortions should be obvious--and the 'rights' component of such an issue should also be obvious. Except for by those who want to make 'rights' and 'morality' something other than what one can possess for oneself, this should be a given to those who know that this whole issue gets down to the specifics at hand for each that is involved to have to judge. If you think that abortion is 'absolutely wrong' because it 'kills an innocent child', then, you also must be one to think that war is 'absolutely wrong' because it, also, 'kills the innocent'.

Is 'morality' absolute? If we have no absolute elements to cling to as moral incentives, what can we rely on for a moral course of action? Oh my God, I know this must come as a tremendous problem to some but that has to be our own judgment as we experience and express it. Is it always right? Obviously not. But, the abilty to judge that is, in what I believe to be its most moral premise, based on placing oneself in that position and judge its circumstances accordingly. We can't do that? Bullshit. That is what imagination is for.

Now, back to those that think that morality is absolute outside of the judgment of the one thinking it. OK, if that is the case, if 'killing innocents in abortion' is wrong, then, 'killling innocents in war' is wrong. Why allow one and not the other if both are absolute? Contrarily--and this is how rational morality works (considering its opposing perspective in order to make a more informative judgment)--can there be such a thing as 'virtue over life'? That would be the only moral incentive to killing in war--the incentive to kill (or die) for if what the war is based on is an incentive so precious to life that, without it, life wouldn't be worth living. Correct? Is that understandable to the viewing audience?

NOW we get to 'rights'--and the moral issue of 'rights'--and the extent of what such 'rights' mean. If there is a 'virtue over life' in war, can there be a 'virtue over life' in other areas? Well, there can be if it is NOT 'opposing rights' (war assumes that obviously as its moral incentive is 'virtue over life'). Thus, the pressing point, does a fetus have the same 'right to life' as the mother with the unwanted pregnancy? 'Rights to life' do preempt any other right if that is the case--Roe vs. Wade acknowledges that (and PJProgressive misses that point). But, does the fetus have that right from conception? Some seem to claim so--but, if that is the case, do those that claim so also acknowledge a 'virtue over life' in war (or does war have any virtue?)? If they acknowledge a 'virtue over life' in anything, they are claiming that there is a issue in life that is as necessary for life as life itself--and that can include killing innocents or those 'not with rights'.

So, when does a human life with rights begin? If conception, there is a lot of evidence in the way that miscarriages are handled like no other 'human death' to contradict that assumption. In no society ever, are such miscarriages named, buried, investigated, etc. Would we 'throw away' any other human death in such a manner? Only in war. And, while I cannot get pregnant myself, I suspect the pregnancy of an unwanted child by a woman can carry a lot of feelings and emotions and thoughts that can have similar components as if addressing someone in war. With those who want to put 'moral absolutes' outside of any person possessing conscience, does the 'right to life' of the fetus override every aspect of the mother? Or, is there such a thing as 'virtue over life'?

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Kerry
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

To define response to stimuli as consciousness is utterly ludicrous. That includes every living thing from bacteria and blue-green algae on up, we are all murderers. Plants respond to stimuli so even Buddhists are murderers. The truth is that whether anyone likes it or not the developing fetus lives off of its host until it is born. Its presence is a threat to the mother's life and health. If she wants the baby then all is fine. The issue is not whether or not the host mother does or does not want to carry the fetus to term.

The issue is whether other people, disconnected from this woman and under no obligation to care for the mother or the child, once born, has any right to determine the fate of the pregnancy. It is none of your business. The decision is NOT yours to make. The morality of the issue is not yours to pontificate. You have no idea why the decision is being made, you have no idea how or why the pregnancy happened in the first place. Should someone knowingly bring to term a baby who wllnever a reasonable quality of life? Read sometime what happens to a baby with Tay Sachs. I think that is an immoral act, but I have absolutely no right or desire to impose my views on someone else.

dulcimerbird
Joined:
Aug. 16, 2010 12:06 pm
Quote dulcimerbird:

I think that is an immoral act, but I have absolutely no right or desire to impose my views on someone else.

The problem there is I see politics as justifying impositions--whether you 'desire it' or not. And, if you don't 'desire it' but, like war, it's still done with what you are associated with, then, your proclaimed ignorance on the claim to act does not correct the action done in your stead if you stay associated with it. You have no 'choice', you say? Then, what is government really all about? To incite war--or guarantee rights--or what? Form a 'community'--where some kill the innocents and some claim no responsibility for it? Is that really 'community'? These issues are more than just 'leave it alone'--if that were the case, then, we wouldn't need a government to justify its impostions, I don't believe...

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Kerry
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote planetxan:

(Why do I get the feeling that everyone commenting in this thread is a man?)

Huh? I beg your pardon? ;-)

I, possibly the only woman here, do not have much more to add—others have covered my points quite well, and time is short.

I did want to mention, as an aside, Ulysses comment, "You should also belong to all animal rights organizations and contribute to them, condemn animal research..." Not that I would wish to derail this discussion, to send it in another direction, but only to emphasize my practical, utilitarian position with regard to these ethical issues.

While Ulysses and I concur on abortion, we part ways on the animal rights issue. That's because of my utilitarian view, which sees animals as sentient beings with the capacity for great suffering, and, thus, sees their right to have their interests taken into consideration, sometimes with greater care than we might give to human preferences and desires. One must think about the suffering aspect, suffering the systems devoted to human needs inflict on these true innocents, and whether we really need to keep such systems intact. Once suffering comes into the picture, an ethical person must weigh the interests of all sentient beings. And, in my view, an ethical person does not grant to human beings an exceptional status in relation to other sentient beings. The important thing is to stay in balance with all life on the planet, not to take dominion over all.

Enough said on that.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Kerry, to underline my point about the politics of conscience, I totally support the woman's right to choose and our duty to support her in her conscience. That said, I also believe that conscience is less rational than intuitional in many ways, so I avoid trying to prescribe "choices" and also arguments that trivialize life. "Choice" is a funny partner to grace, and guilt/innocence is a distraction. Not wanting a pregnancy can be a very sound moral choice, but it can also be tinged with tragedy and foreclosed options. My point is that no one who holds the life of another in her hands has more invested in "the victim" than the pregnant woman. The fetus gets the best consideration of any victim of socially sanctioned killing.

There is no joy in abortion, but there can be release and relief from a burden too heavy. Don't carp about convenience, if the pregnant woman does not want the child she is not going to be a great mom. What is the point of punishing her? How about making human life human here instead?

We have commercialized and individualized the essential human bonds of social reality, rendering them debt obligations instead of generous gifts extended in mutuality. Like communities once did, not with "barter" but with caring for one another. Were we a caring community and society, much of the stories of unwanted pregnancy might be resolved better.

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DRC
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Kerry:

[quote=Ulysses]

Why don't you go take some introductory courses in basic philosophy, ethics, and religion, so that people wouldn't have to first school you up in those areas just so you can argue with them in a half-intelligent manner?

Ulysses, I'm going to say this one more time and I want you to hear it.

Well, Gee, all righty there, Chiefarooni! I take every single thing you say seriously, with one whole grain of salt. Seeing as how you've produced several more Jeremiads in the past few days, I'll tell you what I do hear. I hear, once again, as I always do after you've just dashed off another tome, the distant, melodious twangs of banjos, with the dulcet strains of Deliverance floating in the autumn air. But there, there! I know you must be tired. It ain't easy for a bonnie wee laddie to produce long, poorly written screeds while tending to a busy medical practice. Were you working in your lab on Halloween night? Did you eyes behold a terrible sight?

I have taken an ethics course with the very people that have to handle these situations (and, by the way, if it is anything to you, that was one of the few classes that I excelled in--I was given the compliment of being a 'doctor's doctor' from one of my classmates)--yes, in medical school.

Most likely, another lie...

I have taken part in several (probably on the line of hundreds) of miscarriages in my career

You caused them? That's not ethical.

I know who I am.

When did you learn?

If you don't like it, go fuck yourself

Now?!

and, if you have some remarks to make, make them in line with the topic at hand (even if you disagree me)--however, you have no right nor capacity to judge who I am in a forum like this...

Well, it has to be done somewhere...

I'll make a few remarks to the rest of the crowd.

What a treat!!!

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Ulysses
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote DRC:

There is no joy in abortion...

Speaking as a woman, for every woman I know who has walked out of an abortion clinic with head held high and with a big smile on her face, I beg to differ.

Speaking for all the women —and men— who cheered in wholesome joy over Roe v Wade, I beg to differ.

Where does the impulse to judge abortion as an ugly, shameful business come from? Must the pressure to align ourselves with goodness, kindness and light so weigh down upon our psyches that we grant that one crumb of agreement to the opposition, by making sure we come across as, in truth, very nice people who acknowledge how really really awful "baby killing" is? Must the disclaimers always be stated?— "Abortion should be safe, and rare." "Women do not make this decision lightly." "There is no joy in abortion."

Give me a break.

I am reminded of Erica Jong's statement, "If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament." Perhaps, that's the problem—we haven't treated it as a sacrament yet, or at least with some sort of secular ceremonial honors. Rather than hiding the fact of one's abortion, perhaps a ceremony, celebrating the abortion and one's liberation, one's freedom, one's new lease on life, should be held. Hm-m-m...? Call it a Liberty Wave, or an Awakening Party, or Born Again in Freedom Bash...I don't know. Something!

As it is, most women celebrate in secret and in the dark. Of course, there is the Sex in the City set...

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote PJProgressive:

This is a difficult subject to talk about and we should all be proud of the respect we have shown each other!!!

Civility is fragile and fleeting, ain't it?

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Laborisgood
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Ulysses, I don't have time right now to respond to everything, I will try over the weekend.

What I will say is that it appears that you are taking all of the animosity that you feel towards the stereotypical pro-life person and placing it squarely on my shoulders. You may disagree with me on this assertion, but I am a progressive!!! I just happen to be on the other side of this issue. And, unlike many politically active people, I do not allow a single issue to determine who I vote for or where I fall on the political spectrum.

And just to address a few points briefly; women and men should be free and equal partners in every respect! If I implied otherwise, I apologize (though I still stand by my original statement).

As for birth control, contraception, all of that, I am for it 100%. And to be clear, I am not an Evangelical, nor do I believe in the Judeo-Christian-Islamic God. Nor do I support Rick Perry, Sarah Palin, etc. Nor am I any of the stereotypical pro-life things you labeled me as.

Finally, you can point out all of my so-called logical fallacies if you like, but you are guilty of one as well (hasty generalization).You may disagree with me but you need to be willing to accept the fact that all progressives do not think in lock-step and that anyone who expresses an opposing viewpoint isn't necessarily an off-the-wall conservative or paid conservative posing as a liberal (a tactic that I've seen many people on these boards use when someone expresses a different opinion).

Thank you for the opposing viewpoints. I do appreciate the debate!

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PJProgressive
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Ulysses, I don't have time right now to respond to everything, I will try over the weekend.

You will? Golly...

What I will say is that it appears that you are taking all of the animosity that you feel towards the stereotypical pro-life person and placing it squarely on my shoulders.

Does it? From whence did you divine same? I guess appearances are easily deceptive. Or are you just projecting?

My responses were purposively impersonal and not directed specifically at you, in deference to your overly saccharin tone of civility, which, I must confess, leads me to believe that you are a sock puppet for one of several cons I can think of, and that you just posted in that tone so you'd get attention and waste people's time. It appears that way because women's rights and abortion have all been done to death. Most people's positions on abortion are well-established, even ossified, so what's the point of opening it up once again without adding anything new to the mix? You got your attention, but that type of question and contrived tone won't work forever, because if you really are a con or a Lib, you'll continue to post pro-con and pro-Lib positions in the same saccharin tone, despite your attestations to the contrary. Or, you'll want to gently nitpick apart various aspects of pro-progressive positions, one small issue or plank at a time. Once such a pattern becomes established, you will have outed yourself.

Meanwhile, I've simply asked you some questions.

Oh, and if you "just happen" to be on the other side of the issue, as you've stated, does that mean you got there completely by accident and that you're surprised by your position, as one would be upon waking after being kidnapped? Nothing personal. Just asking, and surely a question is not an accusation...

You may disagree with me on this assertion, but I am a progressive!!!

I didn't disagree, at least not strongly, until you chose to answer in the way you have, by not addressing specific points and refusing detail, as I requested. Now I think you protest too much. I asked you in what ways you're a progressive and you reply that you'll "try" to answer later. I've found that in any discourse, one sure way to discomfit poseurs, gasbags, and agents provocateurs is to ask them for detailed substantiation of their opinions and factual sources for their information. So far, you flunk. We'll see what you put up later.

I just happen to be on the other side of this issue. And, unlike many politically active people, I do not allow a single issue to determine who I vote for or where I fall on the political spectrum.

I see. I really do see. So, that being the case, WHICH and HOW MANY core progressive positions, like women's rights and abortion rights, are you willing to surrender and/or oppose while still insisting that you're a progressive? Nothing personal. Just asking.

And just to address a few points briefly; women and men should be free and equal partners in every respect! If I implied otherwise, I apologize (though I still stand by my original statement).

Well, I guess I'm just a hardass or a dummy if I fail to understand how women can be "free and equal partners in every respect" while simultaneously giving men inordinate say and literal control over their physical bodies and their choices to bear or not bear children. Silly of me, I know, but that's how I am, and I guess I'm just stuck with my dumb old hardass self.

Nor do I support Rick Perry, Sarah Palin, etc.

I don't recall saying that you did. I said that they're among the walking unconscious and I asked if you knew Perry's detailed positions on mass vaccinations.

Nor am I any of the stereotypical pro-life things you labeled me as.

Oh. Where did I accuse you, specifically, of any "pro-life things" or "label" you as anything?

Finally, you can point out all of my so-called logical fallacies if you like, but you are guilty of one as well (hasty generalization).

Where? How?

You may disagree with me but you need to be willing to accept the fact that all progressives do not think in lock-step and that anyone who expresses an opposing viewpoint isn't necessarily an off-the-wall conservative or paid conservative posing as a liberal (a tactic that I've seen many people on these boards use when someone expresses a different opinion).

If you're a Blue Dog, you're not a Democrat or a progressive. You're yesterday's liberal Republican. All progressives don't have to think in lockstep to be progressives, but there are certain core issues that one must support or one cannot honestly call one's self a progressive. (Oh, I know, people have the right to literally call themselves anything they want. You have to understand that doesn't make it so.) This site and the Net are rife with sock puppets and posers of all types and descriptions, and they're usually pretty easy to spot, because for thinking people, their patterns become apparent after a while. There's nothing new under the sun, just different spin on the same old stuff.

Oh, and Thank You very much for your own time and INTEREST!

So break out the Superman jammies and the bunny suit and have yourself a real Milk-and-Cookies weekend!

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Ulysses
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Ulysses:

And just to address a few points briefly; women and men should be free and equal partners in every respect! If I implied otherwise, I apologize (though I still stand by my original statement).

Well, I guess I'm just a hardass or a dummy if I fail to understand how women can be "free and equal partners in every respect" while simultaneously giving men inordinate say and literal control over their physical bodies and their choices to bear or not bear children. Silly of me, I know, but that's how I am, and I guess I'm just stuck with my dumb old hardass self.

"Yay!" said the cheering section. ;-)

It reminds me of the Promise Keepers' mind-set: "Honor your wife, but take back your role as head and master of your household." It's the same sort of oxymoronic thinking (emphasis on "moronic"), where no discomfort with the obvious contradiction in terms ever arises.

PJ wants a "sane conversation," while posing an inherently insane proposition: "Let's make women slaves to zygotes, but don't anybody get pissed over it." Oye!

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Zenzoe:
Quote planetxan:

(Why do I get the feeling that everyone commenting in this thread is a man?)

Huh? I beg your pardon? ;-)

I, possibly the only woman here, do not have much more to add—others have covered my points quite well, and time is short.

That's one.

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planetxan
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

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