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Kepler
07-13-2009, 12:37 PM
Moved from the Obama thread. Warning: everybody should try to be on his or her best behavior as this is The Archetypal Third Rail and all that

Kepler
07-13-2009, 12:37 PM
This needs its own thread. Though, I think we did one before, didn't we?

Probably. I've tried to stay away from the abortion threads because, how shall I put this, they do not tend to bring out the best in people on either side.


Abortion is an issue that will not go away. Slavery did not "go away" here until the 13th amendment passed, and it still took another 100 years to eradicate the last vestiges (some by the courts, some by legislation). Because both are legally right, but morally wrong, we will get this debate. I will fight to my last breath to ensure that once a child is conceived in the womb that no artifical means are ever taken to kill it. Others will oppose my efforts just as equally. No doubt both of us will view the other as totally misguided.

I don't view the fight against a wrong as misguided, and I don't view the idea that human identity begins at conception as "misguided" -- I think it is the dictate of a particular reading of a particular religious tradition. For almost all of history, when a pregnancy was terminated in its earliest stages it was simply viewed as the resumption of the woman's period, not a death. Only termination in the late stages was viewed as amoral, and even then it was in no way equivalent to infanticide.

Now to use your analogy, the abolition slavery is also a relatively recent development in human civilization, as is equality of gender, equality of race, and gay rights, and I don't expect people to revert to slave-owning sexist racist homophobes over night just because these are "new fangled" notions.

A few religions have viewed all abortion as abominable, but to be consistent they have also viewed all contraception as contravening the will of God. So unless the pill is murder, I personally don't see the argument -- it's dealing in probabilities and potentialities at that point, and one might as well say masturbation or abstinence is murder, since they deliberately eliminate potential lives.

I also don't understand how a person can be against abortion because it is murder except in cases of incest or rape. What does the woman's willingness have to do with the person-hood of a potential life? When people make that exception they are channeling the Nineteenth Century "punish the harlot, save the chaste" concept of a man's (or society's) stewardship of female sexuality. The only valid exception to the "it's a child not a choice" argument would be the life of the mother, and even then it would be one life for another.

dropthatpuck
07-13-2009, 12:38 PM
Booo.....hisssss. Even I won't touch this one (so far, anyway :D )

ScoobyDoo
07-13-2009, 12:47 PM
I also don't understand how a person can be against abortion because it is murder except in cases of incest or rape. What does the woman's willingness have to do with the person-hood of a potential life? When people make that exception they are channeling the Nineteenth Century "punish the harlot, save the chaste" concept of a man's (or society's) stewardship of female sexuality. The only valid exception to the "it's a child not a choice" argument would be the life of the mother, and even then it would be one life for another.
I can't believe I am touching this one but I don't understand how you cannot understand.

That is the pragmatic approach to the issue. That's the middle ground. In both those cases the woman was impregnated against her will. Are you going to be the one to tell her she has to go to full term at no fault of her own?

But of course that will never fly with the all or nothing crowd. Personally I think the practice should be highly restricted, but I see no logical way that you can abolish the practice altogether and criminalize it no matter what instance it is performed.

dropthatpuck
07-13-2009, 12:54 PM
I can't believe I am touching this one but I don't understand how you cannot understand.

That is the pragmatic approach to the issue. That's the middle ground. In both those cases the woman was impregnated against her will. Are you going to be the one to tell her she has to go to full term at no fault of her own?

But of course that will never fly with the all or nothing crowd. Personally I think the practice should be highly restricted, but I see no logical way that you can abolish the practice altogether and criminalize it no matter what instance it is performed.

Nice job. Don't expect dingleberry to understand any of this, however.

ScottM
07-13-2009, 12:56 PM
Abortions for some, miniature American flags for others! Vote Quimby!

French Rage
07-13-2009, 01:04 PM
I can't believe I am touching this one but I don't understand how you cannot understand.

That is the pragmatic approach to the issue. That's the middle ground. In both those cases the woman was impregnated against her will. Are you going to be the one to tell her she has to go to full term at no fault of her own?

But of course that will never fly with the all or nothing crowd. Personally I think the practice should be highly restricted, but I see no logical way that you can abolish the practice altogether and criminalize it no matter what instance it is performed.

I think his whole point, though, is that for people who eqaute it to murder, how can there be a middle ground? That is, if abortion is murder, it's murder regardless of how the baby got there, and if someone is taking a line in the sand stance that abortion is wrong because it eqauls muder, that's not exactly a position one can comprimise and take a middle of the road stance on. The whole slippery slope argument in other words.

Granted, one could make the same argument about regular murder, that it is murder regardless of the circumstance, but then you get into the whole issue of the death penalty, which one could argue is similar to "abortion in the case of rape/incest" in that you're adding additional context to the situation to come to a decision.

geezer
07-13-2009, 01:06 PM
Kepler is right. To be morally consistent, you either see a fetus as a person or you don't. It's not a person or not depending on who the father is or how the mama feels about him.
But then, I also oppose the death penalty on grounds of the sanctity of life. Except in defense of self, family or low gas prices. kidding. self defense.

joecct
07-13-2009, 01:14 PM
So the whole argument then hinges not on the rights of the mother, but the "personhood" of the fetus? If you agree that the fetus is a human being, then it has to be a crime to kill it? If it is not, then abortion is OK?

Kepler
07-13-2009, 01:16 PM
I can't believe I am touching this one but I don't understand how you cannot understand.

That is the pragmatic approach to the issue. That's the middle ground. In both those cases the woman was impregnated against her will. Are you going to be the one to tell her she has to go to full term at no fault of her own?

The thing I don't understand is opposition to abortion as murder except those cases. I quite understand opposition to abortion as a social ill except those cases as a morally-informed pragmatic stance, and it's very close to my personal one.

The thing about a Utilitarian argument is that you can compromise, and you can let others hold different views. An existential argument admits no compromise or no tolerance -- it's absolutist.

I think of a spectrum: contraception, abortion, infanticide. Contraception is, in my mind, a completely Utilitarian issue. The Papacy argues it in existential terms, but it isn't getting them anywhere because virtually nobody else sees it as that type of issue. Infanticide is a strictly existential argument. I don't think anybody argues it as Utilitarian -- the craziest Austrian School economist might argue you have a right to sell your children into slavery, but not to murder them.

Abortion is somewhere in the middle, and different people place it differently. That's why I can understand blanket opposition to abortion as murder (the existential argument) or pragmatic opposition except for rape and incest (the Utilitarian argument). The only thing I can't see is a mix of both -- that makes no logical sense.

Nathan
07-13-2009, 01:20 PM
So the whole argument then hinges not on the rights of the mother, but the "personhood" of the fetus? If you agree that the fetus is a human being, then it has to be a crime to kill it? If it is not, then abortion is OK?

I'm pro-abortion because I don't believe that a fetus is a human. I also don't believe you should be charged with two counts of murder if you kill a pregnant woman.

Kepler
07-13-2009, 01:21 PM
So the whole argument then hinges not on the rights of the mother, but the "personhood" of the fetus? If you agree that the fetus is a human being, then it has to be a crime to kill it? If it is not, then abortion is OK?

The right of the mother to terminate a pregnancy without any reason is a continuous function that drops from 1.0 to 0.0 to the degree that the fetus becomes a human being. Becoming is not being.

dropthatpuck
07-13-2009, 01:27 PM
Becoming is not "being"?

If your mom decided to abort you while you were "becoming", your name wouldn't be your name, you wouldn't have your life, cat, kids, or be posting on this board.

Einstein and other great thinkers and leaders didn't materialize out of thin air. They "became" infants, then toddlers, then teens, then adults and made their contributions to the world. Deny them any step in that process and you've eliminated them completely from history along with their contributions to all of us.

Jon
07-13-2009, 01:33 PM
How about emulating Buddha and the Middle Way? I want to abort both sides of the abortion argument.

ScoobyDoo
07-13-2009, 01:51 PM
I think his whole point, though, is that for people who eqaute it to murder, how can there be a middle ground? That is, if abortion is murder, it's murder regardless of how the baby got there, and if someone is taking a line in the sand stance that abortion is wrong because it eqauls muder, that's not exactly a position one can comprimise and take a middle of the road stance on. The whole slippery slope argument in other words.

Granted, one could make the same argument about regular murder, that it is murder regardless of the circumstance, but then you get into the whole issue of the death penalty, which one could argue is similar to "abortion in the case of rape/incest" in that you're adding additional context to the situation to come to a decision.

Correct. The Ten Commandments are usually confused that way. Many believe the Commandment states "Thou Shalt Not Kill" which would mean that War is against God's Law. That is not the way it is properly translated though. The actual law is "Thou Shalt Not Murder". Murder and Kill are two different things. Murder allows for the Death Penalty, War, and in the case of this thread Abortion in the cases of incest and rape. Murder is probably defined slightly different in every society.

Also correct me if I am wrong but the Church (Catholic in particular) has moved the bar of when a person becomes a person over the years. It hasn't always been "at conception" like they state now.

joecct
07-13-2009, 01:59 PM
Also correct me if I am wrong but the Church (Catholic in particular) has moved the bar of when a person becomes a person over the years. It hasn't always been "at conception" like they state now.If you mean the position of the Joe Biden/Nancy Pelosi et al Catholics, then you are correct. However, (give me time to dig out the references), that is not the case. IIRC, the RC Church has always taught that life begins @ conception.

ScoobyDoo
07-13-2009, 02:00 PM
If you mean the position of the Joe Biden/Nancy Pelosi et al Catholics, then you are correct. However, (give me time to dig out the references), that is not the case. IIRC, the RC Church has always taught that life begins @ conception.

No, I was referring to historically. I thought I had heard that the fetus did not receive a soul till 6 months or something like that was the canon years ago and without a soul it was not a person.

I'm just going off of memory though so that's why I asked for clarification.

Kepler
07-13-2009, 02:05 PM
Correct. The Ten Commandments are usually confused that way. Many believe the Commandment states "Thou Shalt Not Kill" which would mean that War is against God's Law. That is not the way it is properly translated though. The actual law is "Thou Shalt Not Murder". Murder and Kill are two different things. Murder allows for the Death Penalty, War, and in the case of this thread Abortion in the cases of incest and rape. Murder is probably defined slightly different in every society.

In the case of the DP and War you're killing someone guilty of something -- a crime or a threat against you. In aborting a fetus created by a rape, the fetus is wholly innocent. I'd think if there's an analogy at all it would be with the killing of innocents during wartime -- say, killing infants during the firebombing of Dresden.


Also correct me if I am wrong but the Church (Catholic in particular) has moved the bar of when a person becomes a person over the years. It hasn't always been "at conception" like they state now.
True (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quickening).

ScoobyDoo
07-13-2009, 02:07 PM
In the case of the DP and War you're killing someone guilty of something -- a crime or a threat against you. In aborting a fetus created by a rape, the fetus is wholly innocent. I'd think if there's an analogy at all it would be with the killing of innocents during wartime -- say, killing infants during the firebombing of Dresden.


True (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quickening).

Yeah, that's a better explanation. And thanks for the link.

joecct
07-13-2009, 02:07 PM
I'm pro-abortion because I don't believe that a fetus is a human. I also don't believe you should be charged with two counts of murder if you kill a pregnant woman.Which begs the argument, when is it human?

If you pick time X, I'll pick X - 1 second. And I'll keep backing up until sperm -> egg. The point being is that we don't know for certain. I believe that life begins at conception. I believe will all certainty that when my wife and I lost a baby @ 8 weeks gestation, that that child is in heaven with his grandfather and all prior generations. To deny the personhood of that little embryo denies a part of my wife and me. If that little guy was nothing, than what am I? Her?