Poll

What

is
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your
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stance
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on
1 (9.1%)
abortion
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?
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Total Members Voted: 11

Author Topic: QUESTION  (Read 7050 times)

Comfortable Madness

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Re: QUESTION
« Reply #15 on: September 09, 2008, 07:33:00 PM »
I agree with alot of you on this issue. While I believe abortion to be wrong I also believe any law preventing it would also be wrong. The government in no way should have jurisdiction over a womans body or in anyway force another human being, by law, to loan their body to another human being for 9months. Morally wrong yes but no law should ever be enacted to prevent it. Extremely tough issue but it's only an issue because of the human condition.
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SarahG

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Re: QUESTION
« Reply #16 on: September 09, 2008, 07:35:48 PM »
First of all, having mandatory birth control is as much of a trample on human rights as forcing somebody to quarter troops. 
I believe, in Ookla's hypothetical example, each woman could choose to turn it off whenever she wished.

Secondly, abortions, no matter what your view on the morality of them, will occur anyway.  Abortions are like alcohol--anybody can make it happen in their basement.  Forcing persons who want abortions into back-alley situations would be about as successful as prohibition, and in outlawing abortions you are putting two lives at risk instead of one (if you already believe the unborn is considered a life).
The argument is that, although abortions will not cease, they will dramatically decrease - just as alcohol did during Prohibition.  If, say, abortion laws reduced abortions by 70%, then one could argue that for every 10 lives previously taken, 3 are now taken and 3 more possibly at risk, for a total of six.  This is a substantial improvement, if still unacceptable.  Of course, the exact amount that abortions would be reduced is anyone's guess, but surely we can agree that there are at least some women who would be deterred by the law.

In addition, while rare, sex isn't the only way to get pregnant.  Engaging in sexual behaviors, but not actually engaging in sex, is what a lot of persons suggest for couples who want to remain safe but romantically active.  However, in some cases sperm can penetrate from landing around the vagina, without the penis being inserted at all.
I think if you wanted to avoid this VERY rare occurrence, you would simply put what you call "sexual behaviors"  in the same category as sex: something not to be engaged in unless you're ready for a baby.  Many religions and ethical codes (including my own) do exactly that.

Finally, a personal view on something as controversial as abortion comes out in every argument.  But until at least 90% of a population can agree on a topic about ability to choose, should personal views of even 60-70% of a population affect the rights of an entire population?  Remember, back in the heyday of slavery, it was considered not only moral but a favor to the otherwise doomed negro race.  Now we know such a concept was ridiculous, even though it was held by a majority of the American population.
Would you say, then, that slavery should not have been outlawed until 90% of Americans believed it was wrong?  You wouldn't want to infringe on slaveholders' right to choose to own slaves?
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GorgonlaVacaTremendo

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Re: QUESTION
« Reply #17 on: September 10, 2008, 03:26:59 AM »
Primarily, prohibition made a dent in the amount of drinking.  Not a significant dent.  Just in Chicago Al Capone ran 10,000 speakeasies.  In addition, the Volstead Act (sect 29) allowed for the making of up to 200 gallons of home made alcoholic fruit drinks (not including beer), and it was common practice to sell grapes or other fruits specifically for use in creating alcohol at home.  So I would say, statistically, it is likely a majority of the people who wanted a drink had a drink through either some legal loophole or illegal scheme.

That being said, on an issue such as abortion, it seems to me to be less likely that laws would affect a person's choice.  It is much easier to not have a drink (for most people) than it is to deal with pregnancy for nine months, followed by a painful birthing process, followed by raising a child (as while adoption is an option, a large majority of people who have a child keep it).  So I think that saying abortion laws would reduce abortions by 70% is a gross overstatement.  That being said, there's no way I can prove that statement, it is just what I have concluded by looking at the data available to me.

I think that the phrase "Many religions and ethical codes (including my own) do exactly that." sums up perfectly the problem with anti-choice argument, and that is it assumes that a person holds a specific religion or moral code, or that a specific religion/moral code is correct.  Morality is seen differently from every person in every situation, and morality is seen differently by an individual in different circumstances.  You may be surprised to know that your perception of morality shifts more than you might think, as "personality traits", including personal belief, only run about +.3 to +.4 correlation with a persons response to a situation.  Which means that the rest of the time, despite a person's beliefs on ethics, the outcome is largely decided based on factors outside his or her control, such as the situation (which also runs about a +.3 to .+4 correlation between individuals, for example). 

This goes to show, I think, that making any laws about morality which force a person to do a specific thing should be considered gravely, and from as much of an unbiased view as possible.

And no, slavery should have been outlawed as early as possible because the slaves were, in fact, people.  We now consider people to have natural rights (I think all sentient beings have natural rights, and this is an opinion most of the world shares).   People did not consider slaves persons, which is why they were misinformed about the morality of the situation.

I'll cut off the argument of "unborn babies are persons and thus should not be able to be aborted, just as slaves are persons and should not be put into slavery" now.  This would be a valid argument if an embryo or fetus before the third trimester had an ability to feel pain, like a person of African descent does.  As it is now, our leading scientists state that it is hard to determine exactly when a fetus has the capacity to feel pain, but it is extraordinarily unlikely that this point is reached until AT LEAST the third trimester.   

And an embryo is no different than a single egg or a single sperm in the matter of "sentiency"--the only difference is it is growing.  But it is most definitely not a sentient being--if it is, then all simple organisms could be considered sentient beings, at which point the it would become immoral to trample on the rights of the common cold germ (and our thoughts about natural rights would have to be completely re-examined).

I think my take on the morality or immorality of abortion is a non-issue when it comes to making a blanket law about it.  There are some rules that all people of all creeds can live by, but as for the rest--we have too many rules trampling a person's ability to be free as it is.  Do we really need more, especially on such a controversial issue as this?

(that being said, I know nothing I say could convince you against your point, and likely the same is in reverse.  I make these statements more to demonstrate why I believe what I believe, rather than try and convince you to change what you believe)
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SarahG

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Re: QUESTION
« Reply #18 on: September 10, 2008, 04:35:38 PM »
I think that the phrase "Many religions and ethical codes (including my own) do exactly that." sums up perfectly the problem with anti-choice argument, and that is it assumes that a person holds a specific religion or moral code, or that a specific religion/moral code is correct.  Morality is seen differently from every person in every situation, and morality is seen differently by an individual in different circumstances.  You may be surprised to know that your perception of morality shifts more than you might think, as "personality traits", including personal belief, only run about +.3 to +.4 correlation with a persons response to a situation.  Which means that the rest of the time, despite a person's beliefs on ethics, the outcome is largely decided based on factors outside his or her control, such as the situation (which also runs about a +.3 to .+4 correlation between individuals, for example).

OK, I didn't follow that at all; I don't understand all those correlation numbers - I assume it's something to do with statistics (which I've never studied)?  In any case, regarding that first sentence, are you not afraid that your own specific moral code regarding sentient beings having natural rights is also incorrect?

I'll cut off the argument of "unborn babies are persons and thus should not be able to be aborted, just as slaves are persons and should not be put into slavery" now.  This would be a valid argument if an embryo or fetus before the third trimester had an ability to feel pain, like a person of African descent does.  As it is now, our leading scientists state that it is hard to determine exactly when a fetus has the capacity to feel pain, but it is extraordinarily unlikely that this point is reached until AT LEAST the third trimester. 

So you would support a third-trimester abortion ban, if it were shown that third-trimester embryos feel pain?  And you would support euthanasia in cases of total paralysis?  You believe it is the ability to feel pain that grants a being the right to live?

And an embryo is no different than a single egg or a single sperm in the matter of "sentiency"--the only difference is it is growing.  But it is most definitely not a sentient being--if it is, then all simple organisms could be considered sentient beings, at which point the it would become immoral to trample on the rights of the common cold germ (and our thoughts about natural rights would have to be completely re-examined).

Are you saying that all sentient beings have the same natural rights, that there is no distinction between human rights and animal rights?  If so, I disagree.  Humans are special, are different, in the eyes of the law and in centuries of history (as well as in many religions, including mine, which I realize is not relevant to this argument).  It could be that someday the majority of people will not feel this way, but will begin to treat animals with the same deference as practitioners of Eastern religions do.  However, as we stand now, in the majority opinion in America (which seems to be your standard for laws concerning morality), this is not the case.  In American law, there is a distinction between personal rights and property rights - person felonies (assault, rape, murder) receive harsher sentences than non-person felonies (burglary, embezzlement).  The only reason there is controversy over abortion is that people disagree over whether a fetus / embryo is a person or property; at what point does this entity acquire human rights?  The abolition of slavery was essentially a transition in the law from viewing slaves as property to viewing them as persons, with human rights.  I believe that one day, there will be a similar transition in abortion law, and people in future centuries will be horrified at our generation's genocide against the unborn.  I know many people (including you) disagree with me on this prediction, and I don't mean to imply that you should change your mind based on my opinion of what will happen in the future.  I'm no Aes Sedai Foreteller, nor am I burning atium with a duraluminum flare.  I'm simply trying to explain why I feel the way I do about abortion, and why I believe it should be banned as soon as possible, even before consensus is achieved on the issue.

(that being said, I know nothing I say could convince you against your point, and likely the same is in reverse.  I make these statements more to demonstrate why I believe what I believe, rather than try and convince you to change what you believe)

Finally we agree on something!  We both know these discussions rarely, if ever, persuade.  Still, I feel they can be useful in better understanding the other side, and thus helping us to formulate our thoughts ever more clearly.
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GorgonlaVacaTremendo

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Re: QUESTION
« Reply #19 on: September 10, 2008, 05:29:24 PM »
as for the statistics, it essentially means that less than half of the time people react in a predictable way according to their personality, which includes personal beliefs.  Also, about thirty to forty percent of times any person is in the same situation they react in the same way, despite differences in personal beliefs.  It was just an example to show how morality, along with other parts of who we consider ourselves, is more or less shifting all of the time, depending on dozens of unrealized factors.

As for my view on animal rights, I didn't mean to say all creatures have the same rights as humans (and while this is getting off topic, I don't really feel it matters because this thread usually would have fallen into degenerate flaming and been shut down by now, anyway).  I simply mean to say that all sentient beings have some natural rights (or so I feel is obviously correct, but you are also right in saying I may not be).  After that, self-aware beings such as humans have additional natural rights because of our ability to use said rights.   It doesn't do a cow any good to give it free speech, after all.  But the right to life (within reason) is a right I feel that all beings have.  That is, the natural way of things is creatures kill other creatures to eat.  That's fine--there are situations in which it is perfectly okay to kill, or even to raise with intent of killing.  But there's no use in going about an simply killing animals (except for overpopulation), and there's simply no need to put animals through suffering when killing them (in the instance of veal, for example, which I think is a terrible and brutal practice).

As for third-trimester abortions, I feel this could be a good compromise (as long as both sides of the issue understand it is a compromise--not a step to full outlaw of abortions).  Honestly, if you've gone through six months of pregnancy and haven't yet decided to get the abortion, clearly something is stopping you.

I think the ability to feel pain is the simplest way to determine if something is a complex living being, and more importantly, a living being which will have any (if only a vague) realization that it is being killed.  I don't think there should be a law about euthanasia in the situation of full paralysis for similar reasons to no law about abortion: it tramples on people's rights.  At a certain point in full paralysis, the brain begins to die.  At that point, the creature itself is no longer but a shell of itself.  It should primarily be up to the individual creature whether or not it wants to live (in the form of a living will), and secondly it should be up to those that know the creature best to decide at what point it would want to be let go of.  I mean, sometimes (because of the way our world is set up) neither of those is the case, and people who are in paralysis are let to die because of monetary issues.  It's a shame, but that is how the world works.

"Sin lies only in hurting other people unnecessarily. All other 'sins' are invented nonsense."
Robert Heinlein

"Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little."
Edmund Burke

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SarahG

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Re: QUESTION
« Reply #20 on: September 10, 2008, 06:36:41 PM »
Thanks for the statistics explanation, I think I understand better now.  To me, though, they say more about our ignorance of the details of personality and belief than about the inconsistency in people's responses.  I'd also like to know more about how they define "the same situation".  No two situations are identical; how closely did the lab replicate these "same situations" and in what ways did they differ?  We're probably saying the same thing, after all, you mentioned the "dozens of unrealized factors" that help determine our choices.  My point is that if more of these factors were understood, the percentage of predictability would rise.

I'm glad to hear you don't believe animals have the same rights as humans.  I think we essentially agree on this; I too believe that sentient creatures should not be treated cruelly.  I wouldn't exactly say they have a right to life, but I would say they have a right not to suffer unnecessarily.

Thanks for your concession on third-trimester abortions.  I have to admit that while I believe all abortions are wrong, the ones involving tissue that looks like the babies in the NICU are far more disturbing to me than the ones where the tissue looks like a vaguely humanoid blob.

Regarding the euthanasia analogy, would you then say that before the abortion of an early (presumably non-sentient) fetus, those who know the fetus best should decide whether that fetus would want to be let go of?  "Oh, surely the little darling would prefer just to die now, and save me all the trouble and expense of carrying him/her to term, than to grow up knowing that he/she was unwanted and caused his/her mother a lot of inconvenience."  ;)
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GorgonlaVacaTremendo

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Re: QUESTION
« Reply #21 on: September 10, 2008, 06:58:54 PM »
As for the personality psychology statistics, it's a pretty new field compared to most sciences (like mathematics and physics, which are centuries old--psychology in general is a just a baby, and personality psychology has just been around a few decades).  This doesn't mean it doesn't have strong data--if you're interested in how the statistics are found, I'd recommend taking a course at a local university/community college or picking up a used textbook and leafing through it.  I would say, though, that the statistics are pretty reliable and have been found through several methods, including laboratory study, interviews with people and their close friends/relatives, and surveys and have been found to be repeatable, which is the sign of good statistics.

But, yes, if we understood all the factors influencing a person's judgment, the predictability would rise.  However, it would not be likely to rise significantly because of personality traits, but because of other factors (such as situation or social factors).

I would say a fetus is incapable of wanting, at least in the sense that you and I know it.  A fetus could want in the sense that our cells want.  It does not have capacity for complex thought and has not realized itself, and thus paralysis of a born human (especially a grown human) and abortion are separate issues.  I think the comparison does not take into account the hugely different scientific differences in the situation--one creature is dying, and the question is how dead is "dead."  The other is growing, and the question is how grown is human.
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SarahG

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Re: QUESTION
« Reply #22 on: September 10, 2008, 07:19:16 PM »
A fetus cannot want in the sense that adult humans can, but then neither can a paralyzed adult or, for that matter, a 3-month-old child.  None of those have the complex thought necessary to realize what death means.  Yet for the paralytic without a living will, we put ourselves in his shoes, and decide (hypothetically) whether or not he would wish to live if he was capable of wishing anything.  For the 3-month-old, we protect his life until he is old enough to make his own decisions.

You're right that euthanasia and abortion are separate issues, but if anything I think euthanasia is more morally defensible.  The dying person has lived (often what we call "a full life"), and in many cases is the one deciding on the termination of his life, whether through a living will or through physician-assisted suicide.  With abortion, the fetus has not has a chance to live or to decide.  It just seems unfair for other people to make the death decision for him, before he's even had a chance to have opinions on the subject.
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GreenMonsta

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Re: QUESTION
« Reply #23 on: September 10, 2008, 08:52:19 PM »
With abortion, the fetus has not has a chance to live or to decide. It just seems unfair for other people to make the death decision for him, before he's even had a chance to have opinions on the subject.

I think this statement means a lot. The main idea is that your correct in saying that the unborn fetus has yet had the chance to live. This fetus has yet take a breath of air or ingest food. Wouldn't you say that until a being is wholly its own being and has the ability to survive life on its own than it is not yet a being at all. Don't get me wrong this goes along with the whole third trimester thing. At a certain point in a babies development the baby is at a stage where it can survive outside of the womb on its own. So I would think that until a baby has the ability to maintain its own organ function that it isn't yet a baby.
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SarahG

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Re: QUESTION
« Reply #24 on: September 10, 2008, 08:58:46 PM »
So I would think that until a baby has the ability to maintain its own organ function that it isn't yet a baby.

I don't agree, again because of the comparison to end-of-life issues.  Would you say that an adult on a ventilator or a dialysis machine is not a human?
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GorgonlaVacaTremendo

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Re: QUESTION
« Reply #25 on: September 10, 2008, 09:27:01 PM »
I think there's a difference between somebody who has a machine as an organ and a growing creature which is not yet advanced enough to have said organ, and I think you know there is a difference.  Again, just like the comparison between paralysis and abortion, it is something that is just not a good comparison because of hugely different circumstances.

The idea behind my statement was that a fetus is not a human as we perceive humans, people try to humanize them because they know it will someday become a human.  The decision to abort isn't usually made on behalf of the fetus, it is usually made on behalf of the mother.  Every sperm in the future could be a person, should we make a law against masturbation or safe-sex practices which kill sperm?  Every egg has the ability to become a human, why aren't we arresting women for murder once a month?

We should not judge something based on what it could be, or what it will be, but what it is.  And what a fetus is, especially before the third trimester, is a growing parasite which will someday (in most, but not all cases) become a human.  But it is not a human.  No harm, no foul as long as you are not harming another sentient being.  What is the difference (other than religiously, which is not a valid reason to put a rule over everybody) between a couple who used safe sex practices and killed off the chance of a baby during sex, or a couple who did not and got an abortion, thus doing the same thing to the same sperm and egg?  We are not causing any pain, or any suffering and the outcome is the same.  For that matter, what is the difference between a couple who did not have sex and thus killed off the sperm and egg over time?  All three end in the same result, that is, a suffer-free removal of the sperm and egg, sometimes in the form of an embryo or fetus.  At the point in time when you are causing suffering, abortion laws are separate issue which need to be considered separately.
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Reaves

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Re: QUESTION
« Reply #26 on: September 10, 2008, 09:31:22 PM »
With abortion, the fetus has not has a chance to live or to decide. It just seems unfair for other people to make the death decision for him, before he's even had a chance to have opinions on the subject.

I think this statement means a lot. The main idea is that your correct in saying that the unborn fetus has yet had the chance to live. This fetus has yet take a breath of air or ingest food. Wouldn't you say that until a being is wholly its own being and has the ability to survive life on its own than it is not yet a being at all.
Define "on its own." A two year old can't survive by itself. If you were trapped on an island could you survive? I don't think you can define what is a "being" by ability to survive on its own.
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SarahG

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Re: QUESTION
« Reply #27 on: September 10, 2008, 09:40:14 PM »
I think there's a difference between somebody who has a machine as an organ and a growing creature which is not yet advanced enough to have said organ, and I think you know there is a difference.  Again, just like the comparison between paralysis and abortion, it is something that is just not a good comparison because of hugely different circumstances.

To be honest, I didn't think your comparison between a fetus and a cold virus was exactly perfect, either.  As for undeveloped organs, some babies are born missing certain organs; would you say that they are therefore not people?

The idea behind my statement was that a fetus is not a human as we perceive humans, people try to humanize them because they know it will someday become a human.  The decision to abort isn't usually made on behalf of the fetus, it is usually made on behalf of the mother.  Every sperm in the future could be a person, should we make a law against masturbation or safe-sex practices which kill sperm?  Every egg has the ability to become a human, why aren't we arresting women for murder once a month?

It is not until the egg and the sperm have joined that the individuality of the person is determined.  A sperm is half a potential person; an egg is half a potential person; the two joined together make a potential person.

We should not judge something based on what it could be, or what it will be, but what it is. 

Well, you've been judging things (paralyzed people) based on what they once were.  I don't see a difference, other than chronology.

[EDIT] If we should consider things as they are now, then by your admission the paralyzed person is now just a shell.  By your reasoning, the wishes of the person that shell used to be should not hold any weight.  The only thing that should matter in the determination to end the shell's "life" would be the convenience of the people taking care of it.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2008, 09:59:46 PM by SarahG »
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GreenMonsta

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Re: QUESTION
« Reply #28 on: September 10, 2008, 09:45:37 PM »
The statement wasn't meant to imply the babies ability to provide for itself it was meant to say that if the baby were to be born at that exact moment would it even live. If the baby hasn't had the proper am out of development then it doesn't have the basic physical ability to live yet. After a certain point in the development stage a baby has the ability to survive but before this point it does not.
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SarahG

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Re: QUESTION
« Reply #29 on: September 10, 2008, 10:04:10 PM »
The statement wasn't meant to imply the babies ability to provide for itself it was meant to say that if the baby were to be born at that exact moment would it even live. If the baby hasn't had the proper am out of development then it doesn't have the basic physical ability to live yet. After a certain point in the development stage a baby has the ability to survive but before this point it does not.

OK, so what exactly do you mean by "the basic physical ability to live"?  Do you mean the guarantee of the ability to live without medical intervention?   Because in that case, most premies and even many full-term newborns would not be human.  Do you mean a slight chance to live if all possible medical techniques are used?  Because in that case, your standard of which fetuses/embryos are human will continue to shift as medical technology improves.  That is, a 30-week fetus in 1800 would not be human, but a 30-week fetus in 2008 would be.
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