So how do you feel about the issue?
It is consistent with pro-life values (pro-life)
7.1% (2)
7.1% (2)
It is not consistent with pro-life values (pro-life)
7.1% (2)
7.1% (2)
It is consistent with pro-life values (pro-choice)
10.7% (3)
10.7% (3)
It is not consistent with pro-life values (pro-choice)
39.3% (11)
39.3% (11)
Only the "to save the mother" part is consistent (pro-life)
10.7% (3)
10.7% (3)
Other (please explain)
25% (7)
25% (7)
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Poll: Internal Logical Consistency in the Pro-Life Movement

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So first off, heres crossing my fingers this doesn't dissolve into flame war. Please keep discussion mature and reasonable. Now, something I have always found useful is to examine the internal logic within any philosophy, be it political, religous, moral or any other kind of philosophy. Essentially I tend to assume that the core tenant of a philosophy is true, then work from there to see if their arguments hold up. This is often useful in explaining people's behavior. What may seem annoying and even amoral can be completely reasonable if you share a important belief. While I personally am pro-choice, I can see the point of pro-life people. If I believed that human life began at conception and that abortion is therefore the moral equivilant of infanticide, then I would demand laws against it, and view the people who do it as monsters as well, just as I would feel currently about people who supported infanticide. But there is one group I will never be able to understand, ever. Ironically, it is the group that I, as a more pro-choice person, tend to agree with more from my personal point of view. People who support abortion only in the case of rape, incest, and to protect the life of the mother.

Leaving the last one aside, I suppose it makes some sense. Rape is a terrible thing, and you wouldn't want to leave the mother a permanant reminder of it, and it undermines one of the central arguments of pro-lifers. "You chose to have sex, this is the consequence." But still, if you believe in the idea that life begins at conception, and that abortion is essentially infantacide, then why does rape change that? The innocent chld is one of those, you claim to want to protect, how is it just that he sacrafices the right to life that you claim he has for the crimes of his father? Would you equally support infanticide in cases of rape?

And with incest it is even worse, as the event is no longer as tramatic, and the women had a choice (assuming rape and incest are mutually exclusive). Mabey the child will be disabled, but I have heard pro-life activists claiming that the abortion of the disabled in the womb is a terrible thing, often with comparisons to Hitler mixed in. I just don't see how pro-life rhetoric and ideals break down in these cases.

As for the life of the mother, that argument is much cleaner. There you can claim that the mother also has the right to life, that the child would be born without one of its parents to depend on, if it was born at all, ect ect. I get that. But the other two make no sense to me.

TL;DR: Why do some pro-life people not support abortion because they feel it is essentially infanticide, yet support it in cases of rape, incest, and to save the life of the mother?

So, Escapists, what do you think? Again, please try to avoid flame-war.

First of all, please break this into a few paragraphs for us. Most people around here are going to care more about complaining about that than your actual point until you fix it, so you might want to get that done as soon as possible.

Anyway...I'm afraid we've seen this line of thinking on these forums before. I don't think it's ever gotten its own thread so there's definitely discussion here, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to burst your bubble now and say this isn't going to be new to a lot of people.

I agree with you...sort of. There are some people who might feel that because the child began from sin that sin is now a part of them. Or, there could be a certain amount of pragmatism to the logic. While it is a bit contradictory to believe that life begins at conception and then make the murder of an innocent okay based on an event it had no control over, just think about the alternative for a moment. You're making a woman who has suffered an immeasurable amount of trauma further extend that trauma another nine months. Not only that, she has to care about what is growing inside of her. She can't just ignore it, she has to take care of it, change her diet, change her lifestyle, probably give up her job for a while, all for this thing that has been caused by what will probably be the most painful event in her life.

By denying her a way out of that, you are pushing her to the point of desperation. While some women can and do carry those babies to term, there are others who will simply crumble at the thought. They won't want to care for it, thus making the child suffer even longer, and she may even refuse to carry it to term at all. If denied a proper abortion, she might just resort to the more unsavory and even more inhumane forms of abortion that took place in the shadows not very long ago in even modern countries.

So what do you do? Deny the first abortion, leading to an even bloodier and more painful one later on? Force the woman to be a prisoner in her own skin? While the thought of killing an innocent is bad, if their existence is causing another innocent to go through absolute agony and prolonging the abuse, is denying the abortion really the more moral decision? There's a philosophical puzzle for you.

Bearing all that in mind, I can bring myself to understand people who are willing to give a concession for rape. While the concession is usually made by politicians simply because they don't want to appear to be misogynistic asshats like Todd Akin, when you really think about it the problem really does become a moral quagmire.

Lilani:
First of all, please break this into a few paragraphs for us. Most people around here are going to care more about complaining about that than your actual point until you fix it, so you might want to get that done as soon as possible.

Anyway...I'm afraid we've seen this line of thinking on these forums before. I don't think it's ever gotten its own thread so there's definitely discussion here, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to burst your bubble now and say this isn't going to be new to a lot of people.

I agree with you...sort of. There are some people who might feel that because the child began from sin that sin is now a part of them. Or, there could be a certain amount of pragmatism to the logic. While it is a bit contradictory to believe that life begins at conception and then make the murder of an innocent okay based on an event it had no control over, just think about the alternative for a moment. You're making a woman who has suffered an immeasurable amount of trauma further extend that trauma another nine months. Not only that, she has to care about what is growing inside of her. She can't just ignore it, she has to take care of it, change her diet, change her lifestyle, probably give up her job for a while, all for this thing that has been caused by what will probably be the most painful event in her life.

By denying her a way out of that, you are pushing her to the point of desperation. While some women can and do carry those babies to term, there are others who will simply crumble at the thought. They won't want to care for it, thus making the child suffer even longer, and she may even refuse to carry it to term at all. If denied a proper abortion, she might just resort to the more unsavory and even more inhumane forms of abortion that took place in the shadows not very long ago in even modern countries.

So what do you do? Deny the first abortion, leading to an even bloodier and more painful one later on? Force the woman to be a prisoner in her own skin? While the thought of killing an innocent is bad, if their existence is causing another innocent to go through absolute agony and prolonging the abuse, is denying the abortion really the more moral decision? There's a philosophical puzzle for you.

Bearing all that in mind, I can bring myself to understand people who are willing to give a concession for rape. While the concession is usually made by politicians simply because they don't want to appear to be misogynistic asshats like Todd Akin, when you really think about it the problem really does become a moral quagmire.

Very well, parapgraph breaks it is. Thank you for the advice. As for the topic, I just haven't seen very many debates focus in on the internal logic of movements like this. I mostly got the idea from reading some pro-life sites and comparing to politicians statements. I would like to see where the discussion goes... but perhaps it will not go far. Oh well, live and learn.

Lonewolfm16:
Very well, parapgraph breaks it is. Thank you for the advice. As for the topic, I just haven't seen very many debates focus in on the internal logic of movements like this. I mostly got the idea from reading some pro-life sites and comparing to politicians statements. I would like to see where the discussion goes... but perhaps it will not go far. Oh well, live and learn.

I'm actually kind of impressed you got it all out in one block of text, I usually break paragraphs just so I can keep track of what the hell I've been typing, lol. And I didn't mean to sound like too much of a downer, I have seen this topic brought up on the Internet, but never too closely looked into. And like you I wish people would hold politicians to the question, because it would be very interesting to see them try to explain it. Again, I feel like they take the position just because not taking the position is political suicide. They aren't being true to their values so much as making sure they appeal to the right crowds. Because when you do get people who are completely true to their values, you tend to get people like Akin.

The term "pro-life" is a deliberately misleading characterization, and one I think you've walked into a bit.

Proponents of legalized abortion, as I'm sure you well know, are not "anti-life". We don't hate life and want things to die. The difference between us is generally that we value "quality" of life over "quantity". Being pro-choice does not prohibit you from believing that life is valuable or even "sacred", it means you make a judgement that the needs of cellular life do not outweigh the need for quality of life in people who already have emotions and consciousness.

And actually, I think what we're talking about here is not polarized extreme positions but a continuum. I've never met a pro-life person who genuinely believes we should keep ventilating corpses after death in order to preserve some cellular activity because that's still life and therefore still sacred. To a certain extent, I think most people understand that biochemical reactions in and of themselves are not the sum total of what "life" is. Just as there are many people who may support legalized abortions but nonetheless view them as tragic or regrettable.

Believing that it's more important to provide quality of life for already living people does not mean you don't feel uncomfortable or sad about killing off "potential" human beings. Believing that it's important to preserve potential human beings doesn't mean you don't value the quality of life for living people. People have long sought to present this issue as entirely polarized and bipartisan, but the reality is that many people actually fall somewhere between. Just because you care about one thing doesn't mean you don't care about another, you can see it as less important most of the time but still feel that in certain situations it still applies.

It's always easy to go all memetic and look at human culture as purely motivated by transhistorical ideas, but the reality is that real people and their beliefs are very seldom as "pure" and impeccable as that. Real people only ever access or "read" their beliefs through their own lived experience and the needs of the environment they grow up and live in, there is no "pure" form out there accessible to all on equal terms.

Every pro-life advocate who wants to maintain consistent views will have to concede that rape and incest do not justify abortion. I don't think rape is a valid excuse and neither is incest.

I don't know where my view stands in the situation where the mother's life is in danger and only abortion can save it - on one hand I think that a right to self-defense is a given, but it is essentially sacrificing an innocent human being who isn't guilty of anything to save your own life. The only valid approach I think is that abortion is justified only when not aborting will result in the death of both the mother and the child. These are rare and tragic events.

These views may frighten you, but there is nothing inconsistent about them. I think many pro-choice advocates are logically inconsistent and intellectually dishonest. They don't see the implications of their views. Consequently, if they were consistent and were very well aware of the logical conclusions of their position - I would be scared too.

al4674:
Every pro-life advocate who wants to maintain consistent views will have to concede that rape and incest do not justify abortion. I don't think rape is a valid excuse and neither is incest.

I don't know where my view stands in the situation where the mother's life is in danger and only abortion can save it - on one hand I think that a right to self-defense is a given, but it is essentially sacrificing an innocent human being who isn't guilty of anything to save your own life. The only valid approach I think is that abortion is justified only when not aborting will result in the death of both the mother and the child. These are rare and tragic events.

These views may frighten you, but there is nothing inconsistent about them. I think many pro-choice advocates are logically inconsistent and intellectually dishonest. They don't see the implications of their views. Consequently, if they were consistent and were very well aware of the logical conclusions of their position - I would be scared too.

To be honest I mostly am scared by the implications of pro-lifers who support abortion in cases of incest and rape. Since most pro-lifers equate abortion with infanticide it always scares me a little when they say that rape and incest are legitimate reasons to murder innocent children. Being pro-choice, I see no moral issue with abortion, but from their perspective... creepy stuff. At least in my opinion. As for the life of the mother, assuming again that we are looking at this from a "life from conception" viewpoint, I would say the child takes priority as it has more life to live. At least that is my utilitarian, "longest, happiest lives that can be provided" views say.

evilthecat:
The term "pro-life" is a deliberately misleading characterization, and one I think you've walked into a bit.

Proponents of legalized abortion, as I'm sure you well know, are not "anti-life". We don't hate life and want things to die. The difference between us is generally that we value "quality" of life over "quantity". Being pro-choice does not prohibit you from believing that life is valuable or even "sacred", it means you make a judgement that the needs of cellular life do not outweigh the need for quality of life in people who already have emotions and consciousness.

And actually, I think what we're talking about here is not polarized extreme positions but a continuum. I've never met a pro-life person who genuinely believes we should keep ventilating corpses after death in order to preserve some cellular activity because that's still life and therefore still sacred. To a certain extent, I think most people understand that biochemical reactions in and of themselves are not the sum total of what "life" is. Just as there are many people who may support legalized abortions but nonetheless view them as tragic or regrettable.

Believing that it's more important to provide quality of life for already living people does not mean you don't feel uncomfortable or sad about killing off "potential" human beings. Believing that it's important to preserve potential human beings doesn't mean you don't value the quality of life for living people. People have long sought to present this issue as entirely polarized and bipartisan, but the reality is that many people actually fall somewhere between. Just because you care about one thing doesn't mean you don't care about another, you can see it as less important most of the time but still feel that in certain situations it still applies.

It's always easy to go all memetic and look at human culture as purely motivated by transhistorical ideas, but the reality is that real people and their beliefs are very seldom as "pure" and impeccable as that. Real people only ever access or "read" their beliefs through their own lived experience and the needs of the environment they grow up and live in, there is no "pure" form out there accessible to all on equal terms.

I believe you misunderstand me. As mentioned I am pro-choice. I merely use the terms pro-life and pro-choice because that is what each group wants to be called, and I want to be civil. I have heard pro-lifers call pro-choicers anti-lifers or pro-death, but I have also heard pro-choicers call pro-lifers anti-choice. It seems childish and petty, so I will use the terms pro-life and pro-choice. As for my views on abortion, I believe that a fetus is merely a bundle of cells and while it may be classified as human life it lacks the spark of consciousness, thought, and emotion that makes humans valuble. Truly death is merely the end of consciousness, so that which is not conscious cannot be considered truly alive. But this is all irrelavent. We are assuming that the central values of the pro-life movement are correct, that life starts in the womb, and that the unborn have as much right to life as the born. So "in what light does that paint more liberal pro-lifers?" is the primary question.

Lonewolfm16:
I believe you misunderstand me.

I don't think I am.. at least not on the level you think.

I'm saying that "pro-life" (and for that matter "pro-choice") both presuppose a position which doesn't exist. In truth, most of us value both "life" and "choice" to different degrees and in different ways based on our own interpretation of the value of these concepts. These terms are a way of framing this debate in terms of extreme bipartisan positions with no middle ground, when in fact the middle ground is a very important part of how many people (I would go so far as to say most people) invested in the debate see it. Just because one thing is important to you doesn't mean a contradictory factor is completely irrelevant, it might have less importance in particular situations but that's not the same thing as saying that you don't accept its legitimacy altogether.

I'm not talking about your personal beliefs at all. You made those pretty clear in the original post, and broadly speaking I agree with you. For me, this extends to what I see as a logically coherent position which places a particular value on quality of life over and above the supposed rights of biochemical processes to continue working. I'm saying that despite this, if I still felt that the lives of unborn foetuses were somehow sacred and abortion was horrible and should be avoided, that would not make me logically inconsistent, it would mean I valued two entirely separate things to different degrees.

I think the same is true of just about everyone on various issues. We all value various ideas and concepts which, at times, seem to be at odds with each other, and in these situations it's not simply a case of just abandoning one entirely and claiming it's completely unimportant, we have to compromise between sources of value. In this case, there is noone who is "anti-life", what is actually in question is not whether "life" is good but what forms of "life" are good, and what about "life" worth is valuing. Once you look at it like that, not as a matter of "core values" (which, after all, are nothing but the official statements of impersonal organizations) but of individual interpretations within a seemingly contradictory economy of value, then it isn't simply a matter of either being one thing or the other. People have to find a balance between valuing more than one thing, and thus we end up with a continuum rather than two diametrically opposed positions.

Again, I don't see even the most hardline "pro-life" activists advocating that we should keep corpses on life support in order to continue some cellular activity, or that we shouldn't use chemotherapy to treat cancer because it kills cells.

There's a far more essential problem with the "You chose to have sex you slut, now have that baby!" argument that the pro-lifers use: How on earth are they entitled to dictating the sex lives of other people?

They haven't got a right to do that, just like we can't sue the parents of pro-lifers for causing us emotional damage by putting offspring on the world that uses such belittling authoritarian arguments.

This is actually something I considered very recently and I decided that yes, I can't justify excluding rape.

In the case of incest, I would only support it if the child has a severe birth defect (But that's because I support eugenics and has little to do with abortion).

In the case of rape, the only determining factor is if you rank infanticide as a more terrible crime than rape. As death is death and rape is assuredly less than death, I don't think it can be justified.

I don't think that most pro-lifers who support those exclusions really believe they should be excluded, though. It seems more like an attempt to compromise than anything. Because to exclude rape because the child isn't wanted in that case...is basically saying that you're pro-choice, because that's the basis of that movement; the child isn't wanted and so they should be aborted.

evilthecat:

Lonewolfm16:
I believe you misunderstand me.

I don't think I am.. at least not on the level you think.

I'm saying that "pro-life" (and for that matter "pro-choice") both presuppose a position which doesn't exist. In truth, most of us value both "life" and "choice" to different degrees and in different ways based on our own interpretation of the value of these concepts. These terms are a way of framing this debate in terms of extreme bipartisan positions with no middle ground, when in fact the middle ground is a very important part of how many people (I would go so far as to say most people) invested in the debate see it. Just because one thing is important to you doesn't mean a contradictory factor is completely irrelevant, it might have less importance in particular situations but that's not the same thing as saying that you don't accept its legitimacy altogether.

I'm not talking about your personal beliefs at all. You made those pretty clear in the original post, and broadly speaking I agree with you. For me, this extends to what I see as a logically coherent position which places a particular value on quality of life over and above the supposed rights of biochemical processes to continue working. I'm saying that despite this, if I still felt that the lives of unborn foetuses were somehow sacred and abortion was horrible and should be avoided, that would not make me logically inconsistent, it would mean I valued two entirely separate things to different degrees.

I think the same is true of just about everyone on various issues. We all value various ideas and concepts which, at times, seem to be at odds with each other, and in these situations it's not simply a case of just abandoning one entirely and claiming it's completely unimportant, we have to compromise between sources of value. In this case, there is noone who is "anti-life", what is actually in question is not whether "life" is good but what forms of "life" are good, and what about "life" worth is valuing. Once you look at it like that, not as a matter of "core values" (which, after all, are nothing but the official statements of impersonal organizations) but of individual interpretations within a seemingly contradictory economy of value, then it isn't simply a matter of either being one thing or the other. People have to find a balance between valuing more than one thing, and thus we end up with a continuum rather than two diametrically opposed positions.

Again, I don't see even the most hardline "pro-life" activists advocating that we should keep corpses on life support in order to continue some cellular activity, or that we shouldn't use chemotherapy to treat cancer because it kills cells.

Ah, then I apologize. Since you began explaining that pro-choice is not anti-life, I assumed that you thought I was a pro-lifer and didn't understand the ideas behind it. At any rate, I accept that there are a variety of positions on abortion, and they don't all boil down to pro-life and pro-choice, in fact this topic is to explore some of the opinions in regards to people who identify as pro-life. I have never heard a pro-life argument that didn't refrence a belief that the unborn have as much right to life as the born. Mostly because once you decide that a "unborn child" is more like a series of chemical proccesses than a thinking feeling human being you general don't try and keep people from destroying it. In this topic I am asking about people who identify as pro-life, and generaly espouse the belief that conception=life, yet still claim that abortion is something that should be allowed in cases of rape, incest, and to save the mother. This view seems inconsistent to me, so I am seeing how others feel about it. Most pro-lifers do, of course, value the right of a person to choose things for themselve, but to them this choice is equivilant to infanticide and therefore never acceptable... so why is it acceptable in these cases?

Kopikatsu:
This is actually something I considered very recently and I decided that yes, I can't justify excluding rape.

In the case of incest, I would only support it if the child has a severe birth defect (But that's because I support eugenics and has little to do with abortion).

In the case of rape, the only determining factor is if you rank infanticide as a more terrible crime than rape. As death is death and rape is assuredly less than death, I don't think it can be justified.

I don't think that most pro-lifers who support those exclusions really believe they should be excluded, though. It seems more like an attempt to compromise than anything. Because to exclude rape because the child isn't wanted in that case...is basically saying that you're pro-choice, because that's the basis of that movement; the child isn't wanted and so they should be aborted.

So would you support euthanasia in cases of severe birth defects as well?

Lonewolfm16:

Kopikatsu:
This is actually something I considered very recently and I decided that yes, I can't justify excluding rape.

In the case of incest, I would only support it if the child has a severe birth defect (But that's because I support eugenics and has little to do with abortion).

In the case of rape, the only determining factor is if you rank infanticide as a more terrible crime than rape. As death is death and rape is assuredly less than death, I don't think it can be justified.

I don't think that most pro-lifers who support those exclusions really believe they should be excluded, though. It seems more like an attempt to compromise than anything. Because to exclude rape because the child isn't wanted in that case...is basically saying that you're pro-choice, because that's the basis of that movement; the child isn't wanted and so they should be aborted.

So would you support euthanasia in cases of severe birth defects as well?

I would prefer genetic engineering, but I wouldn't oppose euthanasia in that case, no.

Edit: To clarify; life in itself is not valuable. For instance, I have a living will because I would rather die than be a quadriplegic. Quality of life is more important than life itself; which is also why I support the death penalty for inmates who are sentenced to life in prison; because the alternative is that you stick them in a box for the rest of their life until they die anyway.

You could argue that a child that isn't wanted would have a poor quality of life and therefore I should support abortion, but my mother never wanted me and tried to get an abortion; but I'm fine with the quality of my life.

evilthecat:

Kopikatsu:
I would prefer genetic engineering, but I wouldn't oppose euthanasia in that case, no.

You mean producing hundreds or thousands of fertilized zygotes in order to produce one without the hereditary defect and then terminating the others?

Now I'm starting to feel like this isn't logically consistent. :S

See the above. Killing is okay if it's for the betterment of society or humanity as a whole. Killing because a life is merely an inconvenience and nothing else is not.

It's an all or nothing thing. If you (society) are willing to accept eugenics and practice it, then I will support what I've outlined above. If you (society) are not willing to accept and practice eugenics, then I will not support abortion.

Kopikatsu:
I would prefer genetic engineering, but I wouldn't oppose euthanasia in that case, no.

You mean producing hundreds or thousands of fertilized zygotes in order to produce one without the hereditary defect and then terminating the others?

Now I'm starting to feel like this isn't logically consistent. :S

evilthecat:
You mean producing hundreds or thousands of fertilized zygotes in order to produce one without the hereditary defect and then terminating the others?

Now I'm starting to feel like this isn't logically consistent. :S

It would probably help your point if you didn't exagerate it to ridiculousness. Most of the time when euthenasia is requested (and/or given) for infants, it's in cases where there's no hope of ever achieving anywhere near a normal quality of life, or other heavily weighing concerns.

Elsewhere I named an example I liften from a medical magazin of children born with both hydrocephalia and an open spine, ussually a very high open where the fetus can never even breathe autonomously. They can look forward to a lifespan of no more than 2 years, while undergoing 42 surgeries, and never achieving a mental capacity above that of a 2 month old baby. These are often aborted or euthenised yes.

And I'd be amazed if anyone had a problem with that.

Another example you sometimes hear 'pro-lifers' cry about is Schisis, also sometimes a reason to choose abortion if it's diagnosed. "What? A split lip? AND THEY MURDER A CHILD FOR THAT?! OMGZ!!!" that's how they go.
What they don't tell you is that those cases of Schisis are ussually the heavy ones where saying they have a split skull is more accurate than saying they have a split lip. While children born with the severe form can look forward to multiple painfull surgeries including fairly complicated ones, bone transplantations, speaking defects and quite a lot of plastic surgery, and in some cases recurring need to have visible scar tissue fixed with medical tattoos. Having a needly rammed into your upper lip a few million times over the course of life, oh jolly...

Kopikatsu:
You could argue that a child that isn't wanted would have a poor quality of life and therefore I should support abortion, but my mother never wanted me and tried to get an abortion; but I'm fine with the quality of my life.

That's not the argument at all.

The quality of life argument in this case does not apply to someone who doesn't yet exist. If, as you've already pointed out, life is not valuable simply because it is life, then the foetus as this point is just biochemistry. You wouldn't have missed your life had it been terminated at that stage any more than I would have missed mine, and I suspect I was only not aborted because my mother was in her early teens and missed the deadline. I think we've probably had this discussion before, because I remember something about it.

The quality of life argument applies to the person who already exists. That's the only quality of life argument worth making at that point in time. Anything else is just guesswork.

Eugenics is just pseudo-science. The issue of whether or not to abort children with hereditary diseases has nothing to do with eugenics and doesn't deserve to be tainted with the term. It is, like every other issue here, a quality of life argument in which the primary concern, once again, is (and should be, in my opinion) the quality of life for the parents who will potentially have to raise a severely disabled child. It's only in the most extreme cases, such as a where a child will only live for a few years, that the issue of the child's quality of life even becomes remotely relevant to the discussion, and even then the idea of forcing anyone to have an abortion is in and of itself harmful to society because it's a basic violation of the right to bodily autonomy on which a healthy and free society depends.

Noone owns anyone else. Noone has a responsibility to give up a kidney to a dying person, so certainly noone has a responsibility to give up their womb to a not-yet-person who will die without it. It is commendable to give up a kidney to someone else, and perhaps it should be commendable to carry an unwanted child to term, but the idea that it should be forced is not, in my opinion, "pro-life" in any sense I can recognize.

Blablahb:
snip

My views on the matter are explained above. Then again, I'm arguing with someone who thinks killing the disabled is good for humanity. Maybe you missed that.

evilthecat:

Kopikatsu:
You could argue that a child that isn't wanted would have a poor quality of life and therefore I should support abortion, but my mother never wanted me and tried to get an abortion; but I'm fine with the quality of my life.

That's not the argument at all.

The quality of life argument in this case does not apply to someone who doesn't yet exist. If, as you've already pointed out, life is not valuable simply because it is life, then the foetus as this point is just biochemistry. You wouldn't have missed your life had it been terminated at that stage any more than I would have missed mine, and I suspect I was only not aborted because my mother was in her early teens and missed the deadline. I think we've probably had this discussion before, because I remember something about it.

The quality of life argument applies to the person who already exists. That's the only quality of life argument worth making at that point in time. Anything else is just guesswork.

Eugenics is just pseudo-science. The issue of whether or not to abort children with hereditary diseases has nothing to do with eugenics and doesn't deserve to be tainted with the term. It is, like every other issue here, a quality of life argument in which the primary concern, once again, is (and should be, in my opinion) the quality of life for the parents who will potentially have to raise a severely disabled child. It's only in the most extreme cases, such as a where a child will only live for a few years, that the issue of the child's quality of life even becomes remotely relevant to the discussion, and even then the idea of forcing anyone to have an abortion is in and of itself harmful to society because it's a basic violation of the right to bodily autonomy on which a healthy and free society depends.

Noone owns anyone else. Noone has a responsibility to give up a kidney to a dying person, so certainly noone has a responsibility to give up their womb to a not-yet-person who will die without it. It is commendable to give up a kidney to someone else, and perhaps it should be commendable to carry an unwanted child to term, but the idea that it should be forced is not, in my opinion, "pro-life" in any sense I can recognize.

Blablahb:
snip

My views on the matter are explained above. Then again, I'm arguing with someone who thinks killing the disabled is good for humanity. Maybe you missed that.

To play devil's advocate here, in order to stop the person from being born you have to actually go out of your way to stop it. If we assume that a fetus has a life worth just as much as that of a person, arguing for the abortion of unwanted children is akin to argueing that a mother may abandon, or even kill her child if she so wishes because she is under no obligation to care for it. And where, precisely, does that leave us as a society?

evilthecat:
My views on the matter are explained above. Then again, I'm arguing with someone who thinks killing the disabled is good for humanity. Maybe you missed that.

That's entirely your interpretation, and nothing more than that. All I caught is finding quality of life more important than bare life itself. A point which is true, and is pretty much leading philosophy in medical science.

Lonewolfm16:
To play devil's advocate here, in order to stop the person from being born you have to actually go out of your way to stop it. If we assume that a fetus has a life worth just as much as that of a person, arguing for the abortion of unwanted children is akin to argueing that a mother may abandon, or even kill her child if she so wishes because she is under no obligation to care for it. And where, precisely, does that leave us as a society?

At the point where some people can't comprehend the difference between eugenics and recognizing that a life of nothing but shit, may not be worth forcing onto someone, while also ruining the lives of two others while at it?

Blablahb:

evilthecat:
My views on the matter are explained above. Then again, I'm arguing with someone who thinks killing the disabled is good for humanity. Maybe you missed that.

That's entirely your interpretation, and nothing more than that. All I caught is finding quality of life more important than bare life itself. A point which is true, and is pretty much leading philosophy in medical science.

Lonewolfm16:
To play devil's advocate here, in order to stop the person from being born you have to actually go out of your way to stop it. If we assume that a fetus has a life worth just as much as that of a person, arguing for the abortion of unwanted children is akin to argueing that a mother may abandon, or even kill her child if she so wishes because she is under no obligation to care for it. And where, precisely, does that leave us as a society?

At the point where some people can't comprehend the difference between eugenics and recognizing that a life of nothing but shit, may not be worth forcing onto someone?

I was refering to his argument that abortion is acceptable, even from the stand-point that life begins at conception, because a women is not obligated to give up her womb so that something else may live. I do agree with euthenasia of those who are in a great deal of pain and no longer want to live, and at the parents consent, those who will not live very long, and will spend the entirety of their lives in immense terrible pain, as they endure surgery after surgery. My belief is that life has no inate purpose, but that sentient life is valuble, and that all sentient beings essentially own themselves, and may do as they wish within logical boundries. As for the purpose of life, I hold that their is no grand purpose. We are the product of evolutionary selection so by this logic our purpose is to spread our genes, but why should we follow along with evolutionary purposes? As sentient beings we can trancsend that and choose our purpose in life, and that we can live life for the expierence and the joy of it.

Most the "pro-life (I hate that misleading term) no matter what" people I know are that way because of religious reasons. One of them even posted this quote on facebook earlier today:

Abortion is not primarily a social/political/women's/children's/health issue. Abortion is a God issue.

evilthecat:
-snip-

As I said earlier, abortion can't be justified even in the case of rape because a life with no inherent reason for their quality of life to be significant impaired trumps that of a traumatic experience. It's a bit callus to put it as 'You got raped? Tough shit', but someone who is raped is fully capable of taking their own life if they feel that being raped is worse than death. If they don't take their own life, then they accept that life (in a general sense) is more valuable than the event, and so it's unjustifiable that they would abort the fetus. Outside of rape, it was either/both party's responsibility to use contraception if they did not want to have a child. That was the choice. Once that point has passed, the choice has been made. The other point of choice was to not have the sex in the first place. So, the choice of whether or not to have an abortion is not a choice at all; as the choice to have the child has already been made by that point.

Eugenics is the practice of improving the genetic composition of a population, so yes, that is one of the (many) things that would fall under it. But like I said, you either go all the way with it or you do not.

You have no right to bodily autonomy. The government is free to tell you what you can smoke, what you can drink, where you can drink it, the kind and amount of protection that you must use during any task, what drugs you take, how much of any given drug you may take, and it is illegal to not seek medical care for a child, regardless of the wishes of the parent or the child; at least in the US. Among other things. The government can very much tell you what to do with your life and how to life it, and many of us accept that on a fundamental level.

Assassin Xaero:
Most the "pro-life (I hate that misleading term) no matter what" people I know are that way because of religious reasons. One of them even posted this quote on facebook earlier today:

Abortion is not primarily a social/political/women's/children's/health issue. Abortion is a God issue.

Many of them, yes. Mostly since the idea of the soul grants credence to valueing life from conception. But there are pro-lifers from all religions. Actually one pro-life site I visited was specifically talking about a group of atheist pro-lifers and how the battle might seem religious but isn't neccassarily. As for their name, it makes sense from their point of view. To them life begins at conception and they try to protect that life.

Blablahb:
All I caught is finding quality of life more important than bare life itself. A point which is true, and is pretty much leading philosophy in medical science.

..also the very first point I made on this thread, and which I have repeated several times.

Seriously, what are you even arguing about?

Kopikatsu:
As I said earlier, abortion can't be justified even in the case of rape because a life with no inherent reason for their quality of life to be significant impaired trumps that of a traumatic experience.

But the fetus has no quality of life. It is not conscious.

This is like saying you can't switch off a life support machine because the person would be having an excellent time if they weren't dead.

The theoretical "person" at this point is a fictional character in the minds of other people. Sometimes fictional characters can have a strong emotional effect on people, and that's fine, but that doesn't make them more than fictional and it doesn't entail a responsibility to make real people suffer for the sake of fiction.

You clearly have issues in this regard, and I don't mean to provoke them because believe it or not I do understand. But nonetheless it makes me sad to see someone's empathy for other human beings, by which I mean real human beings, being swallowed up by their own neurosis. Reminds me too much of myself.

Kopikatsu:
Eugenics is the practice of improving the genetic composition of a population, so yes, that is one of the (many) things that would fall under it.

Eugenics is a late 19th/early-20th century belief that certain human traits, particularly behavioural traits and social categorizations (such as "criminality" and "social class") are linked in a direct or simple fashion to "good" or "bad" breeding. It's the idea of determining what is evolutionarily valuable by what is socially valuable.

It doesn't work. Firstly because most of the traits defined by eugenicists have turned out to have no clear relationship to heredity. But even for those traits which do, we now understand that all genes are the result of natural selection. They exist because they have been selected for by the environment over millions of years.There is no great ladder of human genetic advancement with some kind of heroic superman at the top and "degenerates" at the bottom. For example, many hereditary genetic disorders exist precisely because they confer some kind of a advantage to those who carry the genes but don't manifest the disorder.

Treating hereditary genetic disorders is not about eugenics. It is not about eliminating particular genes from the population because they are "bad", it is not about "improving humanity". It is about preventing and treating those cases where precise combinations of otherwise benign (or helpful) genetics cause problems for people when they try to have children together.

Kopikatsu:
The government can very much tell you what to do with your life and how to life it, and many of us accept that on a fundamental level.

Not the same thing as I was talking about.

I'm what some may consider pro-life, but I at least try not to be hypocritical about it. I believe that special exceptions should be made for Rape or to save the life of the mother, and I don't fall into that "Love the fetus hate the child" camp. In my opinion if you're pro-life you should be pro universal healthcare, pro welfare, and pro-orphanages. The best way to solve this issue is, I personally believe, rather then just screaming "MURDER! MUUUURDERERS!" we should focus on making sure the government shows some attention to orphans and other groups so women would feel like their baby can live a relatively good life, even as an orphan, rather than killing them simply because "There's no other option" or something like that.

I personally think that using abortion merely as a form of contraception, I.E. you fucked up and now you're trying to get rid of the baby, is morally wrong.

Witty Name Here:
I personally think that using abortion merely as a form of contraception, I.E. you fucked up and now you're trying to get rid of the baby, is morally wrong.

How fortunate then, that such a thing never happened and never happens.

I don't get why people even bring it up.

al4674:
Consequently, if they were consistent and were very well aware of the logical conclusions of their position - I would be scared too.

Can you expand on that please? My views on abortion are consistent and mean no harm.

Well i have two main issues. One to be honest trumps every argument anyone has. I have yet to see anyone overturn it.

1. The less important one. Life as a qualifier is a pretty useless biological term. Very few experts in the field can agree on what it means and how to define it. Its one of these wishy washy psuedo science terms thats useful in broad studies like "Does ingesting X kill you?" and less useful in "Is object X alive when it has some traits and not others of life?"

If i HAD to pin down what i thought constituted a human with rights id say after the first synapse fires. Previous to that the zygote is the same as a bundle of my bone marrow stem cells. Imagine you removed my bone marrow stem cells and stamped on them. Is that murder? My bone marrow cells COULD be grown into another human being via cloning so its honestly as much a potential human as a zygote. Lets say you put my bone marrow cells into the culture medium with the correct hormones to make it develop into a zygote. Lets say i IMMEDIATELY removed it so it stopped growing. Is it murder now? How far after i drop my cells into the medium is it murder? The line is VERY blury.

Synapse firing has to be my arbitrary line in what constitutes a human life. It has more to do with consciousnesses than any other stage in development and is consistent in ALL ways a human could be grown from stem cells. I think that assuming ANY cells that will grow into a human under the right hormone conditions are alive is inconsistent as my bone marrow is suddenly a person. Conversely if you define it my conception my potential bone marrow clone wont be "alive" even at the age of 50 since conception never took place. As a scientific definition i cannot define a human life as at conception. Way too many holes and exceptions.

2. The amount of abortion before and after legalizing it remains almost the same. Back street abortions kill more mothers and they happen regardless of its illegality. The TOTAL amount of deaths is lower with abortion being legal. I couldnt honestly enter the medical career and not swear to preserve the maximum amount of life possible. This is done by ensuring that if an abortion is going to take place either way it will happen in a safe, clean environment. I have yet to see a moral argument to refute this. Even if abortion is totally wrong you save more people by making it legal to perform properly rather than in a back ally. That leads to the smallest amount of deaths EVEN if you include the zygote as a person.

Blablahb:
How fortunate then, that such a thing never happened and never happens.

I don't get why people even bring it up.

Yes because in the history of the entire world Abortion has always and only been used for good. Every single person who has ever had an abortion was either raped or in immediate danger.

You know, except for every other case where it's not rape or your life is in danger.

You're mentally ill if you think every case of abortion has always been rape or a life saving surgery. The major reason in most abortions is getting rid of unplanned pregnancies. Not to save someone's life, and not to get rid of a "rape baby", hell, more then half the time women choose abortions because previous forms of contraception have failed.

http://women.webmd.com/tc/abortion-reasons-women-choose-abortion

So don't try and turn this into an "big bad christians trying to stop peoples' lives from being saved".

BiscuitTrouser:

1. The less important one. Life as a qualifier is a pretty useless biological term. Very few experts in the field can agree on what it means and how to define it. Its one of these wishy washy psuedo science terms thats useful in broad studies like "Does ingesting X kill you?" and less useful in "Is object X alive when it has some traits and not others of life?"

There is pretty much universal agreement on when an individual human begins its life - at that is conception. Just open up a contemporary textbook on biology/embryology.

However, many pro-choice advocates either deny this or they argue that this piece of scientific fact is not enough.

BiscuitTrouser:

If i HAD to pin down what i thought constituted a human with rights id say after the first synapse fires. Previous to that the zygote is the same as a bundle of my bone marrow stem cells. Imagine you removed my bone marrow stem cells and stamped on them. Is that murder? My bone marrow cells COULD be grown into another human being via cloning so its honestly as much a potential human as a zygote. Lets say you put my bone marrow cells into the culture medium with the correct hormones to make it develop into a zygote. Lets say i IMMEDIATELY removed it so it stopped growing. Is it murder now? How far after i drop my cells into the medium is it murder? The line is VERY blury.

Synapse firing has to be my arbitrary line in what constitutes a human life. It has more to do with consciousnesses than any other stage in development and is consistent in ALL ways a human could be grown from stem cells. I think that assuming ANY cells that will grow into a human under the right hormone conditions are alive is inconsistent as my bone marrow is suddenly a person. Conversely if you define it my conception my potential bone marrow clone wont be "alive" even at the age of 50 since conception never took place. As a scientific definition i cannot define a human life as at conception. Way too many holes and exceptions.

Like the sperm or the egg, a stem cell has no capability to become a human being on its own. To clone a human, the stem cell would still need to be artificially transferred to a donor egg (or in other words, simulate conception). So before that process is complete, stomping on your bone marrow stem cells is not murder, because you cannot murder someone who doesn't yet exist. Only after fusing the egg and the sperm (or in this case taking the cell, reprogramming it and inserting it to a donor ovum) can we say that a developing distinct organism has come into existence. From that moment, it can be murdered via abortion - at least that is how I see it. Killing a zygote is, in my eyes, murder because the distinct human being already exists whereas killing a sperm is not murder as a distinct human being does not yet exist, who is to be killed.

I give no value to any sort of personhood requirements (personality, abstract thought, consciousness). What modern embryology has shown me is enough. It's precise, measurable and empirical - as opposed to personhood, which is vague, ambivalent and completely socially constructed with no basis in actual science. It's more of a philosophical issue, which is not to say that it is invalid, but in no way is it as precise as opting for the scientific view.

Lets leave that aside for now.

Basically as I understand, for someone to become a human being with rights in your eyes, he/she must have show electric impulses and synapses in the brain. Consciousness is what defines human-ness to you, so before consciousness the fetus has no right to life, or any rights for that matter.

But there are some questions. The fetal brain begins to show synaptic firings already after 6-7 weeks - far below the current cut-off line. That's because somatic impulses which regulate automatic functions such as heart beats, breathing etc kick in. So how exactly do you distinguish synapses which regulate somatic function from those which regulate consciousness?

Secondly, before synaptic firings occur the fetus has no rights and can therefore be freely aborted. So for the first few weeks of pregnancy, the mother should have absolutely no obligation to abstain from drugs, smokes, alchohol etc even if she wants to have the child. Later on if the child is born with mental retardedness or some other physical deformation (born blind, born without arms or is born with deformed limbs) due to the alchohol poisoning for example - then is the mother in any way responsible for the child's condition? It would appear not, because at the time of sustaining the damage, the fetus had no right not to be damaged.

This is actually a big problem because it isn't unusual for people to have children solely for the purpose of getting child support and other government money injections. If the child is somehow disabled, the support money would be even larger.

BiscuitTrouser:

2. The amount of abortion before and after legalizing it remains almost the same. Back street abortions kill more mothers and they happen regardless of its illegality. The TOTAL amount of deaths is lower with abortion being legal. I couldnt honestly enter the medical career and not swear to preserve the maximum amount of life possible. This is done by ensuring that if an abortion is going to take place either way it will happen in a safe, clean environment. I have yet to see a moral argument to refute this. Even if abortion is totally wrong you save more people by making it legal to perform properly rather than in a back ally. That leads to the smallest amount of deaths EVEN if you include the zygote as a person.

The women who use back-alley abortion clinics - it would say that it's their risk and their choice to endanger themselves. We can't make X legal because people do X regardless whether it's legal or illegal, even if trying to do X illegally puts their health and life at risk. It's essentially enabling criminal behavior because we haven't figured out an effective way to stop and deter it. Effective deterrence would be charging an illegal abortion on the same degree as murder.

Instead of providing abortions, the governement should actually fund adoption agencies, encourage the creation of new, quality orphanages with loving environments, fund support groups for pregnant women and clinics that would help pregnant women to go through the ordeal not to mention temporary financial support from the government. Friends and family should also give full support. Abortion should not be the nr.1 solution. Violating the right to life for some socio-economic cause inherently cheapens and devalues it.

The reasoning is essentially that X should be legal because more harm would come from it being illegal. I do find it interesting that the same argument is almost never applied to gun rights and rarely applied to drug legalisation. We could just as well say that by not keeping gun ownership legal, people would find and obtain guns illegally. The people who obtain them illegally will now have unregistered weapons which can't be monitored not to mention illegal gun purchases may fund criminal organisations. Therefore, gun ownership should be legal because more harm would come from them being illegal.

Heroin, crystal meth, cocaine, weed etc should also be legal because people seek them out regardless of what the law says and there is a huge risk that the batch they get is contaminated. It would do less harm if we legalize it and offer pure batches for lower prices. The criminal organizations would lose alot of their income, we would get tax money and people will have more purchasing power.

There are pretty much endless policies that can be supported and legalized with such arguments.

al4674:
There is pretty much universal agreement on when an individual human begins its life - at that is conception. Just open up a contemporary textbook on biology/embryology.

However, many pro-choice advocates either deny this or they argue that this piece of scientific fact is not enough.

No. There is no dispute that a zygote is alive. There is, however, dispute on whether that zygote should have rights, especially to the detriment of the mother (who people seem to like to ignore when they're talking about the rights of the zygote).
That's why "When does life begin?" is such a dumb and useless question. The sperm and egg were alive as well. The skin cells I lose every time I shave by scratching a bit too much are alive. Life is pretty meaningless for this question, because we constantly kill living things without any qualms.
It's about humanity. Is that zygote a human being? Or just a human cell? Is it a person? The answer is pretty clear to me, at least at that point.
When you get much later into the development, when things like a brain exist, neurons network etc., that's when the question becomes difficult to answer[1]. But not at conception.
BiscuitTrouser is sort of correct that life is sometimes difficult to define (especially with some bacteria, viruses, prions etc.). But I disagree that this applies to zygotes. Sure, they are alive, no question about it. They metabolize, they split and multiply, they live. It's just that, as he said, it's pretty much meaningless that the zygote is alive. Being alive is certainly not sufficient for protection.

[1] And I'd also like to note that even if we decided on a particular point in time when that developing organism can be considered a person, that does not yet automatically mean that its rights supercede the rights of the organism hosting it. That's a whole other discussion.

Skeleon:
snip

Not only is it alive, it's human life distinct from its parents.

From a biological point of view, the question is very simple and clear cut - conception does mark the beginning of a new human life. A sperm and an egg (or your skin cells for that matter) do not have distinct human DNA as they share the DNA of their respective host. A zygote has a unique DNA that distinguishes it from both the mother and the father.

You will find absolutely no self-respecting embryologist claim that the zygote is not a new human being at its earliest stage of development.

And I agree with you that many people claim that this is not enough and that personhood takes the main stage. Many would attribute rights only to persons, not human beings. Being a human being does not mean that you are a person and even if the fetus is a person, do the rights of the fetus override that of the mother?

I reject this extra requirement, but many people do not.

al4674:
You will find absolutely no self-respecting embryologist claim that the zygote is not a new human being at its earliest stage of development.

Now, now, don't shift the goal posts please. "A zygote is the earliest stage of the development of a new human being" is very different from saying "a zygote is a new human being". That's, after all, where the whole issue of potential versus actual personhood comes in. Not to mention the fact that around half of the zygotes never implant themselves anyway.

And I agree with you that many people claim that this is not enough and that personhood takes the main stage. Many would attribute rights only to persons, not human beings. Being a human being does not mean that you are a person and even if the fetus is a person, do the rights of the fetus override that of the mother?

I reject this extra requirement, but many people do not.

I think we have different definitions of "human beings" that cause some of the confusion here. I'm no embryologist, but I am a physician and I don't view a zygote as a "human being". I would say they could be considered "(early) human organisms", similar to the content of the above paragraph. "Human being" has further requirements beyond just "it's at least a single-celled organism" and "it has distinct human DNA".

But if we want to make it less fuzzy, perhaps we should refrain from using the term "human being" considering the many different meanings it can have and clearly state what we mean, be it personhood, be it human DNA, be it whatever else. Conflation and confusion of issues becomes too problematic otherwise.

Skeleon:
Now, now, don't shift the goal posts please. "A zygote is the earliest stage of the development of a new human being" is very different from saying "a zygote is a new human being". That's, after all, where the whole issue of potential versus actual personhood comes in. Not to mention the fact that around half of the zygotes never implant themselves anyway.

But being a human is not some all-or-nothing status. Human life is essentially a process.

A zygote has all its internal genetic information in place and nothing will be added to it. A fertilized egg only needs a suitable environment and nutrition to grow just like any other organism. That zygote will develop and grow into a infant, who will develop and grow into an adult human etc - and that process ultimately ends in the death of that organism. The mechanics are completely the same regardless whether we're talking from a zygote to a newborn or from a newborn to an adult human.

And whether the zygote manages to implant itself has no bearing on the status of the zygote itself.

Skeleon:

I think we have different definitions of "human beings" that cause some of the confusion here. I'm no embryologist, but I am a physician and I don't view a zygote as a "human being". I would say they could be considered "(early) human organisms", similar to the content of the above paragraph. "Human being" has further requirements beyond just "it's at least a single-celled organism" and "it has distinct human DNA".

But if we want to make it less fuzzy, perhaps we should refrain from using the term "human being" considering the many different meanings it can have and clearly state what we mean, be it personhood, be it human DNA, be it whatever else. Conflation and confusion of issues becomes too problematic otherwise.

Well what are the other requirements that you find to be important? What are essentially the criteria's by which you decide when a developing ''human organism'' is a human being and when it isn't? And if so, then why?

al4674:

There is pretty much universal agreement on when an individual human begins its life - at that is conception. Just open up a contemporary textbook on biology/embryology.

The fact abortion is legal in many countries due to the majority supporting its legality shows that its not really universally agreed. Over 50% of people in my country openly disagree with you. A quick google search for scholarly articles shows that there is a LOT of disagreement. I dont think anyone is arguing that the cells themselves are ALIVE persay because they obviously are, as they have functioning equipment and can divide they are obviously alive. The fact that they constitute a human life with rights is what is contested.

http://bdfund.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/wi_whitepaper_life_print.pdf

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn15062-when-does-human-life-begin.html

It also discusses my issues with the definition of conception as a definition in regards to cloning.

Like the sperm or the egg, a stem cell has no capability to become a human being on its own.

And nor does the zygote. It needs the correct hormonal conditions imposed by an outside source. Putting a zygote in the ocean does not create a baby. In your mind does the geographical location of some cells change their rights and definition of a human?. Why does the zygote get rights for already being in the womb while my stem cells (which need to be put in one) do not just because of their starting location. At least your consistent in the fact that my stem cells, once entering the donor ovum, become life but it seems rather arbitrary.

I give no value to any sort of personhood requirements (personality, abstract thought, consciousness). What modern embryology has shown me is enough. It's precise, measurable and empirical - as opposed to personhood, which is vague, ambivalent and completely socially constructed with no basis in actual science. It's more of a philosophical issue, which is not to say that it is invalid, but in no way is it as precise as opting for the scientific view.

I hate to say it but this is one of the areas where philosophy can be useful. Pulling the plug on a brain dead patient falls in a similar area. Is it murder? It cannot be empirically decided if such a thing is right or wrong or if said person has rights. Our research isnt detailed enough in this area to know if such a thing constitutes a right. People have less of an issue with doing this though, and personally i use the same definition for "Brain death" to apply to what makes a zygote living. If, ignoring physical form, they are by definition brain dead i cant really define that as a living person seeing as we dont really for adult patients. I hold all humans to the same standard in this regard.

But there are some questions. The fetal brain begins to show synaptic firings already after 6-7 weeks - far below the current cut-off line. That's because somatic impulses which regulate automatic functions such as heart beats, breathing etc kick in. So how exactly do you distinguish synapses which regulate somatic function from those which regulate consciousness?

Secondly, before synaptic firings occur the fetus has no rights and can therefore be freely aborted. So for the first few weeks of pregnancy, the mother should have absolutely no obligation to abstain from drugs, smokes, alchohol etc even if she wants to have the child. Later on if the child is born with mental retardedness or some other physical deformation (born blind, born without arms or is born with deformed limbs) due to the alchohol poisoning for example - then is the mother in any way responsible for the child's condition? It would appear not, because at the time of sustaining the damage, the fetus had no right not to be damaged.

Our tools at this time are not precise enough to give me a definite answer. I know in my mind what i believe to be morally correct, which is the first synapse firing unrelated to somatic function. We do not count patients with JUST somatic function and no other brain activity at all as FULLY human with ALL rights and i extend that to the zygote. But i have to work with what we have, not what we want. I imagine a level of higher brain activity might be detected by a brain scan but as far as i know not enough research or technology is available to determine a time for that. besides even if i thought abortion was wrong after said time (i imagine i would) i would still want it to be legal for the reason below.

To address your second point. At the moment she does not have such an obligation. It seems rather crude to force a woman into a contract about her food intake and other activities because she is pregnant against her will. Emphasis on the force. I might not be against smoking while pregnant and drinking while pregnant being illegal anyway. Simply because the risk of damage SHOULD the zygote survive or be wanted is too great. Not because the zygote has a right but more to prevent the abuse you talked above above. If she does not eat to provide enough for both her and the zygote what do you suggest, force feeding? I cant condone forcing a woman to become a baby carrier at the level of restraining and force feeding her. Its a concept that to me is grotesque. Id argue that its morally wrong to harm a zygote in a way that lets it survive to become a human but with damage on the basis that you are indirectly harming the human with rights.

The women who use back-alley abortion clinics - it would say that it's their risk and their choice to endanger themselves. We can't make X legal because people do X regardless whether it's legal or illegal, even if trying to do X illegally puts their health and life at risk. It's essentially enabling criminal behavior because we haven't figured out an effective way to stop and deter it. Effective deterrence would be charging an illegal abortion on the same degree as murder.

More brutal punishments dont stop desperate criminals. This is basic. No one acts as if they are going to get caught. We can make X legal because otherwise X will lead to more deaths INCLUDING the death of the zygote you cherish so much AND the mother. You cannot dispute the smaller amount of lives lost is if it is legal. You havnt disputed it here. It seems to be a total inconsistency to value life so much and yet pick the option with the mosts deaths on the grounds of "They took the risk". If life is that precious that shouldnt matter. It doesnt to me.

Instead of providing abortions, the governement should actually fund adoption agencies, encourage the creation of new, quality orphanages with loving environments, fund support groups for pregnant women and clinics that would help pregnant women to go through the ordeal not to mention temporary financial support from the government. Friends and family should also give full support. Abortion should not be the nr.1 solution. Violating the right to life for some socio-economic cause inherently cheapens and devalues it.

Cant disagree. I dislike abortion. Very much. Other measures are far superior. Abortion should indeed be a very last desperate solution and often it is because people lack the services you described. Lowering the abortion rate is only a good thing. Cant agree with the devalue thing though. You arnt worth less as a person because (even if we concede a zygote can be murdered) people have "killed" for sillier reasons and in far greater numbers. The actions of others cant devalue a personal concept such as your own life.

The reasoning is essentially that X should be legal because more harm would come from it being illegal. I do find it interesting that the same argument is almost never applied to gun rights and rarely applied to drug legalisation. We could just as well say that by not keeping gun ownership legal, people would find and obtain guns illegally. The people who obtain them illegally will now have unregistered weapons which can't be monitored not to mention illegal gun purchases may fund criminal organisations. Therefore, gun ownership should be legal because more harm would come from them being illegal.

Heroin, crystal meth, cocaine, weed etc should also be legal because people seek them out regardless of what the law says and there is a huge risk that the batch they get is contaminated. It would do less harm if we legalize it and offer pure batches for lower prices. The criminal organizations would lose alot of their income, we would get tax money and people will have more purchasing power.

There are pretty much endless policies that can be supported and legalized with such arguments.

I do use such arguments with these topics. I believe that in the USA banning guns would do more harm than good even though i hate guns and im glad we dont have enough in the UK to have such a problem. You pretty much stated my reasoning exactly.

I also apply it for drugs. I cant disagree with your reasoning. Dont presume my other stances just because few others hold them. Many times on this site ive declared to have this view. Check ANY of the gun threads and im there using this argument.

If you can name a policy that can be supported with this that i disagree with ill concede, until then they all seem sensible to me.

al4674:
But being a human is not some all-or-nothing status. Human life is essentially a process.

Yes, and that is precisely why we can't go ahead and claim a zygote is a new human being. It isn't yet. It needs to grow into one.

And whether the zygote manages to implant itself has no bearing on the status of the zygote itself.

No, but it means that zygotes are lost all the time and it really shouldn't be considered that big a deal. Miscarriages become rarer the longer the pregnancy goes on. Similarly, abortions shouldn't be that big a deal at the beginning stages of the pregnancy while being extremely carefully weighed later on.

Well what are the other requirements that you find to be important? What are essentially the criteria's by which you decide when a developing ''human organism'' is a human being and when it isn't? And if so, then why?

Quite honestly, I don't have a fully fixed view on this. I try to base it on embryology and what makes a human a person: The brain. When we look at the neurological development of an embryo, we can see that around 8-12 weeks the brain's basic development is pretty far ahead. Most of the formed connections will die off later on and a lot of further neurological development has to happen, but that's pretty much the earliest point where I would grant some semblance of it being a human being.
Other lines of reasoning are to base it on the ability to survive outside the womb: Before the 22nd week, an embryo's lungs are pretty much incapable of unfolding and a prematurely born baby will die. No matter the medical technology, it's a significant cut-off point. Thus some people think that after 22 weeks (which is a sizeable amount of time to realize one is pregnant and get an abortion if necessary) abortion should no longer be allowed.

Anyway, to make it short? I think neurological development is the most important factor. The capability to suffer, to experience etc., things a zygote simply cannot.
It gets more difficult the further you are ahead in the pregnancy, but it's really easy for zygotes and early multi-cellular stages.

Let me put it like this: Germany currently does it like so: Up to week 12, an abortion can be performed without too much hassle. That's more or less in line with my point about the brain. However, afterwards abortions are still doable with proper justification. And this is where pro-life advocates' heads would probably explode, since justifications are very broad in Germany: Not just health, but also psychological and emotional etc.. I think that's not too bad an approach since it allows individual evaluation, but also ensures abortions aren't performed "willy-nilly".

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