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Pro choice

 
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With all the sheriffs in here you would think they were handing out free doughnuts and coffee with your post.
Anyhow,

Originally posted by Marilyn de Queiroz:

I think the "morning-after pill" was not approved by the FDA because of safety reasons. And I don't think that's really the kind of abortion we're talking about here really.


Exactly what kind of abortion are we talking about? Is it not an abortion if you swallow a pill and kill the fetus?
Certainly if you're going to outlaw abortion you have to address this issue.
And yes, if she didn't get pregnant in the first place, that would be a great way to avoid the birth all-together.
If only ifs and buts were candy and nuts....
[ April 29, 2004: Message edited by: Jeffrey Hunter ]
 
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
Considering the number of people that would be happy to adopt that infant, abortion seems an odd choice in this case. Is it really better to kill a child than have someone else raise it?


This assumes that there are a lot of suitable foster parents who could raise the child. Its not hard to see why some parents would not want to put a child through a childhood of fostering and care homes. For them, they see the only choices as either bringing up the child in a sub-standard childhood or aborting the child.
Someone I know had an abortion a few years ago when she was just 18. For her it was probably the right decision - she would have been an unemployed (she had no qualifications) single parent living on income support most likely in a council flat. Far more important than those reasons, she felt herself not to be ready - she was very young and inexperienced. Most likely both her and the child would have been unhappy. I'm not saying that it was an easy choice for her, but in the end she made the choice which was probably for the best. If, in a few years time, she chooses to have a child, that child will have a far better chance of a good start in life.
I absolutely don't condone aborting a foetus once its got to the stage that its a life form aware of its environment, but an abortion after maybe a few days of pregnancy is totally different - its just a small ball of cells. It cant feel any pain or distress from the process.
Personally I think there is a large difference between the "pro-life" and "pro-choice" sides of the argument. The pro-life side want to ban abortions in most cases - to impose their will. The pro-choice do not want to force abortions - they think that it should be down to the doctors and the parents to decide - they are not imposing a decision upon anyone. At the end of the day its an incredibly complex decision, and not one that anyone really goes into without a lot of consideration. I don't really think that we can possibly decide for someone without being in their exact situation.
 
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Joe, if she knew she wouldn't be able to raise the child why the heck did she get herself pregnant?
There's all kinds of stuff to prevent that from happening, not using contraceptives means you're making a conscious choice to want that pregnancy so you'd better take the consequences into account.
 
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There are plenty of eager couples who would have been more than happy to adopt that child. Many American couples are going overseas because there are no babies to adopt in the US.
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Warren Dew:
Good point. "Pro-abortion" would actually mean 'in favor of forcing people to have abortions even when they don't want to'.


Really? Would pro-capital punishment then mean you were in favor of executing everyone?
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
Hey Tom. Do you think this feeling of respecting life is essentially religious, or you think that any atheist is eligible?

Some of the people I know who have the most respect for life are atheists.
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Joe King:
I absolutely don't condone aborting a foetus once its got to the stage that its a life form aware of its environment, but an abortion after maybe a few days of pregnancy is totally different - its just a small ball of cells.


Isn't that all any of us are?
Anyway, which day exactly would you stop abortions? Day 14 is OK but Day 15 is no good? Or maybe Day 23? Day 35?
 
Joe King
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Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:
Joe, if she knew she wouldn't be able to raise the child why the heck did she get herself pregnant?
There's all kinds of stuff to prevent that from happening, not using contraceptives means you're making a conscious choice to want that pregnancy so you'd better take the consequences into account.


She did use a condom, but unfortunatly it split. Or so she said.......
This is a big problem in the UK at the moment - the rate of teenage pregnancies in the UK is higher than any other EU country. Its a bit hard to know what to do about it though.
 
Joe King
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:

Isn't that all any of us are?
Anyway, which day exactly would you stop abortions? Day 14 is OK but Day 15 is no good? Or maybe Day 23? Day 35?


I think the point at which it would be stopped would ideally be when the foetus becomes sentient i.e. aware of its surroundings, cable of feelings etc. Not being a doctor, I'm not sure at which point this becomes true (I'd guess when nerve cells start forming or something like that). Obviously this cannot be narrowed down to an exact day, but maybe doctors could agree upon a reasonable earliest point at which this happens.
 
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Most men don't appreciate the pain women go through when they want to get pregnant and can't. Yet, many women make the choice to abort... I can't understand why women don't have babies and give them to the women, you WANT children but simply cannot have them. It is a very solvable problem.
===========
I think women thmeselves will turn the tides on abortion someday. (young women that is...) Young girls today risk AIDS if they are not careful, and then maybe pregnancy, so they are growing up quite different than Mom. I also don't think abortion is as much a civil rights issue for them. Plus they've grown up in a country where abortion was legal, so they can be more objective.
 
Jeffrey Hunter
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Originally posted by John Dunn:

......
I think women thmeselves will turn the tides on abortion someday. (young women that is...) Young girls today risk AIDS if they are not careful, and then maybe pregnancy, so they are growing up quite different than Mom. I also don't think abortion is as much a civil rights issue for them. Plus they've grown up in a country where abortion was legal, so they can be more objective.



Yes, good point here. The ebb and flow of our collective behavior as a society shapes the future and one way or another, controversies which enflamed the masses on one day, will be doused as we find solutions, either through imposing formal laws, or setting informal rules of behavior (through media, propaganda, etc.).
Prohibition was a mistake, and eventually rectified as society was unwilling to accept the fact that in order to catch a buzz they'd have to climb down into somebody's cellar and speak easy while sipping on a whiskey because the Law was prowling about looking for a bust.
Or Marijuana, demonized and criminalized in large part by the campaign of Henry Anslinger, Federal Bureau of Narcotics, in the 30s. His ads showed kids smoking pot and jumping out windows and wreaking havoc in general. Today, yes, it's still debated by a large portion of society, but the fact that pot is illegal has been generally accepted.
Eventually, the abortion controversy will work itself. Will society finally accept Roe v. Wade? I think so, as soon as we can define the point at which a baby becomes a baby.
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Joe King:
I think the point at which it would be stopped would ideally be when the foetus becomes sentient i.e. aware of its surroundings, cable of feelings etc. Not being a doctor, I'm not sure at which point this becomes true (I'd guess when nerve cells start forming or something like that).

I can tell you that not even doctors know when this becomes true.
Let me give you a thought problem...
Suppose a friend of yours went into a deep coma. They became completely unaware of their surroundings and their brain activity dropped to a bare minimum. Fortunately, the doctors find that the the situation is only temporary and that in nine months they will have fully recovered. Someone then rushes into the room and stabs your friend to death. Their defense is that he wasn't a human being at the time they killed him. Discuss.
 
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:

Anyway, which day exactly would you stop abortions? Day 14 is OK but Day 15 is no good? Or maybe Day 23? Day 35?


I don't see the ethical or moral quandary here, as there is no absolute line.
Older case law pointed to a fetus' "quickening" as the apparent sign that 'life' was no longer 'forming' and had begun.
People now point to different stages of fetal development to signify this change. It can seem arbitrary because in some ways it is: ultimately one has to argue before a court for a legal definition of life -- somewhere from the instant of conception forward -- to try and weigh the liberties of the individual against the state's interesting in protecting the unborn, who as yet has no legal representative to guard its interests.
No matter how you slice it, wherever that line is drawn, some will feel individual rights are impinged, some will feel viable life is destroyed for no good reason. The only thing that would make it clearer, on paper anyway, is an absolute moral code.
[ April 29, 2004: Message edited by: Michael Ernest ]
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Michael Ernest:
I don't see the ethical or moral quandary here, as there is no absolute line.


The fact that there is no absolute line is the ethical quandry. Unless you feel comfortable killing human beings, not having an absolute line should make you very uncomfortable. Of course, as you suggest, drawing the line can be quite arbitrary and we can end up with ethicists from Princeton University recommending that we draw the line at 30 days after birth.
 
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Tom, wanna discuss my earlier post?


Imagine this:
Your 20-year old sister, a junior in college, has a medical condition. Doctors have told her that, due to this condition, the chances of her surviving a full-term pregnancy are nil. One Saturday night she's date-raped, and soon finds out she's pregnant. She calls you on the phone, crying hysterically. Explain to her why you think she, rather than the unborn child, ought to be the one to die.


So far, no answers.
 
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I'm not the one that said that abortion shouldn't be permitted to save the life of the mother. However, I would want to be very sure that this really is the case. The vast majority of abortions (95%) are performed as a form of birth control. 3% involve "the health of the mother" although it isn't clear from the statistics that the life of the mother was actually threatened by the pregnancy. Since medicaid will only reimburse for an abortion when the life of the mother is threatened, we can be fairly certain that the 3% figure is inflated. In the UK where all abortions are covered by the state, the figure is 0.013% of abortions are done to save the life of the mother.
I read about one study that was done in Ireland before abortions were legal. Among 75,000 pregnancies there were 21 maternal deaths. The study found that none of the women who died would have been saved by having an abortion.
[ April 29, 2004: Message edited by: Thomas Paul ]
 
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TP: The fact that there is no absolute line is the ethical quandry. Unless you feel comfortable killing human beings, not having an absolute line should make you very uncomfortable.
ME: Yes it does. What makes abortion easier for some, I am sure, is that they do not follow this same equation. To at least some reasonably significant number of people, aborting a pregnancy is simply not the same as killing a human being.
TP: Of course, as you suggest, drawing the line can be quite arbitrary and we can end up with ethicists from Princeton University recommending that we draw the line at 30 days after birth.
ME: Or scientists motivated as much by religious conviction as impartial inquiry who draw the line at conception. Lucky for us raised Catholic, we can nail it at "intent" and remain in a constant state of guilt and worry ever after.
 
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The way I see it, abortion is like the war -- a shaky compromize with consciosness, the middle ground between the spiritual and the material, the idealism and the pragmatism. Except that there is no middle ground, of course -- the notion of a "just war" and a "justified abortion" is for convenience only -- there is no grace in replacing half the heart with half the mind. It seems to me that there is a class of NP-complete problems (using the Computer Science terminology) in regards to the morality of abortion, war, suicide, and euthenesia: once you solve one problem, all the other problems will be solved, too.
 
Michael Ernest
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If ifs and buts were raisins and nuts we'd all have a bowl of granola!
 
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Originally posted by Michael Ernest:
ultimately one has to argue before a court for a legal definition of life -- somewhere from the instant of conception forward -- to try and weigh the liberties of the individual against the state's interesting in protecting the unborn, who as yet has no legal representative to guard its interests.
I believe that society and state can and should make a distinction between abortion and murder. I believe that there is a point some time after conception where it is no longer acceptable to terminate a pregnancy, but before that point, it is acceptable.
Finding that point is not easy of course. Trying to argue before a court would probably necessitate bringing all life into the equation, with the possibility that ALL life is deemed sacred and should thus be protected at all costs, human or otherwise. I can't really imagine a young fetus as sentient. The only difference between that and the fetus of another animal is that the human fetus has the potential to grow into a human being (be it the next Ghandi or Manson). I'd imagine a fully grown animal is far more sensitive to stress, pain etc, than a human fetus (during the early stages at least).
Wouldn't that be a turn out for the books.
"Ok, no more abortions, but no more chicken soup either. Got it?"
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Michael Ernest:
ME: Yes it does. What makes abortion easier for some, I am sure, is that they do not follow this same equation. To at least some reasonably significant number of people, aborting a pregnancy is simply not the same as killing a human being.

And to certain Princeton ethicists, killing a 15 day old baby isn't the same as killing a human being. The question is, if you aren't positive as to when a fetus becomes a human life then shouldn't you err on the side of caution when saying that it is OK to kill that life?
 
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According to my Biology textbook, for something to be living, it must have the following characteristics:
1. made of cells5. obtain and use materials and energy (metabolism)
2. all reproduce6. maintain internal balance (homeostasis)
3. have genetic code (DNA/RNA)7. respond to environment
4. grow and develop8. as a group, change over time (evolve)
So, if transitivity, we know that if something has these characteristics, it is indeed life. Further, since this life will develop into a Homo Sapien, then should it not also be considered a Homo Sapien (Just as a chicken fetus is considered a chicken)? This proves my previous argument saying that fetuses are alive and therefore humans from the second of contraception.
 
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Originally posted by Marilyn de Queiroz:
Originally posted by Stefan Wagner:
This argument is far away from reality. Abortion isn't done in few minutes, and no woman will abort by comfort/ as an alternative.


I don't think that this is a true statement[/QB]


So it is (was?) in Germany.
A woman has to visit a doctor, visit a kind of consulting service which gives her a certificate, wait a week (to rethink her decision) and then go to hospital for a few days.
At the consulting she has to argue with social unfortune, medical riscs or rape.
Maybee she may let do it ambulant, and maybee I'm not up to date.
I'm not sure, whether her parents are involved, if she is less than 18 years old.
But you wouldn't say it's equivalent in using a diaphragma.
-end of to: Marilyn-
To the question of time and the definition of life, person, and murder or not: I don't think you may get an answer from science in this case. Scientists may clear some facts, which may influence our decisions, but we have the responsibility, to find a decision.
A definition in a book is made by a person, and probably not thinking of the discussion where it is cited.
Some people like to forbid coitus interruptus as kind of abortion.
And stem cells are persons too?
And tradition might be an issue: In former times, the sheriffs didn't care about family planing.
If you negate that a foetus is a person - why does the government has a right to rule this question?
But if you define it a person, you earn a lot of problems from law.
I'm not feeling too comfortable discussing this issue, while I don't have a chance of getting pregnant. Shall men have the same right to rule this question as women? I don't think this is fair.
But of course I want to tell my opinion.
The idea of bringing a child to birth, because some people like to adopt it, seems very unhappy to me. 9 months with a strange baby? uuh! In a mother wich doesn't want it!
And it's an incosistent arguing, if you tell the mother to take her destiny, but the childless want-be-a-mother shall not take her destiny.
I don't think it's an easy decision, but I guess if I was a pregnant woman, I wouldn't like judges, priests and medicinists decide, what I have to do.
And before the polemic answers come: 'What would you like if you were the child': There is not much sense in talking about whishes and thoughts of a foetus.
[ April 29, 2004: Message edited by: Stefan Wagner ]
 
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There are a lot of arguable points in the previous post, so I'm addressing them here:


If you negate that a foetus is a person - why does the government has a right to rule this question?


I always thought that my previous argument was pretty logical anyway, but yes, I have to agree wih that we must come up with a definition, otherwise we'll be stuck on that forever.


Some people like to forbid coitus interruptus as kind of abortion.
And stem cells are persons too?


My argument for that was in my previous post.


If you negate that a foetus is a person - why does the government has a right to rule this question?


I thought this one was pretty obvious. We are definately all people, and we are governed by the government(hence the name). The government has a right to "rule this question" as you put it, just as it has the right to prohibit fraud, stealing, or murder.

But if you define it a person, you earn a lot of problems from law.


Like what?

The idea of bringing a child to birth, because some people like to adopt it, seems very unhappy to me. 9 months with a strange baby? uuh! In a mother wich doesn't want it!
And it's an incosistent arguing, if you tell the mother to take her destiny, but the childless want-be-a-mother shall not take her destiny.


This is really getting to the heart of this discussion, because we really have to draw lines here. Everybody by now who has been following this thread should know that 3 (or less) percent of abortions are done for actual reasons beyond their control. This is why what I think should happen is that one should have to file for an abortion, similiarly to filing for a divorce. This way, people who think "Oh well, I had unprotected sex, I'll just take that birth control pill" will have to use better contraceptive methods, and thus reducing other problems like STDs. Some may argue that the process of filing and getting back an application will take too long, but I feel in this day and age, in a JAVA technology forum, people should have faith that the process can take tops a month (Easily enough time if the mother-to-be reports it right away as she should)
 
Stefan Wagner
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Originally posted by P. Sagdeo:

I always thought that my previous argument was pretty logical anyway, but yes, I have to agree wih that we must come up with a definition, otherwise we'll be stuck on that forever.


I wasn't replying to your posting directly.
I read the thread and felt needing to reply to Marilyns reply to my first statement (page 1). Though I went through almost every post. Then I answered M.s post directly and the other ones in a kind of overview.
But reading your arguments a second time, they look very unlogical to me.
A seed develops into a tree and therefore we consider it as tree?
Since something develops into another thing, it must be different.
You may think of a human being as a social entity, and therefore a foetus hasn't much of a human being, especially in the first weeks.
Thoughts and wishes are important for my view of a being.
The possibility to live independent from someone else is important for an individuum.

But if you define it a person, you earn a lot of problems from law.
Like what?


Like heritage.
If you don't define the date of birth for being a person, a foetus might inherit.
I don't know your law, but in germany, you have a 'legal portion' as child. How do you prove your date of... being able to inherit?
Do you need a visa if you're a two week old foetus?
How does the border-control test?
Every misscarriage has to be investigated with the suspicion of murder.
A lot of fun about that!
[ April 30, 2004: Message edited by: Stefan Wagner ]
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Stefan Wagner:
Thoughts and wishes are important for my view of a being.
The possibility to live independent from someone else is important for an individuum.


Do you think a person who is in a coma is not a human being?
As far as the ability to live independently, that is a question of technology isn't it? A person on life support is unable to live independently, but we just happen to have the right technology to keep them alive. Would you say that Stephen Hawking is not a human being since he can't live independently without technology?
If you think that a fetuls is not a person then at what point does it become a person. Which day after conception? What is the thing that happened that suddenly made it into a human being where it wasn't a human being before?
 
Ernest Friedman-Hill
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:

As far as the ability to live independently, that is a question of technology isn't it? ... What is the thing that happened that suddenly made it into a human being where it wasn't a human being before?


This is just idly thinking out loud, but it strikes me that Tom's question provokes an objective, entirely secular criterion for when that moment comes. Hypothesis: a fetus becomes a human being at the point at which it could, to the best of our current knowledge, continue its growth and development independently of the mother -- supported by an arbitrary amount of existing technology, if need be, but outside of the womb.
Just a thought. The nice thing about this definition is that it's consistent with the coma/Hawking dilemma.
 
Thomas Paul
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Hypothesis: a fetus becomes a human being at the point at which it could, to the best of our current knowledge, continue its growth and development independently of the mother -- supported by an arbitrary amount of existing technology, if need be, but outside of the womb.
The obvious problem with this definition is that it relies on technology to define what a human being is. "A person becomes a human being when technology can keep them alive outside the womb." By this definition, at some point in the future, when technology has improved, a single fertilized cell might be a human being.
 
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
By this definition, at some point in the future, when technology has improved, a single fertilized cell might be a human being.


hmm.. might be.. and for 'that' human, a woman need not to go to clinic for abortion because that human will be in some testtube kept in some refrigerator, not in womb.
 
Stefan Wagner
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:

Do you think a person who is in a coma is not a human being?
As far as the ability to live independently, that is a question of technology isn't it? [...]
If you think that a fetuls is not a person then at what point does it become a person. Which day after conception? What is the thing that happened that suddenly made it into a human being where it wasn't a human being before?


Well Ernst F. H. gave a good answer.
I want to add the following:
Trying to find a definition, which is interpreted by everyone in the same way, will be impossible.
Every attempt will leave exceptions and questions, where something starts and where it ends.
You may not draw the border of the ocean correct and in detail.
So if a person is actually in a coma, of course it's a person, because it was a person before.
But there isn't a point, where a foetus suddenly becomes a human being.
Thomas Paul sees a problem, when the definition relies on the actual stage of technical affairs.
But I think it would be a bigger problem to give a definition, which ignores the actual stage of (technical) affairs, or circumstances.
There are people, who believe you are allowed to kill somebody in war. Or it's allright, when a judge spoke his sentence of death.
I guess technical improvements will force us to rethink our definitions of human beings, like Gallileo (we're not the center of the universe), Darwin (we're a kind of primates) and Freud (we often think like primates) changed our world view.
Last but not least I want to cite Whitney Ford, 'What it's like' - which leads to the question: What's male got to do with it?


[...]
Mary got pregnant from a kid named Tom that said he was in love
He said, "Don't worry about a thing, baby doll
I'm the man you've been dreaming of."
But 3 months later he say he won't date her or return her calls
And she swear, "God damn, if I find that man I'm cuttin' off his balls."
And then she heads for the clinic and
she gets some static walking through the door
They call her a killer, and they call her a sinner
and they call her a whore
God forbid you ever had to walk a mile in her shoes
'Cause then you really might know what it's like to have to choose
Chorus [...]


[ April 30, 2004: Message edited by: Stefan Wagner ]
[ April 30, 2004: Message edited by: Stefan Wagner ]
 
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Ok, let's extend this idea a little further...
Should we also worry about the offspring of the fetus?
I know it's probably some sort of urban myth, but the story goes that one of the native American tribes had the notion of the "seventh generation". The idea was that any significant tribal decision would be weighed against its impact on the next 7 generations of the tribe. (Actually not such a bad idea .) So, just to keep the math simple (I know it's not strictly accurate), let's say that the human population doubles every generation (20 years, for the sake of argument). So, in sixty years there will be 50 BILLION people on the planet. In a 140 years (seven generations), 800 BILLION! Now science is great and all, and let's say that somehow we could feed all these people... it doesn't sound like much fun to me to share the planet with 800 billion people (not that I'm a loner per se ).
So, that's a long way of saying that a choice today affects far more than the mother and the fetus...
How do we fit this in to the discussion?
 
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Originally posted by Ernest:

OK, I don't want to pick on you, Gregg, but I want to hear a straight answer.
Imagine this:
Your 20-year old sister, a junior in college, has a medical condition. Doctors have told her that, due to this condition, the chances of her surviving a full-term pregnancy are nil. One Saturday night she's date-raped, and soon finds out she's pregnant. She calls you on the phone, crying hysterically. Explain to her why you think she, rather than the unborn child, ought to be the one to die.
[ April 28, 2004: Message edited by: Ernest Friedman-Hill ]


No one should have the right to kill another innocent human being. I honestly don't know what I would say to her. That is an extreme hypothetical question to answer. But I know how I feel about abortion. Any kind of abortion.
Also, I don't think doctors could honestly say she would 100% for sure die. That part makes the question completely unrealistic.
 
Michael Ernest
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TP: [T]o certain Princeton ethicists, killing a 15 day old baby isn't the same as killing a human being.
ME: And there they are, grabbing the last hair on the tail of the bell curve in the pro-choice direction. They're still free to think whatever they want. Personally I'm glad they have a right to speak out and take such a view -- easier to locate them and give a wide berth.
TP: The question is, if you aren't positive as to when a fetus becomes a human life then shouldn't you err on the side of caution when saying that it is OK to kill that life?
ME: The question speaks to an ethical or moral position, and not what can be made into law among people who do not share those views. We can learn more about a person's character based on their response to such a question, but it's quite another to extend this point into their liberties.
 
Gregg Bolinger
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ME: The question speaks to an ethical or moral position, and not what can be made into law among people who do not share those views. We can learn more about a person's character based on their response to such a question, but it's quite another to extend this point into their liberties.
So if I don't think that it is ethically or morally wrong to kill my neighbor then lawmakers should think twice about killing/murder being a crime?
This isn't the same issue as drinking beer. Some people believe drinking alchohol is morally/ethically wrong. Most probably don't think twice about it. But the deal is drinking alchohol (drunk driving, bla bla aside) doesn't harm another living being. Abortion does. I can see where your statement holds true to something like drinking, pissing in public, strip clubs, etc. But not to something like abortion.
Laws can't be put on hold or dismissed because "someone might not share the same view".
 
Gregg Bolinger
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Ok, here's a good one I just thought of. Pro-choicers claim that women should have the right to do with their body as they please and since the fetus is inside their body this gives them governing right over it's life...
So what about conjoined twins? Say Beth is attached at the hip to Bertha. Beth is sick of Bertha but if they try and seperate them, 1 is surely to die. So does Beth have the right to kill Bertha? After all, Bertha is part of Beth, right.
Of course, this raises a whole other issue because parents that want their twins seperated have to make a choice similar to that because a lot of the time, 1 is likely to die when being seperated. Hmmm...
 
Ernest Friedman-Hill
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Originally posted by Gregg Bolinger:
I honestly don't know what I would say to her.


That's cool. I don't think there's necessarily a "right" answer. I think, in fact, the only really wrong answer is to be sure.
 
Michael Ernest
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ME: The question speaks to an ethical or moral position, and not what can be made into law among people who do not share those views. We can learn more about a person's character based on their response to such a question, but it's quite another to extend this point into their liberties.[/b]
GB: So if I don't think that it is ethically or morally wrong to kill my neighbor then lawmakers should think twice about killing/murder being a crime?
ME: The question I answered had to do with the point at which we arbitrarily say life exists in the womb. Thomas says we can't determine for certain what that point is, so on which side would we rather commit error?
Your question takes my generalization about ethical boundaries among all people and equates it to one person deciding his neighbor really should move on to the afterlife. Assuming your neighbor has already been born, it seems to me an apples-and-oranges comparison.
GB: Some people believe drinking alchohol is morally/ethically wrong. Most probably don't think twice about it. But the deal is drinking alchohol (drunk driving, bla bla aside) doesn't harm another living being.
ME: Some people believe that alcohol use, abuse and misuse are the direct cause of many deaths of other living beings. A person under law prohibited from driving drinks, gets behind the wheel, runs over another living being. The person did the driving, but one only assumes, from the lack of fatalities occurring while the person is sober, that alcohol plays the key role.
Some people do believe drinking is ethically or morally wrong and one presumes they abstain for that reason. Far more people see the direct link between its use and criminal violence, reckless endangerment of other people's lives, and plenty of fatalities that could have been avoided.
Still, we do not outlaw its use. In fact, in most cases we do not restrict its access, even to people who are known to be alcoholic and commit violence while they are under the influence. Tell me how that isn't a failure in public policy! But we give people a choice, and that includes the power to choose against one's own interests. It should stop where those choices damage the interests of others, but around alcohol we seem to have a hard time doing that. Lemme get an amen on that, Max.
GB: Abortion does. I can see where your statement holds true to something like drinking, pissing in public, strip clubs, etc. But not to something like abortion.
ME: I hear two inherent assumptions in this point: 1) That a fetus is human life and that's that, no question about it; and 2) it makes sense to you that at the beginning of fetal life, however you're marking that point, the rights of a woman to choose against carrying a child are absolutely surrendered.
I'm not trying to speak for you on this point, just telling you what I think I'm hearing.
GB: Laws can't be put on hold or dismissed because "someone might not share the same view".
ME: Well, "one person," no, unless that person is the deciding vote on a matter before the Supreme Court. But the practical matter is right here: there are enough people in the country who believe women should have some manner of control over a pregnancy. There is no question about that. And as a result we have laws which reflect, to some degree, those views. We have checks on that view as well, some by people who oppose that philosophy, along with the government which has a vested right in protecting every citizen. The question then is when is a fetus due to those rights?
But we're always coming back to the idea of opposing the interests of a pregnant woman to what's in her womb. These aren't all the possible cases. Whether what remains is a small fraction or not, it is for that small fraction and other reasons that people support the idea of being able to determine one's own liberties.
[ April 30, 2004: Message edited by: Michael Ernest ]
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Michael Ernest:
ME: The question speaks to an ethical or moral position, and not what can be made into law among people who do not share those views. We can learn more about a person's character based on their response to such a question, but it's quite another to extend this point into their liberties.


What about people who think that people who have certain color skin can be lynched? I am certain that you would have no second thoughts about passing laws that go against their ethical and moral views.
 
Michael Ernest
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
What about people who think that people who have certain color skin can be lynched? I am certain that you would have no second thoughts about passing laws that go against their ethical and moral views.


We have other laws and principles for that sort of thing, documents that state what "truths we hold to be self-evident." Among those are the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And we have legal history following from that in which we as a country have tried to determine how best to implement those principles in practice.
I think the founding fathers realized well enough that what we have in mind for ourselves is some ideal -- "in order to form a more perfect union" -- that, practically speaking, a society of man inevitably creates conflicting interests, and that the rule of law is the best we mere mortals can do to resolve them in a manner that promotes a better society.
It's easy enough to reject moral and ethical concerns of one party which clearly require the violation of those precepts. As for lynch laws, when the day comes that such an issue comes back to a vote -- particularly where I live -- we'll be in much bigger trouble than all that.
 
Gregg Bolinger
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So what we've come to is the underlying issue; at what point during pregnancy is one considered to be a living human being. There are no definitions that, in my opinion, can truly answer that question. At least there are enough different opinions that one can't be decided on.
However, even if society decided that at 6 weeks it was considered a life and abortions prior to 6 weeks are completely humane, morally ok, ethically ok, bla bla, I still would be against it.
I don't really think it's a matter of changing the current laws or making new ones anymore. I think it's about standing behind your own morals and beliefs and holding true to those so long as they are not breaking any laws.
I just pray that my beliefs are never challenged within my own family.
 
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