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Old 03-11-2006, 07:05 PM   #167
ShadowTemplar's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Denmark
Posts: 1,068
So you would chose practicality over principle? Just a yes or no will work.
Have you stopped beating your girlfriend?

'A yes or no' manifestly will not work.

Yes, there are some situations in which practical considerations will have to trumph some principle or another. If for no other reason, because two principles might conflict.

I have a principle saying that corruption is absolutely unacceptable. I heartily support the Democratic Party in the US, knowing full well that they are corrupt. This is a concession of practicality to principle, since the practical alternative is the Bush Party, which is not only infinitely more corrupt, but also dangerously unhinged lunatics with an autoritarian agenda. So I support the practical alternative, as opposed to the principled alternative, which would be to support neither.

If the woman gets pregnant it is her and her partners fault for not having responsible sex. In our constitution there is no right to practice your sexuality,
In my world, laws should be based on ethics, not the other way about... Besides, I could hardly care less what your constitution says, since I'm not planning on migrating to America (although I might take a year or two there before taking my Masters).

If people want to have sex, more power to them. BUT that does not give them the right to take away someone elses rights.
Ah, but it does. No bill of rights can be completely consistent. Thus, every time you invoke your right to do something, you are limiting other people's rights. When you invoke the right to not be harressed on the street, you limit other people's right to walk anywhere they please, since walking 2 cm behind you, thus stepping on your feet with every step, is clearly harressment.

Just as clearly, terminating a pregnancy involves a tradeoff between the rights of the mother to manage her own body, and the protection due a partly human foetus.

Unlike your self-evident rights to be able to do whatever you want to without facing any consequences.
Ah, but here we arrive at the underlying motivation: 'Sex is BAD. BAD woman for having sex. BAD woman needs to be punished.

Is it really that simple? I'm beginning to think it is. This issue is not about evaluating the ethical complications associated with terminating a pregnancy against the woman's legitimate interests. It's not about making a legitimate political decision as to where to draw the line. It's about the fanatical Reich-wing taboo against sex. It's the bad, old, puritan 'sex must have KONSEKVENKES!!!' line.

It is, in other words, simply an issue of punishing sex.

I encourage you to read the excellent book 1984. Orwell's analysis of the political agenda inheirent in criminalising sex is interesting reading.

Of course, your school library probably doesn't have this hallmark piece of 20th century litterature, because it contains sexually explicit scenes. A bottle of beer says that your school library doesn't have The Satanic Verses either, because it says 'satanic' on the cover (or, if your school is run by the other kind of PC morons, then they wouldn't have it because it blasphemes against a major religion, and we must all be oh so tolerant of other people's moronic bigotries...).

Again, you fail to tell us what you think makes someone human!
Talk about not getting the point... I thought I'd made it perfectly clear that THERE IS NO SUCH SET OF CRITERIA.

Is it not enough to be conceived by two humans, to have the DNA, genes, cells and be in your mothers womb? AND the fact that every minute you are becoming more able to reach your potential, that being a fully grown active member of society.
No. None of those conditions are sufficient. Taken as a set, they are not sufficient. I would even argue that apart from the DNA and cells, they are not even necessary.

But that entire exercise is missing the point. Even if those conditions were necessary and sufficient - either alone or taken as a set, you still have to prove that it is unethical to kill the human in question in this case, when you find it perfectly ethical to kill - through the direct actions of your government and its policies - civilians in Fallujah, and employ chemical weapons that cause unspeakable agony and irrepairable (and unnecessary) bodily harm against insurgents in Baghdad.

That I happen to agree with some of these killings (but absolutely not with the employment of chemical weapons) does not negate the fact that the onus remains upon you to provide a convincing reason why those deaths are more ethical and defencible than the killing of a foetus.

Snuffing out that 'Embryo' 'Fetus' 'baby' 'Human', is denying them their right to life. And that is something no one has power to do.
A fundamentally hypocritical position. Downsizing the US foreign aid program is denying millions - nay, billions - of people their right to life, by taking away money that could have been spent on providing clean, free drinking water.

In some prehistoric societies, suicide and infanticide were necessary as a means of controlling the size of the population
This has no bearing. There is nothing preventing us from taking care of these children if they are born. There are a wealth of options our there that would let mothers support their child.
You are missing the point. Again. Why am I not surprised?

Your claim is that it is never, ever, under any circumstance justifiable to terminate a pregnancy. You said, just a few lines above this quote, that the level of technology in a society has not bearing on this.

I proved that your premise leads to an absurd conclusion: If terminating a pregnancy is never, ever, under any circumstance justifiable, then the utter destruction of a society is a possible - and indeed acceptable - consequence of following your ethical code.

This is not an issue of whether a modern society can or can not support an unwanted child. You, not I, decided to cast this debate in absolute terms. I merely demonstrated the consequences of your explicitly stated premise.

If you wish to revise your premise, by all means, feel free to do so. But expect me to go through your reasoning once again and show you (and - more importantly - all the lurkers here) where such a change of premise would demolish the support for your conclusion.

There remains two distinct political decisions: How much relative weight should be given to the foetus, the mother, and to the interests of society as a whole? And how great a risk of overstepping the boundries of what we consider ethical are we willing - as a society - to take?
You can't make that judgment unless you know when a fetus is human.
You have obviously understood nothing at all. I can - indeed I must make that judgement based on knowledge of how much human the average foetus is at any given time during pregnancy. The 'humanness' as a function of time curve is derived from compairing the essential features of a full human with the features of the average foetus at different times of gestation, and applying a weight factor to each feature. Those weight factors are inheirently subjective and political.

You apply a dominant weight factor to the characteristics 'diploid' 'human genes' and 'alive'. I apply moderate weight factors to the characteristics 'myelinated nerves', 'active neurons', 'size of neural net', 'independence from host organism', and a couple of others. You obtain a heaviside function, I get something that looks more like a Fermat-Dirac function.

I believe that since they contain everything they need to grow into what you call a human there is no reason to kill them
To say that there is no reason to kill them is to display a stunning level of ignorance and hypocricy. Clearly, the reasons to kill them are equally valid and present whether 'they' are human foetuses or pig foetuses. It is the reasons to not kill them that are different.

Until you can clarify when it is unacceptable to abort them,
I have no hard-and-fast number for you, since the date at which the procedure is unacceptable is subject to modification depending on the recipient's social, financial, mental, and physical situation. But if I were a female living under the conditions that I do today, and I got pregnant, I would find it wholly acceptable at least until the end of the first trimester. Probably longer than that. I think I would definitely go through with the pregnancy (barring untowards events) if it had reached the third trimester. In between that, your guess is as good as mine.

But frankly, setting an exact date seems like an obscene exercise. Sort of like picking out which Iraqi gets to pick up the unexploded shell...

If we frame the question a little differently; when would I argue that someone living under my current conditions should definitely not be allowed to have an abortion, I'd say beginning of third trimester, plus or minus a week or two...

If I am wrong no humans will have died. If you are wrong that means that we have murdered thousands of people.
Wrong. The risk to the life of the mother is more than twice as high when giving birth as it is when terminating the pregnancy before birth. So claiming that 'no human will die' because of a prohibition on abortions is a Flat. Out. Lie.

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