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Old 03-11-2006, 04:38 PM   #161
TK-8252
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joeİ
This statement here says so. If I am reading it correct you are saying that if it is justified you can end a life (We have been talking about abortion in this thread so I was guessing that you were refering to abortion) I only asked when is it justified? And if this is not what you mean I would ask you to explain.
Typically I'm not used to thinking for other people who are unable to do so. But I'll make an exception for this case.

It is justified to end lives under certain conditions. These may include the following:

- Someone points a gun at a police officer. It is justified for the cop to kill the person with the gun.

- Someone is convicted of murder and is given the death penalty. It is justified for the person to be killed (although I don't support the death penalty, we have it in America as of now).

- Someone is brain-dead. It is justified to take the brain-dead person off life-support.

- If you consider a fetus to be alive, then abortion is justified under certain circumstances.
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Old 03-11-2006, 04:56 PM   #162
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TK-8252
- If you consider a fetus to be alive, then abortion is justified under certain circumstances.
I cut out the first 4 points you stated because they have no bearing on this thread and I dont really care what you think about them as of now.

Next time dont make open ended comments and you wont have that probelm.


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Old 03-11-2006, 06:28 PM   #163
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Originally Posted by Joeİ
Next time dont make open ended comments and you wont have that probelm.
I'd suggest you follow your own advice. If I remember correctly, you were the one who brought up the whole "right to life" thing, which I responded to with my "open-ended comments."
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Old 03-11-2006, 06:28 PM   #164
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@ Kurgan:

Thanks for the correction/ clarification.
That aspect of U.S. history and law is something I really should know better. It was never my strongest subject in school, and I should try to fix that.

Does anyone else see the "Considering Abortion?" ads by Google on the right side of the screen? --->
Or is it just me?

I just noticed them... but then I'm using I.E. instead of Firefox for this post, and I don't have an Adblock function.

How very apropos.


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Old 03-11-2006, 07:02 PM   #165
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It's because of your failure to point out when they become a 'human' that it comes back too.
Firstly, there is no such point. Contrary to your implicit assumption, 'humanness' is not a binary operator. During foetal development, the foetus is partially human. I could provide you with a list of indicators of development which would - collectively - make the foetus 'human'. But that does not adress the fundamental problem with your fallacious assumption. To illustrate the point, I will make a truncated list:

To be considered 'fully human', an organism must 1) Belong to the species H.S. Sapiens 2) Be diploid 3) Possess myelinated nerves 4) Possess the brain centres for memory and cognitive action. This is a deliberately truncated list. In fact, the list can never be 'complete' in any meaningful sense of the word. But it will serve to make the point.

The point is that a 'full human' has all these things. But does that mean that a brain-dead person (which does not fulfill these criteria) is morally equivalent to a pig? I would say no. Clearly there are ethical considerations involved in harvesting the still-beating heart of someone in a respirator, that would simply not be worth considering if we were talking about a pig.

Does that mean that we should cut #4 out of the list? Well, that would make - say - heart transplants ethically impossible according to the anti-choice logic. That is certainly one political position. I for one find it immoral and inhumane.

But suppose we do so. That would move the barrier for when terminating the pregnancy would be acceptable - again according to fundie logic - back to the time around which the foetus develops myelinated nerves. Does that mean that a blastocyst is the moral equivalent of a cancer tumor? I would argue that it does not. Removing a blastocyst requires compelling reasons. Not removing a cancer tumor requires compelling reasons. So clearly the two are not equivalent.

Does that mean that we should cut #3 out of the list? Well, we could do so. But that would make a cancer tumor a living human being, ethically speaking. That is certainly one political position. I for one do not support it.

But suppose we accept it for the sake of the argument. Now we're down to the set that anti-choice fundies like to use. But why stop there? If we continue to employ the binary 'human' XOR 'non-human' logic, then this set of criteria would give the result that an unfertilised egg is the moral equivalent of a pig.

In fact, it could well be argued that the pig is actually more worthy of ethical protection than the unfertilised egg, since it is actually diploid, and - evolutionarily speaking - almost human.

Clearly, this is absurd. I doubt that anyone here would challenge the ethics of buying and selling pigs. I equally doubt that anyone here would argue that it is completely unproblematic to buy and sell unfertilised human eggs.

So, by the binary logic employed by the anti-choice fundies, unfertilised eggs should be considered full human beings, with all the protections and safeguards that apply to other humans. Already we have reached absurdity, but why stop there?

A chimpanzee is 99.6 % human. Clearly it is more human than not, so if we employ binary logic, it should be considered 'fully human', should it not? Or should it be considered 'fully ape'? Do a difference of .4 % make it ethical to do the same thing to laboratory apes that we do to laboratory rats?

I would say no. There are things that I would have no qualms subjecting rodents to (deliberately engineering their genes to cause them to develop cancer, for instance), that I would quarrel with doing to apes.

Clearly, there is a smooth progression from 'completely non-human' to 'fully human'. And the ethical complications associated with certain practices (such as using the specimens as test subjects in laboratory experiments) increases with the degree of 'humanness'.

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So you very well may be killing a human being.
Yes. I accept that risk. You accept that risk. Society as a whole accepts that risk. Every day and on a multitude of issues. And if you claim otherwise, then you are either lying or criminally ignorant.

Every traffic accident could - hypothetically - have been avoided, had we been willing to pay enough for transportation security. Indeed, we could spend our entire GDP on transportation security, and there would never have to be another traffic accident. Or we could ban transportation altogether, in which case we would never need to risk killing a human being.

In fact, by contributing to the traffic volume on your local highway, you may very well be killing a human being. Such risks are judged 'acceptable' when considering infrastructure. Why should they be less acceptable when discussing medicine?

Every war could - hypothetically - be avoided, by rolling over and accepting the demands of your enemies. At times, it is advisible to bluff in diplomatic manouvers. Sometimes, your bluff is called. Sometimes, having your bluff called will lead you to war. Thus, with every diplomatic bluff, there is an associated risk of needless war and death. We could just accept every trade and policy concession that China demands and never need risk a war with China. By refusing to grant some of those concessions, we court the risk (however small) of a world wide war.

In fact, by supporting a government that demands that China obey basic human rights, I am risking human lives.

Suppose it was possible to eliminate terrorism at the cost of surrendering every single civil liberty we have, and accepting the all-encompassing police state. I would quarrel with that assumption, but let's consider it for the sake of the argument.

In such a world, not adopting GESTAPO methods translates directly into an increased risk of successful terrorist attacks. Successful terrorist attacks cost human lives. So, in such a world, refusing to arbitrarily empower the police would be to risk human lives.

Why is lowering the cost of building - say - a levee at the expense of risking the life of a human being more acceptable than lowering the discomfort of a human at the expense of risking the life of a human being?

Why is protecting the sovereignty of your country at the expense of risking the life of a human being more acceptable than lowering the discomfort of a human at the expense of risking the life of a human being? (I think I know the answer to that question: A war with China would take place mainly in far away countries, and most of the dead people wouldn't be white anglo-saxon protestants...)

Why is protecting - say - the privacy of the mail at the expense of risking the life of a human being more acceptable than lowering the discomfort of a human being at the expense of risking the life of a human being?

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Since it is my opinion that we should try to protect all human life
You are either lying or deluding yourself. To paraphrase something Skin said in a similiar situation: When you scan and post your membership card for Amnesty International, Medecins Sans Frontieres, The International Red Cross/Red Cresent, and WaterPartners, then I might take that line seriously.

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The point is that you cant slap a scientific principle on everything. Somethings you just must look at with logical perspective.
This is going off topic a little, but I feel that I have to comment on that line, since it is so breathtakingly stupid that I feel dumber just for reading it.

You base your entire argument on inconsistent a priori assumptions and pure appeals to emotion. And then you berate me for being illogical???

Further, you accuse me of using science instead of logic??? You will want to brush up on what logic is and what is manifestly is not.

Logic is the tool used to draw consistent and - well - logical conclusions from a set of premises. You seem to labor under the delusion that you can support your premises with logic. You can not.

You can support your premises with science (which you, for some reason that I can't quite fathom, seem to think is illogical and perverse). You can support your assumptions with an ethical code - something both you and I do. The two are not mutually exclusive, and indeed when making a genuine political decision, both are required.

One thing you manifestly can not use to support your assumptions, however, is logic. That's called either begging the question, or infinite regression.

As an aside, I do not anywhere quarrel with your logic, and I don't see you challenging mine, either. What I do quarrel with is your assumptions.

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I would argue that the first assumption is stupid. In fact, there is no discontinuities during pregnancy that can justify such an assumption. Thus, if an ethical discontinuity is assumed where there is no biological counterpart, it will necessarily be an arbitrary distinction that can - in principle - be placed anywhere and everywhere. And no matter where it is placed, it will yield unacceptable conclusions.
I am sorry if I am misquoting you but I believe it is you who are assuming this.
I manifestly do not. You, however, do. You place the line at conception, but that is a purely arbitrary distinction. In fact there is no discontinuity there that is more fundamental than - say - the development of myelinated nerves, or the first breath taken with an independent respiratory system.

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Or take the principle that society shall never condone arbitrary killing - the very principle invoked by the anti-choice Taliban. This principle is unsustainable.
I will pretend to know what you are talking about.
Fine. Next time I am in a bad mood I will just run out into the street and go postal. [/sarcastic]
It is evident to me that you are poor at pretending to understand what I'm talking about.

It is amusing to see how you have learned exactly nothing during this discussion. You are still reading everything into absolute terms. The negation of the statement 'never kill arbitrarily' is not 'always kill arbitrarily.'

You would do well to remember the negation relations:

Not(ForAll X) = Exists(Not X) =|= ForAll(Not X)
Not(Exists X) = ForAll(Not X) =|= Exists(Not X)

For someone who claims to
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look at [things] with [a] logical perspective
you seem rather underequipped in the logic department.

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For socitity to exist it must have a value system.
Ignoratio Elenchi.

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In war - for instance - we must be willing to accept the killing of innocents.
That innocents will be killed. Not that we are just going to start killing them.


Is there a point here that I'm missing, or have you just said that risking the deaths of innocent people at the business end of a cruise missile is somehow less problematic than the death of foetuses at the termination of a pregnancy?

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In medicine, we must be willing to accept the fact that some patients are going to die who could have been saved, had we spent sufficient resources on their treatment. But had we done that, those same resources could not have been spent on - say - providing clean drinking water to our citizens, or finding ways around antibiotics resistance in bacteria.
Incomparable analogy
How? As I believe Dravis said previously: 'You're wrong' is not a terribly enlightening reply.

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Old 03-11-2006, 07:05 PM   #166
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samuel Dravis
This is rediculous. Either come up with something real, like statistics, that supports your supposition or be ignored.
YOU are being ridiculous here. Go take a biology class and then return to this debate, so we don't have to spoon-feed you every single scientific argument we bring into play. If you don't want to learn biology, that's fine, but don't pretend that you can just ignore the science because you don't like it. Statistics are not the only form of evidence that exists, and most statistics aren't conclusive anyways because it's so easy to manipulate numbers to "prove" your point.

I also am curious, all you anti-choicers out there, what you think of the global and environmental impacts that would be caused if you succeeded in ending abortion forever. We already reproduce and expand at an unhealthy rate for a species, do you not feel any guilt at the prospect of increasing that rate, and potentially destroying our planet even sooner than we normally would have?

Or is the survival of a single, unaware, unthinking being more important than the survival of our species?



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Old 03-11-2006, 07:05 PM   #167
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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.

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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).

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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.

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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...).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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...

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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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Old 03-11-2006, 07:19 PM   #168
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ET Warrior
[M]ost statistics aren't conclusive anyways because it's so easy to manipulate numbers to "prove" your point.
Normally, I'd get sufficiently riled up over this to post a long reply. Today, I'll merely reiterate that it is never easy to manipulate statistics, short of downright forging the input.

It is always possible to tell when someone tries to pass off bogus numbers, if only one has the mathematical litteracy equivalent to the textual litteracy we expect from ten-year-olds.

In this single case of demanding statistical proof of a proposed 'concensus', Dravis actually has a point (count your blessings, this doesn't happen every day...). So quit whining, and put up or shut up, so we can get on to the relelvant points.

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Old 03-11-2006, 07:26 PM   #169
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I typed that in a rush, I did not mean it was easy to make the numbers mean different things.

It IS, however, not too difficult to present the numbers in such a way as to be entirely misleading. While someone who understand statistics and numbers will be able to see through your farce, the general layman will not.

It seems to me that any material that can get itself published in a biology textbook and in several prominent places that isn't wholly accepted by the main scientific community would not last long, as peer review is an extremely important part of any science.



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Old 03-11-2006, 10:50 PM   #170
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I don't have time to go over all the posts that I've missed in my day of absence, but I can say a few things.
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This is horrid. If the woman gets pregnant it is her and her partners fault for not having responsible sex.
That's not true, Joe. There are contraceptives for women as well as men. It's just easier or more convenient for a guy to get a condom than it is for a woman to be fitted for a contraceptive or to get a prescription for birth control. Because of this most people treat it like the guy's fault for 'getting someone pregnant'. It's double sided. Takes two to tango as they say.
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The first assumption is that it is possible to point to a stage in foetal development where the foetus suddenly and magically ceases to be a lump of chemicals and becomes a full human. In other words, there is an implicit assumption that there is a point at which contraception goes from completely unproblematic to completely unacceptable.
Personally, I beleive that a fetus is human at the time of conception. Since others were saying that a fetus was not in fact human, I wanted to know when they believed humanity took place. It was a valid question, but I see that there is really no easy answer from your perspective.
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In this case, the tradeoff is between the woman's self-evident right to practice her sexuality as she wishes, the woman's equally self-evident right to not be hampered unduely in her life by the exercise of said right, and the legitimate need of society to avoid using resources on caring for an unwanted child on the one hand, and the ethical problems associated with terminating a pregnancy on the other hand.
You know what? If someone is going to live in a way that leaves them at risk of getting pregnant, then they should be prepared for the consequences, ie. a child.
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Old 03-11-2006, 11:45 PM   #171
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*Sigh* Shadow Templar I hate to tell you but much of what you posted has been covered in this thread already.
I am so sick of going back and forth, edlib put it nicely earlier when he said that no one is going to change someone else's mind here. We are looking at it from two different worlds almost.
In reading your post I saw that some of the stuff you covered was your problem for my perspective. I respect that there are differences cause I dont really care what your view point is anymore than you do mine I get the feeling. I think I have had enough though.
I just felt I needed to post something as to why I was dropping it. Its not cause I think your right though

Good luck to everyone that decides to stay and play.

EDIT. Also its freaking spring break. I wont be around to have such happy wonderful talks with you guys.


Beer! Beer leads to drinking! Drinking leads to hangovers! Hangovers... Lead to suffering!

Yes I sense much Beer in you.

Last edited by Joeİ; 03-12-2006 at 12:05 AM.
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Old 03-12-2006, 12:20 AM   #172
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Later Joe. Come back some time to the Senate... we need some more people around here to debate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lady Jedi
You know what? If someone is going to live in a way that leaves them at risk of getting pregnant, then they should be prepared for the consequences, ie. a child.
Again this seems to be another case that people should be punished for having sex. Even if people should be punished, the child shouldn't be punished as well.

Imagine being a child to a single mother who doesn't want you, can't afford you, can't support you, can't raise you, can't love you. Or being bounced in and out of foster homes without any friends or family. Why should you grow up paying for the mistakes your parents made?

I say that the punishment to the parents should be that they have to live with the knowledge for the rest of their lives that they had to resort to aborting the pregnancy.
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Old 03-12-2006, 12:25 AM   #173
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@Joe:
I understand how you feel.


It's an ugly, divisive issue.

One that sometimes seems worse for me, since I can see very valid points on both sides, and I often find myself straddling the fence. (That's the curse and price to be paid for even attempting to be politically moderate in this day and age of extremism, I guess.)

One that I hope can someday be resolved in a way that neither side feels that it has ended up on the wrong side of a bad compromise... but the nature of the issue is one that makes me doubt that will ever happen.

Frankly, at this point, there's a part of me that's so sick of hearing and thinking about it that I almost don't care how it gets resolved... Just as long as we can get it off the national plate. Then back on to a host of other issues that also really matter, that have been virtually sidelined this whole time and that really deserve more public attention.

But regardless of how it's resolved, someone will have an issue with it, and more movements will be started to overturn what ever ruling is finally handed down, no matter what it is.

I don't think it's an issue that will ever truly go away... not as long as we still have a democracy where people can express their minds, and are free to try to enact policy change, that is.


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Old 03-12-2006, 12:33 AM   #174
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lady Jedi
You know what? If someone is going to live in a way that leaves them at risk of getting pregnant, then they should be prepared for the consequences, ie. a child.
Well said. The easiest, most efficient method of birth control is to keep your pants zipped up. Anything less means taking a risk. Birth control can minimize that risk, but the fact that a pregnancy is 'unplanned' is not an excuse to kill a child. And if someone is going to take the risk, they need to be prepared to deal with the consequences, i.e. give up the next 18 years of their life to raise their child. That should be the sex education curriculum we're teaching in schools.

I have found it mildly amusing (and somewhat disgusting) to read the attempts at writing off a developing human as something that is the rough equivalent of a tumor. From a purely logical perspective, that position doesn't make any sense at all: it's extremely high risk, extremely little reward. If you're right, no big deal - women are just removing an unwanted tumor from their body. If you're wrong, over 47 million murders have taken place.

Hopefully that puts a little perspective on the issue.

**EDIT: this thread moves fast!**

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Originally Posted by TK-8252
Imagine being a child to a single mother who doesn't want you, can't afford you, can't support you, can't raise you, can't love you. Or being bounced in and out of foster homes without any friends or family. Why should you grow up paying for the mistakes your parents made?
I've got a question for you: would you rather be raised in a single-parent family in which conditions are less than nominal (or even really, really bad), or be killed before you even had a chance to experience life? I'm not talking the hypothetical 'someone.' I'm talking you. Would you rather have a chance, or die before you were even born?


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Old 03-12-2006, 12:55 AM   #175
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Originally Posted by rccar328
I've got a question for you: would you rather be raised in a single-parent family in which conditions are less than nominal (or even really, really bad), or be killed before you even had a chance to experience life? I'm not talking the hypothetical 'someone.' I'm talking you. Would you rather have a chance, or die before you were even born?
Death, but that's just me. Though I don't project that onto others and nor does it influence my feelings on the matter. I'm actually rather picky in my support of people getting abortions.

Some people I feel should just be beaten after delivering the child, because quite frankly, some of them are complete and utter ass****s, and even thinking about allowing such filth to raise a child would be a far more heinous crime than killing their unborn child and them. If I had it my way, we wouldn't need abortion, but sadly quite often we do. I do not however support it after 2-3 months, if you can't make up your mind by then, then you can just **** off.


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Old 03-12-2006, 01:24 AM   #176
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Originally Posted by rccar328
kill a child.
One thing that I find is that a lot of the anti-abortion argument is based on emotion such as demonstrated here. A fetus is not a child, but from an emotional point of view, it can be passed off as one by the anti-abortion crowd in order to gain support from those who would react with emotion rather than with a rational mind.

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Originally Posted by rccar328
I've got a question for you: would you rather be raised in a single-parent family in which conditions are less than nominal (or even really, really bad), or be killed before you even had a chance to experience life? I'm not talking the hypothetical 'someone.' I'm talking you. Would you rather have a chance, or die before you were even born?
Give me death please.
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Old 03-12-2006, 01:46 AM   #177
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Originally Posted by rccar328
I've got a question for you: would you rather be raised in a single-parent family in which conditions are less than nominal (or even really, really bad), or be killed before you even had a chance to experience life? I'm not talking the hypothetical 'someone.' I'm talking you. Would you rather have a chance, or die before you were even born?
Really, really bad, death, "less than nominal", most of life is "less than nominal" anyway, so life.



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Old 03-12-2006, 05:28 AM   #178
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Originally Posted by TK-8252
One thing that I find is that a lot of the anti-abortion argument is based on emotion such as demonstrated here. A fetus is not a child, but from an emotional point of view, it can be passed off as one by the anti-abortion crowd in order to gain support from those who would react with emotion rather than with a rational mind.



Give me death please.
Whoa, I need to unsubscribe from this thread, my inbox is getting crammed and I can't keep up! Still, very fascinating responses (though a lot of stuff already covered as new people show up and haven't read everything, but as the size increases I can sympathize). One could say that the pro-choice side is based on emotion as well, look at all the arguments in the news from protesters about women's rights being "violated" and arguing about loss of freedom "to control our own bodies" etc, and asking for sympathy for the plight of lonely, scared young unwed mothers who's lives will be "ruined" and even appeals about the destruction of mother earth from overpopulation, the sad lives of kids without dads, etc. And we get also name-calling like this "anti-choice Taliban" (which creates a funny mental picture for me for some reason), "Reich Wing" and other colorful slurs like on the last page or so, heh. So calling people baby-killers and whores is not behavior that's unique to one side of the emotional battle. I find it also ironic that emotional activists on both sides use Nazi imagery in their appeals, trying to portray their opponents as members of Hitler's party. From the logic of each side I suppose it makes sense either in terms of "taking away personal freedoms" (like the Nazis did) and "murdering multitudes of innocents" (like the Nazis did). But as such it reads either as a cheap shot or an attempt to cut off all possible dialouge from that point on by associating your opposite with the "ultimate evil" of popular imagination (the Nazis crimes were real, I mean that they were hardly the worst examples of genocide and oppression in modern times, despite the popular image). In rhetorical circles that's why we have Godwin's Law and prohibitions of "Playing the Hitler card." Anyway...

That's why it's such a hot issue because both sides use emotion to argue their points. I'm all for airing that stuff out, and then trying to get to some kind of logical, rational discussion, which I admit is difficult. As long as we stay at the purely emotional level there's only so far we can really go in a dialouge or debate, otherwise its more potential for shouting matches and many tears. That can be interesting, but emotionally draining.

Of course asking people to "shut off" their emotions is a tall order, and not one that many people can do effectively, so I guess that's just par for the course! Anyway, my break is almost over (back to class on Monday) but I've really enjoyed following along thus far. I might drop by later with some comments if I have the chance.

PS: I'll take life. If that sounds paradoxical because I believe in an afterlife, I think of life as a gift, even if it's imperfect and short.


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Old 03-12-2006, 05:59 AM   #179
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Originally Posted by ET Warrior
It seems to me that any material that can get itself published in a biology textbook and in several prominent places that isn't wholly accepted by the main scientific community would not last long, as peer review is an extremely important part of any science.
Textbooks are not subject to peer review. Exhibit A: Creationism. Exhibit B: Of Pandas And People.

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Shadow Templar I hate to tell you but much of what you posted has been covered in this thread already.
I beg to differ.

Besides, even if you were right, which I'm not prepared to grant, it doesn't seem to have made a noticeable impact...

So I'll reiterate the questions that I have yet to get a coherent answer to:

Do you or do you not concede that the woman has a legitimate right to control her own body?
A yes or no will do.

Do you or do you not concede that conditions can be imagined, where infanticide would be the morally correct thing to do?
A yes or no will do.

Do you or do you not concede that a sperm cell immediately before conception is less 'ethically human' than a zygote immediately after conception, that a zygote immediately after conception is less human than a first-trimester foetus, that a first trimester foetus is less human than a second trimester ditto, etc.?
If no, please specify at which point you consider something to be 'fully human'. Please provide the definition of humanity that you use (and 'conception' won't do. If 'conception' is your sole criterion for humanness, then clones are not human in your eyes).

Do you or do you not concede that whenever two ethical principles conflict, a political decision must be made?
A yes or no will do.

Is it not a reasonable proposition to claim that your opposition to abortion is merely a conclusion in search for an argument, rather than the other way around?
A yes or no will do.

And, lastly: Is it not true that your whole opposition to abortion is based solely on your insane religious fanaticism?
A yes or no will do.


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Old 03-12-2006, 11:57 AM   #180
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Originally Posted by Kurgan
One could say that the pro-choice side is based on emotion as well, look at all the arguments in the news from protesters about women's rights being "violated" and arguing about loss of freedom "to control our own bodies" etc, and asking for sympathy for the plight of lonely, scared young unwed mothers who's lives will be "ruined" and even appeals about the destruction of mother earth from overpopulation, the sad lives of kids without dads, etc.
But these things actually happen. And they are sad. It's easy to say "oh no, abortion is murdering poor little innocent babies!" but that's just emotional rhetoric designed to appeal to those who don't know what really happens. Even if the pro-abortion people appear to be just as emotional, their arguments are not based on false rhetoric like killing babies. The things like a little kid growing up without parents or a single mother's life ruined really happen. Come on, these anti-abortion people are saying that if you approve of abortion, you also must approve of infanticide! That's insane!
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Old 03-12-2006, 02:55 PM   #181
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Originally Posted by lord ignarn
And what if a woman doesn´t like her baby? What will happen to the baby? I think that it´s better to abort than giving the baby a bad life, with not-loving parents. This is needed in rapes and other abusive situations, like incest and so on. The right to abort should be granted, legislated but allways granted.
Right, because all children would rather be dead than to have a father for a rapist of have incestuous parents.

And if the mother or father doesn't want their child, then place it for adoption for Christ's sake.

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Old 03-12-2006, 04:31 PM   #182
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Originally Posted by RoxStar
And if the mother or father doesn't want their child, then place it for adoption for Christ's sake.
Right, so the kid can be bounced in and out of foster homes for years while they grow up without friends, family, or even just a school to go to for Christ's sake.
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Old 03-12-2006, 04:53 PM   #183
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Originally Posted by TK-8252
Right, so the kid can be bounced in and out of foster homes for years while they grow up without friends, family, or even just a school to go to for Christ's sake.
Because that happens to every single child placed up for adoption.

edit: that was sarcasm buddy...


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Old 03-12-2006, 05:04 PM   #184
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Originally Posted by RoxStar
Because that happens to every single child placed up for adoption.
And imagine how worse it would be if everyone who didn't want their kid put them up for adoption rather than aborting.
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Old 03-14-2006, 12:46 AM   #185
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Originally Posted by edlib
Well, I decided to take a day off from this thread, for the most part. Too much heavy thinking... and way too much heavy typing for my admittedly limited skills.
I appreciate the thought you've put into this. Thanks.

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Yes, I do.
Ok. Mods, if you please...?

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I have stated my position, both in this particular thread, but in others in the Senate; but here it is again, in the clearest possible language I can muster, for the record:

Personally, I find myself morally opposed to abortion.
However, I find it just as wrong to attempt to use the Government to force my views on those that may not share my particular moral objection on a subject such as this where there is clearly not a universal consensus among the American public. (A national debate is probably in order to find what consensus truly exists,.. if any.)
I also don't believe banning abortions will ever truly serve to reduce the number that take place in this country in the long run.
Therefore, I think abortions should remain legal: but every attempt should be made using education, contraception, and easy access to social services such as adoption, as possible; to seriously try to reduce the numbers to as close to nothing as is likely to ever happen in an imperfect world.
I'll state what I think of that and then we can let it rest.

I have not found your argument that an objective moral cannot be enforced on others in this situation to be convincing. Any relative measure can easily be contradictory (and has been) in the past. I don't see how the use of relativism is inherently better than an objective morality, and I think it that it may, in fact, be worse in this particular situation.

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I do think Roe v. Wade will be eventually overturned; perhaps by the end of this decade.
I don't think that's altogether a bad thing.
I don't think it will be overturned by this particular effort by the South Dakota legislature to push it up to the Supreme Court, however. This effort is premature, since the moderate middle of the country isn't totally along for the right-wing ride yet. The country still isn't as conservative on some subjects as a few folks would like to believe. It will most likely be a stillborn effort, and in my opinion should be, (if you pardon the language,) aborted.
Once Roe is overturned, the states will be mired down in legislative and judicial battles for years following.
It's a pretty sure bet that it will remain legal on both coasts, and a few other selective states... and illegal over the rest of the nation.
Eventually conservatives, bolstered by this victory, will attempt a federal nation-wide ban, not only of abortion, but perhaps on many forms of birth-control. Sex education, other than the "Abstinence-Only" variety may also get targeted in the fray. (Pornography might also... but since that's such a cash cow for a lot of people, it will never go anywhere.)
A few comments I would like to make:

* Being pro-life does not neccesarily mean that a person is a republican, conservative, religious, or right-wing politically. In a general sense these are accurate though.
* I, myself, would vote against bans of contraception, porn, etc. Those are not dealing with something I consider of such prime importance as whether or not someone lives or dies, and I'm not the slightest bit interested in banning them. The government should stay out.
* The impression that I'm getting from even most of the pro-choice people here is that Roe is not as acceptable as it once was. The one article from the Washington Post that you linked to gives some reasons for this, and I think, as you, that it's likely that Roe will be gotten rid of soon. I'm unsure of whether these people would actually support tighter restrictions on abortions based on their own opinons though; I asked but was not answered.

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Ultimately, there will be a large enough backlash, with the political center moving to the left on these subjects, that the entire process will most likely take place all over again... only this time I hope that instead of a fairly weak court ruling like Roe, it will be part of a Constitutional Amendment guaranteeing the right to privacy from Governmental interference on matters that should be personal. One that will be far, far more difficult to ever overturn.
I think the key words here are "should be personal." I disagree with your opinion that people are a thing the government should not be interested in protecting.

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So far, nobody has really discussed what we can realistically expect to see if and when Roe is really overturned.
It's gonna be a mess. A state by state battle. It's gonna tie up state governments and court houses for decades... except for the ones like S.D. who have their positions on the books already.

I can be fairly sure that there will even be attempts to ban abortions here in the fine Commonwealth I find myself living in... but I don't realistically foresee that ever taking place. The entire Northeast, as well as all of the West Coast will be hold-outs, I believe.
I expect you'd be right about that.

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Unless there's a move towards a Federal ban. And that, I believe, would be the biggest mistake.
It would be, perhaps, less of a mistake than I believe that Roe was.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Originally Posted by ShadowTemplar
I will start with this, because it seems to me the most important feature of this debate. And I would ask the anti-choicers here to adress this point before they move on to my other points.

The anti-choice side here is arguing from fundamentally fallacious premises. In the anti-choice rethoric, there are two implicit assumptions:

The first assumption is that it is possible to point to a stage in foetal development where the foetus suddenly and magically ceases to be a lump of chemicals and becomes a full human. In other words, there is an implicit assumption that there is a point at which contraception goes from completely unproblematic to completely unacceptable.
This first assumption, well, I never assumed it! I don't hold that a person becomes a human at some stage in their development after being concieved - I simply asked the pro-choice supporters to support their views with something concrete. You can say, "It's not a person at x point," and say "It is a person at y point," but you can't make a generalized law like Roe without eventually running into some complications - namely, the death of fetuses even you yourself would consider people. So I asked "to you, at what point does a fetus become human [enough to warrant protection]?" I think that's a reasonable question, because you need the answer to make good laws.

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The second assumption is that there is no consideration that justifies compromise on this issue. That under no circumstances is it acceptable to even risk crossing the imaginary line imposed by the first assumption.
No, I don't think it under any circumstances a good thing for innocents to be put to death. I find that the unwillingness to even check for the signs that are held by pro-choicers to mark the personhood of a fetus (brain activity, nerves) is the absolute height of irresponsibility, even if I accepted your idea that a fetus is less of a person at an early stage than a later one, which I do not.

Quote:
I would argue that the first assumption is stupid. In fact, there is no discontinuities during pregnancy that can justify such an assumption. Thus, if an ethical discontinuity is assumed where there is no biological counterpart, it will necessarily be an arbitrary distinction that can - in principle - be placed anywhere and everywhere. And no matter where it is placed, it will yield unacceptable conclusions.
Essentially my argument that you cannot place it somewhere other than the beginning of the individual - conception.

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Clearly, there are no other ethical principles - none at all - where breaking them can never be justified.

...

Or take the principle that society shall never condone arbitrary killing - the very principle invoked by the anti-choice taliban. This principle is unsustainable. In war - for instance - we must be willing to accept the killing of innocents.
No, we don't have to accept that. It should be avoided as much as possible. If an innocent does die as a result of accidental causes, there is some justification - the soldier did either did not know or the action killed the innocent while preventing the enemy from killing more. The actual killing must not be the goal. If it was, I'd say give the soldier a lawyer, because he's going to be court-martialed and jailed for murder.

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In medicine, we must be willing to accept the fact that some patients are going to die who could have been saved, had we spent sufficient resources on their treatment. But had we done that, those same resources could not have been spent on - say - providing clean drinking water to our citizens, or finding ways around antibiotics resistance in bacteria.
In this example we are not purposefully killing people, are we? Their death is not the intent. It is serving more people to provide the drinking water, to work on antibiotics, than it could to expend money on saving the few. We aren't arbitrarily killing anyone in this example. The maximum effort should be used to save as many as can possibly be saved, but we obviously don't have infinite resources and cannot save all.

In terms of this debate, should the mother's life be endangered for some reason, that still does not give her license to kill. For example, the mother might be required to have surgery of some type that involves distinct danger to the fetus. However, the death of the fetus is not the intent - the intent is to allow the mother and the fetus to survive, neither of which would occur if she died. If it happens, they tried their very best to save them, and that's all I can really ask of someone.

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Every decision involves a tradeoff between principles and practicality. To claim otherwise is to lie.
Not true. A person still has the same value whatever their situation, though the actions they choose may influence their value relative to that of other people. I keep my principles in order.

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In this case, the tradeoff is between the woman's self-evident right to practice her sexuality as she wishes, the woman's equally self-evident right to not be hampered unduely in her life by the exercise of said right, and the legitimate need of society to avoid using resources on caring for an unwanted child on the one hand, and the ethical problems associated with terminating a pregnancy on the other hand.
I find that the self-evident right of the fetus to life trumps the woman's self-evident right to be unhampered by her decisions. She can practice her sexuality as she wishes (I agree, emphatically), but she should not be allowed to take other's rights away by killing them. That may be a pro-choice point of view, actually - more choices for more people.

Quote:
What I do claim is that it is not equally unproblematic to terminate a pregnancy a minute after conception and a minute before birth. That pregnancy involves a gradual transition from non-human to human. Similarily, it is not equally beneficial for the mother to terminate the pregnancy early and late. The inconvenience imposed is obviously affected by many different factors, but it is equally obvious that the benefit of terminating the pregnancy decreases over time.
I find that the value of a person stays the same over time, from conception to death. They're the same person, with no discontinuity evident in their bodies until they die - just as you say.

Quote:
In some prehistoric societies, suicide and infanticide were necessary as a means of controlling the size of the population, in order to avoid overstraining the environment that sustained the whole of society. I would argue that while such practices should not be taken lightly, they are not always unethical: Were they not carried out, the ensuing environmental collapse would kill far more people than the measures themselves (as, in fact, was the result when ignorant and intolerant missionaries put a stop to the practice). Similarily, as the ability to (and cost of) sustaining the foetus outside the womb and caring for it during infancy and childhood goes up, the point where abortion/infanticide is no longer acceptable is pushed back in time.
There are other ways of controlling the population that were not available to prehistoric societies. We do not live a prehistoric society. We do not have a growth rate that's unreasonable in light of our expansion room (the US). If you can prove that it really, really is absolutely necessary for the continued survival of the human race that people in low birth rate countries - much of europe and the US, for example - have access to abortions, then maybe I'll listen. I think you ought to think of providing contraceptives to Africa first though; doubtless that method would be more effective, and it would be a lot less problematic by avoiding my reasons for objection.

Quote:
But biology and technology can only answer part of the question. 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?
If the political decision is inseperable from the moral decision, as this one is, then it is a moral decision. I give the fetus and mother equal weight as persons, and I will not overstep the bounds of what I consider ethical.

Quote:
Both of these are non-trivial decisions. And neither has a cut-and-dried answer. But as long as the anti-choice taliban refuse to acknowledge that these are legitimate questions and that other people's answers have at leasts some merit, all discussion of these subjects will be fruitless.
If I'm here talking to you, that might indicate I'm listening, even just a little bit. You've made some good points, but they mostly apply to a simplified view of what I think. I've no doubt that some believe that, but I do not. It is not as black and white as that, I admit. By the way, I appreciate you stating your views in this manner; I respect you more for it.

The last page and a half I'm going to leave alone because mostly it's not my argument, but I will comment on a few things:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurgan
I find it also ironic that emotional activists on both sides use Nazi imagery in their appeals, trying to portray their opponents as members of Hitler's party. From the logic of each side I suppose it makes sense either in terms of "taking away personal freedoms" (like the Nazis did) and "murdering multitudes of innocents" (like the Nazis did). But as such it reads either as a cheap shot or an attempt to cut off all possible dialouge from that point on by associating your opposite with the "ultimate evil" of popular imagination (the Nazis crimes were real, I mean that they were hardly the worst examples of genocide and oppression in modern times, despite the popular image). In rhetorical circles that's why we have Godwin's Law and prohibitions of "Playing the Hitler card." Anyway...
I don't think I've used it in that way, and neither has edlib. Would the way he used it (time travel analogy) be prohibited, do you think? It seemed fine to me.

Quote:
But these things actually happen. And they are sad. It's easy to say "oh no, abortion is murdering poor little innocent babies!" but that's just emotional rhetoric designed to appeal to those who don't know what really happens. Even if the pro-abortion people appear to be just as emotional, their arguments are not based on false rhetoric like killing babies. The things like a little kid growing up without parents or a single mother's life ruined really happen. Come on, these anti-abortion people are saying that if you approve of abortion, you also must approve of infanticide! That's insane!
I'm unsure of how the things that the pro-life activists say occur are not 'happening,' at least from our point of view.


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Old 03-14-2006, 09:36 AM   #186
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I have not found your argument that an objective moral cannot be enforced on others in this situation to be convincing. Any relative measure can easily be contradictory (and has been) in the past.
All moral codes are inconsistent, whether they are relative or absolute. Indeed, one might argue that the claim to an absolute moral code is hypocricy, since such codes rarely if ever specify which rules take precedence over which other rules in cases of conflict, thus leaving the resolution to an individual (relative) judgement.

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This first assumption, well, I never assumed it! I don't hold that a person becomes a human at some stage in their development after being concieved
That was not the point that I was making. You do hold that personhood arrives - lock, stock, and two smoking barrels - at some specified point.

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So I asked "to you, at what point does a fetus become human [enough to warrant protection]?" I think that's a reasonable question, because you need the answer to make good laws.
Not really, no. We accept that traffic might kill someone by accident. Why should we not accept that abortions can kill someone by accident?

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I find that the unwillingness to even check for the signs that are held by pro-choicers to mark the personhood of a fetus (brain activity, nerves) is the absolute height of irresponsibility,
In principle, I agree with you.In the Ideal UniverseTM, such procedures would be rutine.

But that is kinda beside the point. The point is that it is impossible to make a law saying that 'this-or-that lifesign means that abortion is no-go under all circumstances.' Precisely because there is no marked discontinuity in foetal development, the ethicality of an abortion can only be judged on an individual basis.

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even if I accepted your idea that a fetus is less of a person at an early stage than a later one, which I do not.
Try taking that view to the logical conclusion: A minute before the sperm makes contact with the egg, the sperm and egg are nothing more than chemicals that can be disposed of at your leasure. A minute after they have made contact, they are fully as worthy of protection as an adult human... What happens during those two minutes that can make such a major difference?

For that matter, most methods of prevention (the pill, copper spirals, etc) work by preventing the fertilised egg from implanting in the uterus. By your logic those methods would be unethical - nay, homicidal. Can that really be right?

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Essentially my argument that you cannot place it somewhere other than the beginning of the individual - conception.
\begin{tounge-in-cheek}

Then clones aren't real humans?

\end{tounge-in-cheek}

Quote:
If an innocent does die as a result of accidental causes, there is some justification - the soldier did either did not know or the action killed the innocent while preventing the enemy from killing more. The actual killing must not be the goal.
I believe that you are missing the point. The objective of an abortion is not the killing of the foetus. The foetus is collateral damage. Just like the Iraqis in Fallujah are collateral damage. We are willing to accept collateral damage in war, in traffic, in building levees...

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I find that the self-evident right of the fetus to life trumps the woman's self-evident right to be unhampered by her decisions.
That is your decision. And that's a decision you're perfectly entitled to make. But are you really willing to make that decision for other people as well? These people believed that as well. For all I know, many of them still do.

God, if she exists, must have a wierd sense of humor.

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I find that the value of a person stays the same over time, from conception to death.
An interesting perspective. What's so special about conception and death? What makes those two different from all other biological processes?

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There are other ways of controlling the population that were not available to prehistoric societies. We do not live a prehistoric society.
Not the point.

The point I made - and judging from your response, a point that you concede - is that there are situations in which abortions are certainly acceptable - there are even situations were infanticide is acceptable.

The point is that I have showed that there exists an example. Since - and I supose that we are in agreement here - infanticide is not acceptable in modern society, this means that the morality of abortions depends on the context, something that you (and other anti-choicers - the example was not directed solely at you after all) have so far been unwilling to concede.

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I think you ought to think of providing contraceptives to Africa first though; doubtless that method would be more effective, and it would be a lot less problematic by avoiding my reasons for objection.
I agree wholeheartedly. Unfortunately, Dubya doesn't think so. Nor does the Rat in Rome...

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I give the fetus and mother equal weight as persons,
And this, I believe, is where we have reached an impasse.

Seriously, though, I don't think you've taken that statement to the logical conclusion: If I presented you with a pregnant woman, telling you that if she gave birth, there'd be a 50 % chance that the mother would die and the infant live and a 50 % chance that it would be the other way about, would you really argue that she should carry to term? If yes, would you argue that she should be forced to carry to term?

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If I'm here talking to you, that might indicate I'm listening, even just a little bit.
I feel that I owe you an apology. I did go over the top in that post, and most of it was really directed at mister Troll. So I'm sorry some of it splashed (hey - what was I saying about collateral damage =)

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You've made some good points, but they mostly apply to a simplified view of what I think. I've no doubt that some believe that, but I do not. It is not as black and white as that, I admit. By the way, I appreciate you stating your views in this manner; I respect you more for it.
I appreciate that. Mutual respect is a good thing. While I most emphatically do not agree with your assumptions (or your conclusions), you've put more thought into your argument than most anti-choice activists. I appreciate that.

Enough for today.

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Old 03-15-2006, 08:52 PM   #187
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Originally Posted by ShadowTemplar
All moral codes are inconsistent, whether they are relative or absolute. Indeed, one might argue that the claim to an absolute moral code is hypocricy, since such codes rarely if ever specify which rules take precedence over which other rules in cases of conflict, thus leaving the resolution to an individual (relative) judgement.
I feel that it's pretty clear that a moral law is not that useful unless the people involved are still alive, so that one would have to take ultimate precedence. I think I've also said that I very rarely use my absolute morals on anyone else, because I find that does more harm than good. Only in this case (and very few others) will I use my absolutes to change the behavior of others. I'm uncomfortable with it, actually, but I have to choose between two evils for me - women being unable to do what they want, and people being killed without adequate justification.

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That was not the point that I was making. You do hold that personhood arrives - lock, stock, and two smoking barrels - at some specified point.
Yes. Arrival at the very beginning avoids the problems with its arrival at other times because there is nothing before the beginning, no life to possibly infringe on.

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In principle, I agree with you.In the Ideal UniverseTM, such procedures would be rutine.

Not really, no. We accept that traffic might kill someone by accident. Why should we not accept that abortions can kill someone by accident?
We don't simply accept it - we attempt to prevent it with many measures, one example being that it's illegal where I live to be in car without a seatbelt on. There's a difference between just 'accepting' accidents and attempting to prevent as many as possible, with laws in particular. No one makes a law and thinks that they will prevent every violation - they just try to prevent most, and that's all they can do.

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But that is kinda beside the point. The point is that it is impossible to make a law saying that 'this-or-that lifesign means that abortion is no-go under all circumstances.' Precisely because there is no marked discontinuity in foetal development, the ethicality of an abortion can only be judged on an individual basis.
If there's no individual before the start of development, there cannot be anything wrong with putting it at that point - I can put it at the very beginning, but nowhere else because of the 'slippery slope.'

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Try taking that view to the logical conclusion: A minute before the sperm makes contact with the egg, the sperm and egg are nothing more than chemicals that can be disposed of at your leasure. A minute after they have made contact, they are fully as worthy of protection as an adult human... What happens during those two minutes that can make such a major difference?
I think I already answered this with a quote.

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For that matter, most methods of prevention (the pill, copper spirals, etc) work by preventing the fertilised egg from implanting in the uterus. By your logic those methods would be unethical - nay, homicidal. Can that really be right?
Yes, of course. Abortifacients are do exactly the same thing as abortions. I'm not going to contradict myself. Incidentally, that's why I used the word 'contraceptives' instead of 'birth control.'

Realize I'm only talking about abortifacients here. Preventative measures? No problem. It's only when another person is involved that I have any sort of legitimate ability to stop you.

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\begin{tounge-in-cheek}

Then clones aren't real humans?

\end{tounge-in-cheek}
Arguably, when the scientist injects the DNA into the cell nucleus it is equivalent to conception.

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I believe that you are missing the point. The objective of an abortion is not the killing of the foetus. The foetus is collateral damage. Just like the Iraqis in Fallujah are collateral damage. We are willing to accept collateral damage in war, in traffic, in building levees...
I see what you mean, and it's relevent. That still does not mean that I find that the wrong being done (killing the fetus) is mitigated by the good of the woman being unburdened, not embarrased, given her ability to choose back, etc.

I imagine it'd be pretty hard (read: nearly impossible) to prove that killing someone completely innocent was justified to a judge; that same level of justification is needed here.

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That is your decision. And that's a decision you're perfectly entitled to make. But are you really willing to make that decision for other people as well? These people believed that as well. For all I know, many of them still do.
So those people are somehow representative of my views? My motivations? And yes, I am willing to decide it for others in a legal way if I find the wrong being done outweighs the wrong of being intrusive (yes, I think that's a wrong).

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God, if she exists, must have a wierd sense of humor.
God, if she exists, does not control their decisions.

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The point I made - and judging from your response, a point that you concede - is that there are situations in which abortions are certainly acceptable - there are even situations were infanticide is acceptable.

The point is that I have showed that there exists an example. Since - and I supose that we are in agreement here - infanticide is not acceptable in modern society, this means that the morality of abortions depends on the context, something that you (and other anti-choicers - the example was not directed solely at you after all) have so far been unwilling to concede.
I agree. I believe that practically anything can be justified - but there's a sharp rise on the need for adequate justification when you conciously decide to kill something - someone - that you know is innocent of any wrongdoing, for reasons that only exist because you created them, knowing the possible consequences.

Quote:
Seriously, though, I don't think you've taken that statement to the logical conclusion: If I presented you with a pregnant woman, telling you that if she gave birth, there'd be a 50 % chance that the mother would die and the infant live and a 50 % chance that it would be the other way about, would you really argue that she should carry to term? If yes, would you argue that she should be forced to carry to term?
In this example, I would argue that the baby be carried to some fairly safe point beyond the viable age and then be extracted in the safest way possible. Since the mother wouldn't be carrying to term, I assume this would not increase her danger a great amount, and therefore both have a decent chance at survival.

Quote:
And this, I believe, is where we have reached an impasse.
Yes, I think you're right. Since my definition of the start of personhood is at conception, I find that that the life is worth protecting with full human rights. You also seem to define it in this way, but as a sort of gradual building up to full personhood. This would, I agree, justify abortions to you, because there is lower requirements to be met at the beginning of the life for justification.


Not exactly a precise rewrite of our arguments, but:

Me: "Give me life so that I can enjoy my liberty."
You: "Give me liberty or give me death!"

I find yours has a certain... patriotic... appeal as well. G.W. might even like you (whether that's a good thing is arguable).

Quote:
I feel that I owe you an apology. I did go over the top in that post, and most of it was really directed at mister Troll. So I'm sorry some of it splashed (hey - what was I saying about collateral damage =)
No problem - I think I might have gone over a little on some things too.

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I appreciate that. Mutual respect is a good thing. While I most emphatically do not agree with your assumptions (or your conclusions), you've put more thought into your argument than most anti-choice activists. I appreciate that.
You know, I've seen quite a few arguments about abortion on many forums, and I think this is the first time I've ever seen anyone concede the other side is worthy of respect. I'm thinking, "this is cool."


"Words are deeds." - Wittgenstein

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Old 06-06-2006, 05:27 PM   #188
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I heard an interesting perspective from a local candidate running in my area that I thought I'd bring up here:

Here in California, parental notification has been a long-debated issue. There has been a bill going through the State Assembly, which conservatives have been fighting to get through for some time. Basically what the law says is that if a minor is pregnant, her parents must be notified before she can receive an abortion. There is an exception in the law if the child fears abuse from her parents. I'm not sure of the details of the legal process in that case, except to say that she can be exempted in that case.

The argument that the candidate brought up is this: one of the main arguments against the bill from the majority Democrats is that minors who are old enough to have sex should be old enough to make that kind of decision on their own. But how can that be, when the school has to get parental permission to give that same kid asprin for a headache?

This is one thing that makes no sense to me: no one is mature enough to own a gun, or make decisions about whether or not to smoke, and many communities (including my own) have even decided that kids aren't mature enough to be entrusted with the decision of whether or not it's healthy to drink soda (there is now a law banning soda machines on school campuses)...but somehow they're old enough and mature enough to decide to have an abortion? How does this make any sense at all?


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Old 06-06-2006, 08:02 PM   #189
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Originally Posted by rccar328
This is one thing that makes no sense to me: no one is mature enough to own a gun, or make decisions about whether or not to smoke, and many communities (including my own) have even decided that kids aren't mature enough to be entrusted with the decision of whether or not it's healthy to drink soda (there is now a law banning soda machines on school campuses)...but somehow they're old enough and mature enough to decide to have an abortion? How does this make any sense at all?
I think you have a good point and I agree with you this time. The problem is, though, that most of the time when notification/consent restrictions are put on abortion, it's just the first step towards eliminating and eventually banning abortion. Notice that Taliban-type states in the South are the ones that have the most restrictions on abortion... why is that? Are people just less mature in the South and cannot be trusted to make good decisions? Hey, maybe so!
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Old 08-19-2006, 10:49 AM   #190
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I've got a question for you: would you rather be raised in a single-parent family in which conditions are less than nominal (or even really, really bad), or be killed before you even had a chance to experience life? I'm not talking the hypothetical 'someone.' I'm talking you. Would you rather have a chance, or die before you were even born?
Life all the way. You have a ridiculously low chance of being born, and then you've got one life to live, and that's it. I'll take it and live it even if it's horrible, because it's better than nothing.

As for fetuses being alive: Yes, they are. They're part of the homo sapiens species, which is a species of living things. Going by your reasoning about them not being able to reproduce, then, as rccar said (for once I agree with him), my six-year old cousin is not alive. Sterile John Doe is not alive. Castrated Ronny the Rapist is not alive (OK, that last one probably doesn't cut it, but I threw it in none-the-less).

Life is defined species-wise, not level-of-development-wise. A fetus is an organic, living thing. It's incredibly dependant and can, with a certain degree of tongue-to-cheek, be called a parasite of sorts, but it is alive. The moral implications of that may bother you, but that's honestly not my problem.

Quote:
This is one thing that makes no sense to me: no one is mature enough to own a gun, or make decisions about whether or not to smoke, and many communities (including my own) have even decided that kids aren't mature enough to be entrusted with the decision of whether or not it's healthy to drink soda (there is now a law banning soda machines on school campuses)...but somehow they're old enough and mature enough to decide to have an abortion? How does this make any sense at all?
As for the soda/snacks machines, I applaud that all the way. They were doing that in Houston, too, when I left the States. Soda machines replaced by machines "serving" healthy drinks and snack machines replaced by machines serving healthy food.

It'll go a long, long way towards making Americans healthier.

As for abortion consent, I'm divided on that. My biggest gripe, though, is that the father of the fetus has no decision-rights whatsoever: It's 50% his child, yet his power to decide whether or not to abort the fetus is 0%.

Having an abortion is not like giving blood or getting a piercing. The blood is 100% yours, the baby is 50% your mate's.

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Old 11-08-2006, 09:04 AM   #191
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*BUMP* Not that I think we have heard the last of this (not by a long shot...) but:

The voters have spoken. Making part of this debate kind of moot.

It won't be long before it comes up again, I'm sure. If not in South Dakota again, then somewhere else.


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Old 11-08-2006, 12:00 PM   #192
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DE:
As for abortion consent, I'm divided on that. My biggest gripe, though, is that the father of the fetus has no decision-rights whatsoever: It's 50% his child, yet his power to decide whether or not to abort the fetus is 0
------------------------------------------------------
Funny thing, that. I mean, in all fairness, if he can't participate in the final decision, why should he have to support a child he doesn't want. If she can kill it, why shouldn't he be allowed the legal right to walk away from any responsibiliity?


TK:
I think you have a good point and I agree with you this time. The problem is, though, that most of the time when notification/consent restrictions are put on abortion, it's just the first step towards eliminating and eventually banning abortion. Notice that Taliban-type states in the South are the ones that have the most restrictions on abortion... why is that? Are people just less mature in the South and cannot be trusted to make good decisions? Hey, maybe so!
----------------------------
Funny problem with the situation is that doctor's need to get parental permission before performing a medical procedure (say an appendectomy, life threatening if not caught soon enough) on a child, but don't need to when performing abortions, which are also physically harmful to the child. Perhaps the only way to remedy this would be to absolve parent's of any responsibilty for any medical procedure done on their children, regardless of the end result.

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Old 11-09-2006, 12:21 PM   #193
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My biggest gripe, though, is that the father of the fetus has no decision-rights whatsoever
I 100% agree. A Norwegian newspaper ran a lengthy article on just that subject some time ago. It's a subject well worthy of debate.

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Old 11-09-2006, 02:11 PM   #194
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I'm not sure how you could make that work in many cases, though.

If the situation is a 'one-nighter', incest, rape, or an extramarital affair, I can't see how you could realistically get the father's input.

And if the parents do disagree about having it, then what? A court battle that lasts for weeks, or months until it's too late to perform the procedure anyway?
What if the father wants the abortion and she doesn't? Can his will be forced upon her? And just what would that do to any relationship they might have had at that point?

It's a sticky issue, and much would have to worked out in advance to even propose an change of that magnitude.

Not that I'm saying it shouldn't be done... I'm just very curious about how the mechanics of it might work.


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Old 11-16-2006, 01:19 PM   #195
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^^^Well, I suppose in the cases of a one night stand and an extramarital affair, it would be possible to get their input. More likely than not, due to the inconvienence factor, they wouldn't contest the woman's choice to abort. If she chose to have the child, then their choices would pretty much remain what they are now. Incest and rape are thornier b/c of the illegal nature of the acts, let alone any moral questions.

In the case of who ultimately decides, that ultimately lies in the woman's purview b/c she could always induce a miscarriage if forced to carry a child to term. However, if she wants the child and he doesn't, he should be allowed to walk away since she has the sole right to have or kill the child. Regardless, if these people arrive at such an impasse, it's unlikely any relationship they have will survive very long as either party will likely deeply resent the other's decision.
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Old 11-25-2006, 02:34 AM   #196
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Abortions to save reputations, and instead of birthcontrol Should be illegal!

Its nothing more than legalized murder, if used for those two reasons.


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Old 11-25-2006, 03:09 AM   #197
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That's a pretty tricky proposition you have there. How exactly does one go about legislating that kind of measure? In particular, how would you enforce it?



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Old 11-25-2006, 12:29 PM   #198
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I'm not sure how you could make that work in many cases, though.

If the situation is a 'one-nighter', incest, rape, or an extramarital affair, I can't see how you could realistically get the father's input.

And if the parents do disagree about having it, then what? A court battle that lasts for weeks, or months until it's too late to perform the procedure anyway?
What if the father wants the abortion and she doesn't? Can his will be forced upon her? And just what would that do to any relationship they might have had at that point?

It's a sticky issue, and much would have to worked out in advance to even propose an change of that magnitude.

Not that I'm saying it shouldn't be done... I'm just very curious about how the mechanics of it might work.
I know, I know. Don't ask me about the details. I'm just saying daddy should have some more power, that's all.

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