Debating abortion with other secularists
Last week Pro-Life Humanists’ Kristine Kruszelnicki wrote a blog post featured on Hemant Mehta’s Friendly Atheist blog (“Yes, There Are Pro-Life Atheists Out There. Here’s Why I’m One of Them.”)
I was pleased and impressed to see that Hemant posted the piece. In my experience working with Secular Pro-Life, pro-choice secularists tend to be very hostile toward pro-life secularists. They’re not just angry that we’re pro-life; they’re angry we are pro-life and secular. Often times they will imply or outright insist that we are lying about our secularism, that we are secretly religious and we’re pretending to be secular to trick people into… something. Listening to us, I guess.
In any case, even if they begrudgingly admit secular pro-lifers exist, they don’t believe we should have a voice in secular communities. So since Hemant gave Kristine a platform he’s gotten a fair bit of backlash (examples here). (By the way, if you are a pro-life secularist, feel encouraged to contact Hemant and thank him for giving our side a voice.)
But most of the backlash focuses not on Hemant, but on Kristine’s piece itself. I’m sure there are a lot of responses to Kristine piece that I haven’t read, so I don’t expect the following will cover every objection. Still, here’s a quick overview of some of the reactions.
1. Libby Anne:
The Friendly Atheist created quite the brouhaha lately by publishing a guest post by Kristine Kruszelnicki, president of Pro-Life Humanists. This post was titled “Yes, There Are Pro-Life Atheists Out There. Here’s Why I’m One of Them.” My response? Thank you, Captain Obvious.
No seriously. Are there really people who think that atheists can’t be against abortion? I do not understand this reasoning. Is there supposed to be a litmus test, that if you’re an atheist you’re automatic and by definition a-okay with abortion?
I mean… apparently. Yes. We’ve got one set telling us we are only pretending to be secular, that we’re secretly religious (or, at minimum, “infected by religious ideas“), and then we’ve got another set telling us it’s so obvious that atheists can be pro-life that it’s foolish to bother pointing it out?
|Note that you rarely hear people claim Hitchens was “infected” by religion.|
[Kristine’s] “secular” argument against abortion is no different from the arguments I and other evangelical kids like me grew up hearing. In my experience, the only point where God enters the evangelical equation is the idea that we should value all human life, from conception to natural death, because God values all human life. Atheists who believe life is inherently valuable can build this argument the same way.
I’m not sure why she put “secular” in quotes–is she implying Kristine’s argument isn’t really secular? (Ha ha ha) I thought one of the main points of Libby Anne’s post was it’s obvious you can be secular and pro-life, so that’s a bit confusing.
But anyway, she’s right. Many religious people grow up with, and use, the same or very similar arguments to the ones Kristine put forth in her post. Most secular pro-choicers claim the arguments are therefore religious, but that doesn’t follow. That’s like saying because most Catholics think birth control is morally acceptable, anyone who accepts birth control must be Catholic. (This mistake–thinking if a premise is true, its converse must be true–is actually a very common logical misstep.)
So no, just because a lot of religious people use an argument doesn’t mean the argument is inherently religious, and Libby Anne recognizes the distinction. I appreciate that. If more people realized the difference, perhaps Kristine wouldn’t need to be so explicit about the fact that she is both an atheist and pro-life. So far, though, that’s not the case.
2. Greta Christina:
This piece is not a response to Kristine’s post specifically. It’s a response to a larger trend Greta Christina sees in the atheist community–the trend in which people she respects and thinks of as allies (such as Hemant) act as if there’s room for reasonable debate among atheists on abortion. You can get an idea for how Christina feels about said trend here:
See, here’s the thing. I don’t see a lot of atheist leaders and bloggers suggesting that we have a calm, reasonable debate about whether homosexuality is a mental illness and gay people should be locked in mental institutions. I don’t see them suggesting that we have a calm, reasonable debate about whether or not black people are human beings or are some other sub-human species who should serve white people. I don’t see them talking with reporters about those arguments, or giving them space in their blogs without comment. I don’t see them saying that because we’re freethinkers, because we support free inquiry and the free exchange of ideas, that therefore we should freely inquire into the issue of whether black people and gay people are fully human with the basic right to bodily autonomy. I don’t see them saying that the “be willing to question anything and everything” spirit of skepticism applies to questions that have dehumanization built into their very core. I see them recognizing these arguments as morally reprehensible on the face of it.
So why is abortion a special case?
Christina certainly isn’t the only one making these points–there were plenty of comments on Kristine’s original post along the same lines:
|(Click to enlarge.)|
But what about this claim that science can tell us who among us belongs to the human species?
First question I have is…which species concept are you using? There are a lot of them, you know; I daresay we might be able to find a few, that when inappropriately and too literally applied, would define away my status as a human, which simply wouldn’t do. There are also a lot of non-scientific or pseudo-scientific definitions of what constitutes a human that have been historically abused. Were the Nazis being scientific when they defined sub-species of humans and classed Jews, Gypsies, and Africans as something less than fully human? What, exactly, is Kruszelnicki’s “scientific” definition of human, that she’s using so definitively to declare a fetus as completely human?
Do you know what you just read, guys? This is what desperation looks like.
If PZ could give a commonly accepted definition of “species” that debunked the idea that human organisms–including zygotes, embryos, and fetuses–are part of the human species, he would. If he could give a commonly accepted definition of “organism” that did not include zygotes, he would. But he doesn’t give those definitions. He can’t. Because zygotes are organisms, and human organisms are part of the human species. PZ can do a bunch of hand wavy complaining about how he’s not sure what Kristine means (and try to assert that his alleged lack of understanding equals her dishonesty), but that’s all he’s got. There’s no substance here.
He’s right that there are many ways of thinking about the concept of “species.” But Kristine’s perspective doesn’t rely on some obscure, slippery definition. How about a group of organisms having common characteristics and capable of mating with one another to produce fertile offspring? You can find that description on the lying, anti-woman, secretly religious website: Biology Online.
Kristine claims “science defines a fetus as a biological member of our species.” PZ tries to brush off Kristine’s perspective as “traditional and colloquial” (as if those attributes, in themselves, make an idea anti-scientific), but in reality Kristine’s assertions rely on a very common–and scientific–species concept: the biological species concept. UC Berkeley’s “Understanding Evolution” website describes the biological species concept as the concept used “for most purposes and for communication with the general public.” How dare Kristine fail to define that for someone like PZ–he only has decades of background in developmental biology. That must have been very confusing for him.
I wonder, does PZ call people liars when they say they are members of the species Homo Sapiens? You know, because they haven’t clarified which species concept they’re using? Would he think it “dishonest and more than a little annoying” for a pregnant woman to say her fetus is a member of her species? Please.
No amount of swearing or bold, italics, and ALL CAPS will make up for the fact that PZ’s indignant objections are utter nonsense–political rantings smothered with enough science-y words to mollify the readers who want him to be right to begin with. (He said “totipotent” and “multicellularity,” guys! I guess his blog post must be logical and fact-based.) See Amanda Marcotte, Greta Christina, and Avicenna reference PZ’s science “education,” or recall when Matt Dillahunty dodged a question by throwing it to PZ.
Thank goodness the pro-choice side has people like PZ Myers to steer them clear of Kristine’s “anti-scientific” claims. Otherwise they might get confused and start believing crazy things–like the idea that human organisms belong to the human species.
These three blog posts are just a sampling of the reactions secular pro-life ideas like Kristine’s often get in atheist circles. Yet, despite the inevitable backlash, Kristine continually puts herself and her message out there. My hat goes off to her.
"These nasty comparisons make sense… as long as you assume the fetus is irrelevant."
Yes, it's an understandable mistake, but inexcusable. As your own Sam Harris has said, if you can't understand why someone would hold a position, you don't understand that position. These people need to take the time to actually understand why it is pro-life people oppose abortion, rather than just assuming the worst about us, or the worst about secular pro-lifers, specifically.
Thank you for you this article. I tried ones supporting Secular Pro-Life, in fact I was so excited when I found you and posted you on my Facebook page.
The BACKLASH I got was JAW-Dropping, I got it from an atheist…the whole time I was not sure if she was offended that there was a group who were Secular and Pro-Life or because there are people who are pro-life (or anti-choice as she likes to call them)
Kudos for standing up for what you understand to be true and right, even in the face of internet atheist hostility.
You "often" get this kind of reaction in atheist circles because atheist circles are often this incompetent in engaging ideas and people with whom they disagree. The problem isn't just about how atheist circles typically (don't) think about abortion; it's about how atheist circles often think about anything that goes against currently accepted dogma. You're on the receiving end of your own kind, who, suddenly, don't appear so rational and scientific ('He said "totipotent" and "multicellularity," guys! I guess his blog post must be logical and fact-based').
You see how incompetent they are responding to the abortion issue; what makes you think this is the exception and not the rule?
"Many religious people grow up with, and use, the same or very similar arguments to the ones Kristine put forth in her post. Most secular pro-choicers claim the arguments are therefore religious, but that doesn't follow."
That claim of secular pro-choicers is based partly on the fact that religious people were using the arguments before secular pro-lifers were; or at least the usage by the religious was well-known before the usage by the secular. So the claim involves a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy.
An important example: Some religions believe that ensoulment takes place at conception. Kristine thinks that personhood begins at conception. So did Kristine adopt the religious view in all but words? The resemblance could be explained in a different way:
1. Most religions are man-made. Or let's say human-made.
2. The humans who invented some religions had an intuition that conception marked the beginning of a seamless process of a human life. They also had a belief that humans have souls; so they expressed their intuition about conception by saying, "Ensoulment occurs at conception."
3. Some secular humans, who may have had in their lives almost no exposure to religious thinking, or at least have remained uninfluenced by it, have an intuition that conception marks the beginning of a seamless process of a human life. They express their intuition about conception by saying, "Personhood begins at conception."
Humans are prone to a certain intuition. Some who have that intuition state it in terms of one belief system, and some state it in terms of another belief system. The two statements of intuition naturally come out sounding eerily reminiscent of each other. But that doesn't mean that one belief system is the heir of the other.
What stands out is that humans are prone to a certain intuition. I think that intuition should be taken seriously. I would even say that those humans who are most in tune with their own deeper nature are especially prone to that intuition.
What are you trying to imply, exactly? Are you trying to use this blog post as a jumping off point to talk about how atheism itself doesn't make sense?
"what makes you think this is the exception and not the rule?"
Who said it was the exception *or* the rule? This wasn't addressed one way or the other.
"No amount of swearing or bold, italics, and ALL CAPS will make up for the fact that PZ's indignant objections are utter nonsense"
Oh come on. Everyone on the internet knows that ALL CAPS automatically make points true. It's a FACT.
That's a great quote Clinton. I think it needs to get some circulation among the atheist community a little more.
Ah, Greta. I enjoyed her blog for a few months once, but I eventually took it off my RSS feed when it became clear that she simply shut down her rationality and critical thinking skills when it came to certain issues she was passionate about. Literally, if someone–no matter how gently–tried to ask her to clarify or bring up an opposing point, she wrote each person the same, sad sentence verbatim–something along the lines of "Get off of my blog and out of my life".
As an atheist who is into science, I love having my ideas challenged. It is apparently true that not everyone thinks like this. People still want things to be black and white–which is going to be difficult when it comes to an issue like abortion.
Well let's not get carried away. I understand why atheists get so defensive on the issue of abortion. There are several things at risk for them, including the most-important issue of bodily integrity–something that the pro-life movement as a whole has not adequately addressed, in my opinion.
On the other hand, we have the pro-life movement who is made up of a lot of people who think they understand science, but simply don't. So it's hard for such people to make a case that they are "right on science" when it comes to the abortion issue if they are wrong on science in so many other instances. So it may be hard for atheists to even CONSIDER what we have to say about science. I'm not saying that they are excused–they should definitely make the effort–but you have to pick and choose who you're going to take the time to take seriously.
People like PZ thrive from their echo chamber. If you could sit him down one-on-one and have him explain his position, he may give you something to think about. Sadly, he's taken the tone and tactic because he doesn't want to have to do so, nor do his readers have any interest in doing so.
If he had a decent counterargument, why would he leave it out and do the hand-wavy thing instead? I'm dubious.
"what makes you think this is the exception and not the rule?"
The fact that you're engaging in a strawman fallacy? The fact that "you often get kind same reaction in" Christian abortionist circles? The "your own kind" comment, as if you can be distinct from SPL yet have the username "SPLfan"?
"… the most-important issue of bodily integrity–something that the pro-life movement as a whole has not adequately addressed…"
This is interesting. I am a pro-life agnostic atheist and I share the same view. It took me a while to figure out what I thought about this issue because pregnancy is a significant compromise on one's bodily integrity.
The way I've approached it is maybe there is no black and white solution. I define myself as pro-life because I reference the fetus, and not just the woman. If collectively society humanized the fetus now, then maybe future generations will outlaw abortion as a utilitarian measure, and women won't see it as an option in the first place.
The second thing is that the pro-life community can target abortion by making sure all of them are performed by inducing labor. The viable fetuses (I know viability is not set in stone, but for the sake of argument…) must be transferred to the NICU as a strict regulation.
The third thing that I've come to grips with recently, is that I'm probably not a proprietarian, and that ownership is an abstract concept. Perhaps bodily rights are not so much rights, but "bodily heuristics", and can be compromised from time to time. Who gets to decide what? Honestly, I'm not sure yet.
The only person who has any say over a pregnancy is the woman who is pregnant.
If you are "pro-life" regarding any fetus besides the one inside you personally, you are anti-autonomy for that woman.
If you say the choice is hers but demand that she feel what you expect her to feel over her choice, you are against her autonomy.
If you are "pro-life" regarding any fetus not inside YOU, you are placing the value of that fetus above the value of that woman's autonomy, her health, her right to choose, her personal values, and her personal experience of what she's going through.
That is the reason this "secular" position is compared with the religious argument. They are identical.
The fetus trumps the woman. Even if you "permit" abortions but just demand the woman feel bad about it.
Avoid that fact all you want, rationalize all you want, excuse all you want, that is a fact you cannot change.
Valuing the fetus of a woman you don't know is an unscientific position, an irrational position, and a dehumanizing position.
Maybe it's not explicitly "religious…" but if it sounds like a pope and quacks like a pope…
You dismiss your critics as simply "[assuming] the fetus is irrelevant", as if they've neglected to engage you on this point. If anything, this is the very area in which your group has refused to make anything resembling a serious argument, with your founder resorting to claims that amount to nothing more than "what about sleeping people?" Really – who's doing the assuming here?
You've also failed to address the far more empirically well-founded arguments for the ethical acceptability of infanticide, put forth by Peter Singer, myself and others. While this is admittedly not strictly limited to the question of abortion, it does encompass the issue, and is a rather direct rebuttal to most of your claims, which quickly fall apart in light of the evidence that a fetus or newborn should indeed be considered "irrelevant" for ethical purposes.
Well I simply dislike SPL because you completely disregard my bodily autonomy. I am more than a uterus.
"How about a group of organisms having common characteristics and capable of mating with one another to produce fertile offspring?"
What characteristics dmdoes a zygote have in common with me? Since when can a zygote produce offspring?
See, comments like this are why when I say that the pro-abortion side is rooted in bigotry against all non-adults, I'm not kidding.
You might want to try addressing my point, the definition of species provided here excludes zygotes. I'm not the one who offered it.
yes, but it also excludes all children prior to reaching puberty.
If you take capability to be "immediate" rather than "inherent", yes it includes zygotes. And all children prior to puberty. So using "immediate capacity to reproduce" as your criterion is, in fact, incredibly ageist.
Species definitions mean to include the organisms they're discussing throughout the organisms' entire development. For example, if one definition of our species is "bipedal primates characterized by a brain capacity averaging 1400 cc (85 cu. in.) and by dependence upon language and the creation and utilization of complex tools," no one suggest that newborns (pre-verbal) or children (much physically smaller brains) are excluded from the definition. It's about a group of organisms' overall traits during the course of their development, not about their present capacities.
What's the alternative? I would be surprised if you could find a single scientific source that says an organism can be one species during one part of its development and then a different species during another part of its development. Can you?
Ah, Libby Anne and the "people don't really say that … do they?" argument. I remember using it a lot in my younger and more bigoted days.
If the increasing presence of people who are pro-unborn in secular circles makes people uncomfortable, good. Human rights advances always make established gatekeepers angry.
My criterion? This definition was offered by the author of this piece, not me. Pretty much proving PZ's point, which they mocked, by the way.
No, you're implying *immediate* ability to reproduce. The post implies *inherent* ability to reproduce. Those are different criteria.
The point you are missing is that your "bodily autonomy" applies to your body alone, not that of a developing fetus. Even scarier I guess is if you do acknowledge that a fetus is a human being but believe that your autonomy carries more weight
I think that the point of Atheism is to think independently of the opinions of religious people and their gods but also to be free from the dogma of other atheists. I know that not all atheists are pro-life but for me it was a primary motivator for getting over religion. I don't think other people have the right to discount my choice of finding a new way to be pro-life.
I see what you're saying, but I don't think bodily autonomy is sufficient to justify abortion. Is requiring a parent to provide nourishment and shelter to his or her child a violation of bodily autonomy? Should parents be allowed to abandon their children, even if it means death?
That an unborn child is in the womb is immaterial; whether the mother is using her uterus or her arms or legs or breasts or whatever, it's still all her body. Can she claim that no one, even her child, has any right to it at all?
For instance, if no one else is around to feed a newborn, and for whatever reason circumstances arise where the only way to care for it is by the mother breastfeeding it, would it be justifiable for her to say "my body, my choice" and let the newborn starve?
Bodily autonomy is on the unborn as it's body is the one being killed and dismembered. Women don't get aborted, their offspring do. No one would care if you were getting a hysterectomy, but the body inside your body is not your body. Yes we are all more than uteri, but you would never say something like that to someone who is anti-infanticide, because obviously it's not about saying we are only our uteri.
To be clear, if newborns are irrelevant for ethical purposes, do you believe that infanticide ought to be legally permissible in all situations that, before birth, would have justified abortion? For instance, if Down Syndrome is not diagnosed until after birth, may the parents kill the newborn? If the parents lose their jobs just after birth and no longer feel they have the means to support the child, and do not like the idea of giving it to someone else to raise, may they kill the newborn?
Fetuses and newborns, as well as certain adult individuals such as those in temporary comas, or perhaps those with certain severe mental illnesses, do lack many abilities which older humans have, and many of these abilities are considered morally relevant in determining what organisms qualify as persons. For instance, self awareness and rationality.
But we also need to consider WHY certain individuals lack those abilities, and what distinguishes them from non-human organisms that also lack those traits.
So consider a human embryo. An embryo cannot think. Consider a flea. A flea also cannot think.
But why can't the flea think? Because it doesn't have a brain capable of thought. Why doesn't it have a brain capable of thought? Because it is a flea. Simple.
Now why can't the human embryo think? because she doesn't have a brain capable of thought….yet. And why is that? Because she hasn't had enough time to develop one. Why is that? Because she is too young.
In other words, a flea cannot think because of what it is, whereas a human embryo cannot think simply because of how old she is.
But she DOES inherently possess the ability to think. Thinking is a part of her nature as a human being, encoded in her DNA from the moment of conception. Thinking couldn't spontaneously arise out of nowhere if it weren't in some manner possessed by her when she came into existence. So can we kill her based on her age? Can we kill her because she isn't yet capable of displaying all of her own inherently possessed characteristics?
The same principle applies to newborns. They are not rational, and not-self aware, but unlike many non-human organisms, that is not because of what they are, it is because of how old they are. Self-awareness and rationality are, however, a part of their nature.
A pretty good analogy is Polaroid photographs. Say that you used an old Polaroid camera to snap a once-in-a-lifetime, amazing photograph. You're really excited about it. The photo pops out, but, before it has fully developed, someone else snatches it from you, glances at it, and then tears it in two and throws it away.
Would you be angry? Why? Everything about the image you snapped a picture of is captured in an instant, and it is inherently contained within the photograph, even if the photo hasn't had enough time to fully develop those valuable characteristics.
Is that a reasonable justification for destroying it? Would it make sense to say that it is irrelevant because it's "only a potential picture?" After all, it's just brown smudges.
Is requiring a parent to provide nourishment and shelter to their child a violation of their bodily autonomy rights?
My that's a bad argument, a mother cannot be forced to breast feed her child. Feed it in any way, or look after it. They can refuse and have the child taken into care. They certainly have no obligation to donate their organs to a child, they can legally leave the child to die even if their blood/organs would save it. One of the most compelling arguments against the forced birth position as children have less rights than they want to give to a fetus!
In fact abandoned children will be a much more common occurrence if the forced-birth position wins out and rape victims and women who don't want children are made to carry them to term. There will be more women not wanting to contribute to the welfare of the offspring forced onto them.
Chris I'm neither PL or PC and try to apply moral precepts most people would agree with in real life but won't apply abortion.
If we grant a fetus has full morale value, it need not trump the rights of the woman. But she -&the man- has still put it in a situation of existential dependency – for it's life- and can be argued be owed bodily compensation. Say a drunk driver caused a crash and your son or daughter -if you had one- needed their kidney to survive. In principle because they caused the dependency they owe the kidney.
But unlike others I wouldn't force them or pregnant women to have their body used against their will. Rather I'd give all cases of bodily compensation an option of a custodial sentence -similar to child destruction laws in pregnancy- or pay the compensation.
So I'm not disregarding bodily autonomy, but like the drunk driver, nor would I let people who put other humans in existential dependency do so, without them being held responsible for the moral harm they have caused.
See me above reply to Chris.
Oolon what if we place other parents in a similar situation to a woman where there is no option of other care givers?
A woman unbeknown to herself is pregnant and goes to a remote island for a year of ecology research. Her communication equipment gets damaged but she has plenty of supplies.
One day she has cramps and has the baby, what are her moral obligations to this non person human ?
She has no formula so must breast feed and looking after the child will wreck a one in a life time study opportunity. Is she expected to use he body against her will to sustain this life ?Its another 9months before then next ship comes in.
Unlike cancer and illness we cannot say a disease caused the child to need care.
BTW if a parent caused their child to need their kidney through actions willingly taken do they have any obligation to give the kidney?
As a secular Pro life woman, thank you for representing our voice, as many of us are often too afraid to speak because of the hatred and possible social consequences we will receive from other woman telling us how we should feel. Secularism is a cold and unwelcoming place for us
I will be cold to you as long as you think that YOU have the right to make MY parenting decisions. There is no room for you at my secular table. Your position is horrific. You and the people on this page have personified other women's fetuses and are trying to strip women of any right to determine when and how she becomes a mother. Shame on you and all of your anti-choice friends. We secularists who value women's lives and women's choices will be cold to you as long as you think that I am less important than the contents of my uterus. I'm glad you keep your mouth shut, because your position is reprehensible.
The fact that you have to bring up a bizarre hypothetical "what if? desert island" argument shows you have no real case.
Most humans live in a society. Besides, if the woman on a desert island wanted to terminate, or go through birth alone (dangerous) and bring up a baby, that would be her choice. Neither you, nor I, nor society, nor any laws would have any influence. I think it should be her choice. You do not want to allow that bodily autonomy, and wish to have laws enforce your will on other people.
A big problem is that the "pro-life" side humanizes the fetus over and above the woman bearing it, and also dehumanizes the child after birth. In many cases, the same person who is "pro-life" (forced birth) is also anti-life with respect to funding food for dependent children, school lunches, tuition, and pro-death penalty. It is not an ethically consistent position.
@bbg: I wish I could "like" your comment a million times!
It squares with saying a zygote is a human organism, and therefore a part of the human species.
Does your response imply you can't provide a single scientific source to the contrary?
Most of us do not tell you how to feel, we just tell you not to tell us how to feel. You are free not to abort.
Hypotheticals and thought experiments are commonly used in philosophy to get at the underlying principles and assist comprehension and debate. If you aren't up to it fine.
BTW nice sidestep, sure she has the option of raising the child but by the logic of many PC's she would also be within her rights to kill the child or allow it to starve. So you are OK with that?
She is allowed her bodily autonomy to not breast feed the baby and anyone that objects is just arbitrarily enforcing their will?
Like the late term abortion debate, even for PC's bodily autonomy isn't always so clear cut. So you are fine with a women having an abortion a day before delivery? Some PC's are and if not, aren't you also denying them their bodily autonomy and arbitrarily forcing them to do what you want?
You are again completely ignoring what you pretend to be replying to, so I'll just repeat the question.
How does saying a zygote is "fully human" make sense when a zygote doesn't actually have most of the characteristics we use to describe members of the human species yet, using the definition you provided? Wouldn't "potential human" be more accurate?
Don't worry there are moderates on both sides who are interested in the underlying reasoning and are open to civil debate. But the sad point is that many atheists and humanists can be just as ignorant and bigoted as the worst bible thumper. If they cannot be civil they are a troll and not worth the trouble.
Your thought experiment was so extreme that it denied the fact that we even have a society to impose your choice on the woman on your island. It was not a useful thought experiment.
No, I am not okay with someone killing a child. However, a fetus is not a baby nor a child. It's a bad comparison. We make ethical and legal distinctions between adults, children, infants, and yes (most of us), fetus and zygote. Besides, any woman who decides to bring a child to full term is not then likely to not feed the child, whether by bottle or otherwise.
Late term abortion is also a red herring. They account for less than 2% of all abortions. Most are due to fetal abnormalities or fetal death or the high risk of maternal death. Most women do not opt for late term abortions by desire, but by dire medical necessity. Similarly, almost no doctors will perform them except by dire medical necessity. Outlawing late term abortions is callous. Your "abortion day before birth" is an insulting and repugnant scenario. Doctors do not perform abortions in those cases- they *induce labor*. Given your increasingly absurd and insulting scenarios, I can tell you are not honestly interested in having a discussion.
How is disagreeing with your position considered UNcivil?
You guys seem to have a problem with the fact that many of us find your reasoning to be irrational and rather cruel to women. How should we proceed so that your feeling aren't hurt?
You posit horrible reasons for being anti-choice, those reasons are torn apart for the garbage that they are on internet blogs, and you cry that we are bigoted. Unbelievable.
Either put up better reasons for being anti-choice or get used to having your reasoning torn apart.
A zygote is "fully human" in the biological sense–the sense that it is a biological member of the human species. In terms of species, it isn't "part" human and "part" something else. It isn't species-less and waiting to transform into the human species. It is a human organism, and part of the human species. Given your original questions and quote were addressing the blog post talking about species definitions, I don't see how I'm ignoring anything by addressing biology. If you want to talk about something other than biology, it's you who should clarify.
If you mean "fully human" in a non-scientific sense–like an emotional or social sense, maybe?–then I agree: a zygote hasn't developed to the level where most of us connect with other humans in a deeper way. But I don't think anyone made that claim.
Meanwhile (speaking of dodging questions), can you show me any source–any scientific source at all–that says *any* organism is not a member of its species until it hits a certain developmental milestone? (Note: PZ Myers rants don't actually count as a scientific source.) Implying that one of the most common definitions of "species" doesn't include zygotes (or fetuses) is simply, flatly incorrect.
Did I say you are anyone in particular here in this thread was being uncivil?
Well until now lol.
Like Aurora I've come up against hostility from atheists and humanists who don't like it when other secularists won't toe what they think should be the party line. Often by people who haven't got a clue about the underlying philosophical arguments.
I actually studied the topic at university level and corresponded with some of the leading Pro-Choice philosophers like David Boonin, who have no problem with validity of the sort of arguments being presented here. I know many of the arguments that are considered valid by many PC philosophers even if they aren't convinced by them. In fact the bodily compensation argument originally came from Boonin.
The fact that you are so dismissive without providing the slightest substantive rebuttal shows you to be and ignorant troll who would be laughed out of any abortion 101 class.
Have you ever even bothered to read the philosophical literature of either side?
But I suppose when you probably suffer from the Dunning Kruger Effect you cannot help yourself.
You are only embarrassing yourself by showing your ignorance and incompetence.
I would really like to see the secular argument for why a human life is more valuable that all other animal (sentient) life.
Is that human life or human person?
"A zygote is "fully human" in the biological sense–the sense that it is a biological member of the human species"
Please show me any relevant peer reviewed publications where the term "fully human" is used in this sense when referring to a zygote.
"Meanwhile (speaking of dodging questions), can you show me any source–any scientific source at all–that says *any* organism is not a member of its species until it hits a certain developmental milestone?"
The onus is on you, not me.
"Implying that one of the most common definitions of "species" doesn't include zygotes (or fetuses) is simply, flatly incorrect"
The definition provided in the article above excludes zygotes, foetuses, any human not able to procreate.
Again, don't blame me, blame the author for providing that specific definition.
Using the word "fully human" to describe a collection of cells with the potential to grow into something that would fit the definition provided is nonsensical. "Fully" implies actualised, not potential.
Wait, are you saying there AREN'T secular arguments in favor of slavery, white supremacy, and against women's suffrage?
For shame! Bad skeptics. We should be open to discussing any and all ideas in a free and open way, right?
If you have an argument you should be able to clearly state it and the common counter agruments, you have yet to do that.
& BTW you don't have to go to university so much of the lit and argumentation is on the web that you can self teach if you ever thought being informed about a particular subject was worth your time.
You can state a thing to the cows come home but that isn't an argument.
What grounds bodily autonomy? How and when there is a conflict of interest concerning bodily autonomy should one party outweigh another? Can one do anything with ones body? Sell organs have late term abortions etc. Not hard if your open to civil debate.
Instead you just want to come here and vent your spleen which makes you a troll.
For what it's worth I disagree with many thing Kristine and other PL's
say. In fact I'm in a discussion with a biologist about why a human
zygote shouldn't be considered a Homo Sapiens right now. I take the time
to look into these sorts of things not turn up on a blog and just shoot
off my mouth about things I haven't taken the time to look into.
& I'll look into more of PZ 's stuff but if this is the quality of his thoughts
"There is no particular reason abortion should be difficult; it’s certainly less fraught than pregnancy"
well we can dismiss all the lit and arguments by hundreds of
professional philosophers even well respected PC philosophers because a
biologist has slam dunked it lets go home.
Don't bother with PZ. He's fleabait. All he's ever wanted to do is make reason, science and skepticism subservient to his weird brand of American 'liberalism'.
Like your work by the way; here's my take on the subject: http://www.skepticink.com/prussian/2014/03/13/the-atheist-case-for-being-anti-abortion/
Want to have a shot at the spontaneous abortions he raises?
Sure it happens like cancer in postpartum human our existence is fraught with diseases that kill us.
Should PL's be concerned about and mourn/regret these lost live YES.
But we also live in a world of limited resources and practicalities.
It a triage situation. What is easiest and best way to save lives with the limited resources we have?
Many spontaneous abortions are because of health defects and the life would never of survived.
Should we take funds from say cancer or malaria research where we have good prospects of cures to saves lives that are likely to be lost anyway?
Personally I support euthanasia for similar reasons for humans that would likely die anyway or severely degraded quality of life.
This in no way undermines see human life as having moral value.
Lack of civility debating a subject often indicates a lack of intellectual credibility or knowledge on that subject.
You were the one who used the phrase "fully human," not me, and not the blog post about species. It's an ambiguous phrase, and I'm not sure what you're trying to imply with it, which is why I made a distinction between biology and social and emotional implications.
"The definition provided in the article above excludes zygotes, foetuses, any human not able to procreate."
Only if you continue to ignore that species definitions are for organisms at all their stages of development, which I pointed out in my very first comment to you. The capabilities referenced in the blog post are *inherent* capabilities, not the *immediate* ones you keep trying to insist are necessary. Or do you think the *most common* definition of "species" includes all children because none of them can reproduce? Man, how did biologists miss that one?
Do you genuinely believe that species definitions are meant to apply to only adult organisms?
Oh shes isolated on an island out of touch with alternative caregivers and that is extreme? Again you lack the ability to understand what a thought experiment is designed to do.
Like pregnancy if you want equivalency you need situations where the parent doesn't have other options and then see how they or you would act. So you wouldn't allow her to kill it? But its her body her choice and BTW she took precautions so it not her responsibility. Nor is the baby a person.
So btw what grounds full moral worth after all a baby isn't a moral person either if you ground it on psychological capacities.
& whether she is unlikely to or health worries isn't the point.If its her body her choice then that shouldn't matter. & There is actually a Pro-Choice talk on youtube where choicers argue over this very point. Maybe you should take that with your fellow choicers.
The point remains many choicers base their arguments on bodily autonomy and lack of personhood. Even in late term abortions this still stands as on the island. So justify why you would stop this woman form exercising her rights over what she does with her body when it concerns underdeveloped non person human.
Run back to PZ's cheer squad and put that to him.
There's always one, isn't there. What staggers me is the inability, given the gravity of the issue, for 'pro-choice' people to consider the arguments against their own position.
To be fair some do. Same occurs for many PL's
"You were the one who used the phrase "fully human," not me"
Actually, it's a phrase used regularly on this blog, and by other "secular pro-life" advocates. Here are some examples:
"The capabilities referenced in the blog post are *inherent* capabilities, not the *immediate* ones you keep trying to insist are necessary"
No, they're potential, not inherent.
I'm not insisting on anything, I'm pointing out that giving rights to a blob of cells just because it has the potential to become a baby is nonsensical. If you remove the blob of cells, the potentials simply won't be actualised. No babies are killed, they'll just never exist.
Breast feeding is minimally decent Samaritan. Use of your body's organs is an extra ordinary burden.
Well, fair enough; I haven't encountered it the other way, but that's to be expected I guess.
I said that I would not be okay with it, which is a direct reply to what you asked. Unlike you, however, my personal opinion about not being "okay" with it is not the same as not "allowing" a woman to make her own decision. I consider women adults and capable of making rational decisions about their own bodies and their own medical care, unlike the forced birth crowd.
Opinions aside, I supposedly live in a society where that is the current law as well. Women can have an abortion in the first trimester, but there are limitations after the fetus becomes viable. Unlike you, I am not advocating taking away a woman's right to make any more choices about her own
As far as the rest of what you wrote, while I have excellent reading comprehension, I cannot make heads or tails out of your disjointed ranting. That is not an invitation for you to rant any more.
Either or both please.
Ok so bodily autonomy isn't the slam dunk many choicer's think it is.
Also not there is still a high cost to the woman in my example.
& not to ignore we don't as a society enforce even minimally decent Samaritan laws.
So it would still seem she is under no obligation to do so.
Of course it would be argued supererogatory to do so, but not obligatory to the point of punishment by the logic of bodily autonomy and non person-hood.
But if you cause an existential dependency should you 'hide' behind bodily autonomy?
Use David Boonin's Toxic Waste analogy. A tenant stores toxic waste in his landlady's home causing her son to have kidney failure and he just happens to be the only match.
Shouldn't he owe the bodily compensation even if we are reluctant to enforce it?
Or a Drunk driver casing a crash victim to need his kidney?
No. Because however morally repugnant it might be to let the offender get away with both his kidneys, the alternative is slavery – treating people as commodities.
I think that was the reasoning behind Mcfall vs Shimp.
Why do you people think you have any say over what my wife does to her own body? Why do you think you should be telling her how many children she has?
Stop poking your nose in where it doesn't belong. Go and worry about the anti-vaxxers who are likely to cause other people real harm.by their actions.
Not so hard to read; its being able to think and use thought experiments is what is beyond you. You would fail abortion 101.
Reposting my comment, either it disappeared or never got posted.
"You were the one who used the phrase "fully human,""
Actually, it's a phrase regularly used on this blog, and by other "secular pro-life" advocates.
"The capabilities referenced in the blog post are *inherent* capabilities"
No, they're potential in this case, not inherent.
"not the *immediate* ones you keep trying to insist are necessary"
I'm not insisting anything, I'm saying that calling a zygote "fully human" because it has the potential to become a baby is nonsensical.
If you abort the blob of cells the zygote is those potentials will simply never be actualised. No babies are being killed, they'll simply never exist.
Lack of civility? You mean like posting stuff like this?
"The fact that you are so dismissive without providing the slightest substantive rebuttal shows you to be an
ignorant troll who would be laughed out of any abortion 101 class.
Have you ever even bothered to read the philosophical literature of either side?
But I suppose when you probably suffer from the Dunning Kruger Effect you cannot help yourself.
You are only embarrassing yourself by showing your ignorance and incompetence."
Oh wait, you posted that, didn't you, Simon Jm?
My stance wouldn't be to force them;either I would give them the option of paying bodily compensation or a custodial sentence. I'm not PL.
If I recall, even in the bronze age, eye for an eye was rarely enforced. It was a threat – and the offender was strongly encouraged to pay up instead. Society can't really function, I don't think, if it is removing body parts and organs from people. At least, a society that is not sociopathic.
And I will discuss thought experiments with you any time Simon. I love all manner of arguments. Which is why I read SPL.
I'm pretty unhappy about the implication in a couple of responses to Kristine's post that being willing to discuss abortion will keep women from feeling welcome in secular circles. It will keep women who feel that abortion is not to be discussed from feeling welcome, but that's not all women! I mean, if we're talking about abortion as an ethical issue rather than a legal one (and some have made it clear that they consider even discussing the ethics of abortion abhorrent), there are plenty of self-described pro-choicers who are uncomfortable with abortion from an ethical point of view; they just don't think a legal ban is the right answer. But no, the people who declare with 100% certainty that there is no ethical question and that the only reason to think there is one is that you hate women are holding themselves out as representatives of all secular women, while telling secular women who disagree with them to shut up. Fuck that.
Nice one KR the feeling is mutual.
What I think both sides tend do is look at the particular circumstances and not at the underlying principles.
As I see it.
If any action X -willingly taken- causes or is highly likely to cause, one full moral agent to make another full moral being, existentially dependent on their body. They are morally responsible for said dependency/harm and can be argued -through precedent and moral reasoning- to owe compensation.
Since the only relevant compensation is that bodily compensation that keeps the victim alive, that is what is owed.
But due to the point this would be treating a full moral being as a commodity -thus undermining their moral value- that compensation isn't enforceable and instead is an option to avoid or lessen a custodial sentence, if the compensation isn't paid.
This should be applied whether it is toxic waste, a mugger, a drunk driver or a non rape pregnancy or any situation that causes one being with full moral value to be dependent on the body or organ of another full moral worth being. The underlying principles are still the same.
Nicely put. I agree wholeheartedly.
"These nasty comparisons make sense… as long as you assume the fetus is irrelevant."
From the point of view of a person's bodily autonomy, yes, a fetus is irrelevant. No one has a right to hook me up to another human being against my will to pump his blood through my veins, his air through my lungs, have m kidneys filter his bodily toxins, and subsist on my food. Even if that person would surely die if I disconnected him, my right to bodily autonomy trumps any supposed "right to life."
It's the same reason that we don't have mandatory blood drives. It’s because each of us has a sovereign right to bodily autonomy that no one else has the right to violate, even if it might mean saving someone else’s life.
Did someone compare the pro-life position to pro-slavery? Hmmm. I bet slaves only wish they could go to an agency and say "find someone else to do this job."
"Why do you people think you have any say over what my wife does to her own body?"
Because she choose to act in a way that risks creating a new human being that is bodily dependent on her and her alone, and therefore she's liable if the risk occurs, and liability means you cannot relinquish responsibility at the cost of that very life you created by your actions.
"Why do you think you should be telling her how many children she has?"
I don't. She has a say in whether or not to procreate. It's called the choice to have sex.
"Stop poking your nose in where it doesn't belong."
What I hear when you say this is "it's not your business whether or not my wife kills other human beings" — not the most convincing command.
I don't humanize it over the woman, I just consider it's life alongside a woman's bodily autonomy. And I am anti-death penalty, pro-redistribution of wealth, and anti-war. Don't just assume a pro-lifer is a neoconservative. Also, calling a pro-life person anti-choice or pro-forced birth is as stupid as calling a pro-choice person pro-abortion. Silly phrases do nothing but misrepresent your opposition because you find it enjoyable to do so.
There may well be, but they're probably not good ones. I'm not going to sit here and say, "If I disagree *strongly* enough with something, it MUST be religiously based!" That doesn't follow at all.
Aurora, I'm a pro-life atheist and I fully encourage you to speak out on behalf of preborn human beings. I'm glad you found this page and I hope it inspires you 🙂
An aspect of antebellum slavery was forced pregnancy and birth. Female slaves were traded like livestock.
You supported this comment:
"I will be cold to you as long as you think that YOU have the right to make MY parenting decisions. There is no room for you at my secular table. Your position is horrific. You and the people on this page have personified other women's fetuses and are trying to strip women of any right to determine when and how she becomes a mother. Shame on you and all of your anti-choice friends. We secularists who value women's lives and women's choices will be cold to you as long as you think that I am less important than the contents of my uterus. I'm glad you keep your mouth shut, because your position is reprehensible."
Don't tell me you're too dense to understand how that is uncivil. Being *really indignant* about someone's stance doesn't mean you can say anything you want and it's automatically civil. This was a pathetic jab, there was no argument/reasoning/evidence, just raw anger and a command to keep her mouth shut. Yes, totally civil!
Look, if you insist that the definition of species excludes a fetus, then it also excludes newborns. Is that really the angle you are going for? You think newborns aren't part of our species?
Or they are, and so are the preborn. It's one or the other.
" "Fully" implies actualised, not potential."
I disagree — this would mean newborns are not "fully human". Is that what you think?
Seems to me if someone were arguing against infanticide and said that newborns are "human beings" just like us, no one would bat an eye. Is that not your position?
I notice every time someone brings this up on this blog, they're not actually responding to someone who said they hold these stances. It's always a "man a lot of pro-lifers are hypocrites" — ok? Is there one here? Or are you just stereotyping everyone and assuming we all object to welfare? Presumptuous.
"There may well be, but they're probably not good ones"
BINGO! Same goes for your secular pro-life arguments.
There aren't any good secular arguments for being pro-choice.
Oh you disagree? Well you're wrong because obviously I'm right.
^ That's how you people sound
Check out other articles on this blog. If you genuinely think that there aren't good arguments on the SPL blog, then you're a dishonest individual. So many accusations and false ideas get trotted out by pro-choicers that all have been covered on SPL.
Masturbation, bodily autonomy, brain-alive definitions, organ donation analogies, plan B, abortion exceptions…
There's a little search bar on the side, you can start there. If you're not interested to actually learn about real pro-life arguments, that's your problem not ours.
"Look, if you insist that the definition of species exclused a foetus, then it also excludes newborns"
No, the definition provided *in this articleII* excludes zygotes, foetuses, infertile people, etc. Your definition, not mine. As PZ pointed out, defining species is a tricky business.
"I disagree — this would mean newborns are not "fully human""
Wrong. I'm not disputing the genetic heritage of zygotes. I'm saying it's meaningless to make that the topic of discussion. What I'm saying is that just something has a potential doesn't mean there's a moral imperative for that potential to be actuated. If you abort a zygote you prevent a baby from existing. There's nothing, and I repeat, nothing wrong with that, in my opinion.
If my mother had decided to abort me when I was a zygote, there would have been no harm done in my opinion. I simply would not exist. Non-existence isn't a punishment. I would not know that I don't exist. Nobody (except my mother and people who knew she was pregnant) would miss me. I would not be here to mourn that fact.
Articles that deal with that issue:
http://blog.secularprolife.org/2014/02/bodily-rights-arguments-revisited.html (this one has the forced blood analogy)
I've been reading this blog for a couple of months now. I've been aware of secular pro-life arguments for years now. And no, there are no valid secular pro-life arguments. Most use spooky languange or thomist arguments to claim that even zygotes have inherent value. I simply disagree with that on philosophical grounds.
My personal stance on abortion is pragmatic. Women will have abortions regardless of legislation (or people harrassing them on the sidewalk. Oh sorry, you call that counseling, don't you? great example of orwellian speach imo). Best thing to do is to make it safe, therefore legal. That way you prevent a lot of cases where mother and foetus die in a botched abortion.
Some people don't seem to remember pro-Roe vs. Wade days in the US. You really don't want to go back to back alley abortion days.
that should read pre-Roe vs. Wade
I read it, and I'm not convinced by the author's unwillingness to explain how the forced blood/pregnancy by rape validates the anti-choice position.
"Look, if you insist that the definition of species excludes a fetus, then it also excludes newborns. Is that really the angle you are going for? You think newborns aren't part of our species? Or they are, and so are the preborn. It's one or the other."
I'm saying that *the definition provided in this article* excludes zygotes, foetuses, the infirtile, and the sexually immature. Which just means the definition is inadequate.
I also think that the "member of our species", "fully human", or whatever argument is irrelevant. Just because a blob of cells has the potential to grow into a baby doesn't mean it has the same standing as an actual person.
"I disagree — this would mean newborns are not "fully human""
Again, I think the term "fully human" is nonsensical. My fingernails are "fully human". So are the skin cells I shed every day. Just because something is "fully human" doesn't mean it had certain rights.
I'm reposting this, btw, because again my comment has either disappeared or wasn't posted (even though I was able to see it as being posted for almost an hour).
If my mother had decided to abort me when I was a zygote or a foetus, there would be no harm done in my opinion . Nobody but her and people in on the knowledge that she was pregnant would miss me. I would simply not be. There's no punishment in non-existance. I didn't exist before I was born, I and I don't experience any negative side effects of that. I wouldn't be here to mourn the fact of my non-existance.
I especially enjoy the special pleading for prenates, and the assertion that a zygote has all of the attributes of an adult, you just can't see them yet.
Okay at this point can we ignore the guy trying to argue that being at a pre- or post-reproductive stage of development makes you a different species?
At this point can we please ignore the pro-life people who are arguing against straw men?
"Good argument" doesn't mean one you agree with.
If you want a bad argument, look no further than "People are going to do it anyways so it might as well be legal"
And even if abortion remained legal, would you support extra measures to reduce the number of abortions in the case of unplanned pregnancies? Because pregnancy help is something barely talked about by pro-choicers.
And what is this about us saying that harassing women is counseling? Another lie.
Making abortion illegal can decrease the number of abortions if it is implemented correctly. It depends on a variety of factors. Pre-Roe v. Wade America isn't the only example of abortion being illegal. How many back alley abortions happen in Ireland or Malta?
What a coincidence, you're "not convinced".
What does me not being convinced coincide with?
"If you want a bad argument, look no further than "People are going to do it anyways so it might as well be legal"
Oh, so you don't care about the fact that women tend to get killed with back-alley abortions? Well, sorry, don't know how to put this any other way, buy you're simply a horrible person.
"Making abortion illegal can decrease the number of abortions if it is implemented correctly"
Oh, please, share the data on that little gem. History has shown that the opposite is true. Just look at the country I live in, the Netherlands. Abortion is legal here, and abortion statistics are among the lowest in the world.
"And what is this about us saying that harassing women is counseling? Another lie."
Counseling tends to be somehing that's requested, not forced on you by people ganging up on you on the way to an abortion clinic. Face it, you're a nuisance, not a "sidewalk counselor". You just use that term to justify protesting at a clinic.
It's not a human being and its non of your business. You are projecting your views on other people. You think it's cool to force the woman to do something just because you think so – that's control.
Attack of the screechy monkeys
Paging Dr. Dunning? Dr. Krueger for Dr. Dunning? please respond.
Please, you aren't even close to responding to Myer's point. Try to learn some biology first.
I don't care what your philosophy is, whether secular, agnositc, atheistic, nihilistic, or even Nazi. If you are against abortion then you have some FLAWED reason(s) to be against abortion. PERIOD. And my chosen task is to take your reason(s) and expose the flaw(s)!
There is a simpler explanation for Kristine's (and others') notion that personhood begins at conception: The Dictionary. Of course, just because the dictionary RECORDS "common usage" doesn't mean that "common usage" makes logical sense! Think about all the people out there "commonly using" astrology, for example.
Which on the face of it would also mean there is a rape exception because they aren't morally responsible for the pregnancy. But unlike many PL's I would offer financial assistance, compensation and counseling.
Yes and stand by it.
If opponents come to a forum to rant, and dismiss out of hand arguments 'garbage' that are readily accepted as valid by informed professional and well respected Pro-choice philosophers it easily shows their ignorance and trolling agenda.
Likewise saying it is pretty much people just throwing around baseless, arbitrary or irrational personal opinions, without even attempting justify it or civilly discussing the topics shows they are TROLLS and blowing smoke out their ass and gloves can come off.
So don't pull the passive aggressive on me and whine when people won't tolerate trolling.
Zinna could you expand on
"apart in light of the evidence that a fetus or newborn should indeed be considered "irrelevant" for ethical purposes.
I haven't read any of past posts and you seem to have some idea about Peter Singer's work.
Have you also up to speed on David Boonin's work.
Thats something I'm still not clear on but you often find the arguments are tied to why it isn't ok to kill persons or future persons but not other animals.
Peter Singer I think would say if we look at preferences, persons have sophisticated future based desires for continued existence, whereas many animals only have desires to avoid suffering. Therefore if they are killed humanely they aren't morally harmed.
On the other hand Don Marquis' 'Future Like Ours' argues the reason why we are harmed if killed is that we are denied the sort of things we value plans desires sophisticated experiences. Since most fetuses have a future like ours they have moral value whereas he thinks most animals don't share the sort of experiences we value, so don't have a right to life.
I disagree with both positions as stated though the Marquis argument can be expanded to included many other animals.
Abortion 101? Is that the training programme that the lion cubs went through in the South Park "Woodlands Critters Christmas?"
As a separate issue from bodily autonomy, the idea that a zygote, embryo, or fetus is a person is something I don't think people actually believe. I have to quote George Carlin to explain why:
"Well, if a fetus is a human being, how come the census doesn't count them? If a fetus is a human being, how come when there's a miscarriage they don't have a funeral? If a fetus is a human being, how come people say "we have two children and one on the way" instead of saying "we have three children?" People say life begins at conception, I say life began about a billion years ago and it's a continuous process."
I'm not whining, I'm pointing out that you're guilty of something you're accusing other of.
The dumb thing about being an anti-abortion secularist is after the shouting where are you going to go with it? So you are anti-abortion, what do you support as a matter of law? To be in favor of banning abortion is completely non-productive since study after study shows that banning abortions does not stop them, it just makes them unsafe. Countries that have legal abortion, good sex education and contraceptive availability have lower abortion rates than those that ban abortions. So what is the endgame?
"Countries that have legal abortion, good sex education and contraceptive availability have lower abortion rates than those that ban abortions."
These CORRELATIONS might well be true without showing us any CAUSAL link between legal abortion, good sex education and contraceptive availability on the one hand, and lower abortion rates on the other hand.
Nevertheless, it is common sense that good sex education and contraceptive availability would be a cause of lower abortion rates. Since you belatedly introduce those two factors, it would not be surprising if your sentence is correct in causal terms.
But it is not common sense that legal abortion would be a cause of lower abortion rates. Can you document that it is? What would be the mechanism — how exactly does legal abortion bring about lower abortion rates?
"As a separate issue from bodily autonomy, the idea that a zygote,
embryo, or fetus is a person is something I don't think people actually
You know, this is not an argument, and it is easily shown to be untrue. Just do a google search. Or, you know, look at all the effort that goes into saving premature babies (like me!) from death (hint: they'd still be classified as fetuses if they had stayed in the womb like they were supposed to!).
And just to note, there are PLENTY of people who say "I'm a mom" when they are carrying an unborn baby, "my baby is 6 months" when their unborn child is approximately six months old, "I have two children on earth and one [who was miscarried] in heaven" when describing their family, "Johnny has a little sister, we can't wait to meet her face-to-face!!" when they still have a baby in the womb, "I'm going to watch my baby die" when they are in the process of miscarrying, and there are people (shocker!!) who have funerals for their miscarried children. Just because you haven't encountered these people, does not mean they don't exist. And you must have tried pretty hard to live in a bubble if you haven't found ANYONE who has said or done any of these things.
Perhaps. Or they are just really frustrated.
One way: It removes the "lure of the forbidden".
If banning rape or murder caused rates of rape or murder to rise, would you then support legalizing rape or murder?
My husband and I had a funeral for the baby we lost to miscarriage. S/he was buried in a cemetery as well (I had a D&C, and we cremated his/her remains once they were released to us).
Also, saying "we have two children and one on the way" still acknowledges that there is another existing child, just one who hasn't yet been born.
And you think it's cool to rob other human beings of their right to life. That's also control.
So, you claim that unborn children don't have the capability to develop into adults? Do tell. What scientific evidence supports this assertion?
Since when is it a "parenting decision" to kill a child? Do you think parents have the right to deny their children sustenance? Because that's exactly what you're advocating.
You both have human DNA, for one thing.
A fetus is not a human being. There are far more real arguments for limiting people like the Duggar family from having so many children because it directly affects other people in terms of planet resources.
Just because a fetus happens doesn't mean the mother has to ruin her life.
It's not a child and the mother's life comes first. If you don't like abortions – don't have one. I'd rather have my wife alive thanks.
Please stop trying to interfere in other people's lives.
Work on your reading comprehension.
A fetus is not an organism of the species homo sapiens? Really? Can you provide scientific evidence to back up your assertion that human beings can gestate organisms that are of a different species?
"If you don't like slavery, don't own a slave." Would you have accepted that argument back in 1835?
I've been pregnant seven times and have had five live births. I'm still alive to tell the tale, and healthy, too. Why do you assume that pregnancy = death?
I would suggest that you work on your scientific comprehension.
Because my wife's pregnancy was leading to her death. Perhaps you could explain the morality of having 5 children? How would the planet survive if everybody did that?
Sometimes, but I would still tend to think if you are frustrated with the arguments you get frustrated at the arguments and not start throwing ad hom's around. & sure one can think an argument is weak and unconvincing but going to a opposing forum and saying they are garbage etc without stating detailed reasons why that is so isn't credible. Lastly if the person is an academic like PZ they should know better and pull their head in.
The fetus is a human fetus but not a human being. It has the potential in many cases to become one. Insisting that 2 cells have the same rights as a living breathing human with children and a job is ludicrous. Humans prioritize life on a regular basis and all life is not equal.
What does my religion have to do with anything? This is a human rights issue, not a religious one.
haha no. Any Introductory course on the basic underlying arguments used by both sides in the debate. 30 mins online and you could easily find lecture notes on that and then find Thompson's Violinist argument etc. Simply stating bodily auntomy trumps all without an understanding of issues doesn't make an argument.
I'm sorry your wife was in that circumstance, but why do you believe that her circumstance holds true for all pregnancies?
I don't need to explain the "morality" of having five children. My body, my choice, right? That goes both ways. As for overpopulation, it's a myth: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/14/opinion/overpopulation-is-not-the-problem.html?_r=0
That article does not support your argument. Crop yields are going down. We cannot have a population that doubles every generation. Didn't know that taking more than a fair share of the planet's resources was a positive attribute. Clearly your supposed absolute morality has holes in it.
Roman Catholicism is a religion invented by a
bunch of old farts to extract money from the gullible.
How open-minded and tolerant of you. Regardless. it's irrelevant. Abortion is a human rights issue, not a religious issue.
Then you are lying because the two cells may turn into zero or more human beings so you cannot say it is "A" human being.. Two cells of my skin are not a human being. I never said that a fetus was not an organism of our species.
So, you support forced abortion and forced contraception? Because that's the only way to make your ZPG ideal happen — and even then it doesn't always work and can have disastrous consequences (see China).
The article did address your concerns, but if you don't want to read it I can't force you.
If you don't want five children, then don't have five children. Funny how it's only "my body my choice" when it comes to killing children instead of bearing them, in your world.
Sorry that you are trying to tell the rest of us what our life's priorities should be.
Skin cells are not organisms. Zygotes, embryos, and fetuses are all organisms of the species homo sapiens. If a zygote splits into two new zygotes, then there are two new organisms of the species homo sapiens.
Yes, you made that claim. You said, "The fetus is a human fetus but not a human being." A fetus is an organism of the species homo sapiens. An organism of the species homo sapiens is a human being. Thus, a fetus is a human being.
Bullshit. I and many of my friends and relatives can and have made zero population growth happen. Sorry that you are too selfish to care about the planet.
Like I said… Funny how it's only "my body my choice" when it comes to killing children instead of bearing them, in your world.
I choose to perpetuate the human race, not limit it. I choose to believe that the planet is not overpopulated and that human beings are our greatest natural resource. If you don't believe that, fine, but you can't claim to be pro-choice if you think I should not have the choice to have five kids.
Yes it is a human rights issue. Your religion based on fiction has no right to tell me or anybody else what to do. Religions have a goal of growing their population at the expense of others. A very selfish goal.
How, exactly, is my religion telling anyone else what to do at the Secular Pro-Life blog? Again, it's irrelevant. As the people in this organization prove, you don't have to be religious to believe that human beings have the basic right to life.
I can imagine why a religious person would suck at biology. Skin cells are organisms. I'd suggest learning about your brain and how it dies, clearly demonstrated in Alzheimer's sufferers. As the brain dies they cannot recognize their own relatives. Our brains all end up dying and there is nothing left to recognize angels, Gods or anything else in a magic non-existent heaven. Your religion gives you warped priorities that tend to selfishly trying to achieve a superior position (heaven) instead of the betterment of all in real life.
There is no basic right to life – that is a human fabrication of a particular society. Your religion uses people's money to fund lawyers to take away people's rights
Uh… no. Skin cells are somatic cells, which form the body of an organism. They are not organisms in and of themselves. Some information for your edification: http://www.sciencedaily.com/articles/s/somatic_cell.htm
Interesting. So, if the government passed a law tomorrow retracting your right to life, based on purely arbitrary grounds, you would not fight it?
Ah yes, the final resort "don't judge me I can't handle being wrong"
Did you even read the title of this blog? It's called *secular* pro-life! I don't believe in God, heaven, angels, or whatever and neither do many on here even though there are theists who comment as well.
How is it not a child? Let's go back to the beginning here. I'm trying to figure out your logic.
Sorry – you cannot rewrite the English language, it has a definition – a human between birth and puberty. You don't know what it is until it is born.
JoAnna is Catholic.
Who the hell are you? Didn't know you were in charge of right and wrong. I'm wrong when the mathematics says I'm wrong or you show up with some proof. Otherwise it is just your opinion.
Thanks for projecting yet again.
Shame that your knowledge of your how brain works isn't so good then.
They're trying to stop the deliberate destruction of human lives.
How you can say this planet is not overpopulated is beyond me. We are short of fresh unpolluted water. Short of fresh air. You cannot buy certain types of fish. The list goes on and on – you are delusional,
Your membership of the Roman Catholic church would have a relative of mine's reproductive system destroyed because Birth Control pills would not be allowed. A Bishop would have overridden our doctors decision and let my wife die. Your religion kidnapped babies from their mothers. You can keep your absolute morality.
Why – to grow their religion? Satisfy a goal of controlling other people? I would rather empower women's live and not subject them to the whim of others. A friend was raped multiple times by her father as a young teenager – why should she be forced to bear her fathers child and potentially die as a result of childbirth?
There are plenty of people on the planet already.
Which is completely irrelevant to this conversation, so I'm baffled as to why you keep harping about it.
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Because you proclaim a higher morality but belong to an organization that is not exemplary. By the way – some definitions of organism exclude a fetus because it is not an independently functioning set of cells.
Actually, as a biologist, I do. I know that it is growing as a human.
And, if you really want to be a literalist or play semantics, then let's go with the Oxford dictionary definition of pregnant: Of a woman or female animal) having a child or young developing in the uterus: Apparently, Oxford knew it was a child also.
Dictionaries do not prescriptively 'define' what words are supposed to mean. Dictionaries record how words are used at any one time. Try an example : the word 'gay'. It is now used as an adjective to mean homosexual. It is now in dictionaries with a meaning of homosexual. The English-speaking population did not one day look up a dictionary, find an entry saying : 'Gay, adj. homosexual', and start using it because that's what the dictionary defined it as. Peope used the word 'gay' to mean homosexual, and after it had become an established meaning, then the dictionaries recorded that. That's what dictionaries do. If you can show a counter-example, where words have only been used after they were defined in a dictionary, that would be good. I suspect it will be impossible.
I'll gladly go back to my biology – and speak with that knowledge. I was trying to have Chris be logical instead of attacking JoAnna out of nowhere for religion when that wasn't her point in the beginning. King Rat, it sounds as though you might know that scientists like to define terms – it makes for better discussion points. And Chris just told me that I didn't know the English language – well, i happen to be well-versed in the English language also. I'm trying to get him to stay within a logical discourse.
There are several definitions apparently. What's your point – are you able to claim that there is a heaven?
What is? What sort of biologist believes in an afterlife?
That doesn't say it IS a child. It defines it as a process.
But you believe in religion? How is religion logical discourse?
Just shows that any group will have it's goosestepping defenders of the faith. Hardly free thinkers at all if to be a member you must adhere to a dogma determined by others.
Yes, I believe Heaven exists. What does that have to do with whether or not I suck at biology. I don't think there are several definitions. Skin cells are not organisms. They are parts of an organism's body. Left alone, a skin will die. The unborn is an organism because it has its own functional parts and is on a self-directed path of development into a more mature version of itself.
If you don't think bodily autonomy can ever be trumped, that's bull. I
would harvest Dick Cheney's organs any day to save a child.
Maybe you would. But the law wouldn't let you. Cases such as this have been tried in the past, and it's been concluded that Dick Cheney cannot be legally compelled to give up his organs, not even if a child will die without them. We don't harvest dead people's organs without their consent, either; Dick Cheney's organs cannot be legally taken, even if he's already dead.
If you change the law so that abortion is actually not possible to obtain, and make no other changes, then the result would be that men would never be forced to let someone else use their organs, even if someone would die from it, even if they were dead and no longer really using them anymore.
Meanwhile, about 1 in 3 women would, at some point in their lives, be forced to let someone else use their organs. (Specifically, they would be forced to let someone else use their uterus, take their blood on a continuous basis, and inject them with chemicals that suppress their immune systems.)
Anti-abortion laws impose a huge burden on women that they do not impose on men, and that is deeply unjust.
"…You don't know what it is until IT is born." Sorry but this is the funniest statement I have ever heard. Its a human, your argument is invalid.
I don't care that you don't use religion as a cause for being pro-life, I care that you don't leave the rest of us to make our own decisions about this very serious matter. If I need an abortion, I'll decide and I don't need people like you trying to stop me. MYOB!!!!!
That is bull. Aborting a fetus is not the same as allowing people to kill. I had a TaySachs baby. Try it some time. I aborted the next child who would have had the same disease. So keep your nose out of it.
And if you know that the child will live in pain for a few years only?
Nothing has been torn apart. Many pro-choice atheists have been crying but haven't said anything of substance. The pro-life position is the correct one, and the vitriol that has been spewed by pro-choice atheists only reinforces it (also, don't call me anti-choice and I won't call you anti-life, deal?)
Here are a couple of very simple arguments for the pro-life position. If you can refute those, then I'll become pro-choice. But you have to engage with them, not just whine that someone disagrees with you. Here goes:
P1: It is immoral and should be illegal to intentionally and unjustly kill an innocent human being.
P2: Abortion intentionally and unjustly kills an innocent human being.
C: Therefore, abortion is immoral and should be illegal.
P1: It is immoral and should be illegal to intentionally and unjustly kill a person.
P2: Abortion kills a person.
C: Therefore, abortion is immoral.
We know from the science of embryology that the unborn are human beings, biologically. This is not debated in the field of embryology, only by pro-choice people who are desperate to find a way to justify abortion.
The unborn are alive because they exhibit the property of living things: they grow through cellular reproduction, they metabolize food for energy, and they respond to stimuli.
They are human because they are the product of human parents and everything reproduces after its own kind. They have human DNA.
They are organisms because they are a whole entity, with its own functional parts, directing itself from within into a more mature version of itself, along the path of human development.
They are persons because they do not differ from old human beings in any morally relevant ways. They are different in size, level of development, environment, and degree of dependency, but none of these factors determine your value as a human being. If adult human beings are persons, then you cannot disqualify the unborn as persons without disqualify some adults who are uncontroversially considered to be persons.
And you are ignorant. You apparently don't read about how people don't know they are pregnant, have triplets instead of twins, have Siamese twins and any number of happenstances.
When exactly does the fetus get these "functional" parts? It is not an organism until it is independently functioning. Skin contains DNA so could theoretically be redirected into becoming a human too. Believing in heaven means you don't understand your own biology. An afterlife is not possible.
Why don't you answer the question posed? Where will you go with it?
The fetus has functional parts right from the beginning, when it has a membrane that surrounds it and the cells it divides. In its genetic code is the information necessary for developing all of its parts, including its arms, legs, head, brain, heart, sperm/eggs, etc.
There is nothing about an organism that requires it be independently functioning, otherwise diabetics on insulin or people in comas would not be organisms. Plus, the unborn *does* function independently of the mother, it just can't survive outside the womb until it's old enough. But it is functioning on its own while it's in there.
Believing in heaven has nothing to do with biology, and an afterlife certainly is possible. Would you mind making a case for that instead of just asserting it? It's not true just because you say so.
"Because she choose to act in a way that risks creating a new human being" still does not give YOU a say with ehat she does with her body.
Homo sapiens are not more special than Bos taurus
I believe a cow is a person too. 1 billion people believe this. Are you going to agitate for their rights not to be slaughtered?
Take living human – throw in crematorium – ash. No afterlife possible – nothing that can think, recognize or talk left. Alzheimer's sufferers are living proof. Still alive but couldn't recognize their own relatives let along a fictional God.
On a factual basis, abortion is less fraught than a pregnancy.
The rest is his opinion, which I hope will not stop you from reading the substance of his arguments.
So you see this can be a philosophical debate. If we agree that all animal life should be treated equally, which I find hard to argue against from a strictly secular and scientific viewpoint, abortion would have severe consequences for animal husbandry.
The point I was trying to make is the idea that bodily autonomy trumps all other rights is morally unfounded. Dick Cheney cannot be legally compelled because the law is binding on all citizens and setting a precedent like making organ donation obligatory can have disastrous consequences, but I wouldn't protest it if it happened.
And the law can tailor to whomever has money or influence – a corporation can pollute the environment, lie to it's consumers, and pay no taxes with the right manipulation of the legal system.
Or we can send people to die and kill under false pretenses.
We don't allow using dead people's organs without their consent – and that is questionable. Those organs could be given to someone who needs them, but instead society values consent over, saving lives. This is a controversial topic in of itself. I'm not alone in thinking this.
Anyways, concerning abortion – I think it should be legal up to 8 – 12 weeks. If you also have a cutoff point (which many pro-choicers do, at the point of viability usually) wouldn't that also be forcing a woman to let the fetus use her body, albeit in a narrower time-frame?
Yes it would, and later the gestation, the more egregious the abortion considering a very important point: a fetus is 100% forced into the environment of the womb by a woman's free will (barring rape of course). even if the pregnancy is unplanned.
There are laws that are or have been imposed on men that haven't been imposed on woman. Currently every legal male from 18 upwards to 26 must sign up for Selective Service. I know we aren't short on voluntary service, but the law does have a track record for imposing different rules based on gender.
With abortion, since men can't get pregnant, it makes sense they won't be affected. Paying child support is then their compensation for creating a child.
"If you can refute those, then I'll become pro-choice."
Lets change your premises slightly to:
P1: It is immoral and should be illegal to intentionally and unjustly kill an innocent being.
P2: Pig farming intentionally and unjustly kills an innocent being.
C: Therefore, pig farming is immoral and should be illegal.
Welcome to the dark side.
What is easiest and best way to save lives with the limited resources we have?
Abortion, pure and simple. The limited resources we have will go toward bettering and saving millions of lives that are already on this planet that are suffering and feeling pain.
Interesting quote, but it's full of holes.
The census doesn’t count preborn humans because it would be impractical given that women do not always know they are pregnant, do not know how many babies they are carrying, do not know the sex, etc. Additionally, given that the census once considered African American slaves to be, effectively, 3/5 of a person, I don't think the census not counting unborn humans really tells us anything.
Many people do have funerals and/or grieve for their miscarried babies. And some people don’t. Regardless, the emotional attachment of other individuals is not actually a measure of someone’s rights or worth. People can be devastated when they miscarry a baby, or they could have been planning on an abortion but miscarried before that point, and it makes no difference as to whether the unborn human was a person.
Many people speak of having a “child on the way” for no reason other cultural force of habit. It doesn’t actually have any scientific or philosophical bearing on the nature of the unborn human. We have all kinds of absurd sayings that don’t make sense if you think them through. If a person is pregnant they might say that they “have a baby on the way,” but still consider the baby precious and important, and if someone were to harm the mother and kill the baby, they could
be charged with fetal homicide.
And yes, life itself may have begun a billion years ago, but that’s just confusing semantics. Obviously when people say “life began at conception,” they’re talking about an individual life, the life of a new organism. Scientifically, a new individual life begins at that point, and those who consider it a person believe that it is wrong to deny the fundamental rights of an entire group of
human beings on the basis of their age.
I think the issue here is that it is hard for people (pro-choice people particularly) to emotionally think of a fetus or embryo as a person, because we tend to devalue individuals who are different from ourselves.
Ah, yes the dark side…that is, vegetarianism. Welcome!
I love this! I would harvest Dick Cheney's organ's to save a spider 🙂
But on a serious note, I am tired of people waving this banner of "bodily autonomy trumps all". No it doesn't. A child can have surgery against his or her will (but under the will of the parents), conjoined twins can't go through separation surgery unless both consent.
If we are going to place one right other others, I see absolutely no reason why that right shouldn't be the right to life. It is the right from which all other rights are derived.
"If my mother had decided to abort me when I was a zygote or a foetus, there would be no harm done in my opinion . Nobody but her and people in on the knowledge that she was pregnant would miss me. I would simply not be. There's no punishment in non-existance. I didn't exist before I was born, I and I don't experience any negative side effects of that. I wouldn't be here to mourn the fact of my non-existance."
Yeah, a serial killer could murder you right now, and this paragraph would still hold true. You wouldn't be here to mourn your non-existence, you would still have no-punishment in non-existence, and the only people made to suffer would be those who had knowledge of your existence prior.
Wow, that's a lot of words to show that you don't think of women as actual people, and that you don't give a shit about consent.
See, sex is to rape what a wanted pregnancy is to an unwanted pregnancy.
I've yet to see a single 'pro-life' argument that doesn't work equally well as a pro-rape argument.
Nobody has the right to use a woman's body against her will. Not a grown man. Not a fetus. Nobody. If they attempt to do so, she has the right to use potentially lethal force to stop them.
You seem to disagree. In your world, if someone wants to use a woman's body, the only option allowed to her is to lie back and think of England, because she absolutely may not defend herself in any way and thus risk harm to the one using her body.
My hat doesn't off to Kristine any more than it goes off to folks like Heartiste, Esmay, and Roosh of the MRA fame. She's on the same moral level they are, and spouting shit just as unjustifiably stupid. Spewing misogyny doesn't make someone brave, it just makes them a misogynist. And Kristine is a misogynist who doesn't think women deserve basic human rights.
I see a lot of posts saying 'gee, I wish you'd listen to us pro-lifers'. The problem is that we have listened, and we reject your opinions. We find your 'facts' to be falsehoods. We find your 'arguments' to be irrational at best, pathetic and bigoted at worst. We find your tactics to be deplorable. And we have found that if you are allowed to have your way, women will be enslaved, chained to beds, arrested, and left to die horrible and easily avoidable deaths.
Why do you persist in thinking my basic human rights should be up for debate or discussion? You have no scientific standing. You have no moral standing. You have nothing but lies and tactics that borrow from terrorism.
I think it is a bit more complex than that. The amount of resources needed to intervene and try to 'save' spontaneous abortions would I imagine be immense, combined with a low chance of success.
On the other hand many abortions occur for otherwise healthy fetuses for financial and inconvenience reasons. If single mothers and poor families where given the sort of financial assistance which covers basic positive human rights i.e healthcare daycare etc. That is already covered in other advanced countries so would be easily covered by the US.
The US also has a pitiful per capital overseas aid program it could if it wanted save many more lives that way or if it didn't try to skew trade in its favour allow developing nations to help themselves develop more quickly.
I agree to the extent we should give similar considerations to animals along the lines of Singer. But I ultimately find he is also speciest. I also think a 'Future like ours' entails we expand the circle to many more animals though I'm still on he fence about taking a secular Jainist POV.
While it maybe the case, I'd be surprised if they were substantial to matter on a policy level. & while I do find him very ranty and rude, at least he is consistent, at least as far as infanticide. Many PC's won't bite that bullet.
That's not proof at all. In fact, this argument just begs the question because it assumes that one must have a brain to be able to think. But if supernatural beings exist, there is no reason to think that they must have a brain to be capable of thought. In order to prove there is no afterlife, you have to prove that there is no immortal soul. Incidentally, it is the soul that guides one's development from fertilization. DNA contains all the information that the organism needs to develop, but there is nothing in the human being's DNA to run the program. The soul is necessary for that. The brain connects the soul to the body, and if the brain is damaged then the soul can't communicate properly. But the brain controls everything, so to say that just because we need a brain to think proves there is no afterlife is short-sighted, since our thoughts are obviously not confined by our brain. If our brain is damaged a certain way, we also cannot move our limbs. But it doesn't follow from that that our limbs are the same thing as the brain. Plus, the fact that we have thoughts proves that the soul is separate from the brain. We can think about cars, but our brain does not become a car when we think about one.
Total unscientific nonsense. There is no such thing as a soul. Everything is controlled by the two brains. The main one contains all our memories.
He's my least favorite horseman, but you just made me like him a bit more. Can you source the quote, because I think I'd like to use it myself.
Considering it's a secular website, it's nothing to do with religion at all.
This website doesn't take a position on the rape exception and focuses on the 99% of abortions where that doesn't apply. And in the tragic cases where the mother and child can't both survive, the priority must be to save the mother's life even when that results in the child's death.
As for why? For the same reason as they want to outlaw the deliberate killing of humans at any stage of their life. Do you feel that all laws against deliberately killing humans are to satisfy a goal of controlling other people?
We live in a world where millions of preborn girls are killed specifically because they are girls. And those girls are subject to the whim of others
There are a lot of humans on this planet, but that doesn't justify the deliberate killing of any of them.
Really – you go around killing insects and animals all day without too much compunction. Forcing women to do what YOU think is right not knowing their circumstances is wrong. Being a well off person in a well off country doesn't give you the right to dictate to others how they run their lives.
Compare Ireland where the preborn child's right to life is respected and the nearest comparable country Britian, where preborn children can be deliberately killed. The % of pregnancies that end in abortion is several times lager in Britain than it is in Ireland.
I replied to each of your questions but you ignored mine.
Do you feel that all laws against deliberately killing humans are to satisfy a goal of controlling other people?
Your assumptions about me fall under the ad hominem fallacy.
I like all laws against killing humans. A fetus is not a human. It is a human fetus – a potential human that is physically part of the mother.
A fetus is not part of her/his mother. She/he does live inside her/his mother but is a distinct separate organism.
She/he has her/his own distinct DNA. She/he also grows, feeds, respires, moves etc.
By what justification is a fetus not a human?
A human fetus like a human neonate, a human preadolescent, a human peripubescent, a human geriatric are all humans. They're just terms for humans at different stages of their lives.
So if I understand you correctly, you're defining "unscientific" as "anything that doesn't agree with me?" I gave you an argument for the soul. Your response essentially boils down to "nu uh."
You gave no argument for a soul at all. You are controlled by your brain. I have never seen an article or paper proving the existence of a soul and there is no indication that there is one. People's character's are changed by chemistry.
Wow such moronic idiocy I have ever seen. I was freaking there to see that my daughter had to be physically CUT from her mother. She was attached and not separate. A fetus is not a human because two cells are not a human – that is the definition.
Yes, it does. Another human being's life is at stake. Bodily autonomy is not absolute, and so defending human life is certainly a situation where curbing that right is reasonable.
"Aborting a fetus is not the same as allowing people to kill."
Since the fetus is a living human being, and abortion ends his/her life…yes it is by definition killing.
"No, the definition provided *in this articleII* excludes zygotes, foetuses, infertile people, etc. Your definition, not mine. As PZ pointed out, defining species is a tricky business."
No, it doesn't, and no, it's not — if you understand that the definition is talking about inherent capacity *of that same organism* for traits they can or will develop. For example, the species definition that talks about being bipedal and using language and complex tools is still an apt way to distinguish our species from others, and it is still inclusive towards newborns if you accept that it is about your average organism's inherent capacity.
This isn't even a moral argument, it's about defining scientific terms. This isn't tricky and it's not complicated. It's very simple and people are trying to make it more complicated than it is because the thought of doing what we would do with *any* other organism — that is, call an offspring organism part of their species regardless of its location and level of development — is suddenly politically threatening with human beings. If you think there's no connection between a scientific classification system and the morality of killing an entity, then why do people rail against — why are they so anti-scientific — when it comes to simple things like "what species is the zygote"? Just concede the science and argue that it has no connection to morality. Two different arguments.
That's fine, I have no problem with people disagreeing and saying our arguments are bad. That's your opinion. It's not the same as saying that because they are crap they MUST be religious. That's just illogical.
I will repeat the argument. If you have more than just "nu uh," I will consider it. But if you're just going to continue to be unwilling to engage with the argument, then I think we're done here:
In fact, this argument just begs the question because it assumes that one must have a brain to be able to think. But if supernatural beings exist, there is no reason to think that they must have a brain to be capable of thought. In order to prove there is no afterlife, you have to prove that there is no immortal soul. Incidentally, it is the soul that guides one's development from fertilization. DNA contains all the information that the organism needs to develop, but there is nothing in the human being's DNA to run the program. The soul is necessary for that. The brain connects the soul to the body, and if the brain is damaged then the soul can't communicate properly. But the brain controls everything, so to say that just because we need a brain to think proves there is no afterlife is short-sighted, since our thoughts are obviously not confined by our brain. If our brain is damaged a certain way, we also cannot move our limbs. But it doesn't follow from that that our limbs are the same thing as the brain. Plus, the fact that we have thoughts proves that the soul is separate from the brain. We can think about cars, but our brain does not become a car when we think about one.
In fact, you're clearly lying when you say I gave no argument because you did recognize that I gave an argument. You just waved it away by calling it "unscientific nonsense." But that's not a defeater for my argument. It's barely even a response.
I'm not a big fan of him either, but then again, I'm not really a fan of any of the horsemen because their arguments against religion are ridiculously bad. Though they are good writers and clearly knowledgeable in their fields, it's just when they leave their fields and try to do philosophy that it turns into a train wreck.
I will try to dig up the source for that quote.
Sounds like you don't know the correct definition. Actually sounds like you donn't know basic bio — a fetus is not "two cells", what are you even talking about? That's the zygote stage. A fetus is millions of cells. And it is a living human organism according to *scientific definition*. Here I'll even source it. I guarantee you won't and can't source any rebuttal to this.
"Fertilization is a sequence of events that begins with the contact of a sperm (spermatozoon) with a secondary oocyte (ovum) and ends with the fusion of their pronuclei (the haploid nuclei of the sperm and ovum) and the mingling of their chromosomes to form a new cell. This fertilized ovum, known as a zygote, is a large diploid cell that is the beginning, or primordium, of a human being."
"Embryo: the developing organism from the time of fertilization until significant differentiation has occurred, when the organism becomes known as a fetus."
^ Fetus is an organism. It is also human (check the DNA). Thus it's a human organism, i.e. a human "being". Scientifically.
"The development of a human being begins with fertilization, a process by which two highly specialized cells, the spermatozoon from the male and the oocyte from the female, unite to give rise to a new organism, the zygote."
^ Again, demonstrating that the zygote is an organism. It is not of another species; this organism is of the human species.
"Biologically speaking, fertilization (or conception) is the beginning of human development…The result is a single-cell embryo called a zygote, meaning "yoked or joined together," and it is the first cell of the human body."
"At the moment the sperm cell of the human male meets the ovum of the female and the union results in a fertilized ovum (zygote), a new life has begun."
"Although life is a continuous process, fertilization is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new, genetically distinct human organism is thereby formed."
^ Hear this? A Human Organism. Not a somatic cell like a skin cell. An *organism*. HUGE difference.
"Almost all higher animals start their lives from a single cell, the fertilized ovum (zygote)."
Holy crap you really can't get past this religion thing. She hasn't made a single religious point. She's reiterated this. Damn it's like talking to a brick wall. I'm an atheist and I would argue the SAME points as her — now how do you dismiss me? Yeeesh
Someone's clearly living in the stone age. Have you even taken a biology class ever? I mean this stuff is even accessible on the web. Educate yourself man.
…Still waiting for that definition. Pick one. I'd love to see the one that says skin cells are organisms!
I don't know why she didn't answer it, but maybe she just didn't take sailor's thinking seriously about where opposition to abortion leads. sailor said: "study after study shows that banning abortions does not stop them, it just makes them unsafe." sailor's following sentence suggests that banning abortions even causes higher abortion rates. Do you consider it factual that banning abortions does not stop them (at all), or that it even causes higher abortion rates? If you do, can you document either of those assertions?
Banning something will never stop it. Cite one example where a ban has led to a complete stop.
As for causing higher rates, i don't think so, in fact probably the opposite.
However, neither of you has answered the question posed by sailor, where will banning abortion lead?
Yes, fetuses live inside their mother and are attached to their mother via the umbilical cord. Conjoined twins are also attached to each other but they are still 2 humans.
Which part do you dispute, that a human fetus is a distinct organism? Or that that organism is human?
Pick up an embryology textbook. During the process of conception, a new human organism, is formed and this stage of life is known as a zygote. She/he begins life as a single celled organism and begins growing and developing from there.
And 2 cells in relation to abortion is really misleading. Even by implantation, the has far more than 2 cells. By the time even relatively early abortions occur, she/he is a lot larger.
For example at 4 weeks, she/he is growing at a rate of one million cells per second.
Since you believe humans are special, than would it not also be incumbent upon special humans like yourself to protect all innocent lives? Especially those of defenseless animals. This would be the natural outcome of your morality if you believe it is upon you to fight for the defenseless.
That's because most of the Irish women went to England to have their abortions.
So would you like to reconsider?
Do you hold that this Clinton's position should lead to vegetarianism you you wish not to plead special position for humans?
Ok, newborns are excluded. What exactly is your point?
Simon, I would be interested in seeing your reply/comments to Sounders comment below.
You had no facts to support your argument.
Why is this limited to a full moral worth being only? And whose morals anyway?
More weasel words. They are not "humans" because they are not complete. Gene expression changes in the womb and the fetus and host interact.
by the logic of many PC's she would also be within her rights to kill the child or allow it to starve
A simple yes.
I don't need to. I will answer again, for the bodily autonomy argument, she is well within her rights to kill that baby.
And also, from your "fully moral being" arguments, she is fully justified in killing the baby.
So how does this help your pro-life stance?
Who the hell do you think you are trying to redefine the English language.
I politely disagree. Does that make feel better?
"Shea hasn't made a single religious point".
Clearly almost everything she says and her whole lifestyle is based on her religion. Sorry you cannot see that.
But the definition of organism includes the fact that it is SEPARATE and a fetus is NOT.
In decades of reading science journals I have never seen one that shows the existence of "soul". We are run by our brains.
I gave you facts to support my argument. The problem is you're trying to define words like "science" and "fact" so narrowly that it will necessarily not include anyone with a differing view of your own. I gave you the facts of human development as an argument for the soul, because while DNA is information, nothing except for the soul accounts for how this information is run so that you can develop your parts.
I also gave you the fact that thoughts are not the same thing as the brain to argue that the soul is separate, and the fact that the brain controls your body but it doesn't follow from that that your brain *is* your body, or *is* you.
"Cite one example where a ban has led to a complete stop."
1. Slavery in the US.
2. Bullfighting in Argentina.
3. Sati in India.
4. Gladiatorial fights in Italy.
Sati does still rarely occur in India, for example. But the fact that eradication may not be complete does not mean that a barbaric practice should not be outlawed. Any reduction is better than nothing. (I would not call any necessary abortion barbaric, of course.) Little by little the world is becoming more civilized.
"where will banning abortion lead?"
I think that carefully-designed unborn child-protection legislation will lead, as you also predict, to lower abortion rates. The unjustifiable abortions which the laws will target will not be
completely eradicated, no; and much more so than with outlawing the above four practices, there will be bad side effects. But if we have the power to reduce the overall violence and death, can we let
ourselves fail to do so?
I think that ending the psychological denial of the wrongdoing we have
been tolerating will have a valuable consequence for the mental health
of society, also. It humanized us (those of us who are white) to come
to see other races as persons; it humanized us (those of us who are
men) to come to see women as persons; it humanized some of those of us
who are Americans to come to see the Vietnamese as persons; and it
will humanize us to come to see the unborn as persons. That step,
crossing that last civil-rights frontier, will humanize us more than
any other, because of the subtlety of thought involved.
Gene expression accounts for how DNA is "run" to develop our "parts". In a fetus that is controlled by both the fetus and the mother.
First, it's not controlled by the mother. The child develops on his own; the mother's body is used to send oxygen and nutrients to the unborn child. But the child develops independently of the mother.
Second, gene expression refers to the information that the gene sends out, hence the term "expression." You haven't yet answered the question of how the information is run in the first place to allow the genes to express themselves.
Rubbish – they exchange genetic material. The woman gets some material from the fetus and passes some of that on to the next fetus. Sorry that you don't understand what goes on.
The information is not "run". The cells multiply and depending on the environment get expressed differently.
Here is some more science to add to your knowledge base:
Granted I am not a biologist, but I understand enough about human development to understand that living organisms develop individually. You may not agree, but you're not an expert on human embryos, either. Embryologists are, and they consistently agree that human life begins at fertilization. Pro-life AND pro-choice embryologists do. So the fact that you disagree doesn't bother me.
Your statement that they exchange genetic material is something that I am perfectly aware of — but it doesn't mean the mother's body controls embryonic development, any more than it means the embryo controls the mother's development by giving her genetic material.
Human life does not start at fertilization because you don't know that you are going to get a human life at that point. The fact is "life" never stopped to start in the first place.
The Mother DOES play a major role in the embryonic development. So it does control but not 100%.
The last article was fascinating – thanks. Wonder how the DI would explain that.
Human life absolutely does begin at fertilization:
"Although life is a continuous process, fertilization (which, incidentally, is not a 'moment') is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new genetically distinct human organism is formed when the chromosomes of the male and female pronuclei blend in the oocyte."
— Ronan O'Rahilly and Fabiola Müller, Human Embryology and Teratology, 3rd edition. New York: Wiley-Liss, 2001. p. 8.
"Human development begins at fertilization, the process during which a male gamete or sperm unites with a female gamete or oocyte (ovum) to form a single cell called a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marked the beginning of each of us as a unique individual.”
–Keith L. Moore, The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, 7th edition, Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2003. p. 16.
“Human embryos begin development following the fusion of definitive male and female gametes during fertilization… This moment of zygote formation may be taken as the beginning or zero time point of embryonic development."
–William J. Larsen, Essentials of Human Embryology, New York: Churchill Livingstone, 1998. pp. 1, 14.
And I could give you many more quotes. Life is a continuum, but fertilization is the time at which each new, unique, individual human beings. Just because you may not "know" that you are going to get a human life (after all, it could be a choriocarcinoma or hydatidiform mole) doesn't mean human life doesn't begin at fertilization. It just means you can't tell yet. Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, Baa Baa Black Sheep, and the Alphabet Song all begin the same way, but it doesn't follow that just because the first couple of measures are the same that they're all intrinsically the same song until they diverge.
Your use of the English language is wrong. "A" new human life MAY be started at fertilization.
Human "life" did not stop to restart.
As long as someone is civil and can back up what they say my feelings are irrelevant. It's not about feelings but about respecting the your opponents and actually be open to constructive debate, not personal rants.
1st I'm not Pro-Life.
& If bodily autonomy trumps all -especially since late terms aren't persons- a woman should in principle have the right to do it for whatever reason even if it is rare or doctors in fact don't want to do the procedure. You're sidestepping he issues.
Also you like most choicers fail to appreciate how person-hood is said to ground full moral worth and that late terms baby's and many infants by this logic have no moral worth.
& by my argument her bodily autonomy may still give her the right to protect her bodily autonomy; just like a drink driver who caused the victim to need their kidney but wouldn't be forced to give it. But she would still be morally responsible for the dependency and death, so she has the choice of paying the compensation or going to jail like the drunk driver.
Again I'm not Pro-Life just applying moral precepts that both sides say they accept but won't consistently apply.
At least you are honest about a in principle support for infanticide, I actually respect people who will bite that bullet though I don't think people fully grasp what that fully entails.
Will do Jay just come off night shift but will catch up later.
Catholic Grammie how can I contact you? I'm having a discussion with another biologist about the species designation of the zygote would love your input.
Is this just splitting hairs?
A genetically unique organism starts developing, sure its expression isn't sorely from its DNA -after all much of our development occurs through learning after birth- and yes it can twin or develop faults. An infertile adult Homo sapeins is still considered part of the species even though being able to breed is an important species designator.
& sure in some regard we are all expressions of replicators that never truly died one long chain of life.
Nonetheless the biological system still has self organizing/assembling teleonomical goals from its DNA, to express and form a particular form of life.
If we wanted to be so restrictive in looking for final expression one could easily argue none of us are Homo Sapiens until fully developed and ready to bread.
Easily explained by historical precedent. Just like slaves and women weren't considered worthy of being citizens by historical precedent.
I agree that comparisons on value are apples and oranges and animals interests are its own and makes no sense to say are 'worth' less.
Does this mean no one is a homo sapiens until mature enough to reproduce?
Jay as I said I'm not PL and actually lean more towards a secular Jainist position using Don Marquis' A future like ours. Pointing out since we are harmed by being deprived of simple pleasures -among other things- that applies to many other animals as well. So yes I advocate cattle shouldn't be slaughtered.
I saw this and? Our goose is cooked yes?
Anyone with simple observations skills can see that there are WAY MORE then the four differences you said. Ignorance has already shot down the ''SLED'' acronym. It is on his site at 97.2.2. For some reason, I can't paste. So it's at http://fightforsense.wordpress.com
As for you playing the ''moral'' game you need to explain WHY it would be wrong to kill a ''innocent'' human which a unborn human is not based on the actions it does in the womb and can be killed just like when a tapeworm get's inside the women's body. Look at #27 of that website. If someone came up to you and said what Jay said, does that mean it is now completely valid? Of course not
I didn't write the definition.
Simon Jim – You can reach me at email@example.com – sorry, I just went through my emails and saw your request. Hope this isn't too late.
Embryology textbook > some dead shock jock.
Np, I'm actually starting a discussion with some biologists maybe I'll post how it goes in an article here.
If I remove the invective from your comment, am I right in representing your position as follows? A fetus is comparable to a rapist in its desire to use a woman against her will. Non-acknowledgement of this will result in the enslavement of women. Pro-life argumentation that this position is incorrect are untruthful and deplorable.
How do you feel when you read an article about the brutal death of a young baby? I'm guessing (hoping) very upset. For some reason we've come to normalize the death of the pre-born and be outraged by the death of the newly born. It's difficult to make a cogent argument for the distinction.
NP Jay. If you mean the comments about parental obligation concerning care food and shelter ok. Pls excuse the length.
Offspring have full moral value, they cannot care for themselves and the parents created this dependency; so most of society sees this as creating moral obligations.
The way i see if if you create a being with full moral value you do have obligations from creating its existential dependency. So in general society expects the parents to care for their children and if not, be prepared to transfer care. Which for most cases is possible.
Now in general because of bodily autonomy we aren't considered to owe or are obligated to use of our body or organs when it comes to disease, injury etc for children. Also we as a society don't enforce Super Good Samaritans ethics/laws or weak Samaritan laws either for that matter.
But what should happen when care cannot be transferred, the body is the means of care and the mother -plus father- caused the existential dependency?
For many PL's it just seems strange to say just because someone has to use their body to provide that care that they AUTOMATICALLY can walk away from this Moral Being Creation obligation.
That's where island, blizzard and baby making machine analogies come in. We need to negate care transference, and then ask when a parent has no chance of care transference what do we do?
My solution was just to apply legal and conceptual precedents concerning harm/dependency and the payment of compensation. I'm not looking at pregnancy but at the underlying principles.
Now we don't have bodily compensation laws on the books because it would be so rare. Having a drunk driver or mugger injuring the victim in such a way that they need the offenders kidney just doesn't happen. But say it did happen what then?
Many people would still object to strapping him down and taking the kidney so my option is, pay the compensation like we do in other situations or go to jail.
It's difficult to make an argument for guns when so many people are killed needlessly that are already alive and have families
The death of a fetus happens all the time for many reasons. Appealing to emotion does nothing. We kill things all the time. I'd rather women had control over there lives than a bunch of mostly religious nuts that behave like radical PETA members. It's part of the woman – I don't tell you not to pick your zits.
There are no people who have knowledge of me as a person prior to my mother aborting me. I'm sorry if you don't understand that difference between an actual person and a blob of cells.
"Abortion is high usually when there is poverty, lack of access to contraception, poor education, or laws like the one-child policy"
Maybe you should focus on those issues before addressing abortion itself then?
Another example of deliberately using emotional language to cloud the issue. A zygote is not a "preborn child", just like an acorn is not a "presprouted tree"
Why don't you try reading my post and see for yourself what my position is? I was very clear.
I'm sorry you think I should be nice and polite and kind and well-mannered to people who want to treat me as a subhuman walking incubator incapable of making a rational decision regarding my own body, but frankly, I'm fucking tired of assholes making with that tone-trolling bullshit so I don't actually give shit.
Part of the answer I am looking for is this:
After you have banned abortion, what will you do to women who have an abortion. To people who help perform the abortion.
To people who use Plan B?
What will be the burden of proof that a woman had a miscarriage and not an abortion?
What will her punishment be?
None of your examples are natural acts or consequences of natural acts.
Drug taking still occurs.
Read up on prohibition.
There are counties that have outlawed adultery and masturbation. You think the don't occur? At pretty high rates?
Simon, I am glad to see that you are honest with the positions you hold.
When you take into account all the women who go to there from countries that have outlawed abortion?
I'm traveling without good internet access, and not free to write much right now. Here on my own blog —
— I replied (as "Facilitator") to a commenter asking similar questions.
Will try to reply to your more specific questions later.
And my point was that the arguments about abortion, in almost all cases, apply just as strongly as arguments about mandatory organ donation. Making abortion illegal can have disastrous consequences, sufficiently rich women can work around anti-abortion laws, etc. You want to change the law so that abortion is illegal after week 12. Do you also want to change the law so that post-mortem organ donation and registering bone marrow is mandatory? My argument is that making the first change without making the other is morally indefensible.
If you also have a cutoff point (which many pro-choicers do, at the
point of viability usually) wouldn't that also be forcing a woman to let
the fetus use her body, albeit in a narrower time-frame?
No, it wouldn't be.
You see, the thing about viability is this: after viability, the fetus can survive outside the womb. After viability a woman can exercise her right not to be pregnant by inducing labor and/or a caesarean rather than by having an abortion. I think that women should have the right not to be pregnant. That only gives them the right to cause the death of their fetuses up until the point when there is a way for them to stop being pregnant without causing death.
[A] fetus is 100% forced into the
environment of the womb by a woman's free will (barring rape of course).
Ah, yes, the responsibility argument. I have seen many arguments for why it's okay to stick women with the huge burden of unwanted pregnancy and leave men without even the minor inconvenience of mandatory bone marrow registration. The responsibility argument is the only one that is both secular and not completely stupid. Not completely stupid—I still think it's wrong.
The principle seems to be that if you hurt someone, you are required to do everything in your power to make it better. This is why reckless drivers are routinely and successfully sued by the people they hit—they hurt them, they must pay for the medical treatment to fix them.
But we don't ask people to take responsibility for all their actions, but rather, for their harmful actions. If I tutor a friend all through high school, and as a result they get into a better college, I am not obligated to continue to help them with their harder classes. If I save someone's life by donating blood, and they have another accident a few years down the road, I am not obligated to give them another donation.
Sex brings the z/e/f into existence.* Is this a harm to it? Would the z/e/f have been better off if its parents hadn't had sex? No. Sex grants the z/e/f the favor of existence, and while harms impose additional responsibility, favors do not.
* I am trying to phrase things this way, but in all honesty, I do think of fertilization as "saving the egg cell's life by giving it a sperm cell", not "a new member of the human species comes into existence". In other words, I don't see a break in continuity at fertilization; I still existed before fertilization, I was just in two places, my mother's Fallopian tubes and my father's testicles.
You mean dumb mere animals right?
Exactly if you don't like slavery don't own a slave. Never OWNED a cat or dog before? Since a unborn human has less brainpower then the entities listed together, they fall under that category to.
''I choose to believe that the planet is not overpopulated and that human beings are our greatest natural resource''
Human ''beings'' are our greatest natural resource? Abortion can help to stave off a Malthusian Catastrophe. The faster that the total human population grows, the faster it will reach a “hard limit” regarding the world’s finite supply of resources, needed to sustain that population. Since it is Mathematically Impossible for unlimited growth to be compatible with finite resources, there most definitely is a hard limit to growth, even if nobody knows exactly where that limit is. Logically, therefore, the more abortions that are done, the more it can reduce the rate-of-increase of the overall human population –and the longer it will take to hit that hard limit.
This is from ignorance's website btw
SO? If a women had a tape or hook worm inside her body she is FREE to kill and remove that body just like in the case of the unborn human. Unless of course, your stupidly prejudiced towards ''human life'' like most pro lifers are.
If I caused a leach to need my body resources through actions willingly taken do I have an obligation to let it use my body resources?
I think many people -if they sat back and thought about it -would agree creating any entity with full moral value, creates moral obligations for the creators until the care can be passed on or the being can look after itself. I would argue this is generally what grounds parental obligations to children.
If a fetus has full moral value it is owed this consideration, or corrective justice compensation by being existentially dependent on another humans body.
If a drunk driver caused the victim to need one of his kidneys this principle would hold.
But even if a person attached a leach to themselves, arguably it doesn't have full moral value, apart from the fact it could be removed without needing to kill it.
So it isn't owed the sort of compensation that a fetus "may' have.
''I think many people -if they sat back and thought about it -would agree creating any entity with full moral value, creates moral obligations for the creators until the care can be passed on or the being can look after itself. I would argue this is generally what grounds parental obligations to children.''
This is where the problem is at as this depends on culture all together. Back in the roman times, the women gave birth and the newborn human was placed on the ground. If it was picked up by the head of the family which was the father, the newborn human was accepted while if it wasn't, they were left outside to die or other family came and got them. So most ''people'' back would say there are no ''parental obligations'' to a newborn human.
''But even if a person attached a leach to themselves, arguably it doesn't have full moral value, apart from the fact it could be removed without needing to kill it.''
Which is nothing more but stupid prejudice towards ''human life'' which is why I made the leach comparison to illustrate the point. It could work with a tick or guinea worm also.
But thanks for not calling me ''sociopathic'' though for making the comparison not sure if it was a completely good one but oh well = )
Also I have this you can read as well. I can post the link but it is a website called http://www.fightforsense.wordpress
I actually lean towards a secular Jainist POV. and you might need to slightly alter your analogy to make it closer to abortion. A religious or secular Jainist could still remove the leach and still be ok because after-all they didn't kill it.
I like the Jainists. They are the only group that is really consistent about valuing all life.
I think any ethically non speciesit account will necessarily expand the ethical circle. It still gives self defense but I'm not sure how to work it regarding plant life and below.
Some things have to die so others can live. But, we can only do our best to minimize harm, no?
Yes to a point but as I see it is if one of the reasons we don't harm other humans is that we acknowledge their well-being interests and as other life forms also have well-being interests; unless we are privileging our own kind we would have to avoid harming them for similar reasons.
We wouldn't after all say some humans can die so other humans can live. One wonders how consistent and practical Jainists are not to forget to exist means you are taking resources that other being could use so in a indirect way they are also killing other life forms by just living.
I didn't say there were no abortions from Ireland. I'm aware that women from Ireland do go to Britain to abort children. But here's a link to show that the percentage of pregnancies that end in abortion is several times lower in Ireland taking that into account. The NHS in Britain record the number of women who travel from Ireland to have abortions there. http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/policy/abortion/ab-unitedkingdom.html
By the time any abortions take place, she/he is far passed the zygote stage anyway.
Fetus is a latin word derived from Latin which meant offspring.
The preborn child is a human who is the biological child of her/his mother and father.
Fetus is a latin word derived from Latin which meant offspring.
Clinical scientific terms are often used to try and dehumanised certain kinds of humans.
Like how homosexual is used instead of gay by people who are anti-gay. Homosexual is a technically accurate term but it is often used to try and dehumanise gay people and define them by sexual acts.
"I've yet to see a single 'pro-life' argument that doesn't work equally well as a pro-rape argument."
The responsibility argument. Here you go.
"To be in favor of banning abortion is completely non-productive since study after study shows that banning abortions does not stop them, it just makes them unsafe. Countries that have legal abortion, good sex education and contraceptive availability have lower abortion rates than those that ban abortions."
There appears to be a problem with your argument here, since as you yourself said, there are differences other factors (such as good sex education and contraceptive availability) between various areas. If all of these other factors were equal (for instance, if all areas taught comprehensive sex ed and promoted contraception to the same extent, et cetera), then the abortion rate in the areas where abortion is illegal would probably be lower than in the areas where abortion is legal. After all, not all females who want abortions actually get them if abortion is illegal.
"Well, if a fetus is a human being, how come the census doesn't count them?"
Censuses (in practice) only count human beings after birth.
"If a fetus is a human being, how come when there's a miscarriage they don't have a funeral?"
I don't see why one shouldn't be able to demand a funeral after a miscarriage. That said, simply because one lacks emotional attachment to something or to someone does not necessarily mean that this individual is not a person.
"If a fetus is a human being, how come people say "we have two children and one on the way" instead of saying "we have three children?""
This depends on how one defines "child". Also, simply stating something does not necessarily make it true–for instance, I can say that I don't exist right now, but this would not make it true.
"People say life begins at conception, I say life began about a billion years ago and it's a continuous process.""
You appear to be strawmanning these people here. By "life", they mean a new human life.
Basically, the response to this is that human beings either have or will have greater mental abilities than many non-human animals.
"Maybe you would. But the law wouldn't let you. Cases such as this have been tried in the past, and it's been concluded that Dick Cheney cannot be legally compelled to give up his organs,not even if a child will die without them. We don't harvest dead people's organs without their consent, either; Dick Cheney's organs cannot be legally taken,even if he's already dead."
This might be an appeal to authority fallacy.
"If you change the law so that abortion is actually not possible to obtain, and make no other changes, then the result would be that men would never be forced to let someone else use their organs,even if someone would die from it,even if they were dead and no longer really using them anymore."
It depends on how you define "men" here. For instance, do you consider Thomas Beattie (sp?) to be a man? What about (in the future, once we will have better technology) a trans-woman who was born male? Also, keep in mind that:
1. We might be able to make males pregnant in the future even if these males will not get sex changes.
2. This inequality in practice here is due to biological differences. This is similar to how it is unequal in practice that males never have a say in regards to whether or not their prenatal offspring are aborted (and yet I don't see you complaining about this). My point here is that both pro-lifers and pro-choicers support some of these inequalities in practice (if not in theory) since biological differences in regards to this inevitably result in inequalities in practice in some way or another, if you get what I mean.
"Meanwhile, about 1 in 3 womenwould, at some point in their lives, be forced to let someone else use their organs. (Specifically, they would be forced to let someone else use their uterus, take their blood on a continuous basis, and inject them with chemicals that suppress their immune systems.)
Anti-abortion laws impose a huge burden on women that they do not impose on men, and that is deeply unjust."
Please see what I wrote right above.
"And my point was that the arguments about abortion, in almost all cases, apply just as strongly as arguments about mandatory organ donation. Makingabortion illegal can have disastrous consequences, sufficiently rich women can work around anti-abortion laws, etc. You want to change the law so that abortion is illegal after week 12. Do you also want to change the law so that post-mortem organ donation and registering bone marrow is mandatory? My argument is that making the first change without making the other is morally indefensible."
I myself support changing the law in order to allow postnatal body part donations in certain cases as well.
"No, it wouldn't be.
You see, the thing about viability is this: after viability, the fetus can survive outside the womb. After viability a woman can exercise her right not to be pregnant by inducing labor and/or a caesarean rather than by having an abortion. I think that women should have the right not to be pregnant. That only gives them the right to cause the death of their fetuses up until the point when there is a way for them to stop being pregnant without causing death."
I am not entirely sure that your point here is particular strong. After all, unless the birth is quicker than the abortion, you would have females have their bodies be used against their will for a longer time period than is necessary.
"Ah, yes, the responsibility argument. I have seen many arguments for why it's okay to stick women with the huge burden of unwanted pregnancy and leave men without even the minor inconvenience of mandatory bone marrow registration. The responsibility argument is the only one that is both secular and not completely stupid. Not completelystupid—I still think it's wrong.
The principle seems to be that if you hurt someone, you are required to do everything in your power to make it better. This is why reckless drivers are routinely and successfully sued by the people they hit—they hurt them, they must pay for the medical treatment to fix them.
But we don't ask people to take responsibility for all their actions, but rather, for their harmfulactions. If I tutor a friend all through high school, and as a result they get into a better college, I am not obligated to continue to help them with their harder classes. If I save someone's life by donating blood, and they have another accident a few years down the road, I am not obligated to give them another donation."
I am not sure that your college example here is the best one, since this friend of yours did not have to go to this better college even if she was accepted there. Likewise, for this blood donation, you were responsible for having this individual continue living–you were not responsible for having this individual need a new blood transfusion later on.
"Sex brings the z/e/f into existence.* Is this a harm to it? Would the z/e/f have been better off if its parents hadn't had sex? No. Sex grants the z/e/f the favorof existence, and while harms impose additional responsibility, favors do not."
Ah, OK–I see what your argument here is. Frankly, I need to think it over a bit more. That said, let me try responding to it right now as well:
I would think that the main distinction between your blood donation scenario and sex here is that in your blood donation scenario, you are not the one who has the final say in regards to whether or not a situation with a dependent individual is created (this individual himself and/or the driver of the other car would have this say several years later). In contrast, the woman and her sexual partner are the individuals which have the final say in regards to whether or not a situation with a dependent individual is created after both of them have legally consensual sex.
"* I am trying to phrase things this way, but in all honesty, I do think of fertilization as "saving the egg cell's life by giving it a sperm cell", not "a new member of the human species comes into existence". In other words, I don't see a break in continuity at fertilization; I still existed before fertilization, I was just in two places, my mother's Fallopian tubes and my father's testicles."
I think that the point here is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts (as is the case for, say, a car).
It depends on how one defines "child".
The response to this would be that humans either have or will eventually develop mental abilities which are superior to those of many/most non-human animals.
That said, if you completely ignore future abilities and if you are completely in favor of species equality, then it raises the question of why exactly human infants should be treated any better than non-human animals with equal or greater current mental abilities than these human infants?
If bringing the zef into existence harms it, then any pregnancy gone wrong or miscarriage is immediately manslaughter. If you harm a person by running over them with your car, and they eventually die of their injuries, you are guilty of manslaughter.
"and are trying to strip women of any right to determine when and how she becomes a mother."
Nope, because you become a mother at the point of conception/fertilization.
Yes, this is indeed a tautological issue. (not sarcasm)
"If bringing the zef into existence harms it,"
I didn't say that.
"then any pregnancy gone wrong or miscarriage is immediately manslaughter."
I don't think so–after all, why exactly should one be held any more responsible for this than for the natural death of one's offspring after birth (in cases where this offspring died due to something which was out of your control)?
"If you harm a person by running over them with your car, and they eventually die of their injuries, you are guilty of manslaughter."
Yes, that makes sense.
By creating the zef you have imposed harm an d suffering that it did not consent to. If you run a person over with your car you have created an existential dependency – they are in a weakened state, all because of you. Create a zef, and it is in a weakened state – if it dies, or is injured due to its weakened state, you are as guilty of manslaughter as you are in the case of the car accident. If you harm someone and they die of their wounds you are guilty of creating the situation that lead to their death. Pregnancy is to put an innocent human being in grave and mortal danger. Infertile women who implant multiple embryos knowing that many will die are guilty of putting innocent life in harms way to meet their own selfish desires.
Again, I need to think this over a bit more.
That said–couldn't your arguments here also be used to justify holding parents responsible for *all* deaths of their offspring (regardless of when these deaths occurred)?
The zef is incredibly vulnerable due to it's location. it is the most vulnerable of all humans
Even more vulnerable than someone who got drafted to fight in a deadly war?
Anyway, I am not entirely sure that this is relevant. Otherwise, where exactly should we draw the line in regards to this?
Yes because the zef is at the mercy of the pregnant person. it is completely helpless. At least a sentient sapient man can defend himself.
"At least a sentient sapient man can defend himself."
A child can't do this, though.
Also, where exactly are prenatal humans supposed to be located other than a uterus? After all, AFAIK, there is literally nowhere else where can be located and still survive.
They are uniquely vulnerable due to location.
Yes, but again, there is currently no other available location for them *at all*.
No, but it might make this fact irrelevant here.
Whether or not there is another place for it to go does not change the fact that conception harms it by creating the most vulnerable creature on the planet
OK; please let me think this over more and discuss this with some other people.
Also, couldn't a similar rationale/argument be used to justify giving *all* males a full, complete opt-out from paying child support?
This might be an appeal to authority fallacy.
If I'm arguing that abortion should not be forbidden by our legal system, then it is not fallacious to point out that forbidding abortion is inconsistent with other legal rulings regarding autonomy/life issues. There is a huge amount of debate regarding what a legal system should be, but I think that "consistency" or "fairness" is something we can agree a legal system should have.
It depends on how you define "men" here.
You are correct and I have edited the comment accordingly. Criminalizing abortion without requiring organ donation still gives cis men, a large and already-privileged group, an unfair additional privilege.
We might be able to make males pregnant in the future even if these males will not get sex changes.
They still won't get pregnant by accident, though. I'm not campaigning against pregnancy; I'm planning to try to get pregnant in about a month. I am campaigning for people's right to decide when they get pregnant. Most of the people harmed by abortion bans did not ever decide, "I want to be pregnant"; they tried to prevent pregnancy and their efforts failed.
This inequality in practice here is due to biological differences. This
is similar to how it is unequal in practice that males never have a say
in regards to whether or not their prenatal offspring are aborted.
And the proper response of a just society to biological inequality is to provide accommodations to minimize the impact of biological differences as much as possible. That's why businesses in multi-story buildings may not just say, "Oh, it's not my fault, it's just your biological inequality that means I can't serve you" to customers in wheelchairs, they must provide wheelchair ramps. The proper response to the fact that cis women get pregnant and cis men don't is not to tell women, "Oh, we're forcing this medical condition on you and not him by biological necessity", it is to try to minimize the extra burden on people with uteruses—and a crucial step to that is to make sure no person with a uterus has to accept that burden when they don't want to.
I think it's highly unfortunate that fathers have no say in their children's fate before they are born. The problem is, I can't see any way to fix that that isn't worse. If the decision should be all in the hands of one partner, it should obviously be the pregnant partner. The alternative is to pick a default response, that is, to say that abortion (or pregnancy) may only happen if both parents consent. Allowing non-pregnant parents to force their pregnant partners to remain pregnant is a violation of bodily autonomy, and forcing women to have abortions. . . well. . . I don't think anyone wants that.
That's why I do consider myself obligated to discuss my reproductive options with my partner, since I have most of the power to decide whether he has children—if he desperately didn't want a child now, or if he was horrified by the idea of his baby being aborted, I would take that into consideration. This is how functional relationships work. The "pregnant person has all the power" isn't a good way to resolve dysfunctional relationships, but it seems to be the least bad option.
I myself support changing the law in order to allow postnatal body part donations in certain cases as well.
Do you support changing the law to require it, which is the distinction bodily autonomy advocates care about?
I am not entirely sure that your point here is particular strong. After
all, unless the birth is quicker than the abortion, you would have
females have their bodies be used against their will for a longer time
period than is necessary.
In practice, late-term abortions usually involve dilating the cervix, which takes about a day, so late abortions aren't much quicker (if at all) than induction. (Some not-quite-as-late term abortions literally are labor induction.) I also do accept some sort of "reasonable accommodation" standard, and I do think that "have an induction instead of a late-term abortion" is (usually) a reasonable accommodation to ask a pregnant person to make, in a way that "let someone else use your body for two more months" is not.
I would think that the main distinction between your blood donation
scenario and sex here is that in your blood donation scenario, you are
not the one who has the final say in regards to whether or not a
situation with a dependent individual is created (this individual
himself and/or the driver of the other car would have this say several
years later). In contrast, the woman and her sexual partner are the
individuals which have the final say in regards to whether or not a
situation with a dependent individual is created after both of them have
legally consensual sex.
Does your thought process change if you consider someone who needs several transfusions (or other transplants) in a row, so the person giving them the first blood donation knows that they will definitely need a second? My partner and I are not planning to create a zygote in a state of dependency, we are planning to create a zygote in the only state possible, and I don't see how you can give us more moral responsibility than a donor who gave blood to put the patient in the healthiest state possible when that state wasn't healthy enough for them not to need more help.
Here's another way to think of this. The responsibility argument generally says that if a person with a uterus consents to sex, then she is morally obligated to carry the pregnancy to term; by having sex she has incurred a responsibility not to use her right not to be pregnant.
(This version usually comes up with people who accept the bodily autonomy argument for people pregnant via non-consensual sex but raise the responsibility counterargument in the case of people pregnant via consensual sex.)
The contrapositive is that if a person with a uterus has decided that she will not carry to term, then she is morally obligated not to consent to sex.
Now let's picture a woman who will absolutely have to have an abortion if she gets pregnant—she has a medical condition that makes pregnancy life-threatening, if she has another baby she will get fired and her existing older child will starve, whatever. If we accept the responsibility argument, then she is obligated not to have sex. So she should tell her husband, "Yes, I'd like to have sex with you, but we mustn't! If we do, something horrible might happen!" Pause for a second. Who exactly will be worse off if she has sex, conceives, and has an abortion than if she just doesn't have sex? The z/e/f? Would it really be better off never existing than coming into existence and then being aborted?
Also, for the record, I want to point out that even in the event of an abortion ban, females would still be able to get abortions if they are able to find providers and/or et cetera. They might (and should) simply get prosecuted for doing this (of course, I myself am very pragmatic on this, but for practical reasons; I can elaborate on this later). This is similar to someone being able to punch someone else in the face but also to get prosecuted for doing this afterwards (if he or she actually does this).
That's true that not all the women who want abortions get them if it's illegal. Wealthy women, women with connections, women who can access the black market, do get abortions regardless of legality. Even wealthy and middle-class women in the US avoid Planned Parenthood clinics and go to private gynos or travel out of country.
I doubt that illegality, or much of anything else, will influence that demographic to any significant degree. People who are able to travel and pay for what they want often do just that, for a myriad of reasons. Mostly because they can.
I take issue with your Premise 1. It can't be true, unless you're going to tell me that it's as wrong to kill a cockroach as it is to kill an adult human being.
Not at all. My argument entails that human beings are relevantly different from animals (especially pigs) in that killing one is a serious moral crime, in a way that killing animals is not.
Look, I've actually perused his site and his rebuttals to these arguments are just incredibly bad. Also, I've supported on this site numerous times why it is seriously wrong to kill human beings (as opposed to animals), so it's not like I don't mention it. I have given a pretty robust defense of just why it's wrong to kill human beings.
"And if the woman dies or is permanently maimed/injured you have effectively sentenced her to death/disability for having sex. "
Not necessarily, considering that I *do* support exceptions to abortion bans. Also, as a side note, I want to point out that even in the event of an abortion ban, I will oppose using force to physically prevent a woman from getting an abortion. Rather, I would simply support punishing her provider, as well as her if she doesn't cooperate with the authorities afterwards, if she actually does end up getting an abortion and this fact becomes known to the authorities afterwards.
"We don't even treat criminals that way, not unless they have cruelly murdered someone."
Maybe we should treat them this way, then.
As a side note, though, I want to point out that my position on the abortion issue right now is grayer than it was before. While I still lean politically anti-abortion, I do have sympathies towards the pro-choice side when it comes to the personhood issue.
Death and disability and permanent injury from pregnancy cannot be predicted. Doctors don't have crystal balls. The woman can die during/after birth.
I agree with this, but a chance of dying which is less than 1% pales in comparison to the 99+% chance of dying which prenatal human beings have in abortions.
Well if the woman gets the death penalty/disability/injury for the crime of having sex, then the man should suffer the same.
She dies…he gets lethal injection.
She gets diabetes, he is injected with things that cause diabetes.
She becomes incontinent from pregnancy – we do the same to him.
She becomes depressed, psychotic, suffers ptsd, we torture him.
Only fair that both suffer the same punishment for their crimes.
"Only fair that both suffer the same punishment for their crimes."
This premise would only be true if I thought that greater gender equality in practice should be achieved at all costs, which I don't (and which some/many pro-choicers don't as well).
Nothing to do with gender equality. You do the crime you suffer the punishment – both man and woman equally guilty before the law. She gets the death penalty for having sex then he should too.
But I never said that sex was a crime, because it isn't.
If a woman dies from an unwanted forced pregnancy you are treating her like a criminal. For the crime of ovulating while having sex.
Not quite, because this outcome in this case would be the unfortunate result of protecting the life of the prenatal offspring. In contrast, when one causes the death of criminals (by executing them), then one is not doing this in order to protect someone else's life, but rather as a punishment.
Which in practical terms = a death sentence for having sex whilst fertile.
"You chose to have sex. A foreseeable consequence of having sex is conception. Therefore, this isn't really a case of
someone using your body for survival without your consent; you
consented when you had sex."
"You were wearing a low-cut dress. A foreseeable consequence of wearing a low-cut dress is that someone will be sexually attracted to you and decide to have sex with you. Therefore, this wasn't really a case of someone using your body for sexual pleasure without your consent; you consented when you put on a low-cut dress."
The responsibility argument doesn't just parallel a pro-rape argument; it parallels the canonical "legitimate rape" justification.
This appears to be a very poor comparison, considering that with sex, the people having sex had the final decision in regards to whether or not a pregnancy occurred, whereas with wearing a low-cut dress, the rapist made the final decision in regards to whether or not a rape occurred. Also, this is not to mention that pregnancy is simply a possible biological result of sex. This is something which is not applicable to wearing a low-cut dress and to rape.
Also, I think that I previously responded to your point about greater equality between the genders/sexes a while back and gave you and your movement some suggestions about how you can actually improve the situation in regards to this. Please respond to that post of mine whenever you are able to, if you can find it.
No one should be able to kill an unborn child, unless their life if truly endangered from the pregnancy. An unborn child is a human being and deserves a right to life.
The parallel is the entitlement: a woman takes an action (having sex/wearing a low-cut dress) that has a totally foreseeable consequence (she gets pregnant/someone is uncomfortably sexually aroused) and the argument can be made that it is her responsibility to deal with the consequences (by carrying to term/having sex with him). It's a question of whether the fetus/aroused person is entitled to use her body; whether the other party has the volition to choose or not choose to take what it considers itself "entitled to" is irrelevant.
I'm not saying that this is a good argument for rape, because, let's be clear here, there are no good arguments for rape. I'm saying that it is a parallel argument to the anti-abortion responsibility argument, which I also don't accept, and also that there are people in our culture who do make this argument or others like it. I think this is what WithinThisMind is getting at above.