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Abortion and infanticide

Dookieman
Posts: 130
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5/25/2015 4:20:23 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
If one is to defend the claim that abortion is morally permissible, how do you argue that a fetus does not have a right to life but a newborn infant does? If we ignore arguments from bodily rights like Thomson's violinist argument, this looks like a difficult task. What do you guys think? Can someone give a satisfactory argument for why the fetus lacks the right to life but the infant does not?
Envisage
Posts: 3,646
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5/25/2015 4:33:54 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/25/2015 4:20:23 PM, Dookieman wrote:
If one is to defend the claim that abortion is morally permissible, how do you argue that a fetus does not have a right to life but a newborn infant does? If we ignore arguments from bodily rights like Thomson's violinist argument, this looks like a difficult task. What do you guys think? Can someone give a satisfactory argument for why the fetus lacks the right to life but the infant does not?

A newborn infant doesn't have a right to life though. We just give it one arbitrarily as a society. A newborn infant hasn't formed any/many memories (c.f. childhood amnesia), and clearly has a much more limited level of awareness than adults, and demonstrably less than many, and I am guessing all adult primates.

Clearly an infant though does have some awareness, and 'self', thus if the sense of self is what we value, then killing a foetus doesn't destroy that - or at least to a significantly lesser degree.

Societies values are largely dependant on emotion and especially disgust - killing an infant or young child, or raping a woman disgusts people less than killing a cluster of tissue that resembles a reptile more than a human being.
Biodome
Posts: 138
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5/25/2015 4:35:21 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
I have not had any abortion debates, so I have no clear idea. However, it might be worthwile to note that by convention we do not consider fetuses as legally alive and conscious beings. Pro-abortionist should somehow demonstrate that morality should equally apply to fetuses, as it does to a fully conscious and alive mother, who has her own interests and rights.
Dookieman
Posts: 130
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5/25/2015 5:04:41 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/25/2015 4:33:54 PM, Envisage wrote:
At 5/25/2015 4:20:23 PM, Dookieman wrote:
If one is to defend the claim that abortion is morally permissible, how do you argue that a fetus does not have a right to life but a newborn infant does? If we ignore arguments from bodily rights like Thomson's violinist argument, this looks like a difficult task. What do you guys think? Can someone give a satisfactory argument for why the fetus lacks the right to life but the infant does not?

A newborn infant doesn't have a right to life though. We just give it one arbitrarily as a society. A newborn infant hasn't formed any/many memories (c.f. childhood amnesia), and clearly has a much more limited level of awareness than adults, and demonstrably less than many, and I am guessing all adult primates.

If one claims that an infant has a right to life, that person or the society need not do it arbitrarily. They might have good reasons for why it does have such a right. When you claimed that an infant doesn't have a right to life, you didn't give any reason why we should believe that.

Clearly an infant though does have some awareness, and 'self', thus if the sense of self is what we value, then killing a foetus doesn't destroy that - or at least to a significantly lesser degree.

Societies values are largely dependant on emotion and especially disgust - killing an infant or young child, or raping a woman disgusts people less than killing a cluster of tissue that resembles a reptile more than a human being.
Fkkize
Posts: 2,147
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5/25/2015 5:23:31 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/25/2015 4:20:23 PM, Dookieman wrote:
If one is to defend the claim that abortion is morally permissible, how do you argue that a fetus does not have a right to life but a newborn infant does? If we ignore arguments from bodily rights like Thomson's violinist argument, this looks like a difficult task. What do you guys think? Can someone give a satisfactory argument for why the fetus lacks the right to life but the infant does not?
Almost sounds like MCMahan didn't do that.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
Geogeer
Posts: 4,227
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5/25/2015 5:45:07 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/25/2015 4:33:54 PM, Envisage wrote:
At 5/25/2015 4:20:23 PM, Dookieman wrote:
If one is to defend the claim that abortion is morally permissible, how do you argue that a fetus does not have a right to life but a newborn infant does? If we ignore arguments from bodily rights like Thomson's violinist argument, this looks like a difficult task. What do you guys think? Can someone give a satisfactory argument for why the fetus lacks the right to life but the infant does not?

A newborn infant doesn't have a right to life though. We just give it one arbitrarily as a society. A newborn infant hasn't formed any/many memories (c.f. childhood amnesia), and clearly has a much more limited level of awareness than adults, and demonstrably less than many, and I am guessing all adult primates.

Clearly an infant though does have some awareness, and 'self', thus if the sense of self is what we value, then killing a foetus doesn't destroy that - or at least to a significantly lesser degree.

Societies values are largely dependant on emotion and especially disgust - killing an infant or young child, or raping a woman disgusts people less than killing a cluster of tissue that resembles a reptile more than a human being.

Spoken like a true utilitarian with a complete denial of inalienable rights.
Envisage
Posts: 3,646
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5/25/2015 5:46:44 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/25/2015 5:45:07 PM, Geogeer wrote:
At 5/25/2015 4:33:54 PM, Envisage wrote:
At 5/25/2015 4:20:23 PM, Dookieman wrote:
If one is to defend the claim that abortion is morally permissible, how do you argue that a fetus does not have a right to life but a newborn infant does? If we ignore arguments from bodily rights like Thomson's violinist argument, this looks like a difficult task. What do you guys think? Can someone give a satisfactory argument for why the fetus lacks the right to life but the infant does not?

A newborn infant doesn't have a right to life though. We just give it one arbitrarily as a society. A newborn infant hasn't formed any/many memories (c.f. childhood amnesia), and clearly has a much more limited level of awareness than adults, and demonstrably less than many, and I am guessing all adult primates.

Clearly an infant though does have some awareness, and 'self', thus if the sense of self is what we value, then killing a foetus doesn't destroy that - or at least to a significantly lesser degree.

Societies values are largely dependant on emotion and especially disgust - killing an infant or young child, or raping a woman disgusts people less than killing a cluster of tissue that resembles a reptile more than a human being.

Spoken like a true utilitarian with a complete denial of inalienable rights.

I am no utilitarian... My applied ethics are actually closer to contractarianism, but I am reluctant to categorise them. Meta ethics are obviously nihilism.
Geogeer
Posts: 4,227
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5/25/2015 5:52:13 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/25/2015 5:46:44 PM, Envisage wrote:
At 5/25/2015 5:45:07 PM, Geogeer wrote:
At 5/25/2015 4:33:54 PM, Envisage wrote:
At 5/25/2015 4:20:23 PM, Dookieman wrote:
If one is to defend the claim that abortion is morally permissible, how do you argue that a fetus does not have a right to life but a newborn infant does? If we ignore arguments from bodily rights like Thomson's violinist argument, this looks like a difficult task. What do you guys think? Can someone give a satisfactory argument for why the fetus lacks the right to life but the infant does not?

A newborn infant doesn't have a right to life though. We just give it one arbitrarily as a society. A newborn infant hasn't formed any/many memories (c.f. childhood amnesia), and clearly has a much more limited level of awareness than adults, and demonstrably less than many, and I am guessing all adult primates.

Clearly an infant though does have some awareness, and 'self', thus if the sense of self is what we value, then killing a foetus doesn't destroy that - or at least to a significantly lesser degree.

Societies values are largely dependant on emotion and especially disgust - killing an infant or young child, or raping a woman disgusts people less than killing a cluster of tissue that resembles a reptile more than a human being.

Spoken like a true utilitarian with a complete denial of inalienable rights.

I am no utilitarian... My applied ethics are actually closer to contractarianism, but I am reluctant to categorise them. Meta ethics are obviously nihilism.

If I remember correctly that includes the social contract of which protection of the unborn and youth would be mandatory to fulfill the social contract - otherwise it would devolve into utilitarianism.
Envisage
Posts: 3,646
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5/25/2015 5:58:01 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/25/2015 5:52:13 PM, Geogeer wrote:
At 5/25/2015 5:46:44 PM, Envisage wrote:
At 5/25/2015 5:45:07 PM, Geogeer wrote:
At 5/25/2015 4:33:54 PM, Envisage wrote:
At 5/25/2015 4:20:23 PM, Dookieman wrote:
If one is to defend the claim that abortion is morally permissible, how do you argue that a fetus does not have a right to life but a newborn infant does? If we ignore arguments from bodily rights like Thomson's violinist argument, this looks like a difficult task. What do you guys think? Can someone give a satisfactory argument for why the fetus lacks the right to life but the infant does not?

A newborn infant doesn't have a right to life though. We just give it one arbitrarily as a society. A newborn infant hasn't formed any/many memories (c.f. childhood amnesia), and clearly has a much more limited level of awareness than adults, and demonstrably less than many, and I am guessing all adult primates.

Clearly an infant though does have some awareness, and 'self', thus if the sense of self is what we value, then killing a foetus doesn't destroy that - or at least to a significantly lesser degree.

Societies values are largely dependant on emotion and especially disgust - killing an infant or young child, or raping a woman disgusts people less than killing a cluster of tissue that resembles a reptile more than a human being.

Spoken like a true utilitarian with a complete denial of inalienable rights.

I am no utilitarian... My applied ethics are actually closer to contractarianism, but I am reluctant to categorise them. Meta ethics are obviously nihilism.

If I remember correctly that includes the social contract of which protection of the unborn and youth would be mandatory to fulfill the social contract - otherwise it would devolve into utilitarianism.

Not necessarily. Social contracts only apply if it is essential to the continued functioning of society, i.e. only apply if staying within the social contract is preferable to breaking it - despite having to accept things you do not like within the contract - just like you will not like things in many other contracts.

I would probably agree that newborns would be impossible not to protect under a social contract because the large-scale societal disgust would just turn that over by force. That's what I mean though, it's arbitrary depending on people's immediate desires/whims. A baby doesn't have an inalienable right to live, it has a right to live because it just happens to be one society gives it one - and the reasons it gives it one are grounded in rather primitive emotion (which is fine, that's how how it rolls).
Geogeer
Posts: 4,227
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5/25/2015 6:33:41 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/25/2015 5:58:01 PM, Envisage wrote:
At 5/25/2015 5:52:13 PM, Geogeer wrote:
At 5/25/2015 5:46:44 PM, Envisage wrote:
At 5/25/2015 5:45:07 PM, Geogeer wrote:
At 5/25/2015 4:33:54 PM, Envisage wrote:
At 5/25/2015 4:20:23 PM, Dookieman wrote:
If one is to defend the claim that abortion is morally permissible, how do you argue that a fetus does not have a right to life but a newborn infant does? If we ignore arguments from bodily rights like Thomson's violinist argument, this looks like a difficult task. What do you guys think? Can someone give a satisfactory argument for why the fetus lacks the right to life but the infant does not?

A newborn infant doesn't have a right to life though. We just give it one arbitrarily as a society. A newborn infant hasn't formed any/many memories (c.f. childhood amnesia), and clearly has a much more limited level of awareness than adults, and demonstrably less than many, and I am guessing all adult primates.

Clearly an infant though does have some awareness, and 'self', thus if the sense of self is what we value, then killing a foetus doesn't destroy that - or at least to a significantly lesser degree.

Societies values are largely dependant on emotion and especially disgust - killing an infant or young child, or raping a woman disgusts people less than killing a cluster of tissue that resembles a reptile more than a human being.

Spoken like a true utilitarian with a complete denial of inalienable rights.

I am no utilitarian... My applied ethics are actually closer to contractarianism, but I am reluctant to categorise them. Meta ethics are obviously nihilism.

If I remember correctly that includes the social contract of which protection of the unborn and youth would be mandatory to fulfill the social contract - otherwise it would devolve into utilitarianism.

Not necessarily. Social contracts only apply if it is essential to the continued functioning of society, i.e. only apply if staying within the social contract is preferable to breaking it - despite having to accept things you do not like within the contract - just like you will not like things in many other contracts.

I would probably agree that newborns would be impossible not to protect under a social contract because the large-scale societal disgust would just turn that over by force. That's what I mean though, it's arbitrary depending on people's immediate desires/whims. A baby doesn't have an inalienable right to live, it has a right to live because it just happens to be one society gives it one - and the reasons it gives it one are grounded in rather primitive emotion (which is fine, that's how how it rolls).

My problem with this line of argument is that this can be used for oppression of the minority of the majority (which really is what abortion is). Ultimately you can justify slavery, the holocaust, North Korea, by this line of reasoning. Thus morality is completely malleable and thus illogical and fundamentally immoral (which puts us in a paradox). So fundamentally it is contrary to what people internally believe - which to me shows it to be a false system.
Envisage
Posts: 3,646
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5/25/2015 7:36:53 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/25/2015 6:33:41 PM, Geogeer wrote:
At 5/25/2015 5:58:01 PM, Envisage wrote:
At 5/25/2015 5:52:13 PM, Geogeer wrote:
At 5/25/2015 5:46:44 PM, Envisage wrote:
At 5/25/2015 5:45:07 PM, Geogeer wrote:
At 5/25/2015 4:33:54 PM, Envisage wrote:
At 5/25/2015 4:20:23 PM, Dookieman wrote:
If one is to defend the claim that abortion is morally permissible, how do you argue that a fetus does not have a right to life but a newborn infant does? If we ignore arguments from bodily rights like Thomson's violinist argument, this looks like a difficult task. What do you guys think? Can someone give a satisfactory argument for why the fetus lacks the right to life but the infant does not?

A newborn infant doesn't have a right to life though. We just give it one arbitrarily as a society. A newborn infant hasn't formed any/many memories (c.f. childhood amnesia), and clearly has a much more limited level of awareness than adults, and demonstrably less than many, and I am guessing all adult primates.

Clearly an infant though does have some awareness, and 'self', thus if the sense of self is what we value, then killing a foetus doesn't destroy that - or at least to a significantly lesser degree.

Societies values are largely dependant on emotion and especially disgust - killing an infant or young child, or raping a woman disgusts people less than killing a cluster of tissue that resembles a reptile more than a human being.

Spoken like a true utilitarian with a complete denial of inalienable rights.

I am no utilitarian... My applied ethics are actually closer to contractarianism, but I am reluctant to categorise them. Meta ethics are obviously nihilism.

If I remember correctly that includes the social contract of which protection of the unborn and youth would be mandatory to fulfill the social contract - otherwise it would devolve into utilitarianism.

Not necessarily. Social contracts only apply if it is essential to the continued functioning of society, i.e. only apply if staying within the social contract is preferable to breaking it - despite having to accept things you do not like within the contract - just like you will not like things in many other contracts.

I would probably agree that newborns would be impossible not to protect under a social contract because the large-scale societal disgust would just turn that over by force. That's what I mean though, it's arbitrary depending on people's immediate desires/whims. A baby doesn't have an inalienable right to live, it has a right to live because it just happens to be one society gives it one - and the reasons it gives it one are grounded in rather primitive emotion (which is fine, that's how how it rolls).

My problem with this line of argument is that this can be used for oppression of the minority of the majority (which really is what abortion is).

Sucks for us doesn't it? There is probably some truth to offensive realism theories. But I don't see how this follows from what I said - since the number of people in a position is irrelevant to what is entailed by social contract theory. If a society has a social contract to oppress minority x - then theory dictates that minority x lack incentive to accept said contract, or stay within that contract's terms.

Thus, if you want a society where people are not incentivised to disorder, civil war, etc. then you would not be a proponent of such a social contract.

Ultimately you can justify slavery, the holocaust, North Korea, by this line of reasoning.

I struggle to see how, since there is no social contract where there isn't a capacity for choice. Slavery, and unquestionably most aspects of North Korea do not present capacity for choice.

You could attempt to argue that choice is there, but then you run into sticky knock-on effects of statehood, etc.

Thus morality is completely malleable and thus illogical and fundamentally immoral (which puts us in a paradox).

Well that just presupposes moral realism...

So fundamentally it is contrary to what people internally believe - which to me shows it to be a false system.

I was advocating it as a pragmatic system, of applied ethics, rather than meta ethics. So it cannot be 'false' since it doesn't have a truth condition, it is about as 'false' as a spanner is 'false' - it is just a tool.

And I hardly see how "people don't believe that, hence it is false" is remotely sustainable.
Adam_Godzilla
Posts: 2,487
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5/25/2015 8:01:10 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/25/2015 4:20:23 PM, Dookieman wrote:
If one is to defend the claim that abortion is morally permissible, how do you argue that a fetus does not have a right to life but a newborn infant does? If we ignore arguments from bodily rights like Thomson's violinist argument, this looks like a difficult task. What do you guys think? Can someone give a satisfactory argument for why the fetus lacks the right to life but the infant does not?

I agree. Saying the fetus does not have a life based on that fetuses are just lumps of cells would imply humans are also lumps of cells. Why is it that conscious lumps of cells deserve to live? The fetus is human and is alive, thus it should not be killed. Unless the fetus is actually dead in the womb, I'm not comfortable with aborting my baby (if I was female)
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Adam_Godzilla
Posts: 2,487
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5/25/2015 8:03:57 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/25/2015 4:33:54 PM, Envisage wrote:
At 5/25/2015 4:20:23 PM, Dookieman wrote:
If one is to defend the claim that abortion is morally permissible, how do you argue that a fetus does not have a right to life but a newborn infant does? If we ignore arguments from bodily rights like Thomson's violinist argument, this looks like a difficult task. What do you guys think? Can someone give a satisfactory argument for why the fetus lacks the right to life but the infant does not?

A newborn infant doesn't have a right to life though. We just give it one arbitrarily as a society. A newborn infant hasn't formed any/many memories (c.f. childhood amnesia), and clearly has a much more limited level of awareness than adults, and demonstrably less than many, and I am guessing all adult primates.

Then no one in the world has a right to live as that's arbitrary as well. How far do we call things as arbitrary before we realise we've screwed up? Like murder or rape? Sure such things are wrong because it's arbitrarily decided it's wrong but that doesn't change the consequences of such actions.

Clearly an infant though does have some awareness, and 'self', thus if the sense of self is what we value, then killing a foetus doesn't destroy that - or at least to a significantly lesser degree.

Societies values are largely dependant on emotion and especially disgust - killing an infant or young child, or raping a woman disgusts people less than killing a cluster of tissue that resembles a reptile more than a human being.
New episode of OUTSIDERS: http://www.debate.org...
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Envisage
Posts: 3,646
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5/25/2015 8:11:32 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/25/2015 8:03:57 PM, Adam_Godzilla wrote:
At 5/25/2015 4:33:54 PM, Envisage wrote:
At 5/25/2015 4:20:23 PM, Dookieman wrote:
If one is to defend the claim that abortion is morally permissible, how do you argue that a fetus does not have a right to life but a newborn infant does? If we ignore arguments from bodily rights like Thomson's violinist argument, this looks like a difficult task. What do you guys think? Can someone give a satisfactory argument for why the fetus lacks the right to life but the infant does not?

A newborn infant doesn't have a right to life though. We just give it one arbitrarily as a society. A newborn infant hasn't formed any/many memories (c.f. childhood amnesia), and clearly has a much more limited level of awareness than adults, and demonstrably less than many, and I am guessing all adult primates.

Then no one in the world has a right to live as that's arbitrary as well.

My point exactly. Rights are given by and enforced by society. Does a dissenter in North Korea have the 'right' to remain free? No, he doesn't - since his society doesn't give him one.

How far do we call things as arbitrary before we realise we've screwed up? Like murder or rape? Sure such things are wrong because it's arbitrarily decided it's wrong but that doesn't change the consequences of such actions.

Right or wrong is not immediately relevant to rights though. A person can have a right to live regardless of whether the act is moral or immoral, they are quite independent. We as a society value general things - a strong one is we value not dying - so as a society we grant the right for "people like me" not to die, since that would protect the people who consciously fear for their lives otherwise.

People are making out to be an issue that is more than us as a society restricting actions by imposing our values.

Clearly an infant though does have some awareness, and 'self', thus if the sense of self is what we value, then killing a foetus doesn't destroy that - or at least to a significantly lesser degree.

Societies values are largely dependant on emotion and especially disgust - killing an infant or young child, or raping a woman disgusts people less than killing a cluster of tissue that resembles a reptile more than a human being.
Adam_Godzilla
Posts: 2,487
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5/25/2015 8:38:19 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/25/2015 8:11:32 PM, Envisage wrote:
At 5/25/2015 8:03:57 PM, Adam_Godzilla wrote:
At 5/25/2015 4:33:54 PM, Envisage wrote:
At 5/25/2015 4:20:23 PM, Dookieman wrote:
If one is to defend the claim that abortion is morally permissible, how do you argue that a fetus does not have a right to life but a newborn infant does? If we ignore arguments from bodily rights like Thomson's violinist argument, this looks like a difficult task. What do you guys think? Can someone give a satisfactory argument for why the fetus lacks the right to life but the infant does not?

A newborn infant doesn't have a right to life though. We just give it one arbitrarily as a society. A newborn infant hasn't formed any/many memories (c.f. childhood amnesia), and clearly has a much more limited level of awareness than adults, and demonstrably less than many, and I am guessing all adult primates.

Then no one in the world has a right to live as that's arbitrary as well.

My point exactly. Rights are given by and enforced by society. Does a dissenter in North Korea have the 'right' to remain free? No, he doesn't - since his society doesn't give him one.

How far do we call things as arbitrary before we realise we've screwed up? Like murder or rape? Sure such things are wrong because it's arbitrarily decided it's wrong but that doesn't change the consequences of such actions.

Right or wrong is not immediately relevant to rights though. A person can have a right to live regardless of whether the act is moral or immoral, they are quite independent. We as a society value general things - a strong one is we value not dying - so as a society we grant the right for "people like me" not to die, since that would protect the people who consciously fear for their lives otherwise.

People are making out to be an issue that is more than us as a society restricting actions by imposing our values.

Hmm, much of your thought process is what I've gone through as well. But don't you agree these 'values' are necessary and important. As arbitrary as they are, they're essential for the survival and improvement of our race.

Clearly an infant though does have some awareness, and 'self', thus if the sense of self is what we value, then killing a foetus doesn't destroy that - or at least to a significantly lesser degree.

Societies values are largely dependant on emotion and especially disgust - killing an infant or young child, or raping a woman disgusts people less than killing a cluster of tissue that resembles a reptile more than a human being.
New episode of OUTSIDERS: http://www.debate.org...
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RuvDraba
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5/25/2015 10:37:28 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/25/2015 4:20:23 PM, Dookieman wrote:
If one is to defend the claim that abortion is morally permissible, how do you argue that a fetus does not have a right to life but a newborn infant does? If we ignore arguments from bodily rights like Thomson's violinist argument, this looks like a difficult task. What do you guys think? Can someone give a satisfactory argument for why the fetus lacks the right to life but the infant does not?

Dookie, most modern humans understand that life appears on a spectrum of viability, consciousness, and suffering. Life is a system, and not simply a switch, even though it can be more intuitive to think of it as a switch.

Certain conditions, like severe brain damage, irrevocably destroy our ability to function as a person, or even to sustain our own bodily processes without intervention. In such circumstances there is a moral decision to sustain or not to sustain organic function, even though sustaining it can offer nothing we could recognise as a human life. Whatever memories of our own might attach in these cases, such a being cannot receive, feel or express love; cannot notice or appreciate anything of the world or its own existence; cannot suffer pain or make a moral choice; cannot manage property or responsibility.

That's an example at the end of life, but there are examples during gestation too.

For much of gestation, the biological system that sustains what we recognise as a human life doesn't yet exist. There is cellular replication, and organic potential, but not yet an organism -- it is a mass of biological activity that cannot sense, think, function or continue without intensive support from a mother or host. It's only after a certain point, when organs are sufficiently formed, that it can develop without a host, and a lot can and does go wrong from the formation of a blastula to that point.

The decision to support that development is a moral and broad-reaching one, taking into account the prospect of a viable foetus and live birth, the health of the mother, and the capacity of the mother and/or community to raise an infant safely to adulthood. Against whatever prospect there is to raise a viable and happy human are the prospective costs and risks of failing to do so, or doing so badly.

Such decisions can only be made using the knowledge of the time, and that knowledge is imperfect. In case of moral exigencies, there may be misery on each horn of the dilemma.

That is why the decision to reproduce cannot be made blindly for us. It must be an informed, considered, contextualised and conscious choice.

I hope that may help.