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On Abortion

dylancatlow
Posts: 12,242
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4/3/2016 7:22:41 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
Many pro-choicers hold that abortion's legitimacy hinges on whether women should be granted ownership of their own bodies, and that the moral status of the fetus is irrelevant and need not be considered at all. Among mainstream politicians supportive of abortion rights, deviations from this point of view are virtually non-existent, at least judging by the arguments they do (and don't) put forth in defense of their position. As someone who is pro-choice, I find this view far too simplistic, and think that until abortion's defenders move beyond it, little progress can be made toward resolving some of the controversy surrounding this issue.

Few would deny that among the rights properly recognized under the law is the right of personal ownership, which means roughly that one should be free to do with one's own body as one sees fit. Indeed, this right would seem to form the foundation on which all other freedoms rest. I do not take issue with this notion, but I think that in upholding this right in any given instance, one must evaluate whether it runs into conflict with the rights of others, and be careful to resolve any conflicts that arise in a fair and just manner. I think the defenders of abortion have altogether failed at this task, and in many cases don't even recognize that a task presents itself.

For argument's sake, let's assume that a fetus ought to enjoy all the rights of any other human being. What treatment is the fetus entitled to? Obviously, the fetus finds itself in a rather strange situation: against its will, it has been forced into a state of complete dependency and captivity. It will surely die unless permitted to live parasitically off of its host (the mother), an arrangement it had no way of avoiding and no choice in bringing about. Would any adult accept being put into a similar situation if they were not assured that the situation would be resolved in a way favorable to their interests? Clearly, they would not, and would consider it a violation of their rights if they found themselves in such a situation against their will. If the fetus is unfortunate enough to begin its life inside of someone unwilling to lend their body for its survival, must the fetus simply accept its fate and politely die, or can the fetus reasonably expect that the person responsible for its dependency (assuming the mother was not raped) do everything they can to resolve the dependency they introduced into the world by carrying the fetus to term? If we subscribe to the moral principle that people are accountable for the predictable consequences of their actions, I think the answer is rather clear: the mother sacrificed her right to personal autonomy the moment she chose to engage in an act with the potential to put others in situations of dependency. The mother can no more claim that she "Only wanted to have sex, not get pregnant" than a gunman can claim that he "Only wanted to pull the trigger of his gun, not kill innocent people." It doesn't matter if you disagree with the effects that some actions can have, you are still responsible for them when they are entirely predictable. The mother had a choice in the matter; the fetus didn't.

If the laws of physics dictated that reciting a certain mantra would teleport the nearest person 1000 feet into the air (and temporarily give the reciter the ability to fly) what would we say if a person recited the mantra (knowing the consequences it would have) and then refused to intercept a person's fall as they plummeted to their death, citing their "personal freedom" and the fact that they're "scared of flying" as an excuse not to intervene? Everyone would say that they were obligated to help the person because they were responsible for the person's situation, and that by refusing to lend their assistance, they are in fact responsible for their death. Having sex, getting pregnant and then refusing to lend your body for the fetus' survival (resulting in the fetus' death) is really no different, and shouldn't be tolerated if fetuses are to be treated as people.

The following arguments are not to be taken seriously:

"If you don't like abortion, then don't have one."
"If you are against abortion, how can you call yourself a defender of freedom?"
Overhead
Posts: 106
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4/3/2016 7:51:41 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
I think "For argument's sake, let's assume that a fetus ought to enjoy all the rights of any other human being" misses the point that what rights a fetus has is kind of central to the whole issue.

In this case merely making the assumption that the rights are identical for the sake of argument in this case makes the argument itself irrelevant - because the argument should be about what rights a fetus has and why (as well as how those overlap and conflict with the rights of the mother).
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,242
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4/3/2016 9:43:39 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 4/3/2016 7:51:41 PM, Overhead wrote:
I think "For argument's sake, let's assume that a fetus ought to enjoy all the rights of any other human being" misses the point that what rights a fetus has is kind of central to the whole issue.

In this case merely making the assumption that the rights are identical for the sake of argument in this case makes the argument itself irrelevant - because the argument should be about what rights a fetus has and why (as well as how those overlap and conflict with the rights of the mother).

No, it doesn't, because I'm not trying to argue against abortion, I'm arguing against the position many pro-choicers take in defending abortion.
Overhead
Posts: 106
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4/3/2016 9:51:48 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 4/3/2016 9:43:39 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 4/3/2016 7:51:41 PM, Overhead wrote:
I think "For argument's sake, let's assume that a fetus ought to enjoy all the rights of any other human being" misses the point that what rights a fetus has is kind of central to the whole issue.

In this case merely making the assumption that the rights are identical for the sake of argument in this case makes the argument itself irrelevant - because the argument should be about what rights a fetus has and why (as well as how those overlap and conflict with the rights of the mother).

No, it doesn't, because I'm not trying to argue against abortion, I'm arguing against the position many pro-choicers take in defending abortion.

I get what you're trying to do. But the thing is that most pro-choicers will not automatically assume that a fetus has the same rights as an adult human being. You're therefore not arguing against their position as you're specifically avoiding the central point of contention.
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,242
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4/3/2016 9:54:59 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 4/3/2016 9:51:48 PM, Overhead wrote:
At 4/3/2016 9:43:39 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 4/3/2016 7:51:41 PM, Overhead wrote:
I think "For argument's sake, let's assume that a fetus ought to enjoy all the rights of any other human being" misses the point that what rights a fetus has is kind of central to the whole issue.

In this case merely making the assumption that the rights are identical for the sake of argument in this case makes the argument itself irrelevant - because the argument should be about what rights a fetus has and why (as well as how those overlap and conflict with the rights of the mother).

No, it doesn't, because I'm not trying to argue against abortion, I'm arguing against the position many pro-choicers take in defending abortion.

I get what you're trying to do. But the thing is that most pro-choicers will not automatically assume that a fetus has the same rights as an adult human being. You're therefore not arguing against their position as you're specifically avoiding the central point of contention.

Yeah, it's not an issue if they support abortion on the assumption that fetuses are not people. That's my position as well. But IF they regard fetuses as people, but support abortion on the grounds that women "own their own bodies," then I have an issue with that.
someloser
Posts: 1,377
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4/3/2016 10:49:59 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
Agree with OP, for once
Ego sum qui sum. Deus lo vult.

"America is ungovernable; those who served the revolution have plowed the sea." - Simon Bolivar

"A healthy nation is as unconscious of its nationality as a healthy man of his bones. But if you break a nation's nationality it will think of nothing else but getting it set again." - George Bernard Shaw
someloser
Posts: 1,377
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4/4/2016 11:56:25 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 4/4/2016 11:55:22 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 4/3/2016 10:49:59 PM, someloser wrote:
Agree with OP, for once

Whose alt are you?

mine.
Ego sum qui sum. Deus lo vult.

"America is ungovernable; those who served the revolution have plowed the sea." - Simon Bolivar

"A healthy nation is as unconscious of its nationality as a healthy man of his bones. But if you break a nation's nationality it will think of nothing else but getting it set again." - George Bernard Shaw
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,242
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4/4/2016 11:56:58 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 4/4/2016 11:56:25 PM, someloser wrote:
At 4/4/2016 11:55:22 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 4/3/2016 10:49:59 PM, someloser wrote:
Agree with OP, for once

Whose alt are you?

mine.

.....
someloser
Posts: 1,377
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4/4/2016 11:58:15 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
What were you expecting?
Ego sum qui sum. Deus lo vult.

"America is ungovernable; those who served the revolution have plowed the sea." - Simon Bolivar

"A healthy nation is as unconscious of its nationality as a healthy man of his bones. But if you break a nation's nationality it will think of nothing else but getting it set again." - George Bernard Shaw
Geogeer
Posts: 4,227
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4/5/2016 1:01:09 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 4/3/2016 7:22:41 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Many pro-choicers hold that abortion's legitimacy hinges on whether women should be granted ownership of their own bodies, and that the moral status of the fetus is irrelevant and need not be considered at all. Among mainstream politicians supportive of abortion rights, deviations from this point of view are virtually non-existent, at least judging by the arguments they do (and don't) put forth in defense of their position. As someone who is pro-choice, I find this view far too simplistic, and think that until abortion's defenders move beyond it, little progress can be made toward resolving some of the controversy surrounding this issue.

Few would deny that among the rights properly recognized under the law is the right of personal ownership, which means roughly that one should be free to do with one's own body as one sees fit. Indeed, this right would seem to form the foundation on which all other freedoms rest. I do not take issue with this notion, but I think that in upholding this right in any given instance, one must evaluate whether it runs into conflict with the rights of others, and be careful to resolve any conflicts that arise in a fair and just manner. I think the defenders of abortion have altogether failed at this task, and in many cases don't even recognize that a task presents itself.

For argument's sake, let's assume that a fetus ought to enjoy all the rights of any other human being. What treatment is the fetus entitled to? Obviously, the fetus finds itself in a rather strange situation: against its will, it has been forced into a state of complete dependency and captivity. It will surely die unless permitted to live parasitically off of its host (the mother), an arrangement it had no way of avoiding and no choice in bringing about. Would any adult accept being put into a similar situation if they were not assured that the situation would be resolved in a way favorable to their interests? Clearly, they would not, and would consider it a violation of their rights if they found themselves in such a situation against their will. If the fetus is unfortunate enough to begin its life inside of someone unwilling to lend their body for its survival, must the fetus simply accept its fate and politely die, or can the fetus reasonably expect that the person responsible for its dependency (assuming the mother was not raped) do everything they can to resolve the dependency they introduced into the world by carrying the fetus to term? If we subscribe to the moral principle that people are accountable for the predictable consequences of their actions, I think the answer is rather clear: the mother sacrificed her right to personal autonomy the moment she chose to engage in an act with the potential to put others in situations of dependency. The mother can no more claim that she "Only wanted to have sex, not get pregnant" than a gunman can claim that he "Only wanted to pull the trigger of his gun, not kill innocent people." It doesn't matter if you disagree with the effects that some actions can have, you are still responsible for them when they are entirely predictable. The mother had a choice in the matter; the fetus didn't.

If the laws of physics dictated that reciting a certain mantra would teleport the nearest person 1000 feet into the air (and temporarily give the reciter the ability to fly) what would we say if a person recited the mantra (knowing the consequences it would have) and then refused to intercept a person's fall as they plummeted to their death, citing their "personal freedom" and the fact that they're "scared of flying" as an excuse not to intervene? Everyone would say that they were obligated to help the person because they were responsible for the person's situation, and that by refusing to lend their assistance, they are in fact responsible for their death. Having sex, getting pregnant and then refusing to lend your body for the fetus' survival (resulting in the fetus' death) is really no different, and shouldn't be tolerated if fetuses are to be treated as people.

The following arguments are not to be taken seriously:

"If you don't like abortion, then don't have one."
"If you are against abortion, how can you call yourself a defender of freedom?"

The only real argument that the pro choice side has is that of personhood or lack thereof. This is because the concept of personhood is philosophical instead of physical so they can attempt to remakes of be what they want.

The bodily rights are easily disproved because the argument for bodily right is based on natural law. Natural law can defeat this argument. So the pro choice using this argument is trying to put their pants on with their feet on the floor.