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I'm on the fence with abortion

rockwater
Posts: 273
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2/12/2014 11:16:39 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
I find it hard to accept that a fertilized human egg is a human person with all the same rights as a baby carried to term. I also find it hard to accept that a baby in the last weeks before birth is not a human person with all the rights of a baby carried to term.

Anyone should have a right to control what happens in their bodies but when a fully developed is inside someone's body does that give that person a right to have that fetus removed by any method at any time, even if that method involves killing a viable fetus? If not, should a mother be able to have a viable fetus removed by any method, even one that involves killing, if her life is in danger and killing the fetus is less risky to her life than removing the fetus so it can live? These are exceptional cases that may hardly ever occur but based on this framework I try to go earlier in the pregnancy, before the fetus is fully developed and before the fetus is viable, and ask myself the same questions.

Basically, I am leaning towards believing abortion should be legally permitted in the first 20 or so weeks but I don't know if some case of rape, incest, threat to the mother's physical or mental health, or determination that the fetus is not viable as with anencephaly, should be required. In late pregnancy, I think that a threat to the mother's health, I would think a grave one, should be the chief consideration in deciding whether an abortion should be legally permitted. Even when an abortion is allowed in late pregnancy, I think measures should be taken to reduce fetal pain if the fetus is developed enough and if doing so does not increase the danger to the mother's health.

But I can't go all out and say this is the way the laws should be because many women who want an abortion tend to get them whether they get a legal one or not - or whether they can afford a safe one or not. There is a choice between fetal lives and morher's lives and my ethics aren't simplistic enough to say it isn't society's fault if mothers die from unsafe illegal abortions.

I also know that many women feel pressured to have sex and to do so without protection in many different situations so just because she hasn't been "raped" doesn't mean she was able to make a fully free decision to carry a child to term when she "consented" to whatever sex she had. Even if I believe that a developing human life in a unintended pregnancy has enough value to carry to term even if it is put up for adoption does not mean that I can force the mother to have that same belief.

Ideally, we would have artificial wombs that could carry embryos conceived unintentionally to term before they could be adopted. But until then I am unsure what to believe about the morality or legality of abortion in different cases. Although I have my beliefs stated above I don't think that laws that effectively overturn Roe v. Wade are wise or even more beneficial than harmful at this point.

What I do think is that I need a more consistent ethical framework to deal with regarding abortion - one that can be persuasive even to a person with no religious beliefs. As I said, total personhood at conception and total right to remove a living entity from your body under any circumstances are both positions that I seem unable to accept at the moment. Any other suggestions of an ethical framework?
Khaos_Mage
Posts: 23,214
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2/12/2014 11:24:44 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Why is having a time frame of when an abortion is ethical and not not ethical?
I am in the same boat you are in, and I feel no intellectual dishonesty.

If the child is likely to survive outside of the womb, it should be considered human as far as rights go.
Before this time, while I still think it is murder, I do think that it is not afforded rights, ergo, the abortion should be legal up to that point.

I believe the supreme court ruled the same, coining the phrase "age of viability".
Also, do you think most pro-abortion people are taking about an abortion in the last days of a pregnency? I don't.
My work here is, finally, done.
rockwater
Posts: 273
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2/12/2014 5:15:21 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/12/2014 11:24:44 AM, Khaos_Mage wrote:
Why is having a time frame of when an abortion is ethical and not not ethical?
I am in the same boat you are in, and I feel no intellectual dishonesty.

If the child is likely to survive outside of the womb, it should be considered human as far as rights go.
Before this time, while I still think it is murder, I do think that it is not afforded rights, ergo, the abortion should be legal up to that point.

I believe the supreme court ruled the same, coining the phrase "age of viability".
Also, do you think most pro-abortion people are taking about an abortion in the last days of a pregnency? I don't.

The problem is that the age of viability is not a fixed thing: it depends on the available technology (so it gets earlier and earlier as technology advances) and might even differ based on the individual case. So there is no magic number of weeks at which a child becomes viable.

I am starting with the latest stages of pregnancy and working backwards in order to try to determine if there is any point at which a mother's ability to have an abortion should be restricted, and how it should be restricted. If not on viability, should it be based on the fetus' brain activity? Its ability to feel pain? The beginning of its heartbeat? Or should restrictions go even earlier, to gastrulation which is when you can no longer have weird things like an embryo splitting to become identical twins or two embryos merging to become a chimera (ie, gastrulation is when you can be sure that any given embryo is unique). Gastrulation happens not long after implantation so most abortions would be restricted if that was used.

Extreme pro lifers love the clarity of using conception as their basis for everything. Extreme pro choicers also love the clarity of using birth as their basis for everything. I'll admit that there is a decent number of people like you who base things on viability its hard to base rights on shifting technology. As viability gets earlier and earlier we will start giving more rights to less fully developed fetuses. Do those fetuses have those rights now that we don't have the technology to keep them alive outside the womb?

I am trying to come up with way to explain how a woman's right to control over her body and how a developing human's right to live are balanced, and when one overrules the other, in a way that is clear. Otherwise I'll always be afraid that the pro-lifers are right and I am aiding and abetting the mass murder of millions or that the pro-choicers are right and that I am treating women like cattle.
Jack212
Posts: 572
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2/12/2014 6:11:20 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/12/2014 11:16:39 AM, rockwater wrote:


I struggle with the issue as well. On the one hand, I'm repulsed by the thought of somebody removing an unborn child (or kitten, or puppy, or tiger cub - I'm not species-selective here) from the womb for the purpose of termination. On the other, I know that a total ban could do more harm than good.

The current laws in my country allow abortion before 20 weeks under the following circumstances:

1. Incest;
2. Birth defects;
3. Severe threat to the mother's physical/mental health;

With the following being reasons for consideration but not justification in and of themselves:

4. Rape;
5. Underage girl;

And after 20 weeks:

6. If the mother's life is at risk AND the baby cannot be safely delivered.

In all cases, the woman/girl must first get a referral from two doctors, at least one of whom must specialise in reproductive health, embryology, etc.

Would I choose an abortion under those circumstances? Absolutely not. However, this law seems fair and reasonable, and I'm not a very political person, so I accept the compromise. I think that's the secret when dealing with moral/political issues - you decide at what point you'll go "oh for f*ck's sake", and as long as that line isn't crossed you just accept that the world isn't perfect. And if that line is crossed, and you really can't handle it, you either get the law changed or move somewhere else.
rockwater
Posts: 273
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2/13/2014 6:09:45 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/12/2014 6:11:20 PM, Jack212 wrote:
At 2/12/2014 11:16:39 AM, rockwater wrote:


I struggle with the issue as well. On the one hand, I'm repulsed by the thought of somebody removing an unborn child (or kitten, or puppy, or tiger cub - I'm not species-selective here) from the womb for the purpose of termination. On the other, I know that a total ban could do more harm than good.

The current laws in my country allow abortion before 20 weeks under the following circumstances:

1. Incest;
2. Birth defects;
3. Severe threat to the mother's physical/mental health;

With the following being reasons for consideration but not justification in and of themselves:

4. Rape;
5. Underage girl;

And after 20 weeks:

6. If the mother's life is at risk AND the baby cannot be safely delivered.

In all cases, the woman/girl must first get a referral from two doctors, at least one of whom must specialise in reproductive health, embryology, etc.

Would I choose an abortion under those circumstances? Absolutely not. However, this law seems fair and reasonable, and I'm not a very political person, so I accept the compromise. I think that's the secret when dealing with moral/political issues - you decide at what point you'll go "oh for f*ck's sake", and as long as that line isn't crossed you just accept that the world isn't perfect. And if that line is crossed, and you really can't handle it, you either get the law changed or move somewhere else.

Here's the problem: I wonder whether abortion laws like in your country might be better than the abortion laws here in the US (where the Supreme Court has interpreted our constitution to mean no laws can prevent abortion on demand in the first trimester). But progressives here counter that restrictions on abortion like those in your country would just result in more unsafe illegal abortions and more dead women. They also say that it is wrong to involve the government in a deeply personal and private decision between a woman and her doctor, that it is demeaning to force her to get a second opinion, etc. And part of me agrees with them.

Basically, in this country the belief in progressive circles is that abortion may be sad but a woman has the right to remove a foreign entity from her body at any time. It is not the government's job to try to dissuade her or to complicate her decision making. It should all be between her and her doctor and the government should butt out.

I also acknowledge that since this country has huge and growing income inequality and does not have a very equitable healthcare system, even now with recent reforms, many women will have an abortion whether it is legal or not because carrying a child to term is something she cannot afford.

I like to think that I am not a sexist and that I respect women's control over their bodies as much as I respect my control over my own.

This doesn't mean that I agree with the position of the pro-choice lobby in this country, but I can't simply dismiss it. If our country tried to impose abortion laws like those in your country, tens of thousands of people would be protesting day and night, going in and out of jail - perhaps even trying to storm Congress to stop it. I can't help but sympathize with their concern for women's rights just like I sympathize with the pro-life concern for the rights of the unborn. And when emotions are so raw I don't know where the legal line should be drawn.
Jack212
Posts: 572
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2/13/2014 5:26:33 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/13/2014 6:09:45 AM, rockwater wrote:


Sorry I can't quote your whole comment, my browser isn't rendering DDO properly for some reason.

You can't believe anything that the Pro-Life or Pro-Choice movements tell you. Remember, they have a heavy emotional (and sometimes financial) investment in their cause, and they will twist the facts to support their view.

Let's apply some common sense to the points you've raised:

1. Unsafe abortions.

Yes, some women will go to a backstreet clinic for an abortion. Some women will use a coathanger. Some will overdose on drugs until they miscarry. There will always be some women who resort to desperate measures.

However, I suspect most would just accept that abortion isn't an option, and not try any of those methods. Why? Because they're not stupid.

2. Sexism.

Progressives will use this to justify anything. It's an ad hominem fallacy and you shouldn't worry about it. Everybody says and does some sexist things, and that is both normal and healthy.

3.

If the US tries to "impose" any sort of law, a lot of Americans will protest. Look at gun control - that's been a source of contention for years.

Don't let the majority dictate your views, or you'll feel like a fraud/sellout. Just decide what your principles are and stick to them.
donald.keller
Posts: 3,709
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2/13/2014 6:46:34 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/12/2014 11:16:39 AM, rockwater wrote:
I find it hard to accept that a fertilized human egg is a human person with all the same rights as a baby carried to term. I also find it hard to accept that a baby in the last weeks before birth is not a human person with all the rights of a baby carried to term.

Anyone should have a right to control what happens in their bodies but when a fully developed is inside someone's body does that give that person a right to have that fetus removed by any method at any time, even if that method involves killing a viable fetus? If not, should a mother be able to have a viable fetus removed by any method, even one that involves killing, if her life is in danger and killing the fetus is less risky to her life than removing the fetus so it can live? These are exceptional cases that may hardly ever occur but based on this framework I try to go earlier in the pregnancy, before the fetus is fully developed and before the fetus is viable, and ask myself the same questions.

Basically, I am leaning towards believing abortion should be legally permitted in the first 20 or so weeks but I don't know if some case of rape, incest, threat to the mother's physical or mental health, or determination that the fetus is not viable as with anencephaly, should be required. In late pregnancy, I think that a threat to the mother's health, I would think a grave one, should be the chief consideration in deciding whether an abortion should be legally permitted. Even when an abortion is allowed in late pregnancy, I think measures should be taken to reduce fetal pain if the fetus is developed enough and if doing so does not increase the danger to the mother's health.

But I can't go all out and say this is the way the laws should be because many women who want an abortion tend to get them whether they get a legal one or not - or whether they can afford a safe one or not. There is a choice between fetal lives and morher's lives and my ethics aren't simplistic enough to say it isn't society's fault if mothers die from unsafe illegal abortions.

I also know that many women feel pressured to have sex and to do so without protection in many different situations so just because she hasn't been "raped" doesn't mean she was able to make a fully free decision to carry a child to term when she "consented" to whatever sex she had. Even if I believe that a developing human life in a unintended pregnancy has enough value to carry to term even if it is put up for adoption does not mean that I can force the mother to have that same belief.

Ideally, we would have artificial wombs that could carry embryos conceived unintentionally to term before they could be adopted. But until then I am unsure what to believe about the morality or legality of abortion in different cases. Although I have my beliefs stated above I don't think that laws that effectively overturn Roe v. Wade are wise or even more beneficial than harmful at this point.

What I do think is that I need a more consistent ethical framework to deal with regarding abortion - one that can be persuasive even to a person with no religious beliefs. As I said, total personhood at conception and total right to remove a living entity from your body under any circumstances are both positions that I seem unable to accept at the moment. Any other suggestions of an ethical framework?

I did a debate on this once.
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Fruitytree
Posts: 2,176
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2/16/2014 4:07:05 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Yeah seems babies are easier to remove than cancers, although there is a clear recipe on how not to get a baby ?!

I wish to know how people who choose to take off their baby for no good reason except to control their body ?! how they would deal with a sickness!! sorry for the analogy but that's what came to my mind.
Illegalcombatant
Posts: 4,008
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2/16/2014 8:44:43 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/12/2014 11:16:39 AM, rockwater wrote:
I find it hard to accept that a fertilized human egg is a human person with all the same rights as a baby carried to term. I also find it hard to accept that a baby in the last weeks before birth is not a human person with all the rights of a baby carried to term.

I suspect I am in the same boat.

A problem with the pro choice line is that it can cover some contradictory positions......

Are they pro choice in the sense that a woman can have an abortion with no restrictions ?

Are they pro choice in the sense that a woman can have an abortion but restrictions apply ? eg: not allowed after 20 weeks not allowed to determine gender ?

The reason I am against the "pro life/you can never have an abortion" crowd is as you alluded too is that they operate on the principle that a fertilized egg is morally equivalent to a 5 year old child.

As far as I can tell MOST anti abortion people who like to invoke "pro life" won't be happy until all abortion is illegal no matter the circumstances. They just want a blanket ban.

Most of these people don't adhere to the thou shalt not kill rule as an absolute when it comes to fully formed human beings, eg war, death penalty. But suddenly talk to them about a woman who is pregnant.........THOU SHALT NOT KILL, ABORTION IS MURDER !!!

It's a fricken joke.

Now who is up for some drone strikes ?
"Seems like another attempt to insert God into areas our knowledge has yet to penetrate. You figure God would be bigger than the gaps of our ignorance." Drafterman 19/5/12