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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Two-year-olds, cats, and parasites.

"What on earth does this mean?" you wonder. Well read on.
I find pro-choicers and pro-lifers often talk past each other because they seem to take for granted certain assumptions the other side doesn't share. In order to improve communication, I sometimes tell pro-choicers that if they want to understand how pro-lifers view abortion, just replace "fetus" with "two-year-old."
For example, suppose a woman sought an abortion because a pregnancy and child would completely disrupt her education or career. To see this situation from a pro-life perspective, imagine if, instead of having her fetus killed, she was having her two-year-old killed in order to not disrupt her education or career. Sounds horrifying, doesn't it? Same goes for having her two-year-old killed because she thinks the father is a bad life partner, or because she lost her job and is too broke to raise a toddler, and so on. Many of the reasons women normally cite for having an abortion seem woefully insufficient to justify having a toddler killed. And that's roughly how pro-lifers see abortion, because most pro-lifers recognize the fetus as a member of the human species differing only in level of development--a difference pro-lifers do not believe is morally significant.
I don't expect pro-choicers to agree with this illustration. I only point it out to try to give pro-choicers an idea of how pro-lifers view the situation.
But what would be the reverse analogy? How would I likewise explain to pro-lifers how pro-choicers view the fetus?
This is trickier for me because, first of all, I'm not pro-choice, and it's a lot harder to fairly describe a position you don't hold or agree with. 
Second, I think the term "pro-choice" covers a wider range of viewpoints than the term "pro-life." "Pro-life" usually means a person believes most abortions are immoral and should be illegal. "Pro-choice" usually means a person believes abortions should be legal at least some of the time, but beyond that it could mean many different things. For example, different pro-choice people believe abortion is immoral, morally neutral, or even a moral good. Additionally, different pro-choice people believe abortion should only be legal in the first trimester, or only until viability, or all the way up until birth. It seems to me the label "pro-choice" is just a catch all for anyone who doesn't think abortions should be illegal as a general rule. 
With that in mind, it's hard to think of a single analogy that would encompass how most pro-choicers view the fetus.
Some people consider themselves "personally pro-life," meaning they personally would not choose abortion, but they believe the choice should be up to each individual woman. I don't think these people would apply the same reasoning if we were talking about two-year-olds; I don't think they would say they personally wouldn't kill their two-year-old, but they think that choice should be up to each individual woman. Therefore, I expect the "personally pro-life" crowd does not see the fetus the same way most pro-lifers do--morally equivalent to a two-year-old. At the same time, "personally pro-life" people don't believe the fetus is morally irrelevant, hence their personal conviction not to abort. 
Therefore, I think perhaps they view the fetus the way some of us view, for example, our pet cat or dog. We may be happy to have our pets around. We may love our pets. We may care for them so much, in fact, that we would spend considerable resources to keep our pets alive and healthy. At the same time we recognize that, for some people, paying, for example, $1,000s in medical bills for a cat or dog just isn't feasible. For some people, if their pets get seriously ill or injured, it's really more financially responsible to have the poor animals put down. We personally wouldn't do this, but we respect that some people choose to. We certainly don't think putting animals down should be illegal as a general rule. 
Perhaps that's how some pro-choicers view the fetus: like a beloved kitten--an entity with some moral worth, though certainly not as much moral worth as a human child. (Aside: I realize for vegan pro-lifers this analogy may not work at all, but it's the best I can think of so far.)
I've talked before about how I think "pro-abortion" people are only a subset of pro-choice people, and I want to reiterate it here. At least based on my sample set, most of the pro-choicers I know are either "personally pro-life" or neutral, rather than "pro-abortion."
However, there are some people quite sure they would choose abortion, and even believe abortion is the morally preferable choice in many situations. I think it's fair to call people who think abortion is preferable "pro-abortion." In these cases I don't have to wonder as much what analogy to use to describe how "pro-aborts" view the fetus, because they've stated it explicitly enough. They see the fetus as a parasite, or a cancerous tumor--something foul to be removed as soon as possible. Certainly they don't assign the fetus any moral worth.
And finally, some people are pro-choice without necessarily being either "personally pro-life" or "pro-abortion." These people may choose abortion, or not, depending on the circumstances--it's not out of the question--and they believe abortion should generally be legal. But they don't necessarily think of abortion as a blessing *or* a curse--they don't necessarily think abortion (at least earlier term abortion) should have much moral connotation to begin with.  I believe these are the people most likely to describe the fetus as a "clump of cells," "pregnancy," or "product of conception." They think of the fetus not as a moral entity but in a rather vague, abstract way. To them, I think, the fetus has no "self" or "identity" apart from the mother, at least in the early term. I'm not sure which analogy would be appropriate to explain that perspective.

I'd be interested to get feedback from any pro-choicers reading this: what analogy would you use to explain how you view the fetus morally?

85 comments:

Deefr said...

I can only speak for the pro-choice people I've had this kind of discussion with, which numbers about 3-4, so not a huge sample size. The main problem I see with their belief system, is the fetus doesn't enter their conversation AT ALL. To them, it always about what's good (or I'd say convenient) for the woman carrying the baby. She shouldn't be forced to have it, "if she doesn't want to" "She shouldn't have to pay for one mistake the rest of her life" (The fetus should have to pay, I guess, for existing) From there, they then go into social ramifications such as poverty, and projecting how awful the new-born's life would be, and so on. To me, this is a part of the discussion that has changed dramatically the last 25 years. Back then, the fetus wasn't human, a mass of cells, and so on. They have mostly conceded that point. (the pro-lifers were right the entire time on this issue) Having lost that key part of the debate, (and much of their support with it.) they now move on to arguments they think they can win. In order to move on, they now have to eliminate the fetus from the discussion as much as possible. I honestly believe most pro-lifers understand the pro-choice position MUCH better than they understand ours. Not to say we totally "get" them, but I do stand by that assertion.

Ashley F. Miller said...

I think it's important to add to this also how is pregnancy perceived. For some people it is joyous, for some it is an inconvenience, and for some it is a terrifying, shameful illness. I feel like pro-lifers and pro-choicers are often talking past one another because pro-life people want to talk about babies and pro-choice people want to talk about pregnancy.

Dolce said...

I've talked about abortion with a few pro-choice friends. One does not consider the embryo/fetus/baby an entity at all (i.e.: she does not assign it any moral worth), one is unsure whether she would describe the fetus as a person/human being or not (but personally would never get an abortion), and one just never bothered thinking about the issue at all (but believes that late term abortions should be illegal). You are absolutely right that the "pro-choice" viewpoint is MUCH more diverse than the pro-life viewpoint - perhaps that is one underlying reason pro-lifers seem to have a harder time reaching out and connecting to the public.

Amber Leigh Harper said...

Nice to have someone state their opinion and not condemn others! I love the range of positions presented in this, also. Please understand that this is MY opinion. My only "2-cents" would be the parasitism comparison which I have used for YEARS for myself. Symbiosis is "living together"; mutualism is when both parties benefit (wanted pregnancy), parasitism when one benefits and one suffers (unwanted pregnancy). Keep in mind that this is a comparison, not definition! I love children: I'm a teacher! I just don't want any of my own (maybe foster/adopt later). There are a multitude of opinions to touch on relating to your post but I simply wanted to address the viewpoint (as I do not know who your sample set included) of pro-abortionists seeing a fetus as a terrible "parasitic... cancerous" type growth. That attaches quite a bit of hateful emotion and I don't know that to be true. I would say sad/disappointed rather than angry. I don't think anyone WANTS to have an abortion, it's more a response to no/little/failed preventative measures. Maybe I'm wrong; there are people WANTING amputations for no good reason... I am pro-choice and wonder if I would be categorized as "pro-abortion" because I consider it to be an important option that is underutilized. Anyway, THANK YOU for having the courage and intellect to tackle a tough topic! Great read!

Deefr said...

What I don't get about your position here, is how can one fetus be "parasitic" and another "mutually beneficial" when they are both doing the same thing? It sounds like you're saying whether the fetus is parasitic or not, is totally dependent on how the mother feels about it. And one can be deemed parasitic, and another not, though there is no physical difference between the two. So the one said to be a parasite, did nothing to earn that label, it's simply a label it's stuck with for being in the wrong womb? It's why i always say in most abortions the fetus is totally innocent, but the one taking the brunt of the punishment. They're being given a death penalty for the crime of "existing."


I hope you understand the pro-life position. We can't view any unborn child as a parasite. Nor should we.

Dirty_Nerdy said...

This would have been better if you had at least tried to address the main argument from modern pro-choicers: bodily autonomy. As it stands, it seems like you're just throwing it out there that pro-choicers think the fetus is a parasite, or not much moral value, or whatever and you're not really addressing the reason *why* pro-choicers feel this way. If you don't address this part of their argument, or at least state that this is their reasoning, then you are simply painting many pro-choicers as callous or heartless. I don't think you were necessarily aiming to do that, but that's how it comes off.

Noelle Hunt said...

silly false analogy .
there is no law anywhere which can force an individual to give even one drop of blood to save another. Not even if that other is their own child. Except in the case of pregnancy, where suddenly the foetus is given more rights than a full grown human, Either a woman is fully human with full rights to their body or they are something less an incubator or a broodmare. I wonder if you would be so keen on forced blood donation, or forced organ donation. The government coming and telling you you must give up your kidney regardless of your desires, or any physical harm that may be done to you?

Amber Leigh Harper said...

Again, not definition. I'm not telling YOU how YOU should think, I'm simply sharing with you MY view (by analogy). I do understand the pro-life position (was pro-life for years) and don't expect you to "view any unborn child as a parasite." In fact, I don't expect anything but mutual respect. I'm confused as to how you want me to respond; is there anything I can say that will answer your questions satisfactorily? It doesn't seem you are considering my view, anyway, but questioning how I dare have this view. I don't believe this situation to be one taken lightly (people, please don't go out and get pregnant just so you can have an abortion!) but I also don't believe you should tell me what I can do to my body (or the "mass of cells" depending on it).

Laura Nicholson said...

This post isn't meant to address comprehensive pro-life or pro-choice positions. It's only meant to discuss how the two sides view the fetus, morally.

I actually have talked about bodily autonomy before (http://blog.secularprolife.org/2012/12/the-balance.html & http://blog.secularprolife.org/2013/04/aborting-to-protect-our-bodies.html) as have other bloggers on the SPL blog (http://blog.secularprolife.org/2012/03/bodily-integrity.html & http://blog.secularprolife.org/2012/08/bodily-integrity-revisited.html). These aren't the only posts on the topic, they're just examples.

It's too bad that you see this as painting PCers as heartless. I based my post on conversations I've had and witnessed with PCers, as well as on the responses I got from my pro-choice friends when I asked them what analogies they would use. Is there a way you believe PCers view the fetus that I overlooked? Or do you just mean that I correctly described how PCers view the fetus, but I didn't talk about why they think what they do?

Guest said...

But we DO require parents to provide basic care for their children, including food and shelter. This means that they have to use their bodies and money in ways that they may not always want to, because they have a moral and legal obligation to their children, and children have rights which supersede some of their parents'. And for a fetus, food and shelter means a uterus and umbilical cord. We infringe on the time, bodily autonomy, and financial autonomy of parents all the time, and rightly so.


And pregnancy really is not at all comparable to organ donation, even organ donation to one's own children, to whom one has a unique responsibility not held toward other individuals.


For one thing, organ donation is permanent, whereas pregnancy is temporary.


For another, a kidney belongs solely to the mother, but a uterus is designed for the express biological purpose of carrying pre-born children, has no other benefit to the woman, and is intended to be used by the fetus and not the mother. So it can reasonably be argued that the fetus, placed there by nature, has just as much a natural claim and right to the womb as does the woman.


Yet another difference is that organ donation is an unnatural, invasive medical procedure, whereas pregnancy is simply the condition of two healthy human bodies functioning in a natural way.


Finally, whatever other purposes it has, sex is inherently biologically ordered toward conception, pregnancy, and birth. Unlike having an organ cut out of you and placed in someone else's body, pregnancy can be reasonably foreseen as a possible consequence of having sex. Thus, the act of having sex is also the act of knowingly taking upon yourself the risk of creating a child who will be dependent on you, and the responsibility of giving birth to that child should he or she be conceived.

Laura Nicholson said...

I'm glad you found the post interesting. Thanks for your feedback and perspective.

Guest said...

I think perhaps the problem Deefr was getting at is that assuming one fetus is blob of cells/parasite/pregnancy tissue, and another can be a baby, based on the mother's beliefs, makes a false assumption. This would be that the moral status and rights of an individual hinge on the attachment and opinions of others. It assumes that personhood is a status only achieved when other people agree that you are a person. But we know this to be false. An infant whose mother loves her is just as precious as one whose mother neglects her. And obviously history is full of instances where entire groups of people were considered non-persons. The point is, either all fetuses are human beings with moral status and a right to life, or none of them are. But they're not selective.

Amber Leigh Harper said...

I absolutely understand and agree that's what (s)he was pointing out... was unsure if it was presented rhetorically or if I was supposed to be *trying* to validate my view. We will never all agree as to how to classify, we NEED to agree how this integrates into politics/law.

Reverend Sean said...

"So it can reasonably be argued that the fetus, placed there by nature,
has just as much a natural claim and right to the womb as does the
woman."

That's the bottom line of the disagreement. That someone else has just as much of a right, no, more of a right to a woman's body than the woman who owns it. Congratulations for ranking a fetus's right to a woman's body greater than a woman's right to her own body.

Deefr said...

My only "2-cents" would be the parasitism comparison which I have used for YEARS for myself. Symbiosis is "living together"; mutualism is when both parties benefit (wanted pregnancy), parasitism when one benefits and one suffers (unwanted pregnancy). Keep in mind that this is a comparison, not definition! (From your original post)



Actually, I was more curious as to why you used that comparison. While I do not mean to be aggressive or disrespectful, it seems you are saying how the fetus should be viewed is totally up to how the mother feels. If she feels the fetus is a parasite..then it is. If she doesn't, then it isn't. You say it's "not a definition", but a comparison..but I don't see how that differs. Am I getting something wrong? Are you in fact, saying if the mother doesn't feel she's getting any value from the fetus, than you do, in fact, consider it a parasite? Honestly, trying to understand, nothing more. You've not been rude or confrontational, and my apologies if I came across that way, as it was not my intent.

Deefr said...

Bad analogy. A kidney, or any organ has YOUR DNA. A fetus has it's own DNA, making it separate and unique from the mother. The rights thing is inaccurate as well. We're not saying the fetus has more rights, just an equal right to live. All humans should have the same right to life. A 2 year old doesn't have the right to vote like an adult, but it's right to live is equal to an adult's. Someone else's desires do not equate to the right to life. Some guy shooting his g/f because he didn't desire her anymore is not acceptable. Lest we forget, the "right" you want to give this fully grown woman, is the right to kill someone else. The incubator thing is wrong as well. You can't kill someone for your convenience does not equal you're just an incubator. Ashley nailed it. Pro-lifers talk about babies and humans. Pro-choicers can't think past pregnancy. I guess if they dare venture into personhood, their arguments start to crumble.

Michele Hriscko Cook said...

Difference making it not a "silly false analogy". The woman put that other person in there with her own free will in most cases, therefore it is not part of her body, but another human with it's own human rights. It did not crawl up there on it's own to "invade her body" against her will". Therefore just as it is not moral for her to drink or use crack while she is pregnant because it will hurt the human inside her, yes, it is a human inside her because she made a "choice" to do something that could result in causing that life then call "take backs".

Deefr said...

But the fetus did get here naturally..it wasn't conjured in by Gandalf the Wizard. It's the fetus right to life that's the issue anyhow, not the right to the body. Right to life is greater than your right to your body..always has been, always should be.Our right to our bodies are limited all the time. There are things we cannot do with our own hands (strangling), our feet (kicking folks onto subway tracks) our tongues (yell fire in a crowded theatre) Seems the ONLY body part that's free from any restrictions is the uterus when talking to pro-choice people. Yep, that's so special, that dismembering another human being placed there (by no fault of it's own) has to be okay, you know..because it's a uterus.

Michele Hriscko Cook said...

and you call yourself a "REverend"???? you should be ashamed. Her rights end when another child made in GOD'S image that SHE created begins. Who are YOU to decide who has more worth in HIS eyes "REVEREND"??????

Deefr said...

Love your wording. never thought of it that way before, but PCers really think they should get a "do-over"on getting pregnant. That's it's just like taking a mulligan in a golf game.

Michele Hriscko Cook said...

LOL thx. It wasn't mine, read it on another pro life blog and loved it!! Don't know golf but will take your word for it! ;)

Amber Leigh Harper said...

Fabulous! It was apparent your views and I didn't want to beat a dead horse. Anyway, I use symbiosis as a comparison as (before an amount of time, 5 months being the current popular length) the fetus is biologically dependent on the mother for survival. It's not PERFECT because they are not the same thing... but, that's what we have analogies and metaphors for! The arguable point here would be how the mother is involved, as I believe you alluded. I feel that mental/emotional health is just as important as physical health and does, in fact, impact physical health. Therefore, "no value" does not apply, more like "negatively impact." So, hope that helps. I find this topic intriguing and enjoy understanding where others are coming from. Sorry to insinuate malicious intent and thanks for pursuing further conversation!

Amber Leigh Harper said...

Now, here inlies the problem... you are making this a religious discussion (correct me if I'm wrong) and this was not the intended purpose. Additionally, that's a pretty judgmental statement from, what I infer from your post, a believer. How can you condemn others for not sharing your views? AND, my old screenname was "Peachzz," so I would challenge your choice to judge a person on their screenname... I don't even like peaches! Wild.

Amber Leigh Harper said...

I guess, Deefr, it's the condescending/sarcastic tone of your responses that puts me off. It insinuates you give no value to other beliefs or opinions. Educated and intelligent opinions can be communicated without belittling other people/views. I understand your frustration (not everyone will always agree with you, sorry) but do not understand the judgmental tone. Not trying to be rude or start a fight but this was the tone I responded to earlier with disregard...

Amber Leigh Harper said...

You are imposing your morality standards and "beginning of life" views on everyone; not everyone shares these views. Not everyone will EVER share these views. This posting was to educate everyone on different beliefs and you are turning it into right/wrong. The better argument (for a different post) would be the legalities surrounding these views and how we, in the US (?), will handle these dissenting views.

Michele Hriscko Cook said...

You are correct, this was not supposed to be a religious discussion. I can argue it from a secular view very easily as I am an NICU nurse and a HUMAN who simply believes it is wrong to slice up humans and put one persons life above another. I can argue it by whatever means you choose. However if you would like to be referred to another who believed some lives were valued more than others, I can refer you to one: His name was Hitler and he too believed it was right to kill a group of people who were not as good as him, who disagreed with his political beliefs and who did not fit in with his view for a "master race" and actually got many to agree with him that they were "Not human" and did not have the same rights. History is full of such atrocities we just have to look to our own past with slavery. All you have to do to justify killing our fellow human is to tell yourself that they are "less human" and "less deserving" of "human rights" than others, be it by religion, biology or whatever means you wish.

Michele Hriscko Cook said...

Yes, sadly no one will ever share these views, however as a wise man once said right is right even if no one is right and wrong is wrong even if everyone is wrong. There are universal rights and wrongs even if not everyone will agree. Murder will always be wrong, stealing from others will always be wrong, and yes, "legal" or not (slavery was also "legal") will always be wrong.
and until these wrongs are put right, just like with slavery, there are those of us who will always stand for what is right, even if others continue to insist that it is not wrong.

Amber Leigh Harper said...

So, you are a human and I am not? You are very educated on the topic and I am not? That's quite a strong holier-than-thou attitude from a caregiver. Your professional attitude and education on this topic is quite apparent by the phrasing "slicing up humans" (So, that's how they do it!). We place values on different human beings every day; would you take a bullet for a rapist, Hitler, your child, or Mother Teresa? I mean, you are HUMAN. I'm not questioning you aside from anyone else, just making a point. I don't like to argue, rather, discuss. Defensive, much? I am an educator, therefore, I support providing all information before making an informed decision (Including history, not just biology). True, traditional definition of "reverend" is related to clergy but the modern use can vary. Judging a book by its cover? JUDGING? You could have simply asked about his background but you were *slightly* aggressive, IMHO. My issue with your statement was not because I disagree with your view but, rather, the condescending tone and phrasing you used. I'm willing to bet you don't appreciate my use of it… again, just making a point.

Amber Leigh Harper said...

"Sadly" indicating you still believe your views are superior to anyone else? Who is this "wise man?" No offense, I like sources. You seem to think life is black and white; I believe there's plenty shades of grey (haha). If I murder someone as they rape me... am I wrong? According to you, yes. You always use your blinker? You've never called in "sick" to work? You've never gossiped? My husband says I'm the only person he knows who has questioned a cashier and requested assistance from the manager because my shoes rang up $20 cheaper than list price. I told the police to issue me a ticket for running a stop sign (long story, I was 16, single car accident, no injuries). Do I believe in God? NO. Do I expect everyone to have made the same decisions? NO. Do I think I'm better than anyone else? NO. Do I believe we (humans) have an innate sense of right and wrong? YES. Is everything right or wrong? NO. I believe you are educated and intelligent if you are able to present both sides of an issue without bias and THEN state your opinion with supportive evidence. You don't seem to be able to do that. I think I'm pretty awesome. I think you're probably pretty awesome, too, I just don't agree with you.

Guest said...

Well with respect, you haven’t really provided any philosophical basis or argument to the contrary.

I suppose the best way of putting it would be that they share rights to the womb. If she’s not pregnant, it’s up to the woman and no one else if she wants to, say, get a hysterectomy. Or even if she doesn’t want children,
she can’t be forced to donate her uterus to a woman whose womb was damaged (I don’t even know if this would be possible, I’m just illustrating a point). But she has a unique responsibility to and relationship with the baby, who, 99% of the time was brought into existence and into a state of dependency by her own, and her partner’s, actions.

Yes, the pre-born child has a right to be in his or her
mother’s womb. Just as a born child has a right to live in his parent’s home and be fed and clothed by them, despite the fact that this limits their autonomy. A woman has to use her breasts to feed the baby, or her hands to prepare formula. She has to use her body to earn money to buy those things, as well as clothing. Even if she decides that she will place the baby with an adoptive family, she has to drive to the necessary places, fill out the proper paperwork, etc. She cannot rightfully dump her child in an alleyway and walk away. Because, to an extent, the child has a right to the mother’s hands and feet and body. Would you say the infant can just be abandoned? I wouldn't.

A pre-born child is no different, morally, than a born child. Requiring women to carry to term is not a gross violation of their autonomy; it's simply being consistent with the already expected norms or parental obligation.

Michele Hriscko Cook said...

Who is this wise man? Fulton Sheen.
"Moral principles do not
depend on a majority vote. Wrong is wrong, even if everybody is wrong.
Right is right, even if nobody is right." -- Fulton J. Sheen, 1953

No, I do not believe I am "better than anyone else". I just do not believe, unlike you, that I have more of a right to inhabit this planet than you. That is where we differ. You believe that you have more of a right to inhabit this planet than some little "fetus" even if you are the one responsible for creating it.

As for how abortions are done and if the child is "hacked up". I direct you to Bernard Nathanson, former abortionist and his documentaries Silent Scream and An Eclipse of Reason. Once he saw how it was done he made documentaries to show others how wrong it was and exactly what was done and teach others. You like sources. I would be glad to give you some, including the source of the "It's my body" mantra, it was from him and a group of his cronies as he sat around with a group of fellow MEN laughing at the gullibility of women, he later admitted it. BTW Nathanson was the founder of NARAL.

http://www.pregnantpause.org/abort/remember-naral.htm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gON-8PP6zgQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nff8I2FVnI

Am I perfect? Of course not. Have I gossiped? Of course! Have I lied an called in sick to work when I wanted a "mental health day" really? Of course! But have I committed murder? No, and abortion is murder, plain and simple.
I think it is just sad that you would degrade such an issue down to the level of calling in sick to work.

Guest said...

Hi Amber.


It's important to recognize that there are times when it's totally okay to impose morality on others. When I or you or the government says that someone can't steal, they're imposing morality. And, even though the thief may think stealing is perfectly fine, he or she can be rightfully prevented from doing so because stealing is a violation of the rights of the property owner, who is a human and a person.

The slavery analogy has already been made elsewhere in the comments, and, without meaning to offend, I think it's a fair one. Slavery could only be justified if the slaves were morally subhuman and lacked a right to liberty. And, in retrospect, it's obviously ridiculous to say that one black individual could be a person, and another a slave, based on the opinion of his master or anyone else. It's equally ridiculous to say that an individual slave was only a person if their master, or society, or the Supreme Court, or Abraham Lincoln said so. They were just people, plain and simple. There could, or at least should, be no agreeing to disagree about slavery.

Similarly, fetal person hood and moral rights aren't a subjective issue. Nor are the pre-born selective; that is, one can't be a "blob of cells," and another a baby. Either abortion always kills a baby, or it never does.

I believe that all human life has an inherent value and moral status, and that the pre-born are persons with a right to be born, and that abortion is a violation of their right to life. All of that makes me more than okay, when it comes to this issue, with imposing my morality on others.

Michele Hriscko Cook said...

Have you ever read Abby Johnson's book "unPlanned"?? I strongly suggest it if you want a "source". Talk about someone who has been on all sides. From post abortive woman to clinic escort, to clinic director and now pro life champion. She has been in all positions and can and does tell it all from all angles.

Guest said...

Sorry Amber, said something somewhat similar to you down below without realizing you were the same person.

Amber Leigh Harper said...

Please keep in mind that "wise man" is a relative phrase. The moon is far away unless you compare it to the sun. Not trying to be funny, but it's true. You're entitled to your own opinions, though.

"As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice.", "I believe today that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator.", "The man who has no sense of history, is like a man who has no ears or eyes.", "This world of ours would be inconceivable without the practical existence of a religious belief." Adolf Hitler. Like you said, Hitler had many followers. Just saying.

True, I have no right to inhabit this planet. I'm pretty sure I mentioned I was adopted. My parents were both 20 years old, in college, and weren't sure they wanted to marry. They ended up graduating, marrying other people, and having other children. THANK GOODNESS they gave me up because my parents (yes, I call them mom and dad. I was 9 days old when I came home. My brother was 3 days old when he came home. My parents had a fatal pregnancy and were told they were genetically incompatible. They buried a child who was 10 days old. They decided to adopt. Awesome for me!). I do love sources but there are just as many providing information supporting the opposite. This will boil down to personal views.

"Abortion is murder, plain and simple." Your perspective. Got it the first time. Don't agree. Sad I would degrade? You made the simple comment that ALL things are right or wrong. I guess sometimes you make the wrong decision (mental health day). I don't believe there's only right or wrong. Eh, agree to disagree.

Michele Hriscko Cook said...

Hitler WAS actually a very wise man, he actually had a genious IQ, did you know that? He was also a very evil man. Wisdom has nothing to do with morals. Another thing Hitler said was "How fortunate for rulers that people do not think".

As I said I am sorry you would bring the value of a human life down to the level of taking an extra day off of work. That shows your perspective quite clearly. That is not me degrading your views, that is you degrading yourself. Personally I think you, and all persons are worth more as human beings.

No, I do not "agree to disagree" however I refuse to continue debating with someone with such a little value on human life. I pray you will watch those links since you stated in was only "my opinion" that babies are "hacked up". Maybe if you watched one, if you have half a heart, you will learn something and maybe your heart will be softened a little toward your fellow human beings.

God Bless you, know you don't believe in him, and that it is only my "personal opinion" and this isn't a religious post, but I do and as you said I am entitled to my opinion and therefore I can pray for whomever I choose to see truth and justice for all, including the least of us.

Amber Leigh Harper said...

"But we DO require parents to provide basic care for their children, including food and shelter. This means that they have to use their bodies and money in ways that they may not always want to, because they have a moral and legal obligation to their children, and children have rights which supersede some of their parents'." Yes, we legally state those are requirements but do we enforce this? I'm adopted. We had social workers in the house ALL THE TIME when I was a child; Ensuring my parents were suitable to raise a child. How many births are not reported? Not investigated? How many children are aborted, abused (physically, emotionally, mentally, this could be an INFINITE list, etc), murdered (should you consider abortion and murder different). I told my mother at the age of 12 YEARS OLD I didn't want to have biological children. Guess what... I STILL DON'T! In Texas, you cannot be sterilized at 12 yo. My future goal is to foster and adopt! Because I'm adopted? Maybe! Who cares? How many of you ONLY have sexual intercourse with an agreeing/viable member of the opposite sex? The point of sex is procreation. That's the crazy thing about humans; we DON'T only have sex to procreate (pride, hungry, bored, money, physical gratification *masturbation anyone?* etc.). So, why are we expected to only have kids if we WANT them? Adoption is AWESOME!!! But, should I impose that on everyone in the world? NO WAY!!! Should you have an abortion? IDK, your decision. Should I? YES! I have NO WANT TO to be pregnant. Are there plenty of kids to be adopted in the world? YES! I might adopt them. Am I less than you? This is quite the moral question, yes?

Deefr said...

Understandable, but I used this tone because of Reverend Sean's tone. His tone was very attack-oriented, and at the end of his, he basically said, in his own way, that we only care about fetuses and we basically hate, or at least don't care about the mom. I think it's fair to answer mean-spirited post like his/hers with aggressive responses. Think of it this way, everything you say I did in my reply, he also did in his initial post.

Deefr said...

What? I LOVE peaches..they are my favorite fruit. I especially like the local ones around August/September. Can't wait for some cobbler. ;)

Clinton said...

Excellent article. It's important to realize that there's no "one size fits all" description of pro-choice people, since they all differ on many different aspects of the abortion issue. Just a couple of things to add.

Pro-life philosopher Trent Horn refers to the argument you do, that pro-choice people see the unborn as having the same value as, say, a beloved pet "Golden Retriever Reasoning." This is usually seen by pro-choice people who take the Gradualist position. It's not just that they have the moral worth of an animal, but that they gradually become more valuable as they grow in the womb, until they finally have the same moral worth as a human child once they're born.

Also, I do know some pro-choice people who do not consider themselves "pro-abortion," but still view the unborn child as a parasite (which is why it's not wrong to kill them, under their view). They just believe that if a woman wants to keep her "parasite," that's her choice.


Again, as you mentioned, it's very difficult to find analogies and viewpoints that fit all, or even most, pro-choice people since there are a plethora of pro-choice views.

JoAnna Wahlund said...

"You are imposing your morality standards and "beginning of life" views on everyone; not everyone shares these views."


The beginning of life is not a subjective moral opinion, it's an objective scientific one. Science clearly shows that life begins at conception - ask any embryologist. At conception, a new organism of the species homo sapiens - a human being - exists.

If I denied the law of gravity and accused you of "imposing your belief" regarding gravity on me, would that make the law of gravity subjective? Could I then choose to fly because I didn't believe in it?

JoAnna Wahlund said...

By definition, a parasite is an organism that is a different species than its host. Therefore, it is objective scientific fact that an unborn child is not a parasite.

Amber Leigh Harper said...

Funny and intelligent. Don't agree with everything you say but appreciate the thought behind your statements. Not sure I agree with the "tit-for-tat" view. Yes, the "congratulations" was condescending but yours was a pretty tough blow, throughout. IDK where you are but I've been told our Fredericksburg peaches are the best! Wouldn't have a personal clue on that one, though.

Amber Leigh Harper said...

Thanks, JoAnna, for providing the definition. Did you even read my post or did you just see "PARASITE" and jump on dictionary.com?

JoAnna Wahlund said...

Interesting, you avoid the point entirely. Do you agree that an unborn child is not biologically a parasite, or do you disagree?

Amber Leigh Harper said...

Where did I state I don't believe conception is the beginning of life? That would be an assumption on your part. Additionally, I did not use the term "conception" but "beginning of life" because that's a concept people disagree on. I simply stated that not everyone feels that way. We must be cautious with laws and judgements because we don't all share the same beliefs. Anyone can NOT believe in gravity, doesn't affect me (I do believe in gravity, btw). It's when a concept DOES affect others that it becomes a discussion like this. Does abortion affect anyone but the mother? Some believe so, others do not. And, so, welcome to the discussion! :)

JoAnna Wahlund said...

The beginning of life = conception. That's scientific fact so it's irrelevant if people who are anti-science choose not to believe it. The unbelief of others doesn't mean it's not an objectively true fact.

"We must be cautious with laws and judgements because we don't all share the same beliefs."

So, you're making the objective judgement that there are no objective judgements? Do you not see the paradox?

Abortion is a human rights issue so how it "affects" anyone else is irrelevant. I'll fight for the right to life of all human beings whether their deaths "affect" me or not.

Amber Leigh Harper said...

Nope, didn't avoid anything. You provided a definition to make a point about a comment I posted clearly stating "not definition." It's called an analogy (definition: partial similarity; used to clarify or help explain). Additionally, you didn't ask me a question, previously. Now that you have I will gladly answer (NOT avoid): Yes, JoAnna, I agree that an unborn child is not biologically a parasite.

Amber Leigh Harper said...

You sure use the word "fact" a lot. I try not to because I'm a SCIENTIST and "fact" is a pretty powerful word. Not arguing your "fact," just making an observation. Scientists do that; we make observations.

Love the 3rd paragraph; made me laugh. I think I'll "avoid" the two questions because I believe them to be rhetorical.

Great! I admire that you have a confident stance on the issue. I tell my students it's not so much important that we all agree on everything but, rather, that we are educated on topics and can intelligently express our views.

LN said...

Your entire comment uses the naturalistic fallacy. Just because something is "natural" doesn't make it morally acceptable!

LN said...

Bodily autonomy doesn't mean you get to do whatever you *want* with your body. It means no one has a right to *use* your body against your will. Your examples miss that completely.

LN said...

" Your professional attitude and education on this topic is quite apparent by the phrasing "slicing up humans" (So, that's how they do it!)."

Actually, yeah, they dismember the fetus a lot of the time. Cut off and pull out a leg, then an arm, leg, etc. You could definitely call that "slicing up humans".

LN said...

Amber,


This post was indeed to show people differing beliefs on the moral worth of the fetus. The idea is to better the pro-life/pro-choice line of communication.


However, how people feel about the fetus doesn't dictate what it actually is -- a living human being. How I feel about you, for example, won't change the fact that you're a living human being. Science does say that a unique organism of the human species is created upon fertilization of an egg by a spermatozoa.


Is it wrong for society to impose its idea of human life on me, for example by protecting *your* life? If society says, "Amber is a living human being with rights and so you can't kill her" -- is that also wrong?


It seems fairly obvious to me that all our laws are a way of imposing a collective moral standard on *everybody* regardless of their agreement. So why act like this is a new thing?

chicagorefugee said...

But it does not, or should not, mean that you can just do away with the natural and foreseeable consequences of your use of your own body by off-loading those consequences onto another living being.

Deefr said...

chicagorefugee did a fine job rebutting that...but to add to it.

1) So, that's all the fetus is to you? Someone "using someone else's body?" Goes well with the initial article of how pro-aborts feel about the fetus. A parasite.

2) Where, in any document this country was founded on do we see the right to bodily autonomy? As was pointed out in a different article here, even Roe v Wade rejected that argument. (Not that Roe v Wade was in any way, a good decision.)

3) If no one can *use* another's body against their will. (Later I may challenge the accuracy of that statement, but no time now.)Then wouldn't the mom needs the fetus's consent to abort its' body? What about its' bodily autonomy?

LN said...

Maybe you shouldn't make so many assumptions about people.

1) No, I'm staunchly pro-life. I just don't see the point in strawmanning your opponent, it gets us nowhere. You rebut a concept of bodily autonomy that nobody actually believes in. What's the point of that?

2) I'm not seeing why it has to be written out in founding documents for it to be a legitimate right. Women also weren't detailed the right to vote in any founding documents-- is that something we should ignore now? As some have pointed out before, there have been court cases regarding bodily autonomy -- consider the court case McFall vs. Shimp (see here http://blog.secularprolife.org/2012/03/bodily-integrity.html).

3) Aborting doesn't have to involve using the fetus's body against its will. Simple removal (cut the cord) averts that problem. Removing a person who is using your bodily resources to sustain themselves does not equate to using their body/bodily organs in any way.

This is why I think it's important to understand the concept of bodily autonomy.

LN said...

Yeah for the most part I agree that your own actions are a form of consent to the risks (conceiving) and you shouldn't be able to LATER opt out at the cost of their life.


It's more an argument against outlawing rape abortions. Because the mother never consented in the first place, so she should still be able to retain her bodily autonomy.

Noelle Hunt said...

no law anywhere to force a person to give one drop of blood to save another even if that person is their own child. That's the key point

Noelle Hunt said...

Please note no law anywhere to force a person to give one drop of blood to save another even if that person is their own child. That's the key point

JoAnna Wahlund said...

You're a scientist who doesn't believe in scientific fact? Interesting. Doesn't that invalidate all scientific experiments if there are no scientific facts on which to base said experiments? Is e=mc squared just an opinion, then? The periodic table of elements is a guideline?

Where do you teach, by the way? I'd like to make sure I don't send my kids there. I'd prefer that they learn actual facts instead of "opinions."

chicagorefugee said...

And even in Texas, she has 20 weeks to make that decision. I think that's more than enough time, don't you?

chicagorefugee said...

We had to amend the Constitution in 1920 to ensure women's right to vote, so I'm don't think that your analogy holds ....

LN said...

Right, it wasn't even in the founding documents. We had to change it later. So referring to the founding documents for "legitimate" rights doesn't even make sense. The analogy holds.

LN said...

There's actually quite a few reasons a woman might not get an abortion before 20 weeks, some involving coercion. If a woman did not consent to risk someone else using her body, then why would there be a time limit on exercising her unchanged right to bodily autonomy?

Coyote said...

"It means no one has a right to *use* your body against your will."

OK--so would a rapist be violating the woman's bodily autonomy? Yes, correct (since he is using the woman's body, but not to sustain his life)? What about a child who accidentally super-glues his finger inside of a woman's or man's bellybutton?

Coyote said...

Here's a question, though--what about women who were raped but are unable to prove it in time? Should they be forced to carry their pregnancies to term or should their word that they were raped be taken as fact?

Coyote said...

Because after 21-24 weeks, the woman can preserve her bodily autonomy without killing the fetus by simply giving birth to him/her at that moment.

Coyote said...

I agree with your point here. Of course, I probably don't think that someone being a human being should automatically equal to someone legally being considered a person (anencephalic infants, et cetera).

Coyote said...

"Simple removal (cut the cord) averts that problem."

Is this possible to do in all cases without putting the pregnant woman's life and/or health at greater risk? Also, what if this is hypothetically not possible?

As a side note, I thought that the pro-rape exception response to this (the fetus's body being chopped up into little pieces) was that since the pregnant woman's bodily autonomy was violated first, she has a right to reclaim her bodily autonoym even if it means violating someone else's bodily autonomy in the process.

Coyote said...

Just curious: What if hypothetically someone got a kidney disease due to the genes of one of his/her parents, this parent's kidney is a match for him/her, and there is no guarantee that he/she will be able to get another kidney in time due to a kidney shortage--should this parent be forced to donate his/her kidney to his/her child (who has a kidney disease due to the genes that this parent passed on to him/her)?

Coyote said...

No, but I am not sure whether the law would allow someone to claim his/her kidney from someone else if his/her kidney was accidentally taken from him/her and given to someone else in an accidental kidney transplant mix-up.

Coyote said...

I have no problem with forced blood transfusions and forced organ donations in certain cases.

Deefr is correct that the fetus is given LESS rights than a fully grown human, since fetuses don't have the right to vote, drive, et cetera. However, both the fetus and a fully grown human should have the right to life.

Coyote said...

Read one of my other responses to you,

Just because the law says something does not necessarily mean that this law is correct and that this law should not be changed.

Coyote said...

I agree with some of your points, but the woman's uterus (which the fetus uses in order to sustain its/his/her life) had the woman's DNA, not the fetus's.

Coyote said...

Actually, I had previously heard that having a uterus can improve/increase (what is the correct term here?) a woman's orgasm, though I am not sure if this information is accurate.

Coyote said...

"As some have pointed out before, there have been court cases regarding
bodily autonomy -- consider the court case McFall vs. Shimp"

That was a county court case, not a national/federal court case.

Deefr said...

That analogy says "You don't have to save someone"..That is correct. That is quite different from "You can kill someone." Guess I'll never see where the fetus using the mom to sustain life means "You can kill it."

Deefr said...

First, my apologies, you did a GREAT job of coming across as pro-choice. Kind of validates a statement I made the "We understand their position better than they do ours." I will also say i"m of aware of any case that has made "bodily autonomy" a right. (Founding documents or otherwise.) Even Roe v Wade rejected that. I've often contended it's sounds good, but isn't real.



Guess the next question is about the umbilical cord. Would you consider that part of the fetus's body..or the mom's? It seems to me that an argument could be made either way.


Again, my apologies for being "gruff"..Honestly, I'm usually not like that, I should make sure my day has been good in general before posting, so these discussions don't serve as a way to blow off steam.

argent said...

Hey Amber,

Thanks for your politeness and friendliness on such a difficult topic, it's pretty rare!

If you don't mind, you've made several different posts and many points, but I'm going to try and address them all here.

Above, you present the idea that the relationship between the fetal human and the adult in an unwanted pregnancy is a parasitic one, based on the fact that the adult does not desire the arrangement, but the fetal human requires it to survive. You then seem to be making an implicit appeal to our moral intuition that says that 'one has the right to remove a parasite from one's body'.

The first point that I would like to make is that, as others have said, the fetal human neither caused nor consented to the pregnancy arrangement. To first put someone against their will into a situation where they need external help to survive and then revoke that help is merely two-step murder. As an illustration, imagine a scuba diver pulled you underwater against your will, and sustained your life using the air from his lungs. Were he to then claim bodily autonomy and revoke your right to the use of his lungs, no one would claim he was justified in removing a parasite from his body.

Related to that is the fact that our assumption that 'one has the right to remove a parasite from one's body' is based on the ordinary circumstance in which the parasite is not human. But in a situation where the 'parasite' is a human being, our intuition can and does change. An example would be a case of conjoined twins, if surgical separation could be performed that would let one twin live, but would cause the death of the other. We know that the fact that one twin is independently viable while the other is not does not give the viable twin the right to separate from their otherwise healthy sibling.

Saying that a fetal human is a 'parasite', for the definition of 'parasite' that you offered (as distinct from a biological or dictionary definition) explains the relationship between the fetal human and the adult human, but it doesn't say anything about the inherent moral worth of the fetal human, who is still a human being. And I would certainly have to dispute your belief that humanity will never agree on when human life begins. From a biological standpoint, the question has already been answered. And from an ethical standpoint, the various ad-hoc justifications thrown around to argue that a fetal human is 'not a person' are ultimately as superficial as those given to argue that women or racial minorities were 'not people'. When applied to a situation outside of the womb, they grossly contradict people's moral intuition, and are exposed. I look forward to the day when ageism is combated as seriously as racism and sexism are today, and I firmly believe that dehumanization based on a person's level of development will one day be as ridiculous and contemptible as racism is now.

In any case, thanks for your two cents, and I hope we can discuss this further!

Faye Valentine said...

Actually, the placenta is what is used, which is an organ shared by mother and child. The mother uses it to sustain the life of her offspring, and the offspring uses it to withdraw nourishment from the mother (not blood-gestating children actually have their very own blood supply!). It contains genetics from both parties, but primarily the child, and it is what interacts with the uterus.

Coyote said...

Do you have a source for this? Do the DNA in the placenta is the same as the DNA of the prenatal child?

Coyote said...

"Guess the next question is about the umbilical cord. Would you consider
that part of the fetus's body..or the mom's? It seems to me that an
argument could be made either way."

Whose DNA does it have? The mother's, or the fetus's? Whatever your answer is to this answer would probably be the same answer to your other question (about whose body part it is).

Coyote said...

I don't really view a significant difference between not saving someone and actively killing someone if you are responsible for this individual's death in both cases.

Faye Valentine said...

http://www.nsta.org/publications/news/story.aspx?id=53497

"However, my point still stands about the fetus using the woman's body to sustain his/her/its life."

No more than any other child who uses the resources and bodily efforts of their parents to continue living.

My son breastfed for a year, and refused bottles and most attempts at any other food. For me, he was more of a drain on my bodily autonomy after he was born than beforehand.

Bilbo Baggins said...

I'm one of those 'I wouldn't choose abortion myself but I don't want it illegal' pro-choicers.
I would say I view the fetus differently depending on which stage of the pregnancy we're talking. In the first few days, the fertilized egg really is just a cell, or a couple of cells, and so I'd say it's a fact that it has no 'self' or 'identity'. So, I see aborting a fertilized egg as like swatting a fly, or scraping mould off your ceiling. It won't feel pain, it doesn't feel sadness.
On the other hand, late term abortion is like killing a baby, and so I'm against it unless the fetus is already dead or the mother's life is at risk.