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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Why I am Agnostic and Pro-life

Today's blog post is by guest blogger Nick Reynosa.

In a 2010 survey, Americans stated that the group of people that they trust the least is people of no religion. The study went on to say that Americans see irreligion as more suspect than other controversial lifestyles, including homosexuality. In this less than welcoming climate, it is easy to see how, for some young people, opening up about their lack of faith is akin to coming out of the closet, so to speak.

Being an atheist or agnostic in America isn’t the easiest of tasks. Likewise being a pro-life college student on a campus where the key age demographic (18-24) accounts for 44 percent of abortions performed isn’t a cake walk either. Yet I remain steadfastly pro-life and agnostic; as one secular person I know has described it, we are a minority within a minority.

So why do I hold both positions? Let me attempt to explain. Because the abortion debate is so extensively peppered with red-herrings and distractions, an interesting way for me to explain myself is to state issues that are NOT the reasons I am pro-life.

I am not pro-life because I am “anti-choice.” I believe in the maximum amount of just choices between consenting adults. I think women and men should have the right to choose to have sex or not. They should be able to choose whom they have sex with and when and how often they have sex. They should be able to access whatever scientific sexual education materials they are interested in and whatever types of birth control they prefer. Men and women who are not ready should be able to choose adoption and whether the adoption is open or closed. Women and men who are struggling as new parents should be able to choose to apply for government assistance for the sake of their new child.

But men and women should not be able to choose to take the life of their child. Not all choices are moral; the choice to own slaves is immoral, the choice to discriminate against minorities is immoral; choice is only the embodiment of freedom when those choices do not harm others.

I am not pro-life because I am against “women’s health.” I support the right of any woman to abort a pregnancy that poses a risk to her physical well-being. According to the Guttmacher Institute, only twelve percent involved issues with the mother’s health. In contrast, half of all babies aborted are female, and one-hundred percent of innocent female fetuses’ health is affected when they are intentionally killed. As the late and renowned atheist Christopher Hitchens stated, In order to terminate a pregnancy, you have to still a heartbeat, switch off a developing brain . . . break some bones and rupture some organs.” Therefore I ask: is the purpose of women’s health to keep women’s hearts beating or intentionally stop them? I support women’s health by opposing the 1,750 baby girls that were unjustly killed yesterday, are being unjustly killed today, and will be unjustly killed tomorrow; that’s opposing a real “war on women.”

I am not pro-life because I against bodily autonomy. I believe that men and women should be able to put whatever they want into their bodies so long as they are willing to accept the consequences. Pregnancy is not applicable to this principle because both parents should accept the risk of parenthood by engaging in consensual sex. In rape cases, because consent is not present, I do believe a bodily autonomy argument is compelling and therefore I do support an exception for rape cases.

I am not pro-life because I am a clueless, sexist man who will never get pregnant. I consider myself a male feminist. I do not want to send all women back to the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant. On the contrary I have an equal amount of respect for women who wish to focus on their education or careers, for women who wish to be stay at home as mothers, or for those who wish to do both at some point in their lives. I hope my future spouse is an intelligent, accomplished, and independent woman; likewise I wish to live in a world where my future daughters have the same opportunities available as my future sons. In fact I hope the day Roe v. Wade is overturned, we have a pro-life female chief justice and a pro-life woman as our president. And on that beautiful day I would love to have pro-choicers lecture me about sexism.

I am not pro-life because of religion or politics.  I am an agnostic and a registered independent. I hold some liberal, some conservative, and some libertarian viewpoints. I am certainly not pro-life because I want to create a wedge issue to divide people. I wish people would naturally recognize the dignity of the unborn. This would save me the time and money trying to persuade them; however if they don’t recognize fetal humanity I have a moral obligation to try to show them.

I am not pro-life because I want to restrict people’s freedom. If I am a “culture warrior” in any sense I would not be on the conservative side. In fact I am very socially libertarian on every issue except abortion. The right to an abortion perverts the very notion of freedom. As the classic libertarian quote states, the freedom to swing your arms stops at the tip of someone else’s nose. Likewise our sexual and reproductive freedom stops at the tip an innocent’s baby nose.

I am pro-life because it is the pre-eminent moral and legal dilemma of our time. In determining which side to take I’m often reminded of the famous quote of Supreme Court justice Potter Stewart who said he did not know how to define obscenity, but he added, “I know it when I see it”. Well as an agnostic and social libertarian, I don’t have a definition of barbarism but I know it when I see it. For anyone who has ever seen an abortion, it’s hard to imagine how they could describe it as anything but barbaric. The founder of NARAL himself, Dr. Bernard Nathanson, became a fervent pro-life activist as the development of ultrasound technology opened his eyes to horror of the procedure. Before his death he wrote his autobiography, in which he stated, “I am one of those who helped to usher in this barbaric age.”

Thankfully for Dr. Nathanson, he spent the last thirty-two years of his life attempting to make things right. We are equally fortunate to use our lives to end this great injustice. Whether you’re a secularist, believer, man, woman, Republican, Democrat, or even a former pro-choicer, we can all wear the label “pro-life” proudly.

Pictured: guest blogger Nick.
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63 comments:

Star Seed said...

Well stated. It's also a breath of fresh air that those from the secular movement are also pro-life (in the real sense of the word). The moment one mentions that they have a belief in a deity in a middle of debate then the argument is automatically dismissed as invalid, ridiculed in a most vulgar manner, deemed a backwards, woman-hating, delusional monster (even though I'm a woman) and judged as having no intelligence or reason even though I have used similar arguments. Not without good reason because a lot of those that are religious pro-lifers can be extremists that appear to do hate women, would punish women for being raped and oppose birth control. Thank you for writing and sharing your beliefs.

Crystal Kupper said...

I love reading these. Keep 'em coming!

Maidrin Rua said...

I cannot agree with you on allowing for abortion in the case of rape. The circumstances of one's conception should not determine one's right to life. Either human beings have a right to life at all stages or they don't. Allowing for any exception breaches that principle.

LN said...

I don't believe people have an unlimited right to life. If a woman did not consent to sex, she's not responsible for sustaining a life at the cost of her body. It would be moral and right, but unless we would legally force someone to sustain the violinist for example, its just not legally enforceable. The reason I think most abortions should be illegal is because consent to sex is consent to the risks, and claiming bodily autonomy in those cases isn't sufficient since consent is, in essence, a waiving of that right.

The Bint said...

Some serious questions, if you'd indulge me:
If you find exceptions for physical heath, just how serious does the health issue have to be? Does it have to be life threatening to be worthy of abortion? What if the woman has to be on bed rest for 6 months to carry the pregnancy to term, then another 2 months after the pregnancy to recover? Should she be forced to risk unemployment & her family have to suffer financially because her pregnancy was risky enough to merit an abortion? If she refuses bed rest & miscarries, is she not taking enough responsibility for having had sex & gotten pregnant? Should parents be able to decide to abort a child with lethal developmental anomalies (anencephaly, trisomy 9, etc)? Or are they being irresponsible & selfish?

And what about mental health? If yes, does the diagnosis have to come before the pregnancy to be eligible? Do you think it's too easy to fake a mental health condition? I am not saying women with mental health issues must terminate pregnancy, but if i means they have to go off meds due to birth defects or that the pregnancy exacerbate the condition, should they be able to choose abortion?

GEIxBattleRifle said...

''The reason I think most abortions should be illegal is because consent to sex is consent to the risks and claiming bodily autonomy in those cases isn't sufficient since consent is, in essence, a waiving of that right. .''

Yes just like consent to walking by a swamp is consenting to the risks of a mosquito or leach to attach itself to you so should I let them suck my body resources out of me without my conscious continued permission? The unborn human after all is nothing more but natural mindless biology for a bit just like the two entities listed above so I do believe the killings can be looked at as the same and even once the unborn human is not mindless it can then be comparable to killing a rat that you gave permission to be in your house since you left the door open for a bit.

omniouseye . said...

It's easy to make a judgement on people actions base simply on our own moral standings. It's imply little commitment to know the circumstances of each individual experience and attitude toward their decision. In all your arguments you address little time on the socio economic problems that bring on unwanted pregancies. Or in countries where social program by government and support of their immediate personal networks are absent. Where your moral compass when you see children who are unwanted begging for money on streets? Where your moral compass when those little girls grow up unbalanced, abandonned and neglected to fall back on alcohol drugs and prostitution to survive. On boys who grows up without their father because their father don't want anything to do with them and turn to a life of crime. Of course its speculation but statistics as shown reduction of criminality due to introduction of abortion. I would invite to witness and live the lives of those individuals who are face with such challenges. A family of six with less than a 100 dollard per month income in poor country. You speak of life but those lives are also treathen daily with sickness and tragedy which is as or more barbaric than just abortion. abortion offer a chance for proper family planning to deminish socio economic pressures. Yes individuals could be responsible for their action and avoid sex for unwanted pregancy. But its like expecting an alcoholic to avoid drinking for good health. Most don't have strenght of character you seem to want to impose on their lives or even cares for it. And we definately don't want an alcoholic to be responsible for a child upbringing. Nothing is garantee of course as we never what outcome ultimately our decision will lead. But I believe in giving every single child the best chances in a happy, nuturing and fufilling life without having to go through the experiences mentionned above and feeling responsible for the failuires of his or her parents.

LN said...

I think you're misunderstanding me. The responsibility a person holds as a result of their actions doesn't mean they *should not be allowed to do anything at all whatsoever* after the risk comes to pass. Rather, it means that IF there are competing rights, then bodily rights may not be strong enough to overcome those competing rights where they would have originally.

So in your example with the swamp (and in other people's example of common injuries sustained by people walking along, minding their own business) -- there are no competing rights as a result of your actions because a leech has no rights (and should not have any rights). So even if you're somewhat responsible for your situation, there's no reason not to remove the leech (or get help).

In contrast, with pregnancy, there's a competing right of the preborn human being to *not be killed*. As a human being, I believe they deserve human rights. Bodily autonomy competes with those rights, and in cases of consensual sex, responsibility for the outcome means that the mother should not be allowed to restore her bodily autonomy at the cost of that child's life.

Joseph N. Anderson said...

For the Hitchens quote, I'd suggest citing his original article and not a secondary source (as good as it is). Sorry, I'm a librarian as well as a pro-life atheist.

I looked it up for you: Christopher Hitchens, "Minority Report." The Nation. April 24, 1989. p. 546.

M Leblanc said...

The simple fact that you are a man dismiss your opinion on this subject entirely. Why? Because there is no way for you to have an objective opinion on a subject for which you cannot, by simple biological fact, have the necessary experience and information, so your opinion is necessarily idiotic. My suggestion? Butt out of it. This is a subject that concern women and should be dealt with by women.(I'm a man BTW, and no I would not try to force my opinion on women, that would be idiotic).

Coyote said...

By that rationale, males shouldn't have opinions *for* abortion either, and neither should infertile females have any opinions on abortion as well.

Oh and for the record, it might be possible for current biological males to eventually get pregnant in the future (for instance, if they get a sex change and/or due to something else).

Also, it is worth mentioning that you appear to be guilty of the argumentum ad hominem fallacy here.

Coyote said...

I agree with everything which you wrote here, but I am a bit hesitant saying that consent to sex equals consent to the risks. Why? Well, for instance, if someone starts eating and then begins choking, then based on your rationale, one can say/think "Oh, I shouldn't feel bad at all if I don't help this individual. After all, he/she consented to the risk of choking to death."

Coyote said...

"Except the rape exception, I don't think that the life of the human who has committed no crime should be forfeited even then. "

Do you also oppose unplugging the Violinist in Judith Thomson's Violinist scenario?

LN said...

I'm speaking strictly in legal terms, not moral terms. I don't think we should *legally* require someone to help a choking person or fear punishment, do you?

LN said...

By that logic, men should not be able to have an opinion on female genital mutilation.

Coyote said...

"I don't think we should *legally* require someone to help a choking person or fear punishment, do you?"

No, unless it's someone fault that this other individual is choking in the first place.

However, if one says that consent to A equals consent to risking the consequences of A, then I don't see why it can't lead to the conclusion that one shouldn't morally feel bad at all about refusing to help save a choking person. I am aware of the difference between legality and morality, but I am not sure if this makes a difference here.

Hopefully what I wrote here makes sense.

LN said...

I think it makes a huge difference here. Being able to differentiate between morality and legality is crucial. Laws do not encompass all of morality nor should they. We don't have laws against cheating, but not many would say that *that* condones cheating or means it is moral. Similarly we don't have laws requiring you to help a choking person, and it would be fallacious to say that means it is moral to NOT help/immoral to choose to help.


Specifically, a scenario that lacks a law either prohibiting (cheating) or requiring action (save choking person) means there's no way to draw a conclusion as to the morality of the situation.


Like I could see an argument for drawing a morality from existing laws prohibiting (murder) or requiring action (taxes). But not for a *lack* thereof.

Clinton said...

If he hasn't actually seen the original, then the best thing to do is to quote it from the secondary source. It's an honesty thing; he shouldn't give the impression that he's actually read the original quote if he hasn't.

Clinton said...

LN and Coyote have already revealed the fallaciousness behind this reasoning, but by this reasoning we should also overturn Roe v. Wade, because it was decided on by nine men.

Joseph N. Anderson said...

Thanks, Clinton. I think the best thing is actually to not use the quote at all if he hasn't seen the original. What if the secondary source quoted it wrong? That's how mis-quotes get started.

The Nun said...

Clinton
I have to remember that reply.

Clinton said...

Yeah, a lot of ways you can go responding to this assertion. :)

Nick Reynosa said...

Sorry about that Joseph; I originally went to the Nation's website, but they wanted a membership fee to access their archives. Next time I'll try harder to find a free version of the original source. Thanks for the tip.

Nick Reynosa said...

Good Point Johnny; though my 50 percent remark was referring to abortions in the United States. You are correct however in noting that the injustice of abortion affects more female fetuses worldwide.

Nick Reynosa said...

To answer your question the bint- No I do not believe the health problem necessarily be life threatening. Many pro-lifers take a utilitarian approach to this, and only support exceptions such as ectopic pregnancies. My view however deals more with what the parents actually consented to. Consenting to pregnancy is not the same as consenting to its complications. Pro-choicers often claim that our positions restrict access to health care. In the case of elective abortions this argument is ludicrous, however in non life threatening cases (although rare) they may be on to something. This is why it vital that our positions never play into our opponents talking points. In regards to the examples you give. My point is that allowing for exceptions for health and rape, Pro-lifers take away the talking points from pro-choicers and force them to debate on demand elective abortion something that is very hard to sell and something they continually avoided arguing for. instead they usually hide behind the shield of rape or health. We can take that away by being more nuanced.

#1) My health exceptions would deal with medical complications.If thebed rest you speak off is not defined as a complication then yes I think the mother should not be allowed to abort. I'm not an OBGYN so I don't know normal the bed rest you speak is and whether or not it could be accurately described as a complication. But I do know that the general and natural burden of pregnancy is not a complication. Just as the physical burdens of parenting; providing, watching, clothing, bathing, feeding an infant are not complications and do not justify child abuse.

#2)The concept of maternity leave should be adjusted away from a one size fits all mentality. Not all pregnancies are the same, maternity leave should adjust accordingly. I support govt. legislation to do so.

#3 Absolutely not under any circumstances; In order to be disable you first be alive. Being disable does not necessarily preclude you from having a great life; should Helen Keller's parents have aborted her. Further more are you saying people are better off dead than disabled. Try saying that to a room full of disabled people and see how progressive they view you.

#4) I don't think the parents are selfish although I think their notions about the happiness and potential of disabled people is very misguided.

#5) If you look at Doe v Bolton the famous case that introduced mental health see here (Whether, in the words of the Georgia statute, "an abortion is necessary" is a professional judgment that the Georgia physician will be called upon to make routinely. We agree with the District Court, 319 F. Supp., at 1058, that the medical judgment may be exercised in the light of all factors - physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman's age - relevant to the well-being of the patient. All these factors may relate to health.) You see the court was reaching with its definition. Physical health represents a small % of cases so they needed a clause to cover many of the elective abortions that were occurring. Mental health is very subjective and easily objectively provable in some instances. Also distress is a particularly tenuous mental health argument; I was distressed when I started paying my school loans, that doesn't mean I shouldn't have to pay for them! Parental responsibility can be overwhelming but it is responsibility none the less.
#6 If a women knows she needs her mental meds and that these meds would harm a fetus but she still takes the risk of pregnancy, the rights of the fetus would out weigh the rights to the meds in that particular example.
Great Questions I hope my answers helped to clarify.

Nick Reynosa said...

M Leblanc- just because your not part of a group doesn't mean you lose your right to free speech in a topic concerning members of another group. Men marched for women's suffrage. Non-slaves marched to end slavery. Whites marched to end segregation. Straight people have marched for gay rights. Citizens have marched for undocumented immigrants. Senior citizens marched for 18 year olds to have the right to vote. Women marched against the all male draft in Vietnam. Not to mentioned Abortion is not just a women's issue; the victims of abortion are both male and female. Not only the babies who are aborted male and female, but also the fathers, grandmothers, grandmothers,brothers, sisters, and cousins are affected in the loss of each child. Instead of arguing for censoring men, why don't you post a pic of the bloody aftermath of an abortion and then elaborate on why your proud to support it.

Russell Crawford said...

The main reason that abortion should be legal is because there is no way to prove that the zygote is human, much less alive. So no one should be allowed to take the rights of a woman under the auspices that they are saving a baby.

In addition, one must kill a born baby in any effort to save a fetus.

Russell Crawford said...

The laws against abortion were passed by men, so your argument is pointless. If the judges simply corrected the error of other men, then the law by men was just as fallacious.

Russell Crawford said...

I would love to hear them.

Russell Crawford said...

The question should be, who has the moral justification to stop abortion? The answer is, no one.

Russell Crawford said...

Because 70 percent of conceptions abort naturally, consent to sex is consent to abortion, not pregnancy.

Clinton said...

No. The argument is "men have no say in the abortion issue." If that's true, then the men who passed Roe v. Wade had no say and the law should be overturned.

Clinton said...

I think that's the best thing, too, so we're definitely in agreement. The problem is it's not always possible (because sometimes the original quote is in an out-of-print and hard to come by book, or something). But I definitely agree that the best thing to avoid possible embarrassment is to look up the original quote for yourself.

LN said...

It would be consent to either natural abortion or pregnancy. Why would one being more likely mean there's no responsibility for the unlikely scenario?


By the way, I don't think it's as high as 70%, I've researched it before. If you have a source, though, I'd like to see it.

Russell Crawford said...

The problem you have is that the pro life movement must let a born baby die in any effort to force the birth of an unwanted fetus. In other words, to save a bloody fetus you must make an innocent born baby die.

Russell Crawford said...

Of course you are right. But there are other perspectives.
It would be consent to abortion because that is the issue at hand that is controversial. No consent is required for pregnancy as it is presumed to be a wanted condition. There are no laws against pregnancy so no consent is required.

In the sense that the pregnancy is unwanted, all that is required is consent to abortion to cure the pregnancy problem. And because 70 percent of conceptions abort naturally, any consent to sex is consent to abortion.
The actual percent is above 70 percent. Many accept the idea that 75 percent die in the first trimester and 30 percent of those remaining die before birth. So the actual high end estimated number would be 75% plus 9% or 84% of total conceptions.
http://humupd.oxfordjournals.org/content/8/4/333.full.pdf+html

Russell Crawford said...

It that is true, then the men who passed the anti abortion laws should have their laws overturned.

LN said...

Again, it would only be consent to the possibility of a natural abortion (i.e. a miscarriage). A chemical or surgical abortion is not one of the risks of sex, that makes no sense at all.

LN said...

Are you speaking of "human" in the scientific term or some arbitrary term? Same question for "alive."

Russell Crawford said...

"But men and women should not be able to choose to take the life of their child.
And pro lifers should not be able to choose to let innocent babies die in an effort to force the birth of a fetus.
You, as a pro lifer, have a choice, you can save one of the 7 billion people that are born and dying at the rate of 1.8 per second, or you can choose to let those people die and save a fetus instead.

Russell Crawford said...

No one said an induced abortion is a risk of sex, but a choice to have sex is a choice to have a miscarriage 84% of the time. That of course would be irrelevant except for the fact that pro lifers make the intentional choice not to attempt to save those miscarriages. They let them die. That is a very important aspect of the abortion issue. If the fetus is a person as they claim, then they should focus on saving the 84 percent of miscarriages and not the small number of induced abortions.

Russell Crawford said...

I am speaking of human in the scientific sense. I am speaking of "alive" in the common vernacular.
Until the DNA of the genotype expresses the correct phenotype it is impossible to tell if the product of conception is alive or human enough to live as a human. There is no doubt that there is living tissue, but most of the time the tissue is not a living human. And some times the DNA of the tissue is not human enough to ever live as a human.

LN said...

Your link said it was about 70% so I'm not sure why you're saying 84% now.


But in any case, natural death doesn't justify purposeful killing.


And I hear similar accusations, basically calling prolifers hypocrites because they aren't doing everything to stop all deaths, natural or purposeful. For example, "if pro-lifers were for real, they'd be adopting all the unwanted kids." Right, do you have to adopt abused children to be against child abuse? If you aren't making every attempt to do that, should you not support laws that prohibit child abuse?


Furthermore, it is "small" relative to miscarriages (if your stat is correct), but it is certainly NOT small. A million children die a year from abortion -- that's like the number of deaths from heart disease and cancer *combined*. If prolifers can do something about that -- which I believe they can, certainly more easily than stopping miscarriages -- then why would they not?

LN said...

Ok but you said abortion should be legal because of the zygote? You do know that the zygote exists for a fleeting moment, and as soon as it divides (which is immediately), it becomes a blastocyst. By the time it implants, it has developed into an embryo. No pregnancy test would be detecting the zygote/blastocyst stage, it would detect an embryo.


Thus, even if I were to grant that the zygote is "maybe not alive/human", induced abortions do not kill those questionable cases. They kill very much human, alive, and normally developing embryos. The whole point of abortion is to *stop* a normal developing embryo from continuing his/her development.

LN said...

Plus your argument is not, "it is definitely not a living human, therefore it's ok to kill it."


Your argument is that we don't *know* if it is a living human yet.


So abortion, even in that sense, would be a grievous wrong because you could be killing a normally developing human.

LN said...

If 100 people died every day from in incurable, complex disease, while 5 people a day died because some guy was walking around shooting them, should we stop and work on curing the 100 even though we have no formal training whatsover in the field of medicine? Or should we stop the guy shooting everyone by tackling him?


You act as if every case is equally affected by our efforts. It seems intentionally obtuse.

Russell Crawford said...

That is a straw man fallacy and has no value in the debate.
You are comparing one born life to another born life. There are in fact 108 born people dying every minute. You could save them. Or you could save 108 zygotes that are being smashed by a man with a hammer. You cannot save both, because you as a single person cannot save 108 people per minute and if you stop saving babies to save zygotes, then babies continue to die. So you are simply killing babies to save zygotes.

Russell Crawford said...

{Plus your argument is not, "it is definitely not a living human, therefore it's ok to kill it." }
My argument is not that it is OK to kill anything. My argument is that you should not be allowed to let innocent babies die to save fetuses. Regardless, the zef is not a baby, child or adult and the zef should not be saved at the expense of a bca.

"Your argument is that we don't *know* if it is a living human yet."
My argument is that it is impossible to prove it is alive or human, but a born person is alive and human. So a born person should not be allowed to die to save what can't be proved to be alive or human.

"So abortion, even in that sense, would be a grievous wrong because you could be killing a normally developing human."
You can't prove there is a developing human that is alive with the correct DNA until birth. So you should never attempt to save a zygote that another person does not want. Until you can prove it is a human, you cannot justify taking away bodily autonomy.

Russell Crawford said...

"Ok but you said abortion should be legal because of the zygote?
No, I said you should not be able to kill a baby to save a zygote. http://www.scientificabortionlaws.com
"You do know that the zygote exists for a fleeting moment, and as soon as it divides (which is immediately), it becomes a blastocyst."

There are 100 trillion atoms in a zygote that must be rearranged correctly to produce a blastocyst, so nothing happens "immediately". And that does not matter anyway. You should not be allowed to kill babies to save zygotes or blastocysts.

" By the time it implants, it has developed into an embryo. No pregnancy test would be detecting the zygote/blastocyst stage, it would detect an embryo. "

Yes tests do detect the zygote. http://humupd.oxfordjournals.org/content/8/4/333.full.pdf+html

"Thus, even if I were to grant that the zygote is "maybe not alive/human", induced abortions do not kill those questionable cases. They kill very much human, alive, and normally developing embryos."

But you cannot prove the embryo or fetus will be born and we know for a fact that a born person is a person and alive. So you still should not be able to kill a born person to save a fetus.


"The whole point of abortion is to *stop* a normal developing embryo from continuing his/her development."
You cannot prove it will continue to develop on its own until you can prove it is alive and human at birth. For that reason you should not let innocent babies die to save fetuses.

Coyote said...

"I think it makes a huge difference here. Being able to differentiate between morality and legality is crucial. Laws do not encompass all of morality nor should they. We don't have laws against cheating, but not many would say that *that* condones cheating or means it is moral. Similarly we don't have laws requiring you to help a choking person, and it would be fallacious to say that means it is moral to NOT help/immoral to choose to help."

I agree with you on all of this; I wasn't disputing this part.

"Specifically, a scenario that lacks a law either prohibiting (cheating) or requiring action (save choking person) means there's no way to draw a conclusion as to the morality of the situation.

Like I could see an argument for drawing a morality from existing laws prohibiting (murder) or requiring action (taxes). But not for a *lack* thereof."

Agreed; I wasn't disputing these things with you. My point here wasn't about laws, but rather about your claim here that consent to A equals consent to the risk of B. Thus, if your claim here is correct, then this raises the question of why one should feel more morally obligated to rescue a person who consented to eating but not to choking to death as opposed to rescuing someone who actually did consent to dying by choking to death (as in a consent to committing suicide).

Hopefully you see the point that I am trying to make here. I am sorry if I couldn't phrase/express myself better.

Coyote said...

@LN To clarify--I support holding individuals responsible for B (such as abortion and paying child support) if B is a consequence of A and if these individuals consented to A. However, I would not say that consent to A equals consent to the risks of B (due to my rationale which I stated above).

LN said...

Well I do not see the law "consent to A = consent to risks (possible B)" as declaring the choking person less worth saving. It just means if there's another person in the vicinity, they will not be prosecuted if they did not know how to help or didn't even know they needed to help and so on. It's a basic safeguard preventing legal backlash for inaction, since those kinds of laws carry a very slippery slope.


If this is the mentality then that, to me, doesn't diminish the fact that people have a moral obligation to help someone suffering, regardless of fault. I do not think this type of law would reflect a moral consensus saying otherwise (as I explained above). Why should one feel morally obligated to help? If you think human beings are valuable and make mistakes, then even if those consequences are on them, it is still within your moral obligation to help. All I can expect is consistency. I do not expect that people derive morality from the law, but rather they derive the law from their morality and therefore knowing the purpose of these laws means that the "possible implications" are unlikely to have any real effect (in other words, the law is meant to protect uncertain or unknowing bystanders, NOT declare that it is moral to stand by and watch; I doubt people will watch a dying man choke and say, "man all my normal intuitions of morality are disappearing as I think about what the law says I can do in this situation" because people do not derive morality from the law).

LN said...

That makes no sense to me. How could you hold someone legally responsible but still say there was no consent? If you can't declare consent and/or liability, then you shouldn't expect them to deal with the consequences. Sounds like you're just uncomfortable with the wording, but you are ok with *acting* as if consent to A = consent to the risks.

Kristine Kruszelnicki said...

Yes. Because what is at stake for one (life) is greater than what is at stake for the other (independence).

Kristine Kruszelnicki said...

If bodily rights are not strong enough to overcome competing rights of the fetus' life vs her autonomy, why should they be strong enough when the dependent offspring in question was conceived against her consent?

If consent is the big deal, why not extend that to those who argue the woman engaged in consensual sex but didn't consent to pregnancy? Some would say the fetus raped her since she consented to one thing not the other.

That's the trouble when your pro-life views are based on sex/consent/responsibility rather than on the rights of the fetus to not be killed.

LN said...

I'm not sure what this has to do with the comment you're responding to Kristine but "why should they be strong enough when the dependent offspring in question was conceived against her consent?" -- Well I don't think they are so...

People who argue that she consented to sex but not pregnancy are trying to separate direct, *known* consequences from a conscious action. If you take an action and know the risks, and those risks involve the possible harm of another person, then it seems reasonable to say you are *liable* if those risks occur. We would hold you responsible in other scenarios too (albeit not as strongly as I suggest in pregnancy, though that's another argument). It's just not an argument consistent with our laws to say people shouldn't be held responsible for their actions, particularly when the consequences are obvious and direct.

I don't see how that is at all troublesome. Instead I see it as troublesome to justify legally forcing a woman who did not consent to sex to still give of her body to keep another person alive. We wouldn't force that on someone who was put into a donation scenario against their will, would we? And the only big difference between that and pregnancy is the "mother's natural bond" which purely an appeal to nature. It has no legal or rational basis. Parents are responsible because they consented to parenthood, not because nature endowed them with responsibilities against their will. The natural appeal is so religious in nature (we were "created" to house the fetus, we were "made" to raise our young) I'm surprised atheists still stand by it.

Chris P said...

It is not a "breath of fresh air". It just says that there are people who want to control other people's lives outside of religion. I'd like to control families not to have large families, not to smoke, not feed their kids drugs, not teach them to be bullies but....

Chris P said...

Why? Where do you get that idea from? What's the morality of driving a car and killing all those insects? What's the morality of having a cat and killing all those birds? What's the morality of war?

Star Seed said...

I understand that a lot of people are for the freedom of choice and not necessarily pro-abortion. However, the freedom of choice exists before a pregnancy starts. That is the freedom to choose to have sex or not, while understanding the consequences of having sex. I have taught my own sons not to have sex with anyone that they can't see themselves raising a child with. That birth control doesn't always work and expecting a girl to have an abortion as a solution to the "problem" should one arise is unfair to her. You do realize that a lot of young males believe that abortion is so convenient and easy that if they impregnate a young woman that she can just easily go get an abortion and that they don't have to deal with the consequences? It's gone so far that they expect her to have an abortion if he isn't ready for a child. So once again, whether she chooses abortion or to carry through with the pregnancy, personal responsibility and consequences is dumped on her while he gets to walk away. The choice to have an abortion isn't easy for all women and not every woman can walk into an abortion clinic, have an abortion and walk out just as if they only went in to have a pelvic exam without any remorse or guilt. There are women that have to choose between bringing a baby into this world or starve, lose their job, delay their education, bringing an innocent person into an abusive relationship, bringing shame on themselves and their families (because really it appears as if a lot of people in our society believe that it's more shameful and selfish for a woman to have a baby rather than an abortion), carry a reminder of the person that raped them and it goes on. It's not really much of choice to abort a wanted baby due to the circumstances she is in or because a pregnancy was forced on her which has nothing to do with people deciding to smoke, feeding drugs to innocent children, having large families or assholes that teach their children to become bullies. I didn't realize personal responsibility or holding individuals to personal accountability, especially men, is such an inconvenience.

Chris P said...

You are talking about an ideal world that doesn't exist. Birth control doesn't always work, people"s life circumstances change. partners die, people lose their jobs, pregnant mothers get sick.......

Star Seed said...

So, just settle complacency and do nothing except for allowing abortions to remain the primary solution to such issues?

Chris P said...

Why not? Too many people on the planet and it's NONE of YOUR business.

Star Seed said...

Part of being a good citizen is getting involved with the community to help out others. And quite frankly, as a woman and a mother, I will refuse to ignore issues that plague and oppress women. Each and every one of us has the responsibility to make the world a little bit better especially for the sake of future generations. Being a woman myself, makes it my business. If you really don't care, then why bother commenting at all?