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Monday, December 8, 2014

Which came first, the atheism or the support for abortion?

Polls consistently show that a strong majority of self-identified non-religious Americans call themselves pro-choice. That's in stark contrast to the American public at large, which is roughly 50-50, though leaning pro-life in recent years.

Some pro-choice atheists use this polling data as evidence that the pro-choice position is correct. The argument, in a nutshell, is that atheists become atheists because they are logical thinkers, and then become pro-choice for the same reason. Pro-life atheists are explained away as being still, partially, under the influence of religion.

While some people do become atheist and then become pro-choice, atheist author and Pitzer college professor Phil Zuckerman suggests that it's more commonly the other way around:
With an emphasis on seeking to make abortion illegal . . . conservative Christians have found a warm welcome within the Republican Party, which has been clear about its openness to the conservative Christian agenda. . . . What all of this has done is alienate a lot of left-leaning or politically moderate Americans from Christianity. Sociologists Michael Hout and Claude Fischer have published compelling research indicating that much of the growth of “nones” in America is largely attributable to a reaction against this increased, overt mixing of Christianity and conservative politics. The rise of irreligion has been partially related to the fact that lots of people who had weak or limited attachments to religion and were either moderate or liberal politically found themselves at odds with the conservative political agenda of the Christian right and thus reacted by severing their already somewhat weak attachment to religion.
The key here is to understand that while people on the fringes are the loudest, most people don't take their religion all that seriously. People don't necessarily take their churches as authorities on moral and political issues, and where church teachings deviate from their personal views, they may leave one religion in favor of another or of none at all. (Zuckerman focuses on liberals, but I note that this works for conservatives as well; in recent years, reconsideration of same-sex marriage by church leaders has threatened schisms in the Episcopal, Methodist, and Presbyterian denominations.)

That's not to say that logical reasoning doesn't play a role in what people believe; it absolutely does. I am an atheist myself, and Christianity's unanswered questions had a lot to do with that. But the decision to publicly identify as an atheist—to lose your church community, expose yourself to scorn from the general public, and possibly damage family relationships—is a highly emotional one. And it's a lot easier to do if you already disagree with your church about abortion.

Conversely, if you've lost your faith in God but remain pro-life, and are part of a pro-life denomination,* there's less reason to publicly identify as an atheist. You might as well just remain another doubter in the pews, invisible to the pollsters.

*My own secular identification was made easier by the fact that I belonged to the Methodist Church, which disagreed with me both on abortion (pro-choice) and same-sex marriage (opposed).

504 comments:

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secularprolife.org said...

Of, course, you've handwaved away the rather inconvenient fact, that a very significant number of 'religious pro-lifers' are only 'pro life' in regards to OTHER people, and the moment they are diagnosed with having a Down's Syndrome embryo inside them, they head for the abortion clinic, often going to one out of state so their pro-life friends won't know about it, and after ensuring THEY won't be burdened with a Down's syndrome child 'just because it is inconvenient and unwanted', return to their picketing of others.

secularprolife.org said...

A "very significant number"? Do you have any stats for that or is this a "I can make unsubstantiated statements on the internet" type deal?

secularprolife.org said...

Answer
More than seven in 10 U.S. women obtaining an abortion report a religious affiliation (37% protestant, 28% Catholic and 7% other), and 25% attend religious services at least once a month.[38] The abortion rate for protestant women is 15 per 1,000 women, while Catholic women have a slightly higher rate, 22 per 1,000
http://mobile.journals.lww.com/greenjournal/_layouts/oaks.journals.mobile/articleviewer.aspx?year=2011&issue=06000&article=00014#ath
http://www.guttmacher.org/media/evidencecheck/2011/01/31/Advisory-Abortion-Mental-Health.pdf

secularprolife.org said...

Yes, but would most of those women identify as pro-life? There are plenty of religious pro-choicers.

secularprolife.org said...

We've known about this for a long time. You can read the essay "The Only Moral Abortion Is MY Abortion" online, or you can look at examples like Rick and Karen Santorum. He's one of your leaders. He thinks an abortion to save his wife's life is "a no-brainer." One of the few times in his entire life I agree with him. It IS a no-brainer. The "pro-life" who choose abortion imagine their case is different. They are only fooling themselves. Pro-choice or no-choice ideology actually plays little role in determining who will abort a Down Syndrome child and who won't. The so-called "pro-life" ideology is rife with hypocrisy.

secularprolife.org said...

Yes most people in USA have a religious affiliation, that is all that statistic of yours prove. What she is asking is the Pro Life religious, who go in as Pro Choice when that situation happens, and I would personally add keep with that choice. I know of one who did that and has regretted it ever since.

Using GallUp Polling, there are 38% of Catholics who are Pro Choice, 39% of Protestants and other Christians that are Pro Choice. That is still a lot of people who are religious and Pro Choice, therefore it isn't any surprise when religious folks have abortions.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/162548/americans-misjudge-abortion-views.aspx

secularprolife.org said...

Do the polls linked to really support the claim that "most people don't take their religion all that seriously"? If I'm interpreting it correctly, the Gallup polls shows more than half of people consistently saying religion in their life is "very important," and in 2013 78% ranked it as very or fairly important.

secularprolife.org said...

Thanks for your post. Here --

"That's not to say that logical reasoning doesn't play a role in what people believe; it absolutely does"


-- you touch on what may be the deepest part of the question: What, in the absence of religion, shapes our beliefs and opinions? What factors cause us to hold a certain belief or opinion about what is right or wrong, and how far do those factors guide us in a correct determination of right or wrong, if there is any correct determination of right or wrong?


Even in the absence of religion, logic certainly cannot be the only factor.


Logic can tell us that anti-abortion laws will save at least some unborn children from being ripped into shreds. Logic can tell us that rigid anti-abortion laws will force some women to continue pregnancies seriously damaging to their health. But logic cannot tell us in the first place that it is wrong for an unborn (or born) child to unnecessarily be ripped into shreds. Logic cannot tell us that it is wrong for a woman's health to unnecessarily be damaged. Ultimately only our moral intuitions can tell us those things, and can chart a course for us in a complex situation. And yet moral intuitions differ.


Personally, I have thought as best I could about these questions here:


http://www.NoTerminationWithoutRepresentation.org/moral-intuition-logic-and-the-abortion-debate/

secularprolife.org said...

He is NOT one of my leaders. Gross. He and I agree on exactly one thing. Do you have any leaders of your own with whom you agree on one thing and disagree about everything else?

secularprolife.org said...

I wonder what percentage of those pro-choice Catholics and Protestants are "personally pro-life" and wouldn't abort, but support legal abortion (making them pro-choice) because they've been led to believe that being pro-life is "forcing their religion on other people" or something. (I mean, in a sense it is, but you could make the same argument about theft or killing born people, but no one gets outraged at laws against those.)

I mean, I'm Christian, and my church is anti-abortion, but I realize that abortion restrictions aren't wrongfully violating the separation of church and state or something....but I think a fair number of people don't realize that. If they did, I suspect more of the "personally pro-life" crowd would be generally pro-life. But it suits abortion advocacy groups to keep pushing the "keep your rosaries off my ovaries" type arguments.

secularprolife.org said...

This is always a confusing and interesting dilemma to me. Because I am in the position that I suspect, if I were religious, I'd probably be more open to being pro-choice, it is simply interesting to me how very differently I arrived at where I am at than other pro-lifers or other atheists. I love life, even if life doesn't always love me back. If I thought for a moment that there was a chance to experience, a change to exist after death, then abortion would be a tragedy like getting into your safety school, but not your first choice, which is to say, not much of one. Instead, this is the one life we know we will have. Let's value that life and not end it prematurely except in dire cases.

But I think you have it spot on. It's about community and kinship. That is, it's tribal. I have some amazing, generally, liberal, atheist, pro-choice friends, but what if it was different? What if they decided to oust me for my vocal disagreement on abortion? Would I, at the least, keep quiet about my views? It's a distinct possibility.

secularprolife.org said...

I have no leaders, period. I agree with YOU on that one point. Rick Santorum is gross, on multiple levels. However, he is nothing if not consistent. In my opinion, consistently wrong. His ideas all spring from one another, though, if you think about it. The entire Roman Catholic zeitgeist concerning "the sanctity of life." You see it here on this forum. Abortion is wrong, certain contraceptives are wrong. Naturalistic fantasies and hypocrisy abounds. Fetal idolatry and a punitive attitude toward sexuality of women. The fetus deserves life, but the woman doesn't deserve healthcare if someone else has to pay for it, because sex. No, thank you. These ideas are all rooted in denial of reality.

secularprolife.org said...

There is really no logical or scientific reason to be pro life. People are pro life because they "believe " unsubstantiated information that is incapable of proof. Religious people "believe" God thinks abortion is murder or God does not think abortion is murder. Pro lifers that are atheist also believe information that is untrue and incapable of proof.
The truth is that a fetus cannot be proved to be human life until it is born. Why because at birth several changes have to take place that confirm the fetus is and was human life or that it never was human life. There is a reasonable possibility just prior to birth that a fetus will be human, but that possibility becoming human life is offset by the fact that in order to force its birth a real live woman has to be abused.
In addition the Scientific Abortion Laws show that abortion in fact leads to more life not less life. And they show that any person that has sex has in fact consented to abortion.

So there is really ---NO-- reason for any atheist or other thinking person to be pro life.

secularprolife.org said...

He has his own twisted logic but a broken clock is right twice a day. To think that you can't come to similar conclusions in very different ways, for very different reasons is, frankly, silly. I agree with Christopher Hitchens on atheism, but I do think he was a war monger, racist and misogynist. One could make the claim that the sum of all of his conclusions "spring from one another", and thus because he was those bad things, atheism must also be a stupid idea. Or I could measure each issue independently, and not base my conclusions on whoever else has those same conclusions. Like, you know, and adult.

"Abortion is wrong". That's the only one of the list you mentioned that I subscribe to, and the only one that SPL promotes. I'm sure there are people who promote those things, but if you want to use that to describe all pro-lifers, you are strawmanning.

secularprolife.org said...

Self defense is completely moral.


Childbirth is 14 times more dangerous than an abortion.


A child is a gift.


A woman is justified in remaining childless for life.


Abortion and contraception are human rights.

secularprolife.org said...

Discretion is the better part of valor.

secularprolife.org said...

You prefer a suppression of open dialogue. Interesting.

secularprolife.org said...

Where did I say that? I should have put a snark tag.

secularprolife.org said...

Logic can tell us that anti-abortion laws will save at least some unborn children from being ripped into shreds.

.............
We are discussing public health. Logic demands we use generally accepted sociobiological terms. Children are born. There is a fetus in the womb. Disingenous to say one is being logical when one is using hot language.

secularprolife.org said...

Acyu's arguments are nothing more than convoluted appeals to emotion, and his big one is that he 'feels' that abortion is morally wrong, so we should all go by his intuition and ban it.

secularprolife.org said...

Agree. We are moral if we accept the correct morals.

secularprolife.org said...

"Rumors first began churning that the Grammy winner was with child when, earlier this month, she walked the red carpet at the Met Gala . . ."


( http://www.eonline.com/news/418692/beyonce-pregnant-singer-expecting-baby-no-2-with-jay-z-sources-confirm )
This does not refer to a born child.
"Child" means "an unborn or recently born person." You can Google various dictionaries.

secularprolife.org said...

You offer a dictionary and a magazine as citations? Laughable. Just stupid.

secularprolife.org said...

Do you really think that pro-choice people are immune to hypocrisy? For every anecdote about a pro-life person who aborted, I can give you an anecdote of a so-called "pro-choice" person who either did nothing to help or actively coerced a woman into having an abortion that she didn't truly want, in clear violation of supporting a woman's right to choose (if she chooses anything other than abortion).

secularprolife.org said...

It looks like you don't know how to respond to the actual point of what this person posted, so you are trying to change the debate to a pointless argument over semantics.


Changing the term "unborn child" to "Fetus" doesn't change the point of this person's comment.

secularprolife.org said...

Something does not become true simply because you assert it is.
What is your basis for asserting that "a fetus cannot be proved to be human life"? If it does not belong to the human species, then what species is it?
What are the changes that "confirm" the fetus is and was human life?
Even if I accept your assertion that childbirth is "abuse", how does it make sense logically to say that someone is not an actual human being simply because their existence causes pain or unpleasantness to others?
For example, playing by your rules, what if I argue that you have caused emotional abuse to me with your negative comment. Does it make sense if I then assert you are less human than I am because your existence has caused abuse to me?

secularprolife.org said...

You are not Catholic. You are pro-abortion, plump dumbling.

secularprolife.org said...

A member of a species can have genetic mutations. To claim that some human embryos or fetuses are really not human evinces a poor understanding of evolution and biology.

secularprolife.org said...

"Laughable. Just stupid."

Describing yourself again, plump dumbling?

secularprolife.org said...

Uhm, it's "Down syndrome."

secularprolife.org said...

Sorry, plump dumbling, but the right to self-defense is *not* absolute, nor is it 'completely moral.' The degree of force one can use in self-defense, and the concomitant morality of said self-defense, depend on the nature and severity of the harm from which one is defending oneself.


For instance, let's say a toddler is being unpleasant and is slapping your leg gently in an annoying, but not really harmful, manner. You decide to engage in your supposedly "absolute" right of self-defense, place your hands around the child's throat, and choke her to death. (Given how plump dumbling supports the killing of unborn children and her online attempts at bullying others, it's easy to imagine her killing a born child she deems inconvenient to her.)



Guess what, plump dumbling? You'll be charged, and most likely convicted, of at least manslaughter and quite possibly murder, for exercising your non-existent 'absolute' right to self-defense.


Maybe you can hire 'lady_black', with her having taken one undergraduate course about law, to defend you. It would be a funny spectacle of the blind leading the blind, if a child's life had not been lost.


The right to self-defense does exist, but like most rights, it is not absolute. Online bullies like you prey upon the children and weak persons because you can get away with your cruelty towards them. It's really deplorable behavior, plump dumbling.

secularprolife.org said...

Yes, and if someone did to you what an unborn human does to a woman, and the *only* way to escape, using the minimum amount of force necessary, resulted in their death, you would be within your rights to do so, because you are not morally or legally obligated to be intimately violated and even painfully tortured on behalf of another.

secularprolife.org said...

Oh nonsense, dear. Such a person would be anti-choice. Nobody has abortions because "that's what they truly want." Likely all women who have abortions resent being in that position, whether they wanted the pregnancy or not. For instance, there's a long list of things women who have abortions would rather spend that $500 (or more) on. It's expensive, painful and decidedly not convenient. In other words, not fun. How are you going to "help" someone who doesn't want to be pregnant? As far as I know, there isn't any such help. And even though she might resent having to go through an abortion, ultimately it's her decision. I won't say that coercion doesn't exist. But if you allow someone to bully you into doing something you don't want to do, you probably aren't ready for parenthood anyway.

secularprolife.org said...

So tell me something. Are you for contraception that *might* prevent an embryo from implanting, or are you opposed to that?

secularprolife.org said...

Actually, medically speaking, a child is a human being between birth and puberty. Legally speaking, between birth and legal majority. "With child" is a euphemism for pregnancy. You know what that word means, right? Sort of like a doctor refers to "your baby" when conversing with a pregnant woman. In the medical record, it's an embryo, fetus or neonate after birth.

secularprolife.org said...

There is an organization called Catholics For Choice. And do not use the "True Scotsman" fallacy again. It's weak.

secularprolife.org said...

Duh. 'Catholics For Choice' are not Catholics. They are faux Catholic poseurs. They do not accept church teaching, so they are not Catholic.

secularprolife.org said...

You're wasting your time tying to educate plump dumbling.

secularprolife.org said...

Yes, they are Catholic.

secularprolife.org said...

No, they are not. They are counterfeit individuals attempting to clothe themselves in the mantle of the Catholic Church when it suits them. Their actions excommunicate them from the Catholic Church; hence, they are not Catholics. They're a group of pro-abortion bullies of the same kind as you.

secularprolife.org said...

"Something does not become true simply because you assert it is. "

What I said was true before I said it and will be true in the future.

"What is your basis for asserting that "a fetus cannot be proved to be human life"?"

Until the DNA of the genotype expresses the correct phenotype at birth there is no proof of human life. Why because the fetal heart must transform into the human heart, the respiratory system, the digestive system and all fetal systems must transform into human systems. The fetal systems are structurally different and functionally than the human systems.



"If it does not belong to the human species, then what species is it? "

70 percent of conceptions do not produce human life. Most life dies before birth and of those that die 60 percent are not genetically capable of producing a born human. The species in not defined. However,



What are the changes that "confirm" the fetus is and was human life?

The changes listed above.


"Even if I accept your assertion that childbirth is "abuse", how does it make sense logically to say that someone is not an actual human being simply because their existence causes pain or unpleasantness to others? "

If they are human, then they are human no matter how unpleasant they may be. The problem is they cannot be proved to be human until they are born.


"For example, playing by your rules, what if I assert that you have caused emotional abuse to me with your negative comment. Does it make sense if I then assert you are less human than I am because your existence has caused abuse to me?"

Don't lie about "my rules". Those are not my rules, they are BS you made up.

All I have done is state what is scientifically true.

secularprolife.org said...

An unborn human? You people really need to get your terminology straight. According to your pal, Russell Crawford, the unborn entity might not even be human. So if it's not human, what is it?

secularprolife.org said...

A brony.

secularprolife.org said...

No, they are real catholics. They just don't accept current church teachings on certain things, nor should they. The church didn't always proclaim that embryos and fetuses were people with an inalienable right to life...

BTW, by your logic, over 90% of catholics are not catholic because they use contraception, eat shellfish and work on the sabbath.

As lady black said, you can do better - no true Scotsman is a fallacy

secularprolife.org said...

Right. So catholics who use condoms, eat shellfish and work weekends are fake catholics too...

secularprolife.org said...

Existential angst?

secularprolife.org said...

Well, you can be pro-life and Pagan.
You can be pro-choice and Christian.
You can be pro-life and non-religious.
You can be pro-choice and loves children.
You can be pro-life and loves nudism.


So on and so on...

secularprolife.org said...

Funny, a lot of pro-choice pagans told me that I can't be part of the paganism just because one little disagree...

secularprolife.org said...

I am pro life so naturally I am pro choice.

secularprolife.org said...

You fantasize about choking toddlers to death. Why are you so angry?

secularprolife.org said...

Why are you so angry? You do not know about hierarchy of sources? That is not something you were taught in school?

secularprolife.org said...

Words have meaning.
Sources come in a hierarchy. The NYT being a better source than People magazine.
You have an issue with reading comprehension.
And yet, like all zealots, you fancy yourself in charge of meaning and the pregnancies of women you will never know. What a hoot.

secularprolife.org said...

Nope. How about you?

secularprolife.org said...

"you offer a dictionary for the definition of a word? What's next? Using the constitution to guide government? A textbook on anatomy to determine where your body parts are located? Just stupid." - Plum Dumpling

secularprolife.org said...

You think a dictionary is as good a source as a textbook on anatomy? I learned hierarchy of sources in high school honors English. We had to write a researched term paper to graduate. How bad has American education gotten? Damn.

secularprolife.org said...

Depends what you mean by "might". There is some misinformation about "Plan B" where some people think it "might" stop implantation. Tests have shown that this is not the case. I support the use of "Plan B".
There is some question about the efficacy of the IUD in preventing implantation. The IUD's first job, though, is to prevent conception. It's only when the IUD gets put in after conception that it has the chance of preventing implantation. I'm still kinda fuzzy on where I stand there, but generally, I'd say IUDs are probably okay, except where they are used as an abortifacent.
Then there is the RU pill (I can't recall that number). That ends a pregnancy hormonally, regardless of if an embryo is implanted or not. I'd go with a flat no there.,
Hope that clarifies.

secularprolife.org said...

Do you understand what language is? Language is the process in which individuals within a society convey information to each other. The dictionary helps us to codify that process, thereby making mutual intelligibility possible (and thus, communication possible). The dictionary is the most appropriate source to facilitate general communication. An anatomy textbook is the best guide to facilitating communication about anatomy. Guess what? We are having a general discussion! Do you honestly think that chemists walk around looking at the label on organic produce thinking to themselves "well, I guess this label means that this contains carbon"? Our society, meaning the vast majority, accepts the term "children" for unborn people. Deal with it. It doesn't matter to me. Call it a child, a zef, a little bean or the creature from the black lagoon. It doesn't change that it is biologically, a new, unique human being with its own life and interest in surviving.

secularprolife.org said...

Not that I don't understand where you are coming from, but your ad hominem attacks on Plum aren't really constructive.

secularprolife.org said...

Funny how no one here seems to care what you think. I'm sure berating a 70-year old grandma (she's too cool to be 70 btw) on the internet is the studliest thing you've ever done in your life, good for you.

secularprolife.org said...

Are you a poe?

secularprolife.org said...

We are discussing public health. Propaganda is inappropriate in such a discussion. I complained about poor sources and hot language in the same post. I will continue to point such out. Sucks to be you. You come off like your hair is on fire.

secularprolife.org said...

Down's syndrome is also accepted usage.

http://www.downs-syndrome.org.uk/

secularprolife.org said...

We're not public health professionals. The discussion is between the general public. It's not propaganda if it is a generally accepted term. Again, not that it matters to me what you call an unborn human being. But you bring out the ad hominem anyway. Great job. There was a reason why I ignored all your posts. You've got nothing to offer. Think I'm going back to that now.

secularprolife.org said...

98% of Catholic women use contraception. Catholic women have a higher rate of abortion than Protestants.


If they threw all of them out of the church, there would be no church.


Pope Frankie told you to STFU about abortion. You think maybe you could stop being angry long enough to do what God's representative on earth told you to do? Catholic my ass.

secularprolife.org said...

I recognize hot language and poor sources when I see them. I will continue to point those errors out. You enjoy yourself whatever you do, LoveBoat.

secularprolife.org said...

“Over the pope as expression of the binding claim of ecclesiastical authority, there stands one’s own conscience which must be obeyed before all else, even if necessary against the requirement of ecclesiastical authority. This emphasis on the individual, whose conscience confronts him with a supreme and ultimate tribunal, and one which in the last resort is beyond the claim of external social groups, even the official church, also establishes a principle in opposition to increasing totalitarianism”.
Joseph Ratzinger, 1967
(in: Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II

secularprolife.org said...

70 is the new 40.

secularprolife.org said...

The OP presents itself as logical. The OP is not logical. I point that out.

secularprolife.org said...

Yep, and you can also be agnostic and politically ambivalent on this issue, as I am.

secularprolife.org said...

http://www.prochoiceactionnetwork-canada.org/articles/anti-tales.shtml

secularprolife.org said...

http://gawker.com/5896804/frank-brunis-too-good-to-be-true-abortion-tale

secularprolife.org said...

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thinplaces/2013/05/are-pro-lifers-hypocrites-when-it-comes-to-down-syndrome/

Percentage of American adults who describe themselves as pro-life: 50

Percentage of American adults who think second-trimester abortion should be illegal: 64

Percentage of American women who abort after a prenatal Down-syndrome diagnosis (typically in the second trimester), according to a review of hospital-based studies: 85.

Unless pro-lifers are some sort of special snowflakes who never get pregnant with Down Syndrome embryos, most of them are getting abortions after getting that diagnosis. 85 % is higher than 50%

secularprolife.org said...

More precisely, there IS no pregnancy if an embryo didn't implant. And though an IUD can be inserted after conception as an emergency contraception, it is not an abortifacient. RU486 is an abortifacient. You are correct about that. However, you did not answer the question. Do you approve of contraception that *might* prevent implantation or not?

secularprolife.org said...

NO. These people have NOT been excommunicated, furthermore, even if they were, they would still be Catholics. Surely you're aware that members of any church at all may disagree with doctrine.

secularprolife.org said...

I'm pretty sure I did. If might means, unscientifically people feel it might happen, like Plan B, then yes. If it has been scientifically documented that yes, it can and will, like some of the literature I have come across on with IUDs inserted after conception, then no.

secularprolife.org said...

I can see you saying the same thing when you're 90.

secularprolife.org said...

An abnormal conception doesn't result in human life. We've been down this road before. Some abnormal embryos cease to develop and die, and some are rejected by the mother's body because they were abnormal. Some zygotes grow into partial or total hydatidiform moles. None of these are human life. A mutation that is lethal is not a human life. A blank ovum fertilized by a sperm is not human life. An ovum fertilized by a defective sperm isn't human life. And an ovum fertilized by two sperm is also not human life. Though any of these cells may begin to divide, and thus are living, they are an unspecified life form, and are doomed from inception.

secularprolife.org said...

Then you have more in common with Santorum than you care to admit. Emergency contraception via IUD is still contraception (it will prevent pregnancy), and a non-implanting embryo is not an abortion. Who the hell do you think you are to tell a rape victim she can't prevent pregnancy by any means necessary if conception has already taken place? Because sex. That's a lot of bunkum and you know it.

secularprolife.org said...

**If it does not belong to the human species, then what species is it? **


hard to say. What species does an UNfertilized egg belong to? Pro-lifers keep handwaving and claiming it isn't a 'living potential human being' but it is alive, it isn't a cat or a dog, and the pwecious zygote doesn't appear from the ether.

secularprolife.org said...

**To claim that some human embryos or fetuses are really not human evinces a poor understanding of evolution and biology.**


So, are you claiming here that a molar pregnancy is actually a human being after all, or are you claiming that the question of humanity in the case of mutations is determined by cuteness?

secularprolife.org said...

See though, the thing about that argument is that theft and murder aren't illegal because they violate religious standards. They are illegal because they violate the rights of another. Mainly the right to exclusive enjoyment of property in the case of theft, and the right not to be killed unjustly in the other. For example, killing to protect oneself or another is generally a just killing and is not considered murder, so long as the killer reasonably believes he is at risk for imminent death or serious injury. In a pregnancy, the only one with rights is the pregnant person. By aborting, she isn't depriving anyone of rights.

secularprolife.org said...

** It doesn't change that it is biologically, a new, unique human being with its own life and interest in surviving.**


ok. Since brain function is not possible until the 6th month, you'll now proceed to explain how something with no brain function can have an 'interest in surviving'. Or an 'interest' in anything at all.


Moron.

secularprolife.org said...

Mom is 93 and still trucking. Could happen.

secularprolife.org said...

** or actively coerced a woman into having an abortion that she didn't truly want, in clear violation of supporting a woman's right to choose**


Unless this occured in China, I have very extreme doubts that any woman is 'coerced' into having an abortion.


And people do not have an 'obligation' to help pregnant women because you have sad feelies about embryos. Failure to help does not equate to coercion no matter how sad you are.

secularprolife.org said...

** You decide to engage in your supposedly "absolute" right of self-defense, place your hands around the child's throat, and choke her to death.**


You are evading two very important point here. One being that a toddler slapping your leg does not have a high risk of injury, disability, or death. The second is that it is generally possible to stop a toddler *IMMEDIATELY* from annoying your leg by less than lethal means.


If you can figure out a way to *IMMEDIATELY* prevent an embryo from using a woman's organs, occupying her body, and possibly disabling or killing her by less than lethal means, we will all be happy to hear it.

secularprolife.org said...

and btw. I can only assume that your comparison of pregnancy to a 'toddler gently slapping your leg' is the latest version of myintx's claim that pregnancy is no harder than sitting on a couch and eating a bag of doritos.

secularprolife.org said...

**Logic can tell us that anti-abortion laws will save at least some unborn children from being ripped into shreds. **


Logic and history can tell us that the price of saving widdle pwecious embwyoes will be infanticide.

secularprolife.org said...

The problem is not if it is a fetus or if it is a child ,because if women have body autonomy,they have the right to evict him from their body.

secularprolife.org said...

Misogyny is sadly common among atheists as among religious people.

See elevatorgate, etc. Hence, prolife atheists.

secularprolife.org said...

'Plump dumbling'?
If you weren't an ardent prolifer, I'd expect this comment to be removed for being personally abusive.
As it is, I expect you'll just get a slap on the wrist for revealing too openly that the prolife movement is a network of abusive people.

secularprolife.org said...

'Anordinaryguy' is a prolifer, talking to a woman. Ad homs of the 'plump dumbling' sort are only what we expect.

secularprolife.org said...

Well said, I wish I had your gift.

secularprolife.org said...

Good point.

secularprolife.org said...

"Signed, the person who had a college level reading level when she was in 5th grade."

You are clearly off the charts IQ wise. Very impressive indeed. I have found no pro life counterpart on you level in the years I have spent on the internet. Where are the "pro life geniuses"? They don't exist.

secularprolife.org said...

Will the price be infanticide in every case, or will some of the saved embryos get to live out their lives?
And when the outcome Is in fact infanticide -- it may be unjustified more often than abortion is, but is it a worse outcome for the child, who at least was given a chance to see the light of day? And might infanticide not also sometimes be more justified than abortion? In some cases of infanticide, it may be true that at least the parents tried. At least they let the child live for a few months, hoping for the best. They really wanted not to kill it.

secularprolife.org said...

Infanticide apologists are the scum of the earth.

secularprolife.org said...

Neither are yours. You have the sense of humor of a potato.

secularprolife.org said...

A fetus is not a human being. A human being does not have to drill into one of my veins and suck my blood.


If the fetus survives to and through birth it becomes a human being and will become a 'child' legally and scientifically.

secularprolife.org said...

This is a different topic.


I don't think the answer to the bodily-rights argument is completely simple. My thoughts about it are here:


http://www.NoTerminationWithoutRepresentation.org/dismantling-the-bodily-rights-argument-without-using-the-responsibility-argument/

secularprolife.org said...

Nonsense. You do not think. You emote.

secularprolife.org said...

Changing the term "unborn child" to "Fetus" doesn't change the point of this person's comment.
............
It changes the emotional weight of the communication. That is the purpose of propaganda. And it is sociobiologically INCORRECT.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_development_%28biology%29

secularprolife.org said...

So to you, preventing a brainless zygote from imolanting, or expelling a mindless embryo is worse than

Putting a baby in a microwave
Shooting a baby
Smothering a baby
Drowning a baby
Starving a baby

Yeah. Conscious, FEELING babies can't suffer like brainless DNA.

And in your fevered imagination, we should all follow your "moral intuition" that preventing a zygote from implanting is horrible vs simply torturing an infant to death.

secularprolife.org said...

Acyu is from India, where infanticide of baby girls is common. He wants abortion to be banned in India, which will only result in more baby girls being killed.


Lovely. He is truly pro life.

secularprolife.org said...

OK so

http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2014/12/09/the-dog-delusion-pope-francis-proclaims-that-all-animals-will-go-to-heaven/


If you believed that dogs went to heaven when Ratzinger was pope, you were not a true catholic. If you believe it now, you are.

If you don't believe that dogs go to heaven as of this moment, you are not a true catholic, according to ordinaryguy.

So, according to AOG, a catholic is someone who ignores the bible and is obedient to the RCC. Full stop
So if the next pope said that abortion was wonderful, then true Catholics would have to agree or no longer be catholic, right?

secularprolife.org said...

Well then, I wrote this especially for him. Thanks for the info. We shall see if it has a sane argument. Acyu does not occupy the moral high ground.

Anthropologically speaking, homo sapiens has three strategies for dealing with unwanted reproduction (births): contraception, abortion and infanticide. All three strategies are practiced, historically and currently, in every culture worldwide.

If contraception and abortion are unavailable, infanticide/abandonment becomes inevitable and widespread. We have many in vitro examples of this but the one that troubles me the most right now is this one:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2645870/Mass-grave-contains-bodies-800-babies-site-Irish-home-unmarried-mothers.html



ILLEGAL ABORTION and sepsis and hemmorhage in CHILDBIRTH are the three leading causes of maternal death worldwide. Abortion and contraception are human rights. How many peaches will you get if you harm the tree?

secularprolife.org said...

There was a polish catholic, on Patheos who also argued that infanticide was preferable to abortion.

secularprolife.org said...

That seems to be AOG's position. And many Catholics with the religious equivalent of Stockholm Syndrome agree with him.

secularprolife.org said...

Stockholm Syndrome. Lots of RCs suffer from it. They start brain washing you at age 6-7 and a lot of folks never find their way out.

secularprolife.org said...

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wwjtd/2014/12/comment-of-the-day-on-being-content-being-catholicly-evil/

secularprolife.org said...

You know, this is exactly what drives people from the RCC = the disgusting arrogance and pompous rule making and the sheer narcissism of the RC clergy.

secularprolife.org said...

I've yet to find a religious person who does not think that God shares each of his or her moral convictions. That is, religious people tend to be certain that their believes are not only objectively true, but they are objectively true because they agree, in every way, with some omniscient, all powerful, all good being. Its not surprising to me, therefore, that religious belief and the more consistent (or extreme) pro-lifers are overwhelmingly also (very) religious.


There is no way, even a bad faith way, to ground beleifs without relying on a God (who agrees with everything you believe in, of course) to get to the same level of certainity.

secularprolife.org said...

Atheists are not obnoxiously certain?
Res ipsa loquitur. /snark

secularprolife.org said...

As an atheist, all I can say is that 'I do not know'


:P

secularprolife.org said...

lol

secularprolife.org said...

Good point, I suppose. But, no, at least not in one meaningful way I'm certainly obnoxiously certain about what path I should tred for myself. But my certainty is purely subjective, I have no allusion that my beliefs are somehow necessarily true for all people in all circumstances.


So I am far from certain that you should be forced to follow my beliefs. I have no idea what you should or should not do to make yourself happy. That is for you to decide.

secularprolife.org said...

Well said. Atheists have excellent arguments. I might have been atheist or agnostic if no one had made it a point to teach me about the god concept. I am a mystic by nature. I wonder if there can be atheist mystics?

secularprolife.org said...

I love life, even if life doesn't always love me back. If I thought
for a moment that there was a chance to experience, a chance to exist
after death, then abortion would be a tragedy like getting into your
safety school, but not your first choice, which is to say, not much of
one. Instead, this is the one life we know we will have. Let's value
that life and not end it prematurely except in dire cases.



Your writing here gave me the impression that you are very concerned about non-existence, specifically, being prevented from existing because a woman might choose abortion over carrying to term.


Are you as equally concerned about people whose lives are ended prematurely because organ, blood and tissue donations are not government mandated? Or does your concern only extend to abortion?

secularprolife.org said...

FWIW, I fall into the pragmatic agnostic camp. I don't think that it matters whether or not god exists. People do what they want. Belief in God seems only to self- validate the beliefs people already have.
And I do, however, find it *unlikely* that the revealed texts of any particular religion reveal anything other than the internal workings of the person (almost always a man) who scribbled the text. Some of it seems like good advice, some of it seems like particularly bad advice.

secularprolife.org said...

Works for me.

secularprolife.org said...

"Its not surprising to me, therefore, that religious belief and the more consistent (or extreme) pro-lifers are overwhelmingly also (very) religious."


Then why are the more consistent or extreme pro-choicers not also overwhelmingly (very) religious?


"There is no way . . . to ground beleifs without relying on a God (who agrees with everything you believe in, of course) to get to the same level of certainity."


That assumes that you have a high level of certainty about God in the first place. If you can have a high level of certainty about a God who shares your moral beliefs, why can't you have a high level of certainty, for instance, that your moral beliefs are objective, absolute, universal truths, without a God?

secularprolife.org said...

Not really. The extreme pro-choice position punts on the issue entirely. Its up to every individual to make their own decision. No PCer, or very few at any rate, wants to mandate situations where women should be forced to have an abortion against their will.
We can argue about which position is most defensible, of course. But that is one place where the PC and PL sides are not mutually exclusive and mutually exhaustive positions.

secularprolife.org said...

That should be completely irrelevant if we truly care about people being permitted to experience life. If life is precious, it should not matter if some people are diseased, period.

The end result is still the same = a person is dead because someone else was too selfish to fork over their bodies or their money to save that precious life. I am sure that a dying kid will feel just as much sadness over being deprived of life because someone was too selfish to donate money or bone marrow. If embryos could talk they might say the same thing - preserve life at all costs.

secularprolife.org said...

I wouldn't get up on your high horse just yet if I were you. Anordinaryguy hardly has a monopoly on the ad homs. I've been called a moron and equated to a potato in this one comment section alone.

Nonetheless, it is sad if you do expect ad homs out of anyone. Nobody benefits as it ensures that any mutual learning that could have arisen between two people exchanging ideas, is squashed. Ad homs really are a good indicator that the person speaking has nothing constructive or useful to say, and ignoring the commenter seems to be the best course of action. That's my recommendation anyway.

secularprolife.org said...

Under your values system, perhaps. I've already detailed to you that I am not an absolutist. Again, death is a part of life, and nothing I do can change that fact. Consequently, the end result of death, though you are attempting to have me hold it as the greatest evil, is not something I can do. It's not consistent with my values. If you are going to tell me "If life is precious, it should not matter if some people are diseased, period." you need to connect some dots there, because that is an assertion I do not see on my own.

What I can do, and generally speaking, society has done, is take a stand against forced premature death from a third party. This is why it is no longer okay or draw and quarter a bread thief to teach the rest of the village a lesson.
It's not selfishness that really concerns me in this matter either. Sure, selfishness is one of those things I disparage, but it is a lesser issue than that of life. If parents decided to get pregnant, but then selfishly decided that when the child was born, they were going to make the state or some other family take care of the child, that would be the preferred outcome to them forcing the end of that individual's existence.

secularprolife.org said...

We were not discussing rape, unless I missed something. I also didn't ask you about our opinion on nose jobs or mullet hair cuts, but that is also irrelevant to the topic. Any given fertilized ovum cannot be proven to be an "unborn human" and chances are greatly against it ever becoming an "unborn human." Estimates of pre-implantation loss (and this is under so-called "natural" conditions, i.e. in the absence of hormonal manipulation) range from 50% to as high as 80%. Given that, who could possibly give a damn whether or not any given embryo implants or not? Depending on your particular worldview, this is how either "god" or evolution has wired us. Our sexual activity is not affected by fertility or lack of it, as most mammals are. To compensate for that, our reproduction has a high failure rate. Yet we still have managed to overrun the planet with born humans. Either you don't understand human reproduction, or you are exhibiting faux concern over the fate of unviable early embryos. Get over it.

secularprolife.org said...

Logic depends on sound premises.

To be prolife is to begin from the premise that it is always/sometimes/ever morally okay to force the use of another human being's body for your own purposes.

To be prolife is to begin from premises that also justify slavery and rape.

To be prochoice is to begin from the basic premise that "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood."

That is why the abortion rights movement is fundamentally a part of the great human rights movement, and the prolife movement is fundamentally a part of the supports for thr powerfull and the privileged who are against human rights for all and who are consistently defeated.

secularprolife.org said...

Nonetheless, it is sad if you do expect ad homs out of anyone

Yes. But the prolife movement is a saddening thing.

secularprolife.org said...

P.S. I like that phrase 'pragmatic agnostic.'

secularprolife.org said...

You made two arguments. I addressed the first.
You argued that the extreme PC side requires the PCer to be certain about his or her beliefs.
My answer is that is not necessarily the case because the extreme PCer, as we currently understand that position, does not advocate legal rules that mandate that a woman have an abortion she does not want. Rather, the extreme PCer leaves that decision to an individual's conscience. That is, my opinion doesn't really matter at all with regards to whether you have an abortion or not. I don't need to be as certain because I don't need to bend you to my will.
This is different that the pro-lifer generally who thinks that we should legally force women to give birth against her will and significantly different from the extreme pro-lifer who thinks we should always force pregnant women to give birth against their will in any situation where they don't want to do as you say.
What I was trying to say is that these two positions aren't parallel because you need more certainty to compel a person to do X or prevent a person from doing X, than you do to leave the decision to do X to someone else. Or so I claim, at least.
My last caveat is that, the idea of certainty aside, there is still a debate about which position is more defensible. I was merely trying to say that the amount "certainty", while it has a place in the discussion, entails that a particular position is the right one to take.

secularprolife.org said...

Thanks! Me too. I wish I could claim with a straight face that I thought of it.

secularprolife.org said...

I think the interest in surviving is secondary to the "biologically new human being" part. I agree that including that was a logical error, but it doesn't negate the larger premise. The moral implication of taking a human life is not necessarily contingent on the existence of brain function or their "interest in survival", especially when both can be concluded to be an imminent likelihood. If a human being doesn't explicitly state that they would like to die, it has to be assumed they would rather not. Survival is the most basic primal instinct. Brain function isn't a measure of humanity or the rights associated with it, or stupid people would have less inherent rights than smart people. Are the moral implications of killing a person with brain damage somehow less than killing an intelligent person? If you acknowledge that a fetus is a biological human being (which is difficult to argue biologically, but isn't necessarily a philosophical certainty), you would have to break humanity into classes of moral value to justify killing ANY human being, or base humanity and rights strictly on philosophical definitions of humanity, which are very subjective.

secularprolife.org said...

Stupid and brain damaged still have brain function.

Zygotes and embryos do not.

secularprolife.org said...

I get that, the point was that if we are using brain function as a measure of humanity, and assigning various levels of value to human life, the logical conclusion would be that higher functioning brains are more human and possess more inherent rights.

secularprolife.org said...

No, not at all. Because there is

NO brain function

Vs

brain function

Which is why we don't keep the brain dead-with-live-body or brainless-with-live-body on feeding tubes indefinitely because no mind = no self = no person. Your self, your personality - YOU - exists in your mind, not your body.

secularprolife.org said...

We don't keep brain dead people alive (in most cases) because there is no chance they will regain brain function. The scenario's are not equal. I completely understand the "person" vs. human being argument. I just believe rights are inherent to human beings in the biological sense, not the philosophical sense. Unless you can pinpoint the exact moment that a human being becomes a person, it's just too ambiguous a definition for me. Using brain function which isn't a constant, doesn't seem like a reliable metric to me. When the first synapses fire, there is still no personality, or self. Those develop slowly over the course of an entire lifetime. Even a newborn baby has no real personality or demonstrable sense of self. If no sense of self or personality indicates no rights, do basic rights kick in gradually, like the sense of self and personality, or is it an all or nothing thing?

secularprolife.org said...

Capacity for sentience and sentience are two different things. Unless you can demonstrate it, it's all a matter of potential. Newborns do not express or recognize emotions for at least the first few weeks of life. It takes 7-8 weeks to even express the most basic emotion, fear. People will often project their own emotions or personality onto newborns, but according to the studies I am aware of, and my own experience raising children, they really don't have personalities or emotions right away. Part of the fun of having kids is watching those develop and helping them figure it all out. My take on it is that all biological human life has value. I have to treat sentience and potential for sentience as equal, since there is no credible way to measure it we can only say if it is possible or not. That doesn't mean we should artificially extend the biological life of a person who has lost their capacity or potential for sentience. A brain dead person doesn't usually survive long without brain functions, or external influences. Keeping a body alive artificially is not really preserving their life. Once you lose brain function, it doesn't typically come back.

secularprolife.org said...

A fetus does not develop the necessary apparatus for sentience until 25 weeks gestation. A newborn, if the child is conscious, *definitely* has the capacity for sentience. And sentience is not possible until the thalamus and the cortex have reached a certain level of development, and that doesn't happen until 25 weeks gestation.

A person who has suffered upper brain death can survive for up to 30 years on a feeding tube. Terri Schiavo did. And an anencephalic baby can live for two years or more with out a brain.

Your argument is still an argument from potential - that a brainless zygote should be treated as a full person because it *might* gain the capacity for sentience some day. Now, considerung the fact that up to 80% of concepti either fail to implant or spontaneously abort , and the existence of brainless babies, it would be wise to not count your chickens before they are hatched.

Either a zygote is a full person or it is not, regardless of whether or not it will ever develop a functional brain.

secularprolife.org said...

Thanks. This version of your post (I am going also by your final "does not entail" version of your last sentence) seems very clear.


"you need more certainty to compel a person to do X or prevent a person from doing X, than you do to leave the decision to do X to someone else."


I do indeed feel that this is a claim that can be questioned. You have a premise, if I understand right, something like "There is a human value that is respected and deserves to be respected, to the effect that society should refrain from compelling a person to do X or preventing a person from doing X."


Therefore to prevent a person from doing X (aborting) goes against that human value. To go against it requires a certainty that can only come from belief in a God of like mind to oneself.


I would agree with that premise. But I would also support another premise, "There is a human value that is even more respected and deserves that greater respect, to the effect that any person whose risk of grave loss of well-being is small should not be allowed by society to kill another who is innocent, particularly one who is weaker than themselves." (This even stronger human value says that for society to REFRAIN from interfering/compelling/preventing in some situations is near-unthinkable.)


I think that the premise I have offered is the essence of the pro-life position: When I see an adult armed with advanced weaponry about to tear my tiny and innocent little sister or brother into shreds, I want to say No! This doesn't require belief in anything. It doesn't even require a verbalized moral principle. It is a primal scream.


The facilitators of this SPL page and many of the commenters do not believe in God, and I suspect that even for many pro-life Christians, this primal scream is the real basis of their certainty. They may feel that to publicly invoke their intuitions would be a weak basis for a stance on public policy, and may somehow feel that invoking God is stronger; but from my interactions with them (I am not a Christian), I feel that their moral sense is mainly primal.


I said above, "This even stronger human value says that for society to REFRAIN from interfering/compelling/preventing in some situations is near-unthinkable." If I am right about this, then is pro-choicers who would have more need for certainty or for a grounding for certainty (which way would you put it?). What their grounding is I won't attempt to guess at this point.


As regards the question of whether certainty entails that a particular position is the right one to take, I have thought about that, and about the roles of intuition and logic in the abortion debate, here --


http://www.NoTerminationWithoutRepresentation.org/dismantling-the-bodily-rights-argument-without-using-the-responsibility-argument/


-- and in the latest blog post on that site.

secularprolife.org said...

Actually I am not arguing about zygotes at all. I don't personally see any potential until there is successful implantation. To be clear, I am also not speaking of legal rights, but of inherent basic human rights in a stricyly ethical sense. I do not advocate a legislative solution to this debate at all. I simply want people to have an honest discussion about it with the best evidence available. I think people are more effective influences on social and ethical issues than laws.

secularprolife.org said...

Well what I wrote applies to embryos and fetuses too, prior to viability.

secularprolife.org said...

Well, I have to admit that I am inclined to think that many of our so-called "reasons" for doing something are really just rationalizations where we try to account for our more primal intuitions. So to some degree I'm sympathetic to this line or reasoning (so to speak).
Although if you (and I) are right about the primal nature of our intuitions and the more limited role reason plays, I'm not sure there is anyway to make any progress to resolve our conflict. That is, the idea that you should get to use the police power of the state to dictate something as important as whether or not to bring a child into the world makes me acutely claustrophobic, like someone strangling me. I can reason all I want, but my first intuition is that I would not be your chattel in that way under any circumstance. So we seem to be at a standoff, I suppose.
As for respect, I don't think you can get out of the problem by making Kantian appeals to respect. Because in the end you simply have to use one being as merely being a means to an end, regardless if you side with the pregnant woman or with the unborn child. The whole notion of respect, from a philosophical standpoint, is inconsistent with treating other beings solely as means to an end, especially when your chosen end is chosen against their will.

secularprolife.org said...

**When I see an adult armed with advanced weaponry about to tear my tiny and innocent little sister or brother into shreds, I want to say No!**



The problem with your analogy is this. Pro-lifers do not give a shit about the 'tiny innocent vulnerable lives' EXCEPT when pretended concern for such can inconvenience others. They are not holding tampon funerals every month for the pwecious widdle unimplanted embwyoes.


When I see someone whose attitude towards their own tiny innocent vulnerable 'brothers and sisters' dying of mutation, starvation, and disease, is to simply yawn, toss the 'widdle body' out in the trash, and merrily go about their routine, this is NOT someone who has any real concern for 'tiny innocent vulnerable lives' regardless of what they claim, and if they demand that the police act on supposed 'murders' on the other side of town, their motivation is NOT concern for the victim, they don't give a shit about the supposed 'victim', they simply want to punish the supposed 'murderer' for having sex.

secularprolife.org said...

All my uses of the word "respect" were intended to apply to values. I was talking about moral values that should be respected, not about persons that should be respected.

secularprolife.org said...

You keep using that word. I don't think that word means what you think that word means.
Why should I respect moral values? In particular, why should I respect moral values that do not reduce down to respect for persons? Why would I value moral values that disrespect persons?
Your characterization of my original post (where you rephrased my statements about making or preventing a person from doing some action, X, as a function of respect) is incoherent unless we are talking about respect (or lack thereof) for the person doing or not doing X.

secularprolife.org said...

Actually "child" refers to relationship as well. I'm in my early 30's but I am still my mother's child. My sons are little kids right now but they'll always be my children. My 8 year old will still be my child when he is 38. The relationship doesn't begin or cease based on age. He was my child at conception, he will be my child when his hair is gray.

secularprolife.org said...

Well Ann, you might want to re-check your facts there. Brain function begins early early early. Brain waves are detectable as early as 40 days. The nervous system is beginning to be laid down before the second month. The brain is functioning well before the 6th month. They used to believe that DREAMING didn't occur till the 6th month (is that what you were really thinking of? Surely you didn't mean to say "brain function" did you?) but now scientists believe dreaming begins as early as the 16th week.

Brain function, btw, does not merit special consideration nor does the lack of it justify destruction, which should cause several folks here to heave a mighty sigh of relief. Our humanity and rights as human beings is inherent to us not something earned by jumping through arbitrary hoops.

secularprolife.org said...

Random neurons firing at 6 weeks =/= functional brain


And yes, we do decide who lives or dies based on brain function, since living bodies with missing or dead cerebral cortexes are not kept on feeding tubes indefinitely. Without a mind, which arises from a specific area within the brain, we are just lumps of h.sapiens meat.

secularprolife.org said...

He is your son. When he is grown, he is no longer a child.

secularprolife.org said...

"Respect" may not have been the best word for me to apply to moral values. "To value" and "to respect" overlap in meaning, so I don't need both. instead of "a human value that is respected," I might better have said "a human moral value on which there is a consensus as to its great importance."

Such editing would render a debate about my use, per se, of the word "respect," irrelevant.

Still, your question would be valid: "Why should I respect moral values that do not reduce down to respect for persons?" Maybe you shouldn't. But doesn't my "any person whose risk of grave loss of well-being is small should not be allowed by society to kill another who is innocent, particularly one who is weaker than themselves" reduce down to respect for the weaker person?

And does it even reduce down to any DISrespect at all for the stronger person, the assailant? I may have great respect for my neighbor, but if I see him in a distraught moment about to kill his 2-year-old, I'll try to restrain him. So I think you'll have to concur that my "any person whose risk of grave loss of well-being is small should not be allowed by society to kill another who is innocent, particularly one who is weaker than themselves," though you apparently disagree with it, is not based on disrespect for anyone.

 

Suppose there are conjoined twins and one could survive an operation to divide them, the other couldn’t. Does the one who could survive have the right to the operation?

Please do not take this question at this point as an analogy to abortion. I would just like to hear your immediate intuition. Even if your later reasoning leads you to a different conclusion, I would like to hear your intuition, and whether there is any emotion, or any body feeling, as you picture the situation.

secularprolife.org said...

If they're not viable they really aren't a consideration in an ethical discussion. If you just don't KNOW if they are viable that's a whole different story. Kinda puts you in a Schrodinger's cat situation. My take on it is pretty simple, if you don't know, you have to assume it is. It's the same sort of situation I was talking about earlier. If a person doesn't kill themselves, you have to assume they want to live. If an organism doesn't self terminate, you have to assume it is viable. If it's not, it requires no action from anyone else, and there are no moral implications. If it is, it requires no action from anyone else, and will become evident on it's own.

secularprolife.org said...

Kinda puts you in a Schrodinger's cat situation. My take on it is pretty simple, if you don't know, you have to assume it is


No, you don't. You don't deprive people of their autonomy and subject them to harm, and possibly death, just because something *might* develop sentience one day.


And all of the above is irrelvant anyway, because sentient sapient beings are not entitled to use other people's bodies for their own ends.

secularprolife.org said...

Two things then. First, I don't think that respect arguments are very helpful with regards to abortion specifically because you have to use one person as a means to the other's end. So I don't think that you can resolve the issue that way. Rather, I think you have to approach it differently. And more generally I think the "philosophical argument" method of discourse is the way we cloak ourselves in the rhetoric of objectivity in order to wash our hands of any angst we might have over causing someone a good bit of misery.
Second, the conjoined twin example is a good example of this as any, really. Yes, making the decision to kill one of the conjoined twins so the other can live should make you uneasy if you are capable of empathy. It should also make you uneasy that not performing the operation will have consequence for the twins life and long term viability.
I don't think you can philosophize your way to a "right" decision, one in which you shouldn't feel some angst, regardless of what choice you make, unless you rely on bad faith.
So you'll have to take all of the facts at hand and make the best choice you can make. And live with the angst because, at best, you can make the best decision, not a perfect one.

secularprolife.org said...

Then explain anencephaly.

secularprolife.org said...

No, sentient beings are *not* entitled to occupy and use the bodies as a means to an end, otherwise rape and slavery would be legal, along with mandatory tissue and organ donation.

secularprolife.org said...

We seem to agree on a lot, which has to be good. To bring the discussion back closer to abortion law specifically, and see how much we can agree on in that context, could we take this example --


A young woman who faces a very low risk of serious health consequences* from her pregnancy wants to get an abortion because she doesn't want to take on parenting, though it would be economically feasible for her. And as regards adoption or leaving the child somewhere under safe-haven laws, she doesn't want to undergo pregnancy for a baby she will not keep


* In the US, maternal mortality -- death caused by pregnancy or childbirth -- is about 15/100,000, in Western Europe less; this woman's prognosis is better than average.


-- and see if we can agree on the following --


1. As happens whenever there is an unwanted pregnancy, there is not likely to be a completely happy outcome. We should aim for the least of all the evils.


2. We both feel regret/angst/uneasiness to think of an innocent unborn little member of our society being killed with advanced weaponry by a team of its seniors.


3. We both feel regret/angst/uneasiness to think of a woman being legally prevented from doing what she wants with the contents of her uterus, and compelled to take a small risk of serious health problems (there are short-term and long-term risks in abortion also, but probably less than in pregnancy/childbirth).


4. You feel that 2 is the least of all the evils.


5. I feel that 3 is the least of all the evils.


6. Each of us admits that they cannot provide the other with a perfect logical/philosophical proof of the correctness of their position, and admits that their position derives partly from a pre-logical moral intuition. Neither of us really knows why they have the intuition that they do have, and not the other person's intuition.


7. This is not to say that both the intuitions are equally correct and that morality is completely relative; one intuition may be more correct than the other. The absence of a logical proof does not mean that an intuition is incorrect.


8. "Cannot provide a perfect logical/philosophical proof" does not mean that logic is of no use at all. If we were to go on exchanging thought experiments offering situations somewhat analogous to abortion, such as the "conjoined twins" thought experiment, and were to continue with philosophical discussions in other ways also, each of us might be nudged toward a moral intuition that is more correct than our existing intuition, though there is no guarantee of this

secularprolife.org said...

Well, Sarah, you might want to get YOUR facts checked, instead of spouting crap from pro-lifer pamphlets, because prior to myelinization of the nerve sheaths in the brain, organized thought is not possible.

**Brain waves are detectable as early as 40 days.**

Uh huh. Ask for technical details on that little factioid, why don't you. Is what they mean by 'brain waves' mere electrical activity, or the sort of organized electrical activity that signifies thought. Because you can detect electrical activity by hooking up some electrodes to a rock and hitting it with a hammer.

**now scientists believe dreaming begins as early as the 16th week.**


Bullshit.

**Brain function, btw, does not merit special consideration nor does the lack of it justify destruction**

So, what you are saying here is that if your child needed a kidney transplant from a brain dead motorcycle accident victim, you would refuse. Or are you just babbling?

**Our humanity and rights as human beings is inherent to us not something earned by jumping through arbitrary hoops.**

Oh really? Why exactly is it 'inherent' to US, but not to cattle or bacteria. Did God just 'happen' to spin a roullette wheel and 'human beings' came out on top to just 'happen' to be gifted with rights that descended from the sky in a golden light?

secularprolife.org said...

**Brain function isn't a measure of humanity or the rights associated with it,**

If it isn't, then why don't bacteria and cattle have rights?

** or stupid people would have less inherent rights than smart people.**


And again, you are trying to play the forced gestationer game of pretending that poor brain function is in any way comparable to NO brain function.

** If a human being doesn't explicitly state that they would like to die, it has to be assumed they would rather not.**

Umm, no, it doesn't. If something doesn't have a functional brain, they are incapable of preferences. You are assigning qualities and capabilities to the embryo that it doesn't have. Your statement is rather like saying that since a rock doesn't explicitly state that it would like to be ground up in a gravel mill, it has to be assumed that it would rather not. It's pure sad-feelie nonsense, neither a rock nor an embryo has any opinions or interest in any matter, because to do so requires a functional brain.

secularprolife.org said...

**Our humanity and rights as human beings is inherent to us not something earned by jumping through arbitrary hoops.**



Since forced gestationers constantly handwave away the rights of a molar pregnancy, I think what you really mean here is that you think rights ARE earned by 'jumping through hoops', but that the standard for YOUR hoop is cuteness.

secularprolife.org said...

**Well Ann, you might want to re-check your facts there. Brain function begins early early early.**


Well, Sarah, you might want to recheck your facts. Brain function is not possible without myelinization of the nerve sheaths, and that doesn't occur until the 6th month. In other words - no brain function until late late late.

**Brain waves are detectable as early as 40 days.**

Sorry, no. Brain function cannot begin until the 6th month. Electrical activity is not brain function. I can detect electrical activity if I hit a rock with a hammer.


Some advice - get some technical details on EXACTLY what your sad feelie pro-life pamphlets are referring to when they talk about 'brainwaves'. There is a significant difference between electrical activity that can be picked up by electrodes, and organized thought. Calling the former a 'brainwave' may be technically correct in a very broad sense, but is highly misleading. It's rather like calling the interference you get on your radio from a welder a 'radio signal'. Technically, welding creates 'radio signals' that can be detected, but the 'radio signals' of that sort are completely unorganized, and signify nothing intelligent. All matter has electrical signals, but there simply cannot be any thought or sensation unless there is an organized pattern to them. If you can't grasp this, I can't help you, it would probably take years of remedial education to get you past the point of thinking with your sad feelies and mommy gland so that you could understand the scientific principals involved here.

**but now scientists believe dreaming begins as early as the 16th week.**

Bullshit.

**Brain function, btw, does not merit special consideration nor does the lack of it justify destruction, which should cause several folks here to heave a mighty sigh of relief**

So, you're claiming here that doctors who harvest organs from brain dead motorcycle accident victims and fertility centers that discard extra zygotes should be tried for murder?

**Our humanity and rights as human beings is inherent to us not something earned by jumping through arbitrary hoops.**

So, if brain function has absolutely NOTHING to do with rights, then why don't bacteria or fish have rights? Did God spin a roullette wheel and our species just 'happened' to come out on top by random chance, and 'rights' then descended from the heavens in a golden light on every pwecious embwyo?

secularprolife.org said...

**"any person whose risk of grave loss of well-being is small should not be allowed by society to kill another who is innocent, particularly one who is weaker than themselves**


Cum Hoc fallacy. the same one that pretends that people don't value the pwecious embwyo 'just because' it is 'small', 'young', or 'can't pay'.

secularprolife.org said...

Couple problems here:
1. You haven't explained how something without a brain has any rights.


2. Low risk is not 'zero risk'. Should you be forced to play a 'low risk' game of Russian roullette if doing so meant a dialysis patient would get a free kidney transplant.


3.Enslaving one person because the sad outcome for them means a happier outcome for someone else is not a good principal. Should we remove one of your kidneys' because there is a 'low, low health risk' to save a dialyis patient's life? What if someone could raped with a low, low health risk, and it would make some pervert really really happy? By your principle, both should be allowed.

secularprolife.org said...

**Will the price be infanticide in every case, or will some of the saved embryos get to live out their lives?**


So, what you are saying here, is that given the choice between killing 2 brainless zygotes, incapable of thought, sensation and pain, or killing 1 newborn by letting it die in agony of exposure, dehydration, or being torn apart by wolves, you would choose the latter, so long as the other widdle zygote got a 'chance'?

secularprolife.org said...

**At least they let the child live for a few months, hoping for the best. They really wanted not to kill it.**



Yeah... they really, really wanted that. They 'hoped for the best'. Like angels descending from the sky with truck loads of food and money to get them out of the situation they were in. And they really, really wanted not to kill it, and then what happened? Some mean person came along and pointed a gun at them and just forced poor them to kill their 3 month old. Even though they really, really, didn't want to do that?

secularprolife.org said...

**regain brain function.**

REGAIN here being the operative word. The word REGAIN implies that brain function already existed at some point in the past. A pwecious embwyo never had brain function, and rights that are a result of brain function are not retroactive to points in the past prior to any existence of any brain function, no matter how sad you are about it.

**When the first synapses fire, there is still no personality, or self.**

So now you are claiming to have psychic powers. You're also trying to claim that since an adult personality doesn't appear *immediately* when brain function starts, there is therefore no difference between brain function and no brain function, which is rather like claiming that since you don't appear in a city 1000 miles away IMMEDIATELY when the plane takes off, there is therefore no difference between being on the plane and sitting on your ass on the runway.

**Using brain function which isn't a constant, doesn't seem like a reliable metric to me.**



If that's so, then why don't bacteria have rights?

secularprolife.org said...

Here's a thought experiment about your 'sacred potential'. Consider the following future possibility:


A 25 year old man is in a motorcycle accident, and ends up brain dead. Now, I am a mad scientist, and I have invented a drug which, when injected into a brain dead patient, will dissolve their old dead brain and grow a new living one, in '9 short months'. Now, being an entirely new brain, this brain will not contain any of the memories or personality of the 25 year old man prior to his sad accident. It will be a tabula rasa, a brain equivalent to that of a newborn infant.


Now, I am willing to donate this drug for free, but it will require as much money to raise and educate the man as it would a child.


Since you have a living, biological human being with the 'potential for a full life' should the family of the man be obligated to accept my drug treatment, and spend the money taking care of the man for the next 18 years, until he is sufficiently educated to live on his own? If not, why does he not have a 'right' to a 'chance' if an embwyo does? Because he's not as cute?

secularprolife.org said...

**Autonomy is near the bottom, maybe 2 or 3, if that. Life is the absolute apex of basic human rights**



Then what you are saying is that you advocate people being forced to donate blood, bone marrow, and kidneys?

secularprolife.org said...

He once argued that a zygote is more valuable than an infant because the zygote has more life ahead of it

Acyu is REALLY stuck on the sad feelies, and clearly projects his extreme existential angst into those precious zygotes.

secularprolife.org said...

I don't think we do agree on all that much. What you've just described is EXACTLY what I think the problem is.

1. I think that both abortion and forced birth, if you thought about them and have any empathy, should fill you with horror.

2. I think that most of us (overwhelmingly) care for our own mental tranquility than any concern for others. So feeling horror about the misery our actions cause is a non-starter. We act first to make ourselves feel better and then, perhaps, out of concern for others. Maybe.

3. So we do two things (a) we think of abortion as resolving a conflict of rights between two OTHER people and absolve ourselves any real responsibilities or obligations; (b) we acknowledge the full scope of what is at stake from ONE side only and gloss over the other with seemingly reasonable "facts" that dismissively understate (at best) the misery our policy choice will cause (and we do this to make ourselves feel better).

4. As evidence of this people on both sides of this issue don't talk about the hard choices that making policy entails. They don't talk about how the have to deal with the anguish of dealing with the misery they've caused. Far from it. Rather they talk with overwhelming sense of righteousness and pride. Because THAT is the REAL goal in the first place.

secularprolife.org said...

Bacteria and cattle are not human. My point about brain function was pretty clear, but you seem to have either missed or dismissed the main point. If no brain function means no rights, and we all know brain function develops incrementally, do you believe rights are assigned incrementally as well? At the earliest stages of brain development, preferences and emotions etc. are still not possible. My statement about having to assume a person doesn't want to die unless they say so, was obviously in regards to organisms with existing brain function, but the inability to express a preference. Your analogy about the rock is irrelevant. How many rocks develop brain function?

secularprolife.org said...

I'm stating a pretty basic concept. Autonomy is a human right that we routinely deny people. Your autonomy is probably infringed on daily, with little or no notice. The entire concept of government is based on the idea of regulating that right. I'm not stating my personal opinion or preference there, just making a pretty self evident observation.

secularprolife.org said...

So you are arguing that human DNA has rights, since brain function is irrelevany?

secularprolife.org said...

Yep. So since we don't have complete autonomy, then we shouldn't have any, right? I mean, if you are gonna be forced to get a vaccination, or searched at the airport, then really, what is wrong with rape, or forced kidney donation? All of the above are violations of autonomy, and, as you stated, autonomy isn't a very important right....

secularprolife.org said...

"What you've just described is EXACTLY what I think the problem is."


This could be understood in two ways:


- "I understand the problem exactly as you do"


- "Your kind of thinking is exactly the problem, as I see it."


You precede your "EXACTLY" sentence with "I don't think we do agree on all that much," which inclines me to think that your "EXACTLY" sentence means the latter interpretation above. On the other hand, I don't particularly disagree with your points 1-4, and don't particularly see how they relate to me, which inclines me to think that your "EXACTLY" sentence means the former interpretation above.


Overall, I think you mean the latter option above. Am I correct?


If I am correct, then your points 1-4 are a criticism of my thinking, particularly my points 1-8.


The essence of your points 1-4 seems to be "I think that most of us (overwhelmingly) care for our own mental tranquility than any concern for others. So feeling horror about the misery our actions cause is a non-starter."


So in other words, you think that I fail to feel horror about the misery my actions would cause. My actions would lead to unborn child-protection legislation. They would cause "a woman being legally prevented from doing what she wants with the contents of her uterus, and compelled to take a small risk of serious health problems."


I said that I feel "feel regret/angst/uneasiness to think of" this. But you seem to be saying that I fail to feel horror.


Is this the only issue you are raising? Are you saying that my feeling regret/angst/uneasiness is not enough, and that I should feel horror?


(Please note that in writing my points 1-8, I had selected the words angst and "uneasiness" because you had already used them. I was trying to work within a framework that was apparently clear to you.)

secularprolife.org said...

Are you just going to ignore the part about consent? I didn't suggest forcing anyone to do anything. Autonomy is surrendered by consent, not taken. Like it or not, getting pregnant is something you have control over. If nobody forced you to get pregnant, the argument about "forcing brith" is moot. You may as well call being required to pay a speeding ticket, strong arm robbery.

secularprolife.org said...

Not at all. I don't know how you even drew that conclusion. I am arguing that a human being has rights, at every stage of development. I've been pretty clear about that.

secularprolife.org said...

No, you cannot consent to slavery, that is logically impossible. And by your logic, having sex while female = a crime, hence the forfeiture of autonomy. We only forfeit people's autonomy and subject them to torture if they have commited a crime. Having sex while female isn't a criminal or negligent act.

secularprolife.org said...

You said this:

Brain function isn't a measure of humanity or the rights associated with it

Then in response to Ann you said this:

Bacteria and cattle are not human

So you are arguing that brain function is completely irrelevant, and that what maters is h.sapiens DNA, so by that logic, it's human DNA that should have rights, full stop.

secularprolife.org said...

Oh, since you are arguing consent, then I guess you believe that abortion should be permitted in the case of rape, yes?

secularprolife.org said...

Using your numbers,


1. I have tried to explain that here --


http://www.NoTerminationWithoutRepresentation.org/


-- in the posts "Personhood & Citizenship," "Personhood," "Too Young for Rights?" and "Dismantling the Bodily-Rights Argument without Using the Responsibility Argument." In the last-mentioned post, for example, I wrote:


"In thinking of the unborn, some people tend to perceive a still picture, an organism frozen in time, while some tend to perceive a process. If you kill a small clump of cells lacking, perhaps, even a beating heart, is it correct to say that you are killing an organism whose life presently has little value, or to say that you are depriving it of the complete human life which has started as a process? In fact, both statements are correct. Obviously the perception of a process is a more complete perception. If one does perceive a process, then one will also intuit that the unborn is a full-fledged member of human society, and will call it a person. But there is no way to prove logically that the process model is more valid morally than the frozen-in-time model as a basis for deciding the fate of the organism."


2. No, because in the first place, I could give a dialysis patient a free kidney without shooting out my brain as well.


3. I don't think the answer to the bodily-rights argument is completely simple. My thoughts about it are here:


http://www.NoTerminationWithoutRepresentation.org/dismantling-the-bodily-rights-argument-without-using-the-responsibility-argument/


"What if someone could raped with a low, low health risk, and it would make some pervert really really happy? By your principle, [that] should be allowed."


What principle of mine?

secularprolife.org said...

It is hard having a real conversation in a comments section so I apologize for being less than clear.

I think you (and everyone else) is guilty of doing exactly what I think the problem is. The problem is that you don't (sufficiently) think of the pregnant woman as a human being in the way you do the unborn child (or vice versa if you are pro-choice).
I'm claiming as well that the reason you are doing that is that you aren't interested in taking ownership over the real misery that your preferred legal rules will inflict upon actual women (not in the abstract) The best way to do that is to just depersonalize the victim. Collateral damage, so to speak. Here is why:

(1) This is how you frame the two sides:

"A young woman who faces a very low risk of serious health consequences* from her pregnancy wants to get an abortion because she doesn't want to take on parenting, though it would be economically feasible for her" VS "regret/angst/uneasiness to think of an innocent unborn little member of our society being killed with advanced weaponry by a team of its seniors"
In the first you make a dry, dispassionate attempt to "objectively' look at (some of) the facts in play. That is, you depersonalize the analysis. In the second you respond emotionally as you grasp the full implications of what will happen (if you permit abortion to happen).
Then you weigh the two positions in a (rigged) cost benefit analysis (never taking into account that the rest of us could just as easily be forced, like the particular woman you want to force, to provide care against our will.).
This is my second point. As soon as someone frames as just being a conflict of rights between two discrete individuals (both sides LOVE to do this) I can tell that the speaker wants to make sure that he doesn't have any obligation imposed upon themselves (the "really important" person). Which we should-- the financial hardship of having a child is largely a function of the legal rules and societal commitments we've made.
Hand washing complete!
Who cares if the woman is physical or emotionally harmed? Who cares if her identity is existentially changed against her will? Who cares if she ends up living a diminished life because she can't afford to do the things that she otherwise could have. Not my fault! I had nothing to do with it. Now excuse me, I'm a really good person and I have a flight to Miami to catch!
Look, I can present the pro-choice version of what you did if you'd like, I'm just as familiar with it.

secularprolife.org said...

I had said "In some cases." Your sarcasm is directed at the other cases. The other cases are likely the big majority, but I was trying to make a certain point.


Suppose a poor couple consider abortion, but decide that possibly they can manage, and decide to give the unborn a chance. When it is 3 months old, they are unexpectedly turned into refugees and have to cross a desert. They themselves will be lucky to survive the conditions, and for the child there is virtually no way. It is already suffering severely. Rather than let that continue, they decide on euthanasia.


I would say that the abortion would have been a more selfish act than the euthanasia, wouldn't you?

secularprolife.org said...

I already said that, as well as that I am not discussing permission at all. I have been more than clear about not advocating a legislative solution. I am simply talking about rights in the ethical sense.

secularprolife.org said...

I know. And I give you a thumbs up for that.

Now, I would argue that a loss of bodily autonomy coupled with definite physical harm is an extraordinary burden.

Question.

Should parents be ethically obligated to donate body parts to a child that they have given up for adoption? Does the fact that they had sex forever ethically obligate them to donate their body parts to a child that they created?

secularprolife.org said...

Not at all. As an adoptee myself, I recognize that my biological parents (particularly my mother) fulfilled their ethical obligation to me. My father got off a little easy, but he absolutely consented to a loss of autonomy when he had sex with my mother. He just happened to escape the repercussions of that decision. Should my mother have decided to keep me, he would have had an ethical obligation to give up a good amount of autonomy (primarily financial). The idea that ONLY the woman is held liable for the shared decision is not entirely true. She consents to a greater burden initially, but also retains greater autonomy. The father has no choice in the matter of abortion (legal or ethical) but he shares the burden should she choose to give birth.

secularprolife.org said...

When we are speaking of BODILY AUTONOMY only the woman is held liable.

No man has ever died from pregnancy or had his private parts ripped to shreds or suffered torturous pain for 3 days.

In the case of bodily donation, the toll of pregnancy is too high. It is a supererogatory burden.

secularprolife.org said...

And I will point out that you are special pleading for the unborn. Why should a loss of bodily autonomy only be ethically mandated in service of a prenate?

If prenate = newborn = toddler = teen = adult, then both parents should forever be ethically obligated to donate body parts to their child because they had sex

Don't carve out special rules for the prenate.

secularprolife.org said...

I should have been clearer with that statement. Rights (autonomy included) aren't ETHICALLY taken, they are surrendered. Of course slavery is unethical. all manner of rights are routinely taken without consent, and it is unethical in every case. I probably shouldn't have used an analogy that involved a penalty either. That's not at all what that was meant to imply. However, the father surrenders his autonomy as well, and in many cases can be criminally prosecuted for not meeting the ethical and legal obligation of providing for the child.The idea that crime is the only way to surrender autonomy is just not true. We surrender autonomy every day that we show up to work, pay taxes etc. We consent to the possibility of surrendering autonomy pretty routinely as well.

secularprolife.org said...

Indeed, but the burden imposed upon us is not as great as that of pregnancy. And yes, men do have to pay child support, but your wallet is not the same as your body. You are also ignoring the fact that the woman has to pay as well. And if the man gets custody, she is legally obligated to pay. So, women get hit with a double penalty.

And no, you do not surrender your rights when you have sex. That is absurd.

secularprolife.org said...

As I said, the burden on the woman is greater, as is her right to autonomy, which is why she has the final choice in the matter. That doesn't change the ethical conflict between the right to life and the right to autonomy. Clearly the right to life is greater, and there was implicit consent by both parties to surrender some share of their autonomy. She maintains far more autonomy in the matter than the man. If she chooses to give birth and raise the child, he is both ethically and legally obligated to surrender an equal share of his autonomy. Since he has no say in the decision, it's clear who has greater autonomy.

secularprolife.org said...

Are we ethically obligated to undergo torture to sustain the life of another?

This is crude, but imagine being viciously punched in the stomach for 20 hours and then having a melon violently inserted into your rectum. That's birth.

Are we ethically obligated to undergo torture on behalf of another?

secularprolife.org said...

You consent to the possibility of surrendering rights. Clearly that isn't always, or even usually, the case. The woman's burden is greater, so she has more authority on the matter, that's a given. As for the financial burden not being as great as the physical burden, that is arguable. In most cases if a pregnancy is a real and tangible threat to the woman's life, it will be terminated. The ethical conflict there is between the right to life of one person, and the right to life of another. It's not the same discussion at all as the conflict between autonomy and life.

secularprolife.org said...

Only if you consent. I've witnessed several births, most recently my own son. I'm familiar with the process, and you're being a bit dramatic. When my son was born we arrived at the hospital early in the morning, and I was cutting his umbilical cord about 3 hours later. My wife was smiling ear to ear within seconds. Folks don't tend to smile so much after being ruthlessly tortured. Of ofcourse I know that isn't always the case, but neither is your scenario, and if both were possibilities the woman was aware of, she implicitly consented to both.

secularprolife.org said...

Not every pregnancy related death or permanent disability can be predicted or prevented - which is why 2 women die per day in the USA. So, you are holding women to a much higher standard than men. The man isn't even obligated to donate blood during or after the pregnancy. His body can and will remain intact.

And birth. Don't erase birth. Do women automatically surrender the right to be free from torture when they have sex?

secularprolife.org said...

The problem with DNA is that it cannot be proved to be human until it is expressed.

secularprolife.org said...

I am not being overly dramatic. There are no guarantees. Your wife was lucky. Many women have their vaginas ripped to shreds from breach births, they can never pee or have sex normally again, without great pain.

Epidurals are not a sure thing, and sometime they don't take, or its too late. Some women have the misfortune of being cut open by c section with zero pain relief.

Its a game of Russian Roulette.

And regardless of what you say, birth is rated as one of the most painful things a person can suffer through. Don't pretend that contractions and a large object being shoved through a tiny hole = fairy farts and unicorns.

secularprolife.org said...

And no, you NEVER imolicily consent to torture, least of all for having sex.

Wtf is wrong with you?

secularprolife.org said...

I hate to use the old "the world isn't always fair" line, but it's true, and again it is a matter of consent. Birth is rarely the sort of torture you are presenting, in fact it isn't really appropriate to call it torture at all. I've heard accounts and personally witnessed births that were extremely quick and relatively painless, particularly compared to the genital mutilation, evisceration, and near death experience you are portraying as the norm. Of course there is the possibility of it not going that way, there is life being unfair. Some women will have a quick and easy birthing process, some won't. It has no impact on the ethics of it, until it becomes and issue of a life for a life.

secularprolife.org said...

Actually the general public is largely pro choice. The pro life position is that a fetus is a human baby and for that reason killing a fetus is killing a human baby. Most people allow abortion. They just want less abortion. It they believed that abortion was murdering a baby, they would be opposed. Most people would never under any circumstances murder babies.

secularprolife.org said...

"It is hard having a real conversation in a comments section"


On the blog that I had linked to, on the About page, there is an email address that you could use if you wish.


We could Skype.


"you depersonalize the analysis. In the second you respond emotionally"


It might be more to the point to compare my 2 to my 3 rather than to my preface about "doesn't want to take on parenting." But anyway, you have a point, at least as far as how my presentation came out.


But if I understand what you're saying overall, you, having detected some unevenness in my treatment of the possible fates of the woman and the child, jumped from there to the conclusion that I "want to make sure that I don't have any obligation imposed upon myself."


In fact, as an example, I was involved a few months back in influencing the choice of a young woman in India (she chose not to abort), and since then I have raised a significant amount of money (significant in terms of both her living standard and mine, at least) to help her, and I plan to continue on this line.


So the conclusion you jumped to was not completely correct. Whether it was completely incorrect, and all your other points, I would be interested in discussing. Your main area of interest seems to be psychological factors that operate once someone has decided to advocate for the position that they have come to on some issue. At this point I'm not sure whether you share what for me is more primary as an area of interest -- how someone comes to their position on some issue in the first place.


If you at all share that area of interest, then my first preference as to how to proceed overall would be that we first make clear what relevant points we agree on. You have said, "Look, I can present the pro-choice version of what you did if you'd like . . ." If you are willing to do that amount of work, I would propose that you direct the same amount a little differently. I would propose that you edit my 8 points to be either more dispassionate about the child or less dispassionate about the woman, so that you can look at what remains of the 8 points after any bias has been removed from them. And then tell me how far you agree with those points, and, if you wish, add other points that you think we agree on.

secularprolife.org said...

We are never going to agree on that. Talking from personal experience (my wife wasn't the first person I saw give birth). Birth is NOT rated as one of the most painful things a person can endure. I'm not even sure where you read that, or who told you that. Broken bones, kidney stones, migraine headaches, gallstones, root canals, bladder infections and surgery have all been reported to be more painful. Those are just from an article at http://pregnancy.about.com/od/painmedsinlabor/ss/8-Things-That-Hurt-Worse-Than-Childbirth_2.htm#step-heading
My own wife has cited pain from fibromyalgia as being worse.

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