Is abortion wrong?

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Is abortion wrong?

Post Number:#1  Postby cynicallyinsane » April 20th, 2007, 6:45 pm

Is abortion wrong? Is it okay? Why?
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Is abortion wrong?



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Post Number:#2  Postby marytk179 » October 25th, 2007, 9:14 pm

I think it is wrong. If you have sex there is the possibility you will have a baby and if you are not capible of either putting the child up for adoption or raising it, then you don't need to be having sex.
And if you are raped, you can put it up for adoption.
I mean its basically murder isn't it, in another forum there were people upset about the killing of animals, wouldn't the killing of an innocent baby be astronomically worse.
I read this bumper sticker the other day that said

"If its not a baby then your not pregnant"
It just made me think.

It just sounds wrong to me, I'd like to hear other peoples input though.
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Post Number:#3  Postby Scott » October 25th, 2007, 11:36 pm

In the first few weeks of pregnancy, the fetus doesn't even have nerves. It cannot feel pain. It's brain dead for the vast majority of the pregnancy. I find killing an animal more objectionable and saddening, and we kill animals all the time.

Also, why does the mother have any responsibility to take care of the fetus and nourish it? The fetus cannot survive on its own, so I don't think that qualifies as murder. In analogy, if a landlord evicts a deadbeat tenet and the now homeless tenet starves to death, that wouldn't be murder, would it?

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Post Number:#4  Postby Foreverrain » October 26th, 2007, 2:05 am

Scott wrote:In the first few weeks of pregnancy, the fetus doesn't even have nerves. It cannot feel pain. It's brain dead for the vast majority of the pregnancy. I find killing an animal more objectionable and saddening, and we kill animals all the time.

Also, why does the mother have any responsibility to take care of the fetus and nourish it? The fetus cannot survive on its own, so I don't think that qualifies as murder. In analogy, if a landlord evicts a deadbeat tenet and the now homeless tenet starves to death, that wouldn't be murder, would it?

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I kind of understand what you're saying, but you're wrong.

once you create something you have an obligation to see that task through. only when you see that it can't result in something posititve can you decide that it should be terminated or not. It's important to give mankind all possible positives to move ahead. Unless you are able to decipher that this life will hinder mankinds path forward can you decide to terminate it.
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Post Number:#5  Postby pjkeeley » October 26th, 2007, 4:19 am

I kind of understand what you're saying, but you're wrong.

once you create something you have an obligation to see that task through.

Where does this obligation to complete all our 'tasks' come from? And who defines what "see that task through" means? What if I made a pot out of clay, and I went through the process of shaping it and then putting it in a kiln to dry, and then I took it out and started using it to mix herbs. You could say to me "you have an obligation to see that task through" because maybe I haven't painted the pot, or maybe I didn't lacquer it. And suppose I comply with your request and painted it with some kind of pattern. You could still tell me I haven't finished my task, because you could point out flaws in the paint job, or you could insist that I give the pot a handle, and so on and so on.

You see what I'm getting at? The idea that we must finish everything we start is completely ludicrous and seems very abitrary to me. Examine your daily life for one moment and you could come up with hundreds of tasks you didn't 'see through' to the end.

It's important to give mankind all possible positives to move ahead.

Again, who defines what "all possible positives" means?

Unless you are able to decipher that this life will hinder mankinds path forward can you decide to terminate it.

Why not? And why does this only apply to foetuses/embryos? Why doesn't it apply to say, sperm? Does this mean that I can't ejaculate unless I know it will mean I end up fertilizing an egg? Otherwise I would not be giving each sperm the opportunity to become a life. See what I mean?

I mean its basically murder isn't it, in another forum there were people upset about the killing of animals, wouldn't the killing of an innocent baby be astronomically worse.

A foetus is not the same as a baby. In fact, there are many animals that we kill all the time that have a much greater cognition/awareness than a foetus does.

I mostly agree with what Scott said. I would say that killing a dog for example is worse than having an abortion.
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Post Number:#6  Postby Foreverrain » October 27th, 2007, 12:50 am

pjkeeley wrote:
I kind of understand what you're saying, but you're wrong.

once you create something you have an obligation to see that task through.

Where does this obligation to complete all our 'tasks' come from? And who defines what "see that task through" means? What if I made a pot out of clay, and I went through the process of shaping it and then putting it in a kiln to dry, and then I took it out and started using it to mix herbs. You could say to me "you have an obligation to see that task through" because maybe I haven't painted the pot, or maybe I didn't lacquer it. And suppose I comply with your request and painted it with some kind of pattern. You could still tell me I haven't finished my task, because you could point out flaws in the paint job, or you could insist that I give the pot a handle, and so on and so on.

You see what I'm getting at? The idea that we must finish everything we start is completely ludicrous and seems very abitrary to me. Examine your daily life for one moment and you could come up with hundreds of tasks you didn't 'see through' to the end.

It's important to give mankind all possible positives to move ahead.

Again, who defines what "all possible positives" means?

Unless you are able to decipher that this life will hinder mankinds path forward can you decide to terminate it.

Why not? And why does this only apply to foetuses/embryos? Why doesn't it apply to say, sperm? Does this mean that I can't ejaculate unless I know it will mean I end up fertilizing an egg? Otherwise I would not be giving each sperm the opportunity to become a life. See what I mean?

I mean its basically murder isn't it, in another forum there were people upset about the killing of animals, wouldn't the killing of an innocent baby be astronomically worse.

A foetus is not the same as a baby. In fact, there are many animals that we kill all the time that have a much greater cognition/awareness than a foetus does.

I mostly agree with what Scott said. I would say that killing a dog for example is worse than having an abortion.



You're actually comparing human life to clay?! I don't think I need to say anything more.
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Post Number:#7  Postby pjkeeley » October 27th, 2007, 7:49 am

I don't think I need to say anything more.

Yes, you do. You have not acknowledged my arguments. You are evading discussion. In case you weren't aware, this is a philosophy forum and philosophy thrives on debate. If you think you know better than me, by all means refute my arguments.

Secondly, you clearly DID NOT read my argument properly. I was not comparing human life to clay. In your post, you said "once you create something you have an obligation to see that task through" (a statement concerning the general). I was showing why this is false by giving an example of something you are clearly not obliged to see through once you start (a clay pot). If what you actually meant is that once you start a human life you have an obligation to see it through (a specific statment), then you should have said so. I was refuting your argument as written. Scroll up and re-read what I wrote and you will see I make no comparison between pots and humans.

I would like to discuss this further with you but only if you are willing to read my arguments properly and not evade discussion.
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Post Number:#8  Postby Foreverrain » October 28th, 2007, 12:58 am

pjkeeley wrote:
I don't think I need to say anything more.

Yes, you do. You have not acknowledged my arguments. You are evading discussion. In case you weren't aware, this is a philosophy forum and philosophy thrives on debate. If you think you know better than me, by all means refute my arguments.

Secondly, you clearly DID NOT read my argument properly. I was not comparing human life to clay. In your post, you said "once you create something you have an obligation to see that task through" (a statement concerning the general). I was showing why this is false by giving an example of something you are clearly not obliged to see through once you start (a clay pot). If what you actually meant is that once you start a human life you have an obligation to see it through (a specific statment), then you should have said so. I was refuting your argument as written. Scroll up and re-read what I wrote and you will see I make no comparison between pots and humans.

I would like to discuss this further with you but only if you are willing to read my arguments properly and not evade discussion.


There is no argument. You see things your way, and I see things mine. All I meant was that when it comes to human life, you will be obliged to see that life through untill you die, and unless you're a father like I am, maybe you can't see that. I don't hold that against you and have not questioned what you believe other than using a bad analogy. Unlike clay, humans have to be constantly molded and never remain the same. You don't create clay, you mold it. It already exists, we just simply manipulate it. That's what humans do best...manipulate. That's why I said create. I didn't think that I needed to specify among intelligent people.
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Post Number:#9  Postby pjkeeley » October 28th, 2007, 1:28 am

There is no argument. You see things your way, and I see things mine.

That is not how philosophy works. Differences of opinion aren't where philosophy ends; they are where philosophy begins.

All I meant was that when it comes to human life, you will be obliged to see that life through untill you die, and unless you're a father like I am, maybe you can't see that.

I reject the idea that someone has to be a parent in order to know what is right or wrong. This is clearly false. You are making a claim to special kind of knowledge without specifying why it is better than my own.

I don't hold that against you and have not questioned what you believe other than using a bad analogy. Unlike clay, humans have to be constantly molded and never remain the same. You don't create clay, you mold it.

True, you don't create clay. But you DO create POTS. Which was my argument. I am trying to be patient with you but you continue to misrepresent my claims.

You are wrong however to say that one thing is created while the other is manipulated. They are both manipulated into a final product:

Bits of clay moulded together --> pots
Zygotes (egg + sperm) moulded together --> humans

In both cases you start with something you didn't create, and in both cases you make a choice to use that something in order to make a final product.

I believe human life is more valuable than clay, and that is why I DID NOT compare pots to humans. You are misrepresenting my argument. Am I misrepresenting yours?
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Post Number:#10  Postby Scott » October 28th, 2007, 8:32 pm

If anything, I would say the fact that a person creates something gives them more right to destroy it (or to stop taking care of it).

However, these moral obligations seem completely subjective. As such, I feel that we each are only as compelled as our own personal moral views obligate us personally.

In other words, you may believe that creating something obligates you to take care of it. However, other people may not believe that, and they are not obligated by your moral opinions insofar as they do not share them.

As a matter of law, I don't think abortion is murder, and thus I don't support criminalizing it.

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Is abortion wrong?

Post Number:#11  Postby Dewey » November 1st, 2007, 8:21 pm

The abortion war, as it has been aptly titled, is raging on just about all fronts: religious,secular, political, legal, and philosophical. Neither side is winning. Both sides act from deeply-held beliefs. They regard each other as villians.

I'm inclined to answer the question with: Abortion is wrong or right, depending on individual circumstances. That, of course, is no real answer. I should say the question is too general, too broad for a simple yes or no answer.

I kinda regret my inability as an unreligious person to obtain all that help from above and, like most of this privileged group, denounce all abortion with such certainty. (I'm not referring to any of my co-posters.)
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Abortion In light of Empathy & Care based ethics

Post Number:#12  Postby Patrarch » November 11th, 2007, 5:15 pm

What ever argument you use either for or against stems from whatever moral theory you hold to be true. When discussing abortion, what you're ultimately doing is purposing a specific general moral theory.

I am coming from the ideology of care & empathy based ethics (for reasons pointless to discuss in this topic, what matters is that this is where the justification lays), and I find the 'rights' of the mother VS. 'rights' of the fetus which commonly hold the debate completely morally irrelevant. I have found, based on research and thought experiment that the foundation of intuitive moral decision making is done empathetically. The foundation of the disagreement between those that intuitively find abortion immoral and those that intuitively find it immoral is the fact that they either do or do not personally empathize with the fetus. The reason this occurs is because of the salience of a fetus. Some philosophers compare abortion to watching a baby drown and not acting to save it when you are perfectly capable. The difference and abhorrence of the drowning situation versus abortion is the salience of the situation. Some people do not empathize with a fetus because it is not salient to them, while nearly everyone would agree that it is immoral to allow a baby to drown. The drowning baby is extremely salient. Can one empathize with a fetus, though? A fetus cannot feel emotion, so how can you empathize with it? Isn't that similar to empathizing with a rock or any object that cannot FEEL? Doesn't it intuitively seem different when you compare empathizing with a rock than with a fetus? Maybe with a fetus it's because of the CAPACITY for empathy? How do you respond when asked to empathize with a fetus?
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Re: Abortion In light of Empathy & Care based ethics

Post Number:#13  Postby mencken » November 16th, 2007, 9:05 am

Patrarch wrote:What ever argument you use either for or against stems from whatever moral theory you hold to be true. When discussing abortion, what you're ultimately doing is purposing a specific general moral theory.

I am coming from the ideology of care & empathy based ethics (for reasons pointless to discuss in this topic, what matters is that this is where the justification lays), and I find the 'rights' of the mother VS. 'rights' of the fetus which commonly hold the debate completely morally irrelevant. I have found, based on research and thought experiment that the foundation of intuitive moral decision making is done empathetically. The foundation of the disagreement between those that intuitively find abortion immoral and those that intuitively find it immoral is the fact that they either do or do not personally empathize with the fetus. The reason this occurs is because of the salience of a fetus. Some philosophers compare abortion to watching a baby drown and not acting to save it when you are perfectly capable. The difference and abhorrence of the drowning situation versus abortion is the salience of the situation. Some people do not empathize with a fetus because it is not salient to them, while nearly everyone would agree that it is immoral to allow a baby to drown. The drowning baby is extremely salient. Can one empathize with a fetus, though? A fetus cannot feel emotion, so how can you empathize with it? Isn't that similar to empathizing with a rock or any object that cannot FEEL? Doesn't it intuitively seem different when you compare empathizing with a rock than with a fetus? Maybe with a fetus it's because of the CAPACITY for empathy? How do you respond when asked to empathize with a fetus?


Empathy with the fetus is not necessarily the only ethical question being debated. There is an emotional bias attached to abortion that gives off the implication of murder. This is wrong. Killing a fetus for the sake of taking its life away is different than killing a fetus for the sake of preserving the welfare of its parents. In one instance, malice is the reason for "murder", and in the other instance, self-preservation is. Does this justify abortion?

Ethics do not always consist of what most appeals to our emotions. In this scenario, empathy is nothing short of a trap. Empathizing with a fetus provides a clear-cut answer to a problem much more complicated; if it were up to the fetus, and if the fetus were able to decide for himself, I do not believe a psychic would be needed to predict his most likely response.

The problem of this issue is that it is NOT up to the fetus, and because the fetus is incapable of decision, it never could be. We weigh the cons of killing the fetus against the pros of sustaining normalcy for the parents of the fetus. If one outweighs the other, we can arrive at a relative answer, individual and isolated from the shared dilemma of millions of mothers and fathers who have pondered this question in the past few hundred years, if not longer.

I believe it must be said that religion clouds this argument to the point of complete and utter futility, and that force-fed, dictated morals cannot hold sway in an argument as delicate as this one. That isn't a knock on religion, although it is a knock on zealots who provide their spiritual bias to an argument well above their collective grasp for reason.

If I had to apply a one-size-fits-all answer to such a complicated subject, I would have to side with the stance of providing the option for abortion to sensible parents, as rare an occurrence as it may be that sensible human beings make a mistake so catastrophic.

As always, alternatives to the aforementioned lose/lose scenario are always acceptable, despite their limited availability making the option itself almost entirely obsolete for a majority of parents facing this scenario.

In the end, it comes down to negating the truths of said alternatives and seeing them for the faulty solution they truly are, at this point in time:

One must look at the worst case scenario, and avoid it at any costs. That worst case scenario is often ignored, forgotten about, or dismissed entirely as even being such.

Discarded babies, literally "thrown away" by irresponsible parents, provide proof that this argument is not as one-sided as empathy may have us believe. In the hands of an irresponsible parent, abortion can, in some circumstances, be the most humane option available. The right to human life does not entail the right to a profitable and healthy life, and I believe that is a detail we seem to forget when debating the ethics of this subject.
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Post Number:#14  Postby h_a_m_247 » November 21st, 2007, 1:41 pm

I believe that abortion is wrong...It all leads to responsibility...I agree who ever said that once you start something, you need to follow through with it...But only to a certain extent...Because there are the parents that try to be too into their kids lives...

But I also believe that no one should tell anyone what to do with their body because after all it is their body...What is it to say that after you tell them that they can't have the abortion that they're just going to go out and have it anyway?
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Re: Abortion In light of Empathy & Care based ethics

Post Number:#15  Postby Patrarch » November 24th, 2007, 12:09 pm

mencken wrote:
Patrarch wrote:What ever argument you use either for or against stems from whatever moral theory you hold to be true. When discussing abortion, what you're ultimately doing is purposing a specific general moral theory.

I am coming from the ideology of care & empathy based ethics (for reasons pointless to discuss in this topic, what matters is that this is where the justification lays), and I find the 'rights' of the mother VS. 'rights' of the fetus which commonly hold the debate completely morally irrelevant. I have found, based on research and thought experiment that the foundation of intuitive moral decision making is done empathetically. The foundation of the disagreement between those that intuitively find abortion immoral and those that intuitively find it immoral is the fact that they either do or do not personally empathize with the fetus. The reason this occurs is because of the salience of a fetus. Some philosophers compare abortion to watching a baby drown and not acting to save it when you are perfectly capable. The difference and abhorrence of the drowning situation versus abortion is the salience of the situation. Some people do not empathize with a fetus because it is not salient to them, while nearly everyone would agree that it is immoral to allow a baby to drown. The drowning baby is extremely salient. Can one empathize with a fetus, though? A fetus cannot feel emotion, so how can you empathize with it? Isn't that similar to empathizing with a rock or any object that cannot FEEL? Doesn't it intuitively seem different when you compare empathizing with a rock than with a fetus? Maybe with a fetus it's because of the CAPACITY for empathy? How do you respond when asked to empathize with a fetus?


Empathy with the fetus is not necessarily the only ethical question being debated. There is an emotional bias attached to abortion that gives off the implication of murder. This is wrong. Killing a fetus for the sake of taking its life away is different than killing a fetus for the sake of preserving the welfare of its parents. In one instance, malice is the reason for "murder", and in the other instance, self-preservation is. Does this justify abortion?

Ethics do not always consist of what most appeals to our emotions. In this scenario, empathy is nothing short of a trap. Empathizing with a fetus provides a clear-cut answer to a problem much more complicated; if it were up to the fetus, and if the fetus were able to decide for himself, I do not believe a psychic would be needed to predict his most likely response.

The problem of this issue is that it is NOT up to the fetus, and because the fetus is incapable of decision, it never could be. We weigh the cons of killing the fetus against the pros of sustaining normalcy for the parents of the fetus. If one outweighs the other, we can arrive at a relative answer, individual and isolated from the shared dilemma of millions of mothers and fathers who have pondered this question in the past few hundred years, if not longer.

I believe it must be said that religion clouds this argument to the point of complete and utter futility, and that force-fed, dictated morals cannot hold sway in an argument as delicate as this one. That isn't a knock on religion, although it is a knock on zealots who provide their spiritual bias to an argument well above their collective grasp for reason.

If I had to apply a one-size-fits-all answer to such a complicated subject, I would have to side with the stance of providing the option for abortion to sensible parents, as rare an occurrence as it may be that sensible human beings make a mistake so catastrophic.

As always, alternatives to the aforementioned lose/lose scenario are always acceptable, despite their limited availability making the option itself almost entirely obsolete for a majority of parents facing this scenario.

In the end, it comes down to negating the truths of said alternatives and seeing them for the faulty solution they truly are, at this point in time:

One must look at the worst case scenario, and avoid it at any costs. That worst case scenario is often ignored, forgotten about, or dismissed entirely as even being such.

Discarded babies, literally "thrown away" by irresponsible parents, provide proof that this argument is not as one-sided as empathy may have us believe. In the hands of an irresponsible parent, abortion can, in some circumstances, be the most humane option available. The right to human life does not entail the right to a profitable and healthy life, and I believe that is a detail we seem to forget when debating the ethics of this subject.


My claim is that there is NOTHING to morality other than empathic reaction. People create all these ideas to explain "morality" because they just do not understand the natural processes the human has. Morality itself is created by our empathic reaction. Moral obligation is an exact mirror of truly natural empathic reaction. The problem is our society today is less empathic than humanity in the past. People are not learning empathy skills in our society at a young age because we grow up in a society based on Punishment VS. Reward conditioning. There is no empathic induction going on as there should be to optimize empathic growth. The explanation of empathy can solve the abortion debate, one just has to look at it from the position of fully developed empathic concern.

You are looking at it from a consequentialist view, and empathizing is a type of consequentialism. These ethical theories and moral laws are just trying to outline what we as human beings can naturally do if we learn how to use our faculties correctly.
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