Abortion - Not as diametrically divisive as often thought?

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With which statement do you agree?

I want it to be illegal for a very poor teenager who was impregnated from being raped by an immediate family member to get an abortion even in the first week of pregnancy even if the doctors can and did detect the baby has severe genetic disorders and that the pregnancy if taken to term would have complications greatly risking the life of both the mother and would-be baby.
7
11%
I want it to be legal for a wealthy woman who is 5 days past her due date (of birth) to get an abortion even though doctors are sure that the healthy baby would be delivered safely and relatively easily otherwise and even though many safe, healthy, loving families are willing to adopt the would-be newborn immediately and even pay the woman significantly for that.
13
20%
I do not agree fully with either one of the above statements.
46
70%
 
Total votes: 66

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Re: Abortion - Not as diametrically divisive as often though

Post by Misty » February 4th, 2015, 2:59 pm

A clarification needed: What does right to life actually mean? Does it mean the right to be alive, and/or the right to live life self determined, as in having control over ones own body and mind? Whose right to life are you living, yours alone, or yours and other peoples?
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Re: Abortion - Not as diametrically divisive as often though

Post by Fooloso4 » February 4th, 2015, 4:34 pm

Scott:

For instance, what of the scenario in which an un-implanted embryo must be implanted into some woman and no woman volunteers exist?
I addressed this. Taking a life and saving a life are two different things. Most of us would not take a life unless under exceptional circumstances, but most of us do not do whatever is in our power to save lives.
Similarly, if one supports using murderous aggressive violence and slavery to try to make sure a fertilized egg gets the support it needs to grow into a born baby, that causes the idea that a right to life starts at a certain point to become absurdly significant. Shall a sexually undesirable man not rape a woman to make sure his seed doesn't go to waste? Shall a woman rape a man to make sure her limited supply of eggs and window of fertility maximizes childbirth?
You are reaching here. Not allowing rape as an exception does not equal murderous aggressive violence and slavery, nor does it amount to the making rape permissible to create a life.
Thus abortion is not diametrically divisive, but that case is
It is the position that one takes that is diametrically divisive and that position is determined along polarized lines. The fact that some hold to exceptions does not mean the issue is any less polarized. Some who are pro-life will make an exception in the case of rape and in that case will be on the same side as someone who is pro-choice. Almost everyone who is pro-choice will make an exception once the fetus reaches a certain stage of development and in this case will be on the same side as someone who is pro-life. Does this show that abortion is not diametrically divisive? I don’t think so. To say that there are certain limited exceptions does not make the issue any less polarizing. The exceptions do not account for the majority of the cases. Those who make exceptions are now at odds with those who do not make the exception.

I am in agreement with you that there is no one-dimensional scale, but having taught medical ethics for many years to a diverse group of students most do not see the issue as one-dimensional. Many, in fact, eschew generalities without exception. In the end, however, when it comes down to analyzing any particular case they are polarized as are professional ethicists.

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Re: Abortion - Not as diametrically divisive as often though

Post by Scott » February 5th, 2015, 1:09 pm

Fooloso4, I am enjoying this discussion very much. Thank you for your intriguing responses.
Scott wrote:For instance, what of the scenario in which an un-implanted embryo must be implanted into some woman and no woman volunteers exist?
Fooloso4 wrote:I addressed this. Taking a life and saving a life are two different things. Most of us would not take a life unless under exceptional circumstances, but most of us do not do whatever is in our power to save lives.
Most of us do, sure. Perhaps most of us do not get abortions ever regardless of the law. The question, however, is what to do in the scenario in which the person (in this case the woman capable of having the un-implanted embryo implanted in her) is not willing to voluntarily do what needs to be done to allegedly save the life, and thus we must choose between forcing her by law to do it or allowing her to make that choice. How is that question answered--that situation dealt with--by one believes the would-be baby's life trumps any and all freedom to use one's body without exception.

On other point, you write "Taking a life and saving a life are two different things." You are absolutely correct. However, I do not see that dichotomy as applying to either the embryo example previously mentioned or abortion in general. At the very least, we have to agree it is arguably not applicable. This is because choosing whether or not to carry an embryo (whether already implanted or not) to term is not a choice of simply whether to kill the embryo or not but is rather the choice between choosing to save the embryo by using one's body to care for it and feed it or not. Needless to say, when one chooses not to save the life, it leads to the death of the life just the same.
Scott wrote:Similarly, if one supports using murderous aggressive violence and slavery to try to make sure a fertilized egg gets the support it needs to grow into a born baby, that causes the idea that a right to life starts at a certain point to become absurdly significant. Shall a sexually undesirable man not rape a woman to make sure his seed doesn't go to waste? Shall a woman rape a man to make sure her limited supply of eggs and window of fertility maximizes childbirth?
Fooloso4 wrote:Not allowing rape as an exception does not equal murderous aggressive violence and slavery, nor does it amount to the making rape permissible to create a life.
Forcing a woman against her will to carry an embryo to term when doctor's advise that it will cause her great physical harm and likely kill her is not murderous aggressive violence? Do you at least concede it is aggressive violence?

Sending armed men to arrest and cage a doctor who saves that woman's life by performing an abortion on her despite the ban is not aggressive violence?

You say forcing a teenage rape victim to carry the rapists seed to term despite doctor's advising it has an usually high chance of killing the rape victim is not tantamount to "making rape permissible to create a life". That is simply stating your position. The question is, why? Why shall we not allow a sexually undesirable man to rape a woman to make sure his seed doesn't go to waste? Why shall we not forcefully implant an un-implanted embryo into an unwilling woman if the embryo will die otherwise and no volunteers exist for implantation? Under what principle shall we prohibit those and my other examples but allow the forcing of a teenage rape victim to carry the rapists seed to term rather than abort the life-creation/life-saving process immediately after fertilization?
Scott wrote:Thus abortion is not diametrically divisive, but that case is
Fooloso4 wrote:It is the position that one takes that is diametrically divisive and that position is determined along polarized lines.
I am not sure what you mean by this sentence. Are you talking about the position one takes on a specific case or on abortion in general? It seems clear we are in agreement that on the issue of abortion in general almost everyone is of the position that can be roughly described by: "Sometimes I want the woman to be allowed to choose; other times I want it to be illegal to get an abortion, depending on the circumstances." There is not polarization on that, but rather almost unanimous agreement.
Fooloso4 wrote:The fact that some hold to exceptions does not mean the issue is any less polarized.
Two points:

1 - I wouldn't say some but rather most or even more specifically almost all.

2 - It's not just some rare exceptions. We know the power of exponential growth; you only fold a typical piece of paper 42 times to make it tall enough to reach the moon. Let's just take 5 binary variables:
  • (1) whether the pregnant woman was forcibly raped,
  • (2) whether the pregnant woman is a minor herself,
  • (3) whether or not doctor's confidently predict significant well-above-average life-threatening from continuing the pregnancy,
  • (4) whether or not the mother is wealthy enough to care for the child or poor,
  • (5) whether or not adoption services are reasonably available.
Those 5 different criteria very much oversimplify the different issues and hardly represent the unique details any particular case would have. Each surely being familiar with the powers of 2, we can see that even with just those 5, we have 32 different categories of scenarios based on factors that matter to people. As we have agreed these 32 different categories cannot be plotted one-dimensionally. Moreover, almost nobody wants to allow abortion in all 32 of them or ban abortion in all 32 of them. Each of those 32 can then be divided infinitely based on another major factor: how far long between conception and birth the pregnant woman is. For argument's sake, we could limit to segments, perhaps 6: (a) within 24 hours of fertilization, (b) within the week after that, (c) any other time in the first trimester, (d) any time in the second trimester, (e) any time in the third trimester to the due date, (f) anytime when the baby is past-due. By multiplying 2^5 by 6, now we have 192 different general scenarios, which are still extremely general and based on 5 oversimplified binary categorizations and 1 overly-simplified 6-segment-categorized infinite scale. Even for a specific pregnancy that falls into one of those 192 scenario categories it is possible that many or most people would not be completely pro-life or completely pro-choice but would still need more specific details about the particular woman's pregnancy determine. It's important to note that for any given category of abortion scenarios one can have three different positions: (1) always pro-life, (2) always pro-choice, (3) sometimes pro-life, sometimes pro-choice. The third is a "depends on the circumstances". For the most general scenario, abortion in general, it is clear it is not polarized at all. Almost everyone falls into the third response.

Fooloso4 wrote:Some who are pro-life will make an exception in the case of rape and in that case will be on the same side as someone who is pro-choice.
Semantically, I will agree if the sentence is rephrased as: Some who are pro-life in some cases of women getting abortions will make an exception in the case of rape and in that case will be pro-choice in that case. If that is not what you meant, then please explain what you meant.
Fooloso4 wrote:To say that there are certain limited exceptions does not make the issue any less polarizing. The exceptions do not account for the majority of the cases.
They do because they cannot be plotted one-dimensionally. Most people are not pro-life or pro-choice in all except 1 of the 192 still very general scenario categories shown above.
Fooloso4 wrote:Those who make exceptions are now at odds with those who do not make the exception.
Exactly. The general abortion issue is not polarizing. Rather, the vast majority of people disagree with both the pro-life and pro-choice position for abortion in general and instead make up their minds depending on the circumstances. Most of us are in the middle and are only 'polarized' against the extremists, from both sides, which is not thus really a polarization. It is unfortunate that in everyday life our culture, especially as exacerbated by corporate-owned ratings-driven mainstream media and two-party political systems (which are arguably just oligarchic pseudo-democracies), that people are so quick to mistake their detail-oriented disagreements over the varying gray issues in their shared non-extremist philosophies as diametrically divisive issues. That of course happens not merely with the abortion issue but many other issues (especially those abused by media and two-party politicians funded by the same bipartisan special interests) most namely religion. Whether from the help of contemporary politics and media or mostly just naturally, people notice and focus on their few disagreements quicker than their many agreements and distort their view of reality to stuff that perspective into a binary us-vs-them model. This itself is why the false dichotomy fallacy is so common: People are very prone to seeing polarization over issues where there is none; And that leads to behavioral polarization--by which I mean formation of two opposed groups whose division does not reflect a real polarization on the issue(s) that either lead to the groups' formation or that the groups themselves label as their position (e.g. "the one true religion"). Surely you've often seen this asinine but common human behavior in the classroom, right?
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Re: Abortion - Not as diametrically divisive as often though

Post by Fooloso4 » February 5th, 2015, 4:17 pm

Scott:

The question, however, is what to do in the scenario in which the person (in this case the woman capable of having the un-implanted embryo implanted in her) is not willing to voluntarily do what needs to be done to allegedly save the life, and thus we must choose between forcing her by law to do it or allowing her to make that choice.
This case is not analogous to that of a woman who becomes pregnant as a result of rape. The analogous case would be if the embryo was actually implanted against her will. Forced sex and forced implantation are both wrong. The question is what to do once the woman is pregnant, should the woman be allowed to have an abortion or must she carry it to term? I would say that if one’s pro-life stance is based on the claim that life is sacred and the unborn child should not be killed then the only answer consistent with those claims is that the woman should be required to carry it to term. (In case anyone reads this who might have missed my earlier posts, this is not my position but rather what I think is consistent with the claims about the sanctity of life and the rights of the unborn).
However, I do not see that dichotomy as applying to either the embryo example previously mentioned or abortion in general.
I agree that the status of un-implanted embryo is problematic. There is a difference though. An un-implanted embryo will not grow unless something more is done. With abortion something is done to prevent the embryo from growing. So the question is: must we do something to allow it to develop versus should we do something to prevent it from growing?
This is because choosing whether or not to carry an embryo (whether already implanted or not) to term is not a choice of simply whether to kill the embryo or not but is rather the choice between choosing to save the embryo by using one's body to care for it and feed it or not.
The distinction I was making was between abortion, which kills the embryo and saving the embryo by implanting it. By doing nothing the embryo will eventually die, but by doing nothing many people die and we do nothing.
Forcing a woman against her will to carry an embryo to term when doctor's advise that it will cause her great physical harm and likely kill her is not murderous aggressive violence? Do you at least concede it is aggressive violence?
This situation is a bit more difficult to defend, because it ends one life by not ending another. Those who do defend it may claim it is part of the natural order or God’s plan. Of course that raises a whole other set of problems I do not wish to defend, since a significant part of medical science deals with such intervention.
Sending armed men to arrest and cage a doctor who saves that woman's life by performing an abortion on her despite the ban is not aggressive violence?
But this is not a necessary outcome of a pro-life stance.
You say forcing a teenage rape victim to carry the rapists seed to term despite doctor's advising it has an usually high chance of killing the rape victim is not tantamount to "making rape permissible to create a life".
My initial response was with regard to rape, not the specifics of your example regarding the danger to the victim if the pregnancy is carried to term. But in either case, I do not see it as a matter of making rape permissible to create life. The rape is impermissible but was not prevented. The fate of the fetus as a result of that act is a separate issue.
Under what principle shall we prohibit those and my other examples but allow the forcing of a teenage rape victim to carry the rapists seed to term rather than abort the life-creation/life-saving process immediately after fertilization?
Implanting a fetus and an implanted fetus are not the same. The violent act of implanting a fetus is wrong in the same way that rape is wrong. Once the embryo is implanted, however, we are no longer talking about the act of impregnating but what is the permissible course of action at this point.
Are you talking about the position one takes on a specific case or on abortion in general?
They are in principle the same, although not always in practice. Staunch pro-lifers have been known to have abortions or seek abortions for their daughters, but we will put this aside. How one judges the specific case is based on one’s position in general. That position may or may not include exceptions. There may also be a case where one sees the need to add an exception because of the uniqueness of the case. Whatever that position is there will be those who are diametrically opposed. This can range from “life is not a choice” to this is not a legitimate exception.
It seems clear we are in agreement that on the issue of abortion in general almost everyone is of the position that can be roughly described by: "Sometimes I want the woman to be allowed to choose; other times I want it to be illegal to get an abortion, depending on the circumstances."

I am not convinced that almost everyone would agree that sometimes the woman should be allowed to choose. See the slogan from my last paragraph. There was a time when dying in childbirth was not uncommon and although most would choose a safe delivery today, if that is not possible then there are some who say that the way it has always been should be the way it is.
I wouldn't say some but rather most or even more specifically almost all.
I don’t know. I am not familiar with any reliable polls on this.
It's not just some rare exceptions. We know the power of exponential growth
If I follow you, the point is that we are not going to be able to divide opinions into a few definitive groups or sets. I agree, but that is a problem of classification. This does not get at why the problem is intractable and divisive.
For the most general scenario, abortion in general, it is clear it is not polarized at all. Almost everyone falls into the third response.
The problem is that even taking those circumstances into account the debate rages on. Everyday abortions are performed and every day there are those who remain opposed.
The general abortion issue is not polarizing.
That depends on how you define the “general abortion issue”. We are in agreement that there are not two sides and that we belong either to one or the other, but I do not see the problem being the polarization along the lines of opposing camps. The general issue, as I see it, is that there is an impasse. That each individual may have some different set of exceptions with which they may decide any particular case does not indicate that the issue is any less polarizing, it only shows that the polarity is not mapped by the classification into two fixed groups each with a clear set of rules regarding what is or is not permissible.

You said in the OP:
thus disagreeing mostly on where to practically draw the line between our own internally conflicting ideals not disagreeing on such a fundamental, philosophical level.
I think the disagreement is at a fundamental, philosophical level. The problem is two-fold, first, where we might draw the line for ourselves, and second, as a matter of political philosophy where we draw the line as a matter of law. As is typical of philosophers, or perhaps is typical only for a certain type of philosopher, I have more questions than answers.

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Re: Abortion - Not as diametrically divisive as often though

Post by Mark Morss » February 5th, 2015, 5:46 pm

OK, so I'm not allowed to talk about abortion as such.

I voted C, though I am much closer to B than to A. There is a vast territory of disagreement between A and B, so I reject the intended implication that there is much room for agreement between the opposing sides on this topic.

Case B is extremely contrived. No woman would ever seek abortion in that situation.

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Re: Abortion - Not as diametrically divisive as often though

Post by LuckyR » February 5th, 2015, 6:28 pm

Mark Morss wrote:OK, so I'm not allowed to talk about abortion as such.

I voted C, though I am much closer to B than to A. There is a vast territory of disagreement between A and B, so I reject the intended implication that there is much room for agreement between the opposing sides on this topic.

Case B is extremely contrived. No woman would ever seek abortion in that situation.

Yes there are issues with the poll. Not least of which is the fact that it is specifically phrased as to the legalities of abortion rather than the philosophical issues surrounding the topic. Kinda weird on a Philosophy Forum, but I digress.

To my mind a better poll would be:

A- Do you think a woman should have the autonomy to have a termination of pregnancy without any particular medical reason whatsoever before viability?

If the question was asked from a current legal practice perspective, at this time the answer would be, of course: yes.

Clearly many on this Forum (a skewed stat from what the national polls tell us is the opinion of the country at large) would say: no.
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Re: Abortion - Not as diametrically divisive as often though

Post by Mark Morss » February 5th, 2015, 6:38 pm

LuckyR wrote: A- Do you think a woman should have the autonomy to have a termination of pregnancy without any particular medical reason whatsoever before viability?

Clearly many on this Forum (a skewed stat from what the national polls tell us is the opinion of the country at large) would say: no.
Why do you think "no" would be preferred among the members here? I certainly would be a yes. I venture to guess that that would represent an overwhelming majority of well-educated Americans.

-- Updated February 5th, 2015, 6:55 pm to add the following --
Scott wrote: Please note, this topic is NOT for talking about abortion in general. There are many, many, many topics on this forum about abortion. Just do a search to find one if you wish to talk about more moderate views of abortion. This is for only talking about the two extreme polar positions: the most extreme pro-life position and the most extreme pro-choice position, both described above.
This from the OP. Yet I fail to see how the vast majority of posts here, including many by you, conform to it. If this thread is, after all, to consider what principles underly this issue, I would be happy to jump in, as others have, with some ideas of my own. But I seem to be more Catholic than the Pope in observing the quoted limits of the topic.

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Re: Abortion - Not as diametrically divisive as often though

Post by LuckyR » February 5th, 2015, 7:12 pm

Mark Morss wrote:
LuckyR wrote: A- Do you think a woman should have the autonomy to have a termination of pregnancy without any particular medical reason whatsoever before viability?

Clearly many on this Forum (a skewed stat from what the national polls tell us is the opinion of the country at large) would say: no.
Why do you think "no" would be preferred among the members here? I certainly would be a yes. I venture to guess that that would represent an overwhelming majority of well-educated Americans.

-- Updated February 5th, 2015, 6:55 pm to add the following --
Scott wrote: Please note, this topic is NOT for talking about abortion in general. There are many, many, many topics on this forum about abortion. Just do a search to find one if you wish to talk about more moderate views of abortion. This is for only talking about the two extreme polar positions: the most extreme pro-life position and the most extreme pro-choice position, both described above.
This from the OP. Yet I fail to see how the vast majority of posts here, including many by you, conform to it. If this thread is, after all, to consider what principles underly this issue, I would be happy to jump in, as others have, with some ideas of my own. But I seem to be more Catholic than the Pope in observing the quoted limits of the topic.
Actually, I didn't say that no would be prefered, I said that many would say so, perhaps to the point that the percentage is over represented compared to the population at large. This may be incorrect as I have only heard from a small minority of members of the Forum.

I have no quarrel with the OP's poll as stated, I just pointed out that it addresses the legalities of the subject rather than the, expected, philosophical underpinnings. That is all.

I too subscribe to the title of the thread, once the power struggle is pealed away from the subject and the core issue is revealed.
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Re: Abortion - Not as diametrically divisive as often though

Post by Scott » February 7th, 2015, 2:31 pm

Scott wrote:The question, however, is what to do in the scenario in which the person (in this case the woman capable of having the un-implanted embryo implanted in her) is not willing to voluntarily do what needs to be done to allegedly save the life, and thus we must choose between forcing her by law to do it or allowing her to make that choice.
Fooloso4 wrote:Forced sex and forced implantation are both wrong.
But the embryo will die if it is not implanted by force. So why is it "wrong" to forcefully implant the embryo into the woman? Under what principle of determining what is and is not "wrong" is that "wrong" but it is not "wrong" to in a similar fashion use force to make a rape victim care for the implanted embryo, feed it, let it use her body, and not get an abortion?
Scott wrote:However, I do not see that dichotomy as applying to either the embryo example previously mentioned or abortion in general.
Fooloso4 wrote:I agree that the status of un-implanted embryo is problematic. There is a difference though. An un-implanted embryo will not grow unless something more is done. With abortion something is done to prevent the embryo from growing.
What if the pregnant woman 'aborts' the pregnancy simply by not eating for a long-period of time which does not quite cause her to starve to death but does cause her body to not provide the care needed to the embryo to develop into a breathing human being?

Let's remember why it is called abortion. It means to abort the process, as in to stop doing something. So it's not really correct to say that abortion requires doing something unlike the case of embryo. Rather, the lack of abortion requires continuing to take the steps required to develop an embryo into a breathing human being.

Scott wrote:Similarly, if one supports using murderous aggressive violence and slavery to try to make sure a fertilized egg gets the support it needs to grow into a born baby, that causes the idea that a right to life starts at a certain point to become absurdly significant. Shall a sexually undesirable man not rape a woman to make sure his seed doesn't go to waste? Shall a woman rape a man to make sure her limited supply of eggs and window of fertility maximizes childbirth?
Fooloso4 wrote:You are reaching here. Not allowing rape as an exception does not equal murderous aggressive violence and slavery, nor does it amount to the making rape permissible to create a life.
Scott wrote:Forcing a woman against her will to carry an embryo to term when doctor's advise that it will cause her great physical harm and likely kill her is not murderous aggressive violence? Do you at least concede it is aggressive violence?
Fooloso4 wrote:This situation is a bit more difficult to defend, because it ends one life by not ending another. Those who do defend it may claim it is part of the natural order or God’s plan. Of course that raises a whole other set of problems I do not wish to defend, since a significant part of medical science deals with such intervention.
Fair enough. But what of the question? Is forcing the woman, as such, aggressive violence?
Scott wrote:Sending armed men to arrest and cage a doctor who saves that woman's life by performing an abortion on her despite the ban is not aggressive violence?
Fooloso4 wrote:But this is not a necessary outcome of a pro-life stance.
The position you are defending (admittedly perhaps simply as playing devil's advocate not that you actually believe it) is, "I want it to be illegal for a very poor teenager who was impregnated from being raped by an immediate family member to get an abortion even in the first week of pregnancy even if the doctors can and did detect the baby has severe genetic disorders and that the pregnancy if taken to term would have complications greatly risking the life of both the mother and would-be baby." Then you say that such a law does not lead to armed men sent to the doctor's house. Then what does it lead to when a doctor and patient do the procedure even though it is illegal? What does it mean to even make it illegal if the law is not enforced (as it seems clear me all laws are) by violence?
Scott wrote:Similarly, if one supports using murderous aggressive violence and slavery to try to make sure a fertilized egg gets the support it needs to grow into a born baby, that causes the idea that a right to life starts at a certain point to become absurdly significant. Shall a sexually undesirable man not rape a woman to make sure his seed doesn't go to waste? Shall a woman rape a man to make sure her limited supply of eggs and window of fertility maximizes childbirth?
Fooloso4 wrote:Not allowing rape as an exception does not equal murderous aggressive violence and slavery, nor does it amount to the making rape permissible to create a life.
Scott wrote:You say forcing a teenage rape victim to carry the rapists seed to term despite doctor's advising it has an usually high chance of killing the rape victim is not tantamount to "making rape permissible to create a life". That is simply stating your position. The question is, why?
Fooloso4 wrote:My initial response was with regard to rape, not the specifics of your example regarding the danger to the victim if the pregnancy is carried to term. But in either case, I do not see it as a matter of making rape permissible to create life. The rape is impermissible but was not prevented. The fate of the fetus as a result of that act is a separate issue.
I understand that, but what is not a separate issue is that you are proposing using force against the teenage rape victim to make her provide a home for the embryo in her body, care for it and continue the process of developing it instead of inducing an abortion; but then claim the same principle that allows that would not allow the un-implanted embryo to be involuntarily implanted even though that would lead the embryo to die. The connection is between the aggressive violence being used against the abortion doctor and pregnant woman to make them raise the embryo into a breathing human and the aggressive violence of forcing a woman to allow a un-implanted embryo to be implanted in her. I understand you allege that those two things are significantly different, but as I said the question is why? Why is one tantamount to allowing aggressive rape-like violence to produce life but the other is not? Don't both involve using force against the woman to do what needs to be done to develop life by turning the embryo--whether un-implanted or not--into a breathing human?

Scott wrote:Under what principle shall we prohibit those and my other examples but allow the forcing of a teenage rape victim to carry the rapists seed to term rather than abort the life-creation/life-saving process immediately after fertilization?
Fooloso4 wrote:The violent act of implanting a fetus is wrong in the same way that rape is wrong.
Then the violent act of forcing an abortion doctor not to provide abortion (and sending armed men to cage him if he does) is "wrong" for the same reason rape is wrong. Then the violent act of forcing a pregnant woman to provide the care to the embryo that happens to be inside of her that it needs to develop into a breathing human is "wrong" for the same reason that rape is wrong.

Perhaps, the claim "it is wrong for the same reason rape is wrong" is not sufficient enough of an explanation for why something is "wrong".
Scott wrote:It seems clear we are in agreement that on the issue of abortion in general almost everyone is of the position that can be roughly described by: "Sometimes I want the woman to be allowed to choose; other times I want it to be illegal to get an abortion, depending on the circumstances."
Fooloso4 wrote:I am not convinced that almost everyone would agree that sometimes the woman should be allowed to choose.
To be clear, you are saying you do NOT think the poll in this topic represents even closely the way most people would actually respond to the poll?
Fooloso4 wrote:See the slogan from my last paragraph. There was a time when dying in childbirth was not uncommon and although most would choose a safe delivery today, if that is not possible then there are some who say that the way it has always been should be the way it is.
Some might say that. Some people today are Nazis. Some people are extremists, but most people are not. Most people answer the poll neither with option A or option B but rather want to prohibit abortion in some cases and allow the pregnant woman to choose in others. It is worth nothing that at the time you mention--"when dying in childbirth was not uncommon"--it was legal for a man to rape his wife. Indeed, the poll results would probably very different if we go back to even more patriarchal times.
Scott wrote:thus disagreeing mostly on where to practically draw the line between our own internally conflicting ideals not disagreeing on such a fundamental, philosophical level.
Fooloso4 wrote:I think the disagreement is at a fundamental, philosophical level. The problem is two-fold, first, where we might draw the line for ourselves, and second, as a matter of political philosophy where we draw the line as a matter of law. As is typical of philosophers, or perhaps is typical only for a certain type of philosopher, I have more questions than answers.
Disagreeing on where to draw the line is not really that fundamental, philosophical of a disagreement. A similar line-drawing problem is created when trying to apply the agreeable concept of statutory rape (e.g. that we agree it shall be considered rape for a 30-year-old man to have sex with a 10-year-old girl despite her providing her 10-year-old version of consent); when setting the actual limit between that and consensual adult sex, i.e. the age of consent, there is much disagreement. Over any alleged case of statutory rape or any proposed law that sets an exact age, the debate will be polarized, because people are opting yes-or-no to that particular case or that particular line. That's practical line-drawing issues, not philosophical one-dimensional polarization, not even two-fold philosophical one-dimensional polarization.

Thank you again, Fooloso4, for the intriguing and challenging discussion. :)

-- Updated 07 Feb 2015 01:41 pm to add the following --
Mark Morss wrote:I voted C, though I am much closer to B than to A. There is a vast territory of disagreement between A and B, so I reject the intended implication that there is much room for agreement between the opposing sides on this topic.
Quite simply, we are in agreement that "the opposing sides" agree on the answer to this poll. That means that almost everyone agrees neither with the strict pro-life position or the strict pro-choice position when it comes to abortion as a general category; rather both have a 'it depends on the circumstances' position, which means they are pro-choice for some types of abortion and pro-life for other types of abortion, depending on the circumstances.

My thesis is not that that means there is not a wide, complicated array of disagreements over all those various details and circumstances, i.e., to oversimplify, disagreements over where to draw the line between A and B (which is unimaginably complicated because it is not a one-dimensional spectrum of factors).

A very comparable situation is the debate over where to draw the line for statutory rape. It's very hard for two people to agree exactly on exactly where the actual legal age of consent shall be set and what other exact criteria shall be used to classify statutory rape from legally consensual sex. However, that complicated practical trouble of line-drawing does not represent a fundamental philosophical disagreement or a diametrically opposition. Quite the opposite! The reason it is so debatable is because people agree. People don't argue over line-drawing when they are philosophically opposed and diametrically divided. This is why in real life religious people fight with each, especially with similar religions, more than very different religions or non-religious issues. The very fact that when it comes to issues like abortion and age of consent for statutory rape laws, we see so much disagreement in practice is evidence of the lack of diametric philosophical division.

-- Updated 07 Feb 2015 01:45 pm to add the following --
LuckyR wrote:
Mark Morss wrote:OK, so I'm not allowed to talk about abortion as such.

I voted C, though I am much closer to B than to A. There is a vast territory of disagreement between A and B, so I reject the intended implication that there is much room for agreement between the opposing sides on this topic.

Case B is extremely contrived. No woman would ever seek abortion in that situation.

Yes there are issues with the poll. Not least of which is the fact that it is specifically phrased as to the legalities of abortion rather than the philosophical issues surrounding the topic. Kinda weird on a Philosophy Forum, but I digress.

To my mind a better poll would be:

A- Do you think a woman should [...]
You lost me at "should". Who knows what that means! Each poll-responder would be answering a different question by substituting the word should with each of their unique way of using the equivocal word. (For more on that, see my topics: What Moral Claims Can Mean, The Clarity Of Amorality, and The four types of equivocal moral debates.) The advantage of constraining the question by what laws one supports is it is clear the level of one's support or opposition, and exactly what one is proposing be done to enforce that view; i.e. the person is willing (or not) to use violence (i.e. law at the hands of government force) to prevent that activity from occurring.
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Check it out: Abortion - Not as diametrically divisive as often thought?

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Re: Abortion - Not as diametrically divisive as often though

Post by Fooloso4 » February 7th, 2015, 4:38 pm

Scott:

But the embryo will die if it is not implanted by force. So why is it "wrong" to forcefully implant the embryo into the woman?
I agree that the fate of un-implanted embryos is problematic for a consistent pro-life position based on the sanctity of life. The best I can do at the moment to defend a position I do not hold is to make the distinction between taking a life, which clearly abortion does, and doing something in addition to what has been done to provide the opportunity for a life that, as is stands will not develop, to develop. A consistent pro-life position would be opposed to destroying the embryos, but keeping them frozen is a bit like sweeping the dust under the rug. The hope is that someday they will be implanted, but this is unrealistic and wishful thinking.
What if the pregnant woman 'aborts' the pregnancy simply by not eating for a long-period of time which does not quite cause her to starve to death but does cause her body to not provide the care needed to the embryo to develop into a breathing human being?
Yes, I thought of this while I was working on my last answer. Similar questions arise with regard to taking substances that are dangerous to a developing fetus. What responsibility does the mother of a crack baby or a baby born with fetal alcohol syndrome have? If she has the right to do what she wants with her body doesn’t she have the right to restrict her intake of food or maintain or increase her intake of other substances?
Rather, the lack of abortion requires continuing to take the steps required to develop an embryo into a breathing human being.
But in many cases it does not require doing anything other than what one is already doing.
But what of the question? Is forcing the woman, as such, aggressive violence?
The language is loaded. if we are limiting this to your example, then I think the answer is most likely yes since the result is likely to be the death of the mother and the baby. More generally,the use of force to prevent someone from doing something may involve violence either as part of the act of restraint or the resulting consequences. In some cases it may be aggressive but not others. Prior to legal abortions was the lack of availability of safe and legal abortion aggressive violence? Some women may have done something aggressively violent as a result of there being no alternative. Others may have simply accepted it and had a child, although this may have led to additional hardship.
Then what does it lead to when a doctor and patient do the procedure even though it is illegal? What does it mean to even make it illegal if the law is not enforced (as it seems clear me all laws are) by violence?
Short of armed men and incarceration there are other means of compliance – fines, loss of license. The question here is how to assure compliance, and that is a question that can be asked about any law.
you are proposing using force against the teenage rape victim to make her provide a home for the embryo in her body, care for it and continue the process of developing it instead of inducing an abortion
Preventing access to legal abortion by the creation of a law is not the use of force unless you are claiming that all law is a matter of force. But in that case the issue of force would be distinct from that of abortion.
To be clear, you are saying you do NOT think the poll in this topic represents even closely the way most people would actually respond to the poll?
I am saying I do not know what the result of a proper scientific poll would be or how closely it might match the one you have done. I suspect that the results of such a poll would find that many people would be somewhere closer to the middle than the extremes, but I also suspect that there are a significant number of people who are hard line pro-life. Just how significant I do not know.
A similar line-drawing problem is created when trying to apply the agreeable concept of statutory rape
Whether it is appropriate for an adult to have sex with a minor is not a practical question. I do not see the question of the age at which it becomes appropriate as being a practical one either. The question of consent is a philosophical one. Obviously a 10 year old or a 16 year old or 18 year old can say yes or no, but is this be considered adequate for consent? What more is needed? Should it make a difference that some 16 year olds are more mature than some 18 year olds? These and other questions are not answered on the basis of practicality. The question of practicality also raises philosophical questions such as practical for who and how much weight should be given to practicality versus other considerations?
Thank you again, Fooloso4, for the intriguing and challenging discussion
.

And thank you for providing this forum and the opportunity to have such discussions.

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Re: Abortion - Not as diametrically divisive as often though

Post by LuckyR » February 9th, 2015, 2:36 am

Scott wrote:
LuckyR wrote: (Nested quote removed.)



Yes there are issues with the poll. Not least of which is the fact that it is specifically phrased as to the legalities of abortion rather than the philosophical issues surrounding the topic. Kinda weird on a Philosophy Forum, but I digress.

To my mind a better poll would be:

A- Do you think a woman should [...]
You lost me at "should". Who knows what that means! Each poll-responder would be answering a different question by substituting the word should with each of their unique way of using the equivocal word. (For more on that, see my topics: What Moral Claims Can Mean, The Clarity Of Amorality, and The four types of equivocal moral debates.) The advantage of constraining the question by what laws one supports is it is clear the level of one's support or opposition, and exactly what one is proposing be done to enforce that view; i.e. the person is willing (or not) to use violence (i.e. law at the hands of government force) to prevent that activity from occurring.
I see your goal. My point was two fold :

By addressing the legalities, legal precedents have logical standing, even if they are, on their own, philosophically illogical.

Secondly, many of us agree that certain things are in the gray zone between so unethical that it should be prosecuted (be illegal) and an unfortunate negative that should not be promoted yet should be defended for particular special cases (legal,but rare).
"As usual... it depends."

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Re: Abortion - Not as diametrically divisive as often though

Post by Lagayscienza » February 16th, 2015, 7:58 pm

Scott, I don’t agree with either option A or B so I choose C.

However if I had to choose between just A and B I would choose option B so that the victim in A has the option of termination. She should not be expected to carry the baby to term and she has very good reasons not to want to do so. The wealthy woman in the second scenario is just selfish. But then again it’s her body and a foetus is not a person. However, if I could add a rider it would be that if the foetus is alive when removed from the selfish wealthy mother (which should be done very carefully) then it must not be killed. That would be murder. We have to draw the line somewhere.

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Re: Abortion - Not as diametrically divisive as often though

Post by Stratzi » September 1st, 2015, 3:00 pm

The question revolves around the adjectives legal and illegal. In the book TOWARD PEACE, by Lyle R. Strathman, the subject of legal abortion is explored. In his book, Strathman develops and demonstrates the notion that "something cannot emerge from nothing." Thus, the agent "human" or "person" cannot self-emerge in a being from a nothing agent---from a non-intrinsic agent or from a non-existent agent. "Humanness" or "personhood" in an individual must, therefore, be in its being---in its substance---from its very moment of conception forward. Additionally, Strathman notes that just because certain agents or attributes are unrecognizable in a being does not connote that those agents or attributes are not intrinsic to them; neither human science nor human perception is infallible. Also, every living being is in a state of becoming during their entire course of life from conception to death, and so are their attributes. Strathman further notes that the DNA of a fetus differs from that of its mother which, therefore, ascertains a fetus to be non-integral to its mother's being. These concerns imply that a human fetus is an individual human being from conception because nothing is added to or subtracted from its substance from then forward. So the question becomes, "May individual human beings be killed legally because they do not manifest the more developed human attributes, such as "personhood," or because they interfere with another person's life style or life want?"

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Re: Abortion - Not as diametrically divisive as often though

Post by Engineer0RQ1 » October 29th, 2015, 2:34 pm

Hi Scot

Very illuminating poll/experiment from my viewpoint as an engineer.

The situation is a duality paradigm as I see it. One that illustrates the importance of a silent majority and feedback in a system utilising neural networks to determine outcome.

I would model it from an electromechanical perspective using the following factors to create an algorithm: *** if there are any mathematicians out there help would be appreciated as I have always had a bias towards the practical. Fact: It is impossible to define and quantify reality with any real degree of accuracy. Mathematics can only show relationships and probabilities.
Chris

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Re: Abortion - Not as diametrically divisive as often though

Post by Keiran » October 29th, 2015, 8:14 pm

Choice B

Many people consider aborting the baby is a murder. But for some reason it doesn't shock me at all that the woman would have the freedom of doing what she wants with her body, and it rather shocks me that others think she should be forced into doing something she clearly does not want to, i.e, giving birth to the baby.

And for the sake of what? We are many on Earth. Why should we maximise birth?

It's not really a murder at all to me when we're talking about a being that will never exist anyway if we chose to abort him. What are we killing? An idea? A ghost? The act of abortion itself prevents it from being a murder. In other words, after the abortion there's nothing we can say to have killed, except in our deceptive imagination.

As for the people of Choice A, who want a baby to be born with a bad health in the worst condition and a person to be tortured into having it, what the hell is wrong with you?

I can still however understand Choice C, even if I don't agree with it and I think that if you were reasonnable you would see no problem in Choice B.

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