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Is abortion wrong?

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Featured Article: Philosophical Analysis of Abortion, The Right to Life, and Murder
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cavacava
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Re: Is abortion wrong?

Post by cavacava » December 28th, 2018, 8:21 am

Greta wrote:
December 27th, 2018, 9:06 pm
cavacava wrote:
December 27th, 2018, 6:32 pm


I am saying that abortion is wrong in the case of a pregnancy where the fetus is the result of consensual sex between willing partners. Their act has consequences and I think the women in this case is responsible for seeing the pregnancy through to birth. An abortion is a killing, a taking of a life, and I think the only feasible justification for such a killing is that it is justified, and there are justifications as I have indicated, but consensual sex is not one of them.
Yet we eat far more complex and sentient beings than foetuses every day. Our food animals are far more sensitive to pain, far more capable of suffering than any foetus. The animals are intelligent and sensitive, forming bonds with their young and herd mates. Yet we happily slaughter them to eat. We don't even do it with regret. In fact we thinking nothing of it. It's as if they are no more than rocks.

Meanwhile an adult woman with established rather than theoretical potential is expected to surrender control of her body for a mistake or bad luck (while the man gets off scot free) - for the sake of an entity with less sentience than the food people eat daily.

If abortion is wrong, then eating pigs, cattle and sheep is infinitely more wrong (I actually don't think any of it is wrong as such, if conducted properly). We need to get real about the fact that we kill all of the time, day after day, and not just animals. The sanctity of life is largely a self-aggrandising myth, the notion seemingly only embraced by vegetarian biologists, environmentalists and humanitarians.

We are predators and we kill. We kill everything and we kill them all of the time, including humans - and there is largely zero care as millions of fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, lovers and longtime friends are pointlessly killed for political ends. The irony is that the political parties most likely to kill teenagers and young adults are the ones that moralise most about abortion.

Humans eat and mistreat animals. I don't think that the eating of animals is immoral, I do however believe that our mistreatment of animals is immoral.

A life is a life, but all animals treat their own species differently than other species in nature where 'might makes right'. Unlike animals humans are not bound to the natural imperative that 'might makes right'. Humanity also treats its own species differently, because we are rational beings who can explain why we act as we do, we can be moral agents, unlike say pigs, cattle or other animals who have neither rationality nor moral agency.

I am suggesting that Abortion is wrong in the specific case where one's own free actions has led to the conception of a life, in which case I think a person ought to bring that life to birth. It may be inconvenient but I think it is how one ought to act.

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Re: Is abortion wrong?

Post by cavacava » December 28th, 2018, 8:43 am

Count Lucanor wrote:
December 27th, 2018, 11:00 pm
cavacava wrote:
December 27th, 2018, 6:32 pm


I am saying that abortion is wrong in the case of a pregnancy where the fetus is the result of consensual sex between willing partners. Their act has consequences ...
Consequences which in the case of abortion, are dealt with.
cavacava wrote:
December 27th, 2018, 6:32 pm
...and I think the women in this case is responsible for seeing the pregnancy through to birth.
And why stop at birth? You could as well say that she is responsible (actually you mean obliged) for taking care of the child she didn't want until adulthood. Even adoption could be excluded from her possibilities.
cavacava wrote:
December 27th, 2018, 6:32 pm
An abortion is a killing, a taking of a life,
You obviously mean the killing of human life, of a person, since killing almost every other form of life is pretty much morally acceptable in human societies (not to mention killing grown up humans themselves). But a fetus is not yet a person in the early stages of development. It is at later stages and I would agree then that it is an immoral act of killing a person, considering the methods.
cavacava wrote:
December 27th, 2018, 6:32 pm
and I think the only feasible justification for such a killing is that it is justified,
Circular argument.
cavacava wrote:
December 27th, 2018, 6:32 pm
and there are justifications as I have indicated, but consensual sex is not one of them.
Consensual sex is not given as moral justification for abortion. The moral justification is that the mother has a practical justification for her own and the child's future, to which she is entitled to, and doesn't want to have it. Along with it, she has the option to stop the pregnancy while the product is not yet a person.
How these consequences are dealt with is the question. A premise of my argument is that killing a human must be justified and I have listed what I considered justified reasons. I think a human life starts at conception and that the taking of a human life requires justification, which must be defensible if it is to be moral. In my opinion the person hood argument is pure sophistry.

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Re: Is abortion wrong?

Post by Hereandnow » December 28th, 2018, 1:21 pm

cavacava
I think a human life starts at conception
A life certainly does start at conception, human or otherwise. But the human part, now this you have to argue. And you don't, or have I missed something? I mean, you don't say outright a person is this, and this begins at conception, and here is why. Keep in mind, a person is not reducible to some biological account. And personhood is a concept that tries to isolate what it is to be a person from what it is to be an organism merely. You don't, I think, want to argue that amoebas or squirrels are endowed with the rights of a person; or do you? That would be an interesting way to go, but even here, it would not be the squirrel reduced to its biological profile in question. Such a thing is a thing only, and things are not what is at issue here; things have no ethical dimension to them.
At conception? Why? What is it that is "there" at conception? Answer this, and you have put a finger on what is really at stake. Of course, this opens into a broader field of possible inquiry, but that is just the way it is. You talk about souls embodied in embryos and you have your work cut out for you, but then, isn't that why you're here, writing posts? So continue.....

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Greta
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Re: Is abortion wrong?

Post by Greta » December 28th, 2018, 4:30 pm

cavacava wrote:
December 28th, 2018, 8:21 am
Greta wrote:
December 27th, 2018, 9:06 pm

Yet we eat far more complex and sentient beings than foetuses every day. Our food animals are far more sensitive to pain, far more capable of suffering than any foetus. The animals are intelligent and sensitive, forming bonds with their young and herd mates. Yet we happily slaughter them to eat. We don't even do it with regret. In fact we thinking nothing of it. It's as if they are no more than rocks.

Meanwhile an adult woman with established rather than theoretical potential is expected to surrender control of her body for a mistake or bad luck (while the man gets off scot free) - for the sake of an entity with less sentience than the food people eat daily.

If abortion is wrong, then eating pigs, cattle and sheep is infinitely more wrong (I actually don't think any of it is wrong as such, if conducted properly). We need to get real about the fact that we kill all of the time, day after day, and not just animals. The sanctity of life is largely a self-aggrandising myth, the notion seemingly only embraced by vegetarian biologists, environmentalists and humanitarians.

We are predators and we kill. We kill everything and we kill them all of the time, including humans - and there is largely zero care as millions of fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, lovers and longtime friends are pointlessly killed for political ends. The irony is that the political parties most likely to kill teenagers and young adults are the ones that moralise most about abortion.
Humans eat and mistreat animals. I don't think that the eating of animals is immoral, I do however believe that our mistreatment of animals is immoral.

A life is a life, but all animals treat their own species differently than other species in nature where 'might makes right'. Unlike animals humans are not bound to the natural imperative that 'might makes right'. Humanity also treats its own species differently, because we are rational beings who can explain why we act as we do, we can be moral agents, unlike say pigs, cattle or other animals who have neither rationality nor moral agency.

I am suggesting that Abortion is wrong in the specific case where one's own free actions has led to the conception of a life, in which case I think a person ought to bring that life to birth. It may be inconvenient but I think it is how one ought to act.
And I am saying abortion is much less wrong than things we do daily. it's only a foetus. It has no experience, no relationships, no love, no thoughts and, for much of the time, either no nervous system or an undeveloped one.

My first memory is at about one year, which is apparently very early, and it's a whole year or more before I had another - not exactly bristling with human awareness! Even at age one year I was just a mindless little animal (that first memory was scribbling on a wall while in a pram) yet I was already vastly more sentient, feeling and bonded than any foetus - but still comfortably less aware than cows, pigs, sheep and chickens (birds are far more intelligent than once assumed).

So, if we are to worry about foetuses on moral grounds, then we must eschew all meat from mammals, birds, and the more intelligent reptiles and fish - and revolutionise our approach to destroying animal habitats. If values are based on species preference, then that's not morality but extended tribalism. All in-groups protect their own over outsiders, but that is a pragmatic decision, not a moral one.

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Re: Is abortion wrong?

Post by cavacava » December 28th, 2018, 5:12 pm

And I am saying abortion is much less wrong than things we do daily. it's only a foetus. It has no experience, no relationships, no love, no thoughts and, for much of the time, either no nervous system or an undeveloped one.
But it does have potential, which an abortion snuffs out...by what right, surely it is a life.
So, if we are to worry about foetuses on moral grounds, then we must eschew all meat from mammals, birds, and the more intelligent reptiles and fish - and revolutionise our approach to destroying animal habitats. If values are based on species preference, then that's not morality but extended tribalism. All in-groups protect their own over outsiders, but that is a pragmatic decision, not a moral one.
Do you think there are degrees of obscenity? I think that at a very basic level the taking of any life may be problematic since we are all fellow travelers wandering through life. I'am no vegan, but I am not proud of that fact, I think ultimately my decision to eat animals diminishes me, yet I enjoy the flesh of animals.

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Re: Is abortion wrong?

Post by Greta » December 28th, 2018, 5:36 pm

cavacava wrote:
December 28th, 2018, 5:12 pm
And I am saying abortion is much less wrong than things we do daily. it's only a foetus. It has no experience, no relationships, no love, no thoughts and, for much of the time, either no nervous system or an undeveloped one.
But it does have potential, which an abortion snuffs out...by what right, surely it is a life.
The animals had potentials. All the people denied healthcare had potentials. Those on the battlefield. Bullied gay kids. Stuff happens all the time to very, very much more sentient beings than foetuses.

Further, in a world with 7.6 billion variously realised human potentials, each additional person has the ultimate potential of adding to what is already severe overpopulation which then increases human stress and misery. First victim is the girl whose human potentials are considered of secondary importance to the male's.

cavacava wrote:
December 28th, 2018, 5:12 pm
So, if we are to worry about foetuses on moral grounds, then we must eschew all meat from mammals, birds, and the more intelligent reptiles and fish - and revolutionise our approach to destroying animal habitats. If values are based on species preference, then that's not morality but extended tribalism. All in-groups protect their own over outsiders, but that is a pragmatic decision, not a moral one.
Do you think there are degrees of obscenity? I think that at a very basic level the taking of any life may be problematic since we are all fellow travelers wandering through life. I'am no vegan, but I am not proud of that fact, I think ultimately my decision to eat animals diminishes me, yet I enjoy the flesh of animals.
There are degrees, of course. Killing an early term foetus is orders of magnitude less obscene than what happens to pigs, sheep, cattle and chickens - and that's just in the west. Then consider the carnage in the east, where overpopulation has been a longstanding problem with both poor humans and animals being objectified. (Thankfully, there are growing human and animal rights movements amongst young Chinese, but that looks like quite a hill to climb).

PS. I'm not a vegetarian either and usually have two or three meals with some meat in there each week. Life is not a gentle process, no matter how much we wish it was and, worse, it's hard to even be gentle oneself even when trying to be! We are pretty big animals and basically stomp around the world consuming and breaking resources and hassling each other like any other big animal - and that's not counting our huge collective impact. There's more than enough of us IMO.

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Re: Is abortion wrong?

Post by cavacava » December 28th, 2018, 8:58 pm

Hereandnow wrote:
December 28th, 2018, 1:21 pm
cavacava
I think a human life starts at conception
A life certainly does start at conception, human or otherwise. But the human part, now this you have to argue. And you don't, or have I missed something? I mean, you don't say outright a person is this, and this begins at conception, and here is why. Keep in mind, a person is not reducible to some biological account. And personhood is a concept that tries to isolate what it is to be a person from what it is to be an organism merely. You don't, I think, want to argue that amoebas or squirrels are endowed with the rights of a person; or do you? That would be an interesting way to go, but even here, it would not be the squirrel reduced to its biological profile in question. Such a thing is a thing only, and things are not what is at issue here; things have no ethical dimension to them.
At conception? Why? What is it that is "there" at conception? Answer this, and you have put a finger on what is really at stake. Of course, this opens into a broader field of possible inquiry, but that is just the way it is. You talk about souls embodied in embryos and you have your work cut out for you, but then, isn't that why you're here, writing posts? So continue.....
I don't know what happened. I wrote a response several hours ago, but since no notification, I must have screwed up some where.

Well, I was sorta getting at a chain of moral values with #Greta, and yes I agree that person hood is a social construction. I am a materialist and a structural panpsychist, I think that all awareness is the result of matter in correct assembly. At conception matter joins other matter and out of their combined structure/form a new life emerges. So no souls, at least not prior to birth, but human by form and content at conception.

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Re: Is abortion wrong?

Post by Count Lucanor » December 29th, 2018, 1:08 am

cavacava wrote:
December 28th, 2018, 8:43 am

How these consequences are dealt with is the question. A premise of my argument is that killing a human must be justified and I have listed what I considered justified reasons.
There seems to be an ambiguous use of the word "justification". It could simply mean the reason, the explanation behind something, but there's clearly a reason behind a woman's decision to abort, and you still will not accept it as morally sound, so it's obvious that by "justification" you mean something else. It could also mean the proof that something is right, just. But in that case, your criteria for determining if abortion is not wrong is that the mother proves that it is right, but that's circular reasoning. You still have to define what makes it right or wrong and say why your own criteria (the existence of sexual consent before conception) applies universally.
cavacava wrote:
December 28th, 2018, 8:43 am
I think a human life starts at conception ...
You think, but are there any good reasons for the mother and everyone else to think that way too? What makes an embryo a human life in the same sense as a born person?

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Re: Is abortion wrong?

Post by Greta » December 29th, 2018, 2:51 am

cavacava wrote:
December 28th, 2018, 8:58 pm
Hereandnow wrote:
December 28th, 2018, 1:21 pm

A life certainly does start at conception, human or otherwise. But the human part, now this you have to argue. And you don't, or have I missed something? I mean, you don't say outright a person is this, and this begins at conception, and here is why. Keep in mind, a person is not reducible to some biological account. And personhood is a concept that tries to isolate what it is to be a person from what it is to be an organism merely. You don't, I think, want to argue that amoebas or squirrels are endowed with the rights of a person; or do you? That would be an interesting way to go, but even here, it would not be the squirrel reduced to its biological profile in question. Such a thing is a thing only, and things are not what is at issue here; things have no ethical dimension to them.
At conception? Why? What is it that is "there" at conception? Answer this, and you have put a finger on what is really at stake. Of course, this opens into a broader field of possible inquiry, but that is just the way it is. You talk about souls embodied in embryos and you have your work cut out for you, but then, isn't that why you're here, writing posts? So continue.....
I don't know what happened. I wrote a response several hours ago, but since no notification, I must have screwed up some where.

Well, I was sorta getting at a chain of moral values with #Greta, and yes I agree that person hood is a social construction. I am a materialist and a structural panpsychist, I think that all awareness is the result of matter in correct assembly. At conception matter joins other matter and out of their combined structure/form a new life emerges. So no souls, at least not prior to birth, but human by form and content at conception.
Shame about losing the post. We've all been there :)

I'm not familiar with "structural panpsychism". I'm guessing that it is a kind of "weak panpsychism", the less speculative variety. Perhaps like Michio Kaku's measuring of consciousness based on the number of feedback loops, which includes numerous non-biological things?

On one level every life - both human and otherwise - is precious and seemingly miraculous. On another level each life is utterly expendable - and doomed, the only question being when. While it's reasonable to take potential into account, not only are the potentials to bring good ever more limited in an overcrowded world, what matter more than potential is the nature of the foetus at that time as compared with other living beings that we routinely (even happily!) destroy.

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Re: Is abortion wrong?

Post by cavacava » December 29th, 2018, 2:28 pm

Count Lucanor wrote:
December 29th, 2018, 1:08 am
cavacava wrote:
December 28th, 2018, 8:43 am

How these consequences are dealt with is the question. A premise of my argument is that killing a human must be justified and I have listed what I considered justified reasons.
There seems to be an ambiguous use of the word "justification". It could simply mean the reason, the explanation behind something, but there's clearly a reason behind a woman's decision to abort, and you still will not accept it as morally sound, so it's obvious that by "justification" you mean something else. It could also mean the proof that something is right, just. But in that case, your criteria for determining if abortion is not wrong is that the mother proves that it is right, but that's circular reasoning. You still have to define what makes it right or wrong and say why your own criteria (the existence of sexual consent before conception) applies universally.
cavacava wrote:
December 28th, 2018, 8:43 am
I think a human life starts at conception ...
You think, but are there any good reasons for the mother and everyone else to think that way too? What makes an embryo a human life in the same sense as a born person?
I think that each person must decide for themselves that they are acting morally, or not, along the line of what Plato has Socrates say in the Gorgias:
And yet, my friend, I would rather that my lyre should be inharmonious, and that there should be no music in the chorus which I provided; aye, or that the whole world should be at odds with me, and oppose me, rather than that I myself should be at odds with myself, and contradict myself.
.

Killing is the taking of a life, and from time of conception each life has the potential to become a person.

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Re: Is abortion wrong?

Post by Greta » December 29th, 2018, 4:41 pm

What are those potentials in a deeply divided world of 7.6 billion people, a rapidly diminishing natural environment? Seemingly the potential to add just a little more to human misery and stress - one more body in long, snaking queues, one more car in the traffic jam, one more competitor trying to find work and a place to live, one more eater of nature and extcreter into the oceans.

We seriously do not need more people, we need far fewer. But who to remove? The elderly? No, sanctity of life means that mercy killing for the tortured is not allowed. Society deems that the elderly must suffer, presumably to induce despair-driven deathbed conversions to Christ.

Sanctity of life? What of abortion? We value the potentials of a piece of protoplasm over the potentials of a woman - because the protoplasm might become a Man and have the potential to actually do something important making with worthwhile to sacrifice a mere woman's potential [sic]? We seem to also value this non experiential entity immensely over all the gentle, sensitive and intelligent species that we routinely bully, torture and kill.

Foetuses also attract more interest and care from activists than the young people suiciding or killing each other in record numbers due to endemic neglect in societies showing themselves more interested in symbolism than reality. As George Carlin observed, anti-abortionists don't give a damn once the baby comes out.

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Re: Is abortion wrong?

Post by cavacava » December 29th, 2018, 6:30 pm

China had a one child family planning program for 40 years and terminated it recently...why, because their population rate fell below what it considers sustainable. I think a lot of the curtailment of population growth in the past was due to high infant mortality rates (took a tour of the Guinness factory in Dublin...Mrs Guinness had 21 children, only 10 survived to adulthood). It was necessary back then to have a lot of children because the infant mortality rate was so high...and it still is high in Africa and some other underdeveloped countries.

As far as Abortion goes, regardless of whether it is legal or not does not seem to effect the number of people getting abortions, the only thing that changes is the safety of having an abortion.
The abortion debate is presented as a conflict between the rights of foetuses and the rights of women. Enhance one, both sides sometimes appear to agree, and you suppress the other. But once you grasp the fact that legalising women’s reproductive rights does not raise the incidence of abortions, only one issue remains to be debated: should they be legal and safe or illegal and dangerous? Hmm … tough question.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... ious-right

Also, "U.S. Cities are Home to 62.7 Percent of the U.S. Population, but Comprise Just 3.5 Percent of Land Area" Census, '... I remember that Germany took in over a million immigrants a couple of years ago. There's room for all but I think that like China the world needs to shift its policy "from population control to population development.”

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Re: Is abortion wrong?

Post by Greta » December 29th, 2018, 6:54 pm

No matter which way you look at it, there are far too many people for any hope of sustainability, perhaps by a factor to ten!

China's plan is to gain access to as many people as possible because - since there's too many people and the environment is changing - a large swathe of northern China, home to 400m people, is expected to become dangerous, possibly uninhabitable as 35C wet bulb days are expected to occur in summer, which is fatal for humans, even in the shade. They will need places to put those people. India too is deeply into human export.

That tragedies of the commons force nations to act unsustainably so as to compete should not mask the fact that their immigration programs are all about importing customers for company profits. Economists - like those driving the push for immigration - figure that if your head is in the oven and your feet are in the freezer, then you're doing fine.

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Re: Is abortion wrong?

Post by LuckyR » December 30th, 2018, 2:39 am

cavacava wrote:
December 29th, 2018, 6:30 pm
China had a one child family planning program for 40 years and terminated it recently...why, because their population rate fell below what it considers sustainable. I think a lot of the curtailment of population growth in the past was due to high infant mortality rates (took a tour of the Guinness factory in Dublin...Mrs Guinness had 21 children, only 10 survived to adulthood). It was necessary back then to have a lot of children because the infant mortality rate was so high...and it still is high in Africa and some other underdeveloped countries.

As far as Abortion goes, regardless of whether it is legal or not does not seem to effect the number of people getting abortions, the only thing that changes is the safety of having an abortion.
The abortion debate is presented as a conflict between the rights of foetuses and the rights of women. Enhance one, both sides sometimes appear to agree, and you suppress the other. But once you grasp the fact that legalising women’s reproductive rights does not raise the incidence of abortions, only one issue remains to be debated: should they be legal and safe or illegal and dangerous? Hmm … tough question.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... ious-right

Also, "U.S. Cities are Home to 62.7 Percent of the U.S. Population, but Comprise Just 3.5 Percent of Land Area" Census, '... I remember that Germany took in over a million immigrants a couple of years ago. There's room for all but I think that like China the world needs to shift its policy "from population control to population development.”
I believe Mrs Guinness was catholic, so she likely would have had 21 even if they all lived to adulthood.

The best contraceptive (thus making abortion unnecessary)? Education for women.
"As usual... it depends."

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Re: Is abortion wrong?

Post by Count Lucanor » December 30th, 2018, 11:57 pm

cavacava wrote:
December 29th, 2018, 2:28 pm
Count Lucanor wrote:
December 29th, 2018, 1:08 am
You think, but are there any good reasons for the mother and everyone else to think that way too? What makes an embryo a human life in the same sense as a born person?
I think that each person must decide for themselves that they are acting morally, or not, along the line of what Plato has Socrates say in the Gorgias:
And yet, my friend, I would rather that my lyre should be inharmonious, and that there should be no music in the chorus which I provided; aye, or that the whole world should be at odds with me, and oppose me, rather than that I myself should be at odds with myself, and contradict myself.
.
OK then, it's the mother that makes the decision according to her moral inclinations, acting so that she will not be at odds with herself. But when we ask: "is abortion wrong?", what's being asked is: "is this at odds with society, with norms that should apply to all?" Using some principles as individual freedom, the right to make choices about her own body, the right to make practical decisions about her own life; along with the fact that personhood involves key physiological structures, like a fully developed central nervous system and some levels of physical autonomy, which are mostly absent in the earlier stages of the embryo or fetus, we can say that a woman's decision to abort (in the early stages) is in accordance with moral principles of modern life, devoid of religious interference.
cavacava wrote:
December 29th, 2018, 2:28 pm
Killing is the taking of a life, and from time of conception each life has the potential to become a person.
The potential to become a person is not the same as becoming a person. If potentiality were really a key factor, we would be looking at masturbation or menstruation as moral deviations. After all, sperms and eggs are also alive and carry the potential to become a person.

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