Let's talk about abortion
July 22, 2018 at 5:21 pm #10224
In my philosophical education, one thing I learned is that ethical arguments are about differences in attitudes and/or values and are not about differences over facts. What that means, depressingly (or maybe not) is that no new discovery or fact is likely to sway anyone’s view on the subject.
Remember Roe vs. Wade? That’s the decision that established a woman’s right to control her reproductive decisions. “Roe” was a legalese pseudonym (like “Doe”) for a woman whose real name was Norma Leah McCorvey, who died in 2017. You may not know that after working for years in an abortion clinic, she abruptly changed sides, joining an anti-abortion group and declaring about the landmark case that because of the landmark decision, women “have literally been handed the right to slaughter their own children.”
How do you feel? What arguments work and don’t work for your position?
Me? When it comes to the rights of both women, and children, and by extension men as well, has oft been stated here: There are only two kinds of rights, legislated and imaginary. A right exists when some entity is there ready and willing to enforce it. Otherwise it’s imaginary.
So, for me, it’s as easy for me as taking the position that women should have the right to make reproductive decisions. They will have that right as long as (here in America) the government doesn’t take it away, which has become a distinct possibility.
Your turn to discuss this topic.July 22, 2018 at 11:45 pm #10237
Yes yes yes. Answers to moral questions on abortion clearly depend on the moral system and with most moral systems (though not all) that the cut off line in fetus gestation is a matter of opinion. However, there are two extreme end which I find tautologically correct. The removal of an egg which has divided several times is virtually no different than a clump of cells like a tiny part of the skin on your arm. Scratch it hard and you’ve killed 128 cells. An egg with 128 cells have absolutely no discernible divisions, recognizable features but instead 128 copies of DNA with the chance to potentially become a human agent (just like every egg and sperm humans generate). Comparing a recently fertilized egg with a born living human being is preposterous.
Second, killing a born living being is clearly murder. Removing an egg with only 128 cells cannot possibly reasonably be called murder. There is no being or agent, only the potential of becoming a being/agent.
However as the fetus gestates, it becomes more and more difficult to find a dividing line. When it becomes life is impossible to define tautologically and again, depends very much on ones moral system and/or opinion. However some phrase the question in a way that doesn’t just deal with beings and murder but the potential of becoming a being. This I think is a bad argument. If what is important is that a potential human being is allowed to be born, aborting an egg and then carrying another child later on when ready means the termination of only the potential of a being emerging and the later creation of that new potential, the DNA doesn’t matter as in all cases it is considerably random. If it is essential to allow potential beings to be born then a couple who take the birth control pill and ejaculate outside of the vagina are also breaking this rule.
I think two two most common cut off points are 1. a fetus which can survive outside the womb and 2. A fetus with a beating heart and functioning brain. You are right unseen, these divisions are arbitrary and incredibly difficult to defend. However, they can potentially be consistent with some moral systems.
For example of the application of the practical golden rule “do onto others as you would have [or have ever have had] them do unto you.” A fetus has no concept of others nor any construct of what ought to be done unto them let alone what they ought to do unto others. (Though certainly do not find being squeezed out of the womb a pleasant experience).
In a deontological moral system (my preferred kind) the cut off point is one of the most objectively unanswerable question there is in deontological ethics, (though a 128 celled egg and a living born being are two undeniably different things).July 23, 2018 at 12:51 am #10242
In general I agree with Davis. It is a horrible decision to have to make and a difficult moral dilemma. Hitchens used to talk about how “empowering women” is the best way to elevate the quality of life around the planet. And that is a real parameter to this question…do we want quality or quantity? I do not think abortion is some gateway to a general loss of rights for those of us who are compromised….e.g. in a coma. In fact, I am pro mercy killing when regulated properly. I wonder how many Americans are pro guns, just so they can take themselves out someday. I also question the irresponsibility of the anti-condom Catholic Church; perhaps they are not that concerned about human rights and really just want more Catholics to control.July 23, 2018 at 1:47 am #10243
I’ve read several comment sections on this question…and in fact…it is full of pro-birthers never giving a straight answer. I read a hundred responses and in every case they whine that it is a false analogy, a context that makes the comparison of egg and living being different, not equivalent and mostly…pfff…no answer becaue no matter how I answer this doesn’t justify abortion. Not answering the question is clearly an answer. They’d save the toddler. Ultimately…they don’t say what they’d do let alone explain why they’d save the toddler. And they justify this by crying no fair. They cannot admit that a living toddler isn’t of the same value as some fertilized embryos in a non-womb based context even though egg-livinbeing equivalent is a fundamental part of the argument against abortion. Regardless of how contrived this hypothetical is or if the question is about saving a or b verses abortion which is terminating c…it is true in one they are the same and in another they aren’t the same. It’s a contradiction that isn’t justified by the fact that they are two different contexts. But still they obviously value a living being over 1000 potential beings. They aren’t equivalent outside the simply context of a pregnant woman. Besides that, this illustration and most articles that show this…don’t leap to the conclusion that abortion is okay. It is simply a response to those who attack abortion through the argument that terminating an embryo is equivalent to murdering a living being…and their very different answer when this question is posed.July 23, 2018 at 3:38 am #10245
The thing about atheists is that we don’t think being human is so very special. No god built us for a world or built a world for us. We are just the most intelligent of the great apes.
It’s hard for us to put ourselves in the mindset of the believer to whom human beings aren’t just another species but are intended to be a very special species created by the cosmic sorcerer who created the joint, and created it more or less just for us (and for his amusement as well, it seems).July 23, 2018 at 7:09 am #10249
I’m completely against partial birth abortions. I don’t know how I honestly feel about the rest of it. I’m against the idea of losing my right to have one, but I don’t think I would ever have one ever again.July 23, 2018 at 8:07 am #10250
I figure that the arguments are closely matched on both sides: both outcomes are undesirable. So, offer women the choice. Those who don’t want to have an abortion, don’t.July 23, 2018 at 12:23 pm #10252
I figure that the arguments are closely matched on both sides: both outcomes are undesirable. So, offer women the choice. Those who don’t want to have an abortion, don’t.
Agreed, leave it up to the womenJuly 23, 2018 at 7:04 pm #10253
I use to belong to a site of Harley Bikers. We’d have get togethers and converge from different parts of the U.S. to ride and commune together. The argument of “which one would you save” was presented but it dealt with it in the context of “why are the victims of Marjory Stoneman massacre any different then the thousands of fetus that are aborted and murdered every year?”. I no longer am a part of the group on account of the majority of the members felt there was no difference. Something I didn’t agree with because, in my mind, there is a difference. A difference of choice to bear the human, a difference of emotional investment in love and nurturing, and a monetary difference in investment in cost to rear the human. The fetus in question was not wanted and the only emotional Capitol spent was the decision to not have it.
So to me there is a difference. I think woman should have a choice. Whether it’s moral or not is moot since it’s the law and if it’s the law then the argument about morality has already been decided by the governing bodies. If they decided to make abortion legal then the question of morality was argued and decided otherwise the law would not have been passed. Now we are faced with a reversal of this law. The question of morality will be argued again. But this time the moral question will probably win out in deciding to make abortions illegal in the U.S.; much to the delight of the Bible thumpers, who want to control woman’s vagina’s.
Reversing the law affects poor woman more than any other group of woman including middle class. So there’s the keep the poor in their place by depriving them the choice to not have a human until such a time as they are more stable monetarily. Is it racist? I think that will have some bearing in the decision to rescind the right of woman to decide.July 25, 2018 at 4:20 pm #10271
Agreed, leave it up to the women
You can say that, but in reality it’s men making all the decisions.
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. – Edmund Burke
I think men need to stay in the fight and not just shrug it off like well it’s a woman’s issue and it’s their problem because the MEN in the White House are the ones we ALL need to stand up to. It’s men’s rights that are being affected too. The right to sleep around carelessly and leave it up to the women to try to keep from getting pregnant or not. So I think men have honestly most of the responsibility in this. It may be OUR bodies, but it’s MALE ASSHOLES who are in the whitehouse and who are now going to be on the supreme court overturning our rights.July 25, 2018 at 7:05 pm #10280
I think men need to stay in the fight and not just shrug it off
Yes. Yes. yyyyyyyyyyyeeeeeeesssssssss YES! Not just shrug it off as a woman’s issue, but also not just shrug it off as if its not such a big deal…and even more so not just shrug the whole thing off as women exaggerating or making it all up.
A lot of it (and women do this too) comes from people who have either never been disgusting when flirting and have never been sexually aggressive nor have they witnessed it themselves or experienced it themselves, nor discriminated against women nor have been discriminated against by men. Therefore it doesn’t happen as much as people say it does or they are exaggerating, inventing or just want to get a lucrative settlement. While true a tiny amount of claims are false, the same goes with claims of theft and murder and accusations of fraud…yet we never get hung up on false theft or fraud or physical violence accusations even though they can also ruin your life…but we endlessly point out false sexual assault claims far far far out of proportion. and it is not just women. There is a lot of sexual violence against men, boys, LGTB+ and trans-people (especially trans) of which few are willing to come forward. People from both genders need to face the possibility (fact) that despite not doing rapey things or seeing it or experiencing it…the same for sexual discrimination…it happens a LOT and it is EXTREMELY difficult to do anything about it let alone getting people to take you seriously. Shrugging it off is the easy chicken route. Same with not calling out your friends when they do or talk seriously about rapey behaviour.July 25, 2018 at 7:12 pm #10281
…and even more so not just shrug the whole thing off as women exaggerating or making it all up.
The problem is that there are also women who are against it. I shit you not I went to Planned Parenthood yesterday and there was an old woman in her 60’s standing outside BY HERSELF holding brochures to attempt to give women as they entered and exited the building. while she was standing on the sidewalk just off the premise to where she couldn’t get cited for trespassing or harassment, she was considered a “peaceful protester” and left alone by everyone and we all ignored her.
Women could have prevented Donald Trump from winning the White House, if more women in the flyover states weren’t part of the problem.July 25, 2018 at 7:22 pm #10282
The problem is that there are also women who are against it.
Indeed. Ive personally dealt with friends who have been sexually assaulted (women and LGTB+) and have seen with my own eyes very rapey behaviour and personally intervened at work to stop sexual discrimination…several of my female friends who have never experienced assault are bewildered by all the claims coming out and those who never suffered sexual discrimination and confused, “we are talking about the same country right”? At a meeting a month ago we somehow got into Harvey Weinstein and why the #metoo movement hadn’t taken off in Spain. I was surprised to see how many older men totally backed the movement and spoke with absolute hate against a company they used to work for utterly soaking in sexual discrimination and toxic male culture. They also bemaoned the Spanish-Latin-Lover. Meanwhile a couple of the women just nodded their heads like “yeah…we know…we’ve known this for a long time…little will change”. The #metoo movement finally took off here once the “La Manada” case came out, a gang rape that happened during the running of the bulls in Pamplona where even with video evidence they were aquited of rape and instead on an abuse charge. The only one in this conversation who spoke ill of the rape victim, was a woman who refused to believe it all happened against her will. That’s not to say I haven’t unfriended some guys on facebook for saying some horendous stuff on the issue but yeah…I know what you mean. It’s a problem with human nature in general. 🙁July 25, 2018 at 7:53 pm #10284
I’ve become increasingly skeptical and in some ways almost angry and against a lot of the propaganda that’s thrown at women and I think it’s really done a lot of us a disservice, myself included.July 25, 2018 at 8:26 pm #10285
Reg the Fronkey FarmerModerator
I recently overheard conversation on the #MeToo topic involving a group of students. After a few minutes one woman said that (paraphrasing) “the whole thing is blown out of proportion. I and none of my girlfriends have ever experienced anything like this. Ever! It is all driven by the media using click-bait headlines”.
Immediately the other women asked what world she lived in. The men, especially those who had been silent earlier all offered anecdotes about how most of their female friends had suffered some form of sexual abuse. It continued in this fashion for a while and almost everyone recognized that it is a problem.
The woman remained mostly silent during this and was listening intently to everyone. She noticed me listen in (I was at the next table) and I caught her eye and grinned at her. Nice one I thought. She had provoked everyone into a serious debate. She acknowledged me by blankly looking away.
After a few minutes she said “Ok, I misspoke. Even Presidents do. I would like to clarify my statement. I have been seriously assaulted on two occasions. I am often groped in public especially by drunks in nightclubs and have had my clothing or physical appearance commented on, on a regular basis, by strangers. I have a large circle of female friends and not one of them can say she has not experienced some form of predatory abuse”.
I thought it was a great ploy on her behalf to get the debate going. It is a man’s problem that becomes a problem for most women.
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.