Abortion - is it a Political, Religious, or Medical debate?

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  • #1
drankin
Moving from a derailed thread on Socialism...
 

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  • #2
drankin
Regardless of what it is, I believe it should be a medical debate.
 
  • #3
ShawnD
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From the other topic:
Religion has nothing to do with it.

Are you sure about that? Go talk to the protesters outside of an abortion clinic. Specifically ask them what religion they are. I'll bet you $1,000 right now that none of them say Buddhist or Hindu or Atheist.
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I think it's mostly a religious debate because the side fighting against abortion consists almost entirely of religious groups while the pro-abortion side is mostly people who keep religion out of it and cite reasons ranging anywhere from women's rights to "for the good of society". Regardless of which side is correct, the lines are clearly drawn and religion seems to like one of those sides more than the other.
 
  • #4
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The discussion is almost only based on religious or dogmatic values. I have the opinion that it should be up to the individual. I'd also like to add that the most frequently used argument from religious values is circular.
 
  • #5
ShawnD
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the most frequently used argument from religious values is circular.

What do you mean?
 
  • #6
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Regardless of what it is, I believe it should be a medical debate.
So killing life is not an ethical question for you?
 
  • #7
ShawnD
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So killing life is not an ethical question for you?

I think he means "what defines life". Killing sperm is ok, killing eggs is ok, but killing a full birth baby is wrong. Somewhere between sperm and baby is a line where killing becomes immoral. Medical and religious influences may come to different conclusions about where the line is. Ethically killing is wrong, but if you really wanted to, you could define some arbitrary point where it doesn't count as killing.
 
  • #8
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ShawnD, I meant the argument that goes something like this:

"Abortion is the unjustified killing of a human being and as such is murder. Murder is illegal. So abortion should be illegal."

The conclusion of the argument is part of its premises. If one assumes that abortion is murder then it follows that abortion should be illegal because murder is illegal. I guess it is 'begging the question' rather than circular though. In reality, a person using this argument should provide some motivation for the first part of it.
 
  • #9
drankin
As far as the law of the land stands right now, abortion is not murder. Only the religious make this distinction. First, one has to be murdered. In order to be murdered, one has to lawfully exist. I believe it should be a consensus determined by scientific/medical analysis.

Recently, a child was born (naturally, induced, c-section? I don't recall) substantially premature and lived. The child was born before the end of what could be considered a late term abortion. This kind of evidence should be considered, IMO.
 
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  • #10
drankin
So killing life is not an ethical question for you?

Why are you asking me this question?
 
  • #11
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It all depends on who you ask. Ask a person from the religious right that is pro-life and they may say that because it's the killing of an innocent, it's murder, and hence should be illegal. I don't think all of them are trying to instill some kind of religious dogma (though some certainly are). It's just that the basis for their decision comes from mainly religious grounds.

Ask a pro-choice secularist, and they may say that it's almost enitirely political, and thus should be a matter of choice since the law has not defined the legal status of an embryo (in this instance - it certainly has in other instances).

Ask a pro-choice religious person or a pro-life secularist, and they may have different reasons.

It seems, though, that the medical side is frequently overlooked by both sides. The pro-life group, which I imagine is also heavily pro-death penalty, would say it should be illegal under all circumstances, even if the life of the mother is threatened (a medical reason). However, self-defense is a valid defense against murder if a person's life is threatened, so the only difference between this situation and abortion is that the baby is not purposefully trying to kill the mother. The pro-choice group, however, also conveniently overlooks the fact that a fetus can be viable outside the womb several weeks to several months (depending on medical care available) premature. Why isn't this considered murder if it's only done for convenience sake, rather than for medical reasons?
 
  • #12
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Adam didn't become a living soul until he started breathing.
 
  • #13
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Adam didn't become a living soul until he started breathing.
Which passage states that? I don't see it.

Nevermind. Genesis 2:4
... The Lord God formed man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. ...
 
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  • #14
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'God' also created Man out of dust, but that does not in any way support the validity of religious doctrine.
 
  • #15
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Guys, I believe posts 12, 13 and 14 assert the a priori truth of a religious dogma, which contravenes the posting guidelines and put this thread at risk. The discussion should return to more general concepts.
 
  • #16
vanesch
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I think he means "what defines life". Killing sperm is ok, killing eggs is ok, but killing a full birth baby is wrong.

Well, I don't even see a reason for that. After all, a new-born baby, cute as it may seem, is still very far from the intelligence, sensibility and everything which makes us think that we humans have some "right to live".
I'd say that the first 6 months to 1 year, there's nothing very "human" to a baby. Many intelligence tests show that it takes a human to reach the age of 2 or 3 years to become "self-aware", like only a few animals do.

Of course, something DID change after birth: there is no necessity of the mother body anymore to sustain life. But, shocking as it may sound in our days, I don't see what is so exceptionally special to a new-born baby that it must necessarily deserve that self-appointed "right to live" that we somehow take for granted in our societies for human beings.

I just say this, because one should ask one-self:
- where does our self-appointed "right to live" come from, what are its bases, and what criteria do we use to distinguish humans from animals (elephants, ants, microbes), so as to give the right to humans, and not to microbes ?
- how do these criteria apply to a fetus, a new-born, a 6 months old, ...
- how was our choice of criteria arbitrary just to arrive at the inclusion of exactly those categories of beings that we want, or is it based upon deeper principles ?

One could think of the first reason to the "right to live" for adults amongst themselves, as a kind of cooperative strategy which is a winning strategy for the group that applies it. If you, as member of a group, have some kind of protection against murder by the group, then you have to invest less in your own protection, and hence liberate ressources to do other things, which can be beneficial to yourself, and to the whole group. As such, a group that has a "law against murder" will be in general more prosperous than a group of people where this doesn't apply, and where every member has to invest heavily into its own protection.
As laws were in ancient times usually endowed with divine power, we find hence in several religions that "law against murder".

Killing other life is the most common thing that happens in the world of the living, as such it cannot be "bad" or "good". There is no fundamental ethical value to killing other lifeforms. You kill bacteria all the time. There's no "bad" ethical value associated for a predator to kill a prey, or to kill a competitor. But our societies have seen the advantage of putting in common the "protection against killing" of members of the society as this liberates ressources, and from this "rule of common good" (=law) followed an ethical value (killing is bad). So one should then interrogate one-self to exactly what kinds of life-forms this rule applies: exactly what members should be protected by this rule in order to liberate ressources, if this was the basic principle from which came our idea of "right to live" in the first place.
 
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  • #17
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...I don't see what is so exceptionally special to a new-born baby that it must necessarily deserve that self-appointed "right to live" that we somehow take for granted in our societies for human beings.
Well you are entitled to your opinion and I hope I am as well.

I pretty much 100% disagree with what you say. And your words here make me quite sad.

Einstein once said:
"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."
 
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  • #18
drankin
I have to say that I really don't know where you are coming from, vanesch. It sounds to me that you place very little if any value on the life of an infant. An infant is completely dependant upon us to exist and develop. To not accept that is not natural, nor is it healthy human behavior. This is the way of our "species".
 
  • #19
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To not accept that is not natural, nor is it healthy human behavior. This is the way of our "species".

Sure, but why? Identifying the reason is at the core of deciding where the line is drawn in various situations. Is "cuteness" the factor, or "consciousness", or "intelligence", what is it?
 
  • #20
drankin
Sure, but why? Identifying the reason is at the core of deciding where the line is drawn in various situations. Is "cuteness" the factor, or "consciousness", or "intelligence", what is it?

I dunno, a baby is a helpless human being in his or hers most fragile and vulnerable state that cannot exist without you. Does that count?
 
  • #21
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Sure, but why? Identifying the reason is at the core of deciding where the line is drawn in various situations. Is "cuteness" the factor, or "consciousness", or "intelligence", what is it?
Maybe because if we had no concern for our newborn children we would not exist as a species.
 
  • #22
drankin
Selfless care of an infant is most certainly a natural and healthy compulsion that ensures the survival of the human race.
 
  • #23
loseyourname
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I've identified here in the past as mostly being on the "pro-life" side of this fence, and I'm not religious. I don't particularly feel like going back over my reasoning again, but it has nothing whatsoever to do with a religious conception of when human life does or does not begin.

We may not be as vocal or politically powerful as religious organizations, but there do exist people that oppose abortion for purely secular ethical reasons.
 
  • #24
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As a side question on the ethics of killing:

In most people's eyes, it is ok to take the life of another if they are immediately posing a guaranteed threat to your life. Such as a person intentionally driving toward you in a truck with the intent of killing you, and so you, with your amazing gunsmanship, shoot him through the window, killing him and causing him to swerve. Lets assume there was no other way to stop him, and shooting guaranteed your survival.
In my mind and most people (i assume) that was ok. That was self defense. (This is a hypothetical, where there was a 100% chance, if you didnt fire, you would die.)

Now is the same decision equally OK if the person behind the wheel DOESN'T have the intent to kill you. That maybe they are drunk, maybe they are hallucinating, maybe they can't see you and you KNOW this.

This is both a legal question and ethical. Is it OK to kill in self defense of "attempted" MANSLAUGHTER, rather than "attempted" MURDER?
 
  • #25
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I would probably shoot first and ponder the morality later...
 

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