Elsewhere on the internet...

The League of Reason has some social media accounts! You can find us on Facebook or on Twitter for some interesting links and things.

A justification for abortion

Post new topic Reply to topic  Page 1 of 4
 [ 70 posts ] 
A justification for abortion
Author Message
Blog of ReasonHelperUser avatarPosts: 240Joined: Fri Apr 10, 2009 2:28 pmLocation: League of Reason

Post A justification for abortion

Sat Sep 24, 2011 3:45 am
ImprobableJoeUser avatarPosts: 6195Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 3:24 pm

Post Re: A justification for abortion

Example #1: How far is a drive? Or a helicopter flight? And what is the risk?

Example #2: Any of us could be there. Any smart policy would take care of all of us.

Example #3: Can that mother spare the calories? Can she risk killing herself to feel a child? Can she risk dying and depriving her other children a mother, to feed an infant? What if she tries AND FAILS? Then it is a dead infant, a dead mother, and all of those other children orphaned.
Come visit my blog! There will be punch and pie!
Sat Sep 24, 2011 4:11 am
doctormoUser avatarPosts: 11Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2010 1:18 pmLocation: Boston, MA Gender: Tree

Post Re: A justification for abortion

Morality is a fascinating social science. Abortion is one of those interesting lever that allows us to peek under the cover of the rules that govern our behaviour, both as individuals and as groups.

My own moral thinking on the matter is that a foetus is under the effective ownership of the person or persons who are responsible. In early pregnancy there can only be one responsible party and thus that party can make the choice as an individual. Later on when a pre-baby might be able to survive outside of the mother, it's possible for some person/people to take responsibility and thus socially we can say to have a transfer of moral responsibility.

The problem I have is with people who claim that the duty of society is to do nothing to help the child, but insist that the mother remain indentured. Forcing mothers to take responsibility at ages and in conditions that are going to produce suffering for child and mother; this is immoral. The children that come out of such anti-social arrangements have a higher risk of being *coincidentally* anti-social themselves, higher risks of criminality, drug use and generally socially disruptive.

Example #1. The person should be convicted of dereliction of moral duty should a judge find that the person could have provided aid without harming themselves. But of course this is almost impossible to gather the evidence for. So we suffer here from lack of practical evidence and instead we rely upon our natural human instincts to help others in distress.

Example #2. An old person should be allowed to decide for themselves whether they want to be taken care of (if it's available) or to commit suicide in order to avoid suffering. No one should be stuck in a position of suffering because society has it's knickers in a twist over life and death.

Example #3. Has almost nothing to do with social morality. If the mother kills her baby, it's her own morality, her own responsibility and no one elses because no one else is available. To convict would be to bring personal morality into a social moral context and produce unfair results.
Sat Sep 24, 2011 8:14 pm
WWW
GlorylessPosts: 14Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2010 8:53 amLocation: Orange County, CA Gender: Male

Post Re: A justification for abortion

I know it doesn't address your post, but did anyone read about the argument for abortion given in Freakonomics?

He asserted that the dramatic drop in crime in the late 90's in the US was due to the legalization of abortion in the 70's. He offered evidence that an unwanted pregnancy has a much higher rate of of becoming a delinquent in society vs a planned and wanted pregnancy. He had even found a counter example to tie unwanted pregnancy to crime rate.

It's off topic a bit, because it doesn't address issues of life but I think it brings up an interesting point about the social responsibility of an unwanted pregnancy.

I personally don't think a fetus has a right to life beyond what a parent intends. We see examples in nature over and over again. I also think it's socially responsible to abort an unwanted pregnancy, paired with future family planning and counseling.

I don't have the researchers name or any details of the freakonomics study, but I'm sure I could find it if anyone is interested.
Sun Sep 25, 2011 7:17 am
CosmicJoghurtPodcasterUser avatarPosts: 809Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2010 7:59 pm Gender: Pinecone

Post Re: A justification for abortion

I don't see a difference between the two cases, 8 weeks, or 20 weeks... Maybe it's because I'm an amoralist, but really, the only difference is that the latter would probably (?) suffer more than the former. But I may have mis-understood the question here, it's still early in the morning for me.
Example #1. The person should be convicted of dereliction of moral duty should a judge find that the person could have provided aid without harming themselves.



Moral duty? Really? As far as I know the only duty we have is to follow the law. Unless moral duty is included there, somehow, I find that claim naive.
Perception of reality results in interpretation of reality which results in a deformation of reality.
Sun Sep 25, 2011 10:33 am
CaseUser avatarPosts: 1080Joined: Sun Feb 28, 2010 9:40 pm Gender: Cake

Post Re: A justification for abortion

I don't see any relationship between the "examples" and abortion.

They already didn't make a lot of sense when I was sober.
I am determined that my children shall be brought up in their father's religion, if they can find out what it is.
Charles Lamb (1775 - 1834)

Atheism is a non-prophet organization.
Sun Sep 25, 2011 11:38 pm
DukeTwicepUser avatarPosts: 57Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2011 9:49 pmLocation: Sweden Gender: Male

Post Re: A justification for abortion

About the article on the climb of Mount Everest.
I think that, what people don't understand is that those who climb Mount Everest perfectly understand that they can be left to die on the mountain. There was a similar story 5 years ago I think where climbers on K2 were accused of abandoning a person to his death. They did what they had to do to preserve their own lives when they deemed it too dangerous to help him as he was sick and didn't want to cooperate.
When you're on mount Everest or on K2 you're basically on your own if you don't have Very friendly climbers on your team, it can't possibly be compared with abandoning somebody in the woods. But people that read the stories of course don't understand that the climbers accepted this risk. They don't care if there is a high probability of death, they do it for the thrill and the fame.
"One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision" - Bertrand Russell
Mon Oct 03, 2011 2:45 pm
Aught3ModeratorUser avatarPosts: 4290Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2009 3:36 amLocation: New Zealand Gender: Male

Post Re: A justification for abortion

DukeTwicep wrote:About the article on the climb of Mount Everest.
I think that, what people don't understand is that those who climb Mount Everest perfectly understand that they can be left to die on the mountain. There was a similar story 5 years ago I think where climbers on K2 were accused of abandoning a person to his death. They did what they had to do to preserve their own lives when they deemed it too dangerous to help him as he was sick and didn't want to cooperate.
When you're on mount Everest or on K2 you're basically on your own if you don't have Very friendly climbers on your team, it can't possibly be compared with abandoning somebody in the woods. But people that read the stories of course don't understand that the climbers accepted this risk. They don't care if there is a high probability of death, they do it for the thrill and the fame.
Why can't mountaineering be compared to abandoning somebody in the woods? If similar stipulations are made, the companions are risking their own lives trying to save the injured, then I have no problem with them leaving him. But my point was that even if you are in a position to help the injured person, there is no duty to rescue them. It's true that most people would try to help but it's not against the law to do leave them to die similar to the way it's not against the law to get an abortion.
Wanderer, there is no path, the path is made by walking.
Mon Oct 03, 2011 11:01 pm
WWW
DukeTwicepUser avatarPosts: 57Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2011 9:49 pmLocation: Sweden Gender: Male

Post Re: A justification for abortion

Aught3 wrote:
DukeTwicep wrote:About the article on the climb of Mount Everest.
I think that, what people don't understand is that those who climb Mount Everest perfectly understand that they can be left to die on the mountain. There was a similar story 5 years ago I think where climbers on K2 were accused of abandoning a person to his death. They did what they had to do to preserve their own lives when they deemed it too dangerous to help him as he was sick and didn't want to cooperate.
When you're on mount Everest or on K2 you're basically on your own if you don't have Very friendly climbers on your team, it can't possibly be compared with abandoning somebody in the woods. But people that read the stories of course don't understand that the climbers accepted this risk. They don't care if there is a high probability of death, they do it for the thrill and the fame.
Why can't mountaineering be compared to abandoning somebody in the woods? If similar stipulations are made, the companions are risking their own lives trying to save the injured, then I have no problem with them leaving him. But my point was that even if you are in a position to help the injured person, there is no duty to rescue them. It's true that most people would try to help but it's not against the law to do leave them to die similar to the way it's not against the law to get an abortion.

Ah I misinterpreted your post. But I agree, there's no duty to help, and people shouldn't be forced to to do it. And in any way, if a person neglects to help another that then dies, then I think the resulting feelings of guilt are enough of a punishment. To those who chose their life over others (i.e. they had a good reason) -- well, it's inevitable to feel some form of guilt.

That last example is rather extreme I think. But I can think of some scenarios where it would be moral for the mother to let her baby die, or kill it in some way she deems less painful. Say she's trapped inside a bunker and a nuclear war breaks out, the entrance caves in and there's absolutely no way to get in or out. Also, in this case, any enforced duty would make little sense as there's no one else there. Or perhaps there is, but they will still all die eventually.
"One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision" - Bertrand Russell
Tue Oct 04, 2011 6:00 pm
ribidonsPosts: 1Joined: Wed Oct 05, 2011 9:44 pm

Post Re: A justification for abortion

Interesting examples. In a lot of ways, it's the "save five, kill one by flipping a switch" responsibility debate all over again. Of course, this framing muddies the waters of fetal personhood once again -- "you wouldn't kill granny, but you'd kill your baby??!?"

Offtopic: I've used a slightly different approach on the abortion topic, and it has succeeded in breaking the usual argumentative cycle in a couple cases, but I haven't really had it vetted by anyone receptive. It requires that the anti-abortion apologist accept that the mother has a right to abort in the case of rape (incest works fairly well as a wedge here); obviously this does not always occur. Additionally, it's a pragmatic, not a strictly moral argument. On the upside, some fair number of moderate pro-lifers can accept the abortion-after-rape case, and this path forces some consideration of the woman's condition while often sidestepping the fetal-personhood question.

Assume that abortion is moral in cases of rape (and/or incest). Assume a construction of laws that strictly reflect the pro-life view with that caveat: abortion is fully legal in cases of rape and illegal otherwise. Ignore other extenuating conditions (medical emergency, socio-economic status, etc.) for now.

Rape victims often do not report rape immediately; accused or suspect rapists are often not apprehended immediately; some rapes are simply unprovable; and, some rapists might never be apprehended. On top of that, court cases usually take months, if not over a year, to docket and carry out. Hence, it most often takes more than nine months to attain a legal judgment on a rape. In most cases, then, even though we've agreed that abortion in case of rape is justified and legal, this legal system practically cannot offer a judgment quickly enough to allow the mother to put down the unasked-for fetus.

In addition, the accusation of rape itself causes certain harms, regardless of the outcomes or the merits of the case. Any rape accusation damages the defendant, and most plaintiffs suffer some degree of public shaming during the trial. Some women do not wish to endure a rape trial; some women might falsely accuse rape (either against an acquaintance or a "masked stranger") to obtain an abortion. Thus, linking a rape verdict to abortion rights in this manner would encourage corruption and false accusations of rape, would increase the courts' overall burden, and would hamper some women's ability to simply live on in spite of their trauma.

Given the above, this legal construct cannot serve the needs of victimized women. Therefore, if we hold abortion moral and legal in cases of rape, we ought to hold abortion legal more generally.


On reflection, if the structure is sound at all, it should apply straightforwardly to juvenile abortion rights (given that teen pregnancy implies at least statutory rape). So, is it...you know...sound?
Thu Oct 06, 2011 12:01 am
toni2.0New MemberPosts: 1Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2011 2:26 am Gender: Female

Post Re: A justification for abortion

Who am I to decide if a woman should or should not have an abortion. I would never have one but that does not give me the right to decide for someone else. The choice is with the woman and God not the woman and society. We have thousands of neglected, abused, starving, unloved children that we can not take care of already now we are going to increase those numbers and subject more children to a life of pain and suffering. If you are anti-abortion and have a sign in your yard and protest abortion clinics than you have better be a foster parent or have adopted a child. Don't spout your holy roller bull and expect someone else to clean up the mess. I would rather see a fetus aborted than a child molested, starved, beaten, or abused. I'm not saying that all children saved from abortion will end up this way but what percentage of saved fetuses grow up in a happy healthy home? I do believe their should be strict rules regarding abortion. One if you decide to go through with it you will be subjected to a 5 year mandatory birth control unless you were a victim of rape or incest. There are so many issues plaguing our society right now, don't you think it's time to worry about your own salvation and start spreading love instead of hate.
Thu Oct 06, 2011 2:55 am
AndiferousUser avatarPosts: 2727Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 7:00 amLocation: Laputa Gender: Time Lord

Post Re: A justification for abortion

In making the last two examples:

Example 2: "An elderly woman may be totally dependant on her children looking after her."

This is similar to the problem above, there is no legal duty placed upon children to take of their parents in old age. It may be the respectful thing to do, but I do not want the law changed to force children to be responsible for their elderly parents.

Example 3: "A newborn is totally dependent on its mother if it happens to be born in an isolated area where there are no other lactating women and there are no means of bottle-feeding."

This example I find harder to answer. One point to make is while the above two scenarios are realistic this one is fantastical and unlikely to occur in everyday life. There are always plenty of people around who could look after a new baby if required. Never-the-less, I think this scenario requires an answer: would it be acceptable for a mother to refuse life-sustaining support for her own child? There is a duty to rescue in a parent-child relationship and to refuse aid would be negligence at the least. The expectant mother and the foetus do share an approximation of the parent-child relationship so perhaps the pregnant women does have some duty to provide a life-sustaining environment for her offspring.


... the writer has completely missed the point. There is a difference between something dependent on the mother herself by use of her own body, and someone depending on another from the outside. The fetal-mother relationship is somewhat parasitic and more often than not, will cause permanent changes (sometimes physical harm) upon its host. I don't like naming the embryo a parasite, but that is essentially the scientific nature of the relationship.

It is far different from those persons who depend upon another outside of ones' own body, and this realisation brings more depth to the debate.
"As there seemed no measure between what Watt could understand, and what he could not, so there seemed none between what he deemed certain, and what he deemed doubtful."
~ Samuel Beckett, Watt
Fri Oct 07, 2011 3:46 am
tuxboxLeague LegendUser avatarPosts: 1172Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2011 7:05 amLocation: Vero Beach Gender: Tree

Post Re: A justification for abortion

Aught3 wrote:Discussion thread for the blog entry "A justification for abortion" by Aught3.
Basically, I would argue that while the foetus is absolutely dependent on the mother for nutrients, oxygen, and a safe environment she should be allowed to withdraw that support. The resulting death of the foetus, while predictable, is not murder because it results from the withdrawal of sustenance. I also add an extra requirement of exploring reasonable options that could avoid the need for an abortion but since current technology does not allow aborted embryos to survive and develop independently from the mother, abortion should remain legal.


A new born baby is also absolutely dependent on the mother, or at least someone, on nutrients and a safe environment. If someone decided to do the same to a new born, it is called murder. That said, I too believe that abortion should remain legal, but it should be regulated. A women that is nine months pregnant with a health baby in her womb and decides she does not want it for whatever reason, should not be allowed to have an abortion. Unless of course she is in danger of losing her own life in order to give birth.
"Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man." ~ Thomas Paine
Sun Oct 30, 2011 9:22 am
ProlescumWebhamsterUser avatarPosts: 5007Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2009 8:41 pmLocation: Peptone-upon-Sores

Post Re: A justification for abortion

tuxbox wrote:A new born baby is also absolutely dependent on the mother, or at least someone, on nutrients and a safe environment. If someone decided to do the same to a new born, it is called murder. That said, I too believe that abortion should remain legal, but it should be regulated. A women that is nine months pregnant with a health baby in her womb and decides she does not want it for whatever reason, should not be allowed to have an abortion. Unless of course she is in danger of losing her own life in order to give birth.



I'm not sure you quite understand what abortion means, mate. See here.
if constructive debate is allowed to progress, better ideas will ultimately supplant worse ideas.

Comment is free, but facts are sacred
Sun Oct 30, 2011 1:36 pm
australopithecusLime TordUser avatarPosts: 4346Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 9:27 pmLocation: Kernow Gender: Time Lord

Post Re: A justification for abortion

Are abortions at 9 months even legal anyway? :|
Image
Sun Oct 30, 2011 2:48 pm
Duvelthehobbit666User avatarPosts: 1136Joined: Sun Aug 08, 2010 7:39 pmLocation: On a pale blue dot Gender: Male

Post Re: A justification for abortion

Aren't abortions for medical reasons at 9 months called c-sections?
Image

"Beer, the cause of - and solution to - all of lifes problems" Homer Simpson

I have a blog now
Sun Oct 30, 2011 2:50 pm
WWW
tuxboxLeague LegendUser avatarPosts: 1172Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2011 7:05 amLocation: Vero Beach Gender: Tree

Post Re: A justification for abortion

Prolescum wrote:I'm not sure you quite understand what abortion means, mate. See here.


If you do not mind, could you explain what the medical definition of an abortion has to do with his statement that I quoted?
"Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man." ~ Thomas Paine
Sun Oct 30, 2011 3:36 pm
tuxboxLeague LegendUser avatarPosts: 1172Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2011 7:05 amLocation: Vero Beach Gender: Tree

Post Re: A justification for abortion

australopithecus wrote:Are abortions at 9 months even legal anyway? :|


I am pretty sure that there is no legal limit as what month you can terminate a pregnancy in Canada and China.
"Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man." ~ Thomas Paine
Sun Oct 30, 2011 3:38 pm
tuxboxLeague LegendUser avatarPosts: 1172Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2011 7:05 amLocation: Vero Beach Gender: Tree

Post Re: A justification for abortion

Duvelthehobbit666 wrote:Aren't abortions for medical reasons at 9 months called c-sections?


I believe it is called "Intact dilation and extraction".
"Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man." ~ Thomas Paine
Sun Oct 30, 2011 3:54 pm
ProlescumWebhamsterUser avatarPosts: 5007Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2009 8:41 pmLocation: Peptone-upon-Sores

Post Re: A justification for abortion

tuxbox wrote:
Prolescum wrote:I'm not sure you quite understand what abortion means, mate. See here.


If you do not mind, could you explain what the medical definition of an abortion has to do with his statement that I quoted?


Yes, although it's usually unwise to attempt to explain humour. I think the legal limit for abortion is 20 (or so) weeks in the UK, we call abortion during the ninth month "birth".
if constructive debate is allowed to progress, better ideas will ultimately supplant worse ideas.

Comment is free, but facts are sacred
Sun Oct 30, 2011 3:56 pm
Next
Post new topic Reply to topic  Page 1 of 4
 [ 70 posts ] 
Return to Blog of Reason

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests