Ornery.org
  Front Page   |   About Ornery.org   |   World Watch   |   Guest Essays   |   Contact Us

The Ornery American Forum   
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» The Ornery American Forum » Archives » Gradual Personhood & Abortion

 - UBBFriend: Email this page to someone!    
Author Topic: Gradual Personhood & Abortion
drewmie
Member
Member # 1179

 - posted      Profile for drewmie   Email drewmie   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
From other threads, the different stances on abortion seem to boil down to this question: What constitutes a human being/individual/person?

The facts:
  • The physical body's development is gradual.
  • The brain's physical development and ability to function is gradual.
  • Human consciousness and brain activity develops gradually.
  • Physical independence increases gradually.
  • After birth, rights are commonly recognized gradually, depending on age, capacity, etc.
  • Parental emotional connections typically develop gradually as the fetus grows.
  • As a fetus develops, people are more and more likely to consider it a member of the family, give it a name, and mourn if it dies.
Now, are all of these gradual things true? And for the later ones, are they reasonable actions? Then for the sake of consistency with all these aspects of procreation, my position is that we should, quite simply, be consistent:
  • Personhood/human-beingness/individuality develop gradually.
  • The right to life is obtained gradually.
  • Abortion becomes less and less acceptable as a fetus/embryo develops, requiring greater and greater justification.
DISCLAIMER: This explanation is ONLY a rational explanation of the most consistent position regarding the "right to life." It does not "prove" anything. It simply makes a decision based on consistency with what we actually see (facts) and do (reasonable common behavior).

Why pro-lifers and pro-choicers probably hate this:Instead of accepting the "right to life" stand of pro-lifers, or the "right to choose" argument of pro-choicers, it puts them on a gradual spectrum, with the "right to choose" primary just after conception, and the "right to life" primary just before birth. In other words, the balanced view is doomed, because both ideologies hate "luke warm" approaches and insist on an all-or-nothing approach. Oh well.

[ November 04, 2003, 01:23 PM: Message edited by: drewmie ]

Posts: 3702 | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
abiyon
Member
Member # 1207

 - posted      Profile for abiyon   Email abiyon   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I think it is an excellent explanation of gradual rights. Still dangerous but I don't believe you can have consensus on this issue. I am totally pro-life. I don't think my wife would have an abortion even if a doctor told her she would certainly die. That is my ideal but I can agree with the statement that
quote:
Abortion becomes less and less acceptable as a fetus/embryo develops, requiring greater and greater justification.

I cannot expect much more from people who think it is okay to have an abortion.
Posts: 61 | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Tom Bailey
Member
Member # 1172

 - posted      Profile for Tom Bailey   Email Tom Bailey   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If a group of cells cannot survive on its own even with heroic measures then I find it difficult to grant it the status of a living being.

So far medical science runs into a stone wall prior to about six months of developement. After that the collection of cells is sufficient to survive outside the womb. Prior to then it can not no matter how hard medical science tries to save it.

Tom Bailey

Posts: 1045 | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Serotonin'sGone
Member
Member # 1219

 - posted      Profile for Serotonin'sGone   Email Serotonin'sGone   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
but soon that won't be the case....

from a fairly old news article:

artificial wombs...
quote:
Crucially, both believe artificial wombs capable of sustaining a child for nine months will become reality in a few years.

'Essentially research is moving towards the same goal but from opposite directions,' UK fertility expert Dr Simon Fishel, of Park Hospital, Nottingham, said. 'Getting them to meet in the middle will not be easy, however. There are so many critical stages of pregnancy, and so many factors to get right. Nevertheless, this work is very exciting.'

It also has serious ethical implications, as Gelfand pointed out. 'For a start, there is the issue of abortion. A woman is usually allowed to have one on the grounds she wants to get rid of something alien inside her own body.

'At present, this means killing the foetus. But if artificial wombs are developed, the foetus could be placed in one, and the woman told she has to look after it once it has developed into a child.'

In addition, if combined with cloning technology, artificial wombs raise the prospect that gay couples could give 'birth' to their own children. 'This would no doubt horrify right-wingers, while the implications for abortion law might well please them,' he added.

so if we can devolop the fetus externally, does it then become a living being?
Posts: 1117 | Registered: Sep 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Everard
unregistered


 - posted            Edit/Delete Post 
Living, yes, but I don't really think anyone contests living. Person? I still don't think so.

That said, if we can extract an embryo and implant it in an artificial womb, without undue unpleasantness (For example, causing sterility...) then abortion becomes a moot point. Extract, implant into artificial womb, put up for adoption.

IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
drewmie
Member
Member # 1179

 - posted      Profile for drewmie   Email drewmie   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Under my position, when artificial wombs are available (and I'm sure they will be), it doesn't change the question of when we should require by law that a "right to life" be respected over a "right to choose." My position recognizes gradual actual personhood, not potential personhood.

[ November 04, 2003, 02:36 PM: Message edited by: drewmie ]

Posts: 3702 | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
simplybiological
Member
Member # 1344

 - posted      Profile for simplybiological   Email simplybiological   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Why pro-lifers and pro-choicers probably hate this:Instead of accepting the "right to life" stand of pro-lifers, or the "right to choose" argument of pro-choicers, it puts them on a gradual spectrum, with the "right to choose" primary just after conception, and the "right to life" primary just before birth. In other words, the balanced view is doomed, because both ideologies hate "luke warm" approaches and insist on an all-or-nothing approach. Oh well.
pro-choicers are probably more ok with it than pro-lifers. THIS pro-choicer is.
why:
i advocate a woman's right to choose. there is no valid reason why this choice cannot be made early in the pregnancy. i have never advocated late-term abortions unless the life of the mother is threatened, because i don't think it's right to kill a viable fetus because you delayed making a personal decision until you were 6 months pregnant.
your gradual theory actually supports the EXACT policy i advocate. i don't think i'm the only one, either.

Posts: 1742 | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Everard
unregistered


 - posted            Edit/Delete Post 
More or less ditto.
IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
jedilaw
Member
Member # 1020

 - posted      Profile for jedilaw   Email jedilaw   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I tend to think gradualism is the only thing that will work, legally, because we don't have proof that a group of cells that is incapable of biologoical consciousness is somehow conscious because it has a soul. I believe we are more than the cellular machinery that houses our souls, and thus I do not support abortion at any stage of pregnancy bceause I think the sould is connected to the body at conception. However, my belief is not universal, and it is not provable, and therefore cannot be the basis of rational law.

I would, however, add that the very earliest point at which signs of consciousness can be detected should be the cut-off. My rule would be something on the order of "you may not kill a conscious, sentient being", with consciousness being an overall state and not a state specific to a given moment (i.e. awake vs. asleep). IIRC, and having shared three pregancies plust the one I ahve going on now I do have some background in the reading on this topic, fetal consciousness develops in a matter of eight or nine weeks, if not sooner.

Posts: 1600 | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
drewmie
Member
Member # 1179

 - posted      Profile for drewmie   Email drewmie   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
jedilaw, I also believe in a human soul. IMHO, this is also a gradual process. If everything else is so gradual, why not ensoulment? Why must we believe it's done instantaneously? Doesn't it make more sense that the soul develops connections with the body gradually as the body becomes more and more capable of being a proper vessel, just as neurons make their gradual connections? And "ensoulment at conception" doesn't fit well with chimeras or identical twins.

Naturally, this is just for those who believe in a human soul, but it's consistent with my position.

[ November 04, 2003, 04:21 PM: Message edited by: drewmie ]

Posts: 3702 | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Enumclaw
Member
Member # 876

 - posted      Profile for Enumclaw   Email Enumclaw   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I'm with you, Dremie. As abyion said, we'll probably never get consensus on this issue; there's too many people who're vehemently one way or the other.

It seems obvious to me (a mostly-pro-choice person) that a freshly-fertilized egg, at 2 or 4 or 8 or a few hundred or even a few thousand cells that are completely undifferentiated and haven't formed into anything yet, can in no way be considered a "human being".

Yet a pro-lifer would argue vehemently against that, and they've got a case. (A weak one, which is why I don't agree with it, but a case nonetheless. [Smile] )

On the flip side, my ex-gf would argue vehemently that every woman should have a right to have an abortion at ANY point in pregnancy for ANY reason. She was that militant about being pro-choice, and based her argument on the notion that what a woman does with her body should be entirely up to her. This is, to me, another weak case, but a case nonetheless. (The fact that she couldn't be reasonable about it and that I HAD to agree with HER philosophy for HER reasons pretty much explains why we're not together anymore. [Smile] )

So the gradual change theory, to me, is about the only one that makes sense. It most accurately reflects what we really know about the development of an embryo/fetus. It allows that both sides have excellent points and arguments.

The thing about it, though, is that the "gradual slope" theory invites huge argument on exactly WHEN the developing embryo/fetus/baby (pick your terminology based on your political stance) becomes a "human being" and entitled to the protection of the State.

Additionally, the gradual slope theory pisses off the ultra-wing supporters of either side. The vehemently-pro-life people can't accept it, because then they'd have to accept that at least *some* abortions are acceptable; the vehemently-pro-choice people can't accept it because then they'd have to accept that *some* abortions should be banned.

Ultimately, I think that it's up to those of us who're able to be at least a little bit reasonable to demand that the gradual slope theory be the one we use in America, and to stick together on it. We might disagree on the exact timing, but at least we can agree on the gradualness notion itself.

Paul

Posts: 1656 | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LetterRip
Member
Member # 310

 - posted      Profile for LetterRip   Email LetterRip   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Jedi,

quote:
I would, however, add that the very earliest point at which signs of consciousness can be detected should be the cut-off. My rule would be something on the order of "you may not kill a conscious, sentient being", with consciousness being an overall state and not a state specific to a given moment (i.e. awake vs. asleep).
This is generally my position, with a caveat for medically neccessary abortions.

quote:
IIRC, and having shared three pregancies plust the one I ahve going on now I do have some background in the reading on this topic, fetal consciousness develops in a matter of eight or nine weeks, if not sooner.
You are very much mistaken. The first sign of neocortex interconnection is the 20th week. At the 24th week we start to have intermittent 'brain waves'. At the 28th week, things really start to hook up and consciousness appears to be present.

http://www.cbctrust.com/PRENATAL.html

I would be willing to support elective abortions being much more difficult to get after say the 18th week (ie changing from being between the doctor and the woman, to involving judicial oversight perhaps?).

From what I can find it appears that many clinics policy is to only perform abortions that are quite a bit earlier.

http://www.hasslefreeclinic.org/Abortions.html

Ie most will only do an abortion at a maximum of 14 weeks from the womans last period although some will perform as late as 20 weeks.

Given that the pregnancy won't happen immediately after the last period, but instead should be about 2 weeks after (or so, don't recall exactly offhand) - clinics appear to be willing to perform abortions on fetuses with a maximum of 12 weeks development to 18 weeks.

I would think that the vast majority of women are getting abortions at 3 weeks (1 week after missing their period) or 7 weeks (a week after missing their second period).

LetterRip

Posts: 8051 | Registered: Jan 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
jedilaw
Member
Member # 1020

 - posted      Profile for jedilaw   Email jedilaw   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Here's an article on some of the research regarding fetal development of pain response It seems that possibly as early as 18 weeks the fetus is responding to pain stimuli. One can infer that it is at least arguable that a fetus that can feel pain has the other elements of consciousness.

We really don't have a spohisticated enough understanding of neural anatomy to say for certain that component x of the brain is absolutely necessary to be conscious. We believe the cerebral cortex is necessary, but if you look at all of the weird cases where people have had brain injuries and lost the supposedly necessary part of their brain but then somehow managed to adapt and survive, it isn't that cut and dried.

It all gets very hazy around 18-22 weeks, I'd say. There is more and more evidence that some degree of consciousness is present, but it's not known with any detail how much. the only policy that makes sense to me, though, is to err on the side of caution and set the bar at or before the earliest arguable point of consciousness.

Posts: 1600 | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Puretext
Member
Member # 823

 - posted      Profile for Puretext   Email Puretext   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Speaking as a rabid pro-lifer, at this point in the political game, I would accept any restrictions that could be put through. Right now the field is heavily underregulated.

If abortion were slavery, I may be an abolitionist, but right now I'll be quite happy if I can just get Missouri to stay free.

Posts: 921 | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
drewmie
Member
Member # 1179

 - posted      Profile for drewmie   Email drewmie   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I'm with you puretext. But I doubt most pro-lifers would be. I'd be ecstatic if I was wrong. Frankly, I didn't expect this many pro-choicers posting acceptance of this idea. Maybe it's the same with pro-lifers.

jedilaw, I'm sure some pro-lifers would define "erring on the side of caution" as allowing choice. Either way, at least we'd get something reasonable and balanced done.

[ November 04, 2003, 10:08 PM: Message edited by: drewmie ]

Posts: 3702 | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Everard
unregistered


 - posted            Edit/Delete Post 
Well, the pro-choice position recognizes that human life worthy of legal protection doesn't start at conception. But there is nine months after conception until the end of the gestation period. So thats a lot of leeway involved with the pro-choice position, in terms of what to support and what not to support.

On the other hand, the pro-life position recognizes the zygote at conception as a human life worthy of protection. (Well, some might state that the first 3-4 weeks it isn't a human life worthy of legal protection, but this is a very small portion of the pro-life position, largely because many people in the pro-life camp are there for reasons of soul).

There's a lot more inherent flexibility in the pro-choice position, because there's nine months to dispute over, rather then maybe 3 weeks.

IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
drewmie
Member
Member # 1179

 - posted      Profile for drewmie   Email drewmie   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yep. But while the pro-choicers are more open to it, the pro-lifers probably have more to gain by it. Oh, the irony!

[ November 04, 2003, 10:48 PM: Message edited by: drewmie ]

Posts: 3702 | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Dr Claw
Member
Member # 932

 - posted      Profile for Dr Claw   Email Dr Claw   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I don’t think that’s the case (the pro-choicers being more flexible as to gradualism), maybe among pro-choice men. Most women I know, and even a few men (some of whom I seriously suspect only hold this view to try and look cool in front of the ladies), subscribe to the “it's my body and I can do whatever I want with it” school and they don't like any limits on abortion whatsoever. I guess I'm pro-life myself, but my opinion when dealing with this stance is kinda like the gradualism expressed above, but modified to be more in line with women having total control over their own bodies premiss (which I don't agree with but, being a man, I'm not alowed to dispute [Roll Eyes] ).

Basically, a woman has a right to decide, at any time, that she no longer wants to be pregnant. However, she does not have control over the life of the baby. If she desides she no longer wants to be pregnant at a point where the baby is incapable of living outside her body (up to about the 6th month currently), then she can have an abortion, otherwise, if the baby could survive outside of the womb, it can’t be considered part of her body anymore than I could be considered still part of my mothers body, and therefore, the woman in question has a right to an induced labor or cesarean section (to end the pregnancy, but not an abortion.

Edited to add the eye roll to indicate that i was stating an opinion that i don't agree but still have to deal with. (that men don't have a say on abortion)

[ November 05, 2003, 11:14 AM: Message edited by: Dr Claw ]

Posts: 222 | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
abiyon
Member
Member # 1207

 - posted      Profile for abiyon   Email abiyon   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
.... but, being a man, I'm not alowed to dispute.

Basically, a woman has a right to decide, at any time, that she no longer wants to be pregnant. However, she does not have control over the life of the baby. .....woman in question has a right to an induced labor or cesarean section (to end the pregnancy, but not an abortion.

I don't really agree that men cannot comment on abortion. They can dispute and argue and comment. Enforcement of ideals is the real issue as it is in every moral dilemna but it has nothing to do with sex. I am hesitant to force anyone against their will. I believe abortion is like slavery - it is wrong. You shouldn't have some slavery or a little slavery. And you wouldn't have to stay out of the debate if didn't actually own slaves.

Interesting idea to ask a woman to give birth and then give up the baby for adoption instead of aborting at eight or nine months. I don't like abortion so I think it would be good practice.

Posts: 61 | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
simplybiological
Member
Member # 1344

 - posted      Profile for simplybiological   Email simplybiological   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
i was just watching law and order SVU (please don't ignore this post because it started with that sentence). They had a case where the husband got an injunction against the wife having an abortion, then through some convoluted L&O plotline that i'm shady on (i was grading), he ended up suing her as a unfit mother because she was drinking during pregnancy.

so i started thinking... should a man be able to stop a woman from aborting his child?
my gut says yes, but some part of me is really bothered by it.
i DO agree that a man should be able to get an injunction preventing his wife from drinking during pregnancy (I do think when you get pregnant you are undertaking some amount of responsibility...).

i know this doesn't fall strictly under gradualism, but i thought it was tangentially related (and isn't that what ornery is all about?).

Posts: 1742 | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LetterRip
Member
Member # 310

 - posted      Profile for LetterRip   Email LetterRip   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
drewmie,

the problem is that many abortion rights opponents (perhaps even the majority) believe that abortion should be illegal at all stages of development. Only a very tiny percentage of abortion rights advocates support the legality of abortion at all stages of development.

Indeed many groups advocating abortion rights have stated that a bill banning or restricting late term abortions with exceptions for medical neccessity would be acceptable. However, almost every bill crafted regarding abortion has been deliberately vague as to what the acceptable cutoff point would be (ie the language is easily interpreted to apply to first term, and early second term abortions). Also, the bills generally do not make exceptions for medical neccessity.

jedi,

quote:
It seems that possibly as early as 18 weeks the fetus is responding to pain stimuli.
I just found an excellent resource regarding fetal nuerological development and pain.

http://eileen.250x.com/Main/fetlpain/FtlPnScience.htm

I think we should probably differentiate between neurological responses and hormonal/reflexive responses. I'll have to dig up more info on hormonal pain, I'm especially fascinated by reptiles, amphibians, and fish. Reptiles will, for instance, give themselves third degree burns from laying on heat plates.

Another interesting discussion might be on fear. This article is discussing 'Distress in Animals: Is it Fear, Pain or Physical Stress"'

http://www.grandin.com/welfare/fear.pain.stress.html

and gives a really thorough treatment of our understanding of pain.

LetterRip

[edit added a sentence]

[ November 04, 2003, 11:30 PM: Message edited by: LetterRip ]

Posts: 8051 | Registered: Jan 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
simplybiological
Member
Member # 1344

 - posted      Profile for simplybiological   Email simplybiological   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
I don't really agree that men cannot comment on abortion. They can dispute and argue and comment. Enforcement of ideals is the real issue as it is in every moral dilemna but it has nothing to do with sex. I am hesitant to force anyone against their will. I believe abortion is like slavery - it is wrong. You shouldn't have some slavery or a little slavery. And you wouldn't have to stay out of the debate if didn't actually own slaves.

Interesting idea to ask a woman to give birth and then give up the baby for adoption instead of aborting at eight or nine months. I don't like abortion so I think it would be good practice.

for sure men have a right to argue- they made half the baby, didn't they? i would argue (and did, on another thread) that it's much easier for men to be objective because they inherently will never be pregnant.

comparing abortion to slavery is not really valid. you're invoking a really ugly time in american history, and it brings with it a whole host of emotions. just because you think both are "wrong" doesn't make them parallel.

why does everyone act like adoption is a perfect solution? not only is it really rough on a woman's body to carry a child to term (it's not just like, "oh, well, that's done"), the whole adoption system is not perfect- both mother and child can have some serious psychological issues later. i realize this doesn't weigh heavily if you think abortion is murder, but since i don't, it is something to consider.

Posts: 1742 | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LetterRip
Member
Member # 310

 - posted      Profile for LetterRip   Email LetterRip   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Quick point,

response to 'painful' stimuls is not equivalent to consciousness.

This article discusses that point.

http://eileen.250x.com/Main/fetlpain/PainDerbyshire3.htm

Pain is kind of a messy word - it is sort of catch all for a nmber of levels of response to nocious stimulus, some which are purely hormonal or reflexive, and others that involve consciousness and perception.

LetterRip

Posts: 8051 | Registered: Jan 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
simplybiological
Member
Member # 1344

 - posted      Profile for simplybiological   Email simplybiological   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
LR,
in my program I sit through M-A-N-Y hours of seminar on various biological THINGS. i happened to sit through a seminar on adelie penguin response to stress, either from fasting or from the approach of a fear-inducing predator. their response to stress is, physiologically, really similar no matter what the source. i think that's kind of interesting.

essentially, most emotions can be boiled down to hormonal pathways... we got in a funny argument the other day about how you can't even really DEFINE emotion- one of the profs got exasperated and started calling it "pink" so everyone would stop quibbling over the definitions.

it's hard to know about pain, but i think universally pain is a stressor... so it's interesting to think that pain could potentially, depending on the physiology, have the same effect as an emotion (which is interesting in light of people feeling physical pain over a great emotional loss).

i'm talking off the top of my head with no real hard evidence to back me up, but i put a couple abstracts to scientific articles on a page in case you were interested.. web page
just general articles about the multiple places in the cortex that pain is processed, and about the hormal response to stress.
incidentally, since you mentioned lizards, there's some evidence that leopard geckos have a pretty strong pain-detection system.

Posts: 1742 | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LetterRip
Member
Member # 310

 - posted      Profile for LetterRip   Email LetterRip   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
simplybilogical,

quote:
essentially, most emotions can be boiled down to hormonal pathways
Hormonal + neurological mediation. Purely hormonal response that has no interaction with the brain isn't emotion.

A eustress and distress response are often the same (or very similar) physiologically. It is the neurological component that determines the emotion.

Before 26 weeks fetuses have similar response to what could be called pain stimulus (ie injection into an innervated area) and other stimuluses (such as stroking of the skin).

At 26 weeks, the fetus response to pain is different to its response to non noxious stimulus such as stroking.

Here is yet another good article on pain and the fetus

http://www.ampainsoc.org/pub/bulletin/jul03/article1.htm

Above I should have stated we should realize the difference between a generalized response to stress (ie a hormonal response) and a specific response to pain (ie a neurological response). That would probably have been quite a bit clearer.

LetterRip

Posts: 8051 | Registered: Jan 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
simplybiological
Member
Member # 1344

 - posted      Profile for simplybiological   Email simplybiological   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
of course it has neurological mediation. i was taking that as a given, since we were talking about the brain.

i wasn't really aiming to talk about the fetus, i was just musing on pain/emotion, etc.

Posts: 1742 | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Zagloba
Member
Member # 1175

 - posted      Profile for Zagloba   Email Zagloba   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
An individual in deep coma has even less pain response, in many circumstances, than a fetus at 16 weeks gestation. Yet it is traditionally murder to kill a comatose individual outright, though disconnecting artificial breathing equipment and similar aids is viewed as more acceptable. But no one denies that a comatose adult is human by reason of their lack of certain stimulus response.

If you believe -- and it is only a belief at this point in biological knowledge -- that the "soul" is simply a function of certain neural activities, then with a gradual development of neurons there would presumably be a gradual development of the soul. If, however, you view the soul as something entirely separate from the body, then the fact that the body and its functions progress gradually provides no contradiction to the idea that the soul is implanted at a particular moment in time.

Posts: 41 | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Puretext
Member
Member # 823

 - posted      Profile for Puretext   Email Puretext   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I don't particularly see how the comparison betweeen abortion and slavery is invalid. People are equally as emotional, and spout very similar arguments (on both sides). Slavery really boiled down to a dispute on the dividing line between liberty and property. Now we're hashing out the dividing line between liberty and life. Very similar stuff.

The only thing that really throws people off is that we tend to think we know who the good guys and the bad guys were on the slavery issue, because we've sort of settled that one. Politics have skewed interestingly in the last 150 years, so it makes it more difficult to pick out the "good guys" and "bad guys" on this issue.

History does that sometimes.

Posts: 921 | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TM Lutas
Member
Member # 1357

 - posted      Profile for TM Lutas   Email TM Lutas   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
One thing that shouldn't be forgotten is that we have Peter Singer lurking out there. He's a gradualist but his border conditions would make infanticide legal up to six months. The Princeton bioethics professor (named chair, no less) isn't easy to logically defeat if you accept the premise of gradualism.

A lot of the abortion debate is framing. Gradualism is a seductive argument but you end up in some very dangerous territory. Whatever your position on abortion, if you can't successfully defend against a bright guy who advocates legalizing infanticide, you should adjust your position until you can.

Posts: 12 | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
jedilaw
Member
Member # 1020

 - posted      Profile for jedilaw   Email jedilaw   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
it is traditionally murder to kill a comatose individual outright, though disconnecting artificial breathing equipment and similar aids is viewed as more acceptable
By that standard, could one consider abortion, at least abortion by certain techniques to be withdrawal of life support from an individual that cannot survive on its own without said support? By certain techniques I refer to chemically induced miscarriage as opposed to a technique that dismembers the fetus through suction.

As for consciousness and pain, I am unclear as to where my personal line is regarding the necessary level of sophistication for response to neural stimuli. If a fetus feels pain, and is aware of it, how much does it matter whether that "awareness" is routed through pathways other than the cerebral cortex? Further, if we really use sophistication of response to stimuli as a yardstick, what does that say for the rights of individuals with severe brain damage or birth defects that render them unable to experience a "sophisticated" response to pain?

Posts: 1600 | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Everard
unregistered


 - posted            Edit/Delete Post 
I was having a conversation with my roommate last night (who's an EMT for the city of Boston, probably the best EMS service in the country) concerning abortion. Sorta interesting getting the perspective of someone who occassionally delivers children "in the field" or aborts pregnancies "in the field."
IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
jedilaw
Member
Member # 1020

 - posted      Profile for jedilaw   Email jedilaw   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
So, what did he say, EV?
Posts: 1600 | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Everard
unregistered


 - posted            Edit/Delete Post 
*Grin* Good point [Smile] I just thought it was interesting listening to him.

He's extremely pro-choice, and thinks the late term ban is a bad idea. At the same time, he hates doing the abortions when he has to. Of course, HE'S doing abortions on an ambulance rushing from car accidents to the hospital. So its a bit different from woman coming in and asking for abortions.

IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Kamisaki
Member
Member # 917

 - posted      Profile for Kamisaki   Email Kamisaki   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Sorry, LR, I'm gonna have to call you on this one.
quote:
the problem is that many abortion rights opponents (perhaps even the majority) believe that abortion should be illegal at all stages of development. Only a very tiny percentage of abortion rights advocates support the legality of abortion at all stages of development.
Where's your data backing up that statement? If you have some sort of poll from the general population, that'd be great, but I just don't think that's true. The only information I have to go on is the opinions of people I personally know and the opinions of people on this board. Judging by that, your statement about pro-choicers would seem to be correct, but most of the pro-lifers I've talked to allow for at least some abortions in some cases.

So why don't we have more restrictions on abortion if even pro-choicers are in favor of them?

Posts: 585 | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
drewmie
Member
Member # 1179

 - posted      Profile for drewmie   Email drewmie   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
IMHO, because the extremists derail any "half-way" measure. Pro-choice groups like N.O.W. see any law restricting abortion as a slippery slope, and refuse to accept any reasonable compromise. And ironically, extremist pro-lifers feel like it legitimizes abortion if they vote for only limited restrictions. Again, it's the all or nothing approach.
quote:
TM Lutas wrote: Gradualism is a seductive argument but you end up in some very dangerous territory. Whatever your position on abortion, if you can't successfully defend against a bright guy who advocates legalizing infanticide, you should adjust your position until you can.
Can you be more specific? My gradualist position falls in line with the Supreme Court's standard of viability. Infacticide would completely go against all the gradual facts and behaviors upon which my gradualist argument is based. I fail to see how this is dangerous territory.

[ November 06, 2003, 05:19 PM: Message edited by: drewmie ]

Posts: 3702 | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
David Bowles
Member
Member # 22

 - posted      Profile for David Bowles   Email David Bowles   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I think gradualism is probably the only feasible position on abortion, as (despite their fondest wishes) neither pro-choice or pro-life proponents are going to have their way completely.
Posts: 52 | Registered: Oct 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

   Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Ornery.org Front Page

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.1