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Author Topic: Arkansas Human Heartbeat Protection Act
Pyrtolin
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Something that bears saying in a more focused statement- I think it's a gross miscasting of the issue to describe aortion as the killing of a fetus. Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy, the fact that the fetus generally can't survive the process because it's not independently viable or because preserving it's like would introduce too much additional risk is an unfortunate side-effect.
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D.W.
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The bone marrow situation seemed pretty descriptive and analogous to me.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by JoshuaD:
Pyr: Not ignoring you, but I've gotta go back to work now. I'll respond sometime this weekend.

I never have a problem on that; I do appreciate the indication though that hopefully I'm communicating what I want to say in a way that you feel invites discussion, though.
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Wayward Son
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quote:
This is the nature of law and democracy. The beliefs of the majority are forced on the minority.
But on the first page of this thread, you admit that your belief is based on an arbitrary line--one that marks the beginning of personhood at conception. By using the word "arbitrary," you are admitting that there is no overwhelming basis for this line, and that other lines could be equally valid, even if you prefer the one you've chosen for various reasons.

I would argue that the other examples you've provided are far less "arbitrary" in classifying them as murder. So imposing the (vast) majorities belief is more justified.

But when the line of the beginning of personhood is much less clear, there is much less justification in imposing the will of the majority on everyone, especially if it infringes on the individual's right to control her own body. You don't want to take away that right on an "arbitrary" definition.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by JoshuaD:
quote:
Pyrtolin: The situation is very diretly one of mandatory organ dontation and, unless you want to invoke the specter of punishment, the same basic standards should apply.
Could you outline exactly the scenario(s) you're talking about when you say "mandatory organ donation". I think you or someone else mentioned it earlier in the thread. If I missed the details there just let me know and I'll go back and read that post. Otherwise, please outline the exact scenario you think is an analog to child birth, and I'll take a look at it when I respond to your post.
Kidney, blood, and marrow donations are all good paralels in the case of living donors- all can be done without undue risk to the donor (though not with out some degree of discomfort or disability depending on the process) but no matter how dire the need, we don't ever force anyone to donate, and we don't (legally) hold potential donors responsible if they refuse or don't offer to donate.

You can broaden the scope to any transplantable organ for someone who has died- as the law currently stands a person must actively voulenteer to be an organ donor, and we generally go out of our way to opt to protect the bodily integrity of the decesed over the lives of those who might deperately need the organs in question. There doesn't seem to be any reason that a woman should have less control over her womb than you do over your own blood, even if it means that, as an unfortunate side effect, the life that needed the donation of her womb cannot survive on its own.

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D.W.
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Always interesting to see how people rationalize their position. I never would have made a leap to organ donation of the living or dead in my own moral / logical calculous regarding abortion. Seems kinda obvious once pointed out though.

Oversite or man overboard grasping for lines? Who knows. [Razz]

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JoshuaD
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quote:
Wayward: But on the first page of this thread, you admit that your belief is based on an arbitrary line--one that marks the beginning of personhood at conception
quote:
JoshuaD: drawing the line at a heartbeat seems arbitrary to me. But every line seems similarly arbitrary. Because of this, I believe that the thing is a person the moment is conceived.
You misunderstood what I meant, but I can see how my words may have been unclear. Let me clarify.

It is (to me) very clearly a person deserving of being protected from being killed at the moment of birth. Similarly, it appears to be of the same nature the moment before birth.

It is (to me) clearly not a person before conception; at that point it's just a separate egg and sperm. The two never turn into anything like a person unless they make contact and work their biological magic.

So at some point from conception to birth it becomes a person.

I can't find any line between those two points which isn't arbitrary. It is certainly a person at birth. As I trace backwards from there, I can't find any bright lines that show the clear transition from lump-of-cells to person.

Pete suggests it is brainwaves, which occur around the 6 week mark. At that point, it has already developed a spine, a nervous system, eyes, legs, hands, a mouth, lips, fingernails, a liver, a kidney, intestines, and a heart with a unique heartbeat (and potentially unique blood type).

Even if I were to agree with Pete's line (I actually once did, and wish that it was the truth: it's a much more convenient belief), I don't know how to use it. How do we determine the exact moment brain waves arise? If it's a person the moment after brain waves arise, can we really say it's not a person the very second before the waves are there?

Every attempt at drawing a line like that looks arbitrary, and I have trouble actually finding the line once it's been drawn.

The only place in the entire process where I can see a bright, clear line is the moment of conception (i.e. fertilization). Two gametes make contact, fuse, and create a new organism. If those two gametes don't make contact, the new organism doesn't arise. If they do, the organism does.

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Wayward Son
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quote:
The only place in the entire process where I can see a bright, clear line is the moment of conception (i.e. fertilization). Two gametes make contact, fuse, and create a new organism. If those two gametes don't make contact, the new organism doesn't arise. If they do, the organism does.
The problem I have with that reasoning is that a zygote is obviously not a person.

Remember, "personhood" is a concept that was developed long before biology and conception was known as well as it is today. People were defined as being alive when they were born. That is traditionally when personhood began and when we conceive of it beginning.

Prove it to yourself. Take a test tube out on the street, hand it to a passerby and ask how many persons he sees in it. Regardless of how many zygotes the tube may contain, you will almost always get the response, "I don't see nobody." [Smile]

A zygote is a nice, clear line. But it is also a line well beyond what the concept originally meant.

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D.W.
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quote:
Prove it to yourself. Take a test tube out on the street, hand it to a passerby and ask how many persons he sees in it.
Sounds like a good way to get slapped or punched. Or at least get disgusted looks.
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JoshuaD
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quote:
Pyrtolin: It's not the prioritization per se here, but the fact that in the process of making that prioritization, you force one party to be explicitly subservient to another. The situation is very directly one of mandatory organ donation and, unless you want to invoke the specter of punishment, the same basic standards should apply. If we don't even force the deceased to be organ donors, even when doing so would preserve the life of another, then there isn't any reasonable ground to force the still living woman in question to donate her womb to the fetus.

If we don't even force the deceased to be organ donors, even when doing so would preserve the life of another, then there isn't any reasonable ground to force the still living woman in question to donate her womb to the fetus. (I'm perfectly fine with existing laws that say that if the developing baby is independently viable then doctors should make a reasonable effort to give it birth unless doing so represents an undue increase in risk to the woman in question). There is no more a conflict of rights here that there is between the right to life of someone dying of leukemia and your right to the disposition of your own bone marrow even if you happen to be a perfect match; it's an unfortunate situation, but we already generally hold that having the right to life is not the same as having the right to force others to sustain your life at their own personal expense (With the narrow exception of explicit punishments or certain professional licensing requirements).

The two situations aren't identical. In the general case of an unwanted pregnancy, the mother took actions which led to the fetus and the mother being inexorably linked. The mother's actions matter, and are a contributing factor to the conclusions I draw. If she did not take actions that lead to the life arising, then she wouldn't have the responsibility to bear it to term. (See my post on the last page regarding the case of rape).

When a woman gives birth to a child, she has a responsibility to care for it (or to give it up for adoption so someone else can care for it). A woman walking down the street doesn't have a responsibility to care for a homeless child she happens to run across.

I believe (and our entire legal tradition is based on the idea) that we bear more responsibility for situations that arise as a result of our actions.

[ March 08, 2013, 08:23 PM: Message edited by: JoshuaD ]

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JoshuaD
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quote:
Wayward: The problem I have with that reasoning is that a zygote is obviously not a person.
It's not intuitive that a zygote is a person, but sometimes reasoning has us draw conclusions which are counter-intuitive. That doesn't make the conclusion wrong.

If you agree that it's a person the moment it's born, and you also think it's obviously not a person at the moment of conception, when does it become a human? Show me the line.

quote:
Wayward: Remember, "personhood" is a concept that was developed long before biology and conception was known as well as it is today. People were defined as being alive when they were born. That is traditionally when personhood began and when we conceive of it beginning.
I'm using personhood in what I think is it's most natural usage: as a moral term. As I stated in my first post, I don't believe science can conclusively tell me that X is or isn't a person. It doesn't have the tools.

When we use the term person, we are using it to denote something which has the rights that you, me, and our children have. We all agree that a newborn child is a person. I am saying that I don't see anything special about the event of birth. It appears to me to be just a continuation of a chain-reaction which started at conception.

I've laid out my position very clearly, and I think most of you understand it even if you don't agree with it. I'm asking you to show me where my thinking fails, because I truly am open to criticism. Show me a more coherent framework for thinking about the question, or show me where my logic is broken.

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JoshuaD
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quote:
Wayward: Prove it to yourself. Take a test tube out on the street, hand it to a passerby and ask how many persons he sees in it. Regardless of how many zygotes the tube may contain, you will almost always get the response, "I don't see nobody.
Draw .999... and 1 on a piece of paper and go out on the street and ask people if they are equal. You will almost always get the response "no".

Reason is subtle and truth can be unintuitive. I'm not interested in taking a poll, I'm interested in finding out what the truth is.

[ March 08, 2013, 08:27 PM: Message edited by: JoshuaD ]

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by JoshuaD:
The two situations aren't identical. In the general case of an unwanted pregnancy, the mother took actions which led to the fetus and the mother being inexorably linked. The mother's actions matter, and are a contributing factor to the conclusions I draw. If she did not take actions that lead to the life arising, then she wouldn't have the responsibility to bear it to term. (See my post on the last page regarding the case of rape).


Do you have some way of differentiating between imposing such a responsibility on someone who would perfer a different course of action and punishment? Or are you perferctly fine in saying that pregnancy can be considered a punishment for certain behavoir.

I don't see any way to construe actively forcing a person to take an undesired course of action as a result of their prior actions as anyting but a punishment for those prior actions.

I would say that if a woman discovers that she is pregnant, she is absolutely responsible for deciding what course of action to take in regards to that pregnancy, but ginve that the scope of the issue is her own body, i she alone has jusidiction in choosing what course of action to take. I see it as begging the question on your part to simply assert that she must bear the pregnancy to term. regardless of her prior actions. (We would not similarly require a driver who caused an accident to give a transfusion to someone who was injured in that accident, for example; they certainly might face social sanctions for such a refusal, but not legal force).

quote:
I believe (and our entire legal tradition is based on the idea) that we bear more responsibility for situations that arise as a result of our actions.
Sure, but then you go one step further and assign a specific responsibility rather than allowing the woman to choose how she wished to take responsibility- specifically you seem to conflate your opinion of what the proper, respojnsible course of action should be with the more general notion of taking responsibilty for dealing with the situation. Terminating a pregnancy is not a passive choice, one has to actively pursue it. Youn might feel that it is a wrong or irresponsible choice, but desipte using the same root word, "taking responsilbility" is a very distinct concept from any individual sense of what is or is not an acceptable way of doing so.
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JoshuaD
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Pyr: I want to be crystal clear: my position has absolutely nothing to do with a desire to punish women for being pregnant.

I have nothing but compassion for someone in this situation. It must be a really terrifying and lonely place, and I have nothing but love and compassion for her. If there were a way to protect the child from being killed (or significantly harmed) while sparing the mother from pregnancy, I would absolutely support a woman's right to choose that option.

quote:
Pyrtolin:Do you have some way of differentiating between imposing such a responsibility on someone who would perfer a different course of action and punishment? Or are you perferctly fine in saying that pregnancy can be considered a punishment for certain behavoir.
Absolutely.

Punishment is punitive; it attaches an artificial cost to an action in order to disincentive that action.

Banning abortions is protective; I'm not trying to punish the woman, I'm just valuing the child's life more than the woman's pain and discomfort. As I've outlined earlier in the thread, I make this valuation (which is based on the belief that the fetus is a child) for two reasons: 1) The woman took actions which created the link between her and the child; and 2) the consequences of pregnancy are less bad than the consequences of death. (I've outlined this point in greater detail earlier in the thread here, here, and here).


quote:
Pyrtolin: I see it as begging the question on your part to simply assert that she must bear the pregnancy to term. regardless of her prior actions.
I'm not begging the question. What makes you say that? I have provided a bunch of reasoning why I believe she shouldn't be allowed to abort the child, none of which rests upon the fact that I believe she shouldn't be allowed to abort the child. My conclusion is based on the two primary points which I have repeated a number of times in this thread: I believe the child is a person (for the reasons I have outlined a bunch of times, most recently for wayward); and since we have two people who have conflicting interests, the interests of the person who created the situation are treated with lower priority.

(My position doesn't disregard her prior actions, btw. If she was raped, as I have mentioned already, then I think her interests now take priority over the unborn child's).

quote:
Pyrtolin:(We would not similarly require a driver who caused an accident to give a transfusion to someone who was injured in that accident, for example; they certainly might face social sanctions for such a refusal, but not legal force).
There's one distinction here: there are many methods for getting the blood for the person injured, while there is currently only one womb the child can live in.

If you construct your example such that the person who caused the accident is the only person who can save the injured person, I don't have a problem with that person being forced to donate blood. I don't think our current laws allow for it, but I don't see anything wrong with it.

quote:
quote:
JoshuaD:: I believe (and our entire legal tradition is based on the idea) that we bear more responsibility for situations that arise as a result of our actions.
Pyrtolin:Sure, but then you go one step further and assign a specific responsibility rather than allowing the woman to choose how she wished to take responsibility
Nope. I don't assign a specific responsibility. I am recognizing that the child is a person, and recognizing that it has a right to life. I am then recognizing that as a result of the particulars of the situation, there should exist confines on the range of things the woman should be allowed to do. Specially, a woman who willingly took actions that lead to a pregnancy can manage the pregnancy in any way that doesn't kill or significantly harm the child.

quote:
Pyrtolin:specifically you seem to conflate your opinion of what the proper, respojnsible course of action should be with the more general notion of taking responsibilty for dealing with the situation. Terminating a pregnancy is not a passive choice, one has to actively pursue it. Youn might feel that it is a wrong or irresponsible choice, but desipte using the same root word, "taking responsilbility" is a very distinct concept from any individual sense of what is or is not an acceptable way of doing so.
If I run up a large credit card debt, I have a responsibility to manage that debt. I can work to pay it off, I can try to negotiate with the credit card company, I can look at balance transfers, or I can ask friends to help me pay it down. All of those are managing a situation I created. However, it would be silly to say that if I killed my neighbor and stole his money to pay off the debt, I was just managing my responsibility for the debt. Sure, I've solved the debt problem, but in the meantime I've murdered someone.

[ March 09, 2013, 12:06 AM: Message edited by: JoshuaD ]

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Bud Martin
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There's something missing from this argument that I'd like to remark about: the father's right's to safeguard his child. I had been married for about two years and found out that my wife had an abortion for a ~15 month old fetus in the 5th month of our marriage. I had not been consulted or contacted about this in any way and only because one of her relatives told me later did I ever find out. We did go on to have a son two years later, but this issue eventually caused us to divorce several years down the line.

The reason I proposed having an artificial womb was because if a father wants an unborn child, and the mother doesn't, then he should have the right to have the child; yet if the mother's body is the only deciding issue for the fetus' future development, her rights are pre-eminent. I saw this as a solution to my predicament from my own personal experience, yet no one has mentioned this aspect and seems to have forgotten that it takes two contributors to create an embryo.

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JoshuaD
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Bud: The father's interests have the lowest level of precedence. Neither of the bodies are his. The interests of the child are foremost, then the mother's, then the fathers.

This is intuitively true: no one is suggesting that a father should have the right to demand an abortion. It would be a violation of the child's rights and a violation of the mother's rights.

If science could create an artificial womb, a lot of this problem is solved. Let me know when it happens! Until then, talking about it doesn't do much good. [Frown]

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Bud Martin
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Correction from my previous post: That was a 15 week old fetus.

Joshua,

I disagree with that premise that the father's interests have the lowest precedence. I believe the system has it wrong and the Father’s wishes should be equal to the Mother's wishes in an ideal situation, which we have not been able to create so far. The problem lies in the current system of allowing fathers and mothers to abandon or abort children that they have created through ignorance, spite or malaise and cannot or will not support these children’s existence; and society often doesn't hold them accountable for those actions because it’s complicit in the lack of education and enforcement of the laws regarding these cases.

I say that the ideal situation needs to be expressed as a goal and then we can talk about the practical aspects of our society and what we can accomplish with existing resources, before we go off on tangents expressing every possible bizarre probability that can exist and arguing the intent and language made for each possibility. The proverbial horse comes before the cart and we should try and look to what we think should be the ideal circumstance first and back track from that to the current environment and stipulate conditions that have to exist before we can reach logical steps on the way to those ideals.

For instance, do we have the medical know how to transplant a fetus to an artificial womb and keep it alive to maturity? I don't know that answer, but I'd like to get others opinions on it before dismissing the possibility that it can be done. I'd even proffer that the reason that it’s not being done today is the legal ramifications and religious overtones that it might create. Can our society look at artificial wombs as a way to SAVE lives instead of interfering with God's natural plan for life?

I think that if an artificial womb was possible, it won’t be long before someone in the world is trying to find a use for it and I’d rather have it regulated and controlled than secretly used in some out of the way research facility for nefarious purposes.

Here's some links to consider:

http://blog.practicalethics.ox.ac.uk/2012/11/growing-babies-the-ethics-of-artificial-wombs/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_uterus

quote:
There is also potential to grow a placenta using human endometrial cells. In 2002, it was announced that tissue samples from cultured endometrial cells removed from a human donor had successfully grown.[6][7] The tissue sample was then engineered to form the shape of a natural uterus, and human embryos were then implanted into the tissue. The embryos correctly implanted into the artificial uterus' lining and started to grow. However, the experiments were halted after six days to stay within the permitted legal limits of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) legislation in the United States.


[ March 09, 2013, 02:17 PM: Message edited by: Bud Martin ]

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LetterRip
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JoshuaD,

At the moment of birth it is probably a 'potential person', even though we grant the newborn the rights of personhood at birth. We don't have the neurological capacity for personhood till quite some time after birth. (Six months or so?)

I'm perfectly fine with granting potential persons the rights of persons, once they develop to a specific point.

I think we should use the same definition for onset of personhood that we use for determining ceasing of personhood - which is determined by patterns of neurological activity. Once personhood ceases - that individual no longer has the rights of persons, instead custodianship for the ex person moves to others, either the state or a relation etc, and they can decide whether to cease life support. Similarly the women carrying the pregnancy should have custodial rights over the fetus until it reaches the neurological activity that would be considered a person. At which stage the government has an interest in protecting the rights of the person and at which time the state could compel the woman to take the fetus to term.

You said '6 weeks' but that is actually the onset of any neurological activity, the amount of activity that is needed for personhood isn't achieved till much later in the pregnancy.

See this article which describes the fetal neural development by weeks of development.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/19/books/chapters/0619-1st-gazza.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Personally I favor the 23 weeks arguement put forth in the article, which is the onset of viability and the earliest any sort of real neural system exists.

Actually as soon as 20 weeks gestation there are EEG 'bursts', which also would be an acceptable point.

http://tigtogblog.blogspot.com/2006/05/fetal-brain-development-myths-and.html

So 20 weeks gestational/4.5 weeks per month = 4 and a half months as the 'earliest' I think we could/should institute as a cutoff for abortion, with exceptions for severe fetal defect etc. that can't be detected till a later stage.

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LetterRip
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JoshuaD,

the existence of being able to do a transplant to an artificial womb doesn't really end the arguement. If that were the case then all the embryos that are created would need to be implanted and brought to term.

Also it doesn't touch on the ethics or termination due to fetal defect, which most individuals consider a legitimate basis for termination of a pregnancy.

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Bud Martin
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LetterRip,

Those were some great points about the ethics of termination due to fetal defect and that is certainly one of the considerations that must be made. I would also add that an artificial womb was not intended as a way to end the argument, but instead as a way to save the lives of those fetuses that might otherwise be terminated because of endangerment to the mother or in the case that the mother doesn't want the child, yet the father does.

That brings up the other consideration that implies that the mother would be liable for child support, so in the least I would have to suggest that the father would be required to accept a signed document with legal penalties for violating the agreement: that he will never seek financial support or interfere with the life of the mother.

It also seems that there is already some legislation preventing the development of artificial wombs. The last part of the quote in my last post:

quote:
However, the experiments were halted after six days to stay within the permitted legal limits of in vitro fertilization (IVF) legislation in the United States.
From what I read, the scientific community has already developed artificial wombs, so that answers one question! If they transplanted a fetus and didn't use in vitro fertilization, they might skirt that law entirely!
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LetterRip
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Bud,

JoshuaD claimed in an earlier post that 'it would end the arguement'.

I don't think artificial wombs are completely developed yet, haven't seen any reports of any animals being born via an artificial womb yet, and I'm sure that would make the news of the sites I typically visit if it had occurred. We probably will see one for mice or other common research animal within five years though.

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Bud Martin
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LetterRip,

I missed that quote earlier that you referred to, so sorry. The quote I posted previously from Wiki specifically stated:
quote:

In 2002, it was announced that tissue samples from cultured endometrial cells removed from a human donor had successfully grown. The tissue sample was then engineered to form the shape of a natural uterus, and human embryos were then implanted into the tissue. The embryos correctly implanted into the artificial uterus' lining and started to grow.

I admit there was no connection to a blood and nutrient source, but that should be no problem since we can recreate those chemicals and nutrients and supply oxygenated blood as they already do for kidney patients. The one consideration that probably needs further study is the impact of genetic material that would normally be in the mother's bloodstream and how it might effect the development of the fetus. I would consider that 2002 incident as the first creation of an artificial womb.

I might also venture that there might have been severe push-back from religious organizations in regards to that research and that other companies or research organizations would hesitate in volunteering the fact that they had accomplished such a thing as an artificial womb for fear of retribution from the religious community, the Pope and other world wide vested entities.

[ March 09, 2013, 03:53 PM: Message edited by: Bud Martin ]

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OpsanusTau
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The more I know about anatomy, physiology, pregnancy, and parturition, the more frustrating I find these debates to read and participate in. So I can't promise that I'll feel motivated to come back and keep up with this. But I had a couple of things to say here.

--------------------

The first is that statements like this
quote:
A component of my calculation is that the woman willfully engaged in a behavior that could give rise to life. As a result, she is responsible for the consequences.
make me feel sick to my stomach.

The woman is not the only person who willfully engaged in coitus. There was another person there - if we are intent on making sure that a woman is punished one way or another for getting pregnant (either punished by having to carry the pregnancy to term and give birth, or punished by the legal system, or punished by risking her life and health for an unsafe abortion), where is the discussion of punishing the man for participating?

I understand that at least some of you will say that it is not feasible - but that's incorrect. We have very good, cheap DNA tests now, and a woman generally knows which subset of the male population might have impregnated her so it's not that technically challenging to narrow it down to one.

So if we're talking about people taking responsibility, any discussion that focuses exclusively on the responsibility of the woman for the outcome of sex comes off as frankly misogynistic.

--------------------

The second thing I want to say is to reiterate that "conception" is a meaningless term, and that even "fertilization" is not a single moment in time separating two different things.

Fertilization has a non-zero duration, and thus is not a suitable target for a "bright line" distinction. Like every other part of development and life, fertilization is a continuum. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, there is no moment when life begins. Life comes from life.

Haploid cells are human life, and diploid cells are also human life. There is nothing more magical about a zygote than there is about a gamete, unless you happen to believe that a zygote is ensouled and a gamete isn't (an idea for which there is little to no scriptural support anyways, and which would be hugely wasteful of souls given how many zygotes never make it to birth).

The one time in mammalian development that is the best candidate for a bright-line distinction is the moment of birth itself - and even then, birth, of course, has a non-zero duration. But it is true that a term fetus is fundamentally physiologically (and even anatomically!) different from a neonate. A lot of pro-life discussion seems to center around the idea that a term fetus is basically a baby, but it is not really true.

Bringing it back to SB's original post, development of a heartbeat is a totally nonsensical candidate for a bright-line distinction. I guess I understand that people have an emotion about a heartbeat - but the embryonic heart that starts beating is not really much like the adult heart. To me this is an example of the worst kind of legislation on the subject, in which people pretend to reference science for plausibility but actually base the legislation on their feelings. I have more respect for attempts to outright ban abortion than for this kind of thing.

--------------------

The third thing that I want to say is that I think a functioning artificial uterus is probably a lot harder to achieve than most of you are imagining. That's not to say impossible - but even if (not just endometrial tissue but) the whole uterus could be grown in a lab, also all of that exists in the endocrine environment of a whole body. It would be fantastic if it could happen, but I doubt it will be tomorrow.

--------------------

The last thing that I want to say (OMG FINALLY you all think) is that it is totally irresponsible to have a discussion of legislation to outlaw abortion without acknowledging that

1) it will not work to decrease abortion (there is quite a lot of evidence for this)

2) it will not be possible even to punish women (and men!) for breaking the law without a really very fascist invasion of personal privacy and

3) it will be very bad for the health of women. Do not click this link if the image of a woman after a self-induced abortion is too much for you. Though fortunately we now have better options for medical abortion, which goes back to (1) - women will get those drugs and use them, with or without a doctor and whether or not it is legal. But many women will harm themselves rather than carry a pregnancy to term; that is a fact, and although some of you might prefer otherwise, we have to live in the world that we have with people as they are.

The actual outcome of criminalizing abortion tends to be that women are punished for having sex, not that fetuses are not aborted. It is actually very hard for me to understand why so many people focus on criminalizing abortion and shaming women when it is so ineffective at accomplishing the stated goal.

Things that might be more effective at accomplishing the stated goal are:

Comprehensive sex and fertility education

Free birth control

Insurance benefits adequate to cover pregnancy and birth

Guaranteed paid maternity leave sufficient to heal from childbirth (and breastfeed for 6 months if desired) - although as an aside, in order for this not to lead to even further employment discrimination against women, paid parental leave needs to be gender neutral

Affordable and safe child care

So much money and energy goes into right-to-life stuff and it is SO misguided. It makes me very sad.

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JoshuaD
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quote:
Ops:The first is that statements like this

quote:
JoshuaD:A component of my calculation is that the woman willfully engaged in a behavior that could give rise to life. As a result, she is responsible for the consequences.
Ops:: make me feel sick to my stomach.

The woman is not the only person who willfully engaged in coitus. There was another person there - if we are intent on making sure that a woman is punished one way or another for getting pregnant (either punished by having to carry the pregnancy to term and give birth, or punished by the legal system, or punished by risking her life and health for an unsafe abortion), where is the discussion of punishing the man for participating?

Your entire post, starting with this paragraph, is a gross misrepresentation of what I've said here. As I outlined just a few posts ago, I have zero interest in punishing the woman for getting pregnant; I don't think she's done anything wrong, why would I want to punish her?

Please read my posts before responding to them. It is unfair of you to use my posts as a launching pad to post a tirade against the pro-life movement; I don't speak for a movement, I speak for myself. Please don't hold me responsible for the arguments of other people.

The tone of your entire post is one of frustration and anger at me. You raised some interesting points I'd really like to hear more about, but I can't talk with you if you're going to be so downright disrespectful and dismissive of me.

I mean that sincerely. I actually do want to hear what you have to say, and if it's the better idea, it will change my mind. I'm not rationalizing a position I already held; the argument I've outlined in this thread is the reason I believe abortion should be illegal. If you can show me that the argument is bad, my mind will change. But I can't have a communication of ideas with you if you refuse to understand my position and blatantly misrepresent what I've said. It just won't work.

That being said, I'll assume you'll be nicer and more thoughtful of my particular position in your next posts, so I'll continue to respond here. [Smile]

Here are the posts which contain the bulk of my position (my other posts are more focused on working out the smaller points, not outlining the entire argument): Outline of my thoughts, legal repercussions, Expanded explanation of why I conclude it's a person the moment it's conceived, addressing "punishment".
--

quote:
Ops:I understand that at least some of you will say that it is not feasible - but that's incorrect. We have very good, cheap DNA tests now, and a woman generally knows which subset of the male population might have impregnated her so it's not that technically challenging to narrow it down to one.

So if we're talking about people taking responsibility, any discussion that focuses exclusively on the responsibility of the woman for the outcome of sex comes off as frankly misogynistic.

We are talking about abortions, so we are talking about what I believe to be the mother's responsibility not to kill her child. The father has a great deal of responsibility too. If someone suggested that the father should be able to abort his child, I would outline a similar argument to the one I outlined above, except my argument would be much stronger since the process is taking place within the woman's body, not the man's.

The father does have responsibilities to support the woman and child during pregnancy, and to care for the child once it is born (excluding the case of adoption). If you'd like to start a topic on those threads, I think you'll find we largely agree. I just don't see that they have a ton of bearing on this thread, which is about whether a woman should be legally permitted to perform an abortion. (To be sure: enforcing that a father be a partner with the woman and child during the pregnancy would probably reduce the number of abortions woman willingly perform.)


quote:
Ops:
Haploid cells are human life, and diploid cells are also human life. There is nothing more magical about a zygote than there is about a gamete, unless you happen to believe that a zygote is ensouled and a gamete isn't (an idea for which there is little to no scriptural support anyways, and which would be hugely wasteful of souls given how many zygotes never make it to birth).

This isn't my argument (my position doesn't rest on the belief in a soul, and I don't really believe in a soul) so I'm not going to spend too much time addressing it. But the idea that "ensouling" zygotes would be a "waste of souls" doesn't constitute an argument. Maybe it is a waste of souls, maybe it isn't. That doesn't mean it's not how the universe works.

quote:
Ops: The one time in mammalian development that is the best candidate for a bright-line distinction is the moment of birth itself - and even then, birth, of course, has a non-zero duration.
I've discussed this already. Birth is the first place we can look, because physically something significant is happening. Birth is a bright line.

The child is certainly a person the moment after birth. So is it a person the moment before birth? It has all of the same characteristics that it does after birth, it just hasn't undergone the process of birth (or a c-section). Therefore, it seems to me birth cannot be the event where the fetus turns into a person, because it appears to a person both before and after the event.

I work backwards from birth, looking for a place where it turns into a person, and I don't find any more bright lines until I get to conception.

I'm forced to conclude one of two positions: either that personhood arises gradually (as Adam has expressed in another thread a few months ago); or that personhood instills at the moment of conception (the position I've outlined here).

Adam's position leads me to draw conclusion that seem absurd, so I have trouble believing it. For example, if person hood arises gradually, then at some point it must be half a person. How do we treat something that is half a person? Do two half-a-persons equal one person? Do four? What about something that's 90% a person? Does it have 90% of the rights I have? At what point in the continuum from non-personhood to personhood does the right to life instill? 20%? 30% 50%? 70%?

I'm not being facetious. Adam's position has merit and it initially looks reasonable to me. I'm just not sure how to avoid drawing crazy conclusion from it, and if something leads to absurd conclusions, it usually means that it's not true. (Although, there may be a way to use his framework intelligently that I haven't found yet.)

quote:
Ops:The actual outcome of criminalizing abortion tends to be that women are punished for having sex, not that fetuses are not aborted. It is actually very hard for me to understand why so many people focus on criminalizing abortion and shaming women when it is so ineffective at accomplishing the stated goal.
I've addressed this in my previous posts. I recognize that it's difficult to create laws that will prevent abortions from taking place. Similarly, it's difficult to create laws that will prevent murder from taking place. We make it illegal, and people still do it. That doesn't mean murder should be legal.

For the reasons I've outlined already, I believe abortion is murder. I recognize the particular difficulties in outlawing this form of murder, and I don't see that that means we can simply say "oh well, it's murder, but we have to keep it legal."

[ March 10, 2013, 11:31 AM: Message edited by: JoshuaD ]

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JoshuaD
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Ops: for my understanding, could you answer these two questions? I believe they will enable me to understand your position better, but let me know if you think they are enforcing a framework that's not compatible with what you believe.


1) I understand you don't believe personhood begins at conception. At what point do you believe it starts? That is, at what point does the child have the same right to live that I have?

2) Once the child is a person, do you agree with my analysis that an abortion is an immoral killing of a person? If not, could you outline why?

3) If you agree that the abortion is an immoral killing, but you don't think it should be illegal for pragmatic reasons, could you expand a bit on why you believe that? You last post did address it, but I want to make sure I'm not missing anything.

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noel c.
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OT,

- "... if we are intent on making sure that a woman is punished one way or another for getting pregnant (either punished by having to carry the pregnancy to term and give birth, or punished by the legal system, or punished by risking her life and health for an unsafe abortion), where is the discussion of punishing the man for participating? "...

If a woman is intent on involving the participating male, a court ordered "simple DNA test" will do the trick. An application for public assistance will virtually guarantee the issuance of an order to anyone accused of paternity. If she is married, it is my understanding the mother does not even need a DNA test to "punish" a male that she has been in periodic coitus with. A spouse is the *presumed* biological father, and if the man is chuckolded the state will not factor in a DNA result unless it is in the "best interest" of the child. Further, a mother's use of fraud to conceal a biological father's connection to a child may become defacto dispositive if she manages to pull-off the deception for a sufficiently long period of time to substitute a functional alternative... in some states, the "alternative" need not even theoretically be male.

- "Fertilization has a non-zero duration... "...

But it does have a completion. By your logic, nothing in existence is "bright-line", because all becomming is non-zero in duration. For example; why should a biological father ever be responsible for the material support of his child since paternity is a "non-zero-duration" event?

- "... it will not be possible even to punish women (and men!) for breaking the law without a really very fascist invasion of personal privacy... "...

Do you know what "fascist" means?

- "... it will be very bad for the health of (stupid) women... "...

Agreed, but since when has it been possible to nulllify that type of consequence?

- "Comprehensive sex and fertility education... "...

I suppose it is possible that some humans do not understand the consequence of coitus, and I hope these unions never result in offspring for its effect on aggregate IQ, if nothing else.

- "Free birth control... "...

Do you think that the birth control should come with free installation also?

- "Insurance benefits adequate to cover pregnancy and birth... "...

Who should pay for this among those financially able to cover prenatal-care, and hospital costs?

- "Guaranteed paid maternity leave sufficient to heal from childbirth (and breastfeed for 6 months if desired) - although as an aside, in order for this not to lead to even further employment discrimination against women, paid parental leave needs to be gender neutral... "...

"Guaranteed" by who, and why? Are there any other aspects of parenthood that couples should be indemnified from, and why?

- "So much money and energy goes into right-to-life stuff and it is SO misguided. It makes me very sad. "...

Actually, I find it saddening that in this entire list, offering a child for adoption is not once proffered as an expression of parental love.

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PSRT
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quote:
Your entire post, starting with this paragraph, is a gross misrepresentation of what I've said here. As I outlined just a few posts ago, I have zero interest in punishing the woman for getting pregnant; I don't think she's done anything wrong, why would I want to punish her?
I don't know what you call forcing someone to take an action that they don't want to take, because earlier on they took a certain action, but I call it a punishment. And, of course, the person being forced to take the action is almost always going to feel as if they are being punished, regardless of the intent of the person forcing them to take the action.
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JoshuaD
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PSRT: If I stub my toe, I may feel like the universe is punishing me. It's not; pain is just the result of the actions I took. If I could kill you to make that pain go away, but the government made it illegal to do so, the government wouldn't be punishing me with pain for stubbing my toe. They would be protecting your life. Incidental to that is that I have to experience the consequences of my action. The government isn't punishing me, they're just restricting the methods I can use to manage those consequences; the government is not letting me kill you so that I can avoid the consequences of my actions.

[ March 10, 2013, 12:58 PM: Message edited by: JoshuaD ]

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simplybiological
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quote:
In the case of rape, I would support laws that allowed women to take the morning after pill or abort the pregnancy within some reasonable amount of time after the rape took place.
OK, CRITICAL point here... the morning after pill is NOT an abortion and absolutely should not be included in any legislation about abortion. It acts to either a) delay ovulation, b) interfere with fertilization, or c) prevent implantation. There is no pregnancy at the point at which those pills are useful. Any couple who wants to mitigate the risk of pregnancy should have access to this type of contraception.

More to the discussion at hand... I find your position on rape totally in opposition to the rest of your arguments. If you accept the premise (I don't, but you do) that abortion is "killing a person," and that there is no amount of physical, emotional, social or financial suffering that the woman might endure that can outweigh the potential life of the fetus, then there is absolutely no reason to make a rape exception.

quote:
I want to support mothers of unwanted children. I want to help them give the child up for adoption. I want to make sure they get the healthcare they need. I also want to encourage others to respect and praise a woman who decides to birth a child and give it away for adoption rather than kill it.
That's a really nice THOUGHT, but these things don't occur. Mothers of unwanted children aren't supported, they aren't given access to high quality medical care, they don't have jobs that they can do throughout their pregnancy, etc, etc. And honestly, for every happy adoption story there is, there are 5 more horror foster care, bouncing around in the system stories. Babies fare better, usually, but it's not like it's a magical solution where a child is ensured a good life.

quote:
If someone told me I could be pregnant and suffer all of the consequences, or that he would shoot me, I would absolutely choose the pregnancy. I think almost everyone would choose the same way.
That wasn't the question. The question was, is there a level of suffering you would have to endure to make it ok to terminate a pregnancy, not to terminate your own life.

Your entire position is founded on the notion that personhood is granted at conception - a number of people on this thread have provided alternate 'bright-line' arguments. Unless there is an objective reason why conception is better than, for example, LR's suggestion of using EEG data, it would be absurd to enact legislation.

I absolutely agree with you that killing people is wrong- I just don't believe that a zygote/fetus is a person yet. If you can't prove to me that it is (beyond, "Because I think it is," or "I don't know when, so I choose to be conservative about it,") then I would err on the side of not physically, emotionally, and socially traumatizing women in the name of keeping you from feeling squicky about abortion. That's the point here.

Another point that keeps coming up that no one is addressing is the fact that woman will have abortions anyway. No matter what laws you enact, no matter what safeguards you put into place, being a woman and having a pregnancy scare is perhaps one of the most terrifying things in the world. There are no amount of punishments or social services that will keep some women from terminating.

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noel c.
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- "That's a really nice THOUGHT, but these things don't occur. Mothers of unwanted children aren't supported, they aren't given access to high quality medical care, they don't have jobs that they can do throughout their pregnancy, etc, etc. ... "...

This is simply not true:

http://www.adoptionservices.org/adoption_agency/index.htm

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noel c.
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Joshua will probably answer independently, but these statements are wrong also:

- "... the morning after pill is NOT an abortion and absolutely should not be included in any legislation about abortion. It acts to either a) delay ovulation, b) interfere with fertilization, or c) prevent implantation. "...

Prevention of implantation *is* an abortion of pregnancy, in the same way that a "day after" D&C is an abortive procedure.

- "Babies fare better, usually, but it's not like it's a magical solution where a child is ensured a good life. "...

Would you forfeit your existence without the guarantee of a "good" life?

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JoshuaD
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quote:
SB: More to the discussion at hand... I find your position on rape totally in opposition to the rest of your arguments. If you accept the premise (I don't, but you do) that abortion is "killing a person," and that there is no amount of physical, emotional, social or financial suffering that the woman might endure that can outweigh the potential life of the fetus, then there is absolutely no reason to make a rape exception.
Well, that's not my position. Please re-read my posts on page 2, specifically:

quote:
JoshuaD:
I am weighing the life of the child the same way I weigh the life of every person. I want them to have reasonable protections and I don't want them to be killed. At the same time, I am not willing to create institutional failings of freedom and invasion of privacy in order to assure that no unborn child is killed. I wish there was a way to do it that wasn't intrusive, but there isn't.

---

quote:
quote:
JoshuaD: I want to support mothers of unwanted children. I want to help them give the child up for adoption. I want to make sure they get the healthcare they need. I also want to encourage others to respect and praise a woman who decides to birth a child and give it away for adoption rather than kill it.
SB:That's a really nice THOUGHT, but these things don't occur. Mothers of unwanted children aren't supported, they aren't given access to high quality medical care, they don't have jobs that they can do throughout their pregnancy, etc, etc. And honestly, for every happy adoption story there is, there are 5 more horror foster care, bouncing around in the system stories. Babies fare better, usually, but it's not like it's a magical solution where a child is ensured a good life.

That's not an argument for having legal abortions. That's an argument for improving how we as individuals and as a society treat mothers of unwanted children, and children who are born to mothers who do not want them.


quote:
quote:
JoshuaD: If someone told me I could be pregnant and suffer all of the consequences, or that he would shoot me, I would absolutely choose the pregnancy. I think almost everyone would choose the same way.
SB: That wasn't the question. The question was, is there a level of suffering you would have to endure to make it ok to terminate a pregnancy, not to terminate your own life.

You're taking my quote out of context and misunderstanding what I said, please track with the conversation. My quote here is in support of my assertion in the fourth post of the thread, where I said that death is a worse result for an individual than having to endure a pregnancy.

quote:
SB: Your entire position is founded on the notion that personhood is granted at conception - a number of people on this thread have provided alternate 'bright-line' arguments.
There have been a few alternatives presented, none of which I have found convincing, and I have outlined the reasons I have for not having confidence in those ideas. I am still waiting for responses to my objections from the posters who have put forward these alternate "bright lines". Simply providing an idea isn't enough, you need to support it with reasoning.

quote:
SB: Unless there is an objective reason why conception is better than, for example, LR's suggestion of using EEG data, it would be absurd to enact legislation.
I've addressed this point in the discussion with D.W. already. I don't mean to be pedantic, but it's not conducive to conversation to require a poster to constantly repeat themselves. For my part, I find it exhausting. If you found my answer there unsatisfactory (it may be), please quote it and explain why you think it's bad reasoning.

quote:
SB: Another point that keeps coming up that no one is addressing is the fact that woman will have abortions anyway. No matter what laws you enact, no matter what safeguards you put into place, being a woman and having a pregnancy scare is perhaps one of the most terrifying things in the world. There are no amount of punishments or social services that will keep some women from terminating.
I have addressed this point. I have typed my response to that concept at least twice in this thread. If you don't find my response compelling, that's OK! Quote it and tell me why. But please do not say that I haven't responded to this point; I have.

quote:
SB: I absolutely agree with you that killing people is wrong- I just don't believe that a zygote/fetus is a person yet. If you can't prove to me that it is (beyond, "Because I think it is," or "I don't know when, so I choose to be conservative about it,") then I would err on the side of not physically, emotionally, and socially traumatizing women in the name of keeping you from feeling squicky about abortion. That's the point here.
I can't prove anything, that is the nature of philosophy. I can show you my reasoning, and ask you where you think it goes wrong. If you can't point out where it's wrong, you need to either agree with my conclusion, or at least say "I'm sure that reasoning is wrong, but I can't find exactly where right now. I'll get back to you."

My reasoning for believing a zygote is a person is simple and I've outlined it a few times already. I'll say it here again for ease of access:

a. A fetus is a person the moment is born.
b. The process of birth doesn't change the fetus in any appreciable way and a fetus is intuitively a person the moment before birth, as well. Therefore, it is a person the moment before it is born too.
c. From birth back to conception, I can find no compelling bright line where personhood arises. It certainly exists the moment of birth and the moment before birth. It's certainly not there before intercourse. Therefore, sometime between intercourse and birth, personhood arises.
d. As 1) I cannot find any brighter line than conception; and 2) because the concept of life arising gradually (i.e it starts as 0% of a person, goes to 1%, then 2%, passes through 25%, 50%, 75%, and 99, eventually becoming 100% a person) appears to me to lead to absurd conclusions, I conclude
e. It is a person at the moment of conception.

If you don't find this reasoning compelling, great! Let's talk about it. I'm an open minded guy, and I can see the vague outline of some good counter arguments. At this point, I find this line of reasoning most compelling. I'd be glad to read why you don't.

[ March 10, 2013, 04:08 PM: Message edited by: JoshuaD ]

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JoshuaD
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There are three independent moving parts to this argument, and I think a lot of the confusion that arises in this debate is people not clearly seeing those parts individually.

1) How do we value the fetus's life? Is it a person or not? When does it become a person? Is that a gradual growth or an instantaneous arising?

2) Putting aside legality and speaking purely of morality, once the fetus is a person, how do we weigh the rights of these two people who are inexorably linked and who have contradictory interests?

3) Legally, sometimes it is not proper to enforce that people act morally. For example, lying is generally immoral, but a law that outlaws lying is too intrusive and the benefits are too low. Despite the fact that it is immoral to lie, it would be improper to make a law outlawing lying.

If we conclude in 2) that the rights of the child supersede the rights of the mother, then we still need to talk about what laws are proper to be passed, and which laws would be too intrusive.

---

We have discussed all three of these points in this thread, but often it feels like people are jumping from point to point. Each point relies upon the previous. Accordingly, each subsequent point assumes that the previous question has been answered assertively. "It's not a person" is not a valid line of reasoning when examining question 2. That is the purvue of the first question.

A big difficulty I'm seeing is people are jumping from point to point, and creating a bunch of circular logic.

If you don't think it's a person, then let's talk about that point and keep our scope of inquiry limited to the first question: if your argument is stronger there, you never have to (and shouldn't) deal with questions 2 and 3.

Similarly, if you think it is a person, but you think the mother's rights are more important, then we're discussing question 2. We have conceded point 1, and now we're exploring the morality of how to deal with two inexorably linked lives where one person does not want to be linked. You can't say "it's not a person" as an argument in this discussion. The only way we get to this discussion is by agreeing it's a person. If you assert it's not a person, then we're still talking about question 1.


Similarly, if you think it is a person and that the child's right to live supersedes the mother's desire to end her pregnancy, but you think that any law that would enforce this moral belief would be overbearing, dangerous, and ineffective, then you are discussing point 3. You have to have already agreed that the fetus is a person and that the mother's interests are given lower priority in order to explore this line of reasoning. If you reject either of those assertions, then you need to be talking in the context of question 1 or 2.

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noel c.
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- "There are three independent moving parts to this argument, and I think a lot of the confusion that arises in this debate is people not clearly seeing those parts individually. "...

Arguing in the alternative can serve to economize resolution of an issue, however; in this case it is more likely that SB is valuating life on a sliding scale of terminal convenience. This would reduce his argument to one of justifying control over the lives of others.

Under that scheme, the question becomes: "Do you get to kill someone if they are unaware that you did it?".

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PSRT
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quote:
PSRT: If I stub my toe, I may feel like the universe is punishing me. It's not; pain is just the result of the actions I took. If I could kill you to make that pain go away, but the government made it illegal to do so, the government wouldn't be punishing me with pain for stubbing my toe. They would be protecting your life. Incidental to that is that I have to experience the consequences of my action. The government isn't punishing me, they're just restricting the methods I can use to manage those consequences; the government is not letting me kill you so that I can avoid the consequences of my actions.
THis analogy doesn't work, because in order to bring a fetus to term, the mother has to actively take certain actions. THe mother is, in fact, being punished, not because she is being forced to endure one set of consequences for her actions by being restricted from accessing other sorts of actions, but that she must also behave in a certain fashion for 9 months, undergo permanent changes to her physiology, and remain in a position of heightened risk for the duration of her pregnancy. You aren't just saying she must not seek the type of treatment that she desires to seek for her medical condition, but that she has to suffer for her actions in ways that are far beyond stubbing her toe.

As you note, though, this portion of the argument accepts the position that the fetus is a person worthy of rights. THe woman in question obviously rejects that part of the argument, as does a large portion of society.

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JoshuaD
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quote:
Originally posted by PSRT:
quote:
PSRT: If I stub my toe, I may feel like the universe is punishing me. It's not; pain is just the result of the actions I took. If I could kill you to make that pain go away, but the government made it illegal to do so, the government wouldn't be punishing me with pain for stubbing my toe. They would be protecting your life. Incidental to that is that I have to experience the consequences of my action. The government isn't punishing me, they're just restricting the methods I can use to manage those consequences; the government is not letting me kill you so that I can avoid the consequences of my actions.
THis analogy doesn't work, because in order to bring a fetus to term, the mother has to actively take certain actions. THe mother is, in fact, being punished, not because she is being forced to endure one set of consequences for her actions by being restricted from accessing other sorts of actions, but that she must also behave in a certain fashion for 9 months, undergo permanent changes to her physiology, and remain in a position of heightened risk for the duration of her pregnancy. You aren't just saying she must not seek the type of treatment that she desires to seek for her medical condition, but that she has to suffer for her actions in ways that are far beyond stubbing her toe.

As you note, though, this portion of the argument accepts the position that the fetus is a person worthy of rights. THe woman in question obviously rejects that part of the argument, as does a large portion of society.

So, if I understand you correctly, you are agreeing that it is a person at some point before birth, but you are disagreeing that its life takes precedence over the mothers (for the reasons you outlined above).

To use the framework I outlined just above, we agree partially on point 1, but completely disagree on point 2. Could you confirm that I'm understanding you correctly? I'll respond to your post in better detail once I'm sure I understand what we're talking about.

Also: if my understanding of your position is correct, at what point do you believe it becomes a person? It won't have much bearing on the discussion we're about to have, but I'm curious.

[ March 10, 2013, 04:51 PM: Message edited by: JoshuaD ]

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noel c.
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- "... undergo permanent changes to her physiology... "...

... And infanticide does not bring the same result?

- "... and remain in a position of heightened risk for the duration of her pregnancy. "...

Abortion has its own set of risks to the survivors, (yes, sometimes the "fetus" does survive).

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TomDavidson
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quote:
As 1) I cannot find any brighter line than conception
This is what I find baffling. Why not, say, a heartbeat? Or non-random brain activity? A "fetus" at the moment of conception is in no way recognizable as a "person;" it is only because you are unwilling to draw the line later that you have pushed it back that far.

[ March 10, 2013, 04:50 PM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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noel c.
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- "... it is only because you are unwilling to draw the line later that you have pushed it back that far. "...

Tom, what did you look like at five seconds old?

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TomDavidson
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Counting from which moment? I mean, it won't change the answer -- which is "damn handsome" -- but some of the less important details would be different.
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