A secular debate about abortion

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TheGreatGatsby
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A secular debate about abortion

Post by TheGreatGatsby » Sun Jan 09, 2011 1:18 am

If we reject all religious arguments against abortion, the only criterion we are left with is the personhood or consciousness of the fetus when determining whether or not abortion is justified. Most of us would probably agree that in the first few days a fetus is so tiny and insignificant that an abortion can be justified, but what about a three-month old fetus? Or a six-month old? How can we draw a universal line between personhood and non-personhood? It is practically unfeasible to make these decisions on a case-by-case basis, so a universal principle must apply.

Pro-choice campaigners generally support seeing birth as the boundary past which extermination is morally undesirable, but birth changes absolutely nothing in a child, it simply transports it out of the womb. If we can somehow justify an extermination of a nine-month old fetus, why does this act become a punishable murder as soon as the child is born?

If we support the view that abortions can only be performed up to a certain point, doesn't this mean that due to the uniqueness of each fetus, we can never establish with any accuracy a universal moment at which a fetus becomes a child? Does it follow that the only way to prevent 'immoral' abortions is to outlaw it altogether?
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Re: A secular debate about abortion

Post by FBM » Sun Jan 09, 2011 2:45 am

Mother knows best, IMO. And if she doesn't, it's on her head. I don't see any basis for an absolute, objective morality that applies to all people at all times in every situation. Let people do what they think is best at the time. If they regret it later, then that'll teach them a lesson.
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Re: A secular debate about abortion

Post by Deep Sea Isopod » Sun Jan 09, 2011 1:05 pm

OK, I'm just gonna pass on a few thoughts.
TheGreatGatsby wrote:If we reject all religious arguments against abortion, the only criterion we are left with is the personhood or consciousness of the fetus when determining whether or not abortion is justified.
Is the fetus conscious? How many of us remember that far back? We have no memory of it, so are we conscious?
Most of us would probably agree that in the first few days a fetus is so tiny and insignificant that an abortion can be justified, but what about a three-month old fetus? Or a six-month old? How can we draw a universal line between personhood and non-personhood?
What defines "personhood"?
The central nervous system hasn't developed before a couple of weeks, so there's no pain.
Pro-choice campaigners generally support seeing birth as the boundary past which extermination is morally undesirable, but birth changes absolutely nothing in a child, it simply transports it out of the womb. If we can somehow justify an extermination of a nine-month old fetus, why does this act become a punishable murder as soon as the child is born?
After birth it is legally a person.
After nine months, the human fetus's brain starts to get too big to pass through the birth channel, so humans have evolved to give birth before the fetus is fully developed.
If we support the view that abortions can only be performed up to a certain point, doesn't this mean that due to the uniqueness of each fetus, we can never establish with any accuracy a universal moment at which a fetus becomes a child? Does it follow that the only way to prevent 'immoral' abortions is to outlaw it altogether?
At which point does the egg become a chicken?
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Re: A secular debate about abortion

Post by Atheist-Lite » Sun Jan 09, 2011 1:13 pm

This debate should belong to the women and they should deal with it and do any operations, deal with the guilt etc. Mens brains are different. We don't have the cognitve resources to deal with the issue in question.
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Re: A secular debate about abortion

Post by charlou » Sun Jan 09, 2011 1:14 pm

Deep Sea Isopod wrote:At which point does the egg become a chicken?
One day you can have it it a sandwich with bacon, the next day you have it with roast potatoes and peas.
Both are :food:
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Re: A secular debate about abortion

Post by Gawdzilla Sama » Sun Jan 09, 2011 1:19 pm

Crumple wrote:This debate should belong to the women and they should deal with it and do any operations, deal with the guilt etc. Mens brains are different. We don't have the cognitve resources to deal with the issue in question.
On a purely mechanistic level that may be valid. However, consider what happens when a couple try very hard to have a child and finally conceive and the mother gets cold feet and want to abort. Does the father have absolutely no say as in your suggestion?
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Re: A secular debate about abortion

Post by Atheist-Lite » Sun Jan 09, 2011 1:24 pm

Gawdzilla wrote:
Crumple wrote:This debate should belong to the women and they should deal with it and do any operations, deal with the guilt etc. Mens brains are different. We don't have the cognitve resources to deal with the issue in question.
On a purely mechanistic level that may be valid. However, consider what happens when a couple try very hard to have a child and finally conceive and the mother gets cold feet and want to abort. Does the father have absolutely no say as in your suggestion?
That's right. Her body her call.
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Re: A secular debate about abortion

Post by Trolldor » Sun Jan 09, 2011 1:26 pm

A fetus can be considered legally a person under certain conditions under certain laws, different countries place different values on the fetus. But the fetus is human. When you perform an abortion you are killing a human life. Do whatever you want, it's your decision. In many cases an abortion is preferable to the life the child will lead if it is birthed, whether that be because of genetic diseases, or the household it would otherwise grow up in. But it's still a human life.
Or, is someone with a serious mental handicap less human than an ordinary, healthy human being because they don't have the same mental capacity? Is a child less human than an adult? These are questions that have to be answered if you're measuring a human life based on sapience, or even consciousness, as there are many with serious mental handicaps who won't even take notice of certain outside stimuli.

There is no soul. There is no magic point where it starts being a human. It is always human. But it is still the mother's choice, and if she doesn't want or can't have the child then it is only her voice that holds any weight in the matter.
On a purely mechanistic level that may be valid. However, consider what happens when a couple try very hard to have a child and finally conceive and the mother gets cold feet and want to abort. Does the father have absolutely no say as in your suggestion?
The father has none because he risks nothing physically. He doesn't carry the child to term or go in to labour, doesn't squeeze one out from between his thighs or deliver one from surgery. The father can't demand a woman give birth and then walk away.

That said, if a father doesn't want the child then he shouldn't be forced to accept responsibility for it - provided he makes very clear his disapproval.
A parent who doesn't want their child isn't likely to be a healthy factor in their life.
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Re: A secular debate about abortion

Post by Gawdzilla Sama » Sun Jan 09, 2011 1:29 pm

Crumple wrote:
Gawdzilla wrote:
Crumple wrote:This debate should belong to the women and they should deal with it and do any operations, deal with the guilt etc. Mens brains are different. We don't have the cognitve resources to deal with the issue in question.
On a purely mechanistic level that may be valid. However, consider what happens when a couple try very hard to have a child and finally conceive and the mother gets cold feet and want to abort. Does the father have absolutely no say as in your suggestion?
That's right. Her body her call.
Two people made it, one person can flush it. Okay then.
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Re: A secular debate about abortion

Post by PsychoSerenity » Sun Jan 09, 2011 1:36 pm

TheGreatGatsby wrote:If we reject all religious arguments against abortion, and yet still use a lot of their misconceptions and logically flawed arguments, does it follow that the only way to prevent 'immoral' abortions is to outlaw it altogether?
:fix:

And the answer is "no".

Trolldor wrote:
On a purely mechanistic level that may be valid. However, consider what happens when a couple try very hard to have a child and finally conceive and the mother gets cold feet and want to abort. Does the father have absolutely no say as in your suggestion?
The father has none because he risks nothing physically. He doesn't carry the child to term or go in to labour, doesn't squeeze one out from between his thighs or deliver one from surgery. The father can't demand a woman give birth and then walk away.

That said, if a father doesn't want the child then he shouldn't be forced to accept responsibility for it - provided he makes very clear his disapproval.
A parent who doesn't want their child isn't likely to be a healthy factor in their life.
+1 to this
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Re: A secular debate about abortion

Post by Gawdzilla Sama » Sun Jan 09, 2011 1:54 pm

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/w ... 5983928223

Oz couple aborts twin boys because they are not female.
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Re: A secular debate about abortion

Post by PsychoSerenity » Sun Jan 09, 2011 2:02 pm

Gawdzilla wrote:http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/w ... 5983928223

Oz couple aborts twin boys because they are not female.
Now that is interesting. :? :think:
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Re: A secular debate about abortion

Post by Tero » Sun Jan 09, 2011 2:21 pm

I'm not into complex legal angles that require judges and lawyers. So it is a simple case of there is a fetus inside this woman, it is her fetus. The guy lost rights to his sperm when he let go of them. Now the complicated part is when the kid is born, then we do recognize two parents. But even that could be decided on the spot. If the father provides no support at birth, then he has lost all claims to it.

SIMPLE!

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Re: A secular debate about abortion

Post by Pappa » Sun Jan 09, 2011 2:23 pm

Gawdzilla wrote:
Crumple wrote:
Gawdzilla wrote:
Crumple wrote:This debate should belong to the women and they should deal with it and do any operations, deal with the guilt etc. Mens brains are different. We don't have the cognitve resources to deal with the issue in question.
On a purely mechanistic level that may be valid. However, consider what happens when a couple try very hard to have a child and finally conceive and the mother gets cold feet and want to abort. Does the father have absolutely no say as in your suggestion?
That's right. Her body her call.
Two people made it, one person can flush it. Okay then.
Cunt once started an interesting thread about whether men should be allowed to abdicate responsibility for babies that are born without their consent.

Also, regarding the point about when a foetus or baby has the right to not be aborted due to personhood... at various points some human groups have decided that infanticide is a valid form of birth control. Though it's possible they might have regarded infant murder as OK, as opposed to not regarding infants as persons.

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Re: A secular debate about abortion

Post by Santa_Claus » Sun Jan 09, 2011 4:16 pm

I am anti-abortion, but firmly pro-choice.

I would set the limit around 3 or 4 months - not because that is a viable age for the foetus but to the contrary, but still gives the woman plenty enough time to decide whether to abort or not. I would guess that would still need to have an option of late term abortions for genuine medical reasons (mother or baby), but total on demand has a cut off point of 3 or 4 months.

For woman who dither could be a problem, but I don't see why they couldn't make the decision in that timescale - even if not wanting to.
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