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Thread: Abortion

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    King, I feel I have more or less made all the points you raise clear already...

    Quote Originally Posted by KingofCretins View Post
    Does either half of a pair of conjoined twins lose it's right to life by virtue of depending on the other to live?
    I'd definitely say, if they say, want to attempt a life threatening separation it is their call and not that of society to outlaw it for them.

    For that matter, a newborn infant set down in a room depends on others to survive -- and while she no longer depends specifically on her mother to survive, it is only at this point that we can legally compel her mother to keep her alive.
    Oh great. Yes, legally compel her and let the baby starve right next to the lawyer. You can throw her into jail afterwards and feel righteous. Because only mothers have responsibility.

    A society as careless as that? Does not have the right to judge anything. It's morally bankrupt.

    Sex is for procreation if you ask a biologist just as surely as if you ask a minister.
    Also the notion that sex needs to be for procreation only is a religious one.
    "Society" doesn't have a legal responsibility to protect that child after she's born; her mother and her father do.
    Last time I looked even the US had child protective services.


    Would you have prosecuted Casey Anthony?
    I don't know, who Casey Anthony is.

    I can repeat what I wrote about infanticide though:

    To be honest I don't think a society that does not take care of babies that can't be taken care of their parents does even have the right to judge infanticide, in my eyes. It's a terrible, horrible thing, but if a mother is faced with the choice of seeing her kid starve or killing it painless herself, I understand why she would do the later.
    A society that takes the responsibility for children that are unwanted or orphaned has the right to prohibit their killing from the second on where they can live independently.

    A society, that say, stones the mother for having sex out of wedlock, in my opinion does not.

    Sorry, but not just having babies comes with a responsibility, making laws does too. Just sitting there and judging is not enough.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KingofCretins View Post
    Sex is for procreation if you ask a biologist just as surely as if you ask a minister. But more in the sense that the dryer is for drying clothes but there are people who find they like to run it for other reasons as well.
    I am a biologist and from a biological perspective sex is "for" recombination not procreation (asexual reproduction is the norm for the majority of organisms on the planet). More importantly though, nothing in biology is "for" anything. We're all guilty of teleological shorthand but ultimately biology only makes scientific sense in terms of evolutionary theory in which there is no purpose to anything. Life as we know it evolved via a combination of random events (e.g. mutation) and because any given heritable trait either conferred a reproductive advantage or became fixed in the population through chance.

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    It's a matter of society to regulate itself. And I don't think it does not have the right to decide what a woman does with her body.
    This really sums it up for me. If some folks don't believe in abortion, fine, don't have one then, but I strongly dislike the idea that anyone can dictate what a women can do with her own body when it comes to something as personal as this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nixennacht View Post
    I'd definitely say, if they say, want to attempt a life threatening separation it is their call and not that of society to outlaw it for them.
    Ah, but they might agree to that. The abortive equivalent would be if one twin were to just decide and the other be given no input or remedy.

    And is it only bodily dependence on another body that matters? What about coma patients who require assistance of a respirator, or a feeding tube? They depend entirely on other people's labor, money, and emotional endurance; what rights do they have? I mean, one can certainly sue on their behalf if they are found to be neglected.

    Oh great. Yes, legally compel her and let the baby starve right next to the lawyer. You can throw her into jail afterwards and feel righteous. Because only mothers have responsibility.
    A father has all those legal obligations as well upon birth, and can also be legally compelled. There's just a definite irony there, that I can't think of a civilized society that doesn't invoke some sort of legal obligation on a parent for their child after it is born, yet so much of the abortion argument is about how wrong it is to legally compel a mother to preserve the child in utero. Legal compulsion about the first 18 years of life after birth, not a problem, legal compulsion during the 9 months of gestational life (and even your favored interpretation of tissue has life, so it's the right term)... is problematic.

    A society as careless as that? Does not have the right to judge anything. It's morally bankrupt.
    Uh, you undoubtedly live in a society like that as well unless all your friends and neighbors are wolves. Put a baby down on a sidewalk and let it begin to wither -- the only civilians who have a positive duty to provide for that child's well-being are her parents (I say civilians, because a firefighter or cop does, but that's not really what we're talking about).

    Last time I looked even the US had child protective services.
    Well, yes -- they exist to enforce the legal obligation to which I refer and assume the duties if they cannot.

    I don't know, who Casey Anthony is.
    A then 22 year old woman who is alleged to have chloroformed her 2 year old daughter and left her in the trunk of her car so she could go to a party; an overdose having been alleged to kill her daughter. I apologize, I assumed this was a case that achieved some international tabloid weight (since, like Amanda Knox for instance, Casey Anthony is attractive).

    Quote Originally Posted by hayes62 View Post
    I am a biologist and from a biological perspective sex is "for" recombination not procreation (asexual reproduction is the norm for the majority of organisms on the planet).
    How many mammals fall in that list of asexual reproducers? Just curious, it's been a while since AP bio. I mean, you didn't just reject the idea that sex is for reproduction on the basis that fish don't see it that way, did you?

    More importantly though, nothing in biology is "for" anything. We're all guilty of teleological shorthand but ultimately biology only makes scientific sense in terms of evolutionary theory in which there is no purpose to anything. Life as we know it evolved via a combination of random events (e.g. mutation) and because any given heritable trait either conferred a reproductive advantage or became fixed in the population through chance.
    What? Every flavor of competition in every nature show you'd care to watch ultimately boils down to survival for and pecking order in mate selection. You acknowledge that yourself by referring to 'reproductive advantage' -- the traits that get carried forward by generation are those that enabled that specimen to find a mate.

    My point in this is simply that you don't need to be uber-religious to tip your hat to the idea that the Aristotelian "final cause" for sexual intercourse in nature is reproduction.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nixennacht View Post
    I think the point of law is not defining right and wrong, everybody has to do that for themselves.
    True in many cases, but I would say that if something is murder(which, depending on when society agrees human life really begins, abortion would be), I do believe that the legal system should uphold what is right. Otherwise, won't societies continue to spiral until morals and right and wrong mean nothing at all? If we are always saying "sure, honey, whatever you decide."

    But I think a child should be wanted when you give it life. For me it would be irresponsible and wrong to give life to something I do not want.(..)
    And I think those are viable reasons not to want a child.
    And I think sometimes ATTITUDE is the problem. If "I don't want what I created" is considered a good enough excuse to destroy human life...well. This is a self-centered, vain culture. What we want, apparently equals what we can do.
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    True in many cases, but I would say that if something is murder(which, depending on when society agrees human life really begins, abortion would be), I do believe that the legal system should uphold what is right. Otherwise, won't societies continue to spiral until morals and right and wrong mean nothing at all? If we are always saying "sure, honey, whatever you decide."
    Well many countries such as the UK allow abortion and they're hardly running amok are they?

    This is a self-centered, vain culture. What we want, apparently equals what we can do.
    Again I say her body, her rules. Sorry.
    Last edited by sueworld; 12-02-12 at 02:40 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sueworld View Post
    Well many countries such as the UK allow abortion and they're hardly running amok are they?
    It is legal in Canada as well. Just because a country isn't in chaos doesn't mean it isn't becoming more and more acceptable to not do the right thing.

    Again I say her body, her rules. Sorry.
    This isn't plastic surgery or something, that effects only her body, though. I feel like we're going in circles...I believe the unborn baby to be alive and a little person, who has his/her own rights to live. You disagree. Pretty much the only conclusion we can come to, yes?
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    Quote Originally Posted by KingofCretins View Post
    Put a baby down on a sidewalk and let it begin to wither -- the only civilians who have a positive duty to provide for that child's well-being are her parents (I say civilians, because a firefighter or cop does, but that's not really what we're talking about).
    Surely, even in the US when parents fail a child or worse abuse it, society aka, the state, has the duty to take that that child into care.

    How many mammals fall in that list of asexual reproducers? Just curious, it's been a while since AP bio. I mean, you didn't just reject the idea that sex is for reproduction on the basis that fish don't see it that way, did you?

    What? Every flavor of competition in every nature show you'd care to watch ultimately boils down to survival for and pecking order in mate selection. You acknowledge that yourself by referring to 'reproductive advantage' -- the traits that get carried forward by generation are those that enabled that specimen to find a mate.
    You asked for a biologist's opinion. Biologists are interested in all of biology not just the (numerically insignificant) mammalian parts or what's anthropormorphic enough to end up bawlderised on the Discovery channel. "Reproductive advantage" doesn't refer to finding a mate but to reproductive output. How many surviving offspring and offspring of those offspring.
    My point in this is simply that you don't need to be uber-religious to tip your hat to the idea that the Aristotelian "final cause" for sexual intercourse in nature is reproduction.
    You don't need to be uber-religious you just need to have no real understanding of how natural selection works or indeed any other mechanism of evolution that has scientific support. Sexual reproduction has no purpose, no telos. It's simply that individuals capable of sexual reproduction(instead of or as well as asexual reproduction) happen to have, over evolutionary time, been successful in passing on that capacity to their offspring and those offspring have in turn thrived.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KingofCretins View Post
    Ah, but they might agree to that. The abortive equivalent would be if one twin were to just decide and the other be given no input or remedy.
    If only one has the ability to decide and the other one (as is sometimes the case) does not, then I do think the one who can should decide.

    And is it only bodily dependence on another body that matters?
    It is in my opinion. As long as one body is physically dependent of another (with no replacement possible), then this other has the right to decide if she or he wants to sustain the dependent life.

    What about coma patients who require assistance of a respirator, or a feeding tube? They depend entirely on other people's labor, money, and emotional endurance; what rights do they have? I mean, one can certainly sue on their behalf if they are found to be neglected.
    We take care of them as a society. We pay taxes into social systems etc. If we would dump all responsibility on a single person, not offering to take over, when it becomes too much, society forfeits it's right to judge since it does not take any responsibility.

    A father has all those legal obligations as well upon birth, and can also be legally compelled.
    Oh great, you can throw two people into the cell with their dead child.

    There's just a definite irony there, that I can't think of a civilized society that doesn't invoke some sort of legal obligation on a parent for their child after it is born, yet so much of the abortion argument is about how wrong it is to legally compel a mother to preserve the child in utero.
    You can legally compel diddly squat. If a parent is unfit, they are unfit and society has to take over. Hence it has the right to interfere. Since society lacks an uterus it cannot take over in utero. End of story. You cannot simply take someone's sovereignty over their body away. Not even if that body can create life.

    Legal compulsion about the first 18 years of life after birth, not a problem, legal compulsion during the 9 months of gestational life (and even your favored interpretation of tissue has life, so it's the right term)... is problematic.
    Your legal compulsion is bogus. You cannot compel someone who is not fit to be a parent into being fit. All you can do with a legal system is punish them for being unfit. Great help. I'm sure a great many women will feel saver to give birth now, that they know that if they can't deal with a child they can be punished thoroughly.

    Put a baby down on a sidewalk and let it begin to wither -- the only civilians who have a positive duty to provide for that child's well-being are her parents
    If that is the case then only the parents get to decide if the child lives or dies. Sorry, a careless society forfeits it's right to judge.

    Well, yes -- they exist to enforce the legal obligation to which I refer and assume the duties if they cannot.
    So, and now you find me the agency that can sustain embryos and we are done.
    As long as only the mother can do that, only she gets to decide, no matter how much you'd like to take away her right to decide over her own fricking body.

    A then 22 year old woman who is alleged to have chloroformed her 2 year old daughter and left her in the trunk of her car so she could go to a party; an overdose having been alleged to kill her daughter.
    Sounds like she is very unfit to be a mother. Abortion would have been a solution. Or giving it away. As it is, she is a murderer and goes to jail. I have no problem with that, because this woman had the aforementioned options and did not take them.


    I apologize, I assumed this was a case that achieved some international tabloid weight (since, like Amanda Knox for instance, Casey Anthony is attractive).
    I avoid tabloids like the pest, I have no idea who Amanda Knox is, either?

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    It is legal in Canada as well. Just because a country isn't in chaos doesn't mean it isn't becoming more and more acceptable to not do the right thing.
    Good greif. Sorry but imo they are doing the right thing.

    This isn't plastic surgery or something, that effects only her body, though.
    But at this stage that baby is part of her body, because without it it wouldn't survive on it's own. And imo it's far from being 'a little person' which is highly emotive description for something which at that point is nothing more then a grouping of cells.
    Last edited by sueworld; 12-02-12 at 03:58 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sueworld View Post
    And imo it's far from being 'a little person' which is highly emotive description for something which at that point is nothing more then a grouping of cells.
    OK...we are NOT talking about "nothing more than a grouping of cells." In Canada, women can continue to get abortions up to 20 wks(and later than that in special circumstances) with no problem. At 20 weeks we are most definitely talking about a developing BABY, not some random grouping of cells. This fetus can hear and react to sounds outside of the mother. The fetus can recognise the mother's voice. The heart can be heard with a stethoscope. Each of the sense are developing. It is even possible for a 20 wk old fetus to survive if it were born now(with medical help, obviously).

    Describing this stage as a grouping of cells does make it easier to exterminate, I'm sure.
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    Well my attitude still stands I'm afraid. The 'baby' cannot live independently from the Mother and imo that means she comes first.

    Thats why I believe over here we can abort up to 22/24 weeks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BloodyHell View Post
    It is even possible for a 20 wk old fetus to survive if it were born now(with medical help, obviously).
    There is no documented case to my knowledge. I think the earliest are 21,22 weeks and even if you reduce the limit to 16 weeks (like it is here for example) to be better save then sorry that would still be long enough for a women to identify the pregnancy and make an informed decision.

    Quote Originally Posted by BloodyHell View Post
    True in many cases, but I would say that if something is murder(which, depending on when society agrees human life really begins, abortion would be), I do believe that the legal system should uphold what is right.
    Only murder in itself is not illegal in most legal systems, only under certain circumstances. Murdering people in war or for death penalties for example is not persecuted and it's still murder. A legal system cannot replace individual morality.

    Otherwise, won't societies continue to spiral until morals and right and wrong mean nothing at all? If we are always saying "sure, honey, whatever you decide."
    But we are not doing that. We simply acknowledge that law is there for society to regulate itself and that not to be collective morals.
    Last edited by Nixennacht; 12-02-12 at 05:03 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hayes62 View Post
    Surely, even in the US when parents fail a child or worse abuse it, society aka, the state, has the duty to take that that child into care.
    The first and foremost obligation of the state is to enforce the legal obligations incumbent in a parent. There are not regularly patrols by agents of the state to assure that, parens patriae, all its kids are in bed and safe. Private citizens, individuals, walking around on the street, have no positive duty to act in that child's interest.

    You asked for a biologist's opinion.
    I was expecting something a bit more earnest than "well, since not all forms of life reproduce sexually, sex isn't for reproduction". What about in those species that do reproduce sexually? What other reproductive options does a dog have?

    You don't need to be uber-religious you just need to have no real understanding of how natural selection works or indeed any other mechanism of evolution that has scientific support.
    That's a joke, right? Unless natural selection works by sending the genetic traits that enable superior survival into later generations by sending them as an email attachment, we are in fact talking about reproduction. Survival of the fittest; if someone were to ask "survival to do what", that's your answer -- reproduce. The thing that the fittest survive to do, is reproduce.

    EDIT: Is anyone willing to stand by the statement, that once a child is viable outside the womb, that child has an equal right to live as anyone else? Because if viability is the end-all, be-all, I have to ask how people feel about stories like this, a 2010 story where after an attempted abortion, a male human organism of 22 weeks of age was left to expire without receiving any medical assistance for almost a day until a priest took him to a neo-natal unit. I'm just curious where the viability proponents place that in the moral spectrum -- why weren't the doctors required to give medical assistance at that point? I'd say surviving a day, without food or water or shelter, is definitive proof of viability -- it's a lot to ask of a full term newborn and most adults would be looking pretty rough without any nourishment and full exposure to the elements after 24 hours. The implication of the story is very strongly that those performing the original abortion just took no interest and figured the "tissue" would persist for only a few minutes; is that moral?

    EDIT AGAIN: All law is legislated morality.
    Last edited by KingofCretins; 12-02-12 at 05:20 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KingofCretins View Post
    Is anyone willing to stand by the statement, that once a child is viable outside the womb, that child has an equal right to live as anyone else? Because if viability is the end-all, be-all, I have to ask how people feel about stories-- why weren't the doctors required to give medical assistance at that point?
    In my opinion they were. Independent survival --> society has to step in.

    All law is legislated morality.
    That explains poor morals then, I guess....
    Seriously, no. Law is there to order human interaction. It can not replace a conscience or create one where there is none. There are many things illegal that are deeply moral and at the same time many deeply immoral things are perfectly legal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KingofCretins View Post
    The first and foremost obligation of the state is to enforce the legal obligations incumbent in a parent. There are not regularly patrols by agents of the state to assure that, parens patriae, all its kids are in bed and safe. Private citizens, individuals, walking around on the street, have no positive duty to act in that child's interest.
    is that really how the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA, Public Law 105-89) works? One of ASFA's lead sponsors, Republican Senator John H. Chafee of Rhode Island, said, "We will not continue the current system of always putting the needs and rights of the biological parents first. ... It's time we recognize that some families simply cannot and should not be kept together."

    I was expecting something a bit more earnest than "well, since not all forms of life reproduce sexually, sex isn't for reproduction". What about in those species that do reproduce sexually? What other reproductive options does a dog have?
    Dogs evolved from ancestors that reproduced asexually. The interesting question (to biologists) is why sexual reproduction (which is less efficient in terms of reproductive output) might have evolved and in many taxa become the sole means of reproduction. The most persuasive answers involve the selctive advantages conferred by recombination, which is greatly facilitated by sexual reproduction.

    That's a joke, right? Unless natural selection works by sending the genetic traits that enable superior survival into later generations by sending them as an email attachment, we are in fact talking about reproduction. Survival of the fittest; if someone were to ask "survival to do what", that's your answer -- reproduce. The thing that the fittest survive to do, is reproduce.
    Not a joke. You're completely missing the point, which is that natural selection has neither point nor purpose. It's not "for" anything. The fittest don't survive in order to reproduce. It's simply that if they survive more and reproduce more then it is logically the case that there will be more of them.
    Last edited by hayes62; 12-02-12 at 06:36 PM.

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    It takes to the *second paragraph* to see how little that legislation has to do with any point relevant to this thread anyone could care to make. Unabashedly out of context attempt to dress that law up as something it isn't. You seriously find in that act a basis for arguing that the primary responsibility for the health and well-being of children under the law is with their parents?

    Not a joke. You're completely missing the point, which is that natural selection has neither point nor purpose. It's not "for" anything. The fittest don't survive in orderto reproduce. It's simply that if they survive more and reproduce more then it is logically the case that there will be more of them.
    Let's simplify this -- is reproduction the instrumentality by which traits are inherited (the variation and change in species thereforom resulting being called 'evolution')?

    If yes, your not actually arguing with me on this for any genuine reason. If no, then how precisely are those traits inherited?

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    Quote Originally Posted by BloodyHell View Post
    Describing this stage as a grouping of cells does make it easier to exterminate, I'm sure.
    I wouldn't say so, necessarily. I think in some cases the knowledge of exactly what a baby is and needs is a very clear picture of why a person might choose to terminate. Hinging an anti abortion argument on the idea that the person who chooses abortion is misguided and doesn't understand they are ending the life of a sort of baby is kind of simplistic, imo.

    I suspect many people who choose abortion go in eyes open. These are a group of cells that have the potential to become a person. You can describe it as cells, or as a potential person, but it doesn't change the fact that the cells/potential person cannot exist without the uterus, and I believe the owner of the uterus should be the only one to decide upon the occupancy status of said uterus.

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    * All contraceptives should be free and available to everyone in the world. That would prevent a lot of unwanted pregnancies and a lot of abortions.


    * The morning after pill should be free and available to everyone in the world. This isn't an abortion.


    * With such circumstances as rape and incest abortion should be free and available to everyone in the world.


    * Then there are those who don't want to have that child, can't afford that child, etc. Should we force the mother to go through with the pregnancy? Including the expense?

    - Then what happens? The mother -- or the State -- gets the father to pay child support for a child he didn't want, or the child gets adopted, or the child -- in the United States -- goes into the foster care system.


    * Abortion should be legal during the first trimester. And it should be free and available to everyone in the world. It only gets murky during the second trimester http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-li...t/art-20046151 and after.

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    *jumps into the discussion*

    In The Netherlands, where I'm from, abortion has been legal for some time. I think you can get an abortion here up until 12 weeks of pregnancy. In my opinion, abortion should be legal. A child about 12 weeks old isn't fully developed yet, therefore I could never see abortion as murder. I do think that, especially in the United States, where teen pregnancy is a greater issue than here in Holland, there should be some more focus on sex education for teens. Plus: free or at least low priced contraceptives should be available to avoid teen pregnancy - and abortion.
    The reason I'm talking about teen pregnancy here is because I think teens shouldn't have kids yet, unless they are capable and financially equipped to raise and support their kid. Also I think (though I don't have any statistics to support me here) that abortions occur mostly among teens that got pregnant.
    So when do we destroy the world, already?

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