It’s just so easy to win debates when you decide that your opponents aren’t telling the truth

I am absolutely certain that Amanda Marcotte believes everything she said in the following article:

    But we couldn’t gay-bash and then how would we spend our Saturday nights?
    Published by Amanda Marcotte June 6th, 2007 in Crime

    As I’ve mentioned a gazillion times before, the main obstacle with debating a lot of conservatives is that most conservatives rely on so many bad faith arguments. So you’re not really arguing about ideology, but end up mostly trying to get them to admit to come out and argue their actual position. To make it even more complex, while the conservative talking points that get passed around are created in bad faith, they do tend to get their hooks into people who are too dumb or scared to look deeper and find out that their own opinions that have been handed to them by conservative media have been created in bad faith.

    That’s the central issue in the “but some anti-choicers really do think they care about babies!” non-starter of a debate. Yes, some people in non-leadership roles have convinced themselves of their own bullshit, but that doesn’t obligate anyone to play along with it. In fact, as many people here and on other feminist boards will tell you, they used to be “pro-life”, and the only way they started to shift their opinions was to have someone call out the anti-woman, anti-sex agenda of the anti-choice movement until they had to admit that they were participating in a bad faith movement.

Well, isn’t that great? Since Miss Marcotte has decided that we don’t really mean what we say, then she needn’t bother with having to respond to debating points; she simply declares that we don’t really believe what we are saying, and therefore what we have said is simply to be dismissed.

And more: by declaring the pro-life movement to not really being pro-life, but just “anti-woman, anti-sex (and) anti-choice,” she not only dismisses the arguments of the pro-life movement, but assigns pernicious motives to the movement.

Miss Marcotte’s article was not really about abortion, but about opposition to so-called “hate crimes” legislation.

    Easy to remember and tends to shut down the bad faith arguments fairly quickly. If they persist, point out the legislation says prejudice on the basis of sexual orientation, religion, etc. and doesn’t specify certain religions or sexual orientations. If people want to argue against hate crime legislation, they need to be out with it and state openly that they fear that without tacit social approval of vigilante violent oppression of certain people, equality is more likely to flourish, and that is what they’re against. Or, simply put, if you can’t gay-bash anymore, then gay people are going to be emboldened to walk around freely as if they have a right (which they do), and if they do, people are more likely to realize they aren’t that bad after all and tolerance will spread. And that opposition to hate crime legislation is, at its core, opposition to the idea of this freedom and equality for oppressed minorities.

Which is simply a straw man argument. The argument of those of us opposed to “hate crimes” legislation is that crimes should be punished. If a man gets beaten because he is black, and another is beaten because someone wants to steal his wallet, both are victims, both are equally victims, and both have had their rights as human beings violated in the same manner.

During the 2000 presidential campaign, there were hate crimes legislation advocates criticizing Governor George Bush because the three white men, at least a couple of whom had racist affiliations in their pasts, who murdered James Byrd, a black man, were not being charged with hate crimes; Texas did not have such statutes at the time. As Governor Bush so aptly pointed out, they were charged with murder, were convicted of murder, two of the three were sentenced to death, while the third was sentenced to life in prison.

What more could be done to punish them?

There was no one (certainly no one of whom I heard, anyway) who was saying that the men who killed Mr Byrd, or the two men who beat Matthew Shepard and left him to die of exposure in Wyoming (another sensational “hate crime” that occurred later the same year), should somehow be let off easily, because their victims were black (Mr Byrd) or homosexual (Mr Shepard).

Rather, the murderers were treated as they would have been treated regardless of whom they had killed; the were charged with killing living human beings, not charged with killing a black man or a homosexual. Perhaps I’m mistaken on this, but isn’t that what our friends on the left want in the first place?

The objection may be raised, “Well, the officials in Texas couldn’t ignore a murder.” Perhaps, but if someone is assaulted and that assault is reported to the police, I’m perfectly happy if the crime is treated as an assault — and I don’t know why such wouldn’t be sufficient.

Indeed, it seems to me to be necessary. Our goals, on both the left and the right, are to have people treated as just people; none of us disagrees with Dr Martin Luther King, Jr’s formulation that beople should be judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I’m neither foolish nor naïve enough to argue that we have reached that point yet, but we will never reach that point as long as we continue to set up special classifications for people based upon whatever ethnic or racial or sexual group into which they fall. That is sort of like the guy who tries to cure a hangover with the “hair of the dog” that bit him.

Miss Marcotte’s original was based on her objection to Tucker Carlson’s objections to HR 1592, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007, a bill which would provide federal assistance for local or state law enforcement to investigate hate crimes. She correctly points out that the debate in which Mr Carlson participated got off on the wrong track, because Mr Carlson was speaking about added penalties for hate crimes, while HR 1592 does not address that at all.

It seems to me, however, that while I would object to HR 1592 for spending federal money on local law enforcement, based on a narrow criterion of whether something was or was not a hate crime (if local law enforcement is strapped for resources to investigate crimes, why should we think that we should help pay for the investigation of hate crimes but not plain, old rape or murder?), that Mr Carlson and his guests moved onto the tangent of whether hate crime legislation is a good thing, period, does not make his points invalid.

Will Miss Marcotte or our other friends on the left really care to listen? While no one can say for certain what someone else’s reactions in the future will be, Miss Marcotte certainly opened her article by claiming the ideas presented by conservatives were not really their ideas or beliefs, that (presumably) pernicious motivations underlay everything. And near her conclusion, she dismissed all opposition to hate crimes legislation, saying:

opposition to hate crime legislation is, at its core, opposition to the idea of this freedom and equality for oppressed minorities.

It is, I suppose, a good tactic — if you wind up winning — to simply dismiss your political opponents’ arguments as dishonest in presentation and malicious in intent. But it isn’t intellectually honest.
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Update: Apparently Sharon was thinking along similar lines, though her article was based on the truly horrible argumentation techniques on display at Echidne of the Snakes’ site.
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Cross posted on Red State.

339 Comments

  1. Next to Jes, Amanda Marcotte is the most dishonest “debate opponent” I’ve ever read. She’s well written, no doubt, but she starts with strawman arguments and just proceeds from there.

    I found it particularly hilarious when she said “To make it even more complex, while the conservative talking points that get passed around are created in bad faith, they do tend to get their hooks into people who are too dumb or scared to look deeper and find out that their own opinions that have been handed to them by conservative media have been created in bad faith.” So, you aren’t just racist, sexist, homophobic, fascist, etc.; you’re a stupid racist, sexist, homophobic, fascist, etc.

    I’m sure there have been 100 comments acclaiming Amanda’s “wisdom.”

  2. Her post title is most amusing. It demonstrates what an unhinged freak she really is. And her straw man arguments do get old. A day earlier she had this post about the true motivations of pro-lifers.

    You see, it isn’t really about the baby, its that we care so much about how much little Mandy gets laid. I shudder at the thought, but if she thinks I care about her sexual habits she thinks much of herself.

    Likewise, conservative opposition to hate crimes legislation is apparently about us just wanting to oppress those blasted [insert ethnicity, race, gender, or sexual orientation here]. Forget about the fact that hate crimes often put defendants in double jeopardy, belie the point (as Dana pointed out) and only satisfy the knee-jerk reaction of saying “something is being done.” They do nothing about hate at all!

    Good post Dana.

  3. Next to Jes, Amanda Marcotte is the most dishonest “debate opponent” I’ve ever read

    Still waiting for you to provide a link demonstrating that: “The court found that she could not be considered covert under the definitions in the law.”, Sharon.

    Provide the quote from the court showing that Plame was found not to be covert, Sharon, or apologise to Pinocchio.

  4. Pingback: It's just so easy to win debates when you decide that your opponents aren't telling the truth | Redstate

  5. Ah, the old favorite standby of those without ideas, the ad hominem.

    As a comment on Dana’s attack on Amanda Marcotte, and both comments before yours, I agree.

  6. Did I attack Miss Marcotte, or did I criticize her debating method?

    You ignored the evidence she gave to back up her statement, in the form of that chart regarding positions.

  7. If the shoe fits … but I think you know I intended the comment to be worn by someone else.

  8. Well, isn’t that great? Since Miss Marcotte has decided that we don’t really mean what we say, then she needn’t bother with having to respond to debating points; she simply declares that we don’t really believe what we are saying, and therefore what we have said is simply to be dismissed.

    Dana, see this post, which lays out the proof for dishonesty in conservative anti-choice arguments.

    You were saying?

  9. Dana, see this post, which lays out the proof for dishonesty in conservative anti-choice arguments.

    Which it of course does not do. Oh, the author admitedly does set up several strawmen and knocks them down one by one, but the “arguments” generally either misrepresent what conservatives actually believe and why, or are trite. Interestingly, the author of the strawman chart seems to believe that conservatives are insufficiently harsh toward women in our lack of “consistency”.

    Of course the “pro-death” advocates (that’s as fair a description as “anti-choice”) are not in any way inconsistent. No.

  10. Harry: Oh, the author admitedly does set up several strawmen and knocks them down one by one

    Which of the many arguments are you claiming are “strawmen”?

    The author of the chart notes, for example, that conservatives/pro-lifers generally, and pro-life organisations uniformly, oppose provision of contraception and comprehensive sex education – which by themselves would probably cut the US abortion rate by about 25%. Pro-lifers are therefore demonstrably not interested in a realistic and helpful way of preventing many abortions. No straw man there.

    (Apologies for the multiple posts earlier; for some reason, my browser kept disappearing the posts.)

  11. I think the problem is that anti-choice people do not take into account the reality of their position. First, they insinuate that pro-choice people want every one to have an abortion and that we think the process is the best (ZOMG!) thing EVAR! and that we have no clue about the fact that the situation is a hard one. These are also straw men, though I don’t think Amanda has as many as the anti-choice crowd does. I, personally, would like contraception to be understood and used properly, as that decreases the number of unwanted pregnancies (and I actually challenge you to show that it doesn’t).

    Second, there are numerous examples in Central America and other places that showcase the impact of banning abortions and the damage it causes to women in particular. The core problem being that denying women access to crucial medical help if and when they need it places them in a dire position, one that isn’t as simple as “you fucked, now deal with it”. In fact, I personally find the argument that pregnancy is the natural course of sex, therefore “you broke it, you bought it” argument to be misogynist, as the man contributes nothing in the way of physical burden, nor is he in danger of actually dying from the process, thus the entire argument is framed in terms of not the man’s responsibility (which is always reduced to “He pays money for it, which is totally the same risk!”), buy the woman’s responsibility, because women are supposed to be mothers. That’s oppression right there. Telling women that the consequence of sex is that you must change everything that is potentially against not wanting to be a mother.

    This negates many things, but most importantly, it negates reality, where sex actually is not synonymous with pregnancy, and relationships are fostered without the need to breed, as it were.

    And finally, regardless, no one has the right to use another person’s physical body as a food supply, and if a person so chooses to let someone do so, that person could only ethically do so as long as the person feeding the other person consented.

    And I’m sorry for the long comment.

  12. And wow, I don’t think I’m going to be able to comment on the original post. I can’t be that emotionally detached, which is what must be done in all arguments, lest ye be tempted to actually be human.

  13. First, they insinuate that pro-choice people want every one to have an abortion and that we think the process is the best (ZOMG!) thing EVAR!

    I don’t think I know any pro-life supporters who think this way. I have run into a number of pro-abortion supporters who behave like having an abortion is no big deal and how dare you think it is! As my original post on comments at Amanda’s blog showed, there’s a lot of callousness and insensitivity for life among abortion supporters.

    Second, there are numerous examples in Central America and other places that showcase the impact of banning abortions and the damage it causes to women in particular.

    You won’t have all abortions banned in this country. There will probably be a lot more restrictions on it, but there will always be abortions performed legally in this country as long as doctors are willing to do them. The problem for abortion supporters is that abortion is disgusting and distasteful to the vast majority of Americans and it is one of the best examples of public shunning available today. This is what infuriates the pro-aborts. They want everybody to see abortion as just another procedure, but most people don’t accept that vision.

    In fact, I personally find the argument that pregnancy is the natural course of sex, therefore “you broke it, you bought it” argument to be misogynist, as the man contributes nothing in the way of physical burden, nor is he in danger of actually dying from the process, thus the entire argument is framed in terms of not the man’s responsibility (which is always reduced to “He pays money for it, which is totally the same risk!”), buy the woman’s responsibility, because women are supposed to be mothers.

    Actually, what’s misogynist was the idea of sexual freedom which many women of my generation bought. Fact it, Jack. Women have a lot more investment in sex than men do. To tell them that they should feel free to go out and fuck anytime anywhere and never have any more consequence than men is both stupid and unfair. As I told my law professor who said abortion equalizes the consequences of sex, “Nothing can equalize the consequences of sex, since men don’t have to go through any procedure or take any medicine to avoid pregnancy. If you think it’s unfair, take it up with God.”

    Yes, it’s unfair that only women get pregnant. But that means that they have to accept the fact that they take more risks when they have sex. Previously, society put an entire framework in place to discourage nonmarital sex. Does that mean nobody had sex outside of marriage? No, but it means that society used its power to make sex within marriage the norm.

    A lot of women have abortions for less than noble reasons. You think it’s misogynist to try to stop those abortions, but I, and a lot of pro-lifers, think it’s misogynistic to tell women that having abortions is no big deal.

  14. I, and a lot of pro-lifers, think it’s misogynistic to tell women that having abortions is no big deal.

    No one has ever said it was, and I’d ask for evidence that a feminist blogger said that abortion has no impact on a woman having it performed. It just isn’t worthy of shame nor is it worthy of banning abortion. And placing an ethical restriction on abortion is inherently misogynistic, as it says that women must undertake a greater constraint on their person than other people, by virtue of the fact that they are women. Men are never faced with their body being utilized as a food supply for another person. Biology, by the way, is not a basis for discrimination. I actually see no ethical reason why you have not advocated forced kidney transplants as well as forced pregnancy.

  15. Sharon: To tell them that they should feel free to go out and fuck anytime anywhere and never have any more consequence than men is both stupid and unfair.

    I thought you’re a woman, Sharon? Was I wrong about that?

    Yes, it’s unfair that only women get pregnant. But that means that they have to accept the fact that they take more risks when they have sex. Previously, society put an entire framework in place to discourage nonmarital sex. Does that mean nobody had sex outside of marriage? No, but it means that society used its power to make sex within marriage the norm.

    Yes, and one of the societal ways in which that was enforced was by discriminating legally and socially against children born outside marriage, as well as against their mothers. You want to go back to those days? Explain to me why you think that a child deserves to suffer because their parents didn’t get married before they were born. When you’re done doing that, you can explain to me why pro-lifers don’t support free provision of contraception to all and comprehensive sex education, since both of those would prevent abortions much more effectively than punishing children because their parents didn’t marry.

  16. J wrote:

    Yes, and one of the societal ways in which that was enforced was by discriminating legally and socially against children born outside marriage, as well as against their mothers. You want to go back to those days? Explain to me why you think that a child deserves to suffer because their parents didn’t get married before they were born.

    Yes.

    Not only our Western society, but every culture developed on earth had some form of regulation of sex and childbrith, because so much depended upon it. Indiscriminate screwing around was heavily discouraged, because such produced children with only one parent.

    Did these societal restrictions discriminate against some people? Yes, they certainly did, but it was a discrimination that was good for the society as a whole.

    Well, what about today? We’ve mostly ended discrimination against women who screw around before marriage, which just so many people see as a good thing — and such has led to a full third of children these days being born as bastards. Are too many children living in poverty? Yup, sure are — and that’s because so many of them have only one identifiable, responsible parent.

    We thought that we were just so much smarter than God, and changed the rules of society — and now we are finding out that changing those rules had some real consequences.

    And who benefits from the changed rules? Why, men do! We now have access to free pussy, easily obtained. And who pays for the benefits men have gained? That would be the women who get pregnant without a husband, and the children who are born without a father.

    The brave young women who led the sexual revolution of the late 1960s and early 1970s were well-to-do, educated white women, who could be expected to be responsible with their new found freedoms. But society is not made up of only the responsible and the educated; we have the immature, we have the poorly educated, we have the irresponsible people out there as well. And liberating sex for well-educated, responsible, adult white women could not be restricted to them; the restrictions on sex were also loosened for the immature (often adolescent), uneducated, poor women and girls.

    Turns out we really weren’t smarter than God, after all.

  17. we have the poorly educated

    Abstinence only “education” is exacerbating this problem, which is why I believe the way I do. But you are correct that society was more interested in creating a shamed and submissive culture than an educated and empowered culture. Now, measures should be taken to educate people, but you will always have a few educated people who do not take responsibility by utilizing effective contraception. There have always been so-called illegitimate children, after all.

  18. The brave young women who led the sexual revolution of the late 1960s and early 1970s were well-to-do, educated white women, who could be expected to be responsible with their new found freedoms. But society is not made up of only the responsible and the educated; we have the immature, we have the poorly educated, we have the irresponsible people out there as well. And liberating sex for well-educated, responsible, adult white women could not be restricted to them; the restrictions on sex were also loosened for the immature (often adolescent), uneducated, poor women and girls.

    In the phrase “with liberty and justice for all”, which part of “all” are you having problems understanding?

    I think I’ve seen arguments for keeping groups down because of their ignorance and child-like status before, purely for their own good of course.

  19. No one has ever said it was, and I’d ask for evidence that a feminist blogger said that abortion has no impact on a woman having it performed.

    Jack, you actually commented on the first post I ever had about the callous disregard for life of some feminists. That was the post where a commenter said it was “no big deal, just a 20-minute procedure.” I’d say that’s saying it had no impact.

    It just isn’t worthy of shame nor is it worthy of banning abortion.

    I guess that depends on whether you think disregarding innocent life is a big deal or not.

    And placing an ethical restriction on abortion is inherently misogynistic, as it says that women must undertake a greater constraint on their person than other people, by virtue of the fact that they are women.

    No, it’s saying that pregnancy is not a finite, immutable characteristic like race, and therefore doesn’t deserve the protections afforded civil rights. And it’s silly to argue that because women become pregnant, we can’t regulate abortion. Again, your argument is with God, who determined who becomes pregnant due to intercourse.

    Men are never faced with their body being utilized as a food supply for another person. Biology, by the way, is not a basis for discrimination.

    Actually, it is a basis for discrimination. That’s why only men are subject to the draft and there are jobs for which being female is a qualification (i.e., topless dancer).

    I actually see no ethical reason why you have not advocated forced kidney transplants as well as forced pregnancy.

    If a person is forced to give up a kidney, do they regain the kidney after surgery? And are kidneys the same thing as people? This is the sort of silly argument I see when pro-abortionists say abortion is like “having your appendix removed.”

    Explain to me why you think that a child deserves to suffer because their parents didn’t get married before they were born.

    Thanks for trying to change the subject again, Jes. No dice.

    When you’re done doing that, you can explain to me why pro-lifers don’t support free provision of contraception to all and comprehensive sex education, since both of those would prevent abortions much more effectively than punishing children because their parents didn’t marry.

    As you’ve been told repeatedly, there are pro-lifers who, in fact, do take the approach you recommend. But I don’t think it is the government’s (taxpayers) responsibility to provide contraception. And other than teaching children to have oral sex as opposed to intercourse, I don’t see much deterrence involved in sex education. Boy, I really want teachers telling my kids about oral sex. That’s a great use of taxpayer money. *sarcasm off*

  20. And Dana is correct about the societal restrictions on sex and childbirth were designed to present the best possible situations in which to have and raise children. Yes, it restricted the “freedom” of those wanting sex outside of marriage, but that was outweighed by the good of providing better, more stable situations for children.

    And P, no one has an unfettered right to fuck. Every right of the Constitution, including fundamental rights, has a restriction on it.

  21. That was the post where a commenter said it was “no big deal, just a 20-minute procedure.”

    Well, one commenter out of many people who stipulate that the point is that abortion is not convenient, nor is it a light thing to undertake for women does not a ideology make, though I suppose that could be seen as “a feminist blogger said that abortion has no impact on a woman having it performed”. I, for one, do not think abortion is “no big deal”, so I’m not sure why that is a point against my argument.

    Again, your argument is with God, who determined who becomes pregnant due to intercourse.

    I don’t believe in God, so this is moot. The fact that only women can get pregnant is all the more reason to allow abortion, to compensate for the fact that biologically, men are given free passes.

    Actually, it is a basis for discrimination.

    Ok, fine. Biology is not an ethical reason to put women through a process that might kill them if they do not wish to be put through the process. As to “innocent life”, a patient needing a kidney is an innocent life as well. Why would you kill or endanger an innocent life just to selfishly keep one kidney?

    If a person is forced to give up a kidney, do they regain the kidney after surgery?

    Is a nine-month period in a potentially life-threatening position the equivalent of simple surgery? And kidneys are not actually the point. You do not have the right to anything on my person, nor to use it for your own purposes. No one has this right. And neither does a fetus.

  22. that was outweighed by the good of providing better, more stable situations for children.

    I doubt it was altruistic, men just didn’t want to have to legally recognize their illegitimate children and wanted a way to make the problem go away, which caused undue harm to the children. If you think bastardy laws helped children, well, have at it, I’ll just sit over here and laugh quietly.

  23. As you’ve been told repeatedly, there are pro-lifers who, in fact, do take the approach you recommend.

    As you’d know yourself if you bothered to do the research, no pro-life organization takes that approach, and no pro-life politician, either. Individuals who identify as pro-life may be smart enough to realize they need to support Planned Parenthood in order to prevent abortions, I admit.

    But I don’t think it is the government’s (taxpayers) responsibility to provide contraception.

    You don’t want the government preventing abortions, then? Thought not.

  24. Well, one commenter out of many people who stipulate that the point is that abortion is not convenient, nor is it a light thing to undertake for women does not a ideology make, though I suppose that could be seen as “a feminist blogger said that abortion has no impact on a woman having it performed”. I, for one, do not think abortion is “no big deal”, so I’m not sure why that is a point against my argument.

    Well, the point is that it wasn’t just one commenter. There were literally 100 comments at the time I pulled quotes from them, and most commenters took the same “it’s no big deal”approach. That was what made both the post (in which Amanda excoriated Feminists for Life for having the audacity to say that abortion leaves last scars in people’s lives) and the comments so striking. That you personally don’t believe it’s no big deal is commendable. But knowing a number of women who had abortions and who have said it is, indeed, a very big deal, I’ll take their opinions first.

    I don’t believe in God, so this is moot. The fact that only women can get pregnant is all the more reason to allow abortion, to compensate for the fact that biologically, men are given free passes.

    It makes it easier for you that you don’t believe in God, but it doesn’t negate the point that the “misogyny” you see is simply based on natural function. Restricting abortion is no more “misogynistic” than restricting prostate removals to only men. If you don’t have the proper plumbing, it doesn’t affect you.

    Ok, fine. Biology is not an ethical reason to put women through a process that might kill them if they do not wish to be put through the process. As to “innocent life”, a patient needing a kidney is an innocent life as well. Why would you kill or endanger an innocent life just to selfishly keep one kidney?

    As I pointed out earlier, abortion will never be outlawed in this country but will probably be restricted in ways approved of by most Americans. And the difference between the kidney patient and a baby is that the inconvenience of pregnancy is temporary. The sacrifice you are try to impose on organ donors is permanent.

    Is a nine-month period in a potentially life-threatening position the equivalent of simple surgery? And kidneys are not actually the point. You do not have the right to anything on my person, nor to use it for your own purposes. No one has this right. And neither does a fetus.

    Try this argument on the Supreme Court. I’ll tell you already that they’ve rejected it in the Casey decision where they said that there is a point where the potential life of the baby outweighs the inconvenience of pregnancy.

  25. The sacrifice you are try to impose on organ donors is permanent.

    There are not a few women for whom the sacrifice of pregnancy was permanent as well. Anyway, I’m tired, so I won’t get to the rest until tomorrow.

  26. And P, no one has an unfettered right to fuck.

    Sharon, as long as it involves consenting adults, you don’t get to say what I do with my body. The most basic element of freedom is that I own my own body – which means who and what I do with it is mine and their business – not yours.

    To assert you have a right to determine what other people do in bed is to assert that their most fundamental freedom, their ownership of themselves, is subject to your whim. It’s the creed of a nation of slaveowners, not a free people.

  27. As I can’t sleep at the moment, I’ll go ahead and respond to a few of your points.

    But knowing a number of women who had abortions and who have said it is, indeed, a very big deal, I’ll take their opinions first.

    And also negate those women who say that abortion has helped them and made their lives better by virtue of the fact that it gives them power over the actions of their own body. I would never say that abortion is the best case scenario, nor that it has no psychological consequences, but a shaming culture that says that forced pregnancy is the default state for women who are pregnant tends to exacerbate the conception that not wanting to give over one’s body to a potentially fatal process, one that also dramatically changes one’s responsibilities and lifestyle, is wrong and inhuman. To use your own analogy, it would be like telling men that, by virtue of the fact that they have prostates, prostate cancer is the natural result and should be condoned and never treated, regardless of its fatality.

    You say that “restricting prostate removals to only men” is equivalent to allowing abortions for pregnant women, though I think this analogy is drastically weak and flawed. For one, men will never get pregnant, and women will never need prostate removal, so basically, your analogy is like saying that cutting the horn from unicorns only affects unicorns. It’s the sort of statement that says nothing, yet purports to make a valid claim of some sort. No one is making the argument that pregnancy is inherently bad. The problem we have is with the idea of forced pregnancy. Is there a movement to force prostate cancer upon men?

    The sacrifice you are try to impose on organ donors is permanent.

    This comes from a naive picture of pregnancy, I feel, in that you assume that pregnancy is, like the abortion advocates you are against do for abortion, “no big deal”. A mere nine month inconvenience. Well, as to inconvenience, kidney failure is an inconvenience. Having cancer is an inconvenience. And, like pregnancy, both of these are life threatening. There is hardly a clamor to stop kidney transplants, dialysis machines, or chemotherapy.

    Try this argument on the Supreme Court.

    I’m more about making an ethical argument than one that can be supported by positive law, and I am not a legal positivist, ethically speaking, though I do see the merits, in that most people will perceive positive law and its interpretation as actual truth, though this assumption is not based on logic or ethics, but belief. I’m not a person who takes belief seriously in terms of creating law, so I do not think the opinion of 5 out of 9 people is something I care to entertain as truth.

  28. No one is making the argument that pregnancy is inherently bad…And, like pregnancy, both of these are life threatening.

    These are from my comment in moderation, and I need to point out that this was worded incorrectly, or could possibly be misconstrued. When I say “inherently bad”, I mean that the idea of being pregnant is inherently wrong, not that it isn’t potentially life-threatening.

    I should also say that the fact that my mother had the choice not to have me, yet still put in the effort and the risk to give me life means so much more to me than if I had known that my existence was simply brought about by forcing her to give birth to me.

  29. Mr Goff wrote:

    And also negate those women who say that abortion has helped them and made their lives better by virtue of the fact that it gives them power over the actions of their own body.

    I’m certain that we could find many men who’ve killed their wives who thought that it helped them.

    Pregnancy is, in the end, a temporary condition. Our society allows people to give up children for adoption. Save those relatively few cases in which a pregnancy directly threatens the life of the mother, abortion is the trading of the life of the unborn child for the convenience of the woman.

    Our liberal friends tell us, all the time, that society has the right to impose inconveniences on us: the inconvenience of rules and regulations for our safety (i.e.: traffic laws), the inconvenience of rules and regulations to make society safer (airline travel inspections, criminal laws, restrictions on smoking in public), and the government imposed taxation for things we might not like and services many might not use (welfare for others, public health care, public schools), but are absolutely adamant that no such restrictions can be imposed when the life of an unborn child is at stake.

    The illogic of that is absolutely monstrous.

  30. Sharon, as long as it involves consenting adults, you don’t get to say what I do with my body. The most basic element of freedom is that I own my own body – which means who and what I do with it is mine and their business – not yours.

    Sorry, P. Wrong again. There are all sorts of laws about what you can do with your body, including restrictions on sex. You can’t have sex with minors or animals, for instance. You don’t get to forcibly have sex with someone who doesn’t want to. You can’t pay for sex. The list goes on. This is because you don’t have a fundamental right to sex that has no strings attached.

    Interestingly, pregnancy is the string attached to sex by the Creator. Try as humans might to untether sex from procreation, its essential purpose is still there and crops up from time to time.

    And also negate those women who say that abortion has helped them and made their lives better by virtue of the fact that it gives them power over the actions of their own body.

    But we aren’t animals, Jack. Women already have power over their bodies. It would be different if we went into heat every X number of days like cats do.

    but a shaming culture that says that forced pregnancy is the default state for women who are pregnant tends to exacerbate the conception that not wanting to give over one’s body to a potentially fatal process, one that also dramatically changes one’s responsibilities and lifestyle, is wrong and inhuman.

    I know pro-abortion supporters hate having this pointed out to them, but virtually every adult knows that pregnancy results from sex. If you know it can happen, then you are assuming the risk when you have sex. There’s nothing inhuman in expecting adults who engage in adult activities to assume the responsibility of that activity.

    For one, men will never get pregnant, and women will never need prostate removal, so basically, your analogy is like saying that cutting the horn from unicorns only affects unicorns.

    But this is exactly the sort of argument you make when you say it is misogynistic to restrict abortion because men don’t get pregnant. I took a medical condition that only affects men–prostate removal–and you immediately saw why it is disingenuous. The same thing with the argument about abortion.

    The problem we have is with the idea of forced pregnancy.

    The problem I have is with calling it forced pregnancy. It’s not. Nobody forced anyone to have sex.

    This comes from a naive picture of pregnancy, I feel, in that you assume that pregnancy is, like the abortion advocates you are against do for abortion, “no big deal”. A mere nine month inconvenience. Well, as to inconvenience, kidney failure is an inconvenience. Having cancer is an inconvenience. And, like pregnancy, both of these are life threatening. There is hardly a clamor to stop kidney transplants, dialysis machines, or chemotherapy.

    Well, speaking as someone who went through the inconvenience of pregnancy 3 times, I can tell you that compared to dialysis or chemo, it is “no big deal.” For the vast majority of women, pregnancy isn’t a life-threatening situation, and even in cases where it is, we have medical procedures these days which greatly reduce the risks. But the risky nature of pregnancy isn’t why most women get abortions if we are to believe what they say. Most women get abortions because they just don’t feel like having the baby and don’t care whether the inconvenience is temporary or permanent.

    I’m more about making an ethical argument than one that can be supported by positive law, and I am not a legal positivist, ethically speaking, though I do see the merits, in that most people will perceive positive law and its interpretation as actual truth, though this assumption is not based on logic or ethics, but belief. I’m not a person who takes belief seriously in terms of creating law, so I do not think the opinion of 5 out of 9 people is something I care to entertain as truth.

    You should, since 6 our of 9 people gave us the heinous abortion law we have in this country today. And most liberals would rather persuade 5 justices than 300,000,000 people.

    But I can see why the fact that the court cases don’t always support one’s opinion would be a problem.

    When I say “inherently bad”, I mean that the idea of being pregnant is inherently wrong, not that it isn’t potentially life-threatening.

    Well, by this logic, having to pay my taxes is inherently bad, too, but I don’t get to make that “choice.”

    I should also say that the fact that my mother had the choice not to have me, yet still put in the effort and the risk to give me life means so much more to me than if I had known that my existence was simply brought about by forcing her to give birth to me.

    Really? I never thought much about it one way or the other, although I’ll take all the happy pictures of my parents fawning over me as evidence they were happy to have me. Abortion wasn’t legal before 1973. Does that mean everybody born before 1973 should feel “less loved” because they weren’t the same “choice”? You’re smarter than this, Jack.

  31. Mr Goff wrote:

    A mere nine month inconvenience. Well, as to inconvenience, kidney failure is an inconvenience. Having cancer is an inconvenience. And, like pregnancy, both of these are life threatening. There is hardly a clamor to stop kidney transplants, dialysis machines, or chemotherapy.

    Pregnancy is a natural, normal condition, part of the normal functioning of life. Cancer and kidney failure are not. Moreover, your very examples show the weakness of your argument: cancer and kidney failure are permanent conditions, and are always life threatening unless treated; pregnancy is always temporary, and only rarely life threatening. No one here has argued that abortion ought to be illegal in the case of a direct threat to the life of the pregnant woman.

  32. No one has ever said it was, and I’d ask for evidence that a feminist blogger said that abortion has no impact on a woman having it performed. It just isn’t worthy of shame nor is it worthy of banning abortion. And placing an ethical restriction on abortion is inherently misogynistic, as it says that women must undertake a greater constraint on their person than other people, by virtue of the fact that they are women. Men are never faced with their body being utilized as a food supply for another person.

    That’s an admirably well constructed argument, but it ignores a basic scientific fact – namely, that human life begins at conception. Call it an embryo, call it a fetus, or call it an unborn baby, abortion is designed solely to do one thing with 100% effectiveness – kill that entity dead. And the entity being killed is 100% human.

  33. The problem I have is with calling it forced pregnancy. It’s not. Nobody forced anyone to have sex.

    Having sex does not equal getting pregnant.

    Consenting to have sex does not equal consenting to have a baby.

    Forcing a woman to have a baby against her will is forced pregnancy, regardless of your verbal quibbles.

  34. That’s an admirably well constructed argument, but it ignores a basic scientific fact – namely, that human life begins at conception. Call it an embryo, call it a fetus, or call it an unborn baby, abortion is designed solely to do one thing with 100% effectiveness – kill that entity dead. And the entity being killed is 100% human.

    Eric is right. It really is that simple. The rest is just window dressing and attempts at rationalizing a selfish choice. A well constructed argument when it is a rationalization becomes a lesson in self delusion.

  35. Consenting to have sex does not equal consenting to have a baby.

    You can have your fun with this J, but only if it did…

  36. “Sharon, as long as it involves consenting adults, you don’t get to say what I do with my body. The most basic element of freedom is that I own my own body – which means who and what I do with it is mine and their business – not yours.”

    Sorry, P. Wrong again. There are all sorts of laws about what you can do with your body, including restrictions on sex. You can’t have sex with minors or animals, for instance. You don’t get to forcibly have sex with someone who doesn’t want to. You can’t pay for sex. The list goes on. This is because you don’t have a fundamental right to sex that has no strings attached.”

    I believe you’ll find that many high schools offer remedial reading classes for adults who have problems such as yours.

    And what’s this not paying for sex rubbish? Do you live in some godforsaken state where prostitution is still illegal or something?

    Interestingly, pregnancy is the string attached to sex by the Creator.

    If you wanna invoke the myth of the Big Sky Fairy, then you’re just going to have to deal with the fact that She gave us the brains to invent abortion procedures which are safer than carrying a pregnancy full-term. God obviously wants women to have a choice.

  37. Having sex does not equal getting pregnant.

    Pregnancy is a normal and natural consequence of sex. Didn’t you have sex ed?

    Consenting to have sex does not equal consenting to have a baby.

    There’s a concept in law called assumption of risk. That is, one participates in a certain activity knowing there is a degree of risk involved in it. There’s an assumption of risk of pregnancy involved in sex.

    Forcing a woman to have a baby against her will is forced pregnancy, regardless of your verbal quibbles.

    For someone who has quibbled over far smaller verbal differences, this is amusing. If you participate in sex, knowing pregnancy is possible, you assume the risk of pregnancy. That’s not “forcing” anything.

  38. Consenting to have sex does not equal consenting to have a baby.

    “Consent” isn’t even an issue, except for the sex act itself. Pregnancy is a simple biological function, it’s not as if the little sperm cells, (dressed in coat and tails and bringing flowers, of course, like true gentlemen) ask the egg for her “consent” before the act of creation occurs.

    It’s funny. These “progressives” love to think iy’s OUR side that’s ignorant about science, yet when it comes to the business of baby making, they are either ignorant of basic science (i.e., that the sole biological function of sex is to produce offspring) or they simply want to push scientific facts aside in favor of political ideology.

  39. If you wanna invoke the myth of the Big Sky Fairy, then you’re just going to have to deal with the fact that She gave us the brains to invent abortion procedures which are safer than carrying a pregnancy full-term.

    “Safety” is rarely an issue, what with the advanced state of pre-natal care that exists today. PG has it right – it really is about selfishness, and of not wanting to take responsibility for one’s actions in life. And the selfishess cuts across both sexes equally. There are tons of young (and not so young) men out there who’ve bought into the whole Hugh Hefner “philosophy” of being able to enjoy unlimited sex with numerous partners without having to worhhy about such responsibilities as child support, nor (God forbid!) marriage.

  40. Pregnancy is a normal and natural consequence of sex. Didn’t you have sex ed?

    You obviously didn’t! A woman conceives as a result of sex if and only if she has heterosexual intercourse with a man during her fertile period. It’s estimated that about 50% of eggs fertilised are shed in miscarriage, the majority within a very few weeks of conception.

    So statistically speaking, pregnancy isn’t a normal result of sex: it’s an unusual result of sex. ;-) And given the prevalence of natural early miscarriage, there seems no reason to get riled up because of induced early miscarriages.

    But either way: if a person doesn’t intend to have children, that doesn’t mean (as I believe has been pointed out to you many times before) they ought to be celibate except when they do want to have children. Which was your viewpoint before and evidently hasn’t changed.

    For someone who has quibbled over far smaller verbal differences, this is amusing. If you participate in sex, knowing pregnancy is possible, you assume the risk of pregnancy. That’s not “forcing” anything.

    Except for the basic fact that if a woman becomes pregnant who doesn’t want to be, and is forcibly prevented from getting an abortion, she is being forced through pregnancy. (How would you feel about your pregnancies if you’d had to undertake them chained to a hospital bed? Unforced?)

    Face up to reality, Sharon: you may enjoy celibacy and have sex only to conceive, but most women feel that sex is an enjoyable part of their relationship with their partner, which builds intimacy and joy.

  41. …She gave us the brains to invent abortion procedures…

    “She” gave us the brains to invent nuclear weapons also, so I am to infer from this bit of logical thinking …?

    You might try reading CS Lewis’ treatment of good and evil. It’s illuminating. Particularly his thought process on the juxtaposition of “brains” and evil.

  42. pgw: The rest is just window dressing and attempts at rationalizing a selfish choice.

    Yes, it’s obviously “selfish” when a woman decides she can’t support another child, and decides to limit her family to the children she already has, who need her. (The majority of abortions in the US are needed by women who already have children.)

    I tend to ignore Eric’s comments on abortion – he has a bee in his bonnet, and will interject his feelings about abortion into literally any thread – but the fact is: I support a woman’s right to choose abortion because women are human beings. The notion that seems to possess Eric, that women are just incubators and the only humans involved are the fetuses the women are, well, incubating, is just alien to me. The notion that women should be treated like domestic animals, bred without their consent, is outrageous.

  43. J wrote:

    I tend to ignore Eric’s comments on abortion – he has a bee in his bonnet, and will interject his feelings about abortion into literally any thread – but the fact is: I support a woman’s right to choose abortion because women are human beings.

    Indeed, women are human beings — but so are unborn children.

    Pregnancy may be very inconvenient to some women, but pregnancy is, in the end, a temporary condition. For the unborn child, abortion is a very permanent end.

  44. So statistically speaking, pregnancy isn’t a normal result of sex: it’s an unusual result of sex.

    You should go read biology texts. They seem to think pregnancy is also a normal, natural, and predictable consequence of sex. That it doesn’t happen in every instance or even every possible instance doesn’t make it a natural and predictable consequence.

    Except for the basic fact that if a woman becomes pregnant who doesn’t want to be, and is forcibly prevented from getting an abortion, she is being forced through pregnancy.

    We’re not talking about rape here, are we? That’s the only instance where I can see adults not wanting to become pregnant and yet participating in the very activity that results in pregnancy. There’s no “forced” pregnancy when you consent to participate in the activity that leads to it.

    (How would you feel about your pregnancies if you’d had to undertake them chained to a hospital bed? Unforced?)

    Being chained to a bed is physical confinement. It’s not the same thing as being pregnant. Try a better analogy.

    Face up to reality, Sharon: you may enjoy celibacy and have sex only to conceive, but most women feel that sex is an enjoyable part of their relationship with their partner, which builds intimacy and joy.

    You’ve tried this misogynistic argument before and it didn’t work then. I’ve never said sex isn’t appropriate for married people and, in fact, that one can’t or shouldn’t participate in non-procreational sex. But when you decide to have sex, you are consenting to the risk of pregnancy.

  45. They seem to think pregnancy is also a normal, natural, and predictable consequence of sex.

    Even when the woman is outside her fertile period? The biology texts you’ve read say that a woman can become pregnant as a result of sex when there’s no possible chance that sperm will connect with ova?

    I suggest you buy new biology texts…

    That’s the only instance where I can see adults not wanting to become pregnant and yet participating in the very activity that results in pregnancy.

    Oh dear. We’ve been over this multiple times, Sharon: even if you have never experienced sex as a joyous and fulfilling part of a relationship with no intent ever to have children as a result, you really should acknowledge that for most adults in an intimate relationship, sex is part of that relationship as part of their intimacy, not – as it evidently is for you – an act performed only when they want to have children. I acknowledge and respect your right to live as a celibate, having sex only in order to get pregnant: but most adults don’t, and you shouldn’t try to pretend they do.

    I’ve never said sex isn’t appropriate for married people and, in fact, that one can’t or shouldn’t participate in non-procreational sex.

    *points up* You just did say that – you said, specifically, that in your view adults don’t have sex unless they want to have children. This is not true.

  46. Indeed, women are human beings — but so are unborn children.

    And should be granted every right a woman is granted, which means that they aren’t granted the right to utilize another person as a food supply. I don’t see how this is a problem, even if the fetus dies. The fetus is a person, after all. People are able to live within their own body’s capability or they die, right? I guess that one can argue that aborted feti should be placed in some sort of non-human life support device, and if so, by all means, do so, but other than that, that fetus needs to suck it up, pull itself up by its bootstraps and quit expecting its livelihood to be handed to it by a benevolent body.

    And sure, the current Supreme Court has determined that in certain instances, the method to achieve an abortion are inappropriate, though I believe they did not take into account a large aspect of the procedure, namely it was being used by women who wanted to have a non-perforated uterus after the procedure, so that they could conceive again when they wished to. This, for some, is unacceptable, and perforated uteri are a small price to pay.

    As to pregnancy being a temporary position, again, and for the last time, to argue that pregnancy is a temporary condition negates the not-so-few people who have died from it, and also places many women into the not-so-temporary position of having a child. If you indeed argue that abortion will never be illegal, I truly hope that you are right, because if you truly get your wish, the number of unwanted children, despite adoption and other measures, is going to skyrocket, along with more mouths to feed on an already overpopulated Earth.

  47. Even when the woman is outside her fertile period? The biology texts you’ve read say that a woman can become pregnant as a result of sex when there’s no possible chance that sperm will connect with ova?

    Jes, stop being deliberately obtuse. The fact that one can drive drunk and not have an accident every time doesn’t negate the chances of it happening. The same thing is true with sex. Given that most women aren’t terribly aware when their fertile period is, they are, indeed, taking a voluntary risk every time they have sex because they know they can become pregnant.


    Oh dear. We’ve been over this multiple times…

    Yes, we have, and each time it descends into this childish “you don’t enjoy sex” nonsense. I realize it is beyond you to accept that people can enjoy sex and accept the risk of pregnancy as a part of that enjoyment. What you choose to do with your ridiculous arguments is separate the normal, natural, predictable consequence of sex from the act itself. In the real world, mature people accept that pregnancy can occur when they choose to have sex. That’s why one should be careful with whom one chooses to have sex.

    And should be granted every right a woman is granted, which means that they aren’t granted the right to utilize another person as a food supply.

    So, does this mean one doesn’t have a legal obligation to feed one’s children? I believe the law is pretty harsh on parents who don’t provide basic necessities for their offspring.

    And sure, the current Supreme Court has determined that in certain instances, the method to achieve an abortion are inappropriate, though I believe they did not take into account a large aspect of the procedure, namely it was being used by women who wanted to have a non-perforated uterus after the procedure, so that they could conceive again when they wished to. This, for some, is unacceptable, and perforated uteri are a small price to pay.

    I didn’t find this in the actual Supreme Court decision. Can you give us a link to this language?

    My understanding is that the Supreme Court decided that Congress did have the power to regulate abortion procedures, including banning some.

    As to pregnancy being a temporary position, again, and for the last time, to argue that pregnancy is a temporary condition negates the not-so-few people who have died from it, and also places many women into the not-so-temporary position of having a child.

    Unfortunately, there are lots of temporary conditions which we would rather avoid, but when we, again, voluntarily participate in certain activities, we deal with the temporary inconveniences those activities produce.

    If you indeed argue that abortion will never be illegal, I truly hope that you are right, because if you truly get your wish, the number of unwanted children, despite adoption and other measures, is going to skyrocket, along with more mouths to feed on an already overpopulated Earth.

    No, abortion will never be completely illegal again, but, as I’ve said, it will most likely become more restricted. You’ll see more restrictions placed on the sorts of facilities which may perform abortions, the qualifications of the staff, additions to informed consent, banning of certain procedures, etc. All because, as SCOTUS said in Casey, states do not have to be impartial in the abortion debate but can choose to support life (yes, it’s a novel idea).

    Your declaration that there will be millions of unwanted children is also simply pure speculation. There may be some small rise in the number of children given up for adoption. There may be people who choose to go somewhere else for an abortion. But most people will deal with pregnancy the way people typically have; that is, they will love their children and provide as best they can for them. And they will be more careful about sex.

  48. Mr Goff wrote:

    Indeed, women are human beings — but so are unborn children. (me)

    And should be granted every right a woman is granted, which means that they aren’t granted the right to utilize another person as a food supply. I don’t see how this is a problem, even if the fetus dies.

    You seem to have adopted an extremely libertarian position on this subject that you don’t have on any others. You would have our government impose taxes on us to feed and shelter and clothe and care for medically those who cannot do those things for themselves.

    And our country does do those things, perhaps not to the extent you’d like, but it does. Our society and our government impose all sorts of restrictions and inconveniences and real costs on people to both care for other people and to protect society and our country as a whole.

    For example, though we are not currently employing it, our government has the right, specified under the law and approved by the Supreme Court, to conscript young men into the military and send them off on missions which might well lead to their deaths.

    Parents who do as you have suggested to children who have actually been born, to deny nourishment to the children under their care, can be tried and sent to prison.

    There are many duties our laws impose on us. If you are a witness to a crime or an accident, you can be compelled to come to court and testify, under oath, even if you were in no way involved beyond observation. If you witness someone in dire distress and simply walk away without calling for help, if you are identified you can be both subjected to legal penalties and sued for damages. If you have children, you are compelled to have them educated, whether by the public schools or some other method. If you work, you are compelled to contribute to the national retirement system, even if you don’t wish to participate.

    When you wrote, “I don’t see how this is a problem, even if the fetus dies,” a “fetus” you already agreed was a human being, I would be interested in knowing to what other aspects of our laws and our culture you would apply this statement.

  49. I tend to ignore Eric’s comments on abortion

    That’s because you can’t refute them.

    1. It is a scientific FACT that human life begins at conception. No one has been able to refute this, because it can’t be refuted.

    2. The biological function of sex is to produce children. Period. That it also happens to be enjoyable is simply Nature’s way of encouraging reproduction.

    3. The sole purpose of abortion is to put to death that human entity that was produced as a result of Steps 1 and 2 above. You can put forth all the clever sounding sophisty you want, or try to “turn the tables” by making nasty and snide assumptions about those of us who oppose abortion (like J to Sharon), but you cannot, no matter how many verbal twists and turns you engage in, blot out the very real fact that abortion is about killing, and the “thing” being killed is 100% human.

  50. Indeed, women are human beings — but so are unborn children.

    I’ll believe that when I see one clamouring for the right to be considered as one.

    Oh, wait – a fetus doesn’t have brains, reason or sentience. Now I see why Conservatives identify with them…

  51. I’m sorry – when I said “brain”, I was thinking of something with more going on in it than a guppy’s.

    A fetus isn’t a person. A woman is. That sorta covers it.

  52. I’ll believe that when I see one clamouring for the right to be considered as one.

    Oh, wait – a fetus doesn’t have brains, reason or sentience. Now I see why Conservatives identify with them.

    ?

    The fetus doesn’t have sentience? That assertion might suggest some research also.

    So when does a “fetus” become a human?

    Does the trip down the birth canal impart humanity?

    Is it one year after birth as Dr. Singer has argued?

    One hour prior to birth? One day? One month? Two?

    Your argument is circular: “a fetus isn’t a person … That sorta covers it” and based on this assertion you’ve decided that we don’t have to treat a fetus as a human, because after all, you’ve stated that he or she isn’t. You can’t just “assume away” humanity, you have to ask a different question without your arrogant assumption attached: if the fetus isn’t human, when does it become so?

    Do all women have unrestricted “choice”?

    When does this “right to choose” accrue to the woman? If prior to birth, does she have the right to choose to live?

    Is this right, along with “personhood”, assumed subsequent to the trip down the birth canal?

    Is there any difference whatsoever in the dna of a “fetus” and that of a 30 year old?

    No “brains, reason or sentience” equals no fundamental right to live in Phoe’s world. Interesting place I’m sure.

  53. Harry: Your argument is circular: “a fetus isn’t a person … That sorta covers it” and based on this assertion you’ve decided that we don’t have to treat a fetus as a human, because after all, you’ve stated that he or she isn’t. You can’t just “assume away” humanity, you have to ask a different question without your arrogant assumption attached: if the fetus isn’t human, when does it become so?

    Well, Harry, I’ve got a suggestion for you.

    Trust the woman who’s pregnant to decide for herself and the fetus she carries when (and if) the needs of the fetus outweigh her own.

    Trust her to make good decisions, with medical advice from her physician.

    Assume that she’s at least as capable of deciding if she needs to terminate the pregnancy as a group of legislators who have never inquired into her personal circumstances. If not more so.

    The notion – common to all anti-choicers – that a pregnant woman isn’t capable of deciding whether she should terminate or continue her pregnancy, and so legislators should decide for her at a remove – is the most profoundly weird act of public disrespect.

    Naturally enough, pro-life women don’t think this disrespect applies to them – anti-choice women are as likely if not more so to have an abortion when they need one as pro-choice women are.

    But anti-choice men? How do you justify to yourself, Harry, your belief that a pregnant woman can’t be allowed to make the decision whether her circumstances and her health will permit her to continue the pregnancy to childbirth?

  54. I’m sorry – when I said “brain”, I was thinking of something with more going on in it than a guppy’s.

    So, a mentally disabled person isn’t a person in your book? At what point does humanity adhere to a person? I’ve had 3 babies and they start out without “much going on” in the first few days or weeks other than wanting to eat and be dry and clean.

    I’ll ask you the question pro-abortion folks hate. At what point does the fetus’ right to life supercede the woman’s right to convenience? The court has stated that there is a point during pregnancy when this is so.

  55. Maybe the reason pro-lifers identify with babies is because we understand fetal development.

    We also understand the concept of “responsibility”. Sex produces children; that’s its sole biological function. Even if the guy wears three rubbers and the girl takes a double dose of birth control pills, a baby might still occur, although the odds would be very low. But that’s not good enough for the pro-aborts. The inconvenience of an unwanted baby ranks so high in their eyes that there must always be the legal option to kill it, right up till almost the moment it is born. As someone else put it – it’s all about selfishness.

  56. So, a mentally disabled person isn’t a person in your book?

    [Looks meaningfully at Sharon and ponders...]

  57. The Neanderthal in a time of Cro-Magnons wrote:

    Indeed, women are human beings — but so are unborn children. (me)

    I’ll believe that when I see one clamouring for the right to be considered as one.

    And being inside the womb, if they were, how would you hear them?

    I suspect that Helen Keller wasn’t clamoring for her rights — because she couldn’t. Autistic children, they don’t either.

    You know, we once had a whole class, a whole race of people we didn’t consider to be legal persons, because the majority was perfectly happy to consider them to be inferior beings; the majority opinion of Chief Justice Taney spelled that out quite explicitly in Dred Scott v Sanford.

    And now we have another class of people we don’t consider to be legal persons, because the majority seems perfectly happy to consider them to be inferior beings; the majority opinion of Justice Blackmun spelled that out quite explicitly in Roe v Wade.

    There really is no difference.

  58. But anti-choice men? How do you justify to yourself, Harry, your belief that a pregnant woman can’t be allowed to make the decision whether her circumstances and her health will permit her to continue the pregnancy to childbirth?

    Nice verbal sleight-of-hand there, J. The question you really meant to ask was:

    Do you support the legal right of a woman to kill her own unborn baby?

    The operant word here is KILL. That’s what abortion does, yet it’s that truth that the pro-aborts will do anything to avoid talking about.

  59. I suspect that Helen Keller wasn’t clamoring for her rights — because she couldn’t.

    This would be Helen Keller, supporter of Planned Parenthood, member of the Socialist Party of the USA and of the Industrial Workers of the World union?

    I think she had no problem fighting for her rights. If you mean that she didn’t “clamor for her rights” when she was seven years old, I’d be surprised: by all accounts she was an active and unruly child who seems to have had a very clear concept of “her rights” – such “rights” as a child that age wants.

    But it’s nice to know you admire at least one active socialist feminist campaigner.

    You know, we once had a whole class, a whole race of people we didn’t consider to be legal persons, because the majority was perfectly happy to consider them to be inferior beings

    And now anti-choice campaigners are fighting for there to be another class of people to be considered not legal persons, inferior beings. To be, as slaves were, bred without the right of choice or consent.

  60. J foolishly wrote:

    You know, we once had a whole class, a whole race of people we didn’t consider to be legal persons, because the majority was perfectly happy to consider them to be inferior beings (me)

    And now anti-choice campaigners are fighting for there to be another class of people to be considered not legal persons, inferior beings. To be, as slaves were, bred without the right of choice or consent.

    It seems to me that the vast majority of abortions are performed on women who “bred” with consent; they simply didn’t like one of the consequences on which they hadn’t planned.

    But what is it you are saying, J: that the temporary inconvenience of one group of people outweighs the lives of another?

  61. It seems to me that the vast majority of abortions are performed on women who “bred” with consent; they simply didn’t like one of the consequences on which they hadn’t planned.

    If they wanted an abortion, plainly, Dana, they did not consent to being “bred”: they consented to sex only.

    But what is it you are saying, J: that the temporary inconvenience of one group of people outweighs the lives of another?

    I’m saying that the proper person to make the decision about whether to terminate or continue her pregnancy is the woman who’s pregnant. Only she can decide if having a child – 18 years nine months is hardly “temporary” – is something she can do/wants to do.

    You seem to think that legislators are the proper people to make that decision: that women’s bodies are not our own.

  62. If they wanted an abortion, plainly, Dana, they did not consent to being “bred”: they consented to sex only.

    Certainly they consented to being “bred.” That’s what sex is, after all.

    I’m saying that the proper person to make the decision about whether to terminate or continue her pregnancy is the woman who’s pregnant. Only she can decide if having a child – 18 years nine months is hardly “temporary” – is something she can do/wants to do.

    But pregnancy is temporary. They don’t have to raise the children once born. And even 18 years is temporary, not permanent.

    You seem to think that legislators are the proper people to make that decision: that women’s bodies are not our own.

    Don’t you know? Or is this a Freudian slip?

  63. But what is it you are saying, J: that the temporary inconvenience of one group of people outweighs the lives of another?

    It doesn’t matter. The Pro-Aborts have already dismissed the life being exterminated as being of no more significance than stepping on a cockroach. Arguing with these people, I have sadly concluded, is a complete waste of time. With them, it’s all about me Me ME!!! – MY body, MY right to have unlimited sex with zero consequences, my desire to deny the humanity of the unborn. In short, we’re dealing with moral morons and people with a very narcissistic outlook on life. Trying to reason with them is about as futile as trying to teach nuclear physics to a donkey.

  64. J wrote:

    But what is it you are saying, J: that the temporary inconvenience of one group of people outweighs the lives of another? (me)

    I’m saying that the proper person to make the decision about whether to terminate or continue her pregnancy is the woman who’s pregnant. Only she can decide if having a child – 18 years nine months is hardly “temporary” – is something she can do/wants to do.

    You seem to think that legislators are the proper people to make that decision: that women’s bodies are not our own.

    Actually, I think that the right to life is one of those inalienable rights of which our Declaration of Independence speaks, a right that comes from God, and is held by every human being, and is not subject to the whims of individuals or legislatures.

    After all, a legislature could decide that murder of a certain class of people is acceptable; the government of the Third Reich certainly did that. Indeed, Adolf Hitler was the legal Chancellor of Germany, and the powers he assumed were granted him, quite legally, by the Reichstag. It was perfectly legal for the SS to round up Jews, deport them to concentration camps, and kill them.

    I’m sorry that you don’t like the burdens imposed on women by the human reproductive system, but your complaint is with God or evolution or Mother Nature, however you wish to frame it; it is not with the legislature. If you absolutely don’t want to get pregnant, it is perfectly legal (a right I support) for a woman to go to the doctor and get a tubal ligation. If you don’t want to get pregnant, but are willing to accept the slight risk of contraceptive failure to preserve your ability to change your mind, then go right ahead and use contraception; it isn’t illegal and I wouldn’t make it illegal. But if, after all of your precautions, you get pregnant anyway, I would say that the right of your unborn child to live absolutely outweighs any considerations you may have short of a direct threat to your own life. If, after delivery, you wish to surrender the child for adoption, I’d see that as regretable, but also within your rights.

    The fact is that we all have rights, but there are areas in which the rights of different people come in conflict with the rights of others. Your right to play loud music ends at the point at which you disturb others. Your right to smoke cigarettes ends at the point where you are inflicting your habit on unwilling others.

    And your right to control your own body ends at the point where you would kill someone else. Sorry, but it just flat does.

  65. Well, Harry, I’ve got a suggestion for you.

    Trust the woman who’s pregnant to decide for herself and the fetus she carries when (and if) the needs of the fetus outweigh her own.

    Trust her to make good decisions, with medical advice from her physician.

    Assume that she’s at least as capable of deciding if she needs to terminate the pregnancy as a group of legislators who have never inquired into her personal circumstances. If not more so.

    The notion – common to all anti-choicers – that a pregnant woman isn’t capable of deciding whether she should terminate or continue her pregnancy, and so legislators should decide for her at a remove – is the most profoundly weird act of public disrespect.

    So you support legislative requirements to provide the woman thoughtfully considering an abortion all the pertinent information with which to make an informed choice, say for example, an ultrasound of the “fetus-human”?

    I really do wish you had answered one or two of my questions. Since women should have an unrestricted “choice”, I’d like to know how that should balance against the life of the “fetus-human”, particularly at what point it becomes a fully human being with concomitant rights to life.

    If you’re not willing to discuss when the “fetus-human” becomes fully human then I honestly don’t find any of the rest of your argument compelling, either morally or logically. Interestingly, if your argument lacks a moral basis, then you also have no legitimate basis to claim a woman’s transcendent right to make this decision. If there is no transcendent right for the “fetus-human” to live then there can be no competing “right to chose” for the mother.

    But anti-choice men? How do you justify to yourself, Harry, your belief that a pregnant woman can’t be allowed to make the decision whether her circumstances and her health will permit her to continue the pregnancy to childbirth?

    Strawmen aside, I’m simply asking when the “fetus-human” becomes fully human. At that point, there is a relative juxtaposition of two lives. To suggest that “circumstances” somehow trump another life, in my mind trivializes both lives. One might ask how you justify to yourself your assertion that women “should and do” possess transcendant control over what may very well be the life of another human being, at least at some point prior to birth.

    If by health, you truly mean the actual health of the mother-to-be, as opposed to some slight of hand legal loophole, then I do believe that the woman’s life may trump that of the baby if she elects. This is, of course, a moral dilema over which the one most profoundly affected must have control. But these circumstances are very rare.

    My problem with the preponderance of your “choice” argument is that those who consider themselves “pro-choice” are generally nothing of the sort. I have yet to hear any “pro-choice” spokesperson argue that women considering an abortion should be provided with any information regarding the development of the “fetus”, an ultrasound, adoption services or other alternatives, particularly for those who consider themselves in “dire circumstances.”

    I’ll wait for an answer to the questions I posed. When does the “fetus-human” become a “baby-human”?

  66. So you support legislative requirements to provide the woman thoughtfully considering an abortion all the pertinent information with which to make an informed choice, say for example, an ultrasound of the “fetus-human”?

    Certainly I don’t have a problem with legislation requiring the state to provide a pregnant woman with support for all her health requirements. Fairly obviously, those requirements are considerably more extensive than an ultrasound – and in fact, if a woman intends to have an abortion as soon as possible, though if she wants to have an ultrasound I see no reason why she shouldn’t, it’s a waste of resources to require her to have one.

    You’re in favor of pregnant women receiving free health care, then? Excellent. Me too.

    I really do wish you had answered one or two of my questions. Since women should have an unrestricted “choice”, I’d like to know how that should balance against the life of the “fetus-human”, particularly at what point it becomes a fully human being with concomitant rights to life.

    You would need to ask each individual pregnant woman how she makes that decision. My point is precisely that no one else can decide, for her, “how that should balance”. For you to ask me – neither of us pregnant (at least, I know I’m not, and I guess you’re not) is singularly pointless.

    If by health, you truly mean the actual health of the mother-to-be, as opposed to some slight of hand legal loophole, then I do believe that the woman’s life may trump that of the baby if she elects. This is, of course, a moral dilema over which the one most profoundly affected must have control. But these circumstances are very rare.

    About 43 percent of women who give birth in the US experienced “maternal morbidity” (defined as “a condition that has an adverse impact on a woman’s physical health during childbirth, beyond what would be expected in a normal delivery”). Maternal morbidity rates always go up – and are much more likely to end in death – in countries where abortion is illegal. For example, eclampsia affects “only” 0.1% of women in childbirth – that is, in the US, “only” about 4000 women a year die. There is no cure for eclampsia: the only way to avoid it is early delivery, and premature infants born from women with pre-eclampsia are often underweight and sickly. Yet no one can be certain that any one pregnancy will end in death for the mother – so in countries where abortion is only permitted if the doctor knows the woman will die, more women die of eclampsia because the doctor isn’t permitted to advise women at risk that they should consider terminating the pregnancy. And that is just one condition – one of many that impact on pregnant women.

    My problem with the preponderance of your “choice” argument is that those who consider themselves “pro-choice” are generally nothing of the sort. I have yet to hear any “pro-choice” spokesperson argue that women considering an abortion should be provided with any information regarding the development of the “fetus”, an ultrasound, adoption services or other alternatives, particularly for those who consider themselves in “dire circumstances.”

    I’m not against the idea that women should have that information available. In fact, you’d be hard put to argue that this information is not available. Anyone with access to the Internet or a public library or even a decent bookstore can easily find out, if she wants to, whatever information she feels she wants to have about fetal development (and any medical clinic should certainly have a pamphlet with the necessary information, available for free/on request). I refuse to believe that anyone could be alive/awake and not know that it’s possible to have a baby adopted, but again, I don’t have a problem with making that information easily available to a woman who wants it. (Besides, some states have “open adoption”, where the birth mother can continue to stay in touch with her child and the adoptive parents, and where this option is available, a pregnant woman who knows she can’t support her child may want to know that’s a possible option.)

    Making information available is a good thing. I’m all in favor of that.

    Forcing women to submit to an ultrasound before they can have an abortion is stupid: requiring women to sit through a patronizing video explaining fetal development for they can have an abortion is condescending and stupid. And I’ve heard of both happening.

    Infant adoption is fundamentally a bad thing, though: the notion that a woman who’s pregnant can “just” have the baby and give the baby up for adoption is something straight out of Uncle Tom’s Cabin:

    “Lucy,” said the trader, “your child’s gone; you may as well know it first as last. You see, I know’d you couldn’t take him down south; and I got a chance to sell him to a first-rate family, that’ll raise him better than you can.”

    The trader had arrived at that stage of Christian and political perfection which has been recommended by some preachers and politicians of the north, lately, in which he had completely overcome every humane weakness and prejudice. His heart was exactly where yours, sir, and mine could be brought, with proper effort and cultivation. The wild look of anguish and utter despair that the woman cast on him might have disturbed one less practised; but he was used to it. He had seen that same look hundreds of times. You can get used to such things, too, my friend; and it is the great object of recent efforts to make our whole northern community used to them, for the glory of the Union. So the trader only regarded the mortal anguish which he saw working in those dark features, those clenched hands, and suffocating breathings, as necessary incidents of the trade, and merely calculated whether she was going to scream, and get up a commotion on the boat; for, like other supporters of our peculiar institution, he decidedly disliked agitation.

  67. Dana: Actually, I think that the right to life is one of those inalienable rights of which our Declaration of Independence speaks, a right that comes from God, and is held by every human being, and is not subject to the whims of individuals or legislatures.

    Every human being? You don’t consider women to be human beings, then?

    Thought not.

  68. Every human being? You don’t consider women to be human beings, then?

    Who else would come up with a statement this ridiculous?

  69. Every human being? You don’t consider women to be human beings, then?

    Thought not.

    Gawd, but you are one nasty, mean-spirited person! I don’t suppose YOU will ever have to worry about abortion, with a personality like yours, no MAN will ever want to impregnate you, nor would any female partner want to have someone like you as a co-parent. Looks like you’ll be barren and childless for life, which probably explains why you have such a dry, cold hearted attitude toward unborn babies.

  70. Sharon: Who else would come up with a statement this ridiculous?

    Dana has said he considers that all human beings have an inalienable right to life.

    Denying women access to safe legal abortion means women will die.

    Dana thinks it’s only right to deny women access to safe legal abortion.

    Ergo, Dana doesn’t think women are human: in his eyes, women have no inalienable right to life.

    Sad but true.

  71. There are some terrific leaps of logic in this statement.

    For one thing, women already die because of pregnancy. Are you suggesting that we outlaw pregnancy because of that?

    And while there’s a risk of dying during pregnancy, there’s an absolute certainty of someone dying during an abortion–namely, the baby.

    So, according to you, it’s all right for the baby to die. You don’t even really mind that women die during abortions because you don’t address the fact that “safe, legal” abortions cause death, as well.

  72. Oh, good grief, what terrible logic. That’s like saying that substandard firearms pose a risk to murderers, ’cause some will get killed by faulty ones!

    Denying women “access to safe legal abortion” does not mean that women have to die; it means that women may not have abortions, and that neither they nor their unborn children will die.

    It is true that some women will choose to break that law, and that some of them will die from such; that’s when you get into the faulty firearms causing the deaths of murderers argument. But if all abortions save those required due to an immediate threat to the life of the mother were banned, most, but not all abortions would end. That means more total lives saved.

  73. Denying women “access to safe legal abortion” does not mean that women have to die; it means that women may not have abortions, and that neither they nor their unborn children will die.

    What a lovely fantasy. It would be very pretty if it were true.

    But it’s not. In every country where women do not have access to safe legal abortions, pregnant women die. The fetus they carry dies with them. That’s the facts.

    But if all abortions save those required due to an immediate threat to the life of the mother were banned, most, but not all abortions would end.

    Hasn’t worked that way in any country anywhere in the world, Dana. You want to believe the United States is different? Yet the direct testimony of people who remember the US before Roe vs Wade speaks against you.

  74. Sharon: For one thing, women already die because of pregnancy. Are you suggesting that we outlaw pregnancy because of that?

    No, I’m pro-choice. I’m saying women get to choose. If a woman knows the health risks to her in having a baby, and decides to take that risk, that’s her right. If she’s lied to about the health risks because her doctor isn’t legally allowed to warn her that having a baby will be very dangerous for her and she might want to consider abortion, she isn’t being allowed to choose.

    I’m against forced pregancy and forced abortion. I believe in women having free choice. Forcing women through pregnancy though it may kill them is wrong.

  75. Oh, and Dana – if you’re thinking that the US will prove the shining exception to the rule that banning safe legal abortions means more and more pregnant women die, don’t forget I still recall your vehement arguments against providing any reliable financial support for mothers (paid maternity leave, right to return to work, decent welfare benefits, free health care) – and that both you and Sharon have strongly argued that the government shouldn’t attempt to prevent abortions, with free contraception on demand and comprehensive sex education.

    Your support of making abortion illegal therefore only amounts to supporting illegal abortions.

  76. Infant adoption is fundamentally a bad thing, though: the notion that a woman who’s pregnant can “just” have the baby and give the baby up for adoption

    Geez, you sure are cold hearted! Adoption is the genuinely humane solution to the “problem” abortion tries to solve, namely, what to do with babies that the mother is either unable or unwilling to care for herself. She is relieved of a burden, and an otherwise childless couple gets a gift of a bundle of joy they can raise and love as their own. I’m sure it’s not easy to “give up” a baby you’re not emotionally or financially equipped to raise, but you seem to suggest that just flat out having the child executed in the womb is the better “solution”, which is just plain bizarre!

  77. I’m saying women get to choose.

    Why should women “get to choose”?

    What is the basis for the “ought to” here?

    I still don’t recall be given an answer for my question regarding when the “fetus” becomes a human.

  78. Harry: Why should women “get to choose”?

    Because women aren’t slaves or incubators.

    I still don’t recall be given an answer for my question regarding when the “fetus” becomes a human.

    A fetus is a potential human being. A fertilised egg can only become a human being if a woman decides she wants to invest 40 weeks of physical effort, permanently changing her body, risking her health, and with a small but insignificant risk of dying, in order to make that fertilised egg into a human being.

    If you believe women are slaves or incubators, you can believe that the slave or the incubator has no right to refuse to do the 40 weeks physical labor to make a human being out of a fertilised egg, whether or not the slave wants to have responsibility for caring for that human being for the next 18 years. (If you think of women as incubators, not even as human slaves, there won’t even be an issue about the incubator taking responsibility for the product.)

    If you think of women as free human beings, with an inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (as I do, and as Dana has made clear he doesn’t) then you will not feel you have any right to force a woman through pregnancy and childbirth against her will, or feel you can require her to have a baby she cannot support and see forcing her to give the child up to strangers as a “solution”.

    What side do you come down on, Harry? Do you think of women as free human beings, or as slaves and incubators?

  79. and with a small but insignificant risk of dying

    Typo – small but not insignificant risk of dying.

    I picked 5 developed countries off the WHO Core Health Indicators list (all stats from 2000):

    In Canada, the maternal mortality ratio (per 100 000 live births) is 5.

    In France, it’s 17 per 100 000 live births.

    In Sweden, it’s 8 per 100 000.

    In the UK, it’s 11 per 100 000.

    In the US, it’s 14 per 100 000.

    All those are of course countries where safe legal abortion is available to any woman who needs it. In El Salvador, where abortion is only safely available for women who can afford to leave the country to get one, 150 women die for every 100 000 live births.

  80. What side do you come down on, Harry? Do you think of women as free human beings, or as slaves and incubators?

    What a stupid question! You, apparently, favor a third option, namely seeing females as helpless “victims”, basically little children who aren’t expected to take responsibility for the consequences of freely chosen activities. In contrast, the rest of us view them as ADULTS, meaning, people whose freedom includes being expected to fully assume the responsibilities that come with adult level freedom. Adults are free to do things like drink alcohol, but if you do so to excess, then drive your car, you are liable for arrest. In contrast, we don’t let children drink alcohol because we don’t consider them mature enough to exercise that particular freedom. You seem to view women as children, except you’d let them drink and drive, then shield them from any legal consequences of doing so (shades of Paris Hilton?)

  81. In contrast, the rest of us view them as ADULTS, meaning, people whose freedom includes being expected to fully assume the responsibilities that come with adult level freedom.

    Except, the full assumption of responsibilities would necessarily include the right to decide, for herself, whether to terminate or continue a pregnancy. Which is precisely the full assumption of responsibility that pro-lifers oppose.

    Still waiting for your answer, Harry, though Eric has offered a fourth option: do you see women as children to be protected from full responsibilities, as slaves, as incubators – or as free, adult humans entitled to choose and decide?

  82. Why should women “get to choose”?

    Because it is their body, and they are a conscious, sentient human being. It’s called “freedom”.

    A fetus is not a conscious sentient human being.

    Arguably, a baby is not a conscious sentient human being – and in the past, infanticide has been used by many, many societies. Fortunately, we have reached the stage where we can socially agree to engage our sentimentality in considering babies to be human beings, if only by supporting them collectively when the parents are unable or unwilling. We have collectively decided to allow them to live without it affecting anyone’s rights.

    However, this doesn’t apply to a fetus which is inside the mother. Pregnancy is more risky than abortion, it is the mother which is at risk, it is her decision. There is no other person involved – a fetus is not a person.

  83. Except, the full assumption of responsibilities would necessarily include the right to decide, for herself, whether to terminate or continue a pregnancy.

    You mean, whether or not to kill her unborn baby. Interesting, of course, that the biological father has no “rights” of his own in the matter, seeing as how the baby is 50% genetically his. In your view, the unborn baby has even less rights than a slave, it’s basically a piece of meat to be disposed of at will. What a “humane” world view you have!

  84. a fetus is not a person.

    Prove it. Abortion and slavery both have the same thing in common, namely, they deny the humanity of the victim.

    A fetus is not a conscious sentient human being.

    You don’t know that. That’s just the cruel, cold, callous opinion of the typical Pro-Abort. If anything, the life of an unborn baby is probably one of heavenly bliss, full of happy thoughts and dreams unpolluted by the sufferings of life in the “real world”. Then along comes the abortionist, to tear that life apart, and end it in a shock of pain, cruelty and horror. The Pro-Aborts are proud of projecting a tough, callous image, of comparing unborn babies to guppies, lab rats, and the like, as if their lives and suffering have no meaning at all. But even an animal is possessed with an instinct for self-preservation, and to avoid pain and suffering. Even if you are heartless enough to dismiss the humanity of an unborn baby about to be executed aborted, you would have to concede that even an animal placed in that situation would suffer both emotional terror and excruciating pain.

  85. So, is a baby born at 30 weeks more of a sentient human being than a baby still in his/her mother’s womb at 30 weeks?

  86. Why should women “get to choose”?

    Because it is their body, and they are a conscious, sentient human being. It’s called “freedom”.

    So what? Are you trying to make a “moral” argument or not? If there is no moral imperative from a “higher power” than mankind, then women possess whatever “rights” those in power choose to give them, including “freedom”.

    If you are making a moral argument then you are hoist on your own petard.

    You can’t have it both ways. Either God has a role or He doesn’t. If He doesn’t, then you have no basis for asserting the right of the mother to “freedom”. If He does, then He also has something to say about the rights of the other human involved.

    A fetus is not a conscious sentient human being.

    Says who? At what point in it’s development is your statement true?

    When does a fetus become a human being with attendant rights?

  87. Still waiting for your answer, Harry, though Eric has offered a fourth option: do you see women as children to be protected from full responsibilities, as slaves, as incubators – or as free, adult humans entitled to choose and decide?

    As I wait for yours. This question, however, is a false dichotomy. It is also a circular argument, formed in a manner such that your imposed answer is the only one possible.

    Women are neither children nor do they possess unrestricted freedom. Nor do men, I might add. As I’m sure you’re aware, all adults answer to higher powers, whether they be governments or ultimately the Creator. In this, women are no different.

    In general, government should intrude on personal freedom in very few circumstances. I would argue that the question of abortion may be one of those circumstances, depending upon when the fetus becomes a human. Since we have yet to discuss that question seriously, there is no answer to your rhetorical false dichotomy.

    To whom or what do you appeal for your assertion that the woman should have the freedom to decide whether the fetus lives or not? Please see my response to Phoe immediately above for context.

    I look forward to discussing your ideas as to when the fetus becomes human and from whom or where the woman obtains the “freedom” to decide. Only then can we establish a context within which to discuss the abortion question.

    Additionally, I need not be a woman or pregnant to be able to discuss this issue any more than you need to be a soldier to discuss war. This is an issue that has implications for our entire society and as a member of that society I have every right to both have and express an opinion and even to contribute to making that opinion law through the ballot box. That’s also called “freedom”.

  88. Harry: If there is no moral imperative from a “higher power” than mankind, then women possess whatever “rights” those in power choose to give them, including “freedom”.

    Are you then taking the position that women are slaves?

  89. In fact, Harry, it seems to me that your argument is perfectly paradoxical:

    If God doesn’t exist, you say, it’s OK to force women through unwanted pregnancy and childbirth if you have the power to do so, because if there is no God there is no moral argument against treating women as slaves.

    If God does exist, you say, it’s still OK to force women through unwanted pregnancy and childbirth if you have the power to do so, because you think God wants you to treat women like slaves.

  90. In fact, Harry, it seems to me that your argument is perfectly paradoxical:

    Not in the least. I said what I said in as plain English as possible. Why not simply address what I said and what I asked?

    If God doesn’t exist, you say, it’s OK to force women through unwanted pregnancy and childbirth if you have the power to do so, because if there is no God there is no moral argument against treating women as slaves.

    No, I don’t say it’s “OK” to do anything at all, and your comment to the contrary is nothing less than a disingenuous strawman created with a false dichotomy. I am simply asking on what do you base your argument that we ought to treat women in a particular manner and that we ought to allow them unrestricted “freedom” (actually license) to do whatever they wish with what I would argue is another living human being. Surely there is some basis for your assertion. What is it?

    You continue to attempt to put words in my mouth and ideas in my mind that aren’t there so that you won’t have to address the primary issue: when are we no longer dealing with a “fetus” but a living human being?

    If God does exist, you say, it’s still OK to force women through unwanted pregnancy and childbirth if you have the power to do so, because you think God wants you to treat women like slaves.

    No, I’m saying no such thing. See my comment above. To the contrary, this is where your argument logically leads. I’m simply saying that by your “it’s OK” or “it’s not OK” moral argument that we then must address the humanity of the “fetus” and whatever rights it/he/she “ought to” possess in juxtaposition to the rights the woman “ought to” possess. I am also clearly stating that society has a valid role in the construct of this discussion.

    I’ll also say it again: your argument is a false dichotomy. It is simply not logically justified to assert that the woman must have absolute autonomy to make the moral decision regarding the life of the “fetus” or that she is a slave with absolutely no moral autonomy. Nonsense! There is a wide range in between those extremes.

    So, when does the fetus become a human with attendant rights?

    If you don’t or can’t realize why the question is relevant then as far as I’m concerned it’s a waste of time to discuss the matter further with you: you are simply being deliberately blind or obtuse or both.

  91. Surely there is some basis for your assertion. What is it?

    You’re seriously asking what basis there is for my assertion that women are free human beings – not slaves, incubators, or – as Eric suggested/projected – children not entitled to adult responsibilities?

    I’m afraid I just take that as a given, Harry. Women are human beings. It’s wrong to enslave fellow humans. For me, those are just basic assumptions: I’ve never asked myself on what basis I justify assuming that women are human, or that it’s wrong to enslave humans.

    Why do you feel the assertion that women are human, that it’s wrong to enslave human beings, needs any justification or explanation of its “basis”?

  92. #103, Why is it “a given”?

    Why is it “wrong to enslave human beings”? Virtually every society that has ever has existed has done so. Are you appealing to an absolute moral standard that supercedes all cultural standards?

    If you don’t even know the basis for your own understand of “right” and “wrong”, how can you assert that any other viewpoint is less “right” than your own and how can you criticize others here for having “wrong” opinions?

    Is it just what we “feel” at the time? As I indicated above, it certainly isn’t a societal construct, at least with regards historically to slavery and individual freedom.

    Does the right to individual freedom derive from some one or some where above humans?

    I’m afraid I’ll have to understand the basis for the moral authority you claim in making your arguments before I can discuss the rights of women or fetuses/babies further.

  93. Why not answer the question?

    J won’t answer the question, because it makes her arguments resemble those of the pro-slavery folks from 2 centuries ago. She needs to deny the humanity of the victims of abortion, in fact, she won’t even address the question at all. All we get in return is sophistry and childish ad hominem “arguments”, which basically amount to yelling “Well, you only oppose abortion because you hate women!”. This, of course, ignores the fact that probably 50% or so of the victims of abortion are themselves female. I guess girl unborn babies are just as much “pieces of meat” to the Pro-Aborts as boy babies. That, I guess, qualifies as “equality” from our self-proclaimed “progressives” …

  94. Harry: Why is it “wrong to enslave human beings”?

    If that’s really a question you need answering, you’re right, we’re just not on the same moral page. Come back to me when you know it is wrong to enslave human beings, and we can discuss this further.

  95. Jes, unfortunately you’ve missed my point completely, again and again and again. I strongly suspect intentionally, to avoid answering the very simple and straightforward question I posed well up thread: When does the fetus become a human with attendant human rights?

    Unless you posit a transcendant moral law of some sort, with which I happen to agree BTW, you have no logically justifiable basis for your argument. By your logic, absent a transcendant moral law, those with power have their sway over the less powerful and the powerless. That’s not my argument, it’s your basic assumption.

    My question was a legitimate question designed to elict an answer for the basis of your statement that “it is wrong to enslave human beings”, with which I also completely agree. I just don’t assume it to be true as “a given” – human history informs me otherwise.

    You have stated yourself that you don’t even know why you believe it to be wrong and you’ve appealed to no transcendent moral values that I know of. Given that, your argument fails because you just assume the truth of your assertion, a circular argument at best.

    What you’re asking us to do is to accept your argument that it is wrong for society to limit a woman’s rights in any way when it comes to abortion, without telling us why. “Because I say so” honestly doesn’t do it for me. If you’re going to argue a moral principle, argue it, but try to do so without the use of strawmen and false dichotomies.

    Further, you adamantly refuse to answer the simplest question regarding even your opinion of when you believe the “fetus” becomes a human. And you are similarly unwilling to provide a logical argument supporting that belief. That’s fine, but if it all boils down to your assumption that you’re viewpoint is singularly right, then you have no legitimate standard by which to judge Eric’s, Sharon’s, Dana’s or mine wrong.

    This construct forms the entire context for the abortion discussion, which is, after all a conflict of at least two “ought tos”. If the woman has natural rights then those are juxtaposed to the fetus’/child’s rights. It is a valid role of a civilized society to examine those rights and to decide collectively how they should be limited, if at all.

    Not even the Creator-given rights in our Bill of Rights are recognized without constraint. One can legitimately draw a moral line with respect to a transcendant moral principal short of either extreme that you pose.

  96. I promised myself I’d stay away, but as to this:

    Why is it “wrong to enslave human beings”?

    Starting from the premise, as defined by natural law (not the same thing, by the way, as Aquinas’ natural law based of divine mandate, but the “right Reason” of Cicero), that all humans are created equal (and by “created”, I believe that the best definition one can come up with under natural law is humans “who have been born”), the conclusion that, based on the fact that slavery entails inequality (itself included in the very definition of slavery), “no humans are slaves” is readily seen in the syllogism. There’s really no need for divine mandate as long as the first premise is accepted, and I highly doubt many of us would have a problem accepting it as true.

    Now, as to my argument before about utilizing women as food supplies, I think the problem here is the seemingly profound distinction between “temporary” and “permanent” effects, namely that pregnancy is seen as a solely temporary endeavor, and if this is indeed the argument put forth, it does negate quite a few possible (though admittedly not definite) effects that are quite permanent. If this is the argument as it stands, then I submit that, even if a full-grown person, in need of sustenance else they will suffer death, were able to utilize another person as a food supply for a temporary length of time, with minimal effects to the other person, it would not be legitimate or acceptable to force the other person to enter into that arrangement, regardless of circumstances.

    As much as you find the death of fetuses cruel and unusual, I’d rather every child that is born be wanted and not be the product of a situation in which a woman had no options other than carrying the fetus to term. As much as adoption and other alternatives should be given as possible avenues for women, it still forces them to choose only the option you want them to choose. I’m unconvinced that the ethical ramifications of that are trumped by a fetus’ right to life. If it was possible for a fetus to exist without utilizing a woman to survive, I would say that killing the fetus would be unethical. As it stands, there is a woman involved, and she is the one putting in the effort and assuming the risk. Therefore, if women are not slaves and are human beings in their own right, they should not be subjected to being food supplies for other people against their will.

  97. If that’s really a question you need answering, you’re right, we’re just not on the same moral page.

    It’s not a question I need answered at all.

    I’m curious, what “moral page” is it that you’re on?

    And I’m also curious when the “fetus” becomes a human being with attendant human rights, and for that matter, from where those rights derive.

  98. Ok, in addition to my comment, Sharon raised the question as to what is forcing a woman to feed her child who has been born. Here, I take the view that, by virtue of giving birth to the child, added responsibility has been taken on by virtue of the child’s birth by the biological or adoptive parents of the child. The body autonomy argument here is made void by entry into something like a contract, namely by bringing a child into the world with full knowledge and acceptance of the child as the parents’ offspring, added duties are willingly taken on by assuming the parental role, which can be defined by positive law. (Again, I see no reason why a non-malicious entity would want to bring a baby fully into the world, accept them as one’s offspring, and then not feed them.)

    Now, one could argue that a born child does not have a right to be breastfed, but it does have a right to be fed in some fashion, again, by virtue of the physical altering of the relationship between mother and fetus. And personally, I believe it is the duty of the state to make sure that the children who are born do live in a society that will make it easier for them to be fed, to get health care, etc, though I’m betting that belief is not shared around here.

    Oh, and as to the natural law and creation being the act of birth, I say that because many rational people do not agree on the personhood of the fetus, yet most, if not all, would agree that a born human is a person. So I guess I should say the premise in my earlier syllogism should be “all persons are created equal.” And further, “Slavery is not equality”, therefore “no persons are slaves”. I do this only because of the natural ambiguity of the word “human”, though I personally think that the personhood of the fetus is irrelevant. Then again, I like situational ethics mixed with a little natural law and utilitarianism.

  99. If it was possible for a fetus to exist without utilizing a woman to survive, I would say that killing the fetus would be unethical.

    Ooo, and I should caveat this: extracting the fetus would be impossible without surgery or labor of some sort, both of which place the woman in a dangerous position she may not wish to be in. If she elects to choose abortion (admittedly, a surgery), it would be, actually, unethical to force her to submit to induced labor or the like without her consent, despite fetus viability. What I meant more was that if there was a way to extract the fetus without potentially harming the woman or placing her into labor, and there were a way to keep that fetus alive, then it would be unethical to kill the fetus. It would also, however, be unethical to force the woman who wished to terminate the pregnancy to assume custodial rights over the fetus, therefore necessitating an adoption (and also admittedly, creating a population of “unwanted” children.) As it stands, this is impossible.

  100. J, you are positing the question of slavery when it comes to women being forced to bear children they don’t want. Trouble is, to avoid what you see as slavery means that you must murder a living human being. You attempt to avoid that problem by simply defining away humanity — which is exactly what Chief Justice Taney did in his infamous opinion in Dred Scott v Sanford.

    In an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Keiko O’Brien, who was pregnant, suffered a serious injury, and Dr Bashir, to save the life of her unborn child, used the transporter to transfer the unborn child to Major Kira Nerys — thus writing Nana Visitor’s pregnancy into the script!

    Now, maybe in the 24th Century, we’ll have the technology to solve both problems: ending a pregnancy for a woman who does not wish to be pregnant, without killing her unborn child by transfering him to a woman who is willing to bear him. But until then, it is clearly an either/or situation: either a woman is going to be forced to continue a pregnancy she does not wish, or someone is going to have to be killed.

    To me, it’s no moral quandry at all: I see the life of a child as outweighing the temporary inconvenience for a woman.

    And let’s face facts here, J: you have absolutely no propblem with the notion of inconveniencing people for what you see as the greater good. You are more than willing to impose higher taxes on my family and me (meaning: I must work harder and longer for someone else’s benefit) because you believe that the societal good which can be derived from such higher taxation outweighs my personal considerations. You are willing, in effect, to enslave me (demand more of my labor) for what you believe to be the greater societal good.

    You have, in effect, been attempting to form the completely libertarian argument concerning pregnancy, while eschewing it totally when it comes to other things.

  101. You have, in effect, been attempting to form the completely libertarian argument concerning pregnancy

    I’m not of the notion that monetary goods should be seen in the same light as body autonomy, as they are not demonstrably equivalent. The equation of labor with money is a purely capitalist idea, one not backed up by any real ethical standard, except maybe cultural relativism, which I’m sure you wouldn’t use in any other situation, seeing as it receives so much derision from conservatives.

    But yes, it is true I am a situational ethics follower, and I believe in dual effect. The death of the fetus is regrettable, but in the end, the net result is that the children who are born will be wanted and cared for, and more resources can be devoted to their care. A net societal good.

    As to taxation being a form of slavery, well, I’ve actually never heard that argument, though I would submit that that aspect is one shared by all who pay taxes, and I would actually ask if you would rather exchange places with someone who benefits from your taxes, accepting their circumstances and their resources in exchange for this idea you have that they do not pay taxes of any sort (I’m actually curious as to whether you think the people you help out are better off and in an equitable situation when compared to your own.)

    It does seem that humanity is being negated here for the all-important monetary gain, as well as a semblance of benevolence in the way of forcing women to bring a fetus to term which they do not want. I would argue that your logic seems to contradict, as more women giving birth to unwanted babies surely will entail a larger strain on the government, thus ensuring the need for more taxes.

  102. It’s not a question I need answered at all.

    Then why do you ask it?

    Do you think that women are human beings?

    Do you think that slavery is wrong?

    You seemed to be doubtful on the second point, demanding to know on what basis I asserted that it’s wrong to enslave human beings.

    What you’re asking us to do is to accept your argument that it is wrong for society to limit a woman’s rights in any way when it comes to abortion, without telling us why.

    But I have told you why: because women are human beings. Because it’s wrong to make human beings slaves. You reacted by wanting to know why it was wrong to make humans slaves, though at least you didn’t ask me why I say women are human…

  103. Dana: To me, it’s no moral quandry at all: I see the life of a child as outweighing the temporary inconvenience for a woman.

    So, you define permanent changes to a woman’s body, temporary or permanent damage to a woman’s health, a small but not insignificant chance of death, and 18 years of legal responsibility, as “temporary inconveniences”?

    That is an argument that justifies taking half your liver, Dana, if you’re a compatible donor and there’s a recipient person in need of a liver. It’s only a permanent change to your body, temporary (possibly permanent) damage to your health, and a small but not insignificant chance that you’ll die. But it would save the recipient’s life, probably, though the chance of the fetus dying at some point during pregnancy is statistically much higher than the rate of failure from live-donor liver transplants.

    Are you okay, then, with a law that compels you to be registered as an organ provider and will have you taken into hospital and whatever organs you can spare removed whenever a recipient needs them? After all, the “temporary inconvenience” (your definition) is outweighed by the lives your blood, kidney, lung, and liver could save.

  104. Jes, why not just answer his questions instead of running from them? He already told you why he wanted you to answer them: to see the framework (if there is one, which I doubt there is) for your argument that women following through on pregnancies they willingly entered into (by having consensual sex) is slavery. Just answer the questions for a change. It would be refreshing, to say the least.

  105. Then why do you ask it?

    I’ve explained myself a number of times in considerable detail. In return I’ve read only strawmen, false dichotomies and ad hominem responses. I regret that you are unwilling to enter into this discussion in any meaningful or mature manner.

    You seemed to be doubtful on the second point, demanding to know on what basis I asserted that it’s wrong to enslave human beings.NOT whether it’s wrong. Did you read my argument carefully? I suspect not, or you wouldn’t continue to miss the point of my question?

    Still chosing to avoid answering the question regarding when the “fetus” becomes a human with attendant human rights, though. Why is that?

  106. “A fetus is not a conscious sentient human being. ”

    You don’t know that.

    It’s like talking to people who think the world is flat.

    Yes, Eric, I do know that. A fetus is not aware and does not think because it doesn’t have the capability to do so.

  107. I’ve answered them, some of them repeatedly.

    Not really. The only thing you’ve done repeatedly is construct strawmen and demand that we choose one false dichotomy or another.

    So, when does the “fetus” become a human being with attendant human rights?

    On what basis do you argue that women should have the unrestricted right to end a pregnancy for any reason?

    No, I’m not confused. I want to know your basis for believing in these rights. Please make the case without begging the question.

  108. So what? Are you trying to make a “moral” argument or not? If there is no moral imperative from a “higher power” than mankind, then women possess whatever “rights” those in power choose to give them, including “freedom”.

    Sorry – your fictional “higher power” has already endorsed genocide, rape and torture. You’re not really in a position to point at the Christian version of The Big Sky Fairy and claim it as a source of moral guidance.

    Rights are not determined by power. The implementation, application and limits of rights may be determined by power, but rights themselves are determined by the necessary predicates for an existential identity. To fully establish oneself as a person, to become, one must exercise certain claims which precede social constraints, as the individual existential identity precedes social structures. These include the right to life and the right to ownership over one’s self.

    A fetus has no existential identity (it may have a nominal identity assigned to it by others, but this is a seperate matter). It therefore has no rights which can override the mother’s.

  109. She needs to deny the humanity of the victims of abortion,

    In the same sense that you deny the humanity of the countless chickens, cows and pigs slaughtered for the meat industry, perhaps.

    Pinoccho may not be the smartest cookie in the packet, but it doesn’t mean you’re demonstrating her position is wrong merely through assertion. Try again.

  110. The Phoenician wrote:

    Rights are not determined by power. The implementation, application and limits of rights may be determined by power, but rights themselves are determined by the necessary predicates for an existential identity. To fully establish oneself as a person, to become, one must exercise certain claims which precede social constraints, as the individual existential identity precedes social structures. These include the right to life and the right to ownership over one’s self.

    A fetus has no existential identity (it may have a nominal identity assigned to it by others, but this is a seperate matter). It therefore has no rights which can override the mother’s.

    An interesting argument, that. To you, “one must exercise certain claims which precede social constraints . . . to fully establish oneself as a person.” Forget the unborn; how does a four-month post-partum baby do that? How would a two-year old child manage such a task?

    We could ask the same about many of the handicapped; could a seven year old autistic child meet the criterion you have set forth? What about a teenager who is severely retarded? Would the elderly Alzheimer’s patient, who was once aboe to meet the standards you set forth, have them “grandfatehred” for the rest of his life, or does he become both expendable and dispossessed of human rights when his disease has become seriously advanced?

  111. Damn it, Dana! Quit stealing my thunder! ;)

    I was going to make similar arguments. If a baby can be aborted at 38 weeks or born at 38 weeks, what is the difference between the two? Neither are “sentient” in the sense of an adult or even a 5-year-old. But both a 38-week-old fetus and a 38-week-old gestated baby that’s born have the same development. The difference is location.

  112. NOT whether it’s wrong.

    So you do consider it wrong to enslave people? I’m still not getting a clear yes/no statement from you: where exactly do you stand on this?

  113. On what basis do you argue that women should have the unrestricted right to end a pregnancy for any reason?

    On the basis that treating human beings as if they were property is wrong.

    On what basis do you argue that any human being has a right to the use of another human being’s body against that person’s will, at the risk of that person’s health and life?

  114. An interesting argument, that. To you, “one must exercise certain claims which precede social constraints . . . to fully establish oneself as a person.” Forget the unborn; how does a four-month post-partum baby do that? How would a two-year old child manage such a task?

    Ah, now here we’re getting into interesting territory. This argument does *not* justify extending human rights to a baby (to a child, it does – people start down the slippery slope at which a human starts asking “who am I and what am I doing here” well before 2).

    But, historically, human rights have not been extended towards babies. Throughout most of history, infanticide has been a common response to unwanted children – and one endorsed by your Big Sky Fairy, too.

    We (speaking as a modern Westerner) do not like this. Indeed, we do not like abortion – despite your stupid sneering bout “pro-aborts”, just about everyone finds it distasteful. We are pro-choice, not pro-abortion – at the same time we insist on a woman’s right to choose abortion, we also advocate keeping it as low as possible through access to contraception and effective sex education.

    But the existential argument is not necessary for granting human rights to babies. The simple fact is that that sentimentality which leads us to cherish infants can be indulged in in modern societies without affecting anyone’s rights.

    We, as a collective society, want to treat babies as legal human beings; we, as a collective society, have the resources to do so (which, historically, we didn’t – when infanticide was acceptable) and we, individually, have no more need to hurt babies than we do to torture animals or blow up national monuments. Therefore babies are extended the status of human beings based on this sentiment – in extremis, they can be supported by society as a whole should the parents be unable to do so.

    But that sentiment falls down badly when you attempt to apply it to a fetus. A fetus is not a baby; it is inside an actual human being. The mother’s right to a fundamental ownership of herself, based on her status as a sentient, thinking person, trump any claim to a fetus’s rights based on sentiment.

    The anti-choice crowd are a demonstration of pure sentiment, ranting and raving about the precious unborn children. We can afford to collectively engage in that sentiment when dealing with babies. We simply do not have the right to collectively engage in that sentiment when it collides with the mother’s fundamental rights.

    I predict at this point that Sharon, cementing her status as a bear of little brain, will start whining that putting people in jail for stealing violates their fundamental rights.

  115. I’m unconvinced that the ethical ramifications of that are trumped by a fetus’ right to life. If it was possible for a fetus to exist without utilizing a woman to survive, I would say that killing the fetus would be unethical.

    You’ll excuse me if I find the tone above to be rather smug and pompous. The whole thing reeks of the stale halls of academia, where everything in life can be reduced to sterile theories, and where real life considerations like basic morality and conscience simply don’t enter the picture.

  116. Yes, Eric, I do know that. A fetus is not aware and does not think because it doesn’t have the capability to do so.

    Sorry, chum, but just saying it doesn’t make it so. Of course, that’s a very self-serving argument, naturally, the more you can deny the humanity of the unborn baby, the easier it is to justify killing it.

  117. The Phoenician’s argument, somewhat too long to quote, holds that post-partum infants do not have fundamental rights, save as our society chooses to grant them, because they are incapable of advocating for their own rights.

    Such argument must also recognize, then, that if a society chooses to extend those rights to the unborn, it is perfectly within its authority to do so.

    And authority is the proper word; by extending the rights you have claimed are not natural to infants to them, we have inhibited the rights of their parents to kill them, should they so choose, and do, in fact, punish such good parents under the law.

    The anti-choice crowd are a demonstration of pure sentiment, ranting and raving about the precious unborn children. We can afford to collectively engage in that sentiment when dealing with babies. We simply do not have the right to collectively engage in that sentiment when it collides with the mother’s fundamental rights.

    What are fundamental rights? We speak of them all the time, but fundamental rights are still defined by people. What you see as a fundamental right is clearly different from what I see as a fundamental right.

    I predict at this point that Sharon, cementing her status as a bear of little brain, will start whining that putting people in jail for stealing violates their fundamental rights.

    Would you say that people have a fundamental right to eat and a fundamental right to freedom? If a person is hard up, and steals food to eat, wouldn’t it be a violation of the thief’s fundamental rights to imprison him for theft?

  118. So you do consider it wrong to enslave people? I’m still not getting a clear yes/no statement from you: where exactly do you stand on this?

    How’s this for clear? Yes, I consider it wrong to enslave people. And I can actually give you a reason why I believe it’s wrong. There is a transcendant moral reason that supercedes all cultural and historic precedents to the contrary. It’s wrong to enslave people because we are all formed in the image of God and He requires of us to treat people accordingly.

    I’d love to hear your reason. To date all I’ve heard is, “well I just assume that the be the case” and “gee, I haven’t really thought about the reason” (loosely quoted).

    On the basis that treating human beings as if they were property is wrong.

    Do you also subscribe to a transcendant moral code of some sort? All I see here is an assertion.

    On what basis do you argue that any human being has a right to the use of another human being’s body against that person’s will, at the risk of that person’s health and life?

    Of course you’re well aware that I’ve made no such argument at any time, nor have I implied any such thing, nor do I in fact agree with this statement in any way whatsoever. This is your strawman. I do think you should read my comments more carefully. At least you could then argue with my points. It’s really unbecoming to argue with one’s self as you consistently do.

    Phoe, your argument is nothing more than a “because I say so” appeal to a transcendent moral law by the back door.

    …your Big Sky Fairy…

    On the contrary, He is my Creator God, and yours as well, whether you care to agree or not. I’m truly sorry that you feel the way you do, but your argument appears to be with your Creator, not with any of us who attempt to live in accordance with His law and principles and who are simply attempting to express what we believe those principles to be.

  119. Harry: It’s wrong to enslave people because we are all formed in the image of God and He requires of us to treat people accordingly.

    Okay. Thank you for being so clear.

    Of course you’re well aware that I’ve made no such argument at any time, nor have I implied any such thing, nor do I in fact agree with this statement in any way whatsoever.

    Okay. So, you agree that even if we grant a fetus full human rights from the moment of conception, that does not give a fetus the right to the use of the woman’s body against her will, at the risk of her health and life?

    In other words, a woman has a right to choose for herself whether she will terminate or continue a pregnancy, and this is the case no matter when in her pregnancy you want to consider that a fetus is a full human being.

  120. Rights are not determined by power. The implementation, application and limits of rights may be determined by power, but rights themselves are determined by the necessary predicates for an existential identity. To fully establish oneself as a person, to become, one must exercise certain claims which precede social constraints, as the individual existential identity precedes social structures. These include the right to life and the right to ownership over one’s self.

    When you translate this gobbledygook into plain English, what you basically get is this: “Morality is whatever I say it is”, or perhaps more precisely, “Morality is whatever suits my convenience”.

  121. The mother’s right to a fundamental ownership of herself, based on her status as a sentient, thinking person, trump any claim to a fetus’s rights based on sentiment.

    Sorry, but even in Roe, the Court understood that the baby has a fundamental right to life that supercedes a woman’s right to convenience. They expressed it in the ill-conceived (pun intended) trimester system, now defunct, when, in the final trimester, a woman could only have an abortion if her life or health were seriously endangered.

    Case after case, the courts have determined that a baby’s right to life exists before birth. And, yes, “pro-abortion” is the correct term for those against life. Their “choice” consists of killing babies for convenience. There’s no other way of describing it accurately.

  122. Okay. So, you agree that even if we grant a fetus full human rights from the moment of conception, that does not give a fetus the right to the use of the woman’s body against her will, at the risk of her health and life?

    If the sex was consentual, then it’s NOT against her will. The baby, is, in essense, an invited guest, and is entitled to be treated as such. Your illogical assumption is more like the baby is an intruder, and that furthermore that intruder should be given the death penalty.

  123. Okay. So, you agree that even if we grant a fetus full human rights from the moment of conception, that does not give a fetus the right to the use of the woman’s body against her will, at the risk of her health and life?

    To quote Ronald Reagan: “There you go again.” This conclusion does not follow from the premise and it does not follow from any of my prior statements or arguments either. To begin with, we don’t “grant a fetus full human rights” at any point before or after birth. The fetus/baby is granted whatever rights it/he/she possesses by the Creator. This misunderstanding is likely the nexus of your problem with addressing the humanity of the baby.

    Neither human society nor any human institution “grants” human rights to any human being, male or female, born or waiting to be born – they are “endowed by the Creator”. If human rights were granted by other than the Creator then they could be removed or “ungranted” by humans or human institutions on a whim. I would argue that the preponderance of abortions usurp the Creator’s sole prerogative to grant human rights.

    The second half of your point seems to derive from your apparent unwillingness to be subject to a basic biological fact that the baby develops inside the woman. It is not a matter of “any human being having the right to use another person’s body against their will”, or a matter of a baby “using” the body of the woman as if he or she had a choice to develop elsewhere and chose the woman to “use” “against her will”. The baby is not a virus. At some point it is a human.

    At the point of my conception, every single bit of DNA required for me to develop into the old crotchety guy that I am was present. I don’t consider that I was a virus that my mother should have been able to have disposed of, nor that I somehow “used” her against her will.

    You may not like it that nature was designed this way and that women were the chosen vessle to become mothers and in which babies develop, but it is simply a fact of nature – it is what it is. The baby has to develop somewhere. The Creator’s design is that a woman is that “somewhere”. Like it or not, it is simply the way nature works.

    This says nothing about the woman’s Creator endowed freedom nor does it in any way imply that women are “enslaved” in any way. Additionally, if we choose to live in the manner ordained by the Creator and reserve sex for the marriage relationship, then there is a family support structure provided to assist the woman with this very difficult, yet rewarding task. In this respect, the father is tasked with supporting the mother and the child. This is also not slavery for the father. It is an honor for both.

    In other words, a woman has a right to choose for herself whether she will terminate or continue a pregnancy, and this is the case no matter when in her pregnancy you want to consider that a fetus is a full human being.

    This conclusion does not logically follow from the premise either. If and when the fetus becomes fully human then I would argue that it possesses the attendant right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” granted by the Creator. Neither you, nor I, nor any other created being has the right to attempt to usurp the prerogatives of the Creator.

    We can legitimately disagree when the fetus becomes a human being. My belief is that it may very well be at the point of conception. The church has taught at various times that it is at “the quickening” or the point at which the sole enters the baby, but I would argue that if we don’t know that we err on the side of the child.

    I’ve heard the argument that a significant minority of conceptions end in miscarriage so that justifies medically induced “miscarriages” otherwise known as abortions. I don’t find that argument morally pursuasive for many reasons that I’m willing to discuss.

    What I will agree with is that if the mother’s life is truly in jeopardy due to the pregnancy then she certainly has the unequivocal right to decide to choose her life over the developing life within her. This tension between two living human beings is a long discussion in itself – too long for this thread.

  124. When you translate this gobbledygook into plain English, what you basically get is this: “Morality is whatever I say it is”, or perhaps more precisely, “Morality is whatever suits my convenience”.

    Eric, you’ve cracked the code. This is clearly an appeal to a transcendant morality by the back door. It is also a recognition that everyone has a god, if only themselves.

  125. When you translate this gobbledygook into plain English, what you basically get is this: “Morality is whatever I say it is”, or perhaps more precisely, “Morality is whatever suits my convenience”.

    Actually, if you assert this is true, than “Morality is whatever is written in this book” or “Morality is whatever I accept as the interpretation of what is written in this book” is equally as invalid, as you have given the book a validity and supremacy that is not self-evident. But here, you mistake ethics for morality. You are not using morality to justify behavior, but an ethical system you have deemed valid. Morality is quite a bit harder to determine than just “I believe X, therefore X.”

    And I would say that the attempt to equate Divine Command Theory with Natural Law Theory or even the situational ethics I have proposed is not one rooted in an understanding of ethics. No matter how pompous you may consider me. “WHAT ABOUT THE BAAAAYYYBEEEEES?!” is not a particularly useful critique if you wish to actually have a moral, ethical, and logical society. Less unwanted children being born would seem to suggest more wanted children being born, yes?

  126. Actually, if you assert this is true, than “Morality is whatever is written in this book” or “Morality is whatever I accept as the interpretation of what is written in this book” is equally as invalid, as you have given the book a validity and supremacy that is not self-evident.

    Jack, it may surprise you but I agree with this comment. The point I have been trying to make, unfortunately largely unsuccessfully, has been that all of the arguments I’ve heard from Jes, Phoe, and others assume a transcendant “rightness” or “wrongness” from some source. I have been merely asking them to identify the source of their absolute “rightness” or “wrongness”. I stated my reason succinctly, without attendant logical justification, simply because I was asked a direct question that required a direct answer regarding the basis for my assertion.

    You simply can’t argue that something is “right” or “wrong” from a relativistic perspective. It makes no sense. Every single argument to date appeals to an “absolute”, whatever the source. I was simply attempting to discern the source of belief, not to address the rationality of the source in detail.

    I would include your ethical arguments in my comment. From whatever reasoning you derive your “ethics”, you seem to appeal to them as applicable to our society and culture as a whole. As to whether “Morality is whatever is written in this book” or “Morality is whatever I accept as the interpretation of what is written in this book”, that is the subject of a far more involved discussion than the context of this thread allows. As you know, however, there are logical arguments that can be made on behalf of “the Book”. We also need to remember that the preponderance of the principles of western civilization in general and the United States, in particular, derive from a Judeo-Christian world view, including “…all men are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights …”.

    “WHAT ABOUT THE BAAAAYYYBEEEEES?!” is not a particularly useful critique if you wish to actually have a moral, ethical, and logical society.

    I might tend to agree with you on some level if “WHAT ABOUT THE BAAAAYYYBEEEEES?!” was the sum of our arguments but it’s actually a bit of a strawman for you to paraphrase the argument in those terms. The real question in the abortion issue, as far as I’m concerned, isn’t “choice”, it’s “when does the fetus become a human being.” I would argue that once we are dealing with two human beings, mother and child, then we have a more complex equation to solve than the mother’s “choice” alone.

    As for your second point: …Less unwanted children being born would seem to suggest more wanted children being born, yes?, I’d have to ask in all seriousness: So what? The entire thesis of your question disregards the value of the life of the “unwanted child” and devalues life in general.

    Furthermore, it seems that you’re prepared to suggest that “unwantedness” or “wantedness” is or should be a primary consideration in the treatment of other human beings, at least whether they live or die. But how about whether they receive public schooling or medical care or any number of other things we do for the less fortunate in our midst?

    Honestly, if your ethical system can make that linkage then I would argue that it doesn’t create much of a “moral” society at least from my viewpoint. Does this thought process apply to Grandpa and Grandma also? Does it apply to people with disabilities? That’s certainly where I would argue that it naturally leads.

    Additionally, is it really your argument that it’s “better” for “unwanted” children not to live? Somehow, “be wanted or be dead” doesn’t do it for me no matter how you twist “ethics”, “morality,” or “logic” to get there.

  127. I pointed out to Jack previously on this thread that prior to Roe, it could be argued that all babies were forced, not wanted, since abortion was illegal. I and the millions of people born before 1973 do not feel less loved or worthy because our mothers couldn’t legally kill us. To argue that “wantedness” is the sole criterion for who should live and who should die is highly unethical, it seems to me. It’s not like “wantedness” determines who performs valuable services to and in society, after all.

  128. Sorry, chum, but just saying it doesn’t make it so.

    Uh-huh. You’re claiming a fetus is a conscious, sentient being – and you think the burden of proof is on me?

    Of course, that’s a very self-serving argument, naturally, the more you can deny the humanity of the unborn baby, the easier it is to justify killing it.

    You seem to have problems reading again. A fetus is a member of the human species; it is human in that sense.

    What it is not is a person in an existential sense, nor is it a full person in a legal sense.

    The Phoenician’s argument, somewhat too long to quote, holds that post-partum infants do not have fundamental rights, save as our society chooses to grant them, because they are incapable of advocating for their own rights.

    Nope. It’s because they are not people – the inability to advocate for their “rights” is a consequence of this, not an antecedent.

    Such argument must also recognize, then, that if a society chooses to extend those rights to the unborn, it is perfectly within its authority to do so.

    Which part of “The mother’s right to a fundamental ownership of herself, based on her status as a sentient, thinking person, trump any claim to a fetus’s rights based on sentiment.” did you have problems parsing?

    What are fundamental rights?

    Again, read – “To fully establish oneself as a person, to become, one must exercise certain claims which precede social constraints, as the individual existential identity precedes social structures.”

    Would you say that people have a fundamental right to eat and a fundamental right to freedom?

    And how exactly are these necessary for establishing an existential identity, the ability to make meaningful choices?

    Rights are always legitimately constrained in a social context when they interact with other people’s rights. This includes private property and stealing.

    This doesn’t include abortion – the only person involved is the mother.

    Phoe, your argument is nothing more than a “because I say so” appeal to a transcendent moral law by the back door.

    Harry, it’s a direct denial of a transcedent source of moral direction. It’s not my problem if you’re ignorant.

    On the contrary, He is my Creator God, and yours as well

    God spoke to me. You were created by someone else entirely.

    That last comment is at least as reliable as the Bible.

    When you translate this gobbledygook into plain English, what you basically get is this: “Morality is whatever I say it is”, or perhaps more precisely, “Morality is whatever suits my convenience”.

    Nope. For one thing, it isn’t dealing with morals, arguments about the proper decisions to be made by an individual, at all – it’s dealing with rights, which are an argument about the legitimate/b> use of collective power in a social context.

    As with Harry, your ignorance is your own problem. Do you want me to suggest useful starter texts?

  129. Honestly, if your ethical system can make that linkage then I would argue that it doesn’t create much of a “moral” society at least from my viewpoint. Does this thought process apply to Grandpa and Grandma also? Does it apply to people with disabilities? That’s certainly where I would argue that it naturally leads.

    Grandpa and Grandma are people. It’s up to them to decide whether they want to live or die.

    A fetus is not a person.

  130. Grandpa and Grandma are people. It’s up to them to decide whether they want to live or die.

    Of course I was discussing Grandpa and Grandma within the context of “wantedness” and whether it would be justifiable within Jack’s worldview to kill them if they aren’t “wanted” in the same way that he argues we dispose of an “unwanted” child.

    The demographics of the western world are of aging populations that will be very expensive to support in the next several decades. Some will outlive their children and some will be resented by their children for the resources they consume. It’s not hard for me to see them/us as “unwanted” “users” of economic resources, particularly those millions who will develop alzheimers, who are arguably no longer “sentient beings” and who can no longer “decide whether they want to live or die”. Do they also cease to be persons as you have insisted is true of a fetus?

    Harry, it’s a direct denial of a transcedent source of moral direction. It’s not my problem if you’re ignorant.

    …it’s dealing with rights, which are an argument about the legitimate use of collective power in a social context.

    Why use the terms “legitimate use of collective power” and “rights”? Pardon my “ignorance” but it certainly looks like an appeal to something outside of the society, otherwise the term “legitimate use of collective power” has no real meaning. “Legitimate” according to whom? Still looks like a back door to me.

    Regarding my original discussion with Jes, my primary point was that once we argued that particular “rights” “ought to” be either respected or denied, then this was a de facto appeal to an absolute. I was simply asking “which absolute?”

    You have the right to be as insulting, condescending and arrogant as you wish, but your argument still has a “because I say so” character to it and you’re still sneaking a transcendant viewpoint in by the back door.

    On the contrary, He is my Creator God, and yours as well

    God spoke to me. You were created by someone else entirely.

    That last comment is at least as reliable as the Bible.

    I’m sure we could discuss this assertion at length and I’m equally intellectually comfortable that there is more than adequate evidence attesting to the veracity of the Bible. I remain sorry that you feel that way, but your beef is with God, not me.

  131. A fetus is not a person.

    So you assert. By your definition of “personhood”.

    And you’re absolutely sure?

  132. Harry: The second half of your point seems to derive from your apparent unwillingness to be subject to a basic biological fact that the baby develops inside the woman.

    And therefore, the woman has the right – not being a slave or an incubator – to decide if she wants to use her body to develop a baby. To argue that she ought not to be allowed to decide for herself, for each pregnancy, if that’s what she wants to do, is to argue that women are slaves. You think slavery is wrong because humans are made in the image of God, yes? So, women are human, made in the image of God, and you are talking about chaining the image of God to a hospital bed to force her to use her body for another person against her will.

    It is not a matter of “any human being having the right to use another person’s body against their will”, or a matter of a baby “using” the body of the woman as if he or she had a choice to develop elsewhere and chose the woman to “use” “against her will”.

    You agreed, however, that – even to save that person’s life – it is wrong for that person to be able to use another person’s body against her will. I don’t recall your making a caveat “But it’s OK to use another person’s body against her will to save your life if you have no other choice”. You were emphatic that in no way did you agree with using another person’s body against her will.

    This conclusion does not logically follow from the premise either. If and when the fetus becomes fully human then I would argue that it possesses the attendant right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” granted by the Creator.

    You also have to argue that it has the right to make use of another human’s body against her will in order to survive, which you were earlier arguing you didn’t agree with, but in this comment you seem to be saying you do believe in…

    But you also have to argue that the woman does not have those attendant rights – that the fetus’s right you have just granted it to make use of the woman’s body overrides her right to – “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”.

    In short, you believe the Creator made women slaves.

    Which is an argument 19th-century American Christians used to make about an entire group of people, based on characteristics they claimed the Creator had “naturally” endowed those people with.

  133. Honestly, if your ethical system can make that linkage then I would argue that it doesn’t create much of a “moral” society at least from my viewpoint. Does this thought process apply to Grandpa and Grandma also?

    As an assertion, admittedly, no, for the very reason PiatoR uses. The process of birth is forcing women into the task of bringing a fetus to term, however, once birth has been attained, the quality of the relationship between mother and child have altered, and a new entity, the child, has come into existence. Even law agrees with this, as you don’t really determine your entry into the world by your conception date, but your birth date.

    As to “wantedness” being the sole criteria for who lives and dies, I think this is a straw man of my argument, as it negates what “wantedness” really means, namely that the mother is willing to take on the risks and perils of pregnancy all the way to the birthing process. Once this has occurred, whether an entity is wanted or not, it has been given the only real criteria that is rationally agreed upon by all people for existence. They have been born. To extend the idea that abortions should be legal to the idea that you can kill people who have been born is a slippery slope fallacy, as no one here is arguing that people who have been born should die.

    And of course, Sharon again attempts to use my argument that I feel much more gratitude towards my mother because she had the choice to not have me to act like I’m saying that other people are less loved by their parents. Because that’s an absolute distortion, par for the course. I do not think that not having access to an abortion means that the endeavor was any less risky for women, in fact that is my point. Having access to an abortion means the woman has an out of a situation and experience that is not generalizable, is not easily defined by its mere processes, and is dangerous for many, despite some vague assertion that it is always temporary. The process of pregnancy may end within a given period of time, but the effects it has on women do not always, and to say that it never has permanent effect is ludicrous.

    The real point of ethics is that we discuss what each other believe and come to a rational conclusion, not that we all end up agreeing to the same ethical system. I think it would be very ethical to allow abortions for those who do not wish to be pregnant and do not see a problem with aborting a fetus, and to allow people to not have abortions who either want a baby or do not believe abortions to be ethical.

  134. As for your second point: …Less unwanted children being born would seem to suggest more wanted children being born, yes?, I’d have to ask in all seriousness: So what? The entire thesis of your question disregards the value of the life of the “unwanted child” and devalues life in general.

    I do not agree, because this assumes that “life” as a qualifier for existence and personhood does indeed begin at conception. Also, it assumes that unwanted fetuses that are aborted are, in fact, children. These are assertions, as you put it, that are not self-evident.

    What my statement was more saying is that making sure that every child born is wanted means that birth should be a process that is taken on willingly, and asserting that sex is a sole qualifier for entry into the contract of pregnancy negates the actual process of pregnancy, which is what J and I have been saying all along. For all the assertions that pregnancy is always temporary, the process is not its effects, which can be long-lasting. To put women in a position of having no way out of that process is something I feel takes her agency out of the picture, thus forcing her into a subservient position to society. There’s a word for that.

  135. Uh-huh. You’re claiming a fetus is a conscious, sentient being – and you think the burden of proof is on me?

    If you want to kill it, then yes. And since you can’t, your whole argument falls apart.

  136. “WHAT ABOUT THE BAAAAYYYBEEEEES?!”

    Well, isn’t THAT what it’s really about? Not some abstract theoritical academic sounding verbiage, but an actual flesh & blood human being whose life or death hangs in the balance?

    Personally, I think the Pro-Aborts would be better off ditching the sophistry and simply making honest arguments for abortion. Something along the lines of:

    “We can’t prove it’s not human, and we don’t really care if it is or not. We believe we should have the right to kill it for good reasons, bad reasons, or no reason at all”

    That would be honest. Of course, it would also sound pretty callous and cold hearted, which is probably why they don’t use it very often.

  137. And I would say that the attempt to equate Divine Command Theory with Natural Law Theory or even the situational ethics I have proposed is not one rooted in an understanding of ethics.

    WHOSE understanding of ethics? And why the use of the word “ethics” as opposed to “morality”? The latter, I guess, sounds more authorative, suggesting an absolute set of standards for Right and Wrong, whereas “ethics” sounds more like something you can just make up as you go along. Hence “your” ethics” and “my” ethics might differ, and without a higher authority to appeal to, who’s to say which one is better? It all then just boils down to differences of opinion.

  138. The process of birth is forcing women into the task of bringing a fetus to term

    Outside of rape induced pregnancies, this assertion makes no sense at all. It is, however, rather convenient if you want to kill the unborn baby by falsely giving it a malevolent role, as in some form of trespasser, intruder, even kidnapper who has somehow seized the poor “victimized” woman against her will and demanded accomodation for 9 months. What, did he use a gun? Did he wear a mask, the way cartoon burglars and bank robbers usually do? See how silly this all sounds when you use basic common sense reasoning?

  139. Nope. For one thing, it isn’t dealing with morals, arguments about the proper decisions to be made by an individual, at all – it’s dealing with rights, which are an argument about the legitimate/b> use of collective power in a social context.

    Translation (modified): “Morality is whatever I say it is, provided it can be backed up by enough muscle and guns” (i.e., “collective power”). Thanks for the update!

  140. It all then just boils down to differences of opinion

    As does what actually constitutes “morality”. Morality is the claim that there is a higher authority upon which to base claims of god or bad ethics. You believe in Divine COmmand Theory, which presupposes that the higher authority stems from a Judeo-Christian idea of a deity. This is not demonstrably more valid than saying that reason is that higher authority, we just substitute terms. However, we arrive at drastically different conclusions based on our own opinion of what constitutes devotion to this supposed idea of morality, and neither one is demonstrably more valid than the other given basic logical principles.

    A fetus is, again, not an entity that is considered in my ethics, because it could, in fact, be a full-grown human, and my ethical principles, which I have outlined in detail for you, do not deem a person’s physical body as the same as an incubator or food supply. My ethics say that one has no right to utilize another person’s organs for their own purposes, no matter who they are or what their circumstances may be, without the person’s consent who is being used. Abortion implies that the mother does not consent to being used in such a fashion. That the fetus dies is an unfortunate consequence, but one that is subsumed by the fact that the woman has final say over whether her organs can be used to whatever end.

    The actual malevolent entityu, by the way, is not the fetus, but society, telling women that they must endure pregnancy. For all the hemming and hawing about how sex = pregnancy, it is not a demonstrably true implication that If sex occurs, then pregnancy occurs. Therefore, your equality is invalid, and pregnancy cannot be considered a necessary consequence of sex. It is a consequence, but that does not mean it must be the consequence by virtue of the fact that it is a possible consequence. This, again, is a belief, for all your assertions of moral superiority.

    And once again, your morality is merely based on your own opinion as to what that higher authority is, and is based on your own conception of its dictates, which is neither absolute nor demonstrably valid.

  141. And therefore, the woman has the right – not being a slave or an incubator – to decide if she wants to use her body to develop a baby. To argue that she ought not to be allowed to decide for herself, for each pregnancy, if that’s what she wants to do, is to argue that women are slaves.

    You keep bringing up this “slavery” thing ad nauseum, but your “argument” is simply bass-ackwards in that you’re basically relegating the unborn baby to the status of being just a piece of property (the operant definition of a “slave”) who was no intrinsic value other than whether or not it’s “wanted”.

  142. And once again, your morality is merely based on your own opinion as to what that higher authority is, and is based on your own conception of its dictates, which is neither absolute nor demonstrably valid.

    Except it’s not just MY opinion, but rather based on 2,000 years of history. What could be more “demonstrably valid” than that? And, what is your alternative, other than a morality based on pure self-interest?

  143. My ethics say that one has no right to utilize another person’s organs for their own purposes, no matter who they are or what their circumstances may be, without the person’s consent who is being used.

    This is the same “argument” used by J, only in more sophisticated language. The basic point is pregnancy = slavery. This is silly, as well as being self-serving. Pregnancy may certainly be an inconvenience (especially to the person who would prefer not to be pregnant) but that’s pretty much it. To try to equate this to the status of being a slave is just overwrought emotionalism, not logic or rationality. Sex is a freely chosen activity (I’m excluding rape, for the purposes of this discussion) and pregnancy is often a possible consequence of that activity. Therefore no one (outside of rape, of course) is ever FORCED to become pregnant, and so that whole argument simply falls apart. J, unfortunately, is either too dumb or too dishonest to understand this basic idea.

  144. Except it’s not just MY opinion, but rather based on 2,000 years of history.

    Heh. Neither, then, is my ethical system just my opinion, but based on history spanning roughly an equal length of time. Even longer, in fact, as Cicero died a few decades before Christ was born.

  145. The other points are further restatements of your earlier assertions, and they still aren’t refuting anything without relying on your own opinion.

  146. Life is not something you get away with!

    Life is not an intellectual exercise! All the important events in your life will not involve an intellectual decision, and if it does it will usually happen in spite of it not because of it. Life and what will become your “ethical system” come from experience. You do not get to cheat and Cliff Note it regardless who the author might be.

    Some where amidst the wonderful sage statements alluded to on here we should include this one; and I paraphrase…

    First you believe, then you understand.

    Cutesy Nihilism gets old. It is always the same old crap.

  147. Cutesy Nihilism gets old. It is always the same old crap.

    As does sage advice that says nothing. I’m no nihilist. I just don’t believe what you believe.

  148. Heh. Neither, then, is my ethical system just my opinion, but based on history spanning roughly an equal length of time. Even longer, in fact, as Cicero died a few decades before Christ was born.

    But so what? No one has based a moral system based on Cicero, at least not one that has stood the test of time, as the New Testament has. One difference between mere intelligence and wisdom is recognizing that there are things creater than ourselves, whether you want to call them “God” or “Judeo-Christian ethics” or whatever. I might like to think I’m reasonably smart, but I know I’m not remotely smart enough to come up with a moral system all by myself, and especially not one that is truly transcendant, i.e., that applies to all people across all of time.

    Most human based morality (or “ethics” if you prefer) usually boils down to self-interest in the end, for the simple reason that being selfish is rational. After all, if there’s no higher power, then life really does boil down to “What can I get away with?” or “How can I live in a way that maximises my own pleasure?” Getting back to the original subject at hand, how much of pro-abortion sophisty is basically a demand to be able to enjoy unlimited sex without having to deal with any consequences?

  149. No one has based a moral system based on Cicero, at least not one that has stood the test of time, as the New Testament has.

    You are confusing morals and ethics again. You want to claim that Judeo-Christian ethics has always been moral? Even when demonstrably devoted to its own precepts? If so, that explains a lot. Your idea of morality is the preposterous notion that human ethics can attain a perfected state, where “bad” and “good” are inherently known and are inherenty defined, as defined by a book you believe to hold some type of holy value inherent within it. Obeying a God who was written about by a bunch of misogynist guys over a period of period of 700 years is just as invalid a definition for “good” as any other, sometimes even moreso, as shown by a lot of Christian history.

    You may take this to be nihilist, but I’m not so sure you use the definition correctly. I have a belief system, it just isn’t yours.

    Getting back to the original subject at hand, how much of pro-abortion sophisty is basically a demand to be able to enjoy unlimited sex without having to deal with any consequences?

    Pretty laughable, considering old King Solomon. granted you could say he got smited right good, but then there’s also Abraham pimping out his wife to kings for political favors. Which he got, and was rewarded by God for. How much of Judeo-Christian ethics is merely an attempt to control women by subjugating them?

  150. After all, if there’s no higher power, then life really does boil down to “What can I get away with?” or “How can I live in a way that maximises my own pleasure?”

    Actually, this is exactly what Cicero argued against. I wouldn’t dream of thinking you are aware of where your ethical system, as most likely shown to you, comes from, but Aquinas lifted things nearly verbatim from Cicero and Aristotle with respect to Natural Law and where truth is derived from, except he substituted the idea of reason with the Judeo-Christian God. Cicero also got a lot of things wrong, like the natural place of women in society, so I would never dream my complete ethical system to be purely devoted to his precepts, but he did hit one quite a few good points, I believe.

    And either way, try establishing a system of ethics that isn’t derived from human writings. Try finding one in existence. Saying the authors were “divinely inspired” is not a logically demonstrable assertion, so if you want to cop to being illogical, have at it. I’ll not argue.

  151. And either way, try establishing a system of ethics that isn’t derived from human writings. Try finding one in existence. Saying the authors were “divinely inspired” is not a logically demonstrable assertion, so if you want to cop to being illogical, have at it. I’ll not argue.

    This has the makings of an interesting conversation. I’d love to address this and your other sundry points, but right now have business to attend to (combination birthday/Father’s Day party) so won’t be able to reply in detail till later this evening at the soonest.

  152. And therefore, the woman has the right – not being a slave or an incubator – to decide if she wants to use her body to develop a baby.

    And she exercises that right when she consents to sex, knowing she can become pregnant. Given that pregnancies from nonconsensual sex happen in, perhaps, 1% of abortions performed, that means 99% of the time a woman has exercised her right to choose to conceive. Again, there is an assumption of risk in the behavior. Not liking the result doesn’t make it less voluntary.

    But you also have to argue that the woman does not have those attendant rights – that the fetus’s right you have just granted it to make use of the woman’s body overrides her right to – “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”.

    The lack of logic displayed by Jes is overwhelming. The right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” are not absolute (there are no absolute rights). In the case of babies, the inconvenience for the “happiness” of the woman is temporary, which is partly why the SCOTUS has said her rights may be limited in terms of abortion.

    In short, you believe the Creator made women slaves.

    Only if you don’t believe in free will.

    Even law agrees with this, as you don’t really determine your entry into the world by your conception date, but your birth date.

    This isn’t entirely true, given the abundance of wrongful death laws which allow people to sue for the wrongful death of their unborn children. Pro-abortion supporters hate these laws, btw, because they see them as a way to give personhood to people they don’t consider people. Nonetheless, they are legal and lawful.

    As to “wantedness” being the sole criteria for who lives and dies, I think this is a straw man of my argument, as it negates what “wantedness” really means, namely that the mother is willing to take on the risks and perils of pregnancy all the way to the birthing process.

    It’s not a strawman. It’s a logical conclusion from your own argument. You used “wantedness” as some sort of criteria for whether a person deserved to live or not. There are situations where a child could be born when the mother most certainly did not want it–such as a botched late term abortion. And while there are documented cases of doctors and nurses allowing these children to die (despite laws to the contrary), there are others who survive. Are they less people because they were not “wanted”?

    And of course, Sharon again attempts to use my argument that I feel much more gratitude towards my mother because she had the choice to not have me to act like I’m saying that other people are less loved by their parents.

    That’s because your statement is so utterly stupid as to deserve pointing out. It’s ignorant to assume that your mother somehow “wanted” you more because abortion was an option versus the millions and millions of people who were born when abortion wasn’t an option. And it’s stupid as well because there are children born to mothers who didn’t “want” them while pregnant but who overcome that selfish tendency to become good mothers. And regardless of “wantedness” or no, a person is still worthy of respect.

    I do not think that not having access to an abortion means that the endeavor was any less risky for women, in fact that is my point.

    But neither does it make a person less or more “wanted.”

    Having access to an abortion means the woman has an out of a situation and experience that is not generalizable, is not easily defined by its mere processes, and is dangerous for many, despite some vague assertion that it is always temporary.

    Pregnancy is always risky, whether the child is “wanted” or not, whether abortion is available or not. It is the temporary nature of pregnancy which makes abortion, a permanent solution, so despicable.

    The process of pregnancy may end within a given period of time, but the effects it has on women do not always, and to say that it never has permanent effect is ludicrous.

    No one here argued that pregnancy can’t leave permanent effects. I don’t have the tiny waist I had before having children. But that doesn’t justify killing babies for convenience.

    I think it would be very ethical to allow abortions for those who do not wish to be pregnant and do not see a problem with aborting a fetus, and to allow people to not have abortions who either want a baby or do not believe abortions to be ethical.

    We got this. In the process, you’ve been told repeatedly that abortion isn’t simply a “choice” a woman should have because she didn’t “feel” like having children but “felt” like having sex. It’s a “choice” rife with problems, not the least of which is dead children and physical and psychological problems for women. Oh, and profits for abortion providers.

    These are assertions, as you put it, that are not self-evident.

    It’s not that the assertion isn’t self-evident. It’s that you don’t consider fetal development to be evidence. Again, a 30-week-old fetus and a 30-week-old fetus that is born have the same level of development. It’s just a matter of location.

    What my statement was more saying is that making sure that every child born is wanted means that birth should be a process that is taken on willingly, and asserting that sex is a sole qualifier for entry into the contract of pregnancy negates the actual process of pregnancy, which is what J and I have been saying all along.

    But what more consent does there have to be than consent for the act that results in pregnancy? How much more “consensual” can it get?

    For all the assertions that pregnancy is always temporary, the process is not its effects, which can be long-lasting.

    But the same could be said for other processes with unpleasant effects. Being drunk is a process and sobering up can be painful, but it is nonetheless temporary. And if you kill a few brain cells in the process, that’s permanent. Yet if you choose to drink and become drunk, you consented to the unpleasant effects.

    To put women in a position of having no way out of that process is something I feel takes her agency out of the picture, thus forcing her into a subservient position to society. There’s a word for that.

    You mean “responsible”? That’s a word for that.

  153. The actual malevolent entityu, by the way, is not the fetus, but society, telling women that they must endure pregnancy. For all the hemming and hawing about how sex = pregnancy, it is not a demonstrably true implication that If sex occurs, then pregnancy occurs.

    Oh, boy. Back to this argument. Because pregnancy doesn’t result from every act of sexual intercourse doesn’t make pregnancy a predictable consequence of it. In fact, if the risk of pregnancy from sex were really as low as so many pro-aborts try to claim, they wouldn’t need to push birth control so heavily.

    Therefore, your equality is invalid, and pregnancy cannot be considered a necessary consequence of sex.

    Pregnancy is a normal, natural, predictable consequence of sex.

    Heh. Neither, then, is my ethical system just my opinion, but based on history spanning roughly an equal length of time. Even longer, in fact, as Cicero died a few decades before Christ was born.

    Well, actually, the morality Eric is basing his opinions on is a bit older than 2,000 years. Do we get to keep trumping whose morality is older?

    And why is it none of the pro-aborts want to argue the legal points of abortion, I wonder?

  154. And she exercises that right when she consents to sex, knowing she can become pregnant.

    No, Sharon: consent to sex is not consent to pregnancy.

    In the case of babies, the inconvenience for the “happiness” of the woman is temporary

    I hope your own children aren’t reading this. It would be rather terrible for them to find out that you regard them as a temporary inconvenience.

  155. And why is it none of the pro-aborts want to argue the legal points of abortion, I wonder?

    You’ll have to find a pro-abort and get them to join this discussion if you want an answer to that one.

  156. No, Sharon: consent to sex is not consent to pregnancy.

    You mean women are unaware that sex causes pregnancy? Maybe they do need more sex education!

    I hope your own children aren’t reading this. It would be rather terrible for them to find out that you regard them as a temporary inconvenience.

    They certainly aren’t a permanent inconvenience.

    You’ll have to find a pro-abort and get them to join this discussion if you want an answer to that one.

    But we have them right here! You, Jack, P. You all argue for (pro) abortion. Why not discuss the legal points raised? I suspect it is because you either don’t understand them or know you have no arguments that would stand up to scrutiny. Not that that hasn’t stopped you from commenting before.

  157. Sharon, I can see where you would think that I’m saying that people who didn’t have access to an abortion or are not wanted are less loved, but I do not think that is true, nor would I make any assertion that women do not love their children. I know my mother was given a choice not to have me, yet chose to have me, and I feel gratitude to her for choosing to accept the consequences my existence entailed, namely the risk of pregnancy. This does not mean I want to structure society to force all women to do the same. i want all women to have the choice not to carry a child to term. That is what I meant. You can keep on thinking that I’m being idiotic about it, but I think it’s supremely idiotic to equate sex and pregnancy with drunkenness and a hangover. Not only supremely idiotic, but downright maliciously stupid. That’s the only word I have for it.

    I argue to keep abortion legal, Sharon. I’ve never said abortion is not rife with problems of an ethical and physical nature. The ethical problems of abortion, for me, however, do not outweigh the ethical problems of forcing a woman to remain pregnant.

    I’m guessing you’ve either forgotten what implication is in logic, or you are again acting maliciously stupid, but equality implies implication and its converse, meaning that if you say sex = pregnancy (and don’t equivocate here, because that’s exactly what you are doing) you have to prove that sex implies pregnancy, which I’m sure you’ve realized is completely false. It’s entirely possible and downright normal to have sex without pregnancy. It happens all the time. Pregnancy as a natural consequence of sex is not the same as it being a necessary consequence of sex. War is a natural consequence of human existence, as shown by human existence. Is it a necessary consequence? Of course not.

    As to the legal points raised, I personally am not exactly a legal positivist when it comes to misogyny, as the law has been used multiple times to degrade and subjugate women in a socially mandated way, so I feel that this is a situation best served by arguing via natural law. One could say that I’m just mad that the law does not agree with me, but that’s not necessarily a reason I am wrong. If a woman is killed while pregnant, it could be assumed that up to that point, she was willing to consent to pregnancy, and that the fetus is her baby by virtue of the fact that she had chosen to carry it up to the point that she died. Therefore, in the interests of the murdered mother, I’ve got no problem with a wrongful death suit, as it could be assumed that she would have carried the fetus to term and would expect to do so. We have no evidence to the contrary, and everything that would be given as testimony is hearsay.

    And Sharon, I wouldn’t worry about us not understanding things. Look to your own house.

  158. As does sage advice that says nothing. I’m no nihilist. I just don’t believe what you believe.

    Jack everything is not always about you. No, I can’t say you are a nihilist (that was directed at somebody farther south) from what you say on here though you at times do approach it. You do like to indulge in convoluted justifications revolving around secular ethics. Here is one…

    Starting from the premise, as defined by natural law (not the same thing, by the way, as Aquinas’ natural law based of divine mandate, but the “right Reason” of Cicero), that all humans are created equal (and by “created”, I believe that the best definition one can come up with under natural law is humans “who have been born”), the conclusion that, based on the fact that slavery entails inequality (itself included in the very definition of slavery), “no humans are slaves” is readily seen in the syllogism. There’s really no need for divine mandate as long as the first premise is accepted, and I highly doubt many of us would have a problem accepting it as true.

    I have no problem with discussions along these lines in principle. I just get weary of them after a bit as nobody once they break away from the college environment talks that way. You may find this narrow mined and ignorant and that is fine. I tend to think it is based on my experience. I was once upon a time the beneficiary of a wealthy indulgent father. I was able through his kindness to ski, drink, and have a grand ole time on a journey through some on the finest institutions in Colorado. I had discussions with Marxist professors in Boulder and arguments with humanist ones at DU. It was a great time to be in college as comedy clubs were just being started and the old hippy coffee houses were still around. You could even drink legally at eighteen. Aids had not reared its ugly head though we were to find out it had been lurking around, so life was carefree (maybe for the last time. We would sit around and talk forever about life its ownself (thank you Dan Jenkins). I remember one argument with a close friend that went on for what seemed like days, due the benefits of a certain herb, it was over whether East of Eden could be considered a great novel. Found out years later the SOB never even read it.

    I remember sitting in class (happen to be on Russian church architecture) at the University of Colorado at Denver and had an epiphany. Not the religious kind but the “oh shit what do I do now” kind. By virtue of somehow passing integral calculus I was going to graduate, or should have been as I had around 160 semester undergrad hours. I had put it off way to long you see (it would even be longer but that is another story) and my Dad, God love him, had long since lost his patience. This was all quite distressing as there we still hills I had not skied and rocks still unclimbed; not to mention a girl and a apartment and a nice lifestyle I could not afford if it was to be me out on my “own”.

    That all gets me to this: once I had to (was forced to thankfully) get a job and deal with a little more responsibility things changed. All the ethics, logic and comparative politics courses seemed to fade. Real choices slapped me in the face and my real “ethical system” began to develop. I found a woman by the grace of God and I love her pilgrim soul with every fiber of my being (see even crude provincials read Yeats). I then had two fantastic kids. My faith stated to mature and as life has knocked off some of my more ruff edges I received a deeper understanding about this gift of life. See that is how things work, people become religious, develop their ethical/belief system as a result of their lives. Some people get the cart before the horse.

    When people come on here offer their hard purchased views on monumental subjects and all they get it is “your views were not stated in the proper form and are not supported by the required scholarly foundation” it pisses me off. The “this is the reality based community asshole, deal with it” is juvenile. If someone needs/requires that kind of crap I suggest they contact Ward Churchill as it is his specialty.

    It is the height of arrogance to think that because you are educated, because you have knowledge you somehow have wisdom. That because you have been taught how to formulate a well structured argument that it trumps the world view of anyone else. People throw around Aquinas, Socrates, Voltaire and others to support their vacuous theories that are bereft of anything solid besides intellectual speculation. My goodness, nobody has really read all of St. Thomas have they? The little fat monk was born with a quill in his hand. He never even read all of what he wrote and besides look what he said about it all in the end. Me, I am partial to the old North African Bishop but that is just me but then again Jack you find his sage advice tiring.

    I have to conclude again that most of this intellectual muscle flexing is just narcissistic. It must also assist in getting laid. What Jes’ excuse is I have no clue. Some might say all I have done is just launch an ad hominem attack. Well I say…yeah, that is the point. The only other thing would be that we disagree and I am just trying to point out why. The philosophical arguments are fun and enjoyable but to no purpose. That makes them…

  159. I wrote #174 in response to #163. Looky here now…

    I’m guessing you’ve either forgotten what implication is in logic, or you are again acting maliciously stupid

    And Sharon, I wouldn’t worry about us not understanding things. Look to your own house.

  160. All right, I’m back, and have gone over your last two posts to me in greater detail. And of the various points made, this is the one that just leapt out at me:

    Your idea of morality is the preposterous notion that human ethics can attain a perfected state, where “bad” and “good” are inherently known and are inherenty defined, as defined by a book you believe to hold some type of holy value inherent within it.

    Question – Why is this a preposterous notion? What’s wrong with a system that has genuine ideals? Don’t you want more from life than something that can merely be “logically demonstrable”, as if everything in life can be reduced to something that can be spit out of a computer? Logic is nice (especially in mathematics and science) but things that only satisfy the intellect tend to be cold and barren in the long run if they don’t satisfy the heart and soul as well.

  161. Me, I am partial to the old North African Bishop but that is just me but then again Jack you find his sage advice tiring.

    Augustine had problems in his own right, which I believe he himself confessed. I’m trying to be detached, because I have derided here for being overly emotional and flying off the handle. Plus, arguing against disingenuousness makes me feel like I’m taking crazy pills. The height of humor to me was Eric saying I was being sophistic. I’d laugh if he wasn’t being serious.

    Ethics is something, however, that I sincerely hope I never stop thinking about. It’s easy to slip into “well God says this, the Bible says this, etc” and lose sight of whether what is being said corresponds to any sort of truth, or is it merely dictate that has been passed down via tradition and acceptance because it was tradition.

    nobody once they break away from the college environment talks that way

    Society is not better for it, though I understand. It’s hard to break out of the realm of talking points and memes that are easily repeated, especially when society wants to structure itself that way, regardless of what you ever wished for yourself. It’s also hard to sometimes recognize that the way your thought patterns are going negate other ideas unexplored. Life is hard, at least from the little I have lived of it.

    You would be incorrect to assume, however, that have not had to experience life on my own, as I currently have two jobs, and I live in an apartment on my own. I have worked those two jobs, tutoring snot-nosed trust-fund babies in beginner physics and calculus, as well as fixing the laptop computers they break on a regular basis, for over three years now. I am not unacquainted with not being able to pay bills and with a steady relationship which I have had to struggle for. I am not some uppity asshole who is trying to make you feel bad about yourself because you have developed ideas based on faulty logic. I genuinely care about this issue and I’m personally pissed off that I get written off as a pro-abortion killing machine, eating three-month old babies for breakfast because that’s the way I roll.

    I am just as human as you are, and just because I’m speaking the way I do does not mean I want to appear pompous or arrogant. It’s the only way I can speak that doesn’t get written off as “lying” or however you usually condescend to Jesurgislac
    or whomever you disagree with. I won’t post here any more, and I’m sorry I ever did.

  162. Why use the terms “legitimate use of collective power” and “rights”?

    Because I’m contrasting them to arguments about morals, which are about the proper use of the individual’s choices. What we’re debating is not morality.

  163. So you assert. By your definition of “personhood”.

    And you’re absolutely sure?

    Sure enough that I’m not willing to take away a woman’s right to choose.

  164. Uh-huh. You’re claiming a fetus is a conscious, sentient being – and you think the burden of proof is on me?

    If you want to kill it, then yes.

    I hereby assert cows, chickens and pigs are conscious, sentient beings that deserve fukll human rights.

    I assume you will now be turning vegetarian until you can prove me wrong, since the burdon of proof is on you?

    And if the answer is “yes”, wait until I assert the same about carrots…

  165. Except it’s not just MY opinion, but rather based on 2,000 years of history.

    I’ll see your 2000 years of history, and raise you 6000 years of societies, the majority of which accepted infanticide.

  166. Sharon, I can see where you would think that I’m saying that people who didn’t have access to an abortion or are not wanted are less loved, but I do not think that is true, nor would I make any assertion that women do not love their children.

    But this is the implication of your remark that you are grateful your mother didn’t abort you. And it’s a silly thing to say. Whether your mother had the opportunity to have an abortion or not has nothing to do with wanting or not wanting you.

    You can keep on thinking that I’m being idiotic about it, but I think it’s supremely idiotic to equate sex and pregnancy with drunkenness and a hangover.

    Why is that? Both are actions with consequences which can be unpleasant. How is it more idiotic to make that comparison than equating pregnancy with slavery? I consider that comparison to not only be idiotic but vile.

    I argue to keep abortion legal, Sharon. I’ve never said abortion is not rife with problems of an ethical and physical nature. The ethical problems of abortion, for me, however, do not outweigh the ethical problems of forcing a woman to remain pregnant.

    That’s where we differ. I consider the ethical problems of abortion, particularly as practiced in nearly every instance, to be far greater than the inconvenience associated with pregnancy. Maybe it is because I’ve been pregnant. You wouldn’t know about that.

    I’m guessing you’ve either forgotten what implication is in logic, or you are again acting maliciously stupid, but equality implies implication and its converse, meaning that if you say sex = pregnancy (and don’t equivocate here, because that’s exactly what you are doing) you have to prove that sex implies pregnancy, which I’m sure you’ve realized is completely false.

    Thanks for mischaracterizing my argument, yet again. It’s a normal reaction for your side of the debate. When I say that pregnancy is a normal consequence of sex, you turn this into a sex=pregnancy argument. To say that pregnancy is a normal consequence of sex is not to say it always happens or that it happens even most of the time. But it happens enough that there is an entire industry devoted to preventing it. That tells me that the onus is on YOU to prove how sex doesn’t equal pregnancy.

    As to the legal points raised, I personally am not exactly a legal positivist when it comes to misogyny, as the law has been used multiple times to degrade and subjugate women in a socially mandated way, so I feel that this is a situation best served by arguing via natural law.

    Shorter Jack: The law doesn’t back up my opinion, so I dismiss the law.

    Fortunately, we have the law which doesn’t bend to the whims of the Jacks in this world.

    And Sharon, I wouldn’t worry about us not understanding things. Look to your own house.

    Oh, what a comeback! I’m so huuuuuurt. Here’s a clue, Jack. I don’t worry about you not understanding things. I laugh at the fact that you stupidly argue this way.

  167. And she exercises that right when she consents to sex, knowing she can become pregnant

    Do you consent to being hit by a car when you cross the road, knowing that it is always a possibility? If we cited some book written a few thousadn years ago, would we be correct in leaving you to die on the side of the road since it was your own damned fault?

    No, I can’t say you are a nihilist (that was directed at somebody farther south)

    Uh-huh.

  168. I won’t post here any more, and I’m sorry I ever did.

    Jack, I wouldn’t go that far. Personally, I’ve lived a bit over 58 years so I’ve seen a bit more than you but I still find it intellectually challenging to be held to account for the manner in which I express my ideas. Further, I think you generally argue in a fairly civil and mutually respectful manner, admittedly with a few lapses. But then we all lapse into the old trusty ad hominem every now and then.

    I also believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God, but that doesn’t mean that I believe it’s appropriate to base my arguments for how our society “ought to” deal with abortion or other serious problems, on the Bible. We live in a secular society, admittedly based on Judeo-Christian principles, but it is emphatically not a theocracy, so it’s generally appropriate to make arguments with at least some level of secular basis.

    Though I’ve answered questions above in terms of my personal beliefs when pressed, you might note that the preponderance of my questions and arguments on this subject are based primarily on our secular documents and our founders’ assertions rather than the Bible. Your assertion that simply citing the Bible is not an adequate answer to any of these questions on its own is true. Unfortunately, when the subject comes up in that context it’s often not possible to launch into the extensive discussion that would be required to document or argue the biblical principles so we have to settle for “sound bites”.

    I hope you’ll reconsider your decision to leave. I don’t find you either pompous or arrogant. I believe you seek to apply the rules of logical argument to discussions, as I hope I do, and that you say what you believe, not just to make a point. That you might come across as “academic” is understandable. That’s where you are at the moment. There’s nothing wrong with that and it doesn’t mean your arguments are less valuable to the discussion. Some of us have been around a “bit” longer. There’s nothing wrong with that either. We may have life experiences you’ve not yet had. That’s OK. We might still learn something from each other.

    I try to argue from common sense and logic. At least I’d like to think I do in most cases. I also try to elicit from people the basis on which they form their arguments, and if I see what I think is a logically deficient argument I’m not reluctant to point that out. That rubs some people the wrong way. I try to be civil when I disagree but I also don’t take anyone’s assumptions for granted either. None of us knows everything. I believe the key is to be humble and to try to understand what you don’t know as well as what you do. Stick around. Have your say. Engage our brains. God knows it might stave off dementia for a few more years for old codgers like myself.

    I truly hope you’ll reconsider.

  169. I am just as human as you are, and just because I’m speaking the way I do does not mean I want to appear pompous or arrogant. It’s the only way I can speak that doesn’t get written off as “lying” or however you usually condescend to Jesurgislac
    or whomever you disagree with. I won’t post here any more, and I’m sorry I ever did

    Oh, for Heaven’s sake, this is just silly! Yeah, the arguments can get a little heated at times, but then abortion generally does that, and besides we’ve pretty much beaten that to death anyway, and seemed to be heading into much more interesting territory, things like – where do moral and ethics come from and of course issues of religion, which to borrow your own quote, “that I sincerely hope I never stop thinking about”. I don’t agree with many of the things you say, but at least you seem to present your arguments well, and in any event you can always learn something new by simply exposing yourself to other viewpoints.

    PS The main reason we pick on J is simply for saying things that really ARE untrue, like asserting that Kerry really won in 2004. Once you make a habit of telling these kind of whoppers, your credibility naturally tends to suffer.

  170. I hereby assert cows, chickens and pigs are conscious, sentient beings that deserve fukll human rights.

    If you want to start a separate topic on “Animal Rights”, then have at it. But right now the issue is abortion, which does not (Duh!) concern animals at all. Point is, if you’re gonna kill an unborn baby (and let’s please get rid of the phony euphenism “choice”, since neither the baby nor father has any choice in the matter at all) then the burden is on the killers to prove it ain’t human, not the other way around.

  171. I never said you were not human Jack. I never said you lied. I would never encourage anyone to give up asking the tuff questions or to give up on their convictions and I don’t think I have. I never said anything that denied you have not “lived” yet. I am also direct and not disingenuous.

    Augustine had problems in his own right, which I believe he himself confessed.

    Yes he did and I think that was one of my points. You have passion, wonderful! True passion is rare. I just do not like your approach is all and selfishly I do not like it when it is directed at me. When you go through one these episodes and the angry energy dissipates you get somewhat likable.

    I can’t answer for Eric or anyone else on here. J can take care of his/her self. It’s not my site and you have been posting here longer than me, don’t leave on my account. If I am the problem fine, I wont comment on your posts. I hardly think the old guy telling the young guy that he has some growing to do and the young guy saying the old one is out of touch is cause for leaving.

  172. I’ll see your 2000 years of history, and raise you 6000 years of societies, the majority of which accepted infanticide.

    Even if true, so what? I was simply responding to the notion that mine was simply an “opinion” as if plucked out of thin air, and not backed up by anything real or substantial.

  173. If you want to start a separate topic on “Animal Rights”, then have at it. But right now the issue is abortion, which does not (Duh!) concern animals at all.

    No, but it does concern a creature which is not a conscious, sentient being, and therefore is also not a person. If you don’t see the analogy, I pity you.

  174. Sharon: You all argue for (pro) abortion.

    No: I argue for a woman’s right to choose abortion.

    Except in very specific circumstances which I’ll outline if you want*, I would never, ever try to argue a woman into having an abortion. (Or try to argue her out of having an abortion, either.)

    I am not pro-abortion. I am pro-choice. I think preventing abortions by contraception first and by extending the economic choices available to women – paid maternity leave, free health care, etc – is a good thing.

    I do not think it’s a good thing to place any legal bans on access to abortion, because the effect of legal bans is inevitably illegal abortions – which tend to be more dangerous – and also, mean women who need an abortion for their health/safety, don’t have that recommended as an option by their doctor.

    *If pregnancy/childbirth would do permanent damage to a woman’s future health and wellbeing: then I’d certainly argue for it, though the final decision has always got to be the pregnant woman’s.

  175. No, but it does concern a creature which is not a conscious, sentient being, and therefore is also not a person.

    You can keep repeating this ’till the Universe ends, but that don’t make it true. It’s been awhile since I took a college logic course (Philosophy 101, I think it was) so I’ve forgotten the specific Latin or Greek term for “Self-serving argument”, of which yours is a good example.

  176. I am not pro-abortion. I am pro-choice.

    Oh baloney. You are pro-abortion, so why not just admit it? You’ve been jamming up cyberspace telling all of us how pregnancy = slavery, meaning abortion must be the equivalent of Abraham Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation. You (and, especially P) have argued endlessly that the fetus/unborn baby doesn’t qualify as a human being, so by that standing abortion for you guys is no different than removing a bad tooth.

  177. No, but it does concern a creature which is not a conscious, sentient being, and therefore is also not a person.

    Phoe, this is my primary objection to your line of reasoning: it’s circular. You assert a definition for “human” and using your definition “prove” that the fetus is not human.

    Then we trade opinions of who has to “prove” what. I would assert that if you don’t know with some “acceptable” level of certainty whether there is a person in a room that you don’t throw a hand grenade into the room. Similarly, if we can’t be sure when the fetus becomes a human then we simply have to err on the side of the “potential human”. Because of the ambiguity involved, the closer to birth, the stronger my assertion, not unlike that of the justices that decided Roe.

    Why “should” we accept your definition over any other? As I have argued before it seems to me to be an appeal to an absolute of some undefined source, if only by the back door. Then we are told, again in absolute terms, that the woman simply “must” be given the sole and final “choice” regarding whether the fetus continues to develop or is disposed of. I’ll ask you again: says who? Your absolute? The “power” of the majority? If this “right” derives from a social consensus then it is no “right” at all, as it can just as easily be removed when the consensus changes. If it derives from an absolute, then let’s discuss its source.

    Further, I suggested that you apply your absolute definition of “human” to grandpa, an alzheimers patient, who is as far as we can tell, no longer a sentient being who can make his own choices regarding his life or death. When he becomes a burden to us financially and when he has to be bathed and assisted with his bodily functions, are we then “slaves”? Do we not now in accordance with your absolute definition of “human” and Jes’ absolute definition of “slavery”, not have the right to terminate his “life” or do we have a moral obligation to take care of him?

  178. Jes, do we have the right to “choice” regarding grandpa? Or must we be “slaves”?

  179. The Phoenician wrote:

    A fetus is not a person.

    Unfortunately, that’s the legal situation in this country.

    Allow me to quote from another decision by the Supreme Court:

    The question is simply this: can a negro whose ancestors were imported into this country and sold as slaves become a member of the political community formed and brought into existence by the Constitution of the United States, and as such become entitled to all the rights, and privileges, and immunities, guarantied by that instrument to the citizen, one of which rights is the privilege of suing in a court of the United States in the cases specified in the Constitution? . . .

    The words “people of the United States” and “citizens” are synonymous terms, and mean the same thing. They both describe the political body who, according to our republican institutions, form the sovereignty and who hold the power and conduct the Government through their representatives. They are what we familiarly call the “sovereign people,” and every citizen is one of this people, and a constituent member of this sovereignty. The question before us is whether the class of persons described in the plea in abatement compose a portion of this people, and are constituent members of this sovereignty? We think they are not, and that they are not included, and were not intended to be included, under the word “citizens” in the Constitution, and can therefore claim none of the rights and privileges which that instrument provides for and secures to citizens of the United States. On the contrary, they were at that time considered as a subordinate and inferior class of beings who had been subjugated by the dominant race, and, whether emancipated or not, yet remained subject to their authority, and had no rights or privileges but such as those who held the power and the Government might choose to grant them.

    The author was Chief Justice Roger Taney, and the case Dred Scott v Sandford. (60 U.S. 393)

    For the benefit of our foreign regulars, who may be unaware of the importance of this case, Dred Scott v Sandford, (often incorrectly referred to as Sanford) was the case in which our noble Supreme Court decided that blacks were “a subordinate and inferior class of beings.” They were not persons, and could be treated in any manner in which the “dominant race” chose, even if they were not slaves but were free.

    And a century and a quarter later, we had the distinguished Associate Justice Harry Blackmun using similar reasoning:

    The appellee and certain amici argue that the fetus is a “person” within the language and meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment. In support of this, they outline at length and in detail the well known facts of fetal development. If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant’s case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the Amendment. The appellant conceded as much on reargument. On the other hand, the appellee conceded on reargument that no case could be cited that holds that a fetus is a person within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment.

    The Constitution does not define “person” in so many words. Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment contains three references to “person.” The first, in defining “citizens,” speaks of “persons born or naturalized in the United States.” The word also appears both in the Due Process Clause and in the Equal Protection Clause. “Person” is used in other places in the Constitution: in the listing of qualifications for Representatives and Senators, Art. I, § 2, cl. 2, and § 3, cl. 3; in the Apportionment Clause, Art. I, § 2, cl. 3; in the Migration and Importation provision, Art. I, § 9, cl. 1; in the Emolument Clause, Art. I, § 9, cl. 8; in the Electors provisions, Art. II, § 1, cl. 2, and the superseded cl. 3; in the provision outlining qualifications for the office of President, Art. II, § 1, cl. 5; in the Extradition provisions, Art. IV, § 2, cl. 2, and the superseded Fugitive Slave Clause 3; and in the Fifth, Twelfth, and Twenty-second Amendments, as well as in §§ 2 and 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment. But in nearly all these instances, the use of the word is such that it has application only post-natally. None indicates, with any assurance, that it has any possible pre-natal application.

    That was Roe v Wade, the infamous and repugnant decision which, in effect, said that the unborn were, in Chief Justice Taney’s words, “a subordinate and inferior class of beings” which could be treated — and disposed of — in whatever manner the people chose, as a slavemaster could dispose of his private property, his slave, in any manner he chose.

    The arguments of the pro-abortion forces are different only in the terminology used from those who held, in the nineteenth century, that slavery was perfectly reasonable, was the rightful choice of those who owned slaves, and that if someone disapproved of slavery, then he ought not to own slaves, but should kindly leave those who believed differently alone. Blacks, being a “subordinate and inferior class of beings,” had no right to protest, and it was perfectly within the competence of the “dominant race” to decide how these inferior beings, these non-persons, could or should be treated. After what President Lincoln called a “great civil war,” we ended that shame, and the victorious Union imposed its will on the Confederacy, ending slavery and guaranteeing blacks “personhood.”

    Today, we have the same arguments being used by those who supported slavery being used in favor of abortion: that the unborn child isn’t really a living human being, isn’t really a person, and isn’t really someone to whom rights and freedom should accrue. To the pro-abortion forces, they are simply an inferior class of beings, whose lives are subject to the whims of their “owners.”

  180. Harry: Jes, do we have the right to “choice” regarding grandpa? Or must we be “slaves”?

    Is this question about the kidney transplant grandpa needs to stay alive? Because if so, yes, you know it: you may be a compatible donor for someone dying of renal failure, but it’s up to you to decide whether and to whom you will give up a kidney. Even blood, which almost anyone can safely donate by the pint every month, must be given freely, not taken by force.

    Do you think this is a bad thing? Do you think that once a compatible kidney donor is identified for a person dying of renal failure, that “donor” ought to be forced into surgery to provide a healthy kidney?

    If not, why are you arguing that a woman does not have the right to decide the same thing with regard to a fetus?

  181. Dana: Today, we have the same arguments being used by those who supported slavery being used in favor of abortion: that the unborn child isn’t really a living human being, isn’t really a person, and isn’t really someone to whom rights and freedom should accrue. To the pro-abortion forces, they are simply an inferior class of beings, whose lives are subject to the whims of their “owners.”

    This is a really extraordinary example of projection. It’s the anti-choice forces who are pro-slavery, regarding women as not really human beings, not really persons, not really people to whom rights and freedom should acrue. To anti-choice forces, women are simply an inferior class of being, whose health and life is subject to the whims of their owners.

    Because otherwise, they wouldn’t make the silly claim that if a fetus is to be regarded as fully human from the moment of conception, that necessarily means a woman cannot be allowed to decide whether or not she will use her body to make a fertilised egg into a baby.

  182. And a century and a quarter later, we had the distinguished Associate Justice Harry Blackmun using similar reasoning:

    Similar reasoning, and a far more muddled writing style. Trying to decipher his verbose, legalistic goobledygook is next to impossible for any reasonably clear thinking person. Bad as the Dred Scott decision was, at least the authors hadn’t been so bogged down by academic sounding nit-picking pedantry as to render them incapable of communicating in plain English.

  183. To the pro-abortion forces, they are simply an inferior class of beings, whose lives are subject to the whims of their “owners.”

    You’re being generous. As best I can tell, the Pro-Aborts see unborn babies either as cockroaches, i.e., unwanted, harmful intruding pests to be exterminated or else just useless medical tissue to be disposed of at will, like clipping a fungus infested toenail.

  184. Do you think this is a bad thing? Do you think that once a compatible kidney donor is identified for a person dying of renal failure, that “donor” ought to be forced into surgery to provide a healthy kidney?

    Because there’s nothing FORCED about pregnancy, you dumbass. This has been explained multiple times, the fact that you cannot (or will not) grasp it suggests you’re either incredibly dense or simply dishonest. Of course, you still insist that Kerry “won” in 2004, so most likely it’s a solid mix of both.

  185. Eric: Because there’s nothing FORCED about pregnancy

    If a woman wants to terminate her pregnancy, and is not permitted to do so, then pregnancy and childbirth have been forced on her.

    This ought to be obvious to all anti-choicers: after all, if anti-choicers could absolutely rely on all women freely choosing to continue all pregnancies, there would be nothing to argue about, would there?

  186. Is this question about the kidney transplant grandpa needs to stay alive? Because if so, yes,…

    Having ever so deftly sidestepped the question posed … regarding grandpa’s “humanity”.

  187. Phoe, this is my primary objection to your line of reasoning: it’s circular. You assert a definition for “human” and using your definition “prove” that the fetus is not human.

    That is not circular reasoning – it would be circular if it started with an assertion that being a human excluded fetuses, and then proved that a fetus was not human.

    Instead, I am starting with an assertion that a “person” (note NOT a “human”) requires (at a minimum) being a conscious, sentient being. I am then using this asserted definition to exclude a large group of entities from “personhood” – including animals, carrots and fetuses.

    Feel free to attack the assertion rather than misstating the logic.

  188. The arguments of the pro-abortion forces are different only in the terminology used from those who held, in the nineteenth century, that slavery was perfectly reasonable, was the rightful choice of those who owned slaves, and that if someone disapproved of slavery, then he ought not to own slaves, but should kindly leave those who believed differently alone.

    Which points out the problem with analogous reasoning. The principle behind Dred Scott being wrong does not necessarily apply in other cases, simply because of a facile similarity.

    Dred Scott is (now considered) wrong because Blacks are people, and enslaving people is (now considered) wrong. They were self-evidently people even while they were in chains; they bled, they sweated, they spoke, and they wanted to be free.

    It is not sufficent to invoke “Dred Scott” and expect your argument to stand. You must show that a fetus deserves the same consideration as an enslaved Black. Since a fetus is not a conscious, sentient being, and a slave is, you have a problem.

    I could point out that a cancer is a mindless mass of human cells, and make that analogy to a fetus. Since we’re happy to eliminate tumors, we should be happy to eliminate a fetus. Does that analogous argument convince you? If not, why not? Apply the same critique to the “Dred Scott” argument.

  189. Do you consent to being hit by a car when you cross the road, knowing that it is always a possibility? If we cited some book written a few thousadn years ago, would we be correct in leaving you to die on the side of the road since it was your own damned fault?

    Previously, someone complained that I compared pregnancy to drunkenness. Now you are comparing it with getting hit by a car? You can’t have it both ways. Drunkenness, while painful, is a normal, predictable consequence of drinking. Getting hit by a car isn’t a normal, predictable consequence of crossing the street. Pregnancy is a normal, predictable consequence of sex, otherwise, there wouldn’t be an industry designed around preventing it.

    No, but it does concern a creature which is not a conscious, sentient being, and therefore is also not a person. If you don’t see the analogy, I pity you.

    Well, the big difference is that a fetus will never be a cow or chicken. He/she are children and, regardless of whether you think it is silly sentimentality, we consider children to have more worth.

    No: I argue for a woman’s right to choose abortion.

    This is simply playing the semantics games of pro-abortionists. If abortion is just another “choice,” as you say it is, then being called pro-abortion is just as accurate as any other name you wish to call yourself. I call you pro-abortion because you don’t advocate any “choice” but abortion.

    I do not think it’s a good thing to place any legal bans on access to abortion, because the effect of legal bans is inevitably illegal abortions – which tend to be more dangerous – and also, mean women who need an abortion for their health/safety, don’t have that recommended as an option by their doctor.

    Society places bans on all sorts of medical procedures for the health and well-being of society at large. Your arguments for abortion are not shared by the vast majority of Americans, and you’ve still not addressed how sex education improves the statistics for 20-30-year-old women who make up the majority of abortions performed.

    Is this question about the kidney transplant grandpa needs to stay alive?

    This is the question about when a person is no longer a sentient, independent being. If we are required to take care of Grandpa, are we not “slaves”? This issue is particularly dear to me, since, for all intents and purposes, I am my father’s support at this stage of his existence. Sure, it’s inconvenient, but it is only temporary, and life is more important than temporary inconvenience.

    This is a really extraordinary example of projection. It’s the anti-choice forces who are pro-slavery, regarding women as not really human beings, not really persons, not really people to whom rights and freedom should acrue. To anti-choice forces, women are simply an inferior class of being, whose health and life is subject to the whims of their owners.

    This is really an extraordinary example of projection. It’s Jes who is pro-slavery, making the same arguments they made 150 years ago. This time, the inferior beings are babies. When pressed, Jes keeps projecting, mischaracterizing arguments, and avoiding issues. You going to address the 20- and 30-year-old women who have abortions yet?

    If a woman wants to terminate her pregnancy, and is not permitted to do so, then pregnancy and childbirth have been forced on her.

    Unless we are discussing rape or some sort of immaculate conception, a woman isn’t forced into pregnancy. She participates in the activity which leads to pregnancy.

    Instead, I am starting with an assertion that a “person” (note NOT a “human”) requires (at a minimum) being a conscious, sentient being. I am then using this asserted definition to exclude a large group of entities from “personhood” – including animals, carrots and fetuses.

    But this assertion is wrong in its very definition. We’ve given you various examples of people–the sort recognized by the courts as having full rights–who aren’t “sentient” in the typical sense of that word. I suppose since you can’t address how a 30-week-old fetus in the womb differs in consciousness from a 30-week-old fetus just after delivery, you have to bring up cows or carrots.

    Why not just talk about human beings? Do you want to argue that location is what makes a human being a person? That’s a better–albeit, cruder–argument than the one you are making.

  190. Vanity living in a time of vanities declared! (Ecclesiastes, don’t ya just love him)…

    Instead, I am starting with an assertion that a “person” (note NOT a “human”) requires (at a minimum) being a conscious, sentient being.

    I Reject that definition outright Pho! By your definition if I loose consciousness I cease to be a person. So a person in say a medically induced coma is no longer a person? The times I was under general anesthesia I was not a person? Of course down that road is euthanasia but then again what is wrong with that?

    It is not logic and it is not ethics with you, it never is. You

    believe

    man is master of his own universe. The rest of it is nibbling at the edges and chain yanking. You

    believe

    that because man is sole arbitrator he alone decides how his actions are judged.

    You are the nihilist. Oh there maybe a twist on it but it is that duck. Pray tell why the Eurocentric, Marxist/Socialist, Ultra-Feminist world view? Your homeland is so beautiful and wonderful and with its own challenges. Why spend time looking outward and hating America? Look homeward Angel!

    All arguments with a nihilist are circular because he makes the rules. Your assertion is restrictive and wrong. It ethically and logically sucks. It sucks cause I say so mien Herr! Pho you are very bright and well read that is clear. Can we root about and talk about the central issue: that being why we differ? Discuss the underlying foundation or causes of our different beliefs?

    Nineteenth Century German angst, when will I ever be free?

  191. Do you think this is a bad thing? Do you think that once a compatible kidney donor is identified for a person dying of renal failure, that “donor” ought to be forced into surgery to provide a healthy kidney?

    If not, why are you arguing that a woman does not have the right to decide the same thing with regard to a fetus?

    Do you not see the fundamental flaw in your metaphor?

  192. Feel free to attack the assertion rather than misstating the logic.

    OK, it’s a “because I say so” assertion and it begs the question. We have provided adequate arguments that falsify your assertion.

    On what basis do you argue that your world view is transcendent?

  193. Harry: Do you not see the fundamental flaw in your metaphor?

    What metaphor?

    We’re discussing who owns whose body. You say that it’s perfectly okay to use another person’s body against her will in order to save a life, regardless of any permanent changes to that person’s body or any damage to her health. That is the pro-life position.

    That argument would obviously apply as well to a kidney, half a liver, a pint of blood, perhaps a piece of skin – all sorts of organs can be taken without killing the person from whom they are taken, which appears to be your only restriction when arguing that it’s only right to make use of another person’s body against her will.

  194. Getting hit by a car isn’t a normal, predictable consequence of crossing the street. Pregnancy is a normal, predictable consequence of sex, otherwise, there wouldn’t be an industry designed around preventing it.

    Sharon, pregnancy is not a normal consequence of having sex; the large majority of sexual encounters do not result in pregnancy. Please define “normal” in your assertion explicitly, since I think it reveals a moral judgement.

    Well, the big difference is that a fetus will never be a cow or chicken. He/she are children

    A fetus will never be a child if it is aborted, whether by nature or man. Problem over.

    A fetus has the potential to become a child – but so does any ovum or sperm cell.

    . I suppose since you can’t address how a 30-week-old fetus in the womb differs in consciousness from a 30-week-old fetus just after delivery, you have to bring up cows or carrots.

    You seem to have a problem reading still. Refer again to this comment.

    Instead, I am starting with an assertion that a “person” (note NOT a “human”) requires (at a minimum) being a conscious, sentient being.

    I Reject that definition outright Pho!

    Fine – explain to me why a carrot or a cow should not be considered a person. What about a human ovum?

    By your definition if I loose consciousness I cease to be a person. So a person in say a medically induced coma is no longer a person? The times I was under general anesthesia I was not a person? Of course down that road is euthanasia but then again what is wrong with that?

    Not quite. You have an established identity as a person; being unconscious merely places this in abeyance with the expectation of it being exercised again. If you want an analogy, your house exists – that you are not occupying it for the moment does not mean that anyone can steal it or burn it down.

    A fetus has never established an existential identity. It has the potential to do so in the future – but so does any sperm or ovum.

    It is not logic and it is not ethics with you, it never is

    Riiiight. Well done on engaging in the argument, Harry.

    Or, perhaps, it could be that I know more than you regarding the philosophy of morals and ethics. For example, I know the difference between nineteenth century Germany and twentieth century France…

    You are the nihilist.

    You’re a twit. Existentialism is as much a response to nihilism as anything else – the majority of existentialist thought proceeds well past existentialist nihilism. Jesus, even if you only read Nietzsche, you should get that point.

  195. and you’ve still not addressed how sex education improves the statistics for 20-30-year-old women who make up the majority of abortions performed.

    About six million women in the U.S. become pregnant every year.

    Half of those pregnancies are unintended: 3 million. The majority of the US’s 1.3 abortions are carried out on unintended pregnancies.

    If pro-lifers were at all serious about preventing abortions, very obviously, the first step would be what works in other countries: aim to cut the US’s abortion rate by at least 25% (that would be 650 000 abortions prevented) by improving access to contraception and improving sex education to ensure that mixed-sex couples do not have sex without contraception unless they intend to conceive. Fairly obviously, this is not happening now.

    Dana has claimed that there is no problem with access to contraception, yet he’s failed to show that any woman, anywhere in the US, any age, can get fitted for a diaphragm or go on the pill freely, no questions asked, no charge. He has also failed to show that all sex education lessons in the US teach children that teenagers naturally have sexual feelings towards each other, that acting on those sexual feelings when both people want to is normal and natural, and that unless both intend to conceive, both should be using contraception.

    Yet somehow, none of the pro-lifers on this thread appear in the least interested in preventing abortions at a rate of 650 000 a year.

  196. You say that it’s perfectly okay to use another person’s body against her will in order to save a life, regardless of any permanent changes to that person’s body or any damage to her health. That is the pro-life position.

    You know perfectly well that this is your strawman, and that it is at best a mischaracterization of the “pro-life” position.

    And round and round we go …

  197. If a woman wants to terminate her pregnancy, and is not permitted to do so, then pregnancy and childbirth have been forced on her.

    I’ll repeat what I’ve told Phooey in a Time of Humans – Just saying it doesn’t make it so. This is what’s known as a self-serving argument, you WANT the right to execute unborn baies, so you come up with this illogical drivel to justify it. Why not just just be honest for once, J, and use plain English to describe what you really believe, namely, that you support the death penalty for unborn babies and you don’t give a damn whether they’re human or not.

    This repeated claim that pregnancy is “forced” goes beyond mere sophisty, and is simply a flat out lie. If anything, your repeated assertion that pregnancy is “forced” upon people shows your patronizing attitude towards women in general, i.e., apparently you don’t see them as being capable of rational thought or being able to make free decisions (other than executing their own unborn offspring) on matters that have foreseeable consequences. I guess your proposed version of “sex ed” doesn’t include the simple instruction that, even with precautions, pregnancy is always a possible consequence of sex and when you consent to sex, you’re consenting to the possibility of becoming pregnant. Force has absolutely nothing to do with it. Seems like your feminist ideology has, paradoxically, bought into the whole “Damsel in Distress” view of females, i.e., mindless, helpless little things who are too scatterbrained to realise that actions have possible consequences. In short, you see women as helpless children, not adults empowered with freedoms and the responsibilities that go with them. Or else your beef is with God or Nature for simply creating a world in which women get pregnant while men do not. In which case, rant at them, not us. We’re tired of hearing your whining and tirades. In short, just do us all a favor and GROW UP !!

  198. Instead, I am starting with an assertion that a “person” (note NOT a “human”) requires (at a minimum) being a conscious, sentient being. I am then using this asserted definition to exclude a large group of entities from “personhood” – including animals, carrots and fetuses.

    Feel free to attack the assertion rather than misstating the logic.

    What logic? The “assertion” is a purely self-serving one. You believe in the death penalty for unborn babies, so you plucked an “assertion” out of thin air to support this belief. Simple as that.

  199. We’re discussing who owns whose body. You say that it’s perfectly okay to use another person’s body against her will in order to save a life, regardless of any permanent changes to that person’s body or any damage to her health. That is the pro-life position.

    And yours is what, the Scarlett O’Hara position? She who famously turned out Rhett Butler from her bedroom because she dreaded the notion that any more babies would affect her precious 19″ waistline? Does your whole pro-abortion position boil down to mere vanity?

  200. What logic? The “assertion” is a purely self-serving one. You believe in the death penalty for unborn babies, so you plucked an “assertion” out of thin air to support this belief. Simple as that.

    Oh, the irony.

  201. If pro-lifers were at all serious about preventing abortions, very obviously, the first step would be what works in other countries: aim to cut the US’s abortion rate by at least 25% (that would be 650 000 abortions prevented) by improving access to contraception and improving sex education to ensure that mixed-sex couples do not have sex without contraception unless they intend to conceive. Fairly obviously, this is not happening now.

    There is sex education from the time children are roughly six years old. But honestly, a 30-year-old woman who doesn’t know how to put a condom on a banana? Are you into requiring adults have sex education as well? The bottom line is, sex education isn’t preventing abortions. And adults who have abortions aren’t having them because they can’t buy rubbers or don’t know how sex works. That may have been true in 1900, but not today.

    Studies show that about 60% of all pregnancies are unintended. That doesn’t mean that they were failures in contraception or that they have to end in abortion. Giving away contraception isn’t going to prevent stupidity and selfishness.

  202. Does your whole pro-abortion position boil down to mere vanity?

    Well, yes, actually, it does. See, the pro-aborts, by saying it’s a woman’s “choice” don’t distinguish between “good” or “reasonable” choices and purely selfish ones. Because they are sooo tolerant, don’t you see?

  203. Sharon: But honestly, a 30-year-old woman who doesn’t know how to put a condom on a banana?

    And other varieties of contraception failure. Including, of course, the man who won’t use a condom: refusing to use contraception is a very reliable method of making sure it fails. Of course, there is a new method of preventing abortions – the emergency contraceptive pill, taken if a condom breaks or a diaphragm is dislodged or if a bout of vomiting means a woman can’t be certain her regular pill had its usual contraceptive effect: but curiously enough, pro-lifers were also adamant in not preventing abortions by that method, either.

  204. Harry: You know perfectly well that this is your strawman, and that it is at best a mischaracterization of the “pro-life” position.

    In what way is that a mischaracterization of the pro-life position?

    Are you imagining fetuses gestate mid-air, in a cloud of glowing yellow light?

  205. It is not logic and it is not ethics with you, it never is

    Riiiight. Well done on engaging in the argument, Harry.

    Oops. See #206. As much as I’d love to take credit for pgw’s comments, I can’t – it just wouldn’t be “right”. There was also a follow-on sentence or two that provided the context for the remark. I believe pgw was trying to establish the source of your absolute.

    Or, perhaps, it could be that I know more than you regarding the philosophy of morals and ethics. For example, I know the difference between nineteenth century Germany and twentieth century France.

    I’m sure you do.

    “Professing to be wise, they became fools …”

  206. Are you imagining fetuses gestate mid-air, in a cloud of glowing yellow light?

    Ever ready with the false dichotomy – it must be either this extreme or the other extreme. I’ve tried and failed to convince you that there is a middle that warrants consideration. Whatever.

  207. I will say that your argument certainly makes all irresponsible men who “use” women solely to gratify their physical pleasure but aren’t willing to enter a commited relationsip very happy. All fun, no responsibility and no consequences.

    Tell me who’s the “slave” in that “deal” (rhetorical question, answer not required).

    But, … whatever …

  208. Harry: Ever ready with the false dichotomy – it must be either this extreme or the other extreme.

    So you have no intention of discussing why you think it ethical to use a human being’s body against her will if you can argue that doing so saves a life?

    Thought not.

    I will say that your argument certainly makes all irresponsible men who “use” women solely to gratify their physical pleasure but aren’t willing to enter a commited relationsip very happy.

    Actually, no. The kind of men you’re talking about are as anti-choice as you are, but are also the only group I know of (sans racist nutters) who really are fervently pro-abortion. These are “Men’s Rights Activists” – men who believe that the man, not the woman, ought to be able to decide if she terminates or continues the pregnancy. These pro-aborts are genuinely unhappy at the idea that a woman can decide to continue the pregnancy, and that a man can then end up paying child support for 18 years – without necessarily getting any access to or custody of the child. These men are as unhappy as you are at the idea that only the pregnant woman, in each instance, has the right to decide whether to have a child or terminate the pregnancy – and that if she decides to have the child, they will then be legally required to contribute towards the child’s upkeep.

    (Obviously, some men then try all sorts of legal/extra-legal dodges to avoid paying for their offspring, and sometimes they succeed: but the fact that they are legally obliged to do so is what makes them unhappy.)

  209. So you have no intention of discussing why you think it ethical to use a human being’s body against her will if you can argue that doing so saves a life?

    Thought not.

    So we continue to talk past each other. No, I have no intention to discuss “why [I] think it ethical to use a human being’s body … blah, blah, blah …” because I’ve made no such argument and I have no obligation to debate based on the way you cast the argument. Again and again, that’s your strawman – feel free to continue to argue with yourself. There is more to the discussion than either extreme. That you won’t allow for anything other than either extreme necessarily limits the scope of the discussion.

    Ironic that you’ve cast this in a context of what I’m not willing to discuss when I’ve asked repeatedly without success for your answer to a simple question: “When is the fetus a human being with attendant rights?”, and have yet to receive a response that doesn’t involve changing the subject and dissembling.

    I simply don’t accept your premise so I have no intention of entering the discussion based on your premise. It’s as simple as that.

    These pro-aborts are genuinely unhappy at the idea that a woman can decide to continue the pregnancy, and that a man can then end up paying child support for 18 years – without necessarily getting any access to or custody of the child. These men are as unhappy as you are at the idea that only the pregnant woman, in each instance, has the right to decide whether to have a child or terminate the pregnancy – and that if she decides to have the child, they will then be legally required to contribute towards the child’s upkeep.

    Of course they’ll be unhappy, by your definition of slavery, they’re being placed into a “slave” relationship to the mother and child. And we all know that no one has the right to force them into “slavery”, don’t we?

    It seems to me that both of these particular men and women have the same problem: a basic unwillingness to understand that actions have at the very least potential consequences and that certain moral obligations accrue to both of them should the consequences come to fruition.

    Now, my question is that if we’re not engaging in any absolutes here, why should these pigs (men) have any obligation to the mother and child? If the woman has an unrestricted “choice”, why shouldn’t the man? After all, anything less than complete autonomy to ignore responsibilities is “slavery”.

    …and that a man can then end up paying child support for 18 years – without necessarily getting any access to …

    No access even? Wow.

  210. And other varieties of contraception failure. Including, of course, the man who won’t use a condom: refusing to use contraception is a very reliable method of making sure it fails. Of course, there is a new method of preventing abortions – the emergency contraceptive pill, taken if a condom breaks or a diaphragm is dislodged or if a bout of vomiting means a woman can’t be certain her regular pill had its usual contraceptive effect: but curiously enough, pro-lifers were also adamant in not preventing abortions by that method, either.

    Oddly enough, there’s a contraceptive method that doesn’t fail, doesn’t cost anything, and doesn’t even require sex education. It’s called saying “no.”

  211. See, the pro-aborts, by saying it’s a woman’s “choice” don’t distinguish between “good” or “reasonable” choices and purely selfish ones.

    Uh-huh.

    You have the right to vote. However, since I believe voting for Republicans is a bad and selfish choice, the Republican Party will be banned. Yopu’re still free to vote, as long as I have a veto over the only people who can vote for. Long live democracy!

  212. Oddly enough, there’s a contraceptive method that doesn’t fail, doesn’t cost anything, and doesn’t even require sex education. It’s called saying “no.”

    But not in J’s world. In that world, women are always victims, dontcha know, apparently incapable of making actual choices and decisions, not even one as simple as “No rubber, no sex”.

  213. He has also failed to show that all sex education lessons in the US teach children that teenagers naturally have sexual feelings towards each other, that acting on those sexual feelings when both people want to is normal and natural, and that unless both intend to conceive, both should be using contraception.

    Yes, we definitely need to teach teenagers that “acting on those sexual feelings” is the way to go, as long as “both people ‘want to’”. If anything, we need to teach teenagers that sex is more than a physical act and that they need to exercise self discipline and wait for the appropriate time in a commited relationship, preferably a marriage. Difficult in our sex-drenched culture, to be sure, but far superior to “just do it”, if both of you “want to” I would argue.

    What do we do with the few for whom contraception didn’t work? Of course! We know the answer there. And what do we do for the young ladies who are made to feel like sexual objects as opposed to the valuable human beings they really are? What is the “minimum” age at which sexual relations are “OK”? Says who? And then there are those inconvenient STDs, some of which are not preventable with contraception.

    Yet somehow, none of the pro-lifers on this thread appear in the least interested in preventing abortions at a rate of 650 000 a year.

    Aside from your math error, I’d love to see abortions reduced by 325K per year. I just don’t see why we want to reduce abortions at all. Is there an implied “ought to” in that suggestion? Why? Why “should” abortions be “safe, legal and rare” any more than any other medical procedure? Is there some transcendent value we’re after here?

  214. You have the right to vote. However, since I believe voting for Republicans is a bad and selfish choice, the Republican Party will be banned. Yopu’re still free to vote, as long as I have a veto over the only people who can vote for. Long live democracy!

    That’s a real Three-Bong-Hit piece of “reasoning” there …

    Look, can’t you guys just be honest, and make rational (if somewhat cold-hearted) arguments, something along the lines of: “We don’t care if unborn babies are human or not, we still demand the virtually unrestricted right to kill them at will”. I mean, that’s basically the Pro-Abortion position in a nutshell once you strip aside all the sophistry and bullshit.

  215. No, I have no intention to discuss “why [I] think it ethical to use a human being’s body … blah, blah, blah …” because I’ve made no such argument

    You keep making that argument, when you say that a woman is not allowed to decide to terminate her pregnancy because doing so will kill the fetus she is carrying. But you don’t want to discuss that argument. Why not?

    “When is the fetus a human being with attendant rights?”, and have yet to receive a response

    I have consistently responded to that question: you have chosen not to acknowledge the response.

    I simply don’t accept your premise so I have no intention of entering the discussion based on your premise. It’s as simple as that.

    But the premise that you do not accept is that nurturing a fetus from conception to birth is a task that involves a woman using her body – her uterus and her bodily resources.

    That you refuse to accept that “premise” – the reality of pregnancy – and insist on discussing abortion in terms that do not involve acknowledging the reality of pregnancy is very telling about how fragile your argument is.

    Of course they’ll be unhappy, by your definition of slavery, they’re being placed into a “slave” relationship to the mother and child.

    Are they? Do you then think that parents are slaves to their children, because they are required by law to support them? (Sharon, would you care to weigh in on this – do you and your husband think of yourselves as your children’s slaves, or do you wish to refute Harry Arthur’s argument?)

    Now, my question is that if we’re not engaging in any absolutes here, why should these pigs (men) have any obligation to the mother and child? If the woman has an unrestricted “choice”, why shouldn’t the man?

    Both partners have the same choice: they can decide whether or not to use their body to create a child. The man’s choice is more time-restricted because his part in creating the child is much shorter. The woman has weeks to make her choice. That’s a function of biology, unavoidable. If a man could get pregnant, he would have the same a choice a woman has, to terminate or continue his pregnancy.

    But once the child is born, both of them have the same legal obligations to the child. There’s no “unrestricted choice” there.

  216. No access even? Wow.

    Well, is this really any surprise? Seems in Feminist-land (a place every bit as unreal as Disneyland, only a lot less pleasant) men are generally the enemy and women are poor, helpless victims. Sucks to live there, I suppose …

  217. Harry: No access even? Wow.

    Access and care for children is legally separated from child support, always. If you’ll think about it, you’ll see why this is so. Access/care is dependent on the non-custodial parent being able and willing to make time for their child. Child support is dependent on the parents’ income. The one has nothing to do with the other. A non-custodial parent can neither buy nor lose the right to see their child by child support payments.

    Men’s Rights Activists tend to see child support in terms of what the mother is getting from them (minimal, usually), rather than in terms of an obligation they owe their child.

  218. You’re a twit. Existentialism is as much a response to nihilism as anything else – the majority of existentialist thought proceeds well past existentialist nihilism. Jesus, even if you only read Nietzsche, you should get that point.

    But Existentialism is just a fad, an intellectual version of the Hula Hoop. Why should normal people pay it any attention, after all, surely a newer, even trendier “ism” will pop along any day now …

  219. But the premise that you do not accept is that nurturing a fetus from conception to birth is a task that involves a woman using her body – her uterus and her bodily resources.

    So? Raising a child also requires resources, from one or (hopefully) both parents. If anything, pregnancy is probably the easier of the two, since the bodily functions are all pretty much automatic. This “logic” of yours seems to be that since children, whether born or unborn, impose somewhat of a burden, then the parent(s) have the “right” to get rid of them.

  220. Eric: If anything, pregnancy is probably the easier of the two, since the bodily functions are all pretty much automatic.

    I can’t resist outlining and repeating that.

    Every year, in the US, out of every 100 000 pregnancies, 17 women die. (Roughly, 220 a year.) If you’ve got the notion that pregnancy is easier than bringing up children, please cite the statistics of number of parents killed each year as a direct result of raising children…

    This “logic” of yours seems to be that since children, whether born or unborn, impose somewhat of a burden, then the parent(s) have the “right” to get rid of them.

    Parents do, in fact, have the right to get rid of a child whom they feel they cannot support: it’s called adoption, and it’s possible because a baby – or a child – can be physically separated from their parents without dying.

    A fetus stays alive only because the pregnant woman is providing the fetus with second-by-second life support.

    Just as we do not force a parent to provide blood or half a liver or a kidney to keep a child alive, so we do not force a woman to provide her uterus to keep a fetus alive. It’s inethical to do so. It makes no difference, as I have repeatedly told Harry and he has as repeatedly ignored, when in pregnancy a woman decides the fetus she is carrying has become a human being: what matters is whether you are prepared to accept that a woman is a human being.

  221. Are they? Do you then think that parents are slaves to their children, because they are required by law to support them? (Sharon, would you care to weigh in on this – do you and your husband think of yourselves as your children’s slaves, or do you wish to refute Harry Arthur’s argument?)

    Two points. First, if you read my comment I clearly said under your definition of slavery. It’s not my argument and I would not make such an argument. It is, however, where your “slavery” argument leads if followed to its logical conclusion.

    Secondly, I am married and have several adult children, all of whom I would give my life for. I would certainly work myself to death for all of them. It is, I believe, my moral obligation based on the fact that I commited to a relationship that included the potential for children. I would love to hear Sharon’s comments in the context of my earlier remarks. The “slavery” strawman is yours as I have repeatedly reminded you. As I indicated above, I’m just following it to its logical conclusion.

    “Men’s Rights Advocates” are no less irresponsible than their female counterparts. I detest all that they selfishly don’t stand for. I certainly detest their willingness to dispose of inconvenient children that they simply aren’t willing to support after they’ve entered into a physical relationship that they had to know bore the possibility of producing a child.

    …an obligation they owe their child. Someone “owes” the child something? another wow; and another absolute. We’re making progress.

  222. If you’ve got the notion that pregnancy is easier than bringing up children, please cite the statistics of number of parents killed each year as a direct result of raising children.

    Sorry, I can’t resist some humor here. Do we get to include deaths from smoking, drinking, heart attacks and strokes brought on by raising teenagers? Dementia? Heck, even grey hair?

    OK, my apologies. /humor

  223. A fetus stays alive only because the pregnant woman is providing the fetus with second-by-second life support.

    All of which is done automatically, so what’s your point?

  224. Every year, in the US, out of every 100 000 pregnancies, 17 women die.

    Those are pretty damned good odds, seeing as how that means for every 100,000 pregnancies, 99,983 end safely. Again, what’s your point? Doesn’t sound like pregnancy is any riskier (and probably a lot safer) than many routine recreational activities like scuba diving or motorcycle riding.

  225. Harry: Sorry, I can’t resist some humor here. Do we get to include deaths from smoking, drinking, heart attacks and strokes brought on by raising teenagers? Dementia? Heck, even grey hair?

    *giggles* Yeah, okay – point to you!

  226. Harry: It is, however, where your “slavery” argument leads if followed to its logical conclusion.

    Only if you ignore, as you repeatedly do, the basic reality of pregnancy. Your argument is that is is ethical to use another person’s body against her will: to force a woman unwilling to carry a fetus from fertilized egg to childbirth. That is slavery: you are arguing that a woman’s body is not her own.

    To argue that this forced labor is equivalent to a parent’s obligation to support their child is pure folly.

    Secondly, I am married and have several adult children, all of whom I would give my life for. I would certainly work myself to death for all of them. It is, I believe, my moral obligation based on the fact that I commited to a relationship that included the potential for children.

    Okay. One of your children (hypothetically) needs half of your liver to survive. Another of your children (hypothetically) needs one of your kidney. A third children (still hypothetical) needs a bone marrow transplant. Your doctor advises you that you cannot in fact provide all three children with the life-saving material from your organs that they need: that providing even one will be a serious threat to your health, two may permanently damage your health, and three may kill you and will certainly permanently damage your health. And you have a fourth child who is completely financially dependent on you, having no health insurance and needing you to stay in full-time employment so that your health insurance can cover that child for a life-saving operation.

    I don’t in fact wish to hear what you think you might do in this terrible situation: I want to point out to you that your argument that women ought not to be allowed to decide if they shall abort or continue a pregnancy, means that in that circumstance, you would not be allowed to decide what you would do: you would be forced to provide all three children who needed organ transplants with what they needed from your body, without any consideration for your health: and if that meant your fourth child was left destitute and died because you could no longer work, that would be your problem. Your body would not be your own, and decisions about what to do with it would not be yours. That’s your argument. Is that the kind of world you want to live in?

    Someone “owes” the child something? another wow; and another absolute. We’re making progress.

    Sadly, evidently not, as you keep harking back to the idea that you can deny the basic reality of pregnancy.

  227. Jes, *giggles* Yeah, okay at least we both seem to have a sense of humor.

    I’m trying, I really am, to see your point of view, and I do in some limited fashion. I think we’ve both just decided to place a different relative priority on the “humanity” of the fetus vs the unquestionable humanity of the mom. I actually do have a great deal of empathy for what it takes to bring a baby into the world. I also hold women, particularly those in my life, who’ve done so, in very high regard. Just the act of birth itself is a very physically demanding thing to see, and it does have at the very least physical side effects that may be long lasting. I don’t deny any of those realities.

    I’ve also seen all of my children born and I saw the youngest by ultrasound before she was born. I just can’t bring myself to to agree with the priority you’ve asserted and I think your examples of relative freedom are fundamentally different than what you assert regarding the mother. I suppose we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

  228. Harry: I actually do have a great deal of empathy for what it takes to bring a baby into the world. I also hold women, particularly those in my life, who’ve done so, in very high regard.

    So – I mean, once more and with all sincerity: how can you justify, in your own mind, the ethics of forcing women whom you claim you hold “in very high regard” to go through pregnancy and childbirth against their wills?

    A majority of the women in the US who have abortions already have children. There’s no way to prove this statistically, but odds are the majority of the women in the US who have abortions then go on to have children – at a time of their choosing.

    You’ve just claimed to hold them in high regard, and yet this “high regard” does not include any respect – you don’t believe that, given the legal right to decide whether to abort or continue a pregnancy, a woman will make the right decision, for herself and for her family. You think these women whom you claim to regard highly must be forced.

    So, well, we do at least both have a sense of humor – but I can’t understand how you can claim to regard highly people whom you hold in such complete disrespect.

  229. Your argument is that is is ethical to use another person’s body against her will: to force a woman unwilling to carry a fetus from fertilized egg to childbirth. That is slavery: you are arguing that a woman’s body is not her own.

    Sorry, but that’s pure bullshit. What part of when you consent to sex, you’re consenting to the possibility of becoming pregnant do you not understand? All this crap about “Againt her will” is just pure whining victimhood. Real adults simply do not behave this way. They make choices, then they take responsibility for those choices. They don’t hide behind childish BS like – Well, the baby’s there against my will, so I have the right to kill it.

  230. So – I mean, once more and with all sincerity: how can you justify, in your own mind, the ethics of forcing women whom you claim you hold “in very high regard” to go through pregnancy and childbirth against their wills?

    Because NOBODY’s being forced, you buffoon!! You keep (falsely) phrasing it that way because it’s a self serving argument, not a valid one. It’s like arguing with someone who insists, over and over, that 2 + 2 = 5.

  231. Phoenician, I am going to comment on your response #210.

    Let’s address your cherry picking…

    Or, perhaps, it could be that I know more than you regarding the philosophy of morals and ethics. For example, I know the difference between nineteenth century Germany and twentieth century France…
    You are the nihilist.
    You’re a twit. Existentialism is as much a response to nihilism as anything else – the majority of existentialist thought proceeds well past existentialist nihilism. Jesus, even if you only read Nietzsche, you should get that point.

    You made that comment in response to me saying in #206…

    You are the nihilist. Oh there maybe a twist on it but it is that duck. Pray tell why the Eurocentric, Marxist/Socialist, Ultra-Feminist world view? Your homeland is so beautiful and wonderful and with its own challenges. Why spend time looking outward and hating America? Look homeward Angel!…
    …Nineteenth Century German angst, when will I ever be free?

    I was referring as Marx as much as anyone. I was talking about the source of this current batch of crap. But since this is how you play the game let us examine things. To help you understand that I was correct and your espoused views had their start in 19th century Germany please look to your Bible, the source you love to link to Wikipedia. This first link as you can see is to their article about Existentialism and contains this statement in the first paragraph “The movement (Existentialism) had its origins in the 19th century thought of Kierkegaard and Nietzsche and was prevalent in Continental philosophy”. Now please indulge me and go to the article on Continental philosophy and see how in the first paragraph it has this sentence “The traditions comprising continental philosophy include German idealism, phenomenology, existentialism and its antecedents, hermeneutics, structuralism, post-structuralism, French feminism, and the critical theory of the Frankfurt School and some other branches of western Marxism”. Now just one more time please, go to the Frankfurt School article, it has in its first paragraph this “The Frankfurt School is a school of neo-Marxist social theory, social research, and philosophy”. It is the same stinking duck my friend. They sat around and fed off each other as you do now also.
    I can go on believe but it should be clear that it is all the same pit of incestuous vipers. You jumping on this part of statement/invitation I made is like a brook trout to a fly (I hope you get the analogy as NZ is known for trout fishing) I believe is very telling. You nibble at the edges and try to score points. You make the jab and dart away. You are doing the equivalent of correcting people’s intellectual grammar to no point and in this particular case not very well. None of this gets to heart of the matter as it is not a real attempt to discuss abortion. I will address again as soon as I can where I think that real attempt at an discussion would lie. I want see if I can make it clear because based on results with you and Jack and J I don’t seem to have done it so far.

    What is really funny Mr. Anal Retentive living in a time of Generalists is when I addressed you as Vanity living in a time of vanities I was trying to illustrate that what you proffer is nothing new as Ecclesiastes points out. There is nothing new under the sun! It is the same old Atheist creed.

    I still say… Nineteenth Century German angst, when will I ever be free?

  232. J said…

    you don’t believe that, given the legal right to decide whether to abort or continue a pregnancy, a woman will make the right decision, for herself and for her family

    Please for the love of Pete can we please look at where the true disagreement lies? It is really simple. You do not believe that the baby is a human life. I don’t give a flip on the schematics, you do not believe what is to be aborted is a human life. I believe it is and that it is self evident that it is human and alive. I really don’t care how far it has progressed on its life journey; it’s already on it at conception.

    J you further believe man can do what he does (I don’t give a flip on my insensitive choice of gender here) because he is the sole arbitrator of his domain. There are a myriad of self delusional ways/path man has used to rationalize his selfish choice to be supreme and to make his own laws. I have been battling some those dragons in this thread. Call it Nihilism, Secular Ethics, Communism or anything else they are all attempts at man’s self justification in his desire to be the Supreme Being. They may feebly try to bring some stunted malformed view of morality into it as the conscience is the one part of God that is the hardest to drive out. But when we rely only on ourselves and deny what we intuitively know to be true the child we give birth to is stunted and will not develop properly. Our intellect is an inferior womb!

    That is why we construct these silly strawmen and go through the contortions we do to justify what we know is wrong. Why people think you must balance the rights of the mother against those of the child is wrong, what an abomination.
    I hold that laws exist outside of man and nature. These laws are self evident and they are immutable. One of the main ones is man is not God. I have tried to negotiate that law for nearly 50 years with no luck; maybe you will have better luck.

    Now I respectfully submit this is where the rub lies.

  233. Sharon’s mischaracterisation: See, the pro-aborts, by saying it’s a woman’s “choice” don’t distinguish between “good” or “reasonable” choices and purely selfish ones.

    The reality of the pro-choice position.

    Predictably, Sharon will continue to strawman everyone who disagrees with her.

  234. Because NOBODY’s being forced, you buffoon!!

    Uh-huh.

    A woman has sex. She gets pregnant. She finds a doctor who will perform an abortion.

    No force involved against any person.

    The Big-Sky-Fairists jump up and down. The State passes a law. The doctor is arrested, and the next woman seeking an abortion has to give birth regardless.

    Force is involved.

    You do not believe that the baby is a human life.

    It is not a person. “A human life” is more ambigious – please demonstrate that a fetus is more worthy of civil rights than an unfertilised ovum (clue: if you bring up “DNA”, you have to show that civil rights are due to the correct number of chromosomes…)

  235. Pho I made a comment to you that has not posted., look for it.

    You say…

    It is not a person. “A human life” is more ambigious – please demonstrate that a fetus is more worthy of civil rights than an unfertilised ovum (clue: if you bring up “DNA”, you have to show that civil rights are due to the correct number of chromosomes…)

    I do not need to demonstrate anything. I addressed this to someone else. Play your game with the others. All you do is play mind tag. Grow up! Go cherry pick your silly little points with somebody else. The sooner you realize your mental gymnastics will not further you in any meaningful way the better off you will be. Being glib is just that my friend being glib.

    You are the example that proves my point child! The way you pick out one phrase that was not even close to being the main point. But thank you, your asinine comment swayed me, I am now pro-choice.

    Why are the most vicious advocates on abortion on her lesbians and young males most of whom are themselves homosexuals? Don’t answer that, it’s rhetorical and just an observation but go ahead and call me names.

    You are not going to mind-hump your way out of the box you have yourself in Pho. Keep trying through, it is fun to watch. Angst is fun; A. J. Soprano proved it and I had fun with mine.

  236. Pingback: Being Pro-Choice When You Think the Choice is Wrong at Shakesville

  237. I do not need to demonstrate anything.

    Abortion is legal. You’re advocating that changes.

    Looks like the burden of proof is on you, bunky.

  238. pgwarner: Please for the love of Pete can we please look at where the true disagreement lies? It is really simple. You do not believe that the baby is a human life.

    Of course I believe a baby is a human being with a life. Did you mean to say that you think I believe that a fetus is not a human life? I think that’s arguable – either direction – but irrelevant. A person could believe that a fetus is a human being with all attendent rights from the moment of conception, and it would not affect the fact that those rights do not include the right claimed by pro-lifers – to use another human being’s body against her will.

    And that is where the true disagreement lies.

  239. J, thanks for your input. You say a person could here…

    A person could believe that a fetus is a human being with all attendent rights from the moment of conception, and it would not affect the fact that those rights do not include the right claimed by pro-lifers – to use another human being’s body against her will.

    Are you a person who believes that?

  240. By the way J, this is fun, but no your statement is not where it lies. I just want you out front on the record.

    All due love to Justice Harry Blackmun but I never have been talking about Roe V Wade. Politics and that goes for SCOTUS decisions are not a search for the truth. Regardless of what you and Pho think.

  241. Abortion is legal. You’re advocating that changes.

    Looks like the burden of proof is on you, bunky.

    You assume so much Pho, where have I advocated that? I know you play to the crowd but take a little more time kid and pay attention. You are mistaken if you think I was arguing Roe. You know that though and could not do any better than this. Roe is your warm fuzzy place where you are comfy, why would I go there? You think that case hinges on a well crafted logical argument?

    You set up your assertions, one of which is this personhood crap. I say no you are wrong and have no need to offer support. Since all you have is your assertion which is your opinion why would I feel the need to answer to you?

    Again thank you, every time you post you support my assertion that you have absolutely nothing to offer except for insults which occasionally are funny. Really come on now Pho that was it?

    I still have a response for you caught in moderation keep looking if you want. Oh it is up now, thanks Dana.

  242. The Phoenician wrote:

    Abortion is legal. You’re advocating that changes.

    Looks like the burden of proof is on you, bunky.

    Is that to be your standard, then? Shall I apply such logic to same-sex marriage, which is illegal in 49 states? Shall I assume that you agree with the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Gonzalez v Carhart, which upheld the ban on partial birth abortions? After all, such is the current status of the law!

    Change the word “abortion” to “slavery,” and imagine that statement in 1859.

  243. It is not a person.

    Prove it. You wanna kill it, just try proving it’s not a human being. Just try. You can’t. Case closed.

  244. A person could believe that a fetus is a human being with all attendent rights from the moment of conception, and it would not affect the fact that those rights do not include the right claimed by pro-lifers – to use another human being’s body against her will.

    Great. So you’re claiming that unborn babies are criminals, and their crime deserves punishment by death? The real question seems to be – Why do you hate unborn babies so much that you callously support their being given the death penalty for having the audacity to have committed the “crime” of simply being conceived? You have a habit of sounding cold and heartless, but this definitely takes the cake!

  245. Abortion is legal.

    So was slavery. Once. Of course, it too depended on defining certain human beings as not human, and thus not entitled to any rights. Fortunately, more civilized and humane views eventually prevailed.

  246. Is that to be your standard, then? Shall I apply such logic to same-sex marriage, which is illegal in 49 states?

    Indeed – the burden of proof is on those advocating a change in policy.

    Fortunately, we can follow the Baehr vs Lewin logic and show why same-sex marriage is a change consistent with US civil rights. And for slavery, we needed only point at Frederick Douglas and ask on what grounds he could be considered inferior due to his skin colour.

    Alas, it is Eric and PGWarner who need to demonstrate that a fetus is a person with those civil rights pertaining. I’ve given my reasons for asserting a fetus is not a person – their inability to actually engage with the argument probably explains the hyperbole and hostility.

  247. J you further believe man can do what he does (I don’t give a flip on my insensitive choice of gender here) because he is the sole arbitrator of his domain. There are a myriad of self delusional ways/path man has used to rationalize his selfish choice to be supreme and to make his own laws.

    I believe you’ve nailed it. Almost all these pro-abortion arguments devolve into pure selfishness. To listen to J, you’d think it was the greatest horror in the world to get pregnant and not be able to fit into the latest fashions for 9 months. In contrast, the pro-life position is a selfless one. Pro-lifers have to take responsibility for their choices. Pro-Deathers do not (other than coughing up a few hundred bucks to pay the abortionist). Pro-Deathers resent the simple scientific fact that sex is designed to produce a baby, and thus make the “product of conception” the villain in their world-view, a “villain” by virtue of simply being conceived, and whose “crimes” are thus worthy of punishment by death. It’s like – “How DARE this tiny person appear inside my body against my will despite engaging in the very activity designed to produce exactly that, and how DARE anyone suggest that killing might just be morally wrong! I mean, HOW DARE THEY??!? Don’t they know that in our post-modern world morals are whatever you make them out to be???”

  248. I’ve given my reasons for asserting a fetus is not a person

    Which are pretty much the same reasons for saying slaves weren’t human beings, either. In both cases, it’s a very convenient argument, but as morally shallow as a dried up mud puddle.

  249. Which are pretty much the same reasons for saying slaves weren’t human beings, either.

    Really?

    Would you care to lay out the argument that applies to both? As far as I’m aware, the ability to be a conscious, sentient entity wasn’t determined by skin colour, but perhaps you know differently?

    Prediction – massive straw shortage soon to follow as Eric deploys a his latest strawman distortion…

  250. pgwarner: Are you a person who believes that?

    Do I believe that no human being has a right to use another human being’s body against her (or his) will?

    Yes, of course. I’ve been arguing that all down this thread, you may have noticed…

  251. So – I mean, once more and with all sincerity: how can you justify, in your own mind, the ethics of forcing women whom you claim you hold “in very high regard” to go through pregnancy and childbirth against their wills?

    Because pregnancy is a temporary inconvenience as opposed to killing a human being.

    And P, you given anecdotal evidence supposedly of the pro-abortion position. But I could link you place after place where women given far less noble or heroic reasons for having abortions, including the Alan Guttmacher study I link to frequently.

    Most of the reasons given for abortion run along the lines of inconvenience: “not a good time,” “would interfere with college,” “worried about daycare expenses,” etc. These aren’t the sorts of reasons pro-abortion supporters like to admit to, although I’ve quoted pro-abortionists who say that abortion should be legal up until birth just because a woman wants one.

    It’s no strawman argument to point out the fallacies in your reasoning. Your claim that only “sentient” beings should have guarantees of personhood have been knocked down so many times as to be irrelevant at this point. I also pointed out to you that the law is, indeed, working to give unborn children personhood through things like wrongful death laws and laws mandating anesthesia for abortions. It’s understandable that pro-abortion supporters hate these laws; they are the camel’s nose under the tent, so NOW, NARAL, et al have to fight even reasonable restrictions, such as the one passed by Congress and upheld recently by the SCOTUS on partial birth abortion.

  252. Because pregnancy is a temporary inconvenience as opposed to killing a human being

    So your argument is that it’s ethically just fine to make use of another person’s body without her consent, against her will, if by doing so you may save a human life?

    You would then be just fine with systematically “harvesting” single kidneys from healthy people to transplant into patients dying of renal failure? You see no ethical problems at all in forcing people to undergo a permanent change to their body, a known but usually not lethal risk to their health – because, in your view, anyone who is a compatible kidney donor is killing the recipient if they don’t give up their kidneys?

  253. Most of the reasons given for abortion run along the lines of inconvenience: “not a good time,” “would interfere with college,” “worried about daycare expenses,” etc.

    Wouldn’t it then be a good idea, if you were genuinely concerned about women having abortions for these reasons, to be campaigning to change the lack of these things? If you think that some women have abortions because they won’t be able to afford daycare for the baby, why aren’t you campaigning for free daycare? If you think that some women have abortions because they know they won’t be able to get through college if they have a baby, why aren’t you campaigning for benefits and daycare so that a student who’s a single mother (or single father) will be able to get through college even with a baby?

    These things will all cost money, of course. But, what you want, you should be prepared to pay for. You claim you want to prevent abortions. Are you prepared to pay for that?

  254. So your argument is that it’s ethically just fine to make use of another person’s body without her consent, against her will, if by doing so you may save a human life?

    My argument is that pregnancy is a unique and temporary condition that doesn’t resemble any of the analogies you try to make, and that because of its temporary nature, killing the baby for the convenience of the mother is wrong in virtually every instance other than to save the mother’s life.

    Wouldn’t it then be a good idea, if you were genuinely concerned about women having abortions for these reasons, to be campaigning to change the lack of these things?

    What would be good is if women actually considered these things before having sex, knowing, as virtually all women do, that having sex carries with it a certain possibility of pregnancy.

  255. Would you care to lay out the argument that applies to both? As far as I’m aware, the ability to be a conscious, sentient entity wasn’t determined by skin colour, but perhaps you know differently?

    For one, if you want to deny someone a basic right, then the burden is on your side to prove they’re not human. That’s what was done in slavery (by relegating their status to mere property) and in abortion as well, where the unborn baby is simply expendable, like clipping a toenail or shipping a box car load of Jews to Auschwitz.

    But Harry and PG are right. This isn’t just about abortion, but rather about value systems. One is “self-based”, meaning, you make up the moral values that suit one’s own convenience (abortion, for example) whereas the other is externally based, where moral laws exist outside of ourselves. You can sneer at a “sky fairy” if you want (where did that expression come from? Dawkins?) but what is the alternative? A world where the Laws of Darwin rule supreme, and where existence is pretty much defined by eating, rutting, and being the biggest, strongest rat in the rat race?

  256. Would you care to lay out the argument that applies to both? As far as I’m aware, the ability to be a Would you care to lay out the argument that applies to both? As far as I’m aware, the ability to be a conscious, sentient entity wasn’t determined by skin colour, but perhaps you know differently?wasn’t determined by skin colour, but perhaps you know differently?

    Well, as previously pointed out, if you want to deprive someone of rights, then the burden is on you to justify it. Hence, in criminal trials (in civilized countries, at any rate) the defendant doesn’t have to prove his innocence, the burden is on the prosecution to prove he isn’t.

    It boils down to simple logic. If you want to execute an unborn baby, then the burden is on YOUR side to prove that either:

    1) It isn’t a human being.

    Or,

    2) It is guilty of an offense that merits the death penalty (this, as best I can tell, is J’s position)

  257. So your argument is that it’s ethically just fine to make use of another person’s body without her consent, against her will, if by doing so you may save a human life?

    Bogus argument, J. Here it is again:

    When you consent to sex, you’re consenting to the possibility of becoming pregnant

    Repeat this as often as necessary (write it 100 times on a blackboard, if you have to) until that basic truth finally sinks in.

  258. For one, if you want to deny someone a basic right, then the burden is on your side to prove they’re not human.

    Question for you, Eric:

    Is it a basic right to own your own body – to decide for yourself what will be done with your blood and organs?

    If it is a basic right, which you are arguing women should not have, isn’t the burden on your side to prove that women are not human?

    If it is not a basic right, I have this kidney harvester right here wanting to talk to you…

  259. You’re framing the question wrong, Jes. This isn’t about harvesting organs. The temporary inconvenience of pregnancy doesn’t compare to taking organs from another person either voluntarily or involuntarily.

  260. J, go back to Comment # 273. Read the statement in bold. Type it on your computer screen 100 times. 1,000 times, if necessary. When it FINALLY sinks in to that thick skull of yours, then please get back to us.

    Thank you.

  261. Your claim that only “sentient” beings should have guarantees of personhood have been knocked down so many times as to be irrelevant at this point.

    Nope. Feel free to actually link to the comments you believe do so – the only weak attempt I’ve seen was the comment about unconscious people, which I demolished. Sorry, but you’ve failed in this.

    For one, if you want to deny someone a basic right, then the burden is on your side to prove they’re not human.

    As I have stated, a fetus is not a person, and the reason for this is because it is not a conscious, sentient entity. If you are still conflating the words “person” and “human”, then you are simply masturbating in public.

    You can sneer at a “sky fairy” if you want (where did that expression come from? Dawkins?) but what is the alternative?

    That morality is determined by people rather than books of fairy tales.

    When you consent to sex, you’re consenting to the possibility of becoming pregnant

    And abortion is a response. A responsible response too, compared to pretending it will go away.

    When you consent to cross the road, you’re consenting to the possibility of being run down by a car.

    The temporary inconvenience of pregnancy doesn’t compare to taking organs from another person either voluntarily or involuntarily.

    People die from pregnancies, sharon.

  262. Nope. Feel free to actually link to the comments you believe do so – the only weak attempt I’ve seen was the comment about unconscious people, which I demolished. Sorry, but you’ve failed in this.

    Well, let me see. We pointed out that newborns, Alzheimer’s patients, persons in comas, and mentally disabled people can all be described as not being “sentient,” yet all of them enjoy the rights of personhood. Unless you’re pointing to some other ridiculous argument about how these people don’t count, you really haven’t got a rational argument you can make.

    You consider that to be “demolishing” an argument? You need a few facts to back up that assertion. I would say it falls more in the realm of “bloviating” than “demolishing.”

    That “historically” (a term that can mean virtually anything) babies weren’t considered persons doesn’t matter. Under present law–and the law that we have had in place for over 200 years (I consider that “historical,” don’t you?) babies have, in fact, been persons. Parents specifically have fundamental rights where their children are concerned and, given that the law doesn’t specify only children over a certain age, your argument fails from the start.

    Again, a 30-week-old fetus in utero is exactly the same as a 30-week gestated baby. The difference is only location. This is why pro-abortionists get so upset when you ask them when babies should, in fact, be considered persons. Obviously, the courts consider them persons before abortion supporters do. And given that one can sue for the wrongful death of a fetus, I’d say the courts have determined they have personhood in that instance, too.

    Feel free to actually provide evidence of “demolishing” any argument. You haven’t done it yet.

  263. Sharon: You’re framing the question wrong, Jes. This isn’t about harvesting organs.

    This is about the claim pro-lifers make that the basic rights of any human being includes the right to use another person’s body against her (or his) will. Your argument is that if the fetus is regarded as a person from the moment of conception, the fetus must be allowed to make use of a woman’s body against her will in order to stay alive. The woman has no choice in the matter and is not allowed to refuse.

    If that’s your moral viewpoint, plainly, there’s no reason that permitting unwilling use of another person’s body to save a life should be restricted to women only. If Eric has two healthy kidneys, he can spare one, and according to his own morality, if it’s to save a life, he has no right to say no.

  264. This is about the claim pro-lifers make that the basic rights of any human being includes the right to use another person’s body against her (or his) will.

    The argument is that pregnancy is a temporary inconvenience that a woman almost always enters into voluntarily. Killing a baby for the convenience of the mother is barbaric.

  265. The argument is that pregnancy is a temporary inconvenience

    Like going into hospital to have a kidney removed, you mean?

    that a woman almost always enters into voluntarily.

    Well, if a woman has the option to terminate her pregnancy, and chooses not to do so, then yes.

    But as 24% of all pregnancies in the US are aborted, I think “almost always” is pushing it. Fairly obviously, if the pro-lifers on this thread had the power they want to force women to continue these pregnancies to term, those pregnancies would not be “voluntarily entered into”.

  266. Pho declared…

    Nope. Feel free to actually link to the comments you believe do so – the only weak attempt I’ve seen was the comment about unconscious people, which I demolished. Sorry, but you’ve failed in this.

    I do not think so; I never followed up with you regarding it. Let me lay it out to you again. My response to you regarding your thoughtful and logical statement is nawh, I reject it. It is your opinion, a premise with a bad foundation, nothing more. I do not care what Justice Blackmun said. I do not care about Roe. I do not care about your abortion ethics talking points that you can buy for $12.95 on the web. This silly argument has been going on for years and it is where you are comfortable. If you really think the future of Roe and abortion revolves around this crap you are delusional, in any event I do not care.

    My focus has been if abortion is right or wrong. You in your arrogance keep thinking I am talking about this “personhood” crap involving Roe. I know in your small world of intellectual artists this is how you grade each other as shown by this…“the only weak attempt I’ve seen was the comment about unconscious people, which I demolished. Sorry, but you’ve failed in this”. You think that means something, that this is how you exchange ideas?

  267. As I have stated, a fetus is not a person

    But that’s just your opinion, not an actual FACT. And a self-serving opinion at that, since obviously it’s a lot easier to justify killing if you can first dehumanize the victim.

  268. And abortion is a response. A responsible response too, compared to pretending it will go away.

    “Responsible”, I suppose, if you don’t give a damn about the life of the unborn baby being killed. But what the hell, when your position is you can just make up your morality on the fly, why the hell not just kill the baby and wash your hands of the whole affair? In your world, what’s “Moral” is whatever suits your self-interest, I guess.

  269. If Eric has two healthy kidneys, he can spare one, and according to his own morality, if it’s to save a life, he has no right to say no.

    I’m sorry, J, but I was not aware that pregancy routinely involves cannibal babies eating their mother’s organs from the inside to survive. Maybe this sort of thing happens in your neck of the woods (perhaps you can get a Hollywood horror flick made based on this premise. It might outgross, in both senses of the term, Rosemary’s baby or the Omen films).

    Bottom line: This comparison of yours is just too ridiculous for words.

  270. Fairly obviously, if the pro-lifers on this thread had the power they want to force women to continue these pregnancies to term, those pregnancies would not be “voluntarily entered into”.

    “Entered into” and “terminated” are two entirely different things. The former, as Sharon pointed out, IS voluntary. The latter is not, at least not from the perspective of the baby being killed. Of course, you don’t give a damn about the baby, that you’ve made very clear. All this sophistry about “against her will” and “using the mother’s body” is just verbal tap dancing around the fact that, 100% of the time, the purpose of abortion is to kill. Period.

  271. Feel free to actually provide evidence of “demolishing” any argument.

    As was linked to just before.

    Eric: My response to you regarding your thoughtful and logical statement is nawh, I reject it. It is your opinion, a premise with a bad foundation, nothing more. I do not care what Justice Blackmun said. I do not care about Roe. I do not care about your abortion ethics talking points that you can buy for $12.95 on the web. [...]
    You think that means something, that this is how you exchange ideas?

    ‘Nuff said.

  272. Like going into hospital to have a kidney removed, you mean?

    No, not at all.

    Well, if a woman has the option to terminate her pregnancy, and chooses not to do so, then yes.

    The voluntary part is having sex when you know you can become pregnant from it.

  273. The voluntary part is having sex when you know you can become pregnant from it.

    Consent to sex does not equal consent to pregnancy, Sharon.

    (Self-evidently, since if it did, no one would need to have an abortion except for medical reasons.)

  274. Sharon: Consent to sex is consenting to the consequences of sex.

    This sounds like a good basis for a fantasy world in which everyone is celibate unless they intend to make babies. It doesn’t actually work as any effective platform for preventing abortions, and as of course you know that, like most pro-lifers, your repetition drives home the point that you are uninterested in preventing abortions: only interested in condemning women for having sex for enjoyment without any intention of getting pregnant.

    So, why claim to be a pro-lifer, when you’re so blithely indifferent to preventing abortions?

  275. This sounds like a good basis for a fantasy world in which everyone is celibate unless they intend to make babies.

    You are deliberately switching the word “consequence” with “intent.” You don’t have to intend something to know it is a predictable and normal consequence of your behavior.

  276. Eric: My response to you regarding your thoughtful and logical statement is nawh, I reject it. It is your opinion, a premise with a bad foundation, nothing more. I do not care what Justice Blackmun said. I do not care about Roe. I do not care about your abortion ethics talking points that you can buy for $12.95 on the web. […]
    You think that means something, that this is how you exchange ideas?

    ‘Nuff said.

    Nuff said, indeed. You quoted the wrong person, you nitwit!

  277. Sharon: You are deliberately switching the word “consequence” with “intent.”

    Yes: because you are attempting to argue that consequence and consent are identical.

    It is a known consequence of joining the army that a soldier may be killed by the enemy.

    That does not mean that a soldier in the army consents to being killed by the enemy.

    Being aware of a possible consequence does not equate to consenting to that consequence. Soldiers are allowed to avoid being killed by the enemy.

  278. This thread has gotten so long that I have missed some things, but one continuing point that sticks in my mind is the interesting, über-libertarian position taken by the Phoenician and Jesurgislac on abortion. To P & J, abortion is an absolute right enjoyed by a pregnant woman, regardless of any other rights of any other people; the pregnant woman may terminate her pregnancy, at any stage of development, for any reason whatsoever, regardless of the parental rights of the father or the right to life of their unborn child. J has likened putting the life of the unborn child over the convenience and desires of the woman to slavery, saying that “forced pregnancy” is slavery.

    I find this rather a departure from their reasoning on almost everything else. Both have advocated, for instance, a government-imposed universal health care (UHC) system, in which everyone is required to participate, at least as far as the funding is concerned. If I object to a UHC system, my objections do not matter, and the government is, in J’s terms, enslaving me in that it would seize from me an ever greater portion of my labor, my productivity and my wealth.

    That is in general, but there is a more speciic part. I am unalterably opposed to abortion, but were P & J to have their way, not only would we have a government-run UHC system, but it would almost certainly cover abortion — and that would mean that my time and labor and wealth would be seized by the government to pay for something I find immoral.

    It could be objected that such “enslavement” is only of my time and wealth; it is not of my body. While I would find such a distinction specious (I must use my body to produce the tax dollars they would seize from me), there are certainly other ways in which they would allow the government to invade my body itself. For example, J has argued that the government has a perfect right to compel immunizations; see her comments in this thread. J would allow parents to “opt out” of a particular vaccination program for a disease that is not comminicable, but our government has claimed the right, and the Supreme Court has affirmed it, to make vaccinations for communicable diseases mandatory. [Jacobson v Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 197 US 11 (1905)] I have my doubts that P & J would disagree that the state lacks the authority to enforce vaccination against a communicable disease, due to the greater good of protecting society from disease.

    P & J might argue that vaccination is a small intrusion into privacy, but there have been cases where reactions to vaccines have been fatal.

    Vaccination is hardly the only area in which the government has the authority to intrude on your body. While we are not currently choosing to do so, the government has the right, confirmed by the Supreme Court, to conscript young men into the armed services, send them anywhere in the world, and assign them missions which might result in capture, torture or death.

    Other areas in which the government has the demonstrated, clear right to control what you do with your body involve sexual consent (you must be of a certain age to consent to sex, and if you have sex with someone not of such age, even if that person agrees completely, you can be imprisoned for many, many years), public nudity, and public sex. Even for people who have reached legal maturity (eighteen) are prohibited from purchasing or consuming alcohol before reaching twenty-one. Many places prohibit smoking in public, because the second-hand smoke infringes on the rights of others.

    And we cannot forget that Jesurgislac has taken the Phoenician to task because P at least considered that a bad sexual situation had some element of misunderstanding; J was completely unwilling to consider the situation as anything other than legally rape, and therefore governmentally actionable in a very private setting. (The Phoenician agreed that it was probably actionable, but stated that there was at least a slight grey area to be considered.)

    Parents do not have complete authority over their children in the United States; I would imagine that P & J would both agree with our lews which require parents to educate their children; they may have some options, such as a state-approved home-schooling program or private schools, but if the parents refuse to have their children educated, the children can be taken from them and the parents incarcerated. Parents may not punish their children in ways which leave lasting damage or inflict excessive pain; J even argued in support of proposed legislation in California which would absolutely prohibit corporal punishment.

    In almost every instance, P & J have argued for greater socialism, for greater societal control over private action, for the greater good of the society. They have argued for higher taxes (remember J’s assumption that I must be a millionnaire because I personally benefitted from the Bush tax cuts?) and greater government control over almost everything . . .

    . . . with the almost single exception of abortion. On that one subject, they insist on an absolute right of the pregnant woman to do exactly as she pleases, even though her parental rights would then trump the parental rights of the father, and the right to life of the child.

    This is what I find strangest of all. Our friends on the left (and not just those who visit here) are very much willing to consider and approve all sorts of governmental interventions for things they consider to be for the greater good. We may be taxed, our labor and productivity may be confiscated, our bodies regulated and our preferences controlled for the greater good. J opposes capital punishment, for the good of society, because even if perfectly administered, it “skews the justice system towards punishment and violence, away from redemption,” but is absolutely, thoroughly convinced that the rights of the pregnant woman trump all societal concerns, trump the parental rights of the father and the right of the child to live.

    Seems somewhat inconsistent to me!

  279. Yes: because you are attempting to argue that consequence and consent are identical.

    No, I am arguing that consenting to sex means you accept the risks involved with it, particularly when it comes to pregnancy. If you are dead set against becoming pregnant, don’t have sex or get sterilized. Killing the baby because he/she is inconvenient is barbaric.

  280. To P & J, abortion is an absolute right enjoyed by a pregnant woman, regardless of any other rights of any other people; the pregnant woman may terminate her pregnancy, at any stage of development, for any reason whatsoever, regardless of the parental rights of the father or the right to life of their unborn child.

    Not quite. The right to choose is a fundamental right. It is not absolute, but it cannot be trumped save as it conflicts with other fundamental rights. The father doesn’t have such a right, and the fetus is not a person and therefore has no fundamental rights.

    Both have advocated, for instance, a government-imposed universal health care (UHC) system, in which everyone is required to participate, at least as far as the funding is concerned.

    You have no fundamental right not to be taxed, assuming you live in a society. Having this as an assumption, the issue of universal health care becomes a purely pragmatic one – which system works best?

    I have my doubts that P & J would disagree that the state lacks the authority to enforce vaccination against a communicable disease, due to the greater good of protecting society from disease.

    Interesting question. I think, ethically, the State shouldn’t be able to force people to inject their kids with vaccines – but, by the same token, people shouldn’t expect their unvaccinated kids to be allowed out in public. Feel free to have all the dissenters remove themselves to an isolation colony somewhere in the mountains.

    While we are not currently choosing to do so, the government has the right, confirmed by the Supreme Court, to conscript young men into the armed services, send them anywhere in the world, and assign them missions which might result in capture, torture or death.

    Yes. That’s slavery, and your Supreme Court was wrong.

    Other areas in which the government has the demonstrated, clear right to control what you do with your body involve sexual consent (you must be of a certain age to consent to sex, and if you have sex with someone not of such age, even if that person agrees completely, you can be imprisoned for many, many years), public nudity, and public sex.

    Age concerns are about the boundaries of “informed consent”, and relate to the idea of “personhood” I’ve mentioned. They recognise a developing spectrum of the ability to exercise adult choices.

    There is no fundamental right to be publicly nude or have public sex. In these cases, there is a clash between people’s right to expression and society’s right to peace. Should such nudity and/or sex be an actual political or artistic statement, there might be a case for protection (cf Mapplethorpe), but otherwise it’s no burden to require people to keep it in the bedroom.

    And we cannot forget that Jesurgislac has taken the Phoenician to task because P at least considered that a bad sexual situation had some element of misunderstanding; J was completely unwilling to consider the situation as anything other than legally rape, a

    Yes, but Pinocchio is a hysterical idiot from time to time, as we’ve all noticed. She’s often the same as Eric is all the time.

    In almost every instance, P & J have argued for greater socialism, for greater societal control over private action, for the greater good of the society.

    You have no idea about my attitudes towards socialism, since it looks a lot like you don’t even know how to define it or use it properly. You have no idea about my ideas of “greater social control”, since you seem to have ignored the naunce’s in my comments – in several ways I’m more libertarian than you.

    But I’m not a sheep bleating “Markets good, government baaaad”.

  281. Yes, but Pinocchio is a hysterical idiot from time to time, as we’ve all noticed. She’s often the same as Eric is all the time.

    I’m not the one who posted a smug “Nuff said” after quoting the wrong person. Now, who’s the idiot?

  282. The father doesn’t have such a right, and the fetus is not a person and therefore has no fundamental rights.

    Slaves weren’t “persons” either, at least not in the eyes of the law at the time.

  283. The right to choose is a fundamental right.

    Actually, it isn’t.

    That’s another one of those opinions that P just pulls out of thin air, then treats as an absolute FACT. It’s a weird form of mental alchemy; trying to turn bullshit into gold.

  284. The Phoenician wrote:

    The right to choose is a fundamental right.

    It is? If the “right to choose” is a fundamental right, then the obvious question becomes: the right to choose what?

    Clearly, there are some choices that people are simply not allowed to take. You cannot choose to murder someone because his presence is inconvenient. You have argued that newborns have no real sentience and are incapable of forming any arguments to support their rights and their “personhood,” and therefore any rights they have are rights granted to them by the state. But if the “right to choose” is a findamental right, the state presumably could not outlaw infanticide, because a being with a fundamental right would be trumped by someone without fundamental rights, simply subsidiary ones.

    Similarly, a pedophile does not have the “right to choose” to have sex with a child, even with an infant you believe to have only subsidiary rights granted by society, rather than fundamental rights.

    Storekeepers do not have the “right to choose” to serve only white customers; if they discriminate in such a manner, they can be prosecuted, fined or even jailed.

    The list of things we do not have the right to choose to do or not do is staggeringly long, and I shan’t belabor it. Clearly, the “right to choose” is very restricted on many, many things. It hardly seems accurate — or reasonable — to call a right to choose fundamental, when it does not exist for so many things.

  285. It is? If the “right to choose” is a fundamental right, then the obvious question becomes: the right to choose what?

    *sigh* Control over your own body, as you well know was meant by that comment.

  286. Eric said…

    I’m not the one who posted a smug “Nuff said” after quoting the wrong person. Now, who’s the idiot?

    Eric is correct it was me. Pho keeps picking on Eric and Harry for my sins.

    I find this whole thread interesting. It seems clear to me that for the most part Pho keeps giving the argument in support Roe v Wade or at least he does with me. He keeps going back to the “personhood” thingy and that is fine and great and dandy as candy. Hell I agree with you Pho, Roe v Wade is the law after all! It has stood for decades.

    Only trouble is I took time to let Pho know that I was not arguing that. I am tilting at a different windmill. He does not like this, the pro-abortionists never do. They want to direct everything regarding abortion towards what they consider is their philosophical high ground, personhood. Please notice I say philosophical not moral high ground. They have honed the personhood premise to a fine edge for 35 years. Pho at times acts as if he invented something new here. He thinks it silly to say you can buy term papers online for $12.95 that argue abortion ethics (from either side BTW). The Phoenician, Judith Jarvis Thomson and our dear friend J want to define the whole argument. As for me I just say no.

    The question of whether abortion is fundamentally right or wrong is not a legal one. The question is not political. The question does not revolve around personhood. The question is a moral one.

    Never try to teach a pig to sing…

  287. That’s another one of those opinions that P just pulls out of thin air, then treats as an absolute FACT.

    Well, this is why he thinks he “demolished” criticism of his “only sentient beings are entitled to personhood” argument. You know, the one where he didn’t, in fact, demolish anything.

    But about those fundamental rights. Abortion isn’t a fundamental right, although pro-abortionists will try to tell you it will. Sandra Day O’Connor tried to skirt the issue and toe up to the line without actually stating it was a fundamental right. But, unfortunately for them, without the magical words, there isn’t one.

    Now, we do know that having children and raising children are fundamental rights. But abortion? Nope. And it’s not likely to be recognized as one in the next couple of decades under the Roberts court. As I’ve stated before, abortion will remain legal but probably will be curtailed more and more, much to the chagrin of liberals.

  288. Pho said with exasperation…

    *sigh* Control over your own body, as you well know was meant by that comment.

    I think Dana’s question was rhetorical? To quote Wikipedia it is “A rhetorical question is a figure of speech in the form of a question posed for rhetorical effect rather than for the purpose of getting an answer.” It is a form of instruction.

    This gets real interesting as Rhetoric can be traced back to these Greek guys known as Sophists. What I find cool about these Sophists guys is what this here Plato guy said… again according to Wikipedia… “Plato is largely responsible for the modern view of the “sophist” as someone who uses rhetorical sleight-of-hand and ambiguities of language in order to deceive, or to support fallacious reasoning. In this view, the sophist is not concerned with truth and justice, but instead seeks power.”

    Now I know Dana is not one of those Sophist guys, in spite of that I thought this fits this thread.

    Yes this post is sophomoric but then again that is its point.

  289. That’s another one of those opinions that P just pulls out of thin air, then treats as an absolute FACT.

    Temporarily coming back to say that this is actually also an argument that applies to your line of argumentation as well, so if you indeed wish to apply it, you should apply it universally. More here.

  290. *sigh* Control over your own body

    But abortion is about killing ANOTHER body. But I guess you’re too dumb to recognize this. Besides, other that not being able to fit into the latest fashions, exactly what “control” does a pregnant women lose?

  291. Temporarily coming back to say that this is actually also an argument that applies to your line of argumentation as well, so if you indeed wish to apply it, you should apply it universally.

    Dunno about that. Stating that unborn babies are human beings is simply to state a scientific FACT. In contrast, P’s blather about “personhood” is just self-serving blarney that he manufactures to create a semblence of an argument. Big difference there …

  292. But abortion is about killing ANOTHER body.

    So is eating meat and using antibiotics.

    Allow me to turn the questions around for those people ranting and raving, but never actually engaging my arguments (‘cos I’m getting bored of Eric ascribing his ignorance to my supposed bad faith – for the love of God, questions about personal identity started with friggin’ *Heraclitus*):

    i, What is the definition of a “human being” in the sense of something that should have legal human rights?

    ii, What, in that definition, justifies those rights?

    iii, Does this apply to:
    (a) a normal adult
    (b) a normal two year old
    (c) a baby two minites after birth
    (d) a baby two minutes before birth
    (e) a fetus in the second trimester
    (f) a fetus in the first trimester
    (g) a fertilised egg in the fallopian tube (before implantation)
    (h) an unfertilised ovum
    (i) an intelligent and sentient alien
    (j) a pig genetically engineered to be as intelligent as a human adult
    (k) a pig genetically engineered to be as intelligent as a human two-year old
    (l) a normal pig
    (m) a sentient artificial intelligence in a neural net
    (n) a sentient artificial intelligence as a computer program
    (o) an artifical intelligence which may or may not be sentient, but acts like it and is pleading not be turned off
    (p) a human personality translated into a computer program (“uploaded”), where that transfer destroyed the original brain and retained continuity of consciousness.
    (q) an uploaded personality where the original brain remained intact
    (r) a copy of an uploaded personality booted up on another computer sixty years after the translation
    (s) a human twin
    (t) a human clone
    (u) a human born brain dead, and who never developed intelligence

    iv, Where the answer is no, can you briefly indicate why the case doesn’t equal a “human being” by your definition, if this is not obvious?

    I predict that Eric and Harry will be unable to actually deal with these questions and will probably rant about them being “crazy”. Dana and PgWarner might be able to actually deal with them, though, and the answers might be interesting.

  293. (j) a pig genetically engineered to be as intelligent as a human adult

    By Jove, THAT explains where Bill Clinton came from. Arkansaw Razorback, indeed!

    OK, all seriousness aside, the only options that are relevant are those that apply to actual human beings, not biology experiments run amok nor scenarios that might only exist in a Sci-Fi movie. So let’s rule out (i) thru (r) right off the bat. The clone (t) represents a hypothetical that we have not yet (Thank God!)had to confront. Everything else concerns normal humans in various stages of development, which brings us right back where we started. Obviously, the human life begins biologically right at conception. The only question remaining is under what circumstances it it OK for another human being to kill it?

  294. More here.

    I read that article, and it raises some interesting points. You kight want to re-post it here (as a new topic) and see what kind of discussion it generates.

  295. So is eating meat and using antibiotics.

    I believe the discussion is about humans, not animals. Going down the trail of which animals may/may not be sentient is an animal rights argument that really has no bearing on the right of abortion.

    The only important discussion is the one that discusses humans alone. To argue (and we know you will) that a “sentient artificial intelligence in a neural net” should have the same rights to personhood as humans may be interesting to atheists and agnostics, but it’s immoral to the rest of us.

    It is interesting that you put “a baby 2 minutes before he/she is born” along with “a baby 2 minutes after he/she is born.” This goes back to my argument about location, which is actually the only real argument where abortion is concerned (not self-awareness, sentience, or anything else). If we develop an artificial womb, the “it’s my body” argument goes away. And if a 30-week-gestated fetus in the womb is the same as a 30-week-gestated baby outside the womb (developmentally speaking), then the abortion argument that the fetus shouldn’t have rights falls apart.

  296. Yes, but Pinocchio is a hysterical idiot from time to time, as we’ve all noticed.

    You know, RAT, no matter how sweet you try to be to Sharon…

    …ah, what the hell. RATty boy, you creep me out.

  297. Personally, I don’t recall either “ranting” or “raving” about any subject here or elsewhere. My perception is that the evidence is to the contrary.

    In any case, since it’s been so clearly “established” that I lack the intellectual acumen to “deal with” the questions posed, why bother?

    Am I being mistaken for someone else … again?

  298. …ranting and raving, but never actually engaging my arguments…

    This door swings both ways. Furthermore, what you commonly mistake for “arguments” are assertions, allegations or pronouncements, few of which require “engagement” on any serious level.

  299. I am happy to answer Phoenician’s question in #312. Responsibility calls now so it will need to be later today or tonight.

  300. OK, all seriousness aside, the only options that are relevant are those that apply to actual human beings, not biology experiments run amok nor scenarios that might only exist in a Sci-Fi movie. So let’s rule out (i) thru (r) right off the bat.

    Let’s not, because they are there to test your definitions.

    You were asked to do the following things:

    i, Supply a definition of a “human being” in the sense of something that should have legal human rights.

    ii, State, in that definition, what justifies those rights?

    iii, Apply that definition to test cases

    iv, Elaborate where necessary.

    You conspiciously ignored parts (i) and (ii), which were the point of the exercise. Why is that, Eric?

    To argue (and we know you will) that a “sentient artificial intelligence in a neural net” should have the same rights to personhood as humans may be interesting to atheists and agnostics, but it’s immoral to the rest of us.

    Why?

    Again, consider an intelligent alien – ET from the movies. Does he have the same civil rights as a biological human, including a right to life? Why or why not? Now, consider an intelligent AI. Does it have the same civil rights as a biological human, including a right to life? Why or why not?

    The simple fact that you and Eric are unable to explicitly state what is a “human” in the sense of deserving civil rights, and unwilling to apply said definition to test cases speaks volumes about your position.

  301. Harry said…

    Am I being mistaken for someone else … again?

    I am not sure what I should say. I guess I should think everyone thinks I rant?

  302. pgw, I happen to love your comments and frequently find myself in agreement. I don’t consider your posts “rants” at all. I asked the question since I’ve been mistaken for both you and Eric and possibly others (who knows?) in this thread alone, both of which I’ll take as a compliment, and I’m not at all certain who “…you and Eric…” (#320) is meant to address.

    I do find it more than a bit ironic that we have a sudden problem with others being unable to explicitly state and unable to apply various aspects of one’s arguments. If I must say, it also has the ring of a school yard taunt about it.

  303. The Phoenician asked…

    Allow me to turn the questions around for those people ranting and raving, but never actually engaging my arguments

    To the best of my ability I will try to answer.

    Let me be crystal clear about where I believe this all starts and ends before I answer in detail…

    If there is no God, there is no reason to believe that man is special or that the morality he creates is objectively true. It follows that man has no particular value, no intrinsic worth.

    I do not believe a supernatural explanation of morality is a fallacy, others may. I am sure that is where the issue of this thread lies. There are of course alternative ideas as to morality’s foundation. Naturalism comes to mind as something proffered by materialists or physicalists to provide just such a foundation. Materialistic anthropology, though, does not provide us with any reason to believe man has any more value than a Tuatara, or a turnip. Taking this into account I will give this a college try.

    i, What is the definition of a “human being” in the sense of something that should have legal human rights?

    Your question does seem to imply the understanding that what is to be human and what our humanity means exists quite apart from just the realm of legal rights. But your question only requires that humans are defined in the physical.
    A member of the species Homo sapiens is a human being. Any and all Homo sapiens are entitled to “legal human rights”.

    ii, What, in that definition, justifies those rights?

    Being a human justifies it. I am not trying to be a simplistic, it just follows.

    iii, Does this apply to:

    A-G) The answer is yes. Though there are many variations regarding rights depending upon where in time and location you are talking about.
    H) The answer is no. It is just tissue and I do not believe it hasever legal rights, or should have any.
    I) The answer is yes. A New Zealander in America would be entitled to those rights. Of course honoring the intent of the question regarding an E.T., I would say no.
    J-R) The answer is no. The examples are not human.
    S-T) Yes
    U) Yes, if the human is biologically alive.
    iv, Where the answer is no, can you briefly indicate why the case doesn’t equal a “human being” by your definition, if this is not obvious?

    The best way to give you an answer here is that intelligence is not a requirement for being human (which should be obvious). Intelligence levels vary widely. Being self-aware is not a strict qualifier for being human either. Human life is undeniably a continuum and humans are at times self aware and at other times not.

    The heart of the matter in this exercise is of course the use of the concept of “legal rights” and defining human in that legal context. The laws are within man’s control and he is welcome to apply them as he see fit. He created them after all.

    The rights vary greatly among the humans listed with very few humans attaining full rights. Those as we know from history are wealthy adult males. Children can not vote for instance and women are denied rights in certain parts of the world.

    We should ask I believe, whether should some of these humans and non-humans be granted some rights or be given more legal rights. That I am afraid is a moral question and your questions have not gone in that direction.

    At this point in time here in America we have had one of our institutions declare that some of the categories I listed as a human beings are not entitled to full protection under the law, namely they are not considered a “person” under the law. This was done legally though not gracefully. This of course is in part due to rather vague language in our constitution. Justice Harry Blackmun wrote that, ‘(If the) suggestion of personhood [of the preborn] is established, the [abortion rights] case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life is then guaranteed specifically by the [14th] Amendment.’” Again this is man’s purview and is subject to change and the unborn may yet again enjoy the legal right to life from conception on.

    In this country we use the term civil rights. Our most famous and most often quoted as well as the most emulated document we have declares “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable [inalienable] Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” They felt it necessary to include a higher power to lay a moral foundation to state an undeniable truth that is by their proclamation clear to all.

    We again come to the question of is abortion morally right or wrong? What is the moral foundation of the “ethics” at work? Why would be any of us be worth more than a jelly donut if we created moral fiction? Jack is right that the theist and non-theist tug-of-war is at the center of this, most times it is.

    There is gold here for discussion I think. I like the idea of how to handle an E.T., or how we treat higher primates and other mammals, though I think this is tangential. Another maybe how can Roe be changed or can it, or should it? Anyway I apologize how poorly I put things but I had a long day of therapy and hurried home to reply.

    I pray daily that all humans have their dignity and life protected from the moment of conception to death.

  304. Harry said…

    pgw, I happen to love your comments and frequently find myself in agreement. I don’t consider your posts “rants” at all.

    I very much appreciate that and I feel the same way. I was just having fun.

  305. Let’s not, because they are there to test your definitions.

    What is the Matrix, Neo?

    iii, Apply that definition to test cases

    Many of which were ridiculous, or else the product of watching too many Sci-Fi movies. Talking pigs? Computer uploaded “humans”? C’mon!

    As for the rest, my answer was in my last 2 sentences. Human life begins at conception, and at the very least that human is entitled to the most basic of all rights, the right to live. When you cut thru all the clutter, that’s really where the puck hits the ice.

    PS Hey, I love sci-fi as much as the next guy, and The Matrix and The Terminator are two of my favorite movies, but I’m not basing a serious moral system on killer cyborgs or self aware artificial intelligence systems created by brilliant Hollywood directors, screenwriters, and special effects geniuses.

  306. Pho said…

    The simple fact that you and Eric are unable to explicitly state what is a “human” in the sense of deserving civil rights, and unwilling to apply said definition to test cases speaks volumes about your position.

    Well this may have been what you wanted to ask, it however is not what you asked I submit. The question of what is intrinsically valuable in a human can not be gotten to by way of a legal argument.

    This is a restatement of what I said, just wanted to be clear as Eric is making this point also and it is I believe a valid point.

    We should talk amongst ourselves about Plato and Kant!

  307. … for the love of God … Freudian slip?

    i, What is the definition of a “human being” in the sense of something that should have legal human rights?

    If this life is all there is and man is simply the product of natural processes acted upon by time and chance, then there is arguably no transcendant objective morality other than that established by those with the power to do so. This world view implies to me that the definition of a “human being” is whatever the dominant culture decides and the attendant rights are similarly to be decided by the dominant culture.

    I would therefore argue that this “should” question cannot be answered on a legal basis in that context but that it requires a philosophical or theological answer.

    My particular world view is that there is a transcendant God who created the universe and all that is within it, including life in general and human life in particular. He chose human beings uniquely to create “in his image”, both male and female, and he created them with body, soul and spirit. Therefore, a “human being” consists of the offspring of an original created pair, known generically as “man” and “woman” who exist as body, soul and spirit.

    ii, What, in that definition, justifies those rights?

    The fact that men and women were created in the “image of God” and have a soul and spirit argues that they be treated with accordant dignity.

    iii, Does this apply to:

    (a)-(c) Yes
    (d)-(g) It depends on when the soul enters the baby. I’m not certain, nor do I believe one can be dogmatic as to when this happens. It may happen at conception or later. The Bible is largely silent on the subject and the church and church fathers have differed. At one point some have argued that it occurs with the “quickening”. Others have argued that the conceptus is a fully human being. Since I admitedly don’t know, and am not sure we can know, I argue for caution regarding the “possible human being”. At any rate, I am more and more uneasy with destruction of the “developing human being” the closer to his or her birth.
    (h) No
    (i) Possibly, assuming that God created aliens similarly to the way man and woman were created and imbued them with souls.
    (j)-(r) I doubt it, given that I believe human beings, men and women, are unique in that they have souls.
    (s) Yes. It’s the soul, not the DNA.
    (t) Only if the clone also receives a soul. It may very well be scientifically impossible for human clones to be created. Sort of like it’s arguably impossible to exceed the speed of light. It might possibly break an as yet unknown natural/spritual law to “mess around” with attempting to duplicate human beings – it may be the “soul thing”. This is a subject for theologians and philosophers to attempt to deal with. Much too important to be left solely (pun intended) to scientists.
    (u) What do you mean by “brain dead”? Do you mean no higher brain activity at all? I don’t know, and therefore think we should err on the side of caution. If my assertion that the human race was created in the image of God is true, then even a human being without brain function deserves to be treated with dignity on that basis.

    Let’s go beyond this some. It seems that our US Declaration of Independence, our legal system and our Constitution are all based on some degree or other on Judeo-Christian principles including the recognition of the dignity of “humanity”. This was not done perfectly, of course, slavery being a stain of sin on our past. Even there, though, there was broad disagreement within the various founding groups that caused slaves to be at least partially recognized (another subject for another thread).

    Secondly, the US was emphatically NOT created as a theocracy, therefore, though as a citizen, my personal theological world view can certainly inform the way I think about the world (as does every other citizen’s) I am not allowed to (or interested in doing so) impose my particular sectarian beliefs on the population in general. Our First Amendment specifically restricts the Congress from creating a state religion and I wholeheartedly agree.

    Where does that leave us with respect to the questions at hand? It seems to me that in every case regarding the issue that we have been discussing, each argument ultimately finds its way back to some absolute, whether it be the absolute autonomy of the woman to decide whether to be pregnant, the absolute autonomy of the “fetus” to have the “right” to live, or some balance of the two. In any case, we routinely appeal to “ought tos”, “right”, “wrong”, “the right to …” and other similar language that suggests either a conscious or subconscious belief in some absolute, transcendant “morality”, “ethics” or whatever world view informs the argument being made.

  308. If there is no God, there is no reason to believe that man is special or that the morality he creates is objectively true. It follows that man has no particular value, no intrinsic worth.

    This is mostly incorrect, in my view. Man is the only creature we know who is both conscious and self-aware, and thus able to make moral decisions. The question of whether those can be objectively true is debatable, but it is that capacity to choose which provides a value to a human life above other forms of life.

    A member of the species Homo sapiens is a human being. Any and all Homo sapiens are entitled to “legal human rights”.

    Okay.

    ii, What, in that definition, justifies those rights?

    Being a human justifies it.

    No, that’s circular. What is it about being a member of the species Homo Sapiens which justifies rights?

    H) The answer is no. It is just tissue and I do not believe it hasever legal rights, or should have any.

    H was an unfertilised ovum. G was a fertilised egg – what exactly distinguishs the two in such a way as to justify civil rights?

    U) Yes, if the human is biologically alive.

    So, as I understand it, your entire definition of “human” in the sense of deserving civil rights is a biologically alive member of the species Homo Sapiens. You have failed to provide any actual justification attached to this, however, but we’ll go with it.

    The problem with not having a justification is that species are a mutable thing – at what point do we remove “humanness”? Humans have 46 chromosomes – is a Downs Syndrome child with 47 chromosomes a human? Would Homo Sapiens Idaltu be considered human, if one were discovered alive? Would a Neanderthal? What about a AustralopithecusThe heart of the matter in this exercise is of course the use of the concept of “legal rights” and defining human in that legal context. The laws are within man’s control and he is welcome to apply them as he see fit. He created them after all.

    I asked you for your definition of which entities should get civil rights. Please don’t fob it off on society; we’re discussing your definition.

    This is why I’m pressing for a definition – what is it about the 46 chromosomes of Homo Sapiens Sapiens that you find so worthy?

  309. Eric: Many of which were ridiculous, or else the product of watching too many Sci-Fi movies. Talking pigs? Computer uploaded “humans”? C’mon!

    As predicted.

    Eric, a hundred years ago, cyborgs would be considered ridiculous. Today they’re commonplace – you probably know one or two. The fact that you’re unable to wrap your mind around the problems with your definitions doesn’t make them go away.

    Human life begins at conception, and at the very least that human is entitled to the most basic of all rights, the right to live.

    Why? What is it about conception that makes civil rights so important?

    PS Hey, I love sci-fi as much as the next guy, and The Matrix and The Terminator are two of my favorite movies, but I’m not basing a serious moral system on killer cyborgs or self aware artificial intelligence systems created by brilliant Hollywood directors, screenwriters, and special effects geniuses.

    Eric, there are many people in the world today who are cyborgs. In all probability, some of them have killed.

  310. My particular world view is that there is a transcendant God who created the universe and all that is within it, including life in general and human life in particular. [...]
    Secondly, the US was emphatically NOT created as a theocracy, therefore, though as a citizen, my personal theological world view can certainly inform the way I think about the world (as does every other citizen’s) I am not allowed to (or interested in doing so) impose my particular sectarian beliefs on the population in general.

    Then you have a problem. If your objection to abortion is based on the presence of a “soul” in the fetus, and the “soul” is a religious concept, then you cannot justify reflecting this under law. You must find another, secular, basis for justifying civil rights for fetuses before you can push to ban abortion consistent with your last statement.

    (t) Only if the clone also receives a soul. It may very well be scientifically impossible for human clones to be created.

    Don’t bet on it. The stuff I’ve seen suggests it may well be technically easier than sheep – but there are serious ethical issues involved.

    And as regards twins – you do realise that they split from a single fertilised cell after conception, right? Which of them has the “soul”?

    (And I use the quotes around “soul” because I reserve the right to go all logical positivist on your argument)

  311. Why? What is it about conception that makes civil rights so important?

    I answered that already, but in any event, here it is again:

    Human life begins at conception, and at the very least that human is entitled to the most basic of all rights, the right to live.

    I don’t think I can make it any more clear than that.

  312. Eric, a hundred years ago, cyborgs would be considered ridiculous. Today they’re commonplace – you probably know one or two. The fact that you’re unable to wrap your mind around the problems with your definitions doesn’t make them go away.

    I think you know I was being a bit facetious with those movie references. Obviously I meant intelligent, thinking machines like you see in the movies, not guys with artificial limbs, pacemakers, etc. If we’re going to base moral arguments over movie characters, then we might as well argue over the moral status of hobbits, elves, dwarves, and unicorns. And since abortion doesn’t involve any of these, but it DOES involve unborn babies, then let’s stick to that. We can discuss the moral status of movie characters some other time.

  313. #330, Phoe, thanks for your reasoned response – interesting and intellectually challenging post.

    Today is my 33rd wedding anniversary so somewhat busy but will be back to continue discussion when “allowed”. You are correct that there is a natural “tension” between personal religious, and I would add philosophical, beliefs (particularly in the US and particularly in light of the First Amendment), and the public discourse and lawmaking.

  314. I asked you for your definition of which entities should get civil rights. Please don’t fob it off on society; we’re discussing your definition.

    I am not, you are by the nature of your questions. You keep trying to construct arguments that support your overall view. Your “questions” and “premises” are attempts to direct discussions to where you feel comfortable. You never put forth a proposition and ask for comments. Your approaches I respectfully submit are a form of sophistry, albeit possibly unintentional.

    I will try once more to make myself clear. I do not give a crap about your legal rights argument. I have said that over and over again. I have plainly and continually conceded it to you. You must know this, yet you continually try and direct things back to it. I know you feel comfortable there and I understand why and good for you.

    The problem with this approach you have is that it is way down the food chain. My cries about an argument concerning a moral foundation in all my posts has gotten me this…

    This is mostly incorrect, in my view. Man is the only creature we know who is both conscious and self-aware, and thus able to make moral decisions. The question of whether those can be objectively true is debatable, but it is that capacity to choose which provides a value to a human life above other forms of life.

    Just one crappy little paragraph is all. I will be happy to discuss this with you but as for your “legal justification” approach this has to be my last post. You are getting the cart before the horse my friend. I will go through your other responses as a courtesy.

    No, that’s circular. What is it about being a member of the species Homo Sapiens which justifies rights?

    You may not like my logic but it is in response to your question which you crafted to funnel a certain types of responses to you. Hell Pho you asked…

    Supply a definition of a “human being” in the sense of something that should have legal human rights.

    You did not ask me what makes humans unique and possibly above all other forms of life. You all so used terms like “legal human rights”, your use of the term “civil” rights does not appear until a later response to Eric. So due to your poorly worded question using an undefined term like “legal human rights” you got the circular answer you deserved. Besides if you substitute turnip for human in your question it still follows. A turnip is entitled to turnip rights because it is a turnip. It is not entitled to human rights because it is a turnip and the reverse holds. And the justification for its rights as a turnip is… Come On!

    The trap you set was to try and illicit a response from honest people that man has a “soul” and that this “soul” is what makes him unique. You know that having a “soul” is not something our shared western legal system has chosen to deal with. So this is where you want to fight your battle because a “soul” can only be defended within a theist moral framework. Oh we skipped the moral definition step did we not? Oh wait we have this…

    Man is the only creature we know who is both conscious and self-aware, and thus able to make moral decisions

    That I am afraid in the context of this discussion is only your unsupported opinion. It of course is the only point worth talking about.

    Now since man is the sole arbitrator of morality according to you everything becomes malleable and he “creates” morality along with help from nature of which is he just a part of. At this point the rest of the exercise is pointless, but still for you I will continue.

    H was an unfertilised ovum. G was a fertilised egg – what exactly distinguishs the two in such a way as to justify civil rights?

    These were tedious and unnecessary but I said I would do it. One is human life, albeit in an early stage of development. You now use “civil” rights for the first time with me. You did not say that before. As an American as I took pains to explain to you in my post that we have different rights that we have applied differently at different times for different humans. Right to life which is one of our civil rights is now not afforded to what you call a “fetus”. A tangential point might be that a “fetus” may have some rights. I believe it can sue for wrongful death in certain jurisdictions. Sharon or another attorney will need to help me there.

    So, as I understand it, your entire definition of “human” in the sense of deserving civil rights is a biologically alive member of the species Homo Sapiens. You have failed to provide any actual justification attached to this, however, but we’ll go with it.

    Yes under your constructs it is, see above. Again with the term “civil” rights! Why did you not use it before?

    The problem with not having a justification is that species are a mutable thing – at what point do we remove “humanness”? Humans have 46 chromosomes – is a Downs Syndrome child with 47 chromosomes a human? Would Homo Sapiens Idaltu be considered human, if one were discovered alive? Would a Neanderthal? What about a Australopithecus

    Most assuredly so they are mutable. You got what you asked for. At different times man has considered a Downs child entitled to civil rights (lets use that term now), Hitler and the Spartan’s murdered them. You getting the point yet?

    I asked you for your definition of which entities should get civil rights. Please don’t fob it off on society; we’re discussing your definition.

    No you did not ask this. You asked…

    Supply a definition of a “human being” in the sense of something that should have legal human rights.

    Can you see the difference?

    This is why I’m pressing for a definition – what is it about the 46 chromosomes of Homo Sapiens Sapiens that you find so worthy?

    I don’t, I am flexible regarding it, and you never ask about that. I make a point of not picking up Solomon’s sword as being a man my aim is not so true.

    Laws change and so does man’s version of morality.

    Eric is right to bridle at some of your examples as they are an offense to dignity, sadly I really don’t think you understand that. Anyway, Teacher, it’s been fun but schools out on “personhood” and “legal human rights”.

    Hold the phone…

    Then you have a problem. If your objection to abortion is based on the presence of a “soul” in the fetus, and the “soul” is a religious concept, then you cannot justify reflecting this under law. You must find another, secular, basis for justifying civil rights for fetuses before you can push to ban abortion consistent with your last statement.

    I just saw this response you gave to Harry. Harry and the rest of us object to Roe because we believe to be immoral not illegal. I have said this countless times you obtuse, narcissistic, arrogant fool. I think your statement proves the sophistry I accused you of. Laws are a product of culture, not philosophy. I repeat this for you…

    Justice Harry Blackmun wrote that, ‘(If the) suggestion of personhood [of the preborn] is established, the [abortion rights] case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life is then guaranteed specifically by the [14th] Amendment.’” Again this is man’s purview and is subject to change and the unborn may yet again enjoy the legal right to life from conception on.

    Sorry about the bandwidth Dana.

  315. Don’t bet on it. The stuff I’ve seen suggests it may well be technically easier than sheep – but there are serious ethical issues involved.

    Why should there be “serious ethical issues”?

    And as regards twins – you do realise that they split from a single fertilised cell after conception, right? Which of them has the “soul”?

    Why, yes, I do understand how twins are made. I believe the following comment addressed the obvious limits of my “knowledge” of when the conceptus/fetus/baby receives a soul. As for when twins receive their souls, this is the purview of God alone. I certainly don’t find it a difficulty in any sense of the term. If God can create a soul he can certainly deal with twins.

    It depends on when the soul enters the baby. I’m not certain, nor do I believe one can be dogmatic as to when this happens. It may happen at conception or later. The Bible is largely silent on the subject and the church and church fathers have differed. At one point some have argued that it occurs with the “quickening”. Others have argued that the conceptus is a fully human being. Since I admitedly don’t know, and am not sure we can know, I argue for caution regarding the “possible human being”. At any rate, I am more and more uneasy with destruction of the “developing human being” the closer to his or her birth.

    Then you have a problem. If your objection to abortion is based on the presence of a “soul” in the fetus, and the “soul” is a religious concept, then you cannot justify reflecting this under law. You must find another, secular, basis for justifying civil rights for fetuses before you can push to ban abortion consistent with your last statement.

    I don’t see this as a problem at all. First, as I indicated, there is nothing at all wrong with any citizen’s religious or philosophical beliefs informing their political beliefs. The US Constitutional First Amendment only restricts the government from creating an official state religion, it does not ban “religion” from the public square nor does it forbid citizens from forming their political beliefs based on their moral and religious beliefs. The sole restriction regards the establishment of sectarian dogma.

    Secondly, why should we restrict the expression of religious belief and not similarly restrict the expression of secular philosophy? That seems to be begging the question to me.

    Finally, if my sole argument against abortion was that the fetus has a soul then I might agree with your premise on some level. However, if you track back through my arguments you’ll find that I studiously avoid making that argument simply because reasonable people can reasonably disagree on the presence of a soul and as we discussed above, when it enters the conceptus/fetus/baby. My argument has always been that the conceptus/fetus/baby is in essence fully human and that the only thing different between Harry Arthur, conceptus, and Harry Arthur, crotchety old man, is time and growth. For this reason there must be a balancing act between “mom’s” life and “baby’s” on some level and at some time. I would argue that society can draw the “legal” line where it collectively decides, but that collective decision must be informed by the collective morality, of whatever source, or it is arbitrary and caprecious, and is subject to change at the “whim” of the majority based on nothing less than political power.

    You asked a should question regarding human rights based on our “definition of a human being”. As I stated, if this life is all there is, and we’re just products of matter, time and chance, and nothing more, then a should question makes no real sense. In such a universe, the strong survive, the weak die, the strong make the rules, and the rules change at their “consensus” (organized whim).

    If, however, there is a Creator God, to whom we must ultimately answer, mankind is made in his image, and there is a life after this one, then we are morally obliged to live in accordance with His laws. No matter how you phrase the should question, it ultimately boils down to a belief in a transcendant truth or standard of some sort. However you wish to parse that in terms of human philosophy, I don’t see how you can get around that essential question.

  316. Secondly, why should we restrict the expression of religious belief and not similarly restrict the expression of secular philosophy?

    That is an absolutely brilliant question. Why should secular ideology have a monopoly on political discussion and debate?

  317. A slave women consented to have sexual acts performed on her by a consenting male slave. She wanted nothing but pleasure, but created another slave in the womb, from unintended consequenses of her seeking pleasure.
    The “baby in the womb” is a “slave” to the women, since it had made no decision/volition/will, in being created for its food and life. The baby in the womb, is a slave to the women. The fetus depends on life, as the women slave depends upon life, from the authority and “choices” of her owner/slavemaster.

    To the slavemaster(Phojacserlac), both are property to be disposed of, or kept, according to a decision, or so called choice, that increases his/her happiness. In essence, property should, and always increase happiness by increasing wealth.
    But the slave women thought she was a rightous human, and wanted to murder her baby to save it from being a slave as she was. She had no hope in her life for a better day. Besides, who knows slavery better then a slave?
    To solve this dilemma took some thinking and choices. Should she kill the slave she created and stop future slavery, or increase the reduction of slavery, and kill her slave and herself?
    Luckily, she was a slave, and did have worth, and Phojacselac came to the rescue when she tried to drowned herself in the river. Afterall, Phojerselac knew the worth of property, and how it brought her family happiness.
    Phojersalac did have to search for hours to find the baby slave, that had been thrown into river by the slave women, before she threw herself in. Afterall, she(slave women) did sacrifice her life for weeks, giving unwanted food to her slave fetus, thus advancing her rightousness anger, to murder her own created slave fetus.
    Rejoicing upon this find, Phojersalac named the former “slave fetus” of the mother, Moses, and rightously beat the slave women into hoping for a better day, then the one she was having.
    And so, Moses begat, and begat many generations, which outlasted chattel slavery, and bore a child named Amanda, who knew slavery was natural.
    So, what is the result of right and wrong on conduct? Or, What is the moral of this meme?
    “According to the law of nature it is only fair that no one should become richer through damages and injuries to others”(Cicero)? But, this would condemn a women, who even though she is a slave to patriarchy, who murders her self- created slave fetus in the womb, since she gives those reasons for her murdering her created “slave in the womb”. See, reasons for abortion. I cannot afford a fetus and it will make me less richer then I am now. I injure, to “increase my food richness” for myself. A fetus takes food from the mother.
    “Just as the soul fills the body,so God fills the world. Just as the soul bears the body, so God endures the world. Just as the soul sees but is not seen, so God sees but is not seen. Just as the soul feeds the body, so God feeds the world”(Cicero)Is the moral of this meme to think feeding up Cicero in defence of one denying food to another, actually reveals the ignorance of that person concerning Cicero?
    “The greatest pleaures are only narrowly seperated from disgust?(Cicero)”
    But in the end, Phoenician, to Jack, to the Lac, must be certain of their morals and ethics for the simple reason that they will have to suffer for it. They are already slaves to their passions, and make reality deny truth, until the seperation from reality swells up in them, and ends in denying food to a poor slave in the womb.

  318. Pingback: Common Sense Political Thought » Archives » It’s just so easy to win debates when you decide that your opponents aren’t telling the truth (Part 2)

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