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tyork
Science is always causing us to rethink our societal mores. This link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/3846525.stm sheds new light on the complex abilities of a fetus at 12 weeks.

QUOTE
Scans uncover secrets of the womb


Baby 'walking' in the womb
A new type of ultrasound scan has produced the vivid pictures of a 12 week-old foetus "walking" in the womb.
The new images also show foetuses apparently yawning and rubbing its eyes.



What light does this shed on when we consider our life human?
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SuzySteamboat
Do you mean a human being? Because I don't think anyone disputes that fetuses are human. They obviously have human DNA - no woman has ever given birth to a cow or piglet.
tyork
QUOTE
hu·man    ( P )  Pronunciation Key  (hyoo-men)
n.
A member of the genus Homo and especially of the species H. sapiens.

QUOTE
human being

n : any living or extinct member of the family Hominidae

I guess I don't see your distinction.
droop224
Tyork,
I think you should look up human and then being. Not human being. Science will never help this debate. Everyone, or at least all people I have talked to, recognize a fetus as alive. The question is and will always will be is a fetus a person. It is hard to distinguish, the difference between human and human being. Philosophically, the dictionary really doesn't offer answers. It takes more than moving legs to call something human to half Americans. It takes less for the other half.
Paladin Elspeth
The way things stand today, the fetus in the womb of a woman who wants a baby is a baby. A fetus in the womb of the woman who wants an abortion is considered so much growing tissue.

One of these arguments is right, but it doesn't stop some from acting on behalf of their desires alone, not the welfare of the growing life within.
Piper Plexed
I am not quite sure if the information does not help the debate, to me the debate is that of personal choice. I personally choose not to abort. This debate is alive and well in the mind and conscience of every woman. Now if this is to extend to the laws... well I choose to have a choice. As per the article..wow.. knowledge is power and I knew I felt movement that early. mrsparkle.gif
tyork
droop:
QUOTE
I think you should look up human and then being.

Actually I just responded to the other post and looked up the two definitions I was asked about. But I think that is what the article addresses in a new small way: "What does it mean to be?"
QUOTE
Science will never help this debate.

I find science and applied logic very helpful to almost all debate. (Well, I guess it depends on who is debating rather than the subject being debated. Logic and science mean nothing to some people.)
I only asked about the humanity, not the naturally following question of abortion. If the first question gets resolved satisfactorily there is no need for debate on the other either way.
Personally, I have never resonated with any other idea than "this is me, just at another stage". Rather than vitriol, I am wondering how we could think any other way. I promise not to hate you for focusing on a pregnant woman's dilemma. Promise not to spit something out at me for contemplating the possibility of personhood in someone so young.
lethe
Ok, a fetus is alive. But so are lots of other things. Where's the dividing line? A fetus can't do all the things I can. It certainly can't feel all the things I do, at least for most of its in utero development. What are the qualifications of "being human?" what is the distinction that makes us different from being, say an aardvark? (that last bit was a blatant excuse to use the word "aardvark" in a sentence)
We "become human": genetically, we're human in utero. Physically, we become human by the end of puberty as in able to survive outside the womb and reproduce as the criteria. After all, how can you consider yourself a member of the human species if you can't reproduce? Most importantly, mentally, I'd say humans develop characteristics unique from animals within the first few months of life.

I think the most unique characteristic of a human being is the desire to create art (most "unique", not necessarily the most useful). I don't know a much about the animal world but I have never heard of animals doing things for aesthetic reasons.
Julian
QUOTE(tyork @ Jun 28 2004, 11:17 PM)
Science is always causing us to rethink our societal mores.  This link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/3846525.stm sheds new light on the complex abilities of a fetus at 12 weeks. 

QUOTE
Scans uncover secrets of the womb


Baby 'walking' in the womb
A new type of ultrasound scan has produced the vivid pictures of a 12 week-old foetus "walking" in the womb.
The new images also show foetuses apparently yawning and rubbing its eyes.



What light does this shed on when we consider our life human?

I don't think it sheds any light on when we consider a life "human", if by that you mean (as I assume you do) that abortions carried out on 12 week old foetuses are the delberate killing of sentient humans no different to murder.

On the one hand, being able to appear to walk is something anyone can make their pet dog or cat do by holding it under the armpits and dangling it lcose to the floor. This does not make dogs or cats human.

A foetus has mobile limbs, it's true. it can either move them not at all, both at the same time, or one at a time. That a particular scan has shown the legs move alternately is no more evidence of "walking" than a scan of simultaneous movement is evidence of "jumping", or a scan with no leg movement at all is evidence of "standing" or "sitting", or a scan of arm and finger movement is evidence of "waving". All this proves is that foetuses move, which any pregnant women could tell you for free.

On the other hand, even if it does demonstrate some kind of abstract "humanity", it is not really a useful argument against abortion.

Many anti-abortionists have nothing against capital punishment, because they believe that the subjects of CP "have forfeited their right to life", even though they mostly accept that the court system is not so perfect that sometimes innocent people are killed. This is seen as "a price worth paying for the higher good" that CP is perceived to deliver.

Many have also no objection to military operations that produce civilian casualties, even though they accept that some or all of the civilian casualties are the regrettable deaths of innocent people, some of who are post-natal babies. Some also try to imply that they must really be helping or hiding the intended targets, since everyone knows exactly what their neighbours are doing from one second to the next(!) - but I won't go into that here. Suffice to say that at least part of the justification for such innocent deaths is that "the price is worth paying for the higher good" that air strikes and such are perceived to deliver.

So, it strikes me as inconsistent for hardline anti-abortionists to not also be pacifist anti-CP campaigners. Or, since such people clearly support the killing of innocents in some circumstances, maybe the "higher good" delivered by abortion - the health and/or well-being of the mother - just isn't high enough for them. Well, good for them; abortion is not compulsory, so they need never have one.
Mrs. Pigpen
QUOTE(tyork @ Jun 28 2004, 03:17 PM)
Science is always causing us to rethink our societal mores.  This link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/3846525.stm sheds new light on the complex abilities of a fetus at 12 weeks. 

QUOTE
Scans uncover secrets of the womb


Baby 'walking' in the womb
A new type of ultrasound scan has produced the vivid pictures of a 12 week-old foetus "walking" in the womb.
The new images also show foetuses apparently yawning and rubbing its eyes.



What light does this shed on when we consider our life human?

I'm with Julian. Movement is not a guideline or indication of humanity. By that definition, flagellates must be very human because they can really move. Smiling (also mentioned in the article) is a reflexive reaction even after birth. A baby doesn't have the ability to truly smile from joy until about a month old, so that's hardly an indication of humanity...unless babies aren't human at birth.
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Vermillion
I agree with the previous posters, the fact that a foetus looks humanoid and its legs move sets it on par with a person shaped wind chime. Those specific charictaristics do nothing to further the debate of its 'humanity' or not. In this debate everything is opinion, but in my opinion a foetus cannot be considered human until the point where it can sustain its own life: breathing heart beating independently, and so on. Freedom of choice for the woman is the only way to go.

This new 'revalation' adds nothing new to the old debate...
Azure-Citizen
What light does this shed?

I would echo the sentiments of prior posters that it does not shed much light on the argument of personhood. But if I may offer a pair of articles that help examine the question:

"When Does Human Personhood Begin?" is a neutral argument that does not take the position of either side. It explains that both sides actually agree on almost everything except for the issue of when personhood begins in time.

"The Question of Abortion: A Search for Answers" is an article by Ann Druyan and the late Carl Sagan which examines the scientific concepts. At four pages, its the best article I've ever seen on the issue.
tyork
QUOTE
Ok, a fetus is alive. But so are lots of other things. Where's the dividing line? A fetus can't do all the things I can.

So by this logic if someone else can do things you can't you should forfeit your humanity?
QUOTE
After all, how can you consider yourself a member of the human species if you can't reproduce?

You certainly aren't suggesting humanity begins at puberty?( humorous aside --Twain said on child raising when a boy reaches 15 put him in a wooden box with a hole only for feeding. When he reaches 17 close up the hole...okay, maybe you have to have teenagers to find funny)
QUOTE
Many anti-abortionists have nothing against capital punishment, because they believe that the subjects of CP "have forfeited their right to life", even though they mostly accept that the court system is not so perfect that sometimes innocent people are killed. This is seen as "a price worth paying for the higher good" that CP is perceived to deliver.

Many have also no objection to military operations that produce civilian casualties, even though they accept that some or all of the civilian casualties are the regrettable deaths of innocent people, some of who are post-natal babies. Some also try to imply that they must really be helping or hiding the intended targets, since everyone knows exactly what their neighbours are doing from one second to the next(!) - but I won't go into that here. Suffice to say that at least part of the justification for such innocent deaths is that "the price is worth paying for the higher good" that air strikes and such are perceived to deliver.

So, it strikes me as inconsistent for hardline anti-abortionists to not also be pacifist anti-CP campaigners. Or, since such people clearly support the killing of innocents in some circumstances, maybe the "higher good" delivered by abortion - the health and/or well-being of the mother - just isn't high enough for them. Well, good for them; abortion is not compulsory, so they need never have one.

This argument is circular. You just flip it around and point it at those who are pro choice. Like all shotgun blasts it hits a lot and misses some. People like you are alway stereotyping wink.gif (sorry about the sarcasm, but I love that line) I don't thing that general observation is relevant to the thread since it can be specifically proven wrong.
QUOTE
What light does this shed?
I think it shows light in that the line can be moved back. Life, if it is anything, is a continuum. And if the value of "humanity" is fluid, ie, that my sisters, with or without the support/coercion of their partners, can impart or withhold human value to her unborn, how can that valuation be morally justified?

These posts and especially the links are very enlightening. Thank you. The civil tone of this forum is heartening.

The problem is we have to come to a conclusion after all the research and my experience, (and I would be interested to know if it is the same with others) is the choice to make is the one we were the most comfortable with to begin with.

My feeling is hopeful(I concede it is a feeling) It is that we will look at the unborn in the future much as we did slavery in the past. That our conscience will get the better of our financial, emotional, and other considerations in the long term.
Paladin Elspeth
It takes a sperm with human DNA to join with an ovum containing human DNA to make a human embryo->fetus->baby. It's not going to become a plant, or a puppy or a kitten.

We all started out that way. Fortunately, our mothers did not abort us but gave birth, and somebody if not our parents raised and nurtured us.

The question is, does a woman have the right to end a life because it happens to be in her womb?

It really doesn't matter what a study says for most people in this argument. If the fetus could somehow shout, "Hey, Mom, I'm in here!" so that the woman could hear it, she might still abort if she didn't want to have the child. Let's be honest about this.

This is human life in its rudimentary beginnings. All of its potential is already there. The fact that it cannot exist independently outside the womb until reaching a certain number of weeks doesn't make it any less human. After all, a full-term baby cannot exist independently after it is born, either. A baby needs constant love, attention and protection in order to grow and thrive. That is the way of our species.

Is a woman's preference more important than the existence of another human being? Is it important enough to end the developing life inside her? This is what must be decided. Personally, I would not end the life of another because my pregnancy was "inconvenient" or I was having financial problems. Even if having the child endangered my life, I would have the doctors try their best to deliver a living child rather than poison it or extract it in pieces from my womb.

There are few reasons that are really good enough to end the life of a human being, actual or "potential." And I wonder how many babies are aborted simply because the woman was too selfish to carry it to term and put it up for adoption.
crashfourit
QUOTE(Paladin Elspeth)
This is human life in its rudimentary beginnings. All of its potential is already there. The fact that it cannot exist independently outside the womb until reaching a certain number of weeks doesn't make it any less human. After all, a full-term baby cannot exist independently after it is born, either. A baby needs constant love, attention and protection in order to grow and thrive. That is the way of our species.

Is a woman's preference more important than the existence of another human being? Is it important enough to end the developing life inside her? This is what must be decided. Personally, I would not end the life of another because my pregnancy was "inconvenient" or I was having financial problems. There are few reasons that are really good enough to end the life of a human being, actual or "potential."

This goes right along with my Libertarian philosophy, it doesn't matter if the human is dependent on others--it still needs to be protected.
I also say that the consenting adult acted in a manor to bring this life about, no matter if they want it or not, should be responsible for it (another words don't want a child, don't do it). To me human life is precious, and wars are horrible but happen, BUT every innocent life should be protected.
Azure-Citizen
Abortion tends to be a very difficult topic.

If I can attempt to answer this question:

QUOTE
The question is, does a woman have the right to end a life because it happens to be in her womb?


Simply because it happen to be in her womb? No, she should not, especially when the fetus has developed to the stage where it has the ability to survive on its own outside the womb, and it begins to have its own brain waves (the start of sentient thought), both of which occur somewhere near the end of the second trimester and the start of the third.

I think the problem most pro-life/pro-choice debaters encounter is in trying to define the issue and the fundamental question.

Pro-life persons see the baby as a form of human life, from conception to birth.

Pro-choice persons also see the baby as a form of human life, from conception to birth.

Both would also agree that sperm cells, ovum, zygotes, embryos, fetuses, and babies are all forms of human life.

But human life itself is sometimes not protected and we legally allow it to be terminated. A soldier on the battlefield is allowed to kill another human life in combat under the right circumstances. An executioner carrying out a death sentence terminates the life of the convict (personally, I am against the death penatly, but that is another topic). A doctor abiding by the family's wishes withdraws a feeding tube and allows their patient to die.

Before a sperm and egg combine, they are both a form of human life. After they combine, they are still a form of human life. Both sides agree on this. The real issue is over when does "personhood" start. When does the entity in question become a "person," and have rights to not be terminated or killed? If left unhindered, the now-combined sperm cell and ovum have the potential to become a person with those legal rights. But even before they combined, they still had the potential to become a person with legal rights. Where in the process do the rights attach? If they attach at fertilization, why is that? If they attach at the end of the second trimester, why is that?

QUOTE
This is human life in its rudimentary beginnings. All of its potential is already there.

I agree...

QUOTE
The fact that it cannot exist independently outside the womb until reaching a certain number of weeks doesn't make it any less human.

I agree...

QUOTE
Is a woman's preference more important than the existence of another human being?

If we mean another human life that we all agree and accept has personhood, obviously the answer must be no.

If we mean human life that is not considered to have personhood, I think the answer must be yes, despite the attractive allure of "potential."
SuzySteamboat
Raise your hands, ladies and gentlemen, if you want to live in a society where human beings only have sex if they want to have kids!!! What's that, you get laid maybe once, twice in a lifetime? That may work for you, but not for me.
Even responsible women get pregnant. Condoms break or fall off; birth control fails. I think that if you're not going to personally care for and raise all the unwanted children that are born, then you have no right to tell anyone else that they shouldn't terminate their pregnancy. I don't care what the fetus can do: smile, yawn, play cards or dance the polka. Forcing women to bring more unwanted children into the world when there's a safe alternative - abortion - will result in nothing positive.

Crashfourit: "(another words don't want a child, don't do it)." ... are you advocating that humans only have sex for purposes of procreation? wacko.gif I hope you practice what you preach.

Paladin Espeth: I don't think you're looking at the big picture. What good could possibly come out of bringing more unwanted children into the world? What good could come out of forcing a mother to raise a child she didn't want (and subsequently would grow to resent), of increasing the burden on orphanages and adoptive facilities when the children already in existance don't have enough good homes to go to?

"The question is, does a woman have the right to end a life because it happens to be in her womb?"

"Happens" to be in her womb? She woke up one day, went to get an ultrasound, and then went "whoops! How the hell did that get in there?!" The female participated in a sexual act that may or may not have resulted in a pregnancy, contraception or not. Once a pregnancy is confirmed, the female is going to have to care for it for nine months. As a female, PE, I know you understand that being pregnant is much more than a "life happening to be in a female's womb."
And besides, who determines what life is "innocent" and what life isn't?

Now, I understand that the fetus looks a lot like a baby, and that invokes a lot of emotional responses. However, it is far from being a human being, with all the rights that we enjoy. Honestly, when was the last time anyone witnessed a funeral for a zygote? Or even a three-month-old fetus?
Paladin Elspeth
QUOTE
"Happens" to be in her womb? She woke up one day, went to get an ultrasound, and then went "whoops! How the hell did that get in there?!" The female participated in a sexual act that may or may not have resulted in a pregnancy, contraception or not. Once a pregnancy is confirmed, the female is going to have to care for it for nine months. As a female, PE, I know you understand that being pregnant is much more than a "life happening to be in a female's womb."
And besides, who determines what life is "innocent" and what life isn't?


I think anyone who hasn't been born yet must be "innocent," don't you?

QUOTE
Now, I understand that the fetus looks a lot like a baby, and that invokes a lot of emotional responses. However, it is far from being a human being, with all the rights that we enjoy. Honestly, when was the last time anyone witnessed a funeral for a zygote? Or even a three-month-old fetus?



"Far from being a human being?" Like, 8-9 months away? I'd say that was pretty close, closer than a plant or a pet would be. We are talking about the product of conception--half my DNA, half the DNA of a man.

I said, "happens to be in a womb" because that's where we all start out. It's not like there's a pumpkin growing on someone else's property and that someone else doesn't like pumpkins, so she decides to weed it out. We are still talking about a life, a human life.

(When I miscarried, I buried the products of conception at the base of a lilac bush. We wanted that child, but a uterine tumor caused me to miscarry. We mourned. Does it take a casket and a funeral director to indicate the loss? No.)

Saying the child is not a child yet because it's not on the outside is a rationalization and a method of dehumanizing it. It provides an excuse for a woman to not feel guilt or remorse (perish the thought!) about killing the life within her. It is an excuse.
SuzySteamboat
QUOTE
I think anyone who hasn't been born yet must be "innocent," don't you?


Innocence in that sense is pure semantics and opinion, and therefore is an invalid argument against abortion.

QUOTE
"Far from being a human being?" Like, 8-9 months away? I'd say that was pretty close, closer than a plant or a pet would be. We are talking about the product of conception--half my DNA, half the DNA of a man.


It's still not a "being."

QUOTE
Saying the child is not a child yet because it's not on the outside is a rationalization and a method of dehumanizing it. It provides an excuse for a woman to not feel guilt or remorse (perish the thought!) about killing the life within her. It is an excuse.


And so what if it is? Is that your problem? If these women want to rationalize their guilt, let them. I say they shouldn't have any guilt to begin with. It's human, but not a human being. I don't think you appreciate the different situations women who are faced with an unwanted pregnancy face. Either all life is sacred or it isn't. If Americans accept killing people in a war, then it's hypocritical of them to get all bent out of shape over fetuses with no personality, no self-awareness, really no meaningful existance to anyone but those who know about the pregnancy.

I think abortion is a necessary evil, and no photographs or scientific claims will change my mind. I don't think the rights of a potential human being should usurp the rights of one already in existance. And no, I don't think that accidental pregnancies should make a woman forfeit those rights.

And you have yet to address this: "I don't think you're looking at the big picture. What good could possibly come out of bringing more unwanted children into the world? What good could come out of forcing a mother to raise a child she didn't want (and subsequently would grow to resent), of increasing the burden on orphanages and adoptive facilities when the children already in existance don't have enough good homes to go to?"
Azure-Citizen
QUOTE(SuzySteamboat to Paladin Elspeth)
And you have yet to address this: "I don't think you're looking at the big picture. What good could possibly come out of bringing more unwanted children into the world? What good could come out of forcing a mother to raise a child she didn't want (and subsequently would grow to resent), of increasing the burden on orphanages and adoptive facilities when the children already in existance don't have enough good homes to go to?"

If I may try to address this...

Obviously, not a lot of good comes out of bringing unwanted children into the world, and forcing a mother to raise a child she didn't want (and subsequently would grow to resent) isn't good, and increasing the burden on orphanages and adoptive facilities isn't good...

However, how would then distinguish that argument from this argument:

If a child less than 2 years old was born to a mother who seriously didn't want the child and deeply resents it, or is going to go into the overburdened orphanage system, we should kill it.

If your answer is that the child now has legal rights and is a "person," then perhaps you could elaborate as to when in the process (from fertilization to birth) those rights attach.
SuzySteamboat
Azure, it is well-established that once a person is born, they have full status as a human being. As for where the line to personhood is drawn before then, I do not know. However, I do know that no matter where that line is, there are still very reasonable, persuasive arguments against making abortion illegal, some of which I stated.
Azure-Citizen
QUOTE(SuzySteamboat @ Jun 30 2004, 02:04 AM)
As for where the line to personhood is drawn before then, I do not know. However, I do know that no matter where that line is, there are still very reasonable, persuasive arguments against making abortion illegal...

Thanks for responding. If I may...

You mentioned that you know that no matter where the line is drawn, there are reasonable, persuasive arguments against making abortion illegal. I would certainly agree with that assessment up until the end of the second trimester. But if the line is drawn at, say, anytime before birth, and a mother chooses to abort a baby the day before birth, are the arguments still reasonable and persuasive? Can you elaborate what the reasonable and persuasive argument would be in that situation?
Paladin Elspeth
QUOTE
What good could come out of forcing a mother to raise a child she didn't want (and subsequently would grow to resent), of increasing the burden on orphanages and adoptive facilities when the children already in existance don't have enough good homes to go to?"


Nobody's going to force a mother to raise a child. Here in Michigan the mom can drop the child off, no questions asked, no prosecution. The child can be dropped off at a fire department or a hospital.

There are people in this world ready and willing to accept the burden of loving a child and raising it to adulthood. Witness the many people who go overseas to adopt, partly because they are unable to find a baby here. There are good homes that are available.

I would suggest that if a person does not want to produce a child but wants to continue having sex as though she will never be pregnant, she should be sterilized, same with men.

Abortions devalue the coital experience. Who would deny that the basic reason for coitus is to produce children? At least that's what Mother Nature thinks. A pregnancy is seen as an inconvenience in casual sexual relationships, rather than the product of a loving sexual union. When we devalue a growing baby inside a woman, we are saying something about our progeny lacking sufficient worth to exist.

In India woman have CAT scans done to see if the sex of the baby can be known. If it is a boy, the woman does her best to carry it to term. If it is a girl, more often than not it is aborted. As a result, the coming generation of Indians is facing a shortage of girls to marry the boys.

We may look at that and say, how ridiculous. They don't see it that way in their culture, though. In China, girl children were left to die; once again boys were seen as superior; girls, inferior.

When a woman decides to have an abortion she is making a value judgement about a human who will most likely be a living infant in a few months. She is saying that the life within her is not worth carrying to term. And yet shouldn't the product of her conception have as much right to breathe as the product of my conception at birth? What makes one fetus more valuable than another?

Re-edited to add a couple of sentences--watch out! rolleyes.gif
SuzySteamboat
It all depends on where the line is drawn. I am no scientist, so I'm leaving it up to science to determine the point at which the fetus gains so many characteristics as to be considered a being. The whole point of this thread was to say "ooh look at the pictures, look at how much the fetus looks like a baby, now we should make abortion illegal" sorta deal. My point is that it doesn't matter how much like a baby or what kinds of actions the fetus is/does, the arguments for abortion are still perfectly valid. For me, where the line is drawn is all about what science infers to as being the line between a fetus and a human being, not about how much like a baby a fetus looks or acts. Before a fetus is considered a human being, I have no qualms about a woman choosing to abort it, even if they do.

Edited to address Paladin Espeth:

QUOTE
Nobody's going to force a mother to raise a child. Here in Michigan the mom can drop the child off, no questions asked, no prosecution. The child can be dropped off at a fire department or a hospital.

There are people in this world ready and willing to accept the burden of loving a child and raising it to adulthood. Witness the many people who go overseas to adopt, partly because they are unable to find a baby here. There are good homes that are available.


Paladin, are you honestly arguing that there are enough good homes to go around for every single unwanted child in America, enough so that we can afford to outlaw abortion and bring millions more to put up for adoption?

QUOTE
I would suggest that if a person does not want to produce a child but wants to continue having sex as though she will never be pregnant, she should be sterilized, same with men.


Why do you assume that every woman who has an unwanted pregnancy is some whore who "continued having sex as though she will never be pregnant?" Do you not understand that no birth control is 100% effective? Do you not understand that condoms break or slip off? Do you not understand that even the most responsible woman, engaging in multiple forms of birth control can still become pregnant? I am someone who has and will have sex to express my love for someone. I am someone who does not want to bceome pregnant now, but maybe I will in the future. Sterilization doesn't make a whole lot of sense to someone like me, but contraception does. But even that can fail, and I certainly would like the option of terminating my own pregnancy if it ever came to that.

QUOTE
Abortions devalue the coital experience. Who would deny that the basic reason for coitus is to produce children? At least that's what Mother Nature thinks. A pregnancy is seen as an inconvenience in casual sexual relationships, rather than the product of a loving sexual union. When we devalue a growing baby inside a woman, we are saying something about our progeny lacking sufficient worth to exist.


This is purely your opinion. IMO, the "coital experience" really isn't all it's cracked up to be, and no one is denying that one function of sexual intercourse is to produce children. Of course pregnancies are inconviences for someone in a casual sexual relationship, which is why contraception exists.

Furthermore, an unwanted pregnancy in a casual sexual relationship compared to an unwanted pregnancy from a "loving sexual union" is still an unwanted pregnancy. What difference should it make to you the context that the unwanted pregnancy happened? What difference should it make to you if the mother and father loved each other or not, were together or not?

If you feel that abortions performed because of pregnancies that happened during a "casual sexual relationship" are immoral, then fine. Don't have a casual sexual relationship, and don't have an abortion. But not everyone holds the same romanticized ideals of sex that you have, and you should realize that there are people who are perfectly fine with engaging in casual sexual relationships. You can be offended by it all you want, but it's really not your place, or anyone else who feels the same way, to outlaw abortions because you're offended by casual sex, or to dictate who can and cannot have an abortion based on whether they were in a committed relationship or not.

You're going to have to face the reality sooner or later: people like having sex, and most don't want to end up with a child every time they do. Unwanted pregnancies occur in all kinds of relationships, from the one night stands to the married, and when they do, I believe it is important that the woman have the right to terminate the pregnancy.
BecomingHuman
QUOTE
What light does this shed on when we consider our life human?

Properties are objective, distinctions are subjective.

For example lets take the concept of the idea long. When something is long depends purely on how one defines long by experiences and subjective definitions. There is no magic point at which something is considered to be long and another when it is considered to be short. Of course, the object itself has a particular, objective length. Whether or not it is long wholly depends on viewer.

It works exactly the same with human beings and when something is considered human. I subjectively define what a human is and only then can I consider whether a fetus is human or not. There is no objective definition for humans, and, of course, no way to prove that what I consider to be human is really what a human is as opposed to what you consider to be human.

So, it doesn't shed much light at all. Anti-abortionists will still claim your killing a child. Preachers of pro-choice will claim that a fetus is not really a human yet. It all depends on how you see it.
Paladin Elspeth
QUOTE
Paladin, are you honestly arguing that there are enough good homes to go around for every single unwanted child in America, enough so that we can afford to outlaw abortion and bring millions more to put up for adoption?


I'm honestly arguing that it is an excuse to continue performing abortions. Unfortunately, it is not being used as a reason to have less sex with fewer people.

Were the women involved (and the men) to make more judicious use of birth control or be a little more selective about who they are having sex with and how often, there would not be the threatened biological overgrowth of which you speak.

QUOTE
Why do you assume that every woman who has an unwanted pregnancy is some whore who "continued having sex as though she will never be pregnant?"


Who said I assumed that? huh.gif

QUOTE
Do you not understand that no birth control is 100% effective? Do you not understand that condoms break or slip off? Do you not understand that even the most responsible woman, engaging in multiple forms of birth control can still become pregnant?


Yep. At 51, and having been married 3 times, few facts of this nature have escaped me. thumbsup.gif

QUOTE
I am someone who has and will have sex to express my love for someone. I am someone who does not want to bceome pregnant now, but maybe I will in the future. Sterilization doesn't make a whole lot of sense to someone like me, but contraception does. But even that can fail, and I certainly would like the option of terminating my own pregnancy if it ever came to that.


Sex is supposed to be an act of love; I'm glad you feel that way.

In my church, they frown upon contraception; I do not. I can fully understand that not everyone is going to look upon conception as a gift from God at the time God wants it to happen; saints believe that way.

For me, terminating a pregnancy was not an option. Each woman who considers abortion must justify to herself the termination of a life that, although it is inside her, is not her life.

Babies born as early as 20 weeks gestation have survived. This brings into question how poisoning or forcibly extracting a fetus at this age is justifiable. There is a quality that each of us has that animates our physical body; some call it a soul. Science will never be able to authoritatively state when that soul (or whatever you want to call it--perhaps "life force") comes to reside in the body.

So it is left to us to let our conscience be our guide.
Mrs. Pigpen
QUOTE(Paladin Elspeth @ Jun 29 2004, 11:09 PM)
(When I miscarried, I buried the products of conception at the base of a lilac bush. We wanted that child, but a uterine tumor caused me to miscarry. We mourned. Does it take a casket and a funeral director to indicate the loss? No.)

Saying the child is not a child yet because it's not on the outside is a rationalization and a method of dehumanizing it. It provides an excuse for a woman to not feel guilt or remorse (perish the thought!) about killing the life within her. It is an excuse.

Pal Elspeth, You already know that I respect you, so I'll be frank on this. In my opinion, treating an aspirin sized 7 week gestation miscarried embryo/barely fetus as a baby is dehumanizing an actual baby. I too had a miscarriage (though mine was very early on, I hope yours was, I am sorry for your loss), and I can tell you that the loss I experienced cannot be compared to the feeling of losing a baby due to SIDS, or something. This is the line of reasoning where I think pro-choicers and pro-lifers will never meet. I cannot/ will never, ever consider that little blob I lost to be a 'BABY'. My sister (half-sister) gave birth to a still-born infant. THAT was a loss. I don't think it is fair to compare my experience to hers. Every woman starts calling her embryo a 'baby' from the time she knows she's pregnant. That's how they create the attachment early on, before they can actually feel it. Women also call their poodles babies. That doesn't make it so.

I don't think that abortions should be made with indifference (and I doubt many are), but having one (early on) is vastly different than sticking a knife in a baby. Any attempts to draw any comparison between the two, I think, are ridiculous, and that is the virtual entire basis for the pro-life argument.
Lesly
QUOTE(Paladin Elspeth @ Jun 30 2004, 03:25 AM)
There are people in this world ready and willing to accept the burden of loving a child and raising it to adulthood. Witness the many people who go overseas to adopt, partly because they are unable to find a baby here. There are good homes that are available.

I'm sorry but this is wishful thinking. My cousin decided to adopt after trying and failing for 2-3 years with fertility clinics. They're flying to Russia to adopt a baby this summer. She and her husband aren't paying for two plane tickets, legal fees at the adoption center, room and board because unwanted children are in short supply, but because they don't want the hassle of adopting in mainland U.S.A. Americans put up with the expense of adopting overseas because the background checks, financial requirements, even the burden of family structures we place on couples in the U.S. are almost non-existent overseas. I know a gay couple that traveled to China to adopt after getting tired of being given the run-around by adoption agencies here. When they arrived at the Chinese adoption agency there was little formality. They basically plucked a little girl from a crib and took her home.

That said I don't like the idea that adopted children are usually thought off as second choices or afterthoughts as in the case of my mother, but I find the argument that the existence of unwanted, uncared for children supports abortion to be flawed.

QUOTE(crashfourit @ Jun 29 2004, 11:49 PM)
I also say that the consenting adult acted in a manor to bring this life about, no matter if they want it or not, should be responsible for it (another words don't want a child, don't do it). To me human life is precious, and wars are horrible but happen, BUT every innocent life should be protected.

By that qualifying factor rape/incest victims are not under obligation to carry a fetus to term. Am I right?

QUOTE(tyork @ Jun 29 2004, 08:45 PM)
QUOTE
What light does this shed?

I think it shows light in that the line can be moved back. Life, if it is anything, is a continuum. And if the value of "humanity" is fluid, ie, that my sisters, with or without the support/coercion of their partners, can impart or withhold human value to her unborn, how can that valuation be morally justified?

You called Julian's post circular but so is this quote. We impart and withhold value to human life under many circumstances and justify it. We write off collateral damage and partition expendable value. When it comes to couples that fail to conceive in-vitro and finally succeed, they may hold their single offspring in higher regard but their fetus doesn't have a greater claim to existence than the next fetus (though the in-vitro parents are welcome to their own opinion).

I've never had an abortion. I don't know that I had a fertilized egg (zygote) and "aborted" it because of the pill. Quite frankly if it ever happened I could care less. That's where you run into a problem with the emotional/value argument. You can't tell me a parent's love for a "child" doesn't increase from the cell-splitting stage to watching her at the dance recital.

As for my abortion politics... I probably wouldn't have an abortion from a "whoops." Depending on the circumstances, mainly the guy. If he turns out to be a jerk I'd give it up for adoption if I'm strapped for cash, or if not, move to another state and raise it on my own. If he's a decent human being the outcome is negotiable. On the other hand I wouldn't think twice about an abortion if I was raped, or in the case of severe deformities (<-- graphic). As Roe is written parental notice fine, parental consent is not. I wouldn't have a problem with moving legal abortions in Roe back a few weeks, even as far back as 2 1/2 months with one caveat: repeal the legal/financial obstacles cropped up over time designed to inconvenience and deter women from getting abortions.
Paladin Elspeth
QUOTE(Mrs. Pigpen)
Pal Elspeth, You already know that I respect you, so I'll be frank on this. In my opinion, treating an aspirin sized 7 week gestation miscarried embryo/barely fetus as a baby is dehumanizing an actual baby.


I respect you as well. flowers.gif But I disagree. I consider it entirely possible to value a 7 week old embryo as a baby without devaluing a full-term baby. After all, one becomes the other. I only brought up the miscarriage because one poster said it wasn't the same because there weren't funerals held for miscarried embryos/fetuses. Of course, the longer you carry or care for your baby, the greater a connection you feel; hence, the greater your mourning will be should you lose it.

QUOTE
That said I don't like the idea that adopted children are usually thought off as second choices or afterthoughts as in the case of my mother, but I find the argument that the existence of unwanted, uncared for children supports abortion to be flawed.


I agree. All children have the same intrinsic value. It is our prejudices that color that value. A child born to a single woman is as worthy of life as the born successor to a royal family.

What other people are doing cannot serve as an excuse for what I decide to do.
Remember what parents usually say when a kid says, "But--EVERYBODY'S doing it!" rolleyes.gif

But back to the question: I seriously doubt that those who are bent on having an abortion will really care about science's discoveries about how much more humanlike embryos/fetuses are than they previously thought. What remains is that a life (or "potential life" if you will) is ended deliberately during an abortion procedure.

(Edited to add: If the abortions were reserved for women who were the victims of rape and/or incest, grossly malformed fetuses and in the case where the woman's life was actually endangered by the pregnancy, there would be far fewer
abortions.)
lethe
Carl Sagan's Take on abortion.

A very interesting read. I urge you all to read it. It takes the argument of both sides to the extremes to test their limits.

It's about 10 pages in his book, "Billions and Billions" a compilation of essays he's written.
DreamPipEr
What light does this shed on when we consider our life human?
For me I don't think it sheds any light and it doesn't change my position on abortion.
I know that for me I would not have an abortion. My own (subjective) morals dictate that I would not be able to live with an answer other than not to abort. This decision was made on my own and without any input from the pro-choice, pro-life, pro-religious movements. I don't believe, though, that the government has a right or a duty to impose its will on the right of woman to decide how to treat her body. The government does not belong in the doctor's office with a woman. So whether you determine a fetus a human at 1 wk, 4 wks, or 9 months, those decisions should be between a doctor and the patient. The government has no business in that decision. Perhaps we should be educating our young people not only about abstinence but about birth control too. Perhaps the religious right will get a clue and realize that it is natural to want to have sex and sex education is important. Full understanding about all the risks and responsibilities of having sex and yes we can also teach them the new findings too.

Finally, I would like to comment on the severe deformity argument posted here and would like to add some food for thought. While any reason for an abortion is a personal choice I would like to stress to those that would consider abortion due to a deformity that had my mother taken that position and decided to abort, Piper Plexed would not be here today to charm us. I would not have an older sister that I look up to in many ways. It was somewhat stressful and sad for me to find her birth defect listed on Lesly’s link. Each reason to abort should be taken independently.

edit to clarify, since I am sure some read this already I am not going to change the post, but I was typing faster then my brain again! I did not intend to write if someone decides to abort at 9 months, i meant to say 9 wks... OOPS....
Cube Jockey
What light does this shed on when we consider our life human?

It doesn't shed any new light on the subject for me because to me it doesn't matter when the fetus is considered "alive" or a "human being" in my opinion. I'm not a woman, but were my wife and I to have to make this decision that would never enter into the decision process for me.

1) I don't believe the government should have any say what-so-ever as far as a woman's reproductive rights go. The decision to have an abortion, give a baby up for adoption, or have it and care for it is a decision that needs to be made between the woman and her doctor. It is personal and private. The woman should take into account all available options and weigh them against her personal situation and beliefs.

2) If we were to ban abortions, the only effect would be increased risk to the health of women. Women will continue to seek out abortions (as they did in the 60's) in the black market often risking their health to do so. If it is a legal practice which is regulated then women can safely chose this option after they have been given proper information and weighed their decision.

3) Legislation cannot consider every circumstance and we should all remember that the mother's health and well being should come first. Were I to have to make a decision between my wife or the baby surviving the pregnancy, I'd choose my wife every time, regardless of the circumstances.

I personally think that this whole argument of whether abortion should be allowed or not, the constant battle between the pro-life and the pro-choice groups is completely counter productive. If the pro-life groups really wanted to make a difference they would attack some of the root problems such as sex education, talking about birth control methods including abstinance and the many options available instead of abortion.
Piper Plexed
QUOTE(lethe @ Jun 30 2004, 03:54 PM)
Carl Sagan's Take on abortion.

A very interesting read.  I urge you all to read it.  It takes the argument of both sides to the extremes to test their limits.

It's about 10 pages in his book, "Billions and Billions" a compilation of essays he's written.

Well, that was a great essay, a bit demanding on the Grey Matter and an emotional roller coaster ride. In the end I remain comfortable with my position of choice, I never really understood how far back abortion went, most interesting. Thank you for the link.

QUOTE
Again, we offer for consideration the earliest onset of human thinking as that criterion.

Since, on average, fetal thinking occurs even later than fetal lung development, we find Roe v. Wade to be a good and prudent decision addressing a complex and difficult issue. With prohibitions on abortion in the last trimester


I am very comfortable with this criteria.


QUOTE
edit to clarify, since I am sure some read this already I am not going to change the post, but I was typing faster then my brain again! I did not intend to write if someone decides to abort at 9 months, I meant to say 9 wks... OOPS....


Well I guess it is better than ...insert this typo...[9 years] w00t.gif though there may be some parents on a bad day that wouldn't mind aborting at 9 years rolleyes.gif Sorry Dreamy, couldn't resist flowers.gif
Looms
QUOTE(Paladin Elspeth @ Jun 30 2004, 03:40 PM)
What remains is that a life (or "potential life" if you will) is ended deliberately during an abortion procedure.

But an unfertilized egg has potential for life as well. When they pay a woman seven g's to donate an egg, what exactly are they buying, if not the "potential life"? You can just as easily say that a life (or "potential life" if you will) is ended deliberately when a woman chooses to go through a menstrual cycle without getting pregnant. Not to mention the average male, who kills more "potential people" in one act of masturbation than Hitler and Stalin combined rolleyes.gif .

No this changes NOTHING for me. I still consider it a person only at birth. Birth is when a human is no longer parasitic (in the purely biological sense, the whole "well you still have to take care of it" deal is apples and oranges).

And as far as responsibility goes, I think it is INFINITELY more irresponsible to have a child only to give it up for adoption, or to have a child when you cannot take care of it, than to simply abort.
Paladin Elspeth
QUOTE(looms)
No this changes NOTHING for me. I still consider it a person only at birth. Birth is when a human is no longer parasitic (in the purely biological sense, the whole "well you still have to take care of it" deal is apples and oranges).

And as far as responsibility goes, I think it is INFINITELY more irresponsible to have a child only to give it up for adoption, or to have a child when you cannot take care of it, than to simply abort.


"Parasitic" is when a guy's in his thirties and still won't get a job or move out of his parent's basement, not a zygote/embryo/fetus that receives nourishment and life support for up to 40 weeks from its mother! Parasitic--what an odd way to look upon the most basic process in mammals! We're not talking about athlete's foot here. ermm.gif

So it's more irresponsible to foist a child upon a system because it might cause people time and trouble than it is to just deny that child the right to breathe and to "be" from the get-go? More irresponsible in an immediate, how-much-is-this-going-to-cost sense versus giving a brand-new being the chance to experience all that life entails...More irresponsible to whom? On the one hand, the pregnancy occurs, in many cases, with nary a thought to how the sexual behavior is affecting the families involved; but all of a sudden there's this social concern of just how much society is impacted by the arrival of a new human being who will need someone to take care of it?

Do I note a contradiction here?

QUOTE(looms)
But an unfertilized egg has potential for life as well. When they pay a woman seven g's to donate an egg, what exactly are they buying, if not the "potential life"? You can just as easily say that a life (or "potential life" if you will) is ended deliberately when a woman chooses to go through a menstrual cycle without getting pregnant.


How can a woman choose not to go through a menstrual cycle without getting pregnant? Millions of enquiring female minds want to know! blink.gif w00t.gif

Menstruation is the process of the body discarding the egg and uterine lining when fertilization doesn't occur. It takes a fertilized egg to be a zygote to become an embryo to become a fetus; in other words, it takes the joining of a sperm with an ovum. Sometimes the body, for some reason, ends the pregnancy itself. This is far different from a person taking a vaginal speculum to enlarge the orifice, and scraping out or otherwise removing the uterine lining and the embryo/fetus. One is a natural abortion; the other is "induced" by an outside source. It is the unnatural killing of the developing life that is the issue.

QUOTE(looms)
Not to mention the average male, who kills more "potential people" in one act of masturbation than Hitler and Stalin combined.


I wish you hadn't mentioned it. I realize this is an attempt at humor, and perhaps with this argument the guy is better off holed up in his parents' basement with some magazines and time on his, -er- hands and--what was it?, oh yeah: genocide on his mind. He's doing girls, no, the world a favor! rolleyes.gif

(Edited countless times)
Looms
Come on, now, PE, this isn't like you. You chose to completely dodge everything I was saying.
QUOTE
QUOTE(looms)
No this changes NOTHING for me. I still consider it a person only at birth. Birth is when a human is no longer parasitic (in the purely biological sense, the whole "well you still have to take care of it" deal is apples and oranges).


"Parasitic" is when a guy's in his thirties and still won't get a job or move out of his parent's basement, not a zygote/embryo/fetus that receives nourishment and life support for up to 40 weeks from its mother! Parasitic--what an odd way to look upon the most basic process in mammals! We're not talking about athlete's foot here. ermm.gif


Let me provide you with the biological definition of parasite:

QUOTE(Dictionary.com)
Biology. An organism that grows, feeds, and is sheltered on or in a different organism while contributing nothing to the survival of its host.


Instead you chose to go off on the "guy in his 30s" red herring which is completely irrelevant to anything we are debating.

QUOTE(Paladin Elspeth)
So it's more irresponsible to foist a child upon a system because it might cause people time and trouble than it is to just deny that child the right to breathe and to "be" from the get-go? More irresponsible in an immediate, how-much-is-this-going-to-cost sense versus giving a brand-new being the chance to experience all that life entails...More irresponsible to whom? On the one hand, the pregnancy occurs, in many cases, with nary a thought to how the sexual behavior is affecting the families involved; but all of a sudden there's this social concern of just how much society is impacted by the arrival of a new human being who will need someone to take care of it?


More irresponsible to whom? To the child, of course. One one hand you have a woman who will give birth to a child, doesn't have a CLUE how that child will be provided for, whether it will ever be adopted, etc., etc., etc., and on the other hand you have a woman who chooses to undo the pregnancy, to NOT bring a child into the world that they have no clue how to take care off, to NOT birth and discard. It has nothing to do with "impact on society", I think you read enough of my rants and raves to know how much I care about "society".

QUOTE(Paladin Elspeth)
How can a woman choose not to go through a menstrual cycle without getting pregnant? Millions of enquiring female minds want to know! blink.gif  w00t.gif


Simple. By getting pregnant every time it is physically possible.



QUOTE
QUOTE(looms)
But an unfertilized egg has potential for life as well. When they pay a woman seven g's to donate an egg, what exactly are they buying, if not the "potential life"? You can just as easily say that a life (or "potential life" if you will) is ended deliberately when a woman chooses to go through a menstrual cycle without getting pregnant.

Menstruation is the process of the body discarding the egg and uterine lining when fertilization doesn't occur. It takes a fertilized egg to be a zygote to become an embryo to become a fetus; in other words, it takes the joining of a sperm with an ovum. Sometimes the body, for some reason, ends the pregnancy itself. This is far different from a person taking a vaginal speculum to enlarge the orifice, and scraping out or otherwise removing the uterine lining and the embryo/fetus. One is a natural abortion; the other is "induced" by an outside source. It is the unnatural killing of the developing life that is the issue.


First off, you ignored the point about an egg being a potential life. It most certainly is. Second if the problem is the "unnatural killing", then you would have no problem with a baby being dropped off in the woods and starved to death? Starvation is natural. What is the point here?

QUOTE
QUOTE(looms)
Not to mention the average male, who kills more "potential people" in one act of masturbation than Hitler and Stalin combined.


I wish you hadn't mentioned it. I realize this is an attempt at humor, and perhaps with this argument the guy is better off holed up in his parents' basement with some magazines and time on his, -er- hands and--what was it?, oh yeah: genocide on his mind. He's doing girls, no, the world a favor! rolleyes.gif


I honestly have no clue what you are trying to say here.
lederuvdapac
What light does this shed on when we consider our life human?

I do not think it sheds any light basically because people have already made up their mind one way or another on abortion and when life begins.

Personally i have to go with the conservative pro-life argument on the issue. I was once pro-choice but then i actually thought about it and changed my mind.

This entire debacle is about one thing...choice. Then again isnt it always? People choose to have sexual relations. People choose to not wear protection. People choose to abort the baby or they choose to keep it. Fact is that many people makes choices that they shouldnt and ones they are not ready for. This is unfortunate because the lives of thousands of people are being decided on IRRESPONSIBILITY. It would be just the same if our president sent thousands of innocents to their deaths on an irresponsible decision.

The argument of both sides is that life begins at either conception or at birth. While i do not believe life begins at conception, it is definately more believable than at birth. I dont understand how a person can think a matter of 5 minutes between the time a baby is in the womb and its birth is the point at which life begins. Nothing changes from those two points.

An analogy that i created to figure the irrationality of the argument is that of a catepillar and butterfly. It is as if we had a law that said we can kill as many catepillars as we want... burn them, swat them, step on them, whatever. But once that catepillar turns into a butterfly...we cannot hurt. We cannot do anything to the butterfly no matter what. Does this make any sense? We know the catepillar will turn into a beautiful butterfly some day but we insist that catepillars are of no value.

Ok i hope you followed that because thats how i see this situation.
Paladin Elspeth
QUOTE(Looms)
First off, you ignored the point about an egg being a potential life. It most certainly is. Second if the problem is the "unnatural killing", then you would have no problem with a baby being dropped off in the woods and starved to death? Starvation is natural. What is the point here?


If an unfertilized egg is a potential life, then a fertilized egg is the next step, a life. That's the point I've been trying to make in every post. When I first said "potential life" in the stead of "life," I put it with the phrase, "if you will." I do not think of a fertilized egg as a potential life at all--it is a life. I was addressing those who would choose to make an argument of what I was saying because I was calling it a "life." I think your reaction proves that yes, indeed, there is a lot of hair splitting that goes on over the terms here.

Starvation in the woods is a natural death. A responsible person dropping that baby off in the woods to die is NOT NATURAL. Hence, I, as well as any thinking, caring person, would have a problem with it.

While the denotation of "parasite" seems true to the meaning of a developing life within, the connotation sucks. Divorce the connotative meanings from the denotative meanings and the whole act of finding a life partner, pairing and producing progeny is reduced to a scientifically-described act of biology devoid of the meaning that we as members of the human species derive from it.

QUOTE(Looms)
More irresponsible to whom? To the child, of course. One one hand you have a woman who will give birth to a child, doesn't have a CLUE how that child will be provided for, whether it will ever be adopted, etc., etc., etc., and on the other hand you have a woman who chooses to undo the pregnancy, to NOT bring a child into the world that they have no clue how to take care off, to NOT birth and discard. It has nothing to do with "impact on society", I think you read enough of my rants and raves to know how much I care about "society".


So in order to be responsible for that child's welfare, I need to kill it before it's born, because I don't know how it will be cared for. In other words, I'm actually doing the kid a favor.blink.gif I think not.

Aside from a rich kid whose needs have been seen to by Mummy, Daddy and financial planners from conception or before, do any of us really know where we are going to end up and whether we are going to experience hardship and suffering? That's not an excuse to end a life in the womb, unless we want the privileged classes to do all of the childbearing. We don't need impoverished or inopportuned women to cover all the bases. Bring the child to term, and there will be someone to help that child, whether it's a crack baby, or perfectly healthy.

As far as males masturbating away populations akin to what Hitler or Stalin murdered, I really don't give a rat's keester about what they discard. In addition, menstruation is a natural process without which, pregnancy would not occur.

I really don't care whether an unfertilized egg and a sperm are "potential lives," any more than I know that while breathing and walking around I am a "potential death." I am purely interested in the well-being of life, before and after it is born. I
am against depriving a person of life, whether through abortion, war, or assault by an individual, a group, or the state. Everyone, regardless of their situation, should have the right to live and breathe.

lederuvdapac described it very well with the butterfly. No one places much stock or value in an ugly, insignificant little caterpillar. And then the butterfly emerges. A lovely comparison.
SuzySteamboat
QUOTE
I'm honestly arguing that it is an excuse to continue performing abortions. Unfortunately, it is not being used as a reason to have less sex with fewer people.

Were the women involved (and the men) to make more judicious use of birth control or be a little more selective about who they are having sex with and how often, there would not be the threatened biological overgrowth of which you speak.


Paladin, having sex with one person 100 times or having sex with 100 people, each once, there's still the same chance of being pregnant. Promiscuity has nothing to do with pregnancy. And seeing how, once you're pregnant, it doesn't matter how many people you have sex with or how many times you do it for the next nine months - you can only get pregnant once - I don't see where you're going with this "biological overgrowth."

lederuvdapac:
QUOTE
This entire debacle is about one thing...choice. Then again isnt it always? People choose to have sexual relations. People choose to not wear protection. People choose to abort the baby or they choose to keep it. Fact is that many people makes choices that they shouldnt and ones they are not ready for. This is unfortunate because the lives of thousands of people are being decided on IRRESPONSIBILITY. It would be just the same if our president sent thousands of innocents to their deaths on an irresponsible decision.


I've pointed this out before on this thread, but people just don't seem to get it. Even if you were practicing multiple forms of birth control, even if you were wearing multiple condoms, you can still get pregnant. I'm tired of people throwing "irresponsibility" around, like every woman who has an abortion has gotten pregnant because she was an irresponsible fool.

And even if she were irresponsible, so. what? If there are options available so that she doesn't have to suffer the consequences of her irresponsibility, who has the right to stand on the moral high horse and prohibit her from taking advantage? It's like saying "oh, you got HIV because you used dirty needles, so we won't be treating you. You need to suffer the consequences of your irresponsibility." I don't care if a woman gets pregnant 17 times and has an abortion each time. I'm not willing to take care of 17 children so I sure as hell won't forbid her from aborting them. It's in her body. Once the male donated his sperm, she got ownership of it and the resulting experiences. If a kid throws a ball into my front yard, it becomes my ball, to do with as I please. So I don't give fathers a very high priority when it comes to women and their right to an abortion.

I'm just saying every time there's an "irresponsible" female, there's an equally "irresponsible" male.

There is one teensy, weensie difference between a woman having an abortion and a president sending thousands to die: the main difference being that one group is designated human beings, and the other another category entirely.

QUOTE
The argument of both sides is that life begins at either conception or at birth. While i do not believe life begins at conception, it is definately more believable than at birth. I dont understand how a person can think a matter of 5 minutes between the time a baby is in the womb and its birth is the point at which life begins. Nothing changes from those two points.


You are using a very flawed example. Five minutes before a baby is born, a baby is in it's third trimester. I believe in all states, an abortion at that point is illegal unless to save the life of the mother. However, are you going to believe that nothing changes between the months a woman is allowed to have an abortion to the weeks she isn't?

Pro-choicers are not saying that abortion is okay at every stage of pregnancy. They are saying that before a certain point, every woman should have the option to not bring an unwanted child into the world. And as my signature says, I believe that if you're personally not going to take responsibility for the resulting children of outlawing abortion, then you really have no reason to say anything to achieve that effect.
Azure-Citizen
QUOTE(lederuvdapac @ Jul 1 2004, 01:24 PM)
The argument of both sides is that life begins at either conception or at birth.

Actually, both sides agree that it is life at conception.

Both would also agree that sperm cells, ovum, zygotes, embryos, fetuses, and babies are all forms of human life.
Paladin Elspeth
QUOTE(SuzySteamboat)
Paladin, are you honestly arguing that there are enough good homes to go around for every single unwanted child in America, enough so that we can afford to outlaw abortion and bring millions more to put up for adoption?


QUOTE(Suzy Steamboat)
I don't see where you're going with this "biological overgrowth."


I was responding to your "millions more" statement.

QUOTE
Paladin, having sex with one person 100 times or having sex with 100 people, each once, there's still the same chance of being pregnant. Promiscuity has nothing to do with pregnancy.


It's like trying to win the lottery--the more tickets you buy, the greater your chance to have the winning numbers, that's all. You're right--unless you have one partner with whom you have regularly have sex who has a negligible sperm count, the greater your chances are to conceive every time you have sex. But it's not the same as using the bathroom. You have to do that as often as you have the urge. You don't have to have sex as often as you have the urge. And most people (not all, I will concede) are fully aware that pregnancy is a consequence of having sex.

So not having a child involves birth control and self control (like the "A" word, abstinence, especially in situations where one person is underage or married to someone else, or someone forgot to bring the condoms).

I don't realistically think that all abortions are going to be stopped if people are more careful, less promiscuous, more faithful to their mates. But it will cut down on situations that ultimately result in unwanted pregnancies and the desire to abort. There will always be some bad situations, such as a microcephalic baby (and even then, some moms choose to have the baby delivered so that they can hold them and love them for a few minutes/hours), and rapes/incest, especially of young girls of 10 or 12 whose bodies cannot tolerate carrying and giving birth to a child; but again, the vast majority of abortions are not performed due to these circumstances.

Because it is actual human life in the womb, I believe that abortion should be the exception, not the rule, reserved for those cases where there is actual harm to the mother carrying and giving birth. If the child can possibly be born alive, try to save the child. I remember working in Newborn ICU where some of the babies were small enough to fit into the pockets of my uniform top. I would have loved to take a couple of them home, nurture and raise them; but I obeyed the law instead.
Looms
QUOTE(Paladin Elspeth)
QUOTE(Looms)
First off, you ignored the point about an egg being a potential life. It most certainly is. Second if the problem is the "unnatural killing", then you would have no problem with a baby being dropped off in the woods and starved to death? Starvation is natural. What is the point here?


If an unfertilized egg is a potential life, then a fertilized egg is the next step, a life. That's the point I've been trying to make in every post. When I first said "potential life" in the stead of "life," I put it with the phrase, "if you will." I do not think of a fertilized egg as a potential life at all--it is a life. I was addressing those who would choose to make an argument of what I was saying because I was calling it a "life." I think your reaction proves that yes, indeed, there is a lot of hair splitting that goes on over the terms here.


If a fertilized egg is a life, then any other cell is a life. The difference is that a fertilized egg has the potential to grow into a separate human being. Which, of course, and unfertilized egg does as well. Sorry, but you can't have it both ways.


QUOTE(Paladin Elspeth)
While the denotation of "parasite" seems true to the meaning of a developing life within, the connotation sucks. Divorce the connotative meanings from the denotative meanings and the whole act of finding a life partner, pairing and producing progeny is reduced to a scientifically-described act of biology devoid of the meaning that we as members of the human species derive from it.


I could care less about connotations of the word parasite. Definitions exist for a reason. It is a biological term which is accurate in its description. And the process is not reduced to a scientifically-described act of biology, it IS a scientifically-described act of biology. The meaning we derive from it is irrelevant, as it is something completely personal. I don't know why it is so hard for people to admit to themselves that we are animals, plain and simple, just animals that are able to do more stuff.

QUOTE(Paladin Elspeth)
QUOTE(Looms)
More irresponsible to whom? To the child, of course. One one hand you have a woman who will give birth to a child, doesn't have a CLUE how that child will be provided for, whether it will ever be adopted, etc., etc., etc., and on the other hand you have a woman who chooses to undo the pregnancy, to NOT bring a child into the world that they have no clue how to take care off, to NOT birth and discard. It has nothing to do with "impact on society", I think you read enough of my rants and raves to know how much I care about "society".


So in order to be responsible for that child's welfare, I need to kill it before it's born, because I don't know how it will be cared for. In other words, I'm actually doing the kid a favor.blink.gif I think not.

Aside from a rich kid whose needs have been seen to by Mummy, Daddy and financial planners from conception or before, do any of us really know where we are going to end up and whether we are going to experience hardship and suffering? That's not an excuse to end a life in the womb, unless we want the privileged classes to do all of the childbearing. We don't need impoverished or inopportuned women to cover all the bases. Bring the child to term, and there will be someone to help that child, whether it's a crack baby, or perfectly healthy.


Okay, enough with the slippery slopes already. There is a vast difference between not being able to give your kid the perfect life, and NOT BEING ABLE TO TAKE CARE OF IT. And if you think that it's better for a crack addicts to have kids (who will spend their entire life retarded or worse) than to abort, I really do think that we function on different planes of existence. wacko.gif

QUOTE(Paladin Elspeth)
lederuvdapac described it very well with the butterfly. No one places much stock or value in an ugly, insignificant little caterpillar. And then the butterfly emerges. A lovely comparison.


Lovely indeed. This type of logical fallacy is called an appeal to emotion, and it belongs in a constructive debate like Janet Reno belongs in Hustler.
Julian
QUOTE(lederuvdapac @ Jul 1 2004, 07:24 PM)
Personally i have to go with the conservative pro-life argument on the issue. I was once pro-choice but then i actually thought about it and changed my mind.

Like it - a particularly nifty way to imply that pro-choicers haven't "actually thought about it", because if they did they would change their minds too.

QUOTE
This entire debacle is about one thing...choice. Then again isnt it always? People choose to have sexual relations. People choose to not wear protection. People choose to abort the baby or they choose to keep it. Fact is that many people makes choices that they shouldnt and ones they are not ready for. This is unfortunate because the lives of thousands of people are being decided on IRRESPONSIBILITY.

Can't fault your logic here. Freedom of choice is a good thing, though, isn't it?
To take a leaf from your book and use an analogy, doesn't all the harm that comes from guns stem from the freedom to make irresponsible choices when using them? Surely we have to grin and bear that as a sad but inevitable consequence of free choice, rather than restrict that choice. Or, if we're talking about the choice to kill sentient beings being one that should be restricted, maybe access to guns should be as restricted as access to abortions?
See where the choice thing goes?

QUOTE
It would be just the same if our president sent thousands of innocents to their deaths on an irresponsible decision.

But that, of course, could never happen. unsure.gif rolleyes.gif mrsparkle.gif

QUOTE
The argument of both sides is that life begins at either conception or at birth. While i do not believe life begins at conception, it is definately more believable than at birth. I dont understand how a person can think a matter of 5 minutes between the time a baby is in the womb and its birth is the point at which life begins. Nothing changes from those two points.

I don't pretend that this alone justifes abortion, or that even if it does it implies that life DOES begin at birth, but something significant DOES happen at birth - a baby draws it's first breath. Immediately prior to birth, and for a few seconds afterwards, a baby's lungs are like collapsed bags - they contain no air at all. That first breath inflates them, and then they stay fully inflated (barring accidents or disease) until death.
I don't subscribe to it myself, but this could be a perfectly serviceable definition of life for the purposes of the abortion debate. Any baby that can breathe, whether aided or unaided, is viable and should not be aborted. Any baby that cannot is not viable with current technology, and so might not be considered a separate being. I think this is part of the reason why abortion is not allowed after the second trimester.

QUOTE
An analogy that i created to figure the irrationality of the argument is that of a catepillar and butterfly. It is as if we had a law that said we can kill as many catepillars as we want... burn them, swat them, step on them, whatever. But once that catepillar turns into a butterfly...we cannot hurt. We cannot do anything to the butterfly no matter what. Does this make any sense? We know the catepillar will turn into a beautiful butterfly some day but we insist that catepillars are of no value.

Nothing irrational about this analogy - but I think it rather contradicts your position. Butterflies are indeed pretty. They are also harmless, and live on nectar, which we have little or no direct use for. Many caterpillars are active pests - they eat the vegetables we eat - at root, it's us or them. So yes, we kill caterpillars a lot of the time. Your point is?
tyork
QUOTE
I've pointed this out before on this thread, but people just don't seem to get it. Even if you were practicing multiple forms of birth control, even if you were wearing multiple condoms, you can still get pregnant. I'm tired of people throwing "irresponsibility" around, like every woman who has an abortion has gotten pregnant because she was an irresponsible fool.

You have an incontrivertable point, Suzy, as far as it goes. I would say where we separate is that even the act of having sex with anyone else should, (in the better world I assume we are all interested in making) be reserved for someone with whom you are so intimate with emotionally that you plan to spend a life together, as fragile as those plans seem to work out these days. Hence taking the responsibility that would naturally follow that act ie the creation of a new human being and childraising, sharing the miracle of a whole life together rather than just stimulating nerve endings together. I know I am just out of touch. (No pun intended smile.gif ).

You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one...
Paladin Elspeth
QUOTE(Looms)
Okay, enough with the slippery slopes already. There is a vast difference between not being able to give your kid the perfect life, and NOT BEING ABLE TO TAKE CARE OF IT. And if you think that it's better for a crack addicts to have kids (who will spend their entire life retarded or worse) than to abort, I really do think that we function on different planes of existence.

I've seen retarded kids and adults who appear to be the happiest people in the world. They appreciate life--who are we to deny it to them? I have also seen people who, in contrast, have virtually everything they would need to be happy, and they are miserable. Also, there are men and women who see it through with crack babies so that they can also have a quality life. It happens every day that someone takes over the care of a child if the parents are having too much trouble.

For someone to have some kind of a Human Quality Control and decide, depending on the circumstances, which embryos/fetuses would live and which were to die based on established criteria would be reminiscent of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, and a slippery slope indeed. Again, who are we to say that because of a baby's mother's lifestyle, that baby is not worthy of life?

What I am predominantly against are those who consider having abortions as a form of birth control. Pregnant? No problem. Just have an abortion. If done wrong, it messes up a woman's body for reproductive purposes in the future. If done right, it may be repeated on the same woman because she/her partner(s) was (were) not careful and she does not consider that it is a life with its own genetic code and heartbeat (which happens early on) that will be killed.

QUOTE(tyork)
You have an incontrivertable point, Suzy, as far as it goes. I would say where we separate is that even the act of having sex with anyone else should, (in the better world I assume we are all interested in making) be reserved for someone with whom you are so intimate with emotionally that you plan to spend a life together, as fragile as those plans seem to work out these days. Hence taking the responsibility that would naturally follow that act ie the creation of a new human being and childraising, sharing the miracle of a whole life together rather than just stimulating nerve endings together. I know I am just out of touch. (No pun intended  smile.gif  ).

tyork, I guess I'm out of touch, too. thumbsup.gif

QUOTE(Looms)
The meaning we derive from it is irrelevant, as it is something completely personal. I don't know why it is so hard for people to admit to themselves that we are animals, plain and simple, just animals that are able to do more stuff.

Like having complicated relationships? No connotations to that. whistling.gif To human animals, connotations mean a great deal. Most of us do not arbitrarily choose any old member of the opposite sex with whom to have a relationship and possibly children. Some of us even care what our friends and/or parents think about the person with whom we are intimate.

QUOTE(Looms)
If a fertilized egg is a life, then any other cell is a life. The difference is that a fertilized egg has the potential to grow into a separate human being. Which, of course, and unfertilized egg does as well. Sorry, but you can't have it both ways.

A fertilized egg is a developing life. Its separate components are not. That's why I have no problems with the use of spermicides or diaphragms or the like. A developing life is different from a potential life.

QUOTE(Looms)
Lovely indeed. This type of logical fallacy is called an appeal to emotion, and it belongs in a constructive debate like Janet Reno belongs in Hustler.

I am not ashamed of appeals to emotion. I was not trained to be an automaton. And years of working as a nurse have not diminished feelings I hold regarding my fellow human beings. Why should we be dispassionate about this?

QUOTE(Looms)
I could care less about connotations of the word parasite. Definitions exist for a reason. It is a biological term which is accurate in its description. And the process is not reduced to a scientifically-described act of biology, it IS a scientifically-described act of biology. The meaning we derive from it is irrelevant, as it is something completely personal. I don't know why it is so hard for people to admit to themselves that we are animals, plain and simple, just animals that are able to do more stuff.

Granted, we are animals. But it's the nature of the "more stuff" you refer to that makes the difference. What other animal can build a computer and communicate on the Internet, or reads its children stories at bedtime?
Azure-Citizen
Thinking about some of the things Paladin Elspeth brings to mind in her post, it makes me reflect how to a large degree the benefit and blessings we receive in our infancy and the start of our existence depend in great part on the empathy and mindset of our parent, our primary caregiver. Given that when we are born, and before that even, when we are conceived, we have no choice or influence on the matter of who we are born to, it almost seems like random chance and luck, doesn't it? Which makes the prospect of one embryo being carried to term and delivered, versus another embryo cut short by deliberate abortion, seem terribly unfair and arbitrary from the standpoint of the potential life.

QUOTE
A fertilized egg is a developing life. Its separate components are not...  ...A developing life is different from a potential life.

I think this is a fair statement, worth considering. After fertilization, we do have a different form of "potential" life, in that it normally takes a deliberate surgical procedure to destroy it and prevent it from succeeding.

Of course, we still have the dilemna of personhood, that is, when does the developing life become a person, and have the right to not be destroyed. Whenever that point is (in the nine month gestation period), prior to that point the woman really should have a choice, and some will choose one way while others will choose the other way. Choice is such a personal thing, with so many factors that go into it. If you empathize with the developing potential life inside, you would probably be hard pressed to bring yourself to go through with an abortion. If you don't empathize, it probably seems more black and white.

For me, the concept of "personhood" seems to make the most sense as being the point at which the child begins to have brainwave functions, and thus begins to have a mind. There is so many other things we equate to the existence of a mind (the concept of existence itself, in additional to all the traditional concepts of legal rights and the like).

--

PE, if I may ask, is the underlying precept of your posts in this thread that basically, abortion should be illegal, or is it that perhaps abortion should be legal, but that as a society we should re-think the way we approach it, and that we are bettered as a species if we empathize a little more and think more about the consequences of our actions?
Paladin Elspeth
QUOTE(Azure-Citizen)
PE, if I may ask, is the underlying precept of your posts in this thread that basically, abortion should be illegal, or is it that perhaps abortion should be legal, but that as a society we should re-think the way we approach it, and that we are bettered as a species if we empathize a little more and think more about the consequences of our actions?


I believe that there are extreme circumstances for which abortion should be considered. Where the mother's health is actually in danger above and beyond that of a typical pregnancy, when a girl has been molested and her body cannot manage to sustain itself and a pregnancy, a D&C procedure done immediately after a sexual assault, or circumstances where the child is known to be dead, or an ectopic pregnancy.

In any case, if the fetus has reached the stage of viability and it is at all feasible, then efforts should be undertaken to save the child's life.

So basically, I would want abortion to be illegal barring these circumstances. For other reasons, there should be pro bono representation for a woman or a girl to go to court and present why she needs an abortion. These would be proceedings closed to the public to ensure that her anonymity is preserved. And obviously, the hearing should be timely. Should the judge rule against the abortion, it would be appropriate for the judge to order assistance for the woman during the pregnancy in whatever way she needs assistance and support, and help find someone to take care of the baby if the woman does not want the baby. We could do this.

This world needs more empathy, to be sure. We need to be kinder to each other. Human beings should be counted on to help other human beings in need, not always expecting that person to be able to work things out for herself. We don't exist for ourselves alone.

Nice post, A.C. smile.gif
Nick
QUOTE(Paladin Elspeth @ Jul 3 2004, 04:32 PM)
I believe that there are extreme circumstances for which abortion should be considered. Where the mother's health is actually in danger above and beyond that of a typical pregnancy, when a girl has been molested and her body cannot manage to sustain itself and a pregnancy, a D&C procedure done immediately after a sexual assault, or circumstances where the child is known to be dead, or an ectopic pregnancy.

In any case, if the fetus has reached the stage of viability and it is at all feasible, then efforts should be undertaken to save the child's life.

So basically, I would want abortion to be illegal barring these circumstances.

As long as the vast majority of people regard sexual relations as more than just a means of procreating - as long as most people regularly have sexual relations for pleasure and intimacy - and as long as contraceptive methods (including multiple simultaneous methods) are less than 100% effective, legal elective abortions are here to stay. In a free society which recognizes that it is natural for human beings to desire regular sex without having a baby every nine months, it is unconscionable to legally compel a woman to proceed with a pregnancy. It is not reasonable to outlaw elective abortions when unplanned pregnancies can occur even when a couple has used contraception responsibly. Perhaps if scientific advances deliver a contraceptive method which is safe, easy to use and 100% effective, then the legal status of abortion could be reviewed. Until then, anti-choice proponents should resign themselves to the fact that their views will not be imposed on the community. If you think that elective abortions are immoral, don't have one yourself, but don't think that you can use the power of the state to force others to appease your moral sensibilities.
Vermillion
QUOTE(Nick @ Jul 6 2004, 03:23 AM)
If you think that elective abortions are immoral, don't have one yourself, but don't think that you can use the power of the state to force others to appease your moral sensibilities.

I could not possibly agree more.

I have no problem with people who are 'pro-life' as they say, though as many have noted their concern for the life of the child seems to end instantly once it is born. None the less, if that is your opinion, you have every right to it, and when you get pregnant you have every right to choose not to abort.

However, like so many problems in our society, th problem comes when some decide that their form or morality should be imposed upon others regardless of their will, opinion or morality.

Abortion is the termination of a potential life, not of a life. Now there are those who think the termination of a potential life is just as bad. They draw an invisible line between egg and sperm, and fertilised egg, saying one is nothing, the other is everything. This is, however, nothing but an opinion. They are entirely welcome to it, but they have no right to try and impose this opinion on others.

As a last point, even though I am male myself, I have been of the opinion that men have no business weighing in on this issue. I cannot imagine a less relevant opinion than the opinion of a man on the legalisation of abortion. Legal or illegal, this is an issue of a woman's body, and should be decided by them alone...
entspeak
When do we become human? This is different than to ask when do we become a human being. To become human (the adjective) we need to achieve the form and attributes of a human or human being (the noun). When does this happen? I would say this happens fairly early on in the fetal development of a human. All the arms and legs and organs are in the right place -- everything indicates human form and attribute. But let's be clear, you do not have to exhibit stereotypical human behavior to be human -- nor do you have to be human to exhibit human behaviors (monkeys smile, they can walk on hind legs for a time... and they aren't human). So the behaviors of a fetus at 12 weeks (as they would seem to be autonomic or reflex in nature and as such behaviors can be exhibited by non-humans) cannot be a deciding factor in whether a fetus is human. A fetus has human form and attribute fairly early on in its development.

The issue has nothing to do with the abortion issue which tends to involve the point at which something human is actually alive.
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