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    (Original post by Complex solution)
    However a foetus has no memories, no hopes or aspirations and has no idea whether if enjoys its 'life' or not.
    If you choose to end its life before it matures, you will have taken nothing from it because there is nothing to take.

    I think that the foetus becomes, for a lack of a better word, unimportant in the decision for an abortion since you cant harm something that isn't alive.
    I think you could quite easily apply your argument to comatose patients, but then there'd be outrage over associating the term 'unimportant' with adult life.
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    (Original post by Xotol)
    I think you could quite easily apply your argument to comatose patients, but then there'd be outrage over associating the term 'unimportant' with adult life.
    If I may interject, that's quite true, and would fall into the category of non-voluntary euthanasia, I believe. Sometimes, someone who did go into a coma may have expressed a view beforehand on whether he/she would want to be taken off life support, for instance.

    I myself think that it's perfectly justifiable for the decision to lie with family as to whether the comatose patient stays alive.
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    (Original post by viddy9)
    If I may interject, that's quite true, and would fall into the category of non-voluntary euthanasia, I believe. Sometimes, someone who did go into a coma may have expressed a view beforehand on whether he/she would want to be taken off life support, for instance.

    I myself think that it's perfectly justifiable for the decision to lie with family as to whether the comatose patient stays alive.
    How about a simply unconscious person - a person, who is sleeping. They too are incapable of expressing their desire to live in such a state. While they can wake up and express their desire, it doesn't change the fact that in the state of unconsciousness, they are nothing more than dormant sacks of meat. Whether they can potentially wake up or not is irrelevant to the situation at hand, as the same standard isn't applied to comatose/unborn who also have the potential to gain consciousness in the future.

    To defend myself from not getting terminated, should I put a tattoo on my chest - do not kill when unconscious.
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    (Original post by Zorgotron)
    How about a simply unconscious person - a person, who is sleeping. They too are incapable of expressing their desire to live in such a state. While they can wake up and express their desire, it doesn't change the fact that in the state of unconsciousness, they are nothing more than dormant sacks of meat. Whether they can potentially wake up or not is irrelevant to the situation at hand, as the same standard isn't applied to comatose/unborn who also have the potential to gain consciousness in the future.
    I would say that you should do everything possible, at the time, to try to ascertain the views of the being involved. Someone can easily be woken up - the same cannot be said for someone in a coma.

    With the unborn, especially, they've had no experience of being conscious before either. In the time period during which abortion is allowed, they have no rights, and will continue not to have rights for a long time. A sleeping person can be woken up in mere seconds.
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    (Original post by Xotol)
    I think you could quite easily apply your argument to comatose patients, but then there'd be outrage over associating the term 'unimportant' with adult life.
    It's tricky for me to find an arguement that still supports the idea that unconsciousness means you're 'unimportant'.

    But in the event of euthanasia becoming legal, I would be certain that everybody will have a legal responsibility to indicate what they would wish to happen to them and to update these views throughout their life.

    If nothing is indicated by a person then it can be assumed that they are 'unimportant' and the decision will lie with your next of kin.

    I don't see why people in the future won't see that as fair, to call someone 'unimportant', if they chose not to specify their wishes.

    As for people being angered by that word at present; it is probably because they measure the value of life in longevity (perhaps for religious reasons?) then in the quality of the life they lived.
    I think though that soon the majority of people will place emphasis on the latter, maybe because of growing secularism or maybe because we have reached a life expectancy after which we can't enjoy life anyway.
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    (Original post by viddy9)
    I would say that you should do everything possible, at the time, to try to ascertain the views of the being involved. Someone can easily be woken up - the same cannot be said for someone in a coma.

    With the unborn, especially, they've had no experience of being conscious before either. In the time period during which abortion is allowed, they have no rights, and will continue not to have rights for a long time. A sleeping person can be woken up in mere seconds.
    That doesn't strike me as a principled distinction, because in both these cases, the being will gain consciousness in the future - it's just that in one instance, you're willing to wait for that to happen while in another you're not willing.

    Secondly, I don't see why previous conscious experience is necessary for human worth? Does this imply that a 90 year old man is more valuable than a 20 year old man simply because the 90 year old man has had more conscious experiences?

    What does a conscious experience even mean? After all, do newborn babies have conscious experiences? If they do not, is it acceptable to kill newborn babies? And if they do, this further leads to implications on our treatment of other beings - adult pigs are more intelligent than babies. It follows then that if conscious experience is the measure of worth and intelligence,self-perception and sentience are the preconditions of consciousness, then adult pigs (and really any animals capable of more complex conscious experiences than human babies) are, apparently, more valuable or at the very least as valuable as human babies, but such conclusions insult our moral intuitions.
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    (Original post by Zorgotron)
    That doesn't strike me as a principled distinction, because in both these cases, the being will gain consciousness in the future - it's just that in one instance, you're willing to wait for that to happen while in another you're not willing.
    Yes, because it's almost certain that the person can wake up within a few seconds if we tap him/her on the arm. With a comatose patient, there's nothing we can do.

    (Original post by Zorgotron)
    Secondly, I don't see why previous conscious experience is necessary for human worth? Does this imply that a 90 year old man is more valuable than a 20 year old man simply because the 90 year old man has had more conscious experiences?
    It's whether they've had a conscious experience at all.

    (Original post by Zorgotron)
    What does a conscious experience even mean? After all, do newborn babies have conscious experiences? If they do not, is it acceptable to kill newborn babies? And if they do, this further leads to implications on our treatment of other beings - adult pigs are more intelligent than babies. It follows then that if conscious experience is the measure of worth and intelligence,self-perception and sentience are the preconditions of consciousness, then adult pigs (and really any animals capable of more complex conscious experiences than human babies) are, apparently, more valuable or at the very least as valuable as human babies, but such conclusions insult our moral intuitions.
    Interesting points raised. There are certain cases in which I would argue it is justified for newborn babies to be killed; in other words, the act is not intrinsically immoral, but alternatives such as adoption, for example, should be seriously considered, because that can bring pleasure to other people. Adult pigs are certainly more self-conscious, rational and autonomous than newborn babies, as you point out. It would be, therefore, immoral to favour human babies over adult pigs. This conclusion does not insult my moral intuitions - I am a vegetarian and a utilitarian due to both logic and conscience and I try my utmost not to engage in speciesism.
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    (Original post by viddy9)
    Interesting points raised. There are certain cases in which I would argue it is justified for newborn babies to be killed; in other words, the act is not intrinsically immoral, but alternatives such as adoption, for example, should be seriously considered, because that can bring pleasure to other people. Adult pigs are certainly more self-conscious, rational and autonomous than newborn babies, as you point out. It would be, therefore, immoral to favour human babies over adult pigs. This conclusion does not insult my moral intuitions - I am a vegetarian and a utilitarian due to both logic and conscience and I try my utmost not to engage in speciesism.
    Very well, I respect your intellectual honesty and consistency in your views and values.
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    (Original post by Complex solution)
    It's tricky for me to find an arguement that still supports the idea that unconsciousness means you're 'unimportant'.

    But in the event of euthanasia becoming legal, I would be certain that everybody will have a legal responsibility to indicate what they would wish to happen to them and to update these views throughout their life.
    If that happens in the next few years, then so be it. But it is currently not the situation right now. If consciousness or sentience is the criteria you wish to use, I see little difference in principle between active non-voluntary euthanasia (i.e. actively terminating the life of a comatose patient) and abortion. The former is illegal in every country in the world.
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    (Original post by tazarooni89)
    Or would it force people to be more careful about contraception, and sexual activity in general, resulting in fewer unwanted children?



    Perhaps you would. But someone else who has actually grown up in care and then gone on to live a decent standard of life might value the opportunity to have done so, and disagree.



    When it comes to a debate on abortion, the first issue is to determine whether the foetus should be considered as part of "the woman's body", or whether it should be considered to be a body and a life of its own.

    It's not a great argument to say "the woman can do what she wants with her body", because this assumes, without it being established yet, that the foetus is in fact part of "her body". The obvious response from the other side of the debate would be "Well aborting is affecting someone else's body, not just her own".



    It is true that making abortion illegal will probably, to some extent, drive it underground. But that's true of pretty much anything. If you make something illegal, some people will stop doing it, and some people will simply continue to do it, without the official approval if necessary. In various countries including ours, the same thing happens with things like drugs, guns, prostitution, slavery, FGM, forced marriages... you name it.
    No because there are still plenty of people who do use contraception and still get pregnant so then they would have to keep a child they didn't want because contraception failed, also even if they aren't being careful and are ok with having abortion after abortion that should be their choice.

    Then there would be a massive burden on the state for the amount of babies being born children in care don't have the best life as it is and I know this first hand as I have a half brother who was in care that would only mean the care system would get worse because they are trying to spread it out over more children, the same way that an increase in children has increased school class sizes so the standard of education children receive isn't as high.

    The majority of people who turn to abortion do it out of desperation, so the number of people simply stopping doing it would be much lower, think of the reasons people have an abortion. To a lot of women it would be worth the risk to have it done illegally.

    No I agree it's not a great argument to say it's the womans body she can do what she wants with it but the state forcing women to carry children they do not want for 9 months is wrong. The foetus cannot survive without the mother up to a certain stage of pregnancy therefore wouldn't it be right to assume that the mother who is already a live being capable of surviving by herself has greater needs than those of a foetus that isn't even self aware yet?

    I believe the system we have is good, if you don't agree with abortion don't have one it doesn't effect other people if women have abortions.
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    (Original post by victoriajackson)
    No because there are still plenty of people who do use contraception and still get pregnant so then they would have to keep a child they didn't want because contraception failed, also even if they aren't being careful and are ok with having abortion after abortion that should be their choice.

    Then there would be a massive burden on the state for the amount of babies being born children in care don't have the best life as it is and I know this first hand as I have a half brother who was in care that would only mean the care system would get worse because they are trying to spread it out over more children, the same way that an increase in children has increased school class sizes so the standard of education children receive isn't as high.

    The majority of people who turn to abortion do it out of desperation, so the number of people simply stopping doing it would be much lower, think of the reasons people have an abortion. To a lot of women it would be worth the risk to have it done illegally.
    Are the majority of abortions a result of the failure of the contraception to actually work, or are they a result of failure to use contraception in the first place? If abortion were made illegal, what proportion of the people who fail to use contraception would become more careful start to do so, thus no longer needing to turn to abortion out of desperation? What proportion of people would simply obey the abortion law and keep their unplanned children, despite the difficulties it may cause them?

    Unless we have definitive answers for these, it is not possible to make reliable claims about what effect it would have on the numbers of unwanted children, or the number of unauthorised abortions. There are reasons for it to move in either direction. It just depends on which effect is stronger.

    No I agree it's not a great argument to say it's the womans body she can do what she wants with it but the state forcing women to carry children they do not want for 9 months is wrong. The foetus cannot survive without the mother up to a certain stage of pregnancy therefore wouldn't it be right to assume that the mother who is already a live being capable of surviving by herself has greater needs than those of a foetus that isn't even self aware yet?
    It's a very subjective area of discussion, with very little established in plain fact. One could argue that in general, the mother's rights are more important than the foetus' rights - e.g. if the pregnancy was life threatening, the mother's right to life would supersede that of the foetus.

    However, there are many other factors at play. When the mother's life is not at risk, this is an issue of the foetus' right to life, vs. the mother's right to what is essentially convenience. Even if we argue that the mother is more important than the foetus, it can also be argued that the right to life is more important than the right to convenience. It also weakens the strength of the mother's right to choice, when we consider that she made the choice to engage in an activity which she knew had a chance of leading to pregnancy. In effect she has already exercised her right to choice. The point at which a foetus becomes a life of its own, and the criteria used to define this are again, another grey area.

    There are lots of arguments for and against the right to abort an unborn child, but there is certainly no conclusive, clear cut answer.

    I believe the system we have is good, if you don't agree with abortion don't have one it doesn't effect other people if women have abortions.
    This isn't a great argument either to be honest. What if someone said "If you don't agree with child abuse, don't do it. It doesn't affect you if other people are doing it"? We make laws, not just based on whether or not they affect us personally, but based on whether or not we think they're good for society and humankind as a whole.
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    (Original post by tazarooni89)
    Are the majority of abortions a result of the failure of the contraception to actually work, or are they a result of failure to use contraception in the first place? If abortion were made illegal, what proportion of the people who fail to use contraception would become more careful start to do so, thus no longer needing to turn to abortion out of desperation? What proportion of people would simply obey the abortion law and keep their unplanned children, despite the difficulties it may cause them?

    Unless we have definitive answers for these, it is not possible to make reliable claims about what effect it would have on the numbers of unwanted children, or the number of unauthorised abortions. There are reasons for it to move in either direction. It just depends on which effect is stronger.



    It's a very subjective area of discussion, with very little established in plain fact. One could argue that in general, the mother's rights are more important than the foetus' rights - e.g. if the pregnancy was life threatening, the mother's right to life would supersede that of the foetus.

    However, there are many other factors at play. When the mother's life is not at risk, this is an issue of the foetus' right to life, vs. the mother's right to what is essentially convenience. Even if we argue that the mother is more important than the foetus, it can also be argued that the right to life is more important than the right to convenience. It also weakens the strength of the mother's right to choice, when we consider that she made the choice to engage in an activity which she knew had a chance of leading to pregnancy. In effect she has already exercised her right to choice. The point at which a foetus becomes a life of its own, and the criteria used to define this are again, another grey area.

    There are lots of arguments for and against the right to abort an unborn child, but there is certainly no conclusive, clear cut answer.



    This isn't a great argument either to be honest. What if someone said "If you don't agree with child abuse, don't do it. It doesn't affect you if other people are doing it"? We make laws, not just based on whether or not they affect us personally, but based on whether or not we think they're good for society and humankind as a whole.
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    (Original post by Stiff Little Fingers)
    Except those sorts of abortion only usually occur when the mothers life would be endangered by carrying it to term, at which point you're arguing for a potential child possibly surviving (I've not got the stats to hand, but as I recall survival rates for children where the mother dies in childbirth are quite low) over a woman's life - most abortions happen in the first trimester.
    (Original post by Darien)
    The medical determination whether to terminate the child's life to save the mother (or the mother's life to save the child) has been an issue which doctors/midwives have had to make for millennia. As such, it is not an abortion issue and can only divert attention from the genuine discussions about abortion.
    (Original post by Stiff Little Fingers)
    You've completely ignored what I said there - abortions that occur later on in pregnancy are generally due to life-threatening complications. Most abortions occur in the first trimester where the foetus is pretty much nothing.

    If you want to go onto the "that's not an abortion issue" then you need to ditch this "look at this 22 week old foetus" stuff, because by your own standards that is not an abortion issue.
    I ignored nothing. I took careful notice of your words.

    In the first case, you said "only usually" and later you used the word "generally". This can be re-phrased as "sometimes, abortions occur late in pregnancy for non-medical reasons." The exceptions to that statement - those times when either the mother or child must die to save the other - is not an abortion issue. The times when late abortions occur 'just because' is an issue in the abortion debate.

    In discussing morals and ethics, it is usual not to dismiss the lives of 'only a few' individuals. If something is wrong, it is wrong even if it only happens occasionally. If it is not wrong, it is irrelevant how rarely it happens.
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    (Original post by DropkickSmurfy)
    The state has no right to tell a woman what she can and cannot do with her own body.
    But does it have a right to tell a woman what she can do with someone else's body?

    That is usually the crux of the matter: whether one considers the child a someone (a 'person') who also deserves rights. I suspect most mothers who are carrying a child they want consider that child to be a person and would be horrified if the law determined that anyone could take it away from her (so long as they didn't hurt her - a theoretical concept).

    (Original post by DropkickSmurfy)
    I know it's a cliché, but as they say, if you're against abortion, don't have one. Leave the law alone for everyone else though.
    I don't think society can get along with that kind of concept. For example "If you're against theft, don't steal but leave other people alone who want to" just doesn't work. Society has laws to protect people .. which brings us back to that decision about when is a person, a person.
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    (Original post by viddy9)
    Fetuses, whether they are human or not, are not rational or self-aware; as such, they do not have a preference to live, and if the mother so wishes that the fetus should be aborted, then her preference outweighs the non-existent preference of the fetus.
    A welcome injection of Ciceronianism to the discussion, though it is certainly debatable that a child has self-awareness sometime between 9 and 16 weeks after conception.

    That is not to say that it is rational (I think few humans are rational).

    Even more to the point, perhaps, is whether a being that has no chance of enforcing a right, can be in possession of that right?
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    Abortion is murder
    Murder is illegal
    Abortion should be illegal.
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    (Original post by jcarz)
    Abortion is murder
    Murder is illegal
    Abortion should be illegal.
    Murder is the unlawful killing of another human being
    Abortion isn't illegal (as it stands)
    So abortion can't be considered murder with the current definitions, making this a poor argument.
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    (Original post by minimarshmallow)
    Murder is the unlawful killing of another human being
    Abortion isn't illegal (as it stands)
    So abortion can't be considered murder with the current definitions, making this a poor argument.
    If the thing being aborted is just tissue and is not a human being, then abortion is not a big deal; it's like a tonsillectomy. But if the thing being aborted is a human being with the same basic rights you and I possess, then abortion cannot be tolerated since we do not tolerate the legal killing of innocent human beings.

    Let me phrase my initial argument a different way:

    1) It is generally wrong to directly kill innocent human beings
    2) The unborn are innocent human beings
    3) Abortion directly kills the unborn
    4) Therefore it is wrong to abort the unborn.

    Would you not agree with this argument and why?
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    (Original post by jcarz)
    If the thing being aborted is just tissue and is not a human being, then abortion is not a big deal; it's like a tonsillectomy. But if the thing being aborted is a human being with the same basic rights you and I possess, then abortion cannot be tolerated since we do not tolerate the legal killing of innocent human beings.

    Let me phrase my initial argument a different way:

    1) It is generally wrong to directly kill innocent human beings
    2) The unborn are innocent human beings
    3) Abortion directly kills the unborn
    4) Therefore it is wrong to abort the unborn.

    Would you not agree with this argument and why?
    I think up until a certain point (viability is the point that I tend to go with, although it's not 100% when that is) that is is just cells/tissue, rather than an innocent human being.
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    (Original post by Darien)
    I ignored nothing. I took careful notice of your words.

    In the first case, you said "only usually" and later you used the word "generally". This can be re-phrased as "sometimes, abortions occur late in pregnancy for non-medical reasons." The exceptions to that statement - those times when either the mother or child must die to save the other - is not an abortion issue. The times when late abortions occur 'just because' is an issue in the abortion debate.

    In discussing morals and ethics, it is usual not to dismiss the lives of 'only a few' individuals. If something is wrong, it is wrong even if it only happens occasionally. If it is not wrong, it is irrelevant how rarely it happens.
    Would you prefer I said very rarely then? The vast, vast majority of late terminations are for medical reasons - this "look at this 22 week old foetus" stuff is irrelevant if you say that medical termination is not part of the abortion debate. People who abort because they don't want the child abort it early into the pregnancy

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