Does abortion presuppose that parents have no moral obligations to their children?

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    (Original post by Supersaps)


    This is a baby at just 8 weeks in the womb. Many women won't even know they are pregnant at this point.

    I would challenge the point it's not "recognisably" human.

    Most people using TSR won't even look as human as this. :-P

    SS
    ayy lmao
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    (Original post by Supersaps)


    This is a baby at just 8 weeks in the womb. Many women won't even know they are pregnant at this point.

    I would challenge the point it's not "recognisably" human.

    Most people using TSR won't even look as human as this. :-P

    SS
    That doesn't change my opinion because it hasn't changed what I said. I also wasn't just referring to the physical form, but the ability to think and feel pain, which a foetus cannot do so once again, I see no issue with terminating such a pregnancy.
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    (Original post by anosmianAcrimony)
    I don't care how many logical holes you can poke in the idea of a system of morality. I will still cling to one, because doing so makes my life and the lives of those around me happier. The world works (to the extent that it does!) because a significant sector of the human population tries to act morally.
    You are perfectly entitled to believe that, but I do not believe that people trying to get along for the sake of social convenience is not the same thing as morality, nor am I turning around and saying that the whole world should do whatever it wants. It's undoubtedly better that humanity gets along for the sake of the earth.

    (Original post by Supersaps)
    So, if I turned around one day, smashed you in the face and burnt down your house...would you turn around and say "Oh no worries, SS morality is just a laughable concept"?

    Course you wouldn't.

    Your idea of morality only applies when bad things happen to you. You're quite happy for bad things to happen to other people.

    SS
    Well I wouldn't even mention the word moral because you burning down my house is nothing to do with morality, it's simply you deciding to do something. I clearly would not be happy with that and would prosecute you because it's /legally/ wrong and because I /personally don't like/ what you've done, but that's nothing to do with any objective, moral fact?

    Nor did I also say I am quite happy for 'bad things' to happen to other people, so congratulations on completely taking what I said out of context; just because I don't think there are objective moral facts it does not automatically mean I am happy with other people suffering - that's quite a huge inductive leap you've made there...
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    (Original post by Supersaps)
    So, if I turned around one day, smashed you in the face and burnt down your house...would you turn around and say "Oh no worries, SS morality is just a laughable concept"?

    Course you wouldn't.

    Your idea of morality only applies when bad things happen to you. You're quite happy for bad things to happen to other people.

    SS
    Technically, you have not refuted anything he's said. All you have demonstrated is that most people adhere to a set of morals, but you have provided no evidence that they are objective.

    And your next point is a strawman. Not believing in objective morals =/= wishing bad stuff on people, how on Earth did you make that leap? I don't subscribe to the concept of objective morality either and I'd like to think I'm a decent person, I certainly don't go round murdering and stealing etc.
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    (Original post by Plantagenet Crown)
    Technically, you have not refuted anything he's said. All you have demonstrated is that most people adhere to a set of morals, but you have provided no evidence that they are objective.
    No, he said the entire concept of morality was laughable.


    I said I doubt he'd find it so if I punched him in the face.


    So, technically all I'm proving is that it's clearly not laughable in this case at least.


    Back to the heart of the matter:

    Foetuses feel pain, of course. The debate is exactly at what point they start to feel to pain. Usually it's considered babies feel pain at around 27-28 weeks in gestation.

    But let's say they don't feel pain. What evidence do you have that pain is required to be a person?
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    The difference between aborting a child and neglecting one after birth is that with the former you are making a conscious decision to not care for the child. If you don't want an abortion but don't want to care for the child then you can put it up for adoption. But if you don't want an abortion and decide to keep the child for yourself, then you're taking the duty of care upon yourself. There's a huge difference between neglecting a living, breathing, crying and loving baby and killing a bunch of cells that somewhat resembles a human.

    Let's just say for the sake of the argument that after 1 week it resembles a perfect human baby, just because some people would argue that it 'still looks like a human' anyway; in my opinion it's irrelevant what it looks like, if it can't survive outside the womb by itself, if it can't think for itself or feel pain, then there really isn't much there to have a moral obligation toward in the first place. It's just a collection of cells that resemble a person and has half of your DNA, like a laboratory culture. 'Morals' are just evolutionary mechanisms to create a tight-knit community and reduce mistreatment in our hunter-gatherer phase at best, and pure human concoctions designed to give yourself the moral high ground at worst. They are completely arbitrary and dependent on the society you live in. But, nevertheless, the law needs a defined point whereby abortion should not longer be legal and doing so after would constitute as infanticide. So call 24 weeks arbitrary if you want, and it probably is, but as long as it's around the stage where a child can survive independently it doesn't really matter because the need for a defined legal limit is greater.
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    (Original post by Supersaps)

    Foetuses feel pain, of course. The debate is exactly at what point they start to feel to pain. Usually it's considered babies feel pain at around 27-28 weeks in gestation.

    But let's say they don't feel pain. What evidence do you have that pain is required to be a person?
    Stop being disingenuous, we are talking about the foetus at the time it can be legally aborted, where the central nervous system is not formed and therefore cannot feel pain. The brain is also not formed, so the foetus cannot think or experience anything. Thus, I see no issue with terminating it at this stage because it isn't even close to a fully formed human and can neither feel the pain and/or trauma of being aborted.
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    (Original post by Supersaps)
    No, he said the entire concept of morality was laughable.


    I said I doubt he'd find it so if I punched him in the face.


    So, technically all I'm proving is that it's clearly not laughable in this case at least.
    No, you demonstrated that he wouldn't laugh at you punching him in the face, not that he doesn't find the concept of an objective morality laughable.
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    Women have spontaneous miscarriages all the time. And yet, you don't see most churches holding funerals when one of their parishioners has an unusually heavy period while trying to start a family.
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    (Original post by Plantagenet Crown)
    x
    We're talking about foetuses. A baby can be legally aborted up until birth (if it has, for example, down syndrome.) So, it's important to talk about all foetuses.

    Babies brains form at around 3 weeks into the pregnancy. Did you mean to say 'fully formed'? In which case, a foetus brain isn't fully formed until 25 or so. Years, that is.

    What makes you think that pain is required for personhood? Coma patients and people with various nervous system defects don't feel pain.


    If being unique, living and human isn't enough for personhood - what's your definition of a person?


    SS
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    Another way to think of it would be-- if you were an EMT driving a patient to the hospital in an ambulance, and saw vital signs slipping away one by one, at what point would a reasonable procedure authorize (or require) you to stop heroic life-saving methods? Absence of ability to speak? Brain waves? Independent breathing? Pulse?
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    (Original post by Supersaps)
    We're talking about foetuses. A baby can be legally aborted up until birth (if it has, for example, down syndrome.) So, it's important to talk about all foetuses.

    Babies brains form at around 3 weeks into the pregnancy. Did you mean to say 'fully formed'? In which case, a foetus brain isn't fully formed until 25 or so. Years, that is.

    What makes you think that pain is required for personhood? Coma patients and people with various nervous system defects don't feel pain.


    If being unique, living and human isn't enough for personhood - what's your definition of a person?


    SS
    Down's Syndrome is a separate case and I don't have views on that at the moment as I haven't looked at it in sufficient detail. Besides, I think that the justification for those kind of abortions is totally different and gets more into the moral/ethical arguments of whether it's right to allow someone severely disabled to be brought to term. I am talking about foetuses who are not fully formed and can thus feel no pain or experience anything at all, thus the justifications used against these cases are biological.

    No, the brain begins to form and there is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that a brain that has not been fully formed (that's different to a brain fully maturing once it has been fully formed) can experience anything.

    I and several other people have already explained the difference many times. Coma patients are clearly fully formed people and have previously been able to experience things as well as having desires. So it is our respect for the existing person that makes us think about the situation differently, as rightly it should. And for the record, I am also pro the right to die, so if someone has expressed a desire for their life to be terminated should they ever end up in a vegetative coma then I respect that. A foetus cannot experience things and has never been able to do so, therefore there is no question of it suffering when being aborted. And as it cannot think in any way nor exist independently outside of the womb I do not consider it human in any practical sense.
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    (Original post by anosmianAcrimony)
    A person who's in a coma still has a central nervous system and so still has the ability to suffer and experience the world. They just aren't currently doing so.

    But what really makes us think twice about terminating a comatose person is that we exercise our sense of empathy and imagine their desires were they still able to express them. Most likely, they would not want to die.

    A newly conceived foetus, on the other hand, has no brain in which to house a desire not to die, and has never had one. Empathy that acts on behalf of such a desire is misplaced and mistaken.
    (Original post by cherryred90s)
    A human who is unconcious or in a coma has already demonstrated the ability to survive outside of the womb.
    (Original post by Plantagenet Crown)
    I don't agree with such a comparison. Such an individuall has nerves, dreams and desires and can still wake up as well as already having become a person. A foetus cannot do any of this and isn't even recognisably human so I see no issue with terminating such a pregnancy.
    A foetus, like a comatose person, does not currently have the ability to suffer, desire or experience the world. Also, like a comatose person, the foetus will probably "wake up" eventually, and be able to do these things in future. After waking up, they will also probably be able to express that that they are glad that their life wasn't ended during their period of unconsciousness. Therefore most of the reasons you have given for keeping a comatose person alive also apply to a foetus.


    You have all raised a valid difference between a foetus and a comatose person, namely that the comatose person used to be conscious at some point in the past, and the foetus has never been conscious. However, as I shall explain, this distinction is irrelevant.

    The reason it is wrong to kill someone is not because of the life they used to have in the past, but because of the life they otherwise would have had in the future. When you kill someone, it is their future you take away from them, not their past. Their past remains unaffected whether you kill them or not.

    Correspondingly, what makes us think twice about terminating a comatose person is the fact that they may otherwise recover and become conscious, and in future be able to experience the world and express desires etc. In the case of people who are biologically "alive", but with no consciousness and no hope of recovery, we are usually happy to take them off life support rather than keep them alive in their permanent vegetative state. This is despite the fact that they have been conscious in the past, but rather because they will never be conscious again in future. If they were likely to recover in future, we would not terminate their life.

    This analogy demonstrates that, unless we want to make a specific exception to the rule for the abortion of foetuses, we otherwise judge the appropriateness of terminating a life based on its likely future development, independently of its past.
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    (Original post by tazarooni89)
    A foetus, like a comatose person, does not currently have the ability to suffer, desire or experience the world. Also, like a comatose person, the foetus will probably "wake up" eventually, and be able to do these things in future. After waking up, they will also probably be able to express that that they are glad that their life wasn't ended during their period of unconsciousness.


    The difference between a foetus and a comatose person is that the comatose person used to be conscious at some point in the past, and the foetus has never been conscious. However, as I shall explain, this distinction is irrelevant.

    The reason it is wrong to kill someone is not because of the life they used to have in the past, but because of the life they otherwise would have had in the future. When you kill someone, it is their future you take away from them, not their past. Their past remains unaffected whether you kill them or not.

    Correspondingly, what makes us think twice about terminating a comatose person is the fact that they may otherwise recover and become conscious. In the case of people who are biologically "alive", but with no consciousness and no hope of recovery, we are usually happy to take them off life support rather than keep them alive in their permanent vegetative state. This is despite the fact that they have been conscious in the past, but rather because they will never be conscious again in future. If they were likely to recover in future, we would not terminate their life.

    This analogy demonstrates that, unless we want to make a specific exception to the rule for the abortion of foetuses, we otherwise judge the appropriateness of terminating a life based on its likely future development, independently of its past.*
    I simply disagree. You are trying to push your version of what is "wrong" onto others and that won't work. In your opinion the distinction is irrelevant but in mine it is not and therefore I see nothing wrong with terminating the life of something that has never been human in any practical sense and which will not suffer. It appears we will simply have to agree to disagree.
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    (Original post by VV Cephei A)
    ...
    No, you're making the assumption that the only argument in favour of pro-choice is that a woman can choose what she does with her own body.

    In fact there are many other arguments in favour of it. One directly addresses moral obligations to children - in that, if you have children when you are not ready (you are poor, you are young, you are physically or mentally unwell, or the child is likely to be physically or mentally unwell) - then this would be morally objectionable to the child. Pro-choice people argue that women may choose to have an abortion because she feels she has a moral obligation not to bring up a child in an unsafe or unhealthy environment.

    Now whether you agree with that or disagree with it, the point is that no, abortion doesn't presuppose no moral obligations. It just addresses it differently to how pro-lifers do.
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    (Original post by anosmianAcrimony)
    In the process of in-vitro fertilisation, several eggs are usually fertilised to make a number of possibly viable embryos, the most healthy-looking of which is implanted into the mother-to-be. The rest are discarded. Do you consider that mass murder?

    I myself was conceived in a test tube. Would you prefer that the operation that created me had never taken place? Will you tell me to my face that you would prefer I had never existed, for the sake of a few unthinking, unfeeling bundles of cells?
    Of course not. As far as my argument goes, there is no problem with the fertilisation of an embryo in a test tube, nor with the existence of the human resulting from it.

    Also, I think there's a difference between discarding the remaining fertilised embryos and abortion. In the first case, fertilised embryos are simply dying by themselves, having never been put into the conditions where they will grow into fully fledged people.*In the second case, the embryo is already on course to remain alive and become a fully fledged human if left to its own devices, but we are actively interfering with it and ending its life.

    It's the difference between actively ending a life and simply not prolonging one.
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    (Original post by Plantagenet Crown)
    I simply disagree. You are trying to push your version of what is "wrong" onto others and that won't work. In your opinion the distinction is irrelevant but in mine it is not and therefore I see nothing wrong with terminating the life of something that has never been human in any practical sense and which will not suffer. It appears we will simply have to agree to disagree.
    PRSOM
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    (Original post by Plantagenet Crown)
    I simply disagree. You are trying to push your version of what is "wrong" onto others and that won't work. In your opinion the distinction is irrelevant but in mine it is not and therefore I see nothing wrong with terminating the life of something that has never been human in any practical sense and which will not suffer. It appears we will simply have to agree to disagree.
    I'd put to you another hypothetical scenario then: Suppose there is a 1 month old child who is currently comatose, and surviving in an unconscious, vegetative state with the use of a life support machine. You discover that the child has been like this for the entirety of existence, and has never been conscious before. However, doctors are confident that, given enough time and treatment, this child will wake up from its coma and be able to live an ordinary life later on. Would you consider it acceptable for this child's parents to terminate its life?

    I'm not trying to push my version of what is "wrong" onto you - rather, I'm trying to see whether or not you apply reasoning and logic consistently when it comes to deciding what is right or wrong. From your post here ("I simply disagree"), it sounds very much like you're making this decision based on gut instinct more than anything else. Am I correct?
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    (Original post by tazarooni89)
    I'd put to you another hypothetical scenario then: Suppose there is a 1 month old child who is currently comatose, and surviving in an unconscious, vegetative state with the use of a life support machine. You discover that the child has been like this for the entirety of existence, and has never been conscious before. However, doctors are confident that, given enough time and treatment, this child will*wake up from its coma and be able to live an ordinary life later on. Would you consider it acceptable for this child's parents to terminate its life?

    Unless you can provide another situation in which we treat an organism's right to life as being dependent upon its "past consciousness" prior to its potential future consciousness, you're essentially just saying "Yeah, but let's just make an arbitrary exception to the usual rules of morality when it comes to abortion".

    I'm not trying to push my version of what is "wrong" onto you - rather, I'm trying to see whether or not you apply reasoning and logic consistently when it comes to deciding what is right or wrong. From your post here, it seems that you're making these decisions based on gut instinct more than anything else.
    The child has formed, the foetus has not. It's not based solely on consciousness, but a combination of both factors. And the scenario in itself is too vague. As I've already said to another poster, I do support the right for people to be able to turn off life support in various circumstances just as I am pro-euthansia. So each situation would have to be assessed individually, but in theory yes, I do support the right of the parents to terminate a child's life if they have made an informed decision and it complies with the law. In your example the body of the child has fully formed and there's the chance it could go on to lead a normal life. In the case of abortions there is no fully formed human as well as no consciousness.
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    (Original post by tazarooni89)
    Of course not. As far as my argument goes, there is no problem with the fertilisation of an embryo in a test tube, nor with the existence of the human resulting from it.

    Also, I think there's a difference between discarding the remaining fertilised embryos and abortion. In the first case, fertilised embryos are simply dying by themselves, having never been put into the conditions where they will grow into fully fledged people.*In the second case, the embryo is already on course to remain alive and become a fully fledged human if left to its own devices, but we are actively interfering with it and ending its life.

    It's the difference between actively ending a life and simply not prolonging one.
    An embryo in vitro and an embryo in vivo are exactly the same entity. Surely if such a thing has an inalienable right to develop and live, it has that right no matter what its physical location happens to be?

    Every embryo that's fertilised in IVF has a chance to become a person, under the right conditions - they all have the potential for a future that you keep harping on about. Some in your camp would tell me that each and every one is a precious, unique human life that the doctors throw away. Why do we have a duty to keep them in the womb once they're there, but not to put them there in the first place?

    There is absolutely no difference between not prolonging a life and ending it. The supposed difference is a knot that you have tied your brain in to continue believing in what you believe in.
 
 
 
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