• tim wood
    2.9k
    A pregnant woman wants to have an abortion. What if any are grounds for controlling as to whether or when or under what circumstances she may proceed? The grounds may be law or ethics. As to religious grounds, I rule all such out of court because of general incoherence. The substance/ground of any argument from religion may fit an ethical argument, but it should shed its religious dressing and be reduced to substance. (I take "ethics" and "morality" to be synonymous with each other.) And arguments should be just that, arguments and not merely rants or claims.

    Can we do it? This is a philosophy site; let's do philosophy!

    I start with the proposition that Roe v. Wade is a pretty good set of rules.
  • Harry Hindu
    2.2k
    Do fetuses feel pain? Do they experience stress when being aborted? I would say that anything with a nervous system feels pain and stress. Late term abortions should be illigal except in extreme circumstances.
  • Andrew4Handel
    1.3k
    I am not opposed to abortion and I am an antinatalist. But you could argue "What if you had been aborted?"

    One reason I am not opposed to abortion is because I don't think life is a good thing.
  • tim wood
    2.9k
    Do fetuses feel pain? Do they experience stress when being aborted? I would say that anything with a nervous system feels pain and stress. Late term abortions should be illigal except in extreme circumstances.Harry Hindu

    Consistent with Roe v. Wade, although I do not remember it mentioning pain or stress. The idea there is that the community's (read: king's) interest in the well being of its citizens (subject, property), in consideration that mortality is the greater for the mother in a late-term abortion than in just giving birth, argues against late-term abortion.

    Most of us are familiar with some of the "extreme circumstances" often mentioned as being grounds for abortion, but I am unaware of any consistent or reasonable general statement that captures them all. Are you aware of any? .
  • tim wood
    2.9k
    I don't think life is a good thing.Andrew4Handel
    ?? Life as what? Life qua life? Either you hold that life itself is not a good thing - please attempt your argument; I do not think you have one. Or something in life makes life not a good thing - a category error.

    And to be sure, as applied to abortion, if your argument is not universally and necessarily so, then it amounts to making a decision for a being - and in this case its being as existing is all that matters - which being may have a different opinion on the matter.
  • Andrew4Handel
    1.3k


    If you think life is a good thing then it would be a bad thing to be aborted.

    By life I mean being a living sentient organism or just a human life which appears to be the richest/ most multifaceted form of life.

    If life with really great and harm free for everyone it would be hard to justify terminating a pregnancy. But this is not that world.

    In general I don't think there are good arguments for the existence of rights and morality as opposed to preferences. But from a standpoint of minimizing harm it will probably minimize harm not to force a woman to go through with a pregnancy.
  • Christoffer
    543


    We just had a topic created about abortion, why start another one?
  • tim wood
    2.9k
    Did you read the other one? It seemed short reasoning. I hope this a remedy, and as the title hopefully implies, a cure.
  • tim wood
    2.9k
    f you think life is a good thing then it would be a bad thing to be aborted.Andrew4Handel
    Doesn't follow. Actually, not coherent. Read with attention what you wrote. E.g., 1) There is a thing, life, that is good. 2) There is a thing X that is not life, but that is alive. Therefore it is wrong to kill X. Wherefore the therefore?

    By life I mean being a living sentient organism or just a human life which appears to be the richest/ most multifaceted form of life.

    If life was really great and harm-free for everyone it would be hard to justify terminating a pregnancy. But this is not that world.
    Because the world is not "really great and harm-free for everyone" it is not the case that it would be hard to justify terminating a pregnancy? Unsupported assertion and personal opinion, if even that. Sound argument, please.

    In general I don't think there are good arguments for the existence of rights and morality as opposed to preferences. But from a standpoint of minimizing harm it will probably minimize harm not to force a woman to go through with a pregnancy.
    No good arguments for right and morality? This isn't reason speaking but something else.
  • praxis
    1.4k
    What if any are grounds for controlling as to whether or when or under what circumstances she may proceed? The grounds may be law or ethics.tim wood

    What about evidence of the negative effects on society (increased crime) of making abortion illegal?
  • tim wood
    2.9k
    What about evidence of the negative effects on society (increased crime) of making abortion illegal?praxis
    Legal argument, ethical argument, pragmatic argument. Not altogether dismissible, or is it? Driving too fast, speeding, is a crime of sorts: from that would you argue that speed limits should be abolished?
  • Bitter Crank
    8.1k


    The deeper roots of opposition to abortion are that the fetus belongs to either a god or the father. An abortion deprives a god or a man of a baby. Men beget babies, women bear them. Women are suppose to get pregnant and bear children. That's their function. Aborting a fetus is a perversion of women's function.

    In many societies controlling what women do has been an overriding concern. Women are supposed to be subservient (obedient servants). It isn't their place to make important decisions about life and death. Women are not entitled to decide whether to bear a child or not. Fewer and fewer people accept these notions.

    We can not suppose that abortion of a 5 month or less fetus is a horrible experience for the fetus. It is not, because at 20 weeks, fetuses have neither consciousness to experience horrible experiences nor a sufficiently developed CNS to feel pain.

    Later on, At 8 months for example, a fetus can feel pain, and can usually survive if delivered at that time.

    I believe an acceptable position is that "Abortions may be performed up to the end of the 20th week without justification. After 20 weeks, abortion may be performed only if the fetus is found to have developed very abnormally, or its continued presence in the women endangers the life of the mother.

    20 weeks is more than sufficient for a woman to consider whether bearing a child is an appropriate decision for her to make.

    Aside from the individual men, women, and fetuses involved, the welfare of the world is at stake. Every effective means of birth control must be in play: sterilization, contraception through drugs or barriers, and abortion are all important methods of limiting fertility.
  • Rank Amateur
    1.6k
    can we start with the biology, and agree on some things as facts first.

    I propose as a matter of fact that every human on this planet can trace their existence as a unique organism in time and space from this moment directly back to the moment of their unique conception

    I propose that after the completion of conception a 100% human, 100% alive 100% geneticly unique organism exists, and from that moment on, will go through the stages of development that every other human on the planet has gone through and can only be human.

    In short can we all agree, before we go any further that human life, all human life begins after the completion of conception.
  • ernestm
    629
    In short can we all agree, before we go any further that human life, all human life begins after the completion of conception.Rank Amateur

    The deeper roots of opposition to abortion are that the fetus belongs to either a god or the father.Bitter Crank

    If you are American, and uphold right to life as in the constitution, then the resolution is based on natural law.

    If there are no intervening contrary events, birth proceeds naturally from conception. Therefore the question is whether human intervention is of the same order as genetic abnormality or natural catastrophe, such as mothers death, starvation, etc.

    The rest of human law strives to avoid those circumstances, and therefore it is irrational to consider abortion as lawful unless, possibly, the mother was forced to conceive against her will, and even in that case, it remains an extremely contentious exception.
  • Rank Amateur
    1.6k
    and can we also agree to define abortion in this thread as the deliberate ending of a human pregnancy by artificial means that results in the death the fetus.

    Fetus for sake of brevity in this thread meaning the unique human starting at conception until birth. I am aware there are multiple names for this entity based on different stages of its development, but for brevity I would propose fetus works for all for the sake of this argument
  • Rank Amateur
    1.6k
    next can we agree that without justification, (and for the sake of staying on topic be generous to each other and allow we would generally have same definition of justification) it is immoral to deliberately end a human life after birth.

    If we can agree on the biology that each unique human life begins at conception, and if can agree that it is immoral to end that life after birth.

    Than can we agree that the nature of that human between those 2 points is a determining factor in the moral permissibility of killing it. In other words, does what the fetus is matter at all in the moral permissibility of killing it?
  • Rank Amateur
    1.6k
    and finally for now I would propose that in all topics on abortion there is a first order question, and that is, is it morally permissible. Because if or if it not morally permissible would have a philosophic impact on the legal and societal questions


    Await your feedback
  • TheMadFool
    3.4k
    A pregnant woman wants to have an abortiontim wood

    Only if we could replace the wants with needs.

    I believe that the pro-abortion side isn't a group without morals. In fact, one abortion legislation I've seen (many many years ago) specifies only necessary conditions for an abortion meaning that, at least, they're sensitive to pro-lifer belief and, at most, are very ethical in their considerations.

    Family planning, if done well or if allowed to be done well, will save us a lot of trouble because then abortion would be a non-issue. I think the pro-lifer and the pro-choice group can find common ground there. The issue would simply dissolve.
  • Rank Amateur
    1.6k
    sorry one more important part, if we determine there is a morally justified reason to kill the fetus due to its nature we are done.

    If however we determine there is no morally justifiable reason to kill the fetus, we now need to determine if the fetus has a claim on use of the mother's body.

    I think that is the base of the first order argument- await where the agreement and disagreement in the set up is, before proceeding.
  • Andrew4Handel
    1.3k
    No good arguments for right and morality? This isn't reason speaking but something else.tim wood

    Moral positions tend to be incompatible. For example deontology or divine command theory would say that you should not have an abortion because it is wrong and you are commanded not to whereas utilitarianism would say weigh up the harms

    If you have to obey a moral system as facts or commands then arguments don't matter. I don't see any evidence of moral facts or innate rights.
    I think utilitarian calculations would not favour creating a life dependent on what you put in your equation. If the harm of existing outweighs being terminated as a fetus that favors abortion.

    I think once you invoke moral terms like good and bad then you are on your way to a natural utilitarian calculation. However a deontologist would probably defer to God or moral absolutes and say that life was intrinsically valuable or Gods laws infallible regardless of levels of suffering involved being born.

    But as an antinatalist I think creating new life conflicts with most moral intuitions like not to harm others or infringe on consent.
  • Andrew4Handel
    1.3k
    People claim to be appalled by abortion but then they tolerate this:

  • prothero
    215
    One problem with roe vs wade is it was decided in 1973 and there have been significant advances in medical technology (contraception, sex education, medical terminations and fetal imaging and understanding of fetal development) since that time. So some of the reasoning is now outdated.

    If we could employ the best technology and methods for pregnancy prevention and for early intervention in unwanted pregnancy, the number of troublesome or late term abortions would plummet.

    Bright lines (before this OK and after this date or stage of development not OK) really do not work. Abortion is always troublesome and prevention of unwanted pregnancy should be the first priority and early intervention to terminate a poor second option. Forcing women to carry unwanted pregnancy to term is tantamount to taking control of another persons body without their consent (a form of slavery or imprisonment..

    It is not possible to have a rational or philosophical discussion without acknowledging the science and facts behind fetal development and the technologies available to address the problem.
  • S
    10.6k
    A pregnant woman wants to have an abortion. What if any are grounds for controlling as to whether or when or under what circumstances she may proceed?tim wood

    Depends what counts as controlling. I don't agree with prevention, except for medical reasons.

    However, there are certainly ethical grounds for discouragement depending on the circumstances. We could get into the latter further, but I would question whether that's really necessary. I would question whether you really could not fathom them yourself, unaided.

    To give you some context, I'm onboard with the legislation in the UK. I don't think that it's in need of any (major) reform.
  • TheMadFool
    3.4k
    Cognitive dissonance.

    It happens to us all.

    Is it relevant to the abortion argument?

    Giving birth to children who're just going to die a horrible death seems thoroughgoing evil.

    How about making a distinction here though, between those who can take care of their children and those who can't.

    The video is relevant to the latter but not the former.
  • Terrapin Station
    11.4k
    "What if you had been aborted?"Andrew4Handel

    Then I'd not have an opinion on abortion.
  • Rank Amateur
    1.6k
    ARGUMENT FOR THE FUTURE VALUE
    Mostly stolen with some adaption from Dr. Don Marquis

    P1. One definition of murder is the loss of one’s future of value

    Any discussion on abortion needs to start with some theoretical account of the wrongness of killing. I would imagine most on here would have no issue with the assertion it is morally impermissible to, without justification, kill adult human beings like us. But why is it wrong to kill people like us? While we may want to suggest it is the loss others would experience due to our absence. But if that was all it was, it would allow the killing of hermits, or those who lead otherwise independent or friendless lives. A better answer would be the primary wrong done by the killing is the harm it does to the victim. The loss of one’s life is one of the greatest losses one can suffer. However is it simply the change in a biological state that make killing wrong? That seems insufficient. The effect of the loss of my biological life is the loss to me of all those activities, projects, experiences, and enjoyments which would otherwise have constituted my future personal life. These activities, projects, experiences, and enjoyments are either valuable for their own sake or are means to something else that is valuable for its own sake. Some parts of my future are not valued by me now, but will come to be valued by me as I grow older and as my values and capacities change. When I am killed, I am deprived both of what I now value which
    would have been part of my future personal life, but also what I would come to value. Therefore, when I die, I am deprived of all of the value of my future. Inflicting this loss on me is ultimately what makes killing me wrong. This being the case, it would seem that what makes killing any adult human being prima facie seriously wrong is the loss of his other future.

    P2. From a very early point in a pregnancy there is a unique human organism.

    After the process of conception is completed there exists a new zygote cell. This cell has a unique genetic makeup. This zygote is an embryonic stem cell with the ability to generate every organ in the body. For the next 2 weeks or so, or until it is at the 16 cell stage it has the ability to split and twin. After this time, there exists a unique human organism, and this organism can only develop into a human.

    P3. All adult humans undergo the same process of development

    Currently, there is no other way to become an adult human being, than to start as a human ovam, and a human sperm, to undergo the process of conception and fertilization and the various stages of embryonic development leading to a birth of some type.

    P4. Each human being on the planet can directly trace their past as a biological creature on earth from now back to their unique human organism as defined in P2

    P5. All things that are part of a unique past time line as defined in P4, where at one time a future on the same time line.

    P6. If P5, all human organisms as defined in P2 are on a unique time line that encompasses their unique human future much like ours

    P7 One’s awareness or desire for one’s future of value does not impact the moral permissiveness of taking it as in P1.

    One is in possession of one’s biological future whether or not one is aware of it or not. One is possession of ones one’s future of value even if one ( in most cases) does not desire it. As an example there can be a seriously depressed person, who do to the nature of their illness wishes to kill themselves and have no desire for their future. I would argue that it is not morally permissible to allow them to kill themselves because their judgement that their future is without value is handicapped by their illness. The concept of “ideal desire” would apply, and our judgement on the moral permissibly of them killing themselves should be based on what their ideal desire would be if their handicap was not there, and we would assume absent their depression they, like us would desire their future. In the second instance assume there was a person is a catatonic state, but with the real prospect of regaining conciseness, we could not say, that since this person is unaware of their future at that time, they are not in possession of it, the concept of ideal judgement would apply, and we should assume that if they were conscience they would be aware of their future and we should not let the handicap of the catatonic state deny them of their right to it. I argue that the same concept of “ideal desire” applies in the case of the fetus, and their handicap of the state of their development is not philosophically different then the prior 2 examples and we should assume that absent this handicap they would be aware, and desire their future of value as we do.

    Conclusion

    If P1 and one definition of murder is the loss of ones future of value and if P6 Shortly after the process of conception is complete, and very early in human development there is a unique human organism with a unique human future, and if P7 their awareness or desire for this future is not a condition of their possession of this future, taking of this human future of value is murder, and immoral.

    Exceptions:

    This argument holds for most cases, but not for all. If it can be shown that that there is not a future of value, say thorough embryonic DNA testing that there are sever issues this argument would allow such abortions. Since the argument hinges on there being a unique human organism and there can be a sound biological argument that one does not exist until after twinning this argument would not omit the morning after pill. Finally this argument would not omit infanticide as commonly practiced today with severely premature and physically challenged children facing lives without value as we outlined in P1.

    last caveat - this argument makes no attempt at the next level argument that even if the fetus has a right not to be killed because of it life of future value, that does not necessarily give it the right to the use of the woman's body, that is a different argument that is pointless to have until this one is done. when this one is done - i am happy to do that one.
  • prothero
    215
    Frankly we never attach as much value to potential as we do to actual and existent. So we value oak trees more than we value acorns. We value children more than we value embryos. One can argue against this but in general confronted with a choice between saving an established experiential living person (a child say) or a potential person (an embryo say) virtually everyone will place higher value on the child.
  • Rank Amateur
    1.6k
    OK ?? not really sure what to say to that. Thanks for the opinion I guess.
  • Michael
    7.9k
    Had abortion been legal my mother would have aborted me. That would have been a grave injustice to the world, and so it is right that abortion wasn’t legal. Abortion ought remain illegal to prevent the world from missing out on others like me.
  • Wallows
    8.7k
    If people really cared about unborn fetuses, then they would have made the world a better place for them instead of denying their existence.
  • praxis
    1.4k
    What about evidence of the negative effects on society (increased crime) of making abortion illegal?
    — praxis
    Legal argument, ethical argument, pragmatic argument. Not altogether dismissible, or is it? Driving too fast, speeding, is a crime of sorts: from that would you argue that speed limits should be abolished?
    tim wood

    If doing so significantly lowered the crime rate in about 15 years?

    Is this a trick question? :grimace:
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