New Abortion Laws

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AuthorTopic: New Abortion Laws
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quote:
Originally written by Ash Lael:

Andrew Miller - I think your point of view is quite a logical one. If you don't believe in a higher power, then of course there is no such thing as right and wrong outside of what people decide. In fact, it would probably be more accurate to say there's no such thing as right and wrong at all, only legal and illegal.

Taking this through to it's logical conclusion, one assumes you'd see nothing wrong with slavery, the White Australia policy, and other such 'legal evils' that have existed through history?

My society has decided to see something wrong with slavery, though if you want to get down to brass tacks, slavery by and large turned out not to be an economically sustainable practice, what with the rapid advances made in technology toward the end of the 19th century (and certainly now), which I think is a better, if less uplifting, explanation for its disappearance.

As for racism/White Australia, I think this stems more from our tribalistic, competitive and xenophobic instincts than our laws. Progress in human rights as part of the social contract has seen this diminish as well, though interest groups may try to have their biases and beliefs codified from time to time (as the Christian Right has been doing in the US). This general trend of progressiveness seems like a "good" and "right" thing to me because a.) society is more harmonious and productive that way, and b.) I know I wouldn't want to be treated so poorly, so it only seems fair.

[ Thursday, April 07, 2005 06:31: Message edited by: andrew miller ]
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quote:
Originally written by Ash Lael:

Andrew Miller - I think your point of view is quite a logical one. If you don't believe in a higher power, then of course there is no such thing as right and wrong outside of what people decide. In fact, it would probably be more accurate to say there's no such thing as right and wrong at all, only legal and illegal.

Taking this through to it's logical conclusion, one assumes you'd see nothing wrong with slavery, the White Australia policy, and other such 'legal evils' that have existed through history?

It is possible to build a system of ethics outside of any sort of theology (most of the Far East did it for thousands of years), but that sort of thing is probably beyond the scope of this discussion.

And on a related point, I'm working from the same principle of morality as you are ("killing people is wrong") but a different definition of human personhood and life, which I explained above. Basically, my point was that the normal signs of human life (heartbeat, brain activity, movement) don't start until well into the second trimester, and without that, I just can't see the (two-inch or less) fetus as being a full-fledged human.

DNA aside (viruses have DNA, but a lot of medical experts don't consider them alive), separate entity aside (a protist is a separate entity, but you're willing to cure malaria), that's the bottom line for me: a two-month-old fetus simply is not humanly alive.

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quote:
To ef,
The placenta is an organ required by the embryo to keep it alive during the pregnancy, just as the liver is an organ required to keep it alive all through it's life. As such, the placenta can be said to be part of the embryo.
I'll get back to you on development of the brain when I have time.
Sorry, but by definition, the placenta is not part of the embryo. The embryo is what the blastocyst develops into, while the placenta is partly formed from trophoblastic, partly from maternal tissue.

I'm not making this up to irritate you, Creator. I mean, the stages of an embryo's and later on a fetus' development are just that: stages of development. Data, if you so want, as far as we currently are aware of them, and we are aware of quite a few. They have nothing to do with pro- or anti-abortion lobbies, and the respective lobbies should not try to interprete them in ways that suit their ends.

What I have not yet mentioned when I talked about the brain is the difference between nociception and experience of pain. All my references are in german, and though there are books, I'm still looking for english articles on the subject.

[ Thursday, April 07, 2005 06:16: Message edited by: ef ]

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quote:
Originally written by Mind:


quote:
Originally written by The Stew Boy:

If it doesn't, you are not really denying it life.
Please explain yourself.

Look, if the child exists, you are stopping it from entering the world. But if it doesn't exist, you can't really deny it life. I think a 'baby' only exists after it is born, so if it isn't born, it doesn't exist (as a baby). The thing that a baby is before it is born, you can't give it life, because if you do it becomes a baby. Therefore, as it is not a baby, you are not denying it life since it does not have human feelings or behaviour.
NB I know this was an old post but I haven't been on the boards for a while.
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In your definition of the placenta you said (paraphrasing): 'The placenta is an organ formed partly from embryonic tissue'
The embryo may be defined separately, but I would say that is just for ease of discussion. Perhaps we should say the placenta is part of the child instead?
Regardless, this discussion is rather irrelevant, unless you are advocating that abortion be illegal after day five.

TM, you really need to express youself more coherently. I could not understand your analogy. Also, an embryo has unique DNA, is an individual organism, and is human. Please do not dismiss the last as unimportant.

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Embryos are humans insomuch as sperm is human- just as sperm has its own set of human genetic material which is different from the father's and an egg is different from the mother's, so too is it something which is alive in the same ways than an embryo is and also cannot survive outside of its protective environment, akin to a child and the womb.

Incidentally, I aborted few thousand sperm cells today.

Embryos cannot, for the majority of their lifetime, think coherently above the level of an insect. It isn't "experiencing" anything in the zygote/blastocyst/etc stage- it's too busy, um, dividing its 10-20 ish cells. It's no better than a pet insect that a woman keeps in a particularly inconvenient place- it's her property just as he/she has a pet, except it's even less valuable.

Genetic material is a rather poor basis for determining life. I'm just as aware of the Nazi rule as anyone else, but that doesn't change the fact that it's incredibly applicable here. You are declaring whose life is saveable via genetic means. (And there's the issue of people with Down's Syndrome, whose genes aren't human...)

Oh yeah- legalize abortion, and watch teen pregnancies elevate overpopulation to the level of the third world. Whoops.

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I think you must have misunderstood my point. Those thing are not sufficient to prove that an embryo is a human being by themselves, but together they are. How would you define what is a human being, other than an individual human organism?

Edit: And your overpopulation argument is ridiculus. As someone who has spent much of his life providing food for you townies, I can tell you that there is an oversupply of food. I would have though that the number of obese people would have given you a clue.

[ Thursday, April 07, 2005 18:09: Message edited by: The Creator ]

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1) Obesity does not guarantee nutrition. I mean, defining "food" in the case of Mickey-Ds becomes a valid question...
2) Distribution. Food has difficulty reaching the poor anyway. There's enough food to go around? No duh- but logistics only becomes infinitely worse with more numbers tossed in suddenly like that.

I don't care about "human", it's a relative term. But if you want to get into pedantics...

As I stated previously, people with Down's Syndrome are not genetically human.

Sheep are also technically organisms unto themselves. So is corn. (So are the ecoli in your cornhole.) I'm not sure how this point has a purpose other than mustering a list of 3 items.

Human is relative. I cannot see something with less ingelligence and cognative ability than an insect or other such creature as being human, or even alive. Pull feeding tubes, abort unwanted children, so what- they are not human beings, they are vegetables. If said individuals are not wanted, then they should not be allowed to become suffering for themselves and those who do not want them. And heck, you conserve more resources by doing so, but that's not a very moralistic advantage. The difference is that you kill a human being that could have been with abortion, but morally, it's the same as never having had sex.

Why not make a crusade to save all sperm cells and ova EVER MADE?

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I may seem nitpicky, I'm aware of that. But seeing how clearly defined terms are being randomly used to mean whatever the speaker (or author) wants them to mean, I'd rather be nitpicky now than add to the general confusion.

Words are accompanied by associations that are linked to them. When you use a term, you bring up the associations that come with it. Calling an embryo a 'baby' for instance, does automatically bring up images of consciousness that are inappropriate when applied to an embryo.

No, it is not just for ease of discussion that an embryo is defined separately, rather it is for ease of discussion to refer to the placenta as 'embryonic tissue'.

But, just as Alec, I'd be far more interested to hear why you think that everybody should share your point of view, so what precisely is your point of view? How do you define a 'human being', how do you define a 'person', 'being alive', etc. Once I understand how you use those terms, I'd gather a better understanding of where you come from.

[ Thursday, April 07, 2005 18:38: Message edited by: ef ]

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I've been way, couldn't follow the debate here. Anyway, here's a comment:

quote:
Originally written by Kelandon:

DNA aside (viruses have DNA, but a lot of medical experts don't consider them alive), separate entity aside (a protist is a separate entity, but you're willing to cure malaria), that's the bottom line for me: a two-month-old fetus simply is not humanly alive.
Viruses have DNA (or RNA) but don't have humanDNA. A protist is a separate entity, but not a human separate entity.

Your logic is flawed.

There's no point when a certain existence becomes a human existence. When he exists (zygote), he's a human existence. You don't become from a zygote, you were a zygote. You didn't come from a fetus, you were a fetus. You didn't come from adolescence, you were (and probably still are) an adolescent.

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Yes, it's biologically a human, but it's not humanly alive. These are two very different things.

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Kel - Well, it's technically alive, right? I mean, it's growing and stuff.

So your definition of humanly alive and actually alive would be a bit different to each other, right? So, you wouldn't consider a person alive when their brain stopped, even if their blood kept pumping, I assume. Or, if you would, if their heart stopped as well and a machine did the blood pumping and breathing and suchlike for them. Even though that person would be technically alive, he wouldn't be humanly alive, right?

Just trying to make sure I properly understand your POV before I argue against it.

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quote:
Originally written by Ash Lael:

So your definition of humanly alive and actually alive would be a bit different to each other, right? So, you wouldn't consider a person alive when their brain stopped, even if their blood kept pumping, I assume. Or, if you would, if their heart stopped as well and a machine did the blood pumping and breathing and suchlike for them. Even though that person would be technically alive, he wouldn't be humanly alive, right?
I believe there was a philosopher once who distinguished between a life in the biological sense and a life in the biographical sense.

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to be alive doesn't only mean not to be dead, i guess. for example, one of our cells is not dead, yet, if we separate it from the body it dies.

to be alive should mean to be autonomus.
and as far as i know, human embrions(spelling?) only become autonomus after 25 weeks. so, in my concept they are not alive.
however they can already fell pain, so abortion should only be done before the embrion acquires the ability to fell pain

but the biggest danger in abortion is that it is used as a prevention method, which is unacceptable
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Thuryl - Care to elaborate?

IMHO - The trouble there comes with your definition of autonomy. The fetus needs to be in a particular environment with particular things provided to survive, but then, we all do. What seperates the fetus from a guy with a pacemaker, in that regard? Or for that matter, a guy who needs to live in an oxygen-rich environment (i.e. everyone)?

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quote:
Originally written by Ash Lael:

Thuryl - Care to elaborate?
Well, I thought it spoke for itself, but okay. If your blood is circulating and your organs are functioning but nothing noteworthy is happening to you, you may be alive, but you don't have a life.

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Ash: more or less. I don't consider that the idea of "alive" for a human is an absolute state, but rather I think that it has a number of characteristics, like brain activity, breathing, heartbeat, and that sort of thing.

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Okay, Kel. So let's say that, as a hypothetical, some guy went into a vegitative state. As Thuryl says, alive but bereft of a life. However, the doctors could tell he would come out of it in stages, and would eventually return to perfect health with close to 100% certainty. Would you see anything wrong with pulling the plug on him in that situation?

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Depends. If the process by which that person were to come out of that state were to require the constant time and effort of at least one person and probably several people over the course of many, many months, people who weren't prepared to give that time and effort because they have other commitments (like, say, school) and not enough money to handle it, then we'd have to give serious consideration to pulling the plug.

If the person just had to sit in the hospital from start to finish (a situation rather different from pregnancy, you have to admit), then no, pulling the plug would probably be a bad idea.

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If he's not 'alive', would it matter whether there's a good reason to pull the plug or not? Couldn't it be done on a whim with no moral repurcussions?

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This would involve not only the being itself, but the other beings involved as well. There is no need to kill a partially living thing that requires minimal care and harms no other life. Say this person needed round the clock care for nine months. This may cause a lifetime of suffering to those taking on the responsibility. The loss of education, career, or other vital aspects of ones life may or may not be worth the being that is only somewhat living.

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I have trouble with the concept of 'somewhat living', personally. I can understand 'living, but not conscious'. I can understand 'living, but not worth protecting'. 'Somewhat living' throws me.

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Somewhat living would be a vegetative state. The being has pulse, it processes food and fluids, but it has no thoughts, feelings or concept of existing. It has no life in of itself. Granted that is a crude term for such a condition, but it is more or less accurate.

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There seem to be a line of morality between "vegetative" and "conscious" being. Most of you have no problems with eating animals and consider cattle as "not conscious" life. Nobody cares to kill a cabbage or an onion, nevertheless they have a DNA, metabolism and live.
A human embryo has at best the consciousness of a salad. Why should it be worthier then?

That whole doings with holiness of human life is an obsolet thought, coming from the ice-age. When it was important for the human species to spread and survive.
Now we have a bloody over-population - 130 more humans per minute. The idea of giving birth under all circumstances is only stupid. Every aborted fetus is a good fetus.
Also: We should import more babies from the 3. world, there are enough of them.

t Ash Lael: :) I had an abortion once and never felt any sorry for it.

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quote:
Originally written by Overwhelming:

I've been way, couldn't follow the debate here. Anyway, here's a comment:

quote:
Originally written by Kelandon:

DNA aside (viruses have DNA, but a lot of medical experts don't consider them alive), separate entity aside (a protist is a separate entity, but you're willing to cure malaria), that's the bottom line for me: a two-month-old fetus simply is not humanly alive.
Viruses have DNA (or RNA) but don't have humanDNA. A protist is a separate entity, but not a human separate entity.

Your logic is flawed.

There's no point when a certain existence becomes a human existence. When he exists (zygote), he's a human existence. You don't become from a zygote, you were a zygote. You didn't come from a fetus, you were a fetus. You didn't come from adolescence, you were (and probably still are) an adolescent.

Viruses don't have DNA; They are mere proteïnes, shaped in such way that they can manipulate the genes.

Please forgive me if I am incorrect.
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