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ForumsWEPRJustify Abortion

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Ntech
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Ntech
258 posts
Shepherd

I am a staunch opponent of abortion, it being the murder of an unborn baby; so I challenge whoever supports it, to debate with me how it can possibly be right.

-A woman has the right to do whatever she wants with her own body, even when in her mother's womb.

-Abortion is discrimation in the worst form, because it murders a child who came "at an inconvenient time."

-Women regret abortions.

  • 138 Replies
Ntech
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Ntech
258 posts
Shepherd

@Doombreed


Consciousness, Higher and general thought processing really, senses, motor functions. You know, all those things and more.

An unborn baby is conscious and can think, can feel, and can move.


A brain can be more than a mass of cells in the sense of development of its higher functions.

A brain remains a mass of cells that computes concepts by electrical impulses carried by a nervous network.


Except there is a legal, literal and metaphorical definition of a person and, at least before a certain stage of development, the fetus does not fit in any of those.

Then the law is unjust.


I do possess the characteristics of a person, namely, [...] conscience, morality, intelligence, etc.

That made me laugh. ROFL+

@Moegreche


So I'd like to pressure on the idea that a fetus hasn't developed into a person. We don't need a bright, shining line--morality can admit of vagueness. But what's doing the work here? Higher brain function would exclude infants from counting as persons (severely mentally handicapped people might also fail this criterion). So it must be something else.

Bravo! Thanks, @Moegreche, you really hit it on the head.

Doombreed
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Doombreed
7,024 posts
Templar

I realise you're saying that you have these things that a fetus doesn't. That's all well and good. But I'm guessing that this ties into the personhood debate. If so, this is similar to the problem Michael Tooley ran into when he put together 'Abortion and Infancticide'. As you might've guess from the title, infants did not meet his personhood criteria and, as such, were not persons. He ended up getting ripped apart for this view--especially after he doubled down after some strong criticism.

I personally think it's a lot and really all of the things I mentioned and more. Not having SOME does not make you any less of a person (like mentally handicapped people). Not having any, though probably does.

I can't give a full definition at the top of my head but aside from all the things I mentioned, I guess it's also gotta be
Autonomy (Biological mostly, a lot of people are not autonomous).

This is a bit hard to define, as no matter how I may try to explain it, there will be people who don't fall in the category that the explanation tries to define. In addition, autonomy is no good on its own (since if that's all it took, fetuses that have become people by that stage in their development would still not be considered people.)

So anyways, it can provoke a heavy philosophical debate (and in my opinion, justifying abortion has to, because it ties into personhood) but I am not sure if it has to go down that road just yet. If everyone else concurs I am all up for it

Doombreed
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Doombreed
7,024 posts
Templar

An unborn baby is conscious and can think, can feel, and can move

Yes. AFTER a certain stage in their development. Before that, they can't. That's what I've been pointing out

A brain remains a mass of cells that computes concepts by electrical impulses carried by a nervous network.

Yeah but do you have anything to support your claim that a person can still be a person despite not having all of those things or a fully developed brain?

That made me laugh. ROFL+

Then that's on you. The best I can do is apologize for the sloppy definition because it's not entirely accurate and it will take more than that. But the point still stands. At least, if you read all of it and not just the segment you quoted

Ntech
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Ntech
258 posts
Shepherd

@Doombreed


Yes. AFTER a certain stage in their development. Before that, they can't. That's what I've been pointing out

But after "development," the same matter remains, yet you now call it a person. No new matter (new in the sense that it was not previously present) is added, but more of pre-existing matter; yet that somehow imbues it with personhood, in your opinion. Why is not it a person before?


Yeah but do you have anything to support your claim that a person can still be a person despite not having all of those things or a fully developed brain?

Possession of physical attributes or lack thereof does not constitute personhood. Some persons posess less of those attributes than animals, yet they remain persons and animals do not. Personhood remains the quality of being conscious, which expounds upon the fundamental superiority of humankind over animals.


Then that's on you. The best I can do is apologize for the sloppy definition because it's not entirely accurate and it will take more than that. But the point still stands. At least, if you read all of it and not just the segment you quoted

I laughed because you dared to attribute yourself with morality! :P

Moegreche
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Moegreche
3,822 posts
Duke

@Doombreed

I personally think it's a lot and really all of the things I mentioned and more. Not having SOME does not make you any less of a person (like mentally handicapped people). Not having any, though probably does.

Oh, this is a really cool line to take. I'd actually really like to see where this goes. Let me just make sure I'm understanding what you're saying here. What we have is what me might call a necessary disjunction. In other words, the following claim:

If S is a person, then S must have [consciousness or higher thought or senses or etc].
In other words, if you don't have *any* of these things, then you would fail to be a person. And if you are a person, then it necessarily follows that you would have at least 1 of these things.

Here's my worry. Whatever different things we decide to put in [brackets], we only have a way of identifying non-persons. This claim doesn't give us a way of identifying persons. Is that right? And if so, is it a problem?

Ntech
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Ntech
258 posts
Shepherd

As a Catholic, the answer is simple. A person is one created in the Image and Likeness of God: one who posesses a soul. A soul is created at conception. So, from the moment of conception, that unborn baby is a person. However, not many are Catholics.

HahiHa
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HahiHa
8,212 posts
Regent

I will agree that development is too gradual for there to be a clear-cut limit, medically or philosophically speaking. Current abortion laws are basically nationally accepted compromises. I see the two radical positions as such: abortion is immoral independently of the developmental stage (form conception on), and abortion is always morally acceptable. I'll skip on anything postnatal since I don't consider this abortion anymore.

On one hand, I agree that setting the limit at birth makes no sense, because age at birth is highly variable and this would basically reduce the decision to "is it inside the mother or not".

On the other hand, conception alone means nothing. Apart from theological positions which I'll admit are irrelevant to me, setting the limit at conception would mean that a single diploid cell (with a complete genetic set) already constitutes a living person. This cannot stand as such, as it would apply to any cell with a human genome in it, even all of our somatic (non-reproductive) cells. A cell with a human genome in it is easily argued to not be a person. Same goes for the next few stages where the cell simply divides; as long as there's no higher hierarchical structure, a lump of cells is no different than a single cell.

The limit must be put somewhere in between, which is where we are confronted with the problem of gradual development. I would personally argue that the limit must be put sometime after first brain activity. The first brain activity itself is not equal to consciousness, but a necessary condition to develop one. I would need to look it up, but if I'm not wrong this would mean that the entire embryonic stage and some part of the fetal stage are OK for abortion.

Ntech
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Ntech
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Shepherd

Abortion, however, remains the murder of a baby.

FishPreferred
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FishPreferred
3,173 posts
Duke

Murder is unjustly causing the death of a human being.
That's homicide. Murder is the intentional and malicious killing of a legal person.

1. Your assumption that an unborn fetus has no desire to do anything has no basis.
Much like your assumption to the contrary. We get to be baseless assumption buddies; yay!

2. I did not justify abortion for I do not consider a fetus to be part of a woman's body.
What you do or do not consider the fetus a part of is irrelevant. The fetus is IN a woman's body, it parasitizes her body's nutrients, expands the abdominal area, strains surrounding tissue and muscle, and triggers morning sickness and immunosuppression.

Abortion is discrimination against a human being.
No, it isn't.

That child is a living being, because it has all the essential functions of a life-form. You forget that you too are made up of cells, and if your cells (which you do not consider alive) were systimatically killed, you would cease to be.
1 False equivalence.
2 I have never claimed that the cells of my body aren't alive. Don't misattribute me.
3
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/53/Secondary_tumor_deposits_in_the_liver_from_a_primary_cancer_of_the_pancreas.jpg/320px-Secondary_tumor_deposits_in_the_liver_from_a_primary_cancer_of_the_pancreas.jpg
Here we have a cross section of someone's liver. The pale blotches are tumors made of human pancreatic cells. These cells are living beings, because they have all the essential functions of a life-form. Furthermore, you cannot prove that they are not fully conscious, having their own feelings and desires. Therefore, destroying them would be unjust, discriminatory, and, dare I say, MURDER.
4 Seriously, what child?

No, it does not end there. I consider every abortion to be a murder, and as such, every mother who aborts her child is liable in a court of law.
1 Not all abortions are intentional.
2 You can consider that all you like. The fact remains that it isn't true.

A fetus is a baby.
No, it isn't.

If we begin to define a person according to our own standards, then we get into dangerous territory.
Yet, you're already defining personhood according to your own standards by declaring every human fetus to be a fully conscious baby with human rights.

Besides, what do you have that a unborn baby does not?
Really? If we assume that you're trying to refer to a fetus that can be legally aborted:
Functional senses, intellect, memories, personality, responsibilities and obligations, relationships, goals and ambitions, and legal personhood are all pretty much guaranteed.

BUT both are the same object.
No, they aren't. That's an obvious false equivalence.

Babies have brains too, [...]
Yes, babies do, in fact, have brains. Blastulai don't.

[...] and what is a brain besides a mass of cells?
Quite a bit, as you well know. Another false equivalence.

An unborn baby is conscious and can think, can feel, and can move.
1 No, it isn't.
2 So? You're straying off topic again.

A brain remains a mass of cells that computes concepts by electrical impulses carried by a nervous network.
Whereas a blastula does not.

That made me laugh. ROFL+
Way to be subtle, Mr. Ad Hominem.

Bravo! Thanks, @Moegreche, you really hit it on the head.
... You do know he was asking a question, right?

But after "development," the same matter remains, yet you now call it a person. No new matter (new in the sense that it was not previously present) is added, but more of pre-existing matter; yet that somehow imbues it with personhood, in your opinion.
Well, no. It's an aggregate made almost entirely of new matter that has been built up through the original matter and differentiated into distinct tissues with specialized functions.

Possession of physical attributes or lack thereof does not constitute personhood. Some persons posess less of those attributes than animals, yet they remain persons and animals do not. Personhood remains the quality of being conscious, which expounds upon the fundamental superiority of humankind over animals.
Uh, no.
1 Humans are animals.
2 Consciousness is not intrinsic to all humans.
3 Consciousness is in no way unique to humans. At all.
4 Humankind has no superiority over any other animal.

As a Catholic, the answer is simple. A person is one created in the Image and Likeness of God: one who posesses a soul. A soul is created at conception.
1 Why? What reason is there for a soul to be created at that particular time?
2 Unlike with fetal development, the matter present right after conception is the same matter that was introduced just before conception. No new material is added by this process. If we hold to your earlier reasoning, we may as well declare the egg and sperm cells human beings.

Abortion, however, remains the murder of a baby.
1 No, because it never was.
2 Proof by assertion.

@Moegreche
Higher brain function would exclude infants from counting as persons (severely mentally handicapped people might also fail this criterion). So it must be something else.
This looks like a moralistic fallacy to me. What you are saying appears to be that these criteria can't be what defines personhood because these individuals shouldn't be excluded from personhood.

@HahiHa
On one hand, I agree that setting the limit at birth makes no sense, because age at birth is highly variable and this would basically reduce the decision to "is it inside the mother or not".
Whereas I disagree, as full sensory development is initiated immediately at birth. At any time before this, there is nothing to learn, perceive, or be cognizant of.
HahiHa
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HahiHa
8,212 posts
Regent

@FishPreferred

Whereas I disagree, as full sensory development is initiated immediately at birth. At any time before this, there is nothing to learn, perceive, or be cognizant of.

You could take that as a limit, yes. This could even be used to separate prenatal fetuses from infants and people with disabilities who definitely experience and learn from their surrounding to some degree.

But from the point of view of legislation, I don't think this would be tenable. Why wait until literally the day before birth to abort? In utero exams to determine malformations and such are possible way before birth, so that cannot be used as a reason. Furthermore, if you decided to go through the entire nine months of pregnancy, it can be argued that you had plenty of time to decide whether you wanted the child or not.
edit: I said that last part because one reason to allow abortion is to protect women form being forced to give birth against their will. That part also becomes moot so close to birth.
Doombreed
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Doombreed
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Templar

But after "development," the same matter remains, yet you now call it a person. No new matter (new in the sense that it was not previously present) is added, but more of pre-existing matter; yet that somehow imbues it with personhood, in your opinion. Why is not it a person before?

Wrong. During development, new matter IS added, or rather, produced, biologically. (The finer details are up to someone more experienced in that field than I am). The biggest indicator is that as we develop, we grow in size as well. But even biologically, we start as pretty much one small organism (cell level of small) at conception, and more cells gradually develop. Out of nothing? no. Were they there to begin with? also no.

Why was it not a person before? Because, in my opinion always, it had no characteristics that could make it a person. If it had at least a few, it would be a person. But it doesn't have any. No personality, no higher thought processing, no cognition, no conscience, I am not even sure if it has emotions. I think if it does, they are really rudimentary (and before a certain point, I am pretty sure it doesn't have those either)

If S is a person, then S must have [consciousness or higher thought or senses or etc].
In other words, if you don't have *any* of these things, then you would fail to be a person. And if you are a person, then it necessarily follows that you would have at least 1 of these things.

Here's my worry. Whatever different things we decide to put in [brackets], we only have a way of identifying non-persons. This claim doesn't give us a way of identifying persons. Is that right? And if so, is it a problem?

Yes that's kinda the logic there. I'd say they are also not of the same relative importance however. If we put intelligence in the brackets, then you don't need just intelligence to be considered a person. Granted it's a pretty relative term, but broadly speaking, a lot of animals exhibit very intelligent behavior in certain situations and while humans are animals, animals aren't people. So in a sense, it depends a lot on which of those things you have from the list in the brackets. 1 is a necessity, but in most cases it's gotta be a few. How many depends on their relative importance.

Hmm, I'd say if we could do this right, we could structure the list so that it excludes all non-people groups that way identifying non people wouldn't be a problem because if someone is the opposite of a non person, then it necessarily follows he/she is a person We would only have the 2 groups, non-people and people.

Possession of physical attributes or lack thereof does not constitute personhood. Some persons posess less of those attributes than animals, yet they remain persons and animals do not. Personhood remains the quality of being conscious, which expounds upon the fundamental superiority of humankind over animals.

Hate to burst your bubble but again, babies are not conscious before a certain stage of development. Meaning that they do not possess that quality. As such, if we go by your definition of personhood, they simply aren't people.

Also according to your description, comatose people are not people.

I laughed because you dared to attribute yourself with morality! :P

Everyone has morality, even if it's not up to the same general moral standards. Everyone has a moral code. Even completely cruel, and immoral people, have a certain sense of right and wrong. It's just that what they think is right and what is wrong, is not really in line with what is generally agreed to be ethics. So I did not mean I am a moral person, necessarily. But that simply, even I can distinguish, in my own way, between right and wrong, even if I define those 2.

FishPreferred
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FishPreferred
3,173 posts
Duke

Wait, wait. @Ntech could you explain what exactly you mean by "consciousness"? We may be looking at wildly different definitions here.

Ntech
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Ntech
258 posts
Shepherd

@Fishpreferred


Much like your assumption to the contrary. We get to be baseless assumption buddies; yay!

An object's end is its good, as demonstrated by Aristotle. Since a fetus' object is to be born, its actions then are for that end. As such, its will is to be born since that is its good, the object for which it aims.


No, it isn't.

That depends on what your version of a human being is.


Here we have a cross section of someone's liver.

I am disgusted by that picture. It is not necessary to demonstrate your point by that graphic rendition. Nonetheless, what makes up a human is that which functions for its good, and thus a tumor cannot be considered part of a human nor can it be called an independent life-form for its object is not life.


Yet, you're already defining personhood according to your own standards by declaring every human fetus to be a fully conscious baby with human rights.

No, I am pointing out that a fetus is as much a viable life-form as you or I, and since it is comprised of DNA like us, it is therefore part of our genus and deserves protection as such.


Well, no. It's an aggregate made almost entirely of new matter that has been built up through the original matter and differentiated into distinct tissues with specialized functions.

However the old matter remains and is now deemed a person.


Uh, no.
1 Humans are animals.
2 Consciousness is not intrinsic to all humans.
3 Consciousness is in no way unique to humans. At all.
4 Humankind has no superiority over any other animal.

1. Humans are not animals because they are reasoning beings whereas animals act upon instinct alone.

2. Consciousness is intrinsic to every human.

3. Consciousness is unique to humans for animals merely perceive reality and instinctively act upon that.

4. Humankind has superiority over each and every animal for humans were made in the image and likeness of God, furthermore, evolution is impossible (demonstrable and sourceable by me).


1 Why? What reason is there for a soul to be created at that particular time?
2 Unlike with fetal development, the matter present right after conception is the same matter that was introduced just before conception. No new material is added by this process. If we hold to your earlier reasoning, we may as well declare the egg and sperm cells human beings.

1. Because the Church has taught it, using the magesterium granted it by Christ, Who Is God.

2. The Church's teaching on religion is infallilble, and as such its judgement is not open to debate.

In addition, we are arguing on the secular view of abortion, not how Catholics perceive it.


What you are saying appears to be that these criteria can't be what defines personhood because these individuals shouldn't be excluded from personhood.

No, @Moegreche is pointing out that by your standards of defining a person, many persons can be considered non-persons.


Whereas I disagree, as full sensory development is initiated immediately at birth.

So the fetus magically fully matures at the moment of birth?


Hate to burst your bubble but again, babies are not conscious before a certain stage of development.

No evidence has been found to support this, or otherwise; in the absence of which, it is reasonable to conclude that qui tacet consentire videtur, or that babies' wills are to be born, for that is their object.

Boofuss
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Boofuss
265 posts
Peasant


I don't see it mentioned in here so I'm going to put these out.

What about those pregnancies which, if carried to term, could result in the death of the mother and/or baby due to medical complication?

Or in the cases of multiple pregnancies being carried to term, there's a danger of one or more of them being lost.

Or in the cases of ectopic pregnancy which can also and does result in death.

Or horribly, what about those victims of rape who then become pregnant? Do they have no choice but to have to live through that ordeal for nine months?

Ntech
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Ntech
258 posts
Shepherd

@Boofuss


I don't see it mentioned in here so I'm going to put these out.

What about those pregnancies which, if carried to term, could result in the death of the mother and/or baby due to medical complication?

Or in the cases of multiple pregnancies being carried to term, there's a danger of one or more of them being lost.

Or in the cases of ectopic pregnancy which can also and does result in death.

Or horribly, what about those victims of rape who then become pregnant? Do they have no choice but to have to live through that ordeal for nine months?

If something is wrong (as I am trying to prove abortion is wrong) then no circumstances may make it right.

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