Abortion and 19th Century Science

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Mountaineer
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Abortion and 19th Century Science

Post by Mountaineer » Fri Jan 10, 2014 6:22 pm

What is your perspective and upon what is that perspective based?  Please try to stay polite and shed more light than heat on this topic as it could be a hot one.  It seems to me this could be an interesting topic to discuss as we have "killed" more than 53,000,000 humans since Roe vs. Wade and society as a whole does not blink an eye.  Yet, that same society gets really upset when a homicide terrorist takes out 2 or 3 humans or an airplane crashes and kills a hundred or two. 

... Mountaineer

From:  http://www.patheos.com/blogs/geneveith/ ... more-17614

The majority opinion of Roe vs. Wade balances the “right to privacy”? of the mother against the “potential human life”? of the unborn child. Basically, a small group of men who were born in the 19th century, applied 19th century knowledge about biology, genetics and obstetrics to determine that a human fetus was not really human and therefore not entitled to Constitutional protection. By considering this as purely a women’s rights issue, we ended up with Roe vs. Wade. . . .

This is one of those cases in which science (meaning secular scientific advancement) actually supports the socially conservative view. Virtually everything we have learned about biology, genetics and obstetrics in the last 40 years supports the view that the human foetus, and even the human embryo, is a unique human life and not an amorphous part of “a woman’s body”?. That being the case, a society that requires parents, under penalty of law, to nurture and protect their children ought to severely restrict abortion. If a parent can go to jail for actively hurting, or even neglecting the welfare, of a helpless infant, then there is no logical reason why that same parent shouldn’t be similarly punished for hurting or neglecting the welfare of an unborn child.
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Re: Abortion and 19th Century Science

Post by dualstow » Fri Jan 10, 2014 9:06 pm

on this topic as it could be a hot one.
Y'think?  ;)

If this were a poll, I would state that I'm strongly in favor of the abortion choice. However, I don't think I have the energy to debate about it. Plus, I think I already did the last time around.

I'll be reading with interest.
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Re: Abortion and 19th Century Science

Post by Desert » Fri Jan 10, 2014 9:48 pm

If we get down to basics on this issue, it seems that abortion always ends the life of some sort of living creature.  If that creature is human, then abortion is murder (or some sort of self defense).  The life form starts as a fertilized egg, eventually becoming a human.  So at what point does an egg become a human under protection of the law?  I think most would agree that at t-minus-one-day (where t = time of birth), the life form is human, and thus killing it would be murder.  But some babies are born prematurely, by many weeks.  Here's one example of a baby surviving after a birth at 21 weeks:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/artic ... rents.html

So it appears that even a fetus at 5 months is capable of surviving outside the womb and being recognized as a human life.  Then, perhaps, we could have killed this life form at 4.5 months, and that would have been morally defensible?  Maybe not.  But surely at 4 months.  16-17 weeks.  But that thing still looks mighty human:
http://www.babycenter.com/fetal-develop ... s-16-weeks

And is viability outside the womb a reasonable line in the sand?  Isn't it somehow even more cruel, less moral, to take the life of an innocent that can't even breathe on its own? 

I don't know, maybe 12 weeks would be better ... or eight weeks.  Surely there is some break point we can define where it's ok to take its life.  I just don't know where it is.  Nobody is going to fight to save a stray sperm or an unfertilized egg (ok, almost nobody).  And a fertilized egg surely isn't human, so what's wrong with a "day-after" pill. 

It's all very complicated.  So let's be civilized.  Let's be pro choice.  Let the mother decide.  After all, she's an expert on human development, and she has, of course, studied the science and morality of the choice for many years.  It's up to the mother.  If the mother wants to get rid of that 12 week old life form (whatever it is), that's her right. 
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Re: Abortion and 19th Century Science

Post by Ad Orientem » Fri Jan 10, 2014 10:02 pm

The abortion debate largely comes down to one question. When does human life begin? How you answer that generally frames the entire subject. For what it's worth, in my view human life begins at conception and therefor abortion is morally inadmissible excepting only the most extreme cases of medical necessity. That said I can respect those who argue that life doesn't exist until the fetus has some capacity to feel pain or becomes viable. But that would still pretty much limit abortion on demand to the first trimester of pregnancy.

What I can't fathom is the argument that a human isn't a human until it's born. Such strikes me as a position that is both logically and morally untenable.
Last edited by Ad Orientem on Fri Jan 10, 2014 10:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Abortion and 19th Century Science

Post by MarySB » Fri Jan 10, 2014 10:56 pm

Mountaineer, I agree with you 100%. And, Roe vs. Wade was/is a tragedy.
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Re: Abortion and 19th Century Science

Post by Pointedstick » Fri Jan 10, 2014 11:53 pm

The abortion debate strikes me as an unsolvable one for two reasons, the first being that it pits two moral certainties against one another:

If you are absolutely certain of the moral position that life begins at conception, then abortion is nothing more than socially-acceptable murder of a helpless, innocent human.

If, on the other hand, you are absolutely certain that women have the right to their own bodies during pregnancy, than restricting women's choices in that field--even if abortion is murder, crucially--is essentially enslavement of one half of the human race.

Even if you agree that abortion is murder, maybe you can think that effectively enslaving women is the worse evil. In this case, you have to say that one right is more important than another. This gets us into the second major problem: we have to wade into the messy realm of rights being political creations that can be defined, re-defined, and weighed against one another by the government.

What does the "right to life" actually mean? Does it mean the right not to get murdered? Then abortion violates it. But is a component of it the ability to live your own life free from other people telling you what you can and can't do with your own body? Then restricting abortion violates it. We have a classic clash where two asserted rights directly oppose one another, and each side feels strongly enough that there's no real societal consensus.

And note that both versions of "right to life" represent restraints on the actions of other people! That's why I think the concept of rights actually leads to incredible polarization in non-homogenous communities: every right actually represents a negative claim on the behavior of other people, which they will naturally resent if they feel differently from you.
Last edited by Pointedstick on Sat Jan 11, 2014 12:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Abortion and 19th Century Science

Post by Xan » Sat Jan 11, 2014 12:05 am

PS, I'm not seeing the "enslaving half the human race" part.  The only situation where that could remotely apply would be conception as a result of rape.  Other than that, the mother chose to become pregnant.  (Whether she actually meant to or not, she certainly engaged in activity the purpose of which is procreation, and therefore took the risk.)

Even in the rape scenario, one could look at any "enslavement" as a wrong the rapist is causing, rather than blaming the principle (and I think it's a pretty good one!) that you shouldn't kill a baby.
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Re: Abortion and 19th Century Science

Post by Ad Orientem » Sat Jan 11, 2014 12:25 am

On  a side note, from a purely constitutional POV Roe was probably the worst Supreme Court decision since Dredd Scott. It was pure 100% judicial fiat. And the effects are with us in more ways than just the slaughtered innocents. That was really when conservatives grasped that the left was using the courts to ram through an agenda that they could not advance by winning elections. This provoked the conservative reaction with the end result being that to a degree never seen before, the Federal Judiciary is now a political battlefield.

Reasonable people can debate abortion rights. I don't think reasonable people can argue the Constitution says anything on the subject at all. The Feds and the US courts should have stayed the hell out of it.
Last edited by Ad Orientem on Sat Jan 11, 2014 12:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Abortion and 19th Century Science

Post by Pointedstick » Sat Jan 11, 2014 12:38 am

Ad Orientem wrote: On  a side note, from a purely constitutional POV Roe was probably the worst Supreme Court decision since Dredd Scott. It was pure 100% judicial fiat. And the effects are with us in more ways than just the slaughtered innocents. That was really when conservatives grasped that the left was using the courts to ram through an agenda that they could not advance by winning elections. This provoked the conservative reaction with the end result being that to a degree never seen before, the Federal Judiciary is now a political battlefield.

Reasonable people can debate abortion rights. I don't think reasonable people can argue the Constitution says anything on the subject at all. The Feds and the US courts should have stayed the hell out of it.
Agreed 100%.
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Re: Abortion and 19th Century Science

Post by Mountaineer » Sat Jan 11, 2014 8:32 am

Pointedstick wrote:
And note that both versions of "right to life" represent restraints on the actions of other people! That's why I think the concept of rights actually leads to incredible polarization in non-homogenous communities: every right actually represents a negative claim on the behavior of other people, which they will naturally resent if they feel differently from you.
Very interesting view.  Perhaps this is why most ethnic groups or tribes over the past thousands of years have generally resisted mixing with other groups/tribes.  Perhaps God was very smart when he told the Israelites not to mix with the surrounding cultures, or the local shaman forbid "outside" marriages.  In a modern day setting, perhaps that is why mixed (e.g.racially, religiously, culturally) marriages seem to have more problems than when the two parties are of similar backgrounds; once the hormones have tamed down from that initial urge to merge, the reality of the differing values kicks in.  Like a heated version of toothpaste tube squeezing - end or middle?  :)

... Mountaineer
"And this is the very aim of the devil, to cause a man to think his knowledge and wisdom the greater, the further he departs from the Word." - Martin Luther
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Re: Abortion and 19th Century Science

Post by Mountaineer » Sat Jan 11, 2014 8:41 am

Ad Orientem wrote: The abortion debate largely comes down to one question. When does human life begin? How you answer that generally frames the entire subject. For what it's worth, in my view human life begins at conception and therefor abortion is morally inadmissible excepting only the most extreme cases of medical necessity. That said I can respect those who argue that life doesn't exist until the fetus has some capacity to feel pain or becomes viable. But that would still pretty much limit abortion on demand to the first trimester of pregnancy.

What I can't fathom is the argument that a human isn't a human until it's born. Such strikes me as a position that is both logically and morally untenable.
I think another fundamental question, in addition to when human life begins, is: Who is ultimately the creator of life and what are his rules on the subject?  If one believes the answer is God and the Holy Scriptures are inerrant and God breathed, then you get one answer.  If one believes the answer is man, then pretty much anything goes to satisfy our personal desires.

... Mountaineer
"And this is the very aim of the devil, to cause a man to think his knowledge and wisdom the greater, the further he departs from the Word." - Martin Luther
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Re: Abortion and 19th Century Science

Post by Mountaineer » Sat Jan 11, 2014 8:55 am

Ad Orientem wrote: On  a side note, from a purely constitutional POV Roe was probably the worst Supreme Court decision since Dredd Scott. It was pure 100% judicial fiat. And the effects are with us in more ways than just the slaughtered innocents. That was really when conservatives grasped that the left was using the courts to ram through an agenda that they could not advance by winning elections. This provoked the conservative reaction with the end result being that to a degree never seen before, the Federal Judiciary is now a political battlefield.

Reasonable people can debate abortion rights. I don't think reasonable people can argue the Constitution says anything on the subject at all. The Feds and the US courts should have stayed the hell out of it.
Yes indeed.  What do you think we should do from this point forward? 

Once the camel has his nose under the tent, it is very difficult to get him out.  That is basically why I'm so NOT in favor of expanded government; organisms rarely, if ever, decide to make themselves smaller without an external influence.  :)

... Mountaineer
"And this is the very aim of the devil, to cause a man to think his knowledge and wisdom the greater, the further he departs from the Word." - Martin Luther
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