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  1. #1
    The Memes Justify the End EcK's Avatar
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    Default Is abortion morally justified and if so until what time?

    First off, this is not about the politics of abortion. I do not equate the law with ethics, so this is not about the left or right parties of any country.

    As of now, my belief is that abortion of humans is morally justified until about 7 weeks. After this point, my understanding is that something recognisable as a human brain emerges in the fetus.
    + After this point, I believe that abortion of a human being would be immoral given that the same argument could be used to 'abort' mentally challenged people pre and post birth.

    There are some exceptions to that abortion 'deadline':
    + in case it's a choice between the life of the mother and the life of the child to be / fetus I would prioritize the life of the mother after that 7 weeks mark and up to just before birth.
    + people with trisomy or other chromosomal issues could be categorized as non-human from some perspectives and warrant an extension of that abortion deadline up to the point where trisomy can be detected, at which point I would leave it up to the parents to decide. I'm not definite on this though and would rather promote early testing technology before the 7th week mark.

    about the classic 'viability' argument
    + I don't find it convincing given that the same argument could be used to kill people on life support in hospitals even if they could eventually recover and get off life support

    about the classic 'it's her body' argument
    + I don't find it convincing given the fetus has its own distinct genetic code. Many things are in our bodies but are not 'us' (food, bacteria etc.).
    + Furthermore if we accept the premise that the fetus is human (which is biologically correct) then giving the mother the right to dispose of the fetus as she wishes is in some ways akin to slavery (the ownership and disposal of another human being) and, if the right is exercised, to murder (the killing of another human being)

    About the "the baby is not self-aware" argument
    + Easily falsifiable, the same argument could be used to kill people in their sleep or if they are in a coma. Both fetuses and sleeping people have the 'potential' to be self-aware. One after a few hours, the other after a few weeks or months. There is also research suggesting newborns (minutes after birth) show signs of self awareness.
    + if it's about 'degrees of self-awareness' then the same argument could be used to kill mentally challenged people.

    About the "it's unable to support itself" (to survive outside of the womb) argument
    + the same argument could be used to kill people on welfare, sick people, the elderly.



    Potential counter argument
    + if we accept the premise that the fetus is human, is it human from the point of inception? In which case is abortion at any time (even before 7 weeks) morally equivalent to slavery & murder or is there a meaningful differenciation to be made between a purely biological and a philosophical definition of what makes a being human that doesn't conflict with, at minimum, the above arguments.


    What is your opinion and what is it based on?
    Expression of the post modern paradox : "For the love of god, religions are so full of shit"

    Theory is always superseded by Fact...
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    “I’d hate to die twice. It’s so boring.”
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    "Great is the human who has not lost his childlike heart."
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Jaguar's Avatar
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    Many women don't even know they are pregnant yet at 7 weeks.
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  3. #3
    darkened dreams Ravenetta's Avatar
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    Difficult topic that has to be continually revisited based on increased knowledge and science.

    Starting with the obvious, I would say that birth control that prevents pregnancy or perhaps destroys an entity with a few cells would be morally neutral (not sure 'good' exactly applies, but perhaps in an applied manner it is 'good'), and killing a newborn baby is morally wrong. Everything that happens in-between is a gradation of varying degrees of right/wrong. Everything that happens in life, every choice we are forced into does not neatly fall into morally 'good' or 'bad'. Many things in life are about varying degrees of right and wrong. For some reason people resist this thinking probably because processing guilt is so difficult. We are all required to make choices that are morally shaded at times.

    The main problem with the arguments for and against abortion is the constant need to force it into a morally binary framework, when the reality is about gradations.
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    ☆■■■■■■■ Sung Jin-Woo's Avatar
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    I think its morally wrong to kill any life, but sometimes its a necessary evil. I don't get why people can't acknowledge it is bad, and still do it if they believe they must. It is pawning off responsibility for your actions. I am not against abortions, but I think the message of the sanctity of life is ESSENTIAL to prevent moral degradation.

  5. #5
    The Memes Justify the End EcK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaguar View Post
    Many women don't even know they are pregnant yet at 7 weeks.
    I understand but there's birth control methods + missing your periods at week 4 is a big clue. Birth control is reliable at week 4-5 and the test only costs a few dollars. So I don't think there's a good excuse not to do it if one had unprotected sex and don't want a child.
    Yes birth control can fail but the case where it does is often due to human error and noone can expect 'pregnancy risk free' sex as that's simply not realistic.
    Expression of the post modern paradox : "For the love of god, religions are so full of shit"

    Theory is always superseded by Fact...
    ... In theory.

    “I’d hate to die twice. It’s so boring.”
    Richard Feynman's last recorded words

    "Great is the human who has not lost his childlike heart."
    Mencius (Meng-Tse), 4th century BCE

  6. #6
    The Memes Justify the End EcK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ravenetta View Post
    Difficult topic that has to be continually revisited based on increased knowledge and science.

    Starting with the obvious, I would say that birth control that prevents pregnancy or perhaps destroys an entity with a few cells would be morally neutral (not sure 'good' exactly applies, but perhaps in an applied manner it is 'good'), and killing a newborn baby is morally wrong. Everything that happens in-between is a gradation of varying degrees of right/wrong. Everything that happens in life, every choice we are forced into does not neatly fall into morally 'good' or 'bad'. Many things in life are about varying degrees of right and wrong. For some reason people resist this thinking probably because processing guilt is so difficult. We are all required to make choices that are morally shaded at times.

    The main problem with the arguments for and against abortion is the constant need to force it into a morally binary framework, when the reality is about gradations.
    I agree that it's a matter of shades of grey and that new knowledge needs to update how we view it. I for example don't have any 'definite' rock solid opinions on how you can categorize something as a human life or not (so when human life begins).

    From a practical standpoint I think that birth control should be the norm and abortion a rare exception. By making abortion harder (earlier deadline) you incentivize people to take their birth control more seriously, which would also help with STDs.
    I also think that women need to at least have some time to make that choice (you can't expect them to abort the day they miss their period as there are period irregularities) but that this has to be weighted against the fact that with each passing day the fetus is more and more human and it becomes harder to justify aborting as it develops.

    My solution to the uncertainties of such a matter (and it's moral importance) is
    a) to err on the side of caution (hence the 7 weeks as soon as the brain starts looking like a brain).
    b) And rather than try to define nebulous concepts that people might never agree on I prefer to focus on eliminating what seems morally incoherent (as with the examples I put in the OP).
    Last edited by EcK; 03-14-2019 at 03:57 AM.
    Expression of the post modern paradox : "For the love of god, religions are so full of shit"

    Theory is always superseded by Fact...
    ... In theory.

    “I’d hate to die twice. It’s so boring.”
    Richard Feynman's last recorded words

    "Great is the human who has not lost his childlike heart."
    Mencius (Meng-Tse), 4th century BCE
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  7. #7
    The Memes Justify the End EcK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Exolvuntur View Post
    I think its morally wrong to kill any life, but sometimes its a necessary evil. I don't get why people can't acknowledge it is bad, and still do it if they believe they must. It is pawning off responsibility for your actions. I am not against abortions, but I think the message of the sanctity of life is ESSENTIAL to prevent moral degradation.
    I don't think it's morally wrong to kill any life. For example if someone attacks me I consider myself morally justify in killing them if necessary. I wouldn't LIKE doing it but I would consider it a moral act as the aggressor basically forfeited their right to life by ignoring mine.
    Expression of the post modern paradox : "For the love of god, religions are so full of shit"

    Theory is always superseded by Fact...
    ... In theory.

    “I’d hate to die twice. It’s so boring.”
    Richard Feynman's last recorded words

    "Great is the human who has not lost his childlike heart."
    Mencius (Meng-Tse), 4th century BCE

  8. #8
    Senior Member Jaguar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EcK View Post
    I understand but there's birth control methods + missing your periods at week 4 is a big clue.
    Women's cycles differ greatly when not on BC pills. Especially if she's a smoker. Missing a period at week 4 is not a 'big clue' a woman is pregnant. Hormonal instability? Sure. Hell, dating an asshole can elevate a woman's cortisol level (stress) to the point it disrupts her other hormonal patterns and causes a late onset or an entire skip of a period. The expectation that a woman would (or should) run out and test herself for a pregnancy simply because she didn't bleed exactly at week 4 concerns me.

  9. #9
    The Memes Justify the End EcK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaguar View Post
    Women's cycles differ greatly when not on BC pills. Especially if she's a smoker. Missing a period at week 4 is not a 'big clue' a woman is pregnant. Hormonal instability? Sure. Hell, dating an asshole can elevate a woman's cortisol level (stress) to the point it disrupts her other hormonal patterns and causes a late onset or an entire skip of a period. The expectation that a woman would (or should) run out and test herself for a pregnancy simply because she didn't bleed exactly at week 4 concerns me.
    I've already addressed thi in the post you were answering. If you had unprotected sex and don't want a child you should get tested yes. It's completly reasonable to expect a woman to use protection if she doesn't want to get pregnant. Furthermore I've stated that 'pregnancy risk free' sex is an unreasonable expectation. There's also a chance of pregnancy even using protection (mostly when people do it wrong). Lastly the morality or not of something is not dependant on whether it's convenient.


    I understand but there's birth control methods + missing your periods at week 4 is a big clue. Birth control is reliable at week 4-5 and the test only costs a few dollars. So I don't think there's a good excuse not to do it if one had unprotected sex and don't want a child.
    Yes birth control can fail but the case where it does is often due to human error and noone can expect 'pregnancy risk free' sex as that's simply not realistic.
    Expression of the post modern paradox : "For the love of god, religions are so full of shit"

    Theory is always superseded by Fact...
    ... In theory.

    “I’d hate to die twice. It’s so boring.”
    Richard Feynman's last recorded words

    "Great is the human who has not lost his childlike heart."
    Mencius (Meng-Tse), 4th century BCE

  10. #10
    Senior Member Jaguar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EcK View Post
    I've already addressed thi in the post you were answering. If you had unprotected sex and don't want a child you should get tested yes. It's completly reasonable to expect a woman to use protection if she doesn't want to get pregnant. Furthermore I've stated that 'pregnancy risk free' sex is an unreasonable expectation. There's also a chance of pregnancy even using protection (mostly when people do it wrong). Lastly the morality or not of something is not dependant on whether it's convenient.

    I don't think it's reasonable to expect any woman to screw up her endocrine system and by extension her entire body by taking birth control pills. But that's me. Can't you wear a frigging condom?
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