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XtianChris

Playing Gawd's Advocate On Abortion


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At the risk of making enemies, I'm going to throw something out here and see what happens. I still think abortions performed after a certain term are murders. Particularly, I'm glad that the partial-birth abortion practice has been banned. After hearing how abortions had been performed in some cases up until the very time of delivery, I find the practice of partial-birth abortions to be a violent act of murder. It don't find it at all acceptable to call a life a 'fetus' before it exits the vagina and a 'baby' once it's out. It's a human life. At some point in the womb the human develops brain matter and nerves and can therefore think and feel. Just because it hasn't breathed air yet doesn't mean it's anything less than human. Why would we not consider a termination of such a human life to be wrong? Most of all, if the human can feel pain at this stage, how can it possibly be okay to take any action that could cause pain in ending the life?

 

Prior to development of the nervous system, I really couldn't say whether or not an abortion is wrong because I can't see any clearer line to draw where the life becomes an independent human being. I'm sure, however, that at some point science will help to clear things up and we as a race can be able to detect when it is okay to abort and when it is not. When that happens, I can envision our race looking back on our actions and despising us in much the same way as we currently despise those who thought slavery was okay.

 

Alright, feel free to rip me a new one now, unless you happen to agree. :)

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I would agree in that I think abortion should be illegal after substantial development of the brain, except in extraordinary cases.

 

I'm against the partial-birth abortion ban, though. It makes no allowance for the health of the mother or extraordinary circumstances, and will likely cause the deaths of several women; the alternative is far more dangerous.

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Very risky CJ. I think what you've done here is very risky.

 

Some will say that they are chipping away at abortion rights.

 

By the way, that avatar of the kitten and the monkey is a hoot!

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By the way, that avatar of the kitten and the monkey is a hoot!

 

Yeah, I thought so too. I love the expression on the monkey's face, lol.

 

I didn't think about it until afterwards, but maybe it could even help to prove evolution. I wonder what a cat-monkey would look like.

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I'm against the partial-birth abortion ban, though. It makes no allowance for the health of the mother or extraordinary circumstances, and will likely cause the deaths of several women.

 

You have a point there. However, should we allow doctors to decide which of the two lives should live? Also, are they able to prove in any given circumstance that the mother will die if the abortion isn't done?

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Some will say that they are chipping away at abortion rights.

 

Is abortion a right? Is it explicitly allowed by any law, or is it really just a medical practice that has been challenged in the courts? Even if laws are passed, could laws really determine whether it's right or wrong? We did have laws that allowed slavery, right?

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Is abortion a right?

Does a person have a right to control what happens to their own body?

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I still think abortions performed after a certain term are murders. Particularly, I'm glad that the partial-birth abortion practice has been banned. After hearing how abortions had been performed in some cases up until the very time of delivery, I find the practice of partial-birth abortions to be a violent act of murder. It don't find it at all acceptable to call a life a 'fetus' before it exits the vagina and a 'baby' once it's out. It's a human life. At some point in the womb the human develops brain matter and nerves and can therefore think and feel. Just because it hasn't breathed air yet doesn't mean it's anything less than human. Why would we not consider a termination of such a human life to be wrong? Most of all, if the human can feel pain at this stage, how can it possibly be okay to take any action that could cause pain in ending the life?

 

It's remarkable how you can have an entire paragraph and yet not make a single argument. In what way does your paragraph attempt to persuade me to abandon my position of abortions at any time? In what way does it prove that abortions are wrong?

 

Prior to development of the nervous system, I really couldn't say whether or not an abortion is wrong because I can't see any clearer line to draw where the life becomes an independent human being. I'm sure, however, that at some point science will help to clear things up and we as a race can be able to detect when it is okay to abort and when it is not. When that happens, I can envision our race looking back on our actions and despising us in much the same way as we currently despise those who thought slavery was okay.

 

Alright, feel free to rip me a new one now, unless you happen to agree. :)

 

And independant human being? How is something parasitically attached the host an independant human being? I would call it a physiologically dependent human being.

 

The nervous system is thought to develop anywhere from 8-10 weeks in. Would you say that an abortion performed after...say...9 weeks is wrong?

 

 

I'm just curious...why is the development of the nervous system pivotal to the act of abortion, and more importantly, why is abortion wrong?

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Is abortion a right?

Does a person have a right to control what happens to their own body?

 

I would say so, but there's more to consider than one body. There are two.

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It's remarkable how you can have an entire paragraph and yet not make a single argument. In what way does your paragraph attempt to persuade me to abandon my position of abortions at any time? In what way does it prove that abortions are wrong?

 

I'd say that "I still think abortions performed after a certain term are murders." would be an argument. Aside from that statement, I'll admit that I tend to ask more pointed questions than make direct arguments. My entire post I believe is an argument that some abortions are murder, and I think it goes without saying that murder is wrong. As for proof, I didn't intend for this post to prove anything, only to argue for a cause.

 

And independant human being? How is something parasitically attached the host an independant human being? I would call it a physiologically dependent human being.

 

By independent, I mean capable of controlling certain functions in its own body. Up until then I would venture to say that the mother is solely in control, but I don't know that for a fact.

 

On another note, couldn't you also say that a baby is a parasite of some type? A baby certainly cannot feed itself and often attaches itself to it's mother's breast for food.

 

The nervous system is thought to develop anywhere from 8-10 weeks in. Would you say that an abortion performed after...say...9 weeks is wrong?

 

Yes.

 

I'm just curious...why is the development of the nervous system pivotal to the act of abortion, and more importantly, why is abortion wrong?

 

I think it can be argued that a human being begins to control itself after development of the nervous system.

 

Going back to my original argument, some abortions are murder. Murder is something that I think we can all say is generally wrong. My definition of "wrong" in this instance would be "not in accordance with what is morally right or good".

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Abortion is not about morality, it is about reality.

 

Black and white laws only manage availability and safety of abortion, they do not manage emotions, motives, x-factors, or circumstances. As for "murder," taking human life is not always deemd "murder." "Murder" is a legal and moral term. I often think of "murder" as an intent, and most women when their pregnancy is a crisis or it develops into a crisis are not thinking about "murder," but trying to do what's best for everybody involved.

 

Abortion is not something the world will EVER be rid of. It's a fact of life along with life and death, pregnancy, and making judgement calls we DON'T want to make.

 

Sometimes you don't get any good choices, you just get choices. Sometimes your beliefs don't amount to a hill of beans compared to what's actually happening. Needing to have an abortion, especially one late in term because your baby is slowly dying inside of you from horrendous defects, or YOU are slowly dying because you are going into multiple organ failure because of the stress of trying to support the two of you is a REALLY great example of this.

 

BTW, there is no such thing as a "Partial Birth Abortion." This is a rediculous propaganda term created by the extrodinarily ignorant. The correct term is Dialation and Extraction or Dialation and Evacuation. Also known as D&X and D&E. They are not surgeries any reputable doctor would perform on a healthy woman with a healthy fetus who just "changes her mind" at 30 weeks of pregnancy or while she's in labor.

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Is abortion a right?

Does a person have a right to control what happens to their own body?

 

I would say so, but there's more to consider than one body. There are two.

Errmm... Sounds like an appeal to emotion there. Are there really 2 persons before a certain point? I mean, if you take a zygote, and make it somehow able to live outside a womb, are you going to love it and cherish it the same as an actual fetus under the same circumstances? If a fetus, at the stage where it is visually no different than say, a salmon fetus, or a kangaroo fetus, were under the same circumstances, would it be something to regard as human life, or the potential to eventually become human life, if conditions are ideal?

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If you take a zygote, and make it somehow able to live outside a womb, are you going to love it and cherish it the same as an actual fetus under the same circumstances? If a fetus, at the stage where it is visually no different than say, a salmon fetus, or a kangaroo fetus, were under the same circumstances, would it be something to regard as human life, or the potential to eventually become human life, if conditions are ideal?

 

So is a person only really a person if it is loved? Why should how you feel about something determine what that something is? Either it is a person or it's not, no matter how you or I feel about it.

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As for "murder," taking human life is not always deemd "murder."

 

I don't see a distinction between ending another life. Sure, circumstances can be different, but why label one thing as a "murder", something else as a "killing", and a third thing as "putting to sleep". Aren't they all basically the same thing? In the end, one person dies at the hands of another. Perhaps "murder" has too much negative connotation attached to it, so maybe a different term could be used here, but basically we're still talking about the same thing.

 

As for the rest of your post, it's very thought provoking and I will definitely reply to more of it. Right now I need to catch some shut-eye though.

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I'd say that "I still think abortions performed after a certain term are murders." would be an argument. Aside from that statement, I'll admit that I tend to ask more pointed questions than make direct arguments. My entire post I believe is an argument that some abortions are murder, and I think it goes without saying that murder is wrong. As for proof, I didn't intend for this post to prove anything, only to argue for a cause.

 

In an argument, you provide your opinion and then you support that opinion with a rational justification. You just stated your opinion, without any rational justification. What reason do I have to agree with you?

 

By independent, I mean capable of controlling certain functions in its own body. Up until then I would venture to say that the mother is solely in control, but I don't know that for a fact.

 

How do you determine that? The premises of your argument are woefully unsound, being that they are vague, undefined and even you admit ignorance of the issue.

 

The baby is still parasitically attached to the mother, which is the host. The baby takes nutrients, affects hormone levels, causes discomfort and sickness, physical abnormalities and difficulties in mobility, back pain, low circulation of the blood to the legs. Weight gain that is difficult to lose after pregnancy, and complication can cause death of the mother.

 

Why would you seek to undermine someones rights to their own body by forcing the mother to carry something inside her to term against her will?

 

 

On another note, couldn't you also say that a baby is a parasite of some type? A baby certainly cannot feed itself and often attaches itself to it's mother's breast for food.

 

That's what I've been saying.

 

 

"Would you say that an abortion performed after...say...9 weeks is wrong?"

Yes.

 

What about 8 weeks, 6 days and 23 hours?

 

I think it can be argued that a human being begins to control itself after development of the nervous system.

 

So? It's still not independent of its own functions, relying on the mothers survival for its own survival. Including respiration.

 

Going back to my original argument, some abortions are murder. Murder is something that I think we can all say is generally wrong. My definition of "wrong" in this instance would be "not in accordance with what is morally right or good".

 

So? You haven't proven that it's murder.

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There's not a black and white here, only shades of gray.

 

Start with the logical extremes, for pregnancy, conception and birth.

 

Except for some religious zealots, few would call the taking of a single cell, even a few cells "murder." Of course there are some who are so extreme that they call masturbation murder, and what pathetic reasoning that is--no problem with the millions of sperm that don't make it to an egg dying, nor with the egg being discarded by means of the menstrual cycle. But I digress.

 

At the other extreme there's birth. Few would approve of putting a bullet through the head of a newborn full term baby, or inducing labor near the due date and killing the kid when it comes out. But is birth even a magical moment? I think not! Is there really much difference between a baby the day before it is born than the day after? No. Hell, we could extend this to a modest proposal of asking how long AFTER birth it is OK to "change your mind."

 

Now let's assume abortion is OK on the day of conception, but not OK, or considered murder on the day before a full term birth. On what day does it go from OK to murder? The second day? The third? A week before birth? A month? Three months? The last day of the first trimester is often considered a reasonable answer. How about the day before that? The day after that?

 

It clearly transitions from "OK" to "not OK" at some point, or better put, gradually over some time range, but there is no point in time you can place your finger on and say "it's definitely OK before this point, and definitely 'not OK' after."

 

Much the the dismay of the crippled black and white thinkers, we don't have a magic "right" answer. We need to look at fetal development and do the best we can to come to a reasonable conclusion for ourselves of when an abortion is OK and when it is not.

 

And while there is no black and white, I personally think this is one area where at one point in time, cool heads did a pretty reasonable job of deciding when an abortion is OK and when it isn't. Of course there are attempts afoot to erode and reverse those guidelines, and needless to say, it's my opinion that would be unfortunate.

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So is a person only really a person if it is loved? Why should how you feel about something determine what that something is? Either it is a person or it's not, no matter how you or I feel about it.
Wow, you missed my question entirely. Is a ZYGOTE a person? Is a fetus, developmentally no different than a salmon or a kangaroo, a person? Do we have to consider the "rights" of another person, or just the presence of another lifeform? If the latter, then why do we care more about that than the other lifeforms swarming throughout our bodies at any point?

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What about 8 weeks, 6 days and 23 hours?

 

The point is to examine the development of the human, not to set a specific point in time that we call the "point of no return". Given your previous argument that the nervous system develops around 8-10 weeks and asking if abortions performed after that point are wrong, I replied that yes, they are (on the basis that the human has developed the abilities to think and feel). If a case comes up where the human is at 9 weeks, 0 days and 1 hour, but has not yet developed its nervous system, then its irrelevant. What matters is which stage of development it is in. Debating weeks, days and hours is pointless.

 

I will try to get to the rest of your comments later, but I wanted to reply to this one now.

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What about 8 weeks, 6 days and 23 hours?

 

The point is to examine the development of the human, not to set a specific point in time that we call the "point of no return". Given your previous argument that the nervous system develops around 8-10 weeks and asking if abortions performed after that point are wrong, I replied that yes, they are (on the basis that the human has developed the abilities to think and feel). If a case comes up where the human is at 9 weeks, 0 days and 1 hour, but has not yet developed its nervous system, then its irrelevant. What matters is which stage of development it is in. Debating weeks, days and hours is pointless.

 

The only thing pointless is your complete lack of even indicating WHY that makes abortion wrong because it has a nervous system.

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Wow, you missed my question entirely. Is a ZYGOTE a person?

 

Yes, it appears that I did. I'm sorry, I was not intentionally dodging the question.

 

Consider the fact that babies born prematurely are being kept alive and do grow to become adults. I think the youngest case recorded is at 5 or 6 months of development. Once the human is out of the womb, we consider it to be a "baby" and would not dare think of terminating its life if we can instead support it and help it to grow. If science advances to the point that a zygote can be supported outside of the womb and can grow to become a healthy, fully-functional adult human being, then maybe our perception of zygotes may change.

 

Is a fetus, developmentally no different than a salmon or a kangaroo, a person? Do we have to consider the "rights" of another person, or just the presence of another lifeform? If the latter, then why do we care more about that than the other lifeforms swarming throughout our bodies at any point?

 

Perhaps a re-evaluation of life itself is in order. There are some who maintain that their pet cat or dog is a person. Is there a scientific distinction between a lifeform and a person, and if so, what is it?

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Much the the dismay of the crippled black and white thinkers, we don't have a magic "right" answer. We need to look at fetal development and do the best we can to come to a reasonable conclusion for ourselves of when an abortion is OK and when it is not.

 

Shackled,

Your post captures much of my viewpoint, and much more eloquently at that. Thank you. This particular paragraph sums it up quite nicely for me.

 

I maintain that abortions should not be considered OK at every stage of development, because as you pointed out there are extremists that say that birth is somehow a magical moment. My position is that development of the nervous system is a reasonable stage to consider.

 

I personally think this is one area where at one point in time, cool heads did a pretty reasonable job of deciding when an abortion is OK and when it isn't.

 

When is an abortion OK? You mentioned the last day of the first trimester earlier in your post. Is that the reasonable decision that you refer to, or are you referring to something else?

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While thinking more about this topic last night, I realized that my original post stems from a bigger issue that should perhaps be addressed in another thread. That issue is, that we tend to align ourselves with "camps" that hold specific viewpoints on every issue. It happens most noticeably in politics and religion. In politics (in the US at least) we have the liberal camp and the conservative camp, Democrats and Republicans. Of course there are other camps, but these two are the largest. We have an atheist camp and an organized religion camp. There are of course other camps in religious and spiritual matters, but these two are the largest. The question I will pose on another thread is "Why do we tend to agree with our aligned 'camp' on almost every issue?"

 

As it relates to this issue, abortion, why do atheists tend to agree that abortions are okay at every stage of development? I consider myself an atheist until undeniable proof can be given that a god exists, but I for one do not agree that abortions are okay. I take it one step further by calling certain abortions exactly what I think they are, murder.

 

P.S. I have decided to add a poll to this thread because I am curious how the issue of abortion relates to our beliefs in respect to religion.

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The water is muddy after 24 weeks, since 24 week premature delivery has been saved (on more than one occasion) That isn't to say that the foetus would be viable as an independent life form at that time, but that medical science has move to the stage that anything after the second trimester can, potentially be kept alive with minimal detriment to the babe... thus should there be third trimester abortions as a convenience. Having said that, less than 5% of second trimester abortions in the UK are 'unwanted' 95% are health reasons (non viable foetus, psyche damage due to rape or incest...) Third trimester abortions in the UK are possible, but they have to be assessed for risk of death to the mother or quality of life for a foetus if carried to term by a medical panel.

 

One of the things that irritates me about abortion rhetoric is the implication by anti-choice people than people skip into an abortion clinic and leave singing 'Sweet Mystery of Life'... In my experience, when I've ended up sitting with someone no-one else would sit with, this is never the case. I've been in more cheerful chapels of rest... muted is the lightest the mood gets. I've never met anyone who's taken the step lightly, or joyfully. I don't presume to preach other people's moral, and I won't... but one has to consider the medical implications all around. If one doesn't get it sorted within a certain time, then the legality does need to be looked at, simply because of viability... if the foetus can be saved with no long term problems then the whole time needs examining. However, to take the stance that if, that if it's not viable without medical intervention, it's not viable at all opens a whole new can of worms around when medical support should be provided at all...

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Much the the dismay of the crippled black and white thinkers, we don't have a magic "right" answer. We need to look at fetal development and do the best we can to come to a reasonable conclusion for ourselves of when an abortion is OK and when it is not.

 

Shackled,

Your post captures much of my viewpoint, and much more eloquently at that. Thank you. This particular paragraph sums it up quite nicely for me.

 

I maintain that abortions should not be considered OK at every stage of development, because as you pointed out there are extremists that say that birth is somehow a magical moment. My position is that development of the nervous system is a reasonable stage to consider.

 

Again, you have provided no reason why. You are simply asserting the fact without any justification. I have no reason to agree with you, nor do I have any reason to think that your position is any more rational than my position that it is ok to abort at any time during the pregnancy.

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Thanks gramps for your thoughts. It is comforting to know that you and others do not take this issue lightly.

 

Also, thank you for providing the UK perspective on abortion. It sounds as if this issue is viewed much more logically in your country than in the US.

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