On the topic of abortion - an ethical issue

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prof
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On the topic of abortion - an ethical issue

Post by prof » Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:05 pm

The issue of abortion is an applied ethical topic since it involves a specific type of controversial behavior on the part of conscious human beings who show respect to one another and/or who value life as precious. But it also depends on more general normative principles, such as the right of self-rule and the right to life, which are litmus tests for determining the morality of that procedure. The issue also rests on meta-ethical issues such as, "where do rights come from?" and "what kind of beings have rights?" My answer to this last question is that only beings that can take on responsibility have rights. If a fetus could show responsibility, it would have rights.

Let’s see if we can find the middle ground between the pro-abortionists and the anti-abortionists - even though I am keenly aware that fanatics in each camp are not interested in finding a compromise. Application of both the findings of medical science concerning the beginning of conscious human life, and the principles of value logic to the ethics of abortion, show us how to do it.

A rigorous analysis by Dr. Frank G. Forrest, a value scientist in Florida, using the value calculus provided by Formal Axiology, has produced the following results:

If a woman takes responsibility for the health of her body, then she may have some rights such as the right to control her own body, and the right to choose not to have an unwanted child. [Here “body” refers to the physical aspect of a person.] It turns out that the abortion of a pre-conscious, pre-brain-functioning fetus IS compatible with a woman’s right to control her own body.
However, the abortion of a conscious, brain-functioning fetus is ethically wrong.

If the expectant mother wishes to abort a fetus resulting from rape or incest, the abortion is justified ethically provided the fetus is not yet conscious and does not yet have a functioning brain as determined by qualified doctors. Even the mother’s hatred of the fetus would not justify killing it once it is conscious.

When childbirth endangers the life of the mother and the abortion is necessary to preserve a loving family -meaning that the mother has relatives who love and have empathy for her, and don’t want to see her die as a result of this birth - then the abortion of a fetus at any stage of development is ethically justified. Also if there is present a severe fetus anomaly: e.g., an irreversibly unconscious fetus, then an abortion is ethically justified.

While neither the pro-abortionists nor the anti-abortionists are always right in their stand, perhaps we all can agree on the desirability of keeping abortions to a minimum. And let us educate all sexually-active women to use contraception, and to be sure to take the morning-after pill.....all as part of the process of having sex. And let us insist, as a society, that men who have sex be responsible by determining that proper contraception measures have been taken before they proceed with the love-making....to guarantee that any child that may result be a wanted child born to parents able to take care of it both materially and spiritually.

And I would add: NO RIGHTS WITHOUT RESPONSIBILITY !

Richard Brown, a moral philosopher, adds the following considerations : “Those who oppose abortion do so on the grounds that it is the killing of a human life. They are usually referred to as Pro-Life because of this reasoning. Most of them do not oppose all abortions though. It is okay to abort the pregnancy if the mothers' life is endangered. It is okay to abort the pregnancy if it came about by rape. It is okay to abort the pregnancy if it came about as the result of incest. It is NOT okay to abort for convenience if it is discovered that the child will have a birth defect, such as Mongolism, spinal bifida, or the like. That child must be carried full term and allowed to live out the life that fate or God has chosen for it. This is the result of the belief that a human egg becomes a human being when the sperm is allowed to join with it during conception.

"If we accept this belief and if we outlaw abortion because it is the killing of a human being, there are a number of steps we must take in order to be consistent in our laws against killing. We must insure that every fertile woman from the time she begins her menses until she enters into menopause must submit evidence of a period, when it is due, to the appropriate authorities. She could not use an IUD since this device does not allow the impregnated egg to attach to the wall of the uterus. Thus it effectively kills the human within a day or two. If she fails to have a period, the appropriate authorities must administer a pregnancy test. If she is pregnant, the human being must be protected by the State.

"She must not be allowed to take in to her body anything that would harm the child. She must not be allowed to do anything with her body that would harm the child. If she does not carry the child to full term, homicide detectives would be used to determine if she contributed to its death. All spontaneous miscarriages would be investigated. If the woman flushed the evidence away, she could be prosecuted for destroying evidence. After all we are talking about the killing of a human being, right?

"It has only been in the last 150 years or so that some religious leaders changed their attitude about abortion. It used to be believed that the fetus was not a human until it took in the breath of life. With that breath, the soul entered the body and then it was human. That is why they did not bury the stillborn. Those churches that oppose abortion still do not treat stillborns as human with the right to burial or other sacraments. If the child was alive for just a minute, then it would qualify as a live birth, and it would be given a name and be buried.”

Judith Jarvis Thomson is a moral philosopher who argues that a mother's rights should have precedence over a fetus’s rights because the womb belongs to the mother as part of her body. See this link for details: http://spot.colorado.edu/~heathwoo/Phil ... homson.htm

Ms. Thomson argues well, and I for one, after examining her reasoning, am persuaded that she is right -- the mother should have say as to how her own body is used.

Government and society should facilitate the availability of, and encourage the use of, the morning-after pill, for any girl or woman who finds herself pregnant (because she wanted to be nice to a man; or she was naive and was seduced; or she was raped; or she learned that the man who had sex with her has violent tendencies), and believes that it would not be appropriate at this time to have a baby, because of her own situation.

That situation might be utter poverty, so that she doesn't have the means to raise a child, -- since she can barely if at all support herself -- and has no contact with any adoption agencies that would be willing to (in effect, buy her baby with all the ensuing guilt that will cause her) give her a subsistence stipend in exchange for taking a baby up for adoption and eventually placing it -- with all the uncertainties that could intervene meanwhile.............or her situation might be that rational family-planning indicates that this is the wrong time in her family's life for a baby right now. Whichever it is, she is not obligated to carry a baby made by a man she despises (such as, for example, the one who raped her)

I could give the proof of the above claims from axiological science, defining all my terms, but my experience here has been that nearly every reader is put off by logic symbols or by math. They do not care how elegant a proof may be to a logician, it does not connect with them. What the logical demonstration concludes is this: we "should" do what is compatible with our selves, what is coherent. In application this indicates we should do what is in our enlightened self-interest, acting from the widest perspective possible for us.
{To recall how the "ought" (or "should") is based upon the "is", see my thread here at the Ethical Theory Forum on the topic of the Is-Ought relation. The 'bottom line' of that definition is that we ought to do what is good for us. And what is good for us is what overlaps with (or increases the quality of) our life. What overlaps with our life is Life itself. And also health and well-being. Can we admit that (1) We are human beings, and (2) that we want to live?}

Thus if a girl or woman takes the morning-after pill within four days of becoming impregnated, when there is as yet no conscious brain activity in her fetus, when it isn't even hardly an embryo yet, then the issue of ABORTION doesn't even arise in the first place.

{Yes, there are some possible side effects, but the risk to the woman is far less than the physical risks she would face if she underwent an abortion. I am concerned about her safety. One of the objects here is to avoid and preclude her feeling guilty later because she went through with an abortion. Another is to keep the number of actual abortions to an absolute minimum.}

Frank Forrest arrived at what many would view as a reasonable compromise that could bring together the Right-to-Lifers with those who say a woman has a right to choose what happens to her own body ......except for the utter extremists on both sides who would never be satisfied nor willing to compromise. They are rigid, either-or-type thinkers, of limited intelligence with handicapped minds; they have a kind of "mental astigmatism" which limits their choices, and thus their ability to make wise decisions in life.

There is a good reason why we have different words for zygote, embryo, fetus, newborn, and baby: (with the possible exception of 'newborn' and 'baby') they refer to different concepts. Peter Bertocci, former Chairman of the Philosophy Department at Boston University, in the 1940s wrote an entire book on what it means to be a person. Neither an embryo nor a fetus qualify for personhood by the criteria offered in that very-thoughtful definition. Unfortunately the book is now out-of-print. This post has gone on long enough, so I will postpone until a later one a discussion based on philosophical definitions of the word "person," and only then bring it up if there is a request to do so.

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Re: On the topic of abortion - an ethical issue

Post by halks01 » Wed Feb 14, 2018 6:44 am

There are various region because of that women have to abort her pregnancy. If they don't abort pregnancy then their life may be in dangerous stage. So for some of women there is a need to abort pregnancy.

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Re: On the topic of abortion - an ethical issue

Post by Science Fan » Mon Feb 26, 2018 5:10 pm

If you are claiming that only a person who is responsible can have rights, then are you saying that when a person is in a coma, they have no rights, because a person in a coma is not capable of being responsible for their conduct? Also, toddlers are hardly responsible for their conduct, and so are you claiming toddlers have no rights, or should have no rights?

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Post by henry quirk » Mon Feb 26, 2018 7:11 pm

My view: if Joan is knocked up and wants to abort, abort away!

But pay for the aborting yourself, Joan.

At best: go bother the fellow who knocked you up.

The rest of us -- the ones who didn't ride -the roller coaster with you -- leave us be.

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Re: On the topic of abortion - an ethical issue

Post by Science Fan » Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:02 pm

What in the hell is a so-called "value scientist"? Never heard of such a person.

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Post by henry quirk » Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:04 pm

It's made up shit...axiology and whatnot.

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Re: On the topic of abortion - an ethical issue

Post by Dalek Prime » Thu Mar 01, 2018 2:13 am

Value science, my ass.

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Re: On the topic of abortion - an ethical issue

Post by Science Fan » Thu Mar 01, 2018 11:01 pm

I wonder if Liberty University hands out degrees in "value science"?

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Re: On the topic of abortion - an ethical issue

Post by Necromancer » Thu Mar 08, 2018 6:19 am

I do not consider "emergency medicine" abortion! Sometimes, the emergency arises where the physicians must choose between the life of the woman giving birth or the child being born. However, these instances, where the child is killed to save the mother, do not "count" as abortions.

Thus, abortions within 5 months, but as soon as possible, seem moral to me, including the much earlier chemical abortions.

But to be for real, avoiding the abortions altogether, the contraceptives trump the whole issue.

Given the conscience then, there should be some kind of worry in the mind of the woman considering abortion.

Respect! (Congratulations on the Women's Day, 8 March, Women!)

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Re: On the topic of abortion - an ethical issue

Post by vegetariantaxidermy » Thu Mar 08, 2018 9:24 pm

prof wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:05 pm
The issue of abortion is an applied ethical topic since it involves a specific type of controversial behavior on the part of conscious human beings who show respect to one another and/or who value life as precious. But it also depends on more general normative principles, such as the right of self-rule and the right to life, which are litmus tests for determining the morality of that procedure. The issue also rests on meta-ethical issues such as, "where do rights come from?" and "what kind of beings have rights?" My answer to this last question is that only beings that can take on responsibility have rights. If a fetus could show responsibility, it would have rights.

Let’s see if we can find the middle ground between the pro-abortionists and the anti-abortionists - even though I am keenly aware that fanatics in each camp are not interested in finding a compromise. Application of both the findings of medical science concerning the beginning of conscious human life, and the principles of value logic to the ethics of abortion, show us how to do it.

A rigorous analysis by Dr. Frank G. Forrest, a value scientist in Florida, using the value calculus provided by Formal Axiology, has produced the following results:

If a woman takes responsibility for the health of her body, then she may have some rights such as the right to control her own body, and the right to choose not to have an unwanted child. [Here “body” refers to the physical aspect of a person.] It turns out that the abortion of a pre-conscious, pre-brain-functioning fetus IS compatible with a woman’s right to control her own body.
However, the abortion of a conscious, brain-functioning fetus is ethically wrong.

If the expectant mother wishes to abort a fetus resulting from rape or incest, the abortion is justified ethically provided the fetus is not yet conscious and does not yet have a functioning brain as determined by qualified doctors. Even the mother’s hatred of the fetus would not justify killing it once it is conscious.

When childbirth endangers the life of the mother and the abortion is necessary to preserve a loving family -meaning that the mother has relatives who love and have empathy for her, and don’t want to see her die as a result of this birth - then the abortion of a fetus at any stage of development is ethically justified. Also if there is present a severe fetus anomaly: e.g., an irreversibly unconscious fetus, then an abortion is ethically justified.

While neither the pro-abortionists nor the anti-abortionists are always right in their stand, perhaps we all can agree on the desirability of keeping abortions to a minimum. And let us educate all sexually-active women to use contraception, and to be sure to take the morning-after pill.....all as part of the process of having sex. And let us insist, as a society, that men who have sex be responsible by determining that proper contraception measures have been taken before they proceed with the love-making....to guarantee that any child that may result be a wanted child born to parents able to take care of it both materially and spiritually.

And I would add: NO RIGHTS WITHOUT RESPONSIBILITY !

Richard Brown, a moral philosopher, adds the following considerations : “Those who oppose abortion do so on the grounds that it is the killing of a human life. They are usually referred to as Pro-Life because of this reasoning. Most of them do not oppose all abortions though. It is okay to abort the pregnancy if the mothers' life is endangered. It is okay to abort the pregnancy if it came about by rape. It is okay to abort the pregnancy if it came about as the result of incest. It is NOT okay to abort for convenience if it is discovered that the child will have a birth defect, such as Mongolism, spinal bifida, or the like. That child must be carried full term and allowed to live out the life that fate or God has chosen for it. This is the result of the belief that a human egg becomes a human being when the sperm is allowed to join with it during conception.

"If we accept this belief and if we outlaw abortion because it is the killing of a human being, there are a number of steps we must take in order to be consistent in our laws against killing. We must insure that every fertile woman from the time she begins her menses until she enters into menopause must submit evidence of a period, when it is due, to the appropriate authorities. She could not use an IUD since this device does not allow the impregnated egg to attach to the wall of the uterus. Thus it effectively kills the human within a day or two. If she fails to have a period, the appropriate authorities must administer a pregnancy test. If she is pregnant, the human being must be protected by the State.

"She must not be allowed to take in to her body anything that would harm the child. She must not be allowed to do anything with her body that would harm the child. If she does not carry the child to full term, homicide detectives would be used to determine if she contributed to its death. All spontaneous miscarriages would be investigated. If the woman flushed the evidence away, she could be prosecuted for destroying evidence. After all we are talking about the killing of a human being, right?

"It has only been in the last 150 years or so that some religious leaders changed their attitude about abortion. It used to be believed that the fetus was not a human until it took in the breath of life. With that breath, the soul entered the body and then it was human. That is why they did not bury the stillborn. Those churches that oppose abortion still do not treat stillborns as human with the right to burial or other sacraments. If the child was alive for just a minute, then it would qualify as a live birth, and it would be given a name and be buried.”

Judith Jarvis Thomson is a moral philosopher who argues that a mother's rights should have precedence over a fetus’s rights because the womb belongs to the mother as part of her body. See this link for details: http://spot.colorado.edu/~heathwoo/Phil ... homson.htm

Ms. Thomson argues well, and I for one, after examining her reasoning, am persuaded that she is right -- the mother should have say as to how her own body is used.

Government and society should facilitate the availability of, and encourage the use of, the morning-after pill, for any girl or woman who finds herself pregnant (because she wanted to be nice to a man; or she was naive and was seduced; or she was raped; or she learned that the man who had sex with her has violent tendencies), and believes that it would not be appropriate at this time to have a baby, because of her own situation.

That situation might be utter poverty, so that she doesn't have the means to raise a child, -- since she can barely if at all support herself -- and has no contact with any adoption agencies that would be willing to (in effect, buy her baby with all the ensuing guilt that will cause her) give her a subsistence stipend in exchange for taking a baby up for adoption and eventually placing it -- with all the uncertainties that could intervene meanwhile.............or her situation might be that rational family-planning indicates that this is the wrong time in her family's life for a baby right now. Whichever it is, she is not obligated to carry a baby made by a man she despises (such as, for example, the one who raped her)

I could give the proof of the above claims from axiological science, defining all my terms, but my experience here has been that nearly every reader is put off by logic symbols or by math. They do not care how elegant a proof may be to a logician, it does not connect with them. What the logical demonstration concludes is this: we "should" do what is compatible with our selves, what is coherent. In application this indicates we should do what is in our enlightened self-interest, acting from the widest perspective possible for us.
{To recall how the "ought" (or "should") is based upon the "is", see my thread here at the Ethical Theory Forum on the topic of the Is-Ought relation. The 'bottom line' of that definition is that we ought to do what is good for us. And what is good for us is what overlaps with (or increases the quality of) our life. What overlaps with our life is Life itself. And also health and well-being. Can we admit that (1) We are human beings, and (2) that we want to live?}

Thus if a girl or woman takes the morning-after pill within four days of becoming impregnated, when there is as yet no conscious brain activity in her fetus, when it isn't even hardly an embryo yet, then the issue of ABORTION doesn't even arise in the first place.

{Yes, there are some possible side effects, but the risk to the woman is far less than the physical risks she would face if she underwent an abortion. I am concerned about her safety. One of the objects here is to avoid and preclude her feeling guilty later because she went through with an abortion. Another is to keep the number of actual abortions to an absolute minimum.}

Frank Forrest arrived at what many would view as a reasonable compromise that could bring together the Right-to-Lifers with those who say a woman has a right to choose what happens to her own body ......except for the utter extremists on both sides who would never be satisfied nor willing to compromise. They are rigid, either-or-type thinkers, of limited intelligence with handicapped minds; they have a kind of "mental astigmatism" which limits their choices, and thus their ability to make wise decisions in life.

There is a good reason why we have different words for zygote, embryo, fetus, newborn, and baby: (with the possible exception of 'newborn' and 'baby') they refer to different concepts. Peter Bertocci, former Chairman of the Philosophy Department at Boston University, in the 1940s wrote an entire book on what it means to be a person. Neither an embryo nor a fetus qualify for personhood by the criteria offered in that very-thoughtful definition. Unfortunately the book is now out-of-print. This post has gone on long enough, so I will postpone until a later one a discussion based on philosophical definitions of the word "person," and only then bring it up if there is a request to do so.
Abortion has nothing to do with 'ethics' or 'morality'. It has nothing to do with anyone but the woman concerned-- in the most fundamentally practical way possible. A woman has the ultimate power over her pregnancy because it's entirely dependent on her for its survival. It is not an equal partnership. KKKristians thinking they can control female fertility is similar to men thinking they can decide whether or not to have children. Sorry dears, but unless you have a vasectomy or stay celibate, you are as powerless as a newborn kitten. This is why anti-choicers are only concerned with punishing and judging women--not saving babies. If they were concerned about babies then they would also say that it's 'immoral' not to make it mandatory for every adult to adopt at least ten unwanted babies from around the world, regardless of whether or not they have the means to support them.
It's also not for anyone to say what a woman is 'supposed' to feel. Feelings aren't 'right or wrong'. They just 'are'. If they don't 'feel' anything then what is anyone else going to do about it? These 'debates' on a matter that is entirely personal and affects no one else are pointless and nauseating. Unless kkkristian anti-choicers are offering to sponsor every unwanted zygote from conception to adulthood then they really need to zip their hypocritical and ultimately irrelevant mouths. Women are going to terminate their unwanted pregnancies whether meddling strangers 'like' it or not. They always have and they always will. The reason safe abortion is made available is because when women take it into their own hands the result is often disastrous in every possible way. People who genuinely care about life are pro safe, legal abortion, not anti safe, legal abortion. You only have to look at the tragedy of Romanian orphanages in the wake of that country's anti abortion, anti contraception policy. Even more harrowing is that many that who adopted were subsequently returned because the child was unmanageable and damaged as a result of no love or nurturing. Apparently the most startling and disturbing thing about those orphanages was the silence. Babies soon learn when there is no point in crying, or that terrible things happen if they do cry.

Btw, if a foetus is 'conscious and fully brain-functioning' then it's not an abortion--it's an early induction and no woman in her right mind would choose that unless it was an emergency; there's a reasonable chance that it would survive, so what to do then? I suppose she could always drop it off at the local anti-choice headquarters. I know they would be thrilled.

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Re:

Post by vegetariantaxidermy » Fri Mar 09, 2018 1:55 pm

henry quirk wrote:
Mon Feb 26, 2018 7:11 pm
My view: if Joan is knocked up and wants to abort, abort away!

But pay for the aborting yourself, Joan.

At best: go bother the fellow who knocked you up.

The rest of us -- the ones who didn't ride -the roller coaster with you -- leave us be.
We don't need to know about your marital problems Henry.

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Post by henry quirk » Fri Mar 09, 2018 3:44 pm

HA!

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Re: On the topic of abortion - an ethical issue

Post by wisdomlover » Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:52 pm

You can disagree, but you can't just cavalierly dismiss the argument that:

Abortion kills a human being.
Killing a human being is wrong except in specific circumstances (e.g. to save ones own life).
Therefore abortion is wrong (except to save one's own life and whatever other exceptions there are).

I know we've all heard this argument a thousand times, but still it deserves a decent discussion, in my view. From examining various sides of an argument, we can go into an issue more deeply.

My current view (it has changed every couple of years it seems) is that it is unjust to kill a person. Jefferson called them "men" I think, but it is all persons who have a right to life. So the issue is: When does a developing new baby/baby-to-be become a person?

Up to that point, abort away. After that, not so fast.

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Post by henry quirk » Mon Mar 19, 2018 10:12 pm

"you can't just cavalierly dismiss the argument"

The hell I can't.

#

"When does a developing new baby/baby-to-be become a person?"

That's the crux, ain't it?

Me: I'm inclined toward sooner rather than later.

Thing is: women are gonna do it and there's damned little I can do about it (except not be the sperm donor).

So: as I say, Abort away! Just leave me (and my wallet) be as you do.

Yeah, it's cavalier, but one does what one can to preserve sanity (laugh so as not to cry).

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Re: On the topic of abortion - an ethical issue

Post by vegetariantaxidermy » Mon Mar 19, 2018 11:44 pm

wisdomlover wrote:
Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:52 pm
You can disagree, but you can't just cavalierly dismiss the argument that:

Abortion kills a human being.
Killing a human being is wrong except in specific circumstances (e.g. to save ones own life).
Therefore abortion is wrong (except to save one's own life and whatever other exceptions there are).

I know we've all heard this argument a thousand times, but still it deserves a decent discussion, in my view. From examining various sides of an argument, we can go into an issue more deeply.

My current view (it has changed every couple of years it seems) is that it is unjust to kill a person. Jefferson called them "men" I think, but it is all persons who have a right to life. So the issue is: When does a developing new baby/baby-to-be become a person?

Up to that point, abort away. After that, not so fast.
What a fuckwit.

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