Forums > Social Discussion > South Dakota outlaws abortion

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jeff(fake)
jeff(fake)

Scientist of Fortune
Location: Edinburgh
Member Since: 15th Apr 2005
Total posts: 1189
Posted:BBC news story.
If you're in South Dakota abortians are now all but outlawed.

It's very sad that in this day and age the religious right has made this much head way. The anti-choice groups are trying to provoke a supreme court chalenge, aimed at over turning the Roe vs. Wade ruling which made abortians legal in the first place for Americans. If they succeed then abortions will once again be illegal across all of the united states (correct me if I've got my US legal code wrong).

Quite frankly this is a moral disaster. The rights of women to control their own bodies took a long time to win. It had to be fought for at every stage and now it looks like it's going to be eroded away again. I'm thankful that nothing like this could ever happen in Britain but it's still disheartening to see America heading back to the dark ages. frown


According to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle of Quantum Dynamics, we may already be making love right now...

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Patriarch917
Patriarch917

I make my own people.
Location: Nashville, Tennessee
Member Since: 2nd Oct 2005
Total posts: 607
Posted: Written by: jeff(fake)



Ridiculous strawmanning. A foetus does not possess the same level of consciousness as a fully grown human being, if it has any at all.





For those of you who don't know: "To 'set up a straw man' or 'set up a straw-man argument' is to create a position that is easy to refute, then attribute that position to the opponent.



A good example of a 'straw man' would be acting as if someone has said that "a fetus possesses the same level of consciousness as a fully grown human" so that there would be an opportunity to refute it, when in fact no one had said such a thing.



 Written by: jeff(fake)



To compare a foetus to black people is an insult to them.







How so? The two aren't even mutually exclusive. I know a person who was both black and a fetus at the same time.



Anyways, I never made a general comparison. I compared the legal theories behind specific cases that happened to involve those two overlapping classes of people.



The legal status of black people during slavery in America is probably the best legal analog to the legal status of unborn people today.



When the Supreme Court said that an unborn child was "not a person," it was not a statement about the child, it was a statement about how society would choose to treat the child. Similarly, when the Supreme Court said that a Black man was "not a person" it was not a statement about that man, it was a statement about how society would choose to treat that man.



"Personhood" is not an objective property that can be measured, such as height, weight, presence of a heart, or other such things. "Personhood," in the context of the American legal system, is an arbitrary line that has been drawn based on convenience.



It is similar to speed limits. The speed limit is not 55 mph because someone "discovered" that the speed limit was 55 at that point on the road. It is a legal invention, and can be changed whenever different lawmakers are put into office.



Similarly, the pronouncement that Black people were "property" and not "persons" was not based on any objective finding of "propertyness." Sure, objective facts were pointed to (they looked different, they were less educated, society had not given them full human rights, etc.), however, these things did not somehow "prove" that the black man was property, and not a person. Instead, these things influenced the Court to decide to label the Black man "property" rather than "person."



In the same way, "personhood" is not something that can be "found to exist" in anyone, fetus or otherwise. Instead, things such as the size, location, and dependency of the fetus have influenced the Court to label the child "not a person."



Just as the laws were later changed, and Black people were given the status of "person," South Dakota has changed its laws to give unborn children the status of "person" (even the black children).



 Written by: ]

[quote:

A sperm has merely the potential to become a person: if it can find an egg. Once the sperm and egg join, a new human has been formed. From that point, only time, nutrition, and shelter need be provided to it, just as with us.



The biological naiviety here is quite breath-taking. If all a zygote needed to become a newborn was nutritian and shelter then the swathes of human reproductive problems would mostly not exist.





Nonsense. The swathes of human reproductive problems are problems that interfere with the nutrition, shelter, and time usually provided by the mother to the child. What is it, other than proper nutrition, shelter, and time, that you think a fetus needs in order to grow up?


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BansheeCat
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Location: lost
Member Since: 29th Jul 2005
Total posts: 1247
Posted:You do make some better arguments there, Patriarch, I am somewhat reassured you are still on your game! But there are still some points to rebutt:

First of all, , a fetus can not be removed from the body of the mother and placed anywhere else, at least not yet.It generally dies when messed around with that way. One place is not as suitable as another for a fetus, you can not just take it out and put it into someone else... The relationship to the body it is living in, as part of, is crucial. It is not just drawing nutrients, it is attached, it is part of her. It may or may not have a degree of consciousness while a part of her, but it can not yet an considered an individual when it has that degree of interconnectedness.

Breastfeeding is not a good example to refute this either, because breastfeeding is a voluntary act, and the amount of participation in that act can be controlled. The baby will not die if it does not receive nourishment that way. We also dont need to perform surgery to detach the baby from the mothers nipple .

If a fetus could simply be removed and placed in a new environment, just like someone moving from one house to another, it might just solve the problem for all concerned. So far we dont know how to do that safely, and that in itself should demonstrate the high degree of significance connectivity to the specific womans body is. The relationship is not that of a house, or even comparable to a house where the someone lives and is fed. No ones lives off the blood flowing through their house. They are not attached by a umbilical cord, nor surrounded by placenta. These are a distinct state of being and dependancy. The integral relationship of the fetus to the woman is more than that of location and nourishment.


Children in an orphanage do not have that kind of relationship to their caregivers or environment at all. Your suggestion is a false form of hyperbole, as is your comparision to the rights confered on black people. I agree with Jeff on that one. Another flaw in your orphanage example is that mentionned in my previous post, centering around how we confer right to people after birth.-- though perhaps this is changing--

One of the reasons we limit abortion to the early stages is the fact that some fetuses can survive outside the womb after a certain point. So we generally avoid doing abortions after that stage. Perhaps even then the fetus is not yet a person by law, but when it is so close, losing some of its previous dependancy, ready to survive outside the body, we try to give it that chance.

I also think Jeff makes a very very significant point regarding the viability of an embryo/fetus and the notion of it as a person as soon as the sperm and the egg meet. Lots of things happen between conception and birth, and I dont think you can provide evidence of consciousness at that stage, certainly not sufficient to be distinctly a person with all of the rights of a citizen.If we all considered fetuses persons right at conception, with consciousness, we would be freaking out over the fact that more than fifty percent of them naturally die and are flushed from the body as somehow defective, with unsuitable conditions/factors to sustain life. This does not upset us to the same degree as when born person, baby child or adult dies due to illness or defect, because we simply do not recognize it as a person yet. It exists as a potential.


Despite their colour, it is pretty obvious that black people after birth did not fall in that cateogory as they were not inside/attached and dependant on a woman , and could communicate their consciousness.Other reasons too. Quite clearly a different case.

Though I do see the point that a society may change their definition of what constitues a person, and what rights they confer upon that person. I just dont think your arguement offers any reasons to support why we should do so in this case. If and when I see an arguement that does so, I think we will reconsider as a whole society. But that means we will have to look seriously at what that mean in terms of the inequalities in opportunity that being a mother places on women, and our ability to truly care for, support and protect members of our society that are insideand attached to other members. I suspect that will be a pretty complicated process! we are not even willing to protect people after birth, so I doubt we could possibly so so prior to that. Interesting idea though.


"God *was* my co-pilot, but then we crashed, and I had to eat him..."

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Patriarch917
Patriarch917

I make my own people.
Location: Nashville, Tennessee
Member Since: 2nd Oct 2005
Total posts: 607
Posted: Written by: andrealee


First of all, , a fetus can not be removed from the body of the mother and placed anywhere else, at least not yet.It generally dies when messed around with that way. One place is not as suitable as another for a fetus, you can not just take it out and put it into someone else...



As an embryo, we can put it in a womb other than the womb of its mother. As a fetus, we have advanced our technology so that it can be kept alive outside the womb slightly over halfway through the pregnancy.

Should it matter? One day we probably will be able to take them out of the womb and save them at any point (whether through putting them in another mother, or in an artificial womb). If this became possible, would it have changed anything about the baby, so that it would then become wrong to kill it?

Whether the fetus can survive in a different environment hardly seems dispositive. You cannot survive if I were to place you in the wrong environment (such as on Mars, or underwater), yet this does not meant that I have a right to kill you in the environment in which you could survive.

Babies are weak, and depend on adults to survive. They need special care, especially when very young. Right now, the care that babies need between the early embryonic stage and mid pregnancy is a womb. Whether or not we can invent other ways to care for them changes nothing about the child. Either they deserve to die, or they dont.

 Written by: andrealee


The relationship to the body it is living in, as part of, is crucial. It is not just drawing nutrients, it is attached, it is part of her.




It is attached to her, it is not part of her. Genetically, there are two distinct individuals. The baby is not an appendage or growth of the mothers body. It is her child, not another organ.

 Written by: andrealee


It may or may not have a degree of consciousness while a part of her, but it can not yet an considered an individual when it has that degree of interconnectedness.



Why not? Remember, the baby doesnt even connect to the mother until after a week of growing and developing on its own. Much like a newborn can survive on a different mothers breast milk, that embryo could have hooked on to another womans womb if we had placed it there. Clearly, they were two separate individuals for the week before implantation. Did they somehow lose their individuality by connecting and exchanging nutrition, hormones, and such?

 Written by: andrealee

Breastfeeding is not a good example to refute this either, because breastfeeding is a voluntary act, and the amount of participation in that act can be controlled. The baby will not die if it does not receive nourishment that way. We also dont need to perform surgery to detach the baby from the mothers nipple .



Breastfeeding is exactly the continuation of this process of a woman giving nutrition to a baby. Just as it didnt matter what womb the baby hooked into, it doesnt matter what breast they hook on to (as long as it is able to get the proper nutrition).

As an embryo or fetus the baby will not die if it did not receive nutrition from its mother, as long as it gets the proper care from somewhere else (like another mothers womb, or a Neonatal ICU).

Just as the tight bond between the mother and baby while breastfeeding will naturally end without surgery (when the baby bites), so also the tight bond between the mother and unborn child will naturally end without surgical intervention... during birth.

 Written by: andrealee


The integral relationship of the fetus to the woman is more than that of location and nourishment.


Clearly, since unborn children can and do receive nutrition from sources other than their mother, and in locations other than their mothers womb, they are distinct individuals with no inherent dependency on some particular individual. The integrity between the mother and her child is strong because the mother is usually the one best suited to care for the child.

Debating at what point a child becomes a distinct individual is pretty silly, once you understand fetal development. It was a medical individual once it got its own unique genetic code and started growing. Attaching to a womb (its mothers, or otherwise) did not destroy this individuality any more than a kangaroos joey loses its individuality when it makes it into the pouch.

 Written by: andrealee


One of the reasons we limit abortion to the early stages is the fact that some fetuses can survive outside the womb after a certain point. So we generally avoid doing abortions after that stage. Perhaps even then the fetus is not yet a person by law, but when it is so close, losing some of its previous dependancy, ready to survive outside the body, we try to give it that chance.



One of the reasons I would like to do away with abortion at those early stages is the fact that fetuses can survive inside the womb at that point. I want to give it the chance to grow to the point where it can survive outside.

 Written by: andrealee


I also think Jeff makes a very very significant point regarding the viability of an embryo/fetus and the notion of it as a person as soon as the sperm and the egg meet. Lots of things happen between conception and birth, . . .


The fetus is obviously viable within the womb... otherwise we wouldnt have to kill it, but could simply allow it to die naturally. A lot does happen between conception and birth. A lot happens between birth and adulthood. It doesnt stop until the person dies, or is killed by someone else.

A newborn is no more viable without care from adults than an unborn child is, as this study proved. Just because they are still developing and only have potential at some stage in life does not mean that they are subhuman.

 Written by: andrealee


...I dont think you can provide evidence of consciousness at that stage, certainly not sufficient to be distinctly a person with all of the rights of a citizen.



Neither individuality nor citizenship is dependent upon consciousness. You do not cease to be either if I were to knock you upside the head and make you unconscious.

I do not refrain from killing others because they are conscious. I refrain from killing them because they are innocent human beings. On the other hand, I have no problem killing flies, whether they are conscious or not.

 Written by: andrealee


If we all considered fetuses persons right at conception, with consciousness, we would be freaking out over the fact that more than fifty percent of them naturally die and are flushed from the body as somehow defective, with unsuitable conditions/factors to sustain life.


I dont freak out at the fact that the death rate of all people is about 100%.

I am sad when children die at an early age. I was sad when an unborn child of my own died. I understand that it is probable that my wife and I may conceive a child that will die without us ever realizing that we had it.

I do not freak out at the possibility, because I know that child would have lived its natural life span, and died despite my wife and I doing all that we could to care for it. I would freak out, however, if I were to have killed a child intentionally, at any age.

In the end, I think one of the root differences comes from our view of the source of rights. As I pointed out earlier in this thread, there are many theories about where rights come from. I showed that from a humanist perspective it is possible to believe that there are no intrinsic human rights, but that right are granted by society when society thinks that it is good to grant them. Obviously, if this is the case, then unborn children in South Dakota possess a right to life, and those in my state do not.

I dont happen to think that way. I do not think that human rights are something that governments can grant to people, or take away. I think that certain rights are inherent within humans, and that governments job is to secure those rights.

Happily, I live in a country that embraces exactly that ideal:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men...


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BansheeCat
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Member Since: 29th Jul 2005
Total posts: 1247
Posted:Wow, Patriarch, I still dont agree with you, but I must say that was really well written!!! When you avoid sarcasm and sidetracking hyperbole you can really state a good case. Very impressive.



It probably would not benefit us to carry the debate further at this stage .It would just tbe nitpicking nuances. We obviously do not come from a common basis of perception/understanding , though we actually do overlap more than I would have thought possible!



I would just make one point, that perhaps the fetus can be a part of the mother, but in a unique way. Afterall, pregnancy is a unique state in a womans life. A part, but not the same kind of part as an arm or a leg... All of the means you suggested to demonstate its separation and viabilty in another woman etc would involve radical surgical intervention. Without that, the fetus still is completly within the influence/domain of the body of the mother.



But lets not keep grinding points, hey?



Out of all your wrote, only one particular aspect made me want to ask a question or extend the dialogue, in general I felt like I understood where you are coming from quite well . Oddly, the question that came to my mind is a bit off topic, and may be answered simply by your Christian faith.



But, I was wondering, what makes a human worthy of these rights and protection, and not all life forms?



Why are they inherent in the human form and no other? What makes them inherent? How do we know they are? If not the degree of consciousness- and by that I did not mean not the kind that can be taken by a blow to the head, or falling asleep, rather something more akin to awareness, realization, communication? I dont honestly know a good word for it. What is it that sets our human value so high above any other?



My personal view is to value all life- personally, when it is my sphere of influence and interaction, including the plants animals and soil- but not to impose that view one others. I do *encourage* that respect, in a posative fashion where possible. As in the abortion discussion, I feel the primary place of influence and action is to offer better safer more compassionate options all the way along the line- prevention through sex educaion , following through to better adoptive services. Education and support, rather than simply restricting a service many women feel is necessary. Have people make the best choice because it is the best one for them, not because I or any government have forbidden them actions on their own body.



Within that world view,where all life not just human -is respected and has value, death is still , as you say, one hundred percent. So there are times when we do things that involve killing, perhaps out of perceived necessity- to eat, to defend oursleves, to ensure adequate resources-etc. I feel that when we see this as a necessity, and act on it, that it is important to try and do it cleanly and compassionately, with full acknowledgement and respect.And accept responsibility for the consequences, whether you perceive that as karma or no.



Some of us humans, go to such huge lengths to protect a fetus, while at the same time are completely okay with the atrocities we commit to animals that are tortured, not just killed, for our food. I wonder at the distinction. A buddhist "morality" would show concern and compassion for the fly you killed, as well as the fetus-- all life. One of the reasons morality on its own is not the most sound legal basis for a multicultural community.



Oops, kinda lost the question in all that. Just contemplating: why extend your compassion and protection exclusively to the human race? Many life forms fulfil the same / simiar qualities - or more- that we outlined for a fetus. Why not them too? I think a christian might say something like god gave only us humans a soul. But I will let you answer for yourself, if you are interested...Maybe in a new thread?



This is just contemplation and exploration, not intended as a debate. Gentler sort of thought process this morning!


"God *was* my co-pilot, but then we crashed, and I had to eat him..."

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Patriarch917
Patriarch917

I make my own people.
Location: Nashville, Tennessee
Member Since: 2nd Oct 2005
Total posts: 607
Posted:A PM is probably the best place to answer your questions. I will compose a reply soon.

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