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Subject: Abortion --- it may be legal, but is it moral? rss

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Rich Charters
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I saw this Dennis Prager video on my facebook feed today and thought I'd post it here to see the thoughts/reaction of RSP. He discusses 5 specific points on, not the legality, but the morality of abortion. Thoughts?



Here's are the points he makes (for those who can't spare the time to watch the video -- 5min 19sec):
1) A living being doesn't have to be a person to have intrinsic moral value and rights.
2) On what moral grounds does a mother alone decide a fetus' worth?
3) A woman has the right to control her body but the fetus is not her body, it is a separate body.
4) After birth everyone agrees is it immoral to terminate the life, but a few months earlier, it is consider no more immoral than extracting a tooth.....why?
5) Aren't there instances when just about everyone would acknowledge that an abortion might not be moral?
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Chapel
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I don't think Abortion is moral, but I do agree with it's legality.

I would never agree with aborting a fetus of my own making, but it's not my final decision, it's not my body.
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Leland Pike
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MWChapel wrote:
I don't think Abortion is moral...
What makes it immoral?
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Chapel
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lelandpike wrote:
MWChapel wrote:
I don't think Abortion is moral...
What makes it immoral?


What makes anything immoral?
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Chad Ellis
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richcharters wrote:

1) A living being doesn't have to be a person to have intrinsic moral value and rights.


If you believe that human life is of a higher moral order than other living organisms and that this is defined either by a soul (or other metaphysical concept) or by the potential to become a self-aware, moral agent, then this line of thinking makes some sense. If not, then the reasons for assigning greater moral value and rights to an embryo or early-stage fetus (given that it cannot think or fear or hope, etc.) seem very arbitrary to me.

Quote:
2) On what moral grounds does a mother alone decide a fetus' worth?


Anyone can assign value to anything. The mother isn't alone in deciding what a fetus is worth; she's exercising the fundamental right of bodily autonomy.

You may be worth a great deal, but if the only way you can live is through a direct biological connection to me, then I can say, "No" to that -- and my saying "no" is silent as to your worth.

Quote:
3) A woman has the right to control her body but the fetus is not her body, it is a separate body.


Sure, but its survival requires access to her body. It requires that she accept hormones, a non-trivial risk to her health, and significant physical affects. If she wants a baby, these are generally viewed either as worth it or wonderful in their own right.

There is a famous thought exercise about a violinist that explores this question.

Quote:
4) After birth everyone agrees is it immoral to terminate the life, but a few months earlier, it is consider no more immoral than extracting a tooth.....why?


"A few months" isn't very honest, since a) the vast majority of elective abortions take place much earlier in the pregnancy and b) most pro-choice people are OK with limits on late-term abortions. As you may know, I worked for one of the larger Planned Parenthood affiliates; they didn't do abortions past 14 weeks, which is long before viability.


Quote:
5) Aren't there instances when just about everyone would acknowledge that an abortion might not be moral?


Sure. I think if you're at nine months and suddenly decide you're not into it and want an abortion that's at least callous and I would consider it immoral. It would also be something that Roe v. Wade would let States outlaw.
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Kissa
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Seeing as morality is dictated by society it would depend on what the majority or controlling minority says morality is.

Currently abortion is legal in most of the world with some countries restricting it to cases of maternal life, mental health, rape, fetal defects and/or socioeconomic factors.

Which morality are you choosing to follow?
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jeremy cobert
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MWChapel wrote:
What makes anything immoral?


Taking a human life from a being without their consent is immoral.
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Chapel
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jeremycobert wrote:
MWChapel wrote:
What makes anything immoral?


Taking a human life from a being without their consent is immoral.


Since when? Who decided that? I agree you "feel" it's immoral, but is it immoral? I "feel" it's immoral, only because I feel bad if I had to do it, but that feeling is subjective.
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Definitions. They are important.

In RSP it is immoral to control access to your country. It is immoral to ask for evidence humans cause warming. On the other hand, it is only immoral for republicans to use fag, homo, and nigger, dems can do so with reckless abandon.

Morality is fluid here. Its meaning is closer to "convenient" than any dictionary definition.
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I was almost going to say: as useful a topic as another climate change thread, but I see that topic has been mentioned.
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rico mcflico
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richcharters wrote:
I saw this Dennis Prager video on my facebook feed today and thought I'd post it here to see the thoughts/reaction of RSP. He discusses 5 specific points on, not the legality, but the morality of abortion. Thoughts?

My first thought was, "Wow, I haven't seen a Rich Charter post in a while! I wonder if he is still incapable of critical thought?"

My second thought involved sausages that might have spent too long on the hot side of the grill.

My third thought was that I should give Rich Charter a second chance and so I watched the video before commenting on what seemed to be specious drivel.

My fourth thought was that Perpetual Nice Guy Chad Ellis addressed your points without calling it specious drivel once, and that I wish I was more like Chad Ellis.

Then I watched the video, or at least started to, but only made it 39 seconds when I hear:


specious driveller wrote:
It's a scientific fact that a human fetus is human life.


My fifth thought was, "Jesus Goddamn Christ! I over cooked my sausages for this?"
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Chad Ellis
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Koldfoot wrote:
Definitions. They are important.

In RSP it is immoral to control access to your country. It is immoral to ask for evidence humans cause warming. On the other hand, it is only immoral for republicans to use fag, homo, and nigger, dems can do so with reckless abandon.

Morality is fluid here. Its meaning is closer to "convenient" than any dictionary definition.


You may want to find a new thesaurus. "Definitions" isn't actually a synonym for "bullshit".
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Matthew Schoell
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Chad_Ellis wrote:
Koldfoot wrote:
Definitions. They are important.

In RSP it is immoral to control access to your country. It is immoral to ask for evidence humans cause warming. On the other hand, it is only immoral for republicans to use fag, homo, and nigger, dems can do so with reckless abandon.

Morality is fluid here. Its meaning is closer to "convenient" than any dictionary definition.


You may want to find a new thesaurus. "Definitions" isn't actually a synonym for "bullshit".


The fetus is not a separate body. It has the capacity to impact the health of the mother.

I return to the idea that we do not, as a society, value embryos that fail to implant, or that spontaneously miscarry in undetectable ways. We make no effort to detect when those events occur, we make no effort to prevent those things from happening, we have expended literally zero energy on that topic.

I'm not sure if there are times when an abortion is definitively immoral or not; I am sure that this is much more about the ability to judge women and their sexual behavior. If it were not, those against abortion would have consistent values towards the nonimplanted embryos, and towards the born.
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rico mcflico
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MWChapel wrote:
jeremycobert wrote:
MWChapel wrote:
What makes anything immoral?


Taking a human life from a being without their consent is immoral.


Since when? Who decided that? I agree you "feel" it's immoral, but is it immoral? I "feel" it's immoral, only because I feel bad if I had to do it, but that feeling is subjective.

Pretty sure he doesn't actually believe this. At least not without qualifications. Otherwise he'd be morally opposed to the death penalty, handgun ownership, and the military.
 
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Kelsey Rinella
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Sperm and eggs are also human life. So, to turn your (or the video's, I confess I don't plan to watch it) #4 around, in your view it is immoral to terminate an embryo, but not the sperm and egg which would combine to form it. Why?

I'm not suggesting there's no good answer, but I'm interested what counts as a good answer in your eyes.

To put my cards entirely on the table, I think the right to autonomy about one's body is a very reliable moral heuristic. If someone is using your reproductive organs without your consent, and your only option to stop them involves lethal force, lethal force is justified.
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Leland Pike
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MWChapel wrote:
lelandpike wrote:
MWChapel wrote:
I don't think Abortion is moral...
What makes it immoral?

What makes anything immoral?

You said you "don't think Abortion is moral". I'm asking you why you believe that.
 
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Yes.
 
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Most of the video is a complete train wreck. I particularly love the animation where he animates the fetus being dumped from the woman’s belly into a garbage can AFTER lecturing that he wants to discuss the subject without EMOTION. Right, dude.

Chad has already dealt with most of the points here, and I have very little desire to talk about 3-5. But 1 and 2 were slightly interesting.

(1)He states that pro-choice people tend to point out that while a fetus is human life, that it is not a person. Then in a typical "gotcha" moment, he announces that a living being doesn’t have to be a person. We value dogs and other animals after all. This has got to be the stupidest moment in the entire video. The comparison isn't to human person versus animal person. It's to human fetus still in the womb, unable to exist on its own and potentially missing key components like brain activity. A proper comparison would be a dog fetus, not a dog. What is wrong with this guy?

(2) Apparently, now is when pro-choice people are supposed to throw up their hands and concede, you are so right! That dog is exactly like the human fetus. Pro-choice people apparently are now in awe of argument (1) and flailingly assert that, well, but you have to consider the woman's rights. But wait, he has an answer to that. This argument doesn't hold any weight because a mother’s rights don't matter unless the fetus has no intrinsic worth. That's right. No intrinsic worth at all. Basically, yes, you should carry until 9 months, no matter what the risk, because you can't definitely prove that the fetus has no intrinsic worth. That's the standard. Even a sliver of worth is golden.

Then he seemingly goes off on a tangent where he asserts that fetus's have infinite worth when the mother decides to stay pregnant because society. Evidence of this is that a person can be charged with murder based only on a woman’s choice to give birth. Never mind that isn't the case everywhere. And also never mind that the woman's choice to keep the child long-term would never enter into the criminal charge. And never mind, the whole "infinite worth" thing versus the aforementioned graphic kicking the fetus into a garbage can.

What a horrible video.
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Rich Charters
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Chad, nice to debate with you again....it's been a while! I'm not back...I just saw the video and it caught my interest so I thought I would post. But when I read your reply, I couldn't resist!

Chad_Ellis wrote:
richcharters wrote:

1) A living being doesn't have to be a person to have intrinsic moral value and rights.
If you believe that human life is of a higher moral order than other living organisms and that this is defined either by a soul (or other metaphysical concept) or by the potential to become a self-aware, moral agent, then this line of thinkijavascript://ng makes some sense. If not, then the reasons for assigning greater moral value and rights to an embryo or early-stage fetus (given that it cannot think or fear or hope, etc.) seem very arbitrary to me.
I do happen to think that a person is of a higher moral order, but the point is more basic than that. If it's wrong for me to grab a dog and slit it's throat, it should be wrong for me to slit the throat of a fetus. It doesn't have to be a human life to make terminating that life 'wrong.' That is the simple point he made in the video. Your statement above implies that you feel the life of a dog has more worth than the life of a human fetus. I'm wondering if you really feel that way. Also, your statement about all the limitations (can't feel, can't fear, can't play chess, etc...) on a fetus begs the question.

Chad_Ellis wrote:
Quote:
2) On what moral grounds does a mother alone decide a fetus' worth?


Anyone can assign value to anything. The mother isn't alone in deciding what a fetus is worth; she's exercising the fundamental right of bodily autonomy.

You may be worth a great deal, but if the only way you can live is through a direct biological connection to me, then I can say, "No" to that -- and my saying "no" is silent as to your worth.
Again, you miss the point. The point is that the mothers opinion shouldn't be able to fundamentally change the value of something. Humans can change their mind pretty quickly. The point was that at the point of birth (if and only if the mother wants to give birth), the worth of the fetus is huge.....if she has a bad day and decides she doesn't want to keep the baby, then the worth goes to zero?? That thinking does not resonate with me. Either it's worth something or it's not.

Chad_Ellis wrote:
Quote:
3) A woman has the right to control her body but the fetus is not her body, it is a separate body.
Sure, but its survival requires access to her body. It requires that she accept hormones, a non-trivial risk to her health, and significant physical affects. If she wants a baby, these are generally viewed either as worth it or wonderful in their own right.

There is a famous thought exercise about a violinist that explores this question.
a newborn's survival also requires support from the mother, or others. Are you saying that if we had the technology to easily transplant a fetus into a laboratory incubator (just like we have the technology to mix up some formula to nourish a newborn) then at that point it will become 'wrong' to terminate the life of the fetus? Assuming a point in the future when keeping a fetus alive in an incubator is as viable as keeping a newborn alive by mixing up some formula, would you consider abortion immoral at that point?? If not, why not?

As far as the violinist go (I hadn't heard of it so I just did a google search and read the first few paragraphs)....if I consciously did something that caused the violinist to be connected to me then he'd have a pretty good case for forcing me to not 'unplug' him. In that case it would be immoral and irresponsible for me to cut the cord.

Chad_Ellis wrote:
Quote:
4) After birth everyone agrees is it immoral to terminate the life, but a few months earlier, it is consider no more immoral than extracting a tooth.....why?
"A few months" isn't very honest, since a) the vast majority of elective abortions take place much earlier in the pregnancy and b) most pro-choice people are OK with limits on late-term abortions. As you may know, I worked for one of the larger Planned Parenthood affiliates; they didn't do abortions past 14 weeks, which is long before viability.
How about 8 months instead of a few months? The point is the same...the birth of a fetus is just one more step in it's development. How can we draw a line in the sand (14 weeks, 6 months, birth, other) and say at that point the entire value of the fetus changes.

Chad_Ellis wrote:
Quote:
5) Aren't there instances when just about everyone would acknowledge that an abortion might not be moral?

Sure. I think if you're at nine months and suddenly decide you're not into it and want an abortion that's at least callous and I would consider it immoral. It would also be something that Roe v. Wade would let States outlaw.
I think you're missing the point again. I agree with you 100% that it is a sickening thought to think of aborting a baby at 9 months. But the point in the video is: should we be able to evaluate our pregnancy and then abort based on the 'status' of the fetus. The two example in the video are: 1) It's a girl, and she wanted a boy.....should the mother be able to abort based on that? and 2) the fetus is going to be gay and she wanted a straight child....should the mother be able to abort based on that? If you see those decisions as immoral (and if you don't then we have bigger problems here), then there must be some fundamental worth associated with the fetus....if that's the case, how can any abortion be considered moral?
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rico mcflico
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lelandpike wrote:
MWChapel wrote:
lelandpike wrote:
MWChapel wrote:
I don't think Abortion is moral...
What makes it immoral?

What makes anything immoral?

You said you "don't think Abortion is moral". I'm asking you why you believe that.

That's a loaded way to ask the question. Maybe he thinks it's amoral.
 
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spoon wrote:
lelandpike wrote:
MWChapel wrote:
lelandpike wrote:
MWChapel wrote:
I don't think Abortion is moral...
What makes it immoral?

What makes anything immoral?

You said you "don't think Abortion is moral". I'm asking you why you believe that.

That's a loaded way to ask the question. Maybe he thinks it's amoral.


It's possible to see abortion as immoral for terminating a potential life, but still think that abortion should be legal based on the balance of two sets of inextricably intertwined lives only one of which is capable of thought. I don't know why this is tough.

Personally, I think I'd have a hard time having an abortion, yet I don't regard it as particularly immoral in the first trimester nor do I want to put restrictions on it in that timeframe. And I think late abortions are despicable when they occur for viability reasons. It's the time between that tends to be difficult at best.
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1) Vegetarians might agree with you, I don't.

2/3) I'd swat a mosquito if it was feeding on my body.

4/5) I'd imagine most people would agree abortion is arguably moral before the fetus is a person, and arguably immoral after the fetus is a person. But I doubt you'd get them to agree as to when that is.

Most everyone would agree that the sperm and egg, existing in two different bodies, is not a person, and that a baby having popped out of the mother is a person. (I don't think of them as a person until 16 or so, but I realize I'm an outlier here.)

It's that span in between where the disagreement lies.

Some people think as soon as the sperm and egg touch, it's a person. Some people think once the fetus reaches a certain point in development and takes person form, it is a person. Some people think a fetus is not a person until it is born.
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Osirus wrote:
Some people think as soon as the sperm and egg touch, it's a person.


This is what I was trying to elicit from Rich (if he believes it). Because, if the standard of value is "human life", then valuing embryos but not eggs seems as arbitrary as valuing babies but not embryos.

More broadly, it seems to me that the video and/or Rich are arguing in ways which suggest they don't take most of the concepts they're using seriously. "Human life" is an example--it seems like it's introduced purely to make an argument, rather than being a concept which they sincerely hold to be an important part of the moral fabric of the universe.
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richcharters wrote:
I saw this Dennis Prager video on my facebook feed today and thought I'd post it here to see the thoughts/reaction of RSP. He discusses 5 specific points on, not the legality, but the morality of abortion. Thoughts?



Here's are the points he makes (for those who can't spare the time to watch the video -- 5min 19sec):
1) A living being doesn't have to be a person to have intrinsic moral value and rights.
2) On what moral grounds does a mother alone decide a fetus' worth?
3) A woman has the right to control her body but the fetus is not her body, it is a separate body.
4) After birth everyone agrees is it immoral to terminate the life, but a few months earlier, it is consider no more immoral than extracting a tooth.....why?
5) Aren't there instances when just about everyone would acknowledge that an abortion might not be moral?


Basically restating of the debate and discussion over the last 50 years.

There is nothing new in your or his statements.

It's an ugly messy situation with immorality on both sides. I can see both sides. But I support legal, safe abortion as opposed to the alternatives which we always have when abortion is illegal.



It looks like 19% currently feel abortion should always be illegal (and so it's never moral).
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maxo-texas wrote:







That's amazingly stable
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