All My Thoughts on Abortion

WARNING as this is a major FRAT.

I will also say that I probably won't respond to most of the comments as so far every single one I've seen falls into the categories already covered here.

I've decided to write all of this down more or less to clear my own head on this particular issue, AND to address some common misunderstandings and arguments that occur.

First – I think some things need to be clarified so that the abortion debate can be correctly framed. The reason I say this is that if you're going to argue in favor of one position, then your arguments need to be from that ACTUAL position. Abortion is a bit slippery and I see all to often that to deal with one logical or emotional difficulty – they can simply gloss over or ignore a feature and with the simple use of language negate it's value.

The definition of the problem: The debate about abortions is about whether or not the individual life that is started after conception has value and is deserving of protection – and at what time this life obtains this value. For example – very few people who are pro-abortion would say that terminating an 8 month old fetus is OK, so they DO accord a value to an unborn child, just at a later stage than a person who is against abortion.

I also use the terms "Pro-abortion" and "Anti-Abortion" because Pro life and Pro Choice are pure emotional and political terms. Everyone values human life (more or less) and everyone believes in the freedom to choose. This debate in reality isn't about either.

If abortion can be shown to be murder (for arguments sake) then there is no "right to choose" because the life would be considered valuable outside of what the mother wants. Therefore it's not about her choice. Likewise, if abortion can be shown NOT to be murder or at least the killing of something with little individual value – than it's not about choice either. We don't get angry when people choose to remove a cyst – so why would it be such a big deal if we determine that a fetus is morally no different?

1) It is an individual human life. This statement cannot be argued. The cells exist ALL of the recognized criteria that biology tells us life must exist. The cells are most definitely human. The cells are most definitely a unique genetic identity. They are not sentient – but sentience is a JUDGEMENT call – not a categorization. So you may argue that the individual human life is not worth protecting because for it to be worth protecting it needs to be sentient, but there is just no way you can say "It's not an individual human life". By all of the unambiguous scientific parameters, it most certainly is.
2) A common response to the above usually is a poor attempt at reduction ad absurdum involving the value of individual sperm or egg. However – as I've mentioned a million times before; there is a chasm of difference between stopping something that you have already started, and deciding not to start in the first place. Besides this fundamental and logical difference, there is also the fact that an individual sperm is NOT an individual human life. I was never a sperm, I was never an egg. A split seconds difference here or there and I wouldn't exist. That sperm that became part of me could've died or become part of a million other possible other combinations. However I – Me – You – Us – The possibility of our own existence coming to fruition was narrowed down dramatically once conception occurred. This is because our unique, individual genetic identity was formed THEN. Not later, Not before.

Just to be sure we're clear on this point and it's not continually revisited. Think of the qualitative differences between removing a cake from the oven before it's finished cooking and throwing it out – and deciding not to make the cake in the first place. In the first case it's clear that something is lost – in the second something hasn't been started yet. The bag of flour is not a cake – it possesses none of the characteristics of a cake. It could be involved one day in the making of a cake – but for now – it's just a bag of flour.

A sperm on it's own is just that – a sperm. It is NOT a complete and unique human identity – it is the sex cell that is produced by a unique human identity. It is a part of a human, but it possesses none of the above aforementioned characteristics until it fertilizes an egg. A very clear and distinct, logical boundary.

3) It's not my place to tell mothers what to do with their bodies – Totally irrelevant. If abortion is shown to be murder – then yes, you tell the mothers what to do because they're committing a crime. An immoral act doesn't cease to be so when someone else is doing it. Likewise – if abortion is shown to be morally no different than removing a cyst, then telling the mother (or not telling her) what to do makes no sense because it just wouldn't be an issue.
4) People who are anti-abortion are NOT pro "creation of life for the sake of creating it". This is highly related to point number two. They are for the protection of that individual human life the moment after conception. Before conception – if you never want to have kids that's fine. Wear condoms – it's really, REALLY easy to wear condoms. You're not killing anything, you're simply preventing something from being created in the first place. Again – VERY different things.
5) "Oh the force of pain and suffering... why let these unwanted children to be born" – I'm surprised I've heard this one, but it's common. However – again totally irrelevant and logically quite skewed. If abortion is shown to be morally equivalent to murder then it's not up to you to decide about the future of this childs life. Many children born in dire circumstances go on to leave wonderful fulfilling lives, and many others born to privileged circumstances go on to be miserable. If reducing suffering was supposed to be a vaunted goal and a perfect justification to end human life, then dropping nuclear bombs on Africa would be morally OK. And again – if abortion is morally no different than getting rid of a cyst, this argument makes no sense.

So hopefully I've made it clear that at this point the debate is not about any of the above, but about when the unborn child takes on a value worth protecting.

For arguments sake I will err on the side of caution and say that after eight weeks the pro-abortion side considers it a life worth protecting and that anti-abortion says ?after conception?. I chose eight weeks for two reasons:
1) The arguments I make can be applied almost regardless of when the value is placed.

2) It's the lower limit (I've found) in regards to the pro-abortion side. At eight weeks there is a nervous system, heart-beat, clear ability to feel pain etc. No sentience, and the child can?t function outside the womb ? but some people who are pro abortion feel uncomfortable even this early as there are recognizable features.

Now if the main center of the debate is on the value of the unborn child , or "clump of cells" then let's discuss that.

Anti-Abortion = "Clump of cells are very valuable and worthy of protection"

Pro-Abortion = "Clump of cells is morally no different than a dust mite"

Now let's go on the path of human development until we get the following statements:

Anti-Abortion = "Clump of cells are very valuable and worthy of protection"

Pro-Abortion = "Clump of cells are now very valuable and worthy of protection"

I'm using "clump of cells" as it is the common derogatory term to dismiss value by those who are pro-abortion.

Now once this clump of cells has become worthy of protection even for those who are pro abortion ? we can ask them, "why is it worth protecting"?

To which the answer is "Because it's now a human life"

Well , we know what they mean (they mean "An individual human life that I believe has value outside of what the mother wants") but this begs the question.

"How much do you value individual human life"?

Usually, people place a very high value on an individual human life. Certainly more than a few thousand dollars. Let's put this value at a lowly one million dollars.

What is the difference than morally between this very valuable clump of cells, and one day previous? Does it not strike you as the height of "lack of foresight" to say "It's OK to now terminate" the day before? The wonderful process that brings about the INDIVIDUAL that you will eventually concede has immense value outside what the mother wants started at conception (Not before , so again, a warning not to go down the illogical road of the ol' sperm and egg argument - see reply above number 2).

A common and straightforward analogy I have used about the transference of value and is that of the "post dated check". It gets misunderstood because of the already aforementioned "replies" but also because they get caught up on the "money vs human life" or "what if you don?t want the money" etc etc. So in this final restating of the analogy I hope it's clearer.

One day you're walking along and you meet someone. You have a wonderful chat and get along like a house on fire ; and this person says to you I'm going to give you ten million dollars! But you can't cash this check right away, you have to wait nine months.

Once he has written and signed that check he gives it to you to hold and protect for those nine months.

How much is this check now worth? Maybe not ten million dollars exactly right (just like if you had to make the unfortunate choice between protecting a child that was already born and an unborn child you'd pick the one that's born - but not choice anyone would be happy to make) ? but pretty close. Why? You can't do ANY of the things you can do with money. You can't spend it. Can't touch it or feel those wads of cash. In fact - for all of this OUTWARD experience of something you VALUE you need to wait nine months.

If wind came up and blew that check right out of your hands would you chase after it? Why? It was just a piece of paper and ink that exhibits NONE of the attributes of what you would consider "real money" so you've lost nothing right?

What if someone said "I'll give you five million dollars for that check right now".Five million dollars is a lot of money, a great measure of value. However if you accepted his offer - nine months down the road when he's spending that money and you're with yours - will you have felt that you've lost something? Why? It really was only ink and paper that you sold right? You "ripped him off" right? I think at this point it should be obvious that the difference between this check before it could be cashed, and the day it can be cashed is superficial.

The reason why the above example works is because there are two distinct moments.

The first - is when the man signs the check setting in motion a cascade of events that will; barring accidents, result in ten million dollars.(Having sex, resulting in the conception of an individual human life setting in motion a cascade of events that will, barring accidents, result in an infant that you can raise as yours).

The second - a single moment at which IMMENSE VALUE can inarguably be accorded. This is the point of the analogy, and the backbone of my stance on this. The idea that something can go from essentially zero to ten million in an instant, when the actual process was started months previous just makes no sense. The moral (or qualitative) difference that is often mentioned by people who support abortion is in fact superficial. And when looked at closely, it is just a way to try and deal with the guilt (If it doesn't look like what I would call a child, it's OK to kill it.)

See- for me this is the logical problem with abortion - and it can be summarized as this.

1) We have to agree that there is a unique, human, genetic identity post conception.

2) We also have to agree that there is some point along the chain of human development that this life has ENORMOUS value outside of whether or not people "want" this life.

3) There is no moral difference between the aforementioned point of value (as chosen by people who are pro-abortion) and a day previous, or a week previous - all the way back until the first moment that genetically unique human identity was formed (conception). And that the idea that something that is the moral equivalent of a dust mite can instantly take on the value of human life is a miracle that would be needed to justify the pro-abortion stance.

And finally - and hopefully clearly - ask yourself this question.

You've got an actual dust-mite - and something that you believe is morally equivalent.

The dust mite will remain just that , a dust-mite. But miraculously , this other thing (which is the moral equivalent) will tomorrow become something that you actually believe has enormous value and should be protected.

How , for the love of pete, can you look at these both in the same way? Does this not clearly illustrate the fact that the differences you have placed in your head are arbitrary and superficial?

read the story of James Robinson.

I just had a brief glance - are you referring to the guitarist - 12th of 13 children? I'm not sure how helpful it is bringing in specific examples of healthy, happy, or worthwhile lives as it brings in the idea of the act (of abortion) being good or bad based on consequences outside of the act itself.

I should also mention (as I don't recognize you're name so perhaps you're unaware) that I'm approaching this from a purely logical point of view. I'm an atheist - but I'm against abortion (for the reasons lined out above).

you sir are an atheist HERZETIC!!!

let me lay it out for you before you spoile everyones fun....

Atheism = godless immoral whorelike activity...

Abortion = solution to that immoral whorelike activity..

win win situation IMHO

Awwwww... I missed you Bludhall.

good post.

sorry,Pastor James Robinson

well you would have to read the book,the story is not on his website,so i'll give you the short,quick version...

Pastor James Robinson's real mother was raped,and became pregnant,of course she didn't want the baby,but as a God loving woman,she decided to go ahead and have the baby and give it up for adoption,

today Pastor Robinson's ministries are without question helping millions worldwide.He is without question,one of the most humble and God loving people you will ever meet.

http://www.lifetoday.org/site/PageServer

 

http://www.lifetoday.org/site/PageServer?pagename=tel_gateway

 

When I've got time - I'll read a bit.

Although I would almost certainly be considered a "vitriolic atheist" by most, I do enjoy hearnig about REAL christians. This is why I have so much respect for "The Rev" because his model and his life is really a good example of what a good human being should be or try to do.

One guy you might like to hear about is Paul Erdos - a hungarian mathematician. He was an atheist - but he lived one of the most "christian" lives I've ever read about. He had NO use whatsoever for personal wealth - worked hard his entire life and gave literally everything (including millions of dollars over the years in awards he got for solving various mathematical problems) to charities and to individuals who needed it. A common story about this man - He just recieved a 500 dollar award for something when he was leaving a train station (my memory is a bit hazy on this - but it's like this) and encountered a homeless mother and child. He needed about 2 dollars to get home. He gave 498.00 to the mother without thinking about it.

"you think raising kids is hard, try getting your girlfriend to have her 4th abortion"

-David Cross

and encountered a homeless mother and child.

yes hallelu-yah,Father directs the steps of the rightous,and they know when to do this or that,for they follow the urges of good,that Father puts in their hearts and minds.

thank you for the story,it is a blessing!

r.w.

Good post Robert.

"well you would have to read the book,the story is not on his website,so i'll give you the short,quick version...

Pastor James Robinson's real mother was raped,and became pregnant,of course she didn't want the baby,but as a God loving woman,she decided to go ahead and have the baby and give it up for adoption,

today Pastor Robinson's ministries are without question helping millions worldwide.He is without question,one of the most humble and God loving people you will ever meet."

But using this same logic there are many awful people being born who wouldn't have been born had they been aborted. We certainly are in no place to judge the 'greater good' are we?

Siamang - That's why I always avoid that line of reasoning. It's great that the woman made a difficult choice to stay true to her moral values, and as a result of that a man was born who helped many... but as a line of reasoning it can't be used.

Argument by analogy is always dangerous. Money in dollars has many properties that human life does not, and vice versa.

Imagine that there are only two countries in the world: country A, and country B. If real goods and services stay the same in country A, and country B, but the number of dollars in country B triples, while the number of dollars in country A stays the same, country A becomes poor, and is in a state of crisis. If instead, real goods and services stay the same in country A, and country B; but the number of people in country B triples while the number of people in country A stays the same, country B becomes poor, and is in a state of crisis.

Clearly your argument by analogy doesn't cut it. Human life and money are valuable for very different reasons, and you need to address what it is that makes human life valuable.

To disprove your argument by Reductio Ad Absurdum:

  • It would be beneficial to a poor single woman to meet a stranger, and get a $10,000,000 post dated check once every 9 months for the next 15 years. Therefore it would also be beneficial to a poor single woman to conceive a child every 9 months for the next 15years.

  • Great Britain has a population of 60,776,238, and is well off. If it had the same population as China, 1,321,851,888, it would be better off, since people are worth at least $1,000,000 each.

  • If one million poor single British women were impregnated by rapists, and denied abortions; and one million innocent Britons were falsely convicted of rape, and then executed in 9 months, the net benefit and harm of these transactions would be exactly zero.

Robert, I love your stuff, but please go back to the drawing board with this one.

ringworm,,,cool

 

Robert Wynne:

I bet you never thought you'd say that.

ringworm - WOW - how you completely missed the point of the analogies after all of that is beyond me. I will say simple that

A: It was NOT about comparing monetary Vs life value.

B: It was NOT about value in comparison to what society feels is right or finds worthy.

I explained this already in the first post but you've missed it AND you made the SAME mistake I've always encountered by using a "reductio ad absurdum" addressing points A and B as if it somehow nullifies the original intent of the analogy.

The original intent of the analogy was to show (and this WAS explained above) the transference of value and how we percieve that value.

So your comments about equating money to life were irrelevant.

However - to save you the time of going back up and reading the original post again...

There is object A

object A is considered morally no different than phlegm.

object A will become something that apparently has enormous moral value tomorrow.

How can object A be considered to be no morally different than phlegm if within a period of 24 hours it will be incalculably valuable?

See?

NO - it's NOT about money.

NO - It's NOT about net calculation of value

NO - It's NOT about rape or conviction

NO - It's NOT about any of the misguided roads you travelled down (and that I warned about in my previous post)

It IS about trying to accurately and logically look at this "clump of cells". I believe that everything is THERE already. It's life, it's human, it has it's unique genetic identity and it has all the materials and resources and is starting it's long journey of human development that all of us are still on now.

So to state once more - the analogy is NOT about finances - it's about looking at what I consider a logical paradox. The idea that something that is no morally different than a dustmite will actually become an individual that people value.

Oh – and the reason I used a post-dated check in the analogy was because (apart from fictional worlds that are drummed up to miss the point of the comparison) everyone would like ten million dollars – and for some reason most wouldn't have any problem waiting for it. Also – most people would go out of their way to make sure nothing would happen to the check in that nine months because they would for some miraculous reason understand that it had value from the very BEGINNING.

Where things change however (and this is something the analogy uncovers) is that when we have something that is even MORE valuable – as soon as we introduce great RESPONSIBILITY it's just sooooooo much easier to rationalize away that value. Nobody has a problem spending ten million dollars (and hence they can see the value from the outset). But MANY people have a problem with taking responsibility for their actions (and hence, they rationalize the value that's there from the beginning).

So I hope it's clear now. This isn't about COMPARING values and TABULATING values (as your response concerned) – it's about people not SEEING a value because it entails great responsibility.

One more analogy – to drive the point home.

You've got five stones in front of you, but because of some chemical process you know that the fifth stone will be a diamond in a week.

Would it be logical for someone to say that all five stones are equivalent?

NO – This is not about the value of gems

NO – This is not about the value of rock vs humans.

NO – This is not about comparing the population of North American to a beach of pebbles in Brazil

It IS about the fact that something can have inarguable value even though at this exact moment the properties used to express it's value (in this case – the properties of a diamond... or in the case of an individual life – the ability to think, communicate etc) are not present.

"How can object A be considered to be no morally different than phlegm if within a period of 24 hours it will be incalculably valuable?"

I don't think that it's intellectually honest to say that the clump of cells suddenly becomes a human being within any given 24 hour period. If that's all you're arguing against, then I agree.

Also, a fertilized egg is not a unique person, simply by virtue of containing specific genetic information. If this were the case, then we would not be able to recognize identical twins as two distinct people. Incidentally, the Yorba of Nigeria do believe that twins possess only one soul between the two of them. I'm guessing you don't share this belief.