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(12-May-2006 at 02:46)
Thoughts on abortion...

Well, I have been giving this issue a fair bit of thought recently, mainly due to Tony Abbot's attempts to stop mifepistone being used in Autralia, but also because I spent a day at an IVF clinic recently talking to some of the specialists there.

We all have some sort of opinion on abortion; It is a very emotive issue, and one that I see as fairly complex.

I think most would agree that aborting a foetus at one week before term (ie able to survive in the outside world) is a horrible thing to do. However, there is a lot of debate as to whther it is moral to have an abortion of a foetus at 18 weeks, the point at which the laws in Australia make it much harder to have the procedure done. There is also much at the small end of the spectrum - is it ethical to take a pill which purges the endometrial lining of the uterus, embryo and all?

My viewpoint is that all these issues revolve around a single idea. Basically, I think that before we can have a moral argument about abortion, we first need to decide at what point we think we can class the embryo/foetus as being a person. Once past this point, the unborn baby should have pretty much all the rights it would have if it was outside the womb. before this point, its rights would be limited to some extent.

Clearly, some will argue that this point is at conception, while others will pick a certain developmental milestone. I was wondering what people in this forum thought about this idea - both about the idea in general, and at what age they would consider an embryo or foetus to be a person.

Last edited by dantendo, 12-May-2006 at 02:47.
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(12-May-2006 at 03:16)
Re: Thoughts on abortion...

I've argued this topic ad nauseum in the past, so I hope you'll forgive me for not arguing it here. However, I do have a few questions I'd like to ask to "flesh out" the argument a bit.

Quote:
My viewpoint is that all these issues revolve around a single idea. Basically, I think that before we can have a moral argument about abortion, we first need to decide at what point we think we can class the embryo/foetus as being a person.
Of course, to a large degree this argument in itself is another moral argument in itself - does viability denote personhood? Or does its location (in or out of the womb)? Or does the presence of a complete set of DNA?

So before we can even ask your question, we have to answer an even more fundamental one - what does it mean to be a "person"?

Quote:
Once past this point, the unborn baby should have pretty much all the rights it would have if it was outside the womb. before this point, its rights would be limited to some extent.
Why? Why would its rights be limited before this point? Or for that matter, why would its rights stop being limited after this point? You can find well reasoned arguments for both sides here, including the position that it would have full rights at conception and that the infant has no rights (including a right to life) even for a period after it has been born.*

*That argument was in an article entitled "Abortion and Infanticide" by Michael Tooley, published in Philosophy and Public Affairs, in which he argues (among other things) that one can not have a right to life until one can both conceive of and desire that right.

Last edited by tim4christ17, 12-May-2006 at 03:17.
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(12-May-2006 at 03:47)


Re: Thoughts on abortion...

Originally Posted by dantendo:
Clearly, some will argue that this point is at conception, while others will pick a certain developmental milestone. I was wondering what people in this forum thought about this idea - both about the idea in general, and at what age they would consider an embryo or foetus to be a person.
I'm not very religious, though because I'm a 'conservative' many would paint me so.

I believe that conception is the point of humanity, but it's a personal belief and as I said not a religious one. Others that may believe differently don't face my scorn.

Morally, to each their own. Even savages are 'savage' only because they are uneducated. Education does not and should not impact morality.

Either you appreciate and respect life or at some point you think you are better than God.

Oh crap. I said earlier that I wasn't very religious. I suppose I'll now have to defer to being wholeheartedly agnostic ...

Man is the only animal that blushes, or needs to.-- Mark Twain
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(12-May-2006 at 03:49)


As far as I'm concerned, it isn't fair to apply cogito ergo sum (I think, therefore I am) laws to fetuses. I am fine with birth control, but abortion is not okay. Birth control simply hinders (or stops) the pregnancy cycle, but abortion actively destroys life. The fetus (if not aborted) would eventually become a viable human being. Nowadays, abortion seems to be the "lazy man's birth control" with the casual way it's perceived.

Now before anyone asks "Would you abort a fetus to save the mother?" I must honestly answer that I don't know and I hope I never have to make that decision.

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(12-May-2006 at 07:22)


Re: Thoughts on abortion...

My stand on abortion is that it should be legal for any foetus that can't survive outside the mother's body but I believe it is morally wrong to do so at any stage. This is probably where I begin to sound life an extreme right-wing religious nutjob. I don't believe in God or the concept of a soul but life does begin at conception as a new human organism forms when two gametes fuse together. I believe killing any organism to be morally wrong but on a sort of sliding scale of morality depending on the organism being killed and the reason for it. For example killing a sheep for food would be much less morally wrong than torturing a cat to death and killing a man in self-defence is much less morally wrong than any form of capital punishment.

Similarly, taking a morning-after pill after conception would be much less morally wrong than aborting that organism after around 8 weeks when an embryo finishes the embryonic stage and becomes a foetus (when it has an organ system and has the sense of touch and can move) and increasing in immoralness until the point where a foetus can survive outside the mother's body when an abortion becomes tantamount to infanticide and murder in my view. Also an abortion carried out to protect the life of the mother or in cases of rape would be less morally wrong than someone having an abortion for a much less valid reason.

Ultimately though, such a decision is a very personal one and it I couldn't possibly judge anyone who chose to do it. A woman must have the freedom to choose what they think is best for them. I can only hope it is a very carefully thought out decision with consideration given to all the ethical issues.

Last edited by daftbrain, 12-May-2006 at 07:22.
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(12-May-2006 at 08:46)
Trivia question: What is the difference between conception and birth?

Answer: 9 Months

Time, yes, that is all. As soon as those cells start multiplying, its hello baby. Abortion is much like grabbing your kid around the neck and brutally bashing its head against the ground, or even slitting its throat while violently yanking on its limbs. Would you never do that to your own child? Then don't have an abortion.

However, if you don't have any guilt and adopt a "easy come, easy go" attitude, then maybe brutal murder is for you. You can always have another, so it is really no big deal. At least that's more unprotected sex for you. Can't loose.
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(Posted as TiCkLePiNkIsH)
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(12-May-2006 at 08:50)
I am not going to give my opinion on this. I dont think there is a right and wrong answer, it depends on each individual I guess. Like draftbrain said " I can only hope it is a very carefully thought out decision with consideration given to all the ethical issues". Abortion is not something that cannot be carefully thought out agonised and privately suffer guilt over. Its not like you pop down to the doctors and have a quick abortion. You have to go through various doctors (who arent necessarily pro-abortion themselves), tests. But the point I wanted to make is, I hope that any women that has had an abortion and reads these posts here, know that these are just individual opinions and that the discision they made, carefully was the best for them at that time.

Last edited by TiCkLePiNkIsH, 12-May-2006 at 08:54.
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(12-May-2006 at 09:54)
Re: Thoughts on abortion...

Nice thoughts daftbrain, and what you said encompassed a lot of what I was thinking and didn't write in my first post. Of course there is a spectrum involved here - but if we were to define a limit at which we were happy to trade the rights of a potential human for the social rights of its mother carrying it, where would you put it?

Personally, I am torn between those two options. Having done research on embryonic nervous systems, I can tell you how amazing I find the early stages of life, and how saddened I am by the number of lives destroyed every year. However, at the same time I cannot see how removing womens' rights to choose what happens to their own body would be any more fair. There is a balance somewhere, and the purpose of this thread is to throw around ideas as to how to find that balance.

Tim got us started pretty well with his post:
Quote:
Of course, to a large degree this argument in itself is another moral argument in itself - does viability denote personhood? Or does its location (in or out of the womb)? Or does the presence of a complete set of DNA?

So before we can even ask your question, we have to answer an even more fundamental one - what does it mean to be a "person"?
I could add a multitude of options here, but I will keep the list short (and in chronological order). If people would like to reply saying when they would define a foetus as having the right to live unless there were extenuating circumstances threatening the life of its mother:
conception
morula (ball of cells) (1-3 days)
blastocyst (hollow sphere, with a localisation of cells that will become the embryo) (3-5 days)
implantation to the uterine wall (5-6 days)
gastrulation (folding of the embryo to form a 'body') (~13 days)
neurulation (formation of the neural crest) (~16 days)
Appearance of somites and primitive heart formation (19-21 days)
heart begins to pump (21-23 days)
appearance of limbs/formation of heart valves (25-27 days)
formation of eyes (27-29 days)
Formation of all structures (week 10)
Able to survive outside womb (week 26-27)
Birth (week 38-42)

I think the other questions Tim asked are very relevant, but I would like to keep the discussion limited to at what stage they think abortion should be legal until. Please don't start big arguments about this - I really am trying to get a wide range of constructive, well thought out opinions.

Gotts - feel free to not post if you don't have anything constructive to say. Notice how both M1 and Tim4Christ made their points without resorting to emotive argument, and made it without pre-judging other peoples decisions, and maybe try and do the same if you must post.
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(12-May-2006 at 10:04)
Re: Thoughts on abortion...

Originally Posted by dantendo:
Gotts - feel free to not post if you don't have anything constructive to say. Notice how both M1 and Tim4Christ made their points without resorting to emotive argument, and made it without pre-judging other peoples decisions, and maybe try and do the same if you must post.
If you read between the lines you will realise that I make a good point. Abortion is an emotional topic. It is about morals and morality is about emotions. Without emotions I don't think morality would exist. It is a moral choice, an emotional choice. You don't need facts and discussion to determine something based on emotions. I have saved you hours of futile thought. Maybe I was being too contructive.
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(12-May-2006 at 11:57)


Re: Thoughts on abortion...

Originally Posted by Gotterdammerung:
Trivia question: What is the difference between conception and birth?

Answer: 9 Months.
Not really. After birth, the baby lives by itself. It breaths, feeds and thinks (I personally do not believe that there's thinking going on inside the womb). Before that, it is entirely depending on its mother. I think that's an important difference in this issue.

Quote:
Time, yes, that is all. As soon as those cells start multiplying, its hello baby. Abortion is much like grabbing your kid around the neck and brutally bashing its head against the ground, or even slitting its throat while violently yanking on its limbs. Would you never do that to your own child? Then don't have an abortion.
I think that's horribly dramatised. If you want to make a comparison with killing, go for the lethal injection thing. Abortion is not done out of cruelty.
I also do not believe that in the stages of pregnancy where abortion happens, the baby can actually feel something.

Quote:
However, if you don't have any guilt and adopt a "easy come, easy go" attitude, then maybe brutal murder is for you. You can always have another, so it is really no big deal. At least that's more unprotected sex for you. Can't loose.
Right, gonna throw in a huge cliche here. What about rape? Should a raped woman, next to being traumatised for the rest of her life, also have to carry the burden of a kid that she did not want and that she might even hate?

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(12-May-2006 at 12:45)
A quick forum-search on "Abortion" will give you enough info for years to come,

http://forums.utopiatemple.com/showt...light=Abortion

A quite old thread but one of the few good ones on the topic.

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(12-May-2006 at 13:08)
I have my own solution to this and some of you will find it ridiculous while others may think it makes sense. Either way this is how I feel.

Sex is fun yes, but if you don't take the proper measures, accidents can happen. I feel that if you are pregnant from willfully engaging in sexual relations, you CANNOT abort the fetus. This is being said for those girls mainly 14-20 that have sex a lot. You are willing to have sex unprotected? Deal with the adult consequences, until you're ready don't have sex, or use protection. The only time I feel it's right to abort is if you're raped. Some women take it as a blessing, others see it as a daily reminder of being raped. In order to abort, proper paperwork must be filled out with the police, so you MUST report the rape, so you can't just say you were raped and get around the first rule. This way, it should get more rapes reported and sort of balance out the pro life pro choice.

However I do see SOME loopholes... Not really loopholes. Say a woman is on the pill, get pregnant (like my wife did when we had our first) She wasn't raped, but she was using protection. Should she be allowed? Or should her partner have used a condom? What if they both used protection? I don't know about this part, but the first paragraph is how I feel. *shrug*
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(12-May-2006 at 14:14)


Re: Thoughts on abortion...

Originally Posted by dantendo:
Nice thoughts daftbrain, and what you said encompassed a lot of what I was thinking and didn't write in my first post. Of course there is a spectrum involved here - but if we were to define a limit at which we were happy to trade the rights of a potential human for the social rights of its mother carrying it, where would you put it?
I think the limit should be placed at a few weeks before the stage when a foetus is capable of surviving outside the womb. Personally I think it should be around 20-24 weeks although it is rather arbitrary. If scientists found conclusively at which point a foetus is capable of feeling pain then perhaps that should be the limit. Maybe you'd know since you do research in this area?

As I understand it is very rare for an abortion to be performed after 20 weeks and the vast majority occur at before 10 weeks. It should be legal as the prospect of women getting illegal abortions performed by themselves or unqualified people with very dangerous methods is much worse.

I think it should be legal but morally it is something I'm very conflicted by. If I were a woman it would be something that I would never do and if I absolutely had to do it it would be before 8 weeks. After 8 weeks a foetus starts developing at a very rapid rate and begins developing the sense of touch and responding to stimuli, starts to move its limbs and can even suck its thumb after around 14 weeks. I also think it's really sad that a human lifeform capable of doing those things are killed so often but it should still be legal.


According to a study linked to on wikipedia the reasons provided for having an abortion by women in the United States were:
  • 25.5% Want to postpone childbearing
  • 21.3% Cannot afford a baby
  • 14.1% Has relationship problem or partner does not want pregnancy
  • 12.2% Too young; parent(s) or other(s) object to pregnancy
  • 10.8% Having a child will disrupt education or job
  • 7.9% Want no (more) children
  • 3.3% Risk to fetal health
  • 2.8% Risk to maternal health
  • 2.1% Rape, Incest, Other
I'm not sure I agree with some of the more popular reasons but like I said earlier I can only hope every woman makes a very carefully thought out decision taking into account all the consequences that may result.

Unfortunately TicklePinkish, I'm not sure if all women do this.
In Australia and New Zealand we have a high abortion rate (around 20-25% of all pregancies) but the laws are fairly restrictive regarding abortions. Generally a doctor here has to be satisifed that an abortion is necessary to preserve the woman's physical and mental health or else the abortion is unlawful, although the mental health criteria can be rather broad. In many American states and European countries abortions are available on demand so I don't know if the doctors there provide enough counselling for women before abortions.
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(12-May-2006 at 14:21)
i'm not getting in to the whole arguement about abortion, i'd just like to answer one question that was posted above,


'Now before anyone asks "Would you abort a fetus to save the mother?" I must honestly answer that I don't know and I hope I never have to make that decision.'


Would i? yes every single time.
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(12-May-2006 at 17:46)
Re: Thoughts on abortion...

Originally Posted by daftbrain:
If scientists found conclusively at which point a foetus is capable of feeling pain then perhaps that should be the limit. Maybe you'd know since you do research in this area?
Again, a very good question. I am afraid I can't tell you because it is extremely difficult to define when an organism is able to percieve anything. So I will have to refer you to thinking about when the organisms nervous system appears to be reasonably intact; that is, when the brain has its first detectable electrical signals - about day 47-48.

This is 6-7 weeks - a LONG time before the government in Australia has given any foetus many rights at all. Again, I am not saying I agree with either side - I am just making the observation
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(12-May-2006 at 19:55)


I think in abortion decisions should be case sensitive. Though personally I object very much abortion using reason "Want to postpone childbirth". Later it might be too late... And in reason "cannot afford baby" I think adoption would be better option. Same goes in relationship problems. But that's just my opinion.

I think in each (top 3) case adoption would be a lot better option than a abortion.

But in the end its woman's choice as its her body...

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(12-May-2006 at 22:03)
If the baby could speak, what do you think it would decide?

Also can we verify this source?

http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/poli.../ab-prcp2.html

Its scary if its true.

Here is a picture of a 22 week old baby holding a hand. (Watch out its quite disturbing). I have decided to remove the URL, to protect younger participants and minors of UT -LM

Mother Teresa: "If we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other pepole not to kill one another?"

Last edited by Lord Menchalior, 13-May-2006 at 00:36.
Edit reason: I removed link, due nature of graphics.
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(13-May-2006 at 00:15)
Re: Thoughts on abortion...

Originally Posted by Balfron:
If the baby could speak, what do you think it would decide?

Also can we verify this source?

http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/poli.../ab-prcp2.html

Its scary if its true.

Here is a picture of a 22 week old baby holding a hand. (Watch out its quite disturbing). I have decided to remove the URL, to protect younger participants and minors of UT -LM

Mother Teresa: "If we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other pepole not to kill one another?"
China has rather extreme abortion laws. I would not be surprised if that image were true. Another thing I don't like about Chinese legislation is that they allow third trimester abortions and they allow the aborted foetuses to be used for medical experiments.

As to that photo, there is no way of telling whether it is set up or not.

Also, the fact that the baby can't talk is more or less the point of this discussion. We all realise that at some point that advocacy is required for the foetus; The reason I started this discussion was to find out where people thought this advocacy should start.

Last edited by Lord Menchalior, 13-May-2006 at 00:37.
Edit reason: I removed the Link in question also from here...
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(13-May-2006 at 00:42)


I don't think link to site, where is image from open surgeory is most approriate, even if its black and white image.

I know abortion is very tender subject. And one way to fight against abortion is to show pictures of fetuses and such. But due nature of UtopiaTemple, I do ask that you will think hard the content of the links you post. We have lot's of minors in here... So please, watch your links and look the site's thru before linking into them.

Thank you.

Generalization is rhetorics of simpletons.
"Sages learn from history... idiots learn from experience" -Fairy Tail manga

Last edited by Lord Menchalior, 13-May-2006 at 00:44.
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(13-May-2006 at 01:13)


Re: Thoughts on abortion...

All i know is that a friend and myself have mirroring situations: we were both supposed to be aborted babies. Our mothers were both over 40 at time of conception and abortion was recommended for our mother's health due to age and also a history of prior pregnancy complications.

And we both would have rather been aborted. No hard feelings, mom, really.

I've had that discounted a number of times "well you're alive to say it" etc. Still that is my personal feeling on the subject, which I think was what the OP was asking for. I take no offense if I would have ceased to be at 20 days or whatnot. I suppose many would, it just honestly does not bother me in the least. It was interesting to find a friend that felt the same way.

I never understand the posturing over the fetus' supposed feelings only because I once was a supposed-to-be aborted fetus and I am not horrified by the prospect of abortion at all. I don't claim to be the voice of aborted babies everywhere, any more than anyone could claim that. Life is too nebulous and varied to say anything is all one way.

Personally I would not have kids and take as many precautions against pregnancy as there are reasonably available (i.e. I cannot be sterilized because of my young age). I would not hesitate to have an abortion if I became pregnant. This is not to say my view should be implemented worldwide, it is just how I choose to live and I have my own reasons.

For religious (!) reasons, I think abortion after three months is too late. I realize its arbitrary but there you have it.

Though, i think I'm a rarity in the fact that I am not really scared of death anyway. Just as it doesn't bother me to think of being aborted twenty-odd years ago, it doesn't bother me to think I might not be alive tomorrow. Que sera sera.

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Where I end and you begin

Last edited by Seirios, 13-May-2006 at 01:17.
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