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Abortion vs Your Religious Beliefs


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I have actually changed my mind on this. I used to think that abortion was fine until the child had developed up to a level of complexity. But I think having my own child has changed my view on how much I think we should be willing to sacrifice for our children.

 

And why do you think that caused you to change your views? IOW, you used to be fine with it before a "level of complexity," presumably because you didn't think of the pre-complex as worthwhile. Right? Yet now you think of it as "our children," deserving of sacrifice. How does having a developed child change one's opinion of something like a zygote? (And sorry if I'm putting words in your mouth with any of this.)

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In addition to Mooey's post, I would like to point out that this is in no way an argument based on logic, but a huge assumption on your part mixed with a seemingly limited knowledge of how pregnancy w

I'm not sure what you mean by "soul," but if you're talking about a supernatural entity, then what does that have to do with anything? Would not a soul also be a product of what it is "to begin with,"

I don't think anyone would argue that a raped woman should not be allowed to have an abortion. It seems clear to me that the emotional trauma is damaging enough to be worth the loss of the feotus. Of

And why do you think that caused you to change your views? IOW, you used to be fine with it before a "level of complexity," presumably because you didn't think of the pre-complex as worthwhile. Right? Yet now you think of it as "our children," deserving of sacrifice. How does having a developed child change one's opinion of something like a zygote? (And sorry if I'm putting words in your mouth with any of this.)

 

It is more the other way around. Before I thought that the "hardship" of having a child was a large enough cost to outweigh the "rights" (in inverted commas because I don't believe in rights) of the zygote to life. Having had a kid, I now don't view it as a hardship and think that people who do are just being unreasonable.

 

In other words, I haven't increased the value of the zygote in my mind. I have decreased the value of the parent's time and effort.

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Many forms of death are "natural" but still tragic. A sudden unpreventable heart attack is quite natural, but still tragic. Also, you know, miscarriages, according to your own account...

 

True enough, but we also make every effort to eradicate those tragic deaths, don't we? Malaria treatment, vaccinations, cancer research... these are all efforts to end the tragic deaths of children, even though they are natural deaths.

 

All the more tragic if the parent actually seeks to kill their own children, however.

 

True. But was it tragic because a life had been lost, or because they had been hoping for a child and their hope just died? Imagine if they hadn't been trying for years, but didn't care at all -- then would it be tragic?

 

Find me a couple that didn't care about a miscarriage.

 

If you were to find them then the tragedy there would be a couple bearing a child that they didn't care about. It is no less tragic than a child that is neglected.

 

No, I wouldn't say it's whether it can feel pain that matters. Rather, by the time it can feel pain, I'd assume its nervous system is sufficiently well-developed to grant it some measure of "selfhood."

 

But on what grounds?


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It is more the other way around. Before I thought that the "hardship" of having a child was a large enough cost to outweigh the "rights" (in inverted commas because I don't believe in rights) of the zygote to life. Having had a kid, I now don't view it as a hardship and think that people who do are just being unreasonable.

 

In other words, I haven't increased the value of the zygote in my mind. I have decreased the value of the parent's time and effort.

 

My wife can get rather angry when she watches TV shows and movies portray pregnancy as a endless stoop over the toilet bowl.

 

As a man I can't know, really... but I do know that your story is not really different than any of the women in my life. Many were radical abortion rights advocates until they had a child.

 

Norma McCorvey (the "Jane Roe" of Roe-v-Wade) went through that same ideological transition when she finally had a child. She regretted what her case created. She is now a pro-life advocate.

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Find me a couple that didn't care about a miscarriage.

 

That is a strawman, and quite an annoying one at that. Neither Cap'n nor I said that the couples who lost fetuses (feti?) didn't CARE, we said that they care for OTHER REASONS.

 

Please, jryan, ridiculing a strawman version of our statements will not help make your point.

 

You are again moving the goal post. *YOU* are the one who introuced "tragic". We showed you how 'tragic' is an inconsistent term to use to separate loss of life and 'tragic loss of life' in terms of the morality of abortions. What you did is misrepresent our answer so you can ridicule it.

 

As a result, this:

 

If you were to find them then the tragedy there would be a couple bearing a child that they didn't care about. It is no less tragic than a child that is neglected.

 

Is a strawman, an appeal to ridicule and a shift of the goalpost.

 

Are we going to discuss rationally or not?

 

~moo

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True enough, but we also make every effort to eradicate those tragic deaths, don't we? Malaria treatment, vaccinations, cancer research... these are all efforts to end the tragic deaths of children, even though they are natural deaths.

Yes, but they're still natural and tragic. So claiming that chimeras aren't tragic because they're "natural" doesn't work. So why aren't chimeras tragic?

 

Find me a couple that didn't care about a miscarriage.

But do they care because a life had been lost, or because they had been hoping for a child and their hope just died? Imagine if they weren't even trying for kids, and a miscarriage popped up -- would they care as much?

 

But on what grounds?

If you kill something with no nervous system, it is incapable of suffering. It's incapable of even wishing that you didn't kill it. Something with a nervous system begins to have emotions and "free" will.

 

(Not trying to argue about free will here. What I mean is that it makes choices, whether they're determined or not.)

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Yes, but they're still natural and tragic. So claiming that chimeras aren't tragic because they're "natural" doesn't work. So why aren't chimeras tragic?

 

Good point! However, at the point at which Chimera fuse I don't know that it is actually knowable that there were two individuals. So I suppose it could be tragic, but in most cases it is discovered much later.

 

So it would be as tragic as finding out years later that you had had a spontaneous abortion when you never knew you were pregnant.

 

 

But do they care because a life had been lost, or because they had been hoping for a child and their hope just died? Imagine if they weren't even trying for kids, and a miscarriage popped up -- would they care as much?

 

I don't know that their perception of the tragedy is really relevant.

 

 

If you kill something with no nervous system, it is incapable of suffering. It's incapable of even wishing that you didn't kill it. Something with a nervous system begins to have emotions and "free" will.

 

I don't tie suffering to my view of abortion. I am for the protection of all life. Someone who wants to use the suffering argument as a way to find a middle ground between first trimester and term abortions should think twice, though, since the abortionist could just as easily anesthetize the baby before cutting it up and meet the same qualification.

 

(Not trying to argue about free will here. What I mean is that it makes choices, whether they're determined or not.)

 

That brings up one of the more interesting conundrums in the abortion debate. If you believe that human will is simply a byproduct of chemical interaction then I would argue that from conception the child meets that criteria as it begins communicating with the mother at that point through hormonal signals to begin preparation for implantation as well as sensing the proper time to begin developing it's placenta.

 

If, on the other hand, you argue "selfhood" from a religious perspective and a "soul" you have a far more plastic definition of "selfhood", and a more maliable definition (as you assume a large level of unknown.

 

So in that way I find the biological argument against abortion far more coherent than the religious argument.

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Good point! However, at the point at which Chimera fuse I don't know that it is actually knowable that there were two individuals. So I suppose it could be tragic, but in most cases it is discovered much later.

 

So it would be as tragic as finding out years later that you had had a spontaneous abortion when you never knew you were pregnant.

Okay then. So unknown tragedies occur fairly often in pregnant women, where two embryos fuse together. Nobody knows, but it could be tragic.

 

Should we attempt to develop procedures to stop re-integration of embryos, to prevent the tragedy?

 

I don't know that their perception of the tragedy is really relevant.

It's relevant to the question of whether a fetus is a "life."

 

Suppose a couple has their eyes on a dream home. They save up money for years, make plans, find the perfect land, etc. Construction starts, gets halfway through, and then the entire thing burns to the ground.

 

Tragic, yes? But not because the house was alive and we "killed" it. Tragic because it was their dream, and their dream was squashed.

 

So if we're trying to figure out abortion or miscarriage, it's important to know why it's tragic.

 

I don't tie suffering to my view of abortion. I am for the protection of all life. Someone who wants to use the suffering argument as a way to find a middle ground between first trimester and term abortions should think twice, though, since the abortionist could just as easily anesthetize the baby before cutting it up and meet the same qualification.

True, just like I could anesthetize a 40-year-old person and then kill them. But that person also has free will, and I am violating that will by killing them against their wishes. I'm not sure if that's included in "suffering," but if not, I'd add it as an additional criteria.

 

Once there's a nervous system, there's at least some conception of "will," and most people's will is to stay alive.

 

That brings up one of the more interesting conundrums in the abortion debate. If you believe that human will is simply a byproduct of chemical interaction then I would argue that from conception the child meets that criteria as it begins communicating with the mother at that point through hormonal signals to begin preparation for implantation as well as sensing the proper time to begin developing it's placenta.

"Will" is generally associated with a mind. Intestinal gurgles after dinner aren't "willed," generally speaking, but they do result from biochemical interactions.

 

I suppose this just replaces "soul" with "mind," though, and it's just as hard to define.

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Good point! However, at the point at which Chimera fuse I don't know that it is actually knowable that there were two individuals

 

That's exactly what I've been saying.


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I don't tie suffering to my view of abortion. I am for the protection of all life.

 

Actually, no you are not.

 

Someone who wants to use the suffering argument as a way to find a middle ground between first trimester and term abortions should think twice, though, since the abortionist could just as easily anesthetize the baby before cutting it up and meet the same qualification.

 

It is not about suffering in and of itself; it is that the ability to suffer is one of the things that point to personhood, poorly defined as it may be.

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I'm sorry, I saw this in the "Death Penalty" thread and had to ask Severian:

 

I think the death penalty is inconsistent with my religious beliefs.

 

By that I mean that it is always wrong to take another life. In any circumstances. That includes war, or police shooting a bad guy, or even self defence.

 

However, I think as a society we should be taking a bigger view. Sometimes one has to do wrong things in order to better society. So taking a life can sometimes be the "lesser of two evils". For example, killing the bad guy in a hostage situation is wrong (because you are taking a life) but it may be less wrong than letting him kill the hostages.

 

Replace "Death Penalty" with "Abortion" - is it not the same principle?

 

I think the death penalty is very similar. Killing the serial killer is wrong, but letting him kill more children is more wrong.

How 'bout this, then:

"I think abortions are very similar. Killing the fetus is wrong, but letting it destroy the woman's life is more wrong".

 

All I did was replace "Death Penalty" with "Abortion".

 

It's also worth noting that in the death penalty, there's absolutely no argument about whether or not we kill human life (sentient, adult, etc), while it seems that in various stages of pregnancy, this is more vague.

 

Why, then, would this principle apply to the death penalty but not abortion?

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"Destroying the woman's life" isn't killing her, is it?

It's destroying her life. Some people would say it's not far from it, depending on the situation.

 

But no, it's not killing. On the other hand, the alternative to death penalty isn't releasing the killer to kill again, and so it's not like we are facing the decision of "either we kill or he will kill", do we? It's more of a potential-damage issue. Isn't it?

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It's destroying her life. Some people would say it's not far from it, depending on the situation.

That's hardly the case in every abortion.

 

But no, it's not killing. On the other hand, the alternative to death penalty isn't releasing the killer to kill again, and so it's not like we are facing the decision of "either we kill or he will kill", do we? It's more of a potential-damage issue. Isn't it?

Yes, but that's not the argument Severian used and you brought up.

 

On the same token, the choices aren't (a) abort (b) have your life destroyed, just like they aren't (a) kill the guy (b) let him kill others. In the case of abortion, there's usually © let someone else adopt the baby.

 

Though as Mr Skeptic points out,

 

In some countries, an unwanted pregnancy can end a woman's life (when others find out about it).

 

That's hardly the case in every abortion, though.

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How 'bout this, then:

"I think abortions are very similar. Killing the fetus is wrong, but letting it destroy the woman's life is more wrong".

 

That is a fair enough opinion to hold. It is a matter of how much weight you place on each disadvantageous event.

 

I used to think that the inconvenience to the woman's life outweighed the foetus' right to life, but I have changed my mind in the last few years.

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That is a fair enough opinion to hold. It is a matter of how much weight you place on each disadvantageous event.

 

I used to think that the inconvenience to the woman's life outweighed the foetus' right to life, but I have changed my mind in the last few years.

Fair enough. I have to say, it's the best explanation I've heard from "pro-life" proponents who also support the death penalty.

 

Just wondering, then -- for you, then, the problem with abortion isn't so much about the 'when does the fetus can be called human-life' but rather more about the weight of the inconvinience to the woman's life vs. the potential life of the fetus?

 

I mean, do you put a limit on when the abortion is moral and when it's not in terms of how soon it's done?

 

Example: If the woman takes one of those "morning after" pills - meant to technically kill off a fertilized egg, just in case -- is that still, under your consideration, an immoral abortion (because it could've been a child)? and if not, then when does this issue begin?

 

And lastly, if the consideration is a comparison between the 'inconvenience' of the woman versus the right to life of a potential child (of the fetus), then what are your thoughts on abortion following a rape? To me, this is an extreme case of where this consideration is reversed (not sure I'd define the pregnancy in that case as 'inconvenience', either.. it's quite more). Would that reverse your decision, too, in that particular case?

 

 

 

~moo

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I mean, do you put a limit on when the abortion is moral and when it's not in terms of how soon it's done?

 

That is easy. Abortion is always immoral.

 

But then, so is ruining a young girl's life by forcing her to have the baby of her rapist. Sometimes we have to chose between evils. I don't think my view on this itself has changed - only the balancing position where I think one path is worse than the other.

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Thanks, Severian, I thought that, but I wanted to make sure I understand your position.


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That is easy. Abortion is always immoral.

 

But then, so is ruining a young girl's life by forcing her to have the baby of her rapist. Sometimes we have to chose between evils. I don't think my view on this itself has changed - only the balancing position where I think one path is worse than the other.

I've been thinking about this point, Severian. You're making a good argument (I disagree with it, but I can see your point, and it seems to be consistent, which is what we are looking for).

 

However, I have a question for you: If you believe that these issues are a delicate balance, that is -- that the issue of 'killing the fetus' (immoral) is weighed against some other aspect (like 'ruining the woman's life' or 'forcing her to have her rapist's baby', or 'inconvenience', etc), and each of those is weighed independently to get some conclusion as to whether or not it is moral (as a bottom line) to balance the "lesser of two evils" as you call them, then wouldn't you agree that this is a subjective definition?

 

That is, what you see as the lesser of two evils might not be what I see as the lesser of two evils. If your belief is that if the 'balancing act' produces the conclusion that the 'lesser of two evils' is to abort the pregnancy, then how would you define this process of figuring this 'lesser' to be?

 

If it's a general opinion, then if a woman who weighs the situation and decides that the lesser of two evils is abortion, would you not agree it's her right to choose so?

 

(And I agree with you that the matter *should* be weighed. It's not my opinion that abortion should be an 'easy' or the 'default' position. The decision whether or not to abort a pregnancy is something that SHOULD come after considerable thought. The question is, though, what happens if this consideration leads to a conclusion that differs than yours? Your definition is subjective, and in the case of then throwing these type of arguments on whether or not society should grant these rights to the woman or "protect the women from themselves" (ie, not let them have that choice because it's immoral) how can we make this distinction?)

 

~moo

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However, I have a question for you: If you believe that these issues are a delicate balance, that is -- that the issue of 'killing the fetus' (immoral) is weighed against some other aspect (like 'ruining the woman's life' or 'forcing her to have her rapist's baby', or 'inconvenience', etc), and each of those is weighed independently to get some conclusion as to whether or not it is moral (as a bottom line) to balance the "lesser of two evils" as you call them, then wouldn't you agree that this is a subjective definition?

 

Of course, it is very subjective. So subjective in fact that even I have changed my mind. But that is true of many things we legislate. Even sentencing is subjective.

 

If it's a general opinion, then if a woman who weighs the situation and decides that the lesser of two evils is abortion, would you not agree it's her right to choose so?

 

No, I don't think so. Though this of course depends on the case, and her opinion should carry a lot of weight. But I find myself disagreeing with the notion of 'individual rights' a lot, and by that I mean that we should not be individuals first, but part of a wider community. Nothing we do effects only ourselves - every action effects the wider community in which we live. I think it is society's obligation to provide a proxy for the unborn child, and to ultimately decide on the outcome.

 

Having said that, this is my view in a 'perfect' world. Legislation is probably not the best way to go about this and I am not sure I would trust a judge to make the right decision either. So it is probably best to only legislate the boundary of the grey area (say no abortions after 12 weeks) and leave earlier abortions up to the mother. (On a side topic, I think the UK's law of 24 weeks is far too late - it must be very exceptional circumstances for a woman not to realize she is pregnant by week 12, nevermind 24.)

 

But again I stress that I don't think it is her right to decide - it is simply that she may be in the best position to judge the impact on her life.

 

And I still think that abortion is always immoral, even if it is not (should not) be illegal.

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Of course, it is very subjective. So subjective in fact that even I have changed my mind. But that is true of many things we legislate. Even sentencing is subjective.

Right, but at some point you find some sort of measure that is GENERALLY agreed upon, even if not *everyone* agrees on it.

 

No, I don't think so. Though this of course depends on the case, and her opinion should carry a lot of weight. But I find myself disagreeing with the notion of 'individual rights' a lot, and by that I mean that we should not be individuals first, but part of a wider community. Nothing we do effects only ourselves - every action effects the wider community in which we live. I think it is society's obligation to provide a proxy for the unborn child, and to ultimately decide on the outcome.

But then who decides which of the cases is okay to perform abortion (like in the case of the rape) and which aren't? By what measure? We need to find something when we talk about these issues because it *does* seep into laws.

 

So.. what's the measure? Having a trial whenever a woman wants an abortion, and then decide if she can or can't have it?

 

 

Having said that, this is my view in a 'perfect' world. Legislation is probably not the best way to go about this and I am not sure I would trust a judge to make the right decision either. So it is probably best to only legislate the boundary of the grey area (say no abortions after 12 weeks) and leave earlier abortions up to the mother. (On a side topic, I think the UK's law of 24 weeks is far too late - it must be very exceptional circumstances for a woman not to realize she is pregnant by week 12, nevermind 24.)

Week 12 is first trimester. Week 24 is second trimester. I tend to agree with you on this one. First trimester okay. Second trimester a bit riskier, hence I'm not sure I'd be giving it COMPLETELY to the woman.

 

In Israel we have abortions but we also have an abortion committee. Abortion is legal under certain circumstances (read through them, I have a feeling you might agree with them all) and after those, you have a committee that will check and see if an abortion is needed.

 

Practically, most women who go to the committee are getting an "okay" for the procedure, but the 'extra' step creates a situation where abortions aren't a default position, or the "natural" and "easy way out". I'm not ENTIRELY for those committees, but they're better than having no abortion, in my opinion.

 

I am curious to know what you think of that idea.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abortion_in_Israel#Circumstances_under_which_abortion_is_legal

 

But again I stress that I don't think it is her right to decide - it is simply that she may be in the best position to judge the impact on her life.

 

And I still think that abortion is always immoral, even if it is not (should not) be illegal.

That's fair enough. I respect that position.

 

~moo

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And I still think that abortion is always immoral, even if it is not (should not) be illegal.

 

Can I ask why you consider it always immoral? Do you consider birth control also immoral (though presumably less so)? I ask because you seem to agree with me that destroying a zygote is not as bad as destroying a child. I would say that that is the case because of the properties of "personhood" that one has and the other does not. In my mind, a zygote, though genetically human, is still just a single-celled organism, and whatever it is that makes human life valuable, it isn't shared by single-celled organisms. Thus I see destroying it as preventing a person, not killing one. Just like destroying an egg and sperm (by, say, preventing them from physically combining) is also preventing a person.

 

So I guess I'm asking, where do we disagree?

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But then who decides which of the cases is okay to perform abortion (like in the case of the rape) and which aren't? By what measure? We need to find something when we talk about these issues because it *does* seep into laws.

 

I don't think anyone would argue that a raped woman should not be allowed to have an abortion. It seems clear to me that the emotional trauma is damaging enough to be worth the loss of the feotus. Of course, I still think an abortion should not be allowed beyond the first trimester, but what raped woman would ever wait that long on discovering herself pregnant?

 

So.. what's the measure? Having a trial whenever a woman wants an abortion, and then decide if she can or can't have it?

 

That would be far too unwieldy. I think allowing it to be legal without question in the first trimester is probably the best possibility. Not perfect, but best, and I would still say that it is immoral (but immorality should not be illegal per se).

 

I am curious to know what you think of that idea.

 

This seems to me to be very dependent on who is on the panel. Is it clear that these people are the best to judge?

 

The thing which I do like about it though, is that it makes an abortion a bit more effort. I think killing a feotus is an impactful act which should be considered carefully and given great weight. By having a tribunal, it places more weight on the event. This is why I don't like the morning after pill - it makes abortions casual.

 

 

Can I ask why you consider it always immoral?

 

The feotus is undeniably alive and undeniably human, so an abortion is taking a human life. I regard that as immoral.

 

Do you consider birth control also immoral (though presumably less so)?

 

That depends. I think the morning after pill is immoral, but I am not sure about the traditional pill and/or condoms. I am hesitating because I don't believe "sperm is sacred" (to quote Monty Python) but I can't decide if having sex without intent to procreate is immoral. Some days I think it is and some days I think it isn't, so it is a bit of a grey area for me.

 

I ask because you seem to agree with me that destroying a zygote is not as bad as destroying a child. I would say that that is the case because of the properties of "personhood" that one has and the other does not. In my mind, a zygote, though genetically human, is still just a single-celled organism,

 

I agree up to here...

 

and whatever it is that makes human life valuable, it isn't shared by single-celled organisms.

 

... but disagree with this bit. I think a child's life is more valuable because the child is self-aware - so killing a child is also killing that self-awareness. But I don't think the feotus has zero value, so killing it is still a loss.

 

Thus I see destroying it as preventing a person, not killing one. Just like destroying an egg and sperm (by, say, preventing them from physically combining) is also preventing a person.

 

If someone is in a coma on life support, would switching off life support be killing them or only 'preventing' them being a person?

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I think killing a feotus is an impactful act which should be considered carefully and given great weight.

 

This, at least, I agree with. While I personally don't think a zygote is worth much, I do think a person emerges over time, and it's a moral grey area that should be taken seriously. My ideal for abortion is the Clintonian one: "Safe, legal, and rare." And by "safe" I also include not having those measures intended to simply punish the pregnant woman, like making exceptions to doctor-patient confidentiality.

 

This is why I don't like the morning after pill - it makes abortions casual.

 

For the record, the morning after pill is not technically abortion. It prevents pregnancy with a dose of hormones, and my understanding is it makes the user quite ill in doing so. So, at least, I don't think anyone would treat it casually more than once. I think the majority of users are probably panicked, and not at all casual. Though obviously I don't have any statistics to back that up.

 

The feotus is undeniably alive and undeniably human, so an abortion is taking a human life. I regard that as immoral.

 

I don't believe "sperm is sacred" (to quote Monty Python)

 

And I don't really see the difference here, besides a basically arbitrary distinction. (Sperm and egg before fertilization are medical waste, but the instant one works its way inside the other it's sacred?) But I don't think there's anything more to do than agree to disagree on that. Everybody has to draw a line somewhere.

 

If someone is in a coma on life support, would switching off life support be killing them or only 'preventing' them being a person?

 

You wouldn't have prevented them being a person, because they already were. If there is a reasonable chance of recovery, switching off life support would be just like murdering someone in their sleep. However, if they're not just comatose but brain dead, then I would consider that person already gone, and the moral (but not ethical) obligation would be to harvest the useable organs.

 

I consider those three types of unconsciousness (something which has never been conscious, an interval of unconsciousness, and something which can't ever be conscious again) to be separate, morally, even if in each case it is technically a living, genetically human organism. Only the second do I think of as a person.

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The feotus is undeniably alive and undeniably human, so an abortion is taking a human life. I regard that as immoral.

 

My skin cell is also undeniably alive and undeniably human. Yet no one seems to consider it a "human life".

 

That depends. I think the morning after pill is immoral, but I am not sure about the traditional pill and/or condoms. I am hesitating because I don't believe "sperm is sacred" (to quote Monty Python) but I can't decide if having sex without intent to procreate is immoral. Some days I think it is and some days I think it isn't, so it is a bit of a grey area for me.

 

The question about the pill is not about sperm being sacred -- it is a bit past that. It works in much the same way as an IUD only via hormonal rather than physical means. It allows the egg to be fertilized, just not to attach to the womb. The egg still develops into a morula then a blastocyst over about 5 days, but when it reaches the womb it cannot implant and so cannot grow past the size of the original egg.

 

Basically, it works by not allowing the blastocyst to draw nutrients from the mother. It doesn't actually chase it down to kill it, more of a death by apathy sort of thing.

 

If someone is in a coma on life support, would switching off life support be killing them or only 'preventing' them being a person?

 

It definitely is not preventing them from becoming a person. They already are/were a person, only unconscious. The "person" might have also already died (if there is enough brain damage then all that makes that person a person is long gone). You can definitely kill the cells and organs, but a person is more than that. In my opinion a person is a particular form of information and computational capability.

 

Think of it this way: you can ask, who is this person? What did they do? What do they believe? What is their personality? What is their favorite food, color, or music? Some of these questions can be asked and answered of a child well before birth, but none of them apply to a zygote nor before the development of the nervous system.

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My skin cell is also undeniably alive and undeniably human. Yet no one seems to consider it a "human life".

 

It is not the same thing at all. You are surely not suggesting that the feotus is part of the mother?

 

The question about the pill is not about sperm being sacred -- it is a bit past that. It works in much the same way as an IUD only via hormonal rather than physical means. It allows the egg to be fertilized, just not to attach to the womb. The egg still develops into a morula then a blastocyst over about 5 days, but when it reaches the womb it cannot implant and so cannot grow past the size of the original egg.

 

I didn't know how the pill worked, so thanks for the info. In that case, yes, I regard the pill as immoral.

 

It definitely is not preventing them from becoming a person.

 

Isn't it? How would you define a person? The feotus and the coma patient seem rather similar to me - they are both human, both currently incapable of conscious thought and in need of life support, but may at some time in the future be able to interact with the world as a functioning member of society.

 

Think of it this way: you can ask, who is this person? What did they do? What do they believe? What is their personality? What is their favorite food, color, or music? Some of these questions can be asked and answered of a child well before birth, but none of them apply to a zygote nor before the development of the nervous system.

 

Why do you need a past to be human? Isn't having a future enough? If the coma patient had a head trauma which made him forget his past and changed his personality (but he is still expected to wake up in, say, 9 months) would he now not be worthy of being called a person?

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