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  1. #1
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    Abortion: The question isn't whether a fetus is alive or not.

    The question of abortion really isn't whether or not a fetus is alive is it? A tree and a pig are alive, but we cut down trees and if I'm sure that most pro-lifers aren't vegetarian.
    The real question, the question people should ask is: are fetuses concious? Studies show that brain activity kicks in around the 22nd week, and most pro-lifers think a zygote deserves equal rights, and we can be sure that it doesn't have a brain at all! Of course some Christians will say that it has a soul, but we can't force people to stop abortions just because some think it has a soul, we have to make laws based on reason and evidence.
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    Re: Abortion: The question isn't whether a fetus is alive or not.

    I think the question essentially boils down to "Is it human?"

    Unconscious people still have rights. So do some domestic animals, to some extent. But all people have rights. I don't think there's a question over whether or not a fetus is alive, but if it's human and therefore deserving of human rights.

    Also, the question of dependence comes up from time to time, although a newborn is just as dependent on a parent as a fetus for the necessities of life. The difference is the "voluntary" nature of how a care-giver gives care as opposed to a fetus siphoning it's care off of the mother.
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    Re: Abortion: The question isn't whether a fetus is alive or not.

    I think when you say conscious you mean sentient. I might be wrong. Im not sure of the multiple definitions they have.

    ---------- Post added at 03:16 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:14 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Gonzo View Post
    "Is it human?"
    I have a riddle: Is an egg a chicken?
    Last edited by Ty Boyd; January 14th, 2010 at 02:16 PM. Reason: spelling

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    Re: Abortion: The question isn't whether a fetus is alive or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by kuijias View Post
    The question of abortion really isn't whether or not a fetus is alive is it? A tree and a pig are alive, but we cut down trees and if I'm sure that most pro-lifers aren't vegetarian.
    The real question, the question people should ask is: are fetuses concious? Studies show that brain activity kicks in around the 22nd week, and most pro-lifers think a zygote deserves equal rights, and we can be sure that it doesn't have a brain at all! Of course some Christians will say that it has a soul, but we can't force people to stop abortions just because some think it has a soul, we have to make laws based on reason and evidence.
    The main argument by pro-choicers is that a fetus is not sentient. They are right. A fetus is not sentient - but it will be.

    So here is a question for the pro-choicers: if a person were in a coma, but doctors determined it would only be temporary, would it be justifiable for the family to euthanize that individual? Remember, this person is neither conscious nor sentient of his/her existence at this point. Caring for this person is also costing them quite a bit of money.

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    Re: Abortion: The question isn't whether a fetus is alive or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by czahar View Post
    So here is a question for the pro-choicers: if a person were in a coma, but doctors determined it would only be temporary, would it be justifiable for the family to euthanize that individual?
    Its a decent challenge, the answer is no, but there are significant differences. The person in the coma is well established, has an identity, a life, a sense of self, rights under the law etc... They are merely temporarily disabled, essentially sleeping for an extended time.

    A fetus is not yet a person, has not ever known its name or its family or had a single though that a person would yet have. It has no personal identity or sense of self. It is not protected under our laws.

    Remember, this person is neither conscious nor sentient of his/her existence at this point.
    Neither is someone who sleeps... which we all do. Are sleeping people equivalent to fetuses? I don't think they are.

    Caring for this person is also costing them quite a bit of money.
    Irrelevant to your point.

    ----

    My general test for rights to life is "person hood" aka can you reasonably know that said fetus is a person, relate to them as a fellow human, and interact with them in a way that one would expect with a person. Humans are quite good at making said judgments, not perfect but quite proficient.

    If I gave you an rather early term fetus to interact with you would not be able to tell it apart from some animal fetus and certainly you couldn't tell me much about its personality or appearance as a person.

    A late term fetus you probably could identify it as clearly human and perhaps even speak to its temperament or general appearance in human terms.

    Since this is a bit of a subjective standard (although not a lot more than judging up or down) I think viability is a better cut off point/methodology to determine when abortion should fall under state purview.

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    Re: Abortion: The question isn't whether a fetus is alive or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by czahar View Post
    The main argument by pro-choicers is that a fetus is not sentient. They are right. A fetus is not sentient - but it will be.
    We can't say that by not letting a fetus become sentient we are killing it, because that would mean not having sex is murder also. The sperm/egg might not be sentient now, but it will be.
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    Re: Abortion: The question isn't whether a fetus is alive or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by kuijias View Post
    The question of abortion really isn't whether or not a fetus is alive is it?
    No it is whether or not they are a life?

    The real question, the question people should ask is: are fetuses...
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    Re: Abortion: The question isn't whether a fetus is alive or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    Its a decent challenge, the answer is no, but there are significant differences. The person in the coma is well established, has an identity,
    This seems to be rather arbitrary. How is having a name and identity any more relevant to whether a creature is deserving life than, say, hair color or eye color? Such logic would also justify the euthanization of a feral child if he or she were in a coma. They certainly do not have an identity nor are they established in society.

    a life,
    I believe fetuses are technically considered living.

    a sense of self,
    A person in a coma had a sense of self. They do not currently have one. Dead people had a sense of self at one point, that does mean we afford them the same rights as the living.

    Irrelevant to your point.
    Conceded. I was simply putting that there in case someone pulled the "pregnant women suffer during childbirth; therefore, it is morally wrong to make her stay pregnant if she does not want to be."

    Since this is a bit of a subjective standard (although not a lot more than judging up or down) I think viability is a better cut off point/methodology to determine when abortion should fall under state purview.
    A person in a coma is not capable of living unassissted, if that is what you are referring to by "viability".

    ---------- Post added at 01:52 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:45 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by kuijias View Post
    We can't say that by not letting a fetus become sentient we are killing it, because that would mean not having sex is murder also. The sperm/egg might not be sentient now, but it will be.
    You are right. But how is that any different from killing a person in a coma?

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    Re: Abortion: The question isn't whether a fetus is alive or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by kuijias View Post
    The question of abortion really isn't whether or not a fetus is alive is it? A tree and a pig are alive, but we cut down trees and if I'm sure that most pro-lifers aren't vegetarian.
    The real question, the question people should ask is: are fetuses concious? Studies show that brain activity kicks in around the 22nd week, and most pro-lifers think a zygote deserves equal rights, and we can be sure that it doesn't have a brain at all! Of course some Christians will say that it has a soul, but we can't force people to stop abortions just because some think it has a soul, we have to make laws based on reason and evidence.
    While I agree with you, there is a problem with your argument. You mention 'conciousness'. A person in a coma is not concious of thought, and cannot feel, either. Your argument, as it stands, would also be supporting the right to end the life of a person the moment they enter that coma, because conciousness ends temporarily, much as the lack of conciousness for a fetus is only temporary.

    I dont tend to ask questions as to whether it is concious, or human, or a person, etc. All I focus on is where that fetus is, which is in the woman. Because of this, I fully support her right to do with it as she pleases.
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    Re: Abortion: The question isn't whether a fetus is alive or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spartacus View Post
    No it is whether or not they are a life?
    The difference?

    Quote Originally Posted by Spartacus View Post
    HUMAN?
    What defines human for you?

    I'd like to adress the quote in your signature, "I've noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born" -- Ronald Reagan, I would like to point out that everyone for safe sex (condoms) have also been born. I'd bet you don't advocate banning condoms, do you?

    ---------- Post added at 03:10 AM ---------- Previous post was at 03:04 AM ----------

    To answer everyone who brings up the coma argument, that is a different situation because they are established in the world and not dependant on a mother, also killing them (even in a permanent coma) would effect the family too. We do let family members "pull the plug" though if the patient is brain dead and dependant on a machine.
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    Re: Abortion: The question isn't whether a fetus is alive or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarja View Post
    I dont tend to ask questions as to whether it is concious, or human, or a person, etc. All I focus on is where that fetus is, which is in the woman. Because of this, I fully support her right to do with it as she pleases.
    Does this mean you would support legality of abortion ALL THE WAY UP UNTIL the moment of birth?
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    Re: Abortion: The question isn't whether a fetus is alive or not.

    Ok, I'm just gonna be blunt and probly pose no argument at all..

    Abortion wouldn't be needed if people wouldn't be screwin around when they don't need to be.

    Can't say anything for the rape babies though...

    So my post is pretty much irrelavent..oh well.
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    Re: Abortion: The question isn't whether a fetus is alive or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by czahar View Post
    This seems to be rather arbitrary. How is having a name and identity any more relevant to whether a creature is deserving life than, say, hair color or eye color? Such logic would also justify the euthanization of a feral child if he or she were in a coma. They certainly do not have an identity nor are they established in society.
    You misunderstand what I mean by identity. A feral child has an established identity as does someone not part of the greater society. you could easily spend some time with these people and get to know about them. A fetus you could spend a month with and know nothing about who they are as a person.

    I believe fetuses are technically considered living.
    So indeed is human blood, a tree and a number of other things. It is but one qualifying characteristic, and not the most definitive one.

    A person in a coma had a sense of self. They do not currently have one. Dead people had a sense of self at one point, that does mean we afford them the same rights as the living.
    You can't just pick one factor and decide everything. A person in a coma is simply that... a person, with an established identity and protected by law, who is alive, but is temporarily incapacitated.

    A fetus is not yet a person we can identify, they are not protected by law in the way a person is, they are alive, they are not incapacitated, they are undeveloped.

    The two are different in a number of respects. Now if you had not said the coma was temporary I might have a different answer. If the coma is irreversible we know they are not incapacitated, they are essentially dead as a person and only alive as a kind of automaton. Now there is argument as to whether there is awareness in coma but most evidence says there is little or none and I imagine full awareness in a coma would be deeply maddening. But even then they are not a fetus.

    Conceded. I was simply putting that there in case someone pulled the "pregnant women suffer during childbirth; therefore, it is morally wrong to make her stay pregnant if she does not want to be."
    Noted, its not a point I stand on. I do think that if there is a high risk of death for the mother, that is a valid reason to abort at later stages. A life known for a life uncertain, but that is a very different moral question. Mere pain and suffering are not worth killing someone.

    A person in a coma is not capable of living unassissted, if that is what you are referring to by "viability".
    No. All babies need assistance to live. What I mean to say is that if there is no way for society, with all its technology and means can support and sustain a life, then they have no way to practically enforce their protection. When the state feels a parent is endangering a child they can take the child into custody. When the state feels an expecting mother is endangering a fetus, they have nothing they can do except try to enslave the mother to stop her from aborting the child. The state is unable to do anything for the child, it lives entirely at its mothers health and welfare and can claim no kind of independence from the absolute domain of her womb.

    Once the fetus is viable without its mother, even if it takes great resources by others in society, then it has some kind of alternative and can be cared for and protected by the social group no longer necessitation control of the parent.

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    Re: Abortion: The question isn't whether a fetus is alive or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    You misunderstand what I mean by identity. A feral child has an established identity as does someone not part of the greater society. you could easily spend some time with these people and get to know about them. A fetus you could spend a month with and know nothing about who they are as a person.
    And perhaps I am still misunderstanding what you are talking about. Here is the definition of identity:

    1. the state or fact of remaining the same one or ones, as under varying aspects or conditions: The identity of the fingerprints on the gun with those on file provided evidence that he was the killer.
    2. the condition of being oneself or itself, and not another: He doubted his own identity.
    3. condition or character as to who a person or what a thing is: a case of mistaken identity.
    4. the state or fact of being the same one as described.
    5. the sense of self, providing sameness and continuity in personality over time and sometimes disturbed in mental illnesses, as schizophrenia.
    6. exact likeness in nature or qualities: an identity of interests.
    7. an instance or point of sameness or likeness: to mistake resemblances for identities.
    8. Logic. an assertion that two terms refer to the same thing.
    9. Mathematics.
    a. an equation that is valid for all values of its variables.
    b. Also called identity element, unit element, unity. an element in a set such that the element operating on any other element of the set leaves the second element unchanged.
    c. the property of a function or map such that each element is mapped into itself.
    d. the function or map itself.
    10. Australian Informal. an interesting, famous, or eccentric resident, usually of long standing in a community.

    Identity can clearly refer to things as well as people. Why, then, would a fetus not have an identity?

    So indeed is human blood, a tree and a number of other things. It is but one qualifying characteristic, and not the most definitive one.
    Absolutely, but in the argument I was responding to you were mentioning the life of the person in the coma as if it were a significant reason not to kill it. I was simply countering that statement.

    You can't just pick one factor and decide everything. A person in a coma is simply that... a person, with an established identity and protected by law, who is alive, but is temporarily incapacitated.

    A fetus is not yet a person we can identify, they are not protected by law in the way a person is, they are alive, they are not incapacitated, they are undeveloped.
    I have already countered the identity argument. As far as the law argument goes, that assumes that the law is always completely just and fair in its decisions about who deserves rights. African Americans did not always receive the same protection under the law that white people did. That certainly did not mean there was a logical reason for it.

    Likewise, the fact that a being is "a person" is not a logical reason to give it rights. It simply means you are part of a species. It makes no more sense than denying blacks rights on the basis that they are not white.

    The two are different in a number of respects. Now if you had not said the coma was temporary I might have a different answer. If the coma is irreversible we know they are not incapacitated, they are essentially dead as a person and only alive as a kind of automaton. Now there is argument as to whether there is awareness in coma but most evidence says there is little or none and I imagine full awareness in a coma would be deeply maddening. But even then they are not a fetus.
    The two are certainly different. There is no question about that. You and I are different. I am a thirty year old, History major of Lebanese, German, Italian, and Native American descent. I am certain some of those criteria do not pertain to you.

    The question is, why would any of those criteria make me more deserving of rights than you? In the same manner, why would the differences between the fetus and the person in the coma make one deserving of rights and the other not? Rights are meant to serve interests, and interests can only exist if there is a sense of pleasure and pain; therefore, feeling pleasure and pain is the only worthwhile criteria in determining whether a creature is deserving of rights or not.

    No. All babies need assistance to live. What I mean to say is that if there is no way for society, with all its technology and means can support and sustain a life, then they have no way to practically enforce their protection. When the state feels a parent is endangering a child they can take the child into custody. When the state feels an expecting mother is endangering a fetus, they have nothing they can do except try to enslave the mother to stop her from aborting the child. The state is unable to do anything for the child, it lives entirely at its mothers health and welfare and can claim no kind of independence from the absolute domain of her womb.

    Once the fetus is viable without its mother, even if it takes great resources by others in society, then it has some kind of alternative and can be cared for and protected by the social group no longer necessitation control of the parent.
    From what I understand you are saying if it cannot be protected, it is not entitled to rights. Is that correct?

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    Re: Abortion: The question isn't whether a fetus is alive or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Allocutus View Post
    Does this mean you would support legality of abortion ALL THE WAY UP UNTIL the moment of birth?
    Yes - I have freely stated this numourous times in various threads. I may not necessarily agree with abortions, but I will always support the choice to abort should the mother wish to make such a decision.
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    Re: Abortion: The question isn't whether a fetus is alive or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarja View Post
    Yes - I have freely stated this numourous times in various threads. I may not necessarily agree with abortions, but I will always support the choice to abort should the mother wish to make such a decision.
    So technically speaking, a woman could go into labor, turn up at the hospital and say "I want to abort it". Right?
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    Re: Abortion: The question isn't whether a fetus is alive or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Allocutus View Post
    So technically speaking, a woman could go into labor, turn up at the hospital and say "I want to abort it". Right?
    Yes...she could. But your point is mute as no one has ever had an abortion so late in pregnancy.

    Also, as I said, as much as I would find this to be morally sickening, barbaric etc etc, it's still her body, and not my choice.

    That has always been my stance, and I imagine it always will be.
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    Re: Abortion: The question isn't whether a fetus is alive or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarja View Post
    Yes...she could. But your point is mute as no one has ever had an abortion so late in pregnancy.

    Also, as I said, as much as I would find this to be morally sickening, barbaric etc etc, it's still her body, and not my choice.

    That has always been my stance, and I imagine it always will be.
    We don't know if nobody has ever had an abortion that late in a pregnancy. What we do know is that in most countries that is very very illegal as abortion is only legally allowed until a particular stage of the pregnancy.

    But if your stance were to be accepted, abortion would extend much further than it does so far.

    But just to finally clarify what you're saying, are you aware that this means that you think that killing a baby (I think we can call it that at that stage) 5 minutes before birth should be completely legal and isn't wrong but killing it 5 minutes later (just after birth) should constitute murder and carry a lengthy prison sentence?
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    Re: Abortion: The question isn't whether a fetus is alive or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Allocutus View Post
    But just to finally clarify what you're saying, are you aware that this means that you think that killing a baby (I think we can call it that at that stage) 5 minutes before birth should be completely legal and isn't wrong but killing it 5 minutes later (just after birth) should constitute murder and carry a lengthy prison sentence?
    Tarja has stated before that the birth certificate, or some other kind of "recognition by society of the 'person in question'", turns a fetus into a person. It's a legal matter for her, not a physiological one or moral one.

    Tarja, please correct me if I'm wrong.
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    Re: Abortion: The question isn't whether a fetus is alive or not.

    What if we were to include a definition of what a body is; that is, the totality of the various cells, cell structures (organs, etc.) that make up the human body.

    Suppose I were to remove a single cell from your body and kill/destroy it. At what point would this process be murder? Assume for the sake of this argument that your body could eventually fully replenish its cells, so long as your body contains at least one living cell.

    Would destroying your last cell be morally distinguishable from destroying your first?

    Suppose that I stop at your last cell. At this point, would it be immoral for someone else to destroy your last cell?

    (If this argument is too large a departure/distraction from the discussion at hand, just ignore it!)
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