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Another abortion analogy(36 posts)

Another abortion analogyDuane Gran
Jan 24, 2003 7:31 AM
Someone brought up an interesting point in a conversation this week and it made me think, so I figured I would share it.

Abortion is legal on the premise that it is a woman's right to her body. By that logic, why is it illegal to sell one's kidney or to be a prostitute (in most jurisdictions)? Is it be ethically consistent to prohibit the use or sale of anyone's body, while permitting abortion?

I'm leaning toward thinking that it isn't consistent.
good pointDougSloan
Jan 24, 2003 7:33 AM
Better yet, combine the two. It's not legal to sell a fetus, but it is legal to kill it. Hmm.

I don't get it either...Wayne
Jan 24, 2003 7:54 AM
why shouldn't I be able to sell one of my kidney's and why shouldn't prostitution be legal?
I'll never understand why the government feels the need to protect citizens from their own stupidity.
re: Another abortion analogyJusme
Jan 24, 2003 8:07 AM
Yeah, and why can't I make an omelette with a bald eagle egg?
lots of things arent consistentColnagoFE
Jan 24, 2003 8:15 AM
i don't think you can use the consistency argument to support or condemn it. tons of things aren't consistent. that's why we need courts and lawyers to "interpret" the laws. personally i think one should be allowed to sell his well as prostitution should be legalized, but the government disagrees with me. abortion is a tricky one. i think the main argument for it is that women will do it anyway when forced with a difficult choice and why not make it safe (for the mother anyway) and legal instead? there is also the uncertainty of the definition of when a viable life begins. i don't think that any woman having an abortion thinks it is an easy decision. must be one of the toughest to have to make. men will never know what it's like to have to be pregnant when you don't want to be.
well said!mtber
Jan 24, 2003 10:09 AM
The abortion issue is very complex. From what I have read, many of you are personally sure that abortion = murder. However, like ColnagoFE said, there IS uncertainty of the definition of when a viable life begins. To me, IMHO, having an abortion in the 1st month or two is not unreasonable. A fetus at this stage is unlikely to be able to experience pain or, more importantly, have developed an awareness of its own existance - is this not what many define as being human?

Selling kidneys is illegal because of the potential for exploitation of clearly alive, self-aware, human beings, esp the poor. People will do incredibly stupid things for $$, esp when they have none.

Why we are on the subject of organ donation, if human life is so sacred why is not everyone REQUIRED to be an organ donor? I am sure religious reasons abound, but if one is so adament about denying life to the unborn, how can said people deny life to the already living just so their bodies can be buried in the ground intact for the worms and the bugs to eat? Sorry to be so graphiic.
well said!DJB
Jan 24, 2003 11:44 AM
"A fetus at this stage is unlikely to be able to experience pain or, more importantly, have developed an awareness of its own existance - is this not what many define as being human?"

Most animals feel pain to some extent. It doesn't make them human.

As far as awareness, what about people with Alzheimers or other mental impairments? Are they still human?

What if it were you? What if, due to, say, a bike accident, you were temporarily in a coma. Unable to talk or respond to stimuli. Are you still human?

What if while your parents were by your bedside, the doctor came in and told them that you were almost certain to recover in a given amount of time, even to the point of being able to specify a date when you would wake up. At that point you'd need a lot of rehab, but there were many people who would be willing to take on that responsibility themselves.

What if your parents turned to each other, thought about it and then said "Nah, just pull the plug. He won't feel a thing. He isn't even aware of his own existance!"?

What would your reaction be?
False analogy.czardonic
Jan 24, 2003 12:00 PM
"At that point you'd need a lot of rehab, but there were many people who would be willing to take on that responsibility themselves."

Who are these "many" people?

A more realistic analogy would be: "At that point you'd need a lot of rehab, but the only person who'd be responsible for it would be reluctant, ill-trained and resentful of the burden you place on them."
You don't think there are many people willing to adopt?DJB
Jan 24, 2003 12:39 PM
Justecause you think your sentence is "more realistic" doesn't mean mine is "false".
It's not a matter of opinion.czardonic
Jan 24, 2003 12:45 PM
It is a matter of fact. However many people are willing to adopt, they are out-flanked by children in need of adoption.
matter of factsDuane Gran
Jan 26, 2003 7:53 PM
There is currently a 4 year waiting list for adoption in the United States. If this were a purely market situation, I would say that supply and demand are not meshing very well.

Whether those willing to adopt are really out-flanked by children in need of adoption, I can't help but believe that many lives could be saved that are ended. To propose that adoption is a better choice than abortion doesn't mean that it has to be the best solution 100% of the time.
well said!mtber
Jan 24, 2003 12:35 PM
I was not clear in my previous post - I meant for the "awareness of its own existance" part to define human, not the pain part.

To address your example: I personally see a difference between a not fully developed fetus that, no doubt, would NOT be able to live outside the womb (remember, I was talking about abortions performed in the 1st or second month) and an adult (or child for that matter) human being that has built up a lifetime of human experiences, memories, personal relationships, etc. To me it is apples and oranges. Another common argument is: "What if your Mom had had an abortion?" This is hard to verbalize but my answer to that is that then I would never have existed, I would not have been aware of the whole matter and incapable of having any feelings of loss/injustice, etc. The world would have gone on without me, just as it will after I die, and I would/will have NO feelings/thoughts/etc on the matter.

Alzheimer's patients, etc is a tough one. I read (in Scientific American I think) an article regarding the morality of drug testing on animals. It made you think about things like "why is it OK to kill animals for the advancement of humans?". It also discussed the qualities that make one human and made comparisons between Alzheimer's, Down Syndrome and autism patients and some of the more intelligent animals that we use for such testing (dogs, chimps, etc). The jury is out on that one for me.
well said!Spoiler
Jan 25, 2003 3:57 AM
Killing other species for your own species'advancement is one of the most basic elements to nature. Human's must be the only species that makes an effort to preserve other species even though they may not be necessary for our survival. It's one of the things that make us superior to other animals and a human live more valuable than an animal's life.
Here's another good example...Matno
Jan 24, 2003 12:29 PM
First, I think the kidney situation is misunderstood. The law is a blanket prohibition on selling body parts. Period. Fewer people would argue in favor of a right to sell their heart (or other "necessary" organ). The other big concern concern is the selling of someone else's organs. (I'm sure you all heard the internet "warnings" about people waking up in a bathtub full of ice with a note to call 911 because their kidneys had been "harvested"...)

Second, there's a way around the law (sort of). This past summer, I took a tour of Osteotech in NJ. It's a company that harvests human bones for bone grafting and other similar surgical and research procedures. They are not allowed by law to buy or sell bones, so they get the bones from the Red Cross, charge a "processing fee," and the Red Cross gives the bones to hospitals for a price which is not considered a "sale" (I guess to cover their handling fees?) At any rate, it all sounded rather altruistic until they told me they made over 100 million dollars in profits last year! Can't profit from the sale of body parts? I think not. Not that I disagree with what they're doing, but I think it's interesting that we're living in a system that allows "authorized exceptions" to rules that many consider hard and fast.
Different is different.czardonic
Jan 24, 2003 12:33 PM
People would feel different about selling a heart than about a kidney because you can't spare a heart, but you can spare a kidney.

Selling someone else's organs (against their will) is another matter that is objectionable for entirely different reasons.
I agree.Matno
Jan 25, 2003 9:45 AM
I'm just saying that that may be part of the reason why the law is such a blanket. People don't want to have to draw the line. Of course, there would be people perfectly willing to sell their heart if they knew it would keep their family alive. (Hard to imagine, but if people commit suicide and try to make it look like an accident so their families can collect on their insurance policy...) Personally, I'm not sure that's a bad thing (letting people sell their body parts if they want to), but Pandora is a big place...
re: Another abortion analogyvelocity
Jan 24, 2003 8:30 AM
Will you give us a break on these analogies already please? As it is, how many unwanted children are born and suffer at the hands of parents who don't want them, who aren't around to raise them, who abuse them? Why does the US have the second highest incarceration rate (Russia's #1)? Perhaps we ought to fund parenting classes and childcare? No, let's spend billions and billions on the military and cut taxes!
Seems like the people who are so eager to "save" these lives. .czardonic
Jan 24, 2003 10:42 AM
. . .aren't too keen on the idea of supporting them once they are born (unless it is in a prison). Kind of puts an interesting spin on their tendency to be the ones ready to fill our prisons in the first place.

They also tend to be pro war and pro death penalty. I guess not every life is precious.
here's one moreFunston
Jan 24, 2003 8:57 AM
Suicide, the ultimate act of personal freedom and expression. The lawyers of this board will have to help me out here, but I think it is illegal to commit suicide.
I think just the attempt is illegalDougSloan
Jan 24, 2003 9:02 AM
Not aware of any convictions for suicide. :-)

I may have to check, but I think the attempt is prohibited; I'd imagine the insanity defense would be pretty strong. It may be prohibited, but not criminal.

Part of the reasoning may be that rescue personnel can be jeopardized in some attempts to save.

One thing that's missing from ALL this ranting...retro
Jan 24, 2003 9:06 AM any discussion of the conditions that lead, first, to unwanted pregnancy, and second, to the circumstances that would force a woman into such a decision. We (well, not ME, but some of YOU) oppose sex education and allowing information about birth control in schools ("Keep it in your pants" isn't going to work with every 17-year-old), then gasp in horror that kids get pregnant. Bush is cutting funds to the needy and apparently setting the stage to wipe out programs like Head Start, which will give us another whole generation of people unequipped to run their lives and assure that we'll still be having this discussion in 50 years.
Man, I've GOT to stay out of the Non-Cycling Discussions forum...
Change may be a bad thing...Wayne
Jan 24, 2003 9:33 AM
since i think teen age pregnancy and abortions are at their lowest levels in a real long time!
why aren't parents educating their children? nmDougSloan
Jan 24, 2003 9:34 AM
why aren't parents educating their children? nmJon Billheimer
Jan 24, 2003 9:48 AM

You actually said something that I find myself in TOTAL agreement with!!! All these social issue arguments are usually directed at the government's role, legal arguments, court decisions, etc. A fundamental, biological principle is involved here with respect to kids' behaviour and that is it is the parents' responsibility to parent, educate, discipline, etc. When individual behaviour breaks down, the primary fault is not the state's. It's the individual's (since he/she does have free will) and the parents' who raised/trained/cared for that individual. really hit my number one hot button:)-
And the state and federal govts. shouldn't give a damn?velocity
Jan 24, 2003 10:15 AM
Of course it's parents who are ultimately responsible responsible for raising children. But shouldn't the government ensure that its citizens have access to parenting skills classes and childcare? Governmental help in parenting and childcare is a right in most EU countries. We pay in the long run anyway -- for prisons, for instance.
And the state and federal govts. shouldn't give a damn?Jon Billheimer
Jan 24, 2003 10:33 AM
Of course society (i.e. government) should give a damn. But the general drift of the past fifty years or so is that individual rights have been buttressed to the point of being overstated while individual responsibilities have been de-emphasized, either through legislation and court decisions or through the medicalizing of irresponsible and/or criminal behaviours. My opinion is that the pendulum has swung too far away from individual responsibility. Face it, the state makes a poor nanny/surrogate parent. (Geez, I hate it when I start agreeing with far-right ideologues:)- )
and if the parents are idiots?ColnagoFE
Jan 24, 2003 10:44 AM
should the kid have to suffer just because their parents are too stubborn or ignorant to educate them about the birds and the bees? sure the parents should have primary responsibility for educating their kids, but face it...some don't and maybe a little simple education might prevent some kid from becoming pregnant.
If you believe that procreation is a virtue. . .czardonic
Jan 24, 2003 11:00 AM
. . .your not too concerened about discouraging pregnancy, or even constructive measures to discourage teen sex. You are only concerened with encouraging young people to get married and start families, under the assumption that these things are inherently good.
inherently goodDougSloan
Jan 27, 2003 7:56 AM
The only thing that is "inherently good" is the government staying the @$*! out of our lives. I am so sick of the attitude that people are stupid animals, but the government do-gooders know better what is good for all of us, and they are damn well going to make us do things their way. Make no mistake, either -- this applies to both wings of the political sprectrum.

Because nobody educated them? (nm)czardonic
Jan 24, 2003 10:30 AM
Because nobody educated them? (nm)Jon Billheimer
Jan 24, 2003 10:34 AM
Well how on earth did the human race survive over the past millenia without the smotherhood of the nanny-state?
The smotherhood of the church? (nm)czardonic
Jan 24, 2003 10:43 AM
Thanks for the thoughtsDuane Gran
Jan 24, 2003 11:06 AM
The responses are very thought provoking. Thanks to everyone who chimed in. It has been nice to have some pretty civil talks about such a controversial topic. I think analogies can be a good way of exploring ethics.
A long time ago...Jon Billheimer
Jan 24, 2003 11:46 AM
Aristotle's thoughts on the subject of ethics were that this is of necessity an imprecise area, but somehow we all muddle through. Some things never change!
slightly differnt analogysctri
Jan 25, 2003 2:10 PM
Here's one, while we are on the topic of person choice and all that...

Explain to me why if some creep (not a strong enough word) rapist forces himself inside of a woman why does the government, or anyone elses religous or personal principles force his child inside her as well?

just my .02 on an issue that is far from simple, and perhaps some rational for why pro-choice isnt pro-abortion, or even encouraging abortion, but means that abortion is a legal option for women if they need it. (and they define that need)

slightly differnt analogyStarliner
Jan 27, 2003 10:12 AM
Rape is probably the greatest justification for legal abortion - in this case, as a means to rectify a wrong.

But what has been interesting about these discussions is how some of us men are waking up to the realization that men have abortion rights too.

As long as abortion remains safe and legal, a man should also be able to rectify a wrong by legally compelling a woman, who has fraudulently used him to become pregnant, to have an abortion. An example of fraud would be an instance when, prior to intercourse, the woman claims to be taking birth control when she is in fact not.

So yes, the subject of abortion is very complex, and gets even more complicated as we men realize that we have abortion rights too, and begin to stand up for them.