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An Honest Statement
JohnH
Complicated ethical positions are in fact that.

Browsing the internet I came across something that grabbed me, "Is abortion murder".

My answer is yes, and it is acceptable murder because the mother of that child does not want it.

On the other hand I believe that social murder such as the death penalty is not acceptable.

Nor do I think that personal murder for pleasure or for anger or for financial gain is acceptable.

One must always look at oneself in an honest fashion when it comes to morals. It is not always a simple place.

Those who are religious have a much easier place, absent them really looking at their texts.
 
Robert
JohnH wrote: "'Is abortion murder'. My answer is yes, and it is acceptable murder because the mother of that child does not want it."

Only an extremely sick person would cheer on a murder because an individual is not wanted.

Most pro-choice people believe that a fetus is not truly human yet and therefore conclude that abortion is not murder.

You actually believe that it is murder but still condone it? There is something seriously wrong with you.
 
Skeeve
Robert, there is a huge difference between cheering and accepting.
"The world is my country, and do good is my religion." - Thomas Paine
 
Robert
Both are just as sick in my book, Skeeve.
 
JohnH
I believe I stated at the start that complicated ethical positions are indeed complicated.

Abortion must be accepted by its adherents as the murder of a human. Yes, a not fully formed human but a human.

To suggest that one does this lightly suggests that one does not know women who have aborted their embryos.

I offered this discussion because I believe that human consciousness and morals are complicated and I believe that when murder is allowed is probably the most difficult place that both consciousness and morality exist.

And Robert, I am not sick. I try to be as honest with myself as possible. That includes recognizing the ambiguities and the confusion.
 
Robert
JohnH,

You said that if a mother does not want a child, it is acceptable to kill him or her. Here is your direct quote: "...it is acceptable murder because the mother of that child does not want it."

Does this also extend to infanticide and the murder of any child under the age of 18? If, for example, a 2-year-old child cries incessantly and bothers her mother so much that she wants to get rid of her, is it socially acceptable for the mother to hack the child to death with the nearest axe?

Or are we only talking abortion? If we are only talking abortion, a third-trimester baby is not that different biologically from a newborn. With a little help, it can easily survive outside the womb. Clearly you believe that aborting a third-trimester baby is murder. You have stated so yourself. How can you believe that a murder is justified if the mother simply does not want to raise her offspring?
 
JohnH
Thank You Robert, you bring up so well the confusion I have about murder and when it is acceptable. Also how confusing one's own beliefs might be.

I was so happy when my children were found to be ok through amniocentesis. I would have hated the decision to abort or to raise a child who would have difficulty throughout their life. I am similarly happy to see that my grandson is showing signs that he is cognizant.

To think about what one might do under duress is something we all must do. I hate the police, but I also must recognize that they act under situations that I will never experience.

Again I stated that ethics are difficult and unsure.

The important thing to me is that one must be both honest with oneself and honest about what that means. In the case of abortion one must accept that the mother has the final say, even if that technically means murder.
 
Robert
JohnH wrote: "In the case of abortion one must accept that the mother has the final say, even if that technically means murder."

But I don't accept this proposition. As I said before, there is very little difference between a third-trimester baby and a newborn. Both can survive outside the womb and are biologically identical. Both are human beings in every sense of the word.

Ask yourself this, JohnH. If you were a woman, would you be willing to end the life of your third-trimester baby in the following manner:

Induce birth prematurely and kill the baby yourself.

I would wager that most people couldn't do this. They couldn't look at a premature baby resting comfortably in an incubator with a beating heart and then repeatedly stab it or burn it with acid. They inherently know that this action is wrong and horrific.

For some strange reason, however, everything is fine and dandy if a doctor does it and they don't have to see it.

This makes no sense to me.
 
seeker
Hmmm, Not entirely sure I agree with you on this one John but it does raise an interesting question. An unfortunate truth about our species is that we DO justify murder in a whole host of situations. We kill during war, to defend ourselves, to punish criminals etc. What precisely does justify murder?

I do think that if you know a person's life is going to be terrible (unwanted baby, congenital defects etc) that abortion is a sensible alternative. That certainly makes more sense to me than killing someone for stealing a hundred dollars from a liquor store or letting someone die in an emergency room while medical professionals dither over that person's health insurance.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
 
Cynic
I'm all for honesty and nuance -- it's just that there isn't enough of either going on in this thread. It's too simplistic to declare "life", "human", and "person" are all interchangeable terms. Murder is a term usually reserved for people only. Sure, we also use it to indicate a certain measure of intent about killing, but pointing out that this aspect applies to doctors performing abortions is pointless. So "murder" isn't necessarily applicable.

When an adult is brain dead and the plug is pulled from life support, we don't call it murder. More to the point, if an adult is brain dead and someone angrily drives a fire poker through his heart, it's STILL not murder. Because when then brain is dead, that's a body you've got there, not a person. You can't "murder" a body, even if you can kill it.

Fetuses are a bit more tricky, yes. There's a continuum there, from zygote to adult, and the border is necessarily fuzzy. If we accept, arbitrarily, that whatever a newborn is can be considered a "person" then it follows that the closer to being born a fetus is, the more we should regard it as one.

At some point of course we run into Loki's Wager and are forced to admit that there exists a stage of development that is more neck than head, a physiological state where the "future person" is more or less the same as the "past-tense person" described above. Disrupting a potential is palpably different, of course, because in the latter example that former person isn't coming back. But the point is, neither is "murder" and so being honest about it being murder isn't so much honest as it is mistaken.

There exists a rather particular point in development that occurs, usually, between the 20th and 22nd week where dendrites complete their migration and allow communication in the more advanced portions of the brain that we associate with personhood, areas critical for consciousness as opposed to pure bodily housekeeping. Before this, it's not "murder". But it's something. If we're to be honest, we should call it what it is, or at least avoid calling it what it isn't.

Of course, to be honest, we need to also avoid using vapid statements like "life begins at conception." Duh -- that's like, practically the definition of conception. In fact, the egg was alive before that, as was the sperm. As were all the bacteria in their hosts. As are mosquitoes. The more one learns about "life" the less impressive it is and the more important certain configurations become.
 
JohnH
I must agree that murder in not a nuanced enough word. In my defense I chose it thoughtfully for its shock value. Clearly a zygote is at most a collection of cells that will become a person but is not.

I will also state that carried to its extreme this concept can lead to actions such as the one recently in Ireland. The baby was not viable outside the womb (at least that is my understanding) and was adversely affecting the mother and led to her death. Twisted logic fostered by the catholic church and other simplistic christians.

I also contrasted abortion to other forms of killing that are more readily understood as murder both public and private that I am personally against. War being one of those public forms of murder, Seeker.

I will also state that third trimester abortions do trouble me some but they are almost always performed because the mother is going to be very adversely affected by the child either because of health issues or infrequently mental issues.

I was mostly trying to point out that ethical situations can become difficult. That which we allow or not allow should be understood as complex and not easily dealt with.

Two personal observations.

I have stated here before that I strongly considered ending my mother's life when through dementia she was effectively brain dead. If I knew I would not potentially go to jail for this I would have.

I ran into a woman who many years earlier I had been romantically and physically involved with. We talked a few times after work and I came to find she had 2 abortions the second making her infertile. Many years later those decisions weighed on her person. I once spent an entire night talking to a cousin who thought she was pregnant and was completely upset by that possibility but was unsure about abortion. She was literally at wits end about what to do. I would suggest that women who abort a child are widely troubled by it.

If anyone cares the edit was due to incorrect word choice. For some reason the Edit Reason window did not work.
Edited by JohnH on 11/27/2012 13:47
 
Robert
Hey Cynic,

If I understand you correctly, I think that we essentially agree on the issue of abortion.

Cynic wrote: "There exists a rather particular point in development that occurs, usually, between the 20th and 22nd week where dendrites complete their migration and allow communication in the more advanced portions of the brain that we associate with personhood, areas critical for consciousness as opposed to pure bodily housekeeping."

I believe that at this point of development an abortion should definitely not be performed. There are, of course, rare exceptions to this rule that must be considered such as congenital abnormalities that will cause horrendous and prolonged suffering if the birth is carried to term, etc.

Cynic wrote: "Before this, it's not "murder". But it's something. If we're to be honest, we should call it what it is, or at least avoid calling it what it isn't."

I basically agree with this logic. We can hardly call a 12-week-old fetus a human being since it is missing so many critical features and functions; therefore, we can't really "murder" it. An early abortion will cause a "potential" human being to cease to exist, of course. This may or may not be ethical. I personally would tend to err on the side of caution and not support abortions period. Just my two cents. My philosophy is still evolving.
 
Robert
Hey JohnH,

JohnH wrote: "I will also state that carried to its extreme this concept can lead to actions such as the one recently in Ireland. The baby was not viable outside the womb (at least that is my understanding) and was adversely affecting the mother and led to her death. Twisted logic fostered by the catholic church and other simplistic christians."

Many anti-abortion advocates believe that intervening in a pregnancy is acceptable if the mother's life is in danger. The ultimate outcome, of course, would be to save both the mother and child whenever possible.

JohnH wrote: "I will also state that third trimester abortions do trouble me..."

I am happy to hear you say that.
 
Theory_Execution
I think people should be more cautious on with the throw-and-catch games of their bodily fluids.

Yet, that is a wholy uneducated statement said in jest. I do not know the main reasons for abortion, be they health or want, at this time I could not care.

My opinion is that if you need to do it, do it as quick as possible. As an aside and to echo seeker's sentiments, people are contented to accept the death of others in wholy avoidable situations.

Which do Christians in America picket more, abortion clinics or military bases?
 
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