Plenty of research has examined how getting an abortion affects women's mental health. (In short, it doesn't, though individual circumstances vary enough that universal statements about women's reactions can be misleading.)
But what about those who want an abortion, but can't get one? Like S., a woman the New York Times Magazine interviewed. S. was 24 when she first found she was pregnant and decided to get an abortion. Click the link to read about her attempts to get the procedure, including one unwitting visit to a clinic where a nurse gave her an ultrasound and told her, "Look! Your baby is smiling at you."
Ultimately, as is the case with most women who are turned away from abortion clinics, S.'s 20-week-old pregnancy was too far along. The opening sequence ends with S. set on a certain road:
Strangely, researchers have never followed American women who, like S., couldn't get the abortions they wanted, the New York Times Magazine reported. That's about to change. The magazine reported on a study, led by Diana Greene Foster, a demographer and professor of ob-gyn at the University of California, San Francisco. Foster's study is the first to track American women like this over a longer period of time—and the first in the world to compare those women with peers who successfully received abortions.
Although her study is ongoing, Foster already has some answers. Compared to their peers who received abortions, women who can't get the abortions they want have poorer health and are more likely to live in poverty two years on, even though they qualified for government assistance programs as new moms. Meanwhile, everybody in the study, whether they got abortions or not, generally had the same levels of depression and anxiety.
With time, Foster's study will be able to assess how well mothers like S. bond with their children, how well those babies fare, and how well their mothers fare financially in the long term.
Whether Foster's results will budge the beliefs of those on either side of the abortion debate remains to be seen. There's nothing in the study to address the concerns of people who find abortion immoral—in fact, that's a question science simply can't answer.
Stupid people tend to multiply at a higher rate. Stupid parents tend to raise stupid children. I dont see many physicists having abortions. I wont miss the stupid babies.
It's ironic how popsci doesn't pay attention to the science and the studies that do say abortion negatively affects a woman's mental health. I'm beginning to think that this site only covers what its liberal mindset wants to cover. I'd rather see a site that just covers science. Not denying science that disagrees with their views.
And oh know, a woman was denied killing her baby! What will America do if a woman cannot kill her own baby! IT's not like a mother is supposed to be caring of her own child. Obviously this is sarcastic. A mother is meant to care for her kid/s, whether that means personally taking care of them herself, or giving them up for adoption. You don't need things to start out properly in order to live a happy life. Ya it's gonna be hard, but who said life was supposed to be easy? Unlike many people, I don't think abortion is ok in any circumstance! How will killing your own baby make you feel better from being raped?! You were wronged and then you just killed your baby, why is the baby getting punished? And the same with incest, how is killing the baby gonna solve the issue of the incest, and why is the and getting the punishment? And abortions never save a woman's life. http://www.thelifeinstitute.net/current-projects/abortion-never-saves-a-life/
Thank you to everybody that is fighting against the killing of the least of these. I encourage those of you who support abortion in the case of rape, incest and for the mother's life to do more thinking and research though. You're still making an excuse for a mother to kill her own child. If you can't justify murdering people outside the womb, why are you justifying the murder of them in the womb?
My quick response to an odd strain of thought that Democedes is positing. Its not potential, its biological life, a sperm or egg is a haploid cell, not a diploid cell. Its a part of a person, not a seperate diploid cell. Once a diploid cell, you have a separate, although still single-cellular, organism. That is the difference, potential is irrelevant, its not potential that's the crux, its the biological definition of an organism. View this comment in the light of my previous, which I will post below, if you're interested. But, the issue never was potential, a potential organism is just that, a fantasy, a reality, however, ought to be treated as such.
*Previous post, to save you from needed to scroll through the thread*
The question is entirely based upon if you consider the fetus a human. I do, considering it is of the human species and is a separate organism, underdeveloped, but still human. If indeed it is human than you cannot justify pumping poison into it, even if it is a burden, much like you cannot decide that because you don't like a specific person, any blood you donated cannot be used on them. Of course, the humanity of the fetus is the question, and its virtually impossible to demonstratively determine that. Now, for analogy, based on this specific viewpoint, consider Siamese twins, can one kill the other because its her/his body? no. Similarly, if the fetus is indeed human, abortion is extremely hard to justify. Just to flesh out this particular view.
I think the presumption of people who don't know the circumstances to lay a blanket ban on something is not fair and not right. This is just something you cannot put a generic law to cover the entirety of the subject with.
Also a microscopic bunch of cells isn't a human being.
"...potential is irrelevant..."
Then why is it murder to kill a single cell human zygote but not a skin cell? Neither of these cells have any thoughts, feelings or memories. Or to kill other entire organisms like a housefly. Why is the human zygote the only single cell on the planet that deserves the protection of law? What makes it so special? And how can we possibly keep track of these cells to ensure their rights are not being violated?
demo, it's one thing to be a 'part' of an organism, that either was purposely removed, fell off because of accident, disease or death thereof, such as a skin cell, or a finger or a whole leg even. It isn't an entity unto itself. Seriously, your reaching. But hey, don't get me wrong, I see your point and you make a good one. It's pretty hard to consider such a small, insignificant, unthinking, unknowing cell as human. Nevertheless, would you call each individual ingredient of a cake, a cake? No you'd call them all something else like sugar and flour and so on. That's why a sperm and egg cell is not a human because its something else. But once you've put the ingredients together then you can call it cake batter. Ok so, let's agree at least that it's "human batter" lol. So we have the batter, and its been mixed right there in the oven. Why throw out a perfectly good cake??? Just bake the damn thing and give it away!
OK, all joking aside; I don't know who said that potential makes no difference but to me it makes all the difference. I'd feel the same way about a clone. Once you've done the necessary steps and put the necessary ingredients together, there is no going back. It's human.
But hey, that's just my opinion, and I don't rule the world. Nor would I want to. These kind of decisions and dilemma's would keep me up at night if I had any power to influence them.
Today's magic is tomorrow's technology.
Yes this is a very liberal, no, a very leftist science magazine. Liberal is an honorable viewpoint in a lot of cases. But this site is purely leftist, and leftists do not consider things, they just dictate. Don't know how new you are to this site but if you stick around long enough you'll know what I mean.
Today's magic is tomorrow's technology.
I really don't know political stuff that much, so usually I just consider the Liberals leftist, but again I don't know that much about the wording of that stuff. However abortion I do definitely know about.
We have a blanket ban on murder (at least for outside of the womb) and rape. So why not have a blanket ban on something that gruesomely murders children?
A very small embryo has qualities that make it difficult to define it as a person, even legally. Can a person be frozen for indefinite periods of time and thawed out later? Can a person divide into two completely separate persons? Can two persons merge together and result in just one person? Embryos can do all these things, and they frequently do in nature (except for being frozen).
I like how everybody ignores RDZombie comment. Personally I would like to take this approach but it is morally wrong and you piss a lot of people off. So before i tell you what i believe I will post some definitions.
1. A member of the genus Homo and especially of the species H. sapiens.
2. A person: the extraordinary humans who explored Antarctica.
1. Of, relating to, or characteristic of humans: the course of human events; the human race.
2. Having or showing those positive aspects of nature and character regarded as distinguishing humans from other animals: an act of human kindness.
3. Subject to or indicative of the weaknesses, imperfections, and fragility associated with humans: a mistake that shows he's only human; human frailty.
4. Having the form of a human.
5. Made up of humans: formed a human bridge across the ice."
1. A living human. Often used in combination: chairperson; spokesperson; salesperson.
2. An individual of specified character: a person of importance.
3. The composite of characteristics that make up an individual personality; the self.
4. The living body of a human: searched the prisoner's person.
5. Physique and general appearance.
6. Law A human or organization with legal rights and duties.
7. Christianity Any of the three separate individualities of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as distinguished from the essence of the Godhead that unites them.
a. Any of three groups of pronoun forms with corresponding verb inflections that distinguish the speaker (first person), the individual addressed (second person), and the individual or thing spoken of (third person).
b. Any of the different forms or inflections expressing these distinctions.
9. A character or role, as in a play; a guise: "Well, in her person, I say I will not have you" (Shakespeare).
1. The unlawful killing of one human by another, especially with premeditated malice.
2. Slang Something that is very uncomfortable, difficult, or hazardous: The rush hour traffic is murder.
3. A flock of crows. See Synonyms at flock1.
v. mur·dered, mur·der·ing, mur·ders
1. To kill (another human) unlawfully.
2. To kill brutally or inhumanly.
3. To put an end to; destroy: murdered their chances.
4. To spoil by ineptness; mutilate: a speech that murdered the English language.
5. Slang To defeat decisively; trounce.
Now, I believe that after a certain point(3-6 months or so)you should not have abortions. Not because i think it is murder but because i get most people on my side. I do not believe that a group of cells are life and you are killing a living human. I think that if you consider a zygote a living person than you will have to consider seeds, living trees. We have already decided as a society that trees don't have the rights of humans for good reason of course. it is also convenient. Animals like monkeys that are not human but can express their pain and suffering do have more rights than a plant would have. So by this definition if a fetus can express its pain and suffering then it is alive but until then it is still just a developing group of cells.
Also, I do not think that abortion should be consider Murder. When I use the world murder i think that they killed with some "premeditated malice". Abortion has no premeditated malice there only think of themself and maybe of the fetus. So to refer to abortion as murder is not an effective way of conveying an idea. Abortion is abortion if it was murder what was the point of making another word for it.
In the end this is a debate about how do we define life and humans and who deserves rights. That question is one that is very very difficult to answer in an absolut way.
"Youth ages, immaturity is outgrown, ignorance can be educated, drunkenness sobered, but stupid lasts forever." -Aristophanes
"The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and rele
I think you see my point now. It is not a simple black and white issue. There is a ton of grey area. A reasonable person would agree that killing a single cell zygote is not the same as killing your neighbor. And that terminating a 39 week pregnancy is not that different from killing a new born. A reasonable person says that somewhere between conception and birth is a place where a fetus is enough like us to deserve protection. Where you draw that line is is your personal choice based on your beliefs.
To me, being Pro-Life is forcing others to your way of thinking. Pro-Life groups are lobbying to make all abortions illegal, even those in the first trimester.
Pro-choice is not pro-abortion. We simply think it is the mother's decision, because it is morally a gray area and because it her body and her future.
Science and politics are awful bedfellows.
Politics makes scientists practice bad science to push an agenda. Hence, the scientists at the Universtiy of East Anglia hiding any evidence that is contradictory to the hypothesis of Global Warming. We would like to think that peer review is a silver bullet, but if all the peers are pushing an agenda, contrary voices are silenced. Just ask Galileo.
Many times these scientific dishonesties happen in the quest for one think, grant money. Science appears to no longer be the search for truth and fact, but a method for molding truth for profit.
If we look at this study closely and with objectivity, we can see one glaring omission. First, the study is only comparing women who want to abort and extrapolating the findings to all women. Where is the control group of women who are pregnant and wish to keep there children? It appears that the study is preloaded to find that women with unwanted children are just as unhappy as women who were allowed to abort their children. If we only compare the temperature of a frying pan and a fire, then the whole world must be pretty hot.
In conclusion, I have conducted scientific research, and I know that if you go in wanting a certain result badly enough, you can find a way to make it happen.
Thank you. My point was going to be the same.
It's all about how we define a human being. Clearly this definition is different to many of the people who made comments on this article. Is it our consciousness that makes us human? Is it our physical form? Is it our exceptional cognitive abilities? Probably all of the above. Is it the potential to become all of these things? Probably not. Potential reflects probability. I think a mass of cells is NOT a human being. I think a mass of cells with a developing nervous system is where the idea of abortion gets "grey." However, we kill animals all the time for the sake of food (even though we don't need to). These animals have developed nervous systems and forms of consciousness, but clearly we can tell the difference and don't equate them to the life of a human. So, to me, even when a fetus has a developing nervous system this doesn't necessarily make it human yet. Just because the genetic information and potential is there doesn't make it fit the common definitions that were listed above.
Now if anyone has actually looked at our current abortion laws, they would notice something. Abortion is only allowed up until a certain point. That point is scientifically determined as the point in which a fetus can survive without the Mother (all against abortion can thank technology and advances in medicine for this). So, once the fetus can be kept alive separate from the Mother, the mother no longer has the choice (freedom) to abort it. It can be protected by the state, in this case in the safest way possible, via birth. So in essence, the current abortion laws accurately reflect the highly opinionated spectrum of stances on abortion in this country in the best means possible (via science and technology).
@democedes You must think yourself a champion of liberty, allowing a woman to "make her own choice". Next time someone commits a criminal act I'm sure we can just argue they had the right to choose. This isn't Utopia, the right to make a choice doesn't equate to the right to make any choice. Additionally, your comparison of a human embryo to a human skin cell or fruit fly is daft at best, as GGenua explains.
Pro-life is just that. Pro-choice is a ruse, and is very much pro-abortion. It is not a morally grey area, by definition there is a living organism 30 hours after conception (by definition, to conceive means to bear a child - not a zygote), and every second past that it is growing, and fast. Not into a skin cell, but a complex multi-cellular living organism. In a matter of months it is undeniably a human being. In a matter of years it becomes an intelligent adult who is capable of sitting at his computer and arguing that his mother had the right to deny him his life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. You are a product of this, and to argue in favor of abortion when you yourself were born as a free human being is absolutely hypocritical.
FYI, according to the The Alan Guttmacher institute, almost three quarters of abortions committed in 2004 were committed because, according to the mother, "Having a baby would dramatically change my life". That is over 600,000 babies who's lives were ended, because the mother didn't want her life, to change...
"Next time someone commits a criminal act I'm sure we can just argue they had the right to choose. This isn't Utopia, the right to make a choice doesn't equate to the right to make any choice."
The right to make a choice DOES equate to the right to make any choice (any possible choice). It is our physical limitations and society that determines the consequences of those choices.
"by definition there is a living organism 30 hours after conception (by definition, to conceive means to bear a child - not a zygote), and every second past that it is growing, and fast. Not into a skin cell, but a complex multi-cellular living organism."
Yes by definition there is a living organism, yet we kill other living organisms all the time for our own pursuit of happiness, even when they have developed in to complex multi-cellular organisms. So the fact that a fetus is an organism doesn't provide any new perspective to the debate.
It is when the fetus possesses the physical representations of what we define as "human," that it becomes an ethical dilemma. Even then, a fetus in its later stages struggles to meet all of the definitions of "human." Though some may argue a majority...
I still don't think the "potential" for human life should have more of a right to life than the mother that is bearing it. Until of course it reaches the stages of development where it doesn't need to physically rely on the mother (which is where the line is drawn for the ability to abort occurs).
"You are a product of this, and to argue in favor of abortion when you yourself were born as a free human being is absolutely hypocritical."
If your mother had been responsible and practiced abstinence, then neither you nor your brother would exist. So, by your own logic, it is hypocritical for you to argue abstinence. Perhaps you should try to make abstinence illegal as well. Think of all the babies whose lives were ended before they even began! All because their mothers were selfish and didn't want to get pregnant.
"Next time someone commits a criminal act I'm sure we can just argue they had the right to choose."
Since I believe women have the right to choose, I MUST also be pro-lawlessness! You logic is impeccable.
"Pro-choice is a ruse, and is very much pro-abortion."
Our secret agenda has been revealed! Our true goal is to kill all the fetuses!
Of course the above is pure sarcasm, which I am sure is lost on you. But seriously, NoOneYouKnow, your mind must be a scary place to live.
@TheKID11 "So the fact that a fetus is an organism doesn't provide any new perspective to the debate."
I am slowly educating my friend here. Not only is the fetus a living organism, its a living organism with human DNA. DNA that is uniquely its own and derived from that of it's mother's and father's. Its not a debate, you are, empirically, a human being from the start of fetal development.
@democedes Its dark all the time, but you get used to it.
What I meant to say was that the right to make a choice doesn't equate to every choice being right, and applying the "pro-choice" logic to a criminal trail showcases it's obvious faults. When someone kills, be it a mother or the criminally insane, they are making a choice to do so. Thank you TheKID11 for correcting me.
Your abstinence argument is also flawed, abstinence in the traditional Christian sense simply means refraining from sex with anyone other than a spouse, and as a matter of fact my mother was very responsible. Where did you think I learned about abstinence, High School Sex Ed? lol.
I have two simple points.
1. A Bald Eagle egg is protected, and destroying one is against the law. If left alone, it has the chance of turning into an Eagle.
2. If you have to kill something, then it is alive!
@ NoOneYouKnow. The definition of abstinence is to intentionally avoid something. If you are abstaining from sex, then you are avoiding all sex regardless of martial status. On the other hand if you are abstaining from premarital or extramarital sex then sex with ONLY your spouse is the implication.
As for other arguments throughout the comment section, the debate over whether a fetus deserves to be preserved and whether it is of more value than a pet dog probably boils down to the existence of a soul. Without a soul it is much easier to conclude that a fetus is unimportant until it reaches a level of self sustain. Unfortunately from a pure logic standpoint that also makes it possible to say that a 3 month old baby is no more important than a 3 month old fetus.
On the other hand the existence of a soul would still probably degrade into a debate on what creates the soul, what attaches it to a human, and whether other animals with a brain have a soul. The solution to that depends on what happens to a soul after death. It is irrelevant to worry about developing a soul if it only evaporates after the body dies. The other question is whether a soul is generated from the DNA, from certain brain waves, or via sentience or conscious awareness. Of course that eventually leads to whether God exists and whether humans are destined to live a life beyond that of earth. I understand why people would want to deny the existence of a soul altogether.
Since the soul is not made up of normal matter, that leads some to logically conclude that it must not exist. I would suppose such a stance is like concluding that Dark Matter doesn't exist, until we found gravitational evidence that it might. Considering the wide spread belief throughout human history along with personal experiences, I conclude that people who don't believe the soul exists, disregard it because of what it might mean, or else have genetically degraded to the point that they can't detect or interact with their own soul.
Regardless, I think humans are a soul based life; soul based life should be regarded as the most valuable thing on the planet; and once the process of forming a human has been started, any attempts to stop it -- whether 1 week, 1 month, or 1 year after conception -- should be treated as termination of a soul based life.
The "pro choice" title is simply a case of misdirection or a full cop-out to avoid the question.
Since the essential question is whether abortion should be legal or not legal, claiming to be "pro choice" is the same as claiming that "abortion should be legal" or in other words, being "pro abortion".
No one in their right mind would assume "pro abortion" to mean all pregnancies should be aborted without a choice, therefore the "choice" moniker is irrelevant.
I will admit that the "pro life" title is a slight misdirection from "anti abortion" as well. However it's not quite as bad since "life" is a good bit more specific to the topic whereas "choice" is about as generic as you can get.
If you can not take care of your own self, do not add more of your responsibility of living by creating another that is helpless for survival.
My heart and prayers go out to all the babies\children, young pregnant girls and woman who suffer.
Well said pixelstuff, in regards to both comments. On abstinence, what I said was that abstinence in the traditional christian sense means to avoid (or abstain from) sex before you are married or with someone other than your spouse. In other words, chastity is a form of abstinence and - I think - the most common and relevant type, at least to this conversation. Despite democedes's best attempt to argue otherwise, chastity (or to be broader, abstinence) is not interchangeable with or comparable to abortion.
Of Course, like you said, both of our arguments are based on the postulate that either accepts or denies the existence of God. To me, God is a given, the basis for all my reasoning and discussion. That is why this debate is not going anywhere, in order to have a logical conversation between two individuals the common postulates must be understood. But most people are not willing to address these questions, for one reason or another most people find them oversensitive. I believe that if people cannot comfortably talk about religion and theology in America of all places then they are cutting themselves off at the knee. The greatest debates of history, the most deep and thought provoking questions ever asked, are all built upon one's understanding (or lack thereof) of their existence. In fact, it was George Washington who stressed the importance of religion in his farewell address, calling it an 'indispensable support'... and now look, people have less faith than ever and yet ask even more provocative questions.
Wow so much activity since I last looked...
"Not only is the fetus a living organism, its a living organism with human DNA. DNA that is uniquely its own and derived from that of it's mother's and father's. Its not a debate, you are, empirically, a human being from the start of fetal development."
It is CERTAINLY a debate, and "empirically," in no way whatsoever are you a human being from the start of fetal development. From the start of fetal development, no scientific observation or measurement has ever provided evidence for the fact that a mass of cells is "human." Unless EVERYONE in the scientific community can agree that a mass of cells, full of potential information (genes), can be considered a "human."
I have the feeling you didn't understand my comment, but I suppose that is okay. Allow me to elaborate. I was discussing the importance of how we define things, especially the concept of a "human." The organisms (fetus) that we are referring to absolutely has human DNA. This doesn't support your argument though, because DNA is not a human. Deoxyribosenucleic acid is a molecule consisting of self-replicative material (nucleotides) responsible for the production of the proteins that drive and govern all of human life. DNA is not a human, it produces humans, and if you look at DNA from the perspective of Richard Dawkins you would probably learn to appreciate how DNA creates and governs nearly everything we do. We are sole servants of DNA, and we are simply vessels for our DNA, replicating and expanding variability in it's code as we reproduce. It's essentially evolution at a molecular level. I know this may be difficult to grasp unless you are thoroughly educated in the life sciences, but my take home message here is that DNA is not "human," it can, and has, created humans. This is why I was pointing out the importance of how we define a "human being." I personally in no way consider a developing fetus, despite the elegance and immense appreciation of its genetic code, to be a "Human" until it has reached a certain point of development (as I discussed in my comments above). The beginning stages of fetal development do not meet any current definition of "human."
I agree with your observations whole heartedly, and have reached the same logical flow of reasoning and conclusions you describe. However, the ultimate point you are making is that you "think humans are a soul based life." Unfortunately this does little to convince anyone (other than people who agree with you) that a nation should make policies on abortion via "un-proven" are immeasurable notions. I'm not going to tell you that humans don't have souls, or debate your reasons for belief in this, but I will say that it will always be an unsuccessful argument when it comes to implementing national abortion policies. The idea that humans have souls is not supported by any conclusive scientific evidence, and tends to fall into the realm of religious ideals, none of which should ever play a part in United States policy.
Which brings me to my next point...
"George Washington who stressed the importance of religion in his farewell address, calling it an 'indispensable support'... and now look, people have less faith than ever and yet ask even more provocative questions."
Yes but not in regards to United States policymaking, in fact He, and the vast majority of our founding fathers, specifically spoke against involving religion in policymaking. It is the separation of Church and State that has contributed to this country's survival as a democratic nation.
I just finished reading all the comments on this and I found only one point that touches on what this is all about. Not even all the blabbering I did before said anything remotely as relevant as this:
ungerdogger; "2. If you have to kill something, then it is alive!"
I'd like to elaborate a little on that. We are talking about when to give a 'person' the right to live. Because... like it or not, an embryo, a zygote or whatever else makes you all feel better calling it.... is alive. And what is this 'thing' that is alive? Is it a virus? A bacterium? Is it a sea monkey? Is it just a collection of cells? Is it one cell?
I take you to EnDeR Wiggen's definitions. A whole host of definitions written and defined by some human(s). As imperfect as we are in the pursuit of understanding what this 'thing' is. Just because a language defines a certain word in a certain way does not explain to us what it is we are trying to define.
We are trying to define when to give a living entity the right to live.
My last point is this: When did we become so arrogant that we can decide when something has the right to live?
I suppose that total legal abortion is inevitable. Because we are an arrogant race of developed zygotes and we will always have excuses to make things easier for ourselves in the name of freedom to choose.
The zygote, embryo, fetus is just an organism. That's the excuse. It's not murder, it's abortion. That's another excuse. It's not killing it's termination.
Ya know, we can label it "pickin' the daisy" and its still the same thing.
It is the destruction of a viable future human being. Someone who would have been, but we have taken away his/her right to be. Call 'it' and the action whatever makes you feel better.
Today's magic is tomorrow's technology.
"We are talking about when to give a 'person' the right to live."
No, that is your interpretation. You are considering an embryo to be a 'person.' I would say it differently: the discussion is about when to give a developing fetus the chance to become "human," and when if at all ethical, can that fetus be aborted from developing into a human. Although I get what you are saying; it's about the "right to life," of the embryo.
"like it or not, an embryo, a zygote or whatever else makes you all feel better calling it.... is alive. And what is this 'thing' that is alive? Is it a virus? A bacterium? Is it a sea monkey? Is it just a collection of cells? Is it one cell?"
No...it's exactly what you said it is: An embryo. I suppose you could call it whatever you want if that's what you were eluding to, but I feel any scientist would likely call it what it is: an embryo. It is an embryo regardless of what it is going to become; Whether it becomes a sea monkey or a human. Of course a human embryo is an embryo that will become a human. It's when that embryo becomes a human that should be the focus of the discussion. Embryo does not equal human (regardless of the DNA governing its development). It is what the embryo develops into that we call human.
"Just because a language defines a certain word in a certain way does not explain to us what it is we are trying to define."
I THINK i understand what you mean by this sentence...though the sentence makes no sense. The definition of a word (in any language) does the opposite of what you said; it explains what we are "trying to define." We rely on definitions to explain "things," and just because you don't understand the difference between a human and an embryo doesn't make this "thing" (as you refer to it) misunderstood to others. An embryo holds the same definition across species, except that in humans an embryo develops into a fetus. It is when this embryo develops into something else that the definition and word we choose to describe it changes. It is after it has developed past what we call an embryo, where you may find a nurse practitioner or a doctor pointing to an ultrasound image saying "here is your baby."
"My last point is this: When did we become so arrogant that we can decide when something has the right to live?"
The day we evolved into "humans." We end the lives of other plants and animals for food so we can survive, and we end the lives of each other so we can survive (though not always for the purposes of survival). I would not call this arrogance, though I would say it is innately "human." We end things that have a "right" to life all the time. Though I usually only associate a "right" with humans...not 'potential' humans.
Now, instead of arguing semantics, let's get back to what your main point was: The "right to live" The right of that embryo to become the human baby it would surely become assuming it isn't aborted. Unfortunately, what you are talking about still boils back down to how we define things, and hoping that you read and understood what I said in my comments above, you would realize that the "right" of that embryo to become of baby should never outweigh the right of the "human" mother. A mother who isn't ready to support a child, whether it be emotionally, physically, financially etc. has the right to a better life. The embryo that grows inside her is physically a part of her. Her womb is a physical barrier from the outside world. Once that embryo becomes a developed fetus that can survive without the mother and that physical barrier that separates it from the outside world, THEN it's life is no longer at the mercy of the mother, and it can survive on its own. Now, thanks to medical technology, this stage of development is where we legally draw the lines for abortion. Even before birth, there is a point, given our current technology, where a fetus can be removed and potentially survive outside the womb.
Therefore, I would argue that our current abortion laws are sound. When the day comes that technology is advanced enough that a developing fetus, perhaps even an embryo, can survive without the mother (outside of its physical barrier) then I would imagine abortion laws would become more strict, maybe even the definitions of what we consider to be "human" will expand into the domain of embryos and even zygotes.
"abstinence in the traditional Christian sense simply means..."
I use words as they are defined in the dictionary. I find that this facilitates better understanding when conversing with persons that are not myself.
"To me, God is a given, the basis for all my reasoning and discussion."
If you believe that is abortion is wrong for religious reasons then you should have said so from the get go. You made it sound like your position was based on logic and reason.
@TheKID11 Your argument is very logical, to be sure, but I still think you are rationalizing it. Is an embryo a human? Most certainly not, although it is possibly the closest thing you can get short of it, and given only a few weeks it would become irrefutably human. This obviously boils down to the rights of the mother vs the right of her child - and from the moment of conception it IS called her child FYI.
So do I think that "but I don't want a baby" is a valid excuse? I think comparing it to the slaughter of a cow or the death of an enemy combatant is folly. A cow may be killed so that a man might feed his family, but the abortion of a child, except in the cases of rape or the protection of the mother's life, only serves to dispel the consequences of immoral acts of sexual passion. Plan B, abortion, condoms; they are all used so that a woman may indulge herself and participate in sex for reasons other than naturally intended. The right to pursue happiness does not justify acts of gluttony or lust.
To generalize it into "we kill stuff all the time" is frankly moronic, and completely misses the point that we are talking about the potential murder of a human being. You are ultimately arguing that a fetus is not developed enough to be protected. Can we make the same argument for children? They are, after all, less developed than you or I and don't enjoy all the rights we do. What makes a child different? They are only slightly less dependent upon their mother, and biologically... well, they did *start out* as a fetus. Is this not a valid comparison? I don't think so, but why? Is the only real difference the inclusion of a soul or a conscience? If so then when does that occur? This last one is certainly not a new question (I believe you already posed it, if not you someone else in here), both Aristotle and Saint Augustine were puzzled as to when exactly a human embryo became a human proper. For both of them it boiled down to when did the creature attain a human soul. Aristotle believed it was after birth, and Augustine didn't pretend to know but theorized on the existence of the soul before the existence of the body. Augustine further argued that, even if it wasn't quite murder, the act of abortion was a selfish act against God's will and the natural law, and was comparable to adultery in its severity.
And what about the father? Only a small percentage of abortions are in cases of rape. For all this debate about a woman's rights, the father has no say in the life or death of what is as much his child as it is hers. To my knowledge, a father has never been able to successfully argue in a court of law that he had as much right to the child, and the argument itself has even been condemned as an attempt at male domination. Does a father really have less say over the most fragile moments in his child's life than the mother? If so, why?
@democedes Maybe that is because my argument *was* based on logic and reasoning, the postulates of which include the existence of God.
Oops, now i'm a zealot! /sarcasm
"I still think you are rationalizing it."
Of course I am. You are trying to rationalize your opinion as well, based off of your beliefs (I'm assuming religious, but please correct me if I'm wrong). The only difference is I am rationalizing my opinion via scientific logic. For the sake of the discussion though, I think the mention of God is necessary (as pixiestuff mentioned), so I will touch base on this below.
"Is an embryo a human? Most certainly not, although it is possibly the closest thing you can get short of it, and given only a few weeks it would become irrefutably human. This obviously boils down to the rights of the mother vs the right of her child - and from the moment of conception it IS called her child FYI."
Yes, I agree for the most part.
Where I disagree is when considering the rights of the mother vs. the rights of the "embryo," "fetus," or "child" if you prefer.
"So do I think that "but I don't want a baby" is a valid excuse?"
Yes, I think you should (but of course it's up to you) because there are many reasons for not "wanting" a baby. The inability to care for it, the inability to support it, the inability to ensure it will survive or have a good life. These are just some. Though unavoidably there will always be people who could get abortions because they simply don't want the responsibility (I believe this is what you were likely hinting at).
"I think comparing it to the slaughter of a cow or the death of an enemy combatant is folly. A cow may be killed so that a man might feed his family, but the abortion of a child, except in the cases of rape or the protection of the mother's life, only serves to dispel the consequences of immoral acts of sexual passion........To generalize it into "we kill stuff all the time" is frankly moronic, and completely misses the point that we are talking about the potential murder of a human being."
I wasn't generalizing it into "we kill stuff all the time, so it is okay." I wasn't suggesting the life of a cow and a human are equivalent either (I love cheeseburgers too much), or anything like that, I was simply addressing the point that Ggenua made: that it is "alive," which I was saying provides no depth to this discussion because we kill things that are "alive" all the time, and their "right" to live. A sperm and egg are alive as well...I was simply pointing out that this isn't a good argument if you are trying to convince someone they shouldn't abort because it's "alive."
"the abortion of a child, except in the cases of rape or the protection of the mother's life, only serves to dispel the consequences of immoral acts of sexual passion. Plan B, abortion, condoms; they are all used so that a woman may indulge herself and participate in sex for reasons other than naturally intended. The right to pursue happiness does not justify acts of gluttony or lust."
This is an assumption that all unplanned pregnancies were the result of immoral acts of sexual passion (i.e. unprotected sex, not using a condom or birth control, not abstaining). Like it or not, people have been having sex before marriage or before they were ready to bare the responsibility of a child since marriage was invented, in the heat of passion, and enjoying it. It is an innate human urge. In fact it is an innate urge for nearly all sexually reproducing species (regardless of whether or not it provides pleasure). What you have to realize is: ACCIDENTS happen, even when people use protection, or think they are protected. I was a victim of this unfortunate scenario. People CAN and DO have pregnancies because of an accident AND because they made a mistake in the heat of passion. Assuming that most women (other than those that were raped) got pregnant because they were being immoral and irresponsible in the first place, is not a complete picture of the reasons women get pregnant, who they are as individuals, why they got pregnant, and why they would like an abortion. This is where the beauty of pro-choice comes in (but i'll touch on this later).
"The right to pursue happiness does not justify acts of gluttony or lust."
Well, I would say in some ways it does, so long as those acts don't put another "human," in harm (but this brings us right back to our differences in how we define a fetus, embryo, etc.). Often, gluttony and lust are consequences of the pursuit of happiness (I won't waste time going off on a tangent and listing examples, but to give you an idea just think about the US's popular culture and obesity epidemic). People, seeking pleasure through sex, or love, or companionship, etc, are doing what nature has urged them to do. The whole point is it is their choice, just as your choice may be to abstain, if that's what makes YOU HAPPY.
"You are ultimately arguing that a fetus is not developed enough to be protected. Can we make the same argument for children? "
NO (of course in my opinion), because a child is no longer a part of the mother's body. A child has crossed the physical barrier between the mother's womb and the outside world.
"They are, after all, less developed than you or I and don't enjoy all the rights we do. What makes a child different?"
"They are only slightly less dependent upon their mother, and biologically... well, they did *start out* as a fetus. Is this not a valid comparison? I don't think so, but why?"
No, I don't think so either. Allow me to explain why: At this point in their development, I agree they are indeed still VERY reliant on a mother. Pixiestuff discussed that point, and there is no doubt about it, but the child (I'll specify to newborn infant to give better perspective) has 1) crossed the physical barrier of the womb, and 2) has developed a nervous system advanced enough for cognitive manifestations of nociception, that are at least somewhat comparable to an adult (albeit still QUITE different).
"Is the only real difference the inclusion of a soul or a conscience? If so then when does that occur?"
These are GREAT questions, and as you say later, questions that many great minds have pondered. Personally I don't think the only difference is the inclusion of a soul because I have no physical, observable, or empirical way of testing or knowing whether a soul actually exists (at least with current technologies, many of which I have the pleasure to use :) ) Consciousness, is another difficult thing to measure in a child. Typically we see signs of consciousness around the time language becomes advanced enough (2-5 years). Though this is HIGHLY debated as well. However, I would argue this happens around age 2 to 3 years, when the brain becomes advanced enough for the parallel processing of information across sensory modalities to be stored usefully as memories (also that the hippocampus is developed enough for long term memory storage, which somewhat explains why we don't remember much before our 2nd year of life). However, this goes back to what you and pixiestuff were saying. Why can't a child be killed then? Personally I think consciousness isn't a solid argument for abortion rights either. But, if the brain isn't developed enough for the CONSCIOUS perceptions of nociception than I would argue it certainly is not human, or any highly developed species for that matter.
"And what about the father? Only a small percentage of abortions are in cases of rape. For all this debate about a woman's rights, the father has no say in the life or death of what is as much his child as it is hers. To my knowledge, a father has never been able to successfully argue in a court of law that he had as much right to the child, and the argument itself has even been condemned as an attempt at male domination. Does a father really have less say over the most fragile moments in his child's life than the mother? If so, why?"
YES, sadly life, and especially nature, isn't fair. The reason is because the father is not bearing the fetus, the mother is. The mother will ALWAYS be the physical barrier for that developing fetus's entry into the world. The father contributes an equal amount of DNA, but the mother contributes SIGNIFICANTLY more fitness and resources to the fetus. It is a part of her. In fact you can take a step back from this and consider that sexual reproduction is a product of evolution (stemming from asexual species), and that the development of the Y chromosome allows for the Wolffian system to turn a fetus into a male...but I don't want to go off on tangents. My point is, the Woman will always have more of right than a Man in this respect (so long as males don't evolve the ability to bear children....unlikely :/)
Anyway, what this all boils down to is the CHOICE. Pro-choice is about the ability for that woman to choose what happens to that fetus. It is part of her FREEDOM. Whether she will terminate it, and decide to have a baby later when she is ready for one (which may be never, but it depends on the woman), or she decides to keep it so it turns into a beautiful baby (tho not always). She can make the choice, and it is the type of woman she is and what she believes in that determines the fate of that fetus. Not YOU, or anyone else. Her decision does not affect you, or put you in physical danger. If you were a woman, with good christian values, and got pregnant, you can CHOOSE to keep your baby. And I would applaud you for that bravery, especially if it was an unplanned pregnancy, an accident, your intentional descent into sin, or the result of rape. But that will be YOUR CHOICE, and it is how you raise your children, and help shape your family's values and beliefs that will play a role in their CHOICE if such a circumstance ever happened to them.
I will try to put it in another way (tho i'm certainly no theologian, so it may fall on deaf ears). God gave us the ability to choose...to choose to sin or abstain from sin. But it is the CHOICE not to sin and to be obedient that makes us favorable in God's eyes...What's the point without the choice...
Kudos to you for you BEST quesiton\comment!!!