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#661
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The idea is that both a newborn and a fetus will, under normal circumstances, develop to fit any arbitrary definition of personhood you can make. That would be the problem, though, coming up with a definition of personhood that fits whatever side you're taking.


There is only a problem when you argue that personhood is not synonymous with human. At that point, you're burdened with coming up with a definition fo personhood which either doesn't lead to extreme conclusions or a definition which does not excuse a group you want to include.

You really can't use the mirror test either, since that is most likely intended to represent a species as a whole, rather than a species at different stages in its life cycle. These arguments would probably work quite well if humans weren't a k-selected species (Few individuals born at a time, long development time, large investment by parents before young can survive on its own).


Why can't I use the mirror test? Some people in this thread aren't arguing that it's permissible to kill humans, as a species, because they're not self-aware, but that it's permissable to kill a human at a specific stage of development or time because it isn't self-aware. Therefore, the use of the mirror test to show that if Human A at stage of development X can be killed on the basis that it's not self-aware (or, more specifically, it has no right to not be killed), then Human B at stage of development Y can be killed under the same rationale is perfectly justified.

Yes, I mean self-aware.

I did not say it was okay to kill a newborn. Do not put words in my mouth.


I'm not putting words in your mouth. You said that newborns, and people under the age of two, were "probably not people". If they're not persons, then what right do they have to not be killed? What's the point of pointing out that they're "probably not people" if not to insinuate that it's okay to kill them?

#662
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I was trying to agree with you :razz:

#663
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Oh. My apologies then :mrgreen:

#664
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I did not make that claim.

That was directed at nomrombom.

@Alg: defining personhood is basically the core issue here. I agree it's difficult to define.

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#665
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No, I don't know exactly what you mean.

You're seriously attempting to claim that a two year old is not a person, which is completely ridiculous.



What I meant by "can survive on its own" is that it does not require the parents to live on its own. Physical independence.


A two year old is (probably) not a person because it is (probably) not conscious. Consciousness is what let humans control the Earth. Consciousness is what separates us from nearly all other species. This is what makes us people rather than just apes.
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#666
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No, I don't know exactly what you mean.

You're seriously attempting to claim that a two year old is not a person, which is completely ridiculous.



What I meant by "can survive on its own" is that it does not require the parents to live on its own. Physical independence.


A two year old is (probably) not a person because it is (probably) not conscious. Consciousness is what let humans control the Earth. Consciousness is what separates us from nearly all other species. This is what makes us people rather than just apes.

Then is someone in a coma no longer a person? What about someone with a developmental brain disease? Someone with alzheimers? At what point does someone become conscious?

I'll leave off with a quote from Christoper Hitchens:

Two instances—one of immoral teaching and the other of immoral practice—may be adduced. The immoral teaching concerns abortion. As a materialist, I think it has been demonstrated that an embryo is a separate body and entity, and not merely (as some really did used to argue) a growth on or in the female body. There used to be feminists who would say that it was more like an appendix or even—'this was seriously maintained—a tumor, That nonsense seems to have stopped. Of the considerations that have stopped it, one is the fascinating and moving view provided by the sonogram, and another is the survival of "premature" babies of featherlike weight, who have achieved "viability" outside the womb. This is yet another way in which science can make common cause with humanism. Just as no human being of average moral capacity could be indifferent to the sight of a woman being kicked in the stomach, so nobody could fail to be far more outraged if the woman in question were pregnant. Embryology confirms morality. The words "unborn child," even when used in a politicized manner, describe a material reality.


Basically, stop while you're...not as far away as you could be from being ahead.

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#667
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Just wondering, does anyone else here think that a lot of people who say they're 'pro-life' seem to be anti-life once the foetus is born? I've seen one-too-many people protest against allowing women the right to chose, and then go around and protest against vaccinations for kids, support the death sentence for criminals, and not care when the mother-to-be dies during pregnancy.

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#668
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Just wondering, does anyone else here think that a lot of people who say they're 'pro-life' seem to be anti-life once the foetus is born? I've seen one-too-many people protest against allowing women the right to chose, and then go around and protest against vaccinations for kids, support the death sentence for criminals, and not care when the mother-to-be dies during pregnancy.

I'm sure there are some people like that. But saying there's any frequent connection is nothing more than generalization and stereotyping.

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#669
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Just wondering, does anyone else here think that a lot of people who say they're 'pro-life' seem to be anti-life once the foetus is born? I've seen one-too-many people protest against allowing women the right to chose, and then go around and protest against vaccinations for kids, support the death sentence for criminals, and not care when the mother-to-be dies during pregnancy.


No, because (1) it's a bald-faced lie to say that pro-lifers don't care about the fetus once it's born (good luck proving this assertion, as it's very easy to disprove) and (2) some of that stuff, i.e. the death penalty, has nothing to do with abortion.

#670
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Someone in a coma will either die or return to consciousness, and they were conscious before. You never know when they might return.

A person with a severe enough brain disease may or may not be conscious. If they are not conscious, then no, they are not a person. They are human, however, and have the right to life, liberty, blah blah blah.

A person with Alzheimers was conscious and may drift in and out of consciousness (we can't really know). Thus, like the coma patient, they are still a person, though temporarily incapacitated.


As I've said before, it's quite difficult to define consciousness, but you know what I mean, as does every other conscious person on Earth if asked. It's innate.


There is, and most people inherently know it, but they have trouble verbalizing it for one very specific reason.

The defining mark between something that is human and someone who is a person is 'consciousness.' It is the self-aware quality of consciousness that makes us uniquely different from others. This self-awareness, this sentient consciousness is also what separates us from every other animal life form on the planet. We think about ourselves. We use language to describe ourselves. We are aware of ourselves as a part of the greater whole.

The problem is that consciousness normally doesn't occur until months, even years, after a baby is born. This creates a moral dilemma for the defender of abortion rights. Indeed, they inherently know what makes a human into a person, but they are also aware such individual personhood doesn't occur until well after birth. To use personhood as an argument for abortion rights, therefore, also leads to the argument that it should be okay to kill a 3-month-old baby since it hasn't obtained consciousness either.

Anti-abortionists use this perceived problem in an attempt to prove their point. In a debate, a Pro Choice defender will rightly state that the difference between a fetus and a full-term human being is that the fetus isn't a person. The anti-abortion activist, being quite sly, will reply by asking his opponent to define what makes someone into a person. Suddenly the Pro Choice defender is at a loss for words to describe what he or she knows innately. We know it because we lived it. We know we have no memory of self-awareness before our first birthday, or even before our second. But we also quickly become aware of the "problem" we create if we say a human doesn't become a person until well after its birth. And we end up saying nothing. The anti-abortionist then takes this inability to verbalize the nature of personhood as proof of their claim that a human is a person at conception.

But they are wrong. Their "logic" is greatly flawed. Just because someone is afraid to speak the truth doesn't make it any less true.

And in reality, the Pro Choice defender's fear is unfounded. They are right, and they can state it without hesitation. A human indeed does not become a full person until consciousness. And consciousness doesn't occur until well after the birth of the child. But that does not automatically lend credence to the anti-abortionist's argument that it should, therefore, be acceptable to kill a three-month-old baby because it is not yet a person.

It is still a potential person. And after birth it is an independent potential person whose existence no longer poses a threat to the physical wellbeing of another. To understand this better, we need to look at the next question.


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#671
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Okay, so what makes a human then?

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#672
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Human DNA. An individual creature.
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#673
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Human DNA. An individual creature.

Sounds a lot like a fetus.


They are human, however, and have the right to life, liberty, blah blah blah.


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#674
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To put it kindly, the above given link by Nomrombom a load of crap and I seriously could write paragraphs upon paragraphs as to why this is, but I won't. Instead, I pose the following (rhetorical) question; what if the pregnancy poses no threat to the mother's physical health, and we know this with absolute certainty? Would the author argue that abortion is thereby impermissible?

#675
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To put it kindly, the above given link by Nomrombom a load of crap and I seriously could write paragraphs upon paragraphs as to why this is, but I won't. Instead, I pose the following (rhetorical) question; what if the pregnancy poses no threat to the mother's physical health, and we know this with absolute certainty? Would the author argue that abortion is thereby impermissible?

Yes it is, for one thing because even a normal pregnancy poses much larger health risks than getting an abortion. And also because it threatens her personal and financial dependance, often the structure of her already existing family (A majority of women who have abortions already have children Source), and they were often doing the most to prevent pregnancy (Source). And get writing, I'd be interested what your retorts are. As to what makes something human, it is DNA. My liver is no less alive nor less human than a fetus, a child, or an adult.

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#676
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Yes it is, for one thing because even a normal pregnancy poses much larger health risks than getting an abortion.

http://afterabortion.org/2004/death-rate-of-abortion-three-times-higher-than-childbirth/

There are many things wrong with your statement. Firstly, all statistics for abortions are lumped into pregnancy statistics. Secondly, all women with previous abortions are lumped into pregnancy statistics. The risk for complications in the pregnancy after an abortion greatly increase due to scarring.
Also, post-abortion complications are under reported due to the secret nature of the procedure itself. About 10% of women have complications after abortion, with about 2% being major.

Also lumped into pregnancy statistics are the conditions of the babies themselves, a premature baby might not pose much of a risk to its mother but the complication is certainly life threatening to the baby.


Basically anything saying otherwise and NOT reporting/removing these factors is likely to have a serious flaw in its statistic, and quite probably a biased source.

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#677
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Yes it is, for one thing because even a normal pregnancy poses much larger health risks than getting an abortion.

http://afterabortion.org/2004/death-rate-of-abortion-three-times-higher-than-childbirth/

There are many things wrong with your statement. Firstly, all statistics for abortions are lumped into pregnancy statistics. Secondly, all women with previous abortions are lumped into pregnancy statistics. The risk for complications in the pregnancy after an abortion greatly increase due to scarring.
Also, post-abortion complications are under reported due to the secret nature of the procedure itself. About 10% of women have complications after abortion, with about 2% being major.

Also lumped into pregnancy statistics are the conditions of the babiesfetuses themselves, a premature babyfetus might not pose much of a risk to its mother but the complication is certainly life threatening to the babyfetus.


Basically anything saying otherwise and NOT reporting/removing these factors is likely to have a serious flaw in its statistic, and quite probably a biased source.


HA, you're telling me about biased sources? The links you posted were from the Elliot Foundation, which is trying to, "prove how abortion hurts so many women [...] end the scourge of abortion."

And no, I'm talking about Maternal Death. And according to more unbiased sources, like the World Health Organization:
Country; Deaths caused by miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, abortion; Pregnancy-related deaths, excluding abortion
France; 2; 48
Australia; 0; 12
Canada; 1; 10

Furthermore,

Medical abortions performed in the first 9 weeks of pregnancy have a very low risk of complications. This risk is the same as when a woman has a natural miscarriage. These problems can easily be treated by a doctor. Out of of every 100 women that do medical abortions, 2 or 3 women have to go to a doctor, first aid center, or hospital to receive further medical care. In countries where childbirth is safe, 1 in every 10.000 women dies during childbirth. Less than 1 in every 100,000 women who use a medical abortion die, making medical abortions safer than childbirth and about as safe as naturally occurring miscarriages. This means that a safe abortion with Mifespristone and Misoprostol is always lifesaving.

More scientific information:

Research has shown that very few serious complications result from medical abortions in comparison to the number of women who experience successful medical abortions. 16 17 20 21 22 In the few cases that a surgical intervention such as a curettage (vacuum aspiration) is needed, this can be managed by the same health care facilities that care for women who have had miscarriages.

Source.

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#678
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I apologize for any digression, but has this been proposed in this thread? (the Violinist argument)

The Violinist

In A Defense of Abortion, Thomson grants for the sake of argument that the fetus has a right to life, but defends the permissibility of abortion by appeal to a thought experiment:

You wake up in the morning and find yourself back to back in bed with an unconscious violinist. A famous unconscious violinist. He has been found to have a fatal kidney ailment, and the Society of Music Lovers has canvassed all the available medical records and found that you alone have the right blood type to help. They have therefore kidnapped you, and last night the violinist's circulatory system was plugged into yours, so that your kidneys can be used to extract poisons from his blood as well as your own. [If he is unplugged from you now, he will die; but] in nine months he will have recovered from his ailment, and can safely be unplugged from you.[4]

Thomson takes it that you may now permissibly unplug yourself from the violinist even though this will cause his death: the right to life, Thomson says, does not entail the right to use another person's body, and so by unplugging the violinist you do not violate his right to life but merely deprive him of something—the use of your body—to which he has no right. "[I]f you do allow him to go on using your kidneys, this is a kindness on your part, and not something he can claim from you as his due."[5]

For the same reason, Thomson says, abortion does not violate the fetus's right to life but merely deprives the fetus of something—the use of the pregnant woman's body—to which it has no right. Thus, it is not that by terminating her pregnancy a woman violates her moral obligations, but rather that a woman who carries the fetus to term is a 'Good Samaritan' who goes beyond her obligations.[6]



#679
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Yes it is, for one thing because even a normal pregnancy poses much larger health risks than getting an abortion.


Irrelevant to the question asked, which I'm sure you know.

And also because it threatens her personal and financial dependance, often the structure of her already existing family (A majority of women who have abortions already have children Source), and they were often doing the most to prevent pregnancy (Source).


Oh, boy. Here goes a doozy of a response.

1.) So a woman should be allowed to have an abortion because not doing so affects her personal and financial dependence? That is the most ridiculous argument I've ever read. If you haven't figured out by now, I'm a male. If I were to impregnate some chick and tried to go before a court and argue that I should have no responsibility for that child, because doing so would negatively affect my personal and financial dependence or even affect my ability to provide for any other children I might already have, I would be laughed straight out of court, be called a deadbeat and be told that I should have kept it in my pants or that I shouldn't have done the deed if I was unprepared for a child. Point being, if the argument isn't going to fly for a man, it most certainly shouldn't fly for a woman.

2.) The fact that the woman in question has preexisting children is irrelevant to the morality of abortion. I'm going to assume you're not going to argue that infanticide is justifiable if the mother is killing one child to better the lives of the her other children.

3.) Perhaps you should learn to fully read what you post. A simple fact of the matter is that the majority of women who obtain abortions absolutely were not doing "the most" to prevent pregnancy.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, the three most used contraceptive methods for people obtaining abortions are the male condom, the pill and the withdrawal method (lol). Also according to the Guttmacher Institute, 46.3% of women who obtain an abortion were using no contraceptive method at all. However, it's important to note that 53.7% of women who obtain abortion don't become pregnant despite using contraceptives. In fact, a large portion of that 53.7% weren't using contraceptives at the time they became pregnant. For example, 75.9% of pill users reported inconsistent use at the time they got pregnant:

-45.1% simply forgot to take pills
-15.9% were away from home and didn't have pills
-10.3% ran out of supplies
-7.7% were sick
-2.1% didn't think they would have sex again
-1.6% didn't feel like taking pills
-0.3% reported their partner didn't want them to take any pill
-0.2% thought they might have wanted to get pregnant
-3.6% report some other, undisclosed reason

On the other hand, 49.3% of condom users reported inconsistent use at the time they got pregnant:

-20.4% didn't use because they didn't think they'd get pregnant
-14.3% didn't have one
-12.8% didn't expect to have sex
-7.1% simply forgot about it
-5.6% didn't feel like using one
-3.5% reported their partner didn't feel like using one
-1.0% reported that their partner was supposed to bring one, though they still had sex
-1.0% said their partner wanted them to get pregnant
-0.5% were forced to have sex
-0.5% thought they wanted to get pregnant
-0.5% didn't care if they got pregnant

Linky linky

So stop and think about that for a second. Close to a full 76% of pill users who were on the pill and obtained an abortion and a full 50% of women using condoms who are included in the "were-using-contraceptive" category weren't using contraceptives at the time they became pregnant. If you were to add them to the "not-using-contraceptives" category, along with those women who obtain abortions while using the withdrawal method (which is pretty much not a contraceptive method as fas as I'm concerned), you'd get something like 80%+ of women obtaining abortions not using contraceptives at the time they got pregnant. That's a staggering number, and completely cuts at the BS rhetoric thrown out by pro-choicers.

And get writing, I'd be interested what your retorts are.


Yes, I'll wait.

As to what makes something human, it is DNA. My liver is no less alive nor less human than a fetus, a child, or an adult.


Adjective versus noun.

#680
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Yes it is, for one thing because even a normal pregnancy poses much larger health risks than getting an abortion.


Irrelevant to the question asked, which I'm sure you know.


I was emphasizing the point that even discounting extenuating circumstances pregnancy is a dubious prospect. But sure, taking your hypothetical example of a pregnancy made of sunshine, sparkles, and rainbows it would be irrelevant.

And also because it threatens her personal and financial dependance, often the structure of her already existing family (A majority of women who have abortions already have children Source), and they were often doing the most to prevent pregnancy (Source).


Oh, boy. Here goes a doozy of a response.

Bring it, my 2AC is ready.

1.) So a woman should be allowed to have an abortion because not doing so affects her personal and financial dependence? That is the most ridiculous argument I've ever read. If you haven't figured out by now, I'm a male. If I were to impregnate some chick and tried to go before a court and argue that I should have no responsibility for that child, because doing so would negatively affect my personal and financial dependence or even affect my ability to provide for any other children I might already have, I would be laughed straight out of court, be called a deadbeat and be told that I should have kept it in my pants or that I shouldn't have done the deed if I was unprepared for a child. Point being, if the argument isn't going to fly for a man, it most certainly shouldn't fly for a woman.


The party paying the child support isn't the only one paying for the child. Both of the parents in the situation are contributing to the child's upbringing, so the mother wouldn't just be doing it to drain money away from the father and just have no adverse effects to her own independence. If she keeps the child it's still a lot of work on her end, assuming she's not being abusive, which is different from pregnancy which is often exclusively a drain on the women's resources and opportunities. They are different situations completely, you're just trying to derail this argument; try again. And yeah I can tell you're a male, so am I. And for the record I don't buy the argument of "You should have kept it in your pants." It's [bleep]-shaming plain and simple, and using against either gender is not ok.

2.) The fact that the woman in question has preexisting children is irrelevant to the morality of abortion. I'm going to assume you're not going to argue that infanticide is justifiable if the mother is killing one child to better the lives of the her other children.


Ok, first off you're derailing trying to swap children with a fetus and by using the extreme term of infanticide which is not the same as abortion. And while I wouldn't necessarily agree with what you said due to the extreme and slanted nature of the statement you cannot argue that the morality of a given action changes based on the circumstances. Is it ok to kill? No. What about in self-defense? That changes the answers of many people. I'd argue that absolutely it'd be moral of a mother to get an abortion in order to avoid a further drain on her resources and ensure a more stable and invested upbringing of her current child(ren).

3.) Perhaps you should learn to fully read what you post. A simple fact of the matter is that the majority of women who obtain abortions absolutely were not doing "the most" to prevent pregnancy.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, the three most used contraceptive methods for people obtaining abortions are the male condom, the pill and the withdrawal method (lol). Also according to the Guttmacher Institute, 46.3% of women who obtain an abortion were using no contraceptive method at all. However, it's important to note that 53.7% of women who obtain abortion don't become pregnant despite using contraceptives. In fact, a large portion of that 53.7% weren't using contraceptives at the time they became pregnant. For example, 75.9% of pill users reported inconsistent use at the time they got pregnant:

Data


On the other hand, 49.3% of condom users reported inconsistent use at the time they got pregnant:

Data


Linky linky

So stop and think about that for a second. Close to a full 76% of pill users who were on the pill and obtained an abortion and a full 50% of women using condoms who are included in the "were-using-contraceptive" category weren't using contraceptives at the time they became pregnant. If you were to add them to the "not-using-contraceptives" category, along with those women who obtain abortions while using the withdrawal method (which is pretty much not a contraceptive method as far as I'm concerned), you'd get something like 80%+ of women obtaining abortions not using contraceptives at the time they got pregnant. That's a staggering number, and completely cuts at the BS rhetoric thrown out by pro-choicers.



Ok, yes, they weren't on the pill, using condoms, using spermicidal lube, and using a diaphragm. But, even according to the evidence (Which was also the evidence I sourced) you posted a majority of women were using contraceptives on a regular basis. And your "full 76%" is largely comprised of those who forgot to take them. Do you know how easy it is to miss a pill, especially in social situations away from normal routines? But even with all of that the point was that most of the women cared about using contraceptives and circumstances, whether their own fault or not, worked against their desires. Mistakes happen, and they happen easily; maybe not all of the women are being 100% responsible 100% of the time, but NO ONE IS. I'm sorry, but months of having your body hijacked, the myriad health risks, the risk of postpartum depression, and having your future/career/family/dreams put in danger is not the proper consequence of a mistake that anyone can make and only 50% of us have to deal with.
Side note: I do agree that pulling out isn't a proper contraceptive method, mostly due to the fact that it's unreliable and pre-[bleep] before the orgasm also contains sperm, but that's often due to disinformation spread by various pro-abstinence groups and lack of proper sex education.

And you know what the crazy part is? If women become pregnant and didn't want to, but safe and legal abortions aren't available, they're still going to try and get an abortion. But it will be unsafe, and in fact 68,000 women die per year of unsafe abortions because of pro-life restrictions. These deaths are completely avoidable.

As to what makes something human, it is DNA. My liver is no less alive nor less human than a fetus, a child, or an adult.


Adjective versus noun.

You mean as to what makes something human versus what makes something a human? Like I've posted many times before in this thread to be recognized as "a human" requires personhood which means self-awareness.

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