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rogna

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rogna

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Posted: 14 April 2009 at 7:55am | IP Logged
Originally posted by sandya_rao7

how many people think its right to abort a baby if it a girl child?
well many people in india and china would terminate the pregnancy if the babies were found to be girls. the india because they want heir and perhaps they don't have enough funds to support another child or due to many other reasons and the chinese because they want heir as well and due to the one child policy.

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..RamKiJanaki..

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Posted: 14 April 2009 at 8:17am | IP Logged
Originally posted by return_to_hades

The points here have made me curious....hopefully someone provide me answers.

The general consensus seems that abortion is permissible in cases of rape, genetic disorder, risk to mother but not permissible in cases of unwanted pregnancy through consensual sex based on the premise that murder is immoral and wrong.

First lets just delve into morality and abortion in general -

What is morality? What makes something immoral? Why is abortion immoral? Is there a moral standard the entire world can follow?
What is the definition of murder? Why is murder immoral?
What makes a person human, and what constitutes life?
Is there justifiable taking of life?
Can one support the death sentence and still be pro life?
Does life begin at conception? Does a fetus really fulfill the logical test for "human life"? Is an acorn an oak tree? Upon conception can one guarantee that without abortion the fetus will carry full term and be born and survive to be a human? Without that guarantee is a fetus a real human or a potential human? Should masturbation be illegal because each precious sperm could potentially become life? Should women get pregnant and not waste what could potentially be life every month?
If you went on a trip to the Amazon and despite protective gear a small leech is now on your leg. You did not want the leech, but it happened. It's just one leech. It will suck your blood, but it will not be fatal. Most likely it will fall of in a few weeks if not days. Obviously its on you because you were careless, you took the risk. Are you obligated to care for that leech till it dies or detaches naturally? [Ooh I can sense the icy glares for that comparison]

A hypothetical case


Suppose the pregnant mother is a crack addict, alcoholic and a single mom. She has no steady job or income or family. However, she feels that she can take care of the baby and will go through with the birth and look after the child. You know the baby will be neglected and abused. Why the mother may even drug the child to keep it from crying. It will take months before welfare system acts and takes custody of a child. By then the child will already be scarred. It will add to the count of another child in the welfare system, unwanted and unloved because people want healthy children, not malnourished crack babies. Would the doctor have been morally wrong to perform an uninformed abortion to 'protect' the baby.

Now for the rape exception -


If you feel abortion is impermissible even in case of rape, how do you justify that one human should bear the burden for another humans indiscretion?
If you feel abortion is permissible in case of rape, does the same rule apply for statutory rape? If a fourteen year old girl willingly and consensually had sex with someone over eighteen and is pregnant, can she get abortion under rape exception? Can the legal system devalue statutory rape? Wont that not cause legitimate concerns of people predating on teenagers who are naive and impressionable?
How will we prevent people from calling consensual sex as rape? By law a person under influence of alcohol or drugs is not deemed capable of giving consent? What if people start claiming, I was drunk and he took advantage? Could it not ruin lives of guys who honestly thought they were having consensual sex?

Genetic Disorders  exception -


What makes a genetic disorder appropriate for abortion - fatality, painful or difficult life?
Some people find mild disabilities as life ruining, while others endure worse with a smile. How will we determine what exactly will cause a miserable and painful life?
Would we allow a teenager, a grown person choose euthanasia if they contracted a fatal disorder later in their life?

Health risk to mother exception -

What constitutes health risk, fatal risk or any health condition?
Reproductive damage, cosmetic damage, handicap?
Do we have a guarantee that the damage will take place? The birth could turn out to be fine?


 
You raised some very good points, that I want to give good detailed answers. I'll come back later when I have time in my hands so that I can give full justice to your questions.Smile

..RamKiJanaki..

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Posted: 14 April 2009 at 8:24am | IP Logged
Originally posted by PhoeniXof_Hades

Thanks everyone for the long, well-thought out responses. I will definitely come back with my detailed reply as soonas I get time (probably by tomorrow).Before that, I would just like to ask one question to Sareena: Just out of curiousity, do you support abortionin an absoulutely normal circumstance, i.e. let's say there is no threat of the woman nor the child from anything? Would you think abortion ought to be justified whenever the mother feels the need to do it,because it is her choice?
 
Oh, another questionabout Hinduism: Does the Hindus consider the holy texts (Veda,Bhagwat Gita, Mahabharat, etc) they follow as the literal words of the God, like the followers of Abrahamic religions consider their holy books as inspired by God? It depends from Hindu to Hindu. Lots of Hindus today take Ramayan and Mahabharat as simply stories about Gods, but they don't give them more importance than that, and as Bhagawat Gita is a chapter of Mahabharat, same with that. However, an equal amount of Hindus base their daily lives on the teachings of Ramayan and Mahabharat. And today, mythological serials are being made on the Ramayana and Mahabharata to make the teachings available to the younger generation who do not find time or are not interested in reading the books. These Hindus who base their life on the holy texts do take the texts as words of Gods, and the incarnations of Gods in these texts, Shri Ram and Shri Krishna, are two of the most famous Hindu Gods revered by Hindus. The Vedas and Upanishads are deep texts written in Sanskrit that it is not easy for normal day to day working people to understand, so we depend on the priests in temples, who've studied the Vedas and Upanishads to teach them to us. Or do they consider themas simply holy text, but not inspired or literal words of the God?Had this question for a while...so if anyone canclarify.Smile

Mindbender

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Mindbender

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Posted: 14 April 2009 at 6:13pm | IP Logged

Originally posted by PhoeniXof_Hades

another questionabout Hinduism: Does the Hindus consider the holy texts (Veda,Bhagwat Gita, Mahabharat, etc) they follow as the literal words of the God, like the followers of Abrahamic religions consider their holy books as inspired by God? Or do they consider themas simply holy text, but not inspired or literal words of the God?Had this question for a while...so if anyone canclarify.Smile

Hmm

well , dunno about others but my family takes it as holy text only. But we are not really that religious if you know what i mean.Smile

the_Naked_face

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Posted: 14 April 2009 at 7:27pm | IP Logged
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return_to_hades

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Posted: 14 April 2009 at 10:39pm | IP Logged
Originally posted by PhoeniXof_Hades

Thanks everyone for the long, well-thought out responses. I will definitely come back with my detailed reply as soonas I get time (probably by tomorrow).Before that, I would just like to ask one question to Sareena: Just out of curiousity, do you support abortionin an absoulutely normal circumstance, i.e. let's say there is no threat of the woman nor the child from anything? Would you think abortion ought to be justified whenever the mother feels the need to do it,because it is her choice?

I do support abortion under every circumstance, even if there is absolutely no rape, health risk or other excruciating circumstances. For one I do not think you can realistically enforce exceptions without creating many blurry gray lines, and completely prohibiting abortion would be unfair. Secondly, I think pro-life places to much emphasis on a life that is potential and dependent. In my opinion by default of abundance human life itself is not really as precious as we make it out to be, let alone a potential human. Cruel and cold as it may sound a fetus is at best a parasite. Finally pro-life bases itself excessively on moral judgment and ignores the feelings, emotions, and situations of real people who actually exist at this moment as contributing members of society. There is more to a personality than a decision to abort. People in the situation are in the best position to judge for themselves what is best for them, we can offer advice but we have no right to impose. Abortion may end up being the best or the worst decision of their lifetime but that choice is a cross they bear and its none of my business.

That being said I personally do not endorse abortion. Should any of my friends or family come into a situation where they consider abortion. I would be the one talking them out of it and encouraging them to keep the child. I will try long and hard at it. However, I will also stand by whatever decision they make - even if I have to take on a bunch of feminist crazies or book thumping crazies.

 
Oh, another questionabout Hinduism: Does the Hindus consider the holy texts (Veda,Bhagwat Gita, Mahabharat, etc) they follow as the literal words of the God, like the followers of Abrahamic religions consider their holy books as inspired by God? Or do they consider themas simply holy text, but not inspired or literal words of the God?Had this question for a while...so if anyone canclarify.Smile

From my upbringing as a Hindu and theological study on my part. Unlike Abrahamic religions Hinduism is neither doctrinal or theistic. Religious texts are more of inspirations and guidelines rather than a rigid doctrine. A theist may view the stories as words and actions of God, while an atheist or agnostic may view them as symbolic representations.

Hindus will be highly theistic and doctrinal taking these texts doctrinally as a word of God. Or Hindus can be completely atheistic and not be concerned with the texts at all.

Mindbender

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Mindbender

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Posted: 14 April 2009 at 11:28pm | IP Logged

this makes an interesting read. It left me completely confusedLOL. I tried answering RTH ji's qns and was confused at so many qns i can't believe it !LOL

http://www.efn.org/~bsharvy/abortion.html

The Morality of Abortion: A Critique
B. Sharvy | Other Topics

In this essay I will canvass the main arguments of the abortion debate, with the hope of sharpening that debate. The goal is to clarify ideas, rather than to defend a political position. Only the central ground of the debate is considered: the morality of "convenience" abortion stemming from consensual, adult sex. The conclusions this essay demands are: 1) the morality of abortion is a complex topic with reasonable arguments available to both sides; 2) greater respect than is typically found in public forums is due to both sides; 3) it is impossible to hold a standard pro-choice or pro-life position without contradicting some other widely held, intuitive belief. Those who enjoy intellectual challenges in life will find this last conclusion particularly exciting.

The abortion debate begins with the moral status of the fetus. If the fetus has no rights, then abortion is a non-issue--it is as easy to justify as an appendectomy. But, if the fetus has rights, then abortion doesn't solely concern the freedom of women, since personal freedom is constrained by the rights of others. The most prevalent argument that the fetus has a moral status disallowing abortion is:
A fetus is a member of the biological species homo sapiens (i.e., a human being).
To destroy a human being deliberately is unethical (it's murder).
Therefore, abortion is unethical (murder), since it constitutes the deliberate destruction of a human being.

However, there are some widely granted exceptions to the rule that to destroy a human being deliberately is unethical. (In this essay "human being" refers strictly to an animal of the species homo sapiens; it has no intrinsic sense of being a member of a society, or person with rights--using the term in those senses, in this particular discussion, tends to produce circular arguments.)

A popular justification for intentionally destroying a human being is self-defense, and the principle of self-defense is widey advanced on behalf of abortion. But it doesn't justify abortion. A claim of self-defense doesn't defend against a criminal charge when it comes from the party who brought about the conflict. For example, parents can't invoke self-defense and treat their (minor) children as trespassers, because parents bring it about that there are children needing shelter. Parents also bring about pregnancy, so self-defense can't justify ending pregnancy in ways that are normally criminal, such as killing a human being. An occasional rebuttal here is that parents aren't responsible for the pregnancy if they didn't intend it. But, responsibility for the consequences of one's actions isn't limited to intended consequences. Causing accidents and gambling are two examples of how we can be responsible for unintended consequences. Unintended, unwanted pregnancy due to consensual sex is merely a lost gamble (or maybe an accident, if the possibility of pregnancy was poorly understood). So in general, when liberties are in conflict the rights of the party that brought about the conflict--intentionally or not--give way. If it is granted that fetuses have the "basic human rights", then the rights of the mother must defer to those of the fetus, and the principle of self-defense doesn't justify abortion.

Murder is sometimes defended on utilitarian grounds; for example, in the case of war. To wage war is to bring about the death of innocents knowingly; such deaths are unavoidable as a practical matter. Nonetheless, many believe that war can be justified, if the good outweighs the evil. So perhaps abortion could be defended as a moral choice, even if it were murder, on the same grounds. This approach has a number of problems. It is difficult to see how utilitarian principles could justify a rights violation as serious as murder in order to avoid an outcome which is merely burdensome (childbearing) and which can be avoided with peaceful methods (refraining from intercourse). Most utilitarian defenses of abortion seem also to work as defenses of infanticide: both might reduce the number of unwanted children (and attendant social problems), and increase the freedom and autonomy of women (by reducing their obligations). A utilitarian approach requires that competing outcomes be valued (in order to compare them), and that valuing seems arbitrary when the competing outcomes are of different types. For example, in war, one might weigh the number of murders that will result if no war is waged against the number of murders that will result from waging war; the value assigned to murder isn't an issue in such a comparison as long as it is consistent. In the case of abortion, however, the possible outcomes are of different types, e.g., the increased freedom of women vs. death of human beings innocent of wrongdoing. The value of each outcome relative to the other is an extra issue that is subjective and complex (possibly involving many outside factors, such as the availability of adoption), and perhaps can only be settled by expedient means such as "majority rule." Finally, overriding individual rights on utilitarian grounds may not serve the pro-choice movement well, since the pro-choice movement is typically rights-based. For example, to make the utilitarian argument outlined above is to allow, in principle, the possibility that abortion may be coerced by the state, if it can be shown that the abortion benefits the society more than permitting the birth would. Regardless of whether such a thing could actually be shown, even to allow the principle--to legitimize an inquiry into whether such a thing can be shown--is inconsistent with a pro-choice position grounded in women's rights (which seems to be the mainstream pro-choice position). In summary, using utilitarianism to defend against the charge that abortion is murder is probably a mistake and certainly problematic. It seems to require that a life be valued less than personal convenience, or that abortion be no different morally from infanticide. It also seems to entail a complex and subjective weighting of outcomes. Utilitarianism itself is controversial and rejected by many (it has a "commie" flavor), although it seems necessary in some form to justify war (also pollution).

Implicit in the claim that it is unethical to kill a human being deliberately is the idea that we have rights because we are human beings. Therefore, the reasoning goes, a fetus has rights, since a fetus is a human being. This idea has been rejected by some philosophers (especially Michael Tooley, in Abortion and Infanticide). The alternative view is that membership in a biological species is not morally significant in itself; that is, if most human beings have rights, it isn't because they belong to a biological species that is innately morally privileged, but because of some other feature or features that human beings typically possess. Such features are usually held to be mental: self-awareness, self-determination, etc. Exactly which features, and to what degree, a being needs in order to have rights seems very complex, but it is reasonable to attach them to a capacity for self-determination, on the grounds that self-determination is the individual right from which others (such as the right not to be murdered) derive. Such features would be mental then, e.g., a capacity for acting by choice (as opposed to reflex), for sustained interests and thought, for having goals, and so on. In any case, the collective of mental capacities needed to endow a being with rights is typically called "personhood"; the position that mental capacities rather than biological specieshood determine an entity's rights is sometimes called the "personhood" argument. We are thought to have rights not because of our biological species, but because we are persons. The personhood argument has some results that are intuitively appealing to many:
It justifies letting a human being in a persistent vegetative state die, which is difficult when the relevant moral criteria derive from being a homo sapiens rather than being a person.
It would explain the feeling that an animal's moral status varies according to its typical ontological status: that it is more wrong to kill a dog for no reason than a fly, that whales and other primates (but not shrimps and ants) deserve humane treatment because they are "intelligent," and so on.
It would explain rights in a way that avoids "speciesism." It seems true intuitively that a non-human species that could talk, laugh, cry and aspire with us would have the same rights that we have--a result not produced by the theory that being a human is what causes these rights.
It explains why spontaneously aborted zygotes (usually never even detected) are not a great loss.

So according to the personhood view, the morality of abortion depends on the mental capacities of the fetus. In normal human beings, none of the mental capacities generally referred to as "higher" capacities, e.g., thought, are detectable until after birth. So it is unlikely that a fetus or a neonate is a person, even granting considerable uncertainty over which capacities, exactly, personhood requires. Pro-life advocates make the point that brain activity occurs in fetuses, but their point has problems. The conventional pro-life view needs to account for the zygote, not the fetus, and there is no brain activity in zygotes; in fact, there is no brain in zygotes. So the conventional pro-life view can't incorporate personhood criteria at all. More importantly, brain activity is not in itself relevant. Brain activity--EEGs, REM, reflexive functioning, etc.--occurs in many animals that aren't persons. The "higher" capacities in humans have been located in the upper layers of the cerebral cortex, which is physically incapable of significant functioning until after birth. So, it appears that fetuses are not persons, and if the personhood view is correct, that they have no rights and that abortion is moral in any term. However, if the personhood view is correct, neonates have the same moral status as fetuses, and infanticide is equally moral, since the event of birth doesn't correspond to the event of attaining personhood (significant psychological plateaus seem to occur at two to three months and one year). Birth determines where the human is, not what he or she is. In summary, the personhood view has much intuitive support, and results in a justification of abortion, but by the same token it justifies infanticide of neonates. Yet infanticide is a practice which most people are intuitively and emotionally unwilling to accept.

Conclusion: it is not easy for most people to reject the standard pro-life argument without rejecting other beliefs they have, such as the belief that infanticide is wrong, or murder isn't justified to serve society. Most people cannot disprove the pro-life position without also disproving some other strongly held belief.

The same problem exists in the pro-life camp. More than half of conceptions are naturally aborted within a month. If the loss of zygote life is equivalent to the loss of a person's life, then the spontaneous abortion of zygotes is an enormous natural disaster, the numbers dwarfing death from any other natural cause. Yet the activism on behalf of medical research to reduce such abortions is nil, and dead zygotes (when noticed) conventionally don't receive standard ceremony. In their practices, people don't seem to care about zygotes as they do people. Additionally, according to the pro-life argument presented, which I think is the most representative, a woman who has an abortion is a murderer. Criminal treatment is therefore required, in the harshest acceptable form, since abortion is premeditated and predicated on a philosophy denying the rights of a group of people: it fits the definition of hate-crime. Yet most pro-lifers are intuitively and emotionally unwilling to endorse treatment of such women as murderers in our justice system. The pro-life movement largely distances itself from "extremists" who resort to violence to stop abortion, and yet such violent methods are justified in order to prevent bona fide murder (not to mention genocide). Pro-lifers sometimes explain the forgiveness of women who have abortions by depicting them as hapless victims, brainwashed by profiteering doctors--a sweeping theory for which there seems to be zero research. Nor is the theory consistent even if true: We do not usually excuse hate-crimes because the perpetrator was swayed by the prejudice of others (unless the perpetrator is a child or insane, which presumably does not describe the average woman).

Pro-life sometimes counters the personhood argument by arguing that having the potential for personhood endows the fetus with the same rights as having personhood. The argument doesn't work. The general situation is that there are some properties a thing may have that make it unethical to destroy that thing--that give it "human" rights." Such properties could be personhood, or membership in homo sapiens--it doesn't matter. The proposal, then, is that the potential to possess such a property is, in itself, such a property. But that proposal leads to infinite regress, since it implies that the potential for the potential to possess a certain property endows one with rights as well, and so on. It only takes a few iterations of that principle to get the result that amino acids have rights. To say that the potential for X is an example of actual X renders the distinction between potential and actual meaningless. (Potential differs from capacity: a person in deep sleep has a capacity for thought and other mental feats definitive of personhood, even though those feats are not being performed; a fetus lacks those capacities, although it has the potential for them.)

In any case, the upshot is that the morality of abortion is not a simple topic. It is less simple than many people with opinions on it will acknowledge, not only in public, but, it seems, to themselves. One of the most exciting features of this topic, intellectually, is that it has something to violate the intuitions of everyone. Neither pro-life nor pro-choice can generate a logically consistent position on abortion without abandoning other beliefs which are strongly and widely held. Perhaps less self-righteousness from both sides is in order, then.

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Beyond_the_Veil

return_to_hades

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return_to_hades

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Posted: 14 April 2009 at 11:38pm | IP Logged
Originally posted by clodpolish

this makes an interesting read. It left me completely confusedLOL. I tried answering RTH ji's qns and was confused at so many qns i can't believe it !LOL

http://www.efn.org/~bsharvy/abortion.html

The Morality of Abortion: A Critique
B. Sharvy | Other Topics


Conclusion: it is not easy for most people to reject the standard pro-life argument without rejecting other beliefs they have, such as the belief that infanticide is wrong, or murder isn't justified to serve society. Most people cannot disprove the pro-life position without also disproving some other strongly held belief.




Thanks for sharing the article. It really illustrates the complex questions that abortion arguments raise ad the difficulty in answering them. Any stance is socially or morally contradictory or flawed.

Although the above conclusion does not work for me. I'm a Spartan.

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