Abortion argument

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Post by DuringTheWar Fri Mar 27, 2015 6:14 am

I'll start by bulletpointing what I percieve to be the 2 key points in pro abortion arguments:

- The foetus is incapable of thinking/pain
- The foetus is not a human and its rights, whatever they are, are superseded by the woman's rights (to choose whether she will be a mother or not)


First point is rather a poor argument imo. Murder is not a heinous crime solely because you cause someone a temporary painful physical/psychological experience, what is in fact heinous is to take away their whole future. Something that could certainly be said of "aborting" a foetus.

Which brings me to the second point, the only way to justify the robbing of future potential is to demote the foetus to animal status or lower than animal status (see extreme feminists likening it to tumour). The key distinction here is, is it a developing human being or is it something else that hasn't yet developed into a developing human being. I melself have missed how exactly we can say in absolute terms "this is the exact point in time something becomes human and we give it rights", I don't see any self evident truths here. What I observe are subjective philosophies existing in the minds of individuals as to when something becomes a human, and arbitrarily withholding or dishing out rights on the basis of said philosophy. I think there is something inherently wrong and hugely arogant about deciding the fate in the negative of another living being on subjective grounds. I'm aware of many people that belive a feotus has no right till it is actually born, which I cannot imagine there being anything more arbitrary than giving something rights only when it has met a woman's vagina and not a second before.

What are the strongest arguments that support it not being human?

Mental capacity? What about an adult who goes into a deep coma for 7 month? Is it alright to turn off their life support regardless of the fact they would in future gain their mental faculties? Michael Schumacher anyone?

Its physical appearance? That is not a rather superficial outlook? We normally decry the dehumanisation of others on grounds of appearance, ranging from things like skin colour, to grotesque deformities.

Then you have people like Barack Obama who think that a foetus that has survived abortion, STILL doesn't have any rights despite it living independtly of the woman's body. I'd really like to know what gives people the right to decide when a member of our species is entitled to rights.
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Post by McLewis Fri Mar 27, 2015 9:24 am

I'll probably go more into detail later if this thread gets more replies, but I'll keep it short.

- I believe abortion to only be a viable option when the life of the mother is medically threatened by the fetus.


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Post by rwo power Fri Mar 27, 2015 11:44 am

Well, I believe that a woman has a right to decide whether she wants to undergo the risks and discomfort of carrying a fetus to term as a pregnancy is *always* a risk, even when a woman is healthy to begin with.

I'm pretty sure men would think otherwise if they would have to undergo a pregnancy with all problems that accompany it (daily nausea, sudden high blood pressure spikes, possible diabetes, eclampsy,  and a lot of other things like post-partal depression, sepsis, the pains during labor etc.)
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Post by DuringTheWar Fri Mar 27, 2015 12:19 pm

As a man I can't literally put myself in the pregnant woman's position. I can try to imagine what it'd be like to have to go through an unwanted pregnancy, I can imagine how distressing it may be, even more so in extreme cases involving rape. So, I emphasise with woman and think I understand why many are so passionate about this question. But as I said it's about "rights", when there is a conflict of rights between two parties either a compromise is made, or if that can't be done then one's rights overrides the other's, whichever is deemed to be more important. IF a foetus is seen to have rights, right to life pretty much trumps all other rights I think.

Personally I don't know if a foetus should have inalienable rights, but not knowing that for sure is actually exactly why I'm very uncomfortable about abortion. Consider this:

-You are pro life and wrong
-You are pro choice and wrong

If the latter is the case, it basically means justifying infanticide on a terrible scale. That's why I think the pro choice argument has to be absolutely bulletproof, irrefutable. Unfortunately that doesn't seem to be the case to me.
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Post by rwo power Fri Mar 27, 2015 1:47 pm

Well, as a pregnancy *always* risks the life of the mother, IMO the right of a fully formed person supercedes that of a foetus which doesn't have any personality yet. So in a way I am pro life - but pro life of the woman.

If you force a woman who was raped to go through with the pregnancy, you force her to go through the rape every second, every minute, every hour, every day of the pregnancy and thus rape her again and again. Can you really want a woman to be tortured all that time and go through all the pain and damage she suffers over such a prolongued time? Can you really want that she may become suicidal and kill herself due to the fact that she has to carry the product of a criminal monster within her?
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Post by mr-r34 Fri Mar 27, 2015 2:39 pm

If personality constituted life, then *bleep* me i know a bunch of zombies walking around.
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Post by DuringTheWar Fri Mar 27, 2015 3:31 pm

rwo power wrote:Well, as a pregnancy *always* risks the life of the mother, IMO the right of a fully formed person supercedes that of a foetus which doesn't have any personality yet. So in a way I am pro life - but pro life of the woman.

About 10-20 deaths per 100000 births in the US. While there's about 1210000 abortions yearly in the US. Divide 1210000 by 100000 = 12.1. 12.1x10-20=121-242 woman's lives. If a foetus is a living human with rights are 121-242 women's lives a year worth saving more than 1210000 foetuses a year? I mean, I just don't know who has the right to make a call like that, who can decide one life is worth more than another, and by how much more?

I'm not sure the two things are really equivalent either. Abortion is an overt act of murder* (*if the foetus has its own rights to life), death during pregnancy I don't know what to call that (natural causes?) but it's not the moral abomination that murder is.

rwo power wrote:
If you force a woman who was raped to go through with the pregnancy, you force her to go through the rape every second, every minute, every hour, every day of the pregnancy and thus rape her again and again. Can you really want a woman to be tortured all that time and go through all the pain and damage she suffers over such a prolongued time? Can you really want that she may become suicidal and kill herself due to the fact that she has to carry the product of a criminal monster within her?


It's not what I "want" honestly. Shit things happen in life. We still have moral obligations no matter what we go through though.
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Post by rwo power Fri Mar 27, 2015 3:51 pm

On the other hand, IMO it should be the woman's decision whether she wants to go through with the risk and problems of a pregnancy. It is very easy for a man to argue there as he would never get into that trouble. (And yeah, I know this is actually a "Totschlagargument" as we say in German, that is, an argument where a person actually doesn't really have a chance to do anything about it.)

I guess the real question is indeed from when on is life considered life? Some scientists even argue that the life of a human starts only when s/he develops (self-)consiousness [that's what I meant above, not personality, sorry], so there are many different points of view.

Personally I don't consider developing heaps of cells as sentient life yet, so for me there is no question whether I would put the rights of the woman over the rights of a fetus that wouldn't be able to exist outside the womb even with technical support.

But then, I don't believe in God, so I don't follow the arguments a lot of pro-life people give that God wanted that child to exist etc. I think a lot of the pro-life arguments actually stem from religious people. (I don't have any stats for that, and atm I don't have time for research as I have to go AFK for a while, so if someone could find data on how how many pro-life people are religious and how many aren't that would be very interesting!)
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Post by Cruijf Fri Mar 27, 2015 6:43 pm

Don't know the amount of religous people in the pro life crowd, but there's this, which does support your point Rwo:

Only 19 percent of those with no religious attachment identified themselves as "pro-life" in the May 3-6 poll of 1,024 adults. Sixty-eight percent called themselves "pro-choice." This represents the largest propensity toward the pro-choice position on abortion of any major demographic group.

http://m.christianpost.com/news/gallup-nonreligious-are-least-pro-life--75772/

Nevertheless it doesn't really change the argument, the only reason it makes sense is because this all depends on when life is determined to have began. Most religions have a certain point in the pregnancy where afterwards the fetus is considered a human, and thus it is prohibited to have an abortion.
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Post by rwo power Fri Mar 27, 2015 8:22 pm

Thanks, Cruijf.

AFAIK the religious people most often seem to consider life as starting from the moment of conception (at least I know for sure that Catholics do), so it would be logical that they would be against abortion if they strongly follow their belief.
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Post by DuringTheWar Fri Mar 27, 2015 10:48 pm

This cuts both ways. A leading feminist once openly stated those whom oppose religion (read catholic church) would support abortion to diminish the church's role in society. So, Id very much like to see data about pro choicers who just happen to have strong anti-theistic views. For people who its a subconscious reaction to a rejection of religious values is one thing, people that make a conscious decision on that basis though are really quite detestable.

On another note, there are plenty of horror scenarios to be used on both sides of the argument. A woman who met another woman via craigslist has just been acquitted of murder after cutting that womans unborn baby out of her womb. If you are pro choice, you have to swallow that. And I daresay, how much sympathy could you feel for a woman with the outlook that she is mourning the loss of heaps of cells?

It is sort of disturbing that you could do pretty much anything with a foetus and nothing would be unacceptable if you don't acknowledge it has rights.
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Post by rwo power Sat Mar 28, 2015 12:59 am

On the other hand,  it is only disturbing if you consider a foetus already sentient (or "alive" in the sense that it is "murdering" according to your set of ethics).

It will probably not be a surprise for you that I am pro stem cell research and gengineering, too, as for me the goods that could be done for already fully formed and sentient human beings also take precedence there.

By the way, what is your stance towards the death penalty? If one is pro life, shouldn't a person then be necessarily against the death penalty, too?

That is something that always puzzles me about certain fundamentalist Christian pro-lifers in the US who campain to protect embryos, but then kill medical personal who work in hospitals that support abortion. IMO that is highly hypocritical as they choose to kill nonetheless.
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Post by Lord Spencer Sat Mar 28, 2015 12:05 pm

In my opinion, abortion should be subjected to clear legal guidelines.

First, the months of development are very important. An 8 month fetus already has memory and has begun their learning processes. I was a 7th month premature birth, and by then I was already a completely formed human being.

IMO, any abortion after the 6th month is a clear indefensible crime against a human being, except when medical evidence clearly states that the women's life is in danger.

By this point, any argument about the women's choice in the matter should be null and void. You had 5 months to think about abortion, but you waited until the fetus developed into an actual living human being.

Second, this time-frame should be medically evident. For instance, the first 3 months should be enough to protect against any unwanted pregnancy. You don't need 6 months to do so.

Third, a legal protection for both the women's rights, as well as the unborn baby should be in place. An unconditional abortion procedure should be in place in the first 3 months. And abortion is illegal in the last 3 months unless of serious medical issues. (feeling nauseous is not cause enough to kill someone).

Fourth, here is where it gets complicated, which is in the state of the fetus in the second 3 months. I am no medical expert, but experts should be present in the drafting clear cut laws, that take into both accounts the right of the mother and unborn child.

@RWO, abortion is a very hotly contested issue in the US, and murders have been committed by both pro and anti abortion groups.
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Post by rwo power Sat Mar 28, 2015 12:44 pm

@Spencer

My point was more that anti-abortion groups commiting murder when compaining against perceived murder is a bit hypocritical.

As for your legislation argument - in Germany it is the legislation that an abortion is generally exempt from punishment (even though it is "unlawful") within the first 3 months under the mandatory condition that the woman talks to a counselor of an official family planning agency and gets a paper that she was there.

In the counseling it is determined whether the woman herself wants the abortion (and she isn't forced by someone else) and if she knows about all ways to get help socially and financially if she would decide to have the child after all. Sidenote: The catholic church pulled out of the counceling as they refused to give the women the necessary papers due to their stance against abortion, so the counceling is done by fully secular or non-catholic offices.

Then the abortion is only allowed when it is within 3 months, done by a medical doctor who was not involved in the counseling mentioned above and that three days were between counseling and the medical procedure.

If there is a medical or criminal indication, then in Germany the abortion is always lawful and there is no need for a mandatory counseling, but a medical doctor needs to make the decision about the medical necessity (that is, if either the life of the women is endangered or there are certain obvious problems with the child like malformatiors or chromosome defects).

In case of a medical indication, the abortion is possible until the time of birth. The medical indication does include mental-health problems of the woman. For the criminal indication (that is, rape), the 3 months time limit counts.
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Post by Lord Spencer Sat Mar 28, 2015 3:17 pm


rwo power wrote:@Spencer

My point was more that anti-abortion groups commiting murder when compaining against perceived murder is a bit hypocritical.

As for your legislation argument - in Germany it is the legislation that an abortion is generally exempt from punishment (even though it is "unlawful") within the first 3 months under the mandatory condition that the woman talks to a counselor of an official family planning agency and gets a paper that she was there.

In the counseling it is determined whether the woman herself wants the abortion (and she isn't forced by someone else) and if she knows about all ways to get help socially and financially if she would decide to have the child after all. Sidenote: The catholic church pulled out of the counceling as they refused to give the women the necessary papers due to their stance against abortion, so the counceling is done by fully secular or non-catholic offices.

Then the abortion is only allowed when it is within 3 months, done by a medical doctor who was not involved in the counseling mentioned above and that three days were between counseling and the medical procedure.

If there is a medical or criminal indication, then in Germany the abortion is always lawful and there is no need for a mandatory counseling, but a medical doctor needs to make the decision about the medical necessity (that is, if either the life of the women is endangered or there are certain obvious problems with the child like malformatiors or chromosome defects).

In case of a medical indication, the abortion is possible until the time of birth. The medical indication does include mental-health problems of the woman. For the criminal indication (that is, rape), the 3 months time limit counts.


These are clear-cut laws that I think are both reasonable, and protect both the rights of the mother and the baby.

In the US, no such clear laws are available, and it differs from state to stat. I think this ambiguity in the laws is responsible for much of the heated debate.

In Saudi Arabia, abortion is only legal in the first 3 months in case of rape or incest. However, it is always legal in case of medical necessity for the mother.

This is also the case in Iran, was so in Iraq (I don't know about now).
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Post by DuringTheWar Sun Mar 29, 2015 5:37 pm

rwo power wrote:On the other hand,  it is only disturbing if you consider a foetus already sentient (or "alive" in the sense that it is "murdering" according to your set of ethics).

Many find it disturbing regardless of whether its sentient. I find Congolese militiamen cutting out the foetus from women and throwing them into pots of boiling water disturbing (for both the woman and the foetus). I think it's sad that the potential it had as a person in life ends in such a way.


rwo power wrote:
By the way, what is your stance towards the death penalty? If one is pro life, shouldn't a person then be necessarily against the death penalty, too?

I think that's not the case. A persons actions invalidates their own rights (criminals lose their right to freedom and go to jail), you could say on that basis they can lose their right to life to. I don't think it would contradict being against abortion as the foetus hasn't commited a crime.

If there is a contradiction I think it's between being in favour of abortion and being against the death penalty. On the one hand it means dismissing the right to life of a being that is, whatever way you interpret the word, "innocent". And on the other hand it means defending the right to life of murderers, rapists, pedophiles, torturers and sadists.
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Post by rwo power Mon Mar 30, 2015 1:59 am

DuringTheWar wrote:Many find it disturbing regardless of whether its sentient. I find Congolese militiamen cutting out the foetus from women and throwing them into pots of boiling water disturbing (for both the woman and the foetus). I think it's sad that the potential it had as a person in life ends in such a way.
IMO this is disturbing due to torturing / injuring / lileky killing the women in the process, and cutting out an embryo and killing it against the women's will. That these militiamen forfeit being considered a human being by such acts should be self-evident as they commit crimes that can in no way be compared with a "normal" abortion.

DuringTheWar wrote:If there is a contradiction I think it's between being in favour of abortion and being against the death penalty. On the one hand it means dismissing the right to life of a being that is, whatever way you interpret the word, "innocent". And on the other hand it means defending the right to life of murderers, rapists, pedophiles, torturers and sadists.
I don't think it is a contradiction as it depends on whether one considers a foetus a human being / person or not. For me a lump of cells that doesn't have a proper brain yet isn't a sentient being and thus I don't consider terminating its existence murder.

My stance against the death penalty is not that I don't want to see a guilty person punished, it is the danger of a judical error and thus the possibility of killing a person who didn't commit a crime. (And when you now say the embryo didn't commit a crime either - the difference is that the embryo isn't a person in my eyes.)
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Post by VivaStPauli Mon Mar 30, 2015 2:42 am

The fallacy is, that once you start talking about fetuses "potential" and "future" like they're people, you have to immediately stop jacking off, because all those beautiful little sperm cells you shot into your big brothers sock? Basically half people, you mass murdering monsters.
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Post by Lord Spencer Mon Mar 30, 2015 5:48 pm

VivaStPauli wrote:The fallacy is, that once you start talking about fetuses "potential" and "future" like they're people, you have to immediately stop jacking off, because all those beautiful little sperm cells you shot into your big brothers sock? Basically half people, you mass murdering monsters.


So a 6 month old baby, that has high potential of living outside of its mother, is not "potential".

Again, we should differentiate between the "lump of cells" that constitutes the fetus before the 3 months and the nearly fullt formed human being after 6 months.

The German laws obviously differentiates here.

IMO, any abortion argument without such clear definition is not going anywhere. For instance, I would support choice before the first trimester is over, but there is now way I would after the second trimester.
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Post by El Gunner Mon Mar 30, 2015 6:19 pm

VivaStPauli wrote:The fallacy is, that once you start talking about fetuses "potential" and "future" like they're people, you have to immediately stop jacking off, because all those beautiful little sperm cells you shot into your big brothers sock? Basically half people, you mass murdering monsters.

I'm half dead right now rofl
Wonder how many lives I put to an end hmm
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Post by El Gunner Mon Mar 30, 2015 6:24 pm

BTW I know you guys might not take this serious, but I'm with rwo. Think women should have the choice. And me being agnostic, not having such a big belief in reproducing, and sometimes thinking we as a species should walk out of this horrible life while we can before it gets any worse might have a big say in why I lean towards that way.

Sorry for the negative post which most certainly contributes nothing to the discussion.
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Post by VivaStPauli Sat Apr 04, 2015 12:44 am

Lord Spencer wrote:
For instance, I would support choice before the first trimester is over, but there is now way I would after the second trimester.


I was only making a less-than-serious argument because I was replying to utter hyperbole. I can totally accept drawing a line somewhere along the development of the fetus, and maybe moving that line according to what science finds out.

It's just that any theoretical born baby has the same potential as any unborn baby, if you look at that potential at the immediate time of conception, and every sperm has an equal potential to lead to conception, so I have trouble taking that kind of argument seriously.

That being said, I think aborting a third trimester fetus is very difficult terrain, so I think I'm agreeing with you here, it's just that I have really no qualms and hesitations to think of a fetus in the first trimester as a soulless chunk of meat. Of course there's the huge psychological impact for the woman undergoing the abortion, but that's why she should get to decide.

Taking control over reproduction away from women is a huge injustice, since they have to actually carry the baby to term. Women should have the right to choose. But last-minute abortions in the third trimester should really only occur with sound medical reasoning.

That's my opinion in all seriousness.
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Post by rwo power Sat Apr 04, 2015 1:05 am

Well, abortion in the second trimester (at least after the 4th month) is a problematic thing, too, and imo should only be done in dire medical emergencies as there have been some cases of very early born kids that survived under intensive medical care. IIRC, the current record is a baby that was born in the 21st week with only 284g weight that survived in Miami/USA in 2006.
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Post by Lord Spencer Sat Apr 04, 2015 4:49 am

VivaStPauli wrote:
Lord Spencer wrote:
For instance, I would support choice before the first trimester is over, but there is now way I would after the second trimester.


I was only making a less-than-serious argument because I was replying to utter hyperbole. I can totally accept drawing a line somewhere along the development of the fetus, and maybe moving that line according to what science finds out.

It's just that any theoretical born baby has the same potential as any unborn baby, if you look at that potential at the immediate time of conception, and every sperm has an equal potential to lead to conception, so I have trouble taking that kind of argument seriously.

That being said, I think aborting a third trimester fetus is very difficult terrain, so I think I'm agreeing with you here, it's just that I have really no qualms and hesitations to think of a fetus in the first trimester as a soulless chunk of meat. Of course there's the huge psychological impact for the woman undergoing the abortion, but that's why she should get to decide.

Taking control over reproduction away from women is a huge injustice, since they have to actually carry the baby to term. Women should have the right to choose. But last-minute abortions in the third trimester should really only occur with sound medical reasoning.

That's my opinion in all seriousness.


That is why I think the "potential" argument fits for a 3rd trimester baby.

If the fetus is able to live outside of the Mother's body, then its right to live supersedes the Mother's right to abort. This would make first trimester abortions legal, and second trimester open for scientific detail, while third to be illegal.

Of course, if the medical condition threatens the mother's life, an abortion should be granted immediately.

A general framework should be drawn up in any country to clearly define these legal details. A broad no abortion law leaves us with cases such as the horrific dead Irish mother's case. While an open abortion law leaves us with cases were killing an 8 month old fetus is not considered "homicide".
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Post by rwo power Sat Apr 04, 2015 5:22 am

Well, if a letal malformation of the child (i.e. stuff like an anencephaly or similar) is only discovered in the 3rd trimester (maybe if the women didn't go to a checkup earlier), then IMO an abortion should be possible at such a time even without the mother being in direct danger.
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