Abortion argument

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Post by rwo power Sat Apr 04, 2015 6:22 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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Post by VivaStPauli Sun Apr 05, 2015 1:32 pm

Which would be what I'd call a medical reason, and I agree.
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Post by DuringTheWar Thu Apr 09, 2015 6:09 pm

rwo power wrote:
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


I think already I made my idea clear; that there is a disconnect with what any of us philosophise a person to be, and an objective truth. If something is objectively true and not open to argument, that's my threshold for deciding in the negative the fate of a human life. If it is a subjective idea, that makes me very uncomfortable.

But, putting that aside, I'll go along with this idea. To me it seems you have a kantian view of what a person is: autonomous, with will and reason. (If I am mistaken please correct me) As I alluded to before, there are other examples, aside from foetuses, that do not fall under the "kantian person" definition, where it is nethertheless widely deemed unacceptable to kill them. For example, the comatose, infants, and the senile.
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Post by rwo power Thu Apr 09, 2015 9:05 pm

Well, first I should mention that I have a patient's provision that says clearly that I explicitely don't want any artificial life support when I'd be either terminally ill or in a condition where no recovery is possible. Plus I fully intend to terminate my life if I would be diagnosed with something like Alzheimer's or a similar condition that would rob me of my mental capabilities. That is, in cases of comatose patients, I would follow what they put into a living will, too.

As a matter of fact, I would strongly support some kind of legal ruling that forces people to put down something like a patient's provision as soon as they come of age and that has to be renewed in regular intervals, so that the principle of legal certainty can be upheld. (It should be made sure that this provision cannot be done under pressure so that it does indeed follow the persons own choice and free will.)

As for the case of senility, there is no provision by law to provide something like a "mercy kill", and of course it is especially problematic for Germans to touch this subject due to certain occurrences in the past. For that you might want to look up
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Action_T4
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Involuntary_euthanasia

The final case you mentioned, infants, are already fully formed and able to exist outside of a womb. As for the criteria "autonomous, with will and reason", mainly the 'reason' part is still underdeveloped.

Autonomous is a relative term as you could argue that even modern adults can rarely exist completely autonomously, and if you ever observed a baby you will notice that they develop a will pretty early (they cry when uncomfortable, hungry etc - and this shows they want to be fed etc, which can be considered a will, too).

As for the up to 3-4 months fetus, it is unable to exist outside the womb even when artificially supported, that means in my eyes it is more or less still a part of the woman and she can decide to remove it like she would remove another unwanted growth.
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Post by Cruijf Sat Apr 11, 2015 3:24 am

I think the point Rwo is that you wouldn't perform euthanasia on someone in a coma or with a disease like Alzheimer's unless they had a patient's provision or something of the sort. So why would you kill a fetus (who like someone in a coma or with Alzheimer's doesn't fit the Kantian definition of a person) without their consent (which is of course impossible)?

This is of course only in the 'grey' area of a fetus' development since it seems everyone in this thread is of the agreement an abortion during the third trimester without medical reason is wrong, and an abortion during the first is acceptable.
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Post by rwo power Sat Apr 11, 2015 5:27 am

Well, personally I would switch off the machines if someone is in a coma and the doctors said there was no chance as I would hope someone would do the same for me in that case, same as I would prefer to be killed when suffering from advanced Alzheimers than having to vegetate as a brainless husk. (As DuringTheWar mentioned Kant - yeah, you could consider that going by the categorical imperative in that respect.) Unfortunately the law does not permit that here, and with Germany's past it is unlikely to be implemented here.
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Post by Cruijf Sun Apr 12, 2015 6:02 pm

Without consent? I think we have a fundamental disagreement there then, that's murder IMO.
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Post by rwo power Sun Apr 12, 2015 11:26 pm

Well, I had to watch my grandmother die from terminal cancer and she repeatedly begged me to kill her as no pain medication relieved her of her horrible pain. Lying in the hospital, she said to me "Please bring me the kitchen knife from the drawer in the cupboard, please, so that I can make an end here and now." Unfortunately I was not allowed to do anything there, and the doctors refused to increase the pain medication as it would have hastened her demise. So even if you are in full command of your senses, you are not helped.

And the other case was my uncle who was senile and did not only threaten people with knives and other dangerous tools as soon as he wasn't restrained, but oncewas released from his restraints by a "merciful soul", and he ran away and was found two weeks later dead in the scrubs of some forest nearby where he died of thirst and freezing.

So in my eyes and from my own experience it is much more cruel and inhumane to let people suffer like that than being able to put a painless and truly merciful end to them.
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Post by Cruijf Mon Apr 13, 2015 1:20 am

You're speaking of euthanasia though. Cases where the patients in question wanted to die. That's not always the case with patients that have terminal illness or are in another similar situation.

In any case, euthanasia is irrelevant to this debate because it is defined as requiring consent. What I'm speaking of is killing someone who is senile or has a terminal illness without their consent. In the Kantian sense, that is equivalent to abortion in the second trimester, so if you believe one is morally justifiable the other is as well. If you believe however, as I do, that killing a patient with a terminal illness without their consent is morally wrong, then the same thing goes for abortion in the second trimester.
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Post by Peccadillo Tue Apr 14, 2015 5:02 am

point well made

Great discussion
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Post by rwo power Tue Apr 14, 2015 10:25 am

Cruijf wrote:What I'm speaking of is killing someone who is senile or has a terminal illness without their consent. In the Kantian sense, that is equivalent to abortion in the second trimester, so if you believe one is morally justifiable the other is as well. If you believe however, as I do, that killing a patient with a terminal illness without their consent is morally wrong, then the same thing goes for abortion in the second trimester.

Well, IMO the problem is that you can't actually put a rule to this but would need to decide case by case.

I'd like to go back to that uncle - he was virtually an aggressive vegetable towards the end who acted aggressively towards people and his surroundings and didn't know who or where he wes anymore. This went as far as using scissors that were left lying around to attack his father or trying to strangle someone who tried to tend to him. So he had to be either restrained to the bed or sedated practically 24/7. And when he was freed of the restraints he ran away only clad in his pajamas and wasn't found for almost to weeks despite police etc searching for him until his body was discovered under some scrubs in a forest a couple of kilometres away, died due to thirst and hypothermia. IMO letting him vegetate on when he did not even know who and where he was anymore and either having him either restrained or sedated all the time was more cruel than if he would have been killed.
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Post by Cruijf Tue Apr 14, 2015 9:04 pm

Sure, but the vast majority of fetus' are neither in pain or a danger to other people. If that was the medical situation I would be in favour of abortion, but otherwise we're back at square one - aborting a second trimester fetus is the same as killing a comatose or senile patient (who is neither harming themself or someone else) without consent.
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Post by VendettaRed07 Sat Apr 18, 2015 6:00 am

When it comes to this subject I really envy nations where the major religion is Islam. The belief that life starts at conception has caused so many problems here in regards to things like stem cell research etc that isn't present in Islamic beliefs. It is true that the USA has some of the most liberal abortion laws, but it's really only set up that way because we have a political wing that wants to make it illegal at any stage of pregnancy at all. If we were to give and come back on what trimesters were illegal or not, they'd push for more and more, give them and inch and they'll take a mile. it really sucks. Our right wing is really devolving by the year and it's really getting to the point where I have little faith of any political or moral progress in our country due to the baseless insanity of the conservatives. Really don't have a personal opinion on the subject at all (other than it should be up to the women), but it's sad to see my country not even be able to have a rational discussion on it in any way shape or form without it just comepletely going to hell
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Post by rwo power Sat Apr 18, 2015 12:10 pm

That's interesting. I looked up the stance of the Islam on abortion at Wikipedia as I honestly had no idea about how they handled this.

Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_and_abortion

So there is not one definite ruling for it as this was not put down in the Qur'an proper, but there are several Hadiths dealing with the topic.

I found this statement most interesting: "In Islam, the fetus is believed to become a living soul after four months of gestation".

As I mentioned somewhere before, I would also consider that the time limit which should be used for default legal abortions should be 4 months and not 3 as it is used in German law.

This point also sounds pretty sensible:
On the issue of the life of the woman, Muslims universally agree that her life takes precedence over the life of the fetus. This is because the woman is considered the "original source of life", while the fetus is only "potential" life. Muslim jurists agree that abortion is allowed based on the principle that "the greater evil [the woman's death] should be warded off by the lesser evil [abortion]." In these cases the physician is considered a better judge than the scholar.

Can someone shed some light on the question how things are handled if a woman wants a "free choice" abortion within the proper time limit? Is this generally prohibited or it is it possible depending on the scholar you ask?
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Post by Kaladin Sat Apr 18, 2015 12:18 pm

I really can't answer that as abortion is not my forte, but what you said about the 4 months is true. Muslim woman have can decides to use the abortion path if the fetus is less than 4 months old. I know some muslim women who had abortions, and only one who had to have an abortion for her own safety, though i don't know what the circumstances of her health was or how it was carried out
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Post by Cruijf Tue Apr 21, 2015 3:21 pm

There isn't really a clear Islamic consensus on this issue tbh, I was mainly just going at this from a secular moral perspective.

The only thing scholars really agree on as you said is that if the life of the woman is in danger an abortion must be performed. Most are also in favor of this four month line, although there are some that suggest the line should be earlier.

As for how things would be handled in a free choice abortion, it generally depends on where you live. If you're in an Islamically governed country then it depends on the law, if you're in another country and the law permits it then it just comes down to which opinion you hold or what scholars you follow.
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Post by El Messico Sun May 03, 2015 12:01 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.


rwo power wrote: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.


These are both very reasonable arguments IMO. Second trimester is definitely up for debate, I lean more towards not allowing abortion in that trimester. It's not a strong opinion though because in broader terms, it is always better to give women more choice (side note: I think men should have more reproductive rights/choice/not_sure_about_the_word than they have now too). A baby born to a mother who doesn't want it is helping no one.

What I think will be interesting to see is how the law will change when it will be possible for babies to survive outside the woman earlier and earlier in the pregnancy term. Not just in abortion discussions, but the whole parenthood thing. Brave New World, anyone?

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Post by rwo power Sun May 03, 2015 1:54 am

El Messico wrote:What I think will be interesting to see is how the law will change when it will be possible for babies to survive outside the woman earlier and earlier in the pregnancy term. Not just in abortion discussions, but the whole parenthood thing. Brave New World, anyone?
That's indeed a very interesting point. In some countries it is allowed for women who are unwanted childless to get both an egg and sperm from a donor to become pregnant (in Germany it is illegal get an egg from a stranger, btw) - so why not try to find a way to transfer an older (healthy) embryo that normally should be aborted to another woman as this would be a win-win situation for everyone? Of course this will not be easy as the uterus of the receiver would need to be prepared properly, but maybe this could be an option to think about?
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Post by DuringTheWar Mon Sep 28, 2015 2:23 am

VendettaRed07 wrote:It is true that the USA has some of the most liberal abortion laws, but it's really only set up that way because we have a political wing that wants to make it illegal at any stage of pregnancy at all. If we were to give and come back on what trimesters were illegal or not, they'd push for more and more, give them and inch and they'll take a mile. it really sucks.


Since I made this thread, unfortunately ive become  convinced in a way the opposite of that is also happening. It seems letting the door open for some abortions validates an extremely callous attitude towards "foetuses".

People are actually proud of getting abortions and are bragging about them - #shoutyourabortion.

I fear that's an inevitable consequence of dehumanising the unborn and it's really unpleasant to witness. It's a study in how little we as people can tend toward valuing human life when it gets politicised.
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Post by Cruijf Mon Sep 28, 2015 3:32 am

Yeah, #shoutyourabortion really is sickening,.
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Post by VendettaRed07 Tue Sep 29, 2015 5:20 pm

DuringTheWar wrote:
VendettaRed07 wrote:It is true that the USA has some of the most liberal abortion laws, but it's really only set up that way because we have a political wing that wants to make it illegal at any stage of pregnancy at all. If we were to give and come back on what trimesters were illegal or not, they'd push for more and more, give them and inch and they'll take a mile. it really sucks.


Since I made this thread, unfortunately ive become  convinced in a way the opposite of that is also happening. It seems letting the door open for some abortions validates an extremely callous attitude towards "foetuses".

People are actually proud of getting abortions and are bragging about them - #shoutyourabortion.

I fear that's an inevitable consequence of dehumanising the unborn and it's really unpleasant to witness. It's a study in how little we as people can tend toward valuing human life when it gets politicised.


I think there is a difference between idiots on Twitter and people in positions of political power who can actually make laws.

I doubt Hillary or any Liberal politician is going to start saying " YO SHOUT OUT TO MY HOME GIRLS WHO ABORTED TODAY!" ever, where as we have people running for President who are on record as saying they would force a 10 year old rape victim to bare their rapists child.

I understand what you are saying, there is a lack of a middle ground on this topic as many people tend to have extreme positions and people who are somewhere in between are accused by both as people ether too soft on the issue or too hard on woman's rights, but I stand by the point that the right wing perspective is simply impossible to work with here. They are going to shut down the government over funding of planned parenthood facilities. Not only are they opposed to abortion they are opposed to contraceptives, good sex education for for young teens ( want to push abstinence education) and want to do away with all programs that would help mothers who keep the child even if they cannot financially support it. We could have a better conversation on this topic if the party who is against how liberal the abortion laws here are weren't such a hypocritical mess.
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