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semm
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In general I would say that if an abortion is good for one's life, then it is moral. If the abortion is bad for one's life, then it is immoral. Abortion, like killing a real human being, can be good or bad for your individual life, depending on the specific situation and set of relevant facts.

I agree with this formulation. The example I provided was just meant to show that not all abortions are good in and of themselves; as you noted, it depends entirely on the context. When I used the phrase, "something she didn't like", I meant to convey some trivial thing, to which an abortion would be an inappropriate response. A man who cheated on a woman (or was a complete phony) would certainly be an appropriate reason for having an abortion, other things being equal.

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Well, it would appear you are condemning the malicious act of trying to harm someone.  The abortion is the tool for this act.

Look at your example with a different tool;

An irrational women stabs her lover with a fork because he has done something she doesn't like.  This does nothing to condemn the otherwise rational use of forks.

The larger issue is her irrationality, not the abortion.

RationalCop,

I'm not trying to be glib, but would provide an example for which this doesn't apply. When would the larger issue not be irrationality? And how is that a criticism of the snippet you quoted?

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RationalCop,

I'm not trying to be glib, but would provide an example for which this doesn't apply.  When would the larger issue not be irrationality?  And how is that a criticism of the snippet you quoted?

I apologize. I took your example out of context of the rest of your post because it appeared to me at first that you were using abortion as the focus of the immoral act and not the irrationality of the woman. After re-reading your post, I see that I am in error and I retract my previous comment.

Edit: Now I'm having to moderate myself. :)

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I've been reading both sides of this discussion and thought I might be helpful. It is not my intention to oppose the beliefs of Ayn Rand or support banning abortion. I think everyone should be free to make their own minds up about this issue. However, if you permit me to, I'd like to recommend a link. There is a site at Abortion Quotes that really gives an in depth look at abortion. I feel that before forming an opinion on any issue, a person should really inform themselves as much as possible, and this site will fulfill that purpose. It contains no rhetoric, only information. It contains a huge database of quotes and first hand accounts from abortion doctors and clinic workers on the abortion 'business'- everything from abortion counselling to the procedure itself. The quotes are tracked down from many published sources such as the Washington Post and books such as pro-choice feminist Wendy Simond's "Abortion at Work." Included are stories from people who have left the abortion industry. While one might say that the best way to learn about abortion is to witness it or experience it first hand, this site is the next best thing. There is also a forum there and debate is welcomed.

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. . .from abortion doctors and clinic workers on the abortion 'business'- everything from abortion counselling to the procedure itself.

Why the sneer quotes around business?

Clinical knowledge of the procedure is not necessary to determine whether a woman should have a right to her own body or not. Neither are quotes from physicians, patients, media, feminists, and what have you. This is supplementing someone else's judgement for your own.

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Clinical knowledge of the procedure is not necessary to determine whether a woman should have a right to her own body or not.  Neither are quotes from physicians, patients, media, feminists, and what have you.  This is supplementing someone else's judgement for your own.

I agree with you Megan.

The more I looked at the site, the more I thought it has a "pro-life" bent. And the forum that was spoken of is clearly a "pro-life" forum.

I'm not sure a collection of anecdotes from a variety of people provides that crucial information which will give someone a more well-informed view on the subject. It appeared to me that most of the anecdotes that weren't medically-related centered around the emotional aspect of the subject. Even the quotes from "Pro-Choice sources" seemed to be carefully selected.

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  • 1 month later...
A man who cheated on a woman (or was a complete phony) would certainly be an appropriate reason for having an abortion, other things being equal.[

Deciding that the act of conception was irrational, and changing one's mind is a perfectly rational reason to have an abortion. The original act may have been irrational. The old movies -- sudden act of passion. Irrational? yes. (Wonder if Franscisco & Dagny used protection that first time.) Subsequent abortion could still be rational.

About a kid who should ask her parents about whether to abort. I disagree with that. If she is too young to decide, she should not be allowed motherhood. The baby must be aborted. Legally parents should decide. Morally, they should decide to abort.

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About a kid who should ask her parents about whether to abort. I disagree with that. If she is too young to decide, she should not be allowed motherhood. The baby must be aborted. Legally parents should decide. Morally, they should decide to abort.

What if she wants to keep it? Are you saying she should be forced to have an abortion anyway? Lots of girls concieve under 18 that do want children, some may even be engaged or married (though admittedly less these days). I don't think it is ever appropriate to legislate one's proper use of their own body.

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I think a girl (or young woman) under 18 who gets pregnant and wants to have a baby must do so only in full legal emancipation as an adult, and with the understanding that her parent's obligations to her as parents end the instant she gives birth.

If you're going to be a parent, you have to provide for your own children, not rely on others to do it for you out of parental obligation. Parental obligations are non-transferrable and non-inheritable, because the grandparents are not making the choice.

You don't get to be a child (learning from and legally bound to one's parents) and a parent(teaching to and being legally responsible for your child) at the same. The two are directly contradictive.

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What if she wants to keep it? Are you saying she should be forced to have an abortion anyway? Lots of girls concieve under 18 that do want children, some may even be engaged or married (though admittedly less these days). I don't think it is ever appropriate to legislate one's proper use of their own body.

Of course there are plenty of girls who are concieving under 18. Unfortunately I am reminded of an episode of ER when a girl who is pregnant was talking about keeping her child so she could recieve her checks. Obviously talking about welfare here. Yet another reason the welfare state needs to end, to keep these people from getting pregnant and assume some responsibility. By ending the welfare state there two actions that will more likely happen when a teenager gets pregnant, the pregnant girl has an abortion or she gives the baby up for adoption.

Edited by Richard Roark
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About a kid who should ask her parents about whether to abort. I disagree with that. If she is too young to decide, she should not be allowed motherhood. The baby must be aborted. Legally parents should decide. Morally, they should decide to abort.

This is gross obscenity. It drops all context and destroys the rights of everyone involved. If parents have a right (not right, a MORAL OBLIGATION by your words) to force (notice that word, force?) their child to have an abortion they are assumed to have complete control of their child's reproductive processes . . . shall the parents be ordering their children not to have sex next? How are they going to ENFORCE that?

What if the parents don't believe in abortion? (This is a moral position to hold, so long as one does not hold with restricting the rights of other individuals to have abortions if THEY choose.) What if they welcome a new child, even a bit early? What if the father wants to help out?

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I think a girl (or young woman) under 18 who gets pregnant and wants to have a baby must do so only in full legal emancipation as an adult, and with the understanding that her parent's obligations to her as parents end the instant she gives birth.

If you're going to be a parent, you have to provide for your own children, not rely on others to do it for you out of parental obligation.  Parental obligations are non-transferrable and non-inheritable, because the grandparents are not making the choice.

You don't get to be a child (learning from and legally bound to one's parents) and a parent(teaching to and being legally responsible for your child) at the same.  The two are directly contradictive.

Why? And why end the obligation when she gives birth? Why not when she conceives? Or, why wait that long, even; why not declare that a female is legally an adult when she loses her virginity!?

Honestly. If your children acquire responsibilities of their own that in no way means that you are no longer required to support them. The question of who is going to do how much work in taking care of an infant is something for the minor and her parents (notice I say HER, too, there's an AMAZING lack of any sort of consideration of the father going on, here) to hash out between themselves, just as all other family chores have to be hashed out.

If you're going this route parents shouldn't be permitted to ask their minor children to babysit other minor children; in fact, no minors can be permitted to provide any type of child-care services whatsoever of any kind under any circumstances, lest they lose their legal "protected" minor status.

The only thing I could POSSIBLY see is that a child must have an adult guardian for legal purposes (power of attorney, basically) but there's really no reason for even that much. Children of teenagers USUALLY don't have a bunch of assets that need to be protected. IF the situation were to arise, an exception could be made to instill the minor parent with the ability to enter into contracts on her child's behalf.

Accepting responsibility for things that your children do, even without your permission and knowledge, is part of being a parent. The adult parents made their choice when a.) they had a child and b.) they didn't bother to inform themselves about what she was doing. At worst, assuming a girl who has a child at age 12, it's only a 6-year obligation in any case.

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Why? 

I want to stress as strongly as possible here, the grandparents are not making the choice. Why should they be morally and legally responsible for a decision they have no say in making whatsoever?

I suppose if the grandparents want to take on the responsibility, they are welcome to it. I would call them foolish for doing so, but its up to them.

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If parents... are assumed to have complete control of their child's reproductive processes . . . shall the parents be ordering their children not to have sex next? ...

Interesting. If a child is a minor AND has not been legally emancipated, what control should the parent have over what the child does?

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Normatively, the parent should have complete and total control over the child's volitional faculty. The child should submit to the will of its parents in all matters of moral consequence.

There was recently a bill here in Washington to give children "privacy" rights from their parents, e.g. phone eaves-drooping and room searching might be illegal for parents in this state. I do not know its current status.

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Normatively, the parent should have complete and total control over the child's volitional faculty.  The child should submit to the will of its parents in all matters of moral consequence...

Being fifteen, I resent this statement very much. What if my parents tell me to shoot someone? That is a matter of moral consequence. By your logic, I would have to do it. What do you mean by "normatively?" I'll be damned if I'll let *anyone* have complete control over my volitional faculty. Also, how would you determine who is a *child*? By age? Don't different children develop at different rates?

As for the pregnancy issue... If I got pregnant and decided to keep the child, I think that my parents should still be legally responsible to provide for me, but not for the child. What I mean by this is they would be responsible for giving me a place to live, but whether they let the child live there as well, and whether they will pay for the child's food, is entirely up to them. If I decided to keep a baby and not to abort it or give it up for adoption, then it is fully my decision and my reponsibility. It does not, however, negate my parent's responsibility towards me. In this way, any *underage* girl who decides to keep a child must be VERY sure that she will have the means of providing for it by herself. Her child, her responsibility. Now I would hope, that assuming I made the decision to keep the child rationally and was reasonably capable of caring for it, that my parents would "help out" if I was in a tough spot. However, I maintain that they would be under no moral or legal obligation to give me *extra* money/food/shelter just because I had a child.

I am interested to hear more thoughts on this, because I have never really thought about it before. However, I wonder whether it is bordering on requiring a separate thread, though it is loosely related to abortion. Namely, it is related to what happens to young girls who don't have abortions. If Mods have any thoughts on whether this post is too far off-topic, let me know by a post or PM and I'll cut it out. :thumbsup:

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Tom -

No individual should have complete control over another, regardless of their relationship. It is a parent's position to prepare their child to succeed in the world on their own. A parent should, of course, guide their child in making the correct moral decisions and explain why those decisions are correct, but the burden of choice always remains with the child. In certain contexts, a parent must take responsibility for the actions of their child; it is then up to the parent to "collect their dues" from the child.

As Ayn Rand pointed out, a mind cannot be forced. This holds true in all cases, including those of a parent-child relationship.

Note that a parent maintaining physical control over their child is a different matter entirely.

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So, if your kid screams in a restaurant, you're not responsible because YOU didn't choose for them to scream? If your kid digs up the neighbor's flowers, you're not responsible because YOU didn't choose to dig them up?

You chose to have a child, and if that daughter gets pregnant before she can support herself because YOU neglected to provide her with the moral/intellectual ammunition she needed to deal with the situation, it's YOUR responsibility.

Families are a complex interconnection of responsibilities and relationships; anyone using the words "ought" or "should" regarding the specific actions of people whose situation they don't know and haven't met, especially if that "ought" brings in the blunt instrument of the law, need to examine their premises.

A small personal story; shortly after I graduated from high school my mother, brothers and I moved to Dayton from Virginia. My father was forced to stay in Virginia to finish his Ph.D., so for a time we were maintaining two households and living out of suitcases in a furnished apartment. The family finances were stretched to the limit and beyond. My mother, having a highly specific degree, could not find a job in a temporarily depressed economy.

I was 16 (yes, I graduated early) and I found a job working full-time at a fast food restaurant . . . for a while there, I was helping pay the bills, especially groceries. Sometimes you have to help take up the slack.

I've noticed on several threads on this board that the female posters are relaxed and comfortable with non-standard arrangements, whereas the male posters tend to be iron-clad nuclear-family no-deviation types. Strange.

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I've noticed on several threads on this board that the female posters are relaxed and comfortable with non-standard arrangements, whereas the male posters tend to be iron-clad nuclear-family no-deviation types.  Strange.

I'm a guy, and I think I'm pretty comfortable with non-standard family arrangements.

If I had cause to believe that my dependent daughter was in danger of getting pregnant, I'd immediately put her on birth control. If she refused to take it, I'd force-feed it to her--just like I have to force-feed my cat her asthma medication every morning.

How's that for non-standard?

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What if my parents tell me to shoot someone?

By "normatively", I mean "ideally". And in the ideal situation, you wouldn't have to be concerned about your parents telling you to shoot someone. Being ideal parents, they would know not to. Please do not take a statement of "this is how it should be" and try to swap it into the context of "things as they are". Of course it won't work.

If the child sees an obvious moral error by the parents, and one of the magnitude which will ruin the his life permanently, then he should refuse and immediately seek emancipation. In an ideal world, the courts would gladly grant it in such a case. It is far better to have to scratch out a living as a child than to be burdened with the responsbility of killing someone because your parents said to.

A child is someone who cannot make a particular moral decision because they do not have enough information to do so. When a young person demonstrates enough information about a subject and a rational faculty to apply that information properly, then they are no longer a child in that subject.

The situation you describe where your parents are obligated to you but not to your child is wholly unworkable. What if you take the food they give to you and feed it to your child? What are they supposed to do: rip it out of its hands and force you to eat it instead?

There is no way a girl of your age has enough information to make a decision about whether to have a child or not. You cannot possibly have the proper perspective on life as a whole to understand the nature of the commitment and the rest of your life which you are trading away in that decision.

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By "normatively", I mean "ideally".  And in the ideal situation, you wouldn't have to be concerned about your parents telling you to shoot someone.  Being ideal parents, they would know not to.  Please do not take a statement of "this is how it should be" and try to swap it into the context of "things as they are".  Of course it won't work.
Alright, I'm sorry. I misunderstood what you were saying so my analogy is incorrect. But anyway, I still don't like your statement. I don't think a situation (even where the parents are perfect Objectivists) where the parents have complete and total control over a child's volitional faculty. Isn't that a contradiction? You can't *force* a *volitional faculty.*

A child is someone who cannot make a particular moral decision because they do not have enough information to do so.  When a young person demonstrates enough information about a subject and a rational faculty to apply that information properly, then they are no longer a child in that subject.
What objective standard can you use to judge who has *enough* knowledge about a subject to make a decision? What about people who are ignorant but 30 years old? Who will decide for them?

The situation you describe where your parents are obligated to you but not to your child is wholly unworkable.  What if you take the food they give to you and feed it to your child?  What are they supposed to do: rip it out of its hands and force you to eat it instead?
Who cares if you give it to the child? YOU still have to eat. It doesn't change the fact that you have to be able to earn something more than before if you decide to have an extra person.

There is no way a girl of your age has enough information to make a decision about whether to have a child or not.  You cannot possibly have the proper perspective on life as a whole to understand the nature of the commitment and the rest of your life which you are trading away in that decision.

I agree that I should not make this kind of decision. However, if I were in a situation where I had no choice but to make a decision, what says that my parents will be any better qualified? Please understand that I have been speaking in legal terms, not personal terms. I have no intention of having to make a decision like this, and if I did, I would welcome my parent's advice. However, I don't think I should be legally obligated to listen to them.
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You can't *force* a *volitional faculty.*

Precisely why I used the word "submit" in my post. The child should submit to the parents, assuming that the parents are rational and reality-based.

What objective standard can you use to judge who has *enough* knowledge about a subject to make a decision?

How about "reality"? There are component concepts and knowledge necessary to be integrated into making a decision. They are definable and listable on paper by anyone who wishes to examine the issue.

I'm 34, and I feel a real urgency to do things for myself -NOW- because my plan for my life is rather full and I don't have time to screw around. I might only make it to 70 given my paternal longevity history -- in which case I'm half done. People at 15 do not generally have a plan for their entire lives yet, which is what you need in order to know if you should have a child yet. Until you're ready to plan your entire life, don't even consider it. Having a child is a life-altering commitment. How can you decide to alter a plan you haven't made?

Ignorant 30 year-olds will make their owne decisions, fail, and never achieve happiness. It's sad but its their choice to remain ignorant.

Your parents are better qualified because they understand that a lifetime requires planning that lifetime. One mustn't dive into some decision or other that will drastically alter the course of one's life forever, irrevocably, without first knowing what it is you are giving up in exchange.

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This is gross obscenity.

Is it gross obscenity to say a parent should decide certain things for a child? If sex and abortions should be an exception, make the case. If 17 year olds should be allowed to decide more than 13 year old I agree.

"if the parents don't believe in abortion..." then their decision to force the child to have a child should be legal.

Yes I use the word "force" for if the parent and the child agree then why discuss whether parent or child has legal priority. This is a situation where a legal system is being asked to decide whose view should stand by force of law.

You say a pro-life view "is a moral position to hold, so long as one does not hold with restricting the rights of other individuals to have abortions if THEY choose". Maybe this has been dicussed previously in posting. I disagree. Yes having the child may be moral and aborting may be moral. Depends on the detailed situation.

Forget others. I say that a woman who has blanket and context-insensitive anti-abortion stance PARTICULARLY in regard to herself is holding one immoral view. She may be very moral in other situation.

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If I had cause to believe that my dependent daughter was in danger of getting pregnant, I'd immediately put her on birth control. If she refused to take it, I'd force-feed it to her--just like I have to force-feed my cat her asthma medication every morning.

Cats get asthma? I didn't know that.

This reminds me of a story about a woman who went to her doctor and asked for birth-control pills. The doctor said, "What do you want pills for? You don't need them." She replied, "They help me sleep." "They DO?! How?" "I put them in my daughter's orange juice in the morning."

It's been my experience that if you've done any kind of a decent job at raising your kids a teenage pregnancy is really not something you need to worry too much about. Your desire for her not to get pregnant is nothing like HER desire not to get pregnant.

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