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semm
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These kinds of emotionalistic mischaracterizations have no place in a rational discussion. Your word choices ("stab," "child") are obviously intended to imply that abortion is murder, but without the bother of actually making an argument for that conclusion. Consider this a warning.

It was a turn of phrase (as well as a description of reality, but we can use different-but-semantically-identical words if you want I suppose). Why would I claim that abortion is murder when the second part of my post made it clear that I had no problem with abortion?

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Should the mother decide to have the child and the father dosen't want to, he may certianally leave
Ok, thats fair enough. My main grief here is with the current system, in which a man is forcd to care for a child he does not want, while a woman has the option of terminating the pregnancy.

I have an exception, if a man got involved with a woman who was opposed to abortion outright, and she got pregnant, morally, he would have to take care of the child.  My reasoning here is that he made his choice to have a child when he got involved sexually with her.
Seems to be a dangerous argument. If you can say that a man has 'made his choice' to have a child simply by being with a women who opposes abortion, couldnt you also say that a woman has made her choice to have a child by engaging in a sexual act, and use this as an argument against abortion?

However, should it be found that a fetus develops a rational faculty while still inside the womb,  than there is to be discussion about when precisely it becomes a person.  I say discussion because there are other factors to consider, such as the fetus/persons parasitical nature.

When you choose to call it a person is purely a linguistic matter and has no real bearing on reality. I'm not sure why evidence that a foetus is conscious would change anything though, since I was under the impression that the primary argument for abortion here was the desire to avoid forcing slavery upon the mother.

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When you choose to call it a person is purely a linguistic matter and has no real bearing on reality. I'm not sure why evidence that a foetus is conscious would change anything though, since I was under the impression that the primary argument for abortion here was the desire to avoid forcing slavery upon the mother.
It is only a purely linguistic matter if you apply no definition to the word "person". I said there would be a discussion about the morality, not that this evidence would be reason to reject abortion outright. And I did not say anything about conciousness, I said "rational faculty."

Seems to be a dangerous argument. If you can say that a man has 'made his choice' to have a child simply by being with a women who opposes abortion, couldnt you also say that a woman has made her choice to have a child by engaging in a sexual act, and use this as an argument against abortion?

No. A pregnant woman has a right to kill any clump of cells growing on her she desires. The only time it is even arguable that this is not the case is when that clump of cells has a rational faculty.

However, in deciding on having sexual relations with a woman who is clear in their refusal to abort, a man is telling that woman that you support that decision, and thus, it would be immoral to leave her for sticking to it.

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It is only a purely linguistic matter if you apply no definition to the word "person". I said there would be a discussion about the morality, not that this evidence would be reason to reject abortion outright.  And I did not say anything about conciousness, I said "rational faculty."
Well it doesnt really matter what definition you apply to the word person - the foetus is whatever it is, regardless of whether you call it a person, non-person, baby, foetus or fish. I agree that the knowledge that a foetus is rational might provoke debate around some arguments favouring abortion, but I dont think it would be relevant to the standard Objectivist position (see below). On a sidenote, I'd argue that possession of a rational faculty presupposes consciousness, but thats tangential.

No. A pregnant woman has a right to kill any clump of cells growing on her she desires. The only time it is even arguable that this is not the case is when that clump of cells has a rational faculty.

This seems a strange distinction to make - a conscious/rational clump of cells is still a clump of cells. My argument was presupposing the 'standard' Objectivist position that the abortion issue ultimately reduced to one of slavery. Under these circumstances, it would be a matter of complete indifference whether the foetus was rational/conscious/'a child/whatever, since it would still be dependent on the mother against her will.

No.  A pregnant woman has a right to kill any clump of cells growing on her she desires.  The only time it is even arguable that this is not the case is when that clump of cells has a rational faculty.

What if he had told her in advance that he has no desire for a child and wouldnt support one should she get pregnant? Since he knows her position on abortion, it is likely that she would know his also.

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Well it doesnt really matter what definition you apply to the word person - the foetus is whatever it is, regardless of whether you call it a person, non-person, baby, foetus or fish.
Are you arguing against defining words altogether? If the fetus qualifys as a person (by Rand's definiton of the word, to be specific), it gains certian rights and considerations under a rational moral code. If it ever qualifys as a person (since it is a parasite) is debatable.

On a sidenote, I'd argue that possession of a rational faculty presupposes consciousness, but thats tangential.

Yes, but this does not mean that conciousness presupposes rationality. So while a fetus may be concious, this is irrellivent unless it is rational (i.e. concept forming).

This seems a strange distinction to make - a conscious/rational clump of cells is still a clump of cells.
Yes, so long as it does not qualify as a person.

My argument was presupposing the 'standard' Objectivist position that the abortion issue ultimately reduced to one of slavery.  Under these circumstances, it would be a matter of complete indifference whether the foetus was rational/conscious/'a child/whatever, since it would still be dependent on the mother against her will.

It is not slavery if it is a decision or contract, see previous posts for more on this. It seems to me that your arguement comes down to an attempt to refute any personal/moral resposibility for creating a person.

What if he had told her in advance that he has no desire for a child and wouldnt support one should she get pregnant? Since he knows her position on abortion, it is likely that she would know his also.

This is a tough issue, and it is one that I am going to dismiss as irrellivent. Why is this Objectivist having sex with a woman with no value for her own life anyway?

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  • 3 weeks later...

Capitalism's stance on abortion is purely rational and I totally agree with it.

It is based upon the rational "life begins at birth," versus "life begins at conception" which is, in my opinion, a mysticist view.

If life can be unequivocally proven to begin at conception, then my birth certificate is all wrong. I was really born when sperm met egg. I had no definition as an individual yet Bush and company want to endow me with individual rights. I can't even so much as experience emotion, yet I am protected as a pre-fetal being with the same rights as my mother, who really needs the protection of her rights by the government.

The arguments of the anti-abortion crowd are ludicrous at best, absurd at worst.

No one has yet proven that real life begins at conception.

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Hi:

I have read through all the posts and find the arguements for and against abortion are very interesting.

If I may add. Responsibility (not duty) was not mentioned much in this discussion.

Knowing that having sex may lead to pregnancy, people chose to have unprotected sex. That is a conscious choice.

Rand have stated " The obligation to keep one's promise is one of the most important elements in proper human relationships, the element that leads to mutual confidence and makes cooperation possible among men....

The acceptance of full responsibility for one's own choices and actions (and their consequences) is such a demanding moral discipline that many men seek to escape it by surrending to what they believe is easy, automatic, unthinking safety of a morality of "duty." They learn better, often when it is too late." Causality Versus Duty

So, a pregnant woman (and the man who participated in the process) decided to have an abortion would abandon moral discipline, surrending to that which is easy, automatic, unthinking...... Rand supported abortion but would she consider those have abortions to be escaping from their responsibility?

Q

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If I put a new light bulb in my lamp, but don't turn on the switch, am I escaping from my responsiblity. No, not unless I had promised someone that the lamp would be turned on. The fact that I have made something possible and decide not to take advantage of that possibility does not make me irresponsible.

I do not think after I deposit my sperms into a woman there would be a switch. OR there is one that I do not know about?

Q

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I do not think after I deposit my sperms into a woman there would be a switch.

There is, it is called abortion. If you abort, you are flipping the switch to off before the light has a chance to turn on... if you don't you are leaving the switch in its default on position.

The point is: There is no responsibility to allow a possibility to be come a reality (at least not unless you have promised to do so).

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So, a pregnant woman (and the man who participated in the process) decided to have an abortion would abandon moral discipline, surrending to that which is easy, automatic, unthinking...... Rand supported abortion but would she consider those have abortions to be escaping from their responsibility?

Q

The decision of a woman to have an abortion cannot be dismissed as one which is "easy, automatic, unthinking." Unless you have free access to that particular person's mindset, which I know you do not.

Regarding responsibility, the first responsibility of an individual is always to oneself.

Those who want abortions have to think through a decision. Only those who never get abortions (men, specifically) would even be presumptuous enough to claim it is an "escape from responsibility."

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  • 1 month later...

Hi All,

Before one can decide if abortion is morally permissable, one must decide when a human (member of homo sapiens sapiens) gains his rights. The ability to conceptualize cannot be required to have rights, because if it were, it would be permissable to kill a person who is asleep or unconscious. Consciousness cannot be required for the same reason. I am unaware of any objective standard to grant a man his rights other than conception. If anyone has one, I would be interested in hearing it.

Aside: In the case of rape causing pregnancy, (and assuming rights are granted to a human at conception) I would argue that it is the rapists responsibility to fully compensate the mother for her time and effort used to provide for the new person until he is able to provide for himself. (given that rape is an initiation of force, the governing body should use force to obtain this compensation from the rapist) ((In a fully rational society rape would never happen :) ))

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Falling asleep does not wipe a person's conceptual faculty out of existence; it merely lies dormant while the person is asleep.

if this is true, then at what point does a baby develop his conceptual faculty. I would assume it is at some point before birth, so that argument would apply to late term babies

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if this is true, then at what point does a baby develop his conceptual faculty.  I would assume it is at some point before birth, so that argument would apply to late term babies

I would assume that a baby develops this ability a few weeks or months after birth, i.e., when his brain first begins integrating sensations into percepts -- an ability which, in turn, is a precursor to the baby's ability to conceptualize.

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A child is born possessing a conceptual faculty (I don't know how long before birth the conceptual faculty comes into existence), but is unable to use it for some time; he needs to learn to interpret his percepts first.

Stephen Speicher pointed out in another thread that Ayn Rand believed a child starts to use his conceptual faculty at around 3 years old. I don't think her belief is an actual part of Objectivism, but I would be surprised if she didn't have evidence on which she could base such a belief.

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A child is born possessing a conceptual faculty (I don't know how long before birth the conceptual faculty comes into existence), but is unable to use it for some time; he needs to learn to interpret his percepts first.

Oops, I think I misunderstood some of the posts preceding my own. Let me correct myself. :dough:

I fully agree with what you said. A baby actually posseses a conceptual faculty -- or, to be slightly more precise, a human brain capable of conceptualizing -- prior to birth, although how much prior to birth is a scientific question that I am not equipped to answer. He begins to develop his conceptual faculty a few weeks or months after birth, as his brain integrates sensations into percepts and eventually learns to integrate percepts into concepts (usually single words or phrases). By the time he is about three years old (give or take), he begins to think in sentences. And so on.

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I am not as concerned about the exact time a baby is able to conceptualize, What I am wondering is if conceptualization, or the ability to conceptualize is required for a human to have rights.

It appears that you are saying one of the following

A) because a baby is unable to use his conceptual faculty for XXX ( days, months, or years after birth) he has no rights until that time

or

:dough: although a baby is unable to use his conceptual faculty, he still has rights for (unknown reason of yours)

please clarify your position as to when a person gains rights and why at that time

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I am not as concerned about the exact time a baby is able to conceptualize, What I am wondering is if conceptualization, or the ability to conceptualize is required for a human to have rights. 

Yes it is. Having this ability (whether he chooses to use it or is able to use it at any given time) is one of the facts of reality which gives rise to the need for rights in the first place.

Having a conceptual faculty while necessary for the existence of rights, is not sufficient. In addition to having the faculty, one must be alive, a separate biological entity, in a social context, etc.

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I still do not understand why you think being an "independent entity" is so important.

I have always thought that a woman has the right to control her body, but she exersizes that right by choosing to become pregnant, at this point, the woman must be responsible for her choice by caring for the new human until he is able to care for himself.

If a woman had a baby on a deserted island, the baby, although no longer physically attached to the woman, is still dependent on the woman for his survival. It follows that full independence is not achieved until the baby is able to take care of himself, at which point the woman's responsibility is over.

It seems to be a contradiction that some level of independence (the baby being born) is required before a woman is responsible for her baby, yet it is when full independence is achieved (the baby becoming mature enough to care for himself) that the woman's responsibility ends.

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I still do not understand why you think being an "independent entity" is so important.

I have always thought that a woman has the right to control her body, but she exersizes that right by choosing to become pregnant, at this point, the woman must be responsible for her choice by caring for the new human until he is able to care for himself.

Since pregnancy can be the result of rape and birth control can fail, this is not always the case.

The fact is, a woman also has the choice to maintain the pregnancy or not and, since she has the right to control her body, she can also choose to become unpregnant.

On what grounds can someone claim that a woman has the right to control her body in order to become pregnant but not to become unpregnant?

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The only grounds for claiming that she did not have the right to become pregnant or unpregnant is when it would negatively impact on the inherent rights of others

What others? The fetus?

A fetus doesn't have rights for the same reason an elbow doesn't have rights. Until it is born, it is a part of the mother's body and not a separate organism.

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QUOTE (m0zart @ Jan 5 2004, 05:43 AM)

The newly conceived is a human being, a member of the species homo sapiens sapiens, from the moment of conception, from a scientific standpoint. There is hardly a textbook in the field of human embryology which doesn't make that immediate classification.

The fetus is human at conception, an elbow is only a part of a human, and could be destroyed by the human it is a part of.

as I stated previously, I have seen no compelling reason why physical independence is required for something to have rights. Deciding to become "unpregnant" is like deciding to "unsign" a contract. It is violating the rights of the fetus, which has rights by virtue of being human, irrespective of independence.

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