Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Abortion

Rate this topic


semm
 Share

Recommended Posts

First, I have to flatly dispute the argument that a fetus is merely a part of a woman’s body and that saying it has rights is akin to saying her liver has rights.

This simply isn’t accurate. You can say that an unfertilized egg is a part of a woman’s body, but after it is fertilized, it becomes something different than just an egg. It becomes an organism. Its cells begin to divide, and it begins to grow. It is still inside the mother.

The same can be said of a tumor.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Myrtok, I think it is of great importance to understand that it is only after birth, out of the mother, that the entity is then an individual with

individual rights; a right to life. I think the primary reason why a fetus does not have a right to life is because the fetus is NOT an individual

with as I had stated before, a right to life.

I highly recommend this article on abortion, written by Leonard Peikoff: Abortion Rights are Pro Life

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The same can be said of a tumor.

I don't believe that it can. A tumor cell is simply a malfunctioning human cell. To put a finer point on it, a tumor is not a living entity in the sense that an amoeba or a tapeworm is a living entity by Miss Rand's definition above. A tumor cell would be more analagous to the liver or skin cells of a person, which also are not living entities.

Myrtok, I think it is of great importance to understand that it is only after birth, out of the mother, that the entity is then an individual with

individual rights; a right to life. I think the primary reason why a fetus does not have a right to life is because the fetus is NOT an individual

with as I had stated before, a right to life.

I highly recommend this article on abortion, written by Leonard Peikoff: Abortion Rights are Pro Life

I have read that article before, and I re-read it on your recommendation. I don't understand your assertion that a fetus is not an individual. It very well could be that you are using a specialized definition of "individual" which means something other than a single, living, goal-directed entity (in the physical sense). You state that it is of great importance for me to understand that the entity is only an individual after birth. This is exactly the conclusion that I am attempting to understand by asking these questions.

Peikoff's article leaves some of these questions unanswered as well:

"We must not confuse potentiality with actuality. An embryo is a potential human being. It can, granted the woman's choice, develop into an infant. But what it actually is during the first trimester is a mass of relatively undifferentiated cells that exist as a part of a woman's body. If we consider what it is rather than what it might become, we must acknowledge that the embryo under three months is something far more primitive than a frog or a fish. To compare it to an infant is ludicrous." (Piekoff)

An embryo (fetus) IS more primitive than a (fully developed) frog or fish. In fact, at its earliest stages, it is more on par with an amoeba, and even an amoeba is a living entity according to Miss Rand. I believe (conclude) that his description of a fetus, even at the very earliest stages of development as "part of a woman's body" is inaccurate, as demonstrated in my first post. A fetus, immediately after ferilization, or at the very least after its first cell division, is obviously a living entity according to Miss Rand's description.

"If we are to accept the equation of the potential with the actual and call the embryo an "unborn child," we could, with equal logic, call any adult an "undead corpse" and bury him alive or vivisect him for the instruction of medical students." (Piekoff)

This argument is ineffective unless you somehow conclude that an embryo does not possess life. The very first requirement for possessing a right to live is the possession of life in the first place. A corpse obviously does not possess life. A man does. As I believe I've demonstrated, a fetus does possess life. Again, this alone is not enough to conclude that it has rights. Possessing life is not the *only* requirement for possessing a right to live, but it is the first step.

At this point, my understanding of the Oist position on abortion may hinge on my understanding of the Oist definitin of "individual"

What is the Oist definition of an individual? (more specifically, can a dog or an amoeba be considered an individual, or is it a trait distinct to human beings?)

If an amoeba is, by definition, and individual being, then why isn't a fetus?

Thank you to all who have donated their time to further my understanding.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You might consider asking yourself the question, can a fetus exist and thrive outside of the womb, by providing it the same care as a newborn baby, ie. breastmilk, or formula.

Objectivism, to my knowledge, does not advocate abortion as an ongoing method of birth control. Yet, it does advocate the rights of the living over the considerations of the unborn.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You might consider asking yourself the question, can a fetus exist and thrive outside of the womb, by providing it the same care as a newborn baby, ie. breastmilk, or formula.

Objectivism, to my knowledge, does not advocate abortion as an ongoing method of birth control. Yet, it does advocate the rights of the living over the considerations of the unborn.

I have asked myself this, and I have concluded that it is irrelevant. The tapeworm I mentined before, or any number of other parasites cannot exist outside of their host, yet they are living entities by Miss Rand's definition. They are not required to live and thrive outside their host to achieve that status. I can find no reasoning that would require a human fetus to exist outside the body of its host to gain the status of "living entity".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have asked myself this, and I have concluded that it is irrelevant. The tapeworm I mentined before, or any number of other parasites cannot exist outside of their host, yet they are living entities by Miss Rand's definition. They are not required to live and thrive outside their host to achieve that status. I can find no reasoning that would require a human fetus to exist outside the body of its host to gain the status of "living entity".

Myrtok, I think question isn't regarding what is a "living entity", but more importantly what is an individual:

"Why does a child, or adult, have a right to life, and not a fetus?

A child, like an adult, exists as a physically independent entity. A fetus cannot exist as a sovereign entity, but requires a host to survive. A fetus' so called right to life boils down to the "right to remain in the womb"—and such a "right" is only possible by the violation of the actual right of the pregnant woman to her body. In contrast, observe that a child's right to life does not contradict the rights of anyone else. The principle here is that any alleged "right" that by nature entails the violation of the rights of another is not a right. There is no such thing as "trading one's rights for the rights of others." Proper rights, i.e., rights that are objectively defined, are non-contradictory." -From the Q&A page of Dr.Peikoff's Abortion article

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have asked myself this, and I have concluded that it is irrelevant. The tapeworm I mentined before, or any number of other parasites cannot exist outside of their host, yet they are living entities by Miss Rand's definition. They are not required to live and thrive outside their host to achieve that status. I can find no reasoning that would require a human fetus to exist outside the body of its host to gain the status of "living entity".

Since you have already concluded that it is irrelevant, then it would seem that you have already validated the relevant information to your satisfaction.

Living entities, by Miss Rand's definition are not endowed with rights, carte blanche. Only a particular type of living entity has rights. The right to life is a right to a process of self-preservation.

The right to life is does not apply to parts of the individual, there are, as Leonard Peikoff writes:

no rights of arms or of tumors or of any piece of tissue growing within a woman, even if it has the capacity to become in time a human being. A potentiality is not an actuality, and a fertilized ovum, an embryo, or a fetus is not a human being. Rights belong only to man—and men are entities, organisms that are biologically formed and physically separate from one another. That which lives within the body of another can claim no prerogatives against its host.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Since you have already concluded that it is irrelevant, then it would seem that you have already validated the relevant information to your satisfaction.

Yes, and that is the problem. I get stuck before I get to the conclusion that a fetus has no right to life.

Living entities, by Miss Rand's definition are not endowed with rights, carte blanche. Only a particular type of living entity has rights. The right to life is a right to a process of self-preservation.

I am well aware of that. However, as I have stated in several of my previous posts, I am not attempting to bite off the entire issue at once. I am taking it one step at a time. To determine whether any entity has a right to life, one must first determine whether it is, in fact, a living entity. Obviously, a dog is a living entity, but it does not have a right to life. There are other tests that must be applied, and a dog fails them. On the other hand, a rock doesn't even have life, so there is no need to apply those other tests to a rock. At this point, as a preliminary step, I am simply attempting to establish whether a fetus possesses life, in the same manner that an amoeba or a tapeworm possesses life. So far, the answer seems to be yes.

Dr. Peikoff's assertion that a tumor growing within a woman does not possess rights is correct, but it does not apply. A fetus is something different than a tumor or a piece of her liver. It is a separate organism. A parasite even. It is as much an "independent, goal-oriented, living entity" as a tapeworm. Neither can live outside its host. Both possess life and persue it independently according to their own nature. I hate to keep repeating myself, but I will say again, I know this does not translate to a right to life. It is only the necessary first step to determining whether anything, including a man, has a right to life. Does it possess life? A man does. An amoeba does. A tapeworm does. A Fetus does.

The rest of Dr. Peikoff's arguments deal with whether the fetus has a right to exist in the womb. That is several steps removed from the point where I am now. Until I can be sure that a fetus possesses life, I don't need to worry about whether it has a right to life. If it has no right to life, there is no need to worry about the mother's right to the real estate in her uterus. So far, nobody (including Dr. Piekoff) has shown me where I have erred in reaching the conclusion that a fetus has independent life, according to its nature, in the same manner as a parasitic amoeba. Miss Rand HAS confirmed that an amoeba possesses all of the requirements to be considered a "living, goal-oriented entity," without any regard for whether it was inside a host.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It would seem you are attempting to apply rights beyond the scope they can be validated for.

A "right," in Ayn Rand's definition, "is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man's freedom of action in a social context."

To apply it to anything else is, in effect, a stolen concept.

Yet those rights, or at least the right to not be killed, apply to infants, who have, by their nature, no freedom of action in a social context. This is the conflict that is keeping me from understanding the Objectivist position on abortion. Infants are assumed to have a right to life because their nature is the same as a man, even though they haven't quite developed their faculty for reason. If an infant has a right to not be killed (though not necessarily any claim on humanity to keep them alive) then it makes no sense that a fetus wouldn't have the same right (though not necessarily any claim on humanity to keep them alive).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yet those rights, or at least the right to not be killed, apply to infants, who have, by their nature, no freedom of action in a social context. This is the conflict that is keeping me from understanding the Objectivist position on abortion. Infants are assumed to have a right to life because their nature is the same as a man, even though they haven't quite developed their faculty for reason. If an infant has a right to not be killed (though not necessarily any claim on humanity to keep them alive) then it makes no sense that a fetus wouldn't have the same right (though not necessarily any claim on humanity to keep them alive).

The 'claim on humanity' as you put it, is the parents choice to bring a child into this world. The child is a "value" to the parents. As such, they should have already determined their responsibility in regard to such a matter.

Again, if you choose to put a fetus on a pedestal next to an infant and wish to confuse status of the potential with the status of the actual - it is only your ability to discriminate the crucial differences at stake.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The 'claim on humanity' as you put it, is the parents choice to bring a child into this world. The child is a "value" to the parents. As such, they should have already determined their responsibility in regard to such a matter.

Surely you aren't saying that an infant is somehow granted its right to not be killed by the fact that a parent or other volunteer agrees to sponsor it. Remember, I am not disputing a mother's lack of obligation to a fetus. I am simply trying to get an answer for why a fetus doesn't have a right to not be killed while an infant does.

Please consider the following which may help to clarify my questions:

#1 You have a right to kill an animal, assuming that animal isn't the property of another person, because that animal has no right to not be killed.

#2 You don't have a right to kill my infant. If you killed my infant, you wouldn't be violating MY rights since I don't "own" the infant. You would be violating the infant's right to not be killed.

#3 You do not have the right to kill your own infant, for the same reasons stated in #2 above.

#4 You may let my infant starve to death, since you owe it no obligation, but you may not let your own infant starve to death, since you have consented to raise it.

#5 You may have the right to kill a person who possesses an inherent right to not be killed if they are attempting to take your means of survival away from you.

I am NOT questioning a mother's lack of obligation to keep a fetus alive. I am NOT questioning a mother's right to kill a fetus (or even a competent adult stranger) if it is taking her life, or any portion thereof, from her against her will. What I AM questioning is the assertion that a fetus has no inherent right to not be killed.

Again, if you choose to put a fetus on a pedestal next to an infant and wish to confuse status of the potential with the status of the actual - it is only your ability to discriminate the crucial differences at stake.

Again, an infant would appear to be a "potential" just as much as a fetus would appear to be a "potential." The only arguments to the contrary seem to be based on the alleged fact that a fetus is not an independent living entity, which I have addressed, and disproven I believe, in several prior posts. In fact, Miss Rand disproved it when she used an amoeba as an example of a goal-oriented, living entity.

I have read most of the 50+ pages in this thread. The support for abortion rests on two legs. One leg is that a fetus has no inherent rights, no right to not be killed. The other leg is that even if a fetus had such a right, it would not obligate the mother to provide the means of keeping that fetus alive to her own detriment. Every single time the discussion gets going about one leg, someone confuses the issue by saying, essentially, "leg #1 doesn't matter because of leg #2," or vice versa. This is why I am asking questions ONLY about leg #1.

Edited by Myrtok
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have read most of the 50+ pages in this thread. The support for abortion rests on two legs. One leg is that a fetus has no inherent rights, no right to not be killed. The other leg is that even if a fetus had such a right, it would not obligate the mother to provide the means of keeping that fetus alive to her own detriment. Every single time the discussion gets going about one leg, someone confuses the issue by saying, essentially, "leg #1 doesn't matter because of leg #2," or vice versa. This is why I am asking questions ONLY about leg #1.

Myrtok, have you thought of what it would essentially mean to uphold the right to life on fetuses? If not, I'll inform you. There would be a contradiction, which is what advocates for

anti-abortion movements are trying to achieve. There can be no right that encroaches and violates another right, which is exactly what these anti-life(anti-abortion)campaigners are

pursuing. There is no such thing as a right to enslave.

There is a huge and important difference between permitting a living thing with potentiality to live inside you; and caring for a living potentiality independent from you, thus having

the right to life. Think about this important difference, and you will see that the differentia is an independent being.

Only individual rational beings have a right to life.

Again, I'll refer you to Leonard Peikoff's article on abortion, re-read it now after hearing as to the WHY of the right to life.

I highly suggest reading the Q&A segment as well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Surely you aren't saying that an infant is somehow granted its right to not be killed by the fact that a parent or other volunteer agrees to sponsor it.

It does not take much effort to twist a statement around.

What grants any entity any claim on humanity?

edited to add:

While we are at it:

Do you consider rights to be an ethical matter or a political matter?

Do you consider abortion to be an ethical matter or a political matter?

And finally,

How would you describe what a concept is in general?

Edited by dream_weaver
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Again, an infant would appear to be a "potential" just as much as a fetus would appear to be a "potential." The only arguments to the contrary seem to be based on the alleged fact that a fetus is not an independent living entity, which I have addressed, and disproven I believe, in several prior posts. In fact, Miss Rand disproved it when she used an amoeba as an example of a goal-oriented, living entity.

I question if a fetus is even alive. A fetus would seem to me no more alive than an organ like your heart. One other characteristic of living things you seem to leave out is "self-directed." Even an amoeba is in some sense self-directed with its extremely primitive method of sensation. A computer program could be considered goal-oriented, but not alive because it is literally given instructions on how to direct its functioning. As far as I know, a fetus is barely anything more than an extension of a woman's body.

Even if a fetus properly falls under the concept "alive", you know that a fetus has no rational faculty. It doesn't even have a brain. Nothing about a fetus in a specific moment in time is anything human. On top of that, it might not even develop into a human at all if there are medical complications in the process development. Compare that to a baby which does have the faculty of reason, albeit a faculty that can further develop over time. For very late-term development, the fetus may be fully formed and properly called human, after all, there is SOME point in the womb where a baby is actually a baby and that's when the mother gives birth. However, that's a different context; we're only speaking of abortions in general here, not circumstances that rarely need to be considered. A baby IS a human, not a POTENTIAL human, and it DOES possess a faculty of reason.

Edited by Eiuol
Link to comment
Share on other sites

#1 A fetus has no rights. (If this is true, then #2 is not necessary)

#2 Even if a fetus has a right to life, it has no claim on the rights of its mother since it is in her body against her will.

Since #2 doesn’t even need to be discussed if #1 is true, I’m just going to ask about #1 for now. Please don’t hammer me for disregarding the mother’s rights. I’m well aware of that argument, but as I said, it doesn’t even need to come into play if #1 is true. Oh, and just for clarification, I’m going to use the word fetus for the unborn, even though it is not technically correct at all stages of development. Feel free to insert zygote, mass of cells, embryo, or protoplasmic goo at any point if you so desire.

I'm glad you don't want to discuss #2 since it has nothing to do with the Objectivist position -- we would never ignore the rights of an entity that possessed them.

But you should also not ignore the rights of the mother since they come in to play here. We know for certain that she possesses rights and we know that the rights of men do not conflict. For more on this read "Man's Rights" by Ayn Rand here

It is still inside the mother. It is attached to the mother. It gains energy and nutrients from the mother, but it is a separate organism. [...] Of course, a tapeworm has no rights, and I haven’t suggested that a fetus has any. I’m simply establishing that a fetus is not a part of its mother.

A tapeworm, like all parasites, is not truly a "separate" organism. It is an organism, but the only time you will see it separated from its host is when it is dead, same as with a fetus.

I have found multiple posts on this site, made by folks who seem to be fairly senior members and respected Oists, which state that even if a newborn baby does not possess a faculty for reason yet (and I believe it does not), it is still a human being and its nature is to live by reason, so it has a right to not be killed.

"Human being" is the term you concentrate on, it implies a physically independent individual. Besides, no Objectivist I know denies that a baby possesses the faculty of reason.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For very late-term development, the fetus may be fully formed and properly called human, after all, there is SOME point in the womb where a baby is actually a baby and that's when the mother gives birth.

Couldn't that be an argument to ban late term abortions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Couldn't that be an argument to ban late term abortions.

"Is a fetus an independent being?

A being is a physically independent entity. A fetus is physically/physiologically dependent on the woman (host) for its survival—especially during the early stages of pregnancy. Only upon birth is it physically independent of the woman's body, an actual independent being. A baby, in contrast, though 'socially' dependent on the actions of other human beings for its survival, is physiologically and physically independent of the body of its mother.

(An argument can be made that a viable fetus that is fully developed (physiologically independent), but still inside the womb (physically dependent), should not be aborted, but should be delivered early.)" Quoted from Abortionisprolife

Edited by brianleepainter
Link to comment
Share on other sites

(An argument can be made that a viable fetus that is fully developed (physiologically independent), but still inside the womb (physically dependent), should not be aborted, but should be delivered early.)

Only if early delivery incurs equal or less cost (e.g. financially) and equal or less physical (and emotional, but that is difficult to quantify) trauma on the mother.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

that just reinforces my point that late term abortions should indeed be banned.

I agree with you, Mikee.

Any attempt to destroy a well-developed fetus, who could otherwise survive if born prematurely, looks to me as very dangerously close to killing a born baby.

The argument of not being a "separate/independent entity", as I have pointed out in other thread, sounds too weak to me.

I bring the case of the Siamese twins that share vital organs. One cannot survive without the other. They are not physically independent. However, we can recognize two entities here. If left, they will grow up into two minds, two persons. You could not murder them arguing that they were not independent entities.

In the case of the fetus, "Physically independent" is also an irrelevant concept, because cell by cell, tissue by tissue, the fetus always remains an alien to the mother, a creature inside a creature. The fetus is not part of the body of the mother. It is not an organ, like the uterus.

True, it lives within the property of the mother, but so does my hypothetical old aunt with severe neurological damage after a stroke, occupying a room of my property and draining a porcentage of my income. Should I just expell her from my property and leave her on the street, or take her to the woods and abandon her?

Edited by Hotu Matua
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I bring the case of the Siamese twins that share vital organs. One cannot survive without the other. They are not physically independent. However, we can recognize two entities here. If left, they will grow up into two minds, two persons. You could not murder them arguing that they were not independent entities.

Conjoined twins and fetuses are not the same. You could not murder them because they are independent entities from you.

True, it lives within the property of the mother, but so does my hypothetical old aunt with severe neurological damage after a stroke, occupying a room of my property and draining a porcentage of my income. Should I just expell her from my property and leave her on the street

If the life of your aunt is a greater value to you than the resources she consumes, no. But you have no duty to keep her alive. That would make you her slave. But you still can't murder her because, unlike a fetus, your aunt will not necessarily die if cut off from your resources.

Edited by Randroid
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

Rand’s original stance is expressed in, “Of Living Death,” The Voice of Reason, 58–59.:

An embryo has no rights. Rights do not pertain to a potential, only to an actual being. A child cannot acquire any rights until it is born. The living take precedence over the not-yet-living (or the unborn).

What many fail to acknowledge is that her stance DID BECOME MODIFIED CONTEXTUALLY. She later wrote in “A Last Survey,” The Ayn Rand Letter, IV, 2, 3.

One may argue about the later stages of a pregnancy, but the essential issue concerns only the first three months. To equate a potential with an actual, is vicious; to advocate the sacrifice of the latter to the former, is unspeakable. . . .

". . . the later stages of a pregnancy." I truly think that with what we now know about the growth of a human inside its Mother, that Rand would hold a closer proximity to the position of Roger Bissell.

Here is a quote from Roger Bissell's article, "Thoughts on Abortion and Child Support," that appeared in the September 1981 issue of Reason Magazine:

Much earlier than previously suspected, according to recent findings, Neurophysiologists have made EEG measurements of developing fetuses and prematurely born babies and discovered that the patterns of electrical brain activity prior to the 28th week of development are radically and fundamentally different from those occurring *after* the 28th week.

In, "The Conscious Brain," Steven Rose, a British neurophysiologist, observes that ‘before 28 weeks the patterns are very simple and lacking in any of the characteristic forms which go to make up the adult EEG pattern.' Then, between the 28th and 32nd weeks, the theta, delta, and alpha waves of the adult make their appearance - at first only periodically, ‘occurring in brief, spasmodic bursts; but after 32 weeks the pattern of waves becomes more continuous, and characteristic differences begin to appear into the EEG pattern of the waking and sleeping infant.'

American neuroscientist Dominick P. Purpura concurs with Rose. In a recent interview, Purpura defined ‘brain life' as ‘the capacity of the cerebral cortex, or the thinking portion of the brain, to begin to develop consciousness, self-awareness and other genetically recognized cerebral functions as a consequence of the formation of nerve cell circuits.' Brain Life, said Purpura, begins between the 28th and 32nd weeks of pregnancy.

I think that in the contexts of Ayn Rand’s life at various times, her positions on abortion were *justified* though they were not *true belief* which is what we also call a *fact*. To this day pro-abortion proponents will argue that Consciousness in a baby that has gestated for 28 week is not a valid prerequisite for the imputation of rights; it must be born. I maintain that the moment a baby becomes conscious is the moment that it becomes a person. From that first moment onward, sensations and perceptions in and out of the womb are experienced, memories are stored, and a unique BRAIN is in existence inside its mother.

THIS NEW PERSON HAS AN IDENTITY THAT WILL REMAIN THE SAME THROUGHOUT ITS LIFE. The baby is thinking as evidenced by the brain wave patterns alpha, delta and theta that are also found in thinking adults.

A good measure of Aristotle’s and Rand’s law of identity is one that is based on the facts of reality as we observe them. After consciousness a fetus becomes a *person*. There are things in the universe that a person in the womb cannot know because it is not yet aware of them. For millennia humans did not know about the dark side of the moon. That does not affect Mr. Bissell’s argument. Omniscience is not required of a *person*.

A study of personal identity is not mysterious if you are talking about yourself. And it is still child’s play if we are talking about someone else. To be a bit silly let me posit a case of uncertain identity: “Mom? Is that you? Well, Mom, I can ‘t be sure. What is the password?”

How do we know a person’s identity persists? And how do we re-identify ourselves in the morning after awakening, or another person if we have not seen them since last month? Human beings have the least trouble re-identifying themselves or someone else, yet once again, pro-abortion rights group say there is no rights bearing entity present until after birth.

If it looks like a baby human, and it THINKS like a baby human, it is a baby human. If it can be demonstrated that many of the modes of thinking are present at the age of 28 weeks of gestation, that are also present in a mature, conceptually thinking adult, then it obviously is a human person at a younger age.

To reiterate: fMRI’s show that a conscious fetus, sleeps, dreams and can redirect its attention. The fact of personal identity is primary: it is self-evident to you that you exist. You are conscious. You remember. Outside of Science Fiction, personal identity in yourself or others can be demonstrated, through brain wave patterns and physical presence.

Sound is present in the womb and the baby pays attention to the sounds it hears, and remembers them. When my daughter Sarah was born a tray was dropped by a nurse, over to baby Sarah’s left. She instantly turned her head left to look at the source of the sound. The nurse assured me that was normal unless a baby was lethargic from ant-pain shots given to the Mother.

The persistence of consciousness from its inception onwards, is self-evident. It exists at some point and does not cease to exist until death (which could also be complete and irreversible mental loss, though the body lives on.) A conscious baby in the womb is the same conscious baby out of the womb, and it will grow into the same conscious adult: this embodies the Law of Identity.

Oh, if I could speak to Ayn Rand today! WOULD SHE AGREE WITH ME? What a wondrous time it would be if Ayn revisited all of her works and within her PRESENT context she could make her writings *justified* and *true*.

I can't find the quote and I just remember this second hand, but someone asked the "Mature Ayn Rand" if she thought a baby had no rights one minute before it was born. She answered, "No, it does." She was then pestered and asked is an aborting mother entitled to a dead baby if the baby can be aborted/delivered so that it is still alive. And Rand thought the mother had no right to a dead baby. Anyone know that source?

If I were a woman I would value a human life above all else, but I MIGHT consider an abortion up to a few weeks before the baby becomes a *person.*

Peter Taylor

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) chose the third trimester, or 27th week of gestation as the point at which an abortion becomes late-term. Information about procedures to perform late term abortions are deliberately sparse on the web (they were more prevalent about seven years ago, the last time I checked) but I don’t choose to discuss those procedures anyway.

What is important about an objective abortion stance is that agencies and colleges have VOLUNTARILY ceased teaching late term abortion techniques and for ethical reasons no longer advise a women to have late term abortions or for a doctor to perform them except in emergency cases to save the life of the mother. I prefer this voluntary, ethical approach versus the legal approach. It is a tough decision but should be between a woman and her doctor.

Inevitably it is becoming a legal issue because many states are recognizing “quickening,” or “viability” as the criteria for bestowing *rights* upon an unborn baby. The *continuity of existence* argument, beginning with the start of mature brain waves and patterns is more objective and will no doubt be incorporated in a legal definition once cases make it to the Supreme Court.

I won’t stray too far off topic, but discussions of Objectivist Government should include the examination of State, County and City governments in addition to the topics of *Capitalism* and those found in *Objective Government.* It should be discussed because all people live in counties or cities, within states or territories, within the Country of their residence, and they have different laws about abortion.

Semper cogitans fidele,

Peter Taylor

Normally, I would not stick a bunch of notes this large in at the end but I am practicing the quote function.

Notes:

from Wikipedia:

A late-term abortion often refers to an induced abortion procedure that occurs after the 20th week of gestation. However, the exact point when a pregnancy becomes late-term is not clearly defined. Some sources define an abortion after 12 completed weeks' gestation as "late".[1][2] Some sources define an abortion after 16 weeks as "late".[3][4] Three articles published in 1998 in the same issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association could not agree on the definition. Two of the JAMA articles chose the 20th week of gestation to be the point where an abortion procedure would be considered late-term.[5] The third JAMA article chose the third trimester, or 27th week of gestation.[6]

The point at which an abortion becomes late-term is often related to the "viability" (ability to survive outside the uterus) of the fetus. Sometimes late-term abortions are referred to as post-viability abortions. However, viability varies greatly among pregnancies. Nearly all pregnancies are viable after the 27th week, and no pregnancies are viable before the 21st week. Everything in between is a "grey area".[6]

United States: In 2003, from data collected in those areas that sufficiently reported gestational age, it was found that 6.2% of abortions were conducted from 13 to 15 weeks, 4.2% from 16 to 20 weeks, and 1.4% at or after 21 weeks.[13] Because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's annual study on abortion statistics does not calculate the exact gestational age for abortions performed past the 20th week, there are no precise data for the number of abortions performed after viability.[13] In 1997, the Guttmacher Institute estimated the number of abortions in the U.S. past 24 weeks to be 0.08%, or approximately 1,032 per year.[14]

In 1987, the Alan Guttmacher Institute collected questionnaires from 1,900 women in the United States who came to clinics to have abortions. Of the 1,900 questioned, 420 had been pregnant for 16 or more weeks. These 420 women were asked to choose among a list of reasons they had not obtained the abortions earlier in their pregnancies. The results were as follows:[3]

71% Woman didn't recognize she was pregnant or misjudged gestation

48% Woman found it hard to make arrangements for abortion

33% Woman was afraid to tell her partner or parents

24% Woman took time to decide to have an abortion

8% Woman waited for her relationship to change

8% Someone pressured woman not to have abortion

6% Something changed after woman became pregnant

6% Woman didn't know timing is important

5% Woman didn't know she could get an abortion

2% A fetal problem was diagnosed late in pregnancy

11% Other

[edit] Legal restrictions

As of 1998, among the 152 most populous countries, 54 either banned abortion entirely or permitted it only to save the life of the pregnant woman.[15] In addition, another 44 of the 152 most populous countries generally banned late-term abortions after a particular gestational age: 12 weeks (Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Georgia, Greece, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Rep., Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Norway, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Ukraine, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Yugoslavia), 13 weeks (Italy), 14 weeks (Austria, Belgium, Cambodia, Germany, Hungary, and Romania), 18 weeks (Sweden), viability (Netherlands and to some extent the United States), and 24 weeks (Singapore and Britain) [15] Some countries, like Canada, China (Mainland only) and Vietnam have no legal limit on when an abortion can be performed.[15]

[edit] United States

The United States Supreme Court decisions on abortion, including Roe v. Wade, allow states to impose more restrictions on post-viability abortions than during the earlier stages of pregnancy.

As of April 2007, 36 states had bans on late-term abortions that were not facially unconstitutional (i.e. banning all abortions) or enjoined by court order.[16] In addition, the Supreme Court in the case of Gonzales v. Carhart ruled that Congress may ban certain late-term abortion techniques, "both previability and postviability".

All[17] of the 36 state bans are believed by pro-choice organizations to be unconstitutional.[18][19] The Supreme Court has held that bans must include exceptions for threats to the woman's life, physical health, and mental health, but four states allow late-term abortions only when the woman's life is at risk; four allow them when the woman's life or physical health is at risk, but use a definition of health that pro-choice organizations believe is impermissibly narrow.[16] Assuming that one of these state bans is constitutionally flawed, then that does not necessarily mean that the entire ban would be struck down: "invalidating the statute entirely is not always necessary or justified, for lower courts may be able to render narrower declaratory and injunctive relief."[20]

Also, 13 states prohibit abortion after a certain number of weeks' gestation (usually 24 weeks).[16] The U.S. Supreme Court held in Webster v. Reproductive Health Services that a statute may create "a presumption of viability" after a certain number of weeks, in which case the physician must be given an opportunity to rebut the presumption by performing tests.[21] Therefore, those 13 states must provide that opportunity. Because this provision is not explicitly written into these 13 laws, as it was in the Missouri law examined in Webster, pro-choice organizations believe that such a state law is unconstitutional, but only "to the extent that it prohibits pre-viability abortions".[18]

Ten states require a second physician to approve.[16] The U.S. Supreme Court struck down a requirement of "confirmation by two other physicians" (rather than one other physician) because "acquiescence by co-practitioners has no rational connection with a patient's needs and unduly infringes on the physician's right to practice".[22] Pro-choice organizations such as the Guttmacher Institute therefore interpret some of these state laws to be unconstitutional, based on these and other Supreme Court rulings, at least to the extent that these state laws require approval of a second or third physician.[16]

Nine states have laws that require a second physician to be present during late-term abortion procedures in order to treat a fetus if born alive.[16] The Court has held that a doctor's right to practice is not infringed by requiring a second physician to be present at abortions performed after viability in order to assist in saving the life of the fetus.[23]

From the American College of Gynecologists

. . . . And Dr. Noller reassures the Fellows that in this case, an Opinion is just an Opinion (and we're supposed to forget the attempts to change the laws):

We want to be clear the Opinion does not compel any Fellow to perform any procedure he or she finds to be in conflict with his or her conscience and affirms the importance of conscience n shaping ethical professional conduct. For example, while this is not a document focused on abortion, ACOG recognizes that support of or opposition to abortion is a matter of profound moral conviction and ACOG respects the need and responsibility of its members to determine their individual position on this issue based on their personal values and beliefs. We want to assure members with a diversity of views on this issue that they have a place in our organization.

Ethics Committee Opinions provide guidance regarding ethical issues. This Committee Opinion is not part of the “Code of Professional Ethics of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.” This Committee Opinion was not intended to be used as a rule of ethical conduct which could be used to affect an individuals initial or continuing Fellowship in ACOG. Similarly, it is not cited in the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology’s “Bulletin for 2008,” and “Bulletin for 2008 Maintanence of Certification” and an obstetrician-gynecologist’s board certification is not determined or jeopardized by his or her adherence to this Opinion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...