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semm
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The website exists due to anti-abortion groups trying to claim that women will feel bad and regret an abortion and thus that they are helping women by banning abortion. Also, there is no 100% fail proof contraception that exists even with proper usage and using multiple forms of birth control at the same time.

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"Also, there is no 100% fail proof contraception that exists even with proper usage and using multiple forms of birth control at the same time."

Yes, it's about 97%. I feel pity for these unfortunate 3%. But no matter how abortion procedure is bad, it is much less cruel than unwanted pregnancy and unwanted parenthood created by the ban on abortion. Presidential candidate Ron Paul should give to it some consideration before promoting such a ban under the banner of Libertarianism.

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  • 3 weeks later...

This thread is pretty long, which indicates difficulty on reaching the correct answer.

May I put forth my position, and could someone explain to me how it is wrong:

  • The location and size of a human does not modify its rights, assuming it did not, of its own volition, move there itself. Hence, the rights of a human in a womb (created there due to the actions of its mother), do not change as its size (cell count) and location (born or non-born) change.
  • Therefore, abortion is murder.

My response to common rebuttals are as follows:

  • It is the right of the woman to choose what to do with her own body. The baby is not 'her body'. If the standard is 'tissue connection', then a born baby with an attached cord is still fair game for murder. So too is a siamese twin to its twin.
  • It is better for a poor woman to abort, than to bring a child into a bad environment. A mother does not gain the right to kill people due to her lower quality of life. A person does not loose the right to live because 'we think its better that way'.
  • It is OK to kill a fetus because 'it is not a rational being'. This is a common Objectivist position, from what I have seen. I can't think of a worse reason. "I shot Bob", "Thats Illegal! Your going to jail!", "No, he was irrational", "Oh, thats OK then". Are we to have 'rationality boards', where Objectivists pass judgement at murder cases as to whether the victim was rational or not?
  • A fetus is not a person. Attempting to declare 'personhood', based on a certain stage of development, is rather silly. It reminds me of Peter Singers "infants are not persons because they are not rational". People are not uniform, how could you possibly work out how many days since conception mean 'the fetus is now a person'.
    Any attempt to declare a fetus a person at a certain stage after conception is an arbitrary declaration. The only objective way to determine when a person (such as yourself) came into existence is to trace your cell count back to zero. The transition between 0 cells and 1 cell, is 'I then commensed existence'.

I look forward to the forums response.

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Here, try this. It is written from an Objectivist point of view about when a fetus/baby gains rights and why. It's covers a lot of ground in much less than 50 pages. http://www.seculargo...us/docs/a62.pdf

So my response is, 'read this 43 page essay'.

I have skimmed over it (I'm a busy man, and I have summarized my position, not posted a link to an anti-abortion pdf), and it is aweful. If I were opening with a statement 'Why It Matters that Rights Begin at Birth, Not Conception', I would imediately address 'why conception is less valid a distinction than birth'. Instead it is skips this step, and talks about the negative effects of ascribing 'personhood' to unborn fetuses, and declares the primary force behind 'abortion is wrong' to be the Church.

The Church has nothing to do with this. Religion is entirely irrelevant. A fetus, a baby, a human, are all the same physical thing, all that differs is cell count and physical location.

The forum will kindly address, directly, why the movement of a human body from inside a womb to outside modifies its rights.

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It's 43 pages long? Oh wow, it didn't seem that long I thought when I had read it. Sorry about that. I thought it was maybe 10 at the most. The paper was written though for distribution in regard to something being voted upon to declare fetuses/zygotes/whatnot a person legally in their state. That's why there's a lot of focus on that.

http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/individual_rights.html <-- WAY shorter, but not specifically about abortion and these are quotes from various works, they don't contain the full explanation for everything. The link is to information of the Objectivist position on rights - where they come from, what they are, what do they require, et cetera. Some quick info though, the movement from inside womb to outside womb isn't seen as "modifying" rights since before birth it is regarded as having no rights which could be modified. The link provided doesn't provide the full argument on rights though because of how long the full explanation is on how that conclusion is reached if one starts ALL the way from the very start in metaphysics.

This is not meant to be a full argument against your position though either. This is some starting material to narrow down which things you do agree with already (thus not needing addressing) and which you disagree with (the stuff that does need discussing.)

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'Max', your position doesn't address the Objectivist position on rights, so it talks past the Objectivist position on abortion.

Objectivists believe rights follow from the requirements of human society. The argument, in a nutshell, is this: The most important means of human survival is action based on reason, which is an independent process. In the societal context, this means that people must allow others the freedom to act based on their own conclusions. Your argument neglects to address the role of independence in laying the foundation for rights. The Objectivist position is that independence is clearly defined at birth. I'd be willing to entertain arguments that independence is more properly defined at fetal viability, but now there are a host of other pitfalls to maneuver, like how one knows when a fetus is viable, who legally declares viability, and how you reconcile the rights of a viable fetus when the mother's health is at risk. To date, I've never seen an argument for "rights at viability" that resolves these conflicts. The cellular conception of human rights that you present seems unable to resolve the conflict between maternal/fetal health.

Edited by FeatherFall
Clarity, removed quote of previous post
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Your argument neglects to address the role of independence in laying the foundation for rights. The Objectivist position is that independence is clearly defined at birth.
OK, so in an objectivist state, if this is the rule, I will be permitted to kill demented people? I will be permitted to kill retarded people? I will be permitted to kill any infant that is not old enough to be independent (i.e. work to live)? I will be permitted to kill the crippled, who depend on the charity of others?

Secondly, given that wild animals are independent, why are they not permitted rights? They posess the basic rationality required to live, namely 'keep out of danger, eat, sex, sleep'. Thats better than some humans. [i am not arguing animals should have rights].

'Viable fetus' is a terrible distinction to use. It will likely be possible (and is definately theoretically possible) in the future to grow a fetus, from first cell, entirely in an artificial womb. No baby, be it in the womb, or outside the womb, can survive without someone (mother or otherwise) deliberately sustaining its life. It is simply easier to see the body of a grown baby die, than it is to see the body of a 3week from conception baby die.

Objectism must support the 'very late term abortion' (infanticide) AND abortion, or neither.

Objectivists believe rights follow from the requirements of human society.
Should probably be rephrased, given that a socialist could say the same thing.
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You have misunderstood what was meant by the word "independence" in the section you quoted (an understandable mistake here.) In this case it doesn't mean that one is fully self-supporting, it means that one is a distinct, separate entity. Independence in this meaning is also only *one* of the requirements of rights, not the ONLY one. There are no other living creatures that we know of right now that qualify for rights even though they have independence because another requirement is that one possesses the capacity for conceptualization and that this type of thinking is the primary thing one utilizes to guide their pursuit of their continued living. Note though that they have to have the capacity, not that they have to be currently using it, just so long as they can. That, of course, means you don't lose your rights because you have been knocked unconscious for example. Also, babies and the mentally handicapped may not be as spectacular as most typical adults in their utilization of their faculty of conceptual consciousness, but they do have it and it is what they'll need to rely on most of all throughout their life as opposed to things like the instincts many other animals have as their primary guide on what to do to survive. I expect you'll have some more specifics to further ask about, such as why those are the criteria (well, kind of a long story on that one) or maybe you think that babies/handicapped people get assistance seems like a monkey wrench in the works, I don't know, I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. However, one thing of note - it has been fully admitted that in the case of conjoined twins who cannot be separated while keeping them both alive and well, we don't really have sorted out exactly what to make of the interaction between these twins. It still seems fairly standard that nobody else could come along and treat them in ways that normally violate rights, but as to what each twin can and cannot to/with each other when disagreements and conflict arise, that is hard to say, it isn't settled.

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'Max,' I assume you haven't read this thread, because your latest objections were covered before. I understand that you are interested in saving time, but so are we. Long threads can be daunting; please help us keep them as short as possible by not rehashing old stuff. The others who linked you to outside material were trying to help you save time. A great resource in this regard is the Ayn Rand Lexicon. Of course, don't be afraid to quote back if you think a previous argument merits further discussion.

Now, to address your last post more directly. I described what Objectivists see as the requirements of society. Did what I described honestly sound like the socialist position? If so, in what way?

If we recognize rights at the moment of conception, we must outlaw many forms of birth control currently in use. Is this your position?

-Edit: "The pill" is one such form of birth control, which may prevent an embryo from implanting in the uterus. The "morning after" pill is another.

Also, you haven't addressed my question about how we resolve conflicts between the health of the mother and the health of the child. Please do so, the question wasn't rhetorical.

Edited by FeatherFall
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'Max,' your question about other animals reveals a big point of confusion between us. We are speaking about the Objectivist conception of reason, which is distinct from colloquial uses of the term. But you're not even using term colloquially; you're one of a small minority that actually describes how animals think as "reasoning". Objectivists hold that only humans have the ability to form higher-level concepts, and that this ability is a requirement of reason. Show me an animal that knows how to draw abstractions (like "emotions) from abstractions (like, "fear" and "happiness") and I'll recognize its rights.

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"Only a physically independent, socially interacting, rational animal has rights. The fetus lacks at least two and maybe three of those attributes."

So does a mentally retarded person, or someone in a coma. So they don't have any rights, by your definition. So it's OK to kill them? At least the fetus, if left alone, will develop the attributes you mention. Not so the mentally retarded, and it's not certain for the person in a coma (some people have come out of them after years).

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You have misunderstood what was meant by the word "independence" in the section you quoted (an understandable mistake here.) In this case it doesn't mean that one is fully self-supporting, it means that one is a distinct, separate entity.

Then we agree that the debate should come down to 'is the baby distinct from its mother'. In which case, why do you hold that the point of physical initiation as a human (i.e. cell count transition of 0 to 1, or 'DNA recombination', if you will), is not valid, versus 'the baby moves from point A to point B (birth)'. The latter is arbitrary, and would not be used as a standard for declaring initiation of the existence of any other thing.

Perhaps an analogy, for fun:

A factory is producing cars. An employee, takes a sledge hammer to a car, before it can leave the factory. "Oh no boss, it doesn't exist yet".

Did what I described honestly sound like the socialist position?
No, the statement could be equaly applied to socialism and objectivism (if it were true), hence it cannot describe objectivism.

If we recognize rights at the moment of conception, we must outlaw many forms of birth control currently in use. Is this your position?

-Edit: "The pill" is one such form of birth control, which may prevent an embryo from implanting in the uterus. The "morning after" pill is another. Also, you haven't addressed my question about how we resolve conflicts between the health of the mother and the health of the child. Please do so, the question wasn't rhetorical.

Some may be outlawed, this would be a legal technicality. On the last point, I don't know: perhaps you could help, how does the law resolve the following conflict:

Two men are in a trap. Each man has a lever. The trap will release them in 5 minutes unless one of them pulls a lever. Man A pulls his lever first. Is this currently classified as murder under common law?

Again, this getting ahead, it is a specific situation - where we havent even agreed on the basics.

Objectivists hold that only humans have the ability to form higher-level concepts, and that this ability is a requirement of reason. Show me an animal that knows how to draw abstractions (like "emotions) from abstractions (like, "fear" and "happiness") and I'll recognize its rights.

You never seen a happy dog, an angry dog, a fearfull dog? 'Higher-level' is abstract. Is the crow, which waits for traffic lights to change so it can place a nut on the road, to be broken when traffic resumes, forming 'higher-level concepts'? Maybe, maybe not. Is it 'happy' when it succeeds? Probably. Is it afraid of being run over? Likely. Is it not merely the magnitude of the capacity to reason that is changing, animal to human?

Let me take a stab at this.

Only a physically independent, socially interacting, rational animal has rights. The fetus lacks at least two and maybe three of those attributes.

So I can kill hermits and idiots? Stab again. Edited by tothemax
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tothemax,

You're going to have to take the time to read what the primary right is: the right to life, and its corollaries; liberty,property and the pursuit of happiness. When this is fresh in your mind, reread the articles that were linked to you.

Then we agree that the debate should come down to 'is the baby distinct from its mother'. In which case, why do you hold that the point of physical initiation as a human (i.e. cell count transition of 0 to 1, or 'DNA recombination', if you will), is not valid, versus 'the baby moves from point A to point B (birth)'. The latter is arbitrary, and would not be used as a standard for declaring initiation of the existence of any other thing.

Perhaps an analogy, for fun:

A factory is producing cars. An employee, takes a sledge hammer to a car, before it can leave the factory. "Oh no boss, it doesn't exist yet".

No, property rights are not arbitrary, they are absolutely necessary and protect the mother(an actual) from being fucked over by "the good",individuals bent on controlling others, from holding the fetus(a potential) as a holy being, placing it above the actual.

Your anaology, which is an attempt to equate a car to a fetus, employee to a doctor and the boss to the mother(who owns the factory), has failed. The boss who owns the factory(womb) can do away with said property if need be, not the other way around, having the employee(doctor) deem what is best for the company(mother) and do away with the potential without consent.

edit:clarity

Edited by brianleepainter
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Let me take a stab at this.

Only a physically independent, socially interacting, rational animal has rights. The fetus lacks at least two and maybe three of those attributes.

So I can kill hermits and idiots? Stab again.

Which of the attributes is the hermit and idiot lacking??

Perhaps an analogy, for fun:

A factory is producing cars. An employee, takes a sledge hammer to a car, before it can leave the factory. "Oh no boss, it doesn't exist yet".

Terrible anology. The factory owner may dispose of the car because it is his. The employee has no rights to the car, only the income resulting from his labor in helping to make it.

Edited by Craig24
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Which of the attributes is the hermit and idiot lacking??
'Socially interacting' and 'rational', respectively. Perhaps 'a dummy' or 'a retard' could substitute 'idiot', if the idiot is still 'rational'.

Terrible anology. The factory owner may dispose of the car because it is his. The employee has no rights to the car, only the income resulting from his labor in helping to make it.

Your anaology, which is an attempt to equate a car to a fetus, employee to a doctor and the boss to the mother(who owns the factory), has failed. The boss who owns the factory(womb) can do away with said property if need be, not the other way around, having the employee(doctor) deem what is best for the company(mother) and do away with the potential without consent.

Obviously analogies are not going to work here then, since people just reinterpret as they see fit, and use their reinterpretion as a rebuttal. The analogy was concerning 'location of X does not modify nature or existence of X'. Which still has not been rebutted, by the way, you are all refusing to engage.

Also, you have called referred to the fetus as 'property', why is that? Is this because you consider mothers to own their children? Until what age? What rights does this ownership deny of the child?

Explain 'potential'. Potential what? Like 'an infant is a potential adult'?

Max, its clear that when you and I talk about rights, we are not talking about the same thing. Can you explain to me what you think rights are, who you think has them, and why?

I understand rights to be a set of rules, concerning interactions between individuals, of which the purpose is to minimize conflicts and the use of force. I'm sure Objectivists will have a more word-beautiful way of putting this, but thats my jist. I consider the set of people who have them to be: 'people'. This debate concerns what is a person, since I'm sure we all agree, if a fetus is a 'person', killing it is murder. If Objectivists hold that killing certain subsets of people, based on traits only, is legitimate, I will take my leave.

No, property rights are not arbitrary, they are absolutely necessary and protect the mother(an actual) from being fucked over by "the good",individuals bent on controlling others, from holding the fetus(a potential) as a holy being, placing it above the actual.
Who said property rights are arbitrary? Where did you get that? It is no debate to fabricate statements the opposing side supposedly made, and then rebut them. I am debating that the fetus is not a potential human being, but a human being, for the reasons stated in previous posts. 'Holyness' is jibberish, and not being debated here.

As a fan of atlas shrugged and Yaron Brook, I hold Objectivists to a higher standard of reasoning than is being demonstrated here. I am disappointed. I will simply state the question again:

Why does the physical location of a body of living human cells (a living human body), modify its status as 'being human' 'being a person' etc.

Why is it not the case, that the clearest distinction between a human 'not existing yet' and 'existing', is its transition between a cell count of 0 and 1.

There is no magic, no voodoo, no divine intervention, which suddenly applies humanity to a baby when it moves through a vagina. It is a human from instant of physical embodyment, not following some 'special' movement of its body through space.

Edited by tothemax
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As a fan of atlas shrugged and Yaron Brook, I hold Objectivists to a higher standard of reasoning than is being demonstrated here. I am disappointed. I will simply state the question again:

Your question has been answered many times in this thread already, I am disappointed that you haven't availed yourself of the information that is right in front of your face.

Believe it or not we get many trolls and irrational religionists who come to this site and give the exact same argument you have. Please forgive us if we don't feel the need to reargue what you want to ignore.

Please read the thread and then if you ask politely someone may answer you, particularly if you quote something they have said with which you disagree. Some people involved early in the thread are no longer here but many of us are.

I answer one of your arguments starting on page 34, though without the necessary foundation required for a complete argument. So you should also discover "The Ayn Rand Lexicon" here and research the concept of "Individual Rights". Where individual rights come from and how they are justified can be read in Ayn Rand's essay "Man's Rights" found here and is essential to anyone trying to discover the correct answer. And, of course, Rights are grounded in an ethics, so you can find further justification in Ayn Rand's essay "The Objectivist Ethics" found here.

This is complicated stuff, you won't ever discover the correct answer to a difficult problem in a single forum entry.

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tothemax,

As others have said, there is plenty of information before you to draw the correct conclusion as to why property rights are important.

If the woman does not own the fetus, who does? If I follow your premise to its ultimate conclusion, will you be one to hold the state responsible for the woman's body? Do you feel highly of yourself for wanting to control others? If it is not the state on your side, then what is it, God?(This presupposes that you don't understand the primary right to life and the corollaries; liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness.)

An aethiest who therefore does not think the fetus is holy, is no better off by thinking that it, a collection of cells, holds the actual(the woman) tethered to live a life of hell simply because you prefer the potential(a fetus).

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I understand rights to be a set of rules, concerning interactions between individuals, of which the purpose is to minimize conflicts and the use of force. I'm sure Objectivists will have a more word-beautiful way of putting this, but thats my jist. I consider the set of people who have them to be: 'people'. This debate concerns what is a person, since I'm sure we all agree, if a fetus is a 'person', killing it is murder. If Objectivists hold that killing certain subsets of people, based on traits only, is legitimate, I will take my leave.

What you've done is described some aspects of rights, and in doing so you left out more than beauty. Sure, it can be said that they are a set of rules and, sure, they apply to people. But this loose description leaves out, among other things, why people have rights. Because of this, it seems powerless to address when they apply. A murderer, for instance, is a person. He doesn't stop being a person after he murders someone. Why don't we respect his rights? Hopefully this has helped you understand my point of view when I tell you I think this debate isn't about what a person is, but rather when rights are recognized.

For humans, the most important means of survival is reason. For an individual alone in the wild, reason requires a few things; the mental effort to organize vast amounts of information into manageable units ("concepts"), a commitment to reality as it is (no self-deception), and the capability to act on those conclusions. Because humans are social animals, we need a way to safeguard these requirements in the face of other humans. Enter, rights.

The social requirements of human reason are protected by moral principles called, "rights." A commitment to reality in the social realm is secured by a right to freedom from fraudulent promises. The capability to act in the social realm is secured by a right to freedom from force and intimidation. Because humans are capable of dispensing with these moral principles, it can be said that rights are inalienable but forfeitable. I highly recommend that you follow this link. It does not offer a full explanation for why birth is the point at which rights apply, but it will help you to better understand what I mean by rights. It is very short.

Before I go into further detail about why I think birth is the point at which people gain these rights, I'd like to know if you agree with what I've presented so far.

Edit: It appears that there may be some confusion over the phrase, "inaleinable but forfeitable." I am not married to this phrase, so let's just say that one cannot claim the protection of a moral principle while violating the principle, or while actions are being taken to rectify such a violation.

Edited by FeatherFall
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'Socially interacting' and 'rational', respectively. Perhaps 'a dummy' or 'a retard' could substitute 'idiot', if the idiot is still 'rational'.

Attributes, not actions. The hermit CAN socially interact and chooses not to but if there is one other person around that could kill him then the social context making rights necessary exists. The dummy still retains very primitive (right word?) rational abilities. His rationality is damaged but still exists.

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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

You used exactly the right word there. "Inherent" means "inborn."

The whole discussion is about rights and when they begin. It is not about when life begins or when conceptualization begins.

Rights begin at birth.

[edit because it wasn't Bob I was replying to.]

Edited by AllMenAreIslands
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  • 1 month later...

Please do not underestimate the strength of a non-right-based approach to abortion.

I mean, approaching abortion for a purely ethical standpoint, not involving the use of relaliatory force from the State (e.g. jail for women or doctors)

I want to emphasize this because, in many realms of life, even when the use of retaliatory force is not applciable, we fight evil by education, persuasion, or ostracism and boycott, .

I believe that women have a right to abortion, which doesn't necessarily mean that all abortions are ethically sound.

Reverence for human life, derived from the benevolent human premise, as I call it, may indeed cast light to some cases in which abortion should be considered evil, even when no violation of rights is involved.

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Reverence for human life, derived from the benevolent human premise, as I call it, may indeed cast light to some cases in which abortion should be considered evil, even when no violation of rights is involved.
Sorry, but abortion is almost always the moral choice for any woman who is having doubts that have come to that point. Edited by softwareNerd
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