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What Has the 'Pro-Life' Movement Won?

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Boydstun
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13 hours ago, tadmjones said:

What do you take as the ‘moment of birth’? A full term vaginal delivery ?

I ask because given the naive perspective , the layperson could associate the actions of the individual person performing a vivisection of fetus at seven months gestation as akin to a hired hitman, given a state of technology that could provide for further development of the fetus if it 'emerged into the world' via cesarean section.

 

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Posted (edited)

What's a Republican to do for the upcoming elections now that 3/4 of the citizens are mad as hell at them for finally succeeding at overturning Roe v. Wade and see Republicans drafting extensive bans on abortion in their state?

1. Blame the overturn on Democrat extremism.

2. Shift attention from the trimester in which 90% of US abortions occur, to the third trimester. Ignore that elective abortions under Roe in third trimester were illegal, and instead talk of Democrats slicing up the fetus.

3. Emphasize the sluttiness of women seeking an abortion. 

 

Edited by Boydstun
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On 7/10/2022 at 8:27 PM, tadmjones said:

What do you take as the ‘moment of birth’? A full term vaginal delivery ?

Birth can be a long drawn out affair but compared to the months preceding it is short.  Please pardon the imprecision.  To stop lawyers from claiming that birth hasn't happened so long as a toe remains inside it should to be counted from the first emergence of any body part.

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On 7/10/2022 at 4:01 PM, Grames said:

Given Rand's theory of concepts and Peikoff's speculation that induction is concept-formation in action then an explanation is available.  The gradual growth and maturation of a single fertilized ovum to a born infant that is recognizably human with arms and legs, fingers and toes, a face and blood, breath and brain is similar to the "problem of the beard" that I described earlier this thread, or a version of the "ship of Theseus".  At a certain point some internal epistemological threshold is crossed and a moment of recognition or induction occurs and the identification is made "that's a person".  I don't think this under one's voluntary control.  (Gathering evidence is under one's control but not the threshold of enough evidence.)

Earlier abortions are better because the less recognizably human the fetus is then the less likely it would be automatically identified as a person by the woman involved, or the father or the care providers.

Ultimately it is still based on emotion or the feelings it evokes "when it is recognized as a baby". I am sympathetic to that, but if we go by the feel of it, imagine we were going to force a woman at 7 months to have the baby. Then we put her in a locked room and if she resists tie her hands so she can't hurt the child etc. Maybe point a gun to her head and tell her we pull the child out after you're dead if you resists. So even based on sound reasoning, we can do some cruel ugly looking actions.

I would argue a case for a defacto descriptive right of the mother coming into play, in that the mother, absent anyone to prevent her, can give birth and do whatever she wants with the offspring. There is no other way but to justify preventing her but on the basis of "ownership", as in who owns the child. If someone else owns the child while it is inside the mother's body then they would have the right. But I don't know on what basis one would assign ownership in this case.

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What if at seven months gestation the woman decides she wants to terminate her pregnancy not based on any medical necessity but she can not contact anyone willing to perform the procedure? Is this a rights violation ?

Edited by tadmjones
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1 hour ago, tadmjones said:

What if at seven months gestation the woman decides she wants to terminate her pregnancy not based on any medical necessity but she can not contact anyone willing to perform the procedure? Is this a rights violation ?

It's a simple No, because this is a question of having a right to the labor of another and one does not have that right  (descriptively and/or prescriptively).

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45 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

It's a simple No, because this is a question of having a right to the labor of another and one does not have that right  (descriptively and/or prescriptively).

Ok, and I'm just 'thinking out loud', we would agree that the state can proscribe certain performances of labor , yes ?

The grossest example of the 'other' end of the spectrum I can think of off the top of my head would be , does the state need to nullify any right I may claim to producing a missile capable of delivering a nuclear weapon , if they also proscribe anyone from laboring to design and build such a device at request? I would take as fundamental the proscription against labor for weapon development is based on the principle of protection of individual rights by barring any nonstate actor from producing and controlling  an objectively offensive weapon.

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18 minutes ago, tadmjones said:

Ok, and I'm just 'thinking out loud', we would agree that the state can proscribe certain performances of labor , yes ?

I think you mean pay for it, otherwise NO. In the case of payment, that would be a voluntary transaction. In that sense, it may be that the state offers to pay the woman let's say one hundred thousand dollars to have the baby, and maybe she says yes. It all depends on what you mean by proscribe.

But if you mean the state has a right to force you into something without your consent, absolutely NOT. Even in the case of eminent domain, the state should not have that right because it is "we will take what is yours, pay you what we think is fair, no matter what you agree or don't agree to".

The weapons thing may fall under the monopoly of force issue. If the state has the monopoly on force then it could assert that it has the only right to produce a certain weapon. I bring that up because it's different from the abortion issue.

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3 hours ago, tadmjones said:

I meant proscribe in the sense of the state disallowing certain activities eg labor of individuals. 

The state should disallow that which is objectively harmful to every individual's life. I emphasize "every" because it can't disallow the interest of some while allowing it for some others. These types of disallowed activities would be physical force, theft, murder, fraud and the like. Any labor that contributes to those kind of activities might be disallowed too, I'm not sure but it makes some sense.

I assume you're making the case that "doesn't the government have a right to prevent murder of a 7 month old in the womb".  That goes back to the question of if the 7 month old in the womb is a person or not.

I was also wondering about the question of if "a child" has a right to the labor of others (be it parents or some random adoption or perhaps forcibly take the child into a government run orphanage). Sure looks like forced charity. But it seems to be the case right now and it would fall under your example of proscribe, meaning we will be prevented from killing a child or letting it die.

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The Biden administration released updated guidance on Monday, reminding doctors around the country that they’re protected by federal law if they terminate a patient’s pregnancy as part of treatment in an emergency circumstance — and threatening to fine or strip the Medicare status from hospitals that fail to do so.

This HHS guidance claims that “[w]hen a state law prohibits abortion and does not include an exception for the life of the pregnant person—or draws the exception more narrowly than the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act emergency medical condition definition—that state law is preempted.”

Which states have laws that do NOT include an exception for the life of the pregnant person?

NONE, including the state of Texas, which has nevertheless entered the empty (it looks to me) but loud fray by filing a lawsuit over the HHS guidance. From recent data, over 90% of abortions in the US have been in the first trimester. I think it not wild to suppose these are elective, not to save life of the mother. This dispute has always been principally about legality of elective abortions in the first trimester, notwithstanding all the political chaff over late-term abortions.

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15 hours ago, Boydstun said:

The Biden administration released updated guidance on Monday, reminding doctors around the country that they’re protected by federal law if they terminate a patient’s pregnancy as part of treatment in an emergency circumstance — and threatening to fine or strip the Medicare status from hospitals that fail to do so.

I agree that that is what the Biden announcements say, although I disagree with your choice of verbs – “remind” rather than “announce”. This is an announcement of new law, which did not previously exist.

There are zillions of micro-debates that Objectivists can engage in connection with Dobbs. For example, what about the rights of doctors who object to performing abortions, but what about the rights of the woman who wishes to terminate a pregnancy, but what about the rights of the taxpayer who objects to their money being taken by force and used for a purpose that they do not accept? There are exactly two essential concepts at stake here: the rule of law, and the rights of the individual. It appears that we either have to sacrifice the rule of law, or we have to sacrifice the rights of the individual. Of course, in an ideal utopia, law does nothing other than protect the rights of the individual, but in that same utopia, law is superfluous because the rights of the individual are well-known and always respected.

In our pre-utopic existence, the question of what we (Objectivists, I suppose) are to do in response is, IMO, “try to do no harm”. The most important thing to do is step massively back from context-dropping micro-debates, instead, draw attention to the fundamental contradiction between the rule of law and the protection of individual rights. The single most significant fact about the US which creates this contradiction is the very foundational fact of the United States, that the existence and sanctity of autonomous states within is the primary desideratum, and is not a low-level administrative detail. The power of the federal government is constitutionally limited, in ways that states are not limited. The entire political structure of the US, as encoded in the Constitution, is based on “respect for the rights of states”, and that is the problem that is politically un-resolvable for the foreseeable future.

Roe was fundamentally wrong, not because it recognized the rights of women, but because it blatantly ignored the identification which Objectivism makes: rights pertain to an individual person, and a fetus (or embryo) is not a person. Blackmun overtly evaded the fundamental question, Dobbs is the consequence of such evasion.

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If only we had a word for that.

If only we had a concept for when the executive makes up new law for purposes of thwarting judicial branch rulings and undermining state law.

If only we had a concept for when hospitals' continuities are explicitly threatened if they don't succeed in pressuring staff MDs who may not wish to comply with the "new law."

Edited by Jon Letendre
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3 hours ago, DavidOdden said:

. . .

Roe was fundamentally wrong, not because it recognized the rights of women, but because it blatantly ignored the identification which Objectivism makes: rights pertain to an individual person, and a fetus (or embryo) is not a person. Blackmun overtly evaded the fundamental question, Dobbs is the consequence of such evasion.

Roe v. Wade overturn is not the result of Blackmun and defenders of women's right to elective abortions in the first trimester of a pregnancy. Atheist voters supporting prohibition of such elective abortions are not a hill of beans in comparison to certain religious voters. Religion and false metaphysics are the reason there are states now, as before Roe, prohibiting such elective abortions. The idea that the embryo or fetus need be determined as to whether or not it is a person in order to disposition the rights at issue is mistaken. All that was required, as Blackmun and some states now provide, is a mark beyond which adults not the mother may take on the project of further support of the fetus without impressing the mother into the service of their support-project. That mark is viability, that is, the stage in gestation at which the fetus has a reasonable chance of survival outside the womb with or without artificial support. Bringing up the issue of when the fetus, the infant, the young child becomes a person and a rights-bearer is a red-herring distraction, covering over behind-the-scenes doctrine of imputing a soul to living matter by God, of the real rights in contest, which are all rights between adults.

Blame for outlawing of abortion properly belongs to certain religious people, who took over Republican electoral politics back in the era of Jerry Falwell Sr. It was a long march, but they finally got their wrong metaphysics and moral ideals back up on the throne. (I have Roman Catholic friends, incidentally, who morally oppose any abortion, but who support its legality following the Blackmun/Boydstun reasoning whether governed at the federal or state level. What the Bishops proclaim in America is not always accepted by the laity. They agree with Ayn Rand, not the RC hierarchy, when she said: "God bless the inventor of the Pill!"

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Jon Letendre said:

If only we had a word for that.

If only we had a concept for when the executive makes up new law for purposes of thwarting judicial branch rulings and undermining state law.

If only we had a concept for when hospitals' continuities are explicitly threatened if they don't succeed in pressuring staff MDs who may not wish to comply with the "new law."

The power of the purse has long been the channel by which the federal government puts certain constraints on schools and hospitals. In education, it was constraints of non-discrimination on the basis of race or gender. During his first term as President, Obama issued a constraint on Medicare-receiving hospitals that they have in place a written policy and actual practice of allowing same-sex life partners to visit their partner in the hospital. It was a fortunate and important order for me in practice at the time, when Walter was in the hospital, we did not have the power to marry, and the staff is heavily infiltrated with graduates of Liberty University, who are trained against human decency toward people like us. I appreciated that President Trump chose not to reverse that executive order.

Edited by Boydstun
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On 7/13/2022 at 6:52 PM, Easy Truth said:

Ultimately it is still based on emotion or the feelings it evokes "when it is recognized as a baby".

I disagree here, this is a conceptual identification.  Any emotions follow after the identification is made.  

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19 minutes ago, Grames said:
On 7/13/2022 at 3:52 PM, Easy Truth said:

Ultimately it is still based on emotion or the feelings it evokes "when it is recognized as a baby".

I disagree here, this is a conceptual identification.  Any emotions follow after the identification is made.  

But a value judgement is being made here. Okay, it is identifiable  as a child (or more identifiable). When is it so valuable or important or even right to retaliate against the mother? What is being identified?

Grames, when the does value judgment start? Isn't it material in this question? As in how would a robot identify the fact that we have an entity that is more important than another entity?

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9 minutes ago, tadmjones said:

Hmm. robot abortionists, the female uses a machine to stop her own bodily processes. If she goes beyond societies tastes then only she would be found liable.

That actually opens up another angle of the discussion as in when technology changes how we conceive babies, let us say we don't have sex and women don't give birth but somehow two people provide samples of their DNA and designer babies are created in a test tube and go from zygote to human. When can or should a person be allowed to terminate the process?

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On 7/16/2022 at 2:00 PM, Easy Truth said:

But a value judgement is being made here. Okay, it is identifiable  as a child (or more identifiable). When is it so valuable or important or even right to retaliate against the mother? What is being identified?

Grames, when the does value judgment start? Isn't it material in this question? As in how would a robot identify the fact that we have an entity that is more important than another entity?

  

The value judgement here is that human life and human rights are good and valuable and should be nurtured and enabled to flourish.  The value judgement applies immediately after the identification has been made that a human life is involved.  Making the identification depends upon the definition of the concept.  Having a clear definition of the concept using other concepts (genus, differentia, essential attribute) versus using an informal ostensive definition of what it means to be an actual living human is the difference between the Objectivist position and other positions.

 

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7 hours ago, Grames said:

The value judgement here is that human life and human rights are good and valuable and should be nurtured and enabled to flourish.  The value judgement applies immediately after the identification has been made that a human life is involved.  Making the identification depends upon the definition of the concept.  Having a clear definition of the concept using other concepts (genus, differentia, essential attribute) versus using an informal ostensive definition of what it means to be an actual living human is the difference between the Objectivist position and other positions.

Fair enough, we identify that it is a living human, let us say with clear objective standards that indicate that this entity is a living human and it is in the body of another living human.  At what point does the living human that is living within the mother have a right to a government enforcing the mother to bring the child to full term?

In theory there is a point at which a mother loses her right to terminate. I assume we all agree that after the child is out, she has no such right. It is the "in between time" (after there is a living human and birth) that is point of contention as to the question of rights involved.

Edited by Easy Truth
cleaned up wording
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7 hours ago, Grames said:

  

The value judgement here is that human life and human rights are good and valuable and should be nurtured and enabled to flourish.  The value judgement applies immediately after the identification has been made that a human life is involved.  Making the identification depends upon the definition of the concept.  Having a clear definition of the concept using other concepts (genus, differentia, essential attribute) versus using an informal ostensive definition of what it means to be an actual living human is the difference between the Objectivist position and other positions.

 

Do you agree with the position that the correct identification of a human life incorporates not only the potential for consciousness but the experience of consciousness outside of the womb?

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Grames said:

The value judgement here is that human life and human rights are good and valuable and should be nurtured and enabled to flourish.  The value judgement applies immediately after the identification has been made that a human life is involved.  Making the identification depends upon the definition of the concept.  Having a clear definition of the concept using other concepts (genus, differentia, essential attribute) versus using an informal ostensive definition of what it means to be an actual living human is the difference between the Objectivist position and other positions.

Whenever the fetus has become capable of sustained survival outside the womb with or without artificial support, it is a living being worthy of adult protections and support (far beyond such worthiness of one's dog, for example). And adults willing to step up and provide that protection and support should have a right against interference with their project by other adults. As to when an infant or child becomes a person, that is a gradual process.

We usually and correctly think of individual rights as belonging to (obtaining between) autonomous human persons and sourced in such personhood. In abortion rights and child rights, the question all along the way is not about rights of the little one not yet autonomous, but about rights of various adults concerning protection and support of the particular little one at all stages of development. Persons not the mother don't have a proper right to control the pregnancy until the fetus is capable of sustained life outside the womb with or without artificial support. It is only then that support-projects by persons not the mother can get underway without impressing the mother into service of their project. In other words, when does the fetus/infant become a person has always been a faulty and distracting way of looking at the rights that are actually in play over Law concerning abortion. Rights between various adults are the whole story.

Edited by Boydstun
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