Kangaroo-People Abortion Ethics

Yes, it’s true: in the alternate universe, that little thing on the left grew up to be vocal feminist, writer and abortion advocate, Kangaroo-Person Lena Dunham!

I have been reading about marsupials and kangaroos. Don’t ask why. But it got me thinking…

Imagine, if you will, a parallel universe where the human race evolved, due to the vicissitudes of chaos, from marsupials rather than primates. In every respect, the  Kangaroo-People have developed as we have. Same nations, same traditions, same institutions, same ethical standards, life expectancy, gender distinctions, laws, culture and politics. The only difference is that in this universe, the Kangaroo-People give birth like kangaroos, as females have the same reproductive equipment as their kangaroos ancestors  To look at them, you’d never know. Kangaroo Person Kate Upton looks exactly like ours;  Kangaroo Person Hillary Clinton could walk up to our Bill and he’d never know the difference. (She does have a safe place to keep her Blackberries, though.)

After a few weeks of gestation, baby Kangaroo-People are born at about the size and shape of a jellybean, with about as much personality. The Kangaroo-People mother guides her offspring by licking a path from her cloaca ( which leads into three vaginas, just like regular kangaroos in this universe) to her pouch. The baby is essentially still a fetus at this point, with incompletely developed  eyes, ears, organs and central nervous system. It does have claws, so it can crawl,  and an olfactory bulb, the section of its brain devoted to the sense of smell. This allows the baby to follow the scent of mom’s saliva into the pouch. There it latches on to a teat, and holds on as involuntary contractions of muscles in the mother’s  stomach wall force milk out of her mammary glands to the growing fetus/baby. 235 days or more later, the baby, now fully developed, emerges from the pouch. Before that, the baby Kangaroo-Person gets strong enough to periodically let go of the teat, and crawl around the pouch.

Kangaroo People celebrate their birthdays based on when they were born, of course. They also are named by Mom and Dad, and have their birth certificates filed.

Now, what would the ethical and reasonable position of the Kangaroo-People Pro-Choice movement be? Should abortions be permitted only during the three weeks or so before birth? Should there be  a cut-off before that point, when the developing jelly bean has its claws and olfactory bulb ready to go? In the alternative, would the movement insist that the baby clinging to mom’s teat like grim death has no right to life even after birth, since it lacks a complete nervous system?

What would be the activist’s criteria for when the creature qualified as a Kangaroo Person, with the right to keep growing and traveling on the road to full Kangaroo-Personhood? Is the moment of attachment to the teat when the right to live also attaches? Or is that version of the tiny nascent Kangaroo-Person too dependent, and unlikely to prevail in a game of Scrabble?

Abortion at that stage is remarkably easy, nowhere near as messy, dangerous, traumatic or expensive as our abortions in this universe. You don’t even need a doctor; a plumber could do it. You just reach into the pouch and yank the little thing off its teat. The young Kangaroo-People early on develop some vocal abilities even before they can see, travel or hear, so sometimes the plucked baby makes a high-pitched mewling sound, faint, but like the screaming of the lambs. But that only lasts a second, since the accepted abortion technique is to throw the thing on the floor and squash it like a bug. (Most mothers are given ear-plugs, which are paid for by Obamacare.)

Of course, most, well, many scientist and doctors in the pro-abortion camp maintain that cries aside, the Kangaroo-People babies can’t feel pain.

Then again, since the lines are so blurry, will the movement argue that until the baby actually leaves the pouch, it isn’t born, meaning that Mom, Dad, or a friend can just club Jr. to death as soon as he sticks his head out for the first time, like in Whack-A-Mole?

Tell us, abortion fans, what would you advocate as the most ethical abortion policy in the World  of the Kangaroo-People?

 

63 Comments

Filed under Bioethics, Childhood and children, Government & Politics, Health and Medicine, Law & Law Enforcement, Religion and Philosophy, Rights

63 responses to “Kangaroo-People Abortion Ethics

  1. I vote we take this to a Kangaroo Court.

  2. JP

    This is by far the weirdest thing you have written.

    Besides that, it is an interesting thought exercise.

  3. Tom R

    What is the argument against giving up your Kangaroo baby for adoption? Possibly to a rabbit family or even dog?

  4. Rich in CT

    (She does have a safe place to keep her Blackberries, though.)

    Insert joke about Hillary hiding “blueberries” here…

  5. Well, that’s 9 comments and no serious attempt to address the real ethical dilemmas in the thought exercise…

    • Well, you specifically asked for thoughts from abortion fans. I am not an abortion fan. I am therefore abstaining from commenting. My fall-back position is that this is the worst day I have had in a long while, so I am going to exercise my pro-choice right not to participate in this exercise.

      Speaking of parallel universes, I have been meaning to bring this up, and here and now seem like the right time: there’s a guy in your margin graphic who looks eerily (to me) like Mark Levin with just a little more hair.

      Over and out.

    • JLo

      You may need to update your COTD intro from today remarking that the quantity and quality of comments is on the up swing!

      I hesitate to comment on this topic. I feel (some) conflict given that I was given up for adoption at birth by a kangaroo-person, sorry, actual human. I suppose I was closer than many to not being born. I suppose I should have stronger views on abortion but I don’t think about it too much. I suppose I am more than a little lazy on this one.

      I am sickened by the thought of any abortion in any trimester but certain more so from late term abortions. I am more sympathetic to some pregnancy scenarios viz. health and circumstance of impregnation. While your scenario here jostles the fetal development timelines and I think it is a red herring (sorry for the extra animal reference). So I can’t pick a timing.

      Most abortions are for “selfish” reasons and in my mind unethical. I suppose that is an incorrect view in today’s world – not enough understanding or empathy.

      I don’t think it is practical however to make it illegal. Too many deaths and lives destroyed when that was the case even though I made it through. That being said, I don’t think our current infrastructures here in North America, at least, are sufficient to support alternatives like adoption or keeping a child. It’s all a mess.

    • Rich in CT

      Well, there is the “ick” factor. I watched a Youtube video where someone purportedly made a human-animal chimera, only to squash the abomination in a book – not unlike squishing a bean-sized fetal Kangaroo-human….

      That video made me feel sick, as I have no idea if that thing, if real, had an immortal human soul. But that is personal ick, as a soul cannot be quantitatively measured. God says there is soul, and that it is immoral to squish things with a soul. It disgusts me to see something that potentially has a soul be squished.

      Therefore, on a strictly personal level, I feel the same way about squishing a tiny Kangarooman as I do even an abomination that might have a human soul.

      However, this is all ick, as the underlying ethical matter has not changed; is it ethical to destroy an innocent homo sapien (or macropo sapien) at any stage of life? If “yes”, then it is irrelevant whether the destruction takes place in utero, or in marsupio. Hell, it is irrelevant if the destruction took place moments or days after live birth!

      It is no doubt less “icky” for the destruction to take place hidden within the womb, a sheet blocking the mother’s view from any disembodied fetal parts pulled out, the sonogram monitor carefully turned away. Heck it is even less “icky” that a pill be taken to poison the fetus and let it just pass like a heavy period.

      It is apparently intolerably icky in this society, however, that a healthy live-delivered fetus be destroyed (although in the Netherlands, unhealthy live-delivered ones can be destroyed after consultation with an ethics committee).

      The ickyness is a non-ethical consideration, as a fetus is just as capable after a certain period of gestation as a full-term live-delivered fetus. It can see and respond to shadows patterns through the womb wall (or while peaking out the top of the pouch). If live-born prematurely, the fetus can cry and be comforted by the touch of a warm body. It feels very safe in its mother’s pouch.

      Either is it ethical to destroy a tiny member of mankind (Roo- or Hu-), or it is not. If ethical, it does not matter that the fetal rooman was live born. What would matter would be whether society could tolerate the ickyness necessary to pluck a live-born fetus from its mother’s teat and cause its death.

  6. Chris

    My position on human abortion is that it is unethical after the fetus has a functional cerebral cortex.

    I see no reason my position would change when it comes to kangaroo-human abortion.

    • So post birth abortion, then.

      Therefore, if a human baby is born with an insufficiently functioning cortex that can be repaired or that might improve with time and treatment, you would still approve of a post birth abortion of that human, non-Kangaroo baby as well?

      Thank you for having the integrity to address the issue, by the way.

      • Chris

        I think I missed the specifics in the timeline on kangaroo-human babies.

        My gut tells me I should oppose post-birth abortions even if the fetus can’t think or feel anything and has never been able to think or feel anything, but I’m not entirely sure why I feel that way. I’d say there’s no conflict of rights in that situation, since the fetus no longer exists inside the body of the human (or kangaroo-human), but if the fetus can’t think or feel, and has never been able to, then I hesitate to say the fetus has rights at all.

        However, it could be considered unethical based on a framework other than “rights.” If the fetus can survive with proper medical care, and if the mother does not have to sacrifice her bodily autonomy, then it could be argued that killing even a currently non-sentient fetus is wrong because it is needless loss of life. I would oppose even first-trimester abortion in the real world if fetuses could be transferred from the pregnant woman to an artificial womb. The way I see it, a pregnant woman has the right to bodily autonomy, not the right to kill her fetus; killing the fetus (even a non-sentient one) is only justified based on the bodily autonomy concern. If she can preserve her autonomy without killing the fetus, then she must.

  7. My impression of the pro life movement is that as opposed to hating babies (although it sure is hard to tell sometimes) that they hate undue hardship placed on women, and will say anything from the profound to the absurd in the pursuit of sparing women the consequences of their own shitty decisions.

    I think the pro-abortion argument would be weaker in two regards. First off, if children were the size of jelly beans at birth, the “health of the mother” argument would be almost entirely moot, birth would be quick, painless, and generally safe. I couldn’t find a single reference to a kangaroo mother that died as a result of giving birth.

    Second, the viability argument would also be mostly moot, aside from nutrition, kangaroo babies are viable at birth, I have the conception that an “artificial pouch” would be much less of a marvel than an “artificial womb”, because we basically have them already, in the form of incubators we use in the case of premature births.

    That said, I think that abortion would be MUCH, MUCH more common, because the hardships women face during pregnancy and birth, while real, pale in comparison to the prospect of raising a child to maturity. Faced with the reality of a choice between the hardships of motherhood, especially single motherhood, against the relative ease of plucking the roo-person-baby off their teat and flushing it down the loo, would all too often fall on the side of comfort.

    And because it’s a matter of convenience… If abortions were painless, non-invasive, not even particularly medical procedures, where no one had to know that you were even pregnant, let alone a baby murderer, then we would almost certainly see all the abortions we do today, plus ones that are discouraged by social pressures.

    tldr: Even though there would be less of a reason to get an abortion in the case of roo-people, removing shame from the equation, I feel, would almost certainly lead to more abortions.

    • Chris

      Interesting comment. But surely you meant “pro-choice” or “pro-abortion” movement and not “pro-life” in your first sentence?

      • I don’t even know if all of the pro life movement could even function at that point… If an abortion was as simple and discreet as described… I don’t even know what attempting to legislate against abortion would look like.

        And even if they could… somehow…. I’m not sure the entirety of the pro-life movement would still be pro-life, there is a section of the movement that doesn’t really care about the lives involved so much as they care about the tax dollars spent. In a world where abortions don’t carry a financial cost, I think fewer people would care.

  8. Dwayne N. Zechman

    All I know for sure is that THIS GUY

    …would be our President.

    –Dwayne

  9. Neil Dorr

    Jack,

    And what if humans were delivered by stork — would it be okay to abort before the delivery as long as they didn’t sign for it? Could storks be tried for kidnapping if one were mis-delivered?

    Whatever new ethical perspective might be gleaned from your hypothetical is inapplicable in the real world, and therefore meaningless.

  10. Neil Dorr

    Jack,

    “But that only lasts a second, since the accepted abortion technique is to throw the thing on the floor and squash it like a bug. (Most mothers are given ear-plugs, which are paid for by Obamacare.)”

    Your constant eagerness to describe the gruesomeness of abortion is more disturbing than your regular, vivid descriptions of head-shots. It reminds me of the never-ending parade of supposed “World War 2 Buffs” I met working in bookstores and libraries who would seek out every book they could find on the Holocaust just to ogle the photographs.

    • Chris

      He wasn’t even describing the gruesomeness of real abortions, only hypothetical ones. I often find Jack’s refusal to hold back refreshing; he doesn’t let his readers off the hook. Other times, like when he argues the news shouldn’t refuse to show things like roller coaster accidents, I feel a little closer to your perspective here.

    • That was important to the hypo, though.

  11. Sarah B.

    I’m pretty sure that this is not what I should be saying and my mouth should remain shut, but you asked for thoughts and it’s my favorite soap box. First, I must say that I am 100% against ALL abortions. As the pregnancy that resulted in me would have hit most every justification for abortion, I am grateful, with every breath I take, that my mother did not realize that there was a “choice.” Consequently, I am biased and this should probably be read with that in mind.

    Here is how I plan to approach this. I will go through the common reasons I have heard for abortion, discuss why they aren’t good for people, and then extend this to Kangaroo people. These were in an order before the twentieth (or so) rewrite and then it tanked, so don’t concern yourself with the order.

    1) It is uncertain when life begins.
    Bad argument for people. First, this is untrue. Medical textbooks and scientific reference works are consistent in agreement that human life begins at conception. Secondly, when a life is at stake, the benefit of the doubt should always go toward preserving life. For Kangaroo people, this is no less true, assuming that Kangaroo people are rational.

    2) The unborn is simply a blob of tissue, like an appendix. False. A fetus is not like an appendix and only the worst grasp of science can miss this essential fact. My appendix has my DNA. My children, no matter what stage of development, do not. This would also be true of Kangaroo people.

    3)Terminating a pregnancy is not the same as killing a child. For humans, again, false and a poor argument. Fetus, embryo, toddler, adolescent, are all terms describing a stage in the development of a child (human under legal definition, culturally 18). Killing is to cease the life of. Terminating a pregnancy is semantics for killing a human. For Kangaroo-people, this would be no different.

    4). The unborn does not have a meaningful life, as it is small and can’t think. Better argument, but still false. Size, skill, and degree of intelligence do not determine personhood. If they did, a person who shot off most of their brain but still had the ability to live, under medical care, for a short while would not be a person. In fact, given the brutalities entailed in abortion, we could torture them until death. This would also be true for anyone with microencephaly, and while such cases are rare, some people are born with severe cases of this who are now college graduates. Also, from a practical standpoint, since the brain begins to develop before all but the super sensitive blood test can prove or disprove pregnancy, this doesn’t work. Assuming Kangaroo-people have identical development, still no good.

    5) Women can do what they want/control their own bodies. Worst possible argument for abortion that ignores reality. First, abortion assumes women can not control their own bodies, since they took an action to make a baby and now are regretting it. Action, consequence. Second every society that could be called civilized restricts an individuals freedom to choose when that choice will cause harm to another individual. A man has no right to chose to rape a woman, though that is his body, his choice. Why should our so-called equal women get the same choice, to victimize another for the purpose of their body? If we truly believed that women could do what they wanted with their body, there would be condemnation of women getting drunk regularly while present, and the usage of drugs, legal or not, while pregnant would also be ok. Again, no difference for Kangaroo-people.

    6) Unwanted children result in increased child abuse. Seems sound at first glance but is wrong again. First, wanted or unwanted is an adult problem, something for them to work through and an unwanted pregnancy is not necessarily an unwanted child. Second, the vast majority of abused children were wanted. Third, child abuse has increased dramatically since the legalization of abortion. Fourth, when a child is considered expendable before birth, it tends to become more expendable post-birth. Finally, if killing a child is not abuse, I don’t know what is. For Kangaroo-people, the kangaroo part of their nature is unknown to me, so this MIGHT be a reasonable argument.

    7) If abortion s made illegal, tens of thousands of women will die in back-alley abortions. Again, we need to check the facts, and the answer is false.. Before legal abortions, 90% of abortions were performed in doctors offices and very few women died in them, arguably less than currently die with legal abortion, though the numbers differ by source as wome often don’t admit the abortion and abortion clinics have been know to hide deaths and fatal wounds until the women reach treatment. The official data is much smaller, but when you add in the blood clots that are highly suspected to be abortion related, infections from non-sterile environments, non-clotting from abortive agents, failures in D&E, and similar, the numbers are far less favorable. This would be much more demonstrably false with Kangaroo-people.

    8). Abortion is healthier for women than carrying a child to term. Now this depends on your definition of health. Increased risk of several cancers, increased risk of suicide, post-abortion syndrome, PTSD, low standards of health in abortion clinics leading to a variety of ugly and occasionally fatal infections (see above). Now, for Kangaroo-people, this one actually needs serious discussion. We don’t know if this would lead to cancer as they would not be pouring poison into their bodies, having risky surgeries, or avoiding suckling. There would be no infections anticipated. The only worries would be post-abortion syndrome, suicide, and PTSD This argument might actually improve for Kangaroo people, if only carrying a child to term was it essentially risk free.

    9) What about rape? This argument is all about emotions, in which case it is good, but falls when looked at logically. First, it really isn’t germane. According to the Gutenmacher institute, less than 0.05%of abortions occur because of rape. However, there are other problems. First is that we don’t condemn the rapist to a sudden, instant, and even immediate death. (Watching Disney’s Robin Hood with my kids and couldn’t resist.) so why do we condemn one of the two victims? Third, women who have the babies tend to recover faster and more fully than those who add an abortion to the indignities they suffer. For Kangaroo-people, this may or may not change. If they have times of in-heat, this could be a different story by ensuring that most rapes end in pregnancy. It might also lead to a society that condemns the rapist to death, which still doesn’t make it right, but adds emotional weight. Psychological effects would remain however, so would still be poor.

    10) What about incest? This one I really have no understanding of. Either it was consensual and we need another excuse, or it was rape and we need to see #9. So, I won’t address it.

    11) What about the life of the mother? Seriously, this is a preposterous argument. What century are we in? Maternal mortality , without abortion, is still incredibly low. Also, abortion for the woman’s life was always legal. In addition, medical professionals of my acquaintance say most deaths can be attributed to poor prenatal care, women choosing practices that their doctors recommend against (women who choose VBAC when they are in a facility not suited for it, for example), and medical malpractice. 800 women die in childbirth each year. Compare that to the 650,000 who die in car accidents. I also hope that everyone who makes this argument is anti-vax. (Ok, I don’t because I don’t like that argument either.) Vaccines were reported to cause around 2100 severe problems, from hospitalizations, to disabilities to deaths in one year. If we only consider disbilities, life-threatening complications, and death, it is still 900, more than maternal mortality. Finally, most pro-life advocates argue for treating the problem without directly killing the child which is almost always possible. This is one that becomes even less valid for Kangaroo-people. Their method of pregnancy is unlikely to cause any harm, so can’t be defended like this.

    12) Abortion is needed to ensure contraception works. Now this is true and is the best argument, not the most ethical, but strongest and most fact based argument, for abortion. Sociologically, we’ve seen this to be the case across the world. A person who has sex once a week with a 99% effective has a 40% chance of being pregnant in a year. If done for twenty years, they are almost guaranteed to become pregnant at least once. Add in a woman’s fertility, and that number drops to about an only 60 percent chance of pregnancy, but it is still high. This argument, used at the Supreme Court but rarely outside of it, would also be viable for Kangaroo-people.

    Given the viability or lack thereof we see in current arguments, I doubt there would be much of a change. We’d probably hear less about safety and health of the mother, with an increase on rape and child abuse. However, if we assume they are truly identical to us, save for the marsupial part, it would be legal due to our desire to have consequence-free sex and an imagined overarching right to privacy that exists in no other sense of our lives to the degree that it exists here.

    • Chris

      This comment is a mix of good points, bad pro-life arguments and outright lies.

      1) “It is uncertain when life begins.”

      Good choice for number 1; this is a terrible argument based on the conflation of “life” with “personhood.” I hate it when pro-choicers use this one; we absolutely know that life begins at conception. The question is whether that life is worth preserving even if it means restricting the bodily autonomy of the pregnant woman.

      2) “The unborn is simply a blob of tissue, like an appendix.”

      Another bad pro-choice argument which has no bearing on the moral worth or rights of the fetus. Good job so far.

      3) “Terminating a pregnancy is not the same as killing a child.”

      It isn’t, and no one except the most rabid pro-lifers–the kind that blow up abortion clinics–behaves as if they really think it is. But I’ll get to that in a moment.

      4). “The unborn does not have a meaningful life, as it is small and can’t think.”

      This is the best argument for the pro-choice side, and the argument I subscribe to. Let’s see how you handle it:

      Better argument, but still false. Size, skill, and degree of intelligence do not determine personhood.

      Degree of intelligence certainly should determine whether or not we define someone as a “person.” Would Jack’s hypothetical kangaroo-human hybrids not be persons in your view? Why or why not? They have human-level intelligence. But “degree” isn’t even necessarily what we’re talking about–a first trimester fetus has no intelligence whatsoever. That doesn’t develop until the second trimester.

      If they did, a person who shot off most of their brain but still had the ability to live, under medical care, for a short while would not be a person.

      “For a short while” is doing a lot of the work there. The difference is that in this case, there absolutely was a person who could return; in the case of fetuses, there has never been a person until they develop consciousness.

      In fact, given the brutalities entailed in abortion, we could torture them until death.

      You cannot “torture” something that has no thoughts or feelings or ability to feel pain; the concept simply doesn’t apply.

      5) Women can do what they want/control their own bodies. Worst possible argument for abortion that ignores reality. First, abortion assumes women can not control their own bodies, since they took an action to make a baby and now are regretting it. Action, consequence. Second every society that could be called civilized restricts an individuals freedom to choose when that choice will cause harm to another individual. A man has no right to chose to rape a woman, though that is his body, his choice. Why should our so-called equal women get the same choice, to victimize another for the purpose of their body

      Certainly you can see the difference between a person invading another person’s body and a person getting another person taken out of their body. I don’t think second trimester abortions are ethical on the basis that once the fetus has consciousness, they become a person, and their right to life outweighs the right to bodily autonomy of the mother. But your rape analogy simply doesn’t work.

      If we truly believed that women could do what they wanted with their body, there would be condemnation of women getting drunk regularly while present, and the usage of drugs, legal or not, while pregnant would also be ok. Again, no difference for Kangaroo-people.

      Bad response. The logic there is that drinking and drug use can cause permanent harm to a fetus that will grow into a person, and that person will then suffer the consequences of the mother’s drinking and drug use. If the fetus never becomes a person, then there’s no problem.

      6) Unwanted children result in increased child abuse. Seems sound at first glance but is wrong again. First, wanted or unwanted is an adult problem, something for them to work through and an unwanted pregnancy is not necessarily an unwanted child. Second, the vast majority of abused children were wanted. Third, child abuse has increased dramatically since the legalization of abortion.

      I’m not sure how that correlation could be proven given how standards of abuse and privacy within the family have changed over the past century, but even if that were true, correlation does not prove causation. What are you basing this claim on?

      7) If abortion s made illegal, tens of thousands of women will die in back-alley abortions. Again, we need to check the facts, and the answer is false.. Before legal abortions, 90% of abortions were performed in doctors offices and very few women died in them, arguably less than currently die with legal abortion,

      Source for these claims?

      though the numbers differ by source as wome often don’t admit the abortion and abortion clinics have been know to hide deaths and fatal wounds until the women reach treatment. The official data is much smaller, but when you add in the blood clots that are highly suspected to be abortion related, infections from non-sterile environments, non-clotting from abortive agents, failures in D&E, and similar, the numbers are far less favorable.

      The best available research indicates that childbirth is riskier than abortion, and it isn’t even close. That abortions can lead to complications is therefore not a good argument against abortion.

      http://healthland.time.com/2012/01/25/why-abortion-is-less-risky-than-childbirth/

      8). Abortion is healthier for women than carrying a child to term. Now this depends on your definition of health. Increased risk of several cancers, increased risk of suicide, post-abortion syndrome, PTSD, low standards of health in abortion clinics leading to a variety of ugly and occasionally fatal infections (see above).

      Source for this claim, please. I have heard the pro-life claim that abortion is linked to breast cancer; it is complete bullshit.

      9) What about rape? This argument is all about emotions, in which case it is good, but falls when looked at logically. First, it really isn’t germane. According to the Gutenmacher institute, less than 0.05%of abortions occur because of rape.

      I don’t see how the infrequency of this occurring should have any bearing on whether abortion should be allowed if it occurs.

      However, there are other problems. First is that we don’t condemn the rapist to a sudden, instant, and even immediate death. (Watching Disney’s Robin Hood with my kids and couldn’t resist.) so why do we condemn one of the two victims?

      How would a fetus be a “victim” of the rape? In the first trimester, it isn’t even a “victim” of an abortion? You can’t be a victim of something you have no capacity to experience, have never had the capacity to experience, and will never have the capacity to experience. It’s like saying my salad is a victim of being eaten.

      Third, women who have the babies tend to recover faster and more fully than those who add an abortion to the indignities they suffer.

      Source for this claim, please.

      10) What about incest? This one I really have no understanding of. Either it was consensual and we need another excuse, or it was rape and we need to see #9. So, I won’t address it.

      11) What about the life of the mother? Seriously, this is a preposterous argument. What century are we in? Maternal mortality , without abortion, is still incredibly low. Also, abortion for the woman’s life was always legal.

      Earlier, you said that you are, and I quote, “100% against ALL abortions.” I’m not sure why you are pointing out that abortion for the woman’s life was always legal if that statement was true. I hope you didn’t mean this, and that you really are OK with abortion in the case of saving the mother’s life.

      12) Abortion is needed to ensure contraception works. Now this is true and is the best argument, not the most ethical, but strongest and most fact based argument, for abortion.

      Wait, what? I have literally never heard this argument before in my life.

      This argument, used at the Supreme Court but rarely outside of it, would also be viable for Kangaroo-people.

      Can you cite the part of Roe v. Wade that…you think says that? I’m almost sure it doesn’t.

      Given the viability or lack thereof we see in current arguments, I doubt there would be much of a change. We’d probably hear less about safety and health of the mother, with an increase on rape and child abuse. However, if we assume they are truly identical to us, save for the marsupial part, it would be legal due to our desire to have consequence-free sex and an imagined overarching right to privacy that exists in no other sense of our lives to the degree that it exists here.

      In no other sense of our lives do we suddenly find ourselves with another human being growing inside of our bodies (and for a great deal of the population, such as myself and my fiance, we never will). Of course a higher degree of privacy applies than in most situations.

      • Sarah B

        Will get your sources in a bit, woke with an awful cold and can barely think. I will write what I can and get back to anything else later.

        However, two points along your main justification for abortion, both from a practical standpoint. The brain begins to develop at 5 weeks of pregnancy(embryo). Note that the woman isn’t pregnant for the first two, by the way doctors count. By the time an OTC urine test can detect the pregnancy, the brain is already forming. By eight weeks pregnant, when most doctors will see both mother and child, there is evidence that the child (fetus at this point) can feel pain.

        I recognize that we are at an impasse about your definition of personhood and mine, so I won’t force this issue. I will just say that a human individual is a human person, which is a pretty classic understanding, and a zygote is a human individual.

        I honestly am against all abortions, even in the case of a mother’s life. I am not against removing the cancerous uterus of a pregnant woman, knowing the baby won’t survive. I am not against delivering a 20 week old by C-section to then treat the mother (most cases of abortion to save lives can wait or even occur past this stage). A C-section takes 5 minutes, an abortion, with the medicines required, can take up to 3 days. If the woman’s life is in danger, why not just save the child? I am against the poisoning, creating a toxic environment, or brutal dismemberment of the child. As I said in my introduction, I was that child. The doctors thought my mom was in danger with me and I wonder, if all of her support group hadn’t told her abortion was never a choice, if I wouldn’t be here.

        The only reason you say that a child isn’t a victim of rape is that you don’t consider them a person, I think, until they reach a stage where you don’t consider the rape germane. As a victim of my mother’s rape (by my grandfather, so there’s the incest), I can attest that nearly every facet of my life has been drastically different from that of people whose parents agreed to try for a child. (Note, if you have sex, you are accepting that a child may occur, so I’m counting all of those too). This event defined my life as much as it defined her life.

        Ugh, sinus headache and waking kids, I’ll write more later, probably nap time, and get you those sources.

        • Chris

          Will get your sources in a bit, woke with an awful cold and can barely think. I will write what I can and get back to anything else later.

          Thanks for powering through. Hope you feel better soon.

          However, two points along your main justification for abortion, both from a practical standpoint. The brain begins to develop at 5 weeks of pregnancy(embryo). Note that the woman isn’t pregnant for the first two, by the way doctors count. By the time an OTC urine test can detect the pregnancy, the brain is already forming. By eight weeks pregnant, when most doctors will see both mother and child, there is evidence that the child (fetus at this point) can feel pain.

          The best evidence I’ve seen says they can’t feel pain until well after the 22nd week, but you said you have sources for me, so I’ll check them out once you’ve posted them.

          I recognize that we are at an impasse about your definition of personhood and mine, so I won’t force this issue. I will just say that a human individual is a human person, which is a pretty classic understanding, and a zygote is a human individual.

          So a Kangaroo-human would not be a person, right? It would have different DNA than a human person. In that case, whether abortion is tolerated in that world has no ethical bearing at all. What about sapient robots or aliens? What about a gorilla that could speak and communicate on the same level as we can? I ask these questions because I, like Extradimensional Cephalopod, believe consciousness is a far better barometer for personhood than DNA.

          I honestly am against all abortions, even in the case of a mother’s life. I am not against removing the cancerous uterus of a pregnant woman, knowing the baby won’t survive. I am not against delivering a 20 week old by C-section to then treat the mother (most cases of abortion to save lives can wait or even occur past this stage). A C-section takes 5 minutes, an abortion, with the medicines required, can take up to 3 days. If the woman’s life is in danger, why not just save the child? I am against the poisoning, creating a toxic environment, or brutal dismemberment of the child. As I said in my introduction, I was that child. The doctors thought my mom was in danger with me and I wonder, if all of her support group hadn’t told her abortion was never a choice, if I wouldn’t be here.

          Are there cases of life-saving abortions being performed when an abortion isn’t necessary to save the life of a mother? I can’t imagine any mother who has chosen to carry her fetus to term suddenly deciding to abort at the last minute unless it is absolutely the only option. I know I’ve asked you for a lot of info already, but do you have evidence that this actually happens?

          The only reason you say that a child isn’t a victim of rape is that you don’t consider them a person, I think, until they reach a stage where you don’t consider the rape germane.

          No, I said the fetus isn’t a victim of rape if it’s going to be aborted, because it has no capacity to experience any victimization. I absolutely believe you when you say that you’ve carried the burden of what happened to your mother with you through your life, but that experience is valid because it’s an experience. Fetuses in the first trimester can’t experience anything, ergo no victimization. So yes, children certainly can be victimized by the rape of their parents, but aborted first-trimester fetuses cannot be.

          As a victim of my mother’s rape (by my grandfather, so there’s the incest), I can attest that nearly every facet of my life has been drastically different from that of people whose parents agreed to try for a child. (Note, if you have sex, you are accepting that a child may occur, so I’m counting all of those too).

          Certainly “accepting that a child may occur” is different from “agreeing to try for a child.” I cannot imagine your experience, but I am the child of a single mother and my parents weren’t a couple for any part of my life, so my life has also been different from that of people whose parents agreed to try for a child, though I am sure it has also been different from your life as well.

          Ugh, sinus headache and waking kids, I’ll write more later, probably nap time, and get you those sources.

          Thanks again for your respectful reply, and I hope you have a restful day.

          • Sarah B.

            Chris,
            Ugh, head not much improved but will try to address your points. As a note, this will kind of be like sipping from a fire hose, but I wanted to get you my sources, as well as some context. Hopefully by the time you’ve finished reading it, I’ll be feeling better. If you want something a little less intense, may I suggest the Elliot Institute, http://www.afterabortion.org.
            First, though I will repeat this multiple times, you and I disagree on the state of personhood. I like the classical definition, you like the arbitrary one defined by the pro-choice crowd. This leads us to drastically different conclusions about the same actions. lso note, English professor, that while I give you sources, I’m not really good at it, so please excuse any errors in my citations. I will also use older sources than the ones my friends like to cite, because they are easier to find for free online or at the library. My job required number crunching, not citations.
            A few additional points on your stance that personhood doesn’t develop until the brain does, which is 2-3 trimester. Aside from the fact that at 8 weeks gestation (subtract two for time since conception and definitely in the ) the baby feels pain and has electrical signals on the machines, this might be true. Every pregnancy center and most online will give you the pain stimuli part of this, but I will not give you a source for the electrical signals, because this is hotly debated as to whether it is significant and I’m sure you’ll draw opposite conclusions to me, depending on which of the several dozen papers and websites you find on either side. Please look at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2900087/ and http://downloads.frc.org/EF/EF15A104.pdf. These will discuss pain. It is interesting to note that the latest it is mentioned is 20 weeks, but it is noted even in the one that discusses 20 weeks that a baby will react to touch at 8 weeks and react to painful stimuli at 7.5 weeks. We can also see that babies in at least the 18 week range (four weeks earlier than you consider) feel pain more intensely than adults or born babies. (Added after writing the rest and seeing your previous response.) However, you are also using an arbitrary definitions of person. A person is a human individual, as I mentioned earlier this morning.1, 2 This is the basic understanding that we have had in this language for a long time, rather than the arbitrary definition given by those who want to deny rights to a segment of the population. Finally, you are willing to give a person the benefit of the doubt if they fall into a non-thinking state, but you won’t give the benefit of the doubt to someone who, in less than 14 weeks will also develop the brain you anticipate? Finally, “was a person” means that you deny the personhood of a person in a coma or who suffered a wound. Some of those who are comatose will take much longer than that. Finally, it is a crime (and considered wong) to harm an eagle egg, an unborn eagle, but not a human child in this instance. I expect no reply, just things to consider. If you still disagree, I’ll shut up and let you have your opinion, no matter how flawed I believe it is.
            I cannot see the difference between my being attacked by a man who takes me out of a safe place of comfort and my ejecting the child who has a right to my womb, by virtue of my putting them there. If I drink and drive, I do what I want with my body. It just might (not will) harm another. I actually don’t understand how you think that killing a child is less of an offense than poisoning it with drugs or alcohol. Again, this focuses on your definition of a potential person, rather than treating them as a person. The right to life always overcomes bodily autonomy, just as you said.
            Child abuse increased dramatically since the legalization of abortion- source request
            In regard to child abuse, there is quite a bit of evidence. First, we can see that a greater proportion of abused children come from planned pregnancies. 91% of abused children in a particular year were from planned pregnancies while only 63% of the pregnancies overall are planned3. In 1973, when abortion was made legal throughout the US, there were 167,000 cases of child abuse. In 1982, before child abuse received significant attention, the child abuse cases rose to 929,0004. In the first ten years of legalized abortion, child abuse rose over 500%.5 While this was partially because of the increase of reporting, and not just an increase of abuse, most experts agree that abuse also increased dramatically during this period.
            Illegal abortion was performed in doctors offices – source request
            Fifteen years before abortions were leagal, 85% of illegal abortions were dong by “reputable physicians in good standing in their local medical associations.”6 In 1960 Planed parent said that “90% of all illegal abortions are presently done by physicians.”7 In addition, we know that the thousands or tens of thousands of women dying was a lie (yep, using that word here, because I can verify it). According to Bernard Nathanson, co-founder of NARAL, he and his associates disseminated false information, and made nice round shocking figures. “’It was always 5,000 to 10,000 deaths a year.’ I confess that I knew the figures were totally false, and I suppose the others did too if they stopped to think it. But in the ‘morality’ of our revolution, it was a useful figure, widely accepted, so why go out of our way to correct it with honest statistics? The overriding concern was to get the laws [against abortion] eliminated, and anything within reason that had to be done was permissible.”8 In fact, we know that the actual number of deaths in the twenty-five years prior to 1973 averaged 250 a year.9 In 1966, before the first state legalized abortion, 120 mothers died from illegal abortion. By 1972, abortion was still illegal in most of the US, but antibiotics had dropped the numbers to 39 deaths.10 Planned Parenthood statistician Dr. Christopher Tietze maintained that these were accurate, with a margin of error no greater than 10%.11
            I will agree that the numbers say that childbirth is riskier than abortion, but the margin is considered to be much closer than most pro-choice advocates admit. Again, I think that if we are concerned about maternal deaths, we need to be antivax. More people have life-changing/threatening effects from vaccines than childbirth. The whole argument about the number of people who die from either abortion or pregnancy is a bad argument. Your source does not deal with the fact that there is only a self-reporting requirement for abortion clinics, and that it is in their best interest to avoid reporting.12 There are indications of personal conversations with abortion clinic owners who admit that they didn’t report deaths as abortion related, but as these are personal conversations with a few noted pro-life activists, and not papers, I doubt you’d give them much credence. However, let us consider Chicago 1978. In the US, there had been 21 reported deaths, but in Chicago alone, the Chicago Sun Times found 12 unreported abortion related deaths. Chicago is only one city. If that’s too old for you, consider Gosnell and the unclaimed women he killed, that only got admitted as abortion deaths after he was on trial. We also know that the majority of deaths do not occur during surgery, so secondary reasons are cited as the cause of death. “Consider the mother who hemorrhaged, was transfused, got hepatitis, and died moths later. Official cause of death? Hepatits. Actual cause, Abortion. A perforated uterus leads to pelvic abscess, sepsis, and death. The official report of the cause of death may list pelvic abscess and septicemia. Abortion will not be listed. Abortion causes tubal pathology. She has an ectopic pregnancy years later and dies. The cause listed will be ectopic pregnancy. The actual cause, abortion.”13 In case these logical but unproven cases, along with the logic that causese them to be unproven, you should consider that less that one in ten thousand pregnancies end in a mother’s death, but the skew of numbers on abortion means that they aren’t reported as deaths. “Abortion actually increases the chance of maternal death in later pregnancies.”14 This means that maternal deaths in full-term pregnancies are caused by prior abortions, which creates a double inaccuracy.

            Cont.

          • Sarah B.

            Cont from above.

            Abortion isn’t healthier for women sources request

            You asked for it…

            Now let us consider that Finland funded a study in 2000 that revealed that women who abort are four times more likely to die in the year following the abortion than women who carry to term. “Researchers from the statistical analysis unit of Finland’s National Research and Development Center for Welfare and Health examined death certificate records for all women of reproductive age (fifteen to forty-nine) who died between 1987 and 1994, a total of 9,129 women. Then they examined the national heath care database to identify pregnancy related events for the women in the twelve months prior to their deaths. The researchers found that, compared to women who carried to term, women who had aborted in the year prior to their deaths were 60 percent more likely to die from natural causes, seven times more likely to die from suicide, four times more likely to die of injuries related to accidents, and fourteen times more likely to die from homicide. Researchers believe that the higher rate of deaths related to accidents and homicide may be linked to higher raters of suicidal and risk taking behavior.”15 The chance of ectopic pregnancy doubles for women who have had one abortion, quadruples for a woman who has had two or more.16 This is responsible for 12% of maternal deaths, so subtract those from maternal deaths and add to abortion. There has been a 300% increase in ectopic pregnancies since abortion was legalized.17 “Pelvic Inflamatory Disease is a common and serious complication of induced abortion and has been reported in up to 30% of all cases.”18 “Women with postabortive pelvic inflammatory disease had significantly higher rates of…spontaneous abortion, secondary infertility, dyspareunia, and chronic pelvic pain.”19 Other infectious complicatiosn, sd well as endometriosis, follow approximately 5 percent of abortion procedures.20 The chance of miscarriage increases as much as ten-fold with abortion.21 Tubal infertility is up to 30% more common among women who had abortions.22 Future children are also at risk. Premature births and low birth weights are more common.23 Malformations are more common as well. 24 Infant death is also high, for a variety of reasons, between two and four times the rate of a mother who never had an abortion.25 Placenta previa, one of the big causes (according to my OB-GYN) of maternal mortality if untreated and is treated by C-sections which can lead to maternal death, is seven to fifteen times more common among women who have had abortions than those who have not.26

            Ok, so I’m not sure why you call the breast cancer link bullshit, but I assume it is due to the article by Mads Melbye, who says the connection found one of the previous studies (Wall Street Journal 9 Jan 97 B1) isn’t valid and the fact that she was quoted by the New York Times (10 Jan 97 A32). If you’d like her article debunked and a greater understanding on why the claim that miscarriages don’t increase breast cancer so abortion shouldn’t, check out Dr. Brind’s commentary which will also lead you to ten other studies that she ignored that were more significant than hers, that showed the correlation, especially for first trimester abortions.27 As of 1996 there were 24 studies that reported increased breast cancer and the debunking, to the best of my knowledge only covered one, and did so with a great many flaws. I suppose another reason you don’t believe this is that if the cancer society (partially funded by PP) or other abortion advocates pay for a study, it tends to reflect their prejudices. So we have a number of studies that show that abortion causes breast cancer, but there are others you can go to. I won’t link any other work because of this, but I hope you can also look at the cancer rates across the globe. Every society that legalized abortion saw a huge breast cancer jump, years later. China was very low, due to their diet, but once abortion became mandated, their rate skyrocketed, for example. Finally, look at this. http://www.abortionresearch.us/images/Vol25No1.pdf I don’t know how you can call this “bullshit” unless that is a new word to describe truth.

            We can also look at severe psychological damage abortion causes to the mother (ignoring the father, grandparents, siblings, etc). “According to the authors, while the connection between abortion and substance abuse has never been widely publicized, this is at least the 16th published study connecting a history of abortion to subsequent drug and alcohol abuse…According to Reardon, the increase in accidental or homicide related deaths among post abortive women is more likely due to risk-taking behavior that is an expression of self-destructive or suicidal tendencies.”28 We also see something that wouldn’t exist if there wasn’t harmful psychological effects. We have WEBA, HEART, Healing Visions Network, CARE, Women of Ramah, Project Rachel, Open Arms, Abortion Trauma Services, and American Victims of Abortion. The fact that these groups exist, and for some of them have extensive memberships, testifies to the mental and emotional needs of women who had abortions. Suicide is significantly higher. One study claims that it is nine times higher for women who had abortions that women who didn’t.29 Women’s World reported 45% of women had thoughts of suicide after their abortions.30 Post-Abortion Syndrome (PAS) is a diagnosable psychological affliction, according to the Institute for Abortion Recovery and Research. The APA, a field dominated by prochoice thinking, hasn’t made a direct statement but lists abortion as a stressor event that can trigger PTSD31, and so indirectly recognizes PAS. The common claim by prochoice advocates is that Surgeon General issued a report that there were no adverse psychological effects of abortion on women. Actually, he said, “There is no doubt about it,”32 referring to his knowledge that abortions are dangerous to a woman’s health. He told us that the studies that showed otherwise were flawed because they weren’t long enough term. “Any long-term studies will add more credibility to those people who say there are serious detrimental health effects of abortion.”32 The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists concluded, “The incidence of serious, permanent psychiatric aftermath [of abortion] is variously reported as between 9 and 59%.”33 Even if we thought it was simply 10%, that is 10,000 women each year. (Yes, I’m using round numbers for quick math.)

            Women who have babies after a rape recover faster than their abortion seeking counterparts source request.

            This one is newer, so I only have the one. Reardon, Makimaa & Sobie, Victims and Victors: Speaking Out About Their Pregnancies, Abortions and Children Resulting from Sexual Assault (Springfield, IL: Acorn Books, 2000) 19-22.

            Abortion necessary for contraception source request.

            I have this somewhere, but cannot find it at the moment, so for the purpose of this discussion, I will retract the entire point. If I find it later, I will give it to you, but brain function seems to be declining with additional drugs and sinus pressure so forget this point for now.

            Response to latest post

            Covered pain earlier.

            The Kangaroo human, in the case of this argument would be a human unless they had a totally different set of dictionaries with completely different definitions, but I thought that the example was that they were the same as us, just with some changes. If a Kangaroo-human was a human (I assume that since we don’t call ourselves Ape-humans, they would do the same) then the baby would be human and abortion would be no more acceptable.

            Finally, you asked about women who wanted babies getting abortions because doctors told them too. I can’t find much, usually because women who have abortions are convinced that they were necessary, and women who didn’t and survived don’t say they had an abortion. An example, however, of when life saving action is required but abortion is not is an ectopic pregnancy. It is possible to remove the faulty fallopian tube without aborting the baby. The baby is killed, but that was merely a side effect. In addition, a woman with pre-ecclampsia could have the baby killed with abortion to save her life. However, we usually just do a C-section. I recall reading about a woman who was better than 20 weeks pregnant with twins who was in danger of losing her life. She said she required abortion, but in actuality, she did not, at least what is considered abortion by the majority of pro-life advocates. She had the twins delivered by C-section. One was dead, the other was treated with dignity until such a time as he too passed away, several hours later. This is not abortion, it is a life-saving medical procedure that we anti-abortion advocates don’t disagree is needed and feel is ethical.

            I use the terms child, baby, and fetus interchangeably because a baby is a child, and a fetus is a baby. These are terms used in the development of the human person, just as is teenager, toddler, and adult. Fetuses in the first trimester can experience or at least react to pain (see above). They are victims of rape, as they are conceived when not consented to, and they will, unless we kill them, experience all the pain that comes from that.

            “Accepting that a child may occur” is different than “agreeing to try for a child”, but in either case, the parents took an action that resulted in a child and are still just as responsible. (Admittedly, my feminine outlook is that men need to take more responsibility in providing for the child, but the woman still agreed to tango.) Sorry, really done now. If you want more sources or discussion, they will have to wait at least until tomorrow.

            Cont.

          • Sarah B.

            Final continuation

            Sources Cited
            1https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/person
            2https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/person
            3Edward Lenoski, Heartbeat 3 (December 1980) cited by John Willke, Abortion Question and Answers (Cincinatti, Ohio: Hayes Publishing Co, 1998)
            4Report of the National Center of Child Abuse and Neglect, US Department of Health and Human Services, 1973-1982.
            5US Department of Health and Human Services Report; National Study on Child Abuse and Neglect Reportiong; American Human Association, 1981 and 1991; 1997 Analysis of Child Abuse and Neglect Research, US Dept of HEW
            6Alfred Kinsey, cited by John Willke, Abortion Questions and Answers (Cincinatti, Ohio: Hayes Publishing Co, 1988), 169
            7Mary Calderone, “Illegal Abortion as a Public Health Problem,” American Journal of Health 50 (July 1960): 949
            8Bernard Nathanson, Aborting America (New York: Doubleday, 1979), 193.
            9Ibid, 42
            10 US Bureau of Vital Statistics
            11German Grisez, Abortion: The Myths, the Realities, and Arguments (New York: Corpus Books, 1972), 70
            12 James A Miller, “A Tale of Two Abortions,” Human Life International Reports, March 1991, 1.
            13 John Willke, Abortion Question and Answers (Cincinatti, Ohio: Hayes Publishing Co, 1998)99
            14David C. Reardon, Aborted Women: Silent No More (Westchester, Ill:Crossway Books, 1987)113.
            15”Abortion Nearly Four Times Deadlier than Childbirht,” 16 June 2000, http://www.afterabortion.org/PAR/V8/n2/finland.html
            16Ann Aschengrau Levin, “Ectopic Pregnancy and Prior Induced Abortion,” American Journal of Public Health (March 1982):253”
            17US Department of Health and Human Services, Morbitity and Mortality Weekly Report 33 (April 1984)
            18 Allen Osser, MD and Kenneth Persson, MD, “Postabortal Pelvic Infection Associated with Chlamydia Tracomatis and the Influence of Humoral Immunity,” American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (November 1986): 669-703
            19Lars Heisterberg, MD, et al. “Sequelae of Induced First-Trimester Abortion,” American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.” (July 1986) 79
            20Ronald T. Burkman, MD, “Culture and Treatment Results in Endometritis Following Elective Abortion.” American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (July 1977): 556-9
            21Ann Aschengrau Levin, “Association of Induced Abortion with Subsequent Pregnancy Loss,” Journal of the American Medical Association (June 1980): 2495-9; Carol Madore, “A Study on the Effects of Induced Abortion on Subsequent Pregnancy Outcome,” American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (March 1981): 516-21; Shari Linn, MD, “The Relationship Between Induced Abortion and Outcome of Subsequent Pregnancies,” American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecolog (May 1983): 136-40.
            22Janet R. Daling, PhD, “Tubal Infertility in Relation to Prior Induced Abortion,” Fertility and Sterility (March 1985):389-94
            23Carol Madore, “A Study on the Effects of Induced Abortion on Subsequent Pregnancy Outcome,” American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (March 1981): 516-21; Shari Linn, MD, “The Relationship Between Induced Abortion and Outcome of Subsequent Pregnancies,” American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecolog (May 1983): 136-40.
            24 Shari Linn, MD, “The Relationship Between Induced Abortion and Outcome of Subsequent Pregnancies,” American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecolog (May 1983): 136-40.
            25John A Richardson and Geoffry Dixon, “Effects of Legal Termination on Subsequent Pregnancy.” British Medical Journal (1976): 1303-4
            26 Jeffery M. Barrett, MD “Induced Abortion: A Risk Factor in Placenta Previa,” American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. (December 1981): 769.
            27Dr. Joel Brind, “Rotten in Denmark,”
            28Elliot Institute Press Release, 20 Mar 2000.
            29David C. Reardon, Aborted Women: Silent No More (Westchester, Ill:Crossway Books, 1987)129.
            30Martina Mahler, “Abortion: the Pain No One Talks About,” Women’s World, 24 Sept 1991, 6
            31American Psychiatric Association, Diagnosis and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, rev ed (1987), 250
            32”Exclusive Interview: US Surgeon General C. Everett Koop,” Rutherford Journal (Spring 1989): 31
            33David C. Reardon, Aborted Women: Silent No More (Westchester, Ill:Crossway Books, 1987)119.

            • Chris

              That was overwhelming, Sarah.

              I do appreciate the effort you’ve put into this while sick. I hope you didn’t think I was asking for any kind of formal citation; links are really the most helpful thing here, and I thank you for the links you provided.

              I don’t have the time to respond to every piece of data you’ve provided here, but I will try to respond to the major points.

              I am not certain I see how the health risks to the mother, even if they do outweigh the health risks of pregnancy, are relevant. I would support the right of a woman to choose abortion in the first trimester even if doing so was extremely risky; you would not support this even if pregnancy were ten times riskier than abortion. I am certain many women do suffer emotional, psychological and physical consequences from abortion, but I still believe they have the right to make that choice. So we could argue about which stats to believe, but that would ultimately be a waste of time because it wouldn’t change the question of whether or not the first-trimester fetus has the right to life, and whether that right outweighs the right to bodily autonomy of the woman carrying the fetus.

              I also don’t think the anti-vaxxer comparison logically follows. We mandate certain vaccines because of the risk to the whole population caused by not vaccinating, not just the risk to individuals. If someone doesn’t want to vaccinate their own children due to potential risks, we see those risks as worth taking for the population as a whole.

              I am also uncertain of how your stats about the relative safety of abortions before and after it was legalized are helpful to your argument. You seem to be arguing that abortion was safer before it was legal. I find this incredibly hard to believe. Have you ever heard of any other activity being safer before legalization than after? How could an underground medical practice prior to 1970 be safer than that same practice is now, with the fact that is has since been legalized and there have been several advances in modern medicine? And if that is so, then couldn’t one conclude that we simply need to return to the practices that made abortions safer prior to legalization than it is now?

              I Googled child abuse rates and every source I could find has said that rates have been decreasing since 1990. I didn’t see any sources that had data from before that. I’ll believe you when you say rates went up after abortion was legalized, but I still see no logical connection there, and I don’t think you could prove causation.

              I think your distinction between abortion and removal of fetuses is based on the belief that there is an ethical difference between letting someone die and killing someone; I don’t believe there is much difference.

              The fetal pain question is definitely far more relevant to our concerns, though I’m unsure what the NCBI study you linked to is supposed to prove; I confess that I didn’t understand all of it, but all the examples they provided that I saw were of fetuses 22 weeks or older. I should also tell you that I will never, ever trust anything the Family Research Council says, so I didn’t bother to read the FRC document.

              However, you are also using an arbitrary definitions of person. A person is a human individual, as I mentioned earlier this morning.1, 2 This is the basic understanding that we have had in this language for a long time, rather than the arbitrary definition given by those who want to deny rights to a segment of the population.

              My goal is not to deny rights to a segment of the population, and it’s highly likely that in the future my argument will be used to expand rights to segments that may face discrimination. For example, if advancements in artificial intelligence go so far that robots have the same level of consciousness as humans, then under my definition, they would be considered persons with rights, and under your definition, they would not be. Ditto for if gorillas gained human-level sapience, or we encountered a race of intelligent aliens that had to integrate into our society. I think all these categories are more deserving of personhood and rights than a first trimester fetus, because all of them can experience things just like human persons can, and first trimester fetuses can’t experience anything at all.

              Finally, you are willing to give a person the benefit of the doubt if they fall into a non-thinking state, but you won’t give the benefit of the doubt to someone who, in less than 14 weeks will also develop the brain you anticipate?

              Yes, that’s rational. We don’t owe anything to a being who will develop a brain in less than 14 weeks, because it doesn’t currently have a brain, and never has had a brain. Women don’t have to sacrifice their bodily autonomy for a being that, for all intents and purposes, can’t even experience its own existence yet. What you’re saying here is that the rights of a conscious being can be outweighed by the rights of a being without consciousness, on the basis that in an alternate reality where they were never aborted, they would have consciousness. I call this the Days of Future Past fallacy. Jean Grey and Scott Summers don’t have a duty to bring Rachel Summers into existence.

              Finally, “was a person” means that you deny the personhood of a person in a coma or who suffered a wound.

              I struggle with this. If their consciousness is temporarily gone, but can come back, can one say the person has temporarily “left the building?” Regardless, the situation isn’t similar to that of a fetus where no consciousness has ever existed.

              Some of those who are comatose will take much longer than that. Finally, it is a crime (and considered wrong) to harm an eagle egg, an unborn eagle, but not a human child in this instance.

              This is a common pro-life argument, but it’s really one of the sillier ones. It’s not a crime to do those things because we see eagles as persons, it’s a crime to do those things because eagles are endangered. Human beings aren’t endangered. This has no bearing on the personhood argument.

              I think that (very briefly) covers each of the main points you brought up. Of course it doesn’t begin to respond to all of the data you produced, but it would take me ages to verify every single claim you posted above, and as I said before, some of them don’t necessarily have much impact on my central claims. I do thank you again for your respectful and detailed reply and I encourage you to not hold back if you take issue with anything I’ve said above.

              • Sarah B.

                The only thing that I specifically take issue with, other than realizing that we are at an impasse, and that’s fine, is your refusal to read the paper from Family Reasearch Council, because it is actually extremely on point, with a great many citations that you would find interesting, I think. This well cited document not only gives answers you may like about the brain’s development,but also the answers I like about response to pain at early ages. It may well cement your opinion, or give you a new glance at this, but I thought it was, although very much pro-life, a well balanced document. Perhaps that’s my bias talking, but I do recommend you read it. Why do you dislike FRC?

                • Chris

                  Mostly because of their advocacy as an anti-gay hate group. Not because of their opposition to gay marriage, but the vicious lies and slander they’ve promoted against the gay community.

                  But I’ll take a look at the document later today.

    • I realize you’re not using it as an actual argument, but I feel it’s worth noting that when you say that you likely would have been aborted and that that may have influenced your opinion on this, it’s very similar to the “nation of immigrants” argument for not enforcing immigration laws. Jack and others took that one apart thoroughly in a previous post.

      We aren’t obligated to keep enforcing a set of conditions just because we wouldn’t have existed without them. Lots of ethical standards we enforce now would radically alter the world as we know it had they been introduced centuries ago. What’s done is done, we exist now, and that’s no excuse for not evaluating ethical issues as we see them. Of course, you’re not using it as an excuse, but this idea may lead you to think a bit differently about the issue.

      Regarding your first few points, why exactly do we value human life? What makes human life more valuable than the life of an animal or a plant? Many people I know would say that the reason we value human life is because it comes with a conscious mind, and that the mind is what’s important; the humanity is incidental. Therefore, a mind without a human body would still be valued, but a human body without a mind would not. As has been said before, the difference between a zygote and a comatose person is that a comatose person represents a mind that once existed and may yet be brought back into existence. We want to preserve existing minds, because we they already have relationships, experiences, and memories, and to “bring it back” would merely be to ensure the continuation of its life, which it probably would want and which others do want. A zygote represents a structure that may develop a mind, but we owe nothing to a mind that has never existed. Nonexistent minds don’t “want” to exist, even if we can imagine they do. Does that make sense?

  12. This is an excellent thought experiment. I don’t have much original to say about it here, but as someone who has been very present in previous discussions about this issue, I feel obligated to weigh in.

    My current take on the thought experiment is more or less the same as Chris’s (though it would likely have taken me longer to arrive at it), and Humble Talent makes very important points as well.

    I’ll keep an eye on what other people think, because there’s bound to be even more angles I haven’t considered.

  13. https://ethicsalarms.com/2015/01/04/abortion-the-fly-and-the-ethics-incompleteness-theorem/

    Another abortion thought experiment that may or may not add perspective, but it interesting nonetheless.

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