The Abortion Controversy & A Solution

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Reply Mon 27 Jul, 2009 03:12 pm
Here is a suitable compromise between the right-to-lifers and the women's freedom to choose groups. I am aware that those who have hard-and-fast positions, who are tribal-minded, or dogmatic, will not be willing to compromise at all. For the rest of us, I propose the following:

A person, by definition, is an individual personality having character. Is that definition which I find in good dictionaries agreeable to you? If not, can you offer a better one?

A baby - even an infant - is a person.

A fetus is not.

To abort a fetus before its brain is formed and shows activity is morally okay; while to abort after conscious brain activity - except in cases of rape, incest, or danger to mother - is not morally permissible.

A person has (or will soon have) rights and duties, and will display various social roles. Persons should not be defiled nor violated. They are to be nurtured and treasured; to be treated with dignity and respect.

This is the ethical compromise on which we ought to settle. This honors the right to life and also the right of a woman to decide, both on the use of her body and to have a say as to the size of her family. We can all, furthermore agree on keeping the number of abortions to a minimum. One good way is by the use of birth control measures.

The "morning-after" pill, and the use of medical-rather-than-surgical abortions via a drug administered in a hospital make most of the controversy moot. There is nothing much to argue about if a woman makes use of these methodologies soon after having unprotected sex.

There will, of course, be some exceptional circumstances when surgery is the only viable alternative. I am inclined to side with the woman having a right to her own body in such cases: it is between her and her physician (with the aid of counsel) to decide.
 
William
 
Reply Mon 27 Jul, 2009 03:50 pm
@deepthot,
Considering there are those of character who realize there are many ways to achieve orgasm that do not involve the risk of having a child, I find it a lacking of character for anyone to reach a solution that involves the destruction of that child and a grasping of straws in referring to that "new" life as a fetus or "piece of meat" to ease the conscience of those who actually perform this utterly selfish act. You may use dogmatic, trible minded or whatever term you wish if it gives you some kind of satisfaction all the while being thankful your mother was dogmatic and trible minded at least in the fact that she did not so choose to end "your" RIGHT TO .LIFE.

William
 
New Mysterianism
 
Reply Mon 27 Jul, 2009 05:35 pm
@William,
Quote:
A person, by definition, is an individual personality having character. Is that definition which I find in good dictionaries agreeable to you? If not, can you offer a better one?


Sure, but below you assert "conscious brain activity" as the morally relevant criterion for personhood, not character. In other words, your argument implies that aborting sentient fetuses is not morally permissible, but aborting insentient fetuses is morally permissible. Perhaps you should work with this for clarity.

Quote:
To abort a fetus before its brain is formed and shows activity is morally okay; while to abort after conscious brain activity - except in cases of rape, incest, or danger to mother - is not morally permissible.


Aborting insentient fetuses is morally permissible, but aborting sentient fetuses isn't morally permissible. Sounds good. While I agree here, you might want to expand on why sentience is a morally relevant criterion for personhood for your critics.

However, why is it permissible to abort sentient fetuses conceived through rape or incest? The sentient fetus is not responsible for the nature of its conception and, as a person, has a right to life. You need to argue further why this exception is permissible. Why does the emotional well-being of the mother override the fetus's right to life?

Quote:

A person has (or will soon have) rights and duties, and will display various social roles. Persons should not be defiled nor violated. They are to be nurtured and treasured; to be treated with dignity and respect.


Persons "have a right to life," so aborting sentient fetuses is not morally permissible. Sounds good.
 
deepthot
 
Reply Mon 27 Jul, 2009 07:47 pm
@William,
William;79862 wrote:
Considering there are those of character who realize there are many ways to achieve orgasm that do not involve the risk of having a child, I find it a lacking of character for anyone to reach a solution that involves the destruction of that child and a grasping of straws in referring to that "new" life as a fetus or "piece of meat" to ease the conscience of those who actually perform this utterly selfish act. You may use dogmatic, trible minded or whatever term you wish if it gives you some kind of satisfaction all the while being thankful your mother was dogmatic and trible minded at least in the fact that she did not so choose to end "your" RIGHT TO .LIFE.

William


Wow !! :whoa-dude: :Not-Impressed:

You write: "...the destruction of that child..." which begs the whole question.

My argument was that a collection of cells, with no brain or developed central nervous system, is NO CHILD, by any concept of "child" that I ever heard of -- before the tribal-oriented church got into it.
By "tribal" I meantt: tradition-bound, and incapable of being flexible about adopting new customs or shedding any old ones.

I am certainly not advocating wanton naked-organ intercourse!!!
... I was very conscientious about NOT getting a girl pregnant although I had many opporlunities. I trained myself to use those other methods of which you speak.
But this is a philosophy site, so in my post I dealt with the issues by defining my terms. Did you do that, William? Did you make any careful distinctions among vague and ambiguous terms, so as to clarify the concepts? I went by a standard definition of a "person" that I found in dictionaries. Do you have a superior one? Show why it is. Demonstrate logically the structure of your position.

Isn't it the commission of "The straw man fallacy of logic" to attribute to me that I said anything about (to quote you) "a piece of meat."
Fetus is a legitimate word in the science of Biology. Human beings are animals, but ones who are capable of reflecting upon their own reflections, and of definiing themselves. My own definition of me is: I AM.
I am that. I am that I am. I believe the whole controversy over abortion is silly - and futile. If a loving girl accidentally gets caught, and she is too poor to provide a good home for a baby, she most definitely ought to abort it, and the sooner the better. Yes, both men and women need to take seriously the ethical concept of RESPONSIBILITY.

You choose a poor illustration in bringing my mother into it. She wanted, and very-lovingly provided for all her children. Yes, it is true I wouldn't be here if she aborted her first fetus, but she had no reason to. You seem to be overly-emotive rather than presenting a reasonable argument. I may be wrong, but you will have to show us.

A rational policy, an ethical one, would be for each family to have no more than two children, at most. My wife and I are childless altogether.

---------- Post added 07-27-2009 at 09:30 PM ----------

New Mysterianism;79878 wrote:
Aborting insentient fetuses is morally permissible, but aborting sentient fetuses isn't morally permissible. Sounds good. While I agree here, you might want to expand on why sentience is a morally relevant criterion for personhood for your critics.


Sentience is where the compromise comes in. The brain-active organism is beginning to show signs of consciousness, and thus starting to have a personality.

New Mysterianism;79878 wrote:

However, why is it permissible to abort sentient fetuses conceived through rape or incest? ... Persons "have a right to life," so aborting sentient fetuses is not morally permissible. Sounds good.

I said that there are exceptions - due to the over-riding ethical consideration of saving the life of the mother and at times the baby too - and rape and incest may be just the sort of rational grounds for making some exceptions. I allowed for surgery in the ninth month under emergency circumstances.. Although now that there is 'medical abortion' it may not be necessary to go for extreme measures, such as surgery.

My compromise, or reconiliation for rational persons, not only sounds good. It is good.

I am open to hearing of a better one, however. We can find common ground. We care about conscious life - I care even about mammals.

Those who say they care about LIFE must, by logic, be opposed to war, to capital punishment, to violence, to child abuse and all manufactured products produced in child sweat shops, to spousal abuse - even of the psychological variety, etc. If they are not, then they are utter hypocrites.
 
salima
 
Reply Mon 27 Jul, 2009 08:40 pm
@deepthot,
deepthot-is there a way to measure brain activity in a fetus? do you know approximately when it begins?

and i also would like clarification on the statement that instances of rape are an exception as new mysterianism specified in his post #3.

incest i can understand, a) because that is almost globally considered morally wrong, therefor the product of an immoral act would be wrong? or b) based on the evidence that a defective offspring would result?

you also mentioned that someone unable to financially support a child should abort-and i would assume you would add anyone who was unfit to be a mother by evidence of emotional instability, mental disturbance, etc? but in these examples, why would it not be morally right for her to bear the child and then give it up for adoption?
 
richrf
 
Reply Mon 27 Jul, 2009 11:26 pm
@salima,
Hi deepthot,

There are some who believe that all forms of abortion is tantamount to murder. And there is no compromise on this question - except possibly one. When I ask people who have these point of views, what should be the punishment for the woman and all associated with an abortion, I usually get blank stares. The ambivalence manifests. It once happened on a radio talk show, and the talk show host got into a fit and hung up on me.

There are those who believe a woman has a right to choose, with no compromise - except possibly one. That an unborn child that can survive outside of the womb should be considered a person, and if a mother is killed, and the child dies with the mother, than the murderer should be tried for both deaths.

I believe that for most people there is some ambivalence on the subject, even though they may not see it themselves. I have come to terms with the issue in my own unique way, but I believe for most people, they are satisfied with the current situation, which leaves it up to the family within current restrictions. The line may move a little one way or the other, but I think that is where I would leave it also. Any firmer definition is probably hopeless for the foreseeable future.

Rich
 
prothero
 
Reply Mon 27 Jul, 2009 11:29 pm
@deepthot,
There are those who propose simple solutions to complex moral problems, such solutions are almost invariably wrong.

Perhaps, almost everyone could agree that the one of the major causes of abortion is unplanned or unwanted pregnancy and that efforts to reduce unwanted pregnancy (sex education, access to birth control, etc.) would be desirable. Of course, there is the orthodox Catholic position that even preventing pregnancy by using birth control or other artificial methods is a "sin". I can hardly think of a less sensible approach to the problem of unwanted pregnancy and world overpopulation but then these positions are decided upon by an all male, celibate and unmarried group.

There are those who propose that abortion prior to some arbitrary land mark, brain waves, x number of weeks gestation, beating of the heart, fetal movement, the first breath etc are morally permissible and those after that morally prohibited. All such proposed criteria suffer from being somewhat arbitrary. The best I can do is that abortion becomes more morally questionable the further along in fetal development not to mention that late term abortions are more difficult and medically dangerous (the earlier the better).

Making abortion illegal has, of course, been tried and failed. Women who feel unprepared or unable to care for another infant will seek out abortion legal or illegal. Illegal abortions result in significant maternal injury and death further adding to the overall toll of human suffering. Are abortion opponents really prepared to try and sentence teen age mothers and college women to prison for violating their sense of morality? Are we going to have an inquest for every positive pregnancy test which does not result in a delivery? Do we want the government to intrude this deeply into personal lives?

Then there are the even more difficult problems of genetic abnormalities, fetal developmental abnormalities, the health of the mother, maternal versus fetal welfare, etc. No law could possibly take into account all the variations of medical and social situations which would arise. These decisions always end up being the province of the woman, her medical, social and religious consultants. In the day of the morning after pill, RU487 and other early interventions to terminate unwanted pregnancy early on in the course; it is hard to see how the law and politicians could possibly keep up with the available medical interventions available.

Is potential life as valuable as actual life? Is potentiality ever of equal value to actuality? Does an acorn deserve the same protection as a 100 year old oak tree.? Does the unborn fetus have the same value as the mother? In my view not. A potential life does not have the same value as an actual life. In any event, most opposition to abortion comes out rather nebulous religious notion about souls and when the soul enters the body (at the moment of conception) anyone? What about fertility clinics and in vitro fertilization, embryonic stem cells and medical research? There are clearly problems here but passing laws which only 50% or less of the population agrees with and which intrudes so deeply into the most private aspects of moral sensibilities and bodily functions is not a wise solution. Make your own decision and let others make theirs and live with the consequences.
 
deepthot
 
Reply Wed 29 Jul, 2009 08:17 pm
@deepthot,
A woman in India raised these profound questions. How would you answer her; or is an answer required? Maybe the very posing of the questions is enough to make the ethical prinicples evident.

Here are her contributions to this topic:

"Shouldn't everyone be responsible for their own actions (such as the choice to abort an unwanted pregnancy) ? "

"Do any of us have a reason or right to condemn a woman and/or her family - if she even has one -- for whatever they chose? "


{"Judge not, that ye be not judged."}

"Suppose a woman who finds herself pregnant, doesn't want children, and that, furthermore, she would be a horrible mother, And suppose she is destitute, and that there is in her locality no adoption agency available." [There are plenty of such cases.]


"Wouldn't she be doing the child and society a favor by having an abortion?
Or do we as a society want to choose to incarcerate every woman who becomes pregnant; make sure she bears the child; and then take it away from her if she doesn't want to care for it?"

How can we stop her from inducing a miscarriage, and calling it accidental?

How can we stop her from going to a back-alley 'surgeon' who might cause a hemorhage in her?
If she has plenty of money, how can we stop her from traveling to another country to have an abortion done?


IMHO, maybe the ethical thing to do is to leave things the way they are in the U.S. and be sure to vigorously prosecute for Murder One any crazy who kills a late-term-abortion surgeon with malice-aforethought.

---------- Post added 07-29-2009 at 09:33 PM ----------

salima;79915 wrote:
deepthot-is there a way to measure brain activity in a fetus? do you know approximately when it begins?

d: I think so, but don't know the scientific details.

and i also would like clarification on the statement that instances of rape are an exception ...incest, I can understand...

d: A female who is raped often goes through great misery at the thought of bearing the child who would be the result of of such an evil act. Rape is considered highly immoral here in the Western world, for many, many good reasons which I shall not summarize now.

so mentioned that someone unable to financially support a child should abort-and i would assume you would add anyone who was unfit to be a mother by evidence of emotional instability, mental disturbance, etc? ....


deepthot: Yes, I would add those cases. I would - based on my comprehension of Ethics - leave it up to the individual woman to decide what to do with her own body. Also see my post just previous to this one to understand further why I have the position on this that I have.

(p.s. That "woman from India" to whom I refer was you. The questions were sent to me in a Private Message.
I want to give credit where it is due for some fine contributions.)
 
salima
 
Reply Wed 29 Jul, 2009 11:36 pm
@deepthot,
deepthot-so what you are saying is that you believe as far as this question is concerned, there isnt any univeral standard for us to fall back on...at least not at the present time with everything we know being as it is now...?
 
deepthot
 
Reply Thu 30 Jul, 2009 01:44 am
@salima,
salima;80302 wrote:
deepthot-so what you are saying is that you believe as far as this question is concerned, there isnt any univeral standard for us to fall back on...at least not at the present time with everything we know being as it is now...?


No, I wouldn't say that.
I offered a compromise for reasonable people in the first post of this thread. However I did not go into the economic incentives that people have for maintaining their current stances. I did not go into all the subtle angles that Prothero brought up.

I agree with him that potential life is not as valuable as actual life. This can serve as a universal deduction derived from the premisses of my model for Ethics. I gave the standards that we ought to care about life, and that the (quality of) life of a woman - an actual, living woman - who irealizes she is pregnant is a major consideration. Both CHOICE and LIFE are very high values, so the dilemma here is between goods: between right and right, rather than right and wrong. I offered a creative compromise.

It implies that it is best not to get pregnant unless you can offer a high-quality life for the child, both financially and psychologically. It further implies that if you do somehow get pregnant, and are not in a position to raise the baby in such an environment, then get the abortion as soon as possible - even the day after you pass the pregancy test, or the same day if possible. [Take Miferprex as indicated by a physician. The whole issue is then bypassed and made moot.
Then, once the abortion is completed, go on a cleansing fast for a day in order to clean the toxemia out of your body. Drink only distilled water but no food.. Break the fast with fresh, ripe fruit juice, then some whole fruit later..]

Your questions spoke for themselves. They were brilliant !
 
Lily
 
Reply Fri 31 Jul, 2009 08:42 am
@deepthot,
The cynical part of me thinks that a fetus probably have as much soul as a plant. I don't have any problem with killing plants.

I realize that this sounds very heartless of me, but it's my opinion that abortion probably is worse for the women rather than the "unborn child".
 
Khethil
 
Reply Fri 31 Jul, 2009 09:05 am
@deepthot,
Well...

... the solution offered in the opening post is better - in my opinion - than most I've seen. It's weak point is the very same shared by all views on the issue: Defining that point at which a budding human life deserves our protection and absolute prohibitions against termination. "Character" could be a good point, but even as enunciated (as defined by common defintional sources) is murky. I looked it up and found quite a few sub-definitions; virtually which could have delineated one point or another. As I understand the intent; however, "character" speak to personality attributes we can't well sense from the young fetus's. So no; it's probably not a very well-defined point.

Here's where I draw my lines and how I distinguish the ethics of abortion. How "OK" or "Not OK" abortion is depends on many factors, but as general tenants of the situation, I hold...

  • That human life's unique value to us, as a species, is dependent on Personhood or the potentiality for such personhood. In this context, Personhood defines the sapient and sentient elements of the unique human mind; self-awareness, consciousness of ones' own ego and mortality.


  • Potential for this Personhood is important, lest we devalue the lame, infirm, young and mentally handicapped - this must have consideration.


  • Abortion is never the best solution - ever. Wherein one can through abstinence, contraception or later adoption resolve fertility issues, these are preferable since all human life deserves at least some not too insignificant-consideration.


  • As a fetus develops, and that potentiality for personhood increases, so does abortion become increasingly unethical. For example, right after conception a drug-induced miscarraige is much more ethically-justifiable than a late-term abortion (when the child could well-survive outside the womb).


  • If sandwiched into a situation where one must choose between the rights of the mother over her body and the right of the fetus to live, the mother's rights (as a fully sapient, self-aware creature) must prevail. The basis for this is respect for the invidual's right to control/have say over their own body (which, is arguably the most-easily justifiable and fundemental right we might ever have - if one is inclined to believe in such things).


  • The situation - any situation - may contain factors which mitigate, increase or conceivably obliterate any single "standard" for judging abortion's ethics. These can't be ignored - no single "always ok" or "never ok" standard can stand up to the never ending labrynth of situations human behavior entails.


  • This is how I've resolved it; based on personhood and the potential for it, wherein that personhood is comprised of the unique existential elements (or their potential thereof) that make human life unique. Otherwise, I'd cry a river for all the lives lost each time I use bug spray.


Hope this little diatribe adds to the conversation. Thanks
 
RDanneskjld
 
Reply Fri 31 Jul, 2009 09:45 am
@deepthot,
deepthot;79857 wrote:
A person, by definition, is an individual personality having character. Is that definition which I find in good dictionaries agreeable to you? If not, can you offer a better one?

A baby - even an infant - is a person.

A fetus is not.

To abort a fetus before its brain is formed and shows activity is morally okay; while to abort after conscious brain activity - except in cases of rape, incest, or danger to mother - is not morally permissible.


Personhood is really not as a simple as you make out, in your Orginal Post. You chose to define A person as an individual personality having character. Whether infants have an individual personality is not a clear cut issue, for example we dont gain autobiographical memorys until around the age of 2 (has been demonstrated Psychological experiments) and it is considered by some that an autobiographical memory is very important both our conception of 'self' and the development of our Personality. I dont believe your definition of Personhood is correct and Im not sure whether personhood is an issue that should be brought into the abortion debate.

Clearly we do have to be concerned about the mental attributes as this plays an important role in making judgements about ethics. I wouldnt want to make a decision about when exactly a fetus becomes 'conscious' as I dont feel that we can pinpoint when a fetus becomes conscious in the womb. I see the abortion issue as being pretty clear before the 18 week mark, when a fetus has no ability to feel pleasure or pain and lacks the mental ability to have prefrence (whether it is possible to have a prefrence without the ability to feel pain or pleasure is another issue), with abortions being morally permissable. We shouldnt buy into the convient fictions about whether or not a fetus, is a human life or person as this just muddys the waters, the key question is whether the facts of the matter allow us to kill what could be defined by some as a 'innocent human life'. Which I feel leaves us no option to take a largely utilitarian outlook on the issue of abortion.
 
salima
 
Reply Fri 31 Jul, 2009 06:26 pm
@RDanneskjld,
R.Danneskjöld;80539 wrote:
Personhood is really not as a simple as you make out, in your Orginal Post. You chose to define A person as an individual personality having character. Whether infants have an individual personality is not a clear cut issue, for example we dont gain autobiographical memorys until around the age of 2 (has been demonstrated Psychological experiments) and it is considered by some that an autobiographical memory is very important both our conception of 'self' and the development of our Personality. I dont believe your definition of Personhood is correct and Im not sure whether personhood is an issue that should be brought into the abortion debate.

Clearly we do have to be concerned about the mental attributes as this plays an important role in making judgements about ethics. I wouldnt want to make a decision about when exactly a fetus becomes 'conscious' as I dont feel that we can pinpoint when a fetus becomes conscious in the womb. I see the abortion issue as being pretty clear before the 18 week mark, when a fetus has no ability to feel pleasure or pain and lacks the mental ability to have prefrence (whether it is possible to have a prefrence without the ability to feel pain or pleasure is another issue), with abortions being morally permissable. We shouldnt buy into the convient fictions about whether or not a fetus, is a human life or person as this just muddys the waters, the key question is whether the facts of the matter allow us to kill what could be defined by some as a 'innocent human life'. Which I feel leaves us no option to take a largely utilitarian outlook on the issue of abortion.


can you be more specific about what tests there are or what medical conditions point to the fact that the foetus is unable 'to feel pleasure or pain'? i am not sure that is a good criteria either.

and certainly it is 'human life' but when exactly does it become a 'human being'? surely it must have to have a developed and functioning (at least physically as far as we know) brain?
thanks
 
KaseiJin
 
Reply Fri 31 Jul, 2009 10:01 pm
@salima,
I greatly appreciate the effort to reach a compromise on this actually quite fuzzy issue. I also find, as carried by insinuation in Khethil's presentation, that drawing the legal lines. (and I emphasize that, because that is really whole catch...making a law) I also tend to want to add some into discussion on the issue which are often not found (at least to a degree that I would argue should be pushed for); for example a further opening of human sexuality knowledge publically, a weaning away from obsolete 'old school' religious belief-system doctrines regarding extra-human, anthropomorphized intelligent agency, among one or two more things.

I also reason that abortion should be accepted by law, and clinics inspected for proper conditions and procedures. In this way, unwanted pregnancies (which could very possibly be reduced with greater public education and openess about human sexuality) could be dealt with quickly and with (thinkably) more reasonable cost plans.

EEGs are very, very uncommon, as far as I know, but have been done and tend to show that it is not until around 30 weeks (~83% full term) that enough cortical development has occurred to give any adult like EEG characteristic. ① (also see this post on the subject of brain development) Also, through especially post-mortem study, it can be known that the developing brain will not have the proper structual development to so fully cognized signals for things like pain, vision, auditory and such until some time around (plus/minus) seven months.

As for being able to survive, the lungs do not develop quite fully enough to operate properly for 'after delivery self function' until some 23 weeks into gestation. It has been observed that abortion after the second trimester is very uncommon in the USA (at least), and any surgical procedures on the prenatal fetus for the likes of spina bifida, or diaphragmatic hernia, only occur after that point.

As has also been touched on above, in a number of sentences by a number of posters (and as I have put forth in another thread, elsewhere) one problem here argueably lies in a tendeny to over 'anthropocentralize;' H. sapien life form and build, above all other. We want to work towards protecting life as an essence and form, and along with that work to assure a certain quality of life for as many forms (of course, by nature, H. sapien will come first [blood is thicker than water]) as possible. For this effort too, the abortion, I argue, should be upheld by society at large--thus legal up to around a certain time frame. . . not just any time.





① D.P. Purpura; The development of Synapses in Cerebral Cortex of the Human Fetus; Brain Research Vol 50, '73, pp 403-407

Morphogenesis of Visual Cortex in the Preterm Infant (in Growth and Development of the Brain, '75, edited by Mary A.B. Brazier (Raven Press)
 
salima
 
Reply Fri 31 Jul, 2009 11:24 pm
@deepthot,
"EEGs are very, very uncommon, as far as I know, but have been done and tend to show that it is not until around 30 weeks (~83% full term) that enough cortical development has occurred to give any adult like EEG characteristic. ① (also see this post on the subject of brain development) Also, through especially post-mortem study, it can be known that the developing brain will not have the proper structual development to so fully cognized signals for things like pain, vision, auditory and such until some time around (plus/minus) seven months.

As for being able to survive, the lungs do not develop quite fully enough to operate properly for 'after delivery self function' until some 23 weeks into gestation."..........................kaseijin


hi kj-
i think we cant consider being able to survive independently outside the womb as a criteria because that would negate the attempt to nurture premature babies, and i realize that is also an issue, but would only complicate things here to get into it.

with some criteria we might begin to say a child is not a person either, so they are dispensable until after the age of reason! so we have to choose something specific. the legal limit is one thing and the ethical ideal another, of course.

i would be interested to know when does a foetus have an EEG that resembles a newborn's. why are they not done, are they assumed to be meaningless or inaccurate? not that i think that would be definitive proof of anything, but at least it would be something tangible to hold onto.

i know there have been various tests done that show when a foetus cries, and i am sure there have been many others that i never read, but how many would be reliable i dont konw. how much study has been done onm the subject? you would think because of the controversy there would have been tomes...

re: link to prior post #48
"In the neural tube, nonneural precusor (epithelial) cells divide and give rise to the neurons. It is estimated that in humans some 250,000 neurons are 'born' from these precursor cells every minute during the peak production period (just a couple of months before birth). This process is very much influenced by hormones, both in the embryo and in the mother, with the turning on of genes--which in turn regulate neuron production. In the immediate period after the neuron cells are 'born,' they begin to segregate and migrate from the ventral area to the outside."...............kaseijin

i dont know what this really means. even if there is a peak production period just a couple of months before birth, it must be able to continue on its own without the mother's input because a baby can survive and grow to be healthy and complete if removed from the womb at six months gestational period. i am also unclear from the post above on exactly when it is that the mother's hormones play a part in the input-if the child is prematurely born, have the mother's hormones already finished playing their part?

but my point is if we decide a foetus is not a human being and deserves not to be protected until 6, 7, 8 months gestation...what does that do to the logic or morality of our efforts at keeping a foetus alive outside the womb when it is only five months gestation? (i think that has been done, but correct me if i am wrong.)

i am not trying to make the issue more complicated than it is-it couldnt BE any more complicated than it is. and i am more concerned with the ethical aspect than the legal one. legal issues are the easy ones.
 
KaseiJin
 
Reply Sat 1 Aug, 2009 03:03 am
@salima,
Yes, salima, and it may be important to keep the case of an immature delivery, when the woman (or family) wants and intends to keep, care for, and raise the newborn, separated from that of a desire to abort pregnancy.

I would argue that there will be those cases where problems have developed whereby the fetus is very premature, and that there will of course be an effort to keep the baby alive by intervention (otherwise, by nature [as would be the natural course of events without present medical knowledge and abilities] it would die), yet, that such cases have no relevance with drawing some general 'cut-off line' for allowing abortion. This would be so because it would be a methodological error to group those who wish to give birth and raise a child, with those who do not; and these are two very distinct, and different groups. For that reason, I would yet tend to argue that that information is useful in determining the legal settings.

The information I had given is basically saying that. The word 'adult' was used, but that was probably not such a good word, since the EGG signature is the same, pretty much {for the different states, of course . . . resting, asleep, awake and alert, etc.} for infants and adults (as far as I have learned) since it's human brain. So that, along with the part you had quoted from that link, is pointing out that we do not find a fully developed brain until up to, and after (depending), a short time band--which is rather late in gestation. Thus by extension, we do not have what can so very easily at all be called a thinking, sensing, consciousness projecting brain.

It seems that the process of doing an EEG on a fetus is kind of invasive? I'll try to re-check the procedures. In womb crying, will surely be during, or just slightly before that 30 week period, I'd think--although simply crying does not require thoughtful brain state. But here, I have no information on any reports of such. The hormonal processes that interact between mother and child will be largely early on, and will of course exchange will cease if the fetus is removed from the mother's womb.

It would perhaps be a bit out of line with biological terms to deny that even a zygote is human (as in H. sapien), much less an embryo or a fetus, but arguments can be made on personhood. At five months gestation, it may be very, very hard, to say the least. I have no information on that at all, though seeing what is required for continued development, would take an educated guess and say that the figure must be different?

Yes, I think I can see your concern, salima. Again, I would say that the two cases--the desire to give birth and raise the child, and the desire to abort are not of a comparable type. I would tend to think that ethics is what primarily gives rise to laws, in things of this nature, and thus think that better education and understanding can give the situation where abortion can be legal (within certain bounds), respecting the woman's right to choose (also, within bounds). Also, I think that by better human sexuality understanding and openess, the need for, or cases of, abortion, will decrease to a negligible number.
 
salima
 
Reply Sat 1 Aug, 2009 09:21 am
@deepthot,
"The information I had given is basically saying that. The word 'adult' was used, but that was probably not such a good word, since the EGG signature is the same, pretty much {for the different states, of course . . . resting, asleep, awake and alert, etc.} for infants and adults (as far as I have learned) since it's human brain. So that, along with the part you had quoted from that link, is pointing out that we do not find a fully developed brain until up to, and after (depending), a short time band--which is rather late in gestation. Thus by extension, we do not have what can so very easily at all be called a thinking, sensing, consciousness projecting brain."......KJ

meaning 30 weeks? and 36 (approximately) is considered full term?
 
deepthot
 
Reply Sun 2 Aug, 2009 04:48 pm
@salima,
salima;80714 wrote:
"The information I had given is basically saying that. The word 'adult' was used, but that was probably not such a good word, since the EGG signature is the same, pretty much {for the different states, of course . . . resting, asleep, awake and alert, etc.} for infants and adults (as far as I have learned) since it's human brain. ... we do not find a fully developed brain until ... rather late in gestation. Thus by extension, we do not have what can so very easily at all be called a thinking, sensing, consciousness projecting brain."


Perhaps it would be helpful if I state the proposed compromise in a different way. And then offer some comments on it that I have heard from critics:
[CENTER][CENTER]
[/CENTER]
[/CENTER]
Let's see if we can find the middle ground between the pro-abortionists and the anti-abortionists. Application of both the findings of medical science concerning the beginning of conscious human life, and the principles of value logic to the ethics of abortion, show us how to do it.
A rigorous analysis by Dr. Frank G. Forrest, -- as emended by Marvin C. Katz -- using the value calculus provided by Formal Axiology, has produced the following results:


If a woman takes responsibility for the health of her body, then she may have rights that are relevant, such as the right to control her own body, and the right to choose not to have an unwanted child. [Here "body" refers to the physical aspect of a person.] It turns out that the abortion of a pre-conscious, pre-brain-functioning fetus IS compatible with a woman's right to control her own body. However, the abortion of a conscious, brain-functioning fetus is ethically wrong.


If the expectant mother wishes to abort a fetus resulting from rape or incest, the abortion is justified ethically provided the fetus is not yet conscious and does not yet have a functioning brain as determined by qualified doctors. Even the mother's hatred of the fetus would not justify killing it once it is conscious.


When childbirth endangers the life of the mother and the abortion is necessary to preserve a loving family - meaning that the mother has relatives who love and have empathy for her, and don't want to see her die as a result of this birth - then the abortion of a fetus at any stage of development is ethically justified. Also if there is present a severe fetus anomaly: e.g., an irreversibly unconscious fetus, then an abortion is ethically justified.


While neither the pro-abortionists nor the anti-abortionists are always right in their stand, perhaps we all can agree on the desirability of keeping abortions to a minimum. And let us educate all sexually-active women to use contraception, and to be sure to take the morning-after pill.....all as part of the process of having sex. And let us insist, as a society, that men who have sex be responsible by determining that proper contraception measures have been taken before they proceed with the love-making....to guarantee that any child that may result be a wanted child born to parents able to take care of it both materially and spiritually.
I would add:NO RIGHTS WITHOUT RESPONSIBILITY !

After I wrote the above statement, I got this critique from a professor in England: we will still have to decide (each and everyone of us) whether we think that this is an issue where legal or social sanctions (public opinion etc.) are the best way to 'police' this controversial activity.


Later on he added this: One of my concerns about the Forrest position is that even if we accept the distinction between the 'conscious brain-functioning fetus' and the 'pre-conscious, pre-brain-functioning fetus' there has to be a grey area where it is unclear which is the case. Even with the most sophisticated medical techniques imaginable to measure brain functionality, there would almost certainly be odd cases which did not match previously known data. So doctors would have to exercise their 'god-like powers' (ha ha) after all!

However, I thought there was common ground and good sense in deepthot's final paragraph, which is a positive note to end on.




And a woman named Sharon wrote this:
I agree with Dr. Forrest.

Is it then Ethical to have the Death Penalty?
If it is ethically wrong to abort a conscious, brain-functioning fetus, how much more wrong is it to kill an adult?

Let's be consistent about a pro-Life position.
 
Mr Fight the Power
 
Reply Sun 2 Aug, 2009 06:35 pm
@William,
William;79862 wrote:
Considering there are those of character who realize there are many ways to achieve orgasm that do not involve the risk of having a child, I find it a lacking of character for anyone to reach a solution that involves the destruction of that child and a grasping of straws in referring to that "new" life as a fetus or "piece of meat" to ease the conscience of those who actually perform this utterly selfish act. You may use dogmatic, trible minded or whatever term you wish if it gives you some kind of satisfaction all the while being thankful your mother was dogmatic and trible minded at least in the fact that she did not so choose to end "your" RIGHT TO .LIFE.

William


Yeah, I would be so miserable if I hadn't been born. Wait....

Uh oh....

I think the logic train derailed.
 
 

 
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