|Firstly, I would like to thank you for being willing to cordially discuss this with me. I trust that we can have an open and rational discussion. |
"If her body belongs to her, then she gets to say what can be in it."
This is most certainly true. The problem here is that she already chose for the fetus to be in her body by engaging in reproduction. For her to kill her offspring after deciding to create him/her seems cruel and inhuman as the fetus/embryo had no say as to whether or not he/she would be within her body.
Actually, as you pointed out in response to Dwyer's cruise ship analogy, the passenger existed prior to the voyage, whereas the embryo did not exist prior to the pregnancy. I actually find this fact to support my argument as the embryo had absolutely no say as to whether or not he/she would even exist, it was completely the parents choice to create him/her. Thus, contract law arguments are not applicable in this case as the embryo was forcibly created regardless of his/her will. Thus, to perform an abortion in the case in which one is reversing the result of consensual sex, one is in essence creating a human being merely for destruction. In what way is this fair?
"Wouldn't matter if the fetus was seen as a human or not. And the government has nothing to do with this distinction. I belong solely to myself and not any outside entity but if someone tells me to leave their property, I must go. I don't have a right to trespass and to claim that I did, would be to invalidate what is meant by property. So, the fetus whether human or a clump of cells, can't trespass. If the owner of the body says, "leave," it must go.""
Yes, but you entered their property on your own will. The fetus/embryo had no choice. They were forced into the parents womb. Would it be fair if someone kidnapped you, dragged you onto their property in chains, and then killed you for being on their property?
"Yes, there are logical consequences to having sex and one of them may be pregnancy. But no one is obligated to forego abortion. Abortion is a choice that can be made."
Abortion's being a choice has nothing to do with its rectitude.
"Chronic drug abuse may lead to death, but no is under an obligation to die so long as they can still change their path and get off of drugs."
Yes, this is because they were responsible and changed their path.
"Unwanted pregnancies are not a case of "one chooses to reproduce." They chose to enjoy sex. Your argument sounds suspiciously like a religion-based moral duty to pay for the sins of pleasure."
There is nothing wrong with pleasure. The fact that you are responding by comparing my argument to religion's inherent dislike for empowerment of the individual seems to tell me that you might be misinterpreting my argument. I am not arguing that pleasure is wrong, rather, I am arguing that sacrificing human life on the altar of pleasure is wrong. Our right to the pursuit of happiness always ends where the Right to Life of others begins, in essence, we cannot permit anyone to kill people for their own pleasure.
"...even if the fetus or embryo has some rights, they wouldn't include forcing the mother to carry them about for 9 months, occupying her body against her will,"
The mother's rights do not include creating a person against their will simply to murderously destroy them.
"and then making a slave of her for 18 years."
One word: adoption.
"But there is another error in your statement: you calll the fetus or embryo an individual - but they aren't, they are a part of the mother, like her heart or big toe."
They have separate and individual genetic codes that define them as people. Thus, the fetus is not simply "part of the mother," as physical contact has nothing to do with whether or not one is an individual. An individual is defined by their respective traits, which are defined by their genetic makeup.
"My big toe is a human entity - that is an entity that is common to all humans. But it isn't in a stage of human development. However, each individual, human sperm cell is clearly a 'human entity' that is in a stage of human development. "
Your big toe is not capable of participating in the human developmental cycle. Thus, your big toe is not an individual.
A sperm cell is only partially capable of participating in the human developmental cycle as it does not possess its own individual genetic code as its code is merely a fragment. This, couples with the fact that the vast majority of sperm cells do not ever fertilize an ova, a sperm cell lacks the same level of individual potential that an embryo has.
"Humanity is word that is larded down with ambiguity in this context. Humanity includes things like concern for fellow beings - with human decency, "Show your humanity." Humanity usually refers to all humans alive rather than indicating a single individual belonging to homosapiens species: "Today humanity thinks nothing of..." It can refer to the quality or state of being human as opposed to being animal like - as a murderer is. It can refer to "The Humanities" - a course of study. If a sperm is not an individual human being possessing the individual rights, then at some point in the course of development there is a change. You appear to be arguing for potential and the potential occurring at conception."
This is correct.
"People who argue from a religious position see rights given to humans by God. It is that arbitrary and not clear if they go to all humans as a group and in perpetuity, or if God acts individually granting the rights on an individual by individual basis at the moment of conception. And no way to validate any of those assertions or related assertions or any questions they raise, like, "Why don't frogs have rights?" It is all mystical and all based upon interpretations of scripture."
This is irrelevant to me. Firstly, this is because I am an agnostic atheist who does not base his opinions on religious dogma, and secondly because the logical interpretation from scripture is that we have no rights.
Actually, you have touched onto one of the reasons I shook off the shackles of religion, there is a clear dichotomy between defending the rights of the unborn, and ripping infants out of their mother's bellies with a sword. Yahweh obviously has no problem with abortion.
"Objectivists logically derive rights as arising from man's nature. It is by definition an individual that is a separate being from the mother. The parents of a child act as the guardians of the child. A human being must have developed a rational capacity which includes choice."
So, it seems that you are arguing that a human being must have a rational capacity in order to have rights.
Well, then what about someone who has been unconscious for a year? Do they not still have the right to live?
This actually brings me back to my question as having a rational capacity is a form of human sophistication and complexity. Why is it that one must be in a sophisticated or complex state to have rights?
"That isn't an assumption, it is an assertion - one that is backed up by logic and not scripture. If the argument is that because an embryo or fetus is a human clump of cells, then it is an individual human being you are abusing the word "individual" and you are arguing the potential versus actual again. And you are coming from a place where you can't argue against giving rights to sperm cells, or to skin cells that can be grown in a petri dish. Either rights come from God, or they are derived logically from man's nature and what survival requires and the context of society. They aren't just floating abstractions to be attached to any old thing."
Why do you keep bringing religion into this? I am not religious in any way.
And secondly, I am not merely arguing that an embryo is a human because it is a clump of human cells, I am arguing that an embryo is a human because it has his/her own genetic code that is fully capable of defining him/her as an individual human being, and because he/she is in a stage in the human life cycle, meaning that he/she has the potential to walk this earth among us. I am not equating the actual with the potential, rather, I am arguing that the rights of the actual are derived from the potential.
"The parents chose to engage in sex, and that is not the same as choosing to reproduce."
Just like choosing to pull the trigger to a 1911 pointed at your head is not the same as choosing to commit suicide, I gotcha.
"I can choose to drive to the supermarket, and then change my mind, or not pay attention and start driving to work instead."
Yes you can, this is because you do not destroy another human life when you do so.
"There is no individual until there is birth - separation - individuation."
It is this contention that I attempt to challenge. I hold that physical contact does not cause one to not be an individual.
"It is those who oppose abortion that make parents into slaves to an unwanted pregnancy."
It is those who uphold abortion who cause more than 80 percent of people who have down's syndrome in the US to not even get a chance to live.
"That's either circular reasoning, irrelevant or ambiguity depending upon how you approach it."
There is nothing circular about this. Ask yourself this, why do we become incensed when a perfectly innocent person is brutally murdered? Is it not because they have just been robbed of everything?
You see, the three parts of time are the past, the present, and the future. Due to the fact that the past is what has been, and what has been done, the result of our past is our property. How we use our present depends upon our liberty. And in order for us to have the freedom to utilize our present and move into the future, then we need to keep living. In essence, to lose one's Life is to lose one's future, to lose one's Liberty is to lose one's present as we cannot use our present without Liberty, and finally, to lose our Property is to lose the fruit of our labor in the past.
In essence, the slaughter of an innocent is the ultimate robbery as it is the theft of their future.
"You have argued before that the fetus or embryo have rights to start with. Now you are saying that the actual has rights because of it's potential."
"You haven't given any other statement of where these rights come from in the first place - why don't frogs have rights?"
If we wish to be able to secure for ourselves and those that we love a "good life," then the best way to do so is to set up societies in which we are all capable of obtaining this "good life" without infringing upon the ability of others to obtain their "good life." Rights, are merely parts of what are necessary for the "good life." We cannot truly obtain the "good life" for ourselves unless we Live, are Liberated, and are capable of Pursuing our Happiness without the fear that our Property, that is, the fruit of our Pursuits of Happiness, will be deprived of us. This is from whence Rights cometh, from a type of Altruistic and Enlightened self interest, a self interest that respects the self interest of others, and will, in some cases, sacrifice itself for the perpetuation of the society in which this self interest is secured. In essence, to say, "GIVE ME LIBERTY, OR GIVE ME DEATH" is pretty much the same as saying, "I shall fight for the freedom for me and those around me to engage in the pursuance of the "good life," and I would rather die than for me and those that I love to not be able to pursue such a life as then I shall die a free man, a man who truly lived, rather than a man who was philosophically dead before he even entered the grave."
"One of the potential states of the actual is death... is that a source of rights."
Of course not. You have no potential when you are dead. Rather, your potential is fulfilled by what you do with the time that you have.
"Potentially, I might have a bad day tomorrow - does that infer any kind of rights."
I don't see how it could. This analogy seems to tell me that you may be misinterpreting me.
I arguing that human beings have a great potential, one greater than any other species on this planet. This potential is what differentiates us from other species such as frogs. And, it is this potential that gives our lives meaning.
"You talked about liberty and responsibilities - is that the source of rights, or potential liberty and potential responsibility. Potential always includes "not yet." You can't make a "not yet" individual human being into a "at this very moment" individual human being."
I don't see a fetus as a "not yet" individual human, rather, I see a fetus as a fully individual human. Yes, if a fetus was a "not yet" individual human, then it would not qualify as an individual as there is a clear line between the potential and the actual. But, if a fetus is an individual human, then the line does not apply as then the actual, that is the fetus being an individual, is not merely a potential but rather an actual that is coupled with great potential.
Ultimately, we have a difference of opinion as to what an individual is. You argue that in order to be an individual, one must be of a certain stage of development, that is, of a certain stage of sophistication. I see an individual as being based on one's ability to live a sentient human life.
"Frogs have potential too. They too can be deprived of their lives, of their potential. Where do you draw the line?"
I draw the line with a recognition of the levels of precedence. Yes, a frog has potential to hop around, eat flies, and swim. This is where a frog's potential ends. Human beings are potentially capable of so much more than frogs. The reason why humanity is the dominant species on this planet, and the reason why, if we continue to advance rather than regress by capitulating to evil and stupidity, we may be able to secure a place for ourselves in the stars for a very long time.