I voted "can be a moral act and should be legal", though there are hypothetical situations where I think I'd have a moral (though not legal) problem , for instance someone irresponsibly (and I don't mean cases where contraception was used but failed) getting pregnant a number of times and then aborting, and also find late-term abortions somewhat troubling as the vast majority of fetuses are capable of survival by this stage.
It is a 2 part question--legality and morality. It is a private, individual concern, and should not be legislated in the first place. If there is a market for clinics which provide that servfice, they will prosper. If the morality of the community determines, individually, that abortions are not moral, there will be no demand, and the clinic will not sustain. Ah, the Free Market at work...
Morally, abortion can be moral. As a private concern, it should have particular legal status (i.e., the government should stay out of it,,, so it should be legal).
Scott: I agree completely. My comment that It would be nice if it was rare was based on the idea that, generally, unwanted pregnancy is reliably avoidable. it would be nice to think that people had the forthought to take care of that. Of course it would be nice if we were all Objectivists too :-) In any case, your assesment is correct.
Eli Sacks says, "late term abortions... wether or not the fetus could survive on its own, it's certainly not a rational creature capable of making choices. at worst it's like killing an animal". But the problem is that wantonly killing animals is ALSO immoral, so making such an argument is not an adequate defense of abortion in all cases.
"Wonton killing"? You've got me mystified here. I know fellas like Jacky Chan are pretty clever about using everyday things as weapons, but what's this killing with wontons all about? Does it matter if they are fried or boiled?
Whoever does anything without a "reason" for doing it? It may not be a reason you or I approve of, but it must be to whoever does it, or they would not do it.
As for killing animals, whatever "reason" an individual has for doing so is perfectly moral. There is nothing anymore immoral in killing an animal than cutting down a tree. Both are alive.
(I grant that those whose motives are allied with some perverse sense of "pleasure from cruelty" or "religious sacrifices" are committing an evil act, but it is not the death of the animal that makes it evil, but the motivation of the killer.)
You are very wise, grasshopper. So, you think wonton killing is a joke?
It is a very old, very esoteric secret. You must reveal this secret to no one.
The Ninja make a very potent wonton soup, the ingredients are a closely guarded secret. This delightful broth is totally irresistible. A spoonful is harmless. A small bowl is mildly discomforting. But no one who tastes even a spoonful can resist eating until this delight wonton soup has its most potent mortal effect.
The secret is the lovely mushroom stuffed wonton. A little straw mushroom, a little wood ear, and a little amanitas. Very delicious. Very deadly.
Regi, I was just making the (fairly obvious) point that pointless destruction is bad. Cutting down a tree for no reason would also be immoral. It sounds like you mean that all motives are equally valid. Some people enjoy destruction, and that is wrong.
To go back to the original issue, abortion is not desirable. Ideally, it would not be necessary. It involves the destruction of human life, and even if that life has no rights, it's destruction should not be taken lightly. I doubt anyone has ever had 30 abortions but if someone has one abortion and doesn't take steps to prevent another unwanted pregnancy, that would be immoral.
it is not human lives that are being destroyed. it is potential human beings, that people choose to abort, before they become humans.
as for the immorality of it, i still don't see it.
they have an abortion, not for the sake of killing (and i wouldn't actually consider it killing, since the fetus isn't alive), but because they don't desire to have a child (or go through all the trouble of pregnancy/labor).
there is nothing wrong with the motive, there is nothing immoral about ending a potential human being, and so there is nothing immoral about doing it repeatedly.
if a woman doesn't like the side effects of the pill, and she'd rather not have condoms or some other contraceptive used, then so what? it's a victimless act. a fetus cannot be considered a victim, since it isn't alive, and has no rights.
Eli, you’re right to point out that an embryo is not a human being; it’s a collection of cells and tissue (concrete) with the potential to become a life (abstraction.)
But multiple abortions (in the range of 30) would be morally questionable because; compared to contraceptives, multiple abortions pose a cumulative health risk, and are costly. Why go undertake an invasive, expensive procedure when other alternatives offer less risk and cost? You wouldn’t. There’s no rational reason why you would. It’s the default of rationality that makes it immoral.
there may be immorality in risking harm to yourself.
that aside, assuming a woman made the wrong choice (or had a faulty contraceptive), and ended up pregnant when she didn't want to be. then, it would be rational for her to get an abortion. it would be moral.
The problem for me is - at what point in the pregnancy is it still moral, ie, a foetus as a collection of cells, and when does the foetus become a human being when I believe abortion has to rank with infanticide and become immoral. I think it has to be that abortion is a womans' right with no moral significance up to week 16, since the foetus cannot survive outside the mother up to that time, ie, it is only a human being in potentia. However, after 20 weeks a delivered foetus can, and often does, survive. The time between the two is a bit problematical. Recent research in Australia has shown that the vast majority of the huge number of abortions annually are by professional women over the age of 25. The problem I have with this is that never before has it been so easy to avoid an unwanted pregnancy, nor to discover its presence before 12 weeks gestation. It smacks of a lack of thought or reverence for life itself. And that I do have problems with.
I'm not sure I'd agree with this but in terms of the legal issue it might be argued that even a viable fetus doesn't have a right to be in his mother's womb against her will, for exactly the same reason people don't have the right to taxpayer-funded welfare etc. Morally, I am inclined to agree that a viable fetus should generally not be aborted.
MH: I'm not sure of the grounds of a foetus and the "right" to be in a womans' uterus. Surely the matter of rights depends on the ability to make a choice. A foetus doesn't get to decide to invade and use the uterus after all. It just gets put there without its' consent, since it can't consent. Since legally I'm sure parents are considered responsible for their children up to age 16, (at least, they are in Aus.), that responsibility must start from conception. Morally and legally then, a foetus is part of a womans' body and her total responsibility - therefor hers to choose to dispose off, untill such time as it can be considered a separate entity which owns itself. A current problem is that modern technology is making it possible to have a viable prem. baby at the same stage in development that they are also being aborted. At this point I have to say I cannot consider abortion either legally or morally acceptable. Incidentally, please do call me Cass, or Cassandra. I rarely use my given name except for professional purposes, which is how it sneaked in here - I use my email address professionally too. Since I have just started "posting" to SoloHQ, "Hello to everyone. I'm looking forward to some great discussions" Cass Hewitt-Reid
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