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wtf I'm pro-life now
#1
Shocked 
https://www.zootopianewsnetwork.com/2017...comic.html

Obviously the comic is hilarious and the title of this thread is tongue-in-cheek. I've been firmly pro-choice for years, and still am, but I WILL say that after listening to pro-life arguments over the years, I'm more sympathetic to their claims. Were there not the factor of bodily autonomy and the burden of pregnancy, I might be more inclined to agree with the idea of "do we truly know when life begins, and is it up to us to snuff out that life?"

That's the fundamental question, isn't it? When DOES life begin? Is life defined by a heartbeat? Seems to me like the heartbeat argument is spurious. Why exactly would heartbeat imply life and sentience? It's simply a mechanism to distribute oxygen and nutrients to an assortmant of organs. It seems to me that higher brain function is a better descriptor of whatever the hell a "soul" is, without getting into the distracting and problematic idea of souls to begin with. Keeping in mind that independent of the idea of "souls" (which is religious/implies life after death, and is irrelevant in this discussion), we can all agree that all life is sacred, and that in particular as liberals, we ought to be doing everything we can to promote the well-being of every living human, including robust social programs to feed, clothe, shelter, and provide health care to every citizen.

So the heartbeat argument is spurious for another reason. In 2-4 weeks after conception, we can detect a functional "heart" beat, pumping the fetus's own circulatory system. Of course, recent developments in science demonstrate that this is not a completely formed heart, but a primitive version that still hasn't fully developed. So making the claim that "the baby has its own heart" is less robust than we might think.

Let's get back to brain activity. Can science determine whether a fetus is a life based on how advanced its brain is? Does this mean that patients who are comatose, with little-to-no detectable brain activity, are not alive? More to the point, does this render their life no longer sacred? Are they no longer afforded the dignity and sanctity of a functioning human being? How much brain activity can make this distinction? What about those with major brain disabilities, low IQs, or brain damage?

Can science answer these questions? Using science to determine what life is worthy of dignity has problematic backgrounds. In the name of science, eugenics has been advocated, determining that humanity as a whole would progress if we culled out races that were considered of natural lower intelligence. Many prominent thinkers (possibly including Darwin?) believed that "negroids" were naturally inferior than whites, and used junk science (now debunked) to justify their attitudes towards Africans.

Keep in mind that I fall back on the sanctity of bodily autonomy, and that women have inherent reproductive rights (as important as any other civil right). I may be projecting, but I assume the same is true of the other (all 4 of you) other regular posters up in this bitch. So I think it's interesting to explore alternatives to what we believe and contemplate them. I'll further assume that no one here believes that life begins at conception, that terminating first-trimester fetuses is cool and good, and that terminating a late-term pregnancy (let's go extreme and say 2 weeks before delivery) is bad and and wrong.

So exactly where do we make that cut-off? Noted obnoxious-but-admittedly-sometimes-effective-rhetoricist Ben Shapiro makes the argument that you can't rigorously define that cut off. Let's say we define it as viability outside the womb, which I think is a good starting point. Does this mean that simply a week or a day before we meet this criteria, it's suddenly okay to abort the fetus? What's so important about that one week? You can continue moving the goal posts until you come up with a window so small, that it's better to simply disallow abortions altogether. Maybe life really DOES begin at conception? (Narrator: it doesn't.)

But the goal posts thing is obnoxious because you can also apply it to other gray areas of a timeline, such as the age of consent. Hey, it was a week before her 18th birthday, so is it really statutory rape? Come on, she's 17, she's ready, you can't tell me that one year would make a difference, she's mature for her age, a lot of them are having sex by 17 anyway so who cares? And come to think of it, 16 isn't that far away from 17, etc.

So we can agree that a cut-off is important somewhere. But there's always the lingering doubt: can we TRULY be the judges of whether life is real and legitimate at any point during the pregnancy? Isn't it better to err on the side of caution? Isn't it more compassionate to assume that the fetus's life is as important as any of our own? Isn't it problematic to "play God", even if you don't believe in such an entity?

DISCUSS, or just laugh at the Zootopia comic.
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#2
I didn't bother with the comic- but I'll say that my opinions on abortion are rather nuanced.

Let's start with an old argument which I had to dismiss.  The "potential" argument.  Essentially that one just argues that if a clump of cells has potential to one day be a thinking feeling person, then it should be protected.  The more emotional version of it is "You wouldn't exist today if your mom aborted you!"  Well, sure, but to first dismantle the emotional version, I wouldn't exist if my mom never met my dad either.  Back to the Future is not a basis for a moral code.  More to the point, ANY clump of human cells, thanks to modern science, has potential to be a human life.  Are we morally obligated to freeze every sperm and egg just to be absolutely sure all those potential lives come to be?  I say no, that's ridiculous.  Potential is no argument against abortion, moving on...

Now we get to the argument from conciousness.  This one's a pretty good clincher for me.  Yes, the science on the brain and the seat of conciousness is in it's infancy, but what we CAN say is that at least during the first couple trimesters, there appears to be no evidence that the mind of the fetus is developed enough to have any sort of real awareness.  Maybe that will change with future evidence, but I don't feel guilty relying on the best science has to offer in that regard to make my choice.  Eugenics was dismissed almost immediately, it was never real science in the first place, so I don't think it compares very well.

Ben Shapiro is an idiot pretending to be a smart person.  I don't care about his rhetoric, however, I am entirely sympathetic with the idea that conciousness is a gradiant.  When it comes to biology, most things are.

So, if you were going to restrict it, fine, err on the safe side and place the cutoff at the start of that gradiant rather than near the end.  Laws can't be gradiated, so we need a cutoff point.  It's not different than minority consent laws and drinking age laws.  Of course you're going to get some people that are still too immature on the other end of that cutoff, but that doesn't render the need for one moot.  We still need one, even if it's a tad arbitrary.  However, the start of that gradient is still pretty far into the pregnancy, plenty of time to not worry about a moral quandry.  Plus, we make such calls all the time.  We have all determined, as a species, when someone is dead and not worth protectin the rights of, and when certain life forms seem capable of experiencing pain (such as plants).  We use the best we as a species can know about to make these calls, but we may be wrong.  It doesn't mean we don't have to make that choice though.  Right now, the evidence points to those first few months being essentially without conciousness, so we are justified in making decisions based on that knowledge.  We do that ALL THE TIME in every other element of our lives after all.

Then there's one simple reality.  We have to make choices between two lives all the time.  More accurately, doctors do.  That's the point of triage.  Yes, that person with the lesser injury might actually have something more accute that needs immediate action than the one that presents as more serious, but a choice has to be made, and that first glance diagnosis has to determine where medical attention goes.  So, while there's a chance you're sentencing the lower end of the triage scale to death by focusing on the more immediate concern, you still have to make that choice.  This does feed into pregnancy of course, in situations where a fetus or a mother will die, a choice must be made.  I think in those situations erring on the doctor "playing god" is simply a must.

Future science may make the decision moot.  If the need for pregnancy was removed entirely (big crystal eggs we gestate our young in), there wouldn't even be much of a discussion.  There's already some beginnings of that starting with deer, but it's in it's- ahem- infancy.  For now, we still have decisions to make that affect people out in the real world, and that's the crux.  If we force women to carry to term from an armchair perspective, we're forcing painful scenarios that don't necessarily need to exist, and pain that doesn't need to be, out into the world.  Even in late term abortions where arguments can be made that one may be snuffing out a life, that's a moral decision between two bad scenarios, and in that event it's really up to the mother and her doctor to make that call.  It's a grey area, not a black and white situation, and it's one every person has to decide for themselves, hence a law won't help.

Now, once the fetus can be safely removed, I would argue we have a moral obligation to do that rather than an abortion in the event the mother doesn't want the fetus inside them any more.  We ALSO have a moral obligation, as a society, to provide for these children and ALL homeless children better than we are doing now.  Adoption needs to be made an attractive option, not a "sentence".
"On two occasions, I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able to rightly apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question." ~ Charles Babbage (1791-1871)
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#3
I feel entirely comfortable with thinking that abortion is fine and things would be better if the only children who were ever born were children who were wanted and desired by their parents.

Where 'life' begins is always going to be a subjective debate and not one in which I'm personally interested in staking a position, because it's secondary to the point. I don't consider biological function, on its own, to be what defines a person. Death is a great horror for us not because biological functions cease in a person we care about, but because they are a person we care about. Why do we care? Because of experiences we share. Because a person dying means that you are losing more than a operative meat suit. Important relationships are permanently severed, family and friend dynamics are irretrievably lost. Losing a good friend or family member is like having a part of your entire life erased. That's the element which defines the tragedy of death.

But, a fetus? It's definitely possible to have that attachment grow, and that attachment is as important to expectant parents and family as any other. It's also entirely possible to not have that attachment. It's possible for a fetus to be an unwanted and dangerous burden to its parents. If it is unwanted, this is the only possible stage of life where terminating it results only in the cessation of biological function. None of the other factors which makes death terrible are really in play here. And, the overwhelming share of performed abortions happen at this stage. Later-term abortions are much more rare and virtually never a choice made for the sake of birth control or other convenience.
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#4
I would disagree with one thing.  I think death is a horror not just because someone is close, but in and of itself.  A hermit has just as much a right to life as the most popular kid in school, because of that inner mind.  It jusitifes it's own existence.
"On two occasions, I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able to rightly apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question." ~ Charles Babbage (1791-1871)
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#5
I would have to say my own death would be the most awful from my own perspective, if that makes sense. That hermit has his/her own experiences, thoughts, and bonding to lose. Death is most tragic for the one who's dying.
YOU CANNOT HIDE FOREVER
WE STAND AT THE DOOR
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#6
I would only ever even CONSIDER voting for anyone pro-life if they made it clear that it is just a personal opinion and they would never vote that way and would vote the only decent way, for choice. And even then I'd much rather vote for a better candidate who isn't a right-winger on this extremely important issue. The religious right's war against abortion over the past decades has been horribly successful, as they slowly chip away at womens' rights one bit at a time... I know they want to go back to the days of women dying in back-street illegal clinics, but they must be stopped, abortion is an extremely important right that must be protected. Sure, abortions are not good things, but they are necessary and 100% absolutely must be available to anyone who needs one.

The religious right's obsession with the unborn -- fetuses, who are not yet humans, since they are not yet born -- while not caring one bit about the living -- you know, people who actually exist -- is kind of insane; why pretend to care so much about "dead babies" (it's not, again, they are not babies) and not about, oh, any of a massive laundry list of issues about the living they should care about but don't -- guns, health care for everyone, social justice, etc, etc... but those things don't help them in their war against womens' rights while their hypocritical anti-abortion war does, so here we are. I only hope they can eventually be stopped before they succeed. They've done a huge amount of damage already, with their nonsense lying anti-abortion laws that only exist to try to make poor women suffer and help their electoral chances. It's absolutely despicable stuff. If they actually cared about life they would care about the living first, but it's clear they do not.

I totally oppose any restrictions on abortion. For any potential restriction there is surely some case where that procedure is sadly necessary for someone.
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