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Why is there still controversy over abortion?

 
 
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2015 02:57 pm
On this day, Jan 22, 1973, In a historic decision, the U.S. Supreme Court rules in Roe v. Wade that women, as part of their constitutional right to privacy, can terminate a pregnancy during its first two trimesters. Only during the last trimester, when the fetus can survive outside the womb, would states be permitted to regulate abortion of a healthy pregnancy."

As far as I know, the ruling still applies to all states today, so why are Republican Governors aloud to go against the Supreme Court, make up their own oppressive rules?

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Type: Question • Score: 9 • Views: 2,950 • Replies: 30

 
McGentrix
 
  5  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2015 05:37 pm
@Rickoshay75,
Because people can't mind their own freaking business.
cicerone imposter
 
  2  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2015 09:35 pm
@McGentrix,
That and the influence of religion.
0 Replies
 
Lustig Andrei
 
  2  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2015 09:53 pm
@Rickoshay75,
Quote:
As far as I know, the ruling still applies to all states today, so why are Republican Governors aloud to go against the Supreme Court, make up their own oppressive rules?


First, governors of states, whether Republican or otherwise, have no power to do what you suggest they are doing. If any governor tries this, his own state legislature will remind him or her that it is the legislature which enacts the laws.

Two, in states where "oppressive rules" limiting abortion rights have been enacted, the matter is generally appealed in Federal courts and those new laws are ruled to be unconstitutional by any Federal judge. Several cases are still pending; it's a continuing confrontation between the pro-choice and antiabortion groups.
0 Replies
 
kellirosej
 
  -1  
Reply Fri 28 Aug, 2015 09:29 am
@Rickoshay75,
The main reason is because there's strong scientific evidence that would suggest the fetus in the womb is a human being, and therefore is deserving of human rights, i.e. the right not to be murdered. Legally speaking, a human being's right to not be murdered has always trumped another individual's right to make choices about their body when the two rights conflict.

Biologically speaking, the zygote and then the fetus created after conception is a genetically unique human whose own individual set of cells and DNA develops itself. For this reason, many would argue that abortion ends the life of a unique individual and is therefore murder based on legal precedent.

Even if you argue the human in the womb is not a "person," that argument begins to fall apart after 10 weeks of development when the fetus shows the first signs of brain function. Onward after that, biologists have confirmed the fetus can feel pain, have dreams, and so forth. Since brain function is what we generally use to distinguish personhood, one would have to argue against abortion after 10 weeks of development to be absolutely sure they aren't supporting murder.
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Aug, 2015 10:27 am
@kellirosej,
You're going to have to provide some evidence to support each of your claims.
InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Aug, 2015 10:38 am
mark
0 Replies
 
kellirosej
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Aug, 2015 10:56 am
@ehBeth,
"To begin with, scientifically something very radical occurs between the processes of gametogenesis and fertilization the change from a simple part of one human being (i.e., a sperm) and a simple part of another human being (i.e., an oocyte usually referred to as an "ovum" or "egg"), which simply possess "human life", to a new, genetically unique, newly existing, individual, whole living human being (a single-cell embryonic human zygote). That is, upon fertilization, parts of human beings have actually been transformed into something very different from what they were before; they have been changed into a single, whole human being. During the process of fertilization, the sperm and the oocyte cease to exist as such, and a new human being is produced." - Dianne N. Irving, M.A., Ph.D. - International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy 1999

"[T]hrough the mingling of maternal and paternal chromosomes, the zygote is a genetically unique product of chromosomal reassortment, which is important for the viability of any species." - Bruce M. Carlson, Human Embryology and Developmental Biology (St. Louis, MO: Mosby, 1994)

"...scientifically there is absolutely no question whatsoever that the immediate product of fertilization is a newly existing human being. A human zygote is a human being. It is not a "potential" or a "possible" human being. It's an actual human being with the potential to grow bigger and develop its capacities." - Dianne N. Irving, M.A., Ph.D. - International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy 1999

"Though there has been at least one report of brain activity occurring as early as seven weeks into pregnancy, researchers have determined that the first electroencephalogram (EEG) activity usually occurs in the brainstem at around 10 weeks of gestational age." - Bergstrom RM, Bergstrom L. Prenatal development of stretch reflex functions and brainstem activity in the human. Ann Chir Gynaecol Fenn1963;52 (suppl) :1–21S.

"Although it would hence not be entirely unreasonable, as an epistemic matter, to infer that the fetus cannot be a person prior to the beginning of higher brain activity, there is a moral reason for caution. After all, if the instantiation of a self in a human fetus is a sufficient condition for moral personhood, the moment at which the fetus instantiates a self marks the beginning of the period during which the moral impermissibility of abortion rises to the level of murder.

Accordingly, moral considerations may dictate acting on (as opposed to accepting) a more conservative conclusion about fetal personhood; for allowing abortion after 10 weeks, given the epistemic uncertainty associated with fetal personhood, runs a substantial risk of resulting in murder. Hence, even if there are reasonable epistemic grounds for believing that the selfhood/ensoulment cannot begin until the first episodes of cortical brain activity, there are strong moral grounds that preclude basing the law on such a belief.

Either conclusion, however, entails reasonably extensive abortion-rights. Because, according to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) figures, 91% of all abortions are performed within the first trimester,29 a law that permitted abortions up to the beginning of discontinuous cortical activity would have the effect of allowing abortions up to 20 weeks and hence permit all first trimester abortions and then some. Further, because, according to CDC figures, 74.5% of all abortions are performed within the first 10 weeks, a law that permitted abortions up to the beginning of brainstem activity would have the effect of allowing most abortions up to 10 weeks.29xxvi In either case, a substantial number of abortions would be allowed under a law that permitted abortion until the beginning of the relevant form of brain activity." - Bergstrom RM, Bergstrom L. Prenatal development of stretch reflex functions and brainstem activity in the human. Ann Chir Gynaecol Fenn1963;52 (suppl) :1–21S.

Sources:

"When Do Human Beings Begin? Scientific Myths and Scientific Facts" https://www.princeton.edu/~prolife/articles/wdhbb.html

"A dualist analysis of abortion: personhood and the concept of self qua experiential subject" http://m.jme.bmj.com/content/31/1/48.full
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Aug, 2015 12:12 pm
@kellirosej,
Let's first of all get rid of a couple of the glaring errors in your argument.

1) Abortion is legal. So your phrase "legally speaking ... has always trumped...blah blah blah" is clearly wrong.

2) There is no reason to believe that just being a human being gives a collection of cells any human rights. Human rights are an arbitrary invention. We made them up. Your argument about what humans rights a fetus "deserves" make no sense.

3) The rest of your arguments are irrelevant. We as a society have to decide what rights a collection of cells has at any point in its development. We have decided that it has no right to life during the first trimester.

4) The arbitrary decision of when a human life can be ended is reasonable to me. A collection of cells has no experiences, no opinions, no abstract thought, no friendships, no hopes.... all of the things that make human life valuable this collection of cells is lacking.

Sure the collection of cells is human, it is unique, it has potential... all of these things are true. But they are irrelevant because the core things that most of us feel is sacred about the human experience doesn't apply to a fetus.

5) Again... this is an arbitrary decision. That's all we can do. But we, as a society, have made this decision and now it is the law.
kellirosej
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Aug, 2015 12:16 pm
@maxdancona,
I was answering the original question, i.e. why is there still controversy over abortion. I was simply trying to lay out examples of why people still fight against the current laws. Whether you feel those examples are adequate or not is irrelevant to the original question.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Aug, 2015 12:18 pm
@kellirosej,
The big issue for most people is whether the fetus has the characteristics that make human life sacred. As I have said, experiences and hopes and relationships are all part of this... something that fetuses don't have yet.

Of course, this is a subjective decision and different people have different opinions.
neologist
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Aug, 2015 03:51 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:
. . . collection of cells . . . fetus . . . .collection of cells. . . collection of cells . . . collection of cells. . .

Sure the collection of cells is human, it is unique, it has potential... all of these things are true. But they are irrelevant because the core things that most of us feel is sacred about the human experience doesn't apply to a fetus.
Dammit!
I was just getting ready to grill a steak when I read this and realized what I was about to do to this collection of cells.

But, hey.
I am not about to suggest we change either our laws or our moral understanding. I suggest only that we might do well if, from time to time, we evaluate our percetptions.

0 Replies
 
InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Aug, 2015 04:40 pm
@kellirosej,
These reasons are based on assumption that abortion is murder.

What's to say that abortion isn't justified?
kellirosej
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Aug, 2015 04:56 pm
@InfraBlue,
InfraBlue wrote:

These reasons are based on assumption that abortion is murder.


Right. That was my point. There is still controversy over abortion because one camp believes a fetus is a human being/person (i.e. able to be murdered) and one camp believes a fetus is merely a clump of cells or not a person (meaning abortion cannot be labeled as murder).

In order to justify abortion while holding a consistent position that all human beings deserve equal rights, one must assert that a fetus is not a human being or human person.

As far as I can tell, the reason it is so controversial is because there is enough reasonable scientific evidence to support the human-ness or personhood of a fetus in the eyes of a large group of people.

Now obviously you can hold that the fetus is a human being and/or person and just say so what? It's a human but it doesn't have the same rights as other humans. In that case, however, you are implying that not all humans are of equal value which leads to loads of other ethical questions in other areas.
kellirosej
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Aug, 2015 05:02 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

2) There is no reason to believe that just being a human being gives a collection of cells any human rights. Human rights are an arbitrary invention. We made them up. Your argument about what humans rights a fetus "deserves" make no sense.

3) The rest of your arguments are irrelevant. We as a society have to decide what rights a collection of cells has at any point in its development. We have decided that it has no right to life during the first trimester.


Are you implying that you'd condone arbitrarily assigning rights to whichever humans society determines are valuable? If that's the case, then you'd be unable to oppose slavery or genocide and remain consistent.
kellirosej
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Aug, 2015 05:07 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

The big issue for most people is whether the fetus has the characteristics that make human life sacred. As I have said, experiences and hopes and relationships are all part of this... something that fetuses don't have yet.


You could argue this is the case for infant children, or even older children, or those with mental disabilities. If someone is unable to "experience" hope or relate to others or make their own decisions, should we be allowed to terminate their life?
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Aug, 2015 06:10 pm
@kellirosej,
Quote:
Are you implying that you'd condone arbitrarily assigning rights to whichever humans society determines are valuable?


Yes I am implying that. I will go further than that... this is the only way that humans have ever gotten rights. In any society in history they have been arbitrarily assigned to whichever humans the society determined are valuable.

Slavery and genocide have both been considered acceptable by my ancestors (and probably yours). It is only fairly recently (165 years ago) that we in the US accepted both of these as part of our society.

Now we give assigned many people a lot more rights. Americans (except for a crazy few) now agree with me that slavery and genocide are immoral. I am personally happy about it, but that doesn't make it any less arbitrary.

Quote:
You could argue this is the case for infant children, or even older children, or those with mental disabilities. If someone is unable to "experience" hope or relate to others or make their own decisions, should we be allowed to terminate their life?


Yes, you could argue that. I am not really sure of your point here.

I think most of us feel strongly that infants, and older children and those with mental disabilities have relationships and experiences in the world that make them human (these are experiences that fetuses don't have).

People in vegetative states are in a different category. In my opinion they should be given the right to die. I have written a living will stating that should I lose the ability to live a meaningful intellectual life... and the doctors agree that there is no medically significant chance for me to recover.. I want to be allowed to die.




0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Aug, 2015 06:14 pm
@kellirosej,
Now Kellirosej, I answered your questions. Can you kindly answer mine?

The Bible allows slavery in both the Old and New Testaments. God's law in the time of Moses allowed men to have sex with slaves (something that most of us now consider rape and deeply immoral) and commanded that teenaged girls be put to death if they couldn't prove they were virgins.

Do you feel that the God in the Old Testament made a mistake when in the book of Joshua he condoned genocide and the killing of babies? Or did he change?

Or is our modern day morality just wrong to now oppose slavery?

(My explanation that morality is arbitrary and changes from society to society explains this contradiction very well. How do you explain it?)
kellirosej
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Aug, 2015 07:07 pm
@maxdancona,
Hmm how did we go from discussing abortion to you asking me to exegete the bible? I am definitely not a biblical scholar and I am certain I will not be able to provide you with anything close to a satisfying answer. If this is something of interest to you though I'm open to reading any source material or books you have on these subjects, but I don't really feel comfortable answering questions that I know nothing about. Sorry if that's a cop out in your eyes but I don't really get how this is relevant to whether the abortion laws of today violate human rights.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Aug, 2015 07:29 pm
@kellirosej,
Of course it is relevant. If the question is whether the abortion laws of today violate human rights, then we need to understand what human rights are.

If human rights are arbitrarily decided by any given society... then I would say that the abortion laws that have been passed in modern American society follow pretty well with the views of American society.

If human rights come from some other source, then we can talk about where they come from. If they come from the God of the Bible, then we would have to go to the Bible to figure out what they are. God doesn't change.

If you have read the book of Joshua... it is pretty clear that God in that time did not respect our modern views on human rights. Read Joshua 6 - 10. The language is pretty clear, at God's command they killed men women and children. To us today we would call it genocide.

So, Kellirose. If you don't agree with me that human rights are arbitrarily bestowed upon some people by a society... where do you think that human rights come from?

 

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