Ahh. FINALLY, someone gets to the real issue. In my opinion, the only issue.
In every one of my posts, both to Moonbeam and earlier to Jim, was the unspoken assumption of life at conception. Until that assumption is questioned, every pro-choice argument will lead only to paradox. So long as that assumption is embraced, either wittingly or unwittingly, the only options are to protect life, not protect life, or choose and pick which lives you think are worth protecting. In my opinion, that leads to arguments no one can ever hope to win.
Lol. Sorry Ron, I was labouring under the impression that that was a given, all I've been doing from the start is arguing that a fixed position of "kill" or "not kill" is not sustainable/compassionate/sensible/rational, whatever! (All emanating from the "against god's will argument"). Of course I think the assumption of "life" HAS to be embraced (given the inadequate state of our scientific knowledge), and of course if you go on to adopt an inflexible "kill" policy (what you call pro-choice) then, sure, paradox is the result. That's so obvious it's not really worth debating . Which leads me right back to the part where we were discussing "value" and I admitted that effectively by allowing a "kill" option in some instances, you would be attributing varying values to life; but then by NOT allowing the kill option you might also be said to be making value judgements. But to be specific, sure, you are indeed picking a life. I don't think anyone can particular "win" the abortion debate. I'd just try to neutralise the two extreme views, and then discourage abortion wherever possible, while providing as much intimately tailored support/advice as the system would allow on a case by case basis.
On your earlier post:
Sure, Moonbeam, slavery was an economic issue.
On the one hand, there were people who didn't think human beings should be owned. There were other people, on the other hand, whose way of life and livelihood depended on owning human beings. In between the extremes, you had people who didn't rely on slavery but were nonetheless convinced Southern plantation owners deserved a right to make a living.
However, whether a person wanted to feel good about themselves or placate a Europe already condemning American slavery or increase their economic fortunes or just protect the price of cotton -- every stance was ultimately self-serving.
The abortion issue may not be economic, Moonbeam, but it is certainly no less self-serving than that of slavery.
Humanity is ultimately driven by far more than just simple economics, after all. We don't make it illegal to kill two-year-olds because it's going to make us money or because it will prevent someone else from making money. In my opinion, we don't even do it because it's "the right thing to do." We try to protect ALL two-year-olds because we recognize it's the best way to protect OUR two-year-olds.
The role of society, I think, is to help protect people from other people. That's not a moral issue, except perhaps to those who keep trying to make it one. It's a pragmatic issue. When a society fails to protect the weakest from the stronger, ultimately everyone is put at risk. Because there's always someone stronger. Again, that's not morality. It's survival.
Ok, just so I don't get confused we've (you've) switched the focus a bit now, to the question of whether the abortion issue bears hallmarks that are significantly different from the slavery issue, apartheid and, let's add, hunting for enjoyment (just because I want to), also it seems, to the question of the role of society.
Did I mention the "role of society"? I must be crazy ... No, I thought not, I didn't. But let's see. Does society have a "role"? Does it HAVE to have a role by reason of its existence? Margaret Thatcher would go further: society doesn't exist.
Is it THE duty of society, if it exists, to protect an unborn foetus from its mother? Or its duty to protect the mother from the father and parents? Or to protect the mother from the psychological pressure exerted by the foetus? Or to protect her from herself?
Society: little more than an "aggregation of people" these days I'd say; possibly you could define it more mechanistically by reference to legal or political boundaries but social and cultural distinctions are becoming difficult imo. And yes I think you're probably right. I always remember a film called The Phoenix, or something like that, where a group of guys were marooned in the desert after a plane crash. It kind of illustrates the idea of the "group" as an entity laying down parameters to protect individuals from each other and indeed from themselves. I think perhaps the model gets highly complicated, perhaps even impaired to the point of irrelevance, in a world where power is very unevenly distributed and where leadership and paternalism introduce further "imperfections". You might say I suppose that society in the act of trying to perform its role surrenders its ability to perform its role. Which is why I suppose I feel that your point is academically right, but not of particular interest to a pragmatist (which I am probably not!). I also have some sympathy with Thatcher's view, although I suspect she was thinking more of that enduring human quality you mentioned earlier in your post - selfishness - when she postulated the non-existence of society. Which segues me neatly into:
The self-serving argument (I'm sure it's been done to death in 101): ultimately every single human action is driven by self interest. As a result of which you can tie any number of scenarios together with the broad sticking plaster of selfishness. I don't think its all that helpful to say that abortion and slavery are similar because they are both self serving. I might just as well say that cutting my sandwiches for lunch and cutting the local bank vault open are similar because they are self-serving. I think you have to accept the broad underlying truth about humanity, and then look at degrees and the qualities of and reasons for that self-serving action.