Statesboro, GA, USA
I am sorry it has taken me so long to respond. Hopefully you are still reading this thread whenever it pops back up to the surface.
As far as I can see you're coming from a position akin to that of a moral absolutist (whether religion based or not), but then watering that down with certain "exceptions".
No, I'm not "watering it down" with exceptions. All moral positions involve prioritizing and qualification. It is a real moral principle not to limit someone's choices arbitrarily. But that principle falls beneath a more important principle of protecting an innocent human life. I have merely been pointing out your inconsistency in desiring laws to protect you from someone's free "choice" of killing you to make life easier on themselves, while not advocating laws to protect the lives of unborn human beings. There is no difference. You yourself prioritize in the exact same way ... only making exception with abortion apparantly.
Though it is a worthwhile question for you whether morals of any kind (beyond opinion or preference) make sense apart from a religious framework, the religious question is another thread entirely, since common moral insight exists for the religious and non-religious alike.
Thus, you believe it is morally wrong to kill? Is that another living being? Or do you distinguish between humans and animals? It's ok to kill a rare tiger? Ok to kill a man eating rare tiger? Ok to kill a house fly? Ok to kill a honeybee, a rabid dog, a cat, your daughter's pet cat? A neanderthal? A cloned half ape half human? A pheasant for the pot? A pheasant for pleasure? It's ok, to kill a cat but not a baby?
We have been given moral sanction through the scriptures, and through conscience to kill animals for food. Do you eat meat? If so, then you agree in practice. Even if not, eating meat is a majority practice ... infanticide is not. Why is that? Are you suggesting (really) that there is no difference between eating Chik-fil-a, and killing a two year old human being?
It seems to me that by your torrent of non-human examples you are obscuring moral practices and choices (including those of your own) rather than clarifying them in any way. If you have an argument at all, it is one that inadvertently sanctions all.
You believe it's morally wrong to kill? But it's ok to kill a foetus if the mother's life is threatened? Is it ok to kill a newborn in the same circumstances? A 2 year old?
How could killing a newborn save a mother's life?? or a two year old? The difference (which you aren't acknowledging) is that with a pregnant mother, the fetus can sometimes be the certain death of both mother and child. And obviously, it is better to save one life than none.
You believe it's morally wrong to kill? But it's ok to kill a murderer who has been tried and sentenced?
The difference you are not admitting to is the concept of just punishment. And whether you agree with it or not, the majority of humanity has felt it to be sometimes mitigating of the moral principle to preserve an individual's life. Still there is a world of difference between a serial killer, and an unborn infant guilty of no wrong.
And even if you are against the killing of a guilty human being (allow me use an a fortiori argument) how much more wrong must it be to kill an innocent human being?
You believe it's morally wrong to kill? But it's ok for a General to send a cruise missile into Baghdad and kill a hundred babies?
When did I ever say it was okay to do that? Have we ever discussed my views of various war scenarios, or even of war in general? I would certainly never justify war carte blanche.
It's ok to shoot a man on a subway if you think he's a terrorist?
Not sure about that. Though it might be okay for the authorities to do so if they know he is. You are making two mistakes with these kinds of comparisons. 1) In most cases abortion is not so morally ambiguous as the intentionally ambiguous cases you mention and 2) The unborn child has no guilt, malice, or danger to the lives of others.
The fact is, Stephen, you are trying to pin me down to a position which I won't be pinned to. Call me a relativist if you want to, but I think I'd rather be that than be accused of having a theoretical absolute view which in practice was unsustainable.
I've already admitted ambiguity exists wherever morality meets real-life-decisions. But your examples have been so radically different from anything like actual abortions, that I'm not sure you can (by using such examples) make an argument that moral absolutism is "unsustainable".
You want me to reconcile the apparent importance I attach to development in the womb but not out of it. You want me to state exactly where I think the law should stand, and which abortions should be allowed and which not. You want me to justify why I think that in some circumstances it is morally acceptable to terminate a pregnancy even if the mother's physical life is not threatened.
In short you want me to set out my fixed moral position which should apply, as you effectively put it, "in all circumstances".
I can't do that, I've never pretended I can, and moreover I think an attempt to do so is potentially dishonest and of itself immoral.
The reason I have asked you that, is because you (seeming to accept the humanity of the unborn) find certain cases of abortion as abhorrent (to use your own words). Either you permit what is abhorrent because of its violation of human rights, or you draw some lines somewhere. To refuse to draw a smaller circle (in this case) is to certainly draw a larger one. I don't mind you drawing the lines a different place, as much as criticizing someone for drawing them at all ... when in such a case, not to decide to limit someone, is unavoidably to decide to limit someone else even more (and in this case the most severe kind of limitation).
I also think it would be immoral to have a fixed position for "all circumstances".
Even if I admit that physically the foetus may be human at the point of conception, it is disingenuous not to acknowledge the different psychological impacts of an unseen zygote as opposed to a visible warm breathing newborn.
Alright, Let's talk about the different psychological impacts ... and how you feel that should apply to the abortion question. Let me hear your thoughts, and I will respond.
Stephen I really can't be bothered, and I haven't got the emotional energy, to sit here and type out all the complex factors that distinguish a potential abortion scenario from potential infanticide. If you really can't step beyond the purely medical and physical parameters, then, as I said before, there isn't much more to say.
I have not been unwilling to discuss the psychology of the mother, if that's what you mean. I'm only insisting that the emotional distress of a mother does not warrant the taking of a human life. This is always true, but especially so if there are alternatives to address that emotional distress.
You asked me about "life", and how breath, heart and brain cannot be life. My sister-in-law's sister had a traumatic experience when she was 11 years old. She spent 20 years on diazepam (the rest I won't relate) she then jumped from a multi storey car park. She didn't "live" for those 20 years.
What does this have to do with abortion? Should she have been "put out of her misery" by someone's choice other than her own? Her life was, and should have been, protected by law from others even through her sad years of suffering. Not all in life have a happy one ... but I'm more than certain that all would have wanted the opportunity to try. I'm not praising suicide here ... but the key point here is that it was her own will (not another's) which determined her end.
I want you to know I don't speak flippantly here on the matter of such real and personal tragedy. But since you brought it up, I thought I should respond. I am very sorry to hear of such suffering for you and your family.
People who are in favour of making all abortion illegal often ask people like me what gives us the "right" to "allow" a woman to kill the foetus. Sometimes I feel like shooting back, and what gives you the right to decide that a woman will suffer that kind of hell? But then that would be to descend to their level of unhelpful and destructive simplicity.
It seems you have been asking just that. What is the middle position then which you have not yet described?
I'd put a time limit less that 24 weeks but more than 8
Okay, maybe you have begun to describe it.
Why less than 24 but more than 8, if you don't mind my asking?
I'd probably ban multiple abortions (with exceptions).
What legal ground would there be to deny a second or third abortion?
Ideally compulsory counselling before the choice was made with reference to a tribunal with the power to refuse.
I'm assuming this tribunal would be obligated to refuse for anything outside the exceptions you give below? Or would the "tribunal" be sovereign in their decision? Remember that even judges only make rulings based upon law. What would be the guiding factor of the tribunal?
The underlying principle would be to discourage abortion wherever possible, and to make it not a matter of course that one would be allowed. In some situations such as rape, coercion, extreme parental pressure, possibly in forced or arranged marriages, no obstacles would be put in the way of a decision to abort.
The problem is, it will not be possible if abortions are freely allowed for "coerced" marriages, and not allowed for young mothers who say they didn't know what they really wanted in life, and have now changed their minds about their mate, or about being a mother. If the right-to-life of the unborn is violated because of something like a person's feelings about their marriage ... then it will be legally challenged and trumped in any number of circumstances, since you have opened the door to complete subjectivity.
Me: I'm asking you to support the priority of your moral imperitives. Where, outside abortion, does a non-life-threatening situation take precedence over the life of another human being?
Moonbeam: I can't easily support the priority of my moral imperatives without giving detailed examples, it's an evidential thing, which I'm not sure I want to elaborate on here. Answer all my questions at the beginning of this post and I may discuss this further if you want.
I did explain that your examples either involved animal life, or persons themselves guilty of murder or posing a real danger to the lives of others. At the very least I've shown that all these examples are radically different from an in untero human being who has done nothing and can do nothing to harm another life.
Though slightly altered according to the ground we've covered, I would like to ask you again:
Where, outside abortion, does a non-life-threatening situation take precedence over the life of another innocent (legally) human being?
Me: I do believe however, along with education about the nature of the fetus and social helps, that far less women would resort to abortion."
>>>MB: I agree!!
(smile). I happy that we can agree on this much.
Misunderstanding Stephen. I meant as in kill herself, or take herself off to a place where abortions would be performed that are illegal where she is, or harm herself in other ways which would also harm the foetus. I was simply pointing out the obvious practical position, that the foetus is at the mercy of the mother, with the possible implication that collaboration might be better than confrontation.
I hear where you are coming from ... Yet, as I explained to Bob, I don't accept that the legal protection of the unborn, and compassionate collaboration with pregant women are mutually exclusive.