A Defense of Abortion Rights: The Spectrum Argument

A Defense of Abortion Rights: The Spectrum Argument January 22, 2013

Today is the 40th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court case, Roe v. Wade. In honor of this important support for fundamental rights, here is a reposting of my primary pro-choice argument.

abortion and the spectrum of personhoodThe pro-life position is often stated this way: (1) human life begins at conception; (2) it is murder to take a human life; therefore (3) abortion is murder and should be considered immoral.

We’ll return to that idea shortly, but first let’s look more closely at human life. I argue that there is a spectrum of personhood during gestation.

Consider a continuous spectrum from blue to green. Where’s the dividing line? Where does blue end and green begin? We can argue about this, but we agree that blue is not green. The two ends are very different.

What age is the dividing line between child and adult? Twelve years? Eighteen? Twenty-one? It’s a spectrum, and there is no objectively correct line. Again, the line is debatable but no one doubts that a child and an adult are quite different.

An acorn is not a tree, a silkworm is not a dress, a water molecule is not a whirlpool, a piece of hay is not a haystack, and 20 chicken eggs are not a henhouse of chickens. Similarly, a single fertilized human egg cell is very different from a one-trillion-cell newborn baby.

But the vast difference in the number of cells only begins to define the vast difference between the two ends of the spectrum. At one end, we have arms and legs, fingers and fingernails, liver and pancreas, brain and nervous system, heart and circulatory system, stomach and digestive system—in fact, every body part that a healthy person has. And at the other, we have none of this. We have … a single cell. In between is a smooth progression over time, with individual components developing and maturing. That’s the spectrum we’re talking about.

Let’s approach this another way. Consider a brain with 100 billion neurons versus a single neuron. The single neuron doesn’t think 10–11 times as fast. It doesn’t think at all. The differentiation of the cells into different cell types and their interconnections in the newborn may count for even more than the enormous difference in the number of cells.

Note also that the difference between a newborn and an adult is trivial compared to the difference between the cell and the 1,000,000,000,000-cell newborn.

Some pro-life advocates argue that the humans at either end of this spectrum are identical in every meaningful way and use the term “baby” for every point along the spectrum. I’ve raised babies (with help, of course), and that makes me something of an expert in identifying babies. As an expert, let me assure you that a single invisible cell isn’t a baby.

If eager expectant parents want to use the term “baby,” not a problem. It’s when pro-lifers want to impose that term on others to constrain their rights that we have a problem.

This inept attempt to collapse the spectrum by using the term “baby” for both ends is like the slogan used by the animal rights group PETA: “A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy.” In other words, there is no spectrum here: vermin are the same as livestock, which are the same as pets, which are the same as people.

No, a rat is not a boy, blue is not green, and a single cell is not a newborn baby.

A lot revolves around what we call this spectrum. Do we call it Homo sapiens? With this term, there is no spectrum, because the species is the same—the single cell is Homo sapiens, as is the newborn baby.

What about “human”? That seems a good name for the spectrum—that is, we would call the newborn human but not the cell. Or, we might call the cell human but not a human. Keep in mind that live tissue samples are cells with human DNA and they’re not “humans.” Would they suddenly become humans if, through technological magic, they were made totipotent so that they could grow into a fetus? Pro-lifers would likely insist on using “human” for both ends of the spectrum.

All right, can we all agree on “person”? No, I’ve heard pro-lifers reject this as well.

This game where pro-lifers deny names to the spectrum quickly gets tiring. I really don’t care what the spectrum is called—humanity, personhood, human development, like-me-ness, whatever—call it what you want as long as the naming acknowledges the stark difference between the newborn (with arms and legs and a circulatory system and a nervous system and eyes and ears and so on) and the single fertilized human egg cell.

Speaking of games, the pro-life argument does seem a bit like a game, despite the serious consequences. The Slactivist blog and Valerie Tarico’s blog have shown that today’s foaming-at-the-mouth pro-life stance by evangelicals was not held by their predecessors 30 years ago.

Now, back to the original pro-life argument: (1) human life begins at conception; (2) it is murder to take a human life; therefore (3) abortion is murder and should be considered immoral. This argument fails because it is oblivious to the spectrum.

Pro-lifers claim to be celebrating life, but equating a newborn baby with a single cell and demanding that everyone else be bound by their beliefs doesn’t celebrate life, it denigrates it.

To be forced to give birth to a child against her will
is a peculiarly personal violation of [a woman’s] freedom.
— Disciples of Christ, 1978

Human life develops on a continuum from conception to birth.
— United Church of Christ, 1978

The fetus is not reckoned as a soul.
— Bruce Waltke, Dallas Theological Seminary, 1968

(source of quotes)

Photo credit: Wikimedia

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  • Frank McManus

    Okay, I’m late to this argument, and haven’t read all, or even very many, of the comments. But my first reaction is that basically you’re right; this makes sense. But my background as a pro-lifer is bringing two questions to mind:

    1. Have you explored anti-abortion philosophical literature that addresses these issues? I’m thinking of Francis Beckwith, Patrick Lee, and Christopher Kaczor in particular.

    2. As far as I understand it (which may not be very well), the central point of the anti-abortion position on this question is that the “spectrum” describes the span of life of an individual human being, from conception onward. Whether you call it a “person,” “a human being,” or whatever, is less important than the fact that clearly, at conception, a genetically distinct human individual comes into being. That’s what conception *means*: before conception, no new human; after conception, the start of a new human.

    I’m not saying I agree with the way anti-abortion people use this argument, or even that I think it’s entirely sound. And I certainly don’t think “murder” as a term can be meaningfully applied to abortion. But I wonder if there’s isn’t an element of truth here that you don’t fully account for.

    • 1. Have you explored anti-abortion philosophical literature that addresses these issues? I’m thinking of Francis Beckwith, Patrick Lee, and Christopher Kaczor in particular.

      I don’t remember reading anything from them. If they have any good responses, I’d welcome a summary from you.

      What I typically find is the point that you also raise: that a distinct human is formed. Yes, granted, but this isn’t interesting. So what? We still start with a single microscope cell. Lots of potential, I’ll grant, but this isn’t a person (or whatever you want to call the spectrum). It may be in 9 months, but it ain’t now.

      Whether you call it a “person,” “a human being,” or whatever, is less important than the fact that clearly, at conception, a genetically distinct human individual comes into being.

      To me, this is intellectual trivia. Yes, it’s true, but from this we’re to ignore the plight of the woman having the baby? Or the situation of the baby itself, brought into the world unloved and unwanted?

      To me, this far, far outweighs the cold intellectual fact that we’ve created a unique piece of DNA.

    • RichardSRussell

      Whether you call it a “person,” “a human being,” or whatever, is less important than the fact that clearly, at conception, a genetically distinct human individual comes into being.

      A genetically distinct plan for a human being comes into being. Some assembly required before you have the real thing.

      As I remark in a sig line I’ve put together on the subject: “The self-proclaimed ‘pro-life’ crowd is entirely too obsessive about the imaginary people they claim to be concerned about. They need to calm down, switch off their circuit diagrams, get out of their blueprints, sit in the shade of their acorns, listen to the pleasant songs of the eggs, and stop to smell the pollen.”

      • Good point. There is a bit of difference between an acorn and an oak …

  • argent

    The problem with the spectrum argument is that it isn’t an argument. The spectrum ‘argument’ says “Suppose that human-ness exists on a spectrum, from a thought in a couple’s head, to a fetus, to a child, to an adult. Wouldn’t that fit our preconceived notions of what makes someone a worthwhile person a lot better?” And it stops there. It doesn’t actually give any defense for how the qualities that differentiate an embryo from a newborn (size and level of development) justify human rights or the denial thereof.

    I was about to argue that in any other context, anyone would rightly reject size and level of development as a justification for denying anyone human rights, but I realize that’s false. Throughout history, both unborn and born children have been considered the property of their parents, and the law has failed to protect their rights as individuals. The rationale is that parents always have the best interests of their children in mind, and that it’s unfair to restrict parents’ freedom to parent as they choose.

    There are millions of people–myself included–who could explain to you exactly how harmful it is when a person’s rights aren’t protected because of their level of development. Fortunately, I lived, I am recovering, and I have a voice with which I can tell you that such discrimination is wrong.

    • Sounds like you’re the staunch defender of human rights and I’m the guy wearing the sheet with the eye holes.

      The spectrum ‘argument’ says “Suppose that human-ness exists on a spectrum, from a thought in a couple’s head, to a fetus, to a child, to an adult.

      The spectrum “argument” says that 99.9% of the spectrum is single cell to newborn. Then it’s a person, and the usual laws and standards applying to persons are in effect.

      justify human rights or the denial thereof.

      When you say “human rights,” what comes to mind for most of us are people that you don’t need a microscope to see. If you want to say that, no, for this issue you extend “human” down to the single cell that has H. sapiens DNA in it, then you’ve redefined “human rights.”

      The rationale is that parents always have the best interests of their children in mind, and that it’s unfair to restrict parents’ freedom to parent as they choose.

      Yes, that’s true. And that’s the assumption when it comes to the mother-to-be. We assume that she (and she alone) sees the big picture and can judge what’s right for her and the embryo/fetus.

      I can tell you that such discrimination is wrong.

      You haven’t defined what “such discrimination” means, but you might well be right.

      But in this conversation, we’re talking about cells. They don’t have much inherent value.

      • argent

        Thanks for your response, I mean it.

        “Extremely small humans do not have much/any inherent worth” is the thing you’re trying to prove. Please don’t beg the question.

        I guess I am trying to redefine human rights? Before the women’s rights movement, people saw ‘human rights’ as belonging to ‘all men’. Preexisting social prejudices are not a justification unless there is some kind of logic to back it up, not just “well everyone knows that” (especially when most people actually disagree!).

        The antecedent of “such discrimination” is “when a person’s rights aren’t protected because of their level of development”. Parents do *not* always have the best interests of their children in mind, and the government *does* need to step in when parents harm their children. It’s wrong to fail to do so just because we’re clinging to old prejudices.

        • “Extremely small humans do not have much/any inherent worth” is the thing you’re trying to prove.

          I prefer my formulation from last time: “In this conversation, we’re talking about cells. They don’t have much inherent value.”

          Please don’t beg the question.

          Was there question begging going on here? I missed it. Show me.

          The antecedent of “such discrimination” is “when a person’s rights aren’t protected because of their level of development”

          No, I’m afraid this doesn’t work. You point to the trend from rights given just to white landowners to (now) every adult, regardless of gender, ethnic identity, and so on. And I applaud that trend as well. And now you want to throw in single cells? Hmm … which of these things is not like the other? Are you next going to throw in mosquitoes and rats?

          Parents do *not* always have the best interests of their children in mind

          That’s true. That’s why we have CPS. Still, we give parents the benefit of the doubt and understand that there’s a broad range of acceptable parenting practices.

          And that’s how we approach the abortion question.

        • purr

          I just love how he ignored the science and went straight to ‘you want to kill microscopic babies’ argument.

        • argent

          I’m a woman and use female pronouns, but you’re doing a great job demonstrating how much basic respect for human beings pro-choicers have!

        • purr

          Human beings are not single celled organisms.

          Human beings are sentient, sapient creatures.

          Human beings can suffer.

          A single celled GENETIC BLUEPRINT cannot.

          but you’re doing a great job demonstrating how much basic respect for human beings pro-choicers have!

          You are the one who doesn’t seem to have respect for ACTUAL living breathing feeling human beings – ie women. Women are people, zygotes are not. And you believe that a woman’s rights should be abrogated in favour of a POTENTIAL person.

          And btw, even IF we pretend that a zygote is a person, no person has the right to use another person’s body without consent.

        • As if we start with a teeny weeny microscopic baby sucking its thumb and it just gets bigger.

        • purr

          I got argent confused with Brooks P. Had to paste the science again!

          My bad, I get pro-lifers easily confused with one another. They all use the same arguments!

        • purr

          http://scm-l3.technorati.com/11/10/27/55025/zygote.jpg?t=20111027092220

          This is not an ‘extremely small human’. The homunculus theory has already been disproven, dipshit. It is nothing more than a genetic blueprint.

          I suggest you actually try to read, and then comprehend, the science I presented you with.

        • argent

          http://www.abort73.com/abortion/medical_testimony/

          An embryo is a new human being; this is an indisputable scientific fact.

          If it is merely a blueprint, what is it that’s using the blueprint to create a new human being? What does a new human being look like if not a single cell?

          Again, you can accept the scientific facts and still argue that some humans aren’t “worthwhile” human beings. But if you want to argue that a human being requires something other than simply being alive to be worthwhile, you must 1) decide on what that “other thing” is, and 2) make a case for it.

        • purr

          An embryo is a new human being; this is an indisputable scientific fact.

          An embryo is human. It is not a human BEING. Human BEINGS are sentient, sapient creatures. Human beings are not single celled genetic blueprints – as I have demonstrated. Human beings are not 1/2 placenta. Now are they?

          If it is merely a blueprint, what is it that’s using the blueprint to create a new human being? What does a new human being look like if not a single cell?

          I have already explained. In great depth. Do try to keep up.

          Again, you can accept the scientific facts and still argue that some humans aren’t “worthwhile” human beings

          As I keep having to explain to you, human DNA does not a human being make.

          A zygote, and a pre-viability fetus has as much sentience as clinically braindead corpse.

          Are you willfully ignorant or are you just that uneducated about fetal development ? Either way, you need to educate yourself before you take the liberty to make decisions for others based on false, or just flat out misleading statements from pro-life PROPAGANDA websites.

          A brain-dead person with a functioning heart/lungs/brain stem will still show electrical activity in the brain, but they won’t show the particular “brainwaves” that are characteristic of the higher cortical functions of cognition. So the whole EEG isn’t “flat”, just the part of the EEG profile that shows a thinking person is using that brain tissue.

          (A better description would be the more scientific exactitude of “clinical significant electrical brain activity” to avoid confusion.)

          At this point no “person” with sentience or awareness is present in the body, and it is legal to discontinue life support, and harvest organs for transplant, as without a functioning brain the body is just a collection of tissue.

          People who are diagnosed as clinically brain dead are routinely disconnected from life support and used to provide the organs for transplantations (no murder charges have ever been filled for this and none ever will be) A fetus does not have the bilaterally synchronous electroencephalographic patterns in the cortical area of the brain to be considered alive until 26-30 weeks of gestation, exactly like those who are diagnosed as clinically brain dead by physicians.

          People who are considered clinically brain-dead, have brainwaves (and sometimes even a beating heart), just not in the part of the brain that means that they are still alive. At this point doctors can start organ harvesting or turn off life support, no murder charges have ever, or will ever be been filed.

          A fetus younger then 26-30 weeks does not have all the brain structure (cortex) or the synapse, neurons etc in place to show more brain activity then a person who is clinically brain dead, as measured with the same machine (EEG) The heart might beat, but nobody is home.

          No embryo or fetus has ever been found to have “brain
          waves,” before 26-30 weeks gestation, although extensive EEG studies have been done on premature babies.

          In fact a fetus does not have a functional cortex before
          20-24 weeks gestation, no neurons, dendrites, and axons, with synapses between them are physically present. (Pretty hard to show activity in a structure that is not even present yet)

          Since these requirements are not present in the human cortex before 20-24 weeks of gestation, it is not possible to record the clinical significant electrical brain activity indicative of any form sentience and awareness prior to 20-24 weeks. (at that point the cerebral cortex can display some small intermittent non synchronous activity (“stutter”) This is not surprising since it is pretty hard to show activity in a brain structure that is not even present yet.

          Functional maturity of the cerebral cortex is suggested by fetal and neonatal electroencephalographic patterns, bilaterally synchronous eeg are ONLY seen at a minimum of 26 to 29 weeks gestation.

          Studies used are;
          -Hamlin,H. (1964), “Life or Death by EEG,”Journal of the American Medical Association, October 12,113 -J. Goldenring, “Development of the Fetal Brain,” New England Jour. of Med., Aug. 26, 1982, p. 564 -K.J.S. Anand, a leading researcher on pain in newborns, and P.R. Hickey, published in NEJM

          So until the fetus has the same level of clinical brain activity (first seen at 26-29 weeks gestation, well after abortion becomes unavailable) as the woman in question, it is very dishonest (to say the least) to award the fetus more human rights than the woman.

        • purr

          Here, some actual science from some actual biologists:

          1)Biologist Johnathan M Sullivan MD PhD writes: You and I contain much, much more information, both genetic and otherwise, than a blastocyst. That’s why I can write this column and you can read it, whereas a blastocyst just.. .sits there. Indeed, that is the exactly the point of stem cell research: the stem cells in the blastocyst have not yet
          acquired the molecular programming required for differentiation, and so they remain pluripotent, awaiting the necessary molecular signals (the information) that will tell them whether to become nerve or muscle, skin or bone.

          Blastocysts are nothing more than a little clump of cells, each of them a snippet of DNA surrounded by cytoplasm. But that DNA was later transcribed into RNA, and that RNA was translated into proteins. And some of those proteins were transcription factors that told other cells
          in the blastocyst what to do, when to divide, where to migrate. Transcription factors regulated the expression of still other transcription factors. Genes were turned on and off with clockwork precision. Some genes were methylated, so they could never be turned on again.

          In other words, the genome and the proteome of the blastocyst were changed as the embryo accumulated molecular information that the blastocyst did not have.

          The embryo became a fetus, with complex orientations of
          tissues–loaded with spatial, genetic, biochemical and mechanical information that simply did not exist in the embryo.

          The fetus became a child with a nervous system, and that nervous system sucked up information about the world, hard-wiring pathways for vision and movement, learning to make subtle distinctions between this and that, accumulating information that simply did not exist in the
          fetus.

          In other words, the blastocyst launched a genetic program that both extracted and acquired information. It didn’t start out as a human being. It became a human being, with a personality, feelings, attitudes and memories, by accumulating information that was not there before.

          Equating a blastocyst with a human being is like equating a brand new copy of an inexpensive spreadsheet program with the priceless databases that you’ll eventually build up with that program. It’s no less
          ridiculous than saying that a blueprint has the same value as a skyscraper–that it is the skycraper.

          No. They are not the same.

          2) Biologist Scott Gilbert writes:

          Genetics

          This view states that a genetically unique person begins at conception – a fertilized egg now hosts a complete genome, making it distinct from the sex cells that came before it. This definition has the advantage of saying that a new individual has been created that can be distinct from its parents, but is still limited by the fact that this embryo is still in an early stage of development and far from viable as an individual.

          This view also causes a funny paradox in the case of monozygotic (identical) twins: each twin does not exist as an individual when “its life begins” – that is, when it is conceived as the embryo doesn’t split into two parts until later. This paradox could possibly be resolved by
          considering the pre-twinning embryo as a disparate entity
          from either of the resulting embryos. This is why viewing the formation of life as a continuous process rather than a single event is beneficial.

          Instructions for Development and Heredity are NOT all in the Fertilised egg. The view that we are genetically determined by the combination of parental DNA has been shown to fall far short of the complete story. How the DNA is interpreted can vary greatly affected by things such as the maternal diet. Similarly some development requires

          certain bacteria to be present. Thirdly, and most surprisingly, the level of maternal care can determine which areas of DNA are ‘methylated’ which radically alters how they are interpreted. As such the view that we are ‘complete but unformed’ at conception is far from accurate.

          The Embryo is NOT Safe Within the Womb. Modern research shows that 30% or fewer fertilised eggs will go on to become foetuses. Many of these early miscarriages
          are because of abnormal numbers of chromosomes. The view that every fertilised egg is a potential human being is wrong in around 70% of cases.

          There is NOT a Moment of Fertilisation when the passive egg receives the active sperm.Again recent research has shown that the previous commonly held view that the fastest sperm races towards the egg and, bingo, we’re up and running is wrong on many levels. Fertilisation is a
          process taking up to four days. As such there is no magic moment, rather there is a process. There is NO consensus amongst scientists that life begins
          at conception.There isn’t even consensus amongst scientists as to whether there’s consensus. There is no consensus amongst embryologists, let alone scientists.

          Neurology

          Just as death is usually defined by the cessation of brain activity, so the start of life can be defined as the start of a recognisable Electroencephalography[wp] (EEG) pattern from the fetus. This is usually twenty four to twenty seven weeks after conception.

          The point of using neurological factors rather than other signs such as a heartbeat is that this is a much more useful indicator from the point of view of science. A heart beats using mostly involuntary muscle movements so is really little different from any other spontaneous
          motion or metabolic processes. A heartbeat means relatively little in real terms, although it is more dramatic from an emotive point of view.

          By your logic, every sperm and egg should be protected too, as they are all potential ‘babies’. In fact, with current technology, every skin cell and most of the cells in your body can become babies. This is how Dolly the sheep was created. So, all of those potential babies must also
          be protected.

          And by your argument that potential = actuality then we can give children driver’s licenses at age 5, because they will be able to drive someday, therefore, we should give them those rights NOW. And you know what, you will be dead someday. Since in your idiotic logic, potential =
          actual, we should treat you like a corpse and harvest your organs RIGHT NOW. Idiot.

          No, moron. Because they are not infringing on anyone’s bodily autonomy. They are also INDIVIDUALS not microscopic cells. A baby can SUFFER. A zygote cannot.

          http://www.amazon.com/Developmental-Biology-Looseleaf-Tenth-Edition/dp/160535192X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1384195273&sr=8-1&keywords=scott+gilbert

        • An embryo is a new human being; this is an indisputable scientific fact.

          And if we define “human being” as “having Homo sapiens DNA,” then I agree.

          So what?

          Again, you can accept the scientific facts and still argue that some humans aren’t “worthwhile” human beings.

          And by using “human beings,” you get to bounce between two definitions. One is of a single cell that you need a microscope to see, and the other are children and adults. These two groups are really, really different.

          Have you read the spectrum argument? Maybe if you responded directly to the challenges there, we could make progress.

          But if you want to argue that a human being requires something other than simply being alive to be worthwhile, you must 1) decide on what that “other thing” is, and 2) make a case for it.

        • argent

          I’m using one single definition of a human being, which is a scientifically well-defined concept. Something that is human and is also a complete living being is a human being; this is a biological fact that we can all point to and agree on, right?

          I reread the argument, and the premise seems to be “embryos, particularly those very early in the embryonic stage, are very different from adults, and attain ‘adult-like’ qualities on a spectrum of development”.

          The conclusion seems to be “therefore they attain personhood and human rights on a similar spectrum, and so the personhood and rights of an embryo are very different from the personhood and rights of an adult.”

          Is that accurate? If so, where do you get from the premise to the conclusion?

          Edit: also, I probably won’t continue to respond if you can’t take care of your friend. I came here for a rational debate, not childish insults. Not trying to flake out on you, just looking after myself.

        • We could have loads of fun haggling over definitions, but I’d rather not. My only caution to you is to avoid conflating “human being” meaning (1) babies, children, and adults with (2) anything with human DNA.

          We share great concern for the first set. The second set is a mixed bag, and I see no inherent value at the single-cell end of the spectrum.

          I reread the argument

          Thank you. And what do you think of the PETA attempt to collapse the spectrum. Do you reject it as I do?

          Is that accurate?

          Pretty much.

          If so, where do you get from the premise to the conclusion?

          I don’t know how to explain it any more simply. Do I need to explain to you that a mosquito isn’t as important as you are? If we’re on the same page there, I don’t know how you can equate a single cell with a trillion-cell newborn.

          Yes, they share the same DNA. So what? Are you seriously telling me that your eyes mist up when you think of how fabulous human DNA is, but you don’t much care for rat or snail or banana DNA?

        • purr

          I’m using one single definition of a human being, which is a scientifically well-defined concept. Something that is human and is also a complete living being is a human being; this is a biological fact that we can all point to and agree on, right?

          The word “being” has a number of definitions, one of which relates to “existence”. So, in that sense, because an unborn human exists, it would qualify as a “human being”. However, likewise so would a radish plant qualify as a “radish being”. But since that latter phrase is not
          normally used in casual conversations, it logically follows that in those conversations, which so frequently include the phrase “human being”, the word “being” refers to something other than “existence”. The actual relevant definition can be inferred from other phrases that are
          used from time to time: “intelligent being”, extraterrestrial being”, “alien being”. The word “being” is simply a synonym for “person”.

          Since a radish plant is not a person, that is why the phrase “radish being” does not get used in ordinary conversations. The propaganda is now obvious; abortion opponents are claiming that an unborn human qualifies as a person, without offering any evidence other than the
          label “being”. Note that because ordinary animals are also nonpersons, we don’t use phrases like “rabbit being” in typical conversations, either. And, measurably animal-level are the minds that unborn humans do
          have! (How often do you encounter the phrase “fetus being”?)

          Meanwhile, True Artificial Intelligences, when they eventually begin to exist, will qualify as “machine beings”, even though their offspring, won’t qualify as persons until after many months of acquiring parts.

          By your logic, according to biology, the amoeba offspring is a living organism of any of the microscopic unicellular protozoans of the rhizopodan order Amoebida, and therefore an AMOEBA BEING.

          Oh, and a zygote/embryo/fetus is NOT a complete human being. It is incomplete and partially formed.

    • purr

      An undifferentiated mass of tissue smaller than the period at the end of this sentence is not a ‘child’ let alone a ‘person’ you ignoramus.

  • purr

    As others have said in the past, your freedom of action stops when your fist encroaches on my personal space

    The woman’s body is her personal space and the fetus has no right to it.

    And considering the fact that women are actual PEOPLE, and microscopic embryos are only potential people, it is cruel and unjust to subjugate a woman to the contents of her uterus.

  • purr

    Citation needed.

  • purr

    Liar.

  • GeorgiaPeach23

    As one of 12 children of neglect and abuse, I also stand for the right of a child to be wanted. The needs of existing children should be privileged to the extent that conceiving additional children is an immoral act if it will result in depriving the existing children of necessary resources.

    • GP: Nicely stated. It baffles me how pro-lifers can be so closed minded to ignore the issues of the mother, her family, and the life that the unborn will be thrust into. They wipe their hands–once they’ve convinced a girl to avoid an abortion, their job is done (and the job is about to begin for the mother to be).

  • asmondius

    As I said before, your ‘spectrum’ only works with static subjects, whereas human beings would be in constant motion across the spectrum. You’re trying to use a ruler to divide the ocean.

    The Nazis had a ‘spectrum’ as well – Aryan on the right, Jewish on the left. Depending on where you were, maybe you just faced discrimantion, or maybe you were sent off to the camps. This is a very flawed idea, Bob. You’re trying to equivocate a moral issue.

    What really made me sad was your attempt to equate a tissue sample to a zygote. Certainly you must know the difference . This looks like the absolute bottom of the barrel as far as arguments go.

    I also don’t buy into your concept of ‘potential life’. The science you sometimes use as a pseudoreligion certainly doesn’t support that concept.

    Then, as I scroll down, I see you blithely blogging away as the person you are conversing with is being called an ‘ignoramus’ and ‘dipshit’ by one of your minions. Is this the type of person you want to be a hero for, Bob? Is this what you really want to do with what remains of life?

    • MNb

      If you said something before it’s likely completely wrong.

      “your ‘spectrum’ only works with static subjects”
      Yup, total nonsense. If you move from A to B the space between A and B is a spectrum, still you’re not static by definition.

      “The Nazis had a ‘spectrum’ as well – Aryan on the right, Jewish on the left.”
      Well, I already figured out that you’re braindead, so I won’t call you a liar – but a liar you are. A spectrum describes a continuous transition, not a discrete one like the nazi racial theory. But you probably don’t even know what continuous and discrete mean.

      • asmondius

        If there is a ‘continuous transition’, then surely abortion is wrong.

        Desirability based upon a racial theory is no different than desirability based upon stage of development. Both categorize a preferential type of human based upon physical characteristics.

        • MNb

          “If there is a ‘continuous transition’, then surely abortion is wrong.”
          Surely? Why? This looks like a non-sequitur to me. The point is that killing a human being is wrong indeed; killing a non-being is an entirely different matter. Or do you think slicing off a bit of your skin when you have a small wound or removing your appendix when it’s inflamed should be prohibited as well?

          “Desirability based upon a racial theory is no different than desirability based upon stage of development.”
          Then you reject the concept of personhood, of human being. Because a zygote of a few weeks is exactly like that piece of skin or your appendix: a small lump of living cells. Not a person. Not a human being. No consciousness.

        • asmondius

          Let me give you a quick lesson:
          DNA in my skin cell is not unique – it matches the DNA in every other cell of my body. It will also not develop into a new human being.
          A human fertilized egg has DNA which is unique from both mother and father and will most definitely grow into a new person.

        • 90Lew90

          You’re in no position to be dishing out any lessons.

          “A human fertilized egg has DNA which is unique from both mother and father and will most definitely grow into a new person.”

          Will most definitely? Such certitude! In fact, 65% to 80% of fertilised eggs — little cell clumps you like to call people — abort naturally within the first six weeks of a woman’s pregnancy, often without her even knowing. Think about it. All those souls. All down the toilet because according to you, your god wills it.

        • TheNuszAbides

          sadly, that itself must qualify for some as an excuse for keeping women (and anyone else, really) ignorant of inconvenient facts like minute details of reproduction.

        • MNb

          Wrong as always and you being braindead you write it yourself. The fertilized egg has got half of its DNA from the mother and the other half from the father. Nothing unique hear. Plus what Lew writes.

    • As I said before, your ‘spectrum’ only works with static subjects, whereas human beings would be in constant motion across the spectrum.

      What is your objection? Yes, the fetus would move across the spectrum.

      The Nazis had a ‘spectrum’ as well

      And … ? Are you saying that all spectrums are evil or something?

      This is a very flawed idea, Bob. You’re trying to equivocate a moral issue.

      It’s how everyone sees human fetal development. You’ll have to explain the flaw.

      What really made me sad was your attempt to equate a tissue sample to a zygote. Certainly you must know the difference .

      A skin cell cloned into a baby vs. a zygote that grows into a baby? No, sorry—I’m missing the difference.

      I guess there’s a difference between an IVF baby and a homemade baby … but not really.

      This looks like the absolute bottom of the barrel as far as arguments go.

      I disappointed you? Golly.

      I also don’t buy into your concept of ‘potential life’.

      Remind me. What is this?

      Is this the type of person you want to be a hero for, Bob?

      I’ve got an idea! Let’s stay on topic.

  • TheNuszAbides

    New Mexico Bill Would Criminalize Abortions …

    i pictured a Yosemite Sam -type figure.
    now i definitely need a nap.

  • TheNuszAbides

    if we’re all totally convinced that people who disagree with us do so out of a perverse intransigence

    i know this is very late to the party, but that is the sort of thing i have nightmares about, see as a huge waste of energy, and never quite put into words. and suspect that it’s not only more common that would be admitted but more common than is easily observed…

  • TheNuszAbides

    i smell a radical transubstantiation fancy in there somewhere…
    are there blogs that explore rumors about Rosicrucian rituals?

  • TheNuszAbides

    that explains the sinister (and i do mean left-handed) appeal of The Great Deceiver – so damned dynamic!

  • TheNuszAbides

    but the question remains: did this wish come true in fact FOR THE LOVE OF GOD?

  • TheNuszAbides

    Hey, everybody–be nice.

    *salutes*
    *goes back to eating brains*

  • carn

    While its old post, i still have to note, that the argument:

    “Now, back to the original pro-life argument: (1) human life begins at
    conception; (2) it is murder to take a human life; therefore (3)
    abortion is murder and should be considered immoral. This argument fails
    because it is oblivious to the spectrum.”

    is not even addressed much less countered.

    Saying that there is a spectrum shows neither (1) nor (2) to be false or for (3) to be not the logical consequence of (1)+(2).

    At most the argument of the spectrum tries to attack (2) in the reference to the spectrum seems to imply, that its not always murder to take a human life, but only in parts of the spectrum.

    But just saying that the living organism being a member of the human species called “baby” is vastly different from the living organism being a member of the human species called “embryo” or “fetus” is in itself no argument that (2) is wrong.

    It is even visible from the text, that the argument is not addressed:

    “We’ll return to that idea shortly,…”

    [>75% of the text]

    “Now, back to the original pro-life argument: …” [less than 15% of the text].

    And that i have to say even although i think that (2) is wrong (though probably for completely different reasons than the above text implies).

    • Saying that there is a spectrum shows neither (1) nor (2) to be false or for (3) to be not the logical consequence of (1)+(2).

      Personhood is a spectrum. You’re not killing a person at the beginning of the spectrum.

      • carn

        Even if that is true, it cannot refute the argument:

        “(1) human life begins at
        conception; (2) it is murder to take a human life; therefore (3)
        abortion is murder and should be considered immoral.”

        That argument does not say anything and does not rely anywhere upon any human life having personhood. According to the argument, even if some unborn human life had no personhood killing it would still be murder.

        So whatever you argue about personhood cannot in any way put any dent into said argument, unless it would somehow be shown that one or both instances of “human life” above actually do not mean what they mean verbatim.

        • Greg G.

          By your argument, curing a person of cancer is murder. A tumor is living human tissue, too.

          First, you are equivocating the word “life”. There is the biological life and the life of the mind in the function of the brain. Brain damage can leave a human body with no consciousness. The human life is there but there is nobody home. The mind is dead even though the body lives.

          Second, even if the fetus was a person, a person has no right to use another person’s organs against the wishes of the host. If I needed a kidney to live and you were the only suitable match, I don’t get to use your kidney (even if I promise that you can have it back if and when I no longer need it), unless you decide that I can.

        • MR

          Another thing that seems rather obvious to me is that, if abortion were murder people wouldn’t call it abortion, they would just call it murder. Clearly humans differentiate between the two. Throughout time and across cultures people have made distinctions. I know both Protestants and Catholics who would disagree with his three-point argument, and my own religious tradition only embraced pro-life arguments because of political influences a few decades ago. Taking such an objective stance feels a little forced to me, to say the least.

        • carn

          “By your argument, curing a person of cancer is murder. A tumor is living human tissue, too.”

          It is not my argument.

          And the argument speaks about “human life” not “human tissue”; unless these are interchangeable the argument in no way supports that “killing” human tissue is always murder.

          “First, you are equivocating the word “life”.”

          The “pro-life” argument is verbatim about human life; the spectrum argument is about personhood; i am not equivocating anything, but just saying that the latter is distinct from the former and hence arguments about “personhood” can do little to counter an argument about “human life”.

          “Second, even if the fetus was a person,”

          The “pro-life” argument is independent upon whether the fetus is a person or not; think about it:

          (1) human life begins at conception; (2) it is murder to take a human
          life; (2a) a fetus is a person; therefore (3) as taking a human life is according to (2) always murder abortion is murder and should be considered immoral.

          (1) human life begins at conception; (2) it is murder to take a human life; (2a) a fetus is not a person; therefore (3) as taking a human life is
          according to (2) always murder abortion is murder and should be considered immoral.

          Does not change the argument.

        • Greg G.

          And the argument speaks about “human life” not “human tissue”; unless these are interchangeable the argument in no way supports that “killing” human tissue is always murder.

          The life of human tissue is biological life but without brain function.

          The “pro-life” argument is verbatim about human life; the spectrum argument is about personhood; i am not equivocating anything, but just saying that the latter is distinct from the former and hence arguments about “personhood” can do little to counter an argument about “human life”.

          You are doing nothing but equivocating by conflating “human life” to include the life of human tissue with personhood.

          The “pro-life” argument is independent upon whether the fetus is a person or not; think about it:

          (1) human life begins at conception; (2) it is murder to take a human
          life; (2a) a fetus is a person; therefore (3) as taking a human life is according to (2) always murder abortion is murder and should be considered immoral.

          (1) human life begins at conception; (2) it is murder to take a human life; (2a) a fetus is not a person; therefore (3) as taking a human life is
          according to (2) always murder abortion is murder and should be considered immoral.

          Does not change the argument.

          You can cut of a human arm, or a leg, or a finger, a toe, or an appendix and human tissue dies but it is not murder. But if you do anything that causes the brain to die, then it is murder. So murder does not apply to the death of human tissue, it is stopping the brain function that produces a human mind.

          So your argument needs to be changed.

          If a woman protects herself from a man who is trying to rape her and he dies, it is self-defense, not murder. If a living, breathing person does not have a right to use a woman’s organs against her will, neither does a non-breathing entity get to take nutrients and oxygen from her bloodstream against her will.

        • carn

          “You are doing nothing but equivocating by conflating “human life” to include the life of human tissue with personhood.”

          The only one doing some conflation is you by presuming that “human life” is exactly identical in meaning to “life of human tissue”. That is ok, if either generally “human life” usually has that meaning or if in said argument “human life” has that meaning.

          In general, i am unaware of that use. For example if someone had to check whether there is “human life” in some area and only finds a freshly cut off arm, i do not think it would be correct to report “There is human life in the area, that cut off arm over there”.

          “So your argument needs to be changed.”

          Again, it is not my argument. But the argument of other people.

          And they do not need to change the argument if you put a meaning to their words which they never meant.

          I suspect “a human life” is to mean “a life of a human” which i suspect means the life of one of that organisms belonging to species human; that fits (1) mostly as the existence of one of these organisms usually starts with conception.

        • Greg G.

          The only one doing some conflation is you by presuming that “human life” is exactly identical in meaning to “life of human tissue”. That is ok, if either generally “human life” usually has that meaning or if in said argument “human life” has that meaning.

          You seem to be out over your skis using big words. I am not the one who is conflating here. I am making a distinction between different aspects of human life, making a distinction between biological life and the other meaning of life that allows us to experience human life.

          Again, it is not my argument. But the argument of other people.

          You are presenting the argument as if you have adopted it.

          And they do not need to change the argument if you put a meaning to their words which they never meant.

          I see. You do not understand English well enough to understand where their argument fails.

          I suspect “a human life” is to mean “a life of a human” which i suspect means the life of one of that organisms belonging to species human; that fits (1) mostly as the existence of one of these organisms usually starts with conception.

          It is human biological life but it cannot be considered a person. A fertilized egg can be a half of a person, a whole person, twins, triplets, etc. but most of the time, it ends up not implanting and is flushed out the next period.

          Even if it was a person, that person has no right to use another person’s organs without consent of the person with the organs.

        • carn

          “It is human biological life but it cannot be considered a person.”

          Although my English skills might be worse than yours, your reading skills seem to be lot worse than mine:

          “(1) human life begins at
          conception; (2) it is murder to take a human life; therefore (3)
          abortion is murder and should be considered immoral.”

          Therein the word “person” does not appear; unless you have some argument, why when there is written “human life” it actually only means “person”, all what you say in relation to “person” is totally irrelevant for that argument.

          “I am making a distinction between different aspects of human life,
          making a distinction between biological life and the other meaning of
          life that allows us to experience human life.”

          As said argument seems to argue about the biological life as an organism, whatever you say about other meaning of life that allows us to experience human life is irrelevant to that argument.

          There is no functioning brain in 4th week after conception? Completely irrelevant to the argument.

          What you in my eyes do is defining without ever saying or realizing yourself “murder” differently than (2); e.g. its murder to end the life of a person. And then you read your definition of murder into (2), then from (1)+(2) no longer (3) follows, upon which you claim that the argument is illogical.

          Which is bogus. Given their definition of murder in (2), the argument is correct.

          The only way to counter it, is to say that one disagrees with (2); but that is an ethical and/or legal debate in which there are usually no absolute truths. In which case their argument still would not be wrong, you would just have different opinion about what murder is.

        • Pofarmer

          Definition of murder

          1

          : the crime of unlawfully killing a person especially with malice aforethought
          was convicted of murder

          Note also. Withdrawing care is not murder.

        • carn

          Congratulations for being the first to actually do something in the direction of countering the argument:

          “(1) human life begins at
          conception; (2) it is murder to take a human life; therefore (3)
          abortion is murder and should be considered immoral.”

          by simply disagreeing with premise 2.

          “Withdrawing care is not murder.”

          That differs from country to country and probably even with definition of “care” and in some cases it might be relevant who does the withdrawing and for which reasons. But for the US it seems to be correct.

          Also, this would only help with medical abortion and inducing birth prior 24th week.

          Because suction abortion, fetocide and any abortion using some instrument. With such procedures it would not be a withholding of care; piercing a needle into a heart to inject a deadly substance is not withholding care.

        • Pofarmer

          Meh.

        • Pofarmer

          At the moment of conception is the “human life” a person?

        • carn

          “person” is a term defined differently in different fields.

          The relevant fields for abortion discussions are philosophy/ethics/religion and law.

          In the former it’s a anything goes and anybody defines “person” according to their whims; hence, there is no answer to the question, neither yes nor no in that regard.

          In law “person” usually denotes somebody formally capable of some legal action like agreeing to a treaty or sueing somebody. Also, “person” can denote non-living entities like corporations called “juridical person” but still a person.That has both nothing to do with unborn and is patently irrelevant to any question regarding an unborn’s right or non-right to live. Hence, the answer is no and it does not matter at all (except in the US as long as Roe vs Wade is understood in the most idiotic way, namely that only persons have a right to live; but Roe vs Wade is from any POV a real mess).

          Why care whether the legal characterization freely given and taken by the state to non-human entities is applicable to unborn? And why being so catastrophically stupid to tie the right to live to a term, which the state is to some extent used to freely give and take?

        • epeeist

          In the former it’s a anything goes and anybody defines “person” according to their whims

          The idea of personhood is well developed in metaphysics and is definitely not a “whim”. One would have to question whether you know anything about the subject.

        • carn

          “metaphysics” = subfield of philosophy = subfield of (mostly) whim

          “well developed” = a lot of people wrote alot about it != evidence

          “well developed” = a lot of people wrote alot about it != good argument (at most its an authority argument; but what authority do philosophers have?)

        • epeeist

          “metaphysics” = subfield of philosophy = subfield of (mostly) whim

          Simply repeating your initial comment doesn’t make it true.

          “well developed” = a lot of people wrote alot about it != good argument (at most its an authority argument; but what authority do philosophers have?)

          If you knew anything about philosophy then you would realise that argument from authority is something that philosophers tend to know a little about and hence try to avoid. Something else they know quite a lot about is rational argument, something that is very different from “whim”.

        • carn

          “philosophy then you would realise that argument from authority”

          Then you are not well versed in philosophy, because

          “The idea of personhood is well developed in metaphysics and is definitely not a “whim”.”

          is a pure argument from authority. Nothing more than a: the experts know better than you, so shut up.

          “Something else they know quite a lot about is rational argument, something that is very different from “whim”.”

          Some. Many do not know a lot about rational argument. And that argument of yours was nothing but trying to claim authority for philosophers.

          Stepping back from your repeated appel to authority:

          “The idea of personhood is well developed”

          No, because a well developed idea would be an idea mostly accepted within the field. If everybody in the field has his/her own idea, what “personhood”, then the idea is not well developed.

          As a sloppy indication that this is the case, the wiki entry:
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personhood#Western_philosophy

        • epeeist

          is a pure argument from authority.

          So where have I appealed to an authority rather than arguments developed within a field of philosophy?

          Many do not know a lot about rational argument.

          And we have an immediate example of that .

          As a sloppy indication that this is the case, the wiki entry

          You don’t think that pointing me to a Wikipedia article might just be an appeal to authority?

          What is noticeable here is that you have not engaged with any of the arguments for personhood developed within metaphysics, instead you have simply asserted that these are little more than the whims of philosophers. In other words bare assertions and an attempt to poison the well.

        • carn

          “So where have I appealed to an authority rather than arguments developed within a field of philosophy?”

          “The idea of personhood is well developed in metaphysics and is definitely not a “whim”.”

          Instead of showing that the idea is well developed you just asserted that it is the case (implying that the thinking and arguments of philosophers are reliable and sound, which is argument to authority).

          “You don’t think that pointing me to a Wikipedia article might just be an appeal to authority?”

          The wikipedia lists different and mutually exclusive ideas about personhood in contemporary philosophy; insofar that listing is not grossly wrong, that is an argument by example; if different philosophers have incompatible ideas about personhood, philosophy as a whole has no well developed idea of personhood, cause “well developed” implies one idea not contested in any relevant way and without contradictions or at least some sort of overreaching framework somehow explaining the contradictions.

          “What is noticeable here is that you have not engaged with any of the arguments for personhood”

          As explained, as long as philosophers contradict each others ideas about personhood, there is no need to engage in anyone’s specific arguments to show that philosophy as a whole has not yet a well developed idea of personhood.

          I am a bit suprised, that that actually needs to be explained. Is it too hard to understand that if one philosopher claims A to be a feature of X and another claims instead that non-A is a feature of X, that then philosophy as a whole has not yet come to a well developed understanding of X?

          And i call them whims, cause i do not know of any method to actually resolve the issue; so everybody is free to one day join the A-club and next day the non-A club; hence, the different schools of thought are little more than whims.

          But i guess i have to point out at least one contradiction, cause otherwise you might claim there is none:

          “Mary Midgley defines a “person” as being a conscious, thinking being, which knows that it is a person (self-awareness).[15]”

          Others, such as American Philosopher Francis J. Beckwith, argue that personhood is not linked to function at all, but rather that it is the underlying personal unity of the individual.

          What is crucial morally is the being of a person, not his or her
          functioning. A human person does not come into existence when human
          function arises, but rather, a human person is an entity
          who has the natural inherent capacity to give rise to human functions,
          whether or not those functions are ever attained. …A human person who
          lacks the ability to think rationally
          (either because she is too young or she suffers from a disability) is
          still a human person because of her nature. Consequently, it makes sense
          to speak of a human being’s lack if and only if she is an actual
          person.

          — [9]

          Mutually exclusive as the one claims that functioning is not a crucial criteria, while the other claims a certain functioning (self-awareness) is the crucial criteria. Both philosophers are still alive and had input in the last decades; and the numbers of wiki lead to sources for the citations.

          Hence, it is shown that at least two philosophers have mutually exclusive ideas of personhood, hence philosophy as a whole has not yet a well developed idea about personhood.

        • BlackMamba44

          One would have to question whether you know anything about the subject.

          I’m going with no.

        • Greg G.

          That’s quite the understatement. It should be something polysyllabic in all caps with font emphasis and excessive punctuation included:

          !!!NEGATIVE!!!!

          Hmmm, still needs work. Maybe some creative and vulgar expletives would help.

        • BlackMamba44

          @carn thinks I was done with it because I ran out of arguments.

          NO. I got tired of repeating the same damn argument.

          To be forced to give birth to a child against her will is a peculiarly personal violation of [a woman’s] freedom. — Disciples of Christ, 1978

        • Pofarmer

          I don’t think you want to be throwing around terms like catastrophically stupid,

        • Greg G.

          He probably hears it so often he thinks they must be used together like “run amok”.

        • Greg G.

          “(1) human life begins at
          conception; (2) it is murder to take a human life; therefore (3)
          abortion is murder and should be considered immoral.”

          Conception is when a living sperm merges its DNA with a living ovum. There was life before and after.

          Then your argument begins to equivocate biological life at the cellular level with the life of a person.

          Then your conclusion falls apart because you do not have true premises.

          The fertilized egg is not a person. It could divide and separate to become twins, triplets, and so on. It could also inplant near another fertilized egg and merge with it so that two fertilized eggs become one person.

          If a woman want to have a child, then she freely gives the oxygen and nutrients from her bloodstream. If she doesn’t want the pregnancy, then it is a parasite stealing nutrients and oxygen from her blood while dumping waste products into it.

          A woman doesn’t know for sure whether she will survive giving birth. I have a coworker who was born the same day I was and her mother died giving birth to her.

          Self-defense is not murder. Think of the ending of an unwanted pregnancy as a form of self-defense.

        • carn

          “Then your argument begins to equivocate biological life at the cellular level with the life of a person.”

          It doesn’t. It just states the premise, that taking a human life – and i presume this to mean the life of a living organism being member of species human – is murder.

          Nowhere does “person” get in.

        • Greg G.

          It doesn’t. It just states the premise, that taking a human life – and i presume this to mean the life of a living organism being member of species human – is murder.

          The way you are using the term “a human life” means that removing a tumor is murder. A cancer is a human life the way you are using the term. But you don’t mean that. You are trying to make “a human life” mean two different things. That is what equivocation is.

          Again, a person has a right to not allow another human to use their organs without consent, even if the other human dies.

        • carn

          “living organism being member of species human” != “tumor”

          “You are trying to make “a human life” mean two different things.”

          When i use the term “a human life”, i only and solely mean a thing that is:

          – alive;
          – an organism;
          – member of species human; with no other criteria.

          All terms as usually used in biology.

          E.g. a tumor is alive, but not an organism and not member of species human.

          As biology does not have any definition or use for “person”, it is actually impossible for me to mean person with that term.

          And is presume that is what is usually meant with “human life” also in said pro-life-argument.

        • Greg G.

          E.g. a tumor is alive, but not an organism and not member of species human.

          A pre-cancerous cell is a human cell with mutations. Most every cell has mutations. A tumor cell is a mutated cell but it is still a human cell.

          You are trying to use the term “human life” to pivot to a different definition. The whole argument is based on an equivocation which makes it a non sequitur fallacy.

          But even if you came up with a valid argument for a fetus being a human person, it is irrelevant because:

          Again, a person has a right to not allow another human to use their organs without consent, even if the other human dies.

        • carn

          Maybe a wikilink will help you understand:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organism

          All your arguments – realy every single one of them – ignored that i talk about organisms all the time.

          It is a biological term.

          “person” on the other hand is NOT a biological term.

          “But even if you came up with a valid argument for a fetus being a human person, it is irrelevant because:”

          How to get it into your head?

          I am NOT trying to argue that a human fetus is a person. I will tell you when i will try to do so.

          “Again, a person has a right to not allow another human to use their organs without consent, even if the other human dies.”

          How could in the US society 500000 humans dying per year due to abortion and the decision of their mothers be irrelevant?

          That would be more than 10 times the deaths from guns. One should care, even if one would be against banning abortion.

        • Greg G.

          All your arguments – realy every single one of them – ignored that i talk about organisms all the time.

          It is a biological term.

          If you were talking organisms and biology, how did you get murder without equivocation?

          How could in the US society 500000 humans dying per year due to abortion and the decision of their mothers be irrelevant?

          Ten times that number die from the natural process of spontaneous abortion.

          If you want to lower the number of abortions, then promote better sex education and better access to birth control. If you want to control women who do not wish to have a baby, you should forget about it and just mind your own business.

        • carn

          “If you were talking organisms and biology, how did you get murder without equivocation?”

          Cause the murder definition/suggestion used a biological term.

          If someone said:

          (1) A person comes into existence with the awareness of self.
          (2) It is only murder to kill a person and not murder to kill anything else.
          (3) Hence, it is not murder to kill a human newborn.

          (2) would also not be equivocation; just a murder definition/suggestion different from the one in most laws, using a definition of “person” not from law, but from some philosophy nuts. If we would discuss that , we would be talking philosophy, maybe neurobiology, etc. instead of the legal definition of person.

          One defines murder using some terms with some meaning; said prolife argument (tries to) uses biological terms to define murder; just as i my example here used a philosophical term (“person”) to define murder, which just happens to have the same spelling as a legal term.

        • Greg G.

          Cause the murder definition/suggestion used a biological term.

          You are back to an alive, organism, and a member of the human species which would make curing cancer a murder.

          If someone said:

          (1) A person comes into existence with the awareness of self.
          (2) It is only murder to kill a person and not murder to kill anything else.
          (3) Hence, it is not murder to kill a human newborn.

          You seem to be doing Cargo Cult Logic. (1) You haven’t defined “awareness of self” so any animal with some “awareness of self” becomes a human. (2) You are defining death by accident and justifiable homicide as murder. (3) This is a non sequitur as your argument doesn’t show that a newborn is not self-aware.

          One defines murder using some terms with some meaning; said prolife argument (tries to) uses biological terms to define murder; just as i my example here used a philosophical term (“person”) to define murder, which just happens to have the same spelling as a legal term.

          A fertilized egg is cannot be “a person”. I have explained before that a fertilized egg could be twins or triplets, etc, which each would consider itself to be a different person. It could also be part of a chimera which is more than one fertilized egg that have merged to become one entity which will consider itself to be one person. But at some point it will be a person or persons. It is a spectrum. You can’t define where red becomes orange which becomes yellow which becomes green which becomes blue which becomes violet, but they do. You can’t say exactly when adding another whisker becomes a beard. It is an academic question about when it becomes a person and is irrelevant to the abortion issue. No entity or person has the right to use another person’s organs without consent of the person.

          Obviously this is your best argument since it is your only argument and since it doesn’t follow logically, you should abandon it and reconsider your position.

        • carn

          “(1) You haven’t defined “awareness of self””

          I should have put there “(as understood by Peter Singer)”; then it is sufficiently defined.

          “so any animal with some “awareness of self” becomes a human.”

          No; it would under that argument only be a person, not a human. You constantly presume that the term “person” is identical to the term “human”; maybe in your use of the words. but when accessing an argument, one has to access it according to how words are used there and not based on own usage.

          “(2) You are defining death by accident and justifiable homicide as murder.”

          An unreasonable definition of murder, does not make the conclusion or the argument false.

          “(3) This is a non sequitur as your argument doesn’t show that a newborn is not self-aware.”

          Resolved by reference to Singer.

          With reference to Singer, i think the conclusion (3) is true, if one considers premises (1) and (2) to be true. Hence, the deduction would be correct.

          One can only disagree with the premises.

          Just the same as with the prolife argument discussed.

          “It is an academic question about when it becomes a person and is irrelevant to the abortion issue.”

          Agreed from my POV; and from many ProLifer POVs as well; as humans have human rights, while persons my or may not have human rights; after all, they are called human rights and not “person rights”. Hence, when it is a person is irrelevant; when it is a human is relevant.

          Which is hard for you to understand, as you seem to use “human” and “person” as being practially identical.

        • Nowhere does “person” get in.

          There’s your problem. Because you’ve defined “a human” to be things that have inherent value (you, me, other people) and things that don’t (single cells), your argument is pointless. Flies have more brain cells than your “human” has cells.

        • carn

          Why is it pointless?

          I am fine with killing any number of flies (ok maybe extinction should be avoided, but flies are quite secure in that regard); i am not fine with killing any number of humans, independent upon the number of functioning brain cells they have.

          You disagree with that position. But that doens’t make it pointless. I can presume that several million people in the US agree mostly with my position.

        • Greg G.

          Why is it pointless?

          He explained it in the sentence: Because you’ve defined “a human” to be things that have inherent value (you, me, other people) and things that don’t (single cells), your argument is pointless.

        • carn

          “inherent value” is a meaningless and/or arbitrary term; hence, the explanation does not help much. For him humans have inherent value, if they happen to have a somewhat functioning brain; for me humans have inherent value to some extent even in absence of a functioning brain as long as they are alive (total brain destruction usually also means death is at least imminent; hence, the absence of a functioning brain is also not completely irrelevant from my POV).

        • If you say “We should never kill any sentient being,” I might be on board, but if you define “sentient being” as any animal (vermin, slugs, and mosquitoes included) then I’m not on board. That’s what you’re doing–“humans” are, y’know, humans, the ones we interact with every day … but then you want to include single cells. And there you’ve lost me.

        • carn

          “, humans,”

          All mebers of species human are in the club; those with functioning brains could due to capacity for suffering require greater protection efforts.

        • BlackMamba44

          Please demonstrate how any of these deserve special rights that aren’t given to born people.

          This is an “unborn baby” at 5 weeks. It’s about the size of a sesame seed. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4a9be722827f9e1a861bde4132c684226bcca66e215cf45b60ba3621453c542a.jpg

          This is an “unborn baby” sitting in the eye of a needle: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ba02daddbd86f15fd7528b01b197928b773e4f37a2a78fd42c24fe5d39e14450.jpg

          This is an “unborn baby” sitting on the tip of a needle:
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c9e7aee720c88c74c6f439151b08d2ef23b720083eda6f8d8aca9d18aa676fe4.jpg

        • carn

          “Please demonstrate how any of these deserve special rights that aren’t given to born people.”

          Since i did not suggest to give them any special rights, i feel no need to argue so.

          Same rights would already be sufficient.

          Same rights would mean e.g. that when discussing whether abortion should be payed for by taxes, that the tone of the discussion would be one of “Ok, today the topic is whether we might force by law the taxpayer to pay for the killing of unborn humans” and argue under that header and with that wording about the pros and cons of such laws.

        • BlackMamba44

          But you do want to give them special rights. You want to call a clump of cells a “person” so you can claim that “abortion is murder” and take away a woman’s bodily autonomy.

          What “same rights”? As soon as that fetus gets “same rights” you’re limiting the rights of the woman whose uterus it is attached to. I don’t see where you have even mentioned the woman.

        • carn

          Your charge was that i supposedly wanted to give them rights born humans do not have. No intent; they just have human rights, which i can neither give them or take from them, as they just have them.

          “As soon as that fetus gets “same rights” you’re limiting the rights of the woman whose uterus it is attached to.”

          Some limitation of access to abortion might be prudent for protection of unborn humans. Though difficult to have good laws, that work.

          “I don’t see where you have even mentioned the woman.”

          Which means you did not read the post of mine to which you first replied:

          “So you agree with the spectrum argument?”That would be about my position. Which is a bit more complicated …

          With unborn ones this is problematic, as the pregnant women often
          might be innocent of the situation (at least as far the state can tell),
          might have to bring great sacrifices or accept great risks if the
          unborn one continues to live (at least as far as the state can tell) and
          will not inform the state about the pregnancy, if she considers killing
          the unborn one, if she must fear severe punishment. This in combination
          with other factors has the result that the methods of protecting born
          ones often does not work well for protecting unborn ones and can have
          serious negative effects upon pregnant women and/or women in general.Therefore,
          the state may explore and attempt other options and methods of
          protecting unborn ones, as long as they are likely to have a similar
          good or better protection effect as the “classic” attempt and/or as they
          are likely to have less severe negative effects upon women…

          4 times explicit mention of “women” (though with errors, first one should be “woman” not plural) and several more times mentioned otherwise, e.g. “she”.

          How did you miss 2 whole paragraphs when formulating and answer to that post?

          Reading often is a considerably asset in discussions consisting only of written text.

        • BlackMamba44

          Some limitation of access to abortion might be prudent for protection of unborn humans

          In other words, you want to limit the rights of the woman – i.e. take away her bodily autonomy and force her to carry a pregnancy she doesn’t want. Because “unborn humans”!!!!!!!!!

          Which means you did not read the post of mine to which you first replied:

          This is the post I replied to:

          https://disqus.com/home/discussion/crossexamined/a_defense_of_abortion_rights_the_spectrum_argument_47/#comment-3932791111

          “By your argument, curing a person of cancer is murder. A tumor is living human tissue, too.”

          It is not my argument.

          And the argument speaks about “human life” not “human tissue”; unless these are interchangeable the argument in no way supports that “killing” human tissue is always murder.

          “First, you are equivocating the word “life”.”

          The “pro-life” argument is verbatim about human life; the spectrum argument is about personhood; i am not equivocating anything, but just saying that the latter is distinct from the former and hence arguments about “personhood” can do little to counter an argument about “human life”.

          “Second, even if the fetus was a person,”

          The “pro-life” argument is independent upon whether the fetus is a person or not; think about it:

          (1) human life begins at conception; (2) it is murder to take a human
          life; (2a) a fetus is a person; therefore (3) as taking a human life is according to (2) always murder abortion is murder and should be considered immoral.

          (1) human life begins at conception; (2) it is murder to take a human life; (2a) a fetus is not a person; therefore (3) as taking a human life is
          according to (2) always murder abortion is murder and should be considered immoral.

          Does not change the argument.

          “So you agree with the spectrum argument?”That would be about my position. Which is a bit more complicated …

          With unborn ones this is problematic, as the pregnant women often
          might be innocent of the situation (at least as far the state can tell),
          might have to bring great sacrifices or accept great risks if the
          unborn one continues to live (at least as far as the state can tell) and
          will not inform the state about the pregnancy, if she considers killing
          the unborn one, if she must fear severe punishment. This in combination
          with other factors has the result that the methods of protecting born
          ones often does not work well for protecting unborn ones and can have
          serious negative effects upon pregnant women and/or women in general.Therefore,
          the state may explore and attempt other options and methods of
          protecting unborn ones, as long as they are likely to have a similar
          good or better protection effect as the “classic” attempt and/or as they
          are likely to have less severe negative effects upon women…

          I don’t even see a comment from you with these words.

        • BlackMamba44

          Ok. I had to open up Patheos (I was in Disqus) to actually find the comment you are talking about. That was not the comment I replied to.

          So, you can apologize for this little bit of snark:
          How did you miss 2 whole paragraphs when formulating and [sic] answer to that post?

          Reading often is a considerably asset in discussions consisting only of written text.

        • carn

          “In other words, you want to limit the rights of the woman”

          While forbidding to kill an innocent and defenseless human being is never a limitation of rights, as there is no right to kill such, it would have effects on women, which mandates careful considerations if and how laws for protecting unborn have to be formulated and applied.

          On the other hand “want” is misleading, as the intent is to save unborn humans, and i am all for any attempt at protecting unborn humans with little side effects for women.

        • BlackMamba44

          The “little side effects” for women would be limiting their rights to bodily autonomy. It would be affecting their rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”.

          I’m done with you.

        • carn

          “I’m done with you.”

          Meaning you are running out of arguments.

          I presume you noticed that this means:

          “i am all for any attempt at protecting unborn humans with little side effects for women.”

          that i acknowledge that attempts at protecting unborn humans often can have serious side effects for women and that therefore i would be very open to any suggestion for protecting unborn humans which manages to avoid severe side effects for women?

        • BlackMamba44

          I replied to myself earlier, so I’ll copy/paste this to you:

          Ok. I had to open up Patheos (I was in Disqus) to actually find the comment you are talking about. That was not the comment I replied to.

          So, you can apologize for this little bit of snark:
          How did you miss 2 whole paragraphs when formulating and [sic] answer to that post?

          Reading often is a considerably asset in discussions consisting only of written text.

        • carn

          Sorry, my fault, i misread disqus information to which post you replied.

        • BlackMamba44

          Same rights would mean e.g. that when discussing whether abortion should be payed for by taxes, that the tone of the discussion would be one of “Ok, today the topic is whether we might force by law the taxpayer to pay for the killing of unborn humans” and argue under that header and with that wording about the pros and cons of such laws.

          This doesn’t even make sense. How is what you just said a “right”? I’m talking about rights like bodily autonomy. You know, like I don’t have the “right” to take your kidney if I need one.

          No one is going to force taxpayers to pay for abortions.

        • carn

          “No one is going to force taxpayers to pay for abortions.”

          As our discussions as far as i am aware was about abortion in general, no one is false the moment a single human is in a position of potentially enacting such plans anywhere in the world and has likely intent to do so:

          https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/government-may-cover-cost-of-care-for-women-seeking-terminations-1.3514234

          “Minister for Health Simon Harris is assessing if services provided under the Maternity and Infant Scheme can be expanded to women who may require an abortion.”

          Hence, your claim is false.

          Furthermore, even limited to US (which this blogpost is connected to due to reference to Roe vs Wade) the claim seems to be a bit bold:

          https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/10/hyde-repeal/502568/

          “That status quo changed this summer when the Democratic Party included the repeal of Hyde in its 2016 presidential platform.”

          At least someone within metaphorical inches of the presidency and winning the popular vote was formally in favor of forcing some people to pay for abortion; not taypayers but also a large group numbering in the millions (as far as i understood the plan was to have medicaid pay for abortions with medicaid being a “tax” all but in name upon work contracts).

        • BlackMamba44

          I’m not interested in Ireland as I don’t live there.

          But here’s the rest of the article after your one sentence copy/paste:

          “The movement really started at the grassroots, with low-income people, people of color, and young people,” wrote California Representative Barbara Lee in an email. “They are helping drive us forward and for the first time in decades, we’ve put the reproductive rights agenda back on the offensive.”

          Perhaps party leaders sensed a political opening at the national level as well: Abortion advocates won a major victory in June with the Supreme Court’s decision in Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt, in which the Court ruled that states can’t impose overly burdensome regulations on abortion. By that point, Hillary Clinton had been talking about Hyde on the campaign trail for months. “Any right that requires you to take extraordinary measures to access is no right at all,” she said at a Planned Parenthood event in January.

          Nearly 40 years after the amendment first passed, it finally seemed like the party would take on federal funding for abortion. After all this time, as pro-choice groups have said in press release after press release, there is finally momentum on Hyde.

          Momentum, however, is much different from the tangible possibility of success. On almost every front, the politics of abortion remain as divided as ever. At the state level, governments could theoretically fund medically necessary abortions through their own Medicaid programs. Only 15 currently do so in practice, according to the Guttmacher Institute, and of those states, 11 only provide funding pursuant to a court order.*

          At the federal level, Congress is still mired in conflict: For months, it failed to approve new funding for Zika research—a theoretically bipartisan effort—over disagreements about whether certain Planned Parenthood clinics could use the money. And on the campaign trail, the candidates have been largely quiet about the issue; Lester Holt didn’t ask about abortion, or any reproductive-health issues, at the first presidential debate.

          “I was disappointed—this is a huge issue for our country,” said Jennifer Dalven, the head of the Reproductive Freedom Project at the American Civil Liberties Union. “But unfortunately, I can’t say I was surprised. We’ve seen debate after debate after debate in which this issue isn’t surfaced, and we know it’s a tremendously important issue for women, for families, and for voters.”

          Most pro-choice groups have been vocal Clinton supporters during this election cycle, eager to talk up the party line and praise her leadership on abortion. But there are limits to what one woman can accomplish from the White House. “Hillary will be great on this, but she needs the Senate and the House,” said Sylvia Law, a professor at the New York University School of Law.

          Last summer, Lee introduced the EACH Woman Act, which would effectively repeal Hyde. The bill currently has 124 co-sponsors—roughly two-thirds of House Democrats, but not nearly enough to carry it through Congress. Unless Democrats can pick up at least 30 new seats in the House and roughly five seats in the Senate, Congress will stay red or split—effectively ending the possibility of Hyde’s repeal. Abortion funding for “ordinary poor people? Medicaid coverage? I’m not holding my breath,” Law said.

          “There’s been little fights, but we’ve lost them all, basically.”

          Even if the prospect of repealing Hyde is unlikely, pro-choice scholars see it as a victory that legislators and advocates are talking about it at all. “I’m actually surprised, to be completely honest with you, about the recent attention that’s been paid to the Hyde Amendment,” said Bridges. “Part of the reason why Hyde has not been as visible … as a subject of political debate is because there hasn’t been any organizing around it. … Those organizations that fight for reproductive rights tend to be led by women with privilege, who aren’t impacted by Medicaid restrictions.”

          Under the Affordable Care Act, people with incomes up to 133 percent of the poverty line qualify for Medicaid, although not all states have expanded their Medicaid programs to include this increased number of eligible residents. The recent push to repeal Hyde suggests pro-choice groups might be realigning their priorities to better serve the poor women and particularly women of color who use these services, especially as the proportion of African Americans and Hispanics, who often vote Democratic, grows in the U.S.

          Kaylie Hanson Long, the communications director of NARAL Pro-Choice America, a D.C. advocacy group, noted that “we owe everything we’ve got, and all the progress we’ve made on this issue, to these reproductive-justice groups that are led by women of color.”

          Some pro-choice advocates have long recognized the importance of public funding for abortion, said Law, but they’ve largely been unsuccessful in advocating for it. Law was one of the attorneys who briefed Harris v. McRae, a 1980 Supreme Court case that upheld the constitutionality of Hyde. “There’s been little fights, but we’ve lost them all, basically,” Law said. “This is the first time that there’s any chance that this might change. It’s wonderful.”

          This year, NARAL has campaigns going in five states to support pro-choice legislators—an unusual move for the nationally focused group, Hanson Long said. And the ACLU is pursuing suits in Alaska and Maine that challenge effective restrictions on state funding for medically necessary abortions, Dalven said.

          They’re narrow pursuits, but then again, abortion supporters like Bridges feel like “it was only a couple of years ago when it seemed like we would enter the dark ages again,” as Democrats made concessions on abortion funding in the Affordable Care Act in 2010 and the Supreme Court ruled that private employers should not have to include birth control in their employee insurance plans in 2014.

          Pro-choice groups’ new efforts, along with the campaign against Hyde, almost seem like an attempt to self-soothe after years of defeat. And perhaps they hope talking up the momentum will make it so—even if it takes another four decades to actually repeal Hyde. Dalven, for one, thinks it can happen. “Absolutely,” she said. “The question is only when.”

          “Abortion funding for “ordinary poor people? Medicaid coverage? I’m not holding my breath,” Law said.” Yeah. I’m not holding my breath either.

          Personally, I have no problem with pennies from my pocket going to help a poor woman or couple end a pregnancy that she/they can’t afford. But that’s just my empathy talking.

        • You don’t care to involve the taxpayer when you force someone to have an unwanted child that grows up in an unloving home and becomes a criminal. Why bring the taxpayer into it when the topic is abortion?

        • carn

          “You don’t care to involve the taxpayer when you force someone to have an
          unwanted child that grows up in an unloving home and becomes a
          criminal.”

          I do not mind involving the tax payer in the minority of cases in which the initial “unwanted” leads to problems in later stages of live of the child; but it is actually an error to presume that a majority of unwanted pregnancies carried to term would “result” in a totally broken and criminal life.

        • Who assumes that it’s a majority? The point that you don’t seem to have grasped is that paying for abortions can cause a dramatic reduction in government costs.

        • carn

          “Who assumes that it’s a majority?”

          You.

          “The point that you don’t seem to have
          grasped is that paying for abortions can cause a dramatic reduction in
          government costs.”

          That is only true if a sufficient number of unwanted children turn out to be problematic. If a sufficient number of unwanted children turn out to be mostly law abiding tax payers, revenue for government could be negatively affected by paying for abortions (if such financing has effect on number of abortions; but if it doesn’t, then obviously paying for abortions can not have a net positive effect on government finances).

        • “Who assumes that it’s a majority?”
          You.

          Wrong again. I never said that the majority of unwanted children would wind up in “a totally broken and criminal life.”

          That is only true if a sufficient number of unwanted children turn out to be problematic.

          Doesn’t take many. Raising a child costs $233,000. That’ll fund a lot of abortions.

          Taking a step back, I think that if you actually want to reduce abortions, you should focus on reducing unwanted pregnancies. Not only would you turn enemies into allies, you would achieve far better results.

        • Pofarmer

          Taking a step back, I think that if you actually want to reduce
          abortions, you should focus on reducing unwanted pregnancies. Not only
          would you turn enemies into allies, you would achieve far better
          results.

          That’s immaterial. It’s the ideological purity of the reasoning that apparently matters, or something. It’s hard to say.

        • carn

          You presume:
          “The point that you don’t seem to have grasped is that paying for abortions can cause a dramatic reduction in government costs.”

          It is only relevant, whether in sum something is plus or minus; if the government at one point has some costs but at another points reaps greater income, that is perfectly fine.

          As you seem to imply that in sum abortion costs the governemnt less than abortion, you seem to imply that.

          cost of abortion < cost (child raising+cost/benefits from the resulting non-aborted adult)

          is true.

          In that how the non-aborted humans turn out to be as adult is a relevant facor; so when presumes that this is true, one makes some presumption about how the non-aborted turn out to be as adults.

          if your only issue is that raising a child is more expensive than abortion, then of course you are correct; but i do not care about such a incomplete picture, but if i look at costs, i try to account for all of them; and in sum the benefits for both the society and the state from an adult human surpass the cost of raising quite a lot (only issue i might have is, that the cost of child raising can end up with the parents or often even only the mother, while the state and society happily could reap the benefits; that might be unfair)

        • Oh, look! It’s waving at me!

        • So you agree with the spectrum argument?

          The 3-point argument that you keep referring to is irrelevant. That’s my point.

        • carn

          “So you agree with the spectrum argument?”

          That would be about my position. Which is a bit more complicated than the pro-life argument you consider to be irrelevant.

          My position is that close to or just always the intentional targeted killing of a innocent and defenseless living member of the species human is to be avoided. Non-innocent and/or non-defenseless members should usually not be killed, but often killing them might be permissable.

          Due to this general rule abortions are to avoided, as the unborn is a living organism (at least after nidation, which is the relevant time for abortion) and belongs to no other species than human and therefore a living member of the species human and as it is due to incapability of action automatically both innocent and defenseless.

          The state has the duty to heed these general rules and try to protect living members of species human accordingly, e.g. by laws, e.g. human rights declarations (though of course these should not exclude unborn), etc.

          The usual way with born ones is to designate intentional targeted killings of innocent and defenseless born ones usually as murder and act against this with all the force the state can and is allowed to muster; this is permissable as those endangering such life are not innocent and responsible for the danger caused (aka not defenseless).

          With unborn ones this is problematic, as the pregnant women often might be innocent of the situation (at least as far the state can tell), might have to bring great sacrifices or accept great risks if the unborn one continues to live (at least as far as the state can tell) and will not inform the state about the pregnancy, if she considers killing the unborn one, if she must fear severe punishment. This in combination with other factors has the result that the methods of protecting born ones often does not work well for protecting unborn ones and can have serious negative effects upon pregnant women and/or women in general.

          Therefore, the state may explore and attempt other options and methods of protecting unborn ones, as long as they are likely to have a similar good or better protection effect as the “classic” attempt and/or as they are likely to have less severe negative effects upon women and as long as the risk that this might be misunderstood to mean that unborn ones are worthless clump of cells can be mitigated.

          That is in short my position.

        • Which is a bit more complicated than the pro-life argument you consider to be irrelevant.

          Not irrelevant, just in appropriate to force on society by law.

          My position is that close to or just always the intentional targeted killing of a innocent and defenseless living member of the species human is to be avoided.

          Sure, let’s avoid it. Everyone would like to see fewer unwanted pregnancies (though it is odd how many conservative Christians don’t want to take the easy steps to get there).

          Non-innocent and/or non-defenseless members should usually not be killed, but often killing them might be permissable.

          Sounds like we’re largely on the same page.

          the unborn is a living organism (at least after nidation, which is the relevant time for abortion) and belongs to no other species than human and therefore a living member of the species human and as it is due to incapability of action automatically both innocent and defenseless.

          This sounds like the Argument from Potential. “It’s a member of the species H. sapiens” isn’t saying much. “It’s a conscious person” would be saying much more. You might say that the former might indeed become the latter. That’s true, but it isn’t right now, which is the relevant issue.

          human rights declarations (though of course these should not exclude unborn), etc.

          A zygote with zero brain cells has little inherent value. It has no claim to not be killed.

          the state may explore and attempt other options and methods of protecting unborn ones, as long as they are likely to have a similar good or better protection effect as the “classic” attempt and/or as they are likely to have less severe negative effects upon women and as long as the risk that this might be misunderstood to mean that unborn ones are worthless clump of cells can be mitigated.
          That is in short my position.

          Do you want this imposed on society by law?

          And what are your thoughts on reducing unwanted pregnancy? Why isn’t that your focus?

        • carn

          “This sounds like the Argument from Potential.”

          No.

          Its called human rights. “human” in its only somewhat clearly defined version (and no other one should use for fundamental laws) means living organisms belonging to species human.

          So till someone offers some arguments beyond any reasonable doubt that there is some other clear definition to be used or till human rights are scraped and replaced with whatever, every living organism belonging to species human has those rights (though they might be weighted and applied differently in different circumstances, of which different life phases might be one sort of different circumstances).

          “A zygote with zero brain cells has little inherent value.”

          I am aware about the existence of some born humans to which i maybe would assign a lower inherent value than to zygotes; fortunately for said humans they still have rights, even if i might one day conclude that they are worthless scum.

          “Do you want this imposed on society by law?”

          Yes; although what i said was just a very vague description what such laws should achieve and hence my yes is a bit vague.

          “And what are your thoughts on reducing unwanted pregnancy?”

          That i am happy to explore with anybody acknowledging the human rights of unborn humans what can be done about unwanted pregnancies.

          “Why isn’t that your focus?”

          Cause the vast majority of people wanting to discuss prevention of unwanted pregnancies are bitterly opposed to acknowledge, that unborn humans have human rights and/or dignity.

          When such people want me to agree to their thoughts regarding prevention of unwanted pregnancies, it is often a poisoned offer with the fine print or even the unsaid implying that unborn humans are just a worthless bunch of cells and do not have human rights/dignity; this is also not only a problem for me to agree with them, but is also a logic problem in understanding their motives. After all, if unborn humans are worthless bunches of cells why should much effort be spent on avoiding unplanned pregnancies?

          Abortion then only destroys worthless bunch of cells and as such people usually say elsewhere carries only low risks. Cannot understand them, why prevention of unwanted pregnancies is so important to them – except of course to have me agree to their poisonous small print.

          Also, such people usually are adamantly against the idea to tell young people that

          a) Abortion kills a human and therefore should be avoided.

          b) While contraception reduces the probability of pregnancy, it reduces not to 0, and certain contraceptive methods are pretty unreliable when intoxicated; and contraception is statistically used less efficient in instable partnerships/non-partnerships; also there are more reliable methods and less reliable methods.

          c) Probability of abortion is high with instable relationships and/or no relationship and/or unstable financial circumstances and/or young age.

          Hence, please try to limit your sexual life to such circumstances and partners and intoxication levels and contraception methods with which the likelihood of abortion would preferably be small, which in ideal case would mean about 1 partner at a time and having that partner for about 1 lifetime; a pretty much must have should be to know the last name and contact address of any partner and preferably even having him/her known for more than 24 non intoxicated hours; otherwise there is little moral difference between you and a drunken driver speeding in front of a kindergarten – often there is no accident, but one increases the likelihood of having blood on one’s hands considerably.

          Although such advice is a logic consequence of the data about abortion and contraception, people claiming intention to reduce unwanted pregnancies via contraception are usually opposed to this (note: this is not the abstinence education some reps are in favor of; just telling kids with which lifestyle they are more likely to end with blood on their hands).

          Also, a red herring is “unwanted”; at first its an unplanned pregnancy; whether it is unwanted is usually only decided some time after a woman notices she is pregnant. The regular use of “unwanted” indicates usually a lack of awareness, that some women having unplanned pregnancies do not need taxpayer funded killing of their unborn child, but good assistance and help and can then decide for the child (and that is “some” in meaning “not all, maybe even a minority, but still above 10% or so”).

        • “This sounds like the Argument from Potential.”
          No.
          Its called human rights.

          But you need a microscope to see some of these humans? That’s not what “human rights” means in common parlance. What I’m talking about is what a baby has but the single cell it started as doesn’t.

          So till someone offers some arguments beyond any reasonable doubt that there is some other clear definition to be used or till human rights are scraped and replaced with whatever, every living organism belonging to species human has those rights

          What rights does the single cell have? Show me in law, treaties, or proclamations what is pretty much universally agreed to. If it’s just your opinion, that’s great, but I’d rather not have your opinion imposed on society by law.

          “And what are your thoughts on reducing unwanted pregnancy?”
          That i am happy to explore with anybody acknowledging the human rights of unborn humans what can be done about unwanted pregnancies.

          What does that mean? You’re holding hostage any action to reduce unwanted pregnancy until you get an agreement on a fetus’s inherent rights?

          If so, that makes clear that abortion really isn’t that big a deal for you. Making abortion illegal won’t reduce the incidence that much. But you could reduce the abortion rate by a factor of 10 with comprehensive sex education and easy access to contraception.

          Don’t want to go there? Then don’t tell me that you care about abortion rates.

          When such people want me to agree to their thoughts regarding prevention of unwanted pregnancies, it is often a poisoned offer with the fine print or even the unsaid implying that unborn humans are just a worthless bunch of cells and do not have human rights/dignity

          So you could dramatically reduce abortion through reduced unwanted pregnancy, but you’re going to hold your breath until you get what you want on inherent dignity? OK, that makes your position much clearer.

          After all, if unborn humans are worthless bunches of cells why should much effort be spent on avoiding unplanned pregnancies?

          Do I really need to go over this with you? Unwanted pregnancy is a bad thing by definition. It’s far better to have not gotten pregnant in the first place. Even early abortions are not without risk.

          b) While contraception reduces the probability of pregnancy, it reduces not to 0, and certain contraceptive methods are pretty unreliable when intoxicated; and contraception is statistically used less efficient in instable partnerships/non-partnerships.

          ?? Uh, yeah. So let’s focus on the very effective means of contraception—how does that sound?

          Also, a red herring is “unwanted”; at first its an unplanned pregnancy; whether it is unwanted is usually only decided some time after a woman notices she is pregnant.

          I’m not following. I’m imagining a 15yo girl who discovers she has an unplanned pregnancy. You’re saying that she has to mull this over for a couple of weeks before she decides whether this is a good thing or not?

          The regular use of “unwanted” indicates usually a lack of awareness, that some women having unplanned pregnancies do not need taxpayer funded killing of their unborn child

          Ah, good point about raising taxpayer funding. Cuz it is a net positive to society to avoid the few hundred dollars of an abortion and introduce an unwanted child in society. No downsides there, amirite??

        • carn

          “What rights does the single cell have? Show me in law, treaties, or proclamations what is pretty much universally agreed to.”

          https://www.unicef.org/malaysia/1959-Declaration-of-the-Rights-of-the-Child.pdf

          “Whereas the child, by reason of his physical and
          mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and
          care, including appropriate legal protection,
          before as well as after birth,”

          =>

          “child” for that universally agreed upon treaty means that thing BOTH before and after birth; hence, whenever this treaty says “child”/”children” it also means the before birth version.

          http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CRC.aspx

          “Bearing in mind that, as indicated in
          the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, “the child, by reason of his
          physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care,
          including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth”, ”

          => That universally agreed upon treaty also uses “child” for the before birth thing.

          “Article 1

          For
          the purposes of the present Convention, a child means every human being
          below the age of eighteen years unless under the law applicable to the
          child, majority is attained earlier.”

          The “single cell” you talk about is a human being in the biological sense; as the second treaty uses child both for after and before birth and as the “single cell” is certainly below the age of 18, it is a child according to second treaty.

          “Article 6

          1. States Parties recognize that every child has the inherent right to life.”

          And universally agreed upon, that said child has inherent right to life.

          Now even if you would start to argue, that they couldn’t have meant that, you cannot deny, that the treaty clearly uses child for the prebirth thing and clearly says every child has right to live; hence, said treaty clearly states the right to live prebirth.

          One could only quibble about maybe they meant only the later stages; but i find nowhere any indication, that there is any cutoff; only requirement is human being and below age of 18; fulfilled certainly with the end of nidation, hence every abortion is at least infringing upon the inherent right to live of the unborn child according to agreed upon international law.

          And anyone not ready to use “child” and “right to live” in respect to unborn is of course someone not giving a damn about international law.

          Of course, if you approach any learned specialist in the field, this will be denied; but not because of arguments, but because it is inconvenient; but that is what specialists in law are for, to hide inconvenient issues so things can proceed smoothly.

          I will not yet reply to the rest, as i first wait whether you choose:
          a) to agree that unborn children have the right to live (that does not mean that abortion needs to be always illegal)

          b) choose to forsake international law

          As long as i do not know whether you accept international law, further discussions are probably pointless.

          Also note, that both treaties verbatim speak about protection prebirth; so it is intentional that there are rights prebirth.

        • I wasn’t aware of that treaty. Thanks for pointing it out.

          The “single cell” you talk about is a human being in the biological sense; as the second treaty uses child both for after and before birth and as the “single cell” is certainly below the age of 18, it is a child according to second treaty.

          And I’ll repeat: no one thinks of needing a microscope to see the beneficiary of human rights. But this is a tangent. I’m focused on what the newborn is and the single cell isn’t.

          I will not yet reply to the rest, as i first wait whether you choose:
          a) to agree that unborn children have the right to live (that does not mean that abortion needs to be always illegal)
          b) choose to forsake international law

          Are you asking me to choose between Roe v. Wade and international treaties? It’s pretty obvious that in this country, Roe is the law of the land.

          As long as i do not know whether you accept international law, further discussions are probably pointless.

          No, but they might be embarrassing. Do you care about abortion rates or not? If you do, I’ve already pointed you to a way to reduce them 10-fold. So why are we even having this conversation? Trying to make abortion illegal will do less to reduce abortion rates than comprehensive sex ed + easy access to effective contraception. That you are holding fast to your anti-abortion focus makes it clear to me what your priorities are (and reducing abortions isn’t it).

        • carn

          “Are you asking me to choose between Roe v. Wade and international
          treaties? It’s pretty obvious that in this country, Roe is the law of
          the land.”

          That is an answer; so now to the rest:

          “What does that mean? You’re holding hostage any action to reduce unwanted pregnancy until you get an agreement on a fetus’s inherent rights?”

          That exploring reduction of abortion rates with those for whom unborn humans are just worthless bunch of cells has to be done with a lot of care and suspicion, cause usually they put their poison in somewhere. Might still work, but at best like discussing an armistice to bring out the wounded with one’s ruthless enemies.

          “Do I really need to go over this with you? Unwanted pregnancy is a bad thing by definition.”

          But a lot less relevant than the supposed right to abortion; hence, in bargaining the reduce-number-of-abortions-but-unborns-are-worthless-side will be tempted throw the former goal under the bus anytime the latter can be furthered by doing so.

          “?? Uh, yeah. So let’s focus on the very effective means of contraception—how does that sound?”

          That is not an opposite to trying to limit sexual activity to stable partnerships; both together might reduce abortion rates further than one of them alone.

          “I’m not following. I’m imagining a 15yo girl who discovers she has an
          unplanned pregnancy. You’re saying that she has to mull this over for a
          couple of weeks before she decides whether this is a good thing or not?”

          “usually” = the majority of cases => there will be some in which the decision is immediate

          Also “some time” = anything between hours and weeks; but one should not ignore that the majority of women thinks about the issue before a decision is made.

          “Cuz it is a net positive to society to avoid the few hundred dollars of an abortion and introduce an unwanted child in society.”

          Even financially that is likely true. Besides i was talking about women needing some sort of help/assistance and thanks to that then have an easier time to decide against abortion; hence, the children would not be unwanted anyway.

          “Do you care about abortion rates or not? If you do, I’ve already pointed you to a way to reduce them 10-fold.”

          I do care. And i did not see any way for a 10-fold reduction; better contraceptive use depending on country might potentially bring a reduction of 1/3 or so; at least that is what some studies suggest.

          “So why are we even having this conversation? Trying to make abortion
          illegal will do less to reduce abortion rates than comprehensive sex ed +
          easy access to effective contraception.”

          We are having this discussion, cause you asked questions and i usually try to answer questions.

          Besides, it is rather one dimensional to presume there are always only these two options; though maybe in US politics these are the only two options; and that would be pretty bad for US politics, cause it means the issue will continue to be such a dividing issue; in my opinion you’re incompetent supreme court is in part to blame if politics is stuck with these options as supposedly excluding alternatives .

        • That exploring reduction of abortion rates with those for whom unborn humans are just worthless bunch of cells

          How clueless are you? Liberals have children, too.

          usually they put their poison in somewhere.

          Pro-choicers just can’t be trusted? Yeah, they’re bastards to a man. I’m amazed that you bother. You have the patience of Job.

          “Do I really need to go over this with you? Unwanted pregnancy is a bad thing by definition.”
          But a lot less relevant than the supposed right to abortion

          The point is that you could be allied with every single pro-choice advocate if you’d focused on unwanted pregnancy. No one likes unwanted pregnancy.

          That is not an opposite to trying to limit sexual activity to stable partnerships; both together might reduce abortion rates further than one of them alone.

          You’re swimming upstream. I’m telling you how to reduce abortions by a factor of 10. Are you uninterested in that?

          “Cuz it is a net positive to society to avoid the few hundred dollars of an abortion and introduce an unwanted child in society.”
          Even financially that is likely true.

          Bullshit. The cost of an abortion is insignificant in this computation. The cost to society of bringing in a new citizen is enormous. Usually, that cost is one worth paying. Sometimes not. Either way, the cost of the abortion is pocket change.

          i was talking about women needing some sort of help/assistance and thanks to that then have an easier time to decide against abortion; hence, the children would not be unwanted anyway.

          The cost of raising a child is now $233,000/year in the US. You’re handing out $233,000 checks to women considering abortions?
          http://time.com/money/4629700/child-raising-cost-department-of-agriculture-report/

          I do care. And i did not see any way for a 10-fold reduction; better contraceptive use depending on country might potentially bring a reduction of 1/3 or so; at least that is what some studies suggest.

          I got the 10x reduction from this article. I find it compelling. The main point is that comprehensive sex ed + easy access to contraception would do more than making abortion illegal (which arguably would do nothing).
          https://valerietarico.com/2015/09/11/if-the-anti-abortion-frenzy-were-actually-about-abortion-what-a-serious-anti-abortion-movement-would-actually-look-like/

          “So why are we even having this conversation? Trying to make abortion
          illegal will do less to reduce abortion rates than comprehensive sex ed +
          easy access to effective contraception.”
          We are having this discussion, cause you asked questions and i usually try to answer questions.
          Besides, it is rather one dimensional to presume there are always only these two options; though maybe in US politics these are the only two options

          Doesn’t answer the question. If you’re concerned about the abortion rate, focusing on making abortion illegal is the idiotic way of going about it.

        • carn

          “How clueless are you? Liberals have children, too.”

          Not all liberals consider unborn humans to be a worthless nothing; i was not talking about all liberals.

          But for those people who claim that unborn humans are a worthless nothing, i take them at the word. And therefore conclude, that our motivation in reducing abortions is so different, that at some point during some mutual efforts our aims/priorities/goals might diverge; and as they usually consider me and my position to be at its core evil and as they usually are utilitarists (most unborn-are-worthless-nothing-types are) they will often be tempted to size any advantage and do the lesser evil to hinder the supposedly greater evil my position represents.

          Hence, they are the type of allies on should watch very closely.

          “The point is that you could be allied with every single pro-choice advocate if you’d focused on unwanted pregnancy. No one likes unwanted pregnancy.”

          As i said, such alliance would be one of the non-reliable ones.

          “I’m telling you how to reduce abortions by a factor of 10. Are you uninterested in that?”

          I do not think your ideas would lead to a reduction by a factor of 10. But maybe you describe them shortly?

          “The cost to society of bringing in a new citizen is enormous. Usually, that cost is one worth paying.”

          The net sum is the relevant thing; humans need a lot investment, but the gain is usually greater; hence, it is usually a net plus for society if a woman finding out she is pregnant although she had no intent to become pregnant decides against abortion. Hence, a positive financial effect of paying for abortion is unlikely.

          “Either way, the cost of the abortion is pocket change.”

          That maybe the case; but even a small net minus is a net minus; and your claim was that it is a net plus.

          Besides and especially if you are an utilitarinist, the issue of collecting money under the threat of imprisonement to pay for the killing of innocent and defenseless human beings is also an ethical one; non-ultilitaristic people usually think that doing so is as evil as evil can be.

          But to make to connection to the issue of alliances; think about politics, some ProChoicer suggest tax payer funded contraceptions to reduce unwanted pregnancies; includes of course IUDs; and as it is only small change throws in abortion costs for poor women, as otherwise it would be unfair that rich women get their abortions while poor women can’t pay for them; and then suggest that plan to the ProLifer; why do you think a ProLifer would not see this as a poisoned offer? It would include promoting something the ProLifer thinks to be a textbook example of evil.

          And to complicate the situation, the ProChoicer might not even be aware, why the ProLifer suddenly hesitates to agree to this “common sense” suggestion.

          Such issue would complicate ProChoice-ProLife-alliances even in case of good will on both sides.

          “You’re handing out $233,000 checks to women considering abortions?”

          The average costs are misleading, as this includes a lot of actually unnecessary expenses by wealthy parents. Otherwise, i am ok with billing the father of the child and the tax payer to a reasonable extent.

          “If you’re concerned about the abortion rate, focusing on making abortion illegal is the idiotic way of going about it.”

          Making abortion illegal maybe; but focusing on making people accept/not forget that unborn humans are humans as well is not idotic, but necessary.

          Reducing number of abortions takes effort and resources; in the political arena anything requiring resources and effort is competing with all other issues; going in to the arena with “ok, its just a worthless bunch of cells anyway, but for many women it is an unpleasant experience and its not that healty, so please spend a lot of money and effort upon reducing abortions” has limited effect; on the other hand “ok, these measures cost some money, but they might save a thousand human lives; what do you value more, money of human lives?” has more potential.

          I have to read the article to form an opinion upon its suggestions.

        • carn

          “I have to read the article to form an opinion upon its suggestions.”

          Not 90% reduction.

          In the US maybe 30 – 50%. And that is presuming thing work out as suggested. As far as the links work, it seems to be based on some rather mediocre studies.

          Furthermore, it contains quite a number of poison pills. The most in principle obvious one:

          “Serious beyond-abortion activists will challenge the false perception
          that these methods work to end rather than prevent pregnancy and
          instead promote the science-based awareness that these methods are true
          contraceptives with bonus health benefits.”

          Although the author is probably unware about this being a poison pill. And as her explanatory article suggests, this is pretty much due to her being an adherent of utilitarianism and being blind to the fact, that not everybody else ist.

          But there are further poison pills.

          Also, the whole article is about what somebody else supposedly has to do before the author is willing to accept that that somebody is a in sincere way opposed to abortion. That way it is in no way a positive plan, but actually a tool to slander the other side because even someone sincerly trying to act according to that plan will diverge at some points (mostly where possible the author bases her argument on questionable studies) and will get bashed as not being sincere.

          The article comprises little or nothing, what the author/her side supposedly has to do. It is mostly an excercise about elevating her position and setting standards meant to be failed by the other side so they can be critized for being not sincerely against abortion.

          I would not expect there to be much positive results even if someone followed her suggestions.

        • You’ve probably seen the bumper sticker, “The nice thing about being a Republican is knowing what you’re going to think tomorrow.” I don’t know what bin you put yourself in, but it sounds like this could be customized to fit you as well.

          You’ve got your ideas–abortion must be stopped through abolition–and that’s all you need. No one’s going to dissuade you. Even pointing out that your route causes the death of more “human beings” won’t do it. “Overturn Roe or bust!” is your clueless motto.

          I’m beginning to see your point about how you could never work with anyone else who didn’t agree with you on everything.

        • carn

          I am neither a republican (not even living in the US) nor do i pursue an abortion must be stopped through abolition approach.

          The problem is more, that you cannot get your head around the idea, that one could acknowledge the right to life of unborn humans and yet not conclude “abortion is murder and must be legally treated as such”.

          “”Overturn Roe or bust!” is your clueless motto.”

          Which i think is in part caused by the quality or absence thereof of Roe vs Wade; Roe vs Wade set the direction for abortion politics in the US tending to be a choice only between “Free abortion on demand and without apology” and “Abortion is murder and should be treated as such.”; hence, i would be in favor of overturing or more precisely correcting the deficiencies of Roe vs Wade and PP vs Casey, which should mainly involve to waive the idiocy of implicitely declaring it to be irrelevant whether the unborn is alive and human.

        • Thanks for the clarification. You are happy with US laws as they are, but you want to advocate that people avoid abortion. That works for me. It’s imposing your moral views on others by legislation that I object to.

          Reducing unwanted pregnancies is where you should focus.

        • But for those people who claim that unborn humans are a worthless nothing

          Is there one? Show me.

          Maybe you should use your words more precisely.

          As i said, such alliance would be one of the non-reliable ones.

          Yes, you did say that. And your argument was bullshit. Pro-choice advocates really want to reduce unwanted pregnancies.

          Think before you type. Or guard your passwords better so that someone doesn’t put idiotic arguments under your name.

          Making abortion illegal maybe; but focusing on making people accept/not forget that unborn humans are humans as well is not idotic, but necessary.

          That’s nice. But I wonder that you don’t directly address the suggestions in Valerie Tarico’s article. Was it a little too hot to handle? Or are you throwing in the towel, admitting that abortions really isn’t the issue?

        • carn

          “Is there one? Show me.”

          https://rewire.news/article/2015/10/19/day-learned-aborted-fetuses-arent-people/

          “But if we are truly to defend access to abortion, and the personhood of
          pregnant people, we have to be able to say, unequivocally, that the
          aborted fetus is not a person. It is not a baby. It is medical waste.”

          One would not call anything but the remains of a worthless nothing “medical waste”.

          Also:

          https://www.sm.ee/sites/default/files/content-editors/eesmargid_ja_tegevused/Tervis/Tervislik_eluviis/ippf_charter_srh_rights_2003.pdf

          page 8:

          “IPPF recognizes and believes that all persons* have a right to life and that no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of their life.”

          “Persons are recognized in international law, as human beings having been born; see Article 1 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”.”

          => IPPF presumes there is only a human right to life after birth is finished => before birth is finished IPPF considers the unborn not to in any way something that might have “human rights” + as IPPF offers nowhere any indication if and which alternative rights unborn might have => for IPPF unborn are in themselve legal nothing = worthless nothing

          “Pro-choice advocates really want to reduce unwanted pregnancies.”

          Abortion rights clearly take priority over that for prochoicers.

          E.g. so called “side walk counselors” have beside being potentially a harrassment for some women, have with maybe about 1 in 100 or 1 in 1000 women the success that after some of their “Jesus doesn’t want you to have an abortion”-talk (or whatever they say) the women cancels her appointment and happily decides against abortion.

          If for ProChoice advocates reduction of unwanted pregnancies would take priority over abortion access, they would in their political and legal dealings with said “counselors” use a “Great, that once in a while your words help turning an unwanted into a wanted pregnancy; but please also lets talk about the women who feel harrassed; maybe we can find a way to keep that good thing of you ‘saving 1 out of 100 babies from abortion’ and reduce or even avoid that bad thing?”-approach at first; yet, they never do; they never care that – although seldom – these “counselors” besides the alleged harrassment have an effect which they should wholeheartedly should celebrate, if priority of reducing unwanted pregnancies were higher of abortion access.

          As they seem to never use this approach, one must presume that abortion access takes priority over reducing unwanted pregnancies; hence, in any alliance to reduce pregnancies one must be aware when the choice of reducing unwanted pregnancies or ensuring abortion access comes along, ProChoicers will opt for the latter and sacrifice the former (note: this is not an endorsement of the “side walk counselors”; what they do constitutes in my eyes often harrassment; i just take what they do as an indication, that for ProChoicer abortion access/rights take priority over all other things, which can make an alliance shaky).

          “But I wonder that you don’t directly address the suggestions in Valerie Tarico’s article. Was it a little too hot to handle?”

          Mostly, it is a time issue. So i’ll keep it short:

          1. Mostly fine with; i just sense a contradiction with 3., as conflicting approaches regarding sexuality with parents and schools often create strive; but kudos for 1. to acknowledge that stable houshold and respect for parents and parents acting as role models is advocated; expect some positive nods from christian “family folks”

          2. Wrong conclusion is drawn that because a certain type of abstinence education approach does not work well, one has to accept what the author thinks to be the sensible education; A being wrong, does not make B being true; also “honest conversations” about sex done the wrong way, tend to increase sexual activity and number of unplanned pregnancies; so from my side reservation till the details are discussed, what she actually wants me to agree to and till she admits her logical error and corrects for.

          3. Reservation due to potential contradiction with 1 and often when one makes a school sex ed program, some whackos try to insert their crazy ideas, which both causes strive and diverts from the main goal about reducing abortions; hence, details are missing; also, the link to the study she relies upon does only lead to the organizations website, which looks like the organization will mostly produce biased studies; so reservation till facts are better identified.

          4. Agreement with sentence 2 as worded; sentence 1 is a questinable assessment, especially why such prgrams fail would be of interest and necessary for design of what to do next; i also suspect she might have a lot of ideas about that point which she considers self-evident although they aren’t.

          5. To some extent agreement, to some extent reservation; about half of unplanned pregnancies happen without contraception, half happen with contraception; and the mantra, that better contraception will resolve the issue is suggested since 50+ years; so doing something in that regard could be sensible, but should be done with great care (which she seems to not consider; hence, a potential problem); also, there is the issue, that this should be for “participating groups” be optional, as some consider contraception also to be evil to some extent; not considering this, is a fault in her argument. Also, preventing implantation is a no-deal for any prolifer and cannot be a method to “prevent” abortions.

          6. Maybe agreement, but the current wording is very, very bad and very ignorant; “access to excellent reproductive health services free of charge” usually also implies free abortion coverage and excellent access to abortion; if that is not meant, reqording needed; if it is meant, am i not supposed to join because of this ideas reducing the number of abortions?

          7. Talking about pregnancy, fertility, conception, ways to maybe avoid conception should all be part of respective medical interaction; but “family planning” again is bad choice of words, as it often implies also abortion in some circles; hence as 6.

          8. To some extent agreement; but she includes some whacko-leftist-buzzwords, which usually imply stupid economic policies, which of course does not reduce abortion numbers; so disagreement in details expected; only the last sentence is mostly fine as worded and disagreements in details might be of the resolvable type.

          9. Agreement; though it should be flanked by some measures trying to counter the perception that for a disabled unborn it is better to be killed than born.

          10. As 5; and requiring a certain amount to be spend by people agreeing to the proposal looks like an attempt to put blame on those not agreeing; furthermore, why that number? Though of course agreement, that if 5. and similar efforts are pursued, 10. is nearly a must to pursue due to gender equality.

          In general, how she arrives at 90% is hard to understand.

          And she uses that 90% number in third last paragraph to disparage all so far pro-life approaches/attempts as being less effective, which is of course questionable if her 90%-claim is unfounded; second and third last-paragraph sounds like she wants some admission, that shame/stigma/anti-abortion laws/other pro-life stuff are less effective than her plan; requesting such an admission is both unnecessary (none of her suggestions has an unavoidable conflict with “classic” prolife stuff) and questionable in respect to the view of the other side (e.g. if i think that her plan gives a 30% reduction instead of 90% and that a pre-Roe abortion law would give a 40% reduction, she would be requesting me to agree to something i consider to be untrue).

          “By contrast, we know what it would take to make most abortion simply go away.”

          Ouch. She thinks she knows; the issue that she is unaware, that she does not know, but at most has good arguments that it might be so; that puts a serious doubt onto her general ability to correctly analyze the complex issue, meaning likely her 90%-claim is nothing more than a guess based on mediocre analysis.

          If someone in my “geographical area” made that appeal, i would try to react with an outstretched hand, but great worries, how to handle all the problems such, that it will work and no hostility ensures; especially a problem is her assumption, that she has a much more throughful understanding of the situation and issues than the one reacting to her “offer” is hard to handle.

        • Pofarmer

          Uhm, the core of your argument IS evil, in that it’s focused on ignoring the human rights of, ya know, women. It would be a leading philosophical argument in the 12th century.

        • carn

          “Uhm, the core of your argument IS evil,”

          Independently of the question of whether my argument is evil, can you at least agree, that proposals by people who think my argument to be evil will have a tendency to include things contrary to my argument?

          After all, people thinking my argument is evil, will tend to hold positions/favor arguments not seldom being in contradiction/opposition to my “evil argument”.

          Or another way: Presume that we are not random strangers having a chat, but politicians with long and extensive political battle about the issue. If one day i came with “Surely, you must be fine with these common ground proposal, if you actually mean what you say”-proposal woulnd’t you – even if you believed my intentions to be sincere – carefully check every single word in the proposal for potentially furthering some of those things you still oppose?
          And wouldn’t you be rather sceptical about my proposal if you found such things?

          If yes to both, congrats, you understood why i am cautionary with proposals as the linked one. Its just plain common sense.

        • Pofarmer

          Dude. It’s very simple. The PROVEN WAY, EVERY TIME IT’S TRIED to reduce abortions and unwanted pregnancies is the same. If you were serious about reducing abortions, you could at least acknowledge this.

        • carn

          “The PROVEN WAY, EVERY TIME IT’S TRIED to reduce abortions and unwanted pregnancies is the same.”

          Its simple, as far as i can tell, you’re claim is wrong (and because i fear you might miss this, your claim means that every single time in any place at any point in time what you call “proven way” led to reduce number of abortions; a single instance of not working destroys that claim).

          “If you were serious about reducing abortions, you could at least acknowledge this.”

          Why should i affirm a claim, if i think it to be wrong?

        • Pofarmer
        • carn

          You did not understand what i put in brackets, which is shown by you pointing to a single example in support of your universal claim without exceptions and you probably thinking that that was a rational argument.

          But to answer the question:

          “So this doesn’t work?”

          First, what the title and header of the article claim is not supported by the study. The study cannot show that free birth control reduces in general abortion rates; at most the study can show that certain types of birth control provided for free can reduce abortion numbers.

          Based on that caveat and the obvious caveat of selection bias (which women actually take part in such study? Are they truly comparable to the group their abortion rate is compared to? Even among people with similar social background there might be vast awareness difference regarding prganancy; if only women anyway alert to this show up for study, they are not comparable to the other women of the social group), in that example it seems to have worked.

          But guess what, i know about a project in which a city wanted to provide reliable birth control to poor women for free and a nealy insignificant number of women use that option for free birth control; and they also pay for long acting types; the organizers are at a loss to understand why their project is not working; they are sitting on millions of unspend funds. And obviously in regard to abortion prevention this was a failure.

          So under some circumstances and with some methods it works, under some other circumstances it doesn’t. And as far as i know, nobody has a clue why.

          And yet i should agree to someone obviously lacking knowledge about the non-working examples, that “PROVEN WAY, EVERY TIME IT’S TRIED to reduce abortions and unwanted pregnancies is the same”?

          No it isn’t. Stop living in your bubble and accept the complicateness of the world in which “free contraception = less abortions” is not a true statement (But of course “free contraception = more abortions” is also not a true statement; reality does not care that we prefer it to be simple).

        • carn

          Actually, there is large and obvious example of failure of that approach, at least in achieving a 90% reduction:

          https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/contraception/contraception-clinic-services/

          “You can get details of your nearest contraception clinic (sometimes called family planning clinic) using the sexual health services near you postcode search. Most types of contraception are free through the NHS.”

          So England and Wales as a whole are following this absolutely proven beyond any doubt always to work perfect plan to drastically and predictably reduce abortion numbers on a national scale (and that since decades i think).

          The result:

          https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2011/may/24/abortion-statistics-england-wales


          ENGLAND AND WALES
          TOTAL
          189,931
          17.5

          abortions per 1000 women aged 15-44.

          Compared to the US:

          https://edition.cnn.com/2013/09/18/health/abortion-fast-facts/index.html

          “652,639 abortions were reported in the CDC’s 2014 study. The abortion
          rate decreased 2% compared to 2013. There were 12.1 abortions per 1,000
          women aged 15-44.”

          GB has MORE ABORTIONS. And not less; and certainly not 90% less.

          Does that mean free contraception cannot reduce abortions? Certainly not; it just means that other factors are also relevant and that free contraception is not guranteed to reduce abortion numbers; if one wants to to optimize the potential reduction effect of providing contraceptives, one must understand why the results in GB are as they are, instead of mindlessly believing in own’s own dogma of what does and what does not reduce abortion rates; if you want dogma, go to Catholic Church.

          And of course as these numbers are quick to google, this means that nearly all people discussing here with me are potentially suffering from Denning-Kruger effect with this topic, as they are absolutely convinced about the superiority and correctness of their plans/arguments, although a counter example with millions of women is right before their eyes.

        • Pofarmer

          I’m not sure what you imagine your numbers show.

          A more important driver of the declining abortion rate, Jones said,
          appears to be improved access to contraception, particularly long-acting
          birth control options like IUDs. She noted that women in the United
          States have been using the highly effective devices in growing numbers for more than a decade, and said the declining birthrate suggests more women are preventing unwanted pregnancies.

          https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/01/17/509734620/u-s-abortion-rate-falls-to-lowest-level-since-roe-v-wade

        • I will not yet reply to the rest, as i first wait whether you choose:
          a) to agree that unborn children have the right to live (that does not mean that abortion needs to be always illegal)
          b) choose to forsake international law

          International law? Nope. Purple on the map shows “didn’t ratify.”

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convention_on_the_Rights_of_the_Child
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a4ca0c61dc7f31133048e2fd1f73bbcc3adb968cc8afb3f9bad549d858c66449.png

        • Pofarmer

          And yet.

          https://news.un.org/en/story/2016/09/541212-repealing-anti-abortion-laws-would-save-lives-nearly-50000-women-year-un

          Repealing anti-abortion laws would save the lives of nearly 50,000 women a year – UN experts

          “Criminalization of abortion and failure to provide adequate access
          to services for termination of an unwanted pregnancy are forms of
          discrimination based on sex,” they said in a joint statement on the eve of the Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion.

          “Restrictive legislation which denies access to safe abortion is one
          of most damaging ways of instrumentalizing women’s bodies and a grave
          violation of women’s human rights. The consequences for women are
          severe, with women sometimes paying with their lives” they said.

          The experts are: Alda Facio, Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on
          discrimination against women in law and in practice; Dainius Pûras,
          Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the
          highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; and Juan E.
          Méndez, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or
          degrading treatment or punishment.

          “In the 21st century, unsafe abortion is one of the leading causes of
          maternal mortality and morbidity,” they said, noting that according to
          the UN World Health Organization
          (WHO), about 22 million unsafe abortions take place each year globally
          and some 47,000 women die from complications from the resort to unsafe
          practices.

        • Greg G.

          Repealing anti-abortion laws would save the lives of nearly 50,000 women a year – UN experts

          Right, that is 50,000 women who didn’t want to have the baby in the first place.

        • Pofarmer

          Sluts who should have kept their legs closed, according to carn, and who lost all rights once they didn’t

        • carn

          Guess you have nothing to support that adhominem. Especially since i presume that a considerable part of these women might have been pregnant with the sex lacking somewhat in the category of “consent”, as these women are often poor women in poor countries and hence are often with limited options regarding and enforcing a “no” (poor women are more often victim of sexual assault and have more difficulty getting help vs attackers).

          If countries want to keep their strict anti-abortion laws, i would strongly favor a collection of DNA samples from every biological male above age 10; hence, when a women dies due to abortion and/or is punished, then at least there is a chance to identify the likely father and to check whether he is to some extent responsible for what happened; and then of course punish him as required if he is found in any way guilty for the death of the unborn child and/or the pregnant woman.

        • carn seems solely focused on abolition. As far as I can tell, that’s it. He doesn’t actually care about killing “human beings”; that’s just an argument he hopes will sway someone else. If he had two paths, he’d take the one that had abolition of abortion, regardless of which produced fewer abortions.

        • Pofarmer

          Or which path protected actual, ya know, people.

        • carn

          “If he had two paths, he’d take the one that had abolition of abortion, regardless of which produced fewer abortions.”

          Nope.

          Complete prohibition of abortion due to various reasons might have a reduction effect on abortion that might be less than that of a more somewhat compromising approach.

          If the state can achieve a comparable effective protection of unborn humans with less severe effects on women’s rights and well being and upon generally equality between men and women, then complete prohibition might even be an illegal option for the state, as the means the states uses to fulfill its duties to protect whatever should preferably the least severe ones.

          If creating a welfare state with special effort for pregnant women in less than optimal situations for the price of some reduced economic growth and some crying by mens right activist/economic purist/etc. is as effective as complete abortion prohibition, that is the path the state actually must choose in protecting unborn (these two options might be exclusive, as reaching pregnant women in difficult situations can be hindered if the women fear draconian punishment by the state in case they nonetheless abort); that is something US reps unfortunately do not seem to understand.

          Regarding that:

          “Repealing anti-abortion laws would save the lives of nearly 50,000 women a year – UN experts”

          One can to some extent dismiss these “experts”, as the cause of those nearly 50000 deaths is not illegality alone, but also bad “service quality” these women get, as they are poor and cannot pay for “good service”; so even a complete and total worldwide legalization would not reduce these 47000 next year to 0.

          Hence, to be experts and not just “experts” they should have said, that legalization would save several thousands of these 50000 lives or could potentially save a considerable portion of these lives; but as they didn’t they are “experts” and not experts. Alternatively, they are politically compromised experts for they have an agenda and nudge the facts in favor of that agenda.

        • Pofarmer

          What a bunch of ignorant twaddle that was you responded to.

        • I wonder if there’s a full moon.

        • carn

          “The 3-point argument that you keep referring to is irrelevant. That’s my point.”

          Meaning you did not refute the argument and do not care that you cannot refute it.

          My refutation is, that what is called murder and what isn’t is a choice the lawgiver makes in his attempt to fulfill his duty to protect humans; in the end it might not realy be helpful for the state’s duty to protect humans to call abortion murder; hence, insofar this is the case, the state is free to call it something else than murder.

          Only if calling abortion murder would be the only feasible option to protect unborn humans in any way and all other options would be a guranteed miserable failure, then the state would probably be required to call it murder.

        • Meaning you did not refute the argument and do not care that you cannot refute it.

          “But Bob, you’ve done nothing to solve the problem of water rights in Central Asia!”

          Uh, yes, carn. That’s true. That wasn’t my goal. That’s off topic. And—coincidence!—so is that argument.

          Only if calling abortion murder would be the only feasible option to protect unborn humans in any way and all other options would be a guranteed miserable failure, then the state would probably be required to call it murder.

          Why is this your concern? You’d have far better results and make far fewer enemies if you’d focus on reducing unwanted pregnancies.

        • Anat

          It is not always true that it is murder to take a human life. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t, depends on many things. Different societies define what kinds of ‘taking of a human life’ they are comfortable with, and define the rest as ‘murder’. Can be shocking and confusing when you are used to boundaries being defined one way and moving to a space where they are defined another way. The real task is to try to come up with boundaries that actually make sense, and to me that means boundaries that do the most good while doing the least bad.

        • Pofarmer

          I really think that this can’t be overstated. In some cultures, well, quite a few, actually, honor killings, especially of females, who somehow taint the family honor are considered perfectly acceptable. And the list goes on, and on, and on.