In this discussion I would like to talk about abortion. It is always something I have felt very strong about and would argue to the ends of the earth on. I have always been Pro-Life, always. Ever since I became an Atheist, this topic keeps popping up in my head. Since it is something I have not wanted to confront, I have been pushing it to the back burner. Now that I have given it some thought I would like to tell you where I used to stand and where I stand now. When I was a Christian my thought process was "Abortion is Never the right choice unless the mother and child will both die." So even if the child were to survive and the mother dies, abortion is still not the right choice. Some might even consider that murder, I guess. To answer this question I'm sure someone will ask, Yes I would have and still would give up my life for my child. Well, now I'm sort of seeing things a bit different. If a female gets raped and gets pregnant from it, abortion is ok, (sad all the way around - for everyone).  If a woman chooses to abort a baby due to the risk to the mothers life, Ok. If the baby will have a very very very difficult life and in turn make the parents have an equally difficult life, ok. To me abortion is a horrible thing, if someone wants to have an abortion just because oops I got preggo. That is horrible. If you don't want kids do everything in your power to NOT get pregnant. Simple as that. Life is a beautiful an precious thing, and yes I do believe it is special.  Any and All comments are welcome :)

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I have to say, everybody, that this is THE most civil discussion of abortion that I've ever seen . . . and I've seen a LOT of said discussions. It makes me happy to take part.
I've read many discussions on this website so I'm not surprised that this one is civil as well. But I am glad.
Yeah, it is refreshing to be able to argue, debate, and discuss in this manner about such hot topic issues.
Atheist Exile wrote:
Responsibility is an elusive quality. Not everybody is responsible or responsible to the same extent. Everybody might be legally responsible once they turn 18 but I'm not talking about legal responsibility. I talking about responsibility as a part of maturity. Not everybody matures at the same age. Some people NEVER mature.

So trying to foist responsibility onto some people just won't work. If you make contraceptive responsibility a legal matter, then you're turning a lot of people into criminals because they just aren't that responsible. Besides, how do you enforce contraceptive responsibility? Anybody can simply claim that contraception isn't foolproof.

We can't legislate everything. Some things we just have to accept.

I'm not trying to foist anything onto anyone... I'm just trying to refine my opinions by posting them here and see what other people think about them. And if I end up judging someone for what they did or did not do, that's my right, isn't it?

I would try to make sterilization a legal matter... is that foolproof enough? And, as far as I know the process can be reversed (I know only about vasectomy reversal, but they may be others), so you can only win from this.

Neal wrote:
I will never agree with the anti-choice crowd, and that's what they are. Everyone as I've said earlier in this conversation is pro-life, calling yourself that means nothing.

Call it what it is, pro-choice or anti-choice, quit trying to disguise the real intent with pretty words.

I'm not anti-choice and I'm not pro-choice... because it's too generalized. I do support the choice if it's the best one that can be made (like sterilization instead of risking to become pregnant when you don't want a child). The choices vary from case to case...
We can't put everyone into the same basket... but we can all "hop" in the best basket available to us. Of course there will be some who will just do the opposite (even just because they want to do the opposite) but that shouldn't stop the rest. Because there will always be religious fanatics we shouldn't try to live our lives without the fear of some inexistent bastard?

You can say that you are pro-choice in one case and you can also say that you are anti-choice in some other case. At least I have thought about some different cases and realized this. That's why I can't say whether I'm pro or anti choice because it would be a general statement and even a wrong one in some cases.
@E. Nigma,

Sorry, I wasn't using the word, "you", specifically, I was using it collectively. That's allowed in English grammar you know. Perhaps I should have used "one" instead. You (specifically) certainly are NOT trying to foist anything on anybody.
The interesting thing about PZ's comment which I pasted as an excerpt is that I think by mistake, he left out the fact that there is a very definitive natural boundary which is birth. At this point the fetus is no longer a fetus.

But there is no fundamental difference in biology between one moment and the next (aside from how the fetus/newborn receives sustenance). It is like me stepping over the Texas state border and claiming that now I'm a Texan!
Every single instant spent in the womb has developmental purpose. The moment of birth IS indeed a defining moment when the foetus is ready for undoctored life. Medical intervention enables us to defy the biologal timing of birth, that does not change the fact without medical intervention, the moment of birth is crucial. We may be humans before birth, but we are only persons after birth.
Actually, I've heard full brain maturity happens at about 30 years old.
The reference for the 30 year date for maturity of the human brain is here
Posted by: PZ Myers | December 1, 2010 9:40 AM Nope, birth is also arbitrary, and it has not been even a cultural universal that newborns are regarded as fully human. I've had a few. They weren't.

I'd say that they are fully human, but not fully a person. It is a small distinction, but an important one. My daughter is 4 months old and I can, I think, start to spot small signs here and there of a rudimentery person developing.

For the first month or two, I was amazed by her because she was not a person at all, but a force of nature. Evolution incarnate, if you will.

"there is a very definitive natural boundary which is birth"

Is a baby more human a minute after birth than a minute before? That makes birth seem as arbitrary as any other distinction.

I think PZ meant what he said: "There is no black-and-white boundary between non-personhood and personhood — it's an arbitrary line drawn in a continuum."


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