I'm an atheist. I believe in reproductive rights for women. I believe a woman should be able to abort a pregnancy no questions asked. Why should I have to also believe the nonsense that "life begins at birth"? It seems to me that a human being is created as soon as a sperm fertilizes an egg. The DNA of a human being exists from that point onward. Are we so under the thumbs of the religious right that we can't say, "Yeah, life begins at conception. So what? The woman still has control."?

Tags: abortion, conception, feminism

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Yes "life" begins at conception. But there are two points that anti-choicers are in denial about 1. The medical establishment considers that life to be a pregnancy only when it has implanted in the uterus. 2. The life of a blastocyst is real but its life is on the same level as a bacterium. Is it biologically human? Yes it is. Is it a person? No it isn't ... at least it isn't a full person yet. It has no cognitive functioning, no awareness and none of the higher order processes to be considered for personhood. We are our brains. Personhood depends upon higher order brain functioning of emotions, the ability to think, form relationships, make basic decisions, interpret ones environment, and most importantly possess an individual personality. Without our brains we have none of this. Blastocysts don't have brains. Case closed. A better case could be made for giving personhood to a guinea pig than a blastocyst.
I stand by my point but perhaps it warrants further explanation...
By subjective I mean that each subject should be judged on its own merits. If you take for example a woman in her mid 50s who is unintentionally pregnant and whose foetus shows very early signs of Downs Syndrome against the foetus of a healthy athletic 25 year old who wants an abortion because a child would ruin her lifestyle: at 20 weeks into their pregnancy, the rules for viability are not the same. Whilst the healthy foetus might have a chance at survival at 20 weeks, the Downs foetus would likely have only a very slim chance of survival at 24 weeks, never mind 20.

What I'm trying to say (and not very successfully!!!) is that there is no objective method when it comes to abortions. There should be guidelines and limits yes...but a cookie cutter methodology or a defined point at which ALL pregnancies must carry to term is not a realistic expectation. Every human is different, every pregnancy is different...every abortion should be treated in such a context.

I think I get what you are saying.  That there are myriad circumstances that would lead to a woman considering an abortion and they are not all created equal.  I agree with that.  But, my point is that this is all moot when it comes to the reproductive rights of women.  Rights are not granted selectively based on a case by case basis. Rights are not bestowed based on mitigating criteria; you have the right or you don't.

 

It is not much different than free speech rights.  We don't grant that to some people because we have estimated their words to be worthy while denying others on a case by case basis.  It doesn't matter what the words are or whether we find value in them or not.  Freedom of speech is a right all enjoy regardless of how those words are judged.  Similarly, it doesn't matter what reason a woman has for aborting a pregnancy.  She has that right and as long as she does, it doesn't matter if I, you, or anyone else think her reasons are not worthy.

 

In your example, does it matter if the older woman became pregnant intentionally or not?  You frame one woman's need as being justified because she is some innocent victim while the other woman's need is unjustified because she is young and selfish.  What if it were the other way around?  What if the older woman had a healthy fetus but didn't want to ruin her lifestyle?  Does her age even matter at this point? And what if the 25 year old was the innocent victim by "unintentionally" becoming pregnant? And what really is the difference between a woman who doesn't want a kid because of the inconvenience and a woman who doesn't want a DS child? Downs kids are great and loving children.  Will it be too much of an inconvenience? And if it doesn't survive in the womb, why is the abortion even necessary, let alone justified?

 

Point is, with the law there needs to be logical standards.  Because once you start applying that law, if it isn't logically consistent, unfairness (and sometimes absurdity) will result when situations arise that fall outside of the perfect scenarios that were contrived to validate the law in the first place.

That was @Reggie...for some reason it doesn't nest my replies correctly...

Ning is silly that way.

Well technically, babies are just clusters of cells for a time. So are tumors... We have no problem removing tumors. Hell, life shouldn't be considered began until birth.

That's the beginning of worldly life. Your standard is ambiguous. Does life begin when the baby crowns, is halfway out, all the way out, or after the umbilical is cut? Until then, what is it? Dead? I only know living and dead. What is this intermediate state your position implies?

@ Charlene

 

There is no way I could of abandoned my girlfriend. There was two involved in this situation and I wasn't turning my back on her. We discussed the situation with our families (I was sixteen , she was seventeen) and made the decision. It's strange how some people don't want to take responsibility for their actions and in turn place the blame on someone who is trying to be helpful. 

The experience was a life changer for me and forced me to make a commitment that it never happen again. While perhaps unfounded, I still possess feelings of guilt about what transpired. On a positive note we remain friends to this day, some 38 years later.

@ Brett

"Well technically, babies are just clusters of cells for a time. So are tumors... We have no problem removing tumors. Hell, life shouldn't be considered began until birth."

 

So you would see no problem with the late term abortion of an eight month old fetus? Perhaps you have already had the opportunity to feel the faint kicks of an unborn through the mother's stomach or someday you may. At which time you might very well rethink your preposterous comment.  

 

There is a world of difference between an early stage embryo and a fetus of 8 gestational months.  It is preposterous that you would ever conflate the two.

I don't think abortion is a good choice, but I do believe it very often is the best choice. People who abort tend to do so out of responsibility to the child. If there is no viable option, then the child must be prevented.

Here are the options:

1.) Have an unwanted child. The child grows up unloved, low probability of a good, happy life.

2.) Have a child you can't afford. High probability of severely impoverished living conditions.     Increased chance of criminality. Happy healthy life unlikely.

3.) Offer for closed adoption. Risk of child going to insane fundamentalist x-tian family, or adopted child collectors, while perfectly viable candidates for parenthood are turned away on the grounds that they are homosexual. Ideologically unacceptable before the enforcment of the "traditional family" foolishness is removed.

In the end, If a woman would be placing the child in a bad situation, and does not have a decent candidate for an open adoption, such as a trusted friend or family member, parental duty would dictate that the only responsible course would be to terminate.

What is human? What distinguishes us from other animals? Is it our higher cognitive function? Is it our DNA? Obviously our capacity for reason does not start at fertilization. Is it ethical to terminate before sapience is achieved? If it is, will it be ethical to wipe the memory of a computer that could be come sentient, in order to prevent it from doing so? This issue goes well beyond the current forum.

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