Yay! Another discussion about abortion!

I just added my two-cents to a discussion happening on Facebook about whether or not abortion is morally right, and where does life begin, etc etc... and I realized there is hypocrisy in this idea that a woman is obligated to carry a fetus if she becomes pregnant with it.

So, instead of launching into why or why not abortion itself is permissible, and under what circumstances, let's debate about something entirely different with this in the back of our minds: if a woman is obligated to sacrifice her body because the fetus has a right to life, it follows we should all be obligated blood-and-organ donors because others have a right to life as well. And I'm serious. I know I'm introducing this first as an abortion issue, I want you all to form an opinion about something else.

Don't you feel good about yourself when you donate blood? Wouldn't you feel proud if you were able to save a family member's life by giving them one of your kidneys? Gosh, your blood type was a perfect match to that poor little girl with leukemia and so you want to give bone marrow! How about some plasma? Just think of all the things you could give and live without to save another life... ~warm fuzzies~

Now imagine the government coming in and demanding you donate all those things you can live without. Sure, that kidney might come in handy when you are diagnosed with cancer, but let's worry about that later. People are dying! They need your body to survive! Literally, the government wants you to give it your lifeblood. Not just once, either. However many times you can give in a year, you're required to check in and give it up... you know, for those people that have a right to live, nevermind it's at your expense.

So think about that. It's for the greater good. You don't need any of that to live. Well, and hopefully you'd get it back when you were in a similar state of need. Do you think the government should be able to force people to give up their bodily autonomy for the sake of "the greater good", whatever that really means?

Does saving another life justify the pillaging of another's body?

Stay on topic, kiddos! No rabbit trails about why you think abortion is right or wrong, just stick to the issue about being forced to donate organs/blood, etc. :D


This just in: someone on Twitter submitted a link to the Vatican's thoughts on bodily autonomy. I thought it was ironic and wonder why people don't make this connection.

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Whether life begins at conception is not the point. In fact, this argument is based on the assumption that it does begin at conception. I have paralleled the life of a fetus to that of an individual(s) we know for sure is alive.

The fetus' survival depends on the body of its mother. A leukemia patient depends on the body of a bone marrow donor. Discharging the fetus from a woman's body is not the same as murder, just as it is not murder if a leukemia patient is never given marrow from a donor. Like I said, we hope people will volunteer both their wombs and their blood/organs for others, but it should be voluntary. Our bodies are not commodities for anyone's use, and a fetus doesn't get special pleading. If a man with two kids, a wife, and a mortgage doesn't get to insist his life is saved via someone else's body, then neither should an unconscious/nonviable fetus.

I think the seat-belt argument is a red herring and not at all applicable here. That has nothing to do with one person sacrificing their self for another.

Also, I think it's fantastic that many women bounce back from pregnancy, but so what? My mother didn't bounce back. Not one of us was under 10 lbs. My old brother broke her tail bone after being in labor with him for 24 hours. My younger brother weighed 11 lbs. We tore her abs down the middle, and she later had to have a tummy-tuck and a bladder suspension. Hopping on a treadmill would not have solved her body issues. She can't even laugh without having a little urine leaking out. She wanted kids and says it was worth it. I don't want kids and I certainly don't think those horrors would be worth it. Pregnancy puts a woman's life and health in danger in very real ways and so she had better be fully aware and ready for the roller coaster. She should absolutely be able to opt out of that experience. 

I'm sorry, but unless technology allows a man to carry a fetus himself, the choice is certainly not his to make (especially considering what I mentioned above). I think that argument is completely unjustified and reduces a woman's body, again, to an incubator for whoever would like to utilize it. A man can easily find another partner who will carry his child. He has plenty of sperm to spare.

Birth control fails. If it fails, a woman has a right to other methods. Her body belongs to no one, including the fetus or her partner. We'll have an argument about the man's rights to his own child once they come up with ways of sustaining a fetus outside her womb.

I don't think this approach is simplifying the argument; I think it's allowing people to look at it from another angle, and one I don't think many have ever considered.

I'm not arguing entire issue with you Cara, I'm simply saying that in restricting your original premise to one of whether or not the government should be allowed to force you to give up an organ, you've attempted to reduce a multifaceted subject to one of a single facet, thereby loading the question to the point where no rational person can be expected to give you any answer except that of agreement.

pax vobiscum,

I understand that this could be seen as a loaded question, but I really don't see how one can differentiate between organ donation and pregnancy, which actually is the sacrifice of so much more than an organ. If anything, I feel like my argument actually trivializes pregnancy.

I'm not concluding that because no one has yet given a good rebuttal to this assertion there isn't a good rebuttal. As multifaceted as the issue appears to be, maybe those "multi-facets" are distracting from the real issue of bodily autonomy that, yes, there is already consensus on.  

Maybe this is the way we should've been considering the argument all along. I think it's the underlying, less articulate message of "It's a woman's body!"

You're probably right Cara, but once it boils down to just that one issue, I'm not entirely sure that we men have a right to an opinion, as no matter how much we might TRY to empathize, we can never walk a mile in a woman's shoes.

And believe me, I DO understand that men have been deciding women's issues for millennia, so I can certainly understand any animosity you may feel. I know I wouldn't want any woman making circumcision or vasectomy decisions for me.

pax vobiscum,

Well, I guess what I see as the beauty of the bodily autonomy argument is that men can weigh in; paralleling pregnancy to organ donation brings it all into a realm everyone can relate to.

Anyway... :)

It's because there is no answer that any rational person can give except that of agreement.

Also, I fully agree with Cara that the man has no say in this. We impregnate but it's not the same as actually carrying the child and giving birth to it, and it would be arrogant to expect any woman to give birth just because the man wants her to. It's also very arrogant to put pregnancy as something so easy and suggest that the only reason women don't like it and it ruins them is that they're lazy!

I'm also tired of hearing of the babies rights and what not, life may begin at conception - but that doesn't mean that life holds value. At that point up until birth it's merely a vegetative sack of meat - as cynical as that might sound - we all know it's true. And to quote Carlin, "Not every ejaculation deserves a name."

What's wrong about both this and Cara's body pillaging example is that some people think they have the right to others bodies. It's my thing whether or not I want to donate my organs, and if someone thinks I'm a selfish and bad person for not sharing what is inherently mine then they can suck it, simple as that. If a woman does not want to sacrifice her time, money, health and strength into a baby she doesn't want then others have absolutely no say, no argument. It's none of their business. The only problem I have with the parallel is that, as I have already said, the arguments against abortion are based on pure misogyny. You can't compare that to something that both genders would be obliged to, like donating organs. Sure just thinking about it is easy for men, any man can say "Sure why not, I'd be happy to donate my blood and organs if someone wants to take them". No you wouldn't, stop kidding yourselves. Not when they force you to do it. Not when they force you to donate your entire body as an incubator for a creature you don't even want. Not when they label you with disgusting names and condemn you for not doing it.

For the men: Imagine if someone told you you're not allowed to go to the toilet for 9 months, and then when it's over you have to pass an amassed super-solid giant crap that tears you apart.

Yeah, somehow I can imagine why women don't want to go through something like that.

No, saving another life does not justify the pillaging of another's body.

Not when they are alive. I would fight against any manditory organ taking while the person is alive. I would however support changing organ donation upon death to being the default position and you have to deliberately opt out of it. With the first step being a talk with a counselor who asks you why you are being a selfish moron - after all, once you are dead you don't need your body anymore.

That is part of what I don't understand about Xians - they either believe in heaven and know they don't need their body that way, or they believe they will be resurrected later and their body made perfect. Plus Jesus encouraged helping one's fellow persons. So why not donate?

Cara, this was an excellent analogy (slightly flawed but still excellent) because it does help throw the question into a different light. I was pro-choice and now I think I'm even a bit more pro-choice because I thought about your question and came to the conclusion that it is wrong on yet another level.

Just don't be disappointed when the obstinately stupid people (the theists) work furiously to argue against it - you need to expect that. Use our input to refine the analogy. Archaeopteryx gave you several points to work on as have others.

An idea (extedning your thoughts): only people who have opted into organ donation and donate blood at least 4 times/year get to vote on the abortion issue.     (evil grin)

Well I'm certainly glad you've come away with yet another reason why no one has any business insisting a woman remain pregnant against her will. :)

Of course I expect theists to not give up this fight so easily! I'd be as delusional as they are if I did. However- and I promise I'm not trying to be obstinate- I don't see the "flaw" in my argument. I see this as more than just a parallel to the blood/organ donation issue, but as exactly the same... if not more substantial. Yes, people will still argue and disagree, but the arguments given so far are irrelevant in light of the fact that every human being has a RIGHT to bodily autonomy. There are no exceptions; there are no other considerations... unless those arguing against it are willing to allow their own bodies to be exploited similarly.

The issue is only "multifaceted" if we agree that humans really don't have control of their own bodies and that we don't all just exist as organ mills for others. Abortion is no more complex than organ donation; it is only made out to be that way because of religious indoctrination and inconsistencies in people's beliefs.

Anyway, I actually do agree that our bodies should be donated to medicine/science after our death. That's another argument though... :)

I was up late and couldn't come up with a better term than flawed - for a succinct reply. I saw the multifaceted point and having experienced how people love to pick things apart - the "slightly flawed" was more to stem any criticism of my use of the word "excellent". It was a dumb move on my part – I'm sorry. I should have gone with the first version without that first parenthetical addition and left it at saying it was excellent.

Oh, um, in the last sentence of that post of mine: "extedning" = "extending"


I am seriously confused. Women are people. Fetuses aren't people. So any debate about rights... I mean the people win, right? I feel so simple even writing that. It could just be my bias as someone who's benefited greatly from abortion (can't... tell if that came out wrong) but I don't see how this is even a question.

@C - I write here, and a number of other places, and there are some who feel there may be some small bit of wisdom in what I say, but I try very hard - though I'm sure there may be those who could point out where I've fallen short - to never express opinion as fact, but rather to clearly mark it as being my opinion. It is my opinion that the sentence, "Fetuses aren't people." is not a fact.

pax vobiscum,


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