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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I see the argument you're making (even though you yourself don't subscribe to it), but I disagree with the claim that pillaging each other's bodies is a moral necessity, or even for the greater or collective good. If an individual has no rights, does the collective really have rights? If one is stripped of their rights, then none have rights. I don't think it has a stigma because it's associated with Socialism; I think it's because it essentially views each person as, well, a utility... a commodity... chattel. None has value beyond what they can contribute to this nebulous "greater good".

I think Socialism has a genuine concern for the well-being and rights of each individual. It's based on cooperation, not rape. There must be a line drawn to how much of ourselves we can be expected to give. The whole purpose of a Socialist community is utterly undermined when even one life is infringed on beyond reason... and this is certainly beyond reason.

If there is no self-interest, the society in and of itself has no value; we become a mindless heard surviving for the sake of survival, not for a quality of life or a "higher purpose". We can look to honey bees. They do indeed have an efficient hierarchy, but I don't think "efficiency" is the greatest value to be attained. Reducing individual suffering is key, but not at the expense of someone else... unless it's voluntary. Nothing else makes sense if any of us are to have value.

Like I said, no one has rights if even one has no rights.

Yeah, you are right. Utilitarianism is an impersonal, reductionist approach, that essentially reduces each individual to a commodity to be exploited for potential happiness. And I don't think society has any INHERENT value at all; everything draws its value from its ability to provide happiness/satisfaction, including freedom over your body, mind and possessions (freedom is useless if you are not happy/satisfied, hence why we constantly sacrifice it).

If happiness is all that is valuable, then a society seeking to 'maximise morality' is compelled to do whatever is necessary, even if it means 'rape' (instinctively repulsive as it seems). Any other policy is settling for less than 'maximum morality'; it is only with reference to this abstract idea that such things may be necessary.

There are no personal or group rights, but, morally speaking, there is obligation. We draw licence from the moral necessity of fulfilling our obligation: to maximise happiness. The only reason 'rights' are important is because it is only the individual who can know their own mind, and, therefore, the root to maximum happiness; therefore, they must be granted freedom.

I agree its no way to live, but that is because we are not 'programmed' to 'maximise morality'; it is an artificial construct that is quite alien.  

I don't necessarily think "happiness" is the highest value; that depends entirely on the individual. A society cannot offer that to anyone, only security and a decent quality of life relatively free from crime. And, obviously, morality is subjective and not at all concrete.

I absolutely do not think any one person should be dictating their own philosophical brand. We can all at least agree that we don't want harm done to us, so we agree not to do harm to others. I think that's the most a society should enforce. Your right to swing your fist ends at my nose. You can do whatever you want as long as it doesn't hurt me. If my life depends on your demise, I cannot expect you to concede death unless it's voluntary. It's about cooperation. I don't believe there's such a thing as "the greater good"... just respect for others but not to my own detriment.

Fair enough, if you don't agree with utilitarianism then it is inevitable that you will disagree, and rightly so. The type of society you speak of (ours, essentially) is, strangely enough, dictating moral values: it enforces each person's personal rights, and thereby assigns liberty the most prominent position on the moral hierarchy. If you break it down, it is actually as dictatorial as any alternative when it comes to selecting the morals for a society, since it pre-selects the highest moral value; there are many who would select something else, perhaps those who require the organ from 'bodily pillaging'. 

The only reason I claim 'happiness' if of the highest value is because even those people who try to be stoic, generous, monogamous, honest etc. are only doing what makes them feel good, that is, happy. I use 'happy' in in a very general sense! (Even masochists do what makes them 'happy').

It is, of course, impossible to  juggle all these different types of 'happiness', that is why it will always remain strictly theoretical. 

Our society is terrible lol... I get that there's a stigma about Socialism because of Soviet Russia, but I wish people could separate good ideas from bad people. Socialism didn't fail because of Socialism; it failed because people were corrupt. So now "Socialism" is a dirty word and idea, wrongly associated with what it was never was.

The problem is people, and we'll never circumvent that problem no matter how enlightened our ideas about living together might be. Even still, we have to fight for our rights and the rights of others; we have to press through our innate, primitive ignorance. I write these types of things because I hope someone will have an "ah ha" moment. People are able to sympathize with others when they see their selves in that other person. For some reason, they've been over-identifying with an unconscious fetus.

Our Declaration of Independence declares life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In that order.

I have given gallons of blood over the years. I wish more would volunteer to the cause as it is a renewable resource. In a country of 300 million there should be no shortages of organs for those needing them. It is a selfish act to die and not donate viable organs to someone in need. What would be a justifiable reason to decline? And I think this says something about the cultural mindset in America. Religion certainly has a part in our society's reluctance of their citizenry to donate. But a mandate to give is wrong. If attitudes change mandates become unnecessary. Be an example to others and check that box on your driver's license!

This will eventually be a moot point as technological developments in organ generation are moving along rapidly. The possibilities are certainly exciting.

I'm not saying people shouldn't donate blood/organs... quite the contrary! We should feel compelled to help others, but not forced. All I'm saying is that it should be voluntary. I'm an organ donor, and I should definitely make a point to go give blood.

OK I am a bit confused.  "Compelled" and "forced" both mean someone is making you do it.

I would guess you are somehow using "compelled" to mean that your conscience is prodding you to do it...  In which case, that's not a political issue and as long as it's understood that no one will be punished if somehow their conscience isn't sufficiently persuasive.  Or to put it another way, making this distinction removes the issue of deciding whether to donate organs, or other parts of you, from the realm of the political.  Which is as it should be.

Alright, then lol... I remove it from the political realm into that of one's own conscious. I hope that people feel moved to donate through compassion and altruism. Better? :)

An interesting line of argument.  I like it.


I can tell you that the counter argument will largely revolve around issues of personal liberty that pregnant women aren't afforded because they are all sluts and whores who deserve the loss of said freedom by making bad choices.  We men are just biologically lucky enough that we can't carry our shame to term.

...and that's pretty much what happened when this issue was discussed in another post on this forum.

RE: "just stick to the issue about being forced to donate organs/blood, etc." - once you phrase the discussion that way Cara, you load the question. No one is going to agree that the government has a right to order anyone to give up a kidney, but it does have an obligation to protect those who can't protect themselves, which if you believe life begins at conception (and I'm not saying it does, or doesn't), then you must consider that the government has a right to protect the Constitutional rights, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, of that child, which throws things back into the right or wrong debate, or at the very least, the debate over when life begins.

I'm not taking sides here, I'm simply trying to demonstrate that the coin you propose discussing has many more sides than one might think.

If, for example, your body is your own and the government has no right to make laws concerning it, then Roe v. Wade should extend to being forced to wear seat belts or motorcycle helmets, yet I don't see anyone pressing the government to apply Roe v Wade to those issues.

And your discussion appears to concern only the rights of women - why should it be that men have no standing when it comes to deciding the life or death of a baby that is genetically as much theirs as the woman's?

As for a woman's body being ruined by childbirth, I've known women who've had several children, who still had incredible bodies, but these women worked to get their bodies back, something some women prefer not to do.

With all of the myriad of birth control devices available today, for both men and women, I find no legitimate reason as to why any woman who voluntarily has sex, should become pregnant who doesn't wish to be so.

I am not in the least misogynistic, but I just don't see this issue as being decided by such a simple black or white debate as to whether or not the government has a right to forcibly take an organ, it's just too multi-faceted to take such a simplistic approach.

pax vobiscum,


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