Notice that if you ask "When does life begin?" you get a definition, not a fact. What does this mean for the debate between pro-choicers and pro-lifers, one side defining life to begin at birth, the other at conception? Doesn't it mean that it's a problem without a solution?

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The error was in typing -- not in meaning. Your actual words were what were being challenged and that still stands. So no apology needed or offered.

@MikeyMike1,

I'm afraid you think and argue like a religious person. It's pointless . . . indeed, counterproductive . . . to engage you further.

Now I know what William G. McAdoo meant when he said,"It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in argument.”

I just wish I hadn't learned that so publicly.

When someone believes strongly about something and resists argument against their own position their arguments WILL sound religious. That's not an accident. It's best to lay out what evidence you have quietly and let them decide on their own. Otherwise you just create a defensive reaction. Why? Because our beliefs are part of our identity and we react strongly to anything we as a attack against them.

Pain and suffering is a different experience depending on how you can comprehend the experience.   I think you should watch the singer-marquis debate though.  I think you might like Singer, as he does not believe it ethical to eat animals that have developed self-awareness, though he is an advocate for infanticide.

I am having trouble getting it to play on the web.  http://hulk03.princeton.edu:8080/WebMedia/lectures/20060329marquis-...   

Eventually I loaded it in windows media player, and media player classic by opening a url.  In media player classic you can select: open file, and then paste the url in.

but in Windows Media Player you need to do CTRL-M.  That will open the old menu with File, ect. Then select File, Open Url.  Paste that url.

There is also a realplayer link here http://hulk03.princeton.edu:8080/WebMedia/lectures/  You have to type in a keyword like Abortion, to find it.

(This looks a lot more complicated than it is)

As far as I can tell you're asking if it's ethically ok to inflict pain on a fetus that can feel it, but wont remember it anyway, right?

But what about the mother? Why is the pain and suffering she will be inflicted an entire life time by a baby she never wanted less important than the few seconds it takes to terminate a pregnancy? I don't understand why no one ever considers the women, like it's not even an issue, not even a factor.

You can talk all you want about when a fetus starts to feel, and when it should be considered life, or when it should be considered a person, or when it should have rights etc. but you always neglect the person who's already alive and already a person: the mother.

Is is not unethical inflict unnecessary pain and suffering on the woman? If she wishes to abort, and that might cause the fetus some pain for a few seconds who cares? Just because it might feel some pain we should let the woman suffer even worse? She herself is more important than a vegetative sack of cells in her womb, so I think it's more important to prevent her suffering than that of the fetus.

I don't understand then, Mikey, why we've been going in these circles if you concede the interests of the mother trumps those of the fetus. Surely you don't think we should consider the interests of mother vs fetus in every instance of pregnancy. This is the exact argument the pro choicers have been making for practically hundreds of years: it's a woman's body! I can't help but think the underlying assumption is that her interests are more weighty because she has a greater capacity for suffering than the fetus.

According to your definition, this argument should've been wrapped up long ago, with the woman the clear "winner" in our considerations. Why could we not have reached this conclusion pages and pages ago?

Suppose a hypothetical you, a guy from a good family who would support him no matter what, including financially, were in line for a promotion along with a young single mother from an impoverished background who was actively suffering from low income and debt which would be greatly relieved if she got the promotion. And suppose you were sure you were the better person for the job...would you hold back in some way in order to let her get the promotion in consideration of her pain and suffering? Note that since you are the better person for the job, you are actively undermining your employer if you do that.

Thank you! And could we not classify her suffering in this instance as "unnecessary"? At this point in human history, we're actually overpopulated; what is necessary is to cut back on procreation. Would it not even be better for animals if there were one less omnivore to consume them?

I've argued in my own discussion that a woman has a right to bodily autonomy & her rights come first. She's not a walking incubator... not if she doesn't want to be. The sacrifice of pregnancy is far greater, with longer lasting or even permanent consequences, than giving blood or organs... but the outcry would be deafening if the govt insisted we MUST give parts of our bodies to those who cannot live without them. Necessity does not dictate the need of more children in this world. Their brief, if noticeable, suffering pales in comparison to the pain & suffering of pregnancy & labor, permanent damage to the body, the emotional trauma of being forced into parenthood.

We can argue all day about when life begins, but there's no question the mother is alive, conscious, and a fully developed person. We know she can suffer far more profoundly than her fetus. If necessity dictates whether pain is ethical, then there is no necessity for her to carry to term. By your definition Mikey, inflicting unnecessary pain on the mother is unethical.
As I said earlier, it is not practical... nor even necessary... to take into account every pregnancy. It becomes absurdly redundant to be constantly considering the negligible experience of every fetus, in every instance. It is already established that the mother has an infinitely more profound experience than the fetus, so why belabor the point? Why continue arguing for our mere consideration of its experience when we already realize the interests of the mother come first? We've already established a hierarchy based on these considerations.
Mikey, I'm not talking about one woman having multiple abortions; I'm talking about every woman who is seeking an abortion overall.

You're beginning to contradict yourself just when I thought we'd found common ground. We've established (I thought) that inflicting unnecessary pain in unethical, and that the woman's interests come first because she clearly has a greater capacity to suffer. There is no doubt she will suffer in pregnancy. If she wants a child of her own, that suffering is necessary to bring it into the world. It is unnecessary suffering if she does not want a child. All we (or she) needs to consider is whether she is willing to suffer for nine months+. Period... given what we've already established.

Cara, you just completely read my mind. I could not have said that any better myself!

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