The quote of the day : Abortion

Anonymous Guest's picture
Submitted by Anonymous Guest on Mon, 2009-06-08 22:35

The question of abortion involves much more than the termination of a pregnancy: it is a question of the entire life of the parents. As I have said before, parenthood is an enormous responsibility; it is an impossible responsibility for young people who are ambitious and struggling, but poor; particularly if they are intelligent and conscientious enough not to abandon their child on a doorstep nor to surrender it to adoption. For such young people, pregnancy is a death sentence: parenthood would force them to give up their future, and condemn them to a life of hopeless drudgery, of slavery to a child’s physical and financial needs. The situation of an unwed mother, abandoned by her lover, is even worse.

I cannot quite imagine the state of mind of a person who would wish to condemn a fellow human being to such a horror. I cannot project the degree of hatred required to make those women run around in crusades against abortion. Hatred is what they certainly project, not love for the embryos, which is a piece of nonsense no one could experience, but hatred, a virulent hatred for an unnamed object. Judging by the degree of those women’s intensity, I would say that it is an issue of self-esteem and that their fear is metaphysical. Their hatred is directed against human beings as such, against the mind, against reason, against ambition, against success, against love, against any value that brings happiness to human life. In compliance with the dishonesty that dominates today’s intellectual field, they call themselves “pro-life.”

“The Age of Mediocrity,” by Ayn Rand
The Objectivist Forum, June 1981, 3.


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Frediano

Leonid's picture

" regarding the 30% efficacy of condoms is exactly the point-- the majority of those 30% failures are the result of incompetence, not product failure"-do you now that for sure? Did you conduct any studies or do you have any reliable references to support your statement? And exactly what do you mean by incompetence? Using condom isn't rocket science and it comes without manual. And besides, what about minority? Whom you're going to punish? Condom manufacturers or women?

"Is that the point of calling me a 'life-hater?"-first, I didn't call YOU life-hater, I refered to the people who advocate abstinence as 100% foolproof contraception. My point is that except this any other method of birth control is not 100% foolproof and therefore unwanted pregnancy is inevitable, not to mention cases like rape, incest, etc...Abortion is proper solution in these cases or in any other case when woman decides not to carry on with her pregnancy. Human beings aren't studs and procreation is not duty. Life IS about happiness and this is up to a woman to decide what to do with her life.

"I am always bemused when I run across "Objectivists" who disavow 'physics" I don't know to whom you refer. Personally I'm interesting in philosophy of physics; I just don't want to discuss it on this thread. If you want to know my views you can read
http://rationalargumentator.co...
If you want any further discussion on this topic you can start new thread.

"In my view of time, the past did exist, the present does exist, and the future will exist."-and that exactly what makes distinction between actual (present) and potential (future). They have different values. Would you sacrifice all your life for sake of future generations as you ask to do a woman with unwanted pregnancy?

"we encourage sex as something more meaningful"-YES. Not because sex has to end up as act of procreation, but because sex is the highest form in which two people express their mutual valuation-love, and celebrate the joy of their life. To punish woman for that with unwanted pregnancy and child rearing is moral abomination.

Your assertions

Frediano's picture

...regarding the 30% efficacy of condoms is exactly the point-- the majority of those 30% failures are the result of incompetence, not product failure.

And why act competently, in this world, as it is, that justifies the subsidy of incompetence with the obliteration of future competents? In that thought experiment, surely the future subset of non-aborted individuals includes both incompetents and competents, not just in the field of 'applying a condom correctly,' but in all fields known and yet inknown.

Why act comptently, unless our culture encourages individuals to act competently? Promises to subsidize their failures encourages only more failures.

Some of the tribe would regard me as a 'life hater' for my position, some you. I think your inference is that I am anti-sex, or somesuch. Pal, get as much as you can, as often as you are able. In a world where women are encouraged to be human Kleenex for men because they've been convinced that there really are no consequences to actions, you will find it much easier to find a willing partner. To regard the act as something more meaningful would be a handicap to finding ready and willing partners. Is that the point of calling me a 'life-hater?'

Those consequences can include the need to consider an abortion. Sure, the world is full of men encouraging women to give it up without a second thought, just give it up, because if things get a little sloppy, why, the woman can just go through a little discomfort while a man sits in the waiting room and wonders how long he'll have to wait to get any more. That is, if he isn't somewhere far away on a bass boat with a beer. Life is about happiness, you know, why should he 'sacrifice' his happiness to the unpleasant D&C left over from his sloppy latex management? Women are used to 'a little cramping.'

Hell, he could get a vasectomy, and go purely recreational. Or similarly, tubal ligation. And, many do. But we're not talking about those people. We're talking about those who don't, and who want to be and not be window shopping in the procreation mall, the place where future existant individuals are created, intentionally or not.

Here are two visions of human interaction; one in which we encourage sex as the new inconseqeuntial handshake, and one in which we encourage sex as something more meanignful than that, precisely because we value life. I'm not suggesting that the tribe pass a law to encourage either, nor am I speaking morally for God or "S"ociety. I'm speaking only for the society I would keep, among my 'socious.' More power to yours, knock yourself out. No inconvenient child, pre or post partum, should ever stand in the way of your happiness, tied so strongly as it is to the various must be inconsequential titillations and excitations of your selective nerve endings. They are your nerve endings, they are your consequences.

I am always bemused when I run across "Objectivists" who disavow 'physics' -- even, 'space and time' -- and still claim to be something yet called 'Objectivists.' If 'physics' is regarded as irrelevant in discussions of our existence in a physical world, in the universe, as it is, then that assertion illuminates the discussion for what it is: a rote requoting of the scriptures according to Ayn Rand.

Jarringly, you accuse me of regarding the past, present, and future to exist 'simultaneously', as if time did not exist. No, my view on time is different than that. In my view of time, the past did exist, the present does exist, and the future will exist. That is hardly a subtle worldview, I am surprised it is so foreign a concept to rationalizing "Objectivists."

If the only 'existant' is the present, then you require nothing to carry you into a non-existing future. If you truly believe this, then there is no rationale for not immediately spending all of your resources and realizing the maximum benefit in the present, ie, the only 'existant.' Why would you possibly ever plan or consider requirements in a non-existing future that you don't believe will exist?

In that, odd to me, worldview, there can be no 'cause and effect', if effect follows cause, because cause occurs in the present, and ... nothing follows it, becuase the term 'follows' has no meaning in a worldview in which 'present' is the only existant.

No, I don't think it is me who is disavowing past, present, and future, and believing in an existance that consists only of space.

Of course you believe that the future will exist. The future you believe will exist is one in which the obliteration of others from that existence is justified, based on your convenience, in the instance of self-inflicted conflict with those individuals in that future existant.

The KKK believes in a future without blacks and Jews. What do pro-abortion Objectivists who believe in a future without kids tell them?

regards,
Frediano

Frediano

Leonid's picture

"Contraception is the prevention of conception or impregnation. "-In such a case what is exactly the difference between miscarriage caused by hormonal pill and miscarriage caused by different kind of chemical-prostaglandin- which causes contraction of the uterus? I take it, you know that this is most common way today to induce abortion. I can't see any difference. According to your position the acceptable ways of contraception would be 1. Condom-30% of failure; 2. Interrupted intercourse-also about 30% of failure, not to mention all other problems involved. 3."Safe days"-as safe as car without breaks. 4. abstinence- perfect contraception with 0% of failure-fits as glove to hand to any life-hater. Since the pill and induction of abortion are not acceptable for you, all other methods except (4) will inevitable result in unwanted pregnancy. Therefore your position condemns the woman for years of misery-as Rand rightfully observed.

"I don't equate chicken eggs with pidgeons with human beings."-you mean that hen's eggs are not chicken but human fertilized egg is human being. That what you have to prove.

"The only thing which needs to be done to realize the potential of a developing fetus is nothing but the passage of time.”
A specific act by others must be realized to remove a fetus from the mother's body..."
You just evaded my question. Let me repeat it: if passage of time is the ONLY thing which is needed to realize fetus's potential why it has to be part of woman's body? Evidently this is NOT ONLY thing. And the answer is: a fetus is not separated entity, it is part of woman's body. The ONLY thing needed for realization of its potential is woman's intentions and consent. In medical ethics it called the principle of autonomy-a person can do with his/her body whatever he/she pleases and this is moral principle.

5, 6, 7, 8-"Or, you have no rational argument."-yes, I do. But I don't want to side-track to the topic of philosophy of physics. However I mentioned that I don't agree with your spatial-temporary conception. According to you past, present and future exist simultaneously as three spatial dimensions and that is not a case. But I don't want to go into this right now.

“Rape victims are innocent of everything associated with that crime."
By rape victims you mean mother, fetus or both? If both, why you want to punish innocent mother who is rape victim with unwanted pregnancy and child rearing? For her it could be worse that death penalty.

"Who should pay for the conseqeunces of our self-inflicted acts of incompetence? THe principle that pro-abortion Objectivists accept here is 'the life of another"
You end up with contradiction because your premises are wrong. Fetus is not "another". It is not separated entity and it doesn't exist on its own, exactly as your appendix. Therefore it doesn't have any life apart from woman's body.

"But there exists a conflict -- a disagreement over 'when' an individual exists and should be respected as an individual."
Individual can exist only as separated entity. Individual who is part of somebody's else organism is contradiction in terms

"I can't imagine the hostility to ideas I'd get from some if I was actually an adovocate of a state ban on abortion."
Ban on moral philosophical grounds is much worse that ban by state. People always can resist state coercion by one way or another. But moral ban installs insoluble conflict between woman's aspirations to personal happiness and her moral duties. No matter what woman does, morally she cannot win. This conflict results in permanent admission of unearned guilt and total devastation.

Any state that had the power ...

Frediano's picture

... to forbid abortion would also have the power to compel it.

We should not empower our state to either forbid or compel abortion on anyone.

My arguments are not in support of a state ban on abortion. My arguments are in support of a personal, philisophical assessment of what abortion is.

My arguments are best considered prior to the circumstance, not post, and that is my only reason for offerng them here, period.

regards,
Frediano

Speaking for me only. Feel free to rub one out..

Frediano's picture

1] Abortion is not contraception. Conception has already occurred if abortion is being considered.

So? Let's call ANYTHING that prevents childbirth termination. What's wrong with termination?

Excellent point, I'm glad to agree. Just don't call it contraception, which was my point.

2] Failure to practice contraception is failure, period, and failure should never be subsidized, certainly not by wiping out of existence another human being.

So, if someone "fails" at something, then, they owe their lives in payment? If a rubber breaks, and I impregnate a girl, then, she is obligated to sagging breasts, the stretching of her vagina, and the misery of pregnancy when there is technology available to prevent all of this? We are talking about a woman that doesn't want to endure it. I disagree.

I wish I had made it explicit that I am not an advocate of banning abortion. Oh, wait a minute, I did.

I disagree that even if we have sex without contraception, and she becomes pregnant, that she owes her life as payment for pleasure. I think that there are very few babies born that were intentional, most of us were just fucking. The attempts of some to attach guilt to the sex act seems to be something that dies harder than altruism; but they are one and the same aren't they? "Sacrifice your life for the unborn." - "Sexual pleasure is selfish.", etc.

Our precious Holy intentions be damned, the act of rubbing one out on a willing partner is identical to the act of procreation. The universe, as it is, doesn't give a flying fuck about our precious intentions. We are not talking about the billions and billions of successful acts of competent sexual recreation that do not result in conception, we are talking about the far fewer acts of incompetence(sometimes, apparently, all but blind ignorant incompetence)that lead to unwanted conception. "I was just rubbing it out, and I expected the Universe to align itself to my wishes" is not an act of competence. That is what bunnies do, not rational human beings.

Who should pay for the conseqeunces of our self-inflicted acts of incompetence? THe principle that pro-abortion Objectivists accept here is 'the life of another,' and they rationalize that with primarily a temporal bias. It's OK that you don't recognize space and time in this universe, as it is. I can live with you enjoying your beliefs. We disagree.

3] The rationalization of 'potential' human being requires the acceptance of a temporal bias, which is fundamentally no different, in this universe, as it is, to a spatial bias. The only thing which needs to be done to realize the potential of a developing fetus is nothing but the passage of time. A fetus makes no 'demands,' neither does it make any requests. A fetus is just responding to a physical, if not intentional, invitation to life by others. The failure to competently practice contraception when the intention of the physical act is other than procreation is not the responsibility of the fetus.

Talk about rationalizations! "Since you were just fucking and trying to have a good night, you have a responsibility to ensure that the zygote develops into a human being, so as to not disturb the temporal equilibrium of the universe. Your life--young lady--has no meaning anymore except as 'temporal host,' which will be the penance you pay for your failures at contraception." hahahahahaaha!

The time(sorry, it does exist, as does cause and effect)to assess such responsibilities is before undertaking the actions that could lead to them, not after the fact, like a totally feral being.

4] A comatose mother could yet feed a fetus. A comatose mother could not feed an infant. An infant is yet more 'dependent' on the actions of the mother than a fetus. "Dependency on others' is not an argument to allow the termination of infants.

If someone made this argument, they were stupid. The ONLY argument pro-abortion is that a woman owns her life, and is not secondary to any other life form that requires her body to sustain itself. Zygotes, embryos, and fetuses all require a host, and are not morally superior to that host. If the host does not want to host another life form within its body, then: shit happens! Too bad for the hosted life form, unless--of course--there is a willing host who is willing to have it implanted within their body.

Well, as long as it also isn't being used as a justification to terminate less dependent feti, I agree. Zygotes, embryos and fetuses do not make a single request or demand on their host, and are not morally superior to the host. But there exists a conflict -- a disagreement over 'when' an individual exists and should be respected as an individual. My argument is, deference should be given to the party who is innocent of action in regards to bringing forth the conflict. Said another way, individuals should always pay the bill for their own actions, and not ever pass the bill on to someone else. The 'host' in this instance is a host as the result of a self-inflicted action, not any action by the 'guest.' If there is a conflict, the conflict is brought on entirely by the actions of the 'host.' I don't buy the rationalization, 'There is no conflict, the host merely wants to terminate from all of existence the unfurling DNA process associated with the invited guest.' My argument is made on philosophical, not religious or moral grounds.

5] Our individual DNA process is a continuous process, unfurling from the moment of conception. There is no later stage of our existence that is not dependent on earlier stages of our existence, as a continuous entity in space and time. Our DNA process is continuous in both space and time from the moment of our conception, to the moment of our death.

So? What does this have to do with whether an infant's DNA's development should take precedence over the life of its potential mother? Yes, perhaps all this is true that you say, BUT should it happen is the question, and why?

Who is talking 'precedence?' We are talking about the absence of an act of agression, the 'termination' of the continuous existence of another as the result of a self-inflicted conflict with another. 'Should' has nothing to do with the fact of the conntinuousnature of our existence(as an unfurling DNA process)over a subset of space and time known as our 'existence.' It just is. Our DNA process, once initiated via a specific act of invitation(intentions be damned)is continuous from conception until death, a whole entity in space-time. Every part of that entity which follws is entirely dependent on that continuous process for its existence as an individual. Terminating it at any point is an act of agression against that individual process.

6] "Acceptance, rationalization of the termination of an already unfurling DNA process, once invited to unfurl, requires the irrational acceptance of a temporal bias."

I have five children. I didn't invite any of them. I was fucking and enjoying the feeling of it all. It felt so good that they were conceived. The conception was incidental, and not by invitation. I was not stroking and thinking about how wonderful it would be to have a child; that would have spoiled the mood for me; I don't know about you. If we chose to terminate any one of them, it would not have been a "rationalization," but a decision. No one is obligated to become a host organism, or to raise a child that they don't want. Technology has advanced. "Rationalization" is evasion of this fact.

They must be so proud. Your arguments apply post partum. And that you were acting as any animal, thoughtless to the consequences of your actions, is hardly something to put on your resume. You are fully able to competently practice contraception and rub whatever you want on whomever or whatever you want as often as you can arrange that to happen, but whether you admit that or not, it can and does have consequences outside of your own skin. As in dead four year old hemophiliacs, victims of the tyranny of geometric progressions.

"In the continuum of space/time, that continuously unfurling DNA process is not a complete individual human 'yet.' That is because we are not regarding that human over the complete time-space continuum that it exists in. But, the only thing required to see the complete individual human is the passage of time."

Time is nothing. It is EVENTS that occur during time that are measured. You speak as if time has the energy, nutrients, temperature, etc., that are necessary to cause the zygote to develop into a baby. I KNOW you are wrong about this. If the pregnancy is terminated (EVENT) in time, then, none of these things will occur. If the mother is killed by a car accident (EVENT), then, none of these things will occur. I "smell" a resentment of choice here... Am I the only one?

Probably, unless reading comprehension is universally abysmal. I'll repeat it; I would never advocate a state ban on abortion, it is a personal matter, and due to biological fact, uniquely a matter of choice for females. The argument I am making is based on the damage that it does to Rand's Objectivism, period.

7] The issue--once again--is NOT where in the time space continuum the zygote/embryo/fetus lies, but whether or not the potential mother is obligated to see it through the time space continuum at her life's expense, such that it can exist within the space time continuum of its own power.

#'s 8 & 9 were mere variation, as were some of the previous ones, so I just skipped on to #10:

See infants. Who is terminating infants based on your logic? such that it can exist within the space time continuum of its own power? You just got finished telling me in 4] that "If someone made this argument, they were stupid." What am I to believe now in 7? I know that some time has passed between the existential experience of reading 4] and 7], but it is not me who is Mr. Amazing No Short Term Memory Man.

10a] A male and female have invited conception via a specific act, no matter what their intent. If competent application of contraception has failed, then that is a personal failure on their part. (This is another philosophical argument; abortion represents a payment by future competents -- with their entire lives -- for the failures of incompetents.) No fetus ever asked or demanded or requested an invitation.

Your ASS umtion is that fucking=invitation. Bad ASS umption.

What do you do differently when you invite? Is it your Holy intentions that you believe bends the universe to your whim?

10b] Natural abortion has not occurred. A fetus exists, as a consequence of a unique individual unfurling DNA sequence.

??? Why is "naturalness" relevant? It is "unnatural" to have an understanding of unfurling DNA sequences!

Out of context cherry picking is a sign of a weak argument. The context of that point was, in the instances where deliberate abortion is being considered, natural abortion has not occurred. Er...if it had, the fetus would not exist, and there would be no need to consider abortion. It's a little embarrassing to have to have to actually point that out, the point should be obvious.

In the context of my thought eperiment, if you took two billion such instances, and divided them into two groups, and aborted all of one group, but did nothing to the second group, then if you came back in a year, you would find something. The second control group would be jam packed with instances of actual human beings, the result of doing nothing. The only scientific conclusion possible is that it was the deliberate act of abortion which resulted in the non-existence of actual living human beings in the first group.

There can be no mistake about what the deliberate consequences are of the actions taken on the first group. The actions taken on the second group were nothing.

My argument isn't about justifying 'doing nothing.' My argument demonstrates that what occurred in the first group was not also 'nothing', in the matter of the existence of actual individual human beings.

I can't imagine the hostility to ideas I'd get from some if I was actually an adovocate of a state ban on abortion. I must have hit a nerve, so to speak.

Objectivism or rationalization?

Frediano's picture

1"Abortion is not contraception. Conception has already occurred if abortion is being considered."

What form of contraception,then, (if any) would you advocate? Bear in mind that the most popular form of contraception, that is-the Pill, doesn't prevent conception. It prevents implantation of fertilized egg, actually causes miscarriage.

Contraception is the prevention of conception or impregnation. Clearly, in the case of abortion, conception or impregnation has already occurred. To continue to regard abortion as contraception simply contributes to the general level of ignorance in the world, and on that basis alone Objectivists should object to that muddying of terms. There are several forms of contracetion that, when competently practised, are effective, and when incompetently practised are not. I am a consumer of contraception methods, not advocate. You should feel free.

2. "Failure to practice contraception is failure, period, and failure should never be subsidized, certainly not by wiping out of existence another human being."
First you have to show, that foetus is human being. As far as I know nobody yet called egg chicken or even chick. Why to make exception in regard to human fertilized egg?

We kill 37 million chickens a day in the US, and I sleep like a baby. I love chicken. Because I'm a human. I also have no objections to kids killing 150 flying rats a year in Hegins, PA. I don't equate chicken eggs with pidgeons with human beings.

3. "The only thing which needs to be done to realize the potential of a developing fetus is nothing but the passage of time. "
Really? Is this the ONLY thing which is needed? Why, then, foetus cannot realize its potential outside of mother's body?

A specific act by others must be realized to remove a fetus from the mother's body, and as you point out below, nobody specifically feeds a fetus. THe same is not true of an infant, and I don't see anybody using that argument to murder infants.

4"A comatose mother could yet feed a fetus."
Nobody feeds a fetus. It doesn't eat. It doesn't breath either. It exists as a part of mother's body-as her lungs, liver, spleen, etc...

Exactly. I don't really need your help, you know. But, thank you,

5,6,7,8-cannot see how it's relevant to the topic. Besides, your spatial-temporal theory is questionable in many aspects. Space and time are not existants, they are expressions of relationships between objects and processes.

Or, you have no rational argument. Now, there's an Objectivist chestnut: the universe, as it is, and our existence in it has nothing to do with either space and time. It's ok to believe that, as long as you admit it and own up to it. If my choice to cling to my argument until my fingers bleed required that I disavow space and time in the universe, as it is, I would check my premises.

9"There is and has been a conflict to define the most fundamental aspect of an individual -- the term of its existence. "
There is no conflict between rational human beings. However a fetus is not a rational and not human being.

Yes, and the meat and bone below your knees is not a rational and not a complete human being. Let's rationalize cutting it off, shall we ? It's just meat and bones? You'll still be around, just shorter. And, just as rational. Surely you can't argue that you will need your meat and bones below your knees? When will you need them? You will need them in the future. You know, after the passing of time that you've claimed does not exist.

10a."If competent application of contraception has failed, then that is a personal failure on their part."
Whose personal failure of contraception would be in case of rape?

Rape is a crime. IMO, there should be an additional charge, 'unlawful invitation to life', and rapists should be put to death for their crimes. Rape victims are innocent of everything associated with that crime.

10b Natural abortion has not occurred.
This is factually wrong. 20% of pregnancies end up as spontaneous abortions.

You missed the point, hopefully deliberately. Yes, natural abortion occurs often. The point in context, the one you are trying to avoid, is that the act of unattural abortion is only even considered in those cases where "natural abortion has not occurred." That was the context of my thought experiment.

God bless the first amendment, and freedom of speech in general. It illuminates in two directions.

Ayn Rand is RIGHT on Abortion.

iGod's picture

1] Abortion is not contraception. Conception has already occurred if abortion is being considered.

So? Let's call ANYTHING that prevents childbirth termination. What's wrong with termination?


2] Failure to practice contraception is failure, period, and failure should never be subsidized, certainly not by wiping out of existence another human being.

So, if someone "fails" at something, then, they owe their lives in payment? If a rubber breaks, and I impregnate a girl, then, she is obligated to sagging breasts, the stretching of her vagina, and the misery of pregnancy when there is technology available to prevent all of this? We are talking about a woman that doesn't want to endure it. I disagree.

I disagree that even if we have sex without contraception, and she becomes pregnant, that she owes her life as payment for pleasure. I think that there are very few babies born that were intentional, most of us were just fucking. The attempts of some to attach guilt to the sex act seems to be something that dies harder than altruism; but they are one and the same aren't they? "Sacrifice your life for the unborn." - "Sexual pleasure is selfish.", etc.


3] The rationalization of 'potential' human being requires the acceptance of a temporal bias, which is fundamentally no different, in this universe, as it is, to a spatial bias. The only thing which needs to be done to realize the potential of a developing fetus is nothing but the passage of time. A fetus makes no 'demands,' neither does it make any requests. A fetus is just responding to a physical, if not intentional, invitation to life by others. The failure to competently practice contraception when the intention of the physical act is other than procreation is not the responsibility of the fetus.

Talk about rationalizations! "Since you were just fucking and trying to have a good night, you have a responsibility to ensure that the zygote develops into a human being, so as to not disturb the temporal equilibrium of the universe. Your life--young lady--has no meaning anymore except as 'temporal host,' which will be the penance you pay for your failures at contraception." hahahahahaaha!

4] A comatose mother could yet feed a fetus. A comatose mother could not feed an infant. An infant is yet more 'dependent' on the actions of the mother than a fetus. "Dependency on others' is not an argument to allow the termination of infants.

If someone made this argument, they were stupid. The ONLY argument pro-abortion is that a woman owns her life, and is not secondary to any other life form that requires her body to sustain itself. Zygotes, embryos, and fetuses all require a host, and are not morally superior to that host. If the host does not want to host another life form within its body, then: shit happens! Too bad for the hosted life form, unless--of course--there is a willing host who is willing to have it implanted within their body.


5] Our individual DNA process is a continuous process, unfurling from the moment of conception. There is no later stage of our existence that is not dependent on earlier stages of our existence, as a continuous entity in space and time. Our DNA process is continuous in both space and time from the moment of our conception, to the moment of our death.

So? What does this have to do with whether an infant's DNA's development should take precedence over the life of its potential mother? Yes, perhaps all this is true that you say, BUT should it happen is the question, and why?


6] "Acceptance, rationalization of the termination of an already unfurling DNA process, once invited to unfurl, requires the irrational acceptance of a temporal bias."

I have five children. I didn't invite any of them. I was fucking and enjoying the feeling of it all. It felt so good that they were conceived. The conception was incidental, and not by invitation. I was not stroking and thinking about how wonderful it would be to have a child; that would have spoiled the mood for me; I don't know about you. If we chose to terminate any one of them, it would not have been a "rationalization," but a decision. No one is obligated to become a host organism, or to raise a child that they don't want. Technology has advanced. "Rationalization" is evasion of this fact.

"In the continuum of space/time, that continuously unfurling DNA process is not a complete individual human 'yet.' That is because we are not regarding that human over the complete time-space continuum that it exists in. But, the only thing required to see the complete individual human is the passage of time."

Time is nothing. It is EVENTS that occur during time that are measured. You speak as if time has the energy, nutrients, temperature, etc., that are necessary to cause the zygote to develop into a baby. I KNOW you are wrong about this. If the pregnancy is terminated (EVENT) in time, then, none of these things will occur. If the mother is killed by a car accident (EVENT), then, none of these things will occur. I "smell" a resentment of choice here... Am I the only one?


7] The issue--once again--is NOT where in the time space continuum the zygote/embryo/fetus lies, but whether or not the potential mother is obligated to see it through the time space continuum at her life's expense, such that it can exist within the space time continuum of its own power.

#'s 8 & 9 were mere variation, as were some of the previous ones, so I just skipped on to #10:

10a] A male and female have invited conception via a specific act, no matter what their intent. If competent application of contraception has failed, then that is a personal failure on their part. (This is another philosophical argument; abortion represents a payment by future competents -- with their entire lives -- for the failures of incompetents.) No fetus ever asked or demanded or requested an invitation.

Your ASS umtion is that fucking=invitation. Bad ASS umption.

10b] Natural abortion has not occurred. A fetus exists, as a consequence of a unique individual unfurling DNA sequence.

??? Why is "naturalness" relevant? It is "unnatural" to have an understanding of unfurling DNA sequences!

10 mistakes

Leonid's picture

1"Abortion is not contraception. Conception has already occurred if abortion is being considered."

What form of contraception,then, (if any) would you advocate? Bear in mind that the most popular form of contraception, that is-the Pill, doesn't prevent conception. It prevents implantation of fertilized egg, actually causes miscarriage.

2. "Failure to practice contraception is failure, period, and failure should never be subsidized, certainly not by wiping out of existence another human being."
First you have to show, that foetus is human being. As far as I know nobody yet called egg chicken or even chick. Why to make exception in regard to human fertilized egg?

3. "The only thing which needs to be done to realize the potential of a developing fetus is nothing but the passage of time. "
Really? Is this the ONLY thing which is needed? Why, then, foetus cannot realize its potential outside of mother's body?

4"A comatose mother could yet feed a fetus."
Nobody feeds a fetus. It doesn't eat. It doesn't breath either. It exists as a part of mother's body-as her lungs, liver, spleen, etc...

5,6,7,8-cannot see how it's relevant to the topic. Besides, your spatial-temporal theory is questionable in many aspects. Space and time are not existants, they are expressions of relationships between objects and processes.

9"There is and has been a conflict to define the most fundamental aspect of an individual -- the term of its existence. "
There is no conflict between rational human beings. However a fetus is not a rational and not human being.

10a."If competent application of contraception has failed, then that is a personal failure on their part."
Whose personal failure of contraception would be in case of rape?

10b Natural abortion has not occurred.
This is factually wrong. 20% of pregnancies end up as spontaneous abortions.

Parasite?

Frediano's picture

If a parasite, then a parasite that is invited, via a specific act of invitation. (Can you credibly describe an act of 'accidental' coitus?) It matters not what our intentions are for the act, if the act is identical to the act of procreation, then the invitation is explicit. If conception is a result of a failure to competently employ contraception, then the outcome under consideration -- abortion -- is a result of incompetence.

A key attribute of parasite is missing in a fetus; a fetus does not prey on its host. The fetus was invited by the host via a specific act of invitation to life, Holy intentions be damned.

We disagree on the 'parasitic'/ dependent nature of feti vs. infants. How could a mother not feed/care for her fetus-- except via a deliberate act of abortion, or self-abuse? Even a comatose mother could sustain a fetus. An infant, OTOH, is totally dependent on others(which may not even be the mother, at that point.) I know of no instances of infants which 'can function without' the deliberate, concious efforts of others.

We disagree on the temporal/spatial bias argument as well. "Not an individual yet" clearly includes a temporal reference, and in the case of a developing fetus, the only two requirements to realize the potential of an actual individual are:

1] Do not kill the mother.
2] Do not kill the fetus.

Ie, 'do nothing' out of the ordinary, at all, except accept the self-invited consequences. If those consequences are the result of incompetent application of contraception, then demanding payment of another individual's full life for ones own incompetence is not a principle that I wuld expect Objectivists to easily sanction.

And, yes, I think that is a perfectly acceptable basis for individual judgement on the topic, as in, the exercise of my life with others, with those I love, but no, I don't think that is a reasonable basis for a state enforced judgment on the topic. And, even in my individual exercise of that judgement, guided by a simple principle ("One skin, one driver"), I can't help but acknowledge the asymetrical burden of responsibilities in accepting the biological consequences of these instances of failure to competently practice contraception. The burden is, via biological fact, unduly placed on women. So, ultimately, this decision I believe must be in their hands.

But the time to make these individual judgements is not when they are needed, but far in advance. In fact, far in advance of the circumstances that lead to the necessity of making them, as in, when couples decide to become a couple.

This isn't a hypothetical with me. My youngest son was born with Williams Syndrome. I accidentally didn't murder him, because at the time, and even now, Williams Syndrome isn't something normally tested for in pre-natal testing(whose purpose is to guide the decision 'abort feti with birth defects.') Had my wife's CVS included a test for Williams, we would have had to face that decision, and in our case, my nightmare is that we would have decided based on fear and ignorance. Fortunately, we were spared that risk of making that bad choice(for us)by an accident of technological development.

For us, we would have missed one of the greatest sources of joy and education in our lives. But, that includes the realization that such a decision should only be made by the parents bearing the responsibility for the decision, and not the state. OneSizeFitsAll seldom does.

regards,
Frediano

On abortion.

Kasper's picture

Interesting post Frediano.
"and, believing all that, I could still never advocate a state ban on abortion. It is a personal matter."

This is a cop out. Either abortion is a grotesque form of barbaric murder or it isn't" You have provided an arguement that it is. So can you get past that wall where you cut yourself off from declaring your verdict because it is a "personal matter" and make a judgement?

All this stuff about the strong directing the lives of the weak is nonsense. It was an issue of actual versus potential. That is not a context drop of time and space. It is a description of a fetus which requires that individual (the mother) and no other, in order to develop. The relationship is directly parasitical and it is in stark contrast to the relationship that a developed born baby has. The baby can function without the mother even though it is a dependant. The fetus can't.

I am vehemently opposed both

Frediano's picture

a] To abortion, on philosophical grounds
b] To state meddling on the issue of abortion, on philosophical grounds.

I suppose in some people's view that would make me a political schizoid. I can live with that.

Before I make my argument against abortion on philosophical grounds, let me just state that I would never support a state ban on abortion. It should entirely be a personal matter, but that includes funding of same.

1] Abortion is not contraception. Conception has already occurred if abortion is being considered.
2] Failure to practice contraception is failure, period, and failure should never be subsidized, certainly not by wiping out of existence another human being.
3] The rationalization of 'potential' human being requires the acceptance of a temporal bias, which is fundamentally no different, in this universe, as it is, to a spatial bias. The only thing which needs to be done to realize the potential of a developing fetus is nothing but the passage of time. A fetus makes no 'demands,' neither does it make any requests. A fetus is just responding to a physical, if not intentional, invitation to life by others. The failure to competently practice contraception when the intention of the physical act is other than procreation is not the responsibility of the fetus.
4] A comatose mother could yet feed a fetus. A comatose mother could not feed an infant. An infant is yet more 'dependent' on the actions of the mother than a fetus. "Dependency on others' is not an argument to allow the termination of infants.
5] Our individual DNA process is a continuous process, unfurling from the moment of conception. There is no later stage of our existence that is not dependent on earlier stages of our existence, as a continuous entity in space and time. Our DNA process is continuous in both space and time from the moment of our conception, to the moment of our death.
6] Acceptance, rationalization of the termination of an already unfurling DNA process, once invited to unfurl, requires the irrational acceptance of a temporal bias. In the continuum of space/time, that continuously unfurling DNA process is not a complete individual human 'yet.' That is because we are not regarding that human over the complete time-space continuum that it exists in. But, the only thing required to see the complete individual human is the passage of time.
7] That situation in time is entirely analogous to the situation in space; if we look at a human below the knees, he is not a 'complete individual human being' yet, in space. That is because we are regarding only a subset of the space time continuum that a human exists in. We would never use that spatial bias as an excuse to cut someone off below the knees, for example, to get a better view of the sunset at the beach, or whatever other reason that others would find convenient for that purpose. That would be an immediately recognized unacceptable absurdity. And yet, in the spatial bias example, only the human below the knees is obliterated, whereas in the much more often accepted temporal bias, it is the entire existence in all of space of time to follow which is being obliterated.
8] Neither would we accept, as a rational reason, "It is ok if you take that person far away from me in space, and arbitrarily murder them/terminate their existence; just don't do it right in front of me." That would be absurd. And yet, that is exactly what we do when we accept a temporal bias. "As long as the existence of that unfurling DNA process is terminated far from NOW, that is acceptable. So, far away in its past -- right after conception -- or far away in its future -- the moment before natural death, as an act of mercy.

We are of course much more than our unfurling DNA processes, but whatever we are, the basis of our life, cannot exist without the unmolested possession of that unfurling DNA process.

9] The fetus is a concrete example of a new individual DNA process, unfurling. There is and has been a conflict to define the most fundamental aspect of an individual -- the term of its existence. The resolution of this conflict -- between the newest individual and others -- is resolved by others, based on whatever philosophical or moral guidance they bring to the conflict. The rationalizations in support of abortion boil down to the convenience of the others, based mostly on a shaky temporal bias that is permitted to stand, unquestioned.

10] The falseness of the temporal bias can be easily proven. Run the following thought experiment. In instances where deliberate abortion is being considered, several things have already occurred:
10a] A male and female have invited conception via a specific act, no matter what their intent. If competent application of contraception has failed, then that is a personal failure on their part. (This is another philosophical argument; abortion represents a payment by future competents -- with their entire lives -- for the failures of incompetents.) No fetus ever asked or demanded or requested an invitation.
10b] Natural abortion has not occurred. A fetus exists, as a consequence of a unique individual unfurling DNA sequence.

Under those circumstances, imagine two billion such instances. Take that group and divide it in half. With one billion instances, deliberately abort the feti. With the control group, do nothing. In a year, revisit the control group, observe what has appeared. The evidence will show that the only impediment to 'potential' was the deliberate act of abortion, and the only conclusion possible is that the non-appearance in space-time of what every thinking person would regard as an individual was prevented overwhelmingly by a deliberate act of abortion.

So, all of that is prologue to why Ayn Rand was philosophically wrong about abortion. I object to abortion on the grounds of the damage it does to Objectivism as a cogent weapon in the war between I and the Tribe. By acceding ultimately to the premise that 'others' rightfully hold the power to judge the most fundamental aspect of an individual -- when does that individual come into being -- especially when that conflict is brought about by the incompetency and self actions of those 'others' -- Rand leaves a gaping hole in her philosophy.

That conflict represents the war between the I and the mob/others, the ultimate weakest against the ultimate strong. In that conflict, Rand justifies her conclusions based on the convenience of the strong, and their ability to unilaterally define the very existence of the weak. She sets a dangerous and contradictory precedent in the arena of individual rights, by granting to the mob the right to define the very existence of the weakest individual.

The collectivists/herdists/tribalists are entirely consistent in this matter, and Rand's Objectivism, in this one issue, gives them fundamental assistance in their cause. Their position is, "Only mobs have rights. Individuals have no rights at all."

Note the apparent contradiction in the following: Merely potential future generations have rights which must be respected by current generations, unless an actual instance of a potential future generation is conceived, at which point that instance will have no rights at all, until it passes a 9 month long gauntlet of scalpals aimed at it by others, at their convenience.

Where did the rights go? The pro-abortion collectivists are entirely consistent on this matter, because individuals only have rights when they are members of a mob/group. When individuals are individuals, their rights are always subject to the agreement/whim of others, the mob/tribe. And, pro-abortion Objectivists agree with them on this fundamental issue, entered as it is as the fundamental gateway at which individuals appear.

By agreeing with them, they have no leg to stand on to disavow the collectivist notion that only mobs/groups have rights.

And, that is why Ayn Rand was philosophically wrong on abortion. She rationalized it on the basis of convenience.

And, believing all that, I could still never advocate a state ban on abortion. It is a personal matter.

Jeffrey

Leonid's picture

By accepting your premises one can also prove that moon is made out of the Swiss cheese. Take for example the question of choice. You said “And what about the mother keeping the child to rise as her own? That's the third choice." Ask yourself whose's this choice? The obvious answer is-mother's. The same would apply to any other relative-sister, aunt, granny, or any person who may adopt the child. . They may or may not to make such a choice, that is-to take tremendous responsibility to rear the child. And what if they choose not to adopt? In any case the choice is not made by pregnant women herself. Your alternative is false; it simply turns the women to helpless, choiceless second-hander, totally depended on the choice of other people. The real choice is the one which woman can make only in regard to her own action-to keep the pregnancy or to terminate it.

"Either your respect human life as a value, or you do not. I'm saying that if you value human life, you will respect the potential human life represented by the embryo in the womb, whether or not it is actually already a human life in being,"

Potential means-doesn't exist at present and may not exist at all in the future. Embryo is not human being and may never become human being. One cannot value something which doesn't exist. Embryo doesn't have any rights including right to life.

"A “right” is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man’s freedom of action in a social context. There is only one fundamental right (all the others are its consequences or corollaries): a man’s right to his own life. Life is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action; the right to life means the right to engage in self-sustaining and self-generated action—which means: the freedom to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the support, the furtherance, the fulfillment and the enjoyment of his own life." (“Man’s Rights,” The Virtue of Selfishness, 93.). Since embryo exists as a part of mother's organism it cannot engage in such activities. It doesn't have any freedom of action, it doesn't make any choices. However its mother has and does. By imposing ban on abortion you effectively annihilate her right to live her life according to her own choice; you sacrifice actual human life which has much bigger value than potential one which has lesser value or may has no value at all since it may never become actual human being.

"That's a false definition of self defense." I didn't try to define self-defense. I just accepted your premises that embryo has rights and therefore acts out of free choice. In such a situation it could and should be hold responsible for its actions. But that is of course an absurd, so you premises are wrong.

"The Scott Peterson case a few years ago in California is an instance of this: he was charged with two murders, and convicted of both--the murder of the mother and of the unborn child."
These precedents make abortion a murder under American Law. It apparently operates under the same premises as yours. They are wrong.

"I remember seeing an essay online at (IIRC) TAS which claimed that there was no moral reason not to end the life of the senile or the severely mentally challenged because they could not be considered as rational humans."

This is very common mistake and advocates of ban on abortion often use it. There is a difference between actual human being which became incapacitated and potential human life. However in certain cases when man exists in vegetative state, his relatives may decide to withdraw his life-supporting system and let the nature to take its course. There are numerous legal precedents in this regard.

"Therefore, you are proposing that there is no objection to ending the life of a child when it is still in the mother's womb but there is an objection to ending the life of a child after it leaves the womb, even though their rights are both only potential."

Even a new born child able to exist separately from mother's organism and that qualify him as human being. He, for example can be heir of his parents' wealth and it can be used for his needs-under supervision of custodian, but embryo cannot.

I suspect nobody here would

Richard Wiig's picture

I suspect nobody here would dispute that. But the point of property rights to preserve and support life.

The point of property rights is to protect the right of the individual to his property.

And I suspect you wouldn't carry your line of thought to where it leads: for instance, that since your home is your private property, you have the absolute right to kill anyone who happens to be inside it.

If someone is on your property uninvited, and it would be certain death to eject him - for instance, someone escaping a vicious gang who came flying in your front door shutting and locking it behind him while asking for help, and to send him out the front door back into the hands of the gang would mean his death - would it be a violation of his rights to eject him? It would be a terrible thing to do, but I don't see how it would violate his rights.

You still insist that a collective rules a womb

Sandi's picture

"we should take the course of action that does least harm--in this case, not aborting."

I might choose not to shoot an intruder. Then again depending on the situation, I might decide otherwise. It is my private property. I do with it what I see fit and it is no one's business what I decide.

An intruder into my home?

Sandi's picture

You are of course referring to a person and not a potential.

Sandi

jeffrey smith's picture

Based upon your premise how can a woman of a potential be classed as a mother
Mother to be? Potential mother? Pregnant woman? If you don't think "mother" is appropriate, then use what term you wish. I think "mother" is perfectly appropriate.

Secondly: A womb is strictly private property. It is not owned by a collective.
I suspect nobody here would dispute that. But the point of property rights to preserve and support life.
And I suspect you wouldn't carry your line of thought to where it leads: for instance, that since your home is your private property, you have the absolute right to kill anyone who happens to be inside it.

Thirdly: What you consider is life is your opinion not mine

Agreed. I'm not arguing about when life begins or anything similar. I'm arguing that even if you believe that "human-ness" doesn't begin until the actual birth, the fact that if left alone, the embryo/fetus will be a human being sometime inside the next nine months--something that everyone agrees on--should be enough motive to protect it, and allow it to be terminated/killed/aborted/whatever your term of choice is only for the most necessary purposes, such as saving the life of the mother. In cases of doubt, we should take the course of action that does least harm--in this case, not aborting.

Firstly: Your use of the word "Mother" is incorrect

Sandi's picture

Based upon your premise how can a woman of a potential be classed as a mother?

Secondly: A womb is strictly private property. It is not owned by a collective.

Thirdly: What you consider is life is your opinion not mine.

Leonid

jeffrey smith's picture

Your response has more holes in it than a slice of swiss cheese.

For instance:
According to you she doesn't have such a choice. Choice would mean existence of two options-abortion and adoption. But you advocate ban on abortion and by that effectively eliminate any choice.

And what about the mother keeping the child to raise as her own? That's the third choice. And given the quote from Rand, it's rather odd that you overlooked it. Rand dismisses the option of adoption with only a bare assertion, and spends almost all her time (in the quote, that is) arguing against the choice of keeping the child as one's own.

Ask yourself-does embryo have such a rights? Can frozen fertilized egg in the stage of gastrula (after 8 divisions) inherit parental wealth, become owner of big corporation?

Under every system of law, a child born withing the last twenty four hours can not. In fact, any individual who has not reached the age of majority as defined under the laws of their place of residence can not, except under supervision of someone over the age of majority. In law, a seventeen year old is generally an infant.

Therefore, you are proposing that there is no objection to ending the life of a child when it is still in the mother's womb but there is an objection to ending the life of a child after it leaves the womb, even though their rights are both only potential. That is absurd on its face. You'll need to find a stronger ground than that.

Should the mother who aborted as result of trauma caused by her reckless driving been charged with manslaughter?
Why not? If another passenger had been killed because of that reckless driving, she would have been charged manslaughter.
Also bear in mind that the Anglo-American legal tradition, at least, has always allowed for homicide charges to be preferred if the child dies in the womb as the result of an assault on the mother--even if the mother herself survives the attack. The Scott Peterson case a few years ago in California is an instance of this: he was charged with two murders, and convicted of both--the murder of the mother and of the unborn child. But that's merely the most recently famous instance of a long line of similar cases.

That means according to you that embryo is guilty of attack which causes grievous body damage. In such a case the decision about punishment of the embryo, that is -abortion should be made by judge in the court of Law, if you want to respect its human rights in full.

That's a false definition of self defense. Self defense is not a punishment of the attacker; it's action that is taken to preserve one's own life--just like one defends oneself against an attacking bear or a falling tree. Taking your view, we could not exercise self defense at all, becausein every case we first would have to have it approved by an outside judicial authority--and of course by that time we would be dead, wouldn't we?

Potential is not actual. Only humans have rights. Human being is separated entity, not part of somebody else organism. His life begins at birth.

Either your respect human life as a value, or you do not. I'm saying that if you value human life, you will respect the potential human life represented by the embryo in the womb, whether or not it is actually already a human life in being, and end its life (or potential for life) only when necessity demands it, not simply when it is convenient.

I remember seeing an essay online at (IIRC) TAS which claimed that there was no moral reason not to end the life of the senile or the severely mentally challenged because they could not be considered as rational humans. That's the same line of reasoning that allows abortion no matter what the reason. Do you agree with the TAS essayist? For myself, I was disgusted by it.

Actual and potential

Leonid's picture

"She wrote as if placing a child for adoption was not an intelligent and moral choice."
According to you she doesn't have such a choice. Choice would mean existence of two options-abortion and adoption. But you advocate ban on abortion and by that effectively eliminate any choice.

"But within nine months, that physical entity will be a human being outside the mother's womb, and I think that fact entitles it to be treated with the full respect one accords to a human being even at the earliest stage."
Potential doesn't mean actual. Every human cell has a potential to become human being -by means of cloning, for example. Does it make appendectomy a murder? Full respect to human being means full recognition of human rights. Ask yourself-does embryo have such a rights? Can frozen fertilized egg in the stage of gastrula (after 8 divisions) inherit parental wealth, become owner of big corporation?
Should the mother who aborted as result of trauma caused by her reckless driving been charged with manslaughter?

"And the exception for the health of the mother doesn't contradict that. In such a case the mother is simply exercising her own right to self defense, just like she would against any other human who endangered her life-"

That means according to you that embryo is guilty of attack which causes grievous body damage. In such a case the decision about punishment of the embryo, that is -abortion should be made by judge in the court of Law, if you want to respect its human rights in full.

You premises create countless contradictory nonsensical situations. Check your premises. Potential is not actual. Only humans have rights. Human being is separated entity, not part of somebody else organism. His life begins at birth.

nor to surrender it to

jeffrey smith's picture

nor to surrender it to adoption.

She wrote as if placing a child for adoption was not an intelligent and moral choice.
If you knew that the child would be placed with a family that could give it a better upbringing materially than yourself, and an intellectual and moral upbringing at least as good as your own--and a family that would truly love that child--why would it not be "intelligent and conscientious" to place the child for adoption?

I'm not for an absolute ban on abortion--health of the mother, at the very least, must override such a ban, even if the child is ready to come naturally out of the womb--but I would be comfortable with it being banned when the reasons are simply economic (that is, the mother feels the child would be too much of a drain on her resources and time, or that she couldn't properly care and raise for the child): that is what adoption is for. Nor am I absolutely claiming, like the religious element does, that life begins at conception and a full human being is present from the moment the sperm penetrates the eggs. But within nine months, that physical entity will be a human being outside the mother's womb, and I think that fact entitles it to be treated with the full respect one accords to a human being even at the earliest stage. (And the exception for the health of the mother doesn't contradict that. In such a case the mother is simply exercising her own right to self defense, just like she would against any other human who endangered her life---which is exactly the rationale the Mishnah provided for the exception, as far back as 1900 years ago.)

But it is worth remembering that when you take into account all the impregnated eggs that don't implant in the uterus, all the eptotic pregnancies, miscarriages, and still births--in other words, all the potential human lifes which Nature ends one way or another after conception but before birth--the abortions performed by volitional human agency are dwarfed by the abortions that Mother Nature performs.

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