Recently I've been thinking about the abortion issue. I, myself, am pro-choice for many reasons: namely rape, incest, and birth defects. I also don't believe the catholic church when they say the soul enters the fertilized egg cell at conception (silly catholics). Murder! How so? During the first trimester when it is legal to have an abortion, the embryo has no consciousness whatsoever. It would definitely not qualify as a full human being by any means. My question is: beyond the religious concept of a soul being "snuffed out" before birth, are there any reasons to be pro-life? I haven't found any yet. Please enlighten me if you know of any.

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Actually, there are plenty of reasons to be pro-life, but not many if you're a utilitarian. Libertarians for Life argue from an entirely secular POV. Their site is l4l.org.

Also check out the Atheist and Agnostic Pro-life League at godlessprolifers.org.
What do you consider to be the source of value of fetal life?
Humanity. What do you consider to be the source of value of postnatal life?
This is a cryptic answer, but I’ll take a stab at your meaning: We recognize that human life is valuable. In consequence we must recognize that same value in fetal life.

In an earlier post I presented a challenge to this argument. If you look at the reasoning underpinning the value that you or society place on human life, you will see that it does not carry with it an argument for fetal life. I’ll quote extensively from that post.

George Kane wrote on 21 September 2008 at 12:27am A Conventionalist might justify the value of human life based upon laws, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states in Article 3 “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.” However, the scope of the human rights defined by this document is limited in Article 1 to people already born: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” Every country in the world has laws against murder, but they differ widely in abortion policy.

A Rationalist would say something like “If I murder people, then I must say that in certain circumstances it must be acceptable for other people to murder me. If I place no value on another person’s life, then it must be OK for others to hold my life of no value. Therefore, I must recognize the value of the lives of all other people.” But the Rationalist argument does not extend to fetuses. There is no possibility, of course, that anyone could abort me, and a fetus has no moral agency.

A Utilitarian would conclude that in normal circumstances, recognizing that other people have a right to life leads to the greatest good for the greatest number. I have already made the argument several times in this discussion, however, that the greatest good is promoted by responsible reproductive choices, which may include an obligation to abort.

You used an argument from species imperative. At least, I think you intend such an argument when you write “The survival instinct is primal. Animals procreate.” But animal procreation also often leads to overpopulation, which is eventually balanced by starvation and a rising death rate. To borrow a question that is often misused in other discussions, “Just because animals do it, does that mean that we have to?” From a purely empirical and descriptive approach to human conduct it is obvious that reproductive planning violates no species imperative.


I’ll add here one more argument, that the value of human life, and therefore fetal life, is good a priori,. It should be obvious to everyone, or at least any normal moral person, that life is good in itself, and therefore needs no justification. While this argument may be somewhat plausible for human life, the great majority of Americans consider it invalid for fetal life. That is, most people think that an amorphous mass of cells that has just begun cellular division has the rights that we recognize in humans once they are born.

Deontological value is a natural argument for believers in god-command ethics, but most atheists recognize the difficulty of such an argument. The value that is asserted is not universal, but purely personal. Why should any woman take into account the personal values of people not related to her abortion decision?
But I am a libertarian, not a utilitarian.

Also, just because you are safe from a method of killing, that does not mean you should allow it. That is the basis for discrimination.

And, for the record, I don't see humans as special. I see that every organism has a moral obligation to other organisms of the same species. If we were all fluffy bunnis, I would be arguing for the equal rights of all of fluffy bunny kind.

"Deontological value is a natural argument for believers in god-command ethics, but most atheists recognize the difficulty of such an argument. The value that is asserted is not universal, but purely personal. Why should any woman take into account the personal values of people not related to her abortion decision?" Why should child abusers consider the opinions of others? Morality is needed.
Moral absolutes are necessary to keep the KKKs of the world from doing immoral things they think are moral. Otherwise, the Inquisition was 100% justified.
"There is no possibility, of course, that anyone could abort me, and a fetus has no moral agency."

But there is a possibility that they could kill you, which is what abortion is. This is a semantics argument. And, even though you're safe from an action, the action can still be immoral. Supporting violence against others is the foundation of discrimination.
Christopher Peter Robinson wrote on December 22, 2008 But I am a libertarian, not a utilitarian.

Whatever ethical system you rely upon, you must have some basis for your values.

Christopher Peter Robinson continued: Also, just because you are safe from a method of killing, that does not mean you should allow it. That is the basis for discrimination.

Rationalist arguments are held by their proponents to be true for all thinking beings. In the case of this argument for the value of human life, it is based upon a principle of reciprocity – if I kill others, then I am saying that it is OK for others to kill me. But this principle of reciprocity does not apply to a fetus, not only because I cannot be aborted, but because the fetus is not a moral agent with whom I can have a reciprocal agreement. This is why the rationalist argument for the value of human life doesn’t make any sense if you try to stretch it to cover fetuses. It does not follow that just because human life is valuable that all potential human life also has any derivative value.

Christopher Peter Robinson continued: But there is a possibility that they could kill you, which is what abortion is. This is a semantics argument. And, even though you're safe from an action, the action can still be immoral. Supporting violence against others is the foundation of discrimination.

What I’ve shown is that the rationalist argument for human value is based upon reciprocity, which dissolves if we try to extend it to fetuses. I answered that above. The rationalist argument establishes that for all humans, the value of one’s own life can only be established if we acknowledge the value of the life of all other humans. You are trying to derive fetal value from human value, even though the argument that you are using to justify human value collapses if we try to extend it to potential humans. You are assuming as a premise the conclusion that I am asking you to justify.

Christopher Peter Robinson continued: And, for the record, I don't see humans as special. I see that every organism has a moral obligation to other organisms of the same species. If we were all fluffy bunnis, I would be arguing for the equal rights of all of fluffy bunny kind.

Fluffy bunnies are not moral agents. If they were, the rationalist argument would cover all rational species – it would be unethical for humans to kill bunnies.

Christopher Peter Robinson continued: Why should child abusers consider the opinions of others? Morality is needed.

Laws are enacted to protect people. A fetus is not a person, but a potential person only. A law against cutting down trees does not prohibit smashing an acorn. You are not seriously tackling the question at issue, on what basis do you claim a fetus has value?

Christopher Peter Robinson continued: Moral absolutes are necessary to keep the KKKs of the world from doing immoral things they think are moral. Otherwise, the Inquisition was 100% justified.

But how do you justify moral absolutes? God-believers say that they are declared by god, but then they are arbitrary because a god could always change his mind. Members of the KKK usually justify their actions by citing moral absolutes that they are upholding, as would Torquemada. And even if we adopt a purely conventionalist morality, the rules of society need not be absolute. After all, situations arise when rules conflict. I think it is much more true that we have laws against vigilantism and constitutional safeguards against the use of the state’s monopoly on the means of violence to enforce religious dogma because we have found that these things have very harmful consequences in peoples’ lives.

Even if you insist upon moral absolutes, what is their basis?

I tried to make things easier for you by presenting several arguments that are used to justify our valuation of human life, but I hope I am not merely confusing the question at issue. It should really be a fundamental question. You hold that fetuses should be valued. Why?
http://www.prolifeamerica.com/fusetalk/forum/messageview.cfm?catid=...

Child Aborts Mother
By Christopher LaRock
Associated Priss
Lansing, Mich - A young child in Mid-Michigan has stirred world-wide controversy recently when he decided to abort his mother. The parental-abortion took place in a Planned Childhood clinic in Lansing Michigan. Many different groups have protested this act, calling it cold blooded murder. The parental-abortion physicians who performed the procedure have refused to comment on this story.

The young child at the center of this news story gave a press conference from his highchair earlier this morning to answer questions surrounding his actions. "I have no regrets whatsoever.", the child told reporters, "I just didn't feel I was ready yet to have a mother. I was exercising my right to choose, so there's really nothing anyone can do about it. The choice I made was between my doctor and I, and was a choice I made with my own body."

A spokesperson from a local Feminist group responded to these statements, saying, "Killing another person is never justified, even if you are making a choice with your own body in doing so. This child is a murderer and has violated the rights of his mother by having her killed." Of course, this spokesperson declined to comment further on this story once it was pointed out that groups like hers uses similar arguments to justify the killing of unborn children by mothers. The feminist spokesperson then invited the reporter interviewing her to engage in marital relations with himself, before telling him he has fecal matter where his brains should be and then storming out of the room.

"I felt my safety and health were at risk.", The child told reporters, "She was drinking, smoking, taking drugs, and talking about aborting me. My health was at risk, so I decided to abort my mother. I don't see what the fuss is all about. Women abort babies like me all the time."

The press conference had to be cut short for nap time, but the young child issued this last statement, "We cannot truly consider ourselves to be a free nation until all children have the right to choose. The choice to terminate unwanted parents is what this nation was founded on. Just look at how the colonists aborted the British from the colonies. I have no regrets over this, and would like to be left alone now."

The Supreme Court is to rule this week on cases like these to determine whether a child should have the right to abort their parents or not. Whatever the court decides, this is a controversy that won't be going away any time soon.
This spoof demonstrates the absurdity of trying to expand the rationalist demonstration of the value of human life to fetuses: a fetus is not a moral agent, so there cannot be reciprocity.

The value of human life is asserted as a universal ethical principle from a variety of philosophical perspectives, but I do not know of any arguments that can be generalized to apply also to fetuses. Therefore, if you assert that fetal life is a universal value, you have to come up with a separate demonstration for it. You cannot say “human life is a universal value, therefore fetal life is too.”

You can try a consequential argument, but you made a point of stating that you are not a utilitarian. I presume that you mean by this that you believe that ethical values are deontological, and not dependent upon consequences.

If there is no demonstration that fetal life is an objective, universal value, then it must be a subjective, personal value. You certainly cannot claim that it is intuitively obvious, since in fact most people consider it ludicrous to attribute human rights to a fertilized egg.

So your argument boils down to “Abortion should be outlawed because I like attributing human rights to fetuses.” In a democracy, if you can persuade enough people that your preference is nicer than others, you can get abortion prohibited, even if it requires a constitutional amendment. You would then change a personal preference into a normative social and legal standard. But it is not a universal moral law.
George, save your breath. Christopher, stop the Libertarian charade.

===

This explains a lot - http://tinyurl.com/6hogmq

So Christopher, you spend an awful lot of time on http://www.prolifeamerica.com as -

Nulono
Executive Member
Posts: 519
Joined: 11/01/2008

It is interesting to note when going through your posts there, that an awful lot of what you've chosen to "enlighten" us with here in our forum is little more than copy'n'paste collage of your previous ravings on prolifeamerica. A lot was taken from the link above. Much, much more can be found under your profile's links to your other posts.

This has cleared things up - you are not here to "discuss" anything. You're here to preach. To stand on a soap box and shout everyone that disagrees with you down. Whatever your claim to atheism may be is irrelevant - one thing you are not is a freethinker. You are a fundamentalist preacher, your church is pro-life. Your sig provides a nice summary -

-------------------------
~A pro-life, liberal atheist
Don't pray/fast. Take action.

"When you're right, you can never be too radical."-MLK
"... morality cannot be legislated, behavior can be regulated ... the law cannot change the heart ... it can restrain the heartless"-MLK
-------------------------

Your not going to leave us alone are you ? How many other sites do you bespatter with your garbage ?
So far he has not directly addressed my arguments, but I'm willing to work with him for awhile. But if he has nothing to offer but to cut and paste tangentially related articles I won't feed the troll for too long.

Thanks for the information, felch.

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