Is the life of the mother or father more important than a baby?

When reasoning you are supposed to understand the underlying principles and not superficially or emotionally look at just the situation at hand and apply those principles consistently.

The problem is you most Pro-choicers basically use personhood to claim moral significance for things in general, then use other rules to stop non person things you want to include from being killed i.e babies, but these equally apply to animals with exactly the same or higher cognitive abilities, that you in fact allow to be killed!!!

In other words you use a rule when it suits you for a foetus, but then arbitrarily ignore it for a baby.

Ralph and others here think Pro-Lifers are monsters for choosing the life of a foetus over a mother, but what about a baby which isn't a person either?

Do the rest of you automatically prefer the life of the mother or father over the life of a baby?

I can think up a thought experiment where both a mother and baby's lives are threatened and there is only one drug or organ to spare. Now either could live while the other dies, but also there is a none zero chance both will live. I would argue both have a right to life and right to the cure, so personally unless the mother decides to lay down her life for the child, as a doctor I would let fate decide.

Any two innocent moral entities have the same right to life as each other.

But what about where the mother or father through abuse or carelessness caused a smilar situation? Wouldn't they then be the offending party and the innocent party take precidance over her?

I certainly think in an analogous situation where a assassin poisoned both himself and me and where there is only one antidote, as the innocent party I have the moral right to the antidote.

Put another way does a baby have less rights than its parents? I think you guys are on the horns of a dilemma either way.

Tags: abortion

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Clearly parents have greater rights than babies, and fetuses have no rights. But abortion isn't about who has more rights. It's about value. What is the mother worth, compared to the fetus or baby? Substantially more in almost all cases.

If the woman is capable of making an informed choice, then it's completely up to her. The only way the baby should be saved is if the woman decides to give up her own life. This is because her life is more valuable to her than the fetus's or baby's life is to it. And that's because she and many others have already made significant investments in her life and her life is more useful to her and others than the baby's is to it or others. The only exceptions to this are if the woman thinks the baby's life is more valuable to her than her own life is, or if the woman is in a permanent vegetative state, in which case her life actually has a fairly large negative value to everyone, including herself. If the woman is temporarily incapacitated and a decision must be made, the same logic applies--save the woman, unless she gave clear, written and legally binding directions to the contrary.

This issue has nothing whatsoever to do with guilt vs innocence, no matter how hard anybody tries to stretch that point. Even if the woman has caused whatever scenario you're talking about, she still has more value to herself and to others than the fetus or baby does to itself or to others. The same logic applies. It's the woman's call, because she has more value than the offspring, nobody else has as much to lose as she does, and in any case, the fetus or baby can't make the decision and will never know the difference. Christians have even less reason to claim that fetuses or babies are especially innocent because Original Sin means they're not.

The only reason people prioritize the fetus's or baby's interests above those of the woman is because babies are cute and innocent. It is a purely emotional attachment to cute, innocent, helpless critters, or worse, a punishing judgment against the women for being somehow less innocent than her offspring simply by virtue of having been a moral agent long enough to have made some moral mistakes. It's hardly the woman's fault that she's human.

The bottom line is that somebody has to decide, and the woman has both the most at stake and the capacity to decide. If somebody has to decide for her, they should choose her.
While I agree with the sentiment I disagree with the specifics of your argument, Duane. Forcing the mother to live at the expense of her child, against her wishes, is the greater evil in my opinion. You argue that her other children will not be deprived of their mother and the husband will not be deprived of his wife but that is a troubling statement for two reasons. First and most importantly, it treats the woman as a mere possession of her family, putting their desires above hers, ignoring her right to self-determination. Second, it assumes that the mother will return fully-functional to support the family as normal. It ignores the likelihood of depression and family break-down which could result after such a traumatic experience, especially when it occurred against her will.
Actually, even under the best of circumstances, the mother's attentions will now be spread across one more family member, thus diminishing the time she has for hubby and previous kids. It really is an accounting problem. There is no one-size-fits-all answer, and that's why the correct thing to do is to let the pregnant woman decide to the best of her abilities. It sucks that she has to have the responsibility to work such an unpleasant and tricky accounting problem, but it's her body, and that trumps everybody else's claim, including the fetus. It's a rare scenario in which the fetus is worth more than the mother (the mother in a persistent vegative state is the one scenario I can think of), so it's up to the mother if she wants to volunteer her body for hosting duties. She's under no compunction to.
I'm not sure how many are already aware of this, but to give a little context to the debate, this started out as a debate between a pro-lifer and a pro-choicer on the Vegetarian/Vegan Atheists group message board. The way that it started out, at least, is that Simon stated that it seemed self-contradictory to be in favor of animal rights while being against the rights of fetuses.

As a pro-choice vegan, the issue is pretty simple to me: first, we have no reason to believe that a fetus is anywhere near as sentient as your average farm animal, and second, while (for the average Westerner) consuming meat confers no tangible benefit - and in fact is self-destructive, both for the individual and for society at large - there's a clear benefit to the woman, unready to be a mother, to have her pregnancy ended. I don't think it's moral to kill animals simply because you find it entertaining or pleasing somehow, but if someone had a cow growing in their belly, and they had to choose between killing the cow and suffering adverse emotional, physical and financial consequences, I'd say they would be perfectly justified in killing the cow. The two situations, abortion and killing for meat/clothing/entertainment, are really not equivalent.
Aaron could you start another thread for this? I'm going to have my hands full with this one and it will be easier for me to address in a separate thread.
What Aaron has provided has been extreamly useful: context is exactly was has been needed.

Would either Aaron, or you Simon, be able to provide a link to this discussion so that we who are not familiar with the background may become clear?
http://www.atheistnexus.org/forum/topics/are-we-talking-past-each-o...

Maybe that will sort out the desires-rights-sentience issues as well.
Sure, I suppose so. I have to warn you that while I understand that this is an extremely important issue, it's just not that intellectually stimulating for me, and I probably won't be commenting at length on it. If other people want to talk about it, though, then of course they'll be free...

New discussion start here: Why I don't think it's a contradiction to be pro-choice as well as ...
To the extent that eating meat consumes more resources than eating plants directly (and it does, by a large margin), eating meat is self-destructive if the resources are stretched to the breaking point, which they basically are on a planetary scale. That said, the effect on the individual carnivore is quite small. The aggregate negative effect of too many carnivores is quite large. I still eat meat, but I try to eat less than I used to.
I'm sorry, that was thoughtless of me :P I should have provided the exact link before. The discussion started with a shout-out by Chris Z on the comments page for the group, not a particular discussion within the group. At the moment, that's the 2nd page. The actual debate, however, didn't begin until what is currently the first page.
I'd have to agree with most others here that we lack context and clarification of definitions.

- It seems as though you are saying baby=fetus. If so, then I have no answer to your question because your supporting given is false.

- If we are talking full-term babies here and not fetuses and if I understand your basic query correctly: Two lives hang in the balance, an infant and an adult. I as a third party can save one but only one. Who do I save?

If that's the question, my answer would depend on context, but all things being equal, if it were me, I'd save the adult. Huge emphasis on the qualifier: "All things being equal."
No a baby is not a foetus both neither are either a person.

So when dealing with a baby you would save the adult based on what?
Strength of social ties?

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