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Peter Heck video - "The Sound of Abortion"

#91kts123Posted 1/31/2013 9:59:23 AM(edited)
But with people in persistent vegetative states, the optimal situation is to follow the directions of their living will. For example, I'd want the plug pulled if the prognosis was grim. But therein lies the difference between a fetus and a brain-dead person Killing an unconscious personal is immoral, and ought be illegal because it denies that person the ability to satisfy their preferences. A fetus, having no desires whatsoever, is not deprived of anything by being aborted.


We're discussing the intrinsic value of the person. While they are "mentally not there" they are in essence nothing more than a collection of cells. However, much like a fetus, there is a chance of recovering function. So lets say we find someone in a vegetative state with no living will, and no possible way of identifying their wishes. There is, however, a strong chance they will recover brain function but will have no recollection of who they were before. They are a blank slate, with nothing more than the potential to regain those things we identify with person-hood. And, within our thought experiment, we know they will likely recover if left on life support.

They have no expressed desires towards being unplugged from life support, and no neurological activity that is identifiable with person-hood. No consciousness, no feelings, no memory, no relatives or friends, nothing. They're just a glob of cells that has been whipped clean of memory, and for all intents and purposes has had no visible impact on the world.

Is it immoral to unplug them, even though we know they will likely recover?
#92AynRandySavagePosted 1/31/2013 10:05:59 AM
kts123 posted...

They have no expressed desires towards being unplugged from life support, and no neurological activity that is identifiable with person-hood. No consciousness, no feelings, no memory, no relatives or friends, nothing. They're just a glob of cells that has been whipped clean of memory, and for all intents and purposes has had no visible impact on the world.

Is it immoral to unplug them, even though we know they will likely recover?


It would be unreasonable to assume that that person, prior to falling into a coma, would want to be killed like that.
#93kts123Posted 1/31/2013 10:11:58 AM
Just to be clear on my own feelings.

I personally feel that, from a secular point of view, this is a "when does water go from cold to hot?" sort of question. The mind looks for abstract patterns in the world. In this case, the brain is trying to qualify the fetus as either human or not. The problem is, I don't really think there is a clear secular answer to this question, no more than there is a clear line between hot and cold water. Emotionally though, the brain has a lot of stake in trying to qualify the fetus as one or the other. The problem then is compounded by brain injuries that also blur the line of person-hood. In such odd circumstances, I would have to say we are forced to regress to world views to answer this question. If we fall back onto evolutionary psychology, we can alleviate the problem by negating intrinsic morals and describing the situation in terms of evolutionary terms (a bit of moral nihilism will arise, but that's the nature of the beast, and certainly does not invalidate the claim.)

The other solution is religion.

So clearly, this is a buggar of a problem. Hence, my deep hesitance to discuss its legality.
#94JonWood007Posted 1/31/2013 10:26:44 AM(edited)
Why can't the line between person and non-person be arbitrary? And why must the decision on whether something merits "personhood" rest solely on the properties of the thing itself?

Here's a pretty simple way of looking at it:

There is a Philosophical person, and a legal Person.

The former is a conscious, thinking being, which knows that it is a person.

the latter is whatever the law treats like the former.

In the interest of having laws that fit society, it's logical to treat all philosophical persons as legal persons.

In the interests of satisfying our own personal whims, its logical to treat babies as legal persons, despite the fact that they are not philosophical persons

Treating fetuses as people, however, is problematic. If we treat a fetus as a person, as we may personally desire to do, it conflicts with a the rights this society confers upon people. Thus we must either diminish or dismiss the personhood of women, or we must diminish and dismiss the personhood of fetuses. As much as I'd like everyone to make the choice to respect the rights of women of their own volition, it's not really necessary, as there's not really a choice. Women, being philosophical people, have to be treated as actual people, so the personhood of fetuses doesn't stand a chance.


Okay, sounds like our views are similar in the fact that women's rights deserve priority. Do you think there should be any point in the pregnancy in which we should limit abortion? Or just let it go until birth?

Just to be clear on my own feelings....

.....



There isn't a clear answer. I think the three criteria mentioned above are the best I can think of, although they may not be perfect as others pointed out.

I don't think we should necessarily restrict rights on emotional arguments, and I DEFINITELY don't think we should restrict them based on religion.

I think legally the best solution is to allow choice. Since this issue is so hard to tackle, and people can't come to an agreement on when a fetus should be qualified as a human being, I think choice should be available, until the situation becomes more black and white, which is why I laid out the criteria I did for the third term. This way, if you think it's sooner, the answer is simple, don't get an abortion. But to those of us who do think a fetus' rights should not be put over a mother's, the option is available. The solution IMO is for people to CHOOSE what they're comfortable with. I just don't like pro lifers trying to push their cookie cutter solutions on the rest of us. As mentioned earlier, a big thing that turned me pro choice was the fact that so many laws do try to force someone's black and white views of the situation on a very grey area.

We can discuss the morality of it philosophically all we want, but I don't think there's a single answer. People will come to different conclusions depending on their approach. Personally, I think a fetus is "life", but like you, I think it's a process to becoming a human, and not yet worthy of full rights, due to the fact that women have these rights. I see it as utilitarianly resolving the conflict. No consciousness, no pain, no viability, no problem. I know as some people mentioned, my criteria are not the best, but these are the three best things I can compare to an actual born child.
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#95kts123Posted 1/31/2013 10:23:37 AM(edited)
It would be unreasonable to assume that that person, prior to falling into a coma, would want to be killed like that.


You're trying to dodge the question of intrinsic value. Does the person in their current state hold value because of what they are, or is it merely the value of the person prior to losing function which is being extended to the unconscious body? In otherwords, are you extending moral value to the body itself, or merely honoring the wishes of someone who no longer has intrinsic value?

Is it saying Well, this body has no value, but prior to losing consciousness, there was a person which had rights that must still be upheld. Or This organism itself has intrinsic value outside of what its prior state held Are you assigning rights to the person while they had consciousness and extending it the unconscious form which no longer has intrinsic value?

Lets up the stakes.

Lets say a baby was born in a persistent vegetative state. At the age of 1, the doctors realize the 1 year old is going to make a full recover. BUT! The baby has never had mental function, the same as any fetus. Now is it okay to kill it? After all, it has never had mental function, nor been capable of expressing desires, identical to that of a fetus. In fact, in a way, it's like a fetus that just took an extra long time to develop, and has been doing such outside the womb. However, it has always lacked those mental functions identified with person-hood.
#96AynRandySavagePosted 1/31/2013 10:24:06 AM
JonWood007 posted...
Why can't the line between person and non-person be arbitrary? And why must the decision on whether something merits "personhood" rest solely on the properties of the thing itself?

Here's a pretty simple way of looking at it:

There is a Philosophical person, and a legal Person.

The former is a conscious, thinking being, which knows that it is a person.

the latter is whatever the law treats like the former.

In the interest of having laws that fit society, it's logical to treat all philosophical persons as legal persons.

In the interests of satisfying our own personal whims, its logical to treat babies as legal persons, despite the fact that they are not philosophical persons

Treating fetuses as people, however, is problematic. If we treat a fetus as a person, as we may personally desire to do, it conflicts with a the rights this society confers upon people. Thus we must either diminish or dismiss the personhood of women, or we must diminish and dismiss the personhood of fetuses. As much as I'd like everyone to make the choice to respect the rights of women of their own volition, it's not really necessary, as there's not really a choice. Women, being philosophical people, have to be treated as actual people, so the personhood of fetuses doesn't stand a chance.


Okay, sounds like our views are similar in the fact that women's rights deserve priority. Do you think there should be any point in the pregnancy in which we should limit abortion? Or just let it go until birth?


With regards to legality, abortion can only be limited if the woman's rights aren't unduly curbed. If the fetus is past the point of viability, I don't see any legal reason why we can't just tell the doctors to remove the fetus, but try to keep it alive. I don't have an opinion either way on it though.
#97AynRandySavagePosted 1/31/2013 10:28:48 AM
kts123 posted...

You're trying to dodge the question of intrinsic value. Does the person in their current state hold value because of what they are, or is it merely the value of the person prior to losing function which is being extended to the unconscious body? In otherwords, are you extending moral value to the body itself, or merely honoring the wishes of someone who no longer has intrinsic value?


The only intrinsic value is that which a person feels he or she has.



Lets say a baby was born in a persistent vegetative state. At the age of 1, the doctors realize the 1 year old is going to make a full recover. BUT! The baby has never had mental function, the same as any fetus. Now is it okay to kill it? After all, it has never had mental function, nor been capable of expressing desires, identical to that of a fetus. In fact, in a way, it's like a fetus that just took an extra long time to develop, and has been doing such outside the womb. However, it has always lacked those mental functions identified with person-hood.



You don't even have to put the baby in a vegetative state, my answer's the same. Killing a baby is never the same as killing a conscious adult. But morals are as much a matter of social convention than anything. We can make killing a baby immoral if we feel like it.
#98JonWood007Posted 1/31/2013 10:42:06 AM
You're trying to dodge the question of intrinsic value. Does the person in their current state hold value because of what they are, or is it merely the value of the person prior to losing function which is being extended to the unconscious body? In otherwords, are you extending moral value to the body itself, or merely honoring the wishes of someone who no longer has intrinsic value?


I have no issues with euthanization of people in vegetative states given they can never recover, the prognosis is certain, and it's in their living will. Remember, we had a major issue with this a few years back with Terri Schiavo.

I think if the brain is dead, with no hope of ever recovering, the person is dead, philosophically.

I don't think we should necessarily terminate without consent via a living will or a relative though. Just in case we're wrong, and they do recover or something. Fetuses never were alive though before, and were never considered full blown humans before (except by the life begins at conception crowd, although I dont think their arguments valid). They never experienced anything, and while they will if you let them grow, that potential is not enough to deny a woman her right to her body and her life. It's simply a lower priority.
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#99AynRandySavagePosted 1/31/2013 11:14:37 AM
JonWood007 posted...
You're trying to dodge the question of intrinsic value. Does the person in their current state hold value because of what they are, or is it merely the value of the person prior to losing function which is being extended to the unconscious body? In otherwords, are you extending moral value to the body itself, or merely honoring the wishes of someone who no longer has intrinsic value?


I have no issues with euthanization of people in vegetative states given they can never recover, the prognosis is certain, and it's in their living will. Remember, we had a major issue with this a few years back with Terri Schiavo.

I think if the brain is dead, with no hope of ever recovering, the person is dead, philosophically.

I don't think we should necessarily terminate without consent via a living will or a relative though. Just in case we're wrong, and they do recover or something. Fetuses never were alive though before, and were never considered full blown humans before (except by the life begins at conception crowd, although I dont think their arguments valid). They never experienced anything, and while they will if you let them grow, that potential is not enough to deny a woman her right to her body and her life. It's simply a lower priority.


like
#100IamvegitoPosted 1/31/2013 11:31:43 AM
From: kts123 | #084
An African American was counted as "half a man" for population purposes.

And now they want women to count as half a man as well, with regards to body sovereignty. Telling a woman what she is to do with her body is analogous to me telling you that you're getting a tattoo of my name across your face.
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