Colorado for equal rights has a ballot to give person hood to zygotes. Should a zygote be given person-hood? If a zygote or embryo was a person, it would be unethical to abort them under any condition. If he had been conceived by rape, incest, forced implantation, or forced insemination abortion would be murder. Likewise, if the embryo were to prove lethal to the mother, one might be able to transplant the embryo, but not abort it.

Also, what about the 16 million zygotes / persons that are conceived, but do not implant properly and are flushed down the toilet or thrown in the trash with the maxipad? With research, many of these could be recovered and reimplanted. Boosting birthrates four fold. Special maxipads for capturing and storing embryos...

On a more practical side, when should a new life be given person hood status? Should a new born be given a 'test' or 'physical' and if he fails, infanticide? Or, even the body farm? Should babies that would require lifetime drug regimens, need dozens of surgeries, be incapable of understanding the world around him, and / or be allowed to live with significant pain?

I personally do want to hang around if I get Alzheimer's, dementia, extreme poor health, chronic pain, or become a ward of the state. I certainly would not want to face those conditions from birth. I would advocate infanticide for any infant who could not lead a normal life.

If something like this were to become law, would it be enforced, the child ripped from their mother? An option known to the mother before childbirth? Perhaps with counseling regarding the consequences. Would the mother only have the option of life if she had enough money?

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Anath wrote on July 31
So are you for or against "valuation"? How are you defining it here? And how do you propose we get to a point of majority agreement without using some sort of objective statement? Clearly, there are too many different views and value judgments for everyone to agree based on valuation alone. How would you propose we determine value, other than a relatively objective measurable scale or series of variables and states? Touchy-feely emotional value judgments?

It is impossible for a human society to avoid making value judgments. Unfortunately there is such a proliferation of folders on this site that it is impractical to follow more than a handful, so it is hard to become familiar with the views of the other participants. I’ve posted extensively in a couple of other folders on utilitarianism, which holds that the moral value of an action is determined by the balance of benefit over harm that results in peoples’ lives.

I think that this is the only way to establish an objective basis for morality. If you try tying it to a medical state, there is no way to resolve disagreements. For example, if one person says that “personhood” is reached at the beginning of the third trimester, and a second person says that it is reached at the time of fetal viability, while a third says that it is at the time of conception, there is no ground for a productive discussion. Each disputant is completely convinced that he has identified the limit of permissible abortion, by identifying “personhood” with the attributes of the conceptus at the point he picked arbitrarily. Their disagreement is over nothing objective, but rather over a moral taste. It is equivalent to arguing over Pepsi or Coke.

But the effects in peoples’ lives are real things that actually happen. By finding out in each individual case whether the people affected are harmed or helped. Is the woman forced to abandon her education or career, truncating her future prospects for material wellbeing? Is the father forced into a loveless marriage, or a financial obligation for a child with whom he does not bond? Are the parents of the couple burdened so that the baby can be cared for? Will the child be born into a family that is unable to provide the material goods, care and love that are needed for a successful parenting outcome? Then the child would be much better off being born a few years later. Society is also harmed by large numbers of children being born into homes with poor prospects of successful parenting outcomes, because of increased crime and dependency.

Anath continued:
So you agree with my statement that "personhood" occurs at the stamping of a birth certificate?

I think that in the United States in the 21st century, that is the best conclusion. I think that the greatest good for the greatest number is most likely to result if the abortion decision is left to the people in the best position to evaluate the consequences of the birth. But that is not some universal law that would be applicable to every society.

Anath continued:
(George Kane wrote) I hardly think that declining to consider abortion is “taking responsibility” for your actions. In most cases, if “don’t get pregnant” was the morally correct decision, then so is “have an abortion now,” since the consequences that one must consider are the same in each case.
(Anath responded) I disagree.…(T)here is a largely grey area where abortion may be the correct moral choice.

I’ve provided, in structure if not detail, the consequential moral argument above. If the birth of a child would be harmful to the woman, harmful to her mate, harmful to the parents, harmful to the future child and harmful to society, she should avoid pregnancy, or she should abort. The list of people affected by the action, and the affects of the birth to them, are the same whether the act under consideration is to avoid pregnancy or to get an abortion. In both cases, the responsible course of action is to bring about the greatest good for the greatest number.
Its likely that we follow different debates. Regardless, my "so many different views" referred more universally than just AN. I wish they had a "quote" option though.

I largely agree with what you have to say in your post.

At this stage in medicine, there is no defined moment for "personhood", but if there WERE, thats what I proposed we tie it to. If the people claiming they knew when the "soul" "entered the body" actually had incontrovertible evidence that we could measure, then fact should be the deciding factor, but problem is, there is nothing objective at this time. Its not like taking a pregnancy test, one line or two, human/soul/person or not, but if it were... it would no longer be an arbitrary value judgment and there could be no debate because we would know. Currently, however, this speculation is moot, because there IS NO evidence, and the "magic moment" (if it even exists) may very well be after birth. I would only support using facts if there were some.

George says:
But the effects in peoples’ lives are real things that actually happen. By finding out in each individual case whether the people affected are harmed or helped.

I fully agree. This is why I could never force my moral tastes on someone else. I did address this. I guess I figure that the greatest good for the greatest number is not to have sex in the first place if you can't support a child, though I do acknowledge that this is not always a feasible or desirable option for everyone.

George Says:
I think that in the United States in the 21st century, that is the best conclusion.
We are in agreement. :)

I think we are not too different in view, I just allow the possibility of future objective facts, and would implement them if they ever arise.
Anath wrote on July 31, 2008
At this stage in medicine, there is no defined moment for "personhood", but if there WERE, thats what I proposed we tie it to.

My point was that there can never be a medical definition of personhood. It is like asking for a mathematical definition of tasty soup. Personhood is a value, and so cannot be derived from any condition of fact. Looking at the fetus will never provide any useful information. That can only come from consequences in peoples’ lives

Anath continued
George says:
But the effects in peoples’ lives are real things that actually happen. By finding out in each individual case whether the people affected are harmed or helped.

I fully agree.

Indeed, we are not far off.

Anath continued
I think we are not too different in view, I just allow the possibility of future objective facts, and would implement them if they ever arise.

I think that the objective facts to expect are those that will allow a woman contemplating having a child to better judge what decision will best for her, for her mate, for her child, and for society.
First of all a slight clarification. I do not say that identity occurs as soon as the cerebrum is developed. In fact it is very likely not developed at this point. However it is the earliest that the physical criteria for a mind to arise from a brain occurs. Thus until our understanding of the nature of minds improves this is the clearest we can be at the time.

Incidentally it should be noted that once the Cerebrum forms the fetus is generally considered to be viable. That is if taken out of the woman's body at that time it would survive (with assistance). And I would put back to you that in considering matters of morality we are better suited being made on a humanitarian level rather than a utilitarian level.

As to why the Christians differ with this is found in the notion of identity yet again. As they believe in a disembodied thing called a soul that is associated with the body at conception they see identity attaching at this moment.

Ironically this is not the historic position of Christians. Up until the not too distant past Christians were in line with the Jews is believing (based on biblical text) that the soul entered the body with the first breath (its how God got Adam's soul into him).

So why then the shift to conception?

For that we have to turn to the Catholic Church. Way back in 1968 the Pope issued an encyclical called Humanae Vitae. It was this document that established as official Church policy that birth control and abortions were immoral. Now since it was an encyclical and not issued excathedra the infallibility bit did not attach. But as things go an encyclical is the next best thing. So much so that the Church hierarchy consider it to be on par with an infallible proclamation and thus will not even think of revisiting it for reconsideration.

Enter Roe V Wade. Roe V Wade established the US as a significant threat to the Vatican. The US was and continues to be a major player in the roll of social development of the entire world. And if the US went prochoice then the world would get pulled in as well. And as the Vatican had weathered its fair share of social paradigm shifts it decided that this was not one it wanted to face.

To this end the Vatican created a council of Bishops in the US dedicated to overturning Roe V Wade (complete with a spiffy name that at the moment escapes me). They went about creating grassroot movements trying to overturn the law. But they were largely unsuccessful that is until one of their members approached a couple of Protestant Preachers. The preachers in question were Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell.

At first they were not interested in the issue as gay teachers and such occupied much of their attention. But when it was explained how they could use the issue of abortion to put butts in the pews and more importantly money in the coffers they changed their minds.

The charismatic approach of Robertson and Falwell turned the antichoice movement into a firestorm. And the irony was that here were Protestants fighting for an issue that was the Vatican's agenda.
there is a bill where i live that is going thru the motions of being passed. basically it says that if a pregnant woman who intends to give birth is attacked or killed, harm to the fetus can be considered an aggravating factor. it's the pro-choice movement that is mainly against it. they say that it opens the door fetal rights and will lead to abortions being banned.
I tell you, f*cktards like that make me want to get my tubes tied just for my own protection. I fear the day I should get raped and be told I have to carry the SOB's spawn just because some Christofascist has given it personhood from the millisecond sperm met egg.
There should be. Of course if you can't get birth control covered any longer they probably wouldn't cover that either.

But, hey. Only 15-20 years before menopause....
I personally think Az is something, as I think a child is not a human being until a sort of consciousness which is recognizeable to the human consciousness arises. This is also what I consider to be the "soul" but it is still created by our brain. Question is though, how it is created. That we can't tell today.
Or for the matter, if the birth is an accident after rape, where I feel if I were in such a situation, I would make an abortion immediately. How do you explain to the child who the father was, and how can you live with the constant memory by living with the child of the rapist? Or if you live in an abusive relationship, the environment is neither safe for the child or yourself in such cases.
I think you stop being a zygote on your 18th birthday, and termination up until that point is morally and ethically guilt free. Remember that kids, next time you're asked to help with the dishes or mow the lawn..
Finally, a definitive answer to the abortion question!
I disagree that giving an embryo personhood automatically makes abortion murder, as that ignores the bodily domain of the woman carrying it. Nevertheless, defining personhood too soon would open a huge can of worms. If I miscarry, then do we need to perform an investigation to see what caused the death of this person, whether it was intentional, who is responsible, etc.? Can that even be determined in all cases? Should we hold a funeral?

I'm going to ignore the last half of your post where it gets eugenicsy and rambly, since I'm not really sure what you're going on about.



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