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Unspeakable Conversations - Open Knowledge — LiveJournal

Feb. 15th, 2003

02:35 pm - Unspeakable Conversations

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From:sofaking_par
Date:February 15th, 2003 02:43 pm (UTC)
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Sadly, I feel these two talk past each other. It is not whether one considers a life of value, or a potential detriment to society that should define a right to life. Thus such squirrelly arguments about mixed race babies vs. disabled vs. simple preference babies.
The defining philosophical difference between them is that it is nobody's business but the individual's as to whether their life is worth living. The muddy waters flow from the arbitrariness of when to confer individualness. Sure I've heard logical arguments for any of these: first heart beat, first brain functioning, first time the baby can be sustained outside of the womb. All based on what the polemicist's perspective on when we become a person.
What I found alarming was the whole notion that the right to aborting a fetus could be extended to a born child....
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From:crasch
Date:February 15th, 2003 02:56 pm (UTC)
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What I found alarming was the whole notion that the right to aborting a fetus could be extended to a born child....

I find it discomfiting too. However, it seems that the line is drawn pretty arbitrarily. For example, let's suppose that
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<i>What I found alarming was the whole notion that the right to aborting a fetus could be extended to a born child....</i>

I find it discomfiting too. However, it seems that the line is drawn pretty arbitrarily. For example, let's suppose that <a http://www.observer.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,648024,00.html>artificial wombs</a> had been perfected. (They're not there yet, but they will be.) Should the parents be allowed to shut off the machine before the baby comes to term? If so, why should they not be allowed to withdraw their care after the baby is born?

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From:sofaking_par
Date:February 15th, 2003 05:36 pm (UTC)

Arbitrary, Yes, Capriciousness, No

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The reason, no matter the delivery system, that children should not be killed is a moral one. The individual's right to life supersedes any other person's preference either way. The sticking point is at what exact moment does one become an individual? Pick a point. That is arbitrary. But don't allow capricousness. The difference? I might, along with a majority of citizens, vote that individual rights begin at first brain function. Any sign of disability (or whatever) that manifests itself after will be beyond a citizen's right to abort. Remember, just because the sign says 55 doesn't mean that that speed is divinely inspired or rationally arrived at as being the safest speed. It is simply the rule we've all agreed on.
Capriciousness would be having varying decision dates depending on various (possibly illogical) criteria (desired physical attributes, age of mother, married or not, the media's darling issue of the month, etc.). Then we open to the real possibility of aborting living, breathing babies fresh from their cribs.
The proof? Today a woman can have an abortion, before her first tri-mester, for any reason. Crimps her lifestyle, the baby is deformed, eyes aren't blue enough, boyfriend doesn't want it. I find all of these rationales to be morally defensible, even though I would not personally condone them. That is because I don't consider these fetuses to be people yet. If they were, it would be unjustified homicide.
And applying the reverse standard that any potentially baby making egg or sperm wasted is killing, is just plain silly.
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