Cue Screaming Arguments

As ever when the subject is abortion. Polly:

Never mind that the whole notion of viability has no rational connection to any limit on the date for abortions: from the moment of conception every zygote is potentially viable.

Quite, therefore it\’s wrong to stop it moving from potentially viable to it being viable.

18 thoughts on “Cue Screaming Arguments”

  1. “Quite, therefore it’s wrong to stop it moving from potentially viable to it being viable.”

    Therefore the Pill is quite wrong in doing just that?

    Any particular absolutist position is destined to founder.

  2. Indeed. The only wholly consistent positions are “human life deserving full protection from conception, so the pill must be banned” or “not human til birth so free abortion up til then”.

    The fact that almost nobody believes in either of these suggests they might not be especially useful positions…

  3. “The fact that almost nobody believes in either of these”

    I think I remember reading somewhere that the guy in Rome with the funny hat thinks that, and he seems to get a lot of interest wherever he goes. His entourage is so big it took all the hotel rooms in Washington DC recently, and poor Gordon had to sleep in a dumpster. Or so I heard.

  4. “Therefore the Pill is quite wrong in doing just that?”

    There are those who argue just that. Granted, they tend to understand how the Pill works, unlike, I would guess, the majority of the population.

    The same also probably goes for the IUD.

  5. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/85456.php

    Legality doesn’t seem to affect whether women get abortions or not, but availability of contraception does, the only difference being that when it’s illegal more women die of associated complications.

    However, a libertarian male who upholds the right to drink, smoke, or otherwise abuse/enjoy one’s body free of government meddling, is skating on very thin ice when if he suggests women should not have the right to abortion.

    The only question is where to draw the line, and viability *outside* the womb is arguably a reasonable place to draw it.

  6. “I think I remember reading somewhere that the guy in Rome with the funny hat thinks that”

    Sorry, originally wrote “almost nobody sane”, but decided to delete the “sane” out of politeness to our host.

    [also, note that the Catholic church only moved to its current insane position in 1869 – prior to that they’d gone for 16.5 weeks since the days of St Augustine…]

    Tim adds: “The quickening”…indeed.

  7. “Why stop at conception? Surely abstinence is wrong too.”

    Damned if you do, damned if you don’t…sperm have rights too!

    Genesis 38:8-10 – “Then Judah said to Onan, ‘Lie with your brother’s wife and fulfill your duty to her as a brother-in-law to produce offspring for your brother.’ But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so whenever he lay with his brother’s wife he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from producing offspring for his brother. What he did was wicked in the Lord’s sight; so he put him to death also.”

  8. To be fair on God (!), he smote Onan for disobeying his specific instructions on that occasion, rather than for the general act of seed-spilling…

    Probably time for a link to this.

  9. … every sperm and egg are “potentially viable” before combination into a zygote, therefore it is quite wrong to stop it moving from potentially viable to it being viable.

    … or not.

  10. The 16 week rule does not come from St. Augustine, who generally considered contraception and abortion as morally equivalent actions. He would not have cared much about when one became the other. Thomas Aquinas, on the other hand, was very careful about distinctions between sins. Along with others , he followed Aristotle who held that the embryo did not acquire its soul until it acquired a unique form sometime after conception. This was not 16 weeks, but 40 days(males) and 90 days(females) in Aristotles opinion.
    The apparent change in change in Church teaching in the 19th century reflects the discovery that the embryo arises from the fusion of male and female gametes close to the time of intercourse. This provided a much more precise, and earlier , date for the beginning of an unique individual than Aristotles biology.
    The 16 week rule is more of a legal concept than a biological or theological one. In the past quickening was as early as someone could Know beyond reasonable doubt that they were pregnant. You could not be proven guilty of prouring an abortion if a pregnancy could not be proven.

  11. “also, note that the Catholic church only moved to its current insane position in 1869 – prior to that they’d gone for 16.5 weeks”: that must be about the time that the Pope went from being de facto Infallible to de jure Infallible?

  12. sanbikinoraion // May 9, 2008 at 2:42 pm beat me to it, in part –
    … every sperm and egg are “potentially viable” before combination into a zygote, therefore it is quite wrong to stop it moving from potentially viable to it being viable.
    … or not.

    A few years back, I learned tht while extremely rare, “virgin” birth is possible in humans: since around 1890 there have been some six substantiated cases (of, to be sure, perhaps several hundred thousand claims).

    And before someone jumps, no, the “Immaculate Conception” does not, in the RC dogma, mean Mary was a virgin – I don’t care how many depictions of “The Virgin Mary” there are.

  13. “Perhaps you’d feel differently after seeing these”

    Suddenly I understand the zeal of iconoclasts of Byzantium a whole lot more.

  14. So Much For Subtlety

    Eva – “Legality doesn’t seem to affect whether women get abortions”

    Only an academic would believe that. The number of abortions since they became legal in British has gone up by a factor of about four (from memory). They have wobbled a bit but more or less so. They have not remained high and constant. Therefore it is trivial to conclude Britain did not have as many illegal abortions before legalisation as it does now.

    There is no rational basis for that assumption and I assume the people pushing it have an agenda a mile wide.

    Eva – “However, a libertarian male who upholds the right to drink, smoke, or otherwise abuse/enjoy one’s body free of government meddling, is skating on very thin ice when if he suggests women should not have the right to abortion. ”

    Surely he would suggest no one should have the right to an abortion and I don’t see the thin ice argument. If the argument is that a human is human from conception, then it does not matter whether or not the person is a libertarian or not. No libertarian I know allows murder by deed or by absence of deed of anyone. Which is what a Catholic libertarian would, presumably, think.

    Eva – “The only question is where to draw the line, and viability *outside* the womb is arguably a reasonable place to draw it.”

    Why? Babies are not “viable” once they are outside the womb either. They cannot take care of themselves Should death by neglect be a crime? If a Mother gave birth but decided to dump it on a mountain side (or indeed in a dumpster) the baby will die. Would it be a crime in a libertarian world for her to do so?

    As far as I can see, the objection is to the baby objecting. Those that are born cry and kick up a fuss as you smother them. Those that are not yet born die in silence. Thus the latter is more acceptable than the former.

  15. Discussing this is useless, because no matter what side you take, the topic is simply horrid, there is no ‘easy’ way, just the hard way.

    What would be really needed is a pill that you guys can pop, like women, so you have a choice to be fertile or not.

    Condoms don’t quite do the trick here, the snip is somewhat radical too, you men need (and deserve) something far better.

  16. Damn, I forgot to add that the male pill would probably cut down on 80% or more on abortions, thats why I mentioned it.

    Plus, you could collar the guys who didn’t bother to prevent without the bad feeling that you may just take a victim of an alimony rape to the cleaners.

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