Greedy Goblin

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Abort, retry, fail

Abortion is one of (if not the biggest) issue that blocks the spreading of pro-business ideas. This is awkward but simple: most pro-business activists are on right-wing, they are "naturally" on the pro-life side of the debate, making the whole right-wing idea unacceptable to many people, mostly women. The "pro-life" idea is politically unpractical, as fetuses don't vote and women do. So I must figure out something to convince right-wing people to abandon it. While the topic itself is very far from the focus of this blog, I can't ignore it simply for that practical reason (don't worry, tomorrow a completely WoW-analysis incoming).

It's not an easy task, just ask any leftist! However I see why the right wingers can't be convinced: because their arguments are right and the leftists are (like usually) wrong. The fetus is a person if a newborn baby or a mentally incapacitated patient is a person. The fetus has human genom, have basic human responses (like able to feel pain and tries to escape) and there is absolutely no fundamental difference between the 9 months old newborn and his 1-hour former self. If killing the former is bad, than killing the latter is bad too. If the obvious shortcomings of the fetus (like inability to communicate, being self-aware and so on) disqualify it from being a person, than a deep-coma patient is also not a person (and no one dares to claim that).

The leftists call themselves "pro-choice" that emphasizes that they fight for the choice of the woman. The rightists are completely right that no one shall have a choice to kill another person. They also make their position worse by giving it a feminist innuendo: "men try to stop women from control their own bodies", which is just as true as claiming that taxing is sexist as men earn more, so pay more tax. The fact that only women can be pregnant with a fetus is completely irrelevant in the debate about killing fetuses.

To defeat the anti-abortion movement, one has to accept its truth and defeat it with true arguments instead of leftist crap. So here it comes: The fetus is a person and should be treated equally to any other person who would be in the same position as itself. How would you treat an uninvited person who get inside your body malforming it and would literally drink your blood?! We find it right to shot down burglars and robbers, despite they merely want our money. Fetuses are much-much worse offenders as they do obvious bodily harm and do so for months. Abortion is rightful self defense, killing an unlawful assaulter.

You might say that fetuses have no other choice than to be intra-body parasites like the Alien from the movie. But since when was it an excuse? If a poor, starving guy would try to rob you to get food or life-saving medicine, would you hesitate to use your second amendment given means to defend yourself? I wouldn't.

You might say that the woman is at fault in the situation as the fetus wouldn't get in without her being careless. Let's ignore rape for a second and simply ask, since when did carelessness became excuse for an unlawful assault? If I leave my car door open and the key inside, does it makes jumping in and driving it away legal? Is an open home door makes burglary legal? If I walk in a bad neighborhood with a huge pile of cash in my hand, does it allow armed robbery? No doubt that such actions make me stupid, but it doesn't change the legal situation: he is a criminal and I'm a victim. I have the right to defend myself.

I'd like to point out that my reasoning is the only one that includes a fundamental difference between a fetus and a newborn: as a newborn is outside, it no longer assaults anyone. By birth the fetus is removed from the body, it no longer causes any harm to its former victim. If a burglar has already left my home and on the run, I have no right to shoot him in the back while I can shoot him while the burglary is on-going.

PS: if you manage to present this argument to some leading right-wing politician, please make a photo of his face and send me.


Squishalot said...

I'm amused by a few things:

1) You're obviously catering to a US audience by referring to their 'second amendment' rights.

2) You're paying zero attention to the fact that there are already (by definition) medically defined points to when a fetus is capable of feeling / sensing.

3) In most jurisdictions, if you shoot a burglar in the back while they're stealing from you, you'll be arrested for murder anyway. Excessive use of force is not permitted in most, if not all, Western jurisdictions, at least.

Also in relation to the latter point, it's worth noting that nobody (or more precisely, 'few people') question the right to abort a fetus in a life-threatening situation. This also ties back to your burglar example - if it's a matter of life or death, you can choose to kill the fetus / burglar. But under any other circumstances, it's excessive use of force (subject to them being able to feel or sense, as estimated by rules regarding abortions prior to 12 weeks / 24 weeks).

Considering that most 'right wing' people would disapprove of shooting burglars in the back while they're robbing your house, I don't think your argument will help you much.

Anonymous said...

I find the position that fetuses, newborns, human vegetables and so on are not deserving of human rights to be more logical than this position. if you aren't self-aware and capable of independent thought then you aren't a human. Determining when that happens is difficult and possibly subjective, so we should err on the side of caution by saying newborns have rights, fetuses don't.

This is of course even less likely to be accepted by the mainstream than your proposal.

Azuriel said...

I prefer the "logical conclusion" argument.

Namely, if a fetus is a full person with full human rights, then that fetus needs/deserves protection from the mother and stupid things she does. Pregnant mother smoking cigarettes? Charge her with assault. Mother drinks any alcohol during pregnancy? Charge with assault. After all, if a mom put alcohol into the baby's bottle and then fed that to a 6 month-old, Children Services would jump right in and take custody away due to abuse and neglect. Is mom not eating the correct types of foods or not going to pre-natal examines? Charge with neglect. Did mom fall down some stairs, resulting in spontaneous abortion? Charge her with manslaughter.

The irony being, of course, that the right-wing is supposed to a platform for greater personal freedoms and less involvement from the government into one's personal life. But there is absolutely no way to consider fetuses as people with people rights without keeping tabs on pregnant women and/or tossing them in jail when you see them abuse their "child."

Anonymous said...

One thing you must consider is that most Right-winged people see criminals as people who choose to be criminals, rather than people who are trying to take care of their needs through a desperate act. In your scenario the fetus doesn't choose to be a criminal, s/he just naturally performs the actions of one.

You need to change the thinking of the rightists, to see that criminals are not simply people who choose to do wrong for personal gain; but become criminals for their actions alone.

Anonymous said...

This argument is hardly new. It's quite similar to an argument put forward by Judith Thompson in 1971.

Here's a rebuttal from a pro-life organisation that deals with it quite handily, IMHO.

Anonymous said...

I think it's more of an american thing that right wingers are anti-abortion, and there are religious reasons too that you haven't addressed. You can't argue on religious grounds with logic really.

Here it's not very clear cut. When the law was brought in (1967) one of the arguments used was that women who really wanted abortions would find ways to have them anyway, and many of them would die due to back street abortions. So making it legal actually saved lives.

(IMO the best argument would be making contraception more easily available so that no one had to get pregnant if they didn't want.)

Anonymous said...

A while back you wrote a post only to collect feedback from feminists, I assume you are doing this only to collect feedback to.

Your arguments all compare a newborn to a fetus 1 hour before birth, as no country allows for abortion that late it's all pointless.
This makes the accepting the truth part irrelevant.

Your post strictly targets american readers, as few (if any) European countries allow you to kill intruders in your home unless there is a treat to your life. And only the US states with so called castle laws allow it.
This makes the intruder part irrelevant.

You seem to want feedback from both sides, and as the main reason for being against abortion is "The pope says it's wrong", or similar religious reasons, and you seem to purposely avoid mentioning it, maybe the religious argument is what you want.

Only countries with a christian right can tie the strictly american term "pro life" to the left/right political line.

I hope a lot of texans read this and look forward to the comments to come.

Gevlon said...

@Azuriel: in the case of a wanted (non-aborted child) I would support punishing the pregnant woman if she smokes and so on.

@Squishalot: read the post before commenting.

Bworf said...

Sounds a bit like Walter Block's argumentation if I recall correctly, except that he reasons that the fetus is not a committing assault but is rather a squatter and the woman thus has the right to evict the fetus. This has in my opinion the advantage that you can avoid the entire discussion on how the fetus got there (rape, carelessness or accident).

Quixotic said...

The essential debate about abortion is about when a fetus becomes a human. You seem to exclude all abortions except for late-term abortions (which I vehemently oppose, as you do), while in reality the large majority of abortions take place much earlier on in the pregnancy. At the time when most abortions occur, the fetus does not have many of the qualities you cite that define a human (for example, "able to feel pain and tries to escape"). The comparison between a newborn and a fetus one hour from birth is thus not apt, and is a falsification of the issue; it is more correct to consider whether a bundle of cells that probably will eventually become a human constitutes a living being, and whether killing this bundle of cells is murder. As an American, I find that this debate has largely devolved into such exaggerations and mischaracterizations on the part of both sides (you correctly detail many of the leftist ones in this post).

It seems that the article has changed a bit since I first started typing this. Let me clarify that I fully agree with your position, just not with the way you define the issue.

Anonymous said...

There is, btw, another argument made in Freakonomics which is that making abortions legal reduces the number of criminals in future, since the segments of populations most likely to need abortions (who can't just pay to have one privately or go abroad) are also those most likely to spawn criminal activity.

Anonymous said...

You are right that you have no duty to support a person if it's a stranger, but if that person is your son you absolutely have duties.

If you consider a fetus a person already, you must consider it your son. You are not allow you to kill your son or deny him food and let him die of starvation no matter what. You have to feed him, give him education and so on.

Actually if you compare a fetus to a person, you should be against abortion, it's if you deny that it's a person already that you have arguments in favor.

Squishalot said...

@ Gevlon: Which post exactly didn't I read that I was supposed to have read? I specifically said "while they're stealing from you" and "while they're robbing your house". Perhaps you should read the comment before you reply.

I addressed your primary point. It's not considered acceptable in most jurisdictions to take lethal action against burglars and robbers as it constitutes excessive use of force. Therefore, it wouldn't be acceptable to take lethal action against a fetus, even using your argument.

Unknown said...

Biologically, there may be a time when a fetus cannot feel pain yet, it may be hard to extend the 'is fully human' argument from 1 hour before birth to 1 second after conception.

I think that the basic problem with the 'pro-life' position is that it doesn't acknowledge that throughout history there have been many women who got pregnant without intending to- and that many of them did anything to get rid of the fetus, despite it being illegal, even going to shady clinics with shadier health practitioners. Many women died and still die that way ( A right winger should appreciate that for a society it doesn't make sense to destroy fully fledged and invested in (food, education) humans/productive units (the women) needlessly.

A second argument that right wingers should appreciate is that scientists have found that abortion diminishes crime .

Overall, I think that the economic arguments in favour of leagalized abortion are quite strong, and I find it interesting that right-wing pro-lifers don't seem to acknowledge this; in my prejudices I would never have considered the typical right-winger as a happy idealist wearing rose-tinted glasses, conveniently forgetting unpleasant hard facts about life. Apparently, though, they are, at least regarding their pro-life positions. But perhaps you need to be a tad gullible to believe in the cure-all of the free market anyway.

Samus said...

Along the same lines, you could argue for premature birth rather than abortion. The mother does not "kill" the fetus, merely has it removed. The fetus dies on its own, so you cannot accuse the mother of murder. You also cannot require a woman to house/feed/care for another person if she doesn't want to.

Killing someone, you will still get arguments. But even if a homeless person "can't take care of themselves," no one would argue you couldn't kick them out of your home.

Anonymous said...

Using such far analogies as comparing a fetus to a burglar inevitably leads to calling the police, prosecuting the offender and the offender's right to face his accuser, which, in turn, basically means that as long as fetus doesn't present a deadly threat to the mother, it should be allowed to 'recover' from his incapacitated condition (have birth), be brought into the court, prosecuted and then executed. Really?

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to note that your argument is the same as the basis as most rabbi's use for Jewish justification of Abortion - the term in hebrew that Rabbis assign to the unborn fetus is "rodef" or "pursuer."
As one of the few justifications for ever killing someone in the Jewish faith is if you or someone else is being "pursued," (read: about to be attacked) this places the unborn fetus squarely in the cross hairs.

Anonymous said...

@Samus "You also cannot require a woman to house/feed/care for another person if she doesn't want to."

If that "another person" is her son, she surely is required to house/feed/care for him until he is grown-up.

Anonymous said...

@spinksville: Regarding the Freakonomics thing - check out John Lott's book Freedomnomics for another look at this idea. Levitt and Dubner were just flat wrong about that one.

Gevlon said...

@Squishalot: in countries where killing a burglar (during on-going assault) pro-life movements are rarely even visible. You can't really find anyone in Europe (ourside of Poland an Ireland maybe) who would openly oppose abortion. So I focus on the USA where this question is still debated.

Ephemeron said...

"The "pro-life" idea is politically unpractical, as fetuses don't vote and women do."

Keep in mind that each and every voter has once been a fetus.

Anonymous said...

The only reason abortion is still debated in th US is that there are more religious people there, and their arguments are almost exclusively of a religious nature, they believe it to be irrelevant weather or not the fetus is thinking, feeling emotions or responding to pain because they believe it to have a "soul" from the time when the sperm hits the egg.

Religious fundamentalism is not a strong enough presence anywhere else to raise a debate, but the christians keep trying from time to time.

The argument of the fetus being an intruder is countered by the fact that very few would accept anyone killing a young child even if it was intruding.
How many would shoot a 3 your old kid who entered their homes?

The already existing arguments are strong enough, and far superior to the intruder argument, and have convinced all but the superstitious who believe in souls.
And as there is no counter for that beyond, convincing them to become rational rather than superstitious.

The pro life side has come as far as it can get without the rational/superstitious balance changing.

Turalyon said...

People in coma don't vote, even if they claimed who would they vote before the coma. If we're getting those rights away from them, we can do the same to unborn. So shoot those fucking babies back to hell.

I find an error in your example comparing leaving the car open and getting pregnant. If you leave the car open, you are not doing any action that makes any people believe they can steal it. They see the oportunity and go for it, but dependes on the robber.
Getting pregnant only depends in the couple, not in the baby. If you have unprotected sex and get pregnant (the woman gets pregnant with man' semen, so both are pregnant), you are the only guilties, not the baby.

Making a point away from leftist ideologies is ok, it's pretty interesting. But also what Squishalot said in its first post: there is a well documented and cientifically proved notion of when the fetus becomes a baby and when is still "not sentient". You can't deny that, it's ciencie. It's like saying "I'll do much more dps doing always mangle instead of rake". No you are not. If you believe a 1 and a half month baby is able to feel pain and ansiety, you are wrong. Stop.

You should focus on that, on ciencie (it's cience, bitch!): if it's ok to kill a cancer (a malformation of your cells, wich are alive by the way, even if its's bening and it's not hurting you), you should be able to kill a fetus who doesn't feel pain (and you should be rightful to get euthanasied, by the way).

This is where I'm going hog wild ---------> And also we should be able to produce comatose cows, kill them, eat their flesh and don't feel any wrong. We want our meat brainless, for the Light' sake!

Sylvanie - Ragnaros EU said...

I don't see the fetus as being a burglar inside a woman's body, since it didn't "decide" to enter there, and has no power to leave on its own.

Pro-lifers are more or less anti-woman. I don't understand why pro-lifers regard women as being unable to make decisions regarding their own lives and/or bodies.

Reading the latest attacks by republicans on institutions like Planned Parenthood just makes me cringe. They seem to stop at nothing to get their interests through, and care nothing for those who really are hurt by their actions.

Banning abortions does not stop abortions. It only endangers the health of more women.

Emmanuel ISSALY said...

This is amusing, but totally ireelevant imo, as "pro life" people usually aren't motivated by political, but religious reasons.

Being what it is, religion, isnt suceptible to logic :)

The reason the movement is visible in american is because the country has a good portion of narrow minded bigots, not because it has an important "right wing".

And, 9/10 on the troll scale, skillful and motivated :-)

Gevlon said...

@"religion" commenters: being religious does not stop the same people to favor punishment of death and gun liberty (guns can only be used to kill). While it is not possible to convince them that a 16 cells thing does not have a soul, it is possible to convince them that it is a bad person and deserves to die!

Mermaid said...

@Sylvanie - Ragnaros EU said...
"Pro-lifers are more or less anti-woman. I don't understand why pro-lifers regard women as being unable to make decisions regarding their own lives and/or bodies. "

Because, for them it doesn't depend on the woman, it depends on the woman and the baby (and the father).

I'm not pro-life, but, why not including men on this debate? Why we always talk about the woman's body? Women have serious risks when they're pregnant, so what? Does that make her more rightful of what to do with the baby? So, if I'm serving in the army, and I'm risking my life everyday, it meens I have more rights than you? Should my votes count by 2 or 3?

Yes, its her body but it's THEIR baby/fetus/virus, not only hers. Half of its genetic sludge it's from his father. We can instrumentalise this also as an economic argue about property.

Anonymous said...

in countries where killing a burglar (during on-going assault) pro-life movements are rarely even visible.

You're missing a word there, is killing a burglar is acceptable or unacceptable?

Either way, I have to agree with Squishalot.


Anonymous said...

I am pro-life, however I tolerate the current situation.

If people are stupid enough to consider abortion an option they probably shouldn't be breeding anyway.

Darwin taught us about natural selection and its just playing out today.

Anonymous said...

First of all, the Left(ists) are not the only Pro-life ones; there are also Libertarians who argue it from the point of view of how much interference from the Government regarding our own bodies is acceptable.

Secondly, the Supreme court of USA had never been more conservative (after BushJR appointments) and they still hadnt overturned Roe vs Wade. Why? Because the right-wing is not *really* fighting for that, they need a hot-topic issue to raise donations for their campaigns.

Third, no one could argue with a straight face that a fetus is doing "harm" to a female body - even an unwanted one. I'm sorry but only a man would come up with such bullshit argument :) Moreover, for most women, pregnancy can be quite good for overall health (hormone levels etc).

Abortion is about personal choice about what to do with our resources (fertilized egg/s).

What's "funny" is that people make decisions about other beings' lives all the time. Families turn off life support for their members. Countries/states decide to perform death sentences on criminals. Presidents send soldiers to war. Compared to last two examples abortions seem almost tame.

BesQpin said...

I am against abortion however I do not think it should be illegal. I find alot of people agree with me. I think abortion is morally wrong and would be a traumtic experience for the woman but it should still be there as an option.
I do not consider myself right wing and polarising the debate like that does not help.

Ðesolate said...

@religious posters: know your own lore. If you are catholic any child before baptism suffers by the original sin. So any unborn child could be called evil.

Yes it is inside the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Aw yes I am atheistic and I am not affected by this (nor by state nor by religion).

Eaten by a Grue said...

At one hour old, I think an insect has more brain cells than a human embryo. To say that a one hour embryo is fundamentally the same as a nine month fetus is just nonsense.

Society seems to agree that an embryo is not a person, so you have show why you this is incorrect. I seriously doubt a one hour embryo feels pain, terror, or will try to escape if you hurt it. It's just a cell or a handful of cells at that point. It has no central nervous system to signal pain as we know it.

Emmanuel ISSALY said...

@Gev While it is not possible to convince them that a 16 cells thing does not have a soul, it is possible to convince them that it is a bad person and deserves to die!

Precisely. Christian religion teaches that you are born innocent. Thus it is impossible to convince a christian a foetus has sinned yet.

(althought it didnt seem to refrain inquisitors concerning women tainted with "sorcery", but that's history now)

Anonymous said...

"Why we always talk about the woman's body? Women have serious risks when they're pregnant, so what? Does that make her more rightful of what to do with the baby?"
Yes, it sure does. Until we invent incubators.

A lot of this argument comes down to whether you want to enforce pregnancy (still a serious health risk, which also changes a woman's body for good) or not.

It's not that pro-choicers are necessarily anti-life or pro-abortion (nonsensical terms, most abortions happen to women who either already have children or will have them in the future, and no sane woman thinks abortions are a jolly lark, they're medical procedures).
It's that, mostly, they're anti-forced pregnancy.
Doesn't matter whether it's due to rape, contraception failure or carelessness. Forced pregancy is inhumane: check out maternity death rates, pregancy complications, recovery time, and high medical costs (certainly in the US).

If you are anti-abortion, feel free not to have one yourself.

Anonymous said...

You forgot to add Italy as a country with powerful pro-life movements, especially due to having the Vatican right there.

In general it's true that many opposition to abortion come from the view that "human life is sacred" taken to the extreme. The idea stems actually from your assumption: the fetus is already a person. Being a person it has the right of life, no matter what the mother's opinion (or anyone else) is.

If you take the assumption as true, that the fetus is already a person, then in my opinion with logical reasoning you should be against abortion. Analogy would be a person currently in coma, but which has realistic chances to recover in matter of months. In this case the subject cannot feel anything, nor has a coscience, but it would not be reasonalbe to take this as justification to kill him or let him die.

To consider abortion acceptable with a logical reasoning the assumption has to be that the fetus is not a person already. This way he (or better, it) basically has no rights at all.

chewy said...

I agree with the points that Squish made, you're aiming this at an American audience which ignores the fact you're addressing a global one.

Two points of reference, firstly the laws on abortion vary in their application (physical health, mental health, rape and so forth) see here for details: so speaking about abortion as a single premise is compromised.

Secondly, the gun laws and defence of property throughout Europe and the world are also many and varied: so again grouping them as a comparison is flawed.

It is an ambitious goal to argue a philosophical point as contentious as abortion to a global audience but I admire the fact you tried. I feel that you fail because you're being too parochial when making your argument.

Caramael said...

It's got nothing to do with pro-business ideas. In the US it's either state capitalism (right-wing), or socialist corporatism (left-wing). There's no free market economy there (just as there isn't one in Europe) and the abortion topic is only used to attract dumb religious voters.

Brian said...

An interesting argument, but I disagree with the implied argument Gevlon is making that all right-wingers and all right-wing arguments are rational. The fact that Gevlon views himself as rational, and right-wingers agree with him on some economic issues, doesn't make THEM rational. You can support reasonable ideas for unreasonable reasons, after all.

In fact right-wingers, at least in the US, seem as idealogical and emotional as left-wingers here, if not more so. Certainly on social issues that seems to be the case, given the deeply religious underpinnings of most of their positions. But even on economic matters, the American conservative positions is often presented as a morality play rather than a practical, rational approach. Even if I disagree with him, Gevlon presents arguments based on reasonable economic ideas, something often absent from American conservative arguments.

WL said...

I never realized that you were capable of being so logical and intelligent about things like abortion. (No offense, I mean this in all seriousness.) Which is funny because I disagree with you on nearly all of your philosophical stances. The point that sentient fetuses should be considered with respect, just like adults with limited cognitive abilities and infants, is an inconsistency that most people fail to grasp.

I'd agree with some of the previous posters about not all fetuses being the same, though (along with other things). A very young fetus does not even feel pain or have a brain yet, cannot have even the most simple, unconscious preferences (such as to not be killed or not be made to suffer). This is completely unlike a sentient 2nd trimetester fetus who is most certainly capable of having feelings, avoiding pain and preferring to have pleasant experiences. Where exactly a fetus is developed enough to have feelings is something I've seen debated a lot. Is it immoral to kill a 2 week old fetus? 6 week? 6 month?

Some people who are in comas cannot even feel pain or have any sort of feelings or awareness. People generally don't consider it murder to pull the plug on these humans; for those with a good chance of recovery (ie having feelings LATER) it's considered murder but for different reasons.

Whether abortion of early and/or late fetuses is immoral or not, of course, has nothing to do with what its legal status should be. Because banning abortion doesn't save people, but other things do, wanting to save the babies (or whatever) means you should support not penalizing abortion.

I'd also decriminalize murder if it was proven that making murder illegal actually increases murder.

I also found it interesting that someone mentioned meat. They seemed to realize that capturing, manufacturing, fattening, slaughtering, etc a sentient animal, who avoids pain and has feelings (especially one who is quite developed, has complex emotions, communicates with others, has family bonds, etc), is wrong on some level. Manufacturing, culturing, and eating an unfeeling bundle of cells, whether human cells or pig cells, is different.

I don't think "human DNA" is at all relevant to personhood or the right to life. Nor is complex abstract thinking or the ability to communicate. Those things may grant other, relevant rights, but have nothing to do with a being's desire to avoid pain and enjoy good experiences.

As Jeremy Bentham pointed out, when it comes to the morality of causing harm to a being, the question is not whether they can think, nor whether they can talk. The question is whether they can suffer.

Michael Young said...

Hello Gevlon!

I'm not going to get into debating about the morality or legality of abortion, but instead I wanted to address the prompting idea, about pro-business and pro-choice as right wing ideas.

I don't know how much you're aware of American politics, but our two party system creates an odd mishmash of seemingly opposing ideals joining together because (on the whole) they oppose the other side. It's like how the environmental movement and the wealth redistribution peeps disagree on a lot, but are united on the left because they oppose peeps on the right more.

Sadly, this is why the anti-abortion and pro-business peeps, while seemingly united on the right, are actually fairly disjoint groups. The republican party is mostly composed of three groups: 1) war hawks who favor defense spending and aggressive action by the US in policing the rest of the world, 2) fiscal conservatives who want smaller government, protection of individual liberties, and less regulation of markets, and 3) social conservatives who mostly react negatively to the social changes of the 60's-70's, worrying that acceptance of non-traditional marriage and other social deviance will lead to the corruption of society.

These groups are _mostly_ disjoint, and there's been a slow shift over the past decade from the social conservatives controlling the party to a greater balance between the three.

Needless to say, the pro-business peeps are the fiscal conservatives. The anti-abortion crowd are the social conservatives. The social conservatives don't really care about business and don't want to deregulate and lessen their ability to legislate and enforce social policy. The fiscal conservatives don't really feel the anti-abortion rage, and for the most part think that abortion shouldn't even be a national issue, that it comes down to individual choice, or at least should be decided at a more local level, like state by state.

So, the pro-business peeps are aligned with the anti-abortion peeps not because the ideas are aligned, but instead merely out of convenience. Joined, the two ideas have the voting power to get both legislated. If the pro-business peeps dropped away from the pro-life peeps, they wouldn't have the clout to actually promote business.

This is why abortion, supposedly a 'hot issue' hasn't been an actual issue in a couple decades. The right isn't willing to risk creating a schism by opening debate on it.

Anonymous said...


The point of pro-Choicers is not that every woman could go In any clinic by themselves and simply get an abortion, the pointi s that they should have the right to be able to have one at all.

Of course the father's input is also to be considered, but if you imagine a couple that got pregnant unintended, if it is the pro-lifers way, they should be forced to carry the baby for nine months, forced to give birth and feed/care/support the child for some decades.

If the couple did not want to have the baby in the first place, you can see that it will not grow up in the ideal living environment. This is supported by the studies linked above (abortion leads to lower crime rates).

Imho abortion is just another form of contraception, and should be legal if only for the fact that it can be done in a controlled environment if it is legal. Banning the use of other contraceptives did not work out so well either, though for different reasons.

Jon said...

Right wingers want to force women to have babies, but they do little to help support the woman and baby once it is born. Guess who is left holding the bag?

Phelps said...

The point of pro-Choicers is not that every woman could go In any clinic by themselves and simply get an abortion, the pointi s that they should have the right to be able to have one at all.

Not anymore. Now the point is exactly the no-questions abortion on demand. That is why you have charnel houses like the Gosnell case, where you have untrained people in unsanitary conditions conducting abortions, because it is thought that any sort of government interference is interfering with the right to abortion. (If only we treated the actual enumerated rights like this!)

Also, voting is effected by abortion. The idea is that children are most likely to eventually vote the way their parents did. Conservative pro-life people have more kids, because pro-choice liberals abort a high percentage of theirs. It's called the "Roe Effect" and now that it's about 35 years since the decision, we are starting to see the effects in American politics.

Campitor said...

Gevlon said: "Abortion is one of (if not the biggest) issue that blocks the spreading of pro-business ideas."

Actually what stops the spread of pro-business ideas isn't abortion but how unfairly some laws favor large corporations at the expense of local business, or how the tax code allows large companies to escape their full tax liabilities while the middle class struggles with the tax code. I'm a free market capitalist at heart but I also realize there has to be some oversight of the market to prevent monopolies and robber-barons from ruining our economy.

fauxgt4 said...

There is a fundamental flaw in both your argument and parallel illustrations.

That pregnancy is a sort of assault seems obvious- It makes a woman fat, causes discomfort, can damage certain bodily systems, etc.

However, to look who to "punish" for a crime reason demands that you look to whose choices directly cause the act. It certainly is not the un-born child's choice. It was the mother and father's choice to have intercourse without sufficient contraception.

To address your two counter examples.
1) A hungry man who steals to eat has made many many choices that place him in the position he's in. You of all people are an advocate for "poor hungry people are poor and hungry because they made bad decisions and are M&S" so that shouldn't be too hard to see--- I don't think I'm even as extreme about it as you are, but no matter.
2) Women's slight carelessness is incommensurate with the consequences of a 9 month assault on their body. True... so? If I go out to the pub, have 6 or 7 beers, hop in my car, and crash into a cafe killing 4 people, my slight carelessness of choosing to drive is incommensurate with the consequence of killing 4 people... yet I am certainly guilty of manslaughter.

So yes, pregnancy is an "assault." Yes, the consequences are incommensurate with the small choice in the heat of passion to forgo contraception. But the responsible party is the one who made a choice knowing full well one of the possible consequences of their actions--- and this certainly wasn't the baby.

Yaggle said...

There are a lot of Americans who will never, EVER vote for any politician who is not pro-life because of their strong belief that anybody who supports abortion being legal will go to hell when they die. They are absolutely positive of this.
If a politician changes his stance on abortion and cites your arguments, he/she will gain some votes but will lose far more.
My personal view on abortion is that it should be legal but that a pregnant woman who wants an abortion must first be presented with information on her options to have the baby and give it up for adoption. There are a lot of couples who cannot have children and will pay a lot of money to adopt a child. However, religious people tend to believe in absolutes, not compromise.

WL said...

I keep being tempted to do the same thing as I did on a forum years ago, when I shot down arguments that were obviously idiotic. The idiot pro-lifers called me anti-life, the idiot pro-choicers called me anti-choice. All the idiots assumed that because I disagreed with them, I must be agreeing with the other idiots. One poster finally got around to *asking* me whether I'm pro-life or pro-choice, several pages later.

"no one could argue with a straight face that a fetus is doing "harm" to a female body - even an unwanted one. I'm sorry but only a man would come up with such bullshit argument :) Moreover, for most women, pregnancy can be quite good for overall health (hormone levels etc)." They do argue with a straight face, and there is no reason to be sexist about it. Pregnancy can also be quite bad for overall health. Hormonal changes and other things associated with pregnancy (both internal and external) can cause a reduced cancer risk, an increased cancer risk, increased health care, less health care, increased access to food and nutrients, decreased amounts of food and nutrients, higher social status and cultral approval, lower social status and shaming, etc etc. You shouldn't ignore the other half.

"still a serious health risk, which also changes a woman's body for good" - Same with regularly eating animal products, trans fats, low-fiber diets, or drugs like caffeine; not sleeping on a schedule; getting sunburned; getting too much blue light at night; etc etc (for women, but also men, girls, boys, and humans who don't fit one of the two commonly identified genders).

"check out maternity death rates, pregancy complications, recovery time, and high medical costs (certainly in the US)." Check out abortion death rates, abortion complications, recovery times, and high medical costs.

"abortion topic is only used to attract dumb religious voters." So true. What does the economy, guns, abortion, etc have in common? Voter preference. There's no logical connection. Or as Michael Young said, "our two party system creates an odd mishmash of seemingly opposing ideals joining together because (on the whole) they oppose the other side."

"An interesting argument, but I disagree with the implied argument Gevlon is making that all right-wingers and all right-wing arguments are rational." He agrees with some of their conclusions. He doesn't think they are necessarily reaching that conclusion with reason, however. His argument doesn't have anything to do with souls; in fact he was trying to manipulate their religious beliefs to get these irrational people to agree with him.

"forced to give birth and feed/care/support the child for some decades." What happened to adoption or other forms of abandonment? (Same with the violinist webpage; not everyone assumes that similar genetic material equals an emotional bond or lifelong duty.)

Ah, so many misguided people with so many silly statements. Can't take the time to refute them all.

Braille said...

Anonymous wrote:
"This argument is hardly new. It's quite similar to an argument put forward by Judith Thompson in 1971.

Here's a rebuttal from a pro-life organisation that deals with it quite handily, IMHO."

That's a very well written explanation as to why Gevlon's argument doesn't work.

Ultimately, if the fetus is a thief, any dependent person (person who can't independently support themselves) is equally a thief who can potentially be "aborted" for the benefit of the person who's losing resources in the thief's favor.

By that logic, we should also be alright with these actions:
- Excuse any parent who kills their children if those children haven't left the home to support themselves.
- Pull the plug on all coma patients.
- End the life of any disabled persons who can't support themselves.
- End the life of all Welfare-like leeches on society.
- End the life of all old people who can no longer support themselves.

This is the logical conclusion to your argument that I came up with while reading your original post. There are quite a few more valid points in the linked article that also show that your argument is invalid.

Anonymous said...

The union of religious conservatives and pro-business capitalists in America is a fairly recent development brought about by their shared opposition to the left, though for different reasons. Ronald Reagan gets much credit here.

Abortion is religious baggage which one faction brings with them to the coalition. The issue preventing the spread of pro-business ideas is the continued association of these two on the "right" of the political spectrum.

The better argument is to take a pro-business approach to abortion: legalize it, open it to market forces and let supply and demand set availability. This would alienate the pro-life activists, allowing everybody, men and women, to assess the capitalist movement without having to consider tangents like abortion.

chewy said...


"By that logic, we should also be alright with these actions:....

I suspect Gevlon probably would be ok with the actions you listed, but not wishing to speak for him I will request his response. Gevlon ?

Anonymous said...

@Braille, the logical consequences you mention are surely pretty strong and I agree that I would not like to have them in place, but still they are not disproving the validity of the argument.

Consequences can be hard but this doesn't make them invalid.

Gevlon said...

@Chewy: actively kill them? No.
Letting nature goes its way? Yes.

Azuriel said...

If that "another person" is her son, she surely is required to house/feed/care for him until he is grown-up.

Actually, no. The only time you are required to care for a child is if you hold custody of said child. If you hold custody and don't take them to school (once school-aged), then you can be charged with educational neglect. Same with medical neglect, abuse/neglect for not feeding them, etc.

However, at essentially any time whatsoever you can go down to the local court house and forfeit custody of your child. At that point, the child becomes a ward of the state, gets sent to foster care while social workers attempt to find an adoptive family. Once you cede custody, you are no longer responsible for the child's well-being, son/daughter or no.

Sthenno said...

I don't think you honestly think that this argument would be successful in convincing people, and I expect (similar to the women in video games argument) that you will soon reveal your real reason for posting it. Still, the argument is a deeply flawed.

From a purely objective standpoint, there is no similarity between two different adult humans, let alone an adult human and a fetus. Two different adult humans are composed of different matter and occupy different locations (as well as, technically, different times). There is nothing the same about them at all.

Similarity of any kind between any medium sized objects at all is a mental construction, and any similarity that more than one person can agree upon is a social construction. So the idea that we can logically say that a fetus is just as much a human as an adult is ridiculous, it depends entirely on your socially constructed idea of what a human is. There is no absolute answer.

So first you bypass the central contentious argument that separates the two sides by declaring one side right - ignoring the fact that the definition of humans and what rights humans have is a social question. By now you have completely lost nearly everyone who would be interested in the argument at all. You the move on to ignore a fact that nearly everyone would agree on - that children and certainly infants should be treated differently than adults when it comes to punishment for actions.

For your argument to work at all we have to agree that there are circumstances that justify killing humans, so the absolute question of whether a fetus is a human is pretty much a sideshow. Since we largely do agree on that point, why turn to a bad analogy that next to no one would buy into to make your point?

Anonymous said...

It is indeed a very strange argument to claim that a woman's young child is an unlawful intruder that can be killed at will.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:

"This argument is hardly new. It's quite similar to an argument put forward by Judith Thompson in 1971.

Here's a rebuttal from a pro-life organisation that deals with it quite handily, IMHO."

That article makes another good point. Courts routinely compel fathers to provide child support for their children, whether they want to or not. Fathers, apparently, have a moral obligation to their own children... but not mothers? Even if the pregnancy represents no threat whatsoever to the mother's health, which is true for the vast, vast majority of cases?

Seems blatantly sexist to me yet I doubt you'll find one in a thousand pro-abortionists who would support allowing fathers to refuse to provide child support.

Anonymous said...

The fatherhood movement are men who want to take the custody of their children, and are said to be more successful by the double standards of the world. The father typically have higher income than the mother. However, this also shows to people that if the mother is not capable in the long run, she should let the father take care of the child. Father's fighting for custody are more capable to maintain the necessary resources for their children. It's the double standard taken into account.

The claim that a child is invasive is equivalent to say that spousal rape is rape.

Dan said...

What concerns me with the responses to a post tagged 'philosophy' is the lack of regard to causality.

Why do you hire a hunter to your guild? Because of his history of high dps in raid. He is however, apparently, nothing until he begins to literally output.

For some there is no causal link between potential and current state when viewing a fetus.

This of course flies totally in the face of how we interact with the world.

If a fetus is never seen as anything more than it's current state, a handful of cells, then you must disqualify historic performance as defining criteria for hiring dps. Which is clearly absurd and quite terrifying that people adopt this as sound thinking.

Current state of fetus is irrelevant when faced with potential of said fetus. Only the naive who do not realize that our interaction with reality revolves around this perception of 'potential' snip this causal link.

The rest are aware that the likely outcome of processes robustly evidenced by cause and effect define how we behave.

Dan said...

"ou might say that the woman is at fault in the situation as the fetus wouldn't get in without her being careless. Let's ignore rape for a second and simply ask, since when did carelessness became excuse for an unlawful assault?"

You're working on the premise that pregnancy is unlawful which of course it is not.

Fallacious argument via false analogy.

Anonymous said...

I'd love to answer your presuppositions [most pro-abortionists are women, right wingers are anti-abortion...ummm. for some business interest (?), etc.]

But forget that. I'll simply answer that deep thinking on LIFE, the preciousness of it, the fragility of it, the nobility of it is worth protecting. Are there horrible people? Yep. However, society as a whole is cheapened and degraded when life is cheapened.

Abortion in general is the ultimate cheapening of life. Circular arguments aside, any society where life is cheap is not a society most would choose to live in.

People said we were crazy and loony when we 'anti-abortionists' said infanticide and euthanasia would soon follow and become more common as abortion became less stigmatic. And here we are.

Good luck with getting a photo of a politician responding to this argument. I have a sense that the perception of vacuity in the question will no doubt be interpreted as perplexity by those posing it.

Anonymous said...

Abortions should continue to be legal.
Simply because: unwanted fetus, no option to remove it, grows into an unwanted child, either becoming 1. dumpster baby(legal offense), 2. dropped in a orphanage(costs more than an abortion), 3. unwanted child being mistreated at home(eventual child abuse).
Kid grows up knowing it was unwanted; a mistake. That's no life for a child. Might as well nip it in the bud from the beginning before it becomes a real issue of abandonment.
As a side note: The nurses at a planned parenthood guilt trip you when you get one. They question you for hours to make sure this is truly, 100%, completely what you want to do. Yes, I'm absolutely sure I never want a mistake baby. It should always be an option.
You pro-life people just don't have a clue probably because you're a man who doesn't need to worry about babies in the first place.

It should be a non-issue; like gay marriage. Why should it even come up?!? Who cares?!

Anonymous said...

@ Braille...

I too thought of the Judith Jarvis Thomson article while reading Gevlon's post. I don't have time at the moment to read your link, but I think it's a serious oversimplification of Thomson's argument to say that a fetus is a thief. Her article contained three scenarios that I can remember: the violinist (rape/theft), the expanding child in the tiny house (voluntary sex without contraception), and the people seeds (voluntary sex with contraception). Gevlon's argument is at the violinist stage, but Thomson's goes further.

Casper said...

I think it's a myth that women are mostly pro-abortion. Although I could see the evolutionary logic behind that. They do vote marginally more for leftist parties, but I believe it's more to do with their "caring" economic policies.

Conservatives would not be affected by your argument as it does not pertain to their reasoning. The simplified version would be: "our society is good, and our society is based on Christianity, therefore the principles of Christianity are good. Christianity opposes abortion, therefore it is good (for our society) to oppose abortion." A version without Christianity (more general) is possible.

A libertarian refutation of your argument, based on the principle that the freedom of my fist ends on the freedom of my nose, would be something like this: "becoming pregnant is based solely on the woman's decision to have sex without contraception. Therefore abortion would be punishing the child for something it had no choice in." The woman is the sole responsible party here. The difference between a child and a burglar from your example is that the burglar still had a choice.

Thanks for making me think deeper about why *I'm* against abortion. I think I just might be a conservative on this, because I feel my libertarian refutation is a bit wobbly.

Casper said...

Not to mention that this maneuver will only *lose* you votes, as the really hardcore pro-lifers will start voting for God-fearing socialists (lots of those in Europe), and the "I like the free market but I like abortion more" demographic might not be so large. :)

Anonymous said...

"The Unaborted Socrates" by Philosophy Professor Peter Kreeft gives, by far, the most logically sound discussion on Abortion I've ever read.

The entire debate, from a purely logical standpoint, comes down to where you define the beginning of life. It is a gray area that not many scientists can actually agree upon.

In reality, we've seen what illegal abortion causes - dehumanization of women, rape, back-alley procedures resulting in maiming or death, kids born into broken homes with abusive parents.

Sure, it's ultimately the result of a bad decision made by both a man and a woman. Men, at worst, get their paychecks garnished after missing a court date. Women get stigmatized, branded, and their emotional trauma ignored - and that's at best.

Anonymous said...

It would only be slightly less than absurd for me to state my opinion on the matter here, informed as it may be, or to try to debunk the presented argument as most people on the internet are only looking to shove their ideas into others' faces and aren't open to new ones. However I do feel it prudent to comment on the people who seem to have the misconception that the so called "right-wing" mindset is anti-women or anti-choice. Obviously there are extremists, as there are in nearly any debate, but for the most part they should just be ignored unless they have a valid point.

However should you choose to make yourself informed on the core ideas argued by the "right-wing" Pro-Life platform then you might think differently. I would suggest the movie "Blood Money". There's an obvious religious bias to it, but I'm sure a self-enlightened such as the one being found here would be able identify the truth from the bias. Really, when you are at a place where you're able to view things more objectively, you can learn a lot from a biased opinion by wherein the falsehood lies and what motivates it.

Hurtz to Farm said...

I'll limit this to the context of the US where the anti-abortion movement's history and place within the R platform insures that the so-called fiscal conservative party will never give it up as a plank.

It's important to understand that the US political system relies on faith and devotion to ideology, myths and outright fabrications, and a constant "us vs them" atmosphere to motivate the M&S to vote for their parties.

In the case of abortion, a common myth is that the American social conservatives have always been outraged at the outcome of Roe vs Wade.

In fact, many evangelicals applauded the decision as the first step of ending the back alley abortion system that was incredibly harmful.

The only significant American group that was really negative about the decision was the Catholics who were viewed with almost as much suspicion as Jews.

The move to fight Roe vs Wade really didn't start until a new breed of Evangelicals began to get politically active. Initially, their fight was to make divorce illegal and to keep miscegenation laws on the books. You can still find pictures of them holding protest signs saying "race mixing is communism" and similar slogans.

However, those were two battles doomed to failure and would relegate the "moral right" to the dust bins of history. Instead, they seized on abortion as a moral cause to replace their losing ones, and began a propaganda campaign to demonize it and the women who had them.

With the horrors of the back alley abortion system already fading in people's minds, their PR campaign was incredibly successful if not completely honest at times.

Nowadays, people would accuse you of lying if you brought up the Southern Baptist Convention's initial support of Row vs Wade.

The M&S simply cannot conceive that something so "obvious" was viewed differently until a very effective PR campaign convinced them otherwise.

To cut to the heart of the matter, you *can't* convince the leadership of the American right to drop abortion as a plank by arguing rationally about whether it is right or wrong.

I would wager that a significant section of the leadership doesn't care about abortion's morality, but view it as an invaluable tool to bludgeon the M&S with to keep them in line and keep them into a "us vs them" mentality that would lead them into voting for people that are literally crazy, retarded, or suffering from dementia over someone from the opposing political party.

The only way to get the fiscal conservatives to drop the anti-abortionists, would be to destroy the M&S voting blocks (or rearrange them drastically) which seems outright impossible at this time.

I mean, we're talking about people that believe in things like: the gold (or silver bullet) standard is a magic bullet for the economy, animals are people too, the president is a Secret Muslim Kenyan, that Evolution is fake, the Daily Show is a good news source, the Theory of Relativity leads to people not believing in the bible, or cutting taxes always increases tax income for the state.

Rational thought and critical thinking is not high on the Amercian priority list, and people with actual educations are eschewed as elitists and seen as the M&S typically view those more competent than them.

The American Right simply cannot drop the social conservatives or stop using bigoted talking points (which is a whole other issue) without the M&S turning on them and declaring them RINO's.