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Viability and Abortion

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  • Viability and Abortion

    I have come up with a new argument regarding viability.

    One dividing line for the acceptability of abortion, commonly used by pro-choicers (and the main one used in Roe v Wade), is that of viability. That is, the time after which the baby is capable of surviving (assisted) outside the mother's womb.

    In previous debates I have argued that viability is not a reasonable dividing line.
    But I have recently thought of a different/additional approach to take: to argue that taking viability as the dividing line actually implies that the dividing point in time is at fertilization, when taken to the logical conclusion.

    First, a reminder that the necessity of assistance does not negate viability. After all 5-year-olds require assistance to survive. And viable premature births may require advanced technology (and many such babies go on to live normal lives).

    Now, as technology improves, the line of viability moves earlier. Earlier premature births are able to be saved. So my previous argument was that the right to life has to do with what kind of being the baby is, and is not determined by external technology. And thus viability is irrelevant.

    But instead let's take it a step further. I think it is highly likely that technology will continue to improve and one day will reach the point where the point of viability is pushed right back to fertilization. Human wombs exist. There is no reason to suppose that man-made wombs are impossible. And just because we don't know now how to do it, does not contradict its being possible. And if it is possible, then it is possible for a human being to survive outside the mother's womb from fertilization.

    Therefore human beings are viable from fertilization.

    Put it another way: if viability is to be used for determining the right to to life, then we have to interpret viability as an attribute of the kind of being the baby is (and not as any external accident). If human beings are the kind of being that can ever possibly survive outside the mother's womb from fertilization (via any conceivable technology), then they are viable from fertilization.

    Thoughts?

  • #2
    I'm fine with outlawing abortion after brain activity starts. That's a third trimester thing, if I'm not mistaken. Of course, the trick would be to determine brain activity.
    Middle-of-the-road swing voter. Feel free to sway my opinion.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Joel View Post
      I have come up with a new argument regarding viability.

      One dividing line for the acceptability of abortion, commonly used by pro-choicers (and the main one used in Roe v Wade), is that of viability. That is, the time after which the baby is capable of surviving (assisted) outside the mother's womb.

      In previous debates I have argued that viability is not a reasonable dividing line.
      But I have recently thought of a different/additional approach to take: to argue that taking viability as the dividing line actually implies that the dividing point in time is at fertilization, when taken to the logical conclusion.

      First, a reminder that the necessity of assistance does not negate viability. After all 5-year-olds require assistance to survive. And viable premature births may require advanced technology (and many such babies go on to live normal lives).

      Now, as technology improves, the line of viability moves earlier. Earlier premature births are able to be saved. So my previous argument was that the right to life has to do with what kind of being the baby is, and is not determined by external technology. And thus viability is irrelevant.

      But instead let's take it a step further. I think it is highly likely that technology will continue to improve and one day will reach the point where the point of viability is pushed right back to fertilization. Human wombs exist. There is no reason to suppose that man-made wombs are impossible. And just because we don't know now how to do it, does not contradict its being possible. And if it is possible, then it is possible for a human being to survive outside the mother's womb from fertilization.

      Therefore human beings are viable from fertilization.

      Put it another way: if viability is to be used for determining the right to to life, then we have to interpret viability as an attribute of the kind of being the baby is (and not as any external accident). If human beings are the kind of being that can ever possibly survive outside the mother's womb from fertilization (via any conceivable technology), then they are viable from fertilization.

      Thoughts?
      This is correct, and possible. But they will just change the debate and begin categorizing the unborn according to some nebulous definition of "personhood."
      Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

      Comment


      • #4
        I don't think many pro-choice abortion advocates care about "viability" - Their argument is that the baby is part of their body (which it isn't) and they can do what they want with their body (which they can't)

        The other argument is that they acknowledge the baby is not part of their body, but that they don't have the obligation to provide life support to it if they don't want to. As if the baby was a parasite and not a human being that is the result of their own previous actions.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Yttrium View Post
          I'm fine with outlawing abortion after brain activity starts. That's a third trimester thing, if I'm not mistaken. Of course, the trick would be to determine brain activity.
          why? Left alone, the fetus would develop a brain and everything else. It is still human and destroying it destroys a human life.

          Ever wonder why it is illegal to destroy a bald eagle's egg but perfectly legal to kill a human being in the womb?

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Sparko View Post
            Ever wonder why it is illegal to destroy a bald eagle's egg but perfectly legal to kill a human being in the womb?
            Because the left wants more eagles and less humans - who are destroying the planet...
            Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Joel View Post
              I have come up with a new argument regarding viability.

              One dividing line for the acceptability of abortion, commonly used by pro-choicers (and the main one used in Roe v Wade), is that of viability. That is, the time after which the baby is capable of surviving (assisted) outside the mother's womb.

              In previous debates I have argued that viability is not a reasonable dividing line.
              But I have recently thought of a different/additional approach to take: to argue that taking viability as the dividing line actually implies that the dividing point in time is at fertilization, when taken to the logical conclusion.

              First, a reminder that the necessity of assistance does not negate viability. After all 5-year-olds require assistance to survive. And viable premature births may require advanced technology (and many such babies go on to live normal lives).

              Now, as technology improves, the line of viability moves earlier. Earlier premature births are able to be saved. So my previous argument was that the right to life has to do with what kind of being the baby is, and is not determined by external technology. And thus viability is irrelevant.

              But instead let's take it a step further. I think it is highly likely that technology will continue to improve and one day will reach the point where the point of viability is pushed right back to fertilization. Human wombs exist. There is no reason to suppose that man-made wombs are impossible. And just because we don't know now how to do it, does not contradict its being possible. And if it is possible, then it is possible for a human being to survive outside the mother's womb from fertilization.

              Therefore human beings are viable from fertilization.

              Put it another way: if viability is to be used for determining the right to to life, then we have to interpret viability as an attribute of the kind of being the baby is (and not as any external accident). If human beings are the kind of being that can ever possibly survive outside the mother's womb from fertilization (via any conceivable technology), then they are viable from fertilization.

              Thoughts?
              It seems like an invalid argument:

              P1) The "dividing line" of when an abortion is acceptable or unacceptable is viability.
              P2) Viability is currently X weeks (~22-23).
              P3) Future technology may bring the point of viability sooner, possibly 0-1 week.
              C1) Therefore, viability is currently 0-1 week.

              Because there is a potential for viability to be earlier in the future than it is now does not give us license to say that viability is currently that earlier period.

              Apart from the logical aspect, I think you have to deal with the idea that artificial wombs create viability. I don't see how they necessarily do so viability is the point at which the neonate can live outside of a mother's womb. While it's possible that the law might come down on the side of such technology making a fetus "viable" from fertilization, I think that's extremely unlikely. More likely that the law would simply recognize an artificial womb as the same kind of environment as a maternal womb and maintain the current paradigm.

              But viability is, I think everyone admits, a bit ad hoc. For better or worse, future (big) changes on abortion are going to revolve around fetal consciousness.
              "I wonder about the trees. / Why do we wish to bear / Forever the noise of these / More than another noise / So close to our dwelling place?" Robert Frost, "The Sound of Trees"

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Sparko View Post
                why?
                Because once brain activity starts, and a good amount of brain development has set in, the fetus can begin storing memories and recognizing pain. I'm uncomfortable with aborting a fetus after that point.
                Middle-of-the-road swing voter. Feel free to sway my opinion.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Yttrium View Post
                  Because once brain activity starts, and a good amount of brain development has set in, the fetus can begin storing memories and recognizing pain. I'm uncomfortable with aborting a fetus after that point.
                  But why not before that? It is still a human being, unique in all the world. By aborting it, an entire human life is being snuffed out, and the lives of every one of its descendants. If your great grandfather were aborted before or after he had brain activity, you would not be here today, and neither would anyone else that he sired, and they in turn sired, and so on. Each innocent human life is precious.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Sparko View Post
                    But why not before that? It is still a human being, unique in all the world. By aborting it, an entire human life is being snuffed out, and the lives of every one of its descendants. If your great grandfather were aborted before or after he had brain activity, you would not be here today, and neither would anyone else that he sired, and they in turn sired, and so on. Each innocent human life is precious.
                    I'll admit to having a test case. Let's say there's a 13-year-old girl who gets raped, and then becomes pregnant. She's at the end of her first trimester, and wants to get an abortion. I'd be against anything that would prevent her from getting an abortion. And I've voted against several state amendments that would have violated my test case (all of which failed to pass by a large margin, by the way).

                    However, I have nothing against throwing out Roe v. Wade and sending things back to the states.

                    That doesn't really answer your question, but I'm not combative on the issue. I'd rather see what others have to say on the topic.
                    Last edited by Yttrium; 04-08-2015, 03:05 PM.
                    Middle-of-the-road swing voter. Feel free to sway my opinion.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Sam View Post
                      It seems like an invalid argument:

                      P1) The "dividing line" of when an abortion is acceptable or unacceptable is viability.
                      P2) Viability is currently X weeks (~22-23).
                      P3) Future technology may bring the point of viability sooner, possibly 0-1 week.
                      C1) Therefore, viability is currently 0-1 week.

                      Because there is a potential for viability to be earlier in the future than it is now does not give us license to say that viability is currently that earlier period.

                      Apart from the logical aspect, I think you have to deal with the idea that artificial wombs create viability. I don't see how they necessarily do so — viability is the point at which the neonate can live outside of a mother's womb. While it's possible that the law might come down on the side of such technology making a fetus "viable" from fertilization, I think that's extremely unlikely. More likely that the law would simply recognize an artificial womb as the same kind of environment as a maternal womb and maintain the current paradigm.

                      But viability is, I think everyone admits, a bit ad hoc. For better or worse, future (big) changes on abortion are going to revolve around fetal consciousness.
                      Why do you hate unborn babies Sam? Have you tried to get help for this mental disorder?
                      Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Joel View Post
                        There is no reason to suppose that man-made wombs are impossible. And just because we don't know now how to do it, does not contradict its being possible. And if it is possible, then it is possible for a human being to survive outside the mother's womb from fertilization...

                        Thoughts?
                        You're equivocating on 'possible' - I don't think most pro-abortion folks who argue based on 'viability' - that it is possible for the child to survive outside the womb - have logical possibility in mind.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Yttrium View Post
                          I'll admit to having a test case. Let's say there's a 13-year-old girl who gets raped, and then becomes pregnant. She's at the end of her first trimester, and wants to get an abortion. I'd be against anything that would prevent her from getting an abortion.
                          Why create another victim? An abortion won't "unrape" the 13 year old, nor will she be "better able" to forget about it. External reminders are nothing compared to the internal strife rape victims undergo every day.
                          That's what
                          - She

                          Without a clear-cut definition of sin, morality becomes a mere argument over the best way to train animals
                          - Manya the Holy Szin (The Quintara Marathon)

                          I may not be as old as dirt, but me and dirt are starting to have an awful lot in common
                          Stephen R. Donaldson

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            It occurs to me that if we ever could get man-made wombs available from fertilization, then we'd want to have all conception done in test tubes, just to prevent any miscarriages. We'd prevent all women from getting pregnant. That would prevent unwanted pregnancies from happening. Hmm.
                            Middle-of-the-road swing voter. Feel free to sway my opinion.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Yttrium View Post
                              It occurs to me that if we ever could get man-made wombs available from fertilization, then we'd want to have all conception done in test tubes, just to prevent any miscarriages. We'd prevent all women from getting pregnant. That would prevent unwanted pregnancies from happening. Hmm.
                              ... and that's how we ended up living the plot of "Judge Dredd".
                              "I wonder about the trees. / Why do we wish to bear / Forever the noise of these / More than another noise / So close to our dwelling place?" Robert Frost, "The Sound of Trees"

                              Comment

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