Friday, September 16, 2011

Discussion: Abortion is Murder

It has been a while since I did a discussion, so I thought I would try one, though I want to explain first how I like to conduct them. I will make a claim I believe to be true (but which I know will be questioned or simply balked at as wrong), and I will refrain from making any replies in the comments, unless specifically asked to clarify. My goal is to urge people to consider things they otherwise might not have thought about, while keeping the comments free of my over-bearing presence. Usually nothing gets posted, but I have a good feeling today...

Statement: Abortion is murder, but it is morally acceptable murder.


  1. "Murder" is usually defined as unlawful killing of a human being. So the question whether abortion is murder depends on answering two other questions: (1) is abortion unlawful?
    (2) is abortion the killing of a human being?
    The answer to (1) depends on where you live and so is not of fundamental importance. (2) is more interesting. I would argue that a newly fertilised human egg is not a human being, but becomes one gradually during the pregnancy. Much more important to me is whether it is a person. I would give the same answer to that, with rather more confidence.

    I think it follows that abortion is morally acceptable just after conception, but becomes gradually less so during the pregnancy.

  2. As David says, if "murder" is defined as killing a human being, the crux of the matter is if a fetus is a human being.

    I say it is not: To me, human life matters much more than any other kind of life in planet Earth. Human life is special: And the only thing that separate us from the rest of the animals in the planet, is our intelligence, our ability to think and reason.

    (Except for perhaps dolphins and primates: I'm not entering into that discussion).

    An early human fetus does not have the ability to think and reason, because its brain is not fully developed (the brain is one of the last things to fully form during the pregnancy).

    When a fetus becomes a human being is a really hard question: I don't know the answer, but I believe is before birth.

    And I am sure that before three months the fetus is not a human being. Therefore, no murder.

  3. [I should have said, "Abortion is taking a life," because people are really hung up on the semantics of "murder." I failed, yet again...]

  4. Of course abortion is taking a life. A fetus is a living thing, obviously.

    Doesn't matter. We take (directly, or indirectly) a lot of lifes daily to survive. Or even less: that flower you cut to give to your wife? Yep, you took a life. That bothering mosquito you kill with Raid? Yep, you took a life. That nest of rast you paid an exterminator to get rid of? Yeah, you took a lot of lifes, indirectly.

    Who cares? Every single living thing in this planet (with the possible exceptions of some plants) takes lives to be able to life.

    "Taking" a lot of "lifes" is part of living. I don't care people killing microbes, plants, insects, or tasty animals to survive or improve their standard of living. I only care about people killing or hurting other people.

    And fetuses are not people, because they are not human beings. At least during the first months of the pregnancy.

  5. The Random Commenter9/17/2011 6:52 PM

    Abortion isn't murder. Fetuses aren't people.

    The plural of life is lives. Just saying.

  6. I don't think it even matters if a fetus is considered a human being, a life, whatever. "Murder" is a legal term meaning UNLAWFUL killing. Abortion is not unlawful. Debate over.

  7. The Random Commenter9/18/2011 12:09 PM

    Wouldn't the debate change if abortion was unlawful/illegal? What besides the law makes abortion acceptable? I think that is the real discussion. It is also why the status of fetuses as humans is even mentioned.

  8. I failed, yet again..

    Yes, but we've all come to expect that from you. But maybe someday, with much effort, you'll be as unfailing as I am.

  9. Your comments never fail to amaze me.

  10. Like most things it depends on the situation. Abortion can be morally acceptable and it can be morally unacceptable. It depends on how developed the human is, the risks to the mother, and the general context of the particular pregnancy.


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