Re: ETHICS: Responsability to life and the Abortion Issue

Michael Lorrey (
Fri, 06 Mar 1998 18:05:23 -0500

Arjen Kamphuis wrote:

> The fact that we cannot pinpoint this down to the second does not mean
> there can be consesus about an certain 'time-window' during wich the status
> of 'fetus' changes to 'human'. Under Dutch law the the status of fetus
> lasts untill several months (I have no exact figures) before the child can
> survive outside the womb.
> The overwhelming majority of Europeans citizens agrees with this law as
> being ethical (are they all primitive barbarians?).
> S0:
> On one side we have a group of people claiming that one is human after
> conception because 'something' happens then even though they don't don't
> know what that something is.

As I have said, I know what it is, and its entirely a legal matter, not any
spiritual matter. Not one person here has come up with a single jurisdiction on
the planet which recognises an individual's citizenship prior to birth. Find just
one and you'll have a legal basis to extend rights to a fetus. Since every
jurisdiction knows what sort of immigration and extradition problems that could
create, none of them will touch it with a ten foot pole. A fetus has no rights.

> On the other side we have a group of people saying that somewhere during
> the growthproces a fetus becomes a human even though they are not sure when
> precisely.

I would say that it would be a matter of measuring the processing bandwidth levels
of the fetuses brain. This would also probably be proportional to the number of
neurons in the fetal brain. Then come up with a figure representing the minimum
number of neurons a child could survive with outside the womb. Thats your precise
point of delineation.

> Neither side seems to be able to bring 100% solid scientific or ethical
> 'proof' for their opinion (at least I have't heard it). It then becomes a
> question of who's is going to force their opinion of who. No-one is forced
> to have an abortion (AFAIK). I respect the fact that some people would
> never have an abortion because they feel 'it would not be right'. That's
> OK. However, I do not think that gives anyone the right to enforce their
> opinions on others.

This is one of the majorly annoying things about prolifers. They try to claim that
the Bill of Rights does not guarrantee a 'freedom of choice', yet they do not
acknowledge that it also does not guarrantee a 'right to life'. The Declaration of
Independence states that 'men are endowed by their creator with certain
inalienable rights, among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness'.
Whether you regard your 'creator' as god, nature, or merely your parents (which
one?) seems to be irrelevant, but the D of I is not looked upon by the Supreme
Court in the same manner as the USC. In the Bill of Rights, the 9th and 10th
Amendments state that all rights not enumerated in the constitution are reserved
by the people or by the states (which they themselves are delegated by the
people). That the 'right to choose' is not mentioned is irrelevant, as it is
implied that it belongs to the people, unless they delegate it to the state (which
is where state laws can be used to outlaw abortion, and where Roe v. Wade was an
improper decision, in that it presumed federal authority to restrict state rights
which the poeple had previously delegated to them).

> The _problem_ is of course that those who are against abortion feel that
> the fetus being aborted is a human who is killed based on the opinion of
> others.

> And then we're full circle.
> I do not know if it's possible to break this so I'll choose for individual
> freedom of choice.
> > I am
> > then left to weigh the relative importance of curtailing for a few months
> > a persons right to make a certain decision (and the ensuing discomfort of
> > childbirth) vs the possibilitity of taking a human life. Believing in
> > mandatory seatbelts, DWI laws, and other minor loss of freedoms,
> Having a baby when you're 16 is not a 'minor' loss of freedom. I will
> problably define the rest of such a persons life. And the fact that the
> baby has a mother who may not yet be ready for the task of raising a child
> could very well define a large part of the baby's life too. So with all due
> respect I would say that there is a bit more involved than wearing a seatbelt.

I daresay that being so big against abortion in a community can even destroy its
school system. Take my own hometown here for example. When I was in school, in the
early 80's, girls who got pregnant had no problem getting an abortion. Because of
this, we had extremely few girls who dropped out to have kids. Not one in my own
class did. As a result, typically 70% of graduates went on to college. We had one
of the highest average SAT scores in NH, which itself at the time had the highest
average SAT scores in the country (while at the same time spending the lowest per
capita on education, go figure).

Since I graduated, the fundamentalists have gained power in the School Council,
and have successfully banned the use/distribution of contraceptives in school,
even by school nurses, or for the recommendation by school staff to a student to
visit any doctor or family planner that recommended or performed abortions. They
also, through protests, were successful in forcing almost all medical
professionals performing abortions to either cease and desist or leave the area.
They helped found Hannah House, a place for pregnant teen age girls to live, and
forced the school to not act biased against girls who had had kids.

Now apparently the school system has been so adversely affected that grades and
test scores have dropped, there are at least a dozen or more girls at the high
school getting pregnant and having their kids, and the drop out rate has risen so
high that the high school is in danger of losing its accreditation. So there are
second hand effects to teen age birthing.

   Michael Lorrey
------------------------------------------------------------ Inventor of the Lorrey Drive
MikeySoft: Graphic Design/Animation/Publishing/Engineering
How many fnords did you see before breakfast today?