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January 7th, 2011, 04:14 PM
smt smt is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 3,587
When we make moral claims like "abortion is wrong", what we are referring to is concerns for the well-being of people. When one asserts that it is wrong to kill a fertilized egg what they are really doing is saying that it is wrong for someone to take away their desire that the fertilized egg be allowed to develop into a baby. This is due to a projection of our own desires and not relating to the actual well-being of the fertilized egg. A fertilized egg is not developed enough to have any sort of well-being concerns. Now, the fertilized egg may develop into something which eventually has sensations and desires and can suffer harms. It would then be valid to take into account the well-being of that new “person”, but you must determine when that person comes to exist. In the middle is a big gray area, but just because there is a heart beating or a brain that does not mean the fetus is sufficiently developed to the point that there are concerns of well-being inherent to the fetus, itself.

Certainly, if the mother desires to have a baby then her own emotional well-being should be taken into account, as should the protection of her property (the developing fetus). But along the same lines, if she does not desire to carry a developing child to term then her emotional well-being should be taken into account there, too, and she should be allowed to terminate the pregnancy. Once a woman finds out she is pregnant, there should be a time of serious reflection, and if a commitment is made to carry the fetus to term then that commitment need to be stuck to. It is no different than if you choose to adopt a child, you are accepting the responsibility for another human's well-being. I oppose late-term abortions as a birth control method because by the third trimester there is clearly another person whose well-being needs to be taken into account.

If someone wants to carry a fetus to term and give it up for adoption, that should be their right. But we wouldn't want to force pregnant women to do that. There is a thought experiment called The Violinist which covers this last part in more detail.

Last edited by smt; January 7th, 2011 at 04:41 PM.
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