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Is a fetus a human being?

George_Washington

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Caine said:
Because the Baby would suffer more without the mother.
It can't survive without its mother, and im not speaking in terms of living in crazy scientifically designed places made to simulate everything the mother's womb has, I mean, its not like I forget to pull out and suddenly an egg falls out and can develop on its own without its mother.
Thats why, a fetus isnt a human being, its a fetus, thats why its called a fetus.

I understand but I meant make her have the baby and then she's free to adopt it out or do whatever she wants with it.
 

Technocratic_Utilitarian

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I think some of the discussion here has gotten a bit heated, so I would like to ask a few questions and try to clarify some positions and bring out some common understanding.

1. Scientifically, we already know that arguments which state a Fetus is not a Human are false. We also know arguments which claim they are not alive are false. Humans at stages of development are alive. However, one must logically ask oneself whether the fact that something is alive merits the concept of rights. Life itself does not guarantee anything; everything has some subjective value relative to something else, but we have to come up with some type of universally applicable value assessment. To this, I ask:

1. What makes Humans valuable? In essense, what separates us myriad other animals to which we don't ascribe the same level of rights? Why do we treat them differently? Is it that we are alive? That cannot be, since saying so would form a contradiction with our treatment of other animals or even the vegetative. We need to come up with something that is consistantly applicable. Personally, I think there are two major, basic elements which and give Humans value and that warrant rights.

1. Sentience (suffering and happiness)
2. Existence of the Self
--- Self-Awareness (the recognition of oneself as a continuing entity)
--- Rational Autonomy (ability to express and act upon preferences)

In essense, the importance of any Human obviously rests mind or personality, not merely in the body. Let us do a thought experiment to clarify the value of the mind over the value of the medium of transport.

1. We have a Cow and a Human. Which one has moral personhood? The Cow or the Human? Naturally, you would say the Human, because the Human meets the above criteria for human rights. However, say one day we are able to replace the mind of the Cow by putting it into the body of the Human. We then take the mind of the Human and put it into the cow. Now, the Cow body is the Human personality/mind and the Human body is the Cow/mind. Now who hs the value of moral personhood? If the value of an individual is the fact that he is an individual with a self-conscious mind, does it matter in what physical form that Human is? Obviously, the Human still exists in moral personhood regardless of the physical appearance. The cow mind is still a cow mind. As such, we can see that both the qualifers "life" and "body" are irrelevant to discussing moral personhood.


2. After determing what items make creatures valuable, but humans in particular, we must ask ourselves, "What is the nature of the fetus?" Well, what is the fetus at early and late stages? Does the fetus have the above characteristics that makes a human valuable? When does a being generally attain these characteristics?

3. Then we must ask ourselves what we should do if said being in question does or does not have the necessary elements of Human value. Well, do we attach rights and privlidges stemming from existence of the above "Moral Personhood" criteria, even if said individual does not meet those criteria?

A. First, we must also make a difference among entities that have never met said criteria, those that had, but temporary reliquished criteria, and entities which will never meet said chriteria. It would be absurd to attribute rights to entities which don't have and have not yet attained the criteria of moral personhood as much as it would be absurd to attribute rights to those who have attained said criteria, but lost ability to meet criteria permanently. This ties into another concept to think about: actualization-potential.

4.

A. Does the fetus have the potential to attain moral personhood? Yes. It does. Unlike many other organisms, Humans do have the basic biological framework to reach all the characteristics of moral personhood, given that nothing happens to prevent that. However, the concept of "potential" is very tricky ethically. Not all potential is on the same level. Potential matters in terms of degrees and stages, but not absolutely. For example, when dealing with entities which have never attained moral personhood, it is irrelevant whether or not the being will sometime in the future exist in moral personhood. There is a potential for a being to exist, but no being yet exists. It's absurd to treat a fertalized egg the same same as a newborn. They simply are not of the same value. We cannot fairly attribute rights to a being which isn't and never was. To do so is to ignore what gives humans value.

B. Secondly, we must deal with future potential as it relates to the concept of preference satisfaction and potential actualization. To best exemplify this, we should look to individuals who DO have moral personhood, but then temporarily lose it. It is unreasonable to put them on the same level as a beings which have not yet even come into existence. The fetus (a non-person) has never had moral personhood nor a self. This means it has had zero preferences. It has no desires; it had no desires. It had no personality; it has no personality. It is and has never been more than a mindless blob of cells. For beings who have had moral personhood, but lost it, the situtation is completely unrelated; the future potential of that being matters because we have stepped into an all new level of potential--post actualization potential. We are, in essense, preventing the future preferences/desires of an already existent, already autonomous person. His wishes continue even if he temporarily is disconnected from the loop. We know that as a person, a man does have an understanding of his existence as a continuing being in past, present, and future. We know he has preferences to keep living.

C. The next item to look at is, "what do you do with individuals who attained moral personhood, but lost it and will never gain it back?" Going by the above system, the conclusion is simple. You have no moral personhood if, given post actualization, you have no chance at reattaining those criteria. If you are a veggie and likely will be so forever or an exceedingly long time (best to appeal to medical prognosis), then you forfeit moral personhood. You simply have not and will never again meet required criteria. THere is no reason for attatching rights and privlidges to such individuals, and given that there is no extrinic reason to keep a perma non-personhood being alive, you ought not be required to do so.

5. Another point to look at is related to the nature of the Fetus. What is a fetus? A fetus is a an organism which grows inside of the mother, is housed there, feeds off of the mother, yet does not contribute anything to the heatlh, vitality, or success of the mother's body. What doe sthis sound like? Medically, a fetus fits the discription of a Parasite. A fetus is a parsite. For quite some time, it cannot even survive on its own, and even after it can, it still feeds off of, is housed in, but contributes nothing to the health of the host. It is disutilitous for a being which has attained moral personhood to be forced to house a parasite within its body against its will. There is no "right" to use someone elses body that comes with moral personhood. Even if we were to assume that a fetus is a moral person, which it isn't, it is still irrelevant, because the right to life does not entail the right to life at any cost. You don't have the right to live by sharing someone's body. Said rationally autonomous host is perfectly justified in cutting you off.


Conclusions: One major conclusion of the above criteria is that being human is not what makes us valuable; what makes us human is valuable. This is independent of species, because it is quite possible that other species exist that have the same qualities, although they are not human. Consequently, these characteristics, to some degree, are also present in various other organisms, although not to the same degree as in humans. However, the logical conclusion of the position is that regardless of species, one should treat two beings with equal consideration given that they have rough or equal parity in terms of personhood or preference satisfaction. If one being does not meet the criteria for moral personhood and never will, or has, but never will again, but the other does or will, then the former actually has less value prima facie than the latter.

IE. A human adult in good health has more value than many other animals, including the Bonobo Chimpanzee. However, the Bonobo has more moral value than a Human vegetable. A Bonobo Chimpanzee has more moral value than a newborn stuck at the mentality of a 1-2 year old. A Bonobo Chimpanzee adult has more moral value than a fetus that will never be born.
 

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Technocratic_Utilitarian said:
It is disutilitous for a being which has attained moral personhood to be forced to house a parasite within its body against its will. There is no "right" to use someone elses body that comes with moral personhood. Even if we were to assume that a fetus is a moral person, which it isn't, it is still irrelevant, because the right to life does not entail the right to life at any cost. You don't have the right to live by sharing someone's body. Said rationally autonomous host is perfectly justified in cutting you off.

I disagree. A woman's body has naturally been chosen by God and nature to be a host for life.


Conclusions: One major conclusion of the above criteria is that being human is not what makes us valuable; what makes us human is valuable. This is independent of species, because it is quite possible that other species exist that have the same qualities, although they are not human. Consequently, these characteristics, to some degree, are also present in various other organisms, although not to the same degree as in humans. However, the logical conclusion of the position is that regardless of species, one should treat two beings with equal consideration given that they have rough or equal parity in terms of personhood or preference satisfaction. If one being does not meet the criteria for moral personhood and never will, or has, but never will again, but the other does or will, then the former actually has less value prima facie than the latter.

I disagree. I think humans are naturally above animals. Except you could make an argument that animals are better than people that have committed horrible crimes.

IE. A human adult in good health has more value than many other animals, including the Bonobo Chimpanzee. However, the Bonobo has more moral value than a Human vegetable. A Bonobo Chimpanzee has more moral value than a newborn stuck at the mentality of a 1-2 year old. A Bonobo Chimpanzee adult has more moral value than a fetus that will never be born.

That all might be true but I still don't see how this means we should allow unbridled abortions (I think that's what you're trying to prove?).
 

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I disagree. A woman's body has naturally been chosen by God and nature to be a host for life.

That could be true, but to have that as a serious contention, you must first provide evidence that said being exists. Why should I accept the advice and orders of a being no one knows exists? I can just as easily use that same logic and state that My God "Utilitas-Megas" says abortion is desirable if you feel like it.

You couldn't prove he didn't say it.

That all might be true but I still don't see how this means we should allow unbridled abortions (I think that's what you're trying to prove?).

No, that's not used to prove it. I just thought I would add some of the logical extensions of the doctrine. The core point was that abortion cannot be wrong because the being has no moral personhood (aside from religious contentions). It's not wrong even if does have moral personhood either, because even the right to life is not ultimate. It's not a right to life at any cost.
 

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George_Washington said:
I disagree. A woman's body has naturally been chosen by God and nature to be a host for life.




I disagree. I think humans are naturally above animals. Except you could make an argument that animals are better than people that have committed horrible crimes.



That all might be true but I still don't see how this means we should allow unbridled abortions (I think that's what you're trying to prove?).

I think that was just explaining a very GOOD point on the fetus=human=has rights just because it has the POTENTIAL to grow into an adult.

Unbridled? Not in my opinion. What the prez did for stopping late term abortions when the fetus is close to birth, I agree with that.
This stuff about parental notification. I agree with that too, I believe that parents have the right to know that thier daughter got knocked up and is going to have an abortion, it should be parental notification, not parental consent to abort, the parents should not be allowed to make the decision for the minor, its still thier body and the child would be thier responsibility.
But thats as far as it needs to go.
 

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Technocratic_Utilitarian said:
That could be true, but to have that as a serious contention, you must first provide evidence that said being exists. Why should I accept the advice and orders of a being no one knows exists? I can just as easily use that same logic and state that My God "Utilitas-Megas" says abortion is desirable if you feel like it.

You couldn't prove he didn't say it.

Yes, true. That's why I mentioned, "nature" as well besides god. It's just the natural order of things for the woman to be the carrier of life. So how can you say it could be immoral for people to force her to have a baby?
 

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Also, In addition to my previous post on abortion policy...
I would like to add there should be a tracking system, by which records are kept to how many abortions an individual woman has.

And there should be a limit on how many a woman can have. After a certain amount, say 2 or 3..... the woman is thereby not allowed to have an abortion unless there will be a medical complication which will kill her or the baby, OR in the case of rape/incest that is proven in a court of law.

By a 2nd unplanned pregnancy, I think its time to consider the pill/shot/patch or double bag that thing before you put it in.
 

Technocratic_Utilitarian

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Yes, true. That's why I mentioned, "nature" as well besides god. It's just the natural order of things for the woman to be the carrier of life. So how can you say it could be immoral for people to force her to have a baby?

Yes. That is generally the natural order of things, but so what? Are you saying that something is always good if it's natural, and always bad if it's unnatural? In that case, using two-ply toilet paper is immoral, since it is unnatural.

You have to understand that natural != moral or good. To say it is is at the heart of the is/ought or naturalistic fallacy.

It is immoral for people to force her to have a baby generally because it violates her autonomy and self-preferences as a being with moral pesonhood. Secondly, you are treating a non-person as the equivalent of a person. With personhood come access to the abstract concept of rights. You cannot have a right to live off of someone else, regardless of how you got there. Just because you allow someone to live off of your body, borrowing your circulatory system for a while, does not mean you are binded contractually to that individual.

However, there are some instances in which it could be concievable to force someone to have a baby, but they are mere abstractions and almost impossible to actually realize. They mostly deal with utility among rational beings.
 

George_Washington

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Technocratic_Utilitarian said:
Yes. That is generally the natural order of things, but so what? Are you saying that something is always good if it's natural, and always bad if it's unnatural? In that case, using two-ply toilet paper is immoral, since it is unnatural.

lol That example is like so out there...I don't think it's really the same thing. Deficating and having a baby are completely different things.

You have to understand that natural != moral or good. To say it is is at the heart of the is/ought or naturalistic fallacy.

Yeah but we're talking about giving birth to a child. We're not talking about somebody who was born blind. In that case I would definitely say, let's try to let him see again. But I think the whole issue of pregnancy is just a different case.

It is immoral for people to force her to have a baby generally because it violates her autonomy and self-preferences as a being with moral pesonhood. Secondly, you are treating a non-person as the equivalent of a person. With personhood come access to the abstract concept of rights. You cannot have a right to live off of someone else, regardless of how you got there. Just because you allow someone to live off of your body, borrowing your circulatory system for a while, does not mean you are binded contractually to that individual.

I still don't see how it is immoral, especially if the woman chooses to have unprotected sex and then wants to abort. In my mind, it's being irresponsible. I don't care if women have sex, all I ask is that they use birth control pills if they don't want to get pregnant.


However, there are some instances in which it could be concievable to force someone to have a baby, but they are mere abstractions and almost impossible to actually realize. They mostly deal with utility among rational beings.

But you see, nobody is actually, "forcing" her to have a child. Nature and the natural order of things put a fetus inside of her.
 

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lol That example is like so out there...I don't think it's really the same thing. Deficating and having a baby are completely different things.

Yes, it is out there, but the logical construct is the same. Using your logic that "natural order = good" leads to the conclusion I just listed.
Deficating and having a baby are different, but not using your logic they aren't. YOu are saying abortion is wrong because it's against the natural order of things. Women are ment to have and birth babies. Logically, your argument would be:

1. If abortion goes against the natural order, then it is immoral
2. Women are supposed to have and birth babies;it is the natural order
3. Abortion artificially interrupts the natural birthing of a baby
4. Ergo, abortion is immoral

The above is logically the same as the following:

1. ******** in the woods without toiletpaper is the natural order
2. Bears are supposed to **** in the woods without toiletpaper
3. If you whipe a bears ass with two-ply toiletpaper, that is unnatural
4. Ergo, whiping a bear's ass with two-ply toiletpaper is immoral.

They are both invalid because they are bouth Naturalistic Fallacies.

Yeah but we're talking about giving birth to a child. We're not talking about somebody who was born blind. In that case I would definitely say, let's try to let him see again. But I think the whole issue of pregnancy is just a different case.

It may seem different, but that is becaues of the emotional attatchment. You have no emotional attatchment to the bear ******** in the woods using two-ply toiletpaper. They're both still naturalistic fallacies. SOmething cannot be immoral simply because it's unnatural. It cannot be good simply because it's natural. Diseases can be natural. Does that mean they are fantastic?

I still don't see how it is immoral, especially if the woman chooses to have unprotected sex and then wants to abort. In my mind, it's being irresponsible. I don't care if women have sex, all I ask is that they use birth control pills if they don't want to get pregnant.

Immoral: 1. It is immoral because you are violating the sovereign autonomy of another being. You cannot force someone to host a parasite against his will. It doesn't matter how the parasite got there. A fetus fits the biological and medical definitions of a parasite.

2. It doesn't matter if she chose to have sex. Say, for example, you are a woman and you choose to lend someone the use of your circulatory system via connection. Does this mean you are obligated to keep that person alive using your body? Of course not. Both scenarioes are the same. You once allowed a prasite into your body, but now you disallow them that access. You cannot force someone to do something against his will unless not doing so will cause the death or injury of more than 1 already self-aware beings. A fetus has no moral personhood. It's not self-aware. It's mindless.
 

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George_Washington said:
lol That example is like so out there...I don't think it's really the same thing. Deficating and having a baby are completely different things.



Yeah but we're talking about giving birth to a child. We're not talking about somebody who was born blind. In that case I would definitely say, let's try to let him see again. But I think the whole issue of pregnancy is just a different case.



I still don't see how it is immoral, especially if the woman chooses to have unprotected sex and then wants to abort. In my mind, it's being irresponsible. I don't care if women have sex, all I ask is that they use birth control pills if they don't want to get pregnant.




But you see, nobody is actually, "forcing" her to have a child. Nature and the natural order of things put a fetus inside of her.


Okay, so, lets take this into consideration.
For all you anti-abortion people who think women should raise unwanted children (and let them grow up to be serial killers or dead weight for the economy)....
The only way in which I would EVER, EVER, EVER, CONSIDER agreeing with abolishing abortion, is if they legalized the "morning-after" pill, and made it affordable.

This way, women can still have the option of keeping themselves from getting pregnant... AND ... if they did happen to get pregnant the night before, they are only killing, bascially, a ball of rapid cell division.

If you think that a ball of cells has rights you have serious issues.
 

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Technocratic_Utilitarian said:
But it's a potential human! Think of the children! :lol:

lol... its just absolutely ridiculous to think about arguing over the potential life of a ball of cells, just because its a potential HUMAN, like we are so great grand and glorious that we can't even destroy anything, even cells, with our DNA.

Drawing blood should be illegal cause it destroys cells that contain the almighty HUMAN DNA!!!
 

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Technocratic_Utilitarian said:
2. It doesn't matter if she chose to have sex. Say, for example, you are a woman and you choose to lend someone the use of your circulatory system via connection. Does this mean you are obligated to keep that person alive using your body? Of course not. Both scenarioes are the same. You once allowed a prasite into your body, but now you disallow them that access. You cannot force someone to do something against his will unless not doing so will cause the death or injury of more than 1 already self-aware beings. A fetus has no moral personhood. It's not self-aware. It's mindless.

I think it does, in fact, matter if she chooses to have sex. For example, if I choose to go drive my car off a cliff knowing full well that I will probably die, that's nobody's fault but my own that I died. It's not gravity's fault. Likewise, it's not nature's or man's fault that the woman gets pregnant and certainly not the child's. Therefore, she shouldn't punish the child for something she chose to do.

About the fetus, it's only a matter of time before it is self-aware, assuming it isn't already. So why should we let a matter of time end a life?

And as far as "forced" pregnancy being an immoral process, it just isn't, because new babies are needed to carry on the human species. If it's immoral to make a woman have her baby, then you're also saying the entire human race is immoral.
 

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Caine said:
Okay, so, lets take this into consideration.
For all you anti-abortion people who think women should raise unwanted children (and let them grow up to be serial killers or dead weight for the economy)....
The only way in which I would EVER, EVER, EVER, CONSIDER agreeing with abolishing abortion, is if they legalized the "morning-after" pill, and made it affordable.

I really don't care what kind of preventive pills they make.

If you think that a ball of cells has rights you have serious issues.

Not when that ball of cells is needed to carry on the human race.
 

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George_Washington said:
I think it does, in fact, matter if she chooses to have sex. For example, if I choose to go drive my car off a cliff knowing full well that I will probably die, that's nobody's fault but my own that I died. It's not gravity's fault. Likewise, it's not nature's or man's fault that the woman gets pregnant and certainly not the child's. Therefore, she shouldn't punish the child for something she chose to do.

About the fetus, it's only a matter of time before it is self-aware, assuming it isn't already. So why should we let a matter of time end a life?

And as far as "forced" pregnancy being an immoral process, it just isn't, because new babies are needed to carry on the human species. If it's immoral to make a woman have her baby, then you're also saying the entire human race is immoral.

This is why we should not eat eggs... cause they will grow up to be chickens, which are more tasty, and more filling.
 

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George_Washington said:
I really don't care what kind of preventive pills they make.



Not when that ball of cells is needed to carry on the human race.

Carry on the human race????

WE ARE EXTREMELY OVERPOPULATED!

I don't think we have to fear that any time soon.... So much for that argument. That was kinda dumb.
 

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Look, you just can't compare humans to chickens. We are a far superior species.

If you look at my post, I addressed WHY humans are superior to chickens. Fetus' do not have those characteristics, therefore, unless you WANT the child, the fetus is no more valuable to the parents than a chicken egg.
 

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Caine said:
Carry on the human race????

WE ARE EXTREMELY OVERPOPULATED!

I don't think we have to fear that any time soon.... So much for that argument. That was kinda dumb.

No, it wasn't. Because most of the countries that have legalized abortion have negative birth rates.
 

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George_Washington said:
No, it wasn't. Because most of the countries that have legalized abortion have negative birth rates.

Yet we still stand 6 billion or so strong.
I don't think we have anything to fear by aborting unwanted children.
I would rather have a child I wanted, then a child I didn't want.
 

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I think it does, in fact, matter if she chooses to have sex. For example, if I choose to go drive my car off a cliff knowing full well that I will probably die, that's nobody's fault but my own that I died. It's not gravity's fault. Likewise, it's not nature's or man's fault that the woman gets pregnant and certainly not the child's. Therefore, she shouldn't punish the child for something she chose to do.

No one is saying it's not their fault. Fault is irrelevant, however. You also cannot say you are punishing the child since no "child" exists. You aren't talking about a rationally autonomous, sapient, or even sentient being. You are talking about a mindless parasite.

About the fetus, it's only a matter of time before it is self-aware, assuming it isn't already. So why should we let a matter of time end a life?

I already addressed this in the earlier post. Time doesn't matter prior to actualization. THere's nothing there and there wasn't anything there ever. You cannot attach rights justly to beings which don't and never did exist.

And as far as "forced" pregnancy being an immoral process, it just isn't, because new babies are needed to carry on the human species. If it's immoral to make a woman have her baby, then you're also saying the entire human race is immoral.

Ahh ok. So forced pregnancy and birth isn't immoral just so long as the government says it's needed. Gotcha! Let's que up some of those Nazi birthing programmes where women were baby factories.
 

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Technocratic_Utilitarian said:
If you look at my post, I addressed WHY humans are superior to chickens. Fetus' do not have those characteristics, therefore, unless you WANT the child, the fetus is no more valuable to the parents than a chicken egg.

Actually less valuable, because at least you can eat a chicken egg for breakfast.
Imagine someone trying to eat a fetus for breakfast.... gross...
 

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Caine said:
Yet we still stand 6 billion or so strong.
I don't think we have anything to fear by aborting unwanted children.
I would rather have a child I wanted, then a child I didn't want.

I'm looking at the results of abortion in nations, not the world as a whole. Yes, we're over populated but if you look at the result of abortion in countries, it tends to lead to negative birth rates. You need to go read, "The Death of the West" by Pat Buchanan. He talks about this stuff in it.

If you don't want a child, just give it for adoption. Don't deny it the right to live, a right that you have been given.
 
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