Tuesday, March 28, 2006

A Magnificent Pro-Choice Argument

A Magnificent Pro-Choice Argument

Francesthemagnificent is a relatively new name in the blogosphere, as far as I can tell. He recently started posting in comments sections of various blogs, including mine. But only this morning did I discover that he has his own blog named My Case Against God. His blog only appears to have been around starting this month (March 2006), but he has already made a splash in the abortion debate with his Pro-Fetal Ownership argument. I hope to give him and his argument a bit more exposure.

Admittedly, when I first read the title of his argument, "Pro-Fetal Ownership," I was a bit apprehensive. But once I started reading, a big smile spread across my face. Interestingly, his argument is very similar to my Self-Ownership argument. Allow me to quote Francesthemagnificent's argument:

Premise One: Individuals own their bodies, and everything that is growing within them.

Premise Two: Fetuses grow within the bodies of their mothers.

Conclusion One: Females own their fetuses.

Premise Three: Individuals may destroy that which they own.

Premise Four: Females own their fetuses.

Conclusion Two: Females may destroy their fetuses.


Even when I first read his argument, I was still a bit skeptical. Everything in his argument was fine, except I wasn't too sure about his first premise. Do I really think that women "own" their own fetuses? My own abortion argument has revolved around self-ownership, specifically the woman's own womb. I wasn't too sure that the ownership extended to the fetus.

But then I continued to read his post. He quickly acknowledges that his first premise is most in need of defense, and he proceeds to defend it:

As far as I can tell, the only part of that argument that possibly could be contested would be the first premise. However, I’m confident in its correctness. Clearly, individuals own their hearts, lungs and kidneys, as well as any tumors growing within their bodies.


Emphasis mine. The portion that I bolded struck a chord in me. Why? Because a tumor can be defined as "human" just like a fetus can. What this does, is it creates big problems for the "developmentalism" charge that anti-reproductive-rights Christians like Paul Manata love to throw around.

Francesthemagnificent expands on his tumor comparison:

Going back to tumors, I think they represent the perfect analogy to fetuses. First of all, both tumors and fetuses are living, growing masses of cells. A little human will grow up to be a big human. A little tumor will grow up to be a big tumor. Second, many tumors can exist without posing real harm to the individual; tumors can be either benign or malignant. Therefore, one may not say tumors and fetuses are different because tumors will kill you but fetuses will not. That’s just misrepresenting reality, in a very blatant way [Not to mention the fact that many females still die in childbirth, particularly outside the Western world].

The main objection voiced to my tumor/fetus analogy is that fetuses are human, while tumors are not. While I understand this objection, I cannot take it seriously. Evolution teaches us that there is a singular Tree of Life. Every living thing is on that tree, representing a branch or a branch from a branch [from a branch]. Given the fact that all living things are on the same Tree of Life, I find it impossible to say that one living thing has more inherent value than another living thing.


By the anti-reproductive-rights Christians' own terms, a tumor would have to be classified as human, whether its benign or malignant, or else the developmentalism charge would fail. And what Christian would claim that removing a tumor from one's body is a no-no because it murders the tumor?

The tumor analogy is, in my opinion, a better tool to use against the "developmentalism" charge than my own "unfertilized egg/sperm" defense. I do think they are both usable, but the tumor one seems to be more relevant because it involves a growing clump of cells within one's body, while sperm and egg are a bit more abstract or detached from the argument in some way. What I mean is, the tumor argument seems easier to use, relate to, and compare with a fetus. The tumor argument is also more relevant because a tumor is typically extracted from one's body shortly after discovery, and a tumor is most definitely made up of the same "human" components that a fully developed homo sapien is, just to a different "developmental" degree.

Thanks to Francesthemagnificent, the pro-choice toolbox has a couple extra tools inside it. They are nice, strong, shiny tools, with lifetime guarantees. Kind of like Craftsmen tools (I turn wrenches on my car a lot so forgive the tool metaphor). What's even cooler is that Francesthemagnificent has given an argument for abortion from an individualist and self-ownership perspective. Francesthemagnificent seems to understand that self-ownership is paramount to the formulation of any good system of human rights, and that makes me very happy.

I can't wait to see what arguments the anti-reproductive-rights, pro-afterlife Christoids will come up with next in their womb-enslavement quest. Those bastards won't stop until all the vaginas in the world belong to their imaginary God. I cannot help but wonder where these Christoids get their obsession with vaginas, especially since, in the Bible, their God only seems to be obsessed with circumcised penises?

*UPDATE* I spelled Francesthemagnificent's name incorrectly in the original version. I have now corrected it. How embarrassing!

82 comments:

Sine Nomine said...

I would like to raise some questions about the concept of “fetal ownership.”

We know the fetus is not the woman carrying it, because it has a different genetic code than the mother. If the fetus is a human, then isn’t "ownership" of the fetus no different than "ownership" of the child that would result and the terms of ownership applied would be the same a owning any other human. Do we want to speak of human beings in terms of ownership?

If the fetus is a living human, does it matter where it is located? If it isn't a living human, there would be no convincing argument against abortion. So isn’t the question not where it is, but what it is? Isn’t the question not so much "who owns it," but “is speaking of it as a possession even appropriate?” Do parents “own” their offspring or are they guardians, responsible for its wellbeing through all stages of development until it achieves majority?

Zachary Moore said...

If the fact that a fetus has different genes from the mother is the crucial distinction, what about a situation where a woman's somatic cell is used to create a clone that is then implanted in her own womb? Such a case would potentially lead to a human birth, but the fetus is in all ways essentially the mother.

Another coutnerexample is organ transplant. A person who received a liver or kidney transplant has tissue growing inside them that does not have their same genes (unless they receive the transfer from an identical twin). Does the person who receives an organ transplant no have ownership of that organ? According to your argument, she does not.

Post-partum, a fetus is no longer growing inside another person, so of course this argument does not apply to children at any age.

I just want to say that I really like this argument, not just because it's so elegant, but because it completely avoids the definition of life quandary that's a philosophical and scientific sinkhole. Well done to you both.

Aaron Kinney said...

Sine Nomine,

I would like to raise some questions about the concept of “fetal ownership.”

Ask away! Although I think Zachary Moore gave great answers, I would like to take a shot at it as well.

We know the fetus is not the woman carrying it, because it has a different genetic code than the mother.

What about when cells in my body mutate and change genetic code and then grow uncontrollably? In other words, cancer/tumors? Those tumors and cancerous cells have different genetic code than my normal cells do. So is that cancer not me? Should I afford the same rights to my cancer cells that anti-reproductive-rights proponents insist we must afford to fetuses?

If the fetus is a human, then isn’t "ownership" of the fetus no different than "ownership" of the child that would result and the terms of ownership applied would be the same a owning any other human. Do we want to speak of human beings in terms of ownership?

Self-ownership, yes. I get the feeling that you did not read Francisthemagnificents entire blog post that I linked to. If you did, you would see that he specifically addresses this question of yours. And if you look closely at the first premise in the argument of his that I quoted, you would see that the fetal-ownership argument applies specifcially to cells or entities that are "growing inside" the womans body. Once the baby is outside the mothers womb, all bets are off.

If the fetus is a living human, does it matter where it is located?

Yes. Again see the first premise of Francisthemagnificent's argument.

If it isn't a living human, there would be no convincing argument against abortion.

Yes, provided that your own argument is resting on the definition of "human". But you will see that both Francisthemagnificent's and my own arguments do not rest on the definition of human, but of self-ownership.

So isn’t the question not where it is, but what it is?

To anti-reproductive-rights proponents who have no concept of self-ownership, yes. But to individualists like Francisthemagnificent and myself, no. The question of what is or is not human doesn't even come in to play in our premises, although my argument does address the definition of human in an accessory fashion. Fortunately, with Francisthemagnificents tumor analogy, the question of what is human is moot.

Isn’t the question not so much "who owns it," but “is speaking of it as a possession even appropriate?”

No. People own their bodies at all times and this concept is paramount to individualism as well as reproductive rights.

Do parents “own” their offspring or are they guardians, responsible for its wellbeing through all stages of development until it achieves majority?

According to Francisthemagnificent, the woman owns the fetus as long as it is growing within her body. Your question does not apply to unborn children, just as the fetal-ownership argument does not apply to already-born children.

And Zach,

Thank you for the positive feedback. I also think that Francisthemagnificent's argument is a good one.

Chad said...

"Your question does not apply to unborn children, just as the fetal-ownership argument does not apply to already-born children."

So if I understand this correctly, the clump of cells becomes a child only at the time it is born. Mere seconds prior to its status as a human being, it is a useless lump of tissue to be disposed of at will. Oh, yes, and this is the way a civilized society views human life. Sign me up amongst the "anti-productive rights" crowd. Although I'd prefer to call it advocacy of individual "responsibility". This is a word a good libertarian such as yourself should be well acquainted with Aaron.

Aaron Kinney said...

Hi Chad,

Good to see you around. :)

So if I understand this correctly, the clump of cells becomes a child only at the time it is born.

Incorrect.

First of all, the point at when a "fetus" becomes a "child" is completely irrelevant to Francisthemagnificent's Fetal-ownership argument.

Secondly, in my own Self-ownership argument two blog posts down, the fetus becomes a "human" at the point when the fetus can survive outside of the womb.

Mere seconds prior to its status as a human being, it is a useless lump of tissue to be disposed of at will.

Incorrect. It is never a useless clump of tissue.

Oh, yes, and this is the way a civilized society views human life.

Which is much more civilized than the inherited guilt of original sin, and the slave-master relationship of an all powerful God watching your every move.

Sign me up amongst the "anti-productive rights" crowd.

I already did, my friend.

Although I'd prefer to call it advocacy of individual "responsibility". This is a word a good libertarian such as yourself should be well acquainted with Aaron.

It should be, and it is. Thank you for pointing it out, because I hope to clarify individual responsibility right now.

Individual responsibility is a two-way street. It is symmetrical. You cannot have individual responsibility without complete and total self-ownership. Self-ownership, I might add, is a concept that was flat out denied by my Christian friend Paul Manata. Manata claimed that everyone and everything is owned by God. I do not know if you subscribe to this position as well Chad, but since you are a Christian AND since you are against abortion, I will assume you agree with Manata that God owns everyone. If I am mistaken about this, please tell me in the comments here and I will correct my assumption.

Without self-ownership, there is no responsibility for ones self. Just as I cannot be responsible for an action I did not commit (kiss original sin goodbye), I cannot be responsible for myself if I do not own myself.

Individual responsibility comes into play only when one has complete self-ownership of oneself. And when one has complete ownership of oneself, that includes the womans ownership of her womb. Self-ownership rejects the claim that a fetus "owns" a womans womb. Does sperm own my penis? Or for a more appropriate analogy, does a tumor own my body?

Since your argument is based on the definition of "human", Chad, we should take your argument to its logical conclusion. Just as Paul Manata said, "developmentalism" comes into play when one's argument rests on what a human is and is not. If we should consider all entities defined as "human" to have the positive right to forced assistance with development (as in forcing a woman to carry a fetus to full term), then we should also logically define a malignant tumor as "human" and it should also have the positive right to forced assistance with development.

To base one's argument on what is "human" and then claim that anything defined as "human" must be provided for developmentally leads to logical absurdity. It is a reproductive version of collectivism: that any person has the "right" to any positive thing, like a house, or a womb, or a million dollars.

However, to base ones argument on self-ownership and individual responsibility, leads to an optimal and moral means of reproductive rights and reproductive self-control. Individual responsibility brings with it self-ownership, and of course, reproductive self-control. A fetus does not "own" its mothers womb. It is the other way around. A woman "owns" any entity that is growing within her, regardless if you call that entity a "fetus" or a "human" or a "tumor" or a "parasite".

Individual responsibility BY NECESSITY includes taking responsibility for ones actions and correcting mistakes. If a woman gets pregnant, it is her responsibility to perform the optimal action for her self. Taking individual responsibility means NOT having a baby if you are unable to do so safely. It means not having a baby if it will wreck your life, or harm you. It means that a woman must be able to say to herself, when appropriate, "I made a mistake getting pregnant. My individual responsibility to myself means that I must abort this baby because I am not able to care for it and/or it will harm my life, and most likely the babies as well." THAT is what individual responsibility is. Why wreck two lives (the mothers and the babies) when you can wreck no lives?

Individual responsibility applies equally to a person whether they have a fetus or a tumor inside them. It is a question solely about what one should do with their own body to best fulfill their values. That is self-ownership, and that is individual responsibility.

I doubt you will agree with anything I said, but thats ok. I would like to know however if you agree with Paul Manata that God owns everyone, or if you agree with me that each individual wholly owns themselves? Because if you agree with me, then you have already defeated your argument for the reasons I explained above. But if you agree with Paul Manata, then you never should have argued along the lines of individual responsibility in the first place.

And since your argument seems to rest on what the definition of "human" is, I am curious if you define the following things as "human" just like you define fetsus as human?

1. spermophore from human testicles
2. egg from a human ovary
3. tumor from a human body

If you feel that any of those three things are "human," then I must use Paul Manata's logic to declare you guilty of "developmentalism."

And if you feel that none of those three things I mentioned are human, then I must ask you to clarify what a human is to you and why these three things dont qualify in your definition?

Thanx Chad!

Chad said...

Wow, Aaron, I can always count on you for a thorough deconstruction of my every word.

First, I would think that the point in which the fetus becomes a child is central to the validity of this "ownership" argument. The argument as I understand it is only valid when applied to the fetus so one needs to know the exact period to which that applies.

If it is argued that at some point, the clump of cells becomes a human, you need to know exactly when it undergoes that transformation since it presumably has a right to live at that point. The problem with defining it as "when it can live outside the womb" is that you don't know precisely when that occurs. So, at some point, there is some arbitrary distinction to make that will decide whether the fetus has developed into a human being with a right to live or a disposable inconvenience.

As for Paul Manata, I am unfamilar with him and his views. As best as I can discern from your summary, I do not subscribe to the theory that God "owns" us. We "own" ourselves in this life and must accordingly be responsible for ourselves and our own actions.

Central to my definition of individual responsibility is dealing with the consequences of our actions. Your way of dealing with the consequences seems to be to abort them. The natural consequences of an unwanted pregnancy involve having a baby, paying child support, and essentially turning people's lives upside down. On an anecdotal level, I'm curious as to how many women you've spoken with who - having had unwanted pregnancies but gave birth anyway - now regret having done so and assert that the child has "wrecked" their lives.

Adam said...

"Individuals own their bodies, and everything that is growing within them."

I can think up a fairly crude counter-example.

TheJollyNihilist said...

First of all, I'd just like to thank Aaron for thinking highly enough of my post to mention it specifically here. I know I'm expressing a minority viewpoint, so it's always nice to know other people feel the argument is compelling.

As I wrote on my blog, taking humanity and personhood out of the equation when discussing abortion makes the issue a whole lot simpler. I argue that whether a frog, fetus or encyclopedia is growing within the body of an individual, it is that individual's property by virtue of the fact that it's growing within him/her. Thus, I termed the argument the "Pro-Fetal Ownership Argument." I also chose tumors to analogize with fetuses because they have so very much in common. Both, quite simply, are masses of living cells in the body. I don't recognize the validity of the "soul," or any such nonsense, and so I see both fetuses and tumors as simple masses of cells, owned by the body in which they are hosted. I refuse to play the game of selectively applying "value of life."

Zachary,

Thanks for the positive comments. I deliberately tried to avoid invoking morality/"definition of life" at any point in my argument. Morality/personhood/humanity issues only serve to muddy the waters of a clear-cut property-rights argument. Your examples were also very sound in debunking criticism. And, I'm glad you pointed out that this argument doesn't apply to children of any age, nor any adults. This argument hinges on the fact that something is growing within the body of an individual. If that's not occurring, this argument is about as relevant as Prince is to the modern music scene. That is, not at all. You guys have no idea how often the slavery Red Herring is used to try to debunk this argument. It's amazing how people will selectively read when it suits their ideological purposes.

E-3 said...

Frances,

Still haven't answered a basic question. If someone knocks you out and takes your kidney and has it implanted in his/her body does it then mean that it is theirs? Do they then own the kidney?

TheJollyNihilist said...

I would say yes. Individuals own that which grows within their bodies. That being said, the thief would deserve punishment. On a technicality, the kidney becomes the thief's at the moment when it begins growing within the thief's body. However, kidney-robbing certainly is a crime. And, that crime is not forgiven by the fact that the kidney becomes the thief's on a technicality sometime after the crime's commission.

Let's use an analogy:

Say a man breaks into a Ferrari dealership and drives away in an expensive Ferrari. Some 8 hours later, he stops for gas. The gas station is holding a raffle, with the top prize being a Ferrari. The thief enters the raffle, and wins. Coincidentally, the car the thief wins is the exact one he stole. Sure, the Ferrari is now technically the thief's legal property, but that doesn't absolve him of the crime of breaking into the dealership and stealing it before it was.

BlackSun said...

I would inject into this debate the issue of "sentience," discussed in my post.

http://blacksunjournal.typepad.com/bsj/2005/07/the_power_of_se.html

At some point, when a fetus crosses a line of self-awareness, and ability to feel pain, it is no longer solely the property of the mother. Its individual needs must then be taken into account.

This line is probably crossed between 8-12 weeks in a pregnancy. To me this represents a good compromise between two wrongheaded positions:

1) the so-called "pro-life" or "every sperm is sacred" argument

2) the "pro-choice" argument that supports the abortion of fetuses who are self-aware and could even survive if placed in incubators.

You cannot be an individualist, while denying the rights of sentient fetuses.

This argues for universal availability of contraception and EARLY abortion services.

Francois Tremblay said...

Blacksun : I am an individualist and promote all abortions. Think again.

BlackSun said...

Francois--

Then your position is inconsistent. Some late-term fetuses can live outside the womb, feel pain, respond to their environment, and otherwise conform to the definition of an individual.

If you support later-term abortions of such fetuses, you are then condoning the murder of individuals. I don't see how that position is tenable for an individualist.

Be careful with absolute statements. Your turn to think again.

Sine Nomine said...

Zachary Moore said...

If the fact that a fetus has different genes from the mother is the crucial distinction, what about a situation where a woman's somatic cell is used to create a clone that is then implanted in her own womb? Such a case would potentially lead to a human birth, but the fetus is in all ways essentially the mother

Thank you for your kind reply. Actually, you make my point. Isn't there a qualitative difference between a tumor and a fetus in that, no matter how long you give a tumor and how beneficial the circumstances, it will never become an independent sentient, reasoning person? Have you ever heard anyone say after cancer surgery, "Oh, how sad, it had your nose and your spouse's smile?

Another coutnerexample is organ transplant. A person who received a liver or kidney transplant has tissue growing inside them that does not have their same genes (unless they receive the transfer from an identical twin). Does the person who receives an organ transplant no have ownership of that organ?According to your argument, she does not.

Isn't this a category mistake? Based on my example above, wouldn't you agree that the qualitative difference an organ, and a fetus would justify regarding a human in its earliest stages of development differently than an organ donated willingly by another sentient human? After all, that organ would never generate into a separate, independently reasoning, sentient being. The genetic information does no permit that.

Post-partum, a fetus is no longer growing inside another person, so of course this argument does not apply to children at any age.

I agree, but again, you make my argument. If you sample the DNA of a fetus and do not interfere with its development and then sample the DNA of the same person on their death bed, you will find no difference. Isn't his the same person at two different points in their development and two different conditions of dependency?

Doesn't this return to the question of appropriateness of ownership. If this is a human being, how does the location change how it should be regarded? Isn't the first questions, "What is it?" not "Where is it?"

Sine Nomine said...

Aaron Kiney

What about when cells in my body mutate and change genetic code and then grow uncontrollably? In other words, cancer/tumors? Those tumors and cancerous cells have different genetic code than my normal cells do. So is that cancer not me? Should I afford the same rights to my cancer cells that anti-reproductive-rights proponents insist we must afford to fetuses?

Isn't this qualitatively different than a fetus. What tumor, if given no interference as well as a beneficial environment, becomes independent, reasoning, and sentient? If location is the thing, wouldn't your friends car become yours if he parks it in your garage? How does the fetus become property, simply because it is growing in that location? Doesn't the growth of a tumor simply result in a bigger tumor? The growth of a fetus resulted in you. Isn't that the difference that makes this a different issue entirely?

If the fetus is a human, then isn't "ownership" of the fetus no different than "ownership" of the child that would result and the terms of ownership applied would be the same a owning any other human. Do we want to speak of human beings in terms of ownership?

Self-ownership, yes. I get the feeling that you did not read Francisthemagnificents entire blog post that I linked to. If you did, you would see that he specifically
addresses this question of yours. And if you look closely at the first premise in the argument of his that I quoted, you would see that the fetal-ownership argument applies specifcially to cells or entities that are "growing inside" the womans body. Once the baby is outside the mothers womb, all bets are off.

I do see how he makes that point, but I do not understand how the location of the growth negates the qualitative difference between a tumor and a fetus. Please see my reply to Mr. Moore for my more-or-less complete reasoning. How has he proven his premise. Surely not by simply stating it.


If it isn't a living human, there would be no convincing argument against abortion.

Yes, provided that your own argument is resting on the definition of "human". But you will see that both Francisthemagnificent's and my own arguments do not rest on the definition of human, but of self-ownership.

But if the fetus is a human, that means it is not a tumor, and qualitatively different. How do you justify ignoring the issue of humanity? If the question of humanity is subjugated to the issue of ownership, why should it stop at the birth canal? Have you really considered the logical implications of this novel argument?

So isn't the question not where it is, but what it is?

To anti-reproductive-rights proponents who have no concept of self-ownership, yes. But to individualists like Francisthemagnificent and myself, no. The question of what is or is not human doesn't even come in to play in our premises, although my argument does address the definition of human in an accessory fashion. Fortunately, with Francisthemagnificents tumor analogy, the question of what is human is moot.

Isn't the question of humanity simply an attempt to obfuscate the basis for the argument without actually addressing it? How does ignoring the issue make it irrelevant? Isn't the fetus an individual in their earliest stages of development. You did not grow up to be a big tumor, but rather a self-possessing individual. When you were a fetus, were you not a self-possessing individual in your earliest stages of development, albeit, dependent on your mother for sustenance and protection?

Isn't the question not so much "who owns it," but "is speaking of it as a possession even appropriate?"

No. People own their bodies at all times and this concept is paramount to individualism as well as reproductive rights.

But neither you nor Francisthemagnificent have shown that a fetus is a part of the woman. The DNA is distinctly different, there is no other "growth" in that body that will develop independence and reasoning. Doesn't the qualitative difference make Premise One suspect?

Do parents "own" their offspring or are they guardians, responsible for its wellbeing through all stages of development until it achieves majority?

According to Francisthemagnificent, the woman owns the fetus as long as it is growing within her body. Your question does not apply to unborn children, just as the fetal-ownership argument does not apply to already-born children.

Again, can you explain how location is relevant to the qualitative difference between a fetus and a tumor? If you were to place a tumor in an incubator for twenty years it would never exercise sentience. The argument seems more novel than magnificent. Aside from location how is this different from the arguments of slave owners in turning humans into "property." Are you arguing that you were not a human when you were a fetus? How is this not a dependent and early developmental stage of a human?

Dustin said...

Except I'm pretty sure that though a woman owns her body and everything in it, 'destruction' of said body (aka: suicide) is still illegal. And I have yet to see a tumor that, once you let it get big enough, is able to move around and make decisions for itself and give birth to an entirely new human.

TheJollyNihilist said...

I think those that are citing sentience and humanity and personhood are missing the point of my argument. Why is sentience a disqualifying characteristic? It seems to me this is pure speciocentricity; that is, humans are sentient, therefore, out of self-interest, we declare sentience to be extremely important. As I said, ALL forms of life are on the same Tree of Life. Bacteria are on the same Tree of Life as humans. In my view, being on the same Tree means that ALL species of life have the same inherent value. I do not think humans have more inherent worth than beavers or cows. Saying otherwise, in my opinion, represents speciocentricity without basis in science.

Going back to my argument, humanity makes no difference. As I said, my argument is equally applicable to a shoe and a fetus. It solely deals with where the entity is growing (inside an individual). What the growth actually is isn't relevant.

BlackSun said...

francesthemagnificent--

"humanity makes no difference"

Are you seriously arguing that the sentience of a fetus is morally equivalent to a rooster, shoe, hippopotamus, or bacterium? I'm sorry, I've really run out of arguments for that kind of logic.

Personally, I think there is a hierarchy. In my list it would go as follows:

1) fetus (human)
2) hippopotamus (large animal, relatively endangered)
3) shoe (utility to humans)
4) rooster (low-level sentient, humans raise them for food)
5) bacterium (reproduce faster than they can be killed)

I guess I thought I was on an "individualist" blog. I thought that individualism had to do with defending the rights of humans...?

Maybe not.

TheJollyNihilist said...

Let's be clear. I'm not saying a shoe is equivalent to a human. There's a major difference: A human is alive, while a shoe is not. I am saying a shoe and a human are equivalent with respect to my argument. My argument has nothing to do with life, sentience, personhood or anything similar. It simply states that which grows within an individual's body is that individual's property. It could be a fetus; it could be an encyclopedia.

For me, the whole idea of inherent worth goes right back to evolution. I cannot fathom how, if we are ALL on the same Tree of Life, one species would have more intrinsic value than another. It seems to me that ALL species of life have equal intrinsic value. Humans put a higher subjective value on sentience because we happen to be sentient, and therefore doing so is in our selfish self-interest. If we were the only species with 6 toes, we'd probably call that a special value-adding characteristic, again out of speciocentric self-interest.

E-III said...

Frances:

I would say yes. Individuals own that which grows within their bodies. That being said, the thief would deserve punishment. On a technicality, the kidney becomes the thief's at the moment when it begins growing within the thief's body. However, kidney-robbing certainly is a crime. And, that crime is not forgiven by the fact that the kidney becomes the thief's on a technicality sometime after the crime's commission.

Let's use an analogy:

Say a man breaks into a Ferrari dealership and drives away in an expensive Ferrari. Some 8 hours later, he stops for gas. The gas station is holding a raffle, with the top prize being a Ferrari. The thief enters the raffle, and wins. Coincidentally, the car the thief wins is the exact one he stole. Sure, the Ferrari is now technically the thief's legal property, but that doesn't absolve him of the crime of breaking into the dealership and stealing it before it was.

1) Your consistent... I'll give you that! :-)

2) Given that your argument is a property rights argument haven't you just destroyed property rights by saying a thief can take something that belongs to another and is automatically granted ownership of it? Sure he can be punished - but so what - your property is gone - you have no claim to it anymore!

3)I understand what you are getting at with the analogy. Yes, he can and should be punished for stealing the Ferrari BUT the analogy misses my main point. In the analogy the thief is given the car by its lawful owner after the fact. That is the piece that is missing with the kidney theft! An owner can certainly choose to give away that which he owns. So if after the person's kidney was stolen - maybe he feels pity on the thief and says "You can have the kidney - you obviously need it more than me!" BUT what if he refuses to? Certainly, he has a claim on the kidney since it is his!

TheJollyNihilist said...

2) Given that your argument is a property rights argument haven't you just destroyed property rights by saying a thief can take something that belongs to another and is automatically granted ownership of it? Sure he can be punished - but so what - your property is gone - you have no claim to it anymore!

3)I understand what you are getting at with the analogy. Yes, he can and should be punished for stealing the Ferrari BUT the analogy misses my main point. In the analogy the thief is given the car by its lawful owner after the fact. That is the piece that is missing with the kidney theft! An owner can certainly choose to give away that which he owns. So if after the person's kidney was stolen - maybe he feels pity on the thief and says "You can have the kidney - you obviously need it more than me!" BUT what if he refuses to? Certainly, he has a claim on the kidney since it is his!


You know what...you make some good points. I still believe my argument is correct and rock-solid; however, it needs to be tweaked in order to truly work. Thank you for pointing this out.

Here's my revised argument.

Premise One: Individuals own their bodies, and everything that--by natural means--is growing within them.

Premise Two: Fetuses grow within the bodies of their mothers.

Conclusion One: Females own their fetuses.

Premise Three: Individuals may destroy that which they own.

Premise Four: Females own their fetuses.

Conclusion Two: Females may destroy their fetuses.

I think that solves the problem. No longer could the thief claim ownership of the kidney, because stealing it and having it surgically inserted certainly does not represent natural growth. A tumor represents natural growth. A fetus represents natural growth. An organ transplant does not. This isn't to say a transplanted organ belongs to somebody other than the recipient. It very well might belong to the recipient. It just isn't the recipient's by virtue of the fact it's growing in his/her body. A different case would need to be made for ownership.

Aaron Kinney said...

Sine Nomine,

My last name has two "n"s ;)

Isn't this qualitatively different than a fetus. What tumor, if given no interference as well as a beneficial environment, becomes independent, reasoning, and sentient?

Sentience is irrelevant. As far as the "human definition" argument goes, a tumor inside my body is just as human as a fetus inside a womans body.

But self-ownership arguments make "sentience" and "human definition" moot.

If location is the thing, wouldn't your friends car become yours if he parks it in your garage?

No. It is not analogous.

How does the fetus become property, simply because it is growing in that location?

The same way that a tumor is your property.

Doesn't the growth of a tumor simply result in a bigger tumor?

Yes. And the same with a fetus.

The growth of a fetus resulted in you.

Eventually, yes.

Isn't that the difference that makes this a different issue entirely?

Nope. A woman is not obliged to loan her womb to a fetus any more than I am obliged to loan my body to a tumor.

I do see how he makes that point, but I do not understand how the location of the growth negates the qualitative difference between a tumor and a fetus.

That is because you do not understand the principles of individualism and self-ownership. Arguments from ignorance are not valid arguments.

But if the fetus is a human, that means it is not a tumor, and qualitatively different.

A fetus is not a tumor "because" it is human. Tumors are human too when they are growing within a humans body.

How do you justify ignoring the issue of humanity?

I dont. I acknowledge it. It is you who are not acknowledging the "human" quality of a tumor growing within a homo sapiens body.

If the question of humanity is subjugated to the issue of ownership, why should it stop at the birth canal?

That sword cuts in both directions. If a baby owns its mothers womb, why stop owning her womb once it is born? Once the baby is born and outside the womans body, all bets are off, because the mother no longer has the fetus inside her womb. A mother cannot abort a pregnancy after the baby is born you know.

Have you really considered the logical implications of this novel argument?

Yes I have. And I have considered the logical implications of yours as well.

Isn't the question of humanity simply an attempt to obfuscate the basis for the argument without actually addressing it?

No. The question of humanity is superceded by the question of self-ownership. Self-ownership is the #1 rule in an individualist ideology.

How does ignoring the issue make it irrelevant?

Conversely, how does ignoring self-ownership make the womans right to her own womb irrelevant? The question it seems to me is what is more important: self-ownership or garunteed support for a growing fetus? Self-ownership is more important. Why? Because if a woman does not own her womb, then by what right should we assume that the baby owns itself? You cannot asymmetrically violate the self-ownership of one entity and champion the self-ownership of another. It is illogical.

My self-ownership argument, unlike yours, IS symmetrical, because a woman can abort a fetus on the principle of self-ownership without violating the fetuses self-ownership.

Isn't the fetus an individual in their earliest stages of development.

Maybe, maybe not. It doesnt matter.

You did not grow up to be a big tumor, but rather a self-possessing individual.

Yes, but I did grow up to be human. And tumors are human too.

When you were a fetus, were you not a self-possessing individual in your earliest stages of development, albeit, dependent on your mother for sustenance and protection?

Sure, why not? But how does this assertion hurt my argument?

But neither you nor Francisthemagnificent have shown that a fetus is a part of the woman.

It is painfully obvious. The womans egg, the womans womb, the womans nutrients from her body, etc...

The DNA is distinctly different,

As is the DNA of a malignant tumor.

there is no other "growth" in that body that will develop independence and reasoning.

Except for the thousands of other eggs that the woman still carries.

Doesn't the qualitative difference make Premise One suspect?

I dont think so, because your arguments have not been convincing.

Again, can you explain how location is relevant to the qualitative difference between a fetus and a tumor?

Fetuses only exist inside a mothers womb. A fetus is no longer a fetus after it is born. And the differences between a fetus and a tumor are irrelevant to self ownership. Just because a fetus may become an independent individual does not give it the right to own its mothers womb.

If you were to place a tumor in an incubator for twenty years it would never exercise sentience.

Probably not. But what about 500 million years? Do you believe in evolution? Besides, there are plenty of life forms that have no sentience that are still individuals and should be considered legitimate life forms.

The argument seems more novel than magnificent.

I used "magnificent" because its in Frances' name.

Are you arguing that you were not a human when you were a fetus?

No. Im arguing that 1) I was, and 2) It is irrelevant.

I tell you this: I do not believe that my mother was obligated to carry me to full term. My mother chose to keep me and give birth to me, which is great. But I would not want my mother to have been forced to do so. I would not have wanted my mother to have children, including me, that she was not able to care for or raise properly.

Francois Tremblay said...

Another problem that anti-choice or semi-choice advocates have, is that a woman does NOT choose to have a foetus grow inside her, most of the time. She chooses to have sex but not to have a foetus grow inside her. So you can't even claim that she decided to have a foetus grow inside her and should bear the consequences.

TheJollyNihilist said...

Great points, Aaron. You put up an extremely formidable defense, fleshing out the implications of my argument more than I did.

Now, I'm interested in getting your feedback. Based upon objections raised by e-iii, I decided to slightly modify my argument. Here's the new version:

Premise One: Individuals own their bodies, and everything that--by natural means--is growing within them.

Premise Two: Fetuses grow--by natural means--within the bodies of their mothers.

Conclusion One: Females own their fetuses.

Premise Three: Individuals may destroy that which they own.

Premise Four: Females own their fetuses.

Conclusion Two: Females may destroy their fetuses.

As I said, e-iii raised an interesting point. He mentioned that, if somebody knocked me out, stole my kidney, and had it surgically implanted within him, my original argument would give the thief the right to call the stolen kidney his property. Moreover, since it would now be growing in the thief's body, I really would have no claim to the kidney anymore. That's a bit problematic. I think adding the "by natural means" clause resolves this without taking anything away from the argument.

What's your take? Zachary's? Is there a way around this issue without amending the argument at all?

I have to give credit to e-iii, he/she made me think!

Aaron Kinney said...

As I said, e-iii raised an interesting point. He mentioned that, if somebody knocked me out, stole my kidney, and had it surgically implanted within him, my original argument would give the thief the right to call the stolen kidney his property. Moreover, since it would now be growing in the thief's body, I really would have no claim to the kidney anymore.

I think there is a part orf E-III's argument that you are overlooking. E-III proposed an objection based on theft, or coercion. If a thief steals something, it isnt rightfully his to begin with.

Your original argument assumed that coercion was not at play in the original ownership premise. When coercion is put into play, all bets are off, because coercion never brings about legitimacy. In other words, theft never equals legitimate ownership of anything.

That's a bit problematic. I think adding the "by natural means" clause resolves this without taking anything away from the argument.

I believe that the revisions to your argument are unneccessary. I like it fine the original way.

What's your take? Zachary's? Is there a way around this issue without amending the argument at all?

There is a way around it, and that is to respond to E-III's argument that their use of coercion within their argument defeats it on its own premise. Coercion is a big no-no in individualism and automatically invalidates one's claim to legitimacy.

I have to give credit to e-iii, he/she made me think!

Thats always a good thing. But when arguments are presented to you, you have to be sure to consider all relevant factors, and it doesn't seem that you considered the fact that the coercive act of theft invalidates one's claim to ownership of anything.

The thief who steals the kidney never had the right to implant it in their body in the first place.

Can you say, for example, that you legitimately won an election if you coerced everyone into voting for you by putting a gun to their heads? In that case, the politician did win the election in that everyone voted for him, but it was not legitimate because coercion was used to obtain the desired result.

To correct E-III's argument, you would have to say this: "If I willingly gave a person my kidney, and they implaned it within themselves, then they would legitimately own the kidney. But if they stole it from me without my consent, they never had the right to implant it in the first place. Furthermore, in his act of theft, the thief implicitly admitted (through moral symmetry) that it is ok for me to "steal" (I use quotes there because you cant technically steal from someone what was rightfully yours to begin with) my kidney back from him."

TheJollyNihilist said...

I think there is a part orf E-III's argument that you are overlooking. E-III proposed an objection based on theft, or coercion. If a thief steals something, it isnt rightfully his to begin with.

Your original argument assumed that coercion was not at play in the original ownership premise. When coercion is put into play, all bets are off, because coercion never brings about legitimacy. In other words, theft never equals legitimate ownership of anything.


Yeah, I can see your point. I agree that, for the argument to work, coercion cannot be present. I think I might have been reading my argument a bit too literally; that is, like a flip of a switch, that which grows in one's body is one's property, regardless of where it previously was. That probably is too literal of a reading, which would only serve to undercut the argument down the road.

There is a way around it, and that is to respond to E-III's argument that their use of coercion within their argument defeats it on its own premise. Coercion is a big no-no in individualism and automatically invalidates one's claim to legitimacy.

Right. Implanting the kidney into the thief's body does not "flip the switch" from illegitimate to legitimate. The original act of coercion precludes this argument's use.

E-3 said...

Aaron,

I think there is a part of E-III's argument that you are overlooking. E-III proposed an objection based on theft, or coercion. If a thief steals something, it isnt rightfully his to begin with.

Irrelavant, his argument stated nothing about establishing true ownership first then if its growing within your body then you own it... wouldn't that be begging the question?

coercion or "right to implant" are irrelevant to his argument.

Secondly, if you need to establish correct ownership first couldn't a Christian just say that God owns the baby and so you have no right to abort it (i.e. the mother doesn't rightfully own him/her)?

E-3 said...

Francois,

Another problem that anti-choice or semi-choice advocates have, is that a woman does NOT choose to have a foetus grow inside her, most of the time. She chooses to have sex but not to have a foetus grow inside her. So you can't even claim that she decided to have a foetus grow inside her and should bear the consequences.

Yeah, and the person who hits another person over the head with a hammer didn't mean for that guys skull to split open and his brains to come pouring out. He just liked the way it felt. So why should he have to bear the consequences?

BlackSun said...

I hate to be a stickler, but most people on this thread seem to be ignoring a simple fact: A pregnant woman is actually one individual in the process of becoming two individuals. At some point the fetus, being the 2nd individual, begins to have rights of its own.

You cannot just say that a baby only becomes an individual when it's born. C-sections can be done in 5 minutes. I've watched it happen. Listening to the arguments on this thread, you would think that an individual is somehow created in 5 minutes. Obviously this is not the case. It took 9 months. Earlier than 5 minutes before birth, the fetus could survive outside the womb. With advanced incubation techniques, the fetus can survive as young as 24 weeks. Sentience happens even earlier, such as 8-12 weeks as evidenced by responses observed on ultrasound.

You can't just dismiss sentience or viability with a wave of the hand. You can't argue from result, because you don't like the implications of what fetal viability might mean for abortion laws. You can't deny the scientific evidence because you would like to believe that a woman "should" be able to decide what happens at whatever time, whatever the cost.

If a woman smothers her 5-minute old baby, she will rightly be arrested for murder. If a doctor kills that same baby through an abortion even 5 minutes earlier, by the logic of some commenters here, there is no crime committed.

These absolute arguments are simplistic at best.

We individualists are going to have to establish a higher ethical standard than "fetal ownership," if we ever hope to challenge the religious dogma surrounding this issue.

We should argue strenuously for womens' reproductive rights. But we must also ask women to exercise those rights promptly to avoid needless fetal pain and suffering.

Abortions should be limited to the first trimester (or whenever science determines that the threshold of sentience has been crossed). That's plenty of time for a woman to make up her mind as to whether she wants a child or not.

I'm not for "semi-choice," I'm for choice--period--up until the point of sentience.

It is a patently false position--and I find it almost medieval in its brutality--to deny the personhood of a sentient or viable human fetus.

TheJollyNihilist said...

blacksun,

I would be very interested in getting your take on my latest blog entry, which has to do with the relevance of humanity, speciocentricity and other related issues.

It's certainly relevant to some of your points.

Francois Tremblay said...

"It is a patently false position--and I find it almost medieval in its brutality--to deny the personhood of a sentient or viable human fetus."

Get a grip on yourself, man. I am not denying any attribute of the fetus. This is an issue of self-ownership, and has nothing to do with these attributes you have listed.

All you have is the "yuck" argument. That's not an argument. If you don't like late-term abortions, then do your best to PERSUADE people not to have them. Don't use guns to hold people hostage to your feelings.

BlackSun said...

Francois--

It's not a "yuck" argument, it's an argument for individualist morality. If the fetus acquires the status of personhood at a certain point, would you not agree that the person's rights should be respected? Is that not the heart of the individualist position? I think it's a legitimate question.

I'm not trying to force my feelings on anyone. If there is evidence of sentience or viability, are we not bound to act accordingly?

If not, aren't we turning our backs on empiricism. Aren't we simply trading one set of biases for another?

Francois Tremblay said...

"It's not a "yuck" argument, it's an argument for individualist morality. If the fetus acquires the status of personhood at a certain point, would you not agree that the person's rights should be respected?"

Once again, the issue is one of self-ownership. The issue of whether a foetus has personhood is spectacularly irrelevant. To take a remote example, an intruder in my home may have personhood but that doesn't mean I can't shoot him.


"I'm not trying to force my feelings on anyone. If there is evidence of sentience or viability, are we not bound to act accordingly?"

No. We don't feel bound in such a way in any other scenario. Why are you invoking it here ?

How does your argument not ultimately reduce itself to a yuck argument ?

Aaron Kinney said...

Irrelavant, his argument stated nothing about establishing true ownership first then if its growing within your body then you own it... wouldn't that be begging the question?

No. The argument assumes implicitly that coercion is not involved. And when you start placing coercive acts into the equation, you have to account for their effect. You cannot slip them in and insist that the rest of the argument remain the same. What you are doing, E-3, is inserting an additional premise in the argument, and therefore setting up a strawman.

E-3, I notice that you are obsessed with prisons and theft, and inserting coercive preconditions into our arguments. It appears that you dont understand what coercion is and how it affects moral arguments when inserted. Also, it appears that you think you can get away with passing off modified versions of our own arguments (with coercive preconditions) as our own. You are mistaken on that count too.

Secondly, if you need to establish correct ownership first couldn't a Christian just say that God owns the baby and so you have no right to abort it (i.e. the mother doesn't rightfully own him/her)?

Have you not read my own post on abortion just below this one? Paul Manata brought up this exact argument and I responded to it. In fact, he explicitly denied that anyone has self-ownership and he stated that everyone belongs to God, yadda yadda yadda. I addressed it, and I did so fairly well I think. Go read back a post or two. You can't miss it; its the 4000 word post on abortion that, IIRC, helped inspire Francesthemagnificent to write this one that I posted about.

In a nutshell, theft is immoral and precludes the thief from legitimately owning any object that was stolen. In addition, the theft of an object implies that it is ok for the object to be stolen back, or stolen from anyone else. So even if your theft argument was valid, which it is not, then the kidney could be stolen back legitimately, and problem solved.

E-3, quit trying to strawmen our arguments by inserting additional premises and preconditions. Also, quit trying to bring coercive actions into the premises because our arguments have premises based on principles, not actions (especially coercive ones).

E-3, why dont you quit beating around the bush and present an argument of your own? Or at least explain why you think our premises are wrong. But dont insert additional premises to strawmen our arguments.

Also I want to ask you this question: Do you think thievery is wrong or not?

E-Three said...

Aaron,

No. The argument assumes implicitly that coercion is not involved. And when you start placing coercive acts into the equation, you have to account for their effect. You cannot slip them in and insist that the rest of the argument remain the same. What you are doing, E-3, is inserting an additional premise in the argument, and therefore setting up a strawman.

What... no it doesn't... show me how I am adding an addition premise - don't just assert it. Write it out. Isn't that the whole point of writing it out so that it can be examined - if there are implicit premises shouldn't they be written into the argument when pointed out? I am no expert on logic but why is it that you don't seem to understand the basics of it?

Also, it appears that you think you can get away with passing off modified versions of our own arguments (with coercive preconditions) as our own. You are mistaken on that count too.

oooookkkaaaay.... I actually thought it made his argument stronger - eventhough I disagree with the premise. He thought so too until you came in and struck down the revision. Guess he should cross a self-appointed high priest of atheism... that will show him! LOL

Have you not read my own post on abortion just below this one?

No offense but it is pretty weak. I think Frances argument is stronger. I actually have no other comments on the modified version. I disagree with premise one but it can't be reduced to absurdity - I least I can't.

"...theft of an object implies that it is ok for the object to be stolen back, or stolen from anyone else"

Huh? {scratching my head}

E-3, why dont you quit beating around the bush and present an argument of your own? Or at least explain why you think our premises are wrong. But dont insert additional premises to strawmen our arguments.

1)Since when does a person need to present an argument of their own... you all are the ones putting forward an argument.

2) Show me how I "insert additional premises to strawmen our arguments" don't just assert it? I guess I am supposed to use ESP to know there is an implicit premise. I think you are slipping in a premise after the fact... somehow you think that when a crime is involved then all bets are off. A woman has control of her body "at all times" mean well at all time when she hasn't committed a crime.

Perhaps you should have examined what I said in the previous post more closely...

"Irrelavant, his argument stated nothing about establishing true ownership first then if its growing within your body then you own it... wouldn't that be begging the question?"

Premise One: Individuals own their bodies, and everything that is growing within them.

How can there be an implicit premise that they have to rightfully own it? The premise explains what a person owns.

Let me 'splain' it to ya...

Premise #1: Bobby owns everything in his room.
Premise #2 (hidden): Bobby doesn't own the stolen items in the room.
Premise #3: A Buzz Lightyear doll is in the room.
Possible conclusion #1:Bobby owns the Buzz Lightyear doll

or

Possible conclusion #2: Bobby owns the Buzz Lightyear doll unless it is stolen.

Does that seem like a valid argument to you?

Also I want to ask you this question: Do you think thievery is wrong or not?

Yes, I do.

Paul Manata said...

in case y'all didn't notice it on my blog. Frances admitted that there are no such things as real rights and therefore no women really has property rights. Frances admitted that his entire argument was only his OPINION.

So, another one bites the dust.

Oh, his argument also says that one person can own another person. That's the argument. But, then he says he's opposed to slavery. This business about it only applying when people are in the womb is strictly ad hoc.

Furthermore, he says that your location determines whether you can be owned or not. This is how the white slave owners reasoned as well.

The child is in its rightful place, its natural environment. So, the argument, upon analysis, is that people can make someone their property even if they are in their rightful place. So, humans in Africa are in their rightful place, why can't se make them slaves.

Take his terms out and substitute them for what he is really saying, his argument is reduced to absurdity.

For example, i proved that George Steinbrenner ownes his baseball players. he can tell them when to go to bed, what to eat, etc. He ownes them. No, not in a slave era mentality, but he ownes the Yankees, which is made up of many things, including Derek Jeter.

Therefore, if a person can murder their own property then Stenbrenner can murder Derek Jeter.

Or, try this one on for size. Frances says that since the baby is growing in the womanns property then the baby is the womans property and she can murder the baby.

Well, if I own a house then it is my property. If I have tenants growing in side my house (note: all humans are growwing in somw way or another) then on Frances logic I can kill my tenants since they are in my property, even though it is their rightful place.

So, Aaron, you look sily again for agreeing with illogic.

Stay tuned in the next month for my post: The Illogic of "Pro-Choice:" The Aftermath."

Francois Tremblay said...

"in case y'all didn't notice it on my blog. Frances admitted that there are no such things as real rights"

No Paul, I never said there was no such thing as rights. That would be stupid since my whole argument is based on the right of self-ownership.

Aren't you tired of lying, Paul ?

Paul Manata said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Paul Manata said...

Uhhh, Fransuave, I was not talking about you. I said Frances. You know, the guy who this post is about! What were you thinking Aaron was writting about you this whole time?

So, I'd appreciate your apology for calling me a liar.

Also, I'm glad you admit that I defeated Frances' argument which was based on his subjective opinion.

Paul Manata said...

Oh yeah, way to beg the question Tremblay!

Self-ownership is one thing, OTHER SELF ownership is another. To say that the woman owns the baby because the baby is herself is philosophically absurd. But, if your wife gets pregnant, and you have a boy, I'm glad to know that you can say you are having sex with someone who has a penis. Unless, of course, you want to admit that the baby is not the mother.

Anyway, your illogic was exemplified by your begging the question.

TheJollyNihilist said...

in case y'all didn't notice it on my blog. Frances admitted that there are no such things as real rights and therefore no women really has property rights. Frances admitted that his entire argument was only his OPINION.

You are only half-right. My argument is objective, to me. Based upon my system of morality/values/rights, a woman owns her body and everything growing within it. My moral code is absolutely objective, just as my Top 10 Movie list for the year is objective. You might disagree with my idea of rights and you might disagree with my Top 10 Movie list; therefore, there are no INTRINSIC rights or INTRINSIC best movies. However, speaking for myself, my ideas are totally objective.

Oh, his argument also says that one person can own another person. That's the argument. But, then he says he's opposed to slavery. This business about it only applying when people are in the womb is strictly ad hoc.

Come on, get serious. The argument is strictly dealing with the situation of one entity growing within the body of an individual. That's specifically what the argument deals with. You cannot extrapolate it further, since extrapolations deviate from the specifics of the argument. In no way does slavery fit within this argument's premises. Therefore, it's a Red Herring and strictly irrelevant.

Furthermore, he says that your location determines whether you can be owned or not. This is how the white slave owners reasoned as well.

IRRELEVANT! Slavery is irrelevant! As I told you at your blog, unless the black slaves were growing within the bodies of the white slave owners, this argument is wholly inapplicable. You constantly expand the argument beyond its stated premises.

The child is in its rightful place, its natural environment. So, the argument, upon analysis, is that people can make someone their property even if they are in their rightful place. So, humans in Africa are in their rightful place, why can't se make them slaves.

Maybe we can; maybe we can't. It has nothing to do with this argument. The only "location" this argument deals with is inside an individual's body. Any other location is irrelevant to this narrow argument.

Take his terms out and substitute them for what he is really saying, his argument is reduced to absurdity.

Correction: Take my terms out, and substitute what Paul wishes I said, and my argument is reduced to absurdity.

For example, i proved that George Steinbrenner ownes his baseball players. he can tell them when to go to bed, what to eat, etc. He ownes them. No, not in a slave era mentality, but he ownes the Yankees, which is made up of many things, including Derek Jeter.

Therefore, if a person can murder their own property then Stenbrenner can murder Derek Jeter.


Steinbrenner does NOT own Derek Jeter the person. I explained that to you at least 5 times at your blog. He owns the Yankees, which is a franchise. And yes, he can destroy the Yankees by disbanding the team and ending the franchise. Want proof that Steinbrenner does not own Derek Jeter the person? Ask him. Get his response. You can be assured Steinbrenner does not claim to own any humans.

Or, try this one on for size. Frances says that since the baby is growing in the womanns property then the baby is the womans property and she can murder the baby.

Well, if I own a house then it is my property. If I have tenants growing in side my house (note: all humans are growwing in somw way or another) then on Frances logic I can kill my tenants since they are in my property, even though it is their rightful place.


You are, once again, quite obviously, expanding my argument beyond its premises. These extrapolations are YOUR OWN and have nothing to do with my argument. Thus, I cannot take ownership over them (nor do I want to). Before replying again, read my argument one more time. Then, in your reply, stick strictly with my premises. These extrapolations are nothing more than Red Herrings, wasting time until you discern an actual weakness in the argument.

By the way, you keep bringing up the word "illogic." I find that rather curious. You believe:
1. In a young earth.
2. That Jesus came back to life after 62 hours as a corpse.
3. That macroevolution is a myth and special creation is an actuality.

Are those not illogical positions?

Paul Manata said...

Frances,

Saying something is "objective to me" is nonsense. Anyway, all you just said is that TO YOU they have rights. What we're asking if they have REAL, OBJECTIVE, UNIVERSASL, NON ARBITRARY rights. A moral relativist cannot account for this.

Also, what you don;t seem to get is that you're being completely arbitrary and ad hoc. You're being inconsistent. You can't say that in one case of property ownership someone can destroy that which growns in the property, but in other cases you cannot. Your argument is simply arbitrary. I tried to tell you this but you refuse to listen.

I know you need to impress your friends here, but your argument has been sliced and diced so many times that even building up on your machismo can not save you bloddy, aborted and dismembered "argument."

Simply put, as everyone has seen, Francesthenotsohot admits that there are no REAL property rights, just ones imposed subjectively because of someone's mere opinion. Good stuff Frances. Keep up the good work of making pro-choicers look ignorant.

Oh, and I've shown you how your posts are illogical. You can;t just assert that some of my beliefs are illogical. Indeed, none of those beliefs defy laws of logic. They may be false to you, or hard to believe, but I violate no law of logic by believing them. You do, though. You have an argument that, if true, argues against itself. If you were consistent, then you'd deny property rights.

E-3 said...

Frances,

You are only half-right. My argument is objective, to me. Based upon my system of morality/values/rights, a woman owns her body and everything growing within it. My moral code is absolutely objective, just as my Top 10 Movie list for the year is objective. You might disagree with my idea of rights and you might disagree with my Top 10 Movie list; therefore, there are no INTRINSIC rights or INTRINSIC best movies. However, speaking for myself, my ideas are totally objective.

I think atheists and christians tend to use a different standard for what is "objective". You seem to be saying that if the standard is rooted in some physical thing then it is objective. So let me give an example - keeping with what Aaron thinks is my preoccupation with thievery - let's say Fred thinks that it is okay to take other's possessions at night but not during the day. That is to say that he thinks it is justifiable to take other's possessions after the sun sets but before the sun rises again. Certainly on an atheistic definition of objective standard this would count as one. For the criteria by which he determines whether it is just or not is outside of himself (position of the sun) and is clearly apparent to just about any other person. He could tell his friend Sam about his "objective" standard and he could use this same criteria to also determine when it is just to take other's possessions.

But this isn't the objective standard Paul is speaking of because Fred is subjectively choosing his "objective" standard.

Does that make sense?

TheJollyNihilist said...

It makes perfect sense, e-3.

Going back to my analogy, Paul wants me to present the official, in-a-vacuum The Top 10 Movies of the Year. Unfortunately, all I can provide is my objective Top 10 Movies of the Year.

These things do not exist in a vacuum. There is no right/wrong outside of an individual making the judgment. There is no good/bad outside of an individual making the judgment. There is no moral/immoral outside of an individual making the judgment. Decisions aren't made in vacuums, they are made by beings.

Saying "Abortion is wrong" without the context of an individual making the judgment is just like saying "Brokeback Mountain is a good movie" without the context of an individual making the judgment.

Paul Manata said...

you're re-defining objective, Frances. No one uses objective the way you are. Something objective is true for all people, Frances.

To make your point you have to be arbitrary (i.e., property rights apply here but not there), re-define terms, and just use poor logic.

Hey, if that's what you need to do to win...

TheJollyNihilist said...

Paul,

I refuted your refutation here:

http://mycaseagainstgod.blogspot.com/2006/04/aborting-paul-manatas-refutation.html

Clifton Chenier said...

I'd like to add a couple of points:

Premise Three: Individuals may destroy that which they own.

It seems to me that this isn't absolute. I own a cat, for instance--and legally so--yet if I choose to destroy the cat, there are many people who believe that would be "morally wrong." (There are also those who believe that killing pets is not morally wrong--Frances, in all seriousness, are you one of them? If you owned a cat and killed it, would you feel bad?)

Legally, in the United States before 1865, it was legal to own another person--and they were considered legal property. Yes, it has already been determined that because other people live outside of the owner, that invalidates ownership--but it *was* legal at the time. And I believe everyone on this thread would believe that it is wrong (or bad, or immoral, or whatever term one wishes to use) for a slave owner to kill a slave. Because human life has value--and that is an unprovable tenet.

Really, this exercise is an attempt to intellectuallize morality (which I have found impossible). Where is the line between abortion and murder? How could we know for sure? Attempting to use the QED logic on this problem ignores the fact that there are gray areas in morality--and that even Strong Athiests have morality and a basis for a moral code--despite what my mother might say :-) . For those on the athiest side, I think it's important to realize that there are things even athiests believe in that are scientifically unprovable. "Humanity has value, so I shouldn't go around killing people." I agree, but I can't scientifically prove it.

Yes, athiests can say they don't believe in God because it can't scientifically be proven--but science is in a constant state of flux: there are only theories. We all --athiests, agnostics, and thiests alike--must work to broaden our minds to two possibilities: 1) the way you think things are isn't 100% correct; and 2) that our worldview has inconsistencies and therefore need constant revision. (It is possible that one day, science could discover something that leads to a theory about a creator being or a soul--I mean, we recently discovered that atoms not only aren't solid, but may not actually contain anything resembling matter. Who knows what lies on the other side of that discovery?)

In that spirit, let's also separate what we choose to make "legal" from what is "moral." I am pro-choice (from a legal perspective), for the simple reason that I do not know and cannot prove where and when life begins, and I respect others' views on this which can be no more certain than my own. However, I believe that abortion is murder--but that is totally unprovable. (Plus, I'm a guy, so I believe my opinion and my unprovable belief are kind of moot.) Christians in the U.S. may think it is immoral to worship a non-Christian god, such as Allah or Krishna or Vishnu, but very few Christians want to make it illegal to practice other religions. (I hope.)

I also have no idea why this is such a lightning rod for the Christian right--the Bible makes no mention anywhere of abortion, nor does it say when a fetus becomes a person worthy of protection. Paul--any light you can shed on this?

Daniel said...

Here is my opinion on the topic: The opinion is mine but you are welcome to it...



The Flames of Molech – Leviticus 18, 20



Who fans the fires of Molech?

Could it be we who only wish to protect?



While the fires of Molech consume our neighbor's seed.

Perhaps we should reflect on why our neighbor feels the need.



Why would anyone throw their children to the flames?

All of society that allows – no encourages – this it shames.



There are many forms, direct and subtle that this encouragement takes place.

For example, our worship of escapism or idolatrous servitude of the rat-race.



A damnable choice is now thrust upon our expectant mothers.

But how can society persist when the maternal hearth it smothers.



The sirens sing "Live your life, there is so much to do and discover.

Don't worry it won't take long until your bodies recover."



Is a young life of hedonism or single solitude so great?

That we recommend it to each other instead of having a family with a mate.



Wouldn't a better lesson be respect, love, responsibility, and planning within the sanctity of marriage

Than selfish, dangerous and abominable sexual methods, and paranoia of the baby carriage?



This desperate act is brought on too by a regrettable or disrespectful childhood home.

No wonder that we shun the family when we see parents that would rather fight or roam.



"Ohhh. Don't get married or have a child, it's a betrayal of your future, youth, and friends.

Wouldn't you rather spend each night partying and discovering the latest trends?"



As friends and partners we need to applaud and respect parental happiness and responsibility

Encourage and help our confidants and spouses to the best or our ability.



For how hypocritical, snobbish, and selfish is the thought that a child's life must be forfeit,

To sate the craving for attention and control. Narcissism and love make a very poor fit.



"How can you, How can I, How can we afford to have this child?" we ask.

Backward priorities, sloth, greed, and lust for sin: the values this passive-aggressive question mask.



As individuals and as a society we have chosen to prefer and kindle our luxury-urges.

What a poor bargain for every little face and hand is worth a thousand e-bay splurges.



Clever marketers cause us to throw away our time and our monies.

When both are better spent at home in happy peaceful moments with our little 'honeys.'



'Tis a pity we're deaf to their call, for no ad-man on this Earth has a catchier turn of phase.

Than a chuckling little two year old giving mama and papa loving praise.



There is not an activist or actor, not a singer or poet who can truly capture.

The happiness brought while holding and teaching a child: it is the gift of parental rapture.



What perverted torture: "But you're too young to get married"

Encouraging sex and damning marriage – the sacrament is in the ground with baby buried.



Still, it can be an ominous, uncertain chasm; a wake-up to reality for our pampered teens.

If we can't demonstrate an attractive and viable path of earning life's basic means.



We must remove the illusion of hopelessness of parenthood and marriage for those who choose to mate.

If we hope to make rare the desire to abort and, our progeny, in Molech's fires immolate.



Is a finished degree always so pressing? For many - just wasted escapist years, in dorm, frat house, and sorority.

Bootstrapped learners, yes, hard working earners, beat many of the rootless green twigs grown at university.



Employers, there is real value in young apprentice-parents: honest and earnest employees.

Let us give them a chance encouraging and enabling them to, over time, earn practical degrees.



Why do we persist the falsehood of 'Entrapment,' a vain and derelict concept?

With love and intimacy come responsibility, if we cannot impart this, we are indeed inept.



How great are the flames of Molech, how high have they climbed.

All the despots and all the war mongers of the last 200 years combined,



Have shed less blood than Roe V. Wade, and her foreign kin in the last forty years.

Over a billion babies culled by the scalpel – how many billion tears?



Though some seek the courts and governments for a single solitary great fix.

Without societal change we will remain the generation of vipers, stinging and poisoning the matrix.



'But we will do it anyway, with unsafe procedure' is the back-alley creed.

Alas, society and our hearts must change in many ways, or the womb will forever bleed.



Copyright (c) 2007 D. Partlow

blokeman said...

I really don't see how so many words can be justifiably expended upon an argument which is so intrinsically, and immediately, flawed.

The analogy between a foetus and a tumour is ridiculous.

A foetus is an entire human, an entire human entity. A tumour not, it is merely an abberant conglomeration of cells with no seperate potential whatsoever and certainly not equal status with an entire human.

Most humans anyway.

I say this as a generally pro-choice individual, merely to point out the weakness of this argument. A tumour, come on, guys, surely you can do better than that?

And no, a woman does not necessarily own everything in her body. If a woman bites off my ring finger with a gold ring still on it, and swallows it, it is still my finger, godddamit, and still my ring, and I'll get it back, too.

In the post-slavery era, a human being, yes, even a woman, cannot own another human being or any part thereof. A foetus is a human being, I am not my mother, I am no part of my mother, I am me.

B.M.

Anonymous said...

I'm just checking. Self-owenership - you own your body. You own anything growing within your body. Therefore a woman owns a fetus; you have the right to destroy what you own, therefore the woman can destroy the fetus, no harm done. So can conjoined twins kill each other? What about conjoined twins who share organs?

I'm pretty sure based on the self-ownership argument, they would be allowed. Moreover - skin cells regenerate. So if a woman is undergoing a surgery (admittedly, this is back in the days before laparoscopic surgery), for the period of time during which the surgeon's hand is actually inside the womans body (and remember, the surgeon is growing, if he stopped growing he would die), the woman owns the surgeon? And his life is at her whim?

I'm pretty sure this is the logical conclusion of this argument. Correct me if/where I'm wrong.

Aaron Kinney said...

Re: Anonymous,

I'm just checking. Self-owenership - you own your body.

Yes.

You own anything growing within your body.

No.

Therefore a woman owns a fetus; you have the right to destroy what you own, therefore the woman can destroy the fetus, no harm done.

Nope. You cant "kill a fetus" through self ownership, cause you are not that fetus/baby and you dont own it. But you can choose whether or not your body is carrying it. Its your womb, not the fetus' womb.

So can conjoined twins kill each other? What about conjoined twins who share organs?

I suppose that if they both agreed to, they could. But not otherwise.

I'm pretty sure based on the self-ownership argument, they would be allowed.

Well, mutually consentual interactions are allowed. But a suicide pact between conjoined twins is hardly comparable to a woman who terminates a pregnancy.

Moreover - skin cells regenerate. So if a woman is undergoing a surgery (admittedly, this is back in the days before laparoscopic surgery), for the period of time during which the surgeon's hand is actually inside the womans body (and remember, the surgeon is growing, if he stopped growing he would die), the woman owns the surgeon? And his life is at her whim?

Dont be ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Many people here said that the Fetus cannot be considered part of the mother because they have different genes. A tumor also has a different set of DNA. In fact, many cells in the body have mutations and therefore have a different set of DNA. Also the sperm and egg cells in the body contain a different set of DNA from the body. Therefore, since we consider these parts of us, ... us, we should also consider a Fetus as part of a women.

godisadultsimaginaryfriend said...

Paul Manata,

Are you against ALL abortions?

-If yes: this is totally sick and repugnant in terms of rape and incest.

-If not then why are you willing to make an exception? Didn't god cause this?

In both answers, you are being either disgusting by forcing a woman to carry her rapist's child, or you are being inconsistent with your belief that human life starts with the fertilization of the egg

epoch. Apparel said...

In contest with the tumor argument:

when addressing this idea, we must think of potential in both a tumor and a fetus. They both grow, they both contain dna of their host, therefore they both belong to their host. this i understand. but if a tumor and a fetus are so identical in circumstance, when a tumor grows up, can it talk to you? can a tumor get a job, fight poverty, combat hunger, play professional sports?

the progression of the tumor is stopped when it is removed, but it is not losing out on any real opportunities. when a child is aborted, its potential is obliterated.

we cannot therefore rightly compare a tumor to a fetus. if we could then it would make sense for everyone to abort their babies, because a tumor--whether malignant or benign, are a nuisance.

no one in there right mind would hang on to a tumor because it was benign. it is a very small percentage of women who die in childbirth, especially in comparison to those whose lives are threatened by tumors.

you never know what your baby will become. abortion is selfish. adoption is devine.

AlienMilitia said...

I would be DELIGHTED to share with all of the readers exactly why a fetus is different from a tumor. Here is a list of reasons.

-Between the 18th- 20th day after fertilization the fetus's heart begins to beat.
-At 6 weeks, the fetus develops brain waves.
-At 8 weeks, all of the fetus's body systems are present, including tiny eyes, ears, fingers, amd toes.
-At the moment of fertilization, the fetus has a unique genetic makeup, half of the chromosomes, from his/her mother, half from his/her father- just like every other human being on the planet.

Anyone who would like to inquire futher into why I and so many others believe abortion should be illegal, please post a follow-up comment, I will reply A.S.A.P.

Anyone who is considering an abortion PLEASE post a follow-up comment. I will give you more information. If anyone is considering an abortion, please become informed on how this abortion may affect you. If you would like, you can post a follow-up comment and I will gladly inform you. I do not blame anyone for considering an abortion and I would NEVER give false information. If you believe I am biased, I encourage you to find someone neutral who knows the facts to inform you.

Thank you for allowing me to post the facts!

Aaron Kinney said...

Re: AlienMilitia,

You totally missed the point of my post. My argument in favor of abortion is independent of the amount of development of the child/fetus. Nothing you said has any relevance to the arguments I presented in this blogpost.

Oli said...

Premise one: Individuals own their bodies

Premise two: A Foetus is an individual

Conclusion: Abortion = killing an individual = murder.


Foetus' are not tumors, mainly because tumors do not have a heartbeat, are not alive, and will never be born. And they look nothing like humans, which interestingly enough, unborn babies do.

Stop looking at abortion from a black-and-white medical perspectve. Abortion is the killing of a child, which is a horrific practice, however you like to justify it.

Jon Spayde said...

Of course you will not accept the arguments that just precede mine because the core of your position is your denial of a specific privilege to human, or even sentient, life over other types of life.

This allows you to deny any privilege to the sentience of the fetus; indeed it underlies your comparison of fetus with tumor. Both are "human," in a sense that is mainly classificatory and does not appear to contain a value judgment. Sentience does not confer any special status on an entity that would modify the ownership concept. And humanity, a form of sentient life, enjoys no special privilege on the tree of life, or chain of being, either.

You contrast this position with religious points of view to which you are intensely opposed. But I wonder if one even needs to invoke religion. There are nearly universal social taboos against, for example, cannibalism. As social beings we have a horror of cannibalism that derives entirely from our privileging of sentient humanity over sentient animality in the choice of our foodstuffs. The taboo against murder, in a society that condones the killing of animals, is another example.

I am certain you do not condone murder or cannibalism. These two examples seem to suggest that certain taboos define who and what we are by virtue of our attitude toward the taking of the life of our species. They are acts of definition without which we would be morally and socially adrift, not mere speciesism, in my view. While there are religious and spiritual means of understanding these taboos, and they may have a religious and spiritual basis, I hardly think an atheist or agnostic would reject them on those grounds.

SO if it be granted that, in certain crucial instances, the privileging of human sentience is universally seen as legitimate in human social arrangements, the question of the fetus' humanity does need to be weighed against the right of ownership, if it exists, of a woman over her womb. To dismiss this weighing, the only thing you can do is deny the fetus this privileged status as an example of human sentience. Then there is no problem, a fetus can be compared with a tumor or an encyclopedia, and can be owned without qualm.

This seems quite possible at early stages of pregnancy, and much more difficult later on. We are back to a developmental argument.In the last week of pregnancy, an abortion would kill something that, while growing in a woman's womb, and thus qualifying as an owned object in your scheme, would be difficult not to see as an example of this human sentience that we protect with the taboos I mentioned.

I find it difficult to imagine that you see these taboos as prejudices.

super dude said...

This is a question for Aaron:

I have read your argument at the top of this page, and much (but not all) of the comments made about it.

My question is -- When, if ever, does a fetus cease being the property of his/her mother?

Also, if there is a point in time when a fetus no longer belongs to the mother -- what is the reason for the change of ownership?

I ask this, because I was thinking about the various things in my body and I realized that I retain ownership of them even if they come out. So I wondered if fetuses should be an exception to this general rule, in your opinion.

Thanks,
Super Dude

super dude said...

Aaron,

I was recently contemplating an owner's right to destroy his/her property. It seemed to me that this might not be an absolute property (you know, sometimes destroying something you own can harm someone else, or their property). So I looked it up--I found an interesting definition of owner:

Owner – The person in whom is vested the ownership, dominion, or title of property; proprietor. He who has dominion of a thing, real or personal, corporeal or incorporeal, which he has a right to enjoy and do with as he pleases, even to spoil or destroy it, as far as the law permits, unless he be prevented by some agreement or covenant which restrains his right.
Black’s Law Dictionary 1105 (6th ed. 1990).

Owner – One who has the right to possess, use, and convey something; a proprietor.
Black’s Law dictionary 1130 (7th ed. 1999).

So what I noticed is that in the 1990 version there were distinct limitations on an owner's right to destroy his/her property. And in the 1999 version the right to destroy is totally excluded.

What do you think about this? Does this have any affect on your argument?

Oh, and please don't let these questions prevent you from responding to my question in the previous post!

Thanks,
Super-Dude

Anonymous said...

I didn't bother to read the many responses you've received, but I can confidently say your argument is faulty. Premises one and three are both faulty.

"Premise One: Individuals own their bodies, and everything that is growing within them."

Keyword here is everyTHING. I would agree people "own" everything that grows in their body, but does that assumption extend to someONE growing their body? Is it possible to "own" another person? Okay, okay, fine. Let's grant that premise. So, moving on to premise three.

"Premise Three: Individuals may destroy that which they own."

So, I own my dog...does that make it okay for me to suck her brains out through the back of her neck, then discard her body in a dumpster? How about I expose her to a volatile chemical that burns her so badly it kills her? Or, if we pretend like that's not how abortions are performed, we can be more general: what if I abandon her in an environment that I know will kill her? Does my ownership entitle me to be inhumane? Clearly, it does not.

Oh, but wait. You have a rebuttle for my point: a sadistic "tumor" analogy. Any reasonable person can see that it is a faulty analogy--tumors are not living beings. Even if they were, they aren't human beings. So you have a rebuttle for this objection:

"The main objection voiced to my tumor/fetus analogy is that fetuses are human, while tumors are not. While I understand this objection, I cannot take it seriously. Evolution teaches us that there is a singular Tree of Life. Every living thing is on that tree, representing a branch or a branch from a branch [from a branch]. Given the fact that all living things are on the same Tree of Life, I find it impossible to say that one living thing has more inherent value than another living thing."

Oh, right! So you're begging the question. According to you, the reason an unborn baby doesn't have the right to life is because humans don't have a right to life. Oh, wait.

You've all ready conceded that fetuses are humans. So you're excuse to explain that we can murder them is because humans don't have a right to life in the first place? Your argument makes no sense.

If you have some argument that doesn't go in a circle or utilize faulty analogies, I'd like to hear it. In the meantime, I think I've made my case.

Anonymous said...

You the author once were a one celled organism and you are now a 1000000+ cell organism. Had I destroyed you at the first cell you and your life would have been taken from you. If I kill you now, you and your life are destroyed. This obviously is the same and obviously nobody ever has the right to do that.

What I fail to understand is why objective people wish to argue that the unknown potential (as they believe it) to take life is defendable and why they would want to defend it?

AstralTeapot said...

There is a major fallacy in any argument that tries to assert a fetus' rights. It is quite simple really. I will even concede that a fetus is an individual and sentient because frankly, it is irrelevant. Why is this? Because even if we classify it as "human" from conception, no human has a right to live inside an other human's body. That's all there is to it. If a fetus is capable of living outside its host's body then so be it. Preform a C section and allow it to live. However no 1st or 2nd trimester fetus could survive outside of a mother's womb. Most early 3rd trimester fetuses couldn't survive outside of a mother's womb. Therefore it may have a right live, but it doesn't matter because it doesn't have a right to live inside an other human.

Here's an aproximately correct analogy:

A man has a failing kidney and (having already lost his other kidney) will die without a transplant. His brother has two perfectly healthy kidneys and could easily donate one saving his brother however chooses not to. The man with kidney failure has the right live but not the right live by means of intruding on anothers rights to Self- Ownership.

The brother cannot be forced to share his kidney anymore than a women can be forced to share her body/ nutrients/ blood supply. Regardless of whether or not you think that the brother should have given up a kidney because it was the "moral" thing to do, he does not have to as he has the right to Self- Ownership stating that the kidney is his to control. Likewise, a women's womb is hers and only hers, so if she does not wish for a fetus to be in her womb, it has not right to be there.

That said, this is brilliant argument. It is simple yet (if one is objective and honest about the facts) quite unshakable.

soft said...

There is another more defensible version of this self ownership argument, and it is that

1) A person owns themselves

2) Self ownership implies the right to free will

3) In having free will, you cannot have a duty to perform any affirmative actions.

Conclusion-- You have no duty to provide another with the means to live.

Therefore it is permissible to remove anything classified as a separate entity from your body.


Feel free to reword it if you think you can put it better.

Anonymous said...

If a woman owns everything in her body, which is there by natural means, then does that imply that during intercourse a woman would possess a man's penis? If that case were true, then would it be acceptable for a woman to insert a sperm activated penis slicer inside her vagina as a means of birth control? And if she did would she be held liable for cutting her husbands penis off if she didn't inform him of such a device and he did not pull out fast enough?

If individuals can destroy what they own then why is it a crime to buy 100 dogs and shoot them for target practice? You own the dogs; it should be your right to destroy them.

As for ownership of the womb: if a woman consents to knowingly engage in an activity that could result in life, shouldn't she bear the responsibility of that decision? If you break into a house knowing your activity could result in imprisonment should you be given the option to decided whether or not your body in placed in a jail cell? Or as many child support judges would say “You should of thought of before she got pregnant.”
If a woman controls everything that is in her body then why doesn't she abort a fetus by natural means?

The idea of abortion in the United States goes against our very charter (the Declaration of Independence).
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
It doesn't state that "all men were BORN with certain inalienable rights", it says they were CREATED with these rights.... If the method used to create the being did not infringe on the woman's rights through consensus of sexual activity, then the right's of the person become "endowed upon them by their creator" to have "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" upon creation, not birth. So if a woman consents to engaging in an activity that that creates life, then that woman must endow her creation with the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It doesn’t matter when life begins, it matters where creation begins, and creation begins when the cell first divides and continues throughout adulthood until death.
(if this gets posted twice please delete the first one... kinda new to blog commenting)

Anonymous said...

P.S.
If the woman owns everything inside her body then why is she unable to keep the fetus inside her body for more than nine months? I don't know of many tumors with the ability to remove themselves from a persons body and I'm fairly certain if there were any the doctors would just let the tumor expelle itself rather than surgically remove it.

Anonymous said...

I think the previous post makes a good point. I'd like to see the responses to that.

Anonymous said...

The baby doesn't develop consciousness until 6 months, and that's only basic animal-like functions. At that point the baby become an individual, therefore you cannot kill it, but you can remove it. Before than it (yes IT) cannot feel anything, just respond to prodding and whatnot.

Anonymous said...

Over the years I have been somewhat back and forth on the abortion issue. Then we had our first baby boy. Seeing his smile for the first time was truly an amazing moment in my life.
Question: Has anyone responding in favor of pro-choice actually had a baby?
I just don't think anyone in their right mind would want to destroy a human being at any stage after seeing their own come into this world.
Question for the Pro-Choice People: Want to see what your advocating for? Please spend some time on this site and find out what you are actually saying.
www.abort73.com
I know your blog is more about the theory of rights and property...in which you will never reach a conclusion and for this abortion will continue. Can't we just stop for a second and realize what abortion really is. It's ending a human life. Tragic

Anonymous said...

http://www.abort73.com/preview/images/abortion/abortion-24-01.jpg

....Take a look at this link....
This is what made me take a strong position on Pro-life. There is no arguing that this is a human being that has been murdered.

Horatio Marius said...

"Premise One: Individuals own their bodies, and everything that--by natural means--is growing within them."

I believe this is the main premise. Well, it is not sustainable. Which I am to show below alongside with the consequences derived.

1. Even if we can concede that all that is in my body is owned by my person, the truth is that I am never conscious about everything that takes place in it. In fact, I can not say that I can decide about my body in an absolute manner. No normal human been can ever own its own body in an absolute sense. If I own my body absolutely, then I must be able to control everything in it. I obviously do not since I can not control in an absolute sense my metabolism, my heartbeats, my fatigue, my hunger, my sleep and so on. I can not control my neurovegetative system.
2. That implies the fact that there are, in my body, things who occur without my consent or will (a disease, an inhibition, pain etc.), therefore my body is always inhabited in the same time by myself and by something else that is completely out of my control and even my knowledge.
3. The facts that occur in my body and that are beyond my control or knowledge impose limits to my self-ownership.
4. Then, this self-ownership is merely a nominal property that I can claim in a juridical or political context in order to limit or banish the illegitimate involvement of other individuals in the sphere of my physical individuality.
5. Because the order of nature that is inscripted in my body is one of the limits that is put to my self-ownership, I can not pretend that all that comes through this way of nature into my body is at my disposal organically nor juridically or politically.
6. When the order of nature is respected and the well-being of others are linked to my body, there may be legitimate interventions upon it (my body) that may come even against my will.
7. A fetus comes legitimately in the body of a woman, with respect to the laws of nature.
8. The fetus is not only the effect of natural processes the origins of which can not be owned in an absolute sense, but is also a totally different individual, regardless of the place that it resides in, regardless of its physical form and age.
9. As every other individual, the fetus has its own rights to individuality as the woman in the womb of whom she is located.
10. The fetus can not be owned by the woman in cause because of two reasons:
a) the fetus is one of the forms by whom that which alienates my body comes to presence with respect to the laws of nature.
b) the fetus is another subject that can not be manipulated, disposed of or decided upon in an absolute sense, concerning her existence or suppression of her inherent qualities or attributes.
11. Hence, abortion of the fetus is contrary to the laws of nature, to the limits of self-ownership, human subject rights and, therefore, profoundly immoral, highly detrimental and deeply harmful to human society conducting to most evil consequences.
12. Thus, abortion is to be banished from all society built upon the rules of rights of man seen as a conscious and free subject.

****************

I considered the ideas developed and inscripted above as rational evidences untill I read the dispute on this blog. Now I see that there still are occasions when the obvious must be made logically constrictive to become even more obvious.

Quite bizarre...

I Am Emily A said...

After reading all this, I must give my reasons for being against abortion, as many of these arguments are absolutely illogical and biased.

I have seen the tumor vs. fetus argument, and frankly, it is quite stupid. It is true, tumors have no ability to become human, and malignant tumors that mutate DNA are unnatural occurrences, whereas a fetus becoming a baby-- yes, it does eventually become a baby and later an adult, quite naturally, as many people seem to forget-- is a perfectly normal and systematic event.

The reason why you claim the personhood issue doesn't to apply to your argument, Aaron, is that it completely discredits it. If your whole point is taken down by the fact that fetuses are people and not objects or organs to be owned, then you have no more explaining to do. Your point doesn't matter in the abortion issue at all.

On a similar note, the whole "not allowing a person to live in a person" thing is also no good. It is allowed by everyone who gets pregnant and chooses to have the child. If the pregnant woman doesn't want to have it, there are ways to STOP that without killing off the product of your carelessness. Also, rape cases make up 1% of all annual abortions, so that is a moot point to argue.

We're talking about the people who simply don't want to spend 9 months helping another human being into the world and then letting it be adopted. As for adoptions leading to unwanted or abused children, the majority of abuse cases happen to children who were neither accidents nor adoptions. That's for adults to work out, not the children.

Also, bringing Christianity or Atheism into this argument is a smokescreen. Yes, many Christians are against abortion, but there are far more reasons that are objective, scientific and logical beyond that. Your religion may dictate your view for or against abortion, but in reality it has nothing to do with it except your motives for being opinionated. I am Christian, but that is not why I disagree with abortion.

If you are going to argue for or against this act, do it well. Leave your other opinions out of it if you can and argue on the main point.

Samus37 said...

I would like to put my input into this, although it might have been said already as I only read about half of the comments.

Regardless of whether the fetus is human or not, in the pro-life opinion, abortion is the murder of a life. I do know and have known farmers that have killed their cows or pigs etc. because it had a baby growing inside of it. Where do we draw the line between the worth and value of humans and animals? If we can kill animals at will, without legal punishment (excepting dogs, cats, domesticated animals) then what reason would we have to not abort a fetus? As far as I am concerned, we are all of the same value. If you put value in play, then how do you put an underdeveloped, half-human in front of a fully grown 5 year old dog? I don't see how a non-thinking, non-breathing bundle of tissue can be of more importance than something already born. Putting value into play really only hurts the pro-life argument, in my opinion.

All in all, I completely agree with your argument on self-ownership.

Horatio Marius said...

"Regardless of whether the fetus is human or not, in the pro-life opinion, abortion is the murder of a life."

********

The pro-life opinion is not at all indifferent to the humanity of the fetus. Considering abortion a crime is motivated exactly by the fact that humanity is defined by the presence in the human being of something that transcends the natural order. The first sign of this presence (or absence of the natural order) is the possibility and, eventually, the act of the conscious reflection. That is the border that separates us from animals and makes the killing of a human being a crime in itself, while the killing of an animal is not a crime in itself (though it may become an object for the penal law only for ecological considerations).

Thus, your comment is marked by sophistry - when you postulated that for the pro-life position there would not be any difference between human and non-human (statement that is patently false), you already decided that there is no difference between the termination of human life and animal life. There you committed a "petitio principii" making impossible to give an answer that would deny your position if the premise that you tried to implicate would have passed by silently. In other terms you have already given the answer to your own question by the premise invoked, before asking that very question.

concernedforhumanity said...

I have not read everything that has been posted on this page, and if I have repeated something that another person has said, I apologize. I am a pro-lifer.

I have a problem with your claim of self-ownership. I have to ask you what constitutes a 'self'. When does a fetus turn from property into its own self, deserving of its own ownership? You have repeatedly rejected the claim that a fetus is a human purely by stating that it is irrelevant whether the fetus is human or not, because a woman invariably has the right to that which is in her body.

I have an example which is quite odd and I may be shooting myself in the foot by saying it, but I will nonetheless. Consider an enormous woman. There is a two year old child sitting next to her. They are on the north pole. The child is freezing to death because she has no clothes on. In order to save her, the woman cuts a hole in her stomach and the two year old child is placed in her stomach to keep warm.

I am aware that this is a very bizarre situation, but I believe it to be physically plausible, at least for a little while until the large woman dies. I have to ask, does the woman have the rights to ownership of everything in her body, as you claim? The child is in her body and would not be able to survive external to the large woman. This satisfies both of your requirements for a woman who owns that which is inside her. But I must ask, does the woman intuitively become the owner of the child? Is it acceptable that this child is killed? I believe that the consideration of whether or not the fetus is human is very relevant to the situation.

George said...

Thanks you for your common sense approach to the arguement. Frankly, I cannot understand how anyone in their right mind can think otherwise.

Anonymous said...

ok Zachary Moore you are todays winner...

this ones too easy...

1st} in the clone part..the woman would be giving concent to do so and it would be part of her body...but its hers...not a new babys..

2ed } in the organ transplant one you are recieving an organ from someone who is 1 dead and gave concent to be an organ donar. or 2. is a willing person in the transplant and again the key word gave CONCENT!


and now to the main posting. yes you own everything that is YOU yourself meening anything that can be ID'ed as you IE genetic code.

ok here we go Aaron Kinney the cancer card...weak... cancer is something that forms in you NOT by choice..unless you smoke drink alot ECT.ECT now by preforming the act of sex you are concenting that you may in fact become pregnant (unless you are male) you make a choice to have sex. so you should own up to what you did. you kill someone you pay the price. you steal you pay the price. you have sex. you pay the price. abortion is a bailot. why dont we hook the killers up with something? they own the gun? why cant they shoot it were they want with out worry?!?!?

what ever. tear me apart i dont care. Me and Jesus are gonna go do some reading.!

~Ryan

Etienne said...

Looking at:

"Premise One: Individuals own their bodies, and everything that is growing within them."

I would ask for clarification on the term 'individual'. For instance, we speak of 'the fetus', it is a thing, alike in some respects to 'the tumor'. Is the fetus an individual?

If the fetus is an individual, is not the ownership of all within the fetus, owned by the fetus.

If the fetus is aborted, doesn't this entail the coercion of the fetus--as all within the fetus, that which the fetus owns, would be destroyed as well. Yet, according to the argument as I read it, such a destruction would be unwarranted.

Can one extend ownership-rights to the fetus as well as the mother? And how does this effect the argument?

I haven't read all the comments, so excuse me if this has been mentioned, but there were so many diatribes of "personhood" and humanity's specialness, which have no currency in this argument, that I got bored and jumped to make this comment.

Anonymous said...

"Premise One: Individuals own their bodies, and everything that is growing within them."

Those disagreeing with this premise fail to recognize that a woman carrying the fetus is in fact the legal guardian of it up until she chooses to transfer guardianship over to someone else. As a legal guardian, it is up to her to make the wisest decisions for both her and the baby's best interest. If the guardian is unable to look after the baby, and the guardians moral beliefs consist of blood-relatives being the most viable way to raise a happy child, then by no means should someone else be able to tell her otherwise.

Ultimately, this argument comes down to a person's moral beliefs. This debate could go on forever and until Pro-life believers choose to recognize that pro-choice is not a synonym to pro-murder or pro-abortion, their argument remains a weak one. Just because someone believes that abortion ultimately is okay, does not mean that they believe it should be executed unecessarily and unethically. Pro-choice is a grey area, showing empathy to both the fetus and the woman. Whereas, pro-life is black and white, only considering the perspective of the fetus. A good argument looks at all perspectives so please explain why this would be any different?

Trif said...

"Those disagreeing with this premise fail to recognize that a woman carrying the fetus is in fact the legal guardian of it up until she chooses to transfer guardianship over to someone else."

I can't believe what I just read.

Why not recognize the mother the right to terminate the life of the infant until he or she becomes of age to attain majority? After all, until that age she still is the legal guardian of the child...

And since when does legal guardianship offer the right to decide if somebody dies or lives?

dude...dude said...

So if you have ownership of everything in your body and that includes a fetus, would it be ok to torture the fetus?

Life doesnt have morals or absolutes. Its like a rock, its just their. Nobody really owns anything, you can make ownership of something but having something inside your body just means that you have something inside your body.

As someone said above why do you think that you should have ownership of yourself yet deny someone else (the fetus) ownership of themselves other than you have the smarts to understand the concept and the physical power to do so.

Anonymous said...

What a lod of hogwash.