Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Paul Manata Takes a Stab at Abortion

I recently got into a little debate over abortion in the comments section of Pressing the Antithesis, and it apparently got Paul Manata all fired up. So fired up in fact, that he wrote an eight thousand and ten word essay about my pro-choice (Manata calls it pro-murder) position, and why he thinks its wrong.

Manata's blog entry is entitled The Illogic of "Pro-Choice".

If you have lots of time to kill, go ahead and give it a read. It’s very long. I printed it out in notepad with all formatting removed (plain text) and it was still thirteen pages. That's a lot of writing for replying to a small handful of comments I made, but I guess it just shows that this topic is very important to Manata. Nothing wrong with that of course, but quite honestly I must admit that I am not as passionate about abortion as Manata is. Therefore, I'm going to try to keep this blog entry short, and I imagine that Manata will not like that I won't respond to everything he wrote, but I don't want to give my readers an eight thousand word response.

Manata first talks about an abortion rally he went to where he out-debated some British college girls, and then he turns to me and my argument:

Some may be upset that I've picked on a British feminist (though she told me that she was on the speech and debate team at her college) and a drunk man. Well, enter Aaron Kinney. Though some may say that he's a worse example to use for the pro-murder cause because he's an Objectivist (even though he doesn't like to be called that), I don't buy it! And, at least Aaron fancies himself an intellectual, as well as do the kids at gods4suckers. So, let's look at some of these claims Aaron makes in the comments section (linked above).


I'm not an objectivist, no. I used to be, but now I like to consider myself and individualist. But as far as Manata and this argument are concerned, it’s irrelevant. My worldview is still very similar to that of objectivism.

Originally Aaron entered the combox and asked, "I am curious, why are you against abortion?" I mentioned that I thought my post made it self-explanatory. I also said that his defense would hinge on how he defined a "human." Simply put, if Aaron is against the murder of humans, and if the unborn is a human, then Aaron is against the murder of the unborn human.


The pigeonholing begins immediately. Manata insists that my pro-choice argument must hinge on the definition of "human"! This is because it’s the only way Manata can mount his attack, but he doesn't want his readers to know that. In Manata's world of Christian master-slave God worship, consent and self-ownership are foreign concepts. All Manata can understand is 1) coercion, and 2) how to apply it according to his definitions. My argument rests not on whether the fetus is a human, but who's in control of the womb, and Manata doesn't want to fight that battle. Instead, he tries to pigeonhole me into the "definition of what is human" argument.

Manata then gives his argument:

My argument is: If Aaron is against the murder of humans, and if the unborn is a human, then Aaron is against the murder of the unborn human. Aaron is against the murder of humans. Therefore Aaron is against the murder of the unborn human. Murder shall be defined as the unlawful taking of life. Let's now see if Aaron is against the murder of humans.


Paul correctly states that I am against the murder of humans, and that includes unborn humans. Paul then says "murder shall be defined as the unlawful taking of life." Already, Paul defeated himself. Why? Because aborting a fetus (or unborn human) is not "unlawful" in America, and therefore, it is not murder. Paul even quotes the penal code later in his post, and admits that it is not illegal to have an abortion by a licensed physician, but then he still claims that its "murder"! Paul wants to have his cake and eat it too. He says that murder is unlawful, but when abortion is found not to always be against the law (when the woman consents and its performed by a doctor), then Manata attacks the law itself with a quote from George Koukl. Which law system is abortion illegal to in Manata's world? Is Manata's definition of murder changing, or when he says "unlawful" does he only mean his own imaginary law, or is it something else?

Paul attempts to clarify further down the post:

In none of these reasons do we find that killing a fetus (homicide) is justified. Since it is not justified, then it is unjustified. If it is unjustified, then the taking of the life of the fetus is murder. Since it is a living human, then to take its life in an unjustified way is to commit murder. And so, Aaron, that's how abortion is murder.


The goalposts are shifting at his convenience. Now all of a sudden, according to Paul, murder can still be murder even if it isn't "unlawful". His argument about murder and unlawfulness fails to get off the ground.

Paul spouts off for a few more paragraphs, using his above argument (which I showed is not "unlawful" anyway) and my own words to show that I am against murder, which I am. Then Paul insists that the argument must revolve around the definition of what a human is. Again, he cannot understand any argument that hinges on self-ownership; he can only understand arguments that hinge on some unspecified laws that are handed down either from 1) the State, or 2) his imaginary God.

Paul then begins more hard-core pigeonholing:

As I have shown, this debate must, of logical necessity, center on the definition of a human. Again this is because of the logical implication of these propositions:

1. Aaron is against the murder of human persons.
2. If the unborn being is a human person, then Aaron is against murdering it.

Now, let's say that I add this premise:
3. The unborn being is a human person.

We would have to draw this conclusion.
4. Therefore, Aaron is against murdering it.


So far so good. But the paragraph that follows is rather half-baked:

Therefore, by Aaron's own hand, his position logically leads us to the conclusion that Aaron would be against abortion if the unborn being was a human. The only way out of this for Aaron is if the unborn being is not a human. The only way for Aaron to get out of the dilemma, in other words, is if he can define 'human' in such a way that excludes the unborn being from that class.


BZZZT! Wrong answer! Paul wants us to think that the only way out of this is to play with the definition of what a human is. But that is not the case. Paul said, "Aaron would be against abortion if the unborn being was a human," but this assumes that abortion is "murder," which I have shown that it is not, despite Paul’s attempts to shift definitions.

Paul continues:

I had originally noted this in the combox, but Aaron responded that "[his] reasons for supporting abortion do not hinge on [his] definition of human life.” But, and here's the crucial "if," if the unborn being is a human than, according to Aaron, he is against its murder. Aaron must grant this.


I love it when someone I am disagreeing with provides me with an argument, and then I concede their point, and then point out that the condition they challenged me on can be conceded while keeping my defense intact, therefore proving their argument to be fallacious.

Just watch: Yes I am against the murder of an unborn human. I grant this, as Manata says I must. For example, shooting a pregnant woman in the womb is a no-no. But I am not against abortion, because abortion is not the "unlawful" killing of an unborn human as defined in Manata's argument.

Paul continues:

Aaron fudges a bit. He comments after much prodding by some other commenters that he needs to "clear this up." He then tells us that his "argument is not CENTERED on the definition of a human." "However, the definition of what is a human does come in to play to some degree..." He fails to tell us to what extent this definition "come[s] in to play." What he must admit, given the above analysis, is that the definition is central.


Actually I did state to what degree the definition of a human comes in to play. I stated that it comes in to play when I keep getting asked what my definition of human is by all the Christians who cannot understand that my argument rests on self-ownership. I do not admit that the definition of what a human is, is central to the argument.

My main premise is: A woman has the right to control her own body at all times. Note that the definition of human does not come in to play in my main premise. The problem is that Christians don't acknowledge individualism or self-ownership, since everyone is supposed to submit to their grand sky-fairy authority that supposedly owns everyone in the first place.

Paul then gets a few jollies by nitpicking the shit out of my informal definition of human (from a comments section no less) as if it were supposed to be some scientific, uber-specific definition. Observe:

Aaron's Definition of Human:

One gets the idea that Aaron senses the force of all of this and so he throws out a definition of 'human.' Aaron tells us that the definition of a human is"

"[A] "human" is defined as an organism that can survive outside the womb."

Okay, let me slowly think through this, here is a small list of "organism[s] that can survive outside the womb:"

A plant is an organism that can survive outside the womb.
A tetra hydra is an organism that can survive outside the womb.
An amoeba is an organism that can survive outside the womb.
An ant is an organism that can survive outside the womb.
So this must be why Aaron does not have a problem with abortion. He doesn't have a problem killing bugs and eating vegetables! No, this can't be what he meant. He must have meant that:

"A human is an organism that can survive outside of its own mother's womb."

There, is that better? Hardly. Here's another small list:

A rat is an organism that can survive outside of its own mother's womb.
A three-toed sloth is an organism that can survive outside of its own mother's womb.
A platypus is an organism that can survive outside of its own mother's womb.
A dog is an organism that can survive outside of its own mother's womb.
On Aaron's definition a 'human' can be almost anything except, say, a table!


Paul is so childish with this that its almost sad. Is he writing this just to be funny, or is it a desperate attempt to strike out at any level of ambiguity I may have allowed in my definition of what a human is in the hopes of making me look worse in his own eyes? I'm not sure.

But let's take a close look at what I said was a human: "...is defined as an organism that can survive outside the womb." A few things are assumed in my definition, and it was in no way meant to be taken to the extreme literal degree that Manata took it. I'm not writing a biology book here. Any John Doe reader of the comments section would have understood that I was talking about homo sapien fetuses that are newly conceived and developing inside the wombs of homo sapien women. To call up plants, ants, and rats is frankly quite immature and only serves as a waste of reading time.

Paul then confuses what an abortion actually is:

Now, let's take abortion by saline solution. This method chemically burns the live baby. Upon analysis, then, Aaron has just admitted that it is okay to chemically burn a human being (the baby in the picture could survive outside the womb) because someone else wants to. This human, then, was put to death. What justification is there for this?


This chemical burn scenario isn't an abortion according to my definition of the word "abortion". My definition of "abortion" coincides with the Dictionary.com definition, which is: "Termination of pregnancy and expulsion of an embryo or of a fetus that is incapable of survival." Because Paul said that the baby in the picture could survive outside the womb, then it wasn't an abortion.

Now Paul's argument fails on all levels, and I have shown that my argument does not center on the definition of what a human is. Observe my argument:

A woman has the right to control her body at all times. She has the right to terminate her pregnancy whenever she wishes, because her womb is her own, and nobody else's. A human is a fetus that is developed enough to survive if it were to leave the womb. An abortion is the artificial termination of a pregnancy of a fetus or embryo that cannot survive outside the womb.

So, abortions only happen to non-humans. Otherwise it's just prematurely induced labor. An 8 month old baby can be prematurely removed from the womb and survive on it's own. The chemical scenario Paul provided wasn't even an abortion at all! It was induced labor coupled with a chemical death. Two separate actions. I imagine that Paul would equate government-enforced Chinese infanticide with "abortion" just to demonize abortion itself, despite the fact that they commonly wait until natural birth occurs and then murder the baby in a separate act.

I want to touch on something I find amusing. Paul says:

Furthermore, Aaron seems to be guilty of sizism. That is, because the fetus is small (a lump of cells) then it is less than a real person. But, it is exactly the right size it should be. It is the size we all were at this stage in our development, just like a toddler is the size he is and Aaron is the size he is (I'm speaking vertically, not mentally). Moreover, as Steve Wagner as appropriately labeled this, to discriminate based on level of development could be called, developmentalism. Should we also kill mentally retarded people because of their level of development?


Lets agree with Paul and take it to the extreme. I'm talking about Sperm and Eggs. Masturbating into a sink, or having one's girlfriend swallow, should equate with murder in Paul's "development" argument. What about periods? Every 28 days, does a woman kill her baby if she menstruates due to a failure to get pregnant? This development argument of Paul's is ridiculous. Unless, of course, Paul is against "ejaculation without insemination" or "menstruation before insemination." At least then he would be consistent.

Obviously, the definition of what is human is central to Paul's argument, while my argument uses it as an accessory or just another step in the chain of logic. When does Paul define a living organism/cell or whatever as "human"? I imagine that Paul defines "human" at the start of when an egg first gets fertilized. Isn't that also a case of "developmentalism"? Why should Paul exclude the sperm and egg that are not yet joined from the definition of "human"? Does Paul consider a single blood cell to be human, and to destroy it is murder? I should hope so, otherwise Paul is also guilty of "sizism."

Paul then compares me to Hitler:

Thus there is nothing that distinguishes Aaron from a human fetus other than physical appearance, location, and level of development. Since all Aaron is is a "clump of cells" then on Aaron's own terms, he's not a human. Aaron allows for his own death, again! Not only that, but his illogic is the illogic of Hitler, and every other genocidal maniac.


A slippery slope applies here that Paul will slip down on, because of the fact that his argument is based on what a human is. I contend that sperm and eggs (from the genitalia of homo sapiens) are also human, because the only thing that distinguishes them from Paul is physical appearance, location, and level of development, just like he said in regards to the difference between a fetus and me.

As a funny aside, if I'm Hitler, then what is Paul's God? Hitler times infinity? I contend that if God exists, then He is responsible for more terminated pregnancies and deaths over the ages than any one man ever was. But of course, the same rules that apply to us don't apply to Paul's sky-dictator. For Paul's sky-dictator is above the rules. Sorry, but nobody is above the rules in my worldview. I make no exceptions for any self-proclaimed authority figure. But Paul does. I wonder why Paul doesn't condemn his God on the same grounds that he is condemning me on? Never mind, I already know: Because Paul subscribes to an immoral master-slave, theist-dictator, might = right worldview.

Paul eventually lays out my basic argument, and concedes (possibly unknowingly) that indeed my argument does not rest on the definition of human, but on the principle of self ownership:

His argument can be stated thusly:

1. If a woman owns her body then she can do whatever she wants with her body.
2. A woman owns her body.
3. Therefore a woman can do whatever she wants with her body.
4. If a woman cannot have an abortion, then she cannot do whatever she wants with her body.
5. But a woman can do whatever she wants with her body.
6. Therefore a woman can have an abortion.


Close enough. Paul then attempts to refute it:

Aaron's Argument For Women's Right to Abortion Refuted:

i. We should not that not only are his premises questionable, but some are also false. For example, even if a woman "owns her body" it is not true that "she can do whatever she wants with it." There are restrictions on what a woman (or, anyone!) can do with her body. For example, what if a woman "saw fit" to use a body part (her hand) to drive a knife through the heart of her husband while he sleeps?


Paul is mistaking entities. A woman can do whatever she wants with her own body, but a she cannot do whatever she wants with her husband's body. Again, the concepts of self-ownership, coercion, and consent all escape Paul's logic. This is expected, considering the immorality, self-ownership violation, and sanctioning of coercion that is found all throughout the Bible.

ii. This argument begs the question. If the fetus is a human person, with its own body (which should be obvious) then a woman is not doing what she wants with her body only, but she is also doing something to another body.


Here is where the definition of human comes in to play in my argument. Note though how it is not central to my argument. A human is a homo sapien at a stage of development where, if expelled from the womb, it can survive. And an abortion is the termination of a pregnancy of a fetus that cannot survive outside the womb. Why do I get the feeling that Paul will object (yet again) to my use of the dictionary?

iii. If x is identical to y then any property, P, that x has, y must be said to have. This is the law of identicals. Now, since a fetus can have a penis then does the woman have a penis? If not, then they are not identical bodies.


This one is hilarious. Let me answer Paul: A human being can have a vagina, a penis, or both, or portions of both, or neither. So my reply, actually, is that a human being doesn't have to lie within the "man" or "woman" labels to be human. Indeed, if Paul is correct that a human is a human at fertilization, when the fetus is one cell without any genitalia, then Paul's use of the word "woman" is inapplicable here. Besides, anyone who has seen the ads in a porno magazine knows that chicks can have dicks.

Paul goes on with more roman numerals, but I want to focus on one more specifically:

vi. Who says the woman has "complete ownership over her body?" As a Christian I deny this premise, and so it is up to Aaron to prove it, not beg the question against the theistic defense of the unborn.


Disgusting. The immorality of Paul's worldview is plain to see. So who owns a woman's body? Her husband? God? It doesn't matter, because any answer other than the woman herself is immoral and implies a master-slave relationship. This is so sick. And Paul has the nerve to say that it’s my burden to prove self-ownership. Absurd. I'm not getting into a burden of proof argument here because I don't want my reply to be 8,000 words, and I think all my readers know already why this attempt to put the burden of proof on my shoulders regarding self-ownership is ridiculous.

Paul then exposes his own arbitrary definitions of what is and is not human, and proves that he is guilty of the same things he accuses me of, namely sizism and developmentalism:

Aaron asks, "Would you define taking the morning after pill as murder?" I would call taking the morning after pill, after conception has occurred, murder, yes.

He asks, "Or what about pulling out just before ejaculation?" No.

Aaron "imagine[s] that [I] probably don’t define condoms or pulling out methods as murder, but [I] probably define the morning after pill as murder. If my assumption is true, then why is that?" Well, the simple answer is that a sperm cell isn't human.


Paul then lays out very plainly his disgusting master-slave worldview:

Aaron wants to know "If [I] could answer [a question] straightforward for me I would appreciate it. [I] said that you are sickened by these abortions... does that also include when God causes a woman to naturally miscarry (when God does the abortion)? Or does it only make you sick when humans do it?" Well, there's just a bit of a difference between God and man, Aaron. So, this is disanalagous. What God is free to do and what we are free to do is not the same. Your question is like asking, "what does yellow taste like?" It's a category mistake. All life is God's. He owns all life, and therefore can do with it as He pleases. Also, since all life is God's, and since He's all-just, then he always takes life lawfully, and therefore cannot be guilty of murder.


I feel gross just reading that. Might = Right talk, and Master-Slave talk always makes my skin crawl. Who's the Hitler now?

My pro-choice stance is consistent. Paul's arguments against choice are not. Paul's anti-choice arguments revolve around a master-slave relationship, while my pro-choice arguments revolve around self-ownership. Paul's anti-choice argument is immoral and inconsistent.

Look, it only took me about 4,000 words to reply! Although many words in that word count are words I quoted that Paul wrote. But damn this post is still way too long. Sorry about that everyone.

23 comments:

Aaron Kinney said...

Manata also just revealed the truth, that Jesus is not human:

Jesus Not Human

Zachary Moore said...

Aaron-

Good post, I'm right on board with you. Classic Manata projection- his argument rests on how he defines a human, not yours.

At any rate, any definition of "human" is arbitrary. Reproduction is a continuum of interrelated and interdependent chemical and cellular processes. Birth is a convenient distinction because it's a physical separation, that's all.

UberKuh said...

Jesus Christ.

Aaron Kinney said...

...is as real as Santa Claus.

TheJollyNihilist said...

Wow...Really long post there! Well worth reading, though.

Personally, I'm more pro-choice than anybody I know. Indeed, I reject the "pro-choice" label, generally. I prefer to call myself "pro-fetal ownership." That is, the fetus is the mother's personal property - she owns it.

I believe in a female's unrestricted, absolute right to abort her fetus. To me, whether it's 9 days or 9 months into the pregnancy, the absolute right to abort trumps all. My reasoning: Any entity growing within a person's body is that person's property, until such time as the entity stops growing within that person's body. Thus, until the moment of birth, the fetus is the mother's private property, analogous to a book or shoe. Personhood is irrelevant.

e-three said...

Aaron,

homo sapien fetuses

I think that is the first time I have ever heard that phraseology used... :-)

Paul then says "murder shall be defined as the unlawful taking of life." Already, Paul defeated himself. Why? Because aborting a fetus (or unborn human) is not "unlawful" in America, and therefore, it is not murder.

The way I read it Paul had 2 arguments. One where he posted California laws in the context of them being contradictory. He mentioned the care accident scenario with the abortion doctor and the woman on the way to get an abortion.. And another where he stated that a "law" did not make something right or wrong. He even gave the example of slaves and how they were considered by law to be property. These seemed like 2 separate arguments to me.

A woman has the right to control her body at all times. She has the right to terminate her pregnancy whenever she wishes, because her womb is her own, and nobody else's. A human is a fetus that is developed enough to survive if it were to leave the womb. An abortion is the artificial termination of a pregnancy of a fetus or embryo that cannot survive outside the womb.

Does "at all times" include women who are incarcerated?

1) If a woman has the right to control her body at all times then she can do whatever she wants with her body.
2) has the right to control her body at all times
3) Any restriction on a woman's right to control her body at all times is morally wrong.
4) Incarceration restricts a woman's right to control her body "at all times"
5) Therefore incarceration of a woman is immoral

Now you may say that if she breaks a law then she loses this right... would you agree? Then "at all times" would need to be modified.

What about this - would you agree with this:

1. If a woman owns her body then she can do whatever she wants with her body.
2. A woman owns her body.
3. Therefore a woman can do whatever she wants with her body.
4. If a woman cannot smoke crack, then she cannot do whatever she wants with her body.
5. But a woman can do whatever she wants with her body.
6. Therefore a woman can smoke crack.

Shouldn't there be some limits on what we can and can't do with our bodies?

A human is a homo sapien at a stage of development where, if expelled from the womb, it can survive.

An abortion is the termination of a pregnancy of a fetus that cannot survive outside the womb.


Would you not consider "late-term abortion" as abortion?

Lya Kahlo said...

I love watching men debate this topic. Esp "men" like Manata who would turn us into nothing more than walking incubators for his icky spawn.

Tell me, do you care about my thoughts on jock itch? How about prostate cancer? Erectile dysfunction?

I'm guessing no.

Aaron Kinney said...

Hello E-three,

I think that is the first time I have ever heard that phraseology used... :-)

We lke to make up phrases here. Like Christoids and pro-afterlifes and such hehe. ;)

The way I read it Paul had 2 arguments. One where he posted California laws in the context of them being contradictory. He mentioned the care accident scenario with the abortion doctor and the woman on the way to get an abortion.. And another where he stated that a "law" did not make something right or wrong. He even gave the example of slaves and how they were considered by law to be property. These seemed like 2 separate arguments to me.

But his "unlawful" muder definition was undermined because of the fact that abortion is not unlawful. If he did have two seperate arguments, he was changing the edefinitions of his terms between the two in order to fallaciously make them appear valid when they were in fact not valid.

Does "at all times" include women who are incarcerated?

Yes. Just because a woman is incarcerated doesnt mean she gives up her right to her own womb! Having to pay a penalty for a crime you commit doesnt include giving up ownership of your genitals.

Now you may say that if she breaks a law then she loses this right... would you agree? Then "at all times" would need to be modified.

Nope.

What about this - would you agree with this:

1. If a woman owns her body then she can do whatever she wants with her body.
2. A woman owns her body.
3. Therefore a woman can do whatever she wants with her body.
4. If a woman cannot smoke crack, then she cannot do whatever she wants with her body.
5. But a woman can do whatever she wants with her body.
6. Therefore a woman can smoke crack.


No I do not agree with your rephrasing of my argument.

Of course a woman can smoke crack. Women smoke crack every day. By the way, I am an anarchist and I believe that drug laws are all immoral. So I always support peoples right to pump as much drugs into their own bodies as they want. Hey, I may think its a stupid thing to do, but that doesnt mean I think they should be prevented from smoking it.

Shouldn't there be some limits on what we can and can't do with our bodies?

I dont see any reasons for placing limits on one's self-determination. It is immoral. Got any suggestions that you think I should consider?

A human is a homo sapien at a stage of development where, if expelled from the womb, it can survive.

An abortion is the termination of a pregnancy of a fetus that cannot survive outside the womb.

Would you not consider "late-term abortion" as abortion?

My definition of "abortion" is identical to that found at dictionary.com. If a "late term abortion" as you put it involves terminating a pregnancy for a fetus that is capable of surviving outside the womb, then no I dont consider that an abortion. I consider that induced labor or premature/artificial birth.

Tanooki Joe said...

Ah, this is nice. Glad your on our side, Aaron! :P

Really, it's not so much that women have the right to do what they want with a fetus so much as the fetus has no right to claim ownership of a women's body, any more than I have a right to claim ownership of the kidneys of someone with a matching blood type, even if my life depends on it. Of course, a person could volunteer to donate part of their body to me, but I have no right to coerce them; the relationship between the woman and the fetus is the same. The fetus may remain in the woman's body at her discretion.

Also, you know someone's grasping for anything to hold on to in an argument when they justify an action based on legality. Of course, they conveniently elide the issue that this is completely tautological reasoning -- as a government can basically declare whatever law it wants, so anything could be "illegal". The fact that Congress could gather tomorrow and outlaw pudding pops is not a good argument against eating pudding pops.

As an aside, a while back Alon Levy at Unscrewing the Inscrutable made a very intriguing argument for basing legal personhood on sentience and not viability. Very interesting read.

Aaron Kinney said...

Thank you for the pointer Tanooki Joe. Always great to see you commenting! :-)

thinkanythingonce said...

The survivability distinction depends on the level of technology. Premature babies at 6-7 months can now survive, thanks to technological improvements. Are they human now, but not decades ago when the technology was less advanced?

A better distinction is sentience or comparison to animals. For example, a 1 year old baby is less mentally capable than a 5 year old chimp. Hence, infanticide should be permitted because it is permissible to kill a chimp at any age. The fact that the baby has the potential to be more intelligent than the chimp doesn't matter.

e-3 said...

Aaron: A woman has the right to control her body at all times. She has the right to terminate her pregnancy whenever she wishes, because her womb is her own, and nobody else's. A human is a fetus that is developed enough to survive if it were to leave the womb. An abortion is the artificial termination of a pregnancy of a fetus or embryo that cannot survive outside the womb.

E-III: Does "at all times" include women who are incarcerated?

Aaron: Yes. Just because a woman is incarcerated doesnt mean she gives up her right to her own womb! Having to pay a penalty for a crime you commit doesnt include giving up ownership of your genitals.


The point is that her rights become limited in some ways... by self ownership do you only mean womb and genitalia? Certainly in jail they can physically restrain you and enforce very strict rules on what you can and can't do. You can't just stroll down to the cafeteria or gym anytime you want... what about if a woman wanted to hide a shank in a bodily orifice - guards routinely do strip searches. Does she then own contraband material because it is inside her?

I think the point is there are times and situations when a woman is not able to choose what she wants to do. For instance, a court may order her to give a blood sample - even if she doesn't want to. Or society prohibits a pregnant woman from drinking alcohol. According to what you believe these actions are immoral.

Aaron: My definition of "abortion" is identical to that found at dictionary.com. If a "late term abortion" as you put it involves terminating a pregnancy for a fetus that is capable of surviving outside the womb, then no I dont consider that an abortion. I consider that induced labor or premature/artificial birth.

In what way is a DX procedure a labor or birth? That is where they go into the womb and dismember the baby then extract it.

BaconEating AtheistJew said...

One major point of being pro choice is that pro choice individuals may not go for an abortion no matter what the circumstances are. It is just the right that is being fought for.
Personally, I feel that an embryo can be aborted up to the time that it can survive outside of the womb using modern technologies as long as it has a reasonable chance of survival without major defects. That would be around 22 weeks from the research I've done.

Aaron Kinney said...

E-3,

The point is that her rights become limited in some ways... by self ownership do you only mean womb and genitalia? Certainly in jail they can physically restrain you and enforce very strict rules on what you can and can't do. You can't just stroll down to the cafeteria or gym anytime you want... what about if a woman wanted to hide a shank in a bodily orifice - guards routinely do strip searches. Does she then own contraband material because it is inside her?

This is not comparable to abortion, really. You are talking about prisoners who have already committed coercive acts. Assuming an abortion alone is not analogous to punishment for a crime. What we are talking about here is the rights that we should afford our citizens, NOT our prisoners.

I think the point is there are times and situations when a woman is not able to choose what she wants to do.

A woman has complete ownership over her body at all times. Do you have a problem with that?

For instance, a court may order her to give a blood sample - even if she doesn't want to.

That is also not analogous. Can the court force her to reproduce?

Or society prohibits a pregnant woman from drinking alcohol.

No it doesn't. It warns against it. Not the same thing.

According to what you believe these actions are immoral.

Which actions?

In what way is a DX procedure a labor or birth? That is where they go into the womb and dismember the baby then extract it.

From dictionary.com:

"Termination of pregnancy and expulsion of an embryo or of a fetus that is incapable of survival"

So if they kill a baby capable of survival, then birth it, that is two distinct acts. An abortion just expels baby that is not capable of survival. What you seem to be describing is a killing, then an extraction or birth. It is fairly obvious I think.

E-3 said...

Aaron,

Aaron: A woman has complete ownership over her body at all times.

What we are talking about here is the rights that we should afford our citizens, NOT our prisoners.


Usually, when you speak of people of a certain class such as "woman" that means all of that class. Does a woman who commits a crime cease to be a woman?

Aaron: A woman has complete ownership over her body at all times.

E-3: For instance, a court may order her to give a blood sample - even if she doesn't want to.

Aaron: That is also not analogous. Can the court force her to reproduce?


LOL! I don't know how many other ways I can approach this. You state "a woman has complete ownership over her body at all times". Certainly, if that were the case, she could never justly be forced to give blood or be incarcerated because it would mean she doesn't have an absolute right over what happens with her body.

I point out situations where she doesn't and you respond by intimating that she is no longer a woman (not really... just being sarcastic) or that it is not analogous because the "court can't force her to reproduce." It seems as if you when you speak of a woman's ownership you only mean her "reproductive rights".

E-3: ...Or society prohibits a pregnant woman from drinking alcohol.

Aaron: No it doesn't. It warns against it. Not the same thing.


On further reflection I see that I worded that poorly. A pregnant woman who drinks enough alcohol to cause damage to her baby or a pregnant drug user could be brought up on charges for child endangerment/neglect.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/07/15/national/main709349.shtml?CMP=OTC-RSSFeed&source=RSS&attr=Health_709349

TheJollyNihilist said...

For anybody that's interested, I threw my extremely pro-choice hat into the abortion debate over at my blog, My Case Against God. I'd love to hear some feedback, whether positive, negative or mixed.

Aaron Kinney said...

E-3,

Usually, when you speak of people of a certain class such as "woman" that means all of that class. Does a woman who commits a crime cease to be a woman?

No. But your criminal examples are not analogous to abortion choices of a free woman. This is a red herring.

LOL! I don't know how many other ways I can approach this. You state "a woman has complete ownership over her body at all times".

She does.

Certainly, if that were the case, she could never justly be forced to give blood or be incarcerated because it would mean she doesn't have an absolute right over what happens with her body.

Give blood, no. Be incarcerated? Yes. You can incarcerate someone who wronged someone else while still maintaining their ownership over their own body.

I point out situations where she doesn't and you respond by intimating that she is no longer a woman (not really... just being sarcastic) or that it is not analogous because the "court can't force her to reproduce." It seems as if you when you speak of a woman's ownership you only mean her "reproductive rights".

No I speak of all her rights to self-ownership, and that includes giving blood. But incarceration is a different story. Incarceration happens when someone commits a wrong on someone else. And incarceration need not violate self-ownership. Incarceration does not necessarily involve someone else taking over ownership of a womans body.

On further reflection I see that I worded that poorly. A pregnant woman who drinks enough alcohol to cause damage to her baby or a pregnant drug user could be brought up on charges for child endangerment/neglect.

That is true. There are alot of crazy laws in this messed up country. Did you know that its also illegal to have oral sex in a bunch of states? Did you also know that its illegal to sell beer with an alcohol content greater than 3.5% in Oklahoma? Did you know that its also illegal to buy alcohol on Sundays in lots of states?

Listen, there are all kinds of stupid laws out there. Im talking about self-ownership, which is a true principle regardless of the laws enacted by the state that violate said principle.

----------------

Francesthemagnificent,

I will check out your blog and leave some feedback. Thanx for the heads up! :)

Anonymous said...

The choice of the term human instead of person is an attempt to frame the abortion debate to support a particular conclusion. Person is preferrable to human because it's a broader term that doesn't presuppose that humans are the most important entities. It may seem obvious that we're special, but why are we special? Is it because of our intelligence? Our DNA, 98% of which we share with chimpanzees? Our what? Thinking about personhood forces you to think about why humans are worth caring about and thus sharpens your definition of human. This issue is becoming one that we cannot ignore as we begin to genetically modify ourselves. There are going to be serious debates on who is a person and who isn't in this century.

The choice of the term human implies a genetic definition of personhood. Historically, genetic definitions of personhood have been at the root of racism, with people who weren't similar enough to a particular group being considered subhuman. In modern times, we often see people using a genetic definition of person to distinguish mother from embryo/fetus, but this usage is fraught with difficulties. What if you've had an organ transplant? Is that organ not yours? What if you're a chimera (the opposite of identical twin, where multiple embryos fuse) so that different parts of your body are genetically different people? Are identical twins the same person according to this definition? What if you develop cancer--are the tumors not parts of you to be treated and killed since they're genetically different from you?

It's obvious that genetics doesn't offer us a clear cut definition of what a person is. Let's think about how we actually make these decisions in our lives. How do you know that the author of this comment is a person? You didn't do a DNA test, did you? You can't even do a visual test, so you resort to a behavioral definition: I'm a person if I write like a person. We do this all the time when we're online. That's the basis of a Turing Test: if an entity behaves in such a way that you cannot distinguish it from a person, that entity is a person. It's a fair definition of personhood that can help to resolve issues like abortion and also address problems of racism and bioethics.

Veritas said...

“The Fool says in his heart, ‘there is no God.’”
-- God

Anonymous said...

I think maybe the concepts of ownership and basic rights are being confused a little. I may OWN and axe, but I don't have the RIGHT to chop someone's head off with it without consequences. A woman still owns her body if she is incarcerated, but she has restricted rights.
Thanks for this new pro-choice angle. It's really something to think about, and I'm sure it will serve me well in future battles against womb-monopolizers.

Broke Bruce said...

In examining this post, I must point out your first mistake. You relied upon a dictionary definition. Dictionaries do not define words per se, but rather the relay the common usage of them. Words and meanings are not static in the english language and as such, you really can't rely upon anything other than his intent of the word to try and refute the argument. You make this very clear by creating your own definition of the word fetus.

"My main premise is: A woman has the right to control her own body at all times."

I refute that, and can back it up. Do you have the right to control your body in a way that violates the rights of others? You know that not to be true. So therein lies the fact that the rights of HOW a woman controls her own body is specifically limited. Specifically, can a woman violate the right to life of another? If a right to life exists at all, you have to find at what point it is attatched to the person or at what point it's considered forfeit.

You seem to think since it's yours, you can do what you want. Property rights, essentially. So, by extension, what does this mean?

A pregnant woman literally owns her baby until the cord is cut? If that was the case, I'm sure you'd have no problem with elective abortion during labor.

If you do, please... please... explain why it wouldn't be consistent with your philosophy regarding the subject.

Aaron Kinney said...

re: Broke Bruce,

In examining this post, I must point out your first mistake. You relied upon a dictionary definition. Dictionaries do not define words per se, but rather the relay the common usage of them. Words and meanings are not static in the english language and as such, you really can't rely upon anything other than his intent of the word to try and refute the argument. You make this very clear by creating your own definition of the word fetus.

I referred to the dictionary for ease, clarity, and because my common usage of the term is identical to the Dictionary definition. A rose by any other name...

"My main premise is: A woman has the right to control her own body at all times."

I refute that, and can back it up. Do you have the right to control your body in a way that violates the rights of others? You know that not to be true.


Um, dont get confused my friend. I have the right to control MY body at all times, but to violate the rights of others would be to try to control THEIR bodies. Self-determination does not allow the violation of another, indeed it is the only way to protect against violating anothers rights.

So therein lies the fact that the rights of HOW a woman controls her own body is specifically limited. Specifically, can a woman violate the right to life of another? If a right to life exists at all, you have to find at what point it is attatched to the person or at what point it's considered forfeit.

A woman who makes a decision about her womb is not violating the rights of another, but merely excercising her rights to her own body.

You seem to think since it's yours, you can do what you want. Property rights, essentially. So, by extension, what does this mean?

A pregnant woman literally owns her baby until the cord is cut? If that was the case, I'm sure you'd have no problem with elective abortion during labor.


No, the woman does not own the baby until the cord is cut. And your elective abortion during labor is not applicable, for the destruction of the baby during labor would be a seperate act than the birthing of it.

Katryna said...

This is an old post, but I also wanted to add:

Aaron asks, "Would you define taking the morning after pill as murder?" I would call taking the morning after pill, after conception has occurred, murder, yes.

Wow. Such ignorance! Let me quote from the official Plan B site FAQ here:

"4. When is it not appropriate to use Plan B®?

Plan B® should not be used:

* If you're already pregnant, because it won't work"

and

"8. What if I'm already pregnant and use Plan B®?

There is no medical evidence that Plan B® would harm a developing baby. If you take Plan B® accidentally after you're already pregnant, or it doesn't work and you become pregnant, it's not likely to cause any harm to you or your pregnancy. Plan B® will not disrupt or affect an existing pregnancy."

and, most notably, on the FDA information site on Plan B:

"3. How does Plan B work?

Plan B works like other birth control pills to prevent pregnancy. Plan B acts primarily by stopping the release of an egg from the ovary (ovulation). It may prevent the union of sperm and egg (fertilization). If fertilization does occur, Plan B may prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the womb (implantation). If a fertilized egg is implanted prior to taking Plan B, Plan B will not work."

Aside from being extremely annoying in his writing style, your opponent here was pretty damn ignorant, all around.