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Please read the entire page if you truly want to be informed for discussion.

THIS IS ED, IF you BUMP/Spam in this thread I WILL put you on my IGNORE list, no warnings, idiots from the CHATTERBOX who saw this on the top 100, that means YOU

Welcome. Due to the recent closure of the former abortion topic due to spam and flaming I've requested permission to start a new one.

The official word from a mod is as follows:
Hokay, so we are a speedy staff today and have figured out the way to go here. The current thread is going to stay locked and will probably be moved; it's dead and there's no way to really revive it. If you would like to make another abortion thread, especially a well-organized one, feel free. However, there isn't going to be any stamp on it making it The Definitive Abortion Thread for ED. If people post in it and it generates discussion, it shall live, and if not, it shall go. Such is the way of ED. With that, I leave it up to you.

What this means: This thread is in no way official or central, however I hope to make it the token/staple thread due to the massive amount of information I hope to present in the first few reserved posts.

What I plan to do within this thread: I wish to make the first page a living document of sorts. I want to outline and discuss all arguments that are made and have been made and provide all sorts of information to those who would come here since previous threads have always been distinctly lacking in content in the first page and first post. If you have something you would like included, please PM me, or post it in this thread and ask to have it included.

I. You are here.
II. Terminology
III. What is Abortion?
IV. What does it mean to be "A Human Being"?
V. Pro-Life Argument from Potential
VI. The Rape Exception
VII. Facing The Consequences of Your Actions - The Punishment Mentality
VIII. Women's rights, a Legal view.
IX. The Father's Rights.
X. Adoption.
XI. The Purpose of Sex.
XII. Fetal Ability.
XIII. Reserved.
XIV. Reserved.
XV. Reserved (Common Fallacious Arguments of both sides to come).

The basic rules:

1) Follow all rules outlined in the TOS of gaiaonline
2) No random spamming. Coming into the thread and depositing a one-line opinion is not what the ED is for and it is a contributor to the old thread being locked. If you cannot stay to debate or present a well thought out opinion do not post.
3) No flaming - this includes calling people names like "baby killer" or "mindless idiot" as well as messages with excessive use of CAPs.
4) Having your opinion challenged with empirical data and philosophical arguments is not flaming.
5) Please refrain from posting grotesque pictures of (allegedly) aborted fetuses. You may link to them with proper warning that it is what you are linking to, however in text images are simply uncalled for.
Basic Terminology:

The sides

Pro-life - One who believes that the fetus has a right to life and that this right to life protects it (or ought to protect it) from abortion. On occaision exceptions are made for when the mother's life is in danger and for rape (however the rape exception negates a fetus's right to life and is not truly a pro-life position as is explained in a later post)

Pro-choice One who believes that while the fetus may or may not have the right to life it is the womans choice whether or not she may have an abortion based on a notion of bodily autonomy/integrity.

Pro-life personal, pro-choice political It comes in two flavors:

1) One who would never personally choose to abort, for whatever reason, but who believes that every woman should be able to make that choice for herself. Her reasons for being opposed to it can come in many flavors, and she may not actually feel abortion is "wrong," however she has decided for herself that she will never have one.

2) The stronger version that states that One beieves a fetus has a right to life and she personally would never choose an abortion, her personal morals should not be applied to all and all women should have the opportunity to choose for themselves what course of action to take if an unwanted pregnancy should occur. She may find abortion reprehensible on a moral scale based on religion or a personal philosophy, and may feel very strongly about it, but she does not seek to impose these morals on others.

Anti-choice/Anti-abortion - One who does not believe a woman should have the right to choose an abortion if she wants one under any circumstances, this includes when the mother's life is in danger. (one such person appears on page 78 of this thread if one does not believe such people exist).

Anti-life/pro-abortion One who believes all pregnancies, regardless of what the woman wants, should end in abortion. Pro-abortion may also refer to one who supports the legalized institution of abortion, however that term would be better stated as pro-legalized-abortion since pro-abortion as itself implies one who would prefer all pregnancies end in abortion.

Pro-choice buts One who believes women have the right to choose, but only under certain circumstances (some common examples: rape, first abortion only, only if married, if under 15, etc.)

Birth control Something that controls birth. Contraceptives are a form of birth control. Abortion is also a form of birth control since it controls whether or not one gives birth.

Contraceptives a method of birth control that seeks to prevent conception from occurring. Condoms, the Pill, Plan B, spermacides, and most forms of birth control are of this sort.

Morning After Pill - This pill is often a concentrated form of the birth control pill. Also known as PlanB, it is the equivalent of taking multiple birth control pills (how many would vary to each brand due to the differences between them). It does NOT cause abortion. Plan B prevents conception in the same exact way that regular birth control pills do so - it stops ovulation and it thickens the uterine wall in order to prevent implantation. There is a very very small chance that a fertilized egg can be killed because it is unable to implant in the uterus's wall, however abortion is the removal of an all ready implanted fetus. If you believe life and personhood starts at conception, there is a small chance that planB will kill. However this chance is also present in regular birth control as well.

RU-486, aka the Abortion Pill - While at the moment I am not sure of how this pill actually works it essentially ends a pregnancy by inducing a miscarriage. You take the pill (or series of pills) while pregnant (generally between 4 and 6 weeks) and it will cause a miscarriage to occur. You can ONLY take this pill very early on in the pregnancy because after that there is the fear that the miscarriage will not be complete and you will need to go to a doctor to be sure that all parts of fetus are out to prevent possible sickness or death (this is true of any miscarriage, not just those caused by RU-486).

Medical definitions are best used in a debate that is highly medical in nature. Laymen definitions do not suffice for a medical debate, just as laymen definitions would not suffice in a debate on engineering principles. The fact of the matter is this: abortion is a medical procedure and laymen terms will not due the debate justice when debating this procedure. Furthermore it is fallacious to refer to things in emotionally charged terms that seek to invoke an emotional response when debates are supposed to be based on factual, empirical evidence as well as logic and rational reasoning.

Based on definitions from this online medical dictionary, http://cancerweb.ncl.ac.uk/cgi-bin/omd

Zygote The product of conception up until approximately 2 weeks.

Embryo Fertilized ovum that eventually becomes offspring, in humans it is the stage approximately 2 weeks to 7 weeks after conception.

Fetus A developing unborn offspring of an animal. From approximately 7 weeks after conception when the offspring takes on a recognizable form.

Neonate A newborn baby.

Infant A child up to 24 months of age.

Child A person 6 to 12 years of age. An individual 2 to 5 years of age is a pre-school child.

Baby A non-medical term that refers to a young child or infant.

For the purpose of this debate a few other key terms must also be defined in detail in order to prevent confusion when debating:

Human of the human species, having human DNA, can be identified as being of the human species. A human hand is human or of human, any human body part is human, since it would be identifiable as being part of the human species.

A Human/A Human Being/ A person an agent that has rights endowed upon him or her. What makes a human being is integral to the abortion debate and will be discussed a bit further down.

Slavery mandatory servitude, loss of control over ones own life and life decision, where control of such facets is given to some other entity, be it an individual or a governing body.

Murder - A legal term that refers to the illegal taking of a human's life with malicious intent. Abortion, being that it is legal, cannot be considered "murder" in the strictest sense of the word.

Child-less - One who is without child, but feels that one day they may want a child, or plan to have one.

Child-free - One who is without a child, and has no intentions of ever having children. They do not feel they are missing anything in their lives by not having children and feel they will never want to have them.
What is abortion?

The premature expulsion from the uterus of the products of conception of the embryo or of a nonviable foetus. The four classic symptoms, usually present in each type of abortion, are uterine contractions, uterine haemorrhage, softening and dilatation of the cervix and presentation or expulsion of all or part of the products of conception.

The expulsion or removal of an embryo or foetus from the mother prematurely, this can be done as an artificial procedure, but it often happens naturally when the mother's body expels the foetus because it has died, has genetic or developmental defects, or because of infection or illness in the mother. Natural abortions are typically called miscarriages. Medically-induced abortions, which can be completed with surgery or with hormone drugs, are performed because the foetus is unwanted, deformed, not likely to live, or endangers the mother's life or health.

Abortion methods

I would appreciate any information that would be submitted for this section since I find I am distinctly lacking in medical information about the specific proceedures of abortion.

Just a note for Talon-chan

courtesy of discourdia

I noted that you didn't have all the types of abortions and had said that you wouldn't mind information on more. I didn't have time to read the 300+ pages to see if you found this information, but I looked it up and here are some sites listing the types of abortions...

Here also are some of the medical terms for them...

Suction Aspiration
Menstrual Extraction
Dilation & Curettage (D&C)
Dilation and Evacuation (D&E)
Saline Abortion
Urea Abortion
Prostaglandin Abortion
Abortion Pill (RU-486)
Dialation and Extraction (D&X) (also referred to as "partial birth abortion" wink

A lot of information about various proceedures named above can be found here:

Suction abortions - take place within the first 16 weeks that involve absolutely no dismembering or chopping up of the fetus. The fetus is too small to need to be dismembered in removal and is easily removed whole.

Dialation and Extraction (D&X) - often considered to be the basis of the term "partial birth abortion" a D&X proceedure involves the premature dialation of the cervix and the removal of the late term fetus either whole or in parts. This proceedure is rarely done and only to save the life of the woman due to the fact it only occurs very late in pregnancy (where elective abortions are banned).


Is planB an abortion? - No. PlanB is an overdose of hormones that fool your body into thinking you are pregnant and cause the lining of the uterus to thicken which can prevent implantation of an already concieved zygote. This can be viewed as an abortaficient however because it does not remove an already implanted embryo/zygote/fetus is it not an abortion.

Abortion in the Animal Kingdom

Courtesy of Moniquill

Many animals kill thier own young for various reasons often incomprehensible to humans. Does that count?

Oh, and kangaroos and some other marsupials can spontaneously abort and reabsorb the fetus if conditions suddenly become ill for breeding. Most other mammals don't have the luxury and have to resort to infanticide and infantophagia.


Kangaroo mothers will maintain offspring at three different stagesblastocyst, exterogastrate fetus, and nursing joeyand when sufficiently threatened, will jettison the joey to distract predators, and will just pick up motherhood with the other two in the pipeline.

Pregnant females of many rodent species will spontaneously reabsorb their embryos when confronted with strange and potentially threatening males.
"But A fetus is a Human!" Well, what is a Human and what is a Person?

What is a �human being�? The answer is tricky and quite a key aspect of this debate. To give a vague answer, a human being is an agent upon whom we endow rights. If a fetus is a human being then a fetus has the right to life. If a dog is not a human being a dog is not endowed the same rights as say, your neighbor, Bob. This much can be demonstrated through a very simple thought process:

Who has rights? It would not go beyond the bounds of acceptable debate to assert that human beings have demonstratable rights. For example, a human adult cannot be legally killed under typical circumstances (there do exist mitigating, atypical, extenuating circumstances that say otherwise, however in daily life partaking in daily activities a human is not legally able to be killed). Humans also have the right not to be raped and have their bodies violated without their consent. They have the rights not to be stolen from, assaulted, or harassed. I could continue, but you get the general idea.

Do animals have rights?

Yes. Animals can be killed legally, however they cannot legally be raped, assaulted, or mutilated in �inhumane� manners. For example, you cannot catch a cat on fire without being punished, and in some circumstances the improper euthanization of an animal is also legally punishable (ie you must go to a vet, you can�t just shoot your dog in the head for no good reason). From this we can conclude that animals have some rights, however their lives are not held in the same regard as a human life.

Why don�t animals get the same protection as one of the human species?

Conclusion: There is something unique about humans. There is something about us that makes us distinctly �a human being� that we have rights granted to no other living creatures.


So, How do we determine what makes something a human being, and by virtue of that who we endow rights?

Some bad arguments

Is being alive enough to be a human being?

This clearly will not suffice. Animals are alive. Bacteria are alive. Egg cells and sperm cells are alive (fetuses don�t magically come alive from dead egg cells and sperm cells). Every day you kill millions of microorganisms by virtue of being alive yourself. The fact a fetus is alive doesn�t mean much. Further if one seeks to use a purely scientific basis for asserting whether something is alive, a fetus as its own organism will fail:

To be alive an organism must:
a. Consist of cells (a fetus does)
b. Requires/uses energy (a fetus does)
c. Grows and evelopes (a fetus does)
d. Reproduces (a fetus is not able to do so)
e. Responds to stimuli (a fetus cannot do this until the latest the late third trimester, or earliest mid second trimester)
f. Has a metabolism (a fetus does not, it gains nutrients from the blood of the mother, it has no metabolism of it�s own)
g. Has a life span (debatable)

Of the seven required facets of being classified as �alive� in biology a fetus can only assuredly claim 3 (a, b, and c), at best it can claim 4 (a, b, c, g) during the time period where abortions are permitted (within the first 20 weeks in most cases), and 5 (a, b, c, e, g) by the end of pregnancy.

However, the qualifications for "alive" are not done during mere life stages, but for the entirety of something's life. IE an infant cannot reproduce, but an infant is merely a stage in human life, so it would be faulty to say it is not alive. Further all of the tissues that compromise the fetus are alive and fit the qualifications for life stated above. It would definately be COMPLETELY WRONG to say a fetus is not "alive." It is not yet able to sustain it's own existence (if you take it out of the womb it will surely die), however it is alive

Conclusion: The fact the fetus is �alive� but that is not enough to justify calling it a human being upon which we grant it rights.

A fetus has a heart beat

It is almost painfully obvious why this does not justify calling a fetus a human being, deserving of all the rights and privileges of a human being. All sorts of animals have heartbeats. Having a heartbeat, alone, is not reason enough to consider a fetus a human being.

Once the fetus has been in uterine for X days/weeks/months it is a human

There is no rational basis to draw the line at any single day in the pregnancy as the defining moment of humanity. What�s the difference between a fetus of 100 days and 101 days? Any time limit would be arbitrary at best, as well, based on the differing nature of each individual fetus and that particular fetus�s growth rate. Not all fetuses are the same or at the exact same point in development at the same time. One pregnancy of 3 months may be slightly ahead or behind another of 3 months. And while the general state of the fetus is mostly identical, they are not based solely upon time.

Some Not-so-bad arguments

A human being is one who has his or her own unique set of human DNA, IE because something is HUMAN it is a HUMAN BEING

This argument is good because it demonstrates why we exclude animals and other living creatures that are not human; however defining personhood by merely having unique human DNA poses its own set of unique problems.

First, why must it be unique? Identical twins share DNA and surely both are their own individual human beings deserving of all the rights endowed to human beings, so perhaps unique is not necessary for humanity. This is also supported by the notion of cloning. If ever a full human clone was made would he or she not deserve the same rights as the original? Would he or she not deserve the same rights as a naturally born child? If identical twins and clones can be human beings then while human DNA is needed, it does not have to be unique.

Second, what is special about human DNA? Cancer has it�s own unique set of human DNA. My hand also has human DNA in it, yet my hand alone is not a human being. Having human DNA makes something human in the sense that if one had to biologically classify a sample of my hair, my skin, or an organ, he or she would be able to identify it as being of the human species however these things in themselves are not human beings (or persons), where as we previously stated a human being is an agent upon which we endow rights, and no one in their right mind would say that hair, an organ, or skin ought to have the rights of a human being.

It is not enough for something to be of the species �human� to grant it rights. Merely being �of human� is not enough to classify something as it�s own agent entitled to rights, otherwise my hair, my skin, and my organs each are their own unique human beings deserving of rights because they are each �human� by definition.

It is from this that we are led into the argument from potential, (which is detailed in the next post) that asserts it is not merely the human DNA that makes it a person, but the active potential to achieve a born human state in unison with human DNA that permits it to be granted personhood. However before tending to the argument from potential I would like to address an often used pro-choice criterion for determining personhood.

A bit more support for this argument

Courtesy of Pyrotechnic Oracle

Alexander Williams, Creation/AIG
Governments around the world are wrestling with the controversial issue of embryonic stem cell research. The Australian Government's controversial support for research is based on the (mis)understanding that a 5-day-old embryo is a 'ball of cells...not a human being'.1 This is a widely held view in the scientific world and would appear to give rational, if not moral, support for the government's Policy.
But not any more.

The 'ball of cells' concept is that the embryo is undifferentiated; that is, all cells are the same and no individual cells have yet been assigned their final destinations to become skin, hair, bone, blood, etc. Evidence supporting this view includes the fact that the embryo can be divided to produce multiple identical babies (twins, triplets, etc), and one or two cells can be removed form the 'ball' for genetic screening without apparent ill-effect. But all this has now changed

Recent research has found that differentiation of the embryonic cells begins on the day of conception and may even be initiated by the point of entry of the sperm into the egg.2 When egg and sperm unite, they produce a single new cell, called the 'zygote', and the zygote is the first cell in the body of the new baby. When the zygote undergoes its first cell division to produce a two-celled embryo, it now appears that these two cells form the top-tail axis for all subsequent development. In other words, which part will be the head, for instance, is determined 'up front'. And similar processes of orientation appear to continue during all subsequent cell divisions.

The research has been in progress for more than a decade and early results that pointed in this direction were originally met with some hostility. Many people did not want to know that the early embryo may not be 'just a featureless blob of cells'. Why? Perhaps it reminded them that their experiments were dismembering a tiny person already in the process of formation.3

Much work remains to be done to clarify the details, but it is certainly now clear that developmental biologists can no longer talk about the early embryo being a featureless blob of cells.

But what about the evidence cited earlier supposedly supporting the 'blob' theory? It has been suggested that perhaps damage control mechanisms in the embryo are powerful enough to overcome the impact of early cell loss. If this is true, it does not negate the new findings, it simply underlines the fact that any such manipulation do cause damage to the embryo, and those who cause the damage need to take responsibility for their action. (See box below regarding the 'twins' argument.)

Where does this leave the Australian government policy on embryonic stem cell research? It will certainly give the opponents of embryo experimentation a new weapon but it certainly won't change anything immediately because the Australian research will be carried out on unused IVF (Invetro fertalization) embryos that would otherwise be thrown out. This 'lesser of two evils' argument will probably carry the day. When that supply runs out, they expect to use donated embryos.1 So for the present, the issue comes down to the question: 'Would you donate your embryonic children?'4

1. Mallabone, M., Vanstone [Federal Government Minister] firm on cell reserach, the West Australian, 6 July 2002, p. 13

2. Pearson, P., Your destiny, form day one, Nature Science Update, 8 July 2002.

3. Pro-abortionists would also prefer to hold the embryo to be as 'less than human' as possible at any stage.

4. see also www.answersingenesis.org/humanlife

The basic idea is this: At conception (or at least soon afterwards) the cells that would make up each part of the body are able to be identified, whereas a true clump of skin is only skin and not the precursor of something else. Unlike cancer, skin cells, and the like, this complete-ness is what is used to determine that something is wholely a human being.

Courtesy of Digital Lucifer:

Basically.. It comes down to personhood over the definition of a person. Since a fetus is nothing other than a human, is alive [some people argue it's not... But it's incomplete. By no means is it dead or inanimate though] is distinguished as it's own entity and is offspring from another human thus giving it more of it's own individual status as say.. Cancer.

back to me

The only question that remains is whether having all the parts (that are not yet fully developed) is enough. Opinions may very and I've not yet heard many arguments on this subject (though I would love more).

There is still an issue of potential with this view, a single cell that will one day be the skin is not yet skin, it is still potential skin, however from what has been displayed all the beginings of every part are present very early on. The question is, is this enough to make something a human being upon which we grant rights? From a very basic standpoint it appears so, amputees, people with pacemakers, people who lack an organ, they are no less persons deserving of rights than their organ/peice-having counterparts. Though it still needs some development this view has a lot of potential wink

Another Pro-life Perspective on the Humanity Issue

Courtesy of Lorysa

One of the main things I can tell you, is that we really, really don't care at all that the baby isn't sentient, or has to live on someone else temporarily, because we believe that its' life is just as worthy of continuing as yours and mine, even if it can't speak, or think for itself. I think this is important to point out, because in many arguments and debates, Pro-choicers always point this out, when the truth is, if it really mattered to us, the Pro-life side would have never existed to begin with.

You said, "we believe that its' life is just as worthy of continuing as yours and mine, even if it can't speak, or think for itself." I'd like an argument around the "why." Why is fetus's life is just as worthy as continuing as yours or mine? I understand that it is an integral pro-life belief that a fetus's life is equivalent to any other human beings... but what I was hoping to get was justification for why this belief is held. 3nodding

The reason why is because it's still human. And since we're human as well, and it's supposed to not be sentient or as sentient as we are, we don't think people should be able to just disrupt it's life with the justification that it's unsentient, hardly formed, and just has all the aspects that it's supposed to have at that time.


To sum it all up, potential doesn't mean "nothing" to us, the unborn is a child despite it's current abilities, and the unborn are alive and we once again don't consider the fact that it can't comphrehend a single thing to be a sign that it's inhuman, except when people want to have it. And sorry if I'm sounding rude, I'm not angry at all, I just sound it for some reason, probably because my sentences are so prompt, but nontheless I hope this information helps! PM me for more if you like, but please include some questions so I'll know what to say.

Potential matters for the pro-life side... again I understand that and will include it, but like I said a paragraph ago... I'm really trying to get to the "why" behind it. What justifies using potential as a basis for determining the permissability of abortion?

Potential matters because it matters with born people, why not unborn people? I have the potential to become an artist, but just because I'm not one yet doesn't mean anyone should have the right to keep me from becoming one. When people say that potential doesn't matter because it could die easily anyway, so that justifies abortion, it's nearly the same as us saying that since it's probably going to die anyway, so abortion is pointless considering it's only doing something that's going to happen since the fetus only has potential to live, and abortion only has the potential to be useful. Which is why I come to the conclusion that potential matters very, very much.

And these answers vary with different people, so you might get different answers from different 'Lifers. If you have any more questions, just ask!


The Pro-choice argument for cognitive abilities as the determinant of personhood

There is a distinction between something that is merely human and something that is a human being. One method often taken by those who are pro-choice is to question everything a born human is able to do and rationalize if it is the quality that grants personhood. The pro-choice view is below, and it is not the only way, or even necessarily the correct way, to determine personhood, however it is a way to determine it. If you disagree, then you may offer an explanation for how we grant rights and personhood and I will gladly edit it into this post.

Does an ability to feel make one a human being?

The quick and easy answer is �no.� An ability to feel in and of itself does not grant personhood. Many animals are able to feel. They can feel pain, pleasure, happiness, and sorrow. Since animals are able to feel, our ability to feel does not make us human beings. A possible distinction is that humans are able to feel higher emotions such as love, empathy, and jealousy, however in many higher level animals such as dolphins and primates such emotions can also be found.

However the ability to feel does grant some rights, just not the rights to personhood. It is legally not permitted to arbitrarily harm animals. One can go to jail for killing an animal in a cruel manner, and one can also be heavily fined or face jail time for physically hurting an animal. Because of this we can assume that the ability to feel pain does grant a creature some rights, namely the right not to be unjustly made to feel pain. However this ability to feel pain does not guarantee one the right to life, due process, or any other right granted to human beings since animals are able to be killed for food and have no ability to seek legal help if someone does something unwanted to them.

Does having the ability or capacity to reason suffice?

An explanation that is based on one�s ability to reason and their capacity for abstract knowledge such as mathematics, logic, philosophy, religion, literature, morals, etc. would adequately explain why we do not include animals or any other life form in the �personhood� distinction. It is a singular trait that all adult humans (agents we are sure have rights) share that no other living thing possesses. Dogs, cats, bacterium, skin, plants, rocks� none of these things have in and of themselves the capacity to reason on abstract concepts in the manner that humans are able to do.

But what about when you are asleep?

This is relatively easy to answer � when one is unconscious the ability and the capacity to reason is still present. The brain is still there and still functioning even though you are unconscious, therefore the fact you are not always using this ability to reason does not negate personhood.

What about Coma Victims?

If the coma victim still has a functioning brain then the ability is present, just as the sleeping person�s ability was still present, even though the person in question is unconscious for prolonged periods of time. The capacity is there, it is just dormant.

A problem arises when we deal with not just coma victims, but those who are in a persistent vegetative state (PVS). A PVS is defined as:
A persistent vegetative state, which sometimes follows a coma, refers to a condition in which individuals have lost cognitive neurological function and awareness of the environment but retain noncognitive function and a perserved sleep-wake cycle.

It is sometimes described as when a person is technically alive, but his/her brain is dead. However, that description is not completely accurate. In persistent vegetative state the individual loses the higher cerebral powers of the brain, but the functions of the brainstem, such as respiration (breathing) and circulation, remain relatively intact. Spontaneous movements may occur and the eyes may open in response to external stimuli, but the patient does not speak or obey commands. Patients in a vegetative state may appear somewhat normal. They may occasionally grimace, cry, or laugh.

If one is brain dead he or she no longer has the ability to reason, to think, or to even feel since the part of the brain responsible for such things is no longer present or functioning (the cerebral cortex). They lack, completely, an ability to reason, and for all intents and purposes they have lost what it takes to be �a human being,� where personhood is defined by one�s mere ability to reason. This is demonstrateable in the law where it is legal to �pull the plug� from those who are in a PVS. It is legal to kill those who no longer are able to think or feel.

Is a fetus a person?

From the pro-choice perspective of personhood that is based on the ability to think and reason, no, a fetus is not a person. More information on the fetus's ability to think and feel pain will be added shortly.

This pro-choice view is not the end all be all for this debate! One can easily argue a fetus is a person they merely need to present an argument for this debate that details what grants persons rights and why a fetus has these qualities.
The Pro-life Argument from potential

The fallacious argument from potential

An often cited argument for potential is that of the potential of the fetus to do something great post birth.

It is argued that once born the infant may grow up to become the next Mozart, Beethoven, or perhaps even cure cancer. However, it is equally likely that the child may become the next Hitler, Hussein, or Bin Laden. In all actuality the odds are the newborn will grow into an average adult who does nothing particularly special with his or her life. The fact one may do something special really has no bearing on the issue when it is equally likely he or she will do something horrible and most likely he or she will do nothing noteworthy.

The not-so-fallacious argument from potential

The argument is summed up by stating: A fetus is a potential human being, and as such ought to be granted the same rights, and respect, of a born human person.

If one accepts that what is required to be a human being deserving of the endowment of rights is the physical ability to reason then one may argue that a fetus has the potential to have this ability (whereas, for example, a dog or cat will never have the potential to have the ability to think like a human does) and that potential is enough to grant it personhood, or at least the rights of personhood while still in utero.

If one wishes to use this view he or she must justify why potential is important enough to grant rights where in all practical application is rarely (if ever) does. Further one must also explain why other areas where potential is present does not warrent the granting of rights, for example:

1) A 15 year old is 9 months away from legally being permitted to get a learners permit and one year away from legally being able to drive, however the potential to drive and the potential to get a learners permit does not grant one the right to drive at 15.

2) The same is true of 17 year olds who want to buy cigarettes or 20 year olds who want to buy alcohol, but legally are not permitted to do so.

3) Another issue of rights is that we are all potentially senior citizens yet none of us are entitled to the rights and privileges endowed upon senior citizens right now. I am not able to collect social security or retirement pensions now while I am still only in my 20s even though I am potentially a senior citizen.

To sum it up in a very simple statement: An acorn is a potential oak tree, however one would be quite hard pressed to say an acorn is identical to an oak tree or deserving of the same consideration of one.

The argument from potential is not wrong, but it needs work to justify why potential should be taken into account (If any of you on the pro-life side have a well written justification for why potential matters or a response to this post in general please let me know and I will include it here).

I'm confused on what you mean exactly by potentiol. Which way do you mean it's argued?

I personally think you'll be hard-pressed to find anyone in here who argues potential personhood. If you're pro-life, you aren't dealing with a potential, you're dealing with an actual life. A fetus is only a potential man to me as much as a young boy is a potential man. Eventually he'll grow into a man, but for now he's at a younger stage in life. There is no denying a fetus is not a toddler or a teenager. The debate lies, I think, in whether the fetal stage is as valid as later stages of growth. If you think a fetal life is not as valid as other stages, you view a fetus as a potential person are most likely pro-choice. If you believe that the fetal stage is as valid, you view a fetus as an actual person, not a potential person.

Now there is potential for certain things to happen, but that doesn't have much impact on the debate. Potential can go both ways...either this child could be the next Hitler or the next Ghandi. Either this child could have a wonderful life or a miserable life. No one knows for sure what the outcome will be, but it can go either way. That one I've seen argued, usually someone will say something like, "That'll be a broken home and the child will be miserable," and it's countered with, "or the child might be incredibly happy despite the odds, it could happen," and then comes, "Yeah, and besides, the mother could adopt out the child," and of course the reply is, "But that could still leave the child with a miserable life." Both cases are pointless to make, really, they butt heads. It's fatalism against optimism in an argument where both parties have ample proof on their sides that it COULD happen. Yeah, it could happen. But no one knows if it will.
The Rape Exception

The Rape Exception This is the view that states, Because the woman did not choose to have sex, but rather was forced into it against her will, she ought to be permitted to have an abortion if she wants one for the following reasons: Physical trauma, emotional trauma, and a lack of fault in getting pregnant.

Does the Rape Exception Make Sense?

It depends on what your view is. If you are pro-life under the basis that a fetus has the right to life then one must realize that there is no room for a rape exception:

There is no biological difference between a fetus conceived of rape and a fetus conceived of consensual sex. If I show you two fetuses, one of whom was conceived from rape and one who was not, there is no way you can point to one and identify it as being the fetus from rape.

Further if you analyze this with respect to the real world:

Can you kill a born child whos father was a rapist? If you have a 5 year old who was the product of rape are you legally permitted to kill this child? No. Well if you believe a fetus is the equivalent of a born 5 year old child then you cannot permit a woman to kill it either because of the crimes of the father.

Emotional and Physical Trauma

Can a woman who was not raped not also have an equally traumatizing experience that makes pregnancy not possible for her that would warrant her claim to an abortion? I mean if a woman would go crazy and need to be locked away the rest of her life because she was forced to have a baby should she still be forced to carry it against her will? Her life isn't in danger, just her mental state. Further what if a rape victim from years ago begins experiencing flashbacks and suffers from the trauma of her rape years later when pregnant from consensual sex?

Why draw the line for trauma at rape when a woman can have an equally unwanted and traumatizing pregnancy that was not caused by rape?

The Rape Victim is not at Fault for her condition

This will be later detailed in the next post which deals with facing the consequences of your actions and the punishment mentality but essentially the response to this view is as follows:

If the rape victim is not at "fault" for her condition one is reducing pregnancy to nothing more than a punishment for people choosing to have sex.


Courtesy of Nethilia

[The Rape exception is] Not working. Until someone can start pointing me out some biological differences between a fetus concieved via consentual sex and those concieved via non consentual sex, my conclusion is that rape victims are given a "get out of damnation free" card.

And with that one loophole, the entire abortion debate changes from one of being pro-fetus to being anti-sexual activity for women, in that a woman is judged on how she concieved and then denied or approved if she didn't have sex consentually.

This brings up the point: Where do you draw the line?

Is it consenting if she lies there rather than die because her rapist will kill her, or if she fell asleep on the couch at a friend's and he raped her? What if it was blackmail? What if she started to lead him on, changed her mind, and he pushed forwards anyways? Are we going to bring up what she was wearing, her past sexual history, and her circumstances? Does marriage come into play? (For long ago, the law was that a man could never rape his wife; the marriage contract obligated the woman to give sex to the man, and if he forced himself on her, there was nothing she could do.) Is it rape if the woman is legally too young to consent?

How do you prove it was rape, when many victims never step forward and others may make false claims using a bit of rough play with a boyfriend to get false evidence? Allowing the only loophole to be for rape is to open up a whole nother mess which I don't think, frankly, most people have even bothered to think about when they say "I'll allow it for rape victims".


Some extra information about the issue of rape and how an unwanted pregnancy can be analogous to that of an instance of rape.

Courtesy of ReiDuck

So, a woman gets raped and then pregnant. Adoption is a perfectly viable option. However, the woman still has to endure nine months of pregnancy.

Think about it for a moment. The entire concept of rape goes as follows: something was put inside of you that you were powerless to remove. The resulting mental scarring (oh yes, there WILL be mental scarring) will focus on a complex based on control/power, due to the fact that when she was raped, the woman had none.

Now think about pregnancy. Inside that very same space is something alien, something the woman cannot control, something put there by the man who stole her power and self-esteem, that she is powerless to remove.

Imagine being raped for nine months solid. I know it's not the same thing, but in the ruins of the woman's mind, it might as well be. It could drive her rather permanently insane.

So what's more important? The life of a woman who's already grown and lived and loved and developed a full and rich personality, or the life of a wad of cells? Would you prefer that the cells die and the woman eventually recovers, or that the cells live and mature into a baby while the woman is so heavily mentally impacted that she will probably never recover?

I'd say it is far, far more important to preserve a life that already exists rather than ruin it, and create a new one. That's like saying that it's okay to chop down a 2000-year-old sequoia and plant a sapling in its place. Yes, that sapling might POTENTIALLY become a 2000-year-old giant ... but then again, it might not. And we've already got this beautiful tree.

And then you get the tricky dilemma of a woman who was raped or otherwise abused in the past, and still traumatized from the experience.

A common behavior pattern of a victim suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder induced by rape is to become promiscuous as a self-defense mechanism; she has "proof" that both she and her body are worthless, so therefore there's no harm to be had in having lots of sex. She sleeps around as a form of self-validation, attempting to support what little remains of her self-esteem but failing each time because she puts herself into a situaiton where she is only used. Since she is unable to form emotional connections, any time a benevolent partner might enter her life with the possibility of love, she ups and runs and tries again. It's a cycle that most never break out of. She repeats the pattern over and over, each time trying to make it work right and failing. For an example, in the movie "Forrest Gump," the history is inaccurate but the behavior patterns of the character Jenny, who was abused by her father, are a classic case.

It's very likely that a woman in such a pattern might become pregnant, since she'll often have so little regard for herself that protection seems unimportant. And so even though that particular sexual act was 'consensual,' she'll probably be just as unable to carry a baby as the aforementioned pregnancy-from-rape case, even if it's years later.


A fetus has no more right to be inside me than a p***s does.

To expand on this: if someone attempts to put a p***s inside me without my specific concent, I am allowed to use whatever force is necessary to prevent this, even to kill him. If I consent to have his p***s inside me and then change my mind, and he does not heed my wishes, then I am allowed to use whatever force is necessary to prevent this, even to kill him.

This is called self-defense.

If I do not specifically consent to having a fetus inside me, and one winds up there anyway, then I have the right to kill it. If I originally consent to having a fetus inside me and then change my mind, if it does not heed my wishes, I have the right to kill it.

This is also self-defense. Defense of my body and defense of my mind.

Long story short: this is MY ******** body. Mine. Only mine. If a fetus is part of me, then I can do whatever I want with it. And if it's not part of me, then it has no righth to be inside me. Because that's ******** illegal.

Facing the Consequences of your Actions - The Punishment Mentality.

Courtesy of SunflowerGoddess

One stance which also appears quite often is that a woman who chooses to have sex and becomes pregnant from the sex "needs to face the consequences of her actions". Others may word it in a different way, such as "she knew what was coming to her" or "she should have kept her legs closed". This stance is refered to by a few pro-choicers as "pro-punishment" or "punishment camper" because it implies that going through the pregnancy and labor should be a "punishment" for having consented to sex. It is most often considered to be a seperate stance from "pro-life", or to not truly be "pro-life" since one who holds this view rarely speaks for the sanctity of life of the fetus, but rather only about punishing women for choosing sex.

If you don't want children, Don't have sex.

A few people will comment that until one is ready for a child, they are not ready for sex. One flaw with saying this is that some people exist (they label themselves "childfree" wink who do not wish to have children at all in their life. It is not realistic to try and tell a childfree individual who is in either a long-term relationship or a marriage to abstain from sex completely because it could lead to pregnancy. More information on this is detailed in the post titled The Purpose Of Sex

Most women who abort did not use protection - a misconception

Another point often brought up with this stance is the misconception that all or most women who obtain abortions did not use proper protection. This arguement does not work because, according to sources such as this one, 54% of women obtaining abortions were using some kind of contraception or birth control at the time they became pregnant, and that 90% of women who are at risk for unplanned pregnancies use contraception.

Let's be hypothetical. Let's say a woman does not use any form of birth control or contracpetives at the time she is to become pregnant, and will use abortion as her primary form of birth control (instead of simply "back-up plan" wink . Condoms can easily be obtained from the pharmacy, and from many corner stores, and can come as inexpensive as $2, depending on the kind and brand you buy. Some schools, medical centres, and community centres even give them away for free. Birth control pills are also not expensive in comparison to abortion. Abortion can cost anywhere from $200 to $1500 or more. I'm sorry to be harsh, but such a woman is stupid. Would you really trust her with going through a pregnancy and possibly choosing parenthood? Come, now.

Turning a pregnancy into a punishment also devalues the offspring's life. Think for a second without making a sudden jump. The pro-life stance is mostly based on the idea of the offspring being a valuable human. To simply turn pregnancy, labor, and possibly parenting into a means of punishment brings down its value. It is going from what could be a precious gift to what is merely a means of making the woman regret having had sex. I wouldn't have wanted to be a punishment. That's for sure.


"Responsibility", in this issue, is not something that can be defined by one person for everyone else. "Responsibility" is merely taking the actions which one feels is most fit in a situation with several factors considered. Abortion is a way some women who are faced with unplanned pregnancies choose to take responsibility.

But you took a risk!

Everything we do in life involves a risk. When we get into our car and drive to work with our seatbelt on, we're taking a risk and taking proper precautions. When we cross the street, and look both ways and watch the lights, we're taking a risk and taking proper precautions. When a woman has sex and uses protection, she is taking a risk and taking proper precautions. Despite taking precautions, all situations do still involve risk. However, a person who is severely injured while crossing the street or driving their car is not denied medical treatment, despite the fact that they knew a risk was involved. With this in mind, why should a woman who is pregnant and doesn't want to be get denied the medical treatment she is seeking? She, too, knew the risks.

A woman who has sex agrees to the risk of becoming pregnant - not necessarily to remaining pregnant.

Why Not Just get Your Tubes Tied?

Not everyone who does not want children right now wants to be permanently sterilized. I may not want a child right now, but I may want one oneday. For the Childfree sterilization is a viable option, however for the childless it is not.

Furthermore very few doctors, if any, will provide any sort of permanent sterilization for women under 30 who do not have at least 2 children already, and even then it is a struggle. Doctors worry about potential lawsuits for negligence, assuming the woman will one day change her mind and sue the doctor (successfully) for not realizing that someone in her 20s probably would. Sterilization just is not an option.
Abortion and the US Constitution/Declaration of Independence
Lord Setar

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 3
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and the security of person.

While it could be argued that the fetus is granted the right to life, it is still not granted the right to violate the woman's right to security of the person, under Articles 7 and 30:

UDHR, Article 7
All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against all types of discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to any form of discrimination.

UDHR, Article 30
Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.

The woman is thus entitled to protection against discrimination in violation of the Declaration; in this case the violation of her right to security of the person brought on by the unwanted residency of the fetus in her uterus. This is what is called initial violation - the fetus cannot be protected under Article 3 owing to violating the woman's Article 3 rights and thus invoking Article 7. To prevent a continued violation, the woman is thus entitled to an abortion as soon as is safely possible. This also prevents states from invoking waiting periods and mandatory counselling, as this would be preventing the woman from defending her Article 3 rights.

Measures by the State to restrict abortion in any way also violate Article 30, as they are made in attempt to destroy the woman's right to security of the person under Article 3. The woman is not the initial violator, the fetus is, and thus it is the woman who is granted the right to protection from the Article 3 violation. Protection from a violation includes defending oneself from a violation, and as such abortion is, under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, entitled defense of Article 3 rights through Article 7, and the State cannot in any way attempt to restrict the woman's right to an abortion without falling into violation of Article 30.

I hope this is worded well, as it is 1:30 AM and I'm tired. Either way, I feel that this would be an amazing addition to the thread, as I have only in the last month used the UDHR to back up abortion as self-defense and only now did I do a little extra reading into the document. There are a few other articles that may have relevance as well:

Article 4 - forced pregnancy can be seen as servitude
Article 5 - "punishment" for consenting to sex being having to carry to term, give birth and raise the child
Article 17 (2) - your body is your property, thus being forced to carry the fetus against your will would logically be deprivation of property. I personally feel that this has the strongest relevance and basis

An issue of a woman's rights and a look at legal cases that set a precident

McFall V Shimp:

McFall was dying and needed a bone marrow transplant. Bone marrow is incredibly hard to match. Maybe one in a million people will have identical bone marrow and the odds of someone in the marrow bank having a similar marrow type to you is nearly impossible. If you do not find a match in your immediate family the odds of you finding a suitable match are near zero.

McFall wanted his cousin, Shimp, to undergo testing to see if his marrow matched and further if it did to force him to donate marrow.

The judge ruled that Shimp was not obligated to be forced to undergo an operation for the sake of his cousin because his right to bodily autonomy trumped McFall's right to be alive. The judge ruled that one's bodily autonomy, the right to freely control your body, what happens to it and in it, is the crux of freedom and to remove that would be to undermine the very basis of this nation and of human dignity.

The common law has consistently held to a rule which provides that one human being is under no legal compulsion to give aid or to take action to save that human being or to rescue. A great deal has been written regarding this rule which, on the surface, appears to be revolting in a moral sense. Introspection, however, will demonstrate that the rule is founded upon the very essence of our free society. It is noteworthy that counsel for the Plaintiff has cited authority which has developed in other societies in support of the Plaintiff's request in this instance. Our society, contrary to many others, has as its first principle, the respect for the individual, and that society and government exist to protect the individual from being invaded and hurt by another. Many societies adopt a contrary view which has the the individual existing to serve the society as a whole.

In preserving such a society as we have, it is bound to happen that great moral conflicts will arise and will appear harsh in a given instance. In this case, the chancellor is being asked to force one member of society to undergo a medical procedure which would provide that part of that individual's body would be removed from him and given to another so that the other could live. Morally, this decision rests with the Defendant, and, in the view of the Court, the refusal of the Defendant is morally indefensible. For our law to COMPEL the Defendant to submit to an intrusion of his body would change the very concept and principle upon which our society is founded. To do so would defeat the sanctity of the individual and would impose a rule which would know no limits, and one could not imagine where the line would be drawn.


How this relates to the abortion debate: If we grant the allegations of the pro-life side of this debate, that a fetus has a right to be alive, our law still dictates that the right to life does not give one the privilege to use another humans body against their will - this is a legal precedent that has been upheld in many courts in the US.

The fetus's life depends upon the mother's body, however the mother is not obligated to undergo an invasive procedure against her will because the fetus has the right to be alive because the mother's right to control her body trumps that right to be alive, just as Shimp's right to control his body trumped McFalls's right to be alive.

If we grant a fetus the right to life that, in and of itself, does not justify banning abortion, because if one were to ban abortion they would be explicitly giving the fetus a right that no other born person has, namely the right to use another born adult against his or her will as a means for survival.

If one wishes to assert that a right to life is enough to trump a woman�s right to bodily integrity then one must justify this granting of special rights and special privileges that no born adult is permitted to have when a fetus is arguably not even the equivalent of a born person.

A response to McFall V. Shimp

There exists a philosophical principle called the Doctrine of Double Effect which states that one may not use another being as a means to an end.

(this will be fleshed out later)

Essentially the argument goes: McFall's harm was not the product of something Shimp's refusal to donate. Shimp refusing to donate did not cause the condition which harms McFall, however a woman's refusing to donate by having an abortion will directly cause the condition that will be harmful to the fetus. The woman's action is active, while Shimp's was passive.

A problem with this view is that of suction/early term abortions. The act of abortion does not directly kill the fetus, the fetus dies from being outside of the womb and not having nutrients. This would be passive. One could only oppose abortions under the basis of active/passive acts for those that require the fetus be killed in order to remove it, and not killed because it was removed.

The distinction is precarious, but it does exist.

Other Legal Cases to support rights to Bodily Integrity

It is currently US law that a person’s consent is required for organ donation to occur and that such consent cannot be coerced or forced.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Advisory Committee on Organ Transplantation Summary Recommendations to the Secretary

A person's "refusal to donate" organs after death must be honored in all states:

National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, Uniform Anatomical Gift Act (1987) http://www.law.upenn.edu/bll/ulc/fnact99/uaga87.htm

Establishing authority of the patient's rights to make medical decisions:

McFall v. Shimp No 78-177711; 10 P~D.&C.&i 90 (C.P. 197 cool 10th Pennsylvania District, Allegheny County.

In Re Angela Carder: Official Transcript of Proceedings Before District of Columbia Court of Appeals, Oral Argument In re Angela Carder No. 87-607 (Sept. 22, 198 cool at 61-78; George Washington University Medical Center Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of Petition for Declaratory Relief 1, In Re AC. (served July 8, 1987); Brief of Appellate The George Washington University, filed in the Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia in In Re A. C., at 12-13, 19-20.

A woman with cancer said: gimme chemo, abort now, I don't want a C-section it'll kill me! The hospital forced her to have a C-section at approximately 20 weeks pregnant. They both died. Court ruled "gimme chemo, abort now, I don't want a C-section it'll kill me!" should have reigned supreme, not the hospital's wanting to preserve her fetus. A really great link about it:

Cruzan V. Missouri Department of Health, 58 U.S.L.W. 4916 (1990).

Canterbury U. Spence, 464 F.2d 772 (D.C. Cir. 1972)

The rights of the patient to make medical decisions without government intrusion has been consistently upheld:

Schloendorft U. Society of New York Hospital 105 N.E. 92, 93 (N.Y. 1914); The V. Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital, 602 F.Supp. 1452 (D.D.C. 1985);

In Re Farrell, 108 N.J. 355, 529 A.2d 404 (1987);

Bartling V. Superior Court, 163 Cal.App.3d 186, 209 Cal. Rptr. 220 (1984);

Superintendent of Belchertown State Sckool U. Saikewicz, 373 Mass. 728, 370 N.E.2d 417 (1977).

Respecting a patient's right to bodily autonomy when infringing it would save the lives of another:

In Re George, 630 S.W.2d 614 (Mo£t~App. 1982) the court refused to identify dying man's father as potential donor of bone marrow.

In Re Unborn ~qI4 No.84-7-50006-0, Slip Op. at 5 (Wash. Super. C~ Benton/F~a~n Cos.Jur.Div. April 20, 1984) the court denied Caesarean, recognizing that the mother could not be compelled to donate an organ to one of her other children).

In Re Pescinshi, 67 Wis.2d 4, 226 N.W.2d 180 (1975) the court refused to order man to donate kidney to sister in dire need.

In Re Harrel St. Mary’s Hospital, in Florida the hospital sought to force a pregnant Jehovah’s witness to undergo a blood transfusion against her religious beliefs. Though the case was dismissed because the fetus died they said the order would have been reversed if it went through.

McFall v. Shimp No 78-177711; 10 P~D.&C.&i 90 (C.P. 197 cool 10th Pennsylvania District, Allegheny County.

In Re Angela Carder: Official Transcript of Proceedings Before District of Columbia Court of Appeals, Oral Argument In re Angela Carder No. 87-607 (Sept. 22, 198 cool at 61-78; George Washington University Medical Center Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of Petition for Declaratory Relief 1, In Re AC. (served July 8, 1987); Brief of Appellate The George Washington University, filed in the Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia in In Re A. C., at 12-13, 19-20.


A pregnant woman can do whatever the ******** she wants with her body:

Stallman V. Youngquist, 531 N.E.2d 355, 359 ('11.198 cool refusing to recognize a tort of maternal prenatal negligence;

Commonwealth v. Pellegrini, No.87970, Superior Court, Plymouth, Mass. slip op. (Oct.15, 1990) Dismissmg prosecution of woman for drug use during pregnancy, holding that state's interest in protecting potential human life does not override woman's right to privacy;

Michigan V. Bremer, 90-32227-FH, Circuit Court for the County of Muskegon, slip op. (Jan.31, 1991) (followed Pellegrini);

UAW V. Johnson Controls, Inc., No.89-1215 (Marc. 20, 1991), slip. op. interpreting Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 2000e, et seq., rejecting an employer's fetal protection policy and concluding that "decisions about the welfare of future children must be left to the parents who conceive, bear, support, and raise them rather than to employers who hire those parents

Sex (remote cause) does not legally cause pregnancy, but rather the implantation of the fetus (proximate cause) does cause pregnancy, based on tort laws:

The appellate court in Louisiana distinguished proximate cause from remote cause in this often cited tort case. A landscaping company did some work at the owner's request, blocking the cattle on his farm from being able to reach water. After two weeks all the cattle died. The farmer sued saying the landscaping is what caused the cattle to die. The court ruled that the landscaping was the remote cause that contributed to the cattle dying, however it was not the proximate (direct) cause of the cattle dying. The farmer had ample time to move the cattle but did not. The landscaping did not kill the cattle, the farmer's not moving the cattle caused their dehydration.

A remote cause is necessary for the existence of the effect (just as sex is necessary for the existence of pregnancy) the court had ruled, however it stated such a remote cause “does not necessarily imply the existence of the effect.” (the landscaping didn't necessarily mean the cattle would die, nor does sex necessarily mean that a pregnancy will occur)

Herbert, 210 So.2d., p74 (quoting 65 C.J.S section 103 at 1131).

The court also noted that although a “person may be negligent in the performance or omission of some duty owed to the person injured, no liability attaches unless it appears that there was a causal connection… [which was] the proximate or legal cause of the injury, rather than a remote cause, or one merely causing a condition providing an opportunity for other causal agencies to act.” Herbert, p74 (quoting 65 C.J.S. Negligence section 104 p 1135).
The Father's Rights in the Abortion Debate

Courtesy of Mistress DragonFlame

It's my Child TooThe Father's Rights on Abortion

This is a cry many pro-life men give to pro-choicers. True, the fetus does not just spontaneously get all the needed 46 Chromosomes (under normal circumstances) from the mother by herself. Unless by divine power, or abnormality in the meiosis, the fetus will only come about by a female having sex with a male.

One of the first retorts a person presenting this argument is usually, 'What about rapists who get women pregnant?' The usual reply to this is, 'The rapist had no right to rape the woman, and thus had no right to any thing of the outcome of that rape' Or something to that nature; it varies every time it's used against a different person.

But, putting that aside, we have now come to the conclusion that only willing women with willing partners can be affected by the Man's 'right'. The Rapist idea is now out the window from any more arguments on it.

(You can skip this part if you are not from the US)

There is NO right, in the Constitution, or the Bill Of Rights, that guarantee the man the right to have a child. And, even if it did, it would have to remove/change the Right to Bodily Integrity. Neither the mans, or the fetus's for that matter, have a right to the woman's body, even at the cost of their life. You have the right to kill a man if that is what is needed to stop him from raping you.

To create a baby by normal means, you need 23 Chromosomes from one souse, and 23 from another. This is simple biology. Every complete human cell has 46 of those little buggers, and they can split and multiply in a process called 'Mitoses'. 'Meioses', as I have mentioned earlier, causes a cell of a normal human to be split not once into two, but twice into four separate things; the creation of the Egg and Sperm. Only the reproductive organs can do this process, and they do it in a random way so that each sperm/egg is unique. Once they meet, they create a new cell, not of the mother's, or the fathers.

Now, that aside, once that cell has formed, what does the father do to help it along? Absolutely nothing. You can never create (or destroy) an atom, so where do you think the resources the zygote needs to become a fetuses and then a newborn? That's right; the mother. She provides the nutrients, the friendly environment, everything it needs to develop. As a result, she is also the one that grunts up the pains this process undoubtedly causes. Also, it is cumbersome for a woman to work most jobs while in the latter stages of her pregnancy. As such, when a owner/manager of a business realizes a woman has gotten pregnant, and it is beginning to affect her work, s/he thinks something along the lines of, "Ah, s**t." Why? Because of one thing, aside affecting her work performance; Maternity Leave. It is illegal to denigh this to a woman (unless the company is legally small enough), but the amount it is differs. Also, some women quit months before they are due and never come back. So, the employer thinks that it just might pay to fire her and higher someone else, someone not pregnant. Guess what the guy suffers job-wise? A pat on the back, maybe a cigar and a congrats, and might even get a raise.

It is impossible to tell a man is expecting a child just by looking at them. A woman is obvious after the first trimester, and it's getting more noticeable as time goes on.

Once the child is born, however, it is just as much of the Father's responsibility to raise it as the Mother. Legally, he can take it away and never see her face again and the child will not suffer physically for it. He can give the newborn food just like the mother can, instead of being basically useless. One of the points against this argument is that the Father is A) unaffected by the pregnancy in any aspects, and B) is not a part of the pregnancy after donating 23 measly Chromosomes; it is only on the woman.

In conclusion, if, and only if, the fetus is given the rights of a newborn (And the mother's bodily integrity over her womb is nulled) will the father's rights over it have any power other then opinion. Until you can prove that, the Its My Child Too, argument is just a stick in the mud and will hold no sway in the abortion debate.

Often times people say that instead of an abortion people should put the child up for adoption post-birth. However, adoption solves unwanted parenting. It does nothing to alleviate an unwanted pregnancy.

The issue at hand is the fact that a woman has an unwanted pregnancy, not what comes afterwards. In order to place a child for adoption, one must first carry it to term and undergo all the physical, psychological, and sociological ramifications of that process. Its generally a very much life-altering experience, it makes you undergo physical changes, many of them permanent, it alters your brain chemistry, and dont forget, unless you cloister yourself away for the entire duration, it causes all kinds of social speculation among your friends, family, coworkers, acquaintances, strangers on the street, etc.

Many women find adoption to be immoral, just as one may find abortion to be immoral. Reasons why vary, though the most common one is that they do not believe in going through nine months of discomfort and several hours of pain only to give away the product. Ill add that these women arent trying to illegalize adoption in any form based on their personal opinions.

Furthermore, the American adoption system is racist, ageist and biased against children who arent infants, and as such one is justified to be morally opposed to the system. Evidence of this assertion is as follows:

Thanks to Moniquill for the following information

Cost of live birth in the US:
According to babycenter.com
The cost of a normal vaginal birth for a self-pay patient with a one-day stay ranged from $2,500 to $3,000. If, however, things do not go as you plan and you end up being delivered by cesarean section, then the cost will be significantly higher.

An abortion in the US generally costs between $300 and $700 dollars, depending on your location, the type of abortion youre getting, what clinic you go to, whether or not you can receive financial aid, so on and so forth.

Mind you, that doesnt include the cost of prenatal care, which is only covered if you are lucky enough to have health insurance and if your insurance includes prenatal care. Many plans do not.

Adoption is viewed, by many, as a very socially irresponsible act. I personally think that it is far more wrong to bring into the world a child that you do not want and cannot care for, expecting others to bear the expense (mental, physical, financial) of raising it, than it is to make sure that the child never exists in the first place. Adoption doesn't necessarily assure you the knowledge that the child that you created will be cared for and provided for and raised in a way that you would agree with. You might never have contact with the child again, knowing only that you created one, not whether it is well, or whether it is even alive. The current system of Adoption in this country is deplorable, and until every single orphanage and foster home worldwide is empty and there's still a massive demand for children, adoption has proven itself not to be the end-all-be-all fixit solution. While I feel for the plight of the childless who seek offspring, it is not the job of the unintentionally pregnant to play broodmares for them.

Also, there is the argument that the existence of another human being at all is a problem. I personally could never live with myself knowing that I had created a new human, one that would continue to consume resources long after my death and one that would in all likelihood breed and continue the cycle, no matter WHO was footing the effort and the bill.

Racism in adoption

There is no lack of unwanted children in this world. If parents are awaiting a child to love, its generally because they have criteria that arent being met.

Take for example, this:
So. It wasn't about babies after all, but about white babies. They didn't tell us that in religion class, nor did they mention it at the march. But wait! Open any newspaper and you can find couples advertising, selling themselves as loving parents who wish to complete their lives with your baby. Yes. Your white baby.
Dont believe the article? Check this out: http://www.lifetimeadoption.com/for_birtmothers/profiles.html
Choose any family, then click the learn more about our family link. Itll send you to a chart outlining the family and the criteria they seek in an infant. Heres the most common answer: http://www.lifetimeadoption.com/for_birtmothers/families/danny_michelle/our_family.html
Newborn. Caucasian. No special needs.
Its not that there arent hundreds of thousands of unwanted and unloved children already existing in the world, desperately needing homes its that they dont fit the acceptable profile.

For every shiny new baby you add to the system, another existing child doesnt get adopted.
Meet Dominique and Ivy.


They need a family. If I give birth to a perfect, healthy, white newborn, and a loving family adopts it, that's one less family who will consider adopting Dominique and Ivy.


Thanks to Nethilia for the following information


All I did was plug adoption into Google. What do you see? That's right. White couples, white babies, white families. I saw one family that might have been Asian, and a few brown faces on http://www.adoptuskids.org, which is national. On every private site I saw more white than a blizzard in Denver.

60 Percent of Children in Foster Care Waiting for Adoptive Families Are 6 Years of Age or Older.
User Image

Preschoolers Are More Likely to be Adopted Than Older Children
A disproportionate number of children age 1-5 are adopted--they comprise 45 percent of the children adopted from foster care, but 34 percent of waiting children. A similar marked difference can be found in the over-10 age group, which represents 17 percent of the children adopted from foster care, but 26 percent of the waiting foster children.[21] Researchers estimate that at 8 or 9 years of age, a child's likelihood of remaining in foster care becomes higher than the probability they will be adopted.[22]


[The writer of the article] recently requested an adoption application from this agency called "American Adoptions." (For research purposes only I assure you.) They give you a bunch of information along with the application form. Here's how they break things down in terms of race:

They divide their programs into "Traditional" and "Minority." "Traditional" includes all "healthy, non-African American" babies. They state that "Traditional" program races "include, but are not limited to, Caucasian, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, etc. or any non-African American combination of races."

What it boils down to is that "African-American or Bi/multi-racial (any race combined with African-American heritage) newborns/infants" in the "Minority" program cost way less than babies in the "Traditional" program, anywhere from $4,000 to $16,000 less, with no up-front fee required. The average wait for a "Traditional" program baby is months longer than the wait for a "Minority" program baby, which can be as short as 1 month, and the rules regarding age of parents and number of children who can already be living in the home are less strict for "Minority" program applicants. While reduced fees and fewer restrictions on parent eligibility (combined with other anti-racist, anti-classist strategies) can make adoption more accessible to people of color, "Minority" programs like this one are not focused on recruiting and approving people of color to adopt.

Agencies are able to subsidize "Minority" programs in part because they do not spend lots of money advertising to pregnant women to give up their "minority" babies for adoption; instead, they focus their attention on recruiting pregnant women who can help fill the demand for white babies. Also, many agencies use a "one drop" kind of rule to draw a strict line between African American and white, while quietly ignoring all other "minorities." The argument that "Minority" programs exist to make adoption more accessible to people of color is often an attempt to mask white-run agencies' complicity with white-dominated society's general devaluation of African American children. Most agencies don't care about recruiting parents of color or making their programs more accessible to people of color in general. The pictures of angelic, blonde-haired babies advertised by agencies like American Adoptions make it clear that they're primarily concerned with matching up white people with white babies, and when that isn't possible, convincing whites to settle for a "less desirable" child.


Nearly One Quarter of Foster Care Children Are Waiting for Adoptive Families

In 1999, the latest year for which totals have been finalized, there were about 581,000 children in foster care in the United States.[1] Twenty-two percent of these children -- about 127,000 kids -- were available for adoption.[2]

Many More Adoptive Homes Needed

Even with the recent increases in adoptions from foster care, the number of children waiting for adoption on September 30, 1999 was more than two-and-a-half times the number of children adopted during that year.[16]

A response to this:

Courtesy of Resident Lune:
I don't think you fully comprehend just how efficient adoption is. It's true, it has its faults. Children are passed up for the most illogical reasons; racism being one of them. But that does not mean that babies would be better off dead than in adoption agencies if they've already reached a point in the stage of pregnancy that they can survive out of the womb.

The fact that the adoption system may be against one's morals, and the fact that it is currently a racist institution does not mean that one ought to act on the belief that a child is better off dead than in adoption.

If one believes a fetus is the equivalent of a born child it is rediculous to believe the child ought to be killed simply because it currently lives in an unfortunate situation. Just as one would not kill a born child living in poverty because they feel it would be better off dead one should not abort solely because the adoption system currently sucks (assuming that a fetus is the equivalent of a born child). For a pro-lifer the fact that the adoption system has flaws is not a justification for abortion.

Cost of Birth in the US

A Promiscuous Pirate
[I am teh Haruka]
A Promiscuous Pirate
Does anyone know ho wmuch the average cost of child birht is in a hospital?
$3000 minimum in the US. That's without any other complications or doctor visits.
Thanks very much, any website for that? sweatdrop

Matria Healthcare
Womens and Childrens Health Outcomes
User Image - Blocked by "Display Image" Settings. Click to show.

[4] Assumes normal birth cost of $3000

The Cincinnati Equirer
March of Dimes targeting early births The average hospital charge for a preemie is $58,000, compared to $4,300 for a normal newborn.

March of Dimes
Impact on Business
Direct Employer Health Care Costs: $41,610
The direct health care costs to employers for premature babies during the first year of their lives average $41,610, compared to $2,830 for babies born healthy and full term.

http://health.utah.gov/ Average Hospital Maternity and Newborn ChargesInpatient Charges for Utahs Most Common Maternity and Newborn Related Conditions2002-2003 Combined:

Utah Hospital Average**

Normal delivery no complications: 3,546
Normal delivery w/ complications: 4,892
C-section no complications: 6,338
C-section w/complications: 8,262

Yale New Haven Hospital
First effective treatment for preterm births The average hospital charge for a premature baby in 2000 in the U.S. was $58,000, compared with $4,300 for a typical newborn.

I shall continue to look and edit in stuff as I find it, unless the page moves on in which case I shall just repost. ninja

EDIT: All right, I think I'm done looking. So this should be the end of it. If I change my mind I'll just repost. mrgreen
The Purpose of Sex

Courtesy of Moniquill

Sex isnt just for reproduction. People do not have sex because they want babies, they have sex because sex fosters pair bonds. Sex, among humans (And most other intelligent species for that matter) is first and foremost a social interaction.

Without sex, ones adult life will be stunted in a serious way. Lack of sex, or even lack of sexual desire, is considered a psychological disorder and can lead to other much nastier complications. Also, if sex is just for reproduction, why do humans still exhibit sexual desire in cases where no conception could possibly take place? Why dont we mate like, say, dogs, wherein females go into estrus and mate only during that time? If sex is only for reproduction, it has an AMAZING failure rate.

species that have sex like crazy even when there's little to no chance of breeding:

European kestrels
red-sided garter snakes
alpine accentors
American Southwest or Hawaiian whiptail lizards (these reproduce asexually, but have very active sex lives anyway)
purple swamp hens/pukikos
Eurasian oystercatchers
several species of gulls
tree swallows
orange-fronted parakeets
Japanese macaques

(source: Diversity's rainbow: diversity, gender, and sexuality in nature and people, Joan Roughgarden (2004).)

About Abstinence
Something anyone should read up about failure rates of abstinence:

When does abstinence fail? The definition of an abstinence user also has implications for determining the effectiveness of abstinence as a method of contraception. The president, in his July 2002 remarks to South Carolina high school students, said "Let me just be perfectly plain. If you're worried about teenage pregnancy, or if you're worried about sexually transmitted disease, abstinence works every single time." In doing so, he suggested that abstinence is 100% effective. But scientifically, is this in fact correct?

Researchers have two different ways of measuring the effectiveness of contraceptive methods. "Perfect use" measures the effectiveness when a contraceptive is used exactly according to clinical guidelines. In contrast, "typical use" measures how effective a method is for the average person who does not always use the method correctly or consistently. For example, women who use oral contraceptives perfectly will experience almost complete protection against pregnancy. However, in the real world, many women find it difficult to take a pill every single day, and pregnancies can and do occur to women who miss one or more pills during a cycle. Thus, while oral contraceptives have a perfect-use effectiveness rate of over 99%, their typical-use effectiveness is closer to 92% (see chart). As a result, eight in 100 women who use oral contraceptives will become pregnant in the first year of use.

Perfect use of abstinence means never having any sexual intercourse.

Typical use of abstinence means how it is typically used. A couple who heavy pet and the guy ejaculates onto the v****a resulting in the girl getting pregnant would be a "typical" use of abstinence that has "failed." A girl getting raped and then getting pregnant would be a failure of abstinence because her method of "contraceptive" failed to prevent pregnancy (if one could call "rape" a typical use). A couple willingly choosing to have sex when they have asserted a want to be abstinent would be a typical use of abstinence that fails. I.E. A couple that says "I want to be abstinent until marraige," who then go out and have sex have practiced abstinence, but not perfect use. If the girl got pregnant this would be a failure of abstinence.

Just like condoms are something like 90% effective "typical use" and 99% "perfect use" abstinence works the same way. When people ******** while claiming to be abstinent, it's typical use. Abstinence does have a failure rate.
Fetal Abilities

http://www.religioustolerance.org/abo_fetu.htm this link details most of the information below, but may be different in some locations. Fetal development is not 100% known moment by moment. Any new information anyone has (with a source) please PM me and I will include it here.

courtesy of lymelady

Development from day 1

Day 1: Conception
An army of sperm battle fiercely to penetrate the evil zona pellucida, until finally one brave solider manages to thwart this infernal barrier surrounding the oocyte (egg, basically) and fuse with the egg. Eleven hours later, we find a newly formed zygote.

Day 2: Cell division starts, and all that jazz. This is called cleavage. Not the hooters kind. Cells need to divide in order for the zygote to grow.

Day 4-5: Zygote gets into a mulberry shape, giving it the name Morula. It travels through the fallopian tube and gets into the cavity in the uterus. A blastocele forms on the inside of the morula. Now begins the separation of the cells. The zona pellucida stays the same, but the inside changes. Here we have the distinction between cells on the inside and on the outside thanks to compaction. Here is where a blastocyst is born.

5-6 days: Viva la Embryo! Freedom from the zona pellucida, just in time for the blastocyst to implant itself in the endometrium (lining of the uterus. Rich in capillaries that will attach to the blastocyst in order for circulation to occur. Otherwise known as that junk that is expelled every 28 days. Let's none of us thank Eve for eating that apple).

7-12 days: Enter placenta, stage...well, the placenta is being formed. Connecting to both woman and embryo, this organ is essential in the growth of the embryo. The woman's blood will soon supply the embryo with essential nutrients and dispose of wastes.

Day 13: Gastrulation! Sounds like something you'd see on a Prilosec OTC commercial, right? This is where the three germ layers(endoderm, mesoderm, ectoderm) are formed.

Day 16: Notochord formation. Also we have germ layers still growing. Quoting visembryo,

"Endoderm that will form the lining of lungs, tongue, tonsils, urethra and associated glands, bladder and digestive tract.

Mesoderm that will form the muscles, bones, lymphatic tissue, spleen, blood cells, heart, lungs, and reproductive and excretory systems.

Ectoderm that will form the skin, nails, hair, lens of eye, lining of the internal and external ear, nose, sinuses, mouth, a**s, tooth enamel, pituitary gland, mammary glands, and all parts of the nervous system."

17-23 days: Blood vessels galore! Two primitive heart tubes form. They fuse together and the first heartbeat occurs between 21 and 23 days. This is only a precursor to true circulation, however; blood vessels are not fully formed. Neural folds are fusing along the neural tube.

Day 24-29: The neural tube is closed. The developing brain and spinal cord combined are currently the biggest tissue. The brain is growing into three sections by now.

These are by no means the only developing organs. The digestive organs are starting to form, starting with the liver. The eyes and ears are forming by now, and the circulatory system is still growing.

Limb buds and a mouth are present at this point, as well as a thin layer of skin.

4-8 weeks: Nerves grow throughout the tiny body as the limbs get longer and structures come into being (though they are not yet operational in the sense connections to the brain have not yet been made, and won't be until 23-30 weeks source). A capacity for a sense of smell and a four chambered heart can be found at 6 weeks; before that, an esophogus, lungs, kidneys etc. Nearly everything is in development now. Urine is produced for the first time between 6-7 weeks.

Brain waves and muscles are present by the end of week 7 (Though they are comparable to that of a brain dead person, and not that of one who's cerebral cortex, the area for thinking/feeling, is functioningsource). Webbed fingers and toes are seen by the start of week 8. The tongue finishes developing and involuntary movements start. By the end of 8 weeks, the brain can control muscles, the heart has finished developement, the digits have separated. The clitoris is formed in females, but the same tissue will become a p***s for males. The tail is gone. The jaw is being formed. Our embryo graduates to fetus. Development isn't quite the right word anymore. Growth is more accurate.

8-10 weeks: Heart is almost completely developed. Fingerprints begin to appear. By ten weeks, a fetus is sensitive to touch (Arguably, it may also be as late as 24 weeks or more before brain development is far enough along to even able feel sensations, though basic reactions are possible at this time) and can suck its thumb. Facial follicles form, as well as the palate.

11-12 weeks: Urination is working just fine. Facial expressions start showing up. Involuntary usage of muscles is taking place; fetuses at 12 weeks can make fists, kick, mimic breathing.


12-16 weeks: The fetus produces some of his or her own bile and insulin. Salivary glands=functioning from the very beginning of the month. Respiration and Digestion develop more. The spleen is making antibodies and removing old red blood cells. Sweat glands and body hair begins to grow...all this at 12-13 weeks. By the end, circulation is completely functional. Myelin coats nerve to protect them and speed transmissions.

16-20 weeks: By the middle of the the month, a temporary hair called lanugo grows in. The fetus has different periods of sleeping and being awake...and this early on, a fetus has a developmental preference for a sleeping position. A female's uterus is completely developed, her ovaries contain egg cells that will become all the eggs she will ever produce. By the end of this month, eyebrows and scalp hair can be seen. Eyes blink more often, in males the testes shift to the scrotum, and the brain is growing rapidly. A fetus can respond to loud sounds, though its auditory senses are not fully up to snuff (arguable as explained below).

20-24 weeks: Sound is undeniably possible by now, as the hammer, anvil, and stirrup have hardened (The ability is there, however whether a fetus actually hears is questionable since a number of scientists/doctors assert a fetus is physically unable to be aware until oxygen has entered the brain in levels only possible with post-birth breathing source). Alveoli and blood vessels develop in the lungs. Eyes respond to light and permanent teeth buds appear.

STOP AGAIN. After this point, abortion is only possible for instances where the woman's health is in danger. Elective abortions (ie abortions simply because the woman wants one) are not permitted anywhere in the US.

24-28 weeks: Brain waves resemble the brain waves of a born baby. Eyelashes are present. Lungs are developed enough that premature births at this time are able to survive with proper medical treatment. Breathing and temperature are regulated completely by the fetus's brain; red blood cells are produced completely by the fetus's bone marrow.

28-32 weeks: Iris is colored(though the permanent color requires light to be reached and won't be in until a few days after birth....unless of course that color is blue) and the fetus takes the "fetal position" due to the cramped space in the womb. Fingernails grow long enough to scratch, and an immune system develops.

32-36 weeks: The head turns towards the woman's pelvis. Nutrition is still obtained via the placenta; the gastroenterlogical system isn't very developed. It won't be mature for another three or four years. Bones continue hardening steadily.

36-40 weeks: Production of red blood cells is increased by the liver. The skull isn't fully solid; five bony plates still need to come together. Ever see a newborn with a funny shaped head? It'll round out in a few days, but this is done so the birth is easier and the brain remains unharmed. At birth, the child has about 300 bones. Later, some will fuse together (which is why adults only have 206). The nervous system is developed as much as that of a newborn....because week 40 usually means graduation from fetus to newborn baby. Tearducts still haven't developed in the eyes, but the vocal chords certainly are impressive.

This has only been a sum of information found in various places, which I will list below. I am not an embryologist. I take no credit for the work of making this information available, though I do take credit for the day spent compiling it for your convenience.



Can a Fetus Feel Pain?

Although some electrical impulses have been recorded as early as 10 weeks' gestation, these cannot be interpreted as or compared with brain waves. Genuine brain waves do not occur until the third trimester.

"Consciousness appears for the first time after birth. We conclude the embryo and foetus cannot suffer before or during birth. Suffering can only occur in the newborn when the onset of breathing oxygenates its tissues,? Mellor said

Professor David Mellor, said: "The foetus is unconscious throughout pregnancy, right up to and including birth."

He said it took several gasps of air for a newborn to boost oxygen levels enough to gain full consciousness.

The oxygen led to a reduction in adenisone, a chemical produced by the placenta which kept the foetus unconscious in the uterus.

The findings were presented to the Medical Sciences Congress in Queenstown on April 11, 2004

More on fetal pain:

Elements of the pain-conveying system (spino-thalamic system) begin to be assembled at 7 weeks; enough development has occurred by 12-14 weeks that some pain perception is likely, and continues to build through the second trimester. By 20 weeks, the spino- thalamic system is fully established and connected.

Fetuses are unlikely to be able to feel pain until the last stage of pregnancy, a controversial new US study suggests.

The analysis of medical literature relating to fetal pain concludes that fetuses of less than 30 weeks are unlikely to feel pain. It concludes that vital brain connections relating to pain perception form only between 23 to 30 weeks of gestation, and even if formed are unlikely to be functional until 30 weeks.

Summary: Your baby can feel, dream and even listen to Mozartin the womb.

o By nine weeks, a developing fetus can hiccup and react to loud noises. By the end of the second trimester it can hear.

o Just as adults do, the fetus experiences the rapid eye movement (REM) sleep of dreams.

o The fetus savors its mother's meals, first picking up the food tastes of a culture in the womb.

o Among other mental feats, the fetus can distinguish between the voice of Mom and that of a stranger, and respond to a familiar story read to it.

o Even a premature baby is aware, feels, responds, and adapts to its environment.

o Just because the fetus is responsive to certain stimuli doesn't mean that it should be the target of efforts to enhance development. Sensory stimulation of the fetus can in fact lead to bizarre patterns of adaptation later on.
However no studies are cited directly within the article to verify these claims. If anyone has the times, scientists/doctors/university representatives are named in this article... I would appreciate more info on the studies that have confirmed the above assertions.

Summary: Fetuses cannot feel pain during gestation.
A choicer's understanding of bodily domain (need a pro-lifers opinion on this, please PM me if you want to contribute)


The Ethical Basis for Bodily Domain and the Rights to Bodily Integrity:

What is Bodily Domain?

Bodily Domain is the medically defined area of your body, a territory of sorts, owned and controlled specifically by you and ONLY by you.

It is your skin and the all the area within your skin, it includes your organs, your bones and your blood and the spaces in between.

You are the sole determiner of what happens to those organs, that blood, and even the space within the area of your Bodily Domain.

That is your right to Bodily Integrity, which is also referred to as Bodily Domain.

The Basics

There are three basic categories that describe essentially every interaction that can be done between your Body and other things.

Intrusion, Occupation and Removal.

They are given negative names mainly because they are the self defensible rights within the Bodily Domain, Bodily Integrity, and Bodily Autonomy trio.

Self defensible means they are only negative if you yourself consider them negative, because if you consent to something, there is nothing to defend against.

Bodily Domain is a Consent Based Ethical Construct

BD is based on consent. Something is not a violation of your BD if you consent to its occurance.

However, this consent must be explicit. You must specifically state that you want this to happen to you. It is also based on current consent. A person can not hold you to a past contract made if your view changes and you no longer consent to something.

Otherwise I could be having sex and then if I suddenly wanted to stop for whatever reason and my partner continued against my consent, it would not be considered rape. This would be unacceptable to society from a logical standpoint.

The Three Interactions With Your Domain.


Intrusion is any entry into your Bodily Domain that is negatively viewed from your perspective.

This makes it a violation of your Bodily Domain rights, normally referred to as Bodily Integrity.

It covers everything from rape, to delivery of injury (bullets, knives) injection of poisons, diseases, even non harmful or beneficial substances can be seen as a violation if consent is not given.


Removal refers to the taking of anything from your body. It can cover your own organs and blood, or even artificial or foreign material in your body, like prosthetics or substances that you wish to keep within you.

It is also a violation of your Bodily Domain rights.

It covers everything from organ theft, to blood stealing, to nutrient leeching.


Occupation refers to any continuous presence of material or presence of living things within your Bodily Domain that is unconsented to. And therefore a violation.

It covers everything from parasites, unwanted implants and pregnancies.

But What About Clashes of Rights?

These are all things that no human being should be subjected to unless they themselves are causing a violation of the same set of ethical principles.

So Bodily Domain should only be violated if doing so will protect your own or the BD of others from being violated by ending a current violation in progress.

If you are violating someone's BD, your own becomes forfeit if they decide to defend themselves from your actions, and their defense violates your BD.

Let's make this nice and explicit for the more dense folks out there.

You can only violate the BD of another if and only if doing so is the only viable way to end a violation of your Bodily Domain by them that is currently in progress.

Conclusion: Why Bodily Domain Supports The Right to Abort

An unwanted fetus is violating a woman's BD.

There is no way around this.

The fetus has no call to do so as the woman has done nothing to violate the BD of the fetus, and even if the woman had done something to violate its BD (Like drinking alcohol while pregnant), there is no concievable way that remaining inside the woman's body would do anything to end that current violation.

Hence a fetus has no right to violate the woman's BD.

But the woman does have a right to do so to the fetus in response to its violation of her, especially since that is currently the only way to end its Occupation of her BD and Removal of her resources.

To not allow a woman to defend her BD rights violates a set of ethical principles that protect us from having our organs taken for others' use, to avoid being raped, to avoid being enslaved, to avoid having our bodies used as tools for the benefit of others.

To do so would strip the usefulness of society to the individual in terms of promoting survival and comfort.

It would make remaining within society less beneficial then leaving it, and to lose these ethical principles would degrade our society in many deterimental ways.

Therefore attempts to remove the right to abort from a woman is not only misogynistic, anti-woman's rights, and ethically unsupportable from a viewpoint that values human rights to their own body, it is also a self destructive view that endangers all of us.

Edited 10-08-2006: Added title partitions and made certain parts a little more concise then before. Corrected minor spelling errors. --Fires

A different perspective on Bodily Domain
The bodily domain definition seems to not lay out specific guidelines for different types of bodily domain intrusions. There are levels of intrusion and removal that we should be obligated to endure for the greater good.

A week after I was born, my parents had a bris, where my foreskin was cermoniously removed by a moyl. I did not consent to such an action, therefore the moyl's actions, and my parents, would be a violation of my Bodily Domain. Is that on par with rape?

When my baby cousin does not want to eat her vegetables, and I feed her
forcefully, then it is also a violation of her bodily domain. I am forcibly putting food into her mouth. "even non harmful or beneficial substances can be seen as a violation if consent is not given." Is that on par with rape?

In the event of a pregnant woman drinking, the fetus is having it's bodily domain violated by the sudden influx of harmful chemicals, similar to being stuck in a room with poison gas flowing in. Presuming that the baby would come to term, and the mother didn't want to abort it, the fetus isn't violating the boily domain of the mother. However, while the fetus has obviously no recourse, it doesn't make the mother's actions any less harmful or unethical. The post said "
Hence a fetus has no right to violate the woman's BD." It seems like the fetus has every right to try and violate the woman's BD in an attempt to protect itself, but has no ability to so do.

"Therefore attempts to remove the right to abort from a woman is not only misogynistic, anti-woman's rights, and ethically unsupportable from a viewpoint that values human rights to their own body, it is also a self destructive view that endangers all of us." I'd argue the same points if men could get pregnant. Also, no one in here is, by posting their opinions, attempting to change the laws of the US to remove women's rights in any way.
My Personal Opinion on Abortion, why it is always acceptable no matter what the reason for abortion or state of the fetus, and why being Pro-life ultimately means you are Anti-women:

Pro-life doesn't mean anti-woman. If you think it does, perhaps you don't know the right pro-life people.
Unfortunately, yes it does.

The summary: There exists a right to bodily integrity. You have a right to use lethal force to stop any person who is infringing on that bodily integrity in a way that threatens or causes grievous bodily harm. The 14th guarantees that pregnant women also have these rights. If you say a pregnant woman does not have the above named rights and that she cannot employ lethal force to stop a fetus (which you believe is a person, and as such is subject to the same restrictions as all other persons) from causing or threatening grievous bodily harm to her person then you deny her equal rights.

This means that pro-life, in stating that pregnant women cannot use lethal force to stop grievous bodily injury caused by fetuses, is the belief that upon getting pregnant women are no longer equal citizens deserving of equal rights or equal protection of those rights. That is to say: Even if we consider the fetus equal to any other born person, it does not have the right to cause grievous bodily injury (which pregnancy surely causes). Women, even pregnant women, have the right to use lethal force to stop such injury. If you deny her this right, you are anti-equal rights for pregnant women (at the very least). This is doubly so when you recall that not everyone considers a fetus remotely equivalent to a born person.

The long version

1. You have a right to control who uses your body, how, when, and for what at all times, in any situation, and regardless of any family ties or previous actions:

All persons have a right to their own body and a right to make medical decisions without intrusion. Your right to control who and what your organs are used for extends even beyond death. That is to say that you can refuse to give your kidneys to a dying child in preference of having them rot in the ground or incinerated and this is respected because they are your kidneys.

There is hefty legal precident that states that no born person is able to coerce you, or force you to undergo any invasive procedure, requiring you give them some part of your body, even if it means they will die. The first page has a huge post citing all such cases I've managed to find to date. These are cases where the (adult) kid will die if the dying (within 6 months) father does not give him bone marrow, where the sister will die if the brother does not give a kidney, where the child will die if the mother does not undergo a C-section. You're right to control what medical procedures are and are not done to your body is absolute. Your right to control who gets to use your body or any part of it is absolute

The citations for the above statements are on the first page in the McFall V Shimp post.

It does not matter that you've caused a situation, either, where your body is being invaded. You have a right to stop having sex at any time. You enticed someone, seduced them, and started having sex with them. You can stop at any time even though you are completely responsible for initiating the act. The man has no right to continued use of your v****a because previously you permitted him to use it. As soon as you withdraw previously granted consent it becomes a crime (rape) for him to continue.

2. You have a right to use lethal force to stop someone that is invading your body or causing grievous harm.

If a man is raping you it is explicitly stated as law in 40/50 states that you have a right to kill him for invading your v****a for 15 minutes. In the other 10 there is no law banning it and if a case were to go to trial it would most likely be considered self defense.

[2a] If a man is having consentual sex with you - you can withdraw that consent at any moment and if he refuses to stop he is raping you and you can kill him.

If a man is torturing you, threatening your life, or threatening to cause grievous bodily injury (amputation, cutting, stabbing, shooting, or any form of permanent injury) you are allowed to kill that man in self defense.

In a number of states (Florida comes to mind as one where a law like this most definately exists) if a person even so much as comes into your house against your will (e.g. a buglar) you have a right to kill them... for invading your PROPERTY (a significantly lesser crime than invading your body)

So here's the fun part:

1. No person has the right to use your body against your will.
2. If they do so and threaten or actually cause grievous harm you are allowed to kill them to stop them.

A fetus is a person according to pro-life ideology (even though that is entirely debatable). So some plugging and chugging:

A fetus has no right to use your body against your will. If a fetus does use your body against your will and threatens or actually does cause grievous harm you are allowed to kill the fetus to stop it.

So the biggest point to ponder is as follows -

Take note of 2a from before: if a man is having consentual sex and you change your mind it becomes rape and you can kill him. You can kill a cognizant, self-aware, thinking, feeling man with friends and family because half way through consentual sex you change your mind but he doesn't want to stop. You can kill a man for using your v****a for 10 minutes, causing minimum physical trauma and at worst a marginal sum of mental trauma (post traumatic stress and some irrational fears of men caused by being raped) even though you completely initiated the situation that caused him to want your body, and you had priorly granted him permission to use it.

Let me repeat that: You can kill a man for causing minimum physical damage during unwanted sex that lasts all of 10 minutes because you changed your mind and withdrew consent, even when sex happening was completely your fault and you previously had given consent.

A fetus during pregnancy invades your body for nine months. A fetus during pregnancy drastically changes your hormones, your physical appearance, your health, your mental state, your entire body. No part of you is untouched by pregnancy. What a fetus changes, it can change permanently (hormones, and physical structure). What a fetus does to a woman is grievous harm if it is done to her without her permission or consent (for surely if any born person did to you what a fetus does to you it would be considered torture), and like the rape victim her consent can be withdrawn at any point in time during the pregnancy.

If you consider a fetus a person, it is still bound by the restrictions all other persons are bound by - which includes no right to seriously harm another person (namely the pregnant woman and her body). When you recall most people don't consider a fetus a person and personhood is highly debatable the fetus has even less protections, making it even more absurd and anti-women to deny a woman the right to defend her body from what the fetus does.


It is hypocritical and illogical to say you can kill a thinking feeling man with friends and family because he's using your v****a against your will for 10 minutes after you changed your mind, but that a non-thinking non-feeling fetus can use your uterus for 9 months against your will causing serious permanent grievous harm when you did everything you could to prevent pregnancy and explicitly denied consent from the start. Hence my sig.

Further this does infact mean you are anti-women if you are pro-life because you would grant a woman the right to defend her body with lethal force only when it suits your beliefs when all other persons have this right absolutely with no exceptions. In seeking to ban abortion you are seeking to legally classify women who are pregnant as persons with less rights, inherently inferior and of a lesser class by denying them the rights you would permit all others to have - the right to defend their bodies from the threat of or the actualization of grievous bodily injury.

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