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Brien
Abortion is simply a Right!! A natural Right!
A Right to choose - to decide!
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"Consider this thought experiment courtesy of my colleague Andrew: a man tells you, at gunpoint, that you have to get ice cream from the soft-serve machine. He doesn’t care whether you get chocolate or vanilla, but you have to get one. I come along right then and take off the handle for the chocolate ice cream side. I happen to know that, if you pull the handle to get chocolate ice cream, it would poison one of your relatives who you’ve never met, so I take off the handle for the chocolate ice cream side. You shout at me, “How dare you! You’re forcing me to get vanilla ice cream! Are you opposed to me making my own choices?” Doesn’t that seem ridiculous? I haven’t made you choose vanilla, even though I took away your only other ice cream option; the guy with a GUN is forcing you to choose vanilla! I’m not forcing you to do anything, and I’m actually saving the life of one of your relatives. If there were three ice cream flavors available to you, and I took away the chocolate ice cream handle because it would poison one of your relatives, I wouldn’t care if you chose vanilla or whatever other flavor is there. I have absolutely no problem with people making choices; I just don’t think that killing should be an option on the table."

Can't you guys come up with better analogies? How can you expect people to take you seriously when your arguments are so bizarre?

"the guy with a GUN is forcing you to choose vanilla! I’m not forcing you to do anything, and I’m actually saving the life of one of your relatives."

Huh, I never knew pregnancy and its symptoms is a person. The second sentence sounds like someone with a messiah complex.

You're forcing someone to remain (not become) pregnant the same way you are forcing someone to suffer by denying them a surgery that can restore their health. Now before you tell me that abortion is not a medical treatment, I just want to mention that the only way to completely eliminate the symptoms of pregnancy (not just pregnancy itself) is an abortion.
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Emily - Speaker/Writer/Coach at ERI
Sometimes diving into philosophy about the definitions of killing, forcing, a person, etc. results in weird analogies. The Violinist, arguably the most famous pro-choice analogy, is pretty bizarre too; the Society of Music Lovers kidnapping me and hooking me up to a random violinist's kidney for 9 months is a weird analogy! But it's weirdness doesn't change anything about the point they're trying to make via the analogy.

Pregnancy and it's symptoms itself isn't a person; that wouldn't make any sense as you pointed out. But pregnancy does involve a person - 2 persons in fact. We believe that the fetus is a person, and the pregnant person is also a person. We explain our reasoning about why the fetus should be considered a person here: https://youtu.be/louYc-9cvE0

While it's true that abortion doesn't fit under the definition of healthcare (as we discuss here https://blog.equalrightsinstitute.com/abortion-is-healthcare-a-misogynistic-non-argument/), that's actually not the direction I would go to respond. I don't think that saying "don't kill" is the same as forcing someone to do something. If I'm right that the fetus is a person, as we argue in the video I linked above, then abortion is a lethal act of violence against that innocent person. Thus, my stance is "don't kill." Yes, other things must follow from my “no killing” stance, such as “go through pregnancy, give birth, and parent the child or pass along that responsibility to someone else who can.” But me saying “don’t kill” is not the same as forcing a woman to be pregnant.

If you think I’m just making an irrelevant distinction between words, let’s imagine that there is a single-mother with a two year-old son, and she is at the end of her rope. She’s struggling to make ends meet and finish school, and so she comes up with a plan to kill her son and make it appear that he died of natural causes. I think you and I would both agree that it would be horrendously wrong for this woman to kill her son, and if you and I told this woman she can’t kill her son, we would not be “forcing” her to be a parent and put up with a two year-old and the lack of sleep/exhaustion, nearly constant sickness, nearly constant crying and screaming, etc. that generally comes with having a two year-old. Yes, it's really rough, but we're still going to tell her that she can't kill her son, that killing her son shouldn't be an option on the table.

When you're pregnant, the child already exists. If that human-in-utero is a person as I claim, then saying "don't kill" seems like it should be a non-controversial thing to say. I don't want to force anyone to do anything, but I'm not okay with saying that killing is an acceptable option.
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“Sometimes diving into philosophy about the definitions of killing, forcing, a person, etc. results in weird analogies. The Violinist, arguably the most famous pro-choice analogy, is pretty bizarre too; the Society of Music Lovers kidnapping me and hooking me up to a random violinist's kidney for 9 months is a weird analogy! But it's weirdness doesn't change anything about the point they're trying to make via the analogy.”

I do think "the violinist analogy" is a crappy analogy, to be honest. I think it would be better if we compared pregnancy and abortion to realistic real-life situations.

"then abortion is a lethal act of violence against that innocent person."

This is why I find pro-lifers disgusting. They only think the lives of "innocents" (to their eyes) have value. To some people, killing an "innocent" person can be considered morally good, such as euthanasia, and killing a guilty person can be considered morally wrong, such as killing a criminal released from prison.

"If you think I’m just making an irrelevant distinction between words, let’s imagine that there is a single-mother with a two year-old son, and she is at the end of her rope. She’s struggling to make ends meet and finish school, and so she comes up with a plan to kill her son and make it appear that he died of natural causes. I think you and I would both agree that it would be horrendously wrong for this woman to kill her son, and if you and I told this woman she can’t kill her son, we would not be “forcing” her to be a parent and put up with a two year-old and the lack of sleep/exhaustion, nearly constant sickness, nearly constant crying and screaming, etc. that generally comes with having a two year-old. Yes, it's really rough, but we're still going to tell her that she can't kill her son, that killing her son shouldn't be an option on the table."

This is also a poor analogy. The 2-year-old affects the mother indirectly, but the conceptus affects the pregnant directly, i.e. having near-total control over that person's body. The only way to resume control over one's own body is to terminate the pregnancy at the expense (in contrast to as the intent) of the embryo's/fetus' life (This is why I see it more as "collateral damage" than murder). It's like comparing someone who is shouting mean things at you to someone who fell on you and is currently crushing you. Perhaps think of parasitic twins, an underdeveloped human in a "system" where its body is actively taking nutrients from a more developed human. I know this isn't a perfect comparison to pregnancy, but there truly are no perfect comparies. If you think it's wrong to remove a parasitic twin (aka killing), I think you are extremely hypocritical. Of course, parasitic twins are permanant and pregnancy is temporary, but the situation itself is more similar to pregnancy to most analogies.

"When you're pregnant, the child already exists."

Pregnancy=/= parenthood. An embryo is nothing like a child. To claim that way would be extremely insulting to the human condition. Even a 20 year old is closer to a child than an embryo. Why do I say that? Embryos don't have the concept of parents, only fetuses in the third trimester do. I also think parenthood is more than genetic makeup (egg donors are not mothers if they do not see themselves as one) or gestation (surrogates are not mothers if they do not see themselves as one).
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Emily - Speaker/Writer/Coach at ERI
Thanks for being transparent about your views on the "violinist analogy." I agree that it's a bad analogy, probably for many of the same reasons that you do! It isn't actually analogous to pregnancy in many ways. It would definitely be better if we could compare pregnancy and abortion to realistic real-life situations, but as you said yourself, there are no perfect comparisons. There's really no situation that exactly mirrors pregnancy because pregnancy is so unique. That's why philosophers like the pro-choice person who created "the violinist" and the philosophers here at ERI come up with weird situations and analogies to try to get as close as we can to pregnancy. No real-life situation will ever mirror pregnancy perfectly, so we do our best to invent situations that are at least a bit closer. But we should definitely use real-life situations whenever we can!

I definitely do not think that the lives of only "innocents" have value. I can't speak for every pro-lifer out there, but that definitely isn't me. I'm actually very against the death penalty. I'm not a complete pacifist, like I do think that killing can sometimes be justified in self-defense or hypothetically in just war (though whether or not we've really ever had a "just war" is definitely up for debate). So I believe that all persons have value and have a right to life. The reason I put "innocent" in that sentence is very context-specific; what I mean is that the fetus isn't an aggressor, which, if it was an aggressor, could hypothetically justify abortion out of self-defense. I am against lethal acts of violence against people in general, but I do think it's possible for a lethal act of violence to be justified if that person is, say, about to deliberately kill me. But the fetus isn't doing that; it is "innocent" in this particular context. So I think that a lethal act of violence against the fetus would be wrong. This line of thinking also corresponds to how I think about the death penalty. That criminal is "innocent" in that they are not about to deliberately kill me. They are guilty of their crime, but they are not a lethal threat to me when they are in prison, so I don't think that we can kill them. If that criminal managed to get a weapon and started shooting and killing the prison guards and one of the prison guards shot him back and killed him, I think that would be justified. But killing the criminal isn't justified as the death penalty is typically thought of - as "justice" for some previous crime they committed. Their life is valuable precisely because they are a person, and so killing them isn't justified unless it's a legitimate case of self-defense.

Thanks for clarifying how you think about the killing of the fetus in abortion. Correct me if I'm understanding you wrong, but it sounds like you do believe that the fetus is at least perhaps a person with some level of rights, but that the fetus' death is kind of like collateral damage; the fetus' death is necessary for the woman to regain bodily autonomy. The woman's right to her bodily autonomy is the most important "right" involved here, and it's maybe unfortunate that the fetus gets involved as collateral damage, but that's inevitable. Killing the fetus isn't the intent of the abortion; it's an unfortunate side-effect of regaining complete bodily autonomy. I'm not sure that parasitic twins are a good example though. Parasitic twins are different from conjoined twins. Conjoined twins both have developed brains and are two functioning individuals. Parasitic twins, on the other hand, not really two separate people; they look like a single baby with extra limbs or protrusions that are motionless. For example, there was a parasitic twin born in 2004 that I found online. It was a single baby with two abnormally formed parasitic legs protruding from the lower spine. The parasitic legs were removed, as they should have been! That set of legs weren't another person. Conjoined twins, on the other hand, both have developed brains and are two functioning individuals, even though they are physically connected to one another. We talk more about our thoughts on conjoined twins and what conjoined bodily autonomy means in this article. https://blog.equalrightsinstitute.com/parthood-personhood-and-bodily-rights/https://blog.equalrightsinstitute.com/parthood-personhood-and-bodily-rights/
So to answer your question, I do think that removing the extra limbs on the "parasitic twin" is appropriate. I don't think that's killing though, because the extra limbs aren't a person. A conjoined twin, however, is a person; I don't think that Abby or Brittany Hensel (conjoined twins referenced in that article I linked) could choose to kill the other one. Basically, I don't think that our rights to our bodily autonomy are absolute. I think we do have rights to our bodily autonomy, and those rights are incredibly important, but those rights end when killing someone else is collateral damage. Just like I don't...
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"The reason I put "innocent" in that sentence is very context-specific; what I mean is that the fetus isn't an aggressor, which, if it was an aggressor, could hypothetically justify abortion out of self-defense."

The other party does not have to be an aggressor for you to act out in self-defense. Perpetrators of homicidal sleepwalking are deemed innocent because of automatism; however, claiming that defending oneself in this case is self-defense would not be unjustified. If a person in a coma falls on top of someone and is crushing someone. In the case where there is no one around to help and using lethal force is the only option, I don't think that act would not be unjustified.

"Thanks for clarifying how you think about the killing of the fetus in abortion... Killing the fetus isn't the intent of the abortion; it's an unfortunate side-effect of regaining complete bodily autonomy."

Yep, you're right on spot.

"The parasitic legs were removed, as they should have been! That set of legs weren't another person."

Then what do you think constitutes as a person? Judging by that comment, you probably believe a person needs to have some sort of organ system at minimum to be considered a person. Organ systems are not present until c.56 days or the end of 8 weeks post-fertilization, so an abortion in the first trimester should be morally acceptable by you. If you do not think parasitic twins should have the right to life but embryos (we'll talk about fetuses later) should, then I do think you are very hypocritical. Of course, I'm ignoring the fact that embryos are capable of development, while parasitic twins are not, but I do not think someone should sacrifice their body to benefit another's development.

"Conjoined twins both have developed brains and are two functioning individuals. "

Which is something that embryos do not have. This is why pregnancy in the first trimester has the worst experience. The embryo does not even have a proper organ system until the end of 10 weeks gestation (or 8 weeks embryonic), and the placenta does not take over until c.12 weeks after fertilization, which is at the end of the first trimester; therefore, the ovaries secrete progesterone to accomodate the embryo, affecting the pregnant person's wellbeing (she will be forced to endure symptoms of pregnancy like nausea and vomitting). Conjoined twins also have an interdependent relationship, unlike embryos and - especially early - fetuses, so I still stand by my point that embryos and fetuses are more like parasitic twins rather than conjoined ones.

"Parasitic twins, on the other hand, not really two separate people; they look like a single baby with extra limbs or protrusions that are motionless."

Not always there was a case in Egypt where a year had a limbless parasitic twin attached to her head (their names are Manar and Islam, respectively). There's also the 17th century case of Lazarus and his Brother, who has a head, and probably a brain, whether it's functioning is debatable. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lazarus_and_Joannes_Baptista_Colloredo
Parasitic twins don't have to be physically attached. In the TRAP Sequence (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twin_reversed_arterial_perfusion), the acardiac twin relies on the blood of the pump twin, harming the latter twin.

"I don't think that Abby or Brittany Hensel (conjoined twins referenced in that article I linked) could choose to kill the other one."

Again, conjoined twins have an interdependent relationship. The relationship between the pregnant person and the embryo or fetus are not mutual but inequal (I try to avoid using the term "parasitic"). I do not understand what you mean by "killing." If one conjoined twin kills the other, that twin will die within 24-hours because, as I have said, they are interdependent to one another, unlike in a pregnancy. If you meant it by separation surgery. I personally and actually do not think it should be carried out if one twin is at the risk of dying without the other twins consent; however, I would not consider such a surgery "murder". This is why I think parasitic twins are more akin to pregnancy than conjoined twins.
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Emily - Speaker/Writer/Coach at ERI
...think that Abby or Brittany Hensel could kill the other to attain complete bodily autonomy, I don't think that killing the fetus is justified to attain complete bodily autonomy. I'm curious what you think of that article.

I'm not suggesting that pregnancy = parenthood. An embryo is very different from a 2 year-old child, but that doesn't mean the embryo isn't a person. I think that personhood is grounded in much more than our abilities or our concepts of parents or relationships. If I'm right that the fetus is a person, which we argue for in the video I linked in my last comment and I'll link again here (https://youtu.be/louYc-9cvE0), then the embryo is a person, and I just don't think we have the right to kill other people. I'm not arguing for a special obligation that "parents" should have to their "children" - I do think there's some merit to the "responsibility objection," which states that someone who willingly engaged in an act which they knew might result in the creation of an inherently needy person (the fetus) should now owe that person some sort of compensation - but we both know that that doesn't cover all cases of pregnancy since not all cases of pregnancy are consensual or done with full knowledge. So I'm not going to argue that people are parents or that parents have a responsibility to their children. But I do argue that people can't kill other people. The fetus who is a person does exist, whether or not you actually are a parent or you consider yourself to be one. I think that whether you are a parent or not is irrelevant. I just think that we all have a minimal obligation not to kill other people we come into contact with. Bodily autonomy is not an absolute right; it has a limit. Your bodily autonomy does not allow for killing another person in order to maintain it.
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" I do think there's some merit to the "responsibility objection," which states that someone who willingly engaged in an act which they knew might result in the creation of an inherently needy person (the fetus) should now owe that person some sort of compensation - but we both know that that doesn't cover all cases of pregnancy since not all cases of pregnancy are consensual or done with full knowledge."

I think that is really silly. The assertion that the people who donated their genetic makeup are your creators is arbitrary. The embryo or fetus is not needy, as it has no desires. The compensation is demanded by a third party (Pro-lifers), not the fetus, so in demanding that the pregnant person is to "compensate" to a party that does not want the compensation sounds ridiculous.

"If I'm right that the fetus is a person, which we argue for in the video I linked in my last comment and I'll link again here (https://youtu.be/louYc-9cvE0), then the embryo is a person, and I just don't think we have the right to kill other people."

I think you, yourself, should clarify what constitutes as a person, as previously stated that you do not believe parasitic twins should be included. I will reiterate that embryos do not have proper organ systems. Once it reaches the fetal stage, the organ systems more or less have completed their development in their permanent form and are just beginning to function, properly.

"Bodily autonomy is not an absolute right; it has a limit. Your bodily autonomy does not allow for killing another person in order to maintain it."

That is your opinion, which I can understand; however I disagree. I do not think America or much of the Western World values human life as much as they value human dignity. There are countries where active euthanasia is legal, where most, if not all are western. Even in America where the death penalty is still in use, many execution methods are obsolete, such as no one will currently be executed by being burned on the stake. I prioritize dignity over life because life is abundant on the planet —— animals, plants and even bacteria have life? So what makes our life so special? I think the fundamental concept is dignity. Almost everyone wants to be respected and exempt from torment and humiliation. You can end another person's life in a dignified way; for example, through the use of humane methods and minimizing that person's pain. Forcing someone to endure unnecessary suffering to me is a form of torture. I do not think this can be done in any dignified way. I do agree that some methods of abortion are barbaric, especially in the second and third trimesters, but the majority of the first trimester abortions are rather tame. This is the reason why I think abortion is the lesser evil. I hope Pro-lifers and Pro-choicers can compromise on making abortion more humane.
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Navi
I somewhat agree, but "anti-choice" is probably the mildest label thrown at us by proponents of taxpayer-funded abortion and the removal of conscientious objection for healthcare professionals. What about labels that are far more derogatory like "fascist", "forced birther", "misogynist", "anti-woman", "terrorist", "Christian Taliban", or "Jesus f----r" (one of my sister's favourite terms - please pray for her)? I can understand that fussing over the labels is an argument to be avoided when there are more important issues to talk about. But at a certain point, the labels a person uses show that they're clearly not arguing in good faith and it's best to end the conversation (both for your own sake and that of people you're engaging).
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Navi
...and of course, "fetus fetishists". No idea how I forgot that one. If the other person is just going to slander and insult you, there is no reason you should have to take that kind of abuse.
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Emily - Speaker/Writer/Coach at ERI
That's certainly true; there are many far more derogatory terms I've heard like those you mentioned. I don't think that anyone should have to take that kind of abuse - if someone isn't arguing in good faith, and if your mental health is being affected by how they're treating you, you should absolutely end the conversation. Speaking for myself though, if someone is using one of those extremely derogatory labels towards me, my first reaction is being worried about them and praying for them. There is clearly a lot of anger there, probably brought on by some personal experience with abortion or with other pro-lifers. I try to love them and listen to them first because that's what I think they really need in that moment. I feel a particular calling, perhaps because this is what I do for a living, to be willing to take at least a certain amount of that in order to hopefully bring their walls down and open the door for future conversation. But you are right; anti-choice is different in kind from these other labels, and I wouldn't widely suggest that everyone do what I do in those other label situations. I would never suggest that someone take that kind of abuse even though I personally may be more willing to do so depending on the situation.