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Continuing the debate from page 277 to page 278 of politics, Subject: Abortion, Responsibility, Rights & Consent

Last posted May 23, 2022 at 05:20PM EDT. Added May 06, 2022 at 07:23PM EDT
9 posts from 2 users

Source of response:
https://knowyourmeme.com/forums/general/topics/50753-politics-general/page/278

Here's a new thread in response to the points made at the top comment of page 278.

(1) I never thought about the argument on self-defense, thank you. I think this also helps me understand conservatives more, it's ironic that someone understanding their "side" helps in countering them.

(2) You're right, surrogacy might cause some perverse incentives. General subsidies for all pregnant women would be better, Finland for example always provides a box of childcare basics, and this has proven to be generally beneficial for the babies.

A lot of the West is having a baby bust, but limiting abortion doesn't actually increase childbirths, it's failed multiple times. Helping parents does however.

(3) I think the idea of due suffering does have to be part of social responsibility, I have to admit. Due consequences are part of responsibility, although the question is whether one has to add a punishment beyond the natural consequences.

To use your example of the daughter breaking something (if you don't mind), if a father makes their kid mow the neighbor's lawn, that's fine and it's a good teaching moment on empathy and consideration. However, if he starts beating her that's way out of proportion and out-of-line, everyone would be alarmed including the neighbor.

As you said, there is a line between responsibility, punishment and torture.

4) Yeah, I think we both agree about social responsibility.

5) Policing sociopaths is difficult, it's probably one of the biggest issues in history, to make sure they don't get away with abusing others, and keeping them from getting power. It's not easy, because they'll use any loophole that is available, doesn't matter which.

I mentioned child protection services, but good teachers and adults who are close to children are important as well.

6) I guess that comparison flew over my head.


Sorry for the delay, something else came up that took up most of the day.

Last edited May 07, 2022 at 10:26PM EDT

Gilan wrote:

Source of response:
https://knowyourmeme.com/forums/general/topics/50753-politics-general/page/278

Here's a new thread in response to the points made at the top comment of page 278.

(1) I never thought about the argument on self-defense, thank you. I think this also helps me understand conservatives more, it's ironic that someone understanding their "side" helps in countering them.

(2) You're right, surrogacy might cause some perverse incentives. General subsidies for all pregnant women would be better, Finland for example always provides a box of childcare basics, and this has proven to be generally beneficial for the babies.

A lot of the West is having a baby bust, but limiting abortion doesn't actually increase childbirths, it's failed multiple times. Helping parents does however.

(3) I think the idea of due suffering does have to be part of social responsibility, I have to admit. Due consequences are part of responsibility, although the question is whether one has to add a punishment beyond the natural consequences.

To use your example of the daughter breaking something (if you don't mind), if a father makes their kid mow the neighbor's lawn, that's fine and it's a good teaching moment on empathy and consideration. However, if he starts beating her that's way out of proportion and out-of-line, everyone would be alarmed including the neighbor.

As you said, there is a line between responsibility, punishment and torture.

4) Yeah, I think we both agree about social responsibility.

5) Policing sociopaths is difficult, it's probably one of the biggest issues in history, to make sure they don't get away with abusing others, and keeping them from getting power. It's not easy, because they'll use any loophole that is available, doesn't matter which.

I mentioned child protection services, but good teachers and adults who are close to children are important as well.

6) I guess that comparison flew over my head.


Sorry for the delay, something else came up that took up most of the day.

Abortion only be legal, unfettered, in the following three scenarios:

1) Carrying the [baby] to term would result in the death of the mother (no, suicide does not count; however if you are suicidal because you are pregnant you likely fall into the next scenario);

2) The [baby] was conceived without the consent of the mother (this is of course to include situations of rape and the coercion of the young or mentally impaired);

3) The [baby] is not viable (the [baby] is already deceased, or harbors a genetic defect which would result in it's death prematurely- by "prematurely" I mean before adulthood)

In all other situations, until demonstrated otherwise, when a man and a woman consent to sexual intercourse, they are making a conscious decision that their actions may result in a pregnancy, and should a pregnancy result from that conscious decision, they ought to be liable for the outcome.

Reposting the operative portion of my original comment since it's what initiated the discussion.
I've also noticed I frequently change between using the terms child, baby, fetus, etc. I apologize if this was confusing; I'm going to try to just stick with baby

(1) You're welcome. I'm likely not reproducing their argument exactly but this is how I understand it. The arguments against abortion via self-defense stems from two key factors:
1- the baby, at any stage of development (embryo, fetus, ect) is a human, and is thus extended human rights as inscribed in the U.S. constitution; primarily, the right to life. The specific passage includes liberty and property with these latter two being seen as superseded by life; the big contention is who's life, liberty, and property are being infringed upon.
2- It is legal precedence (I believe this extends from the 9th amendment which basically says that the rights enshrined by the Bill of Rights are not the only rights to exists and should not be assumed to not exist simply because they are not enshrined there), unless stated by law otherwise, that one may use up to and including lethal force to act in the defense of oneself or another.

The combination of these two factors basically entails that people are within their rights to stop doctors from performing abortions; this includes pushing for laws which would criminalize it's practice since this is effectively acting in defense of the baby, though some take it to the extreme as can be seen with attacks on clinics and murder/attempted murder of doctors who practice. In general, I think it's very important to know, to the best of one's ability, how others think; especially how one's opposition in any category thinks.

(2) Yes, the baby bust is somewhat concerning since it appears to largely be accelerating. I'm not sure if anti-abortion activism stems from this but I wouldn't be surprised if a few people were motivated by this. I think what would be the ultimate carrot is if people were to foster a society in which one would want to have kids and want to raise a family. I know many millennials and younger today feel that neither having a child nor raising a family is worth it. I think most have grown frustrated with being largely unable to situate themselves the same way their parents did, so the prospect of raising a family is seen as too risky or simply not worth it because to them there is no hope for the future. And even for those that can situate themselves financially, there is a general pessimism which drives them to not want kids. For example I have a friend who works for the U.S. military as a civilian contractor. He makes up to $45 per hour and gets additional bonuses, so he is quite financially stable, yet regardless a little shy of a month ago, he lamented the future and made it pretty clear to me he didn't want kids when he told me he didn't want to "leav[e] this shit hole [of a planet] to a child of mine." What saddens me is that he, being someone who actually cares about the state of the planet, would be one of the people who should have kids to due his part instilling that value to the next generation.

(3) I think here we need to further clarify exactly what it is we are talking about. Because, for example, the natural consequences of committing murder might range from remorse to apathy, however society enforces what we can call "unnatural consequences", drastically beyond the natural, on murderers for such actions because murder is seen as an act that warrants punishment beyond what would come naturally from it. I think we can both agree that this is acceptable since I think we both agree that, conceptually, murder is wrong. To that extent, I/we should try to craft a working definition of "due suffering", since I am unaware of an analogous term (I am not a philosopher nor am I particularly well read in the topic; I just think a lot). This seems rather tricky especially since of the just-world fallacy you brought up before; for the concept to work it needs to avoid that, else it is defunct. I'm going to think over a possible definition for now. But you are right; there needs to be some manner of proportionality.

Can you clarify to me what you mean by "due consequence"? Because I'm not sure if we are making a distinction between that and "natural consequence"


There is no need to apologize for a delay. Basing this on my own experience with these posts, it can take up to several hours to construct them as I try to consider everything said previously. Since neither of us are under any obligation to each other, I see no ill-will in not being expedient; however I would hope that if either of us chooses to terminate the discussion for one reason or another we should do so courteously by at least informing the other that they do not intend to continue the discussion.

Alright, sorry for the delay. I wasn't able to find a lot of arguments, so I'll probably either agree with you, or just be vague about social issues/human nature.

1) Thanks for the explanation on the different viewpoints.

Philosophically, being capable of arguing for both positions with the argument of self-defense is a little confusing, but I think it's better to have specific arguments and values that one can appeal towards.

2) The thing is your friend is unlikely to be the type of person who'll have kids because of the abortion ban. To actually solve issues, politicians will need to look at societal reasons. Countries which ban abortions may do nothing else or even counter-intuitively drive away those they might want to raise the next generation.

That's my main issue with abortion bans, I think that while there may be valid concerns and/or people who hold values, there are also too many counter-issues of rights and the future of the children and society. Not to mention that abortion rarely 'really' solves the issues it cites, whether it's immorality, irresponsibility, or even abortion itself (the rate of teen pregnancy and dangerous abortions was actually decreasing in modern times!)

It's why I cited infant mortality rates, because that affects way more people. The same way car crashes are a bigger cause of death than terrorism, more babies die from poor hospitals. Those who ban abortion, but cut investment into the wellbeing of their own people, then try to brag about their moral piety are being hypocrites.

I'm just re-treading "social responsibility" at this point.

3) I think you hit an important point about the idea of "due consequence" and what it means, since your murder examples shows that society does need to intervene, that 'natural consequences' is not enough.

The problem is that I don't have a much better definition than you do, "due consequence" for me would be 'perfect justice' a punishment proportional to the crime, but no further, something which condemns but also allows for redemption, something which makes for a just universe.

Basically, something impossible. Like utopia or perfection, you can tell when something doesn't conform to those definitions, the same way I may use 'due consequences' to criticize something unjust or arbitrary, but can't do anything more.

If you can think of a good definition of 'due consequences', I'll be happy to read it.


Anyway, I think we can both take as long as we need. I've spent two days thinking about it, and the best I could do is copy Plato's concept of a utopia.

Gilan wrote:

Alright, sorry for the delay. I wasn't able to find a lot of arguments, so I'll probably either agree with you, or just be vague about social issues/human nature.

1) Thanks for the explanation on the different viewpoints.

Philosophically, being capable of arguing for both positions with the argument of self-defense is a little confusing, but I think it's better to have specific arguments and values that one can appeal towards.

2) The thing is your friend is unlikely to be the type of person who'll have kids because of the abortion ban. To actually solve issues, politicians will need to look at societal reasons. Countries which ban abortions may do nothing else or even counter-intuitively drive away those they might want to raise the next generation.

That's my main issue with abortion bans, I think that while there may be valid concerns and/or people who hold values, there are also too many counter-issues of rights and the future of the children and society. Not to mention that abortion rarely 'really' solves the issues it cites, whether it's immorality, irresponsibility, or even abortion itself (the rate of teen pregnancy and dangerous abortions was actually decreasing in modern times!)

It's why I cited infant mortality rates, because that affects way more people. The same way car crashes are a bigger cause of death than terrorism, more babies die from poor hospitals. Those who ban abortion, but cut investment into the wellbeing of their own people, then try to brag about their moral piety are being hypocrites.

I'm just re-treading "social responsibility" at this point.

3) I think you hit an important point about the idea of "due consequence" and what it means, since your murder examples shows that society does need to intervene, that 'natural consequences' is not enough.

The problem is that I don't have a much better definition than you do, "due consequence" for me would be 'perfect justice' a punishment proportional to the crime, but no further, something which condemns but also allows for redemption, something which makes for a just universe.

Basically, something impossible. Like utopia or perfection, you can tell when something doesn't conform to those definitions, the same way I may use 'due consequences' to criticize something unjust or arbitrary, but can't do anything more.

If you can think of a good definition of 'due consequences', I'll be happy to read it.


Anyway, I think we can both take as long as we need. I've spent two days thinking about it, and the best I could do is copy Plato's concept of a utopia.

2→1) That is quite a conundrum: if one's morality leads to morally worse consequences over-all than the actions morally abstained/incited from/to, has one actually acted in a moral fashion? I do not know for certain, which will be revealed to be apt: I would think that, without knowing the future with certainty, the consequences of one's moral decisions cannot be known, and so when the moral choice is made, it is made in good faith and thus is indeed moral, even if the consequences should lead to a morally worse circumstance. If the future is known with certainty however, then I would assume I ought to think that when the moral choice is made, it is not made in good faith knowing the future outcomes, and so is immoral.

This later is concerning however, because it opens the door to utilitarian logic which is well suited for granted moral permission to engage in the most brutal, cruel, and inhumane acts. SARS-COVID-2 has killed millions world-wide; ought it to have been better that patient-zero was shot and cremated so that the pathogen had never gotten chance to root? The mentally impaired and physically lame persists as a strain on society; ought it be better to have them culled? The Chinese mainland is devastating the planet with their emissions, and are gutting the ocean with illegal haulers, threatening the global food net; ought the Chinese nation be starved, so that the responsible nations live without fear of an ecological collapse and the miseries such would entail? I can't agree with such things, but I know there would be scenarios in which I must (if COVID had a 100% fatality rate; if the mentally impaired and physically lame out-numbered the capable such that the capable didn't have the resources to care for them; if the actions of the Chinese nation could not be stopped through any other means). It is difficult; as you said over a week ago, laying out a moral framework is not easy. It may very well be impossible.

3→2) I've spent the last few days on-and-off trying to construct a working definition; my first one was:
"Due suffering is that suffering which arises from the natural consequences of the actions one has willingly taken."
But the murder example was a counter example as you've quickly seen, since, at minimum, the loss of one's freedom of movement via incarceration for murder, and the suffering one endures as such, is due. The second:
"Due suffering is that suffering which arises from the natural and societal consequences of the actions one has willingly taken."
But different societies enact different societal consequences: in some countries, honor killings have little if any societal consequences, despite being tantamount to murder in many others; I do not want "due suffering" to be contingent on society.
The issue is, because there is no accepted universal morality, it seems that "due suffering" cannot be extended to include societal consequences without social contingency. I still need to think about this though I don't have much hope and it may, in fact, be impossible as you say.

3) As we've reached someone of a stall, would you be willing to fully explain your position on abortion? On the spectrum between completely restricted and completely unrestricted, I fell on the "restricted with caveats" as you've read before; where might you fall?

Thanks Xtal. Could you give me a bit of time to respond? I'm a bit too wound up right now.

3) I can actually answer this one, my position is that it be legal on demand. The caveats are on whether state healthcare pays for it, and until when it's available until demand. That and there is sex-ed and support for parents, but that's a different story.

Medical abortions can be done until 10 weeks without any visit to a clinic, after that it becomes more complicated. Around 24 weeks, the surgeries and possible damages caused means it must be limited to emergencies that threaten the mother's life, such as the baby being functionally dead. 10 weeks or 20 weeks have medical reasons for being a limit, it's less arbitrary this way.


To bring up an example, the death of Savita Halappanavar was because of a "fetus heartbeat" law which forbade action to save her, for a pregnancy that was not viable, since the mother was dying.

The irony? The law in Ireland at the time stated that the act of abortion, where there was no immediate physiological threat to the woman's life to continue the pregnancy, was a criminal offence punishable by life imprisonment.

Turns out, that provision wasn't enough to save someone, maybe the threat was so high the doctors didn't risk it or felt their hands were tied (and they made a bunch of other mistakes). If the doctor did induct an abortion to save someone's life, what's the chance that they won't be attacked anyway in politics?

If anyone is pro-life, I think that there needs to be a study on preventing laws from backfiring like this, because this event collapsed public support.


On your point about morality and it's consquences, the areas which have the highest teen pregnancy rates are the areas which use abstinence only sex education, and which tend to go for anti-abortion laws. I like to say I'm moralizing against moralizing, but maybe the very fact that it's become political is bad.

Apparently, it didn't use to be so contentious.

Last edited May 15, 2022 at 10:31PM EDT

I like your attempts at a definition and the forethought in possible pit-falls of them. The question becomes "what is good"? Is it the god(s), principles, the greater good, or what is decided by society, family or friends, or even that of a love for general humanity?

Thomas Hobbes even said that we aim at felicity, which he defines as “continual success in obtaining those things which a man from time to time desireth, that is to say, continual prospering”. Basically, it's quasi-epicurean in saying 'we want what we want', except instead of Epicure talking about how friendship and good experiences are important, Hobbes abandons the notion of a final good and claims that the motivation to act stems from one’s desire to exercise and increase power and ultimately lies in seeking felicity

A rather grim fellow.

2→1) you made several good examples on why the end justifying the means creates horrors because my previous answer to 3→2) of "Due suffering is that suffering which arises from the consequences decided by the greater good on the actions one has willingly taken", can become completely monstrous.

There's a reason why the 'greater good' is made fun of.

Last edited May 16, 2022 at 12:31AM EDT

I apologize for disappearing for a week; I'm currently taking care of an ill family member and their condition deteriorated to the point where they couldn't walk without my assistance. Fortunately they are doing better now. Also sorry for the weird numbering convention; I think we're past that point were they are needed.

So if I understand correctly, you are making the following outline:
1) Unrestricted up to about ten weeks into the pregnancy ('unrestricted' meaning without requiring any other form of approval or authorization to do so).
2) Medical exemption needed beyond.

If that is so, that is reasonable for a compromise; in fact, that is akin to the position I held previously before being swayed by 'life begins at conception' arguments because I couldn't find myself in a position to deny it nor liked the possible consequences of arbitrary points in which something, by societal standards, is deemed to be human. For example, if ever having had brain function was needed for 'humanity' (so that someone who became brain dead once had brain function so is considered human, but a baby which never had brain function was not considered human), then a future in which brain-dead humans are grown for their organs could be found to be acceptable; but I find that to be repulsive.

I had not heard of the death of Savita Halappanavar but reading about it makes me think the physician either did hold catholic convictions despite the press-release from the hospital or was unsure of the nuances of the law and so was afraid of breaching it. You are right about needing some form of study to check the boundaries of such laws; though that ought to be a general practice since once a law is put to the public eventually someone will be an edge case.

Unfortunately I don't have much else to say right now; I've been pretty burnt out. I appreciate your time though- and you've made me realize I regret giving away the philosophy books I bought for auxiliary classes at University.

Last edited May 23, 2022 at 05:21PM EDT
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