Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Alan Shlemon & Cecili Chadwick Debate: Should Abortion Be Illegal?

In this debate at California State University San Marcos, STR's Alan Shlemon debates women’s studies professor Cecili Chadwick on the topic: Should Abortion Be Illegal? This fairly short but useful debate lasts 49 minutes (with Q&A). Also be sure to check out Alan Shlemon's pro-life arguments here. More abortion resources here. You can also watch the video segments of the debate here at the STR Place blog.

Full Debate Audio MP3 here.

Listen.

28 comments :

winteryknight said...

Wow! Thanks for posting this Brian!

Nick Potts said...

How was the debate? i'll listen to it later in the week....i'm swamped with papers for school right now.

Russell said...

I thought Shlemon won this hands down. Chadwick admitted that the unborn is a human being. There really is no good argument after this admission. Even if there is, Chadwick did not have it.

I was confused as to why she began attacking religion towards the end of the debate. She did not say much on the topic, but what she did say seemed contrived to me.

Seth said...

Chadwick admitted that the unborn is a human being.

Sounds like she is a utilitarian. These folks judge the moral worth of an action by its outcome. While the unborn is a human being, if killing the child brings happiness to the child bearer, then it's OK to kill him/her. If anyone wants to know more about utilitarianism read some works by Peter Singer, or look up utilitarianism on Wikipedia.

Lee said...

Russell wrote: "I thought Shlemon won this hands down."

But Shlemon said in the Q&A he was OK for abortions to occur when the life of the mother was in question i.e. Shlemon is pro-abortion (or at least not against it) in certain (extreme) conditions... I assume Shlemon would not want abortions to be illegal in these instances? How would you interpret this statement from Shlemon

Does this not mean Shlemon lost the debate? After all, the question was "Should Abortion Be Illegal?

And in some instances, Shlemon says "NO"

End of debate as the question was stated.

Lee
PS
Shlemon also made mainly emotional arguments - which is pretty dirty in my book.

Lee said...

Seth wrote: "While the unborn is a human being"

So to be clear then... are you saying that a few cells of a newly fertilized egg is "human"? With the same rights as a newly born baby?

I just want to fully undertand your position.

Another question – have you heard of the trolley thought experiment? (Google it if you have not) If you are saying a few cells are human – we could have some interesting fun with such a thought experiment. Instead of 5 men on the track, I could place a freezer holding 1,000 frozen IVF fertilized eggs (all ready for placing in some mother’s to be).

Would you save the one man, or the 1,000 frozen eggs?

If they are human, surely it would be the eggs? You tell me.

Lee

Russell said...

Hi Lee,

But Shlemon said in the Q&A he was OK for abortions to occur when the life of the mother was in question i.e. Shlemon is pro-abortion (or at least not against it) in certain (extreme) conditions... I assume Shlemon would not want abortions to be illegal in these instances? How would you interpret this statement from Shlemon

Does this not mean Shlemon lost the debate? After all, the question was "Should Abortion Be Illegal?

And in some instances, Shlemon says "NO"

End of debate as the question was stated.


Correct me if i am wrong, but I believe that in most cases, when the mother's life is in danger, the child will not survive either. In this case, the situation becomes about saving one life rather than losing two.
However, with 93% of abortions occurring due to social reasons (correct me if there are more up to date statistics) and Chadwick's admission that the unborn is human, I would definitely say that abortion should be illegal the way it is currently stated.

Shlemon also made mainly emotional arguments - which is pretty dirty in my book

If there was nothing wrong with abortion, then the emotional arguments would have no effect. I don't see how this is a dirty tactic.

Lee said...

Hi Russell,

Correct me if i am wrong, but I believe that in most cases, when the mother's life is in danger, the child will not survive either.

No correction required – if the mother dies early in pregnancy (say < 20 weeks) – so will the potential baby/foetus.

In this case, the situation becomes about saving one life rather than losing two.

Now correct me if I am wrong, the debate question was NOT “Should abortion be illegal when the mother’s life is not in danger”

So are you also in agreement that there is an argument FOR abortions in some (extreme) cases?

If so, this debate (as stated in the debate question) is over – you would NOT be in favour of making ALL abortions illegal.

Now can you please state your position on this matter.

However, with 93% of abortions occurring due to social reasons

This would be a different debate, so before moving onto that – are you prepared to concede this correct debate?

Chadwick's admission that the unborn is human, I would definitely say that abortion should be illegal the way it is currently stated.

So you are in disagreement to Shlemon who concedes there is an argument FOR abortions in some (extreme) instances?

I need you to be clear on this so I understand your position.

If there was nothing wrong with abortion, then the emotional arguments would have no effect. I don't see how this is a dirty tactic.

It is not a logically or reasoned argument when someone lowers themselves to this level.

For me it means they have lost the (reasoned and logical) debate.

Analogy - I do not like to see pictures of people having operations(a knee op for example) – the very idea makes me feel a little ill.

So, if you wanted to make an emotional argument against knee operations – you could just show me pictures and videos and you could/might win me over.

Apart from the fact there are logical and reasoned arguments (and evidence) FOR such operations.

So if all I presented were pictures, videos and an emotional argument – it would be a dirty tactic. I don't think you see it because it is being done by “your team”.

Take care

Lee

Russell said...

Hi Lee,

Thanks for your comments. I want to mention that I always enjoy reading your posts. It's always nice to be able to discuss these topics candidly and peacefully.

Now correct me if I am wrong, the debate question was NOT “Should abortion be illegal when the mother’s life is not in danger”

So are you also in agreement that there is an argument FOR abortions in some (extreme) cases?

If so, this debate (as stated in the debate question) is over – you would NOT be in favour of making ALL abortions illegal.

Now can you please state your position on this matter.


I don't think the title of the debate can be taken that literally. With over 90% of abortions being performed because of social reasons, I think Schlemon was perfectly justified in arguing against abortion, while maintaining that there are some rare exceptions.
My position would be that abortion should be illegal unless the mother's life is in question. I want to stress that in this case, it becomes about saving a life rather than losing two.

It is not a logically or reasoned argument when someone lowers themselves to this level.

For me it means they have lost the (reasoned and logical) debate.

Analogy - I do not like to see pictures of people having operations(a knee op for example) – the very idea makes me feel a little ill.

So, if you wanted to make an emotional argument against knee operations – you could just show me pictures and videos and you could/might win me over.

Apart from the fact there are logical and reasoned arguments (and evidence) FOR such operations.

So if all I presented were pictures, videos and an emotional argument – it would be a dirty tactic. I don't think you see it because it is being done by “your team”.


I don't think your analogy does the situation justice. There are no moral qualms about having knee surgery. There is no life at stake. Perhaps you don't believe abortion takes a human life. If that's the case, we can discuss that later. However, if a life is being taken and you consider the emotional problems that often arise from an abortion, I think it is perfectly reasonable to present a case that demonstrates exactly what abortion entails.

thanks,

Russ

Lee said...

Hi Russ,

Sorry for the delay - I enjoy these discussions as well, thanks for having them. It is good that we can do it calmly. Certainly when the topic is as emotional as this one – which is why I do not like “merely” emotional arguments.

RE: the debate question was NOT “Should abortion be illegal when the mother’s life is not in danger”

I don't think the title of the debate can be taken that literally.

It should when claiming ‘such and such won the debate’. It is a formal debate after all – these are judged against the question at hand.

Now if it were just a discussion, this would be different.

I think Schlemon was perfectly justified in arguing against abortion, while maintaining that there are some rare exceptions.

Then why didn’t he clearly state this in his opening argument? Schlemon argues against ALL abortions in his argument/debate – it just took the Q&A to highlight his inconsistencies.

A little dishonest in my opinion.

My position would be that abortion should be illegal unless the mother's life is in question.

Good – you disagree with the debate question. This is a start.

The problem I have with the ‘abortion debate’ is that many think of the issue as ‘black and white’. It is always wrong, and never right. (Or worst still... it is always right, at any time during the pregnancy – though most countries have laws to limit abortions for some reason - thank goodness)

I just wish the ‘pro-life’ proponents could be more honest in their arguments.

And here is the interesting bit... if Schlemon were more honest with his arguments, used less emotions and more reasons. He could win the middle ground of people like me more easily.

I do not trust a dishonest debater. Why should I?

Lee said...

Part II


I want to stress that in this case, it becomes about saving a life rather than losing two.

Can I take the abortion question to another extreme... are you against the “morning after pill”. A pill that will ensure a fertilized egg cannot ‘take’ and is rejected by the woman (I think this is how it works..)

Will taking the morning after pill be better than a woman having a baby only to abandon it in a toilet or telephone box (which does happen more times than it should)?

Now based on what you have just written – you will also be against the morning after pill – however, would this be the lesser of two evils would it not? (In the extreme example I am talking about when the woman is too ashamed to have the baby because of what the family might think, to scared to admit she had a baby and so willing to abandon it to the elements instead)

Let also not forget that a very high percentage of fertilized eggs are naturally terminated by the woman’s body anyway – such a pill is just ensuring the odds are a little more predictable.

To be clear on my current position (which has changed over time).

I am against ‘social abortions’ (as you put it) after a ‘few’ weeks. However I am not sure I am against the morning after pill. After all – everyone can make a mistake i.e. the condom could rip or the woman (and man) just had one too many drinks. Should a baby be forced to pay for such mistakes with its life? A life sentence for a crime it did not commit. A child of 12 isn’t going to be the best parent (without a supporting family) and it would destroy the 12 year old’s childhood.

Just throwing the idea up there to see what you think.

I don't think your analogy does the situation justice.

I tried.

My point though is still the same. If a decision is important – it should NOT be done pure on emotions. It should not rest on emotional argument but reasoned ones.

if a life is being taken and you consider the emotional problems that often arise from an abortion, I think it is perfectly reasonable to present a case that demonstrates exactly what abortion entails.

The emotional argument our debater makes ignores the fact that he is FOR abortions in extreme cases.
If we just followed our emotions (as he wishes us to do with his argument) we might outlaw ALL abortions. Yet when we use the cold hard facts and reason... there is an argument FOR abortions as you have agreed.

Take care

Lee

Lee said...

PS

One last question just came to mind Russ.

You said you are OK with abortions when it is a choice between one lives over the other.

How did you decide who lives and who dies?

Let's suppose one month into a pregnancy it is discovered that the mother will die if the pregnancy goes to term - but the baby will be healthy and survive if they did.

At 4 weeks, should an abortion take place? Who should live - the potential baby or the mother? (Let's also suppose the woman already has 2 other young children (2 and a 3 year old) to support just to make it more interesting.

Now what? Should the mother have a choice of an abortion, or would you “murder the human inside the woman” ( and yes I am using the emotional words of the pro-lifer for the fun of it)?

I say the woman has a choice – it is her choice. What say you?

As a pro-lifer, you want to take this choice away from the woman do you not?

Take care

Lee

Russell said...

Hi Lee,

Thanks for your response. Hope all is well.


It should when claiming ‘such and such won the debate’. It is a formal debate after all – these are judged against the question at hand.

Now if it were just a discussion, this would be different.


My opinion that Schlemon won the debate was based off the arguments the two put forth. I understand the the topic of the debate was "Should abortion be illegal", but I don't think such an issue can be reduced to a single, vague question. I would much prefer the discussion format you mentioned.

The problem I have with the ‘abortion debate’ is that many think of the issue as ‘black and white’. It is always wrong, and never right. (Or worst still... it is always right, at any time during the pregnancy – though most countries have laws to limit abortions for some reason - thank goodness)

I just wish the ‘pro-life’ proponents could be more honest in their arguments.

And here is the interesting bit... if Schlemon were more honest with his arguments, used less emotions and more reasons. He could win the middle ground of people like me more easily.

I do not trust a dishonest debater. Why should I?


I would agree with most of what you said. However, I don't think Schlemon was trying to purposefully mislead the audience. It seemed to me that he was basing his comments on what abortion almost always is; the taking of a life for social reasons.

Can I take the abortion question to another extreme... are you against the “morning after pill”. A pill that will ensure a fertilized egg cannot ‘take’ and is rejected by the woman (I think this is how it works..)

I must admit that I am not very knowledgeable about the morning after pill. If it ends a life that would continue to grow if left to it's normal progression, then yes, I am against it.

Russell said...

Will taking the morning after pill be better than a woman having a baby only to abandon it in a toilet or telephone box (which does happen more times than it should)?

Now based on what you have just written – you will also be against the morning after pill – however, would this be the lesser of two evils would it not? (In the extreme example I am talking about when the woman is too ashamed to have the baby because of what the family might think, to scared to admit she had a baby and so willing to abandon it to the elements instead)

Let also not forget that a very high percentage of fertilized eggs are naturally terminated by the woman’s body anyway – such a pill is just ensuring the odds are a little more predictable.

To be clear on my current position (which has changed over time).

I am against ‘social abortions’ (as you put it) after a ‘few’ weeks. However I am not sure I am against the morning after pill. After all – everyone can make a mistake i.e. the condom could rip or the woman (and man) just had one too many drinks. Should a baby be forced to pay for such mistakes with its life? A life sentence for a crime it did not commit. A child of 12 isn’t going to be the best parent (without a supporting family) and it would destroy the 12 year old’s childhood.

Just throwing the idea up there to see what you think.


I would say no. My view is that if a man and women are going to have sex then they should be responsible to either assume the role of parenting or put the child up for adoption. From what I understand the morning after pill can ensure that an egg that would otherwise continue maturing, will not (If I need to be educated on this let me know).
This is why I believe the Christian idea of keeping sex within marriage is the best option. I understand that it's unpopular, and to some unrealistic, but it seems to be the most reliable way to ensure that children are born into committed families. Otherwise we end up in a situation like the one we are currently discussing (over 90% of abortions being for social reasons).

How did you decide who lives and who dies?

Let's suppose one month into a pregnancy it is discovered that the mother will die if the pregnancy goes to term - but the baby will be healthy and survive if they did.

At 4 weeks, should an abortion take place? Who should live - the potential baby or the mother? (Let's also suppose the woman already has 2 other young children (2 and a 3 year old) to support just to make it more interesting.

Now what? Should the mother have a choice of an abortion, or would you “murder the human inside the woman” ( and yes I am using the emotional words of the pro-lifer for the fun of it)?

I say the woman has a choice – it is her choice. What say you?

As a pro-lifer, you want to take this choice away from the woman do you not?


I think I would agree with you on this one. If the life of the mother is at risk, and most likely the child's in such a case, the I would say that she, along with her family, should be able to make the choice. I think I can justifiably say this as a pro-lifer since a decision is being made to save a life.

Thanks for taking the time to read and respond Lee.

-Russ

Lee said...

Hi Russ,

I've only got a quick moment - thanks for the reply.

I will pick on the point of most interest (and where we differ the most)

If it ends a life that would continue to grow if left to it's normal progression, then yes, I am against it.

Yes it will, but (it should be noted) as the name implies it is taken the 'morning after' sex so any development would be minimal.

Now given the examples I provided (i.e. when a mother is too ashamed - or whatever reason - to have the baby and leaves it in a bin or doorstep.)

Quick Google search
http://www.foxnews.com/world/2010/09/13/philippines-seeks-mother-newborn-baby-abandoned-airplane-trash-flight-bahrain/

I wonder how many babies don't make it?

Would it have been better for the woman to have taken the morning after pill to save potential later suffering?

Basically, could you expand on why you object given the examples I provided.

Thanks

Lee

Russell said...

Hi Lee,

Thanks for the quick reply!

I suppose this comes down to when we would consider there to be a new life. While there might be minimal development, it still seems that a life is growing.
The problem I have with this topic is what is minimal development. Other than conception, I am not sure where one would posit the beginning of life. If we aren't able to unequivocally state a beginning of life, then I don't see how we can take the chance (I am reminded of the illustration of the building being demolished without being sure everyone is out).

I understand the sensitivity of the question. It's terrible that so many children die. However, I don't believe taking the life of the child (even with minimal development), is fair just because a man and women made a mistake or are fearful of what will happen. This is why I think many need to be much more cautious with sex.

If you don't mind me asking Lee, I am curious if you think there is a certain point where a child is developed enough that an abortion should not be allowed.

Thanks again Lee. I look forward to your response.

-Russ

Lee said...

Hi Russ

RE: The Morning after pill

My view is that if a man and women are going to have sex then they should be responsible to either assume the role of parenting or put the child up for adoption

This may be your dream – your wish and desire - but it is clearly not the reality, not in the real world.

As I mentioned, there are children having sex – many who have not been educated on the methods of safe-sex. (“No sex before marriage” is clearly not working – and why should we expect otherwise?)

Unwanted pregnancies will happen as a result of poor sex education. What you are suggesting is that a child should be forced to go through 9 months of a pregnancy whether they like it or not.

This doesn’t sound right to me – not when there are other options. (Let good sex education, condoms and worse comes to worst – the morning after pill)

The facts are there for all to see – mothers are abandoning their newly born babies because of ‘the shame’ some are (wrongly) placing on them.

Then there is also the problem of unwanted pregnancies caused by rape – if you are against the morning after pill, you could be forcing a raped woman to have the child of a rapist. Is this really what you saying is the best course of action?

This is why I believe the Christian idea of keeping sex within marriage is the best option

Maybe for some – maybe for you but clearly not for all.

For the record, I don’t believe in ‘no sex before marriage’. (Not only that our first child was ‘out of wedlock’ (but not unplanned))

I know many children/people will be having sex outside of marriage. Once you accept this fact, surely the best option is to educate the children/people what ‘safe sex’ is to avoid pregnancies?

What is your position on sex education? Surely it is not just “No sex before marriage”?

Oh and on this note – what if you do not have sex before marriage, but then discover your wife is just rubbish in bed? If you are committing yourself to sex to just the one person – surely you would want to take the car for a test drive before signing on the dotted line?

Lee said...

Part II
Otherwise we end up in a situation like the one we are currently discussing (over 90% of abortions being for social reasons).

Any ideas how many of these “90 %” were to women who were given good sex education at home and school?

Maybe the idea of ‘no sex before marriage’ without good sex education is actually a major cause to this 90%.

Have you considered this possibility?

If the life of the mother is at risk, and most likely the child's in such a case

To be clear – in the “thought experiment” I suggested it was either or. Either the mother lives or the baby. In the thought experiment is not a situation where both are at risk.

If you want a real world example - consider the situation of the mother not taking some cancer treatment (which if she did will cause the baby to abort) Don’t take the treatment, the baby lives and the mother dies. Take the treatment, the mother will live and the baby dies.

in such a case, I would say that she, along with her family, should be able to make the choice

Excellent. Another situation when you are pro-abortion.

This makes two I think. When both mother and child are at risk. And when the mother is at risk.

Simplified, maybe only one case - you are pro-abortion when the mother’s life is at risk.

I think I can justifiably say this as a pro-lifer since a decision is being made to save a life.

OK, on to the harder questions. What about the situation when, at around 10-15 weeks it is discovered the foetus (if taken to term) will (probably more than likely) only be able to live for a few weeks outside the mother?

Certainly the baby would suffer for all its short life - be it a few weeks or months.

What now? The mother is at zero risk – but now it is known the baby will die shortly after birth.

Are you pro-abortion in this instance? Are would you prefer not taking the hard decision of an abortion, and thus force both mother and baby through months of suffering in which the outcome will be the same (a dead foetus/baby).

I am just trying to go through all the situations where you might agree on abortions. Yes they are the extreme examples but this doesn’t matter at this stage. Once we know where we disagree/agree we can focus on the ‘real issues’ (whatever they might be).

Thanks again for talking.

Lee

Lee said...

Hi Russ,

I suppose this comes down to when we would consider there to be a new life

Maybe I make this a little easier on myself by saying “potential life”. You cannot say at conception there is ‘life’ because many, many things can go wrong. (I can speak from experience on this one)

Maybe I am wrong on this – you tell me

While there might be minimal development, it still seems that a life is growing.

Maybe – but the question is who has the greater rights isn’t it?

You have already stated you place the rights of the mother over the ‘potential life’ in the extreme situations discussed. You have agreed the choice is with the mother in the example provided earlier.

The question of ‘development’ does seem to play a part in our decision making then.

How else did you make your decision if it wasn’t by placing greater rights on the mother rather than a ‘minimally developed’ foetus?

If we aren't able to unequivocally state a beginning of life, then I don't see how we can take the chance

I will have to repeat myself - how did you make your decision to allow the mother the choice to terminate her pregnancy when she knew the baby would be born fit and healthy (with the small matter of the mother dying shortly afterwards)?

The question in this little thought experiment is clearly NOT when did ‘life begin’ but rather who has the greater rights. Or am I wrong on this?

I don't believe taking the life of the child (even with minimal development), is fair just because a man and women made a mistake or are fearful of what will happen.

In most situations I would agree with you.

This is why I think many need to be much more cautious with sex.

Indeed – and with good sex education, they can. I’ve never had an unwanted pregnancy with any woman so the system can work :-)

If you don't mind me asking Lee, I am curious if you think there is a certain point where a child is developed enough that an abortion should not be allowed.

Any question is open for discussion, so ask away.

Of course there is a point in the foetus development that I would be dead against abortion.
I think the law most countries have for the date an abortion is legal (for normal pregnancies) is far, far too late.

This is for another discussion, I am out of time.

To be clear (again). I think the high number of abortions that occur in the world is sad, and I wish it could be reduced. I do not think the “pro-life” are correct when they argue abortions should be illegal (as per this debate that started our discussion) and I do not think the “pro-life” position of “no sex before marriage” is working.

Thanks again

Lee

Russell said...

Hi Lee,

Thanks for the reply. Sorry for the delay. It's been a busy week. Hope all is well.


The question in this little thought experiment is clearly NOT when did ‘life begin’ but rather who has the greater rights. Or am I wrong on this?


I picked this quote because it seems to summarize the main question. If there is anything else you'd like me to clarify, let me know.
I would hold that the family has the right to decide in the extreme cases we have been discussing. These cases seem to be extremely rare, and in most of these rare cases, the child will not survive without the mother. In these rare cases, it would be better to save a life rather than lose one.


Of course there is a point in the foetus development that I would be dead against abortion.
I think the law most countries have for the date an abortion is legal (for normal pregnancies) is far, far too late.


I think this is where I struggle most with the Pro-choice position. How does one decide when this point of development is? It seems to me that if one is unable to designate a specific point, then they can't be sure that the abortion is morally acceptable. If they can't be sure, I don't know how they justify going through with it.

To be clear (again). I think the high number of abortions that occur in the world is sad, and I wish it could be reduced. I do not think the “pro-life” are correct when they argue abortions should be illegal (as per this debate that started our discussion) and I do not think the “pro-life” position of “no sex before marriage” is working.

I wouldn't say that the position of "no sex before marriage" is not working, but that it's not being carried out. It doesn't surprise me since sex is being thrown at people of all ages on everything from billboards to deodorant commercials. Abstinence may not be the popular policy, but I can't imagine a more full proof plan. I have other reasons for feeling this was also, but that another topic.

Thanks again for the discussion Lee. I look forward to hearing back from you.

-Russ

Lee said...

Hi Russ,

If there is anything else you'd like me to clarify, let me know

Actually yes... I think you missed my main point in my last post, so I will try again – it is rather important to the argument I was making.

I asked ”The question in this little thought experiment is clearly NOT when did ‘life begin’ but rather who has the greater rights. “

You replied: I would hold that the family has the right to decide in the extreme cases we have been discussing. These cases seem to be extremely rare, and in most of these rare cases, the child will not survive without the mother.

The situation I provided was when the mother will survive if she aborts the baby.

OR, the baby will survive, but the mother (a few weeks/months after giving birth) will die (in my example due to cancer because she did not take the treatment that would save her. The baby will not have the cancer, and will be healthy)

So do not think the baby is in any risk should the mother decide not to abort.

The only problem is that if the mother does not abort, she will die.

The decision, I think we agree, should be with the mother whether to abort or not.

However – here is the problem as I see it with the pro-life position.

If the mother decides to live, she has to ‘murder’ (using the language of pro-lifer) her unborn child.

You have agreed (I think) that the mother should have this choice – but how did you come to this decision since it goes against your ‘overall’ argument about the ‘rights’ of the unborn child.

How should she (or anyone else) make such a decision? How were you able to ‘grant’ the right to the mother to ‘murder’ her unborn child in this instance?

In these rare cases, it would be better to save a life rather than lose one.

Save which life?– that is the question here. Who has the greater rights?

Since you have said the mother should have the right to decide, you have granted these greater rights to the mother.

If you thought the unborn child had the greater rights, you would not have provided this choice to the mother.

How did you come to this decision – it is important I feel you address this key issue.

I think this is where I struggle most with the Pro-choice position. How does one decide when this point of development is?

You tell me – since you have granted just such a right to the mother in the example/thought experiment I provided. You clearly came to such a conclusion – how did you do it?

Now all I would ask is that you are consistent with your opinions.

As for where this ‘point of development’ should be – do you think this is best addressed by the priests or the doctors/science? Do you want emotions to decide, or the facts of science?

I shall remind you again, you have already stated (I feel) you are happy to allow the mother to abort her unborn baby and choose to live even though the baby could have survived pregnancy.

You have decided in some instances the right of the mother is greater than the unborn baby.

You seem to want it both ways at the moment. With the priest when the ‘decision’ is black and white in favour of saving the baby. With the doctors and science when it is in the favour of the mother (i.e. you are happy to allow the baby to be aborted in these extreme examples – how did you come to such decisions)

It seems to me that if one is unable to designate a specific point, then they can't be sure that the abortion is morally acceptable.

Lee said...

But you have already stated when it is morally acceptable to ‘murder’ the unborn child – in an extreme example.

Until you tell me how you came to this conclusion, I am not sure if you are following reason or emotions in your decision making.

I think science/doctors could provide a ‘cut off point’ of development for an unborn child as to whether who has the ‘greater rights’. You have already agreed to one example... a few weeks into a pregnancy.

Personally I think I would like the line (for healthy/normal pregnancies) at when the foetus has a heat beat and nervous system – 3 to 4 weeks I believe.

This means I would allow the morning after pill (which you have said you are against) but I know I have a problem with this date I just provided.

The problem is that with this timeline most women would not realise they are pregnant – a bit of a bugger that if the pregnancy is ‘unwanted’ and was a ‘mistake’.

So this is a rather ‘extreme’ position (which I am in some flux about) – in the state where I live I think the law is 18 weeks.

So you can see, I am closer to your position than you might have imagined.

I wouldn't say that the position of "no sex before marriage" is not working, but that it's not being carried out

This means the ‘method’ is NOT working...

What you are saying here is that “It works when it is followed, but when it is not followed that is not the fault of the system”

That is plain nonsense in my book.

If your position truly was to see less abortions, then surely you have to understand that just telling children “Don’t have sex” is like standing on the beach telling the ocean not to come in.

Good luck with that – take a towel.

It doesn't surprise me since sex is being thrown at people of all ages on everything from billboards to deodorant commercials.

As a parent, I can agree with you here – however this is how the world is today, so I think it is better to educate our children that if they are going to have sex, then do it safely.

What you are hoping for is by telling them “Don’t have sex before marriage” that they will be able to listen to this advice. (Advice which I am against BTW. Why can’t we have sex before marriage, what actually is the problem if it can be had safely with two consenting adults?)

The evidence is against you on this one.

Abstinence may not be the popular policy, but I can't imagine a more full proof plan

But most children are not listening to this message – and why should they? You have not justified this position yet

OK – time is up.

Hope this all makes sense, look forward to your reply.

Oh, if you do not mind me asking, what is your current ‘position’ on marriage and children? For the record, I’m in my 30’s, married with two young boys (though son number one was out of ‘wedlock’ as I said before)

Just wondering on your current ‘life stage’ and how this might enter into the discussion.

Thanks matey

Lee

Russell said...

Hi Lee,
In order to save some space, I am going to simply reply in a way to hopefully state my opinion on the position you pointed out. Please let me know if I miss anything.

If the situation comes down to either mother or child dying, then I would have to say that the mother should have the choice.

You asked how I could justify this since it goes against my overall argument about the rights of the child. I would say that first off the only reason an abortion should be on the table is when a life is at risk. In the extremely rare case mentioned above, the mother should have the choice based solely on the circumstance. Of the two people involved, the mother is the only one able to make the choice. She must decide what is best for her, her family, and the unborn child. I’m afraid you will probably be disappointed with my reasoning here, but such a situation is going to involve some degree of uncertainty. However, I think both the pro choice and pro life person are going to have to deal with some conflict in their overall views. I will get into this more with one of you points below.

You seem to want it both ways at the moment. With the priest when the ‘decision’ is black and white in favour of saving the baby. With the doctors and science when it is in the favour of the mother (i.e. you are happy to allow the baby to be aborted in these extreme examples – how did you come to such decisions)

In the extreme examples mentioned above, I do not see things as black and white. Just so we are clear, I am never “happy” to see a baby aborted. The case’s mentioned above are heartbreaking, and I don’t wish them on anyone. I feel that there is a distinct difference between having an abortion because the child would be an inconvenience and having an abortion because the mother may lose her life. The two must be evaluated and handled differently.

I think science/doctors could provide a ‘cut off point’ of development for an unborn child as to whether who has the ‘greater rights’. You have already agreed to one example... a few weeks into a pregnancy.
Personally I think I would like the line (for healthy/normal pregnancies) at when the foetus has a heat beat and nervous system – 3 to 4 weeks I believe.
This means I would allow the morning after pill (which you have said you are against) but I know I have a problem with this date I just provided.
The problem is that with this timeline most women would not realise they are pregnant – a bit of a bugger that if the pregnancy is ‘unwanted’ and was a ‘mistake’.


This is where I think the pro choice side shows inconsistency. You believe at 3-4 weeks a child should not be aborted. Many others on the pro choice side, such as the state you live in, believe in a much higher number. How is anyone able to make this claim? How can we be certain that this is the correct number of weeks? This is not an issue in which we can make assumptions and hope that they are correct. If we are not correct, a life has unjustly ended.
The reason I take conception as the starting point of life, is that it seems to be the only point in which we can unequivocally say that life has begun. The child may be underdeveloped, but if left unharmed the child will (in most cases) continue to mature until birth.

Russell said...

So you can see, I am closer to your position than you might have imagined.

While I do not agree with 3-4 weeks, I am glad that we can agree that there is a certain point in which a child should not be aborted simply because it will be a burden.

This means the ‘method’ is NOT working...
What you are saying here is that “It works when it is followed, but when it is not followed that is not the fault of the system”
That is plain nonsense in my book.


I guess I don’t agree with your reasoning here. If abstinence is used the way it is stated, it will work. If not, then they are not practicing abstinence. Suppose a couple uses a condom incorrectly. Does it follow that condoms do not work?

If your position truly was to see less abortions, then surely you have to understand that just telling children “Don’t have sex” is like standing on the beach telling the ocean not to come in.
Good luck with that – take a towel.


I am perfectly aware of the attitudes children and teens have about sex. However, just telling them how to have safe sex and hoping all will be well seems foolish to me. I am going to provide some statistics, but as with one of my previous posts, I must admit that they could be a bit old. Please correct me if you think I am in error. From what I understand, the chemical bond produced from having sex becomes weaker with more partners. Because of this, sexually overactive people tend to have a lower rate of marital success than those who abstain from sex before marriage (or at least are careful about it).
In addition to this more than one half of teen boys (55%) and the majority of teen girls (70%) wish they had waited longer to have sex. Finally I would point out that during the 1960’s only one in fifty teens has an STD. Today one in four have an STD.
While I hold that abstinence is the best route, I am not too dense to realize that most will not accept it as a valid method. I don’t have any intention of trying to force others to adhere to my convictions on this. However, I think if our society continues to see sex as nothing more than a casual fulfillment of a basic need it will be surprised and dismayed by the outcome.

Oh, if you do not mind me asking, what is your current ‘position’ on marriage and children? For the record, I’m in my 30’s, married with two young boys (though son number one was out of ‘wedlock’ as I said before)
Just wondering on your current ‘life stage’ and how this might enter into the discussion.


Thanks for sharing Lee. It always helps to have an idea of who you are talking with. I’m 24 and married. No children as of yet (waiting for my wife to finish up school).

Thanks again Lee. I look forward to your reply.

-Russ

Lee said...

Hi Russ,

Thanks again for the reply – I think we understand each other’s position better now and so I think it is time to summarise.

Correct me if I am wrong (and/or have misunderstood you).

My summary is not to hold you to anything said previously (you are free to change your mind on anything discussed here of course). It is merely to allow me to show what I have understood (or misunderstood). If I am wrong, now is a good time to correct it before we move on to other areas of the discussion.

Your position is that you are against abortions generally - unless a life is at risk. Or, as you put it ” the only reason an abortion should be on the table is when a life is at risk”

So then - If the mother’s life is at risk due to the pregnancy, you will allow the mother to have the choice whether to abort (and would support the mother on whatever the final decision was.)

If the foetus was not likely to survive the birth – I think you said you would support the mother’s decision to abort the pregnancy (if that was her choice)

I hope this is a fair reflection so far?

Now here is my main issue/question...

What about suffering? Does the suffering of the mother or foetus/ baby come into your decision making?

As you have outlined it – the answer is clearly “no”... but I want to check.

This suffering could due to health issues caused by the pregnancy to the mother (for example, maybe having a baby could permanently injure the mother in some way)

Or (and here is where we will be entering touchy areas which I do not claim to know the answers) the baby will have permanent injures (mental or physical) that would require a lifetime of medical assistance to survive.

I do also have a secondary question... I think you mentioned before that if the mother did not want the baby, she could hand the baby up for adoption. (And since you would remove the choice of an abortion, this handing over to adoption to the most favourable option. Though murdering and abandoning babies does happen even today – we shall ignore this for now)

OK, my point – if abortions are ‘off the table’... how many babies do you expect to be “up for adoption” and what do you think will happen to all the older children waiting/wanting to be adopted?

My thinking is that there will be a real danger of too many babies in the system for all to be provided with good homes. Worst still, with so many babies – why would anyone want to adopt an older child? (Doesn’t everyone choose a new car over an old one given the free choice?)

This will do for now – I have little time tonight. Remind me to come back to your question/concerns with my position on the 4-ish weeks for legal abortions. I’ve not forgot, just ran out of time. To answer the easy part of the question though. The reason why the state has a higher period (18 weeks) is probably due to the fact I mentioned on detection and time to consider whether to abort or not.

Must go... but I must say, I am enjoying this discussion. Best of all, I do not recall you raising the “God card” which I happy about.

Take care

Lee

Russell said...

Hi Lee,
Thanks for your response. I’m writing this a little late and hoping it will make sense. 

I hope this is a fair reflection so far?
Yes, your summary seems to be an accurate representation of my view.

What about suffering? Does the suffering of the mother or foetus/ baby come into your decision making?
As you have outlined it – the answer is clearly “no”... but I want to check.
This suffering could due to health issues caused by the pregnancy to the mother (for example, maybe having a baby could permanently injure the mother in some way)
Or (and here is where we will be entering touchy areas which I do not claim to know the answers) the baby will have permanent injures (mental or physical) that would require a lifetime of medical assistance to survive.

Obviously, I don’t wish for anyone to suffer. I suppose it would depend on the circumstances, but generally I don’t think there would be any reason to end the child’s life unless the mother’s life was at risk. It would seem very rare that the mother would suffer a permanent injury, especially with modern medicine, but in such case, I still don’t think that would warrant the taking of the child’s life. Still, it’s a tough situation.
If the child was going to be permanently handicapped, I see no reason why his/her life should end. I hesitate to use such an example, but if a young child is physically handicapped from a car accident, we wouldn’t allow the possibility of ending the child’s life.

OK, my point – if abortions are ‘off the table’... how many babies do you expect to be “up for adoption” and what do you think will happen to all the older children waiting/wanting to be adopted?
My thinking is that there will be a real danger of too many babies in the system for all to be provided with good homes. Worst still, with so many babies – why would anyone want to adopt an older child? (Doesn’t everyone choose a new car over an old one given the free choice?)

While I am quite dismayed over this issue, I don’t think abortion is the answer. I don’t think we can simply end the lives of millions of children because they may have a rough life ahead of them.

This will do for now – I have little time tonight. Remind me to come back to your question/concerns with my position on the 4-ish weeks for legal abortions. I’ve not forgot, just ran out of time. To answer the easy part of the question though. The reason why the state has a higher period (18 weeks) is probably due to the fact I mentioned on detection and time to consider whether to abort or not.
Fair enough. Perhaps we can get back to this down the line.

Must go... but I must say, I am enjoying this discussion. Best of all, I do not recall you raising the “God card” which I happy about.
Thanks Lee, I’ve really enjoyed our discussion as well. It seems like we are not that far apart on our views as it is. I wish more or the discussions I have with friends could be this civil.

I look forward to any more discussion we have.
-Russ

Lee said...

Hi Russ,

Sorry - I wrote a relpy last night but the battery died on my netbook before I could save or send.

Half an hour down the tube...

Oh well - I will return, but it might have to wait until after the weekend.

See ya

Lee

invid said...

I found this debate frustrating to listen to because Chadwick only barely touched on the primary argument Shlemon had for his position - that the unborn are alive regardless of their location and level of dependency. She argued that the unborn are alive, but that they are merely a part of the woman's body yet she told the story of her body rejecting her unborn child. If the unborn are a part of the woman's body why does she desire to see less abortions performed?
Her arguments never addressed the question that is at the very heart of this debate: when is a person a person. Instead of offering proof that an unborn child is merely a part of the mother's body, and therefore hers to do with as she wills, she danced around the issue with anecdotal examples of the horrible things people do to one another, or the horrible circumstances people find themselves in.
If the unborn are indeed living individuals then abortion is AT LEAST as horrific as any distracting example she threw up.
In spite of my frustration, I thank you SO much for making this audio available!

- Norman

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