95

A toddler can (with a minimal amount of assistance) continue living and developing on its own. Setting aside that you underestimate the cognitive capacities of infants, an infant is a fully formed and biologically functional entity. A fetus is not; it cannot breathe, consume food, or perform any of the necessary biological functions for survival outside the ...


27

There's no one answer to your question, because this is a live debate, and different thinkers have very different moral intuitions about it. Traditional Catholic theology represents perhaps the position most to the end of one extreme, that the fetus should be treated as a full person (regardless of its actual ontological status) from the very moment of ...


19

First, a toddler is a child in the technical sense approximately between 12-36 months year old. If you're looking for a counter argument to your specific wording: Some would say you can abort a foetus because it has no sense of personal identity, it can feel no pain and its death will have a net positive effect. But could you not make this argument for a ...


12

The argument is valid. It's easier to see if translated to symbols: 1. R v W premise 2. R → F premise 3. ~F premise 4. ~R entailed by 2-3 5. W → ~D premise 6. D premise 7. ~W entailed by 5-6 8. ~R & ~W entailed by 4&7 The argument contains two sub-arguments: 2-4 and 5-7, (1 is superfluous, assuming in this ...


11

I think Shane captures the basic structure of the standard secular arguments, but there are a few more that can be offered -- some of which run contrary to the usual political divisions at least in the American sphere. Regarding your initial formulation, there are a few gaps that I don't really get: Human existence is inherently good. A human exists at ...


10

To answer the question in the title, the matter of abortion revolves around two aspects: the killing of a developing human and the capacity to which a pregnant woman has bodily autonomy. So a moral decision on abortion must consider the dilemma of bodily autonomy and feticide. On the other hand infanticide involves only the killing of an infant. So, the ...


9

I don't think it's the best argument for someone on the pro choice side (apart from being useful at persuading others perhaps). The reason I don't think it's a very strong argument (and I'm pro-choice) is that it doesn't actually engage with the reasons pro-life people have concerns about abortion. Pro-life people are concerned because they believe (or ...


9

I'll offer an emphatic answer by Philip K. Dick. Wikipedia claims without corroboration that it is a response to the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe vs. Wade. In his chilling story "The Pre-Persons"1 Dick illustrates his opinion that there is no ethical difference between aborting fetuses and killing children. A critic noted: But even wry smiles fade ...


7

You need an additional premise that destroying something inherently good is always wrong. This can be kind of hard to justify when there are tradeoffs of this sort: destroy X to save Y; destroy Y to save X; do nothing and save neither. Also, premise 2 is not what most people mean by "human exists". Aside from developmental potential, there is nothing ...


7

Note: The question posed by the OP above was at one point asking for "secular pro-life arguments", and only later was focused to the analysis of a single of one such argument proposed by the OP. The first part of my response addresses the former question and I will keep it here in that readers may still find it useful. The second part is in response to the ...


7

I believe there is one additional point that some secular pro-life proponents would argue, namely that there is no intrinsic reason why the mother would have any absolute rights over the life (assuming premise #2) of the foetus. Even if premise #1 does not hold, the new life would have just as much right to request the maternal life to be sacrificed for it's ...


6

Wikipedia, which is the source of the quote, in another article also lists the typical objections, with references, which arguably point out moral distinctions. The responsibility objection: kidnapping makes the violinist scenario analogous only to abortion after rape, in most cases the intercourse was voluntarily, so the woman herself caused the baby to ...


6

Unfortunately, the rules for life are far from clear. You can do anything to a bacterium. People get quite upset if you torture chimps and dolphins. And even more unfortunately, the rules for when something is meaningfully human life are subjective. Development starts with a fertilized egg that, aside from developmental potential, is rather less aware ...


5

The duty of the father is not towards the mother, but towards the child. The father clearly participated in the decision to create the child. And since the natural consequence of creating the child is a birth (unless there is an accident or illness), the father should pay. There are many anti-abortion ("pro-life") groups, those groups in particular would ...


5

There's some great philosophy written on this topic (see Thomson). Suffice to say, even if you assume that a fetus is a child, a pregnant person still has the right to terminate the pregnancy. The difference is in how the two bodies relate to each other, and the mechanics of how support is provided. Put simply: No one can force you to donate blood. However,...


5

where is the philosophical line here? There is no such line post-conception. Human life is initiated at conception, and only disease, injury, natural and innate responses to inviability can terminate the life from progressing and growing in utero. Voluntarily invoking such termination constitutes elective abortion. The fact that the child is dependent on ...


4

There is an important aspect to this issue which is not being addressed. Let us make the assumption that an unborn child is the equivalent of a living human being from the moment of conception. As such, they are entitled to all the rights that any living being are entitled to. Of course, the mother is also living human being, and also entitled to all the ...


4

Nope, the arguments are not always about life. I will construct one for you in a second. Let me replace "life" with "person(s)". Here is the standard argument: Murdering persons is wrong. Foetuses are persons. C: Therefore, it is wrong to murder foetuses. You are asking, "Is it always about life?" Which means, is it always a question about the truth of ...


4

Very good question and a really invigorating discussion!! The issue of whether the stages of development from zygote through fetus qualify as "life" or "person" has come up a few times, so I want to contribute to that discussion. I will leave discussion of morality aside. I have spent years researching and writing about this topic; as a physician, I ...


4

I believe one must discuss the secular pro-life argument form at least two points of view, moral and legal. Moral argument 1. Human life begins at conception. 2. The destruction of human life is "wrong." 3. Therefore abortion, as the destruction of human life, is "wrong." Legal argument 1. Human life begins at conception. 2. The destruction of human ...


4

This argument is created by analogy to a typical one for religious freedom. In a society with multiple religions, any given person might wish to impose his or her religion on everyone, but would fiercely oppose the imposition of anyone else's religion. So a good compromise is that no one can impose their religion on anyone else. Benatar's argument is ...


4

This remains a subjective debate and it is impossible to draw a clear line, due to the paradox of the heap (also known as the sorites paradox) If a heap of sand is reduced by a single grain at a time, at what exact point does it cease to be considered a heap? Similarly, if it is not morally acceptable to kill a toddler, is it acceptable to kill it when ...


3

This exact argument was taken up by Sally Sheldon of Kent Law School, U. of Kent, Canterbury in her 2003 article "Unwilling Fathers and Abortion: Terminating Men's Child Support Obligations?", which states that: the currently accepted grounding of child support liability (in voluntary creation of need) provides little scope for refuting the men's groups' ...


3

I would distill Benatar's argument this way: 1) Many pro-lifers wish the state to coerce individuals regarding the life and death of the unborn. 2) If the state may coerce life and death of the unborn, then the state may coerce death of the unborn. 3) Pro-lifers who would have the state to coerce life would object to the state's coercion of death. 4) ...


2

I don't see the secular pro-life position as philosophical at all. The filters I will use here are: Pessimism Genetics Novelty The pessimistic entry point challenges the idea promoted by the Gates Foundation that "every life has equal value", which is optimistic and therefore not rational. (Here rational is used in the sense of Game Theory as the ...


2

The 'Pro-Life' angle to the debate on whether abortion should be legal is an attempt to re-frame the discussion to exclude one of the most important people under consideration: the biological mother. As demonstrated by your own charts, by putting up the smokescreen of 'Pro-Life' in your original question, the person whose uterus is being hijacked by a ...


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