Abortion

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Once a heart starts beating, it can't stop or the person dies. I don't think that necessarily means that once it starts, life has begun.

What if someone had two hearts... some sort of birth defect or something. Do they get two birth certificates.

A heart can be made to beat without a body (I believe).

Is a person legally dead when they get a heart transplant and then brought back to life after the transplant has taken? If so are the doctors responsible for that life (especially if the life is under 18)?


phobic,

are you saying that life begins at conception? That seems to be your angle.
 
Also, just because it has a heart beat and is alive doesn't mean that it is human or an individual with rights. We could decide that it is a fetus with a heart beat and not yet human or an individual human.
 
In the cases where you are pregnant post-rape, you should be able to vacuum the fetus out of your womb as long as it is done within the first month after the rape.

A month is not long enough for a woman to get an abortion. A woman may not even know she's pregnant for a month, since she waits to see if she misses a period. Then she waits another week to see if it starts, then she finally gets a pregnancy test, then she makes an appointment with her doctor who's available two weeks later, and then finally finds out for sure that she's pregant -- and by this time it's already 6 or 8 weeks. Then she needs at least a month to decide if she wants an abortion -- to weigh the factors and talk to the father (if it's not rape), etc.

So while the heartbeat and brainwave ideas make sense, they take place far too early in the pregnancy to determine the cutoff for abortion.
 
Well, if I were raped, I think I'd take a pregnancy test. That's just me though.

If you test too early, you'll get a false negative result. Pregnancy tests don't work until you're at least far enough into the pregnancy that you've missed a period. So you may have to wait at least a couple of weeks before you can test, and then if you have to wait a couple of weeks before getting in to see the doctor, that's already easily a month of pregnancy.
 
Originally posted by danoff
Once a heart starts beating, it can't stop or the person dies. I don't think that necessarily means that once it starts, life has begun.

Let's not get to fixated on what exact rules to use. My post was simply to point out that rules need to exist.

Aside from the heart, a normal living person has a certain type and strength of brain activity, and various additional yet critical body functions. If these functions are missing and cannot be restarted, we consider a person dead. If these functions exist, why can't we consider a person alive? This very straighforward logic here.


Originally posted by danoff
What if someone had two hearts... some sort of birth defect or something. Do they get two birth certificates.

A heart can be made to beat without a body (I believe).

You're fixating on the heart. There are numerous other body functions that must exist for life. Consider the brain and other support organs.



Originally posted by danoff
Is a person legally dead when they get a heart transplant and then brought back to life after the transplant has taken?

In a manner of speaking, yes they're dead. But not in a legal sense. I have friend who is a heart surgeon, and he sometimes jokes about how his job is to kill people and then bring them back to life.

However, during the procedure, they still have a minimal amount of brain and other body activity (though very little). And in a legal sense, they are living, since the heart transplant is an action taken to sustain life, not destroy it.

Originally posted by danoff
If so are the doctors responsible for that life (especially if the life is under 18)? ]


Absolutely, they are. Ever heard of malpractice law suits?


///M-Spec
 
Originally posted by westside
A month is not long enough for a woman to get an abortion. A woman may not even know she's pregnant for a month, since she waits to see if she misses a period. Then she waits another week to see if it starts, then she finally gets a pregnancy test, then she makes an appointment with her doctor who's available two weeks later, and then finally finds out for sure that she's pregant -- and by this time it's already 6 or 8 weeks. Then she needs at least a month to decide if she wants an abortion -- to weigh the factors and talk to the father (if it's not rape), etc.

So while the heartbeat and brainwave ideas make sense, they take place far too early in the pregnancy to determine the cutoff for abortion.

The practical reprocussions of my proposal are irrevant. My goal is determine IF the action is moral at all, and if so, when. My goal is not to moralize abortion or make it convinient for women.

You can't rationalize the morality of a certain action just because you've already decided its okay. The action is either moral or it is not.

Rape is a special case, because the conception of the child was made under duress. It'd be similar to someone putting a gun to your head and forcing you to kill someone else. It is unlikely you will be charged with murder or accessory to murder because the action was forced upon you.

In that case, it is my opinion that the woman's choice to terminate the pregnancy is sustained. Then rapist should then be charged with sexual assult (for woman) and either manslaughter or negligent homocide or even murder 2 (for terminated child).


///M-Spec
 
Originally posted by ///M-Spec
Then rapist should then be charged with sexual assult (for woman) and either manslaughter or negligent homocide or even murder 2 (for terminated child).

That is an interesting angle. I like it! 👍
 
Originally posted by danoff
Once a heart starts beating, it can't stop or the person dies. I don't think that necessarily means that once it starts, life has begun.
I mentioned heartbeat in my post, above, but also mentioned I do not know if the lack thereof, by itself, is the legal definition of death. Mspec seems to be right on when he says there are many aspects to a living person.

What if someone had two hearts... some sort of birth defect or something. Do they get two birth certificates.
Conjoined twins do. But they also have two brains, unless they're joined at the head, in which case their brains are physically connected, yet they are still two seperate beings.

A heart can be made to beat without a body (I believe).
And a fetus can be made to live without it's mother.

Is a person legally dead when they get a heart transplant and then brought back to life after the transplant has taken? If so are the doctors responsible for that life (especially if the life is under 18)?
If the person's heart is stopped for the purposes of killing him, then he is dead. But in medical procedures the whole idea is to extend life. In that case it is only a temporary condition brought about out of neccesity. Of course we don't use these conditions as an excuse to kill people because at that time they are parasites.
 
It is unlikely you will be charged with murder or accessory to murder because the action was forced upon you.

The murder was not forced in the case of rape. The child does not have to be aborted it is still a choice.
 
Of course we don't use these conditions as an excuse to kill people because at that time they are parasites.

That is an over simplification of my argument. I do not say that just because they are parasites, we have a right to kill them. My argument is more about physical separation being a clear line to draw.
 
Absolutely, they are. Ever heard of malpractice law suits?

When the life is under 18, I was speaking more along the lines of parental obligations like child neglect and things of that sort, not of responsibility for the medical procedure.

Agreed. Again, my analogy in my first post: if you cut life-support to a person who is in a coma --completely dependant on people to sustain life, but otherwise physically healthy and not in any pain, its still murder. A fetus in a mother's womb is not unlike that.

I disagree, a fetus in a mother's womb is not necessarily a choice made by anyone. It is a growing organism that the mother has no real control over. A person in a coma is alive by someone's choice.
 
Here's something I found while search for a definition of legal death.


From http://www.hyperdictionary.com :

Definition: [n] death when respiration and other reflexes are absent; consciousness is gone; organs can be removed for transplantation before the heartbeat stops

Synonyms: cerebral death

See Also: death


Biology Dictionary

Definition: A definition of death based on the absolute and total loss of the individual's brain function that is irreversible.
This definition of death is a medical definition which may differ from religious, ethical, philosophical or cultural definitions of death.

Modern anesthesia techniques can render a person without brain activities (flat EEG), totally paralyzed (with neuromuscular blocking agents), and with no cardiac (heart) activity (with cardioplegic solutions), such as is the case when a patient is undergoing extracorporeal circulation during cardiac anesthesia. In this case, despite that the patient physically resembles that of a dead person, the condition is reversible.

Therefore, to declare brain death, one must follow a protocol of clinical testing as well as preclude anesthetic causes and hypothermia.

The definitions of death and life may be a philosophical, ethical, cultural, and legal issue.
Traditionally, a physical examination of the patient confirming the absence of clinical signs (pulses, respiration, movements, pupillary size and reactions to light) is sufficient prior to a declaration of death.

Three major considerations lead to a more elaborate set of criteria for the clinical definition of death:

Complete absence of clinical signs on a patient can be maintained with modern anesthetic techniques.
Some patients found with no pulse or respiration due to exposure to hypothermia can be later resuscitated.
A patient without integrated brain function may be mechanically ventilated, have a strong pulse and good circulation, as is often found in patients of trauma, or patients with intracerebral hemorrhage, despite the fact that there is no expectation of the patient ever regaining brain function.
The concept of brain death is now accepted by many jurisdictions as the legal definition of death.

Also, for your reading pleasure, an interesting link HERE


///M-Spec
 
Thanks for the informatoin on death M, but I'm not convinced of your premise.

You're saying that it is logical to use the definition of death to define when life begins. But I'm not arguing when life begins. Life begins when the first two cells devide. That dividing cell is most certainly alive. Life has broader scientific definitions than just human beings and it can apply to any biological organism including one in the early stages of development.

What I am talking about is when does this life become human, or an individual. That is when it gets rights under our laws.
 
After participating in this thread, and thinking about the various perspecives (i.e., trying to see it through others' eyes), I've been confronted with the issue in a new way that has challenged what I thought I knew to be true.

If logic dictates that there are only two tenable moments to determine when a human is an actual being, entitled to human rights, conception or the severing of the umbilical cord, I choose conception.
 
The practical reprocussions of my proposal are irrevant.

That's fine for a theoretical analysis. But if you're going to argue that abortion is allowed, but only before the first heartbeat or brainwaves, you have to consider that this will in effect prevent any woman from getting an abortion. But I understand that these practical effects are not part of the theoretical analysis going on here about when a fetus is an individual.

Rape is a special case, because the conception of the child was made under duress. It'd be similar to someone putting a gun to your head and forcing you to kill someone else. It is unlikely you will be charged with murder or accessory to murder because the action was forced upon you.

Actually, you would be charged with murder. You are not allowed to take an innocent life to save your own. The question here is whether the fetus is an innocent life or no life at all.

Then rapist should then be charged with sexual assult (for woman) and either manslaughter or negligent homocide or even murder 2 (for terminated child).

This is problematic under some theories of punishment. You would be punishing some rapists (whose victims abort) more than others (whose victims either don't choose abortion or didn't get pregnant), but the rapists are all equally guilty. The American criminal justice system is based on the principle that punishment has to fit the crime, the guilt, the moral blameworthiness. If all the rapists have the same moral guilt, why treat them differently because of what happens after the rape?
 
milefile,

If logic dictates that there are only two tenable moments to determine when a human is an actual being, entitled to human rights, conception or the severing of the umbilical cord, I choose conception.

While I don't agree with the choice, I definitely understand how you come to that choice. The umbilical cord thing is pretty tough to get on board with. Let me pose this though.

In cases of rape, would you still choose conception? If you answer no, it brings up a lot of questions about why you chose conception in the first place.


westside,

If all the rapists have the same moral guilt, why treat them differently because of what happens after the rape?

I think that the crime would be something like rape with criminal impregnation. Just like if you shoot someone and don't kill them you get a different charge. The reason you have to have something like criminal impregnation if you have a rule about abortion not being legal is that the mother then cannot legally abort the child. If you do make it legal to abort the child later for rape circumstances than in normal circumstances it raises the same questions I mentioned to milefile. The main point is, why is this case different? Is it any less of a person?

The fact that it is not a decision made by the mother means that she has to deal with lots of consequences and that there should be an additional penalty, but it doesn't invalidate the new child's life.

This is all part of my reasoning behind sticking with the cord theory.
 
Originally posted by danoff
The murder was not forced in the case of rape. The child does not have to be aborted it is still a choice.
I disagree. The impregnation was made during/by the loss of rights on the part of the woman during the rape. Due to circumstances entirely outside her control she has been forced into a condition of pregnancy that she would not have otherwise chosen to accept as a risk. Therefore while technically I see your point that aborting the pregnancy is a choice, it is fundamentally different from a woman who has chosen to have sex (protected or not) and who becomes pregnant. In the latter case the pregnancy is a result of actions within her control; in the former, it is not.

On the subject of defining the moment a fetus gains individual rights, as a working definition, I use the date at which the fetus could sustain life outside the womb. Until that point it is a part of the woman's body; after that point it is an individual. This puts the point of separation around the 6th month of pregnancy; premature infants born around this time can sustain their own lives with incubation and medical assistance and will develop into self-sustaining babies. Before then the fetus is not developed enough to survive birth and therefore has no potential for life separated from the mother.
 
Duke,

Therefore while technically I see your point that aborting the pregnancy is a choice, it is fundamentally different from a woman who has chosen to have sex (protected or not) and who becomes pregnant.

I completely agree. That is why I wrote what I did to westside saying that there should be a criminal impregnation charge, but that the life is not therefore forfeit just because it was created as a result of a criminal act. If you think it is, then why?

This puts the point of separation around the 6th month of pregnancy; premature infants born around this time can sustain their own lives with incubation and medical assistance and will develop into self-sustaining babies.

Duke, I'm glad you brought this idea up because it is a popular one. The potential issue here is that as medical advances are made eventually this will push the line for abortion back to conception.
 
Originally posted by neon_duke
On the subject of defining the moment a fetus gains individual rights, as a working definition, I use the date at which the fetus could sustain life outside the womb. Until that point it is a part of the woman's body; after that point it is an individual. This puts the point of separation around the 6th month of pregnancy; premature infants born around this time can sustain their own lives with incubation and medical assistance and will develop into self-sustaining babies. Before then the fetus is not developed enough to survive birth and therefore has no potential for life separated from the mother.
Wow, does my opinion change quickly - I think I'll support this one now. :) And it works well with danoff's idea that the "parasitic stage" should be the cutoff point for abortion. 👍
 
Well honey...I guess we could just keep the little parasite around and hooked to the cord for a few days until we decide if we really want it or not.
 
Well honey...I guess we could just keep the little parasite around and hooked to the cord for a few days until we decide if we really want it or not.

That's pretty funny. Of course, I think you could figure out if you wanted to keep it by the time you're in labor. It would make things difficult in the hospital if you wanted to keep the cord attached. I don't think you could find a doctor who would do that.

Sage,

Wow, does my opinion change quickly - I think I'll support this one now. And it works well with danoff's idea that the "parasitic stage" should be the cutoff point for abortion.

Does the sliding window of medical technology gel with you on Duke's solution. Eventually, with enough medical technology, the baby could not be aborted at any stage.
 
Well, I'd have to draw a line, and yes, I've considered that. It is theoretically possible to keep a premature baby alive simply by keeping it warm and feeding it breast milk and sugar solution, which can be done without much in the way of medical technology. So I still stake my point at around the 6th month of pregnancy.
 
Originally posted by danoff
That's pretty funny. Of course, I think you could figure out if you wanted to keep it by the time you're in labor. It would make things difficult in the hospital if you wanted to keep the cord attached. I don't think you could find a doctor who would do that.


You can find doctors who will do just about anything.
 
Originally posted by danoff
Does the sliding window of medical technology gel with you on Duke's solution. Eventually, with enough medical technology, the baby could not be aborted at any stage.
To be honest, I hadn't personally thought of that - However, Duke made a good point, and as an comparison, if someone is being kept alive via machine, there is the choice of keeping them alive or pulling the plug.
 
Duke and Sage,

I'm confused about this notion and am hoping for some elaboration from either of you. What reason is it that a fetus becomes a human baby with rights when it can survive outside of the mother's body without technolgy? Why does that differ from the case with technology, and exactly what technology is permitted for determining this line? (rocks, sticks, scalples, monitoring devices, plastic, incubators, machine woven blankets, vaccinations... ) And why is whatever technology that is permitted allowed?

... sorry about that. Hopefully you can see how I'm getting confused. I'm just not quite sure what is significant about this line, and what defines the line exactly.

Please don't interpret this as advocacy of my own proposed solution, I'm just wondering about the specifics of this one.
 
Sorry danoff, just wanted to note that I haven't brushed this off or anything, but I've had a huge load of homework dumped on me, so I'll have to get back on this later this week. ;)
 
Originally posted by danoff
Thanks for the informatoin on death M, but I'm not convinced of your premise.

You're saying that it is logical to use the definition of death to define when life begins. But I'm not arguing when life begins. Life begins when the first two cells devide. That dividing cell is most certainly alive. Life has broader scientific definitions than just human beings and it can apply to any biological organism including one in the early stages of development.

What I am talking about is when does this life become human, or an individual. That is when it gets rights under our laws.

My position has a built-in answer to your question, but I think you've already decided not to agree with it, which makes this conversation somewhat retorical.

My position defines when a human life begins. It begins when series of sustainable life-actions (heartbeat and brain activity included) is exhibited by the fetus. That is the point I believe at which we should grant it rights under our laws separate from its mother. It is not a perfect position, but it is the best one I've heard so far.

I have a problem with life begining at conception. From a medical standpoint, just be cause a clump of cells begin to divide does not guarantee development into an eventual person. The majority of miscarriages occur within the first few weeks.


///M-Spec
 
Duke, your post above on the case of rape is right on 👍 Couldn't have said it more eloquently myself.


///M-Spec
 
My position has a built-in answer to your question, but I think you've already decided not to agree with it, which makes this conversation somewhat retorical.

That's not fair. I fully intend to grill you on the issue (possibly even longer than you're willing to put up with), but that doesn't mean that I'm not listening or that I can't be pursuaded.

It begins when series of sustainable life-actions (heartbeat and brain activity included) is exhibited by the fetus.

My instinct is to ask which “sustainable life actions” you’re talking about, but I’m going to assume that you’re not a doctor and that you’d leave it up to the doctors, so I’ll forgo the question – which, of course, makes the job of convincing myself that this is an important time period more difficult.

I will ask this though - What distinguishes “sustainable life actions” from other stages in development? What would make one portion of the development more important than the other and what criteria would you use to determine whether that (more important) stage is important to the classification of this developing organism as an individual human being with rights and citizenship ? (<- I just thought of that - not sure it’s important)
 
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