Friday, February 3, 2012

Taking Risks and Enduring the Consequences

We discussed the issue of whether abortions are morally permissible in my Philosophy and Public Issues class. A number of my students echoed a line of argument you've probably heard before. It's usually stated in the form a single sentence: "She knew the risks of having sex." The point seems to be that a woman should not have an abortion because a pregnancy is a consequence of "risky behavior." One that engages in risky behavior is often saddled with undesirable consequences. (I'm here assuming that since we're talking about abortion that the pregnancy is not desired.) But, so the argument goes, if one is aware of those possible consequences, then one is "on the moral hook," as it were, for those consequences.

Here's another way to put this:

(1) A woman knows that a possible consequence of having sex is getting pregnant and eventually giving birth to a baby.
(2) If a person knows about a potential consequence of a given action and she performs that action in the face of this risk, then she must endure the consequences.
(3) Therefore, a woman who has sex and gets pregnant must endure the consequences and have the baby--and so shouldn't abort the fetus.

The key here is the phrase "must endure the consequences." What does this mean exactly? It has to mean something like that she is morally obligated to suffer through those negative consequences.

I used an example in class that I think shows that this kind of argument is unsound. Consider the various risks we take and the various undesirable consequences that might come about as a result of taking those risks. Are we morally obligated to "endure the consequences"? Consider my driving to work. I risk getting into an accident that damages my car. Suppose I take this risk and get into an accident. It's perfectly morally acceptable to repair my car. I may have to endure consequences like having to call my insurance company, take my car to the shop, etc. But I certainly am not morally required to refrain from repairing my car. This example seems to show that although certain consequences of a risk might have to be endured, others can be avoided. And it's not immoral to avoid those consequences. Indeed, it's perfectly rational to diminish the undesirable consequences of a "risky" action.

If this is correct, then it would seem that a woman does not have to "endure the consequences" of having sex if this means that she must carry an unwanted fetus to full term. She may have to endure various other consequences--consequences that are more difficult to avoid. She might feel guilty, wonder what "could have been," suffer physical discomfort, etc. These potential consequences are harder to avoid than a potential consequence like having a baby. Having a baby can be avoided, of course, by getting an abortion.

I want to make it clear that I'm not here arguing that abortions are morally permissible. (I do think that some abortions are permissible, but this is beside my point here.) All that I'm trying to show is that a very common sort of argument leveled against the moral permissibility of abortions is misguided. Indeed, I think this kind of argument is entirely unconvincing. The fact that a woman engages in "risky behavior" by having sex seems irrelevant to the issue of whether it's morally permissible for her to have an abortion.

Of course, we might think a great deal less of someone if she engages in very risky behavior and is, for example, surprised by the undesirable consequences that ensue. A friend of mine climbs mountains without ropes. It would be rather perverse for her to be in utter disbelief when she suffers a non-lethal, but terrible fall. This is because she knowingly takes a risk. So I do understand that we might judge people for the risks they take and that we have certain expectations of them. But my point remains. It's morally acceptable for her to seek medical care for those wounds, regardless of how foolish we might think she is for rock climbing without the adequate safety equipment. She may be unwise, rash, etc., but it's perfectly morally acceptable for her to do what she can to reduce the negative consequences of her risky behavior.

Comments are most welcome...


Christopher Salerno said...

I feel that it is completely wrong to have an abortion. We all know the risk that are involved with sex. I feel that if the child is going to be born disabled it is still worth the chance of having the child because there is a chance of the child coming out normal. If a person is that worried about their child coming out handicapped there are ways to test what the genes of you and the other individual are before engaging in sexual activity. Therefore there are ways to prevent a disabled child. If the mother is in danger of death then i believe possibly one could abort. The fact that people think adoption is a bad thing bugs me because i know first hand from a friend that just went through this. She thought she could have the baby and keep her. As she found out she could afford the baby and wanted the child to have better life in the last week of her pregnancy one week before the child was born she did all the research and found the perfect family. she interviewed and was extremely picky about where her little girl went. The little girl is with an amazing family, so it can be done it is all about the amount time you want to put in to make the right choices and help out the child without going through the awful idea of abortion. The abortion idea is the easy, lazy, and most irresponsible way out.

Jesse Steinberg said...

Thanks for commenting, Christopher. You start by saying that you feel as though abortions are "completely wrong" but then you go on to say that an abortion to save the mother's life would be morally permissible. I think you should be more careful with the way you put things and try to be as precise as you can in articulating your position. This is especially important when you write a paper for my class.

You note that adoption is a viable alternative to abortion. You're certainly right that there are many, many "success stories" of adoptions that have gone smoothly and happily. But this is beside the point of the present post. All I was trying to say in my post was that this common objection to the morality of abortion (i.e., that women have to live with the consequences of risky choices) is weak and one shouldn't be persuaded by it.

Your final remark--that abortion is "easy, lazy, and most irresponsible"--touches on what I said at the end of my post. I think we can judge people for their choices and we may think less of people that take risks. We might consider a person irresponsible for taking a risk. But I'm not sure about "easy" and "lazy." I don't think having an abortion is easy. It's often a very difficult decision and it is typically a rather painful procedure. I'm not sure what you mean by "lazy." It's not as arduous, perhaps, as carrying the baby to full term and having to determine what to do with it (e.g., adoption, raise it yourself, etc.). But 'lazy' doesn't quite seem like the right term here. Compare it to my car example. Is it lazy for me to bring my car to a mechanic? I could fashion the parts and fix the car myself. But am I morally required to take this more difficult path? It doesn't seem like it to me. So I'm not sure what the force is of calling a person that takes risks "lazy" or "irresponsible." It certainly doesn't show that she/he has to endure all the consequences of the risky behavior.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me we all endure both the negative consequences and positive benefits of all of our choices. Maximizing the benefit and minimizing the consequence is rational and moral. I'm convinced we have our hands full with analyzing the variables and making our own choices. In daily life, though not in philosophy class, spending time and energy judging others' like process is pointless.

Roland Cross said...

Every female is not fit to be a mother. To say that a female knows the risk and should not have an abortion because she knew what she was getting into does not seem like a logical argument to me. Females do not get abortions for no reason. They are smart enough to realize that there is a reason why they would not be a suitable mother.

If a female can't offer the quality of life a child should have, why should she bring the child into this world. If a female was going create a potentially damaging situation by having a child, I would fully support her in getting an abortion.

Believe it or not abortions have solved many problems. If a female is forced to have a child that she did not want, it could cause a chain reactions such as neglect or abuse. There are not too many positive outcomes of forcing someone to be a mother. just because a female is capable of having a child does not mean she was meant or should have a child.

We can't stop people who should not have children from having sex, but we can give them solutions that would stop them from causing potential problems. Sex is one of the greatest experiences that life has to offer and people are going to continue to have sex without taking into the consideration the consequences of having sex. Getting rid of abortion will not solve anything, but keeping abortion possible may decrease many of the issues that would occur if we did not have it. "It's better to be safe than to be sorry!"

Nicki Kellogg said...

The argument that if you know the risks of something then you must endure the consequences I disagree with. As the examples stated, it is completely irrational to endure the consequences of an event, such as a car accident. As far as morality goes, it does not make you an inmoral person for taking risks, sich as climbing mountains without ropes. Life is all about taking risks, the morality comes in how you deal with the consequences. If a women knowingly has sex and has full knowledge of the consequences, that does not mean that she should have to deal with the consequences. Yes she should learn from her mistakes but if she truly knows that she is duly unfit to be a good mother, then abortion seems like the moral thing to do. I believe it would infact be inmoral to keep the child when she knowingly believes that she will not be able to provide and care for that child approriately. People do not need to endure the conquences of their behavior. I'm not in any means advocating risky behavior without punishment. However, in the case of abortion I believe that the moral thing to do is to provide the best possible life for children. So, again if you do not have the means and the will to fully care for a child then why should you bring it into the world. That would be inmoral and would cause more problems than if the women had an abortion.

Jacob Shepherd said...

I think that people who engage in risky behavior should be made aware of what they're doing and should be willing to take the necessary risks. I realize that driving a car to work implies that you may get into a car accident. But if you're smart about it (I'm sure you are, Mr. Steinberg), you will prepare so as to avoid, as much as possible, any negative outcome. You will wear a seat belt, put airbags in your car, make sure your car is inspected, etc. You will assess the risks beforehand and take some kind of action.

Another example of risk is, well, going to college. We've all taken a fairly large risk by going into debt without the absolute certainty of graduate, and thus probably getting a better-paying job. But we plan for those risks, and are morally obligated to pay back our loans no matter what happens.

However, a very wise sage once said "shit can happen". This statement, at least in my interpretation, means that unfortunate events happen outside of our control. You may not have the money to get new air bags in your car, for instance -- they're quite expensive, after all. So if you get into an accident, I don't think it's reasonable to say that you should have put the airbags in and got some negative money in your account. Similarly, if I can't get any more help with school, I may have no choice but to drop out. I don't think it's reasonable to say I'm morally responsible for dropping out of school against my own will.

So, in the case of women getting pregnant, I think they are morally responsible for their actions generally, but there are very special cases in which, I think, the fetus should be terminated. Rape is the most obvious example. But other than that, men and women (mostly men) don't think very hard, intellectually speaking, before getting it on without "installing the airbags". You may guess what the metaphor means. They may engage in risky behavior impulsively, without reasonable deliberation. I think that they should be responsible for the consequences of their behavior. If, in cases like this, they are not morally responsible, I don't see how they're going to learn. It is a mistake, yes, but mistakes are how human beings learn. And we always pay for our mistakes.

If "shit" just so happens to take place, though, as in the special cases, I think it is morally permissible to do one of two things: (a) have an abortion when the fetus is still just a ball of cells (if possible) -- there will be no pain felt by it because it doesn't really have a nervous system yet. Or, (b) have the poor kid, and then give it up to a couple seeking to adopt. You see their ads in the paper all the time. There are lots of couples seeking to adopt.
I do not believe in killing a fetus which has started developing significantly, though -- as in the second or third trimester.

Kelcey Schaum said...

I feel that it is acceptable if a woman wants to get an abortion to a certain extent. If someone does not feel like they want to be a mother or go through the consequences they should not have to. Yes, there are many types of protection but there is still that slim chance of getting pregnant. I also agree with Nicki when she said life is about taking risks. Someone should not have to ruin their entire life for taking such a small risk, like having sex. A fetus would not know it was getting killed, I myself do not remember feeling anything or even living at that point in my life. Therefore, I do not consider a fetus a person even if it does have a heart beat. I do although disagree with abortion if the baby is around 8 months old and there is no reason to get rid of it. Around that time it is almost fully developed. If someone were to get rid of it they should do it earlier in the pregnancy. It is the twenty first century and woman have rights and can make decisions. One of those decisions is if they would like to keep the baby or get rid of it and I feel that it is okay.

Christopher Salerno said...

Jessie, I can see where you are coming from on how it is not entirely easy for someone to abort. I have also seen where girls felt that the baby was a problem and inconvenient and had no trouble what so ever in aborting the child. To me lazy means they are not putting all the thought into what choice they are making. To me these are not opinions they true fact as to what I have seen on this issue. There are many more options and ways around abortion. I believe that abortion is lazy and with people that I have seen do it, it was just a quick choice and a way out. There is an inconvenience to the 9 months of carrying around child but compared to the rest of the time you'll have after the child is born it's not worth aborting.

Desiree` Lamer said...

Christopher I have to disagree with you that aborting a child is the lazy way out. The emotional toll an abortion has on a woman is very heavy. I have never been in the situation to make that kind of decision but from hearing stories from women who have had to make that painful decision they don't do it because they are lazy. There are many reasons a woman decides to have an abortion. A woman has to weigh the benefits and the consequences of having the child or aborting the child. I agree that there are many options out there but a woman has the right to decide if she wants to carry a baby to full term and deliver or if she wants to abort the child.

I agree with Nicki and Kelcey when they said that life is all about taking risks. We all take risks everyday no matter what we are doing. We take risks driving our cars, eating food we didn't prepare ourselves, and even walking up a flight of stairs. If an accident occurs whether it be in our car or having consensual sex no one should have to live with the consequences if they have a way to "fix" things. I believe that a person has the right to do what they want to with their body no matter what choices they make in their life. People mess up and they deserve the chance to make things right in their own eyes, whether that be fixing their car after an accident or having an abortion of an unplanned child. I 100% believe it is morally ok to have an abortion. A woman should not have to live with the consequences of an unplanned pregnancy if they aren't prepared to deal with those consequences.

Christopher Salerno said...

Desiree life is about taking risks i agree 100% percent to that fact but life is also about adapting to situations at hand, you can fix a car and bring it back to where it was before it broke. So after nine months you can bring your body back to how it was before the child. You adapt to the situation of being pregnant. The car breaking could be an accident or could be your fault either way you adapt and fix it. Aborting the child is not fixing anything, If you say the emotional pain is really high then why not carry the child to full term and do the many options that are out there like you agreed with me on. That way the child will hopefully be happy and the mother will be happy instead of the emotional pain that comes from abortion.

Kelly D said...

I realize I'm sort of veering off the path of the morality of abortion here but I was sort of struck with curiosity about the very first comment made on this particular post. A comment was made about it being wrong to abort babies that have disabilities and that a solution to this would be assessing parental genomes prior to pregnancy. So how do you define that moment when it becomes immoral to abort a child? Is there a property of the fetus that occurs that spontaneously marks the time when you can no longer, within moral means, abort the fetus? My point is, wouldn't tampering with genetics be just as immoral as abortion? I realize this seems far fetched, but really think about it! How do you define when it becomes immoral?

Kelly D said...

Just to add to my previous comment - perhaps a more relavant one. In references to what Christopher is saying : what is your solution to rape victims? Having sex was a decision that they didn't even make. Are you suggesting that they are still deserving of the consequences and morally obligated to deal with them? Additionally, I hate to throw this in there but I feel like its necessary, how will you EVER understand the emotional or physical toll of pregnancy as a male??

Natoya Barnes said...

A baby is not born until it can sustain life outside of the womb. So can we classify a 2 week old fetus as a baby? As a person? If it is not a person, how can we give it rights?

With that being said, I think it is morally permissible for a woman to have an abortion any time that she feels as though it is right. It is not realistic to say that just because a woman took the risk of having sex and she got preganant that she should take the negative consequences. We all take risks but we cannot predict the outcome because the future is unpredictable. I can drive home drunk today and not get into an accident but tomorrow, I can drive home drunk and get into an accident. The outcome of our actions are unpredictable.

Kelsey Milliron said...

I agree with Nicki, I feel that abortions are acceptable. Just about everything we do in life has its consequences and risks and a majority of those consequences and risks somehow affect others as well. Yes, people are aware of the consequences but if people let them prohibit them from doing things there would be so many things we would never do in life. As stated in class it is dangerous to walk outside, ride in a car, and do many other things. How is our would supposed to operate if we just stopped doing things because they may have negative consequences the world would be a seriously screwed up place, even more so than it already is. I don't get how anybody else should have the right to tell me that I HAVE to birth a child or become a mother, if I do not want to have a child then I will be a lazy mother and not take good care of my child. Also if I am forced into being a parent I will be extremely resentful and my child would probably hate his or her life.

I know someone is probably going to bring up adoption. I still think abortion is morally permissible because whether people want to realize it or not there are thousands of children put up for adoption who either live in foster homes their whole life or live a sad life. Yes I do understand that there are many good families out there who are adopting, my mother was adopted into a beautiful and wonderful family but that still does not change the fact that there are many of children out there who are living terrible lives in an adoption home.

Joe Burns said...

I couldn't agree more with the blog and all of the comments stating that the argument, "she must endure the consequences of her risky behavior" is not a strong argument. In fact, I feel that this argument is completely irrelevant to the abortion debate and will not progress the issue in a beneficial manner. With respect to the abortion debate, I believe that the strongest argument is that which states the unborn child has the right to life just as any other human being does. Some may argue that it is not a person but that too is irrelevant because personhood is defined in several ways. In some cases, as we discussed in class, it is thought that humans in a "vegetable" state do not share our same rights, which may or may not be true, but they do have the right to life. "Vegetables" or unborn children whether they are people or not, are human beings just as we are and we must respect their right to life. I would also like to point out an example which may help support my argument. There was a case here in Bradford not too long ago where a man murdered a pregnant woman and was charged with murder of the woman, as well as the unborn child. It would be wrong to charge this man with murder of an unborn child, and permit doctors to perform abortions and justify it by saying that the "fetus" does not have the right to life. Both situations cannot happen. It must be one or the other. I will now pose the question, should the man be pardoned of the murder of an unborn child, or should abortion be outlawed? I think it is fairly obvious where I stand.
Joe Burns

Shannell Wise said...

I agree with Joe's comment. Even though it seems obvious to say "she should deal with the consequences", that arguments is not strong enough to sway someone to the side of prolife. I believe it is always easier to argue FOR something, than to argue AGAINST it. People come up with excuses all the time for their actions and these debates can go on forever and the arguments for abortion will always seem to have the last word.
I do not agree with what Kelcey said about how Kelcey said it should be okay to get rid of the fetus while it's in the womb because she "doesn't remember" that time. I also do not remember my first birthday but does that mean it is was okay to kill me back then? Because I was too young to have any way to defend or remember what happened?
Also, for those who believe that abortion is okay up until a certain time during the pregnancy, where do you draw the line? When the baby has a heart beat? Because that would be in the first few weeks.
The argument about how driving a car is a risk just like having sex is irrelevent. A vehicle and a baby are two completely different things. A fetus is a living organism, no matter what arguments say. You learn in the first day of an anatomy class that "Life Begins at Conception". By aborting that fetus, you are ending a life. A human. And yes, it is a human. That fetus (which is alive) is not going to turn into a pig.. it is going to be a human. No matter how deformed, underdeveloped, or how bad of a life it may have. That human, therefore, has a right to live.. not a privilege.
Also, two point the debate in another direction, what about the father? If a husband and wife get pregnant because they weren't being careful and knew even if it happened then they could take care of it, and then when she got pregnant she decides she doesnt want it because she her job is going well or whatever, does her husband have a say in the matter? Does the biological father have any right to make decisions on whether this baby is going to live? After all, it is half his.

Zoe Allen said...

It disgusts me to read that people think a human life is comparable to car. An unwanted human life is not simply "a problem to be fixed." They are not at all relatable. We do take the risk of getting into accidents every day while driving our cars, but there are preexisting laws and regulations to ensure (as much as possible) that tragedies like this are kept to a minimum. Traffic laws, inspection laws, etc. are all implimented so that negative consequences can be avoided. However, there are still many people that are careless and fail to abide by these laws, in which case a car accident is bound to happen. This is similar to two people having sex without taking the proper precautionary steps (birth control, condoms, spermicide, whatever). When the two careless people consented to having sex, they knew completely that a child would be a highly possible outcome. If they did not want to have a child, they should have been wise about the "regulations" that should be taken in order not to get pregnant.

Much like someone who is caught disobeying traffic laws is arrested, or someone who has failed to get their vehicle inspected will have to endure consequences, the two careless parents should take responsibility for the life they've created (not kill it!). If someone didn't want to get arrested for driving recklessly, they probably should have obeyed the laws, obviously. Just as people shouldn't drive recklessly, people shouldn't have "reckless sex." Regardless if the fetus cannot yet feel or think rationally, it is a life; cells are dividing!!! I strongly disagree with the opinion that the mother has the right to just stop that process.

This is not comparable to scenarios in which one is raped and becomes pregnant, or one was the victim of a car accident due to someone else's carelessness. Those situations have entirely different moral issues which I won't get into.

Jesse Steinberg said...

Zoe, I certainly wasn't asserting that a fetus is the moral equivalent of a car. The car example was simply to show that the underlying principle mentioned in the post is false. There are going to be countless disanologies between the car case and one of pregnancy. However, the car case does seem (to me) to clearly show that one is not always morally obligated to endure every negative consequence of a "risky" action.

Your point about traffic laws is an interesting one.

I want to stress again that there is no guarantee that morality and legality "match." Some things are illegal but are intuitively morally permissible; and some things are legal but are intuitively morally impermissible. It seems to me that having intercourse without the intent to have a baby is morally permissible. I think this is true even when pregnancy might result. In addition, such behavior is legal. So we have no reason--at least none that we've identified on this comment thread--to think that a person is forced to endure all the consequences of having intercourse (e.g., a reason for thinking a woman must give birth to a child).

I have a second worry about your response. You say (rightly) that we often punish people for breaking the law. In such cases, people are forced to endure some of the negative consequences of a "risky" action. But this only shows that SOME agents that engage in risky behavior are required to endure SOME of the negative consequences. (Note that this is only a LEGAL requirement! We haven't yet shown that this is a moral one.) This does not show that ALL agents that engage in risky behavior have to endure ALL the negative consequences of that behavior. Consider this example: Even if I should go to jail for driving while drunk, it's morally permissible for me to fix my wrecked car upon getting out of jail.

Michael Eiswerth said...

After reading through the posts it seems that some people use the argument that, "If you take the risk, you need to prepare to avoid potential dangerous outcomes as much as possible." So again, lets use the car example. You take the risk of driving, so you need to use all the safety regulations to provide the best safety for you while driving. To me, everyone seems to be saying that unless you follow these precautions you will get into an accident and now it is your fault, almost like you are deserving of the outcome. What if you take these precautions before driving and still get into an accident? Precautions are just that, precautions. There is no guarantee that something bad won’t happen. So in the case of pregnancy, what if this male and female engaging in sex did use all of the precautions and the woman still got pregnant? I disagree with the idea that just because two people engage in sex means they need to endure the consequences for that reason. People can take all the precautions in the world and accidents still happen. This goes for anything, rock climbing, driving and obviously sex.

The previous argument about having to endure your consequences is obviously weak. However, the other argument that I have seen a lot is “An unborn child has the right to life just as any other human being does." I counter this argument by sticking with the argument that I used in a previous post. This is on top the five properties Warren believes are needed to define a person. My argument is, is that for something to be considered a person it needs to have the ability to live on its own. A fetus doesn’t have this ability until roughly the 27th-28th week, or right around the start of the third trimester. It’s like the mother is a machine and without the machine, the fetus will die. I don’t consider a fetus prior to this point to be a person with rights, and because of that an abortion that is done in the first or second trimester is permissible. In the case of someone being a “vegetable” or brain dead, this argument also holds up. Using Warren’s five criteria and the case that I have added, a vegetable would not be considered a person with rights. They need a machine to live, and without it they would simply die. Not only can’t they survive on their own, but they don’t meet any of Warren’s properties for being a person either, they are simply an empty shell.

Kayla Swartz said...

Jesse after reading your comments about abortion, you forced me to view the situation from a different perspective. Before I read your statements, I was going to write a post discussing the idea that people know the consequences of engaging in sex, and they should have to “endure the consequences.” But after reading your examples of rocking climbing and driving a car and having to endure those consequences kind of changed my attitude.

I realize that in life everyone takes chances and risks. I want to say that abortion is immoral, but I really don’t have anything to back my argument. I personally would never have one. I’m not sure if it’s a moral issue or just that I wouldn’t be able to live with the guilt if I did have one. But if it isn’t a moral issue, why would I feel guilt? The whole thing is very confusing and I’ve never actually taken the time to actually think about why I feel getting an abortion is wrong.

From a moral aspect, I have no solid argument against abortions. If someone is raped, and cannot bear to have that fetus inside of them, then it should be morally acceptable to have an abortion. They had no choice in the matter when they were impregnated. If the mother is in danger because of the fetus, it should be morally acceptable to abort the pregnancy. And lastly, if someone becomes pregnant (even with precautionary measures) and choose to have an abortion, it should also be morally acceptable. This goes along with what Michael E said. Precautions can be used, but there is always still a chance for something “bad” to happen.

When it comes to abortion, I think the thing that I find immoral is the people who don’t use contraceptive devices (condoms, birth control, etc.) and expect not to get pregnant and when they do, they have an abortion. That is just reckless behavior. Also, I find people who abuse this right to be immoral. If you don’t want to get pregnant and you feel you aren’t ready, it’s your responsibility to prevent it from happening.

Audrey Wenger said...

I have to say that I am opposed to abortion, except in the cases where the mother’s life would be in danger if she kept the fetus. For those that say, well what about rape, I say there are other options, such as adoption. I feel with this debate, that we must go back to something Blackburn said, when he was talking about moral objectivism vs. moral relativism, he mentioned that differences in toothpaste, or soda didn’t count when determining which one was correct. I think the same applies for this. We cannot look at all the decisions we make as say we take the risks for that, why not when we have sex. When looking at all of our actions, one that involves risks with human life, I feel is held to a different standard. This is in agreement with what Shannell was saying. I also agree with Zoe Allen that when considering the risks with driving a car, sure we take the risks and drive a car, but look at the laws that go with it. You must be of a certain age, pass your driver’s test, and have insurance. If someone gets in an accident and kills someone, there is a charge of vehicular manslaughter. A person would have to legally pay for damages to another person or possible go to prison. Like many have said, you can “fix” your car. They must live with their choices. So I say that when a person is considering having sex, they should be married, and use protection if they don’t want a child. Sure we all take risks, but we also take steps to reduce our risks, therefore, if you are going to have sex, you should make sure you are in a situation that you would be able to take care of a child or put that child up for adoption. If someone chooses to abort a baby, no matter what stage, this is not “fixing” the problem, it is avoiding the problem. Like Jesse said there is a difference between legality and morality, but don’t we try and base our laws on what is moral acceptable? Laws may change, but that is mainly because what we find morally acceptable.

I also agree with Kayla in that people who don’t use contraceptives are being reckless and this is immoral. How can someone be so willing to take the risks, when there are some precautions a person could take to help reduce their risks?

To comment on the point, that a person is one that can live on its own. I disagree with that comment. When a baby is one day old, just born, the baby cannot survive on its own. The new born baby must have someone to feed him/her milk, cloth them, and keep them warm. So therefore, abortion is killing a human and is morally wrong.

Andrea Cunningham said...

I have to agree with Kayla I believe that only under certain situations is it morally acceptable to have an abortion. For instance if the mothers life is in danger and or the babies life is in danger or if the mother was raped because no one wants to look at a baby and be reminded all of the time that that was a cause a rape. Babies are an amazing thing and I have to agree with Chris there are great families out there that are looking for children to adopt you just have to put the time in and look for the right family. If you are willing to have sexual relationships you have to act like an adult and make adult decisions. People shouldnt be dumb and have sex with out any form of birth control whether it is the pill or even the day after pill. There is no need to act immature about something as serious as getting pregnant and changing your whole life.
Andrea Cunningham

Michael Eiswerth said...

Audrey W- Going back to the car example, you say that we go through the steps such as being a certain age, passing the driving test, etc. However, even with these tests, accidents still happen. Just because someone happens to get into an accident and kills someone doesn't make it manslaughter. Icy/wet roads can be disasters waiting to happen. We don't really plan on these things to happen, but we prepare for them just in case they do. This is the same scenario in the case of abortion. What if people use contraceptives but the condom breaks and the birth control just happens to fail? Protection isn't always a guarantee, just a precaution to help prevent unwanted outcomes. So does that mean that we still need to suffer the consequences because our protection failed?

I may have been a little vague when I said a person is one that can live on its own. When I said this, I meant that it didn't need to be physically attached to its mother any more. For example, take a sleeping baby. The mother could leave the baby in its crib sleeping for an hour and the baby will be perfectly fine. If you take a fetus from the mother for an hour, the fetus will die. A fetus needs to have that physical connection to the mother at all times. A just born baby doesn't need it. It can be in a crib next to the mother.

Kevin Morgan said...

Everything about your argument is sound. I feel that abortions are morally permissible. In class, someone brought up the point of a woman having 50+ abortions, which is insane. While that may make that woman look like a jerk, it does not make it immoral.

After reading a few posts, I realized how passionate some of the Pro-Life people are. I'm not saying that is a bad thing, just pointing that out. However, I do have an argument to present to the Pro-Life folks. If it is wrong to abort a fetus, is it wrong to hunt deer/any other animals for the sport of it? I'm not for hunting, but I understand that it keeps the population of deer and such under control. The same can be applied to abortion, though it sounds kind of scummy. If all of the children that were aborted were actually born, there would be way too many people. So in a way, it does control overpopulation.

I just think that it's up to the couple, and ultimately the woman to have an abortion. If you can't provide a good life for the child, you shouldn't have it. And the adoption system is pretty wack, so that isn't a very good option, either.

Audrey Wenger said...

Kevin- in response to your hunting deer/ or any animals, I would have to say that you can be against abortions but support hunting. Besides the fact that hunting can help maintain the animal population at a control level, I think there is the agreement, that everything in the world is put into a hierarchy. Therefore, I would conclude that animals are below humans (and that rats are below dogs and so forth) in this hierarchy and therefore do not have all the rights that humans do. Therefore, killing a fetus or cells that have the potential to turn into a baby is morally wrong, but hunting so that we have food to eat is not.
In response the abortion topic, I still have to say that abortion is immoral. I feel that although having a baby may impose on the rights of the mother, this does not justify taking the rights away from another person. I also say that a fetus is a person at any stage because of the directed potential of the cells; we know that those cells will develop into a baby, so therefore they should have the same rights a baby.