Monday, May 02, 2005


I am sure there are some of you who will find parts (if not all) of the following article offensive, but as libertarians, I am confident you can take the heat. You can substitute some of the religious arguments in the article for your more secular but equivalent right of property which includes life.

Lee Ezell

The woman in the article, Lee Ezell, has her own website here.


Jeff said...

The problem is that any property rights arguments are substitutes for the real arguments - which are religious. There is a reason that you don't see too many secular anti-abortion protests...

Let's assume for a moment that you are making that argument, however. Let's assume that any conceived fetus has a right to life protected in the constitution. Then, by that definition, wouldn't a mother that has a miscarriage be guilty of involuntary manslaughter? Or a mother than smokes and gives their child a disorder - would not they also be guilty of a serious crime?

On a more practical note, you would argue that women that are raped should be required to have the children? Don't raped women suffer enough?? You want to saddle them with the burden of a child for the rest of the lives?

Allen said...

Well to be honest with you, I think the real arguments in any rights conversation are at least quasi-religious. I happen to believe that rights come from God though I myself am not religious. My reasoning is simple: rights are above the State otherwise the State is permitted to take them away. Furthermore, merely stating that the rights are "natural," also does not cut it for me because assigning the source of rights to something vague like that is hardly convincing of their sanctity.

Now onto the abortion topic. A mother is not guilty of involuntary manslaughter with a miscarriage any more than I would be if I were eating lunch in my room and saw a man across the street get hit by a car. With respect to smoking, I will have to give it some thought. Don't worry though, I will get back to you on that.

Your final paragraph demonstrates that you did not read the article. Or if you did, you did not understand it. In addition, If rights and laws were based, as you claim, on "suffering" then one could make an argument in favor of socialist legislation as it alleviates the suffering of poverty. Your statement that a child is a "burden" I find offensive, but I can take the heat too. :-)

marco said...

Allen, i think you should give the smoking question some real thought. First off, you have to grant that smoking does have a causal effect on the fetus and can in fact cause a miscarriage. So begin with the assumption that because of a mothers smoking habit she has a miscarriage. Does this act then constitute involuntary manslaughter is the question you have to answer.

If you answer no then you are allowing the mother to make a conscious choice - in this case smoking - that leads to the death of the fetus. If you want to say this while not allowing women to get an abortion you then have to explain what difference there is between a conscious choice to smoke and a conscious choice to have an abortion, i leave that for you to answer.

You could also answer that smoking does indeed constitute involuntary manslaughter. But if it were the case that smoking caused the miscarriage wouldn't you have to argue that it is murder? If you argued yes than you would be consistent in arguing that abortion is murder. But the question here is: where do you stop. Is it murder if the mother didn't eat properly? or sleep enough? What the woman in question chooses to get pregnant late in life, which can cause a miscarriage? Or what if she has bad genes that causes here to have a miscarriage? When does it stop being a choice and start being a chance?

The slippery slope can go even further. What about professional football players who are sacrificing 25 years of their life by playing in the NFL for 7 years. Wouldn’t an argument based on the sanctity of life not let people play football?

It seems pretty clear that the problem with arguing this line is that you quickly find yourself on the slippery slope - as you often do when you try to restrict a specific action for a specific reason. And you know what the slippery slope means: we are all on the road to serfdom (I say this a bit in jest and a bit in all seriousness, think about drug laws).

I hope you realize that while i am in favor of having abortions be legal i'm not pro-death. I respect the fact that you think abortions are murder and this is why I wouldn’t have your tax dollars finance someone else’s abortion.

As John Stuart Mill said, "The burden of proof is supposed to be with those who are against liberty; who contend for any restriction or prohibition; either any limitation of general freedom of human action, or any disqualification or disparity of privilege affecting one person or kind of persons, as compared with others." Let's here it then.

Jeff said...

We can't go back to an argument that rights come from "God" because then you allow anything. Maybe we have a right to freedom from seeing nudity on television? Maybe we all have a right to government-sponsored trips to the Vatican?

And as for the child being a burden - it most definitely is. Imagine a 13 year old girl getting raped, and then having a child. Are you trying to tell me that the child's life is improved by having a baby??? A baby, when had at the appropriate time with the appropriate person has many wonderful attributes that outweigh the burdens - but the burdens are still there. And the last person that should be burdened this way is a child who has just been raped.

Allen said...

OK guys I have my response (which admittedly, I got from a role model of mine). If smoking is proven to cause serious harm to the fetus, then the mother is guilty of endagering the child. I am sure some of you stopped at the word "serious" wondering what that means. Let me explain. There are plenty of parents who are unable to give their children all the required fruits and vegetables everyday or they sometimes forget to do so. From a practical standpoint, it is not necessary to charge them with assault or endagering the life of a child or murder. However unless smoking is definitely proven to cause direct harm (which surprisingly, has been questioned lately), there is no reason to press charges. My position thus passes the consistency test.

I also realized that my argument is not slippery slope at all, in fact I will state that the pro-choice opinion is a slippery slope. My argument is simply that direct harm to the fetus is worth punishing. The pro-choice argument is a slippery slope in the following sense: if we take it as a given that a mother can abort the fetus within the first few days, then there is no reason to prevent it in the first few weeks. Inevitably the weeks turn into months until it theoretically becomes possible for the mother to abort the "fetus" the day before it would have "come out." Well once you get to that point (which you will inevitably get to as pro-choice advocates demand more and more), then there is no reason why a day before birth is any different from a day after birth. You get the picture.

The football player argument is bad because they are harming their own lives. But even on top of that, I would say that there is doubtfully a 100% correlation between playing football and dying 25 years early.

I like the Mill quote but I assure you that someone who is obsessed with liberty like me, is not arguing abortion on behalf of being against liberty. I am arguing for liberty- that is, for the liberty of the child.

By the way, if you are wondering about my smoking comment earlier (about whether it definitely causes cancer) you can take up the cancer issue with me separately. The "cure" for cancer was discovered about 30 years ago. This has actually become a topic of interest for me. I've directed numerous people to all the evidence in addition to introducing them to living evidence of the cure (a friend of mine). Let's just say that people don't believe me at first but after a while find it difficult to refute the facts. Anyway, I have lots of information that goes along with this topic. If you're curious... just ask.

Jeff said...

So then let the fetus be aborted the day before the birth... Still a million times better than a raped girl being stuck with a child.

A 1-day old fetus is not alive. It has the potential to be alive. Technically, every sperm could potentially be alive. Everytime a guy masterbates, is that 3rd degree murder?

Until you are your own body, able to breath, eat, & digest on your own, outside the uterus, you are not alive.

Allison L said...

It is incredibly difficult to determine whether a woman is pregnant mere days after intercourse- especially with an unplanned pregnancy.

A woman wouldn't be harming her own and another's life by bringing a child into the world that she could not sufficiently or properly care for? By carrying the child of her rapist for nine months, going through labor, and suffering the emotional consequences? Is being forced to use one's body to nurture and deliver a baby against one's own will freedom?

It's not like we're suggesting this.

Allen said...

OK first Jeff's comments. I am having trouble believing you said what you said but let's take that as a given. Do you not realize that the child one day before birth is literally identical to one day after? How can a libertarian justify murder? Murder is not better than horrible circumstances. You fail to realize one very simple thing about the idea of punishment. Punishment is to be administered where punishment deserves to be administered. When you can prove to me what exactly that fetus has done wrong, then I will buy your argument. Your current argument is completely based on emotion- "I am pissed that the girl was raped, therefore let's not only deal with the rapist, let's also kill a child." Maybe we should kill some other people out of anger too.

No offense, I hate the sperm argument. I've heard it so many times before. Sperm are not human beings. I am not advocating punishing someone for scratching and killing skin cells, in case you weren't sure.

This is not a matter of being your own body. The fact that a child grows in the mother is a product of nature/God. People should start seeing the raising of a child for its beauty rather than its "burden."

And now for Allison. Of course it is difficult to determine whether a woman is pregnant. That makes no difference. If she is, don't kill the human, if she isn't then that is the end of the story. You cannot argue that a child is not "worthy" of being brought into the world because of lack of a proper environment. That belief is partially a result of disrespect for the idea of life, or that life is important relative to surroundings. We can't start basing child birth on available resources after conception. What if a few years after I raise my child, I become poor and can only support myself. According to you, I should kill the child. Your comments about the rapist and carrying the child lead me to believe that you probably did not read about Lee Ezell. If you did, read it again. Stop equating raising a child with all that is horrible in life. Also, stop equating child birth as a punishment from the rapist. The rapist should be punished severely (I will do the honors myself if you like), but until the child has done something wrong, you have no right to harm/kill it.

marco said...

So does this mean we all agree that we should be allowed to sell babies?

Allen said...

Marco... you are one of a kind, that is all I have to say.

1. Give me back my magazine.

2. Read my response to your globalization post.

Sepedeh said...

Time for me to get in on this,
About the slippery slope:
The pro choice movement does not balance on a slippery slope, Its been decided(perhaps arbitrarily) by various court cases that a mother may have an abortion within the first trimester(three months)of her pregnancy because anything less than three months does not have a chance to survive outside of the womb(even in an incubator). This gives pro-lifers some benefit of the doubt, in reality it would be uncommon for even a 6 month old fetus to survive out of the womb.
Now, this idea inherently implies what?--that the fetus is the property of the mother until it is self sustaining. I believe in this whole heartedly, especially since this fetus, as my propterty, can do harm to me.
This also comes into play with "partial birth" abortions; the reason these abortions take place(usually in the last trimester), are not because the mother suddenly feels annoyed and wants to lose some weight, but rather because a) there is something terribly wrong with the fetus, or that b) the mothers life is at risk in continuing to carry or to give birth to the fetus/baby.

I can predict your argument Allen, that the fetus as property argument can become a slippery slope, because a family that can no longer raise a child for whatever reason, lets say financial,then has a right to kill it. No of course not, why, because there is the IMMEDIATE option of giving it away. However, when pregnant, there can be no immediate transfer of pregnancies. And it does ultimately come down to the pregnancy as most debilitating to the mother . . . Your life is put on stall for nine months, and those consequences are long felt afterward (i.e.I become pregnant now, can no longer attend school, my father kicks me out, I flip burgers at mcdonalds, and find it very difficult to put my life backtogether at the end of it all . . . how do I get back into college, win the respect of my parents?). Of course, the "distorted"(As your article of reference calls it) lens of rape isn't even being used in this last scenario.
Ultimately, what it comes down to for me is that the mother--as an established individual--is more important than what can only potentialy be an individual(i.e. sperm allen.)
Also, a thirteen year old rape victim that has contracted aids as a result and now raises/ gives birth to a child is not a beautiful thing.
This is the end of the "liberal barnard feminist" rant.

And realistically, selling babies is really not a bad idea.

Allen, on a side note, you believe
:Rights come from God:
I have a question I want you to answer, If I am an atheist, and do not believe in God, do I have rights? If I do is it because religous/agnostic people are being nice and sharing...
also what is the cure to cancer you were speaking about?

Allen said...

The pro-choice movement is 100% slippery slope. The problem with your analysis is that you (as do most people) put yourself in the current time frame and fail to look forward. I don't remember income taxes being 30% when the 16th amendment was introduced, I don't remember the UN having the significance it does now, I don't remember separation of church and state being elimination of religion from the public sphere the way it is now... my point is that things take time. YOU might say trimester is fine, but trust me, many of these advocates do not agree with you and in years to come will push the limit.

Not only is it impossible for a 6 month old fetus to survive outside of the womb, it is also impossible for a 2 year old to survive without care. At 2 years old is the "fetus" still the property of the mother?

What do you do when the fetus harms the mother? The same exact thing you do when you have 2 people burning in a car and there appears to be time to save only one... that means you try to save both as best you can but if in the process one unfortunately dies, then that is truly unfortunate. The mother is not more important than the child, the child is not more important than the mother, you try to save both.

Yes, pregnancy has consequences, that is not a novel idea. Just because it has consequences does not mean that it is any more right to do away with those consequences in the womb than after the child is out of the womb. Go back to my punishment argument. Financial circumstances often suck, but do not put blame where blame does not belong.

The mother is 100% more important than the sperm cell however she is not in any way more important than the conglomeration of cells that is going to become a human.

Life is a beautiful thing regardless of the circumstances.

Of course you have rights as an atheist because luckily there are enough people who still think either A) rights come from God or B) the "natural rights" argument still has credence or C) people are just used to individuals having rights. Honestly, I don't care which one you believe.

Cancer is a deficiency disease just like scurvy once was. It arises out of a lack of vitamin B-17. There is much more to this issue but thats the VERY short of it.

Sepedeh said...

In response to your fetus v. 2 year old comment:
the consequences of not being able to care for a child outside of the womb can be delt with by, as I said before, trasferring the child.
However, this is not possible during pregnancy.

As for the argument on time allotted for abortion, I would argue that a purely scientific date should be set . . . and it is way past 3 months, for which the mother can have an abortion, and of course, she may have one passing this date(partial birth) for the two reasons I explained in the last post.

As for punishing the fetus, there is no distinguished punishment to it..It's simply that the mother(I feel) is more important ---which is an opinion that pro lifers and pro choicers will never be able to resolve between one another.

Finally, to understand your opinion more, why is it that "the conglomeration of cells" which has potential to live, just as or more important than the established individual(mother) and her suffering?

Jeff said...

Okay, Allen, two questions:

1) At what point does something become "alive"? Please define "alive."

2) Our founding fathers insisted on a separation of church and state. But if all rights come from Jesus, then the state cannot legally give us those rights without breaking the separation of church and state. Therefore, do we have no rights? Or do only Christians have rights? What about people in different religions who believe in different rights?

Remember, a lot of philosophers back in the day talked about rights coming from God, but you have to remember the context. You simply could not be an atheist back then, and many philosophers (most famously DesCartes) got backed into a wall and had to credit God with everything.

Allen said...

Of course you can't transfer the child before pregnancy. But I am one of those crazy people that thinks murder is not a legitimate way of doing the equivalent of transfer, just before the birth.

You can't argue that a scientific date should be set for abortion because it fails the slippery slope test. What exactly is a scientific date? Pro-death acitivists nowadays can't even agree on that.

The conglomeration of cells is not more important than the mother, it is equally important as the mother. They are equal because they are both human living entities. If my mother is no more important than I am, then the relationship extends to the womb as well.

It is not very difficult to address this alive issue. You don't touch that entity in the womb that is characterized by the union of sperm and egg. You can call it what you want, that entity is not to be touched.

For your second question, I would suggest that you, along with most other individuals today, go and research what the phrase separation of church and state means. You parrot it like a liberal yet I can guarantee you don't know about its history.

Separation of church and state was brought up for the most part by one founding father in a letter of correspondence. Separation of church and state (if one can even apply it to the beliefs of ALL the founders is questionable) meant that government was not to interfere or bother the institution of religion. Nobody feared what horrendous effect having religious leaders just might have. Or the placement of the 10 commandments (which is all over the supreme court thus I don't think the founders thought this was a violation of anything) near a court house for that matter. I never said all rights come from Jesus, I said they come from God, that is, the God that you believe in. If you understand separation of church and state the way the founders did (and not your own definition of it) then you will realize there is nothing un-separation of church and state- like about saying rights come from God. To the contrary, this is precisely what the founders thought. I won't even begin to start quoting them on this topic. Also, for such a supposedly sacred institution like separation of church and state, I challenge you to point me to the section of the Declaration or the section of the Constitution that states this phrase. I probably missed it after all these years of being a Constitutionalist.

Furthermore, it was Marx that wanted to do away with any relationship between religion and the State (actually he wanted to do away with religion completely). Why did he want this? Because religion and the belief that there is something higher than the State automatically puts the State at the whim of religion and at the whim of its citizens. It is clearly incompatible with the totalitarianism that he wanted to create. Are you on the side of Marx with respect to religion? Are you surprised the American government has grown so much over the last many decades considering how much we have changed from being a religious people to a secular/humanist people? The attempt to abolish all that is religious from public life in the name of "separation of church and state" is a perfect example. You need to understand that when you forget about religion and God, you inevitably attempt to create Heaven on Earth. And how do you go about doing this? By increasing the role of the State.

The founders don't strike me as people who were backed against a wall and forced to credit God with everything.

Before you bring up a historical event/institution, please research the history behind it.

marco said...

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof... --US Const., Amend. 1

And in 1802, Thomas Jefferson wrote to the Danbury Baptist Association of "a wall of separation between Church & State."

Its easy to just know what the constitution says, but you also have to look at precedent and history. This is a question for a law student or a lawyer, i don't really care how much you've read about it i don't think its as cut and dry as you make it seem. See this law review article (lexis login needed).

Jeff said...

Allen, do you know that the vast majority of the time that a sperm fuses with an egg that the whatever-you-want-to-call-it is unable to attach itself to the woman's body and comes out during their next period? Therefore, any woman that has gotten pregnant has probably committed involuntary manslaugher, if we are defining this union of cells as alive.

Secondly, you did not answer my other question. what about people who are not Christian? I'm not Christian, do I get different rights than you do? Different religions have different interpretations of when a fetus is alive. So how do we accomodate all of those?

The correct answer, of course, is to give people the right to follow their own religion and do as their religion suggests - rather than forcing Christian morals on everyone.

Sepedeh said...

I don't see abortion as murder because is only something that can only potentially live, the conglomeration of cells does not breathe, think or even have a brain yet. . . .the time allotted for abortion should take the self sustaining factors (as I've repeated) into consideration. The "scientific date" is simply the date a fetus can survive outside of the womb, which means that it is an individual, not something that has the potential to be.
on the separation of church and state debate:
Allen being the constitutionalist that you are, I'm sure that you have read the first ammendment, which states "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . ."
The establishment clause creates a complete wall of separation between religion in two lights. First of all this component of the First ammendment to the constitution defines the right of the citizens to practice their religions without governmental interference. It also places a restiriction (on government to respect religion as any establishment or in any form), creating a wall of separation, "make no law respecting and establishment". The settlement of this country by the pilgrims who sought religous freedom to the belief by jehovah's witnesses that they should not be foced to participate in religous activities at public schools, shows that the government simply cannot/should not foster religous beliefs. And the founding fathers did fear what a nationally established religion could do to this country, they simply took a look at british history and saw the corruption and huge mess it made there.

I'm sure you know there is clear criteria for all of this. the Lemon test from the 1971 case of Lemon v Kurtzman that has three prongs 1. all legislation must be secular not religous, 2. the primary effect of the legislation should neither inhibit or advance religion and 3. avoid "excessive entanglement of the government with religion"

The founding fathers, did sign the constitution, and whether they were or were not secular is no matter, we don't cite the founding fathers we cite the constitution.

In fact the entire idea of judicial review came about against the will of the founding fathers (the ones alive at the point) who sat powerless during Marbury v. Madison. (I'll find the article for this if you like, it's actually very interesting).

Now on your comment "You need to understand that when you forget about religion and God, you inevitably attempt to create Heaven on Earth. And how do you go about doing this? By increasing the role of the State"

the power of the state is never in a struggle against, or on a spectrum with religion. It is always a struggle between the people and the government. The way you have it, all atheists should enjoy tyranny of the state or big government. As an atheist myself (and again as a libertarian) I can tell you that your perception is wrong.
Abandoning god and religion does not mean I would want a heaven on Earth. I'm an atheist, I don't believe in heaven (or any utopia for that matter). Being an atheist means you don't worship any greater entity inlcuding the government . . . the idea of heaven and utopia as something that some greater entity(God or the state) should provide for you, is lost.

Also separation of church and state was phrased way before the communist revolution . . . after the constitution came about and in many many court cases after.

And it's the idea not the phrase which is most important, and the idea is IN the constitution.

Allen said...


I never advocated making Christianity a state religion thus my view is in line with the first amendment. Eradicating religion from the public sphere is AGAINST the first amendment that says "prohibiting the free exercise thereof" thus the modern day notion of separation of church and state goes against the first amendment.

Your quote about Jefferson is EXACTLY what I was talking about. And what I described in the previous post is what he was talking about.


I answered your absurd involuntary manslaughter comment a few posts ago when I brought up seeing a man across the street get hit by a car. Stop bringing up topics I've covered already.

I did answer your Christian question too when I described the history of separation of church and state. Our form of government was founded upon Judeo-Christian values. I don't understand why this is so difficult for people to accept. If the images of Moses and the 10 commandments near the supreme court don't show this, I don't know what does. We are all afforded the same individual rights. Who said that because you are Christian you should have different rights? I doubt the founders would agree with you about each person allowing their own morality to dictate action. Islamic Jihad is permitted under the Qur'an, please tell everyone reading that you think Jihad should be permitted in the U.S.


I want you to find me a single scientist that has provided a scientific date. Once you do that, I will go and find another scientist that provides a different date. Considering there have been babies born earlier and earlier than anyone ever imagined (something most pro-death advocates ignore because it harms their argument), the scientific date belief simply makes no sense.

Your arguments about separation of church and state fall into two categories: 1) you take on a new view of separation of church and state than the founders did (which is fine, but don't claim legitimacy to your view by saying the founders believed it) and 2) you say that I was talking about establishing an official religion in America, which I never did, so I won't even address it.

First of all the Lemon test does not even apply in every way to what I have arguing. Second of all, if you think that a supreme court decision decided in 1971 is capable of adhering to the founder's views, than you are very naive. Keep in mind, this is the same supreme court that thinks its constitutional to tell a state what types of laws it should have regarding homosexual "marriage."

You really need to stop putting words in my mouth, or maybe I am not being clear about what I am arguing. I know you cite the constitution and not the founders, but how do you think you know what the constitution says without knowing what the founders meant. You can make legitimate anything you want under the constitution if you don't understand its history. That is what liberals love to do. For instance, take the general welfare phrase and turn it into mandatory welfare laws.

I did not say that all atheists love tyranny and the state. I said that with a belief in religion and God, you tend to have a greater foundation as to the necessity to limit government. I am happy you think government should be limited, trust me.

Your idea of separation of church and state is not in the constitution, unless you want to interpret the constitution differently from the founders (which as I said was fine, but don't claim legitimacy by saying the founders would have agreed with you).

Jeff said...

Allen, there is a big difference between watching someone get hit by a car and a miscarriage. In the former, you have nothing to do with the death. In the latter, it is something that your body does that DIRECTLY "kills" the fetus. It is not intentional, of course, which is why I consider it involuntary manslaughter. But it still is manslaughter, if the fetus is alive.

That said, if you want a Christian fundamentalist state, then what happens if we interpret the Bible as saying that we have a right to a world without Muslims. Can we start flying planes into buildings in Iran?

The reason that there is separation between church and state is specifically to keep people from interpreting the Constitution as a canvas on which religious leaders can manipulate the people.

It is simply unacceptable to use a religious argument to justify any legislation whatsoever. Heck, what if I belong to the Pink Elephant religion, and my religion believes in forcing all citizens to take cocaine? Can I pass a law now?

marco said...

I think you are wrong about the church/state thing, having just read the court cases in class, but this is not the right place to get into it. In another post im sure well get into it.

Allen said...


I am almost at the point where I don't even feel like answering some of the ridiculous things you say.

My example is identical to yours. I can see the car ready to hit the person and I am unable to do anything. In your case, the mother's body is doing something that will bring about a death, and she is also unable to do anything.

What is it with people and equating opposition to separation of church and state, with the establishment of a fundamentalist Christian state? Can you read what I have written on more than one occasion? Is it that you are frustrated I am drawing a line between being against separation of church and state, and establishing a fundamentalist Christian state? Stop putting words in my mouth.

Your example of flying planes into buildings is just beyond absurd.

Separation of church and state is a communist attempt at eradicating religion from the life of the citizens. If after this last sentence you will write something about me wanting to establish a fundamentalist state, I am just going to stop responding to your comments.


You can think I'm wrong, but I believe the facts point the other way. I am sure you agree with me that the supreme court has overstepped its bounds many times. Thus reading court cases from the supreme court is hardly a method of arriving at what the founder's meant by separation of church and state. READ WHAT THEY WROTE THEMSELVES REGARDING RELIGION.


Jeff said...

I bring up absurd examples to take your arguments to their logical conclusions. Again, your example of the car is wrong. The fact is that women do things that increase their chance of miscarriage, or of damaging a fetus. Should women that drink too much alcohol and have a miscarriage be sentenced with murder? What if their kids come out with mental disorders, shouldn't that be highly punishable?

And you can find many examples of Revolutionary era figures saying that their morals come from religion, and that's fine. In fact, I bet some of them truly believed that (versus the ones who just realized that if you weren't viewed as a religious person, no one would listen to you back then). But the fact is that the Constitution explicitely insists on separation of church & state. This is from before Marx was even born.

Just because the Communists borrowed the idea 150 years later doesn't make it guilty by association. The communists also built up an army, does that make it Communist to build an army? Of course not.

Why is your religion more valid than mine. If my religion has different beliefs, then can I force them on you under law, like you're trying to force yours onto me?

Remember, for the first 87 years of this country we had slavery that was justified with the Bible. Politicians claimed that the Bible said that blacks should be our slaves. That is just one of countless examples of politicians manipulating interpretations of religion in order to pass absurd laws.

Allen said...

Two more things, that a friend of mine just mentioned to me.

1. Centuries ago, women that were part of conquered nations were often raped by the conquerors. It is therefore entirely plausible that some of us are the descendants of raped women. If those women got abortions, some of us would not be here today. Now I can already imagine Jeff making some comment that I am advocating conquering countries. Take my comment for exactly what it means. The children of the raped woman have nothing to do with the rapist. They did absolutely nothing wrong just like we did nothing wrong in possibly being descendants of some of those women. The burden is on the rapist, which is why he should be punished.

2. The idea of unwanted humans was very effective--- when implemented by the Nazis. You have no right to decide whether an existing human is important, or wanted, or growing up in a nice environment, or any other type of SUBJECTIVE means. Once it is created, the story is over, you cannot kill it.

And for those that think it is not murder, prove to me that there is a consensus as to which point in the development of the fetus is considered murder. After you prove that to me, prove to me that the consensus is going to remain that way and not travel to the extent of women wanting to kill their children (even if this is a hundred years away) since after all, they are "just a few years old."

Oh, and China is also a rather good advocate of abortion.

marco said...

Your first point just highlights how much chance is involved with life, it makes no claim about abortion. Guns have been used to snuff out a lot of lives and i know that you don't mind them being used. Yes we are lucky that we are here and we should all be thankful, this though sheds no light on the abortion question.

Advocating abortion is different than letting it be legal, which is neutral to your choice.

Jeff said...

I don't understand your first paragraph. You're saying that because I might be descended from some people that raped my ancestors in Russia that I should support raped women giving birth??? I'm not sure if that is really the best argument that one can make for the prohibition of abortions.

Again, you are associating abortion with China and the Nazis... isn't this name dropping the same thing that the leftist protests did wrong when they tried to associate Bush with Hitler? Remember, a big difference is that the Chinese and Nazis had forced abortions. That is even worse than a prohibition on abortions.

No one here is pro-abortion. I think abortions are horrible and would never want a girl that I impregnated (God forbid) to have an abortion. I just don't believe in enforcing my morals on others.

As I questioned you before, why do your religious beliefs gain pre-eminence over mine? If I have a different view of when life begins, why is yours more valid. You have picked a COMPLETELY arbitrary point for the beginning of life. It is the one that the Pope supports, but many other religious people disagree. Why is your opinion more valid? The reason for these questions, of course, is to uncover the inherent problem with an institution based on religion...

Allen said...

OK I think I need to bring up another point that my friend brought up. Because we as humans are completely incapable of deciding when it is that the fetus in the womb is actually alive, or not alive, or partially alive... we should therefore have no right to get rid of it under any circumstances. The abortion argument should really be framed in whether or not the creature in the womb is actually an individual or not. Circumstances such as rape, or accidental sex without a condom, have no bearing on the argument. If they did, then murderers could start claiming that the bad weather made them upset and therefore they killed someone. If an individual deliberately kills another individual, it is murder.

So from here on, I think our discussion should be whether that creature in the womb is afforded individual rights. Based on the comments at the beginning of this post (about being unable to tell where the dividing line is), I think the burden is on you to prove to me that there actually is a cutoff point. I am willing to admit that I probably can't decide exactly when it is an individual- and for that reason, I have no right to go around getting rid of what is in the womb, for any reason whatsoever.

Jeff, being against murder is a religious argument, in fact you should be damn grateful that our country was founded on Judeo-Christian morality. I don't argue against abortion from some little religious sect of mine, I argue against it because our society has accepted that murder is wrong. Stop calling my beliefs religious as supposedly a bad thing. Why don't you accept that our system of government is based on Judeo-Christian religious ideals. If you find this difficult to comprehend, ask yourself why Islamic countries do not behave like ours. It is not because we live in a non-religious society, it is because our morals are based luckily on Judeo-Christian beliefs such as the sanctity of innocent life...

Allen said...

I am happy you are personally against abortion but it is not forcing your beliefs on others to be against murder. Why is this so complicated? Based on your comment, I am being "forced" to not murder people, I am being "forced" to act peacefully in the marketplace...

I know that abortions in Nazi Germany and Communist China were/are forced, and I am sorry I did not state that (I didn't think I had to). The point is that even the fact that both institutions are so similar should be enough to make someone just stop to think. I think there are some valid comparisons to be made with Bush and Hitler. For one, they both loved big government. There are also comparisons to be made with Mussolini and FDR.

Jeff said...

Allen says: "Because we as humans are completely incapable of deciding when it is that the fetus in the womb is actually alive, or not alive, or partially alive... we should therefore have no right to get rid of it under any circumstances."

By that argument, let's go back to sperm. Who are you to argue that sperm aren't alive? They could be, so why am I allowed to dispense of them without the intent of procreation?

Continuing further, if we accept that a fetus has the identical rights to someone outside of the womb then you MUST make it a law that a woman cannot smoke with a child. There is no way around that. It's hurting an innocent human, according to you. So, would you ban a woman from smoking with a child?

If a woman takes drugs and the child dies, she MUST be arrested for murder. Is that alright with you also?

And, again, you are not answering the same questions... What about people who do you have the same religion as you? Are they s--t out of luck? What if they have different definitions of what is right and wrong?

Even if we accept your idea that this is a Christian state, there are still a million different interpretations of the Bible. Some believe that the Bible says that we should have slaves. Some believe that it says that non-Aryans are inferior. Some believe that it says that abortion and gay sex are wrong, but some believe that it doesn't. Why is your interpretation more valid than anyone elses?

marco said...

I think you realize that your position is not as principled as you may think. Granting the fact that it is impossible to know when the fetus is alive does not necessarily lead to the position that “we should therefore have no right to get rid of it under any circumstances.” It is as arbitrary as me saying that since we may never know; therefore, we have no right to get rid of it any time after birth when we 100 percent sure it is alive. Since you grant we can’t you necessarily make the decision as to when a fetus is alive, any law regarding what can be done to the fetus is necessarily arbitrary I just want you to acknowledge that your position is as arbitrary as ours. The question is the relative merits of these arbitrary distinctions.

That our belief structure is concurrent with Judeo-Christian thought does not mean that it derives its legitimacy or authority from being so. Instead, i think that the concurrence goes to show how the primacy of the individual is a good standard to base your moral structured on.Nowhere does our constitution talk about worshiping false idols or coveting your neighbor’s wife.

As you make evident, making gross cross culture comparison always necessitates and results in generalizations.

Allen said...

Jeff, I'm losing patience... I addressed the sperm argument a while back. You can stare at sperm for your whole life but it will not turn into a human. The case is not the same for a sperm that meets an egg.

I don't have to make it a law that a woman cannot smoke with a child any more than it should be a law that a mother can't drive with her child since they might get into a car accident. Smoking is not completely correlated with harm to the individual. If it is, then yes, the mother is harming the child.


Yes Jeff, my interpretation that murder is wrong is just one view of the Bible. You seem to be more an advocate of nihilism than libertarianism.


I think my position is as principled as it gets. What did I say that makes you think otherwise? Not knowing the status of the fetus is every reason in the world to not ever be allowed to kill it. People who hold your "arbitrary" view might also argue that it was fine to starve Terri Schiavo to death. But if we recongnized that we have no right to just kill her, then maybe her condition would have improved like the firefighter who just woke up from his 10 year coma TODAY.

My position is not arbitrary. I recognize, unlike you, that murder is absolutely wrong. Therefore, because I see no cut off as to where the fetus is an individual, I have no right to discard of it and possibly sacrifice murdering it. What exactly is the worst thing that happens if I leave the fetus to develop? OH NO! I might have a baby on my hands! How terrible! Babies? Who would ever want such a thing?!

Marco you make a good point about the primacy of the individual. You are absolutely right that the constitution says nothing about your neighbor's wife... because it has nothing to do with those issues. As long as states have laws against murder, abortion will be wrong. The constitution also says nothing about slavery, that does not mean that the constitution permits slavery any more than the constitution permits grocery shopping because it doesn't prohibit it. The point is that the American tradition was founded upon these Judeo-Christian notions despite their not being explicitly mentioned in the constitution... though the constitution is signed "in the year of our Lord."

Jeff said...

I can define a sperm as alive if I want. Just as you can choose a fetus to be alive. We can all define it anyway that we want. That's the point of a free society. We all make arbitrary ethical decisions based on our own beliefs. Your opinion is no more valid than mine.

And, let's say that we accept your premise that the United States is no longer a Democratic Republic and is, in fact, a Judeo-Christian religious state. How do you deal with the problem that everyone has a different interpretation of the Bible.

What if 51% of America decides that the Bible does in fact say that slavery is okay. Can we now pass slavery laws? What if 51% of America decides that the Bible says that homosexual sex is wrong, can we ban it?

Those aren't really hypotheticals - they have all happened at one point in our history. Is that acceptable to you, that whatever the interpretation of the Bible of those in power is will become law?

marco said...

I'm going to keep driving this point home because it sits at the center of our controversy: you are being arbitrary.

Premise 1) we don't know when the fetus becomes a life.

Premise 2) murder is defined as ending a life.

It follows that one cannot state in principle what constitutes the murder of a fetus since it is impossible to know when that fetus is a life. Therefore, your argument that we take no chance and say any termination of a fetus is murder is as arbitrary as my argument that we take no chance at limiting the choice of the mother up to the point of conception when we are sure that the fetus is a life. The reason we don’t see eye to eye is that you give more weight to the primacy of life and I give more weigh to the primacy of choice.

Sorry buddy, neither of us gets to claim the principled position in this case.

Sepedeh said...

Dearest Allen,
The scientific date of course is debated between scientists; this doesn't mean we shouldn't have one at all. Taking the most legitimate, (i.e. after 7 months the fetus is most likeley to survive) date is important. There are tons of different opposing theories in astronomy, this doesn't mean we abandon the feild, it simply leads us to follow the most substantiated one.
Marco, I theoretically believe in your point about both sides being arbitrary . . . however, if we need to determine a cut off date we need to be realistic and find a legit date.

The abortion debate here seems to be getting muddled.
I have said many times that I don't see the potential life as important as the established life of the mother it can ruin. Allen, you have yet to answer why this potential life is as important, and why abortion of a potential life is murder . . . And don't answer the atheist with your quasi- religous arguments.
You may believe that even as an atheist I have base religous beliefs (i.e. murder should be illegal). This is again wrong. I believe in these things because above all else I respect the individual, I believe that the contract, or secuirty of my rights is very much dependent on the fact that I do no harm onto others(no morality involved).

The foudning fathers may have had their own beliefs on relgion, thats great for them, but Allen, that dictates nearly nothing now. Realistically, court precedent, legislation, and what we decipher the constitution to be is what matters. From the get-go the founding fathers have not had their voice heard (As in marbury v. madison). Though some argue it, we should in no way rely on anything but the constitution (and perhaps the federalist papers) to designate legislation in our country. Precedence is also fair game.
Trying to rely on what the forefathers MEANT to say is arbitrary...there is no way we can be sure of it. What it comes down to is that we have a solid document in front of us to analyze and argue against . . . trying to do that over the opinion of several white christian men that died over one hundred years ago would be even more difficult.

I'm getting back to studying . . . But if you guys are all up for it
I'd love to continue the debate tonight.

Allen said...

Jeff, I think its pointless having a conversation with you if you want to claim a sperm is the same as egg and sperm at conception. There is a saying that says you can't reason with a liberal- it seems to apply to you as well. Yes Jeff, everything is arbitrary. Who says murder is really bad anyway? Who says anything is anything? bla bla bla bla bla. If this is where you want to discussion to go, that's fine, but you can count me out of it.

WHEN WAS THE UNITED STATES A DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC. I can't get over this, have you ever opened up a history book? We were and always have been a constitutional republic. There is no problem with people having different interpretations of the Bible, that is part of their own practices. As far as my apparently ignorant self is aware, murder is universally considered wrong. But considering you want to take a ridiculous nihilistic view of things, I can't convince you of that.

Your wonderful percentages and examples of slavery and homosexually once again demonstrate that you lack an understanding of our government and American history. Those topics are to be regulated by state governments. And yes, that means if state governments choose to ban homosexuality and reintroduce slavery, then that is precisely what they are permitted to do. You and I can go on a crusade around America to petition for the end of those institutions but we cannot tell the state government what it can and cannot do. Read the 10th amendment a few times. Then read it a few more times.


This is not choice vs. life. I have the choice to go up to your room and kill you, but that is not a question of choice, it is a question of life as it ALWAYS is. The term choice is the worst word to use in the abortion debate. You slightly misunderstood what I meant about not being able to tell when the fetus is alive. I believe that it is alive the moment conception occurs. However I am willing to accept someone's view that it is impossible to tell when the fetus is alive, BECAUSE IF IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO TELL THEN THE CONSEQUENCES OF ACCIDENTALLY MURDERING IT ARE WORSE THAN DOING NOTHING.


Your 7 months choice is simply wrong because babies have been born, and survived, before the first trimester. You can study this topic as long as you want but you will never get a conclusion as to when it is alive and when it is not alive. What is so difficult to understand there. Let's say scientists pick your 7 month date. Well is it really alive at 7 months but completely not alive the day before? No matter what date you pick, it is absurd and nothing less.

I don't need to answer your potential life comment because it is not potential. If it can be born before the trimester and survive, then there is no potentiality here. And by the way, I did not use a single religious argument there.

As I said before, I don't care how you arrive at the realization that individual rights are of prime concern. What I don't get is how you can't extend this to children. And yes, that child born before the first trimester is in fact a child, unless you still refer to is a bunch of cells out of the womb as well.

You contradict yourself. How can you rely on the constitution and the federalist papers if you have no idea what the founding fathers meant. It is views like yours that equate "general welfare" with "welfare handouts."

Your statement that we don't know what the founding fathers meant is somewhat funny. If you wrote a book about something and I was curious as to what your views were on the topic, where oh where might I go to find them out? Ah! Brilliant! I would read what you wrote about it! Did the founding fathers write absolutely nothing other than the constitution and federalist papers?

Sorry I couldn't make it to the meeting, I was sparring at my gym with a friend from high school who I haven't seen in a while.

marco said...

Allen 5:15 PM: “Because we as humans are completely incapable of deciding when it is that the fetus in the womb is actually alive, or not alive, or partially alive... we should therefore have no right to get rid of it under any circumstances.”

Allen 10:21 PM “I believe that it is alive the moment conception occurs. However I am willing to accept someone's view that it is impossible to tell when the fetus is alive, BECAUSE IF IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO TELL THEN THE CONSEQUENCES OF ACCIDENTALLY MURDERING IT ARE WORSE THAN DOING NOTHING.”

You’ll never know if there is an accidental murder because you can’t tell if the fetus is alive. You are still making the normative judgment that it is better to avoid a possible loss of life rather than avoid possibly coercing somebody bring a child to term (no small burden I should add). Admit this and your argument will be stronger because of it; normative arguments aren’t very good at convincing people who don’t agree with your normative assumptions.

Allen said...

Allen at 10:21 is actually what Allen thinks. I stated the comment at 5:15 hoping that it would convince you of something and put you on an equal level with me (none of us knows...) but the truth is I think it is alive instantly.

Of course I won't know if there is an accidental murder if people don't agree on when the fetus is alive. What I am saying is that if we ignore Allen at 10:21 and say that nobody knows when it's alive... then the issue for me becomes possibly commit murder vs. possibly burden someone. If I had a choice between those two, I would always pick possibly burdening someone over possibly murdering a human. You can say that the burden is absolutely enormous, but it doesn't change the scenario: it is better to burden someone than to kill a human just to lessen that burden. In fact read the previous sentence over and think of all the ways in which that belief has been applied historically. I guarantee the picture you get is not a pleasant one.

Jeff said...

Well, I have the exact same opinion, Allen. But it's just my opinion, and in a libertarian government we do not force our opinions on others.

That's why we're anti-abortion, but pro-choice.

Allen said...

Actually Jeff, in a libertarian government you do force your opinions on others. One of the many, as I have stated countless times on these posts already, is that murder is considered wrong. Another opinion you force on others in a libertarian government is peaceful exchange. Another opinion is the rule of the free market. The opinions you force on others in a libertarian government are probably as many as those that you force on others in a totalitarian government. What's the difference you ask? It's pretty obvious: what those opinions actually are, but they are forced nonetheless.