My Dumbest Episode So Far - Abortion: A (Hopefully) Intelligent Take
In today’s episode of Just Think, Taylor talks about the pro-life stance on abortion. There were three major points for the show today: understand some pro-life points, critique some pro-choice criticism of pro-lifers, and remain respectful. Just Think is a podcast dedicated to exploring various topics related to philosophy, psychology, biology, technology, spirituality, etc. This podcast looks for the facts. Where no facts are found, we dive deep into an arguments logic, finding its strengths and weaknesses.
Abortion - An Intelligent Take
For those of you smart enough to avoid the internet, abortion has the internet up in arms because Georgia and Alabama effectively banned abortions. I tried engaging with the other side to little success but decided to instead write my nuanced beliefs about the topics for the world to scrutinize. I’ve encountered some particular beliefs about the topic and decided to tackle some of them for you from MY perspective.
Random Twitter Person: “Why would you allow the killing of a convicted murderer but not a baby?”
This one seems intuitive enough, if pro-lifers are all about protecting the sanctity of life why allow for the death penalty?
I think of it like this, our culture has a foundational belief structure where all people have inalienable rights - life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The difference between killing a murderer and a baby is simple, when you infringe on the rights of others your rights are forfeit, so comparing the administration of the death penalty to heinous psychopaths to the murder of an innocent human being is inherently ludicrous. We have prisons for people who infringe on others rights, in prisons you lose liberty, and the worst criminals may lose their right to life. Now I’m not saying that we should allow the death penalty, that’s a different discussion, but it’s certainly not a fair comparison.
Random Twitter Person: “Why are we limiting a woman’s right to choose?”
Right to choose what? Avoid responsibility for their actions? Promote a culture that devalues human life? Life isn’t an accident, there is a very concrete act needed to create it. If you expect me to buy that the woman has no choice in the matter where through abstinence, the pill, the shot, IUD’s, implants, male condoms, female condoms, spermicide, sponges, and even different forms of sex to achieve similar feelings of pleasure they can not create the life that would be killed, you must be insane. The thing about sex, even when birth control is involved, there is always a risk of pregnancy and it is a risk you take. If you are unwilling to commit to the potential of that risk you should reevaluate the choices you make. In nearly all components of life you must handle the implications of your conscience choices, why is sex treated differently?
This is probably my most aggressive position, so let’s mellow out a little bit.
Why should a woman’s right to “choose” after taking said risk result in the forced killing of life that had no bearing on said decision and cannot fight it? This is not a major issue for society’s that inherently do not hold life as our foundational structures do, but unfortunately we say we uphold the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, which means we must actually do so if we wish to remain ideologically pure. Side note: punishing those who infringe on these rights is not antithetical to the idea.
But, but, What about the moms rights?
Great question. Mom again had the right not to engage in sexual activity, she had the right to obtain birth control methods, she had the right to chemically alter her body, place barriers of entry, etc. There’s a quote that sums up the domain of rights nicely: “Your right to swing your arms ends at my nose.” It is almost like the whole abortion debate is really about whether or not a human embryo or fetus is a person deserving of rights. The end point is that it’s not the moms right to snuff the life, liberty, or pursuit of happiness from another person.
Side note: I’ve seen some people somehow equating these bans as attacks on a woman’s right to birth control. Outside of the rare Amish or actually practicing catholic, nobody wants to take birth control away. No significant voting plurality is advocating for that. Don’t misrepresent the argument and fear mongol if you believe this idea.
End side note
Back to the embryo-
But it’s not a person, it has no rights!
There are a few different ways to tackle this common point. The issue of person-hood is rooted in philosophical differences of importance governed by the minds of people. It is here the materialistic biologist in me prevails. In order to solve this problem we must define when a person becomes a person. It seems intuitive to many people that what makes us human is our conscience abilities to think, but this logic is flawed, as anyone who’s spent time with babies knows they are not complex thinkers. Besides, this logic allows for our lack of thinking to be a qualifier for easy death without remorse, and that is wrong. Perhaps we define person-hood with viability out of the womb. Simple enough, right? Not necessarily, as modern medicine will continue to push that logic back and the crux of viability isn’t the same throughout the world. Perhaps a heartbeat is when we define person-hood? Except we know a person is still a person when they have a heart attack.
Also, we have this huge section of laws concerning animal rights, being a part of humanity isn’t a necessary component to being treated with dignity.
I’ve seen some wacky viewpoints on twitter, like person-hood is granted after birth and when the person is given a name and has importance in the world according to somebody. I was named before birth, and importance is subjective. What happens when a government decides to strip you of your name, stamp you with a number, and decides that you’re worthless to society?
Yeah that one doesn’t work either.
So what makes us, us? If it’s not our names, our heartbeats, our importance, etc, what could it be? One viewpoint I have seen is that abortions are OK because fetuses don’t “experience” like we do outside of the womb. This is flawed as well, as if these beings do not experience their environment then why do they move? We know once the neural system is formed they feel pain, they can recognize their mother's heartbeat, the voices of those who spoke to them in the womb. They respond to noises and touches and movement. They respond to nourishment, and lack thereof. So unless the problem is a lack of memory of their experiences, it’s clear that they do “experience.” I also do not believe that people are using memory as the cutoff, as the issue is null towards a living person with amnesia.
Enough beating about this bush, biologically humans are humans because of DNA, if you have a human genome you are human. Not potentially a human, but fundamentally a human. The strongest case for person-hood is the case of person-hood from conception due to the materialistic nature of the argument. A material existence is much easier to define, enforce, and appreciate than some subjective definition of existence like particular forms of autonomy or conscience abilities. Materialistic arguments for existence either are, or are not, and you can physically prove the presence of something with this argument. Other arguments draw arbitrary lines based on feelings that have no groundings on the physical universe or solid philosophy. All other arguments are potentially manipulated to the gain on particular groups to kill off the unwanted.
Then there is the problem of the implications of allowing abortions in our society.
Some of this is nuanced, but in many cases nuance adds up over time. The devaluation of human life over multiple aspects of culture is a serious concern philosophically. Do I think removing abortion will solve societies violent tendencies? Absolutely not. Although it’s possible that culturally embracing a foundational reverence for life may make it harder for individuals to develop a numbness to violent culture and loss of life.
This is going to be a longer point, but consider this: there is this psychology phenomena with kids playing games I learned via Jordan Peterson. It turns out children need to win a game a small percentage of the time to enjoy playing the game, and to continue to want to play said game. Using an arbitrary number for the example, let’s say the percentage is 30% of the time one must win a game (getting the dopamine hit) to keep wanting to play the game. If 30% of your time you are subjected to violent ideas and getting under said threshold is key to reducing violence then we should do what we can to do so. Now realize the foundational worldview propagated by accepting abortion that o mentioned before. If as a culture we appreciate life how much less likely is it that any given person would bring themselves to end it? Even if it in some butterfly-effect like way we reduced violence 1%, said reduction would compound be the lack of violence that otherwise would’ve been propagated by said 1%.
Now perhaps you don’t find that argument convincing, and so be it, it’s not the strongest case against abortion, but consider it further after reading.
Now, perhaps you are tempted to blow me up as the author of such an ignorant article. Maybe you think I’m wrong about everything. Maybe I’m the biggest idiot you’ve ever had the displeasure of encountering online. Understand that my goal here was not to convince you, but to show some intelligent (or at least detailed) insight into why I am pro-life. It’s not because I want to control woman, I don’t. I think women are more powerful when independent. I think women are equal to men. I just also consider a developing human a person. I also believe that we as humans control our own destiny, and that we must bear the consequences of our actions.
I believe, Pragmatically, the solution to this abortion debate would best be solved with a concrete, materialistic, deadline in the first trimester. It appeases both sides, while potentially remaining humane - sort of. Even though I wish we had no abortion at all I believe the Georgia and Alabama bills are necessary to bring the conversation back towards the middle following the polarizing laws passed in some states in the last couple months regarding abortion in later stages of development.
I guess that’s the funny thing about this debate, most people regardless of being pro-life or pro-choice are willing to be politically moderate, it’s just that we had a seriously one sided pro-choice movement towards the third trimester a few months ago so we are seeing the reactionary pendulum going the other direction. I believe if the initial polarizing laws were not initially passed the laws in Georgia and Alabama would’ve never been pushed forward. These are more than laws, they are statements, and frankly I do believe morally they are the better statements. I am not naive though, these laws will likely fall in the courts, and then we can resume with a discussion towards the middle, where many are willing to compromise.
Thank you for reading. I hope you leave this article understanding more about the “potential” beliefs of “some” pro-lifers.
Here was a post passed on to me by my girlfriend - I figured it was funny enough to respond to.
Fine. Fair. Right?
Well, not really, but the author of this post has a point. To be honest, I don’t necessarily want the government, or even private insurance companies, paying for stupidity. That said, accidents happen, and they have a service to provide. I think it’s fair to say though that smokers, with all the warning labels, maybe should pay out of pocket for lung-related treatment. I think it’s fair that if your uncomprehending stupidity leads to hospitalization maybe your insurance shouldn’t feel the need to be overly-generous.
That said, there is an inherent flaw in this argument. See you have a right to life and in the non-abortion cases they are protecting said right. Outside of the exception for the life of the mother abortion does not protect said right, it nullifies it. It’s not philosophically a fair comparison.