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This abortion related article has been awarded BRONZE status for quality. It's getting there, but could be better with improvement. See RationalWiki:Article rating for more information.

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The utilitarian argument[edit]

(This section is incomplete. I had to wrap it up to fit a three-page word document to print and distribute amongst other members of socratic society.)

Following the mantra “the greatest good for the greatest number”, we may derive useful utilitarian arguments against abortion, depending on the value we select. In classical utilitarianism, that value is suffering. Though modern utilitarians may select alternate values, such as happiness, as the ultimate or intrinsic good, their moral considerations still obey the same hedonistic calculus, variables of which include intensity, duration, certainty, and propinquity (1).

By the right to life, “the greatest good for the greatest number” consists of two competing variables, a) the number of the living and b) the respective quality of their lives. Through the hedonistic calculus, we may optimize both. Such remark, however, fails to directly provide utilitarian arguments for or against abortion, for which we resort to general observations. We count, among these observations, the simple fact that most beings cherish their life, so much so that they are willing to persevere through horrendous conditions to preserve it. We may also count the simple fact that life is a rewarding experience, and that for all its misery, there remains tremendous joy, the joy we actively strive to achieve. (As an aside, non-existence is a misery of its own, for it neither provides comfort, nor ever the relief of tribulation overcome.)

An objection arises in that, if suffering is the ultimate evil, then we should eliminate suffering entirely. And since the only option presently available to achieve this end appears the extermination of all life, including human life, such an objection defies our foremost moral sensibilities. Moreover, this objection tacitly assumes that neither nature could create nor could man ever synthesize beings which, though capable of suffering, cannot process such suffering, i.e., a being whose interests may be violated, but whose capacity for experiencing pain is nil.

From these considerations arises not only the conviction that we should respect the right to life of beings, but also ensure that humans thrive via the optimization of our competing variables. It stands to reason, that, in general, forsaking a child to nothingness, denying him life in all its wondrous complexity, is a grave evil for which, even as a profoundly anti-religious man, I believe we should repent (2).--Animalian (talk) 07:06, 15 February 2015 (UTC)

1. 2.

(I have some slightly off-the-cuff remarks…) You cite a principle of “the greatest good for the greatest number”, then detail the feelings and imagined suffering of the potentially aborted person(s). (If they're aborted, there is a great difficulty in claiming that they suffer actual pain, loss of anything, etc. You can't easily claim their soul/spirit exists and has suffering inflicted upon it; and if they do exist as spirit, they might simply be born to someone else…) You don't seem to allow possible societal good of abortion… for potential benefits to society, such as population control, preventing single-parent births, reducing high school and college drop-out rates, preventing pushing people and their offspring [further] into poverty, preventing what some sufferers of birth defects (and the courts) term “wrongful life”… The typical things anti-abortion people claim that people who choose to have an abortion selfishly and wrongly cite as their reasons. — Moray (talk) 00:13, 15 September 2018 (UTC)


  1. Move the arguments about the morality of abortion to the Abortion arguments page
  2. Rename the Abortion arguments page to "Morality of abortion" or similar

Currently, this page is biased and doesn't have much room for response. If there's no opposition for 24 hours, I'll move them over. Herr FuzzyKatzenPotato (talk/stalk) 18:05, 2 March 2015 (UTC)

FuzzyCat, you believe that this page is biased, in favor of pro-choice advocates? If you do, I esteem you for such recognition. I can't believe how much I had to fight just to get valid pro-life arguments on either the pro-life or abortion page. I am exceedingly intelligent, and I should not have to deal with such bullshit. I apologize for my arrogance, but I was told most people here hold doctorates, or other advanced degrees, or are elsewise intellectually respectable, or even just mentally competent. I, for one, would like to believe that doctors are smarter than those I have encountered. I believe furthermore that you revamped the morality of abortion page, for which I would thank you tremendously.--Animalian (talk) 15:14, 7 March 2015 (UTC)

Proposed contributions II[edit]

First quote[edit]

RationalWiki must have quite an obsession for Trump, since it needed to begin the page on abortion with a twitter about Donald Trump written by some (practically unknown) ceejayoz...

"Trump won't drop out. Hey, Republicans, how does it feel to be forced to carry something to term?" [ceejayoz]

I replaced it with a - much more reasonable - quote from Chomsky:

"You're not going to get the answers from holy texts. You're not going to the answers from biologists. These are matters of human concern. There are conflicting values and taken in isolation each of these values is quite legitimate. Choice is legitimate, preserving life is legitimate." [Noam Chomsky]

McLaghing (talk) 22:01, 13 December 2017 (UTC)

Very late response but that quote just isn't doing it for me. The anti-abortion movement is in a darker side of gray than the pro-abortion movement and we're not going to invoke some false equivalence that the anti-abortion holds equal moral ground to the pro-abortion. I also checked the source of the quote which leads to a documentary that, of course, aims to product graphic scenes of consequences from both sides and is actually about promoting the "both sides" part which IMO, ends up obfuscating the actual problem. And I mean, the very real problem of women being unable to provide for future children, anti-abortion activists criminalizing women with miscarriages or women that attempt abortions, the anti-abortion pushing outright pseudoscience to support their views, the anti-abortion movement telling doctors to tell women outright lies about fetal pain, mental health issues and breast cancer bunk; the anti-abortion movement deceiving and scamming women from seeking appropriate care via crisis pregnancy center; the anti-abortion movement closing all clinics for hundreds of miles away; and the movement's consequences disproportionately affecting low-income women and so on. This ends up affecting children as the ultimate consequence as they grow up in suboptimal conditions and can possibly face understandable resentment from their mothers (which they don't deserve). A dead fetus from an extremely rare third trimester abortion is not the equivalent nor is the occasional violence and aggressive heckling by pro-abortion protestors. --It's-a me, Lgm sigpic.png LeftyGreenMario!(Mod) 03:39, 21 February 2019 (UTC)

Re-write of Section 4.1 Religious views : Abrahamic religions[edit]

This fairly short section irks me;

¶ 1 says "abortifacients … likely … existed in ancient Israel. Yet neither the Torah, nor the Bible … mentions the practice."
¶ 3 describes the book of Numbers (Torah and Bible) as describing the use of an abortifacient. (A magically parentage-detecting one.)

Further, there's no mention of the times Jehovah's instructions during war included killing all of the enemy's children and/or all pregnant women and/or all women who have lain with a man recently but are not yet obviously pregnant. (These killings were to prevent the male children and fetuses from growing up to take revenge upon the Jews, so they can be considered abortions with a 0% survival rate of the pregnant or possibly-pregnant women.)

(I didn't want to re-write this section myself, as I expect someone will revert all edits just to keep the page from changing.) — Moray (talk) 02:10, 15 September 2018 (UTC)


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