The utilitarian argument
(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)
- (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)
- Move the arguments about the morality of abortion to the Abortion arguments page
- Rename the Abortion arguments page to "Morality of abortion" or similar
- 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
I have been arguing for weeks in order to upload some missing content on the abortion/pro-life page. Presently, the abortion page contains only the weakest pro-life arguments, which I have debunked several times, and does not even represent the most common let alone strongest arguments against abortion, such as the right to life. The abortion page, however, contains a great variety of pro-choice arguments which adequately cover and represent the pro-choice position. This great variety and the relative paucity of pro-life arguments have been achieved through consistent revisionism, wherefore the “guardians” of the page immediately retract pro-life arguments. After weeks of argumentation, the only reason for this revisionism appears that I disagree with your pro-choice conviction. But unlike my opponents, I do not nor have I ever deliberately removed pro-choice content on the basis that I disagree with it. In fact, I have never touched any pro-choice section finding its coverage adequate. As I have already stated, the coverage of not only the most common but the strongest pro-life arguments is grossly inadequate.
To improve the article, I suggest the following additions. You are welcome to introduce new criticisms in a fashion fitting to the article, to engage in the process of constructive criticism and philosophical inquiry. You, however—and I count myself among you—should not engage in blatant revisionism, by removing such content categorically simply because it includes pro-life arguments. We should all assume our role as editors. And though I have been chided in the past that deletion is a form or editing, I have been presented with no substantive reason to accept this in the case of the following proposed contributions, now more concise, complete, and better-sourced than ever. I have also defended these and other arguments to the tune of fifty pages, and I have done so with ever greater clarity and force. You will now be given the chance to edit the following contributions prior to their addition to the abortion page itself. This is your chance to identify the non-arbitrary reason why this content, which contributes to the completeness of the article at hand, cannot be uploaded.
If harsh or unreasonable resistance persists, I will ask moderators to arbitrate matters for us.
The equilibration of rights
Whether we should override the fetus’ rights or the mother’s rights is influenced by the probability that the mother and/or child will die, the expected quality of the mother’s and child’s life following natural pregnancy or abortion, the expected lifespan of the mother and child following natural pregnancy or abortion, and various combinations of these factors.
In general, the fetus’s right to life will outweigh the mother’s right to life; out of nearly four million live births in the US each year, only 650 women die of pregnancy-related complications. Moreover, only 13% of mother’s in a 2005 survey choose “possible problems affecting the health of [my] fetus”, even when given the opportunity to check off as many reasons they sought abortion as possible, and write in reasons not listed, indicating that a comparatively low number of abortions are sought to protect the child’s welfare, and even fewer with demonstrated or expected disability.
Pro-choice advocates may object to forced pregnancies which involve rape or are ectopic. Ectopic pregnancies, however, are relatively rare, comprising roughly 1-2% of all pregnancies. The same 2005 study moreover found that only 12% of women cited “physical problem with health” as a reason for abortion, indicating that abortions are generally performed for reasons other than a legitimate concern for maternal health. Finally, the argument from rape punishes the child for the actions of his or her father, and though regrettable, serves more as a rhetorical device than a substantive argument for the termination of innocent life. Arguments of such form, in fact, commit oneself to the genetic fallacy, though more reasonable arguments may be provided to justify abortion.
The numerical argument
Given that roughly 40% of all pregnancies, both documented and undocumented, end in miscarriage, we may strongly and reasonably assume that roughly 40% of abortions occur in cases wherefore the fetus would die regardless.
However, it follows that roughly 60% of abortions result in the death of children who would otherwise have been born alive. Consequently, abortion must be strictly justified in depriving such children of life.
Many pro-choice advocates criticize the numerical argument on the basis that the conclusion, that we must be strictly justified in depriving such children of life, does not seem to follow. In other contexts, such as euthanasia or war, however, this criticism would not hold, since matters of life and death are serious indeed.--Animalian (talk) 21:09, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
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]
- 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, LeftyGreenMario!(Mod) 03:39, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
Re-write of Section 4.1 Religious views : Abrahamic religions
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.)