Metsfanmax wrote: Ray Rider wrote:
Metsfanmax wrote:And yes, that's the hypocrisy I'm going with. I'm not likening a cow to a human fetus; I'm suggesting that an adult cow is actually more valuable than a human fetus, in the sense that it is more intelligent.
The value of a life is based on its intelligence? I have a mentally handicapped uncle so I find that assumption very concerning...and no, I'm not talking about Uncle Saxi lol
You are thinking about intelligence too narrowly. When questioning whether the taking of a life can be justified, one needs some metric to judge the value of that life. If you are particularly religious, your religion might tell you that human life is intrinsically more valuable than non-human animal life. Suppose we neglect that. Then how can one compare the value of human life with, say, bovine life? There is no clear cut distinction because all mammals live on a sort of continuum of intelligence and other relevant parameters. Also, humans clearly live on their own continuum (some humans are more intelligent than others) so there's no cutoff between humans and other intelligent, conscious mammals or birds that is not arbitrary.
So, a better way to think about it is a concept that I'll borrow from Peter Singer, the idea of replaceability: in general, one should only be relatively unconcerned about the taking of lives that are replaceable (that is, the life you take could be just as easily replaced by another member of the species). Intelligence is one obvious way to clarify which species are replaceable and which are not; consciousness is another. An adult pig, for something, is actually a rather intelligent animal. It is most likely not the case that you could kill an adult pig and replace it with another one, and the net result would be the same. The adult pig has some set of memories and experiences that collectively form its identity, as it were, and it demonstrates the desire to continue staying alive (this last claim is a subtle point, which we can get into further if people want; for now, take it as a given). Therefore one ought not just arbitrarily take its life; there needs to be a good reason for it, just as there needs to be a good reason why you would kill an innocent human. On the other hand, a human fetus has no memories or experiences that define its existence, and has no desire to continue living that you are ending when you terminate its life. So for ethical purposes, a fetus is replaceable. There's a huge gaping hole in this argument as I've presented it, which is that it is clearly not replaceable when you consider the effect it has on other people (i.e the parents), but this can be addressed to, if people are sufficiently interested.
Ignore what TGD says; those who believe in rights for non-human animals are an important section of the progressive movement, and the ideas I'm expressing here are relatively commonly accepted in that community.
[thegreekdog rubs his hands together]
Excellent. Let's look at the issue of abortion within the context of the Constitution, upon which the Roe v. Wade decision was made. This is a two step process:
Step One: Is abortion a right guaranteed under a provision of the Constitution?
The US Supreme Court held that abortion is a right under the fourteenth amendment's right to privacy. Therefore, the government needs a compelling state interest in order to prevent that right.
Step Two: If abortion is a right guaranteed under the Constitution, what are the compelling state interests (the government needs a compelling interest to do away with a right guaranteed under the Constitution) in prohibiting said right?
The US Supreme Court indicated that the compelling state interest is the health of the fetus. In other words, the state has a valid and compelling state interest in protecting the fetus... the unborn child... the thing that is less intelligent than an adult cow. The Supreme Court decided that the state has a compelling state interest in protecting the fetus at the time of viability. Thus, a woman had the right to have an abortion until the fetus is viable, but not after the fetus is viable. Why did the Supreme Court decide that the time of viability was where the state interest overruled a woman's right to privacy? The Court noted that viability occurs generally at seven months, but may occur as early as 24 weeks. From the Court itself: "With respect to the State's important and legitimate interest in potential life, the "compeling" point is at viability. This is so because the fetus then presumably has the capability of meaningful life outside the mother's womb. State regulation protective of fetal life after viability thus has both logical and biological justifications."
The Supreme Court did not compare the intelligence of a fetus to the intelligence of an adult in making their determination. The Supreme Court did not determine that a woman could have an abortion or kill her child until the child had the ability to live on its own (if our new health insurance law is to be believed - that age is 25). So, while Metsfanmax may have a better way to think about taking a life (replacability), it is not the Supreme Court's way of thinking about taking a life. The Supreme Court determined that medicine determines when a person is alive (i.e. viability). So, if, as BBS one suggested in another thread, if viability occurs as early as potentially one month gestation period, does the government now have a compelling state interest? Based on a plain reading of the Roe v. Wade case, I think the answer is yes.
Abortion is a hot button issue 30+ years after Roe v. Wade because it is has political clout. There really is no other reason. The Repocrats can scare their constituencies with "more abortions" or "no abortions" and get them out to vote. Metsfanmax is merely regurgitating the Democrat side of that coin. Abortions are legal in most states only because of the Roe v. Wade decision, which determined that the right to privacy overrode a compelling state interest only up until viability. To suggest there are any other reasons why abortion is legal in most states is absurd. Abortions are not legal because the fetus is not intelligent or because the fetus cannot live on its own.