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(R) An interesting essay, I found. I took the time to read all the other responses before I commented. Interesting. I'm dissappointed with the number of stupid people out there who feel the need to express their oppinion on a topic they a) no nothing about (except perhaps the 2 second TV / Sermon views they get) and b) are not prepared to research. Then again, I frequently am. But forgive me; I rant a bit; that's just a bit of a pet hate.
(MB) This forum exists to give people the opportunity to vent their spleens on controversial issues. I'm a firm believer that all opinions deserve the right to be heard even if they are repugnant, uneducated, or mindlessly dogmatic. In order to refute ill-considered views, they must first be heard first-hand. Then, when they are picked apart and exposed, those who read the debate are better able to understand which side is more worthy of adherence. The point is not that I can change my opponent's mind or even whether or not I can "win" the debate. In the words of Socrates, "I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think." Once you get people thinking, nonsense doesn't stand much of a chance.

(R) Anyhow, like I said, I found your article interesting. I agree with your views, and appreciate your logical approach. Any interesting point to note; that doesn't seem to have come up much, is the freedom of choice (I know has been mentioned a few times).
(MB) That's one of my central arguments on this issue. Does the woman have the freedom to make her own choice or must she defer to the attempts of others to impose their version of morality upon her? Of course, I stand by the former.

(R) Your own body, as it is commonly accepted (as far as I am aware); belongs to nobody except yourself. If you wish to have your head shaved, your nipples pierced, or your finger removed: it's prefectly legal. People tend to try to help those who go for self mutilation; but even then, an able, articulate citizen can usually beat down any attempt to "Help" them, on the basis of mental incompetence.
(MB) In those cases, I usually ask the person how he's considered how he is going to explain the self-mutilation or raunchy tattoos to his grandchildren. I've always wondered how such things can be considered a form of "individual expression" when they are basically just following along with what millions of others are doing.

(R) Now, my real point; Why should anyone, have any right to force another person to obey a specific set of rules, if the other person's normal (ie. un enforced) action in no way affect the former person? I can think of no reason.
(MB) The only reason is probably found in the old joke that describes a Fundamentalist as somebody who is critically worried about everybody else's sex life and whether or not anybody else is having any fun.

(R) There are arguments against this view, (eg. why doesn't the unborn count as a person who needs protection): but in my oppinion, strange as it may seem, I don't think I particularly care. If you had to choose, the death of a 16 year old, or a 1 year old, which would it be? I know which I'd choose. The teen has had a longer life, will be missed more, and is, in my oppinion, more important. The younger; realistically, has contributed nothing to society, and will be missed, at most, by a handful of people.
    Yet, despite this, a huge number of people would try to save the baby. This is due to the emotional response we have, as mammals, to your young: the survival instinct for the species would be to protect the young.
    In my oppinion, I carefully weigh the suffering of adult, sentient females, and their off spring, if abortion were illegal, vs. the loss of a number of unborn's who had wonderful potential, but were still; unborn, and in no manner useful to society: and thus affect me not at all, I would choose the loss of the unborns, rather than the continual, widespread affect on socienty from the making of abortion illegal.

(MB) I have argued along much the same lines. This is a clear case of reason conflicting with religious dogma. In all such cases, I'll go with reason.

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