REPLY #16b TO
are parts of the original essay (or a subsequent reply) to which the respondent has directed his comments.
prefaced by (R) are those of the respondent and are presented unedited.
My replies appear under the respondent's comments in blue text
and are prefaced by my initials (MB)
This is the second of a four-part reply. Select the "Go to next reply" link at the end of each part to read the next part of the reply.
There are a couple of questions being begged here. First, why do you consider this to be "moral anarchy"? Second, where is the other "human life"? In addition, by that last claim, *abstinence* should not be permitted since every time a woman refuses sex, an opportunity to produce another "human life" would be lost.
(R) The moral anarchy is in the principle of exterminating the weakest and most
vulnerable among us.
(MB) How is that "moral anarchy"? That is natural law. The weakest and most vulnerable are always the first to perish in any species. This is what helps to ensure the survival of the strongest and most fit. This has worked for every species of living thing on the planet (including Homo sapiens) for billions of
years and is still ongoing today. Even if you don't believe in natural selection, the process is still taking place. This means that it would be the "will of God". By your reasoning, this would mean that your God supports moral anarchy.
(R) A conceptus has full personhood at the moment of conception. To deny this
is to deny a scientifically accepted fact.
(MB) If this is a "scientifically accepted fact", there must be some sort of revolution going on that nobody else has heard about. Or, perhaps, you have some sort of unusual definition of "personhood"? I think you need to define
that concept precisely. I also think you need to think that definition all the
way through while you are devising it.
(R) The "human life" that is being lost in order for someone to go on having sex
irresponsibly, is that of the unborn baby that gets sucked down a sink.
(MB) That's not an answer (in addition to being more question-begging). Also, you continue to link abortion with "irresponsible sex" despite all the facts which show that even responsible sex can lead to unwanted pregnancies. This shows an inherent bias in your arguments that detracts from their
In order to make your argument, you are going to have to be precise and specific about what is really being "lost" in an abortion. It can't just be the potential for a live birth, since that could always happen again at a time of
the woman's choosing. It can't be that fewer children will be born, since most
women only wish to have a certain number of children in the first place. If
she's only going to have two children anyway, for example, what difference does
it make which pregnancies produce those children and which do not?
"Ancient barbarian societies" like the Jews, for instance, who sacrificed their first-born by fire to Yahweh as he commanded in the old testament? In what way is abortion analogous to this?
(R) No, ancient barbarians such as the hittites and the ammonites, among others. Abortion is analoguous because the principle of sacrificing your own children for the sake of some other ideal is the same. The phillistines did it for the god dagon, and modern-day women do it for "convienence." Regardless of what the ideal is, the principle is the same.
(MB) And, as I've already said, the Jews did it on command from Yahweh. Why are you loathe to include them in your list of "barbaric" societies? Furthermore, who are you to label any other society as being "barbaric"? From the point of view of the Hittites, the Ammonites, the Mayans, and any other society that
practiced human sacrifice, they were serving the will of their gods. Therefore, they were acting in a completely moral manner. Your personal revulsion doesn't change that, nor does your belief in a supernatural entity that is no better supported than any of the deities which those other societies worshipped.
In addition, all of these example societies sacrificed people who were already born. This, by itself, means that those examples are not analogous to
On what basis do you label these things "gods"? In doing so, don't you
demean your own god?
(R) I am using the word "god" in a pjorative sense. They are akin to the
concept of a "god" because they are ideals.
(MB) In the previous paragraph, you paralleled the god Dagon with "convenience". I doubt you will argue that Dagon exists. I doubt that you will argue that "convenience" does *not* exist. This makes your attempted parallel rather
dubious and suggests that you are making speeches rather than trying to provide
any rational argument.
(R) My god has nothing to do with this discussion.
(MB) How is your god anything other than an "ideal"? Your god has a lot to do with this discussion since it is your belief in him that leads you to your opinions on this issue.
This "valuing human life" argument is pure nonsensical tripe. One only needs to read of all the atrocities committed under the direction of Yahweh in the old testament to see how much value was placed on "human life".
(R) Resorting to bible-bashing does not prove that unborn human life does not
have value, nor does it make your argument stronger.
(MB) It is you who are claiming that there is some inherent value to "human life". Therefore, the burden of proof is on you to demonstrate what this is and from where it derives. We both know what your religion's dogma has to say about
this. I'm just pointing out that the stories in your holy book don't match up
with the dogma it supposedly supports.
Now, what is the special value of "human life" and from where does it derive? Why does the life of Homo sapiens possess this "value" while the lives
of other species apparently do not?
What would you consider it to be when the dictates of an arbitrary system of morality demand that an unwilling mother is forced to bear and raise an unwanted child which was conceived in her by somebody who was not her chosen life partner?
(R) I would call that taking "responsibility."
(MB) "Taking responsibility" for what? This is just more meaningless speech-making that demonstrates an unwillingness to consider the question you were asked. That question dealt with unwanted pregnancy due to rape or incest.
Your response is tantamount to sanctioning those acts and shows almost total
disregard for their victims.
(R) If the moral system is arbitrary, then it shouldn't make a difference whether or not thieves go to jail, because the moral system that says "thou shalt not steal" is arbitrary. In fact, it would be cruel to send thieves to jail if the moral system that sends them there is arbitrary.
(MB) From the thieves' point of view, a jail sentence probably *is* cruel. However, that does not change the point. All moral systems are arbitrary. This is easily demonstrated by the fact that different social groupings have different moralities. We have laws which proscribe certain acts since the people who enact such laws have decided which things they want to punish or regulate. Again, any legal system can also be shown to be arbitrary since not all legal jurisdictions have identical laws. Even in the US, certain States make certain things illegal (gambling, for example), while others do not. Abortion happens to be legal under Federal law, so the people who acting immorally in the eyes of the law are those who wish to restrict or prevent access to abortion clinics or who wish to force their contrary views down
(R) Also, you are convienently forgetting about the thousands of couples on waiting lists to adopt. How many of these aborted children, if adopted instead, would have gone to loving homes and grown up to live happy productive lives?
(MB) I'm not the one who is forgetting parts of the equation. Have you forgotten how many abortions are desired after the fetus has been detected to
have serious birth defects? How many of these children, if brought to term, would be willingly adopted and go on to lead happy and productive lives? You're also forgetting that the mother must still go through the full term of pregnancy with the unwanted child even if she will put it up for adoption after it is born. If she is doing this as a result of a rape or incest, every day she continues the pregnancy is a constant and traumatic reminder of the incident which caused that pregnancy. Add the additional emotional trauma of being forced to go through all this against her will because of somebody else's arbitrary morals.
I certainly support adoption and will not argue that it is a better solution than abortion -- all considerations and circumstances being equal. However, since all these things are rarely equal, the woman must be allowed to make the
decision that is best for her.
Without the actions of the rapist, how would the woman have conceived that baby? Your claim is distressingly close to ignoring the rape in favor of bearing the child which it produced.
(R) Killing the unborn baby does not cause the rape to not have happened. Even
if she aborts the baby, she was still raped. Therefore, the act of aborting the
baby is not an act of reversing the rape.
(MB) No, but it's as close as she can get. That should be obvious. After having the abortion, she will no longer be pregnant. That's the same condition she would have been in had she never been raped in the first place.
RE: unwanted "product" of rape?
What else would you call it?
(R) A helpless unborn human that is an innocent victim of a crime.
(MB) Which, of course, is nothing more than a sugar-coating of the real issue here. At least you admit that a crime has been committed. Now, how should the woman get restitution for that crime? By forcing her to have the baby? By
telling her that her emotional trauma will somehow be rectified because she can give the baby away after it is born? By telling her that her present and future life (not to mention any family she might already have) means nothing in comparison to the "moral barbarism" of not bearing the "innocent victim of a crime"?
(R) If anyone's life should be "aborted," it should be the life of the rapist.
(MB) I'd go for that, too.
Now, you're just being silly. The word "fetus" is a precise medical term which is not "dehumanizing" in any way. "Product" refers to the consequences of an action and not to the baby. Finally, it's not a "baby" until after it is born.
(R) I am not being silly at all. You yourself have proven my point in this
exchange by giving de-humanizing analogies.
(MB) No, I haven't. You're engaging in the circular reasoning of using your own assertions to prove themselves. And, you still haven't answered the question of why the word "fetus" is "dehumanizing".
(R) As for the word "fetus," in the real world, I have yet to hear a pregnant
women say, "I am pregnant with a fetus."
(MB) So, because you've never heard a pregnant woman use a precise and correct medical term (either by choice or through ignorance), this is some sort of proof that the term itself is "dehumanizing"? Also, you might take a second to think about something else. Why would the woman have to qualify the statement "I am
pregnant"? There's only one possible thing that she could be pregnant with!
(R) If a rape-baby was born and grew up to be an adult, by your definition, that
person would still be a "product" since he/she would only be a consequence of an
(MB) Yep. Just like a baby which was conceived and born in what would be considered a "normal" situation would be a product of its parents' actions.
Isn't that right? What's your problem with that?
(R) As for what is a "baby," all the hair-splitting over terms in the world will
not save the principle that abortion is the deliberate taking of innocent human
(MB) Nice evasion of the point (yet again) in order to return to more speech-making. In order to justify your speech, you still need to define "human
life" and prove that it applies equally in all respects to the unborn as it does
to the rest of us.
(R) The "taking of innocent human life" is also known as "murder."
(MB) Same again. Besides the fact, that not even the law considers all such acts to be "murder". It all depends on the consequences surrounding the incident in question. That's why we have many different legal gradations
ranging from first-degree murder to manslaughter to justifiable homicide. That
doesn't even include what happens in war or in accidents.
You can't just throw out blanket and unsupported statements and shoehorn everything into them. Do you go into a Baskin-Robbins and just label everything "ice cream" and consider it all to be equal? Or, do you acknowledge all the
different flavors and understand that some things are ice milk, sherbet, or frozen yogurt and, therefore, aren't "ice cream" at all?
Nobody is arguing against that. However, why must the woman be forced to carry an unwanted child all the way through to term when she knows that she will just be giving it up? She is still suffering the effects of the crime for the full nine months of her pregnancy and her psyche will continue to suffer the effects for much longer afterwards. If she was allowed to abort the child when she discovers that she is pregnant, the long-term effects will be much less severe.
(R) As pointed out before, abortion is not a solution.
(MB) "Not a solution" for who? Maybe not for you. But, you are likely not to be the ultimate arbiter of what is or is not a solution. Abortion opponents seem not to realize that nobody is forced to have an abortion just because
abortion is legal. It all comes down to their attempts to force their own morality on somebody else when they have no business doing so.
(R) If psychological well-being is what you are concerning about, abortion only
creates additional psychological problems after it has been performed.
(MB) This is just one problem that must be considered. The woman must weigh the problems that the abortion will present against those she will suffer if she does not have one. A woman who would never consider abortion in the case of a
normal pregnancy (even an accidental one) may well change her mind in the face of a pregnancy caused by rape. A woman would consider abortion today due to her current adverse personal situation may well totally discount the option in the future when her situation changes for the better. Each situation must be evaluated within its own set of circumstances and all options must be available in all cases.
(R) Women many times are tormented in their dreams about the baby, and many of them go in and out of depression over it. This is a convienent fact that abortion advocates like to turn a blind eye to.
(MB) Nobody is turning a blind eye to anything -- except, perhaps, the opponents of abortion. Why do they never bring up the torment and depression that many women go through when they are forced to bear and raise an unwanted child? That never goes away. But, if the woman who has had an abortion later bears a healthy and wanted child, her previous pain is overcome by the joy that this
child will bring to her.
(R) I have also heard that when rape victims carry their babies to term, and keep them, the baby actually becomes somewhat of a soothing balm of healing for the rape-victim. This has been true in some cases, but certainly not all cases.
(MB) Yes, some cases, but certainly not all cases. Please keep that in mind. This is in accordance with my argument that you can't lump all women into one category and must treat each case individually according to its own
Finally, while some women can act as you wish and suffer little adverse impact, you can't make the same claim for all women and there is no reason to demand that they must be able to act in that way.
(R) The demand has nothing to do with feelings or convienence. It has to do
with what is honorable and dignified.
(MB) "Honorable" and "dignified" according to who? Are you saying that it is neither "honorable" nor "dignified" to allow a woman to make her own free choice? Or, are you willing to allow her to make her choice so long as she
chooses what you wanted all along?
(R) Sometimes doing the right thing is uncomfortable, or even inconvenient.
(MB) That's quite true. Please remember that, too, when you try to argue against abortion being the right choice in certain circumstances.
(R) But we do the right thing because it is right, not because it always feels
(MB) And, who defines what is "right"? The law? If so, then abortion is "right" because it is legal. Religion? Not everybody subscribes to the same religion or even to the same sect within a given religion. Not to mention that
no religion has any evidence to show that it is any better than any other religion and should have its code of morality respected any more than that of any other belief system. No, abortion is an individual issue where the choice rests totally with the woman. Anybody else is just sticking their nose in where it doesn't belong.