This is an entry in the Pro-Abortion series.
In this part, I am starting, and ending, the second half of the Q&A. This half is a lot weaker than the first half, so my answers here are a lot shorter. Some of these points have already been rehashed in previous questions, too. Pakulak really should have stopped at ten.
There is another argument against abortion, analogous to an argument of Lincoln. Lincoln said, famously, that “as I would not be a slave; so I would not be a master”. He also remarked that, although he had heard many people defend slavery as a good thing, he had never yet met a man who wanted to become a slave himself. So we can ask: Does anyone wish that his mother had chosen abortion for him?
This is another area where my strong disagreements with pro-choice people entail a completely different answer than Pakaluk expects, thus defeating his strategy. As an antinatalist, I consider potential people to be better off than actual people. Starting a human life is a harm. Therefore, I believe that I would be better off if my life had not started.
This is not to say that I want to kill myself, an oft-repeated objection (see my entry on the topic). Obviously I now have vested interests in continuing to live. But the question here is not, would I kill myself (i.e. should my life be continued), but rather, should I, or any other fetus, have been aborted (i.e. should my life have not been started). Clearly the answer to such a question is yes.
Besides the fact that his expected answer is the wrong one in my case, Pakaluk’s argument is also invalid. It would be a valid argument if we were comparing two persons’ situations. We can validly demand that a slaveowner put himself in the situation of a slave, as they both have a similar form of consciousness and the same general capacities. But this is not what we are doing. Instead, Pakaluk demands that we compare the situation of an actual person (ourselves) with the situation of a potential person (the fetus). How can an actual person decide whether they’d want to be aborted if they were a fetus? We have no idea what it might be like to be a fetus, any more than we have any idea what it is like to be a bat or a snail. So the argument cannot even get off the ground.
Note also that Lincoln’s statement is a fine example of hypocrisy, given his actual opinions on slavery and his dismal track record on human rights.
Developing the analogy with slavery, we might wonder how abortion is at all compatible with the idea that all human beings are equal. After all, it is inconsistent with equality that one person have his fundamental rights conferred upon him by someone else…
Similarly, as we saw, in our current practice of legal abortion, the unborn child has rights only if they are granted by the mother. For if the mother wishes to have an abortion, then the child has no rights, and its death is considered inconsequential; but if the mother wishes to continue her pregnancy, then an attack on the child is considered unlawful and even murderous. Hence the child–and presumably also the adult who grows from the child–has rights only because they have been originally granted by the mother. But this, as we have seen, is incompatible with the fundamental equality of all human beings.
Pakaluk’s question is contradictory. On one hand, he seems to agree with me that rights cannot be granted by any person or group, that the mother cannot grant a child rights any more than the State or God can. But then he speaks as if the actual act of abortion entailed that the mother grants or does not grant rights to the fetus, and that this is incompatible with the view that rights are not granted. But reality cannot contradict reality. If my reading of the question is the valid one, then the question is plainly incoherent and there is no way to answer it. Either Pakaluk is wrong when he says that rights cannot be granted, or he is wrong when he says that the mother actually has the power to grant rights to the fetus.
Now, my reading of the question may be the wrong one. Perhaps Pakaluk actually means, in his careless manner of writing, that the supposed granting or not granting of rights by the mother is a legal fiction or a delusion, that the act of abortion assumes that this granting of rights is actual, and that this disproves abortion. This reading is not obviously incoherent like the straightforward one, so I should be generous and answer this as well.
So the question becomes: does the fact that an act against some victim is legally allowed logically entail that the victim has no rights? Clearly the answer is no. Black slaves were obviously persons endowed with rights, as we know today, even though those rights were not recognized by the courts at that time. Likewise, innocent people shot by policemen without legal repercussions still clearly have rights, even legally, as proven by the fact that if they had been killed by anyone else, the courts would have found this to be within their jurisdiction. So there is no logical link between the act of abortion being legal and some kind of lack of rights.
The argument is not helped by introducing subjectivity, either. Suppose that, irritated by his homophobia, I punch Pakaluk in the face. I do not have to hold to the belief that Pakaluk doesn’t have a right not to be assaulted in order to punch him. Indeed, the fact that I would not be surprised or outraged at being arrested for punching him would tend to prove that I did indeed think that he had a right not to be assaulted. So there seems to be no logical connection here. I would be wiling to wager that most criminals do indeed recognize the rights of their victims, they just are not overly preoccupied by them, or have other reasons that they think override the rights.
This is also a useless argument, insofar as its basic premise, that fetuses have “fundamental rights” and that the right to life is included as one of those rights, remains unsupported. Why ask a question founded on an unproven premise?
I can see one obvious counter to my line of reasoning. Since I have stated that fetuses only have rights outside of the framework of abortion, then I must really believe that the woman grants rights by not aborting a baby, the legal aspect notwithstanding. With the abortion, the fetus has no rights; without the abortion, the fetus has rights. Surely, then, the woman’s decision is the determining factor in whether a fetus has rights or not, and this is the same thing as the woman granting or not granting those rights.
My response to this would be twofold. First, I would question the semantics of saying that a person who never existed could be granted or not granted anything. While we can attribute properties to non-existing persons, those properties are negative in nature (e.g. a potential person cannot feel pain, a potential person cannot be deprived, etc). “A potential person has the capacity to have rights or not have rights,” on the other hand, doesn’t seem to be a negative property, but rather a positive one.
Second, my position on fetuses’ rights does not infringe on the principle of equality, insofar as it maintains the principle that all persons are equals. Fetuses’ rights are an extension of that principle only insofar as the possibility of a future person implies rights in the present. But in the case of abortion, this possibility does not exist. I will discuss this argument further in the entry “The humbug of the fetal right to life…”
Of course, Pakaluk wants to reduce the issue again to the quality of being a “human being,” not the quality of being a “person,” but that rhetoric was refuted in question 9 and I don’t need to address it again.
Developing the analogy with slavery even more, we can ask: Why isn’t legal abortion outright discrimination?…
By legal abortion, one class of human beings–born human beings–deny human rights and the protection of the law to another class of human beings–unborn children–because of a feature inessential to our humanity, viz. whether one is living inside or outside one’s mother’s womb. The difference between being unborn and being born seems just as accidental to a human being as the difference between having white and having black skin…
Again, this is basically the same question as question 9. We are again talking about “humanity” as the only acceptable standard, a humbug which I already refuted in my answer to question 9. So there is no point in repeating myself.
[W]ouldn’t legal abortion be contrary to responsible principles of decision under uncertainty? If it were true that we “don’t know when human life begins,” it would follow, of course, that we don’t know that the fetus is not a living human being; that is, we don’t know that abortion is not morally equivalent to murder. But isn’t that precisely what we ought to know, before allowing abortion?
I agree with Pakaluk that uncertainty is not a valid argument for anything. Much like Christians who illogically use uncertainties about our knowledge to try to argue for God’s existence, using uncertainty to argue for abortion reflects a lack of logic. But furthermore, we do know when human life begins. Embryonic development is no secret. We know that consciousness arises in fetuses around 28 to 30 weeks, in a progressive manner.
But Pakaluk’s argument fails insofar as, even if a given act of abortion is murder, this does not mean that it is unjustified, for the reasons I discussed in my answer to question 1. The murder is ethically wrong, but so is starting a new life. Given that fact, we have to balance consequences, and on that basis I believe that abortion always comes up on top, or at least has a near-total advantage.
In every abortion the fetus is cut into pieces, ripped or torn apart, or poisoned. No one would want to treat a small kitten or puppy in that manner, nor does the law allow to do so, so why should we allow anyone to treat immature human beings in that way? Imagine that, instead of paying money for an abortion, the price was to take a newly born puppy, the size of a peanut, and put it in a meat grinder. This an action quite comparable to what takes place in an abortion. How many people would pay that price? Then is it only the hidden character of abortion that makes it seem acceptable?
I don’t know what the point of this question is. Are we supposed to wrinkle our noses in disgust and say “ew”? Is that the entire argument here? Because I don’t know of anyone who would compare a kitten with a fetus. What is the comparison here? For one, a kitten or a puppy has vested interests in remaining alive. As far as I understand, a fetus does not have such interests.
Is it because they are both alive? Then we should be squeamish about killing or shredding plants as well, or insects, or fish. Why does the “ew” argument not come into play in those cases too? The answer is clear: Pakaluk used kittens and puppies as examples because they are cute animals. That’s the entire intellectual content of this question. So that’s a waste of time.
Why is an abortion traumatic, but an appendectomy is not? If the fetus really is just a clump of tissue, why should there be any fuss about abortion? Indeed, if an abortion were in reality just like an appendectomy, how would it be possible for pro-life people to get others agitated about it? The very fact that there is a dispute at all about abortion seems to show that the pro-life view is correct and that abortions should not be performed.
I have already explained this phenomenon. Christianity is a faggot ideology, meaning that it is based on the active self-repression of homosexuality. This is proven by the fact that Christians constantly project their own flaws on their opponents, hate the body, sexuality, and female sexuality in particular, vehemently hate homosexuality, believe in salvation as their only recourse, and, of course, hate abortions. To the faggots (i.e. the self-repressed homosexual), children are proof of heterosexuality and normality, and their greatest tool of validation. Abortion is an attack against that tool.
The reason why Christian fanatics attack abortion and not appendectomies is because the appendix is not a faggot tool of validation, while babies are.
I understand that Pakaluk is expecting us to answer as if the Christian fanatics (a category in which he is included) are basically honest, and that therefore there must be a rational reason as to why abortion is under attack. But the fact is that there is no rational reason to be against abortion, and Christian fanatics have presented no such rational reason in their attacks. So I stick to my conclusion that they are re-enacting the neuroses written down by faggots.
Why is it that doctors are allowed to do abortions? Even if abortions should be legal, shouldn’t they be performed by some other sort of agent? Just as we do not allow doctors to administer injections for capital punishment, shouldn’t we also bar doctors from doing abortions? The reason for this is that doctors should not engage in actions that are contrary to the aims of the practice of medicine, and these are to heal and relive (sic) pain.
Abortion is a surgery. Surgeries are performed by doctors. I don’t see what the issue is here. Abortion does “relieve pain.” In fact, it is the most pain-relieving procedure in existence. The more abortions that are performed, the less pain there will be in the world. And that’s a fact.
Abortion is a surgical operation, not a political issue. As the previous question implies when we answer it correctly, there’s no more reason for people to be politically against abortions than there are reasons for people to be politically against appendectomies, biopsies, or medically necessary amputations; a random person’s opinion (or Pakaluk’s, who as far as I know has never studied any medicine) on whether these are “contrary to the aims of the practice of medicine” is not evidence.
Suppose a genetic marker for homosexuality is found, and a test is devised for this, and couples begin to abort fetuses with this marker. Should this practice be made illegal? If so, then why not sex-selection abortions also? And why not abortions for handicaps?
Again Pakaluk misses the mark, as his follow-up makes clear that he expects us to answer that such practices should be made illegal. But I have no such qualms.
I am pro-abortion. I support all abortions, for whatever reason. Every single abortion is a lessening of the potential harm on this planet, no matter what motives were used to come to that decision. Yes to abortions based on homosexuality, yes to abortions based on sex, yes to abortion based on handicaps, for every single abortion means one less life that will come to suffer.
This is the difference between people like me and people like Pakaluk. Pakaluk claims to care about suffering, but really doesn’t. His use of fetus pain is a misdirection so we don’t look at the enormous amounts of pain generated by natalism, his underlying ideology. It is really just a parlor trick. There is nothing substantial to Pakaluk’s position beyond his unwavering, fanatical adherence to natalism.
And now, the last question:
Suppose the Supreme Court had decided in Roe v. Wade that the Constitution states that abortion must be illegal, that any law which allowed abortion was unconstitutional. What would your reaction have been? But the constitutional basis for a decision of that sort would have been just as strong as the constitutional basis for the actual holding of Roe., that any law which restricts or prohibits abortion is unconstitutional.
I suppose it’s fitting that we end on a question which is just as subjective as many of the other questions in the second half. Who cares what the Supreme Court decides? What bearing does people’s political agenda have on the facts? And what does the founding document of a country basically started in order to perpetrate genocide, a document which was engineered to separate 90% of the population from their rights, have to do with justice?
By any reasonable standard, the fact that the US Constitution has been judged as allowing abortion is a negative for abortion, not a positive. Likewise, if abortion had been outlawed, it should rightly be seen as a positive for abortion. My reaction to abortion being outlawed would have been sadness, anger, but also the bitter joy of having been proven right. Fittingly enough, my reaction to Pokaluk’s questions is exactly the same, minus the sadness.