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View Poll Results: If you were/are registered as a U. S. voter, who would/did you choose?
John Kerry (Democrat) 27 52.94%
George W. Bush (Republican) 17 33.33%
"Go ahead. THROW YOUR VOTE AWAY!" 7 13.73%
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  #161  
Old 11-13-2004, 06:44 PM
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As you like it. I was only asking the simple question - why? Why stop when you could have gotten rid of him. Then this war wouldn't have happened....who knows what could have been avoided....maybe even 9/11...but perhaps we shouldn't think about might-have-beens, and instead think about what-is's....
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  #162  
Old 11-13-2004, 07:24 PM
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Don't look at me - in my humble opinion, the fairest form of warfare would have been locking Saddam and Bush Sr. into a room and declaring the one who walks out winner...

The question is whether there should have been a war in the first place, though it's admittedly a bit less controversial than the sequel.

Gatac
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  #163  
Old 11-13-2004, 08:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MmeBlueberry
1. It's morally right for anyone and everyone.
2. It's not morally right for me, but it's morally right for anyone who thinks it is.
3. It's not morally right for anyone.

The problem with the quote above is that it assumes people who are morally opposed to abortion fall into the second category. That isn't the case. People who fall in that category, in my experience, are generally pro-choice - they consider the main issue in the debate to be over whether a woman should have the right to choose an abortion, and they say yes, she should.

People who are pro-life, again in my experience, are generally in the third category. If I think abortion is the termination of a human life, and I don't think it's right for individuals to terminate human lives, then I'm not just opposed to personally having an abortion; I'm opposed to anyone having an abortion.

Put the child on the other side of the womb and let's suppose that infanticide were an issue (yes, I know it isn't, but work with me here). Let's suppose that some people think an infant, who's dependent on others for basically everything, isn't really a human being, so they have no problem with infanticide. Others think that dependence isn't the issue, since the baby has human DNA and is a living human person; they think infanticide is tantamount to killing. Would you tell the anti-infanticide people, "Well, just don't terminate your own babies, then. No one's forcing you to do that. But it's intolerant to keep others from terminating their babies if they don't believe they're human."? Of course not. If the issue is truly about life, then it's not just about protecting your own offspring; it's about protecting all the innocent lives. That is why pro-life people are not content simply to refrain from having abortions themselves while having no problem with the rest of the world having abortions.
While I understand the notion behind this (believe me, I spent a long time debating which camp I fell into before I settled on my current stance), the simple fact that half the people out there simply don't agree with those who think it is morally wrong for everyone kind of throws a wrench in that notion.

What about the teenagers? They would be hit very hard by the lack of availability. Would all teenagers be morally obligated to carry their child to term? I would argue, teenagers are simply not equipped to deal with a child, or the decision whether to keep a child or give it up for adoption (or to have an abortion for that matter). Is a widespread teen birth rate more desirable than any abortions occuring at all? What about all those teens who wouldn't accept no for an answer, and would resort to crude methods of aborting their child? It's a horrible implication, and one I think shouldn't be overshadowed by the idea that abortions are WRONG FOR EVERYONE.

Abortion as an issue needs to go on the wayside, while our country (and others, no doubt -- Canada's teen pregnancy rate is 50something per thousand) needs to focus on teen pregnancy. You can't attack abortion, or the birth rate goes up. You can't work on destigmatizing abortion or the abortion rate goes up. Neither of these is a good option. One has to attack the whole of the issue, not just the part one finds most morally wrong.

One last thing, I'd like to add that laws aren't made based on morals. Or at least, they shouldn't be. Laws are practical tools to ensure order. Murder is illegal because it disrupts people's right to live. Abortion is a much grayer issue. When does life start? We'll never know. The minute legislation becomes about morality is the minute democracy turns into theocracy. Where does it stop? Is mandatory baptizing of all citizens moral, thus legal? It sounds crazy, but once the church's teachings turn into legal ones, will it stop with abortion? What about gay marriage -- an entire class of people are denied the right to marriage by the government why? Because people consider gays as second class citizens? Because religion teaches homosexuality is wrong? What happens when these laws are passed. What next? There's always something. Will it end there? Somehow, I doubt it.
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  #164  
Old 11-13-2004, 08:35 PM
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Quote:
One last thing, I'd like to add that laws aren't made based on morals. Or at least, they shouldn't be. Laws are practical tools to ensure order.
Amen.

The problem with laws is that they have this suboptimal tendency to stick around far longer than they should. Remember, this IS the government that put one of it's senators on a no-fly list and had immense trouble getting him off it again because nobody could quite figure out how to do it.

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  #165  
Old 11-13-2004, 09:06 PM
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Wow, I love doing this. And I don't know why. Ah, well. You only live once...

1) Forcing of beliefs: I agree about religion, but not legal or for a large portion of morality. Religious beliefs should not be forced upon the populace. However, some other beliefs, such as the inalienable rights to life, liberty, ownership of property, and the pursuit as happiness, must be preserved. Rather than try to back that up with an actual argument, I'm going to treat that as a premise. If someone wants to argue those, then we're into first principles of philosophy, and that would last for years.

2) Contraception: I'm Catholic. This means that our faith is not based solely on Scripture, but what God has revealed through Divine Revelation to His Church. We believe (and, I should say, are right) that, in a nutshell, that sexuality is meant as an act of complete self-gift, and that contraceptives prevent that self-gift. I've written a few pages on this, but, frankly, it doesn't much matter to this political argument, and I see no reason to go to a place from which we can never really return. If you're really curious, here's a link to another forum where we had a dedicated topic for this, where I appear as TheDM: . My feeling is that most people here would get bored in about 10 seconds. I would have.

3) Now, why am I not logged in? Dang it, my last post got posted as a guest. Thanks, whoever fixed that.

4) Unfortunately, IJD, due to the construction of the Allan Guttmacher tablemaker, a direct link is not possible. However, you can toy around however you like from here: .

5) IJD, you have some good points about sex ed. I see no reason not to massively improve our system. However, the high teen birth rate is no reason not to make 99% of abortions illegal. I see your argument as similar to what I term the "Prudential" argument for keeping slavery legal: "We can just educate people all how black people are human, and the slavery rate will go down. Also, imagine how horrific slavery would be if it were a black market operation." The argument was probably right, too. But it wouldn't change the horrible injustice done to the few remaining slaves, nor was slavery much better when operated legally. Your fifth-to-last sentence reminds me of one of my mother's favorite sayings on seeing the bumper sticker, "Don't like abortion? Don't have one." She always growls, "Don't like wife beating? Don't beat yours."

6) Now I'm reading your next post, IJD, while I'm on the topic of you, which you seem to have posted while I've been typing. Curses. Yes, all teens should be required to carry their children (I find it intriguing) that you use that word) to term. I don't think that aborting a child is any more difficult of a choice to make than whether or not to give him up for adoption. I suppose, with abortion, you know exactly where your baby is: in the grave. Except that fetuses don't get graves.

7) As page 6 of this topic has progressed, I have seen the argument slowly reach its furthest possible point without changing into something completely new. This is the point which has turned Blue against Red, Coasts against Heartland, Europe against America, and Brother against Brother. Most of the time, morality and the maintenance of order go hand-in-hand, and the law follows. However, on abortion, and, as America discorvered last week, a host of other issues have found the ultimate mediums. These issues are not even gray: to those who believe that morality is the foundation of law, it is a black-and-white issue. To those who believe law is about order, it is a white-and-black issue. Those first principles I stated at the beginning of this post? We've now found grounds on which some of them can no longer be said to be given.

I'm not talking about gay marriage, mind you. That is a whole different monkey. The arguments against it are sound, but, unfortunately, the vast majority of those who passed the 11 state constitutional amendments last week have no idea what they are, instead basing their vote on strictly religious grounds.

What I suppose it really comes down to is this: Is there a right and a wrong? Or is life merely a series of power relationships, with each individual trying to get the upper hand? Murder, I fear, is only the first issue. There will soon be challenges like this on every front, and the world (now I'm just getting cynical) will be plunged into war before anyone realizes what has happened to society.

Maybe I've just degenerated into ranting and fear-mongering. On the other hand, the way in which this debate seems to be stalled only assures me that I am onto something.

Gatac: Fascinatingly complex topic, hm?
Valium: Horrendously so...

Commence the rebuttals!

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  #166  
Old 11-13-2004, 10:38 PM
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You only live twice, Wowbagger! Has James Bond taught you nothing?

1) I just realized that yes, I could probably dispute this, but somehow, I don't feel like going over THAT, too. Maybe later.

5) I know I'll probably receive massive negative Karma for bringing this up, but it's easy to say slavery is wrong when you're looking back at it from our perspective. However *draws deep breath*, there were economic reasons back in the days that meant slavery was viable. People made money off it, commerce flourished from it, and I have my doubts that the US could have gotten to a leading position that fast without slavery or the semi-slavery of "corporate towns" and such. Now, I firmly believe slavery is morally wrong, but at the time, that wasn't exactly a very popular opinion. People *believed* it was, if not right, then at least justified. Lincoln made a hell of an effort *not* to come out and say that he thought slavery should be made illegal.

The morale of the story? Somebody will come along in the future and wonder why we ever argued.

6) So as an added "screw you" to the part of the populace that's least likely to have thought through getting pregnant, you're also forcing them to carry it through? Sure, an abortion will probably be regretted later, but giving the emotionally needy a peptalk on responsibility won't help. (By the same token, forcing an abortion would be equally bad, if not much worse.) So the teenagers - financially dependant and busy with getting their education and building their own existence - get saddled with kids. So it's either being supremely stressed in the period where their life will not cope with just missing a year or two to care for children or giving the child away. Maybe the grandparents will take care of it during the day, if you're lucky.

I know, the situation is already bad, but this doesn't sound like an improvement. Education remains the favored weapon for me.

7) Of course, laws were first derived from moral codes. But is that still viable today? When we have laws for an entire nation, whose moral code do we use?

What precisely would you say are arguments against gay marriage, on secular grounds? I mean, I can see the religious point of view, but ignoring perceived morality, my question is: why not? What's so fundamentally wrong and harmful to society at large about it?

In my opinion, there is no absolute right or wrong. There are things I, here, in this moment, agree with, and things I disagree with. At large, there are a few basic things most of us can agree with, and that is what the majority will define as "right" or "legal", but that does not mean it is *right* independantly of those people.

Life *is* a network of power relationships. It generally works, and like many other animals, humans are obsessed with hierarchies, order and structures. There is a strong feeling of cause and effect that pervades everything we do. Show up in the office in the morning, do work, get paid, buy food, eat, survive. Our actions are based on reasons and driven by the result we wish to archieve. The primary goals of any lifeform are survival and reproduction. "Gaining the upper hand" does not mean becoming Supreme Overlord of All Mankind. It means surviving, staying on top of the game. And yes, there's lots of people who fail. That's regrettable, but it's been that way for as long as life has existed, and is unlikely to change in the near future.

Wars generally suck for all involved, but they too have been part of the pattern for a long time. Unless fundamental changes in the economic reality happen (and I'm talking replicator post-scarcity economics here), war will continue. We won't be plunged into war; we've been involved in one for as long as mankind's collective memory serves.

Yeah, I know, it's a sobering thought.

Gatac
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  #167  
Old 11-14-2004, 12:37 AM
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I was stating my feelings. Forcing my beliefs on you would be if I firebombed your church, just like those people that firebomb abortion clinics.

I tend to post on here with a gut reaction mentality...if I see someone saying something that pisses me off, I'll respond to it in my own creatively offensive way,so you shouldn't take about....37% of what I say seriously or personally.And that includes the earlier part of this message. lol
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  #168  
Old 11-14-2004, 08:52 AM
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Laws are based on a set of moral - and yes, they will work today - you shall not kill, you shall not steal, you shall not commit adultery - at least trying to follow these rules makes some sense - and should make life a little easier - for one thing, you're not making up crap to the wife about how you didn't steal that sack of gold, and how you've never seen the girl in the bathroom before in your life, lol.

but Gatac: HOW IN THE SEVEN HELLS can you claim that just because it was economically sound it was morally right to enslave people? Explain this one to me, because I have a hard time seeing it. IT IS WRONG. No two ways around it. And as for people who were behind it, I can give you one single reason: greed. Perhaps people did believe it was justified - but perhaps they believed the moon was made of cheese. Any way, I thought that the majority had no place in matters of conscience?

Personally, I do believe in absolute right and wrong, but sometimes there are moderating influences, and you have to add those in.
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  #169  
Old 11-14-2004, 10:05 AM
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But morality follows from the basic rules on how people should live together. Nobody sat down and said "Hey, wouldn't it be swell if we didn't kill each other on sight?"; this basic rule follows from the age-old revelation that when you've got more time to eat when you're not constantly watching your back.

Reread my post, Valium. Nowhere do I say that it was morally right. I do not agree with slavery. There, I'll say it again. Slavery is wrong to me. My point was, back in the days, it was still wrong, but it made economic sense. Corporate towns existed beyond actual slavery before the workers flat out refused to do anything, and today, we're headed in a similar direction again. It's a simple economic truth that when you already have a market to sell to, your best bet is cheap - very cheap - labor. The rise of wages throughout came from the realisation that the workers were the new market. (There's currently an uproar over working conditions at Electronic Arts - they have their staff work 7 days a week with barely enough time off to sleep, and then have the guts to claim that the creative guys are not entitled to overtime pay. Tell me how this is not alarmlingly similar to slavery.)

Of course there was greed behind it. Greed drives many human endavours, both positive and negative.

This actually illuminates the quote quite well - the majority believed it was right, but we know now that it wasn't and still isn't. History does not record many cases where the majority was right.

If there are moderating influences, then it's not absolute, or? I'm sorry, but this sounds like a logical contradiction. So there's a few things that are always wrong or always right, and then there's a big gray smudge between them for everything else?

I know I'm dragging up a lot of bad things, but those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Gatac
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  #170  
Old 11-14-2004, 10:35 AM
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I really don't like the idea of abortion.

Any time I ever discuss abortion with people who are pro-life, it inevitably becomes an emotional conversation on their side of the fence. It's not a pretty practice, and it's not something I like to think about. And ultimately, I would disagree with it on moral grounds if I was the father in a potential case of it.

Fetuses don't get graves. That was said for emotional effect, and I do sympathize. It's important for all you pro-lifers to remember that the people you're debating with aren't necessarily agreeing with this practice. Call it a case of the bystander effect if you will, but I for one, am not pulling any triggers.

Let me phrase my argument a little differently, and perhaps it will become more effective.

With such a high abortion rate, we have no business simply outlawing the practice right here and now.

Think of abortion as a huge bonfire. Do you stamp it out with your foot? No, that's a surefire way to get engulfed in flames. Instead, you wait for the fire to die out some. Then you can stamp it out with minimal damage to your shoe.

We have a high abortion rate. And I don't think making it illegal today is a great idea. Let's say tomorrow, laws are passed which illegalize abortion. What happens? A swell in the birthrate. Women all over the place with the unexpected duty of preparing to be a mother. Since the rate is so high at present, we'd have a messy situation on our hands for a while.

Wouldn't it be smarter to make this move more gradually? Do our best to reduce the abortion rate across all age ranges. Get these rates as low as possible. Then we can debate about whether or not abortion is right -- when the consequences of our making such a judgement won't be as severe as they would be right now.

What I'm saying is, our argument about abortion presently is premature. We should stop worrying about whether it's right or wrong, and start worrying about reducing it. Politicians bicker so much about preserving it or eliminating it, and the rate continues to grow. Abortion is not a problem we need to solve today. I think we can all agree that the rate at present is way too high. So let's take measures to reduce it.

And here, we get back to the contraception solution. Educate teenagers about contraception. These teenagers will feel better about it as adults. The more people use contraception, the less people will even have to think about abortion: yay or nay. We need to stamp this fire gradually, not all at once.

To those with a pro-life stance: once the abortion rate has been significantly reduced, I might very well be on your side. But until then, while I think your intentions are pure, your methods would be a mistake.
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  #171  
Old 11-14-2004, 03:20 PM
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IJD, I think you said "pro-choice" when you meant "pro-life" a couple of times there. Could be wrong, but it seems to make more sense that way. [ED: He's fixed it now. - Z]

As for your point, it's well taken. It would be a lot safer, not to mention more realistic, to try and phase out abortion by bringing the pregnancy rate down rather than banning it outright. And if we were talking about something like smoking, I'd agree.

But abortion is unique in its sheer severity. Every day abortion is legal in the States, nearly 4000 are performed. (The worldwide figure is around 125 000.) For anyone who believes abortion is murder, this is a horrific, unconscionable situation. And unless it's proven that more people will die if abortion is made illegal, we can't talk about phasing it out. It has to stop. Every extra day that takes us is another 4000 deaths.

To use your metaphor, no, you don't try to stamp a bonfire out with your foot. But you don't wait for it to die down either -- because who knows if it will? You have to douse it with water, and the sooner you start, the less chance the blaze will get even worse.

(I guess I've proven your point about pro-lifers inevitably getting "emotional." Unfortunately, this is an inherently emotional issue. It can't be reduced to numbers any more than slavery or ethnic cleansing can.)
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  #172  
Old 11-14-2004, 03:33 PM
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Another point is euthanasia is generally considered wrong. But how much difference is there between the elderly and the unborn?

Oh, and Vedra: If you are going to talk about my religion, then read the New Testament, read up on what my religion interprets it to mean, and the history of my religion and the lives of the people who made my religion, THEN tell me about what it thinks, not before. :wink:
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  #173  
Old 11-14-2004, 03:42 PM
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Euthanasia is a similar issue, also with pro-life and pro-choice arguments. In a way, this tends to get even more absurd - after all, people have been convicted for murdering people who have expressedly stated (and put down in writing) that they wish to end their lives.

Does that mean it's morally wrong to not apply life-supporting measures after brain death if the patient asks for it?

Taken to it's logical extreme - do humans have a right to suicide?

Gatac
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  #174  
Old 11-14-2004, 03:47 PM
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As attempting suicide is (I think) illegal in Britain, I would say Ooh, err, umm,ahh, uh, no probably not, in my personal opinion but it's not a subject I have looked into greatly. Also, the main worry with euthanasia is that it will become compulsory and that is a very dark lookout for the future...
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  #175  
Old 11-14-2004, 04:21 PM
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Compulsory Euthanasia? Sounds like Logan's Run to me.

But then, Compulsory (Anything) is pretty scary unless one enjoys being disenfranchised.

Gatac
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  #176  
Old 11-14-2004, 11:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatac
We won't be plunged into war; we've been involved in one for as long as mankind's collective memory serves.

Yeah, I know, it's a sobering thought.

Gatac

I can't believe I'm getting back into this argument, but here goes.

First off, I agree with Gatac on that point. Society has been basically a development of finding new and better ways to kill people. That doesn't make it right, it makes it a fact. If you look at every show set in the future, even (and I can't believe I'm saying this) anime all that has really been accomplished in the development of human nature is that often people are less reluctant to kill. A disapraging fact, but a fact nonetheless.

Is this part of it? I honestly don't think any one person has the right to choose for everyone else. I am not going to go into a lengthy discussion pointing out examples of my point of view, the only simple thing for me to state is that I am in support of the individual's right to choose.

It is not a black-and-white matter, nor a white-and-black one. As soon as people realize it is pointless to debate a gray area and give it over to individual choice, the more open-minded we as a race will become.

Now, onto the next controversial issue, at least the next one I will tackle. (A couple issues hit very close to home, and you can't say the abortion one doesn't, because I have a sister with a boyfriend that I am very worried about. She is only two years older than me, they are living together, (yes, he moved in with my family) and, to be honest, I respect her privacy too much to ask if they are using birth control but I have a feeling they aren't. So it could very soon become a hot issue for me.)

The next issue is another grey area I feel it important to address.
Is murder right?
Usually, no. But i depends extremely on the circumstances. It isn't part of that old good vs. evil argument, it is simply fact is: you can't draw the line for murder anywhere.

Using a metaphoric analogy, if you had a large chalkboard with all the species of animals, including us, listed on it as sentience and you asked everyone in the world to draw a chalk line between what they considered murder and what is a lesser life form, you would get as many different answers as there are species.

Murder, formally definded in the law, is the act of killing another human. And yet we live in eternal war, one way or another.

It's a sick, bitter, twisted irony we have created in our society, isn't it?
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  #177  
Old 11-14-2004, 11:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeke
IJD, I think you said "pro-choice" when you meant "pro-life" a couple of times there. Could be wrong, but it seems to make more sense that way.
You're right. I've edited to fix my mistake (which is the result of posting at 5:30 in the morning).

Perhaps we're right in thinking that abortion is an inherently emotional subject. I'd say, this is probably one of the biggest reasons society needs to focus on the bigger picture. People get pretty worked up about abortion, whatever side of the issue they're on. It's hard to have a rational, reasoned argument this way. Hopefully in this thread we can try to overcome that.

You say unless it's proven that more people will die if abortion were outlawed right now, then you still think that's the best option. Well I never made any mention of more people dying (though some will). Simply, outlawing abortion outright would have consequences which I for one am not willing to face. Here's a few off the top of my head.

1) Abortion is made illegal, and pregnant teenagers will now have to carry their child to term. What we'd have on our hands is a swell in the teenage birthrate. Pro-lifers I've talked with in the past have mentioned (though it hasn't been brought up here as far as I've seen) that the lack of availability of abortions would act as a deterrent toward teenage sex, and over time cause a decline in the teenage birth rate. Well first, I'm not entirely comfortable with this conclusion. I think teenagers are going to have sex no matter what our legislative process allows. Look how well our war on drugs is going, as an example of this. But even if this conclusion were true, is this terribly desirable? Sacrificing thousands and thousands of teenaged girls who will no longer be able to follow their educational goals and perhaps career desires simply because they're mothers now? Even if they give their children up for adoption, that's a choice that they'll probably ruminate over for the remainder of their lives. Are we going to cause these children we've failed through our enormous stigma on contraception even more drama and perhaps suffering just so we can teach the future generations of teenagers a lesson? This is simply unacceptable if you ask me. I picture people saying "Heheh, that'll learn 'em", and I wonder how such people can buy into this and the whole sanctity of life argument. This isn't an accusation toward anyone in particular here, but I have encountered people like this.

2) Outlawing abortion at present would create a swell in the newfound practice of "black market abortions". Here's where your deaths will come from (unless of course outlawing abortions means outlawing all abortions, even when the life of the mother and/or child is at risk, killing mothers and children all over the place -- since more or less everyone here is against that, I won't discuss it at present). If you outlaw abortions, that will effectively eliminate some -- perhaps most. But what about those mothers who simply won't accept no for an answer? Outlawing legal abortions effectively creates a new market for illegal ones. While some of these practices may be just as safe as the ones at present, I very much doubt that most will conform to the rigorous level of control without any regulations in place. How many mothers will be killed as a result of these people doing a shoddy job? How many will be permenantly damaged? How many mothers won't even bother to find someone else to do it, and will do what many mothers in 3rd world nations are forced to do -- bend a clotheshanger and sit in the bathtub. This is infinitely more horrible than anything that actually goes on in our abortion clinics at present. By eliminating the regulated, you open a pandora's box I doubt you'd like very much.

It's interesting you say that my argument would be valid for smokers, but not for mothers wanting abortions. Especially with our present discussion of Euthanasia. Is not smoking a more gradual form of Euthanasia?

Something to think about, anyway.
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  #178  
Old 11-15-2004, 12:45 AM
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The only thing I said about your religion, Valium, is that you go to a "church", if that was incorrect, I apologize. I didn't connect you with people that firebomb abortion clinics, nor did I make any assumptions about your religion. If you're going to get on my case just for the hell of it, try a little harder next time to make sense.
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  #179  
Old 11-15-2004, 10:52 AM
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Well, you did kind of lump your Jehovah's Witnesses in with the less looney part of Christendom....that was really all....Christianity is about as unified as the Anglican Union.....which is falling to pieces atm.....
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  #180  
Old 11-16-2004, 07:26 PM
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Just catching up with this, and I must say it's a fascinating debate.

Still very definitely moving to Mars though.
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