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Opening Arguments

On pain of death

I'm not a big fan of Futile Gestures That Make Grand Philosophical Statements, whichever end of the political spectrum they come from. Can anyone tell me what practical effect this proposal would have?

Women seeking abortions would have to be told that a fetus might feel pain under legislation approved by the Indiana House.

There could be all kinds of philosophical discussions about what "pain" really means at, say, eight weeks, when the fetus has pain receptors but no cerebral cortex. That kind of feeling without thinking is sensation without meaningful context.

But the larger point is, will any women seeking abortions really care? Would the possibility of fetal pain change their minds? They have decided to either terminate a life or prevent the start of one, depending on your beliefs. That's a decision with eternal ramifications, while the pain that might be involved is a temporal matter. It's like trying to sway strong death-penalty proponents with arguments of the pain some method of execution might cause. That doesn't really bother them, you know?


Michael B-P
Tue, 04/14/2009 - 9:03am

Like O'Rielly would say, "Oh, come on!" It's a boldfaced attempt by a male-dominated institution to instill individual guilt in women for exercising their own perogative. These schmucks need to get off their moral pedestals and stop trying to backdoor their kowtowing to religious fundamentalists.

tim zank
Tue, 04/14/2009 - 9:51am

Michael B-P..Oh I don't think you need to be a religous fundamentalist at all to believe yanking a baby from it's warm & cozy womb a few weeks ahead of schedule with a forceps and snapping it's neck is just a fuzz "controversial".

Michael B-P
Wed, 04/15/2009 - 1:08pm

Tim, surely not. On the other hand it doesn't require a commited secular humanist to perceive the intrusion of grandstanding political opportunists into legal areas where they simply do not belong.

tim zank
Wed, 04/15/2009 - 2:10pm

semantics...baby still has a snapped neck, no way around that.

Michael B-P
Wed, 04/15/2009 - 11:47pm

Perhaps we have less a contention regarding semantics in this instance and more a disagreement concerning jurisdiction as well as the actual subject at hand. Some may wish to frame the argument, rightly or wrongly, within the context of a religious or religiously-inspired belief regarding abortion while others may try to draw distinctions using a scientific approach. While sincere efforts using either method may help individuals obtain greater subjective clarity about this issue but neither method can achieve objective certainty, then I would suggest that in this case resolution is best left to the discretion of the individual most directly responsible for the consequences, i.e., the woman involved. I would further argue that the article-mentioned effort to harass women through legal chicanery is a vulgar intrusion of poltics into the realm of one of the most intimate moral decisions a person can make. On the other hand, perhaps you're of the opinion that the politicians in question have only our best interests at heart.