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The Forum > Article Comments > The semantics of abortion > Comments

The semantics of abortion : Comments

By Helen Ransom, published 9/2/2006

When does human life begin? A discussion on RU486, abortion and choice.

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Some more semantics, Helen, since you're using semantic argument as much as anyone else in this debate.

Technically, the oral contraceptive pill is also an abortifacient it does not prevent the joining of sperm and ovum, but the implantation of the fused cells in the uterine wall. Scratch point 4.

An unborn baby is not necessarily a genetically unique member of the human race: identical twins are not genetically unique.

Apropos twins, you get yourself into a bit of trouble with your insistence on personhood ab initio. There is a compelling argument that personhood cannot exist in zygotes until the possibility of twinning has passed. If a single zygote (call it Adam) splits into two, are the resulting persons Adam and Bruce? Bruce and Craig? If they're Bruce and Craig, where is Adam? Did he ever exist? And if they're Adam and Bruce, which is the elder? Which is which? Honestly, you should know about this one it comes from Norman Ford, head of philosophy at the institution where you're studying.

There's also Bedate and Cefalo's argument about hydatidiform moles concepti carrying gross genetic abnormalities which lack the potential to become even a human being, let alone a person. So you might be in a bit of trouble with even your weaker claim that all concepti are axiomatically human beings.

Oh, and as I've asked in another thread, what happens if, when asked, the un-aborted child expresses a preference that he or she had been aborted? It's a reductio ad absurdem, I know, but not beyond the realms of possibility.

I await the hostile responses with a certain resigned interest.
Posted by anomie, Thursday, 9 February 2006 12:19:12 PM
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More semantics. If murder - the killing of "innocent" people? - is universally condemned (I don't know - is it?), then the condemnation meets widely ignored (perhaps even universally). Too many examples, too obvious to list.
Posted by Shell, Thursday, 9 February 2006 12:29:44 PM
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Nice one Anomie. I find pro-foetus men are a reasonably understandable phenomenon- they long for the days when women were their chattel, and their opposition to abortion is a manifestation of that. But there's something deeply twisted about a pro-foetus woman such as Helen, selling other women's rights and freedoms down the river. Incidentally, if we're going to say life begins at conception, why stop there? Why not begin at ejaculation? Why not start agitating against condoms as weapons of murder? Oh wait, they already do. Also, note no mention of rape victims or incest victims- does the blanket ban cover them as well? Should a woman have to have her rapist's child? Would Helen have her rapist's child?
Posted by KRS 1, Thursday, 9 February 2006 12:41:52 PM
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Anomie you make some good points but you do not completely rebut Helen's arguments against abortion, especially late-term abortions.

And, Helen you have convinced me that the TGA is not the body to determine the availability of RU486. However, it is does not then follow that the parliament should ban the drug. Considering that the government does permit abortion then, providing RU486 is no more risky than surgical procedures, it should be allowed too.
Posted by Matt Canavan, Thursday, 9 February 2006 1:05:57 PM
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The problem i find with the pro-life arguement is where does it take us? To what outcomes does it lead? The arguement seems to have only one immediate end in mind, to make abortion illegal, and often neglects the problems that arise from there.
Just say we outlawed abortion tomorrow, then what? What about women who are unwilling or unable to carry a child to birth, do we make them wards of the state until they have the child? set up facilities to look after them? What about women who do not want to mother the child after birth or do not have the means? Do we force them to or put the child under other care? And who wears the cost of all this? And then theres the risks of the self-abortion techniques that these women might resort to, what do we do about that?
So fair enough, life may begin at conception and it might be a terrible thing to abort a foetus, but in my mind its the practicalities of the pro-life arguement that seem to bog it down not the moral debate.
Posted by Donnie, Thursday, 9 February 2006 1:26:57 PM
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Helen ,the debate is about RU 486 availability as a choice for women who want to have an abortion by taking the decision out of the hands of a god-bothering Minister for Health and placing the decision on availability in the hands of the TGA . You might not think having an abortion is not therapeutic but I reckon it would be very good therapy for a woman who does not wish to proceed with a pregnancy.
It's not about your or my preference for or against abortion.
Get pregnant and then you can decide for yourself but do not impose your ethics on the women who seek a choice of their own.
Posted by maracas, Thursday, 9 February 2006 1:55:04 PM
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