Humanist philosophy shipwrecked on the abortion issue?

This is where I go, too, on the issue of abortion. It ties into many other problems. That it is a wedge issue of our time is not helpful. I doubt anybody actually likes abortion.

A healthy woman in this day and age could get ten or even twelve out of the oven, and still keep her teeth, I would think. A healthy man could sire thousands…

As to the health of these children; let alone their sheer quantity; I guess the average Mormon glows with delight, right? If only we could get to Mars, terraform the thing, then we could let some people go at it like this… presuming that the resources could bear it.

Meanwhile, back on Earth, it seems to me that the number of unhealthy children being born right now is awfully high here in the U.$.A. As to how many birth defects a civilization can support is a measure of humanist philosophy… now this is uncomfortable to discuss; as if the original conversation weren’t bad enough. Still, the idea that these topics would be tabboo as the rate rises… I can see a way through and it is simply between a good doctor and his patient:

A woman calls her doctor and says “I’m pregnant.” The doctor suggests she check on the health of her baby via the latest genetic and other methods available. Of course at this point the amount of possibilities are nearly endless, but suffice it to say that some cases the doctor will suggest that the woman try again; aborting the fetus, hopefully early and just with some pills. That this scenario ought to be possible in some society somewhere on the planet I find agreeable. What I see this result being is a happy woman and a happy and capable child, and hopefully a happy father figure in there too.

As to whose sperm is folding up funny due to the latest covid vaccine, or pesticide residue, or PVC fume from a forest fire engulfing a town; democracy can answer this problem far better than capitalism can. But now the system is so corrupt that it is difficult to see it righting itself via ordinary means. One thing is for sure: your religion will not protect your sperm; unless of course you want to create a new belief system around that…

Once human sexuality enters the equation there is no scientific answer that alleviates the tension. Ignorance is bliss, and probably the original source of theft: steal someone else’s food to keep your family alive. That’s called population pressure, and it is now a global problem.

It’s weird how conspiracy theories have become a symphony. In one sentence 3 or 4 get mentioned.

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"Human semen quality has declined worldwide in the last 40 years, by some accounts as much as 50-60%, causing serious concerns and implications for human fertility. Even though it has been shown to be a worldwide problem, this decrease is more pronounced in developed and industrialized countries, pointing to changes in modifiable lifestyle factors (e.g. unhealthy diets, lifestyles, and pollution) as the main causes. "

I suppose if it keeps going this way there will be no worry about abortions.

That shows you don’t understand much about what the abortion issue is actually about.

What’s left to say?


Because it can save lives, especially the woman’s, abortions is a necessary health care option, but if you care more about a zygote or fetus than the a woman already living in the world, I guess you rather see the women who have complications just die. This makes you a murder or at least an accessory to murder.

Before religion and nations and kings, being fruitful and multiplying was a survival technique, children were the common defense, your 401k and Medicare, and having more was how you compensated for infant mortality and shorter average lifespan. This got codified in scripture and we have a pretty good idea of how it got passed on from there.

Somewhere around the time we mapped most of the shorelines, the shift to slowing down that kind of reproduction started, but there was still the idea that one culture or worldview could grow enough to cover the globe, and fighting for yours was how you did it. That persists, and justifications for making babies, the way that making lots of them is tied to survival tags along with it.

I was born just before we hit 4 billion, which is the maximum that can be supported by agriculture without supplementing it with chemicals obtained from somewhere other than the soil, water, and air. Norman Borlaug knew this and told us that his Green Revolution was only a temporary solution. Very few people heard that message.

Very apt. Perhaps this is support for the global human identity as a high priority. As we identify as members of the human race then we are all brothers and sisters. This then helps alleviate that nationalist or other sect type identities and their procreational features.

It’s not unlike the Abrahamic religions; their exclusive nature is a part of their identity. In this regard they are not quite racist, but the next worst thing. Exclusive belief systems are attractive to the ego. A belief system that tells you to go forth and multiply by any means necessary: pretty sure that’s what quite a few of the Ukraine mercenaries are hoping for.

Under a global identity, as citizens of the world, we are humbled as one eight billionth (soon enough) of the human population. Yet to take this planetary stance is powerful.

“Is there any cause in nature that makes these hard hearts?”… “What’s the reason? I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die?”
(The first line in this passage is King Lear asking why his daughters Goneril and Regan acted as they have toward him; the rest of the passage is Shylock in “The Merchant of Venice” asking why the Christians have acted toward him as they have.)

CLICK HERE TO WATCH Al Pacino perform Shylock’s speech on YouTube

  • I enjoyed watching the “Dr. Strangelove” clip provided above in this thread. “Strangelove” so marvelously entertained with comedy while also jarring audiences with the very real danger of the wreck and ruin of civilization (and the deaths of hundreds of millions) by means of our modern technologies and by means of our natural, human, animal, biological drive to compete for resources and dominance.
  • Did “Dr. Strangelove” make a difference? Did it change history? Did it lead to nuclear disarmament or limitations?
  • Or did it just tickle the fancy of moviegoers and propel forward the career of Stanley Kubrick? I don’t know. JFK, who tried to establish peaceful coexistence with Communists (thereby enraging the miitary-industrial complex, which sought to annihilate all Communist governments), was assassinated while “Strangelove” was being made.
  • Like all biological beings, humans are (or so I have been told) programmed in their DNA by biological evolution to: (1) Strive for survival of ourselves and our close kin; (2) Cooperate with others in competing with others; (3) Devise more and more powerful tools [technologies] for cooperating and competing. All these impulses are (or so I have been told) pre-rational in human beings just as they are in chimpanzees and parrots. Philosophy (whether right wing, left wing, secular or relgious) appears to be the noble (and sometimes cynical) attempt to rationalize and justify the irrational and unjustifiable.
  • By the way, Sterling Hayden and Peter Sellers, who appear in “Strangelove,” also appear in Rod Serling’s “A Carol for Another Christmas,” another film from 1964 about the end of the world coming due to human aggression, competitiveness, and advanced technologies. I think the two films ought to be watched together. Serling’s film can be watched for free on YouTube.

Is there a point you’re trying to make, or are you simply changing the subject?

Pray tell, what is the point?

Thanks for Carol recommendation

And (1.5) make lots more kin. (1.6) ibid with other women than your wife. (1.7) ibid by your wife with other men.

I see that you were the OP on this, and carefully wrote up some real good stuff. I agree about the shipwreck. There are so many ways to look at this issue, and clearly the political won’t be having those discussions.

If males had a little valve they could turn… would they keep it turned on? Some would, I suppose, although now men are on the hook financially as I understand it for their offspring, at least here in the U.$.

I would think after about four or so even the most greedy man would turn the valve off, except in extraordinary circumstances. And of course the valve would be off for most men until they had the conversation with their partner about the possibility, and then too of course if the woman had such a valve as well… well, that seems a bit more difficult to install… as a man, or as men, is it possible that we could demand such a valve option? We know it exists as a cut with the potential of reversal…

“Dr. Masson had no hesitations about identifying the biggest myth surrounding vasectomies. “You will not experience any differences in your sexual function or pleasure. You will still be able to have sex and ejaculate, and everything will feel the same.” And that is probably a relief to men and women everywhere.”
" “Vasectomies should be considered permanent,” said Dr. Masson, meaning it’s not something to get done on a whim. “It’s very common for men and couples who never want children or don’t want any more kids to choose a vasectomy,” says Dr. Masson. “We never judge them, but we will not do the procedure until we’re positive they understand that it’s permanent.” The Association of Reproductive Health Professionals agrees, stating that vasectomies should never be performed if there is any chance that you might want to father children in the future."

Clearly our culture is not evolved and the discussions around abortion really should encourage the other options. Somehow the ability of a subject to turn taboo is still with us, even after Bart Simpson broke open so many topics. I’ll bet the Russians have the valve by now…

In that the choice to have sex is the choice to make a child: it must have been nice when this was the case and you were the alpha… and I suppose everybody else got some some of the time too. I’m afraid in modernity with the valve situation we’ll just be back to the alphas; the rich men getting the go-ahead to turn their valve on… Still, there would be far less abortion wouldn’t there?

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Animals Rights Seem to Embrace Later-Trimester Human Fetuses

ONE: I propose that the strongest humanist argument in favor of rights for human fetuses is that even if we accept that later-trimester human fetuses are not persons, at least they have the same or similar ontological or taxonomic status as our animal pets and animal livestock, which are also not persons.
TWO: Thus, if one is a vegan or vegetarian due to a desire to respect the right of animals (non-persons) to be free from unnecessary abuse, suffering, and death at the hands of humans, then it would seem logically necessary for such vegans or vegetarians to be against the aborting of later-trimester human fetuses.

What you are missing is that this is about a woman’s right to chose for herself how to deal with her unique set of circumstances - which she understands better than others.

It’s about woman’s right to sovereignty over her body.
And it’s about a woman’s right to self-defense.

[quote=“eupraxsophy100, post:34, topic:10335”]
ONE: I propose that the strongest humanist argument in favor of rights for human fetuses is that even if we accept that later-trimester human fetuses are not persons, at least they have the same or similar ontological or taxonomic status as our animal pets and animal livestock, which are also not persons.

First, the argument that life is sacred is false. We kill humans by the thousands during a war. Apparently wars are exempt from moral considerations such as sanctity of life!

I believe that the strongest argument lies with the host and her decision to commit 16 years of her life to an unwanted pregnancy.

TWO: Thus, if one is a vegan or vegetarian due to a desire to respect the right of animals (non-persons) to be free from unnecessary abuse, suffering, and death at the hands of humans, then it would seem logically necessary for such vegans or vegetarians to be against the aborting of later-trimester human fetuses.

Yes, the decision lies with the individual, not the onlooker. So stay out of your neighbor’s womb.

George Carlin had a clear perspective.

Warning crude language.

We also did a massive experiment during the Mideast Oil Crisis. We dropped the speed limit to 55. It saved oil, and it reduced highway fatalities. There was discussion about leaving it at 55, to continue to save lives, but we said, “nah”.

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The Human Womb as a No-Kill Shelter

  1. Many humanists believe in no kill shelters for unwanted pet animals.
  2. It seems logical that humanists with that conviction should also believe that human wombs should be “no kill shelters” for later-trimester human fetuses, on the ground that a later-stage human fetus has at least the same or similar ontological or taxonomic status as our animal pets.

What about all the natural deaths that occur during gestation?

The womb is a sanctuary but not a perfect one. Pregnancy is a wonderful thing, full of apprehension and difficulties and it’s never a done deal until the little one starts breathing air and drinking at mom’s bosom, or at least formula.

Oh come to think of it, the next few years are no guarantee either, life is precious but fleeting. But, that’s a different subject.

Incidence of Stillbirth

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fetal death occurs in roughly 1 in 100 pregnancies in the U.S. Early stillbirth (occurring from 20 to 27 weeks) is only slightly more common than late stillbirth (28 weeks or later). According to the CDC, there are approximately 24,000 stillborn births in the United States.1

According to the World Health Organization, there were 2.6 million stillbirths globally in 2015, with more than 7178 deaths a day. Most occurred in developing countries. Ninety-eight percent occurred in low- and middle-income countries. About half of all stillbirths occurred during the act of birth (intrapartum period), the greatest time of risk.2

Stillbirths. World Health Organization

Pregnancy loss in the second trimester can be the result of a very preterm delivery (like a spontaneous miscarriage in the second trimester) or death of the fetus (called a fetal demise). About 2-3% of pregnancies will be lost in the second trimester, a rate that is much lower than in the first trimester. Once a pregnancy gets to about 20 weeks gestation, less than 0.5% will end in a fetal demise.

The likely causes of and contributors to stillbirth identified by the study are listed below in order from most common to least common:1

  • Pregnancy and labor complications. Problems with the pregnancy likely caused almost one in three stillbirths. These complications included preterm labor, pregnancy with twins or triplets, and the separation of the placenta from the womb (also called “placental abruption;” the placenta provides nutrients and oxygen to the fetus). Pregnancy and labor complications were more common causes of stillbirths before week 24.
  • Problems with the placenta. Almost one in four stillbirths were likely caused by problems with the placenta. One example of a placental problem that causes stillbirth is insufficient blood flow to the placenta. In the SCRN study, placental problems were the leading cause of stillbirths that took place before birth, and these deaths tended to occur after 24 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Birth defects. In more than 1 of every 10 stillbirths, the fetus had a genetic or structural birth defect that probably or possibly caused the death.
  • Infection. In more than 1 of every 10 stillbirths, the death was likely caused either by an infection in the fetus or in the placenta, or by a serious infection in the mother. Infections were a more common cause of death in stillbirths before week 24 than in those after.
  • Problems with the umbilical cord. Problems with the umbilical cord were considered a probable or possible cause of about 1 in 10 stillbirths. For example, the cord can get knotted or squeezed, cutting off oxygen to the developing fetus. This cause of stillbirth tends to occur more toward the end of pregnancy.
  • High blood pressure disorders. High blood pressure in the mother—whether due to chronic high blood pressure or to preeclampsia—also contributed to stillbirths. These types of stillbirths were more common in the end of the second trimester and the beginning of the third, compared with other parts of pregnancy.
  • Medical complications in the mother. Problems with the mother’s health—such as diabetes—were considered a probable or possible cause in fewer than 1 in 10 of the stillbirths.

This research also showed that:

Bill Hicks had a joke that if you are pro-life, you should be standing outside of cemeteries and not letting anyone in. I mean, if you’re really committed. What you are ignoring here is the circumstances under which people have late term abortions. If a woman has carried the child that long, they are committed to having it, they want it. There are too many possible scenarios to list for why someone chooses to abort at that stage. It’s between the woman and her doctor, it’s almost always a medical reason, like the baby is already dead. No humanist value can bring them back to life. It’s nothing to do with values. Babies die in the womb, they develop diseases where they don’t have a brain or a functioning heart. What do you think we should do in those circumstances, find a humanist and ask them? Find an old white dude who bought a state senate seat and get their opinion?

@ eupraxsophy100,
Please understand, I agree with you in principle. But politicians have no medical standing to make life or death decisions over people. Usually, the parties involved have a much better understanding of the issues.

You cannot legislate life or death. Nature does not obey human laws and the person faced with the dilemma is much better equipped to make decisions than some faceless politician completely removed from the actual medical situation.

[quote=“eupraxsophy100, post:38, topic:10335”]

  • Many humanists believe in no-kill shelters for unwanted pet animals.

Yes, that’s why we have “institutions” to maintain sick, old, or handicapped persons.

  • It seems logical that humanists with that conviction should also believe that human wombs should be “no kill shelters” for later-trimester human fetuses, on the ground that a later-stage human fetus has at least the same or similar ontological or taxonomic status as our animal pets.

We do not normally allow late stage abortions unless there is medical proof of complications that endanger the mother.

Federal and State Bans and Restrictions on Abortion

At the federal level, the Hyde Amendment and a federal abortion ban both limit abortion access nationwide. Federal-level attacks on abortion access also include attempted 20-week bans.

Learn about federal bans and restrictions on abortion here — and read on to understand abortion bans and restrictions at the state level.

Hyde Amendment

The Hyde Amendment withholds federal Medicaid funding from abortion nationwide, with extremely narrow exceptions. It’s an intrusive and unfair restriction on insurance coverage for millions of people with low incomes, and it is an example of politicians interfering with access to safe and legal abortion.