Will science roll back Roe v. Wade

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Newsweek - Treating the Tiniest Among Us



As science discovers more about about the fetus do you think it could lead to legal status? As mentioned in the article, the fetus is already treated as a seperate patient which means medically it is a seperate person. Have technological advances proven, what lawyers could not? That preterm fetuses should receive legal rights.



Nick
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 34
    alcimedesalcimedes Posts: 5,486member
    this has always been one of my main arguments against abortion. as time goes on i fully expect a fetus to take on more and more rights. as the odds increase that a fetus can survive at a younger age, it will get harder to try and say it's just a lump of cells with no rights.



    in which case, aborting a fetus now would constitute murder in a near future. if that's the case, morally it's murder now, just not legally.



    *shrug*



    i think this has been known for ages though, doesn't seeem to make a difference to people on either side of the issue though.
  • Reply 2 of 34
    groveratgroverat Posts: 10,872member
    "That wasn?t our fetus, that was Samuel."



    How the hell do you argue with that?



    -



    How hard is it to take birth-control pills? If you freaking idiots would just use a modicum of protection you wouldn't have to worry about the goddam question!



    -



    IIRC, the vast majority of abortions occur before the surgical time (in the article: In any procedure, risks to the fetus?which is usually operated on between 18 and 26 gestational weeks) so any advances in this vein wouldn't really do a whole lot to the concept that Roe v. Wade introduced, but could "roll back" (I like your use of that term) abortion legislation to protect fetuses earlier and earlier.



    Technology will, of course, make changes like that. That's technology's job.
  • Reply 3 of 34
    enaena Posts: 667member
    Logically, I think science will win out. Once you have conception, with a human organism with Unique DNA controlling it's own development, everything else is semantics.





    It's only a matter of time.
  • Reply 4 of 34
    haraldharald Posts: 2,152member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by ena

    Logically, I think science will win out.



    You can't have read the evolution threads then.



    Otherwise smart people put superstition like creationism in front of good evolutionary science all the time.
  • Reply 5 of 34
    Quote:

    Originally posted by groverat

    "That wasn?t our fetus, that was Samuel."



    How the hell do you argue with that?





    Noone will argue against it. Noone is trying to take fetis(is that the plural form?) out of women who want to keep them.
  • Reply 6 of 34
    billybobskybillybobsky Posts: 1,914member
    so a fetus can survive if you take it out of a woman... if a woman doesnt want to go to term take the fetus out and have the state raise it.



    roe v wade isnt challenged by this, if anything it is supported. a woman's right to choose and not have the government controlling what surgical procedures she has done to herself is still her right.
  • Reply 7 of 34
    liquidrliquidr Posts: 884member
    Once you give someone a right, in this case a woman's right to choose, it is difficult to take it away.



    I for one am a pro-lifer for my personal views, but IMO there is still a political need for Roe v Wade. If it were to get rolled back then we need to give people an alternative to back alley abortion quacks and bloody coat hangers. It needs to begin with education. Then a more responsive and caring community. Maybe impossible I know, but that's the way I see it.
  • Reply 8 of 34
    thttht Posts: 3,931member
    In my reading of Roe v Wade, it is legal to proscribe abortion as long as there is an health exception for the mother. So I don't think it would be a roll back per se. For instance, making abortion illegal after 8 weeks would pass constitutional muster as long as there is an health exception.



    The viability discussion is up for debate and can be moved closer to conception based on the cultural mores of the time, but the Roe v Wade decision was about the health of the mother moreso than viability.
  • Reply 9 of 34
    shetlineshetline Posts: 4,695member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by trumptman

    As science discovers more about about the fetus do you think it could lead to legal status?



    I have no doubt that advances in science will contribute to the abortion debate, but it's not like that someday someone's going "prove" whether a fetus is "alive" or not.



    People on both sides of the debate drive me crazy because neither side usually shows any signs of being vaguely aware of the hidden assumptions behind what they're saying, most notably concerning the word "life".



    If anyone bothers to think about, it's clear that on one hand you have life with a small 'l', and on the other hand you have Life with a capital "L". Which is which, and how you define the distinction, is the real debate.



    Clearly an embryo or a fetus is alive in some sense of that word, even before it's capable, with or without the assistance of modern medicine, of survival outside the womb. But jellyfish and lichen are alive too, and obviously don't illicit nearly as much interest for their protection.



    So, we've got lower-case life, which is merely biological activity of any sort, and upper-case Life, which warrants consideration under the law as having full human rights. We also recognize gray areas in between by having laws such as those regarding cruelty to animals.



    I think when you examine how people distinguish between life and Life, it's not hard to find some common basic criteria, but these criteria can become troubling and difficult under close examination.



    Here are the criteria that come to mind for me:
    • Possession of a soul: This one is probably one of the strongest reasons to protect an unborn child for many people, but it's also a matter of religious dogma, and almost certainly beyond the realm of scientific inquiry. To complicate matters further, there are many people who believe that animals have souls too, that maybe even believe plants have souls, and people who may or may not make any value distinctions between human souls and nonhuman souls.



      In any case, I don't think that religious dogma about the presence or absence of a soul has any place in formulating laws in a society that values separation of Church and State. Regardless of that fact, I think that other criteria that people use to distinguish life from Life factor largely into how they feel about souls (for those who believe in them at all).

    • Intelligence: The intelligence of human life is clearly one of the things that is widely valued about human life. By intelligence, I don't just mean language and math and music and such, but the subtle emotional intelligence of humans, our awareness of our own lives, our ability to have plans and hopes and dreams. It feels sad and wrong to snuff out this deep awareness, to end any chance that an intelligent mind might have to fulfill its dreams. An intelligent human mind can comprehend its own death, and it's considered cruel to make a human mind aware and fearful of its own impending demise in most circumstances.



      But if intelligence is our guideline, what of the human value of the severely retarded or brain damaged? What of the value of intelligent animals that may be more intelligent that some badly damaged humans?

    • Potential: A jellyfish or a patch of lichen might be alive, but they have no human potential. A human embryo does have human potential. But as science advances, a flake of dandruff may soon have all the potential to grow into an independent human being that a freshly fertilized human egg has. Every time a man and woman pass in the street, there's a potential for human life to be created. Do we bemoan every such opportunity that is not pursued?



      Is there something especially magical about the potential that exists only after a specific egg and a specific sperm have combined? If the answer is, yes, uniqueness, doesn't this beg the question of human Life being more valuable than other life if we don't also value the uniqueness of fresh and original plant and animal genomes?



      Nature doesn't always show enormous regard for the potential of the fertilized egg. Many embryos never survive past gastrulation, the point in embryonic development where the embryo goes from a solid ball of cells to a tube of cells, forming the primitive basis for the digestive track. If "Samuel" never makes it out of the embryonic stage, his mother may never even be aware that his life (or Life) existed.

    • The feelings of the living: A big part of what we think about when we think of the sadness of death, and what rouses anger when we consider the crime of murder, is not the loss of life for the one who has died, but the loss of that person's presence in the lives of others.



      Yet again, just like intelligence, this is an uncomfortable standard for the value of human life, because we might not want to say that a well-loved person is more deserving of legal protection than someone who is friendless, or even widely disliked. There are certainly some animals who are more loved, and whose deaths would cause greater sadness among the living, than some humans.

    • Uniqueness: I touched on this in discussing potential, but the loss of an individual's uniqueness is often cited specifically as a regrettable aspect of death. Yet we do not value twins or triplets less, regardless of the fact that they lack genetic uniqueness and typically have less breadth of experiential difference than most people have when compared to any other individual.



      Also, uniqueness is not unique to humans. Other forms of life can be unique as well, although perhaps nonhuman uniqueness does not seem to us to have the same richness as human uniqueness.

    • Humanity: This isn't a clearly distinct criteria, but some of us value other human lives simply because they are like ourselves in many ways, genetically and historically members of the same extended family.

    Considering all of this, I'd say that how an individual makes the distinction between life and Life is likely to remain very much in the domain of personal values regardless of whatever happens in science or medicine.
  • Reply 10 of 34
    toweltowel Posts: 1,479member
    I don't like the idea of technology dictating morality. Actually, maybe I do. The movement to outlaw abortion is based on the idea of universal morality. Universal morality cannot be relative, or it ceases to be universal and is no longer a fit topic for legislation. Universal morality cannot be based on the status of medical technology. if a 4-cell conceptus is a human being deserving of human rights, having or not having the capability to keep that conceptus alive and bring it to term in an artificial womb is irrelevant. Either it's deserving of protection or it's not. If the answer depends on technology, then the answer is "not", or, more accurately, "up to the individual".



    Anyway, science advances without ideological direction. Yes, we can operate in utero after a certain point (you can't operate on a formless mass of cells), but we also know more and more about when and how development happens and about the inefficiency of conception. We know that before a certain point the embryo is not equipped to experience pain (not even as a reflex). We know that most concepti never make it to the second trimester. We know that many never even implant. The increasing resolution of our knowledge only makes the moral uncertainty sharper.



    Edit: Great post, shetline.
  • Reply 11 of 34
    xterra48xterra48 Posts: 169member
    First let me say that i am pro choice up front.

    Quote:

    as time goes on i fully expect a fetus to take on more and more rights. as the odds increase that a fetus can survive at a younger age, it will get harder to try and say it's just a lump of cells with no rights.



    what are you saying zygotes have survived outside the body since Invitri fertilization came about. And if not for moral objections (i would object too) scince could grow a baby outside of humans for science's sake. your logic has no merrit. To conclude if someone dosent think it's right to have an abortion, don't have one, but dont force that on other people.
  • Reply 12 of 34
    enaena Posts: 667member
    I think the question is: When does it turn into human life? It has an unique DNA signature and it controls it's own development. It never mixes its blood supply with the mother's so it is NOT part the of the mother's body. It is a parasitic organism.



    The whole Abortion issue was never about the viability. A newborn child whose heart hasn't sealed into four chambers isn't viable. It is about who controls reproduction, nothing more. The viability argument is for people who don't understand fetal development and somehow believe that the fetus is an extension of the mother---the blood making a round-trip through the fetus---with the placenta firmly embedded in the mother.
  • Reply 13 of 34
    scottscott Posts: 7,431member
    I'll toss this in. Real world ... could happen





    Functional MRI. aka fMRI. Functional MRI is able to detect parts of the brain that are activated. For example you do a resting scan ... then a scan with finger movement. It tells you which part of the brain is controlling the finger.





    Now MRI is safe for pregnant women. As resolution and sensitivity increase you'll be able to do fMRI on a developing human. What will we find out? I can't wait to see.
  • Reply 14 of 34
    aquafireaquafire Posts: 2,758member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by THT

    In my reading of Roe v Wade, it is legal to proscribe abortion as long as there is an health exception for the mother......The Roe v Wade decision was about the health of the mother moreso than viability.



    Yes, & sadly what now pass for justifiable "health issues" for a woman who chooses abortion is a joke......... "I am having a...bad hair day, or it is inconvenient to my current life style". Of course that is not all women...by and large..The doctors just choose to go along with it, for fear of being sued if they don't grant an abortion ticket.

    At the same time the Pro-choicers ( Pro-death ) never mention the psychological health issues that many women suffer " AFTER " having abortions..And how many of them remain scarred for life as a consequence. They're just casualties in the gender wars.



    Re The " backyard abortionists " returning if Roe Vs Wade is overturned. This is a little piece of propaganda drummed up by the "pro-choice " ( Pro-death ) lobby. Who ignore the fact that such methods occured at a time that contraceptives were not invented, effective or readilly available.



    Ena is right in saying it is all about who controls fertility, contraception, etc...And we as a society are all paying the price.



    The nett result since abortion has been lagalised...( along with contraception etc ) is the massive decline in reproduction rates across the entire western world.



    A massive aging of the population, an increasing tax burden on the state,( lack of young to replace the older generations ),

    Western society will probably be the first in history to abort itself to extinction...But that's Ok by me, because there are other more deserving societies than ours....



    So in the final analysis..re Abortion....What goes around comes around.. :may God forgive us all.
  • Reply 15 of 34
    thttht Posts: 3,931member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by aquafire

    Yes, & sadly what now pass for justifiable "health issues" for a woman who chooses abortion is a joke......... "I am having a...bad hair day, or it is inconvenient to my current life style". Of course that is not all women...by and large ...



    Re The " backyard abortionists " returning if Roe Vs Wade is overturned. This is a little piece of propaganda drummed up by the "pro-choice " ( Pro-death ) lobby. Who ignore the fact that such methods occured at a time that contraceptives were not invented, effective or readilly available.




    I don't get what you are trying to say, except for ranting.



    Quote:

    The nett result since abortion has been lagalised...( along with contraception etc ) is the massive decline in reproduction rates across the entire western world.



    Western culture doesn't produce lots of children. It's about that simple. To reverse it would require the elimination of condoms, diaphrams, spermacides, vasectomies, tube tying, et al.



    Quote:

    A massive aging of the population, an increasing tax burden on the state,( lack of young to replace the older generations ),

    Western society will probably be the first in history to abort itself to extinction...But that's Ok by me, because there are other more deserving societies than ours....



    So in the final analysis..re Abortion....What goes around comes around.. :may God forgive us all.




    You're just scaring me here. And scaring me in the "you're delusional" sort of way. More deserving societies than ours?
  • Reply 16 of 34
    enaena Posts: 667member
    That just didn't sound like ranting.......
  • Reply 17 of 34
    bungebunge Posts: 7,329member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by ena



    It is about who controls reproduction, nothing more.




    I find it very strange that you can admit this, but are still not pro-choice. Am I to believe that you think laws should control reproduction?
  • Reply 18 of 34
    enaena Posts: 667member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by bunge

    I find it very strange that you can admit this, but are still not pro-choice. Am I to believe that you think laws should control reproduction?



    The US shifted from the God/man under God's law paradigm, to the current society as abstract/government fiat law in the 20th century.



    Under the first you had a family headed by a male who had the last word on production, and under the current ideal you have women at large controlling production outside the confines of a family.



    It's a simple power struggle.





    ....on not being pro-choice, I haven't made my views on anything known---I think we should be able to argue the merits of things without pigeon-holling each other into stereotypical "camps"--- it's just too depersonalizing.
  • Reply 19 of 34
    aquafireaquafire Posts: 2,758member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by THT

    I don't get what you are trying to say, except for ranting.

    You're just scaring me here.

    And scaring me in the "you're delusional" sort of way. More deserving societies than ours?




    Why is it whenever some holds a mirror to such Pro-choice generalisations as " backyard abortions " they're emmediately attacked & dismissed as ranting ?

    Everything I said is true..Perhaps you'd like to show me the statistics on backyard abortions ? That great Pro-Choice Bogy....but somehow ...I doubt it.



    As for current Western population demographics..



    I don't know where you have been for the last 20 years THT but these are issues our governments are trying to come to terms with right now.



    None of this is " new news " Its generally referred to as:



    The Greying of America..

    The Greying of Australia..

    The Greying of Europe..



    Hello..THT..Have you noticed a common word here ?



    And as to my inference about other societies being more deserving? Sure. Why not..



    What do you think I am thinking ?



    White supremicist, Arian Race stuff....



    Dead wrong mate.



    I am thinking about societies that place a Higher value on "Family life " than the self indulgent " me me me " Baby boomer mentality that has come to dominate in the west. And that means most of the rest of the world..including many traditional 3rd world countries.



    Like I said, what goes around..comes around...

    But make no mistake THT, we in the West are reaping a whirlwind its just that we're sitting on the porch and haven't noticed the whirlwind that is about to hit.



    But you just keep on playing with you Xbox. It'll all be right........!!
  • Reply 20 of 34
    toweltowel Posts: 1,479member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by aquafire

    As for current Western population demographics..



    I don't know where you have been for the last 20 years THT but these are issues our governments are trying to come to terms with right now.




    You're making the assumption that every abortion is one less person in the society. I don't think that's a valid assumption. Abortion is usually about when to have kids, not whether. That woman who gets an abortion at 19 goes on to have her 2.1 kids (2000 rate for US via CDC) in her late 20s and early 30s. Abortion's just one more factor in our society's trend to have fewer kids, later. It's certainly not causal. And anyway, there's also the slightly uncomfortable argument that abortion saved our society: that not having all those millions of out-of-wedlock kids raised by single teenage moms contributed greatly to the fall in crime rates and rise in general well-being during the lare 80s and 90s.
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