Thursday, January 11, 2018

Abortion and the right of privacy

The fetus has human DNA and the potential to develop into something with all the characteristic of human personhood. Depending on the stage of pregnancy, it lacks certain of the occurrent mental states that humans have. It is a borderline case. On my view it is of considerable value whether we think of it as fully a person or not fully a person. Our cats are not people, but I will get very very angry if you kill one of them. The Supreme Court decided that a woman had a knowable right to privacy with respect to her own reproductive medical decisions, and the fetus's right to life, as best they were able to ascertain, was not knowable. So, for legal purposes, the woman's right to privacy has to take precedence over the fetus's right to life, since we can be sure of the former but not the latter. Even the dissent in Roe, and the subsequent arguments of anti-Roe justices like Scalia, have not attempted to argue that the right of the fetus to life is knowable. Instead, they have tried to argue, and on my view not very plausibly, that the woman's right to privacy isn't really established, but is a product of judicial activism. People who vote Republican (and even vote for a Republican Presidential candidate whose pro-life convictions are highly suspect) in order to get Roe overturned are hoping for justices who will undercut the status of the right of privacy. But I think it's not judicial activism, I think there is a legitimate right of privacy. 

Catholic politicians such as Joe Biden believe that, as a matter of revealed truth, we can know that fetuses are persons. However, he agrees with the Supreme Court that the personhood of the fetus isn't knowable by all citizens, and he agrees with the Supreme Court that a woman's right to privacy implies a right to an abortion unless a countervailing right of the fetus to life can be established as knowable by all citizens. Therefore he believes that the current status of the law is correct with respect to abortion even though he also believes, as a Catholic, that fetuses are persons.

12 comments:

bmiller said...

@Victor,

The fetus has human DNA and the potential to develop into something with all the characteristic of human personhood.


On my view it is of considerable value whether we think of it as fully a person or not fully a person.

But this all depends on what a person is, right? What exactly determines what a "person" is?

Are there degrees of personhood? 0-99% a person so not evil to destroy? Then 100% a person so evil to destroy? A sliding scale?

You mentioned getting upset if someone killed your cat. I would get upset with someone who destroyed my car. Would you think if evil if I destroyed my own car? What if I destroyed my own cat? Does a cat have a certain percentage of personhood?

I'm not necessarily advocating any change to any laws or statutes or any particular interpretation of the constitution. Just asking what is good or evil and why.

BTW, I don't think politicians have a very good record on making that determination :-)

SteveK said...

@bmiller,
Most of the attention is put on the fetus, for good reason, but I would also argue that it's immoral for a person to rip a developing person (at whatever %) from a woman's body because that act frustrates God's purpose for humanity. We were not created so that we could abort developing persons in the womb. In fact, just the opposite. It's somewhat similar to purposely cutting yourself or taking your own life.

I don't necessarily advocate making a law against some of these things, just pointing out the moral aspect.

bmiller said...

Right. That's what I'm interested in, the moral aspect.

I can understand the atheist position for abortion. I have a hard time understanding the Christian position for abortion.

Is it evil or not? If it's not evil, why not? If it's evil, why not oppose evil?

Not trying to start a fight. Just trying to understand.

Jake Elwood XVI said...

I know progressive well argue against it, but it seems to me that the current progressive view of abortion is at odds with their pro rights views.

I wonder if the world 50 years from now will look at abortion the same way we look at segregation, restriction of marriage, and voting based on gender.

Joe Hinman said...

@bmiller,
Most of the attention is put on the fetus, for good reason, but I would also argue that it's immoral for a person to rip a developing person (at whatever %) from a woman's body because that act frustrates God's purpose for humanity. We were not created so that we could abort developing persons in the womb. In fact, just the opposite. It's somewhat similar to purposely cutting yourself or taking your own life.

that assumes you know God's purpose for that participator individual. It also assumes you have the right to impose your idea of it on people who don't even believe in God.

bmiller said...

@Joe,

That was SteveK you quoted, not me.

My questions were in the first and third posts.

SteveK said...

Joe: "that assumes you know God's purpose for that participator individual."

God can certainly tell each of us what to do through special revelation. What would make you think God is actively doing that regarding abortion? I don't have any reason to think you are correct.

How about the people who cut themselves? Is God speaking to those people telling them to cut, cut, cut?

SteveK said...

Joe: "It also assumes you have the right to impose your idea of it on people who don't even believe in God."

I impose my ideas through the American legislative process. In other countries ideas are imposed by other methods. I do have that right, and yes, so do you if you are an American.

Joe Hinman said...

No we don't. constitution says we don't that's why there;s a wall in 1st amendment/

Joe Hinman said...

bmiller said...
@Joe,

That was SteveK you quoted, not me.

My questions were in the first and third posts.

January 13, 2018 10:09 AM

sorry

SteveK said...

Joe,
Disagree if you want but the reality is I've already imposed my ideas on you several times through the years (if you're an American). I've done that by voting for people that I know will work to create various laws that your local police will enforce.

Joe Hinman said...

offf topic, Metacrock's blop is religious belief magical thinking?