The Competing Rights of the Mother and the Unborn Child

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The debate surrounding the legalization of abortion has been heavily concentrated on the competing right to life of the mother and her unborn child. There is general agreement that, where the rights involved concern one life versus the other, the mother's right is superior to that of the foetus. But in most, if not all cases, this right is already vindicated, though the law may lack clarity - and this needs to be addressed.

Most abortions, however, are not performed for medical reasons and do not involve a direct conflict of the respective right to life of the mother and child. Instead they are concerned with the right to life of the child versus a lesser right on the part of the mother. And it is the issue of how we are to measure and determine a value for these various rights what needs to be considered in the context of a repeal of the 8th amendment. In other words is there a hierarchy of rights that will determine whether and when abortion will be permitted? For example, if a woman wants an abortion because she already has too many children and cannot cope with any more, will this be treated as a superior right to a woman who wants an abortion because she is too young, too busy at work, worried that it will interfere with her education or has a holiday planned?

In summary, having recognised that most abortions do not involve a conflict in regard to the respective rights to life, how do we determine the circumstances in what would normally be considered to be lesser rights, would be deemed to be superior rights?
 


gerhard dengler

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The debate surrounding the legalization of abortion has been heavily concentrated on the competing right to life of the mother and her unborn child. There is general agreement that, where the rights involved concern one life versus the other, the mother's right is superior to that of the foetus. But in most, if not all cases, this right is already vindicated, though the law may lack clarity - and this needs to be addressed.

Most abortions, however, are not performed for medical reasons and do not involve a direct conflict of the respective right to life of the mother and child. Instead they are concerned with the right to life of the child versus a lesser right on the part of the mother. And it is the issue of how we are to measure and determine a value for these various rights what needs to be considered in the context of a repeal of the 8th amendment. In other words is there a hierarchy of rights that will determine whether and when abortion will be permitted? For example, if a woman wants an abortion because she already has too many children and cannot cope with any more, will this be treated as a superior right to a woman who wants an abortion because she is too young, too busy at work, worried that it will interfere with her education or has a holiday planned?

In summary, having recognised that most abortions do not involve a conflict in regard to the respective rights to life, how do we determine the circumstances in what would normally be considered to be lesser rights, would be deemed to be superior rights?
Good post.

In my opinion once a woman becomes a mother, then rights essentially become pooled between mother and her unborn child.
 

statsman

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[video=youtube;5gHOO2EzdBE]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gHOO2EzdBE[/video]
 

GDPR

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The Abortionists refuse to frame this question as an opposition of rights between two human beings. They dehumanize the infant by calling it a "foetus" and then claim there is only one right - the right of the mother to her convenience.

Of course, this framing completely ignores the fact that the great majority of women who have abortions do so under the coercion and threat of poverty. Abortion has become a safety valve for a Capitalist system in collapse. Choice is the last thing the so called "pro-choice" movement is promoting.
 
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Yes, you're right, Sailor.

But there are umpteen Abortion threads already.


I agree - but I think the matter of the inequality of the rights at stake has been somewhat lost in the general discussion, where the case is based on medical/life issues but the objective has little to do with either.
 

GDPR

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Excellent OP, thought provoking and worthy of a thread in its own right away from the appeal the 8th thread. I guess the debate is, do we even go there, yes/no, and if yes, what circumstances can be legislated for/against. My question re abortion centres around, we are exporting the issue and to what degree should this not be exported.
 

GDPR

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Excellent OP, thought provoking and worthy of a thread in its own right away from the appeal the 8th thread. I guess the debate is, do we even go there, yes/no, and if yes, what circumstances can be legislated for/against. My question re abortion centres around, we are exporting the issue and to what degree should this not be exported.
That's a different topic to the topic of this thread. Here we are only discussing the issue of competing rights of mother and child.
 

off with their heads

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The blood crazed horde who marched last weekend don't care about this they want abortion as a form of contraception now god dammit :mad:
 

SeanieFitz

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The blood crazed horde who marched last weekend don't care about this they want abortion as a form of contraception now god dammit :mad:
sweet and gentle jesus, "blood crazed horde".......surely the irony of you referring to anyone as being "crazed" is not lost on you?
 

Mercurial

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The OP takes for granted that when the right to life of each conflicts, then the mother's should take priority over that of the child, but it is far from obvious why this should be so, provided that we also make the assumption that the moral status of the mother is equal to that of the child.

If we don't make that assumption, then it is not obvious why the mother's right to life should be the only right that can trump the child's right to life. Consider, for example, a case involving a human being and a dog, where it is clear that he human's right to life trumps that of the dog's. It clearly doesn't follow, necessarily, that the only circumstances under which a dog may be killed, or allowed to die, are those where it is necessary to save the life of a human.

Obviously foetuses don't have the same moral status as dogs, so then the question is what is it about the foetus that gives it much stronger claims, given that these claims cannot be so strong (so the assumption goes) as to be fully equal to equal those of the mother).



As an aside, some of these issues are relatively easy to clear up depending on what one thinks of violinist type thought experiments, which, when applied to abortion, cover any case where a woman is not responsible for her pregnancy.
 

Killerbank

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The debate surrounding the legalization of abortion has been heavily concentrated on the competing right to life of the mother and her unborn child. There is general agreement that, where the rights involved concern one life versus the other, the mother's right is superior to that of the foetus. But in most, if not all cases, this right is already vindicated, though the law may lack clarity - and this needs to be addressed.

Most abortions, however, are not performed for medical reasons and do not involve a direct conflict of the respective right to life of the mother and child. Instead they are concerned with the right to life of the child versus a lesser right on the part of the mother. And it is the issue of how we are to measure and determine a value for these various rights what needs to be considered in the context of a repeal of the 8th amendment. In other words is there a hierarchy of rights that will determine whether and when abortion will be permitted? For example, if a woman wants an abortion because she already has too many children and cannot cope with any more, will this be treated as a superior right to a woman who wants an abortion because she is too young, too busy at work, worried that it will interfere with her education or has a holiday planned?

In summary, having recognised that most abortions do not involve a conflict in regard to the respective rights to life, how do we determine the circumstances in what would normally be considered to be lesser rights, would be deemed to be superior rights?



You Pro-Lifers just never give up do you?
 

GDPR

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The OP takes for granted that when the right to life of each conflicts, then the mother's should take priority over that of the child, but it is far from obvious why this should be so, provided that we also make the assumption that the moral status of the mother is equal to that of the child.
In reality, we make pragmatic choices of life and death all the time. We may well agree that the child of our own blood has equal right to life as a child in Africa who only has dirty water to drink. But, we make the pragmatic decision to feed and clothe our own child first and then, perhaps, give some surplus money towards saving the life of that child in Africa. Similarly, if the very rare occasion does occur where a continued pregnancy would put the life of the mother in danger, while we agree that the right to life of the mother and the child are equal, by law we have decided that a pragmatic decision can be made to save the life of the one emotionally nearest to us. This is a decision taken with the utmost regret, in the full knowledge that we are taking the life of a human being.
 

Mercurial

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In reality, we make pragmatic choices of life and death all the time. We may well agree that the child of our own blood has equal right to life as a child in Africa who only has dirty water to drink. But, we make the pragmatic decision to feed and clothe our own child first and then, perhaps, give some surplus money towards saving the life of that child in Africa. Similarly, if the very rare occasion does occur where a continued pregnancy would put the life of the mother in danger, while we agree that the right to life of the mother and the child are equal, by law we have decided that a pragmatic decision can be made to save the life of the one emotionally nearest to us. This is a decision taken with the utmost regret, in the full knowledge that we are taking the life of a human being.
Choosing the child in Africa over your own child isn't a "pragmatic choice" - it's either a choice that violates the rights of the African child, or it's evidence that that child has a weaker claim to your assistance than your own child.

But that case isn't even like this one, since neither the mother nor her born child should be more or less "emotionally near" to the doctors in question, who are duty bound to respect the rights of both patients.
 

GDPR

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Obviously foetuses don't have the same moral status as dogs
That's far from obvious to most of our abortionists. Indeed, I'd say some of them think the life of an unborn child is worth less than the life of a dog.
 

GDPR

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Choosing the child in Africa over your own child isn't a "pragmatic choice" - it's either a choice that violates the rights of the African child, or it's evidence that that child has a weaker claim to your assistance than your own child.
My point is that we make pragmatic choices every day of the week as to which humans should live and which humans will die.
 

GDPR

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But that case isn't even like this one, since neither the mother nor her born child should be more or less "emotionally near" to the doctors in question, who are duty bound to respect the rights of both patients.
The laws under which the doctors in Ireland work were based on emotional nearness.
 


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