Posts by George Darroch

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  • Speaker: Abortion: morality and health, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Even if you decide that at some point a fetus is “human” you are asking, no forcing, another human to risk their life and health for that fetus.

    Yes.

    Childbirth is not easy, and nor is it completely safe. In every 100,000 live births, 15 women die.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2190 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Abortion: morality and health,

    Because at that point the fetus has sufficient character to be considered human.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2190 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Abortion: morality and health,

    at some point you value the life of the fetus more than the freedom of the mother.

    Yes.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2190 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Abortion: morality and health, in reply to BenWilson,

    Even if there is objective morality, not just subjective or cultural, we still face the problem of how to make it happen, and in NZ that unfortunately involves convincing a hell of a lot of OWGs.

    And plenty of OWW.

    I'm convinced that there is a consensus to allow safe and accessible abortion. The curve that Ben has described is real. The first few weeks, and the months after that, are at the top end of that support curve. Of course there are going to be people who oppose even at that point, but they are immaterial to this debate.

    But if you don't define your terms, you create an absence. That allows the opposition to frame the debate and fill the 'facts' they want, and means that politicians are operating in a position of uncertainty. They hate that, and won't respond favourably even if they are on your side - as I'm sure that a majority are.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2190 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Abortion: morality and health, in reply to George Darroch,

    It’s my opinion that either you change these people’s perceptions, or you find the point that will get the great majority of current abortions legalised

    Which might just be a patronising way of saying "be realistic" and "advocate for incremental change".

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2190 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Abortion: morality and health, in reply to Deborah,

    Yes, it’s a vexed moral issue, and there is no clear dividing line between human person / not human person. We’re fairly clear that a baby is a human person (Peter Singer <i>et al</i> not withstanding), and we’re fairly clear that a newly fertilised egg is not (various religious types not withstanding). So we leave it to individuals to decide.

    So when people say that women shouldn’t have the right to choose for themselves whether or not they carry a pregnancy or terminate it, we are treating them as moral infants. We say that they are incapable of making that moral choice for themselves.

    Absolutely. In this day and age, laws are generally written to give a high degree of moral and intellectual autonomy to individuals. We usually only constrain them when that autonomy causes significant harm to others - for example free speech becomes fraud under certain circumstances. We treat people as moral infants where we think their behaviour will cause harm.

    Limit cases are important, because they define the edge of what is acceptable. If we state that autonomy of the woman is a superseding factor from a certain point until birth, that is a moral judgement.

    That point might be consciousness, nocioception, assisted viability, 'natural' viability, or some other defining characteristic or bundle of characteristics. I'm fine with other people advocating that the woman's autonomy supersedes all of these, but there is a large group of people who would not, and as each point in the fetus' development is reached that group gets larger.

    These people are the reason this law has not changed - to answer Lamia's question.

    It's my opinion that either you change these people's perceptions, or you find the point that will get the great majority of current abortions legalised.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2190 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Abortion: morality and health,

    So at some point in a pregnancy the law decides the potential human (fetus) has more rights than the existing human. Sigh.

    Well, the law (and society) might be treating that fetus as a human, a potential human (ie, greater than zero set of rights), or a non-human entity.

    There's a reason why this is a squishy subject - because if you get it wrong, it's about killing people. If you get it right it's about women having control over a medical condition they're experiencing.

    I think that (early 21st Century gay-marrying NZ) society is collectively quite comfortable with granting the latter and preventing the former. That's basically abortion on demand in the early stages of pregnancy, with highly restricted abortion in later stages.

    But they want to be assured and made comfortable that this is indeed the reality they're supporting. I think that's eminently doable, but pretending their concerns are invalid won't make them go away.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2190 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Abortion: morality and health,

    Meantime the number of unwanted pregnancies can be reduced with much better coverage of Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives, an effort to increase awareness, and full funding for all available options.

    Edit: there’s an understandable tension between prioritising advocacy on this issue or on abortion – a law that clearly needs to be changed. However, I think that reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies actually sharpens the arguments for abortion, which gives control back to those who need power over their bodies when they are unable to exercise it.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2190 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Abortion: morality and health,

    They have the resources to convene committees, get expert testimonies and make decisions that are based on evidence. We, as individuals, do not have that luxury when forming an opinion on an issue. They may not want to deal with this issue but dealing with it is in their job description. It’s time someone reminded politicians that winning elections isn’t their job, governing is.

    As you note, we have a law that doesn’t work. And this is so because this is a moral issue lacking in clarity. Evidence is necessary to inform the decision, but is not sufficient for making it.

    At a certain point, the product of fertilised egg can be considered a human – somewhere between conception and birth. The law (rightly) does not try to define this. But in this absence the law essentially treats all medically procedures to induce the abortion of that fetus as criminal, and exempts them under certain conditions.

    Without having a debate about where that moral line is, it’s very difficult to move forward. Even if there is consensus on a large range of associated issues, it will still come up. If there is a consensus for regarding a clump of cells with the potential to be human as not-human (as I believe) then we’ll get there. If there isn’t, this will founder - no matter the evidence or the wrongness of the current situation.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2190 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Unity, success: Chicken, egg?,

    The other major perceptual issue that Labour and other parties had was the ‘inability to form a government’. You have to be able to get to that line to start to present a ‘stable’ and ‘positive’ government, and that was sorely lacking.

    What the ‘Progress’ faction would do is to kick Labour’s allies for political gain. That might be worth a small poll bump, but it makes the maths harder and puts it in a further position of extreme vulnerablility. Ironically, it is something that has to be done from a position of strength. (I know, easier said than done.)

    Labour could do it in 2002, and again in 2005. It couldn’t do it in 1999, 2011 or 2014.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2190 posts Report Reply

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