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Speaker: Abortion: morality and health

145 Responses

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  • George Darroch,

    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 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    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 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    They are uncomfortable topics because so much of the narrative is wrapped up in morality.

    And here you get to a laziness/moral torpidity that has slunk its way into a lot of peoples thinking. If it makes them uncomfortable that seems to be the cue to resort "well it worked in the past whats wrong with that!"
    Short answer, times change, thinking on these subjects advances, what was ok in the past is no longer relevant because we now know different.
    If it didnt we'd still have slaves, Emperor's, all kinds of stupidity. Yet now we have stupidity that is part of the wallpaper we all live with. dumb really.

    It’s time someone reminded politicians that winning elections isn’t their job, governing is

    And they have to LISTEN, and do some intelligent, forward looking introspection. Something which such people have never learned! Yes, in this way our leaders have made themselves ignorant.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1669 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    Not much has changed? "Safe Marriage" - Ettie Rout.
    The immorality of her whole business: The Womens Temperance Society Page 2.
    This picture of Ettie Routs nurses is here. My Wonderfuls's great aunt, Dora Murch is pictured.
    My Grandfather lost 56 days of pay in Egypt in 1916 when he managed to "acquire" an STD........ I probably owe my existence to Ettie.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1582 posts Report Reply

  • kiwi_guy,

    Abortions should be permissible only in cases of rape or serious threat to the woman's health.

    The claim about Hawaii is dodgy, as the article itself points out, there maybe a drop in surgical abortions but only because of the day after pill.

    This is an issue about how we define a human life, its not merely a "woman's health issue" as feminists are trying to spin it.

    Since Jun 2015 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • william blake,

    http://www.workandincome.govt.nz/individuals/benefit-changes/dpb-sole-parents.html

    Paula Bennett making it harder to have a baby on the DPB, while Chester Borrows is trying to make it harder to not have one. Who said morality was easy, linear or logical? I fucking hate these people.

    Since Mar 2010 • 359 posts Report Reply

  • kiwi_guy, in reply to william blake,

    I should hope it is made harder to have a baby on the DPB, the State should not be used as a replacement for a father. Unfortunately feminists seem to demand exactly that.

    Since Jun 2015 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to kiwi_guy,

    Abortions should be permissible only in cases of rape or serious threat to the woman's health.... I should hope it is made harder to have a baby on the DPB

    So, women should be forced to have babies but we should punish those babies by starving them to death? How does that fit any morality? I suppose other than "women should be punished".

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1073 posts Report Reply

  • Moz,

    It’s time someone reminded politicians that winning elections isn’t their job, governing is.

    There have been a few anti-slavery petitions over the years, and some members bills recently. Unfortunately the pro-slavery activists have better SEO skills so it's hard to find much info. I think what we're seeing is as much a reaction to recent bills proposed to decriminalise abortion. Unfortunately it's emotive and goes against the evidence, but that sums up the anti-abortion arguments in general.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1073 posts Report Reply

  • Morgan Nichol, in reply to kiwi_guy,

    Unfortunately feminists seem to demand exactly that.

    Please tell me about more of your funny ideas.

    Auckland CBD • Since Nov 2006 • 313 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to kiwi_guy,

    I should hope it is made harder to have a baby on the DPB

    Do you know anything about the DPB or are you just spouting your problem with solo mothers.
    The DPB is a benefit that the father of the child, when identified, pays a considerable amount towards.The parents not being together may just be the best outcome for that child. That the DPB is now fraught with restrictive rules to access it shows that this Government does not care that a kid is fed, clothed or allowed time with the parent. Abortion for many woman is the best outcome for the bloody planet and it should be people like you that applauds a woman who makes such a decision. As Moz suggests morality is out the window with the Government.
    And, who the hell gives you the right to say rape should be an abortion right? No, rape just shouldn't fucking happen. Lets address that societal issue first before some kiwi guy gets to decide what a woman's allowed.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • kiwi_guy, in reply to Moz,

    So, women should be forced to have babies but we should punish those babies by starving them to death? How does that fit any morality? I suppose other than "women should be punished".

    If a woman can not afford to look after a child there are plenty of loving couples desperate to adopt. The mother could even stay involved. It can be made to happen.

    Why should the taxpayer be funding solo mother lifestyles - like those women who aren't even sure who the father is of their various kids.

    If a women CHOOSES to be sexually active she can take RESPONSIBILITY for that, not the tax payer.

    Since Jun 2015 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • Alice Ronald, in reply to kiwi_guy,

    Adoption is an alternative to parenthood, not pregnancy.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 61 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to kiwi_guy,

    feminists seem to demand exactly that

    Sheez even our imaginary god can hear the sneer in your words from the far side of its imaginary universe

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1669 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to George Darroch,

    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.

    In fact "human" doesn't help us much. Eggs and sperm and zygotes and embryos and fetuses are all human. The point that needs to be defined is when any of these can be called a person, with its own independent rights. The default threshold of personhood has been live birth.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3886 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to kiwi_guy,

    If a women CHOOSES to be sexually active she can take RESPONSIBILITY for that, not the tax payer.

    Exactly. And abortion is a useful part of taking responsibility. Not everything people do goes to plan, and the more we can help everyone recover from mistakes and more on, the better off we are.

    As Alice said, adoption is an alternative to pregnancy. Banning abortion means force pregnancy, which civilised people recognise as slavery.

    Now, if you were actively campaigning for better support for people who are pregnant or have kids but are struggling, I'd be more inclined to accept that you have the needs of kids at heart. Ideally you'd also want support for people who foster or adopt kids, but that's very much step two. But instead you seem to want to use deprivation as motivation. Last time we tried that it didn't work so well, lots of desperate mothers and kids being killed. Hardly "pro-life", as the anti-woman campaigners would have us believe.

    The DPB "lifestyle" is contrasted with the no-DBP deathstyle, not "poor but happy", and if generousity is taken to the extreme becomes the Paula Bennett success story of "solo mother gets generous benefit that allows her to go to uni and make something of herself".

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1073 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to kiwi_guy,

    If a women CHOOSES to be sexually active she can take RESPONSIBILITY for that,

    And if a MAN chooses to be sexually active...

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4625 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to kiwi_guy,

    If a women CHOOSES to be sexually active she can take RESPONSIBILITY for that, not the tax payer.

    Just as soon as people like you have removed any choice she has about bearing a child, right?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22403 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to George Darroch,

    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.

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

    The woman has the right to decide the fate of her body. The law should reflect that.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4403 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Lilith __,

    Eggs and sperm and zygotes and embryos and fetuses are all human.

    My fingernail clippings are possibly human, depending how silly people want to get with the definitions. I'd rather stick with "sometime between conception and adulthood", if we can. Probably narrowing it to "sometime between viability and birth", if we can simplify things that far.

    One problem that anti-abortion laws can run into is criminalising miscarriages, which has happened in parts of the USA. The slavers sometimes claim that's accidental, other times claim it's a deliberate punishment for poor women who have the temerity to get pregnant. I consider it awful, regardless of intent.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1073 posts Report Reply

  • kiwi_guy, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    Lets address that societal issue first before some kiwi guy gets to decide what a woman's allowed.

    Abortion should not be used for population control, not surprising you think it should though, after all Communist China does it and your Feminist ideological roots are grounded in failed Marxist philosophy.

    The issue involves the very nature of human life and should not be allowed to be hijacked by a small group of Feminist ideologues.

    The tax payer is sick of being treated like an ATM, forever expected to hand over money to individuals who make poor life choices and emotionally blackmailed with hysterical nonsense about "starving babies".

    Since Jun 2015 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to kiwi_guy,

    Really if you are going to be a troll can you try and be original.

    And in all honesty, this subject is just too important to have trolls dribble all over it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4403 posts Report Reply

  • kiwi_guy, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    The woman has the right to decide the fate of her body. The law should reflect that

    She HAS got the right to decide - whether to hop in the sack with a guy or not, or use contraception aware that there is a very tiny risk it doesn't work.

    How about you start thinking about how FREEDOM entails RESPONSIBILITY.

    And seriously you believe the ending of a human life is a better course than the "inconvenience" of 9 months pregnancy?

    Since Jun 2015 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Moz,

    My fingernail clippings are possibly human, depending how silly people want to get with the definitions. I’d rather stick with “sometime between conception and adulthood”,

    At some point in the future it will be possible to develop a human being from stem cell tissue and likely cause differentiated tissue to transform into stem cell tissue. In short, making a human from say a small biopsy will be possible. Such a human will be a person with all the rights and responsibilities of any other person. Does that make all the biopsy samples in all the hospitals human?

    And as for adulthood - well the brain doesn't appear to stop developing ever and certainly is changing dramatically into the mid 20s - you wanna come up with a humanity test? Cause I don't.

    Even the mark of birth is difficult now. Many children are born prematurely, many born via caesarian section. Every year medicine changes the time required inside a human for a fetus to survive.

    None of these measures stand up to science now and even less to science in the future.

    But it is absolutely true that the mother IS a person NOW. It is simply her choice, that is the only viable moral path.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4403 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    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 • 2264 posts Report Reply

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