Followup on abortion

Regarding my last post on abortion, I would like to point out one response and two posts on a related current event in the UK.

As linked from the comments in my post, Christian blogger Ken Brown takes me to task for some incautious use of figures from the internet. (I stand by most of my post, but he is right that the 75% figure doesn’t seem to have a firm empirical justification.) I have submitted a detailed response to his criticism on his blog , but it has not (yet) appeared in the comments section.

Second, the recent vote on the Human Embryo and Fertilization Bill in the House of Commons (UK) has attracted the attention of two friends of mine.

Clare points out the dangers lurking behind the proposal to reduce the legal limit for abortions from 24 weeks gestation to 20 weeks. This action would serve to undermine important abortion rights. I should have linked her post before the vote to help get the word out, but in the end the proposed reduction was voted down anyway.

On the other side, Cath has given her perspective on why this decision, and the approval for ‘saviour siblings’, are inhumane. Her perspective, like that of Ken Brown, is religious, but of course that does not invalidate it. Please note: in Cath’s post, when she uses the term lawful, I think she is referring to an absolute moral law rather than human law. Otherwise saying that “their [legislators’] decision is not lawful” would be self-contradictory.

I think that Cath is assuming full human rights for any embryo – presumably from the moment of conception – an assumption that (as I pointed out in my last post) is neither necessary nor universal. Interestingly, Clare’s non-religious arguments for abortion rights do not depend on a rejection of that assumption.

Like Clare and Cath, I do not have time to get into a full-blown debate on this issue right now. Also, I hope to focus a little more on the positive and inspiring. Some of my recent posts have perhaps tended toward the combative, and I would like to redress the balance. My blogging notebook has several dozen ideas gestating in it – I look forward to nurturing them into fully-grown posts. Just as soon as the PhD is out of the way. Stay tuned.

 

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3 Responses to “Followup on abortion”

  1. Ken Brown Says:

    Hey Timothy,Thanks for taking the time to comment (and to link to my post), but I’m afraid your response never came through to my end. I don’t use comment moderation, so unfortunately, if it didn’t show up right away, it probably wont show up at all, and you’ll need to repost it. :/On a side note, I just reread my post and realized I didn’t mention how much I appreciated the tone of your post. You strike me as honest and eager for genuine dialogue; I hope I do so as well.Good luck with your PhD!

  2. Timothy Mills Says:

    Ken,Thanks for pointing that out. I have just re-posted it with apparent success.Anyone else, see Ken’s blog for our exchange.

  3. Timothy Mills Says:

    I just read this very interesting post on the Talking Philosophy group blog, which lucidly sums us why, in the absence of a clear moral consensus, we must allow individual choice on abortion rather than having blanket bans.

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