Abortion and the Right to Life - Part I

Written by Sam Vaknin


Continued from page 1

The answer is yes and no.

No one has a right to sustain his or her life, maintain, or prolong them at another INDIVIDUAL's expense (no matter how minimal and insignificantrepparttar sacrifice required is). Still, if a contract has been signed - implicitly or explicitly - betweenrepparttar 132656 parties, then such a right may crystallize inrepparttar 132657 contract and create corresponding duties and obligations, moral, as well as legal.

Example:

No fetus has a right to sustain its life, maintain, or prolong them at his mother's expense (no matter how minimal and insignificantrepparttar 132658 sacrifice required of her is). Still, if she signed a contract withrepparttar 132659 fetus - by knowingly and willingly and intentionally conceiving it - such a right has crystallized and has created corresponding duties and obligations ofrepparttar 132660 mother towards her fetus.

Onrepparttar 132661 other hand, everyone has a right to sustain his or her life, maintain, or prolong them at SOCIETY's expense (no matter how major and significantrepparttar 132662 resources required are). Still, if a contract has been signed - implicitly or explicitly - betweenrepparttar 132663 parties, thenrepparttar 132664 abrogation of such a right may crystallize inrepparttar 132665 contract and create corresponding duties and obligations, moral, as well as legal.

Example:

Everyone has a right to sustain his or her life, maintain, or prolong them at society's expense. Public hospitals, state pension schemes, and police forces may be required to fulfill society's obligations - but fulfill them it must, no matter how major and significantrepparttar 132666 resources are. Still, if a person volunteered to joinrepparttar 132667 army and a contract has been signed betweenrepparttar 132668 parties, then this right has been thus abrogated andrepparttar 132669 individual assumed certain duties and obligations, includingrepparttar 132670 duty or obligation to give up his or her life to society.

ID. The Right not to be Killed

Every person hasrepparttar 132671 right not to be killed unjustly. What constitutes "just killing" is a matter for an ethical calculus inrepparttar 132672 framework of a social contract.

But does A's right not to be killed includerepparttar 132673 right against third parties that they refrain from enforcingrepparttar 132674 rights of other people against A? Does A's right not to be killed precluderepparttar 132675 righting of wrongs committed by A against others - even ifrepparttar 132676 righting of such wrongs meansrepparttar 132677 killing of A?

Not so. There is a moral obligation to right wrongs (to restorerepparttar 132678 rights of other people). If A maintains or prolongs his life ONLY by violatingrepparttar 132679 rights of others and these other people object to it - then A must be killed if that isrepparttar 132680 only way to rightrepparttar 132681 wrong and re-assert their rights.

(continued)

Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He is a columnist for Central Europe Review, United Press International (UPI) and eBookWeb and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory, Suite101 and searcheurope.com.

Visit Sam's Web site at http://samvak.tripod.com




Abortion and the Right to Life - Part II

Written by Sam Vaknin


Continued from page 1

When a woman engages in voluntary sex, does not use contraceptives and gets pregnant one can say that she signed a contract with her fetus. A contract entailsrepparttar demonstrated existence of a reasonably (and reasonable) free will. Ifrepparttar 132655 fulfillment ofrepparttar 132656 obligations in a contract between individuals could be life-threatening it is fair and safe to assume that no rational free will was involved. No reasonable person would sign or enter such a contract with another person (though most people would sign such contracts with society).

Judith Jarvis Thomson argued convincingly ("A Defence of Abortion") that pregnancies that arerepparttar 132657 result of forced sex (rape being a special case) or which are life threatening should or could, morally, be terminated. Usingrepparttar 132658 transactional language:repparttar 132659 contract was not entered to willingly or reasonably and, therefore, is null and void. Any actions which are intended to terminate it and to annul its consequences should be legally and morally permissible.

The same goes for a contract which was entered into againstrepparttar 132660 express will of one ofrepparttar 132661 parties and despite allrepparttar 132662 reasonable measures thatrepparttar 132663 unwilling party adopted to prevent it. If a mother uses contraceptives in a manner intended to prevent pregnancy, it is as good as saying: " I do not want to sign this contract, I am doing my reasonable best not to sign it, if it is signed it is contrary to my express will". There is little legal (or moral) doubt that such a contract should be voided.

Much more serious problems arise when we studyrepparttar 132664 other party to these implicit agreements:repparttar 132665 embryo. To start with, it lacks consciousness (inrepparttar 132666 sense that is needed for signing an enforceable and valid contract). Can a contract be valid even if one ofrepparttar 132667 "signatories" lacks this sine qua non trait? Inrepparttar 132668 absence of consciousness, there is little point in talking about free will (or rights which depend on sentience). So, isrepparttar 132669 contract not a contract at all? Does it not reflectrepparttar 132670 intentions ofrepparttar 132671 parties?

The answer is inrepparttar 132672 negative. The contract between a mother and her fetus is derived fromrepparttar 132673 larger Social Contract. Society through its apparatuses stands forrepparttar 132674 embryorepparttar 132675 same way that it represents minors,repparttar 132676 mentally retarded, andrepparttar 132677 insane. Society steps in and hasrepparttar 132678 recognized right and moral obligation to do so wheneverrepparttar 132679 powers ofrepparttar 132680 parties to a contract (implicit or explicit) are not balanced. It protects small citizens from big monopolies,repparttar 132681 physically weak fromrepparttar 132682 thug,repparttar 132683 tiny opposition fromrepparttar 132684 mighty administration,repparttar 132685 barely surviving radio station fromrepparttar 132686 claws ofrepparttar 132687 devouring state mechanism. It also hasrepparttar 132688 right and obligation to intervene, intercede and representrepparttar 132689 unconscious: this is why euthanasia is absolutely forbidden withoutrepparttar 132690 consent ofrepparttar 132691 dying person. There is not much difference betweenrepparttar 132692 embryo andrepparttar 132693 comatose.

A typical contract statesrepparttar 132694 rights ofrepparttar 132695 parties. It assumesrepparttar 132696 existence of parties which are "moral personhoods" or "morally significant persons" in other words, persons who are holders of rights and can demand from us to respect these rights. Contracts explicitly elaborate some of these rights and leaves others unmentioned because ofrepparttar 132697 presumed existence ofrepparttar 132698 Social Contract. The typical contract assumes that there is a social contract which applies torepparttar 132699 parties torepparttar 132700 contract and which is universally known and, therefore, implicitly incorporated in every contract. Thus, an explicit contract can deal withrepparttar 132701 property rights of a certain person, while neglecting to mention that person's rights to life, to free speech, torepparttar 132702 enjoymentrepparttar 132703 fruits of his lawful property and, in general to a happy life.

There is little debate thatrepparttar 132704 Mother is a morally significant person and that she is a rights-holder. All born humans are and, more so, all adults above a certain age. But what aboutrepparttar 132705 unborn fetus?

One approach is thatrepparttar 132706 embryo has no rights until certain conditions are met and only upon their fulfillment is he transformed into a morally significant person ("moral agent"). Opinions differ as to what arerepparttar 132707 conditions. Rationality, or a morally meaningful and valued life are some ofrepparttar 132708 oft cited criteria. The fallaciousness of this argument is easy to demonstrate: children are irrational is this a licence to commit infanticide?

A second approach says that a person hasrepparttar 132709 right to life because it desires it.

But then what about chronic depressives who wish to die do we haverepparttar 132710 right to terminate their miserable lives? The good part of life (and, therefore,repparttar 132711 differential and meaningful test) is inrepparttar 132712 experience itself not inrepparttar 132713 desire to experience.

Another variant says that a person hasrepparttar 132714 right to life because once his life is terminated his experiences cease. So, how should we judgerepparttar 132715 right to life of someone who constantly endures bad experiences (and, as a result, harbors a death wish)? Should he better be "terminated"?

(continued)

Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He is a columnist for Central Europe Review, United Press International (UPI) and eBookWeb and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory, Suite101 and searcheurope.com.

Visit Sam's Web site at http://samvak.tripod.com




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