Abortion and the Right to Life - Part III

Written by Sam Vaknin


Continued from page 1

Still, not every immoral act involvingrepparttar termination of life can be classified as murder. Phenomenology is deceiving:repparttar 132653 acts lookrepparttar 132654 same (cessation of life functions,repparttar 132655 prevention of a future). But murder isrepparttar 132656 intentional termination ofrepparttar 132657 life of a human who possesses, atrepparttar 132658 moment of death, a consciousness (and, in most cases, a free will, especiallyrepparttar 132659 will not to die). Abortion isrepparttar 132660 intentional termination of a life which hasrepparttar 132661 potential to develop into a person with consciousness and free will. Philosophically, no identity can be established between potential and actuality. The destruction of paints and cloth is not tantamount (not to say identical) torepparttar 132662 destruction of a painting by Van Gogh, made up of these very elements. Paints and cloth are converted to a painting throughrepparttar 132663 intermediacy and agency ofrepparttar 132664 Painter. A cluster of cells a human makes only throughrepparttar 132665 agency of Nature. Surely,repparttar 132666 destruction ofrepparttar 132667 painting materials constitutes an offence againstrepparttar 132668 Painter. Inrepparttar 132669 same way,repparttar 132670 destruction ofrepparttar 132671 fetus constitutes an offence against Nature. But there is no denying that in both cases, no finished product was eliminated. Naturally, this becomes less and less so (the severity ofrepparttar 132672 terminating act increases) asrepparttar 132673 process of creation advances.

Classifying an abortion as murder poses numerous and insurmountable philosophical problems.

No one disputesrepparttar 132674 now common view thatrepparttar 132675 main crime committed in aborting a pregnancy is a crime against potentialities. If so, what isrepparttar 132676 philosophical difference between aborting a fetus and destroying a sperm and an egg? These two contain allrepparttar 132677 information (=allrepparttar 132678 potential) and their destruction is philosophically no less grave thanrepparttar 132679 destruction of a fetus. The destruction of an egg and a sperm is even more serious philosophically:repparttar 132680 creation of a fetus limitsrepparttar 132681 set of all potentials embedded inrepparttar 132682 genetic material torepparttar 132683 one fetus created. The egg and sperm can be compared torepparttar 132684 famous wave function (state vector) in quantum mechanics repparttar 132685 represent millions of potential final states (=millions of potential embryos and lives). The fetus isrepparttar 132686 collapse ofrepparttar 132687 wave function: it represents a much more limited set of potentials. If killing an embryo is murder because ofrepparttar 132688 elimination of potentials how should we considerrepparttar 132689 intentional elimination of many more potentials through masturbation and contraception?

The argument that it is difficult to say which sperm cell will impregnaterepparttar 132690 egg is not serious. Biologically, it does not matter they all carryrepparttar 132691 same genetic content. Moreover, would this counter-argument still hold if, in future, we were be able to identifyrepparttar 132692 chosen one and eliminate only it? In many religions (Catholicism) contraception is murder. In Judaism, masturbation is "the corruption ofrepparttar 132693 seed" and such a serious offence that it is punishable byrepparttar 132694 strongest religious penalty: eternal ex-communication ("Karet").

If abortion is indeed murder how should we resolverepparttar 132695 following moral dilemmas and questions (some of them patently absurd):

Is a natural abortionrepparttar 132696 equivalent of manslaughter (through negligence)?

Do habits like smoking, drug addiction, vegetarianism infringe uponrepparttar 132697 right to life ofrepparttar 132698 embryo? Do they constitute a violation ofrepparttar 132699 contract?

Reductio ad absurdum: if, inrepparttar 132700 far future, research will unequivocally prove that listening to a certain kind of music or entertaining certain thoughts seriously hampersrepparttar 132701 embryonic development should we apply censorship torepparttar 132702 Mother?

Should force majeure clauses be introduced torepparttar 132703 Mother-Embryo pregnancy contract? Will they giverepparttar 132704 motherrepparttar 132705 right to cancelrepparttar 132706 contract? Willrepparttar 132707 embryo have a right to terminaterepparttar 132708 contract? Shouldrepparttar 132709 asymmetry persist:repparttar 132710 Mother will have no right to terminate butrepparttar 132711 embryo will, or vice versa?

Being a rights holder, canrepparttar 132712 embryo (=the State) litigate against his Mother or Third Parties (the doctor that aborted him, someone who hit his mother and brought about a natural abortion) even after he died?

Should anyone who knows about an abortion be considered an accomplice to murder?

If abortion is murder why punish it so mildly? Why is there a debate regarding this question? "Thou shalt not kill" is a natural law, it appears in virtually every legal system. It is easily and immediately identifiable. The fact that abortion does not "enjoy"repparttar 132713 same legal and moral treatment says a lot.



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




The Murder of Oneself

Written by Sam Vaknin


Continued from page 1

This is where life ends and social judgement commences. Society cannot admit that it is against freedom of expression (suicide is, after all, a statement). It never could. It always preferred to castrepparttar suicides inrepparttar 132650 role of criminals (and, therefore, bereft of any or many civil rights). According to still prevailing views,repparttar 132651 suicide violates unwritten contracts with himself, with others (society) and, many might add, with God (or with Nature with a capital N). Thomas Aquinas said that suicide was not only unnatural (organisms strive to survive, not to self annihilate) but it also adversely affectsrepparttar 132652 community and violates God's property rights. The latter argument is interesting: God is supposed to ownrepparttar 132653 soul and it is a gift (in Jewish writings, a deposit) torepparttar 132654 individual. A suicide, therefore, has to do withrepparttar 132655 abuse or misuse of God's possessions, temporarily lodged in a corporeal mansion. This implies that suicide affectsrepparttar 132656 eternal, immutable soul. Aquinas refrains from elaborating exactly how a distinctly physical and material act altersrepparttar 132657 structure and / orrepparttar 132658 properties of something as ethereal asrepparttar 132659 soul. Hundreds of years later, Blackstone,repparttar 132660 codifier of British Law, concurred. The state, according to this juridical mind, has a right to prevent and to punish for suicide and for attempted suicide. Suicide is self-murder, he wrote, and, therefore, a grave felony. In certain countries, this still isrepparttar 132661 case. In Israel, for instance, a soldier is considered to be "army property" and any attempted suicide is severely punished as being "attempt at corrupting army possessions". Indeed, this is paternalism at its worst,repparttar 132662 kind that objectifies its subjects. People are treated as possessions in this malignant mutation of benevolence. Such paternalism acts against adults expressing fully informed consent. It is an explicit threat to autonomy, freedom and privacy. Rational, fully competent adults should be spared this form of state intervention. It served as a magnificent tool forrepparttar 132663 suppression of dissidence in places like Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany. Mostly, it tends to breed "victimless crimes". Gamblers, homosexuals, communists, suicides repparttar 132664 list is long. All have been "protected from themselves" by Big Brothers in disguise. Wherever humans possess a right there is a correlative obligation not to act in a way that will preventrepparttar 132665 exercise of such right, whether actively (preventing it), or passively (reporting it). In many cases, not only is suicide consented to by a competent adult (in full possession of his faculties) it also increases utility both forrepparttar 132666 individual involved and for society. The only exception is, of course, where minors or incompetent adults (the mentally retarded,repparttar 132667 mentally insane, etc.) are involved. Then a paternalistic obligation seems to exist. I userepparttar 132668 cautious term "seems" because life is such a basic and deep set phenomenon that evenrepparttar 132669 incompetents can fully gauge its significance and make "informed" decisions, in my view. In any case, no one is better able to evaluaterepparttar 132670 quality of life (andrepparttar 132671 ensuing justifications of a suicide) of a mentally incompetent person than that person himself.

The paternalists claim that no competent adult will ever decide to commit suicide. No one in "his right mind" will elect this option. This contention is, of course, obliterated both by history and by psychology. But a derivative argument seems to be more forceful. Some people whose suicides were prevented felt very happy that they were. They felt elated to haverepparttar 132672 gift of life back. Isn't this sufficient a reason to intervene? Absolutely, not. All of us are engaged in making irreversible decisions. For some of these decisions, we are likely to pay very dearly. Is this a reason to stop us from making them? Shouldrepparttar 132673 state be allowed to prevent a couple from marrying because of genetic incompatibility? Should an overpopulated country institute forced abortions? Should smoking be banned forrepparttar 132674 higher risk groups? The answers seem to be clear and negative. There is a double moral standard when it comes to suicide. People are permitted to destroy their lives only in certain prescribed ways.

And ifrepparttar 132675 very notion of suicide is immoral, even criminal why stop at individuals? Why not applyrepparttar 132676 same prohibition to political organizations (such asrepparttar 132677 Yugoslav Federation orrepparttar 132678 USSR or East Germany or Czechoslovakia, to mention four recent examples)? To groups of people? To institutions, corporations, funds, not for profit organizations, international organizations and so on? This fast deteriorates torepparttar 132679 land of absurdities, long inhabited byrepparttar 132680 opponents of suicide.



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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