Abortion and the Right to Life - Part III

Written by Sam Vaknin


Having reviewedrepparttar above arguments and counter-arguments, Don Marquis goes on (in "Why Abortion is Immoral", 1989) to offer a sharper and more comprehensive criterion: terminating a life is morally wrong because a person has a future filled with value and meaning, similar to ours.

Butrepparttar 132653 whole debate is unnecessary. There is no conflict betweenrepparttar 132654 rights ofrepparttar 132655 mother and those of her fetus because there is never a conflict between parties to an agreement. By signing an agreement,repparttar 132656 mother gave up some of her rights and limitedrepparttar 132657 others. This is normal practice in contracts: they represent compromises,repparttar 132658 optimization (and notrepparttar 132659 maximization) ofrepparttar 132660 parties' rights and wishes. The rights ofrepparttar 132661 fetus are an inseparable part ofrepparttar 132662 contract whichrepparttar 132663 mother signed voluntarily and reasonably. They are derived fromrepparttar 132664 mother's behaviour. Getting willingly pregnant (or assumingrepparttar 132665 risk of getting pregnant by not using contraceptives reasonably) isrepparttar 132666 behaviour which validates and ratifies a contract between her andrepparttar 132667 fetus. Many contracts are by behaviour, rather than by a signed piece of paper. Numerous contracts are verbal or behavioural. These contracts, though implicit, are as binding as any of their written, more explicit, brethren. Legally (and morally)repparttar 132668 situation is crystal clear:repparttar 132669 mother signed some of her rights away in this contract. Even if she regrets it she cannot claim her rights back by annullingrepparttar 132670 contract unilaterally. No contract can be annulled this way repparttar 132671 consent of both parties is required. Many times we realize that we have entered a bad contract, but there is nothing much that we can do about it. These arerepparttar 132672 rules ofrepparttar 132673 game.

Thusrepparttar 132674 two remaining questions: (a) can this specific contract (pregnancy) be annulled and, if so (b) in which circumstances can be easily settled using modern contract law. Yes, a contract can be annulled and voided if signed under duress, involuntarily, by incompetent persons (e.g.,repparttar 132675 insane), or if one ofrepparttar 132676 parties made a reasonable and full scale attempt to prevent its signature, thus expressing its clear will not to signrepparttar 132677 contract. It is also terminated or voided if it would be unreasonable to expect one ofrepparttar 132678 parties to see it through. Rape, contraception failure, life threatening situations are all such cases.

This could be argued against by saying that, inrepparttar 132679 case of economic hardship, f or instance,repparttar 132680 damage torepparttar 132681 mother's future is certain. True, her value- filled, meaningful future is granted but so isrepparttar 132682 detrimental effect thatrepparttar 132683 fetus will have on it, once born. This certainty cannot be balanced byrepparttar 132684 UNCERTAIN value-filled future life ofrepparttar 132685 embryo. Always, preferring an uncertain good to a certain evil is morally wrong. But surely this is a quantitative matter not a qualitative one. Certain, limited aspects ofrepparttar 132686 rest ofrepparttar 132687 mother's life will be adversely effected (and can be ameliorated by society's helping hand and intervention) if she does haverepparttar 132688 baby. The decision not to have it is both qualitatively and qualitatively different. It is to depriverepparttar 132689 unborn of allrepparttar 132690 aspects of all his future life in which he might well have experienced happiness, values, and meaning.

The questions whetherrepparttar 132691 fetus is a Being or a growth of cells, conscious in any manner, or utterly unconscious, able to value his life and to want them are all but irrelevant. He hasrepparttar 132692 potential to lead a happy, meaningful, value-filled life, similar to ours, very much as a one minute old baby does. The contract between him and his mother is a service provision contract. She provides him with goods and services that he requires in order to materialize his potential. It sounds very much like many other human contracts. And this contract continue well after pregnancy has ended and birth given.

Consider education: children do not appreciate its importance or value its potential still, it is enforced upon them because we, who are capable of those feats, want them to haverepparttar 132693 tools that they will need in order to develop their potential. In this and many other respects,repparttar 132694 human pregnancy continues well intorepparttar 132695 fourth year of life (physiologically it continues in torepparttar 132696 second year of life - see "Born Alien"). Shouldrepparttar 132697 location ofrepparttar 132698 pregnancy (in uterus, in vivo) determine its future? If a mother hasrepparttar 132699 right to abort at will, why shouldrepparttar 132700 mother be denied her right to terminaterepparttar 132701 " pregnancy" AFTERrepparttar 132702 fetus emerges andrepparttar 132703 pregnancy continues OUTSIDE her womb? Even after birth,repparttar 132704 woman's body isrepparttar 132705 main source of food torepparttar 132706 baby and, in any case, she has to endure physical hardship to raiserepparttar 132707 child. Why not extendrepparttar 132708 woman's ownership of her body and right to it further in time and space torepparttar 132709 post-natal period?

Contracts to provide goods and services (always at a personal cost torepparttar 132710 provider) arerepparttar 132711 commonest of contracts. We open a business. We sell a software application, we publish a book we engage in helping others to materialize their potential. We should always do so willingly and reasonably otherwiserepparttar 132712 contracts that we sign will be null and void. But to deny anyone his capacity to materialize his potential andrepparttar 132713 goods and services that he needs to do so after a valid contract was entered into - is immoral. To refuse to provide a service or to condition it provision (Mother: " I will providerepparttar 132714 goods and services that I agreed to provide to this fetus under this contract only if and when I benefit from such provision") is a violation ofrepparttar 132715 contract and should be penalized. Admittedly, at times we have a right to choose to dorepparttar 132716 immoral (because it has not been codified as illegal) but that does not turn it into moral.

The Murder of Oneself

Written by Sam Vaknin


Those who believe inrepparttar finality of death (i.e., that there is no after-life) they arerepparttar 132650 ones who advocate suicide and regard it as a matter of personal choice. Onrepparttar 132651 other hand, those who firmly believe in some form of existence after corporeal death they condemn suicide and judge it to be a major sin. Yet, rationally,repparttar 132652 situation should have been reversed: it should have been easier for someone who believed in continuity after death to terminate this phase of existence onrepparttar 132653 way torepparttar 132654 next. Those who faced void, finality, non-existence, vanishing should have been greatly deterred by it and should have refrained even from entertainingrepparttar 132655 idea. Eitherrepparttar 132656 latter do not really believe what they profess to believe or something is wrong with rationality. One would tend to suspectrepparttar 132657 former.

Suicide is very different from self sacrifice, avoidable martyrdom, engaging in life risking activities, refusal to prolong one's life through medical treatment, euthanasia, overdosing and self inflicted death that isrepparttar 132658 result of coercion. What is common to all these isrepparttar 132659 operational mode: a death caused by one's own actions. In all these behaviours, a foreknowledge ofrepparttar 132660 risk of death is present coupled with its acceptance. But all else is so different that they cannot be regarded as belonging torepparttar 132661 same class. Suicide is chiefly intended to terminate a life repparttar 132662 other acts are aimed at perpetuating, strengthening and defending values.

Those who commit suicide do so because they firmly believe inrepparttar 132663 finiteness of life and inrepparttar 132664 finality of death. They prefer termination to continuation. Yet, allrepparttar 132665 others,repparttar 132666 observers of this phenomenon, are horrified by this preference. They abhor it. This has to do with out understanding ofrepparttar 132667 meaning of life.

Ultimately, life has only meanings that we attribute and ascribe to it. Such a meaning can be external (God's plan) or internal (meaning generated through arbitrary selection of a frame of reference). But, in any case, it must be actively selected, adopted and espoused. The difference is that, inrepparttar 132668 case of external meanings, we have no way to judge their validity and quality (is God's plan for us a good one or not?). We just "take them on" because they are big, all encompassing and of a good "source". A hyper-goal generated by a superstructural plan tends to lend meaning to our transient goals and structures by endowing them withrepparttar 132669 gift of eternity. Something eternal is always judged more meaningful than something temporal. If a thing of less or no value acquires value by becoming part of a thing eternal thanrepparttar 132670 meaning and value reside withrepparttar 132671 quality of being eternal not withrepparttar 132672 thing thus endowed. It is not a question of success. Plans temporal are as successfully implemented as designs eternal. Actually, there is no meaning torepparttar 132673 question: is this eternal plan / process / design successful because success is a temporal thing, linked to endeavours that have clear beginnings and ends.

This, therefore, isrepparttar 132674 first requirement: our life can become meaningful only by integrating into a thing, a process, a being eternal. In other words, continuity (the temporal image of eternity, to paraphrase a great philosopher) is ofrepparttar 132675 essence. Terminating our life at will renders them meaningless. A natural termination of our life is naturally preordained. A natural death is part and parcel ofrepparttar 132676 very eternal process, thing or being which lends meaning to life. To die naturally is to become part of an eternity, a cycle, which goes on forever of life, death and renewal. This cyclic view of life andrepparttar 132677 creation is inevitable within any thought system, which incorporates a notion of eternity. Because everything is possible given an eternal amount of time so are resurrection and reincarnation,repparttar 132678 afterlife, hell and other beliefs adhered to byrepparttar 132679 eternal lot.

Sidgwick raisedrepparttar 132680 second requirement and with certain modifications by other philosophers, it reads: to begin to appreciate values and meanings, a consciousness (intelligence) must exist. True,repparttar 132681 value or meaning must reside in or pertain to a thing outsiderepparttar 132682 consciousness / intelligence. But, even then, only conscious, intelligent people will be able to appreciate it.

We can fuserepparttar 132683 two views:repparttar 132684 meaning of life isrepparttar 132685 consequence of their being part of some eternal goal, plan, process, thing, or being. Whether this holds true or does not a consciousness is called for in order to appreciate life's meaning. Life is meaningless inrepparttar 132686 absence of consciousness or intelligence. Suicide flies inrepparttar 132687 face of both requirements: it is a clear and present demonstration ofrepparttar 132688 transience of life (the negation ofrepparttar 132689 NATURAL eternal cycles or processes). It also eliminatesrepparttar 132690 consciousness and intelligence that could have judged life to have been meaningful had it survived. Actually, this very consciousness / intelligence decides, inrepparttar 132691 case of suicide, that life has no meaning whatsoever. To a very large extent,repparttar 132692 meaning of life is perceived to be a collective matter of conformity. Suicide is a statement, writ in blood, thatrepparttar 132693 community is wrong, that life is meaningless and final (otherwise,repparttar 132694 suicide would not have been committed).

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