Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Confutation of MgS’s final comment at her blog post on abortion


After a mysterious disappearance, MgS’s blog post on abortion has returned, but with comments disabled, so I will have to use my own blog for refuting her arguments (some of which have taken some rather bizarre turns, as you will see).

MgS says that

Your argument is overly preoccupied with the "rights of fetus" which you people have invented.
Who, exactly, are ‘you people’?!? The rights of the unborn child have a much, much longer pedigree than the recently-concocted absolute right of a mother to an unrestricted power of life or death over her unborn (and, increasingly, new-born) children. The interesting thing, though, is that, as I have stated repeatedly, the mother’s right to control over her own body is a perfectly legitimate one, but one that is subordinate to any other person’s right to life, whereas MgS completely rejects any rights of the foetus whatsoever.

Then, with exquisite absurdity, she goes on to demand

Speaking of those rights, what do you do when the mother dies in childbirth? Charge the infant with homicide?
To which one can only respond with another question: has MgS completely lost all ability to make simple logical inferences? How can a baby be held responsible for something that he or she did not will to happen? She goes on to say that

if the fetus has rights distinct from the woman bearing it, then you raise all sorts of other legal conundrums.
But raising ‘legal conundrums’ has never stopped those of MgS’s ilk concocting all manner of preposterous ‘rights’ (has anyone fully thought out all the legal conundrums that so-called gay marriage raises?). The problem here is that refusing to recognise any rights for the unborn child has legal conundrums of its own: presumably, by MgS’s principles, a crime of assault on a pregnant woman that results in the death of the child should attract no harsher penalty than is fitting for whatever damage is done to the mother only? And if MgS excludes everyone else—including the father—from having any right to intervene in an infanticidal mother’s decision, than I take it that no-one else, including the father, has any corresponding duties or responsibilities in the matter either? The problems just keep on mounting.

Later on, MgS asserts that

If you cannot understand the distinctions between a biological dependence and an economic dependence, then your logical faculties are severely limited.
It must first be noted that the course of the discussion, traced from the original post to MgS’s last comment, is a classic case of MgS backpedaling from her original principles. In the post she asserted that her fundamental principle was that “"he who has the gold makes the rules", she who pays the price, makes the decisions.” Then in a later comment she says that my

argument disregard entirely the absolute dependence of the fetus upon the woman carrying it.
Then, still later, she says that

During pregnancy the fetus is entirely dependent upon the pregnant woman's body for sustenance.
You see the gradual backpedaling going on here? Finally MgS introduces an arbitrary and artificial distinction between biological and economic dependence which I do indeed dismiss because whether the dependence is biological, economic or whatever, it is still what one might call a mortal dependence—the baby will die without his or her carer.

Later we get to my hypothetical case of a woman who requests an abortion and her doctors agree to it, but the pregnancy has gone on so long that the doctors determine that the only way to ensure the safety of the mother is by delivering the baby alive. Unsurprisingly MgS becomes hung up on the supporting evidence that I provide, which was only intended for showing the plausibility of the scenario; no request for a judgement, or even a comment, on what MgS pompously calls “the mother’s own narrative” was required. (Let me express here my contempt for MgS’s incessant undergraduate-speak; we’re not in a Gender Studies 101 tutorial here MgS, you’re not going to impress us with your syllable multiplication; just call it a ‘story’.) What I was asking for with that hypothetical case is a simple application of MgS’s principle that, once out of the mother’s body, a baby begins to enjoy the right to life. That MgS refuses to make such a simple application tells us all we need to know.

Finally, we have the sad image of MgS appearing to renouncing even simple consistency:

We do not live in a world where "consistency" exists as an absolute - humanity is far too subtle and complex for that to be the case.
Yes, of course, the subtlety, the complexity, the shades of grey, blah blah blah. Remember, by ‘consistency’ all I mean here is that there be no contradictions in or among a set of axioms. ‘Consistency’ here is really just another word for reasonableness. If only the atheists and humanists promoting their desire to ‘Celebrate Rationality’ in the pathetic advertising campaign on British buses would apply a bit of rationality to morality. Now MgS goes on to try to salvage some semblance of consistency:

In recognizing that the moral and ethical obligations respecting the individual change as the individual's status changes is not logically inconsistent.
But the change, for the baby, is only an external one, a change of environment; the baby’s status in him- or herself has not changed.

MgS concludes by asking

Why is it so hard for you to accept that with birth, comes a change of status?
The answer is that the point of birth is just a random variable with a mean of about nine months, and I refuse to base a human being’s right to life on a random variable. MgS might feel no discomfort about the situation whereby in any given hospital one might find one premature baby being kept alive whatever the cost while another with the same chance of survival but lacking only the mother’s desire to see him or her live is left to die, but I certainly feel a great deal of discomfort about it. Actually, discomfort is a completely inadequate word for my feelings about such a grievous injustice; disgust is more like it.

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord, A.D. 2009

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