Thursday, November 1, 2007

Deep Ethics (cont.)

So, I'm back from work. Now back to the abortion question:
If there weren't any trained abortionists, there would be a lot of suffering. Women would have to either risk their health and lives in unsafe abortions (which would probably be more brutal and cause more pain for the fetus), or they would have to go through with the pregnancy (even if they had been raped) and that would not be easy. Then the child would either be raised by an unprepared and unwilling mother, or end up in the foster care system, where he/she could potentially be verbally, physically, and sexually abused. The population of the US would grow much faster, and there would be a huge increase in costs, leading to a decreased quality of life for everyone. It's also likely that the child would be born with birth defects since their mother never wanted the baby and most likely did not take care of herself as well as she should have during the pregnancy, and possibly even tried to terminate the pregnancy herself.
But now, it looks like I'm saying that killing one person is justified if it makes the lives of a lot of other people more convenient. I think that the world already works according to this idea. The lives of people in developed countries are so good because there are people working like dogs in lives of filthy misery. Our products are cheap, we can exploit desperate workers for cheap labor, etc. Like I said in the earlier post, we're fine with letting other people die so our lives can be more comfortable and enjoyable. It 's important to stop here and realize that I keep saying "killing a person", which may not totally apply to the case of abortion.
The fetus does not have a fully developed self consciousness, and it's debatable whether they can subjectively experience pain the way older children can. I think a ten week fetus is like a fish. It will respond to pain, and try to escape a threat. A fish, actually, is probably more aware of itself than a ten week fetus, according to some studies on fish intelligence. A 16 week fetus is likely much more developed, and a 30 week fetus is even more developed. So, as time goes by, killing the fetus becomes more like killing a person.
to be continued

Deep Ethics

I was thinking about what it's going to be like in Medical School next year, now that I have actually gotten in. One issue came up in a conversation that made me realize that I am not as philosophically sophisticated as I should be for my age, and especially my future career. I've always considered myself a pretty liberal woman; but now I realize I haven't really taken the time to sit down and deeply examine my ethical foundations. One thing that sparked all of this thinking was a conversation with one my good friends. We were talking about Obstetrics/Gynecology as a profession and then my friend asked if I was thinking about working in providing abortions. That's when I really realized that I've been pro-choice without looking at the basics; the way I feel about abortion fundamentally. I realize that it's a terrible procedure that I wouldn't want to have to do over and over again as a job.
Abortion, however, is an area that desperately needs newly trained physicians entering the field, especially in rural areas. The sociological and demographic arguments have always swayed me. Abortion is one of the most common medical procedures in the country, some say it is THE most common. There are obviously not enough resources or homes to take care of the possible huge increase in orphans that would result if all abortions stopped. With the abysmal state of sex education and knowledge regarding birth control, let alone the terrible lack of access to birth control in some areas of the country, it seems that abortion is a necessary evil.
It is obviously killing embryos and fetuses, but I've realized most people are okay with letting other children die. I know I am. You probably are also. Just think about this: how much money do you spend on new clothes, eating out, etcetera? All the money you spend on luxuries could be spent on saving some child's life. But you don't care enough to live a completely austere lifestyle just to save some other kid's life and, to be honest, neither do I. I donate money to UNICEF occasionally, but I also spend plenty of cash on things I don't need to survive. The question, then, is: what about actively killing people? This is something that only soldiers and abortion providers can answer. I think abortion is necessary, but I don't want to do it. I don't want that career. But, if everyone thought like I did, there wouldn't be any abortion providers, and women would invariably turn to brutal and arcane methods of ending their unwanted pregnancies.
There's a lot more to be discussed, but I'll leave the rest for the next post, since I have to go to work.