sorry for the really long delay.
Somehow I'm just not getting how a fetus who is incapable of consent makes the problem less problematic. Our ethical system was designed to deal with sentience; those without it are outside of the system almost entirely, and thus would be less problematic on both counts. In my mind, it's like asking a metal scapel if it would mind being melted and reshaped to form a scalpel. Are we talking about two entirely different types of ethical systems, or am I missing something?
It seems like you might really be missing something (quite possibly as a result of my vague expression), as you seem to think that I argue about the immorality, or problematic nature, of aborting non-sentient fetuses, which is not
what I argue. As far as I remember, I have in this context thought about two cases: 1) a sentient fetus incapable of informed consent 2) a hypothetical case, where there's a sentient fetus capable of informed consent. I have argued that a situation with a sentient fetus giving informed consent would be less problematic than a situation with a sentient fetus incapable of consent. (As you probably agree, this is self-evident, and I'm not sure why I began talking about that in the first place. It probably just was in the context of consent and abortion.)
As for non-sentient fetuses, I wouldn't call their situations completely clear cases (not saying that you think or don't think so, either) because there is still e.g. some utilitarian consideration of the "thought framework consequences" (i.e. how various attitudes are affected or formed) of how we view non-sentient human life in a context (of our society) where that is maybe given a "symbolic status" in relation to (sentient) human life in general. But, generally, in and as itself, I don't see a problem with abortion of non-sentient fetuses.
(Remember, rights in our society tend to be more negative than positive.)
What is this related to?
Fair enough. Most people, not to mention the U.S. legal system, have moral intuitions leading them to the opposite conclusion, if only because the body is the most fundamental part of life, while other burdens and punishments are far more malleable.
Well, as someone who supports a concept like AR which goes against the common intuitions of I guess majority of current Western cultures, I don't find that situation disastrous to my position (although it's not by any means a clear position, like my position on AR) on abortion
You could argue, though, that those rights (related to body) are much more fundamental than speciesist attitudes, but I'm not sure what "level" of 'fundamental' is relevant, and how it can be argued.
But if this is the case, should we torture prisoners? After all, if the body is no different from other burdens and cost/benefit analyses, then shouldn't this be permissible?
From the idea that body rights aren't absolute or most fundamental it doesn't follow that anything done to the body is permissible, or that the concept of proportionate punishment wouldn't apply.
I'm discussing "absolute" within a specific Western cultural context. I'm not sure that there is a universal ethics, or absolute rights in a natural law sense. With that in mind, I'm not sure this argument really applies to my position.
The absolute right I referred to wasn't a concept of universal ethics but simply a right which should never be violated without punishment etc. By 'absolute right', I have and am referring to what I have interpreted to be your conception of the nature of the right concerning one's body.
You may not find it counter-intuitive on the specific case, and to some extent that's understandable. But what would our society look like if we wrote it into the laws? (Remember, when you're dealing with a common-law system, that's exactly what you're doing.) You'd wind up with a state where, at the very least, prisoners are routinely harvested for organs, and torture for medical testing is perfectly acceptable.
1) I'd want to clarify that my comments about abortion, and about blood donation, are pretty much concentrated on an ethical approach, not a legal one, i.e. I don't necessarily argue for any drastic changes in the law.
2) And what you're arguing seems like an unwarranted slippery slope - from the idea that relevant responsibility for something creates obligations and restrictions (restrictions to what one chooses concerning one's body) to the idea that torture can be justified. Many responsibilities already
(forms of contracts, for example - although I would emphasize that I don't mean that pregnancy would involve contracts) create obligations - just like it can be thought that being relevantly responsible for bringing a sentient entity to life creates obligations - and yet torturing (of humans) for medical testing isn't perfectly acceptable.
To me, what you're arguing seems a little similar to arguing that the idea that right to freedom isn't absolute would lead to life sentences, for the smallest offences, in extremely small cells.
Yup. That's why we can back out of almost anything, especially where our bodies are involved.
But both in practical (promises which one breaks for trivial emotional reasons, causing problems to others) and more official matters (not abiding by contracts), backing out of something is often seen as morally questionable, if it causes harm/problems, and if the reasons for it don't seem to be good enough.
How are you defining significant?
I would argue about responsibility and its relevance as regards restrictions/obligations as ethical guidelines and, instead of writing a definition on stone about e.g. 'significant', allow room for individual evaluation of particular cases.
And what gives that definition more validity than an individual's emotional reality?
I think an individual can often evaluate his/her difficulties and emotional changes rather incorrectly. (But not necessarily, of course.)
But I think that divide is a far more widespread problem than simply in pregnancy. Elsewhere, such as in marriage, we've decided to accept the fact that things change: so why not be consistent?
I'm not sure if I understand what you're getting at. If women fully accept and acknowledge that things (emotions etc.) can, and often will, change, then e.g. an emotional change isn't a very good basis for eliminating responsibility, because that was already "mentioned in the contract" (again, just a metaphor, not an analogy).