Sunday, May 31, 2009

Anti-abortion violence

Abortion provider George Tiller shot to death at church:
A search is ongoing for the suspect in this morning's fatal shooting of George Tiller, the Wichita doctor who became a national lightning rod in the debate over abortion.

Tiller, 67, was shot just after 10 a.m. in the lobby of Reformation Lutheran Church at 7601 E. 13th, where he was a member of the congregation. Witnesses, a city official and a police source confirmed Tiller was the victim.
No arrests have yet been made; the perpetrator remains at large. Presumably Both Dr. Tiller and his killer were operating according to their "certain consciences".

[h/t to Pharyngula]

8 comments:

  1. How many murders by deranged FoxNews-watching right-wing fuckwads so far this year?

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  2. I've lost count, but I think it's more than the murders by deranged Lenin-reading communist atheists.

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  3. I think the fact that this sort of thing does not happen more often indicates that pro-lifers do not in fact believe what they claim to believe: that embryos ought to have the rights of human persons and that abortion is murder.

    Consider this scenario:

    A room is on fire. In one corner is a 12 month old child, in the other a freezer with a thousand viable frozen embryos. The pro-lifer only has time to save either the living child or the frozen embryos.

    What would she do? What ought she do if she believes what she claims to believe?

    Also, if abortion is murder, then what should be the penalty for a woman that has an abortion? Death?

    ReplyDelete
  4. The Robot Girl5/31/09, 10:26 PM

    But is he considered a terrorist?
    He should be;He killed a doctor.
    Fox News sets the cultural and poltical context for this kind of hatred- its function is in similarity to that of a madrasah.
    America will never admit it has WHITE, Christian terrorists.
    How many of them found a happy home in the US military?

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  5. Socrates, Jr.6/1/09, 1:06 PM

    "A room is on fire. In one corner is a 12 month old child, in the other a freezer with a thousand viable frozen embryos. The pro-lifer only has time to save either the living child or the frozen embryos.

    What would she do? What ought she do if she believes what she claims to believe?"

    Most pro-lifers would distinguish between committing what inherently evil actions and matters of prudential judgment. From the pro-life point of view, abortion (or any direct slaying of an innocent human being) would constitute a direct evil.

    In matters of selecting what being to save, prudential judgment has a role because choosing to save one group does no injustice to the group which is not saved (no one is denied anything which they are due). Most pro-lifers would, presumably, opt to save the child, just as most people (faced with the choice) would opt to save one child over several terminal cancer patients. No one, neither the child nor any one of the embryos, is "owed" being saved by any given person.

    Why save the infant? The prospects for the infant are probably better than those of the frozen embryos. Even if the embryos were saved, the chances of any given embryo being implanted and allowed to develop are rather slim. Most likely, they will be simply placed in another refrigerator for an inefinite amount of time.. The infant, on the other hand, can be more easily supported and, as a result, has a bette chance of thriving.

    You should check out Anscombe's discussion of the rpicniple of double-effect.

    "Also, if abortion is murder, then what should be the penalty for a woman that has an abortion? Death?"

    Francis Beckwith discusses this issue within the context of the legislative history of abortion in his book Defending Life. You should check it out.
    http://www.amazon.com/Defending-Life-Against-Abortion-Choice/dp/0521691354/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1243883123&sr=8-1

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  6. Socrates Jr,

    Let me flesh out my scenario then. Suppose the embryos are all slated for implantation. Would that impact your decision?

    I don't see any moral distinction between acting and failing to act. I'm not dogmatic about that, I have not thought about it much. But the distinction seems arbitrary.

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  7. All moral distinctions are in some sense arbitrary. There's nothing particularly contradictory about the uterus-slavery movement, they just make a particular moral distinction that a woman is at best a nothing more than a life-support system for a uterus and at worst a dirty stinking slut for getting pregnant.

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  8. Socrates, Jr.6/2/09, 10:34 AM

    "Let me flesh out my scenario then. Suppose the embryos are all slated for implantation. Would that impact your decision?

    I don't see any moral distinction between acting and failing to act. I'm not dogmatic about that, I have not thought about it much. But the distinction seems arbitrary."

    Even if the embryos were slated for implantation (the morality of which may be in itself debatable), an individual is not obliged, as a matter of justice, to prefer them to the infant. Justice involves what people are owed (as a moral duty). An innocent person does not owe me their life, so therefore I have no right to take it through murder (I am obliged not to murder them). At the same time, that same innocent person is not owed salvation from me, so I have (strictly speaking) no obligation to save him. If I save him, it will be an action stemming from charity or magnanimity. If I do not save him, I may be faulted for a lack of charity or kindness but, unless I have some obligation or duty to save him, I have not acted unjustly.

    One could still opt to save the infant, for example, out of a desire to spare it the pain of burning alive, as compared to the embryos which will feel nothing. (Remember, no one is owed being saved, so no one can complain that either choice is unjust).

    An example of the difference between justice and charity would be this:
    If I give money freely to the poor (for the sake of argument, let us assume I have no duty to help them), I am acting out of charity because I was not obligated to help them.
    If I support my children (let us assume that I have a moral duty to do so), it is a matter of justice because my relationship with them is such that I have a duty to help them.

    The distinction between justice and charity may seem odd or perhaps somewhat legalistic/cold at first glance, but its usefulness becomes more obvious when one considers situations with competing goods and /or optional goods. (Purely Kantian conceptions of duty are somewhat bad at deciding between goods).

    If you want clarification of the principle at work in the distinction between justice and charity, Anscombe has a good essay on the principle of double-effect in this collection:
    http://www.amazon.com/Human-Life-Action-Ethics-Philosophy/dp/1845400615/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1243959627&sr=8-1

    ReplyDelete

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