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January 20, 2006

Comments

"...as one person pointed out, this objection is just another version of Thompson’s famous violinist argument..."

Oh come on Greg everyone knows its me.

Geez they just call me "one person" now.

; ( I need a tissue.

Can a brotha get a minute...

Greg,

Thanks for the attention. I had just retired from commenting here, but I certainly feel the need to respond in some way now.

I understand that you probably don't have the time to continue the dialogue and neither do I. I'll let this be my one and only post (in two parts, it turns out). Others can feel free to add to it or tear it down as they see fit.

You wrote: "Wes’s complaint, as I understand it, hinges on the concept of justification mentioned in the syllogism."

No, that is not my complaint. As I stated at the outset, I have no problem admitting that abortion is a moral wrong. We could certainly argue about justification, but that is not what I have attempted to do in any of my comments.

You wrote: "I have argued that none of the reasons given for elective abortion rise to the level of proper justification because we would never justify killing a toddler for those same reasons and the differences between the pre-born and the post-born are morally trivial . . . Wes appears to disagree."

Actually, I have never spoken on this issue. I am not concerned about the reasons women give for having an abortion. I am only concerned with the relative bargaining power of the party with competing moral claims.

How about an analogy. Let's say that I own a restaurant. On the same day, I get two different requests. One party (a couple) wishes to reserve a table in my restaurant to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. Another party (a very wealthy recording label) wishes to reserve the whole restaurant for a day because they are rich and they want to get jiggy with it.

Both parties have legitimate rights to make a reservation. They are competing rights, however. I, as a restaurant owner, must decide which competing right it is in my best interest to grant. As a good capitalist, I grant the right of the record label who wants to reserve the whole restaurant and deny the other party.

I am giving weight, not to the reasons for their requests, but to who is doing the requesting.

You wrote: ". . . is the right of a women not to be forced into the “medical procedure” of childbirth an adequate justification for taking the life of her child?"

It is not about which competing moral claim is more justified; it is about which party making a competing moral claim should be deferred to.

You wrote: "As one person pointed out, this objection is just another version of Thompson’s famous violinist argument."

My argument is only comparable to Thomson's if you misrepresent it (which you have). I have no where stated that the moral claims of a pregnant woman seeking to have an abortion are more justified than the unborn child's moral claims. That is Thomson's argument, not mine. The only thing that is similar in our arguments is that we both agree that there are competing moral claims.

Back to my restaurant analogy. It doesn't matter that the celebration of an anniversary is more morally valuable than getting jiggy with it (if moral value even belongs in either of those scenarios). What matters is the weight I give to each of the parties making a claim.

It will be in the best interest of the restaurant to grant the request of the recording label who might frequent the place and bring in more revenue.

You wrote: "I’ve written an extensive piece on it . . . precisely to show that on closer inspection arguments offered by people like Wes fail badly."

Again, NOT Wes' position!

You wrote: "To Wes’s larger issue . . . I have not misrepresented the argument as he charges . . . I’ve ignored it because I think it’s wrong."

I don't think this is true. I think you really only disagree with Thomson's argument which you have attributed to me (even though I have repeatedly denied it was my position--do you really think that I don't understand my own position?).

I have a feeling that you really would not deny that a woman has some kind of moral claim when she says that she doesn't wish to be forced to experience all that is involved with carrying a child to term? You may think that these moral claims are trivial and not as important as the claim of the unborn, but I don't think you really believe they have no moral claim at all. Perhaps you do, but I find that hard to imagine.

You wrote: ". . . it’s hardly intellectual dishonesty on my part to frame the argument as I see it instead of as my opponent sees it."

But I'm not asking for a frame that supports my argument; I'm asking for a frame that recognizes that there are two parties, not one, making moral claims. We can disagree about their relative values, but I don't think it is feasible to think that pregnant women who do not want to carry a child to term have absolutely no moral claim at all.

[This is analogous to voting rights for children. Yes, they have a legitimate moral claim for inclusion, but we deny them the right for reasons we think proper. In the same way, you must admit that pregnant women have a legitimate moral claim for saving herself from what she thinks is a bad situation. You may think it is a trivial matter and deny it, but I think you know that it is there.]

All I have argued is that making it sound as if there is only one moral claim IS a misrepresentation.

You wrote: "Wes’s assertion that abortion is really about competing claims is simply false. Here’s why. There must be 1) fully legitimate claims in play (a problem I address in “Unstringing”) that 2) are proportionate to each other in a way that creates a meaningful dilemma "

Your assessment of moral claims is false. Here's why.

1) When you say "legitimate" you have already done the work of ranking them hierarchically. You see only the highest ranking moral claim as "legitimate." A moral claim, however, can be both legitimate and trivial.

If you are a sexist husband, it is a legitimate moral claim to be provided with food when you are hungry, but it is trivial compared to the moral claim of your hard-working wife who wants to sit and rest for a while. It does not mean that the moral claim is illegitimate, just not important.

Similarly, you may feel that the moral claims of a pregnant woman who doesn't want to go through a pregnancy is trivial, but it does not, thereby, make it illegitimate.

2) Moral claims do not have to be proportional.

You wrote: "Regarding abortion, there is no proportionality between a mother’s claim to her own privacy/choice/freedom from responsibility or duress (or medical procedure)/etc. and the value of her child’s life that can even begin to justify the mother killing her child to gain any of those personal benefits."

My restaurant analogy demonstrates why your reasoning is false in an ambiguously moral way. The "anniversary couple" only wants a table, while the record label wants the whole restaurant. They are not proportional claims, but they are both legitimate. I choose which claim to grant follow based on the best interest of the restaurant.

Again, I am not comparing the moral claims, only those who are making the moral claims. I give more weight to (even trivial) moral claims of pregnant women than to (vital) moral claims of an unborn child.

Okay, this is an awful time to cut this off, but I have dinner with the in-laws tonight.

I need to follow up with another comment.

I only ask that none of you start down the slippery slope yet. I know you are all ready to say something about the moral claims of a woman compared to a born child. If I give more weight to a pregnant woman than to an unborn child, why don't I give more weight to a parent and a born child and allow a parent to mistreat and/or kill that child.

I promise I will address that later.

The point to see, here, is that Greg has falsely attributed a position to me that I have never claimed to hold. He has made it sound as if I am comparing the two moral claims and saying the moral claims of a pregnant woman outweigh the moral claims of an unborn child. I have not done this. I am not comparing the claims themselves. I am comparing the relative power of those making the claims.

Just like I don't compare the reasons my imaginary restaurant patrons want a reservation and make my decision based on the value of their requests, so I am not comparing the moral claims of an unborn child to those of a pregnant woman. I am only saying that I give more weight to one party than another.

I will explain why in my future comment.

Greg, thank you for your post.

Tony, perhaps the reason why you're called "one person" is because Greg doesn't to want to publicly acknowledge "one" who seems to have devoted his life to demonstrating that gregiswrong. Or maybe he really did just forget your name.

you gave more weights to the record label ... but you can only give more weights to the mother in the abortion issue only if the mother is more valuable than the unborn child. if you believe the mother is more valuable, you've already made a judgement call that the child is less human or less valuable. greg's argument is that you have to first make an argument that the unborn is less human. whether the unborn child is just as valuable as the mother is the real question. your argument about competing interests is secondary to greg's concern/argument.

Pony Boy,

or maybe it's because I am like Neo.

I am "the one".

Tony,

Maybe Mr. Koukl is wrong. What's it to you? Why do you care? Why do you spend so much time destroying and almost no time creating?

Stephen,

Well thats a good point. It started as an academic exercise. But it's beginning to look like i'm not going to pursue my phil. phd. so... Admittedly my website does nothing to make the world a better place. A smarter place maybe. But not a better one. I think I am right and greg is wrong. But that doesn’t matter a whole lot.

Sometimes I think I should sit down and stop rocking the boat. But the exchange is pretty cool – like playing chess or Halo. This blog used to be a bit more fun back in the day - but it’s just like the same 10 bored guys yelling at each other and they already know my opinion and my arguments now so…

It might be time to pull a Ronald Reagan and watch my brain succumb to the sunset. Sucks to be 29! Crap!

Sigh….I gotta go find my Ave Maria mp3.

Laterrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Okay, let me wrap this up so I can move on to more pressing issues. It's after 1 am, here, so I apologize if I am a little less coherent.

In all of my previous comments, I have attempted to demonstrate that there are competing moral claims surround the issue of a woman's reproductive freedoms. I was frustrated by Greg's radio interview in which he made it sound as if the issue could be resolved by reference to only one party's moral claims--i.e. the unborn child's.

Greg claims that by asking him to admit that there are two parties with relevant moral claims involved in the issue, I am asking him to adopt his "opponents" frame. This is not true.

Had Greg gotten on the radio and said something like, "The issue of women's reproductive freedoms is a complex one. On the one hand, there are unborn children who have a 'right to life.' On the other, there are women who do not want to be forced to carry a child to term. While I can empathize with women who do not want to go through a pregnancy, possibly loss their jobs, receive a social stigma, etc., I think the unborn child's moral claim to life is far more important than a pregnant woman's. I think this because . . ." I wouldn't have had as much of a problem with that. I would have still disagreed, but I would not have claimed that Greg was being intellectually dishonest. He would have presented both sides of the issue and still came down firmly on one side of it.

My objection to Greg's presentation was that he presented the issue as if it could be settled because one side has a legitimate moral claim. This is simply not the case.

There are two parties involved here. There are pregnant women who do not want to carry a child to term and there are unborn children who (presumably) "want" to live.

Okay, so back to Greg's post about me.

You say that my "second point" is that a pregnant woman has "the right not to be forced into a 'medical procedure' against [her] will" and that this right "potentially trumps the right of her child to live."

Only the first part of your statement is correct. I do believe that women have the right not to be forced into a "medical procedure" against their will.

The second part of your statement, again, falsely attributes a view to me that I never claimed. I have never said that one right "trumps" another. In my original comments, I only set out to demonstrate that there are competing rights. In my two comments so far, I have elaborated on what I originally intimated about "moral bargaining" and stated that it is not that I think that one moral claim trumps another, but that one party making a moral claim is to be deferred to over another.

It seems to be a habit of yours to misrepresent issues to prove your point.

You quote a previous article you wrote, "If it is moral for a mother to deny her child the necessities of life (through abortion) before he is born, how can she be obligated to provide the same necessities after he's born?"

After a child is born, there are no longer competing moral claims.

If a pregnant woman does not want to give birth, she has only one option (given the current state of technology). This woman must terminate her pregnancy. There is no other option.

If a parent does not want to "be troubled" with taking care of a child, there are other options available to that parent that do not involve mistreating or killing the child. That parent can give a child up for adoption, leave the child in the care of a family member, etc. There are means by which that child will be taken care of. This is not true of an unborn child.

One can, therefore, make a distinction between an unborn child and a born child. An unborn child creates a competing moral claim against a pregnant mother who does not want to give birth. A born child does not create a truly competitive moral claim. There are several ways "out" for a parent of a born child that does not involve taking away a child's moral claim for life and health.

You are mistaken when you compare the rights of a born child and an unborn child. If a pregnant woman had as many options as a parent, then the situations would be comparable. This, however, is not the case, therefore, the situations are very different.

You wrote: "The 'competing rights' approach is a red herring, a diversion and distraction from the real issue. It’s the wrong question."

The "competing rights" approach is the only legitimate approach. Greg's position is a straw-man. He intentionally misrepresents the issue by not mentioning that two parties have competing moral claims.

So, let's review:

1) Greg misrepresented the issue of a woman's reproductive freedoms by presenting it as if there is only one moral claim at stake.

2) Greg misrepresented my position by tying it to Thomson's Violinist's position, attacked his straw-man, and presumed to prove my position wrong.

My position, however, is very different from Thomson's. Though she argues (like I do) that both the unborn child and the pregnant woman have a right to life, she believes the moral claims of the pregnant woman outweigh the moral claims of the unborn child.

I have nowhere judged which moral claim outweighs another. I have said, instead, that it is not important which moral claim outweighs the other, but rather which party making a moral claim should be deferred to.

Thomson judges the moral claims; I judge the parties making the claims.

Thomson argues that a pregnant woman's moral claims outweighs an unborn child's moral claims; I argue that a pregnant woman's moral claims should be deferred to over the unborn child, no matter the relative weight of the moral claim.

3) It has never been my intent to give a positive argument for why one should defer to a pregnant woman's moral claims over an unborn child. I have not made any positive claims why a woman's reproductive freedoms should be respected. I have only attempted to point out how the issue should fairly be judged.

In spite of this, Greg (and others) have continually misrepresented what I have said. They have assigned positive positions to me that I never argued.

4) Do I have reasons for supporting reproductive freedoms? Certainly. My reasons are complex, but (in my opinion) compelling. My reasons are based on a normative ethic (moral bargaining) that only makes sense within the framework of the moral relativism that I BRIEFLY mentioned in my previous comments (not, of course, Greg's caricature of moral relativism).

I have not tried to make a case for my support of reproductive freedoms because I don't have the time to fully develop it.

All I have sought to do is clear up a procedural question about how the issue should properly be discussed. I would be satisified (for the moment) if Greg (and others) presented a truer and more honest picture of the issue, even if they still opposed a woman's reproductive freedoms.

5) What did I hope to accomplish? Since I am not giving reasons why I think a pregnant woman should be deferred to over an unborn child, what would I like to see?

I would hope that in future discussions, Greg at least mentions the fact that he understands that some pregnant women have legitimate moral claims for not wanting to carry a child to term. He can go on to say that the unborn child's moral claims take precedent over the pregnant woman's, but he should, at the very least, acknowledge that the issue does not revolve around one moral claim.

I would also hope that Greg becomes less prown to caricature of his opponents positions. In the VERY short time I have looked at Greg's thinking, I have seen him repeatedly misrepresent positions to his own advantage. He does this with abortion; he does this with moral relativism; and he has done this with my own arguments. It is very careless and dishonest.

6) Did anyone get a chance to consider my comment buried in the previous post in which I propose a "solution" to this problem?

I stated that since the best that any opponent of a woman's reproductive freedoms can hope for is a REDUCTION in the number of abortions, is there a way to both reduce the number of abortions and keep them legal (perhaps a reduction greater than would result in making abortion illegal)?

I wondered if it would be theoretically possible to come up with technology that could extract an unborn child from a pregnant woman who does not wish to give birth (with as little invasiveness as possible) and implant it in another, grow it outside of the womb, or cryogenically freeze it to be "birthed" at a future date.

If this technology could be developed, might it not greatly reduce the number of abortions. Might it not reduce them even more than making abortion illegal.

Making drugs illegal has not stopped drug use. Making murder illegal has not stopped murder. Making abortions illegal will not stop abortions (and this has been demonstrated historically).

How about a project that can be supported by people who support a women's reproductive freedoms and those who oppose them?

Who could oppose giving women more options? It could significantly reduce the number of abortions while still respecting the moral claims of pregnant women who do not want to give birth.

Is there an option in which both moral claims can be respected to the greatest extent possible?

**

Okay, that's it for me. I really have to attend to other matters. I look forward to your comments and critiques, but I will not be responding to any of them (I'll probably have to sit on my hands to do so).

Try not to make gross misrepresentations of what I have said.

Just a few comments in response to Wes' posts- (please forgive me for any misrepresentations as I only have enough time to read through the posts one time right now)

1) If I understand Wes correctly, his lenthy posts have been intended to show that Greg has misrepresented him and that Wes wants everyone to frame arguments around abortion according to his understanding. I can understand him being upset if Greg misrepresented his position, but Wes in all fairness, it is not all that easy to clearly understand your position because your position is buried in and among your long posts.
2) For a moral relativist, you seem to (inconsistently) have some strong moral intuition bubbling up (e.g. you seem to think that it is wrong that Greg misrepresents you). You might want to consider that.
3) Because you haven't given sufficient reasons to support your claim ("Since I am not giving reasons why I think a pregnant woman should be deferred to over an unborn child, what would I like to see?"), why would you expect people to reframe their description of the abortion issue in your terms? It seems rather strange to me.
4) If you want to better communicate and get people to understand your position, I would recommend shorter, more to the point posts. It appears to me that it would also benefit you to consider that Greg's description of the abortion issue is based on a careful consideration of the moral issues involved and he is not alone in his description of the problem. Your position seems to be rather unique and you need to make a very strong case for your point of view if you expect the rest of the world to abide by your requests.

Wes, you said: (1)

****quote****
My objection to Greg's presentation was that he presented the issue as if it could be settled because one side has a legitimate moral claim. This is simply not the case.
****end quote****

If the moral claim of a child trumps (completely) that of the mother’s moral claim to deny full term pregnancy, then one need not speak to other claim; this especially, given on a time restrictive radio program. I am sure Greg would have exhaustively addressed countless issues in abortion in addition to which he had (including moral claims), had he been given adequate time to do so. However, given that we are currently temporal beings, we can’t always transcend broadcasting schedules. That said, I don’t think it is reasonable to automatically accuse Koukl of intellectual dishonesty.

(2)

****quote****
The second part of your statement, again, falsely attributes a view to me that I never claimed. I have never said that one right "trumps" another. In my original comments, I only set out to demonstrate that there are competing rights […]
****end quote****

This is true, but the very objection seems to presuppose the contending claim is either equivalent to, or trumps the other. Perhaps this was not your intent, but your objection (indirectly) begs the question.

****quote****
The "competing rights" approach is the only legitimate approach. Greg's position is a straw-man. He intentionally misrepresents the issue by not mentioning that two parties have competing moral claims.
****end quote****

I refer you to my previous statement above; your repetitive reversion to this accusation (including your “review”) is a as Koukl said a red herring... *shudders*…

(3)

****quote****
6) Did anyone get a chance to consider my comment buried in the previous post in which I propose a "solution" to this problem?

I stated that since the best that any opponent of a woman's reproductive freedoms can hope for is a REDUCTION in the number of abortions, is there a way to both reduce the number of abortions and keep them legal (perhaps a reduction greater than would result in making abortion illegal)?
****end quote****

Reduction at best, YES—but achieving reduction speaks only of the quantitative results, and speaks nothing of the morality of the acts itself. Thus, the moral question of legality (whether abortion should be legal or not) has nothing to do with whether it kills 2 babies, or 2 billion; it’s morally wrong—that is the issue! BTW, this is another red herring.

(5)

****quote****
I wondered if it would be theoretically possible to come up with technology that could extract an unborn child from a pregnant woman who does not wish to give birth (with as little invasiveness as possible) and implant it in another, grow it outside of the womb, or cryogenically freeze it to be "birthed" at a future date.

If this technology could be developed, might it not greatly reduce the number of abortions[?] Might it not reduce them even more than making abortion illegal [?]
****end quote****

Though we all would desire to see an alternative to abortion that protects the mother and child, this still speaks nothing of the morality of our current state of abortion. Shall I say…red herring?

(6)

****quote****
Making drugs illegal has not stopped drug use. Making murder illegal has not stopped murder. Making abortions illegal will not stop abortions (and this has been demonstrated historically).
****end quote****

…and so on and so fourth...

**cough**[red herring]**cough**


You know, after all the smoke clears, I would love to hear Wes’ rhetoric on his “complex, but compelling” justification for his normative ethic, and moral bargaining within the framework of the moral relativism for reproductive freedoms. However, (if we can get past the rhetoric) I am sure any rejoinder offered would just be accused of misrepresenting and intellectually dishonest.

Steveo

Wes, earlier I said that I understood your view, but I was wrong. I see now that I didn't. Your view is absurd, and it took your last two posts to show me that.

First a comment for Mr. Koukl:

I think you should drop the word “innocent” from sentences like "It’s wrong to take innocent human life without proper justification."

Saying, "It’s wrong to take human life without proper justification," I think prevents clouding the issue.

Wes (sorry I don’t know your last name:)

Regarding your restaurant analogy I think that it does not accurately represent the issue.

This would be a better analogy:
Let's say that I own a restaurant. On the same day, I get two different requests. One party (a couple) wishes to reserve a table in my restaurant to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. Another party (a very wealthy satanic group) wishes to reserve the whole restaurant for a day because they are rich and they want to sacrifice a virgin.

Here is how you look at it:
Both parties have legitimate rights to make a reservation. They are competing rights, however. I, as a restaurant owner, must decide which competing right it is in my best interest to grant. As a good capitalist, I grant the right of the satanic group who wants to reserve the whole restaurant and deny the other party.

Here is how you should look at it:
Both parties have legitimate rights to make a reservation. They are competing rights, however. I, as a rational human being must remember that moral issues are not decided by my best interest. As a person who makes decisions based on moral absolutes, I grant the right of the couple. I know that it may be inconvenient, may cause hardship, and, who knows, may even cause psychological damage to the satanic group because they have been denied their personal rights, but I don’t make the moral laws, I only follow them.

Just something to think about.

vbmark.com

Tony seems to use a special term, "moral claim". From what I can see, the meaning of this term is entirely different from what I would use in a discussion on morality. It appear that to him, a "moral claim" is an expression of a desire that someone else act. It doesn't have to be justified, just expressed (although in the case of the fetus, obviously someone else has to do the expressing).

I don't agree with that, because I believe there are moral absolutes. A "moral claim" made without the support of moral absolutes is worthless. The claim of the sexist husband that he should be fed now isn't a moral claim (in the sense I recognise); it's just a statement of desire. The contrary claim of the tired wife for some time to relax is also not a moral claim.

A moral claim is a special type of claim: one which can be supported by moral reasoning. This is similar to a "scientific claim", which is correspondingly a claim that can be justified by scientific reasoning.

When you truly do have two competing moral claims (in my sense, not yours) you do of course have a dilemma; the classical example is the lifeboat or the violinist. But in this case you haven't drawn that, because although the mother may not desire to give birth, that doesn't establish a moral claim on her part. It's some kind of claim; but not a moral claim.

-Billy

Williaaaaaaaammmm

I'm not WES i'm TONY!!!!!

You mean that cheesehead WES! - NOT ME

Wes,

you said:
The second part of your statement, again, falsely attributes a view to me that I never claimed. I have never said that one right "trumps" another. In my original comments, I only set out to demonstrate that there are competing rights […]


But, Greg didn't say you claimed one right 'trumps' another. Read his statement again:

" (the rights of the mother) potentially trumps the right of her child to live."


--I highlight the word "potentially." He never said you think the rights of the mother *do* trump the childs rights, only that you think they *potentially* do. Isn't this the very meaning of the term "competing rights/claims?" That's what I gathered from your posts, anyway. If that's not what you mean, you need to make it clearer.

Tony -- sorry! I misread the attribution line. I see, the "Posted by:" line is at the end of the message.

Hope I don't make that mistake again!

-Billy

vbMark - (re: dropping "innocent" from the sentence) - After thinking about it, I think I agree with you. The "without proper justification" clause seems to render the "innocent" adjective unnecessary. That is, if it isn't an "innocent" person being killed, there is probably some "proper justification."

Tony - Am I one of the 10 bored guys? :( Hey, I play Halo too! Too bad I don't have broadband, or I'd look you up online! :)

Paul,

of course you are! That's ok. philosophy is for bored white males of the affluent west.

like me you and most of the peeps here.

Its all good.

Hey, I'm not a bored white male?

...Oh wait, I'm probably not one of the ten.

Unfortunately I am very late to this topic, and so it may be that I have missed out on making any noticed contribution. It also seems a little pointless contributing now given that Wes will no longer be participating. So, I guess I am writing this to see if anyone else can find any problems with my argument.

I am disappointed that Wes chose to spend so much time trying to clarify what he was not trying to say, rather than tell us more about the details of his views of 'bargaining power' and how it applies to the controversy of abortion. It seemed like his "positive argument" may be based on a line of reasoning I have heard discussed for a particular social economic model, but I can only guess at this point. I really do think he could have presented his positive argument had he not been so wordy about taking issue with Greg.

I do see and grant Wes' perspective that there are two parties involved in the abortion issue (perhaps more if you include other family members and society as a whole).

From his discussion about his restaurant analogy, he said: "I am giving weight, not to the reasons for their requests, but to who is doing the requesting." Applying this to the abortion issue, he is not concerned with the usual moral reasons for or against abortion, but with who is involved -- the mother and the fetus. Wes says: "It is not about which competing moral claim is more justified; it is about which party making a competing moral claim should be deferred to."

So, it is about which party should be deferred to. It would be interesting to know what reasoning is used to determine to whom we should defer to. Unless I am missing something, it seems like Wes is replacing the "justification" based on morals, with some other "justification" used to determine deferrence.

In his restaurant analogy, the owner is deciding whom to choose ("defer to") based on his own personal interests separate from the "moral standing" of the potential patrons. The justification for deferring is personal gain. Perhaps I am wrong, but this still seems like a moral choice since it is a willful act, choosing to ignore other competing moral claims.

Wes also says: "I am only concerned with the relative bargaining power of the party with competing moral claims." The bargaining power is personal gain (at least in the analogy). We do not know what Wes would claim as the bargaining power of the woman and that of the fetus.

Specific to the issue of abortion, Wes says: "...I am not comparing the moral claims, only those who are making the moral claims. I give more weight to (even trivial) moral claims of pregnant women than to (vital) moral claims of an unborn child."

Based on what I say above, Wes is making a moral choice to defer to the pregnant woman. He claims to have reasons for deferring to the woman, but we never get those reasons. If I understand him, he thinks he is replacing a moral decision with one based on comparing gains. But those gain-based reasons effectively become his "moral" calculus for making the choice. I think he is still making a moral decision, even with his use of "bargaining" terminology.

Also, I completely disagree with Wes' claim that you cannot compare an unborn child with a born child because of the difference in options available to the pregnant woman in comparison to the options of a woman with a born child. Wes gives us no reasons why differences of options has anything to do with the worth of the unborn vs the born. Maybe the SLED mnemonic needs to be amended with 'O' for options... SOLED? SLEDO?... :)

Jerry

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