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Poll results- sex-selective abortion 

Thanks to those who participated in this poll.

I am confused by some people’s view that the girl or boy in the womb does not have a right to live, yet apparently has a right not to be discriminated against on the basis of sex. What am I missing here? And does the same logic apply when it comes to disability?

Poll results- sex-selective abortion 

@RobertFrancis It’s possible to take otherwise-moral actions for morally problematic reasons. The poll is similar to asking “What’s wrong with arresting someone because he’s black? Is it the arrest or is it the racism?” Most people would say the racism. Maybe you would then say “weird that this person does not have an absolute right to freedom but does have a right not to be discriminated against”? But it’s not weird, it’s exactly the case.

Poll results- sex-selective abortion 

@RobertFrancis In answer to your question “what am I missing” in both your poll and my example above it’s easy to go wrong by thinking only in terms of rights, and by assigning and considering the rights of only one party, in entirely black and white terms, to the exclusion of all else.

Poll results- sex-selective abortion 

@joeld I agree that it’s easy to go wrong by considering the rights of only one party to the exclusion of all else. Unlike some pro-choice folks, I do not believe the mother and baby should be cast as having competing interests. The needs of both must be considered. When it comes to a question of an absolute right compared to a relative right, though, I believe the absolute right must be given preference.

Poll results- sex-selective abortion 

@RobertFrancis I mean, as I’m sure you know, all moral questions about abortion hinge on one’s determination of whether a fetus has an absolute right to life. Your poll was basically a proxy way of asking this question. Pro choice people hold that the fetus does not have an absolute right to life. So that 100% explains the results of your poll.

Poll results- sex-selective abortion 

@joeld
On the surface, yes, that explains the results, nice and tidy. But underneath looms a lot of variability. For example, is there any real consensus among those who identify as pro-choice on when the right to life kicks in? Does support of abortion rights correlate to opposition of fetal homicide laws? Why should it matter if a child in the womb is female or disabled if she is not considered a person? 1/3

Poll results- sex-selective abortion 

@joeld
That is why I dig beneath the surface. I fear it is too easy to dismiss the human being that we never have to face, and if we get used to that basic premise, we can also easily write off any hard questions about associated inconsistencies by simply relying on cultural momentum, instead of wrestling with what is difficult. 2/3

Poll results- sex-selective abortion 

@joeld
Not saying that is you—I don’t know you enough. But it is the general pattern with polarized moral issues in the West—for both sides of an issue. The more we cut off real discussion, the less confident we can be that we have properly worked out its different angles.
(@Ricci you asked separately about my motivation, this reply partially addresses it). 3/3

Poll results- sex-selective abortion 

@joeld Thanks for your feedback. I think a better analogy is “What’s wrong with killing someone because he’s black? Is it the killing or the racism?” The reason I think killing is a better analogy is because I don’t know of anyone claiming an absolute right to freedom (i.e. opposing all arrests as fundamentally wrong), but many claim an absolute right to life for the unborn. 1/2

Poll results- sex-selective abortion 

@joeld
I wish the polling feature allowed more than four choices, because your point makes me to want to add “Both” as a selection. That said, “Other” was a selection that could have been chosen but still some preferred to choose “The sex-selection is what’s wrong” instead, leading me to believe that they consider the abortion itself to be morally neutral (or even morally good), which is consistent with the results of an earlier poll I ran. 2/2

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