AbstractAbortion is an accepted legal practice, in many countries, (Center for Reproductive Rights 2016), but that does not mean that there are not ethical implications which are being ignored. This article examines the ethical consequences in the light of a new understanding of them: the “infinite crime”. This variety of crime is one in which any given action has infinite consequences of a negative nature. Several motivations for elective abortion are considered individually with regards to their ethics, in the light of this new definition of an ethical crime. These include the desire for the freedom to be lazy; the freedom to be materialist; the freedom of time and its subcategory the freedom to create; and the freedom of movement. Furthermore, rape is examined and the question considered as to whether it is an infinite crime, and whether it is always a crime, at all, in a broader ethical context. The Principle of the Immorality of Conception by Rape, is defined. The issue of how to approach abortion in rape cases, is addressed. Other reasons for abortion are weighed, including abortion for reason of timing; abortion for reason of family sizing, abortion for reason of genetic deformity and abortion for reason of incest. A new value for human life is proposed. The implications for medicine and law, of this new understanding of the ethics of abortion, are outlined.
Abortion is performed for many reasons, and I will consider several different kinds of circumstance, each with different ethical nuances.
The Common Aspect of all Abortions: Death of the Unborn Child, and its Ethical Implication:
The Infinite Crime
“Abort” is a word chosen to disguise what it actually means: a word “to halt an action begun” is used to refer to the deliberate killing of an unborn child. As we all know, there are many justifications given for this, but the most commonly heard one of all is that “it isn’t the right time to have a child”.
Abortion results in the loss of a life. There is no denying this, if we are honest. Common platitudes around this are that: “it was just a foetus”. This is very simplistic thinking, because, if left alone that “just a foetus”, would have grown into a fully-fledged baby, child, and eventually, an adult. Interrupting a life early enough, so that we can quibble about what state that life was in, at the time, does nothing to alter the fact that we have interrupted a life. Had we not done so, the life would, in all probability have continued to birth, childhood, adolescence, and eventual adulthood. It is a marvel of self-delusion, in a way, to call this killing of an unborn child acceptable, simply because it was early in its life – and I will demonstrate clearly why shortly.
The Argument for Abortion
Typically, it is argued that the early foetus is “not able to feel”, so it “doesn’t matter”, if we kill it. This is meaningless, ethically. It is rather similar to a potential rather nonsensical argument: “It is OK to kill a person in their sleep, because they won’t notice”. It is, in fact, the same argument, in effect, though it should be easy to see its vacuousness in the restating of it. Clearly, just because someone might be unaware of their death, it does not make their death any more acceptable: their life still ends before its natural time. We would call the death of a child or adult in their sleep, by the intervention of another, murder: it is rather odd that we don’t do the same for abortion, through a feat of acrobatic delusory thinking.
More disturbingly, however, more recent research on the issue of foetal pain has overturned the old idea that foetuses are unable to feel pain. According to a review of the research (Grossu, Arina O. 2015), foetuses show the presence of pain receptors around the mouth at just 5 weeks post-fertilization. Surprisingly, given the orthodox views that are common place, foetuses show motor reflexes to pain stimuli as early as 5.5 weeks post fertilization. (Grossu, Arina O. 2015) Furthermore, the ability to inhibit pain does not develop until very late in pregnancy, at around 32 to 34 weeks, (Grossu, Arina O. 2015), thus a foetus not only does feel pain, but feels it much more severely than an older child or adult would (at least after the pain sensory network is fully developed at around 20 weeks). It would seem that any abortion would torture an unborn baby to death. This conclusion is sobering indeed.
Why is Abortion Permitted?
Abortion is permitted in some states and nations because it is convenient for the mother to have a “choice”, over whether she continues to be pregnant or not. Additionally, the foetus is denied the rights of a person who has been born, to have a life and is given no choice over whether they live or die (if they were capable of choice at that age). Thus, we can see that the concept of abortion is a legal right to kill, created by denying the unborn a natural right to life. It is a legal fiction that does not, however, have a moral foundation. The intrinsic ethics of the situation have seemingly not been considered in drawing up the legislation that allowed abortion to become legal in the first place.
The Consequences of Abortion, and the Derivation of the Concept of an “Infinite Crime”
The obvious consequence of abortion is that a person is not born and does not live to have a normal life. Thus, it is easy to think of an abortion at this level, as the death of one person. However, it is far more than that. What is never considered are the full consequences of even a single abortion.
Each abortion means a life is unlived. A childhood does not happen. An adolescence never occurs. First love never transpires. No relationships develop and, most tellingly, the dead foetus, never goes on to become a parent themselves. This is where the true impact of abortion becomes evident. By denying a life the right to live, not just one life is denied – but all the lives that would have happened, had the person lived. Now, how many lives are those? For argument’s sake, let us assume that the unborn child would have had a fairly average family of two children. So, have we lost three lives? No. We have not. We have also lost the lives of the children’s children: the grandchildren. There could have been four of those. Those too, are lost. So, have we lost seven lives? No. For then there are the great-grandchildren’s lives. Those are lost too: all eight of them. So now, our tally is fifteen lives lost. Does it stop there? No. It does not. In fact, the number of lives lost, in an infinite universe (or infinite sequence of Universes, should we ever get around to making subsequent ones when this one grows old and tired), is absolutely infinite (ignoring the fact that the human species would change over time into something else – those “creatures”, whatever they might be, would also be biological descendants and thus “children” of the unborn child).
So, the number of lives lost, when a child is aborted is not one, but is potentially infinite, assuming the child lived long enough to find a partner and parent a child or two.
In this manner, we can see that the issue of abortion is not a matter of legalizing over whether a foetus is too “immature” to accord the rights of a human being, it is actually the legalized murder of an infinite number of human beings who would most probably have been born, had the child been allowed to live. Each abortion is, therefore, an Infinite Crime, for it has infinite consequences.
Definition: An infinite crime is any crime which has infinite negative consequences.
The Composition of Mankind and a “Crime Against Humanity”
There is another aspect of this Infinite Crime that needs to be considered: the effect on the composition of the human race. The unborn child, as with all human beings, has a unique genetic endowment. The 20,000 or so genes each child has are a unique combination of alleles and epigenetic activations or inhibitions that will never again occur in any other child – probably not even a clone would reproduce them accurately owing to epigenetic differences. Thus, it can be seen that the aborted child constitutes a unique life lost. That, however, is just the beginning of the loss, because if that child had not been killed, and had lived to grow up to themselves have children, those children would also have unique genetic endowments that could only have come from that child. Thus, it can be seen that an untold number of generations of genetically unique people has, in effect, been killed before they could have existed, by the expedient of aborting their foetal would be ancestor. This is the effect of every single abortion.
How does this change humanity? Well, the unborn children of the aborted child, constitute perhaps two or three people. This is not many. But the next generation might be four to nine. The generation after, eight to twenty-seven and so on. Eventually, the number of descendants will match the number of people on Earth. At this point, in the future, the aborted child would have become the Most Recent Common Ancestor of Mankind (or at least a Recent Common Ancestor). Typically, this takes a few thousand years or so. (Rohde, Douglas L.T.; Olson, Steve; Chang, Joseph, T. 2004)
What does it mean if the unborn child never becomes this “Most Recent Common Ancestor” (or at least a common ancestor, if not the most recent one)? It means simply this: the entire genetic composition of Mankind is changed by each and every single abortion. The people who would have been born, throughout all future time and space, will consequently never be born. This is the hidden result of each and every abortion. To abort one child, is to change forever, Mankind. Thus, for this second reason, allied to the first, abortion is an Infinite Crime, because there are infinite genetic consequences to each abortion.
Infinite Crime and the Loss of the Other Contributions of a Life
The unborn child may not just have become a parent. That child might have grown up to be a creator of ideas: an academic, an author, a scientist, an artist, a composer, an actor, a director, a computer scientist, an engineer or even a social innovator. There are a plenitude of ways in which the child could have become a contributor to the ideational basis of society and culture. Should it so be, that the child would have been an intellectual or creative contributor in any way at all, we should consider this thought:
The First Principle of Creative Contribution:
Each and every creative thought, work or contribution, has the potential to give rise to an infinite number of subsequent creative thoughts, works or contributions which refer to, build upon, incorporate or are direct consequences of the thought, work or contribution. Thus it is that the value of a creative thought, work or contribution is potentially infinite.
The Value of the Life of the Unborn Child
What is the value of the life of the unborn child? There are common values put on the value of a life but they do not consider the consequences of each life. I have shown that the consequences of a life are infinite. This being so, it can be seen that the value of a life is also infinite, if that life be one that is able to have a child, or able to contribute creatively.
The First Principle of Life:
The value of a human life, including that of an unborn child, if that life has the potential to be fertile, or in any other way contributory to Humanity, or the world in general, is infinite.
A Consideration of the Ethical Qualities of Various Categories of Abortion:
The Elective Abortion
An abortion which is chosen by the mother purely for reasons of “lifestyle” and “convenience” is hereby described as an “elective abortion”.
In elective abortion the mother decides that the pregnancy is unwanted, or she is pressured into an abortion by her partner, boyfriend, or husband. In this situation, the death of the child is brought about to “improve” the life of the mother or reduce the financial burden on her partner, or self. In this context the elimination of the responsibility of raising a child, is considered, commonly, to be of a higher value than the life of the child. Very strident indeed are the voices heard in public, in person and in the media, about a woman’s “right” to decide whether she has a child, even after she is already pregnant and quite certain to have a child, unless an abortion occurs.
This view of the life of a baby as disposable when set against the competing interest of the convenience and freedom of choice of the mother to be unburdened by a child, at a particular time, is one in which the value of the life of a child has not been considered.
What is it that the mother and father are deciding is of more value than the life of the baby? Primarily it is the freedom to work less hard, or to spend the money that the baby would require, on other more material goods. This can be described as the “freedom to be lazy” and the “the freedom to be materialist”. There are also two more freedoms at stake: the freedom to spend time and effort on other matters, than the baby, “the freedom of time”, and the freedom to live, work and travel to wherever they please, “the freedom of movement”. These are the four freedoms that are set against the value of life of the baby.
What is the value of these freedoms?
The Freedom to be Lazy
This is the freedom to maintain a lifestyle of no responsibility, that of extended childhood. The ideal here is to be able to laze around and not make much effort in any sphere. A child is seen as a threat to the “fun” of doing nothing or little.
Whilst enjoyable for some, at least for a period in a life, there is little objective value in this expenditure of time, unless the parent is a creative person, incubating an idea or ideas. Excepting this possibility, there is no real value to society in the long term of this period being extended, by the death of the child.
The Freedom to be Materialist
The freedom to spend the money not spent on the child on other matters: a car, better furnishing for the home, holidays, clothes, nightclubbing, is something fought for in some cultures and with some people. This attitude can be seen in Singapore, for instance (from personal observation, since I lived there for ten years). There people have very small families, often just one child, if any, citing “the expense” of raising a child…and yet Singapore is the richest nation on Earth, per head, by some measures. This was declared in 2015 by the Legatum Prosperity Index (Coonan, Clifford 2015) So what is the origin of this seeming paradox? It would seem to be an inability to give up the materialist dreams of the society of a Condominium, Car, Credit Card…and so on. Singaporean couples, it seems, would rather have a Mercedes Benz, than a child.
What value is there to this materialism? On the surface it might seem to drive the economy, by making avid consumers of couples: they splurge on foreign holidays, to exotic locales, they spend furiously in nightclubs and bars, buy expensive cars and designer clothes and so on. It might even affect property prices as they jostle for a better apartment in a more desirable area. All this activity might seem to have economic value and therefore it might be worth encouraging. However, this is not so…for all of this activity is merely DISPLACED economic activity. There is no additional true economic value to all of this consumption behaviour. Were the couple instead to have a child, the same funds are likely to be spent on other goods: baby clothes, a cot, a pram, modifications to the home to make it safer, baby food, milk, medical fees, nursery charges and so on. There might even be the need to hire a nanny or babysitter depending on the working arrangements of the parents. Thus, it can be seen that “the freedom to be materialist”, does not add value to the society: it merely changes the nature of the goods purchased. There is another consideration. The new parents are more likely to be spending locally, than abroad. They are unlikely to take exotic foreign holidays, owing to the difficulty and expense of travelling with a child…thus a greater proportion of their money is likely to be spent locally, in their home nation. Thus, there is likely actually to be an economic dividend for parenting a child, in that there will be more local spending in a nation, than overseas.
All in all, “the freedom to be materialist”, has little value. This freedom cannot possibly offset the value of a child’s life.
The Freedom of Time
The freedom to spend our time as we wish, only has wider value to society and Humanity, if that expenditure is meaningful. If it is simply going to the cinema, or “hanging out with friends”, or “down the pub”, there is no real meaning to this use of a life. It might be “fun” for the person or couple, but it certainly does not compensate for the loss of life of the child, in any way. There is only one way in which it might do so and that would be if the person or couple were creative and wished to use their time to create. I shall look at this subcategory of the freedom of time, next.
Subcategory of the Freedom of Time:
the Freedom to Create
Creativity requires time. It also requires effort, skill and a surprisingly modest amount of knowledge (personal observation). The most critical element however is simply time. Creation consumes weeks, months, years, with astonishing greed. Were a creative person or couple to have a child, this would undoubtedly interfere with the amount of time available for creative activity. So this creates a complex dilemma: what is of more value – the lost years of creative work of a creative parent, or the potential creative work and life value, of a potentially creative child?
One possible solution to this is if only one parent is creative. If that were so, the non-creative parent could take on a greater proportion of the child-rearing and, perhaps, additional work required to balance the books, than the creative parent and make room for their work. This might not be ideal, but it is a way of addressing the matter. The creative parent could work from home, and attend to the child at times when the child is likely to be less active (at least for those creative activities that can be home-based).
Yet, creative people are drawn together and it may be that both parents are creative. In such a case, the sacrifice of time would have to be shared according to whose work was deemed more important to allow to happen, or to be facilitated.
In the worst case, managing the raising of the child, and going out to work to secure the funds for doing so, might mean that neither parent is able to do creative work in the more dependent phases of the child’s childhood. This could mean an hiatus of perhaps 7 to 10 years in the work of both parents. Undoubtedly, this is a loss if the parents are creative, but then we have to ask, what would be lost, if the child were not born? Firstly, the child is likely to be creative, since both parents are. Creativity is an intellectual characteristic formed of elements of intelligence, personality and styles of thinking and these, no doubt, have genetic foundations (as well as some environmental enabling factors). Although it is only anecdotal, both my wife and I are creative and our three sons are too: it is clear to see that what we are, has echoed on in them. So, I feel secure in my understanding that creativity is a familial trait. (Moore, D.W. et. al. 2009; Ukkola-Vuoti, L. 2013)
Now, in our theoretical example family, were the child not born, the entire creative life of the child would be lost. This should be set against the loss to both parents. The parents might lose a cumulative 20 years of productive activity. The dead child would lose perhaps 60 adult years of productive activity (or 50 years if they, too, go on to have children). So it is easy to see that it is not a fair exchange. Even looking at just one generation, it is clear to see that the loss of just a single child, is three times the creative productivity of the “gain” of sparing the 20 years of parental productivity from interference. It is therefore no excuse to abort a child, simply because the parents are creative. Furthermore, we have to consider the subsequent generations: the genetic spirit of creativity would echo on through the descendants, appearing now and again, giving rise to another creative person. All these creative people would be lost in the abortion, and their creative works too. This can only mean that the loss involved in aborting the child, to society, culture and Humanity is far greater than the “gain” of allowing the creative parents to work on. Thus, even the “freedom to create” does not justify the abortion of a child.
The Freedom of Movement
To have a young child, is to be encumbered. This is unarguable. To go anywhere or do anything, requires more effort, more planning and more compromises. If you are a person who likes foreign travel, you will find it inordinately more difficult to do so, with a baby in tow. It may also be more difficult to work overseas, or to work in professions that require travel at short notice, so this may even affect the choice of career, or the seniority of position within a career. These are definite considerations, yet, does this array of difficulties and compromises compare with the value of a human life? In no way.
The effect of the infringement of movement that is connoted by a young child, simply means a delay in the timing of the activities in question. If a life of travel is desired, then simply wait until the child or children are older and more easily able to travel with their parents. If one’s career would be enabled by travel, then do an allied job that doesn’t require travel, until, perhaps, the children are older enough to cope with a travelling parent. The compromises made to accommodate a child do not mean the permanent sacrifice of the possibilities in question.
Thus, it can be seen that the freedom of movement, as well, is not a sufficient justification for the ending of an unborn child’s life.
Conclusion Regarding Elective Abortion
Elective abortion, when examined for its motivations, justifications and consequences, is found to be insufficiently supported to merit it, under any of the normal circumstances. There are further considerations, however, for categories of abortion yet to be considered which may seem to be more justified.
Abortion for Reason of Rape
Sometimes, an abortion is desired because the child is by rape. This is a very trying and harrowing circumstance. Now, normally, one would consider abortion an “infinite crime” and thus disbar the option, but in this instance, one must reflect further, for rape itself is a crime.
All the usual consequences of an abortion apply, to the situation for rape, but there is a subtle complication: the father is a rapist and the child was created via rape. What are the implications of this? Rape is a violent act. Both the disposition to rape and the disposition to be violent are most likely genetically influenced and even determined. In support of this, Niklas Langstrom and his colleagues determined that 40% of the tendency to offend sexually is genetic, with 46% of the tendency to commit child sex offences being so. This amounted to a five times higher risk of the brothers of sex offenders also being or becoming sex offenders. (Langstrom, Niklas et. al. 2015) If the unborn child were allowed to live, we have to ask: would we be allowing a future rapist to live? The answer, uncomfortable as it might be, to think of an unborn child, in this way, is that we could very well be, for this child could easily be a future rapist, as was its father.
Now, rape is a crime against a person, whether it be the rape of a man or a woman. In the woman’s case, it denies her the choice of potential father of her baby. This is the denial of a fundamental right. There are very few circumstances in which rape could ever be justified on moral grounds, though one does come to mind.
A Possible, Hypothetical, Justification for Rape
The only situation I can think of, in which rape might actually be a moral act, is if there were only two (or a few) people left in the world who could breed and have children, and the woman, or women, did not wish to have children with the men concerned, although there were no other choices available and no surviving sperm samples from other men. In this circumstance, it would seem to be a moral choice to actually permit the rape of the unwilling mother or mothers, to prevent the ending of the human species.
Why is Rape a Moral Act in this Situation?
The ending of the human species, by a failure to do what would save it, is, itself the highest of all infinite crimes, except, perhaps, the ending of all life on Earth. So, even the committal of what would normally be properly seen as a crime: the rape of a woman, is justifiable, with absolute certainty, to prevent the far higher crime, of the end of the human species itself and the loss of all the infinite descendants of Mankind, who would thereby be extinguished, and all the infinite ideas, creative works, and human societies and civilizations that would be lost. Unbelievable as it might seem, in this situation rape is, comparatively, not a crime, but would actually be the means to save the human species and prevent the far greater crime…which perhaps we could call a transfinite crime…of the end of all Humanity.
As a subset, of this argument, it might also be argued that it would be justifiable morally for any tribe, or race of Humanity, to be saved in the same manner…for instance, pygmy, aborigine, Caucasian, Chinese, etc.
Lest I cause offence, by pointing to this logical exception to the universal – and correct – understanding that rape is an abhorrent crime, I would like to state that I do not, personally, condone, or approve of rape, at all, in any way…I am just following the logic wherever it leads to see if there are any exceptions to common understandings, so that my coverage of the issues related to my core concept of infinite crime, should be as complete as possible. Therefore, I trust I have not caused offence by merit of raising issues which the internal logic of the situations I am discussing, point to. Thank you.
Furthermore, it should be noted that this style of argument should not be used to justify rape in normal situations in which there are an abundance of choice of partners, to argue a case for rape by a man who wishes to “continue his family”. There are many means to do this, that do not involve compulsion and should a person be so undesirable that none of them avail, it would seem to suggest that there are likely to be good reasons why his particular genetic endowment should be allowed not to be “saved”.
The Normal Ethical Situation for Rape and Abortion
Normally, rape is not being used to save a species, race or human subtype from extinction. Therefore, there are no moral grounds to justify it. In the “normal” situation, rape is undesired by the woman – and undesirable - and so, too, is the resulting child.
Again, there is one complication: what if the woman wants the child? If a child conceived of rape is desired by the woman, even though the father wasn’t selected by her, should an abortion take place? I am unaware of all the many different laws worldwide pertaining to abortion and rape, but the case can be examined ethically, particularly in the light of the normal considerations around the ethics of child conception by rape.
Rape is, most likely, a disposition influenced by, perhaps even determined by, genetic inheritance. Thus, it is both wise and morally sound to act so as to prevent the spread of this disposition. If a child conceived of rape is born, that child themselves could either go on to become a rapist, or parent children who themselves go on to do so: the disposition to rape will echo down the genetic line of descent from the original rapist.
The Principle of the Immorality of Conception by Rape:
To prevent the amplification of the disposition to rape, it would be moral to abort the children of rape, even though it is usually immoral to abort a child, except if the birth of the child would be the only means to continue the human species, or a racial subtype which would otherwise become extinct.
However, there are circumstances in which even a child conceived of rape, might not be aborted. If the pregnant woman decides that she wants the baby – after all it is hers, even if it is also the rapist’s – then it is difficult to deny her this wish, even there is a risk that the child will also be a rapist. Here we have to balance the wish of the mother to reproduce and the unethical means the rapist chose to reproduce. It is possible, for instance, that the pregnant woman might not have any further chances to conceive or these might be limited, through age or circumstance. In this situation, she might have a pressing need to ensure that she bears the child.
In the face of the determined wish of the mother to have the child, despite his or her origin in rape, we have to understand that, if the child is not born, all the descendants of the woman are also lost, in addition to those of the rapist. Given this, it is kinder to allow her the choice of what she wants to do. Yet, it cannot be overlooked that this tendency of some women to keep their child, despite him or her being sired in rape, is an encouragement and inducement to rapists to rape. Some societies, therefore, might wish to discourage rape and rapists, by making abortion mandatory in cases of rape conception. This would not, arguably, be an unethical stand, because rape is an infinite crime, in that it has infinite consequences – all of the forcibly conceived descendants that are consequent to the first rape child. Each of these could also be carrying the disposition to rape, in them. Rape is thus an infinite genetic crime.
Rape is an infinite crime in another sense. The egg that was fertilized by the rapist could have been fertilized instead by the woman’s partner, boyfriend or husband. Thus, by raping her, the rapist has murdered the child that would have been, had he not raped her. All the descendants that would have emerged from that line are, in effect, dead because of this act: they are the unconceived. So rape not only pollutes the genome of Man with the tendency to rape, thus a crime breeding further crime…but it denies the woman the true choice of line and descent she would have accorded herself. Rape is a “double infinite crime”, therefore.
This fact should be considered most carefully by any woman who has become pregnant by a rapist. It would be infinitely more morally sound, to abort the rapist’s baby and then have another baby by her actual partner or choice of partner, than to allow the rapist to line replace her chosen family line, with the one he has imposed against her will. In this case the “infinite crime” of aborting the rapist’s baby is balanced by the infinite good of ensuring that the correct line gets to breed with the right partner, rather than permitting the evil action of the rapist to win “breeding rights” by force. At stake, is the nature, character and moral soundness of the mother’s entire line of descent.
We could choose to be simplistic about this to understand it more clearly. The conception by rape is the committal of two infinite crimes: that of forced conception and thus genetic line corruption by the disposition to rape and by the wrong genome being transcribed and the second infinite crime of line replacement and denial of the right of the true partner of the mother, to breed.
Now, aborting the rapist’s baby could be construed as one infinite crime. However, doing so prevents two infinite crimes from being allowed to happen. Thus, in simple accounting, aborting the rapist’s baby, prevents one infinite crime, on balance.
As a complicating factor, it should be noted that women are more likely to become pregnant by rape, than by consensual sex, (Gottschall, Jonathan A.; Gottschall Tiffani A. 2003), so these situations and choices may be more common than might be expected, at first glance.
Abortion for Reason of “Timing”
Some women wish to “time” or space their babies, or have babies in a particular month or year. Thus, they abort babies whose timing is incorrect. Is this ethical?
The mothers, in this case, are engaging in a kind of magical thinking. They seem to believe that babies are interchangeable in a sense, because they see no difference between one baby now and another baby later, other than the convenience issue of their timing. It never occurs to them that the baby now is a unique person that will never be again. There is only ever one opportunity to allow a particular life to ever be. By aborting a baby now, the mother is killing the entire line of descent that would have propagated from that baby. This is unethical and unforgivable – and is, itself, an infinite crime.
Abortion for Reason of Family Sizing
Some parents wish to abort children because a pregnancy is “accidental” and they feel that their family is large enough already. Again, this is not ethically sound, because the abortion is an infinite crime which cannot be excused by the statement “we already have kids”.
All the arguments for an infinite consequence of such an abortion apply here and so too does the alteration of the future composition of Mankind.
In some ways, this is often an argument of poverty – but that doesn’t really hold because the marginal cost of an additional child is not great, if private schooling is avoided and, in developed societies at least, there is some degree of child support from the state for the additional costs, such as child benefit.
A family would be better off slightly poorer per child, than not to have the unborn child be born at all. In ethical terms, it is a far sounder choice to divide the “family pie” by five, for instance, than to keep it as quarters, and kill the unborn child. Parents have unrealistic fears and typically think in terms of spending the “same again” for the additional child, instead of rethinking the overall spend as less per child and reasserting priorities to accommodate the child, which almost all families could do, if they thought carefully.
Abortion for Reason of Genetic Deformity
This situation may seem an easy one to decide, but it may not be so. It deserves to be looked at more closely.
Imagine a world – probably not too far in the future, actually – in which the genome of the unborn child can be examined. In such a world, it would be routine to spot genetic deformity and disease before the birth of the child. However, such information would lead to difficult ethical choices. Imagine a test result that said: “Your child will contract ALS in his twenties and die young.” Would you abort the child? Many would. They would think: “The child has a genetic disease, and any child they had might have it too…best to abort it.” Yet, such a child could have been Stephen Hawking, for he, too contracted ALS in his twenties. Not that alone but Stephen Hawking had healthy children (one of whom, Lucy Hawking, is a published writer).(Hawking, Lucy; Hawking, Stephen 2008) Professor Hawking did not have “diseased children” and they went on to be contributory adults in their own right. So, ethically speaking it would have been a disaster were he to have been aborted in the womb, on the basis of this hypothetical genetic test: we would have lost his work and that of his children too.
So, any decision to abort, even for genetic problems, needs to be weighed carefully. Even the abortion of such a child can be considered an infinite crime, if the genetic disease in question allows for the child to have at least a portion of a normal life and mental functioning and would allow them to contribute to the world, and/or their children might not have the disease. We must ensure that, by aborting a genetically deformed child, we are not taking from the world a future productive individual, in any intellectual or creative sense, or the ancestor of a healthy line of people, who could result (perhaps with medical intervention such as Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) being used.)
Genetic disease can, however, be a great burden on the parents and the impact of that burden must be considered in deciding whether the birth of the child should be allowed. If the genetic disease is truly life limiting, would prevent the parents from living in any normal way or doing any of the things they wish to do with their lives, with no prospect of the child growing up to have children themselves, we have to seriously consider whether, on balance, the loss to the parents outweighs the gain to a child whose life would, mostly, be one of suffering. However, this is a personal decision for each parent. The lessons in love and life taught by caring for such a child can, rather paradoxically, be life enriching too, for the parents in ways they would not expect, even though the child might not grow up, to be an adult. In these cases, each parent should be allowed to decide for themselves what they want.
Abortion for Reason of Incest
There is this common idea that babies conceived by incest should be aborted. This appears to be founded on the understanding that they are more likely to be genetically deformed than others. Whilst this is true – they are – we have to ask first: what genetic diseases are being risked? Then we should test for them, in the baby. We should proceed with all the caution I advised in the case for abortion for reasons of genetic deformity and must not automatically abort – that, in many cases, would be an infinite crime.
Incest does not necessarily mean a deformed baby. There are many instances in the media, of families whose babies are not deformed (though equally there are examples of families whose babies are deformed). This is something which must be examined on an individual basis, preferably by actually testing the unborn baby for genetic diseases that could be present.
All the ethical considerations against abortion apply in the case of incest too.
There is a complication however: incest could be consensual, or non-consensual. In the case of consensual incest, I would argue that ethically it should be treated in the same way as any other baby in any other relationship, except for checks for genetic deformity. If a severe life limiting genetic disease were present, then the parents would have to decide whether to allow the baby to be born.
In the case of non-consensual sex, ethically it becomes odd to consider because the “usurping line” or the rapist, is in fact from the same family as the mother. So, genetically, the baby is more similar to her than it would otherwise be. However, the disposition to rape may not be part of her own genetic constitution despite her relationship to the father, and so the above arguments against propagation of rape genes apply.
Medical Professionals and the Ethics of Abortion
It is commonly heard and expressed by doctors, particularly those who perform abortions, that abortion is a “normal part of medicine”, and is “the right of the mother to make a choice “about her body””. In modern medicine, in many countries, abortion is just not just tolerated and accepted but is actually routine. (Center for Reproductive Rights 2016) No one really thinks much about it. Yet, the ethical position of the doctor must be considered.
In a prior paper, of 2011, “An analysis of the ethics of peer review and other traditional academic publishing practices, by Valentine Cawley” (Cawley, Valentine 2011), I introduced two identifiers for unethical situations, which will prove useful in this analysis (and are indeed useful in analysing any situation with regards to ethics).
First identifier of an unethical situation:
A situation is unethical if it intrinsically embodies unethical behaviour, in its very nature.
Second identifier of an unethical situation:
A situation is unethical if it allows unethical conduct to occur, then protects unethical people from being punished for their unethical conduct. That is, if the situation shields the wrongdoers from being found out and suffering the consequences, then the situation is unethical, even if, in its nature, it does not breach any ethics.
The doctor or other medical staff, perform the abortions. It is their direct actions which lead to the death of the baby. It is true that, in most cases, the abortion has been requested by the mother, but this does not absolve the medical staff of responsibility, no more than it would if they were soldiers committing a war crime, under the orders of a senior officer. They are still the ones who actually kill the unborn child.
The question that must be asked is: is the killing of an unborn child intrinsically unethical, as according to the first identifier? It would seem so. The child is, by definition, innocent. At the age of the unborn, there has been no opportunity to commit any kind of crime. The foetus is innocent. There is no reason arising from the actions of the child themselves that would give us reason to kill them. Furthermore, I have already examined all the primary reasons for wanting to abort a child and found them variously inadequate to justify killing an unborn child (except in truly exceptional circumstances, as already discussed pertaining to genetic diseases). Thus, we can conclude that abortion is intrinsically unethical, in general. So, it would be intrinsically unethical of a doctor to abort a child, even at the behest of the mother, for the abortion itself is intrinsically unethical.
Consideration of the second identifier of unethical conduct is most revealing with regards to the position of the hospital. The doctor is permitted, indeed requested, by the hospital institution to perform abortions. These are unethical. However, both the hospital and the legal system, in countries that allow it, then shield the doctor from the consequences of these killings and their unethical connotations. Thus, by the second identifier, the hospital itself, and the medical and legal system of the country that condones this, are unethical in their conduct and stance. Indeed, they are infinite criminals in allowing, and encouraging this unethical practice.
Now, as I have established, logically, abortion is an infinite crime if the child had the potential to be fertile, or could have contributed in any other way to society. This covers almost all children. Thus, typically, abortion is an infinite crime. It is clear, therefore, that doctors and other medical staff who perform abortions are infinite criminals. Without their skills, their training and their willingness to actually perform the “procedures”, the babies would not be killed. The doctors are, in effect, “serial killers of human foetuses”. They are “serially infinite criminals” or “multiply infinite criminals”, ethically speaking, no matter what the law of their nations might actually consider them to be. It must be remembered that law and ethics are two different branches of human thought. Laws are not necessarily ethically constructed, although I believe they should be. So it is quite possible – and in fact is quite common – for categories of ethical crime – such as abortion – to be considered non-crime, or legal in some societies. This is an instance in which the law and ethics differ, in some countries.
Infinite Crime and the Future of Abortion Law
Modern societies condone abortions and the actions of medical staff in committing them, in many countries, but it may not always be this way. The killings of unborn children by medical staff may, eventually, come to be seen as actual crimes on the statute books, of nations all over the world, once it is understood that, ethically, these killings are infinite crimes. Some might even choose to make these crimes retrospective in their application. The reason that nations might wish to do this is a human psychological consideration: a person who would kill another human being in one context, in which it is unnecessary to do so (that is, not in self-defence), is akin in fundamental ways to all who kill outside of such forgivable contexts. In a very real sense, the subset of medical staff who are able to kill babies without conscience are not, actually, much different from those we properly regard as killers and jail for doing so – because they share one thing in common: a lack of conscience about doing so. They kill without any real analysis, “soul searching” or evaluation of their own actions. The fact that “other doctors do so” is enough, for them, to justify what they do. These would seem to be morally shallow people at best. Some might even fit the psychological profile of the psychopath (one who is able to hurt others without any guilt for having done so). It might prove valuable to look more closely into the medical practice of doctors who commit abortion, to see if there are, statistically, “excess deaths” among their other patients. It would be unsurprising to find such a prevalence, at least in some cases, because of the attitude to the death of others revealed and declared by their abortion work. I would hope other researchers with access to such data might pick up this suggestion and actually do the necessary investigations into the death rate of other patients of abortion doctors who have broader practices.
Nations should consider the ethical arguments against various categories of abortion and reconsider their abortion laws in their light. It is inappropriate if a nation has unethical abortion laws, because doing so means that the nation is failing to protect its most vulnerable citizens-to-be: the unborn, who have no voice of their own. In this instance, it is fitting that any nation aiming to be civilized should revisit its abortion laws and re-examine them in the light of the concept of infinite crime and, hopefully, revise them so that they are no longer in conflict with the underlying ethics of the situation.
It may also prove revealing to look into the character, nature and full occupational activities of doctors who have been able to abort large numbers of foetuses, without conscience. It may prove to be that doing so reveals other actual crimes, which are already on the statute books. The reason for doing so is clear: people’s characters tend to be consistent in many circumstances. A person able to kill in one situation may very well be both able to kill, and be doing so, in other situations. Thus, by looking more closely at the careers of abortion doctors, one might discover hidden killers. A simple test would be to establish the normal death rates for each patient type, across medicine and see if any abortion doctors who have broader practices, exhibit statistically unusual excess death patterns. Those that do exhibit such excess deaths in their practice, should be studied more carefully to see if this is not just a statistical aberration, but one indicative of deliberate induction of death, in patients.
Healthcare systems may wish to revise their practices in the light of this new ethical understanding, for, at present, many of them are committing infinite crimes by allowing, encouraging or “legalizing” the practice of abortion within their system.
Of course, many nations have a pro-abortion lobby, sometimes marketed as “pro-choice”. This is typically a vocal, even vituperative, section of the community. They argue strongly for the “right” of women to abort unwanted babies…hence their “choice”. Yet, we have to ask: why aren’t they giving the baby the choice of whether to live or not? Why is the choice the mother’s (who is not, after all the life in question)? This lobby is very loud in the public eye, yet it is clear that they have not examined the issues surrounding abortion deeply or with the due and proper consideration for all the lives involved. It is my hope that my logical examination of the ethical nature of the practice, will prompt them to reflect on their stance, and re-examine it, and not just respond with their apparently habitual knee-jerk aggression, whenever anyone questions their viewpoint or attempts to examine it, at all. Hopefully, over time, a more mature understanding of this issue will become common and perhaps every human life will come to be valued more – even the voicelessly unborn’s.
At the time of writing, the Royal College of Midwives has, under the leadership of Professor Cathy Warwick, backed a campaign for full term abortions by BPAS (the British Pregnancy Advisory Service) – that is for the abortion of any baby up to the point of birth. Therefore, it could not be more apt or urgent to re-examine the ethical matters surrounding abortion as a practice, and urge their reconsideration in the light of my ethical analysis.
Mankind is not what it should be. The killing of hundreds of millions of babies, through abortion, has completely changed the composition of the human race. There is no telling what we would have become, had this not happened – but one thing is sure: we have been denied many possibilities, by the killings of unborn children, in large numbers. I have established, unarguably, that this is an infinite crime. It is time, therefore, for all legal systems around the world which allow abortion, to reflect on my arguments and reconsider their legal frameworks around the issue. So, too, those nations which do not allow abortion, may wish to reconsider the penalties for any illegal abortions that are taking place: an infinite crime, should be punished more severely than one that is not so. All legal systems need to incorporate this thought, into their legal structure.
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Showing 4 Reviews
Certainly an original point of view, but not particularly convincing in my opinion.
First of all, you argue that abortion is an infinite crime because of the loss of a human being and the potential loss of infinitely many descendants. In this case, are contraceptives and all other family planning methods people use to have their desired number of children all infinite crimes as well? Should a fertile woman have sex as often as possible during her fertile window each menstrual cycle (while she is of an age where her offspring are unlikely to be genetically deformed) in order to maximise the number of children she produces and to give birth to the unique child that can only be conceived for that cycle? Is it only a crime after an embryo has formed, or is preventing an embryo from forming a crime as well? Other questions to think about: Is the abortion of a foetus that will grow up to be infertile infinitely less of a crime? Is an infertile person infinitely less valuable?
Secondly, you argue that offspring of rapists should be aborted because they are more likely to be rapists, but offspring with genetic deformities should not be aborted in general as they may become productive individuals. You have omitted the possibility of children of rape becoming productive individuals, and having no genetic predisposition to rape. Because of your argument for aborting children of rape is genetic in nature, shouldn't it be the same as for genetic deformities? I find your argument for the abortion in the case of rape particularly unbalanced.
If Stephen Hawking was an infertile child of rape, should he have been aborted?
In what sense are the "infinite
consequences of a negative nature." mentioned in the third sentence, infinite?
Do they include the Giant Spaghetti monster spontaneously popping into existence in this very room to berate me excitedly about my haircut in exactly 10 mins, spraying literally divine spaghetti sauce everywhere as it (he?) flails its (her?) pasta limbs and meatball eyestalks around, in at first a fearsome, then rather quickly a tiresome, albeit without resort to logical fallacy, and generally accepted debating and rhetorical "low blows," other than a parody of me as Hitler, delivering an iconic Nazi rally speec (in perfect Italian, for obvious reasons), and notwithstanding the fact, which I accept, that this haircut is almost supernaturally bad?
If not, that's one negative instance LESS than infinite negative consequences, which would constitute, I believe, an infinite error.
I shall wait and see what happens, before determining whether to report this matter it to the Infinite Council of Infinitude (and Beyond)
PHd Gastrophysics, Author of 'We Will Cook You
I decided to post after the event(s) proposed above (or lack thereof) occurred or otherwise (or not), in order to avoid double-posting (or worse). A such, the infinite question I posed above needs no answer. I hereby retract my claim, infinitely, and apologize unreservedly, yet most finitely, Sir.
Finally, I suspect there may be a hint of allegory in His Great Pastaness's spraying of spaghetti sauce over "literally everything" after my rather brusque, sarcastic metaphysical question / accusation about the nature of infinity. I shall dwell upon this matter infinitely.
PS: Does anyone know how to get spaghetti sauce out of, er...everything (with or without allegory)? I asked His Pastaness and he actually deigned to respond, albeit jokingly rather than helpfully:
"OF COURSE THIS IS KNOWN TO ME! I KNOW ALL THAT IS, IS NOT, WAS, WAS NOT, MAY BE, OR MAY NOT BE, MAYBE, MAYBE NOT, WILL, SHALL, SHAN'T, WON'T, COULD, AND....MORE! (OR LESS, EVEN, IF SUCH IS MY CHOICE!) I KNOW ALL!"
"I KNOW OF THAT WHICH CAN REMOVE ANYTHING FROM ANYTHING! EVERYTHING FROM EVERYTHING! ALL FROM ALL! IT AND EVEN BETTER, IT'S FREE!"
"Oh g-good, great! What is, er...it?
"IT IS FIRE! "BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! YOU SHOULD USE IT ON THAT HAIR-DO!"
*Dematerializes in a burst of laughter and sauce*
Firstly, thank you for writing the article, it was interesting to mull over. However, the logic of it is not entirely correct. (For the purposes of the article I shall assume that the very goal of society, a proxy as the sum of the human population, is creative creation). This article operates under the false assumption that every human life contributes an equal amount - what if the mother aborts a child and her childless lifestyle permits her to make even larger creations to society (that would not have been possible had she had a child)? Now, you may claim that with the idea of an infinite string of descendants one of them may in fact create much more, which is true. However, that statement in the context of this article belies a lack of understanding of the nature of infinity. If it is truly infinite then the loss of an entire string has no effect on it because it will never end.
In academic debate this is never a legitimate thing to say: "I have established, unarguably, ..." It's not merely that it reeks of hubris, but it is generally acknowledged that nothing is ever established unarguably (and the word "inarguably" is generally preferred to "unarguably"). All knowledge is provisional. And indeed you have not established inarguably. Consider other angles: https://medium.com/@dacosta/stewie-griffin-united-airlines-abortion-418e4d559fff
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