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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Regarding pregnancy is selfishness unto life better or worse than selfishness unto death?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (26840points) April 14th, 2015

When it comes to pregnancies there is always the tinge of selfishness there. In this day and age no one has to become pregnant, as to keeping the tribe, community, nation, or species alive. If one plans children it is at the whim and pleasure of the woman or couple. Even if it is a high-risk pregnancy because of health dangers the mother is willing to take or health issues the child might be born with, or for any other reason that would make it high-risk, the end result is a new life. Ending a pregnancy is also selfish, in a sense one did the crime but don’t want to do the time. If there is no health to the mother carrying the child or birthing him/her, it has a selfish stain to end it (let’s not even sink to the rape thing, I say don’t punish the child for the sins of the father), such as being unwilling to augment one’s life for the life created out of self-pleasure with another person seeking same; the end result is the end of a life, which is death. Which selfishness is better, one ending in life, or one ending in death?

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19 Answers

whitenoise's avatar

This is a loaded question. It cannot be answered without implying the OP is correct in assuming a termination of a pregnancy is by definition a selfish act.

It should be reworded.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

^ I stated that both have the tinge of selfishness, which it does. However, rather than running form the question, make the case why it isn’t selfishness to end a pregnancy because it will cause one to change their life or liflestyle? If the evidence is there, you will have not have a hard time presenting it.

whitenoise's avatar

I don’t want to make that case. I would make the case that most of the abortion cases (that’s what we’re talking about, right?) are not a result of women merely unwilling to give up their lifestyle.
and a result of poor education on healthy sex in general and on how to have sex without getting pregnant in particular.

Blackberry's avatar

I’ll be selfish with money instead of selfish with no money.

cazzie's avatar

I will end a pregnancy because it’s my body and selfishness has nothing to do with it.

Darth_Algar's avatar

This certainly has the potential to spark thoughtful discussion.

LostInParadise's avatar

How do you determine what is selfish and what is not? Looked at one way, everything we do is selfish, because whatever decision we make is the one that gives us the most pleasure. Is it selfish to want to raise a child? Is it selfish to want to do our best in our chosen profession? Is it selfish to work in a homeless shelter? What are your criteria for selfishness?

hominid's avatar

@LostInParadise is correct that this entire question probably hinges on the concept of selfishness, which you haven’t defined. In fact, to insert the word “selfishness” in your question seems to require some justification. But that may be cleared up when you define selfishness.

What would seem more appropriate when discussing issues like this would be the variables that lead to suffering or well-being. You’ve laid out two scenarios:

1. Choosing to have a child.

You state that there is the risk of having a child who can suffer (“health issues”), True. And you may agree that with all life comes pain and suffering. So, parents choose to create a being that will suffer. This is a legitimate concern, and one that we could talk about. Note: The undefined “selfish” is crucial here before we can really go further.

2. Terminating a pregnancy.

Here, you seem to be making two claims that I am not willing to accept. First, that ending a pregnancy = death. Second, that this “death” is inherently bad.
But I think if we go back to #1 and find our place of agreement here, we might be able to come closer to agreement on #2 (closer). If I do not see the termination of a pregnancy as death, then terminating pregnancy means terminating suffering. In other words, ending the pregnancy means that we are not creating a being that will suffer. And if we can agree – on some level – on #1, then you can see where I might be coming from with #2.

But most importantly, we are not only talking about the creation of a being. How do these affect the creatures that already exist? In both cases (#1 and #2), restrictions on these would lead to a net increase in suffering for those who already exist. Prohibiting or forcing people to reproduce would greatly increase the suffering.

Does that make sense, or did I misinterpret the question?

janbb's avatar

“If you did the crime, you have to do the time” is such a wrong way of looking at sex and having children that I can’t really even engage with this question seriously.

canidmajor's avatar

Before I could discuss this we’d have to agree on a definition for “selfish”. And agree on the point in development where a blastocyst, embryo, fetus can be defined as a viable life. And agree on whether or not you (and I, to be fair) have enough medical knowledge to be able to intelligently discuss the risks of pregnancy to a woman.

I’m afraid those criteria wouldn’t be met.

dappled_leaves's avatar

Neither choice is about being selfish. Choosing the direction one’s life will take is not about selfishness. It’s about freedom. I thought Americans were all about that.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@whitenoise I would make the case that most of the abortion cases (that’s what we’re talking about, right?) are not a result of women merely unwilling to give up their lifestyle.and a result of poor education on healthy sex in general and on how to have sex without getting pregnant in particular.
In the end, how one became pregnant is irrelevant to their aborting the unborn child. If you have poor safety habits in the shop or factory, you may find yourself in a cast for weeks or living the rest of your life missing a limb. If you nend up pregnant because you did not know, or a failed contraceptive it is irrelevant. If you were that ignorant of sex and where babies came from, that is even more evidence you should keep your clothes on. –I know you don’t want to make any case because there is none to be made that would stick—

@Blackberry I’ll be selfish with money instead of selfish with no money.
People are selfish with money all the time. If you have little money (or feel you do), they call that being stingy; you are afraid to give any to anyone else for fear it is money you need to survive etc. and you will compromise that by giving any away. If you have lots of money, they call that greed, because you have means to give some to others without depriving yourself the ability to meet your expenses but you simple want more and more, even if you can’t everr spend it all in your lifetime.

@cazzie I will end a pregnancy because it’s my body and selfishness has nothing to do with it.
Keep telling yourself that…..I did not expect any different.

@Darth_Algar This certainly has the potential to spark thoughtful discussion.
If people can be real, honest, and logical (which I thought ruled around here). It seems some people are convicted and need to try to defend themselves or their belief shy of any real fact or measurer, and dare I say, logic.

@LostInParadise How do you determine what is selfish and what is not?
Let’s go to the very lowest bar of selfishness; *any act that one does for their own pleasure, gain, or benefit and causes. Lost, injury to another in the accomplishment or completing of their action, one where doing an action affects another in ways they had no say or did not ask for. Now let’s see people try to say that has nothing to do with selfishness.

Looked at one way, everything we do is selfish, because whatever decision we make is the one that gives us the most pleasure.
Surely you jest. You are going to tell me of you decided to have a ham and cheese on pumpernickel you made yourself with items you bought with your own money, you are causing some disadvantage to someone else? Maybe it would be selfish if it was the last sandwich at a function and someone wanted it who did not get one, but you took it and ate it after having some already.

@hominid @LostInParadise is correct that this entire question probably hinges on the concept of selfishness, which you haven’t defined.
I gave him the low bar logically what selfishness is, unless you know of some other way, or how what I said to @LostInParadise doesn’t fall within the sphere of selfishness?

1. Choosing to have a child.
You state that there is the risk of having a child who can suffer (“health issues”), True. And you may agree that with all life comes pain and suffering. So, parents choose to create a being that will suffer. This is a legitimate concern, and one that we could talk about. Note: The undefined “selfish” is crucial here before we can really go further.
Where is your low bar for ”suffering”? If a child smashes his finger in an open drawer you will equate that to chronic and systemic suffering? What % of a child’s life has to be less than rosy for you to believe the child is suffering? Would you say every human at this moment is suffering because the potential to be unhealthy and or unhappy is plausible at any moment? There is one thing to have a child which you know unpleasant happenstance will happen, but you do not know for sure if, when and how it will occur, and another to know there is a great likelihood that a child will be born or develop a chronic and /or systemic health issue. It is like taking a plane trip where you know unforeseen mechanical problems can cause the plane to crash as oppose to flying over and area where there is an armed conflict and the likelihood someone will attempt to purposely bring the plane down, or is that too deep to follow?

2. Terminating a pregnancy.
Here, you seem to be making two claims that I am not willing to accept. First, that ending a pregnancy = death. Second, that this “death” is inherently bad.
If you want to avoid the fact that an entity of left to do its thing in 9 months on average will be a human, you would not want to say termination is death any more than someone who is torturing their prisoner believe they are just using harsh interrogation methods to get information from a person who deserve no compassion because that information will potentially save innocent people. People can rationalize around the science of biology all they want, but as it has been said of science, a lot of it that is known is quite precise and unchanging to the whim of man.

If I do not see the termination of a pregnancy as death, then terminating pregnancy means terminating suffering.
What your scenario one hinges on is untenable, to equate unknown occurrences one can say is an episode of suffering that was just happenstance is a reason to not have children because they can find themselves in one of those situations, that same premise can be used by mass murderers and terrorist. I could simply say let me kill as many people as I can because they may supper some health issue, a break up, job loss, loss of a loved one and that will equate to their suffering and I was sparing them of that pain. Would you go along with that, I hope not?

@janbb “If you did the crime, you have to do the time” is such a wrong way of looking at sex and having children that I can’t really even engage with this question seriously.
The question really had no footing in the right and wrong way of having children, it was about the selfish decision made of having or not having…..you back on track now?

@dappled_leaves Neither choice is about being selfish. Choosing the direction one’s life will take is not about selfishness. It’s about freedom. I thought Americans were all about that.
So, if the direction in life I choose to take for my believed freedom is to amass money, and part of that is smashing the glass on your car and stealing it, or something valuable inside, even though you are affected by my action, if I can get away with it it is all good? People in the US are about freedom, though it is a folly that never exists in its pure form.

Pandora's avatar

Is having a child selfish? Yes. Not everyone who has a child does to simply to have a mini replica. Some of us do it because we love children. Plus biologically speaking, we are still mammals with the desire to reproduce. It’s drive that is hard to explain. One other reason is because if feels like the completion of your love with your partner. A testament to your love.
Is it something I get to chose for someone else. No.

Is having an abortion selfish. Yes and no. Some people would make horrible parents. We have seen proof of that in child abuse cases. Some children would’ve been better being aborted than having to be tortured all their lives or tortured only to be killed later.

But right or wrong. Selfish or not selfish. These are only my opinion which doesn’t and shouldn’t amount to a pile of beans when we are talking about how others should live their lives and resolve their conscious.

I think having a child in today’s society is selfish but I had my children and I cannot fault others for following their own desires. After having children enriched my life, I find no reason for me not to believe them a blessing. Little arms wrapped around my neck before bed and a big kiss on the cheek is heaven. I loved having a little bit of heaven here on earth.

Aborting children I feel is equally wrong. I can’t believe anyone comes away from that without feeling crushed, unless they were already crushed in their upbringing. But I will not be raising these children along side them, so my opinion does not matter.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Pandora Too bad I have not five lurve to give that answer. It was clear, points well-made and on subject.

Not everyone who has a child does to simply to have a mini replica. Some of us do it because we love children
True, some people have children to give brothers and sisters to their existing children, some to provide a donor to existing children, and some for the sheer joy of having kids, in any case the parent makes the choice for the chiulkd yet to be born, or not.

Plus biologically speaking, we are still mammals with the desire to reproduce. It’s drive that is hard to explain.
One would think, yet there are those who short circuit that natural drive to not want to have offspring, though thery like going through the motions.

Yes and no. Some people would make horrible parents.
It can spur some slacking, ne’er-do-well to straighten up and fly right. I once heard a young man upon discovering he was going to be a dad vowed to buck up, and ditch his partying was so he could be the dad to his son, his dad never was too him.

After having children enriched my life, I find no reason for me not to believe them a blessing.
Having children may have a tinge of selfishness, but it doesn’t stay that way. As they enrich your life, you intern enrich theirs, even though they had no stake in the decision you made, they benefit from it, there is no give back or any chance or reciprocal benefit if they are not alive, especially off the choice the woman made for them both.

Hats off to you!!

whitenoise's avatar

I cannot believe flutter allows this question to stand.
This is in general and that should put a burden on the quality of the question asked.

fluthernutter's avatar

You are going to tell me of you decided to have a ham and cheese on pumpernickel you made yourself with items you bought with your own money, you are causing some disadvantage to someone else?

I think the point of confusion still goes back to the definition of selfish. You’re still stuck on the notion that it means to put someone else at disadvantage.

You should reread what @LostInParadise wrote before continuing this discussion.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@fluthernutter I think the point of confusion still goes back to the definition of selfish. You’re still stuck on the notion that it means to put someone else at disadvantage.
How confusing is selfishness? If you have another definition than the low bar I presented enlighten me? What do you believe selfishness it? I guess if we were at a resort and a wildfire broke out and there was only one SUV left that could seat 7 and I did not let you or anyone else in and took off and left you all, I guess by your indication, I can be comfortable I was not selfish but practical, the extra weight might have popped the tires thwarting my escape from the flames.

LostInParadise's avatar

There are only a finite number of resources in the world and total wants exceeds total availability. Buying a sandwich deprives someone else. If we take your view of selfishness to its natural conclusion, it is selfish for those of us making decent salaries in wealthy nations not to donate substantial parts of our income to those in impoverished nations. Here is the point of view of the philosopher Peter Singer. Do you agree with him?

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@LostInParadise Here is the point of view of the philosopher Peter Singer. Do you agree with him?
I could play that Fluther bullshit game about “exactly what is compassion and how do you quantify it?” and do the same with obligation, etc. I am not going into the asinine gutter like that. Most of what he said I agree with. I believe instead of wallet bombing poverty, hunger, and homelessness, the people need to be life-retrained. They need to be shown how to be self-sufficient and why their actions might be sabotaging their own efforts. In a way, not giving to nations, or assisting them to produce themselves, is selfish, but a latent, sneaky kind, usually the byproduct of apathy. If you were homeless and I knew it but I pass you by on the way to the coffee house and I don’t offer to bring you back a cup of coffee and a muffin, it is not overt selfishness where I come out of the coffee house with a muffin, but I decided I did not want it, and walk right in front of you and toss it in the trash when I could have asked if you wanted it, that is a more direct selfishness, because I had the means to alleviate a portion of your hunger and the opportunity was right before me, and I chose not to.

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