Social Question

Rangie's avatar

At what point does a "woman's right to choose" come into play?

Asked by Rangie (3656points) March 19th, 2010

At what point (specifically, day, hour or month) does the Right to choose, morally and ethically, become okay with you as an individual. Not what someone else thinks, not what your religion thinks, but what you think.

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83 Answers

Nullo's avatar

Before sex.

Shae's avatar

My right to choose is mine every day I breath.

Shae's avatar

@Nullo and those who had no choice in the sex act?

syz's avatar

Always. (I don’t think I understand your question.)

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Like @Shae and @syz said, as long as she’s breathing.

Snarp's avatar

I don’t even understand the question.

KatawaGrey's avatar

I’m not sure I understand your question entirely. Anyone’s right to choose, either man’s or woman’s, comes into play every single moment of every single day. If you’re talking specifically about abortion, I think it is always about what the woman wants. the man may certainly offer his input but if she wants to have an abortion, even if he does not, then she can have the abortion.

Please put more details into your question. It is worded in a confusing manner.

Trillian's avatar

Uh, what? Choose what? What to wear? What time to get up in the morning? What to have for lunch? What are we talking about here?

Zaku's avatar

Everyone has a right to choose whatever they want at all times.

Rangie's avatar

We are talking about getting pregnant, having an abortion, the question is: At what point does the woman’s right to choice begin and end? before pregnancy, during pregnancy and if during the pregnancy when during the nine months?

lloydbird's avatar

When she shops?

Trillian's avatar

@Rangie In that case, there really is no definitive answer. It would then depend on the relationship, I think. The man involved has a say, I believe if they are married. many will say that even if you are not. For instance, if you were to deliberately get pregnant knowing that he does not want a child, that is something that you have no right to do. There are far too many variables to give one answer. A child is not conceived as a solo act, so though it is carried in your body, the father sometimes has certain rights as well. This is only fair considering that we hold men responsible after the birth. I don’t know if you want to argue a point or exactly what you’re looking for. You’re going to end up with different opinions, that’s for sure. This is one is mine.
“This is my opinion! There are many like it but this one belongs to me!”

Rangie's avatar

In my opinion only, I believe you the woman gets one choice on the issue of pregnancy. I believe that “right to choose” is used up before pregnancy. When you agreeable have sex you are making a choice. HOW MANY CHOICES DO YOU WANT? Let’s see, I got angry and shot somebody, but wait, I changed my mind, I don’t want to do that. TOO LATE. THINK OF THE CONSEQUENCES BEFORE THE ACT.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@Rangie Welcome to Fluther. You just opened up a can of worms. :)

Rangie's avatar

Drastic Dreamer, how so? I don’t believe using the tools God gave us (our brains) to think about such an important issue is a can of worms. It is meerly a discussion on timing and the thought that went into making the choice or not thinking, just doing.

Rangie's avatar

Zaku, Yes everyone does have the right to choose whatever they want all of the time. But at what cost? Or do you think there is a cost?

Trillian's avatar

@Rangie It’s a big can of worms because the issue is personal on many levels for many jellies. We all have opinions about this, and we do not all agree with each other. You’ll see.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Rangie Just because she had sex doesn’t mean she chose to have sex. Also, I assume that you’re just as harsh on men who have sex and then walk away from the baby? Or pay for an abortion? Or hold her hand during the abortion?

tinyfaery's avatar

So, you didn’t really want an answer? You just wanted to let us know what you think. Well good for fuckin’ you.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Rangie if you put the @ symbol before the person’s screen name and then spell it exactly as they do, it makes it much easier to follow the conversation.

Rangie's avatar

@
Trillian, you are right that we all have opinions about this, and we do not all agree with each other. I am just looking at both sides of this issue and why you think the way you do. I am not condemning anyone for their opinions on this issue. It is a personal issue. I only would like to know how either side of the issue comes to their conclusions. I am sure each will be very different. Just curious, that all. Not making judgment on anyone.

KatawaGrey's avatar

I’m torn between sticking around and watching the train wreck to follow and walking away now…

Rangie's avatar

@tinyfaery, No, I do want to know what you think and why. Who know, someone may see what you have to say and then be able to make a more informed decision. So let’s see if we can keep our conversations clean and worth posting. Thank you for your imput.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@Rangie Well, first, not everyone believes in god. There’s also incest, rape, 12-year-old mothers… The list goes on and on for why I, personally, believe in a woman’s right to choose.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@KatawaGrey It would appear that you have quite the Sophie’s Choice there ;)

Rangie's avatar

@papayally, I think you are reading me wrong. I said disregarding rape, which in my opinion means consensual sex. And no I am not hard on anybody. I think the man in this arena is left without many choices, except to leave in some instances. And to pay for the abortion, I think that is quite generous of him. However, if wants to keep the baby, he simply has no rights. Do you think that is fair?

Rangie's avatar

@KatawaGrey, your funny. I’m not out to judge anybody. I have two sister that had abortions, for reasons of their own. I don’t think it is for me to question. I am only responsible for what I say and do. So that is why I need to make informed decisions that may affect my life, mentally and physically. One sister is okay with her decision, the other, 40 years later is still having problems. Everybody is different thank goodness. Life would be quite boring if we were all alike. We would have no reason for communication.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Rangie Some might argue that getting an abortion is the woman’s way of leaving. How is paying for the abortion generous of him? He had half the sex, the baby is half his, but paying for the abortion is ‘quite generous’? To me, it’s more like ‘quite expected’. I understand that sometimes he wants to keep the baby and doesn’t get to, but the world isn’t fair and there are upsides and downsides to not having a uterus – that’s one of the downsides. Upsides include the ability to never follow up on if a baby was made after a night of passion and a lack of periods.

TLRobinson's avatar

@Rangie-When a man can have periods, survive labor and give birth, then we’ll call it fair.

My body, my choice; at the time I choose.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Rangie I don’t see where you said anything about disregarding rape

Rangie's avatar

@DrasticDreamer , Yes your are right not everyone believes in God. But they still have to make decisions and accept the consequences. I am not saying this issue is based on God alone. I am not talking about rape or 12 year old mothers. I am talking about grown women married or not and how they go about making their decision. Now if you were raped, or 12 years old you would certainly have to approach this issue differently. But you are not either of those, I assume. So for you, not the law, but for you, your decision would be based on what? Thanks for your imput.

Rangie's avatar

@papayalily , I believe I mentioned it in several responses. No, I didn’t mention it in my initial question. sorry about that.

Rangie's avatar

I think we have exhausted this question, it was interesting and fun communicating with all of you. Thanks so much for taking the time to give me some input.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@Rangie Okay. The only way I know how to break the complexity of the issue down is to say this: I don’t just believe in life, I believe in quality of life. I believe that in certain situations, having a baby is more selfish than choosing to abort it. There are so many factors that have to be taken into consideration before having a baby that I don’t believe making a blanket statement about abortion being “right or wrong” is even possible. It might be money, it might be emotional maturity, it might be a dysfunctional relationship. All of those things are things that I would consider before having a baby/abortion.

Rangie's avatar

@DrasticDreamer ,GREAT ANSWER, That is what I was looking for. Thank you for putting your heartfelt thoughts out there for us to read. Yes there are many factors to consider and everyone factors are most likely different. That is why we can’t make a blanket statement regarding anybody else. Only ourselves and what we can or cannot live with. I also believe in quality of life for everyone. And to have that we each must think before the “night of passion” and these days there are many ways to protect oneself. Then that dreaded difficult decision won’t have to be made. thank so much.

thriftymaid's avatar

Under present law, a woman has the right to choose up to the state-specific number of weeks of pregnancy. Personally, I could only choose life.

meagan's avatar

Its your choice to open your legs and have consensual ‘adult’ sex. People should be responsible for their actions. Children don’t ask to be born or ask to be a “mistake”.

janbb's avatar

When she is pregnant and can’t see raising a child the way it should be raised.

Rangie's avatar

@thriftymaid , I don’t think the law should have anything to do with this issue. It is too personal. Many reasons for each decision which each person that makes one, owns it for the rest of their life. They need to really seriously take time to think before they act.

Rangie's avatar

@meagan , and that is when I personally think the right to choice takes place. All of the decision making should have already been done. Avoids a lifetime, of consequences either way which may not set well with you. If by chance you got pregnant, then the right of choice was made. However, due to possible circumstances that are not compatible with having and raising a baby, there is relief of knowing there is adoption.

Rangie's avatar

@janbb , so, what exactly are you saying?

meagan's avatar

@Rangie Honestly.. I really, really love really bad court television. Like divorce court? Its so terrible! Everyone is denying being someone’s father and no one wants to pay child support.. its sad! No one understands what a responsibility it is to have a child anymore. Its insanity!

janbb's avatar

I am saying that I think it is a very difficult issue with a lot of potential pain but that ultimately. I believe that the woman who will be the one who has to bear and raise the child is the one who, with appropriate counseling, gets to make the choice.

Rangie's avatar

@meagan , Yes it is a responsibility. However, I think raising my children, has been the most important thing I have done in my life time. I truly feel for the folks that can’t have children. They are probably the one’s that would make great parents.
The sad thing is some people conveniently convince themselves that if they just get rid of the child it will all go away. I would venture to say there will be a time in their life, when the issue will come rearing its head, and they will have to deal with it then, and perhaps the rest of their life.

meagan's avatar

@Rangie Well I think “Child-Rearing” is okay for most, but not for some. I’d be very happy to never have a child. It just seems like the ones that don’t need them are the ones that “practice” making children the most ;P

Rangie's avatar

@meagan , very true words you speak. They not only practice making them, they end up with so many the children aren’t well cared for, or they throw them away after they find out they are pregnant. I have more trouble throwing away an old pair of shoes than some of these women do with a baby. I will never understand it, so I don’t even try anymore. Like I said THEY OWN WHAT THEY DO, for the rest of their lives. If you would be very happy to never have a child, it would be my guess, you will take steps to insure that will not happen. Good luck in your life, it sounds like you have a thinking brain in your head.

thriftymaid's avatar

@Nullo Perfect answer.

meagan's avatar

@Rangie Awww. Youre so sweet ;P

Rangie's avatar

@janbb , It is not always ultimately the woman that will raise the child. I have a newphew that fought for 18 years for custody of his baby. He won the greater amount of time with her custody. She is now 18 and very well rounded. Just what choice are you suggesting she gets to make. abort, adopt, keep, surrender to father.

Rangie's avatar

@meagan . I enjoy talking with you. I know by your photo you are young enough to be my granddaughter. But, I really appreciate the fact that there are still young people out there that have not lost respect for life, compassion for others, and still capable of thinking for themselves. I feel that you never allowed your peers to sway you. Congratulations to not only you, but your parents, they did a good job. I have learned quite a lot about you in our short conversation today. Thank you.

meagan's avatar

@Rangie :) I really truly appreciate that very much.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

We’ve been here before @Rangie – search abortion and you’ll see the questions where we’ve discussed this to death. A woman always has the right to choose so at no point does she give it up. God, the concept of religion, etc. doesn’t enter into it for many people who are atheists or who don’t think it’s relevant to the conversation. For others, it’s all about their beliefs. That’s why there’s no one opinion but since there are all sorts of people, you can’t tell others what to do about their bodies. But listen here carefully, as long as I live and breathe and not believe in god, it should be enough for there to be legal and available and affordable abortion just in case I’d want it. Period.

Rangie's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir , Thank you so much for taking the time to express your opinion to me. I just joined the forum and I am still finding my way around. I didn’t mean to beat a dead horse. I just wanted to know how people come to their conclusions. I am not saying anyone is right or wrong. If I thought there was just one opinion I would not have posted this question. I certainly am not trying to tell anybody what they can or can’t do with their body, and I don’t think the law should either. It is, what it is. There are somethings that are so personal that the law and religion need to stay out of it. We all have a conscience the will help guide us and if it doesn’t then like I said we own what we do.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Rangie We should absolutely own all that we do.

Zaku's avatar

@Rangie “Zaku, Yes everyone does have the right to choose whatever they want all of the time. But at what cost? Or do you think there is a cost?”

Costs exist only within a human concept such as an economic system or moral code, which are inventions of humans and societies. It’s not a matter of absolute truth. So an answer to this will really be a statement of a social or legal group’s positions, or of an individual’s. So I take this question as you asking what my personal feelings are about it.

My personal feelings go something like this: There is a massive amount of death, disease and suffering in the world. I feel compassion for this, and value it in proportion to the capacity of the sufferer to suffer, and of their potential for good if their suffering were relieved. I don’t see death itself as necessarily something involving a lot of suffering, particularly for something like an embryo, fetus, or even a very young born child – the persona that is suffering has very little to suffer about or understand as suffering, as best I can tell. A healthy pregnant woman with the prospect of a life of her own, it seems to me has a huge capacity for a wide range of either suffering or good, which being forced to raise a child she doesn’t want, could likely make a huge difference about. Further, since most women have very strong maternal feelings, a woman who would make a choice to abort a pregnancy, well, unless she is very crazy or something, I think it’s preposterous and horrible for anyone to assume they have more right than her to make such a decision.

On the other hand, I also believe in the rights of humans and societies to form their own distinct and diverse moral codes. Seeing how many people are aligned so strongly against abortion, I think they should be allowed to form communities and laws within them that exclude and even illegalize abortion.

For the same reason, even without my personal feelings about the issue in question, I think too there need to be communities where abortion is legal.

In a huge democracy such as the USA, I think it’s clearly wrong for either side of the argument to presume to coerce the other side to live according to their moral code.

However there are some issues where some sides essentially believe that they are right in coercing the other side into illegitimacy, and/or they feel justifiably that their strongly-held beliefs or even social groups are threatened by the opposing groups.

To me, that looks like something where humans need to learn how and when to back off and live in different communities with different laws, instead of trying to force everyone to live under the same set of agreements, or even to have to live near people whose ways of life are violent towards each other.

Nullo's avatar

@Shae
Before going into bad neighborhoods, maybe. Yes, it’s a flippant answer. I’m feeling flippant right now, so deal. We cannot weave a safety net fine enough to anticipate all eventualities. In any case, the kid has done nothing wrong

Rape cases really are not a compelling angle for far-reaching Choice arguments; according to the last round of statistics that I found, they account for something like 2% of all abortions.

Rangie's avatar

@Zaku , first my issue isn’t about the suffering of a fetus. That is another question.
Yes, a woman that is pregnant has the possibilities of great things happening in her life with her child, or not so great. If she doesn’t want the child nobody could force her to raise it. There are so many folks that would love to raise that child.
There is always the possibility that after carrying the child for 9 months she may bond with the child and would not give it up on a bet. What is the rush anyway? She has 9 months to make a decision, or maybe she doesn’t want the stretch marks and discomfort. Oh gee. Let’s just nip it in the bud right now, so it won’t interfere with my daily routine. Hum.
I’m just saying there is so much to consider.
I don’t think it has to do with government, pro or con groups, friends, relatives, or anybody but the individual making the right choice that they feel they can live with, the rest of their life. For me, if I simply could not raise a child, I could live with adoption before abortion. I could not wrap my head around aborting and living with that everyday.
When I was a very small girl, I pulled one leg off of a granddaddy long leg spider. I wanted to see if it could still walk. I couldn’t have been more than 4 or 5, but I have never forgotten that, and feel bad for doing it, just so I could see what it would do. It certainly isn’t comparable to to our discussion, But for me as a child it was a big mistake.
I don’t think people need to live in different areas just because they have different values. We don’t have to respect their values, but we should respect their right to their own values.
I agree neither side should coerce anybody. I do believe if there is any quality information you can put out there to help these women make informed, and I mean really informed decisions for their mental and physical health for life we should do it.

gorillapaws's avatar

I think for situations when the mother’s health isn’t in jeopardy, she has the right to choose up until higher-brain function develops, before that the fetus is the mental equivalent of a brain-dead person. We have no moral/ethical problems with “pulling the plug” on someone who has no higher brain function therefore I don’t think there are any moral implications about terminating the life of something that has never developed them.

Rangie's avatar

@gorillapaws , I don’t quite know what to say to that, except you use the word “we” when you refer to the moral/ethical problems with “pulling the plug”. More to the point the law says at a certain point you can pull the plug. But only certain people ” not we” have no moral/ethical issues. If you “don’t think” there are any moral implications about terminating the life of a fetus (not something, this is not a flower we are talking about) that has not finished developing. Then you must not be sure yourself. So, you are in the same quandary that many other people are in. When do you call it a baby? I would say right from conception. What else could it be? If you plant a tree, do get corn? If you plant strawberries, do you get a horse? When is it alive? My best guess would be when it start to grow, otherwise it would be dead.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Rangie “we” = the author’s we

“the law says at a certain point you can pull the plug”—right, once higher brain function stops and they are no-longer considered a person in the eyes of the law.

In my opinion, a fetus that hasn’t developed higher brain function is morally equivalent to a any biological organism without them such as bacteria, or algae, or plant life etc. I think it’s great that you want to anthropomorphize a cluster of cells, but something that hasn’t developed the hardware to even understand that it exists isn’t a “person”, just as a puppet, or a doll isn’t a person. A computer without a CPU is just a box with a spinning fan and a screen and other parts, it’s not a computer until it’s able to actually “compute” something.

“If you plant a tree, do you get corn?...” If you plant the seed of a tree then it’s still a seed. Once it develops the appropriate characteristics of a tree, then we call it a tree (you don’t get fined for cutting down a protected species of tree if you merely destroy one of its seeds do you?). It sounds like you’re arguing that the potential for something to become a tree is sufficient to treat that seed as if it were a tree from a moral perspective (am I right?). Here’s the problem with that line of reasoning, an unfertilized egg, or sperm also have the potential to create human life, should we therefore arrest women who menstruate or men whenever they ejaculate for committing genocide?

Furthermore, it is my understanding that Science has evolved the ability to generate life from other types of cells, does that not mean that every time we spit, exfoliate or bleed we’re mass murderers? Of course not, so obviously merely the POTENTIAL for something to become a person isn’t sufficient for being considered a person in a moral sense.

It is my belief that pro-lifers are making some serious logical errors in terms of granting “personhood” status at the instant of conception, but here’s the thing, I say go-ahead and believe what you want. The problem with the pro-lifers is that they refuse to allow the other side the freedom to make their own moral judgments and instead they seek to impose their own (flawed imo) morality on others who may not share their beliefs. I’m perfectly willing to listen to reason, but I’ve yet to hear a convincing argument that held up to critical analysis.

Rangie's avatar

@gorillapaws , Oh so cold. Are you saying that I don’t have the capacity to allow you to speak your or have the freedom to make your own moral judgments? Am I imposing my morality on you? May I ask how did I do that? I may not agree with you, but I certainly respect your right to believe whatever you want. Just because my morals are different than yours, doesn’t make yours wrong or mine right to anyone except to ourselves. And that is the only thing that I owe my allegiance to. If I can’t be true to my beliefs, and you can’t stay true to yours, then what are we true to? In which case nothing would matter to either of us.
Apparently you categorize people and base your opinion of each category on the actions of some. Not a good thing to do, it make a person look small minded.

mattbrowne's avatar

Before an unwanted pregnancy.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Rangie The pro-life movement seeks to ban abortions in the us, this is what I was referring to when I said “they seek to impose their own morality on others.” I did not say that pro-lifers were thought police, but the movement is actively trying to deny people the right to make their own decisions on this issue which I think is very wrong.

If there were a group of people who were actively campaigning to create legislation that would force women to get abortions agains their will if the child were mentally retarded or something like that (this is obviously hypothetical), then I (as well as every other pro-choice person) would be against this, because it removes the right to choose NOT to have the abortion as well—it goes both ways.

thriftymaid's avatar

@Rangie Since I consider it the taking of a life, I think the law should have everything to do with it.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@thriftymaid I think that’s the crux of it: if enough people believed as you do that “fertilization” represents “a life”, then the law would have everything to do with it. However, there would be consequences to that consideration: Would you like to have police investigations into every spontaneous abortion or miscarriage that a pregnant woman is likely to undergo quite naturally?

I don’t want to see women suffering miscarriages and then having to undergo criminal investigation on top of that. I’m not a big fan of abortion, but I recognize the futility of forcing a woman to have a child when she has demonstrated a clear intent not to be a mother.

gorillapaws's avatar

@thriftymaid How do you justify your belief getting to legally trump mine? We both think the other person’s position is wrong, and yet you feel it’s ok to legally force your version of morality onto others.

thriftymaid's avatar

@gorillapaws The question is a legal one. The discussion is not about whether or not abortion should be legal, nor is it about forcing beliefs on anyone; no one is forced to have an abortion or not to. Do you have a comment that has anything to do with the subject?

gorillapaws's avatar

@thriftymaid I interpreted your comment: “Since I consider it the taking of a life, I think the law should have everything to do with it” to mean that you believe abortions should be illegal. I was responding to that.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@thriftymaid & @gorillapaws we all agree—it must be safe to say that all reasonable people agree—that there is a point at which taking active measures to terminate a pregnancy crosses an ethical line and becomes murder. In fact, juries have held that an action taken against a pregnant woman that causes an unwanted abortion is murder.

So the question is, “At what point can we say ‘this is always murder’?” And that’s the problem, because some, such as @thriftymaid and several others in the thread, believe that the moment of conception is ‘that point’, and @gorillapaws and others believe that the point occurs much later during pregnancy, such as ‘when the fetus has a chance at life outside the uterus’, and others perhaps even later than that.

And since there is this disagreement about ‘where to draw that line’ (since no one reasonably expects that “a fertilized egg = a baby”, and can’t even tell with certainty when that moment occurs, and on the other hand few people will support the legal termination of a healthy fetus that is about to be born after 8 months or more of gestation), and no one can really say with any certainty “what is the point of viability?” since that keeps moving closer and closer to conception (as long as intensive means of caring for the developing infant outside the womb are available and employed), then we try to set limits on when abortion is and is not legal based on trimesters, the mother’s health (which is certainly a valid concern) and on the (quite sensible, I think) notion that a pregnant woman who would think to terminate a pregnancy because she ‘doesn’t want the bother’ of an infant should certainly not be a mother.

I’m not thrilled with abortion, either, and I tend to think that healthy and fertile couples who engage in sex always take a risk of pregnancy despite whatever redundant precautions they might be taking—so they have to be ‘responsible’ for whatever happens—but I’ve paid for an abortion, too—and I regret that fact.

Nullo's avatar

News flash, @gorillapaws: Every scrap of legislation in the history of ever is an effort by one person to impose his beliefs/morals/etc. on others. Every. Single. One.

gorillapaws's avatar

In the American Enlightenment Philosophy that this country was founded upon, we respect the right for people to make their own decisions based on their own religious and moral beliefs. Perhaps you prefer the Taliban philosophy of government: “Do what our religious leader says and kill/convert/force our beliefs on everyone else.”

Nullo's avatar

@gorillapaws
And yet we arrest and prosecute shoplifters. Is this a breakdown in government, or do you need to rethink your position?

gorillapaws's avatar

@Nullo Shoplifters violate the social contract. It’s not because of a Biblical sense of morality that they go to jail, it’s because we need to respect the rights of property owners. But this is getting fairly off topic.

Nullo's avatar

@gorillapaws
And where do we get the idea that we need to respect the rights of property owners? From people with property who don’t want it damaged or stolen. Those dang property owners are legislating their morality all over the poor and the downtrodden!~
Off-topic, perhaps, but closer to an actual point.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Nullo property owners aren’t “legislating their morality,” they are enforcing their rights under the social contract. Read up on it, it’s good stuff.

Nullo's avatar

@gorillapaws
I am familiar with the concept of the social contract, and I do not see how it but strengthens my argument.
Technically though, you’re right: they are enforcing past legislations of morality.

You understand? It is illegal to do things that people don’t think that others should do. They make laws that reflect what they think is right and wrong, and enforce them.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Nullo You’re confusing morality and legality. I may believe something is morally wrong, but that doesn’t necessitate that it’s LEGALLY wrong. So I may believe that it’s morally wrong to abort a fetus that has higher brain function but isn’t yet viable, that doesn’t mean it ought to be illegal. Most Christians believe that being greedy is morally wrong, but again, that does not necessitate that it’s ILLEGAL to be greedy.

The opposite of this is true as well. Some things may be illegal that aren’t morally wrong, such as jaywalking. We impose laws to create social order, we have morals to govern(in an non-legal sense) our personal conduct with regards to others. Morals do not equal laws, nor should they, this is what the American Enlightenment was all about.

Nullo's avatar

@gorillapaws
I certainly am not, and if you read back, I am not confining my point to morality, but am instead talking about what are collectively known as norms and values.
I am saying that people who make laws do so according to their values – what they think is right and wrong, good and bad. These laws are more or less accepted because people within a culture tend to have similar values. And I’m not saying that every issue has its laws, either.

Jaywalking may not be morally wrong, but it certainly is Bad. It was outlawed because it was deemed a dangerous (bad) practice.
Morals and beliefs are the principles that guide a person’s thoughts and decisions, and therefore are the basis for a given law.

I may believe that it’s morally wrong to abort a fetus that has higher brain function but isn’t yet viable, that doesn’t mean it ought to be illegal
I rather think that ought to be illegal, or at least restricted to the most medically dire of circumstances. All it takes is for the legislative entities (or perhaps the judicial entities?) to align their values with my own, and hey presto! Values have become laws.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Nullo Morality = rightness/wrongness of a thing according to some moral law the person follows. When someone violates a moral law they are said to have sinned, or are making bad karma etc. Examples include things like saying mean things to people to deliberately make them feel bad, having romantic thoughts for another’s wife, letting someone drown that you could have saved if you’d been willing to swim out into the ocean.

Norms = the social conventions of a culture. When someone violates a norm we take pictures of them and post it on the internet because it’s funny. Things like picking your nose and eating it, wearing your underwear on the outside of your clothes, loudly slurping your soup etc.

Legality = abiding by the laws of a government. In the US, the authority is derived from the social contract (did you even read the links I posed on the social contract, and the American Enlightenment?). Laws are designed to promote a civil and orderly society, our founders believed that our laws should be secular thus the establishment clause.

Jaywalking is illegal because it creates disorder in a society, just like it would have been possible for cars to drive on the left side of the road, or airplanes could circle runways counter-clockwise or using the metric system etc. We pass laws to create order in our society so it can function not to enforce religious dogma like they do in some other countries (Iran, Afghanistan, etc.). This was because our founders saw what happens when you mix church and state: Inquisitions, witch-trials, erasing scholarly texts to be used for prayer manuals, charging scientists with heresy…

I’m not arguing that it isn’t possible for religion to work it’s way into laws, but these have often had disastrous consequences such as slavery, prohibition, genocide of the Native Americans, segregation, banning of interracial marriage etc. I’m arguing that Americans should remain true to our core values and to respect the rights of people with minority opinions, to keep church and state separate while protecting everyone’s right to have their own faith (or non-faith as the case may be). It sounds like you’re arguing for a tyranny of the majority based on religious beliefs which is exactly what the Taliban are all about.

Nullo's avatar

@gorillapaws Since you seem to be misunderstanding me, I will attempt to clarify my original post.

Every scrap of legislation in the history of ever is an effort by one person to impose his beliefs/morals/etc. on others.

Jaywalking is illegal because someone thought, someone believed that it would create disorder in society.
Heroin is illegal because someone thought, someone believed that it is harmful.
On-a-whim abortion is legal because someone thought, someone _believed that it should be.
Alcohol was briefly (with respect to the history of alcohol) illegal because someone thought, someone believed that doing so would make for a happier, healthier society.
Movies get rated R because someone thinks, someone believes that their content is not suitable for minors.

Laws are the thoughts and opinions and beliefs of people made into a more concrete, more enforceable form.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Nullo you’re abusing the term belief by using the equivocation fallacy. Are we talking about “belief” that jaywalking is dangerous because there have been accidents caused by jaywalking (evidence-based belief) or “belief” that leprechauns have pots of gold at the end of the rainbows (faith-based belief). It’s an important distinction.

Nullo's avatar

@gorillapaws The former, as indicated by the preceding use of “think.” I used it to underscore the fact that the legislating entity could have thought differently and then have made different laws as a result.

After all, jaywalking when there are no cars on the road isn’t any more dangerous than crossing in the crosswalk.

Rangie's avatar

Okay my friends, It is apparent to me that we each have our own opinion on this subject. I don’t think it will ever come to an agreeable conclusion. I don’t think this is anything people should fight over as most are very firm on their opinions. So let’s agree to disagree and stay true to each your own beliefs. thank you for input and all the interesting remarks.

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