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Pro-choice and veg*n?

Hello VegWeb, it's been a while. I was reminded to log in the other day when I got into a debate with a friend about abortion. She challenged that as a veg*n I should also be pro-life by default, which led me into a pretty interesting examination of why I agree with these two philosophies.

I personally maintain that legalising abortion allows women to make important decisions regarding their bodies and futures, and brings the numbers of those seeking dangerous backstreet abortions down. In those countries which legalise abortion, such as my native England, I consider it a right of women in need, although never a method of birth control. Legal limits for abortion exist for a reason; if it isn't a viable foetus, I don't consider it murder.

As a veg*n, I neither support nor participate in the slaughter or torture of animals because I believe that compassion and right should not be extended only to those who have the ability to ask for them. I couldn't kill an animal (except in absolute, last-chance-to-survive emergency), and if I eat meat that's being done on my behalf.

Looking at the reasoning behind my support for legal abortion and veg*nism, I don't feel hypocritical for my decisions.

What about you, dear VegWebbers? Are you inherently conflicted? Which way does your allegiance lie on this tricky moral question?

If cannibalism was legal, I'd eat meat.

Your friend is an idiot, and is obviously missing the point.

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I don't think it's hypocritical at all, either.  An animal is already born and I feel it's wrong to kill them for human consumption.  A fetus has the potential to become a baby, it is not yet a baby, IMO.  I had my gallbladder removed and my appendix removed.  They were parts of my body and still living tissue.  To me, a fetus is living tissue and it's up to the woman whether she wants to eventually have a 'baby' or not.  Plus there are the dangers involved with illegal abortions, as you mentioned.  That's all I'm saying on it.  Not interested in debating it, if that should come up.  I usually don't state my opinion on this topic and don't know why I am here and now but that's how I feel. 

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Pro choice, but not pro abortion for myself. Just like using animal products is a personal choice, so is what you do with your body. I choose to make intelligent decisions regarding family planning that don't end in abortion, just as I choose not to allow animals to be tortured and murdered to grace my dinner plate. I wouldn't dream of enforcing my decisions on anyone outside of my household in either case, but I think taking a woman's right to choose away is stupid, stupid, stupid.

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I'm not conflicted on this; as far as I can tell these animals are suffering, they can feel pain and joy, whereas fetuses cannot. Theoretically I wouldn't be against the use of animal fetuses if the live animals weren't in any way hurt (I say theoretically because I don't know whether or not the live animals would be hurt, and I would assume they would be).

I also feel that there are entirely too many humans on this planet and we're wreaking havoc on the earth. If we can keep our numbers down without hurting anyone then that's fantastic. Yay abortion.

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We knowingly destroy biological things every time we eat.

It's a conversation to give up on.  It'll only be a headache.

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yes.  do the least amount of harm, even to yourself.  stop before you get that far.

;) ac

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yes.  do the least amount of harm, even to yourself.  stop before you get that far.

;) ac

Primum, non nocere. First do no harm. Sounds sooo much classier in Latin...most things do, including Non Iligitimi Vincit...Don't Let the Bastards Win.

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Non Iligitimi Vincit...Don't Let the Bastards Win.

Hawkeye said that on M*A*S*H, didn't he?  A soldier was dying and he said, "Don't let the bastards win," and when some passing through character asked Col. Potter what he meant by that, Col. Potter said, "Death."  I think.

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I actually was just thinking about this the other day. I too am pro-choice, which kind of conflicts with the reasons I am vegan.

The vegan-ness: mainly because of the methods used. I'm finishing a 4-year uni program that focuses alot on farmed animals, so over the years have learned so much about the industries that I could never list it all here. Factory farms, breeding schedules, inadequate nutrition, mistreatment, lack of medical care, environmental impact/wastefulness, genetic alterations, transportation methods etc. (not to mention the hypocrisy people have - being against things like puppy/other pet mills, yet gladly forking out money for people to keep & breed farmed animals in worse conditions.)

Then, the final point becomes whether it's okay to take the life of another creature. I feel like every life has value whether it's useful to humans or not. The fact that animals are alive, they feel, they think...animals are animals. the only difference between a dog and a pig is what people do with them (which is what I always think of when people say "but they're bred for meat" etc)

So the last part conflicts with my pro-choice-ness, I suppose. I have never been in a position where I had to choose. I imagine it's not a comfortable one. I feel like although the life of a child obviously has value, there are points when the embryo is not developed enough to become distressed, and this makes me (oddly) comfortable with abortion at this stage of pregnancy (ie a mass of cells that has no neural structures or consciousness to actually experience the procedure). I don't think I'll ever condemn people for their choices during a pregnancy. But I probably would have a problem with abortion of a fetus (ie the body has formed, has consciousness etc).

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Non Iligitimi Vincit...Don't Let the Bastards Win.

Hawkeye said that on M*A*S*H, didn't he?  A soldier was dying and he said, "Don't let the bastards win," and when some passing through character asked Col. Potter what he meant by that, Col. Potter said, "Death."  I think.

Yeah, except in Hawk's case it was "the bastard" singular.
MASH 4007 were members of my family while I was in highschool. But then, I'm agoraphobic--I don't get out much.

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i think one of the big issues with abortion vs animals is that the need for abortion in the first place is arguably a reflection of the lower status and devaluation of women in society. we have a gender system that rewards men for fucking women, but we don't support women (or men) in the ability to a) learn about safer sexual practices (absedance only?), b) stigmatizes women (esp. young and unmarried) who are sexually active, c) make it hard to have access to affordable birth control, and d) even if a woman wants an abortion, most counties in the US do not have providers, so they either need to travel ($$$$) and pay ($$$$) if they want to terminate a pregnancy. i think if we got our sexual/gender politics worked the fuck out, we wouldn't be faced with this issue like we are now.

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BP's got it dead on. No pun intended.

That was horrible. I'm sorry.

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i guess that just proves sometimes my posts make sense  :P

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i think one of the big issues with abortion vs animals is that the need for abortion in the first place is arguably a reflection of the lower status and devaluation of women in society. we have a gender system that rewards men for fucking women, but we don't support women (or men) in the ability to a) learn about safer sexual practices (absedance only?), b) stigmatizes women (esp. young and unmarried) who are sexually active, c) make it hard to have access to affordable birth control, and d) even if a woman wants an abortion, most counties in the US do not have providers, so they either need to travel ($$$$) and pay ($$$$) if they want to terminate a pregnancy. i think if we got our sexual/gender politics worked the fuck out, we wouldn't be faced with this issue like we are now.

Okay, but even say that birth control was cheap and readily available, people had enough knowledge and/or common sense to use it, and the stigma regarding female sexual activity was removed, there are always times when women - and men - will consider abortion the only option.

In the UK, for example, I think we're reasonably lucky with regards to affordable birth control, schools teach about the options available to those who are sexually active and there is adequate medical provision for abortion. This reduces the effect of three of your points and yet there will always be a time when birth control fails and abortion appears preferable to bringing a child into the world.

In that situation, even a married couple may decide to abort a pregnancy. Under these circumstances, when the termination is not being used as a form of preventative birth control, I think it's as close to a case of simple ethics as we can get. (I realise that this is a simplistic argument but I'm trying to make the case as clear-cut as possible.)

So, at this level, can a person still condone an abortion on the one hand, whilst on the other hand advocating animal activism and a cruelty-free lifestyle?

(Incidentally, your answer fascinates me and I'm not trying to start a fight! I feel like this is a debate in which you're qualified to crush me but my masochistic side demands that I play devil's advocate and see where we can take this topic :))

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since my position is hinged on gender inequality and the BS of the system, i'm not in a place to really defend or have an opinion of the "perfect world" model because it is redudent.

gender inequality is the biggest issue here, imho, so reducing points like sex education (not everyone will get a "good" one), affordability (what about the impoverished? sure, they might qualify for free, but its a pain in the ass and headache to jump hoops when you're already stretched thin), and access to providers doesn't really change the fact that its ultimately a reflection of the position of women in society.

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since my position is hinged on gender inequality and the BS of the system, i'm not in a place to really defend or have an opinion of the "perfect world" model because it is redudent.

gender inequality is the biggest issue here, imho, so reducing points like sex education (not everyone will get a "good" one), affordability (what about the impoverished? sure, they might qualify for free, but its a pain in the ass and headache to jump hoops when you're already stretched thin), and access to providers doesn't really change the fact that its ultimately a reflection of the position of women in society.

Okay, that last bolded bit is what I'm having trouble understanding. As far as I see it, the ethics of the situation here is whether a person finds it morally acceptable or unacceptable to abort a foetus. That's not "Is the mother a bad person for aborting a potential child?" or similar, it's simply whether you feel it's an allowable course of action to take. And particularly how it squares with a vegan lifestyle.

The gender inequality thread seems to run a lot stronger in the US, along with the other problems you described. Like I said, here in England the National Health Service is free so with consultation with doctors it is possible to obtain a medical abortion under 24 weeks. I pulled some information off the BBC website just so I don't misquote anything:

"Abortion is allowed in England, Wales and Scotland to save a woman's life, for health, economic or social reasons. Two registered medical practitioners must certify that the required medical grounds have been met. The procedure must be carried out, except in emergency, in a National Health Service hospital or in a nursing home, private hospital or other approved place. The consent of the spouse is not a prerequisite of the medical termination. "

Based on your own gender inequality model, may I ask where your own ethical standpoint lies?

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but you can't say abortion has nothing to do with women, because it is all on women's bodies. if both men and women could have abortions, then perhaps the gender card doesn't matter. but it does matter, esp since women are the victims of sexual double standards in western society. and i don't think it matters if abortions are free or if women have to seek them out - the general status of women world wide is less than the status of men. even in the more "egalitarian" nations there is still difference.

in terms of vegan and pro choice/pro life debate, i take it much like i do my veganism: it isn't my place to tell others what they should or shouldn't do with their bodies, including having the choice of terminating a pregnancy if that is what she chooses to do.

the other issue is that much of this debate is very problematic, in that i'm sure most pro-lifers are only interested in HUMAN life and eat their steaks and chickens as another one of their "rights." but i think there is a difference in creating/breeding animals for the soul purpose of comodifying their lives vs. terminating a pregnancy.

as i've already noted, i feel its a redundant argument because the ethics and background issues completely outweight the "final outcomes" re: if one is vegan and pro choice/life.

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I hate issues like this with people that do not understand. When i was meeting with a nutritionist, she told me that veganism was an eating disorder! For the first time in my life, I stood strongly and would not back down regardless of hurting someones feelings! She told me that it wasn't cruel if i ate farm-raised eggs and milk. I told her, Listen, It's still the point! We don't ask permission to take a chickens young and eat it before it has a chance to develop and live! In return, she asked me if i cried when i had my period, because the ovum was killed!!!!! Oh the audacity! I'm pro-choice as well. Personally, I have never had any pregnancy scares, but things happen sometimes and i suppose that it's better to get an abortion than to make your childs life completely miserable if you are unfit to care for them. You have the choice! It's your body, do what you will! I don't run around telling people how to live their lives. Just know how to deal with the consequences.

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She told me that it wasn't cruel if i ate farm-raised eggs and milk.

i thought it was all "farm raised"  ::)

good that you stuck up for yourself. veganism isn't an ED, it is way of eating. a lot of people are very healthy on vegan diets.

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