Integral Interpretation of Abortion, Abortion Bans


And yet - the topic must be dealt with and that requires discussion and there will be inevitable disagreements.
I agree that the current political discussion climate in the USA is toxic - though it’s not necessary for political discussions to be toxic. Putting toxicity into any discussion is a choice, not an inevitability.
I believe many people have strong emotions surrounding abortion, and the strongest charges are backed by some kind of personal experience. For myself I just absolutely refuse to live in a state where Republicans hold power and tend to avoid traveling into or through those states. So I have isolated myself somewhat from laws like this. It’s not so much an emotional choice, but a purely logical and practical life choice I’ve made that probably prevented a lot of emotional turmoil for me. It’s a logical trade off of cost vs benefits for me in choosing where to live and travel.
My own personal abortion story is about 20 years ago my then wife got infected with toxoplasmosis while pregnant. If I had lived in a state under these types of laws the outcome would have been truly horrific and not to the child’s benefit in any way. At the same time I understand the world is a complicated place and others might have had a more emotional experience where they learned different things that might be the opposite of what I believe.


lol he just did.
Do you agree with what he said, disagree or partially agree?

I think personal responsibility is something sorely lacking at all levels of society. Too much blaming the other side and ignoring one’s own faults. Or outsourcing internal solutions externally whether it’s expecting consumer products, Doctors, Q or God to bring us happiness rather than realizing the solution is 100% internal.


I’m glad you like the frame! It’s exactly the conversation we tried to start when Ken and I recorded that piece, and that I’ve tried to support throughout this thread.

The challenge is, the conversation has to begin with a shared premise — abortion is necessary. We can call it a “necessary evil” if we want to, and we should focus on drawing the worldcentric wisdoms of the left and the right in order to mitigate the “evil” without losing sight of the “necessary”.

I think many/most of the disagreements on this thread have been around coming to terms with that premise.

And this is why my first comment said “I think the Texas law is morally reprehensible”, because it does not live up to any of the minimal standards Ken and I discussed. It does not promote increased agency for women, it does not make exceptions for rape, incest, or unviable fetuses, it only realistically gives women two weeks after a missed menstrual cycle to make an informed choice and schedule a procedure, it creates a many vs. many vigilante system for enforcement.

I am curious if you find any partial agreement with those statements!


If we set aside the Religious/Anti-Religious frame moral outrage momentarily, it does look like the Legal frame might play out as perhaps a civil rights or a Federal vs States rights issue that should quickly hit the SCOTUS docket.


I would appreciate if you are so sensitive to being straw manned that you do not fling it all over the place in most your posts.


I didn’t realize we had already had the discussion you asked to have :slight_smile:


Just taken the dog for a walk which gave me a chance to ponder. Trying to get my head around all the valuable points, thoughts and experiences made on this thread, Can I find some kind of guiding light to help me? I’ve given up trying to be right. In conversation with friends I am aware I can be proven both right and wrong at the same time depending on the angle they are coming from.
So my thoughts turned to: am I being adequate? Does my view lead to me taking actions that. do something to increase wellbeing and reduce suffering to those around me, family, friends, society etc.
Whilst this thread won’t lead me to take action directly related to abortion legislation, it has reminded me of the need to be open and aware of how viscerally important this issue is on a personal basis to do many people. As always, compassion for those who are affected and suffering whether or not they agree with my viewpoints.
I doubt I’ll change the world tomorrow, but if I behave adequately with those around me, then tomorrow will be a good day.


I’m not sure what to say, it’s the premise I’ve been working from since the very beginning of the discussion. It’s why I shared the video in the first place, but then it quickly turned into a discussion of how partial we think each other’s views are :wink:

And I got distracted from one of my own most valuable heuristics — “include the values, negate the view”. I should have done a better job enfolding with your values here, even while disagreeing with many of your views. Values are the deep structures, views are the surface structures. And our views can by definition never be “complete”, but that doesn’t mean that some views aren’t more comprehensive and/or stage-appropriate than others.

I think amber values can and should inform the abortion debate, but amber views (and the policy decisions that emerge from those views) should be left at the door. Policy should always be evidence-based, not belief-based, which means the conversation needs to start at a minimally-orange altitude.

When it comes to the overall sanctity of life, I think our values are aligned. When it comes to wanting to reduce suffering for as many people as possible, I think our values are aligned. When it comes to wanting to do whatever we can to make abortions increasingly rare, I think we are aligned.

But when it comes to how we enact these values, my sense is that our views differ greatly. Which is why I suggest the “abortion as necessary evil” as an essential starting place to have this sort of conversation. But if we can’t agree on the premise, it doesn’t matter how much overlap we have between our values, the views will remain incompatible.


Do you know what my views are regarding abortion?


All I can do is my own zone-5 reconstruction of your interiors based on your comments and conduct in this thread, and your reaction to my own views, and that reconstruction is always going to be tremendously limited. I can’t know whether you are authentically presenting your own perspective, acting as a provocateur, or even just JAQing. I can only see the small part of your iceberg that is sitting above the surface. Which is why I’ve asked you specific questions, so I can learn more about what your views actually are :slight_smile:


I’m sorry Corey. What questions did you have for me regarding my beliefs on abortion?


Here’s one, from a few comments back:


I am also beginning to discern a slight imbalance in the discussion — here I am trying to summarize my own views and values and presenting them for public criticism, while 90 comments into the thread you rightfully point out that I probably still don’t know what your views and values really are.

Which is 100% okay, I lay my views out for public criticism all the time in the various shows I produce. Which, to be honest, can be very difficult to do, though I’ve acclimated and grown from that sort of ongoing vulnerability. But I’m now realizing that, unless the person I’m talking to is also deliberately making their perspective known to me, rather than only filtering through my view and highlighting points of disagreement, it’s not really a conversation — it’s an interview at best, an interrogation at worst :wink:


Happy to listen but just as with my close friends and family sometimes they just need to vent. But when they are on a tear best to just let them do their thing. Definitely no time for an integral dialog. And thats ok.


Got it, “just asking questions” then. And yes, it’s totally 100% okay. It just took me a little while to realize you weren’t actually looking for a conversation, you only wanted to stir the pot and interrogate my personal views :slight_smile:


Actually I LOVE to share my views. Others have accused me of sharing too much. But not interested in wading into a sea of religious outrage. Ill replay later with my world view that includes abortion when back to the keyboard.


Again, for what its worth, a more detailed explanation of my position re abortion.
I do not view abortion as a necessary evil, rather I see it as a necessary option.
My understanding of this thread is that abortions carry a deeper significance than, say, an operation to fix a broken leg - whether that broken leg was a pure accident, a foreseeable accident or as a result of a deliberate act.
Given that the physicality of an abortion is no more than adjusting one aspect of the body in the same way that repairing a broken leg is, then my view is that the depth of the issue arises from something other than the physicality of the operation.
The aspect that comes to my mind, following reading the thread, is that the sanctity of life on the one hand and the freedom of the individual on the other hand are the concepts that are informing these discussions. The discussion appears to me to be framed on the basis which concept takes precedence in which circumstances.
The difficulty appears to arise on the basis that the concepts are proposed as being “a priori”; that is they are taken as a given and do not need to be justified. If there is no need for justification, then there is no starting point for discussion.
I take the view that “a priori” rights and obligations are a throwback to times where certainty was all important, whether that was through science, reason, divine declaration.
There was a time where each individual was seen as a whole in itself, a given, similar to the view that there are a priori rights etc. We now know that is not the case, our bodies are the result of evolutionary development, a bunch of different stuff that has happened to come together and be fit for the world we currently live in. There is nothing inherently special about our bodies. They are no more special than an ant’s for example.
And our bodies have no regard for the sanctity of life. A female’s body does divest itself of foetuses, without any input from the “I” that is using that body. And the body eventually dies. The ultimate disregard for the sanctity of life.
So, in my view the sanctity of life is a construct open to justification.
Similarly the freedom of the individual is a relatively new concept which arose as science and reason did away with the idea that a body is a divine creation subject to divine rules and regulations. So, in my view, the freedom of the individual is a construct open to justification.
If the sanctity of life and freedom of the individual are constructs open to justification and are not a priori then the whole landscape opens up to discussion.
And so, as Corey says, our values will come into the discussion.
I value each portion of life, but not at the expense of all my other values. I value the freedom of the individual but not at the expense of all my other values. They come together to make up who I am as a person.
As I indicated above, my guiding light is to take action that reduces suffering and increases wellbeing.
So, applying that to abortions, are there circumstances where an abortion will reduce suffering and increase wellbeing? My personal view is that yes, there are occasions where an abortion will reduce suffering and increase wellbeing. Are there occasions where an abortion will reduce suffering and increase wellbeing where the foetus is over 6 weeks old. My view is yes there are. That would suggest to me that a law which simply bans abortions after 6 weeks goes against my values and so I wouldn’t support it.
There are many discussions to be had about the interplay of the foetus’ right to life and the right of the female to have control over her body. The circumstances of conception, the viability of the foetus and its effect upon the female’s body are all issues which need to be taken into account in deciding when an abortion might become a criminal act. A law which takes these issues into account in its formulation is likely to be a law I would support, whether or not I agree with its conclusions.
These are my views arising from my values. Once again, I would repeat my gratitude for all the views and values expressed during this thread, they have helped construct the view I have set out above.


Thank you for completely understanding and acknowledging my position. Much appreciated! ~ Peace :slight_smile:


So what quadrant to start in? Seems the difficult thing to do is understand what we have internalized (UL, UR) and wish to see happen externally (LL, LR).

In my UL quadrant, I feel that abortion is a horrible thing for all involved. The termination of an embryo/fetus/baby, emotional impact on the mother, family and practitioners it a saddening thought. This sadness gives me pause.

In my UR quadrant it’s not part of my world, other than my volunteering time and donations to help those that are considering or have gone through the experience of an abortion. For myself and those I volunteer with there is no condemnation nor judgement, only love and compassion at the individual level.

In the Lower Left quadrant is where our existential battles occur, with rationalizations from both Upper and Lower Right. I perceive the battle in this quadrant as our “religious wars” and political discourse. Sanctity of Freedom vs Sanctity of Life as @Andrew_Baines states perhaps is a great framing.

Lower Right - This is where we have our policy implementations happening. Laws are passed/removed and administered (or not), buildings and corporations are setup, supply chains for fetal material are setup to support medical research or manufacture of treatments, investments are made, revenues flow.

From a personal perspective I hold dearly both the sanctity of life as well as the individual’s right to control their own body (I’m vaccinated, but am not in favor of vaccine mandates). I am an advocate for pushing as much freedom and decision making (power) as close to the to the individual or family of minors. Perhaps this is pushing as much out of Lower Right into the Upper Right quadrants as possible.

I think in this discourse on abortion there is a knee-jerk tendency to assume that “the other side” is much more extreme than they are and this is painted across vast swaths of 10M’s, 100M’s or even B’s of people. I personally think the “narratives” are easily fueled by the monies flowing through the Lower Right quadrant. Market studies are performed, surveys are taken, messaging materials are published all with a focus to promote one sides position. This is where our business people in Lower Right look to normalize their position within the Lower Left in order to expand their reach, organizations, relevancy and revenues.

Now where are we today?
From a dynamics and systemic perspective I was hoping, but see little to give confidence in, the Integral community as a balanced voice or leader that could bridge multiple world views. I have seen very little what I would deem to be sincere acknowledgement for the compromises that the right has made. Without this there will be no credibility with anyone outside the echo chamber. In our current abortion example the right has given ground, compromised on the sanctity of life (outright ban), compromised on timing of cellular lump to human being, but does Resist/Inhabit when it comes to parental consent, government funding, and government agencies/employees dis-intermediating parents from their children. Yet here we are with the left claiming moral superiority for government employees to parent our minor children, government agencies to replace our chosen religions, government funding for abortions, and in many states minor children having abortions without parents ever knowing what has happened with their children. And as I stated, it’s very easy to focus on the “far” of the spectrum as defined by someone. Most people would never pound a drum publicly for abortion is awesome nor a complete ban. And for all of us that consider ourselves to be moderates we have to remember than in a democracy it is our responsibility to reign in our own extremists.

And specifically on the Texas abortion law… The law was written, debated, and passed by the Texas state congress and signed by the administrative branch just as New York, Virginia and others passed late term abortion laws. Proper legislative procedure looks to having been followed in all these cases just as our secular liberal democracy was designed. All of these abortion laws were passed to “stretch the limits” of current abortion precedence and will lead to a healthy review, deliberation and ruling by the US Supreme Court. Or not. The Supreme Court may rule “it’s up to the states” leaving us each the opportunity to influence our or choose a state that best suits our belief system. The voters at both state and federal level will have an opportunity to “vote them out” in 2022 and rewrite the laws if they desire. That’s how the real world works like it or not, messy or easy peazy.

Our multiple systems of governing aren’t trivial to understand, much less navigate, influence, and drive consensus (or get what I want). It’s designed to force communication (politics, messy), consensus (Inclusion, oft elusive), distribute power (states, federal, congress, administration, judicial) and adapt (progressive, liberal, fast, slow, transformative) while also BY DESIGN limit power concentration. It’s designed to incorporate all citizens’ input (democracy) with some tempering (representative, republic) for extreme populism/mob hysterics. It also happens to work better than anything else humankind has implemented to date.


This is why I brought up the “all life” issue. And I might contrast this with the “all freedom” issue.
What is the effect of a moral choice to value only the lives of the unborn, but once they are born - if they are not in our Nation Tribe - they are referred to as “collateral damage”. Or even adults. Why is adult life less valuable than . It’s an easy matter to look at opinion polls and surveys and see that the same regions and political affiliations that are “pro life” also tend to be predominantly pro-war. That’s a very odd thing for me to even begin to understand. It leads me to think that “pro life” is a doublespeak term that does not actually mean pro life but “pro one kind of life”.
Then if we look a the other side - is “all freedom” good? Probably not, but we would probably agree that “no freedom” is also bad. I’d place the current slew of laws being passed in predominantly Republican communities / states as “No freedom” regarding abortion - not even “some freedom”. As was pointed out, under a law just passed there is a 6 week window so you essentially have to make an abortion appointment at the moment of conception or before or tough luck - you have no actual freedom.
I think only in very extreme cases on the “left” is anyone pushing for complete, absolute 100% freedom to abort under any circumstances at any time. On the opposite side the current trend is toward zero freedom and zero choice. Moreover, the “life” debate is arbitrary, selective and as a national party platform hypocritical when at every opportunity that same party tries to deny life-sustaining funding to living children and helpless adults.