Friday, February 17, 2006

I’m not allowed to have an opinion on abortion

“We never think about the results of our actions because we can’t, being so dim as we are. We love washing machines, running water and frozen food because they make our lives so much easier – therefore it follows that we will all be racing to the doctor the minute we know we are pregnant, and taking a pill to cure the problem… We used to head off in the mornings to our girly, waiting-to-get-married jobs – as business managers, lawyers, doctors, airline pilots – work out we were pregnant, file our nails until lunch, and then pop into casualty to have an abortion. And we got back to work in time to have a cup of tea and a biscuit before going home.”

Obviously, Harriet Veitch is being facetious. She’s misguidedly complaining, here in her op-ed for the SMH, about what she thinks the abortion debate is all about. She seems to think its about men keeping women at home. I’ve been told this personally: I have no say on this issue, because I’m a man.

She’s not alone either. Liberal Senator Judith Troeth: “…if women don’t go out and fight for the rights they have, we will regress backwards.” And Democrats Senator (they still have them?) Lyn Allison: “It is galling listening to the men, and it is mostly men, who have such contempt for women who terminate unwanted pregnancies…”

And that seems to be the defined debate for the pro-abortion case. What?

Clearly the defined debate should be that Australia is “aborting ourselves almost out of existence” and we’ll become “a Muslim nation in 50 years’ time.” I’m just kidding, but former Minister Danna Vale’s comments have to be repeated at every opportunity.

But seriously, the case of the pro-abortion case is about “women’s liberty.” They argue, that they are no pro-abortion per se, but will defend to the tooth and nail, the choice of having the option. Any one who disagrees with this “right” is an oppressor of women everywhere and a dinosaur from the 1950s.

Wrong. It’s about relative values. 100 per cent, I agree, this debate involves the restriction of a woman’s personal liberty. What the pro-abortion case fails to acknowledge is the infringement of the rights of the unborn child when it’s killed. And that’s the fight right there. Whose liberty should be more highly valued: mother or child? This incidentally is the grounds of the secular opposition to abortion. And neither the secular or religious objection to abortion is sourced from a misogynistic bigotry against women.

Lyn Allison touches on this issue inadvertently: “…we will act on our own set of values and can be trusted to make reproductive health decisions for ourselves…” Act on our own set of values. That can be read: we will allow individuals to decide whose liberties are more important.

If the question at hand were the infringement of one person’s liberty by another (tax, censorship, regulation, racism) then as a general rule I’m obviously opposed to it. But abortion is not analogous to slavery. In the case of abortion we must engage in a form of moral relativism, and consequently as a society we must choose between which is more important: a woman’s choice and baby’s life.

The decision to have an abortion, for 90 per cent of women is economics. And that’s probably a conservative estimate. “I’m too young,” “I’m too old,” “not at this point in my career,” “the father has run off,” “I just am not ready.” These are all economic decisions, they are choices between future outcomes. And personally, I think the “convenience” argument certainly does not cut it. We must live with the choices we make, and if that means we can’t realize all of our goals and dreams, then so be it too bad, its not enough to impose the greatest infringement of liberty: life.


pip said...

I think that it is important people acknowledge their bias in this argument. No matter what supposedly objective justification is offered to support either side’s view, in the end people are using these arguments to support what was their initial belief. The reasoning is being applied ex post.
While Tim’s argument is very moving, I thought a couple of the excuses he offered were particularly interesting. In particular “not at this point in my career” and “the father has run off”. While I’m not presuming Tim to be someone that would run off and leave a pregnant wife/girlfriend, the fact of the matter is that he will never have to deal with such a prospect himself. Dito for having his career put on hold. This is not to say that men can’t be involved in this debate, but surely it should be acknowledged that this a predicament they will never have to face and, out of respect, have some consideration for those that one day might. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes before you get on your moral high horse.

Timothy Bradley said...

Is the moral high horse directed at me Pip or Luke?

While the decision to abort may well be a difficult one to make, it is unquestionalbly selfish. No matter whose shoes you are in.

Matt Canavan said...

The fundamental question in this debate is, is a foetus human? If it is, surely we can’t support the killing of a human because ‘it doesn’t suit me at this time in my career’ or the ‘father has run off’. It might be different in cases of rape, incest or where the mother’s own health is in danger but in all other cases, getting pregnant, to my knowledge, is not the result of some random force that an individual has no control over.

And, Pip as you say women do sometimes have economic factors to balance when deciding whether to have an abortion. But these other factors then bias women’s answers to the fundamental question, since they have such a stake in its answer. Therefore, if anything, men should have a more of a say since they are less compromised.

I propose then that we take the abortion question away from the parliament and the electorate (there’s just too many women) and instead we establish an expert, independent panel of men to regulate abortion; call it the Taskforce of Guys on Abortion.

Matt Johnson said...
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Matt Johnson said...
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Matt Johnson said...

I am a man, and i have an opinion.

i'm against abortion.

But i'd like to put the spotlight on the alternative minister for health.

Julia Gillard chose Clinton's words, when she said that abortion should be 'safe, legal, and rare', however (according to the AFR) she said that such a world would require eradicating sexual violence, stopping the media defining women by their sexual desirability towards men, having failsafe contraception that everyone knew how to use and defeating birth defects.

Let's break this down:

1. It's ok to kill a child if it's the product of sexual violence.

2. It's ok to kill a child if the man's been attracted to the mother as a result of media training in the art of wanting women.

3. It's ok to kill a child if the contraception failed, or if you didn't know how to use it.

4. It's ok to kill a child if it's weak or malformed.

There's a good case for 1. And though i can't see how two wrongs make the right, i can see that carrying the child to term may be harmful - though it's possible that the meternal love between mother and child may also be healing.

Applying the principle of charity to 2, we can make it seem less silly if we say something more like - men are not always alive to the family side of sex, due to unrealistic media. Therefore they cut and run when the kid is announced, and life as a single mother is hard.

Given the ethical problems surrounding abortion, i think it's better to match the risk of being a single mother with the woman who's selecting the mate - remember, we are allowing for rape victims to kill the kid. So, if you take on the man, it's your responsibility to choose carefully.

3. Failsale and properly used contracption. If you take the risk, learn how to manage it. You shouldn't be able to kill someone if their life is the undesired consequence of your actions.

4. It is not ok to kill people who are weak or malformed. Even if they're children, and even if they're really small.

Looking after such a child is a little bit of a scary concept, but killing it to avoid the inconvenience - that's very scary!

Richard said...

I am always intrigued when people raise the issue of the 'rights of the child' along with the rights of the woman.

The woman is an individual with an established life, who will have to make choices that will effect the whole course of her future with regards to a pregnancy. 'The child' (ie the embryo or fetus) is only a potential life, in that it is unborn and unestablished. Some speculate the lost opportunities for the child of an aborted pregnancy and rally for its rights as an individual – but an abortion deals with the here and now, those are the facts anyone ever has when making a choice, and the right of the woman carrying the child to determine the direction of her own life must be respected over the personal 'liberty' of a fetus.

Greg Conescu said...

In reference to Dick's comment, does he mean that anyone with an 'unestablished' life is ok to be killed. What about little children, you could not say that there lives are established. Are they ok to be terminated. Indeed, I know a few adults who I could regard as not leading very established lives, maybe they should go too.

Anyway, I thought that was a very thoughtful article Tim. You should send it away and make sure it gets published. Perhaps you chould take some of Pip's commments on board, in that a more diplomatic appraoch would be more acceptable. Meaning, that i do not lead a perfect life, so that I wouldn't to overly preach to others. However, her comment that we should expose our bias is also valid. My bias is that I'm anti-killing babies, what's yours Pip?

My only doubts about abortion come from sexual assaults and when the mother's health is at risk. I also have another concern, which could leave me in a hypocritcal position and ruin my arguments, but one that needs to be addressed in any case. If my GF was pregnant with a kid that I knew was going to be severely disabled, I am not 100% sure whether I would want her to go through with it. And yes, the unsureness comes from selfish reasons. I guess the only thing I could do in this case would be to avoid getting this sort of information in the first place. But I don't think thats an acceptable answer.

But yes, in all general circumstances, abortion is not acceptable. It is also not acceptable for pro-abortionists to get personal in public debate(as lefties often do) about individuals who are pro-life.


Bishop Pickering said...

Nice joke boys! You nearly had me believing that this half-baked post was legitimate. I was nearly convinced that you all had been dropped on your heads as children - or been the result of an abortion that went drastically wrong (ie. you survived with brain damage). I like the way that most of the posts skillfully combined a lack of understanding of basic economic principles with sanctimonious datribe and smallminded religous overtones. You have all masterly presented a parody of the maxim "a little economics is dangerous". Bravo!

richard said...

no greg, you missed the point. A human being with her own life and own choices she needs to make; her rights should hold sway over the right of an embryo.

But if you want to take it to extremes, that embryo is merely the result of the first sperm lucky enough to fertilise the egg. But what about all the other spermatozoa that didn't get in? Each one of them is a potential life too, a life denied due to blind luck - and who stands up for their rights?

Maybe that sounds ridiculous but you're the one who suggested my post supported infanticide.

Anonymous said...

every sperm is sacred
every sperm is good....

Anonymous said...

Bishop pickering highlights my point, can't win the argument, just get personal.

But in any case, I would take the pepsi challenge on Economics (and economic qualifications and experience) with you any day of the week.

As for Dick, does the the word 'conception' ring a bell???

richard (aka dick) said...

yeah it does, and it's an option, so an abortion should not be?

Timothy Bradley said...

Did you even read the post Apotheosid? Or have you just spewed your default response to anyone opposed to abortion?

As Canavan said: "The fundamental question in this debate is, is a foetus human?" If you believe it is, than using abortion as a contraception is infantcide.

And just because you have your arbitrary 20 week line in the sand doesn't change that.

Now that I've read your splatter of undergraduate angst and social rejection (that you've plagerized from Greenday) I have too read some "utter crap" on this website. But hey, if you're hatin' us, then that means you're readin' us.

Tom N. said...


I agree with Tim's key point that men are entitled to have a view on abortion, and for it to receive consideration, along with the views of women, but for slightly different reasons.

Tim argues that there are two entities' rights involved: the mother and the feotus. This is correct as far as it goes (although, personally, I give little weight to the rights of a foetus).

In addition though, there is normally a father too, whose welfare may also need to be considered. In some cases, perhaps most, where the mother's and father's interests diverge, the father may want the feotus terminated whereas the mother may not. However, there will also be cases where the prospective father wants to keep the child, but the mother does not.

Under present law, once conception occurs, virtually all the power is with the woman. But clearly, a male desiring fatherhood suffers a loss when "his" foetus is aborted. Should not this loss be given weight in deciding whether to proceed? Equally, a male who does not want fatherhood may suffer a loss (emotional and/or financial) when, against his wishes, the mother proceeds with pregnancy. Again, should not this loss be given weight in the decision?

Timothy Bradley said...

"But clearly, a male desiring fatherhood suffers a loss when "his" foetus is aborted... Equally, a male who does not want fatherhood may suffer a loss (emotional and/or financial) when, against his wishes, the mother proceeds with pregnancy."

I agree Tom, but surely the cost/benefit of the child/abortion is taken into account pre-sex. The future outcome is uncertain, and as such there is a risk.

But, my key point was that there is a trade off of liberties, and in that tradeoff, I don't think the father is the focus point.

Whether or not the father has a say is a queston of ownership above the child (which i agree he has), but maybe that is a question of liberty in its own right?

Tom N. said...


Tim said "I agree Tom, but surely the cost/benefit of the child/abortion is taken into account pre-sex. The future outcome is uncertain, and as such there is a risk."

While your point is of course valid (to the extent that men who find themselves with the opportunity of sex act rationally!), the recent debate has been about whether RU486, and by extensions abortion, should be allowed. Males clearly have an interest in this from more than the onlooker perspective of considerating the rights/welfare of the mother as against those of the foetus. Specifically, many men, in agreement with their partners, choose to have sex-without-condoms as flesh-on-flesh intercourse generates greater satisfaction, notwithstanding the higher risk of pregnancy it entails. They are able to exercise this option because they know that, if pregnancy does perchance ensue, they can still avail themselves to a termination. Rendering abortion illegal would render such sex more costly, thereby directly impacting on the welfare of the males (and females) concerned.

These interests are additional to the direct interests that aspiring fathers have in the abortion issue.

apotheosied said...

Bradley, I’m going to have to call you MP from now on.

Timothy “Missed Point” Bradley.

Clearly I have read your post, as evidenced by my ability to quote both you and Luke. Canavan’s comments are his own, not yours, and I would place significant emphasis on the word “if”. Why don’t you read his post! “If it is….”, and as you wrote, “If you believe it is...”. This arbitrary 20 weeks that you refer to as mine is not mine – it’s law. And yes, it’s arbitrary, as demonstrated by the fact that it’s not consistent across States and Territories. But it’s just as arbitrary to say that a one day old embryo is not human. Yet we have the morning after pill and I don’t see you debating that. And if you do claim a one day old embryo is human, we’ll its just as arbitrary to say that sperm is not human. The fact of the matter is this: when a bunch of cells becomes a human IS an arbitrary decision. There’s no avoiding it. And it’s an issue that has been discussed and debated by experts in the field who are far more educated and far more experienced than you. What’s more, it’s an ethical and legal issue, not an economics exercise, and all you and Van Hootf in his scandalous article on the socially efficient level of abortion have done, is to trivialise and over simplify such a complex issue. It’s embarrassing. As Einstein himself said, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” Incidentally, I would love to know where you get your 90 per cent from. Actually, how about you source it for me.

But that’s not even the point. You chastise Harriet Veitch and two other senators for missing the point, but you’ve missed the point on repeated occasions. The point is, MP, the RU486 debate is not about abortion. Abortion is legal in Australia, and whether RU486 is introduced or not, won’t change that fact. The RU486 debate, MP, is about who has the final right to approval the introduction of a new drug. For every other drug, approval is granted by the Therapeutic Goods Administration. This is a unit within the Department of Health and Aging made up of experts who are in the best possible position to weigh up the benefits and risks of the introduction of a new drug. RU486 is a drug like any other, and must undergo the same amount of scrutiny as any other drug – no more, no less. That is the issue. There should be no debate.

And just for the record, I don’t listen to Greenday. I’m actually capable of independent, educated thought – something that you are clearly incapable of. You state that when “the left feel so threatened and inferior… they feel it is necessary to resort to personal abuses”, and you accuse Step Back of this sin because he is struggling, and his “arguments lack merit”. Yet, you commit the same sin yourself. Rather than just post insults, why don’t you have a crack at my post then? Here, I’ll indulge you.

You refer in your original post to the “pro-abortion case”, and you imply in your response to me that I am pro-abortion. Again, you’ve missed the point. I am neither in favour nor against abortion. I am in favour of choice. I am in favour of being able to decide upon the future direction of my life and not have that decision dictated by, as Bishop so eloquently put it, sanctimonious, small minded people like you – just as you wouldn’t want the future direction of your life dictated by intelligent, educated people like me. But that’s exactly what you are doing. You are imposing your values and beliefs upon me, without even asking the question why you have that right. You champion the rights of these women’s unborn embryos, but you have no idea about their circumstances, and you bear none of the consequences. At the end of the day, you put your placard down, you go home, you kiss your wife on the cheek and you continue on with your day to day life. Years and years down the track, when this debate is but a distant memory to you, these women, who’ve had your values rammed down their throat, are still living with the consequences. Why? Because you presumably loved their embryo more than they did. Yet you will never meet their embryo, nor will you have any involvement in its life. You don’t even know these women or their circumstances. Yet, in spite of all this, you profess to know and care more about their embryo’s best interest than they do. Outrageous!

I suggest you climb down from your ivory tower and stop pontificating about things you know nothing about. You’ve never been in a position that some of these women who’ve had abortions have been in. You make it sound like such an easy decision. You have no idea what its like. Yet you support people like Van Hooft who causally refer to these women as murders while sitting in the comfort of his armchair. All I can say is good on you! Stop with the puritanical, holier than thou sermon. It’s unbecoming.

So, MP, have a crack. But before you do, pop quiz for you genius:

Have you ever wondered why so many people read the blog of four clowns? I mean, do you honestly believe your opinions are that thought provoking?

Since you didn’t answer my last pop quiz, I’ll help you out with this one. The answer, of course, is the same reason why people tune into “Funniest home videos” or read the ALP website. They do it for a laugh. A mate of mine emailed me the link with a comment along the lines of “Read this blog. It’s so bad that you just have to laugh. If it weren’t for previous posts, I would swear it was an elaborate joke.”

apotheosied said...

Ah Luke. Thanks for reading my post. Ummmm…. Have you checked their website: ?

Crest, top left-hand corner. Ummmm…. have a read of the first sentence under “About”. I lifted it straight from there. Whether it’s independent or not is irrelevant. I am sure not even you would profess to know more about the structure of the TGA then the TGA itself.

Also, thank you for the lessons in semantics, but I think I will take my lesson from someone who actually possess some expertises in the matter and knows what they are talking about.

Thirdly, if you think this is a leftist socialist argument, you obviously have no idea about the political spectrum, and if you think I’m attacking just the man, then you obviously haven’t been reading any of my posts. I’ve completely blown your’s, and MP’s, points out the water.

And lastly, one must presume that the reason you don’t wish to comment about the contents of my post is, as MP would say, your “arguments lack merit”. Am I right? I am, aren't I.

Matt Canavan said...

Few responses apothesaid:

1. I don't think TB misquoted me. The quote marks ended before he made the "If you believe it is ..." comment.

2. I don't think TB harrassed Veitch for missing the point. He criticised her for claiming that men can't have a view about abortion. And, yes the RU486 debate is not about abortion directly but it has of course revived interest on this important topic.

3. You claim that you are pro-choice. Question: would you be in favour of someone killing their grandmother because she relied on them for care and hence was restricting their career opportunities? If you answer no then aren't you restricting that person's choice?

4. If one beleives murdering a human being is always wrong and that a foetus is human then abortion is wrong. Most people agree with the first premise so really, as I said earlier, the question is the humanity of the child. You seem to think that this matter is decided because we allow abortion but then the law might be wrong: sodomy was illegal until only recently. (By the way, you made an allusion to scientists, but I am not aware of any scientific evidence that a foetus is not human. I don't even think it is a scientific question.)

4. You criticise us for never knowing what it's like to have an abortion. However, I think rape is wrong (but I've not felt the urge to rape anyone). Am I not in a position to have an opinion on that?

5. Why is it only a women's choice. I fathered a child and I sure as hell think I have a right to have a say on the upbringing of my child. Of course, it's not my decision completely, but the creation of a child is a joint partnership and I think it'd much fairer to reflect that fact in these types of discussions.

Tom N. said...


Matt Canavan states: "If one believes murdering a human being is always wrong and that a foetus is human then abortion is wrong. Most people agree with the first premise so really, as I said earlier, the question is the humanity of the child."

However, according to, murder is "The unlawful killing of one human by another, especially with premeditated malice." (emphasis added).

On this basis, given that abortion in Australia is not illegal, it is not murder. Thus, in this respect, the humanity or otherwise of the feotus is irrelevant.

Of course, one might wish to argue the "wrongness" of abortion on other grounds, but resort to simple argument-by-classification is unlikely to convince many people on the abortion issue.

David Scharf said...

dmsxoIsn't abortion on the criminal codes of all States and territories, except the ACT....of course?

Matt Johnson said...

Ouch! The four clowns. At least we are funny; Apotheosied does not give his subject humor, intelligence, or eloquence.

The only substantive point of disagreement with Tim, in a few hundred words, is that a fetus is not a baby – that it is merely cells. Apotheosied goes on to say that he cannot be sure of this conclusion, as he feels the 20 week limit is arbitrary – that any point (presumably before birth) is arbitrary.

It follows, then, that the fetus may possibly reach A’s definition of human at some point prior to 20 weeks. But we cannot be sure of this, as Apotheosied will not lend his words sufficient structure to support even the most sketchy definition.

What violence this bull Apotheosied does, given that he is only sure that it is uncertain.

Am I right in assuming the name Apotheosied is a derivative of apotheosis? I do not think that your comments are a model of excellence. A few reasons why:

1. There is no 20 week law in any Australian jurisdiction. I think you are probably referring to the requirement that abortions after 20 weeks must be registered on the still-born registry in NSW. In any case, by implication, it seems we agree that there is a difference between spermatozoa and a 20 week old fetus. However, as David says, abortion remains on the criminal codes of all states and Territories except the ACT. As of the 90’s (the last time I looked at this issue) SA and the NT had enabling legislation, and avoiding social, economic, or medical harm to the mother was a full defense in Victoria, NSW and Qld; unsure about WA. Abortion law is not as clear on the question of humanity as you suggest.

2. The RU486 debate manifestly is about abortion. It is about the accessibility of abortion: the drug will help alleviate a shortage of doctors who are willing (and able) to perform surgical abortions (in Sydney). It is incorrect to say that the debate was as to weather abortion should be legal; but it is also incorrect to say that the merits of the procedure do not enter into consideration of the availability of this treatment. You can point to the bill and say it is about this and that, but that is the bill, and the debate is another thing – to deny that is disingenuous.

3. “If a parent is not in a position to raise a child, forcing them to do so is not necessarily in the best interest of the child” This is a silly argument. Few kids are raised so poorly that they would be better off dead. I bet many of the women who choose to abort go on to be great parents, and simply choose to defer parenthood. They would probably be less happy if they were forced to come to term, and either parent or adopt out; but I bet they’d be great to their kids.

4. There is a common distinction in western philosophy and law between misfeasance and malfeasance. To allow a sperm to die is different from killing a fetus. Just as it is no crime to sit on the beach and watch a swimmer drown (misfeasance) – but it is a crime to push someone into the wild sea and watch them drown (malfeasance); it has never been a crime to snooze while sperm die on your stomach – but it has, at times, been a crime to kill a fetus. Killing a fetus is a positive action that ends a life (or a potential life); just as pushing your friend into the wild sea is a positive action, which ends a life.

5. It is common to impose some values and beliefs upon all members of a society. These values may be of one kind or another, relating to property laws, or proper social conduct – such as contract law, or proscriptions of violence, brutality, and murder. It seems fair to talk about abortion in a way that implies the question: should this be legal or illegal?

At the end of the day, your argument is: as we cannot be sure when a fetus becomes a human, we should allow people the choice of keeping the baby, or terminating. I think that this is exactly the argument Tim’s post was addressing.

Tom N. said...


David Scharf asked "Isn't abortion on the criminal codes of all States and territories, except the ACT....of course?"

Based on the source below, abortion per se is not illegal. Rather, what is illegal is the crime of 'unlawful abortion', the conditions for which vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction but include considerations such as the mother's wellbeing and the health of the foetus.

In addition, there is a crime of 'child destruction' that relates to very late term abortions, generally in relation the foetuses that would be able to survive independently if born.

According to my source, the crime of homocide could apply in the abortion context only where a child is born alive and subsequently dies as a result of the attempted abortion.


Source: Cica N., 'Abortion Law In Australia', Parliamentary Library Research Paper 1 1998-99.

Tom N. said...


In my earlier post ('Murdering The Argument'), I pointed to the dictionary requirement that for killing to be murder it must inter alia be unlawful, and then said: "Given that abortion in Australia is not illegal, it is not murder. Thus, in this respect, the humanity or otherwise of the feotus is irrelevant."

Clearly, my earlier premise that abortion is not illegal does not hold in all cases, so the humanity issue that Matt Canavan raised would be one factor of relevance in those cases. I thus stand corrected in that regard.

However, the more fundamental point I mentioned remains: categorising something as human or not, or as murder or not, does not get us far in this debate. One can believe that a foetus is a human being, and that abortion meets the normal criteria for murder (leaving the 'unlawfullness' issue aside), and still believe that abortion should be allowed and/or should be legal. That, indeed, is essentially my position.

Matt C. had earlier argued that "If one believes murdering a human being is always wrong and that a foetus is human then abortion is wrong. Most people agree with the first premise..."

That may be a correct description of people's views at present, but consider a gedenke in which, at some future time, the government or the courts formally decided that a foetus is a human being and that people who undertake abortions are committing murder. Would those in favour of abortion continue with their current belief that "murdering a human being is always wrong"? Most likely they would not; rather, in those circumstances, they would take the view that some "murders" are justified.

The debate might then shift to more, errr, "fertile" grounds - namely, the private and social benefits and costs (and distributional effects) of killing unborn babies, and who is best placed to judge them and make a decision about whether to terminate or proceed with a pregnancy, rather than how one categorises the act of abortion/termination itself.

Matt Canavan said...

I agree that my arguments do not deal with your points Tom and, as you point out, that's why I said 'most people'. Implicitly, I agree with you since earlier I said that 'murder' may be justified in cases of rape, incest or where the health of the mother is in danger. In other words, where the costs are likely to outweigh the benefits. However, I disagree that the social benefits are greater (than the costs) when it is done simply for career or other 'economic' reasons.

On another note, I've never seen a utilitarian (perhaps with the exception of Posner) who pushes their arguments too such extremes as to become another counterexample against their own theory.