Masturbation is sinful!

But only for men and only if you’re Catholic. We women can masturbate as often as we want 🙂

Ok, this is complete nonsense. Masturbation is not a moral issue and nor is sex for that matter. The reason I’m bringing it up is because Richard Dawkins found himself in the middle of a Twitter storm last week. He tweeted about abortion and whoa, I thought climate change debates were contentious. Abortion also generates heated discussions and often emotional ones too. His Tweet was perhaps a little callous but it’s hard to phrase something as complex as what he was trying to say in 140 characters. You can read what he said and his more detailed explanation here – Abortion & Down Syndrome.

I am absolutely in favour of abortion so I’m with Richard Dawkins on this one. Something he and others have pointed out is that most of the people rallying against abortion, also eat animals. It seems quite inconsistent to me to have a pro-life view and then apply it to just one species: your own. This is callous too!

People who include only humans in their moral sphere, while excluding other creatures, often do so because they hold a sanctity of life view; that humans and humans alone are holy and/or sacred. I disagree with this view. I don’t think there’s anything holy or sacred about us. We’re only human by virtue of our DNA. The species we belong to has no relevance from a moral or ethical point of view. What does matter is our capacity for pain and suffering, our autonomy, and our self-consciousness but other animals possess these things too. A foetus in the early stages of pregnancy has a mental capacity inferior to that of a cow or a pig. Yet how often are anti-abortionists seen picketing abattoirs and defending the right to life of the animals we eat?

Two years ago a young woman in Ireland died of septic shock after being refused an abortion. She was admitted to hospital at 17 weeks’ gestation due to miscarriage but there was still a foetal heartbeat so they denied her an abortion. She died a week later. Before she died staff at the hospital told her she couldn’t have an abortion because this is a Catholic country and that’s the law.

If we follow the argument that humans are sacred and every potential human sacred too, we’re going to end up here:

No masturbating! It’s sinful!

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