Examining the unborn

Bear with me here, because I’m thinking out loud. It all started with the fact that today’s Chronicle had a sad, sad story that began like this:

Expectant mother, fetus shot dead in Oakland

Kennah Wilson, 18, was eagerly anticipating the birth of her daughter this fall. She was going to name her baby Kamilah and had plans for a baby shower in October.

But gunmen opened fire outside an East Oakland apartment complex on Friday night, killing both Wilson and her 7-month-old fetus, police said Saturday.

A less awkward way to have headlined and told the story would have been “Pregnant woman killed in Oakland.”  Reading that, most would have assumed, unless explicitly informed otherwise, that the baby died too.   I therefore found this verbose, clinical phrasing surprising.

My assumption, since the Chron is a very pro-choice paper, is that the only way to bring out the true pathos of this story — which would ordinarily be just another death in the more crime ridden part of Oakland — was to make it a mother-baby death.  And the only way to do that was to emphasize the nascent life inside of poor Kennah.

The problem, though, is that once you start emphasizing those nascent lives, you’re acknowledging that the Democratic platform commitment to entirely unfettered abortion (including Obama’s belief in the right to abort the baby after it’s already born), runs headlong into the fact that a seven month old baby has truly become a person in its own right.  Had the fetus survived the shooting, it would have had as much chance of life as the average premature baby — which is pretty darn good in our modern world.

Which gets me to something that’s making me increasingly uncomfortable about the modern Democratic party.  To explain my discomfort, let me start with my own journey on abortion.  I was raised strongly pro-Choice — abortion without limits would have been my unthinking mantra in the 1980s.  With the passage of time, though, I’m become ever uncomfortable with that absolute position.

Having had children of my own, having seen (through sonograms) those lives grow within me, and having seen the survival age of premature babies pushed further and further back, I am uncomfortable with unfettered abortions, especially those that occur simply because pregnancy is inconvenient.  I’m also highly uncomfortable with late term abortions (and, unlike Barack Obama, with post-birth abortions).

As I’ve said in other posts — and perhaps I’m driven to this by some Jewish genetic instinct  — I’m hewing closer and closer to the traditional rabbinic view of abortion, which seems to me to strike an admirable balance between the lives of both baby and mother (footnotes omitted):

The easiest way to conceptualize a fetus in halacha [Jewish law] is to imagine it as a full-fledged human being — but not quite. In most circumstances, the fetus is treated like any other “person.” Generally, one may not deliberately harm a fetus. But while it would seem obvious that Judaism holds accountable one who purposefully causes a woman to miscarry, sanctions are even placed upon one who strikes a pregnant woman causing an unintentional miscarriage. That is not to say that all rabbinical authorities consider abortion to be murder. The fact that the Torah requires a monetary payment for causing a miscarriage is interpreted by some Rabbis to indicate that abortion is not a capital crime and by others as merely indicating that one is not executed for performing an abortion, even though it is a type of murder. There is even disagreement regarding whether the prohibition of abortion is Biblical or Rabbinic. Nevertheless, it is universally agreed that the fetus will become a full-fledged human being and there must be a very compelling reason to allow for abortion.

As a general rule, abortion in Judaism is permitted only if there is a direct threat to the life of the mother by carrying the fetus to term or through the act of childbirth. In such a circumstance, the baby is considered tantamount to a rodef, a pursuer after the mother with the intent to kill her. Nevertheless, as explained in the Mishna, if it would be possible to save the mother by maiming the fetus, such as by amputating a limb, abortion would be forbidden. Despite the classification of the fetus as a pursuer, once the baby’s head or most of its body has been delivered, the baby’s life is considered equal to the mother’s, and we may not choose one life over another, because it is considered as though they are both pursuing each other.

It is important to point out that the reason that the life of the fetus is subordinate to the mother is because the fetus is the cause of the mother’s life-threatening condition, whether directly (e.g. due to toxemia, placenta previa, or breach position) or indirectly (e.g. exacerbation of underlying diabetes, kidney disease, or hypertension). A fetus may not be aborted to save the life of any other person whose life is not directly threatened by the fetus, such as use of fetal organs for transplant.

Despite agreeing with the careful balancing act that is expressed under Jewish law, I can readily recognize the rational and moral choices that drive those Christian pro-Lifers who argue, accurately, that life begins at conception.  While I would engage in more of a balancing than they would, I still think that theirs is a completely coherent viewpoint.

Ultimately, on the pro-Life side, there is a continuum of reasonable beliefs ranging from the absolute purity of the completely pro-Life person, to the practical and moral balancing act of the religious Jew.  While these views may lead to different practical outcomes, their focus is on the preservation of life.

What’s unseemly and icky about modern Democrats is that they’ve created an ideological corner in which they start sounding like a baby killing factory.  For all the “safe, rare and legal” (or whatever that slogan was) that emanated from the Clintons, the party faithful don’t think that way.  They don’t acknowledge reasonable gradations.  Instead, they see things as binary:  Either abortion is unfettered or its entirely fettered.  They’ve gotten themselves locked in a box where they can no longer have a rational debate that tries to balance the differing interests of mother and child and, as to both, to do so with an eye to life.

This shrill, binary message means that hardcore Democrats, the ones who dominate the message and the media, sound dreadful.  While it once appeared that they were trumpeting rights for women, they now sound fossilized.  Arguments for abortion that made sense when we merely guessed at fetal development and when pre-term babies routinely died; or when babies born out of wedlock (and their mothers) were horribly stigmatized; or when birth control was impossible to obtain, sound brutal in this day and age when we see (and save) in utero babies; when out-of-wedlock children are normative (especially in Hollywood); and when birth control is sold at every grocery store.

Unwanted pregnancies still happen, but the social dynamics have shifted dramatically.  To get back to where I began — the tragic death of Kennah and Kamilah — it’s worth noting that this story was all about a teenage girl without a husband (and there’s no mention of the baby’s father in the article).  While her unwed status would once have relegated her to society margins, this story makes it clear that an out-of-wedlock baby is a non-issue.  Mom’s abandonment was not part of the tragedy at the heart of this story.

In this scientific and social climate, to continue to insist on “all abortion, all the time” is too morbid and self-serving to sit well with a fundamentally moral citizenry.  I think this fact is important because there is no doubt that Sarah Palin is absolutely and entirely pro-Life — she’s walked the walk and talked the talk.

While there are many Americans like me, who are not absolutely and entirely pro-Life, the intellectual coherence of Palin’s position may stand out in splendid contrast to the ghoulish moral house in which the Democrats now live.  Between these two extremes, Life may prove less frightening to independents and conservative Democrats than death — no matter how much hardcore Democrats continue to believe that unfettered access to abortion will be the pivot that drives women voters to their party.  In other words, moderate voters may tolerate Palin’s pro-Life stance, not because they’re embracing her, but because they need to reject the Democrats’ deathly absolutes.

In any event, it’s worth reminding people worried about Palin’s stand that neither Presidents nor VPs directly affect abortion policy.  All they do is try to appoint conservative Supreme Court justices.  And, unless these justices are themselves activists, all that they can do is reverse Roe v. Wade, which in turn will throw abortion back to the States (unless Americans unite to have an Abortion Constitutional Amendment).  And after 35 years of the abortion revolution, the outcome in the states is likely to be more liberal towards abortions than it was 35 years ago across America.  While an unpleasant scenario for those deeply committed to unlimited abortion, it’s also not the end of the world.

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Comments

  1. says

    Very thought-provoking post, Bookworm.

    I will assure you, many Democrats among the ranks wrestle with the dilemma of being both pro-Life and pro-Choice. The term pro-abortion never entered our minds, because we are against abortion but don’t want to meddle in others lives. Likewise, we believe in the Second Amendment and wish no children had access to guns. To picture Democrats as unthinking people is to distort truth. But conservatives like to back you up against the wall and demand that we pick from two choices that are not opposites at all, just part of dealing with life a human being.

    Obama isn’t pro-abortion. But when he answers a question or votes on a bill, he has no choices other than the ones offered us. And he has a microphone jammed into his teeth or someone recording his vote (not that I think they shouldn’t.)

    As for Nancy Pelosi, she went against many higher ups in the Catholic Church. Now is that thinking for herself or just a failure to believe? The judgment we pass on one another is unbelievable.

  2. Deana says

    Helen –

    It is true that SOME, not many, Democrats struggle with the abortion issue. The problem is that Democrat party has made unfettered abortion a sacrament, leaving a very narrow place for pro-life Democrats to stand. In short, their stance is rarely welcomed by many Democrats.

    And to say that Obama is not pro-abortion is not just a distortion of the truth. It is a lie. He is as pro-abortion as they come. How else do you explain the following:

    In 2007, Obama addressed Planned Parenthood and promised that, “The first thing I will do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act.” You can hear him do just that at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uUl99id2SvM

    In 2001 in the Illinois Senate, Obama was the ONLY one who was against a proprosed bill that would have guaranteed that babies born alive after an attempted abortion would be provided health care. (And isn’t that funny? We hear all the time from folks on the left about how terrible America is for not guaranteeing health care for everyone.)

    Helen, that proposed bill was IDENTICAL to the 2002 federal Born Alive Infants Protection Act that was passed unanimously by Congress. Unanimously, Helen. That means Ted Kennedy, Barbara Boxer, and Hillary Clinton voted for it.

    Helen, Obama is pro-abortion. Period. There is no denying this. And to shrug your shoulders and say that Obama is helpless and has no choice but to go along with the “choices offered us” is to ignore the fact that senators have tremendous influence on the bills they vote on.

    Besides, as individuals, we always have a choice when faced with right and wrong.

    Deana

  3. Ellie2 says

    The Primary distinction in my mind between Pro Life and Pro Choice is “who gets to decide.” The Pro Life camp thinks the Law should decide. “Abortion should be illegal in all cases.” The Pro Choice camp thinks that the pregnant woman should decide.

    I am Pro Choice because I don’t want the government meddling. But, I recognize the interests of society in the propagation of the species. So, the mother’s rights can be limited by society. This can take the form of the law and it can also take the form of social opinion (sometimes called “changing the hearts and minds of America” which I think is happening).

    Both camps **should** be equally repulsed by the “Freedom of Choice Act” which, by Presidential Order, wipes out all of the various limits on abortion in every State. Having failed to pursuade the citizens of any State to their extreme point of view — that the woman’s rights have no limit even post partem — they instead seek to impose their will by dictim.

    This is dictatorship, pure and simple. Obama’s eagerness to do it as” the first thing I will do as President” is frightening indeed. And I do not believe for a minute that a majority of Democrats would support it.

  4. highlander says

    I am staunchly pro-choice. I also believe that in the vast majority of cases the choice was made before conception. After that choice has been made, then both parties must accept responsibility for the result.

    There are some situations in which I would be ok with abortion — to protect the health of the mother, certainly, and in cases like rape where the conception was not voluntary.

    I am, however, unalterably opposed to abortion simply as a means of avoiding responsibility for the consequences of a freely-made choice.

    Fetuses are human beings — not fully developed to be sure, but then neither are two-year-olds, or 15-year-olds, or even some 48-year-olds. Birth is one milestone of many along a continuum of development from zygote to fully independent adult.

    Sadly, too many to not make it all the way.

  5. Danny Lemieux says

    Never mind the Democrats, Book. What about you?

    Sometimes we come to forks in our journeys through life that we know will irrevocably change us. There’s no going back.

  6. Ellie2 says

    I doubt that even the Dems are dumb enough to condemn a teenage girl who gets pregnant. I seem to remember a 14 year old named Mary who turned up preggers at a time when the penalty was death.

  7. boqueronman says

    There comes into being at conception, not a mere clump of human cells, but a distinct, unified self-integrating organism, which develops itself, truly himself or herself, in accord with its own genetic “blueprint.” Thus, as it matures it does not “become” a human being, because it is already an immature human being, as is an infant. The scientific evidence, therefore, clearly establishes that each of us was, at conception, a human being. What does this mean for society? As Ellie2 correctly points out, the mechanisms that government would have to create to enforce effectively and equitably a criminalization of the voluntary act of abortion would require an unprecedented, and unsustainable, invasion of privacy. Thus, abortion must remain an individual and private moral decision. That said, society has a responsibility not only not, repeat not, to provide public sector sustenance to the act itself but to discourage it publicly and decisively and to create viable adoption alternatives for the babies produced by unwanted pregnancies. In spite of any such efforts, there will, unfortunately, be voluntary abortions performed every day.

  8. suek says

    >>I doubt that even the Dems are dumb enough to condemn a teenage girl who gets pregnant.>>

    Don’t doubt it. The hyenas are in full cry….

    They’re condemning the mother, by the way, for the daughter’s pregnancy, because Sarah doesn’t believe in _explicit_ sex education.

    Guess they never heard that old expression: the first one comes any time…after that they take nine months.

    Also, a second big difference: Bristol and the baby’s father plan on getting married. Dems find that unacceptable. Abortion is apparently their preferred solution. It’s “more responsible”.

  9. Deana says

    I’m very sorry to hear that the Palin’s oldest daughter is pregnant. I’m sure that is not what the Palins wanted to have happen at this stage of her life. But I don’t know anyone who hasn’t made less than stellar decisions at multiple points in their lives.

    What’s important to me is how the person moves forward. It would have been easy and self-serving for their daughter to have an abortion. The route she has chosen is much harder and needlessly painful by all the “caring” folks on the left, many of whom just can’t get enough of saying very hateful things about this young woman.

  10. says

    Thanks, boqueronman…for pointing out the biological facts of the matter.

    For what it’s worth, I believe that ALL human beings, including the unborn, should have the same rights. Therefore, not all abortions should be punishable by law, any more than all homicide of those “outside” is punishable by law.

    If it can be established that I killed someone in defense (or reasonable fear) of my life, there is no penalty — the State should not give the unborn baby special rights in self-defense situations.

    Furthermore, no one can obligate me to sustain their life against my will. Those of you who have followed these arguments remember the “world-class violinist” situation, where you wake up tethered to a person who needs to use your kidneys for the next three months in order to regain full health (I’m not saying this is realistic – it’s a thought experiment). You have NO obligation to the violinist, and if you demand that he be unhooked, you are not legally answerable for his death, since you were kidnapped and gave no consent.

    Thus, we have another exception to the State proscribing abortion completely — rape and incest, where no consent is given.

    Of course, those two exceptions (and other possible ones) to a ban on killing unborn children are a vanishingly small proportion of the more than a million killings done each year. And, were it my daughter or (earlier on) wife, I would try to show her that the child is an innocent and ought not to be killed. But the State should not be given the power to coerce an endangered or non-consenting person to carry the child.

    Other than that, allowing abortion simply means that we are authorizing the killing of a class of human beings that doesn’t meet our standard for full human rights, including the right to life. And I find that too dangerous to contemplate.

  11. Ymarsakar says

    I’m sure that is not what the Palins wanted to have happen at this stage of her life.

    Consider that they could have decided to marry ahead of time and didn’t want to wait. And were, thus, careless.

    The Democrats would then pounce on this and make people like you believe that it was an unplanned thing. Just like they want you to believe that Sarah Palin having 5 children was unplanned because Sarah Palin is “against contraception”.

    It is what the Democrats want you to think that matters.

    As for what is true, that you will have to find independent of the propaganda.

  12. Bill Smith says

    “Ymarsakar
    It tells us animal life is more valuable than human life. Which is true. To the Left.”
    ——————
    A small quibble, Y. Animal life is NOT more valuable to the Left, though they act as if it is, and can be justly hammered for that.

    No, what is valuable to the Left is total, absolute Control, Power. As a previous poster pointed out, they ceaselessly endeavor to put in place these small tools — like convincing us that animals have rights — to control us.

    Huh?

    If animals have rights, they also have no means to protect, and defend those rights. So, they need their benevolent human friends, the Left, to do it for them.

    (Beginning to see the irony here?)

    Therefore, the benevolent Left must have legal, coercive tools to do ANYthing necessary to defend the poor, defenseless animals. It ain’t about the animals. It’s about having the POWER, and you gain it by convincing well-meaning dupes that your intentions are pure.

    A BIG TOOL to make all this work is the power to Re-define words. You gain this power simply by exercising it, and enforcing it through the education system, media, etc.

    Once you have the power to define words, you can, simply by announcement, expand the power to protect animals into the power to do pretty much anything as long as you Announce that it is somehow connected to some previously blessed goal, like protecting the animals, or Saving The Planet.

    Then, once people have become used to the notion that Govt. knows best, that it has our best interests at heart, we sit still for their using agreed upon Power for NOT agreed upon goals, like Kelo. Just Announce that the Constitution doesn’t really mean what it says (public USE); no, it REALLY means public PURPOSE, and that, folks, is WHATEVER the party in power says it is.

    They don’t care more for animals. They ONLY care for the Seizing, and Holding of Power by any means necessary.

    So they see no logical (not to say moral) disconnect between their defense of defenseless animals, eagle eggs, even, and their utter depravity when it comes to born ALIVE human babies.

    Their lack of logic, and consistency bothers them not at all. All that matters to them is Power, and Control, and, to them, the only Power and Control is TOTAL Power, and Control, over you.

  13. says

    I’d quibble slightly with Bill’s insight, although I mostly agree with it. What’s important to the Left is the good of the State. Everything is subordinate to that. Right now, the Left has defined “the State” has a infantilizing nanny state that elevates the good of animals over people. As soon as the state’s goal’s change, for whatever reason, animals might end up in the trash too.

  14. BrianE says

    Expectant mother, fetus shot dead in Oakland

    If the left thinks an unborn child is merely a potential person, or a simple mass of tissue, why mention the “thing” at all?
    It wasn’t chance, IMHO. This is this editor’s small contribution to reinforcing the definition of the unborn.
    I think it reinforces Bill’s comments.
    If you get to define what words mean, you do control the debate.
    The definition of hate speech in Canada comes to mind. By labeling whatever words you don’t want spoken as “hateful”, you control the debate and the people.

  15. Bill Smith says

    But, BW, If they really cared about the animals, they wouldn’t waste time on animals who manifestly do not need protecting like the infamous K-Mart Owl, and now the polar bears. But they do spend their time on animals not in need. Because it isn’t about the animals, as I said.

    It’s not about Power, it’s about the State, you say? It IS about the Power. You get that by claiming that you are the State, and the State is the People.

    But it isn’t the People. The State is the very few people who run it for their own benefit. Like the Soviet Nomenkatura, and even our own pampered pols with better health insurance than they can possibly provide for us. Not that the state should BE providing health insurance, you understand.

    No, it’s about the Power, BW. The bright-eyed college kids at Harvard may believe the “good of the State” being the good of the people, but it isn’t.

    It’s about getting, and having the Power.

  16. Bill Smith says

    Power

    Our own Founding Fathers knew this about humankind. That’s why they set up the Balance of Power in our government, and it’s why they were very, very clear that all powers not specifically given to the government belong to the people.

    It is this that the Left hates, because it checks their ravenous quest for Power. It’s why they constantly seek to pervert the words, and meaning of The Constitution. The Useful Idiots think they’re working to better the “Peoples’ ” lives, but those in power clearly are not. They seek only to maintain, and expand their Power, and, as history shows, sharing it is not, and never has been in their plans.

  17. suek says

    By making it a crime to destroy the egg, the State has itself determined that life begins at conception.

    My problem with making abortion legal has always been that if it’s legal, at some point the State can require it. The other side of the problem is that by making it illegal, someone has to be prosecuted. If the embryo is human, then to abort it is to kill it is to commit murder. What jury is going to send a woman to jail – or her doctor – for the crime? If the crime isn’t going to be prosecuted, it shouldn’t be a crime. So while I have no question about the immorality of the action, I have _big_ questions about making it legal – or illegal. To be honest, I wish we had just ignored it…but unfortunately, the cat’s out of the bag, so it will have to be dealt with.

    I do think that Roe vs Wade should be overturned, and the issue should be returned to the states. It absolutely should be a legislative issue, not a judicial decision.

  18. says

    Not to be boringly repetitive, but *IF* unborn babies are members of the human race (and biologically, that’s exactly what they are) then not offering them the same protection we offer other human beings means that “the State” can at some point include OTHER groups of human beings in the same group with unborn human beings – that is, the group without a right to life.

    Read your history folks – it’s been done before. If every human being isn’t protected, then none of us is truly safe, even right here in America. The ethics community is already making plans for you when you get old and useless (and expensive) or disabled and useless (and expensive).

    Think it can’t happen? Don’t kid yourself – it’s ALREADY happening. The only reason we heard about Terri Schiavo is that her parents wanted to care for her and were willing to fight her “husband” to save her life. Lots of people in approximately her position – no life support, just food, water, and body care – are being starved and dehydrated each year.

    And it’s not just “vegetables” – go read up on “futile care” theory, and how it can get you tossed out of the hospital when the committee decides you just aren’t worth it anymore — EVEN IF you have the money to pay the bills, and want to.

    Who do you suppose is going to be next?

  19. suek says

    >>do you support in vitro fertilization?>>

    Generally, no. Actually, I haven’t given it much thought. Fertility never was much of a problem. But generally speaking, although I have sympathy for the childless, it seems to me that adoption is a better option. Insisting that children should be your genetic offspring when you have a problem conceiving seems counterproductive and self-centered. Kids are kids. The culture you raise them in makes them much more “yours” than do the genetics, imo.

    In fact, thinking back to my childhood, virtually every adult I knew was married. Virtually every couple had at least one child. The few childless couples were pitied. Today, fertility clinics are a booming business. I can’t help but wonder why there’s been such a change in 50-60 years. How has the human race survived?

  20. dagon says

    suek,

    thanks for the response.

    the reason why i asked is because countless embryos are frozen and then destroyed during the process of invitro fertilization.

    which is why i could never understand the cacophonous outcry over embryonic research while many on the right seem to either completely ignore the process of invitro fertilization or sing cumbayas about it.

    peace

  21. dg says

    dagon, when embryonic stem cell research produces vaccines for cancer and Parkinson’s disease, all of the conservatives will be first in line to buy the drugs, as will the liberals even if they were first tested on monkeys. Ideology magically goes out the window when discussions shift from politics to life-and-death.

  22. Bill Smith says

    dg,

    I’m sorry that you can’t conceive — if you’ll pardon the expression — of people of faith who live by it. What’s your explanation for why people continue to sign up, and re-up for the military when they know that they will be in harm’s way, that whole politics shifting to life-and-death thing?

  23. dagon says

    bill

    What’s your explanation for why people continue to sign up, and re-up for the military when they know that they will be in harm’s way, that whole politics shifting to life-and-death thing?

    i don’t see what troop loyalty to country or the platoon has to do with dg’s statement.

    peace

  24. says

    Religious people are also humans, so dg is probably correct that some significant fraction will forget their principles when an issue of life and death comes up.

    But, plenty of us actually research the vaccines available and will not use those grown with the use of fetal tissue.

    Likewise, I would not buy or accept a kidney from China, even if my life would be extended by cooperating in the (reported) coercive acquisition of body parts.

    There WERE a few feminists who called Bill Clinton out over his abuse of women, after all — is it credible that serious Christians are less likely to stick with their principles?

  25. dagon says

    earl

    once the technology becomes ubiquitous, dg’s point will be more than apt. witness penicillin. when that was first developed, there were a number of religious groups who cried that scientists were “playing god”. now sure there remain factions of christian scientists and other denominations who staunchly refuse to take modern medicines. but they are in the vast minority.

    i don’t you would count yourself amongst their ranks and this will be the same with the new life-saving technologies.

    as i stated earlier, christianists don’t seem to have a problem with invitro fertilization. why is that?

    peace

  26. Bill Smith says

    Witness penicillin? Which is made of mold?

    Nice try.

    People are free to take or not to take medicines, and it’s none of anybody else’s business why.

    However, “medicine” made by killing otherwise viable human embryos is very much everybody’s business, and bears absolutely no relationship to mold. Does it.

    Or, do you really not see the difference?

    Painting some Christians by conjecture, in advance — though I suspect you may be right about some — changes the basic point not at all. Deliberately sacrificing one human life conceived solely for the purpose of saving the life of another is morally abhorrent, and will surely lead to other, non-life saving uses of embryos. If you think not, think of waiting until the embryo has a fully developed heart until you kill it to use the heart for a life saving transplant.
    Would you be OK with that? And, Yes, it is the same thing.

  27. says

    I believe that the process of in vitro fertilization, even if done properly, inevitably leads to the death of some of the embryos created by the lab workers. But, let’s assume for a moment that this was NOT the case, that we could make as many embryos as we wanted, without accidental deaths.

    Under those specific circumstances, if a couple wanted to make a couple of embryos and implant them in the wife’s womb, I don’t see any Biblical reason to proscribe the procedure.

    It is far more morally problematic to make a whole bunch of embryos (in order to save money) and to freeze the “extra” ones for later. Those babies die at a significant rate, simply because Mom and Dad didn’t want the hassle and expense of additional procedures.

    All that aside, I would think that the “commodification” of human life should bother ALL of us…..perhaps we get some cures in the short run; and maybe we extend our lives a decade or three in the middle run; but in the long run, treating human beings as means to an end, rather than as an end in themselves, will most certainly lead us to a hell of our own making. One where the weak are exploited for the benefit of the strong.

    This is not a prediction – it’s clearly what history teaches us. If you are so arrogant that you think THIS time it will be different, then you’re far too ignorant for me to want you anywhere remotely close to the decision-making on these issues.

    Read the following, and let me know how you relate:

    http://www.llu.edu/news/today/may21/com.htm

  28. says

    What I believe is that no child should suffer all through his/her lifetime. Those diseases that can be examined in the fetus can’t be cured after the child is born. I truly understand that what a woman has to experience during the abortion. Indeed, it’s afflictive both physically and emotionally. But few minutes of pain is better than the suffering of the child which he/she will have to go through in his/her entire lifetime. No matter what kind of support system you can provide to your disabled child still he/she is the only one who has to deal with it ALL ALONE.
    Will post some more comments later. Gotta Go

    Pooja Brahmi
    http://www.loveparadiseforyou.com

  29. Bill Smith says

    Pooja,

    Who the hell are you to make that Judgement call? YOU would have killed Stephen Hawking, Helen Keller, and countless others. Believe me, I could go on.

    Your position is logically no different from killing paraplegics, or people with other disabilities. Do you even KNOW whose ethic that is, Pooja?

    If you can call it a “few minutes of pain” you do NOT “truly understand [ ] what a woman has to experience during” and AFTER — ever after — an abortion.

    Don’t play God, Pooja. That position is filled.

  30. BrianE says

    This is the same quality of life rationalization used when advocating aborting babies that would be born into poverty.
    We are also a sick society when we equate owning things with happiness.

  31. says

    Sigh – It’s very startling to get a response which starts from “Who the hell you are”

    Anyway, Posts, comments are for expressing your own opinions about any particular topic and that’s what I Did :)

    But there are certain thoughts which changes with time, In this case, especially when you yourself experience “Motherhood” then your thought process will be different than before. After reading this post carefully, I researched a lot about it. And came across some of the articles which forced me think twice about what I think about aborting a child if he/she is suffering from some serious disease.

    There are many diseases which a child endures because of the mother’s recklessness. For example smoking, drinking, improper diet… I just request all the pregnant women to take care of themselves.

    Thanks,
    Pooja Brahmi

    Oh god this conversation has shook me from within.. I really want to rethink on this topic again.

  32. Bill Smith says

    Pooja,

    I am sorry for swearing at YOU. Now that I have cooled off a bit, I was swearing at the idea that one human being has the right, and — as it’s often portrayed — even a duty to kill a child who is deemed to be somehow less than perfect. I KNOW handicapped people who live with pain, and all kinds of struggles, and problems, and THEY are very happy to be alive rather than dead.

    Once you arrogate to yourself, or society to itself the right to decide whether a human being should be allowed to live based on YOUR, or society’s notion of what the child’s quality of life is, or should be, you have, or we have become cattle farmers, rather than fellow humans who take care of each other, help the weak, and RESTRAIN THE STRONG.

  33. says

    Bill Smith

    You will find it weird… but I have tears in my eyes just by thinking that what if ” If I go through the same situation” I really don’t know what will I do at that point of time.

    In the past number of times I shared my opinion on this topic.. but it never touched me like this the way it did this time. May be because I am married now and in few months I will also be planning a family. It’s a scary thought…there are certain things on which you can’t gain control.

    Naah don’t be sorry. It’s just that if you feel strongly about something then it’s a natural thing to react!

  34. says

    A true story for you: I had a friend who got AIDS in the early days, when there were no palliative treatments. You essentially rotted away. He had it all: kaposi’s sarcoma, pedunculated lesions on the bottom of his foot, nerve damage, the slow destruction of his guts. He worked until he couldn’t and then, like a Victorian, took to the couch. When I visited him, he showed me the vial of pills he’d collected so that he could end it all when the suffering got too bad. You know what? The suffering never got too bad, and he suffered terribly. He ended up dying of the disease, not suicide. The life force was strong.

    Another true story: My dad always said that, when his time came, he was just going to lie down and die. What actually happened when he got cancer was that he fought for six years, taking advantage of every available treatment, no matter how horrible. His very last words, when a doctor asked him, “What can I do for you?” (meaning, “How can I make you comfortable?”) were “MAKE ME WELL.” The life force was strong.

  35. says

    Very influential..

    I am glad that I came across your blog today. You hardy find any blog that are thought provoking. From now on I will be your regular visitor:) I am adding your blog in my blogroll.

    God Bless You
    Love

    Pooja – ( In case you are wonderin what does it mean – it means ” Prayer”)

  36. Bill Smith says

    I don’t find it weird at all. I have a young woman who is like a daughter to me. She was pressured into having an abortion several years ago, and she still suffers terribly, TERRIBLY with guilt over killing her baby. All she sees when she goes out is babies, and children, and the “problem” that her family, and she thought they were solving looks very, very small, and very unimportant now. She is sure now that she will NEVER be over what she did. I assure her that God has forgiven her, but she cannot forgive herself.

    I am glad, Pooja, that you are thinking deeply about this. This is a tiny, helpless, innocent little life who struggles to be born. Millions of people have old, handicapped pet dogs, cats, horses that they lovingly care for.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BkKWApOAG2g

  37. suek says

    Pooja…

    I have 5 living children. I had one baby born dead after a full term, perfectly normal pregnancy(the cord came first, was compressed during the birth process, and he died from lack of oxygen). After the first, I never had a pregnancy I _wanted_, but I never had a baby I _didn’t_ want. God gives you nine months to get used to the idea. Sometimes you need all nine months, but 20 years later, the one you _wanted_ may be the one you wish you never had. (some 20+ years after that, you may change your mind once again!) Life is funny.

    By the way… I had 5 male babies in a row. Care to do the statistics on that? .5 x .5 x .5 x .5 x .5

    I am convinced that there is more to male/female thing than the genetic determination we presently think there is – but I have no idea what it is. Have you ever noticed how many famlies have multiple children of the same sex? But in the end, the male -female ration is still very close to 50-50. Amazing what we don’t know…

  38. says

    Bill Smith, Suek

    I am from India and you must be aware of the fact that people here prefer male babies than female babies. I always oppose the abortion of a female fetus and feel very stronglyyyyyyy about it. One of my cousinz had to go through the same situation of aborting her female fetus because she already had a female child before. She was not willing to, but her husband ( I am not in talking terms with him because of his decision) is running a business and technically speaking he and his family were thinking about the future that who will take care of their business.

    And second case, is one of my close friend who was having an affair and she became pregnant. The guy was not committed and she wanted to get married but the guy apposed and asked for abortion. So they went ahead and aborted the child. And within 2 weeks he got married and after a year or so he called my girlfriend and said he has become a father of a baby boy. I was so angry that day when she told me this. This guy was my friend and when she told me that she is pregnant and what this guy feels about it – I totally cut off from him.

  39. suek says

    Heh. I believe abortion is murder. I _don’t_ live in India…!

    I can see where living in India could definitely change your perspective.

    Guess there isn’t much chance that your friend with the business would consider training his daughters and/or their husbands to take over the business?

    And as for your other friend…

    What would be the custom regarding the man if she had chosen _not_ to have the abortion? Is there any legal responsibility? What is the custom regarding children and divorce?

  40. says

    Naah when it comes to aborting the female fetus no ways I strongly oppose it.

    Most of the people (but now things are changing) in India wants a baby boy over a baby gurl. The main reason is they want the son to carry forward their surname and to take care of their business.

    I don’t have any brother, I have a sister and it never occurred to my parents mind to go for a baby boy. Like I said not all Indians are thinking the same. In fact, I have been witnessing so many families just having one baby gurl and not even going for the second child.

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