Friday, August 01, 2008

Conversion by the numbers

HT: Voices Carry, which reiterated the SLED analysis of how the unborn differ from the born before sharing the story.

SLED: Size, Level of Development, Environment, Degree of Dependency.

I'll take the SLED for a ride:

Size: Is Arnold Schwarzenegger more of a "person" than Dakota Fanning? After all, he's significantly bigger, just as a newborn is bigger than a fetus.

Level of Development: Is a toddler as developed as a middle-aged man? Does that make the toddler less of a "person"? Why should developmental level be a life-and-death issue?

Environment: The Quecreek Miners were in a very hostile environment. Left there, they would surely have died. Did that make them less "persons"? Why should the location of a human being determine whether or not we include her as one of us?

Degree of Dependency: Christopher Reeve would have lasted about 15 minutes without his ventilator. Did that make him less of a "person" than Lance Armstrong? Does needing our help give us a right to kill the person who needs us?

Anne G. Beal of Colman, SD, wrote a letter to the editor that showed how the SLED principle allowed mere numbers to overcome an initial "prochoice" leaning:

Before 1976, I was as pro-choice as a woman could be. Then I got a job that changed my mind.

I was working as a lab technician ..., researching genetic birth defects. We were looking for fetal cells in maternal peripheral blood. Every morning I went to the hospital delivery suite to pick up our paired samples of maternal blood and fetal chord bloods. Then I copied the data from the delivery suite log book: mother's name, date of birth, child's sex and weight, etc. Every entry was much like the other. Every child was identified as a "boy" or a "girl." The only way to know if the child was born alive or had been aborted was by the weight: 2,000 grams and up was a child born alive; 200 grams or less was aborted. But they still were identified as boys or girls, and the awareness of that made me uneasy.

I did this for a year, becoming more and more uncomfortable with the fact that the only differences between these little boys and girls was their weight. As a society, are we prepared to decide who lives and who dies by how much they weigh?

How much does a person have to weigh before he or she is a human being? As individuals, are we incapable of changing our minds about abortion even when given more information?

I changed my mind. I hope other pro-choice people will look at the facts and change their minds, too.

Hillary Care drew the line at 500 grams. Less than that, you were medical waste. More than that, then it depended on your location. If you were in the womb, you were nonviable, disposable tissue. If you were outside the womb, you were a person. So Hillary has two hoops the child must jump through: Get out of the uterus in one piece, and weigh more than 500 grams.

Obama, on the other hand, doesn't have a size limitation. He grants your mother full discretion. If she intended for you to be delivered alive, you are a person. If she intended to abort you, you are medical waste, even if you come out weighing six pounds and screaming your head off. Off to the soiled utility room with you until you realize the error of your ways and stop imitating a newborn.

So Hillary was more gracious toward deliberately-aborted babies; if they weighed in at 501 grams, they were babies and entitled to continue to draw breath. But she was less gracious toward loved and wanted micro-preemies, who were destined for the pathology lab regardless of their mothers' feelings on the matter.

Obama, on the other hand, has no animosity toward micro-preemies in general. It's entirely up to the mother whether they're "persons" or not.

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