Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Aborting "wrong baby" leaves doc suicidal

NewsNote: Aborting the “Wrong” Baby?

The patient was pregnant with twins. One of them was one of those yucky babies with Down syndrome and (common for DS) a heart defect. The other was a healthy girl. The mother asked Dr. Matthew Kachina to do a "selective reduction" -- a nice way of saying, "Kill the yucky baby and leave the cute one."

He accidentally killed the standard baby, leaving the genetically "defective" baby untouched. The mother got the yucky baby snuffed and sued the doctor, who was involuntarily hospitalized and put on suicide watch.

Why?

If unborn babies are disposable, accidentally snuffing "the wrong one" is no bigger a deal than accidentally towing the junk Chevy to the wrecking yard when you were supposed to tow the junk Ford. If killing one of the babies was something worth getting suicidal about, why was it a good thing to try to kill the other one?

It reminds me of that exchange in Huckleberry Finn:

"We blowed out a cylinder-head."

"Good gracious! anybody hurt?"

"No'm. Killed a nigger."

"Well, it's lucky; because sometimes people do get hurt."


Now it's "retards" rather than "niggers" who aren't people. It's as if some people just have to have somebody they can dehumanize.

39 comments:

OperationCounterstrike said...

Yep, this is a bad error for a doc to make.

Your argument about it is, of course, goofy. This doc killed a WANTED fetus; he should feel very bad.

OperationCounterstrike said...

I just hope the woman stays sensible and gets her Down fetus aborted.

Simon said...

OC goofy like the logic of child destruction laws for something that is just a parasite or bunch of cells?

This should be no worse than a worker at a dog pound killing the wanted puppy but handing over the unwanted one.

Surely nothing to be suicidal about?

& BTW just shows your ignornace of lay people and bias of liberal philosophers regarding ethics. Equal moral value cannot be given by arbitrary preferences.

Answer this if personhood is what matters and we have an unwanted infant by your logic there is there anything wrong with euthanizing it?

Mindful that we are under no obligation to find a new home for a puppy, so regardless to any one else wanting it we shoudl have a right to kill it.

GrannyGrump said...

If unborn babies are disposable, then killing the wrong one should be only a matter of having made a simple mistake -- like mowing the wrong lawn or cutting down the wrong tree. It's a blow to your professional ego, and you're gonna have a ticked-off customer, but it ought not to be something to be suicidal about. Just a simple error, correctable by aborting the target fetus after all, which this guy did. She can always have another baby, right? It's not like fetuses are irreplaceable, right?

If one fetus has enough value that killing it makes you suicidal, why would killing its twin be a positive good?

OperationCounterstrike said...

Unborn babies are only disposable when the person in whose body they are residing, doesn't want them there.

WANTED fetuses are NOT disposable.

Very simple, easy to understand.

OperationCounterstrike said...

You all seem to think that the only way to justify abortion rights is to deny that fetuses are persons. You are wrong.

Abortion rights can be justified as follows:

If something is inside your body, then you are entitled to have it killed, no matter what it is. EVEN if it's a person.

Location, not non-personhood, is what tips the balance.

This means that a WANTED fetus should be ok; an unwanted one may be killed at the pregnant woman's request.

Get it now?

GrannyGrump said...

Don't human beings have an intrinsic value? Or is our wort entirely dependent upon somebody else's opinion of us?

OperationCounterstrike said...

Yes human beings have an intrinsic value, but having intrinsic value does not give you the right to remain inside another person's body when you are not welcome there. To do so would violate that OTHER person's intrinsic value.

Like personhood, intrinsic value is not enough to justify banning abortion.

GrannyGrump said...

If one person's intrinsic value isn't enough to permit TEMPORARY infringement on another, why do you claim the mother's intrinsic value allows her to make PERMANENT infringement on the baby she put there in the first place?

OperationCounterstrike said...

Because that's part of what we mean by the word "your" in the phrase "your body". We mean that you, and no other person, get to decide what happens inside it.

If you disagree, try it! Try locating part of yourself inside part of someone else's body and watch what happens to you. Try it on a cop! Or, try having someone locate part of THEIR body inside part of yours. You will rapidly come to understand why "your body" means you get to decide who else gets to be inside it.

It doesn't MATTER that fetuses are persons. Personhood is not enough to ban abortion. Because if something is inside your body, then you're entitled to have it killed, no matter what it is. Because it's inside YOUR body. No other reason is needed.

Simon said...

OC this is a good example of the usual level of lay person debate with little understanding of the issues involved. Not surprising, and it happens on both sides of the debate.

First the Supreme Court has already said that if the foetus is a person it fundamentally changes the equation, plus for what it’s worth there are many Liberal Pro-Choice philosophers who realise this as well.

But it does then depend whether it was consensual sex or rape for it is rape OC is generally right that we have no obligation to give blood, organs or shelter to others,-sorry the Catholics are wrong on this won- but if we have harmed or made dependent another moral being with equal moral consideration we owe them compensation and the only compensation worth anything the offspring is staying where it is until another party can look after it.

OperationCounterstrike said...

Simon, the Supreme Court is wrong. Roe/Wade is wrong--it allows the states to restrict abortion on demand at certain times in the pregnancy. That's wrong. Abortion should be available as long as the fetus is located inside the mother's body.

OperationCounterstrike said...

And no, it does not depend on whether the sex is consentual. Letting a fetus gestate in your body for a short time does NOT imply willingness to keep it there longer. The consent can be withdrawn at any time. All womb-time must be given willingly, or not at all. Being there does not imply a right to stay there.

OperationCounterstrike said...

I know you wish it did, but it doesn't. Not inside my body, and not inside yours.

Simon said...

OP I agree RvS is a bad decision as its not even consistent in its use of personhood,as you seem to be pointing out. So I agree, by rights a woman -using bodily rights and personhood- should be able to have late term abortions as well, for whatever reason she wants.

But the problem with that for you, is that it also justifies infanticide.

Also it isn't just about consent or withdrawl of consent.

If indeed the foetus is a person -and I would agree with Pro-Choicers in that Pro-lifers up til now haven't given enough reason why it should- and worthy of equal moral rights, then you cannot withdraw consent once you have put someone in a state of dependency.

No more than a you could invite someone into your home and then a blizzard blows up, and you then tell them to leave your property even though it would kill them. Try it and you will go to jail.

& it isn't that you could argue that by consent to sex she didn't consent to the foetus being there.

If you act in such a way that causes harm or dependency to another moral entity it doesn't matter if intended for it to happen or not you are still morally responsible. Happens in regular laws so there is no reason in principle why it shouldn't here.

Foxfier, formerly Sailorette said...

A thought experiment....


Someone is unwanted where they are, and are killed. Maybe it's because they're annoying, or because they're ignorant, or something totally out of their hands....

And the world fails to morn for OperationCounterstrike.

Just like one of the horrible short stories from English, with the utterly predictable and dully horrible ending.

If indeed the foetus is a person -and I would agree with Pro-Choicers in that Pro-lifers up til now haven't given enough reason why it should- and worthy of equal moral rights

Same reason that Jews and the disabled were still persons.

Simon said...

"Same reason that Jews and the disabled were still persons."
With due respect if you knew the philosophical arguments at all you would know that isn't even close.

anna said...

op counterstrike-

are you a parent? your argument that a person cannot infringe on another person's bodily sovereignty, as it were, surely does preclude the obligation that parents have to their children. Take, for instance, organ donation. This is not for the sake of direct parallel to abortion, but, do think about how outraged you would feel if a parent refused to donate a kidney to save their child's life - you'd think they were a brute, because no sane parent would do that. And donation, my friend, is far more risky than the average pregnancy! PARENTS HAVE AN OBLIGATION TO PROTECT THEIR CHILD. "Wanted" has nothing to do with it. There are moments when I don't really feel I WANT my children, but deep down I love them and are obligated to protect them. And, come again, why do you draw the line of protection at birth? Because size, stage of development, and location does not diminish or increase personhood.

Foxfier, formerly Sailorette said...

Simon-
I know the philosophical arguments. I am swayed, in this case, by the one that doesn't treat humans that are in the way as non-persons.

Simon said...

Foxfier,
"I know the philosophical arguments. I am swayed, in this case, by the one that doesn't treat humans that are in the way as non-persons."

Which particular one is that?
We aren't supposed to be speciest because arbitrary preferences or just belonging to a group is not morally relevent.

What criterion are you uisng for moral in-group inclusion? Being Human?

Foxfier, formerly Sailorette said...

We aren't supposed to be speciest because arbitrary preferences or just belonging to a group is not morally relevent.

Sez you.

There's nothing "arbitrary" about "do not kill humans."

Simon said...
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Simon said...

We aren't supposed to be speciest because arbitrary preferences or just belonging to a group is not morally relevent.

Sez you.

There's nothing "arbitrary" about "do not kill humans."

So much for you knowing or understanding the ethics/philosophy concerning the matter.

Foxfier, formerly Sailorette said...

Let me explain:
not agreeing is not an indication of not understanding.

It is amusing, though, that those who try to claim some sort of rational greatness always seem to make that same mistake....

Simon said...

Well if you unbderstand but disagree you could give a coherent justification for doing so, let alone know that it isn't just me saying so.

So why is being human enough for you?

Foxfier, formerly Sailorette said...

If you believe something, you could try to defend it rationally-- rather than reflexively falling to ad hominem and assuming that disagreement cannot be rational to back up your claim.

Humans have moral worth. When we are children, sleeping, drunk, hallucinating, functioning at peak or less than peak-- humans have an inane moral worth.

Simon said...

"Humans have moral worth"

Based on what?

Simon said...

& which humans?

Foxfier, formerly Sailorette said...

No, no, now it's your turn.

You must explain your criteria.

Simon said...

If you knew the philosophy that wouldn’t be necessary would it?
But since you asked:

I've already pointed out just belonging to a group or preferencing it, cannot be a criterion for moral in-group selection, otherwise racists and sexists would have grounds for their preferences.

Rights theorists think rights are based on having a particular desire eg a rock doesn’t have a desire for anything so it cannot be harmed. Sentient beings have a desire not to suffer. But from their way of thinking only persons have the sophisticated desire for future existence.

That seems to be the foundation for why personhood is so important in the abortion debate. So this is based on a psychological capacity which has nothing to do with personal preferences.

Now a philosopher like Peter Singer will also say that the greatest good comes from combining the preferences of persons and to his mind that includes wanting their children alive but also the choice of having an abortion.
So this is why personhood has been thought crucial to the debate, a foetus isn’t a person, and just saying you preference humans is just another way of saying I preference the group I belong to which has no moral bearing.

Don’t get me wrong as a general anti-abortionist myself I see obvious flaws in using personhood but even so just saying you preference humans doesn’t help at all.

What it does do is show Pro-Choicers who do understand that you conform to a stereotypical lay Pro-Lifer who doesn’t understand the issues.

Foxfier, formerly Sailorette said...

I've already pointed out just belonging to a group or preferencing it, cannot be a criterion for moral in-group selection, otherwise racists and sexists would have grounds for their preferences.

Fallacious argument. Try again.

Oh, and your argument shifted from "desire" to "sophisticated desire."

You also assume that, because you cannot prove an unborn human has a desire, it does not have it.

Oh, amusingly? You are defining a group you identify with as the moral beings.

Simon said...
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Simon said...

Simon said...

"Fallacious argument. Try again".

Really, you will have to give more details so I can can pass that onto philosophy lecturers teaching this in Ethics 101. Try again.

Oh, and your argument shifted from "desire" to "sophisticated desire."

Yes that's what you get when you bas rights on particular desires and you have different groups with different desires.

"You also assume that, because you cannot prove an unborn human has a desire, it does not have it."

No I'm not, within how this debate is framed it logically follows esp since an infant cannot pass the self awareness mirrow test til around 18+ months.


"Oh, amusingly? You are defining a group you identify with as the moral beings."

There is a differece between justifying a capacity and objectively belonging to it, to just preferecing a group you just happen to belong to. Sorry you cannot comprehend this.

& BTW I haven't even said how I justify my moral in-group selection, so again you don't know what you are talking about.

Foxfier, formerly Sailorette said...

No, I don't have to do anything of the sort. If you are as intelligent as you seem to imagine, you should be able to figure out the fallacies you are applying-- it's very, very basic logic. If, on the other hand, you are just trolling...well, why waste the time?

By the way, you might replace '{' with '<' and put quotes in '{i}' to make for easier understanding. Another option is using '>' in front of quotes.

No I'm not, within how this debate is framed it logically follows esp since an infant cannot pass the self awareness mirrow test til around 18+ months.

Thank you for proving my claim on your assumptions. Can you conclusively prove the content of another beings mind? Let's be generous and limit this to those you accept as your moral equals?

There is a differece between justifying a capacity and objectively belonging to it, to just preferecing a group you just happen to belong to.

As the old joke goes: everyone who supports abortion has already been born.

You cannot rationally claim ill faith in those who hold humans as a whole being moral beings, while assuming good faith on your own behalf for claiming as moral beings the much smaller group of humans that fits your desires.

Thus far, all you have offered is claims that those who protect the moral worth of more beings than you accept are equivalent to racists and sexists. You don't even bother to define those terms.

& BTW I haven't even said how I justify my moral in-group selection, so again you don't know what you are talking about.

I asked you to elaborate your views two posts prior. You responded by quoting famous hypocrite Singer (who did not kill his disabled mother, in spite of his stated philosophy) and by incoherently referring to a "desire" to live. Rationally, then, you were claiming either Singer's philosophy or a philosophy based on the (unverifiable) desire of a being as the root of moral worth. Either way, it happened to include you.

This means that any accusation you level against those who include a category they are included in would apply equally to you-- in fact, you are closer to the racists and sexists than those who hold humanity as a whole to be moral beings.

Foxfier, formerly Sailorette said...

By the way: http://www.iespell.com/
it's a very good in-line spell checker.

Simon said...

FF look up the The Dunning–Kruger effect and add your name to the list.

Simon said...

& yes I shouldn't rush and be more careful with the spelling.

Foxfier, formerly Sailorette said...

Oooh, someone's been watching the news for ammo when they can't manage to make a coherent argument!

I am...well, not really surprised, since I've already seen THAT used a good dozen times since it popped up in the news cycle. Far, far too tempting for folks when they can't be bothered to lay out a rational argument.

You went from assuming something was true (begging the question) to argument by declaration to appeal to authority, hop back to argument by declaration and add in some ad hominem for spice and beg the question some more.

Oh, and you seem to be utterly ignorant of the fact that there are thousands of philosophical arguments related to this topic.

You really, really need to do better than that for someone to take you seriously when you start throwing around pop psychology.

Foxfier, formerly Sailorette said...

(by the way-- you do realize there's a flip side to the dynamic that the news often forgets?)