November 26, 2011

Graphic conception-to-birth depiction.



Should this video affect what we think about abortion?
Pro-life advocates are giving the video rave reviews. While the nation continues to be divided on the abortion issue, some believe that the growth and expansion of technology is beginning to impact how individuals view the issue. The ability to see graphic details about the development of a fetus, they believe, makes it more difficult to accept abortion without sincere questions about life’s beginnings.

76 comments:

caplight said...

There is a reason that pro-life pregnancy centers that try to help women bring their babies into the world make the purchase of a 4D ultrasound machine their first priority.

Roadkill said...

I would suggest having pregnant women who are considering an abortion watch this video, so they can make a fully informed private decision.

And abortionists and their nurse assistants, so they can better apprciate the procedure and better explain the process to their patients.

Andy R. said...

Guy seems to be soft pedaling intelligent design, which is weird for someone as smart as he is.

John Burgess said...

@Andy R: I thought he was being very careful to not cross a line. He'd say things like, 'It's hard to image how this could happen without design'. That's true: it's hard to imagine.

But he leaves open the possibility that this is a fault of imagination--and mathematics--at present, not forever.

Lucien said...

Interesting that the idea that anything is actually happening inside a woman's body comes when she is represented as a disembodied skeletons cage from which the fetus must escape (or be expelled), at the instant of birth a woman is represented again. So there is some hint that she is involved, but she is clearly just the vessel for this magical thing.

Also, the music is good. Sticking in the religious sounding choral music emphasizes the presenter's neutral stance.

You gotta admit though, that by 8 months, the thing looks vaguely human. At 5 months it looks vaguely like Bart Simpson.

SunnyJ said...

I have never been able to completely comprehend the "it doesn't exist if we can't explain it" crowd. Since we have drawn breath from day one, but couldn't explain for thousands of years.

As a healthcare instructor I've seen so many "settled" science beliefs hit the dust over the years that it still amazes me how shocked and startled intelligent men and women appear to be when, new learning allows us to advance the way we have seen something. It is really the true crime of the global warming shennanigans...the compromise of agenda driving the reporting and not taking great pleasure in what is disproven as well as proven.

If full disclosure is the goal, then so be it...for all health care decisions, not just smoking or abortion.

Sorun said...

I found the part with the baby moving through the skeletal hips the most interesting. That's got to hurt. Sorry mom!

Craig said...

Should this video affect what we think about abortion?

Yes. There is an incredible amount of denial that goes into the decision to support abortion rights. One should know what he's denying.

caplight said...

John 16:21
Whenever a woman is in labor she has pain, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy that a child has been born into the world.

She probably forgave you a long time ago.

Skyler said...

The supreme court expressly avoided considering whether the child has any rights. Maybe this might eventually bring sanity to the courts.

Today there is no longer any stigma for being an unwed mother. It's time to do a classic balance of rights between the mother's supposed right to choose and the child's right to live. With birth control so widely available it seems a no brainier that when a woman gets pregnant she should bear the temporary burden of pregnancy before the child should pay the permanent burden of mutilation and death.

Alex said...

The dirty secret about the abortion industry is how much it's kept the black population down and thus has lowered crime. Nobody wants to talk about that, but it's true.

sydney said...

Well, it was my embryology class in medical school that made me question my support of abortion rights.

edutcher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Oligonicella said...

"Should this video affect what we think about abortion?"

Of course it should.

This is one of the things I love pointing out to rabid abortionists/feminists. It's not only about their wishes. It's also about a human.

edutcher said...

Anyone who's seen such graphics knows that the idea that "it's a fetus, not a person", was always nonsense. This kind of basic science used to be taught in schools - without the graphics, obviously - but, like a lot of other things like history, geography, literature, mathematics, went by the wayside with the rise of the teacher unions.

What brings it home to the average woman, however, is seeing the ultrasound of her baby, seeing it's a real human being.

Andy R. said...

Guy seems to be soft pedaling intelligent design, which is weird for someone as smart as he is.

Maybe he's smart enough, and educated enough, to know evolution doesn't explain everything and that there may be a higher intelligence governing some of this.

Like Hatman, GodZero figures stuff like that is above his pay grade.

Alex said...

The dirty secret about the abortion industry is how much it's kept the black population down and thus has lowered crime. Nobody wants to talk about that, but it's true.

Hate to agree with Alex, but that was Margaret Sanger's goal. Hers and her pen pal, Himmler's.

caplight said...

A number of years ago I had a friend who was a pathologist. I used to do autopsies with him. One day we were in his lab and he had to verify the contents of an abortion; make sure they got all the parts. It was quite remarkable and sobering for me to hold the little arm and hand of a baby that had just been torn limb from limb. My friend spoke with great disgust of the doctor who did abortions in his hospital. He told me they are considered the bottom feeders of the profession by other docs.

I believe if they would post a so called late term abortion on the internet it would have a great impact on the abortion discussion.

caplight said...

As I reflect further I feel bad for women who will see these pictures and others and will realize that they did not abort a "lump of cells" earlier in their life.

edutcher said...

I've read those stories of women haunted by their aborted children are getting more attention and treatment these days.

Of course, none of it is reported by the Establishment Media.

MadisonMan said...

The underlying assumption seems to be that if only she knew exactly what her fetus looked like she wouldn't go through with this.

Amidore said...

But who denies that fetuses are living things? That's an odd way to frame the discussion. It's really a way of loading the question in the pro-life position's favor. The question over abortion and its availability revolves around the personhood status of a fetus and, secondarily, the rights of the mother over her body. A fetus looking increasingly newborn-like might pull at people's heartstrings in the same way cute baby animals do, but it isn't especially helpful for telling us if a fetus has qualities that ought to be considered deserving of personhood. Because that's highly superficial. The substance of the debate reolves more around qualities like sentience, potential, etc. with those thinking that having some level of higher order brain function is necessary tending to dominate in applied ethics.

Carol_Herman said...

Nature has always been the biggest abortionist. Sometimes? A woman's egg is "too old" ... it doesn't make it down the tube into the uterus, viable. (That's how the ancient Egyptians used birth control. They put pebbles into a woman's uterus as she pushed the baby, inside, out.) The uterus, with the pebbles inside, wouldn't let another egg implant.

Implantation can happen anytime after the egg is discharged from one of the ovaries. It's got about a 7 day "transit" life.

Sometimes? Given nature, the implanted seed settles inside the tube. And, within a few weeks EXPLODES. Sometimes? It goes into the pelvic cavity. Wrong Direction Corigan, so to speak. Never to be heard from, again. Because there was no way to birth the baby, without splitting the woman open.

The "pro life" threat is what keeps the GOP down. While the religious right seems to "own" the party as a whole. So someone like Obama can beat the pants off their nominees.

Use your litmus paper. See if I care.

The photo with the fetus sucking it's thumb? DEAD. Used by LIFE Magazine once ... And, also was the cover of a book called "Being Born." Bought by parents who weren't afraid to tell their kids the truth about conception.

Well? Who says there weren't stories of storks, and tooth fairies. And, Santa. All invented for the young.

Amidore said...

Btw, I think he was playing up the "mystery" and "magic" angle pretty heavily because, hey, this is a TED speech we are talking about. Unfortunately, I think this short shrifts just how much is already understood in developmental biology for those who don't know how to read his flowery language in its proper context.

Synova said...

Amidore, I disagree.

The "choice" issue is about women. That is why pro-life opinions are re-framed as hating women or denying women's health care or denying women's rights.

It's never been about the baby on that side of the question. It's about a woman's right to chose, absolutely, when it comes to her own body. And the specter of forcing women to bear, like a brood animal, as if the lack of an abortion is the same as a forced pregnancy, is not at all uncommon to hear if one listens.

But what point, assuming that the child is actually what is under discussion? Higher brain function? If we set the point to when a child can think, we wouldn't be talking abortion, we'd be talking infanticide. Certainly birth itself, and the location of the fetus/baby, is meaningless.

And if we're not careful, we're easily into the realm of eugenics and euthanasia, and there are people who go there willingly, thinking themselves brave to simply say so.

Potential? Do you mean living human tissue, if left alone? Or only the sort that will develop properly? Or only the sort that has no flaws?

What happens when science makes possible a chimera?

obladioblada said...

No one can deny that "it" is alive and human.

One side prioritizes protection of human life, the other self determination. Those, such as I, who know this to be the taking of human life-- murder-- can't compromise our beliefs. Apparently those who are more concerned about "empowerment" and self- determination can't find any point for compromise either. (Unless the life belongs to snail darters, fish embryos, or the products of conception of cute and/or endangered species.)

Andy R. said...

I thought he was being very careful to not cross a line.

He also talked about "divinity" a couple of times, but I don't feel like rewatching it to see exactly how he was using it.

Maybe he's smart enough, and educated enough, to know evolution doesn't explain everything and that there may be a higher intelligence governing some of this.

I know I like to sometimes make fun of this crew for being dumb, but there are actually people here that don't believe evolution can explain things?

Leland said...

You gotta admit though, that by 8 months, the thing looks vaguely human. At 5 months it looks vaguely like Bart Simpson.

Keep in mind that 23 weeks is now viable in terms of an early birth. I've seen several babies with that little time to develop. Almost any major city will have a level 3 NICU with an infant with less than 2 full trimesters of development. Those infants tell a story far better than that video.

I'm willing to forgive a bit and let someone live with their own choices. However, if you haven't made your choice in 20 weeks, perhaps you need to follow through with the decision you made 20 weeks previously. If you didn't get a decision at conception; you'll probably make up your mind quickly.

kimsch said...

Obladioblada,

I especially "love" it when the same people who would abort a baby human with no qualms, say that you have to wait for a cat to deliver her litter of kittens before spaying her.

wv: sinesse

Psychedelic George said...

"[Abortion] is really a war against the child, and I hate the killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that the mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love . . . The father of that child, however, must also give until it hurts. By abortion, the mother does not learn to live, but kills even her own child to solve her problem. And by abortion, the father is taught that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into that world. So that father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion.
Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love one another but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion....

I looked toward the dais. Hillary Clinton was still staring straight ahead, unmoving. I imagined her looking at my tablemate and yelling over, “Don’t forget the Tide.”
Mother Teresa now spoke of fighting abortion with adoption, of telling hospitals and police stations and frightened young girls, “Please don’t kill the child. I want the child. Give me the child. I’m willing to accept any child who would be aborted and to give that child to a married couple who will love the child and be loved by the child.”
Later I was to remember this part as Mother Teresa’s carpet bombing. Then she dropped the big one:
I know that couples have to plan their family, and for that there is natural family planning. The way to plan the family is natural family planning, not contraception. In destroying the power of giving life or loving through contraception, a husband or wife is doing something to self. This turns the attention to self, and so it destroys the gift of love in him and her. In loving, the husband and wife turn the attention to each other, as happens in natural family planning, and not to self, as happens in contraception. Once that loving is destroyed by contraception, abortion follows very easily. That’s why I never give a child to a family that has used contraception, because if the mother has destroyed the power of loving, how will she love my child?"

Mother Teresa as quoted by Peggy Noonan.

traditionalguy said...

The baby's also have a personality that develops while in the womb.

A parent cares for his/her foetus with a natural desire to save that new person's innocent life.

It takes a serious mental illness for a parent to even contemplate ridding the planet of the innocent new person for their selfish benefit.

The intelligent design argument is valid today. Does that show a God or does that only show a super-super-super computer encoding device did this?

Take your pick.

FYI, that super-super-super computer encoding device also wrote a book for us to understand Him better.

















3

6+

caplight said...

Amidore said, "But who denies that fetuses are living things? That's an odd way to frame the discussion. It's really a way of loading the question in the pro-life position's favor."

Just as pro abortionists frame the discussion to suit their purposes--choice, rights, freedom etc. However, they have always lied about the state of what is going on in the womb just as they are now withholding the information and data about the correlation between abortion and breast cancer.

Bear85 said...

I don't believe evolution can explain how an eyeball develops. If any part is missing, it doesn't work. How could it develop gradually over many generations? How does a nonfunctioning eyeball give an organism a reproductive advantage?

How about ears?

How about the wings of bats? Did bats evolve from mice? Between the time that they ran on the ground to catch their food, and the time they flew through the air to catch their food...what? They flopped around with skin between their toes, unable to run OR fly? How is this a reproductive advantage?

How does evolution explain these things?

Sam Hall said...

The whole thing about abortion to the left is that there is nothing they hate more than being responsible for their own actions.

bagoh20 said...

"Guy seems to be soft pedaling intelligent design, which is weird for someone as smart as he is."

Now that is a smart POV. You ever notice how the middle ages seems to live on? Hubris is always there cloaked in the limits of the conventional wisdom, which is a funny thing to call it.

Anyway, on abortion: It is what it is. You have a choice. Own it.

n.n said...

This graphic perspective of human development from conception to birth will not change anyone's position.

The predominant dream in our society is of physical and material instant gratification. While the latter is potentially corrupting, the former fundamentally undermines the long-term viability of humanity. Late term reproduction, with its attendant issues of physical and mental imperfections, is one of the more obvious outcomes of a corrupt society.

Both women and men know where babies come from. A healthy society will promote its members to accept responsibility for their voluntary actions, especially when the outcome is well known and understood. Both the mother and father must understand and accept the imposition on their lives when they engage in the principal productive behavior. The alternative is to denigrate individual dignity and devalue human life.

The moral imperative today, as before, is the determination to assign dignity to human life. The assignment of dignity and preservation of human life before it is capable of expressing its will is arguably the greater concern.

As with involuntary exploitation and restricted liberty, there were many people who were pro-slavery, many people who were pro-dignity, and many more who were pro-choice.

Dante said...

It is information, and information should be OK. It shouldn't be forced on people.

Now let's hope the Peta folks don't get a hold of one of these scanners and show how similar other life is to human life, and cause us to become vegetarians.

MadisonMan said...

I don't believe evolution can explain how an eyeball develops

How nice that you don't believe it.

What are the facts?

A nonfunctioning eyeball does not give an animal a competitive advantage. That's why the animals with functioning eyes survived.

Sorun said...

I don't believe evolution can explain how an eyeball develops. If any part is missing, it doesn't work. How could it develop gradually over many generations?.

Many? We're talking hundreds of millions of years. C'mon.

bagoh20 said...

If you were to arrive on a foreign planet with entirely different conditions and came upon some "structures", how would you determine if they were intelligently designed or not? What would be the tell?

Sorun said...

For people who think evolution is an impossibly slow process, I recommend Beak of the Finch. (Linked to through Althouse, I think.)

Amidore said...

obla -

I was referring to how the issue tends to be debated in ethics. Beyond that, I the stronger arguments for pro-choice rely on denying the personhood status of blastocysts and (at least early) fetuses. Women's rights arguments might explain why there is the political support of pro-choice we see, but that is a separate question from what philosophers of ethics think. That's not to say women's rights arguments (usually a form of property argument) don't have any traction, but they are secondary.

No one seriously disputes that fetuses are alive or human. That would take monumental ignorance and is effectively a strawman pro-lifers are given to using to load the question in their favor.

edutcher said...

Andy R. said...

I know I like to sometimes make fun of this crew for being dumb, but there are actually people here that don't believe evolution can explain things?

Ms Coulter makes a devastating point on that subject, particularly the development of the eye, and proves Hatman is the last one to be calling anyone else dumb.

Amidore said...

Sorun -

Believe it or not, eyeballs actually develop relatively quickly in geological time. There have been multiple independent eye evolution events.

This video gives a basic introduction to how intermediate steps occur in eye evolution:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/01/1/l_011_01.html

Steve Koch said...

The anti abortion proponents would have an easier time winning the debate if religion was left out of the discussion. A religious based argument is doomed to electoral failure.

It does not make sense to regard the not yet born baby as part of the mother's body. There are obviously two separate bodies with different sets of DNA.

A civilized society protects the weak. Abortion rights make a society less civilized. Certainly abortion decreases respect for human life.

It is difficult to prove exactly when a not yet born baby becomes human but there is no doubt that if that baby is not aborted and is permitted to live, it will be a human in less than a year.

Shouldn't the burden of proof be on the aborters to prove that a not yet born baby is not human?

The trade off in an abortion is the convenience of the mother vs a death penalty for the baby to be aborted. The trade off isn't within orders of magnitude of being equal.

Can we at least agree that the supreme court finding a right to abort in the constitution was outrageous judicial activism that should be reversed? If we are going to make abortion legal it should be by a democratic process (preferably on a state by state basis).

Amidore said...

Almost every single sentence Ann Coulter wrote in that piece is wrong. (e.g the majority of mutations are neutral, not deleterious.) It would be unfair ask anyone to refute it line by line.

She only makes one claim regarding eyes, and that is they appear instantly in the Cambrian explosion. This isn't really correct on a couple of fronts. As I said a second ago, there have been multiple eye evolution events. Beyond some rudimentary components that make up visual detection, the complex eye has evolved probably dozens of times. Beyond that, "instantly" here really refers to over a few million years. Which, in geological time, is really a blink. But it is ample time for an eye to evolve.

bagoh20 said...

Are we comfortable accepting that things so complex and functional and so far beyond even our ability to explain how they work, are ultimately explained by accidents over time?

That is the power of faith as well. How did we develop such a powerful faith about the universe? When did we as individual, ingest, accept and conform to it?

edutcher said...

Steve Koch said...

The anti abortion proponents would have an easier time winning the debate if religion was left out of the discussion. A religious based argument is doomed to electoral failure.

No, this is still a country that believes in God, but, in terms of disemboweling one's opponent, to beat him on his own ground, in this case, science and the failings of evolution, makes a far more devastating point.

Sorun said...

Are we comfortable accepting that things so complex and functional and so far beyond even our ability to explain how they work, are ultimately explained by accidents over time?

I know I am.

At least the God of Random Mutation doesn't make me get up early on Sunday Morning or threaten me with eternal damnation.

jimbino said...

Now I'd like to see circumcisions, especially the Orthodox kind, and the butchering of hogs.

marylynn said...

Amidore - potential? brain function? What an utterly foolish statement. I have 5 children, 8 grandchildren. Each are unique individuals. If any one of them had been aborted, 100 or 1 million more pregnancies would not have produced that exact same person. Their unique potential, their brain function, everything about them, was determined at the moment of conception. They were not identical, interchangeable blobs of cells. Murdering them would not make that fact go away.

jimbino said...

Mother Theresa and others need to be informed that an expectant mother has the right to kill her fetus in self-defense.

Nobody is required to endure being touched for 9 months by anyone, especially if the touching can result in death or serious bodily injury.

iowan2 said...

Steve Koch said...
The anti abortion proponents would have an easier time winning the debate if religion was left out of the discussion. A religious based argument is doomed to electoral failure

Exactly why is it wrong to abort a baby? There must be a reason. They kill horses don't they?
Because, sanctity of life. Why is life sacred?
Because God created man in his own image.
Without the recognition of a higher power, the pro/anti abortion debate is just that, a debate, no right or wrong, just a victor..............until the next debate.

bagoh20 said...

"At least the God of Random Mutation doesn't make me get up early on Sunday Morning or threaten me with eternal damnation."

He does, it seems, demand total submission, as in there shall be no other God before me. He must be threatening or promising something to get that.

frank said...

I understand you Carol, knowing your father, Daffy Duck, and your mother, Bat Woman. Nothing to see here, move along.

LarsPorsena said...

Sorun said...
Are we comfortable accepting that things so complex and functional and so far beyond even our ability to explain how they work, are ultimately explained by accidents over time?

I know I am.

At least the God of Random Mutation doesn't make me get up early on Sunday Morning or threaten me with eternal damnation.

He bequeaths you a meaningless existence filled with encounters with other meaningless random mutations to be followed by oblivion.

Jay said...

Andy R. said...

I know I like to sometimes make fun of this crew for being dumb, but there are actually people here that don't believe evolution can explain things?


Considering there is no actual evidence of Macro-evolution, yes, yes I believe evolution can't explain things.

And I'm left wondering why someone so ignorant of the basic facts of "evolution" is commenting on the topic.

Pogo said...

Some comfort themselves with the idea that they are merely sweeping away a few cells, but this video mocks that notion.

Others will demand that they be able to do anything with their own body, even kill a child within it, because now is inconvenient or financially unwise.

If you can kill your own child, anything is possible, and soon everything is permissible.

Thus, the government now sees no problem at all letting elderly stroke patients die without trying to mitigate the stroke's damage, because it costs money.

The same arguments against the fetus can and will be used against children and adults, and soon.

gerry said...

A nonfunctioning eyeball does not give an animal a competitive advantage. That's why the animals with functioning eyes survived.

This does not answer how the functioning eyeball developed evolutionarily. True, once cones and rods could appear somehow in a thin tissue we call a retina, and just happen to be in the rear of a co-developed spherical container with a hole and lense that accidentally allowed light to fall on the cones and rods with a precision to permit focus, yes, that individual animal would have a tremendouse advantage over others.

You say it happened and therefore it must have happened. OK.

Don said...

"Should this video change the way we think about abortion?

Why do you assume we are entitled to think about such questions? Our Supreme Court has decided what our nation's policy will be with respect to abortion. Public opinion is wholly irrelevant. To the extent the superstitious seek to impose their irrational reverence for such ill-formed concepts as "the sanctity of human life" they should be jailed. Our nation's tepid enforcement of fixed buffer zone jurisprudence only encourages abortion protesters. We are a proud nation of thanatophiles and could solve many of our nations health care funding, homelessness, hunger, and long term care challenges by implementing a more liberal, less superstitious, capacity for lifespan planning into our public policy.

Roux said...

I'm very much pro-life but have faith that science will help eliminate all but a small amount of abortions in America. It's all about changing hearts and minds and not the law.

Tim said...

"The ability to see graphic details about the development of a fetus, they believe, makes it more difficult to accept abortion without sincere questions about life’s beginnings."

It will take much more than a mere video about the growth of a baby in utero to cause ardent supporters of abortion to question the Democrat-Feminist sacrament of DIY infanticide.

Pity that Peter Gabriel couldn't have written "Biko " as a protest against infanticide in Room 619 of the Walmer Street Hospital instead of the murder of a civil rights activist.

If you support abortion rights, you support no rights at all.

Moneyrunner said...

We...could solve many of our nations health care funding, homelessness, hunger, and long term care challenges by implementing a more liberal, less superstitious, capacity for lifespan planning into our public policy.
Well said, Don. I understand that the The Affordable Care Act has the appropriate panels in it that will lighten the economic burden on the State by defining what doctors should do to elderly units of our society.

Saint Croix said...

95% of babies with Down's syndrome have disappeared in our society. We made them disappear. We are killing them off, always in the third trimester, because that is when Down's is diagnosed. These are viable infants, big babies, kicking and moving, brain activity, the whole nine yards. They are alive and we kill them because they are inferior to us. We have defined them as so. They are sub-human, these retards, and so we rip them into pieces.

Liberals are Nazi fucks.

This modern day Mengele surgery is described in graphic, brutal detail in the infamous Carhart opinions. Read these Supreme Court cases and be ashamed of our society and the fascists who are running it.

Our media is complicit, hiding the truth from our people. No photographs of abortions in the New York Times, the Washington Post, ABC, CBS, 60 Minutes. Hundreds of thousands of protesters every January 22nd, but the media would rather cover the 100 or so morons occupying some park.

Here's what legalized murder looks like.

Amidore said...

Marylynn -

I think you misread my comment. You actually make the potential argument in your post. One argument employed typically by pro-lifers is that things should be considered a person when they have reasonable potential to develop into a unique, functioning human being. This would give personhood status to embryos.

A separate school of thought, the one I belong to, thinks what matters revolves around actually having some cognitive level of functioning. This requires the brain to develop to a certain point. Therefore anything prior to that (safely before at least 12 weeks) should not be viewed as a person.

These are where the actual debates go.

Amidore said...

Saint Croix -

1) Prenatal detection of Down Syndrome usually occurs around 10-12 weeks, which is not the third trimester.

2)3rd Trimester abortions are extremely rare, usually done to save the life of the mother, and are heavily restricted throughout the country.

3)Does being so egregiously wrong about these basic facts cause you to reconsider anything you think?

JAL said...

@Moneyrunner 3:04 PM 11/27 Well said, Don. I understand that the The Affordable Care Act has the appropriate panels in it that will lighten the economic burden on the State by defining what doctors should do to elderly units of our society.

"Units" and Death Panels (Krugman in video)

JAL said...

I keep waiting to hear someone on the left apologize to Sarah Palin for ripping her about her death panel observation.

{crickets}

Which in case some of us have amnesia, turns out to be pretty accurate.

Stupid woman. /s

wv quagatib
No idea. But it's a cool wv.

Synova said...

"Women's rights arguments might explain why there is the political support of pro-choice we see, but that is a separate question from what philosophers of ethics think. That's not to say women's rights arguments (usually a form of property argument) don't have any traction, but they are secondary."

If all the Philosophers of Ethics disappeared from the World tomorrow, no one would notice.

Nothing is secondary to the concerns of the Philosophical Ethicists.

I'm sorry, but it's true.

Synova said...

"A separate school of thought, the one I belong to, thinks what matters revolves around actually having some cognitive level of functioning."

The problem with "cognitive thought" as a definition of human is that other, demonstrably non-human, creatures have that attribute. It doesn't work as a definition of human.

And if it did work as the definition of human as a species, would it work as the definition of human for an individual? It wouldn't. Not unless someone ceases to be human if they permanently or temporarily lose the ability or become impaired.

I'm actually supposed to be writing an essay somehow related to a quote from a textbook that "the ability to reason is the fundamental characteristic of human beings." Personally, I think the ability to create untruth is a better measure of sentience "the fundamental characteristic" as a species and intend to spend five to seven pages explaining why I think so.

But even that doesn't work to exclude individuals from human-status or person-hood. And questions of abortion are individual judgments. The exclusions of individuals are individual exclusions.

Excluding someone on the basis of a temporary impairment would seem unsupportable.

mtrobertsattorney said...

In his 9:09 comment, Amidore has framed the issue well: some living human beings are persons, and some living human beings are not persons.

Who is to decide what qualities confer "personhood"? And how do we know whether these deciders even "persons" in the first place?

Higher order brain function? What exactly does this mean? How about higher order brain function coupled with physical strength and athletic ability? And lets throw in attractive physical appearance just for the hell of it.

There is one thing we can be certain of: the deciders, without exception, will all just happen to possess those very same qualities that they say bestow personhood. Isn't that interesting.

I think we have been down this road before. In the 1930s, the phrase "life unworthy of life" became quite popular in certain circles.

Amidore said...

"The problem with "cognitive thought" as a definition of human is that other, demonstrably non-human, creatures have that attribute. It doesn't work as a definition of human."

It's not just cognition that is looked at, but rather concepts like having the capacity for lasting desires, self-awareness, consciousness, a consistent sense of self through time, etc that are a function of sophisticated cognition. (This, in turn, is a function of telencephalon development.) To the extent that other animals possess the traits in question, then you are looking at a case for animal rights. This isn't a "problem" unless you think right ethics should follow from what you intuitively want.

Regarding what philosophers of ethics think, I only mention it because professionals tend to go over these issues in a rigorous fashion and have well-thought out views. Bad arguments are sussed out for considerations that a layman might be ignorant of. While abortion is a relatively complicated topic, even for ethicists, so much of the ill-thought out arguments you see (on both sides) could be avoided if people just paid attention to ground already tread by professional thinkers. Bodily rights arguments aren't as strong as personhood arguments for pro-choice policy, so the former tends to be primary and the latter secondary.

Amidore said...

mtrobert -

Everyone who has a stance on personhood has to have some criteria for defending their view. You probably think there's nothing wrong with killing mold. You don't think mold are persons deserving of respect. "Duh," you might say. "They're not human." But why does being genetically human matter when it comes to giving moral respect? This isn't an easy question. If you're genotype is homo sapien, you're automatically a moral actor? Why? There are attempts at answering this question, but your Nazi analogy doesn't suggest you've thought them out. Thinking the brain dead or embryos should be protected persons isn't some obvious, self-evident stance.

People who focus on cognition say it's not simply people's humanness that matters, but rather qualities humans normally possess that make them deserving of respect. Sentience, some might say. Others might focus on the capacity to consciously experience pleasure and pain. If you'd like some links on the position I take, I can offer those. Theoretically, an alien species with the same traits would also be deserving because those traits matter rather than being human.

Saint Croix said...

1) Prenatal detection of Down Syndrome usually occurs around 10-12 weeks, which is not the third trimester.

Wrong. The brutal abortion described in Carhart was a baby with Down's. Down's is diagnosed late in the pregnancy, not early. Justice Ginsburg in her dissent in Carhart II specifically referenced terminating babies with "anomalies," meaning babies with Down's and other handicaps.

2)3rd Trimester abortions are extremely rare, usually done to save the life of the mother, and are heavily restricted throughout the country.

"Rare" is hilarious in a society that has done 50 million abortions since 1973, and 1.2 million every year. 10-15% take place in the second or third trimester.

"Extremely rare" 3rd trimester abortions are about 1.5% of abortions, or roughly 18,000 homicides a year.

Read the Gosnell indictment to see how "heavily restricted" abortion clinics are.

You say this is "usually done to save the life of the mother." This is a lie. It wasn't the case with Tiller's practice (before he was murdered) or Gosnell's practice (before he was arrested) nor was it the case with Dr. Carhart's practice. They often killed the handicapped in the third trimester. That's what third trimester abortions are all about.

Indeed, states always allowed for abortion in defense of the mother's life. These abortionists wouldn't be suing if they were desperately trying to save the mother's life. No, sorry, they are in the termination business. Partial-birth abortion is all about killing the handicapped. Wake the fuck up.

3)Does being so egregiously wrong about these basic facts cause you to reconsider anything you think?

Why don't you answer that one?

Fen said...

The question over abortion and its availability revolves around the personhood status of a fetus and, secondarily, the rights of the mother over her body.

Its a question of whether the Liberty of the Mother trumps the Life of a Child.


isn't especially helpful for telling us if a fetus has qualities that ought to be considered deserving of personhood. Because that's highly superficial. The substance of the debate reolves more around qualities like sentience, potential, etc. with those thinking that having some level of higher order brain function is necessary tending to dominate in applied ethics.

Do we get to apply that standard to adults? Because I think the whole "deserving of personhood" debate has been tried before. We decided that because blacks were "subhuman" we could treat them like livestock. We decided that since native americans were "savages" that we could exterminate them.

And those are just a few examples without invoking Godwin.

So I'm push the "deserving of personhood" argument off the table and into the dustbin of history where it belongs.

Amidore said...

Simply because blacks were not considered persons, it does not follow that every argument that something should be considered a person is right. Several contributors here are just begging the question of their position by assuming that having a human genome is the trait necessary to to make one deserving of moral respect. Not only is this a difficult position to defend. Not only is it not the dominant position in its field. It's also not right simply because people in the past have held wrong views on personhood. Slavery doesn't make it the case that a brain dead person (a vegetable) is morally equivalent to a human that still is sentient.

St. Croix -

What I said is factual and you didn't offer anything constituting contrary information. Down syndrome is detected prenatally typically with what is called the "integrated test" which is done at around 10-12 weeks. One can also do an NT, which is done around 10-13 weeks. Finally, there is the good old quad screen, which is the least accurate and done around 15-20 weeks. Notice, none of these constitute the 3rd trimester. A single anecdote otherwise about detecting later does not make your statement any less false. It also suggests you have little experience with pregnancy as tests that can detect down syndrome among other disabilities/ailments are generally offered by doctors early on as that's something expecting parents have to think about.

3rd trimester abortions make up less than 1% of abortions (the figure you cited was post 21 weeks), which is quite rare. They are most commonly done to save the life of the mother and a few anecdotes for other reasons doesn't change that. Most states have laws that restrict access to late term abortions, including Wisconsin. The Supreme Court has ruled that these laws are constitutional unless so long as it allows for exemptions where a mother's health is threatened.

Amidore said...

Simply because blacks were not considered persons, it does not follow that every argument that something should be considered a person is right. Several contributors here are just begging the question of their position by assuming that having a human genome is the trait necessary to to make one deserving of moral respect. Not only is this a difficult position to defend. Not only is it not the dominant position in its field. It's also not right simply because people in the past have held wrong views on personhood. Slavery doesn't make it the case that a brain dead person (a vegetable) is morally equivalent to a human that still is sentient.

St. Croix -

What I said is factual and you didn't offer anything constituting contrary information. Down syndrome is detected prenatally typically with what is called the "integrated test" which is done at around 10-12 weeks. One can also do an NT, which is done around 10-13 weeks. Finally, there is the good old quad screen, which is the least accurate and done around 15-20 weeks. Notice, none of these constitute the 3rd trimester. A single anecdote otherwise about detecting later does not make your statement any less false. It also suggests you have little experience with pregnancy as tests that can detect down syndrome among other disabilities/ailments are generally offered by doctors early on as that's something expecting parents have to think about.

3rd trimester abortions make up less than 1% of abortions (the figure you cited was post 21 weeks), which is quite rare. They are most commonly done to save the life of the mother and a few anecdotes for other reasons doesn't change that. Most states have laws that restrict access to late term abortions, including Wisconsin. The Supreme Court has ruled that these laws are constitutional so long as it allows for exemptions where a mother's health is threatened.

Amidore said...

Bringing this back into the video, if you also told anyone watching it that a 12 week old fetus has a less sophisticated brain than a chicken, you might get a different sort of reaction absent that information. (A neocortex with human-like functioning is likely a very late development, though more research is required.) The reason is that large swathes of people intuitively see personhood as having something to do with with mental status. That's why the legality of letting people pull the plug on the brain dead is relatively uncontroversial (and almost entirely so outside of religious objections). Yes, large swathes of people once believed that different races weren't really people, but that doesn't make whatever pet criteria you have automatically right. Doing that is just as wrong as when animal rights activists point to slavery to assume that milking cows is wrong.