May 30, 2013

El Salvador's highest court rejects abortion for woman with lupus whose fetus is anencephalic.

"[I]n a 4-to-1 ruling, the court cited the country’s legal 'absolute impediment to authorize the practice of abortion,' and ruled that 'the rights of the mother cannot be privileged over those' of the fetus."
The court recognized that Beatriz has lupus, but it said that her disease was currently under control and that the threat to her life “is not actual or imminent, but rather eventual.” It ordered that her health continue to be closely monitored, saying that if complications arose that put her right to life in imminent danger doctors “could proceed with interventions.”

While abortion is banned, doctors are allowed to induce premature birth if the mother is facing imminent risk, possibly saving the life of the mother and the baby at the same time, according to José Miguel Fortín Magaña, director of the Institute of Legal Medicine, which advises the court on medical issues.

In the ruling, the court cited doctors as saying that “an eventual interruption of the pregnancy would not imply, much less have as an objective, the destruction of the fetus.”

Beatriz’s lawyer, however, described the ruling as “misogynistic” because it placed the rights of a fetus with little chance of surviving after birth over the welfare of a sick woman who already has an infant boy to care for. “The court placed the life of the anencephalic baby over Beatriz’s life,” said Víctor Hugo Mata, one of her lawyers, speaking by phone from the Supreme Court. “Justice here does not respect the rights of women.”
We could discuss whether the court in El Salvador is "misogynistic," but I would like to direct discussion toward how we — especially Americans — think about access to late-term abortion. Let's say Woman A has a health problem (like lupus) that makes pregnancy risky, but she chooses to go forward with the pregnancy, because she wants a child. Later, past the point of viability, a serious birth defect becomes apparent, and she assesses the risk differently. She wants to abort because of a combination of the health risk and the low value she puts on the specific unborn child she knows she is carrying. Woman B has no health problem, but she finds out, equally late in a pregnancy, that her child has the same birth defect. There are 3 moral positions available: 1. Neither woman should be permitted to have an abortion, 2. Both women should be permitted to have an abortion, and 3. Woman A must be permitted to have an abortion, but Woman B must be forbidden.

I think position #3 is hard to understand and suspect that those who are arguing for position #3 are setting up the argument for position #2. It seems that the supposed appeal of Beatriz's case is that her baby is relatively worthless, but if we are willing to mark some severely disabled human beings as low value, why shouldn't any woman be able to avoid the pains of late pregnancy and childbirth? That is, we move toward position #2. But if you commit to the right to life and say — like the right-to-life spokesperson at the link — that you must protect "all human beings however small, poor, vulnerable or defenseless," don't you have to go to position #1, at least until the point where the medical procedure to be performed is for the precise end of saving the woman's life and not aimed at destroying the child?

UPDATE: Following the court's opinion, doctors performed a Caesarean section, and the baby lived for 5 hours and died. That is, the child's personhood was respected, the woman's health needs were met, and the abortion-rights demagoguery became more obvious.

66 comments:

edutcher said...

Hmmm, since this is the Gray Lady, we can't be sure of what is fact and what is propaganda, but it needs to be kept in mind Beatriz will almost certainly have family to help her.

In Latin america, the family (usually extended) is a big part of health care. When The Blonde was in the ER in San Juan for her foot, the relatives of the other patients were in abundance with blankets, food, etc., for those who would be there overnight.

In some places, the staff goes home around 5 in the afternoon and the family is expected to take up the slack.

Expat(ish) said...

I think those three positions are reductive. I can think of three or four more iterations with important distinctions.

However, I have been told a thousand times that my lack of female reproductive organs makes my opinion un-necessary, so I won't give one.

I will say that if I let my child go on a trip that I knew was dangerous but later had to risk (or lose) my life to save (or try to save) their life, I would do that. I'd do that because they were my child, not because they were bright or undamaged or fun or anything like that.

If I were allowed to have an opinion, I would have that opinion about an unborn child.

I think it's tough to legislate that people should behave honorably and courageously.

-XC

Mitchell the Bat said...

“[Y]ou must protect ‘all human beings however small, poor, vulnerable or defenseless,’ . . .”

Sounds expensive.

“But the [abortion] problem isn't about our virtue and our feelings. Is it?”

Deirdre Mundy said...

You know, even in the US with our vastly superior medical care, I've met women who were told their babies are anacephalic, and who go on to deliver perfectly normal kids.

And these kids can have decent lives for a while: http://ww2.gazette.net/gazette_archive/1997/199741/gaithersburg/news/a62210-1.html

Lyssa said...

I feel like I need to understand more about both lupus (particularly it's effect on pregnancy) and anencephalitis (sp?) before I can comment. If the baby is sure to die quickly (within a matter of days), I am sympathetic to #2, and would consider it the moral equivalence of, say, providing hospice/DNR care. I have a very different opinion if the child is able to live but with disabilities. If the risks associated with lupus are truly likely to be extremely severe, I am sympathetic to #3. However, if that is the case (and it doesn't seem to be), I would question why she allowed herself to get pregnant in the first place, assuming that she knew of her condition beforehand.

I think that misogyny is a ridiculous term to use, unless you are sure that the decision is based only on being against the mother and any interest in the child is pure pretext. Which doesn't seem to be at all a rational interpretation of any anti-abortion position.

Brew Master said...

Position 1 is the only morally defensible one to take.

All others advocate killing a human being that has done nothing wrong.

MayBee said...

I was going to say something, but Lyssa already said it best.

MayBee said...

I support abortion of anacephalic pregnancies because it never really becomes viable, even though it progresses.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Totally ok with #1.

St. Gianna Beretta Molla, pray for us.

Renee said...

1. Lupus isn't a reason for an abortion, according to the Lupus Foundation.

2. Many unborn children with the condition, are born. They even live for some time out of the womb. They Hospice would be appropriate. Some babies even go home.

The Story of Faith Hope

The baby survived for a few months at home. The mother has pictures, as well.

bagoh20 said...

I don't see the fetus being defective as meaning it has "low value". It's rather a tragedy that carrying to birth will not fix, but rather make more tragic.

I see this, as I do the entire abortion issue, as a continuum about which we simply must choose decision points. Points in time where a fetus gains more rights, and conversely, levels of defect and eventual suffering that cause them to lose those rights as well. In the same way, the threats to the mother's health is a sliding situation that can cause her to gain or lose rights over her fetus.

To me, that's just the reality of life, and our law should reflect that we see it, and accept responsibility to protect competing rights as best we can within that reality. It's never going to be simple or easy, nor will it ever make everyone happy, but we need some rules and guidance so that people know what to expect when they choose to get pregnant. That they understand that they are bringing another human into their life with competing rights to their own. It's not a small thing.

Ann Althouse said...

"If the risks associated with lupus are truly likely to be extremely severe, I am sympathetic to #3. However, if that is the case (and it doesn't seem to be), I would question why she allowed herself to get pregnant in the first place, assuming that she knew of her condition beforehand."

In the US, the woman with lupus would have access to early abortion, so waiting until later makes it obvious that she accepted the risk and is now rejecting the pregnancy because she knows she doesn't have a baby that meets her aspirations. We might think that is morally wrong.

That's why I'm turning this into a hypothetical.

In El Salvador, it seems that she couldn't get an early abortion, so maybe she would have opted for one based on the lupus alone and then later, with the severely defective baby, she seems to have a new legal argument (but it's also a late-term abortion).

MayBee said...

I don't think having a baby that will die at birth meets anyone's aspirations.

Lyssa said...

I probably should have compared the termination of pregnancy to taking someone off of life support, rather than hospice or DNR. If a person is on life support and will continue to be unable to sustain their life until they die of some other cause, then it is generally considered moral to remove the support and let the person die. If the person has a reasonable chance of recovering so that the support could later be removed, then there is little debate that it would be wrong to remove the support (at least, unless the person has specifically directed it).

Here, the womb is the life support. I do not know whether the child's condition fits into the first or second category, though.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

This is what happens when you go over your pay grade and try to play God.

Æthelflæd said...

I had two friends with anencephalic babies. Both babies survived several days after birth, leaving the families time to say goodbye. Would you instead want to tell the sibling that "we chopped your little sister up because we were impatient and ready to be done with it?"

Also pregnancy often induces remission in lupus. I'm not sure why abortion is necessary.

Despitelupus.blogspot.com/2010/06/lupus-remission-during-pregnancy-could.html

bagoh20 said...

What if the baby could live with extensive care and an adopting couple was willing to accept that responsibility for as long as needed?

bagoh20 said...

This is not playing God. This has always been the human condition since we gained enough intelligence to know how to end a pregnancy which probably happened while we were still in caves, and before any modern religion was imagined. God gave us the choice when he gave us intelligence and thumbs. He never told us exactly what to do with the power, which can clearly be used for good or evil ends.

MayBee said...

I had two friends with anencephalic babies. Both babies survived several days after birth, leaving the families time to say goodbye. Would you instead want to tell the sibling that "we chopped your little sister up because we were impatient and ready to be done with it?"

I think having time to say goodbye is nice if that is what you want. I also think people can take time to say goodbye before or after terminating.
I would never tell a sibling that "we chopped up the baby", but telling siblings about the imminent death of the baby is never going to be easy. It's a sad loss, either way.

bagoh20 said...

Nobody is choosing to terminate this baby. That was already preordained and is irreversible. We are simply able to decide how and what circumstances and risks will accompany it.

Scott M said...

What part of "keep it in your pants" do some people not understand?

Pettifogger said...

If you are religious, your position turns on whether you believe the baby has a soul, or perhaps at what point in the gestation process that occurs.

But secularists don't get a free pass. Secularists typically use a graduated scale on the moral gravity of taking a life. Most of us would say there's no moral gravity in swatting a mosquito. There is some moral gravity in killing a dog, but most of us would do so far more often that we would kill an adult human being. Then there is the moral gravity we accord to human life.

When does that moral gravity associated with human life arise? Peter Singer says that is well after birth and that mothers should get a free pass on taking their kids out when infants. I think most people are repelled by that. I certainly am.

Does, then, the moral gravity accrue at the moment of birth, at conception, or at some point in between? I am personally inclined to say at some point in between. But I don't know exactly when.

But the late-term of a baby because of abnormalities is, in my view, not distinguishable from killing a young child because of the same abnormalities.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

This is not playing God. This has always been the human condition since we gained enough intelligence to know how to end a pregnancy which probably happened while we were still in caves, and before any modern religion was imagined

Firstly. I doubt that there were sonograms or other ways to look INSIDE the womb in the caveman days. Our modern religion comes from and is built upon the primitive beliefs in spirits, animal guides. Nature was a giant mystery. If they did terminate a pregnancy it was likely a private matter or done with a religious intent. Who knows what they thought when a deformed baby was born.....probably not many good thoughts. Evil spirits probably caused it. Witchcraft. Either the deformed child died of natural causes or was 'helped' on the way.

However, for us to arbitrarily decide who gets to live, be born, die, be aborted puts us in the position of being "the decider" and in many people's minds is in the position of playing God.

I'm entirely sympathetic to the woman with the anencephalic child and understand her desire. However, as illustrated in the choices.....where do WE as a society draw the line on what child lives, what child dies.

THIS is the crux of the matter in my mind. " the point where the medical procedure to be performed is for the precise end of saving the woman's life and not aimed at destroying the child" Is the procedure aimed at destroying the child? or is it strictly to save the mother's live so that she can go on to take care of her other children or have other children if she so desires.

As horrendous as it is to give birth to such a fatally deformed child, where do WE draw the line. Downs Syndrome? Thalidomide deformed babies? Conjoined twins? Spina bifida? Dwarfism? Who do WE deem kill-worthy? It is a moving target, so to speak?

SeanF said...

bagoh20: Nobody is choosing to terminate this baby. That was already preordained and is irreversible.

It is "preordained and irreversible" that you are going to die, Bagoh. And yet, somehow, I think that if someone were to threaten to put a bullet in your brain, you wouldn't deny that they were "choosing" to "terminate" you.

Pettifogger said...

bagoh20 said: "Nobody is choosing to terminate this baby. That was already preordained and is irreversible. We are simply able to decide how and what circumstances and risks will accompany it."

It's just a question of timing for all of us. Who gets to make the call? The Department of Health and Human Services for the good of us all?

After all, old people are such a burden, and they're going to die soon anyway. Why not take them out now and avoid the bother and expense of their terminal care?

bagoh20 said...

Sean, The difference is that the child here was never going to have any life. Isn't that obvious? All that would be taken from it was additional suffering. People need to really think about what they are advocating, and who really benefits. If you care about a living thing, sometimes forcing it to live is a cruel act.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Nobody is choosing to terminate this baby. That was already preordained and is irreversible

Not to get too personal (and I am happy for your medical recovery) but you had an organ transplant I believe.

By this same rational, your death was already preordained and irreversible (kind of the definition of DEATH), therefore your medical procedure could have been denied under this rational. You were dieing from organ failure so we should just not stop the process and perhaps should even enhance the speed of the irreversible process.

I'm not arguing against organ transplants or heroic medical procedures to save lives. I'm pointing out that the flaw in your logic and how the slippery slope of deciding who lives and dies IN the womb can be extrapolated to those of us who will now be judged by government "death panels" who WILL be playing God.

bagoh20 said...

I do think it's cruel and a violation of my human rights to force me to lie in a hospital bed suffering and waiting to die, if I was terminal and in pain. An infant in that condition doesn't even have the benefit of seeing family or thinking, or hearing music. Nothing but suffering - pure suffering. The forced birth is for the needs of adults only.

bagoh20 said...

You guys are getting silly in an effort to justify your position. Nobody is saying you should let someone die who you CAN save.

SJ said...

off-topic: would it still be misogyny if the fetus is female, and the decision was to allow abortion?

on-topic: if the combination of Lupus and pregnancy doesn't threaten the life of the mother, and a normal fetus would be viable if born at that stage...how does the potential threat to the life of the fetus/future-child change the question of abortion?

SeanF said...

bagoh20: Sean, The difference is that the child here was never going to have any life. Isn't that obvious?
This is moving the goalposts.

You originally said that nobody was making the choice to terminate.

Now you're just rationalizing the choice to terminate.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Nobody is saying you should let someone die who you CAN save.

I guess you haven't been following the Kermit Gosnell case?

bagoh20 said...

It's getting sillier now.

No goal posts have not moved. The facts are still the same: the child will not live; it will only suffer, either more or less. There is no choice to terminate this life, it will never be.

And Gosnell has nothing to do with this. Those children could be saved, so it's irrelevant to this situation.

SeanF said...

bagoh20: No goal posts have not moved.

This is correct. None of them have not moved, they have all moved.

The facts are still the same: the child will not live; it will only suffer, either more or less. There is no choice to terminate this life, it will never be.

Ah, semantics. They can justify just about anything, can't they?

acm said...

Bagoh, no it's not obvious that the baby won't have any life. If the diagnosis is correct (sometimes it's not), the baby could live for several months, as children with this condition have occasionally done just that. He or she could be an anomaly and survive even longer. We don't know.

Whether his or her life is meaningful in those few months, that's...hard to know. But by any reasonable definition she or he cannot be written off as certain to never live.

acm said...

The child will not live it will only suffer.

----

This sentence makes no sense. Nonliving things can't suffer. The word "live" has an actual definition, and it's not "experience happiness" or "learn to walk" or anything like that.

Cedarford said...

DBQ - "I'm pointing out that the flaw in your logic and how the slippery slope of deciding who lives and dies IN the womb can be extrapolated to those of us who will now be judged by government "death panels" who WILL be playing God."

Before societies had the luxury of surplus wealth, babies with severe defect were left to die of exposure. Even in the heyday of the Catholic Church. It wasn't "playing God" - it was the natural order of things before we had big governments and ability to force families to have a genetically defective fetus brought to term and for society to pay the tab in heroic medical care.

One can summon the Right to Life argument that no abortions should be allowed for babies "blessed" with Downs, T-18, anacephaly...because that "is playing God". But as has been discussed on Althouse, most families are electing to abort Downs Syndrome fetuses, to say nothing about the call to abort anacephalics approaching 95%. And abortion happens in virtually all cases in America where the woman has a badly defective fetus AND a severe physical disorder that might make some women continue and risk their health or ability to try again for a healthy baby, but not a doomed or seriously defective one. And a doctor that didn't bring up abortion as a normally recommended path would be guilty of malpractice in America.

One of the big discoveries in the last two decades was that many mammals, with long gestations and only one-two offsping per pregnancy, through evolution or god, detect and abort "bad" fetuses naturally. That more of these "weeding out" miscarriages happen when a women is physically active, not sedentary.
Which makes sense because in most human, or large livestock history, advantages the reproductive success by maximizing the fertile time to have healthy offspring, thus is preferred in evolution. And in 99% of human history, just like with other mammals, the non-viable that survive to birth were discarded. Only if a mammal survives a period of time, bonds with others in the group, and suffers crippling injury or grows old and less productive - will you see higher order mammals sacrifice and support further lifetime.


Nathan Alexander said...

I had friends who gave birth to a severely deformed child. She was going to live for only a month, or maybe a few months at best.
6 months later, I visited them at home, and I saw the baby struggle to breathe.
But struggle, she did. She fought for life, tooth and nail.

At 8 years old, she was unable to speak, but able to sign. She was brain damaged, but aware enough to be jealous of her little brother and push him down out of cruelty.

Life struggles for life.

Is the child who suffers really suffering, if that is all it knows?

(break in thought-stream)

Assign a percentage chance for the child living more than a few days.

Compare that to the percentage chance of someone surviving cancer.

Should the same decision of termination due to chance of life vs suffering in a losing struggle apply?

Put more bluntly, should we automatically terminate someone with only a 1% chance to survive a disease, in order to save them the suffering and the family/insurance company the unnecessary expense? With no choice given to the cancer sufferer?

Who is given that choice? Only the sufferer's mother?

(break in thought stream)

Why should life and death be a choice, in the first place?

If some mothers choose to give birth, and so we congratulate them on a pregnancy, then how can it be moral that other women choose to abort, and we shrug at them choosing to end the viability of a clump of cells?

Morally, the difference between life and death should not be a choice.

(break in thought process)
It seems like there are HUGE ethical problems with women making moral arguments about abortion, no?
Men bring an objectivity to the issue that women can't have.

Crunchy Frog said...

Four months into our second pregnancy, we found out the baby my wife was carrying had Trisomy-18, which for the babies that make it to childbirth, has a 90% mortality rate before their first birthday. Two weeks later we were spared the decision about what to do about it, as it died in utero. Had to go to an abortion clinic for the D&E. Miserable experience.

TS18 is what Rick Santorum's 3-year old girl has. I commend him and his wife for staying strong through it all, and I wish the little girl a happy life, however long she has left.

Cedarford said...

SJ - on-topic: if the combination of Lupus and pregnancy doesn't threaten the life of the mother, and a normal fetus would be viable if born at that stage...how does the potential threat to the life of the fetus/future-child change the question of abortion?

1. It isn't an ethical matter that only comes up as an issue if the woman's heath is such that she will die giving birth to a severely defective and short-lived baby.
It is if, if it is a risk and sacrifice to physical health, we wish to force on women and society - worsening existing medical conditions for no positive return.

2. Other than criminal conviction and jail perhaps wosening health, only here do we have people that want to force aggravating a medical diease or disorder. Even before Roe, abortions for reasons of life AND physical health of the mother were legal and commonly done in all 50 States,

3. The difference is that women, their families and society support the decision to have a baby if the woman wants to take the risk - not only of a certain childbirth mortality inherent in it itself - but women electing to go ahead and worsen their health, perhaps make themselves unable to bear any more children in the future, even shorten their lifespan or even die - if they feel the healthy viable baby is worth it. Knowledge that the fetus is severely defective dramatically alters that calculation.

Pettifogger said...

Cedarford, are you arguing that what primitive societies did or what animals do is necessarily the moral thing to do? Or are you arguing that efficiency rather than morality should govern us in these matters?

I understand why Inuit used to leave the old out on the ice to die. That I understand why they did it does not mean I think it is moral to use their conduct as a guide for our own. I concede that, when a society lives as close the the edge as the Inuit did, moral choices become more complex. Caring for the old may impair the ability to care for the young or may otherwise endanger the survival of others. Most of us do not live in that extreme peril.

Rabel said...

Slightly off topic but worth mentioning because the Times didn't is the fact that the leftist FMLN party which now holds the Presidency and a plurality in the legislature of El Salvador supported the constitutional amendment which criminalized all abortions.

According to Harvard.

Pettifogger said...

Cedarford, are you arguing that what primitive societies did or what animals do is necessarily the moral thing to do? Or are you arguing that efficiency rather than morality should govern us in these matters?

I understand why Inuit used to leave the old out on the ice to die. That I understand why they did it does not mean I think it is moral to use their conduct as a guide for our own. I concede that, when a society lives as close the the edge as the Inuit did, moral choices become more complex. Caring for the old may impair the ability to care for the young or may otherwise endanger the survival of others. Most of us do not live in that extreme peril.

Cedarford said...

Some of the pro-life arguments here explain why strong majorities of younger women have voted Democrat for decades and will continue to do so.

Why did Romney lose? Forget the hispanic stuff and blacks voting on skin color. It was simple. Romney attracted strong plurality of white male votes. If white women had followed, Romney would be President. But he lost the women's vote 55%-45%, and Nate Silver said the single strongest (by far) driver was fear that Republicans like Rick Santorum would be in charge again under Romney - limiting reproductive choice, telling women they must bear babies with no brains or be forced to become lifetime caregivers, divorced, permanently out of the workforce..(if there is even a 1% chance that a t-18 gift from Jesus can survive into their teens..how can we terminate such a gift??
Even some women who believe they would take all those "hits" and bear a badly defective child are strongly against the Right to Lifers forcing other women to do so.

Right before the election, I bumped into a good friend of my wife's, who was fiscally conservative, a nurse, an Army Vet. Hates Obama.
Even a Tea Party fan.
Romney? I asked... The answer was no. Obama.
"Just to be safe. I don't want those people still running the Republican Party that want to force women to bear rapist's babies. Or wreck their health against their will. Or bring back that Schiavo thing".



Peter said...

I think it likely that most Americans support a right of abortion when the mother faces a major health risk if the pregnancy is continued.

The problem is, the courts will not permit this exception to be reserved for, say, mothers with lupus who perhaps are experiencing a flare-up. Instead, any health exception is inevitably stretched to cover various sorts of psychological risks.

At which point the health exception becomes meaningless, as some professonal will always be willing to sign off on a psychological risk.

The result seems to be: late-term abortion is simply forbidden (El Salvador), or, abortion-on-demand is always available- even after viability (and apparently sometimes after birth).

It's an impossible choice. And yet it's one that forced by the impossibility of limiting any medical exception.

Clyde said...

I personally believe that abortion is a lousy menthod of birth control. However, in a case where the fetus has a hideous congenital birth defect like anencephaly, where there is no chance for anything resembling a normal human life, it is kinder for all concerned to terminate that pregnancy. In this case, the mother's lupus shouldn't be the deciding factor, but that fact that the fetus is anencephalic.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Anencephaly is literally 100% fatal, within days or sometimes hours from birth. This isn't a case of "severe birth defects" that would nonetheless allow the child to survive; it isn't even a case like Tay-Sachs, where the baby is doomed but might live for a few years.

That said, I don't see that having to deliver an anencephalic infant is an insupportable hardship when she was perfectly willing to undergo the risks associated with delivering a healthy infant.

Baron Zemo said...

Not all abortion lovers are Nazi's but all Nazi's are abortion lovers.

They would extend it the handicapped, Downs Syndrome babies and of course.....Jews.

Baron Zemo said...

Not all abortion lovers are Nazi's but all Nazi's are abortion lovers.

They would extend it to the handicapped, Downs Syndrome babies and of course.....Jews.

Cedarford said...

Pettifogger said...
Cedarford, are you arguing that what primitive societies did or what animals do is necessarily the moral thing to do? Or are you arguing that efficiency rather than morality should govern us in these matters?

--------------------
Not a question of efficiency over morality.
It is recent rises in the welfare state and medical technology that have altered the natural order of things that humans and society evolved in.

It isn't just a matter of "loving the doomed or special needs severely handicapped child". While we have some that want to force women to bear as the only moral choice...in the real world, we are asking many of them to accept the other stuff that comes with such a choice:

1. Permanent of long-term loss of job/career to become the full-time caretaker.

2. Next to long-term disability, the 2nd greatest cause of medical bankruptcy is parents that have a "special needs child" with attendent expenses from care happening in many cases simultaneously with a dramatic reduction in family income.

3. A divorce rate for parents of special needs double the rate of families with "normal babies and kids".

4. Alienation of affection between the prime caregiver and others - not just husband, but her normal kids and her old friends because the focus is now mainly on the "special needs" case.

5. The unfortunate choice many women make that with the emotional and financial stress - they cannot afford to have any other kids.

6. If it is a single woman, now 40% of child-bearers, or a woman married with no great family resources or medical benefits - how much society must be forced to fork over to the woman and her special needs child(ren). It could be lifetime welfare, huge drains on local, state, and federal tax revenue. It is ironic that the pro-life part of the electorate is also the part most against "gummit taking money from my wallet" for welfare..

Lydia said...

bagoh20 said:
Nothing but suffering - pure suffering. The forced birth is for the needs of adults only.

According to the NIH:

"A baby born with anencephaly is usually blind, deaf, unconscious, and unable to feel pain. Although some individuals with anencephaly may be born with a rudimentary brain stem, the lack of a functioning cerebrum permanently rules out the possibility of ever gaining consciousness. Reflex actions such as breathing and responses to sound or touch may occur."

If this is the case, the child is not suffering. What we are left with then is an abortion to remove the possiblity of the parents suffering.

Bender said...

What we are left with, by all of this "kill him now, kill him now" in response to an innocent human being who has a terminal condition is KILLING. Not removing the possibility of suffering, but KILLING.

You don't end suffering by killing, you only perpetuate it.

Mary Martha said...

"her baby is relatively worthless"

Throughout history a thought process where different types of human beings are defined as having different "wort" never works out well.

I am with option one because I believe all human beings have worth.

Are the disabled worth less? Are the elderly? Are minorities worth less? The very young? NO.

Saint Croix said...

I think position #3 is hard to understand and suspect that those who are arguing for position #3 are setting up the argument for position #2.

You forgot position #4, Althouse, when Obama's death panel decides that the "low value" baby is not how we should be spending our socialist dollars, and they decide to cut off any and all prenatal care for mom and child.

Bob_R said...

I don't see what is hard to understand about #3. I feel we should start with the strong presumption that the state can't determine the motives of the mother. So leaving the decision up to a mother whose life is at (greater) risk at the same point we would take away that right from a mother at lesser risk seems quite plausible.

The concerted effort to (literally) dehumanize the baby (e.g. by calling it a fetus) is an attempt to distract us from the central question of the conflicting rights of two humans. The idea that you (a Law Professor!) would find it hard to understand that many people would feel that the degree of risk of life to one of the parties would shift the balance of those rights...is hard for me to understand.

I say all this as a true abortion squish. I am disgusted by the huge number of abortions preformed today, but I don't believe the state can make things better. They had plenty of tools to stop the worst of Gosnell's atrocities and didn't

heyboom said...

I've stated this on almost every abortion thread I've seen here in the past year or so: If the baby is viable, it does NOT have to be aborted to save the mother's life! The whole point is to get the baby out of the mother, and it makes absolutely no difference whether the baby comes out alive or not.

And in most cases, even if the baby is not viable or already dead, a normal delivery is the best method of getting the baby out. It is actually the default method used by most OB's. Abortion is a major surgery that can be more dangerous than the pregnancy is to the mother (Dr. Gosnell, anyone?)

heyboom said...

So regarding my previous post Ann, we are already at position #1.

Saint Croix said...

her baby is relatively worthless

we are willing to mark some severely disabled human beings as low value

Since you're obviously quite comfortable with the idea of defining the baby as property, why not go the whole hog?

You say she has "low value." But have you thought of ways to cash in on her life?

What if biotech companies wanted to bid on the baby, so they could do research on her? So the corporation buys the child. Any objections to that?

Is there any entertainment value in the killing of a human being? We're talking decapitation and dismemberment. Television companies could bid on the execution rights. Is that acceptable?

Hey, since morality is out the window, we could cook and eat the child. Human flesh, I'm sure that's a rare delicacy in some parts of the world.

Of course we have to ignore the scary parallels to Nazi Germany, who also defined the handicapped as low value.

Also we have to ignore our 13th and 14th Amendments, not to mention I think there's a federal statute that talks about this stuff.

n.n said...

A human life evolves from conception to grave. Throughout its evolution a human body, and its accompaniment of organs, etc., is merely a cluster of cells. So, when does a human life acquire value?

We have a civil standard that requires equal protection. That means that any violation of a civil right must be equally apportioned to all human lives at different ages and stages of development. A human life can then be aborted at any time if its existence is deemed a "punishment" or is otherwise inconvenient to another, especially the state.

Elective abortion devalues human life. Elective abortion for the sake of personal wealth or welfare is human sacrifice. It also causes a dissociation of risk which sponsors corruption.

In fact, this is the cause of crises in our and every society. It begins with devaluing human life. It continues with denigrating individual dignity and redistributive change (i.e. involuntary exploitation). It ends with a consolidation of capital and power by a central authority, thereby enslaving the people in its service.

MCD said...

Left to me, there would be no abortion. That said, there are many many people in our country of a different view who are able to provide funds to bring the mother here and complete that act. Where are they now?

jhon mathew said...

I think there should be some ease in the laws for these type of conditions. If a mother or a teenage girl is not well and having some complications during her pregnancy, then she should give the rights to abort it as per the condition demands. We all know that in some states, abortion is strictly prohibited, but in cases where the mother and the young fetus, both are having risks in the later stages, then the better option is to save the life of a mother rather than the unborn one. So court should take some serious decisions to save the life of a mother.
Know more about Abortion & Unplanned Pregnancy

Saint Croix said...

So court should take some serious decisions to save the life of a mother.

You can induce labor and deliver the child and put her in a neonatal intensive care unit. So-called "liberals" always jump to killing the child. But of course giving early birth to the child terminates the pregnancy too, and you can do so without the infanticide.

And liberals routinely lie about the safety of abortion.

We positively know that birth is safer than abortion at this stage. All you have to do is read the Carhart opinions. Abortion is often unsafe, particularly late in the pregnancy. You might damage the cervix or the uterus. You might make the mother sterile. You might kill her. (These deaths are routinely missed by the CDC unless "abortion" is marked on the death certificate).

So the abortion industry developed the practice of inducing labor and delivering the baby. Thus the lie that "abortion is safer than birth" was exposed as a fraud. Abortion doctors themselves often prefer birth.

They just kill the baby in the middle of it.

But if you put the baby in a NICU, you are not committing murder.

The reason liberals don't want to do this, by the way, is the NICU is expensive, and they have already determined the baby is "low value."

Fr Martin Fox said...

BagOh:

If you don't mind me putting it this way, it seems to me the problem with your argument is a wrong approach to suffering.

Human suffering is a reality and probably not ever going away, before the Lord returns. It's not a good thing to be celebrated, but it doesn't follow that a life marked by suffering ceases to be a life worth living.

And, in any case, how can anyone say, of another, your suffering is so much that I can't see how you should continue?

When it comes to your own situation, or mine, there's a different issue. You may not wish to continue to live beyond a certain measure of suffering, related to your overall condition and overall prospects.

But then, do you have the right to ask someone else to be complicit in bringing your life to an end?

Fr Martin Fox said...

Always so helpful to have Cedarford explain the Fascist approach to these issues.

Kristi said...

My second baby was diagnosed anencephalic when I was 23 weeks pregnant.

Dierdre commented that some women are told their babies are anencephalic and go on to have babies. No, Dierdre. That does not happen.

Clyde said that terminating a baby with a "hideous congenital malformation" would be kinder for all concerned. I believe, Clyde, that the whole point of the pro-choice movement is that the opinions of people like you of what is "kinder" are completely worthless.

I chose to carry my baby to term. But anencephalic babies are usually induced anyway because natural labor may not kick in normally at 40 weeks. I chose to induce at exactly forty weeks, and loved my baby girl for the almost 3 days that she lived. That was longer then most full-term anencephalic babies live.

But if carrying her had threatened my health and my long- term ability to care for my older son, I may have induced earlier. It is a complicated ethical decision, and it is clear the primary intent is to spare the mother's medical health, when the baby is already terminal. The only one who should decide is the mother. It is sad that there seem to be as many people who declare the right thing is to terminate, as there are who declare the right thing is to carry to full term.

Many decisions are not black and white, life or death. Often it is a weighing of suffering and deterioration with timing of interventions. What is comfort care and what are extraordinary measures?

I agonized over picking the date of my induction because I knew I was timing my baby's death. I could have waited and waited for natural labor, not knowing how many days, when or where, and maybe not be able to have family fly out in time to care for us. And being very post-term can become life-threatening for the baby, as well.

I'll always feel that choosing my induction day hastened her death, but I believe I will be forgiven my need to arrange for support while I gave birth to and held my dying baby.

I am pro-life, and believe abortion is always a tragedy. But managing a pregnancy when a baby has a fatal diagnosis has ethical decisions that can only be left to the parents, including when to induce. Law cannot weigh all circumstances when it comes to end of life care, either in nursing homes or maternity wards.

Kristi said...

To answer the question of the original post more clearly, early induction of a terminal fetus is NOT the same as abortion. I agree with Heyboom's comment.

Induction's purpose is not to kill the baby, since ethical care would be given to the baby that is possible to give, outside the mother's womb, in order to spare her life or her health. Comfort care is an ethical choice, and that really does not change the baby's prognosis. Certainly not in this case.