August 28, 2015

A hypothetical about the use of fetal tissue.

1. Your 9-year-old daughter has a disease that will kill her within a year unless she receives a treatment that requires the acquisition of an intact 20-week-old aborted fetus. Do you want her to have this treatment?

2. There is a service that connects pregnant women to those who need an intact 20-week-old aborted fetus to cure the disease described above. Women who are considering having an abortion interact with those who need the treatment. Would you use this service to acquire the aborted fetus needed to save your 9-year-old daughter's life? (Assume this activity is completely legal.)

3. The service described in #2 is an app like Uber that connects those who want to interact and securely accomplishes the exchange of money. (Again, assume that this has been fully legalized.) Would you pay $20,000 to acquire the aborted fetus needed to save your 9-year-old daughter's life?

IN THE COMMENTS: Readers don't think I've made it clear in #3 where the money goes. I said it's "like Uber," so you're supposed to infer that the Uber-like company may take a small commission, perhaps 10%, but the great part of the money goes to the woman donating the tissue.

214 comments:

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rhhardin said...

It's all public relations. Taboos come and go.

Economists favor selling organs. Banning it is why people die on waiting lists. Doctors can be paid for transplants but not donors.

A shortage means the government is involved.

As for fetuses, that's mixing the two taboos, better dealt with one at a time.

You're not allowed to hurt anything that looks like a baby. That's wired in. The trick is making earlier and earlier fetuses look or sound like a baby.

The one at a time way for fetuses is, in shorthand, that you learn to be human. You learn this by being treated as human. That's what people are wired to do.

Moose said...

We're back to the concept of can the person donating the tissue agree to transaction? if not, then its still murder. It doesn't matter what the recipients status is.

Oh Yea said...


A hypothetical about the use of 20 minute old infant tissue.

1. Your 9-year-old daughter has a disease that will kill her within a year unless she receives a treatment that requires the acquisition of a 20 minute old infant . Do you want her to have this treatment?

2. There is a service that connects pregnant women to those who need a 20 minute old infant to cure the disease described above. Women who are considering giving up their children for adoption interact with those who need the treatment. Would you use this service to acquire the 20 minute old infant needed to save your 9-year-old daughter's life? (Assume this activity is completely legal.)

3. The service described in #2 is an app like Uber that connects those who want to interact and securely accomplishes the exchange of money. (Again, assume that this has been fully legalized.) Would you pay $20,000 to acquire the 20 minute old infant needed to save your 9-year-old daughter's life?

Rae said...

Q: where does the 20k go?

If the money goes to the pregnant woman, and she aborts, am I not subsidizing abortion, which is morally equivalent to murder in my book?

So the question becomes, do I pay for the murder of a stranger to provide materials to save my daughters life.

This completely hypothetical to me, because I don't have children.

EDH said...

Shouldn't that depend on whether my 9-year-old daughter was still "wanted" by me?

Reproductive choice and all.

Kristian Holvoet said...

#1 - No.
#2 - No.
#3 - No.

I also wouldn't kill an organ donor simply to get his/her organs.

Would I accept donated tissue or organ (from an accident victim or one that doesn't come from a dead person like marrow or spare kidney transplant)? Almost certainly.

I simply won't take organs from a state sponsored / supported murder. The incentives are too perverse.

lgv said...

Pro choice answers: Yes, yes, no. or Yes, yes, yes. The $20k to abort your baby may be a little too choicy for pro choice advocates. If the last answer is no, the logic is that a woman should make her own choice and dangling the $20k interferes with this process. But the typical pro choice line is it is a woman's body and she can do with it what she pleases. Ergo, she can abort the baby for money. Ergo, she could put it up for adoption for $20k carrying fee, right?

Pro Live answers: No, no, no. Anything else is hypocritical, unless the pregnant woman died in an accident or something like that.

Lyssa said...

Interesting.

1. Yes, though I want it to be from a fetus that would have been killed regardless. While I can't say what I would do if it were my child and I were desperate, I do not think that it is OK to kill a fetus for this purpose.

2. Again, I can't say that I couldn't disregard a lot of morality if I were that desperate, but the idea that someone could decide to have the abortion based on my connection is extremely troubling.

3. I think that my answer to #2 remains the same. The monetary issue doesn't bother me very much. I'd note that the hypo has me paying $20K, but doesn't say where it goes - it would be troubling indeed if the service provided a market where a woman could get pregnant with the intent to have such an abortion for some substantial portion of that money, so my assumption is that this is not a payment to her.

To break things down, I have no problem with the actual use of fetal tissue, and I don't think that most people do when they think about it. There are a few issues with the PP sting, but the worst, IMO, is that it reminds us, makes us face dead on that these are not "just clumps of tissue" anymore than you and I are clumps of tissue, that they have these working organs and human parts. But if the baby is going to die anyway, I have no objection to making any use of the tissue that would help others, just as I have no issue with using donated organs of anyone who dies.

But, again, I can't say that I wouldn't do something that I know to be horrible if my child's life were on the line, but that doesn't mean that it would be right.

lgv said...

typo "Pro Life". sorry.

Mick said...

No, No, and NO.
"Law Prof" (a misnomer) is outing herself as the progressive Ivory Tower dweller she truly is.
Planned Parenthood is an evil organization that cannot be justified by some rare hypothetical. Abortion is murder, and of course she knows that, but still tries to justify it.

Mark said...

Chalk up Mick in the 'let the 9 year old die' column.

Lyssa said...

Oh, my "baby is going to die anyway" statements include conditions where the baby is going to die because the mother is going to abort by choice. I don't like that; I find it horrifying, in fact. But my opinion on that doesn't change the fact that it does happen, and, if it does, at least some good should come of it.

Roy Jacobsen said...

HELL, NO to #1. If you can't figure out the answers to #2 and 3...

The ONLY sound answer--medically, scientifically, ethically, and religiously sound--to the question "When does human life begin?" is at conception.

JAORE said...

Of course I want 1-3. It is my daughter. In theory the life of someone in Hong Kong, London, or Mexico City is just as valuable as that of my daughter.

But not to me. Not close. Never will be.

Doesn't make it right. Nor is this little game likely to change the hearts of those who have made up their minds on the subject of abortion.

Try this one:

Your son is being held hostage with a promise he will be killed in one hour.
Would you agree to torture the guy with knowledge of his location? Lots of folk would for THEIR child even if they are anti-torture.

Or would you pull the trigger on the sniper rifle aimed at the ISIS member about to hack off your child's head? You would? Then you support murder even before a trial?

Coupe said...

1. No. Young girls with major health issues may be saved temporarily by heroic medical experiments, but they will probably die an even more horrible death once their hormones kick in, and alter the gruesome experiment.

2. No. The procedure is unfair to the young girl, and is done to artificially extend life.

3. No. See #1, #2.

Jim in St Louis said...

1,2 and 3 have the same answer for me. : No, because I am a moral person.

1. I assume that your hypothetical’s point is that the fetus is going to die anyway and that at least some good will come of it. I would reject that one can support evil in the service of a greater good. (at least in this hypothetical)
2. The service described could not exist without creating the market for fetuses, and legal or not would be morally wrong in a civilized society.
3. I don’t know about the $20K, but I have no doubt that for the right price a millionaire could travel to some third world nation and accuire a healthy liver or kidney.

Legal does not equal moral.

JHapp said...

So how many 20 week babies self abort vs how many have this rare disease. Is this real or moral fiction?

traditionalguy said...

A liberal opinion favors the designer Cletus that can be specialized hybrids with the most valuable organs. And economic use of the rest of the parts for fertilizer will help food production.

A few select breeds of fetus could also be brought to term and kept as personal house servants.

Science is empowering, mien Fuhrer.

PB said...

Ann proposes hypothetical situations in a straw man argument that attempts to equate the uses of the fetal bodies, organs and tissues sold by PP with critical life-saving attempts. What hasn't been investigated is what the companies that buy from PP do with the material and is it necessary.

Is everyone involved in this activity merely because they can?

tim in vermont said...

If you believe that 20 week old baby is human and should be considered a legal person, then the answer is obviously no.

If you believe that the 20 week old baby is human but not a legal person, and you are OK with that, the answer is reluctantly yes.

And if you can think of the 20 week old baby the same way you think of a cod fish that is about to enter a net, then the answer is yes, why are we even discussing this?

Fetus is a dehumanizing term, like Juden. When is the last time you heard a pregnant woman call her mother and say "I felt the fetus kick today mom!"

Headless Blogger said...

Help me on your hypotheticals, which one, the fetus or your daughter, will eventually become Hitler and which will find the cure for cancer?Hypothetically.

Curious George said...

"Mark said...
Chalk up Mick in the 'let the 9 year old die' column."

Chalk up Mark in the "It's okay to conceive and abort a child because baby Parts are fungible" column.

PB said...

Ann, how would you react if that Uber-like app had surge pricing for fetal bodies/organs/tissue?

Gahrie said...

Do you want her to have this treatment?

Do I want her to have the treatment...hell no.

Would I allow the procedure to take place? I don't have a daughter, but I can imagine being desperate enough to save her life to allow the procedure.

Jane the Actuary said...

4. Your child needs a transplant. You've heard that the Chicoms can facilitate this, by speeding up an execution of a prisoner who was on death row anyway. (This is real.) Money is no object for you. Do you do it?

Peter said...

So we're back to "hard cases make bad law"?

Except that this isn't a hard case, it's a hypothetical designed to create a hypothetical dilemma in which one evil is weighed against another evil, even though neither evil actually exists.

yoobee said...

There are much worse things that can befall my daughter than death. My answer to all three questions is no.

-the father of a young daughter

CStanley said...

No, no, no.

Coupe said...

Roy Jacobsen said......is at conception.

Life begins when a mammal has a respiration rate greater than zero, and is oxygenating blood itself.

Prior to that it is called a fetus, and it is not alive.

If something is not alive, it can legally be buried, or dissected and unused parts disposed of by Constitution.

Using a fetus for medical experiments, is like using any other mammal organ in experiments.

The problem with me, is these experiments end-up bankrupting the non-medicine public, and incur federal debts even greater than nuclear weapons research.

chickelit said...

Hypotheticals are easy to agree to or to dismiss. Realities are not.

I'm wondering why PP can't come up with a short list of diseases they have positively prevented, and lives they have saved, etc.

Fandor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fandor said...

Althouse, assume there is no God and anything goes.
What's our next move?

Michael Huang said...

To me, the bad thing is planned parenthood encouraging abortions and secretly selling baby parts to make money. Parents making the choice themselves is pretty ok.

Why is there no moral imperative to make new babies btw?
If we regard life as such a wonderful thing, and a baby at the instant of conception is a person!
Why not have more respect for the sperm + egg the instant before they combine?!
And recursively apply that to government mandating the making of babies?

Jim in St Louis said...

I am still searching the web looking for what this fetal tissue research is actually used for.

Many vaccines were developed using cell lines from two elective abortions back in the 60s. (the cells replicate in a lab setting unlike any other type of tissue, and those cells are still duplicating in hundreds of labs all over the world). But I have not seen anything that would suggest that fetal tissue research is actually going to lead to treatments or cures of anything. Lots of talk about Parkinson’s and Alzheimer's but is there any reputable source that would indicate that this type of research is valuable?

Monkeyboy said...

If we find a special enzyme in gay men's livers that cure nine year old girls can we put gay men in camps to harvest them for body parts?

Why do you hate nine year old girls so much?

CStanley said...

I actually find it horrifying that aborted fetal tissue is being used to the extent that it is. I feel morally obligated to learn what future treatments are based on this, and will do my best to avoid using them for myself or family members for whom I am responsible.

I realize there are horrible diseases for which treatments might be found- currently I see that they are researching stuff for Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. Yes, it will be difficult to choose the course of suffering over accepting these potential future treatments. There are worse things though, like losing our humanity.

Accepting this would be like accepting treatments based on Mengele style research. If Nazi Germany still existed and their scientists were working on cures based on using Jewish organ "donations". Would anyone want to procure the treatments that resulted?

The BubFather said...

change number 2 to this....in order to save your 9 year old daughter, you have to kill your 12 year old brother to harvest his organs.....I don't see any difference. Who gets to decide to kill that 20 week old child and why? Isn't it still murder? I assume the 20 week old child had to be scraped from its mother's womb. What if some mom decided she needed the money and did the deed. Does that one become murder while others are still just aborted tissue bullshit?

PP lost many forever when that lab person told the other....(paraphrasing, but close)"hey, watch how cool this is...I can restart this dead baby's heart and then stop it," as if she had just pithed a frog in 8th grade biology.

Even as recently as five years ago, nobody would've thought that was ok. People knew that aborted babies went somewhere, they just never thought they went to a science lab to be used for further experiments. My guess is we'll learn that those livers, hearts, brains, lungs and other organs are being tested to see if they help cosmetics, food supplements, vitamins and aging creams. Oh which baby is that you're wearing my darling, it looks like the skin of an african american child.

Flame away folks

Bay Area Guy said...

Althouse should substitute "homeless person" for "intact 20-week-old aborted fetus" - it would make her little hypothetical more compelling and interesting.

Rusty said...

I find the first choice unrealistic so I refuse to enter the arena.

Shouting Thomas said...

Hypotheticals are Althouse's bullshit method of floating her Nazi ideals without taking responsibility for them.

Read Larry, the overt Nazi, to discover what is really said behind closed doors in Althouse's feminazi home. Larry is too stupid to know how to keep his mouth shut, how to filibuster and employ pettifoggery.

Laslo Spatula said...

If sucking Laslo's cock reduced young girls' chances of breast cancer by 30% would parents bring their daughters to Laslo?

40%?

70%?

Science.

I am Laslo.

Lyssa said...

I'd be interested to see a strict liberal, militantly pro-abortion but against the death penalty, answer the same question but substitute an executed prisoner.

FWIW, as someone both anti-abortion and against the death penalty (well, my position is more nuanced then that, but close enough), I do not think that my answers would change.

rhhardin said...

Coleridge wrote that moral riddles serve only to deaden the moral sense.

Rumpletweezer said...

It's a Sophie's Choice, but only one of the children involved is yours.

Sammy Finkelman said...

1. Your 9-year-old daughter has a disease that will kill her within a year unless she receives a treatment that requires the acquisition of an intact 20-week-old aborted fetus. Do you want her to have this treatment? Let's make it better. Actually there are other things that could be done that would work and an aborted fetus is not needed at all. Even if an aborted fetus was needed, doctors could obtain stillbirths if they decied to limit themselves to that, and they would have enough. But for legal and financial reasons, aborted fetuses is what all hospitals in your community use.

Do you take advantage of the treatment that is offered or not?

Bear in mind that the decision you make probably will not affect whether or not an abortion is done.

What about the questrion of whether the hospitals should be doing this at all/ bear in mind, it's mostly just to save money, although doctors may be somewhat reluctant to try the more untested ideas.

Another question: You daughter's life can be saved by a liver transplant. The only place you can realistically get it soon is in China. In China they will kill a political or criminal prisoner (you don't know which but if you ask they will tell you this person committed a horrible murder) if he or she is a match. In fact they postpone executing most death sentences, and, because they are looking for a match, most people sentenced to death actually don't get executed.

Do you take advantage of this treatment?

If you do, what about the quesiton of whether it should be made illegal fro americans to do this?

Vear in mind that, although someone, possibly innocent of any wrongdoing by any set of values will be killed, if this system is stopped maybe more people will be executed.

tim in vermont said...

Life begins when a mammal has a respiration rate greater than zero, and is oxygenating blood itself.


That's on definition people could use. So when a baby is born, if you put your hand over it's mouth and suffocate it before it takes it's first breath, that's A-OK?

I bet if you ran that 'definition' by the people of the world, the number of people who would agree with it would be hard to distinguish from zero. Since definitions of terms like "alive" depend on shared and agreed understandings, I would just say you are tolling.

chickelit said...

Thought experiments are interesting from the standpoint of replacing experiments which are not feasible. Let's translate Althouse's hypothetical into facts:

1. Your 9-year-old daughter had a disease that would have killed her within a year unless she had received a treatment that required the acquisition of an intact 20-week-old aborted fetus. Assume that the parent wanted the daughter to have the treatment.

Fact pattern 1: The child had the treatment and lived.

Fact pattern 2: The child died anyway.

Discuss

JAORE said...

Would Sophie's Choice have been such a compelling book/movie if her choice were her child and an unknown prisoner in another of the Death Camps?

Laslo Spatula said...

My guess is that anyone who answers 'No' will be thought of by Althouse as lying to themselves.

That seems to be the heart of many hypotheticals.

Maybe there is a hypothetical person Althouse would believe.

I could be wrong.

I am Laslo.

Sammy Finkelman said...

What if you suspect that the treatment actually doesn't work??

acm said...

I would want my daughter on a list of those awaiting transplants, just like if she needed a heart or lung transplant. I would hope that the baby whose tissue was donated died unavoidably and as peacefully as possible (again like any other transplant) but I would accept that I had no control over that.

The next two scenarios are unthinkable to me.

Sammy Finkelman said...

But it is still recognized and paid for by insurance.

Monkeyboy said...

Lyssa;
In Larry Niven's "Known Space" science fiction series quick and easy organ replacement keeps people alive for hundreds of years but there are never enough donations of healthy organs.

First the states decree that executed prisoners have to donate and then gradually people vote the death penalty for any crime.

In one story a man is executed for his third traffic violation.

JAORE said...

Ooops, Rumpletweezer, I didn't see your post before my Sophie's Choice question. Beat me to it.

tim in vermont said...

If you had an anatomy guide that was created using murdered Jews, would you, as a surgeon, use it?

That one is not so hypothetical.

MadisonMan said...

There is a service that connects pregnant women to those who need an intact 20-week-old aborted fetus to cure the disease described above.

The difficulty in this "service" is that I see women trying to make a living on selling aborted children.

What if a particular woman has a genetic makeup so her fetuses (feti?) are particularly good at producing whatever your 9-yo needs to survive. Should she continually get pregnant and abort for the good of 9-yo children everywhere? $20K/child is a powerful inducement. And it's legal!

I'd say No, No and No. Re #1: I don't want her to have the treatment, of course. I don't want her to be sick.

The BubFather said...

Sammy Finkelman said...
What if you suspect that the treatment actually doesn't work??

Worse yet, what if it didn't work? Would you feel any guilt for havng been responsible for the death of a baby? Nah.....it's just a blob of tissue which was going to be used to develop the latest new anti aging cream after all.

tim in vermont said...

What if you could get the SCOTUS to declare that hoboes where not "legal persons"?

Curious George said...

Substitute "30-something half Jewish gay male" for "intact 20-week-old aborted fetus". Now let's play.

mishu said...

A 1943 German hypothetical:

1. Your 9-year-old daughter has a disease that will kill her within a year unless she receives a treatment that requires the acquisition of a 20-year-old midget woman. Do you want her to have this treatment?

2. Dr. Mengele has a service that connects pregnant women to those who need an intact 20-year-old midget woman to cure the disease described above. People who know about midgets hiding in their village interact with those who need the treatment. Would you use this service to acquire the aborted fetus needed to save your 9-year-old daughter's life? (Assume this activity is completely legal.)

3. The service described in #2 is run through telegraph to connect those who want to interact and securely accomplishes the exchange of money. (Again, assume that this has likely been legalized.) Would you pay 20.000DM to acquire the midget woman needed to save your 9-year-old daughter's life?

tim in vermont said...

20K is real money to lots of people, BTW. Especially if repeated year after year.

Jane the Actuary said...

Re: "cures!", Slate had a piece on fetal tissue as a treatment for ALS. The trials involved, not using the tissue for study, but directly implanting the tissue of a mid- to late-term aborted child into an ALS patient. One fetus killed, one ALS patient saved. (Or maybe even more than one fetus would be required, for ongoing rather than one-time treatments.)

Some time ago, when the RU-486 chemical abortion pill came out, the pro-aborts were jubilant and said that the abortion debate would be defused because all abortions would happen so soon that everyone "in the middle" would be OK with it. Didn't happen. But can you imagine, if fetal tissue did prove to be a successful treatment for some dread disease, and the supply dried up?

rhhardin said...

There are organ donation chains set up today, to get organ matches among spouses of multiple people needing organs. X donates to Y, Z donates to B, C donates to D, and so forth.

The whole thing is to avoid paying any donors.

There's a non-performance complexity, where your spouse gets an organ and then you refuse to complete your half of the deal. So they do the transplants simultaneously. That gives a geographic complexity.

The source of the problem is that you can't pay donors.

sydney said...

It is never right to take another's life.

Unknown said...

When you say, "woman donating the tissue" are you talking about the baby? Are all of the aborted children female? How would they spend the money? I'm not sure I understand...

tim in vermont said...

I think we are bouncing the rubble on the thing where Jews were declared to be without legal rights, maybe we should make the hypothetical something like this:

What if the Supreme Court of the United States declared that your slave was without legal rights (as has happened) and for 20K you could sell him or her for their organs?

rhhardin said...

I think that oral sex reducing the risk of breast cancer in fact made it to the MSM, though it started as a hypothetical.

This is how cures are found.

Think outside the box.

Will said...

Well if I am going to consider killing a human being to save my daughter, why not take it to the logical conclusion? I am not going to settle for some random fetus when I can go murder a Nobel Prize winner or an Olympic athlete or some other optimized combination of health/brains/beauty.

Maybe a very clever law professor even.

Big Mike said...

I have to think about this one. Whew. You must be a pretty good professor. By Wisconsin standards, anyway.

Jane the Actuary said...

Here's a legal question: had modern medicine existed in 1860, would the laws regulating slavery have allowed slaves to be killed to use their organs for transplantation?

Sammy Finkelman said...

The fact of the matter is that there are all sorts of treatments and procedures that just aren't done, for what ethical ressons that most people maybe wouldn't even agree with (just think of paying for transplants or donations) and other things that aren't even researched, and things that are not done for reasons that really cannot be dexcribed as ethical ones ("unproven," need placebos for a study, person may not be around for follow-up treatment, conditions for hospice care, not re-imbursed by insurance)

In this case, the truth, I strongly suspect, is that the research they use the aborted fetuses for is almost 100% a scam, or unnecessary duplication of basic research, done only because it is paid for by somebody. Caused in large part by a 2004 California ballot referendum that provided a tremendous sum of money for embryonic stem cell research, which people already should have known could not lead to anything, but some people thought hey could get alot of money precisely because there was an apparent ethical issue on which they thought most people would come down on the other side of the Right-to-Life people, and so they could votes. (People would assume that actually this was useful)

And Hillary Clinton knows that, because she has hinted at it, saying the whole business should be investigated instead of Planned Parenthood.

Sammy Finkelman said...

and so they could get votes..

Freeman Hunt said...

I thought this had already been done in another form.

Your people are experiencing a famine and will be decimated unless you can appease the gods who control weather. A sage tells you that there is a ritual to appease these gods and that it requires cutting out the beating hearts of fifty people. A much weaker village nearby contains at least fifty people. Do you want this ritual to be performed?

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

Same as with all psychology experiments, a nearly irrebuttable presumption attaches that the researchers are testing for something that they keep secret from the test subjects.

Sammy Finkelman said...

@Jane the Actuary said...

No, the laws of slavery did not allow slaves to be (deliberately) killed or not fed.

It was a big point for southerners that they fed their slaves.

Renee said...

I'll play along. The woman can NOT be compensated & the abortion procedure can not be altered to get better a fetal specium for the nine year old.

The woman, not the nine year old is the patient you are treating.

Michael K said...

There is no such disease. Nice try Planned Parenthood.

CWJ said...

Althouse added -

"... a small commission, perhaps 10%, but the great part of the money ($20,000) goes to the woman donating the tissue."

OK. I'll bite. New hypothetical.

1. What if someone offered you $18,000 to abort your otherwise healthy baby, if it would save a 9yo's life?

And so on. This gets pretty ugly very fast.

Sammy Finkelman said...

Freeman Hunt: he Bible says one of the things the people the children =of issrael dispoessed was this thing (Moloch)

It was also part of the Roman case against Carthage, I think.

And teh Aztecs did this sort of thinbg too, and the Incas.

Common sense shoulf tell you this is wrong - and ineffective as well.

Saint Croix said...

Substitute "Jew" for "fetus."

Paul Zrimsek said...

Abortion should be safe, legal, and profitable.

Static Ping said...

Saint Croix: I was just about to post the same thing.

Michael K said...

To show how public morality has shifted in 40 years, I have a story in my last book about a couple whose daughter had leukemia and they could not find a suitable bone marrow donor for a transplant. The couple, in their 40s, decided to have another baby in hopes of getting a related donor that would save their daughter's life. This was considered morally very questionable and the press, probably the NY Times and certainly the LA Times, was horrified that parents would risk a baby and all the psychological damage that knowing she was conceived only as a bone marrow donor.

They had the baby and the daughter survived until the new baby was big enough to donate some marrow. The older daughter was cured by the transplant and the younger child, also a daughter grew up undisturbed by the gratitude of her sister.

Can anyone imagine what would happen now ? An abortion and fetal tissue use. Celebration of the "courage" of the mother. Obama medal of something awarded at the White House.

Jesuz Christ !

Livermoron said...

As I understand it, stem cells derived from fetuses have not proved to be very helpful in curing diseases or illnesses. Adult stem cells have been effective however.

Mary E. Glynn said...

(Remember people, you would ALL fail the test if you don't agree to play the question as it lies... ;-)

Laslo Spatula said...

Can infertile women sue this Uber-like company for discrimination?

I am Laslo.

Gahrie said...

Life begins when a mammal has a respiration rate greater than zero, and is oxygenating blood itself.

Prior to that it is called a fetus, and it is not alive.


A strange definition of life. So does that mean I'm dead if I stop breathing? The fact that the fetal heart and brain are fully functioning means nothing?

Most people accept the cessation of brainwaves as the definition of death. Why not use the beginning of brainwaves to mark the beginning of life? (answer: Because the fetal brain begins working around week 6.)

So by Coupe's definition, a fetus is not alive until after birth and may be killed. By my definition, the fetus is alive after week six and has the right to life.

Valentine Smith said...

FANDOR:

We let the feeble 9-year-old girl die or we let the OTHER guy the poor guy with a sick girl steal the 20 grand from the rich guy with the dough because he's bigger and badder than the first guy who can't defend himself because the moron never thought he'd need a gun and besides he believes in gun control and is willing to have his girl die for the principle of it all because he believes in peace and love and after all the secular saint Sanger would approve because obviously the girl is feeble if not in mind certainly in body and that goes for the fetus too so kill them both they're both motherfuckers anyway or in the fetus's case probably would have been and while we're at it let's kill the mother of the 9 year old cuz she brought this pain-in-the-ass kid into the world in the first place.

Fucking untermenschen.

DrSquid said...

Really, where did this bullshit topic come from? Is life inside the walls of the law school just a fun word game?

Ambrose said...

Interesting hypothetical, but from long experience with law professors I know the best approach is often to reject the premise of the hypo. Society should not make laws based on what an individual would do to save the life of his 9 year old daughter. In part, we need laws to protect society from what people would do to save the lives of their loved ones. If my 9 year old daughter were dying and the only way to save her life, for example, would be for another Chinese prisoner to be executed and some organ harvested and sold to us, well I might feel a little guilty, but ....

Michael K said...

" if she needed a heart or lung transplant. I would hope that the baby whose tissue was donated died unavoidably and as peacefully as possible (again like any other transplant) but I would accept that I had no control over that. "

Let's go to a real story instead of bullshit hypotheticals. Some years ago, after infant heart transplants were successful, Leonard Bailey, a surgeon at Loma Linda Medical School in Claiiforna did the first successful infant heart transplant. The story is there.

There was a proposal to allow the donation of anencephalic babies (A not uncommon birth defect in which the baby has no brain) to be resuscitated at birth (most are not) and used as donors of hearts. A huge outcry followed.

That was in the 1980s before the total ethical meltdown of the West and civilization.

Sammy Finkelman said...

Jane the Actuary said... 8/28/15, 8:59 AM

Re: "cures!", Slate had a piece on fetal tissue as a treatment for ALS. The trials involved, not using the tissue for study, but directly implanting the tissue of a mid- to late-term aborted child into an ALS patient. One fetus killed, one ALS patient saved. (Or maybe even more than one fetus would be required, for ongoing rather than one-time treatments.)

I don't believe it. It is foreign tissue, and should be rejected. That's the most important problem with embryonic stem cells. Adult stem cells, that come from the same person who is given them is something else.

If you checked it out, I suspect you would find it really didn't work - it's false publicity.

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2015/07/fetal_tissue_research_for_als_planned_parenthood_videos_leave_out_that_donations.html

I see the story is too recent - it hasn't had a chance to be proven false.

And look also at the exact words used:

(Scientists can also reprogram adult cells to act like embryonic stem cells, but these reprogrammed cells, while useful for research, have not been shown to be therapeutically safe.)

The key word is "shown"

I bet you that that adult stem cell research is far ahead of the fetal cell research (it has to be because the fetail cells shouldn't work at all for long) and fetal cells which have more reason to be suspected of being unsafe, because you have to use anti-rejection drugs.

This is comparing something totally untested (fetal cells) to something that's already been tested (adult stem cells) and saying the totally new things is either better or worth trying. You didn't catch that clever choice of words, I bet.

Remember , this whole fetal stem cell research campaign is dishonest, and only worls because pf the ethical issue involved, because many people will not agree with the position that if it worked, it shouldn't be used, so we never get to the issue of whether or not it is effective, or the best idea.

Don't pay attention to the word "shown." That's only because of the extremely high standards we have nowadays for proof. And also because there's no money for that.

There's money for basic research, but very little for moving something through the 'valley of death' for new treatments. I bet you you didn't know that. Phamaceutical companies are expected to pay for that, but the will only pay for something that they own the rights to, and that can be expected to make a profit

One result is that the cure for hepatitus C (84 pills) is set extremely high. It was set at a level that if an insurance company covered somebody for life, it would be cost effctive in the long run - but not otherwise.,

There is nothing unique in a fetus.

If you are looking for cells that produce some chemical, viruses can be engineered to do that. But there's no ethical issued involved, not really, and because there's no ethical dilemma, no money. It's the ethical conflict that gets them the money.

Saint Croix said...

You're not a person

But we sure want your organs for some reason

Saint Croix said...

For years I wondered how slave-owners could be so blind to the evils of slavery

We have defined these babies as property.

Now we're just haggling over the prices.

Sammy Finkelman said...

In the 1960s' bfore it as legalized, one of the big arguments Planned Parenthood had for abortion was birth defects. But birth defects were taken off the table and replaced by rape or incest. I uess it polls better.

CStanley said...

When I was a college freshman my Dad was battling a terminal illness. At one point I learned that a certain procedure had been recommended and he had declined it. I tearfully asked him to reconsider, saying something to the effect of, "But you might die if you don't have it done." To which he replied, "Honey, I'm going to die even if I do have it done."

All of which, of course is a bit different when dealing with a nine year old child. But I think most of us grow up and learn that death is inevitable and we have to make decisions without making prolongation of life as our only goal. It's natural that we lose sight of that when someone we love is suffering and perhaps dying- especially when it's a parent dealing with a child. We shouldn't allow that emotion to cloud moral judgment.

It's a bit ironic too- playing on the emotion of parents regarding their children's well-being in order to justify other parents killing their children.

Sammy Finkelman said...

Some time ago, when the RU-486 chemical abortion pill came out, the pro-aborts were jubilant and said that the abortion debate would be defused because all abortions would happen so soon that everyone "in the middle" would be OK with it.

How is that?

Didn't happen.

The only issue that might avoid is a third party doing it.

But can you imagine, if fetal tissue did prove to be a successful treatment for some dread disease, and the supply dried up?

But, you see, there really should be no such thing. Maybe if you stressed "successful" or "known"

But there is no reason to even imagine this to be necessary any more than you should think marijuabna is necessary for anything medical, even if it works. In a certain tme and place, maybe yes, but only because something else is wrong.


Annie said...

Substitute 20 week old fetus, with 'homosexual' or 'Downs syndrome' or 'black albinos'.

Would Althouse do it to save her son?

I think we know the answer to that so long as it's done in a 'sterile' environment. And the money should go to keep and supply the farming of the tissue samples.

Deirdre Mundy said...

No, I don't because a basic principle of ethics is that you can't do evil (encourage a woman to have an abortion, PAY a woman to have an abortion) so that good may come out of it.

The ends don't justify the means, I believe the means are evil, and I believe that there are worse things than death.

Birches said...

I reject the premise.

Jason said...

No.

It's sadly pathetic that the professor thinks these are at all difficult ethical questions. That shows how deranged libtard progressives are - they think that these clear examples of 'fruit of a forbidden tree' cases are dilemmas. No, they aren't dilemmas at all. Just illustrations.

This is Bush-league stuff, professor. Up your game!!!

Mel said...

No. No. and No. (And I have a 9 year old son.) It is wrong to take an innocent human life. See Commandment #6. To violate it for these questions is a violation of Commandment 1. The LORD is God. It is for him to save or not save my children. I believe He knit them together in my womb and that He cares more for them than I do. I believe that He works all things together for good. Some of those things are hard things. It is NOT for me to take another human life to save them from anything. And can we all please agree that if it has tissue that can SAVE my 9 year old's life, it must be human and for that tissue to grow, it must be alive?

CStanley said...

As for who gets the money, it doesn't matter to me. Either way (if the harvesters or the fetal host woman gets the money....or divides it in any fashion) there are people who are already known to have deficient ethical standards who would be given an incentive to take this action at my behest.

Matthew Sablan said...

"There is a service that connects pregnant women to those who need an intact 20-week-old aborted fetus to cure the disease described above."

The problem with moral hypothetical dilemmas is that reasonable people can come up with creative ways around it.

Wouldn't it be easier to just go to one of the places abortions happen and just get the fetus from there? I'm not anti-abortion and accept certain early abortions as a necessary compromise to a functioning society, though I think in an ideal world, we wouldn't need abortions [either because of 100% effective contraceptives or whatever.] I think, in this case, I don't know if I'd be able to square it as ethical. It seems shady, but I don't know what I'd do in the actual situation.

Stanley Smith said...

Congratulations, you've just hypothesized the Kobayashi Maru.

lgv said...


Blogger Bay Area Guy said...
Althouse should substitute "homeless person" for "intact 20-week-old aborted fetus" - it would make her little hypothetical more compelling and interesting.

it is not the same. You aren't deciding the fate of the homeless person. The decision to abort to abort the fetus is held by someone else. It will take place whether or not you use it save your child.

Sammy Finkelman said...

The problem with moral hypothetical dilemmas is that reasonable people can come up with creative ways around it.

And in the real world, you can find even more ways around it.

But, also in the real world, your choices may be limited in practice for reasons that shouldn't really exist.

pdug said...

No to all three.

BTW:

"All of the women surveyed who called themselves pro-choice agreed that “abortion is killing.” In that respect, the pro-life movement seems to have driven home the basic reality of abortion, even among pro-choicers.

A second surprise is that most of the women surveyed “believe that abortion is wrong, an evil, and that God will punish a woman who makes that choice.”

Third, “these women feel that God will ultimately forgive the woman, because He is a forgiving God, because the woman did not intend to get pregnant, and because a woman in such crisis has no real choice. The perception is that the woman’s whole life is at stake.”"

Xmas said...

If the child's parents wanted to produce their own fetus and abort it at 20 weeks to save the child, I'd have no problem with that.

I know that there have been parents who have had second children to produce live saving materials for the first child (as bone marrow or kidney donors). I don't think this is too far afield from that.

It's an ethical grey area, most certainly. And I'd prefer to keep it to the parents themselves (own fetus, own child) and not encourage it outside of that immediate relationship. (anonymous fetus, anonymous child).

pdug said...

New Hypothetical

My 80 year old grandmother requires tissue to cure her of a fatal disease from a fat man standing in front of a trolley.

If I shove him in front of the trolley I will also save the life of 3 out of 4 men in a lifeboat who are in the path of the trolley. But the 4th man who is not saved is a poor man who would go on to have had 15 children. The 3 men saved are all sterile.

AllenS said...

Go ahead, Althouse, answer your own three questions.

Jason said...

No. It's not an ethical "grey area." It only looks like one at first glance to sloppy, lazy and undisciplined thinkers. There are ethical grey areas, but this isn't one of them.

tom faranda said...

Why not word the question this way: Your nine year old needs cells from a newborn infant with Down's Syndrome."

Or better yet, from a 64 yo blogger (that would be me - and you).

MB said...

A problem I have with this is I know of no cases where fetal stem cells have done anything that the other stem cells have not done. In fact, what has come from fetal stem cells.

So, your hypothetical is like the hypothetical question "If frogs could fly, would they still bump their noses?"

Annie said...

What does a 20 week old fetus have that your neighbor or you or another child, does not?

Bob Boyd said...

Ok what if the only fetal tissue that would work was from black babies....

HoodlumDoodlum said...

If murdering someone you already don't like would increase the chance of your young child surviving by 20% and you believed you could get away with any murder, how many people would yo kill?

Jason said...

Very happy to see that almost everyone here immediately called BS on this transparent and weak rationalization of clearly unethical medicine.

If we do discover a reliably "gay" gene marker, it will be hilarious to watch the Professor run for cover.

Krumhorn said...

This one is pretty simple. I don't know what all the fuss is about.

My answer would be yes to 1, 2, or 3 or any combination of them.

If the question were to ask if I had the power to make it illegal to perform the acts described in 1, 2, and 3, my answer would also be yes....but not until my daughter got her cure, of course.

- Krumhorn

PS, beyond my unrelenting crush on Freeman Hunt in this blog, Lazlo gets a big sloppy bro hug if I ever see him in a bar. I laughed out loud and well at your first post, Jefe. Came out of nowhere.

Annie said...

I know that there have been parents who have had second children to produce live saving materials for the first child (as bone marrow or kidney donors). I don't think this is too far afield from that.

Bone marrow and a kidney are one thing. Death is quite a field away.

Deirdre Mundy said...

I mean, I suppose Althouse sees this as a difficult question because she thinks lives have a sliding scale of value....

So you can weigh lives on a balance and decide that the 9 YO is more valuable that the -20 week old, and simple math says that you should be able to kill the less valuable to save the more valuable.

This strikes me as a really dangerous proposition - Can we kill a retarded person to save a biomedical genuis? How about someone who's unemployed and playing video games to save an I-banker?

It seems like once you allow a 'sliding scale of value,' all sorts of people can be killed for any reason, just to increase the overall utility of the system.

Does Althouse not believe that "All lives matter?"

Deirdre Mundy said...

The other interesting thing is that, as a catechist, the sort of hypothetical she thinks is 'deep' is what we usually use as an absurd example. "For example, you obviously can't pay someone to kill their child so you can have the internal organs!"

I guess that says something about the cultural divide, that a question which is obvious to one side is "deep" to the other. Or perhaps it just says something about how rarely Althouse hangs out with bioethicists?


(Side note: To prove I'm not a robot, Google made me select all the images of Cabbage. But then wanted me to include Kholrabi and Brussel Sprouts in the 'Cabbage' category before it would let me pass. FAIL, Google. FAIL.)

Deirdre Mundy said...

Not a Trump voter. My plan for "Hillary vs. Trump" is move to Canada. Except that my husband helpfully points out that a librarian and a writer don't have enough points to get in. One of us would have to take training as an electrician or something to make it across the border.

CStanley said...

The hypothetical, to the extent that perhaps some people surprise themselves by answering "yes", only shows that people do desperate things when faced with the death of a loved one. Hard cases make bad ethics as well as bad law.

policraticus said...

It depends on if the fetus is naturally aborted or aborted deliberately.

A naturally still born, or a 20+ week miscarriage, wouldn't bother me any more than getting her a heart transplant from a cadaver donation. I would consider it morally required to accept and morally good to donate.

However, I would not be OK with accepting the donation of an aborted fetus any more than I would be OK with murdering a stranger to save my own life. Human life is not a means to an end. If science discovered that the spinal fluid of albinos cured cancer, or hell, imbued us all with immortality, it still wouldn't be justified to round them up and harvest them like cattle.

God forbid I ever have to put these principles to the test.

Sammy Finkelman said...

Deirdre Mundy said... 8/28/15, 10:19 AM Not a Trump voter. My plan for "Hillary vs. Trump" is move to Canada...

Maybe Hillary would be so disgraced that Michael Bloomberg would run as an independent.

WEBGriffin said...

I have been a lurker for many, many months and never posted. Until now -

Ethical dilemmas always breakdown when you personalize the issue.

Yes, Yes and Yes are my answers. Why? It is my daughter.

Counter Question:

Your daughter is dying of hunger. The only food you could possibly get is from a store and you do not have the means to buy or barter for the food.

Do you rob the store?

Would you commit a more serious crime in order to feed your daughter?

Ultimately, the question of survival of a loved one will trump all social norms. The cliché exists for a reason: I would kill for my family.

Levi Starks said...

Funny isn't it..
One day we talk about fetal stem cells, the next day fully intact 20 week old fetuses. One can only imagine what we'll be talking about tomorrow. And it's always those Republicans living in the last century standing in the way of progress. Come to think of I'll bet a lot of them are living the last miserable days of their life out in nursing homes, consuming valuable resources that could improve the lives of the young and vigorous who could really enjoy them.

Michael K said...

"It was set at a level that if an insurance company covered somebody for life, it would be cost effctive in the long run - but not otherwise."

The treatment for Hepatitis C is about 4 to 6 weeks with 98% cure. This is 2012 data. I couldn't find current results but I attended a course last month and it is 98% in 4 weeks.

Treatment with Boceprevir triple therapy increased SVR to 63-66% compared to 38% receiving PEG-IFN/RBV therapy.

SVR is "Sustained virologic response rates" It is now 98%. I think there are some other factors, like HIV.

jaydub said...

I would settle for abortion being safe, legal and rare, as was originally promised, rather than hypothosizing about some one-off scenario. Specifically, there have been an estimated 55 million abortions in the US since 1972; given those numbers one doesn't have to make up extreme outliers to make a point - you could find an aborted fetus in your hometown (regardless where that may be) at any time during the hours of 9 to 5 on any weekday. In Western Europe the abortion rate is 70% of that in the US, and abortions after 20 weeks are extremely rare. Even that would be a good starting point. BTW, anyone ever wondered about how much better off the social security system would be if there were 55 million more people contributing?

mikee said...

South Park combined the issue of fetal tissue use with Chris Reeve's paralyzation. Funny and topical. Completely insensitive to anyone's sense of decency. Offensively funny.

Ken B said...

This is lovely. Deftly skewering those who oppose abortion AND those who hate Uber!

Deirdre Mundy said...

Australia is also nearly impossible. Basically, emmigration is very, very difficult if you do it legally.

Your best bet is to move illegally, have a few babies, stay under the radar until the babies are in high school, and THEN try to get residency on the grounds that your kid would be traumatized.

Or be a legit refugee.

But, "My country's politics suck and I can't live with President X?" There is literally no one who will take you.

I guess you could start a "Sea Nation" on a ship somewhere. But again... capital....you need it to start your own extra-legal government, too!

Bryan C said...

Making dead babies to sell is and must be against the law. If someone feels they must break the law in order to save their child, then they should break the law and be prepared to plead your case or suffer the consequences. That's why we have the concept of justifiable homicide, instead of repealing all laws against murder.

Freeman Hunt said...

I bet the treatment with fully developed body parts would be less risky. So wouldn't it be easier to pick some other class of people, assign them non-person status (like we do to those who haven't been born yet,) and harvest their organs? We used to assign non-person status based on skin color, and the Nazis did it based on religious group. ISIS seems to assign this status to anyone who is not in ISIS. Who knew these groups were so forward-thinking. Just pick a group and a brave new world of medical treatment opportunities will open up (wide to devour you.)

n.n said...

Human life evolves from conception until a natural, accidental, or premeditated death.

The question is simply this: Would you sacrifice one life for the benefit of another?

Michael K said...

"The other option is to have $1 Mill and buy your way in....
----------

Did not know.
Wow -- you have looked into this...
:-)"

The Chinese have been putting "anchor babies" in Canada for years. A wealthy Hong Kong Chinese family (more recently mainland) have sent a child (almost always a son) to Canada and bought a condo. The son goes to college and stays, commuting home for family events. Prior to 1997, I knew Hong Kong Chinese who had current 1st class airline tickets to Canada just in case. The tickets were good for a year and the family kept rolling them over to keep them current. They would make reservations for one month and then keep canceling and moving them back.

Now, I understand, the mainlanders are doing the same thing in Australia.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Well, if you believe the fetus is just a clump of tissue, why should it be illegal to sell them. Imagine: "Your nine year old daughter can only be saved by the fingernail clippings of a particular person. Can you pay $20K to get those clippings?"

Most people wouldn't see this as a moral dilemma, because who cares what you do with fingernail clippings.

I think the divide comes because some of us see the unborn kid (right on the cusp of viable preemie, no less!) as "Tiny and irreplaceable human being" while others see her as "Medical waste like fingernail clippings."

I don't see how we can resolve this divide. Our starting principles are so different!

BDNYC said...

Yes to all that. Now what? Do you want my opinion on the wisdom of making such a commercial arrangement legal?

There are good reasons to forbid a profit from the organ market, but I feel conflicted. More people would donate kidneys and so on if there was money to be made. Obviously autonomous adults are different from unborn children, but the principle is similar. If the woman has authority over what to do with the unborn child, then why shouldn't she be able to donate the child's organs?

I know, this is all about Planned Parenthood. Whatever. I think Planned Parenthood is a government-subsidized leech and often seems like a eugenics organization, i.e., they are doing society a favor by facilitating the destruction of unwanted children who would be raised by poor, stupid mothers. And it seems they have a perverse incentive to encourage abortion and are willing to flout laws against organ trafficking to make money. It's awful.

But the Uber example is different. The app you are describing is merely connecting seller and buyer. Maybe the mother has terrible motivations and has turned herself into an organ farm. OK. So what?

C Stanley said...

Freeman- my thinking is even more macabre. Since prochoice ethics (such as they are) seems to be based on sentience, the fetal brain could be pithed in utero to produce harvestable neonates. Under the scheme that Professor Althouse proposes, if you really do take the full utilitarian view, what would be the problem? Everyone wins.

Oh Brave New World, indeed!

Ron Winkleheimer said...

today we talk about fetal stem cells, the next day fully intact 20 week old fetuses. One can only imagine what we'll be talking about tomorrow.

Babies with birth defects, so far:

http://utilitarianism.net/singer/by/1993----.htm

The analogy is useless for furthering the discussion. You might as well ask if you could save your nine year old daughter by slaughtering a one month old infant (not known to you) would you? Plenty of people would, but society frowns on exchanging one persons life for someone else when the someone else isn't a volunteer. Why that should be I cannot say, its almost as if most people have some sort of moral instinct. But don't worry, that is being educated out of them.

The debate is over whether an unborn baby is a person or not.

By the way, no I would not.

Deirdre Mundy said...

You know, this hypothetical is sort of a variant of the "Thomas More" problem.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9rjGTOA2NA

If you break the law (in this case, the moral law, killing an innocent to provide medical care for your child), where does it end? Once you let emotion decide rather than what is right, how can civilization stand?

In a sense, the whole abortion regime is about deciding with emotion. The mother "feels like her life will be over" if she allows the child to live. It doesn't matter that it's not empirically true, we allow the strength of her emotions to grant her permission to break the moral law.

When will we draw the line and say 'enough is enough?' Not at 'could survive as a preemie', since we already allow abortions up to the moment of birth. (And in Illinois, post-birth as long as the umbilical cord is still attached.) How long is it until we decide "up to a year'...in case the baby isn't working out?

Why not until adulthood, as in some ancient cultures? Keep them while they're cute and have promise, kill them when they're obvious slackers.

How far can we go?

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Deftly skewering those who oppose abortion

What, are you a college sophomore? No, it doesn't.

Cynicus said...

While you could save your daughters life, you surely could not save her soul from the guilt she would feel in knowing a baby was killed to give her life. Question 4, if You answered yes would you explain to your daughter how it is she came to still be alive?

Deirdre Mundy said...

Maybe this hypothetical is just a convoluted version of the question:

"Do you believe that death is the worst thing that can happen to a person?"

Coupe said...

Gahrie Said...So does that mean I'm dead if I stop breathing?

Most people accept the cessation of brainwaves as the definition of death. Why not use the beginning of brainwaves to mark the beginning of life?


You are not dead if you stop breathing. Death is when your brain dies. This is why CPR and Heart-Lung machines/Respirators can keep people alive.

The fact that a fetus has brain waves is a requirement for being born alive, instead of being stillborn. After exiting the BIRTH CANAL the baby has seconds to start breathing on its own, or brain death or damage occurs. Brain damage is quite common even today, as some infants that need it, are not born near a respirator when things go wrong.

A fetus is like a patient on a respirator. The umbilical cord is plugged into a machine that oxygenates the blood.

If your brain is healthy, you can be put on a life support machine and artificially fed for years. So, if your lungs die before your brain, and you have good insurance, you can be put on a gurney and left in a corner to rot.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Apparently there are portable ventilators now, so you can be on one and go home and go out places: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/vent/while!

That makes "On a Ventilator" look a lot less awful.

Fandor said...

Read/see the book/movie, "NEVER LET ME GO" by Kazuo Ishiguro.

Terry said...

1. Your 9-year-old daughter has a disease that will kill her within a year unless she receives a treatment that requires the acquisition of an intact 20-week-old aborted fetus. Do you want her to have this treatment?

This is a stupid game.
Why "20-week-old aborted fetus"? Why not the death of a 20 year old healthy person? Or a 20 year old man serving life in prison? Even in the days when abortion was illegal throughout the US, abortion did not carry the same penalty as murder.
I know, maybe a woman is carrying a set of twins and has to abort one to save the other!

Roughcoat said...

It is now known that the human brain is not fully formed until c. age 20-23.

Many are not "viable" outside the womb absent their parents' care and supervision.

That means teenagers are not fully formed human beings (no surprise there).

Let's kill teenagers for their spare parts!

Roy Jacobsen said...

"Prior to that it is called a fetus, and it is not alive."

Amazing that it grows, isn't it?

Actually, what is more amazing is your understanding of what life is.

Coupe said...

Deirdre Mundy said..."Do you believe that death is the worst thing that can happen to a person?"

When my brother died I was glad. He didn't have to suffer anymore. People don't realize what a bunch of quacks are running the hospitals today. They like to think they are doing something good, but once they start slicing you up, it's all a craps game.

Deirdre Mundy said...

You know, "Economic Health" is included under "Danger to the Mother's Health" for late term abortion, so that seems to justify post-natal teen abortion.

"Bobby is eating 4,000 calories a day and won't get a job or chip in! Our trip to Italy just went down that boy's gullet!" Abort away!

"Katie's latest accident tripled our insurance payments! I can't afford to drive at these rates!" Abort away!

"Little Jason just got into Harvard, but got no financial aid! We'll have to drain the IRA to pay his tuition!" Or, you could just abort him. It's not like he'll support you in his old age--you'll be too embarrassing after he gets that fancy education!

tim in vermont said...

No, the laws of slavery did not allow slaves to be (deliberately) killed or not fed.


You simply have to combine Dred Scott with Roe v Wade and you are there!

tim in vermont said...

Funny how the PC term for slave is "enslaved person" but in fact, they weren't "persons" before the law, were they?

Smilin' Jack said...

Anyone who doesn't answer "yes" to all three has no respect for human life.

furious_a said...

1....that requires the acquisition of an intact 20-week-old aborted fetus....

2....to acquire the aborted fetus needed...

3....would you pay $20,000


Not if the donor has been murdered in order to harvest their tissue.

blogstupidgirl said...

No on all three--even if the fetus were 20 minutes and not 20 weeks old. I'd do anything to save my child, except commit or participate in the deliberate taking of a human life. I would hope that my daughter would understood that she was once 20 minutes old and looked like a dot--and that you can't deliberately kill an innocent human being for any reason.

CarlF said...

A hypothetical about the use of University of Wisconsin woman law professor's dead body.

1. Your 9-year-old daughter has a disease that will kill her within a year unless she receives a treatment that requires the killing of a University of Wisconsin woman law professor. Do you want her to have this treatment?

2. There is a service that connects pregnant women to those who need a University of Wisconsin woman law professor's dead body to cure the disease described above. Women who are considering giving up their children for killing interact with those who need the treatment. Would you use this service to acquire a University of Wisconsin woman law professor's dead body needed to save your 9-year-old daughter's life? (Assume this activity is completely legal.)

3. The service described in #2 is an app like Uber that connects those who want to interact and securely accomplishes the exchange of money. (Again, assume that this has been fully legalized.) Would you pay $20,000 to acquire the body of a University of Wisconsin woman law professor needed to save your 9-year-old daughter's life?

n.n said...

There are people who do post-birth abortions with the same less than hypothetical scenarios. I guess the answer for sane people depends on two considerations: perspective (e.g. religion/morality) and leverage (e.g. immunity). For insane people, while the state of conscience dysfunction varies, the answer is invariably yes.

wenbrobar said...

Jane the Actuary said...
4. Your child needs a transplant. You've heard that the Chicoms can facilitate this, by speeding up an execution of a prisoner who was on death row anyway. (This is real.) Money is no object for you. Do you do it?
Jane the Actuary said...
Here's a legal question: had modern medicine existed in 1860, would the laws regulating slavery have allowed slaves to be killed to use their organs for transplantation?


When you decide to become God, and pick and choose who you want to die...Aborting a 20 week baby is murder. PERIOD!!!! It is not any different than this. The baby didn't WANT to die...they were murdered..AND... Why wait until 20 weeks??



Gahrie said...

Why wait until 20 weeks??

The organs and fetal tissue are worth more.

Coupe said...

wenbrobar said...Aborting a 20 week baby is murder. PERIOD!!!! It is not any different than this. The baby didn't WANT to die...they were murdered..AND... Why wait until 20 weeks??

If waiting 21 weeks means both the fetus and the mother die, and at 20 weeks the mother might survive, which one would you choose?

Option 2, you could let the mother die and put her on life support until the fetus is 26 weeks, which have a 90% survival rate.

At any rate, what does the Supreme Court say? Without any constitutional legislation by Congress we are left with the court to decide.

They have decided. Move along now...

tim in vermont said...

Anyone who doesn't answer "yes" to all three has no respect for human life. - Smiling Jack

So an unborn baby is not human?

furious_a said...

I never knew that the sacraments of Moloch-worship included hypotheticals.

On the plus side, according to Freakonomics, a steady stream of un-consenting tissue/organ feedstock originating disproportionately from African-Americans -- besides keeping little white girls (you that to be the case) of means (also) alive -- reduces the crime rate. Win-win.

And, yes, they try to control for simple correlation.

tim in vermont said...

It's amazing to me the lies people tell themselves to soothe their conscience.

furious_a said...

Economists favor selling organs.

Selling one's own organs is one thing, if not a little grim to contemplate being whittled down like a Christmas roast. Someone's else's, though, is another.

furious_a said...

Kermit Gosnell's biggest mistake was not timing the market right.

Birkel said...

HYPOTHETICAL:
Babies can be extracted from a woman and grown in a laboratory. Should the woman still be allowed to end her pregnancy?

Deirdre Mundy said...

It's kind of fascinating how much you can get people to agree to in the name of "abortion for all!"

It really is like a religion.

On the plus side, if we're now in a world where people who don't want children don't have them, and people who like to kill babies before birth DO.....

Natural selection dictates that in 100 years or so we'll be a society of baby-adoring, child-loving, reproductive powerhouses........Because we'll have eliminated the 'baby haters' from the gene pool......

I'm just ahead of my time.... And my grandkids will be living in a great world.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Birkel- as the law stands, yes.

Because we allow abortions up to "natural birth." Technically you could 'extract' that 34 week "fetus" and she might not even need to spend time in the NICU.

And that 26-week-old you can legally kill? 1 month in the NICU and no long-term problems.

And the number of couples who will happily adopt any kid under the age of 2? HUGE.

So... We're already there. In general, pro-choicers find it monstrous that a woman who wanted a dead baby might instead be forced to simply terminate parental rights and allow an adoption.

Because letting someone who carries her DNA walk the planet without her permission is a gross violation of her rights.

TestTube said...

This scenario, like almost all hypothetical scenarios, begs for the Kobayashi Maru exception. That is, there is always a way out that the scenario tries unsuccessfully to exclude. That is, to exclude any third choice, the scenario must be constrained so much that it no longer can be considered a reasonable model of reality.

Funny Joke related to the above:

A Marine Corps Base. The Officer of the Day is touring the guard posts. At one of the posts, he asks the Marine Guard "What would you do if you saw an enemy battleship approaching your post?" (The post is, of course, land locked, and the Officer is looking for the 9th general order "Call the Corporal of the Guard in any case not covered by instructions")

The Marine thinks for a minute and says "I would launch a torpedo and sink the battleship, sir"

"Where in h*** are you going to get a torpedo, Marine?"

"Same d*** place you got that battleship, sir!"

n.n said...

There is one other consideration for sane people: responses to a hypothetical are not predictive. A scientific approach would consider an observed pattern of relationships, and then form estimates with decreasing certainty inversely proportional to sample size, and directly proportional to time and space offsets from a known reference.

Laslo Spatula said...

This is dangerously close to the "Pounded in the Ass by an Ex-Convict" Hypothetical.

A Man with Knowledge of the Future says your one-week old daughter will die unless you agree to his terms, his terms being you being pounded in the Ass by an Ex-Convict for four full hours. Let's call the ex-convict, for the need of a name, Deep Thick Dan.

Deep Thick Dan has taken a Viagra, so he is primed and ready.

You say "Yes" I want my one-week old daughter to live, so: Pants down, on your knees and Deep Thick Dan starts banging your ass. Note that Deep Thick Dan is Angry At The System, so he has a LOT of aggression, which he is now taking out on your already bloody ass.

At the thirty-minute point it has already felt like an Eternity in Hell, and the Man with Knowledge of the Future tells you that the child is not in fact yours: your wife cheated on you, and conceived the child with someone else. By the way, she is probably going to leave you for this guy, so you might only see this child -- that is not yours -- on the occasional weekend.

You bite hard, and let Deep Thick Dan continue pounding: you have held this child, there is a bond.

At the forty-five minute point the Man with Knowledge of the Future tells you that your wife and her new boyfriend are watching your experience with Deep Thick Dan, and laughing.

At the one-hour mark the Man with Knowledge of the Future says a stranger with a gun will come in and kill Deep Thick Dan, right now, but the child will die.

It is so hard to think, with your ass being pummeled into ground hamburger, but you grit and bear it.

At the two hour mark the Man with Knowledge of the Future says the stranger with the gun will kill your wife and her lover, Deep Thick Dan will stop, and you'll get the baby, healthy and safe. Otherwise, two-more hours and the original deal applies.

What do you do?

I'm sorry if you've already read this scenario before.


I am Laslo.

furious_a said...

Natural selection dictates that in 100 years or so we'll be a society of baby-adoring, child-loving, reproductive powerhouses........Because we'll have eliminated the 'baby haters' from the gene pool......

"The Future belongs to those who show up for it." -- Mark Steyn.

Boxty said...

Your hypothetical are stupid because there is no known disease that can be cured by 20 week old fetuses.

Matt said...

"I'm sorry if you've already read this scenario before."

LOL

n.n said...

Professor, assuming that an absolute right cannot be determined or established, do you grade on consistency or on a curve (e.g. deferment, bias, prejudice)?

I think that I understand your argument for pro-choice in the case of human reproduction. You do not attempt to redefine termination of a human life, but rather reconcile the individual dignity of mother and child to conclude deferment to the former based on the special circumstances of human reproduction. This does not in your view change the act or outcome, but hopefully it mitigates the nature and scope of the hazards created. A resolution of the "wicked problem".

Is the hypothetical scenario you have constructed designed to test convictions or to topple fence-sitters?

Birkel said...

Deirdre Mindy:
Could a doctor participate, legally? If you answer yes because that is what happens, you are too easily dismissing the professional requirements of doctors. Doctors should be held to the standards of their profession.

Lawyers too.

David said...

You give three options based upon an a priori assumption. The assumption is that it is merely tissue. But doesn't this beg the question? Would you agree that the primary question in any discussion always needs to be addressed before going to secondary or tertiary questions? Often answering primary questions make secondary and tertiary questions moot.

The primary question is whether the unborn is a human being or not. Answering this question answers many others and makes others moot. So, is the unborn a human being, why or why not?

MadisonMan said...

Your hypothetical are stupid because there is no known disease that can be cured by 20 week old fetuses.

Perhaps you should visit dictionary.com to view the definition of hypothetical.

Diamondhead said...

I just want to note that pro-choice folks will never respond to a hypothetical posed by a pro-lifer. They won't even listen to or read the entire hypothetical.

Big Mike said...

This should be an easy one for me because (1) I support legal abortion, (2) I know that when my kids were nine years old I'd have driven over Mother Teresa with a Mack truck if needed to save their lives, (3) I strongly support scientific research, including stem cell research, and (4) I am aware that twenty weeks is too early for a fetus to survive outside the womb. It's down to twenty-two weeks now, but that's pretty iffy.

And yet.

It's tough for me because the hypothetical comes across to me as paying someone to kill her baby so that mine can live. (Okay, maybe not yet a baby, but soon.) That feels wrong to me. It just does. I think in the end I'd do it, because it's my child and because I can always ease my conscience with the thought that the woman's fetus was probably going to be aborted anyone. Probably. I wouldn't sleep well at night, and I don't want to know anyone who could.

Deirdre Mundy said...

I think it might be in part genetic, especially now, as people have more choices. I mean, 100 years ago, societal pressure was all on the side of "Have Kids!" Now, the bulk of the momentum seems to be on the side of "Avoid kids. Or have one, at most, if you must." So, in the absence of societal pressure, and in the presence of easy birth control, maybe genetics steps in?

I mean, it's not if people make a rational decision to have kids--it seems to be based on inclination. And we're discovering more and more of our 'inclinations' are actually genetic.....

I mean, if transexuality or homosexuality are genetic, why not fecundity?

Deirdre Mundy said...

Recessive genes explain how straight parents can have gay kids, especially since historically, even gays were encouraged to suck it up and have an heir.

Roughcoat said...


Like if suddenly, only redheads started reproducing. We'd have more redheads.

Now you're talkin.

eric said...

What if, under #3, you could choose the parents?

For example, what if you said, "I'd do it, but only if you could find me minority parents with a 20 week old fetus"??

Would that be ok?

Deirdre Mundy said...

I guess another question is "Would it be LEGAL to pay the mom for giving you her dead baby?"

I mean, if you're not selling the baby, if you're just...giving her a donation/gift to cover the expenses of gestating and abortion......

Wouldn't that be legal? Immoral, yes, but illegal?

And since a lot of Americans seem to be legal positivists these days (i.e. something is OK because it is permitted by law, it is wrong if it is illegal)...

Then they wouldn't see anything wrong with that, right?

The question is really-- where do right and wrong come from? Can something be techinically legal (making a gift to a woman who allows you to use her child's corpse), yet also morally wrong?

Christians and Jews would say "Of course, because you can live in a country with evil laws!"

But what if you don't accept their ideas of 'good and evil"

How does an areligious person develop their idea of morality?

n.n said...

Deirdre Mundy:

A religion/moral philosophy can be developed through a reconciliation of individual dignity, intrinsic value, and natural imperatives. If the philosopher is God, then there is an absolute truth. If the philosopher has a more restricted perspective, then there is a relative truth.

OGWiseman said...

Yes to all three of those questions. It's not an easy answer, because even though I don't think abortion is murder, I don't think it's a good idea to induce women to have abortions. However, abortion is a traumatic enough experience for the mother that I think the inducement factor is limited. I'd like to make a rule that a woman could only sell one fetus in this way during her lifetime, but even if I can't add rules, saving the lives of 9-year-olds is a powerful thing.

I do think that a LOT of the people in this thread who claim they wouldn't do this would change their minds if their child's life were literally at stake. Most people's principles fall by the wayside when they're protecting their family.

furious_a said...

You have to respect -- you've created a whole 'nother person. And they might, or might now, be a duplicate of you.

Duly noted. Steyn was talking about demographics in Europe, Muslim immigration and fertility vis-a-vis native Europeans not even sustaining replacement rates, which is a more extreme case than Red-v-Blue here.

CWJ said...

This is very late, but it just occured to me. Even granting Althouse her hypothetical #1, this is not how these things play out it real life. What I suppose would actually happen is something like this:

"Mr. CWJ, your daughter has BlahBlah's disease. It's fatal if untreated, but there are options. We've found that with a donor (heart, liver, tissue, whatever) treatment "X" results in a complete cure. We'll put your daughter on the list immediately."

Before the fact, why would the donor's details come up at all? Unless I shout, "Wait a minute, I want to know who this donor might be," why would the "fetal" aspect of this come up at all. The ethical question needs to be answered by the medical community long before it gets to me.

People should examine hypotheticals, not naively respond to them.

chillblaine said...

What's the disease? Is it contagious? Is the treatment guaranteed to work? Are there other forms of treatment? This hypothetical disease doesn't exist, and the hypothetical life-saving treatment doesn't exist, and the argument is a straw argument appealing to emotion.

I would respect you more, Althouse, if you just asserted a woman's dominion over her body. At least that is an intellectually honest starting point.

gina said...

Abortion should be illegal after 12 weeks so a 20 week aborted fetus won't exist.

Jason said...

The other interesting thing is that, as a catechist, the sort of hypothetical she thinks is 'deep' is what we usually use as an absurd example.

Precisely.

The law professor apparently skipped 2,000 years of ethics in her education somehow.

heyboom said...

Absolutely not. There is no way this doesn't develop into a for profit motive for both the mothers and the abortion mills. It's practically at that point right now. I would hope for some adult stem cell treatment or similar and hope for the best for my daughter.

Father of three beautiful girls.

Lydia said...

It's the Peter Singer effect -- he's put the shine of academic patina on discussion of such things. The way Hoche and Binding did during Weimar with their Allowing the Destruction of Life Unworthy of Living.

Sammy Finkelman said...

SF:

"It was set at a level that if an insurance company covered somebody for life, it would be cost effctive in the long run - but not otherwise."

Michael K said... 8/28/15, 10:25 AM

The treatment for Hepatitis C is about 4 to 6 weeks with 98% cure. This is 2012 data. I couldn't find current results but I attended a course last month and it is 98% in 4 weeks.

Treatment with Boceprevir triple therapy increased SVR to 63-66% compared to 38% receiving PEG-IFN/RBV therapy.


I didn't know there ws anything else besides the near 100% cure. it seems these otehr ones have been around since 2011, and a few more may come to compete in the future 9as soon as they can get FDA approval) and rive the price down.

http://www.everydayhealth.com/news/pros-cons-new-hepatitis-treatments-patients/

Why is it only 98% Re-infectioon maybe? Compromised immune system?

What if the course of treatment was only for 4 weeks? What would be the rate thene? Is there any reason to worry about resistance?

(not giving antibiotics in infections, like they used to, has prbably been responsible for a lot of deaths. They are trying to get the recommendations for stomach infections in babies changed. Someone says the guidelines are not bad, just old. No, they are bad and are bad the day they were written in 1983. We now should know that antibiotic resistance comes from giving antibiotics to farm animals

SVR is "Sustained virologic response rates" It is now 98%. I think there are some other factors, like HIV.

It sounds like it should be called "Sustained virologic non-response rates." It's NOT detecting virus particles.


Basil said...

This is Megele's argument. Do you really want to support this? If a single life is not worth anything, then it's just statistics and economics. Do you want people to be like the Borg?

Ann Althouse said...

My reason for creating this hypothetical was to test those who support the use of at least some fetal parts. You're not in that group if you say no to question 1, which is the filter.

It question 1 prompts you to say yes, then does 2 or 3 make you back down? If so, do you reconsider the yes on #1?

If you stick with yes to the end, that takes some nerve, especially if you recognize the incentive to cause abortions that would otherwise not take place.

I didn't have an answer in mind for myself other than the abstract sense of how motivating it would be to have a dying 9 year old child.

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