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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Deirdre Mundy said...

Hmmm...

In the case of your 9 YO-- could you pay a woman to GET pregnant with the promise that she'd deliver the baby and give you the body at 20 weeks?

I mean if surrogacy that delivers a live baby is legal, why not surrogacy that delivers a dead baby? What's the difference, assuming late term abortion is legal?

I'm not sure how you argue against that, if you're OK with both surrogacy and the use of fetal parts in research....

(An aside. To prove I was human, Google just made me declare an Avocado an egg. WTF, Google? Only humans can lie?)

Rob said...

If it is legal, I am going to do it even though I don't support the legality. Somebody else will take the babies life so why don't I save my daughter?

If you are asking me if this is how the system should be set up, I would oppose and my daughter would die and I could still sleep at night.

This may be a thought worthy for a pre-16 AA, I don't know.

The Cracker Emcee said...

The correct response to hypotheticals like this is (and I'm surprised Laslo didn't beat me to it), "Is masturbation the same as intercourse?".

Sayyid said...

Interesting. As a generally utilitarian and pro-life (but squishy on the pro-life, since it comes into tension with the "utilitarian" part) sort of guy, your moral intuitions on that are pretty much the opposite of mine.

I would want any fetus used in such a life-saving procedure to be one that would not otherwise have been conceived but for the $20k payment. Lab-grown would be even better. Why? Because that way it's not interfering with the decisions of people on the fence, who could raise happy children with marginal inconvenience but might be inclined to change their minds for a payment.

On the other hand, taking an otherwise-not-conceived fetus's parts would have zero effect on total utility - life is created where there otherwise would not have been, and snuffed out before it can feel anything.

If that makes me sound like a monster, compare the moral calculus to breeding animals for testing. It doesn't seem quite so foreign now, does it?

Unknown said...

YES !!! but let's limit abortions to ONLY cases like these. OK,. you can have rape and incest cases also. I can live with that. (as would the 10's of millions humans killed since Roe v Wade)

Rhythm and Balls said...

And the lack of important issues for the Republican campaign to focus on asserts itself. Bravo again!

Deirdre Mundy said...

Sayyid-- Yes, treating a human life as equivalent to an animal life makes you seem monstrous.

Though, I'm not sure I can come up with an argument not grounded in religion why it's wrong to do so.

I mean, if someone actually believes man is no different from any other animal, then he'd have to accept your idea, right?

Rhythm and Balls said...

Deirdre, can you please save some of my sperm? Some of these little people are about to be disposed of one way or another.

Also, my girlfriend will probably menstruate again in a few weeks. We'd really appreciate it if you could find a way to incubate all that tissue. Think of all the lives you'd be saving, as little as they are! The littler the better, when it comes to precious life!

Thanks Deirdre, you're a peach! Your humanity is the bestest kind, as it sees people in the tiniest of places and things.

Somewhere out there, there are 46 chromosomes waiting for their humanity and personhood to be saved and recognized! You can do it, Deirdre! You're our gal!

SAVE THE SPERMS!!! DON'T BE AN ANIMAL! SAVE THEM!

Rhythm and Balls said...

Though, I'm not sure I can come up with an argument not grounded in religion why it's wrong to do so.

That's ok. No arguments necessary. Mere dogma will do.

Lol. I said "dogma... do". Heh. Heh.

Lady, instead of talking about the "monstrosity" of debasing human life by equating it with an animal's, why don't we elevate our own humanity by treating animals better? Win-win.

Not sure how the theological dictators and dogmatists would view that one, but I'm sure they'll come around to the present cutting-edge of ethical progress, in a few hundred years or so.

It's important to go slow on these things. And to trust arbitrary authority. Dogma over reason!

chickelit said...

The Cracker EmCee wrote: The correct response to hypotheticals like this is (and I'm surprised Laslo didn't beat me to it), "Is masturbation the same as intercourse?".

That would be "sexual intracourse."

Theranter said...

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

Agree, however she is wrong.

Been essentially there 2x--once for my 9 y.o. Son, then much later for myself.

Son was a clinical trial for a new cure, I said no if human embryonic stem cells were involved at any point in the development of the experimental drug. There is nothing--short of taking another life, that I would not do for my children. (But I would give up my life for them.)
Same for myself and Cancer--a new drug that would "melt the tumor away" was proposed. I gave same response.

Jim S. said...

My mother was adamantly pro-choice and had Parkinson's. Once we were talking about stem cell research and its potential to cure her disease. I said, "Imagine you could completely cure Parkinson's, and all it required is that you put a six month old baby's brain in a blender and then inject it into your blood stream. The six month old would be unwanted, maybe retarded, so it probably wouldn't have a good life if it was allowed to live. Would you do it?" She was absolutely horrified at the idea. I told her that her reaction was the same reaction pro-lifers have to destroying (killing) fetuses for medical research. I'm pretty sure I didn't change her mind, but God bless her, my mom thought it was a point worth reflecting on. She was an amazing woman.

Anyway, I had a similar reaction at question 1, and questions 2 and 3 did not change anything for me.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Good grief, R&B-- Talk about straw men.

Sperm and eggs aren't human. They're only 1/2 the genetic code. They won't develop into babies on their own.

And my question about people who think we're no better than animals is---

So, if you don't believe in a soul, don't believe humanity has a specific purpose..... then who cares what we do? Do you lay awake at nights wondering what ants might or might not be doing, or if raccoons are taking more than their fair share or destroying ecosystems? If we're equal to the animals, who cares if we execute people or kill people or use prisoners for scientific experimentation? We'd be just following our instincts, doing what animals do.

If we're just animals, there's no morals, no right or wrong. Just what we can get away with, and what we feel like doing.

So we can put babies in blenders, no problem.

I mean, why not? If there's no some transcendent idea of right and wrong? Other animals eat their excess young!

stan said...

Your father needs a heart transplant. Very few people are a match. Do you favor killing one of the few people who have a matching heart in order to save your father?

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