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December 31, 2007

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how much less likely to be reported are abortions which kill the most likely person to report?

Fetuses report crimes against them? How? Is there good cell phone reception in the uterus? Do you also think that infants are the most likely people to report child abuse against themselves or are you of the view that fetuses have special powers that allow them to talk until they are born?

Ok, now that the snark is out of the way...If I understand correctly, we're talking about ostensibly legal abortions being performed for minor birth defects or no birth defects and no maternal risk at all. Since these are at least presumably legal procedures, they won't be being performed in back allies or even, given the complexity of a 3rd trimester abortion, in offices, but in hospitals. Where huge numbers of people can get access to the information. Why have no OB residents, nurses, u/s techs, receptionists, aides, or janitors reported the presumably numerous abortions for minor birth defects? Surely some of them are pro-life and horrified by the operation. Don't bother citing HIPPA or other confidentiality regulations: if a celebrity goes into the hospital for any reason, you can read all about it down to the results of his prostate exam in the National Inquirer within hours. That many people simply can't keep a secret. Especially when some of them probably feel that they have a moral obligation to blow the whistle. Even if we assume (HAH) that the hospital personnel are completely discrete and would never betray a patient confidence, why has no husband, boyfriend, spiritual advisor, neighbor, parent, coworker, etc of the patient ever tell the world? A 6 month pregnancy is hard to hide and at least some of the patient's confidants probably already knew that the fetus was basically healthy. And none of them, ever, reported her and/or her doctor to the police? I find it hard to believe.

"Fetuses report crimes against them? How? Is there good cell phone reception in the uterus? Do you also think that infants are the most likely people to report child abuse against themselves or are you of the view that fetuses have special powers that allow them to talk until they are born?"

It is funny that you can be snarky while exactly making my point. I’m well aware of how reports of pre-verbal children go through the system. As it happens, in my legal education I worked in the dependency section of the public defender’s office as a child advocate. I can tell you right now that reports of infant abuse typically take place in one of two ways: first a positive drug test at birth which triggers an investigation or second the mother brings the baby in to the hospital for an injury and the investigation starts from there. Neither of these methods are very likely in a not-strictly-necessary abortion.

Reports come in to child services all the time, but unless they are from someone who already has children in the system it is very unlikely to have anything come of it.

I don’t know anything more about this case than this report, but if true it would make a rather ugly and probably elective 32 week gestation abortion in Australia.

http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/column_be_sad_for_jessicas_lost_life/

"And none of them, ever, reported her and/or her doctor to the police? I find it hard to believe."

Sure they have, and we've even seen some of the cases. But how would you investigate? States like Texas just require a verification signature from the aborting doctor. It would be like asking the guard if prisoners ever get beaten.

It is funny that you can be snarky while exactly making my point

Hey, you're the one that said that a fetus was the most likely person to report an abortion, not me. I was being snarky because it was perfectly obvious what you meant, but what you said came out sounding strange.

I can tell you right now that reports of infant abuse typically take place in one of two ways: first a positive drug test at birth which triggers an investigation or second the mother brings the baby in to the hospital for an injury and the investigation starts from there.

And who makes the reports of suspected abuse after an injury? The doctors and nurses who treat the child. It is left up to their discretion whether to report an injury or consider it a typical injury of childhood. (Kids do injure themselves fairly frequently.) If hospitals are full of rabid baby-killing people, how do these reports get made?

But how would you investigate? States like Texas just require a verification signature from the aborting doctor.

Reports from nurses, suspicious patterns of verification signature use, anonymous complaints, that sort of thing. All getting a prescription for enough narcotics to keep the average user happy for months requires is a signature from a doctor. Unexpectedly enough, some doctors abuse that privilege and become, effectively, recreational drug dealers. According to your argument, we should never see them get caught because everyone else would be covering for them. Yet the DEA catches a number of these pushers every year. How do the doctors who abuse their privileges with approving abortion avoid getting caught in the same way?

I don’t know anything more about this case than this report, but if true it would make a rather ugly and probably elective 32 week gestation abortion in Australia.

http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/commen

I couldn't find the report you mention. It doesn't seem to be in the first 3 pages of the blog. However, I do note that the author of the blog is a global warming denialist and apologist for racism, so I'm not sure I'd take what he writes at face value anyway.

Yes.

Crimes are often underreported. Things that aren't crimes and which aren't likely to be reported by the fetus don't strike me as likely to be well reported. If marital rapes are underreported by women who survive them--and all signs point to the fact that they are--how much less likely to be reported are abortions which kill the most likely person to report?

Others have touched on this, but I'll put it more succinctly. If you were comparing apples and oranges, at least you'd be in the same general category. You, however, are comparing apples to Jar Jar Binks, and apparently, consider that legitimate. That's you're comparing fairly common crimes to third trimester abortions--which even anti-choice claim acknowledge are rare--shows how weak your argument is.

SH's link above as a link.

ACHLAN de Crespigny has at last outed himself as the doctor who killed baby Jessica. Yet even after seven years he doesn’t seem to understand quite what he did.

"It was de Crespigny, an obstetrician and associate professor, who told a mother from a very different culture that the child she was carrying could be a dwarf.

The woman was deeply superstitious and, it seems, not mentally strong. She believed giving birth to a dwarf would bring her terrible luck and was so distraught that she threatened suicide if the girl was not aborted.

But the girl, later named Jessica, was already 32 weeks old in the womb, and healthy. She could have been born alive and adopted out."

etc.

Sloppy quoting above, oh well.

I suppose from a pro-lifer's point of view it would have been altogether better if the pregnant woman had been denied an abortion and had committed suicide.

Controversial abortion case that brought a doctor years of anguish for an actual news article about it rather than an angry pro-lifer column.

I have to admit, when I think about how on earth you would - as Andrew Bolt blithely advocates - force a woman who is suicidally distraught to give birth against her will, I can't imagine how the hell anyone with any ounce of human feeling could bring themselves to do it. Have security guards drag her to the maternity ward, then chain her to the bed?

hairshirthedonist: We know what it means to be pregnant. Why not simply talk about that?

I suppose because so many pro-lifers discuss pregnancy as if they don't know what it means to be pregnant. Which would explain why they keep coming up with analogies that compare a woman's body to some non-living thing, like a ship or a house.

"Hey, you're the one that said that a fetus was the most likely person to report an abortion, not me. I was being snarky because it was perfectly obvious what you meant, but what you said came out sounding strange."

What a great reason to be snarky.

But what I meant is exactly that. A fetus is the most likely person to report an elective abortion--which is to say that no one is likely to report it.

Incertus, "That's you're comparing fairly common crimes to third trimester abortions--which even anti-choice claim acknowledge are rare--shows how weak your argument is."

Rape is commonly underreported even *by the person who was injured*. You are asking me to be shocked that the reasons for late term abortions are not underreported *by the people doing them*. The analogy there would be to be shocked by the fact that rape is underreported *by the rapist*.

If a woman gets a late term abortion for reasons that many people would be unhappy with, I'm completely unshocked to find that the woman doesn't report, that the fetus doesn't report it, and that the professionals involved in the procedure don't report it. And the 'conspiracy' need go no further than that. I'm not suggesting that NARAL knowingly is orchestrating things. I'm saying that two or three people can do something bad and not talk about it again. It used to happen all the time with frat-boy rapes, and the woman wouldn't come forward so know one else would know. Since the fetus isn't likely to come forward...

"I have to admit, when I think about how on earth you would - as Andrew Bolt blithely advocates - force a woman who is suicidally distraught to give birth against her will, I can't imagine how the hell anyone with any ounce of human feeling could bring themselves to do it."

Using the method of abortion described, and at 32 weeks, there was going to be a delivery one way or another. The only question is live or dead.

Using the method of abortion described, and at 32 weeks, there was going to be a delivery one way or another.

Well, not if the woman committed suicide. No delivery then.

The only question is live or dead.

The only question is: will a doctor order security guards to drag a suicidally distraught woman to the maternity ward and chain her to the bed so that she could not resist induced delivery? If the answer to that is yes, you can have a live delivery.

If you won't do that, the only other option would be to agree to perform the abortion.

The abortion was essentially the same procedure as a birth, but with the added initial step of killing the fetus. The baby didn't just vanish from the woman right after the doctor killed it. It still had to be delivered.

The difference between the two situations, however, was that the solution that Andrew Bolt advocated - forced childbirth - would have required multiple hospital staff to force a suicidally distraught woman to give birth against her will while preventing her from killing herself. You do keep trying to avoid that issue, Sebastian: why is that? Are you not willing to face the consequences?

Was she unsedated during the abortion? Seems unlikely.

Was she unsedated during the abortion? Seems unlikely.

What relevance does this have? Again: what Andrew Bolt advocated was forcing the woman to give birth when she was so unwilling to do so that the doctors involved considered it likely she would kill herself. If you want to force her to give birth under those circumstances, the unpleasant consequences of that decision are that you must order security guards to take her to the maternity ward and chain her to the bed, or otherwise prevent her from killing herself or resisting inducing labor. Those consequences are far more unpleasant for the woman than for you, assuming you are the person who takes responsibility for so forcing her.

Are you willing to take those consequences? Yes, no, another evasion?

"or otherwise prevent her from killing herself"

We do this with suicidal people *all the time*.

We do this with suicidal people *all the time*.

Again with the evasion! You really don't like thinking clearly about this, do you? Pangs of conscience?

1. The woman wants to kill herself rather than go through childbirth.
2. You want to force her through childbirth.

This is not something that people do "all the time". (Perhaps it's something that pro-lifers who would kidnap pregnant woman and hold them prisoner until they give birth would do all the time. But no one else would.)


The woman has a healthy 32 week gestated fetus/baby.

She is told that the child as it grows up might have dwarfism, which is not immediately life threatening (I understand that they have shorter lifespans but measured well into decades).

She freaks out about that and becomes (for the sake of argument) genuinely suicidal (though it is possible that she hates the idea of having a dwarf so much that she is going to make it seem that way to get an abortion--what, that would be irrational? So is aborting a child after 32 weeks for dwarfism).

At 32 weeks she is going to have to go through a delivery. That is not in question. The only question is whether the child will be delivered dead or alive.

She can't avoid a delivery. She is going to be having a delivery one way or another.

What should you do? Go through the delivery, alive. Treat her for serious suicidal tendencies afterwards.

We treat people (very often involuntarily) for suicidal tendencies *all the time*.

"Perhaps it's something that pro-lifers who would kidnap pregnant woman and hold them prisoner until they give birth would do all the time. But no one else would."

This has NOTHING to do with the situation we are talking about. Either way she can have a delivery RIGHT AWAY. She won't have to go through any more time with a child in her womb than she would have with an abortion. With or with out an abortion, she can have a delivery now.

Sebastian: What should you do? Go through the delivery, alive.

There is a curious absence of personal pronouns from that second sentence. (I noticed this on another recent pro-life/pro-choice debate, too: pro-lifers tend to avoid pronouns in these discussions, because using the correct pronouns would acknowledge directly that they are talking about forcing someone else, and pro-lifers never like to talk about that.)

It's very late where I am, and you have been consistently evasive throughout the discussion: it really doesn't seem worthwhile continuing in an attempt to get you to actually be explicit and truthful in a pro-life debate, just for once.

In the interview with the doctor he does not mention that he gave a wrong diagnosis (which caused the distress) and he doesn't seem to care at all that he was responsible for the death of a perfectly healthy and viable fetus/baby. I wonder what learning that did for the mentally unstable mother.

If the onborn child is in a life threatening situation, the doctor usually orders an emergency-ceasarian. If she doesn't want to go through labour or wants to kill herself during that would seem the proper procedure, but rather not.

In Dutch law a fetus should be treated as a born person as from viability if that is in the intrest of the fetus. To answer your earlier question; children are entitels to child support as from the first Quarter after their birth, not from day of birth or day of viability.

We've actually made some English FAQ's about some of the social issue's we get lots of questions about from foreigners. In the extensive one about abortion you'll read about "Article 82a of the Criminal Code:
"Taking a person's life or the life of an infant at birth or shortly afterwards" includes the destruction of a
fetus which might reasonably be presumed capable of surviving independently of the mother."

Because of that clause it was the person performing the abortion who was seen as responsible and who would be prosecuted. End of last year, for the first time, they charged a woman who went to Spain for a late term abortion. Charge is probabely murder/childslaughter - most attention is now for the fact that she is criminally accused at all (Dutch link). They can only prosecute her if the abortion was illegal in Spain *and* in the Netherlands which will be hard to prove.

According het boyfriend (the father of the child) she was more than 27 weeks pregnant with a healthy baby and had told him that she had a stillbirth in hospital. He alerted the police when he discovered she'd been to Ginemedex in Spain.

(part 2 - typepad thought I was Gary)

Ginemedex is the controversial clinic that performs late abortions. I've linked to cases before, I ought to bookmark them because searching for them is hard; I usually read news in Dutch. But there is for instance the case of the British MP who accompagnied a woman there to abort a healthy 32 week fetus/baby.

In 2004 a journalist from the Telegraph allready wrote about the easy way to get a late abortion in Ginemedex, but she focussed mainly on the role of the Britisch charity referring people to the clinic. An investigation was ordered "to investigate the British Pregnancy Advisory Service over its role in helping hundreds of women obtain illegal late abortions in Spain" but found that the referring was not illegal. AFAIK It didn't dispute the numbers of referrals though.

In 2006 the Danish television had a documentary with video's about how they didn't have a problem with aborting healty third trimester fetusses.

Last month they raided the clinic, maybe we'll get more information soon.

Now I'm off to bed, it's an hour later here than where Jes is.

Was she unsedated during the abortion?

Sedating someone and performing a surgical procedure for which they did not consent is illegal and unethical. Are you seriously suggesting that doctors should have the right to perform any procedure they want on a patient once he or she is sedated as long as they think that it is necessary?

"Sedating someone and performing a surgical procedure for which they did not consent is illegal and unethical. Are you seriously suggesting that doctors should have the right to perform any procedure they want on a patient once he or she is sedated as long as they think that it is necessary?"

Anything at all? No. But you are forgetting to be specific.

She has to go through delivery abortion or no abortion.

Do you disagree with that statement?

If she is going to have to go through a delivery, there is no reason why should be able to insist on the delivery of a dead baby instead of a live one.

In the interview with the doctor he does not mention that he gave a wrong diagnosis (which caused the distress)

Was Doctor de Crespigny responsible for the diagnosis? The Age news article doesn't mention either who diagnosed the fetal dwarfism, or if the diagnosis turned out to be correct or mistaken.

and he doesn't seem to care at all that he was responsible for the death of a perfectly healthy and viable fetus/baby.

And neither you nor Sebastian seem to care at all that his choices were death of a perfectly healthy and viable woman with the fetus for which the two of you show such concern - or death of the fetus.

I wonder what learning that did for the mentally unstable mother

If true. Andrew Bolt claims one of the nurses attending said she thought the diagnosis was wrong: the Age news article doesn't mention it at all.

But certainly the hospital should never have called a news conference. What a disgusting and irresponsible thing for them to do, to discuss any patient's tragic situation in such a public way, still less with a patient who was mentally unstable.

If the unborn child is in a life threatening situation, the doctor usually orders an emergency-ceasarian.

Forcing someone to undergo a serious operation against their will is not something that's usually done in my country. Yours?

According het boyfriend (the father of the child) she was more than 27 weeks pregnant with a healthy baby and had told him that she had a stillbirth in hospital. He alerted the police when he discovered she'd been to Ginemedex in Spain.

Good grief. What a horrible man. On the list of "101 Ways To Get Dumped By Your Partner" "informing the police because you think she's had an illegal abortion" has to be one of the slimiest.

An investigation was ordered "to investigate the British Pregnancy Advisory Service over its role in helping hundreds of women obtain illegal late abortions in Spain" but found that the referring was not illegal. AFAIK It didn't dispute the numbers of referrals though.

Did it say over how many years the numbers added up?

In the UK, doctors have - understandably - refused to perform abortions past the 20-week time limit, for fear of what doing so will do to their jobs, without any concern for the health or well-being of their patients. (There was an infanticide a couple of years ago in the UK: a young woman who was denied an abortion at 20 weeks, who went home, concealed her pregnancy from everyone, gave birth in her bedroom in her parents house, and wrapped the newborn infant in the soiled sheets from her bed and put it in a cupboard where at some point it died.) As Dr de Crespigny says:

Professor de Crespigny says: "What's really worried me is that the messages from this case have been buried, and very deliberately buried, and that means that the harm just continues. Doctors have to put their own wellbeing before that of the patient, and that's a shocking situation. That should be the last thing that happens but it has to happen here because no one knows the law and doctors have a right to protect themselves as well. But the patient is the loser. That's unacceptable."

"And neither you nor Sebastian seem to care at all that his choices were death of a perfectly healthy and viable woman with the fetus for which the two of you show such concern - or death of the fetus."

For someone who accuses me of avoiding direct confrontation of the facts, you seem to be avoiding a rather obvious option that doesn't involve the death of either of the parties.

Dutchmarbel,

I am not so much concerned with "official" personhood as our individual concepts of it.

It says something about *what it means to be a person* when we extend that to any given group. That is the harm I'm concerned about---the reason I would be morally wrong to choose to think of fetuses as people.

If I did that I would be crippling the power I have---which is already a very difficult and troubling power---to recognize that others have rights deriving from their individual and personal experience, entirely separate from what I might believe about them. That this is what they have *before* and *more importantly than* rights granted by some official process of a culture.

In this world, our greatest task is to love others---to see beauty into them with our eyes, to be humbled and to make ourselves humble before what is there. But we also cannot fall into the trap of thinking that because we must offer devotion to the sacredness of others' consciousness, that we are the *source* of that sacredness, of their autonomy and their beauty and their existence and their rights.

What honor do we do to a person's internal experience---to the profound and terrible truth that they see the world as we do but in a different light, trapped in a different flesh in a different place in a different life than our own---if we're willing to separate a pregnant woman into two parts and treat the unconscious potential growing in her womb as qualitatively equivalent to the woman battered and enriched by years of life, capable (o great wonder!) of seeing the world in a manner that is her own? And what honor *can* we do to that experience if we use this choice of ours---to see her into parts---as an excuse to ever elevate the interests of the new life our imagination projects into her womb over the interests of the person whose actions can speak for themselves?

This answer isn't just given to us---what we must grapple with in this debate *isn't* some abstract and definite nature of the fetus. What we must grapple with is the implications of *our choice* to see something there or not to see something there. What does that choice allow us to do for the world? When is that choice courage and when is it cowardice?

For courage, look you, is love for the objects of experience as they are, but cowardice is love for willful ignorance---for the objects we perceive.

And I think this ties back to Mr. Holsclaw's question a long time ago about the toughness of abortion.

The moral landscape is different when you're the person acting. The pro-choice position is centered in the idea that choices *are* tough, and we must honor that difficulty as much by being aware and thoughtful in our own lives as by respecting the human dignity of others. If abortion weren't a tough choice---choosing between two vastly different worlds---then nobody would bother being pro-choice. We'd just make a seatbelt law, as a society, and move on.

Rebecca

With or with out an abortion, she can have a delivery now.

Isn't that simply false? Inducing substantially early delivery without medical justification sounds to me like something that no responsible doctor would do; the potential for significant medical repurcussions is too great. (While 32 weeks is a very survivable level of prematurity, it's my understanding that you would still expect associated medical problems.)

This is nitpicking -- your argument is about the same if you say "She can have an abortion that will be very much like a delivery now, or a live birth in eight weeks, and the difference between the two is insignificant" -- but it was bothering me.

"Inducing substantially early delivery without medical justification sounds to me like something that no responsible doctor would do; the potential for significant medical repurcussions is too great."

Significant medical repurcussions for the mother or the baby? It will certainly have significant repurcussions for the baby, but better than being killed.

Significant medical repurcussions for the mother? Not significantly *different* because the next step after the abortion will be induction of labor to deliver the dead fetus.

Significant medical repurcussions for the mother? Not significantly *different* because the next step after the abortion will be induction of labor to deliver the dead fetus.

You don't see any "significant difference" in the woman wanting to die or wanting to live?

Is there anything you would rather die than do, Sebastian? Can you try to imagine what it would be like to choose death over that action, and to be in the hands of people with power to force you to commit the action you would rather die than do - unless you can manage to commit suicide before they force you?

For someone who accuses me of avoiding direct confrontation of the facts, you seem to be avoiding a rather obvious option that doesn't involve the death of either of the parties.

I outlined that "rather obvious option" two or three times on this thread already: the first occasion on which I outlined it was here.

It will certainly have significant repurcussions for the baby, but better than being killed.

Okay, we're talking about what the mother's actual options are here, right? I do not believe that there is any substantial number of doctors who would perform a surgical operation likely to injure one of the patients involved without medical justification. If the intent is a live delivery, a live delivery highly likely to cause injury to the baby born by that means would be malpractice.

You can believe that under the highly unlikely circumstance described, the doctors involved should weigh the possible injury from an artificially premature delivery against the alternative of abortion, and accept the likelihood of injury as the lesser of two evils. But in practice, they're not going to, and saying that artificially early delivery actually is an available alternative to abortion is not true.

It really doesn't have a whole lot of effect on the force of your argument, but you're still insisting on a falsehood.

Wanting to die (being suicidal) under the care of a doctor is not the same as actually *being dead*. You keep talking as if her actual death was inevitable or even likely. Suicidal people find themselves involuntarily under the care of doctors all the time. They get treated, and for the most part they don't actually kill themselves. And sometimes suicidal people kill themselves even if their alleged trigger never occurs. None of that is any reason to kill another human being.

She has to go through the physical consequences of having labor because of the abortion anyway. Medically her body is going to have to do that whether the baby is born alive or dead. So we aren't forcing her to go through a physical process that she can avoid. And mentally she can be treated after the delivery--just like suicidal people are all the time.

"You can believe that under the highly unlikely circumstance described, the doctors involved should weigh the possible injury from an artificially premature delivery against the alternative of abortion, and accept the likelihood of injury as the lesser of two evils. But in practice, they're not going to, and saying that artificially early delivery actually is an available alternative to abortion is not true."

What are you talking about? Doctors make decisions like that in an ER all the time. Cutting 'here' has a serious risk of death, but not cutting makes it a certainty. That is a normal medical problem.

"I do not believe that there is any substantial number of doctors who would perform a surgical operation likely to injure one of the patients involved without medical justification."

And you are confusing the argument when you fail to identify which patient you are talking about. Are you talking about the mother or child in this sentence? The mother is having induced labor in either scenario. So you can't be talking about her. But if you are talking about the baby, it reduces to the extremely common scenario of taking high-risk action *for the baby* rather than take an action which is certain to kill it.

Be clear. You are talking about killing a baby rather than taking normal medical risks with normal medical procedures (induced labor) that are done in hospitals on a routine basis and this particular procedure is going to be done to the mother anyway.

Wanting to die (being suicidal) under the care of a doctor is not the same as actually *being dead*.

Successfully committing suicide, however, is actually being dead. If she's still pregnant, death for both herself and for her fetus.

She has to go through the physical consequences of having labor because of the abortion anyway.

You keep repeating that as if you really don't understand that she convinced several doctors that she would rather die than give birth. The doctors were medically trained and actually examined her: you weren't there, and you're not. Why do you consider your opinion of more weight than theirs?

Be clear. You are talking about killing a baby

No, Sebastian. No one is talking about killing a baby. What is being discussed is the abortion of a 32-week fetus. Be clear!

Sebastian, an artificially early delivery is only safer for the baby if the alternative actually under consideration is the woman's unhindered ability to choose to abort. If you support the woman having that unhindered ability, I don't know what you're arguing about. Under circumstances where the woman doesn't have that unhindered ability, then a doctor is not weighing the options "Should I perform an artificially early delivery likely to injure the baby born by that means, or allow the fetus to be aborted?" The doctor is weighing the options "Should I perform an artificially early delivery likely to injure the baby born by that means, or do nothing, allowing the pregnancy to proceed to a normal delivery." At which point it's obviously malpractice.

Artificially early delivery is only medically reasonable, in your framework, if abortion is a genuinely available alternative. Once abortion is not available, artificially early delivery is unambiguously malpractice. You can't argue that artificially early delivery is, or would be under any circumstances using our current medical technology, an available alternative that justifies the unavailability of late-term abortion because it is not true.

As I keep saying, this isn't a major part of your argument. It's just annoying me because it is patently false.

Jesurgislac: "Successfully committing suicide, however, is actually being dead. If she's still pregnant, death for both herself and for her fetus."

She is already in the hospital. She is already going through a medical procedure involving delivery.

"No, Sebastian. No one is talking about killing a baby. What is being discussed is the abortion of a 32-week fetus. Be clear!"

Nope, at that age it can live outside the womb. It is a baby.

Lizardbreath: “Artificially early delivery is only medically reasonable, in your framework, if abortion is a genuinely available alternative. Once abortion is not available, artificially early delivery is unambiguously malpractice. You can't argue that artificially early delivery is, or would be under any circumstances using our current medical technology, an available alternative that justifies the unavailability of late-term abortion because it is not true.”
What kind of logic is this? You are arguing that if abortion is not available, the doctor must then abort. How do you pull off that trick? Or are you seriously offering the ‘let her kill herself’ option?
All of the available choices are: 1) do nothing, let the mother kill herself and the baby. 2) Kill the baby, the mother goes through induced labor to get rid of the body, she goes in for treatment for suicidal tendencies. 3) Don’t kill the baby, the mother goes through induced labor to get it out of her body, she goes in for treatment for suicidal tendencies. 4) Hold her until she has the baby.
Option 4 seems to give lots of time for her to figure out how to kill herself, which doesn’t seem ideal. Furthermore, it is likely that you can treat her suicidal tendencies better (with different drugs and dosages for example) if she is no longer pregnant. So that doesn’t seem ideal.
I think we can all agree that Option 1 isn’t ideal. So the doctors won’t choose 1 or 4.
In terms of physical outcomes on the mother’s body, 2 and 3 are pretty much the same for the mother—induced labor in either case. In either case she clearly needs serious mental help right away. So for the mother’s health the doctors have little to choose from between 2 and 3.
In terms of outcomes for the baby—2 and 3 are obviously very different. Under 2, it is certainly killed. Under 3 it most probably lives a healthy life. In terms of the baby’s health 3 is clearly better.
I can clearly argue that among those 4 options, number 3 is the best. If you think there are other options, please present them.

I don't understand why you can't understand this, Sebastian. You're arguing for a legal regime in which the mental health of the woman is not a justification for late term abortion, right? (If I've misunderstood that, and you think danger to the mental health of the mother should be sufficient to allow a late term abortion, I don't know what you're arguing about.)

So the legal alternatives are: (A) The mental health of the woman is a justification for late term abortion. The woman and her doctors decide on the appropriate course of action, and this argument doesn't happen -- in the case under consideration, the system worked appropriately. (B) The mental health of the woman is not a justification for late term abortion. In this regime, doctors making medical decisions are not considering late term abortion as an available alternative for a woman like the one in this case because it isn't an available alternative. They know that there will be no legal abortion because it is not a legally available option. Under this legal regime, the one I understand you to advocate, the alternatives that a doctor is actually considering are artificially inducing early delivery, or not artificially inducing early delivery. Abortion is not an available third alternative. And of the two available alternatives under this legal regime, artificially inducing early delivery would clearly be medical malpractice due to the potential for injury to the baby born through that artificial induction.

You can't set up abortion and artificially induced early delivery as alternatives which a doctor would be weighing for their medical outcomes if the doctor knows that abortion is not actually a possible outcome.

Commiting suicide isn't just a mental health problem, it actually causes physical death.

You are trying to set up a catch-22 situation where the only options are “allow the abortion” or “let the woman kill herself and the baby”. I don’t see any logical reason to abstract into just those options when a perfectly good option could be “don’t allow the abortion, have the delivery she wants except with a live baby, and treat the woman for suicidal tendencies”.

This baby is physically healthy

This mother is physically healthy.

This mother clearly has deep seated problems that are going to need treatment no matter what happens next.

Her killing herself despite mental treatment is not a certainty. Her avoiding killing herself if she gets an abortion is likewise not a certainty especially if she was seriously disturbed enough to actually kill herself over not getting the abortion even when the baby isn’t in her body anymore.

Suicidal people feel lots of things in the moment that won’t lead to suicide if you get them through the moment. That is why we have involuntary commitment. It happens hundreds of times a day all across the US.

Aborting the baby means a near certainty of its death. Delivering the baby now (at 8 months) offers a very normal chance of a very normal life.

Pretending that isn’t one of the options is pure excluded middle argumentation.

Delivering the baby now (at 8 months)

Seven, actually. 8 would be 36 weeks.

You are trying to set up a catch-22 situation where the only options are “allow the abortion” or “let the woman kill herself and the baby”.

No. You are advocating for a legal regime in which the woman's desire to die rather than give birth is not a consideration that justifies the availability of abortion. (I've said this a couple of times. While I believe it to be an accurate statement of your beliefs, if I've got it wrong do straighten me out -- it means that we're arguing at cross-purposes.) That's great. You can advocate for that, given that that's what you believe in.

But once you set up that legal regime, the doctors making medical decisions on behalf of the woman and her probable future child (assuming that a live birth occurs) are not going to be making those medical decisions with the understanding that one of the options is abortion, because it won't be one of the options. Right?

The medical options will be (1) end the pregnancy through artificial early delivery with a substantial chance of injury to the child born through that delivery, or (2) allow the pregnancy to progress to a natural delivery. Given that the health benefits of artificial early delivery to the woman are dubious (that is, she's distressed by the prospect of giving birth, not by the date on which the delivery is likely to take place), and the risk of injury to the future child is objectively measurable, the obstetrician that would have to induce early labor or do a c-section would be actively injuring one of their patients without medical justification. That's malpractice.

Your argument depends on the existence of an actual situation in which the available options were (1) abortion, (2) artificially induced early delivery, or (3) no action, allowing the pregancy to progress to a natural delivery. While generally I hate arguments of the form "Answer my questions or I won't talk to you anymore," and apologize that I'm being obnoxious in a similar way here, I'd really like to know from you whether I'm wrong about that. Do you believe your argument for the medical justifiability of artificially induced early delivery makes sense in a legal regime where late term abortion is not available in order to preserve the mental health of the mother, and if so, how does it work? (2)

As Jesus-loving, homo-hating, condom-condemning, pro-life, pro-war, supporter of all that George W. Bush has done to cultivate a culture of life, I applaud subversive sneak attack on the baby killing industrial complex.

If we are to continue to fight these evil Islamo-fascists in Iraq (& elsewhere!) for the next 50 years we need to do some serious multiplying. I think we should give all adoptive parents vouchers for Christian-Military school/orphanages where rescued babies will be taught to love Jesus and kill for Christ's sake.

Onward!
J.S.

I'm sorry but I can't read all the comments right now, so in case someone has just made the following remark just delete my comment. I guess you're a man, Publius. I would be very surprised to find out your masculine name hides a feminine identity. You say that being a new parent has shown you depths of affection etc. etc. True. A father's experience can be as deep as a mother. But it's diverse. Carrying a fetus, which at some point will going to be a baby, and will always be your baby even if you give it in adoption, is something that a man can't experience. For the good and for the bad things, of course. For the sense of rejection of an alien mass invading your own body, and for the exciting sense of carrying your beloved child. So, whereas I agree with you that adoption is a beautiful gesture, I remind you that there are many unwanted children already born, and that a mother who had to give her daughter in open adoption- and considers her daughter's adoptive parents part of an extended family, has commented (on one of Juno's many reviews I have recently read) that she would not wish this experience to her worst enemy. And this is a happy case.

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