Sunday Links

Sunday, October 10th, 2010

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88 Responses to “Sunday Links”

  1. #1 |  Aaron | 

    Under the agreement signed by the couple and the surrogate, this would mean that the parents were not legally responsible for raising the child.

    In this situation, that’s all that needs be said.

    Of course, the article says that the surrogate did end up aborting, so this is all a bit irrelevant.

  2. #2 |  Bob | 

    I’m with Aaron. Bam, case closed.

    I have absolutely no problem with abortion. For any reason. I don’t consider the fetus to be sentient life, as as such, does not warrant legal protection of any kind outside of it’s value to the parents.

    The only time I would have a problem is when someone is FORCED to either abort or not abort by the state.

  3. #3 |  Bob | 

    Total = 10,440.

    Heh.

    Did anyone else check the math? I checked the math.

  4. #4 |  Sydney Carton | 

    Abortion is murder. And its evil reveals itself in the widespread eugenic movement to destroy any child afflicted with Downs Syndrome. As anyone who has interacted with a person with Downs Syndrome knows, people with it are still human and still have their dignity. And they are among the happiest people on the face of the Earth.

    But because narcissism and nihilism have overtaken the culture, mass-murder of the genetically unfit is now the unspoken rule of the day.

  5. #5 |  Bob | 

    Sydney;

    Really.

    Riddle me this: If abortion is murder, why isn’t birth control murder. Why isn’t abstaining from sex murder. Every human female is born with approximately 500 eggs under development. You kill a potential human just as dead by abstaining from sex as you do aborting the fetus after sex.

    Would then, not the highest moral position be to medically extract those eggs and bring as many to term as scientifically possible?

  6. #6 |  croaker | 

    Every sperm is sacred
    Every sperm is great
    If a sperm is wasted
    God gets quite irate!

  7. #7 |  scott | 

    The abortion debate is an occasionally interesting intellectual exercise until the day the doctor looks up from the ultrasound screen and advises you and your wife that “You still have three weeks left to terminate this pregnancy”. It turns out that sometimes when theory meets practice things get a little complicated.

    Radley’s right. That story is a mess and I wouldn’t wish to be in either party’s shoes.

  8. #8 |  KBCraig | 

    Bob = biology fail

    An egg is not “under development”. It’s just an egg until it’s fertilized.

  9. #9 |  Bob | 

    #8 | KBCraig | October 10th, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    Bob = biology fail

    An egg is not “under development”. It’s just an egg until it’s fertilized.

    Oh, so they’re all just cruising the Fallopian tubes looking for action? Or are they sitting in the Ovaries “Under development” waiting for the final step?

    The POINT was that all 500 of them were already there. I think you’d be surprised how many people don’t know that.

    Human life isn’t CREATED by the reproductive process. It’s just continued by it.

  10. #10 |  RWW | 

    The tone of that surrogate story is disgustingly typical.

    Under the agreement signed by the couple and the surrogate, this would mean that the parents were not legally responsible for raising the child. But the situation sparked a new debate over the potential need for government intervention and oversight in contracts between parents and the women who carry their children.

    In other words, here’s a problem that is addressed perfectly well by a voluntary contract, but let’s use it as an excuse to meddle with people’s lives (at the point of a gun) anyway.

    Many ethicists feel strongly that the surrogate-parent relationship is too delicate to have contract law applied to it, saying that in such cases, the child becomes a product rather than a person.

    First, what’s an ethicist? Is that a full-time job? Or is it just a broad term for people who make a habit of agonizing over matters in which they have no legitimate place? Secondly, people who object to the idea that children can be thought of as a kind of property, on the grounds that this leads to abuse, invariably and paradoxically advocate alternative views that are, in practice, much more dangerous to children.

    In the end, the surrogate decided to have an abortion anyway, but this is an ethical dilemma that courts and legislators need to address…

    Again, despite the fact that the free choices of individuals have solved the “dilemma,” but don’t let that get in the way of bullying people around with new laws.

    These are clearly tough questions, ones that don’t have easy answers.

    No, what they don’t have are universal answers. But rest assured that the statists will choose some arbitrary answer to apply to everyone at gunpoint.

  11. #11 |  RWW | 

    On another note, it amazes me how confident the majority of people on each side of the abortion question feel about their positions. To believe that abortion is murder so strongly as to advocate violence against those who engage in it, or, on the other hand, to believe that abortion is not murder so strongly as to be willing to participate in it — these are both positions beyond my understanding.

  12. #12 |  ms1170 | 

    The article about Liu Xiaobo getting the Nobel peace prize, mentions nothing about his wife being missing. Not sure what your reading Radley.

  13. #13 |  matt | 

    shorter RWW

    Aborting a clump of cells = killing a doctor

  14. #14 |  croaker | 

    Re: China

    We seem to do a lot of business with these thugs in the hope that they become less thug-life and willing to join the civilized world. Unfortunately, the thugs have learned that they can have their cake and eat it too.

    Is it going to take the Papal Nuncio gunned down in cold blood by a Chinese police thug to get the rest of the world to pay attention?

  15. #15 |  Pinandpuller | 

    I wonder how much those green boots will fetch in a thousand years?

  16. #16 |  Bill | 

    I don’t care what others do, but if there is a God I don’t want to have to face him or her with innocent blood on my hands. To participate in an abortion is morally wrong and always evil.

  17. #17 |  chuchundra | 

    There are just some situations that are not enforceable by contract. There are certain rights you just can not sign away. In this particular case, you can’t sign away someone else’s rights. The right of a child to be supported by its parents can not be signed away by someone else.

    Quite frankly, if you’re hiring a woman to be be a surrogate, you’re betting that she’ll live up to the agreement and that nothing goes wrong because if something goes pear-shaped, the surrogate mom holds all the cards.

  18. #18 |  Radley Balko | 

    The article about Liu Xiaobo getting the Nobel peace prize, mentions nothing about his wife being missing. Not sure what your reading Radley.

    Here’s the sub-head:

    Reaction ‘predictable and stupid’ says head of writers group as fears grow for laureate’s missing wife

  19. #19 |  Cappy | 

    Sydney Carton,

    By definition, “murder” is the unlawful killing of a human being. So we have a couple of things to look at.

    1. Courts have determined that a fetus is not a human being (or person).

    2. Since a fetus is not considered a human being (or person) then the allegation of murder via abortion is a moot point.

    3. Even if the courts determined a fetus was a human being (or person), the states have legalized abortion which makes abortion not murder, but homicide. It would be the same as capital punishment. It’s not murder, but homicide.

  20. #20 |  Matt I. | 

    ‘Left for Dead’ is a great book by Beck Weathers, a climber who was left on the mountain to die because others thought he was too frozen to be saved, yet someone managed to struggle down the mountain on his own the next day.

  21. #21 |  Matt I. | 

    *somehow

  22. #22 |  joev | 

    In other news, Hugo Chavez approves of China crackdown

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/canadianpress/article/ALeqM5gcmGVWzJTPE3adoud3_QTwSitdnw?docId=4801440

  23. #23 |  joev | 

    Completely off topic, but if Croaker reads this, is your handle an homage to THE Croaker of The Black Company?

  24. #24 |  PeeDub | 

    I don’t understand how anyone can have any moral belief other than what I have. And if you do, you are evil and or stupid. I am also allowed to act contrary to your moral beliefs in order to counteract your ability to counteract mine. Also, all situations have the same answer.

  25. #25 |  Mattocracy | 

    PeeDub is absolutely correct. Shame on all of you for not agreeing with us, whatever it is that we feel so strongly about.

  26. #26 |  freedomfan | 

    I am not getting into the “abortion should / should not be legal” issue. It’s usually a great opportunity for each side to expose how poorly it actually understands the opposition’s argument, but today I will pass.

    In the context of the practice’s current legal status, I see no need for the state to jump in with new laws to regulate the contract terms for surrogacy. In this case, the contract specified the obligations of both parties in this circumstance and both parties agreed to it. Done. This case may change what contracts people are willing to sign in the future, and how specific those contracts are, and that’s how it should be. If the people in this case aren’t happy with the outcome, that sometimes happens and the evolution of these agreements will be informed by this example. But, the idea that a crowd of self-righteous, windbag politicians should use their expertise on “ethics” to force everyone into the same agreement is paternalistic and arrogant. The attitude that politicians will come up with a better “fix” than private individuals is (as RWW has noted) disgustingly typical.

  27. #27 |  Mattocracy | 

    From the dead baby story…

    “This is, arguably, a reason for greater government oversight, simply because most parents and surrogates don’t imagine that something like this could happen.”

    Oh yes, because legislating morality has never ever fucked any thing up or pissed off half the population. Jesus, I couldn’t imagine having to tell parents you have to have a fucked up kid or tell defend the position of aborting unwanted people. Just stay the fuck out of it and let these people make up their own minds.

  28. #28 |  croaker | 

    @23 Yup. And those of you who are thumbing down 14, you fail your Tom Clancy test.

  29. #29 |  Gavin | 

    Shame on all of you for thumbing down #4. He’s making a point, he believes in it, and for that you thumb him down? What he’s saying isn’t stupid, it isn’t trolling, it’s just what a lot of folks disagree with.

    I’m particularly upset by the answers. Some people have answered him saying that the law doesn’t hold it’s murder, which is of course true. But I imagine that commenter isn’t as concerned about the courts as his conscience and ours. I’ll take him at his word.

    When debating, answering, or responding to folks who think abortion is wrong, just remember: these people really believe that the foetus is human, as much as you and me. Imagine for a moment there was a dread disease, otherwise incurable, that could only be treated by grinding up your youngest child to save you. How would you answer that? This is how pro-life advocate considers medically necessary abortions.

    I disagree with a lot of folks in this message board, and I downthumb posts all the time. But I will not downthumb someone who politely, even if forcefully disagrees with me. I’m going to save that for people who are obviously dumb, or are otherwise mendacious.

  30. #30 |  Mattocracy | 

    Just to be the devils advocate. If abortion isn’t murder, what about the death penalty? I’ve always thought that a person contradicts themselves supporting one and not the other.

    Or how about this…what if you were on Mt. Everest and found someone half alive? Would you say that there is no hope and leave them to save yourself or risk your life for someone who likely wouldn’t survive the decent? If you left him there, would you feel right attending a pro-life rally after wards?

  31. #31 |  PeeDub | 

    Yeah, how dare you give someone such a nefarious insult as a “thumb down” merely because they honestly believe that people who might choose to not bring a DS baby into the world are evil, narcissistic, nihilistic eugenicists. It’s just his opinion!

  32. #32 |  Kevin3% | 

    “please don’t leave me.”

    Sad. and I will probably get a lot of thumbs down for this comment.

    Climbing Everest is not some romantic thing to do just because one has a lot of money (and those are the only folks who can do it other than the sherpas who actually carry the gear for wealthy folks). It is a dangerous and deadly serious endeavor.

    So many of those who espouse the save the planet go green mind-set go there and leave their garbage along the way, because well, it is too difficult to carry all that crap out. How utterly arrogant of them! As if Everest was just another play ground they can say they visited and come back to boast about it to their fat, lazy and wealthy friends.

    The woman who was left there after her plea to the contrary is a good example of someone who had money to do the climb but unfortunately, did not have the personal endurance to succeed…and then she wants someone to save her. Like a spoiled child. Sadly pathetic that some people don’t learn that the world can be harsh and unforgiving. And no matter how much money you have it won’t matter when you are in over your head.

  33. #33 |  PeeDub | 

    Yep. I actually thought that Everest was on my bucket list until I read Into Thin Air. I didn’t realize that it’s not enjoyable, it’s brutal, and the only reason to do it is so that you can tell others and yourself that you did. Talk about narcissistic, THAT’s narcissistic.

  34. #34 |  Shell Goddamnit | 

    Kevin, I won’t give you a thumbs down, but you’re making a lot of assumptions about people you know absolutely nothing about. “So many of those who espouse the…mindset go there.” Crap. Hardly anyone goes there – what, about 50 in a season? (that is a severely uneducated guess btw) And I sincerely doubt that all the climbers of Everest are uniformly “green”, so you are tarring the save-the-planet people on the basis of about what, 20 people? Stupid.

    I agree with you to an extent – I feel a considerable amount of contempt for people who decide that the thing most important to them is to pay a large sum of money for guides & Sherpas to help them to the top of the mountain. I also feel a considerable amount of contempt for people who take careless risks and expect other people to get them through because by god that’s what they paid for. But dying people asking for help…no. That is beyond all that disapproval I may feel about the circumstances. A person begging for help to save their life is not being a spoiled brat, no matter how they got into that situation.

  35. #35 |  Shell Goddamnit | 

    Weathers was the doctor who lost both hands, wasn’t he? That was one of the more horrifying parts of Into Thin Air for me – his hands were exposed to the open air and frozen solid while the rest of him was insulated to some extent by snow. I don’t really blame the others for deciding to not try to take him with them; trying to get a man without usable hands down the mountain would seem to be a tremendous burden on people probably pretty close to the edge themselves.

    But he managed to stagger down the mountain even so, a testament to the will to survive; gotta admire that.

  36. #36 |  MikeZ | 

    “Abortion is murder. And its evil reveals itself in the widespread eugenic movement to destroy any child afflicted with Downs Syndrome. As anyone who has interacted with a person with Downs Syndrome knows, people with it are still human and still have their dignity. And they are among the happiest people on the face of the Earth.”

    So hypothetical then, Is forcing a woman to have a child even if doing so will kill her also murder? From there it just seems like a matter of degree. Doesn’t the act of carrying a pregnancy to term and delivering a baby have some inherent risk to the mother? Personally the thought of aborting a healthy baby doesn’t sit that well with me either. However I don’t think anyone can make medical decisions for the woman other than the woman herself. Even if the risk of complications to the mother for carrying the child is very small it is not non-zero and can’t be decided by anyone but her.

    Of course in this story the original couple attempting to force the surrogate to have an abortion is 100% wrong. Although I’d bet that any contract that declared the couple free from any responsibility wouldn’t hold up. Certainly in the U.S, the father would still be on the hook for child support.

  37. #37 |  Michael MD | 

    Why not just do what a single woman does to establish parenthood. Get the DNA and see if they match. The people that match, get the child! The one who does not, has no responsibility to it. Now, using a surrogate that supplies the egg, would be different. But, in this case of IVF and surrogacy, there is, truly, little doubt who the parents are. And, in this case, it was the zygote that was faulty, and not the surrogates fault.

    Why not start writing into the contracts, these situations (defects, and expectations of possible abortion), and cover them beforehand. Did anyone ever think what would happen if both the parents were killed in an accident, while the surrogate was carrying their baby?

    NOPE! Lets turn it into a circus, like medical malpractice! MORE RULES FOR EVERYONE! Doesn’t matter. We lose with the government, and lawyers, intervening.

  38. #38 |  Kevin3% | 

    Shell @34:

    My sentence (“So many of those who espouse the save the planet go green mind-set go there and leave their garbage along the way, because well, it is too difficult to carry all that crap out.”) was poorly structured. What I intended was that many who climb Everest espouse the save the planet mind-set, yet they leave their garbage all along the way. It is arrogant of them to spoil such a place with their trash.

    I agree with the former part of your comment; “I also feel a considerable amount of contempt for people who take careless risks and expect other people to get them through because by god that’s what they paid for.” However, I disagree with the latter part; “But dying people asking for help…no. That is beyond all that disapproval I may feel about the circumstances. A person begging for help to save their life is not being a spoiled brat, no matter how they got into that situation.”

    The challenge of climbing the highest mountain in the world is not something that can be overcome with money. When one takes such a risk they are indeed risking their very life. That is at the heart of it. To now expect someone else to carry them out is the thinking of a spoiled child because anyone who might attempt such a rescue now increases their own risk exponentially. That is why the mountain is littered with bodies…it is risky to even attempt to carry out the carcass of the deceased. That is the harsh and unforgiving reality of life and death in extreme environments. To expect others to save you is selfish. To die in such a manner is pitiable.

    Weathers as you correctly point out was a survivor in the ultimate sense of the word. Unwilling to accept death, determined to fight to survive. That is someone worthy of respect.

  39. #39 |  RWW | 

    shorter RWW: Aborting a clump of cells = killing a doctor

    I have no fucking idea what you’re talking about, but I imagine it might do you some good to read things carefully before commenting on them.

    I don’t care what others do, but if there is a God I don’t want to have to face him or her with innocent blood on my hands.

    That’s close to my take on it, but then you say:

    To participate in an abortion is morally wrong and always evil.

    Wait — I thought you said “I don’t care what others do” and “if there is a God” (big emphasis on the “if”).

    There are just some situations that are not enforceable by contract.

    It’s not clear what you mean here. If you mean to say “There are just some situations to which a contract cannot be applied,” then you’re dead wrong. If you mean “There are just some contracts that are not enforceable,” then you are correct, though not in any way relevant to this case.

    The right of a child to be supported by its parents can not be signed away by someone else.

    There is no such right. Or is putting a child up for adoption a punishable offense?

    Shame on all of you for thumbing down #4… What he’s saying isn’t stupid…

    Riddle me this: If I know of a business in my town that’s murdering innocent people on a regular basis (much more often than even the worst police department), and all I do is speak out about it and perhaps pursue some (utterly impossible) legal means to address the situation, while the murders go on, day after day, what would that make me?

    I mean, if you think about it, if abortion is murder, we have a holocaust going on whose proportions rival the Nazis many times over. And those who believe this rarely take any direct action to stop it. I’m sorry, but people who claim to be 100% certain that abortion is murder are either disingenuous or breathtakingly immoral.

    Some people have answered him saying that the law doesn’t hold it’s murder, which is of course true. But I imagine that commenter isn’t as concerned about the courts as his conscience and ours.

    If he doesn’t care about the law (as well he shouldn’t, if he’s certain as he claims to be that the law is condoning widespread murder), then why is he so docile?

    Although I’d bet that any contract that declared the couple free from any responsibility wouldn’t hold up.

    It might not, but it certainly should.

    Why not start writing into the contracts, these situations (defects, and expectations of possible abortion), and cover them beforehand.

    It sounds like this was, wisely, written into the contract.

  40. #40 |  Peter Ramins | 

    So I just had an epiphany or a brain fart, but in case it really is the GOLD I think it is, I want to get it on record under my name so I can say on the internet “I thought of it first.” (Well, that’s if I really did.)

    We’re all pretty used to the idea that the ‘grand plan’ in favorable and friendly trade relations with China is the hope that their political axis will shift closer to ours in the long term.

    Have any of you considered that that may be their plan as well? After viewing the content and focus of sites like this one for however long you have been?

    Seems like that shifting works both ways. You really don’t have to look very hard to find arrests in the United States that are purely political. Granted, I haven’t heard any stories like “outspoken political activist and voluntaryist suddenly missing day after protest staged outside of police station, wife goes into hiding” but I’ve sure as hell read a lot of stories that have lines like “we weren’t being violent or rioting, but the police fired tear gas and bean bags into the crowds and arrested scores of us.”

    Maybe China is to blame for our decline into an authoritarian fascist corporate police state!

  41. #41 |  Peter Ramins | 

    Definite brain-fart, as I forgot to finish that gem of a post with “Seems to me that China is winning that particular tug-of-war.”

  42. #42 |  KristenS | 

    I’ve always found men debating abortion to be irritating. Not disputing y’alls right to say whatever the hell you want. It just irritates me.

  43. #43 |  Shell Goddamnit | 

    “Certainly in the U.S, the father would still be on the hook for child support.”

    It’s possible that given IVF, in the US the mother might also still be on the hook for child support. Can’t see why she wouldn’t be; she was just as much a part of “getting the surrogate pregnant” as the father. And child support is for the child and belongs to the child; can’t be dispensed with on the child’s behalf by a parent, so a contract that held otherwise might not be considered valid atall.

    Just speculating; lord knows that the courts might do most any crazy thing with this kind of situation, from enforcing the letter of the contract to sending all signers to Mars.

  44. #44 |  Bob | 

    #42 | KristenS | October 10th, 2010 at 10:57 pm

    I’ve always found men debating abortion to be irritating. Not disputing y’alls right to say whatever the hell you want. It just irritates me.

    I find virtually everyone irritating when they discuss abortion. that’s mostly because most people are completely clueless and are just parroting what they were told by supposed ‘religious experts’ who know absolutely nothing about what they’re talking about.

    You?

    Personally, I think my arguments are solidly rational. Too bad no one will discuss them, hmm?

  45. #45 |  World’s Strangest | Roman Helmet Found in Field Makes Farmer Multimillionaire | 

    [...] via The Agitator | Photo (unrelated) by Flickr user Rennett Stowe used under Creative Commons [...]

  46. #46 |  V | 

    Radley – how come you didn’t link to this – http://nymag.com/news/crimelaw/68715/index5.html – excellent crimlaw article?

  47. #47 |  OBTC | 

    “#42 | KristenS | October 10th, 2010 at 10:57 pm
    I’ve always found men debating abortion to be irritating. Not disputing y’alls right to say whatever the hell you want. It just irritates me.”

    I hear that!

  48. #48 |  Bob | 

    OBTC:

    I hear that!

    And yet, you are unwilling to discuss the issue?

  49. #49 |  Z | 

    I don’t have a problem with abortion I have a problem with these people saying they want to be parents. Do they want a kid or a trophy? What if they have a kid and the kid gets into an accident and becomes a paraplegic? Will they drive him out into the country and abandon him?

  50. #50 |  Lucy | 

    Beck Weathers technically staggered into camp, not down the mountain. His companions than more or less left him all night in a tent alone, where he got further frozen due to his inability to pull his sleeping bag up with his frozen hands.

    The next day he was helped down the mountain and was rescued by an extremely bad-ass member of the Nepalese army who helicoptered in at the extremely dangerous altitude of 20,000+ feet above sea level.

    Yes, I’ve read “Into Thin Air” about 7 time since I was 10. Beck Weathers’ story was my first realization that real life could be just as amazing as any story.

    If you want heart-rending, Rob Hall’s final radio conversations with his wife from that same exhibition are pretty brutal. I assume Hall’s body is still high up on Everest.

  51. #51 |  DPirate | 

    I thought it hilarious that the communists arrested a democrat that was honored by a monarchy.

  52. #52 |  Bill | 

    In response to
    “1. Courts have determined that a fetus is not a human being (or person).”

    Except when they have
    http://www.southcarolinacriminalattorneyblog.com/2010/05/pregnant-mother-facing-charges.html

    “2. Since a fetus is not considered a human being (or person) then the allegation of murder via abortion is a moot point.”

    Thankfully judges and legislators do not have the final say on moral issues. People are still allowed to make their own judgments and hold their own opinions.

    “3. Even if the courts determined a fetus was a human being (or person), the states have legalized abortion which makes abortion not murder, but homicide. It would be the same as capital punishment. It’s not murder, but homicide.”

    Sure, let the State decide morality. I suppose you didn’t think it was murder when slaves or Indians were killed either.

  53. #53 |  Stephen | 

    re: abortion

    I just dont want the state to take MY money to pay for YOUR abortion.

  54. #54 |  Juice | 

    I thought the whole point of the thumbs was whether you agreed or disagreed.

  55. #55 |  MPH | 

    Radley’s right, this surrogate story got messy.

    But while we’re on the topic, I am always amazed at those who invoke the old testament in the abortion debate (Thou shalt not kill). They apparently haven’t read those parts of Leviticus that follow the ten commandments. That’s where “god” spells out the punishments for breaking the commandments. So if a man kills another man, the killer is to be put to death. If a man kills another man’s wife, the killer’s wife is to be put to death. But if a man causes another man’s wife to miscarry (aborts her fetus), he is to be fined, and the fine is to be set by “the judges” (which are humans).

    So kill somebody who has already been born, and god says someone must die as restitution. But kill a fetus, and you might need to write a check (since the judges can set the fine at $0).

    Clearly, “god” doesn’t value the unborn as much as the born. Yet those who kill doctors who perform abortions apparently don’t know this, or refuse to believe it.

  56. #56 |  Nancy Lebovitz | 

    Off topic: Police behaving sensibly in an unusual situation.

    Go ahead. Click. You know you want to.

  57. #57 |  Bill | 

    MPH, God, or whoever, help us, if we start using the moral standard set out in the Old Testament again.

  58. #58 |  Ben | 

    “I’ve always found men debating abortion to be irritating. Not disputing y’alls right to say whatever the hell you want. It just irritates me.”

    KristenS – I’ve always found it irritating that women act like their opinion is the only one that matters when it comes to abortion, and yet expect men to be held accountable based on a decision that they have no say in.

  59. #59 |  Marty | 

    I thought we were gonna see an elephant executed.

    I have a difficult time getting too worked up about China, Chavez, etc in light of our country’s behavior. It’d be nice if we’d take the high road with torture, military actions, habeas corpus, state sanctioned assassinations, secret surveillances, swat raids, etc, so that I could feel self-righteous and yell and scream…

  60. #60 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Abortion: Religion and politics trying to have a rational conversation.

    Unpossible.

  61. #61 |  Bill | 

    Abortion shouldn’t be a religious question. It was already established that in the OT the only punishment for it was a fine. I don’t believe, however, that we are bound by the OT. The question is when does life begin, that is more of a philosophical and scientific question. There is some serious confusion over this in the law. If you are a pregnant woman and throw yourself down a flight of stairs then you can be charged with murder. Scott Peterson is on death row in California because he was convicted of killing TWO people. Yet, Planned Parenthood down the street can kill babies with Constitutional protection. Something ain’t right here.

  62. #62 |  Jon Gray | 

    @KristenS

    I’d like to think we’re somewhat beyond the idea that only women’s opinions matter about abortion.

    @Bob #44

    I think one can have a completely rational objection to abortion that isn’t based on religion at all. As far as a rational objection based in religion, well, there surely can be a reason steeped in religion that follows logic, the question just becomes whether or not you want to base public policy on religious reasoning. Regardless, there are a lot of shades of gray in the debate and anyone on either side who thinks it’s as simple as 1-2-3 is clearly overlooking the nuance of an extremely complicated question.

  63. #63 |  Rob Robertson | 

    @#33;

    I read your entry out loud, and my 15-year-old son said, “Climbing Mount Everest is okay to have on your bucket list, as long as it’s the LAST thing on your list.”

    That’s my boy.

  64. #64 |  Katherine | 

    Feeling the insane urge to weigh in here. My thing with abortion is this: Women have been aborting unwanted babies since the beginning of time. Drive it underground, and all you do is kill more women. You don’t save babies. Similar to the drug war: you can’t legislate away a human need. In countries that criminalize abortion, the abortion RATE remains relatively unchanged; what goes up is the number of women who are maimed or killed getting unsafe abortions. Countries with the lowest abortion rates are the ones where birth control, sex education, and abortion are most widely available.

    Plus: if abortion is murder, does that mean a woman who has one deserves the same prison sentence as a murderer of a born person?

  65. #65 |  Cynical in CA | 

    “Many ethicists feel strongly that the surrogate-parent relationship is too delicate to have contract law applied to it, saying that in such cases, the child becomes a product rather than a person.”

    It is simply a cruel fact that some people were not meant to reproduce.

    That being said, if it can’t be done under contract law, it shouldn’t be done at all.

  66. #66 |  Jon Gray | 

    @Cynical

    I’m not sure what your “cruel” point does to advance the debate regarding surrogate relations/contracts. Should people who can’t reproduce just ignore the fertility options available? The fact that it is sometimes a result of nature that someone can’t reproduce doesn’t really make any difference as to public policy regarding the issue.

  67. #67 |  SusanK | 

    I agree with KristenS. Abortion is deeply personal, and, as such, should only be a decision made by the pregnant person during pregnancy. Any laws, regulations, contracts should not take away that woman’s right to decide.
    I know men bitch about how they are on the hook for child support after the child is born, and had “no control” over whether the kid was born. Suck it. It’s biological.
    I don’t get where libertarians say the drug war is bad because people have a right to control their own body but then think they should have input on abortion.
    And now I got sucked into commenting on abortion, which I swore to myself I wouldn’t do.

  68. #68 |  Jon Gray | 

    @SusanK

    I won’t claim to speak for everyone, but I think abortion is surely a justifiable part of the public debate–no matter which side you’re on–because until there is a (mostly) universal understanding of when life begins then the abortion issue, at least theoretically, deals with the life/death of a being that is unable to consent. That is certainly within the realm of public debate. Drugs are different because that is an adult’s choice.

    For the record, I think the child support thing is a b.s. argument, too.

  69. #69 |  Doug | 

    “We’re all pretty used to the idea that the ‘grand plan’ in favorable and friendly trade relations with China is the hope that their political axis will shift closer to ours in the long term.”

    I thought the grand plan was that we would both prosper through the free market, and they can run their country however they please.

  70. #70 |  Malcolm Digest | 

    @SusanK

    “I know men bitch about how they are on the hook for child support after the child is born, and had “no control” over whether the kid was born. Suck it. It’s biological.”

    What exactly about child support is biological? The only biological part is that when two people get busy, one of them may end up pregnant. I’m cannot make any connection between child support and biology.

  71. #71 |  Cynical in CA | 

    If there were no choices other than the natural way to reproduce, then there wouldn’t be any of these controversies regarding extraordinary means.

    Nature has a way of f’ing with those who try to circumvent its pronouncements. Those who trifle with nature should be aware of and ready to navigate the consequences, and it may just wind up wrecking their lives, i.e., be careful what you wish for, you might just get it.

    That being written, my second point stands: if it can’t be accomplished under contract law, then force is the only option. You definitely get what you get in that case.

  72. #72 |  Bill | 

    One wonders why these people were doing this in the first place when there are so many kids out there already looking to be adopted. These people shouldn’t be parents in the first place. They sound like selfish douchebags.

  73. #73 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Yours is a good plan, Doug. But it is not the “Grand Plan” of our overlords.

    Bill, first try to adopt an American kid and then you can call them d-bags. Foreign is a bit easier, but not always an option. I know of very few d-bags who go thru extraordindary hardship (adoption, surrogate, etc.) to become parents.

  74. #74 |  Ben | 

    Bill –

    Because they want to procreate. And adoption, for all the wonderful and loving solution that it is, isn’t procreation. Is it selfish for anyone to procreate when there are orphans out there? Just because it takes them IVF and surrogacy to procreate doesn’t make them selfish for wanting to do it. Unless they’re getting everyone in their health insurance pool to pay for it for them. Then, fuck them.

  75. #75 |  Bill | 

    IVF creates human life that is later destroyed. When they had a chance to have a kid they had the kid destroyed when they realized that it would be a burden. They shouldn’t be allowed to adopt a dog, let alone have more kids.
    Procreation is great, but when you need to go through these lengths and destroy life to do it then it becomes more about you and your selfish desire to keep your seed in the world than about accepting the gift of life.

  76. #76 |  Bill | 

    Adopting infants is hard, but there are older kids who could use a better home. If you can’t have kids naturally it is a good alternative.

  77. #77 |  ShelbyC | 

    “I know men bitch about how they are on the hook for child support after the child is born, and had “no control” over whether the kid was born. Suck it. It’s biological.”

    In this case, had the kid been born, I wonder if both the father and mother would be on the hook? They’re both biological parents, right?

  78. #78 |  frank n | 

    Meh…I wish your parents never met…oh wait I see dead people…hey are any of those nominated for a “Darwin”…

  79. #79 |  OBTC | 

    #58 | Ben |

    “… and yet expect men to be held accountable based on a decision that they have no say in.”

    Ben-

    Solutions:

    1. Abstain from sex.
    2. Get a vasectomy.
    3. Use condoms.

    Otherwise the man will be held accountable if pregnancy occurs. The fact that many men think they can run around and fuck with impunity is ludicrous.

    For example:
    http://www.aolnews.com/story/man-fathers-20-kids/501977

    Another example:
    http://newsone.com/nation/associatedpress3/man-sued-by-14-women-for-23-kids-worth-of-child-support-sent-to-prison/

    And then there’s this guy:
    http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_most_children_ever_fathered_by_1_man

  80. #80 |  Bob | 

    All righty then! So no one can produce a rational argument against abortion, or to counter my assertion that sentience doesn’t start until some point after birth.

    Oh well.

    One guy has a point that deserves comment. though:

    #75 | Bill | October 11th, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    IVF creates human life that is later destroyed. When they had a chance to have a kid they had the kid destroyed when they realized that it would be a burden.

    That simply isn’t true. That ‘life’ wasn’t created, it was already there. That ‘life’ as you put it was in the form of Human Eggs that were already there. Every Human Female is born with about 500 eggs already at the stage just prior to ovulation and fertilization.

    You need to understand the difference between “Human Life” and “A Human life’”.

    “Human Life” was started about 200,000 years ago, and has been continued along through the process of reproduction in Humans. There are currently about 3 billion humans currently carrying about 750 billion eggs that could continue the species. The Human Species is in no risk of going extinct.

    “A Human Life”, on the other hand, is what we consider special and sacred. It is WE, it is I and it is YOU. In Human terms, “A Human Life” starts at the point of sentience, which is probably when the concept of ME is formed in the developing mind. This is between 18 and 24 months of age.

    To make it easier, the LEGAL definition of life is “At Birth”. Well before the point where the infant becomes self aware.

    I hope that clears this up. But I expect that it won’t.

  81. #81 |  albatross | 

    Cynical in CA:

    I’m guessing you don’t go to the doctor when you’re sick or injured. Otherwise, you’re kinda circumventing nature’s pronouncements, no? I mean, nature has decreed that someone with a severe asthma attack, allergic reaction, heart attack, appendicitis, compound fracture, infected cut, etc., is scheduled to die soon (and often pretty horribly). I can’t seem to think of why interfering with that is less circumventing nature’s pronouncements than IVF.

    Similarly, my kids were born via C-section, in a hospital, with the mom receiving painkillers and doctors and nurses doing all kinds of very un-natural stuff like testing for PKU and weighing the babies every day for the first couple days to make sure they were gaining enough weight. And they’ve been unnaturally receiving first-world medical care (vaccinations, periodic check-ups, medicine when needed for illnesses) since then. Man, do we ever thumb our noses at nature.

  82. #82 |  albatross | 

    Bob:

    There is no objective argument available on either side of that question. That’s why it occasions so much yelling–it’s basically a question of definitions, and your definitions and mine are equally consistent with reality. We can argue over when someone becomes human enough to matter w.r.t. killing them being murder, but (just as with all other moral issues) this can’t every be resolved if we start with different premises. Conception? Detectable heartbeat? Birth? First birthday? Fifth birthday?

    There’s simply no way to argue one of these over the other in a way that someone starting from a different set of assumptions will be swayed by. Which means debating it is mostly a waste of time.

  83. #83 |  albatross | 

    RWW:

    Do you hold all the people who opposed slavery, back in the day, to the same standard? Only John Brown and such really believed that slavery was really kidnapping and forced labor of human beings with the same rights as everyone else?

    How about the people who claim (as I do) that a huge amount of our foreign policy amounts to murdering people far away for domestic political gain? Is everyone who thinks that, but doesn’t start throwing bombs at passing politicians, lying about their beliefs?

  84. #84 |  Bob | 

    Albatross:

    There’s simply no way to argue one of these over the other in a way that someone starting from a different set of assumptions will be swayed by. Which means debating it is mostly a waste of time.

    Largely unproductive, yes. Waste of time? No. An interesting thing about the human mind and it’s firmly held positions is that you can’t see them change in real time. Change occurs slowly… over time.

    But, in response to “There is no objective argument available on either side of that question.” That’s not true. It’s documented fact that children come from newborns that come from fetuses that come from fertilized eggs that come from unfertilized eggs. It’s also documented fact that every human female is born with about 500 of these eggs. The ONLY way to argue that fertilized > unfertilized is to invoke either magic or ‘superior moral position’.

    Here’s the money shot: The basis of my argument is not the sanctity of Human life. It’s the sanctity of sentient life. The problem with the focus on “Human life” is that it immediately becomes linked to objective moral positions. The argument becomes “Well, I and my group believe in superior moral argument X, therefore, we’re MORE HUMAN than that other group, and thusly, we are more deserving of life than they are.”

    If the argument of life can be focused on sentience, instead of a moral imperative unequally endowed by a creator, (With the unequality being decided unilaterally by those that consider their group to be more equal) it can start to move forward.

    Sentience, after all, is a binary state. You can’t be ‘more sentient’ than that other guy. People here are not “more sentient” than goat herders in Afghanistan, or clones of people. Or thinking robots.

    So, unpopular as my opinions and beliefs on this subject are, I will continue to champion them, and at the same time. questioning and refining them.

  85. #85 |  Rob Robertson | 

    @84 Bob;

    “The ONLY way to argue that fertilized > unfertilized is to invoke either magic or ’superior moral position’.”

    Firstly, Abracadabra.

    Secondly, I would argue that human life begins at conception when the genetic material of the sperm unites with the genetic material of the egg to produce a human being. Sperm + Egg = Human. Before that moment the egg in the woman will always remain that and nothing more. Provided a safe environment, proper nutrients, etc,… that egg will remain an egg, just as the sperm will remain a sperm, and neither of them taken alone are ‘a human’.

    I’ve talked to my children when they were in the womb and felt them move (or be still) in response to my voice, and no one can convince me that they were not ‘human’ before birth. As to when the exact moment occurs when a collection of cells becomes ‘sentient’, I don’t know; the old-fashioned notion of ‘quickening’, when the soul enters the developing fetus, is intriguing to me, but of little real consequence. I’ve been blessed with three wonderful children, and never have I considered the option of aborting a child because it might inconvenience me.

  86. #86 |  Bob | 

    Rob Robertson:

    Holy crap! Someone steps up! All righty!

    Before that moment the egg in the woman will always remain that and nothing more.

    Sorry, but it’s scientific fact that you’re in error there.

    Here is scientific fact: The egg is prepped for fertilization and released from the Ovary prior to actual fertilization by the interaction of hormones. If that egg is NOT fertilized? It dies. A POTENTIAL HUMAN is lost.

    See the error? You’re rationalizing that IF the egg is UNCHANGING, then it will wait… years if it must… for it’s legitimate chance for fertilization, and thus… a proper human can be born.

    There is nothing magic about the actual process of fertilization. Nor does this process somehow magic a ‘soul’ into the growing clump of cells that it develops into.

    I’m not trying to alter your beliefs at all. I’m just pointing out the errors in your statements.

    Also, I would be so bold as to point out a lie in your post. You say “As to when the exact moment occurs when a collection of cells becomes ’sentient’, I don’t know;” But You DO know. You’re sure of it. That point is at conception. The fact that you feel the need to lie to me tells me that in some portion of your mind? you know that might not be true.

    Food for thought, buddy!

  87. #87 |  Tammy | 

    “Riddle me this: If abortion is murder, why isn’t birth control murder.
    Why isn’t abstaining from sex murder.”

    If we all live a healthy lifestyle to avoid illness, does that mean we are all in remission?

    “Scott Peterson is on death row in California because he was convicted of killing TWO people. Yet, Planned Parenthood down the street can kill babies with Constitutional protection. Something ain’t right here.”

    People are going to Planned Parenthood by choice. (one assumes).
    Scott Peterson did not allow free will. No comparison.

  88. #88 |  Nulono | 

    “Riddle me this: If abortion is murder, why isn’t birth control murder.
    Why isn’t abstaining from sex murder.”

    Um, because they’re totally different things? Abortion ends a life and abstinence prevents one.

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