Tag: abortion on demand

Bioethics Blogs

Tissue Donation and Barbarism

Much has been written about “the Planned Parenthood videos” taken by the activist group Center for Medical Progress (CMP), far beyond my poor power to add or detract.  But I can’t help but think that, as with organ donation at the end of life, once practitioners start looking beyond the death of a human being, their mindset is on a procedure, not on humanity.   The concern is being expectantly ready to procure and process “tissue” once the individual is dead, and there is necessarily pressure to hasten or control that moment.

I also can’t help think that many people who might have considered themselves at least somewhat “pro-choice” are a bit startled to see what these videos expose.  Or maybe they don’t follow the news outlets that have covered the story, and so are unaware.  But this is a sort of package deal: once one buys into abortion on demand, one buys into this sort of barbarism.

And barbarism is what we have been shown.  One of the clearest and best pieces on the recent developments was George Will’s column for the Washington Post.  I recommend it.

And so, what to do about it?  There is a steady, unrelenting drumbeat of exposure of the truth.  I can only suppose it will take rather more time, but I expect it will advance.  One way to get people to stop doing something is to make it repulsive.  Look at smoking.  I think the CMP people get this.

And certainly, end the taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood.  The politics of representative government, and the force of PP’s supporters being what they are, a stand-alone measure stalled in the Senate. 

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics News

Abortion laws in Latin America

A pro-life attitude is folowed especially in El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica which abortion is prohibited under any circumstances

Analysis

Bárbara Fraser analyses abortion laws in Latin America in a recent article published in The Lancet (383; 2113-2114, 2014), part of which we have reproduced here.

A short time ago, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet announced that her government would promote legislation decriminalising abortion in cases of rape, risk to the woman’s life, or in which the fetus is unable to survive outside the womb. This Chilean attitude appears to reflect a growing tendency to decriminalise abortion in Latin America.

The first signal came in 2006, when Colombia’s Constitutional Court ruled that abortion was legal if the woman’s life or health were in danger, in cases of rape or incest, or if the fetus had serious malformations that would make it impossible for it to survive outside the uterus.

That was followed in 2007 by a new law in Mexico City that legalised abortion under any circumstances in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Mexico’s Supreme Court upheld the law the following year. The measure applies only in Mexico City, however, and there was a backlash in about half the country’s states, which amended their constitutions to define life as beginning at conception. Earlier this year, the state of Guerrero seemed poised to follow Mexico City’s lead with a law that would have allowed abortion on demand within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, but the state legislature never debated the measure.

The biggest change came in 2013 in Uruguay, where President José Mujica signed a bill legalising abortion throughout the country.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Abortion on the grounds of sex

Apparently some UK doctors have been aborting babies because their parents don’t want a baby of that sex. In response the government is now planning to outlaw  abortion on the grounds of sex. It is already illegal, however, so we must wonder what the politicians are up to.  A question being ignored is whether it is even wrong to abort on the grounds of sex.

Officially, abortion in the UK is only available on medical grounds (see), specifically, that an abortion is less harmful to a woman’s health than the pregnancy. It is apparently obvious to the politicians that the sex of the baby is irrelevant to the mother’s health: but in that case abortion on grounds of sex is already illegal. Consequently there is no real reason to change the law and the politicians are probably just pandering to some or other faction to buy their votes.

Despite this,  I can think of one bizarre kind of case in which it might be legal: that because of a mother’s hatred of men (or her hatred of women) to bear a baby boy (or girl) would mentally unhinge her. The  immorality of her hatred would be irrelevant to whether it would be less harmful to her health to abort or continue the pregnancy: all that matters is the causal fact. This example challenges the plans to change the law to explicitly forbid abortion on the grounds of sex. If the basis of the law is truly and only the question of whether the abortion is less harmful to a woman’s health than the pregnancy, the woman of my bizarre case satisfies that criterion.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

On Testimonial and Argument in Bioethics

We all know, as Steve Phillips reminded us yesterday, that Brittany Maynard took the pills this past Sunday, one day later than she had originally planned.  In the days before that, she appealed to our compassion for her in her suffering—and powerfully at that.  Equally powerful were stories from the likes of Kara Tippetts and, as Steve pointed out, Maggie Karner, two women with terminal brain tumors, one metastatic, the other, like Ms. Maynard’s, primary. 

The medical details matter less than the shared aspects of these women’s experiences, for, indeed, we take it as axiomatic that such shared experience more than deepens the two responses—it is, we tend to think, a necessary prerequisite.  Who can speak to someone without standing in his or her shoes, as the saying goes?  Why should someone in present good health presume to be able to speak into the experience of another who is suffering?  How can anyone not facing death dare to speak to a terminally ill person, much less lecture her, about physician-assisted suicide?  To even address the topic on the grounds of principled argument sounds insensitive, like screaming at another from the depths of an unloving heart.

As a case in point, look back, for example, at Ezekiel Emanuel’s 2012 New York Times blog post, “Four Myths about Doctor-Assisted Suicide.”  Look especially at the comments that were posted.  (Note that the comments section has long since been closed.)  Many of them take the tone of, “Dr. Emanuel, how can you be so cruel?”

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.