Miscarriage of justice

Anyone who doesn’t believe the extreme right’s obsessive focus on the fetus renders women little more than ambulatory incubators need look no further than this bizarre story out of Republicandominated Utah, where a bill criminalizing miscarriage is one signature away from being the law of the land:

A bill passed by the Utah House and Senate this week and waiting for the governor’s signature, will make it a crime for a woman to have a miscarriage, and make induced abortion a crime in some instances.  […]

In addition to criminalizing an intentional attempt to induce a miscarriage or abortion, the bill also creates a standard that could make women legally responsible for miscarriages caused by “reckless” behavior.

Using the legal standard of “reckless behavior” all a district attorney needs to show is that a woman behaved in a manner that is thought to cause miscarriage, even if she didn’t intend to lose the pregnancy.

If this bill is signed into law, it would be homicide to intentionally or unintentionally cause a miscarriage.  What??

Most women don’t even know they’re pregnant until they’re 5 or 6 weeks along.  That leaves a pretty significant window of opportunity to indulge in unintentional “reckless behaviour”… which is whatever the state of Utah deems it to be, I guess.  Drinking?  Smoking?  Snowboarding?  Eating bacon-double-cheeseburgers?  By what weird magic does pregnancy suddenly make these personal choices the government’s business?  The magic of Dumb Law, apparently.

Next up: all women of childbearing age will be required to submit to the Department of Reproduction (next door to the Department of Transportation) for monthly pregnancy tests, and issued “Non-Pregnant” licenses.  Said licenses will be needed to patronize a bar, burger joint or bungee jump.

Why not?  Elsewhere, women are being court-ordered to stay in bed in the interest of their pregnancies.

43 Responses to “Miscarriage of justice”


  1. 1 J. A. Baker Wednesday, February 24, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    MSNBC seems to have disappeared the story about the woman being court-ordered to stay in bed.

    Also, after Bush’s CDC pushed guidelines urging women of reproductive age to act as if they’re perpetually “pre-pregnant”, I’m not surprised by this shit.

    Also…. umm…ewww?

  2. 2 Brian Wednesday, February 24, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    Though women are indeed ambulatory incubators, that is not the same as “nothing but” ambulatory incubators. Reductionism is logical fallacy.

    You start out referencing “obsessive focus on the fetus.” If someone believes that being a fetus is a stage of life, in direct analogue to being an infant or a teenager, then to disregard the fetus but to regard the teenager would be hypocritical. Feti, being human beings, are not recipients of obsessive focus, but are recipients of appropriate safeguarding of those among us who cannot guard themselves.

    All a teenager requires to reach adulthood is food, oxygen, hydration, shelter and time. All a fetus requires to reach adulthood is food, oxygen, hydration, shelter and time. This is the reason so many appropriately see the fetus as a human being, a member of our race (as do I). They are little, and fragile, as are new-borns (new-borns being not quite as little and not quite as fragile), but they are little and fragile human beings.

    If a mother were transporting her child in a car (say a 2 year-old), and through reckless behavior brought about the child’s death, very few people would find it extreme to prosecute the mother EVEN IF SHE DIDN’T MEAN TO KILL THE CHILD. A child in a mother’s womb is every bit as dependent on her comporting herself with due caution.

    Now, just as no one is found guilty of homicide for killing someone whom they didn’t even know was present (say a child who locked themselves into the trunk of their dad’s race car before a race, for instance), no one would prosecute a woman for causing a miscarriage — with or without intent — if she had no idea she was pregnant.

    But dislodging a baby from the uterine attachment he requires to continue living is homicide — even if a Dr. does it, in my opinion.

    Additionally, since anyone has the right to continue to exist, anyone is within their rights to kill someone who is almost certain to be the death of them if they don’t — self defense — a mother has the same right to remove the baby within her if his development there will threaten her life. So naturally I support the choice to abort to save the LIFE of the mother, or to protect her from grievous harm.

    Finally, i9ntentionally causing a miscarriage through violence to yourself, or with the help of another, stands a pretty high chance of giving rise to really, really serious consequences from injury. Surely a law that might stay someone’s hand from such a blunder is worth passing?

    OK; get out your flamethrowers…

  3. 3 Janus Wednesday, February 24, 2010 at 11:44 pm

    No flamethrower from me, Brian; just a blunt object to the side of your head: A fetus is NOT a human being.

    I have never had any desire to incubate anything more than a rhinovirus (and even that reluctantly), so I therefore take all possible precautions when having sex so that I never, ever, get pregnant. However, we all know that contraception is not 100% guaranteed. So, if a fetus ever got implanted in my uterus, I would be well within my rights to regard it as a parasite and have it removed.

    When you are willing and able to take over the incubation of an unwanted fetus, some people might think you’re entitled to input. Want to stop an abortion? Fine! Just step up and get it transplanted into your own body. If you’re not willing to do that, then STFU.

  4. 4 J. A. Baker Wednesday, February 24, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.

  5. 5 fern hill Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 5:56 am

    Again with the car analogy.

    My all-time fetus fetishist fave is SUZY’s parrot in a cage analogy.

    Cars? Pretty fucking lame.

  6. 6 JJ Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 8:19 am

    Brian – Even if one concurs with the false premise that an embryo/fetus is equal to an out-of-utero human being, your argument is based on a false equivalence — a woman’s body is not the same as a car.

    Lame. But thanks for playing.

  7. 7 JJ Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 8:20 am

    JAB – I changed it to the cache link. Is anyone still having trouble with it?

  8. 8 JJ Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 8:21 am

    Janus

    Just step up and get it transplanted into your own body.

    But how would that punish the brazen hussy for having sex?

  9. 9 JJ Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 8:25 am

    fern hill – The parrot in a cage analogy was indeed a classic. Someone should start a Hall of Fame for all the weird analogies these people come up.

  10. 10 JJ Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 8:29 am

    JAB – Rush spanks himself… brain bleach, please.

  11. 11 Janus Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 8:34 am

    Er…parrot in a cage…?

    Do I want to know?

  12. 12 fern hill Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 9:18 am

    Janus, I can’t remember the details, but it was — obviously — twisted.

    Another of HERS was likening a fetus to a teevee. That was during the C-484 brouhaha — Ken Epp’s private member’s bill calling for stiffer penalties if a fetus got injured in an assault on a pregnant woman. HER analogy was something like: ‘Well, if you broke my teevee, wouldn’t I be entitled to justice?’

  13. 13 fern hill Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 10:01 am

    Lame Abortion Analogy Hall of Fame.

    A serendipitous event. One of the boyos at ProgBlogs opines on abortion and uses a dilly of an analogy. 😀

  14. 14 Brian Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    Janus,

    This “point,” “When you are willing and able to take over the incubation of an unwanted fetus, some people might think you’re entitled to input,” is analogous to saying that, unless I am willing to take in my neighbor’s wife myself, I am not entitled to any input, let a lone to even tell him he should not beat his wife.

    For you to flatly proclaim that a fetus is not a human being, makes me wonder where your line lies. The fetus has unique DNA, has its own metabolism, et al. Some will say that the fetus is part of the woman’s body, but that does not stand up to examination; it is merely a visceral argument.

    When one thing possesses another as a component part (such as my house possessing a living room, and the woman possessing the fetus), then the possessor posses all of the properties of that which is possessed. So in the first case, if the living room had a ceiling fan, then the house that possesses the living room possesses a ceiling fan. In the second case, the woman would possess 2 brains, 4 arms, 4 legs, and if the baby was a boy, she would posses sexual organs of both genders.

    But, of course, that is absurd. Equally, it is absurd to say that the baby is a part of the woman’s body.

    I certainly agree with you, that if you don’t want a baby, then you should take every precaution. From what you said, it seems to me that if I were you, I would take the step of certainty that a tubal ligation would be. (Of course, it’s your body, your call.)

    But if, through your actions, a baby winds up inside you, that is not a parasite, that is a child — your child — a human. At that point, to kill him is killing a human, and doing so for convenience’s sake. That is cold blooded.

  15. 15 Brian Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    J. A. Baker,

    Support for elective abortion is already mostly suported by men who strive to dodge responsibility. It is unlikely that making them able to carry children would have much effect.

  16. 16 Brian Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    JJ,

    I didn’t say that an embryo/fetus is equal to an out-of-utero human being. that is a universal that I didn’t make. But they are equally human, a restricted case.

    Regarding “your argument is based on a false equivalence — a woman’s body is not the same as a car.”

    Your assertion is false. The analogy hinged entirely on the concept of accidentally killing someone whose presence you were unaware of. Reading for comprehension is a skill; not everyone has it — don’t feel too bad.

  17. 17 Brian Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    fern hill,

    The analogy at ProgBlog is “Let’s say a protester attached them self to the leg of a politician using an unbreakable chain and a lock that won’t open for nine months. The politician has two choices, walk around for the next nine months lugging the protester around on her leg or have the protester removed by cutting him open, killing him in the process. Would the politician’s right to control her body give her the right to kill the protester?”

    This is not a apt analogy in the first place, because the politician is an non-participating bystander, and a woman engaging in sexual intercourse is not a non-participant. This is why I would compromise, and not oppose abortion of the progeny of rape.

    But regarding the central question, I would say, no, the politician is not within his rights to kill the protester unless the protester presents a clear likelihood of grievous bodily harm or death to the politician. It would be quite an ordeal for the politician, and the protester should be arrested for assault the instant the chain release activates, but we don’t execute people for assault.

  18. 18 Janus Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    “For you to flatly proclaim that a fetus is not a human being, makes me wonder where your line lies.”

    At the severing of the umbillical cord. Not before.

  19. 19 Brian Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    And what is your criteria/criterion for that point. What is the sine qua non of humanness?

    Given your response, I ask you this:

    If a baby has been delivered, but is still attached by the umbilical cord, and a Dr. rams a hypodermic into the soft spot of the baby’s skull, injecting poison, that is not problematic, but if he cuts the cord first, that act would be homicide?

    If that is so, then, if he thinks the cord is in tact, but a nurse cut it while he wasn’t looking, he is not guilty because he didn’t know that?

    Janus, I would like to discuss this with you, because that would be interesting to me, if you can try to do so without the chip that you carry on your shoulder. Could we do that? Perhaps it would also be interesting to those who lurk…

  20. 20 JJ Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    Brian

    Reading for comprehension is a skill; not everyone has it — don’t feel too bad.

    Don’t get fucking stupid with me.

  21. 21 Bruce Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    Oh. My. Dawg! We have the reincarnation of Jasper!

  22. 22 JJ Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    Don’t poke sticks at it, maybe it’ll go away.

  23. 23 Luna Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    Here’s an analogy that actually works (near as I can tell in my sleep-deprived state): Suppose your kid needs a kidney. He has a rare blood type, and some other rarities that make it so that you are the only viable donor. If you don’t give him one, he dies. Period. You have the right to say “No, don’t wanna. too dangerous. I have other kids, and if I die, they’re screwed. So no. If he dies, I’m sorry. I love him, but too bad. My body, my choice.” In the same respect, I have the right to say, “No. Don’t want this fetus in my body any more. Take it out now. If it dies, I’m sorry, that sucks. My body, my choice”.

  24. 24 Brian Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 11:20 pm

    Look JJ: You’re the one who, because of your snotty attitude, missed the whole point, trying to score a hit.

    Maybe it is a bit of a glass house issue for you to tell me not to be stupid. An apology seems more apropos and mature (IMHO).

  25. 25 Brian Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    Luna, you are completely right that you have a choice over your own body. And even more directly addressing your analogy, you are not required to save the life of another. But failing to take action is a different thing than taking action. If you kill your baby, that is different than not taking action to save your baby’s life.

    But in the case of pregnancy, you played a role in bringing that person to life. This saddles you with responsibilities that you aren’t burdened with in the case where your child needs one of your organs to live.

    Back to cars (which Fern Hill should love): If you see a person on the side of the road who will die without your assistance, and you drive on, you have not made yourself responsible for their death. But if you stop, and take them into your car, then you wreck the car, you are liable for what that wreck did to them. (This is part of why so many people don’t want to “get involved.”) When you play a role in putting someone into a dependent position, then you have a level of responsibility that you don’t have if you played no role in their predicament.

  26. 27 Brian Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 11:58 pm

    test      test

  27. 28 Janus Friday, February 26, 2010 at 12:00 am

    “Janus, I would like to discuss this with you, because that would be interesting to me…”

    To what point and purpose?

    “…if you can try to do so without the chip that you carry on your shoulder.”

    That’s no chip, son; it’s an entire log.

    “Could we do that?”

    Again, why?

  28. 29 Brian Friday, February 26, 2010 at 12:25 am

        Well, Janus, I’m guessing here, but I would guess that you deplore war, and feel that a diplomatic approach is far preferable — that world leaders should talk more, war less. If that’s the case, then surely you and I should be able to discuss an issue like this that is less momentous than the issues that those diplomats might take up. But if we can’t, how could there be any hope for world leaders to fare any better?

        What if I am wrong, and you succeed in changing my mind, rather than merely alienating me because of how good it feels to vent your spleen (I don’t mean that as a judgment, but merely as a “what if” kind of a case)? Perhaps I would be a fruitful convert.

        What If you are wrong, and I could change your mind. If you were to avoid that because it’s work, or you’re too busy, or whatever, you would then continue to champion something wrong. That doesn’t seem desirable.

        Perhaps neither of us can change the mind of the other. Still, there might be some fence sitters lurking whose mind we might reach. Isn’t that a chance worth exerting some effort for?

        Plus, your taking up the thread at all would seem to indicate that you have some inclination that way. Perhaps you have a tug of war going on, wherein you want to make this or that point, but then you think, “What’s the use?” Well, I think that the first side should win; I think that adults discussing important current issues is a good thing, and that hurling bombs at each other is bad for the thrower, bad for the person the bombs are thrown at, and plays a big role in the continued cheapening and degradation of both public discourse, and of our society.

        So what are your answers to my questions probing events immediately on either side of the cutting of the cord?

  29. 30 Janus Friday, February 26, 2010 at 12:50 am

    I have no interest in changing your mind. You’re an adult; you get to make up your own mind about things. If you want to think a fetus is a person, be my guest.

    Just don’t try to change my mind about it. Ain’t gonna happen.

    And…it really does not pay to assume you know how anyone thinks about war or anything else. I don’t give a damn about diplomacy. If I find the cause is needful, I can make war. I am, after all, a Warrior.

  30. 31 Brian Friday, February 26, 2010 at 1:09 am

         I am more than a little baffled. Why do you post at all, then?

        You told me, “No flamethrower from me, Brian; just a blunt object to the side of your head: A fetus is NOT a human being.” If you weren’t trying to change my mind with that (or that of anyone reading over our shoulders), then what was your motive in writing that? You already felt that way, so you weren’t telling you anything…

         It can’t be that you are just looking for someone to come along, and say, “Right on Janus!  You go!” can it?  Man! I hope not! That would be pathetic (and I don’t think it is the case).

         So I remain without a clue as to why you post posts.

     

         I didn’t assume I knew your mind. I tried to make it clear that I didn’t actually know your mind. I was unaware that you are a warrior — and with a capital “W” at that. In what context are you one? Of course, to move the dialog along, rather than checking each premise with a separate post, it can be helpful to make assumptions for the building of the case, pointing out that you are doing so such that the other person can correct such assumptions in their response. That’s not the same as thinking I know you, or anything like that.

  31. 32 Dr. Prole Friday, February 26, 2010 at 8:06 am

    Blah blah blah. Don’t like abortion, don’t have one. Mind your own uterus. Oh, don’t have one? Well then, stay the hell out of people’s private family medical decisions.

  32. 33 Brian Friday, February 26, 2010 at 9:28 am

          Blah blah blah.
          Don’t like child abuse, don’t abuse yours.
          Mind your own family.
          Oh! Don’t have a kid? Well then, stay the hell out of [other]
          people’s private family … decisions.

     

       Presumably, those who aren’t mere ’round the bend ideologues, who aren’t people who are unable to see any points that might interfere with their cause celbre will see that the statements I just made are positions that cannot be tolerated.  If someone is abusing their children it is right to interfere with that kind of family — we have an obligation to the children who cannot defend themselves.

       To those who are aware of what it is that is growing inside the woman (it is a “human child”), the admonition “Don’t like abortion, don’t have one” is functionally equivalent — in all particulars — to “Don’t like infanticide?  Don’t kill your child.”  The idea that such a statement will change any minds, or hold the opposition at bay, is delusional.  It is sloganeering of the most empty headed kind.

  33. 34 Rob F Friday, February 26, 2010 at 9:53 am

    “But in the case of pregnancy, you played a role in bringing that person to life. This saddles you with responsibilities that you aren’t burdened with in the case where your child needs one of your organs to live.”

    This claim is unconvincing. If you voluntarily walk in a dangerous park at night, and you get attacked by someone, it is still permissible to defend yourself; voluntarily walking in a dangerous park at night does not mean you waive your right not to be attacked. Voluntarily having sex does not mean that a woman waives her right not to be pregnant.

    Let’s pretend you have a car that you really like. However, you never lock the doors or take the keys out of the ignition (you do turn the engine off when you park it.) Furthermore, you never turn on the alarm, use a wheel lock, or activate the immobilizer. Someone warns you that you are putting your car as risk of being stolen. You refuse to change anything, saying that your car “looks better with unlocked doors and the key in the ignition” and that “it is so much fun to be able to open the door fast and drive away”, and so on. Despite doing all that, it does not make it permissible for anyone else to steal the car from you, even if that person will somehow die if they do not get possession of the car; wantonly putting your car at risk of being stolen does not mean that anyone else has a superior claim to the car’s use, possession, and ownership than you do.

    By analogy, even if a women voluntarily consents to unprotected sex, it does not follow than anyone else has a superior claim to the use, possession, and ownership of her uterus than she does.

  34. 35 JJ Friday, February 26, 2010 at 9:54 am

    Look Brian: You were the one who got snotty about “reading comprehension”, so stuff your platitudes.

    When you begin with a premise equating an embryo with a child or a teenager, I don’t bother responding because it’s wrong from the start, and I’m not into playing “What If” games. There’s no “debate” to be had in that context.

    OTOH, if you’d like to explain how you think a law like the one in Utah could actually be administered, that might be an interesting discussion.

  35. 36 Brian Friday, February 26, 2010 at 10:34 am

    JJ,

       I didn’t equate teenagers & embryos.  I equated the function of the terms.  They equally are names for a stage of the life of a human.

       Teenagers are not equal to adults.  Adults can vote, marry, drink alcohol, join the military, enter into binding contracts (the list is larger).  Teenagers cannot.  But the term “teenager” serves exactly the same role as the term “adult,” naming a specific stage in the life of a human being.  The term “fetus” serves the exact same role.  That is not equivalent to stating a fetus is equal to a teenager.

       But, since these are both names for a stage of a human beings life, rights that belong to a human BY VIRTUE OF THEIR HUMANITY apply equally to feti and adults.  Rights that do not fit into that category do not.

       It is clear to me that you want to steer the discussion into areas you are more comfortable with, or you want to stifle discussion in some areas (when you begin with … , I don’t bother responding …, I’m not into … There’s no “debate”to be had…)   But this seems to me to be in the category of “poisoning the wells.”  And, of course, poisoning the wells is no argument at all, it is an attempt to avoid the issue.

     

    Rob,
       I’m digesting.

  36. 37 Janus Friday, February 26, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    “I am more than a little baffled. Why do you post at all, then?”

    Letting you know that your opinion is only your opinion, and that there are those who disagree with your opinion. So you don’t go getting the idea that everyone agrees with you, y’know? So you’ll know that when you start your arguments with that assumption, your argument is automatically faulty.

    As for assumptions and guesses about basics: don’t make them; ASK.

    “They equally are names for a stage of the life of a human.”

    You wanna talk about reading comprehension? How about misbegotten modifiers?

    “Equal” is not a modifier for “names.” There is nothing “equal” about names. And there is definitely nothing “equal” about stages of life. You cannot “equate” “function of terms.”

    “But the term ‘teenager’ serves exactly the same role as the term ‘adult,’ naming a specific stage in the life of a human being. The term ‘fetus’ serves the exact same role.”

    No it doesn’t. A teenager is actually a human being (sometimes evidence being to the contrary 😉 ), having already been born. A fetus is a term for a development stage of an embryonic pre-being. Like a poult is a stage in the life of a chicken, but an egg is not a chicken at all, merely a pre-chicken.

    But if, in your response to JJ, you think it’s fair that you be allowed to discuss and debate the disposal of somebody else’s body — their own property — then let’s discuss your circumcision, shall we? Have you been circumcised? Let’s pretend not. And remember I said “pretend.” Now, let’s all talk about how we can pass a law that forces you to get circumcised, if that’s what we think is best. Or prevents you from being circumcised, if that’s what we think best. You get to sit back and not vote on it, ’cause we’ve got your best interests in our hands. Fair?

  37. 38 Janus Friday, February 26, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    Rob, that car analogy was quite wonderful. I shall have to remember that.

  38. 39 JJ Friday, February 26, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    Brian – I’m only trying to steer the discussion into a more productive area, since it’s clear that none of the commenters responding to you buy into your argument. Therefore, it’s a little counterproductive to keep flogging this dead horse, and to continue doing so means you’re just propagandizing.

    The reason for my post wasn’t to ask whether this is a good law or a bad law — it’s a given that it’s bad, wrong and stupid. The only question was, how on earth would it be implemented.

  39. 40 JJ Friday, February 26, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    Rob – Ditto Janus. That was quite apt.

  40. 41 Brian Friday, February 26, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    “‘But the term “teenager” serves exactly the same role as the term “adult,” naming a specific stage in the life of a human being. The term “fetus” serves the exact same role.’

    “No it doesn’t. A teenager is actually a human being (sometimes evidence being to the contrary 😉 ), having already been born. A fetus is a term for a development stage of an embryonic pre-being.”

    Well, you’re begging the question here. The very crux of the issue is whether a fetus is a human or not. It won’t do to say that a fetus isn’t a human because it isn’t a human; that is circular reasoning. You state that being born makes you a human being. I say that there is no way (none that I see) to make the case for that, other than merely asserting it. The criterion of having been born appears to be chosen out of convenience, not from any more well defined reason.

    Considering a baby the day before he is born, the baby sleeps & wakes, dreams, reacts to pain & so on. The pre-born baby has metabolism, a fully functional circulatory system, an immune system, brain waves, a fully functional nervous system, and on, and on. It almost appears being merely peevishly stubborn to deny the humanity of the baby at that stage (1 day pre-birth).

    ______________________________________________

    You’re right, you’re right, I know your right.

    “They equally are names for a stage of the life of a human” would much better be “They equally are names for a stages of the life of a human.”

    Since I had been accused of asserting a “false premise that an embryo/fetus is EQUAL to an out-of-utero human being,” I focused on the word “equal.” it is true that it was not accurate syntax. But that is a far cry from entirely missing the point, with respect to reading (or writing) for comprehension.

    If someone says, “I ain’t got no need of money; I has a rifle,” and someone gets the idea that the speaker is planning to spend their rifle (rather than use it to hunt for their own food), then the listener has failed to listen for comprehension. The speaker mangling the syntax is not the same as not clearly making their point (though I am a fan of proper syntax).

    ____________________________________________

    It can’t be possible to think that I might think everyone agrees with me, when I am posting reactions to copy that I disagree with. I mean really, come on.

    But even without that, since I am daily bombarded with pro-abortion propaganda, it would be impossible to be unaware that not everyone agrees with me.

    ____________________________________________

        “They equally are names for a stage of the life of a human.”

         “Equal” is not a modifier for “names.”
         There is nothing “equal” about names.

    Alright, fine. They have an equal function, that of delineating stages of human life.

         You cannot “equate” “function of terms.”

    Perhaps; but you can equate function as terms. That, in turn, can be parlayed into equating the function of terms as delineators — they serve the same function.

    ___________________________________________________

         But if, in your response to JJ, you think it’s fair that you be
         allowed to discuss and debate the disposal of somebody else’s
         body — their own property…

    Well, of course it is fair to discuss it and debate it. Discussion and debate have no material result. People can discuss and debate whatsoever they want. That is not in question.

    Regarding that snippet above, what is in question, from my viewpoint, is whether the baby is part of the woman’s body, and whether it is her property. (And the 2nd of those questions, in the minds of some, extends far beyond birth. Some in academia advocate being able to “abort” children past 6 months after birth!)

    Clearly residing somewhere does not make you a part of the residence. I am in my house, but I am not a part of the house. I say that, among other things, what makes you a human being is possessing human DNA, being alive & growing. As I have indicated before, I mean by “growing” that nothing but nutrition, hydration, gas exchange (obtain O2, get rid of CO2) and shelter (warmth) are required for continued maturation toward or through adulthood.

    Of course, prior to cutting the cord, the baby’s gas exchange happens through the umbilical cord. But the baby is not a part of the woman’s body; the baby resides within the woman, to be sure. And even more critically, the baby depends on the woman for nutrition, hydration, gas exchange and shelter. But every part of the woman’s body (at least every non-cancerous part) has the exact same DNA. That DNA is different than the DNA of the baby. Though a woman’s organs and bones, et al., will grow as she matures, it is growth of a different sort than the growth of a human being toward maturity — after all, we don’t speak of bone beings, or liver beings; we do speak of human beings, however.

    So, since I do not agree that the baby is a part of the woman’s body, and since I do not believe that one person can own another, then I say that there can be meaningful discussion about the disposition of that baby.

    That is the whole point.

     

    Now, there are disagreements as to how intrusive of a role the government (as representatives of the members of the society) should exercise in the raising of children. There are antagonistic categories, such as the compelling interest of the state and personal freedom. But none of these disagreements hold that executing your children is something that the government should stay out of. This, in turn, brings us to the issue of the government playing a role in the execution of a baby while it is within his mother.

  41. 42 Brian Friday, February 26, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    JJ,

    You are right, of course that implementation of the law would be virtually impossible in some cases, and rather difficult in others.

    The same is true of laws like suicide laws, or even spousal abuse laws, since abused spouses often refuse to testify.

    But difficulty in implementation doesn’t seems a proper reason to not pass a law, to me. I see laws as a codification of that which the society (as represented by legislators) finds wrong (stealing, assaulting, vandalism, etc.). Difficulty in implementation of a law against it doesn’t negate the wrongness of a given behavior or act. Really it doesn’t even speak to the wrongness, or lack thereof, of an act or behavior.

    It seems practically any law can be used as a vehicle for tyranny. Think of anti-shoplifting laws. Police could be stationed at the exits of stores to examine everything that shoppers are carrying. Random home searches for receipts that match possessions within could be undertaken.

    But for the most part, tyranny does not rear its ugly head everywhere.

    Finally, there are a significant number of the acts a law prohibits that are simply avoided because the person who would otherwise do the thing is reluctant to break the law — not a large number, but some.

  42. 43 JJ Saturday, February 27, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    Brian

    But difficulty in implementation doesn’t seems a proper reason to not pass a law, to me.

    We’ll have to agree to disagree — to me, the government should only be able to pass a law when they have damn good reason to do so, rather than because they have little reason not to.

    I often see this argument about passing laws against various personal choices, behaviour and so-called “victimless crimes”: “We already have laws against some personal choices, so what’s one more?”

    However, to me the fact that we already have laws dictating personal choices just means that we have too many laws, not that it’s okay to have even more.


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