Who is the Baby, Who’s Mom is Brain Dead?

A lot of commenters on this site are sympathetic to the husband and parents who want the brain dead mom and her baby extinguished because the mom said she didn’t want to be left alive if severely disabled requiring life support, brain dead or comatose.

However that’s her, now there is another human to consider. Inside her.

Lets’ give the baby a name–pick one–George–Gracie–I can imagine that little baby objecting to some arguments made about the right of the father or the parents of the brain dead mom to terminate the mom and end its life when a little time and it could be a complete baby ready for life.

But you see, I look at sonograms, I know some stuff about humans and that’s a human in there.

It’s growing as fast as it can, hoping to make it past the grim reaper, in the case of George or Gracy.

It’s easy to sympathize with the parents and husband–get it over, but who speaks for the life that cannot speak?

The state or society should if life is sacred.

Should we be able to talk and post about how that baby is not a human? That the baby is not a person, a citizen with legal person hood under the law, meaning the right to live and have it’s life protected by the state where it resides. It does reside, you know, even if in utero.

Or am I missing something?

There is a point, whether before birth or after, when the interests of the human being become an interest of morality/ethics/the law/the society.

That’s why these matters deserve our attention. Why the widespread practice of abortion has stirred up so much conflict and debate.

In the olden days before Judeo/Christian influence, when pagans ran the world, infanticide was common–you don’t want the kid after looking it over, wrong sex, ugly, birth defect, you could leave the helpless thing to die on some hillside or even roll it into the fire and watch it die. Pagans did that, people do that now. Don’t they? Peter Singer, now a chair in moral philosophy at Princeton asserts that animals and humans are equal and parents should be able to kill kids up to his arbitrary suggestion of 30 days after birth.

Singer has no problem with infanticide, and he surely has no problem with abortion at any time before birth. Singer is a self descried utilitarian, which means that moral and ethical considerations are whatever works for you and for the situation–relativism. Utilitarianism started with Jeremy Bentham and was most effectively articulated and promoted by Brit polymath genius politician utilitarian philosopher John Stuart Mill. You might say I think Mill was real smart, smart enough to be really wrong but never in doubt–utilitarianism is no morality at all.


The Judeo Christian ethic/morality built on the sanctity of human life caused some reorientation of rules and attitudes many millennia ago and cast a pall on some pagan and barbarian practices. Sometimes societies influenced by such morality passed laws that coincided with their sense of morality, that’s what civilizations do. Laws passed and enforced reflect the society’s sense of morality–that’s what laws do.

Even some old but wise pagans, for example the Greeks respected human life. For example the old original Oath of Hippocrates that I keep on my wall (I can touch it from where I sit) in a frame, me being old fashioned, says what physicians should hold as a sacred obligations.

Third Paragraph of of the Oath of Hippocrates

“I will follow that method of treatment which, according to my ability and judgment, I consider for the benefit of my patients, and abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous. I will give no deadly medicine to anyone if asked, nor suggest any such counsel; furthermore, I will not give to a woman an instrument to produce abortion.”

I know those words sound so old fashioned and violate the relativist canon of morality, anything goes, or the utilitarian version which means whatever works for you, whatever rows your boat–that’s the funny thing about morality and ethics, they are substantial and constant. That is why relativist, utilitarian approaches sometimes violate the prohibitions that are the most clearly moral.

Now the secular/deterministic/utilitarian/post modernist/existentialist/nihilist/relativist approach creates for our society and modern civilization in general, a regression to those olden days when barbarians rolled helpless infants into the fire. You think there aren’t places on this earth where babies are evaluated and then drowned for convenience or allowed to die of starvation and exposure?

Right here in the old USA we got all worked up about what Kermit Goznell did at his abortion clinic in Philly after some botched abortions resulted in live babies. We were pretty upset that they pithed those babies when they were alive (pithing means snipping the spinal cord up high so they die cause they can’t breathe), but we ignored George Tiller in Wichita Kansas who killed thousands of mature babies quietly before birth by grabbing them by the shoulders, then sticking an instrument in the back of the neck, into their brains before they could squeal or take their first breath. Tiller was a little more skilled.

Kathleen Sebelius was a a big Tiller supporter and Tiller, who was a rich man, contributed heavily to her campaigns in Kansas, now she is our Secretary for Health–is she George or Gracy’s Secretary for Health or might she be the Sec for Death for really little babies?

George Tiller was a more adept murderer than Goznell, wasn’t he? But it was still murder of an innocent human almost born. In Texas we have another Goznell in Houston–he just isn’t as clever or adept as Tiller, so he had to kill some born babies. We have a president that voted for the kill ’em even if they are born alive legislation in Illinois. How many reading this would be able to do such a thing–guess it depends–ever killed a kitten, a puppy ? Life goes out of an animal just like it does a baby.

You can say, and even feel comfortable with the idea that anyone can do anything they want in regards to the helpless, but if you were helpless and your life depended on the good will of other humans, perhaps you would hope that society would prohibit murder, infanticide, feticide, euthanasia, or extermination of the disabled or elderly or infirm or the useless eaters or political outcasts and undesirables.

It might be worthwhile to assess our values when we decide that a fetus is not a human–what about a retarded child or adult, a homosexual, a hydrocephalic, worse a microcephalic, a kid with spina bifida or trisomy 21 (Down syndrome), a political dissident, gypsy or a Jew? We have a new bioethics that is scoring people for age and quality of life, in preparation for medical care resource decisions? In a collectivist society–you bet–got to decide how to distribute the resources, best to leave it in the hands of professionals and central planners.

Itzhak Perlman got polio when he was 4,would Singer consider him a candidate for extinction? When he was 4 who could say what he might do, but he would be a burden for his parents. How bout this disabled guy Hawking? He can’t take care of himself and he’s been disabled for so long.

Sanctity of life is a tough one if it interferes with your schedule or your plans.

39 responses to “Who is the Baby, Who’s Mom is Brain Dead?

  1. I can understand not wanting to be artificially kept alive if there was no hope of coming out of it.

    But I also would think that the mother would want what would be best for the unborn baby to come first.

  2. Well argued and nicely articulated. The argument for “post-birth abortion” has been put forward quite seriously, and by frighteningly upper-level politicians.

    I seldom, if ever, promote anything I write on another’s blog, but some time ago I wrote about abortion in a way that dealt solely with facts. My conclusion is unsatisfactory to all sides, I believe, and the entire thing is a couple of thousand words long, but I have a hunch you may find it interesting. I hope so, anyway. http://probablydontlikeyou.wordpress.com/2012/03/22/abortion-put-simply/

    • It was a good read, Frank, thanks for sharing. My one complaint about this otherwise well-thought out piece is that, after equating abortion to feticide, and feticide to murder… I end up a bit lost as to why murder should remain banned by law but feticide should not. Unless I just missed it…?

      Other than that, very good read.

  3. The child is the remaining patient, deserving of all medicine has to offer to preserve its life irrespective of ideological arguments others want to bring to the table. If any one of us had a life threatening illness, who would be in favor of others making the decision that we should die rather than receive available and appropriate care simply on the basis that our life is of no importance to them? What precedence does it set to say others can decide an innocent person’s death simply because they don’t value any life other than their own?

    It’s sad and disturbing that this is even open to question.

  4. The problem with discussing the issue of the unborn lies in the typically used terminology — “abortion,” “right to life,” “freedom of choice,” etc. — which prevents rational discussion while simultaneously assuring that power accrues to the leadership of the opposing sides in what becomes an entirely political debate, a debate that in the end resolves nothing because the terminology prevents any resolution from occuring. If I may illustrate, you are either “anti-women’s rights,” or you are “anti-baby;” you are either “pro-liberty” or “pro-life.” There is no middle ground on which to compromise when the issue is thusly framed, no matter how calmly or rationally one approaches the subject.

    So instead of arguing over “abortion” — a layman’s term for a medical procedure absolutely necessary to save the life of a woman suffering an ectopic pregnancy, but most often used as ex post facto birth control — the real discussion needs to be about when human life actually begins (and ends, apropos of the situation under discussion) from a scientific standpoint.

    If we could ever agree on such a point, even via imperfect consensus (i.e., “Look we aren’t sure yet, so for now life starts at the end of the 1st day of the 2nd trimester, let us get back to you,”) then at least legally, anything before that point would absolutely be between a woman, her conscience, and her physician, and everyone else and their viewpoints can go hang, while anything after that point would be prosecutable as murder, plain and simple, regardless of the method (or terminology) used.

    In such an environment there would be almost no grey area (again, I speak legally), no question of rights or ethics, no exploitation of easily-swayed emotions by conniving politicians. The question becomes brutally simple: “Living homo sapiens, yes or no?” Everything else follows logically from the answer.

    Sadly, Science (under pressure from the general public) seems more interested in searching for a more effective “morning-after” pill than in defining the parameters of the life such a pill aims to prevent in the first place. Tragically, Government seems at least as uninterested due to the resulting streamlining (not to say “culling”) of regulation such a finding would entail, as well as the permanent loss of a social issue with which to divide the population amongst the brokers of power.

    • Man, I’ve been writing books lately. Apologies, my friends. From now on if I can’t say it in ten sentences or less, I just won’t say it.

      • Smokey, writing as an engineer, I usually say “Why use ten words, when a thousand will suffice.” Just spit it all out onto the page. We can always just scroll to the end if it seems too long.

      • No apologies for a good effort and valuable points made. I say it with enough words to express my thoughts, you should too.

        I have enough respect for the people who read to give them the choice. If they want the Cliff’s not version on some of these subjects, it’s just not my style. Milloy says I should use the cannon, not the machine gun, but I guess I am a machine gunner/mini gunner type.

    • Smokey, unfortunately it is impossible to separate the “science” from the “morality” of this issue. The widespread acceptance of abortion was born (pun intended) out of the “ME” generation. It is all about “ME”. It was about ME when I had sex, and it’s about ME and my inconvenience when we made a baby and its about ME and my convenient life when we terminated its life. I have read a few studies looking at statistics and somewhere between a conservative 95% and (I believe conservative) 98% of all abortions are done out of convenience (ex post facto birth control). We have willingly killed over 50 million souls since 1973, that’s an entire generation for the sake of convenience. Is it any wonder we are willing to abdicate our parental roles in the lives of children that do come to term? I believe this issue is directly related to a following post on teen suicide.

      We need, as a nation, to take a good hard look at our core values and ask if we are doing the right things. If we are not willing to put the needs of our children over our own then the answer is a resounding NO.

    • No, actually its about how the proponents of abortion can find a place where they can justify their actions.

      The action of abortion is to get rid of a pregnancy, usually because the pregnancy is not wanted by someone.

      So they will say to the anti abortion opponents–well what about rape or incest? What about the health of the mother?

      So the answer is–there’s a life in there, and we consider it a pregnancy when the presence of a yolk sak with a bud appears in the uterus, we do not consider ectopic pregnancies that way because of what you said, mom will die if the ectopic is allowed to grow and bursts, some ectopics are never discovered, they just degenerate in place.

      So a pregnancy that is the product of rape or incest is not human? So if a girl is pregnant and it will screw up her college plans, or vacation plans or social plans or her boyfriend freaks at the possibility she will bring forth a child?

      Abortion is an amoral act, and some resolution on the question of when the baby/fetus is a human is already in the rear view mirror for the abotionists, they can live with 3rd trimester abortions because they want what they want.

      And the people who claim they stand for life can’t even see the false argument on rape and incest–since rape and incest is a convenient cover and used as a convenient cover for a convenience abortion and using the excuse ignores the real issue–does a person have the right to kill another person, no matter how small, no matter how helpless.

      • 1) True “abortionists” are few and far between. Those who are honestly “pro-choice” are much more common. These still tend to believe in an inalienable right to life, they just aren’t sure when it should start being enforced.

        2) “Amoral” as the typical “abortionist” may be, as I noted above, sometimes the only “moral” thing TO do is provide an abortion. However rare those instances may be (exceedingly, if I understand correctly), they are medically necessary to preserve the only life able to be saved in those cases. I prefer to discuss life vs non-life, rather than a blanket ban on medical procedures. Murder is murder, done with a coat hanger or in a fully staffed medical facility; on the other hand, very few believe there’s anything “amoral” about a routine biopsy.

        3) 100% agree: a child is a child is a child no matter how it came to be. My middle one shares exactly none of my unique genetic code, but I Double-Dog-Dare any one of you to tell me to my face she’s not my kid. (Her “siblings” would beat me to the punch, and they do things like toss rifles and sabers around for fun. Just as a word to the wise. ^_^) Just because her biological couldn’t do for her as I am able to doesn’t mean she should suffer because of it.

        Rape is provided as a justification, firstly because doing so works, thanks to the fuzzy thinking often lamented around these parts, and secondly because our society still views sex — and thus, sexual assault — far too casually. Finally, it illustrates how weakly we punish the attacker and how poorly we provide for the victim, that many people honestly view an abortion as a reasonable resolution to the situation.

        Rape in this case is not only the attack itself — horrifying as it is — but also the sentencing of the victim to nine months of pregnancy and 1 to 50 hours of hard labor and childbirth. Rape and incest should be twice as severely punished as they are now, just for starters. “Forcible pregnancy” should be a separate crime from rape, and just as severely punished. “Forced childbirth” should be penalized by sentencing the perp to 18 years of forced labor to provide for the child he forced upon his victim, and that sentence should stand regardless of whether the victim keeps the child or places it for adoption.

        • Rape, incest, drug addicted parents, and extreme poverty are all tossed around because the “pro-choice” movement (not the blind followers but the true believers) is rooted deeply in eugenics. That’s why you get ridiculous studies attempting to linke abortion rights to crime reductions. Read some of Margarat Sangers books. It’ll make your skin crawl.

          • I don’t like it when my skin crawls… do I have to?

            It is hard to ignore the fact that minorities and the poor are the most likely to have an abortion, statistically. Walks like a duck….

  5. Is animating a corpse in the vague hope that a foetus can survive really a moral decision? What decision do you suggest the hospital takes when the body fails further, despite the most high-tech intervention? When her organs cease working and her brain starts to liquefy? How will this affect the gestation, and does that matter? Does that state have the right to seize a body like this, over the stated wishes of the woman when she was alive, or her husband and family now?

    • The real question, of course, is “Is that an actual baby in there, and if so what should we attempt in order to save its life?”

      If it isn’t a baby, then mother’s plug should have been pulled immediately. If it is, then again there’s no question: we do what we can to at least save one of the two lives involved in this horrible situation. As distasteful as it may be, that includes sezing medical control of the ‘corpse’ until such time is the child can live outside the womb.

      • it is not a corpse, it is a living thing with a brain that has been shelled to non functional.

        vegetative function will continue, as long as fluids, nutrition and breathing are provided.

        John Dale Dunn MD JD Consultant Emergency Services/Peer Review Civilian Faculty, Emergency Medicine Residency Carl R. Darnall Army Med Center Fort Hood, Texas Medical Officer, Sheriff Bobby Grubbs Brown County, Texas 325 784 6697 (h) 642 5073 (c)

        • I share your view, hence the quotes. I merely use the term offered to demonstrate that, alive or dead, that body is currently keeping a baby alive better than any incubator currently known to modern medicine.

          (IF it’s a baby, IF it’s alive, yadayadayada, lather rinse repeat….)

          • nice move smokey.

            I liked it.

            John Dale Dunn MD JD Consultant Emergency Services/Peer Review Civilian Faculty, Emergency Medicine Residency Carl R. Darnall Army Med Center Fort Hood, Texas Medical Officer, Sheriff Bobby Grubbs Brown County, Texas 325 784 6697 (h) 642 5073 (c)

    • Howdy bodycrimes
      In a case such as the one described, the lower physiological functions go on and the body does not begin to decompose. We can sustain the body for very long periods, as others have noted on other threads.
      If the kidneys, lungs or heart really begin to fail, it would be necessary to deliver the baby and hope for the best. At this stage of pregnancy, every day — nay, hour — is of benefit to the baby.

    • The body can be kept animated, with sub-optimal nutrition that isn’t absorbed or processed the same way it would be in a normal body. Eventually, the organs WILL fail. What does this mean for the foetus? What does it mean that it’s gestating inside a body that has no normal movement?

      This is grotesque. There’s nothing life affirming about a foetus – which has very little chance of coming to term – developing inside an animated corpse. It should have been allowed to die naturally, with its mother.

      • Another stretch of an argument.

        Nice try, but spelling foetus or having a British accent doesn’t make a person smart or wise or moral or a philospher.

        The vacuous arguments about mass of cells and worthless little throwaway won’t hide the fact that the author is just an advocate of abortion, early, late, always and forever, even if it’s murder for the convenience of the mother and her schedule or plans.

        The baby is a human and calling it foetus or an omellete doesn’t change the nature of the essense, at the stage it is, small embryonic, or growing and sucking it’s thumb in the uterus.

        The issue is human life and whether we think human life is special. Some don’t think so, and feel comfortable with that deception for an extreme form of materialist secularism.

        Basic morality isn’t up for a vote and regardless of its foundations, humanistic secularism, or Judeo Christian or other religious moral commitments to the sanctity of life, empty arguments still ring hollow.

        Show me a religion or philosphy that denigrates human life at any stage as a throw away–and I will show you a corrupt and decadent selfish rationalization.

        John Dale Dunn MD JD Consultant Emergency Services/Peer Review Civilian Faculty, Emergency Medicine Residency Carl R. Darnall Army Med Center Fort Hood, Texas Medical Officer, Sheriff Bobby Grubbs Brown County, Texas 325 784 6697 (h) 642 5073 (c)

  6. There is no science to be found here. “What defines humanity?” is purely a philosophical question. When I was a child I saw an educational cartoon insisting that if something “eats, breaths, and grows” then it was alive. If a parasitic worm in the intestines meets all of those criteria, then so does a fetus. Every attempt at a different definition seems to be a pretentious version of the old morality game. You know the one. “Would you murder someone? What if they were trying to kill you? What if it were Hitler in 1932?” The obvious goal, of course, is to get the subject to admit that there are no moral absolutes. Politically, though, the question is not whether moral absolutes exist, but rather, do we want the freedom to choose for ourselves, or do we want a government that imposes moral absolutes upon us? Historically, once a government has that power it can become quite fickle with it. The lure to support the government when you agree with their position can be strong, but what belief will be on the chopping block next?

    • This is exactly the issue most of my “pro-choice” friends have: they do not know for sure exactly when the nameless, faceless (to them) mass of tissue actually “becomes human.” As such, the decision becomes a moral judgement, one which they will not foist on anyone else. It’s actually sort of patriotic in a sad way.

      On the other hand, prove to them scientifically that a 3-day old zygote is, despite its appearance, an actual honest-to-goodness human being, and they will defend its right to its life as fervently as they defend their own, and on Constitutional/legal grounds, not moral or religious ones.

      • Scientifically, humanity would be defined by its genetic code. The moment egg and sperm join the resultant zygote is genetically human. Also it “eats, breathes, and grows” as much as any single celled organism so it is scientifically proven alive as well. Abortion proponents stick to the moral ambiguity arguments because they know they’ve already lost the scientific one. They’re banking on collective ignorance resulting in large part from the socially progressive public school system saving them from the facts of science. It’s the classic propagandist tactic of “muddying the waters.”

        Again, it’s down to the moral game. “What if the mother’s life is in danger?” “What if it was rape or incest?” “What if the mother is 13?” “What if the parents are drug addicts and the child is guaranteed to live in poverty and be severely mentally handicapped and…” You know the drill. The fact is, these are hard questions, much harder than “when does human life begin?” When presented with hard, emotional choices, people don’t want to have to choose. The appeal of having someone else make the choice for them is pretty strong. So you end up with a majority of people developing the attitude that it’s none of their business.

        Personally, I separate my opinions about the morality of abortion from my opinions about the appropriate powers of government. If, God forbid, I found myself facing one of those hard questions, I wouldn’t want the government to have the power to make me choose either way. I just don’t trust them to make a better decision than me. That being said, spreading the scientific facts to people like those friends of yours will help more people make the decision on their own without resorting to the deal with the devil that is government backed prohibition.

        • “If, God forbid, I found myself facing one of those hard questions, I wouldn’t want the government to have the power to make me choose either way.” I do hope He does forbid, for you and me both.

          Fair points all, GH05T. The only reason I think government belongs in this discussion is because murder is currently a crime, and rightfully so. Therefore, if the zygote is scientifically a living human, then logic suggests that any deliberate action taken to end its existence (except as I noted above) should be prosecuted as such.

          For the record (some may have guessed already), I personally believe conception is that moment when life begins for us. Since I do not have the facts to hand to “prove” that scientifically, I am left with making a more legalistic argument since religious or moral belief alone is not enough to write something into law. On this point, you and I agree completely, I think.

          • I think my point of view has more to do with logistics than morality or law. Given the limited resources and current political climate, a bottom up approach of convincing the public seems to have a better chance than top down from congress. Who cares if abortion is legal if no one will go get one? Of course I also fight the funding of abortions with public money and the forcing of providers to act against their own beliefs. Forcing people to act the way you want them to breeds animosity and always causes a backlash. That’s why I tend to err against prohibition in most hotly debated cases. Free exchanges of ideas and convincing arguments have more permanent effects. Abortion has been in decline since the mid 80’s. More than half of abortions are performed for women below the federal poverty line. Many women claim they felt they had no other option. Lobbying for better economic policy is likely to have more of a real world impact than lobbying directly against abortion. Reducing the cost and difficulty of adoption would also go a long way. I’m not advocating retreat so much as flanking maneuvers.

            • The late John Hart Ely of Yale, for instance, argued that Roe was wrong “because it is not constitutional law and gives almost no sense of an obligation to try to be.” The law clerk of Justice Blackmun, the Justice who authored the Roe v. Wade opinion, calls it “one of the most intellectually suspect constitutional decisions of the modern era The Washington Post’s legal editor says it has “a deep legitimacy problem.Even Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been critical of Roe, saying that it “ventured too far in the change it ordered and presented an incomplete justification for its action and that the Roe decision was “not the way courts generally work?

              the brave women coming forward in ever greater numbers to speak out about how abortion was not an act of empowerment but the result of abandonment, betrayal, and desperation, and how it has negatively affected their lives. It is important to be accurate in your representation of these women; commit to memory this phrase: They speak out about how abortion was not an act of empowerment but the result of abandonment, betrayal, and desperation, and how it has negatively affected their lives.

              The website http://www.afterabortion.com established by a woman who had 5 abortions provides a place for women to help each other cope with the aftermath of their abortions. There are nearly 2.5 million posts. They tell stories of how they were coerced into aborting their children by boyfriends, husbands, friends, and family. They describe how abortion was far from being a choice. They speak of overwhelming guilt, nightmares, excessive drinking, drug abuse, promiscuity, an inability to form or maintain relationships, difficulty bonding with later children, and other ways in which they are suffering. You must visit this site and read their stories to know the real impact of abortion on women; commit parts of them to memory.

  7. “Sanctity of life is a tough one if it interferes with your schedule or your plans.” The Good Lord bless you, john1282.

  8. Human beings develop at an astonishingly rapid pace. Giving a quick recitation of the child’s development will weaken the “not a person yet” mentality.
    •The cardiovascular system is the first major system to function. At about 22 days after conception the child’s heart begins to circulate his own blood, unique to that of his mother’s, and his heartbeat can be detected on ultrasound.
    •At just six weeks, the child’s eyes and eye lids, nose, mouth, and tongue have formed.
    •Electrical brain activity can be detected at six or seven weeks, and by the end of the eighth week, the child, now known scientifically as a “fetus,” has developed all of his organs and bodily structures.
    •By ten weeks after conception the child can make bodily movements.

    Today, parents can see the development of their children with their own eyes. The obstetric ultra-sound done typically at 20 weeks gestation provides not only pictures but a real-time video of the active life of the child in the womb: clasping his hands, sucking his thumb, yawning, stretching, getting the hiccups, covering his ears to a loud sound nearby — even smiling.

  9. Ten to twenty percent of pregnancies result in miscarriage. The entirely hysterical proclamation that all fetuses are “human beings” and that all human beings are worthy of going to extraordinary efforts to “save” would necessitate that every woman of childbearing age was continually tested and if a pregnancy was detected that she was isolated from any and all risk factors (which are legion) and continually monitored to ensure that these “human beings” were given the widest possible range of treatments, nutrition and other pre-natal care.

    And as the many factors that cause miscarriages played out even more extraordinary measures would have to be taken to attempt to “save” these “human beings” even as the mother’s own body was attempting to “murder” them.

    Even today the technology exists to “save” even a dislodged embryo, if it was detected before being flushed by natural processes from the uterus. So we would have to dedicate huge amounts of resources to “monitoring” the entire world population of women that might be about to become pregnant and then go into a regimen of extreme care and preparedness should the woman begin to miscarry.

    Hence demonstrating the absurdity of the idea that all embryo’s and fetuses are “human beings”.

    • Human beings at all stages of development and age die for many reasons, and the argument forwarded is sophistry.

      What defines a human being–at various stages it may have different characteristics from young and helpless to old and helpless and in between but the argument that a fetus is not human is a reach that is energized by a need to say–discard it if you want.

      Don’t try to hard to put up these specious and vacuous arguments, you’ll get a hernia.

      John Dale Dunn MD JD Consultant Emergency Services/Peer Review Civilian Faculty, Emergency Medicine Residency Carl R. Darnall Army Med Center Fort Hood, Texas Medical Officer, Sheriff Bobby Grubbs Brown County, Texas 325 784 6697 (h) 642 5073 (c)

      • Brilliant article! Very well written, very well thought out, and scheduled to tick off all of the neopagans/wiccans/etc out there.

        And you used the word sophistry. Extra points for that one. Odds that certain people had to look it up? :D

    • False argument. The fact that many humans die every day and cannot be saved does not make them inhuman. Some people just find it distasteful or even cripplingly sad to face that fact. In the real world, limited resources necessitate prioritizing life-saving measures for those most likely to benefit. That is where the arguments about brain death and persistent vegetative state stem from. It’s possible that in the future we will be able to save many victims of brain injury that today would have been disconnected from life support. Saying that those people are somehow not human is merely a way of lessening the emotional impact of a difficult decision. There are far fewer miscarriages now in well-off, technologically advanced countries than there were in the past thanks to the advances in medicine. Your assertion that saving them all would be impossible does not diminish the fact that saving what we can is a worthwhile effort. Scientifically, a zygote is a living human. Your argument is emotional and defeatist , and does not address the scientific facts presented.

      • Touché I do believe.

        John Dale Dunn MD JD Consultant Emergency Services/Peer Review Civilian Faculty, Emergency Medicine Residency Carl R. Darnall Army Med Center Fort Hood, Texas Medical Officer, Sheriff Bobby Grubbs Brown County, Texas 325 784 6697 (h) 642 5073 (c)

  10. I think utilitarianism gets a bad rap far too often as it isn’t inherently wrong, it’s just that people don’t apply it correctly. At it’s root, all utilitarianism says is that what is moral is what results in the greatest good for everyone. All that does is put a bit of a logical structure in place for applying an ethical model. If the one assigning value and doing the math is God, it results in perfect good. If there are flaws in the way values are assigned or calculated, it results in flawed ethics.

    • good point. if utilitarianism get’s a bad rap it’s not that it can’t be used properly, it’s that it is used improperly.

      John Dale Dunn MD JD Consultant Emergency Services/Peer Review Civilian Faculty, Emergency Medicine Residency Carl R. Darnall Army Med Center Fort Hood, Texas Medical Officer, Sheriff Bobby Grubbs Brown County, Texas 325 784 6697 (h) 642 5073 (c)

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