I know which way I think here

And I know most will disagree with me.

The 36-year-old woman from Milan suffered a massive brain haemorrhage in October, during her 23rd week of pregnancy.

After being taken to hospital, she was pronounced clinically dead and there were fears for her unborn child.

But doctors at San Raffaele hospital in Milan managed to keep her on life support, feeding the developing foetus through a tube inserted in the mother’s stomach.

Against all the odds, the baby boy was born on Thursday by Caesarean operation, in the woman’s 32nd week of pregnancy.

And:

Immediately after the birth, the woman’s relatives gave doctors permission to remove her organs and for them to be donated for transplants.

“While we are very happy that the baby has been born we cannot forgot the pain that the family is feeling over the loss of this young woman,” doctors said in a statement.

A similar case in Ireland, also involving a pregnant woman who is on life support, has caused intense controversy.

Relatives of the woman want her life support systems turned off but doctors are refusing to do that because they say they are bound by a law which obliges them to defend the right to life of her 16-week-old foetus and keep it alive until it can be delivered.

The case is now to be decided in court, with the High Court in Dublin expected to make a ruling next week.

It’s an interesting twist on that being tied to the famous violinist thought experiment, isn’t it? There the argument is that the woman cannot be hooked up to said violinist in order to save the violinist’s life. Because that would be to compromise the woman’s rights. And thus said same woman cannot be forced to carry to term a baby, on the grounds that forcing her to support another with her organs is a breach of her rights.

But here that same logic runs the other way. There is no person, no mother, there any more. Brain dead. All that is left is a possible life support system for the baby. And in that Italian case they were very clear about it: as soon as the baby’s safe whisk those organs off to save other lives. There’s nothing but a life support system there and the only question is who gets first dibs on it.

Wonder if they’ll accept the same logic in the Irish case? There’s no extant rights to the corpse so who does get first dibs on that life support system?

The Guardian does seem to have it differently:

In Ireland, a woman who is clinically dead but 17 weeks pregnant is being kept alive against her family’s will. At this painful time, her relatives must go to court to stop the Irish state treating their loved one’s body as a cadaveric incubator.

Well, why not? She’s dead isn’t she?

Be angry that a dead woman’s body is being used as an incubator.

Why? Why not use it to save (create, to taste) a life before throwing it away? That is, after all, entirely the logic of cadaveric organ transplantation, that bits we no longer need because we’re dead enable others to carry on living.

And think through that cadaveric transplantation again. There’s very definitely a movement out there insisting that it should all be opt out. That without our expressed insistence that it not happen that our organs should be made available to save or improve the lives of others after our death. And the difference here is?

Remember, there is no woman left here who has rights. There’s only the fetus subject to a kill it/don’t kill it decision. Why are people arguing for the kill it one?

58 thoughts on “I know which way I think here”

  1. So Much for Subtlety

    It’s an interesting twist on that being tied to the famous violinist thought experiment, isn’t it?

    Is it? Isn’t it just a fight over who controls the corpse? The Doctors in Italy agreed with the family – which was to give organs and presumably support the fetus until it was viable. The Doctors in Ireland said that they did not dare do what the family wanted as the law prohibited them from allowing the corpse to cool. Probably wrongly I suspect. Catholic teaching must be that active intervention to kill a fetus is wrong, not that passively allowing one to die in the womb is murder.

  2. I’d guess the chances of keeping a 16-week-old foetus alive are a lot less than for a 23-week-old, so there’s a significant difference there. But, for me, the bigger difference is that the Italian woman’s relatives were evidently in favour of the doctors efforts, in sharp contrast to the Irish case.

    This case actually highlights the weirdness of Irish law. A living woman has a right, expressly guaranteed by the Constitution, to travel to any jurisdiction where she can obtain an abortion. But if she is immobilized she is an incubator first and foremost.

  3. So Much for Subtlety

    Why are people arguing for the kill it one?

    I assume it is the thin edge of the wedge type thing. The pro-abortion camp does not talk about the vast majority of abortions or partial-birth abortions. They try as hard as possible to never mention those and consistently down play them. They talk about the vanishingly small group of young girls who have been raped by a relative and so on.

    So I would guess the pro-abortion lobby has decided to fight the Irish law forbidding doctors to kill a baby and they have chosen the most plausible and heart-wrenching case they can find. Notice the issue is not abortion, it is whether the family’s desires should be denied. It is a creepy story framed as a quasi-necrophiliac practice. Because they want to push the Irish public into abortion on demand up to the day before birth.

  4. What would the brain dead mothers wishes be if she were still sentient?

    Unless she had been seeking a termination I think it must be presumed that she would want her unborn child to live.

    Really can’t understand her families standpoint at all.

  5. Who has to care for the baby once born?

    If the relatives aren’t in a position to do so would you really want the state, in particular the Irish state looking after it?

  6. Things are never quite that simple. There are a whole bunch of questions here.

    What the woman’s beliefs would or might have been?

    Who the remains of the woman belong to? I suspect many here are uncomfortable with the answer being “the State” or “the medical profession” rather than “her family.”

    There’s very definitely a movement out there insisting that it should all be opt out. That without our expressed insistence that it not happen that our organs should be made available to save or improve the lives of others after our death.

    There are many movements in modern society, many of which are managerialist, monomaniac in their focus, statist or even totalitarian. It doesn’t mean that anybody rational must agree with them. I accept that if you take the point that the opt-out, no family input system is desirable, then you are a fair way (but not all the way) to the Irish medics’ position.

    And then there is the cost / benefit issue – emotion aside, is this more likely to produce a positive outcome than similar resources being expended on treatments for other people. And I simply don’t have (and I suspect even the medics haven’t considered) the actual probabilities here. They’re just jumping the anti-abortion shark.

    Possibly because they are afraid of the political and legal consequences rather than they really want to. But probably not.

  7. Bloke in Germany –

    “Who has to care for the baby once born?

    If the relatives aren’t in a position to do so would you really want the state, in particular the Irish state looking after it?”

    You could of course extend that argument to the hoards of benefit dependent and “too young” mothers.

    The logical conclusion would be a “can’t feed em, don’t breed em” test followed by compulsory abortions.

    I don’t think we want to go there do we?

  8. So Much for Subtlety

    Bloke in Germany – “If the relatives aren’t in a position to do so would you really want the state, in particular the Irish state looking after it?”

    Not really. The Church would do a much better job. Given child abuse rates were lower in the care of the Church than the State. But if they are not available, let’s wait until the baby is born and ask it. I suspect it might echo George Burns and point out that it is much better than the alternative.

  9. Surely this has nothing directly to do with abortion or the wishes of the relatives.

    If the medical profession can save a human life and the human has not chosen to say no thank you to their services then they must do so. Anything else is rushing down the road to perdition.

    Wasn’t there a case in England recently where the Jehovahs Witness parents did not have the right to refuse a life-saving blood transfusion for their child?

    That Guardian article was shameful.

  10. Haven’t read the story, CBA, but if this had happened to my wife to her while she was up the duff I’m not sure I’d have wanted the child to be born, just from a hard work point of view. Not keen on single fatherhood, it’s hard enough for two people to raise a child. having to do it while grieving for your missus would be a real chore.

  11. It’s not like the famous violinist.

    Diary of a captive human dialyser:
    Day one: Christ, he’s been practising his bloody scales and arpeggios for two fucking hours now. (Only nine months of this shit to go.)
    Day two: Jeez, there he goes again. Just when the pubs are opening.
    Day three: slits wrists

    Whereas brain dead mother would have no opinion on the violinist. She’s just an incubator.

    Can you be brain dead but otherwise perfectly healthy? Seems weird / improbable to me.

  12. Jesus the Guardian and its readers are scum.

    As regards the baby’s upbringing, adoption of newborns is generally quick and straightforward. It’s the older kids that tend to languish in care.

  13. Hard cases, bad laws, ‘n all that.

    It doesn’t say much about the case in Ireland but doesn’t the father get a say in all this? I certainly dislike the implied idea that the deceased’s family has total control over someone’s remains n matter what it means to anyone else, unless by her family they also mean the father of the foetus.

    And no, I’m not arguing for opt out as law, just that at some point there are cases where someone other than the family might have a say in what happens and in these cases the courts are probably the best places to decide.

  14. They’re upset because according to Proggie dogma, a foetus isn’t a person and keeping the mother’s body functioning to benefit the foetus implies that it is, indeed, a person.

  15. Bloke in Germany – Who has to care for the baby once born?

    Dunno. But someone will. Lots of people would be delighted to adopt a baby, if the relatives don’t want to.

    If the relatives aren’t in a position to do so would you really want the state, in particular the Irish state looking after it?

    Better to be alive than dead, no?

  16. Bill – Really can’t understand her families standpoint at all.

    Me neither. It’s a very strange story. I can’t imagine a normal human being, on hearing that a relative has died, urging the doctors not to try to save her unborn child.

    The Guardian article would shame the Inner Party from 1984.

    This year, a suicidal teenage victim of rape and torture (Miss Y) was forced to carry her pregnancy to viability and deliver by C-section […] Miss Y, raped, seeking asylum in a country that bureaucratically continues her torture.

    I feel sorry for Miss Y, I really do. But even giving her the full benefit of the doubt and assuming her rape story is true – and it’s not as if “asylum seekers” don’t make up all sorts of shit to get into the West – nobody forced her to carry her baby to term.

    A doctor declining to give you an abortion isn’t “forcing” you to do anything. Sure, in terms of outcomes the distinction might be trivial, but I think it’s still important.

    If I held Russell Brand at gunpoint and demand he give me all his money and saucy Katy Perry pictures, I’d be forcing him. If Russell Brand refuses to give me all his money and naughty snaps, he’s not forcing me to be not-a-millionaire and Katy-Perry-pictureless.

    I think it’s important we keep these things clear in our minds so we can keep track of who is forcing whom.

    So nobody – nobody in the Irish medical profession at any rate – “forced” Miss Y to give birth. (It sounds like there was some bureaucratic fuckery and incompetence on the part of their immigration service – but they *did* offer to fly her to Holland for an abortion, and she declined to fill in the form).

    Just like nobody “forced” her to claim asylum in Ireland, of all places. But the Irish took her in, presumably gave her free housing and subsistence and medical care, and she’s upset she has to obey their laws? She’s upset they wouldn’t hoover the unborn baby out of her womb and incinerate it as medical waste?

    Yes, I can understand that an unwanted pregnancy would be traumatic, yes, I’m a brutish stinky lump of a man who will never fully understand the anguish of women in distress, but.. cry me a fucking river.

    If her asylum story is true, she’s lucky to be alive. And not just alive, but clean and fed and sheltered. Worse things happen every day of the year than a woman having a baby.

    I’m not saying this to pick on Miss Y, who reads like a genuinely tragic person with serious emotional problems. I’m saying it to pick on abortioneering vultures like Emer O’Toole, who lick their beaks and hover around hard-luck stories like this, hoping to turn one woman’s tragedy into a political feeding frenzy.

    Like those witches who were palpably disappointed to find out a young girl hadn’t been viciously gang-raped at the University of Virginia, the abortion carrion-feeders are a malignant and fundamentally misanthropic bunch. They want there to be awful, horrible cases they can sink their claws into.

  17. @Steve: “Like those witches who were palpably disappointed to find out a young girl hadn’t been viciously gang-raped at the University of Virginia, the abortion carrion-feeders are a malignant and fundamentally misanthropic bunch. They want there to be awful, horrible cases they can sink their claws into.”

    But they’d rather they weren’t like the ones in Rotherham, which they studiously ignore, and excuse if they can’t ignore…

  18. Thing with the violinist analogy is that the night before waking up attached I didn’t get my rocks off knowing that might be a consequence. It’s an analogy that takes taking responsibiliy for your actions out of it. That said taking personal responsibility.for your actions is an anthema to the lefties.

  19. I’m not sure about this violinist thing. The problem here is a moral one, that we are often morally attached to other people whether we like it or not. For instance, as a child of two parents, my moral attachment required me to care for one in her final months (at considerable effort and disruption and stress) and I may have to do the same for the other before he dies. It’s just how human relationships are. I don’t know in fact having written that, whether it’s even a moral thing or an emotional thing. Blurred lines. Whatever it is though, it’s certainly a thing.

  20. (at considerable effort and disruption and stress)

    That looks kind of peevish. It’s not meant as a complaint if that is how it reads. I don’t resent caring for my mum and only regret I could not have done more to ease her suffering.

  21. Bill,

    “Unless she had been seeking a termination I think it must be presumed that she would want her unborn child to live.

    Really can’t understand her families standpoint at all.”

    Considering that most couples can’t stop their parents dropping hints about getting married and having grandchildren… weird.

    I’ve generally become against abortion, because I’ve never met someone who was borderline and went through with the pregnancy and a decade later privately wished they’d taken the other decision. If my kids came home pregnant, I’d much rather they went through with it, and hell, I’ll work out a way to raise it with them, so they can still do things. Yeah, I might miss out on that Porsche I’ve promised myself, but knowing that I’m going to have grandchildren is more important.

  22. “and it’s not as if “asylum seekers” don’t make up all sorts of shit to get into the West”: I refer to them as ‘asylum shoppers” since very few come directly from their homes to Britain. They arrive somewhere that constitutes “asylum” and then decide to move on to find a more extravagant welfare state, or perhaps a place with more jobs, or more cousins, or feebler police ….

  23. @dearieme: “…and then decide to move on to find a more extravagant welfare state, or perhaps a place with more jobs, or more cousins, or feebler police ….”

    Or the UK, which is all four.

  24. @Bill, that’s a slippery slope argument thus not too convincing. It’d be entirely possible – and I guess the opinion of one or two here, that this unborn should be saved but the feckless made to pass tests before breeding.

    For example, riffing off SMFS’ comment, the Church in Ireland was quite happy to conceal actual births to unfit, “fallen” women. kill the children through at least neglect, and hide the bodies from the authorities. In sewage tanks. They are in no position to moralise on unborn children.

  25. Bloke in Germany – Not to take anything away from the genuinely terrible things that religious orders in Ireland did, but I think the “septic tank mass grave” story turned out to be bollocks:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2014/06/09/the-truth-behind-irelands-dead-babies-scandal-five-questions/

    Interestingly, after splashing “IRISH CATHOLIC SEPTIC TANK MASS GRAVE SCANDAL” all over the international press in early June, none of the major news outlets seems to have bothered follow up on it after the first week in June – except the Washington Post, which debunked the story.

    A nice reminder of how the mass media works.

    Mercifully, as with the grislier claims about Jimmy Saville and the UVA rape hoax, when something sounds too diabolically horrible to be real, it usually isn’t.

  26. “Who has to look after the child?”

    1. Nobody “has” to because nobody has the right to declare another human being’s existence to be a burden
    2. If it comes to it I and my wife will look after him/her and will.delight in doing so. Will in diuretic, however, need to take our place at the back of an extremely long line of couples just desperate to give the child a loving home.

    “I don’t fancy being a single father”. Then don’t be one! Just say goodbye at the ward and leave it to millions who do desperately want to be parents.

  27. I’m afraid though this is the same old abortion ‘choice’ question with unnecessary dressing on the side. There is an unborn child enjoying it’s natural development. Nobody, nobody has the right to prevent it enjoying it’s life. If the mother were alive she wouldn’t have any moral right to a ‘choice’ in the matter. She doesn’t gain that right because she is now dead. The father doesn’t have a right to choose. The other family members certainly don’t. This is a moral absolute, a base-line.

    And for once I feel the need to thank IanB and SMFS for expressing this so clearly.

  28. I’ve never met someone who was borderline and went through with the pregnancy and a decade later privately wished they’d taken the other decision.

    To be fair, you’d probably never know, they’d bury it so deep and never tell a soul. After all, it’s no different from any parent: not a single one will ever tell you they regret having a child, which means either 100% of parents have no regrets or this kind of thing is just never admitted. Even the feckless idiots who have kids they can’t even feed and don’t bother to see don’t say they regret having them.

  29. Nobody, nobody has the right to prevent it enjoying it’s life.

    Perhaps, but the negative right that the foetus has that his / her enjoyment of his / her life not be prevented does not necessarily imply a positive right that imposes a duty on others to take steps to allow his / her life to continue. We make end of life / cessation of care decisions all the time. In this case, I think the decision to attempt to continue the mother’s (“life” isn’t quite it, is it?) – existence, perhaps – to give the foetus a chance at life is probably the right one, but I don’t think it naturally flows from your assertion.

  30. Libertarian as I am, it seems to me that once people start with the natural rights type discourse, inevitably there develops this sense- like that of the abortionists- that the foetus just happens to be in there by some kind of cosmic coincidence. This is the problem with the violinist type thoughts.

    A baby “appears” in a womb due to conscious prior actions by the progenitors. Neither the woman whose body the womb is part of, nor the man who injected the semen, are disconnected from the baby’s presence in a rights sense.

    Creating a baby is an automatic responsibility.

    And anyway, outside the tiny libertarian circle nobody cares about the baby’s rights, negative or positive. Most of the discourse is based on an absurd assertion that it has no life, and thus no rights to assert. I find this bizarre and darkly comical as an argument.

  31. So Much for Subtlety

    Bloke in Germany – “They are in no position to moralise on unborn children.”

    I am sure, living where you do, you have heard of a blood libel? No they did not hide dead babies. Obviously. Whatever their faults, Catholics nuns are going to take things like infant baptism seriously. After all, why would they conceal it?

    But hey, as long as you can continue to push your own personal agendas by smearing an entire faith community, who cares if they actually killed children to make their Passover bread or not, right?

  32. So Much for Subtlety

    Dongguan John – “Thing with the violinist analogy is that the night before waking up attached I didn’t get my rocks off knowing that might be a consequence.”

    Consequences are for men. Not for women. Sure, you might have got your socks off, thinking it was literally just a bit of slap and tickle, but actually you have let yourself into a generation of obligation you cannot escape from. Forced labour in some parts of the world too – in the US where the Courts can decide what sort of money you would be earning if you worked really hard and make you pay most of it. Regardless of what you actually do earn.

    The other thing with the violinist analogy is that permitting it encourages kidnapping and assault. Crimes.

    Tim Newman – “After all, it’s no different from any parent: not a single one will ever tell you they regret having a child, which means either 100% of parents have no regrets or this kind of thing is just never admitted.”

    But it is different with abortion as people do say how happy they are – even ignoring We have to talk about Kevin. People even make post-abortion videos these days. Apparently that’s a thing.

    Ian B – “Libertarian as I am, it seems to me that once people start with the natural rights type discourse, inevitably there develops this sense- like that of the abortionists- that the foetus just happens to be in there by some kind of cosmic coincidence. This is the problem with the violinist type thoughts.”

    I disagree. I don’t think this is a question of natural rights. I think it is a question of what Mark Steyn calls a pornutopia or something like that. Western elites are deeply and very strongly committed to the idea that people ought to be having as much sex as possible with as many different people as possible, that they demand removal of any and all obstacles to people doing so. That is why they go all soft and gooey over 15 year old boys having sex with 13 year old girls. Abortion is the logical consequence – you do not want to interrupt your love life with a child.

    Everything else is a retrospective rationalisation.

    “And anyway, outside the tiny libertarian circle nobody cares about the baby’s rights, negative or positive.”

    Libertarians are some of the most pro-abortion people you will meet on the internet. The only people who still care are Catholics. And not many of them.

  33. @Steve, thanks for the correction.

    So instead of remains, it’s just 800 officially recorded deaths of infants at one religious slave camp for “fallen women”.

    That’s all right then.

  34. SMFS-

    Western elites are deeply and very strongly committed to the idea that people ought to be having as much sex as possible with as many different people as possible, that they demand removal of any and all obstacles to people doing so.

    This is absolute total cobblers, and I’m sure we’ve debated it before. These are the imaginary Marcusian Hedonists of the Cultural Marxism Hypothesis, modelled on a brief period from the late 1960s to the 1970s where, yes, hedonism was fashionable. It is thoroughly over- we are in, as I have often said, a second Victorian Puritan recrudescence- which is why old men are being thrown in jail in a witch hunt, Cameron and the Matrons are trying to ban porn, Canada has just found the excuse to impose the repugnant “Nordic Model” and the CPS recently announced a jihad against sexting. And so on. They must certainly do not go “soft and gooey over [teenagers having sex]”, they’re terrified of it and determined to stop it.

    The origin of the pro-abortion mania is nothing to do with sexual libertinism. It arose among the puritan matrons of the Progressive Era who- like the 2nd Wave Feminists who picked up their banner- were fiercely anti-sexual and saw both sex and pregnancy as abhorrent. Hardly any of either wave of feminists were mothers, or even wives or girlfriends. Many articulated their celibacy with a cod-lesbianism. Being pro-abortion was and is simply a way of alleviating the consequences of the fallen woman’s mistake in giving in- or being forced to give in- to evil male lust.

    What hedonism their was is over, at the elite level. You’re 40 years out of date.

    (The elevation of the homosexual to glorified status is another issue. The primary driving force being that men who are fucking each other aren’t imposing their vile lusts on women. Even so, the old hedonist gay has been gradually replaced by the dull, middle class, married-with-children Stonewall Gay as an ideal).

  35. So Much for Subtlety

    Bloke in Germany – “So instead of remains, it’s just 800 officially recorded deaths of infants at one religious slave camp for “fallen women”.”

    Not a religious slave camp. But do keep up the good work.

    “That’s all right then.”

    It is a lot better than what you claimed.

    Ian B – “This is absolute total cobblers, and I’m sure we’ve debated it before. These are the imaginary Marcusian Hedonists of the Cultural Marxism Hypothesis, modelled on a brief period from the late 1960s to the 1970s where, yes, hedonism was fashionable. It is thoroughly over- we are in, as I have often said, a second Victorian Puritan recrudescence”

    I am sure we have. It isn’t over. It is over for White men. To some extent. We have another lobby which argues that men should have no freedom, except to do whatever women want. But those women are not arguing against sex as such. Just against White heterosexual men having the sort of sex they want.

    “They must certainly do not go “soft and gooey over [teenagers having sex]”, they’re terrified of it and determined to stop it.”

    No they are not. They continue to do all they can to make sure teens are having sex. From glorifying it on TV to making sure they have condoms, to giving them lessons in primary school.

    “It arose among the puritan matrons of the Progressive Era who- like the 2nd Wave Feminists who picked up their banner- were fiercely anti-sexual and saw both sex and pregnancy as abhorrent.”

    A lot of those early feminists opposed abortion and birth control. It is not until the Marxists take over that they become committed to the sacrament of abortion.

    “(The elevation of the homosexual to glorified status is another issue. The primary driving force being that men who are fucking each other aren’t imposing their vile lusts on women. Even so, the old hedonist gay has been gradually replaced by the dull, middle class, married-with-children Stonewall Gay as an ideal).”

    You are focusing solely on feminists. Who do not write every single Western policy. The elevation of the Gay community is exactly the point – San Francisco style Bath Houses for all is the model. The only reason they push the dull middle class married Gay – not that there is any sign that Gays want that or intend to give up the Bath Houses – is because they think it helps push the Gay Right agenda.

  36. dcardno

    “..imposes a duty on others to take steps to allow his/her life to.continue.”

    I’m sorry, I don’t agree. The natural course of pregnancy and foetal development requires only that the active steps to harm the unborn child are not taken. These are the only active – and unnatural – steps.
    Ironically post – birth children DO require active steps in order to survive. Somebody must take the active decision to feed the child, to clothe it. Society even takes the active decision to compel complete strangers to pay taxes to educate the child.
    In this case the active.step is the family’s attempt to compel the medical staff actively to turn off life support. It seems to regard a notion of ‘dignity’ for one family member to override another family member’s right to live. In this they are supported by a British newspaper that I now hope will have the moral and intellectual consistency to begin campaigning against all organ donation.

  37. Bloke in Germany – “That’s all right then.”

    Never said it was mate. I said precisely the opposite.

    The truth seems to be less sensational and more complex than the made-up story about evil, cackling nuns stuffing dead babies into a vat of sewage though. Facts are sacred, right?

  38. But it is different with abortion as people do say how happy they are

    So do parents of children who were not considered for abortion. I’m not sure this proves anything. My point is that parents never say they regret having children, so the fact that those who decide not to abort don’t admit regret doesn’t tell us much.

  39. In this case the active.step is the family’s attempt to compel the medical staff actively to turn off life support.

    Wha? I’m sorry, but you seem to have confused “life support” – an active, intrusive, complex activity requiring costly equipment and a team of skilled professionals – with a passive process, like say, allowing access to food and water. The “active step” is unquestionably the intervention to provide life support. As I said, I don’t disagree with your conclusion – it just doesn’t follow from your assertion, and your confusion of an active versus a passive response doesn’t help.

  40. Well thanks for thinking I ‘ve got confused here. Just so you know, I am.well aware what life supports entails. I am also well aware of the active steps that are being taken to.kill the child

    I’m sorry but this exchange just isn’t about the narrow circumstances of this case; it follows from your own very general comment about the foetus imposing a duty on others to take steps etc..My reply makes it clear I.am referring to the general natural order of life. Of course there may be minority occasions, medical reasons for example, when intervention is required. This is the case for all of us, however. Most of us require medical Help at some point.

    So no, not confused at all. Thank you.

  41. I know a couple of mothers who openly regret having had children. (In both cases they have adult daughters with personality disorders and substance abuse issues who periodically deny them access to their grandchildren.)

    But it’s rare.

    I have met plenty more older childless couples who openly regret not having children. Though it’s possible they’d feel differently had they spawned an Evil Daughter from Hell.

    Overall I’d guess the vast majority of kids are a net benefit to your happiness, though they don’t half try your patience at times. I can’t use the toilet in peace without my youngest crying and banging on the door. He has an ongoing feud with the cat. He thinks nappy changing time is the best opportunity to practice his wrestling moves. He is obsessed with the bin. At the moment he spends half his waking hours trying to eat ornaments off the Christmas tree. I lifted him up earlier today and he smiled, gobbed all over my glasses, then started cackling like a loon.

    You might not always be deliriously happy as a parent, but you’re never bored.

    Maybe parental joy is really a species of domestic Stockholm syndrome, but I wouldn’t know what to do without the little monsters.

  42. I am also well aware of the active steps that are being taken to.kill the child No – you still have it wrong. Prolonging the foetus’ life requires an active intervention (which has already occurred), maintained over a six or eight week period. If everyone were to simply walk away, the mother would die (or her body would die, to be precise), and the foetus would die. That is different than if the mother was mentally and physically capable; if everyone were to simply walk away in that case, she would fend for herself, and both lives would continue. In that case, it would require an active intervention to terminate her (and the foetus’ life). We are all protected from an active intervention to terminate our lives – it is not clear from that that we are entitled to impose on others such that they are obliged to make active interventions to save our lives.
    I.am referring to the general natural order of life. Right – which does not include medical interventions such as life support, heart-lung machines, etc. Ending an active intervention is not itself active – it is a return to the passive neglect that will kill the mother and foetus.

  43. The point surely is that there are some people willing to “prolong the foetus’s life”, and the family are trying to stop them doing so. So, using another imperfect analogy, it is as if I am willing to treat you for a life threatening condition, and your family are trying to get the court to prevent me doing so, because they want you to die. For some reason.

    The baby hasn’t imposed on anybody. Others have willingly stepped forward to save its life, and more others are trying to stop them.

  44. I have met plenty more older childless couples who openly regret not having children.

    Funny, because I’ve not met any, save for those who wanted kids but didn’t have them. I’ve neverderstood met a couple who actively chose not to have kids who later regretted it. And of the, many, many people who keep telling me I should have kids, they all have kids of their own. Interestingly, one of my best mates who has two kids told me my not having kids is probably the smart option.

  45. So Much for Subtlety

    Tim Newman – “I’ve neverderstood met a couple who actively chose not to have kids who later regretted it.”

    Not a couples, but I know a small-ish number of women who married older men who already had a family and so didn’t want any more children. They were all fine with that when they were young. Now they are all in their sixties, mostly widows. And they regret it.

  46. Tim Newman – I’ve neverderstood met a couple who actively chose not to have kids who later regretted it.

    I can. Priorities change, you know? When you’re married and in your 20’s and 30’s, children can seem like they tie you down – because they do. They interrupt your sleep. They wage psychological warfare against your sex life. They nuke your wallet. They eat things off the carpet.

    For couples in their 50’s and 60’s, by which time, both sex and conversation are likely to have dried up a bit (or a lot), they might regret not having kids to talk to, worry about, expect grandchildren from, go to Christmas dinner with.

    Women tend to feel it more keenly than men do – and most men aren’t happy if their woman is sad.

    “And of the, many, many people who keep telling me I should have kids, they all have kids of their own.”

    Testimonials! 🙂

    “Interestingly, one of my best mates who has two kids told me my not having kids is probably the smart option.”

    It is, if you’re definitely set against having a family of your own. Life is never the same again after you bring a tiny person into this world. When they hand you a squalling, bloody newborn it brings to mind a scene from the classic film Bad Boys II:

    “Shit just got real!”

  47. IanB, thanks for the help. I don’t need it though. Anybody can read the thread and understand it. Unfortunately we have one of those people here who spend their lives believing only they ‘get it’ and.so feel obliged to inform others they’ve got it wrong. This is even when ‘It’ is the bloody obvious.

    It is ezactly the aame for unborn children as for the rest of us. Good health is the default state for.human being’s, including the unborn. The giveaway here referring is to unborn child as the foetus; never acknowledging their humanity. Because that would show abortion as it really is: killing. The unborn child is as capable of continuing to live WITHOUT INTERVENTION as the rest of us. So we focus exclusively on these cases in an attempt to suggest that the unborn child’s right to life is imposing on others. And when we’re told directly and unambiguously that a.comment is about the general we just ignore it and continue to bang on about the specific.

  48. We never ever talk of another person, adult or child ‘imposing’ on others when they need medical treatment. So why do we dare refer to the unborn doing so?

  49. Because in the abortionist paradigm, a foetus is a parasitic interloper, like a leech, that simply attached itself when nobody was looking.

  50. Ian B

    Exactly. It’s easier to feel good about denying rights to others if you have first convinced yourself they are not really human.

  51. We never ever talk of another person, adult or child ‘imposing’ on others when they need medical treatment.

    Yes we do. We talk about it all the time. Breast enlargements on the NHS, even repeated fertility treatment. Idiots semi-Darwinning themselves in to A&E. Smokers with lung cancer, drinkers with liver problems. Even the insistence that the organs of the dead must be used for transplant, regardless of the wishes of the dead or their family (which is actually where the opt-out scheme is aimed – the current incarnation is just shifting the Overton window.) Or, in personal experience, sports injuries – at least one senior medic I know considers them all “self-inflicted”.

    However, this example is a moral dichotomy – and it is no use pretending it isn’t just because you are firmly on one side (and, for information, I am actually not sure where I stand – certainly no in a position of certainty.) Is it right to (ab)use the body of a dead woman to have a try at keeping her foetus (which is what it is) alive to the point where there is a chance it will be a viable child?

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