Give fetuses anesthetics before aborting them

On Thursday, Arizona’s law forbidding abortion after 20 weeks went into effect.  It prohibits abortions performed after the point at which science shows that the fetus can feel pain.  The Arizona law was upheld by a court, and similar “fetal pain” bills are in the works in other states.  A small victory, perhaps, but it does underscore the fact that the fetus in the womb is a human being.  But pro-abortion zealots cannot tolerate even this small concession.  Harvard law professor I. Glenn Cohen offers a different solution for fetal pain:

As proof that fetuses are capable of feeling pain, Nebraska’s law notes that physicians often administer anesthesia to fetuses. This is done to relax muscles or to prevent neurodevelopmental problems later on — not, medically speaking, to control pain. But if these fetuses were capable of feeling pain, administering anesthesia would likely prevent any sensation of pain, just as it does in children and adults. Thus, there is no legal reason to prohibit abortion at 20 weeks: We can prevent fetal pain during an abortion — without burdening a woman’s right to that abortion — by requiring the administration of anesthesia to the fetus.

via The flawed basis behind fetal-pain abortion laws – The Washington Post.

 

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About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    That is a very damning position to think about. It’s essentially a “mercy killing,” and it only underscores the truth about abortion being murder.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    That is a very damning position to think about. It’s essentially a “mercy killing,” and it only underscores the truth about abortion being murder.

  • Michael B.

    A bill requiring an anesthetic after a certain number of months sounds perfectly reasonable to me. First, it’s scientifically-backed. Second, it in no way interferes with a person’s right to control their body.

    “A small victory, perhaps, but it does underscore the fact that the fetus in the womb is a human being.”

    How? A horse can also feel pain.

  • Michael B.

    A bill requiring an anesthetic after a certain number of months sounds perfectly reasonable to me. First, it’s scientifically-backed. Second, it in no way interferes with a person’s right to control their body.

    “A small victory, perhaps, but it does underscore the fact that the fetus in the womb is a human being.”

    How? A horse can also feel pain.

  • trotk

    Michael -

    Are you so dense as to actually think that the product of a human reproduction is anything other than a human? Whether or not it is still in the womb, the fetus is still the product of human reproduction, and by all definitions and laws of logic, it cannot be anything other than a human.

    By the way, if the fetus is something other than a human, please let us know what it is.

    And if it is a human (and it can’t be anything else), it has all the same rights as the mother.

  • trotk

    Michael -

    Are you so dense as to actually think that the product of a human reproduction is anything other than a human? Whether or not it is still in the womb, the fetus is still the product of human reproduction, and by all definitions and laws of logic, it cannot be anything other than a human.

    By the way, if the fetus is something other than a human, please let us know what it is.

    And if it is a human (and it can’t be anything else), it has all the same rights as the mother.

  • Jon

    Abortion = the right to a dead baby by whatever means necessary.

  • Jon

    Abortion = the right to a dead baby by whatever means necessary.

  • fjsteve

    Professor iGlenn is just trying to be consistent as he can with a position that is, on it’s face, completely arbitrary. Once you go down the road of legalizing ending innocent human life, when you choose to allow ending that life is simply up to what society can stomach.

  • fjsteve

    Professor iGlenn is just trying to be consistent as he can with a position that is, on it’s face, completely arbitrary. Once you go down the road of legalizing ending innocent human life, when you choose to allow ending that life is simply up to what society can stomach.

  • Steve Billingsley

    Dr. Cohen. Educated fool.

  • Steve Billingsley

    Dr. Cohen. Educated fool.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @#2 And genetics is fairy magic. Yeah…

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @#2 And genetics is fairy magic. Yeah…

  • DonS

    Man’s wisdom. The Bible has a lot to say about that. There are a lot of blinded fools issuing from our higher education system today. And man’s foolishness begets evil thoughts and deeds, thanks to the slavery of unregenerated man to sin.

  • DonS

    Man’s wisdom. The Bible has a lot to say about that. There are a lot of blinded fools issuing from our higher education system today. And man’s foolishness begets evil thoughts and deeds, thanks to the slavery of unregenerated man to sin.

  • fjsteve

    Michael B.

    “A bill requiring an anesthetic after a certain number of months sounds perfectly reasonable to me. First, it’s scientifically-backed. Second, it in no way interferes with a person’s right to control their body…”

    I think you’re wrong on both counts. First, the “person” to whom you’re referring is the mother. Yes? If so, what about the right of the other person involved in the procedure to control their body? Second, even if you’re just concerned with the mother, fetal anesthesia raises morbidity and mortality rates of the mother. If JAMA is scientific enough for you, you can read all about it here.

    http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/local/scisoc/brownbag/brownbag0506/fetalpain.pdf

  • fjsteve

    Michael B.

    “A bill requiring an anesthetic after a certain number of months sounds perfectly reasonable to me. First, it’s scientifically-backed. Second, it in no way interferes with a person’s right to control their body…”

    I think you’re wrong on both counts. First, the “person” to whom you’re referring is the mother. Yes? If so, what about the right of the other person involved in the procedure to control their body? Second, even if you’re just concerned with the mother, fetal anesthesia raises morbidity and mortality rates of the mother. If JAMA is scientific enough for you, you can read all about it here.

    http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/local/scisoc/brownbag/brownbag0506/fetalpain.pdf

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Ignoring for a moment the actual ethics behind abortion in general, I think that Dr. Cohen actually does have some valid points.

    Since Roe v. Wade, a state cannot outright ban abortion. It can only, if it desires, whittle away at the abortion rate using the confines of law. One avenue for this is through viability, which I suppose is currently set around 23 weeks. The state, goes the argument, has a compelling interest in protecting viable life. Presumably, then, advances in medical science will continue to decrease that number. Perhaps, some day, the invention of an artificial womb could render all fetuses viable.

    Until then, the states are trying to argue that decreasing pain is also a compelling interest for them to intervene. And this is where this article comes in.

    When do fetuses feel pain? Based on the article — I am no doctor — it would seem to be an unsettled question. Dr. Cohen says that “the neural structures that a fetus would need to ‘experience’ pain do not develop until well beyond” 20 weeks. On the other hand, proponents of such laws point to “the observable neuroendocrine, metabolic and reflexive responses to stimuli”.

    Pain seems subjective enough that we’re unlikely to resolve this question easily, especially when so much is at stake.

    Still, Cohen’s point is valid, such as it is. The pain argument is, at best, indirect. It’s clear that those in favor of Arizona’s bill are not merely trying to diminish fetal pain in abortions. But they are required by legal strictures to pretend that they are. So Cohen deviously suggests that all that is needed to address this point is anesthesia before an abortion. Again, he is correct.

    That doesn’t mean he’s right about the ethics of an abortion. But this is the way the battle is waged, as it were.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Ignoring for a moment the actual ethics behind abortion in general, I think that Dr. Cohen actually does have some valid points.

    Since Roe v. Wade, a state cannot outright ban abortion. It can only, if it desires, whittle away at the abortion rate using the confines of law. One avenue for this is through viability, which I suppose is currently set around 23 weeks. The state, goes the argument, has a compelling interest in protecting viable life. Presumably, then, advances in medical science will continue to decrease that number. Perhaps, some day, the invention of an artificial womb could render all fetuses viable.

    Until then, the states are trying to argue that decreasing pain is also a compelling interest for them to intervene. And this is where this article comes in.

    When do fetuses feel pain? Based on the article — I am no doctor — it would seem to be an unsettled question. Dr. Cohen says that “the neural structures that a fetus would need to ‘experience’ pain do not develop until well beyond” 20 weeks. On the other hand, proponents of such laws point to “the observable neuroendocrine, metabolic and reflexive responses to stimuli”.

    Pain seems subjective enough that we’re unlikely to resolve this question easily, especially when so much is at stake.

    Still, Cohen’s point is valid, such as it is. The pain argument is, at best, indirect. It’s clear that those in favor of Arizona’s bill are not merely trying to diminish fetal pain in abortions. But they are required by legal strictures to pretend that they are. So Cohen deviously suggests that all that is needed to address this point is anesthesia before an abortion. Again, he is correct.

    That doesn’t mean he’s right about the ethics of an abortion. But this is the way the battle is waged, as it were.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Michael B. (@2), you continue to amuse me.

    How? A horse can also feel pain.

    Indeed! Perhaps it really is a horse inside that female human’s uterus. You never know! After all, it certainly isn’t a human!

    Honestly, nobody — not science, not the current law — disagrees that it’s a human in there. The law merely argues that, until it is viable outside the uterus, it is not in the state’s compelling arguments to intervene on that human’s behalf.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Michael B. (@2), you continue to amuse me.

    How? A horse can also feel pain.

    Indeed! Perhaps it really is a horse inside that female human’s uterus. You never know! After all, it certainly isn’t a human!

    Honestly, nobody — not science, not the current law — disagrees that it’s a human in there. The law merely argues that, until it is viable outside the uterus, it is not in the state’s compelling arguments to intervene on that human’s behalf.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t like to be killed at all, whether or not I was sedated at the time.

    If you ask me, the Arizona law sets a dangerous precedent by advancing the notion that the ability to feel pain is an attribute of life worth protecting. Because, as we see with this addle-pated perfesser, if that’s the criterion, we can get around the difficulty by simply removing the ability to feel pain, using chemicals.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t like to be killed at all, whether or not I was sedated at the time.

    If you ask me, the Arizona law sets a dangerous precedent by advancing the notion that the ability to feel pain is an attribute of life worth protecting. Because, as we see with this addle-pated perfesser, if that’s the criterion, we can get around the difficulty by simply removing the ability to feel pain, using chemicals.

  • Jonathan

    The law didn’t go into effect; the appellate court granted an injunction August 1. I did some research but couldn’t find just how the law actually bans post-20 week abortions. I think the law gives the State the authority to suspend the license of the doctor who performs the abortion, but I could not find criminal penalties for the doc or the woman.

    Odd way to combat murder.

  • Jonathan

    The law didn’t go into effect; the appellate court granted an injunction August 1. I did some research but couldn’t find just how the law actually bans post-20 week abortions. I think the law gives the State the authority to suspend the license of the doctor who performs the abortion, but I could not find criminal penalties for the doc or the woman.

    Odd way to combat murder.

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    Folks with this anti-life mindset are more like barbarians than the civilized liberals they pretend to be.

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    Folks with this anti-life mindset are more like barbarians than the civilized liberals they pretend to be.

  • Michael B.

    @trotk

    “And if it is a human (and it can’t be anything else), it has all the same rights as the mother.”

    No one is debating whether or not it is human. A zygote, a 10-year old, and a corpse are all human. The question is whether they are what we would refer to as a person. No one really thinks that people can live in petri dishes until the issue of abortion comes up, and then pro-lifers will just suspend disbelief. Of course, there are ways of arousing cognitive dissonance on this point. If you think a zygote is really a person, would you rescue a thousand frozen embryos or one 5-year old child from a burning building if you only had time to rescue one or the other? If you answered the 5-year old child, this doesn’t prove the embryos aren’t as valuable. We could all be wrong. But does prove that you at least *think* the embryos aren’t as valuable. What convinced you?

    Let’s see if science is on your side. Let us grant that every zygote is a person worthy of our moral concern. Zygotes at this stage can split into identical twins. Is this a case of one person splitting into two people? Embryos at this stage can fuse into a chimera. What happened to the extra “person”?

  • Michael B.

    @trotk

    “And if it is a human (and it can’t be anything else), it has all the same rights as the mother.”

    No one is debating whether or not it is human. A zygote, a 10-year old, and a corpse are all human. The question is whether they are what we would refer to as a person. No one really thinks that people can live in petri dishes until the issue of abortion comes up, and then pro-lifers will just suspend disbelief. Of course, there are ways of arousing cognitive dissonance on this point. If you think a zygote is really a person, would you rescue a thousand frozen embryos or one 5-year old child from a burning building if you only had time to rescue one or the other? If you answered the 5-year old child, this doesn’t prove the embryos aren’t as valuable. We could all be wrong. But does prove that you at least *think* the embryos aren’t as valuable. What convinced you?

    Let’s see if science is on your side. Let us grant that every zygote is a person worthy of our moral concern. Zygotes at this stage can split into identical twins. Is this a case of one person splitting into two people? Embryos at this stage can fuse into a chimera. What happened to the extra “person”?

  • Michael B.

    @fjsteve

    “Second, even if you’re just concerned with the mother, fetal anesthesia raises morbidity and mortality rates of the mother”

    That’s interesting. I was not aware of that. I’d have to learn more, but that sounds like a game-changer.

  • Michael B.

    @fjsteve

    “Second, even if you’re just concerned with the mother, fetal anesthesia raises morbidity and mortality rates of the mother”

    That’s interesting. I was not aware of that. I’d have to learn more, but that sounds like a game-changer.

  • Gary

    @ Michael B. #15

    If a human is not a person, then what is it?

    Even your counterexamples result in the taking of a human’s life, whether it be one or two.

    In your burning house case, I would rescue the 5-year child first. Not because the child’s life is intrinsically more valuable, but because of its established connections with its neighbors. This is the same reason why abortion is allowable when the viability of the mother is at risk.

  • Gary

    @ Michael B. #15

    If a human is not a person, then what is it?

    Even your counterexamples result in the taking of a human’s life, whether it be one or two.

    In your burning house case, I would rescue the 5-year child first. Not because the child’s life is intrinsically more valuable, but because of its established connections with its neighbors. This is the same reason why abortion is allowable when the viability of the mother is at risk.

  • fjsteve

    Michael B.,

    “That’s interesting. I was not aware of that. I’d have to learn more, but that sounds like a game-changer.”

    If that concerns you, you might also like to know that abortion alone raises the rate of mortality of the mother in otherwise healthy pregnancies. The risk increases dramatically with each week of gestation. The risk in the West is relatively low but there is a risk.

    The mortality rate of the child is, of course, virtually 100%.

    “Let’s see if science is on your side. Let us grant that every zygote is a person worthy of our moral concern. Zygotes at this stage can split into identical twins. Is this a case of one person splitting into two people? Embryos at this stage can fuse into a chimera. What happened to the extra “person”?”

    What is your point here? Does the existence of multiple sets of human DNA diminish person-hood?

  • fjsteve

    Michael B.,

    “That’s interesting. I was not aware of that. I’d have to learn more, but that sounds like a game-changer.”

    If that concerns you, you might also like to know that abortion alone raises the rate of mortality of the mother in otherwise healthy pregnancies. The risk increases dramatically with each week of gestation. The risk in the West is relatively low but there is a risk.

    The mortality rate of the child is, of course, virtually 100%.

    “Let’s see if science is on your side. Let us grant that every zygote is a person worthy of our moral concern. Zygotes at this stage can split into identical twins. Is this a case of one person splitting into two people? Embryos at this stage can fuse into a chimera. What happened to the extra “person”?”

    What is your point here? Does the existence of multiple sets of human DNA diminish person-hood?

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    “We can prevent fetal pain during an abortion — without burdening a woman’s right to that abortion —…”
    My take—
    EVERY FEMALE fetus is a WOMAN to be—where are HER RIGHTS!!!

    That is how I counter female adult humans that give me the ‘argument’ about ‘woman’s right’!

    Carol-CS-
    LA LFL

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    “We can prevent fetal pain during an abortion — without burdening a woman’s right to that abortion —…”
    My take—
    EVERY FEMALE fetus is a WOMAN to be—where are HER RIGHTS!!!

    That is how I counter female adult humans that give me the ‘argument’ about ‘woman’s right’!

    Carol-CS-
    LA LFL

  • Dust

    would it be ok theologically to baptize them before they sadly fade away?

  • Dust

    would it be ok theologically to baptize them before they sadly fade away?

  • Michael B.

    @Gary

    “In your burning house case, I would rescue the 5-year child first. Not because the child’s life is intrinsically more valuable, but because of its established connections with its neighbors.”

    So you’d let 1000 embryos die to save one 5-year old. And you’re reasoning is that the embryos “don’t have an established connections with its neighbors”?

    All your arguments about “personhood” haven’t convinced you that a zygote is anywhere near as valuable as a 5-year old. Why do you think they’re going to convince me?

  • Michael B.

    @Gary

    “In your burning house case, I would rescue the 5-year child first. Not because the child’s life is intrinsically more valuable, but because of its established connections with its neighbors.”

    So you’d let 1000 embryos die to save one 5-year old. And you’re reasoning is that the embryos “don’t have an established connections with its neighbors”?

    All your arguments about “personhood” haven’t convinced you that a zygote is anywhere near as valuable as a 5-year old. Why do you think they’re going to convince me?

  • Gary

    Michael, Michael, Michael,

    Are you feigning ignorance of the argument, or do you actually not understand it?

    The 1001 lives in your argument each have the same intrinsic value.

    I save the life of the 5 year-old not because his own intrinsic value is greater, but for the sake of the neighbors with whom he has established a connection. (How can I save 1000 embryos in the time it takes to save a 5 year old? Furthermore, wouldn’t removing the embryos from proper storage conditions result in their death? Your scenario is absurd.)

    A fetus has a connection with two neighbors: its mother and father. These two neighbors are tasked with supporting and providing for their child. It’s absolutely evil when these two neighbors conduct themselves in the exact opposite of their calling and destroy the child’s life (not to speak of the doctor–tasked with protecting and sustaining life–who takes the child’s life).

    A being outside the womb (say, a mother) has established connections with other neighbors. This is why, when it’s a choice between the death of the mother or an emergency abortion, it is ethical to opt for an emergency abortion. Not because the mother’s life holds more value than the child’s. In fact, not necessarily for the sake of the mother at all. Preserving the mother’s life is done for the sake of her neighbors, and is a tremendous sacrifice for a mother to make.

    Michael B., if a human is not a person, then what is it?

  • Gary

    Michael, Michael, Michael,

    Are you feigning ignorance of the argument, or do you actually not understand it?

    The 1001 lives in your argument each have the same intrinsic value.

    I save the life of the 5 year-old not because his own intrinsic value is greater, but for the sake of the neighbors with whom he has established a connection. (How can I save 1000 embryos in the time it takes to save a 5 year old? Furthermore, wouldn’t removing the embryos from proper storage conditions result in their death? Your scenario is absurd.)

    A fetus has a connection with two neighbors: its mother and father. These two neighbors are tasked with supporting and providing for their child. It’s absolutely evil when these two neighbors conduct themselves in the exact opposite of their calling and destroy the child’s life (not to speak of the doctor–tasked with protecting and sustaining life–who takes the child’s life).

    A being outside the womb (say, a mother) has established connections with other neighbors. This is why, when it’s a choice between the death of the mother or an emergency abortion, it is ethical to opt for an emergency abortion. Not because the mother’s life holds more value than the child’s. In fact, not necessarily for the sake of the mother at all. Preserving the mother’s life is done for the sake of her neighbors, and is a tremendous sacrifice for a mother to make.

    Michael B., if a human is not a person, then what is it?

  • Michael B.

    “I save the life of the 5 year-old not because his own intrinsic value is greater, but for the sake of the neighbors with whom he has established a connection”

    So hold on a second — what if they 5-year old didn’t have a connection with its neighbors? Or what if it were a 30 year old who was some monk who lived as a hermit.

  • Michael B.

    “I save the life of the 5 year-old not because his own intrinsic value is greater, but for the sake of the neighbors with whom he has established a connection”

    So hold on a second — what if they 5-year old didn’t have a connection with its neighbors? Or what if it were a 30 year old who was some monk who lived as a hermit.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Michael (@23), it’s apparent that you think this “burning house” question is very clever and some sort of ultimate gotcha. It’s apparent because you’ve brought it up not a few times on different posts. It’s also apparent that you didn’t think of it yourself, because I hear it from other doctrinaire liberals who like to pass on talking points.

    But I really don’t think you’ve even begun to examine the assumptions in your question. The thesis seems to be that how we choose to act in a particularly contrived scenario (and how — you’re now asking us to choose between frozen embryos and a hermit monk?) reveals what you really think a human is.

    I mean, honestly, have you thought this through? There are any number of reasons why that’s not true. The most obvious would be that, if that five-year-old were my son, you can be darn sure I would pick him over lives that are not my children. Even if I had to choose (for whatever reason, such is the contrived scenario) between my son and, say, a group of five other five-year-olds, I’d probably still pick my son. Is it because I’m selfish? Is it because I’m his father, and thus particularly charged with keeping him safe? Is it because I know him best? Sure, all of these. But none of those are arguments that the other five-year-olds are in any way less human. They are arguments from emotion, from duty, whatever, but not from humanity. Come on.

    So let me turn your question around. You live in America and you comment not infrequently on this blog. As such, you have access to a computer and enough leisure time to use it. Therefore, can I assume that you lead a fairly comfortable, middle-class life? Can I even assume that you purchased your own computer?

    If so, with the money that you earn each year, you purchase things that you don’t actually need to live, things that merely make life nice. Including your computer. Now, it has always been true that, instead of spending this money on yourself, you could have been giving it to aid agencies to literally save human lives. Who knows how many lives you could have saved by now — possibly hundreds. But you did not. You chose instead to live a comfortable life. Is this because you do not believe that the people dying of starvation, of lack of clean water, are not human? Or that they are less human than you?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Michael (@23), it’s apparent that you think this “burning house” question is very clever and some sort of ultimate gotcha. It’s apparent because you’ve brought it up not a few times on different posts. It’s also apparent that you didn’t think of it yourself, because I hear it from other doctrinaire liberals who like to pass on talking points.

    But I really don’t think you’ve even begun to examine the assumptions in your question. The thesis seems to be that how we choose to act in a particularly contrived scenario (and how — you’re now asking us to choose between frozen embryos and a hermit monk?) reveals what you really think a human is.

    I mean, honestly, have you thought this through? There are any number of reasons why that’s not true. The most obvious would be that, if that five-year-old were my son, you can be darn sure I would pick him over lives that are not my children. Even if I had to choose (for whatever reason, such is the contrived scenario) between my son and, say, a group of five other five-year-olds, I’d probably still pick my son. Is it because I’m selfish? Is it because I’m his father, and thus particularly charged with keeping him safe? Is it because I know him best? Sure, all of these. But none of those are arguments that the other five-year-olds are in any way less human. They are arguments from emotion, from duty, whatever, but not from humanity. Come on.

    So let me turn your question around. You live in America and you comment not infrequently on this blog. As such, you have access to a computer and enough leisure time to use it. Therefore, can I assume that you lead a fairly comfortable, middle-class life? Can I even assume that you purchased your own computer?

    If so, with the money that you earn each year, you purchase things that you don’t actually need to live, things that merely make life nice. Including your computer. Now, it has always been true that, instead of spending this money on yourself, you could have been giving it to aid agencies to literally save human lives. Who knows how many lives you could have saved by now — possibly hundreds. But you did not. You chose instead to live a comfortable life. Is this because you do not believe that the people dying of starvation, of lack of clean water, are not human? Or that they are less human than you?

  • Michael B.

    @Todd

    “Even if I had to choose (for whatever reason, such is the contrived scenario) between my son and, say, a group of five other five-year-olds, I’d probably still pick my son”

    Let’s go back to the original question. Would you be willing to let 1000 other 5-year-olds die to save a single one of your children? That certainly would make a statement showing how you view your progeny verses the rest of humanity.

    “Now, it has always been true that, instead of spending this money on yourself, you could have been giving it to aid agencies to literally save human lives. You chose instead to live a comfortable life. Is this because you do not believe that the people dying of starvation, of lack of clean water, are not human?”

    A very different scenario. In one scenario, you’ve got your finger on the trigger, and in the other, you have little idea of the end result. I’ve given quite a bit to charity throughout my life. Is there somebody living now who would be dead had I never been born?

    Or am I just trying to defend my actions by acting what I give to charity doesn’t matter and I can’t know what will happen? There is something very convicting about what you write. I live in comfort, while others live in filth. Have I somehow convinced myself they are less human than I? It’s not an invalid question.

  • Michael B.

    @Todd

    “Even if I had to choose (for whatever reason, such is the contrived scenario) between my son and, say, a group of five other five-year-olds, I’d probably still pick my son”

    Let’s go back to the original question. Would you be willing to let 1000 other 5-year-olds die to save a single one of your children? That certainly would make a statement showing how you view your progeny verses the rest of humanity.

    “Now, it has always been true that, instead of spending this money on yourself, you could have been giving it to aid agencies to literally save human lives. You chose instead to live a comfortable life. Is this because you do not believe that the people dying of starvation, of lack of clean water, are not human?”

    A very different scenario. In one scenario, you’ve got your finger on the trigger, and in the other, you have little idea of the end result. I’ve given quite a bit to charity throughout my life. Is there somebody living now who would be dead had I never been born?

    Or am I just trying to defend my actions by acting what I give to charity doesn’t matter and I can’t know what will happen? There is something very convicting about what you write. I live in comfort, while others live in filth. Have I somehow convinced myself they are less human than I? It’s not an invalid question.

  • Gary

    Michael B.,

    I’ve shown quite handily that your absurd hyberbole creates no cognitive dissonance, both by giving pragmatic reasons why saving 1000 children wouldn’t be possible and philosophical reasons for saving the 5 year old. Furthermore, I’ve tried to move your never-gonna-happen scenario to what could be a real scenario in order to better display my philosophic reasons. You seem bent on taking the fact that I stated that I would save the 5 year old to mean that I view the 5 year old’s life as having more intrinsic value than an embryo, despite the fact that I’ve gone out of my way to explain otherwise.

    I invite you to respond to my scenario that is actually possible.

    But, you are always welcome to live in your world of hyperbolic absurtainty. Just don’t expect people to take you seriously.

    One last try; if a human isn’t a person, what is it????????????

  • Gary

    Michael B.,

    I’ve shown quite handily that your absurd hyberbole creates no cognitive dissonance, both by giving pragmatic reasons why saving 1000 children wouldn’t be possible and philosophical reasons for saving the 5 year old. Furthermore, I’ve tried to move your never-gonna-happen scenario to what could be a real scenario in order to better display my philosophic reasons. You seem bent on taking the fact that I stated that I would save the 5 year old to mean that I view the 5 year old’s life as having more intrinsic value than an embryo, despite the fact that I’ve gone out of my way to explain otherwise.

    I invite you to respond to my scenario that is actually possible.

    But, you are always welcome to live in your world of hyperbolic absurtainty. Just don’t expect people to take you seriously.

    One last try; if a human isn’t a person, what is it????????????

  • Jim_777

    Our society has become so depraved that it staggers the mind. The Dragon, the beast, and the harlot are running rampant through our world. I often have difficulty even believing that we live in a society where infanticide is defended and indignantly held up as the morally superior position. The law prof. quoted in this post is a very sick, twisted person. Clearly, he’s under the sway of the Devil, as are all people who are outside the church. Michael B., sadly, is another such person. He supports the murder of children. Expressing that support in detached, “logical” tones does nothing to lessen the grotesqueness of his position. Our society and our world are fatally diseased by sin. The obscenity of abortion is just another symptom. May God bring all supporters of abortion to repentance and faith.

  • Jim_777

    Our society has become so depraved that it staggers the mind. The Dragon, the beast, and the harlot are running rampant through our world. I often have difficulty even believing that we live in a society where infanticide is defended and indignantly held up as the morally superior position. The law prof. quoted in this post is a very sick, twisted person. Clearly, he’s under the sway of the Devil, as are all people who are outside the church. Michael B., sadly, is another such person. He supports the murder of children. Expressing that support in detached, “logical” tones does nothing to lessen the grotesqueness of his position. Our society and our world are fatally diseased by sin. The obscenity of abortion is just another symptom. May God bring all supporters of abortion to repentance and faith.

  • Michael B.

    @Jim_777

    “Clearly, he’s under the sway of the Devil, as are all people who are outside the church. Michael B., sadly, is another such person. He supports the murder of children. Expressing that support in detached, “logical” tones does nothing to lessen the grotesqueness of his position.”

    Martin Luther did say that “reason is the Devil’s greatest whore.”

  • Michael B.

    @Jim_777

    “Clearly, he’s under the sway of the Devil, as are all people who are outside the church. Michael B., sadly, is another such person. He supports the murder of children. Expressing that support in detached, “logical” tones does nothing to lessen the grotesqueness of his position.”

    Martin Luther did say that “reason is the Devil’s greatest whore.”


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