Strawmanning the Abortion Argument

According to Marc Thiessen, our stance on Todd Aiken was pretty justified if only if we treat the statement by a Planned Parenthood official the same way. That during a hearing of a Florida Bill to require Abortion Clinics to provide care to any child born as a result of a botched abortion, a Planned Parenthood official (Alisa Snow) responded  to the question “If a baby is born on a table as a result of a botched abortion, what would Planned Parenthood want to have happen to that child that is struggling for life?” With “We believe that any decision that’s made should be left up to the woman, her family, and the physician.”.

And i DISAGREE with Marc here. 

Todd Aiken’s statement showed a frankly terrifying lack of understanding of female biology and an attitude in a law maker that one of the biggest crimes against women is only valid if a woman doesn’t get pregnant from it. And that this is a world where people from Todd’s party are pushing for more ignorance only sex education which only compounds the problem. And that this man had an actual effect on the access to women’s healthcare.

Alisa’s statement is just someone responding badly to a strawman argument and someone trying to sneak idiotic rules through the back door in order to hamstring abortion clinics and reduce their profit margins (and before anyone goes Waah Profits! Remember all of you work for profit. Not working for profit makes you “poor”.) with the goal of either pricing out abortions or making it unprofitable to work as an abortion doctor and therefore reduce availability of service.

But if Planned Parenthood really does provide such care, why was it lobbying against a bill requiring such care in the first place?

Apparently there was some sort of firestorm in the Conservative Media which we all missed. Unlike that Todd Aiken thing which had people in India laughing at Republicans because “Todd Aikens probably thinks the Stork won’t deliver babies to raped women”, this is a grey area.

There is a reason to not provide “medical care” to some people including new born babies.

In the UK any child born before 23 weeks is given an automatic DNR and does not receive medical care to live. They are in effect “left to die” by the declaration of various christian groups who are appalled.

The reality of the situation is that children born before 23 weeks of gestation have poorly developed lungs and roughly 9% of children born at 23 weeks survive and 97% of those who survive are permanently damaged and often vegetative. In the interest of the child it is better to not treat such a child.

The fact is, it is not as unusual for children to be left to die after a failed abortion as some might think. Right now in Philadelphia, abortionist Kermit Gosnell is on trial for the murder of seven infants who were born alive. According to District Attorney Seth Williams, Gosnell “induced labor, forced the live birth of viable babies in the sixth, seventh, eighth month of pregnancy and then killed those babies by cutting into the back of the neck with scissors and severing their spinal cord.” Prosecutors said that Gosnell ended hundreds of pregnancies in this way. “These killings became so routine that no one could put an exact number on them. They were considered ‘standard procedure.’ ”

Except Gosnell’s clinic didn’t meet the basic standards set by doctors and relied on the provision of cheap care for desperate women.

And interestingly enough?

60% to 70% of women who need abortions have them during the first trimester. The remaining 29 to 39% of women who need abortion have them at the second trimester. The third trimester abortions mentioned here are insanely rare. They are the exception rather than the rule.

Across the border in Canada, the government reports that between 2000 and 2009, 491 babies were left to die after they were born alive during abortions. There are no similar statistics here in the United States, but according to the Abortion Survivors Network there are an estimated 44,000 abortion survivors living in the country today. How many more did not survive for lack of medical care?

Note the ages mentioned? All below 23 weeks.

It sounds terrible but honestly? A baby born prior to 23 weeks has no effective lungs.

And there are people who question the 23 week cut off in the UK and want it raised.

In a large part of the USA if you are born at 20 weeks you HAVE to save the child even if it isn’t in the child’s best interest.

Recently a major motion picture, October Baby, told the true story of one abortion survivor in search of her birth mother and of her struggle to forgive her. The woman depicted in the movie,Gianna Jessen, testified before Congress about why she lived after her mother underwent a saline abortion: “Fortunately for me the abortionist was not in the clinic when I arrived alive… I was early…. I am sure I would not be here today if the abortionist would have been in the clinic, as his job is to take life, not sustain it.”

You mean Obstetrician/Gynaecologists. Let’s call them by their real name.

My aunt does abortions. Upto the 7th Month. She also has delivered hundreds of children.

Just this year.

Abortion saves lives despite such heart wrenching stories of abortion survivors who all universally seem to be “delivered intact at 20 odd weeks” and now have “serious health issues” and co-opted to flog pro-life attitudes. And Gianna survived her abortion at 7 months and 2 weeks? There were other issues that came to play. Remember the restrictions with late term abortions…

Amazingly, some argue that killing babies like Gianna is morally permissible. Recently two bioethicists, Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva, published a paper in the peer-reviewed Journal of Medical Ethics entitled “After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?” They wrote: “[W]hen circumstances occur after birth such that they would have justified abortion, what we call after-birth abortion should be permissible. … [W]e propose to call this practice ‘after-birth abortion’, rather than ‘infanticide,’ to emphasize that the moral status of the individual killed is comparable with that of a fetus … rather than to that of a child. Therefore, we claim that killing a newborn could be ethically permissible in all the circumstances where abortion would be. Such circumstances include cases where the newborn has the potential to have an (at least) acceptable life, but the well-being of the family is at risk.”

We do that with siamese twins who share an important organ.

Here is the thing. There is no difference between a child born at 9 months and a child in the wound at 8 months and 29 days. In fact you are not conscious for the first few months of life. You are effectively a bundle of reflexes at that point. In fact we cannot test your neurological status unless a few months pass and you “stop” developing.

And indeed that was an ethical paper arguing for a point and it’s meant to encourage debate on the issue. We regularly sign DNR for new born babies where it is not in the patient’s interest to provide medical care.

This is Orwellian. The term “after-birth abortion” is an oxymoron. You can’t kill an unborn child after it has been born.

Or you know. It’s an ETHICS PAPER to apply logic to defend a hypothetical situation.

It’s like how I had to stand against Gay Marriage when I was part of a debate team for “practice” in arguing a weak position. Hell, I actually saw how incompetent Anti-Prop 8 defenders were on the California Ballot for Obama’s first election. The actual joke was that the people who wrote Anti-Gay Marriage stuff, despite holding an inferior moral position still won because the people who wrote the blurb “for” gay marriage wrote it like the rantings of a conspiracy theorist rather than the measured appeal to decency.

There are ethics papers on “pay per medication medicine” too (AKA defending wallet biopsies) where they argue that saving rich people contributes more to the economy. It’s horrible but it’s mainly a thought exercise.

The fact that Planned Parenthood aggressively lobbies against legislation requiring medical care for such children is appalling. The fact that a Planned Parenthood official testified that killing such children is permissible is shocking. And the fact that most major media outlets — including The Post — all but ignored her comments is distressing.

It’s not. It’s appalling that a bunch of ignorant people are getting together to dictate medical policy they clearly have no grasp of basic medicine.

We ignored her comments because I have a strange feeling they are taken out of context. I gave an excellent reason why 20 week old foetuses shouldn’t be given medical care and be allowed to die. Because the majority of them will not live a independent life and will effectively be stunted by the lack of oxygen. If we invent an artificial womb then “fine” but as of now it’s simply a better decision for the child.

Our country is deeply divided over the question of abortion. But can we not all at least agree that killing a born child is murder — not a question that “should be left up to the woman, her family, and the physician”?

It’s not killing a child any more than DNF and DNR are murdering adult patients (Do Not Feed, Do Not Resuscitate orders). It’s not murdering a child anymore than turning off life support or organ harvesting. It’s basically stating that treating a child is not in the best interests of the child. That the medical technology that exists may be able to save a child but at a cost that the child shouldn’t pay. The Pro-life stance of giving medical care and “saving” 20 week old babies is not just stupid but it’s ANTI-Life. It’s like saying “fear not! Your dying child is now a severely mentally retarded child! Good luck finding someone to care for him and covering the costs! And when you die he will have to live in a home! And no we won’t provide any income support for the millions of dollars you will haemorrhage in care for this child. Pro-Life! AWAY!!!”. It’s forcing someone to live with reduced quality of life. Now some people with Cerebral Palsy may merely have musculoskeletal issues but a CNS defect is a major reduction of quality of life.

I had pictures up of a young boy with Cerebral Palsy due to his low birth weight mother. He will never live an independent life. At some point his mother will pass away and either someone will take pity on him and give him a “make work” job or he will live out the rest of his life on the street begging. A pitiful existence, his mother often wishes he wasn’t born because it wouldn’t break her heart as much as it does now. The day she found out he had CP, her husband went out and had a vasectomy because this child would have bankrupted them. I never saw the father because he apparently worked two jobs to keep his son getting care until we found a physiotherapist who was willing to work for free.

Quality of life is more important than quantity of life.


  1. slc1 says

    It’s not. It’s appalling that a bunch of ignorant people are getting together to dictate medical policy they clearly have no grasp of basic medicine.

    These are the same ignorant assholes who are pressing for legislation to declare a fertilized egg a person with all the rights of same. These clowns are obviously unaware that more the 50% of fertilized eggs fail to implant, thus, under their law, making god the world’s greatest abortionist.

  2. dianne says

    It’s ridiculous. If a woman goes into labor at 20 weeks and delivers, no one demands that she torture the immature newborn with intubation and aggressive measures before the inevitable death. Why should babies who are born live after an attempted abortion not be treated with the same respect and be allowed to die as peacefully as possible instead of being subject to painful and ultimately useless interventions before death? True, a newborn has little or no consciousness, but the parents do and will suffer from watching their child go through that. (Remembering that the majority of late second and third trimester abortions are performed for reasons of fetal anomaly and are often wanted babies.)

  3. dianne says

    If we invent an artificial womb then “fine”

    This is surely right around the corner, given all the money that pro-life organizations are pouring into the private foundations for development of support of pregnancies and premature newborns and all the governmental funding for the issue due to pro-life lobbying for research into finding ways to save fetuses threatened with very premature birth.

    …Or not. Because in real life, “pro-life” people rarely show concern for babies who have been born and virtually never argue for money to be spent to improve their life expectancy or quality of life. Odd, that. Almost as though their main agenda wasn’t really saving babies.

  4. says

    After the case of an “aborted baby surviving” (an abortion of a fetus with trisomia 21. The boy was left to die because,hey, that was what everybody expected to happen within 30 minutes, but after a few hours they put him in ICU) in Germany, the standard of practise changed: The fetus is given a lethal injection in utero and birth is only induced once the heart has stopped.
    And in case of premies before 25 (?) weeks I think the parents decide whether to start treatment or not.

  5. Buffy says

    “a Florida Bill to require Abortion Clinics to provide care to any child born as a result of a botched abortion..”

    Is there going to be a corresponding bill requiring Republicans to provide care to any child born to a woman who was forced to give birth to a child thanks to their barbaric policies?

  6. thumper1990 says

    Quality of life is more important than quantity of life.

    I wish more people would get this. There are worse things than death, a permanently miserable life being one of them.

  7. says

    An abortion is a procedure to end a pregnancy. It uses medicine or surgery to remove the embryo or fetus and placenta from the uterus. The procedure is done by a licensed health care professional. The decision to end a pregnancy is very personal. If you are thinking of having an abortion, most healthcare providers advise counseling.”*”‘

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