How We Can Really Prevent Fetal Pain

The religious conservatives are once again being dishonest in their quest to control others’ reproductive organs in Texas. In the 60s, the religious conservatives argued that the Ten Commandments monument on the Texas State Capitol grounds would help with juvenile delinquency (by blatantly violating the highest law in the land). In the Texas Legislature, they are working to close down Planned Parenthood clinics because they provide abortions. They don’t seem to care that Planned Parenthood actually prevents more abortions than the Christian God, the Bible, Prayer, rosaries, holy water, or Christian bullying in the name of “love”, combined, has ever prevented.

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Stand With Texas Women rally

Today, Jeff, Manda, Lynnea and I went to the Texas capitol for the Stand With Texas Women rally. We heard speeches by State Senator Wendy Davis and NARAL president Ilyse Hogue. The majority of the crowd were women, although a lot of men showed up as well. People showed solidarity by wearing orange shirts. Here are some pictures I got.

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An estimated crowd of 5,000-6,000 people showed up.

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All kinds of signs on display

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Even more signs from people facing the stage

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Inside the rotunda, people packed the balconies on all levels and sang a variation of Amazing Grace.

In case you’ve been missing the details, the Texas Legislature has been trying to ram through some fairly draconian anti-abortion laws, which would effectively shut down most clinics that perform abortions, and criminalize the procedure after 20 weeks, which is long before the Supreme Court determined was constitutional. Last week Wendy Davis filibustered the bill for 13 hours straight, and it failed to pass. The next day Governor Rick Perry announced a new special session to get it done, and denounced the crowd of Davis’ supporters as an “unruly mob.” Many of the signs and speeches referenced this description in a mocking way.

More hearings were held today and they will continue tomorrow.

Latest news: Texas Anti-Abortion Bill Fast-Tracked By GOP

Texas vs. Planned Parenthood (or Religion vs. Society’s Best Interests)

OK, first article I see in today’s paper, and why it pisses me off:

  1. Texas has successfully defuned Planned Parenthood clinics in Texas. Their propaganda point has consistently been “we don’t want tax dollars going to abortions.” However, it has been consistently reported that we already do not allow tax money to go to abortion services, and NONE of the PP clinics in the state funding program offered abortion services. From the article:

    “Lawyer Pete Schenkkan said Planned Parenthood officials will decide whether to press ahead with that trial in hopes of winning a permanent injunction that would reverse Texas rules excluding Planned Parenthood’s health clinics because they are affiliated with other Planned Parenthood groups that provide abortions or promote abortion rights.”This was *always* the issue—simply punitively punishing the clinics because they have a “PP” shingle over the door. It was never about keeping funding from going to abortions—that was an outright falsehood propagated to gain public support for the action.

  2. PP had to demonstrate two points in court. According to the judge, they were able to demonstrate that what the state was doing would harm women in Texas. What they didn’t show is that Texas didn’t have a legal right to do it. From the article:

    “Planned Parenthood, Yelenosky ruled, met only one of two legal hurdles when it showed that being excluded from the health program would probably cause harm to the organization and the low-income women it serves. However, he added, Planned Parenthood failed to show that it would likely prevail in a full trial on its claim that state law doesn’t give Texas officials the authority to exclude the organization from the program.”

  3. Texas had tried to say that other clinics will take up the slack for PP, but here is what the local paper found when they tried to set up an appointment with another clinic:

    “An American-Statesman spot check of 29 of 186 doctors and clinics listed in an area 30 miles around Austin found eight that weren’t participants or weren’t accepting new patients and two that offered only limited services.”“For example, a state health department website, intended to direct low-income women to participating health care providers, contains numerous mistakes, including practices that don’t provide contraceptive care.”Please note that women with a good income won’t be very impacted by this—only women who don’t have much in the way of resources. Imagine you’re poor, and rely on public transport (which sucks in Austin), you have a clinic you’re already set up with, and then you’re told Texas is just shutting it down for no good reason. Then you call and call and call, and can’t find a clinic taking new patients, and when you do make an appointment, you show up and they can’t renew your birth control prescription, because they don’t offer those “services.”

    The state does offer a phone number (866-993-9972) to help match women with clinics—but this is ALL so unnecessary. And as a result, fiscally, Texas now has to make up for federal funds we’re losing by doing this stupid, stupid thing.

  4. So, this morning when they said we need another bond package to pay for road improvements, I wanted to slap someone. If we don’t have funding to take care of necessary infrastructure improvements, is it really wise to pass legislation to punitively punish a clinic that is keeping to your rules, just to appease your religious base of constituents? Well, if you’re Rick Perry, the answer to that question is “of course.”

    “At the urging of Republican Gov. Rick Perry, Texas launched a state-run, state-financed Women’s Health Program on Jan. 1 after almost a year of unsuccessful efforts to remove Planned Parenthood from a program that had been 90 percent funded by the federal government. U.S. officials cut off that money on Dec. 31, saying efforts to exclude Planned Parenthood violated federal law on Medicaid spending.”

  5. When people ask me why I’m an active atheist and why I care about religion so much or what other people believe—this is why. If you care and want to do something about this, consider a donation to Planned Parenthood.

Rick Perry for Dick of the Year

There isn’t an official contest, but maybe there should be. I nominate Texas Governor Rick Perry for the Dick of the Year Award. Granted, Perry’s work was part of a team effort, with Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, and a host of conservative Christian Texas legislators giving assistance. Rick and his pals have largely dismantled the Texas Women’s Health Program, a program for low-income women to get reproductive health care. The program has been about 9/10ths Federally funded. Part of the agenda there is to stop unwanted pregnancies as such pregnancies increase federal costs down the road to cover those pregnancies. It is good public policy. Or, rather, was.

The point of contention is that the program would fund Planned Parenthood to provide many of these services, much as it has done with public and private of funding. In the minds of Christians, though, “Planned Parenthood” is synonymous with “abortion.” Yes, Planned Parenthood does provide abortion services, but state and Federal funding are never used for this purpose. In fact, Planned Parenthood works very hard to prevent unwanted pregnancies through its education efforts and providing contraceptives.

Rick and the Christian chorus have argued that because money is fungible, giving any money to Planned Parenthood is effectively funding abortions. By that logic, tax breaks to or public funding of any Catholic organization is equivalent to government funding of an international pedophilia ring.

To make his point, Perry barred funding of Planned Parenthood from the Texas Women’s health program. Planned Parenthood sued, but lost.  Perry’s lawyers argued that to be acceptable to the state, Planned Parenthood would have to change their name and distance themselves from any abortion services. So this is a case of Christians using the power of the state to screw over an organization they have unjustly vilified.

The Obama Administration declined to have its Women’s Health Program hijacked by a bunch of Texas dicks and de-funded TWHP. Miffed, Perry and Abbott sued in Federal court to have the funding restored. Just this week, a Federal court ruled that their attempted exclusion of Planned Parenthood violated Health and Human Services guidelines and threw out their claim. Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood has won a temporary Federal injunction from being barred from TWHP funding. I’ll bet someone’s feeling a little blue in the balls over this.  Thankfully, for Rick there will be little political fallout.  His conservative Christian base is cheering him on.

For now, Texas is left to fund the program on its own. Given Texas’ history of ideological sex ed in schools and state funding of Christian-based crisis pregnancy centers that provide manipulation instead of information, I’d be very surprised if Texas properly funded an effective program. Meanwhile, they are doing an effective job of dismantling women’s reproductive health in Texas.  Many smaller clinics have already shut their doors over funding uncertainties.

So Perry deserves the Dick of the Year award.  In a mad quest to prevent abortion, Perry and his Christian pals have sabotaged a public health organization (Planned Parenthood) and a Federal program that would have prevented unwanted pregnancies and women seeking abortions to end those pregnancies. It is well documented that legal restrictions on abortion do not reduce abortion rates, but they do increase the health risks associated with those abortions. Thus, abortion laws mostly serve to increase suffering and death under the pretense of morality. Perry clearly lacks compassion for the women involved, many of whom are poor.  About 3/4ths of women seeking abortion say that they lack the resources to raise a child.

I know of two solutions to the abortion problem. The first solution is to take the claims of Christians at their word and address the lack of resources. Christians say they have a special relationship with an all-powerful god who answers prayers. They also claim to care deeply about the welfare of the unborn child (at least until birth). They claim to follow Jesus, who cared for the poor. Churches even get tax breaks for their alleged charity. So the solution is simply set up a registry where pregnant women who lack the resources to have a child sign up to get financial support for themselves (as care giver) and the child until the child graduates from college or vocational school. In the case of a disabled child, care should be funded until death. Churches and their members would be taxed to provide the necessary funds. Think of it! Poverty would be reduced instead of increased. Christians would have a compassionate way of demonstrating the courage of their convictions. Children would have church and state support instead of the church using the state to punish them and their mothers.  Christian leaders could even offer up one of their own to be killed for women who die in childbirth (i.e. Exodus 21:23). They should want to be held to their God’s laws as an example to their flock.

How would churches find the money for such a program? Simple. They can pray and God will provide. Each Church’s petitioners would pray to God for reimbursement and there would be no net loss to the church. Churches promoting false religions or out of favor with God would not be reimbursed and their assets would be liquidated to cover their share of the program. The ministers of such churches could go out and make an honest wage that go toward the expenses. If that weren’t enough, members could be taxed. I can’t imagine a Christian wanting to have a child that they brought into the world starve or otherwise suffer due to their moral failings.

We know that this is not a viable solution, simply because Christianity is a fraud. We all know there isn’t a god that someone can pray to to get the things they want, despite Jesus’ claims to the contrary. If prayer worked, Christians could simply pray abortion away and not have to hijack the government and uteruses to make future tithers. Everyone knows that God can’t. God also can’t make more sycophant believers, so women’s reproductive organs have to be co-opted to perpetuate the fraud.

The only tools Christians have in their arsenal that really works are manipulation and thuggery.  If they can’t manipulate women into keeping their unborn child (such as through guilt, ultrasound baby pictures, or lies about mental health harm), they can always rely on thuggery, such as vindictive abortion laws, trans-vaginal ultrasounds, intruding in personal and medical decisions, forcing women to bear children they don’t want, risk their lives with child birth, and commit many of them (and their child) to a lifetime of poverty.  Rick Perry and his Christian pals are completely on board with this manipulation and thuggery, making Rick my nomination for dick of the year. To end the year, Rick Perry vowed to outlaw all abortion in Texas.

The second solution to the abortion problem is to make them safe and rare, through reproductive education, contraceptive availability, and family planning.  First world countries do this and they are successful at keeping their abortion rates down without being dicks to the women involved. Rick and his pals would never think to use a proven effective means of reducing abortion. Instead, U.S., Christian conservatives seemingly work to increase unwanted pregnancies, and then wonder why U.S. abortion rates are so high. They are all dicks, in my opinion.  They want the power to make a decision for someone they don’t’ know but they run away from the responsibility of such a decision.

It’s hard to understand these small minds and hearts.  If men like Rick want control over a vagina, they should have a sex change operation. Their god clearly knew they couldn’t handle control over even one.  Perhaps they’re so insecure over their own manhood that they have to cause women to suffer to feel good about themselves.  Perhaps Rick and his pals get some sort of sexual pleasure out of controlling other’s reproduction.  Regardless, he is nothing more than a dick and everyone should know that fact.

Post election open thread

Okay, okay, I know not all atheists are behind Barack Obama… so congratulations or condolences depending on where you happen to land on that question.  However, I offer some reasons for the great majority of us to be cheerful today:

  1. Gay marriage.  Maine and Maryland became the first states to approve same-sex marriage by popular vote.  Washington state reaffirmed it.  Minnesota shot down a bill to outlaw it.
  2. With apologies to Kristine and our great friends at Secular Pro-Life (whom Matt recently vowed to continue debating until the entire organization is dismantled)… abortion.  Todd “legitimate rape” Akin got the smackdown. Richard “gift from God” Mourdock is out too.
  3. Diversity.  The 2012 Congress will have 19 women as Senators, the highest number in history.
  4. God lost this election… repeatedly.  In the Republican primaries, three candidates — Perry, Bachmann, and Cain — all stated that God wanted them to run for president.  None of them even made it past the first few rounds.  Romney said no such thing; nevertheless, 74% of Evangelical Christians got over their revulsion for Mormonism and stated their intention to vote for Romney.  Lou Engle, a self-styled prophet, let us know that God was DEMANDING that we vote for Romney: “I sensed the Lord saying, Will you stand with Me in my covenantal faithfulness? Will you stand for my ancient covenant with My people? A deep abiding ‘yes’ began to conquer my arguments…”  But ya know, even the full force of the Almighty’s endorsement does jack squat for a the candidate, apparently.
  5. Math.  It works.  So says xkcd.

 

Texas Freethought Convention, with political thoughts

I had a great time at the convention yesterday.  I was a bit of a lightweight, only putting about six hours into it and not sticking around for the keynote speech (Sorry, PZ!  I’m sure it was great!) or the pub crawl afterwards.

Picked up PZ Myers at the airport at 12:30 on Monday and got him to his hotel by 1.  After that I slept in and then Lynnea and I drifted to the capitol steps around 11, just missing a speech by the head of Camp Quest Texas.

There were some protesters there.  We got pictures!

Lynnea Glasser and protester at the Texas Freethought Convention

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Let’s Treat them Like a Country

The Vatican would like to be a religious concern when it wants to inflict its “moral teachings” on non-Catholics, control Cardinals and Bishops based on church teachings, and not pay taxes. On the other hand, the Vatican would like to be a country when the Pope is named in lawsuits or when they would like to sweep their minions away to the Vatican when they face legal trouble in some country. The Vatican has done a great job of advancing their agenda with this sleight of hand. For those of us with a shred of skepticism, it smacks of a con game. “Heads I win, tails you lose.” Since being a religion has never helped the Catholic Church with its depravities, let’s force them to just be the little tin-pot country they want to be.

The first thing that has to happen is that the Cardinals, Bishops, and Priests here in the US all need to have their country loyalty questioned. One cannot serve two masters. Are they American citizens subject to US law? If so, then there should be no cover-ups, no hiding behind “church state separation” (where it suits their needs), and no misdirection of the legal system. Those who swear their loyalty to the Pope or god or some other authority should have their US citizenship revoked.  If the Vatican wants to issue them passports, that’s fine. However, let’s be clear: they are guests in our country and subject to our laws.  If they violate them, those involved should be prosecuted or deported. If they behave as organized criminals, then subject their institutions to racketeering laws and have their assets seized until they have had a proper trial. With their stonewalling, that could take centuries.  So be it. Since their criminal activities run internationally, such as money laundering and sex crimes, then let them be subject to international courts, where needed, to bring them into line.

Tax favoritism of Catholic properties should be stopped immediately. There is no reason why the US Government should be subsidizing foreign governments, especially those that have harmed American children. As a point of comparison, Saddam Hussein never harmed Americans, let alone on our own soil. An objective look at their government activities leads one to the conclusion that they are not a friendly nation. Let their activities be scrutinized by the CIA. Let’s stop publishing their press releases in our newspapers.  The USA should not be foreskin-whipped by a bunch of child molesters and their enablers.

Just this month, “US” Catholic Bishops have thrown a little tantrum over their “religious freedom.” Like frothing Muslims when someone draws a cartoon, they have learned that behaving like bratty children gets media attention. This time, they want the US government to bend US laws so that they can control the reproduction of others. Why, exactly, have we let foreign governments control our nation’s hospitals? Why are they holding so many medical ethics board seats? Supreme Court seats? What about the real religious freedom of skeptics not to have to subsidize blatantly criminal organizations?

The Catholic “pro life” stance is just self-serving ploy. Those familiar with the history of the church should be aware of the centuries of torture and genocide it has perpetuated. Remember the Crusades? The Cathars? Witch Burnings? The Inquisition? Auto-da-fé? The rape of the Americas? After its silent assent of the Holocaust (“I believe today that I am acting in the sense of the Almighty Creator. By warding off the Jews I am fighting for the Lord’s work.”), the Catholic Church contrived its pro-life policy out of a sense of survival. An educated Europe turned away from this horrible murderous institution. How will the parasite nation go on? We all know that God will not provide and nothing fails like prayer. Its only means of survival is to get its clutches into the next generation, the poorer and more gullible, the better. Buy low, sell high.  Their newfound “value” of human life is strangely proportionate to that life financial value as a potential tither. If the Catholic Church would like to manufacture humans, then let them fund their project themselves. If they will not fund the children they want to create, then they are the abortion murderers, are they not?

It’s time to treat the Vatican as a country—one with its own self-interests almost universally at odds with ours. Let’s make them stop using Americans and America for their ends.  Let’s bring the crime ring to justice.

Pushing to outlaw abortion even in cases of rape

Reacting to this has been on my to-do list for about a week now.  I thought I’d just comment on it during Saturday’s Non-Prophets, but it got canceled, so I guess I’m blogging it instead.

Personhood amendments are constitutional amendments that declare that human life begins at conception, no matter what the circumstances.  This human life — no matter what stage of development, including a zygote — has constitutional rights.  Terminating the development of a fertilized human egg is akin to murder under personhood amendments. Generally, under personhood amendments, the circumstances of the pregnant women are irrelevant because the fertilized egg has a constitutional right to life.

In an effort to promote its cause, Personhood Mississippi has started a “Conceived in Rape” tour featuring Rebecca Kiessling, who says she was conceived by rape and was slated for abortion.   Kiessling states on her website,

Have you ever considered how really insulting it is to say to someone, “I think your mother should have been able to abort you.”? It’s like saying, “If I had my way, you’d be dead right now.” And that is the reality with which I live every time someone says they are pro-choice or pro-life “except in cases of rape” because I absolutely would have been aborted if it had been legal in Michigan when I was an unborn child, and I can tell you that it hurts. But I know that most people don’t put a face to this issue — for them abortion is just a concept — with a quick cliche, they sweep it under the rug and forget about it. I do hope that, as a child conceived in rape, I can help to put a face, a voice, and a story to this issue.

In reply, some have said to me, “So does that mean you’re pro-rape?” Though ludicrous, I’ll address it because I understand that they aren’t thinking things through. There is a huge moral difference because I did exist, and my life would have been ended because I would have been killed by a brutal abortion. You can only be killed and your life can only be devalued once you exist. Being thankful that my life was protected in no way makes me pro-rape.

The thing is, calling the question “ludicrous” doesn’t actually put it outside the realm of discussion, it’s just an attempt to poison the well.

Trying to make the fetus legally a person is a tactic they’re using in order to do an end-run around the fact that most people don’t think it is one in reality.  Yes, they want to convince everyone that a fetus is equivalent to a person with constitutional rights, but appealing to the fact that it is would be begging the question.

A few months ago I wrote some hypothetical questions about what constitutes “potential life.”  These were some thought experiments of mine which revolve a time traveler preventing a person’s birth, asking basically: In which of these cases has the time traveler committed murder?  Are you murdering someone by preventing their parents from having sex?  Are you murdering potential siblings by allowing a person to be born, knowing that if he hadn’t been then his parents would otherwise have had other, different kids?

Naturally, some people dismissed the post as pointless because “time travel isn’t real.”  Well, sure.  But neither is the imaginary alternate universe that Rebecca Kiesling proposes, in which Rebecca Kiesling was never born.  In this universe right here, circumstances have caused Rebecca Kiesling to be alive today, and no amount of hypothetically retroactive changing of the rules can alter her existence unless time travel becomes a reality.  So if we’re refusing to accept alternate universe scenarios, we can’t reasonably discuss whether Rebecca “shouldn’t have been born”; we can only discuss whether we should force mothers now to bear a rapist’s baby that isn’t a person yet.

The way that Rebecca has framed the issue is, of course, emotionally manipulative.  On purpose.  She says that she hears people saying “If I had my way, you’d be dead right now.” Sounds pretty rude, doesn’t it?  But let’s just push back the question to the circumstances that caused her birth in the first place.  I wish her mother hadn’t been raped, because I’m against rape.  It is no less valid to frame that opinion as “If I had my way, you would never have existed.”

Putting side effects in personal terms can easily be used to make the audience feel like the person is a real jerk, when in both cases their primary concern is a goal of preventing undesirable suffering.  Being anti-rape, it’s “I sure wish somebody would have stopped that guy from forcing your mom to have sex with him.”  Being pro-choice, it’s “Since your mom was unfortunately raped, I hope that she retains the option to spare herself the emotional trauma of having to bear a rapist’s baby.”

Whether those two desires are actually different from each other completely revolves on the not settled philosophical matter of whether a blastocyst with no brain function or nervous system is distinct in any important way from a sperm and an egg that never combined in the first place.  And that’s a matter worth arguing about, but it shouldn’t be “settled” by the minority ramming their religiously-motivated answer through as law.

God-based Abortion Policy: FAIL (Open thread on episode 719)

I’m going to talk about abortion again this week. This time, I’m taking a completely different tactic. I’m going to apply my own personal moral principles to the problem and see how well I do against those of the religious right, supposedly backed by their god.

Guess which one will come out objectively better? Hopefully, this leaves the question of why an individual atheist is doing better than American Christendom backed by the Author of morality.

Feel free to treat this as an open thread on episode 719.

Postscript: I found out late that Greg Paul was to be a special guest caller on the show, so I wasn’t able to get to my topic. I’ll save it for next time.

Some thought experiments on “potential life”

An ex-theist emailed to say that, although he has made a lot of changes to his thinking regarding gay rights and race issues since abandoning his theism, the abortion issue still bothers him.

The human egg and sperm are not in and of themselves able to “live” and reproduce/multiply on their own. Once they are joined, something happens that causes them to “become alive” and the cells will them multiply on their own without any external influence other than feeding off the body of the mother.

The glob of cells will in the vast majority of cases eventually become a human and the progression of its growth can not be physically stopped by the mother or father without the prescribed use of a poison pill, or physical instrument where a doctor must physically cut it or smash it until the growth stops.

I’m no legal scholar, but I can not see how this action can not be defined as anything other than “killing” an immature human.

Rather than just send him off to another site, I gave a little more thought to the implications of requiring the care of a fetus on the basis of it being a potential future life as soon as the sperm and egg join. For starters, you can’t go wrong reading Carl Sagan’s essay on abortion from Billions and Billions:

 

Despite many claims to the contrary, life does not begin at conception: It is an unbroken chain that stretches back nearly to the origin of the Earth, 4.6 billion years ago. Nor does human life begin at conception: It is an unbroken chain dating back to the origin of our species, hundreds of thousands of years ago. Every human sperm and egg is, beyond the shadow of a doubt, alive. They are not human beings, of course. However, it could be argued that neither is a fertilized egg.

In some animals, an egg develops into a healthy adult without benefit of a sperm cell. But not, so far as we know, among humans. A sperm and an unfertilized egg jointly comprise the full genetic blueprint for a human being. Under certain circumstances, after fertilization, they can develop into a baby. But most fertilized eggs are spontaneously miscarried. Development into a baby is by no means guaranteed. Neither a sperm and egg separately, nor a fertilized egg, is more than a potential baby or a potential adult. So if a sperm and egg are as human as the fertilized egg produced by their union, and if it is murder to destroy a fertilized egg–despite the fact that it’s only potentially a baby–why isn’t it murder to destroy a sperm or an egg?

For context, here’s support for Sagan’s claim of the frequency of spontaneous abortion from the University of Ottowa:
“The incidence of spontaneous abortion is estimated to be 50% of all pregnancies, based on the assumption that many pregnancies abort spontaneously with no clinical recognition.”

So if a fertilized egg is more likely than not to not grow into an adult human being, why draw arbitrary lines in the sand saying that it becomes murder in that particular moment?

For the sake of argument, I’d like you to imagine that time travel is possible in order to consider the following eight thought experiments.

  1. You go back in time and deliberately prevent somebody’s parents from meeting. To be concrete, we’ll call him “Biff”. History has now changed and Biff is never born. Have you killed Biff? (If you’re like me, the answer is “Maybe. I’ll have to think about it a bit.”)
  2. Suppose that, instead of preventing Biff’s parents from meeting, you go back to the night of his conception and strike up a conversation with them. The three of you have a delightful time until late at night, and they never get around to having sex. Again, Biff is never conceived. Again, have you murdered him?
  3. Now suppose that Biff’s parents were already actively planning to have a kid, and so they go at at the next night. A child is conceived but — due to the statistical issues involved — a different sperm implants in the egg, and the genes express themselves in very different ways. Returning to the present, you find that Biff doesn’t exist at all. In his place, his not at all similar brother Griff was born. Is Biff now dead?
  4. In order to fix the timestream, you travel back and prevent yourself from meeting Griff’s parents, thus restoring the original history. Biff is born and Griff is not. Have you now killed Griff?
  5. You and your partner discuss having a child of your own, and almost decide to do it, but in the end you decide that the cons just barely outweigh the pros. Had the argument gone a little bit differently, you might have had a kid. Have you killed your future child?
  6. You (or your wife) are pregnant, but there are complications — possibly not fatal, but definitely not something you would like to deal with. You agree to abort the baby and try again. The original fetus is never born, and the new baby is healthy, happy, and grows to adulthood. If you had chosen to bear the original fetus, you wouldn’t have wanted any more children. By deciding not to have the abortion, would you have been killing the healthy baby?
  7. Some religious groups teach that child bearing is a responsibility and a duty. Protection of any kind is never allowed during sex, and therefore they have fifteen kids. Compare them to a couple who bear two children by choice and then use protection for the rest of their lives. Have they killed the other thirteen children that they might have had? Do thirteen murders simultaneously occur as soon as the man gets a vasectomy? What if they decided to have no kids, is the murder count now bumped up to fifteen?
  8. Similarly, is an abstinent couple committing murder by giving their future children no opportunity to come to life?