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Babies stacked like cordwood and burned to heat abortion clinics!

The latest ‘scandal’ to appall the anti-choicers is the discovery that aborted babies were incinerated to heat UK hospitals. It’s actually just more sensationalism from the Telegraph.

Ten NHS trusts have admitted burning foetal remains alongside other rubbish while two others used the bodies in ‘waste-to-energy’ plants which generate power for heat.

Last night the Department of Health issued an instant ban on the practice which health minister Dr Dan Poulter branded ‘totally unacceptable.’

At least 15,500 foetal remains were incinerated by 27 NHS trusts over the last two years alone, Channel 4’s Dispatches discovered.

The programme, which will air tonight, found that parents who lose children in early pregnancy were often treated without compassion and were not consulted about what they wanted to happen to the remains.

One of the country’s leading hospitals, Addenbrooke’s in Cambridge, incinerated 797 babies below 13 weeks gestation at their own ‘waste to energy’ plant. The mothers were told the remains had been ‘cremated.’

Another ‘waste to energy’ facility at Ipswich Hospital, operated by a private contractor, incinerated 1,101 foetal remains between 2011 and 2013.

Do the math. I calculate that, on average, that means each of those hospitals incinerated about 24 wads of bloody debris from a specific surgical procedure per month. I think we’ve just solved the energy crisis forever if setting a few grams of dead baby (how much do they think a first trimester fetus weighs, anyway?*) on fire every day or two is enough to make a significant dent in the hospital’s heating bill. Ask yourself, though — do you think crematoria are net energy producers, or net energy sinks?

Also, that wet, gooey scrap of tissue is not going to be a profitable energy source. Burning the mass of disposable pads and absorbent gauze and assorted paper waste associated with the procedure is a plus, but dead fetuses? Nope. This is a standard, significant cost for medical facilities and also universities — biological waste must be disposed of, but it’s nasty stuff that has to be disposed of properly. No one wants piles of blood-soaked laundry rotting in their landfill. It is standard procedure to use incinerators — specific incinerators rated to efficiently destroy hazardous and infectious materials.

Apparently, some of the incinerators in the UK are efficiently designed to use a high heat adequate for destroying biological waste, and some of that heat is used to also heat the place. That sounds sensible to me.

I’m not in the least disturbed by the fact that patients were not consulted on how their dead fetus was disposed. When you go in for an operation, are you concerned about what is done with the bloody towels afterwards, or how your appendix or tonsils or excised cyst are treated? Did you think there was some special room deep in the bowels of the institution where they were reverently interred, attended by a weeping chaplain who said a few kind words over your precious bodily fluids? Nope. They’re sealed up in a bag, dealt with according to appropriate protocols for medical waste, and incinerated.

Get over it.


*About 15 grams, or half an ounce…of the most energy-dense substance in the world, apparently.

Comments

  1. gog says

    So…. is the waste from other medical procedures incinerated, too? It seems like a perfectly hygienic means of disposal to me.

    Oh, but because it relates to abortion it’s automatically something evil.

  2. gog says

    @hyperdeath #3

    Is that just base load? What about peak times? What about the fuel used to keep load-following and peaking plants primed? This is surely an energy crisis.

  3. Louis says

    WHAT! This is an outrage! I, an ATHEIST, could have eaten those babies*, perhaps in a tempura batter or as some form of barbeque. OH THE HUGE MANATEE!

    Louis

    * Notice the “BABIES!!!” in the article? <13 week foetus =/= baby. Deal with it anti-woman fucks.

  4. Erp says

    Actually I can see some consultation and consoling with the patient as being wise in the case of a miscarriage or medical ending of a wanted pregnancy (i.e., the woman wanted to be pregnant and have a child but this particular pregnancy had to be ended) and I hope that is done. I’m also not sure of the articles terminology. Are they talking just of fetuses from 11th-13th weeks (the development isn’t called a fetus until 11 weeks (at least according to wikipedia) and the article says/implies this was only done for remains under 13 weeks) or all first trimester remains?

  5. fmitchell says

    Maybe the hospital should build wee coffins for the fetuses and play “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes as each is reverently ladled into the fire.

  6. says

    It’s a lie! Everyone knows that babies are burned on open bonfires while the abortion clinic staff dance around naked and chanting Satanic hymns.

  7. says

    gog:

    Is that just base load? What about peak times? What about the fuel used to keep load-following and peaking plants primed? This is surely an energy crisis.

    Britain’s mean power consumption is about 36 GW. Given that a fuel based power station has a conversion efficiency of about 1/3, I assumed the required chemical energy per unit time to be 100 GW.

    I then assumed that each foetus yields 200 KJ on burning. PZ should be able to provide me with a more accurate figure. (That’s the kind of thing a biologist would know, isn’t it?)

  8. says

    So…. is the waste from other medical procedures incinerated, too? It seems like a perfectly hygienic means of disposal to me.

    Careful, this is how you get zombie apocalypses. I saw it in some movie way back when. lol

  9. jamessweet says

    I’m not in the least disturbed by the fact that patients were not consulted on how their dead fetus was disposed. When you go in for an operation, are you concerned about what is done with the bloody towels afterwards, or how your appendix or tonsils or excised cyst are treated? …
    Get over it.

    Wait wait, slow down PZ. I think you are getting carried away here with going after the (admittedly absurd) “zomg tissue is a real baby!” crowd, and it is making you a little insensitive. One of the reasons I am so rabidly pro-choice is because for some women who have an abortion, the decision is a truly heart-breaking one, where they have to choose between a significant medical risk and losing the baby they dearly want. The fact that for many women it is no big deal does not take away from the fact that for some women it is an emotional experience, and the loss of a very much wanted pregnancy. (That asshole theocrats would butt in to such a gut-wrenching scenario and try to make the woman “prove” that it’s a “medical necessity”, that really makes my blood boil)

    I’m not sure exactly how to tackle this — for someone to whom the removed tissue was never a potential child, you don’t want to pester them by talking about “arrangements” or any of that nonsense. On the other hand, there are people for whom the disposal of the remains might be a big deal, it might be a real part of mourning an opportunity lost.

    In any case, while the right answer is not clear to me, I’m pretty sure “Get over it” is not really an appropriate response here. :(

  10. twas brillig (stevem) says

    One of the country’s leading hospitals, Addenbrooke’s in Cambridge, incinerated 797 babies below 13 weeks gestation at their own ‘waste to energy’ plant. The mothers were told the remains had been ‘cremated.’

    Why the “scare-quotes”? Are they trying to imply that Incineration is not Cremation? Oh, yeah, I see: Cremation gives you an urn of the ashes, to take home; Incineration just lets the ashes fall into the ash-heap.
    And WTF is wrong with recovering the heat energy of the aborted or miscarried fetus? Even the God-botherers should rejoice that the spirit of the “baby” is productive even after death. Orrrr, are they trying to scare us into thinking that soon, *every* body will be burnt as fuel; as a result of Oil-Abolitionists? Or; that hospitals don’t want to heal; they just want bodies to fuel their furnaces for Heat? [me scared. ;-{ ]
    .
    Maybe its just me but I’ll just dismiss this story as yet another from “”scare-mongers”” who do not try to object on reasonable grounds; their only goal is to scare everyone, all the time, about anything. > Oogedy-boogedy!!!

  11. says

    I am really distressed by this news!!

    I had my appendix (PBUI) removed in the UK fifty years ago…
    AND I WANT TO KNOW IF IT WAS TREATED WITH DIGNITY AND GIVEN A DECENT BURIAL!!!1

  12. The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical says

    jamessweet @ 14

    On the other hand, there are people for whom the disposal of the remains might be a big deal, it might be a real part of mourning an opportunity lost.

    Serious question: Can they not ask? Since in many places you can apparently request your placenta to take home and eat, why can’t those who want the remains of a pregnancy ask for them? If it matters a great deal, I imagine someone could research and plan ahead just as the placenta-eaters do.

    A funeral for a fetus is a bit less bizarre than chowing down on an organ, after all.

  13. rq says

    richardelguru
    Your appendix is alive. And it’s waiting for you… in the after-life. Be afraid. It didn’t take excision particularly well… and the cremation incineration afterwards was the last straw.

  14. Pierce R. Butler says

    Why is this an issue?

    After all, True Christians™ don’t have abortions – and when they do, like the Santora, they take the extracted tissue home and introduce it to its siblings as the permanent baby of the family.

  15. opposablethumbs says

    Oh how I wonder whose investigative zeal was behind this total and utter non-story?

    Yes of course if someone has lost a wanted pregnancy that could be devastating and obviously merits sympathetic treatment which could potentially include specific arrangements for disposal of any remains.

    But making a stupid blanket rule imposing an unnecessary cost and a waste of time and energy, as the Department of Health has apparently done, is … stupid, unnecessary and pandering to the foetus-worshippers. The foetus-worshippers will never be satisfied, either.

    I don’t give a flying fuck what they did with the waste after cutting a suspect cyst out of me, after removing my wisdom teeth or after either of my two lifesaving, extremely early, free-of-charge and relatively accessible abortions.

    Apart from the wanted pregnancies issue, this is such a load of bollocks.

  16. Louis says

    jamessweet, #14 and The Mellow Monkey, #17,

    Anecdote FWIW:

    Before my son was born my wife, unfortunately, had a late-ish miscarriage* with her first pregnancy (it’s really common apparently which, until that point, I’d never really given a second’s thought to). She was (we were) offered a viewing of the remains if we thought that would help us deal with it, but since we both knew what we would have seen, we decided against it. I say we, she decided against it and I was happy to do what she needed me to do. Weirdly I’m more emotional about it all now than then, then my focus was on making sure my wife was okay (she was, I was being a silly goose, she didn’t need me fussing about! Though the foot rubs were appreciated apparently).

    Louis

    *Not late enough to be a still birth but late enough to need surgical intervention. She then went on to have a molar pregnancy. Nasty stuff. But pregnancy’s a doddle, right lads? I think not!

  17. says

    I know that for miscarriages many clinics now collect the remains and bury them once in a blue moon.
    Because it’s important to the people who would have wanted to be parents.
    Not because there’s anything special about those remains.
    Personally, I have no idea what happened with the remains of my miscarriage and I couldn’t care less. It was dead tissues of broken dreams. I mourned. I mourned the loss of possibilities, the loss of our hopes. I didn’t mourn the way I mourn the loss of a person.

  18. says

    Meanwhile, some rightwing people in the USA have decided to have a conniption fit over contraception. Contraception is a basic means of preventing pregnancy, and therefore one of the fundamental building blocks for reducing the number of abortions.

    Not to be deterred by these facts are Republican politicians. Rachel Maddow reviews the recent history of conservative opposition to contraception and the awkward position Republican politicians face having to sign on to that position to win a primary and then be burdened by its unpopularity with Americans broadly.

  19. says

    I should have mentioned that the Maddow link in comment #25 also provides a nice summary of the bogus argument that religious bosses should be able to refuse to offer insurance that covers contraception for women. The video is 7:38 long and covers a lot of issues.

  20. magistramarla says

    Ibis and Louis mentioned exactly what was immediately upon my mind.
    I lost a much-wanted pregnancy at 5 weeks. I didn’t realize what that little mass of what looked like meat gristle was until after I had flushed. Later, at the ER, the staff there acted upset that I had not brought it with me – NOT what was on my mind at the time.
    The tests showed that I was still pregnant, so we hoped that the second fetus would continue to develop, but I lost that pregnancy two weeks later.That time I knew what to look for. I called the OB/GYN that time, but was simply brushed off and told to make an appointment if the bleeding didn’t stop within X number of days and if a normal cycle didn’t return within 6 weeks. There certainly wasn’t a lot of fuss over that 7 week old fetus by that RC OB’s office.
    BTW, I recovered and went on to have more children. It’s tough to go through a miscarriage, and as Louis pointed out, it’s tough for both partners. However, it happens, and then we move on.

  21. says

    Here’s a link to the second segment that Rachel Maddow presented regarding the question of bosses getting to decide what contraception coverage may or may not be offered to their employees.

    The segment includes a quote from Justice Sotomayor: “Is your claim limited to sensitive materials like contraceptives or does it include items like blood transfusion, vaccines? For some religions, products made of pork? Is any claim under your theory that has a religious basis, could an employer preclude the use of those items as well?”

  22. Ishikiri says

    I don’t quite understand what the issue was here. Was it that biological waste wasn’t being properly disposed of?

    Are aborted fetuses supposed to get special treatment? That doesn’t make any sense.

  23. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    Standard Torygraph. The whole thing is couched in emotive language and contrived moral outrage, referrs to foetuses as “babies”, and deliberately blurs the line between “aborted” and “miscarried”. As if whether or not the potential child is wanted makes no difference to the importance we attach to the remains. Morons.

  24. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    Lynna, my most prized memory of taking part of a clinic defense against Operation Rescue in Chicago in the early nineties was trying to talk to some of the anti-choice people. Tried to explain to one person that the use of contraceptives would lead to the reduction of unwanted pregnancies and, therefore, the reduction in abortions that needed to be performed.

    The old man said,’ “Great! You are telling people to have sex in the streets.”

    Needless to say, I was hardly surprised when these same people were against the use of HPV vaccination.

  25. busterggi says

    I get the feeling that if the hospital had been buring gays or the homeless these folks wouldn’t have a problem.

  26. says

    When I had my abortion 39 years ago, I never once thought about the “remains”. I assumed it would be incinerated like all medical waste. Are people going to start insisting on funerals for bloody bandages now?

  27. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    The dust in the air. Much of it is shed skin. It is human. We are all walking in human remains.

    The horror!

    The horror.

  28. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @Naked Bunny With a Whip

    Babies are carbon neutral, so this is an inevitable result of global-warming fear-mongering.

    You laugh, but from the comments section:

    derekcrane • 2 days ago

    I guess they consider it “green.”

  29. moarscienceplz says

    All together now – a one and a two:
    “Every sperm is sacred.
    Every sperm is great.
    If a sperm is wasted,
    God gets quite irate!”

  30. Wylann says

    As long as they were set adrift in little boats and set on fire in the proper Norse way to show respect for the mighty warriors that they were, I don’t see the problem.

    What…???

  31. qwints says

    I don’t see anything wrong with a woman being bothered by the hospital’s treatment of her. She’s a person and deserves compassion. The article seems much more concerned about things that aren’t people.

  32. Henrik Larsson says

    Hmm,

    My wife had a miscarriage and I came home to a bloody mess in the bathroom.
    Not good cleaning up after a miscarriage. Worse having it.
    It required some careful mental tuning ( or blocking out stuff ) to handle that.
    The comments here are rather one-sided and also oddly cold.
    I am an atheist but the way you guys talk here is just…cold.
    I wish it was as simple as is suggested here. I really do.
    Vulgar language is good most of the time. Not sure it is optimal here.

  33. says

    Henrik Larson, I’m sorry you and your wife suffered the loss of a miscarriage. However, that has little to do with a woman who decides to terminate a pregnancy and is unconcerned with the teensy bit of remains.

    It also has little to do with a tabloid having a screaming fit over “aborted babies used for energy!!1!” There’s nothing at all wrong with sticking to reality, especially on this subject. So many people insist on romanticizing blastocysts, embryos, and fetuses. We get to deal with people waxing poetical over “preborn babies”, when we’re talking about something roughly the size and shape of a lima bean. And not every woman goes into a fit of regret and agony over terminating a pregnancy. I didn’t. All I felt was relief.

  34. says

    If someone wants to have a very reverent funeral for an 8-week spontaneous abortion, of course they should be allowed to…and us cold, callous atheists ought to stay away and not interfere. But conversely, no one gets to tell someone else that the bloody smear on the blue padded paper blanket must be treated with respect and love.

  35. Henrik Larsson says

    PZ and inaji
    Thanx for comments.
    Fair points and nothing to disagree on there.
    I just realised I have never told anyone this. Probably shouldn’t have here…. That was weird blurting it out like that. Back to integrity and appearances quickly…
    The article was indeed disgusting and I was not defending it in any way. The language just seemed odd.
    To go science instead, there is just a language and thought problem here that I would need to consult old Witty or someone about. Something about using language to make it so, when all you’re doing is saying it is so. As you were …

  36. says

    As long as they were set adrift in little boats and set on fire in the proper Norse way to show respect for the mighty warriors that they were, I don’t see the problem.

    Well, paper boats should be OK, dontcha think?

    Henrik Larsson
    I’m sorry your wife had a miscarriage. You might have noticed that many people here, or their partners, suffered the same. The loss of a wanted pregnancy is tragic and nobody here supports telling people how to feel after that.

  37. jamessweet says

    On the other hand, there are people for whom the disposal of the remains might be a big deal, it might be a real part of mourning an opportunity lost.

    Serious question: Can they not ask? Since in many places you can apparently request your placenta to take home and eat, why can’t those who want the remains of a pregnancy ask for them? If it matters a great deal, I imagine someone could research and plan ahead just as the placenta-eaters do.

    I suspect they can, and perhaps that is the answer right there: Just let people ask, if it matters to them (and if it doesn’t, don’t ask… because that legitimizes the “tissue has a soul!” crowd)

    I guess I just objected to the tone of PZ’s final two paragraphs, especially the single-sentenced last one (“Get over it”). I’m not trying to be the “tone police” here either — those people who demand that all aborted tissue must be treated with reverence, they can fuck off. There’s no need to moderate one’s tone when dealing with people who want to impose their beliefs on everyone else. On the other hand, even a very early pregnancy can be meaningful to people on an individual level, and I see absolutely no reason to be contemptuous of that.

    Just the other day PZ was criticizing those who use atheism as an excuse to “act like emotionless Spocks” — and unfortunately, I think this thread is verging on that territory. Of course it’s not rational to mourn the loss of a very early pregnancy. But that doesn’t mean that those who do are worthy of ridicule. (Those who think everybody should feel something, they are deserving of ridicule. But let’s not lose the distinction here. Somebody who is sad that they had to abort their fetus and mourns the loss of the potential child is in no way equivalent to somebody who thinks all abortions are bad.)

  38. fergl100 says

    Here in Scotland (not the UK as a whole) all products of conception for Genetic testing or Histopathology must have a form accompanying filled out by the mother, that states if the products are to be returned to the mother or cremated by the hospital. That’s correct, all products are either returned to the mother or are cremated at the cemetery.

  39. Tom Reeves says

    I seem to remember an SF story from the early nineties where the main character is given her aborted first trimester foetus in a paper cup. It was incidental to the main plot because I think she was an assassin of some kind.

    Just saying.

  40. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @Otrame #30

    Not by my gf, she has a phobia of people touching her feet.

    @Henrik larsson #41

    Sorry that happened to you and your wife, mate. The loss of a wanted pregnancy is always tragic, and that sounds particularly distressing.

  41. Henrik Larsson says

    Giliell,

    Thanx for your kind words but should probably say that was 25 years ago and much water under the bridges and no drama intended. Sorry!
    I was just left pondering the language and how people here were responding.
    All good, I was just curious about the use of words, as language and thought is my thing.

  42. Henrik Larsson says

    Thanx thumper too,
    Now please stop with the condolences, my bad. Again, that was 25 years ago…and our youngest just left for college and we are just fine ;)
    No intention to be a tone troll either. Just curious about the language.

  43. opposablethumbs says

    of course if someone has lost a wanted pregnancy that could be devastating and obviously merits sympathetic treatment which could potentially include specific arrangements for disposal of any remains.

    I don’t think anybody here has or ever would advocate hospital staff being needlessly brusque or dismissive to people who have lost a wanted pregnancy, Henrik Larsson, and I’m very sorry your wife and you went through something so hard to bear. What we decry is something quite different – it’s the overwhelming and dishonest rush on the part of the forced-birth brigade to a) pretend that a few-weeks-gestated foetus = a baby and b) make a blanket rule and force hospitals to have special provision for all human waste resulting from abortions, wasting time money and energy which dog knows the NHS hasn’t got an infinite supply of, regardless of the patient’s own preferences.

    Respect, compassion and consideration is due to the patient and her partner, not to the foetus.

  44. says

    Janine @33

    The old man said,’ “Great! You are telling people to have sex in the streets.”

    Why don’t we do it in the road?

    Hmmm, so in the minds of people protesting outside abortion clinics, contraception is a license to have sex in the streets? That tells you so much about what they’d like to do.

  45. Alan Boyle says

    Putting aside the details of the story (which have been adequately covered in the comments already), I find it utterly terrifying that government ministers are interfering in hospital procedure based on knee-jerk reactions to tabloid news stories. The Telegraph (and the story was covered pretty much identically by the Independent, which is more frustrating) should not be able to scaremonger instant changes to Department of Health policies. I don’t care if it makes for poor public relations among the demographic of internet commenters that are comparing the cremation of medical waste to the work of the Nazis, because they’re ignorant buffoons and we are not supposed to have mob rule in the UK.

  46. says

    First time commentor so be gentle.
    Honestly I think some of the rhetoric from the pro-choice side goes too far. Comparing an embryo/foetus/blastocyst to removing cancerous tissue, tonsils or an appendix doesn’t reflect how most people feel about it (even though factually or scientifically it would be accurate). We aren’t fully rational beings, especially when it comes to children, etc.
    The pro-life side go too far in the other direction by equating an embryo/foetus/blastocyst with a full term baby. IMHO many people occupy a more middle ground that is reflected by neither extreme view point. As an atheist/humanist I don’t feel that either side offers an answer that is satisfying to me. Most people (I think) support elective abortions, don’t think a blastocyst is the same as a full term baby but equally don’t think the remains should be scooped up by the janitor and chucked in a dumpster.

  47. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Most people (I think) support elective abortions, don’t think a blastocyst is the same as a full term baby but equally don’t think the remains should be scooped up by the janitor and chucked in a dumpster.

    What should be done? Don’t just complain, offer a reasonable and healthy solution, keeping in mind you are dealing with biohazardous waste.

  48. opposablethumbs says

    government ministers are interfering in hospital procedure based on knee-jerk reactions to tabloid news stories.

    Yes. That certainly raises red flags.

  49. Juliana Ewing says

    Pierce Butler @19: the Santorums’ baby was born alive at 20 weeks and lived two hours. It’s really not the same thing. I think Rick Santorum is a horrible person with many vile beliefs, but I’m not going to criticize how he and his wife chose to mourn.

  50. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @Henrik Larsson

    Glad to hear you’re both OK :) And I didn’t think you were a tone troll, though my below reply to Paul Smith may be of relevance/interest to you.

    @Paul Smith

    Comparing an embryo/foetus/blastocyst to removing cancerous tissue, tonsils or an appendix doesn’t reflect how most people feel about it.

    How “most people” feel about it doesn’t matter in the slightest. The only people’s opinions on the subject that matter are those of the potential parents.

    When mourning an aborted foetus, you’re not mourning a person. How can you, when there never was a person to begin with? You’re mourning the loss of potential; the loss of hope*. A foetus or a blastocyst is just a lump of cells, and it only has the significance we attach to it. If it was wanted, it is significant, because it represents that potential and that hope; and if having some sort of ceremony for the remains will help give closure to the people hurt by the loss, then they get to have a ceremony. If it was not, it is not, and it certainly has no intrinsic significance in and of itself. It becomes once again merely a ball of cells, and getting up in arms about it being incinerated is downright silly.

    *I think I stole this phrase off someone upthread. Thanks, I thought it captured it perfectly.

  51. says

    Paul Smith

    . Comparing an embryo/foetus/blastocyst to removing cancerous tissue, tonsils or an appendix doesn’t reflect how most people feel about it

    You know what, I don’t give a fuck about how you feel about my medical care.
    I had an abortion because of a miscarriage. I did not feel the least bad about getting the potentially dangerous tissue removed.

  52. says

    jamessweet:

    Just the other day PZ was criticizing those who use atheism as an excuse to “act like emotionless Spocks” — and unfortunately, I think this thread is verging on that territory.

    You are so very fucking wrong. There’s plenty of emotion going around, it’s just not emotion you think is proper, and I invite you to get right the fuck over that.

    I just got through delineating how I despise people expecting me to feel a certain way when it comes to babies/toddlers/children. Now I’m aggravated beyond measure because some people in this thread have that same fucking expectation, only I’m supposed to autocoo and cluck my tongue over blastocysts, embryos, and fetuses. FFS, it would be nice if those who have a high reading on their personal ickometer would recognize that other people don’t necessarily share their feelings of ickiness, and stop trying to remove our agency.

    Most women don’t regret having an abortion. Most women aren’t conflicted about it. Many women are relieved and happy about it. See: I’m Not Sorry net. We are constantly told we should be ashamed, we should be repentant, we should be angsty and regretful. Fuck that noise – I’m not any of those things. I’m absolutely thrilled that when I had my abortion, people had the sense to mind their own godsdamn business, and I was able to have a quick, safe, legal termination. Afterwards, I went to lunch, then to the beach, and had a great day. I made damn sure I’d never get pregnant again, and went through one fucking humiliating encounter with one doctor after another, thanks to all those who think all women simply don’t know their own minds, and of course you’ll want to be a mommy, because uterus! <spits>

  53. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @Alan Boyle #55

    Yeah, I noted and was worried by that too. Two right-leaning rags kick up an illogical, idealogically motivated fuss about the remains of other people’s foetuses, and the Department of Health immediately changes it’s policy? WTF?

  54. says

    First time commentor so be gentle.

    No. Honestly, why did you even bother with this useless, pointless command that is almost guaranteed to cause people to respond in the opposite manner than you claim to want? Do you think that a preemptive notice that you’re about to voice an unpopular opinion is going to make it any more popular? Is it going to render any logical flaws in your argument less obvious? Seriously, what was your train of thought?

  55. says

    Paul Smith:

    Comparing an embryo/foetus/blastocyst to removing cancerous tissue, tonsils or an appendix doesn’t reflect how most people feel about it

    I cheerfully invite you to fuck yourself in any manner you wish, too. How dare you speak for me? You don’t have the slightest fucking idea of how most people feel about it, let alone how most women feel about it. Why don’t you try to give yourself a bit of clue, Cupcake? Go read: http://www.imnotsorry.net/

  56. woozy says

    @46 Just the other day PZ was criticizing those who use atheism as an excuse to “act like emotionless Spocks” — and unfortunately, I think this thread is verging on that territory.

    Mnnnyyyyes…. but it’s merely reactionary to an imprecise and emotionally manipulative article. The article basically states abortive remains were disposed of in the manner of medical waste. To which a “so what; they are medical waste” seems responsive. Sort of…

    Clearly the antis don’t like abortion so they want to paint “babies tossed out like garbage”. Well, that’s an old complaint but, yes, an abortion is removal of the fetus and the fetus is “disposed of”. Such arguments add nothing to the discussion other than an unresolvable “Abortion is awful” vs. “No, I really don’t think it is” foundation. Since nothing is really being stated in this “They’re using medical waste for heating! Medical waste includes fetuses!” we really don’t have any response except a cold “get real”.

    I don’t know about English medical system but a few of my friends who have had abortions requested to see them. And I’ve heard of people how have requested to keep their gall bladders after removal. (In neither case do I understand why but …) I’m not concerned that the women weren’t consulted but I’m pretty sure they could have asked.

    The article veers into the subjective and vague when it states “parents who lose children in early pregnancy were often treated without compassion and were not consulted about what they wanted to happen to the remains”. Are they talking abortion or miscarriage? For abortion I think, like any other medical procedure, it is the responsibility of the patient to ask about such details if they are concerned. If miscarriage, I would have assumed there is a standard release form as so many would choise, reasonably I think, to want to personally deal with the remains. If the hospitals are callous, that’s a completely different issue than the medical waste heating.

  57. says

    Sorry can’t do HTML tags. Annoying I know.

    Anyway there are a couple of angles I’m getting at.

    “How “most people” feel about it doesn’t matter in the slightest. The only people’s opinions on the subject that matter are those of the potential parents.”

    Sure. But, I think, when you are forming a generic, standard or base level policy (more than likely across many hospitals) the middle ground position I’ve mentioned offers a more likely answer to what will meet widespread approval or acceptance.
    With that base level protocol being amended or revised for specific people or situations. If we assume that everyone will be happy that remains of “potential” foetuses/blastocysts are just chucked down a garbage chute by default then I think we’d be wrong (no matter how well we can articulate the reasons why they don’t really need special treatment).

    “What should be done? Don’t just complain, offer a reasonable and healthy solution, keeping in mind you are dealing with biohazardous waste.”

    Just pointing out that the extreme rhetoric from both sides does no one any favours I feel.
    People that are emotionally invested in the abortion process (for whatever reason) are probably just as bemused by people talking about what they are going through like it’s removing an appendix as people talking like they are committing murder.

  58. says

    Paul Smith @56:

    First time commentor so be gentle.

    The content of your comment will likely be a big factor in how people respond to you, not your first time commenter status.

    Honestly I think some of the rhetoric from the pro-choice side goes too far. Comparing an embryo/foetus/blastocyst to removing cancerous tissue, tonsils or an appendix doesn’t reflect how most people feel about it (even though factually or scientifically it would be accurate). We aren’t fully rational beings, especially when it comes to children, etc.

    I think you’ll find many people here already know that. No need to act as if you’re revealing some special insight. Also, I’m not sure how most people feel about a fetus, but more important, how do *you* know how most people feel about fetuses? I’m hoping your answer involves something beyond “I just know it”.

    The pro-life side go too far in the other direction by equating an embryo/foetus/blastocyst with a full term baby. IMHO many people occupy a more middle ground that is reflected by neither extreme view point. As an atheist/humanist I don’t feel that either side offers an answer that is satisfying to me. Most people (I think) support elective abortions, don’t think a blastocyst is the same as a full term baby but equally don’t think the remains should be scooped up by the janitor and chucked in a dumpster.

    Please go learn about abortion. Listen to the stories women tell. Look at the facts surrounding abortion. Look at the statistics. Challenge yourself to find out if what you think actually matches reality. Oh, and you’re coming from a highly privileged position. Please be aware of that.

  59. anteprepro says

    Paul Smith: The large amount of people who don’t feel that abortion is trivial and are afflicted with a tremendous of grief and guilt over it feel that way largely because of pro-fetus rhetoric . And an anti-women, anti-sex, magical thinking religious status quo that even afflicts the “secular pro-life” segment of the Fetus Rights Movement. Chastising the pro-choice for not mentioning that when describing how abortion shouldn’t necessarily and doesn’t inherently cause that kind of shit is either disingenuous or missing the point entirely.

  60. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @Paul Smith

    “How “most people” feel about it doesn’t matter in the slightest. The only people’s opinions on the subject that matter are those of the potential parents.”

    Sure. But, I think, when you are forming a generic, standard or base level policy (more than likely across many hospitals) the middle ground position I’ve mentioned offers a more likely answer to what will meet widespread approval or acceptance.
    With that base level protocol being amended or revised for specific people or situations. If we assume that everyone will be happy that remains of “potential” foetuses/blastocysts are just chucked down a garbage chute by default then I think we’d be wrong (no matter how well we can articulate the reasons why they don’t really need special treatment).

    First things first; it’s not a “potential” foetus/blastocyst. It is a foetus or a blastocyst, depending on it’s developmental stage; those things are potential people.

    Secondly, where did you get the notion that remains were chucked down a garbage shoot?

    On to the meat of the matter, no one assumed that everyone would be happy with this treatment of the remains. If you read my post, you”ll see I quite clearly stated that to some people the remains have significance, and that those people should be allowed to specify some sort of method of disposal which will help give them closure. Those that do not specify one clearly don’t care, so the remains will be disposed of as any other biological waste would be. That’s caring about existing people, rather than potential people.

    Do you disagree with that? If so, would you explain why?

  61. Amphiox says

    Comparing an embryo/foetus/blastocyst to removing cancerous tissue, tonsils or an appendix doesn’t reflect how most people feel about it (even though factually or scientifically it would be accurate). We aren’t fully rational beings, especially when it comes to children, etc.

    It is irrelevant what “most” people think. The only person who’s feelings matter is the individual who is deciding whether she wants to have an abortion or not. Whether she wants to consider it like removing cancerous tissue, or she wants to assign some value to the fetal tissue, is her prerogative.

    It is no one’s business but her own, and no one should be trying to club at these women with the cudgel of “what most people feel”.

  62. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Just pointing out that the extreme rhetoric from both sides does no one any favours I feel.

    In other words, you are concern/tone trolling. Thanks for admitting you have nothing cogent to say.

  63. anteprepro says

    M ost people (I think) support elective abortions, don’t think a blastocyst is the same as a full term baby but equally don’t think the remains should be scooped up by the janitor and chucked in a dumpster.

    Well then most people are either superstitious and/or don’t know jack shit.

    This is what we are talking about

    Not a slightly shorter infant or something. It is two fucking inches and weighs less than an ounce. Assuming it even comes intact. If you want a proper burial for it, feel fucking free if it comes up in YOUR life. But stop whining about how women and their doctors handle this thing in the real world. Because the real world is messy than your imagination.

  64. says

    “I cheerfully invite you to fuck yourself in any manner you wish, too. How dare you speak for me?”

    Wowsers.
    Erm…I didn’t think I was speaking for you? Sorry if it seemed like that.
    If a hospital decides to put a protocol in place that allows the people involved to have a say as to what happens to the “remains” (or whatever you want to call it) you, or anyone, are still absolutely free to say “I don’t care what happens”.
    But, I think, assuming “I don’t care what happens” as the default position is probably not going to go down that well with quite a few people. How many people I don’t know. I’d be one of those people certainly (even though I’m pro-choice).

    “You know what, I don’t give a fuck about how you feel about my medical care.
    I had an abortion because of a miscarriage. I did not feel the least bad about getting the potentially dangerous tissue removed.”

    Indeed. I’m not asking you to care what I feel. I’m trying to generalise in order to, perhaps, talk about a more generic policy.

    “Do you think that a preemptive notice that you’re about to voice an unpopular opinion is going to make it any more popular?”

    Not at all. I’ve seen how harsh this place can be that’s all. By all means be as harsh as you wish.
    I;m not sure why trying to occupy a middle ground in order to make things as smooth or hassle free as possible for the most number of people would be “unpopular”?

  65. anteprepro says

    Paul Smith:

    Just pointing out that the extreme rhetoric from both sides does no one any favours I feel.

    Learn three things:
    What tone trolling is.
    What false equivalence is.
    What the Golden Mean fallacy is.

    Until then, just shut the fuck up, m’kay?

  66. Amphiox says

    With that base level protocol being amended or revised for specific people or situations. If we assume that everyone will be happy that remains of “potential” foetuses/blastocysts are just chucked down a garbage chute by default then I think we’d be wrong (no matter how well we can articulate the reasons why they don’t really need special treatment).

    The solution is simple. Make it an available CHOICE for the patient having the abortion what to do with the biological remains. The thing is, in most places, that choice already exists, though perhaps not every patient is informed about it. It is in fact part of the standard medicolegal practice of informed consent that the patient gets a say in what happens to the tissue that is removed from their bodies. A patient can even request to have his or her malignant tumor returned to him or her for burial per his or her wishes, and make his or her consent to the surgical procedure that would remove that tumor conditional on the promise that the tissue be so returned. There are quite a number of religious traditions that require a person be buried with his or her entire intact body, such that body parts and organs that are medically removed (say limb amputation and the like) before death need to be preserved to be buried with the rest of the body upon death (or pre-buried in the same grave site, etc), and those beliefs are accommodated already.

    The article is sensational and dishonest because it ignores this reality. An honest article might take the form of a public service announcement, reminding people that they have this right, and that if they seek an abortion procedure, they can make their consent to the abortion conditional upon assurances that the fetal tissue be returned them for whatever rituals they prefer to have for it.

    And so, in the end, the reality is that the fetal tissue is still the same as tonsils, or cancerous tissue, because the right of the patient to request that THOSE tissues be treated in a certain way after removal, up to and including having a funeral for them, already exists.

  67. chigau (違う) says

    <blockquote>paste copied text here</blockquote>
    does this

    paste copied text here

    easy peasy

  68. Jacob Schmidt says

    Paul Smith

    Sorry can’t do HTML tags. Annoying I know.

    <blockquote> quoted text </blockquote>

  69. Amphiox says

    Just pointing out that the extreme rhetoric from both sides does no one any favours I feel.

    This is an argument of utility.

    If you want to make it, first you must define for context what the utility is that you are saying it “does no one any favours” for. Convincing the other side? Convincing the undecided middle? Emotional catharsis to vent one’s frustrations with like-minded acquaintances with no intent for convincing anyone else?

    Having defined that context, then you must demonstrate with either direct evidence, or a chain of logic that forms a parsimonious and testable hypothesis (which then would be subject to someone later going out and testing it), that the “extreme” rhetoric really does do “no one any favors”.

    You’d better define “extreme” while you’re at it as well.

    Otherwise it is all just pointless wanking.

  70. anteprepro says

    Paul Smith:

    I;m not sure why trying to occupy a middle ground in order to make things as smooth or hassle free as possible for the most number of people would be “unpopular”?

    Oh for fuck’s sake, just lurk more. It’s like accomodationist bleating all over again.
    “Quiet down, because Tactics!”
    “Don’t be Mean, because Niceness is The Only True Way!”
    “The Truth is Always in Between”
    “Extreme means Wrong!”
    “Loud and Angry means Wrong!”
    “Don’t worry about Truth, it’s all about Persuasiveness!”

    Your marketing and PR tactics are not guaranteed to be effective, your automatic dismissal of “extremes” is illogical, and your presumptions usually just have the effect of you barging in to silence your supposed allies.

    Please, fucking think about this, educate yourself, and wait a little longer before opening yap even more. This shit has happened and been gone over so many fucking times. We don’t need to rehash the argument for the millionth time just because you are too lazy to do your homework or rethink your own assumptions.

  71. says

    Amphiox:

    It is in fact part of the standard medicolegal practice of informed consent that the patient gets a say in what happens to the tissue that is removed from their bodies.

    My mother had her tonsils sitting on her desk, in a fluid filled, small acrylic container. I requested to have my gallbother, but forgot the damn thing after surgery. Oh well.

  72. anteprepro says

    Speaking of atheist baby-eating: The phrase “babies stacked like cordwood and burned” brings to mind “baby-back ribs”.

  73. says

    Honestly chigau I don’t hink I’m falling foul of those two fallacies because I’m not trying to assert what is true but merely what would serve a hospital best when formulating best practice policy that would likely sit well with as many people as possible.
    To me it’s about transparency and openess.
    Calling disposal of the remains as part of heating the hospital “cremation” is a little disingenuous (if this is indeed what happened) because cremation already has societal connotations of its own.

    My point about a general approach to talking about such matters was an aside to that.

  74. says

    Paul Smith:

    I;m not sure why trying to occupy a middle ground in order to make things as smooth or hassle free as possible for the most number of people would be “unpopular”?

    You are not making things smooth or hassle-free for me or a number of other women here. You are utterly dismissing us and our specific feelings and attitudes about our own medical experiences. Whether or not you realize it, you are trying to shame us. Stop it, right now.

  75. Jacob Schmidt says

    Paul Smith

    I;m not sure why trying to occupy a middle ground in order to make things as smooth or hassle free as possible for the most number of people would be “unpopular”?

    OK, here’s the thing: certain people impute value onto foetuses. That’s cool, you can totally do that; I understand the urge, especially if one intends to bring that foetus to term. The problem is that quite a few people assert that value as an objective absolute, and use any transgression (real or imagined) of that absolute as a bludgeon against abortion rights. Capitulating to that “objective” value does not help us. Hand-wringing on the matter is implicit agreement.

  76. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @Paul Smith

    Please address my post at #70. I’ve answered your question about hospital policy and you appear to have either missed it or to be avoiding it.

  77. says

    I can just see, as a consequence of this article and the associated outrage, that the waste heat from the incinerators will be banned from being used to heat the hospital, and instead they have to burn more coal and gas (or whatever they’re using over there).

    So, problem solved! No more babies being burned to heat the hospital. Now they’ll be burned to heat the air outside the hospital.

  78. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @Area Man

    Oh, that’s totally a possibility too :( FFS. When people’s moral outrage does more harm than good.

    I gots to go, you lot have fun with Paul.

  79. Amphiox says

    Honestly chigau I don’t hink I’m falling foul of those two fallacies because I’m not trying to assert what is true but merely what would serve a hospital best when formulating best practice policy that would likely sit well with as many people as possible.

    Well here you are again making an argument of utility.

    Arguments of utility need evidence that demonstrates the utility. You can’t just assert that something “would serve best”, you have to demonstrate it.

    So the onus is on you to provide evidence to support your assertion that a certain policy would “likely sit well with as many people as possible”, and THEN after demonstrating that, you have to show evidence that doing so would actually “serve a hospital best”.

    And you would also have to distinguish how your proposal is any different from the existing status quo, wherein patients already have the power to control exactly what happens to the tissue taken from their bodies, everything from an aborted fetus to a hangnail within in safety-related regulatory limits.

  80. Amphiox says

    I’m trying to generalise in order to, perhaps, talk about a more generic policy.

    Existing policy is: every patient has the opportunity as part of the informed consent process for any surgical procedure, whether it is abortion or not, that results in removal of anything from their bodies, fetal tissue or not, to stipulate what they want done with that tissue. If they make no stipulation the hospital has a variety of default procedures. Diagnostic tissue would be kept in the pathology department for X time period, for example, before disposal, while non-diagnostic tissue would be disposed in Y way. (In the institution where I work, at least the part of the diagnostic tissue is flat out state in the standard consent-for-surgery form for the patients to read at their leisure).

    In other words, you already have the right to have a funeral for a hangnail, if you so wish it.

    This even applies in many cases to foreign objects you don’t even own. If you, g*d forbid, get shot, you can ask to keep the bullet they extract from you (if they need to/can), even though you don’t technically own that bullet, and never purchased it.

    So, when it comes to this “generic policy” that you want to talk about, in what way do you want the current status quo changed?

    And if you do not want the current status quo changed at all, then what is the purpose of bringing the subject up?

  81. eoleen says

    I think the lesson to be learned here is that there are probably as many responses to the situation as there are people involved, or at least the numbers are in the same ball-park.

    But the main point, and as far as I am concerned, THE POINT, is that it is up to the individuals concerned, and that the DAMN SHIT-FACED NOSY GOD-SHOUTERS OUGHT TO KEEP THEIR DAMNED RELIGIOUS GARBAGE TO THEMSELVES AND LEAVE OTHERS THE FUCK ALONE.
    .
    .
    .
    Sorry for the shouting and the profanity, but I think we ALL ought to stand up in public and send them a message, even if it involves picketing church services the same way they picket birth control clinics. For every OB/GYN who does abortions who gets harrassed, a preacher, or maybe ten, because there are so many of them, should be harrassed.
    .
    .
    You can take it from there.

  82. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    Paul Smith sez:

    Just pointing out that the extreme rhetoric from both sides does no one any favours I feel.
    People that are emotionally invested in the abortion process (for whatever reason) are probably just as bemused by people talking about what they are going through like it’s removing an appendix as people talking like they are committing murder.

    Said before and I will say it again; I am fucking tired of people treating abortion as if it is a debate society and that “extreme rhetoric” has equal weight.

    What is the situation in the US? Anti-choice forces tell lies about the pro-choice side (What the fuck are “abortion pills”? They don’t exist but main stream news sources give in in order to be “balanced”. ) Access to abortions have been heavily restricted because of the combination of laws based on bad information and laws meant to harass with acts of terror that scares people from careers providing abortion care,

    In the US, women are losing to the religious barbarian. And you are concerned that the use of terms like blastocyst and not thinking of these as babies is somehow as extreme as the anti-choice side.

    I am sorry but I will be very rude to you.

    Fuck off. You concern is misplaced. And when combined with everything else going, helps to contribute to the harm that people have received and will receive.

  83. says

    Paul Smith

    But, I think, assuming “I don’t care what happens” as the default position is probably not going to go down that well with quite a few people.

    Huh?
    Unless somebody indicates that they do in fact care it is quite reasonable to assume that people don’t care. Unless you mean “people who have absolutely nothing to do with the medical process at all, like asshole pro-lifers and feckin’ politicians”, in which case I say they can stuff it where the sun doesn’t shine because their opinion is irrelevant.

  84. qwints says

    What the fuck are “abortion pills”?

    Mifepristone

    An extremely effective and safe tablet that’s legal in all 50 states. Contrast with Levonorgestrel which may be used as an emergency contraceptive to prevent rather than terminate pregnancy.

  85. twas brillig (stevem) says

    Paul Smith:

    Calling disposal of the remains as part of heating the hospital “cremation” is a little disingenuous (if this is indeed what happened) because cremation already has societal connotations of its own.

    Read what the OP quoted; with comprehension. Cremation/Incineration of the tissue was also heating the hospital, They were NOT heating the hospital with the remains, and just calling it Cremation. Is the difference too subtle for your “middle ground” sensibilities?
    Also, this posting is not trying to set a “general policy” for these procedures, just expressing anger at how “yellow” the “journalism” about it was.

  86. says

    “Do you think that a preemptive notice that you’re about to voice an unpopular opinion is going to make it any more popular?”

    Not at all. I’ve seen how harsh this place can be that’s all. By all means be as harsh as you wish.

    So… you don’t ACTUALLY want people to be gentle, you were just wasting your own time typing a sentence that meant the opposite of what it said? Color me skeptical. Obviously people are going to be as harsh or as gentle as they feel like. So, again, what was the goddamn point?

    I;m not sure why trying to occupy a middle ground in order to make things as smooth or hassle free as possible for the most number of people would be “unpopular”?

    Fuck the middle ground. The validity of avoiding hassles for “the most number of people” depends entirely on what those people consider a hassle. And, as noted, hospital policy already adequately addresses this. You’re trying to solve a problem that isn’t a problem.

    People that are emotionally invested in the abortion process (for whatever reason)

    Yeah, “for whatever reason.” Some people are emotionally invested because they want to avoid reproductive slavery. Some people are emotionally invested because they want to enslave other people.

    Fuck your “whatever reason.”

    FYI I probably would have been nicer except your little whiney “be nice to me!” just really annoyed me. It’s so obviously pointless and brainless and cowardly.

  87. Rich Woods says

    Ask yourself, though — do you think crematoria are net energy producers, or net energy sinks?

    It certainly took a lot of gas to torch my dad, which reminds me…

    Before my dad retired, he worked for 25 years in the operating theatres of our local hospital. We could see the hospital chimney from our garden. I remember one particular morning, when I was maybe 12 or so, him telling me that the heat haze we could see over there came partly from the amputated arm he had helped remove from a car accident victim the night before. I consider this a valuable life lesson, which is very likely what he’d intended it to be.

    In subsequent years I saw many of those yellow and blue bags containing various categories of medical waste thrown into the incinerator. Should someone who has lost a pregnancy have a right to make an informed decision on the disposal of the remains? Yes. Should politicians make an ill-informed decree based upon emotional responses and how many votes they might garner? No.

  88. says

    twas brillig:

    They were NOT heating the hospital with the remains, and just calling it Cremation.

    They were cremated. I’m all for people being educated in regard to asking questions and getting full information, but making a big ol’ distinction between incineration and cremation is ridiculous.

    A long time ago, when the people at our vet clinic inquired as to what we wanted to do with regard to a dead pet, one of the options was that they handled shipping the corpse to a crematorium, had the ashes put in a nice container and got back to us with it, all that. I asked questions as to how the cremation was done. Turns out that many animals are done together, unless you specifically request that your (dead) animal is cremated alone.

    If you want to know how things are done, ask! If you want to know what your rights are, ask! People will be happy to tell you.

  89. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Fresh animal tissue is a ridiculously horrible source of energy, generally speaking (even fatty tissue has to be rendered, as I understand it). Too much water in it; water doesn’t burn and has a very high specific heat, so it soaks up much of the energy produced (this is why, for instance, dicyanoacetylene burns so much hotter than acetylene).

    But capturing and using waste heat from a primary process is well-known, tried and true, and broadly promoted for reducing net energy cost and fuel consumption. “WHY IS THE TELEGRAPH TRYING TO MAKE BRITAIN DEPENDENT ON MIDEAST OIL?!?!?”

  90. Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive] says

    I know of a medical facility where abortions are done where the woman is asked about her desires re: the fetal remains. The presence of studies at a nearby research center where various tissues are dissected out is brought up.

    Apparently, many women jump at the chance to donate the remains.

    Does this surprise anyone?

  91. la tricoteuse says

    Giliell @ 94:

    Paul Smith

    But, I think, assuming “I don’t care what happens” as the default position is probably not going to go down that well with quite a few people.

    Huh?
    Unless somebody indicates that they do in fact care it is quite reasonable to assume that people don’t care. Unless you mean “people who have absolutely nothing to do with the medical process at all, like asshole pro-lifers and feckin’ politicians”, in which case I say they can stuff it where the sun doesn’t shine because their opinion is irrelevant.

    This. I am trying to figure out if Paul Smith is pointlessly advocating that the people who have miscarriages or get abortions/other medical procedures that involve the removal of bits/organs/limbs/etc have the right (which already seems to be the policy most everywhere?) to decide what happens to those bits/etc, or that the opinions of people other than the ones whose bodies the specific bits of stuff came out of should be taken into account when deciding how to dispose of said bits.

    If the former, duh. If the latter, why the FUCK?

  92. says

    Esteleth:

    Does this surprise anyone?

    Doesn’t surprise me. I would have been happy for the remains of my termination to go for science in some way.

  93. says

    Actually, I AM concerned about what happens to the parts, to some degree.

    When they wanted to cut out sections of my heel bones (I didn’t go through with it) I was unhappy that they said they wouldn’t be able to let me have the pieces of bone.

    I’ve been interested in scrimshaw, and it would be a rare privilege to get to scrimshaw your own bones.

  94. twas brillig (stevem) says

    Re Inaji@99:

    They were cremated. I’m all for people being educated in regard to asking questions and getting full information, but making a big ol’ distinction between incineration and cremation is ridiculous.

    It appears the “subtle difference” I was trying to point out, may have been a little too subtle after all. I agree, “incineration” is “cremation” (and vice-verse), but my point was: They did A, resulting in Z; they didn’t do Z and just call it A as a cover. {where A = “incineration/cremation” and Z = “heat hospital”} [ hmmm, Still shoddy argument there].
    The point is “intention”. They did not motivate themselves with, “We got all these dead bodies for fuel, let’s burn em for heat, we’ll tell the women it was ‘cremation’, to get away with it.” NO, it was, “Since we’re cremating these aborts for sanitary disposal, we might as well use the heat from the cremations to add to the heating of the hospital”.
    Paul, where is your “middle ground” in those 2 scenarios?

  95. jagwired says

    PZ:

    About 15 grams, or half an ounce…of the most energy-dense substance in the world, apparently.

    Most of the energy comes from the soul. I believe it works as a sort of catalyst, and since we’re talking about a blastocyst/fetus soul, we’re talking about pure energy — uncorrupted by sin.

  96. anteprepro says

    Most of the energy comes from the soul. I believe it works as a sort of catalyst, and since we’re talking about a blastocyst/fetus soul, we’re talking about pure energy — uncorrupted by sin.

    If it were possible to harness that kind of energy from the soul of an innocent, the Catholic Church would have been a hub of steampunk wackiness and would have become the first and only nuclear superpower before WWII.

  97. woozy says

    The article is sensationalist and misleading to say the least. By reading the entire article and trying to make sense out of it what I *think* occurred is this:

    There is a Human Tissue Authority that issues standards about how to dispose of human tissue (the concern of these being aborted babies isn’t relevant; these are standards for all types of tissue) which apparently does not include tossing them out in rubbish or burning them in your own “waste to energy” furnace. This story has found that several, but a very small minority, are being lax and sloppy. Presumably the slacking hospitals are also handling other tissue in an inappropriate manner but it’s the fetuses that have the emotional value. (Seriously, if they are tossing cancerous spleens by the bucketful into their furnaces that’s pretty gross to me.)

    Utterly unrelated is the issue as to whether they are allowing victims of miscarriage access to the remains. I don’t know what the National Healths policy is or if some unprofessional hospital is fucking up but that’s another issue altogether.

    So the issue isn’t “what is the horrible policy allowing them to do to babies” (um, most of us don’t really want to know but we assume it’s what has to be done with tissue) but “yuck, a few bad hospitals are cutting corners”. But the telegraph wants to make it emotional about babies tossed in the rubbish and burned as fuel.

    At least that’s how I interpreted it.

  98. woozy says

    The point is “intention”. They did not motivate themselves with, “We got all these dead bodies for fuel, let’s burn em for heat, we’ll tell the women it was ‘cremation’, to get away with it.” NO, it was, “Since we’re cremating these aborts for sanitary disposal, we might as well use the heat from the cremations to add to the heating of the hospital”.

    Actually, I think the point was that a few hospitals were being sloppy and cutting corners and not disposing of the remains (fetal or otherwise) properly and simply tossing them in the trash or burning them in against policy in their own furnaces.

    The Telegraph article was misleading and implied that this “they’re burning babies!” was the hospitals approved method and we should be shocked that this is public policy. I think we were quick to the defense because if we are told the proper procedure of disposing of tissue is incineration, our reaction would be that that is probably practical and sanitary so … “so what”. Incineration as opposed to what? Land fill? If we are told that the official policy of standard disposal involved a “waste to energy” furnace … well, my first reaction was an illogical ick factor (for all tissue not just the fetal tissue) but then a reasoned “well, why not? why waste the heat? I’m sure these waste to energy disposal furnaces are well-distributed and well regulated so it’s not like a victorian horror novel.” But if it’s not policy and just some rogue hospitals being dishonest and shoddy. Well, yes, that is shocking and horrible but not for any reason that has anything to do with babies.

  99. JohnnieCanuck says

    Sorry jagwired @ #107, you’ve miscalculated. Those fœtal souls are burdened with Original Sin. This completely poisons the catalytic effect.

    We know that Original Sin exists because otherwise there would be no point in Jesus’ sacrifice of Himself to Himself.

  100. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    At least that’s how I interpreted it.

    What I interpretted as was, that the hospital operated a Biohazard Incerator on site, and since all non-claimed human tissue is a biohazard, and placed in the appropriate bag, was treated the same as bloody pads, bandages, pee soaked diapers, etc. Apparently, if the unwanted human tissue contained a zygote/blastocyte/fetus, some idjits think this is a problem, rather than SOP. The fact that the hospital recovered heat from the incinerator is irrelevant….

  101. twas brillig (stevem) says

    We know that Original Sin exists because otherwise there would be no point in Jesus’ sacrifice of Himself to Himself.

    tangent alert!
    Always wondered why Original Sin still exists; since Jesus died to eliminate it. I guess that is backwards: Jesus died _because_of_our_Original_Sin_. Church tells us the first version so we don’t feel guilty about killing Jesus… ;-(
    ->> Atheism eliminates thoze guilty feelz….
    /tangent

  102. echidna says

    Reading the comments, it seemed that a number of commenters seemed to be confused about the country involved, as if the UK were the US. Really quite sad.

  103. woozy says

    What I interpretted as was, that the hospital operated a Biohazard Incerator on site, and since all non-claimed human tissue is a biohazard, and placed in the appropriate bag, was treated the same as bloody pads, bandages, pee soaked diapers, etc. Apparently, if the unwanted human tissue contained a zygote/blastocyte/fetus, some idjits think this is a problem, rather than SOP. The fact that the hospital recovered heat from the incinerator is irrelevant….

    Maybe you’re right. The article just isn’t clear. It really does sound like SOP to me. But then what is the fuss the Depart. of Health is getting so upset over?

    From the article (not all quoted by PZ)

    One of the country’s leading hospitals, Addenbrooke’s in Cambridge, incinerated 797 babies below 13 weeks gestation at their own ‘waste to energy’ plant. The mothers were told the remains had been ‘cremated.’ [So that’s one ‘waste to energy’]

    Another ‘waste to energy’ facility at Ipswich Hospital, operated by a private contractor, incinerated 1,101 foetal remains between 2011 and 2013.[That’s another]

    They were brought in from another hospital before being burned, generating energy for the hospital site. Ipswich Hospital itself disposes of remains by cremation.

    “This practice is totally unacceptable,” said Dr Poulter.[What practice?]

    “While the vast majority of hospitals are acting in the appropriate way, that must be the case for all hospitals and the Human Tissue Authority has now been asked to ensure that it acts on this issue without delay.”[So… is it the using the waste to heat that’s the concern?]

    Sir Bruce Keogh, NHS Medical Director, has written to all NHS trusts to tell them the practice must stop.

    The Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies, has also written to the Human Tissue Authority to ask them make sure that guidance is clear.

    So what is this Human Tissue Authority? Maybe the idea of human tissue as heat source has an ick factor. (To be honest I can see that. I get a vague icky feeling knowing I am warming my hands over the burning remains of a herniated ulcer.) Or is it a beauracratic nightmare of potential conflict of interest; they’re afraid doctors are going to start talking patients into amputating limbs so as to save a few cents in heating fuel?

    At any event, I’m pretty sure that it’s not the fetuses that are the issue in the story. (Whatever the actual issue turns out to be.)

  104. says

    So how many people upset about this would consider Vegans or Animal Welfare people showing video of a slaughter house to be needlessly sensationalist?

  105. jagwired says

    JohnnieCanuck @111,

    I don’t know. Don’t you need to be “born an original sinner”? These preborn souls aren’t passing through the inherently evil-sin-place of the woman ***the vagina***, therefore no sin is imparted upon the child. Hmm… I wonder if that also means all children delivered via C-section are exempt from sin.

  106. Cinzia La Strega says

    This reminds me: I never got my gall bladder back in a jar and I know I asked for it!

  107. says

    On to the meat of the matter, no one assumed that everyone would be happy with this treatment of the remains. If you read my post, you”ll see I quite clearly stated that to some people the remains have significance, and that those people should be allowed to specify some sort of method of disposal which will help give them closure. Those that do not specify one clearly don’t care, so the remains will be disposed of as any other biological waste would be. That’s caring about existing people, rather than potential people.

    Do you disagree with that? If so, would you explain why?

    I agree with that to a point. Those that don’t specify may not have done so for a variety of reasons, one of which might be plainly “not caring”. And that’s obviously fine. I’m really not trying to tell people how to feel about this one way or the other (just recognising that a spectrum of opinion exists).
    But I can imagine other reasons for not specifiying too. Erroneous presumption of some other form of “treatment” being standard procedure, confusion or even concern for the woman involved overshadowing other concerns that may later gain more significance?
    As I said to me it’s about openess and transparency about what is going on and making the information available at all stages without the people involved having to probe or ask questions when they may not be (or might be) fully in a state of mind to ask the questions that are relevant at the time.
    I think disposal in such a way that the hospital is heated as a result is a brilliant way of disposing of such waste. If my wife and I went through a termination or misscarriage I would be fine with that method of disposal.
    However I wouldn’t assume other people would hold that view (as we see people hold lot’s of different and nuanced views on this) and so would automatically flag up that such a method of disposal was the default method (if nothing was explicitly specified).
    And I wouldn’t refer to it as cremation because, as I see in most definition of the word and it’s more general use, that means disposal of a dead body or corpse in some sort of ceremony.

    Trashy journalism aside (and the UK abounds with trashy journalism) perhaps there is something to think about here on the day to day implementation of terminations and disposal of waste?

  108. opposablethumbs says

    I asked for my tooth after an extraction and they wouldn’t let me have it – actually they wouldn’t even let me hold it in my hand (to have a look at it), which I thought was odd considering it had been in my mouth a minute earlier.
    Why on earth should that have been, I wonder? (some kind of blanket rule, I suppose. but I don’t get it)

  109. carlie says

    I asked for my tooth after an extraction and they wouldn’t let me have it – actually they wouldn’t even let me hold it in my hand

    Did you complain that you wouldn’t get any money from the tooth fairy if you didn’t get it??

  110. Fishcake-SireSpout says

    Paul Smith @ 121,

    I’m really not trying to tell people how to feel about this one way or the other (just recognising that a spectrum of opinion exists).

    Oh gee we are all so grateful that you aren’t trying to tell other people how to feel, it’s so very kind of you to allow us to have our own opinions.

    And I wouldn’t refer to it as cremation because, as I see in most definition of the word and it’s more general use, that means disposal of a dead body or corpse in some sort of ceremony.

    “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.” It is utterly ridiculous to expect burial rights for what amounts to nothing more than a parasitic clump of cells and who the fuck are you suggest otherwise considering it’s not YOUR bodily autonomy at risk.

  111. Fishcake-SireSpout says

    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk- @94,

    Unless somebody indicates that they do in fact care it is quite reasonable to assume that people don’t care. Unless you mean “people who have absolutely nothing to do with the medical process at all, like asshole pro-lifers and feckin’ politicians”, in which case I say they can stuff it where the sun doesn’t shine because their opinion is irrelevant.

    THIS. 1000% THIS.

    The only fucking reason the fetus-fetishists and forced-birth movement exists is because men don’t have to give birth. Why should I give any more consideration to a parasitic clump of cells than to any other form of bodily waste and who the fuck does anyone else think they are for trying to shame me for that?!

  112. says

    Oh gee we are all so grateful that you aren’t trying to tell other people how to feel, it’s so very kind of you to allow us to have our own opinions.

    Well that’s a tricky thing to navigate isn’t it?
    When I expressed an opinion I was told I was dictating to people how to think. When I say I’m not doing that and people are obviously free to think what they want no matter what I say I get that sarcy reply.
    Kind of lose/lose.

    it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.

    I’m not choosing it to mean anything. It has a dictionary definition and more colloquial usage (that is fairly in-line with the dictionary). Both usages don’t quite gel with putting medical waste in an incinerator to be used as heating fuel.
    The words you use to describe or explain things are important right?
    “Cremation” has religious, social and ceremonial baggage.
    So why use it? Call it incineration. You don’t “cremate” rubbish as far as I can tell.

    It is utterly ridiculous to expect burial rights for what amounts to nothing more than a parasitic clump of cells

    I never said people would expect burial rites or anything like that. Just, as explained, “cremated” carries with it baggage that erroneously colours what the process actually is.
    So use a more accurate term I think.
    It’s that transparncy again. Setting the information out clearly so people with multiple view points know what they are getting.

    who the fuck does anyone else think they are for trying to shame me for that?!

    Not trying to shame anyone. Do whatever you want with your parasitic cells. If you are offered disposal with some consideration beyond just the practical you can just say “no thanks this means nothing to me just bin ‘em”.

  113. Fishcake-SireSpout says

    Paul Smith @128,

    Not trying to shame anyone.

    Oh but you are, you are trying to shame us Paul.

    Do whatever you want with your parasitic cells. If you are offered disposal with some consideration beyond just the practical you can just say “no thanks this means nothing to me just bin ‘em”.

    The insinuation that ANYONE would feel differently is an insult and an attempt to shame us as part of a blatant attack on women’s bodily autonomy. You are part of that attack whether you intend it or not. Intentions aren’t fucking magic.

  114. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    When I expressed an opinion I was told I was dictating to people how to think.

    Yes, that is HOW you expressed your opinion. You could have left it there, but now you are trying to browbeat us into agreeing with your insipid and inane opinion. Not happening.

    So use a more accurate term I think.

    Quit complaining, and start being the idea generator. You do the work. Don’t expect us to do a damn thing if you aren’t willing to make yourself look foolish with foolish ideas.

    It’s that transparncy again. Setting the information out clearly so people with multiple view points know what they are getting.

    It is, except when purposely obtuse and ignorant folks like you come along and preach.

  115. says

    The insinuation that ANYONE would feel differently is an insult

    I’m not insinuating that anyone WOULD feel differently. Just that some people clearly do (hence why there are multiple options to choose from).
    The reasons for a termination are many. That’s not in contention is it?
    It could be someone that views getting pregnant as disgusting and wants the parasitic cells removed and they care about the disposal as much as they do flushing a turd. That’s fine.
    Equally it could be a couple that have tried for a child for a couple of years, developed an ectopic pregnancy and view the termination with much sadness at the loss of the “potential” child they longed for and would want disposal to take that into consideration. And that’s fine too (well it is to me).
    Even some religious people get abortions and as much as we may agree their beliefs are ridiculous their view on a termination could very well be different to yours.
    It’s a spectrum right? There’s not one right way to have a termination and then how to feel about it.
    Pointing out that one type (or types) of situation exists isn’t an insult to the other type of situation.
    A hospital has to deal with the whole gamut of reasons, situations, view points and people.
    And if I ran a hospital I’d err on caution, assume some level of consideration pretty much by default and explain fully the whole process, including disposal (unless told the person didn’t want to know any details).

  116. Fishcake-SireSpout says

    Paul Smith @131,

    It’s a spectrum right?

    There it is. The suggestion that MY rights exist on a spectrum. Yours are absolute but mine are up for debate, is that it? I am so sick of this MRA dudebro attitude that says a women’s rights exist on a spectrum or a sliding scale. Fuck that.

    My right bodily autonomy is absolute. It’s binary, not a spectrum.

  117. opposablethumbs says

    I don’t think Paul is trying to shame anyone, and I think he’s right about one thing (just one) – that when we go into hospital etc. we often don’t get (or don’t get a chance to take in) all the information.

    I do think he’s leaning in the wrong direction in this thread, though: the essential element of this entire story is that the foetus-worshipping brigade are trying to wriggle the Overton window in the UK in the direction they want – in the direction of conflating foetuses with babies and getting everybody to act shocked and horrified over the disposal of some waste matter for the waste matter’s sake – as if the waste itself were what mattered.

    The well-being of the individual patient matters; the disposal of a bit of waste doesn’t. But the foetus-fetishists have succeeded in getting a change of policy pushed through on the strength of a bit of gutter journalism – and that is worrying. Which is why I think Paul is wrong in this thread.

  118. says

    I’m not saying your bodily autonomy is on a spectrum.
    I’m saying that attitudes, feelings and views on abortion (and what to do with the waste from that) are on a spectrum. Pro-lifers that fetishise “life” and will never condone abortion on one side and pro-choicers that view pregnancy as a parasite that needs to be flushed away pretty much on the other.
    With a spectrum of differences inbetween.
    I’m not talking about rights or bodily autonomy at all.
    All I’m saying is that a hospital, in its day to day running, needs to take that spectrum of views into account and formulate a best practice that is open and upfront so anyone on that spectrum can make, and be happy with, the choices they want.

    I’ve no idea where you get the impression I’m some sort of MRA dudebro.

  119. says

    I’m not talking about rights or bodily autonomy at all.

    Why the fuck not? Women’s rights and bodily autonomy are under attack, and this sort of yellow journalism is one of the attack fronts.

  120. says

    I don’t think Paul is trying to shame anyone, and I think he’s right about one thing (just one) – that when we go into hospital etc. we often don’t get (or don’t get a chance to take in) all the information.

    Hell…I visit the GP for some simple ailment and walk out without asking something I really wanted to ask. :)
    I’d can imagine a termination/more invloved hospital trip being no different. Given that the background to terminations can be so varied to.
    From a well considered thoughtful decision with all the fact and info at hand to an emergency operation in the middle of the night where the woman’s life is in danger.
    Forgetting to specify what happens to the “remains” in those situations would/could have vastly different causes.

  121. says

    Why the fuck not?

    Because I agree that women have (or should have) full bodily autonomy.
    Not much more to say there really. I’m with you on that one.
    But surely full bodily autonomy also includes the woman’s feelings and wishes on what should happen with the remains?
    And not being upfront or open (which may or may not be the case depending on the veracity of the story) about disposal could actually decreases female autonomy?
    Because the default decision has already been made (which she may or may not agree with)?

    The UK has a bit of a bad history with institutional decisions. Baby’s bodies being kept on ice for years. Samples and remains being kept without permision. Brains being removed and stored without permission. Plenty of that stuff going on.

  122. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @Paul Smith #121

    I agree with that to a point. Those that don’t specify may not have done so for a variety of reasons, one of which might be plainly “not caring”. And that’s obviously fine. I’m really not trying to tell people how to feel about this one way or the other (just recognising that a spectrum of opinion exists).
    But I can imagine other reasons for not specifiying too. Erroneous presumption of some other form of “treatment” being standard procedure, confusion or even concern for the woman involved overshadowing other concerns that may later gain more significance?

    Nope. When you sign the consent for surgery form, information about what is done with the extraneous tissue is present on the form. You are allowed to request a different method of disposal for any human tissue, within certain limits imposed by health and safety. If they are indeed ignorant, then it’s their own fault for not reading the form before signing.

    As I said to me it’s about openess and transparency about what is going on and making the information available at all stages without the people involved having to probe or ask questions when they may not be (or might be) fully in a state of mind to ask the questions that are relevant at the time.

    As I said, all relevant information is on the form they have to sign before surgery can occurr; however the Human Tissue Authority guidelines do indicate that in the event of a termination it is good practice to make sure the mother/couple are aware of all the options (the options being burial, cremation, incineration, or taking the remains home in a special box if possible). It’s good practice, but not mandated. It would seem the hospitals in question did not follow good practice guidelines.

    I think disposal in such a way that the hospital is heated as a result is a brilliant way of disposing of such waste. If my wife and I went through a termination or misscarriage I would be fine with that method of disposal.
    However I wouldn’t assume other people would hold that view (as we see people hold lot’s of different and nuanced views on this) and so would automatically flag up that such a method of disposal was the default method (if nothing was explicitly specified).

    As I said, they have the opportunity to object if they so wish.

    And I wouldn’t refer to it as cremation because, as I see in most definition of the word and it’s more general use, that means disposal of a dead body or corpse in some sort of ceremony.

    You may possibly have a point here. While in reality there really is no difference whatsoever (the definition of cremation is simply “the incineration of a dead body”, which is exactly what they are doing), people do assume that cremation will be accompanied by a certain solemnity which is obviously not present in a mass biohazard incinerator. The Human Tissue Authority guidelines (you want page 18) do seem to make a distinction between cremation and incineration, and it appears that what one hospital in particular have actually done wrong is to conflate the two. As mentioned above, the others did not follow good practice guidelines and ensure that the patient was fully aware of all the options.

    Trashy journalism aside (and the UK abounds with trashy journalism) perhaps there is something to think about here on the day to day implementation of terminations and disposal of waste?

    The trashy journalism annoys me, but what really annoys me is that they’re drumming up the stupid notion that an unwanted foetus is any more worthy or significant than a discarded tonsil. A wanted foetus is of course completely different, as I’ve pointed out before.

  123. says

    But surely full bodily autonomy also includes the woman’s feelings and wishes on what should happen with the remains?

    Not particularly, not that that means one’s wishes regarding the products of conception shouldn’t be respected after a miscarriage.

    You’re acting as if there isn’t an ongoing attack. You’re wrong to do so. You can’t discuss this without addressing yourself to those who would make me and others like men a slave to our biology. Stop trying.

  124. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    Guys, call off the attack dogs. You will note that at no point did Paul call into question a woman’s right to have an abortion; the whole way through the thread he has spoken specifically about what ought to be done with the remains. And yet I see accusations of him being an MRA and a dudebro and comments like “My right bodily autonomy is absolute” when he never once called that into question.

    His issue appears to be a simple concern that women are not recieving the proper information regarding what happens with the foetal remains. He’s going at it in a rather round about way, and he’s being a bit of an idiot when it comes to how significant and special foetal remains are, but accusations like the ones listed above are groundless and uncalled for.

  125. says

    If they are indeed ignorant, then it’s their own fault for not reading the form before signing.

    I’ve a feeling that if it was my wife on the table and I was signing something that would save her life I’d probably read it about as thoroughly as people do the i-tunes agreement. :)
    Are the “remains” kept on hold in emergency situations so people are better able to make the decision they feel is right for them at a less stressful time?

    It would seem the hospitals in question did not follow good practice guidelines.

    Well there you go. It sounds to me like the guidelines are well thought out and along the lines I’m advocating but were poorly implimented.

    an unwanted foetus is any more worthy or significant than a discarded tonsil. A wanted foetus is of course completely different, as I’ve pointed out before.

    Absolutely. All I’m in favour of is that people are given the info and protocols to treat the foetus (or whatever) as they see fit.
    And it seems to me that being told the foetus would be “cremated” when actually it is being put in a furnace to heat the hospital is not giving people the right information.

  126. opposablethumbs says

    I think Thumper’s right – but I do think Paul would do well to remember the political background here: this whole story is part of the foetus-fetishists’ general, overall campaign and relates especially to their foetus=speshul-snoflak narrative. Paul is clearly pro-choice himself, but he doesn’t seem to be noticing the importance of the foetus-fetishists’ narrative here and risks inadvertently implying that they have a point.
    Which, needless to say, they don’t.

  127. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    And it seems to me that being told the foetus would be “cremated” when actually it is being put in a furnace to heat the hospital is not giving people the right information.

    Since the end result is the same, and no cremains are returned, what exactly is your problem. I simply don’t understand your point, unless you are a godbot and must have some solemn ceremony over biohazardous waste that isn’t wanted.

  128. says

    he’s being a bit of an idiot when it comes to how significant and special foetal remains are

    Am I? I’ve said myself that I’d be in favour of incinerating the remains for heating of a termination I was “involved” in. Or whatever my wife wanted to do really.
    They aren’t, in particular, significant or special to me.
    But I, at least, recognise they can be, and clearly are, special to some people.
    So I wouldn’t propose my view be the default one if a different view decreased confusion or eased the process.

  129. says

    Since the end result is the same, and no remains are returned, what exactly is your problem.

    I think the problem arises when people think one thing is happening (cremation) when it’s really another (bunged in the boiler). Even if the end result is the same (remains are burnt).
    Perhaps it’s not a massive problem but I can imagine some people (that attach some measure of signifcance to what they’ve been through whether you agree with that or not) leaving the hospital under the impression their termination was “cremated” in a fairly solemn, or at least a considered process, but then find out their termination actually went into the boiler out the back of a lorry, along with all the shitty sheets, disposable bedpans and tumours.
    It only takes a little measure of empathy to see that that’s probably not what they’d like to imagine or indeed what they thought had happened.

    I’d like to leave my body for science but I’d prefer it if the students used my remains to further knowledge rather than chucking my bollocks at each other or putting my eyes in each other’s cups of tea.
    Even though I’d be dead I’d probably reconsider my choice if I really knew what was going to happen. :)

  130. Fishcake-SireSpout says

    Thumper: Token Breeder,

    Guys, call off the attack dogs.

    He’s going at it in a rather round about way, and he’s being a bit of an idiot when it comes to how significant and special foetal remains are, but accusations like the ones listed above are groundless and uncalled for.

    Tone trolling? Really?

  131. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @Paul Smith #141

    Are the “remains” kept on hold in emergency situations so people are better able to make the decision they feel is right for them at a less stressful time?

    I’m afraid I don’t know, but it seems unlikely and in my eyes unnecessary. Good Practice guidelines indicate the conversation should be had before the operation.

    Well there you go. It sounds to me like the guidelines are well thought out and along the lines I’m advocating but were poorly implimented.

    Indeed. Having read the HTA guidelines, it now seems clear to me that good practice guidelines were being violated, in so far as extra efforts to ensure the patient is aware of the disposal options were not being made at the specific hospitals in question. One of the hospitals also seems to have conflated incineration and cremation which, while they are technically the same thing, are specifically treated as different disposal methods by the HTA guidelines. Those problems need to be addressed.

    Absolutely. All I’m in favour of is that people are given the info and protocols to treat the foetus (or whatever) as they see fit.

    Agreed.

    And it seems to me that being told the foetus would be “cremated” when actually it is being put in a furnace to heat the hospital is not giving people the right information.

    I have an issue with this sentence; you’re lending credence to the false narrative presented by the Telegraph story. The remains were not burned in a furnace in order to heat the hospital. The remains were incinerated in an incinerator, as is standard practice for human tissue. It just so happens that the incinerators (which are incredibly expensive things to run, both in terms of money and energy wasteage) have been cleverly designed so that heat radiating off of it, which would otherwise be lost and wasted, is captured and used to heat the hospital.

    Phrasing it as you did gives the impression that the hospital staff thought “Aha! Here’s a cheap way to heat the hospital!”; which is obviously not the case, but is exactly the kind of sensationalised version of events that the Telegraph want people to believe. And it’s exactly why I find the story irritating; they are presenting an emotionally manipulative, sensationalised version of events in order to drum up support for the notion that foetuses are exxxtra speshull. Which of course is not to say that hospital staff conflating incineration and cremation in defiance of HTA guidelines was not inappropriate, it’s merely a problem with the news storys idealogical slant.

    @opposeablethumbs #142

    Agreed.

  132. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @Fishcake-SireSpout #146

    Since when did “Guys, these accusations are innaccurate” count as tone trolling? I called out what people were saying, not how they were saying it; which by definition is not tone trolling.

    @ Paul Smith #144

    You continue to use language which supports, intentionally or otherwise, the false narrative presented by the Telegraph story, and have on more than one occasion used disparaging language in regards to incineration which leads me to suspect that you do not consider it to be a good enough method of disposal for foetuses. So I’m afraid i stick by that statement.

    To be fair, I think you’re right in regards to hospital policy. A woman undergoing an abortion, for whatever reason, should be presented with the full facts and offered a range of methods of disposal. I personally see no reason to do anything other than a nice, sanitary incineration; but it’s just been pulled out of her body, she ought to get a say in what happens to it. As has been pointed out that that is the current policy, these particular hospitals did not follow guidelines.

  133. says

    have on more than one occasion used disparaging language in regards to incineration which leads me to suspect that you do not consider it to be a good enough method of disposal for foetuses

    Incineration is fine. Perfect in fact. Incinerate away. Heat the hospital, heat a cup of tea or cook some marshmallows over it if that’s what you want to do.
    But…you know…tell the people involved that’s what you are doing because some people might not like that.

    No one really knows how hospital incinerators work do they?
    Call it “cremation” and I’m sure some people will picture something different than if you called it “incineration in an incinerator that also heats the hospital”.
    A cremation is solemn and respectful to some degree (whether you see that respect as misplaced or not).
    Like it or not attaching heating the hospital (for all that is clever and a great idea) brings up a much more industrial, large scale and overall less respectful process.

  134. Fishcake-SireSpout says

    Thumper: Token Breeder,

    Since when did “Guys, these accusations are innaccurate” count as tone trolling? I called out what people were saying, not how they were saying it; which by definition is not tone trolling.

    So you merely think he’s “being a bit of an idiot” whereas I think he’s an MRA dudebro?

    Ok, fair enough, that’s not exactly tone trolling. It’s just minimizing and excusing unacceptable behavior then. “Being a bit of an idiot” might explain the first clueless comment, (or two) but after multiple different people have explained this to him I think it’s safe to conclude there is something more than innocent ignorance going on.

  135. says

    after multiple different people have explained this to him

    Multiple different people told me to go fuck myself.
    It’s funny and all that but it’s hardly explaining IMHO. :)

  136. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @Fishcake-SireSpout

    But his entire point is that women should have a say in what happens to the product of any abortion procedure they may go through. That’s hardly inimical to women’s rights is it? So yes, MRA and Dudebro are entirely groundless.

    As far as I can see, the only thing he can fairly be pulled up on is the fact that, as I said, he “continue[s] to use language which supports, intentionally or otherwise, the false narrative presented by the Telegraph story, and [has] on more than one occasion used disparaging language in regards to incineration which leads me to suspect that [he] do[es] not consider it to be a good enough method of disposal for foetuses. ”

    So he’s inadvertantly lending credence to their wierd “foetuses are superspeshul!” narrative. No, that doesn’t make him an MRA or a dudebro. Those are words with meanings. If you can demonstrate how the definition of those words describes him, then I’ll retract. But until you do then I will consider those accusations to be unfair.

    And no, calling out unfair accusations is in no way minimising unacceptable behaviour. You will note that at no point did I say that him lending credence to the aforementioned narrative was OK, and have in fact called him out on it myself.

  137. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @Paul Smith #149

    Incineration is fine. Perfect in fact. Incinerate away. Heat the hospital, heat a cup of tea or cook some marshmallows over it if that’s what you want to do.
    But…you know…tell the people involved that’s what you are doing because some people might not like that.

    Yes, I agree.

    No one really knows how hospital incinerators work do they?

    The same as any other incinerator. From what I understand, they tend to be hotter so as to ensure that all waste is entirely combusted and all that’s left over is sanitary ash.

    Call it “cremation” and I’m sure some people will picture something different than if you called it “incineration in an incinerator that also heats the hospital”.
    A cremation is solemn and respectful to some degree (whether you see that respect as misplaced or not).
    Like it or not attaching heating the hospital (for all that is clever and a great idea) brings up a much more industrial, large scale and overall less respectful process.

    Yes, I agree, but all of those are associations made only in peoples minds (especially cremations being solemn; that’s only if you attach a service to the cremation). Those associations are already acknowledged by the HTA guidelines, that’s why they distinguish between incineration and cremation. The problem here is that some hospitals have not been following best practice guidelines. That needs fixing.

    We really are in agreement over the hospital guidelines. There’s no argument there.

    #151

    after multiple different people have explained this to him

    Multiple different people told me to go fuck myself.
    It’s funny and all that but it’s hardly explaining IMHO. :)

    At this point both myself and opposeablethumbs have explained it to you, without once telling you to go fuck yourself. Do you now understand the issue we have?

  138. says

    I agree with Thumper. Paul is not showing signs of MRAdom or dudebroness. He’s just falling for the hype and failing to recognize what the real problem here is.

  139. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    He’s just falling for the hype and failing to recognize what the real problem here is.

    QFT
    I suspect Paul thinks there should be a solemn ceremony for all human remains, even if the donor doesn’t give a shit about it.

  140. opposablethumbs says

    fwiw, I think that Thumper is correct. Paul, I’d suggest you might like to consider Thumper’s (and my) criticism of where you are (inadvertently but, in practice, actually) lending your weight here. Context is important: this whole issue all about people trying to normalise the foetus-is-speshul narrative. I know that’s not your own overt opinion; you’ve stated that it isn’t. But the overall impact of your comments is to imply that Extra Respect Must be Paid to that magic Foetus-is-Speshul Feeling. And that, in reality, carries a genuine political risk – because we know who it is that is trying to normalise and standardise this myth and make it shockingly unthinkable to question it, and we know why they are doing so.

  141. Maureen Brian says

    I wouldn’t mind betting there’s an accountant somewhere in the background telling clinical staff they must cut the cost of all those individual cremations and how about we just treat it all as surgical waste, then you could have a new (fill in blank) for your ward.

  142. Fishcake-SireSpout says

    Thumper: Token Breeder,

    But his entire point is that women should have a say in what happens to the product of any abortion procedure they may go through. That’s hardly inimical to women’s rights is it? So yes, MRA and Dudebro are entirely groundless.

    I hardly think that’s his “entire point” considering everything else he’s written here.

    I think SallyStrange said it best @139:

    [Paul is] acting as if there isn’t an ongoing attack. [Paul is] wrong to do so. [Paul] can’t discuss this without addressing [himself] to those who would make me and others like men a slave to our biology. Stop trying.

    You can act like this is just innocent philosophizing if you want, but don’t forget that this “debate” is occurring in the context of real ongoing attacks on women’s rights. I will not temper my criticism in the least for that reason.

  143. says

    I suspect Paul thinks there should be a solemn ceremony for all human remains, even if the donor doesn’t give a shit about it.

    You suspect wrong. Clearly I’ve said that is not the case.
    I think people should be free to treat what they consider to be human remains how they see fit (within reason) and no one give someone a hard time because they treat them differently to how what they’d do.
    And everyone be as well informed as they can be when making such decisions.

  144. woozy says

    Here is the letter the Human Tissue Association wrote.

    It seems to be more concerned with the disposal of miscarried fetuses rather than abortions and frequently refers to disposal as part of the post-mortem procedure as in this excerpt.

    Establishments licensed for post mortem examination are expected to abide by our Codes of Practice on post mortem, disposal and consent. Whilst our disposal Code reflects the law and does not, at present, explicitly ban incineration, it does advise against it. The Code makes clear that burial and cremation are the most appropriate methods, and human tissue should not be incinerated with clinical waste.

    We also make clear that parents should always be made aware of all options and given the opportunity to choose.

    By context I think the difference between “incineration” and “cremation” is that incineration is being burnt with other waste whereas cremation is being burnt only with other human tissue.

    It’s unclear whether they consider other human tissue (cysts, appendixes, damaged organs and limbs, etc.) to have the same handling procedure. As this is post-mortem procedure, I guess not.

    Then they cave to pressure.

    We will revise our Codes and guidance to make it clear that incineration as a method of disposal is not permitted for fetal tissue.

    But do they consider all abortions a post-mortem procedure? Is everyone getting an abortion considered a “parent”?

    But I wonder. Is abortion legal in England in the same sense it is legal in the United States (and for that matter, is it legal in the United States in the same sense that I assumed it was in my mind). Through web browsing I got the impression that in England one needs a doctors permission to have an abortion and the doctor must determine that the pregnancy will be harmful to the woman’s mental health (or, of course, physical health). I got the impression this was mostly a formality but I found the requirement a bit more restrictive than I’m comfortable with when I claim something is “legal”. (Also the idea that idea of portraying women as mental fragile that going through a pregnancy will cause emotional depression, rather than simply stating this woman doesn’t *want* to be pregnant, simply galls me.)

  145. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @Fishcake #158

    I will not temper my criticism in the least for that reason.

    For fuck sake, I never asked you to. I asked that your criticism be fucking accurate. That is not the same thing.

    Like I said, if you can justify accusations of being an MRA and a Dudebro, then fine. I’ll withdraw my criticism. But you haven’t, and until you do I won’t.

  146. Jacob Schmidt says

    So why use it? Call it incineration. You don’t “cremate” rubbish as far as I can tell.

    After a quick google search:

    the incineration of a dead body

    verb (used with object), cre·mat·ed, cre·mat·ing.
    1.
    to reduce (a dead body) to ashes by fire, especially as a funeral rite.
    2.
    to consume by fire; burn.

    cremate (krɪˈmeɪt)

    — vb
    ( tr ) to burn up (something, esp a corpse) and reduce to ash

    Cremation is the use of high-temperature burning, vaporization, and oxidation to reduce dead animal or human bodies to basic chemical compounds, such as gases and mineral fragments retaining the appearance of dry bone.

    Sorry, it fits.

    Like it or not attaching heating the hospital (for all that is clever and a great idea) brings up a much more industrial, large scale and overall less respectful process.

    So, after all this, that’s your complaint? That the excess heat isn’t wasted?

    I think I’m beyond caring. Anyone is capable of asking what it entails. Also, after literally less than 30 seconds on wikipedia, I found this:

    The flue gases from the secondary chamber are usually vented to the atmosphere through a refractory-lined flue. They are at a very high temperature, and interest in recovering this thermal energy e.g. for space heating of the funeral chapel, or other facilities or for distribution into local district heating networks has arisen in recent years. Such heat recovery efforts have been viewed in both a positive and negative light by the public.[3]

    This ain’t just a hospital practice; actual crematories do it too.

  147. Fishcake-SireSpout says

    Thumper: Token Breeder:

    For fuck sake, I never asked you to. I asked that your criticism be fucking accurate. That is not the same thing.

    Oh fuck off you accommodationist piece of shit.

    Here’s what you said earlier:

    So he’s inadvertantly lending credence to their wierd “foetuses are superspeshul!” narrative. No, that doesn’t make him an MRA or a dudebro.

    “Inadvertently”? Says who? Says you? Because you think it’s inadvertent then clearly it must be and all others must bend their will to your interpretation.

    You haven’t proven to me that his lending credence to the “foetuses are superspeshul!” narrative is inadvertent and until you do I will continue to refer to Paul and others like him as a proud MRA dudebro.

  148. Jacob Schmidt says

    So he’s inadvertantly lending credence to their wierd “foetuses are superspeshul!” narrative. No, that doesn’t make him an MRA or a dudebro.

    “Inadvertently”? Says who? Says you? Because you think it’s inadvertent then clearly it must be and all others must bend their will to your interpretation.

    I don’t advertence or lack thereof was the sticking point of Thumper’s criticism. I’ll happily call Paul a twit, but MRA is simply not in evidence.

  149. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @woozy

    It’s unclear whether they consider other human tissue (cysts, appendixes, damaged organs and limbs, etc.) to have the same handling procedure.

    The HTA guidelines (I linked to them at #138; page 18 is the relevant part) only makes the distinction for foetal remains.

    Through web browsing I got the impression that in England one needs a doctors permission to have an abortion and the doctor must determine that the pregnancy will be harmful to the woman’s mental health (or, of course, physical health).

    Basically, we had the Offences Against The Person Act 1861 which made any and all abortion illegal. The Abortion Act 1967 defined circumstances under which the previous law did not apply:

    Subject to the provisions of this section, a person shall not be guilty of an offence under the law relating to abortion when a pregnancy is terminated by a registered medical practitioner if two registered medical practitioners are of the opinion, formed in good faith— .
    [F1(a)that the pregnancy has not exceeded its twenty-fourth week and that the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk, greater than if the pregnancy were terminated, of injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman or any existing children of her family; or .
    (b)that the termination is necessary to prevent grave permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman; or .
    (c)that the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk to the life of the pregnant woman, greater than if the pregnancy were terminated; or .
    (d)that there is a substantial risk that if the child were born it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped.]

    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1967/87/section/1

    In reality, you’re allowed an abortion at any point up to 24 weeks for whatever reason. As I understand it, doctor’s use the references to mental health as a loophole, reasoning that carrying an unwanted child is injurious to your mental health. I think they are perfectly correct, but I would be much more comfortable if the law were updated.

  150. Fishcake-SireSpout says

    Jacob Schmidt @165,

    I don’t advertence or lack thereof was the sticking point of Thumper’s criticism.

    No, but it’s a sticking point for me. Someone who is inadvertently lending credence to harmful ideas may rightly be described as “being a bit of an idiot” – but if they are doing it purposely and repeatedly I would say it rises to another level.

    I’ll happily call Paul a twit, but MRA is simply not in evidence.

    We’ll have to agree to disagree then.

  151. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @Fishcake #164

    Oh fuck off you accommodationist piece of shit.

    Again, words have meanings. How am I being an accomodationist?

    “Inadvertently”? Says who? Says you? Because you think it’s inadvertent then clearly it must be and all others must bend their will to your interpretation.

    Fine, let’s say he’s doing it on purpose. That’s a really shit thing to do, and he should be called out for it… because, you know, he’s actually guilty of that. But he still hasn’t tried to deny women abortion rights, or shown any signs which could fairly characterise him as an MRA or a Dudebro. I note you have failed to back up your accusations, you merely turned the burden of proof around on me. You made the accusations, you back them up. If you don’t back them up, don’t expect anyone else to agree with you.

    For fuck sake, it’s not like I’m the only one who thinks they were unfair accusations.

    I will continue to refer to Paul and others like him as a proud MRA dudebro.

    Then you will continue to be wrong.

  152. Fishcake-SireSpout says

    Again, words have meanings. How am I being an accomodationist?

    You seem far more concerned about the fact that I called someone an MRA (as opposed to your approved insult of “being a bit of an idiot”) than you are about the fact that Paul’s views are being used to justify attacks on women’s rights. In my view that makes you a bit of an accomodationist. You seem to want to make accommodations for harmful views on account of, what, intentions?

    I note you have failed to back up your accusations, you merely turned the burden of proof around on me. You made the accusations, you back them up. If you don’t back them up, don’t expect anyone else to agree with you.

    I explained my reasoning earlier – namely that I don’t buy that his harmful views are come to inadvertently.

    For fuck sake, it’s not like I’m the only one who thinks they were unfair accusations.

    Does this mean that if I can muster enough people to agree with me, you will change your mind and start calling him an MRA dudebro? Is that how it works?

  153. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    You seem far more concerned about the fact that I called someone an MRA (as opposed to your approved insult of “being a bit of an idiot”) than you are about the fact that Paul’s views are being used to justify attacks on women’s rights. In my view that makes you a bit of an accomodationist.

    But I’ve called Paul out several times for his giving credence to the “foetuses are superspeshul” argument. I recognise it’s a harmful attitude, I just also realise that it’s not at all part of the definition of either an MRA or a Dudebro, and therefore think those accusations are unfair. I’m not accomodating his viewpoint at all. I think the idea that foetuses are at all special is stupid., as I have stated many times.

    And I am not more concerned. I am talking to you more than him because you’re responding more than him. When he responds, I’ll talk to him.

    I explained my reasoning earlier – namely that I don’t buy that his harmful views are come to inadvertently.

    And as I just explained to you, even if he’s doing them on purpose, that still doesn’t make him an MRA or a Dudebro. Neither of those groups are noted for being of the opinion that foetuses are superspeshul. It is not part of the definition of, nor is it implied by being a member of, either of those groups. He deserves flak for implying that foetuses are special. He deserves more flak if he’s doing it on purpose. But any accusations should be accurate.

    Does this mean that if I can muster enough people to agree with me, you will change your mind and start calling him an MRA dudebro? Is that how it works?

    No, it was merely meant to make you stop and think. If you have several people saying “No, you are wrong on this point”, then it’s probably worth considering that you might be wrong.

    What will convince me is you, or anyone, demonstrating that the belief that foetuses are superspeshul makes you an MRA or a Dudebro. Seriously, define the terms, and then show me how Paul fits the definitions. The fact is that he doesn’t. Criticise him for what he does, don’t accuse him of things he isn’t. That’s the entirety of my issue.

  154. says

    What will convince me is you, or anyone, demonstrating that the belief that foetuses are superspeshul makes you an MRA or a Dudebro. Seriously, define the terms, and then show me how Paul fits the definitions. The fact is that he doesn’t. Criticise him for what he does, don’t accuse him of things he isn’t. That’s the entirety of my issue.

    Seems reasonable to me. Paul doesn’t seem like an MRA to me, but I’m open to being convinced.

  155. Fishcake-SireSpout says

    Thumper: Token Breeder,

    Criticise him for what he does, don’t accuse him of things he isn’t. That’s the entirety of my issue.

    As I have explained twice now (this is the third time), my criticism is that he is deliberately lending credence to the idea that “foetuses are superspeshul” despite repeated attempts by many to point out both the folly and harm of such a position.

    You seem to think he’s doing it inadvertently but I disagree. You also don’t seem to consider that part of the MRA/dudebro playbook (even if he were doing it on purpose apparently), but, there again, I disagree.

    Guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree then. I’m perfectly content with you carrying on thinking that I am wrong, just as I’m sure you won’t lose any sleep over the fact that I think you are wrong. Deal?

  156. Fishcake-SireSpout says

    Thumper: Token Breeder:

    And as I just explained to you, even if he’s doing them on purpose, that still doesn’t make him an MRA or a Dudebro. Neither of those groups are noted for being of the opinion that foetuses are superspeshul.

    On this point, Dana Hunter who wrote a blog post called A Thought Experiment for the Philosophy Dudebros.

    Here’s the first line of that post:

    Hey, let’s do some philosophy for any more philosophy dudebros who might show up wanting to talk abortion rights. I LOVE philosophy!

    My view is very much in line with Dana’s view on this topic, FWIW.

  157. Jacob Schmidt says

    Hey, let’s do some philosophy for any more philosophy dudebros who might show up wanting to talk abortion rights. I LOVE philosophy!

    My view is very much in line with Dana’s view on this topic, FWIW.

    I’d agree with the general idea; showing up playing devils advocate, or philosophizing for the sake of philosophy would place someone firmly in dudebro territory (though the MRM is a specific set of ideologies, so it takes more than that to make an MRA).

    Unfortunately, Paul has no apparent interest in arguing about abortion rights.

  158. Fishcake-SireSpout says

    SallyStrange @174,
    You left off the last part that says “despite repeated attempts by many to point out both the folly and harm of such a position.”

    Yes, IMO, when someone deliberately and repeatedly lends credence to that meme despite repeated attempts by many to point out both the follow and harm of such a position, saying they are “being a bit of an idiot” is an understatement. Using labels such as MRA or dudebro seems more appropriate.

    Surely you recognize the difference between inadvertent harm and deliberate harm – and surely you would label those things differently, right? That’s all I’m doing – trying to make the distinction between accidental and well-meaning harm versus what I see as deliberately obtuse behavior.

  159. Fishcake-SireSpout says

    Jacob Schmidt @176,

    “Unfortunately, Paul has no apparent interest in arguing about abortion rights.”

    So now a dudebro is ONLY defined as someone who wants to argue abortion rights? Sorry I never received that memo.

  160. Jacob Schmidt says

    “Unfortunately, Paul has no apparent interest in arguing about abortion rights.”

    So now a dudebro is ONLY defined as someone who wants to argue abortion rights? Sorry I never received that memo.

    No, but such is the dudebro Dana Hunter describes. Paul does not fit such criteria, therefore Paul is not a dudebro per such criteria. He might be dudebro by some other criteria fitting the definition of “dudebro,” but that has yet to be shown.

  161. Fishcake-SireSpout says

    Jacob Schmidt,

    I’d agree with the general idea; showing up playing devils advocate, or philosophizing for the sake of philosophy would place someone firmly in dudebro territory

    Great, then we are on the same page. This is precisely what I see Paul doing, hence the use of the term “dudebro” is entirely valid, IMO.

  162. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @Fishcake #175

    Hey, let’s do some philosophy for any more philosophy dudebros who might show up wanting to talk abortion rights. I LOVE philosophy!

    But he never discussed abortion rights. Not once.

    Using labels such as MRA or dudebro seems more appropriate.

    He has done nothing which would justify labelling him as such, so no, it’s not appropriate.

    I tire of this conversation. All you have to do is define MRA and Dudebro and demonstrate how Paul fits the definition. You have failed to do so, either because you know he doesn’t fit the definition or, as I am beginning to suspect, you don’t even know the definition of those terms. You have consistantly used them wrongly, but I don’t think you’d deliberately characterise someone as a thing you know full well they’re not. That would just be weird.

    So, for your edification:

    What is an MRA?

    Dudebro

    If you have an ounce of intellectual honesty in you, you will read those and acknowledge that Paul has exhibited no characteristics which fit the definitions, and that therefore you’re wrong. If you don’t then you’re not arguing honestly, and you’re not worth bothering with. Not all dichotomies are false. Either way, we’re done.

  163. Fishcake-SireSpout says

    But he never discussed abortion rights. Not once.

    So what? Unless you are suggesting a person is a dudebro if and only if they discuss abortion rights, then this objection is meaningless. He was philosophizing about fetal person-hood which is not fundamtentally different from arguing about abortion itself.

    He has done nothing which would justify labelling him as such, so no, it’s not appropriate.

    You have made this opinion abundantly clear, but I think I have been equally clear that I disagree. Have anything new to add, or would you like to just repeat yourself again?

    I tire of this conversation.

    And yet you are the one who chose to continue for some reason.

    All you have to do is define MRA and Dudebro and demonstrate how Paul fits the definition. You have failed to do so, either because you know he doesn’t fit the definition or, as I am beginning to suspect, you don’t even know the definition of those terms.

    I am using the term in the same sense that Dana Hunter used the term dudebro in the blog post I cited earlier. Though Paul might not have been arguing about abortion directly, he was arguing about fetal person-hood – and functionally there is no difference between what he was doing and the kind of philosophizing Dana wrote about.

    If you have an ounce of intellectual honesty, you will admit that my use of the term was not really all that different from how Dana used it. Nor was it any different from how Jacob described in comment 176 when he said “showing up playing devils advocate, or philosophizing for the sake of philosophy would place someone firmly in dudebro territory.” IMO, this is what Paul was doing. Paul was philosophizing, playing devil’s advocate, with regard to fetal person-hood and doing so despite repeated attempts by others to explain the harm. Thus, consistent with Dana’s and Jacob’s use of the term – he’s a dudebro.

    If you aren’t satisfied with that explanation, too bad – take it up with Dana and Jacob instead.

  164. opposablethumbs says

    He was philosophizing about fetal person-hood

    Actually, no, he wasn’t. I already said what I didn’t like about Paul’s comments and why, but he was talking about the well-being of patients – women – who might care about the disposal method adopted if, say, they’d had a miscarriage of a wanted pregnancy. I didn’t like his approach, and I thought it was not on and I told him (in the remote event he might give a monkey’s about my opinion) that I thought his approach was potentially playing right into the hands of the foetus-fetishists. But he didn’t say a peep about foetal personhood himself.

    I don’t expect Paul or anyone else will be back, tbh, but … what the hell. I don’t think Paul’s an MRA. I do think his approach is seriously wrong, and that he should listen to all those who have pointed this out to him. If he comes back, which I doubt.

  165. Fishcake-SireSpout says

    LOL sure whatever you say. He wasn’t philosophizing about fetal rights, he was merely “potentially playing right into the hands of the foetus-fetishists”. There is clearly a monumental difference between those two things and I humbly apologize for not making the distinction clear enough for you unbearable pedants.

    It is nice to know where your priorities are at least.

  166. opposablethumbs says

    Have you actually read anybody’s comments in this thread but your own?

    OK, fine, I didn’t really expect any better.

  167. Fishcake-SireSpout says

    Have you?

    Here’s the first part of Paul’s initial offering:

    Honestly I think some of the rhetoric from the pro-choice side goes too far. Comparing an embryo/foetus/blastocyst to removing cancerous tissue, tonsils or an appendix doesn’t reflect how most people feel about it

    I don’t really give two shits what kind of post hoc explanation or excuse he can muster for this garbage – I and plenty of others see this for what it is. if you think I’m the only one who feels this way then clearly you are the one who failed to read the comments in this thread.

    Like this comment,

    this comment,

    this comment,

    this comment,

    this comment, etc.

    I may have used the labels MRA/dudebro whereas the other comments did not use those terms, but my objection to Paul’s comments are on precisely the same grounds as each and every one of these other comments.

    So is there any reason you had no problem with any of the other responses to Paul, such as the examples I cited? All of those are fine, but for some reason you object to mine?

  168. opposablethumbs says

    Eh, just a touch of SIWOTI. Paul is wrong all right, and I was one of several people telling him so; he just isn’t an MRA. Not like we don’t get some of those around here.
    OK, guess that means we’re done too.

  169. Pseudonym says

    First off, the headline refers only to aborted “babies” (fetuses), but the text of the article makes clear that this refers to the products of both induced abortions and miscarriages. I can’t speak for anyone else, and clearly I would never dare speak for Fishcake-SireSpout, but I do know women who have experienced miscarriages and I can at least imagine them wanting the remains treated with certain decorum, not that that should be imposed on anyone. As long as there are procedures that respect that option, and they are being properly followed, there’s no issue here and it’s just a case of yellow journalism trying to stir up controversy and threaten women’s bodily autonomy. Whether tissue combustion is exothermic or endothermic is obviously not a relevant issue and it’s absurd to bring that up, but I don’t know if it would be fair to expect better from the Torygraph.

    The comments are surprisingly awful. I’d guess the article got linked from LifeSiteNews or WND or some other right-wing Tea Party infested shithole. Pageviews über alles.

  170. says

    All the necessary proof for the existence of God is reflected in the smug insensitivity so common among atheists, something of which a cosmic accident would not be capable.

  171. nich says

    All the necessary proof for the existence of God is reflected in the smug insensitivity so common among atheists, something of which a cosmic accident would not be capable.

    All the necessary proof for the non-existence of God is reflected in the utter stupidity so common among believers, the prevention of which an intelligent designer should definitely be capable.

  172. anteprepro says

    AFEEISTS SUX THEIR4 GAWD

    I think we’ve got the next Billy Craig standing right before us.

  173. chigau (違う) says

    I expect that James Haraldson is a drive-by, dropping a turd at the bottom of a defunct thread.
    We may have to fight amongst ourselves.

  174. anteprepro says

    Alright, well let’s make some fighting groups.

    Over there, the people saying that atheists are smug but not insensitive, and are a cosmic accident.
    Over here, the people saying that atheists are insensitive but not smug, and are a cosmic accident.
    Over hither, the people saying that atheists aren’t smug OR insensitive, and are a cosmic accident.
    Over yon, the people saying that atheists are both smug and insensitive, and are a cosmic accident.
    And then a whole mess of people elsewhere who will be agreeing that atheists aren’t a cosmic accident.

    Ready? FIGHT!

  175. says

    JAMES HARALDSON!

    Why didn’t that god of yours teach you the manners of being on topic for a given thread? You are off topic, breaking the comment rules here. You should understand rules, your god is pretty hot on them.

    Why didn’t that god of yours teach you to pay attention to dates, so you wouldn’t be necromancing a dead thread? Mmmm, necromancy – your god doesn’t like that sort of thing.

    This is an open thread: http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2014/03/31/thunderdome-46/#respond – go there to dribble your inanity, please. I’m right surprised god didn’t lead you to the right place. Oh my yes.

  176. Athywren says

    Smug insensitivity proves God?
    Yeah… I could see that, actually. Serial killers are better proof though – he was far better at the rampant slaughtering than smug insensitivity. His insensitivity was far more brutal than smug anyway.