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  1. #561  
    This op-ed relates to our discussion here:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...701311_pf.html

    Some selected bits:
    The Abortion Debate No One Wants to Have
    Prenatal testing is making your right to abort a disabled child more like "your duty" to abort a disabled child.

    By Patricia E. Bauer
    Tuesday, October 18, 2005; A25

    ...
    Whenever I am out with Margaret, I'm conscious that she represents a group whose ranks are shrinking because of the wide availability of prenatal testing and abortion. I don't know how many pregnancies are terminated because of prenatal diagnoses of Down syndrome, but some studies estimate 80 to 90 percent.
    ...
    This view is probably particularly pronounced here in blue-state California, but I keep finding it everywhere, from academia on down. At a dinner party not long ago, I was seated next to the director of an Ivy League ethics program. In answer to another guest's question, he said he believes that prospective parents have a moral obligation to undergo prenatal testing and to terminate their pregnancy to avoid bringing forth a child with a disability, because it was immoral to subject a child to the kind of suffering he or she would have to endure. (When I started to pipe up about our family's experience, he smiled politely and turned to the lady on his left.)

    Margaret does not view her life as unremitting human suffering (although she is angry that I haven't bought her an iPod). She's consumed with more important things, like the performance of the Boston Red Sox in the playoffs and the dance she's going to this weekend. Oh sure, she wishes she could learn faster and had better math skills. So do I. But it doesn't ruin our day, much less our lives. It's the negative social attitudes that cause us to suffer.
    ...
    Margaret's old pediatrician tells me that years ago he used to have a steady stream of patients with Down syndrome. Not anymore. Where did they go, I wonder. On the west side of L.A., they aren't being born anymore, he says.

    The irony is that we live in a time when medical advances are profoundly changing what it means to live with disabilities. Years ago, people with Down syndrome often were housed in institutions. Many were in poor health, had limited self-care and social skills, couldn't read, and died young. It was thought that all their problems were unavoidable, caused by their genetic anomaly.
    What breathtaking arrogance - to presume that some lives are so worthless that they should never be allowed to be born.
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  2. #562  
    Quote Originally Posted by phurth
    This op-ed relates to our discussion here:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...701311_pf.html

    Some selected bits:What breathtaking arrogance - to presume that some lives are so worthless that they should never be allowed to be born.
    I think that you and I agree on that. However, that is not the issue.

    The issue is not ends but means. The issue is not who will live or die but who will decide. The issue is whether or not to put these life and death decisions into the hands of the (secular) state. Those (religious) who advocate doing so have more confidence in the state than I do and very short memories. I remember all too well the "compassion" of the state in the middle of the twentieth century. Those who presume that they can use the state to promote life are naive. I do not object to their getting the desserts of their arrogance but I do not want it visited on the rest of us.
  3. #563  
    Quote Originally Posted by whmurray
    The issue is not ends but means. The issue is not who will live or die but who will decide. The issue is whether or not to put these life and death decisions into the hands of the (secular) state. Those (religious) who advocate doing so have more confidence in the state than I do and very short memories. I remember all too well the "compassion" of the state in the middle of the twentieth century.
    The state surely has a role to play in protecting the innocent does it not? Freedom is not absolute - my freedom to act stops where my actions negatively impinge upon another's rights. This country for the most part did not allow abortion prior to 1973 - it was up to the states to regulate. Yet we were not Nazis or Communists then. There's something Orwellian about thinking defending innocent life might lead us down the slippery slope to state facism.

    My recollections of the mid-twentieth century tyrannies includes forced abortions of so-called undesireables and mass murder. None of those regimes achieved infamy by protecting innocent life. The allowance of this abominable practice is leading us closer to fulfilling the dreams of the eugenicists. This is indisputable. The op-ed referenced studies showing 80-90% fewer children being born with Down's Syndrome - and not because we've found a cure. Margaret Sanger would be proud. Perhaps it's not the government's role to tell parents they must raise a disabled child. I do find the place we now find ourselves to be increasingly morally barren and ghastly.
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  4. #564  
    It occurs to me that we reference "the state" as though it is an entity in and of itself. When we the people ban a practice, it is not "the state" that is doing it. It is us. Unfortunately, we have abandoned our responsiblity to hold representatives accountable for their actions resulting in the elected having become the elite.

    "The state" should not ban the horrific practice. We the people should.
  5. #565  
    Quote Originally Posted by phurth
    ......I do find the place we now find ourselves to be increasingly morally barren and ghastly.
    You are obviously much younger than I am. I lived through ghastly. I know it when I see it. You dismiss the "isms" from a perspective informed by history written by the winners but without knowing the history. When the Nazis began to cleanse their nation, vocal American Christians were praising them and advocating the same "solutions." We did not stay out of the war because we were moral pacifists but because, until Pearl Harbor, we did not know which side we were on.

    I suggest that you are reacting not so much to barren as to uncertainty. If there is a moral barren space, it is at the center. Both the left and right are certain. However, they have each defined morality so as to exclude any position that differs from theirs. Each sees the solution as simple, as having the state enforce their cookie cutter, one size fits all, solutions. While it is clearly certain and, for many, comfortable, that is repression, not morality.

    Morality is everyone confronting their own hard choices and mostly getting it right. It is everyone else giving them the freedom to do so and tolerance for occasionally getting it wrong. Morality is not the state deciding for everyone.

    Even those who are sure that using the state is the right solution cannot agree on what they would have the state do, much less identify a course of action that they can persuade a majority to adopt. It is far easier to say that the solution is to make something illegal than it is to craft an effective, equitable, and enforceable law.

    I do not think that bothers the extremists very much. They are not so committed to the rule of law as to enforcing their morality on others. They believe in Utopia, in Plato's philosopher kings. They do not oppose the rule of men as long as they think that they are the men or that the men will do their bidding. I have lived enough history to convince me that the rule of men always, not sometimes or usually, results in fear, repression, and tyranny.

    Do not tell me how "morally barren and ghastly" the staus quo is; craft me a law. I understand that is difficult, perhaps impossible. However, until someone does so, I will continue to opt for the status quo, no matter how morally barren. I have seen ghastly and this is better.
  6. #566  
    Quote Originally Posted by shopharim
    ....."The state" should not ban the horrific practice. We the people should.
    "Brick by brick my citizens, brick by brick."
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