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Author Topic: The myth of the coathanger
snopes
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http://worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=51202

quote:
Those concerned about the consequences of the coming abortion bans need not trouble themselves about the theoretical problem of women surreptitiously scraping out their insides with coathangers. Not only is there no evidence of numerous American women having died from self-inflicted abortions in the past, there is no evidence of women who live in countries where abortion is currently banned dying from them either.

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snapdragonfly
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I guess the stories of the women who had illegal abortions before 1973 in this book are either fabrications, or they don't count for some reason.

So is the OP waving off the numbers dismissively because they are allegedly higher than actually happened? So they claim that "numerous" women didn't actually die from coathangers, etc.

Does that mean that if 1/2 of "numerous" women did die, that's okay because it wasn't a big huge number?

What if only 1/10 of "numerous" died. Is that even more support of the idea that making abortions illegal isn't going to cause anyone any harm?

Or perhaps they aren't making the claim that as long as it's just a FEW women dying, it's okay - perhaps they do think that women dying is not okay but they don't think that ANY actual coathanger deaths occured.

I'm confused. So their point is that "the numbers were inflated so that means coathanger deaths are nothing to get upset about, move along folks nothing to see here."

I always hope that these kind end up having their pride and joy of their life teenager get knocked up at age 15 by someone they absolutely detest. I know that is mean of me. But I'd like to see them go through what they are so fast to insist everyone else go through. (I wouldn't wish their child to get pregnant from a rape, that's too mean even for me...but still...rrrr)

edited: well, the stories in that book are from live people, not dead, (though there are some deaths too)but it's pretty clear from the experiences they tell that living through it was by no means assured...some came real close. They DID have illegal abortions, though, and I can't imagine anyone arguing that those aren't risking one's life, but, some people probably do argue that anyway.

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Mistletoey Chloe
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Oh, that *is* good news. I'm relieved to find out my Aunt Eva has simply been *pretending* to be dead, all this time.

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Rhiandmoi
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Has this guy ever looked at a death certificate? It doesn't say "Cause of Death - Coathanger." It says "Cause of Death - Uterine Rupture" or "Uterine Hemmorhage" or "Sepsis secondary to Uterine Puncture."

According to the Guttmacher Institute 39 women died from complications from illegal abortions in 1972. Many pro-life sites refer to that as a "mere 39" to emphasize how safe illegal abortions are.
http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/journals/3502503.html
http://www.tennesseerighttolife.org/human_life_issues/human_life_issues_abortion_lies_and_myths.htm

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caj48224
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snapfragonfly,

Worldnetdaily.com is a Neocon right-wing waste of space. Their credibility should be highly questioned, if it exists at all.

Chloe,

I'm sorry about your aunt. Reality escapes these zealots.

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"I reject your reality and substitute my own!" - Adam Savage, Mythbuster

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mags
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Oh, so the woman my great-grandmother took care of after a botched home abortion just didn't exist.

Not only did she not die from not being able to take care of yet another child, she didn't die slowly from infection and hemorrage, and she plain and simply didn't exist in the first place.

Glad we cleared that up.

As a child, my grandmother watched that women slowly die, but clearly she just imagined it.

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Doug4.7
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quote:
Originally posted by Rhiandmoi:
Has this guy ever looked at a death certificate? It doesn't say "Cause of Death - Coathanger." It says "Cause of Death - Uterine Rupture" or "Uterine Hemmorhage" or "Sepsis secondary to Uterine Puncture."

According to the Guttmacher Institute 39 women died from complications from illegal abortions in 1972. Many pro-life sites refer to that as a "mere 39" to emphasize how safe illegal abortions are.
http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/journals/3502503.html
http://www.tennesseerighttolife.org/human_life_issues/human_life_issues_abortion_lies_and_myths.htm

So now is that a "real" number? Only 39? Compare that # to the #s that die from other causes. In a fractional sense, it IS insignificant.

It does NOT make it "insignificant" to the people who lose loved ones by that method, but it does shoot down the implication that if abortions are made illegal, that thousands of women will die annually via the coathanger.

I've read it here all the time, the old, "Well, I guess we will just have to use coathangers again..." argument.

It is along the same lines as the "partial birth abortion" description where an almost born baby gets killed by its uncaring mother (usually in the last trimester).

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MissEltoe
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This thread reminds me of that HBO (I think) movie If These Walls Could Talk.

I don't recall everything, but I remember a doctor coming to this woman's house and doing the abortion on her kitchen table. There may or may not have been a hanger involved.

I know one thing, it made me VERY SCARED of abortion; thus VERY SCARED of unprotected sex!

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Ryda Wong, EBfCo.
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quote:
Originally posted by Doug4.7:
I've read it here all the time, the old, "Well, I guess we will just have to use coathangers again..." argument.

Hmmm. that's funny. I just googled the board and found one mention of coathangers. One. Chloe mentions them in passing on page 33 of the "I'm pro-choice, but...." thread. And it isn't in reference to us resorting to coathangers.

And, I don't see how "only" 39 directly attribuatble, reported deaths weakens the argument that if you outlaw abortion women will have to resort to other methods. We will. And, as people in general tend not to be trained medical practicioners, it's pretty reasonable to assume it won't be as safe.

Oh, and BTW:

Did any one else find the Author photo on the OP link scary as all heck? Guy looks like a mass murderer.....

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Mistletoey Chloe
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quote:
Originally posted by Doug4.7:
So now is that a "real" number? Only 39?

39 that we know of; 39 whose death certificates reflect truth rather than a socially sanctioned fib.
quote:
Compare that # to the #s that die from other causes. In a fractional sense, it IS insignificant.
In a human sense, it is no such thing. Unless you also want to say that Columbine was less than insignificant.
quote:
It does NOT make it "insignificant" to the people who lose loved ones by that method, but it does shoot down the implication that if abortions are made illegal, that thousands of women will die annually via the coathanger.
I asked you once (actually, more than once) how many women would have to die for you to oppose restrictions on abortion. I have never mentioned thousands; I have said, unequivocally, that one dead woman is too many. At least now we have an answer from you: apparently, more than 39.
quote:
I've read it here all the time, the old, "Well, I guess we will just have to use coathangers again..." argument.
Are you suggesting that the fact that using coathangers is not universally lethal means it will not happen? That's a rather odd suggestion, isn't it? Why would women be *more* likely to do it if they *knew* they would die?

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snapdragonfly
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39 does'nt sound right to me either. That's insanely low. An illegal abortion is at least as dangerous as ordinary childbirth and during the same timeframe, a lot more women than 39 (of the same amount of women who had illegal abortions, which we can't know for certain but had to have been more than a handful) would have died of childbirth.

It would be nice if we had fairly undisputed official figures. We don't. But we can be quite sure that abortions are going to happen, legal or not, and we can be quite certain than when they are illegal, there's a good chance they won't be safe, and that if they aren't safe, there will be deaths.


"It is known that the ancient Greeks relied upon the herb silphium as both a contraceptive and an abortifacient. The plant, as the chief export of Cyrene, was driven to extinction, but it is suggested that it might have possessed the same abortive properties as some of its closest extant relatives in the Apiaceae family. Cyrenian coins were embossed with an image of the plant."

http://www.answers.com/topic/history-of-abortion

Must have been a popular plant to have been harvested out of existance...

Clearly, abortions are a frequent occurance and have been from the beginning of human existence and barring some drastic change in technology that assures zero chances of unwanted pregnancy there will always be abortions. The only real questions are, shall they be safe, and if they are not safe, is that okay with us?

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(snurched because one of my nutbar family members is all about wolves and another one is all about dragons...)(with apologies to surfcitydogdad)

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Doug4.7
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quote:
Originally posted by snapdragonfly:
It would be nice if we had fairly undisputed official figures.

I would love to see such unbiased figures.

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Doug4.7
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quote:
Originally posted by Chloe:
I asked you once (actually, more than once) how many women would have to die for you to oppose restrictions on abortion. I have never mentioned thousands; I have said, unequivocally, that one dead woman is too many. At least now we have an answer from you: apparently, more than 39.

Using your logic then, we should outlaw the use of cars, knifes, beds, children, rat poison, dogs ,cats, or anything else that has caused at least ONE death (maybe even reaing this forum).

Yes, one death is too many (that is kinda why I oppose abortion), but even with LEGAL abortions, women die. So what is the answer?

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Doug4.7
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quote:
Originally posted by snapdragonfly:
39 does'nt sound right to me either. That's insanely low.

It actually does to me too. If that IS a correct figure, then it does put the coathanger on the same level as the very late term partial-birth abortion.

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wanderwoman
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I'm not at all sure that the statistics on illegal abortion include numbers for self-induced abortion or abortion attempts. I imagine that the study from which the information was obtained would indicate whether those numbers are only for back-alley type abortions or whether they include attempts at self-abortion.

The coathanger is just a symbol, though. Focusing on the coathanger doesn't even begin to cover the methods I've heard that (mostly young) women use in an attempt to abort. These would include knitting needles, herbs, jumping from increasing heights, various substances used as douches, asking to be punched in the abdomen, etc.

Some of these resulted in the woman's death, but others may have resulted in disability or infertility.

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Doug4.7
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quote:
Originally posted by snapdragonfly:
Clearly, abortions are a frequent occurance and have been from the beginning of human existence ...there will always be abortions. The only real questions are, shall they be safe, and if they are not safe, is that okay with us?

Change the word "abortion' to 'murders' and you get an equivalent statement. In other words, murder has been going on since the dawn of humans (maybe longer), so there is no way we will stop it. So we might as well make it legal and be done with it. At least then, it will be safe.

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snapdragonfly
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quote:
Originally posted by Doug4.7:
quote:
Originally posted by Chloe:
I asked you once (actually, more than once) how many women would have to die for you to oppose restrictions on abortion. I have never mentioned thousands; I have said, unequivocally, that one dead woman is too many. At least now we have an answer from you: apparently, more than 39.

Using your logic then, we should outlaw the use of cars, knifes, beds, children, rat poison, dogs ,cats, or anything else that has caused at least ONE death (maybe even reaing this forum).

Yes, one death is too many (that is kinda why I oppose abortion), but even with LEGAL abortions, women die. So what is the answer?

I think that since we simply do not have numbers that we can be assured of at least a reasonable amount of accuracy on this, due in large part to the illegality of the action and thus skewed record keeping, that this cannot be decided on numbers.

It has to be decided on the issue itself. For those who feel that life begins at the instant egg meets sperm, and that all ending of life is wrong (which is why I roll my eyes at the virtous expousing of "pro life" values from governers who merrily flip the switch on deathrow inmates, because it doesn't become suddenly okay to "murder" someone just because we find them guilty of something that is illegal - we all have sinned, all fall short, isn't that right?) then I can understand the feeling that abortion simply has to be illegal. Though I would argue that making it illegal doesn't really fix the problem too well so the answer, to me, seems to be preventing unwanted pregancies, which abstenance counseling has a rather dismal success rate with.

But there's not agreement on that issue (of when life starts) anyway, and, there is the issue of the right of a person to make these decisions that are regarded as private, without governmental interference based primarily on an argument stemming from religious beliefs.

Really the numbers aren't the crux of the matter.

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"Wolves, dragons and vampires, man. Draw the nut-bars like big ol' nut-bar magnets." ~evilrabbit

(snurched because one of my nutbar family members is all about wolves and another one is all about dragons...)(with apologies to surfcitydogdad)

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snapdragonfly
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quote:
Originally posted by Doug4.7:
quote:
Originally posted by snapdragonfly:
Clearly, abortions are a frequent occurance and have been from the beginning of human existence ...there will always be abortions. The only real questions are, shall they be safe, and if they are not safe, is that okay with us?

Change the word "abortion' to 'murders' and you get an equivalent statement. In other words, murder has been going on since the dawn of humans (maybe longer), so there is no way we will stop it. So we might as well make it legal and be done with it. At least then, it will be safe.
But not everybody agrees that abortion is murder.

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"Wolves, dragons and vampires, man. Draw the nut-bars like big ol' nut-bar magnets." ~evilrabbit

(snurched because one of my nutbar family members is all about wolves and another one is all about dragons...)(with apologies to surfcitydogdad)

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Doug4.7
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quote:
Originally posted by snapdragonfly:
...which is why I roll my eyes at the virtous expousing of "pro life" values from governers who merrily flip the switch on deathrow inmates...

You are not the only one rolling eyes at that little bit of hypocrisy.

The bottom line for me is the "coathanger death" IS a symbol, but for the most part, it is only a symbol. It is just as much a symbol as the late-term partial-birth abortion is to the pro-life side.

Either symbol gets people going, regardless of how common the symbol actually is.

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Doug4.7
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Okay, what bothers me about the article in the OP is the total lack of numbers. He says it is not common, yet he provides no numbers, just a bunch of, "Well, it ain't common..".

So it is a worthless article that will be used by the pro-life loonies to PROVE coathangar abortions don't happen and used by the pro-choice to show that pro-life folks don't care about the women involved in abortions.

In other words, it is good for throwing gas on the flames of the debate and not much more.

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Mistletoey Chloe
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quote:
Originally posted by Doug4.7:
Originally posted by Chloe:
I asked you once (actually, more than once) how many women would have to die for you to oppose restrictions on abortion. I have never mentioned thousands; I have said, unequivocally, that one dead woman is too many. At least now we have an answer from you: apparently, more than 39.

quote:
Using your logic then, we should outlaw the use of cars, knifes, beds, children, rat poison, dogs ,cats, or anything else that has caused at least ONE death (maybe even reaing this forum).
Huh? What is it that I want to outlaw, again?

quote:
Yes, one death is too many (that is kinda why I oppose abortion), but even with LEGAL abortions, women die. So what is the answer?
Safe, legal, rare. Comprehensive sex education. Elimination of the sexual double standard. Widespread availability and insurance coverage of contraception, including the MAP, without requiring anyone else's permission. Real information about the potential risks of both abortion and its alternatives. Taking the religious agenda out of reproductive discussions. Voting for people who have the guts to work toward this.

And frankly, anyone who disagrees with this agenda is not pro-life, or even anti-abortion, but anti-sex.

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Mistletoey Chloe
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quote:
Originally posted by Doug4.7:
quote:
Originally posted by snapdragonfly:
39 does'nt sound right to me either. That's insanely low.

It actually does to me too. If that IS a correct figure, then it does put the coathanger on the same level as the very late term partial-birth abortion.
WTF is that supposed to mean? Do 39 women die every year during so-called PBAs?

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Doug4.7
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quote:
Originally posted by Chloe:
WTF is that supposed to mean? Do 39 women die every year during so-called PBAs?

No, but an almost child dies during each one.

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Mistletoey Chloe
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But outlawing so-called PBAs would not save a single one of them.

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Doug4.7
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quote:
Originally posted by Chloe:
But outlawing so-called PBAs would not save a single one of them.

Hu? Not doing the abortion WOULD save the child. Or maybe you've subsituted a different definition of PBA.

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Doug4.7
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quote:
Originally posted by Chloe:
Safe, legal, rare. Comprehensive sex education. Elimination of the sexual double standard. Widespread availability and insurance coverage of contraception, including the MAP, without requiring anyone else's permission. Real information about the potential risks of both abortion and its alternatives. Taking the religious agenda out of reproductive discussions. Voting for people who have the guts to work toward this.

Let's try this:

Safe, legal, VERY rare (only for cases I've mentioned before). Comprehensive sex education. Elimination of the sexual double standard. Widespread availability and insurance coverage of contraception, including the MAP, without requiring anyone else's permission. Full health coverage of pregnant women (okay, ALL women AND men, but I will be specific to this case). Real information about the consequences of having sex (i.e., pregnancy). Voting for people who have the guts to work toward this.
quote:

And frankly, anyone who disagrees with this agenda is not pro-life, or even anti-abortion, but anti-sex.

No frankly, you are wrong. You are letting your bias show again.

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Four Kitties
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quote:
Originally posted by Doug4.7:
quote:
Originally posted by Chloe:
But outlawing so-called PBAs would not save a single one of them.

Hu? Not doing the abortion WOULD save the child. Or maybe you've subsituted a different definition of PBA.
Doug, I believe what she means is that if what you call a PBA is not performed, some other medical procedure, equally fatal to the fetus, will be. Intact diliation and extraction is used when it is the safest procedure for the mother -- if it can't be done for any reason then another, possibly riskier procedure, will be performed instead. Making D&X's illegal won't save any fetuses and may well result in some women's deaths who might otherwise be saved.

Four Kitties

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Mistletoey Chloe
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Thanks 4K: I wrote something similar (but snottier) but my wifi ate it.

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Mistletoey Chloe
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quote:
Originally posted by Doug4.7:
quote:
Originally posted by Chloe:
Safe, legal, rare. Comprehensive sex education. Elimination of the sexual double standard. Widespread availability and insurance coverage of contraception, including the MAP, without requiring anyone else's permission. Real information about the potential risks of both abortion and its alternatives. Taking the religious agenda out of reproductive discussions. Voting for people who have the guts to work toward this.

quote:
Safe, legal, VERY rare (only for cases I've mentioned before).
And those who do not fall into this (fluctuating) category will be at great risk. Not acceptable.
quote:
Comprehensive sex education. Elimination of the sexual double standard. Widespread availability and insurance coverage of contraception, including the MAP, without requiring anyone else's permission.
I still don't understand your "let's draw the line at fertilization just to be sure/I'm all for the MAP" stance. It's a contradiction.

quote:
Full health coverage of pregnant women (okay, ALL women AND men, but I will be specific to this case). Real information about the consequences of having sex (i.e., pregnancy).
And its risks. BTW, there are other consequences of sex, you know.

quote:
Voting for people who have the guts to work toward this.
[QUOTE]
And frankly, anyone who disagrees with this agenda is not pro-life, or even anti-abortion, but anti-sex.

No frankly, you are wrong. You are letting your bias show again. [/qb]
How so? If someone claims to be concerned about the lives of fetuses, but won't relax their prohibition on contraception or sex ed, then that person is ipso facto less concerned about fetal life than they are about something else.

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~~Ai am in mai prrrrrraime!~~

Posts: 10111 | From: Oklahoma | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Rhiandmoi
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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According to the Guttmacher Institute, in 1942 there were 1231 deaths that could be officially attributed to complications from illegal abortion. One of the reasons often cited for the decrease between 1942 and 1972 was the availibilty and heavy use of penicillin.

But in Romania (which had penicillin) in 1989 there were 142 abortion related deaths per 100,000 live births. In Uganda 1 in 5 maternal deaths is the result of unsafe abortions. In Brazil in 1991 there were 288,670 hospitalizations because of unsafe abortions.

http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/ib12.html
http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/rib/2005/03/08/rib1-05.pdf

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I think that hyperbole is the single greatest factor contributing to the decline of society. - My friend Pat.

What is .02 worth?

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Doug4.7
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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quote:
Originally posted by Chloe:
I still don't understand your "let's draw the line at fertilization just to be sure/I'm all for the MAP" stance. It's a contradiction.

No, it's called a compromise. The fertilization is (for me) the most logical step to declare that a child exists. The thing is, I've read some rather convincing arguments (here) that the simple union of the two sets of genetic code is not "the best" place to put the beginning of life (for protection purposes). The problem is there are no other real "lines in the sand" beyond fertilization (other than implantation). It is more or less a steady development from that point on. However, it is hard to argue for implantation as "the start".

Many of the arguments we have will go away if implantation is used as "the start". It REALLY helps the rape case (which is one of the few cases where the woman is not part of the decision process for the baby).

IVF becomes the problem. Here, the blastocyst does not implant (can't, no uterus), but it still develops and can "live" for quite a long time (while being experimented on). Experimenting on something that "could have" been a baby is a real problem with me.

So no, I don't think I have all the answers. Have fun with that.

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And now for something completely different...

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Rhiandmoi
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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Doug if the parents of those blastocysts give permisison for those experiments is that any different that a parent placing their fully differentiated child in an experimental group?

--------------------
I think that hyperbole is the single greatest factor contributing to the decline of society. - My friend Pat.

What is .02 worth?

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Doug4.7
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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quote:
Originally posted by Rhiandmoi:
Doug if the parents of those blastocysts give permisison for those experiments is that any different that a parent placing their fully differentiated child in an experimental group?

That's where it gets bad. An experimental treatment to SAVE a child is one thing, but to donate one for eventual death (or prolonged experimentation) is a whole 'nother bag of worms.

There is promise in stem cell research. However, the wholesale experimentation on these proto-humans is where things get sticky. If you are not willing to do it to a live, breathing child, then I feel it should not be done.

ETA: For example, I don't think it is legal to take child (or adult for that matter) in a "permanent coma" and harvest their organs, or do experiments on them that would not lead to its recovery.

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And now for something completely different...

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LemonLimeade
Deck the Malls


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This article makes some interesting points on deaths from illegal abortion and from legal abortion. It seems to be a pro-life site but the sources are good and the reporting seems to be evenhanded. (I didn't click on the other links.)

http://www.vanderbilt.edu/sfl/illeg.htm

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Those who beat their swords into plowshares will plow for those who don't.

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Rhiandmoi
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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It is my understanding (from listening to a few radio shows) that they harvest the stem cells from a blastocyst at the 8 cell stage by removing one cell from the outside and encouraging that cell to divide. This is the same method they use to get genetic material for testing for screening. The seven remaining cells are still a blastocyst that can still become a child. It is also my understanding that the blastocysts in question are going to be "taken off life support" in which case I really have no problem with them being kept alive long enough for their valuable cells to be harvested. I see stem cell donation in the same light as differentiated organ donation.

As for "experimenting" on these proto humans, I have no problem with parents having one cell periodically removed from their child, having that one cell cultured and the resulting tissue encouraged to differentiate. The problem is that there aren't any pluripotent cells in a fully differentiated live, breathing child, so there isn't really much point to thinking about it.

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I think that hyperbole is the single greatest factor contributing to the decline of society. - My friend Pat.

What is .02 worth?

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