Ableism Kills, Inside and Outside the Womb

[Today’s guest post by Rebecca Stapleford is part of our paid blogging program. Rebecca has three sisters, two of whom are also disabled. One of her significantly disabled sisters will eventually need a kidney transplant.]

Many of those involved in the pro-life movement are aware of the incredibly high abortion statistics for those prenatally diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome—around 90% by many estimates. We’ve heard stories of women pressured to abort their disabled children by doctors and genetic counselors, and the ableist assumptions that underlie such pressures. Many of us are also aware that legalized euthanasia tends to put pressure on severely disabled individuals to kill themselves, especially if government cuts to their medical services make them feel that it is simply too expensive to stay alive. However, this is only the tip of the iceburg when it comes to the deadly consequences of the ableism which is so deeply rooted in our society.

Simply put, ableism is a prejudice, much like sexism or racism. Unlike most other prejudices, ableism can often be well-intentioned. For instance, a doctor denying lifesaving treatment to a severely disabled infant is often acting out of compassion, believing that the child’s life is not worth living. However, such an assumption ignores the fact that many severely disabled individuals do find their lives to be worth living, and this scenario involves an able-bodied individual forcing their assumptions about the kind of life that is worth living onto a disabled person—a textbook example of able-bodied power and privilege.

There is a much darker side to ableism, however. A commenter on this CNN article regarding the discriminatory denial of organ transplants to disabled individuals summed up his ableist views best when, in support of the practice, he said: “Because they won’t be as productive a member of society, and cost tax payers more money to support them their entire life.” Sadly, this perspective was shared by the vast majority of the many commenters on this article, and his comment was upvoted 53 times.

Ableist views are held not only by the general public, but also by the medical community. Those involved in the disability rights movement might be familiar with the case of Paul Corby, a young autistic man who was denied a heart transplant based solely on his developmental disability, and the case of Amanda Baggs, an autistic self-advocate whose stay at the hospital took a very dark turn when her medical providers tried to bully her into accepting comfort care rather than lifesaving medical treatment. Thankfully, in Amanda’s case, the disability rights community stood up for her, and she got the medical care that she needed. However, many others in her situation don’t have a community of advocates to rally around them, and their outcomes are much worse.

These are not isolated incidents, either. Surveys and studies that have been taken of the medical community indicate that ableist attitudes are rather prevalent and affect patient care. It is more common than you might think for a disabled individual to be denied or discouraged life-saving medical care that a non-disabled patient would be encouraged to have.

Furthermore, the ableist attitudes that we disabled persons encounter on a daily basis may lead us to believe what society often tells us—that we are burdens on society and therefore unworthy of life. My friend Sarah Terzo, who lives with multiple disabilities and is the brain behind the pro-life website Clinic Quotes and an occasional SPL guest blogger, has this this to say:

You feel like you are a leech on society, and the stigma of being on government assistance can be brutal. You definitely feel like you are burden, and often it’s hard to deal with. You always think people are looking at your life, at the fact you get money to help support yourself, and are judging you. 

I know the feeling. As a teenager, I battled suicidal ideation that was partially based upon the belief that I was a burden.

If we want to create a truly pro-life society, we must not only establish the humanity of the unborn and their right to life, but the right of all human beings to life and non-discriminatory medical care, regardless of how much we cost or how productive we are. We must fight against the ableist stereotypes that many in our society hold. Until that time, disabled individuals such as myself and those that I care about will continue to fall victim to this deadly and discriminatory form of utilitarianism.

97 thoughts on “Ableism Kills, Inside and Outside the Womb”

  1. Basically "ableism" is a description of the notion that the more able some entity (or even some thing) is, to accomplish things, the more value humans assign to it. The author of the article may call it a "prejudice", but it is actually The Law Of Supply And Demand in operation, plus the Fact that There Is No Such Thing As Intrinsic Value. ALL valuations are Subjective, Relative, and Arbitrary.

    To overthrow ableism means overthrowing The Law Of Supply And Demand. OR, at the very least, prove that humans have intrinsic value, such that TLOSAD does not apply to them (while it appears to apply to everything else in the Universe). The mere claim that humans have intrinsic value, unsupported by solid evidence, is worthless.

  2. Humans have intrinsic value. Not everything that is true must be supported by scientific evidence, otherwise statements like "murder is wrong" could never be proven. It is just as wrong for me to kill a member of my family as it is to kill a complete stranger.

  3. Where does this intrinsic value come from?

    Does anything else have intrinsic value or do only humans qualify?

  4. Everything you want others to believe is true should be supported by evidence. Why should they believe it without being provided with supporting evidence?

    You might as well be told/expected to believe the nonsense spouted by the Flat Earth Society. There is no fundamental difference. "Believe it because I say so!" is the essence of BOTH arguments, yours about "intrinsic value" and theirs about a "Flat Earth".

    Meanwhile, statements like "murder is wrong" can have a basis in OTHER things than Arbitrary Pronouncements That Something Is So. Take a look at what I wrote as a comment under the "The Imago Dei" article here.

  5. Do you have anything to say about any of the issues raised in the article or are you just looking to derail the discussion?

  6. You're commenting on a post about ableism by someone who knows it firsthand, who admitted to feeling suicidal because of it, to say that it's "just the law of supply and demand".

    You don't know shit about ableism, and this comment is absolutely disgusting.

  7. Don't you know to these people ALL women should be forced to give birth regardless of the circumstances…

    Even if she was raped or there is a chance she could die the zygote is so much more important than the woman ever could hope to be.

  8. The Law Of Supply And Demand cares nothing for human self-valuations. Every time some Boss denies you a raise, saying, "There's plenty more where YOU came from!", THAT is The Law Of Supply And Demand proving that humans don't have "intrinsic value", that only their abilities are valued.

    The Actual Solution Is Simple: Fewer People. Per TLOSAD, the rarer humans are, the more their abilities will be valued, and the commoner they are, the less their abilities will be valued. So, IF people were rare enough, even the slight abilities of the handicapped would be highly valued.

    But we don't live in that world, and there is no easy/ethical way to get there, from the world we do live in. But it is certain that banning abortion, INCREASING the overpopulation of the world, doesn't help at all, to get there!

  9. No, that would only work in a zero-sum world, which is not the world we live in. Gosh, you sound like a high school hyper libertarian Ayn Randroid. you know those books are fantasy, right?

    When you make these posts, you completely seem to forget about all the other mechanisms of economics that we understand, like price elasticity, information hording that warps demand, insufficient supply lines that warp effective supply, and on and on, not to mention how you absurdly attempt to apply them to the abortion debate. But no, we should all bow to your cunning mastery of the first day of your Econ 101 class.

  10. No, there is no such thing as intrinsic value. Rather, over time, we as a species have learned that banding together and helping each other has lead to greater success in survival (which of course leads to reproductive success in the long run). As we've extended what we consider our "in-group" to more fully encompass more and more of actual homosapians, we see greater and greater benefit, whether that be women of science being taken seriously, or seeing the artistic works of a minority group, for example. As we extend rights and protections to more wholly represent the human population, we can't necessarily predict what good will come out of it, but it has been shown that benefits for the entire population can be realized.

    It's really difficult to actually assign worth to individuals, even if you tried. There are disabled people who do great things for others, from tech and science in their jobs, to being great sources of emotional support for their families and communities. There are people who are smart and talented, but who are so lazy or addicted that the sum of their lives is pain and drain on others. It is absolutely impossible to make those distinctions based on arbitrary categories like abled/disabled, woman/man, minority/majority, born/unborn.

    We may go beyond humans one day – I don't think that would be a bad thing – but culturally I'd say we as a people aren't there yet.

  11. You cannot say you think they are equal when you are ignoring the wants and feelings of the pregnant woman 100% for the zygote/embryo.

    Abortion is ethical since the woman has every right to remove the unwanted invader from her body. The zygote/embryo has no rights to her body and life unless she decides she wants to donate her organs to allow it to come to term.

  12. You completely ignored what I said about the conjoined twins, because it goes against your ideology. Also, if you wish to compare pregnancy to organ donation, while it is illegal to force someone to donate an organ, once an organ is taken from you and attached to someone else's body, you cannot get it back, because doing so would violates the rights of the person that recieved your organ.

  13. Conjoined twins are born. They are not the same as a zygote/embryo and even they get a choice on if they stay together.

    It is my body and my choice and I am not willingly donating my uterus to act as a host for the unwanted embryo.

  14. conjoined twins both have to agree on the separation surgery, one cannot just make a unilateral decision. also, why should being born make a difference? i thought that being dependent on someone else's body is the revelant factor, regardless of whether or not you've slid out of a vagina.

  15. Being born makes a difference because after that it is not inside the woman's body. You cannot force a woman to use her body against her will. That would be equal to torture and slavery.

    The woman is the one who gets to decide if her body is used to incubate the unwanted invader.

  16. Isn't having someone attached to your body against your will, like a conjoined slave, equivalent to torture and slavery? be consistent, if one if torture, than the other is as well…

  17. Well if you mean the woman is a slave because you want to force her to have the fetus attached to her against her will then yes it is slavery.

    Conjoined twins have an option to be removed if they want- and you even said the parents sometimes get to make the choice. To me that means the woman gets to make the choice since the embryo has no conscience thought and will not know the difference either way.

  18. Conjoined twins both have to consent to the surgery for it to take place. One can't just decide on behalf of the other. Parents can only make the choice if the children are minors and if the surgery is low risk. Medical child abuse laws here in the US prohibits parents from consenting to high risk medically unnecessary surgery on children's behalf.

  19. Well early abortion is VERY low risk. It is much safer than pregnancy and child birth. So to me it sounds like it is the woman's choice.

    An abortion would be necessary for me. The misery of pregnancy would destroy my life and I would do whatever it took to make sure that did not happen.

  20. Conjoined twins = two sentient, sapient people sharing one body.

    Pregnancy = a mindless animal organism using a persons body without consent

  21. Translation-i am so selfish that someone must die rather than inconvenience me for 9 months.
    Please, get sterilized if you feel like that. That way you'll never have to worry about pregnancy.

  22. conjoined twins do not share a body. at most they, share some organs, but that is not always the case. Sometimes just their skulls are fused together.
    As for sentience, if one twin became temporarily unconscious, this rule would still hold.

  23. No translation… An embryo/fetus is not a human being but a developing
    potential human and I am not giving up everything in my life for it to
    come to term. The misery of pregnancy would ruin my life.

  24. That is your opinion and if you feel that way don't have an abortion. Stop trying to control the life of people you don't know though. You will never win. There are many ways for women to end unwanted pregnancies so even if abortion did become illegal women would still find a way.

  25. Infants are developing humans, and peter singer and co. honestly believe that they are only potential humans…

  26. Fascinating, according to Guttmacher Institute data, US states with lots of restrictions on abortion have much lower abortion rates than us states with little or no abortion rates…

  27. Also, you appear to see prenatal development as akin to car manufactuaring. When does a car become a car? Is it when the engine is in, when it can be driven, etc? Likewise, when does a person become a person? Is it at viability, heartbeat, etc? But fetuses are not constructed like cars. Prenatal development is more akin to Poloriad photography. The chemical reaction occurs as soon as the shutter is snapped, but the picture itself takes a few minutes to develop enough to be visible. Likewise, the biological event that creates the human being occurs at fertilization, it just takes a while to grow enough to survive outside the womb. But ZEF are actual human beings, just like undeveloped poloroid photographs are considered to be actual photographs.

  28. Temporary coma patients are not sentient, but we've already been through that. Suffice to say that if one twin were in a temporary coma, the other twin would not be able to make the unilateral decision to disconnect.

  29. Maybe because these women have to go out of state to have abortions? I know if it was me I would do whatever it takes to get to a state to where I had access to an abortion if I had to.

    I do live in one of the most anti-woman states there is but thankfully I live close enough to two big cities so I wouldn't have to travel out of state.

    However since this state i huge some women probably do have to travel out of state.

  30. The ZEF is not automatically a fully viable person at conception. It takes around 40 weeks for it to develop into one.

    The woman gets a choice if she plays host to the zef whether you like it or not.

  31. yes, some travel. But many can't afford the money and time that it costs. also, it seems funny that you call these states anti-women, yet according to Gallup, women and men have basically the same opinions on abortion, so women are the ones voting for these abortion restrictions.

  32. Or they order it online or go to Mexico and buy the medicine from flea markets.

    Or they drink massive amounts of alcohol or take drugs that are known to cause miscarriages.

    You seem to think that a woman with an unwanted pregnancy is just going to give up everything if she can't get an easy abortion. Trust me some women when do whatever it takes to remove the zef.

    As for the women who vote for anti-choice candidates… well some women have no self respect and I guess they like the idea of being treated like a slave.

  33. You haven't paid enough attention to History. Western culture places a high value on human life exactly because it was rare, compared to long-time heavily-populated Eastern culture (where a low-social-status individual, interacting with a high-status individual, was expected to refer to self as "this worthless person").

  34. Youre the one playing the moral high ground here.

    Surely you are just itching to tell her that she is a selfish baby killer because being pregnant would make her miserable?

  35. LIFE is more important than someone's wants. That's why I will be pro-life until someone convinces me that willfully stopping a beating heart is okay.

    Great blog post!! As the daughter of a special ed teacher and someone with a chronic pain condition that is often quite disabling, I really appreciated it!

  36. Yes LIFE is important which is why I think the LIFE of the actual living person is what matters. I know several women who have said they would rather be dead than to be pregnant.

    In fact in high school I had two friends get pregnant and they made a suicide pact since they couldn't get an abortion. How was that choice any better than an abortion?

  37. Excellent job cherry picking phenomena to suit your contrived hypothesis. Japan, Korea, have historically not had large populations, yet their societies are significantly more collectivist than ours. Mainland countries like France have historically had relatively larger populations thank island nations like Great Britain, yet somehow individualistic thought seems to have creeped into both societies with equal measure (if not more for France). And where is human life probably valued the least these days? Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa. Places that neither historically, not in modern times, have had outliers in world population numbers or density.

    Even if you didn't cherry pick observations, at very best you could insinuate correlation, not causation that large populations = lower value on human life. Please, stop bringing your psuedo-science, econ and history to every friggen thread. It's embarrassing.

  38. No, you are itching to tell me that I am a brainwashed slave of the patriarchy and I have no self respect.
    As far as being a selfish killer goes, if the shoe fits, wear it. I am disabled, If I were to become pregnant, it would threaten my health. But i would still keep the baby, because I don't kill innocent humans for my own selfish gain.

  39. As someone who tried to kill herself multiple times, I am very tired of you exploiting all people who can't see past the current situation to promote killing humans.
    The ZEF is alive, according to every biology textbook that I have ever read. I guess you were too busy in high school to pay attention to biology class.

  40. I am tired of you demoting women to inferior and worthless incubators who should have no free will.

    Women ARE actually people with feelings and desires and everything. I know anti-choicers don't believe that which is sad…

    BTW I did pay attention in my high school and college biology classes. While yes the zef is alive it is not a human being. It only has the potential to develop into a human being.

  41. Some women…according to Gallup that around half of all women. Not all women subscribe to your bloodthirsty notions of female empowerment.
    And some women won't give up, you're right. Just like some women still abuse children even though there are laws against it. But if people choose to do harmful things and suffer as a result, that is their choice and their consequence. You make your bed and now you lie in it.
    As a disabled woman whose health would be greatly impacted by pregnancy, I find your self-centered whining about being miserable to be nausuating, I would suffer greatly due to pregnancy, but i would never kill an innocent human being, because I am not that selfish.
    Honestly, you are one of the most selfish people that I have ever heard of, and that's saying a lot.

  42. fascinating…my embryology textbooks define ZEF as a human organism. Also, do you believe in mandatory child support? Then you support turning parents into walking, talking bank accounts with no free will, according to your own logic.

  43. So you are OK with a woman dying because she was so desperate to end the misery of pregnancy? You do understand that if its host dies the zef will not survive right?

    You say you would suffer if pregnant. You know what it would be YOUR choice. You have free will as should every woman. The fact that you want to take that away from women is cruel and disgusting.

  44. Good for your textbooks. Every class I have had on the subject has defined them as a potential human organism.

    First I think a man and a woman should have a talk about the what if BEFORE having sex. If they don't agree they shouldn't be together.

    If the woman tricks the man into getting her pregnant I do not think he should be obligated to pay her anything since she lied and tricked him against his will into something he did not want.

  45. The fact that you cannot ever take responsibility for your actions is cruel and disgusting. The fact that you assume that I don't support abortion if the mother's life is in danger is ridiculous.
    Do you support mandatory child support? Then you support taking away men's free will and turning them into walking talking bank accounts.

  46. The law says that if it is your bio child, you have to pay. Mother cannot get welfare until she goes to a child support agency and they do their best to establish paternity. Wages are garnished if man does not pay. Agencies work across state lines to enforce. Relinquishing parental rights is very hard, A judge has to approve and a judge will not approve if you are doing it to get out of paying child support. That is because the law views the needs of the child to be more important than the needs of the parent.

  47. You do not get to tell me how to take responsibility for my actions. To me having an abortion would be taking responsibility. I have too much going on in my life to have everything destroyed by the misery of pregnancy. I refuse to lose everything because I was unlucky and had my BC fail.

    I answered your question about child support.

    I do not support mandatory child support. Every case is different and if the woman tricked the man into getting her pregnant she should be left on her own.

  48. What if the condom broke and the woman refused to get an abortion? That happens…
    Also, killing something is not taking responsibility…
    Why don't you get sterilized? If you never want to get pregnant, that is a good option for you.

  49. I know what the law says. It does not mean I think it is right to force a man who was tricked into getting a woman pregnant to pay her child support.

  50. That is why they should talk BEFORE having sex about "what if" so that way they both know what they are in for.

    You do not get to decide for me what is and what is not taking responsibility. You can decide for yourself and that is all.

  51. So I guess someone could decide that taking responsibility for their autistic two year old means killing it, according to your logic, and that would be just fine…

  52. When it comes to the severely disabled, that may not be the case…it is hard to find foster homes and adoptive families for them. A parent could decide that it is fair more responsible to kill them so they don;t have to spend life going through the foster system or in an institution.

  53. You just can't stay away from tu qoque…and then telling us that we ARE in fact psycho killers


    Histrionic much?

  54. Honestly, you are one of the most selfish people that I have ever heard of, and that's saying a lot.

    Is she more of a Ted Bundy or a Jeffrey Dahmer?

    Or will you just skip the shortcuts and accuse her of being Hitler?

  55. The problem is you are probably defining "evidence" too narrowly. Intuition can serve as evidence. If it is just as wrong to kill you with regards to killing as it is to kill me, then it is because we both have equal intrinsic value (as opposed to instrumental value, where my death would be felt worse by the organization I work for than it would by your death).

    Secondly, your assertion that only what can be proven by evidence is true is self-defeating, because that statement can't possibly be proven by evidence.

    Third, your statement regarding "murder is wrong" is simply ad hoc. There is no physical evidence that murder is wrong. Yet I'm guessing that you accept that. You shouldn't, though, if you require evidence.

  56. Contra KB, there is intrinsic value and humans have it. Though you may not like my answer because I would say that our intrinsic value comes from God.

    I would also say that only humans qualify, because only humans are made in the image of God, and only they have an inherent nature as rational agents. That's why we have obligations to each other that animals don't have to other animals.

  57. He's actually a troll, and for the most part I usually just let what he says go. Sometimes I'll comment if I feel it would benefit other readers.

  58. "If we want to create a truly pro-life society, we must not only
    establish the humanity of the unborn and their right to life, but the right of all human beings to life and non-discriminatory medical care, regardless of how much we cost or how productive we are."

    And the above statement is the reason I detest most forced-birth folks. They are so focused on the value of fertilized human eggs that they totally ignore the needs of disabled children already alive in this world.

    I don't see the forced-birth activists petitioning legislatures in red states to fund the cost of therapies and services for people with disabilities to successfully live in the mainstream. For example, follow-up programming sessions for cochlear implant and auditory therapists should be covered without question by every health insurance carrier, and new hearing devices should be made available every 3 years to pediatric patients.

    Along with the "right" to life also comes with a commitment for a high quality of care. "Right to life" is meaningless without tangible initiatives to show that people with disabilities they are value after birth.

    Until I see groups like National Right to Life or American United for Life highlighting efforts, funding and initiatives to improve the quality of life for disabled persons already born, they have no right to ask women to be baby ovens and commit to their lives to raising more sick and disabled kids. Raising kids with disabilities is an enormous effort of time and money that not all prospective parents are willing to give.

  59. We do. You just refuse to acknowledge them.

    In fact I am seeing your pro-death statement as just a way to cop out from your own responsibility to society. The whole abortion movement is a cop out from personal responsibility.

  60. OK tullia.

    What should the penalty be for women who abort should you get your wish and it becomes. Illegal?

    Life in prison?

    Lethal injection?

    30 years?

  61. "We do. You just refuse to acknowledge them."

    Citation please, that you do. Here's an example of how red state legislatures want to feti to be born, but refuse to support poor mothers caring for babies after they are born. I can just imagine how much worse it would have been this mother if her newborn baby was born without a disability.

    "In fact I am seeing your pro-death statement as just a way to cop out from your own responsibility to society. "

    Contrary to what you think, I'm not a 17 year old slut, and I resent your implication that I am. I never had a relationship with anyone until after I completed graduate school and was gainfully employed. I willingly gave birth to two girls and raised them. The important thing is that women have the opportunity to decide for themselves if they want to commit to becoming baby ovens and the sometime thankless job of motherhood.

    I never thought I had a "responsibility to society" to procreate. Who are you to impose such a directive?

    What I am painfully aware of though, is ableism as described in this post. Both my own life, as well as the lives of those close to me, have been touched by ableism. So unless forced-birth folks can prove that they support initiatives to raise quality of life for people with disabilities via governmental initiatives like providing for hearing health care from birth to death, they do not have a right to call themselves "pro-life".

  62. [O]nce an organ is taken from you and attached to someone else's body, you
    cannot get it back, because doing so would violates the rights of the
    person that recieved your organ.

    I haven't been able to find the laws on this one, but if an organ is taken from you without your consent, then you certainly have a moral right to get it back.

    I do know that if you donate bone marrow to someone, and they later need a second transplant, you do have a right to refuse. Demanding a second transplant is a much better analogy to demanding to continue to use my uterus, which is mine and inside my body, then demanding to keep a kidney which I have already given to you and which is inside your body.

  63. I used the data I had available. Meanwhile, you have NO data indicating an Objectively Recognize-able "intrinsic value" for human life.

    Finding incompletenesses in my data is not the same thing as providing your own data. Which you haven't got. If you ran into a hungry man-eating tiger, the ONLY value it would recognize in your life is "fresh meat value".

  64. Intuition can serve as evidence for YOU. But why should others believe you? You might be lying, after all. When you claim something is true, and you want others to believe you are not lying, you NEED verifiable evidence, of one sort or another.

    Actually, in that other page i did NOT say anything about murder being "wrong". I was talking about goodness and not-goodness. Each of us can consider murder to be a bad thing, simply because each of us mostly does not want it to happen to ourselves. That makes almost all of us equal in that sense. (It still doesn't work for unborn humans, though, since they are mere animal organisms –how often do you pay attention to the desires of other animal organisms, like spiders, cockroaches, bacteria, etc., to stay alive?)

    So, no notion whatsoever of "intrinsic value" is needed for any culture to decide to oppose murder (which is defined relative to persons, not mere animal organisms).

    Finally, I did not claim that "only what can be proven by evidence is true". I claimed that if you want others to believe your claims, you need something (like evidence) to convince them! How can you possibly ASSUME that just because you claim something, it must automatically be believe-able?

  65. You can't prove that GOD has intrinsic value. Therefore, any value that God assigns to humans is actually Subjective with respect to God's point of view, and not inherent/intrinsic!

  66. "I used the data I had available. "

    I guess that explains a lot of your inanity then. Garbage in, garbage out.

    I think there is enough on this thread now to point out the ridiculousness of your claims to other readers. Until next time dude.

  67. I do understand the particular topic you are getting at, but I don't understand how that particular quote gets you there. Isn't that quote supporting post-birth care of all human life, including the disabled? I'm confused.

    Shouldn't this quote get you to think that at least some pro-lifers (and certainly the vast majority of SPL) do care past birth?

  68. The quote says everyone, anti-abortion opponents included, should support the "right of all human beings to life and non-discriminatory medical
    care, regardless of how much we cost or how productive we are."

    The thing is I don't see enough evidence that anti-abortion people support the right to non-discriminatory medical care, "regardless of how much we cost". If that was true, SPL,and AUL, and NRL would publicly support measures to require all insurance carriers to cover ANY kind of surgery and follow-up therapies required to give living, disabled children a good quality of life. There are state legislatures that refuse to lift a finger to providing funds to families who are raising disabled kids.

    Lacey Buchanan, for example, is resorting to private fundraising to cover the many surgeries for her son Christian who was born with a severe cleft palate that left him blind and unable to eat and speak. My guess is her family's insurance would not cover the funds.

  69. There you go, doing the typical cop-out of an abortion opponent, insisting that what YOU say is true without providing any supporting data at all. My data may sometimes be imperfect, but it is better than nothing at all. It IS true that in Eastern cultures human life was generally less valued than in Western cultures, and it IS true that those same Eastern culture have been more heavily populated than the Western cultures.

  70. I asked a neurobiologist about coma patients. She writes:

    Sentience does not leave while someone is in a coma. A coma is an alternate form of consciousness just like sleep, and most certainly not the same as ‘clinically brain dead’. A person who is in a coma still has all the neural circuitry that is required for consciousness, as opposed to fetus under 26-30 months of gestation, which does not-at-all have the brain structures that houses sentience.

    “A person who is in a coma (and not clinically brain dead) still shows brain activity in centers of the brain that a fetus under 26-30 months of gestation does not even have! A person that is in a coma still has a functional subconscious that does note and record events that happen while in a coma (that is why events or conversations that happened in front of the coma patient can be recalled by said coma patient when they wake up)” — as opposed to a fetus that has none of these capacities. This can clearly be seen on MRIs where the self-awareness area of the brain can and does light up in coma patients.

    “A person who is asleep or in a coma can and will feel pain or pleasure and respond accordingly, a fetus under 26-30 weeks does not! Consciousness is private, subjective and experienced from a particular point of view: yours. This is what accounts for your point of view, for the unique ‘interiority’ that gives the feeling that you exist inside your head somewhere. For instance, ‘Is your version of the color red unique to you or the same for everyone?’”

    A baby has the ability to feel this, but cannot yet verbalize it. MRIs clearly show a lighting-up of the still-growing area of the brain that is involved in self-awareness, much like in full-grown adults and older (verbal) kids.

    Because its brain is still growing, a young baby does not yet have self-awareness (and so cannot pass the “mirror test“). It only has mere-animal-level awareness. We note that that level can be pretty significant; a praying mantis, the insect, has non-faceted focusing eyes, stereoscopic vision, and enough consciousness/awareness to notice a potential meal, and it has enough volition to hunt and catch that meal –yet no abortion opponent would claim that suffices to make a praying mantis a person! So, why should a less capable unborn human qualify as a person?

    In very young humans the part of the brain that eventually houses self-awareness is functional and does register the baby’s experiences that pertain to self. The baby is registering that experience as a self experience even if the baby can not yet recognize who self is. Meanwhile, a fetus under 26-30 weeks does not even have these brain structures, and the unborn close to that time frame do not show any activity in these structures until they are sufficiently formed. An older fetus, able to be aware of things it experiences, is no more capable than a new-born baby in this regard. Months of brain-development after birth is required for true self-awareness to begin to exist.

    More regarding the color red:
    “For instance even if a baby is not self aware yet it already has his/her interpretation of that color red. That interpretation is unique and specific to that baby. The baby will not have a different view of the color red by becoming self aware.”

    If the baby has an additional experience tying its awareness to the color red (think of how “Pavlovian conditioning” works), then at that point there is an additional emotional component that the baby now connects to that color.

    “In short, certain experience are registered in the area of the brain that houses sentience and self awareness even when the brain in question has not made those connections yet. Similarly a coma patient shows activity in the area of the brain that houses self-awareness even while in that coma. This does not mean that the patient is always self-aware, merely that the brain cycles in and out. It is actually very similar to how alpha beta and gamma waves work and how they connect to the different sleep cycles.”

  71. The hesitation to fund is there because not everything can be funded without funding being taken away from something else.

  72. Yeah, heaven forbid your tax dollars are used on pre and post-natal care (which lowers the rate of infant mortality).

    I mean, that money could go towards killing fetuses in iraq!!

  73. Yeah..which is why you said this:

    ""The hesitation to fund is there because not everything can be funded without funding being taken away from something else.""

    The people on this site are at least humanists. You're a tea partier.

  74. And, you just want the government to keep printing money instead of really trying to fix the problems. Working harder to get people back to work will do a lot more than increasing spending on government handouts.

  75. So far as I'm aware, the only changes I've done are associated with adding more stuff, mostly to existing posts. However, since the site is free, hosted by wordpress, it is at their mercy for various things. Perhaps it was them that messed up –some revisions have been done, with respect to the log-in screen.

  76. So, your definition of "troll' includes those who back up their Abortion-Debate-related remarks with evidence? Who request you do the same, even though you don't? And who answer Abortion-Debate-related questions you ask, while you refuse to answer questions you are asked, AND you make off-topic remarks like the above? You need a better definition of "troll", just like you need a better definitions of "person" and "being".

  77. OK.

    Of relevance…

  78. I still take the position that among anti-abortion people, there should be no such hesitation to fund initiatives supporting single mothers (who chose to parent) if one was truly pro-life.

    True pro-life requires being able to sustain life AND improve the
    quality of life at all stages after birth, no questions asked.

    However, red state legislatures have no compunction about cutting of SNAP, WIC and TANF programs.

  79. The reason hesitation is there has nothing to do with not wanting to help anyone it's the fact that money doesn't grow on trees. If we fund a new initiative, where is the money coming from? are we taking it away from another group of people that needs it too (veterans, homeless people, etc)? That's the reality of our economy. Sure, it's great in theory to keep increasing programs, increasing benefits, creating new programs to help, but we have to look at who might be hurt too.

    SNAP has grown exponentially the last few years. Before we increase it again, we need to look at if the money is really going to where it needs to go. There is fraud in the system. Gov Jindal just signed a bill saying EBT cards cannot be used at places like nail salons, lingerie stores, etc. Perhaps some of the money saved from initiatives like that will prevent the need for more government money to be spent.

    Another thing that needs to happen is the government needs to focus on improving the economy so that people can get GOOD jobs so they can support their own families. That's the best way to help.

    p.s. Most pro-lifers do support helping families. Many volunteer their time and/or donate money to help pregnant women AND families.

  80. Please, sign and share!

    This is the truth; I am the creator of this petition!

    There is a new bill in the Russian Duma (parliament) that will make possible to abort babies of incapacitated full-aged women on any stage of pregnancy, even when this is against the will of the pregnant mother, by court.


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