Tuesday, April 05, 2016


EdDriscoll at Instapundit notes

as NewsBusters noted last night, AP and the New York Times have memory holed “Mrs. Clinton’s seven damning words, ‘the unborn person doesn’t have constitutional rights.’”
she is technically correct.

The unborn child is a person, who does have rights "endowed by the Creator" to "life liberty and the pursuit of happiness".

But the US Supreme court decided that these are not constitutional rights, so abortion is legal up to 9 months when the child is half born.

Since the Republicans argue the same lack of "constitutional" rights to those in Gitmo or for non citizens, I wouldn't say they can do a "gotcha" thing here.

But the dirty little secret is that in medical ethics, there is a meme that started being pushed 30 years ago that a person lacking certain criteria "lacked the criteria for personhood", including the senile, mentally handicapped, and children under the age of 2.

When I first read this and wrote to a professor of philosophy if that was true, and did that mean we could kill/use for experimentation/use for organ transplants those who did not meet the criteria, he said alas I was correct.

And then he pointed out that according to the most modern philosophical trends, there were no logical reason that anyone had rights.

Recent high profile cases in the news that verified the urban legend that people scheduled for transplant later woke up have started making rounds on the paranoid anti vaxer type sites against organ donation.

Just paranoia, of course? But 25 years ago, ethicist Arthur Caplan wrote a letter to JAMA noting that when he moved to a state where "organ donor" was on his driver's license, the clerk warned him not to check the box,  "because then they'll let you die".

back in the 1990's, the ethics committe of the AMA suggested organs be taken from anencephalic babies. A public outcry stopped them, since these children cry, suckle and look like a normal child, although they usually die at birth (We had one who lived two weeks). The practical reasons also were against the policy in 1995 LINK,
Ethical concerns opposing organ donation from living anencephalic infants include the following (,):
  • application of similar arguments in favour of organ donation from other seriously brain-damaged living patients;
  • serious risk of loss of public trust in transplantation programs;
  • serious deleterious effects on families and staff involved in such cases; and
  • risk of loss of public respect for the intrinsic value of all human life.

but that hasn't stopped others from proposing the same.

But the bigger concern is euthanasia. Canada will now allow it for non dying patients by non doctors. European cases are often not reported, and anecdotal reports of unwanted killing have been reported in the media since the early 1990's.

In England, the "liverpool pathway", a way to sedate dying patients to keep them out of pain, has been used for the sick who might not have died if actually treated for their disease, and now we are seeing medical journals suggest how to essentially use this for euthanasia requests.

Makes me glad I'm retired and living in the Philippines.

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