Author Topic: Whose cell/womb is it anyways?  (Read 17720 times)

Tom

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Re: Whose cell/womb is it anyways?
« Reply #300 on: October 09, 2022, 10:53:56 AM »
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your framework of thinking about morality is entirely void of any appeal to truth
This is, I would argue, one of its main strengths, as any appeal to fictional arbiter(s) of Truth couples inflexibility with observational bias.

Grant

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Re: Whose cell/womb is it anyways?
« Reply #301 on: October 09, 2022, 11:13:01 AM »
This is, I would argue, one of its main strengths, as any appeal to fictional arbiter(s) of Truth couples inflexibility with observational bias.

Replaced by what?  Without observational bias? 

Even a moral relativist will require an arbiter of moral truth.  It may not be "fictional", as you assert, but it certainly has observational bias. 

Even moral psychologists and evolutionary psychologists will posit a truth, that morality evolves because it aids societies to exist together and thrive. 

Tom

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Re: Whose cell/womb is it anyways?
« Reply #302 on: October 09, 2022, 11:29:30 AM »
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Even a moral relativist will require an arbiter of moral truth.
I'm using "arbiter" in this scenario to mean a third party who has asserted that something is truth, and whose word you've chosen to accept. That said, yes, many relativists might trust the assertions of others -- but a true relativist will not assert that their position on truth is universal or unimpeachable.

Appeals to truth are dangerous precisely because they are a) untestable; and b) intolerant of dissent.

Grant

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Re: Whose cell/womb is it anyways?
« Reply #303 on: October 09, 2022, 12:26:20 PM »
I'm using "arbiter" in this scenario to mean a third party who has asserted that something is truth, and whose word you've chosen to accept. That said, yes, many relativists might trust the assertions of others -- but a true relativist will not assert that their position on truth is universal or unimpeachable.

Appeals to truth are dangerous precisely because they are a) untestable; and b) intolerant of dissent.

I'm using "arbiter" in a broader sense.  Anything that helps differentiate between what is true and untrue. The senses. The mind.  Tools.  Guidelines.  Processes. 

An epistemological relativist will indeed assert their position on truth is not universal.  A moral relativist may indeed apply this to moral assertions but not apply them to other assertions.  I think it is problematic at best.

I think epistemological relativism is a rather weak position, personally.  I undercuts the very concept of epistemology, the idea of knowledge, and truth.  I think there are very few epistemological relativists around, and if they are, they rarely act in their daily lives as if what they believe is true. 

Tom

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Re: Whose cell/womb is it anyways?
« Reply #304 on: October 09, 2022, 12:34:23 PM »
It should be noted that we are not discussing whether any and all Truth is unknowable, but rather whether moral Truth can be considered absolutely knowable. There is an epistemological distinction to be made between "is it wrong to do harm" and "what wavelengths of light are refracted by sodium."

My position is that moral surety is at best false confidence, especially moral surety rooted in third-party assertions. It is not that we cannot, for example, know what 2+2 equals.

(Edited to add: of course, there's always the whole "but what if we're living in a simulation and all the evidence of our senses is absolutely false" question. But the only sane response to that one remains "we choose to live as if that's not true.")

Fenring

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Re: Whose cell/womb is it anyways?
« Reply #305 on: October 09, 2022, 01:02:28 PM »
a true relativist will not assert that their position on truth is universal or unimpeachable.

There are no true relativists, because no one is willing to admit their sacred cows may be wrong. And they all have sacred cows, things that anger them when people disagree. In my experience, people who do not believe in a fixed notion of truth are the most easily rattled when they meet opposition. Just to be clear, by "fixed notion of truth" I mean the concept that truth is something to be discovered, rather than decided on by fiat. The vast, vast majority of people believe that certain things are absolutely right and wrong, but in explicating why they will come up with all sorts of contradictory answers. So their metaphysics is screwed up, but they instinctively are not moral relativists. I think you will have to look long and hard to find someone who believes that moral truth is relative in their hearts. Maybe it's no one.

Tom

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Re: Whose cell/womb is it anyways?
« Reply #306 on: October 09, 2022, 01:41:25 PM »
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There are no true relativists, becase no one is willing to admit their sacred cows may be wrong.
I know this to be demonstrably false, depending on how you're defining a "sacred cow" and how willing you are to admit that some people may not have any.

Tom

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Re: Whose cell/womb is it anyways?
« Reply #307 on: October 09, 2022, 01:50:26 PM »
Also: what does it look like when a moral relativist is "rattled" by someone else's disagreement? I ask because we've had a fair number of religious wars and inquisitions over the years, and I hadn't assumed that most of them were launched by relativists who couldn't find an argument to demonstrate the wrongness of someone else's position. Assuming you don't mean THAT kind of "rattled," then, I'm left wondering what the symptoms are.

Fenring

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Re: Whose cell/womb is it anyways?
« Reply #308 on: October 10, 2022, 01:41:47 AM »
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There are no true relativists, becase no one is willing to admit their sacred cows may be wrong.
I know this to be demonstrably false, depending on how you're defining a "sacred cow" and how willing you are to admit that some people may not have any.

Putting aside the obvious fact that no one can put their abstractions ahead of their core beliefs (thus cannot live out their ideas as if they 'believe' them), there's the simple fact of every day lived experience: you can find people of every stripe who just have something going on they can't let go of. Call it Pride, call it weakness, call it the fallacy of first person perspective, but there are always some issues for each person that they can't accept they're wrong about. I don't mean they aren't willing to concede in some debate setting, although usually they can't, but that simply they get rattled inwardly when certain premises come into question. It can be topical stuff, or emotionally loaded stuff. I'm not trying to pigeonhole atheists or something as particularly bad; I think for everyone there are beliefs that if they come into question cause pain and can't (without extreme difficulty, so say the Buddhists) let go of. But in context of our discussion, I have personally found that people who 'float around' morally are the most susceptible especially to being riled up with very little provocation if you question their beliefs. Certain intellectuals do indeed come across as quite reasonable and amenable to debate any topic, like a Stephen Fry, but it's worth mentioning that (a) I don't think he in particular considers himself a moral relativist, (b) distancing yourself from your own beliefs via intellectualism can be a way of 'not caring' if your core beliefs are questioned, and (c) the attitude toward an antagonistic belief system seems to me to qualify as being rattled. For an example of (c), I think both Fry and Christopher Hitchens are fine examples, where not only do they argue certain points about religion, for example, but seem to do so with a sort of vehemence and even hurt that bespeaks something very sensitive indeed in the outcome of the topic for them. To the extent that you may have come across someone who truly doesn't have any fixed moral concepts, and additionally who's hunky dory having any moral rule questioned, I would at least wonder whether you're not just observing the outward behavior of a hedonist or something. It would be a rare beast indeed.

Wayward Son

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Re: Whose cell/womb is it anyways?
« Reply #309 on: October 12, 2022, 05:13:29 PM »

No. It is not a premise; it is a result of other facts of reality:
1. The unborn child is an innocent person.
2. It is never morally permissible to intentionally kill an innocent person.
3. The child is currently gestating inside her mother.

As a result, the mother's body is subject largely to the child's needs until birth.

You're "facts" break down in step 2.  There are times--perhaps numerous times--when it is morally impermissible not to kill an innocent person.

Let's take a pertinent example.

A pregnant woman has a disease which can be cured (such as a cancer), but the treatment will kill the fetus.  But the woman is so weak already that having a dead fetus in her womb will almost certainly lead to her death.  What are the choices?

A. Do nothing.  The mother and fetus both die.
B. Give her the treatment.  The fetus dies, causes an infection, and the mother dies, too.
C. Abort the fetus and give her the treatment.  The fetus dies, but the mother lives to go on and have other children.

The only choice that leads to someone not dying and there being more children is C.

How could this be the morally impermissible choice?  ???

Or take a previous real-world example.  A woman is severely dizzy and severely throwing up.  She has headaches.  A doctor suspects she has a tumor.  The only way to know is to perform an MRI.  But the MRI will very like hurt or kill the fetus.  So the doctor refused to do the MRI or treat the possible tumor.

So the mother had an abortion.  Turns out she did have a tumor and would have died.  But it was easily treated and she survived.

So why is saving the mother's life instead of killing her with the fetus the supposedly only "morally permissible" choice? 

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Yes. There is no analog to pregnancy; it is its own unique thing. It is the nature of women to have a child inside of them. The woman isn't "sacrificing her own bodily autonomy". The nature of being a woman is that sometimes you get pregnant.

The problem with that stance is not the fact that women sometimes get pregnant.  It is the belief that, since she is pregnant, she no longer has sovereignty over he own body.  That other people, specifically men who never had to personally deal with the sometimes hard choices associated with pregnancy, can overrule her decisions about her own body.  That she is nothing more than an incubator, with no more say over what happens to herself than a mechanical one.  >:(

For almost every other circumstance, the individual has the final say over their own body and bodily parts.  Even after you're dead, doctors cannot take parts of your body without permission. But because someone decided that a developing human being is exactly like a fully developed, independent human being, the mother has no say over her own body and health.  And the people who makes these rules (i.e. men) never have that right taken away from them.

That's what makes women mad.

Just because you can get pregnant doesn't mean you should lose control of your own body.  Especially if you didn't have any choice if you got pregnant or not.  Especially if it might kill you.

Fact #2 is not a "fact" at all, but an ill-conceived "moral" opinion.

(Although it is good to know that you're against the death penalty.  ;D)

Fenring

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Re: Whose cell/womb is it anyways?
« Reply #310 on: October 12, 2022, 05:29:44 PM »
A pregnant woman has a disease which can be cured (such as a cancer), but the treatment will kill the fetus.  But the woman is so weak already that having a dead fetus in her womb will almost certainly lead to her death.  What are the choices?

A. Do nothing.  The mother and fetus both die.
B. Give her the treatment.  The fetus dies, causes an infection, and the mother dies, too.
C. Abort the fetus and give her the treatment.  The fetus dies, but the mother lives to go on and have other children.

The only choice that leads to someone not dying and there being more children is C.

How could this be the morally impermissible choice?  ???

Sorry, WS, but you are just not understanding what Joshua is saying. You are misinterpreting "intentionally kill" to mean "can never allow to die", which are completely different. See the "double effect principle" if you want to know more. This is the formal belief Joshua is referring to.

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Yes. There is no analog to pregnancy; it is its own unique thing. It is the nature of women to have a child inside of them. The woman isn't "sacrificing her own bodily autonomy". The nature of being a woman is that sometimes you get pregnant.

The problem with that stance is not the fact that women sometimes get pregnant.  It is the belief that, since she is pregnant, she no longer has sovereignty over he own body.  That other people, specifically men who never had to personally deal with the sometimes hard choices associated with pregnancy, can overrule her decisions about her own body.  That she is nothing more than an incubator, with no more say over what happens to herself than a mechanical one.  >:(

I'm mostly replying to the bolded part: don't you think it's pretty sexist to claim that only men are concerned about the moral implications of abortion? That seems pretty regressive. I think you will find, if anything, the public pro-life movement to be more overtly populated by women than by men. Contrary to what you may experience in your own circle of acquaintances, it is not the case that pro-life values stem from a cabal of men trying to control women's bodies. That is a media narrative that I guess you've come to believe, but even if you use basic common sense is a most unlikely reality. Can you seriously imagine families all over the U.S., with the husband decidedly pro-life while the wife is pro-choice? Sounds like a problematic family situation if that's what you're imagining!

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Just because you can get pregnant doesn't mean you should lose control of your own body.

That is, in fact, exactly what's being debated (between the two sides). Obviously if you're pro-choice you'll assert that control over your body should trump all other considerations, but don't start to think that saying this is an argument. It's just an a priori axiom you're asserting. You would have to offer reasons why body sovereignty is more important than all other moral considerations. Note again I'm mostly talking moral, not legal.

Tom

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Re: Whose cell/womb is it anyways?
« Reply #311 on: October 12, 2022, 05:35:00 PM »
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I think you will find, if anything, the public pro-life movement to be more overtly populated by women than by men.
How are you defining "public?"

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Can you seriously imagine families all over the U.S., with the husband decidedly pro-life while the wife is pro-choice?
Yes. In fact, multiple demographic studies indicate that this is not infrequent. On a purely anecdotal level: until recently, I was pro-life while my wife served on the board of a local Planned Parenthood.

Grant

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Re: Whose cell/womb is it anyways?
« Reply #312 on: October 12, 2022, 07:11:52 PM »
How are you defining "public?"

Yes. In fact, multiple demographic studies indicate that this is not infrequent. On a purely anecdotal level: until recently, I was pro-life while my wife served on the board of a local Planned Parenthood.

I imagine he is talking about the people who march, attend rallies, and generally speak out about abortion.  Photographs of pro-life rallys are inconclusive, but there are plenty of women. They're not lacking.  Same with public speakers.  Looks like a mix to me.  But it does cut against the concept that it is just men telling women what to do with their bodies. 

I recall that you were one of the few pro-life liberals (or socialist/progressive/whatever) on the forum.  I'm curious as to what made you recently change your mind, and what your initial position was based on.  I recall you were often silent during many of the debates being that the pro-life arguments were not really yours. 

Fenring

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Re: Whose cell/womb is it anyways?
« Reply #313 on: October 12, 2022, 07:34:27 PM »
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I think you will find, if anything, the public pro-life movement to be more overtly populated by women than by men.
How are you defining "public?"

As Grant suggested, people who put themselves in the public sphere. At least in my personal experience, when I see pro-life speakers, groups, and personalities, it seems to be women more often than men. And in fact I believe I observe the same thing with activism on the leftist side as well, for instance on campuses. If I may wager an hypothesis, I suspect that women generally tend to be more prominent in activism for some reason. Now that I think of it, that's always seemed natural even though I never questioned it.

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Can you seriously imagine families all over the U.S., with the husband decidedly pro-life while the wife is pro-choice?
Yes. In fact, multiple demographic studies indicate that this is not infrequent. On a purely anecdotal level: until recently, I was pro-life while my wife served on the board of a local Planned Parenthood.

I was referring to the idea that it would be nonsensical to assume that marriages generally have a pro-life husband and a pro-choice wife. Obviously a given family can have any setup, but it would be illogical in the extreme for the general trend to be conflicting views on this topic within a marriage. My remark was a reductio ad absurdum of the contention that pro-life positions are dominated by chauvinistic men, since even a cursory glance at ordinary families should demonstrate that this is not even possible, let alone true. At best one could opine that many women in America are chauvinistically anti-woman if they take up the pro-life side. But that in itself would be a fairly sexist assessment.

Tom

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Re: Whose cell/womb is it anyways?
« Reply #314 on: October 12, 2022, 08:15:53 PM »
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I'm curious as to what made you recently change your mind, and what your initial position was based on.
My previous position -- which I held for nearly 20 years -- was a consequence of some very horrific experiences my wife (and, to a lesser degree, I) had during a late-term abortion and the way I rationalized them. I changed my mind based on conversations with both my wife and a few of our female friends, some of whom had had similarly traumatic abortions and some of whom had not, and their anecdotal descriptions of the value they felt they'd derived from being able to delay or completely defer child-rearing as compared to the emotional and physical costs of the procedure. A couple frank conversations with high school friends who retrospectively wish they'd had abortions, and with a few of my daughters' friends who've fallen on either side of this issue, have also swayed my point of view a bit. It should be noted that it was often quite difficult to have these conversations, because the social stigma is still quite extreme in many environments; my wife had an abortion twenty years ago, is glad she did it, and donates both time and money to abortionists because she is so supportive of the option, but still refuses to tell her (very Catholic) family about it (despite my belief and assertion that one of the most powerful things a pro-choice woman might do to sway public opinion is to be open about her own historical decisions; I think the fact that so many abortions happen in "secret" is a major issue.)

Anyway, I was initially inclined to be fine with first trimester abortions and strictly against abortions in the late third trimester, but I've come to recognize the ultimate incoherence of that position. I'm still not satisfied by the fact that we need to legally (and morally) define personhood by drawing a bright but largely arbitrary line, and would love if we were able to develop technological solutions that might allow us to reconcile the competing rights of a potential person and a fully actualized person, but until that point I've been persuaded by many very thoughtful and impassioned people that "potential" is not sufficient grounds to restrict the "actual."

Fenring

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Re: Whose cell/womb is it anyways?
« Reply #315 on: October 12, 2022, 08:23:44 PM »
I'm still not satisfied by the fact that we need to legally (and morally) define personhood by drawing a bright but largely arbitrary line, and would love if we were able to develop technological solutions that might allow us to reconcile the competing rights of a potential person and a fully actualized person, but until that point I've been persuaded by many very thoughtful and impassioned people that "potential" is not sufficient grounds to restrict the "actual."

Would you agree that if the technology existed to teleport out the fetus at any time and raise it elsewhere, that then there would be no argument in favor of abortion as opposed to simply extracting the fetus? Or should the mother have the right not only to avoid pregnancy, but also the right to terminate the fetus if she so chooses?

As an aside I am constantly baffled about how many people say that the options are between having an abortion or raising a child before they're ready. Why does no one ever mention putting the newborn up for adoption? It's literally the most obvious option.

Tom

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Re: Whose cell/womb is it anyways?
« Reply #316 on: October 12, 2022, 08:33:32 PM »
Carrying a baby to term isn't exactly a zero-cost decision for a variety of reasons. I mean, the whole reason Magdalene laundries existed was so that girls could vanish for a school year and then come back. And there's ample evidence that adoption has not historically been a reliably compassionate choice, either; part of the indigenous school scandal in Canada involved secret graves of not only students but the discarded babies of (presumably) students.

But, yes, if we could safely extract a fetus from a womb and somehow convince society to shoulder the cost of its birth and upbringing, I'd argue that the cost of preserving potential human life might be low enough to make abortion completely unnecessary. The only obvious philosophical argument against that would be a hardcore insistence that a fetus is not biologically distinct enough from its mother that its mother must retain all rights regarding its disposition, but I think that's a good example of foolish consistency.

Fenring

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Re: Whose cell/womb is it anyways?
« Reply #317 on: October 12, 2022, 08:40:10 PM »
But, yes, if we could safely extract a fetus from a womb and somehow convince society to shoulder the cost of its birth and upbringing, I'd argue that the cost of preserving potential human life might be low enough to make abortion completely unnecessary. The only obvious philosophical argument against that would be a hardcore insistence that a fetus is not biologically distinct enough from its mother that its mother must retain all rights regarding its disposition, but I think that's a good example of foolish consistency.

Actually I'm equally baffled by the insistence (not yours, but generally) that somehow bringing a baby into the world inconveniences society, public resources, or anything of the sort. There are hoards of parents who can't conceive (a separate by important problem) and are clamoring to adopt, and face years on waiting lists. In fact some friends of mine had a fairly significant wait even for from agency for special needs kids. There is no need for society to do much of anything; tons of couples would jump at the chance - indeed would probably bid significant $$ - to adopt an America-born newborn. So the issue I'm raising is strictly about how much a pro-choice position is predicated merely on not being forced to continue being pregnant, versus actually not wanting the baby in the world. I would hope most reasonable people would abhor the latter reason, except that in practice I fear my hopes would be disappointed.

Fenring

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Re: Whose cell/womb is it anyways?
« Reply #318 on: October 12, 2022, 10:40:20 PM »
Sorry for the typo: "A separate but important problem."

TheDrake

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Re: Whose cell/womb is it anyways?
« Reply #319 on: October 13, 2022, 07:30:22 AM »
I'm still not satisfied by the fact that we need to legally (and morally) define personhood by drawing a bright but largely arbitrary line, and would love if we were able to develop technological solutions that might allow us to reconcile the competing rights of a potential person and a fully actualized person, but until that point I've been persuaded by many very thoughtful and impassioned people that "potential" is not sufficient grounds to restrict the "actual."

As an aside I am constantly baffled about how many people say that the options are between having an abortion or raising a child before they're ready. Why does no one ever mention putting the newborn up for adoption? It's literally the most obvious option.

Because it often doesn't happen that way.

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2019/05/why-more-women-dont-choose-adoption/589759/

Essentially, guilt. There is an emotional bond that forms carrying to term and giving birth. There is social pressure against giving up your baby.

Perhaps if we celebrated such women and applauded them, there might be more willing. Perhaps if someone else were willing to pay for prenatal care and lost work and all the other costs of pregnancy we'd get more. Most of these women are not going to be the ones that get chosen as a type of surrogate. They are sometimes addicted to drugs, not likely to be having good nutrition. Another factor might be pressure from the father.

But the real question is why should they have to go through the significant effort to gestate and deliver the fetus in the first place?

Wayward Son

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Re: Whose cell/womb is it anyways?
« Reply #320 on: November 30, 2022, 06:52:08 PM »
Well, the Indiana AG is asking the state's medical board to punish the doctor who gave an abortion to the 10-year-old girl from Ohio.

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The complaint alleges Dr. Caitlin Bernard violated state law by not reporting the girl’s child abuse to Indiana authorities and violated patient privacy laws by telling a newspaper reporter about the girl’s treatment. ...

“Dr. Bernard violated the law, her patient’s trust, and the standards for the medical profession when she disclosed her patient’s abuse, medical issues, and medical treatment to a reporter at an abortion rights rally to further her political agenda,” the office said in a statement. “Simply concealing the patient’s name falls far short of her legal and ethical duties here.”

Such blatant hypocrasy.  He wants to punish her for not keeping silent, so that Republicans could claim that such things never happen, and he has the audacity to accuse her of doing so "to further her political agenda."  IOW, he can't stand facts contradicting his political agenda, and wants to see her punished for it.  ::)

Fenring

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Re: Whose cell/womb is it anyways?
« Reply #321 on: November 30, 2022, 07:07:49 PM »
I'm not sure quite what you are arguing here, WS: are you saying it's not a clear violation of doctor/patient ethics (and of the law) for a doctor to give sufficient information about a patient and their treatment for others to be able to deduce who it is?

Wayward Son

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Re: Whose cell/womb is it anyways?
« Reply #322 on: November 30, 2022, 07:14:07 PM »
The problem was that many Republicans were loudly arguing that no such abortion for a 10-year-old rape victim had ever occurred.  So saying nothing would be allowing a lie to be perpetuated.  A lie that would ultimately harm other such girls.

Besides, how do we know that the 10-year-old Ohio rape victim was her patient?  ???  Do we know for certain that the doctor hadn't treated another such girl?  ;)