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I'm surprised that the tragic story of the woman in Texas

hasn't been addressed here. Not merely because Rick Perry seems to appeal to so many people here, but because of the very real moral issues involved.

Curiously I was required to address this very issue in first year Philosophy, and gave what my Prof called the perfect Utilitarian Philosopy's answer.

The mother is dead, the fetus is alive and growing. Someone, I don't really know who, since I haven't read much at all about the issue, wants to end life support.

A conscious woman can make decisions about her life, and whether she wishes to bear a child (despite my being opposed to abortion, it is her body, and her call) or not.

An unconscious woman, and one who probably wanted this child, cannot make that desire known. The child, with a little good fortune should make it to term and be a viable caesarean birth. Therefore the woman must be kept on life support until the child is viable and I sincerely hope has matured to term.

After the child has been born, then decisions can be made regarding the continuation of life support, but having been in a prolonged vegetative state, I think she should be allowed to die.

The child, since it is the only life in this equation, should be saved.

In the case of abortion there are two lives at stake, and a woman who did not wish to get pregnant but did so through the failure of a birth control method (the case for friends of mine who married had the baby and two others all of whom are fine) or through a stupid or ill-considered act of unprotected intercourse should not be forced to undergo gestation, which poses risks to her and to the child. Therefore a termination as early as possible should be permitted. I don't like it, but I can't accommodate myself to forcing a woman to bear an unwanted child. There are already too many. The Universal availability of birth control at a minimum charge should be put in place as part of the ACA. That is only right and sensible IMO.

The reason abortion is permissible in my opinion is that the woman can almost always get pregnant again when she wishes to, whereas the fetus in Texas has only this one chance for life.

Addidionally spontaneous abortions are a normal part of pregnancy. No fertilized ovum has a guaranteed right to be born or to life, and still births occur late in term as well. I have friends who have gone through hell to conceive and now have two wonderful boys, I have friends who the woman being well into her 40's lost her first 3 pregnancies but did finally have a healthy lovely girl. Should she have gone ahead given the odds against her carrying the fetus to term. I can't make that judgement. Who knows why she lost the first three pregnancies, but at least she and her husband have their child.

Utilitarianism has a very strong place in both social and political philosophy. It is a good form of Occam's Razor for evaluating courses of decision, and aids Rationality, which is supposed to be what Mankind is all about, howver much many people shy away from it.


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These things are bound to happen when

In reply to: I'm surprised that the tragic story of the woman in Texas

civil law confronts moral and ethical standards...all the while lawyers are are in the wings ready to pounce.

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The baby/fetus in this case

In reply to: I'm surprised that the tragic story of the woman in Texas

is severely deformed and has no chance to survive.......the whole story only recently came out because many of the details weren't given publicly, but those facts were presented to the judicial system who decided with the husband's wishes to 'pull the plug'. And it appears that the hospital won't appeal that decision and I think actually terminated last night. Texas law stands to protect the unborn child and the mother wouldn't have been taken off life support if the baby was able to survive. I believe in that law, but it's obvious that the law has to have an amendment made to it to cover situations such as this so the courts won't have to get involved in the future.

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Thank you Toni. Assuming that is true, then I see no reason

In reply to: The baby/fetus in this case

not to discontinue life support. Always assuming the baby is indeed non-viable.


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It's called a Durable Power of Attorney.

In reply to: I'm surprised that the tragic story of the woman in Texas

"An unconscious woman, and one who probably wanted this child, cannot make that desire known"
Our version is called the Advance Health-Care Directive, and is furnished to us by our Governing Body. They have made revisions over the years to keep up with Caesar's changing law.
Folded up to wallet size, the front says NO BLOOD, which of course is our main "problem" with standard medical care. Has a section for a Health-Care Agent [my wife], whose job is to speak for me when necessary. Of course we strongly recommend a fellow Witness to be one's HCA.
Item 2 is probably the key: "I am one of Jehovah's Witnesses, and I direct that NO TRANSFUSIONS of whole blood, red cells, white cells, platelets, or plasma be given to me under any circumstances, even if health-care providers believe that such are necessary to preserve my life. I refuse to predonate and store my blood for later infusion."
The rest covers other blood-related treatments which some of us choose to use or not, as conscience matters, like administration of erythropoietin, an enhancer of blood cell production. (Useful also in the Tour de France, I'm told; out of my area of expertise.)

Item 6 is for "other health-care instructions", which is where a woman would say something about problem pregnancy.

The holding and using of the document is an option with us, as to the local congregation. My belief is that Jehovah has moved the GB to prepare these for me to use, so I use it. Jehovah's view of these things is at Isa 48:17,18 among other places.
BYW I have a power of attorney on file at the VA Hospital in Albuquerque, written as based on the Medical Directive and my Bible-trained conscience. The clerk said it was the best she had seen as to clarity and usefulness.

Any of you are welcome to use the language I've set out here, but you'll want to delete the part about "I am one of ...", course. Some folks get panicky about blood when faced with surgery (HIV, Hep B, Hep C and on and on), so they claim to be one of us. Soon after they usually get a visit from our Hospital Liaison people, who determine that they're faking. Then we all go down to the hospital and chuck Bibles at .... Sorry, did I write that out loud?
Actually, it means the HL people will tell Medical and Legal that the patient is not a JW, and that they can't be of service.
More here: http://www.jw.org/en/bible-teachings/questions/abortion-bible-view/
and here: http://www.jw.org/en/bible-teachings/questions/bible-about-blood-transfusion/

And of course we're very careful when using Occam's razor. Happy

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