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Abortion and Disability Watch

  • View Poll Results: Should we have the option to abort potentially disabled foetuses?
    Yes, it should remain legal
    18
    75.00%
    No, it should be made illegal
    4
    16.67%
    Unsure
    2
    8.33%

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    (Original post by Musie Suzie)
    You know that cleft lip varies greatly in severity, right? Especially when combined with a severe cleft palate. Even after surgery children are likely to experience feeding and potentially breathing problems, and struggle psychologically with never looking "normal."

    It's probably also difficult to determine which disabilities wouldn't cause "enough" disability to come under the greater time limit, esp when severity can vary, so it probably has to be black and white healthy vs [even perceived as "slight"] defect.

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    I'm sorry but that's not a good enough argument to establish abortion as being acceptable beyond the time limit. It again goes back to what I was saying the criteria should be for very late abortions (in my opinion) would you consider euthanasia for an infant with a severe cleft lip, like you've described? Because if not what are you saying?

    Late term abortiions for disability are legal on the grounds that essentially we have something that had it not been disabled it would be illegal to kill, but because it is it is acceptable. Now what I'm saying is that that law only makes sense if the same law carries through to neonates, that is its wrong to euthanise a healthy newborn, but that it's acceptable to euthanise a newborn with a severe disability.
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    What difference does the baby being disabled matter? Abortion should always be an option.
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    (Original post by limetang)
    Let's approach this from a different viewpoint then. From what you've said I think I'd be right in concluding that you think that a limit of beyond 24 weeks is acceptable for disabled foetuses. So surely the 24 week limit for healthy foetuses is wrong? Surely that should exactly the same as the disabled limit. Unless you think that the disabled limit is too far for a healthy foetus. In which case what are you saying?
    Why are you ignoring my perfectly valid points about the differences in the limits?

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    (Original post by limetang)
    I'm sorry but that's not a good enough argument to establish abortion as being acceptable beyond the time limit. It again goes back to what I was saying the criteria should be for very late abortions (in my opinion) would you consider euthanasia for an infant with a severe cleft lip, like you've described? Because if not what are you saying?

    Late term abortiions for disability are legal on the grounds that essentially we have something that had it not been disabled it would be illegal to kill, but because it is it is acceptable. Now what I'm saying is that that law only makes sense if the same law carries through to neonates, that is its wrong to euthanise a healthy newborn, but that it's acceptable to euthanise a newborn with a severe disability.
    I'm sorry, I can't make sense of this post.

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    (Original post by limetang)
    That's not what I was saying, and I don't think what I wrote really suggested that either, I'd have preferred that if was unclear what I mean that you asked me to clarify it. I was saying that's where you frame the argument upon whether it's right or wrong. The question is are late term abortions acceptable for foetuses with these horrific conditions, the answer is yes if we have established that euthanasia would also be acceptable for born infants with such conditions. (Ignore where the law is at with it the law and morality are not mutually inclusive)

    It would be a bit of a ridiculous stance to take to say that we should force the mother to give birth first before we end the life of her child for grounds of compassion towards the child.
    Sorry I thought that that was the direction you were heading in, though the OP never specified late term.

    However, I'd argue that we already do have a form of euthanasia - but passive, not active euthanasia. For babies who are born severely disabled or with major health problems, a decision is often made to 'let nature take its course', ie allow them to die. In that situation, stopping medical treatment will kill them as surely as active euthanasia. In practical terms, it's no different.

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    (Original post by King Leonidas)
    I thought sex-selective abortions are illegal in the UK?
    Well they are, but luckily we don't have a culture here of not wanting a child based purely on their gender.
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    (Original post by Ripper-Roo)
    Disabled children are still your children.if you don't want a child that may happen to have a disability, don't plan on having any. You should love your children no matter what (this means not stopping their potential entrance to the world), otherwise you're a bad parent.

    That said I definitely support full and extended help for parents with disabilities as I recognise how tough it is.
    What about people who simply aren't going to be able to cope with the needs of a baby with significant disabilities? Some parents aren't even able to look after healthy children properly.

    There aren't enough adoptive parents anyway, and the number willing to take on disabled children is even lower, so adoption isn't the answer. There's also a severe shortage of foster carers.

    At that point, you've got a situation where there's a child with low / no quality of life and no one who wants and is capable of taking care of it. In that case, I think abortion can be the least bad option for everyone.

    (Original post by limetang)
    A slight red herring, it does exist primarily for foetuses with horrendous conditions that they're not going to live through and the life they do have will just be one of immense suffering for the brief perioid they are alive. That said the 40 week limit exists for things like a cleft lip as well.
    I'd seriously question how big a problem abortions for cleft lip/palate are - this says 26 abortions in 9 years, of which only 1 was after the 24 week limit. My guess is that that late one was a particularly severe case (at the worst end, we're talking about a baby that is basically missing half its face) and / or combined with other disabilities
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/he...r-palates.html

    Out of interest - you clearly feel very strongly about this matter - were you / was someone you know born with a significant birth defect?

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    You should go ask the disabled. Do you think they are all happy with their lives? All of them prefer to be normal?

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    (Original post by Origami Bullets)
    What about people who simply aren't going to be able to cope with the needs of a baby with significant disabilities? Some parents aren't even able to look after healthy children properly.

    There aren't enough adoptive parents anyway, and the number willing to take on disabled children is even lower, so adoption isn't the answer. There's also a severe shortage of foster carers.

    At that point, you've got a situation where there's a child with low / no quality of life and no one who wants and is capable of taking care of it. In that case, I think abortion can be the least bad option for everyone.
    My point is that a disabled baby is still a baby and it's not a right reason to disregard it because it isn't able bodied.

    Low/no quality of life... its basic needs can still be met and it should still be loved and cared for, like any other child.

    "I think abortion can be the least bad option for everyone". Hmm, okay, but what about the disabled child? They're having the chance of life taken away without them even having a say in it (hard because they're not even born, but still).
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    (Original post by Ripper-Roo)
    My point is that a disabled baby is still a baby and it's not a right reason to disregard it because it isn't able bodied.

    Low/no quality of life... its basic needs can still be met and it should still be loved and cared for, like any other child.

    "I think abortion can be the least bad option for everyone". Hmm, okay, but what about the disabled child? They're having the chance of life taken away without them even having a say in it (hard because they're not even born, but still).
    Do I think that there are lives that aren't worth living? Yes, I do. That's not because I think that disabled people shouldn't be valued, it's because I believe that quality of life is an important factor in these decisions. That's not disregarding the baby, it's being pragmatic about whether or not it would actually enjoy life.

    I wouldn't abort a baby over something like a cleft lip / palate (except in the most severe cases), and to be honest I think you'd seriously struggle to find a doctor who would perform an abortion after the legal limit anyway. For 'normal' babies you'll seriously struggle to find a doctor who is willing to do it past ~16-20 weeks anyway.
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    (Original post by Origami Bullets)
    Do I think that there are lives that aren't worth living? Yes, I do. That's not because I think that disabled people shouldn't be valued, it's because I believe that quality of life is an important factor in these decisions. That's not disregarding the baby, it's being pragmatic about whether or not it would actually enjoy life.

    I wouldn't abort a baby over something like a cleft lip / palate (except in the most severe cases), and to be honest I think you'd seriously struggle to find a doctor who would perform an abortion after the legal limit anyway. For 'normal' babies you'll seriously struggle to find a doctor who is willing to do it past ~16-20 weeks anyway.
    Sure, I get your point about the quality of life. But disabled people can still be happy (I know you've not said they can't) and advances in technology could make their lives less painful.
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    While I'm somewhat uncomfortable with the idea, I can't actually find an argument against it which is any better.
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    I definitely do not agree with aborting foetuses simply because the child is disabled. However, i do believe it should be legal, because at the end of the day, people will still try and do an abortion, and if legal and safe procedures are not available, they will find an alternative that could be potentially dangerous to themselves.
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    (Original post by Ripper-Roo)
    Sure, I get your point about the quality of life. But disabled people can still be happy (I know you've not said they can't) and advances in technology could make their lives less painful.
    Some can be happy. Others will (to misquote Hobbes) lead lives existences that are nasty, brutish and short.

    There are, unfortunately, plenty of types of pain that simply cannot be cured (or even brought down to semi-acceptable level) by technology or drugs. In many cases, we'd put down a dog if it was suffering in that way, but force a human to live through it whether they want to or not (I'm not thinking exclusively of babies here, as they cannot express their wishes, but the point still stands).

    I'm afraid that in these cases, people i.e. parents do find themselves responsible for a severely disabled child. It's 24/7, it's incredibly difficult, it will destroy your career and your social life, it's only going to get harder as the child becomes larger and more physically difficult to handle, and it will continue until one of the two of you dies. I'm not sure that I could deal with it, and I really wouldn't condemn anyone who felt that they wouldn't be able to cope with it either.

    However, I think that having spent a fair amount of time seeing the other end of life (geriatric wards) I've come to some fairly blunt conclusions about the reality that sometimes life really is a fate worse than death - but that's a perspective that most people on TSR won't have gained through their everyday lives.
 
 
 
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