Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Wombs 'R Us

For all you Philip K. Dick fans out there:

"Brain Dead American Woman Gives Birth to Girl

A 26-year-old brain dead pregnant woman kept on life support for almost three months at a Virginia hospital gave birth to a baby girl on Tuesday, a hospital spokeswoman said.
The baby, delivered by caesarean section, weighed one pound and 13 ounces (0.8 kg) and was being monitored in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Virginia Hospital Center, the hospital said in a statement.
The mother, Susan Torres, suffered a stroke on May 7 in the 17th week of her pregnancy due to an aggressive melanoma and was brain dead, her family said...
"The entire staff and administration of Virginia Hospital Center, especially the physicians and nurses caring for Susan Torres and Baby Girl Torres, are delighted with the successful delivery," the hospital statement said."
So glad they finally figured out how to eliminate the middlewoman. And see there, they managed to manufacture a brand-new womb to replace the dead one, so science can march on. The Church is surely pleased.

In all seriousness, this was a choice made by the husband, who said it was based on "what Susan would want". And though I find it shockingly creepy, unlike the Terry Schiavo protesters I can accept his right to make such a private decision, even though it resonates with problems for the future for women and how they are perceived when pregnant. It has been hard enough for pregnant women to maintain some kind of human persona when the world of anti-abortionists is telling they are little more than incubators.

O brave new world, that has such people in't! Where's the exit?

UPDATE: eRobin from the lucid and passionate Fact-esque responded to the above with this:

"Well said. You're so right about the danger of the issue turning into a flag-waver for anti-choicers.

It's none of my business but I thought the decision was the right one. It would be great if everyone who had an opinion on this started off by saying three times "IT'S NONE OF MY BUSINESS." That's the point that people who care about women's reproductive rights need to make clear."
My first impulse was to condemn what her husband did, but when I put myself in his shoes, and those of his wife, I really could understand how someone would want to do this. All those hopes and dreams of bringing a new child into the world, a child she evidently wanted very much, too, and then the devastating news of her impending death, leading to a desperate desire to keep a living memory of the wife he loved through that child. And though I remain concerned about the ramifications of it, it's ironic that the freedom to make that choice within the confines of one's own family is actually crucial to preventing the Morality Police from taking what should be a case-by-case personal decision and strongarming it into a law.

Conservatives make much fun of liberals for having "minds so open everything falls out", and for bending over so far backward to be "tolerant" that we tolerate everything, and judge nothing. But this is a deliberate distortion of how we think, and it's time we started yanking these concepts out of right-wing hands, clean off the muck with which they've been smeared, and take a stand behind them.

Tolerance and open-mindedness do not exclude the ability to judge, but they do exclude the rush to judgement many conservatives are so eager to join. One has to use common sense and a moral compass to decide when making a judgement is called for. We judge based on a continuum of tolerance, which results in hard choices and some serious internal debate.

When this continuum is lacking, as with sociopaths or right-wing extremists, we are either indifferent to thedecisions of others (if we are unable to relate to others) or judgementally tyrranical (if our desire for control is too great). But for one to bring the least delicacy or nuance to these extremely difficult decisions invariably brings on charges of "fuzzy moonbat thinking" from people whose own idea of thoughtfulness is beating an opponent over the head with schoolyard insults and spewing grossly absurd fantasies of slippery slopes. Wingers make the serious mistake of assuming that liberals have no moral compass, because they cannot comprehend the complexity with which we use it.

Given the choice (and with choice, in this case, we've come full circle), I'll take my liberal tolerance every time.

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