Mu! Moment: When life begins.

There’s a variety of questions that are best answered with the Buddhist “Mu!” and a whack on the head with a rattan stick. The use of “Mu!” by the master is roughly equivalent to “The question is ill formed!” (with an implicit “you idiot” delivered by the whack with the switch…)

It does mean “the question is ill formed”, but also “that is the wrong question” or even “The question does not make sense to one who is enlightened, go fish in the enlightenment pond some more until you ‘get it’, ok?” or even “Try Again”.

One of the endless “debates” in the abortion arena is over when a baby can be killed, and that is wound up in an endless wrangle over “when life begins” (the notion being that killing prior to that moment is O.K. but after that moment is immoral.) The problem is that the question “is ill formed”.


Because life began once and that moment was a few billion years ago, near as we can tell. There is an unbroken chain of life, from that moment forward, to every cell alive in every living thing today. The egg in the mother is alive. The sperm is alive (hey, it even swims, so is alive and animated). To ask “when does life begin” presumes a false state of non-life in the egg and sperm cells. That makes it a Mu! Moment.

The right question?

So if that is the wrong question, what is the right question? What is the enlightened question?

As is usually the case, the correct answer to that is “The enlightened question is much harder to identify.”

If one says “ALL life is sacred” then you end up in a Monty Python moment.

Yes, a bit of reductio ad absurdum, but effective.

Since it is simply impossible for all sperm and all egg cells to be kept alive, or joined to make a new unique person, nature provides the simple argument of reality here. Sperm and egg cells can not be “sacred”. Yet they are alive. (As are other single cell life like bacteria and such.)

As a “first cut” I think it’s pretty clear that simple contraception, while lethal to “living human cells” is not in any sane sense murder.

The more complicated case simply says that the 1/2 gene compliment in the gametes makes them “not human”. They are only 1/2 of a set of human genes, so ‘less than human’ in a very clear way.

What about at conception?

This is where it gets very interesting. At conception, the gene complement is a full set of genes. At that point, the genetic argument is very clear: This is a living human life form.

Yet so is ever cell lining your mouth and gut, and adorning your hair follicles, and shedding from all your skins surfaces, and… We have another existence proof that attempting to keep ALL cells with a full genetic complement alive is a fools errand. Not going to happen.

In the past, there was a case to be made that only the fusion of egg and sperm would lead to a cell that was fully potentiated to develop into an entire human being. Thanks to the work on cloning and stem cells, we can now turn many (most? all?) single cells into a fully formed being. (Note the lack of “human” in that sentence… We’ve done it with other animals, but not with humans, so there is a tiny bit of doubt. Also some cells are far far easier to manipulate back to the reset state.)

So in what way is a fertilized egg different from a human stem cell?

There are many ways that don’t matter much, and one very important way:

That fertilized cell has a new and unique compliment of genes. IT is a unique genetic individual. That is the true basis of the “life begins at conception” argument. Not that life “begins” then, since it never ended; but that a new individual life is formed.

Yet nature makes thousands of “new individual lives” that it throws away every day. The whole idea behind sexual reproduction is to clean up the gene pool a bit. So the sperm and egg with 1/2 a set of genes will die if those genes are defective in any critical process (where a full gene compliment cell can live using the 1/2 of the set that are good and ignoring the other half). Similarly, the fertilized egg can have all sorts of “issues” leading to a natural termination of the pregnancy. From blood group problems to developmental problems that only show up later in the term and lead to a miscarriage. Nature does not respect the “new unique individual” all that much… It is the viable unique individual.

That is the basis of the argument of the “abort until viable” group. If nature is willing to abort prior to full viability, why not people too? (The critical difference here being that nature is tossing out failed genetic mix experiments while human abortions are tossing out many fine future people in the process of becoming…)

Any others?

In various cultures at various times the practice of infanticide has been common. Even in various wild animals. The simple fact is that nature is very cruel. Using nature as our guide is likely not the most “humane” approach. From birds that lay 2 eggs to have a spare, so the first born kills the other; to animals during times of limited food where “mothers milk” drys up and the infants die: Nature votes for “kill as needed”. Personally, I find that a bridge too far based on other moral grounds.

Yet in any calamity, the natural and reasonable decision is made to kill off the old, infirm, and, sad to say, the youngest and least viable. It is just a fact of life that faced with a fixed quantity of food, a known length of winter, and a minimum ration per mouth to survive to the next crop: It is more rational to kill one than have a half dozen starve a month before the first new harvest. That cruel calculus was more common a few hundred years ago, but “reality just is” and it could return again.

My conclusion?

Only that two important things apply:

Looking for “when life begins” will shed vast quantities of heat, and no light.

Nature has more of a “kill as needed” attitude, so perhaps we need different values to use.

It does look like this line of reasoning arrives at roughly the same “bounds” as the present abortion advocates / right-to-life folks found. One side arguing to have the right to kill other unique individual human lives based on them being too unimportant and poorly developed to really matter. The other side arguing that it is a new unique human life and deserves the rights of all of us. (Is it REALLY any different to say a 7 month unborn baby is ‘useless’ and can be killed, vs saying a 70 year old invalid is ‘useless’ and can be killed?)

In the end, I lean toward the notion of “It is a human once multicellular with developed organs”. This gets us out of the realm of skin cells, cloning, ‘sacred sperm’ and other issues. Yet that is still way early compared to the present ‘standards’ for abortion. Those advocating for 3rd trimester abortions would not like me for saying that even second trimester was too late… yet the ‘at conception’ crowed would be similarly up in arms for murder of those “unborn”, even if they looked like a slime mold at the stage in question…

In the end, I find myself mostly a bit aghast at the willingness of women to murder their own children at a variety of life stages. Perhaps it is just natures way of removing that type from the gene pool… The strongest selection comes in 30 generations of strong selective pressure, so after about 900 years of easy abortion, only the ‘right to life’ folks ought to be left. (It does not require extermination of a gene type to remove it, just differential breeding success over many generations. So those that abort and average 1.5 kids vs those that do not and average 3.0 will rapidly have a vanishing presence in the gene pool for those that abort. IFF it is subject to genetic influence.) So only about 800 more years of this argument to go ;-)

At the same time, having population double every 20 years would be a recipe for disaster. So some kind of contraception is important and some kind of solution to the “surprise” pregnancy.

In the end, I guess I don’t have an answer so much as just want the question to be better formed, so that the endless debate at least makes some kind of sense.

Is it a human being with rights:

1) At conception?

2) When multicullular?

3) When differentiated into organs? (How far?)

4) When viable? (With how much medical support?)

5) At birth?

6) At 6 years old? (I have known folks who advocated for a parental right to toss back the broken ones and select for the best ‘keepers’… and it was once common in some cultures. So the question is valid.)

Just don’t start arguing about “when life began” unless you are talking about 4 billion years ago on earth vs 14 billion years ago in a panspermia space origin scenario… Otherwise I’ll need to get my “clue stick” start swinging it and hollering Mu! And that’s not pretty ;-)

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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35 Responses to Mu! Moment: When life begins.

  1. We kill a man on death of brain
    It’s legal; he can feel no pain
    Perhaps it is no greater sin
    To kill ‘ere brain and pain begin

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  2. It is a mystery to me how the federal government got into the abortion issue. Surely this should be a matter “for the states” or “for the people” (Tenth Amendment).

    When you get to my age, reproductive rights are of academic interest only. What really bothers us old farts is “Dependence”. We dread becoming incapable of taking care of ourselves through stroke, dementia or whatever. As long as one’s wits remain it is possible to refuse medical treatment or food but what if one cannot communicate? I have made a living will instructing my wife to “Pull the Plug” in certain circumstances but the affair of Terri Schaivo causes me to fear that the government will interfere.

    Kieth DeHavelle has the right idea but lacking his talent here is a poem:

    Thou shalt have one God only; who
    Would be at the expense of two?
    No graven images may be
    Worshipped, except the currency:
    Swear not at all; for for thy curse
    Thine enemy is none the worse:
    At church on Sunday to attend
    Will serve to keep the world thy friend:
    Honour thy parents; that is, all
    From whom advancement may befall:
    Do not adultery commit;
    Advantage rarely comes of it:
    Thou shalt not steal; an empty feat,
    When it’s so lucrative to cheat:
    Bear not false witness: let the lie
    Have time on its own wings to fly:
    Thou shalt not covet; but tradition
    Approves all forms of competition.

    The sum of all is, thou shalt love,
    If any body, God above:
    At any rate shall never labour
    More than thyself to love thy neighbour.
    ARTHUR HUGH CLOUGH, “The Latest Decalogue,” The Poems of Arthur Hugh Clough, ed. A. L. P. Norrington, pp. 60–61 (1968).

  3. Bennett In Vermont says:

    Thought provoking. I’m glad you’re able to (continue to) entertain us from your temporary hotel lifestyle, and suspect it’s helping you cope with being uprooted from your stable existence in the golden state.

    The concept of “sacred sperm” triggered my desire to spread the wisdom of Bill Hicks, he of the rapier wit who passed on way too soon. I would love to hear him rant about AGW, and I know he would if he were still around. Anyway, here’s his take on children being “special”.

    There are a lot of performance videos on YouTube, and if I were stuck in a hotel room with a decent internet connection, I’d re-watch all of them.

    Thank you E.M.

  4. Power Grab says:

    I find it ironic that in countries where fewer babies are being born than can replace the current population, those are the countries that seem obsessed with finding ways to prevent conception.

    Isn’t it fairly well proven that when you elevate the prosperity of a people, you find them occupying their time with many other things than making babies?

    OTOH, if the warmistas had their way, the vast population of the world that is barely getting by would continue in poverty. For me, whenever I considered AGW (even before Climategate broke), I could never get my eyes off the elephant in the room – which is the desire of the AGW promoters to have fewer people in the world. Much fewer. Like, leave only a fraction alive.

  5. KevinM says:

    If the philosophy is pragmatism, the answer to “who are we allowed to kill” comes down to their ability to defend themselves and an estimation of our punishment or reward for killing.

    If the philosophy is moralistic, the debate moves to “whose morals”. That second question acknowledges a cultural spectrum, and reduces to the first answer. I.e if the weight of culture and law disagrees with my morality, can I defend the weak and at what can I punish the killers in the face of that opposition? If I’m not willing to try, then my moralism is a vanity on top of the same old expedience.

    My second paragraph is where some well known abortion clinic killers have gotten hung up. I’ve formed that question… “If its ok for you to kill a human based on an arbitrary moral or practical judgement, then let me apply my arbitrary moral or practical judgement to you”. We both got one vote that way, right?

    Without believing in an active, moralistic god, good and bad can only be personal judgements based on perceived cost benefit. If we’re existential monkeys in a godless or even diest world, then the only limits are what feels right and what can be gotten away with.

    I was once an avid “scientific atheist” with the characteristic disdain for Christianity and Islam in particular, the love for Ocams razor, the need to insert evolution at any conversational tangent, and the overwhelming arrogant faith in Copernicus, Newton, Darwin and Einstein. I believe many on that path get trapped in pseudo science, or depressing nihilism, or consumed by frustration with heretics against the simplest model among the range of alternatives.

    I went so far down that path I shot out the other side. Ultimately I discovered I’m not willing to execute an enemy in cold blood, and that there is a reason. Nor any child of mine. The world would have me believe 4 billion years of natural selection would compel me to sacrifice my life in futile defense of my 8-year old boy. I believe something else.

  6. John F. Hultquist says:

    If I understand the pro-abortion argument it depends primarily on the female’s decision to control her own body. Her rights have priority, everything else does not matter. If males and females could be reversibly neutered, at say age six, and only brought back on informed request that a child is desired then folks could get on with other important questions. So the question, ill formed or not, will be about the female’s right, not the pregnancy.

    My only experience with births is from having dogs and cats and helping with the whelping. Any puppy or kitten that doesn’t live bothers me. So, I too am “aghast” at the willingness of women to make the decision to abort their baby. I know I can never understand the thoughts involved – and so don’t try.

  7. Jason Calley says:

    It may be important to remember that we are constrained (and judged!) by both the law and by ethics. Ethically, I do not know how someone can justify a late term abortion of a viable baby. Having been so wonderfully educated and improved by my experience as a father, I do not see destroying the life of a nearly born child is anything but a tragedy. But that is ethics, and the law is something else. The entire legal and philosophical system of personal liberty which is formed around the doctrine of natural rights, is based at its most fundamental level on the belief in self ownership. I own myself. You own your self. And yes, that pregnant woman owns her self. She has a natural right to kick someone out of her body — even if it is ethically reprehensible.

    There are some things which are both illegal and unethical; murder and rape come to mind. There are some things which are illegal but not unethical; a rolling stop at 3:00am when there is no other traffic. There are some things which are legal but unethical. Perhaps abortion (especially late term abortion) belongs in that category.

  8. Petrossa says:

    In enlightened nations the question isn’t when does an entity become human, but is that entity capable of sustaining a relative painfree, selfreliant mode of life.
    In such nations eugenics is actively practiced and post natal abortion permitted on doctors indication.

  9. This is such a complex ethical question since there can be no absolute answers. My tentative stab at an answer is that the woman involved should have the deciding vote. If she does not want that baby, then the baby will not be brought up with love and care. Yes, it’s a life, but of what quality? Should the authorities take such unwanted babies and put them in a children’s home just to save a life? The woman will need to live with her decision, and other people (especially celibate male religious leaders in frocks) should not pass judgement since they cannot know the circumstances of that decision.

    The woman’s decision will be influenced by her cultural values, so today where different cultures often live in close proximity or intermingled there will be conflicting influences. Makes things even more difficult to decide for an individual. In a lot of countries, it is preferable to have a boy, and I saw this news item on India where it is thus illegal to even know the sex of an unborn baby so that girl-children are not aborted: .

    May I also pose another unanswerable question? With modern medicine, children with genetic defects who would formerly have died young can grow up, have children and thus produce more children with that genetic defect. Is this morally justified when keeping such children alive takes a lot of medical resources that could help a lot more people? Maybe such problems can in future be fixed by genetic engineering, but again at the moment such research is expensive.

    Maybe the best guide is simply “what works for you”. We can see what works by looking at how happy people are with varying cultures, and thus make a practical decision based on centuries of experience rather than trying to decide based on just a lifetime of thinking. If a culture is vibrant with enjoyable lives for its individuals, and also if that culture has lasted a long time, then the majority of those cultural values must work and would be a good guide to live by.

  10. Ben says:

    These conversations always bring up a follow on point in my mind. Men have no reproductive rights after the drunken one night stand happens. They made the choice to sleep with the “mother” and have to live with the consequences and pay child support or raise the child for 18 years+. Women seem to think that the right to choose for them continues for 9 months when they already made the choice on day 1. The only solution I see that is not discriminatory is that Men should be able to “abort” their responsibility for a child legally with in the same time frame as a “mothers” right to choose.

    After all its only fair.

    For the record I have been involved in a teenage abortion (I was 16 she was 17) its a hard thing but i strongly feel that if your going to do it it should be first trimester only. Defined organs can easily happen before many even know they are pregnant FYI.

  11. mkelly says:

    Petrossa says:

    19 June 2013 at 6:36 am

    In enlightened nations the question isn’t when does an entity become human, but is that entity capable of sustaining a relative painfree, selfreliant mode of life.
    In such nations eugenics is actively practiced and post natal abortion permitted on doctors indication.

    I would disagree with the word “enlightened” in your comment.

  12. Zeke says:

    A whose right to choose?

    Obama to Allow Morning-After Pill for All Ages

    The federal government on Monday told a judge it will reverse course and take steps to comply with his order to allow girls of any age to buy emergency contraception without prescriptions.

  13. Zeke says:

    Does any one remember the bumper sticker that said, “Don’t like abortion? Don’t have one.”

    Now the truth has come out. The Federal Government wants to force everyone to pay for it through Obamacare. But it is worse than just paying for the painful killing of a human life, it is paying for men to use under age girls. Not only that, it puts all the tools of eugenics/population control into the hands of a government that is becoming more centralized and abusive every day.

  14. adolfogiurfa says:

    This question goes deeper: When you experience a MU moment, you are in touch with THE SOURCE, the unnamable and undefinable but what you really sense and perceive it is there and it has always been there, and LIFE is its manifestation.
    ZERO does not exist. (And this has been the biggest cheat in the history of man on earth).When manifestation IS, there is evidently an imbalance along with it, hence it appears charge + ( a positive one) and its contrary (the one resisting manifestation) – , from then on both forces relate as the pythagorean triangle, where both get equilibrated, obviously, at 90º: Electricity and Magnetism. Of course this does not happen in one or two dimensions but in three dimensions. The ” -” sign , geometrically, originates from the un-manifested mirror side of manifested reality, which does not invalidate proper geometrical reasoning as for the starting triangle its hypotenuse is absolutely real: Sqr [ -1 sqr2 + +1sqr2 ]= Sqr 2 =1.414213562373095…
    Then, if we take two primeval square triangles, inscribed in the first circle of manifestation, we have the first square. Then, how does movement proceed if charges are equilibrated; the only way is by changing the length of each triangle “leg” (one= Sine , the other= Cosine), but graphically one side of the first square generates the first rectangle, having in itself the “golden ratio” :

    Perhaps by now you have already realized that the SAME PROCESS happens when an spermatozoid meets an egg….:

    “As above so below”

  15. adolfogiurfa says:

    BTW : How many UNIVERSES were destroyed last year in your country?

  16. Bloke down the pub says:

    I don’t have strong views on this but perhaps there’s another issue tied up with this that should be considered. How many babies are born very premature and kept alive because medicine can, not because nature thinks they’re viable?

  17. Bloke down the pub says:

    How many babies are born very premature and kept alive because medicine can, not because nature thinks they’re viable?

    Prior to modern invention
    Life was but a shorty
    Regardless of Nature’s intention
    Now most can live past forty

    Back in an earlier time
    I was born way premature
    Now I’m here making rhyme
    It beats being dead, I’m sure

    And I’ve had some success
    And employed thousands of folk
    A keeper? I’d vote yes!
    (It’s an anecdote, not a joke)

    There are problems in health care
    At a long seminar today
    I saw many attempts at “fair”
    But “what works” should still hold sway

    And decisions on who lives
    Are always fraught with risk:
    Our compassion often gives
    Facing numbers on a disk

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  18. John says:

    We are ‘allowed’ to kill whomever we can. That much is self evident. Happens all the time. The question is, ‘Who will I allow you to kill?’
    How about a glass of hypocrisy for the house? I am buying.

  19. Mike Churchill says:

    While not a huge fan of Buddhism (or any other religion), I can definitely embrace the concept of “Mu.” That one is a useful addition to any thinker’s mental tool kit.
    Some of you may recall my only previous comments here were last Summer and pertained to the philosophy of Objectivism. Objectivists strongly reject the assertion that some “higher power” is a necessary basis for a non-relativistic morality. KevinM says above that:

    Without believing in an active, moralistic god, good and bad can only be personal judgements based on perceived cost benefit. If we’re existential monkeys in a godless or even diest world, then the only limits are what feels right and what can be gotten away with.

    Frankly, that’s half right and half B.S. The half right part is that one must have a standard of value in order to judge right and wrong. The B.S. part is the assertion that it must be supplied by a supernatural bogeyman.
    The proper standard of value is the life of a rational individual human, which implies a person with a functioning brain. All human values should be judged by the standard of favoring or harming the continuing life and happiness of each such individual. Rational self interest is the appropriate value system. Note: Rational self interest is not “unlimited” selfishness, and one of its implications is that no individual has the moral right to initiate the use of force against another. However, each has the right to respond to the initiation of force against him or her in self defense. (And the valid powers of governments to use force arise from the delegation of this right to individual self defense to a collective entity placed under legal restraint to prevent the ills that result from vigilantiism and keep the peace, both domestic and international. But I will not go further into Objectivist ethics at this point.)
    With regard to the issue of abortion, I think the key is in seeing the distinction between a potential human being and an actual one. The hard questions of course lie surround drawing a line between the two, but as a starting point, a fertilized egg is a potential human being and the woman carrying it is an actual one. Leaving aside for the moment the exceptional cases (in a coma, severely retarded, etc.), the woman is entitled to all the legal and moral rights each and every other citizen is entitled to; a fertilized egg is not. What those rights under law are varies from place to place and time to time, and members of various different religions and schools of philosophy seek to embody their moral views in legislation, but an egg at the moment of conception is not an actual human being.
    At some point after conception, some percentage of fertilized eggs complete the process of developing from potential human beings into actual human beings. Based on everything I have learned about human embryology and fetal development to date, plus having three kids, I think that point should legally be set at the point where the child is able to survive outside the womb without more than minimal medical care–i.e., what a midwife would provide at birth: clear the mouth of mucus, cut the umbilical cord, provide immediate warmth, etc. Up the that point, I think the continued development of that child or not should be–as a matter of law– entirely up to the mother, since it is her body supporting the developing child. (And an argument can be made that forcing an unwilling mother to carry a potential human to term is involuntary servitude.) As a matter of ethics, of course a father who is involved in the mother’s life should be involved in the decision about whether to bring the child into the world, but that’s between them and not anybody else’s damn business.
    The exact point at which a potential human not entitled to the full suite of legal and moral rights becomes an actual human is open to debate, of course, but I think it is terribly wrong to elevate the value of a potential human above that of an actual one.
    Finally, I agree it is an absolute perversion for the state to take money from the public at large at gun point and use it to pay for abortions. But that’s not a significantly bigger perversion than taking our money and spending it on the rest of the welfare state, corporate welfare, and all the other crap that governments do beyond the basics of providing police, national defense, and court systems. (Yes, I’m a small government radical of the classical liberal type. James Madison was on the right track.)

  20. Petrossa says:

    Don’t know if it’s still the case but not long ago French laws say the woman needs permission from the father to abort, sterilize herself. to me this is in direct contravention with the right to self determination as encompassed in the declaration of Human Rights.

    Since afaik every nation based on law only self determination can be expressed if the person is capable of doing so it’s obvious at least fetuses don’t fall into this category, nor do children till the age they can express themselves.

    As such the discussion about late term/post natal abortion is totally up to the parents, and when not married or otherwise in communion the mother.
    Condemning an entity to a life of endless suffering out of egotism or archaic religious concepts is beyond cruel. It’s inhumane and despicable.

  21. Gail Combs says:

    As a female, I think I will way in on this.

    First there are at this point several contraceptive methods and anyone who has ‘Free Sex’ especially without a male contraceptive device is nuts.

    Second any female who has sex should have ALREADY decided what her position on having a child is so abortion after three months can not be supported.

    Three a woman should have the right to decide if she wants to be a mother. Do you REALLY want to force a woman to have a kid she doesn’t want?
    (For what it is worth I decided not to have kids because I was a chemist and had handled chemicals later found to be mutagens and I was over thirty five when I married so the chances of having a healthy baby was not very good.)

    Third pregnancies in young unmarried teens under 18 is a national tragedy because you are not only ruining the life of the mother but also the child. I know of one guy with 52 kids by women he did not marry and who paid him part of their welfare. I know of another girl who had six babies by the time she was 18. ALL of these kids will probably grow up to be on the welfare system and produce more kids on the welfare system. Third generation welfare is well known.

    My suggestions?
    1. No abortion after the first trimester (slime mold stage)
    2. You get ONE (1) free pass on welfare. If you have a second kid you either have your tubes tied or you support BOTH kids on your own.
    3. If you are on welfare you HAVE TO take training classes to learn a salable skill and you get kicked out after five years. Social Workers that can not ‘Place’ clients into paying jobs get down graded. Tax incentives to companies that hire ‘undesirables’ such as those who have been out of work for a year, those over 45, those who have been on welfare or those who are handicapped. (Just cut the SS the company has to pay on that worker in half.)

    Part of the problem in the USA is there is a job description called “Welfare Mother” and it produces parasites as a product.

  22. Gail Combs: anyone who has ‘Free Sex’ especially without a male contraceptive device is nuts.

    We could reformat this:
    anyone who has ‘Free Sex’ especially without
    A. a male contraceptive device
    B. is nuts.

    You can remove A as long as you also remove B.

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  23. In all seriousness, you are addressing multiple problems in a reasonable fashion, with practical approaches. These would benefit the country, I think, but this approach will likely harm your future as a politician.

    Best wishes.

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  24. DocMartyn says:

    The rule used to be that we men treated women with respect, because they put their lives on the line bearing our children. I nearly lost my wife and son when he appeared at 29 weeks. The I spent time visiting the special care baby unit, seeing babies, young humans, born at 25 weeks.
    We have to observe the ancient compact between midwife and woman, that if one of them is going to be cut up and die, it is the woman who gets to decide; this runs all the way to 42 weeks, if a woman’s life is in danger, the passenger can be removed at her behest.
    The other side of the coin is that we like recreational sex and sex, whilst great fun, causes pregnancies that are not wanted. Somewhere along the line we have to say, this far, but no further.
    A male fetus plays with his willy at about 20-22 weeks, for the same reason I play with mine. They suck their thumbs and have REM sleep. All these things indicate high level brain function and our brains are what ‘we’ are.
    The current proposal by the Republican’s is for a 22 week limit, based on the last day of the last period, which is typically 20 weeks of gestation. This is just before little males know what their willy is and what fun it is to play with and both males and females enjoy sucking on their thumbs, as they tumble off into a dream filled sleep.
    It is not a binary. Some people can arrive at 14 weeks or 24 weeks, and still be fully functioning moral human beings. Only in the US is this debate a party political one, in the other democracies it tends to be treated as a matter of personal belief and law makers have a free vote.
    The UK dropped its limit from 28 to 24 weeks, and the vote was across party lines.

  25. Gail Combs says:

    DocMartyn says:…
    My brother was born at 7 months or 28 weeks. He is 6ft 6 with an IQ over 200 and now a multi-millionaire.

    12 to 14 weeks should be MAX in my opinion. 22 to 28 is to DARN close to viable.

    As I said a woman should KNOW enough to have a preg test if she missed a period and then make her decision in the next two months. A preg test is good about six days after fertilization so that is not a problem since a missed period would generally be out about 14 days. Cost is also not a problem since the test kits run from $1 to $15 with the more expensive being more accurate for early detection. link

    HECK a woman generally starts showing about 4 to 5 months. At six or seven months you might as well wait the extra two months have the kid and give it up for adoption. The only exception is in the case of medical distress/emergency of the mother.

    Oh and for those who are unaware. Birth control pills will cause ‘abortion’ if a couple are taken the next day. There are also “morning after” pills for rape victims.

  26. Petrossa says:

    The Netherlands are about setting up a legal framework for child euthanasia, since this is practice anyway. If you euthanise just before birth or after makes little difference. Emotion is a bad advisor and an extremely bad base for decision making

  27. Gail Combs says:

    Petrossa says:
    22 June 2013 at 7:01 am

    The Netherlands are about setting up a legal framework for child euthanasia,….
    The UK is already doing it.

    How sick babies go on death pathway: Doctor’s haunting testimony reveals how children are put on end-of-life plan

    * Practice of withdrawing food and fluid by tube being used on young patients

    * Doctor admits starving and dehydrating ten babies to death in neonatal unit

    * Liverpool Care Pathway subject of independent inquiry ordered by ministers

    * Investigation, including child patients, will look at whether cash payments to hospitals to hit death pathway targets have influenced doctors’ decisions

    Read more:

    Sick children are being discharged from NHS hospitals to die at home or in hospices on controversial ‘death pathways’.

    Until now, end of life regime the Liverpool Care Pathway was thought to have involved only elderly and terminally-ill adults.

    This is all part of the Fabian plans. Beartice Webb, founder of the Fabian Society and the London School of Economics where world poltiticians and bankers train was an enthusiastic supporter of Darwin and Eugenics:
    And do not forget Margaret Singer founder of Planned Parenthood

    Quotes from George Bernard Shaw another Fabian Society Founder. His view of the rest of us reminds me of a farmer’s view of his cattle. “If it doesn’t make you money KILL IT.”

    “The notion that persons should be safe from extermination as
    long as they do not commit willful murder, or levy war against
    the Crown, or kidnap, or throw vitriol, is not only to limit social
    responsibility unnecessarily, and to privilege the large range of
    intolerable misconduct that lies outside them, but to divert
    attention from the essential justification for extermination,
    which is always incorrigible social incompatibility and nothing
    Source: George Bernard Shaw, “On the Rocks” (1933), Preface.
    “We should find ourselves committed to killing a great many
    people whom we now leave living, and to leave living a great
    many people whom we at present kill. We should have to get
    rid of all ideas about capital punishment …
    A part of eugenic politics would finally land us in an extensive
    use of the lethal chamber. A great many people would have to
    be put out of existence simply because it wastes other people’s
    time to look after them.”
    Source: George Bernard Shaw, Lecture to the Eugenics
    Education Society, Reported in The Daily Express, March 4,
    “The moment we face it frankly we are driven to the conclusion
    that the community has a right to put a price on the right to
    live in it … If people are fit to live, let them live under decent
    human conditions. If they are not fit to live, kill them in a
    decent human way. Is it any wonder that some of us are driven
    to prescribe the lethal chamber as the solution for the hard
    cases which are at present made the excuse for dragging all
    the other cases down to their level, and the only solution that
    will create a sense of full social responsibility in modern
    Source: George Bernard Shaw, Prefaces (London: Constable
    and Co., 1934), p. 296.
    These are not isolated statements made at some point in his
    life. These statements and many others were made over
    decades consistently and repetitively. Here’s another:
    “Under Socialism, you would not be allowed to be poor. You
    would be forcibly fed, clothed, lodged, taught, and employed
    whether you liked it or not. If it were discovered that you had
    not character and industry enough to be worth all this trouble,
    you might possibly be executed in a kindly manner; but whilst
    you were permitted to live, you would have to live well.”
    George Bernard Shaw: The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to
    Socialism and Capitalism, 1928, pg. 470)

  28. Petrossa says:

    As i said: “since this is practice anyway.” I think it’s good thing if properly regulated. Euthanasia and assisted suicide are legal in several nations, this is just an extension of the principle not to have to suffer endlessly without need.
    GB shaw was a nice writer but he reflects the time he lived in. We’ve progressed since then, fortunately. Everytime is see a total quadriplegic retarded child drooling in a chair my heart cringes for the cruelty of it all, which total narcissistic egotist made this happen i think to myself.

  29. p.g.sharrow says:

    Preventing dieing is as cruel as preventing living.
    Any government that can prevent one, can enforce the other. pg

  30. punmaster says:

    A male fetus plays with his willy at about 20-22 weeks, for the same reason I play with mine.

    Neither of you have a date?

  31. DocMartyn says:

    punmaster,it is recommended that men check their testicles for lumps, which may indicate a tumor, every month. I was asked if I did so by my GP, my reply was that I checked mine every 20 minutes or so.

  32. punmaster says:

    It is a rare thing to be able to combine serious purpose and pure pleasure. Your method is probably unique.

  33. KevinM says:

    A 5-year-old girl was killed Sunday from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head while playing with a gun inside her New Orleans home, AP reports.
    The girl’s mother, Laderika Smith, 28, told police she locked her daughter in the home so she could go to the store. The child was found lying shot on the floor when she returned.

    The mother confessed to having a gun inside the home, which a preliminary investigation found was a .38 revolver. The shooting occurred around 11 a.m.

    “All evidence does point to the fact that she shot herself,” Officer Hilal Williams told The Times-Picayune.

    Speaking to the Times, Williams said the girl was taken off life support and died late Sunday afternoon. Her name was not released.

    Smith was initially charged with cruelty to a juvenile, but it was changed to second-degree murder after the girl died. She pleaded guilty to prostitution in 2010, according to court documents obtained by WWLTV.

  34. Gail Combs says:

    Petrossa says:
    22 June 2013 at 5:15 pm

    As i said: “since this is practice anyway.” I think it’s good thing if properly regulated. Euthanasia and assisted suicide are legal in several nations, this is just an extension of the principle not to have to suffer endlessly without need…..
    The problem is the DECISION is made by a bunch of bureaucrats and NOT by the patient or his relatives.

    There are some royally pissed-off people in the UK because they found out Granny/Gramps was intentionally MURDERED to free up bed space. Also in some cases the relatives caught on to what was going on, guarded the patient and insisted on medical care and the patient recovered.

    This is not about euthanasia or assisted suicide, it is about the INTENTIONAL MURDER of those deemed useless eaters by our ‘Overlords’

    As far as GBS goes, the Fabians have not changed their tune and this is what I was pointing out. They are wolves feasting on the rest of us while they hide under a socialist sheepskin. Their goal is to SMASH the world and Remould it nearer to the heart’s desire That is why “In April of 2006, the window was officially unveiled by a ceremony attended by British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who is a member of the Fabian Society” and hung in the London School of Economics.

    Look up Pascal Lamy WTO Director-general and Global Governance or the Third Way. Also add in Tony Blair, Clinton.

    They are so close to Remoulding the World it really scares me.

    Also check out Rosa Koire, a democrat and California bureaucrat working in the field of government takings of land.. She has really put all the pieces together.

  35. Janice Moore says:

    You are handed a gun and told that you have the right to shoot a shadowy, indistinct, shape on the horizon simply because it is on your property. It might be a person. Do you shoot?

    It is a Type I — Type II Error question: my answer is err on the side of innocent human life.

    Re: brainwaves as a red line — inaccurate comparison between dead post-brain development person and person killed during the pre-brain development stage. The fertilized egg begins cell division (i.e., is “alive”) immediately (first, 2, then, 3, then, 4, then, 8, 16, 32, …. fully developed baby). The brain-dead person’s body’s cells are kaput, done, i.e., they are dead. Two different fact situations cannot logically be compared as if they are equal.

    Re: woman’s inconvenience, discomfort, pain, or risk of injury or death from pregnancy —

    My answers:
    1. When the woman had reasonable opportunity to prevent the pregnancy but did not, she has no right to kill the baby who would not be but for the woman’s negligence (or recklessness or, even, intent), i.e., she is not free of fault.

    2. If the woman was raped, the question is a religious one:

    a. Since I believe life begins at conception, I would bear the child and put it up for adoption.
    b. Others who believe differently have the right to do differently….

    Ah, there’s the rub! Up to what point? Erring on the side of life, yet allowing the woman to kill the unborn child-in-process inside her —

    My answer: She (again, I would never do this in her place), not believing the baby is yet a “person,” by our society based on LIBERTY, may, within 48 hours, take the abortifacient (sp?) pill (it is not “contraception” btw) and kill the baby of the rapist.

    Err on the side of life.

    Re: fetuses known to be severely deformed via ultra sound:
    If we want to back up this belief in life, we pro-lifers must (and we are!) be willing to care for the damaged children that, but for our imposing our religious belief of “err on the side of life” on others, would have been killed. The biological parents would have legal the right to “abandon” a legally dependent child at any time (no matter what the child’s age), to a pro-life care facility. If necessary, i.e., if a given state in the U.S. makes this the law, pro-lifers would pay a “just compensation” to the mother for bearing and giving birth to a known (in time to abort under current law) deformed child which she would, but for the pro-life prohibition on abortion, have killed before it was born.

    There is no “unwanted” child, for there is somebody out there who will care for her or him.

    Again, with the exception that if the woman was completely not-at-fault, i.e., was raped, she may kill the child within 48 hours or within 48 hours of her having reasonable opportunity to do so (but, not after ___ (insert medical fact of when brain stem begins to form and primitive circulatory system/heart beats — 3 or 4 weeks, IIRC)) since we would otherwise be imposing our religion on her (given the lack of her having any possibility of preventing the pregnancy).

    Re: “My body, my choice.” — Listen, girlfriend, unless you were raped, you invited that little being into your body. But for you, she or he would not have been in danger.


    A word of love and hope for those of you who have been involved personally in an abortion and who are (perhaps, you don’t even realize you are), at some level, mourning that decision:

    You are forgiven. It is now time to forgive yourself.

    A Baby’s Prayer — Kathy Troccoli

    Note: Most of the ultra sound photos in the above video are of babies far past the time when most Americans would kill them, but, it is only a matter of where you draw the line … . As an Illinois state senator, Barack Obama was one of only two senators to vote AGAINST the “Infant Born-alive Protection Act.” It passed unanimously at the federal level.

    Thanks for letting me comment on your fine site, Chiefio!
    (first time!)


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