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this is a discussion within the NOLA Community Forum; Here\'s a question - if a family member of yours was in a terrible car accident, ended up in the hospital in a coma, and stayed that way for 20 years, would you feel justified in eventually pulling the plug? ...

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Old 07-21-2004, 09:48 PM   #41
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Here\'s a question - if a family member of yours was in a terrible car accident, ended up in the hospital in a coma, and stayed that way for 20 years, would you feel justified in eventually pulling the plug? That is what we\'re talking about here. Just as many seriously injured people cannot live without a machine, even a fairly mature fetus cannot survive outside of the womb. It is no more \'alive\' than the person on life support. Why do people feel it is justified to make a decision when it comes to the LIFE of an injured person, but not when it comes to a DEVELOPING LIFE?
First that injured person may have left a living will asking to be disconnected under the circumstances. If not, it\'s a closer question, but there is a huge difference. The injured person is being kept alive artificially. Without a machine, the injured person would die.

With the unborn child, the mechanism keeping the child alive is natural and a natural part of life. Without artificial intervention it is 100% certain that the child will either live or die by natuaral processes. The mother is not medical treatment. The mother is the beginning place of life. Thus, I don\'t have a problem with disconnecting the person from the machine because that is simply a refusal of medical care.

I think the \"when does life begin\" question is much more simple than you want to admit. For a human and other animals it is either at one of two points. (1) At conception, i.e., the meeting of the egg and sperm in such a way that the formation of a cell that will eventually develop into a living being begins, or (2) at the implantation of the egg into the uterus of the mother. At one of these two points the small individual is doing everything that is required to be considered life.
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Old 07-21-2004, 10:10 PM   #42
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Why am I getting shot in this scenario?
You didn\'t get shot. You got shot at.

I went to the same law school Gator is attending now, but I\'ll admit that I didn\'t care too much for criminal law and he probably knows more about it than me simply becuase he has taken it more recently.

I think you may be a bit off Scotty. As I understand it, here\'s how intent works.

If you and I get in an argument, and I say, \"I\'m going to shoot you,\" then I walk over to m car, get my gun, come back, walk up to you and shoot you, that\'s premeditation and intent - First degree.
Here\'s how I think your scenarios work when used in terms of the woman getting pregnant: Woman sets her goal as finding a man to have sex with knowing that she is not on any preventive medicine, he is not wearing a condom, she is not using any device to prevent pregnancy, and she knows she is ovulating in the hopes of becoming pregnant. She becomes pregnant.- First degree.

If we\'re fighting and I\'m furious and pull out my gun and shoot you there may be no premeditation, so that could be 2nd degree.
Woman is making out with guy and gets carried away, but does not ensure use of a condom or other prophilactic (sp?) or pill. She becomes pregnant. - second degree

If I pull out my gun, try to shoot you, miss and hit Jkool, there\'s a gray line, but that\'s usually 2nd degree as well.
Woman uses all available means to prevent pregnancy BUT does have sex. She becomes pregnant. - second degree.

If I pull out the gun to threaten you, start waving it around, it accidentally discharges and hits JKool - I believe that\'s manslaughter.
Woman and man are participating in mutual masterbation which results in the accidental exposure of her vagina to sperm. (You could never shoot straight!) she becomes pregnant. - manslaughter

In all of these she bears responsibility for her pregnancy just as the shooter bears the responsibility for the shooting. However, the shooter pays the price for the shooting and the baby pays the price for the pregnancy when the mother chooses abortion. Where is the justice there?

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Old 07-22-2004, 09:53 AM   #43
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Without artificial intervention it is 100% certain that the child will either live or die by natuaral processes. The mother is not medical treatment. The mother is the beginning place of life. Thus, I don\'t have a problem with disconnecting the person from the machine because that is simply a refusal of medical care.
OK - I like that. Valid point. You\'re saying that in one case artificial means of survival are being discontinued and in the other, artificial means are being implemented to terminate a natural situation that would continue otherwise. Good point. What about the death penalty? If your opinion is that a life is a life, you must oppose the death penalty right? A situation in which artificial means are being employed to kill someone?? My guess is that you don\'t oppose capital punishment, but I\'ll let you answer. If my hunch is right, why isn\'t a life a life?

I think the \"when does life begin\" question is much more simple than you want to admit. For a human and other animals it is either at one of two points. (1) At conception, i.e., the meeting of the egg and sperm in such a way that the formation of a cell that will eventually develop into a living being begins, or (2) at the implantation of the egg into the uterus of the mother. At one of these two points the small individual is doing everything that is required to be considered life.
No it\'s not. It\'s doing everything it needs to do to be considered an embryo or fetus. There is a reason that it\'s not called a baby. To me, life requires at very least breathing and a heartbeat. That does not exist at conception. Further, that cannot be done without significant help from \"artificial\" and \"outside\" means before the seventh or eighth month. Even some normally delivered babies require incubators and the like. Point is, how can you call it life if it cannot survive on its own, and has never been able to do so? Would it be OK if a 4 month old fetus was delivered, hooked up to machines to keep it alive by artificial means, and then the mother decided to \'pull the plug\' that way? How is that a different situation from the one in which is a person is injured and on life support?

The issue of life is not so simple. If a wife and mother of two who was 4 months pregnant in an intended pregnancy and she got shot, I know a whole lot of people that would want the shooter prosecuted for TWO murders. Likewise, many of those SAME PEOPLE would feel that if an unwed 17 year old was raped she should be able to abort the pregnancy. The issue is NOT a simple one, let\'s just agree on that right now.


Lastly, in your scenario above there is NO CRIME. C\'mon Scotty, if you went to the same law school as Gator then you should know - in order for there to be murder there mst be a life taken. In law, you could not establish that the woman took a life, so she is innocent of all charges!

By the way, what kind of law do you practice?

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Old 07-22-2004, 11:17 AM   #44
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What about the death penalty? If your opinion is that a life is a life, you must oppose the death penalty right? A situation in which artificial means are being employed to kill someone?? My guess is that you don\'t oppose capital punishment, but I\'ll let you answer. If my hunch is right, why isn\'t a life a life?
You\'re right, I do not oppose capital punishment, but I have struggled with it. The thing is there are three purposes for any sentence given to a convict: (1) punishment, (2) deterance, and (3) protection of the public. I think 1 and 3 could just as easily be satisfied by life imprisonment in the case of first degree murder as the death penalty, although whether life imprisonment is adequate punishment is arguable.

The law is supposed to be a deterent. The greater the crime, the greater the sentence. IMO, this aspect is not working very well in out country right now, but it is a part.

Obviously, the death penalty is taking a life, no question. However, we\'re talking about a life that got to make the decisions to participate in the first degree murder for which it is being put to death. That is vastly different that the decisions made by the unborn child. Add to that that the government takes 10 to 20 years in most cases to kill a convicted killer with all the appeals and everything. That\'s a lot of extra time making sure that everything was done right. (Not that there aren\'t errors.)

To sum up I\'ll just say, they are both lives. One deserving of death, the other not.

Point is, how can you call it life if it cannot survive on its own, and has never been able to do so? Would it be OK if a 4 month old fetus was delivered, hooked up to machines to keep it alive by artificial means, and then the mother decided to \'pull the plug\' that way? How is that a different situation from the one in which is a person is injured and on life support?
Another very close question. I am not a medical doctor, but I believe I am correct to say that most injured people on life supprt do not improve over time and there is no outlook for them to do so. The injured person could live for many years without improvement. The four month old baby on the other hand is not likely to survive even with help of machines, but, IF it does, there IS going to be significant improvement in its status from day-to-day, week-to-week, in most cases.

It\'s doing everything it needs to do to be considered an embryo or fetus. There is a reason that it\'s not called a baby.
I call it a baby. Embryo, fetus, infant, toddler, pre-teen, teenager, adult, middleaged, senior citizen. All terms for stages of life. Fetus is the word typically used by pro-abortionists because they don\'t want to think about what it is they are killing.

To me, life requires at very least breathing and a heartbeat.
I saw my daughter\'s heartbeat at 5 weeks via ultrasound. It was likely to have been there before that but she was too small too see with the machine we were using.

Breathing can be accomplished in many different ways. It is whatever way you receive the atoms of gas required to sustain your life. The unborn child receives it through the umbilical cord. When the mother\'s oxygen supplies drops the baby immediately responds with a droop in its heartrate.

Fish do not breathe like you, but they are alive. Plants have neither a heartbeat nor breathe like you, but they are alive.

many of those SAME PEOPLE would feel that if an unwed 17 year old was raped she should be able to abort the pregnancy. The issue is NOT a simple one, let\'s just agree on that right now.
Again, you,re right. This is not a simple example. I suggested in a post above that we keep it on the more simple level than bringing in rape, risk to mother\'s life, etc., to try to keep from getting overbroad in the discussion. My question is even if the raped girl were completely blameless, i.e., she wasn\'t out where she shouldn\'t have been, she was home asleep, why is the baby the only one in the scenario to pay the ultimate price? The rapist goes to jail. The woman either goes through the abortion or the pregnancy at a minimum. The child dies, if she chooses abortion. For the innocent party that seems a bit harsh to me.

By the way, what kind of law do you practice?
Unfortunately, divorce and such. I started my own practice as soon as a passed the bar so I pretty much have to take what I can get right now. I am also licensed to sell real estate so I hope to combine the two and start doing real estate related law exclusively in the next couple of years. I\'ve only been at it a little over two years so there\'s still a long way to go yet.

Funny thing is, there are two major misconceptions about law school graduates. First, everyone thinks they have money when they leave school. So not true! With the cost of school itself I\'ll be paying the rest of my life. Second, everyone seems to think that the law school graduate knows everything about the law. You think you\'re learning so much when you\'re in school, but when you hit the real world and start getting asked questions, you realize that what they taught you was the tip of the tip of the iceberg.

I keep saying one of these days I\'ll get one of those multi-million dollar personal injury cases and I\'ll never miss another Saints game, but I\'m not holding my breath.
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Old 07-22-2004, 02:48 PM   #45
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Scotty, let me first say this. Thank you. Seriously. This is one of the best discussions I\'ve had in a LONG time on this board. You make very strong points, support them well, and do so without mentioning my anti-life agenda or suggesting I\'m high on some type of anesthetic.

Additionally, good luck with your practice. As a small business owner myself, I know how difficult it can be. Also, after nearly a decade in the IT field I have just started part-time at Loyola Law School up here in Chicago. Might have to ask you a question from time to time. Just getting started and Lord knows why I want to change careers all of a sudden (not really all of a sudden, but...), but I\'m doing it. So far I\'m loving it.


In any case, back to the subject at hand. It\'s interesting that you make a distinction between justifiable killings. You say that capital punishment is a good deterent, and that, amongst other things, makes that killing justifiable. (We could get into whether or not it truly deters anyone, which I doubt, but that\'s another matter all together). In essence, it seems to me that you\'re saying that it is OK to take one life in order to fulfill a perception that others will be saved or made better as a result.

Can the same argument not be made for abortion, in certain cases? The welfare mother with too many kids already and a drug habit - does the taking of one life not, at least theoritically, help the others? I may not be making this argument as well as I mean, bt hopefully you get the point. Why is it justifiable to kill in one instance, if it will supposedly help others, but not in another similar/comparable instance?

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Old 07-22-2004, 02:51 PM   #46
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PS - I think we\'re a little off-topic here. The issue to me is choice. I personally am not a big fan of abortion (though I do think there are times when it is justified). Still, no matter how I feel, unless someone can PROVE to me when ife begins (rather than SPECULATE as to its beginning or offer PERSONAL BELIEFS as to when it starts), than I cannot condone banning the procedure. Civil liberties my friend - in the event there is no clear answer, I will always err on the side of giving people choice.
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Old 07-22-2004, 06:23 PM   #47
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Wow, I\'m starting to feel sorry that I don\'t have a bit more time to devote to this these days.

Here are somethings:

(1) ScottyRo, your points about the law confuse me a bit. I thought we were discussing whether or not it is ok for a woman to get an abortion - not whether or not it should be legal. I think that morality and legality can be easily separated. For example, I don\'t think that racist language is ok, even if it is defended by the law. I also don\'t think that slavery was ok for awhile just because it was legal. I only mention this, since I\'m not really all that concerned about what laws we should have - I was more interested in what is morally good/bad.

(2) I agree that Jones is \"somewhat\" active. He forms an intent. Try the reverse of the case then. Two guys, Smith and Jones, are hurring to an important business meeting. Smith and Jones pass by a pond every morning on their way to work. Today there is a boy drowning in the pool. Smith looks and sees the boy, but decides that the meeting is more important - thus, he lets the boy die. In Jones case, he his hurring by the pond and accidentally bumps a boy who falls in the pond and drowns. Jones knows that the boy fell in the pond but doesn\'t care since he\'s in a hurry. The boy dies. In this case, Smith makes a decision not to save the boy - but doesn\'t actively do anything. Jones actively does something, but doesn\'t make a decision regarding the life of the boy at all (as he is roughly unaware that the boy will drown). Who is worse Smith or Jones? In this case the active/passive distinction, it seems, is only one of the many factors that enter into a moral judgement.

I like your earlier point, but I\'m not ready to grant it just yet. This new case shows that simply being the cause of something (causally responsible) is only a small part of the picture, since someone can be responsible without being the cause (Smith). Thus, I don\'t think that a moral argument can be made on the grounds that the woman is \"responsible\" alone. There are two problems with that: (1) \"responsible\" is ambiguous, and (2) active vs passive is not a simple two place decision tool - without a bunch of other information, it is hard to say what role it plays in a moral judgement.

(3) My point about \"intention\" was that it alone is insufficient to make moral judgements. You seem to agree - since you think the consequences of the action also matter (at least that was my understanding of your response above). Thus, I think my point stands (though I\'d be happy to hear more) that a woman\'s having sex is not the same as intending to have a baby. If intentions truly matter for punishments/consequences, then the woman\'s having sex is irrelevant without additional context. She did not intend to get pregnant, even if she did intend to enjoy some sex. If \"having to keep the baby\" depends on \"her choosing to have sex\", then I think there is a mistake - she intended to have sex but took precautions to avoid pregnancy (a foreseeable but small possibility) then she did not \"choose\" to get pregnant and cannot be required to keep the baby on those grounds.

(4) WhoDat, I don\'t think the abortion issue needs to be decided on the grounds of when a fetus is a person. We make choices that cause people to die all the time. If the circumstances are right, it may be ok to kill the child (before being born) EVEN IF the fetus is a person. That was the argument I tried to make earlier concerning \"right to life\" versus \"right to use\". I think that ScottyRo replied to that in decent fashion for one version of such an arugment, but there is much more to be said about that.

(5) ScottyRo, I like your point against my view about the value of death, but I think we\'re talking past eachother. This goes back to my separation of legality and morality. I don\'t think that there should be exceptions in the law for killing someone who is of little relevance, but I do think there is a moral difference. I\'ll think more about this, but I think that your reply missed its mark (not in a bad way, I haven\'t been very clear yet).

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Old 07-22-2004, 06:37 PM   #48
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Just one other question: is anyone a vegetarian?

If not, what is the difference between a baby (embryo, or what have you) and a cow?

Without religious arguments, I think you\'ll see how this might make some points to back up the pro-abortion side.

This was just a thought, so please don\'t take it the wrong way. I am not a vegetarian (though, sadly, I\'ve considered it a few times); I think it may well be inconsistent to eat meat and be anti-abortion (without some good arguing).

For the record, I\'m pretty well on the same page as WhoDat regarding choice in this case. I don\'t think that is central to any of the arguments we are currently considering, but I thought I\'d put that out there.

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Old 07-22-2004, 06:42 PM   #49
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PS

I\'m not in favor of abortion as birth control. However, I think that laws that outright block abortions are not sensitive to cases which it should be sensitive too (and, yes, here I\'m going to talk about the law, even if that makes me a bit uncomfortable). It seems to me that abortions in the following cases should be allowed (and I\'m sure there are others): rape, incest, and high risk to the mother\'s life. In those cases, it doesn\'t seem that the child\'s life (which is difficult to value, since we have no idea how it will turn out) is not worth the very serious psychological and physical damage that is usually inflicted on the mother by having to bear these children. (Nnot to mention the fact that the woman\'s life is a known value, since she is probably over 13 we have a good idea of her psychological traits, family life, future quality of life and so on; so if we were making some sort of comparison argument you have a virtual unknown versus a pretty well known.)

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Old 07-22-2004, 11:14 PM   #50
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Also, after nearly a decade in the IT field I have just started part-time at Loyola Law School up here in Chicago. Might have to ask you a question from time to time. Just getting started and Lord knows why I want to change careers all of a sudden (not really all of a sudden, but...), but I\'m doing it. So far I\'m loving it.
I would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have. I\'d probably be better to relate my experiences to you than figuring out some highly intellectual fine point in the law, but I would love to try as well. I hope that the Loyola part0time program isn\'t as competitive and cutthroat as some of the schools I\'ve heard about, specifically LSU. MC was pretty laid back and most of us tried to rally together against the professors rather than tear each other down. I wish you the best of luck.

I think we\'re a little off-topic here. The issue to me is choice.
It is easy to get off topic on such big issue as this. I want to respond to some of the most recent things and I\'ll start forming my purely choice arguments.

I will always err on the side of giving people choice.
What\'s wrong with erring on the side of saving the child - just in case it is alive?

In essence, it seems to me that you\'re saying that it is OK to take one life in order to fulfill a perception that others will be saved or made better as a result.
The are everyday examples of this outside of this debate. Self-defense is a justifiable killing. It protects the life of the person being threatened. Defense of a third party is also a justifiable killing. It protects the life of others. War is justifiable killing. It keeps Saddam from using WMD, er, I mean... he needed to be taken out a long time ago.

All of these, including capital punishment, are tragic deaths, but justified by the circumstances.

I only mention this, since I\'m not really all that concerned about what laws we should have - I was more interested in what is morally good/bad.
I only went into the law on the intention question because that was all I knew about intent so I used those examples. Same with justifiable killing.

Thus, I think my point stands (though I\'d be happy to hear more) that a woman\'s having sex is not the same as intending to have a baby. If intentions truly matter for punishments/consequences, then the woman\'s having sex is irrelevant without additional context.
In the woman\'s mind, just because she has sex does not mean that she intended to get pregnant. I\'ll admit that as true without using the way intent is used in law. I\'m going to use \"responsibility\" in the next example even though you think it is vague because I can\'t think of a better phrase.

I decide as a gag to shoot you in the leg. There is no intent to kill and, being a good marksman, I take every precaution to make sure that hit you in a place not likely to kill you. You consent to this action. Unfortunately, you die from the wound anyway. Am I not responsible for your death? It may not be first degree murder but I think it qualifies as scond (no matter what I might be able to plead it down to). Thus, I will have to take responsibility for your death by going to jail.

The woman decides to have sex for pleasure. There is no overt intent to get pregnant and, being a good girl, she takes every precaution to prevent pregnancy (pill plus condum). The man consents to this action (as always). Unfortunately, she becomes pregnant anyway. Is she not responsible for the pregnancy in the same way as the murder above? The consequences should be different, obviously, but I say a short nine-month \"sentence\" of pregnancy is not cruel. (It is unusual considering society\'s present stance.) All without injuring the innocent party.

If not, what is the difference between a baby (embryo, or what have you) and a cow?
The same difference as there is between you and a cow. On even the most basic level, DNA and such, there is a vast difference. Vast might be an overstatement, but even if 99.99% of the genes are the same, the difference is a completely different organism.

I think it may well be inconsistent to eat meat and be anti-abortion
I assume you mean this in conjunction with your \"cow\" statement above. I\'ll need more if you disagree with my response. Otherwise, I\'m sticking with steaks!

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