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#1
In England, if a pregnant mother is found to be carrying a child with severe disabilities, the mother is offered an abortion.

This got me thinking. If doctors can abort children with severe disabilities, why dont they abort children with severe genetic conditions that may not show up until later in life?

This is not an abortion/anti abortion argument. This is a debate on the ethics of aborting disabled babies and babies with severe genetic diseases.

To start off with, the main issue would be where do we cut off the line between what a severe genetic disease is and one that is not severe. How do we gauge the severity of the disease? Some diseases such as diabetes can be controlled and do not cause as much suffering as something such as cystic fibrosis. Both are debilitating yet one is more controllable than the other.

Would it be okay to abort a baby with cystic fibrosis and let a baby with diabetes live, or is it acceptable to abort both should the parents decide it is for the best.

Another issue would be do we allow genetic screening for diseases that may cause a problem in later life, such has increased incidence of heart attacks.

The upside of this would be that by removing weaker genes from the gene pool, in the long run the gene pool becomes strengthened and as a result the medical services are less burdened because we have removed the weaker genes from the gene pool.

However, there are two issues here:

1. Eugenics. It sounds distinctly like Hitlers "aryan race" arguments to strengthen the gene pool etc.

2. There is technology for "designer babies." This means that parents can choose traits of their babies. Which only adds another question.

Where to we draw the line between desigining babies so they do not have the genes for genetic diseases and screening them for attributes such as height, good looks etc.

Discuss basically.
Sat in a lab, curing diseases. They actually LET me play with chemicals!
#2
Go watch the movie Gattaca.
Then, report back to the pit.
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#3
Always with the gene pool! What's with you?

I'm in bed right now, if this is still going tomorrow I'll contribute for reals.
#4
Quote by Renka
Always with the gene pool! What's with you?

I'm in bed right now, if this is still going tomorrow I'll contribute for reals.


Lol just trying to start some healthy debate... Though this thread is heading for fail pretty fast.
Sat in a lab, curing diseases. They actually LET me play with chemicals!
#6
It all goes down to QALYs in a way. A person with a late onset genetic disorder will have many years of high standard of living, while someone with a severe embryological disorder will poor standard of life from the beginning.
#7
Stephen Hawkins had a serve genetic condition that started to show up when he was doing his PHD and rendered him a cripple for the rest of his life. Though most people speculated at the time when Hawkins was doing his PHD that he wouldn't live for more than 3-4months, he managed to stay alive till now and is still writing amazing books!


Now what if doctors would have had decided to abort Hawkins when he was a baby cuz they found out he had a degenerative nerve disease which would after a few years render him a cripple for the rest of his life?
We wouldn't have known about Black Holes and many other major advances in the world on Theoretical Physics....!!!

Just a thought!!
#8
Quote by Guitardude19
This is not an abortion/anti abortion argument. This is a debate on the ethics of aborting disabled babies and babies with severe genetic diseases.


It isn't so much about ethics, as it is choice.

An abortion is not foisted upon the mother; the mother chooses it.
Terms and Conditions apply.
#9
Quote by cagnius
It isn't so much about ethics, as it is choice.

An abortion is not foisted upon the mother; the mother chooses it.


Ah I know its choice, but the choice is only offered for those carrying a child with the most severe cases of disabilities. As far as I am aware.
Sat in a lab, curing diseases. They actually LET me play with chemicals!
#11
Quote by Guitardude19
Ah I know its choice, but the choice is only offered for those carrying a child with the most severe cases of disabilities. As far as I am aware.


It isn't a choice offered by the doctors, though. It is a choice by the mother. A mother can choose abort her child anyway.

I really don't think ethics come into it (they do, but they come conceptually after the black/white choice of what to do).
Terms and Conditions apply.
#12
Quote by cagnius
It isn't a choice offered by the doctors, though. It is a choice by the mother. A mother can choose abort her child anyway.

I really don't think ethics come into it (they do, but they come conceptually after the black/white choice of what to do).


Ah because I was talking to someone who said late term abortions are justifiable if the child is disabled and above the legal term for an abortion.
Sat in a lab, curing diseases. They actually LET me play with chemicals!
#13
I think the threadstarter fundamentally misunderstands the situation. There is a big difference between a doctor saying "your child might be disabled - consider an abortion" and offering abortion as a matter of course and subsequently letting the parents know if it is discovered it's likely the child could be disabled.
#14
Quote by cagnius
It isn't a choice offered by the doctors, though. It is a choice by the mother. A mother can choose abort her child anyway.

I really don't think ethics come into it (they do, but they come conceptually after the black/white choice of what to do).

Ethics sure does come into it.
Actually its all about medical ethics where the hospital can decide whether they're gonna abort the baby or not even if the mother is for or against it.
Ethics is a big topic in medicine now days. A lot revolves around it. I'm a med student so i sorta know that...
#15
I don't see a problem with it as long as we don't have mandatory selective eugenics. Meaning, the mother has the option, which she has anyway, but you don't have the gov't or something forcing mothers to abort unborn fetuses with disabilities.
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#16
Quote by Guitardude19
Ah because I was talking to someone who said late term abortions are justifiable if the child is disabled and above the legal term for an abortion.


Right, sorry, I didn't pick up on the late abortion thing. My bad.

Either way, it is still a choice; it is essentially a further defence to the crime of abortion offered outwith the typical period. It still boils down to the mother, though.

Quote by af_the_fragile
Ethics sure does come into it.
Actually its all about medical ethics where the hospital can decide whether they're gonna abort the baby or not even if the mother is for or against it.
Ethics is a big topic in medicine now days. A lot revolves around it. I'm a med student so i sorta know that...


Doctors will only decide on behalf of a patient when they have no cognitive ability to make decisions and they lack a curator bonis. Otherwise they will be liable under delict/tort.
Terms and Conditions apply.
#17
Quote by Kid_Thorazine
I don't see a problem with it as long as we don't have mandatory selective eugenics. Meaning, the mother has the option, which she has anyway, but you don't have the gov't or something forcing mothers to abort unborn fetuses with disabilities.


I was going to add this: Should it be forced but I didnt want to add something that was so outrageous.
Sat in a lab, curing diseases. They actually LET me play with chemicals!
#18
^But what if the kid grows up to do something great??

Beethoven was deaf and he's considered one of the greatest composers there have ever been.
Stephen Hawkins became a cripple midway through his life and he completely revolutionized Theoretical Physics.

and there are many more people like this who had serve disabilities but still managed to do something great in their lives.
#19
Quote by cagnius

Doctors will only decide on behalf of a patient when they have no cognitive ability to make decisions and they lack a curator bonis. Otherwise they will be liable under delict/tort.

A doctor cannot do something against the patient's will. But if the patient asks for something thats against the rules of the hospitals ethics, the doctors can/will refuse to do it.

Its just like if a person wants to die and asks a doctor to give him/her the lethal injection, the doctor will usually reject it cuz its against the ethics.

Now whats with and against the ethics is a different and completely debatable subject!


Sorry for double post.
#20
Quote by af_the_fragile
A doctor cannot do something against the patient's will. But if the patient asks for something thats against the rules of the hospitals ethics, the doctors can/will refuse to do it.

Its just like if a person wants to die and asks a doctor to give him/her the lethal injection, the doctor will usually reject it cuz its against the ethics.

Now whats with and against the ethics is a different and completely debatable subject!


Sorry for double post.


I'm well aware of medical ethics but you miss my point: doctors have been faced with making decisions when the person has no cognitive ability and has no curator bonis.
Terms and Conditions apply.
#21
Quote by smb
I think the threadstarter fundamentally misunderstands the situation. There is a big difference between a doctor saying "your child might be disabled - consider an abortion" and offering abortion as a matter of course and subsequently letting the parents know if it is discovered it's likely the child could be disabled.


Bad wording on my part. The mother can choose to abort the child. The doctor can advise it (under my current understanding) if the child poses a risk as well.
Sat in a lab, curing diseases. They actually LET me play with chemicals!
#22
Quote by cagnius
I'm well aware of medical ethics but you miss my point: doctors have been faced with making decisions when the person has no cognitive ability and has no curator bonis.

Well, different countries and hospitals work according to different ethics.
Like in Ireland, i don't really think there are any circumstances where you can abort a baby.
While in other countries, things are much different.


Anyway,
I personally don't believe a baby with some sorta genetic defect that cannot be treated should be aborted.
There are too many variables here.
First you never know, by the time the baby grows up, there could be a medical breakthrough and the baby's defect could be cured.
Or as i gave examples before, the baby could still grow up to do something great even with the serious defects he's got.

We can't be like the Spartans to discard off any baby that looks or feels abnormal. That would make us no different from the Nazi's!
Last edited by af_the_fragile at May 5, 2008,
#23
If the mother doesn't want a disabled child, for whatever reason, she should have the right to abort it. I'd imagine raising a handicapped child is very challenging, so I can understand where this is coming from.

Now I'm gonna wait for people to come in and complain "Oh, so you're saying disabled people aren't as good as normal people?!?!"

Quote by af_the_fragile
Well, different countries and hospitals work according to different ethics.
Like in Ireland, i don't really think there are any circumstances where you can abort a baby.
While in other countries, things are much different.


Anyway,
I personally don't believe a baby with some sorta genetic defect that cannot be treated should be aborted.
There are too many variables here.
First you never know, by the time the baby grows up, there could be a medical breakthrough and the baby's defect could be cured.
Or as i gave examples before, the baby could still grow up to do something great even with the serious defects he's got.

We can't be like the Spartans to discard off any baby that looks or feels abnormal. That would make us no different from the Nazi's!

The Nazi's did it out of hatred. A pregnant woman has multiple reasons to consider it.
Quote by Kensai
Forget about her, she seems complicated. Who wants a girl who answers in riddles? I'm not the fucking sfinx.

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Sunglasses?

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#24
Quote by nosushi4you
If the mother doesn't want a disabled child, for whatever reason, she should have the right to abort it. I'd imagine raising a handicapped child is very challenging, so I can understand where this is coming from.

Now I'm gonna wait for people to come in and complain "Oh, so you're saying disabled people aren't as good as normal people?!?!"

Whats wrong with that complain??

And if a kid has an accident and becomes disabled, is it okay to then kill the kid?! Afterall it would be really hard to raise a "newly" handicapped kid too!!

Or for that sake what about if he's dyslexic or has some mental condition? Even they're hard to raise.

Again, if you go ahead killing disabled kids, you'ld be no different than a Nazi. And why do people hate Nazi's??

Quote by nosushi4you

The Nazi's did it out of hatred. A pregnant woman has multiple reasons to consider it.

And what could those reasons be?
The only place where abortion can be justified is where the mother's own life is on line. If there is a situation that the mother would die if the baby is not aborted, then it is fine to abort the baby.

Killing a life for one's comforts cannot be justified!
Last edited by af_the_fragile at May 5, 2008,
#25
Quote by af_the_fragile
And if a kid has an accident and becomes disabled, is it okay to then kill the kid?! Afterall it would be really hard to raise a "newly" handicapped kid too!!
I'm concerned about your thinking if you can't see the difference between abortion and killing a living child.
Quote by af_the_fragile
Killing a life for one's comforts cannot be justified!
I suppose you think a foetus is somehow more alive than, say, a cow or a pig.
#26
Quote by smb
I'm concerned about your thinking if you can't see the difference between abortion and killing a living child.

I thought we were speaking about killing a baby/fetus cuz it is disabled here...

Again, how different is a fetus from a living child??
Only difference between a fetus and a living child is that a fetus is immobilised for a few weeks before it can do anything.

Quote by smb
I'm concerned about your thinking if you can't see the difference between abortion and killing a living child.I suppose you think a foetus is somehow more alive than, say, a cow or a pig.

So a human fetus is just another animal... more like an egg that you can eat every morning??
#27
howed you like it if you hadn't even woken up before you died, when you couldof lived a life for some time and then we can tell you about your disability later in life and you can choose to die or not. problem solved
PSN: KevGuy47
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#28
Quote by af_the_fragile
I thought we were speaking about killing a baby/fetus cuz it is disabled here...

Again, how different is a fetus from a living child??
Only difference between a fetus and a living child is that a fetus is immobilised for a few weeks before it can do anything.


So a human fetus is just another animal... more like an egg that you can eat every morning??

First off, it's not born yet... It hasn't accomplished anything. It doesn't know what's going on. That's a lot different than grabbing little Timmy off the sidewalk and shooting him.

There's definitely reasons to justify abortion. Such as rape, poor living conditions, age, etc...
Quote by Kensai
Forget about her, she seems complicated. Who wants a girl who answers in riddles? I'm not the fucking sfinx.

Quote by Rambo-Conny
Woah, woah. Back the hell up.

Polo shirt?

Sunglasses?

Of course he got all the girls, he's Rick Astley.
#29
Quote by Kevguy47
howed you like it if you hadn't even woken up before you died, when you couldof lived a life for some time and then we can tell you about your disability later in life and you can choose to die or not. problem solved

How would you feel if you had an accident and became a cripple and your family decided to kill you cuz you couldn't move or speak?!

No one can decide when they wanna chose to live or die... well, they can, but its not justified. Why do people look down upon suicide?

But then thats going into religion n all... so huh, i'm not gonna argue more here.

Quote by nosushi4you
First off, it's not born yet... It hasn't accomplished anything. It doesn't know what's going on. That's a lot different than grabbing little Timmy off the sidewalk and shooting him.

There's definitely reasons to justify abortion. Such as rape, poor living conditions, age, etc...

Rape, makes sense. Age, maybe. Poor living conditions, unlikely, its again getting into abortion for comfort!

If a fetus isn't born yet doesn't mean its not alive. It has a fully functioning organs, a nervous system, lungs that breathe and a heart that beats. How different is it from a born child?!

I doubt a 3yr old kid has accomplished anything in his life either. I doubt for that sake even you have accomplished anything significant in your life either that would matter to any of us.
Last edited by af_the_fragile at May 5, 2008,
#30
Quote by af_the_fragile
Only difference between a fetus and a living child is that a fetus is immobilised for a few weeks before it can do anything.


So a human fetus is just another animal... more like an egg that you can eat every morning??
There are many more differences between a foetus and a fully-qualified human-being than mobility. And sure, why not when a cow is much more aware and intelligent than an unborn child? But I guess I'm arguing with someone who gets their moral prescriptions from an old book.
#31
I don't care whether or not you think abortion is wrong. People should have the right to one regardless of what right-wing religious types think.
Quote by Kensai
Forget about her, she seems complicated. Who wants a girl who answers in riddles? I'm not the fucking sfinx.

Quote by Rambo-Conny
Woah, woah. Back the hell up.

Polo shirt?

Sunglasses?

Of course he got all the girls, he's Rick Astley.
#32
Neither Beethoven nor Hawkings was born that way.

They developed in later in life.
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#33
Quote by Kevguy47
howed you like it if you hadn't even woken up before you died, when you couldof lived a life for some time and then we can tell you about your disability later in life and you can choose to die or not. problem solved

Umm, they don't know they're getting aborted. That's like asking, "How would you like it if you weren't born?

I'd be fine with it, considering I wouldn't know what was going on.
Quote by Kensai
Forget about her, she seems complicated. Who wants a girl who answers in riddles? I'm not the fucking sfinx.

Quote by Rambo-Conny
Woah, woah. Back the hell up.

Polo shirt?

Sunglasses?

Of course he got all the girls, he's Rick Astley.
#34
Quote by Kevguy47
howed you like it if you hadn't even woken up before you died, when you couldof lived a life for some time and then we can tell you about your disability later in life and you can choose to die or not. problem solved


I probably wouldn't feel it??

I am for abortion, but I don't think they should abort someone because he is going to have diabetes. Maybe something more severe, harlequin fetus for an example, yes, but again, mother's choice.
#35
I agree with Nosushi4you. The child is clueless as to what's going on. And if its disabled, it would probably have to live one horrid life...
NICKtothecore.
#36
Quote by smb
There are many more differences between a foetus and a fully-qualified human-being than mobility. And sure, why not when a cow is much more aware and intelligent than an unborn child? But I guess I'm arguing with someone who gets their moral prescriptions from an old book.

I don't get my moral perspectives from an old book. I'm a medical student. I know a fetus is very much alive and in all sense (no pun, actually why not!) not much different from a newborn child.
For some reason its okay to kill a fetus but its frowned upon to kill a newborn child.

Again, you can't compare a cow or anyother animal to a human.
According to your logic, its okay to kill and eat dead babies too then. We can kill a fully intelligent and aware cow, so why can't we kill a dumb, unintelligent baby?!
#37
Quote by af_the_fragile
Well, different countries and hospitals work according to different ethics.
Like in Ireland, i don't really think there are any circumstances where you can abort a baby.
While in other countries, things are much different.


Anyway,
I personally don't believe a baby with some sorta genetic defect that cannot be treated should be aborted.
There are too many variables here.
First you never know, by the time the baby grows up, there could be a medical breakthrough and the baby's defect could be cured.
Or as i gave examples before, the baby could still grow up to do something great even with the serious defects he's got.

We can't be like the Spartans to discard off any baby that looks or feels abnormal. That would make us no different from the Nazi's!


Yes we can, and we should. If spirits are real then the kid will be reborn as a better body. Plus the Spartans weren't Nazis, they didn't commit genocide. They killed Immortals and dinned in hell.
#38
Quote by af_the_fragile
I don't get my moral perspectives from an old book. I'm a medical student. I know a fetus is very much alive and in all sense (no pun, actually why not!) not much different from a newborn child.
For some reason its okay to kill a fetus but its frowned upon to kill a newborn child.

Again, you can't compare a cow or anyother animal to a human.
According to your logic, its okay to kill and eat dead babies too then. We can kill a fully intelligent and aware cow, so why can't we kill a dumb, unintelligent baby?!



If a newborn was disabled too badly, I think it also should be euthanized. What's in the point in living, if you can't live it to the fullest?
NICKtothecore.
#39
Quote by af_the_fragile
How would you feel if you had an accident and became a cripple and your family decided to kill you cuz you couldn't move or speak?!

No one can decide when they wanna chose to live or die... well, they can, but its not justified. Why do people look down upon suicide?

But then thats going into religion n all... so huh, i'm not gonna argue more here.


Rape, makes sense. Age, maybe. Poor living conditions, unlikely, its again getting into abortion for comfort!

If a fetus isn't born yet doesn't mean its not alive. It has a fully functioning organs, a nervous system, lungs that breathe and a heart that beats. How different is it from a born child?!

I doubt a 3yr old kid has accomplished anything in his life either. I doubt for that sake even you have accomplished anything significant in your life either that would matter to any of us.

And fingernails!

It doesn't matter what organs it has. It doesn't have the ability to reason. Isn't that what you religious types claim sets us apart from animals?

And by "accomplished anything", I mean it hasn't set foot onto this world. It hasn't experienced anything besides the mother's womb. Living conditions do matter. People out there have many problems, such as financial, addictions, anger issues. I'd say that's a good reason not to bring a child into this world.
Quote by Kensai
Forget about her, she seems complicated. Who wants a girl who answers in riddles? I'm not the fucking sfinx.

Quote by Rambo-Conny
Woah, woah. Back the hell up.

Polo shirt?

Sunglasses?

Of course he got all the girls, he's Rick Astley.
#40
Quote by nosushi4you
And fingernails!

It doesn't matter what organs it has. It doesn't have the ability to reason. Isn't that what you religious types claim sets us apart from animals?

And by "accomplished anything", I mean it hasn't set foot onto this world. It hasn't experienced anything besides the mother's womb. Living conditions do matter. People out there have many problems, such as financial, addictions, anger issues. I'd say that's a good reason not to bring a child into this world.

Even babies don't properly develop the ability to reason till they're like 4 or 5yrs old. New borns have no more development of reason than a fetus.

What difference does it make if the fetus is outside the womb? A new born baby hasn't experienced anything either besides its mother and the strange people around. Even then it makes no difference to it.

And a fetus can grow up into a perfectly healthy individual even if its delivered upto 2 months before its normal delivery date. This shows that fetus in the womb are still "alive" and no different than normal babies.

If the mother can't take care of the child, it can always give it away for adoption.

And if the child has some serious genetic disease which couldn't be cured and would make his life really tough, something like Sickle Cell Anemia, the person will still live upto an age of 20-30years and will be able to experience life. I can't think of anything worse than that. And the Harlequin fetus thing is extremely rare. You're highly unlikely to ever come across anyone who knew anyone who had a baby with that disorder.
I think the person would chose living over being discarded before he could be given the chance of life.
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