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Thursday, January 24, 2019

Abortion and the law

Yet another area where there is far more heat than light. But since New York has just passed a new law on abortion, I'd be interested in some clarification.

"§ 2599-BB. ABORTION. 1. A HEALTH CARE PRACTITIONER LICENSED, CERTIFIED, OR AUTHORIZED UNDER TITLE EIGHT OF THE EDUCATION LAW, ACTING WITHIN HIS OR HER LAWFUL SCOPE OF PRACTICE, MAY PERFORM AN ABORTION WHEN, ACCORDING TO THE PRACTITIONER'S REASONABLE AND GOOD FAITH PROFESSIONAL JUDGMENT BASED ON THE FACTS OF THE PATIENT'S CASE: THE PATIENT IS WITHIN TWENTY-FOUR WEEKS FROM THE COMMENCEMENT OF PREGNANCY, OR THERE IS AN ABSENCE OF FETAL VIABILITY, OR THE ABORTION IS NECESSARY TO PROTECT THE PATIENT'S LIFE OR HEALTH."
https://www.news10.com/news/local-news/full-text-read-the-full-text-of-the-reproductive-heath-act/1718439748

What counts as "health" in this context? Is this defined in other legislation?

The Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child - founded by Christians but not limiting its membership to them - says:

"... 97pc of the almost 200,000 abortions which occur annually in the UK, take place under the 'mental health' ground.

"In fact, these abortions [in Ireland] are almost always for socio-economic reasons," a fact acknowledged by the Joint Committee on the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, which said in its report of Irish women who travel for abortion or obtain pills: "What became clear during evidence is that the majority of terminations are for socio-economic reasons"."
https://www.spuc.org.uk/news/news-stories/2018/may/dont-use-mental-health-to-justify-abortion-law-change-psychiatrists-warn

Is it necessary to be a Bible-thumper to feel concerned at the potential inhabiting this seemingly vague legal terminology?

Is this a "freedom" cause for the Left and/or libertarians, and/or does it suit those (on the Right?) who see aborting the poor as a way to reduce crime, as per the findings of the authors of "Freakonomics"?

Or should one not ask any of these questions, and pass by on the other side, pretending not to notice?

5 comments:

Paddington said...

The reality is that we all make decisions which result in the deaths of other human beings, from tax decisions, to building large structures, to going to war.

Abortion is special, because what is being discussed is a baby, and we are biologically programmed to want to protect them.

However, there are significant numbers of loud voices in the US who want to completely ban the practice, and simultaneously remove all of the help for poor parents. Some are even open enough to explain that children are punishment for sex.

I know which side I support, queasily.

Sackerson said...

I'm against aggressive war also, as (supposedly) is international law.

The other two examples you give don't, I think, involve intentional destruction of human life.

Paddington said...

What is different is the pre-knowledge of who dies. That someone will die is a given, statistically.

Sackerson said...

"That someone will die is a given, statistically." That would also apply to crossing a road, or going downstairs in a house.

It's a question of primary intent. For example in the case of euthanasia: in the UK it's illegal (though the law is being nibbled away at the edges), but drug doses for palliative care can be increased to help the patient cope with increasing pain, to the point where death becomes a distinct possibility. As long as that is not the main point of administering the drug, the doctor is protected from prosecution.

Sackerson said...

Btw if children are a "punishment for sex" then the loud moralisers you quote may reconsider their view on abortion. As Barnacle Bill says, "Drown the b and f for another."

That might suit the Right not only economically but on racialist grounds also:

https://www.politifact.com/texas/statements/2015/nov/25/cynthia-meyer/cynthia-meyer-says-more-black-babies-are-aborted-n/