Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Palin's Down syndrome child and the right to abortion

Like many, I am troubled by the implications of Alaska governor and Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin's decision to knowingly give birth to a child disabled with Down syndrome. Given that Palin's decision is being celebrated in some quarters, it is crucial to reaffirm the morality of aborting a fetus diagnosed with Down syndrome (or by extension, any unborn fetus)—a freedom that anti-abortion advocates seek to deny.

A parent has a moral obligation to provide for his or her children until these children are equipped to provide for themselves. Because a person afflicted with Down syndrome is only capable of being marginally productive (if at all) and requires constant care and supervision, unless a parent enjoys the wealth to provide for the lifetime of assistance that their child will require, they are essentially stranding the cost of their child's life upon others.

So while anti-abortion commentators such as Michael Franc of the National Review sees Down syndrome's victims as "ambassadors of God" who "offer us the opportunity to rise to that greatest of all challenges," for many, that opportunity for challenge is little more than a lifetime of endless burden. In this light, it is completely legitimate for a woman to look at the circumstances of her life and decide that having a child with Down syndrome (or any child for that matter) is not an obligation that she can accept. After all, the choice to have a child is a profoundly selfish choice; that is, a choice that is an expression of the parent's personal desire to create new life.

And most parents seek to create healthy life; in the case of the unborn fetuses shown to have severe developmental disabilities, one study reports that over 90% of these fetuses are aborted prior to birth. But if you notice, the anti-abortion zealots try to attach a dirty little slur to these abortions, labeling them a form of eugenics. For example, in 2005, as he condemned those who opposed federal legislation that would have attempted to dissuade women carrying fetuses diagnosed with severe disabilities from having abortions, conservative pundit George Will wrote:

If it is not unobjectionable, let's identify the objectors, who probably favor the pernicious quest -- today's "respectable" eugenics -- for a disability-free society.
So in the anti-abortion advocate's eyes, a parent's desire to raise healthy children by squelching unhealthy fetuses while the are still in the womb is little more than a pernicious quest, but it is not considered a pernicious quest to knowingly bring severely disabled children into this world. On the contrary, such a choice is held out as an great example of upstanding morality. For example, consider this recent press release from a conservative anti-abortion advocacy group which celebrated Plain's birth announcement:

The Palin family is a wonderful example of a family who made the right choice to embrace their child and his future. Wendy Wright, President of Concerned Women for America (CWA), commends Governor Palin, saying, "She is even more beautiful inside than out. Her proud and warm announcement of the birth of their special child revealed the depth of love and faith of this extraordinary woman. May God give America more women and statesmen like her.

"Special needs children can bring out the best in people. They draw out compassion, patience, a joy for the simple things in life in people around them," says Wright. "In some ways, we need special needs people more than they need us."
That is, we need the mentally retarded to teach us how to better sacrifice our lives and divest ourselves of our self-interested ways more than they need us to care for them. At Noodlefood, Diana Hsieh condemns such a stand as "the worship of retardation." Given that Palin had complete foreknowledge of her child's severe disability yet nevertheless chose to have it, it is hard not to see her choice as anything less.

176 comments:

Skip said...

Objectivists worshiping murder -- Why am I not surprised?

diane said...

This column makes me laugh my ass off. You don't have the first clue what you're talking about. In my opinion, pompous know-nothing writers are a burden to society. Too bad no one aborted you.

Jack Galt said...

I think the two comments above reveal the degree that Palin's "pro-retarded, anti-abortion" stand has buoyed the cause to criminalize abortion in America.

Ryan said...

Well, they're entitled to their opinion, but at least back it up with something. This forum is supposed to be for intelligent discussion. I guess they missed the memo on that one.

moracity said...

Why does anyone have to back up not killing a child? How is abortion different from killing a child with any number of undesirable traits? Don't pretend that it's not eugenics. I'm tired of people promoting ideas, then trying to mask them as something else. If you believe in killing children that do not meet your own standard of what a human being should be, then you support eugenics. Period. Just think of the billions of dollars we could save by killing all the sick and infirm. Lets get rid of all those pesky kids with autism and cancer and ms.

Who are you to decide who should live or die? This isn't the middle ages. People with Down syndrome lead very productive lives now that people finally realize that they need to be treated like any other child. Where is your compassion? Where is your tolerance?

Why are you so troubled by people who act normally by not killing children that may be undesirable to you? Normally functioning brains would never think of doing such a thing. My daughter has DS and we found out early in the pregnancy. We didn't kill her because it never occurred to us to do so. It had nothing to do with being pro or anti anything. I'm tired of living in a country where someone has to be one thing or another.

Personally, I see no difference in killing a unborn child or a 10 year-old child. That is my opinion. Right now, we have an unconstitutional SCOTUS decision. It is an imposed law, not one born of democracy. No one got to vote on it and the decision is a violation of the checks and balances laid out by the U.S Constitution. THAT is a fact. The reason it has never moved into legislation is because it would never pass. A majority of people in the U.S do not believe abortion should be legal. Instead, the minority has used the courts to impose their fascist beliefs on everyone.

I don't know if it should be legal or not - but the people should be allowed to vote on it. I really don't care what other people do as long as it doesn't harm me or my family.

Anonymous said...

>Personally, I see no difference in killing a[n] unborn child or a 10 year-old child.

Then you clearly see no difference between an unborn fetus existing inside a woman's womb and a physically independent human being.

>I don't know if it should be legal or not - but the people should be allowed to vote on it. I really don't care what other people do as long as it doesn't harm me or my family.

This is a schizophrenic stand; you simultaneously claim that you see no difference between abortion and murder, then you say people should be able to vote on whether abortion should be kept legal, and then you say you don't care what other people do as long as it doesn't harm you or my family.

One issue and three different positions. May I ask, are you a member of Congress?

rickismom said...

Although I personally do not believe in abortion, I would not criminalize it, certainly not at early stages. (I do not believe that we should allow abortion of viable children, unless it is a true danger to the mother's health.)

But a few points need to be made:
First, the following statement is untrue:
" Because a person afflicted with Down syndrome is only capable of being marginally productive (if at all) and requires constant care and supervision".
Today we are much more aware of what the specific cognitive disabilities of persons with Down syndrome are, and how to circumvent them. It is true that they do need some help, but the majority of these adults are productive.You are rather overdoing it....
But, let's say, for your sake, that most will need a definate amount of monetary help.
Now on to a second point. While you advocate for a woman's right to choose, you are against helping to fund needfull babies that need to be supported. Basically, you are saying that a needy baby should not be born if his parents can not totally support him.This choice you do not support.I assume because it costs money. (If the reason is OTHER than monetary, then you are effectively saying woman have a right to choice only if they agree with you.)

Now to the third point.
Why should tax dollars support care of any child with disability?
If the mom smokes or drinks, and has a premature baby, why should I support that baby's therapy? If a man hit someone with a car while drunk driving, why should any funds go from my pocket to pay for anti drunk driving campaigns? Let the drunks pay! And one could go on and on.
As a society, we support people because we believe that is the prper thing to do. But where do you draw the line? Down syndrome? Maybe ADHD? Maybe the blind?
And, why, is a person with Down syndrome not worthy of life and help (if his parents choose that)? Because he doesn't earn the G-d almighty dollar? Is the sum total of man the amount that he earns?

Sorry my 14 year old daughter, who is FAR from helpless, breathes your precious air.

Nicholas Provenzo said...

>Sorry my 14 year old daughter, who is FAR from helpless, breathes your precious air.

You certainly don't have to apologize to me for your own private choice to give birth to a developmentally disabled child (or any child for that matter), but you just as certainly do not have the right to make me pay for the upbringing of your children against my or anyone else's will.

>As a society, we support people because we believe that is the proper thing to do.

That's no more persuasive than claiming that we should burn witches because we think that's the proper thing to do. None of us has a moral right to demand the unearned from another. If you choose to have a child, that is your choice and you alone should pay the attendant costs, not me or anyone else.

At root, you seek compulsion, not charity. While you have a right to ask for the latter, you have no right to demand the former.

Ron Paul fan said...

Ron Paul says abortion is state tyranny:

Abortion on demand is the ultimate State tyranny; the State simply declares that certain classes of human beings are not persons, and therefore not entitled to the protection of the law. The State protects the "right" of some people to kill others, just as the courts protected the "property rights" of slave masters in their slaves. Moreover, by this method the State achieves a goal common to all totalitarian regimes: it sets us against each other, so that our energies are spent in the struggle between State-created classes, rather than in freeing all individuals from the State. Unlike Nazi Germany, which forcibly sent millions to the gas chambers (as well as forcing abortion and sterilization upon many more), the new regime has enlisted the assistance of millions of people to act as its agents in carrying out a program of mass murder."

Nicholas Provenzo said...

That reasoning is exactly why Objectivists refer the ideology of Libertarians like Ron Paul the "perversion of liberty." Paul equates the right of a woman to control the processes of her own body to mass murder, showing us all that he understands neither. Given Paul's stand on abortion and his infamous penchant for blaming the US government for atrocities like 9/11, I give him no credence whatsoever and I don't expect too any time soon.

revereridesagain said...

Well, Nick, that essay lifted enough rocks to build someone a fine stretch of garden wall. What crawled out serves as a bleak reminder that we are surrounded by those who do worship retardation and anything else that gives them the chance to prove their "worthiness". Their "Lord" is in charge of these matters, just as were the medieval tyrants who controlled the lives of their serfs, and their "Lord", abhores and wishes to punish uppity women and force them to sacrifice their own futures. According to the "Lord's" slavish worshippers, a woman forfeits control of her own body at the moment of conception. Why? To punish her for the "sin" of enjoying sexual love if it wasn't for the express purpose of getting pregnant. Or, in the case of rape, for leaving the house unaccompanied by a male relative and not wearing a burka. Oh, sorry, that's Islam, isn't it. "Good Christians" such as "skip" and "diane" and "moracity" and "rickismom" (btw, dear, that word is spelled "definite") are likely to be surely don't believe rape victims "were asking for it". They just believe God thinks an egg fertilized by rape is worth more than a woman who is no longer a virgin.

I've left the following comment on other forums and it applies equally to those of you listed above: You think abortion is murder? You want a vote that will make it a capital crime? Go ahead. Try it. Of course, if it is murder, that means you have to apply that ruling to all women who have had abortions. Not just their doctors. Not just the ones in the future. The ones who have already chosen to abort a fetus. There's no statute of limitations on murder. Which means you have to demand access to all abortion records, get all the names and addresses, hunt down every one of these millions of women, arrest them, and try them for murder. If convicted they'll serve life in prison or be executed. You might want to get started on building all those new prisons -- then again it might be wise to wait and see.

Because once your jack-booted "abortion-is-murder" police start fanning out around this country, ringing doorbells, busting down doors, waving warrants and seizing women in their homes and workplaces, in front of their friends, their lovers, their husbands, their children, their parents, their siblings, and dragging them off to jail, you are going to face a uprising of resistance that will reduce your neat little god-fearing world to smoldering rubble. Tens of millions of outraged Americans will turn on you like an army of enraged grizzlies.

And you know it, which is why not one of you has the guts to even suggest it. No, we get fools like "moracity" who just want everyone to "vote" on it. And then what? Are you going to stick to your ususal dodge of harrassing abortion providers, or are you going after the women themselves? Or will you just smile smugly to yourself, and I'll bet you're good at that, missy, and think everything will be just fine and dandy? More pregnant teens forced to drop out of school? They're sluts anyway. Women forced to give up professions they love to beome stay-at-home mommies? Well, women who prefer to work are evil selfish bitches, right? Women who don't thank your god on their knees every day for the chance to be the full-time caretaker of a Down Syndrome child? Why, they're just heartless wretches who never deserved to have the life they wanted anyway...

You make me sick, the whole bunch of you. What the hell do you think a seriously disabled child is, some kind of live doll for you to show off so people will see how "compassionate" and "selfless" and "tolerant" you are and so you can emotionally blackmail them into helping to pay for it? And of course you idolize someone like Palin who has stated she would force a rape victim to endure the anguish of carrying the rapist's fetus, and I have no doubt she's just the bitch to do it. She's already shoving her own teenage daughter into a shotgun wedding. Why not make sure everyone else's kid gets the same? Why not see to it that other women in their mid-40s will be forced to have their very own Down Syndrome kids to teach them the joys of self-sacrifice in their golden years?

Whichever way this election goes, those of us who value our own lives and freedom are going to have to fight harder than ever for both.

Anonymous said...

Ugh. This is absolutely disgusting. To argue over whether or not abortion is immoral is one thing, to ADVOCATE it in the cases of special needs children is something entirely different. You degrade humanity when you declare the only point to living is being "productive to society." Sure, being productive to society is great, but should we eliminate everyone we don't consider to fall into this category? Life is life. Make all the justifications you want for hate-filled rhetoric. Label your dissenters as zealots. But I feel sorry for you.

Steve Rodgers said...

It looks like the perverts of liberty are on to the Rule of Reason, condemning your defense of abortion at lewrockwell.com. Charles Featherstone claims that you support eugenics even though you clearly show that you don't, and Lew Rockwell says your support for abortion rights proves that Whittaker Chambers was right(!).

These guys have been sniffing Ron Paul's anti-abortion codpiece for so long they actually have the audacity to oppose abortion in circumstances where over 90% of the women choose to have an abortion. Disgusting.

Mike said...

Actually, I thought I heard Palin say in her recent(only) interview that She thought abortion should be a State matter, rather than a Federal issue-a policy question rather than a moral one. Her personal opinion is irrelevant to the issue of "criminalizing" abortion-or Murder, or urinating on the sidewalk, only her policy position is relevant-and she stated a position that was consistent with the rule of Law in a federal society where Criminal Law is the purview of individual States rather than by the perverted version of Common Law seen in the Roe decision.

As to the question that by allowing the child to be born Palin was imposing a cost on others: this is frankly spurious, and even tyrannical-since few Governors a apt to become destitute(their parasitical tendencies aside) the suggestion that Palin will not be able to provide whatever she wishes to her child uses the concept of personal responsibility as a ghoulish cudgel. Even if the case is made that she will encourage others to add to the welfare rolls through the addition of undesirable infants(a detestable case in any case), the ire is misplaced. Blame the people taking and redistributing the money, not the person making such a decision-they are the ones who cause that hazard. It is by this very means leftists seek to control individual action, since my drinking or smoking might cost more in social services, or somesuch-get rid of the program, attempt to end the collectivism, don't embrace it, you simply become a useful idiot otherwise.

usul said...

i always wondered why there were no children in atlas shrugged.

George P. Burdell said...

Um, I am pretty sure that eliminating those that are not "economically viable" was an argument of Marx himself. Course, then that begs the question, who will decide what does and does not constitute being viable, or how much money do you have to have in order to keep a disabled child. Also, should we "dispose" of other citizens that are not "viable," say those on welfare and or those disabled in accidents? Actually, I guess, following your argument, they should just kill themselves, to save the rest of us. My head is hurting, going to go get some Koolaid!

edward said...

For your reading pleasure, Walter Block on "Eviction," a compromise position on the abortion issue:
http://www.walterblock.com/publications/block-whitehead_abortion-2005.pdf

Of course, the ethics of aborting defective fetuses isn't covered in the article...

lucas said...

"Given that Palin had complete foreknowledge of her child's severe disability yet nevertheless chose to have it, it is hard not to see her choice as anything less."

I see, if someone is to have a defective child, it can only be because she worships that defect. This comment is truly disgusting. It's been fun reading for blog for a while, but I guess this is the last time.

chuck said...

It seems the "cut-'em-up" and "suck-'em-out" crowd always write in sarcastic, derisive tones, often with sick humor, directed at the poor, simple pro-life 'retards'.

So it is with the cognoscenti of the "brave new world"..., indubitably the always correct, superior thinkers of their "bnw", albeit a little short on love and compassion.

Steve Rodgers said...

>Um, I am pretty sure that eliminating those that are not "economically viable" was an argument of Marx himself.

This is a straw man.

>Course, then that begs the question, who will decide what does and does not constitute being viable, or how much money do you have to have in order to keep a disabled child.

In the case of an unborn fetus (which coincidently is the sole focus this article), there is but only once decision maker: the mother, whose discretion must be absolute.

>Also, should we "dispose" of other citizens that are not "viable," say those on welfare and or those disabled in accidents? Actually, I guess, following your argument, they should just kill themselves, to save the rest of us.

>My head is hurting, going to go get some Koolaid!

I wager your irrationality can to that to a person.

Andrew Dalton said...

usul: " i always wondered why there were no children in atlas shrugged."

I bet you think you're the first person who ever said that.

You Yahwidiots need to come up with some new one-liners.

Anonymous said...

I saw the posting at that crazy libertarian blog and I have to just laugh at their revulsion over the audacious idea that a woman would perform any sort of cost-benefit analysis when confronted with reality of carrying a fetus diagnosed with severe developmental disability.

So much for libertarian economics and the right to one's own life!

Vince said...

@ revereridesagain;

From the United States Constitution, ratified June 21st, 1788, accessed September 16, 2008;

"Section 9 - Limits on Congress...

No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed."

Most state constitutions carry similar provisions. You wanna try that again?

Vince said...

@ Steve Rogers;

From www.medterms.com;

"Definition of Eugenics

Eugenics: Literally, meaning normal genes, eugenics aims to improve the genetic constitution of the human species by selective breeding. The use of Albert Einstein's sperm to conceive a child (by artificial insemination) would represent an attempt at positive eugenics. The Nazis notoriously engaged in negative eugenics by genocide.

The word "eugenics" was coined by Sir Francis Galton (1822-1911) to denote scientific endeavors to increase the proportion of persons with better than average genetic endowment through selective mating of marriage partners.

The practice of eugenics was first legally mandated in the United States in the state of Indiana, resulting in the forcible sterilization, incarceration, and occasionally euthanasia of the mentally or physically handicapped, the mentally ill, and ethnic minorities (particularly people of mixed racial heritage), and the adopting out of their children to non-disabled, Caucasian parents. Similar programs spread widely in the early part of the twentieth century, and still exist in some parts of the world. It is important to note that no experiment in eugenics has ever been shown to result in measurable improvements in human health. In fact, in the best known attempt at positive eugenics, the Nazi "Lebensborn" program, there was a higher-than- normal level of birth defects among the resulting offspring."

You wanna try that argument again?

Vince said...

@revere again;

We have read, here and elsewhere that Dr. Paul believes abortion is a violent crime. In the very same speeches where he forthrightly lays out his belief and his reasoning for it, he also expresses an opinion of it that is internally consistent - he believes that the question of how and whether to regulate the practice should be left to the state governments, just as other violent crimes rightly are. I don't agree with him 100%, but I see merit in his position that abortion, like other similar matters is none of the business of the federal government as properly construed.

Here's the REAL scenario that would occur if the decision were returned to the states. States like Utah, for example, have almost no legal abortion providers, and as a result, no legal abortions. This would not change. And Utah is greatly in the minority. California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachussetts, etc all have liberal abortion policies, and lots of abortion clinics. This also would not change. Most of the rest of the states would try to regulate the practice in some fashion, their own citizens and lawmakers would have to fight it out. The bottom line is, at the margin, a President Paul, even if somehow he was able to get abortion removed from the bailiwick of the Federal government, would have only a VERY marginal effect on abortion as it currently stands.

@ NicholasProvenzo;
You can criticize Mrs. Palin all you like on her political stands (and make no mistake, I find many of them appalling,) but her PERSONAL CHOICE was to let her baby live. She is a successful woman, who has obviously the means to care for her son, and avoid placing the 'burden' of supporting him on your shoulders.

Since this seems pretty obvious, why did you feel the need to write a post so blisteringly critical of her choice? What, exactly, are you afraid of?

Steve Rodgers said...

Vince copies a website's definition of "eugenics." I found it intriguing absolutely no aspect of that definition included a woman's voluntary termination of her unwanted pregnancy due to severe physical handicap.

In any case, apparently abortion should be legal . . . but only if it doesn't involve the termination of fetus diagnosed with down syndrome. In that case, it's just a tough break for the parents.

Nice try, Vince, but that would be a FAIL.

Vince said...

@ Steve Rogers;

You are being deliberately dense. Too bad. The definition I quoted verbatim was pretty value-neutral, OBJECTIVE, you might say. I don't know of anyone who seriously believes a dictionary definition addresses all cases affected by the definition, but I'll connect the dots - you pointed out that 90% or more of Down's fetuses are aborted. This has the effect of, individually and in aggregate, decreasing the proportion of genetically 'inferior' children in society. I'd say it's pretty clear-cut. I'm surprised that, having gone so far, you refuse to own your own opinion - you certainly don't shrink from owning it otherwise.

Matt Ahern said...

"it is crucial to reaffirm the morality of aborting a fetus diagnosed with Down syndrome"

So, Down syndrome people should be denied the right to decide life for themselves. I can think of some who live quite happy lives... because they choose to. Like so many who are targets for faraway laughter, they decider to ignore those who demean them and try to tell them that they couldn't live happily and live happy lives regardless of the naysayers.

Perhaps some might want to celebrate life as well as they do.

Rob said...

Nick - stick to your guns! Your opponents don't know the meaning of the word "objective". And why take note of Palin's personal choice? Because Palin is using that personal choice as the basis of political action.

Anonymous said...

Well, at least the post has given rise to a vibrant debate here. I would hope that we can take a step back and argue disassionately, whether the topic is tax reform or abortion. Let's triumph reason over mere rhetoric, and clear-headedness over muddled language. This is usually one of the few sites I can visit for clear-minded and objective posts to and fro, rather than personal attacks. If we disagree with Nick, why must we deride him as evil?

The Doctor said...

OMG, if this is reason, murdering babies, then I'll take whatever is behind door number two.

Anonymous said...

>If we disagree with Nick, why must we deride him as evil?

Any one who can support murdering innocent babies because they are retarded is evil because abortion itself is evil. You people who support baby murder need to get right with your God and DEFEND ALL LIFE. Abortion should be a crime and people who promote abortion deserve to be stoned by the nearest mob.

Anonymous said...

It is good to see Objectivists strike a nerve as they have here. The idea that a woman simply must not abort a fetus diagnosed with Down's syndrome is precisely the "worship" of retardation--it is the idea that Down's syndrome is such a wonderful condition that for a woman choose not to bring her fetus to term after it has been diagnosed with it, she must be an outright monster.

>OMG, if this is reason, murdering babies, then I'll take whatever is behind door number two.

You are absolutely free to speak for yourself; just have the courtesy to leave the 90% of the women who think differently out of your depravity and cruelty.

J Swift said...

Forget abortions. Let them get plump and healthy and let's eat those unproductive ones. Old people too! World food crisis will be a thing of the past!

Anonymous said...

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

Anonymous said...

This author has a frightening viewpoint. God help anyone who should become economically unproductive. I'm about as laissez faire as they come economically, but the idea that anyone would advocate "the right" to destroy an innocent life, regardless of whether it has a debilitating condition, is sheer barbarism.

I despise welfare and other government redistribution schemes... but it's situations like these where neighbors and communities are supposed to voluntarily come together to help out those in need. Voluntary cooperation over government coercion.

And regarding Roe v. Wade-- if you understand that the Bill of Rights was put in place as a superfluous restraint on the legislative powers of Congress in Article I Section 8, and that the FEDERAL bill of rights does NOT protect individual rights, then Roe v. Wade crumbles into the absurd piece of judicial legislation that it is. Under the FEDERAL bill of rights, certain key/important rights were enumerated, but the 9th says this list of rights is incomplete. The 10th says the enumerated powers of Congress are listed in their entirety. No flexibility-- i.e., no living breathing constitution. Those rights "protected" in the first 8 Amendments (and everything else encapsulated in the 9th) are protected only from FEDERAL interference. The states are free to enact their own laws, so long as they don't violate Article I Section 10. The "incorporation doctrine" the supreme court made up in the 20th century is absolute bullshit. Thus, Roe is bullshit, and abortion (i.e., the destruction of all innocent life, including the debilitated) is barbaric.

Anonymous said...

Okay, the probability of Palin's motives being purely political is high. And that too is disgusting. But to call a pro-life stance the worship of retardation? This is coming from a person without religious affiliation, and I find this dialogue repulsive. Can we ever expect to come to ANY sort of workable solutions if we can't have the debate with rhetoric instead of of radicalizing attacks? The right can cry murder, and that isn't persuasive, but the euphemistic wordings about a woman's "right to make decisions about her own body" aren't either. We clearly aren't discussing striking down a developed walking human! But we aren't talking about a woman's OWN BODY when there is ANOTHER LIVING BODY inside of it!
Giving the states their rights would be a good fix. Think about it. I am pro-life. I don't have to support or encourage anyone getting abortion (nor do I have to condemn anyone for it, necessarily; even if I think it is wicked, it is their choice). If I am extremely adamant against it, I can simply move to a state that has outlawed it. Likely the culture in that place will suit me better anyway...
The intelligent people are never going to be able to solve these problems if they don't quit shouting at each other.

Steve Rodgers said...

>This author has a frightening viewpoint. God help anyone who should become economically unproductive.

This is a straw man. I read a clear message; if you bring a child into this earth, you do not have the right to strand the costs of that child upon others against their will. If you create life, you alone have the responsibility to care for that life.

>I'm about as laissez faire as they come economically, but the idea that anyone would advocate "the right" to destroy an innocent life, regardless of whether it has a debilitating condition, is sheer barbarism.

You mean to say that you consider a woman's right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy "sheer barbarism." Perhaps you should not identify yourself as supporting laissez faire, as you clearly feel no reticence in laying your hands on a woman's womb or supporting government welfare.

In fact, there is a certain "man bites dog" quality to the libertarian outrage I'm reading here. I didn't know that libertarians now support government welfare and oppose abortion rights. So much for liberty, but when was providing a proper defense of that value ever their ambition?

George Stevens said...

I'm a hardcore pro-choicer, but slagging Palin because the baby she chose to carry will live to be a "marginally productive (if at all)" is a wholly repulsive stance. There are certain aspects of peoples' lives that are just none of your business. As long as her choice doesn't forcefully burden others to support them, it's not your decision.

I view this as an example of taking Rand's pronouncements on the general nature of man and applying them verbatim to every aspect of life, without any regard to their germaneness. Sure, most people dream of bearing children who will do great things, but to criticize someone who chooses not to abort a kid with Down's basically amounts to advocating voluntary eugenics. No one is "worshipping retardation," and to infer this is disingenuous.

Rand's philosophy has much to offer, but I can't help but chuckle at those latter-day followers who feel the need to rework every subjective idiosyncrasy of hers into a creed to live by. Do you ever wonder where the term "Randroid" came from?

One could argue that Rand's husband, Frank O'Connor, was an emasculated wimp and led only a marginally productive life, in which he had to be supported by Rand. Should he have been aborted? I'd never argue that he should have. From all accounts that I've heard from people who met him, he was a fine fellow. I'm just calling out the ugliness of your diatribe against Palin and her child.

Nicholas Provenzo said...

>Do you ever wonder where the term "Randroid" came from?

"Randroid" is just a smear some enemies of Objectivism use to condemn those of us who actually choose to live rational lives and do things like defend a woman's right to terminate a fetus afflicted with Down's syndrome.

>I'm a hardcore pro-choicer, but slagging Palin because the baby she chose to carry will live to be a "marginally productive (if at all)" is a wholly repulsive stance. There are certain aspects of peoples' lives that are just none of your business. As long as her choice doesn't forcefully burden others to support them, it's not your decision.

Life requires effort. A severely retarded person does not have the capability to sustain themselves; as a matter of simple fact, they will require a lifetime of sustenance provided by others in order for them to survive. This tragic reality most certainly impacts a woman's decision to carry a fetus afflicted with retardation to term; they simply cannot avoid asking themselves "is this something I want—is this something that I can do?" And as the study I linked to shows, over 90% of women in this situation answer in the negative.

Now if a woman chooses to be part of the 10% and knowingly give birth to a retarded child, that's her choice (and her responsibility), wicked as it may be. But to celebrate such a decision (like the Concerned Women of America do, claming that the "Palin family is a wonderful example of a family who made the right choice to embrace their child and his future") or to condemn those women who choose to abort retarded fetuses (like Lew Rockwell, the Paulian pervert of liberty does, linking the support of legal abortion with support for the gas chambers), well, that is the worship of retardation. It is to say that if a woman finds out that she will give birth to a severely handicapped child, her life simply stops being her own, such is the powerful "blessing" of life with this tragic affliction.

My philosophy labels such a position as immoral. It says that a woman has the unconditional right to veto giving birth while the unborn exists as a potential life inside her womb. And it says that those who would deny a woman this right are no friend to individual freedom and rights--and that they deserve be condemned as such.

Anonymous said...

Nicholas: Check your premises.

Michael Smith said...

In the first place, neither an embryo or a fetus is an actual human being -- they are only potential human beings.

But even if they *were* human beings, no human being can claim the right to the use of another person's body, against their will. There can be no such thing as a right, the exercise of which cancels another person's rights.

Anonymous said...

I have to admit, I was unaware that in addition to his racism and support for the confederacy, Lew Rockwell also defends the intrinsic value of retarded fetuses. I suppose that follows; if women have the freedom to abort their retarded fetuses, their will be less libertarians of his stripe, idiocy being what it is.

Anonymous said...

There is no debate in the scientific community as to when a human being comes into existence - it is at the moment of conception when a unique set of DNA is formed by the egg and the sperm fusing. This is a fact, it is not an issue of speculation. This is the moment when a human being comes into existence, thus despite the developmental stage, it is the developmental stage of a human being.

The great struggle of our time is over the question of whether Human Rights are intrinsic to human beings or extrinsic. Our Founding Fathers and the Constitution they wrote express the view that they are intrinsic.

Governments like legalized abortion because it implicitly makes the case that Human Rights are extrinsic to human beings, i.e. they are granted by governments.

Well, if your government gives you something, it can certainly take it away. This is what the Nazis did.

The line of argument put forward in this article, specifically the idea that Human Rights/Dignity is contingent on productivity is quite simply a monsterous way of thinking.

Anonymous said...

>There is no debate in the scientific community as to when a human being comes into existence - it is at the moment of conception when a unique set of DNA is formed by the egg and the sperm fusing.

That would be a lie.

Anonymous_1 said...

>The line of argument put forward in this article, specifically the idea that Human Rights/Dignity is contingent on productivity is quite simply a monsterous way of thinking.

That would also be a lie. The argument is that a mother my decide herself unable or unwilling to provide for child with sever mental disability, and while the fetus is still in the womb, it is her every right to terminate it; in fact, the overwhelming majority of women do just that.

Thus your real target is women who have abortions because the do not wish to be the parent of a severely retarded child--that is the target of your wrath, and quite frankly, it is what makes you a monster.

Judy said...

I would like to thank you, Nicholas, for your stand here. As the mother of a child with Down syndrome born prior to Roe v. Wade and before the advent of pre-screening tests, I did not have the choice when it came to giving birth to my daughter. While I loved my daughter deeply (who is now deceased), had I known what I would have faced and had I had the freedom to choose to accept this responsibility or not, I very well might have been with the 90% of women who choose to terminate their pregnancy because of Down syndrome.

Those who think that it is vicious to not want to have a child with severe retardation should try raising with one before they pass judgment. It is no easy task; in fact, it is a cruelty made real when you realize that your beloved child can never think like a healthy person, never be independent, or find the love that a person can find when they are in full possession of all their faculties.

I spit on all of you here who would morally condemn a woman for rejecting such a fate. I spit on all of you here who would condemn such a choice as murder. You simply have no idea what you are talking about, and it offends me that you prance around as if you do. Walk a mile in my life before you presume to tell me that abortion is wrong.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why it surprises me that Randroids who worship "Reason" as their god, have such irrational ideas.

Case in point.

1. A human embryo is not a human being (and it is a "lie" to suggest that the scientific community holds a consensus as to when human life begins).

2. Economic productivity is the critical and perhaps only measure of human dignity and worth.

3. Women have a special right to destroy a "retarded fetus" while still in the womb. However by the same logic, (the issue of life-long responsibility and resource sapping) they do not have the special right to destroy the "retard" once out of the womb. (Come on, lets be consistent in our "reasoning.")


Chesterton wrote about you guys who worship reason. People who try to stuff the whole world into their narrow definition of "reason" is the cause of mental illness in our society. It is not the world that is split by the reasoning mind, but rather it is the world that splits the mind that tries to contain it in the feeble vice of "reason."

You Randroids need to sit under a tree and read a poem once in awhile to remind yourself of what it means to be a human being.

Rob said...

You call this a debate? These so-called "pro-lifers" have nothing to offer beyond a parade of smears, straw men and emotionalism, all the while furiously and desperately evading the existence of the mother - which is the one thing that makes all their arguments come undone. And for libertarians to be adding their support for such a position is beyond disgusting and proves everything Ayn Rand ever said about them. The comments on this post have proved one thing to me, and that is that the argument against abortion is bankrupt.

Anonymous said...

"I spit" Judy,

You are a shill.

There is no way that you could have raised a down syndrome child and hold such hate and views about their extermination in our society as a matter of medical policy. You are a shill. In fact, I doubt that you have ever spent any serious time with a down syndrome child at all. If you had you would discover something amazing about what it means to be a human being.

Abortion is murder. This is a fact. It is also a fact that it is legalized murder. Aborting a down syndrome child is an even greater crime because it adds a level of targeted intent. You are not just killing a child, you are killing this child because she has special needs.

I would be happy to walk a mile in your life, but I'm afraid that there really isn't enough room in your life for someone other than yourself. I'm sorry you live in such a cramped world.

But I would consider it an honor to be spat upon by someone who such as yourself who thinks:

1. Killing a human being inside the womb is not murder, but outside the womb is murder.

2. That no one can tell you that aborting your down syndrome daughter is wrong because you (supposedly) raised one and know how awful it was to love a child like that through her life.

3. Spitting on people is part of "The Rule of Reason."

Why don't you spend the afternoon contemplating a radish, it might help your mental disorder.

Anonymous said...

<< the existence of the mother - which is the one thing that makes all their arguments come undone.>>

How so?

It is because as a Randroid you think that people are radically individual and autonomous? And that the choices of an autonomous individual trumps all other considerations of law, morality and public health? And that no one can "force" a woman to have another person live off of them without their consent?

The reality is that this view of the human person is wrong, I don't just mean morally wrong, but factually wrong. We are not radically individual and autonomous, rather we are radically relational and inter-dependent on one another. From this reality arises rights and complimentary duties.

This reality of relational dynamic is increasingly being born out in research on the complex hormonal and biological ecology that exists between a man and woman who are having sex and conceive a baby. This event changes the man's biology, not just the woman's.

Abortion doesn't change that, it injures it (in addition to destroying the child).

Life has consequences.

If you drink and drive, and get into an accident, you can't hit the "do-over" button.

Sex has consequences. So too does abortion. The effects of abortion on women is only recently coming to public awareness. Even more recent is the effects of abortion on men. They are very real and no woman should have an abortion without full knowledge of the consequences to her health and to the health of the father.

The issue then becomes, in the case of unwanted pregnancy what is the most human response from a public health perspective?

Abortion as a public policy helps only two parties: the abortion industry and the population/eugenics control people.

The woman, the father and, obviously, the child are all injured, as are extended family members.

charleshope said...

This libertarian came over to this post from Lew Rockwell, read both sides of the debate, and ended up agreeing with Nicholas.

Bobby Funk said...

Mr. Provenzo: Are you saying in your post that a woman carrying a fetus diagnosed with Down's syndrome has a positive obligation to abort the fetus? It seems that you come awfully close to at least implying that in the first paragraph.

Jeffrey Derks said...

Rob wrote:

>The comments on this post have proved one thing to me, and that is that the argument against abortion is bankrupt.

Yes, quite so, Rob: but as I'm sure you're aware, that bankruptcy will never prevent most of the "arguers" from attempting to force their unconsidered views on their opponents. And that's also why it would not surprise me in the slightest to see the anti-abortion crowd resort in future to increasing physical violence, particularly as they are "encouraged" by the elevation of sympathizers and enablers--such as McCain and Palin--to positions of national power. Indeed, when it comes to that, I would not be at all surprised to see the abortion war become the basis in this country for a second, all-out, civil war, perish the thought.

Michael Smith said...

I can't think of anything more revolting than praising -- as some sort of moral ideal -- the decision to give birth to a retarded child, when one has the option of aborting it and creating a normal child instead. That is, indeed, the worship of the retarded over the normal.

By the way, to the person who commented that they now understood why "there are no children in Atlas Shrugged" -- I suggest you reread the book (if you ever read it in the first place).

One of the strikers in Galt's Gulch is a young woman who is there precisely because she wants to raise her two small children in a rational manner in a rational environment. This character in the story specifically explains how motherhod and child-rearing can be a rational career choice -- and discusses the enormous benefits children derive from such an environment. Just to set the facts straight.

Anonymous said...

Interesting...advocating the disposal or discarding of humans who don't meet ideal societal standards...

Didn't Hitler have something of the same belief?

Anonymous said...

Should Mr. Provenzo come down with some disease that requires significant "financial burden" treatment, I'm guessing he will forgo treatment for the good of society.

Discouraged in Seattle said...

If a child with birth defects is a burden to society, how about all AIDs patients and homeless people? Shall we just terminate them as well?

I fear where the far-left in this country wants to lead us.

wrigley said...

"By Michael Smith, on September 17, 2008 12:06 PM

I can't think of anything more revolting than praising -- as some sort of moral ideal -- the decision to give birth to a retarded child, when one has the option of aborting it and creating a normal child instead. That is, indeed, the worship of the retarded over the normal."

Sorry, but I cannot disagree strongly enough with your sentiment.

Your statement is based on the premise that the life of a "retarded" child has less value than the life of a "normal" child; I argue that they both have equal value.

It is not worshiping one over the other, but rather, believing that all humans are equal, regardless of the number of chromosomes, or birth defects, or any other physical and/or mental attributes that vary from person to person.

Who are you to place more value on one human life over another?

Anonymous said...

Seriously

Where do we start and stop deciding who is of value to society? Your logic leaves the door open to anything. I have a handicapped son who brings joy and love to everyone he meets. He brightens the world that he contacts. I'd place him above writers of opinion such as yourself.

Anonymous said...

You disgust me!!!!

Anonymous said...

Let me guess, you are also against capitol punishment, right?

Do you wear a tin foil hat to bed to keep the alien voices out?

Anonymous said...

Based on the authors opinion, should we kill everyone on welfare since they're not productive?

Anonymous said...

Those of you eager to abort 'disabled' babies had better hope you never become 'disabled' yourself. How would you like for someone else to decide if you were worth keeping alive? But of course, you are probably all Obama supporters, since he would not allow for medical treatment of infants who survived abortions.

jay said...

If you become paralyzed or suffer blunt force trauma and become a burden.....can I abort your useless ass?!

Anonymous said...

I was just wondering, how do we handle those who become financial burdens on society AFTER they have left the birth canal? What do we do with those who have become addled, whether through their own actions, the actions of others, or natural means. Should they be exterminated as soon as their capabilities for societal production is eliminated, what if it is merely diminished? Should this be the same case for those on Medicaid and Welfare? I would much rather financially care for an individual who could not care for himself, than those who refuse to care for themselves.

chuck said...

All this shrill pro & con can come to no solution! A person is entitled to think and believe as he ((s)he)thinks and believes and is entitled to behave and act as he chooses providing his actions do not cause harm or cost to others.

The determination of harm or cost is not a decision to be made by Federal nor State nor County government, but by parishioners, for their parishes, by longhouse dwellers for their fellows, by cave dwellers for their fellow cave dwellers, by family or by self.

I am, and the many writers above are, entitled to their own beliefs and to express them herein but not to impose them upon others outside their belief system, as is implied by many of the commentators preceding.

Karl said...

nicholas - what about mothers who tested before birth and it came out as "normal" and then to their surprise - had a child with Down Syndrome in the delivery room. Are you advocating that you shouldn't have to support that child with your tax dollars through programs etc. Where do you draw the line with your tax dollars concerning the above situation.

Not everybody "chooses" one way or the other - they are just dealt a hand in life and deal with it.

Communists, Jews, people named Nicholas and those with (Down Syndrome).

"When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.
When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.
When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.
When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn't a Jew.
When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out."

Mongol said...

"Like many, I am troubled .."
like you and plus rest of the liberal media and minus more than half of Americans?

"a freedom that anti-abortion advocates seek to deny"

freedom to murder? If anyone ever murders you, maybe they should try using that defense in court.

"A parent has a moral obligation... "

not to murder another human being perhaps?

"After all, the choice to have a child is a profoundly selfish choice; that is, a choice that is an expression of the parent's personal desire to create new life."

Now we are getting some "red meat". To continue this logic it is very selfish and personal desire of yours to continue to live. But you as the "Agent of Change" should continue nonetheless to convince us peons to decrease our lives and as well as any potential continuation. It's a difficult task but someone has to do it right?

"...the anti-abortion zealots..."

Now zealot is someone passionate about what he/she believes in. So "anti-abortion zealots" are zealots because they passionately believe in something and dare (how shameful of them) to voice it. Now you also believe something passionately apparently and you voiced it, doesn't that make you an abortion zealot?

"So in the anti-abortion advocate's eyes, a parent's desire to raise healthy children by squelching unhealthy fetuses while the are still in the womb is little more than a pernicious quest"

Killing an unhealthy unborn child makes other children healthy? That's definitely new and intelligent... or maybe you meant it frees up the resources for other children? Well, what's next? should we kill our older folks, or maybe refuse medical care to disabled in accidents? Let's save money, right?

"we need the mentally retarded to teach us how to better sacrifice our lives and divest ourselves of our self-interested ways more than they need us to care for them."

all that, plus it helps us to identify Nazi wannabe's like yourself. Now, should we be expecting an article on "mein kampf against neocons" sometime soon?

Farid said...

Dear God, now I've heard it all.

My wife and I gave birth to two severely handicapped children and currently are foster parents to two other disabled kids.

We had six children, two disabled and four healthy. Those two "broken toys," with all of their surgeries, medical expenses and associated costs forced my family into bankruptcy, foreclosure that led to the loss of our house, and the repossesion of our car.

It was worth it all. My healthy children, who should have been angry at their parents because they certainly did not receive equal time in our family, have embraced their sisters. One daughter went to college and now works with special needs children.

My eldest handicapped daughter died five years ago at age 20 due to a nurse's mistake. Had she been able to talk, she would have most certainly chosen those 20 years of love instead of death in her mother's womb. My surviving daughter, now 18, has had a life worth living as well. I doubt she would have chosen "termination" over her favorite teddy bear, her love of walks around the neighborhood. and wouldn't have given up kissing babies for anything.

Parents who abort these children say they are doing it for the child, but we all know they are doing it for themselves. They don't want to lose their house like we did, or their car like we did, or have no free time away from the child like we don't. It's so easy to say "it's for the child" when it's selfishness on their part.

Had we aborted our two children, we would have had far more money and "stuff" and far less love in our home. We are better people for having raised those two girls.

Those of us who put others first will never understand those of you who put yourselves first. It is a sad commentary on the future of our country. I thank God I'm old enough that I won't live so long to watch the moral destruction of the country I love.

Conservative Scalawag said...

The lack of any moral compass or human compassion, much like Libertarianism, is what keeps me from become an Objectivist. You have solidified this with your article.

In fact you have brought it an all new low monstrous level, that is nothing short of disgusting. The same level of disgust I have with the Nazi's or Marxist Communist's ideology.

Then again, you as a purist Objectivist would be able to grasp the concept of doing something because it is the right and moral thing to do. You only under stand the purely selfish or if it turns a buck.

Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with greed, but sometimes you have to stand back and realize there are somethings money can't buy or that are bigger than you are.

Like God's gift of life.

Bob said...

Anyone with the least bit of knowledge of Hitler's Germany would recognize the similarities in this screed with Hitler's slaughter of people with mental or physical conditions that prevented them from being "productive" for the new Germany. This guy is scary indeed.

Anonymous said...

Anyone with the least bit of knowledge of Hitler's Germany would recognize the similarities in this screed with Hitler's slaughter of people with mental or physical conditions that prevented them from being "productive" for the new Germany. This guy is scary indeed.
*************

How true.

It's downright scary that people like him are somehow deemed intelligent by Americans.

I suppose if he, in all his infinite knowledge (he certainly possesses no wisdom) would deem girl "fetuses" a burden to society, many of the abortion rights bandwagon would be ready to defend him till the end.

This writer whom I've never even heard of before, thankfully, is reason enough to be concerned for America.

Lastly, I have to agree with most of what Diane said, "pompous know-nothing writers are a burden to society". If we used his own incredibly selfish and inhumane arguments, should we deem him unfit to live?!?

We know we have a great candidate for the VP when there is this much of an attack on her and her innocent baby.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Provenzo,

Fuck you.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Provenzo,

Of the estimated 40 million illegal immigrants that are financial burdens America, how many would you say deserve to live?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Provenzo,

(Revised)

Of the estimated 40 million illegal immigrants that are financial burdens ON America, how many would you say deserve to live?

malcontent said...

Great article, Mr. Provenzo. It is well reasoned and contains all the relevant points, even if some of the commenters pretend they didn't see them.

Women must maintain the right to decide to abort a child for any reason. To burden a family with a child they are unwilling or unable to care for is a monstrosity.

Jeff said...

I have not seen any legitimate argument against Nicholas' position. Feeling a thing is wrong is not the same thing as knowing it is wrong.

Does the mother have a right to her own life or does she not? If she does then the fetus, which is not a physically separate human being, has no claim on her.

Furthermore, he never claimed that a mother should be legally obliged to terminate a Down's Syndrome fetus. This decision is the mother's and her's alone.

Diana Hsieh said...

Most of these comments are absolutely absurd.

A fetus is NOT a person with the right to life. It exists as part of its mother -- and she has the absolute right to remove her life support, if she so chooses.

Consequently, the attempt to liken abortion to the murder of a person with rights -- and to paint Nick as an advocate of murdering the poor, disabled, elderly, and the like -- is just beyond the pale. It's completely and utterly contrary to all of Nick's philosophy: Nick is a staunch advocate of individual rights -- for all genuine (i.e. born) persons.

Stanleyinbrasil said...

Is this dude for real? Right & wrong are so mixed up. When will our Savior return and end this?

stanleyinbrasil said...

Diana Hsieh

are you serious? you sick person. I wish i had an egg to smack on your head...oh and look at your industry...edamucation.

ClobberGirl said...

If you cannot fathom the possibility that your child may have special needs which you will have to provide for and deal with, then you should not be trying to have children in the first place.

malcontent said...

stanleyinbrasil: If you have nothing better to say in response than to invoke some saviour and wish to have an egg, you might want to wait to post to formulate an actual argument.

A fetus is not an actual human being. A fetus is a thing that may turn into a human being. A woman is an actual human being. This is all clearly spelled out, yet you choose to ignore it.

Bagley said...

So, may I ask Nicholas Provenzo (et al): if a woman gives birth to a healthy baby who subsequently becomes disabled through disease or accident such that it will require constant care for the rest of baby / adolescent / adult life....well, what would you suggest?

Anonymous said...

Everyone who read this vile article written by a subhuman lifeform absolutely has to forward it to everyone they know. The country needs to know the mindset of the liberals in this country. Unfortunately, the Democrat party is infested with the likes of him. May he roast in hell.

Scott said...

Why shouldn't retarded children or adults that consume more than they produce be murdered? Why shouldn't anyone who consumes more than they produce be murdered?

Seriously, though, if it's morally acceptable (not just legal) to kill a dependent being while it's in the womb, why does that change when the child is born?

Anonymous said...

Go to hell! Self righteous a**hole

bobaloo said...

I'm left of center and pro choice. That said, you're advocating abortion based on the how productive the person would be to society. How does one determine such a thing? How could you possibly know how happy or unhappy their life could be?
I work with people with mental disabilities. I assure you, they are happy and productive.

You're stance is simple eugenics, and I find it disgusting.

Scottaa said...

Diana,
Can you pinpoint the time when a fetus becomes a human being?

I'm mildly pro-choice myself, but not because I think abortion is a moral act.

So can you tell me why it is moral to kill a dependent fetus, but not moral to kill a born dependent baby? Let's say they both have Down Syndrome for arguments sake.

Hellpig said...

this writer needs his entire bloodline aborted

carly said...

I'm pro-choice; and an atheist. I don't plan ever to have a child. But I'm appalled--sickened--by the premise/ideas in this article. Yuck.

Is this the mentality that will rule when socialized medicine comes to the US? I shudder to think....

Michael said...

(Logical Syllogism by Fr. Thomas Berg L.C. PhD)
Maj. All human persons are living human organisms;
Min. But all living human organisms begin to exist at natural conception (or as the result of IVF or SCNT);
Therefore, all human persons begin to exist at natural conception (or as the result of IVF or SCNT).

Neil Parille said...

From the perspective being advocated here, perhaps a born human being who has Down's syndrome, is retarded or senile shouldn't be directly killed, but I'm not sure what the objection would be to starving such a person or abandoning him.

For example, in his later years Rand's husband (Frank O'Connor) suffered from senility and Rand had to spend much time caring for him. What legal or moral obligation did Rand have to take care of someone who would never have an ounce of productivity. Rand could have locked him in a room and starved him to death, permitting her to engage in productive acts such as writing essays or maybe even finishing the book on Objectivism she talked about.

leucanthemum b said...

I am interested in knowing: Do you have any works of art in your home or office? Does your place of residence have elements of design beyond the utilitarian, and are they part of the reason you currently live there? Is there a music or musician you listen to by choice? Do you have a pet cat/dog/goldfish/cobra?

How do those elements serve the greater good of society? How does Central Park benefit the city of New York?

An unfinished Michelangelo does nothing but stand there, and yet, people have paid millions over the years for the pleasure of experiencing such a sight just once. Perhaps, what you see as a worthless burden, others may see as a treasure.

Joy and beauty have worth beyond your apparently crippled little imagination.

Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

Hi, Nicolas,

I want to start by saying that I agree that the pregnant woman must make a decision based on her own situation in order to proceed (or not) with a pregnancy that will result in a child with a known disability.

I also want to make clear to the commentors that I am the mother of a child with an autism spectrum disorder. But being such does not excuse me from being reasonable in my discourse nor does it mean that I have some special dispensation to call names rather than provide actual arguments.

I disagree with you that Palin is immoral because she made a choice different than the one you would make. If that is so, then a woman really does not have such a choice in your view, and could be forced to have an abortion. Such a situation would be a violation of her liberty.

I think the issue of the woman's choice in the matter gets confounded precisely because we do not live in a free-market economy where individuals pay their money and take their choice. Rather we have a form of mixed economy that forces you (and all taxpayers) to pay for the consequences of another person's choices.

This is the immoral piece, not Palin's actual choice. In fact, those commenters that have called you a Nazi are supporting a system that takes choice away from people on the economic level, thus forcing the very kind of Nazi-like calculations that they claim to decry: a society where every individual decision is based on social (collective)value and not on individual values.

I'd also like to address the question of what happens when a child is born with disabilities that are unknown prior to birth. If people keep their own money, rather than being forced to give it the government, they will have much more wherewithal to support such a child. Also, most of us live in families and other voluntary communities through which all sorts of give-and-take is exchanged informally. This is also part of human nature, to associate voluntarily with those with whom a person has an affinity.

Finally, I do think you have taken the hyperbole too far when you say that Palin necessarily worships disability. This may or may not be true. I don't know her.

I can only speak for myself. My choice to support and raise and care for my child with Asperger's Syndrome is more about taking responsibility as his mother for seeing that he reaches his full potential--which is different than my own, but promising in surprising ways.

And I think this is where Objectivists sometimes fail--although Rand did not; often Objectivist values are equated with money, but money is the servant of values, not the master. What I mean here is that money is only one part of what comprises wealth. (I do realize that there are those who would say it is easy for me to say this now, because I have enough money. However, I did not start with lots of money. The money came when I took responsibility for defining what wealth is for me).

That my son's value is not recognized by certain Objectivists is neither here nor there, since his life is of value to himself and to me, and others who know him. And in a society of individual liberty that is all that matters.

And in the end, this is why I do not have to call names when I disagree with you.

Anonymous said...

">Personally, I see no difference in killing a[n] unborn child or a 10 year-old child.

Then you clearly see no difference between an unborn fetus existing inside a woman's womb and a physically independent human being."

Anyone who is dependent isn't human - eh? How about you go to a nursing home and share your opinions...

Paul Hsieh said...

Thank you, Nick, for defending the right of a mother to live her own life and pursue her own happiness, according to her judgment. A woman carrying a fetus has the absolute moral right to terminate her pregnancy rather than have to endure an unwanted burden.

She should not be made to feel guilty by the alleged defenders of any religious morality that would have her sacrifice her happiness for an unwanted child.

Thank you for speaking out on this.

Michael said...

Blogger Paul Hsieh said..."made to feel guilty by the alleged defenders of any religious morality"

Pro-Life people claim all human life has intrinsic value and are backed by Science in their belief of what is Human Life. It is Pro-Choicer that attempt to moralize about the value of certain human lives. Sorry to bust your bubble

"The Truth" The Whole Truth and Nothing But The Truth So Help Me God said...

--- A woman carrying a fetus has the absolute moral right to terminate her pregnancy rather than have to endure an unwanted burden.

An Absolute Moral Right? According to you women should not to have to "endure" any "unwanted burden". My wife and kids are glad I don't feel that way because it sure is an "unwanted burden" to have to support them.

Anonymous said...

Aborting a mentally hadicapped baby to save money. Mr Provenzo you are a moral idiot. I would feel sorry for you but, you are such an unimaginable example of walking excrement its hard to care. Shame on you.

Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

I probably shouldn't, but I can't resist!

To "The Whole Truth" & etc.

I am glad that I am not your wife or child! Why did you get married and have children if supporting a family is an "unwanted burden?" Who do you expect should support them, then?

I am very glad that I chose to marry a man who sees me and the children as welcome additions to his life and not as burdens.

Anonymous said...

Why is killing a life inside the womb OK and killing a person outside the womb a crime? Also, since when being disabled is a death sentence? This column is disgusting.

Morality cannot be legislated. We all need to acknowledge abortion for what it is, a form of murder. After all, if one is not born, that makes one dead. Now, with that in mind, people will be able to make their informed choice.

Anonymous said...

if you believe the unborn child is a piece of it's mother, and the specific unborn child in question has Trisomy 21, then you need a refresher course in Biology. The mother, it is assumed, has 46 chromosomes. The child, 47. Obviously, distinct, seperate, unique.

Anonymous said...

Abortion is a decision a mother will regret, once she realizes what she has done; she will always remember her child.

"By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems." -Mother Teresa of Calcutta, National Prayer Breakfast 1994.

Cathlete.net

Gideon said...

I agree with Nick. The fact that the religious right and fellow travelers declare that the refusal to abort a Down Syndrome fetus is some kind of sign of profound virtue is deeply disturbing.

As Diana Hsieh correctly pointed out:
A fetus is NOT a person with the right to life. It exists as part of its mother -- and she has the absolute right to remove her life support, if she so chooses.

For details see the excellent essay here.

This is the case if the fetus is completely healthy, never mind if it has health issues such Down's. The point is not that all Down Syndrome fetuses ought to be aborted, but that the right to do so ought to be protected, that it is a perfectly moral decision, and there's is no special virtue in carrying such a fetus to term.

RyanTheEgoist said...

Having a child that is severely retarded is not something that is inherently right or wrong. It all depends on the circumstances, but most of the time, the circumstances are that the mother simply does not have the ability or the desire to take care of a being that is going to have the mentality of a small child or worse it's whole life. I suspect many who give birth to retarded children are doing so because they feel they have a moral obligation to do so.

In Sarah Palin's case, she is a governor and a mother of an already large family. Her own daughter is pregnant already and when she had the child, she was governor of Alaska. There just isn't any possibility Sarah would be able to manage having a retarded child and being governor, let alone vice president. Raising a child is a full time job. Raising a retarded child is a burden to almost anyone. People just aren't happy with them, and most marriages where the mother has it, the family will split up. I hope for the best for Mrs. Palin and all her children, and that she can find time to raise them all with joy, not sacrificing herself for them, but doing it because she loves them. A birth is something that is beautiful, and not something that should be used because of a supposed moral obligation.

Webster said...

Great post, Nick! The poor quality of your opponents' responses speaks to the truth of your argument.

I have just two comments:
1) Everything up to your final statement was well written and convincingly argued. But that final statement doesn't follow. George Will and the CWFA don't represent Sarah Palin. Who knows why she chose the way she did? She seems to love children, and maybe she does have the resources to care for a disabled child.

2) By dismissing without argument the connection between your views and eugenics, I think you overestimated the intelligence of your audience. Apparently many of them really don't understand the term.

In case any of you illiterates are reading* this:
(From Vince, above, who knows how to copy and paste, but apparently not how to read): "Eugenics aims to improve the genetic constitution of the human species by selective breeding."

Nick's post defended the practice of aborting a pregnancy when one knows it will produce a disabled child. The basis for his defense was the self interest of the parents. His argument has nothing to do with the improvement of the "genetic constitution of the human species."

I'm guessing virtually all of the 90% of women who choose to abort such pregnancies make that choice for the reasons Nick describes (i.e. concern over the extraordinary burden such children constitute for their parents), not because they fear the effect those children will have on the gene pool.

You may still oppose that choice, but to compare it with eugenics is just plain ignorant.


*Yes, I know illiterates can't read. Get over it, loser.

Forrest said...

This article is just sickening.

Anonymous said...

it is patently untrue that having a child with Down syndrome will destroy a marriage. In fact, families who have children with DS have a much LOWER divorce rate.
Vanderbilt Kennedy Center (VKC) researchers are reporting slightlylower divorce rates for families raising a child with Down syndromethan in the comparison groups, following an examination of theTennessee Department of Health?s birth, hospital discharge, and divorcedatabase records from 1990-2002.

The population-based study published in the American Journalon Mental Retardation by VKC investigators Richard Urbano, Ph.D., andRobert Hodapp, Ph.D., showed divorce rates were lower (7.6 percent) forfamilies of children with Down syndrome as compared to 10.8 percent inthe population-group with non-disabled children



Incidentally, I am not miserable, unhappy, or bogged down with the "burden" that is my child. I love her. She elicits the same feelings in me that my other children do. I feel guilt to some extent with all of them, am I doing enough? Are they well enough fed, educated, are they happy enough? My child with DS is living a very normal life, and she loves her life. She loves school, her best friend (most of the time), baseball, reading, and her animals. She wants to be a vet someday, and with education and medical care growing in leaps and bounds for kids like her, who am I to say what her future holds? Better yet, who are YOU to say?

z said...

GO NICK! most of the objectors are equivocating between "its perfectly ok to abort your own fetus" and "all deformed fetuses should be aborted and it's wrong to bear one." it is beyond some people that it may sometimes be wrong to have a baby you know will be disabled, if that is going to be a burden not on yourself only, but others as well. anyway, the author is brave. i don't give any moral credit to palin for having a baby like that. even though its a private decision, so i cant say she shouldn't have had it, certainly her reasoning that it would be immoral to NOT have it is flawed. it would have been perfectly OK for her to abort it. per-fect-ly OOOOO-K.

Anonymous said...

You are disgusting. Since you have never had to make this choice, how can you say these hateful things?

Anonymous said...

Wow. What happened in your life? Skip the concentration camps and gas chambers altogether. Abort the unworthy before we have to see them? Did you just shave your mustache and learn to type, Adolph?

Anonymous said...

Nicholas - please explain how your position differs from white supremacists, nazis and other groups hellbent on genetic cleansing.

RyanTheEgoist said...

Nick doesn't have to do any such thing. He doesn't have to respond to baseless smears from any ignoramus.

RJ said...

You are a sick wacko.

Anonymous said...

If someone were to refer to a Down Syndrome child as "retarded", the fur would fly. Yet this pathetic excuse for a human being is advocating they be aborted for financial reasons, and there's ample people, obviously equally pathetic, to support him.


*****************************

Dear God,

May he and his quick to shed innocent blood supporters be blessed and rewarded according to their deeds.

Amen.

"Before I formed thee in the womb, I knew thee..." Jeremiah 1:5

****************
The lone reason for the vicious attacks upon Sarah Palin is her pro-life stance. The pro-death crowd is coming unglued to think they may no longer have the right to choose murder. And, they'll use any means possible to silence Palin.

John said...

You are disgusting.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Provenzo,

I am pro-choice, and normally I would say that your position is disgusting.

In your case, however, YOU disgust me.

Any one who seriously advocates such a position is hardly worthy of being treated as a human being.

Anonymous said...

So the point apparently is that the "freedom-loving" Mr Provenzano would deny Ms Palin the freedom to do as she pleases. And apparently he entirely ignores the freedom and right to LIVE of the child. Might I respectfully suggest that Ms. Rand's philosophies would be better advocated by someone who understands them?

Alison said...

I cannot believe you would write such rubbish! May God indeed help America.

Anonymous said...

Let's, for a minute, apply this theory to the welfare system: A family living in the middle of a run down neighborhood in the city, unable to "sustain" a worthwhile living. They really aren't contributing to the society as a whole, and we're pouring money into their pockets in the form of food stamps and other welfare benefits. Should we just gas the neighborhood and make sure they're not a "financial burden" to the rest of us??? Absolutely not! Who are you to decide who is worthy of living. You certainly don't look like the picture of perfection, and many here seem appalled by your existance. So why exactly do you deserve to be walking this Earth? This is human life at its lowest form. Volunteer for a day to help out a person with special needs and you'll see just how special EVERY life is. But of course you wouldn't do that, because you're so absorbed in your own shallow existance that you just don't have the time to do so. Ask yourself what you have done to make this world a better place? Spending your time writing hate-filled articles on the internet surely won't top that list.

Anonymous said...

the priest of the church of abortion has given his message, no matter how retarded the "arguement" is, the faithful will defend it as the most "logical" and accuse everyone else of bigotry. Behold is the modern day cult that sacrifises children on the altar of "ME". And we thought those Satanists who killed and ate children in Russia were bad... Now is it Nick? Nick, you've got what 40, 60 at most years left of your productive life. Or say you get in an paralyzing accident tomorrow. You will be a "burden" to society according to your own logic... what you don't like where this is going?

The rest of you folks never forget that it were people like Nick who "justified" the worst horrors of the past centuries. The tools like him cultivated "progressive" thinking for the willing butchers of Stalin and Hitler.

Anonymous said...

What is man that you are mindful of him?

Anthropology is the single most important subject in this culture war. What inherent value does a human being possess simply by right of being human?

Are we accidents of nature or are we moral agents create for a purpose? If we are accidents of nature then Ayn Rand's moral philosophy is irrelevant because accidents of nature do not have moral agency. If we are moral agents created for a purpose her moral philosophy is wrong because she identifies self-interest as a virtue.

After an initial infatuation with Ms. Rand's writings I put away childish things when I realized that her philosophy is self referentially incoherent, not simply as the above example, but on may other levels as well. You might want to do the same.

Joseph said...

It's only a matter of time before there's a pre-natal test for Objectivism.

Anonymous said...

I cannot understand how Objectivism remains a fringe cult, with such well-reasoned and compelling arguments as this one.

dbrutus said...

Putting aside God (as dumb an idea as that is by itself), a society that has no children is a society that will die and it will not die well. Ultimately, all civilization depends on a sufficiently sized future stream of new individuals coming into being and taking on the challenge of keeping civilization going. The generation that does not do this ends up dying alone in a sopping mess of their own excrement because, in the end we are all generally too disabled to even clean ourselves.

You look down your nose at your future self when you do not make provision in your preferred future world for the disabled. If you do not die a sudden death, in the end you will join their ranks.

Anonymous said...

The moral position here is totally odious, but the factual claim is ridiculous to boot.

It's pure ignorance to suggest that Down's Syndrome children are a huge burden on society. Frankly it's just hysteria. Have you ever met someone with DS? Have you consulted any stats on what medical intervention is typically needed (precious little, in many cases)? Obviously not.

Anonymous said...

God has a place for you, the abortionists and any woman who has an abortion: it's called HELL and that's exactly where the whole lot of you deserve to BURN. And I'm going to be in heaven laughing because Jesus is my LORD and SAVIOR, and maybe if you get your head out of your ass he can be your Lord and Savior too.

Anonymous said...

Only an ignorant, self centered, piece of shit human being would write something so ridiculous and heartless. I feel sorry for the people that have to look at you and listen to you on a daily basis. I wish your mom could have seen the vile, heartless human being that you would have turned out to be and taken care of you. It's a shame that we have such hateful people as yourself in our society. It's people like you that make this world such a complicated place to live in. Clearly you just relish in negative attention or you wouldn't write such rubbish. Down Syndrome children or any other special needs individuals make this world a better place and we are more than blessed that they exist.

Anonymous said...

I didn't want to do this, but I can't resist. Here are my pearls, are you swine??
Wow. Satan really is at work in the world isn't he.
On one side you have people with absolute total disregard for human life in any form. Do any of you know anyone with Down's Syndrome?? Or any other condition making them "economically useless" or an "economic burden"? I bet not. But I do bet that either abortion has not touched your life in any way so you can't help be ignorant and you are rebellious in nature and outspoken, so you'll go against the grain and fight for this right because no one is going to tell you what to do, or you have had an abortion or know someone who has and you are trying to make yourself feel better about it by fighting for the right and you are justifying it even though in your heart (if you have one) you know it is wrong.
As for women that have had abortions, no one has the right to say they are going to hell. No one but God. In my experience these women are dealing with enough remorse, guilt and feelings of worthlessness to the point of suicide. If they are repentant, they will be in heaven. Just as would anyone that murdered an adult for any reason if they were repentant. You need to read your Bible and put yourself in check. You are not judge.
Abortion is murder. I saw my fetus' heartbeat at 26 DAYS. If that creation has a heartbeat, it is a living being. Just because it is not on the outside of the womb breathing air, doesn't mean it is not living. It is a person. The different types of abortion are brutal not only to the fetus but also to the mother. Even in this day and age infections, bleeding to death, convulsions, heart failure due to induction, etc. etc. etc. Not to mention the risk of causing the mother to not be able to conceive or to miscsarry in the future. Sounds great to me (NOT!!)
There is the saline solution abortion, the "cut em up suck em out method", oh and don't forget partial birth. So there it is, an innocent fetus done nothing wrong to anyone, and oh, here lets burn you to death, or chop you up into little pieces and suck you out, better yet, lets have you almost full term, almost a full grown newborn baby, have you be born all except your head and shove an instrument into the back of your head scrambble your brains suck them out and watch you convulse and grasp for life, kicking and flailing your arms then die, then deliver you the rest of the way and throw you in the trash. Great !
Nothing deserves that. Not even worthless creatures.
It is the same as murdering an infant. Would you go to a basinet of a 1 month old, or how about a 1 year old peacefully sleeping, or better yet, a 5 year old. Would you pour sulfuric acid on them and watch and wait for them to die, listening to them scream and beg you to stop hurting them, or take a knife and stretegically cut them into little pieces, hearing them call out for you , "mommy no, no mama." Watch them suffer and die, or shove something into the back of their head scrambble their brains, suck them out and toss them into the trash? Just because you can't hear that fetus screaming inside that mother's womb, doesn't mean they can't feel that pain. Just because there is not blood squirting across the room from the brutal murder of that infant doesn't mean they aren't being murdered. Just because there aren't little hands grabbing your arms and hands trying to defend itself doesn't mean that fetus isn't trying all it can to fight for it's life. That is why the fetus is convulsing inside the mother during the abortion, it is being murdered.
As far as the mother's life being at risk. That's a bunch of crap. That's when you need to trust God to make a miracle happen. And if the baby dies, so be it, if the mother dies, so be it. No one needs to be murdered. If the mother's life is at risk, would you be o.k. with removing the child through C-section then killing the mom? No!! It is no more ludicris to kill the baby.
This will never end, until Christ comes again and the end of this earth is at hand. I just needed to vent after reading all this insanity.

Anonymous said...

Way to, Provenzo, for striking countless nerves! Shrill screaming, and essentially nothing but the tired claim that abortion equals murder, means these allegedly "pro-life" zealots are being hit where it hurts.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more with you Nick. I deserve to have my time to myself. I don't deserve the burden of caring for anyone I don't want to care for. I shouldn't have to look at a retarded kid every single day of my life when I have so many other things that I should be free to do during my life. A fetus in the womb is not a person with rights, regardless of what the fanatic religious right would like us to believe. Their whole "life" argument is so unbelievably smug.

In fact, I think we should further refine our population to eliminate not just the mentally retarded, but also those with any other sort of physical disability. Think of the money our nation could save on things like wheelchairs, doctors, prosthetic limbs, surgeries, etc. OBGYN doctors could really push to get pregnant women to remove these prospective unproductive citizens from among us.

I hope this happens soon; as a public school teacher I do get a little sick of those who are, quite literally, useless. We even have a high school special ed. class where students actually have to have diapers changed. Talk about a waste of space. If only their mothers had been informed by people like you, Nick.

Long live for the Rule of REASON!!

Anonymous said...

This is an astounding and truly innovative idea.

It would be like a whole new population. Imagine what a perfect country we could create... the mind boggles.

If I could be on any sort of think tank to make this happen, please let me know. I will personally email you so that we can make this world a BETTER PLACE! The place that WE want it to be!

It really is intellectuals like you who know the ones we should eliminate. I plan to copy and send your article out to all of my contacts in order to encourage them to think again before giving birth. They could then spread the word even further so that all of us would then truly understand why we need to purge our population of people who usurp our resources. (In my part of town, we call them "freeloaders" ...heh, heh ;-)

I think that Obama is already taking us on the right track with his commitment to abortion rights. Women are the ones who will choose to take us, one abortion at a time, toward this perfected population that we can only hope for.

PRO America. PRO CHOICE. The choice for CHANGE! The choice for a better AMERICAN RACE!!

Vince said...

I was afraid this thread would descend to the depths, and it sure did.

To the pro-lifers; Temper yourselves with a little knowlege. The abortion issue is a divisive one for non-libertarians, for libertatians it is a "boundary" case that needs a little tact and compassion from your side. There's no way to convince many people that a blastocyst or embryo has rights on par with a pregnant woman, you are just gong to have to realize this and work with people of good will on the pro-choice side to reduce needless abortions, particularly late ones.

To the pro-choicers: quit ridiculing pro-lifers' sincerely-held beliefs in the worth of the unborn. Most ordinary pro-life people in the libertarian movement don't want to force anything on anybody, they simply do not draw the line vindicating rights at birth. Many are uncomfortable with any restriction on abortion, but still sincerely believe that (at various points after conception) the unborn has rights worth vindicating, indeed this is even explicated in Roe v Wade, as arbitrary and undemocratic as it was. But Nick's original point was a bad, provocative argument. Peace, people.

lixivix said...

Well, I totally agree with Nicholas Provenzo.

Sam Harris: It has been estimated that 50 percent of all human conceptions end in spontaneous abortion, usually without a woman even realizing that she was pregnant. In fact, 20 percent of all recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage. There is an obvious truth here that cries out for acknowledgment: if God exists, He is the most prolific abortionist of all.

Henry said...

What People Do and Don't Know About Embryology
(This is independent of religious or political inclination.)

What people do know: (from 1880s embryology)
Fertilization is a unique defining moment. So human life begins then.

What people don't know:
1) Identical Twins: The embryo splitting is a creation event that occurs several to many days after fertilization. Only about one in eight twins survives.
2) Chimera: Though rare, the opposite of twinning is now known to sometimes occur, the fusing of two separately-fertilized embryos into a single embryo. This is in a sense an anti-creation event, the ending but not death of an individual. They have mixed blood type, and in half of cases they are both sexes in one individual.
3) High Attrition: The human reproductive system does not work by getting everything right in the first place, but instead by having a chance of getting things right and then culling out the mistakes, lots of them. Some 1/2 to 2/3 or more of fertilized eggs do not survive to advanced fetuses, the attrition being highest before but also continuing after implantation. Trying to get pregnant causes the death of far more embryos than taking the pill. The pill prevents egg formation, giving nothing to ovulate or to fertilize.
4) Predestined Attrition: About half the time the reason for embryo failure is due to cytoplasmic or chromosomal deficiencies in the egg at the time of ovulation. There is predestination here. Many eggs that become fertilized are predestined before fertilization to become embryos or fetuses that soon die.
5) Down Syndrome: Trisomy eggs are a normal occurrence, except that trisomy 21 becomes abnormal when it fails to self abort like the others, some 5,500 cases of Down syndrome being born in the US in 2006. The probability of occurrence is higher if the mother has problems metabolizing folic acid and increases dramatically with any mother's age. Down syndrome can now be detected with high reliability in the first trimester using ultrasound and amniotic genetic screening, and 80 % of women informed of such a diagnosis choose eugenic abortion.
6) Stem Cell Line Research: Development of stem cell lines is separate from medical use of stem cells. For stem cell lines, pluripotent stem cells have recently been generated from adult human skin cells. The researchers are beginning to learn how to control the extra-nuclear cellular chemistry that controls gene expression and are achieving steps in the direction of running the clock backwards on embryonic growth, from adult cell to embryonic cell.
7) Cloning: Many types of mammals have been reproduced by asexual cloning, the process of manually removing the nucleus of a fresh unfertilized egg and replacing it with the nucleus form an adult cell. This has now been demonstrated for humans with high success rate to the blastocyst stage for the purpose of generating stem cell lines.
8) Conception Message Conveyance: The message, "The beginning of life is at conception," must have been conveyed sometime after microscopes became available and researchers found that living things are made of cells.

References are at EggInfo.info
Henry@egginfo.info

E carver said...

You are a moron.
As the parent of a son born with a disability, I think you should study a little.

Anonymous said...

I guess the only encouraging thing about these 137 comments is that the majority seem to find the "column" in question to be completely NUTS. The fact that it is FRIGHTENINGLY NUTS will be something I petition God about tonight. He is in charge, you know. I am just sorry that many of you don't realize it yet.

Anonymous said...

The "justice" of a seething mob is no justice at all. All these comments do is show the ignorance of those who oppose abortion, the fear they use in their vain attempt to enforce their view, and the willingness of those of rational principle to stand fast. I don't care in the numbers are a million to one against us: an individual has a right to live his life for his own sake and no mob has the right to deny it.

Anonymous said...

I believe a previous historical figure shared your view on the mentally challenged...someone by the name of Adolph Hitler. If we're not careful, viewing one life as more worthy than another will be the start of this generation's Holocaust.

Nicholas Provenzo said...

So Adolph Hitler supported a woman's right to chose abortion (or not), if that was her wish? So Adolph Hitler defended a person's right to act in their rational self-interest free from the constraints of the group?

No, I believe that the comparison of the ideas of Adolph Hitler to the ideas I expressed here is nothing more than the disgusting smear of scoundrels.

dawnzerlylite said...

Why do you call the comparison of your assertions to Hitler's ideals "disgusting smears"? Your argument falls apart right there. By taking offense to the comparison, you are making the assessment that Hitler's actions were wrong. What gives you the right to judge him so if YOU don't have a moral authority higher than self-interest? He was doing what he thought was best for society & he was legally in a position of power to do it. He didn't think himself as doing or thinking anything repugnant either. The world (including you) has judged his actions as repugnant because there is a moral code written on our hearts by our Creator. Those of you who do not believe in an absolute moral authority have no basis by which to judge even Hitler. The assertion that there is no absolute moral authority (God) & resulting absolute truth is, in itself, the assertion of an absolute truth.

Steve Rodgers said...

>What gives you the right to judge [Hitler] if YOU don't have a moral authority higher than self-interest?

Um, my self-interest. Look it up, it's ever so very powerful.

dawnzerlylite said...

And why is your self-interest morally superior to Hitler's self-interest?

Steve Rodgers said...

First of all, Hitler was not acting in his self-interest, so right out the gate your argument is false. Establishing a totalitarian dictatorship and igniting a world-wide war did not end well for Hitler nor could it, neither for him, nor the millions who willfully followed him.

Second of all, I simply have a right to my own life. Life requires thought and action if it is to be sustained; I have every right to do these things and as a corollary, the responsibility to respect the rights of others to the same.

You on the other hand are perfectly willing to sacrifice a woman's life to an unborn mass; worse, you label those who disagree Nazis. You sir are the most akin to a Nazi, demanding utter self-sacrifice in the name of an unborn clump of cells.

leucanthemum b said...

To those of you who defend the arguments of the nitwit who authored this piece, I have a question: how can you genuinely believe that there is a moral imperative to kill a person, born or unborn, who is likely to cost the parents and their society a little extra cash in order for that person to live a long and relatively healthy life? Are we that close, again, to the Edwardian mindset in favor of eugenics? What price do you put on the life of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec? When would you have pulled the plug on Stephen Hawking? What's the dollar value of putting J.M.W. Turner and Robert Schumann and Wolfgang A. Mozart out of their depressive misery? When do you no longer afford them life? At the first sign they would need more help than their families could afford to pay?

leucanthemum b said...

and, to anonymous @ 9/27/08 12:25 AM:

"I don't care in the numbers are a million to one against us: an individual has a right to live his life for his own sake and no mob has the right to deny it."

Did you even listen to your own words as you were trying to type them out? An individual has a right to live... That's all the pro-life people are asking for, on behalf of those whose little digits are not yet ready to hit the keypads. So, is it your life or your lifestyle you're defending when you defend the right to abort? (There is a difference, you know.)

If you demand free choice, you must learn to also respect the right of others to make a choice differing from yours.

Steve Rodgers said...

>To those of you who defend the arguments of the nitwit who authored this piece, I have a question: how can you genuinely believe that there is a moral imperative to kill a person, born or unborn, who is likely to cost the parents and their society a little extra cash in order for that person to live a long and relatively healthy life?

You're not killing a born human being; you are ending an unwanted pregnancy. That implies that for some reason, the woman does not wish to be a mother in this instance. That's her right because it is her body. Deny her that right, and you just made the purpose of her life the fulfillment of unwanted burdens. And contrary to your claims that these aborted children would have grown up to be future Mozart's, the reality is that most of these children, having been denied the love comment of a parent who was willing and able to provide for them, would grow up to be criminals.

Since1973, the crime rate has fallen by half and this is a direct result of a Roe v. Wade. Look it up yourself.

So yes, the best children are the ones who are wanted. Imagine that.

dawnzerlylite said...

Steve, first of all, Hitler did not know he was doing something that would not end well. No megalomaniac envisions that his plans will collapse & he will kill himself in despair. You are confusing outcome with motivation. From his perspective he was gaining power for himself, expanding the reach & wealth of his country, & bettering his country by building parks, industries (Volkswagen), & eliminating genetically undesirable people.

Second, you did not address my questions about where your concept of "rights" come from.

Third, if you'll look carefully at my posts, you'll see that I have called no one here a Nazi. You, sir, are the one who has resorted to name-calling. I'm simply calling you & the originator of this blog out on the logical inconsistency (based on your denial of ultimate moral authority) of judging another as bad or evil. If there are no rules other than self-interest, nor Creator of rules, then what right do you have to judge Hitler as "bad" & take umbrage that someone else compared your pro-eugenics position to Hitler's. It's simply illogical.

The worst atrocities in human history ALL started with the philosophy that some group other than the one in power was less worthy of life & given a pejorative nickname to facilitate propaganda against them--African slaves, American Indians, the 50 million "clumps of cells" dismembered in American abortion facilities--just to name a few.

BTW, I'm a "Ma'am", Sam, & I've had plenty of psychologically & physically damaged post-abortive women (even rape victims) come to me for comfort, heartbroken after their mistake of having their "unborn mass" eliminated by the abortion industry. Women deserve better than the "get their money, vacuum 'em out & send 'em home" process of abortion.

Steve Rodgers said...

>If you demand free choice, you must learn to also respect the right of others to make a choice differing from yours.

Did you even listen to your own words as you were trying to type them out? Oh, right, pro-life doesn't mean choice; it means you got a zygote in your woman, you don't have any choices.

I'll tell you what: keep your grubby hands off my lady's body, you power-lusting theist.

Steve Rodgers said...

>Steve, first of all, Hitler did not know he was doing something that would not end well. No megalomaniac envisions that his plans will collapse & he will kill himself in despair.

Then you are quite ignorant of the actual history of the Nazi movement and I have no interest in your ignorant opinion.

dawnzerlylite said...

Thank you for proving my point that your arguments don't hold up & that you have to desperately resort to ad hominem attacks. I have tried to debate you with respect & logic, but alas, found no one willing to be respectful & logical also.

Now, have the last word if you wish. I'm done with this & off to bed so I can get to church on time tomorrow. With all sincerity, respect, & the love of Christ, I will be lifting the names of Steve Rodgers & Nicholas Provenzano up to Lord in tears that He may touch your hearts with His love for humanity & entice you to accept His free gift of salvation so that I may meet you in Heaven. May God bless you (even if you don't want it)! :D

Anonymous said...

why are you so cruel? a disabled child is just like us.. get a life you dont know anything. Just beccause the baby has down syndrome doesnt mean she should abort him. I stand by Sarah Palin and her desicion not to abort. you have some major problems. you need help man. your probably a lonely guy who just likes to write trash on his computer for a life

leucanthemum b said...

Steve, from the framing of the ultimate paragraph, the implication, the very tone of Provenzo's piece is that it is the moral obligation -- not mere option -- to abort a fetus if it is known (or even suspected, in all likelihood) that the child will be less than healthy, on the grounds that the child will be a burden to society.

The Palins made the choice to accept,with joy and trepidation, like any parents, the child as given to them. Why is that choice so wrong? Or, is "pro-choice" simply a marketing term for the new generation of eugenics?

BTW -- You're WAY off when you call me a theist, and I have absolutely zero interest in your lady's body. Even though there have been rumors, this broad don't go that way.

Mike said...

A parent has a moral obligation to raise his or her children until these children are equipped to think moral questions through for themselves. Because a person afflicted with Objectivism is only capable of marginally human decency (if any) and will experience constant, fully justified disgust and shunning, unless a parent enjoys the wealth to provide for the lifetime of living in a cabin in rural Montana that their child will require, they are essentially stranding the cost of their child's socipathy on others.

Fixed.

momiiiii said...

i would hope you never become disabled.the burden you would be on society could be too much.i guess i would recommend we just get rid of you.

Mark Mayhugh said...

This article has several disconnects between the philosophy and the opinions.

For example, the writer implies a pro-choice position. This position normally supports the woman carrying the baby making the choice to keep or abort, and everyone else butting out. Yet rather than respecting Palin making her choice, he blasts her for make an immoral choice in keeping. How is this different from someone blasting a woman for choosing to abort? Either way is an attempt to impose your morality, and is NOT a pro-choice behavior.

The writer also implies an Objectivist viewpoint, but being hyper-critical of personal decisions of others based on their impact on society which have no direct bearing on yourself is not Objectivist behavior. Objectivists reject the notion that they should put aside their personal choices for the 'good of society'. Such criticism is contradictory to Objectivist philosophy.

As for the slight connection of "stranding the cost of their child's life upon others", it is obvious that Palin does enjoy "the wealth to provide for the lifetime of assistance that their child will require". So a true Objectivist would have no reason to complain.

Even if this were not the case, an Objectivist would much more properly blame the system that can pick your pocket to pay for the choices of others, rather than the very few mothers with disabled children. We end up paying orders of magnitude more for upkeep of people with no obvious defect other than a lack of motivation to provide for themselves.

In summary, the writers arguments are neither pro-choice nor Objectivist, and have no basis in any kind of logic or moral system that I can discern.

Frankie said...

It is disgusting to think it is in any way morally acceptable to kill a child simply because it is unhealthy in one form or another.
And I don't give a DAMN if it costs the public at some point in their lives. I have a genetic defect and have received public help to deal with the symptoms of my bipolar mood disorder.

Are you advocating that I don't have the right to live? Are you saying my life should be put to an end?

That makes me furious. You, sir, and all your supporters, are immoral in your philosophy and are deserving of nothing but the highest contempt.

Wendy said...

As a mother of two children with Autism all I can say is "You are pathetic!!" You have a lot to learn about life and loving and what things are truly important.

Samm said...

My tax dollars are also going to pay for my daughters care. Did you forget this little fact, or are you just to ignorant to it? I work, I pay taxes and I take care of my daughter. But I will think of you when my daugther has her next surgery and I don't have to pay for it because your tax dollars are doing it.

Thanks :D

Anonymous said...

Nicholas Provenzo

Taking a little liberty with your lead statement,

"Like many, you are despicable."

Chris said...

My son was born with C.P. and though I didn't know before his birth, it would not have changed a thing. He would still be the first face I see every morning. That(now 4 year old)growing, maturing, learning, loving face. He spent his first hour on life support, and was barely alive at birth. And I fought for him from day one. I had drs coming from the specialized medical center, doing all they could. And the dr in charge of his care at the hospital told me, he may never make it, nevermind DO anything, but I could hope. Know what? I didnt just hope. I fought, and worked, and most of all I spent many sleepless nights having faith in him. Today, he walked in his gait trainer, just 7 weeks after his bilateral derotational osteotomy. And I hope the guy that wrote that article reads this, and I HOPE that one day he is required to have that same surgery. Or wait, he wont be able to..I mean why would he be around anymore, not being a productive citizen and all...Anyway, my son has overcome all odds. He is learning to walk, he is talking well now, and by far a stronger person than anyone I've met. He will overcome, then we will find that cocky man that thinks he decides who should come in or out of this life, and I will teach my son how to spit in someones face!!!

Anonymous said...

It seems as if you think that all babies with a disability are a burden and therefore; should be killed. What a disgusting thought, you don't know what people with Down Syndrome give to the rest of the world. They teach us compassion and love, how can you discriminate against them because they will not be "productive"? Is that the ultimate goal? For everyone to be "productive"? Life is no longer a right for everyone, but only those deemed worthy of it? I know that abortion will never be overturned in America, but how dare you recommend it for disabled babies? I've heard of many women who were told that they had basically no choice but to abort their baby due to a disability; at later and later dates, when the baby is even fully formed and can smile, walk, and even open their eyes. How dare you say that you are "troubled" because Sarah Palin chose to give birth to her baby with Downs and then say later that "oh it's personal" if it's personal, then why are you troubled? What right do you have to tell or recommend society to abort their disabled babies. You are saying that because they'll be a burden to the rest of us, we should just kill them and rob them of the opportunity to run around, play games, swing on a swing and show their parents limitless love. You claim to care about "women's rights to their own body", "society" and "being liberal" when you're really just being an advocate of heartless and unjustifiable abortion of babies solely due to the fact that they are disabled. Besides, there are many people who have gone down that route and have had serious psychological problems afterward.

Anonymous said...

I am surprised to find out that something is right as soon as 90% of the population does it. Is this what the study of objectivist philosphy has to offer us: fallacies a college student would probably avoid?

Enlork said...

What retarded comments, it's no wonder people are all anti-abortion. If women were allowed to abort pregnancies which would produce retarded children, 90% of them would have been aborted.

Anonymous said...

I notice that Nicholas Provenzo is very careful to never refer to an unborn child as a human being, preferring to use the word, "fetus." In his mind, there is nothing wrong with killing "fetuses," particularly ones that are, in his opinion, even more worthless than ones that are not disabled. Mr. Provenzo, every "fetus" is a human child, and no matter how disabled, has a right to live. A mother's rights end where her child's rights begin.

Dustin Perkins said...

You're absolutely right. Disabled people don't have a right to live. Because someone takes more attention and care than someone else, we should terminate them. Forget that children with Down syndrome are now becoming more educated, accomplished, and independent than ever. Forget that kids with Down syndrome are becoming prom queens and Eagle Scouts. Let's just focus on the burden they are to us.

I love your article, but I think we should take it a step further. Let's execute living people who are a burden on society as well! That way we can have maximum comfort and resources to invest in people who will be able to enjoy the world as much as we do. People in comas, Alzheimer's patients, bye bye! You're not fit for this world, so we'll send you to the next one, whether you like it or not.

I have a question to ask, just because I'd like to test the limits of my newfound baby-killing morality. Would it be ok to throw a birthed child with Down syndrome in the dumpster? If not, how is that different from aborting them in the first place?

Great article...go eugenics, heil Hitler.

*For anyone confused, all of the above is Swiftian sarcasm...this blog made me sick!*

Dustin Perkins said...

You're absolutely right. Disabled people don't have a right to live. Because someone takes more attention and care than someone else, we should terminate them. Forget that children with Down syndrome are now becoming more educated, accomplished, and independent than ever. Forget that kids with Down syndrome are becoming prom queens and Eagle Scouts. Let's just focus on the burden they are to us.

I love your article, but I think we should take it a step further. Let's execute living people who are a burden on society as well! That way we can have maximum comfort and resources to invest in people who will be able to enjoy the world as much as we do. People in comas, Alzheimer's patients, bye bye! You're not fit for this world, so we'll send you to the next one, whether you like it or not.

I have a question to ask, just because I'd like to test the limits of my newfound baby-killing morality. Would it be ok to throw a birthed child with Down syndrome in the dumpster? If not, how is that different from aborting them in the first place?

Great article...go eugenics, heil Hitler.

*For anyone confused, all of the above is Swiftian sarcasm...this blog made me sick!*

Anonymous said...

Wow. A can't fucking believe I just read this. As the father of a child with Down Syndrome, I can assure you he is neither severely disabled, a burden to anyone, or a mistake. Grow a fucking heart.
– If you were ever faced with such a decision, I hope you'd consider worshiping something other than the free market.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Provenzo, I am a volunteer disAbility Advocate, and I find your discriminatory, dehumanizing remarks about Trig, an American CItizen, fully granted the God-given Constitutional Right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness to be most appalling, and uninformed.

To wit, how can you even DARE place a "dollar value" on a human being, when you said,

< begin quote >

because a person afflicted with Down syndrome is only capable of being marginally productive (if at all) and requires constant care and supervision, unless a parent enjoys the wealth to provide for the lifetime of assistance that their child will require, they are essentially stranding the cost of their child's life upon others.

< end quote >

How can you stereotype a human being with Down's Syndrome in such an obviously uninformed fashion? To wit, let me give a personal example:

A personal story re: a Down's Syndrome person that "wasn't supposed to be able to read", that we personally know

Back in the late 70s/early 80s, in Seattle, I worked with Bobby W., who had moderate Down's Syndrome, in a student cafeteria job; the work was hard hot, and long...but Bobby ALWAYS had a smile...

He had been told "he would not be able to read, or do most other things, that most take for granted." We moved, and lost touch with him, but in 1996, we visited Seattle, and caught a city bus back to my wife's parents.

We ran into Bobby W., who was ** reading a New King James Bible** all on his own! I asked him a couple of questions re: a verse that had been eluding my understanding, and he helped me understand the verse, with such smplicity and clarity, I was left in tears...

We all kept talking for the next hour as the bus was stuck in rush-hour traffic...so there goes your discriminatory, uninformed, hate-mongering notion that a person with Down's Syndrome requires

"because a person afflicted with Down syndrome is only capable of being marginally productive (if at all) "

By the way, I've posted your discriminatory ant-disAbility uninformed "comments" on Down's Syndrome on http://www.disaboomlive.com; many have also commented with Extreme concern, about your discriminatory comments.

You need to have a *very* long self-examination of what you believe "human life," is, Mr. Provenzo..and do look at the film script of
the film title "Life Unworthy of Life," (do a http://startpage.com search on it), to see where your "thinking" leads to...hint: 1936 Germany!

Richard, unapolegitically, in Lafayette, Louisiana

Anonymous said...

We spend billions of tax dollars trying to solve our medical imperfections. Stamp out type 1 diabetes, eliminate cancer, HIV, blindness, cerebral palsy, etc. Yes, we've all learned to "live with it" but we all try to get rid of these problems anyway. They are a drain on society and tax dollars that we can't afford to keep spending. The most cost effective way of doing that is to eliminate that medical problem by never giving birth to someone with that problem in the first place! Apparently 90% of people agree with that! If no DS children were born for several generations, it's possible (in theory) the genetic problem might eliminate itself. Imagine a world where there's no blindness, diabetes, cerebral palsy, or DS. One commenter equates this like we're eliminating a race like Hitler tried to do! Aren't we trying to do that anyway in the less cost effective medical research way? DS kids may be "happy" and "mostly functional" but it's still sad to know that "mostly functional" is the best we can hope for them. They are happy because they don't know any better and ignorance is bliss. Should we all choose to live in blissful ignorance? You are welcome to choose to raise a child with a disability, that is your right, but it's also not right to expect me to, or for the taxpayers to keep footing the bill for it. If given the choice, I for one, will always choose to not burden myself, my family, or society with such a huge disability.

Anonymous said...

I love that you quote that idiot from Noodlefood, who apparently has a PhD, and bases her opinion on the quality of life of people with DS on witnessing one guy who worked in a coffee shop she went, to and summing up his experience in her imagination.

And, Anonymous, complaining about your tax money, notice that it also goes to every obese, type 2 diabetes, smoking, drinking, non-exercising person, who get the top three treated diseases and burden health care more than every disabled person times a hundred thousand or so. Those people were born with no detectable defects. So?

seriously said...

ha, ha...sorry it was a movie theater...here's what she bases her opinion to abort all DS babies on :

"Yet based on my experience working with a man with Down's Syndrome in a high school job at a movie theater, I regard his life as inherently tragic and likely quite miserable."

Shows that all the 'book learnin'' on the world can't stomp out ignorance! I wonder if she researched her thesis paper this well.

Jeff Z. said...

I would like to commend everyone here. 173 comments as of this writing, and not one person has said, "Get the hell out of my way."

John Galt said...

Why stop killing the disabled just because the are born?

Anonymous said...

you know i have known so many people in my life with Down Syndrome who have brought more joy and happiness to those in their lives than anyone else. i dare you to go out and introduce yourself to some with Down Syndrome and let yourself fall in love.