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View Diary: Understanding the Right to Privacy And the Right to Choose (322 comments)

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  •  Actually ... (none)
    the law cannot and does not compel parents to so much as donate a drop of blood to their dying child.  

    so, why should a woman be forced to donate her uterus for a fetus?

    •  Devil's Advocate (none)
      How would you respond to the argument that there is a difference in the kidney situation and the abortion case not because the woman "brought it upon herself", but because the "harm" done to the fetus is performed by a person (i.e. the doctor or woman herself), and without such action the fetus would survive. In the kidney situation, it is the disease that is doing the damage, not another person.

      What is the best response to someone making this argument and who argues additionally that because the damage is done by another person, the state should have the right to punish that person through operation of criminal law?

      •  Not necessarily (none)
        actually, organ damage can happen due to reasons other than disease, and they can happen due to the actions of another person.  if someone causes an injury to another that damages an organ necessary for life, is it then acceptable to force the individual who did the harm to donate a like organ to his or her victim if he or she is a match for the victim?
        •  True, but (none)
          although you can't force the individual that did the harm to donate a kidney, you could punish him for his conduct through the criminal justice system.

          So I'm not sure if this modification of your original analogy works.

      •  The response (none)
        in my opinion would be that the fetus is not a person with rights until it is outside the womb.  Your argument presupposes that the fetus has rights.

        Gustavo mistook my point with the original analogy, and that has engendered more discussion, which is fine.

        My analogy wasn't intended to compare and contrast who is responsible for the pregnancy and therefore "at fault."  It was intended to make clear that anti-choice people are hypocrites when they claim to support a culture of life.  If they care so much about life that they want society/government to take control of a woman's body, then they should also be in favor of allowing society/government to save even more lives by forcing all people - even at the expense of their privacy, their desires, and how it impacts their lives - to donate blood, organ tissue, etc.

        I suppose I should have made this point to Gustavo [grin] but he ran away.

        •  Your point (none)
          is well taken, but I'm not sure it completely addresses the potential problems with the donation of bloood, organs, etc. analogy.

          The counter-arguement to that line of reasoning would state that it is not hypocritical to support restrictions on abortion while not supporting forced organ donation, simply because in the abortion case it is a positive act involved to remove the fetus, whereas in the kidney case nobody is affirmatively killing the person with the disease.

          The argument would further state that the state should have the power to punish people who do the positive act of abortion, but not force them to perform the positive act of organ donation.

          What's the response here?

          •  Your counter-argument (none)
            presupposes that a fetus is a person.  I reject that premise.

            My sister prosecuted a case of elder abuse where the victim's daughter had failed to give her mother the medicine that was needed.  The mother died.  The daughter was convicted.  The daughter did not affirmatively kill her mother, but she was considered criminally and wilfully negligent.

            If society believed that people should donate organs to keep others alive, then that society would have no problem punishing anyone who refused.  We don't accept that in our society at this time.  But we do accept that the daughter was criminally negligent.  Attitudes change over time.  Right now we don't believe a person should be made to give up an organ.  That could change some day.  Face it - right now large portions of our society believe that a woman should be forced to give up her womb.

            The difference between the person who needs the kidney and the fetus is that the person is already alive and virtually no one would argue the point.  Millions of people do argue the point of whether the fetus is a person.  It's alive, of course, but so is a tumor.  Is it a person?  That's a religious question.  And we are a country that purportedly separates church and state.

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