Category Archives: Bioethics

Anti-Abortion Deception And The Saint’s Excuse

Family Planning

Both of the extreme positions in the abortion war use the Saint’s Excuse, the historically destructive rationalization that roughly translates as We know what’s right, so we will shamelessly lie, cheat, steal, and commit mayhem to make certain our virtuous position prevails.” Prominent employers of the Saint’s Excuse past and present include Mao, the Spanish Inquisition, ISIS, and Ted Cruz’s marketing consultant, among others.

From the pro-abortion side, we saw NARAL embrace The Saint’s Excuse when, in the middle of its orgy of self-humiliating political correctness during the Super Bowl—NARAL said this ad was “transphobic” (the word they were looking for is “silly”)—

—it condemned a Doritos ad for “humanizing fetuses.”

Imagine that! Humanizing a growing organism with human DNA, created by two human beings that will, unimpeded, grow up to be a human being itself! The Horror.

That was just intellectually dishonest, however. What anti-abortion Pat Lohman is doing in her battle against abortion is far, far worse.

Until a few months ago, Amethyst Health Center for Women, one of Northern Virginia’s few abortion clinics, helped women considering abortions in Manassas. Lohman moved her crisis pregnancy center, AAA Women for Choice, right next door. Does “Women for Choice” sound like an anti-abortion organization to you? No? Well, that’s the idea, you see. Pat Lohman wants women seeking abortion to wander into her operation by mistake, where they will be told horror stories about abortions gone wrong and be pressured into changing their minds with “pamphlets, pleas, prayers, promises of help, used baby gear, bloody imagery, [and] God” until they either capitulate or leave.

Now, however, this unethical deception by the pro-life activist has moved to a new and even more dishonest stage. The operator of  Amethyst Health Center retired and the service closed.  Lohman and her allies bought the property using a surrogate (According to property records,  it now belongs to the Indiana-based Blessed Virgin Mary Foundation) so the abortion provider didn’t suspect their purpose before the title passed. Today everything about the abortion clinic seems the same as ever, except there is no way to get inside. The clinic’s Google ads are still live, and the phone number is still connected. When women dial that number, however, the call is forwarded to AAA Women for Choice.  If a woman seeking an abortion comes to the abortion clinic directly, she will try the door, find it locked, then go right next door, into the clutches of lying Pat Lohman and her devoted, virtuous, saintly minions.

Gotcha! Continue reading

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Filed under Bioethics, Business & Commercial, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Gender and Sex, Health and Medicine, Religion and Philosophy

Ethics Observations On The GOP New Hampshire Debate

Rubio meltdown

Two ethics controversies occurred before the ABC debate (transcript here) even began.

  • DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz really is a shameless and audacious hack. Does anyone seriously defend her? After being justly criticized in the news media for unabashedly hiding the Democratic candidates debates, staging them on weekends and against football games to smooth the road for Hillary, she actually had the epic gall to accuse the GOP of doing the same thing in a tweet yesterday, which read:

“Hmmm, wondering why @GOP trying to hide their #GOPdebate on the Saturday of #SuperBowl weekend no less?!”

Is she that lacking in self-awareness? Was she mocking herself? Is she an idiot? After she was blasted left and right for the tweet, she either revealed her real objective or concocted a face-saving retort:

“.@TheDemocrats debates set viewer records. Both parties’ broadcast network debates on wknds. Replies to SuperBowl #GOPdebate make my point,”

Whether this was her original intent of a U-Turn, it was also her trademark, a ridiculously transparent lie. “TheDemocrats debates set viewer records” is deceit: all the debates by both parties have exceeded previous viewer levels, but the Republican debates have significantly out-drawn the Democrats. There is no doubt that the Democrats would have drawn more had they avoided weekends like Republicans did, and that the fact that they did not was entirely intentional.

Why do Democrats tolerate a sleaze like Wasserman Schultz? It is natural to judge a party by its leadership, and she is neither bright, nor honest, nor effective,  nor appealing.

The other issue was the unfairness of leaving Carly Fiorina out of the debate. I don’t pretend to understand the formula used to demote the candidates, but since all of the other potential debaters–Gilmore, Graham, Huckabee, Santorum, Paul—had dropped out, either Fiorina should have been given a chance to debate herself for two hours, which would have been fun, or be in the main debate. Her New Hampshire poll numbers are equivalent to several who debated last night.

Debate observations: Continue reading

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Filed under Bioethics, Character, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, War and the Military

“Code Black” Glosses Over A Medical Ethics Imperative

Code Black

In TV’s medical drama “Code Black‘s” episode “Diagnosis of Exclusion,” we were plunged, as is too often the case in such shows, into a freak situation that might not occur in any U.S. hospital for a century, but that somehow happens on TV routinely.

A lunatic stalker named Gordon (Jesse Bradford) tried to rape doctor Malaya Pineda (Melanie Chandra) in the hospital garage, after stabbing a hospital administrator, perhaps fatally. Dr. Pineda fought back, the stalker stabbed her in the stomach, and then mild-mannered Dr. Angus Leighton (Harry Ford) arrived in time to pull the stalker off of his wounded friend and save her life. In the struggle that ensued, crazy Gordon was stabbed in the neck with his own knife.

This was presented in flashback, in the form of an official inquiry where Dr. Leighton explained that he told the stalker not to pull out his knife, but he did anyway, causing uncontrollable bleeding. “Maybe I could have done more but, I was out of my mind,” Angus explains. Leighton says he tried to stop the bleeding as he screamed for help. By the time the paramedics got the murderous patient into the ER, he was beyond saving.

Ahhh, but that’s not exactly what happened, we learn! First we saw Angus’s older brother, also a doctor, tell him that he did the right thing, that Gordon tried to kill two women that day and would have gone on to kill more if Angus hadn’t acted as he did.

Wait, what? Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Bioethics, Character, Health and Medicine, Law & Law Enforcement, Professions

Observations On The Center for Medical Progress Indictment In The Planned Parenthood Case

Never mind....

A Houston grand jury investigating undercover footage of Planned Parenthood taken in a lengthy hidden-camera sting operation engineered by the Center for Medical Progress not only found no wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood, it instead indicted the anti-abortion activists involved in making the videos. The Center’s founder David Daleiden was indicted on a felony charge of tampering with a governmental record and a misdemeanor count related to purchasing human organs. Another activist involved in the operation, Sandra Merritt, was indicted on a charge of tampering with a governmental record, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

1. It looks like they may have violated the law, at least it looks that way sufficiently to justify an indictment. In order to sting Planned Parenthood, the Center and its allies 1) used a fake drivers license and 2) allegedly offered to buy human baby parts, which is against the law. I have no problem with the indictment, and neither should anybody else. The ends don’t justify the means, and an activist group trying to do what it thinks is right has no more leave to break laws than anyone else.

2. The Center for Medical Progress defends it actions  by arguing that its activists use “the same undercover techniques that investigative journalists have used for decades in exercising our First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and of the press.” That’s an everybody does ut argument. As the Volokh Conspiracy, points out, journalists have no more right to break laws than anyone else.

3. Kevin Drum, at Mother Jones, of all places, questions the indictment because “the law prohibiting the solicitation of human organs for purchase was clearly intended to prevent a black market in such things, not to punish people who are so against the sale of human organs that they falsely represent themselves as buyers in hopes of discovering and shutting down illegal activity.”  I take it back; that sounds like a Mother Jones argument. It’s like saying that murder laws exist to stop good people from being killed by bad people, and shouldn’t apply to good people killing bad people. Or that laws against theft were never intended to punish a poor family trying to feed its children. Laws are put in place to stop conduct that society doesn’t want to occur. When an exception is necessary, then an exception must be drafted,  passed, and signed into.  law. Continue reading

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Filed under Bioethics, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, History, Journalism & Media

From A Proud Abortion Defender, An Inconvenient Truth….

Snake eating its tail

A New York lawyer named Janice Mac Avoy gifted the Washington Post with an op-ed that was supposed to be a powerful brief for abortion. Viewing it as someone who is deeply conflicted about the ethics of abortion, which is to say, someone who is objective and who didn’t make up his mind first and then look for rationalizations to support that position, I recognized it as a perfect example of why abortion advocates still haven’t made a strong enough case for me, and perhaps why they can’t.

I am still surprised, somehow, when lawyers, like Mac Avoy, display poor reasoning skills. I shouldn’t be, I know: I’ve known plenty of dumb lawyers, even rich and successful dumb lawyers. I suppose I am hostage to the mythology of law school, that professors take students whose “minds are much,’ to quote Professor Kingsfield, and transform those minds into whirring computers of emotion- and bias- free rationality. Unfortunately, mush in, mush out tends to be reality.

Mac Avoy places her own mind in the mush column immediately, with her title “I’m a successful lawyer and mother, because I had an abortion.” This shows her adoption of the classic logical fallacy Post hoc ergo propter hoc, or “After this, thus because of this.” The statement is factually nonsense, and her column takes off from there.

Some highlights:

1. She writes…

“In spring 1981, I knew I wanted to be a lawyer. I was about to become the first person in my family to graduate from high school. I had a scholarship to college, and I planned to go on to law school. I was determined to break a cycle of poverty and teenage pregnancy that had shaped the lives of the previous three generations of women in my family — all mothers by age 18. Then, just before graduation, I learned I was pregnant. Knowing that I wasn’t ready to be a mother, I had a friend drive me to a Planned Parenthood clinic, where I had an abortion.”

Pop quiz: What crucial piece of information is glossed over, indeed strangely omitted, from that account? Mac Avoy “was determined to break a cycle of poverty and teenage pregnancy” —so determined and laser focused on the life goal that she suddenly woke up pregnant! How did that happen? Apparently, despite her representation to the contrary, she was not sufficiently determined that she was willing to refuse  to engage in the exact and only conduct that could foil her intent, and that she knew could foil her intent.

I’m not arguing that a teenage mistake of judgment should derail a life, but I am pointing out that to ignore that personal conduct, as Mac Avoy does, and pretend that pregnancy in every case is some unavoidable random tragedy like a rape or incest, is self-serving and intellectually dishonest, and like most pro-abortion rhetoric, avoids the key issues that make abortion a difficult ethical problem.

2. She writes… Continue reading

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Filed under Bioethics, Character, Childhood and children, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Health and Medicine, Rights

An Obvious Ethics Note On The State Of The Union Address

San-Andreas-crack

Since President Obama has shown a willingness to lie outright to the American people in order to advance his policy agendas and acquire political advantage, there is no reason why any citizen should have cared what he said in the State of the Union message yesterday. One example should suffice, though there are dozens. As recently as January 7, President Obama pushed his anti-gun agenda by stating that “we are the only advanced country on Earth that sees this kind of mass violence erupt with this kind of frequency. It doesn’t happen in other advanced countries. It’s not even close.”  It’s a lie. It’s a lie because he has said this repeatedly, and repeatedly been told, even by reliable anti-gun sources that it is false. France suffered more deaths and injuries from mass shootings in the past year than the U.S. has during Obama’s eight years in office. That doesn’t diminish the importance of finding, if possible, effective policies to reduce U.S. gun violence. It just means that the President thinks it’s acceptable to lie to us, so he does.

The head-exploding moment in his speech last night (I read the transcript), if it did not come with the cynical and silly announcement of a Sixties space program-type effort to “cure cancer”—since we’ve all been ignoring cancer all these years–with Joe Biden—not Khloe Kardashian, an equally strong choice—at the helm (see, Joe’s son died of cancer, so that qualifies him for leadership in cancer research), came from Obama’s stated regrets for the divided state of the nation’s politics, and his failure to stem them, though Lord knows he tried.

Gee, why didn’t his advisors suggest to him that one way for the President to reduce societal division would to stop actively trying to divide people along class, race, religion, region, gender, generation and ethnicity? Continue reading

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Filed under Bioethics, Environment, Ethics Train Wrecks, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Race, Religion and Philosophy, U.S. Society

Comment Of The Day (2): “The Strange Case Of The Unwanted Triplet”

infant

Beth’s  thoughtful Comment of the Day is only tangentially a comment on the Ethics Alarms post about the surrogate mother who balked at aborting one third of the triplets she was carrying. It was really a comment on a comment made to the author of the previous Comment of the Day on the same post, as J. Jonah Jameson described his own experience as a father who employed a surrogate. JJJ was asked why he chose the expensive and risky surrogate route rather than adoption. That question inspired Beth’s Comment of the Day.

Here it is; I’ll be back at the end.

“Why didn’t you adopt a child that needed a family?”

As a woman who battled infertility in the past, and have many friends who did the same, along with others who intentionally became single parents, used surrogates, or have or are trying to adopt a baby, let me say that this is the absolute worst question you can ever ask somebody going through this process. As you pointed out, you are not trying to be judgmental, but you should never ask this.

Continue reading

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Filed under Around the World, Bioethics, Character, Childhood and children, Comment of the Day, Etiquette and manners, Family, Gender and Sex, Health and Medicine