Texas and Ohio have included abortions among the nonessential surgeries and medical procedures that they are requiring to be delayed, setting off a new front in the fight over abortion rights in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States.
Both states said they were trying to preserve extremely precious protective equipment for health care workers and to make space for a potential flood of coronavirus patients.
But abortion rights activists said that abortions should be counted as essential and that people could not wait for the procedure until the pandemic was over.
On Monday, Ken Paxton, the attorney general of Texas, clarified that the postponement of surgeries and medical procedures announced by Gov. Greg Abbott over the weekend included “any type of abortion that is not medically necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother.” Failure to do so, he said, could result in penalties of up to $1,000 or 180 days of jail time.
Is abortion truly a non-essential medical procedure? Is it ethical to treat it as one? This is a perfect storm of an ethics conflict colliding with an ethical dilemma, with so many of the factors that confound ethical analysis present. For example, is the shortage of beds and the stresses on medical services really the only factors being considered by those in making the policy decisions in Texas and Ohio? Is the pandemic really a cover, in whole or in part, for other motives, like a desire to limit abortions generally for as long as possible? Is the ethical response by a pregnant woman to comply with the policy, even to the point of giving birth. There are many ethics decisions involved here.
Let’s just focus on one of them, the decision to call abortions non-essential procedures, and run it through one of the ethics decision-making systems. I’m going to use Professor Laura Nash’s 12 Questions, from her Harvard Business Review article, “Ethics without the Sermon” (1981)]
So many people are saying so many irresponsible, dishonest and stupid things in the throes of the Wuhan Virus freakout that I can’t possibly run all of them, or even a representative percentage, but I can’t let these pass.
“This is a pandemic. I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.”
Sometimes I think the President is actively trying to make people’s heads explode. As the New Yor Times quickly documented (on the front page), this is historical revisionism, gaslighting, or insanity.
On Jan. 22, asked by a CNBC reporter whether there were “worries about a pandemic,” President Trump replied: “No, not at all. We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.”
On Feb. 26, at a White House news conference, he said, “We’re going to be pretty soon at only five people. And we could be at just one or two people over the next short period of time. So we’ve had very good luck.”
On Feb. 27: “It’s going to disappear. One day — it’s like a miracle — it will disappear.”
On March 7, when asked if he was concerned that the virus was spreading closer to Washington: “No, I’m not concerned at all. No, I’m not. No, we’ve done a great job.”
As I have written here before, I refuse to make a big deal out of Trump being Trump, and those who do are simply being self indulgent. Some irresponsible statements are worse than others, and yesterday’s was especially outrageous. It’s in the category of lies that are almost not lies because no one could possibly believe them, like if the President said he was a Stegosaurus. However, if the public knows that whatever he says might be a temporary fantasy, his leadership ability is seriously handicapped. The problem with this kind of statement isn’t that it’s so obviously untrue, but that saying it is so spectacularly self-destructive and stupid.
I’ve been working on accounting ethics, which always slows down my metabolism to Galapagos tortoise levels…
1.Worst lie of the year (so far)…In Winter Park, Florida, Jorge Torres was found dead , zipped into a suitcase. Suspect Sarah Boone insisted that it was all a tragic mistake. They were playing hide and seek, she said, and he just hid too well. A cellphone video, however, caught his cries for help from inside the suitcase, as she said, “That’s what I feel like when you cheat on me!” Boone, however, told police that the wacky couple thought it would be funny if he got inside the suitcase. They were drinking at the time and who hasn’t zipped up a loved one in a suitcase when spirits run high? Unfortunately, Sarah passed out on her bed, and when she woke up hours later, poor Jorge was dead.
That’s her story, and she’s sticking with it.
2. Remember “Baby Peggy”? Probably not, but she was probably the last living link to the silent movie era, and she died this week at 101. She was also one of the earliest examples of the child abuse that became routine in Hollywood. Baby Peggy, real name Peggy-Jean Montgomery, had made about 150 movies by the time she was five-years-old, and was a multi-millionaire at four. As has been the norm with child stars from Peggy through Jackie Coogan to Gary Coleman, Peggy’s parents stole her money and spent it all. They also let her risk life and limb in pursuit of her “art” that she was too young to understand. During her silent-film career, “Baby Peggy” was thrown from a speeding pickup truck, narrowly escaped a horse trampling and survived near-drownings and incineration. Continue reading →
This is a terrible and tragic story, but I don’t want to focus on that. I want to focus on accountability.
NBC tells the true story (I assume it is true, exactly why, I don’t know, since this is NBC. It’s not related to politics, I guess.) of “Judith” who worked at a flower shop. On her long daily drive to work and back, she listened to podcasts, and when she got pregnant, she listened to “The Birth Hour” and “Indie Birth,” podcasts about childbirth stories, which ranged from hospital to home births.The “Free Birth Podcast” excited her particularly.
The podcaster is Emilee Saldaya, a Los Angeles freebirth advocate and founder of the Free Birth Society that has 46,000 followers on Instagram. The podcast promotes the experiences of women who give birh without assistance, in bathtubs, fields, or in their own beds, surrounded by their partners loved ones. Doctors were not welcome.
Judith listened to around 70 episodes, some multiple times. A particular favorite was an interview with a woman who had given birth by candlelight in a yurt in the California mountains with only her husband and her dog she called her a “midwolf.”
I’m having a flashback to 1967.
The podcasts began with advertisements for the Free Birth Society’s online courses and private consultations; this is often the tell-tale sign of a cult. Judith dutifully paid $299 for the group’s 10-module video guide on how to freebirth babies at home. None of the “experts” and “consultants” the group sponsored have medical credentials or experience; that’s the point. Judith didn’t like doctors, so she was a vulnerable target for the group’s message, which emphasized that hospitals were scary places, and hospital births were full of trauma for mother and child.
NBC reports that distrust of the medical profession regarding childbirth is on the rise. A survey conducted by the National Partnership for Women & Families claims that while in 2002, 45 percent of mothers surveyed agreed that “giving birth is a natural process that should not be interfered with unless absolutely medically necessary, the number had increased to 74% by 2018.
Could this possibly be accurate? When did giving birth by squatting and biting on a stick become cool again?
When she got past to her due date and Judith’s pregnancy approached its tenth month, she relied on the Free Birth Society course’s episode on “long pregnancies” for guidance. That podcast warned against inducing a pregnancy, a process it referred to as “eviction from the womb.” It insisted that the idea that “babies must be born before 42 weeks is nonsense.”
Judith had her amniotic fluid checked at a local hospital, and though there were no causes for alarm, a doctor thee urged her to schedule an induction. She made the appointment, but canceled it the next day. She sought, NBC says, a second opinion on Facebook. “43+1 today, politely declining hospital induction. They think I’m crazy,” Judith posted on Ten Month Mamas in January 2019. “I really feel like this baby wants a home birth too but we are definitely being tested. What would you mamas do?” Hundreds of comments supported her desire for a home-based freebirth.
No one told her she should do what the doctor had advised, and there was a reason for that. Several of the groups had rules forbidding members from suggesting that another member resort to a doctor or a midwife. “Unassisted Pregnancy & Childbirth,” for example, instructed its 4,600 members,
“This means we don’t want to hear about the tests your midwife wants you to take, or how your OB thinks baby is breech or ‘too big’ or whatever other shit they say. Just don’t. This is not the place. No induction discussion. We do not advocate for induction of any kind, as no induction is natural.”
Egged on by Facebook extremists, Judith told NBC that she became determined resolved to freebirth alone, “no matter what.”
When the day she had decided to freebirth arrived, Judith “walked and danced for hours through contractions and floated in a pool that her husband filled with water.” She listened to music as a friend massaged her back. She took short naps between contractions…everything she had learned from the podcasts. But the pain increased and the breaks between contractions shortened. After 10 hours of labor, Judith started vomiting. The contractions were coming too fast and violently for her to monitor the baby’s heart rate with the fetal stethoscope she had bought. Her water broke, and there was dark brown in it, fecal matter that would kill the baby if it was inhaled. Her husband drove her to the hospital, doubled up in pain. Once there, Judith got the medical assistance she had vowed to avoid, but too late. Her baby was dead.
Stipulated: This should not have happened.
Who’s primarily responsible? For this poll, I’m going to allow multiple voting, because I don’t think there is a single answer.
Between the nauseating impeachment charade and baseball’s cheating scandal (and the largely ethically ignorant commentary regarding it), the bias of the mainsteam media reaching critical mass in episodes likethisand the Don Lemon panel’s mean girls mockery of those dumber than dumb Trump supporters, mounting evidence that Democrats are going nuts based on the rise of a superannuated Communism fan in the race for the party’s Presidential nomination, and, of course, my wife doing a face-plant into some asphalt, it was a not a happy 31 days at The House of Ethics.
Amazingly, it has been a very good month for the President, becoming the first POTUS to unequivocally endorse the anti-abortion movement by appearing at the March for Life, cutting a partial deal with China, ridding the world of Qasem Soleimani (and in doing so, prompting his domestic foes, including the news media, to publicly sympathize with a terrorist and a nation that habitually calls for America’s destruction), releasing a Mid-East peace plan that is garnering support everywhere but from Iran, the Palestinians, and, of course, the U.S. media, and seeing economic figures so good even the New York Times has been forced to acknowledge them, all while being called every name in the book and an existential threat to democracy on C-Span by the Democratic House impeachment managers.
1. “Dolemite Is My Name” We finally watched “Dolemite Is My Name,” (on Netflix), Eddie Murphy’s homage to comic Rudy Ray Moore and his 70s Blaxploitation film “Dolemite.” So much for my proud claims of cultural literacy: I never heard of Moore or his film, which is apparently a genre classic. Moore is regarded as the Father of Rap; how did I miss this for so long? Murphy’s movie tells the mostly true story about how a group of complete novices, led by Moore, made an exuberantly idiotic movie (faithful to Moore’s formula for success with black audiences: “Titties, funny, and Kung-Fu”) for $100,000 that grossed 10 million.
The movie is fun as a black version of “Ed Wood” (same screenwriters, I discovered later) and won some awards. For it to be make any 2019 Ten Best lists, however, is blatant race pandering by critics. Continue reading →
The forum, ironically enough, is RealClear Science, and the author is Sarah Wild, a South African science journalist and author. It may help to know that she hails from Undark, an e-mag that purports to to “explore science in both light and shadow, and to bring that exploration to a broad, international audience.” Should I be suspicious of the magazine because Charles M. Blow is on its board? No…but I am.
The article is incompetent structurally because it doesn’t begin to explain exactly what the “murky ethics issues” are until about half way through a very long article, and it’s hard to read when one is asleep. Even after the issues are drip-drip-dripped out, it is never made clear by the author what established ethical principles are involved. The ethics issue of scientists taking bones of unidentified people from burial sites in other nations has always been, for me, an ick vs. ethics controversy. The original owners of the bones are not harmed in any way, and if those individuals’ families aren’t aware of the whereabouts of the remains and have taken no steps to assert control over them, they are not harmed either. Continue reading →
In my one, fortuitous one-on-one conversation with futurist Herman Kahn, then regarded as the most brilliant man in America, he observed that society periodically for forgets everything it has learned over the years, and then chaos reigns temporarily until bad ideas and horrific mistakes re-teach the lessons that once were accepted as obvious. He was talking about the Sixties, but it is clear that this is another one of those periods. Kahn also noted that some of the forgotten lessons are re-learned too late to save society from permanent harm. The Sixties gave us socially acceptable promiscuous sex and the resulting normalization of children born out of wedlock, the re-assignment of of abortion as ethical (somehow) rather than criminal, and societal sanctions of recreational drug use.
Nice work, Boomers…
1. Speaking of abortion...can there be a more empty, fatuous justification of it than what Senator Cory Booker tried last week? ”Abortion rights shouldn’t matter to men because women are our mothers, sisters, daughters, friends,” Booker tweeted. “They should matter to men — to everyone — because women are people.”
How profound. Nobody has ever disputed that women are people, and Booker’s non-logic—the statement compels the response, “And SO…????”—is an appeal to emotion without substance. It also makes its own rebuttal screamingly obvious to anyone but a pro-abortion zealot: “Abortion should be repugnant to men and women…and Presidential candidates…because unborn babies are living human beings.” Continue reading →