Tag Archives: mothers

Pre-Unethical Conditions: Surrogate Mother Contracts And Making Babies With Jerks

womb-for-rent2Most surrogate mother arrangements work out exactly as intended by the participants. A couple or a single parent gets the biologically linked baby they bargained for, and the mother gets what she wanted, cash. To many the contracts seem unethical because the idea, only recently beyond the realm of science fiction, of a woman bearing another couple’s child, or allowing a stranger’s seed to impregnate her,  appears strange, unnatural and  icky, which it is. No, it is not unethical, but it is what we call a pre-unethical condition, a situation that lays a foundation for unethical conduct and results if care isn’t taken and one or more participants lack functioning ethics alarms. Three recent episodes demonstrate how icky can turn to unethical, especially when the wrong kind of people are involved.

I. The Unwanted Triplet, continued.

Earlier this year, Ethics Alarms hosted a spirited debate regarding Melissa Cook, a surrogate who fought against the man who owned her three unborn triplets, having rented out her womb to gestate them. He wanted to have one of them aborted, because two babies were all he felt he could support. She refused, and challenged the surrogacy contract in court. I asked… Continue reading

15 Comments

Filed under Character, Childhood and children, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Health and Medicine, Science & Technology

From The Res Ipsa Loquitur Files: The Kids For Sale “Joke”

taped kids

Memphis, Tennessee Facebook user Jaton Justsilly Jaibabi posted this photo of her two small children with duct tape over their mouths and cuffing their wrists, with the legend, “Kids for sale, 45% because they bad.”

Now the Memphis police are investigating. I don’t know why the investigation is necessary; this is signature significance; No responsible parent who can be trusted with the delicate job of raising children would do this to them. It is also an example of what the law calls res ipsa loquitur: “the thing speaks for itself.” This is child abuse, and the woman responsible for it is a child abuser. No other interpretation is possible.

In fact, the poster, who has ended her Facebook account, appears to be part of an entire family that should be considered a societal menace. Jaibabi’s cousin, Derion King, explained that this was just a practical joke, writing in part,

“Basically a joke at the moment that people just went overboard about. People make mistakes and that’s what this situation is, a lesson learned. They are safe, unharmed, and loved. That’s all it is to it.”

There are eight incorrect, idiotic or unethical statements in this 36 word statement: impressive! And frightening. Here they are: Continue reading

11 Comments

Filed under Character, Childhood and children, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Facebook, Family

Would Gun Rights Advocates Support “Jamie’s Law”?

shot by kid

I’m proposing a new gun control law that would be named after Jamie Gilt, who this week was accidentally shot in the back by her 4-year-old son, who was seated in the back seat of her truck at the time. The child had picked up a .45 handgun that she had left on the floor of the vehicle. “Jamie’s Law” would ban gun ownership for life if an adult leaves a firearm, loaded, within the reach of a child below a certain age. Personally, I’d be fine if the cut-off was 18, but just to keep the law as close to Jamie’s situation as possible, let’s say 10 or under. Would that be unreasonable?

We could make the law really specific to Jamie, who is an idiot, by banning gun ownership by anyone who leaves guns lying around for kids to play with AND maintains a Facebook page called “Jamie Gilt for Gun Sense,“…well, with their name, not Jamie’s. Yes, Jamie—did I mention that she is an idiot?—did this while promoting responsible gun ownership. I wonder what she would consider irresponsible gun ownership. Maybe giving a child a loaded gun to suck on, instead of a pacifier.

I’m not too fond of the million or so anti-gun types who went on the page to insult and berate Jamie, who is in the hospital. (I see that the page has been taken down since last night.) I’m sure she feels bad enough already, in part because she was shot and also because she will be the face of foolish gun owners for the foreseeable future. What she should feel is lucky. The only difference between Jamie and Veronica Jean Rutledge, shot dead in a Walmart by her two-year-old in 2014, is moral luck. Actually, what Gilt did was more reckless that the conduct that killed Rutledge: Gilt was driving, and Rutledge at least had her gun in her purse, not in plain view. Both Rutledge and Gilt were lucky their children weren’t killed.

What do you think about Jamie’s Law?

Maybe gun owners who do this should be banned from having custody of children, too.

(Of course, it goes without saying that they would be presumed innocent until proven Gilty….)*

_______________________

*I’m sorry, I really am, but there’s a place in Hell for people who pass up set-ups like this.

83 Comments

Filed under Childhood and children, Citizenship, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Family, Law & Law Enforcement

The Seventh Annual Ethics Alarms Awards: The Best of Ethics 2015, Part II

DavisHand

The Awards continue (Part I is here)….

Most Important Ethical Act of the Year:

The US Supreme Court’s Decision in  Obergefell v. Hodges in which the Supreme Court considered whether states had to recognize a right to same-sex marriages, and narrowly decided that they must. The prejudice against homosexuality is ancient, deep, and complex, mixed up in confounding ways with morality and religion, and deeply divisive. Nonetheless, I felt that the opinion should have been unanimous; it’s a shame that it was not, but in the end, this will not matter. The result was preordained from the moment gays began coming out of the shadows and asserting their humanity and human rights. Since the Stonewall riot, the nation and the culture has learned a great deal about the number of talented and productive gay men and women in our society and our history, the pain, ostracizing, discrimination and mistreatment they have suffered, and the falseness of the myths and fears that lead to this suffering.  In the end, as Clarence Darrow said about blacks, it is human beings, not law, that will make gays equal. No topic immediately causes such emotional and intense debate, on this blog or in society, as this one, but the Supreme Court’s decision is a major step toward changing the ethical culture, by asserting  that gay men and women have the same rights,  in the eyes of the state, to marry those they love and want to build a life with, and by implication, that the beliefs of any religion regarding them or their marriages cannot eliminate that right.

Outstanding Ethical Leadership

Senator Rand Paul.   I am neither a Rand Paul supporter, nor an admirer, nor a fan.  However, his June filibuster-like Senate speech against National Security Agency counter-terrorism surveillance was a brave, principled,  important act, and a great public service. The point Paul made needs to be made again, and again, and again:  there is no reason to trust the NSA, and no reason to trust the current federal government either. The fact that on security matters we have no real choice is frightening and disheartening, but nevertheless, no American should be comfortable with his or her private communications, activities and other personal matters being tracked by the NSA, which has proven itself incompetent, dishonest, an untrustworthy.

 

Parent of the Year

Tonya Graham

Toya Graham, the Baltimore mother caught on video as she berated and beat on her son in the street for participating in the Freddie Gray rioting and looting. Continue reading

51 Comments

Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Character, Childhood and children, Education, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Leadership, Love, Race, Religion and Philosophy, U.S. Society

An Unethical Heart-Warming Christmas Story…Dumb, Too

clara3

The headline:

“Mom did porn to buy son’s Christmas presents”

The story, as told by the New York Post:

A single mom has been more naughty than nice this year — but all in the spirit of Christmas.

Megan Clara spent the last year starring in porn movies so she could afford everything on her 5-year-old son Ashton’s Christmas list. The 20-year-old UK resident says she was devastated last holiday season when Ashton complained he didn’t have the same expensive presents as his friends. Making nearly $120 a week, she was only able to buy an Etch A Sketch, cuddly toys and new clothes
“Last Christmas I could barely scrape any money together, it was really tough and I couldn’t help but worry Ashton was going to be left out and disappointed” the mom from Portsmouth, England, told Caters News Agency.

After seeing an old friend “stripping off,” Clara got in touch with her friend’s photographer. The rest, she says, is history.

“My job’s amazing, I love being in front of the camera,” she said. “My idol is Katie Price, I thought if she can make money by glamor modeling it was worth me giving it a go too – I’m in awe of her.”

The young mom now gets paid $743 per scene and has spent almost $2,200 on her son this Christmas.

“Ashton has wanted a bike for over three years and I’ve finally been able to make his dream come true. It’s an amazing feeling. The only downside is that he now bribes me into buying him toys for being well-behaved,” she said.

The adult film star already received backlash about her chosen profession, but says that “some people are just jealous.”

“I know not everyone agrees with the adult film industry but I’m a great mum, why should it matter what my occupation is,” she said. “I love the excitement and get a rush. Plus it pays well too.”…“This year has been a complete roller coaster and a whirlwind, there’s been ups and downs but now I’ve learned to ignore what other people think.

Here’s what I think, whether Clara cares or not: There is so much wrong with this story that it qualified as a Christmas Kaboom, but my head, in the spirit of Christmas, didn’t want to explode all over the tree. Continue reading

38 Comments

Filed under Around the World, Childhood and children, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Family, Gender and Sex, Journalism & Media, Kaboom!, Professions

The Unlikely Ethics Dunce, And Why Nobody Pays Attention To Ethicists And I Don’t Blame Them

Wait, how can the nation's most famous ethicist be an Ethics Dunce? It's not easy...

Wait, how can the nation’s most famous ethicist be an Ethics Dunce? It’s not easy…

Ethicists have managed to make ethics nearly invisible in our cultural debates, and nearly useless as a decision-making tool, when it ought to be the most useful tool of all. They accomplished this over centuries of work, making the discipline of ethics abstruse, elitist, abstract, and worse of all, boring. Nobody should be bored with ethics, hence my statement, “Ethics isn’t boring, ethicists are.” Once ethics was pigeon-holed in the realm of philosophy, however (it belongs with “crucial life skills” and “critical thinking”) and philosophy became associated with scholarship, advanced degrees and academia, the jig was up.

The problem is that academic ethicists teach and write about abstract ethics, and life is not abstract. Their quest is for one formula to determine right from wrong, and life and human beings are more complicated than any one formula can encompass. When I started this blog, I got a lot of grad students writing me who demanded to know whether I was a Utilitarian,  Kantian Deontologist, a follower of Natural Law Ethics,  a Virtue Ethicist or a devotee of Stakeholder theory. My answer was “all of the above and none of them.” All of these and more are useful tools of analysis, but none work all the time, and the amount of words loaded into jargon to explain and debate the nuances of any of them render them all useless except for  writing scholarly papers.

The ethics that the public learns, as a result, are what pop culture and society teach them, and most of that isn’t ethics at all. For example, in the cable series “The Affair,” a well-educated older man was advising a young woman, the mistress in the affair, about how to think about the illicit relationship that broke up he lover’s marriage. Wise and thoughtful, he described his own adulterous affair, and then said, “What you did wasn’t wrong. You didn’t kill anybody. You didn’t break any laws.  Don’t be so hard on yourself.”  There is no ethics in that statement. Itis just employs two popular and facile rationalizations (#4. Marion Barry’s Misdirection, or “If it isn’t illegal, it’s ethical,” and #22, the worst of all, #22. The Comparative Virtue Excuse: “There are worse things.”) with another lurking but unspoken one, the Cheater’s Special, #23. Woody’s Excuse: “The heart wants what the heart wants,’ underlying the whole scene.

That’s ethics, I would guess, to about 90% of the population. Scary. This is, however, where ethicists have taken us. They could be so important to the culture, if they would get their heads out of their asinine models and explain ethical principles that are relevant to real lives in a manner that doesn’t make normal people become hostile to the subject.

This brings us to Peter Singer, Princeton’s acclaimed professor of bioethics who has been called the most influential ethicist alive. It is admittedly faint praise, but probably correct. Continue reading

17 Comments

Filed under Bioethics, Character, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Health and Medicine, Professions

“Why Does Hillary Think Her E-mail Scandal Is So Funny?” And Other Brief Ethics Notes To Get The Week Off To A Depressing Start…

W dead guns

Most Unethical Grieving Mother Of The Year

A caring  friend of Chanelle Chavis created a GoFundMe account asking for donations to Chavis’ 3-year-old daughter’s Camber’s funeral after the grieving mom told the friend that her daughter had died in an accident.  Later, moved by the plea, a woman gave  Chavis a $5,000 personal check to pay for Camber’s funeral expenses after Channelle exchanged text messages with her.

Nearly a month later, investigators found that the body of Camber Chavis was still in deep freeze at the funeral home, and no arrangements for burial had been made. Oh—this was no boating accident. The little girl had been murdered by her father.

On October 16, Chanelle Chavis pleaded guilty to obtaining money by false pretenses, a misdemeanor, and received a six month suspended sentence.

These cases of conning people into donating money are basically  all the same, but bit by bit, they make our society less kind, less generous, and less trusting. The law may see this is a minor crime, but there is nothing minor about the damage it does to our society.

Sure, We Don’t Need Guns… Continue reading

8 Comments

Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Family, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Philanthropy, Non-Profits and Charity, Popular Culture, U.S. Society