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« $328,000 Air Force One photos won't be shown to public | Main | Ezra Levant: YouTube saved me from Canada’s enemies of free speech »

May 06, 2009



Way to quote another exception to the rule, as most proponents of abortion do.

The fact is most abortions aren't because the baby will be retarded or that rape or incest were involved; it is a matter of convenience or inconvenience to the majority where the pregnancy is terminated.

But continue on with the politics of convenience.

jj mollo

As I've said before, I love NPR. Tell both sides of the story. Don't sugar-coat it, but it's still a woman's choice.

Romans practiced infanticide. Chinese still do. Athenians used to encourage pedophilia. Cultures are different. Some are disgusting to me. I happen to think our culture is superior. One of the best features of our culture is the ability of people to tell it like it is. Political correctness can be punctured from time to time without risking the wrath of a howling mob.

This really ties in with your Ezra Levant post. We're better off than Canada. Sometimes I wonder, though. If we were to write the Constitution today, I'm not sure the Bill of Rights would pass.

Frank Warner

NPR might tell both sides of the story, but that's often by accident.

I recall when Terry Gross interviewed Ron Suskind and former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill in 2004 about Suskind's suggestion that the Pentagon had a map showing how the allies were going to divide up Iraq's oil fields after they ousted Saddam Hussein.

Suskind tried to be coy with Gross about the sensational allegation, which had just been aired with fanfare on "60 Minutes," helping sales of his book, "The One Percent Doctrine."

But then O'Neill, who helped Suskind write his book, stepped in and told Gross that the "Pentagon map" didn't show anything about dividing up oil among Iraq's liberators; that, in fact, the map seemed to show the oil producers already in Iraq in 2000. O'Neill said the map probably was drawn up by someone in the Clinton administration.

Suskind suddenly sounded nervous, and Terry Gross, instead of saying, "Oh my God, you mean, that 60 Minutes show was all wrong?" quickly changed the subject.

Holy God, that's what you get when a network is 99 percent Democratic Party members. That was a disgrace.


17 months after my first son was born, we had a our second son who has Down syndrome then 15 months later we had our third son. I am graphic designer and illustrator of children's books, the artsy type I guess. I too was brought up "pretty" liberal for the south but I guess Ms. Waldman's path and my life path went into different directions. I want to share with you the joy all our sons bring us, our second son in particular. He keeps us "real". The amount of gratitude for all things big and small is so much bigger by having him. I can not image life without him. We did not sign up to be a parents of a child with exceptionalities but we did. By having a child with differences, we see the world in a whole different light. I wish I could show all parents to be the view from here. Of course it can be hard, real hard at times but it seems like, all children no matter who, will eventually have "things" you gotta deal with. Ms. Waldman certainly did. THAT's LIFE! I turned off the NPR interview because my heart felt heavy and sad realizing Ms. Waldman had missed an amazing opportunity to experience a more meaningful life by having all her children. We have so much to learn from each other, no matter what the level of IQ.

Frank Warner

CH, thanks.

I know you speak from the heart, as I believe Ayelet Waldman did.

I believe in choice on this, particularly in the embryonic stage, and I don't want to judge such a personal decision. But I know as I listened to Waldman, I also was judging the good and the bad. What was refreshing was that Waldman also was judging herself. What was terrible was that, given choices, she could not choose one that would not drive her insane.

Susan Hoffmann

A big missing part of the abortion conversation is why we so abhor people with mental disabilities. Waldman has said she believes in aborting "mentally retarded babies." Apparently others feel the same, with the abortion rate for Down syndrome reaching 90 percent. This isn't honesty, in my mind, it's prejudice. Will we soon abort other types of people we don't want? I'm glad I've raised a "mentally retarded" baby, who has shown me that being human is not defined by an IQ score.

Frank Warner

Your point underlines the need to draw a clearer line between that "clump of cells" and when a human being begins.

As I recall, when Roe v. Wade was announced in 1973, pretty much everyone said it applied almost exclusively to the first trimester, with one specific rule that the fetus could not be aborted if it were in any way "viable" outside the womb. Those parameters certainly widened over the years.

Here, if there's any chance of mental retardation or physical "abnormality," fetuses seem to disappear. In China, they disappear to the one-child rule, and it hits unborn girls harder than unborn boys.

jj mollo

Although there is a joy to raising human beings, there is also a cost. And there is also moral accountability that some people feel for bringing a human into this world. It does not feel rational to me, but some women find the idea of giving their child to some other family to raise to be abhorrent. Personally I find the idea of keeping an anencephalic child alive to be abhorrent. Here is an imitation human, virtually a clump of cells in deceptively human form, that may well absorb social resources for decades to no good purpose. Adding cognitive capacity in increments makes the choice progressively more difficult, as it should. Where you draw the line, however, depends on cultural norms and personal experience. You can find other people's choices to be wrong, perhaps almost intolerable to you, without ultimately denying them the right to make their own choices. Society will impose some limits on those choices, but once again, it is a matter of negotiated standards.

If you say that the standard is already set and absolute, then you are essentially revoking the freedom of personal choice in religious matters. You're saying that everybody is a criminal except yourself. (Perhaps framling would e a better term than criminal.)

Frank Warner

These areas of ethics are not well thought out, I'm afraid. I recall a time not long ago when we were assured that Roe did not give anyone the right to end a pregnancy to avoid a birth defect. Choice seemed to be limited to the first trimester, and in the 1980s you couldn't tell much about the embryo.

Now that we are able to learn so much about the embryo, the earlier assurances are out the window. Now that "viability" is no longer the big question, and some Americans are sleepily willing to tolerate casual third-term abortions, we've entered a new phase of the abortion debate that, like many of our biggest issues, is never really debated.


Yes, with scientific advances, we know so much about the fetus. That's part of the challenge. Not all "disabled" fetuses will become a burden on families and societies (most aren't), and yet that's where the discussion often leads, to the worst-case scenario. People make a cost-benefit analysis to support aborting fetuses that might (or might not) somehow cost society. What if we did the same with people whose genes suggest massive (and expensive) heart attacks or debilitating mental illnesses or conditions like Lou Gehrig's disease? Should their lives not form, given the probability of cost and suffering? Even as we protect the right to choose, I think we need to be willing to explore what we consider a human life worth living. We're not there yet.

jj mollo

Until we start passing laws making DNA testing mandatory upon request of a convict, I will assume that the people of the US are already engaging in cost-benefit analysis with regard to the lives of adults. In my experience, the majority of so-called pro-life advocates are hypocrites in this regard. The Catholic church is opposed to the death penalty, which is consistent with their pro-life stance, but very few of the anti-abortion protesters will spend a lot of time picketing against the death penalty.

It is true that some people, left to their own devices, will make abortion choices on grounds that we could consider childish or frivolous or grossly irresponsible. Most people, however, struggle over the decision and make it for reasons that they consider valid. Our opinion is largely irrelevant.

Cost-benefit analysis is a fact of life. Everyone does it all the time. We all measure costs and benefits a little differently, but we're stuck with the fact that we do it. We have to do it. It's called making a decision.

Some day we will be able to identify a wide variety of genetic and epigenetic conditions in the earliest stages of development. That will give us more choices, but unless you shut the science down, we will be stuck with the choices. Here's another fact of life. People will choose differently. On this planet, we live tenaciously on the slippery slope. We have to make some boundaries, we have to make some concessions. These boundaries and concessions change from day to day. I think we need to be mindful of our own motives when we try to impose our own boundaries on other people. To a certain extent it has to be done, but search your own conscience before throwing the first stone.

Frank Warner

Choices and boundaries are the thing. But without boundaries, someone will be killing ugly day-old babies someday. And why not? It's just a choice. There's too little thought about drawing lines on killing embryos, fetuses and babies. A lot more thought would be the enlightened way.

jj mollo

I saw the ugliest baby one time. It seemed perfectly normal, healthy, ten toes and fingers. It was hard to say why, but it was just ugly as sin. "Oh isn't she the energetic little thing," says I. I'm thinking I would sit on this creature if it were mine. But no, the momma just adored her to pieces. Knitted little booties and everything.

Monique Luz

I have a friend who is the mother of three teenagers. When her son was two years old and she was seven months pregnant with her twin daughters, the doctor told her that the sonogram showed her daughters had hydrocephalus and would be mentally retarded. He pressured her to "abort". Her husband and her aunt wanted her to about. They said having disabled daugters would be an unfair burden on her son. When she told the doctor, "What if we don't abort?" He said, "Everybody does". A doctor at another local teaching hospital told my friend, when those babies are born, bring them to me, I can do something for them." She bought a book about babies with hydrocephalus and prepared for babies with this condition. She told my father they should have "a chance to live". The two girls are in high school and are exceptionally intelligent and talented. They show no sign of disability. I don't judge Ayelet Waldman's decision. In some cases this might be for the best. I don't think I could make the choice she made. Sometimes the existence of a choice puts pressure on people to make that "choice". Some people forget that choice means the freedom make the opposite choice. This is why I voted against the initiative to legalize "medically assisted suicide" when it appeared on the California ballot in the early 1990's.


And once you have had multiple trips to doctors for yourself to treat even minor issues, you quickly find out that doctors don't know everything and certainly don't always tell you everything you need to know.

Unfortunately, I learned that just from a trip to a doctor last July and am still wondering when the side effects to their treatment will clear up.

Dan mwatha

good work

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