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aleph_1

Selling of Baby Body Parts

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Watching the gargoyles haggling over prices for baby body parts in videos such as that found here (https://youtu.be/jjxwVuozMnU ) is sickening. Surely we can agree that profiteering off of lungs, livers, brains and leg muscles is morally wrong. The game of selling service contracts is a ruse to conceal these sales and avoid felony convictions concerning existing laws against such sales. That deception is also morally wrong. The only question that remains is, "Do you want your babies crunchy or not?"

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aleph_1

 

1.  Are you making your moral judgment in respect of "baby" body parts on the premise that a "baby" includes any human being having lived separately and exterior to its mother for any amount of time or do you include non-human being, i.e. tissues which never being both separate from and exterior to its biological host, such as a fetus or a zygote etc.

 

2.  Are you using the term "profiteering" in a sense to differentiate it from "profit" if so in what sense are you making a distinction?

 

3.  Do you believe that selling a valid contract is immoral, or only that selling invalid contracts is immoral?

 

4.  Do you believe that voluntary sale of tissues by an adult constitutes initiation of force on the part of the buyer?  Would it be illegal in an Objectivist society or simply something which is shunned as contextually it more often than not could be a self-sacrifice on the part of the seller and an irrational choice. 

 

5.  Is the real problem a market being created for "tissues" which cannot be analyzed to distinguish whether they were from a living human being or from a pre-human fetus/zygote, actual baby humans being very helpless, and adults (parents, doctors, acquaintances, or strangers) being fallible possibly immoral and capable of murder for money?

 

6.  What would be the solution in an Objectivist society, both in terms of ethics (rational self interest) and politics, protection of individual rights and NO initiation of force or fraud (by anyone including the government)?

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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Watching the gargoyles haggling over prices for baby body parts in videos such as that found here (https://youtu.be/jjxwVuozMnU ) is sickening. Surely we can agree that profiteering off of lungs, livers, brains and leg muscles is morally wrong. The game of selling service contracts is a ruse to conceal these sales and avoid felony convictions concerning existing laws against such sales. That deception is also morally wrong. The only question that remains is, "Do you want your babies crunchy or not?"

One can see that you feel strongly about this, but you're not really making any argument in your post. 

 

I'm so glad that Planned parenthood provides the services they do.

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This nastiness coming from the right wing propagandists just makes me support Planned Parenthood more.

 

i_heart_planned_parenthood_mug.jpg?side=

 

Doesn't it seem like everyone in the US media has lost its mind lately, btw? Everywhere I look, there's some jackass raging about something made up. The left is raging about imaginary racist murdering cops every chance they get (the last "incident" they latched on to is just pathetic), the right is manufacturing stories about an imaginary illegal immigrant crime wave and the imaginary sales of imaginary baby parts.

 

It's embarrassing. Political bias has always been there, on every network and in every paper, but now they seem to have just lost touch with reality completely.

Edited by Nicky

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That these babies have value is obvious (since they are being sold for parts). Using words like "fetus" is only misdirection from the fact that these are human, living, and feel pain when they are killed. One of you once said that since you consider these only as tissue that you would go to Planned Parenthood and have a BBQ eating the "tissue". I guess that would make you Cap' N Crunch.

 

At the very least, can we agree that no government monies should go to Planned Parenthood, just as no corporation of any kind should receive subsidies? Can we agree to that?

 

(We should also be able to agree that the sale of fetal lungs, livers, brains, leg muscles and the like is a violation of current federal law and those engaged in it should be sent to federal penitentiaries. We should also agree that what is seen in the recent videos is abhorrent.)

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A chicken feels pain when it is killed.  Most people do not conclude from this that a chicken has rights.

 

I'm with you about government money.

 

Commercial sale is illegal; whether taking reimbursement for expenses amounts to a sale under those laws is a legal question that we can't answer by stating our opinions extra-loud.

 

What's in the videos is abhorrent.  Most medical and surgical procedures are abhorrent to people who aren't in the business of delivering them.

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What's in the videos is abhorrent. Most medical and surgical procedures are abhorrent to people who aren't in the business of delivering them.

 

i'm not sure i understand the intention of the comparison here. is it that abortion is fine, or that surgery isn't?

i don't think surgical procedures are at all abhorrent, and if you're perfectly okay with abortion it seems like you shouldn't think what's in the video is either.

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"Abhorrent" here is a fancy synonym for "distasteful".  That is as much as all of us (who aren't physicians, dentists, nurses, etc.) can agree on.  If you intend some more morally-freighted notion, then we don't all agree.

 

A physician can discuss surgical procedures casually over lunch without missing a beat (though I hope Nucatola didn't have any scheduled for that afternoon).  The rest of us couldn't, and that is where the videos get their dramatic impact.  Do I really have to remind the present audience that our emotional reactions prove nothing about the facts under consideration?

Edited by Reidy

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SL, SNerd, Nicky and splitprimary, do you agree that Planned Parenthood should receive no federal money?

Edited by aleph_1

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"Do you want your babies crunchy or not?"

Crunchy, please.

 

More seriously, better to make use of an aborted fetus than throw it away. It's not even a baby, I see no issue. Of the 99 problems here, selling fetus lungs ain't one.

 

EDIT: The video is edited and cuts out probably important parts for context. Saying "Breech presentation" doesn't necessarily mean "we do late-term partial-birth abortions" as the video tries to tell us.

Edited by Eiuol

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SL, SNerd, Nicky and splitprimary, do you agree that Planned Parenthood should receive no federal money?

 

aleph_1 you should know by now no one outside of the police, military, judiciary of a proper minimalist Objectivist government should receive any money from the government for any reason other than perhaps if required (for example hired services) in further of its proper role.

 

Funding of any third party is "abhorrent".

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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aleph_1 you should know by now no one outside of the police, military, judiciary of a proper minimalist Objectivist government should receive any money from the government for any reason.

 

right, naturally no federal money, but that can be said without any discussion of the morality of abortion or the sale of fetal tissue. aleph, it seems like you want much more ground that this, go for it!

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P.P. should get no "federal" money, yeah, but only under the reasoning that 1) "federal" money right now is stolen money and stolen money should go to nothing but who it was stolen from with no strings attached and 2) even if the government switched to only donation funding, P.P. is outside the scope of government along with the rest of health care services and providers. Under current conditions though, there's a hell of a lot of things I'd prioritize targeting for campaigns to remove "federal" funding from before P.P. though. Why? Because government itself has made so many restrictions adding expenses to abortion providers specifically with the aim of trying to use costs to price them out of existence to get around abortion being legal. I'd need all those restrictions removed before I'd really get behind removing the "federal" funds from P.P. and other abortion providers because right now, stolen money for something that isn't government business (a wrong alone) is being used to fight off regulations against something which isn't government business (also a wrong). They're sort of canceling each other out right now basically. It's basically like a sort of convoluted, indirect form of the principles of self defense where if somebody initiates force, then force is justified to counteract that. It's imperfect and of course I strongly prefer force on both sides just disappear, but having force on just one side I think would be worse.

As for if anything is illegal and if they should go to jail, if it is illegal, I think the right answer is "change the law" way before either "throw them in jail" or "screw the rule of law."

What's your real point though with the video? "Ew" and "I don't like it" basically aren't very illuminating or arguments at all.

Edited by bluecherry

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SL, SNerd, Nicky and splitprimary, do you agree that Planned Parenthood should receive no federal money?

I think the government should not be spending money on women's health. However, as long as they do, Planned Parenthood should be able to get those funds. On the other hand, anti abortion "counselling services" which are ideologues pretending to be health-care providers should not receive a dime of government money set aside for health-care.

 

I finally watched the video just now. I understand that it is part of a much longer video, but at least these 8 minutes to which you linked contained nothing that was abhorrent or immoral. In fact, it is heartening to know that so many parents can be helped by harvesting parts from aborted babies (if that's the term you think is right).

Before this video, I had no idea that this was happening: its great to be living in such a high-tech age. Before our kid was born, there were some complications and the doctor said that they might need to do fetal surgery. I'd never heard of that before: fascinating stuff. In our case, it would not have needed an organ, but if it did, having a resource like this would have been a useful option. Of course if this was not available, we would have chosen an abortion [chalk that up as two abortions instead of one, in the grand scheme of things]. That would have meant the hassle of going through a brand new pregnancy.

 

I can understand that some people might be surprised by the way in which the Planned Parenthood person talks, thinking it is callous. Such surprise is understandable, but it only reflects the ignorance of the person who is surprised. People who have a doctor as a spouse, sibling or close friend can probably attest to how every procedure becomes largely routine. Situations that are life-and-death events to others are routine, daily, repetitive incidents to many people doing health-care every day. The correct response is to understand that the surprise is because one never thought about it that way, otherwise one would be like my meat-loving friend who became a vegetarian after he had to work in an office attached to a slaughter-house, and was disgusted by what he saw.

 

I am, of course, solidly pro-abortion.

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"Abhorrent" here is a fancy synonym for "distasteful".

 

it's a good deal stronger than "distasteful" (synonymous with "unpleasant"). synonyms for "abhorrent" include: "detestable", "loathsome", "despicable", "abominable", "reprehensible", "contemptible", and most of the definitions there do contain an element of "moral revulsion" or "deserving condemnation".

 

i think anyone should be able to discuss surgical procedures casually over lunch.

anyway, aleph, bluecherry is right that "ew" and "i don't like it" aren't arguments. and that emotional reaction won't be shared by integrated pro-choicers, as you can already see from the reactions in this thread:

 

better to make use of an aborted fetus than throw it away. It's not even a baby, I see no issue.

 

...contained nothing that was abhorrent or immoral. In fact, it is heartening...its great to be living in such a high-tech age.

 

 

so, not everyone does, the question is why should people find this morally abhorrent and sickening?

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it's a good deal stronger than "distasteful" (synonymous with "unpleasant"). synonyms for "abhorrent" include: "detestable", "loathsome", "despicable", "abominable", "reprehensible", "contemptible", and most of the definitions there do contain an element of "moral revulsion" or "deserving condemnation".

 

i think anyone should be able to discuss surgical procedures casually over lunch.

anyway, aleph, bluecherry is right that "ew" and "i don't like it" aren't arguments. and that emotional reaction won't be shared by integrated pro-choicers, as you can already see from the reactions in this thread:

 

 

 

 

so, not everyone does, the question is why should people find this morally abhorrent and sickening?

 

 

Exactly, and if I may emphasize what we all have heard umpteen times, "morally"... "by what standard"?

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"morally"... "by what standard"?

 

we can probably all agree on the standard (from VoS):

 

“The standard of value of the Objectivist ethics—the standard by which one judges what is good or evil—is man’s life, or: that which is required for man’s survival qua man.

 

“‘Man’s survival qua man’ means the terms, methods, conditions and goals required for the survival of a rational being through the whole of his lifespan”

"Man must choose his actions, values, and goals by the standard of that which is proper to man- in order to achieve, maintain, fulfill, and enjoy that ultimate value, that end in itself, which is his own life."

 

so we're looking at the long-range self-interest of a rational animal as the standard. i guess the question becomes: how does that connect to the particular issue of abortion? does terminating a healthy pregnancy, in principle, either further or frustrate the actions/values/goals that are proper to man?

Edited by splitprimary

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This is entirely a question of values, not of facts. One who is innured to an act will not have much emotional response to it. Similarly, one can suppress an emotional response through rationalization. Emotional responses are based upon ones values.

 

When the umbilical cord is cut, a fetus becomes a baby and achieves the virtue of independence. Absurd! The new baby is certainly not more rational after cutting the umbilical. It doesn't gain life when cutting the umbilical. If your claim is that it becomes "human" at that point, you are experiencing an extreme case of rationalization designed for a purpose. Applying labels, such as "fetus", is a similar rationalization.

 

The real question is not whether the object in question is living or human but whether it has value. People are known to define classes of humans as having no value so that they can exterminate them. They deny their humanity for this purpose. They give them labels for this purpose. Medical experiments on those having their humanity denied is not unheard of.

 

Just because Ayn Rand became sterile through a botched abortion does not justify abortion. One can understand her rationalizations on the subject, expecially given the times in which she lived. People were told that "fetuses" were just so much tissue. This too is just a rationalization designed to label and deny the humanity of the object in question.

 

That Planned Parenthood is selling baby body parts is a logical extension of the rationalizations that go into the corporation's very existence.

 

The unborn has value as an end in itself. It has value in the same way other human beings have value. That is the underlying reason why these videos are sickening. We should have evolved beyond this by now. We remain a primitive an unevolved species still capable of rationalizing horrible crimes. These "fetuses" struggle and squirm to escape the instruments that crush them. That struggle to survive is an expression of value much deeper than rationalizations about independence.

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SL, SNerd, Nicky and splitprimary, do you agree that Planned Parenthood should receive no federal money?

I agree, as long as cutting PP funding is part of an overall process of limiting all levels of American government to their proper functions, and PP funding is one of the last pieces to go...well after all the other government programs and regulations, that aim to restrict the right to abortion, have been eliminated.

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When the umbilical cord is cut, a fetus becomes a baby and achieves the virtue of independence. Absurd!

Well, saying "absurd" is not an argument. Nevertheless, it is no more absurd than saying that a sperm and an ova are not human beings, but become human beings with full protection of law (of all the neighbors who were not part of the copulation) on fertilization. Also, though I'm happy to use cutting an umbilical cord as the legal line, it is not the line that Planned parenthood uses.

 

When the umbilical cord is cut, a fetus becomes a baby and achieves the virtue of independence. Absurd! The new baby is certainly not more rational after cutting the umbilical. It doesn't gain life when cutting the umbilical. If your claim is that it becomes "human" at that point, you are experiencing an extreme case of rationalization designed for a purpose. Applying labels, such as "fetus", is a similar rationalization.

Your argument has plausibility only because of your focus on the borderline case. As above, one can reverse the placement of the borderline and it would seem just as absurd, though again it would not be an argument. Also, you misunderstand the Objectivist argument if you think it says that there is some major change in biology or mental capacity when the umbilical cord is cut. I've never, ever seen anyone make that argument, so you're addressing a straw-man.

 

The real question is not whether the object in question is living or human but whether it has value.

As someone already pointed out, this is a non-starter. One has to ask of value to whom. Also, clearly all sorts of things have value and may be destroyed. It is not about whether something "has value" (which is a meaningless formulation), but about the point at which all of us -- through the police power of the state -- recognize this biological "baby" as having a right to life and enforce that against the person who produced that "baby".

 

Just because Ayn Rand became sterile through a botched abortion does not justify abortion.

Do you recognize that you're hereby denying the validity of anything you say. Surely any argument you make comes from your evaluations of the knowledge and experience you have gained. By making this a disqualification, you're basically denying the notion of objectivity. You're basically telling us that everything you say is just your subjective opinion and has no objectivity whatsoever.

 

That Planned Parenthood is selling baby body parts is a logical extension of the rationalizations that go into the corporation's very existence.

Yes of course. Planned parenthood helps women live happier lives. Allowing others to use body parts is an extension, because it allows others -- those who want to be parents (and their kids of course) -- to live happier lives. In Western Europe, this would be done by the normal medical establishment, but in puritanical Christian America an organization like this has to work against cruel people who try to stop women from pursuing their values.

 

These "fetuses" struggle and squirm to escape the instruments that crush them. That struggle to survive is an expression of value much deeper than rationalizations about independence.

Someone answered this earlier too. Edited by softwareNerd

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When the umbilical cord is cut, a fetus becomes a baby and achieves the virtue of independence. Absurd! The new baby is certainly not more rational after cutting the umbilical.

Independence qua virtue is about independence of thought - thinking for yourself, not being physically independent - separated from other living beings.

If your claim is that it becomes "human" at that point, . . .

Not human, *a* human. It has DNA of the human species before that and thus can be said to be human, but the same applies to loose hairs, fingernail clippings, lines of cancer cells - they are human (adjective), but not humans (noun). It's not just abortion by a long shot that such reasoning applies to and matters for.

Also, fetus serves the same purpose as baby, child, adult and such. They refer to various states of development. If labeling stages of development of animals was somehow by nature an invalid concept, baby wouldn't be the right name while fetus was wrong, they would both be invalid.

Do you intend here to argue against abortion from the stand point of the rest of Objectivism and contending that abortion contradicts it? If so, you seem perhaps not very well prepared to do this right now with an assortment of fairly basic errors in the contents of Objectivism in your posts so far. If not, then you likely have much more general disputes with us that would need to be resolved before any real progress could be made on the subject of abortion.

So, could this thread just be merged with the abortion thread then?

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Possibly, but there is a separate issue.

 

Assuming there is a cutoff point, where on whatever standard a fetus/baby gains status as a human being [ I throw this out as merely a possible alternative... perhaps there is a level of brain complexity and brain activity that a fetus has which cannot be adequately measured or understood by today's technology, which would classify it as essentially a human being... although a "tabula rasa" (blank slate) a full fledged human "slate" nonetheless ] there may still be problems with allowing the sale of tissues from a pre-human being due to the similarities between the pre-human being and an actual fetus/baby human being.  The question becomes one of enforcement, and if enforcement is so difficult it risks a large population of humans being murdered, perhaps the practice should be outlawed?

 

For example would the sale of adult body parts on a public market be acceptable?  Would there have to be imposed records of "good title": that the donor was dead or voluntarily put the tissues on the market.  Is such a thing merely optional, on the part of the buyer in truly free Objectivist society...

 

Here there may be an example of a legal market which encourages a parallel and absolutely EVIL market (a criminal one), should there be any regulations, or should society simply buckle down and get better at detecting crime and punishing perpetrators?

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For example would the sale of adult body parts on a public market be acceptable?  Would there have to be imposed records of "good title": that the donor was dead or voluntarily put the tissues on the market.  Is such a thing merely optional, on the part of the buyer in truly free Objectivist society...

It's probably be a good idea to have some type of document of provenance or a means of double-checking.

Fears that the tales of people waking up amidst ice in hotel bathtubs, with their kidneys gone are unlikely to become reality even if such checks are not in place. With infants and their protective parents, it is even less likely to happen.

Still, since it is an issue of life, and not just property, I think some level of provenance should be involved. As long as it does not impose a burden on everyone involved, and guards against actual, objective threats, ... it'd be a good thing. The government does have a way of using such rules to fulfill other agenda. But, if we're talking of an Objectivism-based government, I can't think of an objection.

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