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Selling of Baby Body Parts

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I cant tell SN, are you advocating that the regulation of fully legal markets by an Objectivist government would be proper?

I'd put it this way: it may be proper to have rules around a market in human parts, if it can be objectively shown that these rules are needed to protect against actual -- not theoretical -- killings or assaults on human beings to harvest their organs.

I'm skeptical that such assaults will be commonplace if a market was allowed to function; and if they aren't, my answer would be "no". Also, if such a market were allowed to operate, it is likely that practitioners themselves will establish a network of trusted sources, thus checking provenance to some degree, and making crime a rare exception.

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If it's a rumor, it may have its origins here. Ayn Rand and the World She Made.
I've not read the book, but here is an excerpt from an interview found on The Atlas Society:
 
December 05, 2010
By William R Thomas
 
TNIOne of your most noted revelations in the book was that Ayn Rand probably had an abortion when she was in her twenties. Can summarize the evidence that lead you to this conclusion?
 
Heller:  Marna Wolf, Frank O’Connor’s niece who was not yet a teenager in the 1930s, was the first person to mention that Rand had had an abortion in that decade; she recalled it as a sidelight while describing her father A.M. Papurt’s relationship with Rand and Frank. Papurt, Frank’s brother-in-law, had loaned Frank the money to pay for the abortion. As with almost every assertion in the book, I checked this with multiple sources. Mimi Sutton, Marna’s sister, who was old enough to remember both the loan and abortion, independently described the event in a taped interview from 1983. Connie Papurt, whom I interviewed, recalled hearing the story from her mother, Frank’s sister. When I asked Barbara Branden about it, she told me that Rand had mentioned the abortion to her, in an intimate setting; that's when I decided to put it in the book.
 
For the record, I did not print unsubstantiated gossip. If only one source—particularly one who hadn’t already proved reliable—told me something that was out of the ordinary, I didn’t print it.

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I read that book a few years ago, but I don't remember anything about Rand becoming sterile through a botched abortion, and I think that that would have made an impression on me.

 

Edit: More to the point perhaps, I have the book in front of me. The pages which are cited in the index under "abortion," 128 and 181, don't mention Rand becoming sterile through a botched abortion, although page 181 does say that Rand borrowed money for an abortion from A. M. Papurt, who was the father of Frank O'Connor's niece Mimi Papurt.

 

So, it sounds like you were right that this book could have been the origin of the claim that Rand had an abortion. I suspect that someone extremely uncharitable to Rand extrapolated from that to the conclusion that she never had a child because the abortion she had was botched.

Edited by William O

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So, it sounds like you were right that this book could have been the origin of the claim that Rand had an abortion. I suspect that someone extremely uncharitable to Rand extrapolated from that to the conclusion that she never had a child because the abortion she had was botched.

Assuming that's true, would she logically and emotionally be pushed toward supporting more abortion (using Aleph_1's determinism argument)? No, just the opposite. To a "determinist", it should be evidence that she overcame her own bad experience and supported abortions anyway. The only other way to spin it is to "psychologize" and jump to the conclusion that her sterility made her viciously not want others to have babies, and so she wanted them all killed. This is the beauty of this non-argument from determinism: one can conveniently argue it either way.

 

By the way, even if that biography does not draw a link between an abortion and a view about abortion, it is full of speculative stuff that is very similar. I suppose biographers are tempted to do this: "because she experienced X, she did Y in later life". It glosses over the fact that so many others experienced the same things and concluded differently. It also ignores all the X1, X2, X3 that did not lead to Y1, Y2, Y3. And, it never mentions all the people who did not experience X, but did Y anyway. 

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aleph1 and posters - I find the video as uncomfortable emotionally- just like a lunch room video in a Perdue chicken processing plant, or a private party of funeral directors.  But what is the underlying pertinent question that we use to inform our moral choices?

 

What is life?  No, a jellyfish qualifies there.  What is conscious life?  No, higher organisms qualify and fetuses do not.  What is human life?  There you are.  I will not answer now, only point out that, that is the issue.  To what if any form of human life do you owe the promise not to initiate force/fraud, and for what reason?

 

PS - anyone else in favor of asking posters to stop bringing in side issues that are not directly related to the original premises?  Ms. Rand's experience or not with reproduction has nothing to do with the philosophical issues here.

Edited by jacassidy2

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aleph1 and posters - I find the video as uncomfortable emotionally- just like a lunch room video in a Perdue chicken processing plant, or a private party of funeral directors.  But what is the underlying pertinent question that we use to inform our moral choices?

 

What is life?  No, a jellyfish qualifies there.  What is conscious life?  No, higher organisms qualify and fetuses do not.  What is human life?  There you are.  I will not answer now, only point out that, that is the issue.  To what if any form of human life do you owe the promise not to initiate force/fraud, and for what reason?

 

PS - anyone else in favor of asking posters to stop bringing in side issues that are not directly related to the original premises?  Ms. Rand's experience or not with reproduction has nothing to do with the philosophical issues here.

I was the main poster who made a big deal about that side issue. I can sympathize with wanting to keep the discussion focused, but if someone makes a claim like that on an Objectivist forum then obviously they are going to be challenged pretty vigorously. Rand is a value to most Objectivists, not just in her abstract ideas but in her personal character.

 

I agree that the issue should just be completely dropped at this point, though.

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[A fetus] has value in the same way other human beings have value.

Yes.

The new baby is certainly not more rational after cutting the umbilical. It doesn't gain life when cutting the umbilical.

Also completely true. It's not really about whether or not a fetus is conscious; it's about the mother.

The unborn has value as an end in itself.

To whom and for what? The value I place on a person depends on how they influence my life.

Imagine you were in a Saw movie and someone had kidnapped you, poisoned you, sewn the antidote into a random stranger's chest and then left you in the same room together. If your own life and happiness is your goal then it's completely moral for you to kill them in order to secure it. And if your survival wasn't on the line, but just your capacity to do what you love most with your life, it would still be moral. And if it wasn't your entire life or your love of it that was at stake, but just eighteen years of it, it would still be moral.

Does this make it moral for parents to kill their children at any age? No - because it's not even close to necessary, once the umbilical gets cut. If you had a six-year-old kid and suddenly realized that you'd made a mistake, murder would still be murder (because it's unnecessary and senseless); the moral thing would be to kick them out of the house.

However, during pregnancy, when the child still depends on its mother's uterus for its very survival, the Saw scenario applies.

If putting six-year-olds out on the streets and killing fetuses sounds harsh, that's because it is harsh. As nice as it is to imagine a world without pain or tragedy, where every single zygote gets to become a Doctor or a Lawyer with a huge house and stunning hair, that's not how the world works; all we accomplish by pretending otherwise is to teach kids that the magic words "I need" will solve any problem.

It's harsh but it's the logical extension of treating your own prosperity as your ultimate value. Anything less is a sacrifice.

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold

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"If you had a six-year-old kid and suddenly realized that you'd made a mistake, murder would still be murder (because it's unnecessary and senseless); the moral thing would be to kick them out of the house." I get that you mean killing the kid and raising them to adulthood aren't the only options. However, just kicking a six year old out of the house, (given 1)that said six year old can't just go start supporting themselves being that they are six years old and 2) that the current guardian holds some responsibility for the six year old being in the situation of unable to support themselves and dependent on the guardian) wouldn't be ok. It would be very dangerous to the kid while very unnecessary to quitting the guardianship role. Drop the kid off some place where they can get a new guardian to take over the role.

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I get that you mean killing the kid and raising them to adulthood aren't the only options. However, just kicking a six year old out of the house, (given 1)that said six year old can't just go start supporting themselves being that they are six years old and 2) that the current guardian holds some responsibility for the six year old being in the situation of unable to support themselves and dependent on the guardian) wouldn't be ok.

Indeed, it would be extremely immoral to kick a 6 year old out of the house. As a parent, one has created a new person and -- given that they cannot fend for themselves -- it is the parent's responsibility to see that they get to adulthood (limited only by the parent's ability to do so). 

 

Legally, this is all the more reason to have the "line" where abortion is allowed to be as near as possible to the point of birth.

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Point of clarification: ". . . it is the parent's responsibility to see that they get to adulthood (limited only by the parent's ability to do so)." Do you mean to say that there is no moral way for one to opt to cease that role prior to the child reaching adulthood?

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Point of clarification: ". . . it is the parent's responsibility to see that they get to adulthood (limited only by the parent's ability to do so)." Do you mean to say that there is no moral way for one to opt to cease that role prior to the child reaching adulthood?

No, I just meant that the parent bears responsibility to make the right choice in the child's interest, not that he has to physically bring the kid up himself. (This does not mean the parent must ignore his own interests completely.)

Edited by softwareNerd

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Drop the kid off some place where they can get a new guardian to take over the role.

Yes. It's somewhat tangential to the issue but given the relative abundance of the modern equivalents of orphanages, there's no reason why anyone in that situation shouldn't spend whatever hours of phone calls and paperwork would be necessary to ensure their child's safety. This depends on the fact that so many people today would be willing to accept that responsibility, though; if that weren't the case then I think my initial statements (phrasing and all) would hold.

Whatever is necessary to truly thrive, is moral.

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