Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Value of the Wanted

Some contradictions you see so much of you start to wonder if you should even mention them any more... Still, it's been throwing me off the last week that at Large Corporate Employer I keep finding emails in my inbox with subject lines like Save The Little Babies! It's fundraising week for March of Dimes here, which in addition to Planned Parenthood and some environmental causes is up at the top of Large Corporate Employer's cause celebre list.

Coming from the religious and political background that I do, seeing "save the babies" emails and finding fliers on my desk with tiny footprints on them suggests to me a pro-life cause of some sort. And indeed, March of Dimes does great work. (I know they provided a lot of help to a co-worker who had her baby at 32 weeks a few years back.)

Now, to be fair, although corporate giving funnels a lot of money into Planned Parenthood, we don't get treated to PP fundraisers and events around here. I think even most supporters must have some sense that this isn't something which deserves to be talked about openly.

Yet the combination of the two causes seems to underline perhaps the only great victory of existentialist philosophy in the wider culture -- though few people recognize it by that name. The worth of the unborn is routinely defined by how much they are wanted. On the one hand we have a respected, well funded charity whose purpose is to help save the lives of babies born very prematurely. On the other, we have a not insignificant number of politicians who assert that it should be a protected right for mothers who do not want their children (of exactly the same early viability age) to utilize "partial birth" abortions.


1990bluejay said...

Excellent point, yet not one as rare as you might think. There's a story that MDs in Britain are opting out of performing "terminations". Oh, the double speak! Why the decline? Because, "You get no thanks for performing abortions. You get spat on. Who admits to friends at a dinner party that they are an abortionist?" Rather the fertility docs are admired.
Nice that this moral relativity is being being seen for what it is.

CMinor said...

I can't cite chapter and verse on this, but I have heard it alleged of MOD that they have been instrumental in the promotion of prenatal diagnosis and moreover have not exactly objected to the eugenic abortions that frequently result when a problem is diagnosed. After all, if fewer handicapped babies are born, their projects are working, right?

Until I hear of the organization changing its MO, I think I'll just march my dimes to some other charity.

Darwin said...

I hadn't heard that, Cminor, but it doesn't necessarily surprise me. I don't give either, though mostly out of a reflexive prejudice against overly PC charities.

There are enough Catholic charities out there with 95%+ direct utilization of funds that I seldom feel the need to reach beyond that list.

Kiwi Nomad said...

Yes bluejay... I was reading about the situation in the UK the other day as well in the Independent.
Many doctors and nurses are refusing to be involved in abortions, making the 'powers that
be' very worried. Some are reacting by wanting to make training for abortion a compulsory part of training:
"There is a new core curriculum being introduced in August and my view is that we must ensure abortion care is part of core training. We would not make [carrying out terminations] compulsory but we need to ensure trainees are given the knowledge so they are more likely to want to develop the skills."

Others are trying to blame the "middleclass" nature of young doctors for the "problem":
"Most young doctors now are middle class and have no experience of what life is like on inner-city housing estates, she says.

"Their working hours have been cut, they don't get the breadth of clinical experience they once had, so they pick and choose the sexy bits of the job" - discarding abortion.

"I don't sit in judgement. We are here to provide a service. For most women having an abortion is an awful thing to do. No one takes it lightly. You can't deal with contraception without dealing with its failures."

But despite this "problem" of a lack of "providors", it seems that abortion numbers in Britain are still rising.

1990bluejay said...

Thanks, Kiwi. The dichotomy here - the numbers of abortions seem to be rising, but the pool of physicians willing to provide the "expertise" is shrinking - prompts queries.

How are these stat complied? How frequently? Socio-economic factors taken into account? Statisitcal procedures used? (Standard questions for me about anything invoking statistics because I have an extensive background in social science stats from a heavy duty methods department).

This dichotomy could be an anomaly, or the doctors refusing this procedure are so recent that the lag in abortions has not yet materialized. Depending upon frequency of data collection, it could take a year to 3 for the statistics to decline. Could be that the non-surgical methods (Plan B, RU-486, etc) could be used more frequently since doctors are discovering ethics, if not morals, again.

Of particular interest in the quoted section is the economic differentiation - doctors are middle-class and can't relate to the poor in public housing. What isn't mentioned of course is the other side of the economics - the doctors are killing their future patients! But, the economic and social issues are the only ones mentioned, when I think an implicit point can be gleamed that there is a shift in the ethical/moral thought among doctors.

Geez, given the abysmal birthrates in Europe, the UK is particularly bad, any realization that this practice is damning will have an impact. It will take a couple of years for the trend to show - if it's allowed to develop by the authorities. Yet another reason not to have publicly financed health care.

Rick Lugari said...

"Most young doctors now are middle class and have no experience of what life is like on inner-city housing estates, she says.

Oh, that takes the cake. Like traditionally doctors ascended from the ghettos or something rather than from the moneyed classes. Those darn up-and-comers just can't understand poverty like the upper echelons can. If we are to entertain this argument as being sincere, the only thing we can conclude is that the enlightened upper-class physician of yesteryear understands the horror of poverty, that's why they are so willing to eradicate poor baby after another.

CMinor said...

Check out Mary Meets Dolly's Monday post. She has a list of med charities that support/promote ESCR, cloning, & other practices. MOD is on it.