Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: Dropping the A-Bomb

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  • B Jones, in reply to Sacha,

    We don't like salmonella, and we use controls on the food supply to avoid that. Supplementation with vitamins has a century long history, which is why we don't see a lot of rickets and goitre these days.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    Anyway, that's a digression that's uncovered some surprising, to me, points of view. I had thought people react to abortion and disability because abortion. It seems to be bigger than that.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Sacha,

    There are some great ethical minefields about using the food supply to fix what we don’t like.

    I really don’t think so. Surely we can value people with disabilities without valuing the disability itself?

    Is society poorer for not having children with rickets or polio?

    [ETA: oh snap, B.]

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3887 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to B Jones,

    Anyway, that’s a digression that’s uncovered some surprising, to me, points of view. I had thought people react to abortion and disability because abortion. It seems to be bigger than that.

    Well, more complicated. I certainly see a difference between a dietary supplement to reduce the chance of neural tube defects and the decision on to proceed with a pregnancy. But that doesn't set up the disability-or-abortion dichotomy you're offering. Maybe the issue is pre-natal testing?

    I think Im far from alone in the autism community in dreading the arrival (if it ever happens) of a pre-natal test for ASD, not least because it would be a blunt instrument. We'd start to run into some very challenging issues about what normal is supposed to be. One of our boys is here because of a change of mind on a termination. How might our decision have been more difficult or different?

    I've indicated several times in this thread that I think abortion on request is the only acceptable legal position. But saying "it's society that has to change" doesn't actually magically fix everything or make the complex simple. You have to allow that some people, through their experience, are going to find the issues more complex than others.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Sacha,

    it might be interesting to compare responses if you asked people with neural tube defects and people with Down syndrome whether they would miss seeing other people like them in society.

    And it might also be worth asking all people whether they'd miss seeing wild birds or other native animals in the world. To me, one argument for absolutely unconditional access to contraception and abortion is that we have rather a surfiet of humans and anything that allows people to choose not to reproduce should be encouraged. It's all very well to talk about whether bringing people with presumed low quality of life into the world, when every single person we bring in lowers the quality of life for everyone else. Experiencing a population reduction programme of the sort we're currently all working towards is not likely to be fun, put it that way.

    As Sacha says,

    There are some great ethical minefields about using the food supply to fix what we don't like.

    Or, very likely, the lack of food supply.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1198 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Russell Brown,

    dreading the arrival of a pre-natal test for ASD

    It seems increasingly likely that people can be moved around on the ASD spectrum, by for instance killing off chunks of their microbiome to push them further out on it. The possibility of a conclusive genetic test done around the time of conception is seeming less likely the more I learn about it.

    I actually wonder about the social implications of some of the dietary issues. Being a "fussy eater" has social implications, and in retrospect I can see that some of my social issues came down simply to spending a lot of time either hungry and irritable, or sick and not very sociable. The bonus issues of many "treat" foods being unpalatable just served to push me further out (why work hard for something that will make me feel sick, or that I will have to work to conceal my non-consumption of?)

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1198 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Moz,

    The possibility of a conclusive genetic test done around the time of conception is seeming less likely the more I learn about it.

    Probably. But I wouldn't be surprised to see a pre-natal test that purports to meaningfully screen for ASD. That would be a whole other can of worms.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones, in reply to Moz,

    To me, one argument for absolutely unconditional access to contraception and abortion is that we have rather a surfiet of humans and anything that allows people to choose not to reproduce should be encouraged.

    Yes, but that's also an argument for genocide, which makes it a less useful argument for just about anything else.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • John Russell, in reply to Moz,

    To me, one argument for absolutely unconditional access to contraception and abortion is that we have rather a surfiet of humans and anything that allows people to choose not to reproduce should be encouraged.

    This is certainly one argument for abortion, although obviously a stupid and laughable one.

    However, it doesn't matter, because however dumb and bad and specious the reason (see above re: Multhusianism), it's her body, her choice, and therefore up to her.

    It doesn't matter if she wants an abortion because of possible health issues for her or for the foetus, because she is pregnant by rape, because she has exams coming up or because she thinks all the cots you can buy would clash with the wallpaper in the spare room.

    People may disapprove of her reasons, but who cares, fuck them, it's not their call. It's hers.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2008 • 17 posts Report Reply

  • Moz,

    Apparently some arguments are "too stupid" to rebut, or possibly require careful reading to distinguish from "we should require abortion because...". But hey, what's obvious to some people is usually extremely complex and subtle to others.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1198 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Sacha,

    .

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2091 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Lilith __,

    There are parents in the Deaf community who do pre-natal testing to ensure a child who is also Deaf. Is that intentionally causing disability?

    The first time I heard now Disability Rights Commissioner Paul Gibson speak - several years ago - he mentioned that he would love his future children, even if they didn't have his vision impairment. I found that quite challenging at the time.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3203 posts Report Reply

  • bmk, in reply to Sacha,

    There are some great ethical minefields about using the food supply to fix what we don't like.

    I don't see too many people complaining about iodized salt.

    Since Jun 2010 • 327 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones, in reply to Moz,

    One logical outcome of the overpopulation therefore abortion should be allowed is that it implies if underpopulation, then abortion should not be allowed. Which is a version of why it was prohibited in the first place: race suicide was a live political concept in the early 20th C driving all sorts of weird policies.

    The other problem is that people tend to resent being told there should be fewer of them, and don't vote for you if you say it. Someone's done a parody Russell Norman twitter account saying exactly that, which should give you a sense of its electoral appeal.

    A better version might be: people are happier and live longer better lives when they can control their family size.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    These parents must have some challenges getting a doctor to agree to that, since there are enough ethical issues with selecting for sex, or other traits considered harmless or avoiding harm.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Moz,

    It’s all very well to talk about whether bringing people with presumed low quality of life into the world, when every single person we bring in lowers the quality of life for everyone else.

    You are perfectly right. Overpopulation is one of those elephant-in-the-room issues. On a more personal level, there are women who abort a pregnancy because they can't feed another child. It's a tough issue.
    China's One-Child policy, while environmentally responsible, has created all kinds of evils in practice.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3887 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    There are parents in the Deaf community who do pre-natal testing to ensure a child who is also Deaf. Is that intentionally causing disability?

    Deafness is rather a special case I think, as given the right context/community, it makes relatively little difference to the opportunities for the child.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3887 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Lilith __,

    it makes relatively little difference to the opportunities for the child

    with fair support and circumstances, many other impairments match that description.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    There are parents in the Deaf community who do pre-natal testing to ensure a child who is also Deaf

    In New Zealand? Thought it wasn't allowed here.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    he would love his future children, even if they didn't have his vision impairment

    non-disabled people deserve our love too. :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Sacha,

    I don't know of any in NZ but the commodification of fertility is a global industry. You can find someone somewhere to do anything.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3203 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Sacha,

    The last five words of that! Always!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    all ways

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings,

    I often find it helpful to draw a thick line between someone's right to choose and my obligation to like their choice. I may be uncomfortable with some reasons for choosing abortion but I'm even more uncomfortable with imposing my ideals onto another woman's choice about how she uses her body.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 719 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to B Jones,

    One logical outcome of the overpopulation therefore abortion should be allowed is that it implies if underpopulation, then abortion should not be allowed. Which is a version of why it was prohibited in the first place: race suicide was a live political concept in the early 20th C driving all sorts of weird policies.

    A more recent, but no less notorious, remark by ex-US Education Secretary William Bennett comes to mind:

    "aborting African-American babies would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do, but the crime rate would go down."

    What he said had a ring of "some of my best friends are Jewish, but..." to it.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5420 posts Report Reply

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