"Infanticide"

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"Infanticide"

Postby Crimson847 » Mon Mar 04, 2019 3:01 am

The black-cloaked figure stumps quietly into the tavern. Eyes look up and then return to their drinks as he walks up to the bartender.

"I'm looking for a debate. Maybe you've seen something like that?"

"Maybe. What kind of debate?"

"An..." The man lowers his voice and leans in. "An abortion debate".

Loud clattering is heard in the background. Several patrons immediately run out the door, others quickly swig their drinks before tables start getting flipped over, and still others leap to hide behind the far counter...



So, in the blackface thread, I took exception to the now-popular storyline in conservative media that Democrats support "infanticide", meaning killing a born child. I characterized it as an egregious and obviously false smear. Kate objected that some folks on the left really do support legal infanticide, that it's a preexisting debate pro-lifers have been having for some time, and that (despite her obvious opposition) there's nothing morally abominable about people holding that position.

Since then, the "Democrats support infanticide" storyline has blossomed, and I'm quite angry about this. It still strikes me as a bogus smear, but if there's truth to the accusation I want to know about it. I'd like an answer from Kate, but since she's usually reticent to debate stuff like this I'm putting the question to the whole forum: Can anyone demonstrate whether or not there's any truth to this accusation that some Democrats support infanticide? And if there is, can anyone shed light on how this is a debate?
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Re: "Infanticide"

Postby cmsellers » Mon Mar 04, 2019 3:52 am

I made a thread about infanticide several years ago, and have no desire to revive it or rehash the arguments, but I feel that it demonstrated pretty clearly that even some of the most open-minded, socially liberal people on the internet are nearly unanimously unwilling to even consider the possibility that there are cases where infanticide should not be a criminal act. Are there Democrats who think infanticide should be legal? Almost certainly. Are they more than a rounding error, even if you include decriminalization in limited cases? Almost certainly not.

It seems like most pro-choice people I've met either take one of two positions. They either draw a bright line at birth, or they object even to late-term abortions, because they see these as effectively infanticide anyways. I imagine the number of people who would ever draw the line after birth, even by the tiniest amount, are very few.

But what Northam was talking about is withdrawing life support, and a lot of social conservatives see merely withdrawing life support as akin to murder, because if God really wanted someone dead, he wouldn't let modern medicine stop him. Remember Terry Schiavo? (Weirdly though, they don't usually seem to believe in paying for all this unnecessary and often painful life-extension care with their tax dollars.) And given that I think a majority of not only Democrats but the general public support the withdrawal of life-extension in some cases, thanks to this one weird definition, you can technically say that the Democrats support not only infanticide, but murder.

As for Kate saying see doesn't see being pro-infanticide as immoral, remember that she believes abortion is already infanticide. Abortion is a tricky subject, and if you want to have a productive discussion, you have to accept that the other side deeply and passionately believes they're doing the right thing; you cannot dismiss them as immoral simply for holding beliefs you find morally reprehensible.

I accept that most pro-life people really do believe that it's about life, rather than punishing women for sex, even if most of them act like it's about that; Kate accepts that most pro-choice people don't see fetuses as people, and that there are compelling reasons for why we don't, even if she disagrees with them. Her views probably don't represent a majority of pro-life people, and mine probably don't represent a majority of pro-choice people, but that doesn't make our positions internally inconsistent.
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Re: "Infanticide"

Postby Tesseracts » Mon Mar 04, 2019 4:15 am

I don't understand the point of this thread. You want to know if it's true that some Democrats support infanticide? I mean, of course that's true. Some Republicans support infanticide also. Are you asking HOW MANY Democrats support infanticide? That would be extremely difficult to determine. If you want to know Kate's reasoning you should probably just message her.
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Re: "Infanticide"

Postby NathanLoiselle » Mon Mar 04, 2019 4:20 am

Ya I gotta say that I'm a fan of Infanticide. They make some good music, ya know?
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Re: "Infanticide"

Postby ghijkmnop » Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:29 pm

Redacted
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Last edited by ghijkmnop on Thu Mar 14, 2019 1:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Infanticide"

Postby Kate » Tue Mar 05, 2019 9:36 pm

I have a few scattered thoughts.

I absolutely reject and detest the blossoming narrative of "Democrats support infanticide." As Tess mentioned, there are also some Republicans who do. Some. It is maddeningly dense to spread the narrative that this characterizes the party, any more than Republicans can be fairly characterized as not caring about children bombed in foreign wars (or for that matter that anyone who believes in charity rather than government hates children and wants them to die on the streets). It's a lie.

As far as I can tell, Democratic senators were baited with a bill that calls for protecting babies born alive after abortion. All but three Democratic senators voted against this. And a lot of pro-life people genuinely believe this means the party is okay with killing babies, because the born alive infant protection act of 2002 was infamously stripped of anything resembling punishment for abortion providers who flouted the law and this sought to change that.

However. My personal question is, can a doctor legally just let a newborn die when intervention could save it in other cases? Like, baby is born black, white dad storms out, white mom goes ummm nevermind I don't want it, could a doctor willing to just legally let that baby die alone? Or, baby is born with down syndrome that went undetected - in the 80s there was a discrimination case over a baby that died because the parents and doctor together decided against a life-saving operation. Disability rights advocates were outraged and argued that it amounted to discrimination. It was ruled that this was not discrimination against those with disabilities. And this is the kind of thing that prolifers like myself are wondering about with comments like that - a baby born with cleft pallet so severe they will die without surgery, but such that surgery will save them, should that baby be denied this life saving technology? Does it amount to infanticide to let disabled, imperfect children die when we have the means to save them?

So where is this legally? Can a doctor legally just let a baby die?

I doubt any doctors would allow a baby to be left without food or minor interventions like oxygen or bili lights just because they were born the wrong race or gender or whatever for mom's preference. I know there are doctors who would in the case of a severe disability that went undiagnosed; I've met them. They make compelling cases along the usual lines of quality of life, burden on parents, drain of resources, etc. They don't convince me, but as sellers pointed out, those don't really convince me for killing any person without their consent and personhood for me extends to cover all human beings regardless of age or level of development.

This got kind of off track. But back to the infanticide legislation.

People who object to it aren't objecting because they are cool with infanticide. They do not believe it is necessary. The Born Alive Infant Protection Act did that it needed to do; babies born alive after abortions are now people with rights. If you can't do it to a non-aborted newborn, you can't do it to an aborted baby either. If that wasn't enough and babies born alive after abortions are left to die when intervention could save them, then the laws regarding all babies as this age need to change, not just one targeted at abortion providers. Though I do like that it allows moms to sue if they find out this happened without their knowledge. So what does this do besides make it look like Democrats hate babies? If someone has a good case for why it's necessary, they haven't presented it to me yet.

https://jme.bmj.com/content/39/5/261

And of course Peter Singer, who is infamous for his support of infanticide by the reasoning that a newborn is basically the same as a fetus at that stage of development and abortion can be permissable then.

Really, maybe it's just those Australians we need to look out for.

And then, for the heartbreaking, I can give you a link for why some people want to go further than removing life support, and why some doctors and nurses will risk jailtime to facilitate it:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/12/opin ... y-die.html

Who can read this and not even entertain the idea of accepting infanticide sometimes, in some cases, if the parents and doctor think it's best?

And then again,

https://erlc.com/resource-library/artic ... an-dignity

Imagine having a child with down syndrome and then reading people explain why it was okay to kill your child past the time when you could kill a "normal" child. 24 weeks. 32 weeks. 40+ weeks. And some even say after birth.

It is an emotional argument no matter what. Children are dying either tragically or needlessly because life is complicated and because we aren't all born healthy. And people fall on a spectrum; from the person who says this is always wrong, to this could be okay but it is open to abuse and even one person killing a child who is healthy is unacceptable, to maybe this can be abused but it's an acceptable risk compared to what these children and their parents otherwise face, to this is always okay and if a mom decides she can't be a parent and adoption would be too harsh a life that's for her to decide.

And to take it even a step further, if it is okay to let a baby who could otherwise be saved die because of a disability, why not for hard life circumstances? Why not for the health of the mother, unable to raise a baby but tormented by wondering whether they will be miserable if adopted? At some point, tailoring it to only disabled babies becomes a statement on the value of disabled lives.

As to how I can accept that people are not awful people for debating whether to kill children, sellers really did nail it.

Spoiler: show
I fell in love with both of my sons on an ultrasound screen at a point in pregnancy where it is legal across the board in most countries. They bounced. They brought their little hands to their faces. Their little walnut brains were kind of creepy but also so intricate and amazing. Their little hearts beat steadily, letting me know they were okay, and I recognized those heartbeats from the 8 week appointment. They're faster, and the sound on the doppler is almost lyrical. It whooshes. And you worry between appointments whether the next one, it won't show up again. But there that baby is on the screen, moving in response to the pokes and prods. I knew already with the first that he was a boy, but had to wait for the second until the anatomy scan. And there he was again, but this time, there was a cyst on that little walnut. A tiny cyst I wouldn't have even noticed but that got the hems and the haws and the referral for a specialist who finds there's also a hole in one of the heart chamber walls, those perfect little chambers. Even I could tell the blood flow wasn't right. The red and the blue, incoming and outgoing all mixing together. And there was baby, bouncing still. Moving, rolling, I could feel him kicking, with me everywhere I went. My son. My son who might never be born alive. My son whom basically every one of my friends would have supported my right to have him killed even if there wasn't anything wrong with him, because this was still pre-viability. Whose little life didn't matter to anyone except for my sake, and any mom can tell you that's not really enough for a born child and no one questions that mama bear but here I am, the internalized mysoginist because of my despair that my son's little life was so vulnerable in so many ways, including ways we would never accept for children a little bit older. So yes. I do not like to debate this one. I recognize people who are pro-choice usually don't believe my children were people as early as I did. But when someone thinks your children aren't people, it's kind of hard to debate the way one should because on the one hand you might fly off the handle. And on the other, almost a million children are being killed every year in your country, why the hell aren't you flying off the handle? That's my reality. If I can understand you don't have any bad will towards my children and don't mean them harm at 12 weeks gestation, I can understand if you don't right after birth either.
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Re: "Infanticide"

Postby Crimson847 » Wed Mar 06, 2019 5:24 am

Thank you very much for the response, Kate; I understand this is a hard topic. I particularly appreciate the NYTimes link, since it helps me understand how an argument could be made for this and why Democratic senators were so cagey about that bill.

As far as the legality of withdrawing care, when it comes to medical interventions, as far as I know everything revolves around what the parent(s) want, because their consent is required for any medical procedure. If the kid is terminally ill and they don't want him/her put on life support, the doctor is not only allowed to respect that wish but required to. I'm unsure who makes these decisions afterward if the mother decides to give the kid up for adoption during this process. "The state", obviously, but I'm not sure which specific flesh-and-blood human that refers to in practical terms. Does the attending physician decide? Does some bureaucrat make the call? Don't know.

By contrast, however, declining to feed a perfectly healthy baby is not withdrawing medical care, it's withdrawing basic sustenance, which people responsible for the care of a child are legally required to provide. Even the parents in the privacy of their own home can't legally do that to their kid, let alone a doctor in a hospital.


By the way, I get the sense from your posts on this subject that you're writing from a bit of a defensive crouch, expecting me (or perhaps someone else here?) to loudly disagree with everything you say, and maybe even jump on you for it.

E.g.:

That's my reality. If I can understand you don't have any bad will towards my children and don't mean them harm at 12 weeks gestation, I can understand if you don't right after birth either.


If so, then for the record, my attitude toward pro-lifers who decry abortion is the same as my attitude toward ethical vegetarians who decry factory farming. I think the underlying moral logic of both is difficult to fault, I have sympathy for the difficult battle both groups have chosen, and although other issues tend to occupy my passions, I'd consider myself a friend to both groups and wish them well in their endeavors.

The main difference is that as a Portlander I know a few vegans IRL, but precisely zero pro-lifers at the moment, so getting the inside view of what's going on with the pro-life movement now is difficult for me. As such, I'd like to reiterate my thanks for your response; it's hard for me to get a humane pro-life viewpoint these days, with most of the political internet having locked themselves in different cupboards except for the brashest assholes.
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Re: "Infanticide"

Postby Kate » Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:06 am

I'm in less of a defensive crouch and more of an, I am tired, kind of place. I never doubt that you operate in good faith, it's just such an exhausting thing to navigate. I don't expect you to loudly disagree. I expect that it is easy to forget that for someone who believes a fetus should be entitled to the same rights as everyone else, that means there is no material difference and those of us who accept you can be a good person and pro-choice are more likely to accept you can be a good person and support infanticide, or any number of things we might personally believe are wrong. We are inherently starting from a place of, people who support policy that gets babies killed are still good people (meanwhile, just ask me how I feel about being told I need to accept all Trump voters are racists and bad people because of his policies. Ask me how much better it is from people who have given me the "Don't like abortion? Don't have one!" line).

But you know, a lot of pro-life people are also insulated, and similarly not on purpose but because of circumstance. They don't know a lot of pro-choice people themselves. So by this same token - to them, there is no difference - it is very believable that the same people who can support killing a small baby can support killing a larger baby, because of whatever depravity makes them capable of killing the small ones. They don't have the perspective to stand back and say "Maybe they really do believe this is just a clump of cells, nothing but potential."

So that is just a fantastic place to drive a wedge, right? "How can you support infanticide?" "How can you possibly believe I would be capable of that?"

Congrats, politicians, you did it.
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Re: "Infanticide"

Postby IamNotCreepy » Wed Mar 06, 2019 2:28 pm

Man, that NYTimes story is just heartbreaking. It scares the hell out me, because it could have easily been me in that situation.

As I have previously mentioned, my daughter had Turner Syndrome. Like in that story, we did not have an amniocentesis done, because we would not have aborted regardless. If my daughter hadn't been stillborn, I could have faced similar decisions on what to do with a baby who would not have been able to survive on her own.

The moral ramifications of such a decision are complex and difficult to parse. I definitely lean more towards deontology than utilitarianism, but I don't know what I would do when the rubber hits the road if I was placed in that situation.

As to my broader thoughts on abortion, I definitely fall on the pro-life side, but my more complete thoughts can be found here. Looking back, what I wrote back then holds up (except, apparently, for when I said no one was advocating for infanticide).

The problem with the abortion debate on the whole is that people seem determined to assume the worst about everyone else's intentions and willfully misunderstand their statements or ideas in the furthering of their own position.

In this, as with most things, what is needed is more empathy.
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Re: "Infanticide"

Postby Crimson847 » Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:44 pm

Kate wrote:I'm in less of a defensive crouch and more of an, I am tired, kind of place. I never doubt that you operate in good faith, it's just such an exhausting thing to navigate. I don't expect you to loudly disagree. I expect that it is easy to forget that for someone who believes a fetus should be entitled to the same rights as everyone else, that means there is no material difference and those of us who accept you can be a good person and pro-choice are more likely to accept you can be a good person and support infanticide, or any number of things we might personally believe are wrong. We are inherently starting from a place of, people who support policy that gets babies killed are still good people (meanwhile, just ask me how I feel about being told I need to accept all Trump voters are racists and bad people because of his policies. Ask me how much better it is from people who have given me the "Don't like abortion? Don't have one!" line).


Sure, but there's always a line to that. I'm guessing you wouldn't be calm and open-minded about someone planning to "abort" their 5-year-old, just as a vegan who's tolerant of meat-eaters still probably wouldn't tolerate watching someone eat a human baby. If other kinds of people have different standards, we're willing to judge them by those standards rather than our own. But if they violate even the standards of their own "tribe", that's usually where tolerance for different views ends. That's why the NYT article was so helpful--straight-up infanticide (that is, killing a baby because they're inconvenient) is pretty clearly a bad thing even by the pro-choice side's standards, but euthanasia in case of a terminal illness is more of a grey area, as the euthanasia laws in some blue states indicate.

But you know, a lot of pro-life people are also insulated, and similarly not on purpose but because of circumstance. They don't know a lot of pro-choice people themselves. So by this same token - to them, there is no difference - it is very believable that the same people who can support killing a small baby can support killing a larger baby, because of whatever depravity makes them capable of killing the small ones. They don't have the perspective to stand back and say "Maybe they really do believe this is just a clump of cells, nothing but potential."

So that is just a fantastic place to drive a wedge, right? "How can you support infanticide?" "How can you possibly believe I would be capable of that?"

Congrats, politicians, you did it.


Somehow reminded of this excellent article:

https://slatestarcodex.com/2014/12/17/t ... a-of-rage/
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Re: "Infanticide"

Postby LunarTeaHouse » Thu Mar 07, 2019 6:49 am

Am I the only one who just doesn't care?
Who honestly cares what someone does with their kid?
Who fucking cares if a woman has an abortion or not?
What is even the point of these arguments and conversations?

I remember the first time I learned what abortion was, I think I was about 13, and I felt the same way then that I do now: who fucking cares?

I think it's also worth mentioning that my parents didn't get married, I was raised by my grandparents who are now dead, I don't have any siblings, I have one cousin. I've never really understood the fascination with babies and I don't want any of my own.

Why does what someone else does with their kid even matter to anyone else? I guess no one else knows what it's like to grow up in an environment where they were clearly unwanted. IT SUCKS.
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Re: "Infanticide"

Postby Aquila89 » Thu Mar 07, 2019 3:18 pm

LunarTeaHouse wrote:Who honestly cares what someone does with their kid?


What about child abuse? Would you say the same about people who beat or molest their children?
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Re: "Infanticide"

Postby NathanLoiselle » Thu Mar 07, 2019 6:41 pm

Is this anything like YouthInAsia? 'Cause I don't understand what the world has against them. They're just like the youth anywhere else.
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Re: "Infanticide"

Postby Krashlia » Fri Mar 08, 2019 12:31 am

LunarTeaHouse wrote:Why does what someone else does with their kid even matter to anyone else? I guess no one else knows what it's like to grow up in an environment where they were clearly unwanted. IT SUCKS.


But, isn't that an indicator that you do, kinda, care?

I would bet that one who could see that a someone going through a life as one who is unwanted sucks, so I would imagine that such a person would not like it to be visited on someone else.
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Re: "Infanticide"

Postby LunarTeaHouse » Sat Mar 09, 2019 8:10 am

I don’t really know what you’re asking. Is me not wanting a kid to be born into an abusive or neglectful household an indicator that I do care what someone does with their pregnancy?
Alright

Let me try this again.
Why does it matter to anyone if a woman decides to get rid of her pregnancy?
Why is this even an issue?
Why do you guys get THIS WORKED UP about it, making multiple threads that go on for pages and in circles rehashing the same arguments?
I don’t understand why a woman not wanting a pregnancy causes all of this stress for people when it really has no bearing on anyone’s life at all.

There are a million kids in foster care waiting to be adopted. Arguably, every problem in the world could be directly traced back to humans, therefore fewer humans would solve many of them.

Why do you give a shit what someone else does with their pregnancy?
If you don’t want an abortion, don’t get one.
And you know what? You know WAAAAAY more women who have had abortions than you think you do. I know at least a dozen. You really never know what someone has gone through.

No I don’t want kids to grow up where they aren’t wanted, so it’s better for them to not grow up at all. At least, that’s how I feel about my own life.

Personally, I don’t think it’s difficult to take one pill every single day, I’ve been doing it for over a decade and have had absolutely zero problems with it. But I know that not every woman can be on hormones, some people forget, some people don’t have access, blah blah. They deserve every chance to not bring an unwanted pregnancy in the world. And if I ended up pregnant somehow as some 0.01 statistic, you know exactly what I would do.
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