Tuesday, October 03, 2006

This case is a horrific example of a vulnerable woman being used as a pawn by her lawyers for a cause she did not believe in. Whatever one's views are on abortion, they should at least concede that the person that lawyers decide to use an an example actually believe in the cause they are fighting for.

I also know how this person feels. Too well.


AN said...

well I don't agree with you at all here.

As the common law legal system is adversarial, some facts are required to hang the legal arguments on. For example the almost certainlsy fictitious snail in a bottle of ginger beer. Both sides need to agree a set of facts that they can argue different positions of law upon.

There are other ways of constructing a legal system, but it is not the greatest injustice created by our legal system that someones life story can be argued about in this way. And ina sense you are doing the same ting - using this woman's case as an opportunity too argue your point of view about it. Are you using her as well?

Oh and I don't agree with you about abortion either - but you know that!

Liz said...

Hi Andy - the ins and outs of the legal system are not really the point here.

The point that the writer of the article seemed to be arguing was that if her lawyers had to use a case example they could have used a person who supported their cause - and this woman clearly did not. And she is obviously not happy about the outcome.

I'll ask you another question, Andy. From how I've understood you in the past you believe that abortion is ethical only up to the point of viability. The law that is referred to in the article is a provision that makes abortion up until birth legal under US federal law. Would you oppose that law or defend it? Or abstain?

AN said...

I believe that once you have reached the point of viablity then an abortion is actualy a birth.

So I would need to see what the law was actually proposing. I wouldn't agree with removing a viable baby from the mother and then letting it die - and I think that morally and ethically a mother should be encouraged to carry a child to term once it has reached viablity, even if it is unwanted. But I believe ultimataly that should be the woman's choice, but once a viable baby has been born there is a social responsibility to care for it (not necessarily by the birth mother)

(There are grey areas of viability of course - and in practice health professinals withhold life sustaining care even from some wanted premature babies on the basis of borderline viability- which probably ethically comes under the category of euthanasia)

AN said...

To clarify that - i beleive the woman should have a legal right eben if it is orally and ethically unsupportable (That would be my morals and ethics not hers you see!)

However, once a baby has passed clear viability then society has a responsibility to care for it, whether inside or outside the mother.

Liz said...

Andy -I would take that further and say that society has a responsibility towards both the mother and baby even before it is viable outside the womb.

When it comes down to it, I guess I am not a relativist, 'doing no harm' for me is not a matter of choice. Late term abortions are a barbaric procedure, and it would not simply be a question of my morals differing from theirs (although I concede that very early on it is more a shades of grey issue).

Why should people have a legal right to something that is ethically unsupportable? Should they, for instance, have the legal right to mistreat animals, or to infanticide even? I know you strongly reject this view, but really a late term foetus is not very different from a newborn baby. By that stage it becomes infanticide and should not be legal. Issues like that (life and death) cannot be a case of 'my morality or theirs' - as would be the case with other things like sexual morality.