Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Back to the Bathtub Curve

Now I am having fun! When I should be working and all, I know, I know...

Quoth Dave: How do you figure that demographics fits it? Are you just arguing from the perspective of the current neutral-to-slightly negative Western birth rate (i.e. poor population replacement rates leading to economic ruination etcetera)?

I think this is the first generation where people from what for want of a better term we could call the 'progressive' side of politics are not reproducing themselves.
I guess I am hoping that the Middle Eastern and Latin American populations that are making up the demographic shortfall in the West will remain true to their principles, and not become acculturated in the Culture of Death. I emoted about this back in the early days of the accidental blog, 'Now we are Thirty'.

Quoth Jenny: My point is, what happens when we get incubators? At that time, how far do we take medical intervention?

I think that inevitably, we will have to 'play God'. I think our modelling of the in vivo situation will be such that we will able to say, 'this embryo would have had a 60% chance of spontaneous abortion' in vivo; and I would think killing that person would be very much less than a full murder. Unavoidably there will be a cost-benefit analysis that will lead to certain foetuses with severe defects beings killed. I also think will probably be best not to incubate prior to about three months anyway, which would avoid some of these problems. There are a couple of previous posts over in Marco's blog that are kind of relevant to this question, this one and this one...


Marco said...

When you say "we" will have to play God, usually this means doctors are empowered to make these kinds of decisions as the appropriate expert (with both "euthanasia" and abortion issues). Pro choice advocates are saying that the mother is the one who should be allowed to play God at her own discretion (and at her own spiritual risk). And I agree that cost-benefit analysis has to come into it somewhere along the line, but how can it be done tangibly, until we put a tangible value on life itself. For instance, at this moment if it was legal to "buy" a baby, pro life organisations could save the lives of countless foetuses by offering a sum to the would be mother to not have an abortion and take it to term when it would be passed on to the organisation for adoption (or even passed back to the mother if she changed her mind and bought it back) It is naive to think that cost-benefit analysis can be done without placing an actual number on the value of lives, or a market value or a child allocation (to be analogous to water allocation). When this is done, economic principles can be put to the task of saving lives, much as it is done to make air travel safer, by putting actual values on lives they can count the cost and benefits of every safety feature.

Dr. Clam said...

Yes, of course a model that places an actual monetary value on the potential contribution of a probably gravely handicapped individual will need to be made.

When I say 'we', I mean all of us, through our elected representatives, making these guidelines explicit through legislation and not dependent on judicial fiat or the whim of doctors.

I see the actual implementation of a 'spontaneous abortion' function on an incubator not as something that would be controlled by a doctor on the scene, but as a feature of the software monitoring the incubation.