stakes, and mistakes

By Diogenes (articles ) | Nov 30, 2007

"Have you plunged forceps into your kid today?" asks a T-shirt Jeff Miller would fain submit to Planned Parenthood's campaign contest. The more thoroughly we plan our parenthood, the more leeway we allow ourselves in tidying-up remaining vexations. Still, the best-laid schemes of mice and mums gang aft a-gley. Earlier this year The Times of London recounted the story of an Italian doctor who attempted a "pregnancy reduction" and -- oops! -- whacked the wrong bambino:

Italian prosecutors have opened an investigation into a botched selective abortion that the Vatican has described as the result of a "culture of perfection" resembling Nazi eugenics.

The deeply Catholic country was embroiled in a bitter ethical dispute yesterday after it emerged that a surgeon had accidentally terminated a healthy foetus instead of its twin with Down's syndrome. The operation -- on a 38-year-old woman 18 weeks into her pregnancy -- was performed at the San Paolo hospital in Milan in June but has only now come to light. The foetus with Down's syndrome was also aborted subsequently.

Thanks, Mom!

Let's not slip into rash judgment here. Given a second crack at the hit the Healing Professions™ showed what they can do. And because Italy has comprehensive government-funded health care, the mother in question was compensated for her discomfort with a coupon good for a free beverage and large order of fries at the hospital cafeteria. Oh, and the surgeon has announced that "her conscience was clear." So we can all relax.

Well, perhaps not all of us. This morning's Times reports that certain Spanish abortion clinics have violated the nation's waste-disposal statutes. As some of the waste may be British in origin, there are serious questions of propriety and good taste to be dealt with:

Police investigating four abortion clinics in Barcelona used frequently by British women have been horrified to find purpose-built machines attached to the drains that were used to crush foetuses. ...

Because they were so loud, the machines -- which fed into public drains -- were switched on only during the early hours of the day to avoid drawing attention to the illegal arrangement, police sources said. Officers gathering evidence at the clinics this week have been testing the machines and drains for traces of DNA, which may be matched with that of past clients, according to reports.
Britain's lovely and talented Ann Furedi, who has caught OTR's attention in the past, sniffs that the complainants were, after all, just a bunch of Christians:

Three years ago the publicly funded British Pregnancy Advisory Service was found to be referring women beyond the 24-week legal limit in Britain to Ginemedex, the clinic where the foetus-disposal machine was allegedly found this week.

At the time Ann Furedi, the service's chief executive, defended its policy, saying that it would be "morally reprehensible" not to help women to get treatment. Yesterday Ms Furedi said that BPAS did not refer British women to the Spanish clinic but continued to give out its number.

"If any of these clinics were to be found to be working [outside] their country's law, we would cease to inform women about their existence," she told The Times, adding: "My understanding is that this latest action [against the Spanish clinics] was triggered by a Christian fundamentalist group."

Well, I guess that "disposes" of the objections -- right, Ms F? I mean, if we start meddling in the choices other nations' health-care providers make concerning their foetus-crushing technology, who knows where it will end? It's not as if we're talking about an issue of international ethical concern, like commercial fishing techniques or agrarian chicken confinement. And besides, BPAS isn't referring women to Roto-Rouster, just giving out its phone number. It would be "morally reprehensible" to deny those 24-week-old Britons the advantages of a Spanish holiday. Or do I mean vacation?

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  • Posted by: - Nov. 30, 2007 10:42 AM ET USA

    My teen daughter had online 'conversation' about abortion with a Brit teen. Britteen *could not* comprehend the idea that a fetus in the womb before 24 weeks was human & wasupset about mine's contrary prolife "viewpoint". Brit sent pics of aborted body parts to 'prove' her point (too small to be real I guess)! Her father is Jewish & handicapped, yet she cannot see that in Hitler's "viewpoint" she & her dad would not be considered human. Pray, fast & do penance. She has learned her lessons well.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 30, 2007 10:30 AM ET USA

    So Ann Furedi dismising any and all reports of illegal activity made by Christians simply because they are Christian?! Or only reports of illegal activity concerning abortion clinics made by Christians? What about the possibility that an abortion clinic might very well be conduction illegal activity but the only people interested in reporting it are "fundamentalist Christians"? Should we disregard the illegal activity simply because it is only problematic for Christians?!?

  • Posted by: - Nov. 30, 2007 9:50 AM ET USA

    Let us bear this in mind when next we see a Planned Parenthood promo or hear the latest on a "woman's choice" or listen to those ever so snooty rationales for "terminating" a pregnancy...especially by some who dare to call themselves Christians without having bit off their tongues.