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"Must people be under the obligation to save our public services the expense or what?"

No. But if the disease is bad enough that having the child could be considered an act of cruelty to him, it might at least deserve some thought before stating that the law should not interfere.
Which is my inclination, as I wrote. That doesn't mean that no case can ever be made (and then probably nevertheless rejected) for some restrictions.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Nov 7th, 2012 at 11:13:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cyrille:
But if the disease is bad enough that having the child could be considered an act of cruelty to him,...

Considered by whom? Is a disabled child necessarily unhappy? Do you believe disabled people regret they were born?

by Katrin on Wed Nov 7th, 2012 at 11:31:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't venture to judge on their behalf, but I suggest there may be a range of answers to your question.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Nov 7th, 2012 at 11:55:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Judging on somebody else's behalf was the starting point of this discussion, though.
by Katrin on Wed Nov 7th, 2012 at 12:27:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's certainly implied in your question.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Nov 7th, 2012 at 12:31:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Do you believe disabled people regret they were born? "

Some have sued their parents for letting them be born, yes.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Nov 7th, 2012 at 12:16:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For letting them be born, or to get the parents' insurance companies to pay out? Do you have details?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Nov 7th, 2012 at 12:25:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For letting them be born with the disease, to be precise.
Regrettably, I don't have the details of the case I have in mind at hand. I remember it for a different reason actually: that the court agreed to hear it (it was in France) showed that they took the parental project to create the child's identity, rather than the genes.

The defendants (from memory the defendants were the parents -but I might be wrong and it might have been the doctors) had argued that they could not ask for damages as, if they'd had their wish (abortion), they wouldn't have even existed. The court considered that if there had been an abortion followed by a pregnancy without the disease, it would have been essentially the same child, but free from the disease.

I'm explaining it poorly and have forgotten much of the details, but it is actually an inevitable logical implication of a system that accepts abortion following a medical test. The reason why it was a landmark case was that it was the first time that the implicit logical conclusion was made explicit, namely that it is the parental project that creates the child's identity.
Which is also implicit everytime parents say something like: "if you had been a girl, you would have been named Anja".

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Nov 7th, 2012 at 02:10:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The court considered that if there had been an abortion followed by a pregnancy without the disease, it would have been essentially the same child, but free from the disease.

What nonsense! How do they get the idea that siblings are identical? The second child would have been genetically different, and it would have made different experiences. The child who sued exists, and can only exist being born with the disease. The alternative would have been that it had never existed (and sued). And the decision is not the child's, but the parents'.

it is actually an inevitable logical implication of a system that accepts abortion following a medical test.

The logical implication is to accept every pregnant woman's decision. She is entitled to help, support, and to respect for her choice, whatever that choice is.

by Katrin on Wed Nov 7th, 2012 at 02:41:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"What nonsense! How do they get the idea that siblings are identical?"

They never said anything like that.
Again, it's the same logic as the sentence I gave, "If you had been a girl".
Not "if we'd had a girl".

There is the identity of the parental project, and this was considered as more significantly defining the child than his genetic material.

The child who sued reckoned that, in the most important sense, it would still have been him -even though with different looks and possibly even gender. And the court agreed.

So do I, by the way. Genes have no importance, and I would not care one bit to learn that my sons don't carry mine.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Nov 7th, 2012 at 05:13:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Your sons probably would care, but that's not my point. Personal identity is only partly shaped by what you call "the parental project". The child makes experiences that can only partly be influenced by the parents. And the (genetically determined) physical side has an influence on the personality too. You downplay two of these factors: genes and environment other than parents.

Cyrille:

Again, it's the same logic as the sentence I gave, "If you had been a girl".
Not "if we'd had a girl".

Well, you aren't a girl. So what? Same as in "if you had been born without the disease" or "if you had been born with green eyes". It strengthens my point that "the parental project" has very limited influence, and that the child has to take life as it is. The only alternative is no life.

by Katrin on Thu Nov 8th, 2012 at 03:49:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Your sons probably would care"
Why?

"Personal identity is only partly shaped by what you call "the parental project"."
OK -partly, but mainly. That doesn't mean their personality would have been identical if they had been born from a later pregnancy, it means that when the child(ren? I think there were two) said "They could have aborted and had another pregnancy and I would have been born without the disease", the court recognised their right to use "I".
And I certainly don't downplay the environment which is far more related to the parental project than to the genes.

"It strengthens(!) my point that "the parental project" has very limited influence, and that the child has to take life as it is. The only alternative is no life."

Well, you do realise that it was the case they tried to make, and failed? So just stating it is unlikely to count as obvious evidence.

And obviously my example does not strengthen your point: the parent uses "you". If you'd been a girl, it would have been you, a different you of course. But you.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Nov 8th, 2012 at 04:49:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cyrille:
And obviously my example does not strengthen your point: the parent uses "you". If you'd been a girl, it would have been you, a different you of course. But you.

It's an amazing, bizarre case, the more I think about it. The parent can't simply declare using these words that it would be you. It is short for "if this pregnancy had turned out to result in..." What if the child is unhappy about, say, its gender? Can it sue because the parents didn't make sure it's a girl? Why not?

Am I obliged to feel identical or something with the embryo that my mother aborted after having Rubella? I refuse. It's not me. What power has this embryo to force me? I can't imagine it will sue.

Cyrille:

"Your sons probably would care"
Why?

Children need to know who their biological parents are, and during adolescence they need to transform the role of both sets of parents if there are social parents as well. It's one of these psychological needs of every human being that can't be avoided. They would never forgive you, if you lied to them about that. I am a foster mother of two, btw.
by Katrin on Thu Nov 8th, 2012 at 06:20:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Am I obliged to feel identical"

Why do you keep bringing that strawman to which I replied already? No one is talking about feeling identical.
They were not -precisely, they felt that it would have been them, but different (as in disease-free). Not identical at all.

"They would never forgive you, if you lied to them about that. I am a foster mother of two, btw."

Who's talking about lying, something I never do, much less to my sons?
As far as I know, I am the biological father. It's also not something I'd ever go and test as I find it completely irrelevant.
Hell, in our case it's even possible that the elder one has a different biological mother than we think -he is an IVF child and there is a possibility of mixing-up the embryos. If we learnt that it was the case, we wouldn't hide it. But it certainly would make no difference to me, as it would make absolutely no difference to me to learn that my father was not biological.

There is a chasm between not mentioning and adoption (in which case you are certain, by the way) and not mentioning an affair. If the fertility problem was solved because my wife had fun while I was away on business, well all I can say is I hope that she made sure he was HIV negative and that the earth moved for her, but I don't see that it would be any of my business. He's my son, period.

As to never forgiving, well, I happen to know someone who learnt at 30 that she had been adopted. Now, she certainly did not like not having been told earlier, but I saw her with her mother (her father is now dead, alas) and it's clear that forgiving did not take long at all.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Nov 8th, 2012 at 06:52:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why do you keep bringing that strawman to which I replied already? No one is talking about feeling identical.
They were not -precisely, they felt that it would have been them, but different (as in disease-free). Not identical at all

Not a strawman. I am trying to grasp the implications of this (I am really trying!):

it would have been you, a different you of course. But you.

If it's a "different me", it's not me at all. There is only one see-the-trademark me, and that's me.

My mother told me if I had been a boy (God forbid), I would be Wilhelm (God forbid again), after my father. That's only lazy-speak for: if I had been a totally different person that has nothing to do with my identity, a male...

The claimant in your case apparently could fantasise themselves into being (reincarnated?) a totally hypothetical second child that might (or might not) have been born after s/he (or rather the embryo that developed into being s/he) was aborted. Bizarre. What if there hadn't been another child? (S/he would have sued to compel the parents to... really!) The judge must have been drunk. Was there an appeal?

You say you agree. (Now I probably should edit out "drunk" and so ;-) ) Can you tell me what that means for a hypothetical connection between that rubella embryo and me, because I think that ought to be the same, right?

Cyrille:

Who's talking about lying, something I never do, much less to my sons?

Or hiding the truth (that you know). It backfires, definitely. You are right, "never forgive" is too strong. I know a few cases though, and the extent of trust has never been fully restored, although there was some forgiveness. This is completely tangential, though.

by Katrin on Thu Nov 8th, 2012 at 08:32:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Can you tell me what that means for a hypothetical connection between that rubella embryo and me, because I think that ought to be the same, right?"

Well, you could say that thanks to the abortion you were born without a malformation.
Besides, the court never claimed that every child had to feel that way, just that this or those were entitled to say "I would have been born different".

I don't know whether there was an appeal, or even the result of the case. The crucial thing (and one that is a necessary conclusion of accepting abortion after medical tests) was that it was heard.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Nov 8th, 2012 at 09:16:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cyrille:
Well, you could say that thanks to the abortion you were born without a malformation

It's not true. Thanks to my mother having had rubella at any time before she was pregnant with me, I was born without that malformation. No nexus with the abortion. (The abortion makes me child no. 6, not no. 7, and my parents must have been fed up with getting more children after they had six. So probably without that abortion I would not have been born at all. I wouldn't have been in a position to mind or to sue, though.)

Cyrille:

The crucial thing (and one that is a necessary conclusion of accepting abortion after medical tests) was that it was heard.

???  I accept abortion whenever a pregnant woman decides it is the right thing for her. I equally accept if she decides to have the child, no matter if it is healthy or not.

by Katrin on Thu Nov 8th, 2012 at 10:11:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The judge's ruling reveals a somewhat mystical but not incoherent narrative interpretation of human nature, which as Cyrille is arguing is in fact consistent with a lot of ordinary expressions used by ordinary people (such as your Mother saying "if you had been a boy you would have been Wilhelm").

That doesn't mean any of it is "scientific" but that is rather beside the point. We're talking law here. Which is about the social construction of social reality.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 8th, 2012 at 09:23:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
We're talking law here. Which is about the social construction of social reality.

Thank you. Beautifully put.

by Katrin on Thu Nov 8th, 2012 at 10:13:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... but you've got to wonder what he'd been smoking.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Nov 8th, 2012 at 10:39:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nothing too potent, given that lots of people reason in the frame in which they can tell their son "if you had been a girl we would have called you victoria" without blinking.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 8th, 2012 at 10:49:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
which summarises my thinking on the matter :

"Si ma tante en avait, on l'appelerait Tonton"

(If my aunt had balls, we'd call her Uncle)

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Nov 8th, 2012 at 11:17:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But he'd have had to be smoking something to not tell them to go talk with a psychologist about their issues and stop wasting the court's time.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Nov 8th, 2012 at 03:36:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the dictator clones himself to get loyal army scenario also fits in this narrative. It also depends on the ability for the identity to span more then one body. Also the upload yourself and live forever thing.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Thu Nov 8th, 2012 at 01:00:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have a friend who wrote up a scenario on the premise that there had been a "clone yourself to cheat the ballot box" scare. After which clones were disenfranchised and required to be genetically engineered with distinguishing features like tusks and green-tinted skin, so people could tell who were clones and who were not.

(The scenario took it as read that "cloning copies the person" is a bogus trope.)

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Nov 8th, 2012 at 03:52:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If it's a "different me", it's not me at all.

Mmmm, I'm not so certain. If you were to install a synthetic memory bank in the back of your head, you would be a "different you," but there would be sufficient continuity of identity, of what cyberpunk author Shirō Masamune called "ghost," that most people would still argue - rightly, in my view - that you would still be "you."

Given appropriate technology, you could progressively replace every part of your brain with enhanced, synthetic substitutes, and still retain sufficient continuity to qualify as "you," even though there would be nothing left of the original wetware. On the other hand, simply copying your brain architecture into an advanced neural net computer and then shooting you would kill "you," at least in most people's view.

What this suggests is that the relevant distinction is in terms of the degree of continuity, or the rate of change and the fraction of the body replaced in each step.

Under that convention, the children's argument in this case is wrong, because you have a 100 % discontinuity when you flush the embryo and plug in a new one. But it is not a completely silly argument that you could in principle replace the zygote with a different one, if only you could do it one cell at a time.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Nov 8th, 2012 at 03:36:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Katrin - I agree with you that children should not be lied to and if you do lie to them they may never forgive you. I also had the privilege of being a foster mother (three kids from foster care, two of my own) so I know a little something about the challenges and rewards involved with that.

However, I was adopted and found out about it quite by accident when I was 16 and had been sent away to reformatory and read it in my psychological records. I'm sure my adoptive parents thought keeping it from me was the right thing to do, and secrecy about such matters was also probably the norm at the time. Be that as it may, my disagreement with you is your statement that "all children need to know who their biological parents are ..." Perhaps most children do, but personally I have never had any interest whatsoever in knowing who my biological parents were. I am sure they had their reasons for putting me up for adoption, and that's that. My adoptive parents were plenty okay for me, warts and all.

by sgr2 on Thu Nov 8th, 2012 at 10:50:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
it is the parental project that creates the child's identity.

That idea bothers me. There is immense hubris in it.

A child creates its own identity, from a heap of factors, starting with its genetic heritage and its environment.

Some children have parents; others don't. Some parents have a parental project; others don't. Neither the existence nor the identity of the child are determined by the existence of a parental project. Sure, it's generally (but not always) better for the child if there is a parental project (making plans for Nigel?)

If it were the parental project that creates the child's identity, there would be an awful lot of people walking around without an identity. (Zombie invasion?)

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Nov 8th, 2012 at 10:38:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
eurogreen:
there would be an awful lot of people walking around without an identity.

There are an awful lot with a most uncertain identity.

Some of them, though, got that way through being subjected to an over-affirmed "parental project".

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 8th, 2012 at 10:41:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it should bother you because I can't see how it can possibly be correct.

Even pets have distinct personalities. The idea that children wouldn't, from birth, seems nonsensical.

There is a certain left-academic belief in personality as a blank slate that can be shaped wholly by society, culture, family and so on.

But I've never been even remotely convinced by it. The links between genetics and behaviour in animals are too obvious and too strong to ignore. And there are interesting things happening on the borderlands between biochemistry and psychology.

Parents can of course influence and I think most people go through a maturation where they keep some elements of family conditioning and attempt to replace or redefine others.

But I see absolutely no reason to believe that parents can ever define personality absolutely, or that genes don't play a part.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Nov 8th, 2012 at 10:53:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's more the ontology that bothers me, it borders on the theological.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Nov 8th, 2012 at 11:20:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or teleological.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 8th, 2012 at 11:23:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is a disabled child necessarily unhappy? Do you believe disabled people regret they were born?  

Many of them can't even grasp to say how they feel being severely mentally retarded, so who is going to judge how happy they are? Or if they regret being born? You?
You don't know what you are talking about.
Responsible people take all care possible not to have disabled child...And with siblings it is a great possibility. So no excuses.

by vbo on Wed Nov 7th, 2012 at 06:13:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Responsible people take all care possible not to have disabled child...And with siblings it is a great possibility. So no excuses."

No, it's a slightly less highly unlikely possibility. But still much less likely than for someone who simply has one case in his family and marries a stranger.

So if that's the argument against sex between siblings, the same logic would exclude all relatives of someone who has a genetic disorder to be barred from having children.

Incest is in the mind rather than in the genes. The risks are overwhelmingly psychological, which is why adopted children don't tend to make couples, and actually the law prohibits it. Whereas most cultures accept marriage between double cousins (but ban the more distant uncle/niece or aunt/nephew), who are genetically exactly as close as siblings.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Nov 8th, 2012 at 03:16:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am not underestimating psychological risks at all.You are right about it. But genetic risk is also reality.
In my culture this is simply NO-NO. We tend to make our children know even very far relatives so if they meet each other later in life they are aware who they are. I know that not every culture is against it...some even has it as desirable in order to save family wealth.  
by vbo on Thu Nov 8th, 2012 at 04:05:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the perception of risks comes from a time with smaller societies and worse communications. It then made sense to try to get together with one of those you were least related to.

Long time ago I read an historical study on a small finnish society that in the 19th century started their own school for children with mental disorders. In the 20th century enrollment suddenly drops and eventually the school is closed. About ten years earlier mopeds had been introduced on a large scale, widening the radius for connections. Genetical factor strongly suspected.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Nov 8th, 2012 at 05:28:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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