Re: Anencephaly [was SOC: More genetic tech protests] (fwd)

Bryan Moss (
Tue, 17 Aug 1999 21:53:57 +0100

Anders Sandberg wrote:

> The problem with using anencephalic bodies is that the head doesn't
> develop properly without the brain, and becomes literally flat. Might
> be an esthetic and functional problem (in addition to all the ethical,
> political and huge practical problems).

Perhaps the brain could be forced to grow as a solid lump of matter without the usual structure. Or perhaps, and here comes an ethical debate, the brain could be removed from a healthy child before it has a chance to fully develop. In a recent discussion about abortion with friends I suggested that abortion be allowed until about 21 to 27 months after conception. As usual they changed the subject and hoped to God I was joking. My reasoning behind this is simple: the argument behind pro-choice is that the early foetus is not an individual, but individuality probably doesn't develop until at least a year to eighteen months into the childs life. Despite this, most people who are for abortion are against murdering babies. An immediate counter argument would be to point out my use of the word "probably" - it's true, we don't know when the 'self' develops exactly, but I think it would be reasonable in principle to terminate 'pregnancy' until at least six months after birth. In practice allowing mothers to abort children after birth would probably not be the best idea, however, what of foetuses and children grown in labs? If the individual was restricted from development (without input could the 'self' develop?) we should in principle then be allowed to perform any experiment that we do on animals now. My own personal interest in the anencephalic bodies was not for spare parts but for 'hacks' to devalue meat in the minds of the public. What matters to me is mind. Actually, what matters to me is value, monetary value in the current situation, perhaps a more elaborate scheme in the future. And that's where the next suggestion, the one that makes people leave the room, comes in. Allow abortion until the child is financial self-supporting. Obviously I wouldn't suggest such a thing in the current social agenda, we live in a world that doesn't value (and I mean in the sense of monetary value) human life, education, individual welfare, health care, justice, et cetera. But my own political agenda can justify, say, human experimentation on an individiual because of his or her inability to support him- or herself and can justify it to a greater degree than the current system can justify not doing it. I believe this is the first time I've mentioned my own political, ethical, and moral opinions on this list. I've avoided discussing them in the past, I hope you can appreciate why.