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Sunday, September 5, 2010

Scatterbrained Sunday: Research paper

As some of you know, in addition to serving as the president of SecularProLife.org, I go to law school (because doing just one or the other wouldn't be nearly stressful enough). I'm currently taking a course called Law of Reproduction. It requires a 25-page paper, and I haven't chosen a topic.

My current idea is to write about the impact that a state personhood amendment would have on the legality of the pill. There's some medical debate as to whether or not the pill has any post-fertilization effect. Even if it does, it certainly doesn't work that way all the time (or even most of the time), and there's no way to know how it's working in any particular instance. Given this uncertainty, claims from opponents that a personhood amendment would effectively ban contraception strike me as probably not being on solid legal ground; after all, we don't ban all cars just because they might strike a pedestrian. But getting a more complete answer would require me to delve way beyond first-year tort law, and is probably not doable in 25 pages.

So if that doesn't work out, what other topics do you suggest? I'm happy to share my research with you once it's completed. Remember, it has to be something appropriate for Law of Reproduction. Thanks!

25 comments:

Yonmei said...

My current idea is to write about the impact that a state personhood amendment would have on the legality of the pill.

I think you'll find that Monty Python already did, probably much more eloquently and cogently than you could:

You don't have to be a six-footer.
You don't have to have a great brain.
You don't have to have any clothes on. You're
A Catholic the moment Dad came,

Because

Every sperm is sacred.

Every sperm is great.
If a sperm is wasted,
God gets quite irate.

Every sperm is sacred.
Every sperm is great.
If a sperm is wasted,
God gets quite irate.

GIRL:
Let the heathen spill theirs
On the dusty ground.
God shall make them pay for
Each sperm that can't be found.

Every sperm is wanted.
Every sperm is good.
Every sperm is needed
In your neighbourhood.

Nulono said...

Gee, never heard THAT one before. 9_9

Nulono said...

You should include a section on the morning-after pill.

Simon said...

Hmm if you had a room full of non conscious humans and by pressing a button it stopped their life support; if you knew the room could be inhabited both by irreversibly brain dead humans and recovering coma victims would you think it wrong to allow someone to press the button because at least some of the people in the room could be irreversibly brain dead?

If the chance was only 10% that recovering coma victims were in the room would that make a differece? What about 1%?

I think not.

Simon said...

Or would we allow a drug into our water system that had the same chance of killing people as the pill working not working, we just don't know?

To my mind regardless as to whether it works at any particular instance the main aim or direct result is still to indirectly kill a healthy human. Whether it works or not at any instance is not the crucial matter.

As an aside it also raises the issue of any activity of the male or female -like drugs or alcohol- that either can cause the baby or even the sperm or egg.

Simon said...

Regarding Yonmei if she is just going to be a troll then she should be banned.

Otherwise if she wants to post she should keep her post short or break them up as the reason her posts didn't get through is that there is probably a character limit.

secularprolife.org said...

"To my mind regardless as to whether it works at any particular instance the main aim or direct result is still to indirectly kill a healthy human."

Is it the main aim? Most people taking the pill intend it to be for a legitimate contraceptive purpose. Just as people don't drive with the *intent* to hit someone. How much does intent matter? (In tort law the answer is "a lot," but it's not the only factor.)

I'm not going to ban Yonmei. I believe in letting this be an open, uncensored forum. Besides, she's just making abortion advocates look bad.

Yonmei said...

Simon, fwiw, when I tried to post intelligent, detailed commentary on how contraception works, those comments got censored.

"SecularProlife" does not wish to have intelligent, informed commentary from pro-choice advocates on an anti-choice blog.

Quel surprise.

secularprolife.org said...

I haven't censored any of your posts, Yonmei. Try breaking them down into smaller pieces.

secularprolife.org said...

The "some medical debate" link contains intelligent commentary on how the pill works; the problem is simply that the experts don't agree. If you'd like to link to any additional medical studies, you're welcome to do so.

Yonmei said...

I haven't censored any of your posts, Yonmei

Oh, so sorry. When pro-lifers delete comments by pro-choicers, it's not "censorship", it's just... "technical difficulties".

secularprolife.org said...

Have you tried making your comments shorter? I'm not blocking any of your posts. I know you have a grudge against me and you won't believe me, but at least try the fix that Simon and I are suggesting.

darkcougar555 said...

I really hope my comment is posted here, visibly. All right. Yonmei, look. I did post it two times on two different blogs. Yet they weren't on there. Two comments were on "Refreshing: SBA List focusing on republicans" and "Abortionist Stephen Brigham caught doing surgery without license" blogs. Ehhhh... I don't know why they didn't show up at all. I think it may be commenting system problem, technical difficulties, or bugs or something. But I'm not surprise cos I got similar problems at The Sims 3 bloggers anyways. In my opinion, bloggers need to check on their commenting system and/or setting to fix something. =)

darkcougar555 said...

Oh, finally. My comment is there! Yay! Eheha. :P

Yonmei said...

I don't have a "grudge" against you: why would I, I don't know you!

All I know is you run a blog which promotes information about contraception and abortion which ranges between the outright false and the just plain inaccurate.

And that twice, when comments giving true and accurate information were posted on your blog, they were deleted. Either by you, or by another prolifer with keys to your blog to delete or spam comments.

secularprolife.org said...

darkcougar555 is apparently having issues too, and she's pro-life. I don't know what's going on, but if you would please try making your comments smaller. You could also email your contraception comments to info(at)secularprolife.org.

secularprolife.org said...

Okay. Nine comments got caught in the spam filter, two of which were Yonmei's. Those should all be up now. But most of those were for the Going to Planned Parenthood post; none of them were for here. So I still don't know 100% what's going on.

secularprolife.org said...

I think I've found the comment that Yonmei is talking about. Re: emergency contraception, on last Monday's blog. Yonmei, if you were referring to a different comment, please say so.

To recap what Yonmei said there, emergency contraception can work in three ways:
1) preventing ovulation
2) obstructing sperm
3) stopping implantation
Her position is that #3 never or rarely happens; mine is that it's still an open question. Morning-after pill manufacturers do say that it can stop implantation, but the *frequency* with which that happens is up for debate. (Yonmei, I'd be interested in reading the study you mentioned; can you please link to it?)

The brand of emergency contraception may also be relevant here. For instance, Plan B works for only three days, and its effectiveness declines over time, suggesting little post-fertilization effect. On the other hand, ella is advertised as working as well on day 5 as on day 1, which seems impossible if relying only on ways #1 and #2.

My point is that EVEN IF there is a post-fertilization effect, that wouldn't justify banning hormonal contraception, because it is used for a legitimate purpose. (Yes, contraception is a legitimate purpose: I don't believe every sperm is sacred. I like Monty Python, though.) As a society, we allow many things that may be harmful or even deadly, like cars, experimental medications, and industrial equipment. Those things are very different from abortion, which ALWAYS kills the fetus (because that's the whole point).

I hope that clears things up a bit...

Nulono said...

Kelsey, do you think there's any significant difference between the pill and emergency contraception? Should there be restrictions on how long after intercourse EC is taken? If new versions of the pill and EC came out that were proven to have no post-fertilization effect, would the law require that the safer drug be used?

secularprolife.org said...

"Kelsey, do you think there's any significant difference between the pill and emergency contraception?"
My understanding is that post-fertilization effect is more likely with EC than with the regular pill, but it's hard to say.

"Should there be restrictions on how long after intercourse EC is taken?"
No. The issue of timing isn't about how long after sex it's taken, but how long after ovulation or fertilization (which the woman probably won't know anyway).

"If new versions of the pill and EC came out that were proven to have no post-fertilization effect, would the law require that the safer drug be used?"
That's a great question. If the new drug didn't pose any harm to the mother above and beyond the versions we currently have (and we do tolerate pretty extensive side effects), I think the answer would be yes.

Nulono said...

I apologize; I meant any significant moral/legal difference.

Simon said...

Kelsey intent while often an important factor it isn't always so. What can be though is the causal relation to the event esp if the possible results are known before hand. Ok using your car analogy it isn't the normal use even though it can be on one level directly related to a death it is the circumstance. Look at speeding, no one speeding is doing so with the intent to cause a death but given knowledge about how cars work, speed etc you know what could happen. So with that knowledge -regardless of lack of intent- you ar morally responsible.

Simon said...

"Is it the main aim? Most people taking the pill intend it to be for a legitimate contraceptive purpose."

Given really not that long ago people thought the use of humans as slaves/tools was a legitamate way to run ones afairs/business that in itself isn't the point.

Even if they think they are in the right or think they are doing something else entirely again that in istelf isn't a reason not to correct them.

Simon said...

OT- Yonmei fwiw everyone as their troll moments anyway. My current one is when techno-optimists thinks tehcnology will save the world or couldn't get the even most basic ethical messages out of Avatar.

Nulono said...

Simon, your comment about speeding is accurate, and that's why I suggested a restriction on when EC could be taken, as that would reduce the risk of taking a life.

You're also right that while intent is important, so is causation.