Ask A Genius 517 – Death Penalty for Abortion
March 19, 2019
[Beginning of recorded material]
Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Abortion is an ongoing topic in the United States and around the world.
Rick Rosner: There is a bunch of legislation happening in the United States that is crazy. It tries to give women the death penalty for getting abortions after 6 weeks. Not that this passed or will pass. Several passed these “heartbeat” laws that make it illegal for women to get abortions after they even know that they are pregnant.
At 6 weeks, you are only late for your period for 2 or 3 weeks. A lot of women will not realize that they are pregnant until after that. Basically, they are abortion bans. Ohio, Georgia, a couple of other states.
In the past, it has made me sad that we haven’t come to a consensus about abortion. But now, I kind of think that we’re going to face in the next century so many new controversies around AI and around extended lifespans – thanks to vastly improved medicine.
There will be controversies about who counts as human. If somebody has gradually replaced his or her failing brain with new stuff, does that mean the heirs will challenge that person saying, “That person is not a person anymore”? Because the person has been replaced by biomechanical circuitry.
It may not happen for a while. It may not happen entirely. There will be all sorts of issues around new technology and new medicine. We haven’t resolved some of the most basic old ethical issues.
It makes me sad. Because none of these issues will be cleaned up. They will all continue to be used for political leverage. At various times, abortion has been a thing that people have done for thousands of years.
Across those thousands of years, there have been times when it has been more or less politicized – and depending on the country. Over the past 50 years, it has been increasingly politicized in America partially because of legitimate religious concerns, but mostly the conservatives who are better than liberals at branding and mobilizing their base.
They have learned that it is a really good crowbar to pry or whatever metaphor to motivate people like a carrot and stick to get people upset to vote for candidates, conservative candidates, on the basis of outrage with among th recent attempts to increasingly politicize abortion.
It is the idea that Democrats want to offer people the option to abort babies even after they are delivered alive. Legislation has been suggested by Republicans and then rejected by Democrats that would prohibit all but the most heroic measures in saving babies who are born alive.
Medical professionals and Democrats consider this a legislative trap designed mainly to make Democrats look like baby killers. The deal is, tragically, some babies who are born alive will die.
Less than 1% of babies are born without brains. They are born with just a brainstem. With minus a brain, they can only survive 72, 96, or so, hours. Doctors and nurses want to retain the right to treat those babies reasonably and humanely, and the families of those babies.
The baby is examined to see if it has a brain and can live, and, if not, then the baby is not put to death, but it is not put on a respirator where it can survive for months or years minus a brain. But the baby is not given heroic care.
But it is taken care of and is brought to the parents. If the parents want to hold the baby, they can pose for photos to remember the baby, which will not survive. After a couple days without a brain, the baby dies from not breathing.
The doctors do not want to be found guilty of not keeping that baby alive for the many months that it could be kept alive. So, things are goofy and sad on the abortion front in America, which makes me wonder why other issues haven’t been as politicized.
For instance, inter-racial relationships, a black guy going out with an Asian woman, a Hispanic woman going out with a white woman. That’s two issues. It doesn’t seem to bother people anymore.
Although, it seems to both people in the past. It is not only in real life but in TV, movies, and advertising. If a company wants an easy shortcut to seem hip, they can throw in an inter-racial couple.
That means that the company is not afraid of backlash from anyone who may find that offensive. America has decided that isn’t that offensive. There may be more people offended in the past like 50 years ago by inter-racial relationships as abortion.
Why is abortion still a thing and inter-racial relationships not? For one, babies ar really cute. If you convince people that babies are babies even 6 weeks after conception, all over Twitter, there have been images of what a fetus looks like 6 weeks.
The anti-abortion people have a pretty cleaned up abortion look. It looks like a fetus but not monstrous either. Pro-choice people have put up actual pictures of what an actual 6 week old fetus looks like through scanning electron photography.
It doesn’t look as nice as the anti-abortion people’s fetuses. Anyway, babies are cute. You can mobilize people around babies. Also, murder is scary. So if you call killing a fetus murder, then that seems super dire.
There is no leverage around inter-racial couples. Inter-racial couples are cute, at least the ones shown in TV ads. Inter-racial couples are also consumers. So if you pull those people in, you can sell more of your product. Also, people like to become couples.
By people learning to consider people of other races as potential partners, they have expanded their potential relationship pool. I guess, there is no hook or easy way in getting people worked up, to get non-lunatic people worked up, about inter-racial couples.
You can get white supremacists worked up about it. That the race is being diluted by white people not dating white people and not having purely white babies. But those people are by far in the minority.
The increased utility of being able to date anyone of any race and the increased utility of being able to sell your products to people of any race; those are bigger hooks in favour of calming down about inter-racial relationships.
The hooks that only work on white supremacists. That was semi-coherent.
[End of recorded material]
American Television Writer
Scott Douglas Jacobsen
Editor-in-Chief, In-Sight Publishing
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