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August 14, 2007


"How painful is this killing method and how long does the killing part last."

This is sickening. I cannot believe Tiller exists.

Hmm... The state of North Carolina is having trouble with executions by lethal injection, since the law requires a doctor to be present to ensure it isn't too painful for the condemned. The state medical board has threatened to sanction doctors who participate.

An excerpt from http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/05/08/eveningnews/main2777288.shtml


"We don't kill patients. That's the bottom line," says Dr. Charles van der Horst of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine.

Van der Horst, who lobbied the medical board, says doctors don't belong in death chambers because doing so violates the physician's oath.

"We’re acting as murderers on behalf of the state," he says.


Of course, the original Hippocratic Oath forbade doctors to perform abortions of any kind (much less obviously painful lethal injection of a late-term unborn).

I don't know what the NC medical board's position is on the procedure described in this post, but I hope that they are morally consistent.

Kevin W.,

Tiller is indeed sickening, but there are individuals whose views I think pose worse problems.

Peter Singer, a professor at Princeton University, has said "the life of a newborn is of less value than the life of a pig, a dog, or a chimpanzee." This is a _newborn_, not an unborn child. He feels that we ought to be able to kill newborns until 28 days of age.

James Rachels argues that, on the Darwinian view, retarded people could be used as laboratory subjects or even food.

Thornhill and Palmer argue that, on the Darwinian view, rape is not wrong per se but is simply "a natural biological phenomenon that is a product of the human evolutionary heritage."

(The above quotes are all referenced in "I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist" by Geisler and Turek.)

I wonder if we can get newborns (again, _newborns_ not unborns) designated as a protected class, charge Singer with hate speech, and get his tenure revoked?

(Only half-smiling...)

So... we're supposed to worry about hurting the fetus, but not about KILLING IT?

Seems a little bit logically inconsistent.


You’re right; those views are so extreme and offensive but they never get any coverage. Can you imagine if he upped the age to 5 years or 10 years of age? It would be pandemonium!

Does a month make it easier to stomach? Obviously it does.

I think this is where Alan defends this practice on his principle of not prosecuting mothers and doctors while expanding teh authoritarian Karl Rove government.

Our society can be desensitized to any practice, any procedure, even this one. My favorite enlightening story from the Holocaust was how the Nazis would be eating a sandwich for lunch while performing painful disfiguring experiments on Jewish children.

We're all just blobs of tissue after all.

In November 2006, the journal Nature ran an article on the ability of pre-born babies to feel pain. Two studies,one led by Maria Fitzgerald at University College London and another by Kanwaljeet Anand at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, have independently shown that the cortex of premature babies is activated in response to potentially painful stimuli.

In response to a heel lance, a widely used procedure for collecting small blood samples, in 18 babies of between 25 and 45 weeks of gestational age, and postnatal ages ranging from 5 to 134 days, even in the youngest babies, there was a very clear evoked activity in the somatosensory cortex, the part of the cortex that processes bodily sensation. In this study, the older the baby the stronger the response.

In a parallel study, Anand and his team analysed 40 preterm babies, born at 28 to 36 weeks of gestation, at 25 to 42 hours after birth6. They used vein puncture, another way of collecting blood samples, to generate potentially painful stimuli. Following either tactile (skin disinfection) or painful (vein puncture) stimuli, there was an increase in blood flow to the somatosensory cortex, but not to other areas of the cortex. The increase induced by vein puncture was much larger than that by skin disinfection, supporting the findings made by Fitzgerald's team. But unlike Fitzgerald, Anand found that the more premature the baby at birth, the bigger the response to painful stimuli.

Futhermore, neuroscientists have unearthed evidence suggesting that the nervous systems of premature babies who experience repeated procedures that are potentially painful develop abnormally.

Finally, a large body of animal and human studies has shown that prolonged exposure to stress hormones can result in changes in the brain, especially in areas important for learning and memory. Preterm babies are vulnerable because the structure of their brains is still being formed, which makes this really worrying.

Even if these pre-born babies are being killed prior to the abortion, they are still feeling lots of pain. We would not treat animals this way, yet our society is completely fine with treating these smallest members of the human community in this manner.

It is, in a word, sick.

I don't think the pain argument has any traction. Because my opponents will just suggest an anesthetic to deaden the pain before the lump of tissue is removed.

It's murder even if I knock out my neighbor with sleeping pills first. Capiche?

"Are you trying to say capice? Well, don't do it, cuz it hurts my ears when you do it."

Doug is right about the "tissue" reference - it's all over a WebMD article regarding D&E abortions; And this is why appeals to the US legal system won't work (not to mention, misses the point).

See, under the US legal system, laws basically conform first and foremost to majority vote, and not to logic, per se. So, the focus ought to be on changing minds, since US laws will change based on the popular beliefs of the day.

Doug t

Right you are. However, if we get them to concede that anesthetics are required, then we are part of the way toward increasing the estimation of the unborn. After all, biologically speaking, tissue blobs do not have the ability to sense an advanced perception like pain.


"Are you trying to say capice? Well, don't do it, cuz it hurts my ears when you do it."

ROTFL!!! Great movie...

My nine-month-pregnant wife was at the doctor's the other day, and the doctor said something about her "fetus". She politely responded by starting her next sentence with, "My baby boy ...".

Paul A

First - congratulations!!!

You go boy!! You go girl!! Correct them when you can!!

Parenthood teaches more than you ever thought possible.

When we lived in Philadelphia, the doctors tried to push amniocentesis on my wife so hard that I had to step between her and the doctor to tell him the exact definition of the work "no." We didn't want the procedure, since there are some risks with it and since the information would not have changed our decision to have the baby in the first place. Therefore it would have been a waste of time and put Anastasia at risk. We had a beautiful baby girl who is now nine years old. Sometimes you have to be the teacher, even though they have the degrees.

You go guy!! You go girl!!

Reading Tiller's web site, it appears this procedure -- start to finish -- takes place "over a one to four day period." Days -- not hours. The website says, "On the first day of the process, an injection of a medication is made into the baby to assure that it will be stillborn." It does not say how long it takes for this "medication" to end the baby's life. Interesting that with all its rather euphemistic language, the web site does call the unborn child a "baby."

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