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Fri, Sep. 22nd, 2006, 11:13 am

It seems that whenever I'm off for a day or I'm out sick (as I was yesterday, and somewhat disinclined to check the internets) I end up missing the things that interest or affect me.

Richard Hammond damned near killed himself in an accident involving one of those land speed record setting drag racing car things. Frank Miller stopped sucking long enough to be responsible for the movie behind that trailer there and if I'd been reading the internet yesterday I would have learned about Japan's crazy cigarette etiquette (smoking is widespread but no one litters their butts, no one walks while smoking and everyone carries portable arhtrays)

The one that really pissed me off though was The High Court's decision to force a blood transfusion on a woman who does not want it. The Judge's rationale behind it was what really got my blood (no pun intended) boiling because he never once cites any legal reason for the decision - which is his GOD DAMNED job, not issuing moral arguments for his decision which was somehow backed up by the full force of the law. Think about this - a judge's moral decision is law. This is a very dangerous precedent for every last one of us and by rights we should kick up a royal goddamned stink about it.

From the article:

He said a newborn child had come into the world and had no other relatives that were known of, anywhere in the State to care for it and provide physical, emotional and spiritual nurture.

This is a cop out. Children are left in this state all the time and often for reasons far less noble (or "noble") than religous conviction. The state is perfectly content to send those children back to the sudan or similar fun vacation spots to spend their lives in fear and misery before being killed, raped, mutilated, circumsised or god knows what else. Furthermore when it comes to convicting someone of a crime the system is rarely inclined to be lenient because the child would have to enter the foster/adoption system. If being a mom doesn't affect the decision to keep you out of prison then it shouldn't make a difference here.

He said the interests of the child were paramount.

Well actually no they're not. I'm sick to death of this culture of sanctity about children - once you hit a certain age you do not disappear off the society love list - the child is as much a person with rights as the mother is, no more, no less. Placing the "interests" of the child above that of the parent is morally corrupt. Everyone is equal, you don't get to make judgement calls about who is more worthy.

By ways of a comparison, where do we stand on adoption now? If the state feels that it can force the woman to violate her most firmly held convictions so that she can continue being a parent then why do we continue to allow people to give up children on the basis that they're not fit/ready to be a parent? Should we be allowed to stop women from travelling to england for an abortion (again) on that basis?

Maybe I'm being extreme or tenuous in these connections but a legal precedent has been set here - the state can interfere in the rights of an individual based on its perception of her role as a mother and if you think someone won't use that precedent to pull some kind of X case stunt then you're more optimistic than I.

The judge also said that when faced with such a dilemma, he believed he should err on the side of preserving life. 'If life is preserved,' he said, 'the arguments can be made at a later date.'

EDIT: No, when faced with such a dilemma a Judge should err on the side of the law rather than making crap up off the top of his head and using his own opinion. Judges are supposed to be impartial and use the law like a scalpel to carefully determine the extent of wrongdoing and the appropriate punishment, not wield it like a cudgel to impose an opinion on someone else.

At the risk of veering towards rhetoric here, life is the most sacred and valuable gift you will ever receive but as with any kind of gift it is yours to decide what you do with it. If you wish to waste the book token of life on issues of "guns and ammo" then that is your decision as much as it is to purchase a copy of the bible, "stupid white men" or Noam Chomsky's latest.
Importantly though, you may also choose to return or reject that gift (though in doing so I think it only fair that you do it in a manner that causes the least hurt to all involved - slit your wrists in a bath, don't chuck yourself in front of a train) and that is your right as well. Life can be hard, not being able to cope with your situation is not a crime or a failing on your part as a person - hell, the people who struggle on are just as often too stupid to realise their predicament as they are too strong to let it get to them. In this specific instance of course she isn't suicidal but her preference is to die rather than compromise her beliefs - not a huge difference (it is the consequences of life that are too painful to consider rather than the prospect of continuing) and it is her decision to do this with her life.

The predecent is set - the system can prevent you from allowing yourself to die, if that means strapping you to a table then fair enough. More to the point, if we're to "err on the side of life" then what of vegans who don't wish to take medication derived from animals or undergo procedures involving animal organs? If the welfare of the child takes utter precedence then we almost certainly should not be allowing pregnant women to go abroad (or own coathangers) or make their own decisions at all.

This is dangerous garbage and I guarantee you someone will (ab)use the precedent set here to promote their own agenda to crap all over people's rights (and women's rights in particular - ask yourself if you believe it'd be an issue if this were a man, he'd be a corpse by now) and impose one moral set over another - something that has no place in the law.
Also bear in mind that my track record for accurate prediction when I'm being pessimistic and angry is excellent.

Sat, Sep. 23rd, 2006 08:11 am (UTC)
(Anonymous)

The Irish Independent (22/09/06 page 6) mentions that there was a right to die case in 1996 that allowed a woman in permanent vegetation, to die. It is a very interesting article.