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The rights of unborn babies? Do they have any?

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posted on Sep, 2 2004 @ 11:21 AM
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I have frequently read prolife/pro-choice debates. Many debates about late term abortions. My question though is at which development stage does the infant, potential human have the right to choose his physical health?
I was reading the latest "New Scientist" and found an article entitled "Falling on deaf ears - far from being grateful , some deaf people resent scientists' effort to cure them". Within this article was a smaller insert about a deaf lesbian couple in Maryland who had chosen to have two children that would be deaf by design. They actively went out to find a sperm donor that would guarantee that the children they gave birth to would be deaf at birth. The questions I want to pose are (1) Do these children not have the right to be born normal or have the potential to be born normal? (2) Do these children have the right to sue their parents for inflicting this deafness on them? (3) At which point should the law get involved, should parents with hunchbacks have the right to insist their children have hunchbacks? Quadriplegics insist on having quadriplegic children? (4) In a society that prevents parents from spanking their children how is it possible that handicapping your child by intent is not a crime?

"A lesbian couple in the US have provoked strong criticism by deliberately choosing to have a deaf baby.

Sharon Duchesneau and Candy McCullough, who have both been deaf since birth, were turned down by a series of sperm banks they approached looking for a donor suffering from congenital deafness.

The couple, who have been together for eight years, then approached a family friend who was totally deaf, and had five generations of deafness in his family.

He donated sperm which was used to impregnate Sharon Duchesneau.

"A hearing baby would be a blessing. A deaf baby would be a special blessing" :Sharon Duchesneau, before the birth.

Baby Gauvin McCullough is now four-months-old, and has a slight amount of hearing in one ear.

The couple have said they will let him decide when he is older if he wants to wear a hearing aid.

The man has already donated sperm for the couple's five-year-old daughter Johanne, who is profoundly deaf and can only communicate through sign language."

news.bbc.co.uk...

[edit on 2-9-2004 by Mynaeris]




posted on Sep, 2 2004 @ 11:40 AM
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Wow. I can't imagine anyone wanting to breed a disability into a child on purpose, and I feel for the child and the struggles they will face in a hearing world.

As for being able to sue, thats rediculous. The child is alive because of these two women and donors, and they did not jab an icepick in their ear, it's the way they were born, and to toss the argument back in a religious way, it's the way "god made them." Now if the couple had physically disabled their child by damaging it's ears in some way after birth, then thats a different story. That becomes criminal the same way beating (not spanking) a child would be.

Everyone has the "right" to be born normal, but you get what you get, and there are ways to improve your lot after birth.

The law should not and cannot be involved in how we select sexual partners or how we reproduce. THAT is as basic of a "right" as being alive. If the biological result of the sperm donor and mother is a deaf child, then thats the result. What is a "right" anyway, and who awards them?

The law cannot punish people who have disabled children as a result of genetics. Would you procecute a mother who had children knowing that she could be passing on the genes for Alzheimers or Cicle-cell Anemia? Would you procecute the 15 yr old girl that got pregnant not knowing she was a carrier for Hemophilia and the father was too? When would FATHERS have to be procecuted or would this all be on the mother's shoulders?

If two hunchback parents are not allowed to have kids because they will be hunchback, then must we restrict all disabled or what we consider to be malformed people from reproducing? SUE THAT DWARF! CONDEMN THAT DYSLEXIC DAD!



posted on Sep, 2 2004 @ 11:57 AM
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RedBalloon: You make valid points HOWEVER these children weren't the natural consequence of birth, they were specifically bred to be deaf. The parents are lesbian, they could have chosen a sperm donor that would improve the chances of the child being a hearing person, but they wanted the child to be deaf? Is that really parental love? If two people procreate together its generally because they want the child t genepool are you not looking to do the best for the child you are creating? At no point did I imply that hunchbacks or others should not have children because the risk of the child being a hunchback, although they would probably take this into serious consideration, but to decide that you are deaf therefore your child must be deaf is a seriously flawed perspective.


[edit on 2-9-2004 by Mynaeris]



posted on Sep, 2 2004 @ 12:10 PM
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I wasn't saying YOU were implying that, but to have a law at all involved in who we reproduce with is dangerous ground. Choosing a sperm donor is essentially choosing who we reproduce with, and that's not something that should be legislated. Unfortunately, having children is often not out of the parental love that you mention - it's out of lust, carelessness, desire, family pressure, etc. There are a myriad reasons why children exist, and parental love is just one.

I agree that it's a flawed perspective to hope for a child with a disability - some might argue that deafness is not a disability, but lets be real. It's not an easy time, and yes it can be overcome in many ways, but not having a sense is a disablity. Those two moms may not know what they are missing



posted on Sep, 2 2004 @ 12:30 PM
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Stop butter coating this, what those women did is wrong. They should go to jail for it, for life.

There is no difference in what they are doing and what the Nazis where also trying to do, other that being exact opposite situations (the Nazis where trying to make perfect babys).

.... Lesbians, and they purposly defected their baby .... Someones going to hell .... Trash like those people deserve to the death penalty.



posted on Sep, 2 2004 @ 12:33 PM
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I don't think anyone can really make a judgement on this except for the parents. If the parents are of sound mental health and believe that being deaf has an advantage then I don't have a problem with this at all. It is easy to make a snap judgement that being deaf is a disability but nobody can judge this better than a deaf person and they are the ones making the decision. I am not deaf and I personally don't believe deafness to be a disability in todays world and certainly not in tomorrows future.

IMO fetal rights will never be a black and white subject. The one best suited to make the decision in each individual case is the birthing mother provided she is in sound mental health and I believe the decision should be hers.



posted on Sep, 2 2004 @ 12:42 PM
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Originally posted by HumptyDumpty
There is no difference in what they are doing and what the Nazis where also trying to do, other that being exact opposite situations (the Nazis where trying to make perfect babys).


These women are not trying to change the world or eliminate a race of people, they want a baby who is deaf. There is a huge difference here. People often want children like themselves, and people often purposefully choose mates to have a child with a specific charachteristic. It happens. And again, if you're ready to make what they did illegal, then you have to be ready to say that people who have children knowing they are a carrier for a certain disease or physical defect should not be allowed to have children either as they would knowingly be having a child with a "defect". Telling someone with who they can have a child with or that they cannot have children is just plain wrong.


Originally posted by HumptyDumpty
.... Lesbians, and they purposly defected their baby .... Someones going to hell .... Trash like those people deserve to the death penalty.


What makes them trash? The fact they don't consider deafness to be a disability, they are lesbians, or they are lesbians who had a child? I have a good idea who might be going to hell, and it's not those people



posted on Sep, 2 2004 @ 12:47 PM
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Do you think the child is going to grow up and thank his mommies for ensuring that he is deaf? Personally if my parents went out of their way to see that I was born with a disability I would be seriously peeved once I grew up and found out, they had taken away any chance that I might have had to hear or to have a "normal" life. Many deaf women not only have hearing children but find it a highly satifying experience. I don't believe the issue of lesbianism comes into play other than the fact that they HAD the choice to increase his and the previous childs chances to have hearing when they selected a sperm donor. Not only that they have rejected on his behalf the opportunity for him to be fitted with a hearing aid. Everybody knows that children learn the most during the first 5 years of life, and dealing with hearing and learning sounds and speech once he is old enough to decide??? What age would that be? Would they decide that too? Honestly try empathy - this is your parents and you are deaf because they wanted you to be? Now what?

[edit on 2-9-2004 by Mynaeris]



posted on Sep, 2 2004 @ 12:57 PM
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Originally posted by Mynaeris
Do you think the child is going to grow up and thank his mommies for ensuring that he is deaf? Perosnally if my parents went out of their way to see that I was born with a disability I would be seriously peeved once I grew up and found out, they had taken away any chance that I might have had to hear or to have a "normal" life. Many deaf women not only have hearing children but find it a highly satifying experience.

Would you all be happier if this was a heterosexual deaf couple who knowingly and willingly had deaf child and not a lesbian couple?

I have no idea if the child will be happy about being deaf. He could share their views and feel there is no disadvantage, and enjoy the serenity. I'm not suggesting that I agree with what they are doing, I think it's unfortunate, but simply not something the law has a place in. I'm 'seriously peeved' that I have my mothers thighs, and that's a hinderance to a "normal" life of wearing shorts in public. I'm happy that I was born, though. I also had a high chance of hydroencephaly when I was born and my mother knew this when she became pregnant. There was also an RH factor issue, and that could have been a problem. I don't think for a minute she should be sued should I have had a head the size of a basketball. Thats life. Thats biology.

It's just a VERY dangerous line to cross when we start suggesting that reproduction be controlled by the government. It's a VERY dangerous line to cross when we decide what is a prosecuteable disability and what is not. It's a VERY dangerous line to cross to say we're not allowed to choose our partners.



posted on Sep, 2 2004 @ 01:00 PM
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I think I have to legally agree with Red Balloon on this one. I don't think it falls within man's law to interpret whether or not a disabled person can have a disabled child. I do think that once concieved, the two ladys should be liable for the health and welfare of that child.

On the moral ground, however, I agree that this was a terrible decision to make. If there was some other reason they wanted this man to be the biological father, I might think differently but to puposly handicap a child for no better reason than to make it no better than they, is reprehensible. Its the defining point of our "happy feel-good, self-involved" modern lifestyle. People used to want their kids to be better and have better than they had. I mean, it was practically a theme to live by. Now, we see parents jealous of their children instead of happy for them when they succeed. Thats shameful, pure and simple. Morally, there's no defending it.



posted on Sep, 2 2004 @ 01:06 PM
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Originally posted by RedBalloon
These women are not trying to change the world or eliminate a race of people, they want a baby who is deaf. There is a huge difference here. People often want children like themselves, and people often purposefully choose mates to have a child with a specific charachteristic. It happens. And again, if you're ready to make what they did illegal, then you have to be ready to say that people who have children knowing they are a carrier for a certain disease or physical defect should not be allowed to have children either as they would knowingly be having a child with a "defect". Telling someone with who they can have a child with or that they cannot have children is just plain wrong.


People who are having a child that have a disabilty usually dont hope for their kids to be disabled, unless your crazy like these lesbians.

They may not be trying to "change the world or eliminate a race", but they are defiatly causeing known bodly harm to a human being even though that baby cant feel the harm done.

If you accept this attitude then you have got expect that Mongrolids (or any other disabled group) all over the world will be trying to have kids that "are like them" instead of accepting that there is was to prevent or help reduce the possiblitys of a disability. IT IS A DISABILITY TO NOT HEAR. HUMANS ARE "NATURLY" BORN WITH 5 SCENCES. Not 4, unless they are disabled. Live with and enbrace the facts, and then maybe we can deal with the fact.


Originally posted by RedBalloon
What makes them trash? The fact they don't consider deafness to be a disability, they are lesbians, or they are lesbians who had a child? I have a good idea who might be going to hell, and it's not those people


The fact that they are lesbians only goes to show IMO that they are not completely sain, they obviously have some different views of what is "Natural". And yes the fact that they dont consider deafness to be a disability is also something that I would have thier head shrik have a look at.

Its not me that is going to hell, I can forgive these people for what they have done... That does not mean I agree with it.

[edit on 9/2/04 by HumptyDumpty]



posted on Sep, 2 2004 @ 01:07 PM
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RedBalloon: You are being totally disingenuous in implying that the debate has anything to do with homosexuality. The issue is all about choice. If a deaf hetersexual couple could not conceive and a sperm donor was needed I believe we would be as peeved by it if they deliberately set out to find a donor that would ensure that the child would be deaf. So get off the sexual preference soapbox - it does not apply other than this is a lesbian couple who by normal rules of procreation could never have kids together. Secondly the genetic big legs you inherited from your mother walk quite well don't they? They get you from point A to point B don't they? So its more of an ego thing than a disability? If your mother had known that there was a chance of you having hydroencephalia and she then went to look for a sperm donor that would guarantee you had hydrocephalia at birth that has nothing whatsover to do with nature, thats design by the parents and totally shocking.



posted on Sep, 2 2004 @ 01:15 PM
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i think the issue here is the mental state of the parents and should we be allowed to custom-make babies. deafness is a disability and what parent, disabled or not, would want their child to go through what people with disabilities have to go through? maybe at the core of this is a political agenda or the want for fame by the parents. that in itself is disgusting. medicine is so advanced that we can perform surgery on babies in the womb that can prevent would-be birth defects, so why would someone choose to MAKE their offspring have the same disabilities they, the parents, suffer from? as the mother of two healthy children, i can't imagine wanting to breed my hearing loss in one ear or their father's allergies into our children. i am at a loss for words for people who would use a human life for a bit of fame.



posted on Sep, 2 2004 @ 01:25 PM
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Originally posted by Mynaeris
RedBalloon: You are being totally disingenuous in implying that the debate has anything to do with homosexuality. The issue is all about choice. If a deaf hetersexual couple could not conceive and a sperm donor was needed I believe we would be as peeved by it if they deliberately set out to find a donor that would ensure that the child would be deaf.


I was more implying that its accepted if a deaf heterosexual couple knowingly conceived a child hoping it would be deaf, and that it's not any less legally wrong that what you were suggesting was something that should be prosecuted. Why mention that they were lesbians at all if it was not an issue for some people? How about "a couple in need of a sperm donor ro reproduce", who are both deaf, sought to find a deaf donor to have a deaf child. There are most definitely people who have posted to this thread who consider the lesbian aspect to be an issue by suggesting they are not sane. It's not a homosexuality debate at all for me - it's a legal and ethical one when we start talking about who can choose a mate, who they can reproduce with, and if having a child could in any way be something to put one at risk for prosecution. Where is the line to be drawn? Thats the problem here. I don't think people should intentionally have disabled children, but I don't think people should tell me who I can have children with, either.


Originally posted by Mynaeris
So get off the sexual preference soapbox - it does not apply other than this is a lesbian couple who by normal rules of procreation could never have kids together.


Normal rules of procreation who could never have a kid together? What are the "normal rules"? I never got that rulebook. By normal rules of procreation infertile men could not have children either. Is that abnormal procreation for the partner of such a man to have a sperm donor? It's not a soapbox, sweetcheeks, I was just asking if that would make anyone feel better.



Originally posted by Mynaeris
Secondly the genetic big legs you inherited from your mother walk quite well don't they? They get you from point A to point B don't they? So its more of an ego thing than a disability? If your mother had known that there was a chance of you having hydroencephalia and she then went to look for a sperm donor that would guarantee you had hydrocephalia at birth that has nothing whatsover to do with nature, thats design by the parents and totally shocking.


No, actually. They don't work quite well, and were somewhat of a disability for me, and can be quite painful. They also put me at greater risk for vericose veins, and clotting. They mean I can't do things other people do. Anyway... again, I dont think what these people did was RIGHT or FAIR, but ITS NOT ILLEGAL. I'm NOT suggesting I think it's right for people to want to have intentionally disabled kids, but it's not something the government and it's laws can even begin to touch. The implications are way too huge here.

[edit on 2-9-2004 by RedBalloon]



posted on Sep, 2 2004 @ 01:39 PM
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RedBalloon: You are right it is too huge an issue for the lawmakers to want to touch. However the question on the table is will the boy or his sister, both severely deaf, have a legal civil/criminal case against their parents when they grow up and decide that they were severely handicapped by the INTENTIONAL intervention of their parents? I believe they would win in a court of law. A court would base their finding on the intent of the accused, and in this case the parents INTENDED to have their child handicapped at birth. Whilst the child in utero may have no rights, he does once after birth.

As for the normal state of procreation it requires the sperm of a male and the egg cell from a female to procreate. It is a physical impossibility for two females to procreate without intervention by a male donor? The same rules apply to two men trying to procreate a woman is required. As for people with fertility problems, I think my heterosexual example covered that. But why am I explaining any of this to you? You are trying to be facetious. Congratulations!

As for others opinions on the issues surrounding homosexuality, I regret that I have no controll over that, unfortunately the prejudice gene hasn't been isolated yet. When they do I am hoping that parents will have that one modified, its another disability.



[edit on 2-9-2004 by Mynaeris]



posted on Sep, 2 2004 @ 01:48 PM
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Originally posted by Mynaeris
RedBalloon: You are right it is too huge an issue for the lawmakers to want to touch. However the question on the table is will the boy or his sister, both severely deaf, have a legal civil/criminal case against their parents when they grow up and decide that they were severely handicapped by the INTENTIONAL intervention of their parents? I believe they would win in a court of law.


This is what is so very dangerous though. There is no place to draw the line. Could the dwarfed child of two little people have legal grounds to sue? Could the child born with no occular nerve sue his parents? Could the parent of a child who was handicapped before birth because of a car accident be sued for driving a car? Could the car maker be sued?

Lets say two students at Galludet, both deaf, feel that they want to have a child who is deaf because they honestly believe it is not a disability to be deaf. Where is the malicious intent? Let's say they DO have a child knowing that it will be deaf, and they are happy for it. Does that child have a right to sue his parents? It gets way way way too big. It's just not a place for the law. Any court who would allow that suit, and also convict a parent is beyond words. It's not going to happen, and if it does, we'll be so far gone as a society and have lost so many rights that it won't matter. I'd rather be in jail.



posted on Sep, 2 2004 @ 02:14 PM
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Originally posted by RedBalloon
Lets say two students at Galludet, both deaf, feel that they want to have a child who is deaf because they honestly believe it is not a disability to be deaf. Where is the malicious intent? Let's say they DO have a child knowing that it will be deaf, and they are happy for it. Does that child have a right to sue his parents?


Your example of the two students who are both deaf, firstly I think they would consider the chances that the child MAY be born deaf, not that it would definitely be born deaf. Secondly, where your example loses grips with the case under discussion is that they don't leave it at that chance because the potential father has hearing siblings or parents, they instead decide that they should look for an alternate father to donate sperm that will ENSURE that the child is deaf. THERE you have your intent, before that its about people having a baby and accepting the luck of the draw.


Originally posted by RedBalloon
Any court who would allow that suit, and also convict a parent is beyond words. It's not going to happen, and if it does, we'll be so far gone as a society and have lost so many rights that it won't matter. I'd rather be in jail.


I assume from your statement that you would rather live in a society where parents have the right to intervene and handicap their child, than in a society where all living beings have the right to expect that their parents would be prevented from disabling them from living a "normal" life? Going back to your example I guess parents expecting their children to be heterosexual is also okay? After all its a life that worked for them? N'est pas?



posted on Sep, 2 2004 @ 02:38 PM
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"This is what is so very dangerous though. There is no place to draw the line. Could the dwarfed child of two little people have legal grounds to sue?"

This has nothing to do with the issue because both parents already carried the gene for dwarfism. the parents in question sought to have a deaf child on purpose. two people with dwarfism CAN have a child of normal size, just as two deaf parents can have a hearing child. these women basically engineered these children to be deaf and it seems as if they are using it for attention. should the children be able to take legal action? they could take it before a judge, i'm sure, but i doubt that it would hold up in court.



posted on Sep, 2 2004 @ 02:39 PM
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Originally posted by Mynaeris
Secondly, where your example loses grips with the case under discussion is that they don't leave it at that chance because the potential father has hearing siblings or parents, they instead decide that they should look for an alternate father to donate sperm that will ENSURE that the child is deaf. THERE you have your intent, before that its about people having a baby and accepting the luck of the draw.


But if they believe that being deaf is not a bad thing, and a benefit, then there is no malicious intent, which is what I mentioned in my post. Malicious intent means trying to do harm, if they were not trying to be harmful, but trying to give their child to be what they consider a gift, then the intent is not there. Being deaf, while I personally feel it would be a disability to me, is not a horrible fate that children should hate their parents for. And for the zillionth time, I don't think what they did was the right thing, I applaud the sperm banks that declined their request for sperm, but its NOT THE PLACE FOR GOVERNMENT.


Originally posted by Mynaeris
I assume from your statement that you would rather live in a society where parents have the right to intervene and handicap their child, than in a society where all living beings have the right to expect that their parents would be prevented from disabling them from living a "normal" life? Going back to your example I guess parents expecting their children to be heterosexual is also okay? After all its a life that worked for them? N'est pas?


No, you're not understanding me. I would rather live in a society where we have the right to choose our mates and our partners and choose who to sleep with. Starting to restrict that and taking parents to jail for handicaps that occur genetically is a huge step towards taking away our ability to make decisions over our own reproduction. Again and again, I don't think parents should intentionally have deaf children, but of thats the way the sperm and egg came together, then thats that. I would eagerly support taking parents to jail who caused physical damage or harm to their child AFTER BIRTH. However, we don't prosecute parents who circumcise their infants, but that was another thread. Please hear me - IM NOT SUPPORTING TRYING TO HAVE DEAF CHILDREN! I'm not I'm not I'm not. I'm just saying taking them to COURT is a dangerous and ethical step, with no clear boundaries, and challenges what many people believe to be a basic human right.

Parents expecting their children to be heterosexual is no business of mine, or the laws, and I don't see how anything I said had anything to do with that. I personally feel parents should love and support their children, regardless of their handicaps, orientation, eye color, gender, career choice, religion, piercings, and so on. Homosexuality has NOTHING to do with the legal implications of restricting or prosecuting reproduction. Deafness has NOTHING to do with it either.



posted on Sep, 2 2004 @ 02:42 PM
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The rights of unborn babies? Do they have any?



The rights of unborn brain cells in adult humans... Should they have any?

sorry couldn't resist..

[edit on 2-9-2004 by TrueLies]



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