Monday 23 July 2012

The Ultrasound Circus Comes to Canada

The convo with MP and point-man for the Vatican Taliban, Stephen Woodworth, continues.

To recap, I asked what witnesses he would propose if Motion 312, aka Woodworth's Wank, passes. I also asked what 'modern' science persuaded him that the motion was necessary.

His reply:
As mentioned, it will be for the Committee to determine the witnesses.  You are getting ahead of matters.

Let`s stay with first things first.  As to important advances in the last 400 years, I will mention one for you, 21st century ultrasonagraphy [sic] permits imaging of the organs and limbs of a child before birth in a manner impossible 400 years ago.

Still weaselling on the experts and a misspelled example of an imaging technology. (His punctuation isn't too hot either.)

How unsurprising that he cites ultrasound as the convincer. We've done a fair bit of reporting here at DJ! on the fetus fetishists's fetish for ultrasound.

Here is my response (with link embedded).
You refuse to give examples of credible experts from your no-doubt extensive research. Fine. Canadians will draw their own conclusions on your silence.

But you cite (and unfortunately misspell) ultrasonography. Perhaps the committee will be treated to the circus presented to Ohio legislators when two fetuses 'testified' by means of ultrasound.

That, by the way, was in aid of passing an anti-abortion 'heartbeat' bill.

Well, why not? This government has already made Canada a laughing stock on the international scene for its treatment of real science. If M312 passes, we can add to that reputation by accepting only junk science.

Your strategy of deliberately conflating biology with law is well-known and -documented in the various 'personhood' initiatives in the US. Such initiatives consistently fail spectacularly even in the most conservative US states like Mississippi.

Canadians are at least as smart as Mississippians. You insult each one of us with this transparent ploy.

Thank you for replying. I'm done now.
Beyond one robo response, there has been nothing from the two online backers of M312, whenamihuman and weneedalaw to my simple question. And I don't expect any from them.


Godel Noodle said...

I think the biggest problem with his response is his failure to explain the significance of ultrasonography to this issue. He just drops a big sciency word on you, hoping that'll shut you up.

It has diagnostic and therapeutic applications, but it isn't exactly telling us anything new about foetal development we haven't already known for decades. From a long history of miscarried and aborted embryos and foetuses, we've been able to examine in tremendous detail the anatomical and physiological development of them.

Seeing a live one tells us about the health of that particular specimen, but I don't think it says anything about this stage of development in general (that we didn't already know).

What ultrasonography gives us is a technique for making expectant mothers feel ultra-guilty and ashamed for being backed into a corner in which abortion is the least horrible option. Ehr... I mean, it gives us a relatively noninvasive procedure for checking whether there's anything wrong with the foetus.

It also has numerous scientific (vs clinical) applications, but I cannot see what possible implications this technology has on the determination of when a developing foetus legally becomes a person.

So, I think my response (which I don't think is better than yours; it's just that it's mine) would be, "Uh-huh... Ok, organs and limbs of a live foetus, eh? Can it also image the personhood of a live foetus? If not, then I'm afraid you'll still have to explain how this 'ultrasonagraphy' persuaded you that this is an issue of vital importance (as per Fern Hill's question).

While you're at it, maybe you could explain what 'ultrasonagraphy' is...? Sounds like some new kind of tech you've personally developed because I can't find a definition for that word anywhere. I'd come over to ask you in person, but unfortunately I never studied cartagraphy." ;-)

Anyway, I'm sorry I've been just a lurker rather than a commenter lately, but lemme just say, Go Fern!! You are kicking ass!

Beijing York said...

I'm guessing the next sciencey thing he'll be pulling out of his bag of tricks is the "doppler fetal monitor". Woodworth and his fetal factoid collection crowd will want to underscore the detection of a heartbeat as early as 5 weeks as part of their quest for personhood status.

JJ said...

You write a mean missive, fern hill; my hat's off to you.

You'd think if this was all on the up-and-up, so facty-sciency and with no hidden agenda, Woodworth would be proud -- no, anxious -- to let the world know what experts back it up. His steadfast refusal to do so suggests that his "experts" might actually have more expertise in the field of theology than biology.

Anonymous said...

When the ultrasound can pick up the image of the soul, well then maybe.

liberal supporter said...

So they didn't know feti were alive 400 years ago? What did they think was kicking and moving around in the womb then?
The only thing they didn't completely understand was that the fetus was not solely the result of the sperm being planted in "fertile ground", but even so, they could see a child has characteristics of both parents.

The fetishists' biggest problem is the complete lack of any kind of credible evidence of fetal awareness. Nobody seems to remember being a fetus. Naturally the fetishists use this to claim that therefore it should be ok to kill infants. The law sees otherwise. It considers legal life to begin when you are a physically separate individual. At the point you are physically separate (they even say you are separate despite having an umbilical cord; this is because you are no longer enclosed inside another person) you are a new legal person.

The practical reasoning for starting legal life at the moment of separation from the enclosing person is simple. I can run into the delivery room and snatch the baby away. Or the mother can give the baby up for adoption. Or CAS can take the baby away. Or the hospital can perform surgery on the baby. Once separated, the individual now follows its own path, literally. The location of the new individual is not automatically the same as the former enclosing body, it has its own location that is its own.

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