Monday, August 31, 2009

Impossible pro-life questions - The burning house

From time to time I get the "impossible" question designed to trip up the core argument of any pro-lifer thereby rendering his arguments powerless and securing abortion for women for centuries to come, muwahahahahaha!!!!...ahem, sorry.

One such example is the burning house question. It goes something like this; You are passing by a house that is on fire. You know that there is one young child passed out on the floor and in another part of the house are 100 frozen embryos waiting to be implanted. You only have time to save one or the other. Who do you choose to save?

The intention of the question is to get the prolifer to admit that either the embryo is not really as valuable as the born child, or you care nothing about born children in your zeal to protect the unborn at any cost.

On the surface it sure seems like a good "gotcha" question, but I have found that my answer fails to really satisfy the asker. My answer to this is always "It Depends". I am often accused at this point of trying to evade an answer, or trying to change the question, or even at one point I was accused of trying to argue in the hypothetical by questioning the question. (as though the question isn't already in the hypothetical).

So what does it depend on? I'm so glad you asked because few pro-choicers ever let me explain. The question does not provide enough information, as is, to give a definite answer. First let me say that I am not a fan of the IVF industry because of the practice of creating more embryos than are intended on being used. I know the process is costly and the idea is to create a surplus with the expectation that only a few will survive. In my mind this is another example of playing with life and death for financial reasons and that isn't a very large gap from abortion itself. I sympathize with couples who want to have their own child. I don't even need to point out the obvious availability of adoption. But If IVF is going to be attempted then I would have to insist that it is done on a one-at-a-time basis. You simply don't create life and then discard it whether it is in a womb or a petrie dish.

That having been said, when rescuers are sent into situations like this, they have to make life and death determinations. They do that by deciding quickly who has the best chance of survival. That viability is a very shifting sand. Many things come into play with this. How close is the EMT to one victim over the other? How badly injured are both parties? Can one be expected to recover from their injuries better than the other? I feel for anyone who finds themselves having to make that decision.

In this scenario, I would have to ask myself which group was more viable at the time I showed up. I am not trained in cryogenics at all so I would have no idea if the equipment was even still working and if there were any living embryos still inside. Even if I could know that, I would have to know that the embryos had a likely chance of survival outside of the building. Can cryogenics be mobiley supported? Even if I knew that the answer was yes so far, would I know that these embryos were dedicated to a couple? or were they already designated for destruction?

There are many factors involved in this question. Assuming that all things are equal and both the child and the cryogenic container full of embryos had equal chance of survival, I would have to save the 100 lives over the other single lost life. This is of course not realistic as all things would not be equal in my case. Why are there cryogenics in the house anyways? and where are the child's parents? Ah so much for hypothetical.

While I'm at it though let me ask a question of my own. If the unborn are indeed only potential life (despite all scientific evidence otherwise) then we should be able to equate that to other unborn life as being only potential and not actual. Therefore why can I not make my morning omelettes out of eagle eggs? Why do we protect their unhatched while we let our unborn die? If there is no eagle inside the egg but only a potential eagle then the egg should be as available as a chicken egg. Are eagle eggs even tasty?

More on healthcare

Ok, so taxes are indeed higher in France with their healthcare system. What about the cost comparison between the average premium payment for a family of four and the proposed added tax on a family of four? Considering the bulk buying power that could come from a large customer base such as the government, I would have to anticipate that the added tax would be lower than what I am currently paying on my insurance premiums. Not to mention the incredible cost of medical bills that are not covered by my insurance. My mounting debt could certainly be influencing the appeal to healthcare reform.

Consider this, We pay taxes to cover other emergency costs such as Fire, Rescue, and Police. I know emergency rooms must give you basic life saving care but it's not like those costs are just absorbed and forgotten by the hospital. Is it unreasonable to expect basic healthcare to be covered by the government as well? I am certainly not suggesting that we allow the government to cover all "healthcare" such as elective surgery, i.e. abortion, mole removals, augmentations, etc.

So where would the dividing line be? I don't know. The current level of debate on this is far too early. We have government provided services in place already that we can look at for precedence on what should be covered, but there is much to look at. This issue is not ready for a vote. It is not even ready to be drawn up in a bill yet. The fact that it is being rushed through is of grave concern to me. Only corruption can come when there is a reluctance to have full disclosure and debate.

Our system of checks and balances was put into place to make the act of passing laws a very slow process. There is good reason for it. We need time to digest the facts and take in all the information. We need time to set up checks and balances within any new law. We need time to investigate the ramifications of any new law. No good law comes easily.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Do I actually support universal healthcare?

I don't watch the news. I don't read the newspaper. I develop my viewpoints by asking myself questions and then researching my answers. I find that my conclusions most often line up with conservative right-wing viewpoints. So I am surprised to discover that I am actually considering the idea that universal health care may be the right way to go.

I have seen the studies that reflect how poorly things are going for Canada and I have experienced first hand how medicaid is more of a hassle to deal with then simply dying. But I have recently been looking at France's health care system and I am struggling to understand why it would not work here. The WHO has rated them as the top health care system in the world. I don't see the WHO as having any moral compass whatsoever so I always take their statistics with a huge grain of salt. They have been known to have questionable methodology in gathering their data, but the fact that they rated them number one made me want to know why.

I have only begun to research this so I admit I am a novice but I can usually find the holes fairly quickly if the liberals really like something. This time I have not been able to find any negative on the surface with France's health care system. A doctor visit will net a cost of about $28.oo in France. I, on the other hand, have medical bills flying out of my ears. The quality of health care does not seem to be suffering as I would have suspected. There don't appear to be any long waits in line. I can't find evidence of any rationing of health care. About 75% of the doctors and hospitals accept the government health care system in France. I have to search for days with my insurance to find the few doctor's that are not out of network. France also has private health insurance that can supplement if you are not satisfied with the government level of care.

I always assumed that privatized health care drove innovation and competition. Somehow that does not seem to be stopping the French. My gut tells me that there is something that I have not yet uncovered. There must be a negative. Perhaps the taxes are outrages, I haven't looked into the cost yet. I know I pay a pretty penny for my private insurance. I know the French are paying about $7.00 per gallon for gas, but I don't know how much of that reflects on their health care system, if any.

We have no problem paying taxes for Fire and Police protection, I am not sure why doctor care doesn't fall under that same umbrella.

I do know that their government regulates cost. A doctor can expect to make $50 - 100,000 per year. That sounds like a great salary from my perspective but I am not in favor of limiting someones ability to make money. I hold no envy for the Gates, buffets, and Hefner's of our society. They have taken the risks and done well, they should absolutely benefit from their entrepreneurship.

Leftists have been disingenuous by suggesting that we don't want health care reform or that we want things to stay the way they are. My daily phone calls from collectors and my ever-draining bank account tells me that my health coverage is not adequate. But Obama and Pelosi have not suggested a system on par with France. Their solution scares me quite frankly. It seems more on par with what Canada has, and their system is in real trouble.

I also cannot support a system that is intent on supplying the funds to kill hundreds of thousands of children per year. I will gladly take my growing debt over the guilt of coercively partaking in such destruction. Obama has been offered many solutions from the right to make his plan more palatable but he has balked at every one.

Do I want universal health care? I think I actually might.

Do I want what Obama has proposed? I am almost certain that I don't.