Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Prochoice pragmatism

I was recently directed to a reflection piece by Dr. Jacob Appel on harvesting organs from aborted babies. His pragmatism is telling.
"The first striking feature of fetal organs is that their supply, for all practical purposes, is unlimited. Unlike living kidney donors, who must then advance through life with only one functioning kidney, pregnant women who provide fetal kidneys could do so repeatedly without incurring the medical consequences of adult organ loss."
I think it's time for somebody to turn in their medical ethics license.

Dr. Appel is no doubt a brilliant academic. According to his biography, he has earned the A.B. and A.M. from Brown University, the M.A. and M.Phil. from Columbia University, the M.D. from Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons, an M.F.A. in creative writing from New York University, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. No slug in the classroom, to be sure - either as a student or as a professor.
He has most recently taught at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, where he was honored with the Undergraduate Council of Students Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2003. He publishes in the field of bioethics and contributes to such publications as the Journal of Clinical Ethics, the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, the Hastings Center Report, and the Bulletin of the History of Medicine.
I noticed that Dr. Appel is admitted to the practice of law in New York State and Rhode Island, and is a licensed New York City sightseeing guide...but he's not licensed as a physician.* Maybe you should have to have a license (and clinical experience - i.e., helping people wrestle with these issues in the flesh) to practice biomedical ethics.

As others have pointed out, once you give in to killing the unborn, no moral cretinism is too low for you to stoop...no matter how many postnominal letters one has.

*It appears he is serving a residency in psychiatry at Mount Sinai - very prestigious. Yet I don't see him listed under the AMA's finder for NY, which hosts licensing information for all MDs and DOs, whether AMA members or not. He may not have taken the USMLE yet...but then how is he doing a residency?


Doug Hagler said...

Hmm...I obviously disagree with the assertion that "moral cretinism" is the necessary result of a pro-choice stance, and I probably don't have to list the ways that the assertion is...cretinish. I read the linked article, and also disagree with the assertion it puts forward, namely

"Despicable Trends in Bioethics Inevitable Result of Secularism"

and I hope I don't have to point out things that religious folks have done which are despicable without any help of eeevil secularists.

What I do think is most effective about the article is pointing out that Abbel is arguing for abortion from a standpoint of children's rights to be safe from harm. That's absurd on it's face, and some swear words come to mind for me as I read it, as they did for Anthony, the article's author.

I just wanted to point out that the express messages of both your post and the linked article are impossible to swallow, much less condone or justify, but that there was in fact another gem contained that a person who disagrees with you might be willing to hear.

Fr. Chris Larimer said...

Which stance is self-correcting? Secular materialism or religious moral reflection? See what secularism has accomplished in less than 50 years? Witness what religious thinking can do in the short span of a year in a person's thought?