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French retards can sue their birth doctors for not killing them in the womb...
July 13, 2001 8:49 AM   Subscribe

French retards can sue their birth doctors for not killing them in the womb... I thought the link I posted about a woman suing her boss when she crashed her car after driving home drunk from a staff party was the height of lawsuit insanity, but this takes the cake: in France, if you are seriously disabled, you have the right to sue a doctor who failed to recommend an abortion to your mother.... .... Homosaywhat?
posted by tweek! (123 comments total)

 
Two things are wrong with this post:

1. The link. Sounds pretty oddball.
2. The juvenile remarks about the case.

Fitting name, tweek.
posted by jragon at 8:54 AM on July 13, 2001


I took a healthcare law class last year and recall a similar version here in America...believe it is called something like "wrongful life" as opposed to "wrongful birth." The goal, ostensibly, is to win enough money via lawsuit to cover medical/living expenses over the course of a life that never should have been.

No comment.
posted by davidmsc at 8:55 AM on July 13, 2001


(sitting back, hitting refresh, nervously giggling, waiting for the anger...)
posted by mecawilson at 8:57 AM on July 13, 2001


That's pretty much the ultimate Sense of Entitlement. I didn't ask to be born, so you have to take care of me. Wow...I find I'm having a hard time wrapping my cranium around this one.

I think I'll just shut up and come back later. My head hurts.
posted by frykitty at 9:14 AM on July 13, 2001


The ruling follows a case brought by three families with physically deformed children, who argued that if doctors had detected the foetuses' disabilities they would have had the pregnancies terminated.

one word: jesus fucking christ! these people should absolutely not be parents.
posted by mcsweetie at 9:20 AM on July 13, 2001


jragon, what does pt #1 mean?

"1. The link. Sounds pretty oddball."

What the hell does that mean?

I don't accept your arbitrary distinctions between a right and wrong way to post. Why don't you unclench your buttcheeks and then stick something painful up there?
posted by tweek! at 9:26 AM on July 13, 2001


I'll say it: "retard" and "Homosaywhat?" are absolutely uncalled for.
posted by jennak at 9:27 AM on July 13, 2001


My dad experienced epileptic seizures throughout his life. One of my cousins has Down Syndrome. One of my aunts has MS. A friend of mine from high school fought CP for a long time.

Funny. I don't consider any of these people as biological mistakes.
posted by bilco at 9:28 AM on July 13, 2001


"retard" is a stinky word, no doubt about it, but the link was interesting enough for me to get past it.

I took "homosaywhat" as a play on Homo Sapiens. I suspect that's different from what you're thinking, jennak?
posted by frykitty at 9:33 AM on July 13, 2001


I'm pretty sure it's not "arbitrary" to suggest that a lot of people might find the term "retard" rather offensive anywhere, much less a front page post. If anything, by calling the post "oddball," jragon was being generous.

To follow that up with a stick-it-up-your-ass response is not buying you any respect either.

There might have been a provoking discussion here, had you yourself not hijacked it from the outset, tweek.
posted by Skot at 9:33 AM on July 13, 2001


Ssssh, bilco, you'll ruin it for the lawyers.

Won't somebody think of the lawyers?!
posted by dong_resin at 9:34 AM on July 13, 2001


The ruling was a surprise because it upheld a widely condemned landmark decision ... which awarded a mentally retarded boy damages last year because he had not been aborted.

This snippet from the article almost brings me to tears. Seriously.

The wording almost makes it sound like the boy himself brought the suit. I'd have to think that the parents (and at least one lawyer) were behind it.
posted by bilco at 9:40 AM on July 13, 2001


Skot,

It's not arbitrary to say it might be offensive, it's arbitrary to say it's wrong.

The word retard might bug some people, but what doesn't bug some people?

And the homo say what comment I really didn't think about all that much, it's just something left over from childhood; when someone says something completely ridiculous, interject with "Homo say what?" It is completely unrelated to whatever my feelings might be about homosexual people.

The retard comment is just fun. I like to use the word retard. It's funny. When I was a little kid I went to french school, and if you were late they'd say you were "En retard." Sometimes I'd be late for school just to hear my teacher call me a retard.

I wonder how long it will take for someone to post a comment directed to me that says only homo say what or calls me en retard.
posted by tweek! at 9:41 AM on July 13, 2001


Assholepostwhat?
posted by jpoulos at 9:45 AM on July 13, 2001 [2 favorites]


I'm going to try to raise an issue here. Parents who raise severely disabled children are saddled with tremendous emotional and financial burdens. Divorce and bankruptcy are common outcomes.

In parts of the US, the state will assume the responsibility for the child but will only do so if the parents completely relinquish control of the child to the state. And that usually occurs after the parents have been irreparably harmed, financially and otherwise.

Maybe what these parents are doing is trying to get some help with these burdens. Undoubtedly, they're doing it in the wrong way, but is it fair for people to expect parents in this situation to assume the entire burden?

I know this sounds a bit macabre, but I'm surprised there isn't some sort of insurance fund to cover this sort of outcome. The odds of this sort of disability are very small, but the damage is very great. For a small fee, parents could purchase birth disability insurance so that their expenses would be covered in the event the unthinkable occurs.

Oh, and by the way:

The retard comment is just fun. I like to use the word retard. It's funny.

Does the same thing apply to:

Why don't you unclench your buttcheeks and then stick something painful up there?
posted by anapestic at 9:48 AM on July 13, 2001


ah 4 minutes!
posted by tweek! at 9:48 AM on July 13, 2001


No that is a personal attack on jragon, it's not supposed to be funny.
posted by tweek! at 9:49 AM on July 13, 2001


Tweek, the real question is, did you want the post to inspire good discussion about the topic? I would suggest that you'll get a lot better response if you post in a more restrained, less actively antagonistic manner. But it's up to you and what kind of response you're looking for, I suppose.
posted by daveadams at 9:49 AM on July 13, 2001


No that is a personal attack on jragon, it's not supposed to be funny.

FYI, ad hominem attacks are generally not considered something to be proud about around here.
posted by anapestic at 9:51 AM on July 13, 2001


I think jpoulos pretty much summed this up for me. Thanks.
posted by barkingmoose at 9:51 AM on July 13, 2001


these people should absolutely not be parents.

As Anapestic says, it sounds to me like these parents are trying to raise money to pay for health-care costs that are probably astronomical.

As distasteful as the ruling sounds on the whole, some people choose to abort if a fetus has significant health problems. My wife is over 35 and had to get an amniocentesis because of an increased likelihood of genetic defects. One of the questions we were asked: Would we abort if the tests revealed Downs syndrome?

Our answer was no, but the routineness of the question makes me think these French parents are not that unusual.

Should parents knowingly give birth to a severely debilitated child? If a test in the first trimester revealed that you (or your wife) was carrying a fetus with cerebral palsy, is it more humane to abort or to carry the child to term?
posted by rcade at 9:53 AM on July 13, 2001


From the article: "The ruling means that the handicapped have no place in our society," said Yves Richard, a lawyer representing the medical profession.

Exactly. This works on the assumption that only persons without handicaps have a useful place in society. As someone who lived six years in a community centered around handicapped persons, I can tell you that I learned more about living from my mentally handicapped friends than I did from my years in university. In fact, I believe that because of their handicaps, these folks can teach all of us how to overcome adversity and become in touch with aspects of our lives that do not relate to how we reason (and believe me, there is more to being human than intelligence).

Folks like Jean Vanier, the person who began the Communities of L'Arche understand that there is a value to every life, and that dismissing what the handicapped can teach us, we all become impoverished.


The retard comment is just fun. I like to use the word retard. It's funny.

No, it's demeaning and infantile. It denigrates and cheapens the lives of folks with mental retardation and spits on their accomplishments. Furthermore, rather than showing your remarkable wit, it helps all of us to see how utterly childish you are. Grow up, tweek.
posted by Avogadro at 9:55 AM on July 13, 2001


Okay I'll refrain from personal attacks if you refrain from trying to look smart by using latin phrases where English works much better.
posted by tweek! at 9:56 AM on July 13, 2001


when someone says something completely ridiculous, interject with "Homo say what?"

so you equate homosexuality with being completely ridiculous?

It is completely unrelated to whatever my feelings might be about homosexual people.

how convenient. "yes I say hurtful things, but I only do it so people will think I am funny, you faggot."
posted by mcsweetie at 9:56 AM on July 13, 2001


tweek!
posted by geronimo_rex at 9:56 AM on July 13, 2001


what's that i smell?
posted by jennak at 9:57 AM on July 13, 2001


oh...it's troll!
posted by jennak at 9:57 AM on July 13, 2001


You're goddamn right I'm a troll. I just wanted to get a few comments and, let's see, 27 comments in 1 hour aint too bad.

I'll see you pack of retarded dogs next time I ring my bell.... oops your mouths are already watering....
posted by tweek! at 10:00 AM on July 13, 2001


Should parents knowingly give birth to a severely debilitated child? If a test in the first trimester revealed that you (or your wife) was carrying a fetus with cerebral palsy, is it more humane to abort or to carry the child to term?

Humane for whom? I worked for two years at a school for the handicapped in Omaha. I can tell you that the kids with CP would disagree with your assumption.

I won't bore you with examples of "severely debilitated" children that I worked with who are/were great human beings. But I will ask this: Would the world be a better place if someone like, say, Stephen Hawking had never been born?
posted by bilco at 10:01 AM on July 13, 2001


For a small fee, parents could purchase birth disability insurance so that their expenses would be covered in the event the unthinkable occurs.

That strikes me as a really good idea.
posted by redfoxtail at 10:05 AM on July 13, 2001


Okay I'll refrain from personal attacks if you refrain from trying to look smart by using latin phrases where English works much better.

If you can give me an English phrase that's better than ad hominem, then I'll use it. That particular Latin phrase is pretty universally known, especially on MetaFilter. I suppose I could have said "attack on the person instead of his argument," but that's clumsy.

In any case, I don't see how my using Latin is a justification for your ad hominemattacks on a person instead of on his argument.
posted by anapestic at 10:07 AM on July 13, 2001


tweek, I don't know where the hell you grew up, but when I was a kid it was "sphinctersayswhat?", which is funnier.

Please rectalfy the situtation.
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:08 AM on July 13, 2001


I won't bore you with examples of "severely debilitated" children that I worked with who are/were great human beings.

Perhaps cerebral palsy isn't a good example. What if genetic testing reveals Krabbe's disease, a degenerative nervous system disorder which has no known cure and is generally fatal before age 2?
posted by rcade at 10:09 AM on July 13, 2001


If you can give me an English phrase that's better than ad hominem, then I'll use it. That particular Latin phrase is pretty universally known, especially on MetaFilter. I suppose I could have said "attack on the person instead of his argument," but that's clumsy.

I think in this situation you could just say "personal" attacks and, being that we're in the middle of a "debate," people would take from context that you mean "attacking the person rather than his argument."
posted by tweek! at 10:14 AM on July 13, 2001


Woop sorry about the italics all through the last post.
posted by tweek! at 10:14 AM on July 13, 2001


what the fuck?
posted by tweek! at 10:15 AM on July 13, 2001


I'll see you pack of retarded dogs next time I ring my bell.... oops your mouths are already watering....

ooooh. "he" sure told "us"! shame on "us" for our principles and morality. let us follow tweek into the safety of our keyboards and monitors so that we might slander all those annoying groups (just like on our favorite television show, South Park!) free of the consequence and the knowledge of the humanity of those that must take a hit for our amusement.

yes, tweek, it is "we" who are the "retards"!
posted by mcsweetie at 10:15 AM on July 13, 2001


damn italics...
posted by tweek! at 10:15 AM on July 13, 2001



posted by moz at 10:17 AM on July 13, 2001


I don't look down on you for it, I just find it hilarious that people like you can't see a non-PC term without leaping to the defense of whatever group is supposedly suffering by my use of a word. I understand why you feel the way you do, I just don't understand the consistency with which you expend energy on this type of thing.
posted by tweek! at 10:17 AM on July 13, 2001


italics buster 3000
posted by mcsweetie at 10:18 AM on July 13, 2001


The retard comment is just fun. I like to use the word retard. It's funny.

No, it really isn't. Tweek, my brother has autism, and so I've had to deal with idiots like you my entire life - people who think it's no big deal to toss off a casual denigrating remark. Living with someone who is handicapped can be an enormous burden, and forces people to develop larger coping skills. You don't make it any easier.

If you believe that there is a shred of nobility in just being alive, in being a person, then why would you ever find joy in stripping someone of that - especially if their pride is fragile, and is one of their treasured possessions? You may as well find joy in kicking a small child, and boast that you think it's "funny".
posted by kokogiak at 10:18 AM on July 13, 2001


And now comes the post where someone calls me a hypocrite for expending energy on trolling....
posted by tweek! at 10:19 AM on July 13, 2001


first ad hominem, then a tangential attack on using Latin. if tweek! would respond as cogently to the real and legitimate concerns expressed as he did to anapestic's reply to his complaint with ad hominem, maybe we could get somewhere.

*ducks waiting return fire*
posted by Sean Meade at 10:19 AM on July 13, 2001


and I find it amusing how you see no fault in saying hurtful things about a group of people for the sake of a simple joke.
posted by mcsweetie at 10:21 AM on July 13, 2001


As distasteful as the ruling sounds on the whole, some people choose to abort if a fetus has significant health problems. My wife is over 35 and had to get an amniocentesis because of an increased likelihood of genetic defects. One of the questions we were asked: Would we abort if the tests revealed Downs syndrome?

Our answer was no, but the routineness of the question makes me think these French parents are not that unusual.


I don't mean to be impertinent here, but I can't help wondering what the point of the amnio was if its results weren't going to influence your behavior. It is not a procedure without risks, and there's no point in assuming those risks if there's no benefit.

My ex-wife and I had the procedure done with both pregnancies. We determined before we agreed to have them done that in the event of Down's Syndrome or other severe defects, she would have an abortion. It was something that would have been very difficult for both of us, but we felt that it would have been better to terminate a pregnancy and start again than to put the strain on the family that a severe disability would have done.

I'm sorry if that sounds inhumane to people. In my opinion, it would have been the responsible choice for us.
posted by anapestic at 10:21 AM on July 13, 2001


*smites tweek*
posted by baby jesus at 10:25 AM on July 13, 2001


rcade--

Thanks for the post to the Krabbe's page. I do understand the point you're making, so don't take me the wrong way.

But doctors aren't fortune tellers. All discussions of disease is qualified. Even the article you pointed to admits that "symptoms vary in prevalence and severity" and that therapies are emerging. Krabbe's might "generally" result in death by the age of three, but the key word there in the article is "generally." And who's to say that a new form of therapy is not around the corner?

If the argument is basically that these kids are going to die anyway so why not abort them, then everyone should be aborted as everyone is going to die anyway. No one here gets out alive.

I guess in general I choose to believe that people are more than the diseases they have. I include kids in this.
posted by bilco at 10:26 AM on July 13, 2001


kokogiak,

It's not a big deal. We all have our problems. We all encounter insensitivity and have to deal with it. I have health problems which are not obvious, and about which I probably hear two terribly cruel comments per week which are intended to be funny. At these times I remind myself that, to the person making the comment, it's pretty funny. Tell me, where is it written that in order to be funny, or valid, a word or comment has to be universally non-offensive?

I refuse to not find the word retard funny, it's FUCKING HILARIOUS.

And I have no interest in making your life any easier. Your brother is autistic? Too bad. Use your super-enhanced coping skills to build a society where no one ever says anything that hurts anyone else's feelings.
posted by tweek! at 10:28 AM on July 13, 2001


Sweet mother of God, people, ignore Tweek. He's clearly an idiot, and he admitted to being a troll.
posted by Doug at 10:29 AM on July 13, 2001


Can I sue tweek's doctors?
posted by barkingmoose at 10:29 AM on July 13, 2001 [1 favorite]


I'm suing Tweek's mother for not aborting him.
posted by Outlawyr at 10:30 AM on July 13, 2001 [1 favorite]


In parts of the US, the state will assume the responsibility for the child but will only do so if the parents completely relinquish control of the child to the state. And that usually occurs after the parents have been irreparably harmed, financially and otherwise.

And in all parts of the US, someone with a severe level of disability is eligible for all manner of assistance with medical requirements, respite care, special equipment and so forth. There are many resources that do not require that anyone be financially ruined nor the relinquishment of "control." Anybody with a disabled child could easily contact their local social service agency to find the possibilities open to them.

Maybe what these parents are doing is trying to get some help with these burdens. Undoubtedly, they're doing it in the wrong way, but is it fair for people to expect parents in this situation to assume the entire burden?

Life isn't fair. Sometimes children are born with disabilities and problems. Sometimes the worst problems are those that could never be determined during the pregnancy. When you choose to have a child, this is something that you have to think about. I don't know a mother alive who didn't, at one point or another during pregnancy, think "What if something goes wrong?" We all have various burdens to bear, and various sources of help in doing so. You find ways to cope, survive and get the help that you need -- especially when it's for your child. But blaming someone else for the life that you chose to bring into the world in order to get financial recompense is just bizarre, unless there is proof that the doctors knew of a specific chance of these anomalies and chose not to do anything about it.

Even still, it's a matter of advances in medical technology coming back to bite all of us in the ass. (The more suits against doctors, the higher medical costs will rise. In a nation with socialised medicine like France, that's tax dollars, so every lawsuit is paid out of the pockets of the entire nation.) Thirty years ago, no one could've predicted anything about a child still in the womb, and however they were born was how they were born. No one could be blamed for not doing anything, because nothing could be done. So now we take the fact that we have the benefit of screenings, and hold it against doctors who may not have felt that there was any reason to screen.

Eventually, someone will come up with the bright idea that because of the prevalence of these costly suits, it should just be illegal to give birth to a child with a detectable defect. Then we'll force all pregnant women to have every possible test, sonograms, amnio, CVP, etc. and have their children aborted if there is a risk of a problem. We're proceeding toward Gattaca.
posted by Dreama at 10:31 AM on July 13, 2001


Anapestic wonders "what the point of the amnio was if its results weren't going to influence your behavior".

An abortion is not the only response to defects shown by an amnio... some parents could make other life decisions to prepare for the coming of a special needs child.
posted by silusGROK at 10:32 AM on July 13, 2001


Baby Jesus should really only stick to crying. That's just my opinion.
posted by jennak at 10:32 AM on July 13, 2001


I rule metafilter! I have captured the zeitgeist!
posted by tweek! at 10:34 AM on July 13, 2001


anapestic, you bring up a very interesting topic in bioethics. i once wrote about this for a class i'd taken on a similar subject -- the paper was on gene therapy. one of the applications of gene therapy is to fertilize a number of egg cells in vitro, and then try to identify ahead of time if the child might have certain genetic selections (such as down's syndrome) that might be a risk considering the genetic histories of the families of the two parents.

i agree with you, anapestic, in that i feel that the choice should be up to the parents of the child. rightfully so: many families of children with mental retardation go through incredible hardship, often ending in divorce. (this i remember from the class, and i suppose i ought to find some stats to back up that claim.)
posted by moz at 10:35 AM on July 13, 2001


children with mental retardation = retards

It's much simpler as well as just plain funny!
posted by tweek! at 10:37 AM on July 13, 2001


i agree with jennak on that one...
posted by lotsofno at 10:39 AM on July 13, 2001


There's a lot of MeFi members. Some of them are going to be shitheads. Get used to it. As in real life, I used to get mad when people cut me off on the 405 or flipped me off or whatever. Now I just find my super happy zen fun place and watch the assholes be assholes. Bend like a reed in the wind, as they say.

I do have to say that if my wife was pregnant, and found out in the first trimester that we were going to have a Down's baby, I would probably vote for an abortion. That's my gut reaction. I'm sure someone here can tell me if that sort of thing is detectable in the 1st trimester. I am also sure that that may offend some with Down's siblings or children, but I can tell you honestly that's what I would do.

Anyone else here read Kenzaburo Oe's "A Personal Matter"? It 's the story of a father who tries desperately not to love his newborn child who is born with birth defects and will probably soon die. Worthwhile reading although perhaps not chicken soup for your soul. Maybe more like a Vodka Tonic for your soul.

mmm! Vodka Tonic! Must be Friday.
posted by Kafkaesque at 10:40 AM on July 13, 2001


Oh, what a surprise. Another MeFi thread where everyone gets their panties in a wad over a couple of harmless words.

You people are nothing but a bunch of retarded homos!
posted by bondcliff at 10:44 AM on July 13, 2001


Bravo Bondcliff, bravo! My point exactly.
posted by tweek! at 10:45 AM on July 13, 2001


O tempora, o mores!
posted by ZippityBOP at 10:47 AM on July 13, 2001


I do have to say that if my wife was pregnant, and found out in the first trimester that we were going to have a Down's baby, I would probably vote for an abortion.

I'd be interested in hearing why, not just from you, but from anybody else who would do the same.
posted by Avogadro at 10:47 AM on July 13, 2001


I don't mean to be impertinent here, but I can't help wondering what the point of the amnio was if its results weren't going to influence your behavior. It is not a procedure without risks, and there's no point in assuming those risks if there's no benefit.

My understanding is that an amnio can also detect some obstetric complications.
posted by rcade at 10:50 AM on July 13, 2001


I'd be interested in hearing why

Because of the incredible burdens involved. Let's say you'd like to have two or three kids. If your first child has Downs, your resources are stretched to their limits, and you probably can't have any more. If your second or third child has Down's, then the other child(ren) are not going to get the attention or resources devoted to them that you'd like.

People will tell you that that's just the risk you assume when you decide to be a parent. But it's a risk that you can now reduce, so to me it makes sense to do that.

There are plenty of people out there who can handle the normal burdens of parenthood (already pretty great) that could not handle the burdens of parenthood of a severely disabled child.
posted by anapestic at 10:55 AM on July 13, 2001


<billy goat>
*clippity-clop clippity-clop*
*looks over bridge, sees tweek! lurking*
*turns around*
*clippity-clop clippity-clop*
</billy goat>


posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 10:55 AM on July 13, 2001


Anyone else here read Kenzaburo Oe's "A Personal Matter"?

Wow, totally forgot about that. Did you know that Oe's own son was born with a brain hernia? Powerful story, compelling man. Oe actually won the Nobel in Literature in 1994. Here's a great interview with him about his art, his son, and how they connect. Worthwhile reading for those interested in this thread.
posted by J. R. Hughto at 10:56 AM on July 13, 2001


I'll be serious for a second.

My family moved to a rural area when I was young. There was no bussing, but since my sister and I were in a french immersion program, the school board made special arrangements for us. "Special" as in "Special Ed." As in the short bus. That's right, from fifth grade to tenth grade, I rode to school with a bunch of re... mentally handicapped people. I got to know several mentally handicapped people functioning at various levels during the years on that bus. Some were completely spastic and helpless due to MS and other ailments, others were just way off in their perception of the world, and the others were your typical "Corky-Face" down syndrome cases.

This story is getting too long. The point is that I have a lot of experience with the mentally handicapped. The lesson I take from that experience is it sucks to be a retard. Bigtime. If I knew my baby was going to be retarded, I would have it aborted if my wife felt the same way. If she did not, I would hope that my insurance would cover it. The problem here is just like my main problem with capital punishment: are healthy babies being aborted based on a doctor's misreading of the amnio?
posted by tweek! at 11:00 AM on July 13, 2001


my dearest friends (and hopefully, my soon-to-be godson) just went through a difficult time when sonographic indicators showed a likelihood of down syndrome. there are a number of indicators which doctors measure in a sonogram, most specifically, the thickness of the nuchal fold at the back of the fetus' neck, as well as some bone length and heart indicators. at that point (and also depending on the age of the mother), an amniocentesis is the next (and more reliable) step to identify any chromosomal abnormality. while there is risk associated with amnio, some families choose to go through with it even if not considering termination, for several reasons - one, to rule out the possibility, and two, to prepare and allow the family time to educate themselves about raising a child with down syndrome. it's amazing that we have the technology to enable us to learn about children before they are born, but also opens the door to lots of mis-information and heartbreak for families making difficult choices.
posted by judith at 11:02 AM on July 13, 2001


I'd be interested in hearing why, not just from you, but from anybody else who would do the same.

Avogadro, my response is that I am not sure I could handle the pain and frustration of it. That is incredibly selfish I know, but when I think about all the possible reasons, almost all of them I come up with are selfish, like "I would miss out on doing things with my kid" etc.

I'm just not sure I could invest enough of myself into the life of a special-needs child. Then again, I'm pretty sure my wife and I are not going to have kids anyway, so maybe the problem is that I couldn't invest enough in any child.

As I said, that was my gut reaction, and I wouldn't mind people telling me why it's wrong.
posted by Kafkaesque at 11:04 AM on July 13, 2001


I posted this morning when I was still asleep. My bad.

What I meant to say:

This post is strange on so many levels.

1. What a strange thing to sue for.
2. Tweek is obviously just a troll. I won't waste any more energy on him.


And, for the record, here are the quotes relating to the use of the imflammatory words:

1. The juvenile remarks about the case. // Fitting name, tweek.
2. Why don't you unclench your buttcheeks and then stick something painful up there?
3. I'll say it: "retard" and "Homosaywhat?" are absolutely uncalled for.
4. Funny. I don't consider any of these people as biological mistakes.
5. "retard" is a stinky word, no doubt about it, but the link was interesting enough for me to get past it. // I took "homosaywhat" as a play on Homo Sapiens. I suspect that's different from what you're thinking, jennak?
6. I'm pretty sure it's not "arbitrary" to suggest that a lot of people might find the term "retard" rather offensive anywhere, much less a front page post. If anything, by calling the post "oddball," jragon was being generous.

What I see in the first chunk of posts is a few people mentioning it, either subtly, hesitantly, or asleep. Again, my bad ;)

In fact, the only person who had their 'panties in a bunch' appears to have been tweek.

Something to keep in mind before you assume that everyone loves starting politically correct/incorrect battles. I sure don't.
posted by jragon at 11:06 AM on July 13, 2001


Aha! An explanation! tweek!'s Canadian.
posted by SilentSalamander at 11:11 AM on July 13, 2001


And, for the record, here are the quotes relating to the use of the imflammatory words:

5. Funny. I don't consider any of these people as biological mistakes.


I made this comment. I fail to see why it is inflammatory. Look at my entire post. I was speaking about people I know who 1) have congentinal disorders and 2) are wonderful people.

The fact that I like these folks is inflammatory? I don't get it.
posted by bilco at 11:15 AM on July 13, 2001


telegraphy amuck. yiks, clippity-clop is the only thing i understand. (next thing ya know...le sans-culottes come out, everyone gettin ENRAGE, worrying about fashion, language phampletlers clamouring semantics or else. jiminey you people are smart.
'We're proceeding toward Gattaca' that i can understand.(picks up mop, switches to HAZEL mode)
posted by clavdivs at 11:16 AM on July 13, 2001


Bravo Bondcliff, bravo! My point exactly.

Oh shit, they're multiplying.
posted by jpoulos at 11:24 AM on July 13, 2001


(I apologize for the length of this post; this is a topic about which I feel strongly.)

Thanks anapestic and Kafaesque for your reasoned responses; if I could reply:

It is very true that raising children with disabilities requires resources in a way that rearing average children does not.

However, if I could flip the argument around, let's say you and your spouse discovered that your child was going to become a virtuoso violinist (assuming that there is an amniotic test for musical aptitude). Knowing that, you calculated the amount of money that it would take to transport said child to proper instructors (no mean feat for families living anywhere except the largest of cities), purchase numerous violins and supplies, keep the child clothed in the finest concert dress, and have the child go to a first-class conservatory. This analysis neglects the amount of time spent going to special lessons, the time it takes to cajole your child into practicing, etc.

Would you decide that the child will require too many resources? Probably not, because we value virtuoso violinists, mainly because their gifts are so readily apparent. The gifts of the mentally (or otherwise) handicapped are hidden, and require patience and intuition to discern. Nevertheless, they are present (in the form of unconditional love and acceptance of others, an ability to see past the facades that we put up, and the ability to show us how to be truly loving. Forgive me for being melodramatic.). Indeed, I think that in some ways, these gifts are more "useful" than the gift of music (YMMV).

As far as pain and frustration are concerned, hell yes there's a lot of it. Would that pain and frustration be any different in raising a normal child? Perhaps. But, there is also the opportunity to see any progress as a remarkable gift (it's a lot more meaningful when your mentally handicapped child runs a race than when a normal child does). I think that your own ability to see "the good" is heightened dramatically if you are open to it. For many folks with handicapped children, this involves difficult personal journeys, and indeed, the incidence of divorce is higher for parents raising a handicapped child than otherwise. Much of this, though, has to do with parents now realizing (as Dreama has mentioned) that there are resources out there as well as opportunities to have respite. In my experience, families that accept this help and, more importantly, are able to see their child as a special gift are generally healthier and happier than other families.
posted by Avogadro at 11:27 AM on July 13, 2001


Quite frankly, if I were faced with being pregnant with a child that is likely to have a birth defect, I don't know what I would do.

On one hand, my Clinton-loving, California-raised, Liberal self would say "Have the baby. You should not discriminate against this future person just because they probably will have a disability. People with disabilities can live long, full, and highly capable lives."

But on the other hand, I think that my inherant motherly wish for a perfect child would step in the way. But isn't that why we see doctors? They have a responsibility to inform pregnant women of the potential risks. Every single last one of them too, not just the "normal" risks like being sure to get enough folic acid or X might happen. And I think that's what these French parents are saying. I have no doubt that they love their children very very much, but that they feel cheated of information. They were not given the chance to make an informed decision. Doctors are there to give us the information to make such a decision, and in these cases, I think they have a right to sue.
posted by raintea at 11:31 AM on July 13, 2001


Fine, Avogadro. I'll trade you my retard kid for your virtuoso violinist.
posted by bondcliff at 11:32 AM on July 13, 2001


By the bye, I don't think that the decision to abort a fetus that would become a handicapped child is selfish; the intent seems to be to keep the family stable or to not have the child live a traumatic life. At least, the decision is no more selfish than the decision to have a child in the first place.
posted by Avogadro at 11:34 AM on July 13, 2001


OK, bondcliff.
posted by Avogadro at 11:35 AM on July 13, 2001


Bilco, I think I need to work on writing more clearly. :)

I listed everyone's posts, and made the point that no one was getting their panties in a bunch, no one was going off the deep end, and no one was being rude. Except the troll.

So in quoting you and everyone else, I was making the case that everyone had very reasonable and straightforward things to say, including you. Hope that clarifies.
posted by jragon at 11:41 AM on July 13, 2001


KILL ALL THE TARDS!!!!!
posted by crackheadmatt at 11:43 AM on July 13, 2001


Thought-provoking response, Avogadro.

Maybe it is about finding the strength within yourself for such things. I have nothing but the utmost repect and admiration for people willing to do this. The violinist example is an interesting one, though I'm not sure it's the money angle that I was really looking at...more the emotional investment.

You make me consider the options... Perhaps my biggest obstacle is that I would see this commitment as something that would completely define my life and leave not much room for anything else. Maybe that means I would need to grow as a person to take on such a challenge, and not to see it as a responsibility to put my own concerns on the back burner. I tend to be a bit of a cynic :) and maybe that's why I don't automatically see the potential for a positive outcome. When I hear "feel-good movie" you can bet I never see it.

Anyway, refreshing that in spite of the tone of the original post, we are able to have an open discussion about the original topic.
posted by Kafkaesque at 11:46 AM on July 13, 2001


Eventually, someone will come up with the bright idea that because of the prevalence of these costly suits, it should just be illegal to give birth to a child with a detectable defect. Then we'll force all pregnant women to have every possible test, sonograms, amnio, CVP, etc. and have their children aborted if there is a risk of a problem. We're proceeding toward Gattaca.

I have always kind of suspected we were headed there anyway. It's possible that science may offer other possibilities, that corrective treatments could be developed for a growing fetus. Science will continue to innovate new solutions. It seems that their motivations may come from not only a quest for knowledge, but for a way to fight bad lawsuits.

A interesting post, despite the poor tact of the poster. I'll use more French to describe him; L'Enfant Provocateur.
posted by john at 11:49 AM on July 13, 2001


umm, clavdivs worked with...kids, their justkids, and who cares for the personal(i dont lie, confused...who is not) but you refrain even erase such language from the mind to sound(sound mind?) when actually being with the kids.i broke my frikin leg jumpin off some swing with one of the kids(summer camp is where it was, in a park, i was 15 and my friends brother was the one who was in the program((that friend known through deMolay ya were REAL spooky) you dont talk that way is evident by human conduct(besides these R&%$* could pick you up and through you through a buick, so dictates of human safety seems imprudent even outstanding when viewing this issue more ....2 minutes.) It is not a been-there-done that pistol trick. One cant stand on a broken leg alone(though i got a vast ribbin for the instrument of my only misfortune was a happy-face two seated swing set) worth every pain and when you break a limb, you learn about adaptation(roll in sound track) (((tangent line goes dead-phone hung up)))
posted by clavdivs at 11:52 AM on July 13, 2001


what?
posted by jcterminal at 11:54 AM on July 13, 2001


jragon --

Hope that clarifies.

All clear. Thanks.
posted by bilco at 12:00 PM on July 13, 2001


Avo, I don't agree with you for a number of reasons. I'll try to explain why.

First, I think your analogy is flawed. If I found out that my child had a tremendous aptitude for music, I'd still have the option of spending all those resources on nurturing it or not. Or of finding a middle ground and spending a limited amount of time and money on it. That talent likely would not preclude me having resources to devote to other children.

And in time, that potential virtuoso would become self-sufficient. Independence in children starts very early and for a while it's a matter more of holding it back than of promoting it. With a severely disabled child, that never happens, they continue to be dependent.

I'm going to say some things here that will make me sound cruel. I apologize in advance. Life can be pretty cruel, too.

Saying that you appreciate the small advances of a disabled child more because of all the pain and difficulty involved is like saying that depression is a positive thing because it makes the happy times seem so much better by contrast. If you have depression, you make the most of it. But you wouldn't choose to have it if you could avoid it. I see this as a similar situation. I admire people who have disabled children and what they accomplish given those limitations. To me, it makes more sense to avoid the limitations if possible.

in the form of unconditional love and acceptance of others, an ability to see past the facades that we put up, and the ability to show us how to be truly loving

Ok, here goes. These are the same attributes that people list when they say why they value pets. They are also the same things that you get from any young child, or at least I get those things from my children. In my opinion, it is my job as a father to raise children to grow up to be independent, separate people. This potential may not exist with a severely handicapped child. I believe that it's best when parents know that their children will be able to function on their own after the parents are gone.

I believe that people who are put in the position of having a disabled child are going to try to put the best possible light on their position. And that's the right thing to do. Once you have a child, you cannot help but love him and do everything you can for him. It makes sense that people in this position emphasize what they have rather than what they don't have.

But I attempt to look on it dispassionately, and my analysis is that I would not put myself in that position if I could avoid doing so. Obviously, this is not a subject that is easy to view dispassionately, and, doubtless, if I had a disabled child, I would feel differently.
posted by anapestic at 12:00 PM on July 13, 2001


I think the relevant consideration is the experience the child is going to have, not the parents. I don't think it is ethical to create a life knowing in advance that it is going to suffer unreasonably. For example, say it was possible to tell from an amnio that the child would suffer from a relentless, untreatable depression, and would be completely incapable of experiencing any relief from pain, much less joy; personally, I would not choose to allow such a child to be born. In similar but less extreme cases, I would also choose not to have a child if I thought it was likely that I would not be able to feed it, or give it a proper home, or the necessary emotional support.

Of course I'm not saying that all fetuses with Down syndrome should be aborted, or that people with Down syndrome have no value, etc. I'm sure it's possible for people with Down syndrome to have lives that are just as happy and meaningful as a lot of "normal" people. I'm just saying that there are ethical issues involved in creating life.
posted by mcguirk at 12:01 PM on July 13, 2001


"KILL ALL THE TARDS!!!!!"im glad free speech showed up, jeepers where you been, you have my SKS, or is THAT broken also.
posted by clavdivs at 12:08 PM on July 13, 2001


"KILL ALL THE TARDS!!!!!"im glad free speech showed up, jeepers where you been

So saying insensitive things is the only way to validate that you do indeed have free speech? *Shakes head*
posted by jennak at 12:20 PM on July 13, 2001


Clavdivs, you may want to become familiar with the sentence and the paragraph. Judicious use of these tools will help others understand whatever the hell it is that you are trying to get across.
posted by websavvy at 12:20 PM on July 13, 2001


Aha! An explanation! tweek!'s Canadian.

you don't want to go there.
posted by heather at 12:22 PM on July 13, 2001


So saying insensitive things is the only way to validate that you do indeed have free speech?

He meant FreeSpeech (the nutcase), not free speech (the constitutional right).

He was actually saying the opposite of what you thought he was saying. I think that happens a lot, given his colorful use of the language.
posted by anapestic at 12:22 PM on July 13, 2001


mcguirk: where do you draw the line? Suppose you were to find out that your child would grow up to be clinically depressed, living under a constant cloud of sadness and mental anguish? You'd terminate? OK, now suppose you found out your child was going to grow up to be schizophrenic, living their lives confused, often scared, their perceptions far removed from reality. You'd terminate there too presumably?

OK, now suppose you found out that your child was probably going to have really bad acne? Was going to spend their high school years teased, dateless, and miserable, and was going to be facially scarred for life? Would you terminate then?

Suppose you found out your child was going to be born with small, malformed genitalia like Tweek's? Would you terminate then?

People aren't perfect and there are situations where it would be best for all involved to end the life of a fetus, however you have to accept some level of chance when having a child. That is part of the fun.
posted by TiggleTaggleTiger at 12:25 PM on July 13, 2001


TiggleTaggleTiger: Ha!

Not particularly elegant, but satisfying nonetheless.
posted by websavvy at 12:27 PM on July 13, 2001


Pesto, I don't think that my analogy is that flawed. You could choose to spend fewer resources with your handicapped child in the self-same way you could with your gifted child. Neglect happens in both circumstances. As far as independence is concerned, it is possible for those with severe handicaps to live independently of their parents, with regard to both living and financial situation.

As far as small advances and depression is concerned, perhaps we could also list living a monastic life as being another analogy (work with me here). When you choose to live in poverty and simplicity, you are more able to see the miracle that exists in a flower or a single dewdrop. Some people cannot live this way and choose not to, preferring the normal life filled with the busy-ness of the mechanized world. For folks with depression and families with handicapped children, the choice to opt out isn't there (unless you abort said fetus), but I don't think that this means that there can be nothing learned, or no benefits gained from the experience.


These are the same attributes that people list when they say why they value pets.

I'm really not sure how to respond to this (not that I would get angry, because I know you and what your intent is). Sadly, maybe you are right. Certainly, reason oftentimes gets in the way for folks of average to above average intelligence, and we forget that each of us has that ability. Pets do not teach us that, because we are far removed from them biologically and socially. However, the mentally handicapped do.
posted by Avogadro at 12:32 PM on July 13, 2001


what?

Clavdiv's pretends to be a Loopy. Unfortunately, it means I often don't bother reading his posts.

Ok, here goes. These are the same attributes that people list when they say why they value pets.

That reminds me of Bill Maher's statement a while back. I think the important thing to remember is that the Brain is just a physical housing for the mind. Some take in the believe of the soul as well. There is a very capable mind hiding behind some damaged "wiring" and people that see folks with these conditions everyday are likely to see the spark of that mind trying to come through.
posted by john at 12:32 PM on July 13, 2001


I don't think it is ethical to create a life knowing in advance that it is going to suffer unreasonably. ... I'm just saying that there are ethical issues involved in creating life.

I think it boils down to this: Is it a good thing for one person to judge whether someone else's life is worth living?

Even if the first person is trying to spare someone else from suffering, it's a hard case to make because no one knows how that kid is going to grow up. No one can read the futures of these kids. How would anyone know if someone else's life is going to be unbearable in advance? Playing the odds is not the same as saying it's certain.

It seems one should be pretty certain about things like this before taking a life. That seems the ethical solution to me.

(I've read a lot of interviews with Stephen Hawking, and despite his considerable health burdens I've never heard anything from him that would suggest he would've preferred not to have been born.)
posted by bilco at 12:33 PM on July 13, 2001


Jesus. It's like flies around shit here.

Rule #1 of any form of discussion forum, wether internet, fidonet, irc or instant message based - DON'T FEED THE TROLLS

*sigh*
posted by metaxa at 12:34 PM on July 13, 2001


DON'T FEED THE TROLLS

We're not, anymore.
posted by Avogadro at 12:42 PM on July 13, 2001


keep in mind that the issue of terminating a child due to extraordinary genetic conditions is NOT merely out of concern for the quality of life of the child. it can also be a sober, financial decision. whether that seems disgusting to you, i cannot say; but, ugly though it may be, you cannot deny that it can quite understandably be a factor.
posted by moz at 12:45 PM on July 13, 2001


That reminds me of Bill Maher's statement a while back. I think the important thing to remember is that the Brain is just a physical housing for the mind. Some take in the believe of the soul as well. There is a very capable mind hiding behind some damaged "wiring" and people that see folks with these conditions everyday are likely to see the spark of that mind trying to come through.

It was emphatically not my intention to compare the handicapped to dogs, as Bill Maher apparently did. I was trying to make a logical point about Avo's original statement. It seemed to me that the benefits he named as particular to the handicapped were not particular to the handicapped. I also noted that they were things you can expect from any child. I thought long and hard about using that language, not because of how Avo might take it (I knew he'd know what I meant) but because others might think I was dehumanizing the handicapped.

As for the wiring question. Sometimes there is a very capable mind inside the brain and sometimes there isn't. I'm not sure it would give me much comfort to see the occasional spark of that shine through, knowing that most of the time that mind was trapped and unable to emerge.

I agree with Avo that sometimes reason gets in our way. Again, I think there are other ways to get beyond that.

I'm really glad that there are people out there who see this issue differently than I see it. I'm grateful that there are advocates for the handicapped and people with a generous enough spirit to choose to have a severely disabled child. But I am not one of those people.
posted by anapestic at 12:48 PM on July 13, 2001


Moz...

it can also be a sober, financial decision. whether that seems disgusting to you, i cannot say; but, ugly though it may be, you cannot deny that it can quite understandably be a factor.

...meet Dreama.

And in all parts of the US, someone with a severe level of disability is eligible for all manner of assistance with medical requirements, respite care, special equipment and so forth. There are many resources that do not require that anyone be financially ruined nor the relinquishment of "control." Anybody with a disabled child could easily contact their local social service agency to find the possibilities open to them.

Introductions over. ;-)

Having worked in the handicapped-care industry and knowing how much federal, state and charitable aid there is available, I have to say that Dreama makes a very good point.
posted by bilco at 12:53 PM on July 13, 2001


I want pancakes.
posted by Hackworth at 12:54 PM on July 13, 2001


Pancakes on the beach, there's nothing better
But I like a pancake when it's wrapped in a sweater
Some day soon I'll make you mine
Then I'll have pancakes all the time
posted by websavvy at 1:15 PM on July 13, 2001


Anapestic,

I'm sorry, I should have been more clear in my wording. Your statement merely reminded me of Bill's less carefully worded statement. The topic is filled with enough landmines as it is and I should have not just dropped one like that. We all work within the limits of our bodies and it is scary to start drawing the line. Living babies born dead and unnatural selection. We'll get perfect people living perfectly boring lives.
posted by john at 1:36 PM on July 13, 2001


im gettin out. Jenn, i was validating his free speech by using my own. I may not like it but id take a crowbar to anyone who forcibly deny him his right to do so.(and we are having pancakes tonight, id link the recipe, as my first link but i like pancake talk.
posted by clavdivs at 1:38 PM on July 13, 2001


I don't think it is ethical to create a life knowing in advance that it is going to suffer unreasonably.

Ahem, by the time you can know, you've created the life. Unless of course you've got pre-conception psychic abilities, perhaps?
posted by Dreama at 2:05 PM on July 13, 2001


I feel sorry for tweek, not those I know with disabilities.
posted by Chief Typist at 2:35 PM on July 13, 2001


All he does is trolls... just look at his comment record.
posted by benjh at 2:41 PM on July 13, 2001


The unstable nature of washing from the inside was never too much to think dogs are taking up valuable merchandise with. Unless jaws come down, down to the belly of hair, mustard cakes and fleas gestate rubber wrinkled woodgrain with intent and derisive electric. Maybe the outside chance television maple doing family corrosive jump coffee.
posted by honkzilla at 5:23 PM on July 13, 2001


I agree completely, honkzilla.
posted by kindall at 5:34 PM on July 13, 2001


Word!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:38 PM on July 13, 2001


For all those lost on the FreeSpeech vs. free speech discussion.
posted by tdstone at 5:39 PM on July 13, 2001


I know Survivor is tired by now, but perhaps Matt could allow the community the ability to vote one member out per month. Tweek! gets my vote for being constant troll with no redeeming qualities and perhaps more important, for not knowing how to properly close an italics tag.
posted by tdstone at 5:56 PM on July 13, 2001


it constantly amazes me how easily people say things in threads that they would think twice about saying in person for fear of getting punched in the head.
posted by bwg at 7:44 PM on July 13, 2001


I second the Survivor vote-one-MeFier-off-each-month idea. Out of 9075 members, surely the loss of one troll each month wouldn't hurt our little community, and in fact might help.

Unless, of course, I am the one being voted off. For whatever reason. ;+)
posted by davidmsc at 7:52 PM on July 13, 2001


the attitudes of some of the people in here is exactly the reason why I don't contribute very often.

I have cerebral palsy. I KNOW firsthand how words like, cripple, retard, and a lot others can be incredible damaging to a person.

using those words because it is "fun" is just plain stupid. You know nothing about the person other than his/her disability... calling anybody a name such as "retard" only shows your immaturity to look beyond a fact such as that.

Just because a person talks, walks, thinks and processes things differently doesn't make them a retard... it only makes them different, unique... just as you are unique.

I challenge you (anybody that uses the word retard as a description) to find a different word that better suits that person. Stop using a label. See the person.
posted by freethinker1 at 1:11 AM on July 14, 2001


Any words you'd like to use for the tweeker freethinker1? Now that we've seen a bit of that person?

Great way to end up this diseased thread with your post ft1.
posted by crasspastor at 1:34 AM on July 14, 2001


HAHAHAHA!!!!
Honkzilla, you're still my idol!
posted by EricBrooksDotCom at 7:18 PM on July 14, 2001


> these people should absolutely not be parents.

That's what these parents (and the French courts) are saying: that they should have been warned so that they could have instead had an abortion and not now been the parents of disabled kids.

I agree.
posted by pracowity at 5:09 AM on July 16, 2001


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