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Thread: Handicapped Children: Keep or Abort?

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    One of the Undutchables Member The Stranger's Avatar
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    Default Handicapped Children: Keep or Abort?

    A few days ago I read about a conclusion the think tank of the Dutch Liberal party VVD has reached on the matter of who should pay for handicapped children. The phrasing was like this:

    When science makes it possible to accurately determine whether or not a child is handicapped the parents should be given the decision to keep it or not. But if they do decide to keep it then they are guilty, they know fully what they do and should pay for the consequences.
    (Note that the "pay" is a purely financial "pay", the literally must pay for all the expenses without any governmental help)

    I would like to hear your thoughts on the matter.

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    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Default Re: Handicapped Children: Keep or Abort?

    Yikes that's a hard one. Everything in me screams against it but I can understand it, and if abortion (which I consider murder) is allowed because people simply don't want it.. Gonna wait for what others think.

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    Default Re: Handicapped Children: Keep or Abort?

    Guilty? What was the Dutch word they used? “Verantwoordelijk” (responsible) perhaps ? “Aansprakelijk” (idem, literally: accountable) ? VVD knows about sweet-talking they can make just about everything look reasonable if they want to. I doubt they'd be quite so crude to use “schuldig” (guilty/indebted/owing), although they might certainly mean indebted/owing.
    Last edited by Tellos Athenaios; 10-21-2010 at 12:26.
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    Darkside Medic Senior Member rory_20_uk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Handicapped Children: Keep or Abort?

    I was going to espouse on what handicapped means, but after reflection it doesn't matter as the less of an issue something is, the less the parent's would have to pay for it.

    But what about if the child has a genetic propensity to depression / drug use / alcoholism / anger / obesity / diabetes (you get the idea)? Would state support for healthcare be withdrawn or is there a cut off in term of likelihood?
    Even the current screening for Down's and other disorders don't give a "yes" or "no", merely a ratio. Would amniocentesis be mandatory if one wants to avoid all benefits being withdrawn?

    Enough questions - here are my views. Increasingly humans are creating a system that goes against evolution. Many handicaps are in essence genetic defects that should die out as the carriers have less children - but this is less and less the case. Certain classes breed like rabbits from a young age. In most species this trade off for this is higher infant mortality which would be the case if the State didn't support them with little if any tradeoff for their actions.

    Hence I think that terming it as "guilt" is inappropriate, and withdrawing all aid is too draconian - but there should be less strident steps in this direction.

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    Liar and Trickster Senior Member Andres's Avatar
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    Default Re: Handicapped Children: Keep or Abort?

    I hope that each and every single one of the members of that "think tank" will one day be put for the devestating choice of keeping or aborting their own handicapped child.

    Punishing people because they don't want to get rid of their own child? How insensitive (disgusting?) can one be? Not everything is measurable in money. Talking about money, let's spend more on healthcare and less on politicians and their "think tanks".
    Last edited by Andres; 10-21-2010 at 12:40.
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    One of the Undutchables Member The Stranger's Avatar
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    Default Re: Handicapped Children: Keep or Abort?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tellos Athenaios View Post
    Guilty? What was the Dutch word they used? “Verantwoordelijk” (responsible) perhaps ? “Aansprakelijk” (idem, literally: accountable) ? VVD knows about sweet-talking they can make just about everything look reasonable if they want to. I doubt they'd be quite so crude to use “schuldig” (guilty/indebted/owing), although they might certainly mean indebted/owing.
    no the dutch word used was actually Schuldig. which is directly translated into guilty. Verantwoordelijk is indeed responsible, which is something entirely else. it is possible that the think tank used another word, but in the article the world quilty was used.

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    One of the Undutchables Member The Stranger's Avatar
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    Default Re: Handicapped Children: Keep or Abort?

    here are my thoughts on the matter

    The first objection I have against it is the phrasing that is being used. How can parents be found guilty for loving their children (not of loving their children, but for the love they bare for it). But more heavily weighs this objection that this idea, as so many of the Liberal party's ideas, will lead to segregation between rich and poor. Only the richer parents have the opportunity to love and keep their "handicapped" child because a poorer family could not afford to sustain that child without help from the government or in extreme cases a insurance company. This will lead to a lot of pain and suffering of parents who love their unborn child as much as any other but are not as fortunate to be so wealthy. In short, the poor love their children as much as the rich, why should they be punished while the rich can avoid the sentence.

    Now look at the problem from another point of view, that of the child. The reasoning is pure discrimination, towards both child and its parents. The child is being condemned for being different and its opportunity for a good life is heavily decreased solely because he does not meet the common bodily standard. And the parents are being punished for being the parents of a handicapped child and are put in a situation no parent should be put in merely for the sake of money. Because that is the despicable thing about it, the life of a child is no longer judged from the sake of the child, but it is valued for how much money he will make or cost society. I am not for keeping alive every creature for the sanctity of life but I am against condemning to death any creature for not meeting a bodily (or mental) standard. Also if a child's parents decide to keep it, but are not so wealthy that they can afford the best care for the child, only the absolute minimum, than the child is being punished and this is something very strange. Again I think the argument forgets what is really important, it is not the health of society that comes first in a pregnancy, it is the health of the baby. If any decision is made at all concerning the life or death of an unborn child it should be done only in the sake of the child!

    If this argument would be accepted and would be put in practice than we would find ourselves on a slippery slope. This line of reasoning won't be able to keep up with the technological advance. And when it becomes possible to detect also mental deviations of the psychological standard, such as schizophrenia, depression etc., we should also make parents decide whether or not they want to keep that child and if they do, they will have to pay for the consequences. (This will most likely lead to some kind of tax, and the parents will pay even if there are no consequences, but this is beside the matter now.) Or what about habits, such as obsessive eating which leads to obesity, or smoking. These are habits that costs society a lot of money, should the parents decide before birth whether or not they want to keep a child which has a high probability to become fat or ill, and if they do so they are left alone, excommunicated from society, condemned for loving their child as their own and left alone. The practice has the tendency to become something most people would outright reject, the Nazi-program, eugenetics etc. Only those children who don't have any detectable deviations from the desired standard will be given a chance to live, otherwise its chances will diminish considerably because only the rich can afford to keep it.

    Also the matter should be separated. Whether parents should be given the option to know if their child is "handicapped" and then whether they should be given the option to abort it is an entirely different matter than who should pay for that child once it is born.

    Finally there is another problem, that of definition. What is a handicap, when is someone handicapped? What standard should we apply to? Will we include "mental illness" or "bad habits"?

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    Devout worshipper of Bilious Member miotas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Handicapped Children: Keep or Abort?

    If you ignore the fact that they are poeple and have every right to a happy life and view it in pure cold logic, then you might be inclined to think that abandoning them is good for society as a whole, but you would be wrong. With the aid of modern science, and a little understanding and patience, there are very few disabilities that can't be overcome, resulting in a productive member of society. Spending time with, and helping disabled people is also good for the "soul". They have a unique outlook on life, talking to and helping them gives you such a profound sense of satisfaction with life. How we treat the less fortunate says EVERYTHING about who we are as people.

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    Default Re: Handicapped Children: Keep or Abort?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Stranger View Post
    no the dutch word used was actually Schuldig. which is directly translated into guilty. Verantwoordelijk is indeed responsible, which is something entirely else. it is possible that the think tank used another word, but in the article the world quilty was used.
    Schuldig as in schuldig aan, of verschuldigd? The mind boggles: members of the VVD thinkthank evidently have taken leave of their senses, if not any form of good taste and common courtesy.

    On the ethics of the issue: I'm with Andres. Though I suspect they're rather too well paid to feel consequences of their little “ideas” were those made into policy or put into practice. We've found a new class of people more infuriating than lawyers: insensitive VVD thinkthank berks.
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    Darkside Medic Senior Member rory_20_uk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Handicapped Children: Keep or Abort?

    Money is not a thing you can hold in your hand. It is a token that is used to barter time and goods.

    So, these cost more resources to society, or to the individual. Species weed out defective organisms as they can't function optimally which is bad for the individual but good for the species. This has been going on for the last 4 billion or so years.

    The parents decided to have a child. They can now choose whether to have holidays every year and a new car every 3 or have a handicapped child an a trip to the caravan park and a second hand car every 10 years.

    "How can you put a price on love?" - Let's see people make this choice. Currently others subsidise them, this method they take the responsibility. No one is being condemned - you merely choose one disabled child or two healthy children (this ratio might be even high for severe handicapped children).

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    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Default Re: Handicapped Children: Keep or Abort?

    Nobody gets a choice when paying taxes, so caring for the disabled is a responsibility, quid pro quo.

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    Liar and Trickster Senior Member Andres's Avatar
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    Default Re: Handicapped Children: Keep or Abort?

    Quote Originally Posted by rory_20_uk View Post
    They can now choose whether to have holidays every year and a new car every 3 or have a handicapped child an a trip to the caravan park and a second hand car every 10 years.
    It's a choice nobody asks for and it's unfair to take measures that (look at it how you want) punish those parents who have the bad luck of being confronted with that choice.

    Quote Originally Posted by rory_20_uk
    "How can you put a price on love?" - Let's see people make this choice. Currently others subsidise them, this method they take the responsibility.
    The state paying for most of the care of the child doesn't mean you're not taking responsibility. Parents of a crippled, blind or deaf child will still raise it and take care of it on a day to day basis. The extra costs of healthcare because of the disability being paid by society doesn't mean you can't be a responsible parent. You'll still have to take care of the child AND do the extra paper work and take all the extra problems that come with being the parent of a handicapped child. Being a parent of a healthy child is already a big task; can't even imagine how hard it is to be the parent of a handicapped child. Why shouldn't society help people who have a handicapped child? What else do we pay taxes for? Things like this should be priority. We need to cut in expenses, but please, let's not cut in the expenses of taking care of the disabled.

    Also, some would argue that it is irresponsible and selfish to abort a child because it's not the perfectly healthy child you wished for.

    Quote Originally Posted by rory_uk_20
    No one is being condemned - you merely choose one disabled child or two healthy children (this ratio might be even high for severe handicapped children).

    Nobody chooses to have a disabled child. It's just bad luck. The fact that somebody can't make the decision of aborting their own child, doesn't mean they have chosen to have a disabled child. Nobody choses that. The choice is not to have or have not a disabled child but to abort or don't abort. And nobody can make that decision for the parents. Nobody has the right to impose or stimulate the parents to take decision A or B. Just like abortion should not be forbidden, people who don't chose an abortion shouldn't be punished for making that choice. It's good that abortion is allowed, but punishing people because they have chosen not to abort is a step too far, imo.
    Last edited by Andres; 10-21-2010 at 13:36.
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    Darkside Medic Senior Member rory_20_uk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Handicapped Children: Keep or Abort?

    Much of life we are faced by choices we'd not like to have in an ideal world. That's tough. Complaints can be registered with your nearest priest.

    The state spending money on a handicapped child is depriving the aid to others. Others will die who would have lived.

    Others will argue that it is irrisponsible. That is of course their right to do so. If they want to set up a charity to help provide that's fine.

    If they chose not to have an abortion of course they chose to have the child! Merely that this is not a choice they wished to face changes nothing. If you're religious take it up with a priest. Personally I think it's a cruel universe and merely squealing that it's not fair changes nothing.

    An enemy that wishes to die for their country is the best sort to face - you both have the same aim in mind.
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    One of the Undutchables Member The Stranger's Avatar
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    Default Re: Handicapped Children: Keep or Abort?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tellos Athenaios View Post
    Schuldig as in schuldig aan, of verschuldigd? The mind boggles: members of the VVD thinkthank evidently have taken leave of their senses, if not any form of good taste and common courtesy.

    On the ethics of the issue: I'm with Andres. Though I suspect they're rather too well paid to feel consequences of their little “ideas” were those made into policy or put into practice. We've found a new class of people more infuriating than lawyers: insensitive VVD thinkthank berks.
    schuldig als in schuldig aan (guilty of instead of owing to) but like i said, the article i read didnt use a direct quote iirc. so it is possible that the thinktank didnt use that exact phrasing.

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    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Default Re: Handicapped Children: Keep or Abort?

    I'm with Andres, isn't being totally devoid of compassion a bit of a handicap anyway, the human calculator. I can understand the reasoning behind it, just as I can understand the reasoning behind the euganics-program that the Swedish used to run, sterilising people deemed unfit for reproduction. But such thinking disgusts. A disabled kid can cost tons a year, this is a non-decision. I'll happily take my part of the burden.

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    One of the Undutchables Member The Stranger's Avatar
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    Default Re: Handicapped Children: Keep or Abort?

    Quote Originally Posted by Andres View Post
    It's a choice nobody asks for and it's unfair to take measures that (look at it how you want) punish those parents who have the bad luck of being confronted with that choice.



    The state paying for most of the care of the child doesn't mean you're not taking responsibility. Parents of a crippled, blind or deaf child will still raise it and take care of it on a day to day basis. The extra costs of healthcare because of the disability being paid by society doesn't mean you can't be a responsible parent. You'll still have to take care of the child AND do the extra paper work and take all the extra problems that come with being the parent of a handicapped child. Being a parent of a healthy child is already a big task; can't even imagine how hard it is to be the parent of a handicapped child.

    Also, some would argue that it is irresponsible and selfish to abort a child because it's not the perfectly healthy child you wished for.



    Nobody chooses to have a disabled child. It's just bad luck. The fact that somebody can't make the decision of aborting their own child, doesn't mean they have chosen to have a disabled child. Nobody choses that. The choice is not to have or have not a disabled child but to abort or don't abort. And nobody can make that decision for the parents. Nobody has the right to impose or stimulate the parents to take decision A or B. Just like abortion should not be forbidden, people who don't chose an abortion shouldn't be punished for making that choice. It's good that abortion is allowed, but punishing people because they have chosen not to abort is a step too far, imo.

    lets be realistic, its not yet a common choice. and it is not at all a natural choise to keep it in line with rory's idea of darwinism within modern society (which i agree with till a certain extent) but for severely handicapped children there are certain payments that are required for equipment or operation that no modal family can affor without insurance or goverment funding. however when the goverment retreats and says we will have nothing to do with this then the responsibility will fall solely to the family because i dont see why the insurance companies will not follow the same line of reasoning of the government and say, well youve chosen for this child (as if it is possible to chose a particular child and not another) so you must pay for the consequences.

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    One of the Undutchables Member The Stranger's Avatar
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    Default Re: Handicapped Children: Keep or Abort?

    Quote Originally Posted by rory_20_uk View Post
    Much of life we are faced by choices we'd not like to have in an ideal world. That's tough. Complaints can be registered with your nearest priest.

    The state spending money on a handicapped child is depriving the aid to others. Others will die who would have lived.

    Others will argue that it is irrisponsible. That is of course their right to do so. If they want to set up a charity to help provide that's fine.

    If they chose not to have an abortion of course they chose to have the child! Merely that this is not a choice they wished to face changes nothing. If you're religious take it up with a priest. Personally I think it's a cruel universe and merely squealing that it's not fair changes nothing.

    the same can be said the other way around. thats just bad luck for those who died their complaints can be registered with the nearest priests, they died because money was spent on an infant who would otherwise have died.

    hehe though it comes scarily close to my own ideas on healthcare for the elderly XD or animals... its a miracle, i actually come close to agreeing with rory!!!

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    One of the Undutchables Member The Stranger's Avatar
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    Default Re: Handicapped Children: Keep or Abort?

    Quote Originally Posted by rory_20_uk View Post
    If they chose not to have an abortion of course they chose to have the child! Merely that this is not a choice they wished to face changes nothing. If you're religious take it up with a priest. Personally I think it's a cruel universe and merely squealing that it's not fair changes nothing.

    that is not an argument. just because something is doenst mean it ought to be. the fact that the state of the world is a cruel one doesnt mean that it ought to be or that it can't change or that you must go along with it. defaitism...

    just because a person is sick doesnt mean he ought to be or that you must do nothing to change it...

    also i want to stress the point that actually we need to pose 2 different questions.

    1) should people have the choice to know and if they do know should they get the choice to abort (and on which terms are they allowed to do so?)

    2) when a handicapped child is born, REGARDLESS of whether or not the parents knew about it before it was born, who should pay for the cost.
    Last edited by The Stranger; 10-21-2010 at 13:45.

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    Liar and Trickster Senior Member Andres's Avatar
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    Default Re: Handicapped Children: Keep or Abort?

    Quote Originally Posted by rory_20_uk View Post
    Much of life we are faced by choices we'd not like to have in an ideal world. That's tough. Complaints can be registered with your nearest priest.

    The state spending money on a handicapped child is depriving the aid to others. Others will die who would have lived.

    Others will argue that it is irrisponsible. That is of course their right to do so. If they want to set up a charity to help provide that's fine.

    If they chose not to have an abortion of course they chose to have the child! Merely that this is not a choice they wished to face changes nothing. If you're religious take it up with a priest. Personally I think it's a cruel universe and merely squealing that it's not fair changes nothing.

    I'm not exactly religious, rory.

    The state has money. Our tax money. How they spend it, is a matter of priorities. Cut in something else, not in this.

    And I still disagree that having a disabled child is a choice. It isn't. Maybe you are able to say "Oh, Down syndrom. What a pity, abort and better luck next time", a position I would respect and I would fight for your right to have the abortion. Maybe you have a high paying job and you could easily afford taking care of a disabled child. Other people can't make that choice or don't have a high paying job (some people work hard and do not earn massive amounts of money) which makes it doable to pay for a disabled child. I don't think I would be able to chose the abortion (and I'm far from religious, in case you think only religious people would chose not to have an abortion). Has nothing to do with responsibility.

    I would keep the child, even if society would say "bad luck, but it's your own fault!" and show me the middlefinger. I would of course kindly show my middlefinger back to such a kind of society.
    Last edited by Andres; 10-21-2010 at 13:55.
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    Darkside Medic Senior Member rory_20_uk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Handicapped Children: Keep or Abort?

    How is this different to the rich getting a greater diversity of treatments than others with greater success rates? Or the rich can afford a great sports car which will protect them from high speed crashes far more than the poor sods they might hit? Or being stuck with a CPS lawyer and not a QC? Of course money affects what realistic options one has. Or one can "pay" with time.

    The money that a severely handicapped child requires is multiples of my salary, or my wife could stay at home the whole time and we could not have any other children. We could move back to be close to my parents and they could help too. That is a choice I would not make.

    Adoption is still an option that avoids abortion and upkeep.

    There are many things I would wish for the state to spend money on rather that lost causes such as this.

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    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Default Re: Handicapped Children: Keep or Abort?

    Everyone should pay the costs, a disabled person is a burden of course but not everything is a matter of money. What are you really asking from these people, it's forcing them to kill what they want to take care for. Healthcare is incredibly expensive a night in the hospital can run into thousands, it's not a choice at all.
    Last edited by Fragony; 10-21-2010 at 14:00. Reason: @TS point 2

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    Darkside Medic Senior Member rory_20_uk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Handicapped Children: Keep or Abort?

    Money is the current best abstract means to allocate resources and balance wants / needs. How else can you compare 5 minutes of time to a beefburger. Everything is always about the money - but how it is allocated can vary.

    To say it's not about the money is as meaningless as saying "I'm not a statistic"

    An enemy that wishes to die for their country is the best sort to face - you both have the same aim in mind.
    Science flies you to the moon, religion flies you into buildings.
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    Devout worshipper of Bilious Member miotas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Handicapped Children: Keep or Abort?

    But it's not about the money. It's about people.

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    Darkside Medic Senior Member rory_20_uk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Handicapped Children: Keep or Abort?

    Ever heard of economics? Popular subject. Might be best to get a primer and have a quick glance. You might learn something.

    An enemy that wishes to die for their country is the best sort to face - you both have the same aim in mind.
    Science flies you to the moon, religion flies you into buildings.
    "If you can't trust the local kleptocrat whom you installed by force and prop up with billions of annual dollars, who can you trust?" Lemur
    If you're not a liberal when you're 25, you have no heart. If you're not a conservative by the time you're 35, you have no brain.
    The best argument against democracy is a five minute talk with the average voter. Winston Churchill

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    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Default Re: Handicapped Children: Keep or Abort?

    Quote Originally Posted by rory_20_uk View Post
    Money is the current best abstract means to allocate resources and balance wants / needs. How else can you compare 5 minutes of time to a beefburger. Everything is always about the money - but how it is allocated can vary.

    To say it's not about the money is as meaningless as saying "I'm not a statistic"

    All business is about money, but not everything is business. We have a healthcare system for everybody and everybody pays it, the idea of insurance is sharing the risk, so in money terms people should get what they payed for, the best care for their disabled child.

  26. #26
    Liar and Trickster Senior Member Andres's Avatar
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    Default Re: Handicapped Children: Keep or Abort?

    Of course, there's no net gain in economic terms. So what?
    Andres is our Lord and Master and could strike us down with thunderbolts or beer cans at any time. ~Askthepizzaguy

    Ja mata, TosaInu

  27. #27
    Old Town Road Senior Member Strike For The South's Avatar
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    Default Re: Handicapped Children: Keep or Abort?

    So the Netherlands will give you welfare if you sit on your ass all day and toke up but they won't help cover the costs of handicap children many of whom will become better people than the drug addict whores and scumbags who are causing the state to be in the red.

    logical
    There, but for the grace of God, goes John Bradford

    My aim, then, was to whip the rebels, to humble their pride, to follow them to their inmost recesses, and make them fear and dread us. Fear is the beginning of wisdom.

    I am tired and sick of war. Its glory is all moonshine. It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, for vengeance, for desolation.

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    Default Re: Handicapped Children: Keep or Abort?

    my gut says this is wrong...

    But punishment isn't the best word to describing ceasing to give benefits. And it is true that money spent somewhere isn't spent somewhere else. On a vaccine for some disease for example. I think the argument against it has to take that into account.

    This kind of thing seems like an unfortunate side effect of public health care. I remember a recent 60 minutes about whether hospitals should run dozens of expensive tests on patients who were near death or if they should be let die. It sounds terrible, and you would automatically say no normally.

  29. #29
    Iron Fist Senior Member Husar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Handicapped Children: Keep or Abort?

    Quote Originally Posted by rory_20_uk View Post
    So, these cost more resources to society, or to the individual. Species weed out defective organisms as they can't function optimally which is bad for the individual but good for the species. This has been going on for the last 4 billion or so years.
    So you think all those brain cells we developed are ultimately useless and should not be put to any use except behaving exactly like organisms did 4 billion years ago?
    Despite that, your reasoning could also be used to not punish a murderer if he murdered an unemployed or elderly person because those are pretty much unproductive, and also often defective.
    The next question one would have to ask is whether VVD thinktanks actually benefit society financially or not, I could have come to the same conclusion they did but I'm a lot cheaper, so maybe we should shoot them and put me in their place, I'm sure that would net the Netherlands a nice profit.


    "Topic is tired and needs a nap." - Tosa Inu

  30. #30
    pardon my klatchian Member al Roumi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Handicapped Children: Keep or Abort?

    Quote Originally Posted by rory_20_uk View Post
    There are many things I would wish for the state to spend money on rather that lost causes such as this.

    Jesus, to be this cold you'd have to be a doctor.

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