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« Out of the Mouths of Babes (Virtual Exhibition # 4) | Main | Women's Choice and Catholics (Joe) »

April 18, 2007


Thanks, Sujatha for the interesting potpourri. Medical ethics are now such a tangled web of political, religious and economic agenda that the tag of "humor" (tragi-comedy) in this respect is not entirely inappropriate.

I have issues with both sides of the abortion debate - how each frames its justification based on women's health to fit the agenda. (That is a whole separate discussion by itself.) But you are right. All the risks associated with late term abortion cited in the argument are also some of the inherent risks of a full term pregnancy.

As for Atwood's vision about childbirth, it is happening already at a certain level due to social pressures. Busy and successful women (often the ones most qualified intellectually and financially to provide secure futures for their offspring) are not giving birth as prolifically as their less educationally and financially endowed sisters. The birthing business may indeed gradually become the responsibility of the Handmaids.

Organ transplants, hormone therapy, hip replacement, stem cell harvest. All well and good for cures and quality of life. But let's weigh them with the calm perspective minus the wide eyed promises of eternal life or the fountain of youth. No matter what, we WILL get old and we WILL die. And then there are always natural disasters, terrorists, car crashes and campus shootings.

As I saw, sarcasm, irony and satire constituted Humor as well, so I added the Humor tag in. But as in many of my Humor posts, this points to the tragi-comedy inherent in many of the medical and ethical/moral issues of our times.
No doubt, there will be a watershed case to test the merits of the law, but not very soon (apparently, from one set of statistics, 2200 out of 1.3 million abortions fell into this category.) So the Congress makes laws that may not really do much (the language of this law excludes PBA's which are performed to save the mother's life if it is in physical danger.), but are sure to energize and act as a goad for the right-wing crowd. On the other hand, it casts the whole debate in right-wing terms and has started Congress rolling down the slippery slope of legislating on women's wombs, rather than leaving it between women and their doctors to come to certain decisions.
The outsourcing of birthing in the form of surrogates and 'Wombs for Hire' has indeed become a lucrative industry of sorts, even with the component of eugenics for in vitro fertilization, donor sperm banks, donor egg banks etc.
The quest for eternal youth goes on, and has received more than its fair share of TV time (Dr.Sanjay Gupta's 'Chasing Life' series, for example). But as you say, death can come anytime. What matters is how life was lived until then. Death has always been the ultimate mystery, with religions making hay out of every human's instinctive fear of death. I wonder how people would treat life, if there was no fear of death. Would it open the door to moral deterioration (as in, no consequences in the afterworld for bad behavior), or would it remind people that life being short, they must achieve what they must in the short span allotted to them?

Look at this weird story - a possible correlation between breast cancer and under-wire bras! I have no comment, other than to say that as far as I am concerned, constricting foundation garments may not "cause" cancer but wearing them sure makes me feel as if I have some incurable disease. :-)

Maybe there is a correlation, but it might not be a cause. If there is some evidence that women with denser breasts are more prone to breast cancer, it could show a correlation, because they are more likely users of underwire bras to support their denser breasts than women with less dense breast tissue, who could manage without them.
There was even the urban legend that use of underarm deodorant could up the risk for breast cancer, which seemed laughable enough on the face of it, till a study was done in 2004 showing some slight correlation between deodorant use with shaved armpits and earlier age of diagnosis of breast cancer. Link
At this rate, with anything and everything being a potential carcinogen, I'm seriously tempted to load up on fatty food and chocolate, just so that I expire of heart disease rather than battle assorted cancers ;) Ah- chocolate, now that's to die for!

I remember reading that denser and larger breasts DO have correlation with greater propensity for breast cancer. So, is it the breasts or the bra?

It could be the breasts, rather than the bra, from whatever is known now.
There could a Ph.D out there for some enterprising researcher if he/she could design a study to test linkage between type of bra worn and incidence of breast cancer. Then, the under-wire bra manufacturers of the world can band up and debunk it through a counter-study funded by them.
Seriously, my opinion is that while it is currently categorized as a myth, due to lack of any studies performed to evaluate the claim, under-wire bra usage might be a piece of straw added to the camel's back, even if it isn't the one that breaks it eventually. In any case, there a gazillion factors that are being researched now currently (Link) with each one upping/reducing the risk slightly.

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