Thursday, February 04, 2010

Life Links 2/4/10

Scientists have discovered that they can find signs of awareness in patients diagnosed as being in a vegetative state.
The new research suggests that standard tests may overlook patients who have some consciousness, and that someday some kind of communication may be possible.

In the strongest example, a 29-year-old patient was able to answer yes-or-no questions by visualizing specific scenes the doctors asked him to imagine. The two visualizations sparked different brain activity viewed through a scanning machine.

"We were stunned when this happened," said one study author, Martin Monti of Medical Research Council Cognitive and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge, England. "I find it literally amazing. This was a patient who was believed to be vegetative for five years."

A car crash which led to the deaths of twin unborn children is re-opening the debate in Vermont over a prenatal protection law.
As Cardinal’s Subaru wagon approached the Wolcott/Morristown line, it collided head-on with a Subaru sedan driven by 19-year-old Ian Masse of Craftsbury.

Later that day, as Cardinal struggled at the hospital with numerous injuries from the crash, she learned that her twin fetuses — she was eight months pregnant — didn’t survive.
This recent accident is similar to another car accident which occurred in August.
If her story sounds familiar, it is eerily similar to that of Patricia Blair, a Bennington woman who lost her six-month twin fetuses in a car crash in August. Blair was outraged to learn that charges against the other driver in her crash would not relate to the deaths of her fetuses. She is fighting for changes in state law that would allow that.

Theo Caldwell writes in Canada’s National Post about finding common ground on abortion.
Meanwhile in this country, a recent Angus Reid poll finds that only one in five Canadians is aware that our abortion law (or lack thereof) permits a woman to have unrestricted access to abortion at any time during her pregnancy. Contrary to the received wisdom about Canadians’ social attitudes, the poll found that “respondents are almost evenly divided on whether the health care system should fund abortions whenever they are requested.”

Abortion is often described as a “divisive” issue — usually by those who want the other side to give up. Yet there is common ground. One finding of the Angus Reid poll, for instance, tells us that: “A large majority of Canadians (79%) would back an initiative in their own province that would make it mandatory for health care workers to offer information to pregnant women about alternatives to abortion.” This suggests most people agree that even if abortion will never again be illegal, it remains broadly undesirable — a last option when others have been exhausted....

So, what if we agreed that, as long as public money subsidizes abortion, an equal or greater amount should go toward a mechanism to find homes for unwanted babies?

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