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Poll

Imagine ownership in the umbilical cord / placenta is split into 6 shares, who gets those shares?  (You must check no less than 6

Mother
- 8 (11.8%)
Mother
- 8 (11.8%)
Mother
- 7 (10.3%)
Mother
- 6 (8.8%)
Mother
- 6 (8.8%)
Mother
- 5 (7.4%)
Baby  (implied desire to live)
- 5 (7.4%)
Baby
- 4 (5.9%)
Baby
- 3 (4.4%)
Baby
- 1 (1.5%)
Baby
- 0 (0%)
Baby
- 0 (0%)
Father
- 4 (5.9%)
Father
- 3 (4.4%)
Father
- 2 (2.9%)
Father
- 2 (2.9%)
Father
- 2 (2.9%)
Father
- 2 (2.9%)

Total Members Voted: 7


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Author Topic: Who owns the placenta / umbilical cord? [NSFW]  (Read 57672 times)

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Alex Libman

  • Guest
Who owns the placenta / umbilical cord? [NSFW]
« on: October 14, 2008, 11:53:12 AM »

I'd like to discusss a potential (though laughably minuscule) inconsistency in my "right to life begins with physical autonomy" position.

To review my position - I am 100% pro-choice, and while I do believe that children are de facto slaves of their parents / guardians (until reaching the age of reason or being emancipated by a jury), I don't believe that parents should be able to get away with murder, or otherwise violate the child's right to life.  If they don't want or can't afford to take care of that child, there is a good chance that there are others that will, so denying a child food without asking for help is no different than denying that child air by choking them.  I also believe that while beating and even mutilating the child is a parents' right, doing anything to cause serious and permanent brain damage is also a violation, because then the child would not be able to expose child abuse when s\he is emancipated.

So this right to life appears when the child becomes an independent entity capable of receiving aid from others.  At present level of medical technology, it is downright impossible to save a parasitic fetus without violating its mothers right to her own body which is its host.  (And I'll spare you all my other pro-choice / anti-prohibition arguments.)  By this logic a woman who is just a few days away from birth can still have an abortion, and that is a rare circumstance I am willing to live with, though I'm sure public opinion would not be on her side (unless she has a very good excuse for not knowing she's pregnant), which could lead to ostracism of her, or more likely her parents / educational institutions for failing to teach her about her own body.  Thus, a woman who is 8+ months pregnant saying "I'm going to kill my fetus" does not violate the non-aggression principle, while a woman holding a newborn infant saying "I'm going to kill my baby" is a just cause for intervention.

The question for this thread is: imagine a woman gives birth, and an instant later, while the umbilical chord is still intact and the placenta / "afterbirth" is still inside her vagina (or maybe she does something to trap it in her vagina) ...


... then she pulls out a loaded gun, points it at the baby, and says, "yaay, finally I get to kill a human being and get away with it!"

Do you then have the right to interfere to save the baby, which you clearly have once it is an entirely-detached separate human entity but clearly don't have when it's a dependent parasite?  In this situation, can you cut the umbilical cord (or "yank out" the placenta) to take the baby to safety?

Legally speaking, it would depend on whose body it is.  As I've stated in my conjoined twins thread (which reminds me, it's time to bump that), I believe that people sharing organs / body parts can also share ownership in them, like stockholders in a corporation.

Some might argue that the umbilical cord / placenta are 100% owned by the mother: it came out of her body and doesn't constitute a separate human being, but that would mean a baby isn't an autonomous human being because it is still attached to its mother at that moment.  Some might argue that the cord is outside her body and feels no pain, therefore it is OK to cut it against her will, but does that mean someone can cut off your hair if they wanted to?  And if not the mother owns the umbilical cord / placenta then whom?  The newborn baby obviously can't own property yet, but its "implied consent" to for the cord to be cut is rather obvious.  And then there's the father, who triggered the pregnancy and contributed genetic material to the umbilical cord / placenta.

How do you balance those interests, which in this incredible circumstance don't all agree that the cord should be cut, because the mother wants to shoot the baby while it is still attached to her body and, by my definition, doesn't have a full independent right to life until the cord is cut?

That's what this poll is all about.  (If there are twins they still collectively get the same total fraction of ownership, because it doesn't matter since they are assumed to vote the same - for their self-preservation.)  It would be more accurate to have people taking this poll enter three percentages that add up to 100%, but due to technical limitations it has to be limited to fractions of 6, which would allow to distribute the ownership equally among the three potential parties involved, or give one or two parties a greater share to "out-vote" the other(s).
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blackie

  • Guest
Re: Who owns the placenta / umbilical cord? [NSFW]
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2008, 12:06:10 PM »

The placenta and umbilical cord have the same DNA as the baby, and belong to the baby.

If you yank out the placenta, you pose a huge risk to the mother.
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Alex Libman

  • Guest
Re: Who owns the placenta / umbilical cord? [NSFW]
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2008, 02:08:19 PM »

Hmm, so far one person voted 100% mother, and two people voted that mother and baby should share the ownership 50:50.  In the latter case, in the situation I've described above, who breaks the tie?


Traditionally, it's been abandoned property (at which time it is unowned.)

Yes, and deciding what to do with the detached umbilical cord / placenta is a simpler issue.  If someone out there wants to buy them (for stem cells, bizarre sexual fetish, culinary purposes, as a collectible item, whatever) the share-holders can vote to sell it and split the profits as per their ownership percentage.

Here's a math problem for you:  A family keeps its umbilical cords / placentas pickled in a jar.  The family experiences one pregnancy resulting in identical triplets who shared one placenta (which happens sometimes).  Let's say that according to their parents' sex / marriage contract they automatically get 2/6th ownership of the umbilical cords / placenta (sharing the baby shares equally), the mother owns 3/6th, and the father owns 1/6ths.  Then the mother dies splitting the ownership of her shares equally among the 4 remaining family members, but after a 10% donation to her church.  Then the father dies and leaves 50% of his share to his most favorite son, 40% to his second favorite son, and donates 10% to a charity that protects wild chimps in Africa.  The twins agree to put the "item" up for sale.  One buyer wants to pay $100,000 for it, but he's a known pedophile and doing business with him would be damaging to one's reputation.  The father's favorite son votes to sell it to the second highest bidder, who represents a biotech R&D company, but his offer is $60,000.  The father's second favorite son votes to sell to the highest bidder.  The father's least favorite son develops severe depression and has himself committed to a mental institution which appoints a 12-member board of trustees to manage the assets of its clients for them while they recover, of whom 6 members vote to sell to the highest bidder, 4 to the second highest bidder, and 2 vote not to sell it at all.  To remedy this deadlock, the board agrees to vote to sell to the highest bidder, but if the final decision to sell to the pedophile is reached then they will donate 25% of their client's share to a child protection charity.  Regardless of how the sale goes, they invest the remainder of their client's income from the sale in a mutual fund that averages 4.17% per year over 15 years, at which time the father's least favorite triplet recovers and decides to donate all his assets.  He, as a joke, also decides to donate 50% to his father's favorite son, 40% to his father's second favorite son, and 10% to that same chimpanzee charity in Africa.  Upon hearing this, the father's favorite son decides to donate 40% of what the last favorite son donated to him to that chimp charity.  The second favorite son needed to invest this money in his business, but he signed an insured contract that would pay 3% of the amount the least favorite son donated to him a year to that same charity over the next 15 years.  What is the total amount of money that the chimp charity has received from this family?
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