Another good explanation of the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, this time from Lawrence Tribe. Tribe thinks that if the issue is decided by the Supreme Court, a majority of the justices will find the Act constitutional.
John Paul Getty III has died. Remember when he was a young man and was kidnapped and held for ransom? I had forgotten what colossal assholes his grandfather and father, Sr. and Jr., were. Sr. and Jr. refused to pay the ransom, so after about three months the kidnappers hacked off III’s ear and mailed it to an Italian newspaper, with the threat of mailing more pieces of III every few days until the ransom of $2.8 million was paid.
The threat led Getty Sr. to pay $2.2 million, which, according to The New York Times, his accountants said was the maximum that would be tax deductible. Getty Jr. coughed up the rest but had to borrow it from his billionaire father, repayable at 4 percent annual interest.
Kind of takes your breath away, huh?
Some troglodyte in the Ohio Legislature has introduced a “heartbeat bill” (warning: do not read comments to the article; they are beyond twisted) that would ban most abortions after the point at which a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which is about six weeks’ gestation. Lots of women don’t even know they’re pregnant at six weeks gestation.
According to 2009 data from the Ohio Department of Health, 56.6 percent of abortions in that state occur in the first nine weeks of pregnancy. And since the fetal heartbeat appears on monitors by six weeks into gestation in most cases, supporters of the bill believe that it could prevent thousands of abortions.
Correction — it would prevent thousands of medically safe abortions. However, the coat hanger industry would thrive.
Thinking about this got me thinking about the old brain wave question, which seems to me a lot more relevant than heartbeat as to when there’s a “person” there. There are tons of articles on the Web that say fetal brain waves can be detected as six weeks’ gestation, also, which is obviously wrong. I found a good article debunking the claim that says,
Remember, an EEG involves measuring varying electrical potential across a dipole, or separated charges. To get scalp or surface potentials from the cortex requires three things: neurons, dendrites, and axons, with synapses between them. Since these requirements are not present in the human cortex before 20-24 weeks of gestation, it is not possible to record “brain waves” prior to 20-24 weeks. Period. End of story.
There’s a lot more to it, but that’s the bottom line.