December 22, 2006
Prof. Garnett over at Mirror of Justice has a post up today about the Unborn Child Awareness Act, which would require abortion providers to inform women considering a third-trimester abortion that the procedure is likely to cause intense pain in the fetus. He argues that this is the sort of "non-prohibitory, educational, conscience-raising measure" that pro-life people ought to support even if they are worried about the costs of prohibition, and that the paltry percentage of Democrats voting in favor is thereby telling.
I was reminded, reading this post, of the argument that the information which would be required is substantially false and misleading. Now, I haven't read up on the research in question, and it could be that this argument is false (though Prof. Garnett does not attempt to so demonstrate). Yet if that argument is not false, why is it inconsistent with pro-life principles to object to a requirement that doctors provide false information to their patients, even in the area of abortion? To put it slightly differently, it seems to me one could very well argue that bills that are merely tendentious ax-grinding unmoored from the best scientific understanding make it harder, rather than easier, to find common ground on the evils of legal abortions, etc. Which vote, then, is more consistent with being pro-life?
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I know a few cafe and restaurant owners personally, and as in most businesses, people have little tricks of the trade in order to make their lives easier. One cafe owner I know uses Lipton ready made iced tea for her "home made iced tea", another buys custom ordered pies from Costco, and just changes boxes. Over the summer I discovered that the new trend in France is for boulangers to use frozen croissants instead of making their own, and just concentrate on fresh made bread (this frozen croissant issue is on my long term writing agenda - it's an interesting field, because the French evidently don't know what they're eating, and they're silently witnessing the first serious cracks in the edifice of french culinary superiority all the while convinced that everything is ok).
Anyway, I walk to work here in New York along Ninth Avenue. On my walk every morning, a little past the excellent Amy's Bread (good cookies. Good complex breads, with raisins and such. Only ok real breads, with just water and yeast and flour), there's a home-y looking Italian bakery, always busy, and stacked with fresh made looking pastries. I've always wanted to go in for a cannoli, but I like sweet foods at around 4, and at 4 I'm in the office. Yesterday, however, I was trudging home after picking up some Christmas smoked salmon at Zabar's to take home to DC, and noticed several boxes outside the pastry shop, stacked as garbage. I stopped to take a look, and what did I find but the emptied efforts of the Cannoli Factory, an industrial (if local) cannoli wholesaler in New York. So much for fresh made, I guess - the Cannoli factory even boasts that their pastries hold up to being filled for 36 hours!
As an economic matter, I obviously don't blame the bakery. This works out for them, and helps make them money, so it's fine. But how's that for finding out about Santa Claus - instead of an Italian grandmother frying cannolis in the back, we've got the cannoli "factory" delivering precisely weighed cannolis, complete with fat and vitamin content emblazoned directly on the box. Eh.
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