I saw two items in the news today that prompted some reaction.
The first was a truly tragic story from the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. It seems a woman took some pills to abort her 7 month gestation child. The story raised attention because, being unable to flush the baby down the toilet, the woman and the father put the baby in a gift box, wrapped it and put it under their Christmas tree. You can check the details here.
Actually, my comment is not about the mother and the father. Clearly, they are seriously disturbed and need psychiatric help. My issue is with the AP and other news sources that consistently referred to the result of the botched effort at a premature delivery as a “fetus.” Supposedly the woman was in her 7th month. That’s 32 weeks, give or take some.
It happens I am very close with a neonatal intensive care nurse. She cares for premature babies every day. She assures me that at 32 weeks, an unborn child is fully formed and typically would weigh in at 2-3 pounds. If born prematurely, the baby would need special care, but barring other complications, a 32 week gestation baby stands an excellent chance of a good outcome.
Memo to the Associated Press and other journalists – That was not a fetus. It was a baby. Get it right. Words matter. You should know that. They are the tools of your trade.
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Meanwhile in Copenhagen, the nations of Africa have been staging a protest at the global warming conference to push the industrialized nations to cough up some big bucks to pay for the effects of climate change on the third world.
In principal, I don’t have a real problem with this. My issue is with the governments that would be getting the money. Here is a quiz. How many African nations can you name that have a stable, democratic government?
There are a few, but they are greatly outweighed by the countries still ruled by dictators, wracked by civil war or who consider 5 years of peace and stability a new record.
Here are just a few examples:
Zimbabwe – President Robert Mugabe has single handedly destroyed what once was a fairly thriving country. The economy is in shambles and life expectancy has dropped into the 30s for both men and women.
Democratic Republic of the Congo – The site of 12 years of civil war. Fatalities continue at the rate of 45 K deaths per month.
Nigeria —Plagued by ethnic violence. Run by a military dictatorship for three decades ending in 1999.
Sudan – Darfur, need I say more.
Ivory Coast – Has been plagued by a succession of wracked by coups and civil wars for decades.
Somalia – Now, there is a poster child for a emerging nation.
Liberia – Two civil wars in the past 20 years.
Rwanda – Known the world over for the massacres that happened there in the 1990s.
What would make anyone think that billions of dollars sent to the people who actually rule most African nations would be used to fight the effects of climate change?
You would be better off trying to help your homeless, alcoholic uncle by giving him an unlimited credit card.