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Abortion and Bodily Autonomy

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  • #61
    Originally posted by Bill the Cat View Post

    The Violinist Argument, huh?


    The problem with that analogy lies with the manner in which the violinist is being kept alive. Can the woman stab the violinist in the heart and kill him before removing the tubes? Can she smother him causing his death before removing the method of his sustainment? Can she starve him to death? Pregnancy is not an extraordinary method of sustainment. It is basic, natural, and as old as humanity itself. Like the violinist, an infant is not entitled to extraordinary life-saving interventions, but he is entitled to ordinary sustenance. This includes the baseline level of care necessary for ordinary survival—food, water, oxygen, warmth, etc.—from those responsible for him. Parents who fatally neglect their young children are guilty of killing them, not just letting them die. Regardless of whether the parents want or ever wanted those children, the law understands that they have a primary responsibility to provide the ordinary sustenance to which young children are entitled. If unborn children have the same personhood status as infants, then they should be accorded the same rights. Since the placenta represents the ordinary means by which a fetus obtains food, water, oxygen, and warmth, it follows that he should have the right to remain in his mother’s womb until viability, even if she does not want him there.

    https://prolife.stanford.edu/qanda/q2-2.html
    First, the Argument clearly only applies directly to cases of rape. Note, the woman has been kidnapped and attached to the violinist without her permission. In fact your linked article agrees, before it goes on to muddy the waters somewhat. It gets much fuzzier in other cases, because it can be argued that she implicitly consented by knowing there was a risk of pregnancy involved in sexual intercourse. Let's not move on though without noting that if you follow the logic rape should be excluded.

    Can I add another case? She takes the morning after pill and prevents implantation. That's like the woman escaping from her captors before they hook her up, no?

    The other points have merit, though I don't like the way the article briefly mentions early abortions then skips quickly to the horrors of late term abortion as if that represents all abortions.

    To continue your analogy though, parents have an obligation to feed their children, yes. But what about a woman who starves herself (for whatever reason) or takes drugs or drinks and smokes during pregnancy? All these things fall short of proper care for the fetus. Should we have some laws about that too?

    Comment


    • #62
      Originally posted by Alien View Post

      I'd be interested in the "scientific" definition of "life" and "organism". I looked up "organism" (admittedly Wiki, but no point taking it too far until I have your definitions) and got this.


      In biology, an organism (from Ancient Greek ὄργανον (órganon) 'instrument, implement, tool', and -ισμός (-ismós)) is any organic, living system that functions as an individual entity.[1] All organisms are composed of cells (cell theory).[1] Organisms are classified by taxonomy into groups such as multicellular animals, plants, and fungi; or unicellular microorganisms such as protists, bacteria, and archaea.[2]All types of organisms are capable of reproduction, growth and development, maintenance, and some degree of response to stimuli. Beetles, squids, tetrapods, mushrooms, and vascular plants are examples of multicellular organisms that differentiate specialized tissues and organs during development.


      Bolding at [2] mine.

      It supports your exclusion of sperm and (unfertilized) ovum, but would seem to exclude a fertilized ovum too. I doubt the fertilized ovum can respond to stimuli, and it certainly can't reproduce in the sense that is meant, which would be producing another organism like itself.

      This may seem trivial, but if you and others like you could agree on that point it would allow a number of things that stand in the way of agreement, like wanting to ban methods of contraception that (can) prevent implantation. And we are in desperate need of some movement toward the center or this will go on for ever.
      Just stepping in with a brief comment here regarding the "scientific" definition of "life."

      To say the least, that opens up a can of worms, because, aside from there being 120 different definitions for life, unless things have changed radically in the past couple of years there is no precise scientific definition for what separates the living from the non-living. And no better example of the problem facing those who wish to make such a distinction can be found than viruses.

      As Luis P. Villarreal, the Director, Center for Virus Research at the University of California, Irvine wrote about a decade and a half ago:
      A precise scientific definition of life is an elusive thing, but most observers would agree that life includes certain qualities in addition to an ability to replicate. For example, a living entity is in a state bounded by birth and death. Living organisms also are thought to require a degree of biochemical autonomy, carrying on the metabolic activities that produce the molecules and energy needed to sustain the organism. This level of autonomy is essential to most definitions.

      Viruses, however, parasitize essentially all biomolecular aspects of life. That is, they depend on the host cell for the raw materials and energy necessary for nucleic acid synthesis, protein synthesis, processing and transport, and all other biochemical activities that allow the virus to multiply and spread. One might then conclude that even though these processes come under viral direction, viruses are simply nonliving parasites of living metabolic systems. But a spectrum may exist between what is certainly alive and what is not.


      Essentially, viruses straddle the definition of life. They don't respire. They don't excrete. They don't grow. They don't display irritability. They lack most of the internal structure and machinery which characterize life, including the biosynthetic machinery that is necessary for reproduction.

      But while viruses cannot replicate on their own they can do so in truly living cells by using their host's metabolic machinery and ribosomes to form a pool of components which assemble into particles known as virions, which allows it to transfer it to other cells.

      For some the ability to replicate at all is the most essential attribute of a living thing yet others point out that this can be said to be true of fire which nobody is seriously suggesting is a living organism.

      This seems to place them somewhere between supra-molecular complexes and very simple biological entities -- in a gray area between living and nonliving.

      As virologists Brian W. J. Mahy (the Senior Scientific Adviser in the Office of the Director, Coordinating Center for Infectious Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and Marc H. V. van Regenmortel Emeritus Director at ESBS/CNRS -- French National Center for Scientific Research -- at the Biotechnology School of the University of Strasbourg)[1] have said that with their dependence on host cells, viruses lead a kind of borrowed life.

      From 2017

      Source: Are Viruses Alive?


      Viruses are infectious, tiny and nasty. But are they alive?

      Not really, although it depends on what your definition of "alive" is, two infectious disease doctors told Live Science.

      Living beings, such as plants and animals, contain cellular machinery that allows them to self-replicate. In contrast, viruses are free forms of DNA or RNA that can't replicate on their own.

      Rather, viruses need to invade a living organism to replicate, said Dr. Otto Yang, a professor of medicine and microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles.

      "[Viruses are] packaged RNA or DNA," Yang told Live Science. "They make more copies of themselves by hijacking the machinery of cells to replicate themselves."

      Is it alive?

      Countless philosophers and scientists have debated how to define whether something is alive. According to the seven characteristics of life, all living beings must be able to respond to stimuli; grow over time; produce offspring; maintain a stable body temperature; metabolize energy; consist of one or more cells; and adapt to their environment.

      However, some life-forms don't fit every single characteristic. Most hybrid animals, such as mules (a cross between a donkey and a horse), can't reproduce because they are sterile. Moreover, rocks can grow, albeit in a passive way, with new material flowing over them. But this classification problem goes away when a simpler definition of "life" is used.

      "Take a cat, a plant and a rock, and leave them in a room for days," said Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease physician and an affiliated scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore. "Come back, and the cat and the plant will have changed, but the rock will essentially be the same," he said.

      Like a rock, most viruses would be fine if they were left indefinitely in a room, Adalja said. In addition, he noted that living beings have self-generated and self-sustaining actions meaning they can seek out sustenance and behave in self-preserving ways. In other words, "they're taking actions to further their lives, [such as] a plant sprouting its roots to find water or an animal looking for food," Adalja said.

      Something that is not alive, such as a virus, does not have self-generated or self-sustaining actions, he said.

      "I don't think viruses qualify as being alive. They are, in essence, inert unless they come into contact with a living cell," Adalja said. "There are some characteristics of viruses that put them on the borderline [of being alive] they have genetic material: DNA or RNA. It's not the same thing as a rock, but it's clearly not the same thing as even bacteria, in terms of that self-sustaining and self-generated action."

      Yang agreed, saying, "Without a cell, a virus cannot reproduce. And so from that standpoint, it's really not alive, if you consider life to be something that can reproduce by itself independently."

      However, "if you loosen up your definition of life to something that can make copies of itself with help, then you could call it alive," Yang said.

      It's thought that some of the very first life-forms on Earth were RNA molecules, as "RNA molecules, under the right conditions, can make copies of themselves," Yang said. "Viruses maybe evolved from that ancestor, but lost the capability to self-replicate."



      Source

      © Copyright Original Source










      1. Both are also the Senior Editors-in-Chief of the Third Edition of the Encyclopedia of Virology.

      I'm always still in trouble again

      "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
      "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
      "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

      Comment


      • #63
        Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
        Just stepping in with a brief comment here regarding the "scientific" definition of "life."

        To say the least, that opens up a can of worms, because, aside from there being 120 different definitions for life, unless things have changed radically in the past couple of years there is no precise scientific definition for what separates the living from the non-living. And no better example of the problem facing those who wish to make such a distinction can be found than viruses.

        As Luis P. Villarreal, the Director, Center for Virus Research at the University of California, Irvine wrote about a decade and a half ago:
        A precise scientific definition of life is an elusive thing, but most observers would agree that life includes certain qualities in addition to an ability to replicate. For example, a living entity is in a state bounded by birth and death. Living organisms also are thought to require a degree of biochemical autonomy, carrying on the metabolic activities that produce the molecules and energy needed to sustain the organism. This level of autonomy is essential to most definitions.

        Viruses, however, parasitize essentially all biomolecular aspects of life. That is, they depend on the host cell for the raw materials and energy necessary for nucleic acid synthesis, protein synthesis, processing and transport, and all other biochemical activities that allow the virus to multiply and spread. One might then conclude that even though these processes come under viral direction, viruses are simply nonliving parasites of living metabolic systems. But a spectrum may exist between what is certainly alive and what is not.



        Essentially, viruses straddle the definition of life. They don't respire. They don't excrete. They don't grow. They don't display irritability. They lack most of the internal structure and machinery which characterize life, including the biosynthetic machinery that is necessary for reproduction.

        But while viruses cannot replicate on their own they can do so in truly living cells by using their host's metabolic machinery and ribosomes to form a pool of components which assemble into particles known as virions, which allows it to transfer it to other cells.

        For some the ability to replicate at all is the most essential attribute of a living thing yet others point out that this can be said to be true of fire which nobody is seriously suggesting is a living organism.

        This seems to place them somewhere between supra-molecular complexes and very simple biological entities -- in a gray area between living and nonliving.

        As virologists Brian W. J. Mahy (the Senior Scientific Adviser in the Office of the Director, Coordinating Center for Infectious Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and Marc H. V. van Regenmortel Emeritus Director at ESBS/CNRS -- French National Center for Scientific Research -- at the Biotechnology School of the University of Strasbourg)[1] have said that with their dependence on host cells, viruses lead a kind of borrowed life.

        From 2017

        Source: Are Viruses Alive?


        Viruses are infectious, tiny and nasty. But are they alive?

        Not really, although it depends on what your definition of "alive" is, two infectious disease doctors told Live Science.

        Living beings, such as plants and animals, contain cellular machinery that allows them to self-replicate. In contrast, viruses are free forms of DNA or RNA that can't replicate on their own.

        Rather, viruses need to invade a living organism to replicate, said Dr. Otto Yang, a professor of medicine and microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles.

        "[Viruses are] packaged RNA or DNA," Yang told Live Science. "They make more copies of themselves by hijacking the machinery of cells to replicate themselves."

        Is it alive?

        Countless philosophers and scientists have debated how to define whether something is alive. According to the seven characteristics of life, all living beings must be able to respond to stimuli; grow over time; produce offspring; maintain a stable body temperature; metabolize energy; consist of one or more cells; and adapt to their environment.

        However, some life-forms don't fit every single characteristic. Most hybrid animals, such as mules (a cross between a donkey and a horse), can't reproduce because they are sterile. Moreover, rocks can grow, albeit in a passive way, with new material flowing over them. But this classification problem goes away when a simpler definition of "life" is used.

        "Take a cat, a plant and a rock, and leave them in a room for days," said Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease physician and an affiliated scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore. "Come back, and the cat and the plant will have changed, but the rock will essentially be the same," he said.

        Like a rock, most viruses would be fine if they were left indefinitely in a room, Adalja said. In addition, he noted that living beings have self-generated and self-sustaining actions meaning they can seek out sustenance and behave in self-preserving ways. In other words, "they're taking actions to further their lives, [such as] a plant sprouting its roots to find water or an animal looking for food," Adalja said.

        Something that is not alive, such as a virus, does not have self-generated or self-sustaining actions, he said.

        "I don't think viruses qualify as being alive. They are, in essence, inert unless they come into contact with a living cell," Adalja said. "There are some characteristics of viruses that put them on the borderline [of being alive] they have genetic material: DNA or RNA. It's not the same thing as a rock, but it's clearly not the same thing as even bacteria, in terms of that self-sustaining and self-generated action."

        Yang agreed, saying, "Without a cell, a virus cannot reproduce. And so from that standpoint, it's really not alive, if you consider life to be something that can reproduce by itself independently."

        However, "if you loosen up your definition of life to something that can make copies of itself with help, then you could call it alive," Yang said.

        It's thought that some of the very first life-forms on Earth were RNA molecules, as "RNA molecules, under the right conditions, can make copies of themselves," Yang said. "Viruses maybe evolved from that ancestor, but lost the capability to self-replicate."



        Source

        © Copyright Original Source





        1. Both are also the Senior Editors-in-Chief of the Third Edition of the Encyclopedia of Virology.
        Wow, that's fascinating. Btw, are you qualified in biological science in any way? None of my business, you don't have to answer.

        First, for MM's benefit, from your link "Life is self-reproduction with variations" and given that human ova are not viruses, my point seems to stand.

        Anyway, that's really interesting. Thanks for quoting it. If we decided that viruses are life, then should we stop killing them?

        Here's something that occurred to me and I'd be interested in your thoughts. How about an AI program? It can certainly reproduce itself. It consumes electrical energy and excretes heat. If it can self-program it grows. It responds to stimuli and can adapt its environment. If we drop the requirement that life must be biochemical, then maybe we will one day be faced with a movement for "AI rights".

        Comment


        • #64
          Originally posted by Alien View Post

          Wow, that's fascinating. Btw, are you qualified in biological science in any way? None of my business, you don't have to answer.

          First, for MM's benefit, from your link "Life is self-reproduction with variations" and given that human ova are not viruses, my point seems to stand.

          Anyway, that's really interesting. Thanks for quoting it. If we decided that viruses are life, then should we stop killing them?

          Here's something that occurred to me and I'd be interested in your thoughts. How about an AI program? It can certainly reproduce itself. It consumes electrical energy and excretes heat. If it can self-program it grows. It responds to stimuli and can adapt its environment. If we drop the requirement that life must be biochemical, then maybe we will one day be faced with a movement for "AI rights".
          Perhaps some of the most interesting discussions on AI and life that I've run across were in the various Ghost in the Shell anime series. As is so often in an anime or manga, they don't approach it from a few sides but rather tackle it from virtually every direction imaginable. Unfortunately, that doesn't leave much time for a deep look into any of them. Still, it definitely gets you thinking.

          I'm always still in trouble again

          "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
          "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
          "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

          Comment


          • #65
            Originally posted by Bill the Cat View Post

            The Violinist Argument, huh?


            The problem with that analogy lies with the manner in which the violinist is being kept alive. Can the woman stab the violinist in the heart and kill him before removing the tubes? Can she smother him causing his death before removing the method of his sustainment? Can she starve him to death? Pregnancy is not an extraordinary method of sustainment. It is basic, natural, and as old as humanity itself. Like the violinist, an infant is not entitled to extraordinary life-saving interventions, but he is entitled to ordinary sustenance. This includes the baseline level of care necessary for ordinary survival—food, water, oxygen, warmth, etc.—from those responsible for him. Parents who fatally neglect their young children are guilty of killing them, not just letting them die. Regardless of whether the parents want or ever wanted those children, the law understands that they have a primary responsibility to provide the ordinary sustenance to which young children are entitled. If unborn children have the same personhood status as infants, then they should be accorded the same rights. Since the placenta represents the ordinary means by which a fetus obtains food, water, oxygen, and warmth, it follows that he should have the right to remain in his mother’s womb until viability, even if she does not want him there.

            https://prolife.stanford.edu/qanda/q2-2.html
            Thanks. That's probably the best response ot the violinist argument I've seen.

            With regard to the argument about the difference between "letting die" and "killing", I don't believe there is such a distinction for a fetus that is not yet viable. Post viability, an argument could be made that instead of an abortion, the woman should be allowed to have labor induced, and then put the baby up for adoption. (Assuming for the sake of argument that the fetus is considered to be a person.)

            As to whether pregnancy is an ordinary life-saving intervention, I would point out that the woman is risking death in continuing the pregnancy. (The chance of death is not particularly high, about 1 in 5000, but I think that still counts.)

            As for parental responsibility, it traditionally starts when a baby is born. (Though that's because the law does not consider the fetus to be a person.) The fact that the law allows a new mother to relinquish her child without penalty suggests that parental responsibility is somewhat voluntary.

            Comment


            • #66
              Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
              Perhaps some of the most interesting discussions on AI and life that I've run across were in the various Ghost in the Shell anime series. As is so often in an anime or manga, they don't approach it from a few sides but rather tackle it from virtually every direction imaginable. Unfortunately, that doesn't leave much time for a deep look into any of them. Still, it definitely gets you thinking.
              Poor Tachikoma. :-(
              Geislerminian Antinomian Kenotic Charispneumaticostal Gender Mutualist-Egalitarian.

              Beige Federalist.

              "Everybody is somebody's heretic."

              Social Justice is usually the opposite of actual justice.

              Proud member of the LGBFJB community.

              Would-be Grand Vizier of the Padishah Maxi-Super-Ultra-Hyper-Mega-MAGA King Trumpius Rex.

              Justice for Ashli Babbitt!

              Justice for Matthew Perna!

              Comment


              • #67
                Originally posted by Alien View Post

                I'd be interested in the "scientific" definition of "life" and "organism". I looked up "organism" (admittedly Wiki, but no point taking it too far until I have your definitions) and got this.


                In biology, an organism (from Ancient Greek ὄργανον (órganon) 'instrument, implement, tool', and -ισμός (-ismós)) is any organic, living system that functions as an individual entity.[1] All organisms are composed of cells (cell theory).[1] Organisms are classified by taxonomy into groups such as multicellular animals, plants, and fungi; or unicellular microorganisms such as protists, bacteria, and archaea.[2]All types of organisms are capable of reproduction, growth and development, maintenance, and some degree of response to stimuli. Beetles, squids, tetrapods, mushrooms, and vascular plants are examples of multicellular organisms that differentiate specialized tissues and organs during development.


                Bolding at [2] mine.

                It supports your exclusion of sperm and (unfertilized) ovum, but would seem to exclude a fertilized ovum too. I doubt the fertilized ovum can respond to stimuli, and it certainly can't reproduce in the sense that is meant, which would be producing another organism like itself.

                This may seem trivial, but if you and others like you could agree on that point it would allow a number of things that stand in the way of agreement, like wanting to ban methods of contraception that (can) prevent implantation. And we are in desperate need of some movement toward the center or this will go on for ever.
                Sure, you can try and muddy things up, but there is no disputing the fact that at the moment of conception, a human life is created.
                Some may call me foolish, and some may call me odd
                But I'd rather be a fool in the eyes of man
                Than a fool in the eyes of God


                From "Fools Gold" by Petra

                Comment


                • #68
                  Originally posted by NorrinRadd View Post

                  Poor Tachikoma. :-(
                  Batou "spoiled" one by using natural oil rather than synthetic.

                  I'm always still in trouble again

                  "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                  "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
                  "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

                  Comment


                  • #69
                    Originally posted by seer View Post

                    Of course a pig is not a human being. And as humans we generally value others humans more than animals - as I'm sure you do...
                    I am not sure I would value the lives of unknown contributors to an internet discussion board over the wellbeing and welfare of my cats.
                    "It ain't necessarily so
                    The things that you're liable
                    To read in the Bible
                    It ain't necessarily so
                    ."

                    Sportin' Life
                    Porgy & Bess, DuBose Heyward, George & Ira Gershwin

                    Comment


                    • #70
                      Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post

                      I am not sure I would value the lives of unknown contributors to an internet discussion board over the wellbeing and welfare of my cats.
                      Sadly I actually believe you, but you do value human life over animal life. If you were in a position where you had to choose between saving a stranger's baby or one of your cats, I'm sure you would choose the baby.
                      Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

                      Comment


                      • #71
                        Originally posted by Stoic View Post

                        Thanks. That's probably the best response to the violinist argument I've seen.
                        Perhaps you missed my response: But let me ask Stoic, if one was forcibly hooked up to violinist to save his life why would that be wrong? Why would 9 months of your freedom trump his life?

                        Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

                        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

                        Comment


                        • #72
                          Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post

                          Sure, you can try and muddy things up, but there is no disputing the fact that at the moment of conception, a human life is created.
                          I know you have said that the notion of personhood is nonsense in the context of the abortion debate, but it's still unclear to me as to why exactly. When you say that a human life is created at the moment of conception, you're not saying that a person is created, but rather a human. The human, the fertilized egg, is a potential person, obviously, but it's not a person yet. As far as we know, the zygote is not even an entity that is having any sort of sentient experience. Although, and this thought just occurred to me, but perhaps that zygote is experiencing something. Some sort of primal, somatic experience, of the irreducible quality of existence itself. I'm rambling at this point, but I'm searching for an answer. It just seems to me that if the fertilized egg is a human, then that means that it is an entity having an experience. At this point, i'm rooting for that conclusion. It's the only conclusion I see that would make any sense at all if we wish to maintain that human life is created at conception.

                          Comment


                          • #73
                            Originally posted by seer View Post
                            One thing that I'm having a hard time following in this debate is why some believe that a woman's bodily autonomy is a greater good, or more important, than a human life? What is the justification for that specific hierarchy of values?
                            Whose pregnancy is it? Men making decisions about what women can do or not do with or to their own bodies is Theocratic and belongs in the ancient past.

                            The pro-life, forced birth stance is wrong and sinful mainly because it does not stop abortion, it only hurts women, and hurts the poorest women the most.
                            “I think God, in creating man, somewhat overestimated his ability.” ― Oscar Wilde
                            “And if there were a God, I think it very unlikely that He would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence” ― Bertrand Russell
                            “not all there” - you know who you are

                            Comment


                            • #74
                              Originally posted by seer View Post
                              Perhaps you missed my response: But let me ask Stoic, if one was forcibly hooked up to violinist to save his life why would that be wrong? Why would 9 months of your freedom trump his life?
                              Perhaps you don't think that being forced to contribute 9 months of your freedom to save another person's life would be wrong. If so, you won't find the argument persuasive.

                              A lot of arguments are like that.


                              Comment


                              • #75
                                Originally posted by Stoic View Post

                                Perhaps you don't think that being forced to contribute 9 months of your freedom to save another person's life would be wrong. If so, you won't find the argument persuasive.

                                A lot of arguments are like that.
                                So it is based on how you feel then? No rational response?
                                Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

                                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

                                Comment

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