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XtianChris

Playing Gawd's Advocate On Abortion


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Uh, OK. First, you are talking about scheduling a birth to be induced based on convenience, and not on an abortion of convenience (much less, a late term one), right? See my reply to Seth.

 

The following sites discuss the topic. Search for the word "convenience" on those pages. They indicate that the scheduling of births is indeed practiced to accommodate schedules.

 

Ok, now I get what you are saying with that.

 

You took the position that it is OK to do an abortion anytime during pregnancy, but not OK to kill a newborn infant. You've explained why: that the fetus is dependent on the mother for nutrition and respiration.

 

In that the fetus is a part of the mother, not an individual.

 

I'm suggesting that if you remove a baby late enough in pregnancy, you're removing a baby that may, or will be able to breathe, eat, and survive on it's own. Do this early in the 3rd trimester and there will be a lot of expense and risk. Later there will be some. Wait long enough and there will be little or none.

 

This being the case, I'm asking: certain special circumstances excepted, if you're going to terminate the pregnancy, wouldn't the time to do it be before the fetus becomes viable and not late when it could survive?

 

As was indicated before, abortive procedures late in term are risky and dangerous. Most abortions occur before then anyways because nobody is going to carry a child for 8 months and then suddenly decide they don't want it.

 

The point of allowing abortions late in term is to protect the mother.

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They appear to have most of the hall marks of being self aware... We seem to be arguing applied intelligence as a benchmark of self aware. If a child can grab something it therefore has an idea of its location in space, and the idea of trajectories, coupled with a desire to hold the object since it's shiny or makes a noise. It's not a contemplation, it's a simple function... but there is both will and desire there. Seems to me 'self aware' or 'sentience' is needlessly sexed up... I've never met a baby over a week old that can't be adjudged as self aware...

 

Ok Gramps, first, kudos for the challenges, that's pretty much the only reason I entered this discussion.

 

Getting back to my original argument, I was arguing about valuing life.

 

A zygote doesn't value life, even though it has the potential to grow into a youth that can value life like you and I. It's pretty clear that most of us on this board leave the decision of ending the zygote's potential up to the mother. Where we seem to have disagreement is when the fetus develops further. I argue that it is still up to the mother whether or not to end the potential. I think that the problem some of us have with later abortion is the fact that we start to empathize with the fetus who looks more like a human. The question is, does the fetus itself also start to value its own existance, meaning that it is now important for us to consider not just the mother's feelings but also the feelings of the fetus as we determine whether or not it is apt for society to step in and exercize its power of decision?

 

I argue that no, we still must only consider the mother's feelings and not those of the fetus since the fetus doesn't have any opinion about his/her own existance yet.

 

The type of self awareness you describe can also be attributed to other animals. What I'm talking about is the level of self awareness that seperates us from other animals. It's a tricky line to walk, I know.

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The type of self awareness you describe can also be attributed to other animals. What I'm talking about is the level of self awareness that seperates us from other animals. It's a tricky line to walk, I know.

 

How are we that different from other animals? A newborn chimp takes in its surroundings and seems to understand motions made by its mother. A newborn puppy squirms around trying to find a tit to suck from. A baby bird opens its mouth and cries for food. Ah, here's a good one: the bird, while it's still in its shell struggles to break free instead of just waiting until it becomes too big, indicating that it has some sort of desire to break free. These all seem to be self-aware and well capable of sensing, feeling, and thinking, actually even more so than a newborn baby if you ask me, since the baby simply lies still and blinks for quite a while.

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The human brain isn't fully developed at birth. It still has two more years. Humans are unique among other mammals in that their brains continue to grow and develop after birth. This is due to evolution. A fully developed human brain would never be able to fit through a bi-pedals birth canal.

 

I am in no way advocating infanticide. I'm just stating fact.

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Lack of development = lack of function...

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What exactly is "convenience?" I have a hard time believing that there's as many abortions for "convenience" as you seem to imply, ShackledNoMore.

 

This is especially true that anyone seeking a late-term abortion would almost certainly have their case decided by a hospital ethics board. And the stats GrandpaHarley cited a few pages back stated that 95% of second-trimester abortions are done for the health of the mother, which is an overwhelming amount. (remember that life isn't perfect and there's always going to be someone to "break the rules.")

 

But what is this "convenience?"

 

-Seth

 

No, no, no, no, NOOOOOO! I had no intent to imply that! Sorry if I caused any confusion.

 

Please recheck exactly what I said:

 

"...when healthy babies are routinely induced for reasons as trivial as convenience?"

 

[snip]

 

"Convenience" would involve planning the day and time of birth so that the baby won't be born at 3 A.M., or so that the mother can plan her last day of work, so that the doctor won't have to make an extra trip to the hospital over the weekend, etc.

 

I've been called upon to support my claim that this is common, which I'll do in my next post, but if Asimov also thought I was talking about convenience abortions rather than convenience scheduling, it could be moot.

 

OK, sorry about that.

 

-Seth

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My God daughter was born with a concussive brain trauma due to a policy in the hospital of inducing babies for the convenience of the Unit, not the mother... It was a shame my old pal was suffering depressive illness and too sick to fight a malpractice suit. Still, she's alive, well and nearly 7 now.

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I think that abortion should remain legal, but I also think that abortions are less than ideal. They are not noble in my view. They don't speak to the better character of men and women.

 

Why do women get abortions?

 

Sometimes having a baby simply ruins more lives than it creates. What really doesn't speak to the better character of men and women is the incredible willful ignorance and dumbing down the sheer awesome responsibility that raising children actually is. I think this speaks volumns of how truely worthless women and children actually are in our society. We're just supposed to pop out babies simply because a sperm and an egg got together without any consideration at all for ourselves, our loved ones, and our future children. Regardless of if you want it, if you can afford it, or if you are even able to take on that kind of responsiblity.

 

This is WAY beyond matters of "convenience." Being pregnant and having kids is a HUGE freakin' deal. It's probably the most life-impacting event you can possibly have next to the birth and death of yourself. Absolutely EVERYTHING in your life is affected and often sacrificed, because you have a child. Your whole life revolves around the child until it's self sufficient. Most of your money, time, and resources goes to caring for the child. It's boring, thankless, hard work for 18 years and you never get a break.

 

And there are a lot of parents out there who HATE it. They regret it.

 

Children can, and often do, ruin your life. I know that's not a nice or pleasent thought, and our society tends to freak out if you describe children as anything but innocent little angels from heaven that are all magic fixits to your relationships, your spiritual voids, and your greasy hair. But it's the truth. Kids are incredibly hard to deal with. Case in point, the dude in Galveston Texas who microwaved his daughter because he was so stressed out from caring from her. Look at our overloaded adoption and foster care system. Look at all the single parents out there struggling and working their asses off and really not that happy with parenting. Look and read how many parents just freak out and abuse their kids because they can't handle being a parent. It's real, it's here, it's the truth. I can pull up examples of this again and again and again and again.

 

Women have abortions because they want to protect their lives they have so carefully worked so hard to establish from destruction and not suffer sickness and extrutiating pain of pregnancy and labour. They have abortions because many have the opinion that giving a child a bad life with a resentful parent or shoving them into our lousy adoption system is far worse than a fast termination. They have abortions because of sickness to them or the fetus.

 

Women have the right to think of ourselves first, because if we don't, we have little to offer the next generation.

 

Sorry, I'm not ranting at you Legion, I just borrowed your comment as a ramping board because it's something I want to get out of my system.

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How are we that different from other animals?

 

While no doubt other animals have emotions and personalities, I've had dogs, I know they do, I highly doubt they can contemplate their own existance and have little concept of the future. At least last time I checked, there wasn't any record of a dolphin philosopher.

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"At least last time I checked, there wasn't any record of a dolphin philosopher."

 

The possibly say the same of us...

 

Taking the concept further afield; intelligence measurement depends on the bias of the measurer, and the nature of the testing. Beyond the commonality of needing to eat, cephalopods (octopodes) have little in common with us... environmentally, biologically, or physiologically. We know they can open sophisticated food containers, but that is it... the rest is guess work... the turn black when possibly angry, white when possibly scared... but what goes on in the largest non-mammalian brain on the planet is pretty much a mystery. We do know they seem to be able to link specific symbols to specific concepts (different food types)... but thereafter? Heer Bee Tygeres...

 

However, I doubt we'd ever account a 'lower' mammal, let alone a different phylum, the laurel wreath of 'intelligence'... Hell, we share ~95% of our genome with the Pan (Chimpanzee) Genus (who are as similar to each other as we are to them) yet we are the only surviving 'Homo' not just another 'Pan'. IF we discovered our species tomorrow, after DNA sequencing, we classify us and an other form of chimpanzee, just a high functioning tool making one... but, of course, inherently inferior to US since we are the paragon of animals... :)

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Kurari, great post, one I totally agree with. I have two children. I have suffered in the workplace because of it, given up a good portion of my life these past 18 years and sometimes didn't have two nickels to rub together. Eventhough I made the decision to get pregnant and knew it would change my life considerably I didn't realize how much it would. The care that children need is constant. I wanted my two and while I wouldn't change my mind if I had it to do all over again, I cannot imagine how someone who didn't want that responsibility deals with it on a day to day basis without some form of resentment toward their situation or even their child.

 

Abortion has been around for a long-long time even though it may not have been legal. They just didn't do it in sterile conditions nor was it done in a manner in which the woman wasn't put at great risk of death. Back then they either did it themselves or went to less than pristine surroundings to have them done by some butcher.

 

I'd much prefer it if we are sterile and we have to take a pill to make us fertile. That's not a statement for forced sterility, I just wish we were wired that way.

 

Gramps, sorry about your godchild and friend. I'm glad they are both doing well now. And thanks too for reposting my comments and your kind words.

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Very welcome...

 

As an addendum: that marvellous piece of medicine was in the year 2000... it was handled well as well... along the lines of 'If she survives the night, which doesn't look good, she may be deaf. Or blind. Or both. And there is significant risk of other damage which will lead to permanent impairment and learning difficulties...' He was nearly hysterical when he rang me...

 

The really terrible thing is, they were doing that crap all the way from the late 60s...

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I think that abortion should remain legal, but I also think that abortions are less than ideal. They are not noble in my view. They don't speak to the better character of men and women.

 

Why do women get abortions?

 

Sometimes having a baby simply ruins more lives than it creates. What really doesn't speak to the better character of men and women is the incredible willful ignorance and dumbing down the sheer awesome responsibility that raising children actually is. I think this speaks volumns of how truely worthless women and children actually are in our society. We're just supposed to pop out babies simply because a sperm and an egg got together without any consideration at all for ourselves, our loved ones, and our future children. Regardless of if you want it, if you can afford it, or if you are even able to take on that kind of responsiblity.

 

This is WAY beyond matters of "convenience." Being pregnant and having kids is a HUGE freakin' deal. It's probably the most life-impacting event you can possibly have next to the birth and death of yourself. Absolutely EVERYTHING in your life is affected and often sacrificed, because you have a child. Your whole life revolves around the child until it's self sufficient. Most of your money, time, and resources goes to caring for the child. It's boring, thankless, hard work for 18 years and you never get a break.

 

And there are a lot of parents out there who HATE it. They regret it.

 

Children can, and often do, ruin your life. I know that's not a nice or pleasent thought, and our society tends to freak out if you describe children as anything but innocent little angels from heaven that are all magic fixits to your relationships, your spiritual voids, and your greasy hair. But it's the truth. Kids are incredibly hard to deal with. Case in point, the dude in Galveston Texas who microwaved his daughter because he was so stressed out from caring from her. Look at our overloaded adoption and foster care system. Look at all the single parents out there struggling and working their asses off and really not that happy with parenting. Look and read how many parents just freak out and abuse their kids because they can't handle being a parent. It's real, it's here, it's the truth. I can pull up examples of this again and again and again and again.

 

Women have abortions because they want to protect their lives they have so carefully worked so hard to establish from destruction and not suffer sickness and extrutiating pain of pregnancy and labour. They have abortions because many have the opinion that giving a child a bad life with a resentful parent or shoving them into our lousy adoption system is far worse than a fast termination. They have abortions because of sickness to them or the fetus.

 

Women have the right to think of ourselves first, because if we don't, we have little to offer the next generation.

 

Sorry, I'm not ranting at you Legion, I just borrowed your comment as a ramping board because it's something I want to get out of my system.

I thought that was a good post Kurari. I admire you for having the guts to be honest with yourself and with others. I didn’t take any of that as a rant against me. So no worries.

 

In the case of abortion I am of the opinion that culture trumps law. And as such, law should get out of the way and let culture be the regulating influence on abortion. Let men and women decide amongst themselves.

 

But I will not celebrate abortion.

 

I have an aunt who realized early on that she was too selfish to have children. So she had her tubes tied. I admire her for her honesty and her willingness to take the steps necessary to ensure that she would not become pregnant in the first place.

 

Abortion should be avoided in my opinion.

 

It is far better in my estimation to avoid the gray area entirely, where we debate as to whether or not abortion is murder. I value a clear conscience. When I go to bed, I want to fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow.

 

So I say let abortion be legal. And should a woman go and get an abortion and have a clear conscience, then so be it. And should she carry guilt and shame because of it, then so be that as well.

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I'd much prefer it if we are sterile and we have to take a pill to make us fertile. That's not a statement for forced sterility, I just wish we were wired that way.

 

I second that. Also, if sex weren't damned pleasureful then there'd be a lot less need for these debates.

 

I also have to commend Kurari on another good post.

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Very welcome...

 

As an addendum: that marvellous piece of medicine was in the year 2000... it was handled well as well... along the lines of 'If she survives the night, which doesn't look good, she may be deaf. Or blind. Or both. And there is significant risk of other damage which will lead to permanent impairment and learning difficulties...' He was nearly hysterical when he rang me...

 

The really terrible thing is, they were doing that crap all the way from the late 60s...

 

I think a lot of the problem is, if you read any pregnancy book or know anything about it, 37 weeks in considered full term. A pregnancy lasts 40 weeks. I personally think that's too early and that in utero is the best place for the baby to be as long as possible. Nature gives the baby more time in the womb than it really needs for a reason. It is to ensure it's survival outside the womb. Also, they figure out how far along you are by your last menstral cycle and what if the mother or doctor are off by a week or more. It doesn't happen that much any more, but it happened a lot when we didn't have the technology we have now. Though, after 40 weeks, the plecenta starts getting old. I can see inducing as close to 40 weeks as possible, but not a few weeks before.

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she was 4 days early. They claimed she was two days late...

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Thanks folks, I appreciate the compliments. :)

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I'd much prefer it if we are sterile and we have to take a pill to make us fertile. That's not a statement for forced sterility, I just wish we were wired that way.
Or like the gryphons in the Mercedes Lackey novels. Their elaborate mating flight is essential to their fertility. Without it, they can mate all they want and won't produce a thing.

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Very welcome...

 

As an addendum: that marvellous piece of medicine was in the year 2000... it was handled well as well... along the lines of 'If she survives the night, which doesn't look good, she may be deaf. Or blind. Or both. And there is significant risk of other damage which will lead to permanent impairment and learning difficulties...' He was nearly hysterical when he rang me...

 

The really terrible thing is, they were doing that crap all the way from the late 60s...

 

That just plain sucks. I certainly hope that they still aren't doing that. It's my opinion that medicine isn't necessarily a one size fits all situation. When we go to the hospital we believe that the doctors and nurses know what is best. Unfortunately that isn't always the case.

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St. Augustine believed that the soul enters a boy when he was 40 days old and a girl when she was 90 days old (misogynistic prick that he was). It wasn't until 1869 that the Catholic church changed it's position and declared that the soul enters at conception making abortion and contraception a sin.

 

Prior to the mid-nineteenth century abortion in the US was legal until "quickening", when the pregnant woman first felt movement. However, as early as 1821 states started making abortion illegal. At that time, herbal medicine was a well established practice in America and the most common method women used to abort were herbal brews. The herbal brews worked by poisoning women’s body and making their bodies too hostile of an environment for pregnancies to continue. The use of these herbal brews for abortion was neither safe nor reliable. The first laws limiting abortion practices were actually aimed at ensuring women’s safety and ending the poisoning of women.

 

There were numerous reasons why people in various states wanted to limit and outlaw abortion in the United States during the 19th Century. The abortion debate during this time period was extremely different from the debate of today that frames abortion in a moral context.

 

In the mid-1800s, women in America were mainly ending pregnancies to limit the size of their families. Some US leaders feared that if American women (meaning white) did not have more children, the immigrant populations of other religions and races would outnumber them, resulting in their loss of political power.

 

The American Medical Association was also a major force behind the drive to criminalize abortion. The AMA wanted to prevent midwives, pharmacists, homeopaths, and herbalists from competing with them for patients and patient fees. They were concerned with establishing exclusive rights for physicians to practice medicine.

 

The Comstock Law, 1873:

 

The Comstock Law was named after Anthony Comstock, a salesman and Christian zealot, who deemed himself the moral guardian of the United States. As the Post Office Inspector of New York, he successfully advocated for a federal law that made sending “obscene, lewd, indecent, or immoral” publications or devices through the US mail a criminal offense.

 

The US mail was the most common method for exchanging and obtaining information and products at that time. The law was meant to stop trade in "obscene literature" and "immoral articles." In reality, the Comstock Law targeted information on sexuality, sexually transmitted diseases, abortion, birth control, and birth control devices since such information and devices were considered “obscene” and “immoral.” The Comstock Law aimed to enforce chastity on unmarried women and attempted to keep women within the traditional roles.

 

After the Comstock Law was enacted, some states further regulated such information. They forbade Americans from asking or giving information about birth control, abortion, or sexuality, and in some states citizens were forbidden to use birth control. While such information was still available, the literature that offered the best and most accurate advice disappeared and the government replaced it with inferior and confusing information.

 

The Comstock laws also widened class barriers as impoverished, single, and rural women had less access to medical advice and treatment from private physicians. Birth control devices were available at a higher cost, and from fewer and less respectable sources. Women’s reproductive health and control was removed from the scientific and medical sphere and reduced to a world of gossip and back-alley abortions.

 

As abortion became illegal across the United States, women resorted to illegal methods of abortion that were often unsafe. Wealthier women were able to find providers who would perform abortions, however, poor women, who could not afford private doctors, resorted to extreme methods to end their unwanted pregnancies.

 

Some of the methods women used to induce their own abortions included putting their bodies under extreme physical strain to cause miscarriage or inserting sharp devices (often a metal clothes hanger) into themselves. The methods women were forced to use resulted in cervical wounds, serious bleeding, infections, shock, and death.

 

Since the start of the 20th century, abortions were illegal in all states, with some states allowing abortion if the women’s life was endangered. During the 1960s, several states modified their restrictive laws to allow abortions in more circumstances. Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, and Virginia modified their laws and allowed abortions to be performed by licensed physicians to protect the woman’s physical and mental health, in the case of fetal defect, or when the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest.

 

Some states allowed abortions only in cases of rape or incest, and thirty-one states allowed abortion to protect the women's life only. Since abortions under any other conditions were illegal, women were still forced to seek illegal abortions. Untrained persons performed thousands of abortions each year using hasty, unsanitary and dangerous methods that resulted in the maiming, permanent damage of organs, and death of many women.

 

In the early 1960s, laws in 28 states made it illegal for married couples to use contraception. Connecticut had a law that prohibited providing information on birth control and using drugs or instruments to prevent conception since 1879.

 

Estelle Griswold, the Executive Director of the Planned Parenthood League of Connecticut, and her Medical Director were arrested and convicted for giving information, instruction, and other medical advice to married couples about birth control. After a series of appeals, the case landed before the US Supreme Court as Griswold v. Connecticut.

 

In 1965, the Court nullified the Connecticut statute prohibiting the use of birth control by married persons. The court decided that the law prohibiting the use of contraceptives violated the fundamental “right to privacy.”

 

Griswold v. Connecticut was a landmark case, because it established that the US Constitution guaranteed Americans the “right to privacy” even though this right was not explicitly stated as such in the original document. The right to privacy set up a legal precedent that would be used in Roe v. Wade to legalize abortion on the federal level.

 

In 1962 the American Law Institute (ALI) advocated for a change in national abortion laws. A panel of lawyers, scholars and jurists developed the “Model Penal Code on Abortion,” which recommended that abortion be legal in cases of rape, incest, severe fetal defects, and when the women’s life or health was at risk. In 1967 Colorado was the first state to reform its laws concerning abortion to conform to the recommendations of the ALI.

 

A more progressive opinion regarding abortion began to develop in the United States, and in 1970, many states liberalized their abortion laws, including Hawaii, New York, Alaska, and Washington. Hawaii became the first state to abolish laws making abortion a criminal act.

 

New York also enacted the most liberal abortion law of the time, which permitted abortion through the 24th week of pregnancy when licensed physicians performed the procedure. Slowly, the general opinion of people and medical professionals, shifted to the idea that the decision to have or not to have an abortion solely involved the pregnant woman and her doctor.

 

Under Massachusetts law, contraceptives could only be distributed by registered doctors or pharmacists and the contraceptives could only be distributed to married couples. Sheriff Eisenstadt brought criminal charges against William Baird with breaking this law when he gave a contraceptive to a woman after a lecture on birth control and over population at Boston University.

 

In 1972, the US Supreme Court determined in Eisenstadt v. Baird that the Massachusetts law was unconstitutional based on the fact that it violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment by discriminating against people who were not married. The Court also declared that the right to privacy recognized in Griswold v. Connecticut extended to procreative decisions made by unmarried couples as well as married couples.

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Taph, thanks for providing the write up on the history of abortion. I actually had learned some of it while in middle school (many, many, many years ago) but had forgotten a lot of it. Can't remember if I learned it in sex-ed or in history but it was covered, surprisingly.

 

Ahhh, the atrocities that woman have endured because of religion and bigotry, ain't it just grand. :(

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I am Agnostic and consider myself pro-life, although I don't believe abortion should be banned in any form until we can provide women with better options. Even still I think in cases of incest or life endagerment abortion should remain an option.

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Guest seekeroftruth

Thanks for all the info, Taphophilia. I didn't know so much about the history of birth control and abortion.

 

I am pro-choice (even though I was almost aborted due to rape). But I don't agree with the women that use repeated abortion as a from of birth control. Learn some frickin' self-control!

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That is a vanishingly rare demographic...

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