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Jack Sisson's Life Ethics Blog

We must find new ways through many ethical issues, especially regarding bioethics, medical ethics, and criminal justice. Jack Sisson's 'Life Ethics' blog focuses on numerous areas of concern, including the philosophical and ethical dilemmas surrounding stem-cell research, abortion, medical research, and health care.


I love "Seinfeld". My husband John and I now own DVD sets for the first 6 seasons, and we plan to eventually buy them all. The other night, while watching an early episode in season 6, we both suddenly sat up and looked at each other as the show took an unexpected step into the abortion issue. (This was especially interesting to me because I'd so recently posted to this blog a newspaper column from the late '80s in which the author referenced the great divide between pros and anti's. Now here's Seinfeld, in 1994, using making pizza as a metaphor for creating a human being.) And while the show asked, "when does a pizza become a pizza?", this blog continues to ask, "when does an embryo become human life?"

We just cannot seem to resolve this question , can we? Here's part of the Seinfeld episode, "The Couch," which first aired on October 27, 1994, and which features Poppie, Kramer's restauranteur friend, who once grossed Jerry out by not washing his hands after using the bathroom:
JERRY: Poppie, I was just curious...where do you stand on the abortion issue?

POPPIE: When my mother was abducted by the Communists, she was with child...

JERRY: Oh, boy.

POPPIE: ...but the Communists, they put an end to that! So, on this issue there is no debate! And no intelligent person can think differently.

ELAINE (offended): Well...Poppie. I think differently.

POPPIE: And what gives you the right to do that?

ELAINE (standing up): The Supreme Court gives me the right to do that! Let's go Jerry, c'mon.

WOMAN AT NEXT TABLE (to her date): I heard that. Let's go, Henry.

HENRY: But we just got here...

WOMAN AT ANOTHER TABLE: I'm with you, Poppie!

WOMAN AT YET ANOTHER TABLE (to her date): Let's go!

ELAINE (to Poppie): And I am not coming back!

POPPIE: You're not welcome!

JERRY: Well, I'm certainly glad I brought it up.

[Later in the episode, Kramer and Poppie are planning their "Make Your Own Pie" restaurant, and Kramer is making the first test pie when he adds an ingredient Poppie doesn't approve of.}

POPPIE: No, no. You can't put cucumbers on a pizza.

KRAMER: Well, why not? I like cucumbers.

POPPIE: That's not a pizza. It'll taste terrible.

KRAMER: But that's the idea, you make your own pie.

POPPIE: Yes, but we cannot give the people the right to choose any topping they want! Now on this issue there can be no debate!

KRAMER: What gives you the right to tell me how I would make my pie?

POPPIE: Because it's a pizza!

KRAMER: It's not a pizza until it comes out of the oven!

POPPIE: It's a pizza the moment you put your fists in the dough!

KRAMER: No, it isn't!

POPPIE: Yes, it is!
And the debate continues.

If you'd like to see more Seinfeld scripts, here's a link to a site that has all of them.

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