11/06/2006

"Mercy" Killing Babies

Did no one learn anything from World War II?
A doctors' group today called for a debate on the mercy killing of disabled babies.
The medical profession should examine the "active euthanasia" of desperately ill newborns, said the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology.
It wants an inquiry into whether the "deliberate intervention to cause the death of an infant" should be legalised.

This is an outrage!
As a mother of two (That's right! I said two! My second is due in March. A fetus *IS* a person!) I am shocked and appalled that not only are doctors considering this, but people are actually willing to debate it as a worthy issue. The argument is cloaked in pseudo-morality, artificial ethics and the belief that a disabled person is not "worth" as much. For example:
Some doctors consider, however, that a baby born so prematurely and who survives thanks to modern medical treatment is likely to be so badly disabled that worthwhile life is impossible.

So, instead of finding ways to improve the quality of life for the disabled, these doctors would rather eradicate the problem. Murder is more acceptable than medical innovation.
The problem lies not only with doctors. The problem is also with some parents.
The college suggested that decisions on when young babies should be killed or allowed to die should depend not only on the gravity of their condition.
Its submission to an inquiry on the ethics of treatment for severely ill and disabled newborns raises the question of whether such children should be killed if they are not wanted by their parents.

I would have no problem if they introduced a law castrating such "parents." A child is not a decoration for your stroller. It's not there to be cute and make you look good. A child is a human being, a life, someone for you to love, cherish, care and provide for. If a disability is going to interfere with that, if you are too callous to care for the blessing God has given you just because it doesn't line up with your warped definition of "perfect," then you should not be having children.

7 comments:

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Great post! I am going to link to it.

Also, very best wishes to you and your growing family! :)

Charles said...

If people weren't so in love with socialist health care than we would be able to pay for our own health care and unethical doctors and government officials would have much less say about who is worthy of life and who isn't. The outcome of almost every issue in western society comes down to how much say the government has in everyday life.People embrace socialism because they like the thought of "free" services from the government, but along with the responsibilities you give to the government for your care you also hand over your rights,like who is worthy of life.You can thank Trudeau and his followers for where we are at in Canada, and Mr Beveridge and his reshaping of Britain into a socialist utopia after WW2.Two countries so drunk on the socialist elixer that even to hint at our own self reliance is met with acusations of un-patriotic thought.

Eric said...

As a parent of a special needs child (12 year old boy) I find it sickening that in the 21st. century this would even be on the table for debate.

The next obvious (or should be) question is "how old is too old" and who is to determine which illnesses or disabilities can live and which ones should we "terminate"? For example we did not find out about our son's disabilities until he was almost 2. His issues require numerous resources, monetary and otherwise. Should he have been murdered?

I've spent too much time in the special needs world to not know that each one of these people, children and adults alike, are gifts to this world. Even if they cannot communicate in the "normal" way, they offer lessons and opportunities for each one of us to learn the true grace of God.

Ok...I;ve said enough...thanks for the post...hopefully it will get people to think...

Anonymous said...

People have this crazy idea that they are entitled to a perfectly suffering-free life.

While no one wants to suffer, the truth of the matter is, just about everyone in life has suffering. Elimination of suffering does not justify all behaviour. It seems like today the measure of morality is elimination of suffering ALONE.

That is a very dangerous concept.

Lord Kitchener's Own said...

The use of the word "disability" is a huge problem here. I would agree, that ending the life of a child with even a "severe" disability would, in almost all cases, be morally objectionable.

However, I would imagine there are also cases where extreme medical problems would make providing the infant with a peaceful end to their life ethically more compelling than prolonging the child's life at all costs, to the great suffrering of the child. I can't imagine a parent who is told by their doctor "I can keep your baby alive for another week, but it will be a horrible experience for him or her, and there's nothing I can do to prevent his or her death" saying, "Keep my baby alive as long as possible, at all costs". These cases would be the smallest of minoritites, but I'm not willing to say, categorically, that "life", no matter how short and painful, would always be the ethical choice over an end to the infant's suffering.

Which is why "disability" is such a troubling word here. It suggests Down's syndrome, or some other such "disability" which would be difficult (perhaps even severely so) for the child and parents to deal with, but is not, imho, necessarily an ethical justification for an "end of life procedure". That said, I'm also not willing to say that there are no extreme medical difficulties that, when faced with them, the ethical choice would be an end to suffering over the prolongation of life at all costs (the costs to be borne by the infant of course, in the form of pain and suffering).

This is why such discussions need to be had, openly and honestly. Many, (including all posters here, I'd imagine) would object to where the line is being drawn by doctors, as reported in the item above. I don't believe however that there are NO cases in which an end to suffering would be ethically preferable to a prolongation of life at all costs. I think this is a complex question, and as such, a simple answer is unworthy. That's why this discussion is so important.

Peter Thurley said...

The argument is cloaked in pseudo-morality, artificial ethics and the belief that a disabled person is not "worth" as much.

I have just spent the last few weeks grading papers by students who made similar arguments to yours. They all got C+'s at the most, because not only did they fail to read the relevant literature, but they also failed to make any substantive argument against their opponents and in favour of their own. Don't get me wrong - I'm a prolifer, and I do not support active euthanasia. I think it is murder, and I think there are plausible arguments that can be made for why it is murder. Your post, however, is not an argument. It fails to consider any of the relevant arguments that the physicians might make, but only slams a fist on the desk screaming "But that's wrong dammit!" Life is worth something. If you examined the argument, you might find that they don't disagree with your claim. I suggest doing some reading in the arguments concerning active euthanasia so that next time you comment, you will be better equipped to give a good argument/reason why euthanasia is in fact immoral.

If people weren't so in love with socialist health care than we would be able to pay for our own health care and unethical doctors and government officials would have much less say about who is worthy of life and who isn't.

Of course on this view, we would have hundreds of people dying in our streets everyday because they are unable to pay for medical attention. You want to cry bloody murder when someone suggests euthanizing an infant, but are content to let people die in the streets because they are unfortunate enough to not have the financial ability to pay for necessary medical attention. That strikes me as hypocritical. When you have a consistent position, and I might be willing to listen.

Ruth said...

Sometimes, "it's wrong" is argument enough. It's called absolute morality.
Would you like further proof?
Exodus 20:13 You shall not murder.
Exodus 21:14 If a man schemes and kills another man deliberately, take him away from my altar and put him to death.
Exodus 21:22-25 If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman's husband demands and the court allows. But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.
There is no convceivable argument that *ANY* doctor could possible offer that would justify a decision to murder a baby. Their debate was not about taking a child who could not survive off life support. Their debate was about KILLING a child because somehow a disability makes them less valuable, or makes their ungratefull parents wnat them less. There is nothing of value to consider in the argument AT ALL.

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