Friday, April 01, 2005


Bioethics and babies

A provocative piece in the National Review Online begins with this startling pronouncement:

"Killing a defective infant is not morally equivalent to killing a person. Sometimes it is not wrong at all."

Peter Singer, a bioethics professor at Princeton University, penned this chillingly cold line in his book Practical Ethics.

In case you're not freezing yet: Singer explains that, "Newborn human babies have no sense of their own existence over time."

Therefore, they are not “persons”. This is not some theoretical debate being carried out by nutjobs on the fringe of the academic world. This is mainstream thinking in the field of “bioethics”. And the practice of “euthanizing” babies who are “damaged” is actually already underway.

Where's it happening? In Europe and the Netherlands, specifically — although word of it is slowly spreading. In Holland, the Associated Press reports that "at least five newborn mercy killings occur for every one reported."

This is not an abortion debate. This is one of the foremost “Bioethics experts” expounding upon why it is OK to kill infants who have been born and are alive. As I explained in my previous post on “bioethics”, it’s really a very simple matter of defining “person” as excluding certain living human beings, and then concluding that only “persons”, as you have defined the term, can have any claim to a “right” to life.

In other words, as Christine Rosen, the author of
Preaching Eugenics, ... says, "The Netherlands' embrace of euthanasia has been a gradual process aided by the growing acceptance (in a much more secular Europe) that some life is 'unworthy of life.'"

And who will determine which life is a “worthy” life and which life is “unworthy” and should be terminated? Apparently, doctors and, of course, “bioethics experts” are the members of society qualified to make this judgment.

Writing in The New England Journal of Medicine, two doctors from the University Medical Center Groningen in the Netherlands confessed that "it is difficult to define" who, among infants, can or should be eliminated. Babies, obviously, can't tell you their pain is unbearable, so it becomes incumbent on "parents and medical experts" to determine what "hopeless" means.

At the moment, the "mercy killing" of infants isn't officially legal — even in the Netherlands. It's just happening. But the Groningen doctors seem to believe that if they can present guidelines by which doctors can break the law uniformly — the presumption being that they be professional about their killing — that a law allowing such killing will follow.

The larger framework is already there in Holland: "Adult" euthanasia is legal in the Netherlands, including for some teenagers without parental consent. Voluntary euthanasia there is not restricted to the terminally ill; if your desire to die is "rational," you've got a green light.

“Voluntary euthanasia” is a fancy euphemism for suicide. And who determines whether your desire to commit suicide is rational? Why, doctors and “bioethical experts”, of course.

So here we are again, at that slippery slope the American law professors deride as the non-existent fantasy of those who think the courts have extended their reach far enough. We go from abortion (because a fetus isn’t a “person”) to killing “defective” infants (because the defective infant isn’t a person) to …what? Deciding that no infant, defective or not, is a “person”…and that therefore ANY infant can be killed? Actually, “bioethics experts” have already reached that conclusion. See my previous post (link above) for information on “potential persons”.

Am I the only one hearing echoes of the insane policies of Nazi Germany?

I know, I know, that’s crazy, this is nothing like Nazi Germany. Really? The Germans didn’t start out to send six million Jews to gas chambers, or murder millions of others in forced labor and concentration camps. They started out to segregate the Jews…and "mental defectives"…and criminals, yeah, that’s a good thing…and then to sterilize "mental defectives"…and criminals...and then to lock up everybody who wasn’t defined as a “good German”. And from there it’s a hop, skip and a jump to experiments on human subjects (also already endorsed by “bioethics experts”, see previous post) lampshades and belts made from human flesh and six million “non-persons” having their “unworthy” lives snuffed out in gas chambers.

And the Germany where all this happened was a modern, educated, sophisticated nation. But don’t worry… nothing like that could ever happen here. After all, the slippery slope doesn’t exist, and it’s absolutely not true that the cheapening of one life cheapens all lives, that the determination that one life is worthless makes all lives worth less.

(Please feel free to use the Technorati Searchlet in the sidebar to search for “Groningen Protocol”. If you haven’t been following these issues, you will be in for a surprise.)

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