Tuesday, November 30, 2004

A Post Decidedly Not about Music or TV

I like to talk about silly things, unimportant things. They're fun. They're safe.

But sometimes I have to talk about important things, because it would shame me not to.

The next step down the slippery slope of legalized baby-killing has occured.

Congratulations, Netherlands. Way to take the lead.

The AP reports that a hospital in Netherlands has started euthanizing babies with terminal illnesses or who are in extreme pain.

Now, the justification is that these "services" are done in the best interest of the people involved. That they are spared pain and trauma. That this is the kindest solution.

But the question remains: Kindest for whom? The baby who has no concept of what is going on, and whose life is snuffed out--or the parents/guardians who have to watch (and pay for it)?

Please don't interpret my opposition to mean that I want little kids to suffer, because I don't. (And that's an idiotic thing to assume, so cut it out.) But the question is one as fundamental as the Hippocratic oath. Doctors swear to "do no harm." Now, harm is being spun into "greater good."

I haven't checked whether The Netherlands has socialized healthcare. If the government has been funding Dutch healthcare, that could open up a few more scary arguments as to why this might start to occur more and more often.

I don't even know what to say about this. I'm appalled. I'm angry. Because this is another step toward an ugly end.

The scary thing is the implication of this decision. They have decided that it is ethical to euthanize suffering people who are "incapable of deciding for themselves whether they want to end their lives." This includes "children, the severely mentally retarded and people left in an irreversible coma after an accident." These individuals are considered to have "no free will," so the medical community in Holland has decided that they should make the decisions of life and death.

I wouldn't go to Holland and fall into a coma, if I were you.

Outside of the extreme hubris of this viewpoint, outside of the moral implications of this practice (which could be conceivably called post-birth abortion), is the even more frightening precedent that's being set.

The modern legal system is built on the concept of precedent. And each precedent is built upon by another step, another judicial decision.

So what's the next step? Pulling the plug on severely mentally handicapped people who aren't in pain, but who can't function without life support? Maybe babies with major deformities who aren't suffering or don't have terminal illnesses?

Do I think it will be legalized in America anytime soon? No. But just because it doesn't happen here doesn't mean you shouldn't care. But who on the American Left will vocally oppose this? I'm waiting to see. People so concerned for the protection of all (post-birth) life should be as outraged as the Catholic church is. Where are the cultural figures in America who will stand up against this kind of action?

I'm not holding my breath for any Hollywood activists to address this.

The most telling statement is at the end of the article, by Lance Stell, a professor of MEDICAL ETHICS (!) at Davidson College in North Carolina:
"More than half of all deaths occur under medical supervision, so it's really
about management and method of death," Stell said.

No, professor, it's really about human beings. Human beings who don't get a say as to whether they live or die.

If this practice occurs in America as much as people like the good professor believe, then we need to go ahead and rewrite the preamble to the Constitution, because all that stuff about the right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" has been sold down the river.

What's left? What are now the guidelines for viable, protected life, in places like The Netherlands? Someone who is born without massive deformities or terminal illnesses, who is alert and aware and in full control of their faculties?

Next stop Gattaca, kiddies. Keep your hands and arms inside the tram at all times. And please take care not to fall off--you may not get to wake up.

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