Thursday, November 09, 2006

EclectEcon: My Opposition to Murder

John, at EclectEcon brought up the topic of infant euthanasia a few days ago, & I hadn't been able to get to expressing my own views on it.

To a strong degree, we are in accord. I think it should be discussed, all the way to the extremes, because I would like people to understand what is implied by this little fragment:
ethical issues raised by the policy of prolonging life in newborn babies.
The term should not be "prolonging life in newborns," but "preserving life." A child exists. He or she has life. If that child can continue to live without hourly heroic measures -- but simply requires costly maintenance -- should not that child receive all the help he can?

Perhaps a child is born with a blood disease, requiring regular transfusions. Give them. A child is born severely brain-damaged and cannot ever process basic thought or control his bodily functions. Love him, nonetheless. If the biological parents are incapable of mustering the necessary strength to raise a sick baby, surely there are others in this world willing to make the sacrifice, adopting the baby and tending to his or her needs.

Life -- all life -- is a gift.

Not to protect that life surely must go against all instincts for self-preservation, let alone species survival. If a doctor, a parent, a society reaches a decision that one is not worth saving, how, then, can we justify saving the next? Where, for example, will help come from when I am deemed too defective to save, because I have a two screwy knees and an even screwier mind, but the meds cost the insurance company or the state too much? And, then, what about people whose eyes could use surgical correction, or whose teeth need braces, or who just don't feel like getting out of bed today? How do we declare any innocent human to be not worth the expense of keeping alive?
"A very disabled child can mean a disabled family," the submission says.
And, yet, that will not kill the other members of the family. Were the infant's illness to be lethal to others (a la an "X-Men" super-villain, I suppose), perhaps euthanasia might be discussed. After all, it would then be a choice between one innocent life and many other innocents. But for mere hardship? Have we so coddled our society that we think we have a right to perpetual ease, regardless of the nature of nature itself? How depraved must a society have come, to consider murdering even more innocents so some other people can avoid discomfort?

John wonders if this debate could even remotely be discussed in a place where medical treatments were non-taxpayer-funded. I contend that it comes out the same, even if the parents are insured via HMO. Bureaucracy -- public or private -- may very well defeat the purpose behind the health care programs they were ostensibly designed to protect. To them all, the bottom line is of topmost concern.

Call me a fantasist, but ultimately, I can only hope that the big monster paper-pushing people-eaters will swallow themselves whole, and we will be able to grow strong again, both medically and morally.

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