Sunday, November 05, 2006
“A very disabled child can mean a disabled family,” it says. “If life-shortening and deliberate interventions to kill infants were available, they might have an impact on obstetric decision-making, even preventing some late abortions, as some parents would be more confident about continuing a pregnancy and taking a risk on outcome.”
It isn't entirely clear why infanticide would be a better choice than late term abortion. But one advocate makes it clear that infant euthanasia is part and parcel of the logic of abortion:
The college’s submission was also welcomed by John Harris, a member of the government’s Human Genetics Commission and professor of bioethics at Manchester University. “We can terminate for serious foetal abnormality up to term but cannot kill a newborn. What do people think has happened in the passage down the birth canal to make it okay to kill the foetus at one end of the birth canal but not at the other?” he said.
Full proposal here.
posted by Sydney on 11/05/2006 10:54:00 PM 5 comments
I think that the logic here is that parents would be more likely to continue a pregnancy when the prognosis is not entirely clear, if they knew they would never have to take care of a handicapped child. If the child does have turn out to have the defect, it could be killed.
By 1:40 PM, at
Yes, John Harris asked the right question, and danie is right about the slippery slope. The thing is, right-to-lifers used to criticize abortion because it was seen as something done for the mother's convenience. That argument is correctly seen as insulting to women, and there is no way the US is going to ban all abortions, nor should it. Late term abortion brings up a different issue: where is the "right" to take someone's life because you judge that life not to be worth living, and to whom doe that "right" belong?
This case is actually like the top of a hill- it slides in a lot of directions. For instance, the RCOG statement utilizes a term called "Quality adjusted year of life." or QALY. Decades ago, I published a couple of articles on this very issue. We decided that it was simply an invalid concept given our society's concepts of human dignity and value. I don't think the American medical ethics community seriously discusses this construct any more. The pro-life movement and disability advocacy groups probably did have an effect on the thinking there. I remember being somewhat shocked to find that a year of my life was worth a tiny bit less because I wore glasses! This is the kind of conundrum one gets into when one starts deciding what life is worth. Where do you stop? Thus, the slope.
By 12:00 PM, at
Slippery slope indeed, it's reading articles like this that make me remember why the Hippocratic Oath exists for a reason. Humans can rationalize too many things.
By 12:47 PM, at
Why would anyone ask "permission" to do such a thing? Maybe because they know it's wrong and are seeking the cover of some authority's approval?
By 10:46 PM, at