killing infants

Partial birth abortion? How about after birth abortion?

Four times in recent months, Dutch doctors have pumped lethal doses of drugs into newborns they believe are terminally ill,

…Under the protocol, assisted infant deaths are investigated, but so far all of them have been determined to have been in the patients’ best interests.

Euthanasia has been legal in the Netherlands since 1994. Under the law, any critically ill patient older than 12 can request an assisted death, including adults in the early stages of dementia.

This new Dutch protocol is an attempt to expand the euthanisia demographic to those under 12 now too.

What does death by doctor say about the concept of human rights, not to mention the Hippocratic oath? When we move responsibility from the person whose life is at stake to an impersonal third person in the form of a 'healthcare providers' judgment, aren't we creating the conditions for error, or the demented to seek out such positions because they want to have such power?

Dutch doctors have some intentional role in 3.4 percent of all deaths, according to statistics published in the medical journal The Lancet. About 0.6 percent are patients who didn't ask to be euthanized, the journal said.

Dutch courts often treat those cases leniently if an investigation determines that the doctor acted out of concern for the patient's well-being.

Opponents of expanding euthanasia to the young cite a recent Dutch court ruling against punishment for a doctor who injected fatal drugs into an elderly woman after she told him she didn't want to die.

The court determined that he'd made "an error of judgment," but had acted "honorably and according to conscience."

I don't believe this practice would ever be legal in the United States; unless there were some radical shift in the population of 'JesusLand'. But I think the issue does relate to the abortion issue, in that, I don't see any difference between infanticide and partial birth abortion. Certainly not for the child. In the instance where a mother's life is at stake there is certainly an argument to make that an abortion procedure might possibly be necessary. But I suspect that such instances are not the norm in cases of partial birth abortion.

When my wife was pregnant with our second daughter a sonogram prompted the hospital to call us to a meeting about the results. The sonogram showed evidence of brain cysts, we were told. At the meeting we were offered genetic counseling and invited to explore 'all the options' including information about abortion. Yet the risk, they admitted, was not certain. It was not terminal. They admitted that they couldn't even be sure that the brain cysts would persist. Maybe they would clear up.

I talked to another healthcare worker I know and it turns out that because of sonogram technology improvement such cysts are visible now where they were not previously. The consensus is growing that the appearance of such cysts are a normal part of some percentage of fetal development.

Eleanor was born healthy and whole I'm glad to say. My point is that the framing of such warnings and the viewpoint of a meeting like that might lead some percentage of patients to seek an abortion. How tragic for such a thing to happen if there were no real danger?

Worse than that, there doesn't have to be any danger to get an abortion procedure. Inconvenience is enough. What does it say about us as human beings when our solution to those among us who are 'inconvenient' is to eliminate them? Especially when animal rights groups are agitating for fish rights, and removing a mass murdering dictator is viewed as immoral.

Posted by Eric Simonson at December 2, 2004 4:52 PM