Life Unworthy of Life: Part 2

The other day I laid out my objection to the ruling in Oregon which gave $3 million to a couple who sued a hospital because they weren’t given a proper opportunity to abort the daughter who has been diagnosed with Down syndrome.  This sort of case is known as a “wrongful birth” lawsuit.  Further, I drew the appalling conclusion that this is headed toward the same thinking that led Adolf Hitler to began euthanizing mentally and physically handicapped people in the late 1930’s.  We define what we think valuable human life is, and what useless human life is, and we surgically remove the useless.  Dramatic comparison?  No.  It’s not.

Now for the horrifying part.  Last month in the Journal of Medical Ethics an article was published by a pair of ethicists who argued for something called “after-birth” abortion.  Before getting into their conclusions and the implications, let’s understand what an ethicist is.  As defined by Wikipedia, the ethicist is, “one whose judgment on ethics and ethical codes has come to be trusted by a specific community, and (importantly) is expressed in some way that makes it possible for others to mimic or approximate that judgement.”  Basically, these are supposedly the folks in the medical community that are evaluating society and deciding what is right and wrong, and then making recommendations to us as to how we ought to live morally.

With that established, let’s look at some of what they have to say.  The article begins with the abstract which basically lays out the conclusion that fetuses and newborns have no moral status, it doesn’t matter that fetuses and newborns are “potential” persons, and therefore it is permissible to kill both fetuses and newborns in any situation where abortion is valid.  See the scope creep from abortion to infanticide?

How could a sane person even arrive at this conclusion you might ask.  Surely they must have stringent guidelines on what would make killing newborns permissible, right?  Wrong!  The authors trudge their way through euthanasia of infants because of “severe abnormalities”, risk both psychological and physical to the mother, and on into simple social distress and monetary concerns.  All of these things, they argue, are reasons for having an abortion, and are therefore sound reason for killing babies.  They reason as follows, “the fact that a fetus has the potential to become a person who will have an (at least) acceptable life is no reason for prohibiting abortion. Therefore, we argue that, when circumstances occur after birth such that they would have justified abortion, what we call after-birth abortion should be permissible.”  Concluding, “If criteria such as the costs (social, psychological, economic) for the potential parents are good enough reasons for having an abortion even when the fetus is healthy, if the moral status of the newborn is the same as that of the infant and if neither has any moral value by virtue of being a potential person, then the same reasons which justify abortion should also justify the killing of the potential person when it is at the stage of a newborn.”

I personally cannot even fathom how this kind of thinking can occur outside of a mental institution or prison, but there you have it, folks.  Moral relativity at its finest.  In the absence of an objective moral Law Giver, we become the creators of morality as it suits us.  We’re gradually using Hitler’s logic to conclude that if people get in our way, we have the right to kill them.  Sadly, I think we have one up on the Third Reich here.  Hitler carried out his murders of societies most vulnerable individuals systematically, carefully, and quietly under the fog of war, with the knowledge and support of only a few.  However, we’re coming right out and justifying it in academic journals!  Using the only logic that subjective morality provides, we have no reason not to kill anybody that is lowering our perceived quality of life based on our own materialism:  children, mentally handicapped people, physically disabled people, and elderly people will all be expendable.

I don’t care if you lean left, right, center, up, or down:  Open your eyes to the obvious.  This is madness!  Understand it is the logic of allowing ourselves to be the ones to define what a “person” is that does not prevent us from proceeding down these perilous roads.  We’re taking away the special intrinsic value of being human.  I will say it again.  If we are simple nature, there’s no reason the conclusion that it is okay to kill babies to save a few bucks is not perfectly sound reasoning.  Nor should I have any reason not to kill my neighbor and steal his stuff if I can do it without getting caught.  Nature commits similar tragedies all the time, and on what grounds is it any different for humans if we’re just nature?  It is only if there is an objective moral foundation designed into the universe by something outside of the universe that there can be any limit to the exercising of our own twisted opinions or desires.

Please think long and hard about where this line of reasoning is taking us.  Is anything grounding your current system of morality?  Is there anything off-limits besides what society says is off limits, or what you yourself say is off-limits?  If it is legal in the eyes of the courts, does that by its very nature make something morally acceptable?  If that is the case, then nothing is off-limits.

You can read the entire article from the Journal of Medical Ethics called “After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?” if you want all the horrific reasoning.

It won’t be long before we place higher value on animals than we do on people.  Think I’m wrong about that too?  I’m not done yet.

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2 thoughts on “Life Unworthy of Life: Part 2

  1. Pingback: A Response to ‘After-birth abortion: why should the baby live? « David's Place

  2. Pingback: understanding metaphors like the tree of life, the eyes to see and the ears to hear « JRFibonacci's blog: partnering with reality

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