Not long ago I discovered The Common Room from a link on someone else’s blog, but I don’t remember whose. But one thing I appreciate about The Common Room is links to and discussions of articles I otherwise would never find.
Several of the posts there recently have focused on an alarming increasing trend: the supposed “moral obligation” to do away with members of society who are less than fully functioning, particularly the demented elderly and preborn babies who have Down’s Syndrome or other disabilities. That there is a fringe element is no surprise, but in this article, Ed Morrisey writes:
In yet another revealing moment for nationalized health care, a highly respected British ethicist said that dementia sufferers should get euthanized in order to preserve resources for healthier people. Baroness Warnock, described as “Britain’s leading moral philosopher”, said that the government should license people to be “put down” and stop being a drain on society:
The veteran Government adviser said pensioners in mental decline are “wasting people’s lives” because of the care they require and should be allowed to opt for euthanasia even if they are not in pain.
She insisted there was “nothing wrong” with people being helped to die for the sake of their loved ones or society.
The 84-year-old added that she hoped people will soon be “licensed to put others down” if they are unable to look after themselves. …
Lady Warnock said: “If you’re demented, you’re wasting people’s lives – your family’s lives – and you’re wasting the resources of the National Health Service.
This is Britain’s “leading moral philosopher.”
Canadian doctor warns Sarah Palin’s decision to have Down baby could reduce abortions.
Sarah and Todd Palin’s decision to complete her recent pregnancy, despite advance notice that their baby Trig had Down syndrome, is hailed by many in the pro-life movement as walking the walk as well as talking the talk.
But a senior Canadian doctor is now expressing concerns that such a prominent public role model as the governor of Alaska and potential vice president of the United States completing a Down syndrome pregnancy may prompt other women to make the same decision against abortion because of that genetic abnormality. And thereby reduce the number of abortions.
As she says, this is the kind of reasoning that makes her call them pro-abortion rather than pro-choice.
There are several related posts there under the labels “disabilities” and “pro-life.”
Some would argue that the elderly and the disabled only live so long these days because of advanced technology, and if nature were allowed to take its course, that would not be the case. But if we allowed nature “to take its course” in every case, diabetics would die, as would those needing organ transplants, and we’d still be having polio outbreaks.
It is ironic that eugenic abortions are recommended now in this age when technology gives the disabled more ability to function than ever before, as this Common Room post says:
Christopher Nolan, poet, author, and wheelchair bound victim of Cerebral Palsy so severe he communicates only via keyboard writes of himself:
“‘A brain-damaged baby cannot ponder why a mother cannot communicate with it, and unless it gains parental love and stimulation it stymies, and thus retardation fulsomely establishes its soul-destroying seabed.’ Conscious of the breathtaking sacrifice involved in what his family did for him, yet he detected where destiny beckoned. The future for babies like him never looked more promising, but now society frowned upon giving spastic babies a right to life. Now they threatened to abort babies like him, to detect in advance their handicapped state, to burrow through the womb and label them for death, to baffle their mothers with fear for their coming, and yet, the spastic baby would ever be the soul which would never kill, maim, creed falsehood or hate brotherhood. Why then does society fear the crippled child…and why does it hail the able-bodied child and crow over what may in time become a potential executioner?”
Elsewhere in his writings young Christopher marvels at the age he lives in, recognizing that a hundred years ago a child like him would have been trapped in himself, unable to communicate beyond a rudimentary level with even the most doting of parents. He would scarcely have survived his childhood, and he certainly wouldn’t have published a book, spent any time in the public eye, or given national awards. The western cultural attitude towards disability is disturbing, especially given the technological advances that give the disabled lives they didn’t even survive to dream about in previous centuries.
I suppose those who believe in evolution would classify this as “survival of the fittest,” although in the animal kingdom I think that generally refers to the fact that the weaker usually don’t survive long rather than the stronger actually doing away with the weak of their own kind.
But don’t even those who believe in evolution believe man is more highly evolved than a wolf pack? Do they not regard compassion and mercy as desirable traits?
Conversely, those who believe in creation believe that God has a purpose for every life. “God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty” (I Corinthians 1:27b). We are instructed to “comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men” (I Thessalonians 5:14b), not do away with them.
What purpose could God possibly have for disabled or demented people? See my previous posts titled With All Our Feebleness, Why Am I Still Here? and Scriptural Reasons For Suffering, Jason Jantz’s Fourteen Reasons For Fourteen Years, where he shares perspectives of what God accomplished through the fourteen years his brother lived in a persistent vegetative state after an accident, Michael G. Franc’s article “Your Brother Is a Blessing,” and The Common Room’s “Quality of Life, Quality of Mercy” about her own disabled daughter.