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06 November 2006 @ 04:01 pm
Discussion time.  
A British medical college is advocating allowing euthanasia for "severely disabled" infants.

Current Mood: intrigued
Current Music: Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit
Traveler Farlandertwfarlan on November 7th, 2006 06:53 pm (UTC)
Okay. Consider this, then. No infant is able to care for itself right out of the womb. With that in mind, define "viable." If it's a case of cerebral palsy, that child can grow up to be an adult with thoughts, a career, and so forth. Same with MS, with basic bodily deformations, and so forth.

Now, consider the case that archanglrobriel mentioned in his comment to this post. A person in that condition will NEVER achieve the mental capacity to make informed, consenting decisions. A person in that state isn't even going to get to the point where he can feed himself, let alone become an "adult." There is zero quality of life, and more, this becomes an active drain on the quality of life for all those who are responsible for maintaining the life functions of that person. With that in mind, explain how this is any different from someone who is in a permanent vegetative state. If this condition was caught in time in the womb, you'd have no issue with the mother deciding to abort, but once it passes through the birth canal, that option is gone?
Noah Singman: Noah and Conniensingman on November 7th, 2006 07:57 pm (UTC)
An excellent question. Defining "viable" becomes the tricky part, doesn't it? And it varies, too, depending on technology. However, in my first comment, I explicitly noted the difference between allowing someone to die and actively killing them. I wouldn't suggest that parents have an unlimited positive obligation to provide for their children. That's why I could accept a healthy, viable fetus being aborted if the life of the mother was endangered.
Traveler Farlandertwfarlan on November 7th, 2006 08:02 pm (UTC)
Yes, defining "viable" as an operating term does become the sticky part. This is something that would need to be considered very carefully. However, at this time, the point is moot because euthanasia is not even an option that can be considered. Once the child has passed through the birth canal, the parents are assumed to bear an unlimited positive obligation to ensure the continuance of that infant's life. If the child dies of benign neglect or simple refusal of life-sustaining treatment, the parents can be brought up on charges, circumstances notwithstanding. This is the main thrust of the medical college's position, that to simply deny the entire question as valid has far-reaching effects on the quality of life of more than just the infants in question, and this based on a denial of the medical and ethical realities that DO exist in variation and circumstance.