Skip to comments.Church of England says right to life for newborns not absolute: report
Posted on 11/12/2006 6:06:35 AM PST by NYer
The Church of England believes doctors should be given the right to withhold treatment from some seriously disabled newborn babies in exceptional circumstances, The Observer reported.
The view comes in a submission from the church to a British medical ethics committee looking at the implications of keeping severely premature babies alive through technological advances, the weekly newspaper said.
The Bishop of Southwark, Tom Butler, was said to have written that "it may in some circumstances be right to choose to withhold or withdraw treatment, knowing it will possibly, probably, or even certainly result in death".
Last week, Britain's Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists called for a debate on whether deliberate medical intervention to cause the death of severely disabled new-born babies should be legalised.
The college said it did not necessarily favour the move -- which prompted accusations of "social engineering" from disabled groups -- but felt the issue should be discussed.
Its views were expressed in a similar submission to the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, which was set up two years ago and which is due to publish its finding later this week.
The Observer reported that the church, led by the head of the world's Anglicans Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, could not accept the view that the life of any baby is not worth living.
But it added there were "strong proportionate reasons" for "overriding the presupposition that life should be maintained", the weekly added.
The high price of keeping very premature and sick babies alive with invasive medical treatments as well as the consequences for parents should also be taken into consideration, the bishop reportedly says.
"There may be occasions where, for a Christian, compassion will override the 'rule' that life should inevitably be preserved," the south London bishop is said to have written.
"Disproportionate treatment for the sake of prolonging life is an example of this."
The church reportedly said it would only back withholding or withdrawing treatment if all reasonable alternatives had been fully considered "so that the possibly lethal act would only be performed with manifest reluctance".
Slippery slope alert!
Not anymore ~ they reached the bottom.
Ah, "compassion." That was one of the arguments for abortion, as I recall, from the 1960s. I was living in New York at the time, and all sorts of flakes from liberal Protestant churches used to float up with petitions based on the "compassionate" need to permit abortion. And guess what - the pitch worked, and they won.
The church has eloquently stated its non-position.
The Equivocation award goes to the Bishop.
If they now endorse abortion, how does the Church feel about Sharia Law?
Like if they had an ugly mother? Who determines what this horrible disability is?
The Church of England believes doctors should be given the right to withhold treatment from some seriously disabled newborn babies in exceptional circumstances, The Observer reported.Wow!
Oh well, ya learn something knew everyday.
When Sharia law comes they will say that the right to life for any "Christian" is not absolute.
Hence, the slippery slope.
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, spiritual leader of the world's Anglicans, will make his first official visit to Pope Benedict on November 23 at the Vatican. Given this news report, he should come prepared for a tongue lashing!
When I see articles like this, I always recall the horrible situation a family friend experienced.
They had a baby that was born with only a brain stem. They knew it would happen, pre-natal exams revealed that the baby was not developing a brain. The doctor, a good Christian man, recommended an abortion. The family refused.
They later came to regret it. After the baby was born, it was like taking care of toadstool. He just laid there with a feeding tube for 18 months before he died. He never cried, never ate, never opened his eyes... it was as if he were a breathing piece of flesh and nothing more. It still creeps me out when I think of it.
How much longer before simply tossing a newborn in the garbage is considered an acceptable form of abortion? After all, no baby is capable of sustaining its own life, and mere inaction is enough to result in the infant's death.
If the Anglicans had half a brain, they would be in Rome on their knees begging the Pope to take them back. "Bless me father for I have sinned...."
I hope so. However, I was very depressed to learn in the parish bulletin that I got at Mass today that our Cathedral is hosting an "ecumenical" get-together on Thanksgiving Day with the Episcopal Church, where "Mother" Somebody-or-another will preside. What in the world are they thinking of? And in our Cathedral?
We're not in communion with the Episcopalians/Anglicans, even on the one-sided basis with which we are in communion with the Orthodox, and they oppose the Catholic Church on virtually every one of its moral teachings. I'm so disgusted I hardly know where to begin.
Our bishop is very orthodox, but the pastor (dean) of our cathedral parish is an absolute flake.
Who cares what the cost is, it is a human life and we must fight for the lives of the little ones lives.
This descent into the pit is "justified" by accepting the argument that it is merciful and compassionate thing to put badly deformed and physicologically compromised newborns to death shortly after birth.
There are influential voices on the left (Peter Singer in the US) that have already moved well beyond this limit and are arguing that parents (or a parent) ought to be allowed to choose to put a child to death up to a month after birth for any reason, after a "test drive."
Full circle depravity will have been achieved when innocent and helpless human beings at any stage of life may be put to death (abortion, euthanasia) for any reason deemed acceptable by leftist idealogues.
That could include reasons of pure convenience.
For its sake, I hope the Church of England is for sharia because it is apparent that the Prince of Wales has converted.
(Apparent by the statement he made shortly ago that islam is the solution to this worlds problems...only a true believer could make such a statement.)
Bet Pete and his running dog lackeys wouldn't like that.
Catechism of the Catholic Church
2276 Those whose lives are diminished or weakened deserve special respect. Sick or handicapped persons should be helped to lead lives as normal as possible.
2277 Whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia consists in putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick, or dying persons. It is morally unacceptable.
Thus an act or omission which, of itself or by intention, causes death in order to eliminate suffering constitutes a murder gravely contrary to the dignity of the human person and to the respect due to the living God, his Creator. The error of judgment into which one can fall in good faith does not change the nature of this murderous act, which must always be forbidden and excluded.
2278 Discontinuing medical procedures that are burdensome, dangerous, extraordinary, or disproportionate to the expected outcome can be legitimate; it is the refusal of "over-zealous" treatment. Here one does not will to cause death; one's inability to impede it is merely accepted. The decisions should be made by the patient if he is competent and able or, if not, by those legally entitled to act for the patient, whose reasonable will and legitimate interests must always be respected.
2279 Even if death is thought imminent, the ordinary care owed to a sick person cannot be legitimately interrupted. The use of painkillers to alleviate the sufferings of the dying, even at the risk of shortening their days, can be morally in conformity with human dignity if death is not willed as either an end or a means, but only foreseen and tolerated as inevitable Palliative care is a special form of disinterested charity. As such it should be encouraged.
My snippy comments: The main problem with this issue is where is the line and who draws it? Of course it's much easier when it is a 64 year old man trying to decide how much treatment he wants while struggling with emphysema, adenocarcinoma and congestive heart failure or a 42 year old mother who is ravaged and tired of suffering and barely holding on just so she can see her youngest child make it to high school.
Sounds like they wish to worship at the alter of Satan.
It's a terrible thing. I had friends with a baby born with this same problem. They took care of him, kept him comfortable, and suffered and prayed. He died less than a year later, but the odd thing was that afterwards, both of them told me that somehow they really understood what it meant to be human and what it meant to be Christian, and that they had stopped looking at themselves and started thinking about God.
It's a terrible thing to have a child with horrible birth defects, but a lot of the suffering of the parents comes from the context in which they view it and the support they receive. Once upon a time, the Church used to provide the right context - in Christ - for understanding these things, although I am not sure it does any longer and much of our thinking, like that of the rest of the world, is based on expediency and utility. By these standards, there is no reason for suffering or even inconvenience; and at the same time, there is no support for people who for one reason or another do find themselves faced with a situation like this.
I can understand a family saying enough and only wanting comfort measures in some situations. To kill by abortion or speed up the dying, is wrong though. I saw a post below where someone was horrified of a child that lived in a comatose state for 18 months. Not all people view disability like this though. The short little lives can often make a difference for the good in someone else's life. I say, keep helping these babies as long as there is hope.
No good Christian recommends abortion, because abortion violates the fifth commandment: thou shalt not murder.
Suuuuuuuuuure he was.
Is it any wonder Thomas Jefferson loathed the Anglican hierarchy.
It's a problem because people will interpret this to be on the side of whatever is most convenient for them, and for most of us, not accompanying someone who is suffering is the most convenient.
However, I think what the passage means is the bizarre extremes of "medical care" - such as the 93 year old woman in my family who was in very frail condition and non compos mentis, suffered a stroke and was brought to the hospital - where they "revived" her and while she screamed and flailed, intubated her - which of course caused her to suffer a massive heart attack that finished her off. There was no need for that "treatment," which added fear and pain to her last moments on this earth. The doctor later told me she ordered it because they are now afraid of being sued if they don't do this.
When did the Anglicans ordain NAZIs?
I understand completely what you are saying and it indeed a problem, both morally and fiscally. Those on this thread who are so sure of their position need to be careful. Things change dramatically when you are personally presented with the type of situation you describe. My personal experience turned me from a Pro Choice to a Pro Life belief, however I do realize there are limits. Obviously these babies would have died naturally without extensive and constant medical support, and even worse many times the children go home to an environment that was directly responsible for their horrific birth problems. They will never receive the support and care they will need for the rest of their lives, the only option is for the taxpayers (who are raising their own children on limited resources)to pay and pay and pay.
The elderly will be next because they are not part of the vital workforce and cost too damned much time and money. It will not be long.
Some people are more equal than others. And don't you forget it!
If you cannot contribute to society in a profitable manner, you are a drain on precious resources. The air and foods that the worker, the professional, the artist consumes enable them to create for the betterment of all. Those who do not work are parasites, like the tapeworm that feeds off the nutrition one consumes, yet contributes nothing to the host body. It may sound cruel, but as the world's resources are depleted, those who are worth less are expendable.
/ < eugenics progressive >
(gag, spit, hurl)
The elderly have a right to be comfortable and happy. People need wills stating they want their money used to pay someone to come in , so they can continue to live in their home if that is they want. Decide now or someone else may be deciding for you later.
"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." -Manuel II Paleologus
This is dangerous. It will lead to the Power of the State to make the determination.
Instead of retirement the elderly need to say they are "on vacation" That's something our self centered generation can relate to.
These things used to be handled in quiet conversations between the family and the doctor. No more. Now the Anglican church wants such extremely delicate matters brought out into the open. It isn't enough that you or I grant other people the freedom to make decisions we might not agree with within the context of their own family - decisions we consider ourselves fortunate not to have to face. As long as they remain private they are between you and God - and He is distressingly silent on questions of social justice, progressive taxation, globalization, the war in Iraq and so on. No, God isn't much help these days. So it must no longer be a matter between you and God, it must become a matter between you and the medical profession and/or the state. God is thus removed from the question.
People, particularly young people, crave absolutes. If they don't find them in the Anglican church - and there's no question of that happening any more - they will look for them elsewhere. Such as in shari'a.
Murder implies the taking of a human life. Does someone who has no brain have life? A soul? Would God put a soul into a brainless, mindless vessel? These questions are not easy, at least not for an honest person.
This seems to have been taken out of context and over-emphazed by both the Peter Singer ethics crowd and the most vigilent on the pro-life side. Those familiar with Anglican-speak understand that it is entirely unreasonable to expect any sort of unqualified remark to come out of the Church of England. (Truman's joke about the one-handed economist comes to mind.)
However, we must agree that while there may be cases such as the brain stem example cited above where there may be no reasonable expectation of sustainable life, this is a terribly slippery slope and we must always err on the side of life.
By generation I meant every one alive right now. I read an interesting comment the other day. Someone posted Republicans are blaming everyone but that the Democrats know how to reach people. They just let them have something they want and the people let the Democrats do what they want as long as their special interest is addressed. They even reached out to the pro lifers by putting a few tokens in.