Theres a tabloid journalist in Russia making waves about lethal solutions for newborns (and others) with disabilities. Journalist Aleksandr Nikonov wrote an incendiary piece in a popular Russian tabloid, (caution, content may be offensive) Speed-Info, entitled Finish It Off, So It Doesn't Suffer.
As I say quite often here, Im not sure why so many are surprised and outraged. Nikonovs intent is no different than what the rest of the pro-death crowd say, just slightly more uncivilized.
Clearly, Russian tabloid journalism is short on subtlety, as is the 700,000-an-issue Speed-Info, with its copious photo layouts of scantily clad women and other lowbrow schlock. In this regard, we could simply ignore Nikonovs message. However, tabloid sensationalism influences public opinion just as any other form of publication does perhaps even more so.
Lets begin with Nikonovs own words of the title. Newborns with disabilities are suffering; therefore they should be finished off. Also, these newborns are its - not baby boys or girls, or even newborn humans, they are nonhuman. Harsh? Yes, but exactly the same sentiment that many Western countries are swallowing. (The Netherlands routinely kills disabled newborns as well as the elderly and the infirm. Scotland is talking about assisted suicide for children. Dignitas in Switzerland will help do you in for a fee. Canadas medical community increasingly calls for the legalization of assisted suicide. The pro-death crowd in the US isnt happy that only several states have already legalized assisted killing they want more).
Nikonov hasn't learned the Western trick of making killing much more acceptable when it's prettified. The pro-death crowd would recoil in horror at the description of finishing people off. Instead, they talk about euthanasia, aid in dying, dying with dignity - making the ugly beautiful. Most people dont like ugly, but they do like beautiful. Its simply a matter of lying often enough that the lie becomes desirable truth.
However, the pretty-talking pro-death crowd is really down with Nikonov, because any way you slice it, finishing off is the intent of assisted suicide and euthanasia, warm fuzzy terminology notwithstanding.
Heres what Nikonov said in a Radio Free Liberty interview:
Parents, in particular parents, should be free to decide the fate of their own offspring. If you want to bring up a child with Down syndrome, you can do it. But if you dont, you can euthanize him. Why is prenatal abortion legal and post-natal abortion is not?
Well, hes got a point: If we feel free to allow and legalize the abortion of unborn children with Down syndrome and other defects, as we have done, then why not allow and legalize killing after birth?
Logically, there should be no difference. At least Nikonov is consistent kill - sorry, finish off children with disabilities wherever you find them, unborn and born.
Lest we ignore Nikonov, remember that hes saying exactly what others in highly elevated university endowed chairs at prestigious universities are saying. For one, Peter Singer has noted that:
In any case, the position taken here does not imply that it would be better that no people born with severe disabilities should survive; it implies only that the parents of such infants should be able to make this decision. (Practical Ethics, 1999, p. 189).
I think post-natal abortion is way too pretty.
For the sake of honesty and transparency, Im with Nikonovs approach.
Call it what it is: Finishing off children with disabilities for their own and everyone elses good.
A disagreement is taking place in an Edmonton hospital that has national implications and has not received the media coverage that it deserves. What has been reported is information that misdirects the public from the fundamental issues.
I refer to the case of Baby Isaiah, whose fate has yet to be determined. He was disabled at birth due to lack of oxygen during his delivery and remains in the hospital, breathing with the help of a mechanical ventilator and occasionally taking unassisted breaths. His parents, devastated, remained cautiously optimistic until they received a letter dated Jan. 13, 2010, informing them that withdrawal of active treatment was medically reasonable, ethically responsible and appropriate. The letter further asserts that it would be in Isaiah's best interest to discontinue support and, with sadness, such support would cease on Jan. 20, 2010.
To date, the issue is unresolved and Isaiah remains on a ventilator.
As a physician, I specialize in the management of the weak and disabled. My task is clear: restore an individual's health if I am able, and protect my patient's rights as a human being. I must state categorically that I am not a vitalist. Patients may choose to decline my treatment and as a consequence, die. I will support this choice but need not enable it. The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba, my regulating body and proclaimed public defender, has a statement on end-of-life care available on its website: http://www.cpsm.mb.ca/statements/st1602.pdf. It attempts to address the disagreements between physicians and patients or their identified decision-makers by following a protocol.
The statement empowers physicians in Manitoba to involuntarily withdraw care but they must provide a 96-hour window during which a patient may seek a legal injunction.
Stated in another way, if baby Isaiah were in Winnipeg, the "plug" may have already been pulled.
I am an intensive care physician practising in Manitoba. I provided care in a similar case involving an adult patient. During this patient's long intensive care unit stay, much distress was experienced by the medical staff and the family. Trust was lost on both sides of this conflict.
In my investigation of Isaiah, I learned that he had gained weight, moved and breathed occasionally on his own. His photos displayed an infant who by all accounts seemed normal in appearance apart from some paraphernalia of the critical care trade.
Although the issue before the court is the degree of brain injury incurred by Isaiah, I realize that it is Isaiah's status as a human being that is on trial. In contemporary thought, once born, humanity is considered automatic and should not be revoked by disability. The yardstick of being a human being is set too high for Isaiah. Discussion on the prediction of degree of disability, including mental capacity, is not relevant as are counter-arguments based on the physical appearance of normalcy. All that really matters, to be blunt, is if Isaiah is dead or alive. Brain death is complete and irreversible cessation of all brain function from the cortex to the brainstem. In some circumstances, the heart may still beat, the blood circulates and many organ systems can still operate. Patients who are brain dead are quite unstable even with the functions listed above working. Most patients with cessation of brain function experience rapid multiple organ system failure unless doctors intervene. If Isaiah is alive, which includes everything but brain dead, he is entitled to the full rights and privileges of any living Canadian citizen.
As a physician, I am profoundly concerned that I am allowed by college decree, or worse, potentially by statute, to take a life, as an agent of the state. I refuse to be a selector. My moral obligation as a physician demands that I not participate in the debate except to say that I treat all human beings the same. This rationing debate feels like code to me for something more sinister. There is no more important consideration to me than guarding against the abuse of my professional power in the way that I deal with vulnerable people who seek my care.
Threads by Salvation and Faith, with special thanks to Faith for posting the daily threads.
40 Days for Life is a community-based campaign that draws attention to the evil of abortion through the use of a three-point program:
40 Days for Life takes a determined, peaceful approach to showing local communities the consequences of abortion in their own neighborhoods, for their own friends and families. It puts into action a desire to cooperate with God in the carrying out of His plan for the end of abortion in America.
The 40-day campaign tracks Biblical history, where God used 40-day periods to transform individuals, communities ... and the entire world. From Noah in the flood to Moses on the mountain to the disciples after Christ's resurrection, it is clear that God sees the transformative value of His people accepting and meeting a 40-day challenge.
Vision and mission
40 Days for Life is a focused pro-life campaign with a vision to access Gods power through prayer, fasting, and peaceful vigil to end abortion in America.
The mission of the campaign is to bring together the body of Christ in a spirit of unity during a focused 40 day campaign of prayer, fasting, and peaceful activism, with the purpose of repentance, to seek Gods favor to turn hearts and minds from a culture of death to a culture of life, thus bringing an end to abortion in America.
Prayer and fasting:
Christ told us some demons can only be driven out by prayer and fasting. The two go hand in hand. Prayer keeps us rooted in the fact that it is our desire to carry out God's will. Fasting is a sacrifice that helps us reach beyond our own limitations with God's help.
Fasting is not a Christian diet; it is a form of physical prayer. You can fast from food, TV, alcohol ... anything that separates you from God.
The most visible component of 40 Days for Life is a constant prayer vigil outside a place where children are aborted. It is the hope that the vigil can be maintained 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
It is a prayerful witness to the clinic's patients and employees, and to the entire community, that evil is in our midst and that with God's help, it will be defeated.
During 40 Days for Life, the pro-life message is proactively taken to the community through focused, grassroots educational efforts. People are given the opportunity to visibly show their support for 40 Days for Life.
A door-to-door petition and education drive reaches out. Informational flyers can raise awareness about abortion. Church involvement, media contact and campus outreach also contribute.
"They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons; they poured out innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters... and the land was polluted with blood. Then the anger of the Lord was kindled against his people, and He abhorred his heritage; he gave them into the hands of the nations, so that those who hated them ruled over them. Their enemies oppressed them, and they were brought into subjection under their power. (See Psalm 106:37-43)