Thursday, November 16th, 2006

A couple of days ago I reported on how The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology petitioned the Nuffield Council on Bioethics to consider the option of infanticide for severely disabled newborns. I am happy to report that the Nuffield Council responded Wednesday November 15th by publishing a set of recommended guidelines that clearly rejected the suggestion:

The Council has concluded that the active ending of life of newborn babies should not be allowed, no matter how serious their condition. The professional obligation of doctors is to preserve life where they can. If doctors were to be permitted actively to end the lives of seriously ill newborn babies, there is a risk that the relationship between parents and doctors would be negatively affected. It would also be very difficult to identify an upper age limit beyond which actively ending life would not be allowed.

I guess every once in a while bioethicists actually uphold good ethics!

HT: Wesley Smith at Secondhand Smoke

Michael Medved has an article on about Elton John’s “I would ban religion” comments. He points out how religious adherents are much more tolerant of homosexuality than he, and many on the Left are of religion:


[R]eligious leaders actually express more tolerance to homosexuality (and non-believers) than Sir Elton expresses toward organized faith. Imagine the indignation if a religious leader suggested that we need to “ban homosexuality completely” — or urged an outright prohibition on atheism? It’s true that many believing Christians want to persuade gays to overcome their same-sex urges, or try to get non-believers to replace their doubt with faith, but no factions in the varied array of conservative religious groups has called for “banning” ideas with which they disagree.

Well said! Then he turned his attention to the general intolerance of secularists towards religion:


The controversies about public display of religious symbols nearly all center on secular demonstrations of militancy and narrow-mindedness, involving attempts to remove or suppress expressions of faith (like crosses in parks, or Ten Commandments displays in public buildings, or the words “under God” in the pledge) that have existed innocuously for decades. Very few of these disputes involve efforts by the faithful to impose new symbols in prominent places, or to “ram their faith down the throats” of the unwilling public at large. It’s the secular left that’s consistently intolerant of American society as it’s existed for years, not religious conservatives who express unwillingness to allow public disagreement with their convictions. In the bitter debate about teaching our children about the origins of life on earth, religious activists make no attempt to block the teaching of Darwinism or random natural selection, but it’s pro-evolution fanatics who fanatically resist any messages or questions that even hint at Intelligent Design.

Very well said. The article is worth reading.

South Africa, in compliance with a court ruling in December 2005, legalized same-sex marriage on 11-14-06. They are the fifth nation to do so (the others are Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, and Canada).

There’s a good post at Right Reason addressing when we should stand up and fight for a particular religious liberty and when we should not. Given the direction of our society, this is a very relevant piece.

The UK is now testing for more than 200 genetic diseases on pre-implantation embryos created by in vitro fertilization. Those who test positive will be discarded. Many are concerned that this is the first step in creating designer babies. Dr Fishel of CARE Facility insists that this is not true. He said: “We are providing a healthcare option for diagnosing and selecting out affected embryos so couples have the opportunity of embarking on a pregnancy with a healthy child. The alternative is testing at 16 weeks when they may choose an abortion or, in many cases, seeing their baby die from some of these horrendous diseases. In my opinion, it is unethical not to offer couples the chance of a disease-free child.”


Utilitarian ethics are at play here. But there’s also financial considerations. Dr. Fishel described a conversation he had with the NHS over funding these tests: “‘I had a phone call from a primary care trust after a couple applied for funding, asking what it was all about. ‘When I explained, the manager said, ‘So this technique means we spend £20,000 and avoid the possibility of having to spend between £1 and £2 million caring for a disabled child. It’s a no-brainer.’”


It may be a financial no-brainer, but it’s not a moral no brainer. We are living in a world that values perfection to such an extent that we are willing to kill any nascent human being who does not exemplify it. Rather than valuing life, we want to eliminate it whenever it might strain our pocketbook.


What I find more scary than the fact that this is going on is how it is being portrayed as the morally superior thing to do. Dr. Fishel says it is “unethical not to offer couples the chance of a disease-free child.” The moral high-ground is being turned upside down wherein those killing embryos are the good guys, and those wanting to protect them are the bad guys. We are living in a confused world.