A lot of commenters on this site are sympathetic to the husband and parents who want the brain dead mom and her baby extinguished because the mom said she didn’t want to be left alive if severely disabled requiring life support, brain dead or comatose.
However that’s her, now there is another human to consider. Inside her.
Lets’ give the baby a name–pick one–George–Gracie–I can imagine that little baby objecting to some arguments made about the right of the father or the parents of the brain dead mom to terminate the mom and end its life when a little time and it could be a complete baby ready for life.
But you see, I look at sonograms, I know some stuff about humans and that’s a human in there.
It’s growing as fast as it can, hoping to make it past the grim reaper, in the case of George or Gracy.
It’s easy to sympathize with the parents and husband–get it over, but who speaks for the life that cannot speak?
The state or society should if life is sacred.
Should we be able to talk and post about how that baby is not a human? That the baby is not a person, a citizen with legal person hood under the law, meaning the right to live and have it’s life protected by the state where it resides. It does reside, you know, even if in utero.
Or am I missing something?
There is a point, whether before birth or after, when the interests of the human being become an interest of morality/ethics/the law/the society.
That’s why these matters deserve our attention. Why the widespread practice of abortion has stirred up so much conflict and debate.
In the olden days before Judeo/Christian influence, when pagans ran the world, infanticide was common–you don’t want the kid after looking it over, wrong sex, ugly, birth defect, you could leave the helpless thing to die on some hillside or even roll it into the fire and watch it die. Pagans did that, people do that now. Don’t they? Peter Singer, now a chair in moral philosophy at Princeton asserts that animals and humans are equal and parents should be able to kill kids up to his arbitrary suggestion of 30 days after birth.
Singer has no problem with infanticide, and he surely has no problem with abortion at any time before birth. Singer is a self descried utilitarian, which means that moral and ethical considerations are whatever works for you and for the situation–relativism. Utilitarianism started with Jeremy Bentham and was most effectively articulated and promoted by Brit polymath genius politician utilitarian philosopher John Stuart Mill. You might say I think Mill was real smart, smart enough to be really wrong but never in doubt–utilitarianism is no morality at all.
The Judeo Christian ethic/morality built on the sanctity of human life caused some reorientation of rules and attitudes many millennia ago and cast a pall on some pagan and barbarian practices. Sometimes societies influenced by such morality passed laws that coincided with their sense of morality, that’s what civilizations do. Laws passed and enforced reflect the society’s sense of morality–that’s what laws do.
Even some old but wise pagans, for example the Greeks respected human life. For example the old original Oath of Hippocrates that I keep on my wall (I can touch it from where I sit) in a frame, me being old fashioned, says what physicians should hold as a sacred obligations.
Third Paragraph of of the Oath of Hippocrates
“I will follow that method of treatment which, according to my ability and judgment, I consider for the benefit of my patients, and abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous. I will give no deadly medicine to anyone if asked, nor suggest any such counsel; furthermore, I will not give to a woman an instrument to produce abortion.”
I know those words sound so old fashioned and violate the relativist canon of morality, anything goes, or the utilitarian version which means whatever works for you, whatever rows your boat–that’s the funny thing about morality and ethics, they are substantial and constant. That is why relativist, utilitarian approaches sometimes violate the prohibitions that are the most clearly moral.
Now the secular/deterministic/utilitarian/post modernist/existentialist/nihilist/relativist approach creates for our society and modern civilization in general, a regression to those olden days when barbarians rolled helpless infants into the fire. You think there aren’t places on this earth where babies are evaluated and then drowned for convenience or allowed to die of starvation and exposure?
Right here in the old USA we got all worked up about what Kermit Goznell did at his abortion clinic in Philly after some botched abortions resulted in live babies. We were pretty upset that they pithed those babies when they were alive (pithing means snipping the spinal cord up high so they die cause they can’t breathe), but we ignored George Tiller in Wichita Kansas who killed thousands of mature babies quietly before birth by grabbing them by the shoulders, then sticking an instrument in the back of the neck, into their brains before they could squeal or take their first breath. Tiller was a little more skilled.
Kathleen Sebelius was a a big Tiller supporter and Tiller, who was a rich man, contributed heavily to her campaigns in Kansas, now she is our Secretary for Health–is she George or Gracy’s Secretary for Health or might she be the Sec for Death for really little babies?
George Tiller was a more adept murderer than Goznell, wasn’t he? But it was still murder of an innocent human almost born. In Texas we have another Goznell in Houston–he just isn’t as clever or adept as Tiller, so he had to kill some born babies. We have a president that voted for the kill ’em even if they are born alive legislation in Illinois. How many reading this would be able to do such a thing–guess it depends–ever killed a kitten, a puppy ? Life goes out of an animal just like it does a baby.
You can say, and even feel comfortable with the idea that anyone can do anything they want in regards to the helpless, but if you were helpless and your life depended on the good will of other humans, perhaps you would hope that society would prohibit murder, infanticide, feticide, euthanasia, or extermination of the disabled or elderly or infirm or the useless eaters or political outcasts and undesirables.
It might be worthwhile to assess our values when we decide that a fetus is not a human–what about a retarded child or adult, a homosexual, a hydrocephalic, worse a microcephalic, a kid with spina bifida or trisomy 21 (Down syndrome), a political dissident, gypsy or a Jew? We have a new bioethics that is scoring people for age and quality of life, in preparation for medical care resource decisions? In a collectivist society–you bet–got to decide how to distribute the resources, best to leave it in the hands of professionals and central planners.
Itzhak Perlman got polio when he was 4,would Singer consider him a candidate for extinction? When he was 4 who could say what he might do, but he would be a burden for his parents. How bout this disabled guy Hawking? He can’t take care of himself and he’s been disabled for so long.
Sanctity of life is a tough one if it interferes with your schedule or your plans.