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9 years ago  ::  Oct 09, 2008 - 7:15PM #1
angpuppy
Posts: 520
In '02, I was at a pro life conference representing Crossroads.  We were taking a break from our summer long penetential walk across the country for the sins of abortion and for the end of abortion.  I remember standing there as one of the pro life leaders of our country (can't remember who.  It was some guy.)  He apoligized to us and to Rock for Life for failing us, how when he and all the elder pro life activists started on this journey, they thought abortion would be illegal again by now.  They never thought the culture of death would advance as far as it has.

He stated that everyone keeps talking about the slippery slope, but he thinks we've reached the bottom of it.  There is no place further to slide.  I remember disagreeing with him, but couldn't articulate it.

Today my boyfriend emailed me some articles about infanticide being promoted in the Netherlands and other countries for children born with severe birth defects.
http://www.nuffieldbioethics.org/go/our … n_406.html
http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/ful … f_ipsecsha
http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/334/7600/912

Even this I think is just the beginning.  The more we go down this road of thought, the more we'll devalue human life and rationalize the killing of more and more people.  I would not be surprised if one day infanticide were as accepted as abortion and more common than abortion on the argument that the procedures for late term abortions are dangerous on the woman.  Thus wait till the child is completely out of the womb to kill it so that how you kill the child doesn't affect the mother.  Granted I suppose early term abortions will still be looked to as well, being that women would rather not have to go through 9 months of waiting, labor pains and delivery.

But first the rationality will always be to kill those defected.  The next is to kill those who are the result of rape and incest, till eventually you realize that if you can rationalize killing for extreeme cases, you can rationalize killing for many cases.

On a bright note, I have a household sister who lives in China and runs a house caring for abandoned infants who are not expected to live.  No one wants these children because they're only supposed to have one child, and they don't want  a child who is severely deformed, female and will die within a couple of years anyway.  She says the women who volunteer with her typically are uncomfortable seeing the physical abnormalities but grow to love them.  Overall its recognizing the need everyone has to be loved, even when their life is very short.  In that short lifespan, they ought to be loved.  She says surprisingly some of the children live longer than expected and become healthy enough to be put in other homes and adopted.  Though it is hard to experience the loss of so many children so frequently.  The sad thing is that to protect ourselves from that pain, we so often discard these children, we refuse to bond with them and love them because if you do, their death has such a great personal impact on you.

But that is the sort of thing we're all called to.  So long was we keep negating the value of human life, we will find every road to refuse to love certain groups because we fail to fully admit that the call to love involves the call to suffer out of love.  That is the message of Christ's cross.
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9 years ago  ::  Oct 09, 2008 - 7:15PM #2
angpuppy
Posts: 520
In '02, I was at a pro life conference representing Crossroads.  We were taking a break from our summer long penetential walk across the country for the sins of abortion and for the end of abortion.  I remember standing there as one of the pro life leaders of our country (can't remember who.  It was some guy.)  He apoligized to us and to Rock for Life for failing us, how when he and all the elder pro life activists started on this journey, they thought abortion would be illegal again by now.  They never thought the culture of death would advance as far as it has.

He stated that everyone keeps talking about the slippery slope, but he thinks we've reached the bottom of it.  There is no place further to slide.  I remember disagreeing with him, but couldn't articulate it.

Today my boyfriend emailed me some articles about infanticide being promoted in the Netherlands and other countries for children born with severe birth defects.
http://www.nuffieldbioethics.org/go/our … n_406.html
http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/ful … f_ipsecsha
http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/334/7600/912

Even this I think is just the beginning.  The more we go down this road of thought, the more we'll devalue human life and rationalize the killing of more and more people.  I would not be surprised if one day infanticide were as accepted as abortion and more common than abortion on the argument that the procedures for late term abortions are dangerous on the woman.  Thus wait till the child is completely out of the womb to kill it so that how you kill the child doesn't affect the mother.  Granted I suppose early term abortions will still be looked to as well, being that women would rather not have to go through 9 months of waiting, labor pains and delivery.

But first the rationality will always be to kill those defected.  The next is to kill those who are the result of rape and incest, till eventually you realize that if you can rationalize killing for extreeme cases, you can rationalize killing for many cases.

On a bright note, I have a household sister who lives in China and runs a house caring for abandoned infants who are not expected to live.  No one wants these children because they're only supposed to have one child, and they don't want  a child who is severely deformed, female and will die within a couple of years anyway.  She says the women who volunteer with her typically are uncomfortable seeing the physical abnormalities but grow to love them.  Overall its recognizing the need everyone has to be loved, even when their life is very short.  In that short lifespan, they ought to be loved.  She says surprisingly some of the children live longer than expected and become healthy enough to be put in other homes and adopted.  Though it is hard to experience the loss of so many children so frequently.  The sad thing is that to protect ourselves from that pain, we so often discard these children, we refuse to bond with them and love them because if you do, their death has such a great personal impact on you.

But that is the sort of thing we're all called to.  So long was we keep negating the value of human life, we will find every road to refuse to love certain groups because we fail to fully admit that the call to love involves the call to suffer out of love.  That is the message of Christ's cross.
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9 years ago  ::  Oct 11, 2008 - 8:56PM #3
cove52
Posts: 999
"Even this I think is just the beginning. The more we go down this road of thought, the more we'll devalue human life and rationalize the killing of more and more people. I would not be surprised if one day infanticide were as accepted as abortion and more common than abortion on the argument that the procedures for late term abortions are dangerous on the woman. Thus wait till the child is completely out of the womb to kill it so that how you kill the child doesn't affect the mother. Granted I suppose early term abortions will still be looked to as well, being that women would rather not have to go through 9 months of waiting, labor pains and delivery".


Infanticide, I agree a pretty sad act, is mainly done "legally" in places like the Neatherlands to infants who obviously will not live even with the most intense medical intervention. Some of these medical interventions can actually be viewed as more cruel than the natural death that is inevitable.

The 1st article you presented actually states: "These decisions are complex, emotionally demanding and may have lifelong consequences. The Report examines the ethical, social and legal issues which may be raised in critical care decision-making and makes practical recommendations for future policy and practice." Looks like the report takes the ethical ramifications of these decisions seriously. Every circumstance is different and, to tell you the truth, I wouldn't want to be a medical professional in this day and age. 

Listen, I have a friend who is a nurse. She works in a major hospital taking care of women with problem pregnancies. Sometimes all efforts to keep a woman from a preterm delivery are not successful. She once helped a woman deliver her 19 week gestation baby while she lay in her hospital room. The baby was breathing but so tiny (barely the size of her hand) nothing could be done to save her. My friend did everything she would do to care for a newborn. She wrapped the baby in a blanket, put a little hat on her head and gave her to her mother and father to "mourn" her. She did not breath for long. She wanted the child and the parents to experience the dignity they all deserved. Can you imagine the moral dillemma my friend went through. She reported the " live birth" but of course all the experts knew there was nothing they could do.

Anyway, I can't imagine there are very many people in the medical profession who would "kill" an infant for any reason. As far as I know, abortion is only legal in the 1st trimester. What is sad and alarming are the #s of abortions being performed on 1st trimester pregnancies because of the detection of Downes syndrome and other maladies. The poor things don't even get a fighting chance.

On the topic of assisted suicide in the Neatherlands. My husband has a work associate and friend who is Belgian. About a year ago he informed my husband of a death in his family. His sister had died. Not directly from the cancer she had been fighting for several years but from assisted suicide. Out of the blue one day his sister called him and told him she was going to die tomorrow and she wanted him to be with her. The following day he went to her home. He sat with her, they talked for awhile and then it was time. She had a peaceful death. She had fought very long and hard against the cancer but when it returned and her prognosis was grave she decided enough was enough. I can't say I blame her. Would it have been ethical for her to suffer through cancer treatment that was not going to save her life, let the cancer slowly and painfully kill her or to die peacefully on her own terms?
"I yam what I yam and I yam what I yam that I yam / And I got a lotta muscle and I only gots one eye / And I'll never hurt nobodys and I'll never tell a lie / Top to me bottom and me bottom to me top / That's the way it is 'til the day that I drop, what am I? / I yam what I yam."
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9 years ago  ::  Oct 12, 2008 - 1:06PM #4
rjak134
Posts: 320
The major problem with all of these arguments is that they create this idea of life that is not worth living - a life to which death would be preferable.  That is, quite literally, an infernal idea.  Human life is always valuable, always precious.  Just because the life will end soon or has become difficult, even very difficult and painful, does not mean that death is the right choice.

This is exactly what is meant when talk about the difference between a "culture of life" and a "culture of death."  A culture of death says that only some human lives are valuable, only some are worth living (from which it is but a short leap to "only some deserve to live"), and those that no longer meet our standards may be terminated at will.

It is my certain belief that the day will come when, looking back on our day & age, people will shake their heads and wonder how so many people, even the so-called "progressives", could countenance the slaughter of innocents that we have let ourselves in for.  They will look back on us the same way we look back on the eugenics movements of the early 20th century (a movement which, as these horrors show, is reviving its wicked self).
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9 years ago  ::  Oct 12, 2008 - 1:06PM #5
rjak134
Posts: 320
The major problem with all of these arguments is that they create this idea of life that is not worth living - a life to which death would be preferable.  That is, quite literally, an infernal idea.  Human life is always valuable, always precious.  Just because the life will end soon or has become difficult, even very difficult and painful, does not mean that death is the right choice.

This is exactly what is meant when talk about the difference between a "culture of life" and a "culture of death."  A culture of death says that only some human lives are valuable, only some are worth living (from which it is but a short leap to "only some deserve to live"), and those that no longer meet our standards may be terminated at will.

It is my certain belief that the day will come when, looking back on our day & age, people will shake their heads and wonder how so many people, even the so-called "progressives", could countenance the slaughter of innocents that we have let ourselves in for.  They will look back on us the same way we look back on the eugenics movements of the early 20th century (a movement which, as these horrors show, is reviving its wicked self).
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9 years ago  ::  Oct 13, 2008 - 11:49AM #6
gilg
Posts: 5,200
[QUOTE=rjak134;820130]

Human life is always valuable, always precious.  Just because the life will end soon or has become difficult, even very difficult and painful, does not mean that death is the right choice.

[COLOR="Blue"]Human life is valuable and in this I whole hardily agree with you. I reject the eugenic and Nazi notions of one group being superior to others and having the right to exterminate based on race, gender, physical characteristics, religion, and other artificial distinctions defining what human is.[/COLOR]

This is exactly what is meant when talk about the difference between a "culture of life" and a "culture of death."  A culture of death says that only some human lives are valuable, only some are worth living (from which it is but a short leap to "only some deserve to live"), and those that no longer meet our standards may be terminated at will.

It is my certain belief that the day will come when, looking back on our day & age, people will shake their heads and wonder how so many people, even the so-called "progressives", could countenance the slaughter of innocents that we have let ourselves in for.

[COLOR="Blue"] History here and elsewhere shows that in general it is not progressives but conservatives that are more likely to favor eugenics, the population control movement in this country was started by conservatives and it has been conservative judges appointed by conservatives (not the liberal ones as the myth keeps getting reported) that favored Roe vs Wade. Of course if one looks only at what some party platform says as opposed to what they actually do, one can easily get the wrong impression. [/COLOR]

....They will look back on us the same way we look back on the eugenics movements of the early 20th century (a movement which, as these horrors show, is reviving its wicked self).
..

[/QUOTE]


Perhaps. I think if we read history we will see that we have actually come a long way in valuing life and human dignity. Never in history have we protected children, the elderly, and others as we do today. I think that advances in science have brought to the surface many questions that were never encountered but I do agree that in principle euthanasia can be a slippery slope but we should not confuse it with eugenics that aims to kill or prevent the life of those a group may deem less than human.

I think eugenics, abortion, euthanasia, are related in the general scheme of life but I believe it is important for clarity and goal setting to see that while they aren't mutually exclusive they are independent from one another and the motives for pushing any particular one varies and by discussing them as one issue or as a political agenda of one political party obscures the common ground and make it more difficult to arrive at better solutions. These are problems that affect our very notion of what is human, they shouldn't be political wedges.




.
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9 years ago  ::  Oct 13, 2008 - 11:58AM #7
gilg
Posts: 5,200
[QUOTE=cove52;819205]

About a year ago he informed my husband of a death in his family. His sister had died. Not directly from the cancer she had been fighting for several years but from assisted suicide. Out of the blue one day his sister called him and told him she was going to die tomorrow and she wanted him to be with her. The following day he went to her home. He sat with her, they talked for awhile and then it was time. She had a peaceful death. She had fought very long and hard against the cancer but when it returned and her prognosis was grave she decided enough was enough. I can't say I blame her. Would it have been ethical for her to suffer through cancer treatment that was not going to save her life, let the cancer slowly and painfully kill her or to die peacefully on her own terms?[/QUOTE]


Cove,

A most difficult question and I don’t know if we have an answer. No doubt life is precious and watching some one wasting away their last days in agony really reinforce our belief that life is so precious – I’ve watched love ones die of cancer and I am unable to answer your question.

Paraphrasing another poster’s choice of words, I don’t know when [I]death is the right choice
but a problem we have now is that science and medicine have interfered with the natural process, sometimes prolonging and sometimes shortening the quality of life by hours, days, and even longer, e.g., a cancer patient with a negative prognosis is given chemotherapy that makes the person more ill while extending life just a little longer but also inflicting additional suffering. Where do we draw the line and is it even possible to make one that is just and merciful for every case?

Even when we stop using extraordinary measures sometimes the very act of giving pain medication speeds up the death process. Is one morally wrong of shorting life by days or hours if one does it by reducing suffering?  Do I let someone I love suffer hours longer or do I agree to let the doctor give my love one medication that will reduce the agony but most surely shorten life? A most difficult question and I don’t know that we (at least i don't) have an answer that is governed by love and compassion which will work across all situations. You ask a good question many of us will have to answer more than once.

.
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9 years ago  ::  Oct 13, 2008 - 7:52PM #8
TemplarS
Posts: 7,522
Some excellent as well as difficult points raised.

But I hardly see things on a uniform trend downwards.  In point of fact, in the US, abortions are 30% less common than they were thirty years ago.  No thanks to politicians, to be sure- but some of the rest of us have surely been doing some things right.  Now there are of course still too many abortions, but let us credit the good work of very many people, hardly all part of some moral erosion.

I think there is a tendency on the part of good people to always see things as morally going to hell in a handbasket.  But is this generation's abortion any worse than the Communist or Nazi slaughters of our parents' or grandparents' day?  Or the fate (intentional and otherwise) of native Americans?  Or the Armenians?  In centuries past, when an army captured a city, it was very typical to kill and rape and pillage; prisoners were drawn and quartered, common criminals crucified.  In some areas, we may progress while  in others, we regress. 

I do not see any general moral decline; some people can be as as cruel and barbaric as they ever were; but on the whole there are enough decent people to carry on.

If I see a unique threat in our time, it is not from some general deterioration of morals, it is that, today, we have much more serious tools at our disposal.  We now have enough nukes to destroy the planet, if we do not do ourselves in first via such things as global warming or a pandemic.  Which makes our moral shortcomings (though no worse than before) all the more dangerous to life on the planet.
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9 years ago  ::  Oct 13, 2008 - 8:28PM #9
angpuppy
Posts: 520
First off, please pray for my great grandmother who passed away last night.  She is probably the closest person to me who has ever died.
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9 years ago  ::  Oct 13, 2008 - 10:17PM #10
angpuppy
Posts: 520
We can speak objectively about the value of human life and the die a natural death.  We can talk about ordinary car and extraordinary care and how we shouldn't move to shortening or ending the life of someone for the sake of shortening the length of suffering.

But I will speak personally instead.  My great grandma was 98 years old.  For most of my life, up till about 4 years ago, she had a sharp mind and was able to live on her own.  She could remember all her great grandchildren's names.  In all honesty, growing up I didn't interact with her that much at family get togethers.  Everyone else would interact with her, till one day her sharpness fell, and I began noticing that people would grow tired trying to converse with her.  They'd say hi and go to talk to someone else.  So I started making an effort to sit with her, give her company, talk with her and most especially encourage her to think positively and to not feel guilty or like she was a burden on me.   The thing I enjoyed most about these family get togethers was being with her.  It was simple, straight forward.  Sometimes she get really down about the pains of being old, and I'd smile at her and find the strength to talk positively to her, to help her look at the good things in life.  For the most part she'd squeeze my hand and I never once felt like she didn't appreciate me.  I gave her hugs every time I saw her, told her how excited I was to see her while she'd express how she wish she were home because no one wanted her there anyway.

The thing that drove me bonkers is that some of my less conservative relatives would briefly talk to her and when she'd complain about being alive, they'd apoligise to her that she still had to remain alive.  Then they'd walk away.  I don't think they saw themselves as ignoring her.  They served her physical needs, probably spent on other occassions more time with her than I did.  I definitely know that they loved her.  I just think its very misguided to allow your sympothy to ever agree with someone who telling you that their life isn't worth living.  If you come to agree with that, that will affect how you serve them, how you speak to them, and ultimately I think you make a person suffer more by encouraging such negative thoughts.  Because in all honesty, I think emotional suffering: loneliness and despair are the worst forms of suffering there is.   You may not be able to help someone physically heal or to end their physical suffering, but you can help their emotional and spiritual sufferings by holding their hand, affirming their value as a person and suffering with them, especially through the natural dying process.  Hastening a person's death is always an act of despair, and against the value of each and everyone's life.
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