Friday, June 01, 2007

euthanasia debate

Conjoined-at-the-head twins Tatiana and Krista Hogan-Simms are now seven months old. Should they have been allowed to be born, debate Michael Coren and Dr. Ken Walker (alias Dr. W. Gifford-Jones, who writes a medical column carried by about 500 newspapers).

Michael Coren says "YES":

"...There is an absolute that we have to tackle. Life is either sacred or it is not. If it is, preserve it at all costs. If it is not, we might as well destroy it at will. It is terribly expensive to keep the sick alive and wholly impractical to prolong the life of an ill person who will die anyway.

No civilized person or society, however, considers expense and practicality to be more important than goodness and humanity. If it did, it would immediately wipe out, for example, drug addicts, the homeless and people with AIDS.

Gifford-Jones says "No":
"...They will never walk, joined at the head in such an abnormal position. Physically they are destined for ill health, lying on their backs forever. They will become obese and develop the myriad of diseases that accompany this problem. Their lives will be a living hell.

This should be a wakeup call for us to prevent unimaginable future cruelty of this kind. We are a compassionate nation and we routinely remove children from parents who abuse them. I would ask this question. Is there anyone among us who would want to be born this way or willing to trade places with these conjoined twins?

...Peter Singer, Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University, believes that children with major deformities of this kind should have life terminated within 28 days of their birth. But in my opinion it would have been a greater kindness to terminate this pregnancy in the early weeks of gestation.

Chilling stuff, coming from a doctor! (The family of the twins thinks so too.) When someone else's parameters about quality of life become the measure of whether we live or die -- are any of us safe?

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