America's Culture War: Situation Ethics
More Babies on the “Hit List”
As if the murder of the unborn were not enough, the next stage in moral perversity has arrived. Dutch medical authorities have proposed guidelines for performing euthanasia on newborns who are deemed terminally ill. The Groningen Academic Hospital’s guidelines would create a legal framework for permitting doctors to actively end the life of newborns deemed to be in pain from incurable disease or extreme deformities. Dutch doctors are urging the Health Ministry to create an independent board to review euthanasia cases for terminally ill people “with no free will,” including children, the severely mentally retarded, and people left in an irreversible coma after an accident. The guideline says euthanasia is acceptable when the child’s medical team and independent doctors agree that the pain cannot be eased and that there is no prospect for improvement, and when parents concur (Sterling, 2004). Though child euthanasia remains illegal everywhere, the hospital admits it carried out such procedures last year on four children—a procedure that entails injecting a sedative along with a lethal dose of muscle relaxant. Three years ago, Holland became the first nation to legalize euthanasia. [NOTE: For a discussion of the medical and ethical issues surrounding euthanasia, see (Harrub and Thompson, 2003 and Thompson, 2003.]
Extending “mercy killing” to children is the next step in the slippery slope of moral decline. As one prominent critic observed: “The slippery slope in the Netherlands has descended already into a vertical cliff” (Sterling, 2004). King David denounced euthanasia as “put[ting] forth your hand to destroy” (2 Samuel 1:14). Euthanasia advocates need to listen carefully to the question posed by Joseph to his brothers: “Am I in the place of God?” (Genesis 50:19).
Harrub, Brad and Bert Thompson (2003), “A Christian Response to ‘End-of-Life’ Decisions,” Reason & Revelation, [On-line], URL: http://apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=7&article=58.
Sterling, Toby (2004), “Netherlands Hospital Euthanizes Babies,” Associated Press, November 30, [On-line], URL: http://apnews.myway.com/article/20041130/D86MEAA80.html.
Thompson, Bert (2003), The Christian and Medical Ethics, [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/pdfs/e-books_pdf/cme.pdf.