From Zenit via Titusonenine comes this article: When Doctors Want to Kill Handicapped Newborns. Again, the primary issues that arise are 1) who makes the decision that treatment is “futile” and 2) would doctors who disagree with a particular policy be forced to carry it out (much like pharmacists who are now being fired for refusal to dispense abortifactants). Zenit interviewed a well-spoken neonatologist about the ethical guidelines recently released in England, who said this:
To better understand the issue and its implications of a bioethical nature, ZENIT interviewed neonatologist Carlo Bellieni, director of the Neonatal Intensive Therapy Department of the Le Scotte University Polyclinic of Siena.
Q: What do you think of the request of the United Kingdom’s Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists?
Bellieni: The request to do away with newborns with serious disabilities, does not leave any pediatrician insensitive, namely, those who tomorrow will be called to carry out the “eliminations.”
But it is not new: Already in 2002 Michael Gross wrote in Bioethics that there is “a general endorsement of neonaticide subject to a parent’s assessment of the newborn’s interest broadly defined to consider physical harm as well as social, psychological and or financial harm to related third parties.”
And it is always by the “interest of third parties” that one begins to understand what might be hidden behind a pietistic intention “to put an end to the child’s sufferings.”
Q: What are the most disturbing aspects of the British proposal?
Bellieni: Three things disturb pediatricians.
One, having to become executioners of a death sentence. We are not doctors for this, especially at a time when the death sentence is stigmatized by an increasing number of states.
Two, having to consider the patients themselves as non-persons. There are authors who say that newborns are not persons because they still do not have self-awareness, precisely a requirement for this sensation — affirmations amply denied by science and experience.
Three, having to consider the handicapped not as a life to help and respect but, with a phobic attitude, as a second-tier life.
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