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December 21, 2004

Don’t Have Your Baby in Holland.

Further reports on the Dutch practice of euthanasia:

Once a month on average somewhere in the Netherlands a doctor injects a newborn baby with a lethal cocktail of morphine and sedatives. Within a few hours, the baby is dead. The agonising decision is taken, invariably at the pleading of distraught parents, because the infant is born into excruciating pain with life-threatening illness or disability and with little or no prospect of recovery or successful treatment.

I realise that the language over there is slightly different from our own but I still think that a fairly startling interpretation of the Hippocratic Oath....first, do no harm.

The moral, psychological and emotional pressures raised by the topic of killing infants are daunting in the extreme,

Daunting? In what manner? It’s blindingly obvious. If you start acting all Herod-like then you’ll be afflicted by guilt. Do your actual job of bringing succour and relief to the ill and sick and you won’t. Just because people no longer believe in God doesn’t mean that the human conscience has been abolished and that’s all this is, the innate sense of morality kicking in when we know that we’ve done something grossly evil.

Last year Dr Verhagen's clinic in Groningen carried out three terminations of newborns and reported the cases to the prosecutor's office, which decided not to bring charges.

Note the language. Termination. Amazed they don’t just call it post partum abortion so that we all know that it’s right and proper (for no one can argue in public that abortion is wrong now can they?)

"If the doctor and the parents decide to terminate the life of the baby, it is illegal, in any country. So it is murder," says Dr Kollée. "This is all very problematic for a doctor. He feels like a criminal. It's very difficult."

Well that would be because he is a criminal. Hellooo, knock, knock, anybody home? Deciding to terminate the life of a baby is killing a human being with pre-meditation. That is, last time I looked, murder. QED.

Euthanasia has been practised for 10 years in the Netherlands, the first country in the world to legalise the practice, and now accounts for 4-5,000 deaths a year, 3.5% of the national death rate.

Huh? This ever so rare proceedure, one to be used only in extremis, in the most difficult cases, now means that for the poor benighted Dutch they have a 1 in 30 chance of being murdered in their sick beds? This is an advance in civilisation in exactly what manner? With these numbers would you want to be placed in an old people’s ward in that country? It is of course absolute proof that there is no validity to the slippery slope argument, no, none at all.

The practice is severely circumscribed and tightly regulated.

I believe this is known as gallows humour.

For example, a national commission of experts concluded last week after three years of deliberation that euthanasia rights should be extended to those wanting to die because they are "tired of life". There is also a discussion about euthanasia for patients suffering from dementia, as well as about psychiatric and other cases involving patients unable to take a rational decision for themselves.

Euthanasia advocates would insist that it could only be undertaken in cases where the patient demands it, of course. Unless they’re like, ill, depressed, nuts, in a coma, had a stroke, suffer from Alzheimers, dementia, cost the NHS too much...how long before it’s at the instigation of other family members? Granny’s spending the inheritance? (Hello and welcome Baroness Warnock, how nice of you to enlighten us tonight!) Even, whisper it if you dare, how long before the Government gets to decide who lives and who dies? Godwin’s Law does not apply here for that is only for inappropriate references.

Bishop Elio Sgreccia, of the Vatican's Pontifical Academy for Life, has written to the paediatricians to voice outrage at the proposals, likening them to the Nazis' mass murder of 70,000 physically and mentally disabled under the euphemism of euthanasia.

Indeed. Here in the UK such things could never happen of course. Our Abortion Acts state that at 24 weeks the fetus has rights, may not be killed simply because someone wants to do so, but only in cases where it threatens the life (physically or mentally, not just lifestyle) of the mother. Oh, and, of course, if the child is less than perfect. A cleft palate is enough. We also have laws against discrimination against the disabled. All buildings must be accessible. But we can kill them. No, no contradiction there at all.

Dr Kollée says: "We want doctors who end the life of a baby to report the cases and that the cases are properly reviewed. The great majority of paediatricians have told us that these end-of-life decisions should be properly examined and not practised in the dark."

Properly reviewed?  Spread the guilt you mean. If a committee says it was OK then the murderer can find solace in groupthink. Sheesh. The reason these things are done in the dark is because those doing the killing know, in their bones, that it is wrong.

Dr Kollée contends the very opposite: "If the practice is not controlled and regulated, then we will end up on the slippery slope. We don't want this type of decision to become easy. We don't want to increase the number of patients whose lives are terminated. It must be exceptional. It shouldn't be done. But sometimes a doctor can't do anything else."

Well, actually, yes a doctor can always do something else. Grow a pair and do his job. To tend to the sick, not kill them. Not a particularly revolutionary thought, been around a couple of thousand years.
Leave aside all the religious arguments. We pass through this universe but once and to have our time here curtailed or ended because someone else thinks that it is best for that to be so is evil, pure and unadulterated evil. Abortion, capital punishment, euthanasia, murder, all wrong for that one simple reason.

December 21, 2004 in Health Care | Permalink


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» A management problem merely. from Progressive Reaction
When I was away over Christmas Tim Worstall put up an impassioned post on the subject of the Dutch experiment... [Read More]

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» A management problem merely. from Progressive Reaction
When I was away over Christmas Tim Worstall put up an impassioned post on the subject of the Dutch experiment... [Read More]

Tracked on Feb 1, 2005 8:32:55 PM


Our first child was born with "severe congenital talipes", or "club feet" as they are more commonly known. He had to wear splints, and had an operation at 9 months old but now runs around as well as any other child.

The problem was obvious on the ultrasound scans quite early on, and it was suggested that we seriously consider having him aborted. (Absolutely out of the question of course).

I wasn't present at that time, (just my wife and mother-in-law), but I really wish I had been. If you want to know why the abortion rate is so high in this country, you only have to look at the "professionals" who are constantly advocating it.

Baby not quite perfect? Get rid of it. You're still a bit young? Are you sure you wouldn't rather party a bit longer? Not married? Don't want to be a single mother do you? And so on.

Then there are cases like Diane Blood who had to go to court in order to have the children she and her husband had planned.

Or the recent cases where couples with chidren who were dying for want of bone marrow, etc. from compatible siblings were denied the right to select to have a child from a cluster of cells with the right genetic match. Aborting a few cells is unacceptable, but aborting a 6 month old CHILD and condemning their other child to a slow, painful death is considered perfectly reasonable!

And finally there's a recent case where someone who was sterilised by her cancer treatment has been denied the right to have children from the embryos she had frozen because her now ex-boyfriend had withdrawn his consent out of spite.

Does this decision mean that fathers can now insist "live" pregnancies be terminated? It certainly sounds like it.

And then there's the hand-wringing about our falling birth rate. Well given the above it's hardly surprising is it?

Posted by: David B. Wildgoose | Dec 21, 2004 11:23:13 AM

Falling birth rates are not an issue. The problem is it is only the unemployed and stupid who seem to have children.
Anyway our birth rates are on the up to 1.71/woman from 1.4 a few years ago. No doubt buoyed by immigrants who accounted for 18% of all babies last year (up from 9% a decade ago).

As for the foetus and abortion ethics. I am never sure what is right and what is wrong. Whilst I am in favour of abortion by some degree; I am too foten against the motives that some women have them.
Regarding the 'paternal' aspect of an embryo. A man has the right to ownership of his genes/sperm. I would never deny any woman from having my sperm for a child - just as long as she doesnt want any of my few pennies to raise it! However, the problem in this instance is he must have consented to giving his sperm in the first instance, but because the 'child' is not in the womb he has some control.
In theory a woman can't have an abortion without the fathers' consent, but I would assume in 99% of abortions the father has no knowledge and his opinion and wishes are ignored.

Posted by: Monjo | Dec 21, 2004 4:05:36 PM

I remember making myself unpopular with some girls in my block when I was a student. There was a case in the newspapers about two students at Oxford who had had a drunken fling after a ball. She was pregnant, and wanted an abortion, and he objected. He wanted her to have the baby, and give it him to take care of. There was a court case, and he lost.

Cue much indignation about his callous behaviour from the girls, and much righteous indignation at the murder of his child from me.

My point was that if he hadn't wanted the child and she had, he had no choice about the baby being born, AND had to support it into adulthood. The law is completely inequable when it comes to men and womens' respective rights about child bearing.

Incidentally, I don't believe in making abortion illegal, because I don't want a return to back street abortions with dirty knitting needles. But I do want the existing law strengthened, a reduction in the number of weeks from 24 down to 18 (as proposed by David Alton a few years back), and an end to encouraging abortions and a return to discouraging them.

Tim adds: I remember that Oxford case. Seem to remember that even though she won the case she had the baby, or am I dreaming that? I agree that the law as it is is grossly unfair. I also, sadly, have to agree with you that I don’t think iabortion can ever successfully be made illegal.
Remember when Cardinal Winning started to offer (small) amounts of financial help to women who wanted to keep their babies? Shrieks of indignation from those who said that this was tantamount to denying the validity of abortion.

Posted by: David B. Wildgoose | Dec 21, 2004 4:26:56 PM

I think the time limit on abortions should be decided not by when the foetus starts to feel (which is a never-ending argument) but by what is a reasonable amount of time to make a huge life-changing decision. You've got pregnant; you weren't planning to; you've got to decide whether to keep the baby. This is a decision you should devote all your time to, not something you should put off till the last minute because you're busy doing something else. Allow, say, 10 weeks to discover you're pregnant in the first place -- that seems more than fair. Then allow another month to make the decision. If you can't make up your mind in a month, you never will. That's 14 weeks, and I reckon it's erring on the generous side. There are, of course, some women who make it to 8 or even 9 months without realising that they're pregnant, but hey: legislation is a broad brush. Tough.

People work to the deadlines they're given. Reduce the limit by a few weeks, and I very much doubt you'd see any drop in the numbers of abortions. All that would happen is that those mothers who had decided to abort would get round to it a bit sooner.

To think that, in the US, there are women getting abortions in the third trimester. What were they doing before that? Hoping the problem would go away?

Posted by: Squander Two | Dec 23, 2004 11:57:00 AM

Shocked to read this, if abortion is the only option then it should be done at 8 weeks nothing after that. But sometimes maybe it is the only way to stop the creulty that the child might suffer due to it not being wanted. Shocked at the euthansia of infants, where there is life there is always hope, and I speak from experience.

Posted by: Bernice | Apr 23, 2005 8:34:50 PM

Could David B Wildgoose contact me urgently please?
I am interested in his story of being advised to abort his child because of a diagnosis of club feet.

Posted by: Josephine Quintavalle | May 26, 2006 1:03:27 PM