Saturday, February 11, 2012

Welcome to the brave new world of 21st century "medicine"

If this doesn't disgust you, you have no heart and probably no soul.
If you want to see where our culture may next go off the rails, read professional journals. There, in often eye-crossing and passive arcane prose of the medical intelligentsia, you will discover an astonishing level of antipathy to the sanctity of human life — to the point now that some advocate killing the profoundly disabled for their organs.

Case in point: “What Makes Killing Wrong?” an article published in the January 19, 2012 edition of the Journal of Medical Ethics. The authors argue that death and total disability are morally indistinguishable, and therefore harvesting organs from living disabled patients is not morally wrong. Bioethicists Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, of Duke University, and Franklin G. Miller, from the National Institutes of Health’s Department of Bioethics (which should really get the alarm bells ringing!) arrive at their shocking (for most of us) conclusion by claiming that murdering the hypothetical “Betty” isn’t wrong because it kills her, but rather, because it “makes her unable to do anything, including walking, talking, and even thinking and feeling.”

How do they get from deconstructing the definition of death to harvesting the disabled? First, they change the scenario so that Betty is not killed but severely brain damaged to the point that she is “totally disabled.” But their definition of that term encompasses hundreds of thousands of living Americans who are our mothers, fathers, children, aunts and siblings, uncles, friends and cousins — people with profound disabilities like that experienced by Terri Schiavo and my late Uncle Bruno as he lived through the late stages of his Alzheimer’s disease:

Betty has mental states, at least intermittently and temporarily, so she is not dead by any standard or plausible criterion. Still, she is universally disabled because she has no control over anything that goes on in her body or mind.

Since Betty “is no worse off being dead than totally disabled,” they opine, it is no worse “to kill Betty than to totally disable her.” Not only that, but according to the authors, “there is nothing bad about death or killing other than disability or disabling,” and since she is already so debilitated, then nothing wrong is done by harvesting her organs and thus ending her biological existence. And thus, in the space of not quite five pages, killing the innocent ceases to be wrong and the intrinsic dignity of human life is thrown out the window, transforming vulnerable human beings into objectified and exploitable human resources
If you can stomach it, read the whole article by Wesley J. Smith, documented by links to six articles advocating this barbaric practice.