Friday, November 17, 2006

holy shit....

..the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology have put forward a lot of unsettling ideas about their wish to engage in active euthanasia for babies with certain medical conditions. My regular reader (hello!) will not be surprised by this post... The gist - and its outlined here - is that obstetricians would like to discuss the extension of the 'management options' of sick newborn babies to include "non-resuscitation, withdrawal of treatment decisions, the best-interests test and active euthanasia". Lovely.

For what its worth, non-resuscitation could sometimes be sensible. As can good palliative care. But the best interests test worries me hugely.

Firstly - and again - is who decides what is quality of life? Obstetricians? Doctors who probably haven't seen a disabled person since they were first doing clinical training - relatively few disabled people have children. And people who are not exposed to disabled people (lovely phrase that) are not accepting of them (as supported by recent, offline, research by the Employers Forum on Disability) so not in a great position to judge on quality of life.

Secondly - the suggestion that disabled children are expensive. Well - yes they are, actually. The way to deal with that however is to put more money into it. See, if disabled people who wanted to work all had the support to be able to do so that would generate more tax. Perhaps that would help towards keeping these children alive. Or alternatively we could get all the most senior people to pay all the tax they should be?

Thirdly - it used to be that there would always be some organisations in your corner. I'm not entirely in agreement with Care Not Killing, for example, but here they make some great points. So its almost unbelievable that the Church of England, who could have been relied upon to at least to promote the right to life, have now changed their mind. So only most of human life is sacred then?

And fourthly, to put the puss firmly among the aves, Micheline Mason, a disabled woman and lifelong advocate for inclusive education, has produced a response saying:

"Who gave you the arrogance to make my disabled friends feel that all the effort and struggle they have made during their lifetimes to contribute to their families, their communities, their loved ones, to hope and dream and work towards a better world, is as worthless as a stick of chewing gum? Why don't you know that this is just wrong? That if you step one inch away from the principle that all human life is equal, and we all have an equal right to it, then we all step into a new world where no one will ever be safe again, not even the people who are proposing such a step. It would change the foundation upon which we live."

Full statement I'd be pleased to email you. I can't find it on the interweb at present.
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