The Life issues that have been ignored in the election
Oh, they are there, but they are being ignored: A fact that says more about the press' bias and eagerness to elect Obama than it does about American concern about the issue.
Most of the articles we see tell us how Obama is "reaching out" to people of faith, yet polls suggest his percentage of the faith vote is no different than Kerry's.
What is not covered is that dissident Catholic groups, funded by foundations and individuals who openly aim to change church teachings, have been going around confusing Catholics on life issues in the election. We have had Senators Biden and Pelosi insisting that the church wasn't always against abortion; we see political groups associated with the Democratic party that insist the socialist agenda will lower the rate of abortion more than laws disapproving of the issue, so it is more "catholic" to support the socialist candidate.
The argument against this is very subtle: that a government that takes over all "needs" allows and encourages people to be irresponsible and ignore their relatives or lovers in financial need since the government will do the job--and by doing so, destroys the family in oh so many ways.
Of course, Obama will change the laws. Already the "Freedom of Choice" act is in Congress...a law that would outlaw any restrictions against abortion. No partial birth abortion ban, no "parental consent" laws, no waiting periods. A President Obama is unlikely to veto such a bill.
But things would go further than that.
Waiting in the wings is euthanasia.
And it won't be legalized simply in a few states: Like abortion, all it takes is one court case and voila, all laws can be changed by judicial fiat.
All it will take is one or two more activist judges on the Supreme Court, and euthanasia will be the next human right entrenched in our constitution.
Like abortion, these judges will have a lot of pro euthanasia academic articles to quote to support their opinions.
The pro death "ethicists" are now widely respected in academia.
Peter Singer, who thinks retarded children aren't human but that apes are, is now mainstream: and he is not alone: Some European countries are discussing giving human rights to apes.
As for euthanasia of the less than perfect, Wesley Smith's article in Medscape notes that he is not alone.
Daniel Callahan of the Hasting Center has long supported mandating level of care according to one's ability. So Trig Palin could get antibiotics, but not surgery...and Terry Schiavo would get no treatment at all (not even food or water by spoon).
Hardwig has written in the Hasting Center journal about a case where a daughter gives up her job to care for a mother who is sick. Hardwig suggests that morally this means the daughter is losing the ability to save for her own old age, and argues that the mother morally should kill herself to benefit her daughter's life.
Already, the New York Times is writing about the financial problems of caretakers, and the problem of singles who get older but lack children. Right now, the hint is that we need "government" subsidies, but it doesn't take much to recognize that a major recession will result in such substandard subsidies that soon "elimination" of the demented (who don't know they exist anyway) will be the next step.
Others want to move the definition of death to include "permanent unconsciousness", or to define "personhood" as a certain IQ. This argument goes back to Joseph Fletcher in the 1970's, but has become more common in recent years: One of my colleagues who taught in Harvard said that he was shunned and ridiculed for not going along with the pro euthanasia agenda there, and that was in the early 1990's....
Twenty two years ago, when I first read this type of argument in the (pro euthanasia) New England Journal of Medicine, I wrote to a reviewer of the books making this type of argument, asking if these arguments of "personhood" meant that these people could lose their civil rights, and be used for organ donations, killed, experimented on, or left to die, according to the doctor's or family's whims? If so, who decides who has rights?
The chilling answer was yes, they would lose all civil rights, and as to who decides who has rights, according to the latest trends in philosophy, it is difficult to define why anyone at all has rights.
So why do we have rights at all? Are they defined by a man made criteria that eliminates substandard humans, or are they given to us "by the Creator"?
How far does all of this go?
Well, in England, Lady Warnock has written an article in a church (!) newspaper noting that treating demented people wastes taxpayers money (England has nationalized health care), not to mention the time and energy of the caretakers.
And two years ago, one British society representing Obstetrics/Gynecology doctors said that euthanasia should be an option for families who deliver retarded or badly deformed children.
Such deaths are legal in the Netherlands already, of course, and the press which for years ignored the unrequested euthanasia cases there will continue to laud and applaud the "assisted suicide" types as compassionate people to be emulated rather than serial killers to be punished.
Of course, this has absolutely nothing to do with the next election, since one doubts either president will push such unpopular laws, even with a press to promote the culture of death as the latest civil right.
But one doubts a President Obama will veto the "Freedom of choice" act, and as for suicide and killing of the elderly: Such issues will be settled via a judicial system imposing these things as rights rather than crimes.
What will happen to Church hospitals is the next question: already some states have insisted that Catholic hospitals give out the abortion pill, and the courts have upheld these laws. And if a government takeover of health care occurs, Catholic hospitals may be required by law to obey.
Not a cheerful prediction, and I know, all of this sounds paranoid indeed.
But when I used to write about these things in the 1990's, I worried that I was becoming paranoid. But then, I read John Paul II's encyclical on the Gospel of Life, and found he was more worried about these trends than I was...perhaps because in a Post Christian Europe, these trends are much more advanced than in the US...
Indeed, one wonders how much of the rabid dislike of President Bush, Mrs. McCain, or Sarah Palin is due not because of their conservative views per se, but because of their open defense of life: Bush, by his appointment of pro life ethicists to the President's Council of Bioethics, and his restraint on stem cell research, Mrs. McCain for adopting a sick orphan, and Sarah Palin for daring to give life to her latest child.
Yet to mention Obama's view that having a teenager give birth to a child is a "punishment" and that an aborted child doesn't warrant medical care, well, such things are left to pass as if they were normal ideas that are less important than....well, whatever ideas are being spun under the vague slogans of hope and change.
Ah, hope for whom and change for what?
Labels: medical ethics