Friday, January 21, 2005


Medical Ethics in Britain walking a slippery slope?

Charles Colson writes about Mary Warnock, supposedly one of the lights of medical ethics in the UK, who recently stated that she thought the sick and old have an obligation to die to ease the burden on their families:

It’s frightening to think that someone so high up in a nation’s government has such a cavalier attitude toward human life. But Warnock is hardly alone. Parliament is currently considering a “Mental Capacity Bill” that would authorize third parties, chosen by a patient, to make major medical decisions for that patient if he or she was no longer deemed capable of doing so. As some members have pointed out, this bill—especially with the unclear way it’s worded—could easily lead to the killing of people who don’t want to be killed. Unfortunately, other members of Parliament are taking Warnock’s position in the highly contentious debate.

Warnock’s version of medical ethics is disheartening, but not surprising. Not long ago, we told you about a Dutch hospital’s campaign for permission to take the lives of terminally ill babies—and the hospital’s statement that they were already doing it without permission. When even doctors, trusted with protecting and preserving human lives, can’t be trusted to respect those lives, how can we expect governments to do so?

Each step down this slope is a step that says "Your value of a human is only there as long as the state says you are worth having around." It's a dangerous, dehumanizing place to go.

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