With some sadness I came across news reports, lightly reported in this nation, about the Groningen protocol in The Netherlands. Essentially, doctors have been putting down infants who are suffering from great illnesses. Many other blogs have picked up on this story and have done a fine job of dissecting this news (Evangelical Outpost, Hugh Hewitt, Markdroberts).

Several things I find greatly distressing about this:

  • This allows doctors a wide-range of subjective discretion in deciding when to end a patients life. This is a 180 degree turn from the Hypocratic Oath and its promise to not offer a deadly drug. Not that the oath matter much anyhow.
  • While the immediate red flag is this involves babies, the protocol gives doctor’s great lee-way for a patient under the age of 12 suffering a serious illness.
  • For any American who shakes their head and believes that nothing that bad could ever happen here, it’s worth noting that the United States’ abortion laws are the least restrictive in the Western World.

I would imagine that many in this nation would react to this news by immediately politicizing the whole situation in American terms, which would be the worst possible course, at least immediately. What can and should be done constantly is reinforcing a culture of life wherever possible, especially in any situation where people can be learn before they have to unlearn bad thinking.

It can never be said enough, individuals have value for who they are, not based on the value we give them or if they are needed.

I recently had a much-loved dog die. We knew his health was declining and we hated the thought of having a vet put him down. We were glad when he died in his sleep. It is really odd when individual people are treated no better than animals. Once people are treated as no better than animals, all judgment about them becomes either utilitarian or existential – how can the person benefit me?