A Culture of Death

By GotDesign
On June 27th, 1968, I came into this world -- the eldest child of my parents. My parents had two other children, my sisters, over the following five years. It was not until I was in my early teens that I learned that I was not truly my parents' firstborn. I learned that on June 28th, 1967 my older sister, Kerri Lynn, was stillborn due to complications from Spina Bifida. My sister's skull and spinal column were not fully formed. As often as I can, I visit her gravesite in my hometown.

At some time in the past five years (I'm not exactly sure when), I watched a program on the Discovery Channel where a child with spina bifida was operated on while still in the womb. The nacent little girl had developmental problems similar to my sister -- a spinal column not covered by flesh. The child was removed from the womb in a C-Section and a form of synthetic skin was used to close up the wound over her spine and she was replaced into her mothers womb. The program followed this case and showed the successful birth of this little girl. While the little girl required therapy in learning to walk, she lived a happy, relatively normal life.

Had my sister been born within the past decade, she might have survived her developmental wounds. But she would not have survived if she had been born in Holland.

Last night, Hugh Hewitt expressed his disgust and horror regarding a news story out of the Netherlands. Hospitals in the Netherlands are performing euthanasia on unborn and infant children. The Groningen Academic Hospital has proposed guidelines for euthanasia:
The Groningen Protocol, as the hospital's guidelines have come to be known, would create a legal framework for permitting doctors to actively end the life of newborns deemed to be in similar pain from incurable disease or extreme deformities.

The guideline says euthanasia is acceptable when the child's medical team and independent doctors agree the pain cannot be eased and there is no prospect for improvement, and when parents think it's best.

Examples include extremely premature births, where children suffer brain damage from bleeding and convulsions; and diseases where a child could only survive on life support for the rest of its life, such as severe cases of spina bifida and epidermosis bullosa, a rare blistering illness.

According to the Groningen Protocol (GP), my sister would have been euthanized. While the article does not say whether the independent committee acts with or without the consent of the parents of the children covered by the GP, it seems from the article that the committee decision does not require consent. Do you want an "independent committee" determining the future of your children? At what point do they move from euthanizing severe metal retardation to mild retardation?

Cry havoc! Let your horror be heard by anyone who will listen! Pray for God's intervention to protect the children and mentally handicapped in the Netherlands.

First, the actions of the Groningen Academic Hospital were not enabled by legislation, but were undertaken proactively by the hospital. Second, if you want to e-mail the hospital to express your outrage, the Faculty of Medical Sciences of the University of Groningen (which operates and administrates the hospital) can be reached through their Department of Internal and External Relations. Fill up their e-mail box. You can also reach the Press Officer for the Department of Medical Sciences.

According to the Grand Forks Herald, parents do not have the final say regarding their children in these cases. For a great Christian perspective on this outrage, check out Mark D. Roberts and his blog posting.

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