From Prohibiting Medical Care to Forced Abortion, Secular Solutions Abound
A woman gave birth to a healthy set of octuplets this week and the world is abuzz with complicated questions of morality. This news is all the more surprising considering the woman is a single mom, and had six other children before becoming pregnant with the octuplets.
There have been many questions raised about how she came to be pregnant with the 8 babies. Her mother reported to the L.A. Times last Thursday that the babies were implanted through invitro fertilization.
“If she went to a fertility clinic, there’s wide consensus from every single ethicist and fertility specialist that this was irresponsible and unethical to implant that many embryos,” said M. Sara Rosenthal, bioethicist at the University of Kentucky’s College of Medicine. “This is an outrageous situation that should not happen.”
It is not surprising that widespread condemnation would be heaped upon this single mom of now 14 children. There has also been a lot of negative press about how this doctor should not have helped her become pregnant (via invitro fertilization) because she was a single mom.
These are difficult questions to be sure, but I have a few questions.
How is it that these fertility specialists can be expected to judge one woman by her parenting situation and not another? These same voices demanding doctors deny this woman access to fertility treatments also demand that doctors be forced to provide services to gay couples against personal ethics. There have been several high profile lawsuits against doctors, demanding that we take morality out of the equation when providing services.
Who is to deny this woman access to medical treatments based on personal ethics?
Even more chilling, is the question that was raised about whether this mother should even be allowed to choose what happened to her babies once she was successfully implanted and pregnant:
(From CNN) The woman’s mother told the Los Angeles Times that doctors gave the woman the option of selectively reducing the number of embryos, and she refused.
George (bioethicist at Princeton University) said that, based on the information available, his personal ethical decision would probably support the woman’s choice to carry all the babies to term. But he said that selective reduction is not the same as traditional abortion because the goal is the healthiest possible birth rather than the termination of a pregnancy.
“The babies didn’t put themselves there; it’s not their fault,” George said. “There does seem to be a serious ethical question about killing one or more of them, even for the sake of maternal health.”
Rosenthal, on the other hand, questions the woman’s capacity to make a good decision under the circumstances. Some neonatologists believe that when pregnant women are told about dangers of prematurity or have great expectations about giving birth, their judgment can be impaired, she said.
The situation raises the issue of whether a doctor ought to override a patient’s wishes for the sake of saving lives, she said. Although the health care system in America gives patients autonomy in making decisions about their own bodies, when emotionally distraught, some people decide poorly, she said.
The very idea that perhaps the mother’s will should be overridden with regard to the life of her children is completely chilling, and to have CNN reporting on this option without comment as just another option in an array of options pushes my panic button.
How is it that this “ethicist” is even suggesting forced abortion as a solution? Is this where the secular ethics advocates are leading us?
These ethical ideas are pervading through European countries, and now we see them here. In Belgium, hundreds of ill children are euthanized every year WITHOUT their parents’ consent.
All actions we take in life follow a code of ethics. Public policy is set by traditional codes of behavior. Demanding personal ethics be set aside does not liberate the public from adhering to ethical behavior, it just replaces one set of ethical standards with another. Who then is going to decide for this woman and her children what ought to happen? The government? The people? Perhaps we should take a poll?
From denying medical care to suggesting forced abortions, coldly secular solutions to these difficult questions abound. Is this the world we want?
Replacing longstanding Judeo Christian ethics with secular ethics is not the job of the government, and these ethics should never be imposed on others, whether doctors or patients or just plain citizens.