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Pro-life suites: So--You're "pro-life for born children," are you?

We've all heard it until we're tired of it. The liberal says, "Oh, you pro-lifers only care about fetuses. I'm pro-life in the sense that I care about born children." Even some Christians, both Catholic and Protestant, use it to excuse their supporting the Party of Death. I just saw another, recent article the other day responding to these facile tropes (a Catholic responding to Catholics), though right now I can't relocate the link.

For the moment (though really, this shouldn't be waived indefinitely), I'll waive the fact that the economic and welfare policies of the Party of Death are not actually good for "born children" or born people generally.

What about this? Medical workers are beginning to speak out in the UK about the application of the infamous death-by-dehydration Liverpool Care Pathway to infants and children. A couple of hair-raising quotations:

One doctor has admitted starving and dehydrating ten babies to death in the neonatal unit of one hospital alone. Writing in a leading medical journal, the physician revealed the process can take an average of ten days during which a baby becomes ‘smaller and shrunken’.
Bernadette Lloyd, a hospice paediatric nurse, has written to the Cabinet Office and the Department of Health to criticise the use of death pathways for children. ‘I have also seen children die in terrible thirst because fluids are withdrawn from them until they die’ She said: ‘The parents feel coerced, at a very traumatic time, into agreeing that this is correct for their child whom they are told by doctors has only has a few days to live. It is very difficult to predict death. I have seen a “reasonable” number of children recover after being taken off the pathway.

‘I have also seen children die in terrible thirst because fluids are withdrawn from them until they die. I witnessed a 14 year-old boy with cancer die with his tongue stuck to the roof of his mouth when doctors refused to give him liquids by tube. His death was agonising for him, and for us nurses to watch.

There is more at this link, but try to ignore all the tacky pictures in the margins. (Side note: Why do UK news web sites, some with very important articles, have to include such awful photos from other stories all around the edge?)

I'm not going to make this a story about how much worse things are in the UK than they are in the U.S. As far as I know, many or most states in the U.S. would also permit parents to choose to dehydrate a disabled child to death and possibly even a child with late-stage cancer. If adults who can (to begin with) speak for themselves and who allegedly have control over their own medical care can be heavily drugged and dehydrated to death in the U.S. (and they can), how much more vulnerable are infants and children, who either cannot speak for themselves or whose medical decisions are in the hands of other people? We also know that familial decision-makers in the U.S. are often pressured into agreeing to such things, and a hospital may even attempt to make the decision unilaterally, as in the case of Zach McDaniel. (For some reason I have sometimes referred to Zach by the incorrect last name of "Fernandez." Not sure how that happened.) I would imagine that the chief differences between the U.S. and the UK are 1) the streamlined nature of the decision-making in the UK, the wheels being oiled by an official "pathway" which makes death by dehydration something nigh unto standard of care, and 2) the inability of families to sue the medical establishment, which removes one part of a system of checks and balances.

With that point out of the way, I'm quite willing to acknowledge that killing born babies and children by dehydration is probably taking place all over the West, with medical staff arm-twisting parents into agreeing along the way. But I note, then: Pro-lifers are speaking out about this. Pro-lifers are warning about it. By and large, these are the same pro-lifers who are concerned about unborn children (you know, the "fetuses"). We can say with some confidence that the supposedly caring American left is not generally the group making a fuss about this. (It was Texas Right to Life that sounded the alarm about Zach.)

So, Christian left: What qualifiers are you going to put in now? The born-unborn distinction should never have mattered in the first place. Murdering unborn children is still murder. Your sneering references to "fetuses" simply told us about you, not about them. But now we see that the culture of death has no mercy on born children either, especially if they are disabled or sick, if they are not expected to recover to the point of being "life worthy of life." What will you say now? "Well, the politicians and the people on the side of the culture wars that I support are, er, pro-life because, er, they're concerned about born, poor children...at least, the born, poor children who can eat on their own...and aren't severely disabled...and generally haven't been declared to be better starved to death by some doctor. Yeah, those are the children my political side is pro-life about."

Keep trying. Or better yet, stop trying and admit: The culture of death is all of a piece. Once we decide that some human beings can be defined out of the human family, there is no principled reason to stop at birth. Once we accept a utilitarian ethic which permits unborn babies to be torn to pieces, there is no reason in principle why a born infant or a 14-year-old should not also be dehydrated to death. (Though, darn it, we might wonder why the 14-year-old wasn't given enough pain medication to make his death less agonizing.)

The culture of death is a monster, and it isn't going to stop devouring the children just because they've had the luck to be born. So, I say to the Christian left: Stop telling yourself lies and just become really pro-life. It will save you a lot of squirming in the end. Or a hardened conscience. Maybe it will just save you, period.

Comments (18)

They don't care about protecting life that is affected by uncontrolled circumstances - child at conception, illness. They care about protecting people from the consequences of their own choices - woman with unwanted pregnancy, poverty while pumped full of drugs/parcel full of children with multiple fathers, single motherhood, and a complete host of other stuff.

Yeah...they deserve compassion, but the left sees help coupled with pointing out how their decisions brought them here = judgemental and not really compassion. Its only compassion if you help and keep your mouth shut. "what's right for me may not be what's right for them."

We have just read in my comp classes an article by Allen Verhay ("Jesus and the Neonates," I think is the title) about a baby left to starve/dehydrate in 1982 in Bloomington, IN, because he had both Down's and esophageal atresia (which prevented him from swallowing). Any "normal" baby born with the latter problem would automatically have been treated, but the ob and the parents decided he was not worthy of the surgery because his Down's *might* have been severe (no one can actually know at birth the severity -- though of course it doesn't matter anyway!). It took 6 days of neglect for this child to die. There were nurses who wished to help him and adoption offers poured in from across the country, but they were not moved. And the courts refused to intervene, the judge saying he didn't have enough medical knowledge to decide the case so it had to be left up to the parents.

1982. I can't even imagine how many times the same thing must have happened since then.

It sobered my students a good deal (and I didn't hesitate to use strong language in the discussion to enforce their natural reaction of horror, along with other stories such as Terri Schiavo's), and I hope will have a lasting effect on some as they begin to encounter the culture of death in their own experiences. I thank God every day I teach that I am employed where I not only can but am expected to speak Truth.

When I read that article I got the impression that it's the opening move in the political battle for fast and painless dysthanasia - murder them quickly rather than torture them to death.

I'd love to know if those in the death-culture give any thought about what dying really means, and if they ever contemplate what death will mean for them personallly? Just lights out? Personal extinction? Encounter with God? Judgment? Reincarnation? Nirvana? Ghost-life?

Whatever they think, or don't think, must determine from where they imagine life comes? Natural evolution? God? (not many options here)

Or do they simply not allow their minds to explore such thoughts? Do near-death encounters or life-threatening illnesses drive them there?

Bill White, I'm sure you are right. In fact, I view it as a hostage move: "You mean pro-lifers won't let us kill these babies and children by lethal injection, so we _have_ to kill them this way. It's your fault. You need to allow direct killing to spare them suffering."


The article made me so sick,I couldn't finish it. Evil UK/NHS, well I know you don't want to make it about just them, but I can promise The British Tourism authority they won't get another penny of mine. Next trip will be to Ireland.

This is just the most sickening example of what happens in state-run, nationalized health"care". In so many ways, at so many levels the ethic of care is utterly lost. Dried blood spatters on equipment trays, failure to change dressings for days on end, no bed rails, sending granny home I someone else's urine-soaked clothes, etc. these and many, many similar failures have been documented with increasing frequency in the NHS. And that's not to mention that fact that the vast majority of Britain's abortions are technically illegal and everyone knows this but no one gives a rat's whisker about it.

I'd say don't get me started, but you're too late.


P.S. the Mail is supposed to be a conservative paper. Sad.

Wesley J. Smith reports often on the meltdown of the NHS. He has converted away from his previous attraction to single payer as a result of seeing the actual effects. Smith is one of the only people I've ever seen actually abandon bad economic ideas as a result of empirical evidence.

I really think the pro-life movement needs to document and publish pictorial and video evidence of these atrocities. It wasn't until we saw pictures and film footage of the Holocaust that we knew the real horror of it. Out of sight - out of mind. Video evidence of the agony these children experience, ultrasounds of abortions in progress and pictures of chopped up baby parts should be on every pro-life website and all over you-tube. People need to be disgusted by the reality of what they're choosing to embrace - not insulated from it.

Daniel, wasn't that the motivation behind the release of _Silent Scream_ back in the 80s? Some websites already follow your advice, it's just that it's not as popular to speak for unborn children as for Jews in the Holocaust.

Some people do change their minds for that reason, Daniel. Others don't. (I've accidentally and unfortunately gotten drawn into an argument with a different person's Facebook friend who sneers that I seem "obsessed with forceps" and opines that not being a socialist about healthcare is worse than being pro-life about abortion. You know the type. They'd watch "Silent Scream" and never turn a hair.) I don't know if the same would work for these cases. In any event, one difference in these cases is that, unless someone is actually standing over you, if you are observing the thing, you should probably be trying surreptitiously to moisten the person's tongue behind the nurse's back. That is to say, there is something (even something non-violent) you can do about the matter, so you should try, which would probably get you kicked out, so you couldn't keep filming.

Also, HIPPAA and all those medical privacy laws have come in since then. My guess is that it would be impossible to make "The Silent Scream" today.

Most of the die-hards would not be converted (just like most Nazis would not have been converted), but it's not the die-hards that need converted - it's the ones they influence: the parents of the disabled children, the unwed mothers, etc.

>> I really think the pro-life movement needs to document and publish pictorial and video evidence of these atrocities.

Daniel, there is at least one group that does this. I'm not sure if it is still their current name, but I know this organization still carries on. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genocide_Awareness_Project

My impression is that they have a pariah status within Christianity. But I've heard their director speak in person, and his outlook and plan of action was more realistic than any I've ever heard. I know some hate any talk of analogies with slavery, but I think the procedural analogies are the important ones, and are quite apt. Our silence and participation is required for the mass abortion project to continue as it is. Groups like this are the abolitionists of the day –hated by both sides.

But Mark, realistically, how would you do that on a hospital ward (or in a private home) where a patient was being dehydrated to death? If you become a nurse and go in as an undercover agent to photograph it, believe me, you'll get caught, stopped, and likely prosecuted. Moreover, you can't take a "hands off" non-interference approach. If you're standing by while something like this is happening, it's my ethical opinion that you would need to try to get the person some fluids rather than just act like an anthropologist recording it for posterity. And that would also get you kicked out, even if no one noticed the camera.

On the other hand, if it were being done by some official news agency with all the necessary permissions, I don't believe it would be done honestly, and it would of course be presented with all sorts of chatter in the documentary meant to make it sound morally right and peaceful.


there is at least one group that does this. I'm not sure if it is still their current name, but I know this organization still carries on.

Just reading the "Controversy" segment of your Wiki link: it's telling that pictures (of real baby parts) are described as "controversial" and that the display was actually banned on some campuses. Pictures of real world events - banned from institutions of higher learning!


But Mark, realistically, how would you do that on a hospital ward (or in a private home)

With the proliferation of cell phone cameras nowadays, you just pull out your phone and shoot a few minutes of video. (Then try to help the child after you've got the evidence!)

Or better yet - get some video of the hospital staff or security stopping you from helping the dying child!

This whole accusation is like accusing a firefighter of "not caring about saving human life" because they don't walk a police beat when they're not on duty at the fire station.

Nobody ever means it seriously in that they literally believe pro-life advocates don't actually care about human lives outside the womb. They only use it as a tactic to try to puncture what they see as smug moralism.

Take a look at this: http://nanowrimo.org/en/forums/plot-doctoring/threads/92407

Some of what they say about adoption is just shocking. In a bad way.

I mention it on this thread because they referred to the "travesty of adoption"'s supposed anti-abortion lean "Christian propaganda" that's "very effective".

Amazing the lengths people will go to justify this stuff. It's nuts.

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