Church: Doctors Should Be Allowed To Let Some Babies Die
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
November 13, 2006
LONDON, ENGLAND--Leaders of the Church of England have issued a statement saying that doctors should be allowed to withhold treatment from some preemies and babies with disabilities even 'knowing it will possibly, probably, or even certainly result in death'.
According to a story in Sunday's The Guardian, the church's Mission and Public Affairs Council wrote in a letter to the Nuffield Council on Bioethics that the burden placed on a family of taking care of a child with a severe disability -- along with the economic cost to the health care system of keeping such a baby alive -- ought to be taken into account when deciding whether life-sustaining treatment should be removed.
However, the letter's author, the Right Reverend Tom Butler, wrote that doctors would "never be justified to decide not to save a fetus or neonate because that fetus or neonate was not considered worth saving."
One week earlier, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists suggested that the deliberate killing of babies with disabilities be considered as a treatment option. The college suggested in a Sunday Times of London article that "active euthanasia" should be considered for the overall good of families, and to keep parents from the emotional and economic hardship of raising a child with disabilities.
The Nuffield Council is expected to introduce its own report later this week.
Many disability groups have opposed legalizing euthanasia for babies and adults. They have argued that, among other things, making 'mercy killing' legal puts vulnerable people at greater risk -- especially when the lives of people with disabilities are considered less valuable and the cost of health care is so high.
"Some sick babies must be allowed to die, says Church" (The Observer)
"Neonatal medicine - the moral maze" (BBC)