Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Eugenics Rising...

A couple of different, and very disturbing, recent news stories.

Decision blasts judge’s order to force abortion
In a December hearing, the Department of Mental Health applied for temporary guardianship for the parents of the 32-year-old woman — referred to as “Mary Moe” — to let them consent to an abortion for their daughter, who already had one child currently in their care.

Harms approved guardianship, ruling Moe could be “ ‘coaxed, bribed, or even enticed ... by ruse’ into a hospital where she would be sedated and an abortion performed,” the appellate ruling states. “Additionally ... and without notice, the judge directed that any medical facility that performed the abortion also sterilize Moe at the same time to avoid this painful situation from recurring.”
The decision was overturned by the appeals court, but what if the Judges on that court had agreed?

Three-year old with kidney disease kept off transplant waiting list.
I begin to shake. My whole body trembles and he begins to tell me how she will never be able to get on the waiting list because she is mentally retarded.

A bit of hope. I sit up and get excited.

“Oh, that’s ok! We plan on donating. If we aren’t a match, we come from a large family and someone will donate. We don’t want to be on the list. We will find our own donor.”

“Noooo. She—is—not—eligible –because—of—her—quality– of –life—Because—of—her—mental—delays”

...

“So you mean to tell me that as a doctor, you are not recommending the transplant, and when her kidneys fail in six months to a year, you want me to let her die because she is mentally retarded? There is no other medical reason for her not to have this transplant other than she is MENTALLY RETARDED!”

“Yes.”

Ask yourself this question: If more authority to make medical decisions is transferred from parents to Government officials, does the occurrence of this scenario, or scenarios like it, get more common or less common?

I think we all know the answer1 to that...
What we call Man's power is, in reality, a power possessed by some men which they may, or may not, allow other men to profit by. Again, as regards the powers manifested in the aeroplane or the wireless, Man is as much the patient or subject as the possessor, since he is the target both for bombs and for propaganda. And as regards contraceptives, there is a paradoxical, negative sense in which all possible future generations are the patients or subjects of a power wielded by those already alive. By contraception simply, they are denied existence; by contraception used as a means of selective breeding, they are, without their concurring voice, made to be what one generation, for its own reasons, may choose to prefer. From this point of view, what we call Man's power over Nature turns out to be a power exercised by some men over other men with Nature as its instrument.
- C.S. Lewis, The Abolition Of Man2




1 - In a world of scarcity, there is always going to be conflict over allocation of scarce resources. A donor kidney is obviously a scarce commodity. There are many ways to look at this particular issue, and a long discussion that I don't have the time for at the moment. But there's a surface callousness here that, in conjunction with the Massachusetts story, makes the Lewis take fresh and relevant. Again.

2 - And no, I do not scan the internet everyday desperately looking for a story which can, however tenuously, justify quoting The Abolition of Man, or Lewis in general. It was a brilliant and prescient work, clearly articulating the road that society was traveling, and, having read it several times, I'm struck by its foresight frequently...

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