The inalienable right to life possessed by every human being is present from the moment of initial formation, and all human beings shall be entitled to the equal protection of persons under the law.
The Personhood Debates
Debate 5: Euthanize the Handicapped
"The inalienable right to life possessed by every human being is present from the moment of initial formation, and all human beings shall be entitled to the equal protection of persons under the law."
SO are you willing to take in one of these babies, whether it has a severe deformity or not, for the rest of the childs life? Are you willing to support an unwed mother in order to raiase this child?
Of course I am, but that is irrelevant. Do you believe that it is okay to kill a person just because he is poor or handicapped?
Now, see, THOSE are the interesting questions and ones our society tends to avoid answering.
I'm not asking society. I'm asking you what you believe.
Currently, no to both. The first because I am myself disabled and could not provide the necessary care. That may change and I have given thought to the necessity of better adoption and foster care. I would, be willing to help someone else who was capable of adopting such a child or contributing in some fashion.
For the second question, I certainly do not believe in euthanizing the poor, handicapped, or mentally deficient. I am, however, uneasy with considering a right to receive medical care from the *State*, considering it a person, religious, and communal duty to care for the sick and the poor. I am more in favor of private, charitable actions and of seeing society move back in that direction.
But, to take things a bit further, I do not, personally, have a moral problem with euthanasia under certain circumstances--- even under circumstances where I might end up facing it myself. Specifically, I do not have a personal problem with a doctor giving pain medication where it will accelerate death in a terminal patient if it would otherwise be reasonable to offer relief of pain. I might also personally accept euthanizing (or removing life support from) a human who is to all degrees, "no longer there" and has no possibility of recovery, though I think the decision should be considered gravely. I personally would prefer not to linger to no point. I might also be convinced of the same in the case of someone who is mentally unbalanced and dangerous to the point where the alternative would be permanent close confinement (a straight-jacket in a rubber room) or a permanently drugged/nonfunctional state. I do not believe that such confinement is any more humane than euthanasia (and again would prefer the latter myself), with two caveats: 1) there is a great danger of abuse from legalized euthanasia, and 2) what is not curable today might be curable tomorrow.
Therefore I would prefer euthanasia to remain illegal and for people who are morally driven to euthanize someone as a true mercy to risk facing criminal charges. The risk would presumably dissuade someone from doing it frivolously and the jury might (or might not) be moved to acquit.
Personally, therefore, I do not believe that it is wrong to perform an abortion where it is truly and absolutely medically necessary. It may be *A* wrong to do so in the more common cases where the balance of risks lean toward abortion and ALL available choices may be wrong, but I am not willing to make that decision either for the woman (or her proxy) or for the doctor.
I appreciate your honesty. You are the first pro-choice individual I have spoken to who has admitted the correlation between abortion and euthanasia, and for that you have my respect. That is not to say that I agree with your conclusion, however, for I recognize that the right to life can only be inalienable if it was granted by some authority which is eternally higher than that of human government. In the words of our sixth President:
"The acknowledgment of the unalienable right of man to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, is at the same time an acknowledgment of the omnipotence, the omniscience, and the all-pervading goodness of God." - John Quincy Adams, An Oration Delivered Before the Cincinnati Astronomical Society, On the Occasion of Laying the Corner Stone of An Astronomical Observatory, On the 10th of November, 1843, at 12-15 (Cincinnati: Shepard & Co., 1843).
If our right to life was endowed to us by our Creator as the founding fathers believed, then it is imperative that we seek His permission in any action to end life. In doing so, we will find that the Bible only allows three exceptions to the commandment against killing - capital punishment (Gen 9:6), defense against a criminal (Ex 22:2) and war (Deut 20:10-20). Abortion and euthanasia do not fall within any of these categories. Therefore, the divinely granted right to life supersedes these two human constructs of death.
If, however, the founding fathers were wrong and there is no God who has granted men an inalienable right to life, then it becomes that right itself which is the construct of human governments, and the violation of it becomes nothing more than a natural expression of the human condition. With this understanding, the right to life can never be said to be inalienable, for the same human government that presupposes to grant such a right to its subjects could at any time grant a waiver of that right to those whom it deems unworthy of it.
Which right to life do you believe in? Do you agree with the Declaration of Independence that the right to life is an inalienable endowment from God, or do you think that this right is a temporary political construct of human society? If the former, then abortion can never be permitted. If the latter, then murder can never be condemned. Which one do you believe to be true?