Does One’s Special Needs Justify Killing or Withholding Treatment?

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The Alfie Evans case is not the first case of its kind to draw attention, but it does show us just how depraved humanity can be. In many circles, there are discussions about when life officially starts and ends. There are discussions about abortion, end-of-life care, physician-assisted suicide, euthanasia and if one’s special needs justify killing or withholding treatment.

While we may debate about where the line begins and ends I think that most of us can agree it is not our job, a doctor’s job, or the government’s job to “play God.” And that goes for those who do and don’t believe in God. Why do we as humans believe it is our job to decide who is deserving of life and who is not?

Does One's Special Needs Justify Killing or Withholding Treatment?

Do a Child’s Special Needs Justify Killing Them?

“If we accept that life has no intrinsic value, it becomes easier to justify killing or withholding treatment from those who experience suffering.

Setting aside the specific medical and legal details of Alfie’s case, this choice to withhold medical treatment from him is clearly based on the assumption that some lives — those afflicted by certain types of suffering — are not worth living.” – Alfie Evans & Slective Abortion

But what is suffering?

Don’t we all suffer in some way or another at some point in our lives? Who decides when one’s suffering has crossed a line into “too much?” Isn’t it fair to assume that some people can withstand more suffering than others? Who’s to say that my suffering might be worse than your suffering? I don’t believe that anyone – doctor or not – can make that decision.

“…once you claim that human life has no inherent moral worth, the question becomes, ‘Who decides?’ If Alfie hasn’t earned the right to live simply by being human, then his parents, his doctors, and the state suddenly must grapple for control over the decision of whether he lives or dies.” Alfie Evans & Slective Abortion

This quote makes me want to vomit. I am human. You are human. My son with autism is human. My daughter with medical complexities is human. Do they not have a right to live?

According to many countries around the world, they do not.

“…pro-choice advocates insist that parents must be free to terminate pregnancies when prenatal tests reveal ‘life-limiting’ abnormalities.

Iceland is leading the world in ‘eradicating Down syndrome births.’ But Iceland isn’t eradicating the chromosomal disorder; the country’s residents are using an aggressive combination of prenatal testing and selective abortion to identify and exterminate children afflicted with it. This is hailed as moral and medical progress.

Just last month, Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus wrote two consecutive columns defending the abortion of such children, and several others followed, agreeing with her.

 ‘To be a parent is to . . . love your child for who she is,’ Marcus wrote in the first of her pieces. But that love apparently goes only so far: 

‘Accepting that essential truth is different from compelling a woman to give birth to a child whose intellectual capacity will be impaired, whose life choices will be limited, whose health may be compromised. Most children with Down syndrome have mild to moderate cognitive impairment, meaning an IQ between 55 and 70 (mild) or between 35 and 55 (moderate). This means limited capacity for independent living and financial security; Down syndrome is life-altering for the entire family.'” – Alfie Evans & Slective Abortion

When did humanity become so selfish? To kill a baby or a child based on its UNKNOWN future, its medical complexities, or its life-altering circumstances is beyond horrific. In that determination, both my children would not be here right now. If there was a test done to show what their lives would have been like, people and doctors could have chosen to abort them.

Think about that for a second. My kids, who with hard work, determination, and amazing therapies have defied the odds and have lived a life worth living. Don’t you believe that any other child deserves the same chance? Have you not heard the stories of person after person defying the odds? Why can’t we give these children that chance?

Doctors might be able to tell you what COULD happen or what MIGHT happen, but those diagnoses don’t define your child or define how or if they should live or die.

I’m sure all of you have heard the saying, “It is better to have loved and lost than never have loved at all.” Wouldn’t you agree that it’s better to have lived – even for a few moments – than to never have lived at all?

“Alfie Evans – a living toddler – who has been deemed unworthy of life because someday, probably sooner rather than later, he will succumb to a terminal illness.” Alfie Evans & Slective Abortion

My daughter has three rare genetic disorders + 30 other diagnoses that go along with them. She’s been hospitalized 15 times, had numerous procedures and surgeries, and according to doctors, her future is very uncertain due to the progressiveness of her disorders.

Look at these pictures. I don’t see how anyone could say that her life is not worth living, that she’s a burden on society, that because her circumstances are life-altering she should have been aborted, or even that or that we should end her “suffering” now because she has a hard life ahead of her to due medical complexities. Hers is still a life worth living and so is every other child’s.

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