Tuesday, September 15, 2009

When the Cure is worse than the Disease

You have to feel for this bloke. He's about my age, and I can say that my worst nightmare would be to know that Alzheimers is breathing down your neck and there's nothing you can do about it. It is a fear that I sometimes experience in those moments when my memory is particularly vague, or when I find myself wandering around the home looking for where I placed my keys... but that is probably just the early onset of old age.

I must also say that when I read about his decision that this genetic disease "'stops with me, that's it", I thought: You poor brave bastard. I grieve for you in your decision not to have children because of your concern that they might have to endure such suffering (or rather their families - dementia is a disease in which the person who has it does not suffer as much as the people who care for them) - even if such suffering might come after at least half a life-time of normality. I respected his decision. I understood his statement that "I would feel so guilty if I passed this thing on."

I was grieved for his wife too. I don't know how young she is, but surely she too thought when she married him that they would be able to look forward to raising a family. Instead she now has to plan for looking after her husband.

But then I read this:
They are trying, so far unsuccessfully, to have children through IVF. A technique called pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, or PGD, can be used to screen out embryos carrying the bad gene.
Oh dear.

My eight year old daughter, on hearing me explain this story to my wife, quoted Dr Suess: "A person's a person no matter how small."

So, we now live in a society where it is seen as ethically unacceptable to bear a child who might (even almost certainly might) have a genetic disease which leads to dementia in the second half of their life, but it is perfectly okay to destroy (ie. end the life of) an embryonic human being who is found to have the genes that will lead to this condition.

I will mention here a fact that came to my attention recently. A student of a local Catholic Secondary College brought home an exercise from her science class in which the class was learning about the genetic causes of Down's Syndrome. The class was asked to read a newspaper article which bemoaned the fact that despite the availability of pre-natal screening, few expectant mothers were availing themselves of this technology, and hence there were many children being born with the disease who could have been eliminated before birth (that wasn't, of course, how the article put it, but that is what it said).

The exercise ended, after asking a number of questions about chromozones and what not: "Why is it a good idea that all expectant women have pre-natal testing?

When did we cross this line, folks, when the unthinkable became thinkable?


At Wednesday, September 16, 2009 1:36:00 am , Anonymous Anne said...

David we crossed the line when abortion became normal. When doctors fought for the "right" of the woman to vacate her womb of the "contents of conception". We crossed the line when women decided that "Its my body and I will do what I want with it and I dont want this "thing." We crossed the line when partial birth abortion was introduced (changed the goal posts of abortion) and very few (except those who work in pro life) really cried out against it. We crossed the line when abortion became legal and a woman's right only. Fathers have no rights to their child and most of the fathers agreed. We crossed the line when we legalised abortion to 40 weeks, that is, we legalised infantcide. So crossing the line for foetal abnormality should come as no surprise.
So David we shouldnt be surprised at the line crossing. The slippery slope has been highly polished and is very slippery its easy to get to the bottom fast.

At Wednesday, September 16, 2009 2:18:00 am , Anonymous Peregrinus said...

I doubt that there’s ever been a time when the unthinkable wasn’t thinkable.

The truth is not that we were more virtuous a hundred years ago; it’s that we didn’t have the technologies of prenatal diagnosis that we have today. And, if we have had them, we didn’t have the safe (to the mother) abortion technologies that we have today. Abortions were fairly dangerous procedures.

We still had abortions, of coures. Not as many, but I remain to be convinced that that was because of superior moral standards, rather than technical and economic factors. And of course in the past we had much higher rates of things we consider unthinkable today, like infant exposure, child murder and child prostitution.

If there’s one think Christians should know, it’s that our fallen nature means that we are prone not only to thinking the unthinkable, but do it as well, if we can.

At Wednesday, September 16, 2009 2:30:00 am , Anonymous Anne said...

Pere safe abortions? for whom? ask the child being aborted if it feels safe?
I read an article where the founder of ultrasound technology went to his death a sad man because his invention was meant to help babies rather than kill them. And since when is it imperative that abortions be safe for women? abortion made safe so that if a woman wants to kill her child its done in a nice and safe place? Yeah right!!
I am reminded of one of our infamous Victorian abortionists who said in press "the woman is my only patient" the child she was carrying didnt come into his equeation. Idiot man!!

At Wednesday, September 16, 2009 3:38:00 am , Anonymous Peregrinus said...

So its become safer because the abortionists have had much experience (millions per annum) at killing infants in the womb and thus made the procedure “safer” for women. Wow! How advanced has our medical profession become!!

Other way around. Abortion became safer for the same reason that childbirth became safer; improved surgical procedures and diagnostic techniques. And [i]because[/i] abortion became safer, women were more ready to have recourse to it, and more ready to challenge those who would seek to prevent them. With results that we all know about.

Technical advances are neither good nor bad in themselves. You can use gunpowder to make fireworks or bombs; you can use antisepsis for a safe delivery or a “safe” abortion. But the flip side of that is that you can’t have the possibility of a safe delivery without also creating the possibility of a “safe” abortion.

My point is that in the past it was not primarily the law which prevented women from having abortions; it was the medical issues and the social attitudes. The law played a comparatively minor role. Now that medical issues and social attitudes are no longer doing that, the pro-life campaign has focussed to a large extent on the law – with, it has to be said, dismal results.

I think at this stage we need to recognise that we can never go back to a world in which large numbers of women want to have abortions but are prevented by law from doing so. The truth is we never really lived in such world. And today abortion, like adultery and heresy, has moved into the area where, whatever we may think of the morality of those engaged in the practice, as a society we are not generally prepared to use the criminal law against them. I really don’t see any realistic possibility that this is going to change.

The world we need to build, then, is one in which we don’t have large numbers of women who want abortions. Women, and the communities in which they live, need to opt for life. That’s not going to be easy to bring about, but I don’t think we’re likely to make progress in the required direction by sneering at developments in medical science.

At Wednesday, September 16, 2009 8:47:00 am , Anonymous Schütz said...

But this is something more than abortion - it is, to use your own example, more like infant exposure. But it is worse still - it is done (on the one hand) in the name of preventing suffering of children and (on the other) in the name of getting what I want no matter what the cost!

At Wednesday, September 16, 2009 8:50:00 am , Anonymous Schütz said...

To step in here, Tony, I am afraid the issue WILL always be intractable, because those of us who oppose this madness cannot but call it what it is by its very nature, and those who promote and favour this act cannot but hide at all costs that very same true nature. If that is "intractable" and "not interested in communicating", well, there you go.

At Friday, September 18, 2009 6:23:00 am , Anonymous Louise said...

I agree that in all ages mankind is fallen, however:

And of course in the past we had much higher rates of things we consider unthinkable today, like infant exposure, child murder and child prostitution.

There would have been less of all these things in Christian countries than in the pagan countries which preceded them though.

I'd suggest that as The Gospel has less influence in a society, these practices and similar are going to occur more often than when The Gospel had more influence.

At Friday, September 18, 2009 6:25:00 am , Anonymous Louise said...

Of course, it's not really all that safe for the mother either.

At Friday, September 18, 2009 6:30:00 am , Anonymous Louise said...

This story is atrocious.

At Saturday, September 19, 2009 6:11:00 pm , Anonymous Susan Peterson said...

And no one pointed out that that little exercise about Down's Sydrome and how all women should have prenatal testing so they can find out and abort their Down's babies....came home from a
Catholic school. Someone should call and write to the school principal and complain. If the school is attached to a parish, someone should call and write to the pastor. And someone should write to the Bishop. A Catholic school should not be doing this.
Susan Peterson

At Sunday, September 20, 2009 4:50:00 am , Anonymous Louise said...

Indeed. It would be like having a debate about the merits or otherwise of paedophilia (which currently seems to be about the only thing left that nearly everyone agrees on).

Have we noticed anyone "debating" paedophilia?

At Monday, September 21, 2009 5:58:00 pm , Anonymous Tony said...

There is grey Anne. There is the majority of people who are neither solidly pro-choice or pro-life.

In the 'if you're not with us, you're against us' atmosphere generated by the zealots on both sides, the possibility of common ground is, indeed, not possible.

Again, has this atmosphere helped unborn children? Has it created a move towards less abortions?

It seems to me that the way the abortion 'war' is conducted has, for decades, been just fine by the pro-choice zealots. All they have to do is keep the issue 'on the boil' -- and they can rely on pro-life zealots to help in that project -- and over time the path of least resistance (more liberalisation) will apply.

That project looks to have no sign of ending anytime soon.

It seems you're like those stereotypical Aussie tourists that make no effort to learn a foreign language (I mean, why would you?). Your solution to a lack of understanding is simple: speak louder.

At Monday, September 21, 2009 7:13:00 pm , Anonymous Anne said...

Tony I know three languages.
Tony lets all remain silent while the killing goes on. It will make the pro aborts not want to abort any more. Lets all sit down and discuss nicely the clean and sterile topic of abortion. Lets all over a beer speak about the sensitivities of both sides. Lets all not make loud noices after all its unproductive and its unsophisticated. etc etc etc.
Tony you need to be as you are and I need to do what I do and keep doing it. I personally have saved about 11 babies by my useless methods. How many have you?

At Monday, September 21, 2009 8:35:00 pm , Anonymous Anne said...

Tony have increased and will continue to increase because of apathy and "niceness" by the population who wants to "discuss" the issue.
Tony abortion means killing children!! there should be a need to discuss anything. The reason for the millions of abortions pa is because "good people stay silent"
Tony we cannot negotiate with pro aborts because we are negotiating about the killing of children. What is it you dont understand about this?
Abortion means the killing of children!!! nothing else. If the same child was being smacked on the backside by its mother she would be arrested for child abuse, but the same child can be willed to be killed by the same mother and thats acceptable. Tony wake up!! there is and cannot be be common ground on this matter.
The moment pro lifers sit at table we are compromising "Life".
Tony stop you practice of "debating" there is nothing to debate.Anne

At Tuesday, September 22, 2009 12:44:00 am , Anonymous matthias said...

Strewth ,i can only concur with all of the above. However i can remember speaking severely to a Doctor who was undertaking an abortion-all the Catholic nurses had left theatre and i was there,really not wanting to be but i was told-"all us Micks are leaving this one to you the lone Proddy". great. So i had to set up,unscrub and then assist the anaesthetist. I said to the doctor- 'i am really get sick and tired of being used as a contraceptive" "What do you mean "M'?" I mean Dr that she has been here 6 months ago. for the same operation .Do you give her counselling or tell her to perhaps not indulge??!!" very sheepishly "yes"."Well it is not working"

At Tuesday, September 22, 2009 12:57:00 am , Anonymous Tony said...

I'm not sure what you're concurring with Matthias. There are 42 comments 'above'.

At Tuesday, September 22, 2009 5:41:00 am , Anonymous Matthias said...

Sorry Anne but the patient in question was not having the abortion for another trauma,purely because she had "made a mistake again"
Tony ,i may have inferred being aggro ,but i was being very polite,as he was,but nevertheless he seemed to always be doing abortions on patients who had been with us before,if you get my drift

At Tuesday, September 22, 2009 4:01:00 pm , Anonymous Anne said...

Tom please continue the dialogue no one suggests that dialogues cease however in my years and years and years of experience in this field dialogue with a pro abort ends up on the ground. Very often the pro abort will be so utterly convinced in their idea that rarely will the ideas change.
You have seen the intransigence recently in the change of Victorian laws.
Slowly stack the parliament with Emily's list members, (this was said out loud Joan Kirner at the change of victorian law "we have waited and worked for years for this) until its possible to pass a law which says babies up to 40 weeks may be terminated with the signature of two "doctors" (abortionists).
Tom will I dialogue with them? NO NO NO.
You can please but I can't I have to fight this battle as I see fit for me.
The small "victories" Tony speaks about are important to me.
Have a good day dialogueing.

At Wednesday, September 23, 2009 12:27:00 am , Anonymous matthias said...

No private one run by two orthodox jewish men at that time


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