Thursday, March 30, 2006

Say It Ain't So

A friend recently forwarded a link to an article entitled, "Killing Babies, Compassionately: The Netherlands follows in Germany's footsteps." Written in an American political journal called the Weekly Standard (with which I'm otherwise not so familiar), the article raises some pretty serious concerns about Dutch medical policies -- most notably in regard to euthanizing babies with birth defects. And honestly, I don't know what to think of it.

Is this true? Is the Dutch public aware of this practice? Are people bothered by it?

I've always been a bit uncomfortable with Dutch policies toward things like euthanasia, institutional prostitution, and managing the problems of drug addiction -- but I've tried to bite my lip and take my cues from the population at large. I've sought to learn about the Netherlands' "normen en waarden" as I go. I continually try to understand before judging. I remind myself that America is messed up in its own ways (and in ways that are painfully obvious to the rest of the world). But this article definitely seems to indicate something seriously amiss in Dutch society...

I've got my opinions against euthanasia and abortion, and I natrually resist arguments in favor of the "right to choice" -- but I don't understand how anyone could advocate medical homicide against newborn children. The issue of "choice" is thrown clear out the window. What disturbs me most is the idea that infants are sometimes euthanized even without parental consent!

Is it a stretch to compare ultra-tolerant Dutch medical policy to social-Darwinistic Nazi medical policy? Absolutely. But there are some scary parallels that should not and cannot be ignored.


At 10:33 PM, Blogger Eva Ellingsworth said...

Hey Eric, I heard about this on the radio the other day and couldnot believe it! IT was paralleled with a story here in Amsterica where a disabled boy had brought hope to a school thru his service to the basketball team. The idea that someone is not worth much if they can't 'do' much it crazy, or to decide for them that they will have 'no quality of life', or make anything out of thier lives. I think of my counselor who has had pollio since she was around 11 months old and is disabled, I think of all she has given to me and countless other people, in the way of hope and healing, then I think of if her life had been decided as a waiste.
This might be a hard judgement, and I cannot imagine the work and stress of being a parent of a disabled child, but how much of this can be our human selfishness to not think of another person before protect our own self instead of serving our child...I guess that goes for all attitudes towards a child.
Just some thoughts (since I heard about this). Thanks for sharing the article!

At 10:34 PM, Blogger Eva Ellingsworth said...

i said "Amst-erica...hee, I meant America!

At 12:57 AM, Blogger Marco said...

It's pretty messed up...

I hate it and I'm glad someone raises the issue in perhaps a somewhat 'radical' way, but I don't care about that. I hope there will be so much international controversy over it that the policies will be ultimately changed. It's a pity though that it's not a minister from another country that says something about these ridiculous policies. Not because I have something against Italians... Not at all!!! But the government of Berlusconi in Italy is not taken seriously by everyone in Europe (whether that's rightly so or not...)

At 9:48 AM, Blogger Sander Chan said...

I read about the classification this Italian minister used. By comparing the Dutch policy with neo-nazist policies, he was "politically incorrect".
But labelling things like this, mutes all discussion and inhibits self-reflection. True, I don't have a high regard of Italian politics and the associated tone of populism.
However, let that not be an obstacle to really think about where we (Dutchmen) are standing.
Since people associate neo-nazism with everything that is evil, it is hard to recognize that some elements of our way of doing things are really not that different.
Many Dutchmen in this respect lack self-critique and self-knowledge.
They'd typically think it is 'humane' to keep a child from living a handicapped life. But what did social Darwinists think, and Nazis. Weren't they acting 'humanely'?
So rather than stumbling of the word 'nazism', we should reflect on how we (think we) value life. Whether this value is constituted by material and physical possession, or, whether life has an inherent worth. I firmly believe that it is the latter. Logically, the policies that stem from the inherent value of life would never allow for this particular policy.
But I am open for debate.


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