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Thursday, 31 January 2008

Life unworthy of life?

John Smeaton has an shocking example of the depths to which debate is sinking on pro-life matters in the UK. (See Do we live in a civilised country? Draw your own conclusions) Baroness Meacher spoke in Parliament the other day to suggest that for two children she knew with cerebral palsy "It would be in their best interests to have been aborted." Baroness Tonge, clearly aware that it is not politically acceptable to call for the killing of disabled people, attempted to redefine the terms in a way that is eerily familiar:
"... we were not talking here about disabled human beings, but about some grossly abnormal human beings; many of those whom I have seen bear little resemblance to human beings."
I think it is apposite to quote in this context a sermon of Cardinal Clemens von Galen given in August 1941. The Cardinal speaks of the mentally ill but we know that those with cerebral palsy were also included in the programme which he condemned:
If it is once accepted that people have the right to kill 'unproductive' fellow humans--and even if initially it only affects the poor defenseless mentally ill - then as a matter of principle murder is permitted for all unproductive people, in other words for the incurably sick, the people who have become invalids through labor and war, for us all when we become old, frail and therefore unproductive.

Then, it is only necessary for some secret edict to order that the method developed for the mentally ill should be extended to other 'unproductive' people, that it should be applied to those suffering from incurable lung disease, to the elderly who are frail or invalids, to the severely disabled soldiers. Then none of our lives will be safe any more. Some commission can put us on the list of the 'unproductive,' who in their opinion have become worthless life. And no police force will protect us and no court will investigate our murder and give the murderer the punishment he deserves.

Who will be able to trust his doctor any more?
In those days, the RAF dropped copies of Von Galen's sermon among German troops. Perhaps they might drop some over the Palace of Westminster now?
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