Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Don't look now... Infanticide

"Wrap him in a blanket and set him aside, and he will just go to sleep - forever."

A doctor at a local hospital pretty much said that to a mother who just gave birth to a severely mentally disabled baby.
One parent tells 5 EYEWITNESS News that North Memorial Medical Center told her to "wrap her baby up in a blanket and let him go." Mary Kellett says her son Peter was born seven years ago with Edwards Syndrome, similar but worse than Down Syndrome. It is a chromosomal condition that often leads to premature death, and a short life with severe disabilities. - Source
I heard that and I was stunned.  I couldn't imagine doing such a thing.  I recalled how there was once  an uproar over Obama, who as a senator, opposed "born alive" legislation, a notion his political opponents used against him, claiming he was in favor of letting abortion survivors die.  Thinking it through, I realized that the practice must not be all that uncommon, and though it is in effect passive infanticide, if it is practiced, it is done so because deliberate infanticide is illegal; albeit some academics and medical ethicists would like to see it as a legal alternative.  Strangely enough, deliberate euthanasia actually sounds more humane than allowing a born alive infant, or one who is severely disabled, to be laid aside to die from starvation.  What an awful, monstrous thought.

We choose not to know.

Evidently I am not alone in having never heard of such a practice - or allowing myself to consider that such procedures exist.  The Minnesota Senate is working on a bill  "that would require all hospitals to post and explain their policies with parents of minor children who are patients. It would also require hospitals to register those policies with the Department of Health."
A growing number of parents say hospitals make them feel pressured to let their babies die rather than face a life with disabilities.

Many hospitals have policies called "medical futility" policies about tough decisions regarding treatment for severely disabled newborns. A state Senate committee will hear testimony on a bill Friday morning that would require all hospitals to post and explain their policies with parents of minor children who are patients. It would also require hospitals to register those policies with the Department of Health.

Kellett says she hopes lawmakers adopt the new bill so hospitals are more inclined to provide information about the emotional benefits of accepting a child with disabilities, rather than pointing out only the negative effects. - Source
Gratefully, Mary Kellett refused to let her son die and took him home.  He lived for six years and the family considered him a gift from God. 

I find the whole idea heartbreakingly sad.  To kill an infant - in the womb or out of the womb - what a barbarous act.  To allow a born alive infant to be set aside to die, without nourishment, without tenderness and love - how cold and inhumane can mankind be!

Today's reading from Mass, consoling as it is, does not take away the pain:
"Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb?  Even should she forget, I will never forget you." - Isaiah 49: 15
When I was little, I remember that graphic documentaries were finally being released showing the atrocities committed in the Nazi Holocaust.  Too young to see the films, I remember the horror of being told how the Nazis took Jewish infants by the feet and smashed their heads against tree trunks and fence posts for sport.

We have become that in the United States.


  1. I remember reading "Daniel's Story", which is a book about the Holocaust, when I was in 6th grade.

    I was horrified at the idea of the Nazis throwing babies from hospital windows down into trucks below.

    Why can people not see that we are doing no better? That what we do every day in clinics all over this country, is NO different?

    I have an old acqauintance on Facebook who is constantly bitching about the "war on women" every time some legislation comes up to curb abortions, and yet he is always posting pictures of his infant daughter - what a freaking disconnect! Only "wanted" children have a right to live.

  2. Countdown to the 2nd Coming in three ... two ... one ...

  3. What's that line in the psalm, after the sitting gloomily by the rivers of Babylon, ...?


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