Bonnie Chernin
Death is not best: Why state-sponsored killing of children like Alfie Evans will rise
By Bonnie Chernin
May 3, 2018

The Alfie Evans story in Britain became international news and struck a raw nerve just like Charlie Gard, who was killed one year ago in a different hospital, same country. Charlie's parents wanted to try experimental treatment and transfer him to New York so he can receive treatment. The hospital and the High Court refused, and Charlie died.

In Alfie's case, once the ventilator was removed he unexpectedly continued to live. The Alder Hey hospital staff responded by denying Alfie food. Meanwhile, Alder Hey refused to grant a release so that Alfie's parents could take their son home, nor did the hospital permit intervention by Pope Francis who was ready to have Alfie taken to the Vatican Hospital.

The outcry was loud and angry against Alder Hey hospital: Let this little boy go. Let his parents take him home.

It is too late for Charlie and Alfie. And now the question comes up: Which little child will be next? And who decides?

The laws in Belgium and The Netherlands have allowed adults to request Physician Hastened Death (PHD) since 2002. Both countries permit child euthanasia, and Belgium has no age limits. In the Netherlands, children as young as age 12 can make a decision to end their lives, but we are reassured that the "Groningen Protocol for Euthanasia in Newborns" contains requirements that must be met before babies can be killed. In an article "Euthanizing Children" that appeared in First Things, Wesley J. Smith explains that the "bureaucratic checklist" allows doctors not only to administer lethal injections to babies who are dying, but also babies with serious disabilities who do not need intensive care.

Once euthanasia laws are commonplace, the very people the laws are intended to protect are killed without their consent when the system is abused.

In Canada, euthanasia was legalized and then parents were asking to have their kids killed. Children cannot give consent to die. But what of parents who want them dead because they feel they are overburdened with medical costs? reports:

"The CPS surveyed 1050 pediatricians on their experiences with "medical aid in dying" or MAID, and released a report at the end of October. Forty-five doctors reported receiving explicit requests from parents to euthanize 91 children, it said. More than half of these requests were for "neonates or infants under a year old."

This is a slippery slope. For parents who want to provide the best palliative care possible to save their children's lives, what happens? The hospitals and Courts take over and "clinicians" decide what is best for the children. In short, some parents who want their kids dead will get the blessings of the medical establishment because it easier and cheaper to kill people than it is to save them.

If euthanasia becomes an acceptable alternative, legal responsibility shifts from the medical staff and places it squarely on the choices of family members, who then sign forms to kill their elderly parents or sick children if they are considered a burden. This means that doctors, hospital and administrative staff cannot be held accountable. It is advantageous for the medical establishment when patients are seen as hopeless because it serves two purposes: 1) It is cost-effective to dispose of the patient and, 2) It reduces culpability of incompetent medical staff.

It is also not easy for family members who seek compensatory damages once life-support is removed and their children are killed. While parents like the Evans can bring lawsuits, attorney costs can be prohibitive for the average working family.

Looking at Belgium prior to passage of the law, child euthanasia was a hotly debated topic and opinions were divided. An important article addressing the troubling consequences of euthanasia is "The Child Killers." This piece is an essential read and shows how progressive physicians feel about the topic. The author discusses the social implications of child euthanasia should the law be passed (The article was published in Newsweek in 2013 and the child euthanasia law was passed in February 2014).

Comments are included from a number of physicians and professors, with opinions both pro and con. One professor and pediatric oncologist had conversations with her 10 year old son and stated: "Even if he said, 'I want to die,' I'd support him. I didn't put my children in the world for me. It's their life and their death. The best parents are the ones who let their children go."

Peter Deconinck, emeritus professor of pediatric surgery at the Free University of Brussels, stated: "It's our duty. Children today are not like they were 50 years ago. They have mature minds."

Jan Bernheim, professor of medicine at the Free University of Brussels said: "They've had to do it clandestinely, with the risk of being charged by prosecutors," he said. "Now they'll be able to do it the legal way."

Carine Brochier of the European Institute of Bioethics in Brussels opposes the killing of children and spoke candidly: "Euthanasia is becoming a Belgian trademark, just like waffles."

Now that the law has been in effect for four years, it is probable that there is even more support for the law then when The Child Killers was written.

A Wikipedia article, Child Euthanasia, cites American bioethicists who believe that killing healthy children is acceptable. "Bioethicists Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva argue that killing a newborn "should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled."

In The United Kingdom, an archived TimesOnline article dating back to November, 2006 reported that the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists supported legalizing child murder:

"The college is arguing that "active euthanasia" should be considered for the overall good of families, to spare parents the emotional burden and financial hardship of bringing up the sickest babies."

This is where we stand, with medical opinion shifting far away from traditional pro-life beliefs and without regard for the Hippocratic Oath which is meant to save lives not destroy them.

Honoring, cherishing and preserving human life is what sets humans apart from lower life forms and makes a society civilized. But the radical left has worked within the Court system to shift our language and culture far away from what existed only 50 years ago. In half a century, the same progressives that revised our language and rhetoric to promote murder by abortion have diminished the sacredness of human life for everyone already born.

Laws meant to alleviate suffering are often abused, and victims' best interests or the interests of their families are dismissed. That is what happened when Charlie Gard's parents were denied the right to take him to New York for treatment. That is what happened when Alfie Evans' parents were denied their rights to take their son home.

That is what is currently happening in Oregon, where the self-administration of lethal drugs has skyrocketed since the Oregon Death with Dignity Act was passed in 1997. Contrary to public belief, more often than not the patient dies at home without a physician present, and over 55% of those who chose death did it because they felt they were a burden to their caretakers.

The rhetoric won't help euthanasia supporters when it gets personal; when it is their turn. All they will accomplish is that death panels will decide who lives and who dies. I don't see this death trend stopping. We are all in danger; we are all next.

© Bonnie Chernin


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Bonnie Chernin

In 1986, Bonnie Chernin attended her first pro-life convention where she met author Ann Saltenberger and received a copy of her outstanding book, "Every Woman Has the Right to Know the Dangers of Legal Abortion." This book inspired Bonnie to become actively involved in the pro-life movement.

In the early 1990s, Bonnie volunteered at the office of Manhattan Right to Life, and began writing letters and op-ed pieces for local newspapers on the topic of abortion.... (more)


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