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Haggling Over the Cost of Humanity

You remember how pro-lifers were laughed at for saying abortion and infanticide were one in the same. Pro-aborts said we were crazy and that killing "blobs of tissue" in the womb had nothing to do with killing babies outside the womb.

But it seems that you can't go even a few days anymore without hearing someone advocate killing babies outside the womb now. And what seemed like lunacy just a decade ago has been mainstreamed. But this only shows what we've always known. Abortion ain't a slippery slope. It's a sheer face of a cliff. As soon as you step over the edge there's no way to avoid hitting bottom. Get ready for the thud.

Weasel Zippers reports:

Babies born after just 23 weeks of pregnancy or earlier should be left to die, a leading NHS official has said.

Dr Daphne Austin said that despite millions being spent on specialised treatments, very few of these children survive as their tiny bodies are too underdeveloped.

She claimed keeping them alive is only ‘prolonging their agony’, and it would be better to invest the money in care for cancer sufferers or the disabled.

Dr Austin, who advises local health trusts how to spend their budgets, said doctors were ‘doing more harm than good by resuscitating 23-weekers’ and that treatments have ‘very marginal benefit’.

The NHS spends around £10million a year resuscitating babies born this early and keeping them alive on incubators and ventilators.

But despite round-the-clock care from teams of experienced doctors and nurses, just 9 per cent leave hospital — the rest die. And only one in 100 grows up without some form of disability. The most common include blindness, deafness and cerebral palsy.

Guidelines state that doctors should not try to resuscitate babies born under 22 weeks, as they are too underdeveloped, but those born between 22 and 25 weeks should routinely be given intensive care.

After advice from doctors, parents should have the final say on what attempts should be made to keep them alive. Almost all are resuscitated as families cling to the hope that they will pull through against the odds.

The legal limit for abortion is 24 weeks. Dr Austin said that the care given to such tiny infants should be weighed up in the same way as the NHS decides whether or not to fund treatment for dying cancer patients.

‘If it was my child, from all the evidence and information that I know, I would not resuscitate,’ she said.
Is that the most horrific thing you've read in a few weeks? Just wait. I'm sure in a few weeks someone else in authority will say or do something equally if not more offensive. It's the logical conclusion.

Here's the thing. You either see human beings as sacred or you don't. If you don't, other people's humanity can be subverted as less important than things like money, power, or lifestyle.

You talk about culture wars. The divide in Western civilization isn't between rich and poor, red vs. blue, or the uneducated vs. the educated. It's God. God is the dividing line. You either believe God loves each of us and grants us inalienable rights or you believe that everything is negotiable including life.

If you take part in justifying killing humans to save $100 billion or $10 million you're still a killer. The rest is just haggling.

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Jen Raiche said...

Your line "God is the dividing line" is absolutely on target.

Midday said...

I find this especially disgusting because we personally know a couple who delivered a baby prematurely at 23 weeks and suffered no physical or mental setbacks as a result.
God is the dividing line, and the light of faith is the dividing line. I spent 20+ years away from the Church, and, at least from my experience, you see the world entirely differently when you have shunned God and His graces.

Sawyer said...

The Demoncrat Party is the party of death and godlessness and immorality. That they cloak themselves in the mantle of virtue is obscene. That so many Catholics fall for it is depressing.

AZLori said...

Seriously, now we're going to let babies die who MIGHT be disabled...what's to keep them from withholding medical treatment from already disabled people now? You know, those "drains on society/funding who outlive their parents"?

This is horrifying and disgusting.

Jay said...

I work in NICU and see babies survive being born at 23 weeks. Hate to be contradicting but our faith does tell us that we are never obligated to use extraordinary measures to resuscitate or prolong life. I am so sorry to say but intensive care in NICU and all it entails is definitely extraordinary measures. It just is. We resuscitae 23 week babies all the time but like the article says it is up to the parents. There has never been a time where a parent has not wanted everything done in my experience not to say it doesn't happen. It is disgusting that they would not resuscitate to help a budget. This is my 2 cents as one that takes care of these little babies.

Foxfier, formerly Sailorette said...


Kit's sibling is only about a month younger than the kids this woman wants to abandon on the hillside.

New suggested guideline: Did the kid come out alive? Start life-saving procedures.

Then again, we can say that-- we don't have socialized medicine, so it's possible for people to be people, instead of a cost analysis.

Anonymous said...

I'm not that outraged. What am I missing? We're talking withholding extraordinary care versus abortion. Big difference. Withholding ordinary care is something the Church is ok with. Also, you can't ignore the cost aspect in health care. It's not a right. Can an insurance company say that we will not pay for certain 1 million dollar services that have less than 20% of success. Of course they can, it's their money. If they didn't put a cost limit or coverage limit, the entire system falls apart and then the parents would need the million dollars themselves. If they have it, fantastic and hopefully everything works out. But if not, the baby dies. These extra-normal services cost money and no one has a right to someone else's money for extra-normal circumstances. Other than this post, I've been loving your recent string of posts Pat!

Mari said...

I have an idea- MS. NHS NAZI; let's wait to see how they perform on their SATs and then kill them.
Oh and And to -Anonymous who thinks there is a cost factor involved- that is exactly the problem with Nationalized Healthcare- it's not worth the cost to the state - but it sure as he## is worth the cost to me! So if I have private health insurance and can get private loans and/or sell my private property to pay the private doctor at the private hospital, then it's no one's business what I spent to save my private baby. You See how that works? Much better. Then it's my own PRIVATE decision and people like you and that NHS Nazi don't have to worry about the cost- I got it , thanks, anyway.

Mari said...

And before someone starts whining about how it's "not fair" and medical care is "too expensive" and then "only rich people's babies would live" and wah wah wah - I have an answer for you- instead of taking millions of dollars from Catholic parishes everywhere to dole out to anti- Catholic groups and political groups, and using the authority of Catholic Bishops to support an anti-Catholic Obamacare, why don't the bishops take all the money they get for CCHD and use it to start a fund to pay for medical costs of the poor in the parish? Why don't the Bishops put their money where their mouth is and start taking care of the poor and the sick THEMSELVES in a direct and practical way instead of helping the government enslave us with more government (and distinctly unchristian) programs? Wouldn't it have been wonderful if every Catholic could have said- "we don't need socialized medicine, our church helps those who cannot afford the cost." EH?

Mari said...

One last thing- blindness and deafness and cerebral palsy can be caused by improper or delayed treatment of the preemie. It's often preventable. Ms NHS Nazi didn't mention that.

Wayne said...

my son spent 6 1/2 months in the NICU before being sent home with a good amount of medical support at home (including 12 hours of nursing every night). I struggle to figure out what the church means when they say extraordinary care. To me, as long as the child is progressing and there is a good chance at life the Church would be in favor of prolonging care. There is a fine line, I believe between extraordinary and ordinary care and with the advancement of technologies (that are in communion with the dignity and worth of every human person), that line becomes more difficult to set.

P.S. This is coming from a father of a child with mild disabilities and one who hasn't read the Church documents on this issue. So take it as such.

Jay said...

To Foxfier, formerly Sailorette "Did the kid come out alive? Start life-saving procedures."
That is the thing speaking from NICU RT experience that is the thing. Most 23 weekers aren't born alive meaning they are not breathing and their heart rate could be not beating. We do have to resuscitate them from the second they are born. They are born blue, limp, skin is transparent (the nurses actually put plastic wrap over the bed to help them maintain their body heat meaning a warmed incubator is not enough-the first time I saw this it looked freaky-the plastic wrap over the baby I mean), sometimes their body parts aren't completely formed for example sometimes their anus doesn't come out of their bodies yet or their nose doesn't connect to the back of the mouth. They have such few alveoli in their lungs because your lungs are the last thing to develop. The miracle is sometimes just some PPV (positive pressure ventilation) with oxygen gets their heart going. Of course they need medical care to stay alive. The neonatologists and nurses and RTs that work in NICU are Amazing!! They are very compassionate and the whole team works very hard for these little babies and their families. I think extraordinary measures could mean ventilators, life saving drugs, chest compressions, etc. Is a life worth it? Of course. But the flip side is we do have to remember it does take extraordinary measures. We do still have to remember that God is in charge. I've witnessed a doctor yelling for water so he could baptize a little baby that we were not able to save despite everything we did. What a powerful witness.

This is my long 2 cents.

Foxfier, formerly Sailorette said...

nice try at missing the point.

If you can resuscitate, they are alive.

Everything else you put is noise on the line.

Matthew Siekierski said...

"Hate to be contradicting but our faith does tell us that we are never obligated to use extraordinary measures to resuscitate or prolong life."
True. But the decision to use extraordinary measures belongs to the patient or patient's advocate (e.g., parent of a preemie). In my daughter's 15 week stay in the NICU (born at 26 weeks), the decision was always ours, not my insurance company's, not the doctors', not the government's. My wife and I made the decisions.

Wayne, from my understanding of things, "extraordinary measures" are any that keep a system functioning that cannot perform its normal function on its own. An example is the ventilator my daughter was on for 6 weeks. Food/water delivered via feeding tube is not, since the body still does the normal function of breaking down the food (I'm not sure if IV's or PICC lines are considered extraordinary).

Matthew Siekierski said...

I'll hazard a guess that the pro-aborts don't want life-saving measures taken for one very important reason: as more micro-preemies survive, the technology improves. As the technology improves, the "viability" date gets pushed earlier and earlier. How can they justify abortion at 23+ weeks when they can save babies born at 23 weeks? What happens when they start sustaining the lives of 19-week gestational babies?

BTW, God bless you, Jay, and all of the staff of the NICU. I still remember clearly the night my daughter managed to dislodge her breathing tube when the nurse was adjusting it. It was about 1am and the immediate response of 30 people to her need was impressive.

Anonymous said...

Wow. God is the dividing line. You are absolutely right. Nothing else matters, does it?

Pedro Erik said...

Great phrase, Matthew:

"The divide in Western civilization isn't between rich and poor, red vs. blue, or the uneducated vs. the educated. It's God. God is the dividing line. You either believe God loves each of us and grants us inalienable rights or you believe that everything is negotiable including life".

TerentiaJ said...

I worked in a newborn nursery in the early 1970's. The big discussion then was, "should we attempt to save babies born at less than 30 weeks." The arguments against were cost, risk of blindness, mental retardation and cerebral palsy. Sound familiar? We can save babies at 23 weeks now because some doctors then went against the prevailing thought and tried, thus developing the science of neonatlogy. Will we reach a gestational age that is impossible to sustain outside the womb? I don't know. But society can decide to arbitrarily set a limit beyond which we will no longer try to advance medical knowledge. Pro-abort=anti-science. Great article, Matthew.

Kim said...

"She claimed keeping them alive is only ‘prolonging their agony’, and it would be better to invest the money in care for cancer sufferers or the disabled."

Why bother with cancer patients and the disabled? Aren't we just prolonging their agony too?

Heather said...

"Prolonging their agony." Retch. Aren't we *all* in agony at some point? The point of the Cross is that the agony isn't the end point, and the goal is worth it.
Ask the infant with the ear infection--the worst pain he's ever felt. Or the toddler with the scraped knee, or the young child with the broken arm. Or the adolescent with the broken heart. Aren't we all in agony at some point?

Foxfier, formerly Sailorette said...

Isn't there some movie villain or other that justifies their murders by saying they're just cutting short the pain of living?

Rick said...

What if we frame the issue from the perspective of prolonging life using extra-ordinary means? While it is immoral to kill deliberately, is there a mandate to prolong life using extra-ordinary means? If my kids allow me to die naturally instead of putting me in artificial life support because of the torture brought by an advanced case of CA, will they be at fault or will they be doing the merciful, ethical, moral and godly thing?

Foxfier, formerly Sailorette said...

please don't change the subject before this one is settled, especially not to a subject that's been settled a long time ago.

The article is talking about banning all treatment or medical aid of small children because of their estimated age and the average results of current procedure; it has nothing to do with extraordinary care.

Foxfier, formerly Sailorette said...

*grumble, grumble*
... a subject that's been settled a long time ago...

*goes for more coffee*

Michael said...

Imagine the amount of money it takes to save one premature child with a 10% chance to live via extraordinary means.

Now imagine how much money it would take to give food, water, and medicine to a fully developed child, healthy in every way other than that they are hungry and lacking in basic immunizations: Means that I think we can all agree are ordinary.

How many other children would you have to deny basic but critical care to in order to have a long shot at saving one baby?

That's what we're talking about here. If we had plentiful public coffers, sure, nobody on either side of the aisle would deny it would be great to spare no expense saving every single possible life. But we don't. Cut public taxes, cut public benefits: Cause, meet effect.

Foxfier, formerly Sailorette said...

Hey, look, it's the abortion-is-wonderful argument with a new paint job!

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