Monday, February 20, 2012

Obama Over Santorum, Of Course, But ...

silphium (Wikipedia)
... the former senator from Pennsylvania and sweater-vest wearing pursuer of Mitt Romney is more correct than his opponents suggest  when he offers his remarks on the general results of pre-natal testing. Sadly, he hides a valid point behind inflammatory rhetoric, as reported here by MSNBC when he says:
Because free prenatal testing ends up in more abortions and, therefore, less care that has to be done, because we cull the ranks of the disabled in our society. That too is part of ObamaCare ...
It may be part of ObamaCare, whatever that is, because pre-natal testing is authorized, but President Obama didn't originate the practice. The issue of "culling the disabled" is as old as some cultures employing infanticide and as new as our own society's sharply reduced number of children born with Down's Syndrome.

In the MSNBC article, there is this rationale:
"Early detection of a fetal condition gives parents the opportunity to terminate the pregnancy in an early stage or to make the preparations necessary to best care for an affected child," Clare O'Connor, Ph.D., of the Biology Department at Boston College, wrote in Nature Education.
The statement is true enough, but any person who reads the news comprehensively—or any person who wants to spend a few minutes on Google—will soon discover that there is evidence that up to 90% of those babies discovered in utero to have Down's Syndrome will be aborted.

The issue is complicated beyond measure, but that the abortion of those babies does alter the nature of society cannot be questioned. And if society can condone the elimination of life because of any one quality perceived as negative, society can ultimately designate other qualities as similarly negative and undesirable.

No one can doubt that sophisticated societies are now practicing de facto eugenics. No one can doubt that only few philosophers are contemplating the  consequences, intended or not. It doesn't help that the person getting the most media attention is a radical utilitarian who advocates euthanasia, for infants with disabilities (as well as others), that person being Peter Singer. No doubt even that philosopher-manque is convinced of the rationale driving one of the latest trends among the I shall not be inconvenienced in this life set: selective abortion, a choice made when twins or other multiples are in womb.

I cannot interfere in another person's choice, but I find it surprising that the liberal-humanists (with whom I agree about many issues) do not worry about the socio-biological ramifications of the issue. To me, this sort of manipulation of what it means to be human has more haunting consequences, more immediate consequences, than climate change, depletion of the rain forest, pollution, destruction of fisheries, and many other negative influences on our world. 
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