Monday, February 15, 2010

“Finishing Off” Children with Disabilities

There’s a tabloid journalist in Russia making waves about lethal solutions for newborns (and others) with disabilities. Journalist Aleksandr Nikonov wrote an incendiary piece in a popular Russian tabloid, (caution, content may be offensive) Speed-Info, entitled Finish It Off, So It Doesn't Suffer.

As I say quite often here, I’m not sure why so many are surprised and outraged. Nikonov’s intent is no different than what the rest of the pro-death crowd say, just slightly more uncivilized.

Clearly, Russian tabloid journalism is short on subtlety, as is the 700,000-an-issue Speed-Info, with its copious photo layouts of scantily clad women and other lowbrow schlock. In this regard, we could simply ignore Nikonov’s message. However, tabloid sensationalism influences public opinion just as any other form of publication does – perhaps even more so.

Let’s begin with Nikonov’s own words of the title. Newborns with disabilities are suffering; therefore they should be finished off. Also, these newborns are its - not baby boys or girls, or even newborn humans, they are nonhuman. Harsh? Yes, but exactly the same sentiment that many Western countries are swallowing. (The Netherlands routinely kills disabled newborns as well as the elderly and the infirm. Scotland is talking about assisted suicide for children. Dignitas in Switzerland will help do you in for a fee. Canada’s medical community increasingly calls for the legalization of assisted suicide. The pro-death crowd in the US isn’t happy that only several states have already legalized assisted killing – they want more).

Nikonov hasn't learned the Western trick of making killing much more acceptable when it's prettified. The pro-death crowd would recoil in horror at the description of finishing people off. Instead, they talk about euthanasia, aid in dying, dying with dignity - making the ugly beautiful. Most people don’t like ugly, but they do like beautiful. It’s simply a matter of lying often enough that the lie becomes desirable truth.

However, the pretty-talking pro-death crowd is really down with Nikonov, because any way you slice it, finishing off is the intent of assisted suicide and euthanasia, warm fuzzy terminology notwithstanding.

Here’s what Nikonov said in a Radio Free Liberty interview:

Parents, in particular parents, should be free to decide the fate of their own offspring. If you want to bring up a child with Down syndrome, you can do it. But if you don’t, you can euthanize him. Why is prenatal abortion legal and post-natal abortion is not?

Well, he’s got a point: If we feel free to allow and legalize the abortion of unborn children with Down syndrome and other “defects,” as we have done, then why not allow and legalize killing after birth?

Logically, there should be no difference. At least Nikonov is consistent – kill - sorry, finish off children with disabilities wherever you find them, unborn and born.

Lest we ignore Nikonov, remember that he’s saying exactly what others in highly elevated university endowed chairs at prestigious universities are saying. For one, Peter Singer has noted that:

In any case, the position taken here does not imply that it would be better that no people born with severe disabilities should survive; it implies only that the parents of such infants should be able to make this decision. (Practical Ethics, 1999, p. 189).

I think post-natal abortion is way too pretty.

For the sake of honesty and transparency, I’m with Nikonov’s approach.

Call it what it is: Finishing off children with disabilities for their own and everyone else’s good.


Борис Денисов said...

Could you provide a formal reference to S-Info or probably a link to Nikinov's text

thank you

Борис Денисов said...

Could you provide a link a formal reference to Nikoniv's text
thak you

Борис Денисов said...

sory for doubling
an error had been reported

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