Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Ethicists (sic) propose killing patients for their organs

A paper in the New England Journal of Medicine has argued that it is ethical to remove vital organs from certain patients even if those patients are still alive, thereby causing death. The essential line taken by the paper's authors is that it really doesn’t matter whether the patient is dead or not. Instead what really counts is whether informed consent has been given. A report of the paper came to SPUC's attention via LifeSite. The Southern Cross Bioethics Institute (SCBI) has written, on behalf of SPUC, a commentary on the paper, which can be read here.

Very few people realise that the pro-abortion and pro-euthanasia lobby believes it can be right intentionally to kill innocent human beings, even in cases where little or no dispute exists that the victim is a person. Dr Peter Singer, a bioethics professor at Princeton University, New Jersey, is the world's leading utilitarian. Peter Singer has been quoted as saying: ''I do not think it is always wrong to kill an innocent human being." Now, the vast majority of people, even those who support in some way abortion and/or euthanasia, believe that a born infant is a person and that killing a born infant is one of, if not the, worst of crimes. Yet Peter Singer says: "Simply killing an infant is never equivalent to killing a person.''

As SCBI points out, the authors of the NEJM paper on organ removal are also utilitarians, but do not deny that the patients who would be killed under their proposal are persons. This new, further slide down the slippery slope of anti-life thinking is truly disturbing.