Saturday 5 April 2008

Political furore in Tyneside over killing children "joke"

It has been reported that a member of North Tyneside council has resigned his seat after being suspended from his party. The furore arose because the councillor had suggested at a finance sub-committee meeting that euthanasia could be a means of cutting the cost of caring for vulnerable children.

The councillor said his remark was “misplaced humour” and that he regretted it as soon as he had said it. Even so, a statement from North Tyneside Conservatives noted that his comments were “totally unacceptable” and “out of line with the view of the party at large.” The deputy mayor, a Labour councillor, said “whether he says it was humour or whatever, it is something we cannot really, as a human being, tolerate."

Alison Davis, the leader of No Less Human, SPUC's disability division, makes the following observations about this story:
  • Such condemnation across the political spectrum, for suggesting death is a way of saving money, is in sharp contrast to the silence which greeted an announcement last month from members of Belgium’s coalition government. They stated that teenagers should be given the right to medically assisted suicide, and that the parents of terminally ill children should be given the right to choose euthanasia for them.
  • Euthanasia is already allowed on infants in Belgium, and more than half of the Belgian babies who die before they are a year old have been killed by deliberate medical intervention. Meanwhile in neighbouring Holland, newborn disabled babies, particularly those with spina bifida, are legally killed under the so-called Groningen Protocol.
  • Where is the political outcry over these equally “unacceptable” practices? Our politicians need to wake up to what is happening in our neighbouring EU countries, before the killing up to birth by abortion of disabled babies (in itself completely unacceptable), which is already allowed in the UK goes one logical step further and becomes the very thing the Tyneside politicians find so objectionable when it is merely a misplaced “joke.”