Sunday 10 July 2011

Germany is forgetting the lessons of history as it votes for eugenics

On Thursday the German Bundestag (parliament) voted in favour of allowing pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). Reuters reports that Kerstin Janich, a Bavarian woman whose four-year-old son had died of a genetic disease, said:
"It's not about allowing a 'designer baby' with blond hair and blue eyes or a sick child not deserving to live. It's about the suffering of an entire family, for siblings and relatives and friends."
Yet however much defenders of PGD seek to distance themselves from eugenics, PGD is all about stopping human beings suspected of disability from being born, so others can evade their duty of compassion. The word compassion means "to suffer with" (Latin: cum passio), not evading suffering by eliminating the disabled person. Germans must realise that attempting to justify PGD as preventing suffering is not dissimilar to the Nazis' attempts to justify sterilisation, euthanasia and 'racial purity' programmes. Here is a propaganda poster from the Nazi period:

"60000 RM: this is what this person suffering from hereditary defects costs the community of Germans during his lifetime. Fellow citizen, that is your money, too."
There is no difference in the moral status between a one-day old embryo and the oldest of pensioners. So, whatever the attempted justification and whomever the victim, PGD shares with Nazi eugenics basically the same fatal discrimination against the vulnerable, the sick and the disabled. I pray that the German pro-life movement will be strengthened so that Thursday's vote can be reversed at the earliest opportunity.

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