Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Ethical conundrum?

A recent discussion (2019) of “babies born alive” was ignited by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, who said, “And it’s done in cases where there may be severe deformities, there may be a fetus that’s non-viable. So in this particular example, if a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen. The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that's what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.” Now you can debate just exactly what he meant, but discussion of whether to let an infant die is definitely on the table in what he said, at least concerning one he would consider “non-viable.” Nevertheless, though some might dismiss this as sensationalism on the part of Pro-Lifers, it is not a new discussion.

Here is old news (1999) about doctors not providing life support to a survivor of a botched abortion:
Staff who helped baby not treated as heroines

In the following link, a Civil Justice Subcommittee in Florida (2013) discusses House Bill 1129, a “born alive” bill; the Planned Parenthood representative struggles to answer questions about babies born alive:
State of Florida Civil Justice Subcommittee hearing on March 27, 2013

Discussion of the Bill starts about 10:50.
Questions to Planned Parenthood (some excerpted below) start about 39:17.

Chairman Boyd: “If a baby is born on a table as a result of a botched abortion, what would Planned Parenthood want to have happen to that child that is struggling for life?”

Alicia Snow of Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood: “Uh, well, we believe that any decision is made should be left up to the woman, her family, and the physician.”

Representative: “Along the same lines you stated that a baby born alive on a table as a result of a botched abortion that that decision should be left to the doctor and the family. Is that what you’re saying?”

Alicia Snow: “That decision should be between the patient and the health care provider.”

Representative: “I think that at that point the patient would be the child struggling on the table, wouldn’t you agree?”

Alicia Snow: “That’s a very good question. I really don’t know how to answer that...”

There should be no ethical conundrum of whether to save a live baby who is dying right in front of you – unless you had already been trying to kill it!

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