Uncategorized

>"Letting go" vs. protecting embryonic human life

>A reader asks,

If it is reasonable to stop life-prolonging treatment for fully alert, self-aware (but dying) adults, why would it possibly not be reasonable to perform research on a ball of a hundred or so cells with virtually no physical organizaion or life processes beyond mere cellular metabolism, let alone consciousness, self-awareness, and personhood, as well as values, goals, interests, and desires? Or to look at it the other way, if we’re so obsessed with mere biological life at any cost that we’re willing to protect blastulas under any and all circumstances, how can you justify ending life support, or denying resuscitation, to actual people?

First, I do not advocate stopping treatment. I advocate appropriate treatment. Sometimes it’s appropriate to use high-risk, -tech and toxic interventional treatment. At other times, it is more appropriate to provide paliative care and/or comfort only care.

It is never right to kill one human for the benefit of another. It is also never appropriate to re-define which humans are “persons” or human enough for protection from killing — even if we have found some utilitarian reason to do so.

Simply put, the difference is in the intention to cause death by an intentional act rather than allow death due to the patient’s illness.

By changing from intensive technological treatment to palliative care, we do not inject poison or smother the patient with the intention to cause death. In fact, if the body heals or the patient changes his mind, we can reassess and possibly resume the higher level of intervention.

There is no such option to “reassess” in the case of destructive embryonic research.

About bnuckols

Conservative Christian Family Doctor, promoting conservative news and views. (Hot Air under the right wing!)

Discussion

2 thoughts on “>"Letting go" vs. protecting embryonic human life

  1. >"It is never right to kill one human for the benefit of another. It is also never appropriate to re-define which humans are "persons" or human enough for protection from killing — even if we have found some utilitarian reason to do so."If you espouse this sort of pacifism I have the greatest respect for you, but it seems unreasonable to most people. Most people would argue that killing in self-defense is acceptable and this at the very least is for the would-be victim's benefit. It also makes all wars the most abhorrent moral wrong and all who support them equally so. If taking of human life can NEVER be justified, as your first statement most certainly suggests (as most killings are done for the benefit of one person or another), it places us all in a very difficult position.

    Posted by Sunny | August 25, 2006, 6:17 am
  2. >The only reason to use deadly force is in "protection from killing." Even in the protection of life, the least force possible should be used. This latter point is the hardest to follow, since we humans are so limited in our knowledge and even perception of the level of the danger of a threat or the effects of our responses. When Thomas Aquinas discussed "just war" and "self-defense," we didn't have guns, much less nuclear weapons or medicines that effect generations rather than individuals or local groups of people.

    Posted by LifeEthics.org | August 25, 2006, 6:30 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

If the post is missing: take the “www.” out of the url

@bnuckols Twitter

Categories

Archives

SiteMeter

%d bloggers like this: