Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Well, OK then...NOT

Amy W. has more "clarification" on the story I just posted:

OK, Amy has calmed my reaction to the story below...here's what the Anglicans really say (although I can't say I'm too thrilled with this, either!!)

***A few days ago, folks went predictably beserk about the "Anglican Church" supposedly affirming the British Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecology's statement about euthanizing severely disabled newborns.

Well, it just wasn't so:

The Church of England’s decision to support a policy of withholding or withdrawing medical treatment from very premature or disabled newborns was not a statement of support for infant euthanasia, pro-life leaders have clarified, after media reports, notably The Sunday Times- Britain, said the church was calling for legal euthanasia.

In a statement made to the Nuffield Council on Bioethics inquiry into treatment of premature babies, the Rt. Rev. Tom Butler, Bishop of Southwark and vice chair of public affairs of the Mission and Public Affairs Council, wrote, “[I]t may in some circumstances be right to choose to withhold or withdraw treatment, knowing it will possibly, probably, or even certainly result in death.”

Although the church could not accept the argument that the life of any baby was not worth living, the submission stated, the church nonetheless felt there were “strong proportionate reasons” for “overriding the presupposition that life should be maintained” at all cost.

There may be occasions where, for a Christian, compassion will override the ‘rule’ that life should inevitably be preserved.”

Wesley J. Smith, U.S. lawyer and leading opponent to the international pro-euthanasia movement, said inaccurate media coverage of the church’s statement implied the church was supporting euthanasia, when in fact “it appears that the Church has ratified the right to withdraw life-sustaining treatment in some circumstances, which is a different matter altogether.”

Dr. Peter Saunders, general secretary of the Christian Medical Fellowship, explained the difference between withholding treatment and euthanasia, in an interview with The Guardian Nov. 12, “If it’s an underlying condition that’s causing the death and you’re withholding the treatment because you believe that the treatment’s burden far outweighs any benefit it can bring, then it might be quite appropriate.”

There’s a point in medicine where we say enough is enough, and sometimes the treatment can be worse than the disease. And in those cases it is good medical judgment to withhold.”

Mr. Smith criticized media coverage for contributing to public confusion on the issue by failing to make an accurate distinction between euthanasia and the withholding of life-sustaining treatment.

Now, I am not impressed by Butler's subsequent list of reasons tocease disproportionately burdensome treatment:

However, the church said the cost of care, potential parental burden and the price of the future education of the child should be considered in evaluating refusal-of-treatment to severely disabled newborns.

“Great caution should be exercised in bringing questions of cost into the equation when considering what treatment might be provided,” wrote Butler. “The principle of justice inevitable means that the potential cost of treatment itself, the longer term costs of healthcare and education and opportunity cost to the NHS in terms of saving other lives have to be considered.”

But the point is, he did not advocate direct killing.

ME: Well, great. Whoop de doo! the fact that this even has to be clarified by a church official is enough to make me reach for the (metaphorical) gin!!!! ARGH!!!

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