The Abortion/Euthanasia Connection

The connection between abortion and euthanasia is easier to see when a person considers the bridge between the two - infanticide.

  • There is a trend, especially among bio-ethicists, is to label some groups of humans as non-persons.
  • Advocates of abortion now admit that the foetus being killed is a human being.
  • Euthanasia advocates have resurrected the same slogans used by the abortion activists.
  • In New Zealand the High Court has already set a precedent in allowing a baby to be taken off life support.
  • Abortion allows a woman to be selective about parenthood, euthanasia allows people to be selective about living.
For decades, opponents to abortion have referred to themselves as "pro-lifers." Abortion advocates call themselves "pro-choicers" and label their opponents as "anti-choicers." This begs the question, "Exactly what is the choice they are talking about?"

In abortion the choice is to have someone kill the foetus. In voluntary euthanasia the choice is to have someone kill you. In non-voluntary euthanasia and infanticide the choice is to kill another human being whose life is judged by a third party to be not worth living

The abortion / euthanasia connection talked of by opponents to both rests on two contentions. First, both are judged to be morally wrong. Second, both are integral to the ongoing debate over what life is all about.

When a person cannot communicate - for whatever reason - the question of "what is life" arises. The possibility of killing an unconsenting, innocent human is present. But such a possibility is not at the core of why many people oppose euthanasia. If it were, they would not oppose mercy killing in cases where the person actively requests assistance in dying.

People who are "pro-life" are generally opposed to anyone taking any life - even their own - for any reason.

Take the case of a woman who has an amniocentesis test to be sure that she is not carrying a Down's syndrome baby. If the result is positive, she intends to have the unborn baby aborted. Amniocentesis does not come with an unconditional guarantee of accuracy.

If the baby is born, he may turn out to have Down's syndrome

In the light of scientific advances in human embryology,advocates of abortion have, for the most part, abandoned their stance that the unborn are not human beings. The attitude that "Maybe it is a baby but abortion is perfectly legal," is however, common among more and more people as our society becomes progressively desensitised to killing. An interview with an abortion clinic employee illustrated this attitude:

Interviewer: "Oh, so as long as you make money, it doesn"t matter?"
Clinic Employee: "As long as it's food in my stomach, no, it doesn"t matter. It is legal... It is legal... It is legal!"

Interviewer: "So if they legalised killing four-year-old children, you would have no problem?"
Clinic Employee: "No, I would not have a problem ... My conscience is very clear ..." 3

A statement by abortionist Dr. Magda Denes illustrates this mindset among pro-abortionists:

Justice Cartwright and Justice Paterson made Baby L a ward of the court, after the parents wanted to prolong her life. Doctors said her case was hopeless.

With the exception of the parents" views, all favoured the application to place the child in the court"s guardianship because they considered it was in the baby"s best interests.

"We are satisfied, after considering L"s right to life, when contrasted with her right to be free from discomfort and pain; when considering her parents" deeply felt wish to her life to be prolonged as long as possible ... that L"s best interests would be promoted by granting this application."

The baby was made a ward of the court and the judges gave Auckland Healthcare neonatal intensive care specialist Dr David Knight the right to manage the baby"s treatment, including the withdrawal of life support.

While the judges admitted the parent's wishes should be taken into account, they could have no veto authority. The hospital took the case to court after its ethics committee determined that the infant's situation was "hopeless" and that her treatment was "futile and therefore inhumane."

The court's ruling caused the disability rights community and others to condemn the decision as fostering infanticide.

The worth of a human life
Before any act of euthanasia, infanticide, or suicide may be committed, the killer (and sometimes the victim) must make some kind of assessment of the value of the life of the person who is being considered for death.

"Most people would prefer to raise children who do not suffer from gross deformities or from several physical, emotional or intellectual handicaps. If it could be shown that there is no moral objection to infanticide, the happiness of society could be significantly and justifiably increased ... A newborn infant does not possess the concept of a conscious self any more than a newborn kitten possesses such a concept ... infanticide during a time interval shortly after birth must be morally acceptable." 10

"Infanticide is not a great wrong. I do not want to be construed as condemning women who, under certain circumstances, quietly put their infants to death." 11

Speaking at a conference of the Hemlock Society an organization whose primary purpose is the legalization of death by choice Dr. Joseph Fletcher, the "father of situation ethics," reminisced about the days when both he and Margaret Sanger joined the Euthanasia Society of America, "thus linking the two [abortion and euthanasia] causes so to speak the right to be selective about parenthood and the right to be selective about living." Fletcher explained, "We"ve added death control to birth control as a part of the ethos of life style in our society." Read more about Margaret Sanger here. 12

On December 4, 1971, Joseph Fletcher, at the Fourth Euthanasia Conference, suggested that in the future defective children should be killed by the State over their parent"s objections "for the good of society."

Organ Farms
Anencephaly, where the baby is born without the main (upper) mass of the brain, but does possess the brain stem, which controls basic body functions, occurs in about one out of 30,000 births. The baby can thus breathe, move, feel pain, and cry. Anencephalic babies do not usually live more than three months. Mortality is about 90 percent at one week, although some live several years. One family in Connecticut has successfully raised two anencephalic children past the age of five.

As these fatally-afflicted babies slowly die, so do all of their organs. By the time they are declared "brain dead," these organs are not suitable for transplantation. This research center was at one point actually keeping these babies alive so that their organs would be fresh for removal when a suitable recipient was found.

California"s Loma Linda Hospital sees these children as an opportunity for research and transplantation. This research center was at one point actually keeping these babies alive so that their organs would be fresh for removal when a suitable recipient was found. They would then be killed and the organs removed from their bodies.

The first attempt to declassify anencephalic babies out of human existence in the United States occurred in February 1986, as California State Senator Milton Marks introduced Senate Bill 2018, which stated simply: "An individual born with the condition of anencephaly is dead."

History repeats itself
The "different" are always easy targets in a morally warped society: Lepers, the handicapped, the retarded, Blacks, Jews, and now babies who are born with an odd or alien appearance.

Nazi doctor Dr. Julius Hallervorden defended himself at the Nuremberg War Criminal Trials by stating to the Court; "I heard that they were going to do that and so I went up to them: "Look here now boys, if you are going to kill all these people, at least take the brains out, so that the material could be utilized.""

Essentially identical language was used by the United States National Institutes for Health in their October 1988 Draft Report of the Human Fetal Tissue Transplant Panel; "Inasmuch as it is cadaver tissue [from abortions] we are concerned with, and inasmuch as it would ordinarily be disposed of; and inasmuch as research on this tissue holds the promise of saving countless lives and alleviating the suffering of countless others, we find the use of such tissues acceptable."

This language is highly reminiscent of that used by Nazi "doctors" in the concentration camp medical experimentation stations of World War II.

Therefore, there is absolutely no reason whatever why comatose adults meeting the same description may not also be relegated to the fate of the "new unliving."
The term "death" has traditionally and logically meant the total and irreversible cessation of breathing and circulation. Some hospitals and medical groups would now like to create a new definition of death purely for their own convenience, whereby human beings who are breathing and have heartbeats may be sustained for the sole purpose of ransacking their organs, yet still be classified as "dead."

This new definition, usually called "brain death," is the "... irreversible cessation of all functions of the entire brain, including the brain stem," used "when respirators and other treatments render the traditional standard unreliable."

Health care institutions, and many leading "bioethicists" can now justify reclassifying anencephalic newborn babies and other infants who are breathing and whose hearts are beating as "dead." Therefore, there is absolutely no reason whatever why comatose adults meeting the same description may not also be relegated to the fate of the "new unliving."

  1. P. Singer, "Sanctity of Life or Quality of Life?" Pediatrics, vol. 73, no. 1, July 1983, pp. 128-129
  2. Children from the Laboratory, J. Watson, AMA Prism, Ch. 3, p. 2, May 1973
  3. >"Abortion Clinic Staff Worker Gives Her Excuses." Life Advocate (publication of Advocates for Life Ministries, Portland, Oregon), April 1992, page21
  4. "The Abortion Culture: My Turn." Newsweek Magazine, July 9, 1973. Page9
  5. Barbara J. Syska, Thomas W. Hilgers, M.D., and Dennis O"Hare, "An Objective Model for Estimating Criminal Abortions and Its Implications for Public Policy," in New Perspectives on Human Abortion, ed. Thomas Hilgers, M.D., Dennis J. Horan, and David Mall (Frederick, MD: University Publications of America, 1981), p. 78.
  6. "Some Doctors Feel They Have the Right to Kill Defective Children." Catholic Twin Circle, August 23, 1983. Page 4
  7. Quoted in William Brennan. The Abortion Holocaust, Today"s Final Solution. Landmark Press, 1984. Page113
  8. Joseph Fletcher. "Infanticide and the Ethics of Loving Concern." Infanticide and the Value of Life. Prometheus Books, 1978. Quoted by C. Everett Koop, M.D. "The Slide to Auschwitz." Human Life Review, Summer 1982, page 36
  9. Milton Heifetz, M.D. The Right to Die. New York, G.P. Putnam"s Sons, 1975. Page 51. Quoted by C. Everett Koop, M.D. "The Slide to Auschwitz." Human Life Review, Summer 1982, page36
  10. Michael Tooley. "Abortion and Infanticide." Philosophy and Public Affairs, January 1972
  11. "Bioethicist" Beverly Wildung Harrison, quoted in David H. Andrusko. "Abortion and Infanticide: Is There a Difference?"
  12. Joseph Fletcher, quoted in Rita Marker. "School Based Clinics: A Movement to Create a New Society." Human Life Center Report, 1988, page 25