The New York Times can be counted on to publish columns and articles subversive of the sanctity/equality of human life, traditional morality, and human exceptionalism.
The latest example uses the intense public interest generated by the the Charlie Gard tragedy to have a father write about the experience of removing life support from his terminally ill baby. It’s a valuable contribution to the discussion — until the father pushes infanticide as an option. From, “You Should Not Have Let Your Baby Die:”
You should not have let your baby die. You should have killed him. This thought occurs to you years later, thinking about the gruesome struggle of his last 20 minutes. You are not sure whether it makes sense to talk about his life, because he never seemed to have the things that make a life: thoughts, wants, desires, interests, memories, a future.
But supposing that he had thoughts, his strongest thought during those last minutes certainly appeared to be: “This hurts. Can’t someone help it stop?” He didn’t know your name, but if he had, he would have said: “Daddy? Please. Now.”
It seems the medical community has few options to offer parents of newborns likely to die. We can leave our babies on respirators and hope for the best. Or remove the hose and watch the child die a tortured death.
Shouldn’t we have another choice? Shouldn’t we be allowed the swift humane option afforded the owners of dogs, a lethal dose of a painkiller?
For years you repress the thought. Then, early one morning, remembering again those last minutes, you realize that the repugnant has become reasonable. The unthinkable has become the right, the good. Painlessly. Quickly. With the assistance of a trained physician. You should have killed your baby.
When life support is removed, doctors do not just let patients twist choking in the wind. They palliate — as necessary to alleviate pain and agitation. Looks can be deceiving in this regard. Anyone interested in this question should read the writings of Dr. Ira Byock.
What matters here, a lot, is that infanticide — a declared crime against humanity for which doctors were hanged at Nuremberg having killed babies for exactly the reasons (a “healing treatment”) mentioned here — is pushed with all due respect in the New York Times.
I don’t blame the father. Deep grief can distort moral reason.
I blame the publishers and editors of the Times who are prime promoters and enablers of the culture of death.