Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Kill the babies? You've gotta be kidding

I was disturbed to read an editorial by , a University of Alberta student, regarding Tatiana and Krista, the two girls who were recently born attached at the head. In a nutshell, Ms. Ash says that the problem had been diagnosed well in advance, thanks to pre-natal tests, and that the mother should have aborted the children.

Well, Ms. Ash, you're entitled to your opinion, but your opinion is erroneous. The mother made the right decision.

Ms. Ash clearly states that if the babies survive and have a disability, then it would have been better to spare them this pain by killing them in the womb. This is a crucial assumption that many pro-choice Canadians make. But they don't realize that this reasoning is actually very revealing about their own fears, anxieties and prejudices, rather than showing any sense of love or compassion for the disabled. Allow me to explain.

When a person makes that kind of reasoning, it reveals part of his subconscience. You discover that this person has a horrible fear of becoming disabled and cannot see himself living a happy life in that condition. He then projects his fear onto disabled persons and concludes that they would be happier if they had never been born.

The reality is that disabled people can live happy and fulfilling lives if they are treated with care and respect. I have met several of them. You wouldn’t believe how happy they can be, partly because they don’t get hung up on the stupid little things that irritate us “normal” people. Most people who think like Ms. Ash have probably never befriended a disabled person. That’s true of most Canadians.

In fact, although nobody is bold enough to say it, most Canadians have prejudices against disabled people, especially the mentally disabled. Don’t believe me? Picture yourself in a busy cafeteria having lunch with your friends. Suddenly, a mentally disabled person sits down next to you, making awkward and uncoordinated movements and slurring when they speak. How would you feel in that situation? Would you feel uneasiness, discomfort and repulsion? If so, you probably have a prejudice against the disabled, even though you won’t admit it. You’d prefer that they wouldn’t sit next to you. Their disability makes you feel uncomfortable. That’s the exact opposite of compassion. You’re reacting as if you were allergic to them.

With such a deep repulsion for the disabled rooted in their beings, it’s not surprising that many Canadians seek relief by buying into a utilitarian view of life that suggests that these people would be better off dead. It would alleviate their allergy if these people were eliminated. They would be happier if the disabled had never been born.

Humanity has dealt with this mentality before. It was called Nazism. Most people don’t know that before they starting killing Jews, Hitler and his gang decided to eliminate the disabled. Ms. Ash’s view of aborting disabled babies is certainly on the same wave-length.

As pointed out by Suzanne in her Big Blue Wage blog, Ms. Ash goes so far as to state that an abortion was in the interest of the babies. Yeah, right. Killing somebody is doing them a favor? If you think that way, maybe you need anti-depressants. As I explained above, the abortion would have been in the best interest of Ms. Ash, so that she wouldn't have to endure the sight of these disabled children.

We live in a utilitarian world where the value of your life is determined by what you can do. If you’re “normal”, then you have value. If you’re disabled, you’re a drag on society. Ms. Ash euphemistically refers to it as causing “emotional, financial and health problems”. This mentality implies that you'd better watch your back if ever you get ill or otherwise lose your independence. Society might get tired of having you around, hence the talk of euthanasia.

It’s time that we open our eyes and realize that the value of life is determined simply by the fact that you’re human. Period. Whether you can dunk a basketball like Michael Jordan or if you’re in a wheelchair, that doesn't affect your infinite value.

P.S.: You can go to the BBC web site and read about two women born in 1961 who were joined at the head and are still living happy lives today.