Sunday, 24 July 2011

An Adventure Wrongly Considered.

“An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered.” G.K. Chesterton

Recently, the Department of Health (DoH) in the UK released the statistics of the abortions that have been performed between 2002 and 2010 on grounds of certain disabilities. This new development came 5 years after the group ProLife Alliance took the DoH to court in order to get them to release this data.

The procedure of aborting babies because of disabilities has been aptly termed ‘Eugenic Abortion’. A quick search for the word ‘Eugenics’ on Encarta Dictionaries shows that Eugenics means:
 “Selective breeding as proposed human improvement: the proposed improvement of the human species by encouraging or permitting reproduction of only those with genetic characteristics judged desirable. It has been regarded with disfavour since the Nazi period.”
Are we gradually going back to the horrible days of Hitler? Is the world sleeping while some are renewing the practices that we all vowed would never happen again, after we saw members of the human race killed because they were regarded as ‘inferior’? Didn’t those who support abortion tell us it was only for cases of rape, incest or danger to the mother’s health? I don’t support any of these reasons anyway; murder is murder no matter the justification.

“In total, nearly 18,000 babies were aborted between 2002 and 2010 on the grounds of suspected disability. 1,189 were killed after the upper legal gestational age limit of 24 weeks. The figures show that these include 482 killed for Down’s syndrome in 2010 alone. In the same year (2010), 181 abortions were attributed to musculoskeletal problems such as club foot, while 189 unborn children killed for anencephaly and 128 for spina bifida.”“[…] some of them (26 in the last nine years) for as minor a condition as cleft lip or palate, seven of them in 2010.”
 Babies are exterminated because they have cleft palate or lip, anencephaly, club foot, Down syndrome, and spina bifida! What on earth is our profession turning into? Are we now the hired assassins of people who cannot walk in public with a Down syndrome baby; who refuse to go through the process of correcting clubfoot or spina bifida for their kids? Yet we are the ones who swore:
“I will practice my profession with conscience and dignity; the health of my patient will be my first consideration; … I will maintain the utmost respect for human life, from the time of conception; even under threat. I will not use my medical knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity.”
I am almost certain that if you asked any of the people involved why they are doing this, they will tell you it is to prevent a child from being born into a world where he would suffer. They are so full of ‘compassion’. Why don’t they spare the lives of such children and out of this so called compassion try to make life more comfortable for them? How can compassion justify murder? Don’t we know people who had cleft lip, clubfoot or spina bifida? Has it ever crossed our minds that they would prefer to be dead?

From the way things are going, a time may come when babies will be killed because they have inherited a gene that predisposes them to a certain cancer or because they are predisposed to suffer diabetes. At that stage, health workers would have been transformed from healers to terminators. Talk about not using our medical knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity.

G.K. Chesterton said that “an inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered.” I agree with him on this since many times we label as inconvenient any problem we don’t feel like coping with. We abandon the adventures that life presents. We don’t want the least inconvenience or suffering so we go for the quick fix; we cut off the itching finger instead of treating it. The irony is that we lose more by cutting off than by treating.

If scientists and medics in the past adopted the quick fix method, then I wonder what would have become of us today. If diabetic, cancer, heart disease and sickle cell patients were killed, there would certainly be no insulin, no radiotherapy or chemotherapy, no pacemakers or other modern modalities of treatment because we would not have bothered to develop these means; there wouldn’t have been any need for them at all. It just occurred to me that sicklers-yet-to-be-born may face a similar fate if this trend spreads down to Nigeria. This is not a comfortable prospect at all.

Right from the beginning of humanity, we have always tried to discover new ways of solving our problems; an adventure that will last till the end of humanity. It has taken time and effort but we have made amazing progress.  In the world of medicine, the story has been the same. The discoveries of antibiotics, vaccines, artificial hormones, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, anaesthesia, surgical techniques, tumour makers, etc, have proved man’s capacity to improve life in many ways that don’t go against the ethics of the profession or the laws of humanity.

Unfortunately, man has also used his ingenuity to produce means of destruction like the nuclear weapons that all of us are still so scared of. I believe abortion is also an instrument of mass destruction. An instrument that if not stopped will destroy not only humans- about 40 million have been killed through abortion in the US alone since the 1970’s –but also will destroy that sense of adventure required for us to improve the lot of our fellow humans. Treatment is available for spina bifida, clubfoot, cleft lip, etc. The outcome may not be perfect but what on earth is? We have to find ways of treating genetic anomalies and not eliminating those who have them.

As I said in my last post, abortion is illegal in Nigeria but this doesn’t mean it is not being practiced. The statistic is not available because it has not been sought. One day ‘they’ will come again to pressure us to make it legal – in the name of human rights. Well, the truth is that it is not really about rights as no right is above the right to life; but it seems to be about convenience, eugenics and money as we are beginning to see. 

I will leave you with the words of a director of an abortion clinic in the US; words she said to one of her staff who was re-thinking her role in the whole business: “What we do here is end a life. Pure and simple. There is no disputing this fact. You need to be OK with this to work here.”