On Wednesday, National Review posted an article about Professor Jerry Coyne, a professor in the department of ecology and human evolution at the University of Chicago. Professor Coyne writes a blog called “Why Evolution Is True.” I don’t have a problem with his belief in evolution as long as he also explains that it is a theory and that there are other theories. However, I am concerned about a recent post on his blog.
Professor Coyne writes:
If you are allowed to abort a fetus that has a severe genetic defect, microcephaly, spina bifida, or so on, then why aren’t you able to euthanize that same fetus just after it’s born?
…After all, newborn babies aren’t aware of death, aren’t nearly as sentient as an older child or adult, and have no rational faculties to make judgments (and if there’s severe mental disability, would never develop such faculties). It makes little sense to keep alive a suffering child who is doomed to die or suffer life in a vegetative or horribly painful state.
Professor Coyne states:
As for the “slippery slope” argument — that this will lead to Nazi-like eugenics — well, this hasn’t come to pass in places where assisted suicide or euthanasia of adults is legal.
The article at National Review reminds us that what Professor Coyne states about the “slippery slope” is not entirely true:
Superficially, he is correct, but it is silly to think that abuses will occur only in such an explicit manner. “The violence we commit,” writes Hart, “is more hygienic, subtler, and less inconvenient than that committed by our forebears.” Indeed, Wesley J. Smith has highlighted how an increasing number of mentally ill patients are euthanized in countries where it is legal. As he noted at NRO, these patients tend to be “the prime candidates for conjoining euthanasia with organ harvesting.” Sometimes, however, fatal malpractice is more explicit: In 2015, hundreds were euthanized in the Netherlands without request.
Professor Coyne is teaching the leaders of tomorrow. Hopefully they will acquire some moral clarity on the idea of killing children before they become leaders. It is scary to think of a world where we think we have the right to arbitrarily kill children or adults because we deem them defective.