Okay, so that’s a little dramatic. I saw a few articles in the papers today, Monday May 26 which seemed apropos of what we are having happen in the rest of the world lately. I saw a piece a few days ago which came across my facebook feed outlining how Denmark was aiming to be ‘Down syndrome free’ by 2016. This will apparently be accomplished by prenatal testing and elimination of those ‘diagnosed’ as having down syndrome in utero. From my understanding, this has upset a lot of people but has yet to be denounced in the popular mind.
In another development, Quebec’s leadership, in the guise of the Liberal party there, has decided to re-introduce the thought to be defunct Bill 52 as their own. I am sure they will claim it as their own until the problems arise; then they will claim they were following the will of the people and it wasn’t their original idea. Or something like that. Remember, this bill is re-introduced by a party whose national leader has said no thanks to those who are pro-life being involved in any official capacity in the Party.
In the Toronto Star newspaper, for May 26, 2014, there was the first in a series of articles on how we die. The article features a prominent picture of a now deceased euthanasia enthusiast, who has one eye cosmetically taped open for the photo. I say cosmetically because there is some speculation that this person’s video was doctored to make him look worse off than he was. There is also some question of manipulation at the end of life after the fact: the widow of this person has apparently said that he died well, and then said that he died in agony. We cannot be sure which was correct.
Having said that, the article talks about palliative care, dying processes and – euthanasia. That sets up a later talk on killing the dying for later in the week, I am sure.
From the article:
‘The euthanasia enthusiast referred to earlier is on record as saying he does not want to die in pain. I suggest that if one is in a palliative ward, or on a palliative track, then it is unethical for those looking after you – usually described as a calling – to leave you in pain or suffering without trying to relieve that suffering at all. This is not mentioned in the article.’
Interestingly, it is also said in the article,
‘Dr Louis Hugo Franescutti, President of the Canadian Medical Association and an emergency room physician at Edmonton’s Royal Alexandra Hospital, says the CMA’s town-hall initiative is a response to recent high profile court cases on doctor assisted death.’ (Given that these cases are not outlined, it is left to us readers to figure out which cases these are – blogger)
Franescutti says it was clear at each of the town halls that people want to have frank discussions about the issue. That is a bit spurious, given the rhetoric that has been piling up about the issue for the last year or so. So we want frank discussions, but will those discussions include child euthanasia in Belgium? Problems in Belgium as a result? The prospect of elder abuse legalized through death? The devaluation of medical care? The harvesting of the organs of those euthanized?
In the same Toronto star newspaper for May 26, 2014, there was an article in the first section outlining a great breakthrough for autism and autism researchers. It was trumpeted as great, even though it was a statistical study; so was it real-world? We don’t know but consider from the article:
‘The new research, published in the journal Nature Genetics, suggests that autism begins to develop in the womb. It will help clinicians diagnose ASD earlier – hugely important, since autism is easier to treat the earlier it is caught.’
This is not ever made explicitly clear, but it seems as though there is now a prenatal ‘test’ available which will tell prospective parents that their child might be on the autism spectrum. Given that I have outlined how in Canada that there is no more money in the community for disabled children – a quote from McIver’s book After the Error, p. 13 or so, it is clear that this testing will lead to gross exaggeration fo the problems, and allow the health system an easy out in terms of weeding out those who are on the spectrum in utero. Sorry that should have read might be on the spectrum: this was apparently a statistic study done from the Hospital for Sick Children.
From the article:
‘Kathryn Roeder, a statistical geneticist at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, who was not involved in the study, called it a ‘tremendous stride forward’ saying she planned to distribute it as soon as she could.’
So in other words, this test will become widely available, although it is not ‘commercialized’ yet and even though it might play into the hands of those who wish to improve the race by eliminating autism at the source: in utero as Down syndrome will be eliminated in Denmark. It is truly a great leap forward for humanity when we think that we can weed out undesirables and save money in utero.
From the article:
‘The formula is not predictive enough that it could prove an unborn baby has autism, but it could help clinicians diagnose autism earlier in childhood, allowing important interventions to start early in life, when they are most effective.’
The trouble is that the tests will be used to eliminate those who are autistic – even though the test is not ‘predictive’ enough. Doesn’t matter: parents will be told worst case scenario and offered an easy out. Of course, it will be posted as a ‘right’ for them...but the rights of those who are different will be completely ignored.
Remember these stories come at a time when the social context is a chattering about assisted suicide; it also comes at a time when we hear more often in the news about autistic kids being murdered by a parent. This also comes at a time when patients have fewer and fewer rights and options in the face of ‘medical care’.
So it is interesting that this should be; it is also interesting that these two articles are bookended in the same section of the Toronto Star. So we can see the propaganda machine is running again, and the answer to it is a ever-alert critical viewpoint on the issues, coupled with a firm statement that human life, if so important as to sanction killing it, should be protected against killing.
So in other words, the test is being rushed out even though it is not good enough to predict. What precisely then will this test measure and what will be done with it and to those who are tested through it? This is a real-world question, given that we seem to be wanting nothing more than the elimination of disability and therefore difference in humanity. Of course, no one has asked the autism community in this article but then, conventional wisdom says you don’t do that when you have a predetermined social goal in mind.
[Source: ‘Tremendous step forward in autism research’, Toronto Star, May 26, 2014, P A3]
Here’s what worries me: we have this sense of magical thinking about the issues. It’s like all we
need do is legalize abortion and killing of the dying and disabled and every other social problem
will fall into line thereafter. History says otherwise: just ask those killed in Germany in the
1930s. If you can...