Thursday, July 24, 2008

Philosophy in Action

In my recent Intro to Philosophy course, I got the impression that the professor found anencephalic babies to be a crucial issue; a sort of philosophical crowbar to separate students from their unreflective pro-life sentiments. In particular, he argued that if these babies were in fact fully human then all measures to preserve their lives must be taken. On that reasoning, these sub-human creatures would take up space in hospitals needed by real babies.

My counter-argument was that even fully adult human beings are not always entitled to absolutely every treatment possible. My counter-example was triage in hospital emergency rooms. Where facilities are limited, the medical staff may rightly decide to focus on those who have the most immediate needs and to give comfort measures only to those who are deemed to be beyond hope. By my argument, anencephalic babies may well fill that role, those who are dying and are given comfort measures only.

But here is a different take on that experience:

Brazilian Anencephalic Baby: Shatters Pro-Abortion Myths

After a year and a half of life, smiles, cries when mother is away, responds to sounds.

Though he would still be the object of God's love if he couldn't do even that."

(Via Catholic and Enjoying It!.)

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