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Friday, December 03, 2004

The Nanny State Carried To Its Logical Extreme

The Groningen Protocol is apparently not an isolated and recent development in the European Union. Please look here and here for shocking and heart-wrenching stories of parents begging doctors to keep their children alive in contravention of court decisions authorizing doctors to withhold life support. The truly revolting part of this is the substitution of the court's wishes and judgment concerning what is in the "best interests" of the child over that of competent parents: "Dame Elizabeth, the president of the High Court family division, ruled yesterday that doctors were legally entitled not to put Luke on a ventilator. She said the procedure carried the risk of the baby then becoming dependent on a ventilator, which would deprive him of his close relationship with his mother during the last weeks or months of his life. His life "would not be worth living", the judge said." I have struggled to reach an understanding of this and the only thing I can fathom is that this ceding of the decision-making authority over what would seem to be intensely personal decisions is a direct result of the social welfare state mindset. If you expect the government to take care of your health, provide you with lifetime employment and a healthy pension, and insure that you are housed and fed, then it is not as long a reach to get to the point where the government will make life and death decisions for you as well. Courts in this country will step in if it is shown that the parent is not able or willing to care for the child or act in his or her best interests. We have not yet come to the point where our local, state or federal government will decide for otherwise able and loving parents whether their child's life "is worth living." And I hope we never do.

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