Allow 'Active Euthanasia' for Disabled Babies, Doctors Urge ; HOME NEWS
Francis Elliott Whitehall Editor, The Independent on Sunday (London, England)
Doctors are urging health regulators to consider allowing the "active euthanasia" of severely disabled newborn babies.
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology has put forward the option of permitting mercy killings of the sickest infants to a review of medical ethics.
It says "active euthanasia" should be considered for the overall benefit of families who would otherwise suffer years of emotional and financial suffering.
Deliberate action to end infants' lives may also reduce the number of late abortions, since it would allow women the chance to decide whether their disabled child should live.
"A very disabled child can mean a disabled family. If life- shortening and deliberate interventions to kill infants were available, they might have an impact on obstetric decision-making," the college writes in a submission to the Nuffield Council on Bioethics.
"We would like the working party to think more radically about non-resuscitation, withdrawal of treatment decisions, the best interests test, and active euthanasia, as they are ways of widening the management options available to the sickest of newborns."
Such mercy killings are already allowed in the Netherlands for incurable conditions such as severe spina bifida. John Harris, a member of the official Human Genetics Commission and professor of bioethics at Manchester University, welcomed the college's submission. …