The Life And Times Of Baby K

Baby K was born to a fundamentalist mother. This is a true story, and while the mother preferred that she remain anonymous, because of its portentous impact on bioethics and the high profile of her case, she is known as Ms. H and the baby as Baby K for the sake of identifying both.

Until now, I have not done with the semantics what I ought to: put ‘mother’, ‘baby’, and ‘born’ in quotes. Baby K was anencephalic – born without a brain, or indeed any cerebral tissue above the brainstem.

Anencephaly is inevitably fatal, and is an open-and-shut case of futile care. There is absolutely no way that a fetus that fails to develop a forebrain – along with all the manifold receptors and regulators for various hormones, the center of consciousness and everything – will survive long. Most are aborted – over 95% – and the few that are carried to term owing to absurd ‘religious’ convictions – their own or someone else’s (in spite of pretty much every major religion rejecting the preposterous idea that a wise and just God would invest a soul in such a creature) – or hardship (Ask Me About Socialized Medicine.)… well, they don’t survive long. Even palliative care (care intended to reduce suffering and render comfort for those whose death is imminent – oppose aggressive clinical care, which seeks to cure the condition that the patient suffers above all else) is fairly controversial in the case of anencephalic births. You can literally see the ‘child”s naked spinal cord at birth – there is an unobstructed view where their scalp should be – what the hell purpose is there in feeding or watering that?

I mean, we water plants, but that’s mostly because we derive pleasure from keeping them alive in spite of their lives being more mechanical than ethical.

Which brings us to the strange and sad case of Baby K. In order to pretend that she had given birth to a child instead of a twisted monstrosity, Ms. H stridently insisted that God had invested Baby K with a soul and it was God’s responsibility rather than that of any doctor or even herself to decide when Baby K would ‘die’. Her batshit convictions lead her to decide that the little horror that had formed in her womb was as fully human as anyone around her.

This is where the story takes on a peculiarly familiar tone. Ms. H was not only wasting state resources; a strictly utilitarian calculus, after all, is deeply unsatisfying when it comes to matters like this. (Note that I say ‘like this’ – in this case, it is perfectly satisfying to conclude that nothing actually makes the lump of malformed flesh alive in any real sense and that there is no obligation on the behalf of the state to spend time or money on its care.) But we’ll get to that later; the fact of the matter is she simply inflicted on everyone concerned, among them professionals only doing their jobs in an unrewarding field, to bear Baby K to term.

Seem familiar? If you recognize Terri Schiavo here, congratulations on having better neurological capacity than Baby K. The same mentality went into declaring a creature with the face of a woman, the brain mass of a housecat, and the neurological activity of a bean sprout a human being. It’s tempting, but hyperbolic, to say there’s no consistency there; that the fundamentalist movement in fact lacks any element of intellectual rigor or coherence. Tempting, but incorrect.

That consistency lies in their self-absorption.

There’s a very good reason that so many ‘fundamentalist’ Christians insist on a scatter-brained and ridiculous reading of the Bible that asserts the Sermon on the Mount, a proto-socialist screed and a direct rejection of comfortable life in civilized society, only applies after the Second Coming. Hell, they reject the most basic forms of charity, common to all moral people, as ‘fostering dependence’ or ‘enabling’, leaning on absurd formulas like ‘a hand up, not a handout’. The same reason governs the fact that there’s a disproportionately Christian influence among tax-evaders who pretend that historical, legalistic, or philosophical conspiracy theory enables them to find a certain syntactic formula to exempt them from the most basic duty to society. It’s the same attitude that causes Pat Robertson to squint hard as he prays so everyone will know how Christian he is and send lots and lots of money.

It is why televangelists die so damn rich; it is how the preposterous Prosperity Gospel exists, and it is why The Secret’s hawkers can honestly pretend that Jesus was a millionaire and that he was a prosperity teacher and with his teachings you can get rich too.

The basic truth behind ‘fundamentalism’ in America is the basic truth of capitalism: look out for Number One and to hell with everyone else. In this case, Ms. H was made aware that ‘Baby’ K was anencephalic long before it was due – long before the normal cutoff for termination of pregnancy – and owing to the extenuating circumstances abortion would have been an option even later than it normally is. The normal moral issues of abortion are almost never considered to apply in cephalic disorders, precisely because the ‘life’ of the ‘child’ isn’t even theoretically a valid concern – there ain’t anything about an anencephalic fetus that you can call alive unless you’re a really enthusiastic cardiologist.

In light of all that, think about Ms. K’s position. She didn’t just make an impulsive choice in the heat of the moment; she had time to meditate on her actions and chose to carry the hideous lump of humanoid flesh inside her to term. Then, when it had emerged in all its glory – by some awful accident with its vital functions up and running and its brainstem functioning – she decided she wanted to play mommy. So she expected the hospital to keep Baby K alive, at its own time and expense.

For some ridiculous reason, the court actually agreed with her – applying inappropriately the standards of care for pneumonia (which the ‘infant’, not having the capacity to continue breathing for prolonged periods independently, had symptoms of) where anencephaly serves as a clear mitigating factor for the relevance of those standards. It’s like suing someone for breach of contract when they break the code of conduct in fleeing their burning apartment building.

The state of Virginia played along, and she got to live in a sick little Christian fantasy world where she got to be the mommy of a living baby every bit as human as everyone else.

Including the nurses that she forced to give Baby K respiratory care – something that a ‘child’ without a Goddamn cerebellum regularly requires. And owing to the wonders of modern medicine and the peculiar cruelty of fate, Baby K survived for two and a half years.

For two and a half years, a long train of nurses, technicians, doctors, and other professionals had to service the needs of a horrific parody of human life. That’s trauma 101, buddy – having to intubate and sustain a living breathing thing with a concave brainpan, trying in futility for hours to look away from its little eyes – almost like the dozens of pairs of eyes most people have seen, in the form of siblings and cousins and friends’ children and even their own, in healthy babies.

Every night after the nurses and doctors to deal with Baby K had to contend with a day spent staring into those hideous dead eyes, a sort of cruel mockery of everything we hold dear. Something deep in us, hard-wired since the Triassic, demands that we attend to our young and find them more precious than anything. A sort of fundamental, irrational repugnance attaches itself to the very concept of nonviability in infants.

Consider Harlequin Fetus. (I know you don’t want to.) You’re on the Internet, which means you’ve probably seen the picture of a man distending his asshole so big he can fit in a football lengthwise. People joke about that all the time. I find it funny, and you’ve at least made your peace with it if you’re in our audience. There are less funny things out there that people joke about, still find funny. What they used to call ‘suitcase hentai’ and now refer to by its proper Japanese name, guro: schoolgirls chopped into little pieces. Weightlifters suffering hideous and extremely conspicuous anal prolapse. Budd Dwyer’s face twisting into a grin the moment after his last, nose bleeding with a new lead toupee. A matador with a bull’s horn up his ass. Hitler jokes.

They’re all hilarious to us.

But so few people will joke in all seriousness about Harlequin Fetus, even people who are completely cavalier about human life. They are not comfortable in its presence, because there is something about infancy that does not permit the horrific.

My father is horribly indecent – good man, but awful. He’s gotten his fellow doctors to alternate between laughter and horror at stuff like using a guy’s severed calf as an impromptu hand puppet; he can go through little old ladies dying on him and still laugh and joke at dinner the same day.

But when he does pediatric trauma, he doesn’t want to get out of bed in the morning.

So Ms. H abused dozens of people who were only doing their damn job – not a glamorous one, or one that paid well, and one in which they normally would see this kind of truly awful shit only a few times in their entire career – for the sole benefit of keeping the little monstrous meatwad growing inside her breathing, pretending it was a real baby and making as if she was a real mommy. She took it to court, made the state spend money defending its wish not to expend money or time or energy on Baby K’s ludicrously futile care.

And she is now proud of herself. She believes she fought the good fight here, that she was in the moral right to viciously and remorselessly shit in dozens of innocent people’s nests for her own idle and idiotic pleasure. She and her supporters believe that their ’cause’ is a sacred one vindicated by history.

Only months before Baby K’s futile heart at last ceased its terrible beating, Newt Gingrich was inaugurated as Speaker of the House.

57 thoughts on “The Life And Times Of Baby K”

  1. Well it’s her body and she has the right to choose what she wants to do with it, right?

    Do you see what I did there!?

  2. Did I misunderstand that first comment??! Yeah, it is ‘her’ body and she can squeeze out as many dying infants as she likes. But forcing medical professionals to maintain said creatures at state expense? No, that she does not have a right to do! Insanity….people with “time on planet” and curable diseases cannot get a court order for cost free medical care, and yet something brainless can?

    1. The same way a soulless person such as yourself has rights. Maybe you are the reincarnation of hitler. Sucks to be you.

  3. I know I’ll be praying that woman is reincarnated as something similar to her little uterine tumour in her next life. Only with enough brain capacity to register the hopefully agonising pain.

  4. But forcing medical professionals to maintain said creatures at state expense? No, that she does not have a right to do!

    Lets change this to work on serial killers and other murder types:

    But forcing the state to maintain said creatures at state expense? No, that they do not have a right to do!

    You’re for the death penalty, right?

      1. Thanks for that, I’ve seen pictures of children with this condition that have survived past infancy (at the very least) and their eyes are hardly soul-less. Nor are they horrible lumps of meat. All of the people who carry to term seem to be fairly religious, I’ll give the OP that.

  5. “Serial killers and other murder types” (it’s spelled “murderER types”, by the way) do not require large sections of the vast state expense funds simply to be able to breathe. I’m pretty sure in at least some places convicts can do some form of menial work to earn at least some of their keep, while “Baby K” couldn’t. Merely looking at a serial killer does not risk giving a person long-term trauma (okay, it’s unnerving, but nothing about most serial killers is particularly traumatic to LOOK at, especially if they’re already in a maximum security jail). Serial killers are not likely to be in a physical condition which makes it cruel to keep them alive. One-time murderers, if not serial killers, have been rehabilitated on occasion, while there is no cure for a thing which happens to have the vague genetic makeup of a human but in fact is an immobile, brain-dead clump of flesh.

    I actually AM sort of for the death penalty in certain cases. My reasoning is confused, I freely admit, I know that many people here don’t agree with it, and I don’t wanna go into it here. My reasoning also has very little to do with state expenses.

    There is no fucking comparison between a healthy adult who happened to break the law and a blob of mutant tissue. Shut the hell up.

  6. At least with convicted murderers, there’s the possibility they’re innocent. There’s no possibility of an anencephalic baby suddenly growing a brain.

    And, as Chelonianmobile rightly stated, there’s no real comparison that can be drawn between actual thinking human life, and “life” insofar as it’s a thing that metabolizes. It’s roughly equivalent to saying “you buy antibacterial soap — that must mean you support the death penalty.”

    With regard to state funding, we could save a lot more money getting rid of the ban on marijuana (which would involve no state-sponsored killing at all) than we ever could from executing convicted murderers who’ve been given life in prison.

  7. It’s actually a hell of a lot more expensive to execute prisoners than to keep them in jail for life in almost every country that allows the death penalty. Especially in the United States, the number of appeals and reviews that go into making sure that an innocent man is not murdered by the state readily outweigh the expense of jailing a man indefinitely.

    Of course, it’s much cheaper in, say, China, where you only get one appeal then they drag you to the countryside and shoot you in the back of the neck with an assault rifle. But we pride ourselves on not being the PROC, or at least we used to. (Nowadays we pride ourselves on not being Ba’athist Iraq, but hey – that’s standards for you.)

    The important thing about Baby K, I think, is the absurdity of pretending an anencephalic baby is alive. It doesn’t even have a damn brain; calling it alive is an affront to human dignity.

    1. Calling yourself some kind of expert when you never even met the child is self-serving and is exactly how hitler started his murderous actions.

  8. Well, it’s “alive”, in the same way that bacteria is alive. It’s just not human life. I think part of the problem with this whole debate is the qualification instead of quantification of what constitutes “life”. Just because something metabolizes, that doesn’t put it on the same level as something that both metabolizes and, say, is capable of thinking. I guess the “problem” with this is assessment, then, is that we can use “capacity for thought” as a quantifier instead of a qualifier (which we rightly should, since one could’ve made the argument that, for instance, Terri Shiavo was “thinking” on some level) and thus contribute to the mindset that, for instance, you are or I am “more alive” than, say, J. Random Down Syndrome Sufferer. It’s not necessarily untrue, but it’s a road people are unwilling to travel, since it throws into question the meaning of “all humans are created equal”, and results in a rather difficult discussion with a lot of grey, and no classification system clear enough to really base a law on.

  9. http://www.reproductiverights.org/crt_plaintiff_kl.html

    this isn’t really a part of the conversation here, but i thought it was pertinent to the post. It’s a news story about a woman in peru who was forced to give birth to an anencephalic baby, and breast feed it for four days before it died. she was denied an abortion by the peruvian hospital. I don’t know if it’s just my browser, but you may have to scroll to almost the bottom of the page to read the interview, everything above it is just like, a links bar on the left and blank space.

  10. If they want to leave the baby’s life in god’s hands, why don’t we just unplug it and find out what he wants? Leaving a person plugged into a machine is actually defying God’s will.

    1. You have no clue what this mom went through. She thought if she “allowed” the idiots at fairfax to kill her baby, then she would go to hell and never see her baby in Heaven.

  11. Lets change this to work on serial killers and other murder types:

    But forcing the state to maintain said creatures at state expense? No, that they do not have a right to do!

    Anybody who is in prison or jail was placed there by the state, which creates an obligation for the state to provide for their upkeep while they are there.

    “Baby” K did not become anencephalic (or come into existence at all) due to any act of the state, therefore there was no equivalent obligation.

  12. re. Josh: Jesus Christ.

    The motto of the anti-choice movement is ‘No Exceptions, No Compromise’, and that ain’t just the crazies.

    It really kind of makes any good person sick to think that there’s people in this country – people both parties actively court – who would not only be comfortable with this sort of thing happening, but feel it is in fact a good thing.

    I mean, yeah, there’s people who believe the Holocaust never happened too, but you don’t have to establish your Nazi credentials for Newsweek to consider you a ‘viable’ candidate.

  13. John; that’s EXACTLY what I was thinking! I just couldn’t put it into words very well. Certain religious groups will allow their children to die for lack of medical treatment (in the case of Jehovah’s Witnesses, they can’t have blood transfusions, but that’s a slightly different reason – the Bible forbids the eating of blood, and they extend it to mean transfusions too) because it’s “playing God”. Now a woman is doing this because NOT pumping years’ worth of medical treatment into her solidified menstruation is “playing God”?

    That woman is sick and stupid, and she needs help. Now.

  14. Honestly,this woman is stupid.I’m sure living thinking bums aren’t even entitled to the same services,which they obviously deserve.Yet a baby without a brain,and most likely the ability to register pain is entitled to such devotion,care, and resorces that “real” peole need but don’t usually get.Come on.What I have noticed was that “pro-lifers” care more about the life uf unborn children than born suffering children.If they were really pro-life they should at least give food to starvving children,rally against wars,and rally against the death penalty.

  15. From the sounds of it I’d be more morally culpable for killing ants than killing this thing… I mean god must have really had it in for the kid in the first place to allow it to be born without a brain… perhaps it was a case of ‘sins of the father’… I mention this because I know of a crippled person who was refused entry into a christian prayer group because they tought his being in a wheelchair was a sign of sin….this kid or his family must have been bad, no? Or are gods punishments more abritrary… leading us to the question what is this supreme being thinking?… On balance I’m glad the child had no brain it would be a shame to give a fundamentalist a functioning brain to shape….

  16. I’m a Christian (non-fundamentalist), yet I find this woman’s actions misguided. In my view, the most humane course of action would have been to provide palliative care to the baby until she died of natural causes. There has to be a middle ground between relying solely on prayer to treat the sick (as the Christian Scientists do) and to go out of one’s way to futilely keep alive human beings like Baby K. I also suspect that even most fundamentalist churches wouldn’t mandate Baby K to be kept alive in the name of preserving life.

    1. another clueless bigmouth. the mom thought she would go to hell if she “allowed” fairfax to kill her child, then her baby would be in Heaven, but she would be in Hell. She LOVED her child,unconditionally. Ever hear of that happening?

  17. Actually, the Catholic Church (I know strictly speaking it’s not a fundamental church, though its position on abortion, homosexuality, etcetera is similar to that of many Protestant fundamentalist denominations) says that the prolongation of anencephalic infants’ life is not morally required.

  18. I’ve got sympathy for women with anencephalic babies who want to consider them human beings…. and ‘monstrosity’ is an interesting way to put it, say a baby with a brain had the same appearance, it would still be human, right? So a mother’s reaction in wanting to cling to her baby in this case would seem the same to me as that of a mother with a normal looking offspring born brain-dead. Maybe there is some conceit there, and the mother certainly isn’t above criticism, but I can certainly see why a woman would act as she did, even had she skeptical of religion. So yeah, she made it hard on the nurses and doctors, but her reaction was probably as Triassic-ally hardwired as theirs; wouldn’t you think non-viability in infants more repugnant to mothers than anyone else? The attitudes and demands of patients are enough to make those who take care of them punch a hole through a wall on a daily basis, no doubt. Hopefully the lady got on with her life eventually.

    1. No nurse or doctor who took care of her in the nursing home felt any hardship.We loved her and took excellent care of her. I do not know why the folks at fairfax were like so many here on this blog.

      1. I think because on some level it terrifies them, they certainly aren’t easy to look at. And they hate what they fear

  19. The creature described seems like a truly deity-forsaken being. Nothing more than a brain stem, in a body that requires a brain with a stem, cerebellum, AND cerebrum… Can it truly be said to be alive, even? I suppose it is, in the same way a jellyfish or a sponge is, but the creature was doomed anyway. It would suffer more alive than it would dead. Keeping it alive for that long is wholly unnatural…but killing it, or letting it die, even, doesn’t feel quite right… Even Frankenstein’s monster had more brain matter. Even that was capable of more thought. I know it’s a work of fiction, but compared to Baby K, it is more…the phrase “deserving of life” just sounds wrong, but it’s all I can think of.

    Now that I think about it further… I’m Wiccan, so we have the directive to “harm none”, but in cases such as these…more harm was caused by maintaining its life. The mother was made even more mentally unstable than she obviously already was, all the medical personnel who attended the child were traumatized, and the state was drained of funding that could have gone to help more people. Pure logic dictates that all this could have been spared by simply allowing the infant to die shortly after birth. If only we were beings of pure logic. It’s not an easy decision to make, but I think that would be the right one.

    1. I am wiccan too and can assure you none of us at the nursing home where the lest bit “traumatized” by taking care of her. We were all appalled at fairfax and other haters.

  20. Frankly, if I found out I was carrying an anencephalic baby, I would carry it to term for one and only one reason–organ donation.

    I know this idea probably sounds too utilitarian to be true, but let’s face it, a kid with a heart defect could probably use that fully-functional heart. Need a liver? Kidneys? Go for it! Organ donors for small children are so incredibly rare, that if I had an anencephalic baby, I would consider it my gift to society. After all, the only thing wrong with it is the lack of a brain, and since it won’t live long, or even be aware of its own existence, why not do the charitable thing and use that wasted life to help others?

    1. So in your oh-so-knowledgable opinion, who else should die just so others can live? You do realize the hitler killed the handicapped first, right?

  21. Let me get this straight — providing care to the weakest and most vulnerable among us is “self-centered”.

    Right.

    People who donate at least 10% of their income, voluntarily, to charitable causes are “selfish”.

    Right.

    This is the most hateful and ignorant screed I’ve read in ages. Why don’t you go kick old ladies and stomp puppies for a while? I’m sure you’d find it entertaining.

  22. People who donate at least 10% of their income, voluntarily, to charitable causes are “selfish”.

    Did anyone else read anything like that here? I’m searching this post to find something remotely like that, and can’t. Like the only use of the word “selfish” is in the one post that claims someone else used it first.

  23. Huh, how’d I miss this comment?

    Yeah, what Randy said.

    Honestly, I have no idea what your point’s supposed to be, here, Christina. And I have no idea how “donat[ing] 10% of [one’s] income” is in any way equivalent to being forced to keep “alive” some literally brainless wide-awake nightmare of a creature just because it shares a DNA pattern recognizable as “human” and is capable of metabolization.

    Would you keep alive the headless body of a decapitated man? After all, without that head, he’d certainly qualify as one of the “weakest and most vulnerable among us”. And it’s certainly technologically possible, so why the fuck not, right?

    Fuh-huck, lady.

  24. I can understand where you’re coming from.

    But the baby is not a monstrosity or a creature or an “it”

    The baby is a human rather you like it or not.

    Also it has been proven that some anencephalic babies do reach consciousness and realize somewhat what is going on around them.

    Now, the state paying for the medical care is ridiculous. Now if the mother wanted to keep the baby alive and was paying for the medical care herself-then who should say anything?

    Also, there are some theories (I don’t know if this has been used though) that now somehow they can make or maybe the brain does this itself-it is elastic and cells can change to help compensate for the lack of everything else.

    Also-some anencephalic babies are born with brains.

    The way some of you talk, it sounds like you think almost nay handicapped person should be offed. Like the mentally challenged/handicapped.

    On playing God-I don’t consider using machines as playing God. God will take you with or with out those machines. And would keeping someone in a coma on a ventilator be considered the same?

    1. THANK YOU THAN YOU THANK YOU!!!! A voice of reason, compassion, and knowledge of what it really means to say this baby should have been killed. This baby was LOVED.

  25. I feel bad for the baby personally. I know it was basically a vegetable, but still it should have just been allowed to be laid to rest naturally…

    It reminds me of a part of this book “Stickfigure”, which is the published diary of an anorexic girl. Towards the end, she has been set up in the hospital because she is too malnurished and while she is in her room, she sees a “bundle” being carried off by some doctors and a woman crying. She writes that the crying woman is named Rita and the bundle is Rita’s infant son Luther, who was born a vegetable as well (only with only one part of his brain missing). Luther was back in the hospital suffering from further medical complications, however Rita insisted that he be taken off of the machines and be allowed to die so that he wouldn’t suffer anymore.

  26. *highfives you* I’ve noticed most of the parents of these things tend to be forced birther fundie Christians. Baby K though: $500,000!
    What a waste of money. I cannot get medical aid because I make too much money and don’t have kids, but this meat sack did?

  27. This is all too sad and ridiculous. I taught special needs preschool children years back. I had one student who only had his brain stem and maybe a small portion of his brain if any. He was completely dependent upon his mother( in fact HE was her full time job, including his aide in my classroom) He was deaf, blind and had no interaction or knowledge of what was going on around him. However , I involved him in everything. I would hold him and help him in several sensory activities. Even though he may or may not have even been able to process what was happening. His parents were told he wouldn’t live past a year let alone 3 as that was his age when I had him in my classroom. In fact, he lived to be 5 or 6 years old!! He had a baby sister with the same condition and lived until she was 3 I believe. Who is to judge these children and really know exactly what they feel, think etc. NOONE BUT HIM!! I disagree with this idea that these children are brainless and vegetables and have no quality of life. That’s up to God and I know none of you people are “Gods”. You have no right to judge the quality of life of these so called brainless creatures!! They are Human beings too!!!

      1. Good lord lady, go get a life. Your opinion doesn’t matter, since everyone else isn’t entitled to theirs without your resorting to juvenile comebacks.

  28. None of you people knew this child or her mom. to me, many of you are the ones who are blobs of mutant tissue. I did know this mom and her child; I took loving care of the child her entire life. Who the HELL are all of you to say the things you say???? You do all realize that anyone of you could end up just as disabled. Your cold souls are staggering…I would rather be born encephalic than soulless any day. I truly pity each and every one of you. I hope none of you have kids; I cannot imagine how how they will feel when they find out how pitifully lacking in any compassion (for a child and mother you never even met!!!). This is EXACTLY how hitler felt abut the handicapped. You all must be so proud of yourselves. Totally picking on a child who cannot defend herself. All you all talk about is money. All the money in the world will not buy any one of you a heart.

  29. Jabberwocky has posted totally erroneous data about this baby on wikipedie.. He posted that the baby’s organs rotted; when I corrected him, MY comment was deleted. He only wants to hear what flits his agenda, not the truth.

  30. I can sort of understand why the woman would want to keep Baby K alive. It’s what every mother of a stillborn or dying baby wants. But I think that a slightly more humane (and cost-efficient) option would have been to give her palliative care to reduce any possible suffering and let nature take its course. Even if the medical staff hadn’t been forced to keep her alive it would have still been the kinder option as using all the equipment may have been painful for her-feel free to correct me if I’m wrong. Losing a baby is hard for everyone involved, but hundreds of mothers would have loved to see their anencephalic or otherwise incapacitated children live to be held and giving one mother the right to do so because she asked is unfair, in my opinion.

  31. This is all so sad and so stupid.

    Most people born with physical or mental disabilities can live satisfying and happy lives, even if it’s in a different way than “normal” (i.e. sans-defect) people would. People with Down’s syndrome, profound mental retardation, autism… they can all enjoy life, and even if they couldn’t, it’d be wrong to take it away from them. But this brainless child… this is where it gets a bit more grey. Was it a waste of resources? Yes. Was it a futile prolonging of something that can only be called a life in the same way a plant is alive? Yes. Was it wrong? I don’t know. The baby could not make a decision, so it fell to the mother… and she made her decision based on her moral beliefs. Say what you will, but she had the decision there, and morally-unattached doctors should not have the ability to make decisions for their patients. It’s analogous to taking a vegetable off life support – if they can’t make the decision, it’s up to their family.

    This isn’t a question of right or wrong. It’s a question of more or less terrible. And all I can think of is… I don’t know which is the lesser of two evils, and even if I did, it wouldn’t have been mine to choose.

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