Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Unethical, immoral, Kafkaesque; and what about the baby?


Last Sunday’s episode of Compass, entitled “The Decision”, examined the appalling case of the killing of a baby thirty-two weeks into the pregnancy, on the grounds that the mother was “acutely suicidal”. The episode failed, however, to probe into why it was supposed to be necessary that the child be killed rather than just removed:

The medical team went ahead with its collective decision: to end the woman’s pregnancy.
Dr de Crespigny
The procedure for terminating a pregnancy beyond around 24 weeks is a 2 stage one. The first step is to do a foetal injection so that the foetus is not born alive.Obviously it's never an easy process. People do find it difficult, as I do, particularly at this late stage and the second step then is to bring on labour. So I carried out the injection and the patient then went to the labour ward and had labour induced. I didn’t see her again after that.
So the medical team decided to end the pregnancy. Why, though, did they need to end the child’s life as well? If a woman were acutely suicidal from post-natal depression, no-one would propose to kill her baby in order to avert her suicidal tendencies; the baby would be removed temporarily and the mother treated.

Furthermore, the episode leaves the viewer unclear as to how fully Dr. de Crispigny has considered the morality of killing a baby who was well past the twenty week mark that is widely accepted as the threshold for ‘viability’.

Bizarrely, anti-abortion activist Sen. Julian McGauran is the one presented as behaving unethically or immorally, for sending details of the matter to a health professional from whom Sen. McGauran would have been entitled to expect confidentiality:

Beth Wilson, Health Services Commissioner
It was shocking to me that somebody, especially a politician, would distribute the name of a patient in those circumstances. He makes no secrets of his beliefs, he is anti-abortion, that’s fine. He can have his own particular views but to breach a patient’s privacy in those circumstances is, I think unethical and immoral.
And perhaps even more bizarrely, Dr. de Crispigny poses as the victim:

Dr de Crespigny
Forever on Trial was a reference to Kafka’s book, the Trial, in which somebody is charged with a crime they don't know what it is. And their whole life gets filled with this case. So it increasingly there's no time for anything else. And this was very much the way I felt this case was.
The Victorian Government, as we know, subsequently resolved the legal ambiguities involved:

Beth Wilson, Health Services Commissioner
This long slow sorry saga which in my view should never really have happened did have some good outcomes as well. The government responded by recognising that we need to have good clear laws to guide everybody.
(my emphasis)
Yes, good clear laws indeed: no such thing as child destruction anymore, so anything goes. Instead of being penalised for killing, physicians now have a duty to kill, which they must discharge regardless of any scruples of conscience. If these are to be regarded as “good outcomes” then we are in a pretty desperate situation here.

The episode ends on another confusing note:

Dr De Campo
[Dr. de Crespigny has] been an advocate for change even in adversity actually, he has contributed to the debate by being public about it when he could be…. [sic] maybe it took a lot out of him to achieve reform and he feels exhausted…[sic] But I think he could look back at the reform proudly… [sic] if not this case.
(my emphasis)
Whyever not that particular case? His actions in that situation are no longer regarded as criminal, but as mandatory!

What a disgraceful episode, by which I mean both the Compass episode for its betrayal of the memory of the real victim, namely the baby, as well as meaning the actions of Dr. de Crispgny and all his apologists. Contrast this Compass episode with the post-WYD08 episodes, the former produced on the abortionists’ terms, while the latter were produced on the A.B.C.’s own terms and according to its own agenda, and it is clear just how dismal the state of A.B.C. religion/ethics reporting is.

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of Ss. Simon and Jude, Apostles
Memorial of Alfred the Great, 2008 A.D.

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