[Paleopsych] NYT: Brain-Dead Woman's Fetus Passes Milestone in Development

Lynn D. Johnson, Ph.D. ljohnson at solution-consulting.com
Fri Jul 22 01:51:23 UTC 2005

Frank, you ask touching questions "[What medical knowledge will be 
gained from this? Is that knoweldge worth the price?]". Thank you for 
raising them. Embedded is the humanistic assumption that life has to be 
intelligent and aware in order to be worth living. Humanists seem to 
have a horror of living in a coma-like state. The religious apologist 
would reply that it is not proper for us to judge the value of a life, 
if we do not wish to be judged. It doesn't matter, says the apologist, 
if important if knowledge is gained, and the price of a healthy human 
baby is of infinite value. The worth is there.
    One might also ask for reflection of the slippery slope about the 
issue of which life is worth living. Eugenics and "mercy" killing 
(really, killing those who are inconvenient for us) lurk. My cousin was 
born with Down Syndrome 50 years ago and my aunt and uncle were told to 
put him away and forget about him. His life, the doctors said, wasn't 
worth living.
    Instead they brought him home and nurtured him. When they tried to 
enroll him in school, he was refused, so my uncle ran for the local 
school board, became president, and began one of the nation's first 
programs to mainstream retarded children. Today my cousin is married to 
a girl with down syndrome, he works at a job he enjoys, and the two of 
them have a happy life. He knows more about the NFL than I do, and can 
play the piano (not well, mind you).  Because of him, many retarded 
children in my little home town were educated to the best of their 
capacity, long before your agency became involved.  So one never knows 
where the ripples of a life well nurtured will end.

Premise Checker wrote:

> Brain-Dead Woman's Fetus Passes Milestone in Development
> http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/21/health/21fetus.html
> [What medical knowledge will be gained from this? Is that knoweldge 
> worth the price?]
>    RICHMOND, Va., July 20 (AP) - A brain-dead pregnant woman on life
>    support has passed the milestone in her pregnancy where doctors
>    believe the baby could realistically survive outside the womb, giving
>    her family renewed hope.
>  -snip-

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