‘Rebel Priest’ Rev Jules Gomes: Secularism has failed to save Charlie Gard

Why is the story of keeping alive one seriously sick baby dominating the news headlines? Not for one day, not even for a week, but for a full three months since a High Court Judge ruled that doctors could withdraw the life support of the terminally ill Charlie Gard.

Though afflicted with a rare disorder called mitochondrial depletion syndrome, a rare disease which affects the genetic building blocks that give energy to cells and which causes progressive muscle weakness and brain damage, the baby’s parents are determined to win one more ‘chance of life’ for him—an experimental treatment in the US.

The media have run with the story. His parent’s defiant rejection of legal and medical judgement has provided daily drama and perfect headline copy. The story of one baby, of the thousands dying worldwide, has gone global.

Pope Francis and Donald Trump have taken up his parents' cause, joining the legions of celebrities lining up to give their support. Luminaries like Peter Andre, Michelle Keegan, Katie Price and Charlotte Crosby seemingly could not wait to get in on the act of saving Charlie’s life.

Rational and reasoned contributions as to the medial and ethical considerations like those of geneticist Lord Winston and ethicist Julian Savulescu have also served to fuel the story.

But why this 'much ado about nothing’? Don’t the actors in this particular play inhabit a Western secular world which, if declining Church attendance is anything to go by, has ‘no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference,’ as Richard Dawkins so poetically pens it in The Selfish Gene?

If this is indeed the case then why have the selfish genes of so many people conspired to contribute over £ 1.3 million and 500,000 signatures in a battle for the survival of the weakest rather than handing Charlie Gard over to ‘nature, red in tooth and claw?’ Why do they think it is so wrong to let baby Charlie’s life follow its natural course once left to palliative care?

Maybe the supporters of Charlie Gard’s ‘right to life’ are fighting for more than his life? Are they, I wonder, fighting for a moral principle that is extraordinarily deeply entrenched in our Western collective consciousness but is not a universal value? Or are they simply attention seekers with less than selfless desire to keep this baby alive by virtue-signalling their fake compassion in this age of sanctimonious sentimentality? It is impossible to know.

The Canaanites of the ancient Near East would have mocked their morality. They sacrificed their babies to the god Molech by placing them on a sizzling hot pair of metal hands sticking out from the god’s idol.

The Spartans of ancient Greece would similarly have shown contempt for their concern. Plutarch, the Greek historian, records that the Spartan elders examined all newborn babies and ordered that any who were not well-built and sturdy were to be killed by leaving them in the bush at the foot of Mount Taygetus.

Plato quotes Socrates in Theaetetus saying that children with any defects should be killed so to avoid other people finding fault with them.

The second century Greek gynaecologist Soranus of Ephesus gave instructions on how to determine whether to kill newborn children in his popular textbook Gynaecology.

Such historic references arouse shock and horror in contemporary Western society. Yet in the 21st century female infanticide (more common than male infanticide) is still practiced in India and elsewhere, a fact even the BBC has to concede.

Of course, I am listing examples of cultures that saw no problem in terminating the lives of both healthy and sick babies. But that is the point. If a culture has no problem killing a healthy baby inside or outside the womb, why should it even give a second thought to saving a terminally ill infant? And what do we mean by a “healthy” baby? How healthy should a baby be in order to be kept alive?

Peter Singer, the renowned Australian moral philosopher and Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University has proposed a 28-day qualification period after birth during which infants can be killed.

To Singer, 28-day old babies are non-persons. ‘Human babies are not born self-aware, or capable of grasping that they exist over time. They are not persons,’ therefore, ‘the life of a newborn is of less value than the life of a pig, a dog, or a chimpanzee.’

So how is that celebrities, who would be horrified by Singer’s pronouncements, would denounce pro–life lobbies or assert that female ‘bodily autonomy’ supersedes the unborn’s right to life? How is it that they are gripped by the sanctity of life in this case and fixated with the passion bordering on obsession to save a sick baby like Charlie Gard but not in another?

Maybe Professor Singer, a militant atheist himself, has the answer revealed in his candid confession that: ‘Our present attitudes date from the coming of Christianity’ specifically ‘…the belief that since we are created by God we are his property, and to kill a human being is to usurp God’s right to decide when we shall live and when we shall die.’

‘Today’ he goes on in Practical Ethics, ‘the doctrines are no longer generally accepted …. but the ethical attitudes to which they gave rise fit in with the deep-seated Western belief in the uniqueness and special privileges of our species, and have survived.’

He asserts that it may be time to throw the moral baby out with the Christian bathwater. ‘Now that we are reassessing our speciesist view of nature… it is also time to reassess our belief in the sanctity of the lives of members of our species.’

Singer might applaud the ‘non-speciest’ ethics of many second-century Roman women who murdered their newborns but looked after their parrots and curlews well, as Clement of Alexandria records, but they are one too many even for the Guardian.

The conundrum of Charlie Gard’s life is a myriad of moral and medical complexities. The questions fly thick and fast. What ethical framework do we use to determine if this child’s life is worth saving? Is it the ‘reflective equilibrium’ framework of John Rawls which ‘involves developing principles (such as the best interests principle and those of distributive justice) and concepts (such as wellbeing and a life worth living)’ that Savulescu cites in his fine Lancet article? Or does a transcendent moral principle involving a Creator who ‘knitted me together in my mother’s womb’, as the Psalmist sings,  eclipse even Rawls’s principle?

Who is the final determining agent of Charlie Gard’s life—the State, the parents, the medical guild or public opinion? Who determines who is the final determining agent and on what basis is this determination to be made? How are the actors’ competing ‘rights’ or ‘entitlements’ to be assessed?

Can Justice Francis and the courts offer ‘independent and objective judgment in the child’s best interests’ and on what basis is this claim acceptable?

What if the parents wanted to stop treatment despite high chance of success? Is human life ultimately in the hands of the State, the parents or a transcendent Creator?

I pray daily for Charlie Gard and for his troubled parents. But more than this even, I pray for our deeply confused and morally adrift post-Christian society – one that is, in large part, no longer willing to acknowledge that its moral life and values are inextricably rooted in its Judeo-Christian past.

I pray that more of my fellow Westerners will accept that the sanctity of life and concern for the weakest and most vulnerable is not a universal human value but is uniquely Judeo-Christian one.

(Image: RDVRS)

Rev Jules Gomes

  • Phil R

    This does nicely illustrate the problem that materialists encounter when dealing with parenthood and the responsibilities that attend. They have no conception of children as a blessing to be gratefully received. They see children rather as ‘things’ that have been created by human will. That which man creates he is free to destroy. This is why he so easily despises his children for the sake of money and leisure and other self-centered, self-interested, selfish pursuits.

    We had better figure out some way to get people to value their children. There are real tangible consequences to modern enlightened attitudes about adult autonomy. It’s basic maths. Every woman has on average 2.05 children or the civilisation dies. What is the birthrate in Europe again? How long has it been below replacement? We could do with some recognition that children are blessings received from the hand of God.

  • “Luminaries like Peter Andre, Michelle Keegan, Katie Price and Charlotte Crosby…”

    Proof the word “luminary” has been badly devalued and that British society is in a bad way.

    • Little Black Censored

      Who are those four people? They can’t be as luminous as all that.

      • Labour_is_bunk

        Every luminous body has a dark side.

        • a misplaced modifier

          Every reflective luminous body. Bodies that emit light don’t have a dark side.

          • CRSM

            True, but perhaps a teeny-weeny bit pedantic?

    • Kathy Gyngell

      I think Jules is using the word ironically!

      • As I suspected of him. But to many in the ‘celebsphere’ of social media he is not far from the truth.

      • Aaron D Highside

        A wonderful article, I think. So thought-provoking that of over thirty comments, only three received upticks (including mine) in any serious number. Many of the others are very well worth reading and a credit to the level of debate amongst TCW followers.

  • God had his word when Charlie Gard was born (or even conceived). Poor boy doesn’t have a chance, and is why the court in England got involved, to prevent further suffering.

    It is not the NHS that is killing him, but the for-profit system of the USA cannot cure him either. The system in America does mean they can make money off of a hopeless case such as Charlies and therefore willing to “help”.

    Many interested parties now stand in the way by prolonging his suffering. Charlie should have been for palliative care a long while ago and allowed to pass away with peace and dignity. Now he is a political pawn.

    If you did not want to play god then don’t prolong the suffering, let nature take its course…

    • James Chilton

      In my opinion, your comment shows good judgment and common sense in this very sad case.

    • Royinsouthwest

      The court case is prolonging the baby’s suffering. If the NHS had not used the legal system to delay things then perhaps by now we might know whether or not the experimental American treatment was likely to have any chance of working.

      • JabbaPapa

        Typical eugenicist population control “argument” to claim that to prolong life is to increase “suffering”.

        • Bik Byro

          As usual, you’ve totally missed the point Royinsouthwest was making.

          Give your hypertension medication time to kick in and then go back and read his post again.

      • He will not receive “treatment” but in fact will be released for experimental therapy. There is a big difference. Very sadly, he is brain damaged beyond help.

    • Bik Byro

      Excellent comment. And it’s a nice way for the tabloids to string out a story and fill pages.
      There are nearly 200,000 abortions carried out in Britain each year. Now, what was it Stalin said about a single death versus a million ?

    • Clare

      Spot on. It’s a sad case and I am sorry for his family, but also deeply uncomfortable with the way it has been portrayed by some sections of the media and, I regret to say, the right-to-life movement. It’s appalling that the staff at Great Ormond Street Hospital are being depicted as heartless Mengele types and people are throwing around words like ‘murder’ and ‘execution’ when, tragically, this child was handed a death sentence long before his plight reached the courts.

  • My problem is that I no longer trust expert medical opinion as I once did. Some of the pronouncements by the government’s Chief Medical Officer haven’t helped as one would assume they were produced as a result of a consensus of the best medical advice available. “No amount of alcohol is safe” may be true, but one could equally say that “No exercise is safe” in that a friend has just tripped and broken his ankle during a short walk! Why not say “Nothing you do is safe”, it would be equally true.

    But the case of the young child with cancer whose parents were told there was no further possible treatment who then took him to Europe for alternative treatment followed by Social workers and European Arrest warrants was, to me, the last straw. The last news that I read was that the treatment had been given and at the time appeared to have worked. It also appears that the NHS has now bought some of the machines that they previously swore were useless.

    I agree that cancer and genetic brain problems are totally different types of disorders, but my doubts still remain about the impartiality of medical advice.

    • The LGBT agenda is a classic case of this. Sodomy is particularly damaging to the body and there is very little evidence for ‘born that way’ dogma. However homosexuality is actively encouraged including by the NHS, the focus of AIDS awareness on heterosexuality despite heterosexual sexual practices (aside from sodomy) being one of the least dangerous in terms of the illness and homosexuality itself’ removal as a disorder from psychiatry was purely political.
      As a result I too question the medical professions willingness to rise above politics. The recent political grandstanding over doctor’s salaries along with the awful decisions re the promotion of no limit abortion have further increased my distrust in the British medical profession.

      • One also wonders to what extent the NHS hierarchy is in the pockets of the pharmaceutical industry. The use of statins is being pushed more and more with no real proof that they are required, or make any difference, in many cases. Recommended maximum blood pressure figures have been steadily reduced over the years requiring more pills to be prescribed. My GP would have been quite happy to prescribe pills (presumably pain killers) for arthritis type pains in my knees and was appalled when I’d told her that I’d found the solution was more salt in my diet; indeed recent US research suggests that our maximum daily salt allowance should in fact be a minimum figure.

        A question that I often ask, and so far haven’t had an answer, is can someone name a medical or surgical innovation or procedure which was first introduced into the NHS in this country and followed by other countries rather than the reverse where the NHS has to be dragged, screaming, to introduce something that is being done regularly abroad.

        • Re your last; Hence the Charlie agard case.

  • It is quite possible that objectively his parents should let him go. But, and it is large but, all reports say he is not in pain, and his parents are not asking the state to pay for anything here, merely to not kill him, or forbid them to treat them. Reputable hospitals say that there is up to a 10% chance of improvement. Seems to me a risk worth taking, but it is not my decision.

    But the real point here is this. Whose child is it? Is he the parent’s child? Or is he the property of the state? That is the real determination to be made. If he belongs to his parent’s, they have a right to have him treated, at their own expense. If he is the property of the state, it has the right to deprive him of his life. It’s a very simple question, really, and a very serious one, for us all. Because it applies to us all.

    • James Chilton

      Not wishing to undermine your humane view, but supposing the 10% chance of improvement was realised, this would still leave the child grossly disabled – because he’s starting from such a terribly handicapped position. That might ensure his survival, but a life of suffering for him.

      If the experimental therapy had been started before the baby’s condition had deteriorated, as I understand it has in the last six months, maybe the prospects for his future would be clarified a bit by now.

      I very strongly agree with you that any final decision should be made by his parents. The state has no business deciding what’s in the child’s best interests.

      • That’s actually my main point. I’ve read a lot on the case, and believe almost nothing, partially because I have no personal knowledge. You may well be right, I have little idea if a 10% improvement makes a real difference. My problem is almost entirely with the state’s interference in the case, without that, perhaps something could have been done earlier, and made a much better prognosis. But, as I say, I can’t make that judgement, nor should I. It should be up to the parents.

        • Groan

          In English law no one has an automatic “right” or ownership over another. As frequently happens in the cases of blood transfusions or transplants for children of Jehovah’s witnesses the court is asked to step in where there could be a genuine difference with potentially fatal consequences. The Court tries to establish the best decision for the child having heard all arguments. Legally parents are resumed to generally act in the best interest of their child, but this is not an absolute.
          I know it may seem pedantic but no one can own another person, not even their child in English law. The law is proportionate depending on the gravity of the decision.

          • Nick

            So the court has decided it is in the best interests of the child to die?

          • Groan

            First of all it is not clear, which is why the crown is asked to act for the child. Secondly the issue has to do with pain and distress. I note it was the clinicians that referred the case back to the court on the basis of new information. Fortunately I don’t have to make such decisions, though have had a role in difficult cases. The new treatments are not a “cure” they may prolong life. As a person I’d want to go for whatever time I could get.I count myself immensely fortunate not to have to make such decisions.

    • Bruce Atkinson

      Yes, whose child is it? According to my values, parents have primarily responsibility for the care of their children and the state has some much lesser responsibility. But no one owns a human being. Unless you want to say that we are owned by God.

  • Wendy Wright

    As a medically qualified geriatric grandmother I have no opinion whatever as to best management for Charlie Gard. As no one has requested me to take him as a patient I have not informed myself on his case. I prize evidence base Medicine and disregard the MSM for information. Jumping to conclusions is almost the only exercise some people take…..
    Emoting fills the void when facts and right reason are missing.

    I have never claimed infallibility for the judgements I have made when responsible for end of life care, neither have I ever lost a wink of sleep over them…..nor have I met with anything but gracious acceptance of my professional decisions in the many and varied deaths of my patients under very varied circumstances. Grateful am I for the clear principles of medical moral philosophy that I was taught as a student and have come to value more and more after pondering them for decades. Relevant here are two principles:

    1) The doctor patient relationship is an implicit contract governed by the moral principles of contracts with rights and duties on both sides. Neither party may constrain the other and both have the right, with due notice, to terminate the contract.
    Any third party intrusion into the relationship threatens or destroys it. When the State intrudes, requiring doctors to be contracted to it rather than to the patient, and patients have no redress but to lobby state functionaries for value for money. The Common Good is seriously damaged.

    2) In the case of infants the prima facie assumption is that the parent(s) are 100% responsible, in Natural Justice, for the care of their children. This gives them their parental rights which are considerable. It is they who temporarily delegate some of their parental duties when they enter a doctor-patient relationship/contract, on behalf of their child, with the practitioner of their choice if (s)he is willing to enter the contract.
    Parental rights, though inalienable, are not absolute. Third parties, from Civil Authority to simple passers by, properly intervene when parents are manifestly incapacitated or of malicious intent with respect to their children.

    When it comes to what care?, when? for how long? how much latitude? whether for oneself, one’s child or one’s patients the principles are simple in natural law theory and easily available for those who want them. The old adage (originally posed as a sneering criticism) “Thou shalt not kill but need not strive, officiously, to keep alive.” is a handy summary and rule of thumb.
    The “agonising medical decisions” that we doctors are supposed to have to make are, perhaps, affairs of TV dramas? I’m only guessing. I’ve never had or wanted a television set.

  • Naviro

    Peter Singer’s position is the logical conclusion of atheism.

    So we can all look forward with feverish excitement to being liberated from the tyranny of the 6th Commandment when the last vestiges of Christianity are finally and triumphantly banished from the UK and the West.

    Today, we have baby showers. In the always glistening atheist future shall we have infanticide showers?

  • CRSM

    No such thing as Judaeo-Christian ( or even the American Judeo-Christian).

    There is the cruel and amoral religion called Judaism, together with its close cousin Islam, with their petty little tribal god, and there is a religion that acknowledges that there is a universal transcendent God out there who placed Jesus on the planet for reasons that we do not fully understand.

    Don’t go confusing the two!

    • JabbaPapa

      All the confusion (and BTW all the rancid judenhasse) appears to be yours.

  • Politically__Incorrect

    Despite all the mainstream media coverage of Charlie’s plight I’m glad TCW has picked this one up because it seems to me this case has highlighted other issues besides the obvious dire medical situation. Yes, all this has thrown into sharp relief the different attitudes to life and how and whether life is valued. The doctors and judges seem to have decided not only that Charlie’s life is worthless (so let’s pull the plug asap) but that his parents have no right, and should be given no right, to seek one last attempt to treat him. I suspect the doctors and judges are protecting their power and their view of life more than they are protecting Charlie. To them Charlie is just a hopeless burden whereas to his parents he is their son. It takes an unusual degree of arrogance and self-righteousness in my opinion to go to such lengths to prevent the parents from doing what comes naturally to any good mother or father; the protection of their offspring.

    • Flaketime

      So you know the doctors and the judge personally? You know that people who care deeply for some reason in this case have have decided to throw their moral values to the wind and done a complete 180 and decided to protect their own interests?

      Highly libelous this and I suspect if one of the protagonists were to put you to the test of proving what you claim, you would be unable to do so, and thus lose, at great expense.

      You probably do not believe in the hereafter, because if you did then you would take the view that Charlie would be in a better place than here.

      I have heard the debates, the evidence which is overwhelming that nothing can be done and it is time to let go

      Let me put this from a different libelous perspective which like yours is false and cannot be supported, save the difference I’ll admit it. A wealthy private sector American Doctor claims the impossible for money, and credulous parents seize upon it like a drowning man upon a straw. He knows he cannot provide any constructive benefit, but the parents have a lot of money which he desires. He is willing to hold out the offer of hope to get his hands on that money, caring not one jot about the suffering of the child, nor the desperate parents.

      As you can see it is particularly easy to spin this from either side, and just because we CAN save life doesn’t always mean that we should!

      • JabbaPapa

        A wealthy private sector American Doctor claims the impossible for money

        In fact, at least one young patient has had significant improvement in quality of life and has gained some independence from intrusive life support machinery from the experimental treatment in question.

        just because we CAN save life doesn’t always mean that we should

        A perfectly despicable sentiment.

        PS It’s hard to have a more anti-science attitude than the one you’ve chosen

        • Flaketime

          “PS It’s hard to have a more anti-science attitude than the one you’ve chosen”

          Why do people on the internet make such crass assumptions?

          I am in no way anti science, and at least one doctor involved has already said Charlie is too far gone to have any hope left.

          I did say at the start of my piece that it was easy to spin it the other way, and I gave an example of how easy it is, why is it that you feel it is reasonable to extrapolate from that it is my own belief?

          As I said, we need a reasoned debate, I believe your response shows just how difficult that is likely to be.

          • JabbaPapa

            at least one doctor

            Science is not the product of the opinions of one person.

            I did say at the start of my piece that it was easy to spin it the other way

            What I saw is that you clearly support making no attempt to save this boy’s life, even though it will cost you nothing given that those happy to finance the attempt have already done so.

          • Bik Byro

            What I saw is that he clearly supports two vulnerable and emotional parents not being taken for a ride by a hand-rubbing doctor out to make big profits for himself.

          • No, we need no debate at all. It is the parent’s decision with the support of those willing to pay for and administer the treatment. It is not our place to have any part of it at all, let alone the state’s.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Yep. For us it is a moot point. We have no responsibility here. What we are doing here is just exercising our intellect and conscience, wondering what WE would do if we were in the parents’ position. A worthy task, because we never know what situation might happen to us in the future. Also, as citizens, we should examine the question of what should be the state’s responsibility/control and what should not.

          • Bik Byro

            Arguing with Jibber Jabber is like arguing with the moonies and the scientologists, he will happily sit back and say that red is blue and grasp the wrong end of the stick at every opportunity.

      • Politically__Incorrect

        So why did Jesus devote so much of his ministry to healing the sick? Why didn’t he just say to them “I could heal you but why should I heal you. Please go away and die quietly instead”. It seems to me that this Earthly existence, although a brief moment in eternity, does matter to God, and our attitude to it matters too. It is a gift from God and should be valued as such. The issue with Charlie Gard is whether the authorities or the parents are the right people to decide whether this child should be allowed this final chance of treatment, even the chances of success seem slim. The parents and the state are displaying two very different attitudes to the value of life.

        • You seem to have forgotten the meaning of healing. No one can heal Charlie Gard,so the Jesus argument you brought in doesn’t compare.

          • Politically__Incorrect

            The last time I looked it up “healing” meant freedom from suffering whether physical, emotional, or spiritual. Please read my comment carefully. I have not asserted that the doctors can heal Charlie, though there is a small chance they can improve his condition. My reference to Jesus was to illustrate the difference in attitude to the importance of human life; one treating it as sacrosanct the other taking a calculated but dispassionate view of it.

        • Dominic Stockford

          He healed the sick to direct people’s minds to the power and the glory of God. That isn’t what is going on here.

          • Politically__Incorrect

            It is interesting that God chose to heal the sick to demonstrate his power rather than doing something else. He could have done all kinds of things to demonstrate it but instead he gave people what they needed. I am not comparing Charlie’s doctors’ healing abilities to Jesus, I am trying to contrast two very differing attitudes to the sanctity of human life.

  • Flaketime

    In days not so long ago, people had to live with the daily fact of death.
    In the midst of life we are in death.
    Man that is born of woman hath but a short span and is full of misery.
    Yet todays Godless generation cannot accept the reality of death, thanks to medical advancement they believe that not only can all ills be cured, but they and their loved ones can – if only there is sufficient NHS funding, live forever.

    However there are a couple of blot on the horizon. Heart disease and cancer. If we could only cure these then we could all live forever.

    Like with the left wing Fascism, there is no debate allowed between just because we can does not mean we should !

    The quest for eternal life is alive and well and living in our pharmaceuticals companies. The fact that death no longer stalks our waking dreams seems to mean to some that they have no need to save their mortal souls, because some miracle drug is just around the corner.
    This is why people have lost their faith, because they have no sense of death or an afterlife, because it isn’t going to happen them

  • Bruce Atkinson

    And may these Judeo-Christian values for life become universal! And may we all see the hypocrisy and inconsistency in supporting the life of babies but also being OK with abortion. Human life is human life, from conception forward. Yes, value the life and health of the mother but never allow abortion-on-demand for reasons of convenience.

    • Aaron D Highside

      “…but we should never allow abortion-on-demand for reasons of convenience.” Did you mean ‘we should never have allowed’?

      • Bruce Atkinson

        Yes; “we should never allow” is meant to include past, present, and future.

  • JabbaPapa

    Good grief !!

    The Telegraph reports : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/07/16/charlie-gards-parents-angry-babys-lawyeris-head-charity-backs/

    the publicly-funded state body Cafcass which acts in the best interests of children in court cases … appointed … Victoria Butler-Cole, who … is chairman of Compassion in Dying, a sister organisation to Dignity in Dying which campaigns for a change in the law to make assisted dying legal in the UK. Dignity in Dying used to be called the Voluntary Euthanasia Society.

    A source close to the parents told The Daily Telegraph: “The family find it astonishing that the quango that appointed the barrister to act in the interests of Charlie Gard is the chairman of Compassion in Dying, the sister body of Dignity in Dying, formerly known as the Voluntary Euthanasia Society. The implication is obvious. It looks like a profound conflict of interest.”

    This whole business gets worse and worse the more you find out about it.

  • Bik Byro

    Interesting that on a discussion about the ‘evils’ of cryogenics on here some time ago, many people were saying how “we need to learn to embrace death”.
    From memory, many of the same ones who are now saying that we shouldn’t.

    • An interesting observation, for which you should expand upon.

      • Bik Byro

        Not sure I can do that much philosophy in one text box, but I’ll have a go. Going back several months, there was a discussion on here about cryogenics, to which many people seemed to be of the opinion that it was just “plain wrong” and the main justification given for that view was that when death is drawing near, we should learn to accept it rather than try to ‘cheat’ death in whatever way.

        This has the potential to open up all kinds of cans of worms, such as (1) when is it right to try and cheat death by any means possible and when is the right time to stop fighting and to give up.

        (2) Is cryogenics (prolonging of body until rejuvenation can be found) radically different from life support machines (artificial prolonging of life at a baseline level until a cure can be found)

        (3) If medical intervention looks like expensive quackery should we care so long as the person has the ability to pay it themselves? (if a millionaire wants to invest in cryogenics, I say it’s a stupid decision but frankly it’s none of our business how they spend their own money) What about when the state has to pay for the medical treatment, should that make a difference in how much the state should get involved?

        And ((4) new can of worms) how about the completely opposite question – is it morally acceptable to request euthanasia when you are not near to dying but have a painfully low quality of life?

  • Dominic Stockford

    I feel sorry for the poor child. In the mindless morass of ethics and philosophy is a child who has no quality of life today, and has little or no chance of anything approaching a sentient life even with this apparently ‘wonder treatment’. Just as, 51 years ago, to murder a child in the womb was rightly a crime, so too 51 years ago this child would have quietly died shortly after birth, been mourned rightly and appropriately, and all would have moved on Instead it has become a pawn in a game, having it’s life extended by artificial means for week after week whilst people argue about the tiniest chance that possibly, maybe, something might miraculously change, somehow.

  • John Thomas

    My instinct is that very little trust should be placed in the medical profession(s), since its relationship with the valuing of human life is not at all what it was a few decades ago – we now have to realise, and then acknowledge, that fact.

    • Reborn

      The toleration of gender based abortion at the behest of savages reduces us
      to their level.
      The original David Steel Abortion Act was very reasonable in most people’s eyes.
      We did not expect the culling of healthy female foetuses to be the end result.
      I’ll never forget seeing on TV, shortly after the Bill became law, a clearly Arab doctor
      interviewed on TV.
      His chilling words were.
      “We want London to become the abortion capital of the World”.