Loading
Euthanasia advocate Prof. Peter Singer visits neonatal facility with ethics students

.- A group of undergraduate students at Princeton University wrestled first-hand with the ethical question of whether the life of a premature baby should be ended if medical data predict a low chance of survival. Bioethics professor Peter Singer took 13 students from his Ethical Choices seminar to visit the neonatal intensive care unit at Saint Peters University Hospital in Metuchen last week, reported the Princetonian.

At the hospital, 13 students saw premature babies, surrounded by life support machines and attached to a number of tubes. They came upon a 2-hour-old baby, who was born 14 weeks premature, weighed 365 grams and measured nine inches. 

Because of the possibility of mental and physical defects, Singer argues the infant's parents should be able to decide whether to shut off her life-support machines and end her life.

Singer has stirred controversy with these views, with some groups labeling him a "baby-killer.” He says societies throughout history have used selective infanticide for the greater good. Singer also refuses to equate killing newborns with killing adults, saying newborns are not self-aware and therefore different from adult humans and animals worthy of protection.

However, Neonatal Medicine Director Dr. Mark Hiatt maintained that the nine-inch baby was fully human and rejected Singer's view. "This is a child, somebody's daughter," Hiatt said. "Hopefully she'll be with us for many weeks and eventually go home with her mother and father."

Hiatt told the class that a family asked him to withhold care for their premature baby because of financial reasons. The father was in graduate school and had a young family already. Hiatt asked them to seek another hospital.

"We [at St. Peter's] don't want to do all this aggressive, heroic intervention unless there's a good possibility that this will be an intact, healthy child," he told the students. "I could never do anything to terminate a life. I became a doctor for the opposite reason."

Hiatt said he would only allow a baby to die by withdrawing care – called passive euthanasia – and letting nature runs its course. "As a society, I don't think we want our doctors to [perform active euthanasia, where the doctor directly ends someone's life]," he added. "I wouldn't do it. I couldn't do it. I'm not an executioner."

Not all students, however, accepted Hiatt's reasoning. Student Nic Poulos called the doctor’s distinction between active and passive euthanasia "semantics."

"He's enabling the child's death, period," Poulos said. Singer said he doesn’t see a distinction either and says that in the case of the graduate student, he would have agreed with the parents.


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic
Apr
23

Liturgical Calendar

April 23, 2014

Wednesday within the Octa ve of Easter

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 28:8-15

Gospel
Date
04/22/14
04/21/14
04/20/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Acts 3:1-10
Gospel:: Lk 24:13-35

Saint of the Day

St. Adalbert of Prague »

Saint
Date
04/21/14
04/20/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 28:8-15

Homily
Date
04/22/14
04/21/14
04/20/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: