Two disturbing news items in the UK recently caught my eye. Both involved actions considered criminal in the past, but now reconsidered as acts of love. Unfortunately, we have had similar cases here in the US.
In a November 17, 2017 UK Telegraph article, a 59 year old chemist named Bipin Desai, admitted pouring morphine into his father’s fruit smoothie and then injecting the diabetic father with insulin. The judge directed the jury to find Mr. Desai not guilty of murder but rather of assisted suicide.
The judge told Mr. Desai that:
“Your acts of assistance were acts of pure compassion and mercy. Your father had a solid and firm wish to die. For him, being assisted to die would be fulfilling his wish of going to heaven to see his wife and being put out of his misery.”
Ironically, the father was not even terminally ill but rather “he had just had enough of life and there are no real authorities who deal with that situation.” (Emphasis added)
Mr. Desai was allowed to go free with a suspended nine month prison sentence for assisting his father’s suicide and told by the judge:
“You are free to now go with your family and start the process of rebuilding your life.”
And apparently still able to be an heir.
Omodele Meadows of the UK was given $12 million dollars for the “wrongful birth” of her now 6 year old son Adejuwon.
Four years before she became pregnant, Ms. Meadows had a test to see if she had the gene linked to hemophilia because a relative had a child with the condition. Ms. Meadow’s test mistakenly showed that she did not have the gene.
After her son was born and found to have both hemophilia and autism (a condition that has no prenatal test, at least for now), she sued the doctor who gave her the results. Ms Meadows claimed that if she knew she had the gene for hemophilia, she would have had her son prenatally tested and aborted him.
The judge wrote:
“It cannot be easy for any mother to contend bluntly that her child should not have been born. ‘Her love for her son shone through from her written statements. ‘She had specifically sought to avoid bringing a child with hemophilia into the world, knowing the suffering that condition causes.” (Emphasis added)
The judge added that Ms. Meadows now loves her son dearly and had only brought the claim “to provide a better life for her son”.
Did anyone wonder what Baby Adejuwon will think if or when he finds out about the circumstances of his mother’s case?
Before the legalization of abortion and euthanasia, we had consensus that killing a person because he or she was ill or disabled was absolutely wrong and unjust.
Now we are urged to accept that killing can be a loving act and should not be criminalized. And, if a diagnostic mistake is made and an abortion avoided, parents who would have aborted should be compensated, even richly.
What does that tell people who are ill or who have disabilities as well as all of us who lovingly care for these people? What does this do to our laws, ideals and attitudes?
In our hearts, we all really know that caring for lives, not killing, is the right thing to do. When we insist on ignoring this truth, tragedies like these two cases will not only continue but also devolve into terrible social, medical and legal policies that will affect us all if we do not speak out now.