Sun 25 Jan 2004 show images
Government adviser: killing children with defects acceptable
A GOVERNMENT adviser on genetics has sparked fury by suggesting it might be acceptable to destroy children with 'defects' soon after they are born.
John Harris, a member of the Human Genetics Commission, told a meeting at Westminster he did not see any distinction between aborting a fully grown unborn baby at 40 weeks and killing a child after it had been born.
Harris, who is a professor of bioethics at Manchester University, would not be drawn on which defects or problems might be used as grounds for ending a baby's life, or how old a child might be while it could still be destroyed.
Harris was reported to have said that he did not believe that killing a child was always inexcusable.
In addition, it was claimed that he did not believe that there was any 'moral change' that occurred between when the baby was in the womb and when it had been brought into the world.
He did not say how old a child might be while it could still be destroyed
Harris, who also gives advice to doctors as a member of the ethics committee of the British Medical Association (BMA), is understood to have argued that there was no moral distinction between aborting a foetus found by tests to have defects and disposing of a child where the parents discovered the problems at birth.
The words drew a furious response from anti-abortion campaigners. The Pro-Life lobby group, who had members present at the meeting, noted what Harris had said and condemned his words.
Julia Millington, the group's spokeswoman, said: "It is frightening to think that university students are being educated by somebody who endorses the killing of new-born babies, and equally worrying to discover that such a person is the establishment's 'preferred' bioethicist."
However, Michael Wilkes, the chairman of the BMA's ethics committee, claimed that Harris was simply trying to encourage debate and consistent thinking.
He said: "There are many who might concur that there is no difference between a full-term foetus and a new-born baby, although the majority would see there is a substantial difference. Abortion is legal, but termination after birth is killing."
In the past, Harris has spoken of the need to allow people to buy and sell human organs as a means of increasing supplies for transplant operations.
He also recently expressed support for the sex selection of babies for social reasons.
He said: "If it isn't wrong to wish for a bonny bouncing baby girl, why would it be wrong to make use of technology to play fairy godmother?"
This is more "Peter Singer-ology". I am begining to wonder if there is any bioethetist on this planet that actually has a moral bone in his body.
Feb 13, '04
Quote from donmurray
"Was reported to have said... It was claimed that" Are these his views, or just opposition zealots' interpretations of them?
Is it true that you advocate parental rights to end a baby's life after it's live birth and delivery, if the child has "defects", or developmental disabilities? Is it true as well, that you make no distinction between a 32 week gestation fetus, and a full-term born live infant that is say, 3 days old? Would you also agree with Professor Peter Singers views as well, then?
Thanks for responding,
Let's ask him, Don.
PS I find it strangely interesting that your comments would mean that you find opposition to his suggested opinion to be a "zealout's" position. :uhoh21:
Edited to remove email address. Encouraging harassment of authors is not welcome. Thank you. Nurse Ratched.
Last edit by Nurse Ratched on Feb 13, '04
Feb 13, '04
Quote from kitkat24
now don as i said earlier you're the one who got me in on this i truly had no intention of touching this so when the anti-abortionists and the pro-lifer's are plotting my demise i expect you to have my back
the anti-abortionists and the pro-lifers would never plot your demise. however, your partners in crime pro-abortionists would, as they do not value life as much as pro-life and anti-abortion people do.
and i will agree that the professor is playing the devils advocate :angryfire , as he certainly is not an advocate for good.
qwenith didn't say it i did. i'm going to say one thing then i'm done with this. pro-abortionist don't blow-up abortion clinics and kill innocent drs. & nurses who preform a service that is legal whether everyone agrees with it or not. i'm not saying that all pro-lifers and anti-abortionist partake in this endeavor either and the majority are honest god fearing people, but it just takes a few to give a bad name. bye-bye
Last edit by Speculating on Feb 13, '04