Princeton ethicist Peter Singer, who has previously said that parents should be allowed to euthanize their children born with severe physical disabilities, wrote in an e-mail to the Big Think website that he would also include children with developmental disabilities, such as Down’s syndrome, as eligible for euthanasia. Saying there is no way to determine which conditions would make a child eligible for termination, Singer said, “It depends on the family’s wishes.” Why he chose to send it to the Think Big website is puzzling since the thinking behind his statements is small. To think that any person has the right to decide the value of another person’s life is ridiculous. People with disabilities have value and can many times contribute a lot to our society.
Children, all children, are a blessing, even those which are not ‘perfect’ by the world’s standards. “The difficult decision is whether you want this infant to live or not,” says Singer. “That should be a decision for the parents and doctors to make on the basis of the fullest possible information about what the condition is. But once you’ve made that decision, it should be permissible to make sure that baby dies swiftly and humanely.” If we follow Singer’s logic, next we will be euthanizing anyone who becomes disabled during the course of their life.
First of all, the decision as to whether a person lives or dies is a decision that belongs to God, and God alone. Secondly, even if a parent/family is choosing to euthanize an infant to spare that child from a life if suffering, it is still morally wrong to kill another human being. No one wants to see a loved one suffer, young or old. But is euthanizing them going to relieve just their suffering or ours too?