03 May Ivy League Ethics?
We’ve been shocked and very troubled by the report coming out of Italy of a newborn baby who was subject to an attempted abortion and then left by the abortionist/physician to die. The UFI Daily also passed on a follow-up story. One’s mind has to be flooded with questions: What kind of a person, let alone a physician, could walk away and leave a newborn child on a table to die? How often does this happen? And the biggest question of all: How can civilized people (not just in Italy, but around the world) continue to allow abortion to end the lives of their unborn children?
We noted a quote from Italy’s under-secretary of state in the health department, Eugenia Roccella, who said that if the initial information is correct “this would be a case of deliberate abandonment of a seriously premature neonate, possibly also with some form of disability, an act contrary to any sense of human compassion but also of any accepted professional medical practice”.
We draw your attention to that quote and invite you to read the below account of what is being taught at one of the most highly regarded academic institution in the world. This one should give everyone pause, particularly if you have students enrolled in college courses. It also makes clear that the tragic event that occurred in Italy last week, may not be an isolated incident.
So this is Ivy League Ethics
I was a student in a mid-career Masters of Public Administration graduate program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government (HKS). My experience took place on the very first day of a graduate course on Ethics. In advance of the first class we were required to read an actual case study regarding a physician in Singapore where abortion is legal up to 24 weeks.
Synopsis of the Case Study
Dr. Chin is Chinese, reared in the religion of Zen and then converted to evangelical Christianity. He now lives in Singapore. He had applied for a conscience clause in regard to performing abortions and was able to trade work with other physicians and thus avoid any abortion procedures. One day while working in a hospital, he was contacted by a nurse who was in a panic because an abortion had been performed on a baby that was just a few days shy of 24 weeks. The aborted baby, after 15-20 minutes, was still alive on a table in a side room and struggling to breathe. The nurse didn’t know what to do. The mother was fine and the physician performing the abortion had already left.
Dr. Chin was the only doctor available in the small hospital at the time. He had to make a split second decision: Do I get involved? With every second counting in the life of the baby he had to decide. Had the baby already suffered irreversible harm? Would the baby be blind? Mentally handicapped? His mind raced with accounts of preemie babies that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to treat. What would the mother say? Should he ask her? What would his employer say? Was he violating some type of professional ethic by not honoring the wishes of the mother? Was he violating his personal ethics by engaging at all?
Dr. Chin chose to save the baby. The parents upon seeing the baby alive eventually chose to keep the child. Dr. Chin left the field of OB/Gyn work. (End of the case study.)
Reaction of the class
The case study itself was so upsetting to me that I struggled to even read it. I walked into my “Ethics” class the next morning prepared to have my comment on the case be this:
“There is no ethical dilemma here. Dr. Chin did exactly what his professional ethics (not to mention his humanity!) would require him to do—save the baby. The nurse called him in to be a physician to the new-born child—not because the mother needed care. He had been summoned for the baby and thus was professionally obligated to help the child. He did.”
The class consisted of about 50 people with an equal mix of men and women. It was taught by a professor that many consider to be the premier teacher at Harvard on the topic of ethics. He prefaced the discussion with directions to “keep the story in context” and evaluate all of the factors that come into play: the doctor’s personal integrity, his professional ethics, the common morality. He remarked that often there is a conflict between what he termed “right vs. right.” As he opened the class to discussion, many hands went in to the air.
I was stunned by the responses that followed, the essences of which were “HOW DARE the physican treat that baby!”
Voice after shrill voice (particularly the women) said things like:
- Did Dr. Chin NOT consider the feelings of the parents?
- He violated the Dr. /patient relationship by going against the parent’s wishes to have the baby aborted.
- He violated professional ethics.
- Was HE going to pay the bills? Was HE planning to raise the baby?
- The hospital is liable for not controlling their doctors. The parents should sue the hospital for what he did.
- No doctor should be allowed to have a conscience clause to anything. If you are a professional, you will perform ALL procedures. “If you can’t do it, then get out of the profession.”
Each time the Professor would commend them for their response and list their comments on the board. I was not called upon, but there were three different people during the hour-long discussion that brought up the needs of the baby and made my points. Each time the Professor would just politely listen and then call on the next person. He never wrote their response on the board—just moved on without giving comment. One woman in particular (an international student who is also an attorney and a judge) deftly and professionally articulated the points for the baby’s life being saved. The professor challenged her by saying: “The only thing that matters here is: Who are the decision makers?” Then he mockingly replied: “Can the fetus make a decision?”
I sat there with my heart in my throat, stunned into silence. The professor had effectively silenced anyone who opposed his clearly established (although never stated) viewpoint. Could it be true that there were only four people in that room that recognized that a human being, a BABY, had been born and was laying there on a table, and should be helped? I have worked in the pro-life/pro-family world for many years and I’ve heard all the voices that try to rationalize abortion and even partial birth abortion—but, as horrific and demented as that position is, I had never heard anyone openly make the case that it is OK to end the life of a already born, living, breathing baby.
I thought that promotion of infanticide was reserved for only the sicko few. (Like ethicist Peter Singer of Princeton University who advocates for allowing parents to kill their babies up until the baby reaches 28 days old.) I NEVER anticipated seeing virtually an entire classroom full of people—women mind you!—who could be so callous, so cold-hearted, so soul-less as to have looked at that situation and with barely concealed rage castigate a physician who saved a baby’s life. It was very clear—the baby mattered not at all.
Have we really moved that far past the pagan cultures who sacrificed their children?
(Account written and shared by a UFI Daily reader)