The worth of children

Saturday, August 15, 2009 Comments

It's bad enough that many do not consider unborn children to be persons with human rights (and in fact our current law holds that view). But Obama's science czar, John Holdren, believes that children are not "human beings" until many years after birth.

From CNS News, via John Lott:

President Obama’s top science adviser said in a book he co-authored in 1973 that a newborn child "will ultimately develop into a human being" if he or she is properly fed and socialized.

"The fetus, given the opportunity to develop properly before birth, and given the essential early socializing experiences and sufficient nourishing food during the crucial early years after birth, will ultimately develop into a human being." (emphasis added)

When, exactly, does Holdren believe children become "human"?

Another Obama czar, regulatory czar Cass Sunstein, is a big believer in the ideas of Peter Singer. According to David Martosko, that includes the idea that "animals should have some of the same rights as humans, in fact, greater rights than some people." Peter Singer also advocates "making it legal to kill disabled infants up to 28 days after birth as well as older 'non-persons with disabilities.'" Some quotes:
"[K]illing a newborn baby is never equivalent to killing a person, that is, a being who wants to go on living."

"No infant - disabled or not - has as strong a claim to life as beings capable of seeing themselves as distinct entities, existing over time."

"Killing a disabled infant is not morally equivalent to killing a person. Very often it is not wrong at all."

"During the next 35 years, the traditional view of the sanctity of human life will collapse under pressure from scientific, technological, and demographic developments. By 2040, it may be that only a rump of hard-core, know-nothing religious fundamentalists will defend the view that every human life, from conception to death, is sacrosanct."

Sources: Princeton University
Practical Ethics, 2nd edition, Cambridge, 1993, pp. 175-217
The Sanctity of Life, Foreign Policy, Sept/Oct 2005

And then there's Ezekiel Emanuel's opinions on the lives of infants and young children, as well as individuals with disabilities, deserving less consideration than those of older children and adults (well, before they become elderly, anyway).

All of these people are entitled to their opinions and have the 1st amendment right to express their beliefs. But I find it disturbing that our President would surround himself with not one but several people who hold such views on the intrinsic value of children.

Then again, our President himself has expressed opinions against the notion of the sanctity of life.

To be fair, I do not doubt his devotion as a father to his own daughters. Certainly he loves them very much and wants only the best for them, as any father would.

And yet during the 2008 presidential campaign, he said that if his daughters made a "mistake," he wouldn't want them, "punished with a baby." He also argued against a bill that would have required medical care be provided to babies who survived botched abortions, claiming that such a law would "burden" doctors and women who had intended to abort their babies. The theme running through both of those statements is that he seems to see children, at least those not "wanted" by their parents for whatever reason, as "burdens" not worth protecting.

Does the president agree with the views of his advisors on the worth of children? I really don't know, and I certainly hope not. But if he doesn't, I can't help but ask - why has he chosen so many advisors with such views? And how might those views come to influence public policy in his administration?

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