Saturday, September 27, 2008

British 'Moralist' says Dementia Patients Have a 'Duty to Die'

By Hilary White

"If you're demented, you're wasting people's lives - your family's lives - and you're wasting the resources of the National Health Service."

LONDON, (LifeSiteNews) - In an interview, Baroness Mary Helen Warnock has said that people suffering dementia have a duty to commit suicide.

Baroness Warnock, called the "philosopher queen", is regarded as Britain's leading moral philosopher. She said that she hopes people will soon be "licensed to put others down" who have become a burden on the health care system. She told the Church of Scotland's Life and Work magazine, "If you're demented, you're wasting people's lives - your family's lives - and you're wasting the resources of the National Health Service."

In another article for a Norwegian periodical, titled "A Duty to Die?" she suggests, "There's nothing wrong with feeling you ought to do so [commit suicide] for the sake of others as well as yourself.

In other contexts, sacrificing oneself for one's family would be considered good. I don't see what is so horrible about the motive of not wanting to be an increasing nuisance." Baroness Warnock's comments come as prominent voices in Britain's House of Lords continue to advocate for legalised euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Nadine Dorries, the Conservative MP for Mid-Bedfordshire, said she was concerned about the influence Warnock has. "Because of her previous experiences and well-known standing on contentious moral issues, Baroness Warnock automatically gives moral authority to what are entirely immoral view points."

Contemporary utilitarianism - the idea that individual lives are of no inherent value and can be sacrificed for the good of society - is widely held in modern academia and medical circles. The principles of utilitarianism form the foundation for the modern "bioethics" (of which Baroness is a prominent proponent) that has largely replaced traditional Natural Law medical ethics that follow the principle of "do no harm" in many modern national health care systems.

Read the rest of the story here…


Dawn said...

This on one of the scariest things that I have ever read. My grandmother is suffering from dementia. She has some good days where she recognizes everyone, as well as not so good days, where she thinks that I'm my mom (her daughter) and my husband is my dad (her son-in-law). The idea that people suffering from dementia should be "put down" as if they were wounded horses is scary.

Stushie said...

I totally agree, Dawn. My father-in-law had denetia. Our family took care of him, even when he didn't know we were there.

Assisted suicide would have been the last thing on our mind.

Stratoz said...

Stumbled over to your site... I run a horticulture program and there are times we take the lives of plants (not even talking weeds) but bean plants who are tired and old are also taken out of the garden while they are still alive. I have often joked that it is a good thing that I don't run a nursing home. I guess we will never know truly what it is like to have dementia unless we sadly end up suffering from it. It may be a good thing to be treated like a bean plant or it may not. Those who desire that through living wills should be respected. But I am not willing to say what is quoted in your post. I will stick with plants and be grateful for the beauty they gave us as we end their lives.