Darwinist biologist Jerry Coyne endorses euthanasia for severely handicapped infants. Here are Coyne’s arguments, with my replies. "The question of whether one should be able to euthanize newborns who have horrible conditions or deformities, or are doomed to a life that cannot by any reasonable light afford happiness, has sparked heated debate. Philosopher Peter Singer has argued that euthanasia is the merciful action in such cases, and I agree with him. If you are allowed to abort a fetus that has a severe genetic defect, microcephaly, spina bifida, or so on, then why aren’t you able to euthanize that same fetus just after it’s born? I see no substantive difference that would make the former act moral and the latter immoral." I agree with Coyne that there is no moral difference between aborting a handicapped fetus and killing a handicapped baby. I believe that both are profoundly immoral. Coyne condones such killing. "After all, newborn babies aren’t aware of death, aren’t nearly as sentient as an older child or adult, and have no rational faculties to make judgments (and if there’s severe mental disability, would never develop such faculties)." Many people aren’t “aware of death” — normal infants and toddlers, people with severe traumatic brain damage, people with Alzheimer’s disease. Heck, people who are sleeping aren’t aware of death at the moment. How does this that justify killing them? A severely handicapped newborn wouldn’t be aware of rape either. Just how is it that “unawareness” of an evil act justifies the act? If anything, unawareness makes the victim more vulnerable, and ought to spur those of us who are aware to offer innocents greater protection, not less protection.
Once prohibited — indeed, unthinkable — the euthanasia of people with mental illnesses or cognitive disorders, including dementia, is now a common occurrence in Belgium and the Netherlands. This profoundly troubling fact of modern European life is confirmed by the latest biennial report from Belgium’s Federal Commission on the Control and Evaluation of Euthanasia, presented to Parliament on Oct. 7. Belgium legalized euthanasia in 2002 for patients suffering “unbearably” from any “untreatable” medical condition, terminal or non-terminal, including psychiatric ones. In the 2014-2015 period, the report says, 124 of the 3,950 euthanasia cases in Belgium involved persons diagnosed with a “mental and behavioral disorder,” four more than in the previous two years.