Thursday, September 27, 2007

Deadly Mistaken Identity

Selective Abortion Case Sparks Furor in Italy

VATICAN CITY (National Catholic Register) – The Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano condemned it as eugenics “imposing its law.” The Italian Association of Catholic Doctors denounced it as the “fruit of an egotistic culture.” Both were reacting to recent revelations about a botched selective abortion: In June, a doctor in a Milan hospital mistakenly aborted a healthy baby instead of a twin sister with Down Syndrome.

After discovering that the abortionist had killed the “wrong” child – the doctor was unaware the fetuses had switched position in their mother’s womb – the mother returned to the hospital to have her remaining twin aborted, as well.

The 38-year-old mother, who already has one son, was 18 weeks pregnant when the abortions took place...

In an Aug. 28 editorial, L’Osservatore Romano said the case can be attributed to “the culture of perfection that imposes the exclusion of all that does not appear beautiful, glowing, positive, captivating.” What remains, the editorial said, is “emptiness, the desert of a life without content, though perfectly planned.”

“The value of human life does not come from its flawlessness, but from its singularity,” said Legionary Father Thomas Williams, dean of theology at Rome’s Regina Apostolorum University. “When we start assigning different values to different persons – based on abilities, health, intelligence or any other qualities – we reduce them to their utility.”

This utilitarian outlook leads to a rejection of the intrinsic dignity of the human person, Father Williams said.

“If children’s lives matter only insofar as they matter to us, then they don’t really matter at all,” he said. “Do we set the price on their lives, or is every life priceless in itself?”

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