The Crime Of Being Alive
Abortion, Euthanasia, & Infanticide
by Melody Green And Sharon Bennett
We'd probably like to think that the photograph on the next page is from another time, another place. Nazi Germany, perhaps. However, this photo and the story surrounding it is only one graphic example of just how far the devaluation of human life has gone. Perhaps we ourselves have been numbed to what is happening in our own time.
As you will see, infanticide, or the killing of infants, is a practice that reaches far beyond the womb, while euthanasia is a type of killing that may include young and old alike.
We will start with the broader view first, euthanasia, and look at some of its beginnings. We think you will be shocked to find that the mentality that justifies these acts is not much different than the mentality that brought about another, not so distant, tragedy.
As we take a look at euthanasia and infanticide, we must remember that the loss of respect for human life through abortion only serves to fuel and accelerate these deadly practices.
What Is Euthanasia?
Euthanasia: To purposely speed up or cause death when it's “in the best interest” of the patient. It's done with or without the patient's consent, by a lethal injection, suffocation, or by not giving the basic and ordinary treatment that would routinely be offered. It also includes withholding food and water to “allow” a patient to die. Some harmless and even noble sounding terms commonly used are “right to die” and “mercy killing.”
Euthanasia should not be confused with the term “death with dignity,” which means allowing a terminally ill patient to die naturally, without using extreme measures to draw out the death process into a long and painful ordeal. Dr. Paul Marx states it “is not euthanasia at all. It usually refers to removing supportive equipment or drug treatment when a patient has irrevocably entered the process of dying.”1
We sometimes put our dogs and cats “to sleep” when the cost of treating them outweighs their value to us, but can we measure human life on the same scale? Unfortunately, it is being done. Euthanasia is sometimes practiced in nursing homes and mental hospitals, where the sick and aged lie unwanted and unvisited by their families. They have no defense against this deceptive mentality of death.
Wichita, Kansas, 1983: This baby was found along with several aborted babies, waiting to be burned at a city incinerator used by the Humane Society to dispose of dead dogs and cats. This largest baby appeared to be full term and weighed around six pounds. Dr. John Willke stated, "My judgment is that this was a salt poison abortion. I have no idea why they opened the body. In a legitimate autopsy the body is closed and sewn back up."3
The Mistake Of Others
History tells us about another government that legalized euthanasia: Germany, before the Nazi rule! We usually picture Hitler rising to power and then embarking on a horrendous campaign of murder. Most of our history books leave out the fact that the selective death of “undesirables” had begun years before Hitler took office!
In the early 1920s the renowned psychiatrist, Dr. Alfred Hoche, and the respected judge, Karl Binding, wrote The Release of the Destruction Of Life Devoid of Value. In their book they stated that those who were dying or were physically or mentally handicapped should be given the “mercy” of a painless death. They also pointed out the economic benefits of such a program.
“It was respected psychiatrists and pediatricians - not Nazi thugs - who killed 75% of the chronically ill in Germany. It began by killing German, non-Jewish persons suffering serious defects. In time, the reasons for killing became slighter - for example, `poorly formed ears,' bed wetters, and `difficult to educate.' An estimated 275,000 persons who had been in nursing homes, hospitals, and asylums were killed.”2
Germany's euthanasia movement also had its comforting phrases such as help for the dying and mercy deaths. “Realm's Committee for Scientific Approach to Severe Illness Due to Heredity and Constitution” was the harmless sounding name of an organization set up specifically for the killing of children.
From Small Beginnings
When Hitler came to power, he simply built on the foundation conveniently laid by German doctors and readily accepted by society in general. German schools taught that in nature the sick die and the healthy survive - therefore, helping the handicapped went against nature. The “grandfather” of their philosophy of natural selection was the same Charles Darwin who is honored in our education system today. If man evolved, then he is a mere animal. His value is determined strictly by what he can offer society. If man is created in the image and likeness of God, his value is determined by his Creator.
Dr. Leo Alexander, who worked with the Chief Counsel for War Crimes at the Nuremberg Trials, observed, “Whatever proportion these crimes finally assumed, it became evident that they had started from small beginnings. The beginnings at first were merely a subtle shift in emphasis in the basic attitudes of the physicians. It started with the acceptance of the attitude, basic in the euthanasia movement, that there is such a thing as life not worthy to be lived.”4
C. Everett Koop, MD, Surgeon General of the United States, warns us about what lies ahead. “One could say without hesitation that we are at the crossroads of the corruption of medicine with the corruption of law. Corruption of law came first in this country with the US Supreme Court abortion decision of 1973. The corruption of medicine followed. In Germany in the 1930s the corruption of medicine came first. But the Holocaust could not have come about with the corruption of medicine alone. It took the corruption of law to make euthanasia legal. There is no doubt that if the doctors in Germany had stood for the right to life of every individual, the Holocaust at the very least would have been slowed down and minimized.”5
One gas chamber's load of people speaks only too eloquently. Belsen concentration camp.
Hayes Publising Co.
The Link Between Abortion And Euthanasia
Only “viable” human beings who have the “capability of meaningful life” may, but need not, be protected by the state. - US Supreme court, January 22, 1973
The Supreme Court's ruling on abortion has not only devalued human life, but it has set in motion a mentality of death that reaches far beyond the womb. Francis Schaeffer wondered, “Will a society which has assumed the right to kill infants in the womb - because they are unwanted, imperfect, or merely inconvenient - have difficulty in assuming the right to kill other human beings, especially older adults who are judged unwanted, deemed imperfect physically or mentally, or considered a possible social nuisance?”6
Abortion practices are being used to justify euthanasia. In the Atlantic Monthly it was argued that if the life of a Down's Syndrome baby can be “ended prenatal, why should it not be ended neonatally [just after birth]? The only difference between the fetus and the infant is that the infant breathes with its lungs.”7 Like it or not, this line of logic is correct. If we can kill babies before they are born, why not after?
Another shocking statement comes from a Nobel Prize winner: “If a child were not declared alive until three days after birth, then all parents could be allowed the choice that only a few are given under the present system. The doctor could allow the child to die if the parents so chose, and save a lot of misery and suffering. I believe this is the only rational and compassionate attitude to have.”8
Malcolm Muggeridge, the distinguished British journalist, critic, and lecturer, reflects on the subtle change of values in Germany that led to the slaughter of millions. “It all began in the decadent years of post WWI Germany. All the most horrible and disgusting aspects of the last decades of the 20th century - the pornography, the sadism, the violence, the moral and spiritual vacuum - were already in evidence there. Can this sort of thing happen in countries like Canada and England and the United States? In my opinion, yes. In fact, it is already happening. It should never be forgotten that it was the euthanasia program first organized by the medical profession which led to and merged with the genocide program.”9 As he views our current euthanasia practices, Muggeridge wonders if some future historian will say of us, “It took no more than three decades to transform a war crime into an act of compassion.”
We tend to believe that the Nazi genocide of WWII could never happen again. But if we take a careful look, the very same foundations are again being laid, and accepted, that allowed such a tragedy. We must learn from the mistakes of others, lest we make the same ones. History can repeat itself. In fact, the wheels have already been set in motion.
Caesarean Section Abortion
If this was a regular C-section, the cord would be tied and cut, that baby tended to, and taken to the nursery. This however was marked 'Abortion,' the baby cut free and left to die.
Hayes Publishing Co.
This 6 mo. 2 lb. baby girl died unattended in a bucket.
What Is Infanticide?
Infanticide: The murder of infants. Already an alarmingly common practice in the United States, infanticide is probably the most common and accepted form of euthanasia. Abortion itself is obviously a form of infanticide - however, late-term abortions (second and third trimester) sometimes present what has been called “the dreaded complication.”
During a late-term abortion, sometimes a baby that's supposed to be born dead is born alive. There are no laws protecting these infants. We may not hear much about this, but it's not as rare as we tend to think. It is estimated that 400-500 live abortion births occur each year, although only about 1% are reported.10 A report is not legally required, and what doctor would want to volunteer such information? Dr. Willard Cates, chief of abortion surveillance for the Center For Disease Control in Atlanta, says, “It's like turning yourself into the IRS for an audit. What is there to gain?”
A woman's scream broke the late-night quiet and brought two young obstetrical nurses rushing to her room. Something had gone wrong. There on the bed, instead of the dead aborted baby they expected, was a live 2½-pound baby boy, crying and moving his arms and legs. One of the nurses gathered up the squirming infant and dashed down the corridor. She didn't take the baby to an intensive care nursery, but instead deposited him on a drain board in a dirty utility room. Finally, a head nurse phoned the physician at home. “He told me to leave it where it was,” she testified later, “that it would probably die in a few minutes.” This little boy did die - 2½ hours after he was discarded in the closet. This happened in the United States in 1979 - and is not an isolated incident. Another baby, a little girl, was rescued by nurses who found her lying in a bedpan. She is 5 years old now and doing well.
It's no longer a miracle for an infant of 24 weeks' development, who could be legally aborted anywhere in the United States, to be saved if born prematurely. “It is frightening,” said Dr. Roger K. Freeman, medical director of Women's Hospital at the Long Beach Memorial Medical Center in California. “Medicine is now able to give the premature a chance that may be rejected by the mother.”11
Medical trends indicate that these live births will become more frequent since the demand for late-term abortions is growing. Saline and prostaglandin abortions sometimes deliver live babies, but a C-section abortion (hysterotomy) has the highest incidence of all of abortion live births. One obstetrician said that in a hysterotomy, “as the infant is lifted from the womb, he is only sleeping, like his mother. She is under anesthesia, and so is he. You want to know how they kill him? They put a towel over his face so he can't breathe. And by the time they get him to the lab, he is dead.”12
Twenty states have no laws limiting late abortions or directing compulsory care for live-born abortion babies.
Although abortion live births usually escape public notice, they create deeply troubling emotions for the medical personnel involved - doctors and nurses alike. Nursing staffs have led a number of quiet revolts, and two major hospitals in the Fort Lauderdale area, for instance, stopped offering abortions in the late 1970s after protests from the nurses. Similarly, a Grand Rapids hospital was forced to stop late-term abortions in 1977 after nurses there made good on their threat not to handle the dead babies. One night they left a dead baby in its mother's bed for an hour and a half, despite angry and threatening calls from the attending physician, who finally had to go in and remove it himself. In general, it has been difficult to find obstetrical nurses willing to assist.
Several studies have documented the distress caused to many nurses. Dr. Warren M. Hem, Chief Physician, and Billie Corrigan, Head Nurse of the Boulder Abortion Clinic, presented a paper to a 1978 Planned Parenthood convention entitled “What About Us? Staff Reactions ...” “Eight out of the 15 staff members surveyed reported emotional problems. Two said they worried about the physician's psychological well-being. Two reported horrifying dreams involving fetuses, one of which involved the hiding of fetal parts so that other people would not see them.” Hern and Corrigan concluded, “We have produced an unusual dilemma. A procedure is becoming recognized as the procedure of choice in late abortion, but those capable of performing or assisting with it are having strong personal reservations about participating in an operation which they view as destructive and violent.”
"A prostaglandin abortion was filmed for use as an instructional film. The film showed a three-pound baby, born alive, moving and gasping."
Chemicals produced by the Upjohn Pharmaceutical Co. are used to cause the uterus to contract intensely and push out the developing baby.
Dr. Julius Butler, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Minnesota Medical School, said, “Remember, there is a human being at the other end of the table taking that kid apart. We've had guys drinking too much, taking drugs, even a suicide or two.” Dr. William Benbow Thompson of the University of California at Irvine said, “Arms, legs, chests come out in the forceps. It's not a sight for everybody.”
What do you do when your insides reject carrying out the things that your philosophy demands? One survivor of a Nazi concentration camp says of his guard: “More than once during executions I heard him mutter, `Orders are orders.' It was as though he wanted to dismiss any last scruples or give himself courage. His training in the SS had turned him into an uncritical and willing tool... he never batted an eyelid when it came to shooting men, women, and children one after the other. Alcohol played an important part in his life.”13
The Dreaded Complication - Case Histories
By ignoring the problem of abortion live births, the courts and the medical establishment are choosing to overlook a long, well-documented history of cases.
1969, Scotland: A custodian heard a cry from a paper bag in the snow beside an incinerator. Inside, he found a live aborted baby. It was taken in and cared for but died nine hours later. The baby was close to eight months old. No one checked for signs of life before it was discarded. No charges were filed. This case was a matter of record before abortion was legalized in this country.
1973, Bakersfield, CA: A 4½-pound infant was born alive following a saline abortion. Informed by phone, the doctor ordered two nurses to stop giving oxygen to the baby. His instructions were overridden by another physician. The baby survived and was later adopted. The first doctor was indicted for solicitation to commit murder. The case was dismissed.
1974, Pittsburgh, PA: A prostaglandin abortion was filmed for use as an instructional film. The film showed a three-pound baby, born alive, moving and gasping. Also, a nurse and medical student testified that they had noticed signs of life. The doctor testified that the infant sustained fatal damage during delivery. No charges were filed.
Said of a live baby girl after a saline abortion:
"She was beautiful. She was pink. There were no physical deformities. She lay in a basin put there to catch all the stuff. She was waving her arms and legs. You could tell she was making a big effort to live."
Hayes Publishing Co.
Saline abortions are performed by injecting poisonous concentrated salt solution into the baby's bag of water. The baby breathes and swallows this fluid resulting in slow poisoning.
1975, Boston, MA: A doctor was convicted of manslaughter for neglecting to give care to a 24-week infant after a 1973 abortion. Witnesses said he held the infant down and smothered it. He was the first American doctor ever convicted on charges of failing to care for an infant born during an abortion. The conviction was overturned by the Massachusetts Supreme Court on the ground that improper instructions had been given to the jury.
1977, Westminster, CA: A seven-month baby girl was born alive after a saline abortion. A nurse testified that when the doctor got to the hospital, he stopped her efforts to help the baby's breathing. A fellow physician testified that he had seen the doctor choke the infant, “I saw him put his hand on this baby's neck and push down. He said. `I can't find the trachea!' and `This baby won't stop breathing!'” The charges against the doctor were dismissed.
1978, Cleveland, OH: A young woman entered a hospital for an abortion. The baby was born alive and after several weeks of intensive care, the child went home - with its mother! A source familiar with the case remembered one detail: “The doctors had a very hard time making her realize she had a child. She kept saying, `But I had an abortion.'”
1979, Florida: A nursing supervisor told of a live birth where the infant was dumped in a bedpan without examination, as was standard practice. “It didn't die,” the nurse said. “It was left in the bedpan for an hour before signs of life were noticed. It weighed slightly over a pound.” Excellent care enabled the baby to survive. The child, now 5 years old, has been adopted.
1979, Wilmington, DE: Two babies were born alive, five weeks apart, after saline abortions in a medical center. One was discovered by a nurse, struggling for breath after having been placed in a plastic specimen jar. The second was immediately judged to be a live delivery and was given quick treatment. They both survived and were later adopted.
1979, Los Angeles, CA: What seemed to be a stillborn infant of 23 weeks was delivered from an abortion. Half an hour later the baby made gasping attempts to breathe, but no efforts were made to resuscitate it. The baby was taken to a small utility room that was used as an infant morgue. When told of the continued gasping, the doctor instructed a nurse, “Leave the baby there-it will die.” Twelve hours later, according to the testimony of the nurse, she returned to work and found the infant still in the closet, still gasping. The doctor then reluctantly agreed to have the baby boy transferred to an intensive care unit, where he died four days later. A coroner's jury ruled the death “accidental” rather than natural, but found nothing in the doctor's conduct to warrant criminal action.
Two Nurses speak Out
Nurses are usually the ones who bear the burden of handling the well-developed babies of late abortions. The following two nurses both spoke of being deeply troubled by what they have seen of late abortions in American hospitals.
Norma was present in 1980, when a live baby girl was delivered after a saline abortion. The baby appeared healthy at birth. “She was beautiful,” Norma said. “She was pink. There were no physical deformities. She lay in a basin put there to catch all the stuff. She was waving her arms and legs. You could tell she was making a big effort to live.”
Acting on their own, the nurses took her to the intensive care nursery and had the 1-pound-14-ounce baby transferred six hours later to the Loma Linda University Medical Center. Four days later the baby was reported stable with no apparent effects from the saline. However, she later developed a complication and died 11 days after birth.
Linda, while hurrying out of a patient's room one day to dispose of the aborted “tissue,” felt movement. Startled, she looked straight into the eyes of a live baby. “It looked right at me,” she recalled. She rushed the 1½-pound infant into the nursing station and called the doctor. “It was pink and it had a heartbeat. But the doctor told me the baby was not viable and to send it to the lab.” She did not follow the order, but had no means to help the tiny baby. The nursing supervisor refused to let her put the baby in the nursery where there was proper equipment to assist premature babies in distress. Two hours later the infant died, still at the nursing station, still without medical treatment. It died in a makeshift crib with one hot-water bottle for `warmth and an open tube of oxygen blowing near its head.
This happened in 1973, but Linda is still upset. “I stood by and watched that baby die without doing a thing,” she said. “I have guilt to this day. I feel the baby might have lived had it been properly cared for.”
Two Infanticides Not Involving Abortion
So far, we have been speaking about babies who were aborted. Not wanted. But what about wanted babies who become unwanted immediately after they're born?
1971: At Johns Hopkins Hospital, a baby was born with an intestinal blockage that meant he could not be nourished. When his parents learned that he also had Down's Syndrome, they refused to permit the relatively minor operation that would have corrected the internal condition. So the baby was wheeled into an out of-the-way corner, where he died of starvation and dehydration 15 days later.14
1982: In Bloomington, Indiana, a baby was born with Down's Syndrome. “Infant Doe,” as he came to be called in the courts, needed simple surgery to enable him to eat. However, the parents refused the surgery - and went further by refusing to yield custody of the child to any of the couples who were eager to adopt him. When the matter came before the courts, the parents' decision to let the child starve to death was reinforced.15
These babies died a slow and painful death. We treat animals better than these children were treated. How can you rationalize something like this? President Ronald Reagan denounced Baby Doe's death: “The real issue for the courts was not whether Baby Doe was a human being. The real issue was whether to protect the life of a human being who had Down's Syndrome. The judge let Baby Doe starve and die, and the Indiana Supreme Court sanctioned his decision.”16
The mentality that allowed two babies to starve to death may be wider spread than we think. Dr. C. Everett Koop said, “Surveys five years ago (1979) showed that about half the physicians contacted felt it was all right not to perform corrective surgery on an infant with Down's Syndrome. They also would deny food to these retarded children, which subjects these infants to a very inhumane death by starvation.”17
Also, a panel of physicians, attorneys, PhD's, a nurse, a social worker, and a science reporter voted in favor of infanticide for defective but self-sustaining infants. Moreover, 17 of the 20 panelists agreed it would be acceptable to directly kill such infants.18
A US doctor suggested that “five billion dollars could be saved in the next half-century (in Florida alone) if the state's mongoloids were permitted to merely succumb to pneumonia - a disease to which they are highly susceptible.”19
If we continue to allow such practices we need to check our own qualifications for staying alive. Just being a living human being isn't enough anymore. Either all men are created equal and have value according to the Lord who made them, or no one has any value, regardless of our efforts to throw together some sort of sliding scale. The ones who insist on the practices of euthanasia and infanticide are unknowingly signing their own death certificates. If their brothers and sisters in humanity are worthless, then so are they. The groundwork for more terrible crimes against humanity than we can even imagine has already been laid. What will we do about it?
“Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did It to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.” (Matt. 25:40)
1) “The Mercy Killers,” by Dr. Paul Mars.
2) “What About the `Right To Die'?” published by Life Cycle Books.
3) National Right To Die News, August 18, 1983.
4) “Medical Science Under Dictatorship,” by Dr. Leo Alexander.
5) “Abortion and the Future.” By C. Everett Koop, MD
6) Whatever Happened To the Human Race” by Francis Schaeffer and C. Everett Koop, MD
7) “The Mercy Killers”
8) National Right To Life News, August 30, 1983.
9) “The Humane Holocaust,” by Malcom Muggeridge.
10) “The Dreaded Complication,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, August 2, 1981.
13) Eyewitness Auschwitz. Three Years In the Gas Chambers, by Filip Muller, Stein And Day Publishers, 1979
14) “The Mercy Killers”
15) The Forerunner, June 1982
16) Abortion and the Conscience Of A Nation, by Ronald Reagan, Thomas Nelson Publishers.
17) US News and World Report, January 16, 1984
18) National Right To Life News, August 30, 1983
19) “The Mercy Killers”
Many photos in this pamphlet have been used with permission from the materials by Dr. and Mrs. Willke published by Hayes Publishing Co., 6304 Hamilton Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45224
Many of the facts and examples used came from the article "The Dreaded Complication" by Liz Jefferies & Rick Edmunds. You may receive their article with further documentaion by writing to: The Piladelphia Inquirer, 400 N. Broad St., Philadelphia, PA 19101