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Death Panels: the murder of Baby Doe

By Scott Tibbs, October 14, 2009

Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, "But we knew nothing about this," does not He who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not He who guards your life know it? Will He not repay each person according to what he has done? -- Proverbs 24:11-12 (NIV)

There has been quite a bit of talk over the last few months relating to death panels and whether they will be a part of health care reform. Sarah Palin caused a stir when she used the term expressing fear about how her son, born with Down Syndrome, would be treated. Newsweek magazine even ran a depraved cover story on "The Case for Killing Granny" last month, complete with an electrical plug. But is the discussion of "death panels" merely a theoretical argument, or do they represent a very frightening reality?

People in Bloomington, Indiana know the score. Twenty seven years ago, a baby was born in Bloomington Hospital. The baby, known only as Baby Doe, had a case of Down Syndrome, which causes some mental retardation but is certainly not life-threatening. The problem was that Baby Doe's esophagus was not connected to his stomach. A surgical procedure could have fixed this and Baby Doe could live a long and happy life.

But his "mother" and "father" would have no part of it. They decided their son needed to die. They would not allow the operation, so their newborn son died a slow and agonizing death by starvation and dehydration. Because Baby Doe was not "perfect," his "parents" murdered him. Killing babies with Down Syndrome is not unusual. PhysiciansForLife.org reports that "when Down syndrome is diagnosed prenatally, 84% to 91% of those babies will be killed by abortion."

That there were dozens of couples who offered to adopt Baby Doe did not matter. No, his "parents" decided their child would not have a chance at life. The babies burned alive in sacrifice to the pagan "god" Moloch were not subjected to the cruelty that Baby Doe endured. The case became a national controversy when President Reagan, outraged by the case, advocated for a law that would make it illegal to withhold nourishment from infants.

"Death panels" are very real. We saw it with Baby Doe, and we saw it when Terri Schiavo was murdered by starvation and dehydration in 2005. Part of being pro-life is an uncompromising advocacy for the rights of the disabled and preventing either the medical profession or their "families" from murdering them. As Christians, we are obligated to speak the truth that these people, too, are created in the image of God and that their lives are sacred.