The Cloning, Abortion and National Health Insurance Nexus

The Cloning, Abortion, National Health Insurance Nexus

by

Tom Burnett

April 26, 2005

A British couple, Darren and Debbie Wyatt, is petitioning their government’s judges to preserve their eighteen month-old daughter’s life, “at any cost”. The phrase “at any cost” has special meaning in Britain. All health costs are paid by the government and its taxpayer subjects. What parents would not press for any cost to be spent for their child?

But the government is not loaded. They cannot spend endlessly. They are forced to ration. They cannot heal everything. A billion British pounds spent on heroic measures is a billion that cannot supply prosthetic devices or burn treatments. Judges surely weight this economic limitation when trying only to consider the legal requirements. The National Health Service and the judges together decide who is worthy to stay alive. Which brings us to America.

Many people beg for a national health scheme, a universal program covering every person and every conceivable hurt and disease. (They ignore the impossibility of affording such.) Paul Krugmann, a syndicated columnist appearing in the New York Times, April 24th, rehashed the proposal. When this finally comes to pass, and when genetic engineering and cloning become accepted and employed, the managers of bioengineering and the bureaucrats of social medicine will hold the keys of life. Exit by individuals trying to find alternative ways of healing themselves and their loved ones will be blocked. The controllers will own a complete package. Inopportune fetuses, that is those that will be too expensive to deliver and care for, will be involuntarily aborted.

We must resist, sever the link. The many difficult choices* presented by bioengineering will be wrested from our hands as individuals and families, all to be made by Congress, state health department employees, and economists in federal offices.

The British dwell in a thicket. They have to appeal to the government for care because the government owns the entire machinery of medicine. Life in the thicket is daily becoming more vexing, owing to biotech advances. Americans must resist becoming patrons, and subjects, of such a system, “at any cost”.

This is what a link between abortion, a mandatory state health scheme, and biotechnology looks like.

________________________

*Some of the difficult choices created, or likely to be created by unchecked biotechnological advances, are below named.

1. In many cases, practitioners of prenatal testing will not carry out their tests in the absence of a signed consent to abortion if evidence is found of genetic flaws in the unborn fetus.

2. If a certain disease is not covered by national health insurance, and a fetus is tested and found to have the disease, the government might force an abortion. After all, they are paying. (“We can’t afford children with diabetes, fetal alcohol syndrome, or congenital heart defects when they are so easily voided.”) In 1971, Bentley Glass proclaimed: “No parents will in that future time have a right to burden society, (or the National Insurance Fund, I might add), with a malformed or mentally incompetent child.”

(See: Life, Liberty, and the Defense of Dignity by Leon Kass)

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2 Responses

  1. The general public rarely gets enough information to make rational decisions. It’s sad really, but what can you do?

  2. A fundamental problem with collectivism is that every person’s individual priviate needs become a drain on everyone. This leads to large numbers of people thinking they have a right to meddle with other people’s businesses and to interfere with what should be private matters.

    As to cloning, this is a fictional boogey-man used to incite fear among the ignorant. Identical twins are genetic clones of each other and nothing harmful comes from it. But a whole, non-deterministic process of embryology separates a fertilized egg from the fully developed being it has the potential of becoming. Identical twins share much of this process and turn out much more similar to each other than would “twins” that were separated in time and location.

    While addressing abortion, it should also be noted that a majority of pregnancies end in miscarriage, often with the woman not even being aware that she had been pregnant. Shouldn’t we have an equal concern for these?

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