Insight on the News
● Surgery in the womb reached a new peak recently when California surgeons inserted a tiny plastic tube into the bladder of a fetus to drain a urinary blockage. Such new developments in treating the unborn make it seem “likely that the fetus with a treatable birth defect is on the threshold of becoming a patient,” say doctors writing in the “Journal of the American Medical Association” (JAMA). But in the same issue, an editorial raises a perplexing ethical question about such unborn “patients”:
“Is it not contradictory for physicians to speak of the fetus as ‘patient’ when one of the stipulations for that role is that physicians would not under any circumstances abandon such an individual?” Yet abandon the tiny “patient” is just what a physician does when he performs an abortion. Hence, JAMA says that there is an “apparent inconsistency of encouraging fetal therapy on the one hand and respecting parental choice about abortion on the other.” (August 14, 1981, pp. 772-777) This dilemma for physicians and their new group of tiny “patients” vividly illustrates the Scriptural position that life both inside and outside the womb is not a disposable commodity.—Ps. 139:13-16; Ex. 21:22-24.
Vacillating on Violence
● Thinking persons often wonder why there is so much violence in Northern Ireland among people who profess to be Christians. A columnist for London’s “Daily Telegraph,” Christopher Monckton, recently offered an explanation. He noted, for example, that the Irish Catholic primate, Cardinal Fee, had rightly declared that “people who deliberately take an innocent life commit a heinous crime against the law of God.” But meanwhile the cardinal had also warned that if the British government “continues its rigid stance” in a dispute with Irish prisoners, “it will ultimately be faced with the wrath of the whole Nationalist population.” Fee even questioned the government’s right to pronounce a prisoner “a murderer or a suicide.”
“The implication of his words,” writes Catholic layman Monckton, “is that, although violence is in itself wrong, it is justified to a considerable degree by the institutional violence of the British Government.” However, he continued, “this notion of meeting ‘institutional violence’ with actual violence owes much to Marxism and nothing at all to Christianity.” The columnist declared that such a double-tongued approach “can only have confused the people and left them in doubt as to the Church’s position.” Hence, Monckton concluded: “If Cardinal Fee and his brother bishops had taught without equivocation not only that violence is wrong but also that nothing in the present Irish situation . . . can even in the smallest degree justify any of the acts of murder and suicide that are taking place, it is at least a possibility that fewer . . . acts of violence” would be committed.
‘Good Is Bad’?
● British social services authorities recently told a couple who had been foster parents for 47 children that they were unsuitable to adopt a child. According to the Toronto “Star,” the officials declared that “a child growing up in the happy surroundings of their home would not be sufficiently exposed to ‘negative experiences.’” A letter to the couple stated: “It would seem from the interviews and reports that both of you have had few, if any, negative experiences when children yourselves, and also seem to enjoy a marital relationship where rows and arguments have no place.” The disappointed couple reportedly said: “To say we are not suitable because we do not row or argue is beyond belief.”
Do children really have to be exposed to “rows and arguments” to ensure a balanced life? The Bible’s wise counsel to “train up a boy according to the way for him” certainly does not imply home demonstrations of squabbling. Surely there are enough of such “negative experiences” outside the home. The ideas of some of this world’s social engineers call to mind Isaiah’s warning to ancient Israel: “Woe to those who are saying that good is bad and bad is good.”—Prov. 22:6; Isa. 5:20.