French parents fight to kill their disabled newborn

It is every expecting mother’s worst nightmare: going into premature labor and giving birth to a baby that cannot survive. Such is the situation that two French parents have found themselves in — only their son did survive. Little Titouan was born four months premature and suffered an intracerebral hemorrhage. Doctors are still unsure about the extent of possible brain damage, but his parents don’t care. They are campaigning for the “right” to kill their baby now.

Parents of an extremely premature baby, currently in hospital in the city of Poitiers, have asked doctors to take their child off life support, or “passive euthanasia”. The doctors, however, say they need more time to evaluate the baby’s condition.

“We made this decision over a week ago,” said the baby’s mother, Mélanie, who was interviewed by France Info. “Who wants their son to live the life of a handicapped person? Maybe some families want this, but we don’t.”

And with that, the writing is on the wall. This isn’t about whether or not their baby will survive. They don’t want to deal with the inconvenience of raising a child with a disability, and so, he deserves to die.

Titouan’s doctors, thankfully, disagree, and are fighting to give Titouan a little more time.

“If we want to be able to fully understand the consequences [of the haemorrhage], we can’t rush this. We need a few weeks to evaluate his condition,” said Professor Fabrice Pierre, of the department of gynecology and obstetrics at Poitiers CHU, on French TV channel France Bleu. “Currently, we are not giving him intensive treatment; we are simply giving him life support to give us the time to do a proper evaluation.”

The baby’s parents, Mélanie and Aurélien, who are both in their 30s, say that doctors have already told them that their son will be paralysed on one side and that it is very likely he will be “severely disabled.”

They accuse the “inhumane” doctors of prolonging their son’s suffering.

Ah, yes. The inhumanity of doctors who are fighting to give a child, a human being, the dignity of being treated like a human being. Do people with disabilities not deserve the simple respect of a full and proper evaluation to determine the extent of their injuries? Evidently that’s what Titouan’s “parents” think. Their son will likely be paralyzed on one side, so don’t even bother with giving him decent medical care. Just throw that one back.

The hospital had to consult an ethics panel to determine who would ultimately make the decision to end Titouan’s life. While this isn’t a case of euthanasia, as Alex Schadenberg points out, it is still appalling and deeply disturbing to see parents devaluing the life of their child, purely because that child may end up disabled.

In the end, the parents got their wish. Titouan was removed from life support, against the wishes of his doctors, and passed away today. Titouan’s parents may well have every legal right to kill their son but does that make it right? And should such a callous and cruel attitude towards people with disabilities be something to celebrate?

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