Benjamin Wiker is Professor of Political Science, Director of Human Life Studies, and Senior Fellow of the Veritas Center at Franciscan University. His newest book is In Defense of Nature: the Catholic Unity of Environmental, Economic, and Moral Ecology. His website is www.benjaminwiker.com.
If you want to find out where secularism will take us, you need only visit the most secular countries of all, the northern European countries of Belgium and the Netherlands. These were the first two countries to legalize euthanasia — both in 2002.
In Belgium, you have to be at least 18 years old to claim the privilege (or have it claimed for you). But Belgians are now considering allowing euthanasia for those under 18, with the socialists and liberals lining up in hearty affirmation and the Catholic Church spearheading the opposition.
Unsurprisingly, those pushing towards moral barbarism have already been engaging in the practice anyway, using the old “normalize so you can legalize” strategy. As president of a leading Belgian “medical ethics” organization, Peter Deconinck, told a Belgian Senate committee, “We all know that euthanasia is already practiced on children. … Yes, active euthanasia.”
And the Netherlanders? While they don’t officially allow you to kill children, but if doctors (wink, wink) follow the so-called Groningen Protocol, then they won’t be prosecuted. According to that Protocol, children may be killed if those in charge deem there to be “the presence of hopeless and unbearable suffering and a very poor quality of life,” if there is “parental consent,” aided by consultation with an independent physician and his or her agreement with the treating physicians,” and finally if the “procedure” is carried out “in accordance with the accepted medical standard.”
One might imagine just a few doctors engaging in actively euthanizing Netherlander youth, but a 1997 study revealed that 45% of Dutch neonatologists and 31% of pediatricians had killed infants. In fact, according to the study, 8% of the infants who died in the Netherlands were actually killed … by doctors.
And that was in 1997, a full eight years before the publication of the Groningen Protocol in 2005. In other words, the actual killing of infants had become widely established practice long before there was any attempt to provide some “rules” governing what remains (at least on the books) an illegal practice in the Netherlands, where, ironically, the International Court of Justice, or World Court, is located.
It doesn’t take much imagination to suspect that the Belgians have also been killing infants for quite some time, and are now simply looking for legal affirmation of established barbaric practice.