I came across this article yesterday, and frankly, it made me sick. But I also think it is important to know what some people's mindsets are in the world. Especially if it is a journalist who has a public voice. What does this remind me of? Well, the beginning of the extermination of millions of people in Nazi Germany. To read more about the beautiful adoption of a down's syndrome girl, click on the "Bringing Kellsey Home" button on my sidebar.
Journalist calls for euthanasia of disabled newborns
Published 08 February, 2010, 15:29
Edited 11 March, 2010, 14:08
The article titled “Finish it off so it doesn’t suffer,” which calls for the euthanasia of disabled newborn children, has caused public outrage in Russia and has led to fierce debates in the blogging community.
In the article under question, the author Aleksandr Nikonov argues that the birth of a disabled child for many families would be an unbearable tragedy, “a hell”, and that “the killing of the newborn is in fact the same as an abortion”. He states that depriving infants, who will never be able to take care of themselves, of life is “true humanism”. He also calls to give parents of such children a right to euthanize their newborns, like relatives of patients in a vegetative state can allow doctors to shut down life support.
The provocative text which described disabled newborns as “defective blanks” and “newborn idiots” naturally caused uproar among people who have mentally-challenged family members as well as human rights activists. The fiercest critics said Nikonov’s ideas paralleled those of the Nazis, who made euthanasia of mentally-ill part of state policy, killing tens of thousands of institutionalized people. Others pointed out that he was plainly wrong in his judgment of how disabled children are treated by their families.
“The author is not raising a disabled child – that is why his generalized conclusions about the life of disabled people and their families… are just speculations. As a mother of a disabled child, and based on my experience, I state that these speculations have nothing to do with the reality,” said Svetlana Shtarkova, who, along with another disabled child’s mother, Snezhana Mitina, has written a letter to the Board of the Union of Russian Journalists.
Following the complaint, the Union of Russian Journalists gathered an ad hoc session of a public board to discuss the article. The board accused the author of the article of breaching professional ethics, adding that he should have realized he was humiliating people who are already bringing up disabled kids. The newspaper where the controversial article was published was also criticized by the board for not presenting any material to balance Nikonov’s piece.
The author disagrees with the criticism and defends his position: “You make people suffer for the sake of ideologies and interpretations of humanism you have in your head. What we offer is choice, and you wrap it inside out, presenting it as if we call for killing of all those disabled people. Nothing like that! We don’t stand against wheel cart ramps or your right to bring up disabled children, we stand for the right to choose,” he told the board.
He says even his original headline read “Commander, finish me to spare the suffering,” is a well-recognized reference to a war-time model scenario, where a wounded soldier asks that he be sacrificed so as not to slow down his retreating squad.