In a radio interview Sunday with Aaron Klein, broadcast on New York’s AM 970 The Answer and Philadelphia’s NewsTalk 990 AM, Princeton University ethics professor Peter Singer argued it is “reasonable” for government or private insurance companies to deny
World Net Daily
According to an article published Sunday by World Net Daily, a Princeton University professor has suggested that severely disabled infants be killed to cut health care costs and for moral reasons. In a radio interview Sunday with Aaron Klein, broadcast on New York’s AM 970 The Answer and Philadelphia’s NewsTalk 990 AM, Princeton University ethics professor Peter Singer argued it is “reasonable” for government or private insurance companies to deny treatment to severely disabled babies.
Several times during the interview Singer argued the health-care system under Obamacare should openly acknowledge health-care rationing and that the country should acknowledge the necessity of “intentionally ending the lives of severely disabled infants.” Singer also repeatedly referred to a disabled infant as “it” during the interview.
According the WND, Singer is well-known for his controversial views on abortion and infanticide. He essentially argues the right to life is related to a being’s capacity for intelligence and to hold life preferences, which in turn is directly related to a capacity to feel and comprehend pain and pleasure.
Singer told Klein rationing is already happening, saying doctors and hospitals routinely make decisions based on costs. Klein is the host of “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio,” a syndicated radio program that airs in several markets across the US. Klein is also a columnist at WND.
“It’s different in the U.S. system, in a way, because it doesn’t do this overtly; maybe it doesn’t do it as much,” Singer explained. “And the result is it spends about twice as much on health care as some other countries for very little extra benefit in terms of the outcome.”
During the interview Klein quoted from a section of Singer’s 1993 treatise “Practical Ethics,” titled “Taking Life: Humans.” In the section, Singer argued for the morality of “non-voluntary euthanasia” for human beings not capable of understanding the choice between life and death, including “severely disabled infants, and people who through accident, illness, or old age have permanently lost the capacity to understand the issue involved.”
Singer contends that the wrongness of killing a human being is not based on the fact that the individual is alive and human. Instead, Singer argues it is “characteristics like rationality, autonomy, and self-consciousness that make a difference.” When asked by Klein whether he envisions denying treatment to disabled infants to become more common in the US under the new health-care law, Singer replied: “It does happen. Not necessarily because of costs.”
“If an infant is born with a massive hemorrhage in the brain that means it will be so severely disabled that if the infant lives it will never even be able to recognize its mother, it won’t be able to interact with any other human being, it will just lie there in the bed and you could feed it but that’s all that will happen, doctors will turn off the respirator that is keeping that infant alive.”
“I don’t know whether they are influenced by reducing costs,” Singer continued. “Probably they are just influenced by the fact that this will be a terrible burden for the parents to look after, and there will be no quality of life for the child. So we are already taking steps that quite knowingly and intentionally are ending the lives of severely disabled infants. And I think we ought to be more open in recognizing that this happens.”
Klein then asked singer, “I know that it happens and it happens certainly if the family gives consent. But do you think in the future in order to ensure a more fair rationing of health-care and health-care costs, that it should actually be instituted more? The killing of severely disabled babies?”
Singer responded by saying the killing of infants would be “quite reasonable” if it saved money that can be used for better purposes. He contended that most people would say they don’t want their premiums to be higher “so that infants who can experience zero quality of life can have expensive treatments.”
Singer’s full response:
“I think if you had a health-care system in which governments were trying to say, “Look, there are some things that don’t provide enough benefits given the costs of those treatments. And if we didn’t do them we would be able to do a lot more good for other people who have better prospects, then yes.
I think it would be reasonable for governments to say, ‘This treatment is not going to be provided on the national health service if it’s a country with a national health service. Or in the United States on Medicare or Medicade.’
And I think it will be reasonable for insurance companies also to say, ‘You know, we won’t insure you for this or we won’t insure you for this unless you are prepared to pay an extra premium, or perhaps they have a fund with lower premiums for people who don’t want to insure against that.’
Because I think most people, when they think about that, would say that’s quite reasonable. You know, I don’t want my health insurance premiums to be higher so that infants who can experience zero quality of life can have expensive treatments.”