Saturday, June 16, 2012

Can a fetus have a funeral if it’s not legally a “person”?

A column in the Toronto Star raises the issue:

Q: My niece was pregnant recently, and sadly, the fetus was stillborn at 5 months. That was a tragedy, but what confuses me is what happened next. The “baby” was named and given a funeral — even though the child never lived a minute. Legally, I thought a fetus was not a “person” until he or she is born — so I don’t understand why this happened. Ethically, isn’t there a problem with creating a “person” out of this fetus, just to meet the emotional needs of grieving parents?

A: (...)Yes, the law of the land has been interpreted to mean that, with respect to fetal rights, human life begins at birth. But the law in Ontario says that, anytime after 20 weeks gestation, a child born dead is technically a “stillborn”; therefore, parents are obligated to make arrangements for the disposition of the remains. Before 20 weeks, parents are not legally required to take on this responsibility — but they may do so if they choose. And disposition (such a horrible word) can be simple — directly through a funeral home — or as elaborate as the family’s wishes and traditions dictate.

Did you get that? Sometimes children are born dead.

Not fetuses born dead. Children.

Birth is not the beginning of life. It is merely one stage of life.

And here's another interesting comment:

At some point, whether politically popular or not, this country is going to have to reopen the discussion of when human life begins. Many important issues hang on that question — about genetic intervention, gender selection, the right to treatment in utero, and so on. We can’t ignore this question forever, just because it is painful and divisive.

The thing about facts is that you cannot suppress them forever. Feminists think they can. They can't. Life begins before birth, and the law will, eventually, have to recognize that fact. You can't base law and medicine on lies.