I have a bad habit of becoming overly obsessed with certain topics in the media but to my own defense I see it as a learning opportunity. The recent case of Brittany Maynard and her wish to utilize the Death with Dignity law combined with my medical ethics class I am taking this spring has kept me up late reading all the different angles of this topic. For my own virtual safety I am not going to get into this case specifically but I will get into beneficence and patient autonomy factors… if ya don’t mind?! I guess the first thing that really leaves me scratching my head is the lack of my own ability to take a side. I 100% believe in patient autonomy… but where do we draw the line? There was a specific case presented to my class last week about a lesbian couple who were both deaf. They had previously conceived a child through artificial insemination and used a personal donor with a significant family history of deafness and they were wanting to do it again. Is this morally correct? They technically have the right to choose whether they go to a facility and “place an order” for an embryo or use someone they know and that’s ok. Is it fair to the child? What if I told you that the child would be raised in a strictly deaf community that provided an astronomical amount of resources for the child to develop as normal as possible? To the extent of an all deaf college in the local area? I guess to me… being deaf isn’t the end of the world; it could be a lot worse when it comes to disabilities. John Mill’s an iconic philosopher stated that to do morally right we must do what is best for the greater good of the community. Who determines if being deaf is a detriment to the community? It is impossible to determine if the child would have had a good or bad life if it were born with the ability to hear or vise versa, right? We discussed this case for a week and I wrote a 5 page paper on it and I still don’t know where I stand. Medical ethics are hard to perceive empirically. As a mom, my heart sides with the child that they have already brought into the world, and the second they are considering. Who is there to represent the unborn child? As a parent of a healthy, beautiful little girl of course I want every parent under the sun to experience the same joy. Unfortunately, that’s not always the hand people are dealt; and that’s ok too.
I feel quite shallow as I write this… What do you think?