Dr Colin Harte: Prioritising the most vulnerable

“When it comes to protecting human beings we can make no concessions, no compromises, because when we give up on the least, we give up on all of us.”

Total, uncompromising protection for all human beings, from conception to natural death, regardless of disability, circumstances of conception or illness, was the theme of Dr Colin Harte’s presentation in Auckland recently.

Using Aesop’s fable, The Woodcutter and the Axe, Dr Harte discussed the importance of protecting in law, the weakest among us at both the beginning of life and the end.

Colin Harte and Elizabeth Bayer
Colin Harte and Elizabeth Bayer. Photo: Rachel Manning

“Even if the law is not interpreted liberally, once you give way on the principle of absolute respect for life, say by allowing abortion after rape or for disability, the very abandonment of that principle, paves the way for further disregard for human life” Colin stated.

Throughout his presentation, Colin spoke of his long-time friend Alison (Ali) Davis who suffered greatly, but loved generously after a profound conversion experience which helped her understand the infinite value of her life and those of every person.

“Ali had a profound sense of the infinite value of each and every human being and if we properly understand what it is to say that each human being has an infinite value – a value which we truly possess as sons and daughters of God – then we will know that a law that allows the killing of even one profoundly disabled unborn child is wicked, unjust, and unacceptable as a law that allows the killing of countless millions.”

Colin’s work involves campaigning against euthanasia and assisted suicide.  He noted that it is common for people to use the euphemism “assisted dying” when speaking of assisted suicide or euthanasia, but pointed out that true assisted dying is “assisting someone to live until they die.”

“Just as the integrity of our pro-life witness at the beginning of life is demonstrated by our commitment to the most vulnerable – to the most profoundly disabled babies or those conceived after rape – likewise the integrity of our pro-life witness at the other end of life is demonstrated by our commitment to the most vulnerable.”

“The most vulnerable” Dr Harte related “are the Ash saplings in Aesop’s tale.  And if we fail to protect them all will become vulnerable to harm.”

One of the key tactics of euthanasia advocates is to convince the public that a particular course of action is in the “patient’s best interest.”

He quoted Australian euthanasia advocate Helga Kuhse, PhD who in 1984 stated “If we can get people to accept the removal of all treatment and care especially the removal of food and fluids, they will see what a painful way this is to die and then in the patient’s best interest they will accept the lethal injection.”

“If you accept that it is in the best interests of someone to be killed by euthanasia if they volunteer for it, similarly for those who can not volunteer for it, someone else will decide its in their best interest” Colin explained.

He concluded by expressing the need for all pro-lifer’s to be certain of what the objections are to abortion and euthanasia/assisted suicide: the value and dignity of each human being from its very beginning until the end.

“A law allowing particular people to end their lives no matter how restrictive it might be will always be discriminatory and based on a view  of prejudice that their lives are not as valuable and worth living as those of others.  Yes, any law will have further victims, others will become unsafe, but it is the denial of the value, dignity and status of those who want to die that is in the first place objectionable.”

Dr Colin Harte, PhD earned his doctorate for a thesis on suffering and self-giving based on the theology and anthropology of Saint Pope John Paul II and he is currently on the Board of Care Not Killing, UK.  He was in Auckland, New Zealand at the beginning of October 2018 for Family Life International NZ’s pro-life, pro-family conference, Living the Splendour of Truth.

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