Human Life and the Imago Dei

News Release: Human Life and the Imago Dei

8th World Conference of the World Christian Doctors Network, Brisbane June 11/12, 2011

Dr Lachlan Dunjey from Perth, Western Australia, founder of Medicine with Morality and the Liberty of Conscience Declaration said that the devaluation of human life, the blurring of what it means to be human is humanity’s greatest crisis.

“The attempted manipulation of life and death is the most significant issue of our time. When does human life begin and when does it have value?  What does it mean to be human?  The answer to this is critical to our thinking with respect to abortion, destructive embryo research, cloning, eugenics and euthanasia.”

Imago Dei

He said that this devaluation, especially evident since the beginning of this millennium, was forced into clear focus by destructive embryo research to extract stem cells, although the issues have been with us for a long time.

He highlighted the views of some ethicists and scientists who argue that it is OK to take formed organs from the more mature unborn and others who argue that it is OK to sacrifice a newborn baby up to 4-6 weeks of age before it becomes self-aware using self-awareness as the criterion for personhood.

Dr Dunjey said:

“Concepts of value and worth and disability and personhood and self-awareness are too arbitrary and subject to the opinions and whims of the day on which to base decisions regarding life and death.  Nations may decide that certain states of mental and physical capacity determine that individual’s right to exist or not exist, and then it may be re-defined to include or exclude varying physical characteristics that are deemed acceptable or of worth to society.  That should sound terrifyingly familiar.

“And if that sounds familiar then what do we need to protect the human race and to protect fundamental human rights that we believe to be self-evident? Well, the nations of the world worked that out in 1948 with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to ensure that the atrocities and beliefs that came out of WWII and Nazism would never be repeated.”

He said that the 1959 Declaration of the Rights of the Child applies both before and after birth, and yet the ACT charter excludes rights for the unborn and the Victorian charter excludes abortion and child destruction.  “It is said that we forget the lessons of history but in this we have blatantly rejected the lessons of history.”

He highlighted the fact that the foremost proponents of physician assisted suicide also want this available for the non-dying including the “troubled teen”.

Dr Dunjey listed a Chronicle of Shame of legislative changes that have been made in Australia about which we should feel great shame, the worst of which was the 2008 Victorian abortion law which virtually allows unrestricted abortion including for eugenic reasons by any method through to term. This has allowed parents to abort children with simply corrected abnormalities such as cleft lip and more than 90% of Down Syndrome children are aborted. Some aborted babies “accidentally” born alive are then left to die “because they should not have been born alive”.

He said that mothers deciding to keep their pregnancy going after a diagnosis of abnormality can be labelled as ‘genetic outlaws’.

Dr Dunjey also commented on the fact that some babies with suspected abnormalities are aborted and subsequently found to be normal and this is used as an argument for legalising infanticide. He added: “and so it has been said that banning infanticide unfairly discriminates against the normal child… The logic is that if infanticide was legal then we could allow the baby to be born and be properly examined before making the decision to terminate it… we can then be sure of the diagnosis and the baby gets the benefit of anaesthetic…and use good organs for transplant purposes.”

He cautioned us against thinking that any of these things were impossible.