Saturday, February 27, 2010

What Right?

I have long been opposed to capital punishment and don't foresee that position changing any time soon. In essence I don't see any reason, no matter the crime, to justify the death of someone. Although there are others that disagree and the debate will go on, to me the points of debate are quite clear.

The recent case of a Perth mother of two needing a second liver transplant is perhaps more grey than black-and-white. The complicating factor in this is that she has a long history of drug abuse, and has admitted using after the first transplant. She promises that she has reformed her life but she is talking to a skeptical and jaded world.

Now I fully admit that she does have a second option, and one that the State Government is willing to fund, in that she can travel to New Zealand to test her eligibility for a living transplant, an operation not done in Australia. I also know that many do die while they are on the waiting list for a transplant so even being on the list is no guarantee that she will receive a transplant before her time is up.

What interests me about this case is the public perception of "worthiness" or otherwise of this operation, and her "right" to be on the list. There has been a general damning attitude that she had her chance and she doesn't deserve another.  I wonder if we looked at all of the people on the waiting list for transplants whether there would be other "unworthy" recipients that are currently flying under the radar - maybe a sex offender, maybe a criminal, maybe a longterm unemployed person, maybe an older person?

Where does the line drawn between those worthy and unworthy get drawn, and who draws it? In this case I am not talking about people who (say) need to lose weight or give up smoking prior to an operation in order to maximize the opportunity for a successful recovery, I am talking about the public opinion, and public policy, applying moral judgments to people that literally affect their ability to remain living.

I wonder what these same people would think if we were discussing their parent, or child, would their strength of convictions still hold?

Photo: "choice." by shotgunxfabulous


pita-woman said...

Wow, the picture of the sneakers totally through me off from the blog-subject!
It's a hard decision of who is worthy/not. I suppose, much like being on a jury and deciding a sentence of death vs. life in prison vs. setting someone free, the decision isn't always easy.

Mountaingirl said...

No pita, it isn't easy ... I still can't even come up with a definite opinion - just as well it isn't me that has to come up with place where the line is drawn lol