The Quality of Life, Who Decides?

How do we determine whose life is worth saving? Whose life is more significant? No, I am not venturing into the Pro-Abortion versus Pro-Life debacle, having been on both sides of the debate. My only suggestion is to remind people, research can be flawed, even some long-term studies. The devil is often in the details. The loudest megaphones ensure these studies keep their lofty positions in science and academia, placating their most ardent adherents.

However, there remain far bigger questions, and recent discussions and arguments prompted me to pose them. What is the quality of a life? Who deserves the funds or other resources it may demand?

Last week, Janet Yellen was asked about the economic impact of a ban on abortion. Her answer suggested women would be set back decades without this form of reproductive regulation, that is helping women rise from poverty.

Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina viewed the Treasury Secretary’s words as “harsh.”

He clarified his mother, a single black woman, raised her son in “abject poverty” but with a positive attitude.

Was the quality of Senator Scott’s life diminished by his financial circumstances? I think not.

My single maternal grandmother came from a poor, first-generation, middle-eastern family. My mother and her brother were born out of wedlock with a philanderer who promised her the world. Although my grandmother tried to earn a living, it was supplemented by resources from the government. Unlike now, welfare requirements were stringent. No fillet mignon or manicures for her, but I digress.

With her paltry earnings, my grandmother received funds taken from others. Did she deserve to use taxpayer dollars? Should my mother have been born whose care depended on financial support from other Americans?

How about the disabled? Should they be kept alive? The ancient Spartans would say no. According to,

“Infanticide was a disturbingly common act in the ancient world, but in Sparta, this practice was organized and managed by the state. All Spartan infants were brought before a council of inspectors and examined for physical defects, and those who weren’t up to standards were left to die.”

Some say such barbarism would never occur in the United States. I disagree. Certain states have suggested laws allowing pregnancy termination through the ninth month beyond reasons for the mother’s physical health. Other states have proposed bills allowing infanticide.

For example, the Maryland Senate proposed bill 669 to legalize infanticide up to 28 days after birth. It was soon altered, but should it not be a concern?

A California Assembly committee passed a radical bill, 2223, that legal analysts say would legalize infanticide, letting babies die up to 6 weeks after birth.

Are young lives born after nine months worth saving? What if they require more care because something went awry during or after birth? What if the parent decides they cannot care for the child in this late stage? How about if the child’s appearance is defective and needs corrective surgery with no guarantees?

What about disabled individuals through the lifecycle?

Adolf Hitler, remember him, the hyper nationalistic, big, big government megalomaniac?

He began his process of elimination with the disabled before moving on to the Jewish, Gay, Gypsy, and rebellious Catholic populations?

The disabled require many resources, and would suffer or die without expensive medications and procedures supplemented by the government.

Does the quality of their lives have merit? Are these human beings worthy of our precious supplies?

My husband is disabled. He worked since he was fourteen, maintained a small business for many years, and misses the dignity work offers. One of my amazing clients became a quadriplegic at age seventeen because of an accident during an athletic performance. He never complained in the ten years I saw him, nor did he give up hope, succumbing to death at age 42. Due to increased limitations, he surrendered employment and required expensive equipment and treatments. Should those have been provided to him?

How about the aging population? My mother required a very expensive drug to keep her alive in her early eighties. With the help of her oncologist, the insurance company paid for it. Although she died within the year, it prolonged the quality of her life. Should she have received a high-priced medication at that late stage of her life?

How about those enduring the ravages of diseases such as Alzheimer’s? Should these human beings, shadows of themselves, be kept alive and delivered care? Some would say no.

Assisted suicide is being pushed in certain states which I oppose. Some prominent professionals believe people need to die after a certain age. In 2014, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel stated he wanted to die by age seventy-five when age-related diseases develop, claiming he was not pushing euthanasia. He and I were born the same year. Let us see if he maintains his position in ten years.

In 2009, Robert Reich said the following about government-controlled healthcare for the aging, I paraphrase:

If you’re ancient, we will not provide technology and drugs for the last couple of years of your life to extend your life for a couple of months. It’s too expensive, so we’re going to let you die.

I wonder if Mr. Reich, now in his mid-seventies, would relinquish his fair share for the greater good, or does he follow the motto, “do as I say, not as I do?” I believe it would be the latter since federal employees were exempted from the Affordable Care Act. Yes, concerns for the masses need not apply to him.

Many years ago, I worked with unstable, chaotic families for the Department of Social Services, now the Department of Children and Families. Did some of these children rise above the unfairness of their circumstances? I can only hope.

I also worked in an organization that housed the most severe, challenged adults. This was back in the eighties. Now, in our more self-centered era, some might question the quality of these lives. Please take my word for it. Their devoted caretakers would provide a strong affirmative answer.

So it begs the two questions again: What is the quality of life and does that life deserve limited supplies? Also, who determines where life begins and where it ends, and to add controversy into the mix, what is a life? In the early stages of development, is it a bunch of cells? How about in the later stages, because of dementia, is the body a shell of nobody at home?

None of these questions have simple answers. Nor should they be glossed over. People often profess religion fuels these discussions. I would concur, but not alone. Many scientists and bioethicists inquire about these matters without a religious orientation.

My unsolicited but humble recommendation is to gain as much information as possible when making major decisions and ignore loud experts, declaring they have all the answers about life, what qualifies a life, and what entails a life.

The science is never settled, no matter what silver tongue exclaims it is.

Thank you for reading and considering.


Darlene Corbett
Darlene Corbett
Darlene Corbett views herself as a life-long learner, a pursuer of excellence, a work-in-progress, and a seeker-of-the-truth. For over thirty years, she has been assisting people to get unstuck. Darlene's primary professional role has been as a Therapist, but now she includes Author and Writer. In 2011, Darlene began putting her thoughts on paper and hasn’t stopped. Many of her blogs can also be found on Sixty and Me, Medium, and Penning these articles set the stage for her first book, Stop Depriving The World of You, traditionally published by Sound Wisdom. Throughout her career, Darlene has been described as animated or effervescent which contradicts the perception of a psychotherapist. She firmly believes in the importance of being authentic and discusses platinum-style authenticity in her book. As a believer in pushing oneself as long as one has life, Darlene’s first novel, Visible Forever, will be published in the spring of 2024 by WordCrafts Press.

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  1. Blessings Darlene, your article speaks volumes in many ways. Recently, I have been engaged in conversations regarding respect for human life. Recently, there was an article, (not conspiracy) but an article of facts out of Canada, where one agrees that their life is no longer significant or they have reached their end, they can decide for Euthanasia and be paid for it. I am not afraid to say that my faith dictates my thoughts and feelings on many subjects. This being one that really hits home. (My thoughts): Life is given to us by God. Many on this website, as well as all over the world would not be here if God did not create them. They have a lot to offer as is evident with the talents I read on Bizcatalyst, so if each of them were not allowed the chance to come into this world, or for those who’s disabilities have given hope through studies to save others is not worth being here, what’s the point! Just because a life is considered a burden, or something that doesn’t fit into one’s life at the moment or forever, does not eliminate the fact that they were all created to give something. It is mankind today sadly, who decides over God what is acceptable and worth saving, and what can be destroyed.

    • Hi dear Lynn,

      Thank you! I was hoping you would read this after seeing your heartfelt posts under another article. I give you credit for stating your position. It is the reason I wrote this article to broaden the discussion about the consequences of not considering the overarching message which you and I see as life.
      Yes, I am aware of what is happening in Canada. It is most disturbing that the government will pay for Euthanasia, and in one case, not provide funds to help the woman financially.
      You probably know this, but in 2014, Belgium legalized euthanasia for children. It is a complicated process. Nevertheless, it is allowed. Sparta, Moloch, we must never become, but I fear we are.
      Thank you again for your thoughtful writing and for reading my article and sharing your wisdom.
      With a smile,

  2. Very interesting debate here. All life’s matter of course. I would not cut any of them out. We are all important and unique. And until the system quits seeing us as numbers and stats and starts viewing us as human beings nothing will change. I FIT in several of these categories and I can say I would be upset if people gave up on me due to my disability or age. We all deserve to be treated with dignity. I don’t have the answers but I can see this as a real issue in today’s society.

    • Thank you so much, Eva, for reading and commenting. I appreciate your thoughts. Much information swirls around us, with some important facts withheld from the conversation. As a seeker of the truth, I always search, and I will continue to do so until the day I die. Thanks again!

      With a smile,


  3. Thank you, Darlene, for addressing the complex subject of abortion with sensitivity and thought. Working in so many different communities as a crime and violence prevention specialist, I saw women using abortion as a method of birth control. One woman told me she had five abortions, which is the tip of the iceberg. Some of these women have lifelong issues and regrets. No wonder we have people that don’t value the life of the unborn. Why would we respect the old, the disabled, or the mentally challenged when we don’t appreciate every life?

    My third child is nine and eleven years younger than my older children. If my husband and I had decided to abort him, students would have missed his guidance and wisdom. As a Special Ed High School teacher and Water Polo Coach, he has counseled hundreds of kids. I’ve even read some of the grateful letters he has received.

    Again, thanks for speaking up and sharing information that may save a life!

    • Thank you, dear Stephanie, as always for your thoughts. I try to approach with sensitivity, but I have heard similar situations. Thank God, your son is here. Imagine the children who would have been deprived of his help and wisdom. Fortunately, we do not have worry about that now. Again, I am most grateful my friend.

      With a smile,


  4. Thank you Byron for reading and commenting. Yes, we are in agreement that abortion should not be used as birth control, but unfortunately, because of the cavalier approach to personal responsibility, people do.

    Now, I notice you have done this in the past, and I find it patronizing. Please do not suggest I overlook anything. I have struggled and examined this issue upside down and all around. Because of that, I have come full circle in my beliefs. The issue at hand is whether the baby, and I will call it that (unlike one of the posters in another article referring to it as a fetus), is viable enough to be considered worthy of rights. That is the elephant in the room that is glossed over, not women’s rights. You can believe what you want, but as a woman who never, thank God, had an abortion, I have been most empathic with those who have, I have not come to my conclusion easily. I believe women have been given false information about many things including the message that we can act like men without repercussions. Wrong!

    I learned about sex when I was 10 years old with more information through books about it from my parents. There was no sex education back then, and growing up in the seventies, few people got pregnant. Imagine that. In the eighties, when abortion and sex education were readily available, teenagers were getting pregnant left and right. How do I know? I worked with many of them during that period. Also, I saw a dying breed of women who chose to release their children for adoption. For a few, it was like they were passing off an unimportant parcel, but for more, it was agonizing. Abortion, the same thing. Some saw it as no big deal, others “never forget and never again.”

    The United States is not the same as other countries. I do not believe that sex education has stopped any of this. Otherwise, we would not have to discuss this. I believe you wrote some of the same things on your post under another article. Yes, I know you had a mother. Guess what? So didn’t I!

    I have been around a very long time, and you and I will not see eye to eye on this or other issues from what I have read. As an American woman, I feel very blessed to live in a free country and be able to prosper and thrive. I do not have a charmed life, but a good one, and that is all I can ask.

    If Roe goes away, it returns to the states. Believe me, my state now allows through the ninth month.

    Finally, I suggest you read about the following people of whom I doubt you are familiar, and if you are, you do not know all of the details:
    1) Dr. Debra Soh out of Canada who wrote for Playboy. She did studies indicating men and women respond to sex differently. Also, she had a private practice and found women who told her about the emptiness of casual encounters.
    2) Kermit Gosnell, M.D. who is now serving life in prison for his deeds. Very few in the MSM reported on him.
    3) Abby Johnson, a rising star with Planned Parenthood until she witnessed an ultrasound of a first trimester baby.
    4) Margaret Sanger, the famous racist and eugenicist who believed birth control first because terminating a pregnancy is taking a life.
    5) Bernard Nathanson, M.D. who founded NARAL and pushed Roe. Later, he admitted they deceived the country with the numbers, and because of his follies, he went from a secular, perhaps atheist, to a Roman Catholic.
    More black babies are aborted in NYC than are born.
    Look up these fact if you choose. If not, good luck in your beliefs. If any were mine, they no longer are.

  5. Lots of food for thought in this one. ~ I agree whole heartedly that one should gather all the information possible. ~ Your conscious decision one day could operate much different in your subconscious mind later on. I’ve spoken with many young girls also who actually used abortion as a form of birth control and regretted that decision. There are a multitude of justifications for our actions. Our bodies, our lives, our free will are all gifts. My only hope is that we use them wisely!
    Second thought…maybe it would have been easier to be a man!? Or do we even consider the men in all this?
    Hmmm…Am I really OVER Thinking? ,Loreexx

    • Hi Loree,
      Thank you for your thoughtful post. Yes, this is most difficult, and yes, I always say, God is a man. I have no doubt (lol). I appreciate your sharing. None of this is easy for anyone, especially women.
      With a smile,

  6. Darlene: All thoughtful and well intended points, and it’s obvious you feel very strongly about this issue, as we all should. Like you, I believe abortion is a terrible form of birth control. I also believe it must be both available, safe, and rare. One obvious preventive against it is solid understanding of sexual health and reproduction among young people. Others include easy availability of contraceptives, a lot more respect for womens’ agency, and training young men that women are not there just for their play and passions. As a man, I’m not quite certain I have a right to an opinion about abortion. But one thing I do believe, and something you seem to have overlooked is that the abortion debate raging in the US is not about babies and never was. It’s about womens’ control over their own bodies, and their status as first-class citizens. If the right in the US really cared about the quality of human life, as they claim to, we’d have healthcare availability for the young, quality education free to all, a focus on quality of life from birth to 18, and across the board sex ed from a young age, instead of efforts by certain groups to ban it in our schools, which is absurd. Countries that teach kids about sex have far lower abortion rates, fewer teen pregnancies, and a much lower rate of sexual activity among young people. That’s the quality of life we need here as well. I had a mother. I have a wife that I adore. I have five sisters, three daughters, and two granddaughters. It saddens me that, if Roe goes away as it appears it will, the women I love will be relegated to second-class citizenship, lacking full control over the most intimate parts of their own lives and beings, forbidden to make the most personal choice of their lives. The quality of their lives seems not to be an issue. Thanks for writing.