Euthanasia


burning carImagine with me the following scenario: You are resting peacefully at your home, when all of a sudden you hear a loud bang.  You rush outside to see what happened, and across the street is a wrecked car with a man trapped inside.  As you approach the car to offer help, it becomes engulfed in flames.  The man is fully conscious, but unable to escape.  You’ve called 911, but it will be 15 minutes before they are able to arrive with a fire truck and the jaws of life.  The man is burning before your eyes with no chance of survival, and you hear his blood curdling cries from within the car: “Shoot me, please!  Shoot me!  Ahhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!”

You own a gun, and have the means to honor this man’s request.  The choice is yours: Do nothing, and watch this man burn to death in excruciating pain for the next 10 minutes, or get your gun, and shoot the man to hasten his death to avoid the unbearable suffering.  What would you do?

Once you have answered this question, scroll down below for an additional question.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Euthanasia is the practice of actively and purposely killing an individual because they are experiencing some form of unbearable suffering.  Think, for example, of the person with terminal bone cancer whose body is wracked with pain.  If you were to meet such a person, and they requested that you kill them to end their suffering, would you do it?

If you would kill the man in the car, but not the man with cancer, please explain what you see as the morally significant distinction between the two scenarios.  Likewise, if you would not kill the man in the car, but would kill the man with cancer, please explain what you see as the morally significant distinction between the two scenarios.

EuthanizePhysician-assisted suicide and euthanasia advocates always make their case by pointing to the suffering of the terminally ill. They tug on our heart strings, and promise that if only we’ll legalize PAS/EUTH, it will be limited to the terminally ill who are in their last stages of life and cannot bear the pain of their disease and want to die.

That is how it starts out, but eventually, the scope of those eligible for PAS/EUTH always widens to encompass more and more people – either by changing the law, or just flouting the law.  The first requirement to go is usually the time-frame.  If PAS/EUTH is good enough in the last 6 or 12 months of a person’s life, well, why not allow it a little before?  Eventually, time limits don’t matter.  Next to slip is the requirement that one be terminally ill.  Any illness that causes unbearable pain will do.  But, if PAS/EUTH is the answer to pain, and pain comes in both physical and emotional forms, then why limit PAS/EUTH to just those who are suffering from physical pain?  So the tent gets widened to include those who are depressed and cannot bear life as well.  Indeed, if PAS/EUTH is a compassionate answer to pain, then why is consent even needed?  Doctor’s and parents should be allowed to kill babies born with severe medical problems, whose quality of life is deemed to be too low to be worth living (or let live).  The fact of the matter is that there’s no end in sight when death is seen as a good way to end human suffering, which is why every European country that has legalized PAS/EUTH has followed this slippery slope one way or another.

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Vermont legislatureOn Monday, the Vermont House approved a bill to legalize assisted suicide in the state by a vote of 75-65 (the VT Senate passed it previously by a vote of 17-13).  The governor supported the bill and will surely sign it, making VT the 4th state in the nation to legalize assisted suicide.  

There’s nothing like sending a message to the most vulnerable people among us that we think their lives are of such little value that they can be disposed of at will.  Our moral decline continues….

 

HT: Wesley J. Smith

Deaf TwinsTwin brothers were recently euthanized in Belgium.  The two unidentified men – who appear to be in their 40s – were born deaf, and have spent their entire lives together.  When informed that they were both going blind, they decided to end their lives because they couldn’t bear the thought of not seeing one another again.

Belgium euthanizes 1% of the population every year.  What makes this brother-duo unique is that they were not terminally ill, nor were they experiencing any physical suffering.  They simply did not want to live with the quality of life they would be forced to live under, so they found a doctor to kill them before that day arrived.

Let this be a sounding alarm.  Euthanasia is not yet legal in this country, and only Oregon and Washington allow for physician-assisted suicide.  But there continues to be a big push for the legalization of physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia, and it is gaining momentum throughout the Western world.  Those who push for its legalization always tell the public that the legal option for suicide will only be reserved for the terminally ill who are experiencing agonizing pain at the end of their lives.  But that’s just the selling point.  Once a society buys into that line, the pro-death community always goes for the upsell.  Their ultimate goal is death-on-demand.

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Elections tell you a lot about the worldview of Americans.  Last night’s election is no exception.  It reveals a lot about our moral views.  This election reveals that our nation has become very accepting of homosexuality and same-sex marriage, as well as smoking pot.

Homosexuality and Same-Sex Marriage

Wisconsin elected the first openly gay U.S. Senator.  Maine (53% vs. 47%) and Maryland (52% vs. 48%) voted to support the legalization of same-sex marriage.  Maryland voters merely confirmed their support of a law allowing same-sex marriage that was recently signed into law by the governor.  Maine chimed in on this same issue in 2009 after their legislature passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, and they rejected same-sex marriage with 53% of the vote.  Look how quickly public opinion is shifting!

The significance of what happened in Maine and Maryland cannot be underestimated.  This is the first time in history that same-sex marriage has been approved by the people of a state as opposed to the courts or legislature.

Washington also had an initiative to legalize same-sex marriage (same-sex marriage was already legal in all but name).  Only half of the votes have been counted thus far, but at present 52% have voted in favor of same-sex marriage, and thus it is likely to become legal there as well.  If so, nine states will have laws allowing same-sex marriage.

Minnesota tried to change their constitution to limit marriage to a man and a woman, but the initiative was defeated 51% to 48%.  The measure’s defeat, however, does not mean that same-sex marriage is legal.  It’s just not on the books as being illegal.

On the international front, France is now in the process of trying to legalize same-sex marriage there.  If it passes, they will become the 12th country in the world where same-sex couples can marry.  And yesterday, Spain’s high court upheld a 2005 law that legalized same-sex marriage.

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Wesley J. Smith wrote about the most recent statistics available on the number of deaths caused by euthanasia in the Netherlands.  The official report as reported in the Lancet notes that only 2.8% of all deaths in the Netherlands were the result of euthanasia.  The truth is about a decimal point off, however, and Smith explains why.

First, the report also notes that only 77% of all cases of euthanasia were reported to a review committee.  That means 23% of deaths by euthanasia were not reported, raising the total number to 3.5%.  But this leaves out the deaths involving terminal sedation, which is nothing more than “slow motion euthanasia.”  The practice of terminal sedation involves sedating a person to the point of unconsciousness, and then depriving them of food and water until they die.  In 2012 a full 12.3% of people were killed this way!  Since approximately 2% of people are so close to death when they receive terminal sedation that they die of their disease before they die of dehydration, we can reduce this number to approximately 10%.  That means that nearly 14% of deaths in the Netherlands are caused by doctors actively killing the patients.

It gets worse.  The 14% figure is based on the total number of deaths.  Given the fact that approximately half of all deaths do not involve end-of-life medical decisions (accidents, heart attacks), the reality is that approximately 28% of all deaths involving end-of-life decision making are the result of intentional killing by the medical community!  Of course, the headline “28% of deaths involving end-of-life medical care caused by suicide at the hands of doctors!” doesn’t sound nearly as good as “Only 2.8% of Dutch die by euthanasia.”  You’ve got to be careful when it comes to stats.  If you’re not careful, they (stats and Dutch doctors) will kill you.

A former professor of medical ethics and former chairman of the Institute of Medical Ethics in Britain, Raanan Gillon, wrote an editorial in the British Medical Journal lambasting a judicial ruling that gave pre-eminence to the sanctity of life.  Gillon argues that given scant medical resources, physicians should be allowed to withdraw treatment from stable, but minimally conscious patients suffering from severe dementia in order to cause their premature death.  

Yes, this is a preeminent bioethicist.  The field has become overrun with utilitarians who espouse views that are anything but ethical.

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