Physician-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.