Twin 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.
The twin pillars of the pro-suicide logic are (1) personal autonomy and (2) relief of suffering. These two principles allow for the suicide of a whole host of individuals in a wide range of circumstances, not just for the terminally ill experiencing agonizing pain. There is no logical basis for limiting suicide candidates to the terminally ill. After all, physical suffering is not the only kind of suffering that exists. Emotional suffering is also painful in its own way, and many people want to be relieved of that suffering as well. Given the principles of the pro-suicide movement, why can’t the depressed end their lives, just as these brothers (and others as well) did? Indeed, given the principle of personal autonomy, why should suffering even be a prerequisite for suicide? If people have complete autonomy over when and how they die, no further justification is necessary. There is no reason to forbid a person who is physically and emotionally healthy from killing themselves for frivolous reasons. After all, their will is sovereign.
We’ve already seen this progression in European countries like Belgium, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. The so-called legal safeguards do not work. Justifiable suicide is always broadened to include more and more people. It’s not just the terminally-ill, but the depressed (including teenagers), and the healthy elderly who are simply tired of living. Even the voluntary nature of suicide can be compromised. When suicide is seen as a moral good to end personal suffering, then killing those whose lives we deem unworthy of living is not only a moral good, but a moral responsibility. Babies and adults alike are already being killed without their consent in Europe.
We must not buy into the pro-suicide logic, and we must not fall for their tactics. They gain support for their cause by tugging at our heartstrings, telling us stories of terminally ill people experiencing excruciating pain in their final days of life. They manipulate our emotions to make us believe we are the reason these people have to endure their suffering: “If only you would vote to change the law, they could be spared. Where is your sympathy? Would you want your father or grandmother to experience excruciating pain in their final days?” The stories they tell are truly heartbreaking (of course, with advancements in pain medication very few people experience agonizing pain – a point they do not mention), but hard cases do not make for good law. Legislation must be well-thought out, not a knee-jerk reaction to our emotions and sentiments. Legalizing suicide for any circumstance is a slippery slope to a pro-death culture. That culture resulted in the death of these brothers. Don’t let it happen here. Stand up for a culture of life.