Euthanasia


Oxford University has published a statement signed by prominent bioethecists calling for doctors to yield their moral convictions to their patients’ desires/needs.  They want all doctors to either perform morally contested services or refer patients to those who will.  The direction is clear: you must violate your moral conscience or get out of medicine.  This point of view is gaining wide traction.  It won’t be long before it is legislated and morally sane doctors will find themselves forced out of their professions.

 

HT: Wesley J. Smith

Ryan Anderson writes in the Daily Signal about a new study showing that contrary to the claims of some physician assisted suicide (PAS) advocates, legalizing PAS increases the number of suicides.  Did we really need a study to tell us this?  No, but these days common sense can’t get a hearing unless it is confirmed by a study.

 

HT: Wintery Knight

Push into GraveLong commutes, domestic responsibilities, teaching, and the need for more sleep (old age) have prevented me from blogging as much as I would like to.  That means I get behind on my cultural commentary. Case in point: the legalization of assisted suicide in California.

On October 5 Governor Brown signed the bill into law after years of failed attempts from the assisted suicide lobby (the CA Senate approved it by a vote of 23 to 14, and the CA House approved it by a vote of 43 to 34).  Assisted suicide is not something I write about too often, but it is a matter of concern to me. Here’s why I think it should be a matter of concern to you as well:

Legalizing suicide sends the message that there are some human lives not worth living. While suicide advocates say the option for suicide gives people dignity, it does anything but. It robs them of their dignity and value. It communicates a message to them that they are better off dead than alive. Indeed, to claim that this is “death with dignity” is a backhanded way of saying those who choose to suffer in life rather than choosing to take their own life lack dignity. The message is loud and clear: death is more noble than life.

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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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