Euthanasia is not a future problem. It is a present problem. It is happening now and becoming increasingly accepted. And we are asleep, not realizing that the road we are on will lead to the massive elimination of the elderly and “incompetent,” and anyone else considered to be a burden to society. The reflections in this essay are intended to wake us up to the main issues involved in the euthanasia debate.
Consider the Nancy Cruzan case. She had been in a coma for almost eight years, but was NOT dying, NOT deteriorating. The courts allowed food and water to be discontinued, and 12 days later (on the day after Christmas) she died. Note well, she did not die of the coma. She died of starvation. She was 33. Or consider Dr. Jack Kevorkian, who let Janet Adkins, a 54 year old sufferer of early Alzheimer’s, use his homemade “suicide machine” to kill herself. She pushed a button which released lethal fluids into her body. He has likewise administered death to dozens of others. Is this the direction we want our society to go? Is life valuable only when it is healthy? Are we the ones who decide when we die? Is suffering meaningless?
We do not have a “right to die.” Many people now speak of such a thing, but without the proper understanding of the terminology they use. A “right” is a moral claim. We do not have a claim on death. Rather, death has a claim on us! We do not decide when our life will end, any more than we decided when it began. Much less does someone else — a relative, a doctor, or a…
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…to preserve and care for life. The heart and soul of the medical profession is UNWAVERING RESPECT FOR THE DIGNITY OF THE HUMAN PERSON, a dignity which is not bestowed by the State or by anyone else, but belongs to the very nature of the person. Those who promote this dignity deserve thanks.
The state of our times is also a plea to those who practice medicine: never allow the skills of your profession to be used to destroy the gift of life. Euthanasia is just a nice word for killing. We must oppose the trend which says that there are some lives not worth living. We must oppose the mentality which says that we should end a life in order to eliminate suffering. No, we do not end life. We care for it. When life is weak and afflicted with pain, it is all the more deserving of our care. Our times demand courage and wisdom. May these not be lacking to any one of us!
Euthanasia Essay – The Truth About Assisted Suicide
The Truth About Assisted Suicide
This essay recognizes that it is hard to tell the truth about assisted suicide. Or rather, it’s hard to get people to listen. Folks generally are about as eager to delve into the issue of assisted suicide as they are to work out the details of their own funeral. It’s a delicate and unnerving subject, involving the ultimate issues of life: the reality of human mortality; fears about illness, disability, and old age; and the loss of loved ones to the dark, dank grave. Nonetheless, this essay intends to tell all these things, since they relate to euthanasia/assisted suicide.
Simply getting people to pay close attention to assisted suicide – to grapple with its threat – is often a challenging task. This is even true of people who are religious or prolife, whose faith informs them that death isn’t the end but the beginning. I understand the emotional dynamic at work. Life is difficult and worrisome enough without visiting the painful realm of assisted suicide. It is difficult even for deeply religious people, to listen, to heed, and to care enough to become involved. But avoidance of the assisted-suicide issue is a luxury that those who believe in the infinite value of all human life can no longer afford, because battles over assisted suicide are being waged – and more battles planned throughout the country.
Tragically, one major battle has already been lost: Oregon legalized assisted suicide in 1994 and the law went into effect in September 1997. Today in the U.S. a small number of physicians participate actively in their patients’ suicide, and it is absolutely legal. On the bright side, since 1997, when Oregon’s voters refused to repeal the state’s assisted-suicide law, a broad-based national coalition of diverse groups has formed to oppose the death agenda. Disability-rights activists, advocates for the poor, professional associations in medicine and law, and hospice organizations – all of which tend’ to be liberal and secular – have joined with religious people and traditional prolife activists to oppose medicalized killing.
And this collaboration has borne fruit: Since 1994 five states (Maryland, Rhode Island, Louisiana, Iowa, and Michigan) have passed laws explicitly making assisted suicide a crime, while Virginia outlawed it as a civil wrong, subjecting anyone who assists in a suicide to civil litigation. In November 1998, Michigan’s voters rejected an initiative to legalize suicide by an overwhelming 71 to 29 percent.