Our Voice

Euthanasia-Assisted Suicide

Recently, an article in the Wall Street Journal had the following headlines:

IN THE NETHERLANDS THE DOCTOR WILL KILL YOU NOW

Sounds like an oxymoron, does it not? Doctors sworn under the Hippocratic Oath to do no harm and save lives now in the Netherlands and elsewhere have the right, THE LEGAL RIGHT to kill people. That is, to sanction or participate in the killing acts of both:

EUTHANASIA

ASSISTED SUICIDE

Yet another illustration, like abortion, of the CULTURE OF DEATH in which we now live. Whether baby killing, the brutal act of abortion, or end of life, all the way to the extreme of fanatic jihadists like ISIS, death moves inexorably to trump life. What a world.

There is however a fundamental distinction between Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide. The definition of Euthanasia is as follows:

INTENTIONALLY, KNOWINGLY AND DIRECTLY ACTING TO CAUSE THE DEATH OF ANOTHER PERSON SUCH AS BY GIVING A LETHAL INJECTION.

Whereas, Assisted Suicide is defined as:

INTENTIONALLY, KNOWINGLY AND DIRECTLY PROVIDING THE MEANS OF DEATH TO ANOTHER PERSON SO THAT THE PERSON CAN USE THAT MEANS PROVIDED TO COMMIT SUICIDE.

An example would be providing a prescription for a lethal dose of drugs.

Therefore, when Euthanasia is practiced, a third party performs the last at that intentionally causes a patient’s death. For example, giving a patient a lethal injection or putting a plastic bag over the human being’s head to suffocate that individual (can you believe that) would be considered Euthanasia.


On the other hand, if the person who dies performs the last act, Assisted Suicide has taken place. In short, a person who dies kills himself on the one hand or is killed by another person (a doctor) on the other. Either way, the
killing occurs. I am deeply troubled by both. Are you?

But those who advocate either or both defend them as “compassionate options for competent, terminally ill adults who are suffering unbearably and otherwise wish to end their lives. Do you agree?”


In the Netherlands, which became the first country to legalize Euthanasia and Physician Assisted Suicide allows either when those individuals so request who are suffering deadly illnesses or are in the last stages of life. Those generalities can sound vague and difficult of definition. The Dutch Law was later expanded to include those eligible for end of life dispositions who are psychologically suffering or in dementia. More vagary at least to some extent, don’t you think?

But now comes the next phase, the next iteration of the law in the Netherlands. Individuals and groups under the RIGHT TO DIE umbrella are now urging, even demanding that the Dutch government legalize a “Euthanasia pill” for those who are not ill, but simply consider their lives to be FULL, whatever that means and wish to end life. They, these members of the culture of death, argue that every human being is entitled to the right to live and to life, so why is that individual not entitled to the right to die as a polar opposite? And, the battle rages bigtime. What do you think? Do you think that any human being anywhere has the right to take his or her own life through a Euthanasia pill or through Assisted Suicide just because their life is FULL? What an issue.

The rationale is that there are many whose physical, mental or emotional states have perpetual suffering and that life for them is unbearable and hopeless. No matter that such individuals may be socially vulnerable or medically fragile, they would rather die than seek the medical help they need and could get. But these potential end-of-lifers, says the Dutch Right to Die Society should legally have the option to:

STEP OUT OF LIFE

Should they? Should they have that right because they are hopelessly lonely, or clinically depressed, or in ultimate despair, or wishing not to bother their children or society at large. Should they have the right to kill themselves? Just because they may not wish to be burdensome? What do you think?

Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide can often put unbearable pressure on the vulnerable, the disabled, the elderly or the slightly mentally challenged. Right to Die efforts champion the fact that such a desire to die is normal, even natural. Do you agree? I and almost all I know regard life as incredibly pressure, and would fight for every breath before succumbing to death. Would you do the same? Would you encourage someone in your family in unbearable suffering, living with a deadly disease to commit suicide? Would you? Would you attempt to empower them to “step out of life” as they wish, to experience a so-called dignified death when in fact there is available excellent medical and psychiatric care. Would you?

The primary function of government is to protect its citizens. It is to encourage life, and liberty and the pursuit of happiness, not death. The government, hundreds of millions of people think, should not have the right to give one group of people (i.e. doctors) the power to directly and intentionally end the lives-kill another group of people including and especially their patients. That is a license to kill and to me, that is scary stuff. Such a doctor becomes empowered, legally so, and often without the restraints which may be necessary in certain individual cases to make the right, fair and legal decision under those particular circumstances. Both legal Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide require doctors to be involved, and often three or more before the killing can occur. Hundreds upon hundreds of doctors refuse to be involved in much less commit either act. They will not be proactive in the killing themselves (third party) nor will they provide the means for the killing, the suicide to a requesting patient. One would hope that would be the end of the matter, but it is not. Enter other doctors who will approve and function in either capacity and death occurs. It is as one writer says an unbelievably SLIPPERY SLOPE into the ABYSS, and wonders where the slippery slope ends and where the abyss begins. So do I. Do you?

Every 40 seconds, 40 SECONDS, a person dies by suicide somewhere in the world. In the United States alone, there were 41,149 reported suicides in 2013. By comparison, and hear this carefully, at the same time there were 14,196 homicides in the United States, making the number of suicides almost three times, THREE TIMES GREATER than the number of homicides. What an absolutely startling and even horrifying statistic, don’t you think? With all of that death happening in this CULTURE OF DEATH, small wonder that there are many so used to death who are not against Euthanasia or Assisted Suicide or neutral (?) about them. Neutrality however is not an option. You are either for these acts of death or you are not. Which position do you take? The Dutch require that the patient requesting death must be experiencing unbearable pain. How I ask is that defined, and how do doctors who make these lethal decisions determine the criteria for unbearable pain. Then, the patient must be conscious, that is rational, and understanding of the decision to die.


The death request must be voluntary. Can it really ever be voluntary when there is so much pressure in so many ways to engage in either activity? Can there?

The law requires that the requesting patient must have been given alternatives to Euthanasia and time to consider those alternatives. But there are no criteria given for what in fact is an alternative, whether the patient really understands such alternatives, nor is there any criteria for the amount of time to consider those alternatives. That scares me, does it you?


Then the Dutch Law says that there must be no other reasonable solutions to the problem. But there are hundreds of doctors who say that there are always reasonable solutions to any problem physical, psychological or emotional especially in today’s medical climate where services, remedies and healing techniques are better than ever.

Then there must be more than one person involved in the Euthanasia decision. But which person or persons and how are they determined?

And, only a doctor can euthanize a patient. Sounds good, but what about Assisted Suicide. Does that require a doctor to be involved and attend the killing act?

Too grey, too vague, too scary for me. What do you think? That is especially so since unbearable pain and suffering now has the possibility of remedies which can completely eliminate that pain or virtually end the suffering through drugs or otherwise. A patient in today’s medical world does not have to die to get relief!

Right to Die advocates often argue that Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide are CHOICE ISSUES, but are they? There is so much pressure from so many sources, including society and other human beings, at work that choice, rational choice can be seriously questioned. Many who are candidates for Euthanasia or Assisted Suicide can be the chronically ill, the disabled, the elderly, the mentally ill, mentally retarded and depressed among others. Are such individuals capable of making RATIONAL DECISIONS-CHOICES regarding end of life determinations? Some are, perhaps, but many are not. Euthanasia, by one definition and by its very nature is an abuse and the ultimate abandonment of a patient. Rather than kill them, do you best to keep them alive! Don’t give doctors such power and even a license to kill, say the Right to Life antagonists. Sooner or later, patients will no longer know whether the doctor will be a healer or a killer at heart. Some even think that the medical community would put pressure on the patient to choose Euthanasia, directly or indirectly indicating that the patient should “get out of the way,” not to mention the reduction in serious and long term medical costs to sustain life. Financial considerations would therefore trump the innate value of the human beings being killed.

So, are you for or against Euthanasia where the doctor is the proactive agent in the killing act and Assisted Suicide where the doctor is a third party and the patient commits the act. Are you for that? Do you believe in the Right to Die, choice of death, both the time and kind for any and all human beings? It is now and will become even more a critical issue, a Constitutional issue, a deeply human issue, and perhaps most importantly, aSPIRITUAL ISSUE. Many think that the very same approach to abortion:

CHOOSE LIFE

Should apply to Euthanasia. Frankly, I am for Pro Life and against both Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide. Are you? What do you think? What do you believe? Every family will sooner or later face this issue head-on.

But for every rational, conscious person, there should be a:

LIVING WILL

In such a document, the patient stipulates the treatments, the terms and conditions, the acts of healing or not which would apply to him or her at the end of life or when the patient is incapable of making those voluntary and rational decisions himself. YOU SHOULD HAVE ONE! If you don’t, my fellow Americans, get a Living Will example from the Internet, learn what it is all about, and make your CHOICES while you are alive and while you can. YOU then call the shots for your life. Those Living Will documents are simple to determine, easy to execute and legally binding once done right on your family, heirs and even doctors. No one should have the right to end your life without your consent at the time or in advance.

I personally hope you are against Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide. But, it is your life and your decision to make. I only hope and pray you make the right one.