When you think of someone taking their life through assisted suicide, perhaps you think of an elderly person, or at least of a young adult with a terminal diagnosis.
But that’s not where assisted suicide is headed. All you have to do is look to Europe – or even Canada.
In Europe, advocates for assisted suicide have been fanatical in their efforts to make suicide “accessible” to all. This so-called “compassionate choice” is no longer presented as merely an option for the elderly with a terminal diagnosis.
In Switzerland, for example, assisted suicide is available for people who are perfectly healthy senior citizens, but are simply tired of living. The Netherlands grants assisted-suicide requests to people who are experiencing “unbearable and hopeless psychological suffering,” like schizophrenia and depression.
But now, Belgium has finally dared to go where this has been heading all along: assisted suicide for children.
A Belgium law allows “terminally ill children of unbearable suffering to choose to die.” Recently, the world discovered an 11-year-old and a 9-year-old were the youngest-ever victims of assisted suicide.
It’s tragic enough that these two young children no longer believed that their own lives were worth fighting for. It’s worse yet that the medical professionals charged with their care stopped fighting for them.
And, closer to home, a Canadian hospital just published proposed policies for handling physician-assisted suicide for children. Under the proposed policy, children would be allowed to choose assisted suicide on their own, without the parents even knowing. That is a mind-blowing violation of basic parental rights!
But, more fundamentally, how does a child even choose to die?
A 9-year-old can’t sign a contract for at least nine more years. A 9-year-old can’t vote. Many wouldn’t (and shouldn’t) leave a 9-year-old home alone. How in the world is a 9-year-old capable of requesting and “consenting” to their own death? And what genuinely compassionate physician would say yes?
It is one of humanity’s strongest instincts to protect the lives of our children. It is most certainly a parent’s. We can and must take responsibility for protecting those lives, and one way to do that is by voting! We must vote for policy makers who value life and who will support policies that better uphold life, like palliative care for the chronically ill. We must elect officials who will strictly prohibit the ability of a physician to “assist” in taking the life of a child, or any other person for that matter.
Voting pro-life is more than just a mantra. By voting for pro-life candidates on November 6 (or earlier), you are taking an important step to save lives.
Every life—especially those of young children—is worth fighting for.
Doctor-assisted suicide may not be on the ballot in your state, but many states will face this threat in the future. Surprisingly, research indicates even Christians believe the practice does not go against biblical teaching.
John Stonestreet is a Christian author and writer whose work is published at BreakPoint.org. This article first appeared on that site.
Coloradans will vote on an assisted suicide measure this November. Those who vote “Yes” are signing their own death warrants.
In a recent article at National Review Online, George Weigel tells a chilling story about just how far the culture of death has advanced in some parts of the West.
Three elderly parishioners at the Canadian church he attends during the summer were diagnosed with cancer. Now, that’s bad enough. But what followed was even worse. The first thing they were asked after being told their diagnosis was, “Do you wish to be euthanized?”
While this story should upset us, it shouldn’t shock us. Despite all the promises made by supporters of physician-assisted suicide, the so-called “safeguards” against pressuring vulnerable people to end their lives “have proved to be inadequate and have often been watered down or eliminated over time.”
Or, as Belgian law professor Étienne Montero observed, “What is presented at first as a right [to die] is going to become a kind of obligation.”
Thus, in fourteen years Belgium went from euthanizing terminally-ill adults, to killing chronically-ill adults, to offing adults who had lost their will to live, to finally disposing of children.
As Weigel’s story suggests, Canada seems literally hell-bent on catching up with Belgium in this regard. Physician-assisted suicide has only been legal there since this spring and it has already transformed the practice of medicine in Canada. And if some Canadian philosophers get their way, a willingness to kill your patients will be a prerequisite for practicing medicine in the Great White North.
Now it’s Colorado’s turn to play waiting room Russian Roulette. This November my fellow Coloradans and I will vote on Proposition 106, also known by its Orwellian title: “The End of Life Options Act.”
The supporters of the act, which is modeled on California’s recent legislation of the same name, assure voters that a vote for physician-assisted suicide is a vote for “compassion.” They assure us that it will remain limited to cases of extreme suffering.
But as Weigel points out, the language of the proposed act is “duplicitous.” It characterizes killing someone as “palliative care.” And it defines an “adult” as anyone 18 or older, which leads to the absurdity of not being old enough to drink but old enough to request assistance in killing yourself.
And in a backhanded admission of a guilty conscience, the deceased’s death certificate would list the cause of death as the illness they suffered from and not suicide.
If supporters of assisted suicide need to mislead and obfuscate about basic matters such as these, why should we believe their assurances that no one will be coerced into killing themselves? Little wonder that disability advocates oppose the measure.
Colorado history should also give us pause. Thirty-two years ago, then-governor of Colorado, Richard Lamm told a group of health-care lawyers that the terminally-ill elderly have “a duty to die and get out of the way” instead of trying to prolong their lives. He compared the fulfillment of this “duty” to “leaves falling off a tree and forming humus for the other plants to grow up.”
It would be foolish to think that the “right-to-die” won’t, much less can’t, one day become the “duty to die,” especially in an aging society where health care costs as a percentage of the GDP are projected to double over the next 25 years. By the way, also on the Colorado ballot this year is state-run healthcare.
The only way to prevent the “right to die” from becoming a “duty to die” is to reject the “right to die” from the start. Anything else places the most vulnerable—the elderly and especially the disabled—on an already well-greased slippery slope.
Unless the Lord returns, each and every one of us will die of old age, disease, or tragedy. And except in the case of tragedy, if the advocates of so-called compassion have their way, you, I, and our loved ones will end up facing the same question George Weigel’s fellow parishioners were asked: “Do you wish to be euthanized?