The threat of euthanasia, including physician-assisted suicide or abusive use of palliative care, is always with us. But recently it seems to be taking on a new urgency.
Recently the state of New York introduced a Medical Aid in Dying law into the state legislature. Democrats are leading the fight in support of this bill that "would allow doctors to prescribe lethal doses of drugs to terminally ill patients. Those patients would then have the option to ingest the drugs and kill themselves."
But as the reporter goes on to tell us, anyone who thinks long and hard about the actual consequences of a bill allegedly designed to be compassionate and caring toward the dying will discover that quite the opposite is the case: "There is absolutely no way to control the reasons why anyone requests assisted suicide. Which leads to impossible questions: What's the basis for limiting it to those who will die in six months; why not six years? Why need one be dying in the first place?"
These are definitely thorny problems about a topic that has deadly consequences for those who choose to follow through on the recommended path to death.
Perhaps this is why the state of Ohio has passed a law making assisted suicide a felony punishable by up to five years in prison. After all, in the case of the patient seeking assisted suicide and who needs help to acquire, administer, or ingest the medication intended to end his life, others are automatically involved in the killing.
On this topic, medical expert Anthony McCarthy, M.D. of the United Kingdom's Society for the Protection of Unborn Children has said : "Those who would normalize assisted suicide betray not only those physically ill people who do not currently value their own lives but also all of those tempted to choose 'conventional' suicide, which seems to increase, and not diminish, where assisted suicide is legalized."
This truth about the serious consequences of assisted suicide (euthanasia) is proven by another expert, Paul Stark - a communications associate for Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life - who uses statistics right here at home to make the case :
Suicide is a scourge and a tragedy. It is one of the leading causes of death in the United States - 40,600 Americans killed themselves in 2012 - and its frequency has only increased in recent years. Suicide affects not only those whose lives are lost, but also families, schools, communities, and society as a whole. Advocating or legalizing assisted suicide makes this devastating problem worse. It says that suicide isn't always bad. It influences vulnerable people. And more lives are lost as a result.
In addition, Neil Gorsuch , President Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court, wrote a dissertation which then became a book entitled The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia . In it he writes that "human life is fundamentally and inherently valuable" and that "the intentional taking of human life by private persons is always wrong."
Finally, we would be remiss if we did not provide the insights of Julie Grimstad of Pro-Life Healthcare Alliance. She is an expert on physician-assisted suicide and explains : "It may be counter-intuitive to assert that making it legal for doctors to assist patients to commit suicide is detrimental to solving the problem of suffering. Nevertheless, the Pro-life Healthcare Alliance dares to do just that, because legal and social approval for killing oneself with medical assistance actually worsens a number of problems."
Indeed, the truth is that caring for someone who is in need of comfort and selfless love from another person requires genuine understanding and companionship, not assisted or imposed killing. No matter what you call it, an act that intentionally results in death is an act that sours the milk of human kindness.
Perhaps that is why we are now witnessing man's disdain and outright hatred for the vulnerable in our midst.
Let us resolve to take two actions to offset this cultural bitterness:
1) Learn more about the Culture of Life Studies Program , and in particular its unit study on euthanasia . This lesson is specifically designed to help high school students deal with this growing challenge in a way that brings understanding and compassion back to the forefront.
2) Join with the members of Little Sisters of the Poor in their efforts to promote a new ministry entitled Youth and Aged for Life that will "bring together youth and the elderly for prayer and socialization to foster a culture of life and combat the recent cultural push to legalize euthanasia."
It is through education and our actions that we will finally effect change. If we don't take it upon us to stand up for the vulnerable and the weak, who will?