Tuesday 20th August 2019

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The Rush To Die; The Rush To Kill

July 15, 2019 Frontpage No Comments


These days we seem to be in a rush to die…or at least to kill. In France, a 43-year-old cognitively disabled man, Vincent Lambert, was ordered to die by the French courts. Lambert, who sustained his injuries in a motorcycle accident, is not on life support, as reported by most media outlets. He can breathe on his own, but needs a feeding tube for food and hydration. (This article was prepared for publication on July 6; Lambert may have died by the time readers see it.)
The courts have ordered the removal of his feeding tube, which will lead to death by dehydration. Press reports indicate that Mr. Lambert, who wants to live, cried when he received the news. Doctors, at the time of this writing, were prepared to sedate him to keep him comfortable during the dehydration process. His parents had been fighting the court action, but his wife, acting as his guardian, pursued the death option.
Echoes of the Terri Schiavo case where a Florida judge ordered her to be starved to death in March of 2005 at the behest of her husband, who was, at the time, living with another woman.
And, of course, we remember the babies, Alfie Evans and Charlie Gard, who were ordered off life support against the wishes of their parents. Both dutifully died pursuant to British court orders. These situations are not limited to European courts. Similar cases can be found in both Canada and the United States; Terri Schiavo was not a one-and-done case for the U.S.
Now politicians, especially those running for higher office, are actively “out abortioning” one another to gather as much of the anti-baby vote that the party of death can muster. Reflect on it. We used to think of abortion in terms of trimesters, but now there is a new category: post-birth abortion.
The public discussion about physician-assisted suicide — doctor-prescribed death — has moved from the argument that patients should be allowed the free choice to end their lives to allowing medical personnel to actually administer death-producing drugs. Of course, the advocates of death on demand quickly note that doctors would only administer drugs if the patient was physically unable to do so.
No longer is that true. The argument now is how to kill a patient who doesn’t want to die or who doesn’t even know what is going on. We’ve moved from passive euthanasia, as the deliberate withdrawal of nutrition and life support is euphemistically termed, to active euthanasia. Under either concept, laws and court rulings are so vague that almost any condition that is undesirable to someone can serve as a trigger to kill.
Even more insidious is how broad the parameters for this legal killing have become. In some parts of Europe, babies, born alive and living, can be euthanized, sometimes at the request of their parents — or sometimes just one parent — or at the petition of a physician to a state official, who, as we know, are all-knowing bureaucrats infused with knowledge far superior to that of the common man.
There are now clinics where suicidal persons can go to be “done away with.” They operate with little regulation and there is no medical or psychological help for the confused or conflicted individual who shows up at their door. In one case, an Italian family was looking for their missing elderly mother when they were contacted by a Swiss clinic and told where they could pick up their mother’s remains.
Normally the rule of thumb for all these activities is that the person’s health must be such that death will occur within a certain period, usually six months, without treatment. Of course that is a loophole as big as the ocean. Think about it. Diabetics may die without medication — medication which is easily available — yet they would qualify under most standards for a voluntary surrender of their lives to the suicide doctors who are willing to play God.
The latest now is euthanasia for depression. It is argued that if a person is depressed, why force him to keep living? Of course that’s as stupid as the rest of the arguments from the pro-death crowd.
Blind twins were voluntarily euthanized when they couldn’t face a sightless life, and teenagers have been “put down” when their pre-adult life posed more problems than they could handle.
In the Netherlands, a twenty-something woman suffering from post-traumatic stress was euthanized despite psychological improvement during therapy. Doctors even admitted that the woman’s therapy “was temporarily partially successful,” yet she was given a lethal injection anyway. In 2014, an Italian woman died at a Swiss suicide clinic because she was depressed over how she looked.
Canada has legalized euthanasia for prolonged “psychological suffering.”
Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Canadian-based Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, said, “Society can reduce the scourge of suicide and the cultural abandonment associated with assisted suicide by caring for and being with others at their time of need. It is essential that people who feel their life lacks value or purpose, or feel that no one cares, are offered purpose, support, and genuine hope from their significant community.”
Schadenberg, a not-infrequent guest on my old Faith on Trial radio program, continued, “Suicide is a symptom of mental illness, not a cure for it. The answer is not only talking about it, the answer is inclusion, caring and being with others as they journey through the difficult times of their lives.”
Maine’s new so-called Death With Dignity law noted that “severely depressed or mentally ill patients can receive assisted suicide without having any form of counseling.” In fact, there is no provision in the laws of Maine, Oregon, Washington State, or Vermont that requires a doctor to refer depressed patients to a therapist or to make a determination if the depression is treatable before engaging in activities that will end the person’s life.
Schadenberg points out that “people ask for euthanasia because they have lost hope. They may be in depression or experiencing distress, darkened by their reality, and feel that life has lost its purpose or value.
“In the past, doctors took this request to die as a cry for help, and they tried to find out what their patient needs to weather his or her overwhelming difficulty….I want a physician who will protect my life when I’m going through my deepest darkest times. When I’m going through that physical, psychological, emotional, or existential distress and I’m so darkened that I can’t see beyond my own difficulty, I need a physician who will say ‘no’ to me and will care for me, not kill me,” he concluded.
Each year dozens of legislative proposals to legalize physician-assisted suicide and/or euthanasia, or to broaden their reach, are introduced. The byword here is to be alert. Contact your local pro-life organizations and ask if they are monitoring these bills and be ready to speak up against them with calls to talk-radio programs and letters to the editor.
But there is much more that can be done and it deals with psychological care for those needing it. State budgets are stretched and one place to make cuts is in services for those with psychological problems. There are some areas of the country, including where I’m located, where it is extremely difficult to find facilities that have room and are able to care for these individuals. While you’re contacting your lawmakers over right-to-life issues, don’t forget about some of the underlying causes: psychological services need full funding.
And if you are a parent, remember that most teenagers get depressed over something. The life you save could be your kid’s.
(Mike can be reached at: DeaconMike@q.com.)

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