Euthanasia laws have a way of expanding. Once a society accepts the concept that sick people should be “put out of their misery,” the benefit can be applied ever more broadly–to those who are not terminally ill, just depressed; to people who cannot give consent; to the mentally handicapped; to children. What begins as a humane-sounding way to end heart-breaking suffering, to be used only in rare and carefully defined cases, turns into something ever-more brutal.
Oregon legalized assisted suicide in 1997. A new law would allow caregivers to deny food to those who have written an advance-care directive allowing for non-treatment. Not just intravenous nutrition, but actual eating and drinking, even if the patient is hungry and wants to eat. [Read more…]