Calling Evil Good: Dr Death, Euthanasia and Rights Talk

Evil begats evil. It also glorifies it.

Dr Jack Kevorkian, the serial killer with a schtick, died the old-fashioned way, under medical care, fighting for his life. Before his death, he was lionized, promoted and considered a martyr. Sixty Minutes played a tape of Dr Kevorkian administering death-dealing drugs to Thomas Youk of Michigan on prime time tv, along with a favorable interview. HBO spent millions producing and promoting You Don’t Know Jack, a film honoring Kevorkian. Academy award winning actor Al Pacino portrayed him in this sales piece for euthanasia of the elderly, the ailing, the disabled, or anyone else who might become inconvenient and unable fight back.

Kevorkian, who spoke of establishing “obitoriums” where people would go to die and doctors would harvest organs and perform medical experiments, didn’t confine his killing to people who were near death. Some, such as the man whose murder Sixty Minutes televised, had serious illnesses which could, after many years, lead to death. But they weren’t dying. They needed help, support and love, not to be murdered.

According to the Patient Rights Council, Kevorkian testified under oath that he favored doing medical experiments on candidates for euthanasia. In a startling parallel with Nazi death camp practices, he “described a process by which ‘subjects,’ including infants, children and mentally incompetent people would be used for experiments ‘of any kind of complexity.’ Then, ‘if the subject’s body is alive’ after experimentation, ‘death may be induced’ by such means as ‘removal of organs for transplantation’ or ‘a lethal dose of a new and or untested drug.’”

None of this derailed the press support of euthanasia. HBO followed You Don’t Know Jack by running a documentary in support of one of Kevorkian’s stepchildren, the Oregon euthanasia law. Ironically, Kevorkian spoke against this law. He considered it too mild.

Why does so much of the media support making our doctors into our executioners? What is it about the elderly, the sick, and the disabled that renders their lives valueless in the eyes of the rich and powerful? Why do they “sell” euthanasia this way? Why are these people so in love with killing that they use all their talents and their enormous resources to peddle it to the rest of us?

Maybe it’s because evil not only begats and glorifies evil. It sells it.

Before his death, Kevorkian made as much as $50,000 dollars per engagement for speaking on our college campuses.

Dr Peter Singer, the Princeton “ethics” professor who promotes extending the right to kill the unborn to a legal right to kill infants after birth, also earns princely sums for speaking at our government-funded universities.

Evil evidently not only sells evil; it teaches it … and makes money in the process.

We, and our children — especially our children — are being “sold” on the sweetness of the fruits of the culture of death by some of the most talented and powerful people in the world today. While it may have begun with abortion, dealing death has become emblematic of what passes for intellectualism and trendiness throughout the American edutainment empire.

Child sacrifice/Human sacrifice are as much a part of our culture today as they were when people put their children through the flames for the Baals and Molochs of the ancient world. We’ve just changed the names of the gods.

For a long time, these death-dealing initiatives found their voice in what Mary Ann Glendon calls “rights talk.” Abortion was cast as a necessary human right for women. Euthanasia was given the advert of “death with dignity” and sold to us as the answer for suffering.

No one ever asked “whose suffering?” Were we, in fact, trying to alleviate the suffering of the dying person, or were we lifting the responsibility off the rest of us to take better care of them?

Abortion and euthanasia were marketed as “rights.” They were promoted as regrettable but necessary remedies for other evils. In recent years, the marketers of death have dropped the pretense of “rights.” They’ve moved to handing us the promises of gods by other names in direct and unapologetic form.

The new gods that demand human sacrifice sound a lot like the old ones. People put their children through the flames to propitiate the Baals and the Molochs. They offered human life in exchange for hope of a good harvest, or to end a plague, or for long life. The marketers of embryonic stem cell research promise economic development, cures for every known disease, and, maybe, just maybe, cracking the genetic code that dooms us to die. To paraphrase the songwriter, everything old is new again.

Today’s gods resurrect the ancient promise of life from death. They proffer the same things in exchange for becoming murderers that the demon gods of ancient times promised. They promise us what Christ alone can give: abundant life. But where Jesus taught us that life comes through the cross, through a willingness to suffer for one another and to love, cherish and care for each other, these new/old gods of expedience and greed promise us that they will give life in exchange for us becoming murderers of those on the fringes of life who can’t defend themselves in the court of public opinion.

They tell us over and again in many ways and through many venues that these are non-people, or that they’re not “real” people; that they don’t feel, think, look like us. In the morally bankrupt patois of our times, this is proof beyond a reasonable doubt that their near-human-but-not-quite-human lives are valueless. Our old/new gods of this world claim that this not-quite-human status of those on the fringes of life makes killing them an ok thing, a good thing, a kindness.

Horrifying as this is, it is not the bottom. Their arguments are in the process of morphing to the next step. The new arguments in the forward march of the culture of death revolve around the notion that it’s not just a “right” to kill those on the fringes, it’s a civic and moral responsibility. The elderly, it is said, use too much medical care, cost too much money. They are using “valuable resources” that should go to others who are more deserving. So … they have a “duty to die” for the good of future generations. Human embryos, so we are told, hold in their tiny bodies the Rosetta Stone of perfect health and unending life for the rest of us. Slaughtering them for their body parts is not just a right of scientists, it is the responsibility of politicians to pay for it.

This is how rights talk has become responsibility talk when it comes to killing. It’s how those of us who say no to the slaughter are cast as “nuts” and “irresponsible.” Murder has come a long way when the best and brightest among us openly argue that doing murder to those who can’t defend themselves is not a crime, but a civic responsibility, when they claim that opposing the murder of innocents is immoral. We are told that we can kill other people and it’s not even killing when we do it. It’s … “science.”

In truth, it’s a simple thing to kill. Anyone can do it. If you remove the legal penalties, killing appears to ask nothing of the killer, not even public condemnation. In the garden of lies that public discourse in this country has become, we are not allowed, ever, to say the obvious. Murder is a crime against humanity and against God, the real God. The blood of its victims cries out to heaven, just as Abel’s did. Murder, unrepented, will send you to hell.

A society that legalizes and funds the murder of its own people kills its own soul. Our society is disassembling itself. We are drowning in the lies we are told and that we tell ourselves. We have been propagandized and brainwashed to the point that we are fearful, on peril of slander and public attack, of simply saying who and what is a human being. That is not science. It’s not progress. That is insanity.

God told the ancient Israelites, “I set before you today life and death.” In this, as in so many things, everything old is indeed, new again.

Originally published in The Sooner Catholic. Reprinted here with permission.

  • Michael

    Amazing Post Rebecca…. I only recently became a fan of your blog and am quickly becoming a big one. The garden of lies appellation is so….pardon the expression “dead on”…that it is spooky…and it really is Halloween to boot!!! What we this society and culture needs is not more of the same decrepit politics. That is leading us “nowhere” but the grave. We need conversion and re-conversion to the Faith. Maybe the New Evangelization is just what the doctor (Divine Physician) ordered. We need to make more Christians before this will stop, and the Christians we have need to discover a spine for the truth about what is actually going on..

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Amen.
      “We need to make more Christians before this will stop, and the Christians we have need to discover a spine for the truth about what is actually going on.”

  • http://ackans.com Mr. V.

    This brings to mind the movie “Million Dollar Baby” which came out a few years ago. I was looking forward to seeing it till I learned more about the movie. I thought it would be a good boxing movie, starring a couple of my favorite actors (Freeman and Eastwood) and directed by one of my favorite directors (Eastwood). However, it turned out to be nothing more than a slick advertisement for the idea of mercy killing. It’s a sick presentation of the notion that someone who becomes a paraplegic has no purpose or use in life, and it’s a glorious, beautiful thing to kill them and end their suffering.

    It could have been an engaging, heroic movie about a person who perseveres in spite of crippling physical injuries, but I guess that’s out of vogue in Hollywood these days.

    It also makes me think of Joni Eareckson, and the way she overcame her limitations after breaking her neck. I suppose the powers that be today would think she would be better off being put to sleep. It’s sick, really.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      It is sick. And it’s evil.

  • http://nebraskaenergyobserver.wordpress.com neenergyobserver

    Outstanding, again.

    One thing that came up when I was writing earlier this week about Constantine is that we seem to be reverting to Roman style paganism, with its worship of death itself. I think Michael above is dead on, unless we fix our churches, we are going to go down this road. Very well said, both of you.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Old-style paganism is where much of our society already is — with a nasty technological twist added on. If our churches continue playing footsie with these forces of death, we are doomed.

  • ~N.

    I don’t support assisted suicide legislation (which is different from “mercy killings”, actually), but I do wonder about the realities of “natural death” these days. I’ve witnessed several elderly people in my own family coerced into surgeries and therapies that have very little chance of extending their lives by unethical doctors and hospitals, and I think it’s just as bad for the medical community to prey on those who do have insurance by emotionally manipulating the elderly or drastically ill into expensive, exhaustive treatments and procedures that offer very little hope of a cure or extended life. Let people die in peace, I say. Let them make informed choices about their end-of-life care. I know I’d rather spend my final days at home or in hospice rather than in a hospital bed hooked up to tubes and monitors while the medical community runs a tab on my insurance card.

    Until the Church and this society addresses end-of-life matters in a more realistic manner, these assisted suicide measures will continue to crop up. Given the choice between having my kids coerced and manipulated into turning my last months and weeks and days into a living hell and jumping off the Golden Gate, I know what I’d choose.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Actually, that’s not a problem around my house. I am the care-giver and medical decision maker for my mother. She will not be subjected to extraordinary means that would make her suffer, but she will get treatment, food, water and all the other things necessary to give her a quality life. I want her to be happy and not suffer. It’s what I pray for and God is answering that prayer day by day. Her doctors are on board with this. No one is pushing her to do things drastic things.

      Every time she went to the hospital, they tried to get me to put her in a nursing home — until I told them in a way they understood to not ask me that again. They also try to push her to change her advance directive so that they can cut off her food and water. They are very aggressive about this, and I blame Obamacare for their behavior. It got so bad I switched things so I would not have to take her anywhere except to a Catholic hospital.

      I have seen what you are talking about. I took communion to a lady in a nursing home for several years. When she got cancer, they gave her a dose of everything they had — except adequate pain meds. The problem here is that her two sons didn’t give a rip. They never came to see her, in fact, they put her in the nursing home before what I would consider it being even slightly necessary, and they let the nursing home staff make all decisions about her care. When she died, she was alone. No one even called a priest. I took communion up to her a day later and when her room was empty and I asked for her, (they moved her from room to room all the time) the staff had to check to figure out that she had died.

      Not one thing in this story predicates toward euthanasia. She needed care and love. That’s all it would have taken.

      • http://nebraskaenergyobserver.wordpress.com neenergyobserver

        Exactly, I don’t think any of us are advocating the requirement for heroic treatment, I made this decision for my dad (with consultation from my sisters) and am very comfortable with it, noting that Pope John Paul made the same decision. There is a time to die.

        There is no acceptable justification to help the person along, none, nada.

      • ~N.

        No — and I hope we are all smart enough to have clear health care directives, or whatever they call them in various states. Unfortunately, not all caretakers have the best intentions, and many elderly (my MIL, for example) don’t really understand that they can indeed say “no” to doctors.

        But we really do need to have a conversation in this country about end-of-life issues. Seems like we have the euthanasia crowd at one end of the spectrum, and the rah-rah every last medical and experimental treatment possible up until the last minute crowd on the other end. If you dare to suggest there’s a time to say no to more treatment, you end up with Sarah Palin screeching “death panels!”, and there goes the conversation.

        • Rebecca Hamilton

          I’m certainly not in either crowd. I have already refused what you call “rah-rah” medical treatment for my mother. As for the fact that there are such lousy caretakers, that is true. Doctors and caretakers you can’t trust with the power they have now: Two good reasons not to add the power to kill to their arsenal.

          BTW, my mother doesn’t understand she can say “no” either. But I’m pretty good at it. She was my protector once. I am hers now.

      • EMS

        “They are very aggressive about this, and I blame Obamacare for their behavior”. This existed long before Obamacare came into existence. My folks were in and out of emergency rooms, hospitals, rehab, etc. for years before Obama came along, and every single facility asked about advance directives and end of life issues. It originated with the insurance companies who don’t want to pay for a lot of medical procedures to protect their bottom lines. If someone has the money for it, the facilities will do everything and anything they can talk someone into it. If the money doesn’t exist, then it becomes the least amount they can get away with. BTW, the nursing homes aren’t the ones pushing the issue. They only get paid if there’s a live body in the room. Otherwise, they get nothing.

  • WFS

    “It is sick. And it’s evil.”
    Rebecca, you have such strong emotions on this subject that it seems that it would be hard to reason with you. The Oregon Death with Dignity Act is a model law for the rest of the country. I’ve done a lot of research and the program has been working effectively since 1994. Washington and Montana have similar programs.

    Kevorkian was an extremist whose ideas and philosophies have been soundly rejected for the most part. To use him as the poster child for Death with Dignity is not a fair representation. I think that Massachusetts is the only state with a DWD question on the ballot this election. It is exactly the same as Oregon.

    Since the Oregon act seems to be working exactly as designed without the feared so called “slippery slope” that would lead to widespread euthanasia, I feel justified in voting Yes on Mass. Question 2. I, of course, will not listen to the Catholic Church’s admonitions and do not view this as a matter of good v. evil. It may be a matter of effective v. ineffective, compassionate v. non-compassionate, safe v. dangerous, etc. But there is no conflict between good and evil on the ballot as there is none for the other election decisions.

    Labelling something as sick and evil that is legal in three states seems a bit extreme. I know you were referring to the movie and to Dr. Death, but I think, if I am not mistaken, that you feel the same way about DWD. If, so, I think you should rethink your opinion.

    Most of all, it’s on my ballot, not yours, and the decision to be made is for the patient to make and should be no one else’s business.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      You’re right.
      1. You aren’t going to change my mind on this. I am opposed to murder.
      2. It IS your ballot.

      Where I think you are wrong is in telling yourself that you are “justified” in supporting this proposed law. No one is ever justified in supporting murder.

    • http://ackans.com Mr. V.

      “Labelling something as sick and evil that is legal in three states seems a bit extreme.”

      Just because something is legal does not make it good. There have been many ‘legal’ practices down through history that were absolutely sick and evil. In the ancient Roman empire, it was legal to tie Christians onto poles and light them on fire for the night’s entertainment. Perfectly legal. And perfectly sick and evil.

      Shall we talk about all the legal practices in Nazi Germany? Or the Stalinist Soviet Union? How about the laws under Pol Pot? Or Mao? Or any of a hundred other examples that spring to mind readily without much effort.

      The fact that something is legal is not the same as saying something is good.

    • Ted Seeber

      35% increase in suicides isn’t the very definition of the slippery slope?

      What would be the definition for you?

  • Sus

    DWD is not murder and should not be classified as such. I’m willing to say it’s suicide but it is NOT murder.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      DWD — Death with dignity? I assume that’s the meaning of your acronym.
      Think what you want. When a doctor prescribes drugs to kill someone for the purpose of killing that person, it is murder, plain and simple.
      When you use your vote to legalize what is nothing more than medical murder, you are making yourself a co-participant in it. I’m something of an expert on this, having sold myself a bill of goods about abortion and then used my power as a legislator to kill pro life bills for years.
      My advice, (which, of course, you are free to take or not) is don’t do this to yourself. You can say you’re sorry later, but you can’t undo the harm you have done.
      Those people in Massachusetts who vote for Question 2 with understanding of what they are doing are making themselves co-participants in an evil thing; the murder of innocents.

    • http://ackans.com Mr. V.

      By law, if a single person kills himself, it is suicide. If another person assists in that suicide, that person is guilty of murder.

      Same rule applies if two people decide to end their lives together, and take action together to end their lives. Bychance if one of those two lives, he is now guilty of murder, for he knowingly took action to end another person’s life.

      It is murder.

    • Ted Seeber

      Just because you cooperate with your murderer doesn’t make your death less of a murder.

  • BDW

    “There is no acceptable justification to help the person along, none, nada.”

    What makes you so sure? Have you pictured all the possible scenarios? This is happening quite successfully in European countries such as the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland, as well as in Oregon, Washington and Montana.

    I agree with WFS that it’s the patient’s decision. And I agree with Sus that it is not murder.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Well that’s nice. You can agree all you want. But there are still dead people who wouldn’t be dead people except for laws like this. I’m going to talk about the way it’s working in these other countries later. In the meantime, think carefully before you step over that line of pushing for legalized murder. You can change your mind later, but you can’t undo the harm you will have done and you can never bring the people whose deaths you’ve advocated for back to life.

    • http://ackans.com Mr. V.

      Again, as I told Sus, aside from that Oregon law, if you help another person commit suicide, you are guilty of murder in the eyes of the law. It’s in the law books, check it out if you don’t believe me. That’s how the law has been, for a long long time. It has never been moral or acceptable in our society to help, coerce, or influence another person to take their life. And there’s nothing noble or virtuous about it. And, aside from the moral issue, it is a cowardly act.

      Joni Eareckson was a lady who lost the use of her body from the neck down after breaking her neck in an accident. Nowadays, the people that push death with dignity would doubtless urge her to end her life. If she had listened to the advice of amoral people that believe mercy killing is okay, we would have lost someone and something special. Joni went on to write books. She taught herself to paint by holding a brush in her mouth, and became quite accomplished. She also produced records of herself singing, and she was talented. I owned one of her records way back, and I wore it out eventually. Would you say that because she was almost totally crippled for life that she was useless?

      She became a model of courage and an example of a life that can be lived in spite of physical limitations. Had someone preyed on her during her initial depression following her accident, she might well have chosen suicide, and society would have been all the worse for it.

      People are not useless because they or old. Or crippled. Or terminally ill. There have been many artists of various types of ability who have produced great works in their terminal illness. Everyone who lives has worth. And anyone who says otherwise, who believes death is preferable, lacks compassion and empathy and virtue, and in my opinion, any shred of humanity.

    • http://fpb.livejournal.com/ Fabio P.Barbieri

      …and, until 1945, Germany….

  • BDW

    “By law, if a single person kills himself, it is suicide. If another person assists in that suicide, that person is guilty of murder.”

    Laws can be changed. That’s what this is all about.

    • http://ackans.com Mr. V.

      And why would we want to change the laws that protect innocent people?

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Laws can be changed, but the act of deliberately and intentionally killing an innocent human being does not change. It is always murder. Nothing in the law can change that fact.

    • Ted Seeber

      There is a morality external to the law, objective and always right.

  • Sus

    “But there are still dead people who wouldn’t be dead people except for laws like this. ”

    That is absolutely untrue. Death with Dignity can only be used if you have a TERMINAL disease. If those people had not used the law, they would be dead anyway.

    I admire that you stand by your principles but I’m alarmed that you would go to the extreme to label this law as murder.

    This is a great example of why I don’t understand religion. If something goes against your church teachings, why does everyone, who isn’t part of your church, have to go along with it?

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Sus, you are misinformed about this. It is an verifiable fact that these laws have been used to euthanize people who were simply depressed, and without their consent or knowledge. The Dutch Supreme Court has upheld this practice of euthanizing people for non-terminal reasons without their knowledge or consent. Similar things have also happened in Oregon.

      I’m going write a whole post on this in a day or so and give you all the links and citations you want.

      I label it as murder because that is exactly what it is. When you kill someone deliberately and intentionally that is murder. When you help them kill themselves intentionally and deliberately, that is also murder. You are a cooperator and an assistant in the murder.

      For whatever it might be worth, I’ve always been against euthanasia. Even when I was pro choice and at the height of my ant-God period, I never for one minute wanted to trust doctors with the power to kill. I have trouble understanding how you can be so trusting of a profession. What makes you think they are not human beings who are as prone to evil and as likely to be corrupted by power as any other human being?

      Supporting this law is supporting medical murder. The people who die because of it go on the law’s supporters moral tab.

      Also, the logic that someone is going to die, so there is not moral harm and it is not murder to kill them is bizarre. We are all going to die. This argument, carried to its logical conclusion would allow us to take all laws against murder off the books and just make it open season on everyone. After all, in 100 years we’ll all be dead anyway, and a year or 10 is nothing balanced against geologic time, so why bother about murdering anyone now?

    • Ted Seeber

      Church teaching is not the reason to be against euthanasia. Common sense is.

  • Sus

    I don’t think Joni Eareckson would be eligible to commit suicide under the Oregon law. No one is going to advocate for someone’s death unless that person wants it and is dying of a terminal disease.

    You must be of sound mind, able to take the pills yourself and DYING in order to get the prescription.

    • http://ackans.com Mr. V.

      Perhaps now. What you don’t seem to understand is that by opening the door to a practice like the so-called Death with Dignity, you are making possible someday that doctors can decide on their own to terminate a life that they don’t think is worth living. It won’t be by big jumps, but by little steps, each one only a little further than the last.

      • Sus

        I don’t think it will open any doors except for the terminally ill to decide they have had enough. Only time will tell if you are correct that is opening the door for doctors to decide on their own.

        • Rebecca Hamilton

          Thousands of years of human history are on my side of the argument. Whenever you give people the license to exploit, abuse or kill others, they ALWAYS abuse it.

          All you have on your side of the argument is wishful thinking. You don’t trust people to properly care for terminally ill people now, so, as a cure for this, you think it’s a good idea to trust those same people with the power to kill them. That’s a lot of wishful thinking.

          Also, there is a big difference between terminally ill people electing to stop treatment and go for palliative care, which is something they can do now (and do it morally) and actively killing someone. The difference between those two is HUGE; in life, in morality and in law.

          • Sus

            Who said anything about trusting people to properly care for terminally ill people? That has nothing to do with it. The care givers are not the ones that can ask for the prescription. The law does not say that all terminally ill people will be given the prescription.

            Saying all terminal people will be given the prescription is not true.

            I respect that you are against the law and would not vote for it if it were an issue in your state. I do not respect that you are saying untruths regarding it.

            • Rebecca Hamilton

              What I mean by saying that we don’t trust people to take care of the terminally is that many of the arguments I’ve heard in favor of killing the terminally ill revolve around the suffering they may or may not experience. Much of this comes directly from the really poor, unkind and uncaring care they have received, often at the same medical hands that you now want to entrust with the legal right to kill them.

              If people can be and are put into nursing homes by uncaring relatives who want them out of the way, or declared incompetent by equally uncaring family members who want them out of the way — and all these things happen — then why are you so blase about abuses of a law which allows people to kill other people with no legal repercussions?

              • Sus

                As I’ve said previously, the law protects people from others killing them. If the person uses the law, they are killing themselves.

                Not taking care of your loved ones as they age is a disgrace in my book. I took care of my husband’s Grandma for 4 years. It was the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. This law would have never affected her because she had a strong Catholic faith and would not do anything against the church. The law wasn’t in effect when she was with us but if it were, it would have never come up. I’ll miss that woman the rest of my life.

                I do think I’m privileged because I’m home all day and was available for Grandma. Lots of families now have no one at home during the day. There are nice nursing homes but you have to have big bucks to afford them. I think this issue is completely separate from the law.

                I honestly don’t mean to be blase. This is a very serious issue. Death is something that I’ve been reading about for a few years. The process the body goes through when dying and what, if anything, happens, after death. Death is something everyone should be thinking about as there isn’t an escape from it.

                • http://fpb.livejournal.com/ Fabio P.Barbieri

                  If you don’t think that a depressed and sick human being can be manipulated by greedy and vicious relatives or heirs to ask to be killed, you are living on the Moon. The notion that anyone would rationally ask to be killed is nonsense. Every time I hear something like that, I hear the sound of murderous relatives or bureaucrats. Far from a protection, the rule that a person can be killed if s/he asks for it is an invitation to put on the most unholy psychological and even physical pressure on them to do so. It is an invitation to torture. Every step you take on this delusionary path takes you further and further down the road of endorsing and encouraging cruelty and crime.

                  • Sus

                    I don’t live on the moon. Have you read the law that is on the ballot in Massachusetts?

                    • http://fpb.livejournal.com/ Fabio P.Barbieri

                      You don’t even bother to answer my point, and that shows you have no answer. It doesn’t matter how the law puts it: just to ask the question “do you find your life worth living?” is an is an invitation to cruel third parties to pressure you into finding it so. No law can govern the daily realities of human interaction; I don’t think even you would suggest to outlaw bad manners, let alone spiteful suggestions and mere neglect.

                • Ted Seeber

                  “As I’ve said previously, the law protects people from others killing them. If the person uses the law, they are killing themselves.”

                  Then I for one have to judge the law to be a failure.

                  • Sus

                    If you and your loved ones do not want to take advantage of the law, no one will force you to.

                    • http://fpb.livejournal.com/ Fabio P.Barbieri

                      “…and your loved ones….” – an amazing assumption, that everyone who stood to gain by your death should happen to love you. Say rather “you and your heirs.”

    • http://ackans.com Mr. V.

      “No one is going to advocate for someone’s death unless that person wants it and is dying of a terminal disease.”

      Dr. Kevorkian did advocate for the death of people that weren’t dying of a terminal disease. Others will again.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      And you believe this is how things will play out because …. ????

      • Sus

        It will play out as it has in other states and countries. People use it when they are terminally ill and dying. No one is going to kill anyone using this law. Everything bad you have cited has not happened where this law is legal.

        • Rebecca Hamilton

          That isn’t accurate Sus. I’ll try to get back with a post talking in depth about this in a day or so.

          • Sus

            Thank you :)

    • Ted Seeber

      “No one is going to advocate for someone’s death unless that person wants it and is dying of a terminal disease.”

      Except of course, insurance companies wanting to save money, family members wanting to preserve inheritance dollars and not waste them on somebody eating for an extra week, and of course, the people not dying of terminal disease who *fake the terminal disease* to commit insurance fraud with their suicide.

  • BDW

    “Laws can be changed, but the act of deliberately and intentionally killing an innocent human being does not change. It is always murder. Nothing in the law can change that fact.”

    That’s absolutely wrong. You’re a lawmaker. You know that a law can be changed to make something that was illegal legal. You are referring to moral laws that are subjective at best and useless at worst. You need to pay attention to government laws.

    This country is not ruled by Catholic laws. That’s what you are using for your basis of legal and illegal.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      It is not. As I said, I opposed euthanasia long before I was either a Catholic or a Christian, based entirely on the fact that it is a bad idea.

      I know it can change the LEGALITY of the question. But it cannot change the reality of it. I can pass a law (if I can get enough other legislators to agree with me,) that, say, there is life on Mars. That will not put life on Mars. In a similar fashion, passing a law that says that the deliberate, intentional killing of innocent people is not murder, does not mean that it is not murder. It means that the law is a lie.

    • http://fpb.livejournal.com/ Fabio P.Barbieri

      In other words, to you “thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not bear false witness” are useless and subjective. What would you say is useful, then?

  • WFS

    Let’s keep this simple. Right now, doctor assisted dying is illegal in Massachusetts. If Question 2 passes it will be legal as of January 1, 2013. I want it to be legal, so I am voting yes.

    I don’t care about the (Catholic) moral implications. I’ve read the referendum question and I’m okay with it. To me it is moral, ethical, and hopefully, soon to be legal.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Vote for it if you want. It is not moral. It may be ethical, since ethics is just what whoever decides they are an ethicist and writes a paper on something says it is — Drs Singer and Toomey and their “ethical” opinions that parents should have a time period after a baby is born to decide whether or to kill or keep it. These are big-time “ethicists.” Based on that, I would say that any sort of killing you want to call something else can be considered “ethical.” But murder of an innocent person is never moral.

    • http://fpb.livejournal.com/ Fabio P.Barbieri

      Of course you don’t care about the moral implications. Neither will the people – relatives, heirs, insurance people, medical bureaucrats – who will start pressuring you to “agree” to die when you are old and sick and no earthly use to anyone. Of course, since immorality is always for others, you will squawk then – and it will not do you any good. This is what you voted for, remember?

      • Sus

        I do care about the moral implications. I respect what a person wants in their last stage of life. You mentioned your brother in another comment. Under the proposed law in Massachusetts, he would not be eligible as he does not have a terminal disease he is actively dying from.

        The law is used in cases where a person has a terminal disease like stage 4 cancer. Instead of spending a few months in agony, the person can elect to end their life early to avoid pain. If they are ready to go, why is it up to us to not allow it? What about their free will and their wishes? Don’t they have any rights as to how they want to die?

        • http://fpb.livejournal.com/ Fabio P.Barbieri

          My brother does not have such a terminal disease because the doctors in Italy have no interest in diagnosing him one. As a matter of fact, he has been very close to death in the early stages, and if any doctor at the time had wanted to, they could have murdered him. Your trust in the benevolence and uprightness of THE SAME PEOPLE WHOM YOU WANT TO INVEST WITH THE POWER TO KILL is rather sad. For an appalling case of medical murder in Italy, look up Eluana Englaro.

          • Sus

            I do trust my doctors. Under the proposed law Eluana Englaro wouldn’t be eligible as she can’t consent.

            I thought it was wrong what happened to Terri Shiavo as she couldn’t say what she wanted. It doesn’t matter what her discussions were with her husband in her case. I was and still am puzzled why her husband put everyone through that. I thought it was disgraceful.

            If you can’t consent, then you will not be eligible under the law. I suppose people could bring about a law suit but it wouldn’t be under the proposed law in Massachusetts.

    • Ted Seeber

      It doesn’t matter what you believe, it matters what the facts are.

  • Rebecca Hamilton

    I want to say again that voting and advocating for this law puts those who do it in the position of voting and advocating for murder. Murder is the deliberate, intentional killing of an innocent person. Aiding or abetting in such an act makes you part of it. Deciding that you will vote for this law because you “don’t care” about “Catholic” morality means nothing. You are still advocating for the murder of innocent people. and you are still by that act making yourself part of their deaths. To call this “moral” is breathtaking hubris. But it does not change the fact that the “morality” you are advocating for is, in fact, legalizing medical murder.

  • WFS

    OK Rebecca. You drive a hard bargain. I will let you have your way. I’ll let you label DWD as the m word. I will take on the moral responsibility of voting to allow doctors to, under very limited circumstances, get away with murder.

    Hopefully, this will allow you to keep your morals and political life unblemished and I will deal with the ramifications of casting an immoral vote. And the doctors who prescribe life ending medications will just have to live with the guilt.

    That should make everyone happy.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      If you really understand that killing innocent people is murder, then you can’t do it, and you can’t help other people do it.

    • http://fpb.livejournal.com/ Fabio P.Barbieri

      Your heirs and your insurance company will certainly be grateful when the time comes and nobody has to spend money to keep you alive.

      • Rebecca Hamilton

        Actually, a speaker at a board meeting of National Right to Life that I was privileged to attend a few years ago commented that the health insurance companies were among the financial backers of one of the euthanasia referendum petitions in this country. I can’t give more details off the top of my head, but I could probably track them down.

  • http://mywordwall.wordpress.com Imelda

    Here I am just letting you know that I came by. You are discussing very well very serious matters – I wish to make a comment but I need time to digest what I read and formulate my own response . But thank you for writing about these things.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Thank you Imelda.

  • BDW

    I don’t see where granting someone a final wish to die with dignity becomes a grave moral issue. It’s a judgement call by a professional (i.e., the doctor) and a personal decision by a terminal patient. There is no good or evil involved.

    It seems kind of ridiculous that this is even considered to be murder under existing laws. These laws definitely should be changed.

    • http://fpb.livejournal.com/ Fabio P.Barbieri

      People’s lives come expensive. Judgment calls by professionals will be in favour of ending them. When you are ill with a lingering disease, the last thing you will see is your doctor with a needle full of something that will not do anything to cure or treat you.

      • Sus

        That isn’t true. Under the proposed law, you will be given a prescription for pills. There’s no big needled involved. Unfortunately, there many diseases that advance to the point where there is nothing to cure or treat. Everyone is going to die. There is no escape from that.

        I understand and respect your opinion on the proposed law. I will not allow untruths to be said without rebuttal.

        • http://fpb.livejournal.com/ Fabio P.Barbieri

          And you are shocked because I spoke of a needle instead of pills? That is your idea of moral difference?

          • Sus

            I’m interested in legitimate debates. If the debate becomes hostile or untruths are said, my interest wanes. Saying untrue things about the proposed law in Massachuetts does not further your argument.

            • http://fpb.livejournal.com/ Fabio P.Barbieri

              I suggest you make a study in how laws are applied. And I suggest that you take as a particularly relevant instance the way the 1967 British law on abortion is applied, as against what it says on paper. If, after that, you can still bring yourself to believe that paper safeguards are worth three-tenths of a tinker’s damn against the forces of selfish human nature and deliberate hypocrisy, all I can say is that you must be an instance of simple faith beyond my understanding.

  • http://fpb.livejournal.com/ Fabio P.Barbieri

    My brother had a grave swimming accident many years ago. He has since built a useful life, although he is tetraplegic and pretty much incurable at the present stage of knowledge. Through him I am involved in the disabled movement, and I can say with authority and from experience that NO person who is treated with dignity ever wants to die. I have known spastics, tetraplegics, people with nightmare disabilities you don’t even want to think about. I have never known anyone, beginning with my brother, who ever said that they had at any point wanted to die. And my conclusion is that the only people who ever reach that kind of feeling are the people who are MADE to feel worthless – by the disgusting selfishness of people around them. That happens, and it is one of the things that the international disabled movement fights. Disabled rights are one of the greatest and noblest achievements of our time. Euthanasia is utterly opposed to them.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Thank you Fabio. I have a sister with MS, (the same disease Kevorkian euthanized the man for in the tape that televised) and I can attest to the same thing.

  • WFS

    I want to apologize to those who have been involved in this conversation. A while back, on another blog, my posts were deleted and a block was placed on my posts to keep me from hijacking the conversation. Being sensitive to that, I used other names and email addresses to get through. Some times I lose track of who I am or get too lazy to go back to the name I am using on a specific blog. Some of my responses ended up being made under the name BDW for which I used my company email address. My split personallity was exposed when I tried to post a comment on another blog and was initially rejected. I changed the name and posted it again. Evidentally, I was only temporarity rejected under the other name and the same post was published under both names.

    Again, I appologize for this apparently deceitful practice. It’s just that I am so deeply emerged in Massachusetts Question 2. Everyone around me is against it and I am losing arguments and getting ready to give it up. I’ve heard so many arguments pointing to the potential for abuse of the liberties that would be provided under this proposed law.

    I think I (or should I say “we” like some popes have said) will just sit back and listen from this point on. Carry on. I’m intrigued.

    Bill S / WFS / BDW

    • Ted Seeber

      Thanks for letting us know- I’m going to be interested in the results either way on Question 2.

      I’m encouraged that even in a state like Massachusetts, there are still some sane people left. Maybe one day Oregon and Washington will return to the same sanity; though it’s not going to be by somebody out of state forcing us to vote again.

      I came of understanding on this issue in between the two times Oregon voted. In 1995, I voted for euthanasia. In 1997, I voted against having seen the effect it was already having on *other* non-terminally ill suicides and on external-to-the-law murder-suicide cases among the elderly.

      But 1997 was a vote forced on us from outside the state, and the polls ended up 10% higher for because of the anger voters felt at being asked the same question twice. It squeaked by the first time, the second time was taken to be a mandate.

  • WFS

    When I can stop arguing that it is not a moral issue and that it is not murder, I can look at the one potential deal breaker for me. That would be the insurance companies refusing further coverage for anyone with less than six months to live since they qualify for DWD. That seems like a draconian policy, but it could happen. I will most likely abstain from voting on this question.

    • http://fpb.livejournal.com/ Fabio P.Barbieri

      It could happen. And water could be wet.

    • Sus

      The HHS mandate prevents insurance companies from doing that. It doesn’t go far enough, but it’s a start.

  • http://greenlightlady.wordpress.com Wendy Macdonald

    Thanks for bringing up this topic. It may be our own lives at stake as we age, and someone thinks we need to be terminated! I am nervous about how steep this slippery slope may get…

    Blessings ~ Wendy

  • WFS

    Wow,

    Now that I am on my laptop, I can see who is responding to whom. On my IPhone the comments are in batches by person so I can only read one persons comments one right after the other without knowing to whom they are directed.

    Fabio,

    I’m sorry if I failed to respond to comments directed to me. I am impressed with your passion. Crazy Italian. I’m Italian American so I think I can call you that in a good natured way.

    Sus is arguing my case for me. I think if Question 2 passes this year, you will see it on other state ballots and perhaps it will eventually become a federal law protecting doctors from prosecution in every state. This is going to raise some eyebrows, but I see it as a Roe v. Wade for DWD. I probably shouldn’t be saying that so enthusiastically. I can see why the Archdiocese of Boston is spending so much time and money fighting it.

    After much consideration, I have decided that the potential for abuse does not outweight the benefits of giving terminal patients a means of ending their lives on their own terms. The abuses can be addressed and the law can be amended to eliminate them.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      How many people do you have to kill before it starts to be wrong?

      “After much consideration, I have decided that the potential for abuse does not outweight the benefits of giving terminal patients a means of ending their lives on their own terms. The abuses can be addressed and the law can be amended to eliminate them.”

      • WFS

        Good point. I’m going to let this issue go.

        It’s not going to pass anyway. Too much opposition and no funding for the Yes vote.

        Thanks

  • WFS

    But for the abuses, would you still be against death with dignity? In other words, if the law was applied exactly as it is written, would you still have a problem with that?

    Are you concerned about people being pressured into ending their life early to avoid being a financial burden?