Calling Evil Good: How Many People Do You Have to Kill Before It’s Wrong? Part 1

Euthanasia in the Netherlands

1. 17% of euthanasia victims were euthanized by doctors without the patient’s consent.

2. In 2006 the Royal Dutch Medical Association said that “being over the age of 70 and tired of living” was an acceptable reason for euthanasia.

3. Since 1994, it has been legal to euthanize people for being in mental anguish. 

4. On March 1, 2012, the Dutch Association for a Voluntary End to Life launched mobile euthanasia units. The sick and their families can make application by phone or email. 

5. Thirteen psychiatric patients were murdered by euthanasia last year. 

The reasoning people who advocate euthanasia use to arrive at their conclusions amazes me.

They construct their arguments on a base of fantasy and inaccurate assumptions and then lard on a thick layer of wishful thinking. Such a combination of callow naiveté and confabulation might be touching in a three year old child, but when it comes from adults who are advocating legalized murder, it takes on darker tones.

One of the many inaccuracies on which they base their arguments is the shining success of legalized euthanasia in the Netherlands. I have nothing against the Netherlands, but I weary of having it pushed at me as the promised land by those who are arguing for oddball social issues here in America. It annoys me mainly because of its cloying inaccuracies and facile assumptions.

Let’s take a look at the Euthanasia promised land to which, we are told, all Americans, except the unwashed and illiterate traditional Christians with their rock-headed defenses of the right to life for all people, should aspire.

One assumption that is advanced by euthanasia advocates is that “death with dignity,” which is their euphemism for euthanasia, would only occur in the most controlled, charitable circumstances involving mostly elderly, terminally ill people facing imminent death. It is asserted that these people would all be in the last straits of unbearable suffering from uncontrollable pain, begging for release in the only way possible — immediate death.

Does that about sum it up?

It doesn’t happen like that in real life. Not even in the Netherlands. I am not going to go in depth with this post. Instead, I will confine it to one aspect of the argument: That no one will be euthanized unless they are terminally ill and choose it of their own free will. I’ll go into the other arguments in later posts.

According to studies in The Lancet and Current Oncology, the rate of euthanasia in the Netherlands has grown by 73% in the last 8 years. One in five of the people who were murdered did not request euthanasia and were unaware that they were being euthanized. 

The Current Oncology article says,

The reasons for not discussing the decision to end the person’s life and not obtaining consent were that patients were comatose (70% of cases) or had dementia (21% of cases). In 17% of cases, the physicians proceeded without consent because they felt that euthanasia was “clearly in the patient’s best interest” and, in 8% of cases, that discussing it with the patient would have been harmful to that patient. Those findings accord with the results of a previous study in which 25 of 1644 non-sudden deaths had been the result of euthanasia without explicit consent.

Initially, in the 1970s and 1980s, euthanasia and pas advocates in the Netherlands made the case that these acts would be limited to a small number of terminally ill patients experiencing intolerable suffering and that the practices would be considered last-resort options only. By 2002, euthanasia laws in neither Belgium nor the Netherlands limited euthanasia to persons with a terminal disease (recognizing that the concept of “terminal” is in itself open to interpretation and errors). The Dutch law requires only that a person be “suffering hopelessly and unbearably.” “Suffering” is defined as both physical and psychological, which includes people with depression … By 2006, the Royal Dutch Medical Association had declared that “being over the age of 70 and tired of living” should be an acceptable reason for requesting euthanasia. That change is most concerning in light of evidence of elder abuse in many societies, including Canada, and evidence that a large number of frail elderly people and terminally ill patients already feel a sense of being burden on their families and society, and a sense of isolation. The concern that these people may feel obliged to access euthanasia or pas if it were to become available is therefore not unreasonable, although evidence to verify that concern is not currently available.

As noted in the Current Oncology article, the Netherlands began the argument for euthanasia at the same place we are now in the United States. Nobody would ever be euthanized against their will. This new license to kill would never, no never, be abused because we can trust doctors to kill us without misusing the power.

Is there any part of this argument that an adult should believe? Evidently, a lot of adults do believe it, for reasons that confound me. In what should be no surprise at all to someone who has dealt with human frailty and sinfulness, which in my opinion, would be anyone over the age of 5, the law in the Netherlands has been abused. Not only that, it has been broadened.

In 1994, 50-year-old Netty Boomsma went to her psychiatrist, Dr Boudewijn Chabot, requesting euthanasia. Her son had died, and, according to the article, she was “in despair.” She requested no treatment, and none was offered to her. She was not physically ill. She asked Dr Chabot to kill her and he obliged. He was charged with a crime for this and the Dutch Supreme Court  gave a verdict the next day finding him not guilty.

That is how the Dutch legally allowed euthanasia for mental anguish.

The arguments in favor of euthanasia are based on false assumptions and fallacies. I think a lot of people vote for these laws because they see them as “trendy” and against the staid world of traditional morality.

Euthanasia in the Netherlands

1. 17% of euthanasia cases were committed by doctors without the patient’s consent.

2. In 2006 the Royal Dutch Medical Association said that “being over the age of 70 and tired of living” was an acceptable reason for euthanasia.

3. Since 1994, it has been legal to euthanize people for being in mental anguish. 

4. On March 1, 2012, the Dutch Association for a Voluntary End to Life launched mobile euthanasia units. The sick and their families can make application by phone or email. 

5. Thirteen psychiatric patients were murdered by euthanasia last year. 

  • largebill

    Evil never boldly & clearly announces it’s arrival. No, it sneaks in slowly. Euthanasia was sold to people as being charitable and humane and of course only going to have very limited application. In the early 1970′s SCOTUS thought they authored a ruling that allowed abortion in very limited circumstances. Problem is once society becomes accepting of limited evil it becomes harder to fight the advance of evil. For example “Hey, if it’s okay to kill that child why not this other child just a little older” Once there is widespread acceptance of killing kids in trimesters we are only a generation from killing inconvenient 2year olds or incontinent 80 year olds. Once life is devalued we are just arguing about specifics of when it’s acceptable. Disgusting and shameful.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      True. Thank you.

  • http://theshepherdspresence.wordpress.com Karyl

    Let me tell you about my mother. She left earth August 3, 2009, after her kidneys shut down. With Alzheimer disease, the brain sometimes shuts down areas of memory, but it also sometimes without warning shuts down a vital function. Mom was in a nursing home because she required more care than I could give her. She had lived with me for five years prior to that. I went to see her daily. Most of the time she could visit sensibly. One day, she collapsed in her chair and never returned. Three days later, she breathed her last breath and I held her hand and sang her Heaven. Those last hours were exhausting. I wanted so badly to be able to just stop it all and let her go. I am glad that I could NOT do that. Some doctors in hospice services do order a “relaxer” that helps the patient shut the body down. I learned in those last 12 hours of her life things I could not learn otherwise. Singing to her ministered to me spiritually as no other way could have ministered. It deepened my life. Frankly, I think “relaxing” the body so it can go is borderline euthanasia. God knows the beginning from the end. He knows that first breath and when we will take our last breath. The mark of euthanasia is a mark of taking control over God’s control. Godless society approves. Be alert, Americans, there is provision in our proposed health care bill that will allow euthanasia. Ezekiel Emmanuel, a contributor to the contents of the health bill, wrote a abook, The Complete Life System, that lays out such proposals. He is not a God-fearing person, and frankly, I fear him and his kind.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Karyl, I’m not surprised to hear that about the Affordable Health Care Act. You would not believe how aggressively my mother has been pushed on this by hospitals. I didn’t encounter anything like this when my Daddy was dying in 1994. It’s all new — and deeply upsetting.

  • http://jessicahof.wordpress.com/ JessicaHof

    God bless you Rebecca for your tireless work in His service. Euthanasia they call it – murder I call it.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Thank Jessica. Glad you’re back. Hope your wrist is healing well.

  • http://Janehartman.com Jane Hartman

    A friend’s brother in the Netherlands was given orders for his termination after he had been diagnosed with a disease thought to be terminal. He received a day and a time and that was the hour he was killed at the clinic. This was many years ago but it left me knowing that this process could come to the USA. It is a chilling thought that it is here at our door.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      It is chilling indeed Jane. Thanks for sharing this sad story.

    • Peter Heckert

      Jane, tt’s no coincidence that your comment reminds me of an episode of the Twilight Zone, called “The Obsolete Man.” If you haven’t ever seen it, look it up. It’s terrifying because it seems as though Rod Serling almost looked into the future with regard to that episode… Kyrie eleison. Come, Lord Jesus, come.

    • Peter Heckert

      Jane, it’s no coincidence that your comment reminds me of an episode of the Twilight Zone, called “The Obsolete Man.” If you haven’t ever seen it, look it up. It’s terrifying because it seems as though Rod Serling almost looked into the future with regard to that episode… Kyrie eleison. Come, Lord Jesus, come.

      Actually, I found it. There’s a slight lag in the audio-visual, but it still works.

    • Peter Heckert
  • Jan Nichols

    I debated about sending a comment but I decided to add my two cents. When we were in the midst of our “Renewal” waiting for the year 2000, the subject of euthenasia was discussed. In our renewal group were 2 physicians, an internist and my husband….who is a Psychiatrist….board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, plus he completed a full Residency in Radiology and practiced for 2 yrs in that field, and after completing his Psychaitry residency he did a fellowship with Emory Univ in Algology (Pain Management) and worked with pain patients for 25+ yrs. The Catholic Internist believed euthenaisa was reasonable but my husband insited that it was never appropriate under any circumstances since pain can be controlled at the end of one’s life. With appropriate medical intervention, and spiritual support, it should not every be “necessary” to take the life of another! His view (and mine) remain unchanged.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Interesting and informative. I’m glad you decided to share this with us Jan.

  • http://jscafenette.com/ Manny

    That is so disheartening. It hurts me to hear about stuff like that. If our country ever became like that, I would consider leaving. But where would I go? I’m afraid society needs to really degrade before it can recoup. But Nazism wasn’t all that long ago, and one would have thought that was the lowest western culture could sink.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Manny, I believe that we each of us is here, now, to fight the fights for the faith of this time. This is one of those fights. Don’t be disheartened. Go to mass. Go to confession. Read the scriptures. Pray the Rosary. And trust God. He will use you if you place yourself in His hands, and it will be in surprising ways that you never imagined. None of us is called to do it alone. All anyone has to do is his or her part.

  • http://www.thresholdofheaven.com Peter

    Sin is such a slippery slope, isn’t it? I have only to look at my own sinful struggles to see that it starts off seemingly innocent, but then attempts to drag one deeper and further along the path until it is full grown rebellion against God.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      That’s true Peter, and it can often begin as an expression of our best intentions. The problem with that (at least in my case) is when we begin to set ourselves up as our own gods. That’s what I did, and it led me to all the wrong places.

  • ace

    Worth a read if you missed it:
    Four Myths About Doctor-Assisted Suicide in the NYT 10/27/12 (and the comments)

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