Euthanasia for All

Euthanasia for All March 7, 2023

If there is a “right to die,” then that right must extend to everyone.  It shouldn’t be limited to people who are dying in hopeless pain.  People with non-fatal conditions, the disabled, those with psychological problems, individuals in economic difficulties, and, basically, anyone should have this right.  Even children.  Even without their parents’ consent.

This is the progress of euthanasia laws, as we are seeing already in Canada.  In the United States, jurisdictions that have legalized “physician assisted suicide” are now considering expanding their application beyond the deathbed.

Currently, 10 states permit “medical aid-in-dying” (MAiD).  They are California, Oregon, Washington, Montana, Colorado, New Mexico, Hawaii, Vermont, Maine, and New Jersey, plus the District of Columbia.  Seven more states are now considering MAiD bills: Arizona, Connecticut, Indiana, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, and Virginia.  Four more may do so in the near future:  Delaware, Maryland, Minnesota and Nevada.

James Reinl of the Daily Mail in the UK, who seems shocked at what the North Americans are doing, reports that some of the states that already allow euthanasia are loosening their rules, letting not just doctors but nurses prescribe lethal drugs, cutting waiting periods, and allowing “death tourism” whereby non-residents can travel to their states to be killed.

Already in the United States, “medical aid-in-dying” is being extended to people who are not dying.  A Colorado doctor who specializes in eating disorders has prescribed lethal drugs to three of her patients who were suffering from anorexia!

Of Oregon’s 238 assisted suicides, Reinl reports, only 26.9% cited “inadequate pain control, or concern about it.”  The most-chosen reason (patients could choose as many as applied), with 93.3%,  was “losing personal autonomy.  Then “less able to engage in activities that make life enjoyable” (92%); “loss of dignity” (68.1%); “burden on family, friends, caregivers” (54.2%); and “losing control of bodily functions” (47.1%). The lowest cited reason, after pain or fear of pain, was “financial implications of treatment” (8.4%).

It would appear that the main reasons these sad, desperate people wanted to die were psychological, having to do with depression, guilt, shame, and lack of support.  What they needed was better care, love, and a sense of meaning.  Instead, they were killed.

Meanwhile, in Canada, whose assisted suicide system kills 10,000 citizens per year, the horror keeps growing.  Already, Canadians are being put down because of disabilities as slight as hearing loss and misfortunes such as poverty.  But now a parliamentary committee has recommended that the right to die be extended to children, even without parental consent.

Under the proposal, “mature minors” whose death is “reasonably foreseeable” may request assisted suicide, and parents have no say in the matter.  In a separate article on the situation in Canada, Rentl quotes Amy Hasbrouck, of the organization Not Dead Yet, which campaigns for rights for the disabled and opposes euthanizing them.

‘Teenagers are not in a good position to judge whether to commit suicide or not. Any teenagers with a disability, who’s constantly told their life is useless and pitiful, will be depressed, and of course they’re going to want to die.’

Rentl concludes, “human rights advocates say the country’s regulations lack necessary safeguards, devalue the lives of disabled people, and are prompting doctors and health workers to suggest the procedure to those who might not otherwise consider it.”  The proposal has not yet been approved by the Canadian government.

But this isn’t the bottom of euthanasia’s slippery slope.  An economics professor at Yale, Yusuke Narita, studying the problems of a rapidly aging society in his native Japan, is floating the idea of mandatory euthanasia for the elderly.  And the idea is getting lots of support from young Japanese who feel that their elders are occupying positions that leave fewer opportunities for them.

What I don’t understand is how we as a society are rightly extremely concerned about the suicide epidemic.  And yet the society is, at the same time, encouraging the sick, disabled, and depressed to commit suicide, and, indeed, to make it easier for them by allowing medical professionals to give them poison.

(Which reminds me that I should post what has become obligatory for all discussions of the topic:  If you are considering suicide, help is available by phone, chat, or text at the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.  Just dial 988.)


Image by Michael Kretzschmar from Pixabay 



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