The Presumption of Life No More: The "Safe, Legal, Rare" Misnomer of Euthanasia

There are two options before us in response: 1) Humans are immeasurably dignified at all stages of life, or 2) Dignity becomes the measured subject belonging to majoritarian democracies and bureaucratic panels.

Packer's will not be the last story we hear like this. Mark my word. The "right to die" can quickly become a "duty to die" once governments or health insurance agencies meddle with human dignity. This is what comes with euthanasia. It's the third-party, unintended consequences that we do not currently think about that end up being the most dangerous to you and to society.

A state that regulates suicide will have its effects trickle down into every sector of life.

We are only in the beginnings of euthanasia's regime, and it already impacting America's conversation about end of life options. As the same article notes about developments in the Netherlands:

Lawmakers in the Netherlands are considering a proposal to allow older people who don't suffer from terminal illnesses, but feel they have "completed life," access to aid in dying.

The slippery slope is very slippery once the state opens the gates to death.

Outcomes such as what Mrs. Packer was confronted with are the consequences of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. In the name of "compassion" and "choice," those not wanting to end their lives are paying the price for a legislature's sanctioning of death.

We will come to see that the "safe, legal, and rare" misnomer is as deceptive on euthanasia as it has been for abortion.

As a Christian ethicist who focuses on the moral principles undergirding civil society, I stand squarely within the Christian tradition in rejecting euthanasia. The Christian moral tradition teaches that life at all stages possesses inviolable dignity and that the active, intentional killing of innocents—even the terminally ill—is unjust, immoral, and sinful. To dispose of life because of illness runs contrary to the Christian understanding of life's sacred value despite life's circumstances. Euthanasia also removes the redemptive aspects that many people testify to amidst suffering. More broadly, euthanasia communicates to society that suicide is an acceptable response to suffering.

Welcoming one's death as inevitable is altogether different than actively pursuing it, which is what the state is now licensing. Under the pretense of its own sovereignty, the state's involvement in a person's suicide is a deadly form of statism. Once a state takes active interest in permitting suicide, it can just as well encourage it.

The state's determination of life's value cedes immense power away from the intrinsic and inviolable dignity of every living person. As a Christian, I abhor the idea that persons made in the image of God ought to be given the power to end a life that they did not create. Individuals of sound judgment and humane temperament should reject the idea of handing more power over to the state in creating a moral environment that permits suicide.

11/16/2016 5:00:00 AM
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