TIME TO TERMINATE “ASSISTED DYING”
In 2002 Belgium legalized the murderously chilling act of euthanasia, whereby doctors and nurses kill patients with their supposed consent. Holland had formally done the same the year before. is practice, all too reminiscent of what Nazi Germany did before WWII to the mentally handicapped and to people with very serious disabilities, is justi ed these days not by Hitlerian theories of “purifying the race,” of course, but as a “humane” way to deal with those who are suffering mortal illnesses and in extreme pain.
Many thousands of patients have been disposed of since Holland and Belgium enacted these morally repugnant laws. Belgium now allows euthanasia to be applied even to children, acknowledging recently that between Jan. 1, 2016, and Dec. 31, 2017, two children, ages 9 and 11, who were a icted with a brain tumor and cystic brosis, respectively, and a 17-year-old, who had Duchenne muscular dystrophy, had been put to death. Apologists say these kids gave their consent, as did their parents. Good God! Are we to believe that youngsters should be making such decisions?
Holland has been hit with scandals in which patients were administered lethal injections without their consent, in order to free up “needed” hospital beds. A er all, the reasoning went, these people were going to die soon, anyway. In Belgium, according to a news report, a member of the Federal Commission for Euthanasia Control & Evaluation resigned last year “in protest at the unchecked killings of dementia patients.”
What’s happening here is an ugly, slippery slope. Instead of working to alleviate the tribulations of the a icted and innovating ever better ways to do this, we simply “put them out of their misery,” the way we do with household pets.
It’s not only in Belgium and the Netherlands that we’re seeing this awful phenomenon. A chronically ill man in Canada is suing the government because medical personnel allegedly and illegally tried to coerce him into going the assisted-suicide route to save money. “Why force me to end my life?” the plainti asked.
It’s one thing for people to declare in writing when they are in good health and of sound mind that no “heroic” measures are to be taken, that medical sta should “let nature take its course.” But it’s quite another for medical personnel to actually kill patients, as is happening in Belgium, Holland and elsewhere.
Research shows that many euthanasia and assisted-suicide victims are su ering from depression. ey should be treated, not abandoned. As for physical su ering, it’s hardly beyond the capabilities of modern medicine to e ectively manage pain with older, well-established medications, as well as newer, better drugs.
It’s true that in the U.S. we have a serious opioid crisis. Nonetheless, the response shouldn’t be a diminution in pain management but, alternatively, a focus on reducing and eventually eliminating the abuses.
e temptation to use euthanasia as a solution will only increase as populations age and as cash-strapped governments and insurers scramble to nd ways to reduce growing healthcare costs. It should be axiomatic that life is sacrosanct, whether or not you are religious.
In recent times we have seen enormous medical advances that not only prolong life but also improve the quality of life as we age. e answer to the rising costs of healthcare is the creation of genuine free markets, which always turn scarcity into abundance. ere is precious little in the way of free markets in healthcare. ird parties, primarily governments and insurers—not the patients—still dominate. is is beginning to change in the U.S. Rapidly e ecting this transformation should be our urgent goal, not surrendering to rationing or descending into the pit of euthanasia and “assisted dying.”
Morally and pragmatically, such practices have no place in a truly civilized and humane society.