The Slippery Slope in Action – Euthanasia Kills

Whenever contentious social changes are promoted by various activist groups, we are always assured that adequate safeguards will be set in place, and that things will not spiral out of control. Whether it is abortion, drugs, prostitution, or pornography, we are always assured that these things will be kept in check.

Consider the issue of euthanasia, and consider one assisted suicide support group, Dignitas. The group was formed in Switzerland in 1998. Back then it insisted that this would not open the floodgates, but simply help those with a terminal illness die with “dignity”.

Of course that was just the beginning. Soon people with mental illnesses were allowed to make use of their services – thanatoriums, they are neatly called – but with “proper” medical safeguards, such as a psychiatric report. But as many pro-life advocates have pointed out over the years, if we are going to head down the path of legalising euthanasia, then that means people have a right to take their life. Why stop at the elderly or severely depressed. Why not anyone for any reason?

And that is exactly where Dignitas has come to. The group’s founder, Ludwig Minelli, has just recently said that suicide is a marvellous human right, and that it should not be denied to those seeking it. Here is how one press write-up explains the situation:

Minelli “is seeking permission from the courts in Switzerland to assist the suicide of a perfectly healthy woman. The woman is the wife of an unnamed and ill Canadian man who may seek suicide at the Dignitas facility; she has said that if her husband commits suicide, then she would want to commit suicide at the same time, though she is suffering from no illness.”

“Minelli told BBC Radio 4 that everyone has a right to kill themselves, whether they are healthy or sick, and that there should be no legal restrictions whatever on physician assisted suicide. He called assisted suicide a ‘marvellous, marvellous possibility for a human being.’ ‘It’s a right, a human right, without condition except capacity of discernment.’ Minelli, who has argued that assisted suicide should be legally available for people with severe depression, said, ‘Suicide is a very good possibility to escape a situation which you can’t alter’.”

So much for safeguards and limitations. This is open slather on assisted killing. This is the logical outcome of the pro-death advocates who have sought to put human autonomy and freedom of choice above all other considerations.

And as mentioned, rights demand obligations. If we have a right to kill, then we have an obligation to kill. If the state says there is a legal right to die, logically, anyone can bring suit to ensure that governments comply. Indeed, once legalised, it is possible that doctors may one day face lawsuits if they violate someone’s rights by not killing them. As one commentator put it, “Imagine doctors purchasing malpractice insurance that covers ‘denial of death’ suits. That day may not be far away.”

For all the talk about choice, about freedom to choose, about giving people options, the legal and social legitimisation for assisted suicide will effectively eliminate one option, namely, staying alive without having to justify one’s existence. With legalised euthanasia, the burden will be upon people to justify being alive – we will have to prove that we ought to be allowed to live. Lest that sound too far out, recall the comments made some years ago by the then Governor-General Bill Hayden who, thinking of his own advancement in years, spoke of “unproductive burdens” which we need to be “disencumbered” of via euthanasia.

What a lousy message legalised euthanasia sends out to the wider community. It has nothing to do with human dignity. This is about treating human beings as mere animals, with no inherent worth and value. Minelli made this clear when he spoke of some crass financial benefits of suicide. As the news item relates, “Minelli also emphasised the cost-benefit aspect of suicide, saying that the health system saves the costs of protracted health care with every successful suicide.”

But this kind of thinking is not new. In 1994 the Economic Planning Advisory Commission (EPAC) discussed the rising costs of health care for the elderly. In its publication EPAC actually looked at the issue of euthanasia as one option in the whole discussion. There was no talk about alleviating suffering or being compassionate – the whole proposal centred on cost-cutting measures.

And if human beings have no more moral value than a dingo or an amoeba, then I suppose concerns about money can be raised. But because we are special and unique, deserving of respect, putting mere market value on human lives is disgusting and dehumanising.

This reduction of the human person to naked choices and financial considerations is part of the general war of the worlds going on –  a war of worldviews. On the one hand is the Judeo-Christian worldview which puts a very high value on the human person. On the other side is the secular humanist worldview which is hard pressed to come up with a logical reason why humans should be treated any differently than amoebas or weeds.

The former speaks of the sanctity of human life. The latter speaks of the quality of human life. If we do not have inherent and unalienable dignity and worth, then arbitrary notions of quality will be substituted instead. This has devastating repercussions.

Indeed, as I type these words a television news item is reporting on a 16-year-old girl who committed suicide after visiting a pro-euthanasia website. The site contained graphic information on how to take one’s life. The latest ravings of the Dignitas founder are simply the logical – and ugly – outcome of the pro-euthanasia push.

We must slam this door shut now, and never open it an inch. The slippery slope is far too dangerous.

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9 Replies to “The Slippery Slope in Action – Euthanasia Kills”

  1. Interesting that those in the political realm who tend to be most in favour of euthanasia are generally also opposed to the death penalty for serious crimes. In promoting euthanasia and by extrapolating as you have done above (and as has been done in actuality in countries that allow euthanasia) it would appear growing old or acquiring a disease is a ‘crime’ that is acceptably punishable by (coercion into?) death whilst we plead the indignity of unnatural death for serious criminals in other jurisdictions.

    What is perplexes me is how strictly committed these advocates are to this worldview? Are they actually willing to weaken the laws that protect and promote the dignity of life such that when they are old and incapacitated, someone can make an executive decision to end their life? Once economics weighs in, the logical conclusion will be that people who have no ‘quality of life’ and are a financial burden should be put down for the good of all. After all, we have an aging population, we discouraged people from having children due to climate change, we don’t have the tax base to support these people a d continue to deal with the other overwhelming health needs of the population ….. .

    There is also the question of what to do when Alzheimer’s or dementia set in – “surely they wouldn’t want to be suffering in such an undignified state like this” – all a decision that could also be influenced even more by the size of the person in questions estate.

    Sadly, those promoting these agendas have a very poor case of tunnel vision where they are not able to see the implications of the rights (wrongs) they so dangerously promote. But if we can continue to turn our back on 100 000 or so abortions each year it probably wouldn’t be too difficult to accept that several hundred (thousand or more?) people die in circumstances that somebody somewhere thinks was okay enough to make ‘legal’ at some point in time.

    Legalised euthanasia would be a sad step for those in government and they would certainly be failing in their mandate to promote justice and mercy thus leaving the country in a better way than which they found it.

    Geoff Peet

  2. The possibilities are that instead of incarcerating criminals they might be put to death instead of costing the state to keep them in prison. The problem appears to be that there are demented indivudals in high places that are getting a hearing.
    Pat Abrahams

  3. Bill, you say “For all the talk about choice, about freedom to choose, about giving people options, the legal and social legitimisation for assisted suicide will effectively eliminate one option, namely, staying alive without having to justify one’s existence. With legalised euthanasia, the burden will be upon people to justify being alive – we will have to prove that we ought to be allowed to live.” This has already happened! Remember the case a few years ago in America where the woman with severe brain damage was put to death by a court order on her husband’s application? The family couldn’t come up with justification enough to convince the court to let her live even though they offered to take her home and care for her at their own expense. I can’t remember the name of the victim, do you?

    But the part of the story that still horrifies me when I think of it is that she had her feeding tube removed and was left on the bed to die of starvation and dehydration. Her suffering lasted a week before she died. Some protestors were even arrested for trying to bring her food and her family where ordered not to make any attempt to feed her.

    How is this dying with dignity? In Joseph Conrad’s novel Heart of Darkness he recounts the tale of a man decending to the lowest human state. The end of the journey is summarised in the line “The horror, the horror.” What would Joseph Conrad say of the barbarity we inflict on others today with sanctioning by the law?

    Frank Norros

  4. Bill, that’s quite a shocking quote; ‘marvellous, marvellous possibility for a human being’. For a long time, I’ve known in my spirit that they were going to one day set up euthanasia stations for people to voluntarily go into and submit to the death doctors and perhaps that choice be taken away from them as Frank points out was done to Terri Schiavo. The whole ‘aging population’ hoohah could be used as a justification for ‘encouraging’ or perhaps even demanding that old people do their duty for society and line up for their shot in the arm.
    One public figure, an old woman named Lady Warnock…in her latest interview, given to the Church of Scotland’s magazine Life and Work, goes further by claiming that dementia sufferers should consider ending their lives through euthanasia because of the strain they put on their families and public services.

    Lady Warnock said: “If you’re demented, you’re wasting people’s lives – your family’s lives – and you’re wasting the resources of the National Health Service.”

    Meanwhile there’s the news about a so-called Conservative in the UK
    “suggesting euthanasia as a way to cut the cost of caring for vulnerable children”

    There is coming a groundswell of support for legalized murder of inconvenient and/or willing people now that the murder of infants by abortion is practically out of the public debate. This is turning into a society of murderers, God help us all. I can’t imagine the curse that these people are calling down on our heads by these sinful acts.

    Dee Graf

  5. Thanks Ewan, it was Terri Schiavo. There was a lot reported about this case if any one wants to google it.

    What kind of society have we become when hospital rooms become murder chambers with police guards to ensure no-one intervenes to prevent the death of the innocent, the weakest and the most vulnerable even when the family of the victim pleaded with the court to let her live.

    The insanity continued even after she was pronounced dead. To justify this murder to the world they did an autopsy to cut out her brain. Images of her brain damage were released to the media to show that there was never any way her condition would improve. It came with commentaries from doctors to ensure we understood the nature of the brain damage as though this somehow made it all OK. All I can say is “The horror, the horror”.

    Frank Norros

  6. Andrew Bolt, a non-Christian, wrote in his column about Nitschke’s troubling trail of death:

    When my mother was just days from dying of cancer, I finally agreed to ask a doctor for help so she could kill herself.

    Few people could have been more in favour of euthanasia than was I.

    My only regret back then was that mum’s brave attempt failed, and she took more than another week to die.

    Decades later, I’ve changed my mind completely. Legalised euthanasia now horrifies me, and not just because I learned much in mum’s last days.

    In fact, what most influenced me far more has been—ironically—Philip Nitschke, founder of Exit International.

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    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

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