More Reasons to Keep Euthanasia Illegal

The pro-death camp is ever active, and it is constantly seeking to introduce more pro-death legislation in various jurisdictions. In Tasmania a private members bill was recently introduced by the Greens to see euthanasia legalised. There are many sound reasons why we should not go down the path of legalising euthanasia. Some of these issues I have covered elsewhere. Here I wish to mention several more.

Slippery Slope

One concern is what is known as the slippery slope. For all the talk about “safeguards”, there really can be no safeguards in legalised euthanasia. The Dutch experience is an excellent example of this. The “guidelines” for euthanasia in Holland have often been flouted. Dr John Keown has studied the Dutch situation in great detail. For example, he found that in 1990, 52 per cent of the 10,558 cases of a doctor’s intent to hasten death were done with no explicit request from the patient.

The Remmelink Report, an official Dutch government survey of euthanasia practices, found that more than one thousand patients are involuntarily euthanised each year. As one Oxford philosopher put it, the Dutch experience clearly shows that “even with stringent safeguards, once voluntary euthanasia is legalised the descent down the slippery slope is inevitable”.

In South Australia, where voluntary euthanasia is illegal, a recent survey of doctors who had taken active steps to end a patient’s life found that 49 per cent of them had never received a request from the patient to do so. A more recent survey of nearly 1000 Australian surgeons found that more than one third had intentionally hastened the death of a patient by administering more medication than was necessary to treat the patient’s symptoms. Of this group, more than half said they did so without an explicit request from the patient.

Another survey of 683 general surgeons, conducted a year later by the University of Newcastle, found similar results: over a third had sped up the death of terminally ill patients, and over half of the patients had not explicitly asked for a lethal dose of drugs. Only a few of the patients had clearly asked for euthanasia.

It seems that abuse is inevitable. Voluntary euthanasia will lead to involuntary euthanasia. It is already happening. As one Australian expert in palliative care put it, “No proposal has ever been devised which could be guaranteed not to be abused.”

But more importantly, as noted earlier, once we have opened the door to the killing of the elderly, why stop there? This is the really dangerous slippery slope. And again, it is not just theoretical. Respected Australians are actually proposing that infanticide for example be seriously considered. Peter Singer is one well known proponent of this view.

Indeed, while some argue that policies permitting the killing of patients can be strictly controlled, in the real world such controls quickly dissipate. As Wesley Smith has put it, “The carefully shaded moral distinctions in which the health-care intelligentsia and policymakers take so much pride are of little actual consequence in the real world of cost-controlled medical practice, in busy hospital settings, and among families suffering the emotional trauma and bearing the financial costs of caring for a severely brain-damaged relative. Once killing is seen as an appropriate answer in a few cases, the ground quickly gives way, and it becomes the answer in many cases.”

Palliative Care

Palliative care is one of the great overlooked issues in the whole debate. What the terminally ill want is pain relief, not an end to life. In America there are 31,000 suicides annually, of which only 2 to 4 per cent are by people who are terminally ill. Although relatively new, palliative care has made tremendous advances in recent years. Yet it is still under-utilised. One medical doctor has said that between 50 and 75 per cent of cancer patients’ pain is under-treated, even by specialists.

But palliative care, if used, can now relieve suffering in the majority of cases. As a pro-euthanasia doctor in Holland, Dr Peter Admiraal, has admitted, “essentially all pain can be controlled … euthanasia for pain relief is unethical”. One doctor has said that “there is no pain that I cannot treat”. Perhaps 95 per cent of all patients can find relief from palliative care. Dr Ian Gawler has said, “in many years of working with people facing death I have never been confronted by a situation where the urge to provide ongoing compassionate care was outweighed by the pragmatic need for a prematurely induced death.” And a doctor from Western Australia has said, “there are very few symptoms indeed which cannot be controlled through the application of good palliative care”.

Those who work with dying people know that the overwhelming majority want their pain controlled, but do not want to be killed. Paul Dunne, who has worked with over 1,000 dying patients in Hobart, has said that only five patients have ever said, “Kill me”.

The unanimous report of the House of Lords Select Committee on Medical Ethics has recommended that there be no change to law in the United Kingdom to permit euthanasia. More and better palliative care was instead recommended.

Finally, it should be pointed out that as euthanasia becomes legal and accepted by the community, there will be an inevitable lessening of interest in palliative care and the care of the elderly. As Dr John Buchanan put it, “A risk of the denial of the right to palliative care may arise for those who do not wish to request euthanasia”. Indeed, when “death is seen as a treatment, then medicine will allocate more and more resources to develop the technological advances to improve this treatment.”

Australian author Lisa Birnie concurs. As she began writing her book on death and dying, she had an open mind on the issue of euthanasia, but she ended up recognising its many inherent dangers. She is now a strong supporter of palliative care, and regards the legalisation of euthanasia as “a form of social suicide”. She writes, “I am … convinced that the research required to find the solution to extreme pain in all cases will never be done if euthanasia is permitted simply because it is the cheapest and easiest solution in a world where health budgets are tight, solutions are judged by practical results, and moral standards are determined, essentially, by expediency”.


For these and other reasons, euthanasia, or assisted-killing, should never be legalised. Instead, more effort should be put into reducing pain, not killing the sufferer. With the issue of youth suicide again in the public spotlight, we need to heed the words of the 1993 Report of the British House of Lords on euthanasia: “The message which society sends to vulnerable and disadvantaged people should not, however obliquely, encourage them to seek death, but should assure them of our care and support in life.”

The conclusion to the House of Lord’s Select Committee on Medical Ethics (1984) is worth citing here: “There is not sufficient reason to weaken society’s prohibition of intentional killing which is the cornerstone of law and of social relationships. Individual cases cannot reasonably establish the foundation of a policy which would have such serious and widespread repercussions. The issue of euthanasia is one in which the interests of the individual cannot be separated from those of society as a whole.”

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25 Replies to “More Reasons to Keep Euthanasia Illegal”

  1. “The “guidelines” for euthanasia in Holland have often been flouted. Dr John Keown has studied the Dutch situation in great detail. For example, he found that in 1990, 52 per cent of the 10,558 cases of a doctor’s intent to hasten death were done with no explicit request from the patient.”

    At least the Dutch can provide a precise number, so can make some claim that they can monitor what is going on. We cannot.

    “Individual cases cannot reasonably establish the foundation of a policy …
    The issue of euthanasia is one in which the interests of the individual cannot be separated from those of society as a whole.”

    Is this not clear acknowledgment that sometimes euthanasia is in the interests of the patient?

    If your wife was terminal, and one those “few” who could not be relieved by palliative care, what would you do?

    Lastly, what is your position when it comes to use of Marijuana and Heroin for pain management? (Forgive me, I am not sure of current state of law in Victoria & Australia)

    David Cohan

  2. Thanks David

    “Hard cases make of bad law” is partly how I would respond to your first question. Exceptions should not make the rule. The reasons for keeping euthanasia illegal seem persuasive enough to me, as outlined in this article and my other articles on this site. And it is a strange sort of logic which says that killing the sufferer instead of dealing with the suffering is in the best interests of the patient.

    And this is not just theoretical for me. My mother did die a slow death from cancer. As a Christian, she had a lovely testimony to the very end. She did not ask to be put down like an animal, but she had surrendered her life to her Lord, and was ready to go home in his good time.

    In is one thing to use medically controlled morphine as a pain reliever. But the scientific community is far from unanimous as to whether there is any therapeutic or medical value of cannabis. Indeed, the following are just some of the medical organisations which have stated that marijuana has not been shown to be safe or effective as medicine: the American Medical Association, the American Cancer Society, the National Multiple Sclerosis Association, the National Cancer Institute, and the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  3. “The “guidelines” for euthanasia in Holland have often been flouted. Dr John Keown has studied the Dutch situation in great detail. For example, he found that in 1990, 52 per cent of the 10,558 cases of a doctor’s intent to hasten death were done with no explicit request from the patient.”

    David Cohen: “At least the Dutch can provide a precise number, so can make some claim that they can monitor what is going on. We cannot.”

    See, when I read what Bill wrote I thought, “, over 5000 people have been sent to their death faster against their will and in a controlled situation.”

    I would have thought that kinda makes the argument against legal euthanasia by itself. Floodgates and stuff. Like, even way back at the beginning of ‘the argument’, I would have thought that if it’s already happening in a system where it is illegal, surely we have to get that right before we can think about making it legal?

    David Cohen: “If your wife was terminal, and one those “few” who could not be relieved by palliative care, what would you do?”

    (I understand this comment is directed @ Bill, but I will chime in as it is a common argument {hypothetical question of awful scenario], for both this and abortion/teen pregnancy/etc).

    Q: In surely this is ‘best’?
    A: No, it would be more immoral to euthanize/abort/etc. It sucks that there is sometimes inescapable pain, unwanted circumstances, etc, but we dare not break some morals*. Responsibility or something rararar.

    Which is tough to do (I am not standing on a chair, head held high and speaking down about this). Humans make mistakes, none are impervious to weakness/shucking responsibility. But morality (the absolute version) itself doesn’t accomodate that, only society.

    *Also, on a philosophical note, surely where pain fits into the moral system (or which moral system, if we prefer), such that it trumps ending life becomes questionable with euthanasia? I don’t know the answer, but I see question marks in my mind as it suddenly seems out of kilter. Well, when discussing humans anyway.

    Tristan Ingle, Sydney

  4. The very scary thought is that those in charge are trying to enable a society that is able to ‘put down’ the frail and defenceless (although we already do this close to 100 000 times per year as it is) and then continue to remove the values that make the generations beneath us truly value life. Hence when they are old and frail they will have no power to resist the structures that they have put in place, no matter how injust they look in hindsight. There appears to be a real vacuum in society of thinking through the logical consequences/extrapolations of the blind ideologies that are held as ‘popular’ or ‘liberated’. But again, it appears that because of the ‘rights’ of a small few, our society wants to take on a greater set of wrongs that the majority will have to suffer. A bit same old same old nowadays.
    Geoff Peet

  5. Thanks for your replies people. I will just return to one point. The case of a loved one in serious pain. Now my own experience of cancer has included my father and my wife both dying of cancers. As far as I know, palliative care was effective in both cases.

    In my late wife’s case, she had a brain tumour which eventually destroyed her ability even to swallow water. At that stage It would have been possible to prolong her life with intravenous drip, probably only for a few days, and she would have been unconscious anyway. She was not given a drip, just morphine via syringe driver. She was unconscious from that, but I was at least able to spend the last 20 hours of her life beside her.

    So I know that modern palliative care is sophisticated and is usually effective. But the reality is that not everyone has such a peaceful death. And many fear that they may die either in pain or end their life in indignity.

    So I put the question more bluntly. Supposing a loved one was terminally ill, in such serious pain that they were asking to die, that everything that modern science of palliative care had been tried as was failing, that you had given all the love, care and moral support that you could, and despite all that, all the person could look forward to was pain and not knowing how long it would last … AND THEY WERE ASKING TO END THEIR LIFE. Tell me then, for how many days would you refuse? Give me a number.

    David Cohan

  6. Nick McKim, the main pusher of this Bill, has recently shacked up with another Green MP. He wants no scrutiny of his own life, while imposing his secular faith on the rest of Tasmania.
    Michael Watts

  7. Thanks David

    But I have already answered your question. It does no good to throw out extreme hypothetical cases. As I said, hard cases make for bad law. We should never legalise something based on some speculative ‘what if’ scenarios. As I mentioned in this article, experts in the field believe that most, if not all, pain can be managed.

    The short answer is I would not kill a sufferer to relieve their suffering. And as a Christian, I believe God is ultimately in charge of when people live and die. I will instead pray for such people, and seek for them the best palliative care.

    Legalising euthanasia, even for hard cases, is not the answer. Putting more resources into palliative care is.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  8. Bill, even though (or perhaps because) we disagree passionately on this topic, I feel privileged to have this civilized discussion with you, and you have given me the opportunity to express my opinion. Thank you so much.

    I note from your comment. “And as a Christian, I believe God is ultimately in charge of when people live and die.”

    I really think that is the critical issue. Thank you for expressing it.

    Blessings for your day,

    David Cohan

  9. David

    Its very sad when a loved one is in pain and asking you to end the pain, I know how it feels when a loved one is in agony and all you want to do is help them end their suffering especially when they beg you to stop the suffering. I know how it feels to be a helpless on looker as our belovered is tormented every second by an agonising slow death. Its very cruel for the sufferer and for the helpless onlooker, but I knew that I wasnt God, I wasnt given that right by God to kill my belovered for what ever reason. Death in this day and age can be a very cruel and painful exit especially with these end of the age plagues and diseases we have now. Dying is the time when we step from this world into the next, its particularily a time when we need to be sure that our life is right with God and our sins are forgiven by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. Committing murder on ourselves is a sure sign of where we will be spending eternity, and thats not in the presence of the living God.

    Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder – Matthew 19:18

    Donna Opie

  10. Nick McKim, the main pusher of this Bill, has recently shacked up with another Green MP. He wants no scrutiny of his own life, while imposing his secular faith on the rest of Tasmania.

    Yes and what a neat little piece of agitprop that was! Storm in a teacup. McKim and “partner” announced their “relationship” to the world one weekend, presumably after McKim had been out of the news for a few days. Lots of people came to their “defence” even though as far as I can tell nobody had bothered to say anything against them publicly.

    Re: euthanasia – myself and several others of my acquaintance are submitting our concerns to the Parliamentary Inquiry today.

    Louise Le Mottee

  11. Slippery slopes? Years ago when I took a look at the euthanasia issue I was confronted by the claim that all (!) slippery slope arguments are invalid. Being a student of logic I checked the literature and found an essay by the logician Trudy Govier in the Canadian Journal of Philosophy. I actually sent away for a copy of the issue in which she published. Going from memory (I don’t have her essay in front of me) her view was the same as mine, namely that the form is not incurably invalid. It depends how you manage the argument. That is, as with any informal inductive argument, do your homework, know your facts, avoid the usual fallacies (eg ad hominem, petitio principii), and put the lot together coherently. If your critic is still contrary to the form of the argument, then find a similar argument, plainly plausible, on neutral ground so that he can see that such an argument can make sense.

    Here is a link to a Trudy Govier article:

    Govier correctly states if you argue against the legalisation of voluntary euthanasia by means of a slippery slope argument, then you have a burden of proof. But so does the person arguing for such legalisation. Why? Because the advocates of euthanasia are typically Secular Humanists who claim to be applying “rational ethics”. Rationality in ethics requires that you look at the actual and probable consequences of an action, and, if it is institutionalised, its long term consequences. All I can say to that is that I have been a member of a Humanist Society and never saw them practise what they preached on “rational ethics”. Their thinking was doctrinaire, over-confident and blinkered. Example: In the early seventies some Humanists were moderates on the abortion issue, allowing it only on strict conditions. The abortion industry is now in open-slather mode around the world, killing millions for who knows what reasons. So where are the moderates now? Complacent? Or was it all Orwellian double-talk? Likewise for euthanasia. Now that Holland has legalised voluntary euthanasia after disgracefully conniving at the breach of its own laws, where are the Humanist activists cautioning against abuses of their golden idea? Are there any Humanist watchdogs ensuring that their brilliant idea does not slide into involuntary euthanasia? If you are elderly and at death’s door in a Dutch hospital short of beds, can you trust a Humanist doctor on the night shift?

    John Snowden

  12. David, That is unfortunate to hear, about your late wife.

    (Below, I am speaking to the argument for euthanasia, not “at” you or your circumstances).

    As difficult as a situation might be, morality isn’t swayed by it (which is very easy to say when we are just talking here). I would just reiterate that no matter how bad a situation is, there are some things we dare not do because of them themselves. No amount of mitigation or benefit can overcome them, because they are inherently absolute in nature.

    Tristan Ingle, Sydney

  13. I think we see here (in the information Bill supplies near the beginning) another example of the bad influence of the political environmentalist movement, ie the “Green’s” increasing pro-death tendency. When it started – like many things – environmentalism was a “good thing” in many ways, battling against waste and spoliation everywhere. But then it got political (taken over by politicians?), and it increasingly moved to the dark side, such that it now promotes the culture of death; and it lives off its holy, untouchable reputation, through which it is now free to smuggle in various bad things.
    John Thomas, UK

  14. I remember when abortion was first condoned it was only to be in exceptional circumstances. It seems the exception has become the rule.

    John Nelson

  15. Dr. Wolf Wolfensberger warned 20 years ago in his book, “The New Genocide of Handicapped and Afflicted People”. A Holocause survivor, Dr. Wolfensberger trained nurses to work with Handicapped people at Syracuse University; he is in a unique position to document that American hospitals and senior care facilities are killing more people than Adolf Hitler ever did and for the same reasons.

    Dr. Wolfensberger: “In hospitals (even those run by religious bodies), mentally retarded .. people with other handicaps, and elderly people are commonly denied relatively elementary life supports such as antibiotics, basic resuscitation, the simplest medical procedure, or even food and water. In fact, the likelihood is relatively high that persons afflicted with multiple devalued conditions will not leave a hospital alive … In many locales in North America, it is dangerous to admit to a typical general hospital a moderately retarded person who is above the age of sixty … Often, the only way to assure the safety of such afflicted persons in hospitals to place at their bed a twenty-four hour guard …” (Pages 60-63)

    Donna Opie


    The lady in this BBC report talks about her right to life and therefore, I suppose, her right to take that life. So this is where human rights take us. We are our own gods who have the absolute right to dispense with life however we see fit.
    David Skinner, UK

  17. Good article Bill. At university there seems that a large majority are in favour of euthanasia… especially in the health department I am in (go figure). David S. the last sentence of your post ‘We are our own gods…’ really sums up the secular humanist person and their belief on life or death. It certainly is something that follows on from the premises that they hold so dearly.
    Keith Jarrett

  18. I know it’s not local, but I’ve just become aware of some of the details of the current Obama regime ‘reform’ of health care in the US. In the proposed bill they make it mandatory for elderly people to have an interview every 5 years to assess and discuss “end-of-life services” and “advance care planning.” But Obama and his family, nor those of Congress, won’t ever have to worry about this, they won’t be participating in any of it. But it’s good enough for the plebs.

    Leftist extremists (here in Australia, they’re called the greens and the alp) should be banned from going anywhere near issues that have to do with people’s lives. It’s clear they just love death, be it the unborn, the sick, the elderly and others who can’t fight back. Death is not tragic, it’s part of their ‘solution.’ The most dangerous thing is that they truly believe they are doing good, but you can never discuss actual outcomes with them and face them with the true consequences and horror of what they advocate.

    Leftists make a big deal of private business and profit motive being part of health care, but a company in that industry will not stay in business very long if people start dying en masse or even just consistently deliver worse health care than a competitor. What they fail to realize is that government is the biggest and worst business of them all, nowhere near accountable enough, nowhere near as motivated to be efficient (after all they can just raise their income stream – ie. taxes, at will) but they still have to balance the budget. This means higher taxes and rationing of services, eventually. And ending people’s lives prematurely, since that also saves money.

    If it’s not Orwell’s 1984 or Huxley’s Brave New World, it’s Soylent Green.

    Mark Rabich

  19. Dear Bill , In WA we have a hard case coming before the courts. The 49 year old quadraplegic man wants to have his feeding tube removed so he can die as he says he has absolutely no quality of life although a polititian who has visited him thinks it is possible that his quality of life could be improved a little. The nursing home where he is being cared for say there is a conflict between their duty of care for him and his wish to discontinue being fed through a tube and the law is not clear on it so to protect themselves they are taking his case to court to let the magistrate decide.I suppose the law has to decide whether feeding him through a tube in his stomach constitutes a medical procedure. Decades ago this would not have been an issue because if he could not take sustenance via his mouth he would have died but advances in medical technology is keeping him alive. I remember a friend of mine who was in her eighties was taken into hospital a few years ago with a salt deficiency.It was high summer but she had enjoyed a reasonable quality of life up to then although she had become increasingly frail. Over two or three weeks she ate and drank very little until she finally stopped altogether except for the odd teaspoon of water to moisten her lips and throat. After two more weeks or so she died very peacefully.No one offered to tube feed her.Indeed it would have been an unneccesary thing to do in my opinion because her life was coming naturally to its close.This man’s case could be seen as being used to get voluntary euthanasia legalised because the voluntary euthanasiaists are making hay while the sun shines claiming that 80% of the public support them. The print media is giving his case maximum coverage and there have been letters for and against in the letters pages.Both Labour and Liberal have refused to bring the matter up in Parliament but a Greens senator is putting forward a private members bill in a few weeks so it looks a bit like a set up. I agree with you that there is such a thing as a slippery slope and voluntary euthanasia could lead in time to involuntary euthanasia with medical and nursing staff expected to collaborate euthanasing patients who haven’t asked for it.After all most people accept legal abortions now if they even think about the issue at all and I am old enough to remember the first debates on it so euthanasia could follow the same pattern as abortion.Old people tend to be out of sight in nursing homes just as unborn babies are.God bless Always and thankyou for your columns.
    Patricia Halligan

  20. Re. Patricia’s comment “(Christian Rossiters euthanasia bid) looks a bit like a set up”
    I have been following this in the papers and also found a lot of the media circus around this case seems a bit “set up” in that the debate has been swayed towards something that it is not actually about.
    If you look into the details of Mr Rossiters situation – which are invariably buried in the mass of highly emotive details about Mr Rossiters tragic existance – it seems to me that the facts are;
    Mr Rossiter is not terminally ill. He medical prognosis is similar to many other hundreds of quadraplegics in Australia and would have a similar life expectancy to them. Some years ago my husband had a serious accident and very nearly became a quadreplegic. During this episode of treatment in WA spinal injury wards I found out that about 50 people per year suffer paralysis due to accidental spinal injury in WA alone. Spinal injury wards are constantly busy places! That is an awful lot of people who could be/are in a similar situation to Mr Rossiter but we have not heard any others demanding this right to be allowed to die because they consider their lives not worth continuing.
    A recent report mentioned that Mr Rossiter has tried to commit suicide before – before he became a quadraplegic that is. This was apparently due to the effects (chronic pain and depression) from his first accident (a 30m fall) that he recovered from (it seems a later second accident resulted in his quadraplegia). This rings alarm bells for me and I imagine would for Mr Rossiters carers. If he has a history of coping poorly with pain and depression (ie becoming suicidal) this current request for suicide would need to be considered in that light. His constant comments about the hopelessness and emptiness of his existance would have to raise questions about his mental state and whether a renewed approach to pain management and improvements to his range of daily activity/occupation should be more actively pursued rather then medical treatment withdrawal.
    Overall I believe the pro-euthanasia lobby have misused Mr Rossiters case to argue for a legalised mercy kill. The real issue that needs debating in Mr Rossiters case – and the more informed commentators on this case constantly reiterate this – is the right of patients to choose to refuse life saving medical intervention that they find burdensome.
    Current laws do allow anyone who is or appears to be a competent adult the right to informed refusal of medical treatment – this is already considered a basic right in most medical circles and can be linked to moral objections to medical treatment – eg Jehovahs Witness’s refusing blood products though this may result in death.
    Obviously there are difficult grey areas here but the arguments about the right to refuse medical treatment are different to the argument about a supposed right to be actively euthanased and need to be seperated out from the tangled issue of deliberate voluntary euthanasia/assisted suicide that has been presented as the main debate in Mr Rossiters case.
    Gail Gifford

  21. You seem to like the “hard cases make bad law” line. Indeed…it would be bad law to restrict euthanasia from those who desire it just because of the hard case of the possibility of it being used on people against their will. The (fallacious) logical construct to make *your* argument, however, is similar to the age-old attack on Christianty by pointing out that some Christians are {fill in the blank here…hypocritical, Crusaders, etc.} Do we ban Christianity because it has sometimes been a slippery slope to abuses?.

    Two additional points:
    1) “Hastening a patient’s death” doesn’t equal euthanasia, though anti-euthanasia activists often try to imply that. A physician friend of mine spoke of how the use of palliative care can hasten death, so she responded affirmatively on a survey that she had given treatment that hastened death, even though she has never euthanized anyone. She was appalled that her answer (as a statitistic among those of others who answered) was twisted by “pro-life” groups using the survey results.

    2) The doctors violating the law are the same ones who did these things before the law–there’s nobody sliding down a slippery slope when they started at the bottom.

    I respectfully suggest that you follow Jesus’ teaching of what to do when others reject your view on things, which I believe was *not* to “convince the friendly Roman authorities to force others to do as you want”…but was instead to shake off the dust and move on, leaving people to their own freedoms and consequences.

    Albert Gondring, USA

  22. Thanks Albert

    But you simply mix apples and oranges here. There is a big difference between banning Christianity and the unwarranted killing of sufferers.

    As to hastening of death, the key here is intentionality. Sometimes a move to alleviate pain (say by administering a dose of morphine) will have the unintended side-effect of hastening death. But the intention was to reduce pain, not bring on an early death.

    And to be honest, I really am not sure what you are getting at in your last paragraph, so I can’t properly comment!

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

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