Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide
In 2007 American Susan Wilson stood by and watched another human person commit suicide and then removed the evidence of the assisted suicide. Last year she was charged by New Zealand police for assisting suicide. As a caring nation and humane society we should rightly be appalled at this tragic act of suicide and the apparently callous approval of that act.
Euthanasia is the wilful taking of a person’s life. When a person gives instruction on how to commit suicide that person has the intention of ending a human life. It would be the same if they pulled the trigger of a gun so to speak. Thus they are in effect committing murder which is the taking of innocent human life.
In 2002 Holland was the first country since Nazi Germany to legalize Euthanasia. They also legalised assisted suicide whereby a physician whose profession is to uphold life, assists to end a person’s life. In 2010 there was a 19% increase upon the previous year in the number of reported deaths by euthanasia. Even the British campaign group Dignity in Dying admits that euthanasia is open to abuse. This abuse includes 21 persons who were only suffering from the early stages of dementia but nonetheless were put to death. There have also been about 500 cases where life-taking without patient request or permission has occurred, including taking the lives of new-borns classed as “deformed”.
The Dutch Medical Association in 1987 stated in its Guidelines for Euthanasia: “If there is no request from the patient, then proceeding with the termination of his life is juridically a matter of murder or killing, and not of euthanasia.” It is disturbing that despite the discovery of this criminal and immoral practice no condemnation has been forthcoming from the authorities. The medical profession now use the term LAWER, which stands for, “life-terminating acts without explicit request”. A 2009 Daily Mail news article entitled, “Now the Dutch turn against legalised mercy killing” reported that there have been thousands of cases of involuntary euthanasia and dozens of killings of disabled newborn babies.
The Dutch system has become so heartless that even children are victims of so-called “mercy killing”. Children between the ages of 12 and 16 are required to have parental consent before requesting to be killed through euthanasia. However ‘exceptional’ cases such as incurable disease or intolerable and unrelenting suffering, a doctor may agree without notifying parents.
Introducing Euthanasia to New Zealand is simply a case of stepping onto a very slippery slope. We can take the example of abortion in New Zealand which at first was severely restricted for cases of danger to a mother’s physical or psychological health. But the re-interpretation of the law has resulted in abortion on demand.
Moreover we are a caring nation and humane society, especially of the most vulnerable, from the moment of conception to natural death. Therefore in practical terms this means that we must respect the dignity of each person, to care for them and be there for them offering human comfort, love and compassion especially during moments of distress. We should not seek to offer a quick fix solution such as an option to die when a person feels they are a burden on others.
As a society we are facing the Rubicon, the point of no return. In this Christmas season we celebrate the birth of the Lord of Life, let us pray that we will value all human life, pre-born, long born, abled and not so abled. Let us truly share the abundant life that by His birth the giver of life came to give us. He said, “I have come so that they may have life and live it to the fullest”. (John 10:10)