Monday, January 11, 2016

Charles Lewis: No cooperation with killers in euthanasia and assisted suicide.

By Charles Lewis

The fight against legalized assisted suicide and euthanasia is not getting any simpler. I sense from having spoken to a wide range of those who oppose euthanasia that people are splitting into two camps.

One camp says we must get involved with the process of creating a safe euthanasia law. They say if we stay on the sidelines we will have no chance to influence the outcome. On some level I can see how this would seem to make sense: Given the odds of stopping the legalization of euthanasia is becoming smaller by the day why not at least try to make it as safe as possible? Why not try to ensure the process has enough checks and hurdles that only a rare few can ever access euthanasia? This all makes sense except for the fact it is fatally flawed.

In almost every case where euthanasia or assisted suicide has had time to put down legal roots it grows. At first the law is narrowly applied and then it becomes wider. It starts with those with fatal diseases who are in unremitting pain... and then suddenly it opens its doors to those with chronic pain, psychological pain or those who simply have decided that life itself is a pain. Worse, none are required to seek out treatment as an alternative. Even in the case of fatal diseases, euthanasia cuts short what may have been good years without pain to be enjoyed. I am constantly amazed at the number of people who now beat cancer or live well even years after they were supposed to have died.

The other camp, the camp I am in and those who I most admire are part of, says no cooperation with killers. Imagine if euthanasia becomes legal. Anyone who assisted the government will be, in some way complicit. Even when people complain about how the law has become more deadly than what they pushed for, the government can say: "You had your chance. We let you help. You are as culpable as we are."

It is an understatement to say that the road myself and allies have taken is harder. Anyone who calls our route a long shot or even naive is not wrong. Yet, history is peppered with long shots that succeeded beyond anyone's wildest imagination. Think of the Jewish people after the Second World War. The psychological devastation should have left survivors as lifelong psychiatric patients. Instead three years later Israel was created. Who could have predicted that?

Finally, standing up for the right thing is never wrong. It is more important than winning or losing. Remember, this battle will go on even if euthanasia becomes legal. I for one would rather fight it with clean hands.

Charles Lewis was a journalist for 33 years and a former writer for the National Post.


Erica said...

Well said Charlie.

Unknown said...

I respect Charles's view and thank him for following the course he sees as right. Others of us are unable to be as resolute because we see a law that is going to be implemented. We oppose it and do what we can to prevent it, overturn it, delay it, challenge it, as does Charles. At the same time, if you see a train wreck about to happen, there's nothing morally wrong with trying to limit the devastation about to take place. Yes, we will continue working to stop this disaster from happening, pointing out that no jurisdiction has been able to prevent abuse from taking place. We will continue to work for palliative care that would all but stop the drive for euthanasia. And we will try to have as many safety measures put in place as possible...because once the train starts going off the rails, we want to limit the number of lives lost.

Jule Koch said...

Mr. Lewis, I agree with you totally and completely. There must be no cooperation with killing in any form for any reason. Killing a million people starts with killing one person and not one person must be killed this way.

Gord Schneider said...

I'm with you 100% on this. This was never a good idea. The moral and ethical implications and consequences for the decision to go ahead with this are enormous and frightening.

Keep up the good fight, folks.

Gord Schneider said...

The Globe and Mail has run a few stories on Canadians 'right to die' in this morning's online edition. I tried 8 times in 3 different articles to post comments (politely) against this whole thing (because I believe it is very wrong). None of my comments were allowed.

We need you to keep this issue in the forefront because we are being silenced by the media on this.

This country is headed down a slipper slope for which there will be dire this life or the next.