Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The push to allow euthanasia for the mentally ill in Canada.

This article was originally published on Wesley Smith's blog on April 18, 2017,

Wesley Smith
By Wesley Smith

Euthanasia/assisted suicide is NOT about terminal illness. The issue is about normalizing killing as a response to human suffering. 

Sure, the initial sales pitch would restrict doctor-administered or prescribed death to the dying. But that’s just to get people comfortable with the concept. Once a society accepts the principle, logic quickly takes it to a broad euthanasia license. 

Canada is a prime example. Before the Supreme Court imposed a national euthanasia right on the country, the debate was all about terminal illness. But now that euthanasia is the law throughout the country, the push is on to allow doctors to kill the mentally ill who ask to die. 

The Globe and Mail’s pro-euthanasia health columnist, André Picard uses the suicide of a mentally ill person to push that agenda. From, “The Mentally Ill Must Be Part of the Assisted Suicide Debate:” 
We should not discriminate or deny people rights because it makes us queasy or because of our prejudices. This case reminds us just how severe mental illness can be. “Non-existence is better than this,” Mr. Maier-Clayton said. “Once there’s no quality of life, life is akin to a meaningless existence.”  
Opponents of assisted death argue that those who suffer from mental illness cannot make rational decisions, that they need to be protected from themselves.  
But we’re not talking about granting assisted death to someone who is delusional, or suffering from psychosis or someone who is depressed and treatable. The suffering has to be persistent and painful, though not necessarily imminently lethal. 
I would hasten to add, as defined by the suicidal person and regardless of ameliorating treatments that could be administered. But anyone who is suicidal believes his or her suffering is unbearable. Otherwise, they wouldn’t want to die. 

This ever-broadening death license is only logical. If killing is indeed an acceptable answer to suffering, how can it be strictly limited to people diagnosed with a terminal illness? After all, many people suffer far more severely and for a far longer time than the imminently dying. 

The Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, and now Canada, demonstrate that over time, it won’t be. 

Meanwhile, California has a regulation requiring state mental hospitals to cooperate with assisted suicide for their involuntarily committed patients with terminal illnesses–despite supposed protections in the law for those with mental conditions that could affect their decisions. 

Meant to be compassionate, assisted suicide is actually abandonment most foul. Compassion means to “suffer with.” Euthanasia is about eliminating suffering by eliminating the sufferer

Or, to put it another way, euthanasia endorses suicide. It’s not choice, it is the end of all choices. 

In any event, this is the debate we should be having. Whether one agrees or disagrees with my take, surely as we in the USA should debate the issue with intellectual integrity and honesty. 

But we won’t because pro-euthanasia forces know they would lose. The obfuscating claim that assisted suicide will only be about the terminally ill for whom nothing else but death can eliminate suffering is just the spoonful of honey to help the hemlock go down.


ClinkShrink said...

The California regulation does not require the patient to be terminally ill with a medical to make an initial request. A court would have the right to decide that a mental disorder was "terminal." We are on the verge of mandating suicide for anorexia. This should worry any parent of a mentally ill adult.

Sean L. Tobin said...

There is no way on God's earth you could put enough safeguards in place to protect the mentally ill from people, including family members, who want to simply get rid of them because they are a burden. The would be tantamount to legalized murder.

Maureen said...

God give us strength and courage to continue fighting for our brothers and sisters at risk...

Maylane Wong said...

The fact that people with mental illness are being considered for physician-assisted suicide should awaken us all to the grave danger of having legalized euthanasia, whether in Canada or in any other nation. When we think of it, we do know people who are struggling with mental health issues. Is the solution to offer our co-worker or family member assisted suicide? Or is it to journey with them in their suffering, even though it might require a greater love and strength than we thought we ever could possess?

There must be a real and open debate to bring forth creative, life-affirming solutions for those who are vulnerable. To let them know that they are not a burden, but they are still valuable human beings who deserve the finest care and consideration their family and other caregivers can offer.

Unknown said...

Lying behind the question of assisted death is the deeper issue of the worth of living. When people get sick or older, the question arises of whether life is worth living at all. Unless we address the question of the worth of life, more and more people will want to die. The question is - ultimately - religious. The human race presently seems to be moving more and more to choosing death rather than life - choosing non-existence in place of dealing with the question of the worth of existence. This is truly diabolic.

Gerry McNulty said...

I suffer from mental illness.I do not someone to put an end to my life.I have my ups and downs but I fight every day to stay alive.Life is not meant to be perfect and we all have our weaknesses and strengths.

Unknown said...

Be careful with too much God in your arguments or praises!

For or against religion fuels discussion in many countries. The pro-euthanasia side gains lot of support simply from labeling their opponents as religiously motivated.

In that manner they get around it too easily. There are strong secular arguments for protecting each other from being killed in the name of mercy.