Pro-life - Euthanasia
Getting even crazier: 27% of Canadians think being poor is good enough reason for euthanasia
Is poverty itself reason enough to allow someone to opt for doctor-assisted suicide? The question seems ludicrous – poverty is a condition that can change over a lifetime, and is hardly comparable to terminal lung cancer (an example of the “reasonably foreseen” death that’s previously been used to justify euthanasia).
Yet a recent survey found 27% of Canadians agree with allowing doctor-assisted suicide in cases of poverty. This is one in four people you might meet!
The survey was done by Research Co. and the results were released on May 5. Almost immediately it began making headlines with 11% of respondents saying they “strongly agree” and 16% that they “moderately agree” poverty was reason enough to let people kill themselves.
We might be surprised, but the reality is, once suicide is an option and personal autonomy is valued, it’s not clear on what grounds someone would be prevented from asking for death because of poverty. After all, why shouldn’t the poor be able to make these kinds of decisions for themselves? If assisted dying is available to all Canadians, why should the poor be considered less able to choose?
Christians know we are commanded to have compassion for the poor, not seek to eliminate them.
But in a society where the government provides both social support services and medically-assisted dying, there is a financial incentive to reduce the cost of what gets provided to struggling people. This inevitably puts the poor in a vulnerable situation, a situation where they should receive the support and advocacy of their neighbors around them in a system that can be cold and impersonal. “The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern” (Prov. 29:7). Insisting that the poor have the full capacity to make a choice for euthanasia misses all the ways they might not feel like they have much of a choice.
This survey also demonstrates how far opponents of euthanasia have to go in influencing public opinion. Do people really understand what they’re saying when they answer a poll question like this? The most charitable interpretation is that the poll responders wanted to emphasize the personal autonomy of a poor individual. But a personal choice is never made in isolation.
Ultimately to declare poverty as reason enough to consider euthanasia is to devalue the worth of all the poor. To say poverty is enough reason for one person to consider no longer living is to say this kind of suffering decreases the value of that life.
This comes into starker contrast looking beyond our borders to take in the poor worldwide. Tell humans who are barely getting by that they don’t need to struggle anymore, tell them that they can decide their life has no value and they can quit it. What would they say about this attitude to the life they’re fighting tooth and nail to keep?
Suffering does not erase the meaning and value of being alive. But in a modern world where personal fulfillment and the individual’s choice matter above everything else, this message will be a challenge for Christians to drive home.
Pro-life - Euthanasia
They shoot horses, don't they?
If the stress of euthanizing animals drives some vets to suicide, what will happen to euthanasia doctors? **** Every year, about 1.5 million cases o...
Pro-life - Euthanasia
Euthanasia and the folly of downward comparisons
Have you ever heard a euthanasia advocate argue that to force grandma to live in pain is to treat her worse than a dog? The assumption is that if euth...
Pro-life - Euthanasia
Physician-assisted suicide: would it be wrong to refer?
Even before euthanasia was legalized in Canada, Christian and other pro-life medical professionals were being pressured to go along. The final report of the Expert Advisory Group on Physician-Assisted Dying said all healthcare providers should be required to: inform patients of all end-of-life options, including physician-assisted dying, regardless of their personal beliefs. either provide a referral or a direct transfer of care to another health care provider or to contact a third party and transfer the patient’s record. These demands aren't going away. As ARPA Canada's Colin Postma noted earlier this month: "the policy in Ontario requires doctors to provide someone who requests euthanasia or assisted suicide with an effective referral to another doctor, if they refuse to carry out the killing themselves." It's because we're going to continue to hear these demands that we need to have a ready response to them. So should Christian doctors and nurses be willing to advise patients about all their "end of life options"? And may Christian doctors and nurses who would never help patients kill themselves refer patients to someone else who will? Or would that make them partially responsible for the evil that is then done? We need clarity for our own sakes – if Christian doctors and nurses are going to take a stand against even referring they need to know this is what God requires of them. So would it be wrong to refer? Sean Murphy of the Protection of Conscience Project says yes, and as simple as his argument is, it's also compelling. In a piece at Mercatornet.com he noted that before Canada’s Supreme Court legalized assisted suicide, if a physician had made arrangements of any sort to have someone kill their patient they: "…would be exposed to criminal prosecution as a party to the offense of first degree murder or assisted suicide, or conspiracy to commit first degree murder or assisted suicide." In other words, when Canada still recognized assisted suicide as murder, it also recognized that referring for it should be a criminal offense too. Referring meant becoming part of a "conspiracy to commit first degree murder or assisted suicide." Now that Canada no longer condemns assisted suicide, it also doesn't condemn referring. But we know better. We still understand that assisted suicide is murder. So for us it is still clear that even the act of referring is a step too far. The Devil wants to sow confusion on this point, because where there is confusion, it is hard to take a stand – who among us wants to risk our career on a stand we aren't sure of? But if we know we are doing what God wants, then the apostle Peter's encouragement in 1 Peter 3:14-17 can give us the courage we need: "But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. 'Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.' But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil." When we are clear in our own minds, then we can make a clear stand to the world. We can share that we think this murder and want no part in it. We can make a compelling case that the government shouldn't force doctors and nurses to do what it would have prosecuted them for just a few years ago. And we can point out that asking doctors to violate their conscience is only going to lead to doctors without consciences....and who would think that a good development? Standing with God may bring suffering. But we've also seen how He can use such a stand to bring relief to Christian doctors and nurses. In Manitoba, earlier this month, the provincial government passed Bill 34, which offers at least some conscience protection to medical personal who don't want to refer. So let's continue to pray and work. May God give Christian doctors and nurses the freedom to continue their life-saving work, and may He give us all the courage and clarity to speak his Truth to a lost and confused world that so desperately needs to hear it....
Movie Reviews, Pro-life - Euthanasia
Euthanasia film highlights horrors, but offers the wrong solution
This 15-minute film explains what's going on in Belgium, where euthanasia has been legal since 2002. It shows how euthanasia, first offered only to those who were supposed to be near death, has now been expanded. Now nurses can do it. And non-terminal people can get it. And children. And the mentally ill. And people who are sick, but whose conditions are not irreversible. https://youtu.be/r7ME2HKsUd4 This is not how it was supposed to be. But in Belgium they have found as one doctors puts it "The supply of euthanasia, stirs the demands," so the legalization created the pressure to allow more and more to qualify for euthanasia. This is a film that should be viewed by all, and liked and shared, so it can have the widest possible reach. People need to understand where this slippery slope is taking us. But it is also a film that should be critiqued. It was produced by a Christian group – the Alliance for Defending Freedom – and yet it is an entirely secular presentation. They likely thought this approach would allow their film to reach more people. After all, non-Christians who aren’t interested in God might still be horrified if they heard about the man in this film who only discovered his physically healthy mother had been euthanized after the fact. But avoiding mention of God is a huge mistake. Their secular defense can only highlight how euthanasia isn’t happening as it was promised. This secular strategy means their complaint can’t be "Euthanasia is wrong" but only, "Euthanasia is not as it was advertised." By avoiding the moral argument, they have to rely on mere practical objections; they can only show where the system failed. And the problem with practical objections is that they invite practical solutions. The man whose mother was killed? Ah yes, regrettable, Belgian officials might admit, but that could be prevented in the future with a bit more paperwork requiring children to be notified. As a strictly secular objection the film can only be a cry for the system to be tweaked, rather than overturned. But, of course, tweaks won’t work. Our problem isn’t merely the expansion of euthanasia – expansion is a given so long as any euthanasia is allowed. Why? Well, any strict rules we bring forward will always end up excluding someone just on the border of the rules. Then, since their case is not all that different than the cases already approved, on what basis can we exclude this poor suffering individual? That’s why the rules will always be stretched – because so long as no fixed moral standard is applied, there is nothing to prevent the rules being nudged a bit, and then nudged again, and again, until they’ve expanded to include any and all. That’s where we will inevitably end up when we stick to a secular argument. Will it be any different if we share the real reason euthanasia is wrong? Will the world listen when we explain that the reason euthanasia – all euthanasia – is wrong is because all life is precious, and a gift from God? Will they care if we tell them that euthanasia is wrong because our lives are not our own to take and dispose of as we please? Will they be convinced when we explain that our lives belong to God? I don’t know. But God will be glorified by it. And we can help Christians who might be wavering - Christian doctors, and nurses, and sons and daughters with aging parents - we can help them understand what God thinks, and what He demands, and what HE says compassion looks like. God says that putting a light under a bushel is foolish – why then do we insist on making godless argument to combat immorality? The world is only hearing lies, and we do it no favors when we keep the Truth from them. Who knows how God might use us if we but have the courage to be a light?...