Euthanasia is not a future problem. It is a present problem. It is happening now and becoming increasingly accepted. And we are asleep, not realizing that the road we are on will lead to the massive elimination of the elderly and "incompetent," and anyone else considered to be a burden to society. The reflections in this essay are intended to wake us up to the main issues involved in the euthanasia debate.
Consider the Nancy Cruzan case. She had been in a coma for almost eight years, but was NOT dying, NOT deteriorating. The courts allowed food and water to be discontinued, and 12 days later (on the day after Christmas) she died. Note well, she did not die of the coma. She died of starvation. She was 33. Or consider Dr. Jack Kevorkian, who let Janet Adkins, a 54 year old sufferer of early Alzheimer's, use his homemade "suicide machine" to kill herself. She pushed a button which released lethal fluids into her body. He has likewise administered death to dozens of others. Is this the direction we want our society to go? Is life valuable only when it is healthy? Are we the ones who decide when we die? Is suffering meaningless?
We do not have a "right to die." Many people now speak of such a thing, but without the proper understanding of the terminology they use. A "right" is a moral claim. We do not have a claim on death. Rather, death has a claim on us! We do not decide when our life will end, any more than we decided when it began. Much less does someone else -- a relative, a doctor, or a...
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...to preserve and care for life. The heart and soul of the medical profession is UNWAVERING RESPECT FOR THE DIGNITY OF THE HUMAN PERSON, a dignity which is not bestowed by the State or by anyone else, but belongs to the very nature of the person. Those who promote this dignity deserve thanks.
The state of our times is also a plea to those who practice medicine: never allow the skills of your profession to be used to destroy the gift of life. Euthanasia is just a nice word for killing. We must oppose the trend which says that there are some lives not worth living. We must oppose the mentality which says that we should end a life in order to eliminate suffering. No, we do not end life. We care for it. When life is weak and afflicted with pain, it is all the more deserving of our care. Our times demand courage and wisdom. May these not be lacking to any one of us!
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