So you thought we’d reached the bottom of the Slippery Slope

By Dave Andrusko

twins975There are any number of components to the deaths of identical twins in Belgium–euthanized reportedly at their own request–that are puzzling, tragic, and deeply disturbing. Here are just five.

As you recall, the unnamed 45-year-old brothers were born deaf, were told they would go blind, and (as many accounts described it) “chose death as they were unable to bear the thought of never seeing one another again.”

#1. The serene , they-died-happy way the physician who euthanized the men described  their wholly unnecessary deaths. The Daily Mail’s James Rush and Damien Gayle reported

“They were very happy. It was a relief to see the end of their suffering,” Dr. David Dufour, of Brussels University Hospital, told RTL television news after the brothers decided to die in “full conscience” in December.

“They had a cup of coffee in the hall, it went well and a rich conversation,” Dufour said.

“Then the separation from their parents and brother was very serene and beautiful,” he added. “At the last there was a little wave of their hands and then they were gone.”

Really? Cup of Java, kick around the meaning of life [and death], a quick wave to their parents and brother and off they go? What were the parents thinking? The brother? What was said to dissuade the men from killing themselves, if anything?

#2. Wesley Smith, whose post from yesterday we’re reprinting, told his readers today of a hugely important consideration that was not mentioned in the dozen or so highly sympathetic stories I read: “The first doctor the men went to asking to be killed said no. So, they merely went doctor shopping until they found one willing to kill.” Wesley’s overarching point is this is exactly what happened when Oregon first legalized assisted suicide and may still be the case, but we don’t know because Oregon no longer provides that information.

Referring to Oregon, Wesley, aptly, calls it “Pure Kevorkianism.”

“In other words, the patient’s treating doctors had said no, and so the patient consulted a death doctor–pure Kevorkianism–usually referred by the assisted suicide group Compassion and Choices.”

#3. A few countries have legalized assisted suicide, in which the “patient” typically ingests a lethal concoction or suffocates themselves to death. “Euthanasia [actively involvement by another party] is legal under Belgian law if those making the decision can make their wishes clear and are suffering unbearable pain, according to a doctor’s judgement,” the Daily Mail reported. (Only the Netherlands also allows euthanasia—for youngsters as young as 12 years of age!)

The case of these two men, however, is “unique” or “unusual,” we’re told, because “neither twin was suffering extreme physical pain or was terminally ill.” They were sad at the prospect of not being able to see one another after living together all their lives. Had we been told in advance, we would have shared their sadness, and like the first doctor, would have told them this is no reason to end your lives.

#4. The rush to extend the killing, already at a fast pace, is picking up speed. Euthanasia is currently “limited” to those over the age of 18. However “Just days after the twins were killed Belgium’s ruling Socialists tabled [introduced] a legal amendment which would allow the euthanasia of children and Alzheimer’s sufferers,” the Daily Mail reports. “The draft legislation calls for ‘the law to be extended to minors if they are capable of discernment or affected by an incurable illness or suffering that we cannot alleviate.’”

”Suffering we can’t alleviate.” Is there anyone alive who at some point in their life has not experienced suffering they couldn’t alleviate?

No chance it’ll pass, right? “The proposed changes are likely to be approved by other parties, although no date has yet been put forward for a parliamentary debate.”

#5. We essentially have abortion on demand in the United States and every year we have to fight off campaigns to spread the virus of assisted suicide, so we can’t act as if we are perched on some hill of moral superiority. But having said that, the Europeans have the kind of cavalier attitude toward what we call the culture of death that is so advanced (so to speak) that it is enough to take your breath away.

Put another way, the nominal “safeguards” that we are always assured are in place are in tatters in Belgium and hardly anyone seems to draw any lessons from that. Last month we ran Dr. Peter Saunders’ analysis of the situation, and here are just three examples of the reality of euthanasia.  He wrote

1. Almost half of Belgium’s euthanasia nurses have admitted to killing without consent, despite the fact that involuntary euthanasia is illegal in Belgium and that nurses are not allowed to perform even voluntary euthanasia.

2. In Belgium, nearly half of all cases of euthanasia are not reported to the Federal Control and Evaluation Committee. Legal requirements were more frequently not met in unreported cases than in reported cases and a written request for euthanasia was absent in 88%.

3. A recent study found that in the Flemish part of Belgium, 66 of 208 cases of ‘euthanasia’ (32%) occurred in the absence of request or a request.

And in spite of all this, the Belgian government will soon be allowing younger and younger people the “right” to be euthanized.

Please remember these men—and all those who didn’t ask to be killed—the next time advocates tell you of the need for legalized assisted suicide. It is a first step down a slippery slope with virtually no end in sight.

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