By Wesley J. Smith
The Culture of Death is voracious. Once it begins to feed, it is never satiated, the categories of the killable, never finally enough.
Another is a very long series of cases in point that I have been reporting on for nearly twenty years. The Dutch Medical Association (KNMG) now seeks to expand the meaning of “unbearable suffering” to permit even more patients, in the already very liberal Dutch euthanasia system, to qualify to for medical killing. From the Dutch Radio Worldwide story:
Until now, factors such as income or a patient’s social life played almost no role when physicians were considering a euthanasia request. However, the new guidelines will certainly change that. After almost a year of discussions, the KNMG has published a paper which says a combination of social factors and diseases and ailments that are not terminal may also qualify as unbearable and lasting suffering under the Euthanasia Act.
How can anyone say there is no slippery slope? One of those factors includes loneliness!
“As people age, many suffer from a complex array of gradually worsening problems, which can include poor eyesight, deafness, fatigue, difficulty in walking and incontinence as well as loss of dignity, status, financial resources, an ever-shrinking social network and loss of social skills. Although this accumulation of ailments and diseases is not life-threatening as such, it does have a negative impact on the quality of life and make the elderly vulnerable or fragile. Vulnerability also affects the ability to recover from illnesses and can lead to unbearable and lasting suffering. Under the Euthanasia Act, a request for euthanasia may be honoured only if a patient is undergoing unbearable and lasting suffering. The KNMG now says that, if non-medical factors such as income or loneliness are to be taken into consideration, other specialists must be consulted when a patient has requested euthanasia.”
This is compassion?
Since 1973, when euthanasia was quasi decriminalized, Dutch doctors have gone from euthanizing the terminally ill who ask for it, to the chronically ill who ask for it, to people with disabilities who ask for it, to the mentally anguished who ask for it–and all legal because the “guidelines” proved so elastic they had not snap back at all. And now, they want to target vulnerable and marginalized elderly people.
Even that isn’t enough. If patients don’t qualify legally for euthanasia, the KNMG says it is perfectly fine for doctors to provide their patients with how-to-commit-suicide information–known as “auto euthanasia.” And while we are on the subject, we musn’t forget the technically illegal euthanasia killings–infanticide and “termination without request or consent”–which generally go unpunished, and indeed, in the case of infanticide, is openly and respectfully discussed in medical journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine, with the publication of the ”Groningen Protocol.”
Culture of death, Wesley? What culture of death?
Editor’s note. This appears on Wesley’s great blog at www.firstthings.com/blogs/secondhandsmoke/2011/10/18/dutch-docs-to-expand-definition-of-suffering-for-euthanasia-to-include-loneliness-and-finances/