Editor’s note. This appeared on the website of TrueDignityvt.org. It is a commentary on “Our Right to Choose When We Die Is Widely Curtailed for Very Good Reasons,” by Michael Wenham, which appeared on the Huffington Post.
As the UK Parliament continues to debate legalizing assisted suicide, here’s a good article reminding us of what it seems should be obvious to everyone. Assisted suicide is not a private matter. It affects a whole society in ways that should, but no longer do, appall everyone.
Suicide itself is known to be contagious. When the social stigma surrounding it is eliminated by laws setting up a legal process of assistance for it, its extension becomes inevitable, including its extension to those whose care society finds too emotionally and financially expensive to be willing to sustain.
By the way, we at True Dignity think this not only should be, but actually is, obvious even to the proponents. Barbara Coombs Lee is no longer ashamed to say that people with dementia should be eligible for euthanasia; we use the word because a person with dementia would not be capable of committing assisted suicide. Coombs Lee also defends the denial of state insurance coverage of treatments patients and their doctors believe would help them.
In Belgium and the Netherlands, depression or situational unhappiness, such as that of the person euthanized because of dissatisfaction with a sex change operation, or just being “tired of life” are considered “unbearable and irremediable” suffering that qualifies one for euthanasia.
What these people really want is suicide or euthanasia on demand, without many questions; the few questions asked would be to protect the doctor, not the patient. They want to eliminate people in the name of freedom, when they know as well as we do that people will die who could have been helped to live. Again, they think help is too expensive, socially, emotionally, and financially. Eliminating those who need care is just so easy, so logical, so cheap, cheap, cheap.