The Corner

Euthanasia Abandons Despairing People to Worst Fears

A U.K. actress has announced she is seriously pondering euthanasia due to fears of being a “burden” when she can no longer care of herself. From the Manchester Evening News story:

Actress Claire King had revealed that she is considering euthanasia after being diagnosed with a degenerative disease. Claire, who plays Erica Holroyd in Corrie, suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease where the body’s own immune system attacks the joints.

The 54-year-old actress developed rheumatoid arthritis in the early 90s and she has had joints removed and plates put in her fingers as a result of the condition. Former Emmerdale star Claire, who is divorced and has no children, worries about “becoming a burden” when she gets older and understands why people consider assisted dying.

Speaking with the Sunday Mirror she said: “I can understand why people choose assisted dying – and it’s getting to the point where I would consider it myself. I’m not going to be hurting any offspring as I haven’t got any. “Most of my family will be gone. It’s not a selfish thing. It’s a decision at a certain age, when you’re becoming a burden to others.”

We can all empathize with those fears. But note: King’s desire to die has to do with existential anguish, not unbearable pain, which is euthanasia’s selling point.

Studies from Oregon and Canada show that the request to die is overwhelmingly caused by such anguish. But here’s the thing: Such despair can often be alleviated with appropriate mental health and sociological interventions.

But in our rush to honor lethal “choice,” we often deny people the very help that could restore their desire to live.

Worse, when we say, “Of course you want to die, here are your poison pills or lethal jab” — we confirm the despairing person’s worst fears about themselves. In essence, we are telling them: Yes, you are a burden. Yes, your life isn’t worth living. Yes, we are better off if you are dead.

Euthanasia is many things, but true compassion–which means to “suffer with” — isn’t one of them.

Wesley J. Smith — Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism.

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