Human Exceptionalism

Normalizing Elder Couple Joint Suicides

People keep pretending that assisted suicide/euthanasia are about terminal illness. That’s a clear ploy to get people to accept the premise that killing is an acceptable answer to human suffering.

After that, logic will take over. Once a population begins to accept the overarching premise, the limitations such as terminal illness melt away.

Sometimes, it doesn’t even have to wait that long. In Belgium, elderly married couples can receive joint euthanasia–even if one or both isn’t seriously ill.

And now, in Australia, a healthy elderly couple is praised in a journal called Starts at Sixty! for committing joint assisted suicide before becoming ill. From, “Why This Couple Chose to Leave the World on Their Own Terms:”

Peter and Pat were scientists, explorers, parents, and jokesters. They had devoted their lives to their passions and raised three daughters – Judy, Anny and Kate. They lived life to the full and were determined to avoid the illness and fragility that so often comes with old age.

Both Peter and Pat had discussed their choice to take their own lives for many years. They decided long ago this was the way they wanted to go and they made sure their daughters understood their decision. To them, prolonging life for the sake of living was not enough. They enjoyed hiking and reading and debating each other on science, literature and arts.

They did not want to live a life where all of these things were not possible. The idea of nursing homes and palliative care was not something they wished to consider. They would die with the sharp minds and good humour they had cherished their whole lives.

They decided to commit suicide before becoming ill or debilitated by age–with the information on how to get dead provided by the Down-Under Kevorkian, Philip Nitschke:

Peter joined Nitschke’s organisation Exit International, which teaches people peaceful methods to end their own lives, and was a strong advocate for the right choose how and when to pass on. On 21 October, a week before Peter and Pat passed, their daughters arrived at the family home to spend time with their parents before they had to say goodbye forever. 

Their three girls are similar to their parents. Two have PhDs and one is a concert pianist in Germany. They are rational, just like their parents, and understand their desire to go out on their own terms.

Anny asked if they could wait until after Christmas, just to have one more family celebration together, but they would not. The date had been set and they would make their final exit the day after Pat’s 87th birthday.

The children were fully supportive! They came over for a goodbye gathering, and left–knowing their parents would then kill themselves.

Speaking about her parents’ decision to take their own lives, the couples’ youngest daughter Kate said she believes, like her parents, that people should be afforded the right to suicide if they are of sound mind.

“It shouldn’t be so difficult for rational people to make this decision,” Kate said. “Obviously, care has to be taken but assisted suicide should not be illegal.”

Notice, no serious illness or disability required. That’s the logic of assisted suicide kicking in!

We used to consider such joint suicides a preventable tragedy. Increasingly, they are a cause for celebration, as elder suicide is beginning to be normalized and extolled.

Mark my words, if trends continue, you will be asked to attend the suicide of a loved one. If that happens, what will you do?

Say yes, and you are morally complicit. Say no, and you risk being ostracized by the family as “judgmental” and “moralistic.”

People have not even begun to grasp the radical changes assisted suicide brings to a society.

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