L.A. Daily News columnist Bridget Johnson has written a splendid column pointing out some of the many flaws with legalizing assisted suicide. Here is a sampling:
Invariably, when society decides that some life is less valuable, less worth caring for, than other life, the results can be disastrous. Some “merciful” laws have descended into involuntary euthanasia as well, resting on the argument of keeping those humans around who would have an acceptable “quality of life.” After the Netherlands legalized euthanasia in 2000 for 12-year-olds and up, the Groningen Protocol was established to ensure doctors wouldn’t be prosecuted for killing infants they deemed not fit to live.
“My observations in the Netherlands persuade me that legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia are not the answer to the problems of the seriously or terminally ill,” wrote Dr. Herbert Hendin, executive director of the American Suicide Foundation, in Psychiatric Times.
“The Netherlands has moved from assisted suicide to euthanasia, from euthanasia for the terminally ill to euthanasia for the chronically ill, from euthanasia for physical illness to euthanasia for psychological distress and from voluntary euthanasia to involuntary euthanasia (called `termination of the patient without explicit request’).”
“Assisted suicide” is just semantics for a doctor prescribing the means to die versus the doctor administering the means to die. Regardless of the name, regardless of the method, the profession designated to care for the weakest crosses the line into doing harm.
As we remember friends who passed with grace, courage and unshakable dignity, let’s also remember this week to remind our legislators of their duty to protect the inherently dignified cycle of natural life and death
Johnson nails it: Being overdosed is so often called “death with dignity” by advocates and their media parrots, you would think that dying naturally is undignified. The only indignity is acting as if anyone has a life not worth living or protecting.