After serving eight years out of a 10-25 year sentence, Dr. Jack Kevorkian was recently released from prison. Kevorkian first hit the news with his doctor-assisted suicides. He was convicted of second-degree murder for poisoning Thomas Youk, one of over 100 people “Dr. Death” has helped to kill themselves.
I understand that Kevorkian said he was there to ease the passing of his patients, but I have a problem with the idea of euthanasia because it is a proven slippery slope:
First, Dutch euthanasia advocates said that patient killing will be limited to the competent, terminally ill who ask for it. Then, when doctors began euthanizing patients who clearly were not terminally ill, sweat not, they soothed: medicalized killing will be limited to competent people with incurable illnesses or disabilities. Then, when doctors began killing patients who were depressed but not physically ill, not to worry, they told us: only competent depressed people whose desire to commit suicide is “rational” will have their deaths facilitated. Then, when doctors began killing incompetent people, such as those with Alzheimer’s, it’s all under control, they crooned: non-voluntary killing will be limited to patients who would have asked for it if they were competent.
And now they want to euthanize children.
In the Netherlands, Groningen University Hospital has decided its doctors will euthanize children under the age of 12, if doctors believe their suffering is intolerable or if they have an incurable illness. But what does that mean? In many cases, as occurs now with adults, it will become an excuse not to provide proper pain control for children who are dying of potentially agonizing maladies such as cancer, and doing away with them instead. As for those deemed “incurable”–this term is merely a euphemism for killing babies and children who are seriously disabled.
First they came for the terminally ill, then the disabled, and then the depressed who wanted to die. Then they come for the Terri Schiavo-like people who could not give consent, but hey, they’d rather be dead, right? It’s not like they would enjoy their lives, so killing them is really a good thing.
Frankly, there is no need for doctor-assisted suicide. If you are really serious about suicide, you can do it by refusing all food and water. You won’t need drugs, and you can do it in the privacy of your own home. And the best part is you don’t have to worry about discomfort or pain because Michael Schiavo told us that starving his wife Terri was a painless procedure. You just “drift off to a nice little sleep.” I can’t imagine why it isn’t all the rage.
Personally, I’d rather not travel down the path the Netherlands is taking with euthanasia. I think Europe has already had enough problems in the past with killing off its undesirable surplus population.