THE “RIGHT TO DIE” HAS EVOLVED INTO A “RIGHT TO KILL.”
Here are a few examples illustrating how acceptance of the “right to die” has led to acceptance of the “right to kill” without patient consent.
In 1999, Texas enacted a law that allows doctors to stop life-sustaining treatment against patients’ wishes (see “Futile Care,” p. 4) on the basis that doctors know best.
A 2012 segment of Dr. Phil McGraw’s popular TV show featured a Canadian woman who wanted her disabled adult children to die by lethal injection. When the studio audience was polled, 90% were in favor of killing them.
The Human Life Alliance staff and the authors receive numerous calls for help from people who are trying to save a loved one from being overdosed with morphine or sedatives. There are even more calls and emails from people with heart-rending stories of how loved ones have been killed by “stealth euthanasia,” (see Definitions) without the family realizing what was happening.1
UNDER ATTACK! CONSCIENCE RIGHTS
Without medical participation, the euthanasia movement falls apart. Ominously, not only euthanasia activists, but also prominent academics, seek to exclude from the practice of medicine those who refuse to kill their patients. For instance, Udo Schuklenk, co-editor of Bioethics, a leading journal in the field of ethics, asserts that “Conscientious objection has no place in the practice of medicine.”2
Do we really want only health care providers who are comfortable with ending our lives? If not, we must protect the conscience rights of medical professionals. In 2017, Arizona enacted a law “intended to protect medical professionals and the facilities where they work from discrimination if they refuse to assist in end-of-life procedures.” Missouri had already enacted a similar law in 1992. These are models for other states and countries to follow. It may take a long time before killing sick or disabled people is again seen as abhorrent and unethical, but the effort will be worth it.
Julie Grimstad, LPN, Patient Advocate, Exec. Director of Life is Worth Living, Inc.
When Eleanor initially changed her mind about committing suicide, her friends tracked me down on the oncology unit where I worked to complain that we were “interfering with her right to die.” Instead of being happy or relieved, they were outraged that we took the usual measures we’d take with anyone to prevent a suicide.
Over the years, I’ve seen this disturbing enthusiasm for “choosing” death go mainstream. Consider the consequences for patients when expressing a wish to die is not viewed as a cry for help, but rather as a request to be killed; when encouraging a suicidal person to change her mind is deemed “interfering with her right to die.”
By Nancy Valko, RN