Advocates of physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia have effectively used deceit to sell voters and legislators on the idea of “choice” and “autonomy.” But it didn’t take long for this facade to give way to the true dangers of so-called “choice in dying.”
Here are just the most recent examples I’ve read of disturbing advancements of loopholes and abuse, well beyond the expectations of initial supporters of end-of-life measures.
The “slippery slope” of assisted suicide and euthanasia that I and other pro-life leaders have warned against has become a steep, vertical descent into a disturbing erosion of so-called safeguards, boldly touted by advocates of the pro-death movement.
For the sake of brevity, I’ve listed bullet points of major concern.
- In just the last four years, the number of Oregonians opting for assisted suicide nearly doubled.
- To date, there are 692 doses of lethal medication unaccounted for.
- During 2017 only 3.5 percent of patients who requested assisted suicide were referred for psychological evaluation to identify potential depression or other mental conditions that would impair their judgement.
- There is not a single cited case by the state where a patient was found ineligible for assisted suicide.
According to Craig New, an analyst for the Oregon Health Authority, the original term “terminal illness” has a much different meaning than voters understood.
For example, an insulin-dependent diabetic can be “terminal” if the patient refuses to take medicine that would effectively treat the condition.
New wrote: “The patient gets to decide the part about whether ‘all hope is gone,’” paving the way for a diagnosis of “terminal” and allowing assisted suicide.
No independent verification: “If a physician believes that a patient meets the criteria (and a second physician [hand-picked by the first one] agrees), then (technically) that patient does meet the criteria.”
The Oregon legislature recently paved the way for the denial of food and water for patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s – even against their will in the absence of an advanced directive stating otherwise.
A significant change: Only 31 percent of patients had private insurance versus Medicaid or Medicare, which are known to deny life-prolonging treatment while highlighting the availability of assisted suicide.
Last year, over 20 states debated legalizing assisted suicide and nearly all were based on Oregon’s model.
Canada legalized euthanasia less than two years ago (June, 2016), and it’s already working to implement disturbing expansions of those eligible for intended death.
- The Council of Canadian Academies are looking into euthanizing children, incompetent patients who’ve made advanced requests and individuals with mental illness.
- An April Symposium on Pediatric Palliative Care in Toronto will feature a session titled Developing a Policy on Medical Assistance in Dying for Pediatric Patients.
- Canada’s prison system now facilitates the euthanizing of prisoners.
- A court in Ontario ruled that physicians who are opposed to euthanizing patients must make a referral to someone who will.
- Aurelia Browers, a 29-year-old woman with a mental illness, was euthanized.
- A patient with dementia and Parkinson’s was euthanized without consent.
- High numbers of palliative care professionals in Belgium and The Netherlands have resigned due to pressure to participate in euthanasia
Global experience shows that once the Pandora’s Box of assisted suicide and euthanasia is opened, it’s nearly impossible to reverse course.
To learn more about end-of-life issues, please visit our End of Life resources page at lifeissues.org.
On behalf of innocent human life,