Banning Assisted Suicide Limits the Right to Life

The Canadian Supreme Court ruled that the law which bans physician assisted suicide is unconstitutional because it violates a terminally ill person’s right to life. The Court ruled that the ban causes some people to end their lives prematurely for fear that they many not be able to do so later on without the assistance of a physician (which used to be illegal).

So, in effect, the Canadian Supreme Court says that it respects life by allowing someone to end it and that a law which protects life (so that terminally ill patients aren’t coerced by family or doctors or insurance companies) is a violation of the right to life.

Does that make any sense to you? Read the full article on the LifeNews website by clicking here.

Supreme Emergency

I’ve been reading Moral Philosophy: A Reader, 4th edition (edited by Louis P. Pojman and Peter Tramel) and found it to be very interesting, enough so that I’ve actually said to people, “I’m enjoying studying philosophy.” One essay caught my attention because of my interests in history and ethics. I have always been a World War II buff and the last part of this book (Applied Ethics) contains three essays regarding that period of time and the morality of bombing civilian population areas. In reading the selections on this topic, I found parallels in the abortion debate that should make us stop and think.

The essay that really caught my attention was an excerpt from Just and Unjust Wars by Michael Walzer. In a war, one of the conventions modern nations attempt to keep is that combatants fight with other combatants and that civilians should not be targeted. Yet, there are times, called supreme emergencies by Walzer, where it is justifiable to break those conventions. So what defines a supreme emergency? Walzer states:

It is defined by two criteria, which correspond to the two levels on which the concept of necessity works: the first has to do with the imminence of the danger and the second with its nature. The two criteria must both be applied. Neither one by itself is sufficient as an account of extremity or as a defense of the extraordinary measures extremity is thought to require. Close but not serious, serious but not close–neither one makes for a supreme emergency. (Pojman and Tramel, 450)

And that’s exactly what the pro-aborts do: create a situation in the minds of abortion-vulnerable women so that they feel they are in a position of close and serious danger. They tell women: you’ll never finish high school or college; your career is in danger; there’s no way you can handle another child in addition to the ones you already have; you were expecting to have one child not twins; you’re going to have too many challenges while raising a child with a mental or physical disability; you will be reminding of being raped every day you look at that child. By playing on the fear that the women may already have, rather than counseling them and supporting them, pro-aborts have created a sense of supreme emergency.

Although most Americans think about the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki when thinking about the bombing of civilians during WWII, the fact is the Nazis did it extensively to England and the Soviet Union; and in retaliation, the British did it extensively to Germany and German-held territories. The British justified it by saying “tactical use of bombers [against military targets] could not stop Hitler and that the destruction of cities could” and “the bombers alone…provide the means of victory.” (455)

And that’s exactly what the pro-aborts do: they tell abortion-vulnerable women that the only option they have is to get an abortion. If that wasn’t true, what would explain the fact that although the largest abortion provider in the United States, Planned Parenthood, claims to make adoption referrals, 92 percent of the pregnant women they serve abort their babies? Or that some affiliates have abysmal numbers adoption referrals, in one case, Planned Parenthood of Indiana had only 12 adoptions in 7 years.

The next step is to dehumanize those you are about to act upon. Walzer notes that the Allies did not bomb occupied French civilian areas because they were seen as allies, the Allies had “special commitments to the French,” and the goal was to free the French from Nazi occupation. But the German citizens, though not in control of Nazi policy or the execution of the war, were seen as part of the problem. They were faulted for contributing to the Nazi war effort and therefore were to be punished in addition to the Nazi leadership. Walzer explains that some might have thought that “it makes sense to say that there were more people in German than in French cities who were responsible (in some fashion) for the evil of Nazism, and we may well be reluctant to extend to them the full range of civilian rights.” (456)

And that’s exactly what the pro-aborts do: the original arguments supporting abortion included calling the pre-born baby a mass of cells, a clump of tissue, or a parasite. Now that scientific and medical progress has shown those claims to be false, the pro-aborts now say that the pre-born baby isn’t really a person, it’s just a potential person and that since it needs the continued assistance of another (the mother), then it’s the mother’s rights and desires that are more important than the pre-born baby’s. Can you also hear how these arguments are made to support ending the life of those with disabilities, the terminally ill, or the elderly? The quality of life they have or will have do not meet our definition of what it means to be a person so why shouldn’t we help them end their lives?

Finally, Walzer notes that the British bombings of German cities, after the initial bombings in late 1940, were no longer justified by July 1942 when Winston Churchill stated:

In the days when we were fighting alone, we answered the questions: “How are you going to win the war?” by saying: “We will shatter Germany by bombing.” Since then the enormous injuries inflicted on the German Army and manpower by the Russians, and the accession of the manpower and munitions of the United States, have rendered other possibilities open. (456)

Certainly by 1945 when the Germans Army was in collapse and the war was about to be ended, the continued bombing of civilians was no longer needed, therefore the bombing of Dresden, which killed approximately 100,000 people, was an unjustifiable act.

And that’s exactly what’s still happening today: with the availability of resources available from public and private organizations, women facing unwanted pregnancies are not alone. There are places to turn to, there are people willing to help. Yet 1.2 million abortions in the United States are still performed every year and over 40 million abortions per year occur worldwide. This all happens despite the fact that there is no close and serious threat to be addressed by ending these innocent lives.

Finally, speaking about the innocent civilians in German cities bombed by the Allies during WWII, Walzer writes:

We can recognize their horror only when we have acknowledged the personality and value of the men and women we destroy in committing them [acts we would not normally do]. It is the acknowledgement of rights that puts a stop to such calculations [to justify these acts] and forces us to realize that the destruction of the innocent, whatever its purposes, is a kind of blasphemy against our deepest moral commitments. (457, additional comments are mine)

It’s time to acknowledge the rights of the baby in the womb. It’s time that we speak up for them. And it’s time “to realize that the destruction of the innocent, whatever its purpose, is a kind of blasphemy against our deepest moral commitments.”

The Nazi Plan Step 2

This is part 4 of my thoughts from The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide by Robert Jay Lifton (click here to see it on  Click here to read part 3.

The second step of the Nazi plan that Dr. Lifton identified was the killing of “impaired” children in hospitals. It started innocently enough, midwives and physicians were asked to completed reports at the time of birth. The first reports asked for information where “‘serious hereditary diseases’ were ‘suspected’: idiocy and mongolism (especially when associated with blindness and deafness); microcephaly; hydrocephaly; malformations of all kinds, especially of limbs, head, and spinal columns; and paralysis, including spastic conditions.”(52)

Children who were labelled with a hereditary disease were continually evaluated until they eventually arrived in special wards “whose chiefs and prominent doctors were known to be politically reliable and ‘positive’ toward the goals of the Reich Committee.'”(53) The children were eventually killed in those wards.

Why did parents allow this to happen to their children? How can someone convince a parent that it would be better to kill his child than to let the child live? They used the idea where healing and killing were reversed. Lifton writes (54):

A doctor could tell a parent that “it might be necessary to perform a surgical operation that could possibly have an unfavorable result,” or explain that “the ordinary therapy employed until now could no longer help their child so that extraordinary therapeutic measures have to be taken.” Dr. Heinze, who used such phrases with parents, explained in court testimony that there had been truth to what he said: “A very excitable child . . . completely idiotic . . . could not be kept   quiet with the normal dose of sedatives,” so that “an overdose . . . had to be used in order to . . . avoid endangering itself through its own restlessness.” At the same time, “we physicians know that such an overdose of sedative, for children usually luminal . . . could cause pneumonia . . . and that this is virtually incurable.”

“Horrible,” you think to yourself. “Unconscionable,” you suggest. What if you were told that this happens everyday today in countries like the United States and the United Kingdom? What if you were told that anywhere between 85 to 92 percent of the babies diagnosed with Downs Syndrome in the U.S. were aborted? (Click here, here, or here for more information.) What if you were told that during the in vitro fertilization procedure, preimplantation genetic diagnosis is conducted on the embryo and those with Down Syndrome or some other genetic disease were discarded? (Click here for a recent article.)

Make no mistake, step 2 of the Nazi plan is alive and well as we abort babies or discard embryos just because they have some sort of genetic disease.

And don’t forget about making killing sound like healing. For example, how do pro-aborts talk about abortions and abortion-inducing drugs? They are considered as part of women’s healthcare. Opponents of abortion or mandatory insurance coverage for possible abortion-inducing drugs (e.g. Ella, Plan B, morning after pill) are vilified by the media and by pro-aborts as not caring for women’s health.

And how do the supporters of physician assisted suicide get it legalized? By saying this is a medical treatment that will help end the suffering of the patient. In physician assisted suicide, the person wanting to die gets a prescription that basically is an overdose of painkillers or sedatives. Does that sound familiar?

Yes, the tactics that the Nazis employed are still in use by those who want society to embrace death as a cure.

Update July 19, 2012.

The Nazi Plan

This is part 3 of my thoughts from The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide by Robert Jay Lifton (click here to see it on  Click here to read part 2.

In order to rid the Volk of this disease, Dr. Lifton identified five distinctive steps in the Nazis process (21):

  1. Coercive sterilization of those deemed less “desirable”
  2. The killing of “impaired” children in hospitals
  3. The killing of “impaired” adults in centers especially equipped with carbon monoxide gas
  4. The killing of “impaired” inmates of concentration and extermination camps
  5. Mass killings in the extermination camps

Most people that I’ve related these five steps outlined here are repulsed by the thought that any government would sanction these actions. But of course, we’re doing it today in the U.S. I’ll make the connections for you in subsequent posts but I’ll start here with Step 1: Coercive sterilization.

Many states in the U.S. had passed forced sterilization laws in the early 1900’s. Some of these states kept enforcing these laws into the 1970’s. Read recent news articles about the eugenic past of the U.S. by clicking here to read about forced sterilization in North Carolina or clicking here to read about forced sterilization in Washington.

The difference between Nazi Germany and the rest of the world was that the Nazis went on to steps 2-5 and the rest of the world didn’t, or did they?

Stayed tuned to see how we kill “impaired” children today. (Click here to read part 4.)

Good God or Cosmic Sadist?

Continuing with some observations from C.S. Lewis’ A Grief Observed (see it here in Goodreads). Click here to read the first part.

Oftentimes when someone is facing the uncertain future at life’s end, thoughts of eternity arise. This is especially true if the person is suffering from a debilitating disease or cancer. Thoughts begin to wander and people start to wonder what kind of God would allow this kind of suffering. Wouldn’t it be better to just help this person die through physician-assisted suicide or maybe even euthanize this person if he cannot do it himself?

Lewis wrote this while mourning his wife’s death from cancer (42ff):

But oh God, tenderly, tenderly. Already, month by month and week by week you broke her body on the wheel whilst she still wore it. Is it not yet enough?

The terrible thing is that a perfectly good God is in this matter hardly less formidable than a Cosmic Sadist. The more we believe that God hurts only to heal, the less we can believe that there is any use in begging for tenderness. A cruel man might be bribed–might grow tired of his vile sport–might have a temporary fit of mercy, as alcoholics have fits of sobriety. But suppose that what you are up against is a surgeon whose intentions are wholly good. The kinder and more conscientious he is, the more inexorably he will go on cutting. If he yielded to your entreaties, if he stopped before the operation was complete, all the pain up to that point would have been useless. But is it credible that such extremities of torture should be necessary for us? Well, take your choice. The tortures occur. If they are unnecessary, then there is no God or a bad one. If there is a good God, then these tortures are necessary. For no even moderately good Being could possibly inflict or permit them if they weren’t.

Many persons, including Christians, wonder how can a good God allow one of His own to suffer so much; many persons, including Christians, determine that God is nothing more than, in Lewis’ words, a Cosmic Sadist; and many persons, including Christians, conclude that if this is who God is, then they don’t want anything to do with God. They judge God harshly through the enormity of their pain or grief, missing what Lewis comes to understand, that there is something to our benefit in that same pain or grief or suffering; a suffering that although may bring tears to God’s eyes, He allows, because “every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit” (John 15:2b NKJV).

Click here to read my concluding thoughts on from this book.