Whether you live in Colorado or not, you need to know what’s at stake with doctor-assisted death and how to make the case for life.
Yesterday on BreakPoint, I told you about the dangers of physician-assisted suicide laws: How they inevitably turn the “right to die” into the “duty to die,” how these laws lead to the deaths of non-terminally ill patients, and how they threaten the lives of the disabled and the most vulnerable among us.
We must be prepared to talk about these deadly laws with friends and neighbors and persuade them to oppose physician-assisted suicide.
A great place to start is to focus on the definition of words, especially “dignity” and “compassion.” These words are used to great effect by pro-euthanasia forces, but they’ve been redefined. “Dignity” went from meaning worthy of honor and respect to meaning little more than fully affirming one’s lifestyle choices.
But now let’s look at the word “choice.” In the Netherlands last spring, doctors euthanized a young sexual assault victim who suffered from depression and anorexia. Did she “choose” to die, or did her mental state prevent her from choosing to live? According to LifeNews.com, in Oregon, only 5.3 percent of those who request suicide are referred for a psychiatric evaluation—“despite studies showing prevalence of depression in such patients.” In fact, most patients in Oregon who were assisted in their suicide did not list physical pain as the primary reason. A far greater number listed depression instead.
Thus it should alarm all of us that Colorado’s Proposition 106 does not require psychiatric evaluation for patients requesting suicide.
How is it compassionate, we should ask, to refuse to help those whose depression is crippling their ability to face severe physical problems?
Also in Oregon, nearly half of those who ended their life had no medical oversight. As reported by Colorado Christian University’s Centennial Institute, one man had an “unanticipated and severe reaction” to his lethal prescription. He was revived at a Portland hospital only to die later at a nursing facility. “In another case,” the Institute reports, “a victim who took the prescription awoke after 65 hours of unconsciousness.”
Colorado’s Prop 106 “does not provide for a health-care professional of any kind to be on hand to ensure the drugs are administered competently.” So much for compassion.
And then there’s the matter of potential abuse by insurance firms—something Prop 106 offers no protection from. The trailer for a Center for Bioethics and Culture’s upcoming documentary on assisted suicide features an interview with a young California woman. Shortly after California legalized assisted suicide, her insurance company refused to cover the chemotherapy that would extend her life. They would, however, cover the lethal drugs that would kill her.
If that doesn’t send a chill up your spine, maybe this will. Prop 106, like in Oregon and California, prevents the cause of death on the death certificate from being listed as doctor assisted suicide. That’s just dishonest. And, we should add, the number of non-assisted suicides in Oregon has increased since their legislation was put in place. That’s one reason the Colorado Springs Gazette editorial board is opposing Prop 106—my city is already facing a suicide epidemic among students and military. If suicide is legal, how can we possibly tell students that it’s not the answer?
Like Colorado, the District of Columbia is also considering assisted suicide legislation, and pro-suicide groups are at work in state houses across the nation.
I urge you, whether you live in Colorado or not, to read through the resources we’ve gathered on the dangers of assisted suicide. Our Stop 106 Tool Kit offers talking points, videos, articles, even bulletin inserts for your church to use.
All you have to do is go to ColsonCenter.org/prop106.
Death by suicide is knocking at our door. We must answer and say NO!
Helping Others Say ‘No’ to Assisted Suicide: Making the Case for Dignity at the End of Life
For outstanding resources on why and how we should oppose physician assisted suicide, visit www.ColsonCenter.org/prop106. We have assembled articles, videos, and even church bulletin inserts to help you make the case for life.
Available at the online bookstore
The Case for Life: Equipping Christians to Engage the Culture
Scott Klusendorf | Crossway Books | March 2009
Stand for Life: Answering the Call, Making the Case, Saving Lives
Scott Klusendorf | Hendrickson Publishers | December 2012
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