Is Euthanasia Wrong? Solid Answers
By Dr. James Dobson
Q. Why is there such concern about the euthanasia movement? If a sick elderly person wants to die with dignity, I don’t see why that should threaten anybody. Why shouldn’t we permit a quiet suicide when the quality of life is no longer there?
A. You have offered a very seductive argument, especially to those of us who know of older people who are suffering a slow, painful death. It is my firm conviction, however, that untold sorrow and eventual social chaos lie down that road.
The problem, aside from the moral issue of taking human life, is that euthanasia is inevitably progressive in nature. Allow me to illustrate.
Suppose physician assisted suicide eventually is legalized for elderly people who are terminally ill, as it has been in Oregon. How would it be limited thereafter for those who were neither sick nor severely handicapped? How about an older but healthy man who was simply tired of living? Could we really require a note from his physician in order to permit his suicide?
Then if old but healthy people can choose to die, what about the not-so-old? Could a 50-year-old person take the plunge? If not, why not? How about a 40-year- old woman in menopause or a man in midlife crisis? When you stop to think about it, age has nothing to do with the decision.
If euthanasia is legal for anyone, it will soon become legal for everyone. Neither age, health factors, nor quality of life could be defended as qualifiers. The Hemlock Society, which actively promotes euthanasia, certainly understands that fact. They speak confidently about a “right to die” for every human being.
Historically, those nations that have opened the door to euthanasia have slid into a nightmare of murder. This is precisely what happened in Nazi Germany. They began by killing the sick and old; then they destroyed the mentally ill, mentally retarded, and infants born with deformities. From there, it was but a small step to begin exterminating “undesirables”-the Jews, Poles, Gypsies, the nonproductive, political prisoners, homosexuals, and others. Euthanasia was the first small step down the road toward the extermination camps.
Suicide may look like an easy way out for the one who dies, but it is perhaps the most painful experience in living for loved ones and relatives, many of whom would certainly be children.
The above material was published Dr. James Dobson’s Focus on the Family Bulletin, No. 14. This material may be copyrighted and should be used for study and research purposes only.