The Rush to Death

Five US  states, Colorado, California, Washington, Vermont and Oregon have legal assisted suicide laws.  Many more states are considering it and it looks like it will follow the same rush toward same-sex marriage.  For purpose of this post, let’s not argue the moral side of this; let’s argue about the slippery slope argument.  This law, whether you agree with it or not is like letting the horse out of the barn; once you do it, you can’t take it back.

If you look into what has happened in other countries where this law has been on the books for a long time, Belgium, and Holland for instance, you see how far the slippery slope has gotten.  Check out this article about the sad state of affairs in Holland and Belgium.  Now the slippery slope in Belgium has evolved to killing people, even without their consent.  Click here for this story.

The other slippery slope is who is in control?  Turns out, no one.  People can be killed even without their knowledge and there is no one watching.  “Safeguards”  that were put in place when these laws were passed are either ignored or are not monitored at all.  Click here for some facts.

In a Wall Street Journal opinion piece today  by J.J. Hanson, called “I Want My Doctors to Help Me Live, Not Die” Hanson states that in a 2006 Oregon study 25% of patients requesting assisted suicide were depressed and several of them went on to receive the lethal medication. The rush is on.

Assisted Suicide and the Culture of Death

California has become the fourth state in the nation to legalize assisted suicide, joining Vermont, Oregon and Washington.  The culture of death has slowly gained acceptance in our culture, in large part, to how it is being presented.  The advocates of assisted suicide call it “death with dignity,” “compassionate choices” and the like.  This is another frontal attack on the dignity of life, whether in the womb or in old age.  Since this is a huge subject.  I will not address why this so wrong.  I want to point out one more ominous development that has happened in California:  The fact that 23 left wing Democrats decided for 30 + million people on matters of life and death instead of putting this huge decision to the voters.  California voters have rejected this type of law no less than six times in the past 20 years. This is pure tyranny, no matter where you stand on this issue.  This should scare you whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican.

A Referendum, supported by the Catholic Church and other organizations, is currently being circulated to take this issue to the voters, as it should, in November 2016.  Our church is circulating this this coming weekend.

Assisted Suicide is Neither Compassionate nor “Death With Dignity:” Oppose California’s SB 128

It is often said that whoever controls the language controls the debate.  This is true when it comes to the “compassionate left.”  They clothe their words in such flowery language as “compassion,”  “death with dignity, “personal choices,” and other words that would lead you to believe that only a Nazi would oppose such things.  When we speak of assisted suicide, such as practiced in three U.S. states, Oregon, Vermont and Washington, such flowery words are far from the truth.  What they’re selling is death, killing and possible rampant elder abuse.  Recently, the Los Angeles Times, to its credit, published an opinion piece by a doctor, called “We should Think Twice About Death With Dignity.”  Click here  to read it.

This is a hot-button issue.  Unfortunately, many people are hugely uninformed about it.  I would not want to have my life prolonged by any extreme means.  I’ve put this in writing in my Living Trust.  However, assisted suicide is another story and needs to be carefully investigated before we decide where we stand on it.  No matter where you stand on this issue, the most damaging and scariest part about such a law is the slippery slope that it creates. Once the door is open you can never close it again.  Can we afford this?  Here are some facts to consider:

In the Netherlands and in Belgium where they have such laws, the slippery slope is no longer slippery, it’s an avalanche.   In Belgium twin brothers who were going blind decided to kill themselves because they could not stand not being able to see each other once blind. Click here to read their story.  Dutch doctors report that assisted suicide is out of control and impossible to regulate. Additionally, the law in the Netherlands has morphed into doctors administering euthanasia without a person’s consent.  The Ohio Patient’s Rights Council reports these findings:  “In addition, 8,100 patients died as a result of doctors deliberately giving them overdoses of pain medication, not for the primary purpose of controlling pain, but to hasten the patient’s death. (13) In 61% of these cases (4,941 patients), the intentional overdose was given without the patient’s consent.”

Oregon’s law is equally impossible to regulate or supervise.  See additional details related to Oregon in particular later in this article.  The possibility of abuse is huge and uncontrollable.

In California there is a pending bill, SB 128, which will bring assisted suicide to California.  Once this is legal in California it will spread like wildfire to all other states.  The experience in Oregon, Vermont and Washington has shown that there is little or no oversight at all.  Lethal medicine can be picked up and administered by a family member.  In many cases, the sick and feeble are under immense pressure to take their own life, not wanting to burden their family.

Margaret Dore, a Washington attorney who specializes in these cases, has written extensively on the dangerous practices that occur in each state that has this law.  Click here to read her compelling and shocking analysis.

Another huge issue is who supervises the execution of these laws and how effective can they be controlled?  We’re not just losing money, we’re losing lives, human lives.  Here is an example of the non-supervision of the Oregon law as published by the Ohio Patients Rights Council:

Under Oregon’s law permitting physician-assisted suicide, the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) – previously called the Oregon Health Division (OHD) – is required to collect information, review a sample of cases and publish a yearly statistical report. (1)Since the law, called the “Death with Dignity Act,” went into effect in 1997, ten  official reports have been published. However, due to major flaws in the law and the state’s reporting system, there is no way to know for sure how many or under what circumstances patients have died from physician-assisted suicide.

Statements made by individuals who have been involved in assisted suicide in Oregon — those who implement it, compile official reports about it, or prescribe the lethal drugs — clearly show that the law’s “safeguards” are not protective and that effective monitoring is close to non-existent. (2)

The Left, the Death Penalty and Euthanasia

Euthanasia has gained favor  in our culture.  In the United States, three states have euthanasia laws, or what they call “death with dignity,”   Oregon, Vermont and Washington.  But wait a minute, I thought the left is against the death penalty, saying it is cruel and unusual punishment; as does this article by the ultra-left wing ACLU. So euthanasia, whereby someone, willingly, takes a lethal drug dose, is called “death with dignity” but a lethal dose given by the state to a murderer is cruel and unusual punishment.  I don’t follow.

In Europe, Belgium and the Netherlands have euthanasia laws whereby a person can choose to end his or her life, simply because they’re depressed and don’t want to continue living. In Belgium twin brothers who were deaf and going blind decided to end their life for no other reason.  In Belgium, the doctor administers the legal dose.  So, again, If one asks to be killed it’s OK, but if the state does it to a brutal murderer it’s cruel and unusual punishment?  I’m lost.

An article in the Weekly Standard issue of October 27, 2014 titled “Cruel and Unusual Death With Dignity” discussed a Belgium case of a convicted murderer/rapist, Frank Van Den Bleeken.  Instead of executing Van Den Bleeken, Belgium decided to help him with euthanasia; by a doctor, and at a hospital.  You see, Van Den Bleeken requested euthanasia to end his “suffering” as a prisoner.  Yes, that is right, to end his suffering caused by prison life.  As the article points out, Belgium opposes capital punishment under any circumstances.

It gets worse for the leftists.  They’re almost unanimously pro-abortion.  So, if someone wants to end his or her life, for basically any reason, euthanasia is “death with dignity.”  On the other hand, if you have a brutal mass murderer, you cannot euthanize him because it’s cruel and unusual punishment.  So a deranged murderer like Charles Manson, who brutally murdered the pregnant Sharon Tate and three other people cannot be euthanized but someone who is depressed with life can be euthanized.  Where is the logic?  There is none.  Leftists have not only lost their souls but they’ve lost their moral compass.  They have no problem with an abortionist ripping apart a perfectly healthy, fully formed, baby in the womb, but anyone can volunteer to be euthanized and they see it as “death with dignity.”

Stealth Euthanasia

The following is a summary of notes I took and materials presented and discussed at the Stealth Euthanasia Conference held on November 23, 2013 at Biola University, La Mirada, California.

What is Euthanasia:  An action or an omission which of itself or by intention causes death, in order that all suffering may in this way be eliminated.  Euthanasia’s terms of reference, therefore, are to be found in the intention of the will and in the methods used. There is a trend in the United States to legalize euthanasia.  Three states have already legalized it:  Oregon, Washington and Vermont.  The euthanasia lobby is very savvy and has as their goal to legalize euthanasia throughout the United States.  Their method is one of gradualism.  They pour all their recourses into one state and after passage in that state, move to another state until all states legalize euthanasia. The euthanasia advocates do not like to use the word, euthanasia, they prefer terms like “death with dignity, assisted dying, compassionate choices, etc.  LMU Professor Christopher Kaczor, one of the speakers, states that euthanasia is driven by a worldview of human life, one that does not value the dignity of life.  There is no moral difference between active or passive euthanasia; they both accomplish the same thing:  death.  He also explained ordinary and extraordinary means of extending life.  The main issue is whether the treatment is burdensome or beneficial.

Abuse of Euthanasia:  Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition in Canada, another conference speaker, talked about the slippery slope that is euthanasia.  In Oregon, for example, the only reports made to the state on legal euthanasia are provided solely by the doctors who perform the euthanasia.  Reports are voluntary. There are no controls on how euthanasia is administered.  He pointed out that if there are abuses, no one knows about them because the doctors do not self-report abuses.  The principal goal of legalized euthanasia is to protect the doctors, not the patients.  It is estimated that depression is the prime factor in choosing euthanasia.  Since assisted suicide became legal in Oregon, state officials have been candid about offering suicide in lieu of costly medications.  In refusing to approve requests for expensive drugs that could prolong several residents’ lives, Oregon Health Care officials reminded them that the cost of suicide pills would be fully covered.  Schadenberg commented that the most likely person in our society to kill you is a doctor.

In Belgium, a 37 year-old college professor got a call one day telling him that his perfectly healthy 64 year-old mother, had chosen euthanasia and had died.  It turned out that she was depressed after a 10-year relationship ended so she chose to end her life “legally.”  Also, in Belgium, two Belgian identical twins, both born deaf, Marc and Eddy Verbassem chose euthanasia after they started losing their sight.  Not wanting to be a burden to others they both elected euthanasia and died together.  Recent studies concerning the Belgian euthanasia law found that: 32% of the assisted deaths are done without request and 47% of the assisted deaths go unreported in the Flanders region of Belgium.  Another recent study found that even though nurses are prohibited from doing euthanasia, that in fact nurses are euthanizing their patients in Belgium. There has never been an attempted prosecution for abuses of the Belgian euthanasia law.  In Oregon since 2009 there has been a 30% increase in euthanasia deaths.  Furthermore, the Oregon suicide law does not prevent elder abuse; the lethal dose can be administered without oversight.  There are many pitfalls in euthanasia laws.  Some people are counseled to take euthanasia for no good reason.

Another conference speaker, Jennifer Hamman, related a story about when she was hospitalized and in a coma due to epileptic medicine that proved to be totally wrong and put her in a coma.  While in a coma in a hospital she could hear the doctors discuss her case.  One doctor complained that her husband had not agreed to stop all treatments and that her organs could go to some needy persons.  The woman eventually recovered and today is perfectly healthy. I’m a witness since she spoke at the conference and looked perfectly healthy.  In Oregon, in 2012, only 2 of the 77 people who died by euthanasia were referred for a psychiatric evaluation. This is significant because a study conducted by Oregon researcher, Linda Ganzini, found that 15 of 58 participants in her study were either depressed or experiencing feelings of extreme hopelessness. Of the 58 participants in her Oregon study, who had asked for assisted suicide, 18 died by assisted suicide with three of the assisted suicide deaths being persons who Ganzini found had questionable competency due to their depression/feelings of hopelessness.

Medical experts, like Herbert Hendin, MD, in his book Seduced by Death. (New York:  W.W. Norton & Co., 1998, notes that nearly 95% of those who kill themselves have been shown to have a diagnosable mental illness in the months preceding their death – the majority suffering from treatable depression.  Several studies have found that, especially among the elderly, more patients kill themselves out of fear of having cancer than do patients actually diagnosed with cancer.

Margaret Dore, a Washington State Attorney on Euthanasia Abuse: The Washington euthanasia bill was sold as “promoting patient choice and control,” instead the bill is a recipe for elder abuse.  The law allows an heir or another person who will benefit financially from a patient’s death to help the patient sign up for the lethal dose.  The law allows an heir, or someone else who will benefit financially from the death to pick up the lethal dose at the pharmacy.  Once the lethal dose is in the house, there is no oversight.  Washington law applies to patients with a “terminal condition” defined as having a medical prediction of less than six months to live.  Such patients are not necessarily dying and may have years to live.  This is because doctor predictions of life expectancy can be wrong because the requirement of six months to live is based on the patient not being treated.  Consider Oregon resident, Jeanette Hall, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2000 and wanted to do assisted suicide.  Her doctor convinced her to be treated instead.  In a 2012 affidavit, she states:  “This July, it was 12 years since my diagnosis.  If my doctor had believed in assisted suicide, I would be dead.”

Patient control is an illusion. Washington law does not require a witness to the death.  Without the disinterested witness, the opportunity is created for the patient’s heir, or for another person who will benefit financially from the death, to administer a lethal dose without his consent.