By Judie Brown
“Assist Us to Live, Not Die” is what a poster reads in a recent demonstration against assisted suicide. If this sounds like an overstatement, stay tuned. The situation in the world of euthanasia advocates right now is not only disturbing but deadly.
Across the world, proponents of assisted suicide are gaining ground. And these are the very people who are using the panic created over the coronavirus to convince people that assisted dying is a good idea.
The Atlantic published a report about the “extraordinary decisions” that confront Italian physicians in the wake of the pandemic. The writer explains:
The Italian College of Anesthesia, Analgesia, Resuscitation and Intensive Care (SIAARTI) has published guidelines for the criteria that doctors and nurses should follow as these already extraordinary circumstances worsen. The document begins by likening the moral choices Italian doctors may face to the forms of wartime triage that are required in the field of “catastrophe medicine.” Instead of providing intensive care to all patients who need it, the authors suggest, it may become necessary to follow “the most widely shared criteria regarding distributive justice and the appropriate allocation of limited health resources.”
While such extreme measures are not mandatory for doctors, the recommendations give us cause to stop and consider what is going on in medicine right now. Steven Ertelt observes: “The irony is that the guidelines are called ‘distributive justice.’ But there’s no justice when treatment decisions are based on who is considered too old or too ill.”
Yet this sort of prejudiced justice has been advocated in many scenarios over the years. One writer says: “When it was first made legal, doctor-assisted death was seen as a way to spare terminally ill, pain-racked patients unnecessary suffering in their final days. But definitions of what kind of anguish is unbearable have in many cases widened over time, leading to debate about when a doctor is justified in helping a patient die.”
But what is missing from this rhetoric and similar comments is the fundamental truth that nobody should have the right to take another’s life for any reason any more than someone should be encouraged to take his own life.
Having said that, clearly more and more medical professionals are twisting words and creating wide areas of confusion to drive their anti-life agenda. Efforts to brainwash physicians, nurses, and others with alleged facts that are truly fiction are spreading like wildfire.
For example, Nancy Valko, RN, recently wrote in an e-mail to me that a student nurse expressed concerns to her about what might be on her licensing exam: “She was very concerned about the key points on death and dying to know for her nursing exam for licensure. . . . She was especially concerned about this one: ‘Terminal dehydration has been shown to be palliative in reducing pain. IV hydration is not indicated unless it is a patient’s choice.’”
In other words, denying hydration to an extremely ill patient will result in that person’s death. That does indeed reduce physical pain, since the dead do not feel pain.
Regarding the current pandemic, Diane Coleman of Not Dead Yet addresses this virus as someone who, herself, is disabled. She points out the failures of a medical system that have created another kind of crisis. She writes:
This pandemic resource shortage will touch people who previously felt safe from healthcare rationing. How we treat people in need is a reflection of the priorities of the policymakers we elect. All too often, the voices of people with disabilities and other justice communities have been drowned out. Perhaps the unnecessary loss of life from this pandemic due to healthcare capacity limits will cause others to join with us in re-evaluating the priorities that got us here.
Such justice communities include defenders of the preborn and the elderly as well. Imposing death on a fellow human being for any reason—including neglect, rationing, abortion, or infanticide—is always wrong.
“Assist us to live, not die” is not just a slogan; it is a battle cry for anyone fighting for the right to life.