You wouldn’t suspect a doctor to prescribe a depressed patient with suicide, right? Voluntary euthanasia, commonly referred to as physician-assisted suicide, is a key issue for the pro-life movement as we fight to protect life in law and in service from conception to natural death.
Physician-assisted suicide is currently a legal means of death in Oregon, Washington State, Hawaii, California, Colorado, Vermont, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Washington, D.C. in state legislation. Through a court ruling, Montana also has legalized physician-assisted suicide.
This intentional act of ending a patient’s life is permitted in 11 countries including Switzerland, where two Americans recently traveled to be killed. As reported by The Week, “Switzerland allows physician-assisted suicide without a minimum age requirement, diagnosis or symptom state.”
Physician-assisted suicide is too often committed on those who are distressed and suicidal. Some victims can be physically healthy while others are ill – often terminally ill. Victims seek physician-assisted suicide to escape suffering or perhaps when pressured to end their lives. Suicide physicians, instead of providing the suffering patient with resources – whether for palliative treatment of physical suffering or the psychological treatment of mental and emotional pain – kill their patients.
Physician-assisted suicide is a violation of Hippocratic oath, which demands that physicians “do no harm,” and propagates the lie that suffering can be addressed by eliminating the sufferer instead of the suffering.
One such tragic story was reported in The Independent recently. According to the article, two sisters, Lila Ammouri and Susan Frazier, were seemingly happy and healthy but were killed in physician-assisted suicide in Switzerland to their brother and colleagues’ astonishment. Their brother, Cal Ammouri, told The Independent that there was zero indication his sisters intended to take their own lives.
According to Swissinfo.ch, most of the 1,300 people who died in Switzerland in 2020 by assisted suicide were killed by the two largest assisted suicide organizations, Dignitas and Exit. Dr. Philip Nitschke, founder of Exit International, told Daily Mail that the Arizona sisters reached out to Exit International in 2020 to learn how they could end their lives.
In addition to the moral complexities of this issue, one of the problems with euthanasia is that a profit-driven company or person – like an insurance company or a relative standing to inherit perhaps – has a motive for seeing someone dead.
Kristan Hawkins, President of Students for Life of America and Students for Life Action, revealed the disturbing truths about health care rationing in an article. She wrote, “Lives are measured in QALY, quality-adjusted life years, which equals one year of life in perfect health. In Britain, the government will spend $25,000 to $38,000 for a year of healthy life. Consider that the average cost of treating cancer for a month here in the United States is $10,000, and it’s clear that people will be left to suffer.
In fact, that same QALY formula is advocated in the United States by the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER), a self-appointed health-care cost watchdog that regularly issues reports on whether it’s worth the money to prolong or save the lives of the sick or disabled. ICER is composed heavily of people who helped construct the Affordable Care Act and people with ties to socialized medical systems worldwide.”
Devaluing people too unworthy in someone else’s eyes is a real problem as Hawkins argues it violates human rights to ration policies for people with disabilities. It also raises the question of how costly it is for health providers to help a person or not.
A physician’s job is to heal, treat, or provide resources to sick patients—not kill them. Students for Life of America will continue to fight against measures that tear down the dignity of life at any stage. Normalizing death of the innocent and ill endangers everyone. To learn more about physician-assisted suicide, click here.
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