Sunday, August 24, 2008

A culture of death, indeed.

Wesley Smith on the First Things blog points out a story from an English newspaper that describes the last day of a woman who chose to be killed by her doctor under the Netherlands' euthanasia law. According to the article, the law requires that the doctor's judgment be confirmed by a second doctor, that the person in question be in unbearable pain, consistently wish for death and be unable to be cured.

Sickeningly, the woman in the article who is killed is not in unbearable pain; she does six loads of laundry and vacuums the entire house (two floors!) on the day of her death. She does not wish consistently for death but is egged on by her son. She does have cancer which may well be uncurable, but she is afraid of losing her hair more than anything else.

I have sympathy for people who commit suicide. I don't know that I could ever bring myself to do it; I would feel like I was going to meet God after thumbing my nose at Him. I do understand though that I have not been in the shoes of someone who has been the victim of a horrific crime, suffered the loss of an immediate family member or seen first hand the terrible things that happen in war. In old detective novels, the villain is often allowed to commit suicide to avoid the pain that their trial would give to those dear to them. While I do not approve, I can understand. Suicide was proscribed though tolerated as an exception to the general rule.

But when we allow others to kill and label it "suicide", we open the door to the horror described above and other, worse horrors as well.