The "Culture of Death" and Death with Dignity.
Both the Oregon and Washington laws limit assisted suicide to terminally ill, competent adults who must self-administer the lethal drugs. Yet personal autonomy and ending suffering were the two chief reasons given for permitting assisted suicide in the first place. Those reasons, in and of themselves, logically demand that the practice not be limited to terminally ill, competent adults who happen to be physically able to self-administer the drugs. Consider:If personal autonomy is the basis for permitting assisted suicide, why would a person only have personal autonomy when diagnosed (or misdiagnosed) as having a terminal condition?If assisted suicide is proclaimed by force of law to be a good solution to the problem of human suffering, then isn’t it both unreasonable and cruel to limit it to the dying?Once assisted suicide is changed from a bad thing to be prevented into a good thing to be facilitated, isn’t it easy to see how the early “safeguards” will come to be seen as obstacles to be surmounted?On what basis could one deny a good and compassionate medical “treatment” to those who are suffering from chronic conditions? Or to children? Or to those who never have been or are no longer competent?
If a lethal dose of drugs is considered a good medical treatment, isn’t the requirement of self-administration both illogical and overly restrictive? What about the person who is physically disabled and unable to self-administer the lethal dose?In fact, assisted-suicide leaders have acknowledged that laws like those in Oregon and Washington are only a “first step” in achieving their agenda of death, for persons of any age and for any reason.
It is at the heart of the moral conscience that the eclipse of the sense of God and of man, with all its various and deadly consequences for life, is taking place. It is a question, above all, of the individual conscience, as it stands before God in its singleness and uniqueness. 18 But it is also a question, in a certain sense, of the "moral conscience" of society: in a way it too is responsible, not only because it tolerates or fosters behaviour contrary to life, but also because it encourages the "culture of death", creating and consolidating actual "structures of sin" which go against life.
Advocates of a "culture of life" argue that a "culture of death" results in political, economic, or eugenic murder. They point to historical events such as the Holocaust or the Great Purges in the Soviet Union as examples of devaluation of human life taken to an extreme conclusion. In the United States, the term is used by those in the pro-life movement to refer to support legalized abortion and/or euthanasia.
Do we want to go from a situation where, initially, people are horrified by assisted suicide, but then tolerate it and, finally, accept it? Do we want to see a time, in the not too distant future, when people feel guilty for not choosing assisted suicide? Many people in Oregon and Washington, including those who voted for a “death with dignity” law, didn’t have a clue about its implications. All of us need to help others know what legalized assisted suicide really means. That is the only way we can prevent its spread. We must work to prevent assisted suicide from becoming the American way of death. Not only our lives but the lives of our children and grandchildren depend on it.
Not only does she equate death with dignity to an all-out campaign to kill other segments of society, but she works to create the fear that the "culture of death" will come for them or their loved ones next.
“Aid in dying” is just a gobbledygook euphemistic advocacy term that pretends terminally ill people can’t commit suicide. In other words, it is postmodernism run amok in that it would disregard facts and sacrifice accurate definitions on the altar of personal narrative."
I accept that Marker and Smith are sincere in their criticism of the legalization of death with dignity laws in the US. What I don't accept - and what I find disingenuous and damaging - is that they accuse a segment of society as bent on perpetuating the systematic killing of innocent people. There is historical and religious precedent for such accusations - the Catholic church, for instance, is invested in maintaining jurisdiction over suffering, and political entities are determined to have jurisdiction over punishment as part of the state's power.