First, they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
Pastor Martin Niemöller – January 1946
According to Merriam-Webster dictionary euthanasia, is a word that comes to us from the Greek term meaning “easy death.” It’s not however, a word widely used by advocates of the “Death with Dignity” movement. They like to use more soothing words in the titles of their organizations like Compassion & Choices, Final Exit Network, Dignity in Dying, Dignitas, and Exit to name a few.
On the way to making society comfortable with the concept of “Death with Dignity”, there are reasons supporters avoid incorporating the term “euthanasia” in their quest for legalization. Foremost would be the inclusion of the words “…the act or practice of killing…” in the dictionary definition. (Emphasis added.)
Thus, euthanasia is the act of a person intentionally causing the death of another person, while assisted suicide is an act of an individual facilitating a person producing their own death. We know how using the word “euthanasia” prompts us to remember the history of evil and horrific acts associated with the “practice of killing” by a government.
While the California legislature wrestled with the issue of physician-assisted suicide, opponents such as myself were excoriated for saying that it would open the door to killing those identified as a “burden” to families or even society.
Using the words “slippery slope” was decried as crude and insensitive “scare tactics,” since proponents said the fight was simply for an individual’s “right” and nothing in their effort went beyond allowing a person to determine their own fate in the face of terminal illness.
Apparently, some liberal policy makers supporting the push for fatalistic suicide didn’t get that message or worse they’ve now concluded that we are ready to accept the “slippery slope,” as they expand definitions of those they wish to be eligible for euthanizing. Yes, I used the word euthanizing and here’s why.
The Delaware House of Representatives is considering a measure, House Bill 160, that was recently amended to allow the state to join Belgium, Columbia, Luxembourg, Canada, and The Netherlands in euthanizing those suffering from an “intellectual disability.” The term “intellectual disability” is the new, kinder and gentler term used by the American Association of Intellectual and Developmental Disability (AAIDA) in place of the old societal label “mental retardation.”
The depth of liberal hypocrisy in Delaware, as well as in the Oregon Legislature currently considering House Bill 4135 to allow starving mentally ill patients to death, according to the Oregon Right to Life organization, is truly breathtaking.
These governments are preparing to authorize the extermination of mentally retarded persons under their care in the hospitals of their states, while at the same time they would be constitutionally prohibited by the Supreme Court from executing criminals adjudicated to be similarly handicapped.
Creating systems where the attending physician certifies they made the information available orally and in writing to the “patient” followed by a referral to “…a licensed clinical social worker who shall ensure that the patient fully understands the information provided…” leaves one asking who is being mollified by such a system. The “patient” or the medical staff associated with providing information to someone society has already determined is incapable of giving “informed consent” in so many other societal roles and settings. (Emphasis added.)
Unsurprisingly, the world has seen this before and for a time we were horrified by the concept. I can only hope that in our zeal to continue accommodating those who have made the decision about the value of their own life that we will also continue vigorously defending those that others have determined are living a “life unworthy of life.”
Welcome to the slippery slope! Hopefully, as Pastor Niemöller mused oh so long ago, there will be someone left in the future to speak for me when they come.