Forces of coercion and the “right to die”

In the New York Times, a writer with personal experience of lifelong disability warns against the spreading legalization of assisted suicide:

Perhaps, as advocates contend, you can’t understand why anyone would push for assisted-suicide legislation until you’ve seen a loved one suffer. But you also can’t truly conceive of the many subtle forces — invariably well meaning, kindhearted, even gentle, yet as persuasive as a tsunami — that emerge when your physical autonomy is hopelessly compromised.

Advocates of Death With Dignity laws who say that patients themselves should decide whether to live or die are fantasizing. Who chooses suicide in a vacuum? We are inexorably affected by our immediate environment. The deck is stacked.

This is eloquent and disturbing first-hand testimony of our society’s growing tendency to define and prize “quality of life” at the expense of life itself.

6 Responses

  1. There’s no need for government to be advocating anything regarding the “right to die.” One thing’s for certain, however: there’s no “right” that any of us have to extended and expensive care when physical conditions demonstrate that such care is doing nothing but prolonging a vegetative or unconscious existence.
    Always ignored in these discussions: that so many patients and their heirs think it is someone else’s bill to pay for extended care, that the patient has a “right” to leave an inheritance.

  2. Yes, Those are other questions aren’t there? Who will have the right to what care, under what conditions. Does food and water for a person who is able to utilize them constute a minimum standard. If you lack a certain level of awareness are there things to be denied to you depending on the level of awareness? Does it mean , for instance, no knee replacement for those with early alzheimers even though the surgery would tremendously inhance the quality of life for that individual?

  3. Let me give input here. I am 70 and have been diagnosed as having early onset of Alzheimer’s Disease. All of us elderly have something or the other wrong with us. We are entering the sorrowful mystery of our lives where we can imitate Jesus and his mother and join our suffering with theirs for the redemption of human kind. If we do this eventually we will enter the glorified mystery of our life (Heaven). I would like to see our mother church have a concentrated effort on encouraging we elderly not to waste our sufferings. Suffering is redemptive. We can do so very much good. That is what makes human life so precious. God bless all of you!!!!

  4. Oh! I almost forgot one very important thing. Today is all souls days. Let’s remember the souls in purgatory, especially those who have no one to pray for them when we offer our sufferings, prayers, and especially Masses. We are our brother’s keeper!!!!

  5. Re: I quote Duane above “One thing’s for certain, however: there’s no “right” that any of us have to extended and expensive care when physical conditions demonstrate that such care is doing nothing but prolonging a vegetative or unconscious existence.”

    Yes there is a “right”. Everyone of us have a “right” in the Holy Name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior to any and all care to maintain our life and the lives of our loved ones to the very last breath God gives us until Jesus Himself comes to get us.

    When anyone Interferes with Jesus and His decision to take a person to another dimension “in His Father’s House” we jeapordize our own soul setting ourselves up as God which human beings are not. As rational man beings, we have a duty and obligation to protect and sustain life even if we are too ignorant or stupid to understand why God allows a so-called “vegetative” state. There is no such thing as a “vegetative” state of life.

    That is a term that was made up due to total ignorance, stupidity and idiocy. It is clear Duane has not ever cared for anyone who “supposedly” was dying that fully recovered and went out to farm his land, watch the stock market agriculture prices and celebrate his God-given life after all the medical “experts” said he was dying and gave a “do not resuscitate” order. Doctors will be much better off if they give “Do not kill” orders…they may even save their own souls…thanks to the Infinite Mercy of a Loving God.

  6. As we walk thru life, we always have choices. The bottom line is to make good (moral) rather than poor choices (immoral). Jesus gave us His teachings and His Church with her seven Sacraments, the Mass, and her prayer life to help and guide us along the way. Confession helps us when we make the poor choices (sin). When in doubt turn to the church. This applies to the end of life issues. The church’s guidance is very compassionate and clear on this issue. Ending a life of the dieing, no matter their state, is wrong. Making the dieing as comfortable as possible is a Christ like action and to be encouraged. The church in her Christ like wisdom also says we do not have to use extra ordinary means of extending the life of the dieing. The bishops of Florida has even prepared a draft end of life directive aligned with the church’s social teachings that we can set up for ourselves. I have used it for myself. If you like a copy it is available at the following web location:

    http://www.flaccb.org/CDLD/100918CDLD.pdf

    God bless you!!!!

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