We have learned that in the Netherlands the government will kill you at your request, even if what you’re suffering from is alcoholism or depression. One report reveals that “More than 5,500 individuals were euthanized under the euthanasia laws of the Netherlands last year, including a man who considered himself a hopeless alcoholic and another who suffered from chronic depression after having been a victim of sex abuse.”
So what’s it to Americans if another nation’s government has sanctioned this sort of erratic acceptance of imposed killing? The answer is that healthcare in the Netherlands is a function of government programs and everyone is required to have it! The Netherlands is a much smaller nation, and of course the Dutch healthcare system has drawbacks, but let the patient beware. What happens in the Netherlands does not have to stay there.
We then see the case of a 29-year-old anorexic woman who lives in New Jersey and who is seeking death via assisted suicide because she is “battling depression and alcoholism” and no longer wants to live.
A judge has ruled that she cannot be fed against her wishes. In his ruling, the judge said that “A.G. [the woman who wishes to die] expressed an unequivocal desire to accept palliative care as suggested by her treating physician and the bioethics committee at Morristown Medical Center. This decision was made by A.G. with a clear understanding that death was or could be the possible outcome.”
In other words, palliative care is to be used to keep her comfortable until she is dead. Astute pro-life leaders like Julie Grimstad warned us of this years ago, saying: “The foremost concern is that palliative care will become yet another tool in right-to-die’s imposed death toolkit.” I would add that such cases pinpoint the tragic situation that exists when those who are struggling with mental or physical illness become despondent and the professionals respond with callous disregard for a life that is truly worthy of living, not dying.
Whatever happened to genuine compassion—the type that affirms life unselfishly and with commitment to be by someone’s side during both the sad and the happy days?
St. John Paul II reminded us of this, calling us to be Good Samaritans, when he wrote:
The name “Good Samaritan” fits every individual who is sensitive to the sufferings of others, who “is moved” by the misfortune of another. If Christ, who knows the interior of man, emphasizes this compassion, this means that it is important for our whole attitude to others’ suffering. Therefore one must cultivate this sensitivity of heart, which bears witness to compassion towards a suffering person. Sometimes this compassion remains the only or principal expression of our love for and solidarity with the sufferer.
To choose this path instead of the chilling way of those who prefer death to life is to bring comfort and joy to someone who might otherwise in his loneliness or despair choose euthanasia by any name, including palliative care.
Our task is not to shoo people out of life but to unconditionally love them until God calls them home.