Saturday, February 11, 2012

Why Can't We All Just Meet at the Funeral Home?

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From BioEdge, comes a story about mobile assisted euthanasia services coming to Holland. The article is straight-forward, written without any underlying propaganda, and it comes from an organization in Australia.
Six euthanasia flying squads of a doctor and a nurse will begin making house calls in the Netherlands on March 1. The teams will visit people who want to end their lives but whose wishes have been thwarted by another doctor who refuses to take their request seriously or who is simply unwilling to do it.
... the NVVE is currently welcoming people in the early stages of dementia and people who are suffering from chronic psychiatric problems. This is allowed under current legislation.
I've been thinking about this issue, especially as it relates to disabilities rather than end-of-life disease states, since I met the folks at Not Dead Yet a decade or more ago. I often wondered aloud Why not include the depressed? but I thought I was being sarcastic even though Kervorkian had already taken that step. 

Now apparently assisting the suicide of the mentally ill is within the scope of how advocates see the issue of euthanasia. And why not? I don't doubt that many people with  psychoses live with disabilities that negatively influence their lives, and if that's so, why not assist the suicide of a schizophrenic, or, say, someone with chronic depression. 

Of course, we'd need to decide whether the person must be on or off medications before we punch his ticket on the train to oblivion.

We find ourselves back on the slippery slope, don't we? Who would have thought that the right (let's call it, "the right to service") would be extended to those with "chronic psychiatric problems." 

I did, for one, in spite of my sarcastic public comments, and I did so because of Kervorkian's history. 

While realizing the the slippery slope isn't a valid rhetorical or philosophical argument, its dynamic apparently applies in practice, something any intelligent person will realize by considering the social mores as they have evolved since the 1960s especially.

Holland already has de facto involuntary euthanasia. There have been cases, albeit in the USA adjudicated cases rather than the informal "Opa lijkt echt te lijden ..." mostly accomplished by starvation/dehydration at the behest of relatives "speaking" for a person in a non-responsive state.  

Do I begrudge the person in constant, near-unbearable pain a safe and painless way off this mortal coil? No, I don't. It is available now for the persistent, and not only in assisted suicide states like Oregon. I simply believe the governments that brought us the misbegotten war on drugs and the financial collapse, as only two examples, are incapable of organizing an assisted suicide program that will not eventually become an involuntary euthanasia program.


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