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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Euthanasia in the US -- The NYTimes

An opinion piece at the NYTimes attempts to pontificate about why Americans are so reluctant to embrace the death of people who are dying and to go out of our way to kill them.

The author is a professor at Harvard and a former editor in chief at the New England Journal of Medicine, both exceedingly hoity-toity entries on her curriculum vitae. I, on the other hand, am a nobody.

There are two reasons for Americans' attitudes on killing people who are dying, according to our erudite author. One is that Americans are too religious. The other is that Americans are afraid if people have the right to kill them, such as health professionals under pressure from government bureaucracies and insurance companies, that those people will use that right.

Of the first problem, religion, she says, "In particular, the Catholic Church, as a matter of doctrine, is strongly opposed to helping patients in this way, no matter how great the suffering at the end of life." OK, she's a Ivy League professor and a physician, but she is neither Catholic (that I know of) nor a theologian, so she has no business commenting on doctrine. I, on the other hand, WAY out-hoity-toity her in that regard.

The Catholic Church, as a matter of doctrine, considers going out of your way to kill someone else or yourself to be a crime. As a matter of doctrine, the Catholic Church commends health professionals and loved ones who care for, comfort, and basically love those who are dying as they die. Unlike the more enlightened non-religious people comfortable with euthanasia, we do not consider killing to be a way of showing love.

She goes on to say, "Church leaders often frame the issue as life versus death, but the real issue is the manner of dying...." No, on both counts. Church leaders do not frame the issue as life versus death, but as caring versus killing, and the real issue is not manner of dying but what we consider to be caring versus killing.

I will clue this Harvard professor into something. The ONE reason Americans resist assisted suicide and euthanasia is that we don't believe that ANYONE has the RIGHT to KILL and call it "helping the patient." Let the Europeans and Canadians kill each other and accept it as caring if they want. That does not make them smarter, more enlightened, more advanced. It makes them more barbaric, actually. As far as the Netherlands goes, I will say this: THEY were brutally occupied and victimized by a regime that enshrined euthanasia in its ethical code. They were freed only at a great cost of the lives of people from another country, without whom they'd be speaking German today instead of Dutch. They have become just like their oppressors rather than their liberators and expect US to follow them? And we're backward? Really.

Euthanasia and assisted suicide laws are designed to do one thing: PROTECT THE KILLER FROM PROSECUTION. PERIOD. Everything else is just marketing.

By the way, I pay my bills by working in marketing. I out-hoity-toity her there, too. I know marketing when I see it.

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