Dr. Peter Saunders with the Care Not Killing Alliance has published a column in the U.K. explaining how the ‘right’ to die (by means of euthanasia or assisted suicide) can easily become a duty.
Dr. Saunders writes,
“Any change in the law to allow assisted suicide or euthanasia would place subtle pressure on vulnerable people to end their lives, for fear of being a financial, emotional or care burden upon others. Those who are disabled, elderly, sick or depressed would be particularly at risk. The right to die, in other words, can so easily become the duty to die.
“Elder abuse and neglect by families, carers and institutions is real and dangerous and a law allowing the active ending of life in limited circumstances could be so easily exploited and abused.”
Saunders points to some startling statistics from elsewhere in Europe and right here in the U.S., including:
- Assisted suicide has increased 450% in Oregon in the past 15 years;
- Assisted suicide has increased 700% in Switzerland during the same length of time;
- In the Netherlands, disabled babies are euthanized;
- In Belgium 32% of all euthanasia deaths are “without consent,” and organs can be harvested from those euthanized.
Euthanasia and assisted-suicide have gained popularity in the U.S. in recent years as forms of “death with dignity.” A little common sense, however, makes it painfully obvious that anyone who is sick or disabled may be vulnerable to pressure from family or caregivers to “hurry up and die.” That’s a risk that simply is not worth taking.