This week our friends at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview published a commentary highlighting Belgium’s efforts to push the boundaries when it comes to suicide-by-physician and euthanasia.
[Assisted suicide is] not about alleviating suffering.
A psychiatrist in Belgium approved the doctor-assisted suicide of a healthy 38-year-old woman diagnosed with Asperger’s. Asperger’s is a mild form of autism.
It’s not a terminal illness. It does not lead to anything that could be considered “unbearable and untreatable suffering.” That’s Belgium’s squishy definition of eligibility for assisted suicide. . . .
Wherever assisted suicide is permitted, it’s not just the terminally ill who die. It’s the vulnerable among us.
He’s exactly right.
Researchers in North America have continued to find that people who ask a doctor to prescribe drugs to help them commit suicide generally aren’t concerned about pain and suffering caused by a terminal illness. They’re worried about losing their autonomy or their way of life.
In Canada — where assisted-suicide is legal — researchers found that people inquired about assisted-suicide not because of excruciating pain, but because they are dissatisfied with their lives in the wake of their illness.
As one researcher put it, “Their quality of life is not what they want. They are mostly educated and affluent — people who are used to being successful and in control of their lives, and it’s how they want their death to be.”
Since 1998, more than 90% of the people who inquired about assisted suicide in Oregon said they were concerned about losing their autonomy. More than 75% expressed worries about losing their dignity. Only 26% said they were concerned about controlling their pain.
Last August we told you Belgian doctors have euthanized at least three minors suffering from brain tumors, muscular dystrophy, and cystic fibrosis. And in October we wrote that Canada’s largest children’s hospital was drafting a policy regarding euthanasia that some say could eventually let children decide to be euthanized without even notifying their parents.
I’ll keep saying it: Being pro-life means believing human life is sacred from conception until natural death, and it means opposing the taking of human life without just cause. Just like abortion, euthanasia and assisted-suicide are murder, and they violate the sanctity of human life.
Photo By Colin (https://www.flickr.com/photos/cckaiser/3619297168/) [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.
After the Arkansas Department of Health determined the facilities violated a state informed-consent law, three abortion clinics announced recently they will mount a court challenge.
Planned Parenthood’s two abortion facilities in Arkansas as well as a separate surgical abortion facility in Little Rock filed a notice in court that they will appeal the State Board of Health’s recent determination that the clinics violated a pro-life law Family Council supported in 2015.
In 2015 the Arkansas Legislature passed the Woman’s Right to Know Act that ensures women inquiring about abortion are given all the facts first — including information about abortion’s risks, consequences, and alternatives. The law also says women must be given at least 48 hours to weigh their options and that they cannot be charged for the abortion or for services related to the abortion before that 48-hour reflection period is over.
In some states, abortion facilities charge women up front for an abortion, before the end of any waiting periods. This can make the woman feel financially obligated to go through with the abortion even if she has second thoughts about abortion. The Woman’s Right to Know Act helps prevent that from happening in Arkansas.
Since 2015, annual reports from the Arkansas Department of Health indicate more than 700 women have chosen not to have abortions after receiving the information outlined in the Woman’s Right to Know Act.
Last spring inspectors with the Arkansas Department of Health cited Planned Parenthood’s facilities and Little Rock Family Planning Services for charging women for some procedures related to abortion before the end of the 48-hour reflection period. The three clinics took their case to the State Board of Health, which determined last October that the facilities had in fact violated state law.
This week the three clinics announced they will appeal that decision in court.
According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Planned Parenthood, Little Rock Family Planning Services, and the ACLU will argue that the law is unconstitutional and overly burdensome and that the Health Department exceeded its authority.
I am confident Arkansas can win this legal challenge over the state’s pro-life law.
Many states require abortionists to wait anywhere from 24-72 hours before performing an abortion, and Arkansas is not the only state that prohibits abortion facilities from charging women ahead of time for abortion or abortion-related procedures.
One of the jobs of the Arkansas Department of Health is to inspect abortion facilities to ensure they are complying with state laws. If they don’t have the authority to cite Planned Parenthood for violating this law, who does?
Photo Credit: By Brian Turner (Flickr: My Trusty Gavel) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.