According to the United Nations, nearly ‘1 in 6 older people experienced some form of abuse in the past year.’ In the face of an aging world population, the UN also warns that the abuse of elders is expected to increase.
15 June is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. We should be able to agree that the elderly—both the healthy and the sick—deserve the utmost care.
Humane societies care for their old and their sick. Legal euthanasia undermines this fundamental commitment to humane care. It implicitly tells society’s most vulnerable citizens, who are often elderly members of the community facing health issues, that their lives are not worth living.
It sends the message that they are a burden on the rest of society. Originally positioned as a ‘compassionate’ solution for those with imminent terminal illnesses, euthanasia has really become an easy way to deal with the old, the sick, and the weak.
Euthanasia’s victims have expanded far beyond those with terminal illnesses. In some places, normal aspects of aging, such as deteriorating eyesight, hearing, and mobility, qualify patients for euthanasia. Normal aging should never justify euthanasia.
But the old are not the only ones being told that euthanasia is the answer.
In Canada, much has been paid to child euthanasia. In one scenario in Toronto, ‘… doctors from Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children have laid out policies and procedures for administering medically assisted death to children, including scenarios where the parents would not be informed until after the child dies.’ The slippery slope is in full effect.
Allowing euthanasia for terminally ill children is more than just an adding an option to a menu. It upends the relationship between patients and doctor. It tells children that there might come a point when their life is not worth living, compromising the hope they have.
The logic of euthanasia is clear. It elevates ‘personal autonomy’ above everything else in the name of ‘compassion.’ But euthanasia is far from compassionate.
As you can see, the ones who are euthanized are the ones society should be caring for and suffering with, not ushering them to ‘die with dignity.’ This group includes the old and the sick, terminally-ill children, and those suffering from mental illness, among others. This group deserves our true compassion. Not the counterfeit compassion of euthanasia.
ADF International is working with families, patients, and the medical community to restore hope and laws that affirm dignity and reverse the slippery slope of euthanasia laws.
Visit AffirmDignity.org to find out how you can get involved.