What is “assisted suicide” anyway?
We used to have a different name for “assisted suicide:” murder. But now we dress it up in words like “dignity” and we add to the title the ethos of something that has been traditionally a healing profession: “physician” (as in “physician-assisted…”). We also change words that might chafe a bit like “murder” or “killing” into something that sounds more sanitary and academic, like “euthanize.” (By the way, we also have “screening” for the purpose of “terminating” genetically weak or unwanted babies–but that deserves a whole other post.)
Last week the Commonwealth of Massachussetts barely voted down a ballot question on legalizing suicide 51% to 49%. Two states have already legalized this practice: Oregon and Washington. This is already legal in whole countries like the Netherlands (where you can have a lethal injection delivered to, and administered in, your home), and the UK (where it is called by the NHS the “Liverpool Care Pathway,” which includes removing fluids and food from those subjectively judged likely to die “soon” anyway).
Does this remind you of something? It should. There was a pseudo-science, largely developed in the United States nearly a century ago, called eugenics. The Encyclopedia Britannica explains how this was used in Germany’s “T4 Euthanasia Program” as a basis “to kill incurably ill, physically or mentally disabled, emotionally distraught, and elderly people.” This program lasted from 1939 to 1945 under the leadership of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany. Under this program, those who were a “burden” to society, who were “useless eaters,” were identified so physicians (or those under their direction) could “kill anyone deemed to have a ‘life unworthy of living.'”
So what is “assisted suicide” anyway? It is nothing more than a new path to the same eugenics of Nazi Germany–and it comes from the very same philosophies (Darwin, Marx, Nietzsche). In short, when we as a nation do not value human life because it is intrinsically valuable we will selfishly kill the weak. As believers we must stand with the weak because God has placed immeasurable value on the life of all those created in him image (Genesis 1:27).