Thursday, July 12, 2007

Unhappy? Just Kill Yourself (with Help!)

LifeSite News writes about the push to legalize assisted suicide for the unhappy:

One of America's most prestigious bioethics journals has recently published an article questioning the policies currently in place across the world that prevent access to euthanasia for the clinically depressed.

In the May-June issue of the Hastings Center Report, Jacob Appel, a university professor from Providence, R.I., refers to the 1994 Death with Dignity Act in Oregon as well as California's Compassionate Choices Act that was approved this March. Noting the high tolerance for euthanasia in Europe, Appel cites the famous case in Switzerland last November when the Federal High Court of Lausanne ruled that euthanasia should be accessible for mentally depressed patients.

The case involved a 53-year old man who had previously tried to commit suicide twice. Backed by Dignitas, he argued a "right to self-determination" under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The court ruled that "incurable, permanent, severe psychological disorders" were sufficient reason to allow a person to commit suicide. Similarly, in 1993 the Dutch Supreme Court refused to penalize psychiatrist Boudewijn Chabot for assisting a chronically depressed patient, fifty-year old Hilly Bosscher, to commit suicide.

After providing these examples, Appel goes on to argue that assisted suicide may be a "rational" decision for sufferers of psychological illnesses, even if there is some promise of a possible cure in the future. Appel writes, "If the offer is that an effective treatment may eventually be found, but a person will have to suffer for some decades more until that happens, then it might still be rational to prefer suicide."

He also addressed the "competence of the decision maker," saying, "If the values championed by assisted suicide advocates are maximization of autonomy and minimization of suffering-even when they conflict with the extension of life-then it follows that chronically depressed, competent individuals would be ideal candidates for the procedure."

Quoting the Swiss Court decision, he states, "We are entering an era during which psychiatric patients do not need to be protected, but empowered. Our goal should be to maximize the options available to the mentally ill."

I don’t think we have to worry about empowering the insane; they seemto be the ones running Western society these days. Part of that insanity centers around the notion that suffering renders life unworthy of being lived. That is a perfectly logical conclusion in an atheistic world, where suffering is merely pain and can provide no value. One is forced to contrast, however, the death of Mr. Bosscher with the death of the late Pope John Paul II – or for that matter, of Christ on the Cross. Ultimately, the question is, "To whom do I belong? To myself? Or to God?" The answer to that question determines one's attitude toward assisted suicide. It also, I'm afraid, determines one's eternal destination.

Satan has gotten much more sophisticated. In the 1930’s and 40’s, Hitler rounded up the physically and mentally infirm and executed them, earning the condemnation of the world. Seventy years later, we have convinced the physically and mentally infirm to kill themselves, with the smiling approval of society, and without the expense of rounding them up. Score one for Old Nick.