Secular opponents argue that whatever rights we have are limited by our obligations. The decision to die by euthanasia will affect other people - our family and friends, and healthcare professionals - and we must balance the consequences for them (guilt, grief, anger) against our rights.
The core evil of euthanasia is that an individual or group of people think they have the right to put someone else to death. "Killing a human being" is not a very nice concept. To make it more acceptable, therefore some people start playing with the language. They say, for example, that the one who is incurably ill or comatose is a "vegetable". A vegetable? What kind? A cucumber? Carrot? NO MATTER WHAT THE AILMENT HE/SHE SUFFERS FROM, A HUMAN BEING IS ALWAYS HUMAN, AND ALWAYS HAS A RIGHT TO LIFE WHICH NOBODY, OF ANY PHILOSOPHICAL, POLITICAL, OR RELIGIOUS PERSUASION EVER IS ABLE TO TAKE AWAY. In fact, it is precisely when life is afflicted by weakness and illness that it is all the MORE deserving of our care. Remember the song, "He Ain't Heavy; He's My Brother". Advocates of euthanasia do not see the ill this way, but only as a burden. God forgive them. And how about you? 6
Advocates of legalised euthanasia almost always insist that they only want voluntary euthanasia (VE) - a they say they are as opposed to the taking of life without the subject's knowledge or consent, that is, non-voluntary euthanasia (NVE), as anyone...
"Our tradition, declaring a moral obligation to care for our own life and health and to seek such care from others, recognizes that we are not morally obligated to use all available medical procedures in every set of circumstances. But that tradition clearly and strongly affirms that as a responsible steward of life one must never directly intend to cause one's own death, or the death of an innocent victim, by action or omission. As the Second Vatican Council declared, "Euthanasia and willful suicide" are "offenses against life itself" which "poison civilization"; they "debase the perpetrators more than the victims and militate against the honor of the Creator" (Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, No. 27)."
"Those who advocate euthanasia have capitalized on people's confusion, ambivalence, and even fear about the use of modern life-prolonging technologies. Further, borrowing language from the abortion debate, they insist that the "right to choose" must prevail over all other considerations. Being able to choose the time and manner of one's death, without regard to what is chosen, is presented as the ultimate freedom. A decision to take one's life or to allow a physician to kill a suffering patient, however, is very different from a decision to refuse extraordinary or disproportionately burdensome treatment.
As involuntary mercy-killing is so obviously repugnant to most people, the most controversial form of euthanasia is non-voluntary—that is, when the individual is not able to give or deny consent, the most famous example of which is the case of Terry Schiavo.
Euthanasia is not a future problem. It is a present problem. It is happening now and becoming increasingly accepted. And we are asleep, not realizing that the road we are on will lead to the massive elimination of the elderly and "incompetent," and anyone else considered to be a burden to society.
Increasingly, in the courts and the media and in conversation, we are hearing about euthanasia and the so-called "right to die." It's time we all are fully informed about what is going on, and what the appropriate response should be. Euthanasia is not a future problem. It is a present problem. It is happening now and becoming increasingly accepted. And we are asleep, not realizing that the road we are on will lead to the massive elimination of the elderly and "incompetent," and anyone else considered to be a burden to society. Consider the Nancy Cruzan case. She had been in a coma for almost eight years, but was NOT dying, NOT deteriorating. The courts allowed food and water to be discontinued, and 12 days later (on the day after Christmas) she died. Note well, she did not die of the coma. She died of starvation. She was 33. Or consider Dr. Jack Kevorkian, who let Janet Adkins, a 54 year old sufferer of early Alzheimer's, use his homemade "suicide machine" to kill herself. She pushed a button which released lethal fluids into her body. He has likewise administered death to dozens of others. Is this the direction we want our society to go? Is life valuable only when it is healthy? Are we the ones who decide when we die? Is suffering meaningless? The answer to all these questions is NO, and I hope in these reflections to explain why. Let us all do some serious thinking on these matters. It's a question of life and death. 2
Some years ago, the winner of a Pro-Life Essay Contest sponsored by the Archdiocese of New York was Anne Marie O'Halloran, from Maria Regina High School in Hartsdale. Her topic was euthanasia. Let me share with you some of her own words: