So with last Saturday being Holy Saturday, I did not do a new show. Rather, I took the opportunity to go back over seven months of shows and pick out my favorite clips and compile them into one show. It seems a bit presumptuous to call it a “best of”, but it was fun to go back and listen to some of these clips again!
The state of Oregon has long since been ground zero for radical, end-of-life ideology and legislation. It was the first state to legalize physician-assisted suicide two decades ago, and since that time, the practice has grown in both social acceptance and legislative momentum. Sensing a momentum toward a more universal acceptance of physician-assisted suicide, and building on the success of the “right to die” movement, advocates are setting their sights on the as-of-now prohibited practice of euthanasia. To that end, legislators in Oregon have introduced two new bills, Senate Bill 494 and Senate Bill 893, that would create ambiguity in their end-of-life statutes and allow for legal euthanasia in some cases. This is not a surprising development, but for those who thought euthanasia would never rear its ugly, loathsome head in the United States, it’s here. I wrote a post for Crisis Magazine explaining these two bills and why they are dangerous, and why we should think long and hard about espousing the values of the culture of death.
Oregon recently released in annual end-of-year report on physician-assisted suicide. The report documents that of 133 patients that received prescriptions for life-ending medication in 2016, only 5 of them were referred for counseling beforehand. The rates are about the same in the most recent report from Washington state. The laws themselves do a dreadfully poor job of prescribing protocol for handing mental health problems in patients with terminal illness, and doctors are under no obligation to request a mental health assessment unless they see fit. I wrote a post for Crisis Magazine discussing the failure of physician-assisted suicide laws to address mental health problems both in the laws themselves and in practice.
Autonomy is the rallying cry for advocates of physician-assisted suicide. But for every story of someone whose autonomy is enhanced by this practice, there is another story of someone whose autonomy was taken away. I wrote a post for the Washington Examiner on the false promise of autonomy and the dangers of making death a medical option.
Several states have already proposed bills this year, with more sure to follow. Nebraska Sen. Ernie Chambers, the same guy who sued God, is introducing the bill to the Nebraska Unicameral, while Colorado is proposing a similar bill. Both bills are written to mirror Oregon’s “Death With Dignity Act.”
Meanwhile, the American Medical Association continues to oppose the practice.
Obviously, allowing doctors to terminate the lives of their patients compromises the care they provide to sick patients under the oath they took to do no harm. Helping patients kill themselves is the antithesis of the medical profession, but apparently the number of Americans who recognize this is dwindling.
Read the rest of the article here.
In no other aspect of America’s culture of death are we so confused as when it comes to the topic of suicide. Trying to make sense out of our country’s thoughts and feelings when it comes to suicide is like trying to decipher a map made up of coded symbols in a language we can’t understand. In some cases we encourage it. In some cases we rally against it. In some cases we protect against it. In some cases we think it should be legal. It is an incoherent mess of poor philosophy and even worse implications.
For starters, in September of this year we had National Suicide Prevention Week. Celebrated from September 7-13th, the week was highlighted by World Suicide Prevention Day, which is held on September 10th each year. People rally together to support those who have lost loved ones, raise awareness of those who might be at risk, and draw attention to resources available to those who might be contemplating suicide. The whole week is a great way to raise awareness of one of our country’s biggest epidemics, especially among those veterans who have served in our country’s military. Continue reading
The culture of death continues to lay its foundation here in the United States. Doctor-assisted suicide is one of the fastest growing human life issues in our country right now. Just this year alone, 20 states have introduced legislation that would allow for doctors to prescribe lethal doses of medication for their patients. Here in Nebraska, a bill mirroring the Oregon assisted-suicide law is expected to be introduced sometime within the next year.
Like any human life issue, doctor-assisted suicide has both its supporters and its detractors. Its supporters claim that persons have a “right to die”, and that doctor-assisted suicide is a healthy, merciful and compassionate way for the elderly to choose their own death. It’s seen as a way to minimize suffering and bring about “dignity in dying”. They also point to the fact that there are safeguards in place to prevent abuse of the laws. The detractors say that the law contains all kinds of potential for abuse, and point to the slippery slope which is sure to come as a result of these laws. Many detractors also point to the fact that doctor-assisted suicide is still suicide, and we ought not encourage one person to help another person take his or her own life. Continue reading