–by Gillian Fraser

Around the world, the normalisation of euthanasia is a growing trend. Many Christians are split on their opinions of euthanasia, not sure whether to see it as an act of compassion, as the world lables it, or as an act of legalised murder, as it technically is. As with all things Biblical, God doesn’t look at legality – He looks at your heart.

Gaining popularity
In recent years, the topic of euthanasia has become more and more common in society. Compared to 10/20 years ago, where assisted suicide may rarely have been spoken about, today there are many “right to die” lobbyists who are campaigning for the right to choose whether or not they may live. This movement errs on similar boundaries and merits as the debate over abortion – is it your right to hold the power of life and death?

A political move
Governments around the world are rapidly opting in to this assisted suicide movement. Currently, active human euthanasia is legal in the Netherlands, Belgium, Colombia, Luxembourg, and Canada, and passive euthanasia is legal in Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, and in many of the United States. When so many political powers are charging to legalise this practice, one must always ask the question why? Is it to capitalise on the added tax? Is it to ‘cure’ the current ‘overpopulation’ crisis? Or are they actually compassionate giants who care for the dying wishes of society’s elderly and mentally ill? 

Concerning consequences
With secular humanists in our country having campaigned for abortion rights, same-sex marriages, and now the decriminalisation of prostitution, it is only a matter of time before euthanasia takes centre stage over here! And in a beautiful country like ours that is riddled with violence and corruption, legalising murder would be extremely dangerous.

Societal implications:
State hospitals are barely coping with the demand of saving thousands of lives every day – imagine if they were responsible for taking away life. What is truly worrying about the societal implications of euthanasia though, is:

1. There is an alarming trend for life-prolonging treatment to be denied to those who wish to continue fighting (so as to free up beds, funds, and personnel).
2. Experience has shown (in Oregon) that patients resort to ‘shopping around’ for a doctor who will certify them suitable for an assisted suicide when other doctors have said no.
3. There is psychological and emotional pressure applied to the terminally ill to end their life and save their family from prolonged stress and financial burden.

Is euthanasia the only way?

A new study brings to light abuses associated with the practice of euthanasia for the mentally disabled. Analysing euthanasia in the Netherlands, the study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry, found that in more than half of physician-assisted suicide cases, patients declined treatment that could have helped them. This flies in the face of euthanasia activists’ claims that physician-assisted suicide for the mentally ill is committed only on people with untreatable mental illnesses. In many cases in the study, patients cited “loneliness” as their primary reason for requesting to be killed.

Our world is in a desperate state
How sad that in a world filled with over 7.7 billion people, the most common reason for suicide is loneliness. Studies have shown that loneliness has multiple physical effects on us, such as depressing our immune system, making us more susceptible to cancers and other illnesses, hardening our arteries, putting us at higher risk of strokes and heart attacks, and even corroding our brains. How many lives could be saved if we just stood together, as human beings, and realised how loved each and every one of us is by God? He created each and every one of us with a purpose.

Deceived by death
It is tragic to consider that these desperate people have been deceived into thinking death is the answer – when in fact, it is actually the exchange of temporal pain for eternal suffering (if they do not know Jesus). As I note this sobering reality, my heart is overcome with sadness. I can only imagine how the Lord must feel as He watches His beloved people (whom He sent His Son to die for) end their lives without knowing Him and the hope He offers.

The privilege of life
Believers, we are so privileged to know God and to experience His love. As we see society unravel, we must not withdraw from a lost and lonely world to retreat to our holy huddles where life is blessed and comfortable. Rather, let us “be ready in season and out”, to “share the reason for hope we have”. Let’s use contentious topics like euthanasia to spark sincere conversations about life and death. Jesus offers true life, real hope, and everlasting joy, and there are so many who still need to hear this Good News.

Love your neighbour!
Arguably, the most important commandment in the Bible is to love one another, as Christ has loved us. Let us show this love for one another, regardless of age, race, gender, societal status, or anything else that may separate us. Reach out to those whom you may have not spoken to in a while, and let them know that you are thinking of them. Although you may see this as insignificant, a little bit of love and encouragement could save someone’s life.

 

Portable Suicide Machine
now available for anyone to use

A portable “suicide machine” that allows users to end their life in minutes is now open to the public. The device, called Sarco, was the brainchild of 70-year-old euthanasia activist Doctor Philip Nitschke. The 3D-printed device fills with gas to end a person’s life quickly, but not before the prospective user passes an online test to show that they are sane and want to die of their own will, after which they receive a capsule access code that’s valid for 24 hours. Through the VR glasses, visitors are able to choose a view of the Alps or the sea as the last thing they see, before pressing the suicide button, which will turn everything black. The device comes in two parts: a reusable machine base and a capsule that can be detached and used as a coffin. This device can be easily printed anywhere in the world on a 3D printer.

What is Euthanasia?

  • An action / omission that causes death, so that suffering may be eliminated.
  • Active euthanasia is the intentional killing of a person.
  • Passive euthanasia is an act of omission by withholding or withdrawing medical treatments that could preserve a person’s life precisely in order to bring about death. This is either a voluntary act, where the patient gives permission, or involuntary, where the patient is incapable of making such a decision (Such as when in a coma).
  • Occurs when a patient self-administers a lethal dose of an oral medication prescribed by a physician.

Popular Arguments in Favour:

  • Euthanasia provides a way to relieve extreme pain or when a person’s quality of life is low.
  • Frees up medical funds to help others.
  • It is a case for freedom of choice.

Arguments Against:

  • Euthanasia devalues human life.
  • It can become a means of health care cost / demand containment.
  • Medical practitioners should not be involved in directly causing death (Hippocratic Oath).
  • There is a ‘slippery slope’ precedent that has been set – euthanasia was initially legalised for only the terminally ill. Later, laws were changed to allow for other sick people and for it to be done non-voluntarily.
  • Unscrupulous doctors are / will be legally able take advantage of vulnerable people within medical systems that inadequately regulated.
  • Doctors can ‘play God’ and choose who lives or dies.
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