5 Chilling Examples of Euthanasia’s Slippery Slope
“I am going to die anyway. I am not being involuntarily euthanized. My nearest and dearest sympathize with my decision. I have tried very hard to beat the disease, but I have had enough and want – quite literally in my case – to go and meet my maker.”
Rev. John Cartwright
Assisted Dying: Who Makes the Final Decision?
These words were written by philosopher and Congregational minister, John Cartwright. He is also a member of the Inter-Faith Leaders for Dignity in Dying. John Cartwright’s outlook is shared by many people who want to see euthanasia and assisted suicide legalised, and who are convinced that the so-called ‘slippery slope’ poses no danger to such legislation, because stringent safeguards will be written into the laws.
But nothing could be further from the truth. Even allowing that there is a moral entitlement to assisted suicide, such as Cartwright believes, there is no legislation tight enough to confine physician assisted suicide/euthanasia (PASE) to those who ask for it.
Below are 5 horrific examples which show how the desire for euthanasia leaks outside of a patient’s control and into the hands of carers, parents and medical staff, who feel they have the authority to end the life of another person.
The Belgian Nurses.
In a 2010 study of nurses in Belgium, almost half of those who had been involved in euthanising patients admitted to doing so without the patients’ consent. Belgium legalised euthanasia in 2002, with supposedly strict guidelines – including the proviso that only doctors are to euthanise patients. Care Not Killing director, Dr. Peter Saunders, said: ‘We should take a warning from this that wherever you draw the line, people will go up to it and beyond it.’ (Read more here:)
Death is Cheap
Stephanie Packer lives in California and suffers from a severe auto-immune disease. She has already outlived her doctors’ predictions of an early death and hopes a lung-transplant will prolong her life even more. In 2016, Stephanie contacted her insurance company to see if they’d cover an alternative drug to one she had been taking. She was told that the other drug wasn’t covered under her scheme. When Stephanie enquired about the cost of suicide-drugs, then newly legalised, she was told that these were covered, with a co-payment of only US $1.20! Life is cheap these days, but death is obviously cheaper. (Read more here:)
A Nevada doctor is finding that this is a common theme among insurance companies in states where euthanasia has been legalised. Dr. Brian Callister tried to have two patients transferred to California and Oregon respectively for treatments that were unavailable in Nevada. In both cases, the patients’ insurance companies denied payment for the transfers or the procedures. And in both cases, the medical director of the insurance company offered assisted suicide as an alternative. Perhaps the worst part of this story is that neither patient was terminal and that both had very good prospects of being completely cured if the treatment went ahead. (Read more here:)
The Family Who Restrained Grandma
Perhaps you remember the shocking case from the Netherlands, in which an elderly dementia patient struggled during her requested euthanasia procedure and was held down by family members. The woman’s doctor was cleared of wrong-doing, as she was found to have acted ‘in good faith’ by continuing to ensure her patient’s demise. According to this news article, the patient had asked to be euthanised ‘when she felt the time was right.’ But according to this article, in the days immediately preceding her death, the woman was heard to say, “I don’t want to die.”
As it turned out, it was her family who ultimately decided when ‘the time was right.’
Conflict of Interest
In April 2012, Belgian Tom Mortier received an unexpected phone-call to say that his mother, Godeliever de Troyer, had been euthanised. Although she suffered from depression, his mother had been physically well. Her treating psychiatrist didn’t approve of the euthanasia: the lethal injection was administered by a doctor who is part of the government agency charged with ensuring that patients meet the euthanasia law’s requirements. In this case, those guidelines were clearly not met, since the law requires that patients are suffering unbearably and in a medically futile condition.
The doctor in question had initially declined to help Ms. De Troyer, but reconsidered after she donated 2500 euro to the pro-euthanasia group he founded, Life End Information Forum. Tom Mortier is seeking justice by taking the case to the European Court of Human Rights. (Read more here and here:)
Euthanasia advocates are fond of calling their opposition ‘slippery-slopers’ – not very different from abortion enthusiasts referring to pro-lifers as ‘forced birthers.’ The cases cited above, which are only a few of the hundreds of such cases, prove that a slippery slope isn’t just a theory, but that abuses are already happening. Some of these abuses are causing extreme distress for the friends and family members left alive, while others lead to very inhumane deaths for the patients themselves.
It’s ironic that the late author and euthanasia advocate, Sir Terry Pratchett, OBE, had this to say about natural death, when in fact it is very fitting many deliberate life terminations, such as those mentioned above:
I don’t fear death, but, like many other people, I do fear dying badly.
(Terry Pratchett: foreward, “Assisted Dying: Who Makes the Final Decision?”
Editor, The Freedoms Project
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