Friday, 9 January 2015

The Chebar River Beckons

650 Babies Euthanized in the Netherlands Each Year Under Right to Die law

Just over a decade on from assisted dying being legalised in the Netherlands, as many as 1 in 33 Dutch people are thought to have died this way, including 650 babies a year, euthanized so that their parents don’t have to witness them struggle with disability or disease. The escalation in death by euthanasia over the last six years has led one Dutch ethicist, who had been in favour of the law when it was first passed, to warn “some slopes truly are slippery.”
The article goes on to discuss the latest attempt to introduce "mercy" killing in the UK.  The secular elites are also pushing for the same in New Zealand.  But in the Netherlands which was the first to introduce "assisted dying" laws (out of love and compassion and respect for human rights, don't you know) things have morphed rapidly over a mere ten years.  Now euthanasia is being promoted there as a "lifestyle choice".  People who oppose are, naturally, cast as haters of the human race. 

However, evidence from the Netherlands, where the first assisted dying law was passed in 2002, has shown that, far from being a method of last resort, assisted dying is fast becoming a ‘lifestyle choice’. People who have chosen to die this way include a 47-year-old divorced mother of two who was suffering from tinnitus, a loud ringing in the ears. She left behind a 13-year-old son and a 15-year-old daughter, the Daily Mail has reported. 
Her mother told the Mail: “Gaby told the children that she was planning to die, she was in pain and there was no cure for her.  “The euthanasia was agreed by doctors and she said her goodbyes and had time to organise her memorial service. She died a month later. Of course the children miss her badly, but they understand her decision.”
Sure the children understand her decision.  They understand their mother simply did not love them enough to put them before her own illicit lusts.  Try bearing that as you get older and face your own physical infirmities.  But the slippery slope is even more relentless.  There are lots of ways to suffer apart from physical infirmity.  How about mental suffering?  Yes, of course.  Such suffering cannot be excluded from the right to die.
Although the law was designed to help terminally ill patients have a dignified death, the right to die has also been granted to a growing number of people who are physically healthy but have psychological problems. Official figures show that 13 patients suffering from mental illness were euthanized in 2011; by 2013 this number had risen to 42 patients.
What about disabled infants?  Well, they cannot express their "will to die" but those who love them have a deep and abiding compassion for them.  Let's kill them so they don't suffer--sort of the same way that one would "put down" a suffering animal.  Their lives will not be worth living.  The sub-text is our lives will not be worth living if we have to take care of you.  So, it's you or me, kid.

And it is not just adults who are being euthanized. According to the Royal Dutch Medical Association, as many as 650 babies are killed by doctors each year because they are deemed to be in pain or facing a life of suffering.

Writing in the National Review, Wesley J Smith, senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism has called on those who support assisted dying to “stop pretending assisted suicide is about terminal illness and admit it is much more about disability–which is why the disability rights movement remains so opposed as they are the primary targets.  It is about allowing killing as an acceptable answer to many causes of suffering, whether terminal or chronic disease, disability, mental illness, or existential despair.”
Activists who once promoted euthanasia laws in Holland are now changing their minds.  But it's too late. The genie is well and truly out of the bottle.

The scale of the deaths has led former supporters of the right to die to change their minds. One such person is the Dutch ethicist Theo Boer, who, in 2007, said “there doesn’t need to be a slippery slope when it comes to euthanasia. A good euthanasia law, in combination with the euthanasia review procedure, provides the warrants for a stable and relatively low number of euthanasia.”

However, earlier this year he admitted “Most of my colleagues drew the same conclusion. But we were wrong – terribly wrong, in fact.”  Although the numbers of deaths remained steady between 2002 and 2008, even falling back a little in some years, over the last six years there has been an exponential growth in the number of assisted dying cases. 1,882 were euthanized in 2002, and by 2006 the number had barely risen, reaching 1,923. Yet by 2012, 4,188 cases were recorded, and in 2013, nearly 5,000. Figures aren’t yet available for 2014 but are expected to have topped the 6,000 mark.
Once the "right to die" is recognised in law, campaigns against it become framed as "anti-human rights".  Groups doing the campaigning become cast in the same category as Nazis.  Any questioning or challenging of the law becomes immediately pilloried as extremist and oppressive.  
This is due in no small part to constant pressure from Dutch Right to Die Society (NVVE) to push the boundaries of acceptability. Under Dutch law, GPs can administer injections to end life. The intention was that a person’s GP, who would have a long term doctor-patient relationship with that person, would have the option open as a last resort. However, the NVVE set up a number of travelling euthanasia “End of Life Clinics”, who either euthanize the person or send them away. On average their doctors see a patient just three times before killing them.

“The NVVE shows no signs of being satisfied even with these developments,” Boer has said. “They will not rest until a lethal pill is made available to anyone over 70 years who wishes to die. Some slopes truly are slippery.”  He warned “I used to be a supporter of legislation. But now, with twelve years of experience, I take a different view. At the very least, wait for an honest and intellectually satisfying analysis of the reasons behind the explosive increase in the numbers.

“Is it because the law should have had better safeguards? Or is it because the mere existence of such a law is an invitation to see assisted suicide and euthanasia as a normality instead of a last resort? Before those questions are answered, don’t go there. Once the genie is out of the bottle, it is not likely to ever go back in again.”
As always, Christians weep bitterly, but do not despair over such things.  We recognise that one of the ways God brings a people to repentance is to let them taste the poisonous fruit of their Unbelief.  It was in exile by the river Chebar that our fathers came to a point of holy disgust at the idolatry of their parents and grandparents as well as disgust at their own evil.  Only they then repented, and were eventually restored. 

No comments: