By: Neil Jones, intern at Alliance Defending Freedom
What do you fear most in life?
Is it public speaking, getting lost at sea, or the death of a loved one?
If you answered yes to that last one, then you aren’t alone. Losing a loved one is among the top 10 fears held by Americans today. Death is never easy; it ravages families, tears people apart, and leaves a hole in the hearts of loved ones left behind.
Now, due to euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide (PAS), many patients facing disability or mental illness are often pressured into taking their lives.
Euthanasia and PAS are advertised as “death with dignity,” an option that offers hope to terminally ill patients but only provides death. Most patients seeking euthanasia or PAS aren’t terminally ill or in unbearable pain but rather are depressed or fear they will be unable to live independently.
Currently, many do not see any problems with euthanasia or PAS. One such person was Tom Mortier, a Belgian man who didn’t think twice about the implications of euthanasia. Tom once asked, “Why can’t that person simply make that choice?” But his views changed when his mother was approved for euthanasia without his knowledge.
One afternoon, Tom’s wife received a call from a hospital, instructing them to attend to Tom’s mother’s affairs as she’d been euthanized. Tom was left in shock. His mother had dealt with chronic depression for years, but no one informed Tom that euthanasia was approved as a treatment.
Instead, Tom was only left with the aftermath of the plan. Euthanasia was an irreversible decision that Tom had no idea was approved, leaving him without a chance to weigh in on other treatment options or even to say goodbye.
Outraged, Tom worked with ADF International and filed an application with the European Court of Human Rights, challenging the government that failed his mother.
Unfortunately, this is not only an international issue. Several states in the U.S., including Oregon, Washington, California, Vermont, New Jersey, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, New Mexico, Colorado, and even the District of Colombia, have legalized PAS, and it is taking a toll on doctors.
Take, for example, Dr. Rachel DiSanto, a physician in Vermont.
Under state law, Dr. DiSanto and other physicians were required to refer patients for euthanasia or PAS. Dr. DiSanto strives to save lives, not end them. The thought of offering her patients an overdose as treatment is against her conscience, so much so that Dr. DiSanto was willing to lose her job before referring euthanasia or PAS to a patient.
A medical professional should never be forced by law to carry out practices they believe are immoral and are not in the patient’s best interest. If a physician is forced to choose between their job and their moral and ethical responsibilities, there is a serious problem. Which is why ADF helped Dr. DiSanto file a lawsuit against the state of Vermont.
When doctors are forced to offer and perform euthanasia or PAS, vulnerable patients who need genuine compassion and care only receive death. And there is nothing dignified about it.
ADF is committed to helping people, like Tom and Dr. DiSanto, whom euthanasia and PAS have wronged.
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