Were there to be no support in the whole history of ethical and moral thought, were there no acknowledged confirmation from medical science, were the history of legal opinion to the contrary, we would still have to conclude on the basis of God's Holy Word that the unborn child is a person in the sight of God. He is protected by the sanctity of life graciously given to each individual by the Creator, Who alone places His image upon man and grants them any right to life which they have.
Friday, June 10, 2011
Spirit & Life Newsletter:
This week's column is by
Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro-Carámbula
, HLI's Interim President.
Spirit & Life is the weekly e-column of Human Life International.
Assisted suicide and euthanasia are legal in the states of Oregon and Washington, as well as in a handful of nations worldwide. Both here and abroad, pressure is mounting to legalize both evils beyond those sad places where they have already been accepted.
Behind a facade of objectivity, these evils are subtly promoted by many in the media in order to deform public opinion in their favor. We know their methods very well: through a selective presentation of news stories, movies and on television, they hope to slowly deform people's emotions, moving them to see that killing the unwanted is the compassionate thing to do.
This first method, to establish a misguided sense of compassion, is complemented by a second - to create fear that we will one day find ourselves in the same condition. We also see the verbal engineers at work, confusing hydration and feeding of the most severely disabled with an overuse of aggressive medical interventions. As we know, hydration and feeding do not cure any disease, they simply keep a person alive.
Living in Europe where the process of legalizing assisted suicide and euthanasia is regrettably far more advanced than in America, I can't say enough how crucial it is that we strengthen our opposition to these evils. At a recent conference, I was honored to share the podium with several speakers who are working diligently to stop the slide down the slippery slope toward the wholesale destruction of all unwanted persons. The chairman of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, Alex Schandenberg, who sponsored the Vancouver event last week, is to be congratulated for raising the profile of this very important issue.
The starting point for these evils is the liberal and materialistic view that man is the owner of his life; that he is free to choose the moment and manner of his death. Those who hold this view define suicide as "the last liberty of life."
Liberty of life? Yet these lies are becoming more mainstream all the time.
Sadly, as we have seen in the case of Terri Schiavo and too many others, most euthanasia is already essentially legal. The overt legalization of assisted suicide, however, will constitute a strong step towards the full legalization of euthanasia, and a serious blow to the already precarious legal protection of the sick, the disabled and the dying. If we adopt a law holding that a person has the right to kill himself, soon we will also adopt euthanasia; because if the individual has the right to say when his life is no longer worth living, soon society will claim this right as well.
This is the threat represented by a people whose ethics are utilitarian, and whose politics are socialist, particularly with regard to socialized medicine. The idea will soon take hold, thanks to those whom we have empowered to tell our story in the media, that it is too expensive to allow some persons to live, and since the government provides the care, the government will have to decide when their lives will end.
The next group that will be threatened, as we have seen historically, are those whose mental faculties are greatly diminished, or who are not considered useful to society. When the economic considerations are at the forefront of government run-medical care, we will see people opening up to programs that are not very different from the ones used by the Nazis.
We again see this form of murder defended in the supposedly "civilized", post-Nazi Europe. In the United Kingdom, popular writer Mary Warnock espouses the view that a person that suffers from dementia has, not the right, but the duty to die. She underlines that a person in this condition is wasting away the life of his relatives, as well as the resources of the National Health System.
The legalization of euthanasia is obviously the consequence of the decriminalization of abortion. Once society starts killing the ones that nobody sees, they begin to kill those they do see, the "unuseful" or "unfit." If we are not careful and strong in our actions against this attack, any persons at the end of their lives or who suffer an incurable illness will end up in a situation in which they will feel constrained to express their desire to die as their last duty of good manners towards the living.
What does tomorrow hold? Perhaps the killing of the politically incorrect - those who remind their fellow men that there is a God and everyone and everything depends on Him? Or will we be able to, by the grace of God, turn this around? Not that such an offering is on the table, and nobody wants to be a martyr, but if that is God's will for us, let us die reminding our countrymen of their duties towards God and men.
A total ban on assisted suicide and of any form of euthanasia is not only required morally, but is an act of social justice to protect the weak and vulnerable.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro-Carámbula Interim President, Human Life International