It’s funny how slippery slope arguments aren’t paid attention to until we hear the thud at the bottom of the slope. Well…
Catholic Herald reports at most of the people killed by euthanasia in the Netherlands had complained of loneliness.
This should not be a surprise. Pain can be isolating. But that doesn’t mean we should endorse death for the lonely. It means we must try harder to reach out to those in pain and those with horrible illnesses.
Researchers in the U.S. found that loneliness, or “social isolation”, was a key motivation behind the euthanasia requests of 37 of 66 cases reviewed, a figure representing 56 per cent of the total.
The study by the National Institute of Health also revealed that the Netherlands was operating a de facto policy of euthanasia on demand, with patients “shopping” for doctors willing to give them a lethal injection for the most trivial of reasons.
Many of them used euthanasia clinics and mobile units willing to over-ride decisions of family doctors who believed that a death wish could not be justified.
The research, led by Dr Scott Kim, cited the case of a woman of good mental and physical health who was killed by lethal injection because she felt lonely following the death of her husband a year earlier.
The killings, which were carried out between 2011 and 2014, were permitted even though a person can qualify for euthanasia under Dutch law only if they are suffering unbearably from an untreatable condition.
The research published in the JAMA Psychiatry journal led to renewed warnings from UK politicians and campaigners that it was not possible to effectively regulate either euthanasia or assisted suicide.
Lord Carlile of Berriew, a Lib Dem peer who is a patron of the Living and Dying Well think-tank, said: “It’s another example of the very poor way in which this scheme is administered in the Netherlands.
“It is shocking really because the Netherlands is a very civilised country and a well-organised country but they are not somehow able to keep a check on those cases of people who are undergoing euthanasia when the reality is that they need more company and better social work.”
Phil Friend, spokesman for Not Dead Yet UK, a disability group, said the practice of killing people because they were lonely showed just how far down the “slippery slope” Holland had descended since it legalised euthanasia in 2002.
“This started with other people feeling they should be able to end other people’s lives because of their suffering and now we have got to the point where we are ending people’s lives just because they are lonely,” he said.
“It seems to me extraordinary,” he continued. “Where does it end? It is a crazy situation. What we should be thinking about is what do we do to help older lonely people? Are we going to euthanise them instead of helping them to find ways to make their lives more interesting, fun and pleasant?”
Christ calls us to love, not to end suffering through death.
In our culture today, death is the prescription to every problem.